The House resumed at 8 p.m.
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resuming the debate on the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.
Mr. Bradley: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to address the House this evening on what I am afraid will be a very limited basis. I was looking forward to a two-hour oration with the galleries as full as they are. Actually, they are unusually full this evening; I think the whip of the Liberal Party indicated to the population that there would be some good speakers tonight, later on in the evening at least.
I did want to offer to the House a few remarks about the speech from the throne, particularly as those remarks would relate to the problems that confront my constituency but also touching on some with a province-wide implication.
Any representative who sat in the Ontario Legislature representing the provincial constituency of St. Catharines would be remiss if he did not mention the unemployment problem that has confronted not just our community but also the surrounding communities in the Niagara Peninsula.
At one point this winter -- I believe it was in the month of January -- the St. Catharines-Niagara region, as it is known for statistical purposes, recorded an unemployment rate of almost 22 per cent. It was exactly 21.7 per cent, which placed it the highest, not only in our province but also in our country, in those centres that are surveyed.
Needless to say, those of us who are political representatives in the area, regardless of our affiliation or whether we are provincial, federal or municipal members, are expressing a genuine concern about this and advocating some useful programs on the part of government to assist in the bouncing back of our economy to what it was in previous days.
Mr. Speaker, I believe your constituency is around the other end of the horseshoe. We are referred to as the Golden Horseshoe, and at one time that was probably a valid designation for the area from Niagara Falls around to just past Oshawa.
The Deputy Speaker: I just want to bring my understanding to your attention, if the table would correct me. My understanding is that at six hours and 10 minutes the Liberal Party time has expired. Are you aware of that?
Mr. Bradley: Yes, thank you; I will watch the new digital clock. I have not found it an affront, by the way, to have a digital clock in here. I notice the lighting of the numbers has been toned down somewhat, and that should make even the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon) accept this innovation, which is of use to all of us in this chamber.
But back to the problem of unemployment. In our area it has been chronic unemployment. We have had a situation where we were up to 22 per cent this winter. We have been very high compared to other communities, but it is not a new problem. It is one that has been with us for a few years now and it is not simply related to the automotive industry, although we recognize that when there is a downturn in the automotive industry in any of those areas in which the automotive industry is a large industrial component, then we have circumstances where the spinoff in an adverse way is certainly quite pronounced.
In our community we have fortunately had an effort that is involving a number of segments of that community to confront the problems of unemployment. Those of us who are in the legislative chambers are advocating certain measures that I will deal with briefly in a few minutes.
We have also had the unemployed themselves attempt to form an organization that is constructively doing something about the problem. It is called the Unemployed Action Alliance. Mr. Allan Cronkwright, who has certainly not had political experience in the past or been associated with any protest groups or anything like that, took it upon himself to assume the presidency upon being elected at a meeting, along with David Young, who is the vice-president and working in conjunction with the president of the St. Catharines and District Labour Council, Mr. Len Harrison, and the president of the United Auto Workers, Mr. Gerry Michaud.
Those are all people with the community at large in mind, as opposed to simply those they represent, who got together to provide some direct assistance to the unemployed by counselling them on their rights as they relate to receiving assistance from the government and by establishing a drop-in centre, which is now located at 145 King Street in St. Catharines, where people can obtain that kind of advice, share their problems with others and receive some counselling on other matters of a moral or ethical nature when they are experiencing problems that are confronted by those who face unemployment.
I must continue by saying that it is not the community alone or the people themselves alone who can benefit from action that is taken. The government and its revenues can also benefit from this action. I have advocated several measures that would be of assistance to those of us in the Niagara Peninsula as possible for review and implementation by the government. Some of those suggestions, of course, relate to alleviating the burden on those who have been directly hit by unemployment.
As you would be aware, Mr. Speaker, many regions across this province have had welfare bills that have been very high indeed. Of course, we recognize that 20 per cent of the cost of welfare is assumed by the local ratepayer in the property tax burden, that being the main and only significant source of revenue for municipalities. They are being hit with what I call a double whammy when the government of Ontario refuses to take a more interventionist role in assisting these municipalities.
Let us take the Niagara region, for instance, where there is almost 22 per cent unemployment. Many people are off their unemployment insurance benefits and many have had to go on welfare or accept some other kind of assistance that might be available from the government; so there is an impact on the local municipality. That municipality then faces a Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) and a Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) who both are advocating restraint because of the inflation problem that is confronting the Ontario government, the lack of revenues and the deficit, which is increasing. These people then are forced to go back to the local ratepayers, many of whom have lost their jobs, to extract more funds to pay for the cost of welfare.
For a person who has been unemployed for six or seven months the tax bill at the municipal level does not change. That person still has to pay $1,100, $1,200 or whatever the assessed cost is based on the mill rate that is struck by the municipality. That, of course, is the unfairness of the municipal property tax: it does not take into account a person's ability to pay.
On the other hand, those same individuals do not have to pay as much in income tax, because income tax is related to the amount of money a person is making; so it seems sensible that the more progressive taxes should be used to alleviate the burden on the local people.
The Treasurer has accepted some of the suggestions that we in the opposition have put forward for stimulating the economy but certainly not all of them. We have mentioned that a number of projects are already on the books. We are not asking that people go out and look for useless projects that are going to be a burden on a municipality in years to come. We are looking for projects that are on the books of the provincial government. We would like the government to advance the schedules for some of those projects. In some cases, that has been done. I commend those who are responsible when that has been done.
In addition, some municipalities have undertaken the same type of program and that is beneficial. Generally speaking, what we need to assist communities such as mine and all the communities in Ontario is a budget that stimulates the economy, not one that retrenches or restrains expenditures at a time when unemployment is substantially high. This does not mean those of us in the opposition are advocating that the government squander millions of dollars on useless projects, but it does mean we are understanding when the provincial deficit increases.
It is the prerogative of the opposition to point out that there is a deficit or that it is increasing, but one would find far less criticism of a provincial deficit that has increased, but not substantially, at a time of high unemployment than one would if the economy were booming and there were no excuse for it. The Treasurer need not fear that those of us in the opposition would be overly critical of a budget that entertained increased expenditures and perhaps revenues that are not going to grow sufficiently to bring the deficit down and may result in an increase in the deficit.
We are looking generally for a stimulative budget. We saw a little of that in the federal budget. Some of those measures will be helpful to the economy, more of them in the long term than the short term. We are looking for even more of an impetus from the provincial government in stimulating our manufacturing and other sectors in this province.
Mr. Conway: Has the Chairman of Management Board (Mr. McCague) given an undertaking?
Mr. Bradley: I notice nods of approval from the two ministers across the way, who recognize the wisdom of what I am advocating. I certainly commend these measures to them to take back to their cabinet colleagues.
I also want to look at the expenditures of this government, because in certain areas, for instance, hospital and health care spending, education and where we think it could be most productive, we have advocated and we are quite pleased to see the government playing its significant role. There are, however, areas where the government could cut spending and free funds for other areas. Some of them are obvious.
I think I strike a responsive chord in many of the members on the government side when I mention the ill-considered expenditure on Suncor, the $650 million spent on shares of Suncor. Of 70 members across the way, I am sure I could find 64 members who could give me 64 better places to spend that $650 million than on shares for Suncor, a corporation that is not going to be of direct benefit to Ontario simply by the expenditure of that money on shares that do not produce any jobs that Suncor would not have produced in any event without the government component.
I hear certain people on the other side stand and extol the virtues of Suncor, pointing out, "Do you realize in Renfrew, Ottawa East, St. Catharines and so on, all the jobs that are created?" We recognize those orders were placed before the government had any direct stake in Suncor. We see that as a wasteful expenditure of money which could be channelled in better directions.
I touched on the advertising budget this afternoon with the Treasurer. There are some programs -- for instance, the compulsory immunization program -- which must be brought to the attention of the public. I commend the government when it undertakes that kind of information campaign so people know what is required and why.
That kind of expenditure should be commended by the opposition, but not some of the advocacy advertising that goes on such as the extolling of the virtues, indirectly or directly, of the Ontario government using the taxpayers' money, as we saw particularly in advance of the 1981 election when we heard: "Life is good. Ontario. Preserve it. Conserve it."
We heard that the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton) was pleased with the environment. I recall raising in the House the matter of $20,000 being thrown into the Globe and Mail on five big advertisements when only about one of them had any hard content. I advise the Treasurer to cut his advertising budget by two thirds and free those funds for other areas or to give the hard-pressed taxpayer a break.
We have heard Minaki Lodge bandied about in this Legislature. Those of us who are critical of it, of course, are said to be opposed to northern Ontario or something of that nature. What we are opposed to is throwing all kinds of taxpayers' money, in this case $45 million, into this one project, which is going to benefit essentially those in the upper middle and upper classes who are staying at the lodge.
That money could have been used more productively. I am sure the member for Sudbury would agree in his own mind -- I do not expect he is going to interject that he does -- that money could have been better spent in the Sudbury basin to alleviate some of the problems there.
I also think of the land banking schemes that have been undertaken in this province. What I want to say, without getting into a lot of detail, is that there are areas where this government can cut its spending and channel the money in other directions.
As a member from the Niagara Peninsula, I also want to take the opportunity to express my concern, as many of us have in the peninsula over the years, about the state of the Niagara River and, most particularly, the poisons that are going into the Niagara River from both sides but predominantly from the American side.
Mr. Conway: Do you drink bottled water?
Mr. Bradley: I certainly do not drink bottled water. I drink, believe it or not, the water that comes out of the Welland Canal.
I am prepared to tell the House some of the signs that are placed in public lavatories in Welland indicating why it is important to flush the facilities, but I do not want to get into the details of that. I notice we have guests in the galleries who might not appreciate it. But it is indicated in Welland and in Port Colborne that flushing should take place because St. Catharines needs the water. It does, indeed, make its way down through Lake Gibson and into our drinking water. It is suitably sterilized, I guess.
Mr. Conway: If real men should not and do not eat quiche, can Premiers drink bottled water?
Mr. Bradley: A question which is probably relevant in some way to my remarks.
When am I cut off, by the way, Mr. Speaker?
The Deputy Speaker: You still have 12 minutes.
Mr. Bradley: I still have 12 minutes. Good.
I want to express my great concern about the Niagara River and not just about the dioxin. We focus our attention on dioxin because it is a catchword. It is the most dangerous chemical, we are told, and the media people are interested in that. They listen carefully when we talk about dioxin.
Let me tell members that the concern of those who are aware of the problem in the Niagara Peninsula revolves around the cocktail of harmful chemicals that is seeping its way into the Niagara River and eventually into the drinking water of the people of the Niagara region.
We are also concerned about such things as the Love Canal and the other dumps on the American side, chemical dumps where seepage is obviously taking place. We are concerned about the infamous Niagara Falls, New York, pollution abatement plant -- and that is probably a poor word for it -- where many of these chemicals are filtered through. That plant has never worked properly, as long as I can ever recall, in the Niagara region.
What we in the opposition are suggesting is that, because of this difficult circumstance, because of this alarming situation, the government of Ontario should fund as a pilot project -- my colleague the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) has advocated this on many occasions -- an activated carbon filtration system, which would allow the people in Niagara Falls and the surrounding area who are served by that plant to be a little easier in their own minds as to what they are drinking.
If the minister were prepared to stand up in this House and make that announcement, we would applaud him. We would also applaud if he were to fund around the Niagara region, where we have had other problems with these chemicals, the implementation of the activated carbon filtration system, or a system of equal value in terms of its technical value but of less cost, as has been discussed by the chief engineer, Mr. Con Eidt, in the Niagara region. We are looking for that kind of activity.
We also look for another kind of activity. If we are to be critical of the Americans -- and let members make no mistake about it, there is a lot of room for criticism of what is taking place on the New York state side -- it seems to me to be essential that we must make every effort to clean up our side.
We have two sewage treatment plants, one in Niagara Falls and one in Fort Erie, which are at the primary stage only. If we were to have a commitment on the part of the federal government with its assistance and that of the provincial government and the municipal government to implement at least secondary sewage treatment and, if possible, tertiary sewage treatment at those two plants, we would once again be demonstrating to our American friends that we are prepared to be an action group as well as a group that is prepared to talk about the problem.
If we are also prepared to be diligent in looking after the liquid industrial waste in our part of the province, this places yet another ace in the deck, another ace we can play.
The only way we are going to get the Americans to move, unfortunately -- they are good friends of ours, and there are many on the other side who are just as concerned -- is to embarrass them into moving by showing what a good job we can do on our side and what a bad job they are doing on their side in cleaning up this problem. That can work, particularly if we can interest the American news media at the national level.
We recognize that the American president does not have the same commitments as other presidents have had, but we recognize as well that there is a Congress there with people with consciences in it and that there are people who represent that local area who are willing to take this kind of action. Indeed, it has been Marguerita Howe in Niagara-on-the-Lake of Operation Clean Niagara who has led this fight, not any of us who are the politicians. We have been prepared to play our role as well in supporting her, and I hope the various levels of government will support her group and others who are fighting to clean up that part of the environment.
My time is limited, at least in this speech, but I want to deal also with the problem of looking at the Speaker's gallery, where no television cameras now sit. Members of the New Democratic Party, members of the Liberal Party and, I suggest, some members of the governing party recognize the wisdom and importance of having an electronic Hansard in this House.
Yes, it has worked to the advantage of the government for 40 years not to have the people of Ontario know what is going on. There may be some on that side who would still like it to be that way. But I suggest that there are some fair-minded people over there who recognize the need to allow access to our main legislative body in Ontario -- I call it the main legislative body; the place in Ottawa is second-place and this is first-place as far as I am concerned -- for an electronic Hansard.
With an electronic Hansard, the people of Ontario could see the wonderful answers that are provided, for instance, by the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch), who sits here this evening, and they could see the scintillating questions that are put by the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy), by the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) or, once in a while, by the member for Sudbury when he has an issue of great importance.
I am sure CKSO-TV in Sudbury, if that is still in existence, would like to be able to have access to the electronic Hansard so it could show the speeches that are made so eloquently on the nationalization of Inco by the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel). At present it cannot do that.
Let me remind members of the reason we do not have television on a continuous basis in this House: those who are in control on the government side deem it to be in their own vested interest to keep television out. We think there is a new order coming in Ontario and that members such as the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) must be pressing for an electronic Hansard, for access by the people of this province to what is going on at Queen's Park.
One of the best examples I remember was a conflict of interest allegation made in Ottawa. I turned on the six o'clock news on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., and what did they have but a live vote from the House of Commons on it. Each member was standing and bowing, and the table officers could even remember all the members' names, believe it or not, in that particular case, as I am sure they do here. The Clerk always remembers, but some of the others sometimes have difficulty with names in this House. It is understandable. I will not mention names, but some remember better than others. Anyway, I am being distracted.
What happened was that while that was going on, we in this House had questions directed to the government about what we in the opposition saw as a possible conflict of interest. There was no coverage on television, little if any coverage on radio and a little in the print media.
I am not suggesting they are not doing their job. I am suggesting that if there were an electronic Hansard here and if there were direct access to this House, in that case it would be more likely that kind of story would be picked up, played and judgements made. We do not have that kind of continuous coverage of what is going on in the House. That would be very important.
Mr. Hennessy: The comedy hour.
Mr. Bradley: The member for northern Ontario --
An hon. member: The former Liberal.
Mr. Hennessy: Don't do me any favours.
Mr. Bradley: The member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy), who almost ran for the Liberals and who almost singlehandedly on that side sunk the jet, or I guess one shoots down a jet, voted for my resolution, for which I commend him. He would be among those who would advocate televising the proceedings of this House, because he would want the act of all us, and I take equal reponsibility, cleaned up for the public at large.
I am sure this would at least moderate some of the interventions each of us makes in this House, myself included.
Mr. Roy: And the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea).
Mr. Bradley: The Minister of Community and Social Services, bombastic as he is, might even tone down some of his interventions in the House with the television cameras looking at him, although with his character somehow I do not know whether we could ever tone him down. Perhaps we do not want to tone down the Minister of Community and Social Services. I hope the members over there, including you, Mr. Speaker, will agree we should have television in this House.
At the conclusion of my remarks, with about two minutes left, I want to say that what we in this party and the New Democratic Party have advocated, the New Democratic Party since 1978 and we since about 1972 under the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) as leader, is the striking of a select committee on education to deal with a number of education issues. As Education critic for this party, I think it would be of great advantage, not only to us but also to some of the members I see up there who have a particular interest in education, to be able to review some of the trends in education before we actually get into them.
We all got hit with the computer education announcement. It was not even made in the House: it was made at a press conference. We all have to digest it to determine whether it is useful. It would have been of great advantage for those of us interested in education to have direct access to those who have an intimate knowledge of this.
The secondary education review project report became the Response on Secondary Education report, which is now OSIS, Ontario Schools Intermediate Secondary. Would it not be nice for those who have a particular interest in education to be able to sit down in a select committee, in a relatively nonpartisan atmosphere, and listen to the representations made by those who are in the front line and who must implement that kind of report?
There is the whole issue of funding, the issues surrounding Bill 127 and Bill 100, the issue as to whether there should be increased discipline or less discipline in education. What I am pointing out is there are so many issues that are close to the people in this province it would be a great advantage to have a select committee on education to deal exclusively with them; not a group that is going to have members floating in and out who are just assigned to a committee because that is their job for the day, but people who are committed on a long-term basis to listen to education issues.
In conclusion, I urge the government to look at all the suggestions we in the opposition are making and to implement them on a progressive basis. The government will find that, instead of being the critical cranks it thinks we are, we will be standing in applause at its generous offerings.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, while it is always a pleasure to speak and say a few words in this House, it is not a particular pleasure or happy time to have to address the speech from the throne that was brought down a couple of weeks ago. Given the economic circumstances we are facing in the province, I have difficulty in understanding the lack of real initiatives when I know that currently in Ontario we have some 230,000 unemployed.
The Deputy Speaker: I just want to point out that we are now counting down, as opposed to what happened with the Liberals, which was counting up. The member has 43 minutes and 12 seconds left. I wanted to point that out so that it would not be confusing.
Mr. Mackenzie: I have difficulty in understanding why there were not more positive and direct measures in the throne speech dealing with the fact that we currently have 230,000 women and 233,000 young people out of work in Ontario.
I do not know how directly any of the members are involved in this, but I see it with my own family at home in their efforts to go to university. There are four of them trying to handle university and also find jobs and they are having a difficult time doing it. It is not easy for them and it is not particularly easy for the parents who are watching their efforts to make their own way in this world of ours.
When one takes a look at 782,000 people in Ontario out of work, the total unemployment in the province as of the last Statistics Canada figures, it certainly says to me that our problem in this province is providing jobs for people. We are not providing those jobs. We are not even setting the climate for those jobs.
We have a cry that comes constantly from the government benches for more investment, and I know it is a position basically supported by the Liberals. They do not care whether it is local, offshore or foreign investment. They say it is what we need to start to stimulate the economy and start to create jobs in Ontario. I do not have any difficulty with offshore or foreign investment if we have some control over it, but this government has never seen fit to set any guidelines or any rules. That is why we do not have content legislation in this country. That is why we do not have specific requirements before one is allowed to set up a branch plant.
We have become a branch plant economy in Ontario. We do not have specific requirements that say they have to do so much research and development if they are going to operate, that they have to do more than just use whatever incentives they have been able to get out of government to set up that branch plant, and that they also have to have the right to bid on overseas markets. I am amazed at the number of companies, branch plants in Ontario, that are really restricted from bidding on overseas markets. That is the prerogative of the head office. The branch plant was set up specifically to handle an operation and supply a need here in Ontario.
I do not happen to think the kind of deficit we are running into in financial terms -- I am talking about interest, principal, dividends, royalties, management fees, you name it, which is in the billions in this country -- is a particularly healthy situation. I do not think the kind of deficit we are accumulating as a result of relying on a branch plant economy in Ontario is going to benefit us in the long run.
I think we have to start getting tough in terms of what we suggest is an obligation on these firms before they are allowed to operate in this province. I do not think we should tell them how to run their business, but what kind of corporate behaviour and what kind of responsibility we expect in terms of Canadian workers and in terms of the financial situation in this province that we are going to run into.
I find it difficult to deal with a company such as Consolidated-Bathurst, as we did the other day. When we are dealing with Consolidated-Bathurst, the words that are being used, the buzzwords such as corporate rationalization, are what we are getting from almost every single plant that decides to close down.
To sit there with Mr. Stangeland, the president of that company, as a number of us did, including the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) of this province -- and I know they were a little embarrassed -- and be told by this company it would not even consider meeting with the employees to look at an offer of purchase, and they had done a fair amount of work on it at that particular plant, after the company had clearly said they thought this plant was no longer a real viable operation. But not even to sit down, let alone consider an offer of purchase by the workers, to me raised serious questions.
The questions were raised because of his entire statement. What was it? First, they would not consider sitting down to discuss selling this plant to the workers, based on the fact that a good chunk of the market was a local Hamilton-area market for that particular plant, because it would be competition and nobody in the corporate sector is going to accept that kind of competition. As the president himself said to us at that meeting, "You would not allow Texaco to take over a key corner location, or Imperial Oil would not sell it to Texaco."
I always thought, in the context that I hear it from my friends across the way, that competition was the basic principle of the free enterprise and private enterprise system. But he made it very clear that they would not consider it because it would be competition and they were not about to accept that.
He also made it clear to us, and I think his actual statement was: "We have an obligation and a right to move our order books around. We have a right to move our operations and plants around."
When I asked him, in a bit of anger -- it was one of the few times at the meeting that it got a little bit heated -- if he did not also think he had an obligation to the 160-odd workers in that plant, who averaged better than 24 years' seniority and which by the company's own admission was a pretty skilled work force, he very brusquely pushed aside the objections I made -- and incidentally that were made by the Minister of Labour, my colleague the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps), the regional chairman and the mayor of Hamilton, who were quite upset -- by saying, "We have met every requirement of the collective agreement or that is required in law in terms of severance pay."
We then pushed him as to whether he would consider special consideration for those workers in one of the other three plants that are now putting on a third shift in Ontario. He said no, they would not. They would recognize that they had been employees of Consolidated-Bathurst but there would be no special consideration.
To get off the hook, the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) said that while he was not happy with the situation and the way they had done it, the only criticism he made was of the way Consolidated-Bathurst had actually handled the plant closure. Mr. Stangeland did say he wanted to make it positive. He wanted to talk about Reid Dominion Packaging, the plant next door, which had actually purchased the Consolidated-Bathurst plant. We did not know it until that moment.
Because that plant might employ 75 to 100 workers, we asked if he would then consider interceding with this other plant on behalf of his employees in the course of the finalization of the sale. He said: "No, we really would not appreciate it if, in the course of trying to sell an operation, somebody were to dictate to us who we should hire. They have to go to the marketplace for employees just as we do." That is when it was crystal clear that in the final analysis those workers were nothing but a marketplace commodity to that corporation.
I have gone into a little detail in this case because what has happened there is really what is happening in almost every one of the closures that have hit us -- the six in Hamilton -- in the last few weeks. I suggest they are symptomatic of what is happening across Ontario.
We have the issue we raised today of Allen Industries in Hamilton. They produce a fibre material used under the hoods of automobiles and a number of other spots on the dash in the cars. They have been slowly cutting back on the production of that material. The company is now telling us, and we could have deduced it ourselves, that actually there are some new products coming on the market that are going to replace the need for all of this fibre matting that is used in automobile production.
Once again, this is a branch plant that is making decisions outside of Canada. Did we get consideration for that product, or for as long as we are going to carry the current fibre matting material? No, we will need this material manufactured for a couple of years but it is apparently going down to a plant in Virginia. They are now setting up a plant in Illinois to produce the new replacement material. Once again, 200 workers in the Stoney Creek plant are out of work and we are going to be importing what we used to manufacture.
Mr. Munro, the federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, made it clear that the company had not talked at all to the federal authorities about any assistance or any chance of doing something about this as near as I can tell, except they are now involved in an industry and labour adjustment program discussion as related by the Minister of Industry and Trade in this House today; nor have we been involved in any serious discussions with this company.
The result is that by a corporate decision outside of this province we have 200 workers down the tube. We are now going to be importing that product. We were not even considered in terms of the replacement product for a variety of reasons, most of which involve corporate rationalization. That is going to help the company, just as the closure is going to help Consolidated-Bathurst in the closure of the plant in Hamilton.
We have the same thing going on to a lesser extent in True Temper Canada Ltd. and the same situation in H. and R. Johnson (Canada) Inc., which makes ceramic tile in Hamilton. They have a good, productive work force in that plant with some pride in their skills. They have now reached a situation where for the last couple of years most of the clay has been coming in from England, from the head office of the company. They have also slowly been bringing in and taking a look at some of the tiles from Italy and Spain. The company has now made a decision -- and it also called it corporate rationalization -- to shut down the Hamilton plant. Once again, 40 or 50 long-service workers are out of work. We are going to import the tiles from Italy, Spain and the head office in England. It is the same effect.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. We seem to have an unusual sharpness of other people speaking. I find it distracting.
Mr. Mackenzie: It is not unusual.
In the H. and R. Johnson case we have another example of where we are going to be totally importing the product we manufacture.
I got a bit of a laugh out of the shenanigans of our federal member Mr. Munro, who is the federal side of my riding. He has jumped in on every single one of these closures to date. He made a lot of noise in the H. and R. Johnson case and what he was going to do about it, but he has not produced one job or one plant remaining there or one new contract.
Indeed, for about the third day in a row he made a major story in the local press over the fact that he had worked out with Mohawk College a special six-week training program for the workers at H. and R. Johnson so they could upgrade their skills in installing ceramic tiles. Let me tell the House that I suspect most of that would have been worked out in the normal course as the people took advantage of the skills they had and as we try to put people into retraining programs.
I could change these plants to other plants across Ontario, but because I have been very closely involved in these particular operations in the last little while I want to use Flavorite Poultry Ltd. as an example also. It is only a year and a half ago that the United Co-operatives of Ontario purchased the plant. It had been modernized. It was supposedly capable of doing the entire small broiler chicken operation for that company in Ontario. They predicted great things for the Flavorite poultry plant.
One and a half years later the plant is sold. Once again, the minimum notice was given as far as the workers are concerned. We are told the operation is going to move to the Petersburg plant near Kitchener, which has the capacity not only to do the larger birds and turkeys, but also all of the small broiler chickens, and there is no future for the other plant and the 100 workers. In addition, there was a quota attached to that plant when they bought it. I am bloody well convinced that was the reason they did purchase the plant. That quota now goes with it to the plant at Petersburg.
Rationalization is a funny game in the way it is rolling over in Ontario. Not only did they close down that plant with the idea of moving the quota and the production to Petersburg, but only two weeks later we find that Maple Leaf Mills has bought the entire poultry operation from United Co-operatives, including the hatcheries.
When the workers asked, because they are just winding up their employment at the plant, they were told they have no intention of opening up the Flavorite plant. They had bought the package with the plant closed. They got the plant. What they will do with it I do not know, but they had bought it on that basis. It is pretty obvious there were some nice little negotiations going on in that situation and that it was closed deliberately by United Co-operatives to assist the sale to Maple Leaf Mills. Once again, though, in a corporate rationalization which is probably going to be better for Maple Leaf Mills in terms of their efficiency and their operation, there is no consideration beyond the basic consideration for the 100 employees who were in that plant.
I have mentioned just a few plants in my area. The fact is that this is going on generally and the question that has to be asked is when that is happening to the workers -- and I suggest to the community in a very major way as well because of the costs that are involved -- considering the effect on the workers if a company is able to rationalize to make its operation leaner, more efficient, more able to survive, when is part of the cost of that rationalization going to be more serious responsibility for the workers who are involved and for the community?
Do they not count, or are they strictly a marketable commodity? That sure shows this is the attitude we are taking; the total superiority, if you like, in terms of this government's thinking, of the capital side of the equation. They can say what they like; it is not the workers that count.
I want to go a little further. I want to mention what is happening in a number of other operations. Economically I do understand them to some extent, but once again I am asking, when do workers start counting in Ontario?
We are meeting this coming week with the 45 women, almost entirely Portuguese, who were part of the cleaning staff over at the Eaton Centre. We are meeting with them and their parish priest. They have been talking to us. They have been really upset because they had worked hard to organize and to get a union. They had worked hard to get a contract and in getting that contract they were told that they had better settle pretty cheaply or they were not going to be able to hang on to their jobs because somebody else would bid on the job.
I will probably get nailed for saying this, but they accepted what, even in the union's mind, was really a substandard contract. What happens? Two months later that contract is sold to another outfit in Toronto. When these women, most of whom have been working for a number of years in that cleaning operation, ask if there is something there that at least allows them to hang on to their jobs -- because there is sure not going to be much more money involved -- they are told no; they are out in the cold. I presume the wages that will be paid to the new group will probably be back where these women were before they started trying to organize. As I say, it was not a wage that would make any of us proud.
Or take the nursing home example used in this Legislature by my colleague the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston), where we had eight of the women sitting in the gallery. I am pretty sure when we got a couple of rather crazy answers from the minister and some of the other interjections from the Tory side of the House they did not realize those were the women involved. They also had between eight and 14 years' seniority and the top wage among those women was $7.05 an hour after 14 years in that operation. Most of them earned considerably less than that -- they were down around the $6 range in wages -- and their contract was sold out.
We have a wide open free enterprise system in this province, in this country. Their contract was sold out when they made a desperate effort to hang on to their jobs. The company that bought out the contract finally said: "Okay, we will take you. But we will take you at $4.50 an hour." "Will you take all of us?" "Well, as we need you."
Significantly, the eight women who sat in this gallery the other night had the longest service and were really the instigators of getting the union in there a year or two ago to begin with. What has happened? Five of them have not been called back for one day in the two months since this agreement was worked out. The people who had just come on, and had much less seniority, are working at $4.50 an hour. Of those women, one of them had one and a half weeks, one had three days and one had two days that they were called in to work. They now understand the system a lot better.
When we talked to them after the session in the House, and there was an angry exchange between myself and some others and the Minister of Labour at the time, one of them said to me, and she was not an Anglo-Canadian: "Mr. Mackenzie, I could not understand what I was hearing in the House. I could not believe it." She also said, although it does not seem to bother the Tories: "I have voted Conservative since I have been able to vote in Canada. I won't do it again."
Unfortunately we are dealing with ones and twos. I wish we were dealing in this House in those kinds of situations in tens and twenties and thirties. But I am telling you, Mr. Speaker, and I am warning this government, that kind of message is getting across in Ontario, and the workers do not have very many benefits or very many rights.
I want to go into another situation for just a moment. It is a tight and tough economy and one does not exercise one's rights in collective bargaining -- the final right, the ultimate right, and that is the right to strike -- very easily today. I know that the opinion of some of the more hard-hat members of this assembly is that workers are nuts and they go out at the drop of a hat. I have been involved with too many of them and servicing too many locals in my life to believe that, particularly with the situation as it is today.
I want members to know what happens when they finally do exercise that right. The case we have used in this House time and again in Central Precision Ltd. is a first-rate example of it, and just to drive the point home to some of the people who sit in this Legislature, somebody should take a look at that work force: 100-and-some employees, mostly Portuguese, some Italians, a handful of Anglos in that particular plant, with 11, 12, just short of 20 years of heavy labour in that plant.
They have gone through the mill. They had a very rough strike 11 years ago when they organized that plant. They were set upon literally by Grange and the Canadian Driver Pool Ltd., people with all of the strikebreaking tactics that are known, and they survived.
There had not been a strike since. But finally, 10 years later, the workers once again feel compelled -- I will not say driven; it is a decision they made, but it was not an easy decision. Once again, if I can digress, I was surprised at the extent of the pride in their country, especially among the new Canadians in that plant. I was impressed by the sincerity and the number of those who held pretty close and pretty fundamental religious convictions. We sensed it when we talked to some of the women on that picket line.
Finally they were forced into a strike. The day the strike starts, we have Securicor, this great outfit in Ontario, called in by the company. I do not know what the cost is, but I suspect it is thousands of dollars a week and I suspect the figure that was given to some of the employees on the picket line, whom we brought in and had tell the Minister of Labour personally what had been said to them, was accurate.
What do we get on that line? We get the company trying to hire the strikebreakers. In the universal language of people who have to go on strike, they are the scabs. We get them crossing the lines in vans. We get these vans driving up at 7 a.m. or 7:15. Maybe it would be a good idea if some of the Tories joined us out there this coming Friday morning, when a good number of our caucus and most of the leadership of the trade union movement in Ontario will be on that line.
But we get them coming in; we get the Securicor cars inside the plant, driving up to within a few feet of the picket line. The cameras start whirring, and then as the scabs go through we get the obscene gestures, the remarks, the "up yours" and all the rest of it from the people inside the cars. Is it any wonder why people who are on strike -- and it is their job, they are trying to better themselves, they have made that decision consciously, they have worked there for a good many years -- get uptight and excited?
When we get that kind of confrontation, I do not know when there is not the odd side of a car kicked and maybe occasionally a headlight that gets smashed. I make no bones about it; I think they lay it out on the table. It is a minority of them. But it is also because of the harassment, the intimidation and the anger that is built up at people going in and taking their jobs that this can happen.
We have one of the officials of that security company coming up on the picket line after one of the confrontations and saying to the secretary of the local and the two or three people who were walking with this young lady: "Keep it going as long as you want. We don't care if the odd car gets scratched. It is all on our bill. The longer you keep this place closed, the longer we are collecting $20,000 a week." That is exactly what was said, and the people who heard it came in themselves to say it to the Minister of Labour. That is the kind of intimidation and harassment we get.
Then we get Securicor -- not the police, but the police being used in this province, I am sorry to say -- one, two, three, four or five days later down at the local justice of the peace saying, "We have had a good deal of trouble with this gentleman," swearing out arrest warrants for workers. We conveniently get the police arriving on that picket line two or three days later, right at the time the scabs are going to go into the plant, to serve those warrants, arrest those people and pull them down to the station.
Sometimes they are held overnight, as the first batch of four were, and go through all the processing and fingerprinting, one or two of which we know will be thrown out when we finally get to court because they were totally innocent. One or two are probably going to end up with -- one case already has -- a $23 mischief fine. The charges were only mischief, but they hauled them in. Now 27 of those workers have been hauled in and they have conveniently picked the time. In one case, they arrested four of them almost two weeks after the charges had been laid with the justice of the peace.
What happens to those workers? I can tell members what is happening to them. I can tell members what happens to Joe Periera, when he found out. He did not even know there was a warrant for his arrest. He was the 27th person to be picked up. The local union president called him and said, "You had better come to the station," and he went. He went with his family. The first thing they did in the station, for a mischief charge, was to put the handcuffs on him.
I have talked to some of the wives and families of those strikers and I want the members to know what they are saying to me. I want to put one more equation into it. After they have had the morning confrontation and things have settled down for an hour or two and the scabs are in the plant, one of the Securicor cars drives out and goes across the street where a police car is parked for a good chunk of the day.
They move up side by side, roll the windows down and trade cigarettes back and forth and have a little bit of a talk. The workers on the line watch that. They are saying to me, some in good English, some in broken English: "Mr. Mackenzie, how can this happen? Where is the justice? We have struck the company. We are fighting Securicor. We are now fighting the police. When we have gone down to lay charges the same justice of the peace will not accept them. Where is the justice in Ontario?"
That is only one case, but unfortunately it happens in all too many cases. That one is just an outstanding one and an obscene case. Does the government not understand why workers in this province feel that way when they see the plant closures and no positive attempt is made to do something about that closure. When they see the decisions being made outside the province, does the government understand that they try to get whatever they have been able to gain in collective bargaining or the law allows?
Members know; I do not have to tell them. I do not have to dig up the figures here. We are now into the tens of thousands in plant shutdowns in Ontario. When one sees workers who do still exercise their rights and run into what one runs into on some of the picket lines, one can understand why these people were saying to me: "Where is the justice? How can this happen? This is Canada. I am a citizen. I am proud of this country. One of the reasons I came here was so we would not have this kind of thing happening."
Most of the people in this Legislature and most in the public, if they are not directly involved in one of these confrontations, do not have an idea of what is happening and what is going on. My concern is not that these things are happening. If one has been in the trade union movement as long as I have, one gets to accept some of the confrontation and understands that it would be nice if we had another way and maybe we can look at it, but at the moment it is the last resort and the only real defence or argument workers have.
We cannot understand why we get sloughed off -- that is the only word I can think of -- so totally by this Minister of Labour and this government when we suggest legislation such as they have in two or three provinces to control or eliminate professional strikebreakers. I would go much further than that suggestion. Bill 12 that is filed in this House would go much further for the first time.
My bill is one that will do nothing more than control professional strikebreakers on a picket line situation, and for the seven and a half years I have been in this House the government has said, "No way." It says, "No way," in terms of the suggestions that we try to make in this House.
Neither the Tories nor the Liberals can get out of responsibility for this. Three years ago when the plant shutdown committee took a look at 13 plants, before we had the recent influx, the big increased unemployment and a situation that has worsened, there was only one of them in Ontario, the Heintzman plant, that was not a classic, that did not fit the mould.
Most of them were making money, some not as much as they had made. Some of them were doing very well. All of them were closed by decisions of the head office outside of Ontario, outside of Canada. All of them were closed without any real consideration other than what they had gained, in most cases themselves, through collective bargaining of the workers. The cost to those workers and to their communities, I suggest, is a pretty substantial cost to the province.
We looked at them. We were surprised at the number of them not doing any real research and development. They were not trying to supply an offshore market, in some cases because they were not allowed. We tried to make a number of recommendations. Of course, members all know that the realities of March 19, 1981, which the Tories love to speak of, meant that committee has never been reconstituted and it never reported.
We had one brief interim report on a few minor matters. I can recall well, with my colleagues on that committee, arguing and fighting and trying to convince the Tory and the Liberal committee members to agree to much earlier notification, to agree to a community adjustment fund and, probably most important of all, to agree to a public justification procedure. That might not stop what was happening, but it would at least require a corporation to go before a review board, to open up its books, to give its justification for the closure. It may very well be that we can make even more money by closing, regardless of what is happening here.
It would also allow some input from the workers in the particular plant and from the government, because it just might not be -- never mind the workers -- in the government's interest to see another several million dollars of imports coming into the province where we were currently producing. The Bendix plant in Windsor is a classic example of that. It might have made sense, certainly in the Consolidated-Bathurst case, if the company had had to give notice six months in advance of what it was going to do to that plant.
If the company had been required to go before a public justification procedure, the workers would have been alerted, and the package they pulled together with help from some other financiers, as well as a pile of their own money they were ready to put into it, would at least have been a viable option that the company would have had to consider. If they are in private enterprise, why does the competition worry them, especially when it is coming from an old plant they do not really think is any good any more? I cannot understand that and I have not had a Tory in this House give me a clear explanation of why.
If we had had the public justification procedure, we would have bought some time. We would probably have forced that company, through the pressure of public opinion, if you like, at least to take a look at the workers' offer to operate the plant.
I want to make it clear I have a lot of sympathy with more worker control. I have no difficulties with crown corporations, with joint ventures or with private entrepreneurs, but I think there has to be some responsibility. If there was a better way, or another buyer for the plant, that would not bother me either. I am talking of the private market. On the other hand, I think if the workers decide that is the route they want to go and nobody else wants to purchase it, they should have that right.
With the public justification procedure, we would have bought some time. None of the Liberals would support that in the committee, as some of them will remember. That is one of the reasons I get a little ticked off when I hear John Munro talk about what we can do for workers. I tell him, "Darned little, my friend." I ask him, "Why are we in Ontario reduced to begging?"
As I have told most of these workers -- and I was not happy doing it -- that is exactly what we are doing when we are faced with an after-the-fact announcement of a closure of an operation that means hundreds of jobs. We are begging the company to stay open or to let us purchase it or for some help from the federal or provincial governments. We are literally begging. Why should we be?
There is only one answer at the moment. Barring a miraculous turnaround of the economy that takes care of everything and everybody involved, the only answer is by setting some rules or some legislation. Every time the press gets after the Minister of Labour after we have had a hassle in this House over the latest plant closure and the latest injustice to workers, he says he sympathizes every bit as much as we do. I grant him that.
I respect the fact that he personally feels strongly about it, but I wonder how long he is going to continue trying to resolve every one of a hundred problems a week that are coming across his desk rather than taking a look at what we could do with legislation that might reduce the number of problems we are facing, that might give some clout, some rights to workers in Ontario.
I also wonder why we do not have some kind of justification procedure, longer notice, some kind of community adjustment fund. Are these things so totally out of line? If they are, all I am asking the members opposite and the members on my right is that they give us some clear, workable alternatives that answer the problem, because they are not doing that.
Do not talk to me about the bills, do not talk to me about the industry and labour adjustment program or the temporary and minimum-wage jobs we are creating. When we are in trouble, no one knocks any jobs the government creates. But we are not taking a look at the basic structure of the branch plant economy we have in Ontario. Until we do and until we stop relying on being able to put up a few more branch plants that will close down when the parent office decides they are going to close down and that do not have any real commitment to this province, we are not going to solve our employment problem in Ontario.
We have to take a serious look at protecting some of the existing smoke-stack industries, as they are now called by some people, the basic industries where the jobs are in this province. It is not good enough to accept, as some members in this House seem to have done, that there is no future any more in any long-term period in the basic industrial structure of the province, that our future has to be in high-tech industries, chip technology and in moving into that new field.
There is no one in my party on the benches in this part of the House who will disagree and say we do not have to move into this field in a hurry and with some planning. What we do wonder, and I have to raise it in all seriousness, is how long it is going to take us to get into this high-tech industry. What kind of jobs are going to be there? Do we not realize every industrial country in the world, as well as the Third World, is trying desperately to get into that same field?
What makes us think we are going to be able to corner the market in that field? What are we going to do in the time it takes to get it moving and going in terms of the tens of thousands of workers we still have in traditional industrial plants in Ontario, and if we continue the bash-the-worker syndrome we seem to have going on to downgrade wages?
One of the things the government's Bill 179 has effectively done is exactly what it wanted. It may have been directed at only 14 or 15 per cent of the people, in the public sector, but it has had exactly that effect in the private sector and wage settlements are running at considerably less than six per cent. There was the industrialists' plea to the Premier (Mr. Davis) when they said: "Do not back off in terms of Bill 179, but make sure you do not impose it on the private sector because we can do better. If you impose it at nine and five, that is what we will have to pay." In fact, they are paying less in the settlements now coming across the bargaining table.
If we continue to depress wages, put 782,000 people out of work in Ontario and do not come up with the jobs and the programs to answer that problem, and if we do get lucky and move into and corner a bit of the market in terms of jobs in the high-tech industries, what are we going to be doing it at? Instead of the current, traditional heavy industry wages of $10, $11 or $12 an hour, a little better in some cases and a little less in others, are we going to move into this new industry at $6 and $7 an hour?
We see a deliberate suppression of wages and benefits in this province -- and I think it is deliberate; I do not think it is happening just as a result of what is going on. I think, and forgive my cynicism, that it is a deliberate attempt to do that kind of downgrading.
The argument used, of course, is we have to be more competitive in world markets. That is a lot of nonsense. We have to decide we are going to protect some of our industries. We have to decide that one of the ways we do it is probably through content legislation. We have to decide that where we can do something well, and we in this party in this House have all given examples, that is probably an area that is worthy of some subsidization.
We should keep a good chunk of the industrial jobs we currently have in Ontario and pick up whatever we can, both in the service sector, which has been the big growth sector until now and is also getting cut back because of restraint programs, and in our attempts to get into the high-tech area.
If the pundits are correct, we are faced with further mechanization and robotization of our industries and even of many of the service industries, whether banks, offices, insurance companies, etc. If they are correct, one of the benefits of this high-tech industrial revolution that is going on is that we are going to be able to do even more with fewer people and we are going to be able to program the entire assembly operation in a plant with a chip an inch square.
If that is true, and I happen to believe it is and the evidence is increasing that this is the case, where is the income going to be? I veritably believe we no longer have a basic problem with production in the western world. Our problem is consumption. Where is the money going to be for people to buy the goods we can produce? How are we going to do a redistributon?
That is another area. I am not going to take the trouble now to dig into the figures, but the facts are that the income of the top 10 per cent in this country is growing and has been growing steadily. In the bottom 40 per cent it has been shrinking. I am simply saying I have seen nothing in that throne speech, absolutely nothing, that speaks to any kind of income redistribution.
It sure as blazes does not help the really low-income people. It sure as blazes is not going to help a heck of a lot of workers who all of a sudden find, because of the plant shutdowns and transfers, they are knocked back from their current, reasonably paid jobs, at $10, $11, $12 per hour, to anywhere from minimum wage up to $7 or $8 per hour. I have talked to an awful lot of people who have had to make that kind of drop, 30 and 40 per cent in their wages, when they finally did find a new job.
If we are going to go into this Valhalla of tomorrow, this chip technology, are we going to go into it at a $6 and $7 wage level in this province, in this country? Where is the purchasing power going to be?
I suggest we in this House have not taken that question seriously enough. We really have not taken a serious look at it. Not only is there nothing in the throne speech to really protect jobs, there is nothing about any meaningful restructuring. There are a few million dollars for some short-term and minimum-wage jobs, and a few maybe at a little bit better than that, but no real restructuring of our economy, no effort to gain a little more control, no effort to come to grips with the branch plant economy from which we are suffering in this province, no effort to deal with income redistribution so that, if we can produce these miracles, people have the wherewithal to buy the goods we produce.
We have none of that. With 782,000 people in Ontario out of work, with 233,000 young people and 230,000 women, where in blazes is this government? Where in blazes is a positive, hard-hitting, real program? With due respecL, Mr. Speaker, it does not exist.
We see patchwork; we see no real effort to deal with the basic problems. We do not see this kind of program, and we do not hear much of an alternative from the Liberals. I simply have to say that we have not come to grips with our really serious problems in Ontario.
We could get into pensions. We could get into safety and health. I had intended to read a couple of memos, but do not have time now, unfortunately. One of them has to do with coke oven emissions -- a favorite hobby-horse of mine -- something which has resulted in an awful lot of workers dying from lung cancer. Even Weiler is now saying an awful lot of them never got the benefits they should have from the Workers' Compensation Board.
We have that kind of situation, and there are problems with the new regulations that we are now trying to resolve. Let me just read a paragraph out of this memo I just got, almost in desperation, from the union at Stelco. "Stelco will not agree that people who work in the coal-handling and byproducts plant should be covered by the new regulations. This particular operation covers better than 40 people. The company is using this section, subsection 3(1), to exclude workers in the coal-handling operation, some of whom are actually working in bunkers right over the coke ovens, and workers in the byproducts plant. Although in some operations the byproducts plant might be remote from the coke ovens, at Stelco it is only 50 or 60 feet away."
The memo goes on to point out they are actually getting the same kind of exposure as those who actually work on the coke ovens, and sections of the act are being used to deny them the coverage we are supposed to now have under one of the five. How many years has it taken us to get five designated substances?
I would like to have covered many more things, but all of those tell us that working people are not among the priorities in Ontario. I do not care whether it is jobs, whether it is health, whether it is their rights in a legal strike situation, or what it is.
I am also saying this government had better get off its can and start taking a look at the problems people have -- women, youngsters, workers -- which it is not doing at the current time.
Mr. Gillies: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join in this, I believe the third throne speech debate I have taken part in since I was elected some two years ago. As I recall, I am sure that in both those first two debates I focused my remarks on matters of an economic nature -- questions of jobs in industry and so on. I will be doing so in this one, and I suspect in throne speech debates to come I again will be talking about matters of an economic nature.
I would like to pick up on a few of the themes that were being developed by the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie), when he spoke a few moments ago.
First of all, just as a passing remark and one of local importance to me when he talked about labour relations, there has been a strike going on at one of our major industries in Brantford -- actually just outside of Brantford, in the great riding of Brant-Oxford-Norfolk -- at Pullman Trailmobile Canada Ltd.
Mr. Brandt: Who is the representative there?
Mr. Gillies: The representative for that particular riding is here, of course.
I am very concerned about the fact that this labour dispute between the United Automobile Workers and Pullman Trailmobile has been going on since January. I gather that neither the union nor the company is talking at this time. The negotiations have broken down almost entirely. I have some very grave concerns because, as I talk to the workers of that company who live in my constituency, I feel they want to work. I think we reach a very fundamental problem in this type of dispute, which was alluded to by the member opposite.
The members want to go back to work, and the economy is in a very bad state.
Mr. Wildman: What is the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) doing?
Mr. Gillies: Working on it. At the same time, I am sure the legitimate concerns of the workers and their union would be such that they would not want to cave in to whatever position the company first puts forward and go back to work, perhaps prematurely before a suitable negotiated settlement has been reached.
I am not saying this is necessarily the case in this particular dispute, but I do have a great concern that at a time of high unemployment, at a time of dislocation in the industrial sector, there might be a tendency for some labour disputes to stretch out longer than they should, simply because in some ways that is in itself an economical short-term solution.
Mr. Wildman: What the member is saying is that it is a management dispute, it is not a labour dispute.
Mr. Gillies: I would say that some employers perhaps can see the value in a factory sitting idle at the current time while labour negotiations go on and people do not work. This has to be unacceptable. At the same time, this would be one of the inadequate solutions that arises out of the current system of labour negotiations that we have.
I can only echo the words of the member for Hamilton East when he said that new mechanisms and new solutions are needed. I would hope that in the current session and in coming years our government and the members opposite will be looking at this as an area of very grave concern.
Mr. Nixon: Your days are numbered.
Mr. Gillies: Never. Another concern alluded to by the previous speaker is the whole question of the changing industrial economy. My constituency, the city of Brantford, is very much a heavy manufacturing city. The major companies, Massey-Ferguson, White Farm Equipment, Pullman Trailmobile and others, are basically steel fabrication plants.
As I read more and more about the so-called microtechnological revolution, and I saw an item on one of the television journals last week about a city in southern California which is now almost entirely dependent upon microtechnological industries, I have to agree again with previous speakers that this does not really provide the whole answer.
There was an item on television last week about a city in California -- I believe it was Oakland -- and the employment situation there. It became very apparent that many of the microchip industries created a very small number of positions for executives, for engineers and scientists, and a very large number of unskilled and fairly low-paying positions for the working men. Many of the people working in these plants in the city that was addressed in this TV program were not the principal breadwinner but a working woman, a second or third member of a family who was working to supplement another income.
It would be a very difficult situation, I would suggest, if we ignore the plight of heavy manufacturing and think that all of the answers and all of the solutions for our future economic development are going to come with microtechnology. What are we going to do with a very large pool of skilled industrial workers who are used to a certain standard of living, a certain standard of wage and a type of work which, it is becoming evident, is in increasingly short supply?
Mr. Martel: Is that right?
Mr. Gillies: I think it is. Of course, as I turn from both Pullman Trailmobile and those brief points on microtechnology, of great and pressing concern not only to me but to the other elected representatives in the Brantford area is the situation of White Farm Equipment.
I believe most members of this House are somewhat familiar with the background of that company. It has existed and operated in the city of Brantford for well over 100 years now, originally as the Cockshutt Plow Co., then as Cockshutt Farm Equipment Ltd., and now as White Farm Equipment. In good times, that company has employed over 1,000 people both in manufacturing and in the office. Now there is a mere handful of them working. The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), the mayor of Brantford, the federal member for Brant and I met with the workers, the United Auto Workers members, last week to talk about the current situation.
Mr. Conway: Was Mac Makarchuk there?
Mr. Nixon: Mac was not in evidence.
Mr. Gillies: No, my illustrious predecessor was not. I have to assume he had another engagement.
We did meet with the workers and it was not a happy occasion. These people are upset, angry and frustrated. Many of them worked for that company for 15 or 20 years before the current situation and now, with very few of what might be called almost work interruptions, they have not been at their jobs for a period of some two years. The reasons are quite evident. White Farm is not one of the primary farm equipment manufacturers. It accounts for about four per cent of the North American market. As competition increased, as the agricultural economy worsened, its situation in the marketplace became more and more difficult.
I meet regularly with officials both from Massey-Ferguson and White Farm Equipment in my riding -- naturally, as they are the two largest and most important employers in my riding -- and there has been no glimmer of light in the farm equipment industry in at least the first quarter of 1983. As one executive of Massey-Ferguson said to me in the last couple of weeks, "1982 was a terrible year for the farm equipment industry, and 1983 at this point is looking worse."
White Farm Equipment is in a difficult situation. There were those who said that as interest rates declined things would pick up and the farmers who have been under the gun in the last year or so would start buying equipment again. It is not quite that easy. Interest rates are down, but that is not enough. Commodity prices remain at a low level. We have to remember also that the great bulk of the equipment manufactured in Brantford, both by White Farm Equipment and Massey-Ferguson, is not sold in Canada but is exported.
One problem we are faced with is the agricultural policy of the Reagan administration in which farmers in the United States are actually being subsidized by the federal government simply to let 20 per cent of their acreage lie fallow. They are being paid not to plant their crops. When one considers the already low commodity prices, one can see the marketplace is simply not conducive to the sale of heavy pieces of equipment to farmers.
Another situation that has been damaging has been the incidence of farm bankruptcies in the last year. As farmers have gone bankrupt, good used equipment, combines and tractors, has gone on the market and has been sold at bargain basement prices. The farmer again is in a situation where he can pick up a combine that is perhaps two or three years old for $30,000 or $40,000, whereas a new one is going to cost him, depending on the model and type, anywhere between $80,000 and $130,000. We have to remember those prices when we talk about farm equipment.
The interest, the carrying charges alone, for a farmer buying a new combine can be in the neighbourhood of $10,000 or $15,000 a year. We are not talking about principal. That is the interest alone. The farmer has to be in a very good position in terms of his equity in his farm and in terms of his debt load to invest that kind of money in equipment.
At the meeting last week, where, as I said, all the elected representatives -- federal, provincial and municipal -- from the Brantford area were in attendance, there was a lot of angry discussion. There were some solutions put forward, many of which appeared attractive at first but which, I think, bear consideration.
The federal member for Brant, Mr. Blackburn, a very fine gentleman and a friend, is a member of the New Democratic Party. He favours, or has emphasized in his statements on White Farm Equipment, the proposition that the federal government should force the current owners of White Farm Equipment into receivership with the vague suggestion that something better awaits the workers after that happens.
I do not question the motives of my honourable colleague in the federal House, but I do think that is a very shaky proposition to put before these workers. What guarantee do we have that if the current owners of White Farm Equipment go into receivership there is another willing buyer for the company or that some other arrangement could be made?
Mr. Wildman: Did you not support the sale of that company?
Mr. Gillies: Yes, indeed I did. I supported the sale of that company and I happen to think the fact that a buyer was found at the time is the reason that it still exists and that at least some of the people are still working.
Mr. Wildman: A handful.
Mr. Gillies: A handful indeed. It is not a happy situation.
I would put the proposition again for the consideration of members who may read such statements as those made by Mr. Blackburn last week, that White Farm Equipment should be forced into receivership, that some vague promise of a better future awaits those 1,000 workers after that happens. I think we should look at that very carefully and perhaps take it with a grain of salt.
I myself would want to have a better idea of what that future is. I would like to have a better idea whether there is another buyer in the wings, as has been suggested but not confirmed. I would like to know if there is any workable proposal between the two levels of government and the company or between the two levels of government and the workers to create a new White entity.
At the root of all this is simply this fact: no matter who owns the company, no matter who is trying to operate that company and sell the product it makes, the root problem is the marketplace; the product is simply not being sold.
I am aware of figures -- which I would certainly not use in this House -- I am quite aware of the number of combines sold by the major manufacturers of farm equipment in this country in the last number of months and those figures are just short of frightening. Where I might have guessed that X number of Massey-Ferguson combines were sold in January, in fact I found that the truth was that about one tenth of what I estimated was the case.
I have a tremendous concern, and I might add that we as legislators have to share that concern, because our government has a commitment to White Farm Equipment of some $7.5 million in taxpayers' dollars -- $5.5 million in loan guarantees and $2 million in cold, hard cash that the company is already using. I would suggest it is our responsibility as members, and it is certainly the responsibility of the government, not only to work for the continuation of White Farm Equipment and the betterment of the workers, but to safeguard the public's investment in that company. We certainly hope to see an improvement in that situation soon.
Just in the last day I have become aware, through a letter circulated by the president of White Canada to his dealer network, that refinancing arrangements have been completed for the company in the United States. So White US, with its financial backing by Borg Warner Acceptance and other creditors in the United States, may be in a better position to continue than we had previously thought.
I think that gives some reason to be encouraged about the prospects of White Canada. The negotiations between the Ministry of Industry and Trade here and the company continue, and the negotiations continue in Ottawa; we will be awaiting the outcome of those negotiations in the coming weeks with some very grave concern.
Since I last spoke on a throne debate, the situation at Massey-Ferguson is somewhat better. Certainly, their prospects would appear to be somewhat brighter than was the case in months past. About one half of the Brantford work force is working on the day shift at Massey-Ferguson. They are producing and the combines are leaving the plant and the yard, which I know many members see as they pass through Brantford on the train on their way to southwestern Ontario ridings in particular. I often have members from southwestern Ontario come up to me and say, "I passed the Massey plant on Friday and there do not seem to be too many machines in the yard. You must be pretty happy about that"; or conversely, "I saw a sea of red as I drove through Brantford the other day. You must be awfully worried about that." So that is the barometer we keep an eye on.
About half of the workers are in the plant, a full day shift. We have seen in the past year the consolidation, or if you will the rationalization, of some of Massey-Ferguson's American operations into the Brantford operation. I do not particularly disagree with some of the earlier comments made by members opposite about the nature of our branch plant economy, but I guess it is a small irony that in this particular case the fact that Massey-Ferguson is a Canadian multinational company and has rationalized many of its operations back into Canada is going to be of long-term benefit to the people of Brantford and to the employees of the company. For instance, the manufacture of tractor parts, which was previously done in Des Moines, Iowa, has now been moved to Brantford.
We are also very keenly aware of the comments made by Victor Rice last week at the Massey shareholders' meeting. I am sure some of the members from the west end of Toronto and I would share a concern about the future of the Toronto jobs at Massey-Ferguson. Based on the comments made last week, it would appear that some of the operation in this case may be rationalized from Toronto to Brantford. We do not know at this stage, and I think the time frame used was some two to five years down the road, but I think we will be very concerned to see whether as many of the Toronto jobs are protected either by transfer to Brantford or by early retirement mechanisms or other mechanisms which may be available to the company. We would certainly hope there will not be a large shortfall of jobs if the Toronto Massey-Ferguson plants, as has been suggested by the chairman of the company, do close and move back to Brantford. We will be watching that situation very closely.
Obviously of great concern to me and to my community and to the many employees of that company is the future of Massey-Ferguson. As members of this House, we all must be terribly concerned about the future of that company, not just because of its importance to Canada or because it is one of our larger indigenous corporations in Canada and produces an extremely fine product, which is exported throughout the world and which brings our manufacturing industry in Canada credit throughout the world, but because, when we come down to hard dollars and cents, we have to be concerned because of the very large public investment in that company. In this case there is a total of some $225 million in loans and loan guarantees by this government, which I think accounts for some $7 million of that, and by the government of Canada.
We do have an obligation to monitor the ongoing operation of this company and to see that the taxpayers' interest in Massey-Ferguson is protected and that the guarantees made by Massey-Ferguson and renegotiated within the last year are held to.
The employment levels promised in the original Massey agreement are being held to. I cannot say in all honesty I take a great deal of encouragement from that, because when we speak of about 13 per cent of its worldwide jobs having to be within the borders of our country, obviously 13 per cent of a smaller number of workers is somewhat easier to achieve. Massey-Ferguson's world work force and its worldwide operations have shrunk. Their avowed intention is to become a leaner and more competitive company. In the long run this has to be the solution for Massey-Ferguson.
I would be less than honest if I were to suggest I believe that the 4,000 plus people who have worked in the past for Massey-Ferguson at its peak within Brant county would ever in those numbers again work for that company. I feel that is probably unrealistic and eventually, when the company is back up to three shifts and back up to full production, I would imagine that the full employment of the company in Brantford will be somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 people. So when I talk about White Farm Equipment or Pullman Trailmobile and Massey, I am really getting at some of the problems that face a basically one-industry town.
I am sure that many members have visited my community at some point. I hear comments from members. Many who have visited for the first time are impressed by what an attractive community it is, and I believe that in my maiden speech in this House I probably went on at great length about what an attractive community it is.
I bring this to mind because as all of the bad economic news hit about the situation in the industrial sector in Brantford in the last two years, there grew an impression, I think, in certain minds, that Brantford was just a mess of smokestacks and factories and was in fact a depressed and unattractive community. Those of us who represent the city do our best at every opportunity to point out to those who have not been there that this is simply not the case. Brantford is in fact a very beautiful and historic city with outstanding cultural and sports facilities and an award-winning parks board.
I may sound as if I am giving a chamber of commerce speech here, but I would urge any members who have a very negative impression of Brantford to go there and visit. I would be pleased to host any member of this House at breakfast, lunch or dinner any time he would like to come down, because I think --
Mr. Boudria: At any one of them?
Mr. Gillies: I said "breakfast, lunch or dinner," not "and." I make that offer because I think anyone who sees Brantford and sees what a wonderful place it is goes away and becomes an ambassador of that great community himself.
Mr. Epp: I will take you up on that.
Mr. Gillies: I do owe the member for Waterloo North one from the last time I was in his great community, which is also just lovely.
The solution for a town like Brantford, as I see it, has to be the diversification of the industrial base. We are in bad times now; we have been in bad times economically for over a year. But this is nothing new. I talk to older people who have been in politics or the labour movement or the management of companies in Brantford for many years. They will point out to me that the roller-coaster nature of that city's economy has always been the case and is in fact tied to the nature of our industrial base.
It is a simple equation: when farm equipment and the agricultural economy boom, Brantford booms, and with one of the highest industrial wage levels in the province and a very thriving community in good times; but when that agricultural economy and the farm equipment industry go belly up, I had better say or into a slump, then the situation on my community is absolutely devastating when you consider that over 20 per cent of the work force is directly or indirectly employed in the farm equipment industry.
So in our attempts to draw new employment into the city the thrust we have used co-operatively as the representatives of the area has been based on the premise that on any given day we would rather have 10 companies come in, each employing 100 people, than one company employing 1,000.
I am not particularly in the habit of throwing bouquets at the government of Canada and at times I am as critical of many of their policies as are many members of this House, but I do point to the very positive benefits that the designation of Brant county under the industry and labour adjustment program has had. We have seen new, small companies locate in Brantford, and people are being hired and taken up by these companies -- not in massive numbers: 50 here, 80 there, 12 there; I see this as the key to the future prosperity of that community.
When I see smaller companies like Westcan moving into Brantford, I take a great deal of encouragement from that. I might add that we are not talking necessarily about high-technology companies; we are just talking about the kinds of companies, as in the case of Westcan, that make something as simple as baseboard heaters; but they are making them, and they are making a good product. They are making it at a very competitive price and it is selling. This is a trend we should continue. Many of these industry and labour adjustment program companies are coming into Brantford with the co-operation of and with various types of financial assistance through the Ontario Development Corp.
Over the couple of years I have been the member for Brantford, I have seen many small enterprises assisted in Brantford through the Ontario Development Corp. If one tallied them all up, it would come to over 600 jobs; but it is not headline news because, as I said, we are talking about smaller enterprises which get loan guarantees, loans, grants or whatever assistance is available for them in order to set up. Over a period of time it all adds up.
I have some hope for the future. I also have some great concerns about the major employers in my area, but I have to think that in the coming months there will be somewhat more reasonable commodity prices for our farmers and for farmers throughout North America. With a few other beneficial changes we could see a great turnaround in the farm equipment industry. I do not expect it overnight. I guess I become a little frustrated sometimes because Brantford did slump into the recession very early, as the farm equipment industry was one of the first to go bad, even before the auto sector. I do not see it pulling out of the recession early either.
Mr. Martel: They need a good member, that's all.
Mr. Gillies: I do not necessarily tie it to that, but my friend has a point.
Mr. Martel: I did not think he would agree with me.
Mr. Gillies: I would like to turn from those somewhat localized concerns and the opportunity to speak about them to another area about which I have great concern and some responsibility. It was touched on in the throne speech. It is the whole area of youth employment. I have tremendous concerns about the future of our young people but, at the same time, I see great things happening and programs being developed which are going to be of benefit to young people throughout the province.
These things are happening largely because of the leadership and guidance given to the youth secretariat by the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch), who is doing an outstanding job in very difficult circumstances of showing some light and hope for the young people of this province. I am going to take severe exception at this time to those callous and unfeeling members of the opposition who have found it fashionable in recent days to criticize my minister because of the breadth of her responsibilities and the breadth of her concerns, saying she and the secretariat are not doing the job they are designed to do. They are dead wrong.
I have watched this minister for two years. The members opposite may be interested to know that in two weeks I am coming to my biennial at the youth secretariat which we will probably be celebrating. We have seen the growth and development of programs for the benefit of young people.
One of the earlier speakers mentioned, quite correctly, the grave situation for the young unemployed in the current economy, with some 235,000 young people in this province out of work. To put that on a percentage basis we should be aware that while the national unemployment rate in Canada hovers between about 12 and 13 per cent, at the current time it is much higher among young people, over 20 per cent. I have some concerns. My concern is simply --
Mr. Martel: Your government has done nothing.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): Order.
Mr. Gillies: I am just warming up.
I have some concern that the focus of public concern may be shifting away from our young people. Why do I say this? Partly, I think, it is because of demographics. Let us throw our minds back to the 1960s when the great strides being made in policy in this province were in the field of education, when we saw the development of Ontario's modem and first-class system of education. What were the issues on the front pages of the newspapers in the 1960s? They were issues of interest to young people. They were issues such as unrest on campus and things that were of primary focus to the young.
In the 1970s -- and I am sure honourable members would agree with me -- the developing issues were those of health care. Perhaps education as a focus of public concern started to take a bit of a back seat.
My experience and the experience of some of my friends in this chamber would point out, I am absolutely convinced, that in the coming 10 years the great public issue, not only in this province but in this country, is going to be in the field of pensions. Some of the things we uncovered in the select committee on pensions give us great reasons to be concerned.
This is no accident. This shift in focus is simply a reflection --
Mr. Boudria: Look at how we have progressed on that issue.
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Gillies: -- of the ageing society in which we live. What we are seeing is a change in the demographic makeup of our population.
Where does that leave the young people? Where does that leave the people who are leaving school now? Where does it leave the ones who are looking to the future and wondering where they will be some years down the road? It is a very serious situation.
Mr. Boudria: Are you going to give them pensions?
Mr. Gillies: I would suggest the problem is deep, but we have to look at the unemployment figure as it pertains to young people. Yes, there is about 20 per cent across the board unemployment, but as I point out whenever I am speaking to a group of young people, as I do periodically, the unemployment rate among young people who leave the school system at about grade nine or 10 rises to over 30 per cent. Among those who finish high school, it falls to around 15 per cent and among those who have a university degree, a college certificate, or apprenticeship training, it falls to around eight or nine per cent.
This is very significant and I always try to make the point on campuses and in schools that despite all the talk one hears that it does not matter any more in the 1980s whether one finishes school or not because there are no jobs, the facts are simply to the contrary. The biggest favour young persons can do themselves in this tight economy is to stay in school, finish their education and get as much training as they can. It is still beneficial in this day and age.
In the last year, 1982-83, on youth employment programs alone, and I am not talking about the Canada-Ontario employment development program and I am not talking about job creation programs that affect the whole working population, we have spent over $90 million to create over 90,000 jobs.
I was greatly encouraged when I saw the reference on April 18 when His Honour spoke to us, when he alluded to the fact that in the coming budget the spending on youth employment programs alone will rise to some $120 million, an increase of some $30 million. Yet I come here and I open the paper in the morning and I repeatedly hear my friends opposite saying that we are spending less money on youth employment than we have in the past.
Let me ask some of my friends on this side, many of whom know a lot more about math than I do, since when is $120 million less than $90 million? Can somebody help me with that, please?
Mr. Brandt: They cannot add.
Mr. Gillies: They cannot add; they do not know the answer. I will send it over -- $120 million to create many new jobs for young people. A copy was just delivered to my seat mate. I should send it opposite.
Mr. Shymko: En français.
Mr. Gillies: En français, aussi -- mais $120 million, as opposed to $90 million.
Am I nearly finished? I am coming to the conclusion of my remarks, I am led to understand.
The programs of the Provincial Secretary for Social Development -- the experience program; the student venture capital program; the new winter experience program; the Ontario career action program, under our colleague the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson); the Ontario youth employment program, which is so popular with the farmers and the small business people of this province and which is administered by our colleague the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) -- are doing a tremendous job. They are doing their bit to cut into this massive unemployment problem among the young.
We now read in His Honour's speech that these programs will be enriched. Our already tremendous commitment to youth employment will be enriched and more people will participate in those programs this year than ever before. More people will find themselves in job situations; and I trust that many of them, once they have that first work experience, will be able to go on and find jobs in the marketplace.
One last point before I wrap up. Because we ran the winter experience program for the first time during the past couple of months, I had an opportunity to go into several communities where we were running it. I spent a day in Niagara Falls and a day in Oshawa. I had no idea or preconception as to how many of the participants in that short-term program would find jobs or be retained in jobs at the end of the program.
I am sure members know how winter experience operates. Through the youth employment counselling centres -- we now have 29 across the province, and we are heading for 50 -- young people are placed with a private sector employer for a period of no more than 20 weeks. They receive training; they work and are paid, albeit not handsomely, for that period of 20 weeks.
Frankly, I had no preconception as to what percentage of them might find themselves in an employment situation at the end of the program. We are doing a study of that now, and I can tell honourable members that the figures are very encouraging indeed. In fact, among the young people I spoke to in Oshawa when I toured the program there, more than half of them had either a full-time job or a part-time job arising out of their winter experience jobs. This was a much higher figure than I had expected, and I take a great deal of encouragement from it.
These opportunities made available by the youth secretariat gave some of these young people their first jobs in two years. It gave some of them their first glimmer of hope, their first indication that there was anything for them. Many of them now have developed the confidence to find a place in the work force.
If I get a little angry when I hear unjust criticism of what we are trying to do, that is why. I do not hear the criticism or the endless negative comments from the young people in the programs. I do not hear it from the people who are being given a chance by this government. I hear it from people who have not taken the time to go out to talk to the participants and see what we are doing.
I will stand by the efforts of this government, by our overwhelming commitment to the young people of this province and by the outstanding leadership of the Provincial Secretary for Social Development in co-ordinating those efforts.
Mr. J. M. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that you have recognized me, and I thank you for doing that. I hope you will pay attention to some of the comments I have to make, because they especially relate to your part of the province.
A year ago I felt the three major important concerns we had as a government were inflation, unemployment and high interest rates.
Inflation, in the combination of world events, because of the American economy and for whatever reasons -- not that we take any credit for it -- has moderated, and I think we are in better shape in that regard. Interest rates, for the same reasons, have come down; and again we are very pleased that has happened. Unfortunately, unemployment has not moderated, and it is of concern to every single member of this Legislature.
I have a personal stake in the unemployment situation. My son was laid off last week. He has worked for several years with one of the best construction companies in the province and he was laid off because of lack of work. We talk about retraining and things of this nature, but that is not going to solve such a problem. It is a fact of the economy of the province and we have to face up to it. I firmly believe it is time we took some incentive in job creation programs, in some type of public works programs that would provide employment for people in this kind of trade, and also that we should stimulate the economy in other ways.
In the riding I represent, Wellington-Dufferin-Peel, which is basically rural and small business, the people have suffered greatly from the high interest rates. The farmers especially have paid the price in the last few years, as has the small business community. I personally was in business for over 30 years, and I know the amount of support a small business community receives from any level of government. It is not very much. I do not think anyone should take credit for what we do for the small business community because, frankly, it is not that great. I speak as a member of the government.
Actually I am not sure business people want that kind of support. When I was in business, my main concern was the less government involvement, the better. We wanted to be left alone to do our own thing, to stimulate our business in the best way we could. We did not look for government assistance. We did not want programs and we did not want handouts.
I think most in the business community feel that way. Just give them the climate they can work in to the best of their ability, do not interfere with business and do not saddle them with collecting a lot of taxes and a lot of obligations they do not want. This year, with the interest rates moderating, our business community has an opportunity to advance again into the kind of constructive trade they are capable of. I think, without interference, they will do this.
The farming community, if given a chance, can again come back to the level it was at three or four years ago and start to improve. I have some concerns about the farming community. One concern which I support, that has been mentioned on occasion in this House, is foreign absentee ownership of our farm lands. This is something the government has started to address. I hope it will take a more serious look at it, because I really do feel there could be a problem in the future. I understand the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe) has introduced a bill that addresses one loophole we have in the registration of foreign ownership. I am not too sure if it covers the complete spectrum.
I happen to feel there is an area that could be overlooked. I have made a survey in my riding and there are many thousands of acres of land that have been sold to corporations and nobody can tell me who owns the land. They give us a name but they cannot tell us whether they reside in Ontario or if they are Canadian residents. I find it disturbing to think there is a possibility that our land is being sold to people we cannot trace. If this is the case, then I submit it is time our government took a look at it to make sure we close that loophole as well.
In the speech from the throne it was suggested assistance will be made available to young farmers in this coming budget. I truly hope this is a fact because young farmers cannot get into farming today with the high costs. I hope we do address this major problem in this coming budget.
We talked of transit service and the need for it. There is no greater need in any part of the province than in my riding. We have many elderly people and students who certainly need some type of public transit. There is very little of it provided in Wellington-Dufferin-Peel. I hope the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) takes a look at this part of the province. I am sure other members share this same concern.
Mr. Haggerty: You have Gray Coach there.
Mr. J. M. Johnson: I would like to mention three or four other points, but I understand there are two or three members, including the member for Oxford (Mr. Treleaven), who would like to speak, so I will not take too long. But I would like to mention one thing that was mentioned in the throne speech; that is, equal opportunity for women. I am very concerned about this for a personal reason because I have four granddaughters. I think it is time we took a hard look at this approach.
I understand the federal minister stated that we are up to 47 or 48 per cent in terms of jobs with equal opportunities for women. I am not sure if this is right or not, but if that is true it is totally unacceptable. We have to go much further than that. Because I have four granddaughters and no grandsons, I am very disturbed about this. It is a personal concern. I do think the time is ripe, that we must look at the future and make the changes that are necessary. We cannot do it overnight, and there is an economic cost built into it, but in all fairness we do have that responsibility to see if we cannot address this problem.
My good friend the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Kolyn) reminded me of another issue that I did want to address tonight. It is in relation to the stockyards. I know one of our members has a personal concern in this, and I certainly respect that, but I do think that today the major concern should be for the welfare of the farming community. If Toronto has to live with the stockyards for another three, five or 10 years, then so be it, but for heaven's sake, do not make a change today that is going to be detrimental to the farming community.
I thank you for your patience and indulgence.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I am wondering if we can have a ruling from the chair. The main clock shows about 26 minutes or 27 minutes to go and the digital clock shows 29 minutes. Can we have a ruling from the chair as to which clock we follow?
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Brandt): I thank the member for the question, which I have looked forward to with great anticipation. We will be following the main, older clock with respect to the time.
M. Shymko: M. le Président, tout d'abord, cela nous indique que ce qui est ancien peut être considéré comme une marque de stabilité; on conteste par contre souvent ce qui est moderne. Il y a donc une certaine stabilité à conserver les traditions.
Je voudrais ce soir donner une ampleur nationale au discours du trône et au commentaire qui en a été fait. J'espère que la réaction de mes collègues députés sera favorable, malgré ce qui s'est passé lors de réunions il y a quelques jours.
Il faut tout d'abord admettre que les problèmes économiques que nous éprouvons sont pour la plupart le résultat d'une situation du monde occidental dans son ensemble, situation dont on ressent l'ampleur et les effets tant au Canada que dans la province de l'Ontario.
M. Shymko: Vous voyez, M. le Président, le respect que l'on a pour la langue française.
M. Gillies: Oui, c'est vrai, c'est vrai.
M. Shymko: C'est la réaction socialiste quand on parle français. J'espère que mes collègues du Parti néo-démocrate vont me permettre de continuer --
M. Gillies: C'est dommage, c'est dommage.
M. Shymko: Je demandais simplement la permission, M. le Président, de continuer en français. Je remercie mon cher ami le député de Cornwall (M. Samis), pour la compréhension dont il fait preuve en matière de bilinguisme officiel.
Je voudrais dire, deuxièmement, que malgré l'influence de l'état économique du monde industriel occidental sur notre société, on doit néanmoins prendre des mesures pour parvenir à une certaine reprise de l'activité économique dans cette province. N'oublions pas qu'en ce qui concerne le chômage, on a atteint un niveau sans précédent dans notre histoire depuis la guerre. Alors nos priorités visent à éliminer le taux élevé de chômage en Ontario. Et nous considérons comme priorités les initiatives qui vont procurer des emplois à nos travailleurs. On parle, dans le discours du trône, de 176 millions de dollars, mais selon une indication du 19 avril, on vient de verser 188,9 millions pour créer environ 14 210 emplois. C'est là un exemple, je le rappelle au député de Cornwall, de l'attitude sérieuse de ce gouvernement quant à l'épanouissement économique.
On doit faire face également au taux de l'inflation. Et nous voyons très bien certains signes d'activité économique assez intensifs qui ont un effet sur l'inflation. L'Ontario doit créer, et commence à le faire, tant dans le secteur privé que dans le secteur public, un climat de confiance. C'est cet esprit de confiance qui compte, comme vous le savez; je le rappelle aux députés, particulièrement à ceux du Parti néo-démocrate. Vous savez que le grand philosophe français Pascal a dit: "Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point." La confiance en soi, la confiance en cette province, la confiance en notre société aura un effet spirituel et psychologique qui nous donnera plus de pouvoir pour sortir de l'état économique pitoyable où nous sommes; cela vaut mieux que d'écouter les discours toujours pessimistes du Parti néo-démocrate pour qui c'est toujours la fin du monde --
M. Gillies: C'est vrai, c'est vrai.
M. Shymko: Et c'est là qu'on détruit la force essentielle nécessaire a l'épanouissement économique.
M. Gillies: Les misérables, les misérables.
M. Shymko: Oui, ce sont des misérables, et je ne sais pas s'ils sont capables de lire la littérature classique française, comme vous savez --
Je ne sais pas ce qu'on trouvera dans le budget du Trésorier, député de Muskoka (M. F.S. Miller) mais espérons que ce sont des projets, des objectifs qui vont stimuler considérablement les investissements commerciaux au moins au cours des deux prochaines années. J'espère qu'on trouvera aussi des projets, des objectifs qui vont faire doubler le commerce extérieur, qui permettront d'augmenter la productivité de cette province.
J'espère que dans le secteur des syndicats --
M. Shymko: Oui, je vais terminer. J'espère que dans le secteur des syndicats, au lieu de voir toujours la lutte entre le patronat et les syndicats, de voir des conflits perpétuels entre le patron -- le boss -- et le travailleur, nous allons parvenir à un climat de collaboration entre ces deux parties très importantes. De même, nous essayons de créer un climat de collaboration, et non de conflit, avec le gouvernement fédéral, ce que nous voyons de temps en temps, notamment entre l'Honorable Lloyd Axworthy et le ministère du Travail (M. Ramsay) à propos des 188 millions de dollars. Voilà un exemple de collaboration et de confiance, n'est-ce pas? Mes collègues libéraux seront totalement d'accord.
Je ne vais pas parler du point le plus important pour les francophones de cette province, à savoir la demande qui a été faite pour garantir l'instruction en français à 93 706 élèves de l'Ontario. Je suis certain que le premier à le reconnaître sera le député d'Ottawa-Est (M. Roy). Voilà le courage de cette administration; voilà le vrai gouvernement conservateur, sensible aux besoins des francophones, qui comprend --
M. Shymko: -- qui comprend ce qui se passe dans la province du Québec pour ce qui est des droits qu'on donne à la minorité nationale. Espérons que Monsieur René Lévesque fera la même chose. Mais ici en Ontario, nous donnerons aux autres provinces l'exemple à suivre.
M. Shymko: Voilà. Je voudrais terminer sur une note d'optimisme. Si vous regardez dans les deux tomes de l'Économie de l'Ontario que je vous montre, vous trouverez à la page 8 ceci: Au cours de la période de 1981 à 1985, le produit national brut enregistrera une augmentation réelle de 1,9 pour cent, et entre 1986 et 1990, une augmentation de 3,3 pour cent.
So we see an optimistic projection, an increase in the real gross national product growth, from 1985 to 1986, of 1.9 to 3.3 per cent. Inflation, which currently is approximately 12 per cent, 10.1 per cent on average between 1981 and 1985, will decrease to 9.1 per cent in 1986 and to 8.9 per cent in 1991. That is an optimistic projection. The unemployment rate will decrease from 10.3 per cent now to nine per cent. Here is the result of the calculations of those who have the ability and the expertise to project an optimistic note, of which the members of the New Democratic Party should be, and are, reminded every day.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to comment briefly in French, -- dans la langue officielle de ce pays et de l'espirit du jour de cette province.
Mr. Gordon: Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure for me to have this opportunity to speak in the throne speech debate, although I have to admit that these clocks make me feel rather bilious. At one time, I was even informed that the socialists here objected to the fact that there was a red light on the top of this building when the House was sitting and demanded that it be taken away because they thought it reflected Liberalism, but when I look at that, those green lights on the clocks, I must say I always thought green was the colour for the socialists. That is another reason we should remove these clocks: they keep reminding us of the socialist hordes that are waiting out there.
I want to speak this evening about the future of this province and about the future of the great region that I represent, the Sudbury region. It is a region of approximately 167,000 people, a region that has very industrious people, a region that is very proud of what it has accomplished and a region that does have a great future.
I would like to talk briefly about that future this evening, because we have seen a lot of negative remarks about the Sudbury area in the press here in this city. We also hear negative remarks, and we have heard them for about at least the past 12 years, from the members who sit across in the section that is identified as being green on my seating plan; perhaps they will remain nameless for now.
Nevertheless, I must say there have been a number of steps taken within the Sudbury region. The footings are being laid at present for the future of our city, of my riding and of northern Ontario. Speaking of those footings, I first of all have to point out that in the throne speech that preceded this one there were comments about a mining machinery advisory board that was to be established within my riding. After a great deal of consultation with the ministers involved and with the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development, that was expanded to become one of our six technology centres in this province.
I might also remind those on the other side that this technology centre now has a budget of approximately $20.3 million, which will be spent over the next four and a half years to develop the capabilities for research which will help the mining and forestry people and the machinery and equipment people to find export markets as well as markets within the North American continent.
I might add that another avenue this technology centre is going to follow is that of becoming involved in joint ventures with the private sector. There are already a number of promising developments that have come before the board of the Ontario Centre for Resource Machinery.
Besides the Ontario Centre for Resource Machinery in my riding in the city of Sudbury, approximately 10 days ago the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) and I also announced a waferboard plant for the Sudbury region. This will mean employment in the Sudbury region for over 425 workers. That means we are diversifying within the region. It is an industry we have never had before and it is going to mean my people are going to have jobs.
I might also add there is another interesting development within the Sudbury area and we are expecting an announcement within the near future. I might just announce it tonight if the federal Liberals can get their act together. At the present moment the Minister of Mines, Judy Erola, is still trying to decide whether she can find some money out of Lalonde's budget for MECO. For those members who are not aware, MECO is the Mining Equipment Co. of Ontario, a mining machinery company that has been formed by John Clark and Inco.
It is our belief that over a period of years we should see anywhere between 100 and 200 workers involved in the mining machinery business within the Sudbury region. Our government will be contributing towards that plant. We are still waiting for the federal Liberals to decide whether or not they are going to participate. I would suggest they will since they will have an election coming up soon and they are going to have to try to do something.
When I look down at the row in front, I can see the member for Burlington South (Mr. Kerr) who was formerly the Minister of Environment in this province and he was a very great minister. As a matter of fact, I can remember meeting him one time. Members on the other side will be interested in this. I remember meeting him at a luncheon that was given by Inco out at their guest retreat at Copper Cliff. What brings it back is when I look across and see the socialists on the other side, I remember how for years and years they used to lambaste Inco. They talked about what an awful company it was and how they had to get Inco and take away its profits and force it to clean up its act, to clean up the pollution problem and so forth. They kept drumming this into the people of Sudbury time and again, over and over again; that it was the company and they were rich and something had to be done about it.
In this Legislature just a few days ago, we heard the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) say, "The Ontario government should do it now. Make the rich pay." Those people they are always talking about are the taxpayers of Ontario. "Make the rich pay."
The problem is, those fellows over there have been hoisted with their own petard in the Sudbury region. As a result of that, their credibility has gone down the tubes. I am shocked that the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) is not here to hear me this evening. I just cannot believe it. I would have thought that --
Mr. Nixon: He heard you were on the speaker's list.
Mr. Gordon: I am sure he is coming. I am sure he is on his way back up the stairs. Would someone go and get him?
Mr. Philip: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: The member happens to be in the resources committee at the present time.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): That is not a point of order. There are seven minutes left in this debate. Do not believe the green clocks.
Mr. Gordon: Mr. Speaker, I had hoped you would have had that closet Conservative here to hear me speak, since I think it is something very important to him.
Nevertheless, I think it is time I turned over this particular speaking spot in the Legislature to another great speaker. The member for Oxford (Mr. Treleaven) is going to carry on. I turn it over to him.
Mr. Treleaven: Mr. Speaker, it is correct to say this is another great speaker in the line of back-bench Tory speakers this evening.
Mr. Charlton: Yes. None of you can last for more than five minutes.
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Treleaven: The honourable whip asked me to clean up and really with five minutes left, it does make one feel like the man who follows --
Mr. Charlton: Good speech. Time.
Mr. Treleaven: Yes, thank you. It makes one feel like the man who follows the horses and elephants at the end of the parade to clean up after such an illustrious group.
Mr. Shymko: You know where the horses sit.
Mr. Treleaven: Yes.
Mr. Speaker, I would generally like to give congratulations in this speech tonight. First I would like to thank the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay), the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and all others who are responsible for the Canada-Ontario employment development program.
We have heard the members of the third party speak negatively of the COED program. I want to mention that the good burghers in the riding of Oxford have received over $2 million and over 200 jobs, which amount to about 100 job-years, from the COED program. More is coming in all the time. I might say this also includes that small portion of Oxford that I do not represent, but I am sort of looking after the statistics for the small portion that the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) represents.
I also congratulate the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow). This morning on my way -- was it this morning?
Mr. Treleaven: It must have been yesterday. One day seems like another in the Legislature. They are all filled with joy.
On the way to this place from Oxford I stopped in at various points on Highway 403, mainly in the riding of my friend the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. I must congratulate the minister on having four clearing crews working in four different spots, two in Oxford and two in Brant, two brushing crews. I might mention to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk that brushing crews do not paint; they clear brush. I thought I would clarify that for my friend.
Might I also ask my friend the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk if he could have a meeting with the member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham)? The Minister of Transportation and Communications is waiting for those two Liberal members to get together to recommend to him -- I know the member knows what is coming -- an increase in the speed limit along Highway 2 between Brantford and Hamilton.
Mr. Gillies: They won't do it, because Eric Cunningham doesn't want it.
Mr. Treleaven: That's correct. The Liberal caucus should get together on the topic.
In two-and-a-half minutes I have very little to touch on. I would like to touch on the primary concern of the county of Oxford, again including that small portion of Oxford that my friend represents.
Mr. Nixon: The richest part of the county.
Mr. Treleaven: Yes, it is Blandford-Blenheim township, which does not have any adequate garbage facilities of its own.
I would like to touch on the subject of landfill sites in Oxford. Oxford has been blessed with the longest landfill site hearing in Canadian history, 59 days. The county of Oxford has spent $1.6 million to this date, and two townships have spent about $200,000 each, a total of $2 million. They started their search in 1973. The county bought the site at Salford in 1975, 300-odd acres. In 1982 there were hearings, and now we have an appeal before the cabinet as to whether or not the hearing of the joint board will stand.
The member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) referred to landfill sites in his speech yesterday. I suggest that we need two things in this province. One is public education. For too long in this province we have been used to dealing with garbage as something for which we find the nearest hole, dump it in, cover it up and that is it. Spend $7 a person per year and garbage looks after itself; we must now educate the public to expect to pay $50 a person per year to look after their garbage. They will do so with their road budget but they will not consider garbage as a primary concern.
Second, we must amend the environmental acts so we may have speedy legislation, with democracy taking its place and having all the protections the people wish, but we must have speedy disposition which precludes lengthy references to the courts.
In clearing up, I would like simply to say that, with the Premier's (Mr. Davis) thoughts of running federally, I hope the Premier runs so he can bring to all of Canada the enlightenment he has brought to this House, and do all of Canada that favour. However, if he stays with us, he will continue with the enlightened leadership we have seen for 12 years.
On motion by Mr. McClellan, the debate was adjourned.
EDUCATION FOR MENTALLY HANDICAPPED
The Acting Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 28, the question that this House do now adjourn is deemed to have been made. The member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) has given notice of dissatisfaction with the answer to a question given by the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea). The member has up to five minutes to debate the matter and the minister may reply for up to five minutes.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I am not surprised the minister is not here.
Let me tell members the problem which prompted this late night debate. In the Sudbury area, there are a number of young, mentally retarded people in the school system who have speech problems. These children require speech pathology services. They require an assessment be done in the first instance and that a program, as a result of that assessment, be put in place in the school system.
In Sudbury, the Sudbury Algoma Sanitorium has refused to do any assessments or programs for school-aged children because of lack of funding. It has said it is the responsibility of the school system to provide that service.
The school system, on the other hand, says: "We recognize the fact there are mentally retarded children in our system who require assessment and who require programs and follow-up on those programs, but we do not have the funds. It is up to the Ministry of Community and Social Services or the Ministry of Health to provide that service."
The Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Health say that under Bill 82 it is the responsibility of the school boards to provide that service.
That is the situation as it now stands in the Sudbury area. Even for preschool children, at the Sudbury Algoma Sanitorium there is a one-year waiting list. If the child happens to be of school age, the only place there is a service available is in the English section of the separate school board system. A child in the French section of the separate school board or the entire public school system does not have the services required.
Let me tell the members how ridiculous the situation is. There were a number of students in the area I represent who could not get an assessment and could not get a program. An advocacy agency went to service clubs in the area and obtained funding to get an assessment done and a program for those children.
We have reached the point in this province where this government is allowing charity to replace what should be a service provided to all children in the school system in Ontario. That is not the kind of system we think is appropriate for Ontario.
The school boards say, "We cannot do anything about it because we are not getting the funding from the Ministry of Education." Right in the middle, guess who is caught in the squeeze? It is the children. At the same time the Minister of Community and Social Services is stating he wants to put children from institutions back into the community, he is doing something that is going to guarantee that more of these children will require institutional care in the future. If young people do not get the kind of program they require, namely speech pathology in this case, then those children, some of whom are completely noncommunicative, will end up being required to go into institutions in the years to come, those same institutions the minister is closing across the province.
Surely that is not the kind of system we want in Ontario. When the Minister of Community and Social Services stands up -- and I hear him bluster when I put that question to him, "I am greatly offended" -- what he says is: "It works everywhere else in Ontario. If it does not work in Sudbury, it is not my problem."
I am really surprised. The Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) was in her seat not five minutes ago and chose to leave. This is also indicative of her interest in this whole matter. Here we have a classic case where the provincial secretary, given the umbrella role she is supposed to play, could pull into her office the boards of education, the Ministry of Health and the Community and Social Services people and say, "You people work out this problem," because what is being done is simply not adequate, Mr. Speaker.
The Acting Speaker: I thank the honourable member. The five minutes have elapsed.
The House adjourned at 10:37 p.m.