The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Peterson: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I know that an emergency debate has been filed with you for your consideration, but I also am very strongly of the view that this point of privilege is going to need a determination by you.
It regards what we consider to be one of the most serious breaches of privilege of members of this House, certainly in recent memory. I am of course referring to the publication in the first editions of today's Globe and Mail of an article revealing the purported contents of the 1983 Ontario budget of the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller). Apparently, the Treasurer has not denied that these are discarded budget documents, and this raises the very important question of accountability and, indeed, questions of honour and privilege.
At the outset, may I say that I believe there are three very important principles involved in this matter: the principle of budget secrecy, the principle of respect for the Legislature and the third principle of ministerial responsibility.
There is no question in the minds of the members of my party that the Treasurer personally is an honourable man. We are not suggesting for a moment that he in any way had a personal hand in this most unfortunate incident occurring. But we also know that there are conventions, there are rules and there are practices of this esteemed institution. Nothing historically has been more sacred than the secrecy surrounding the budget documents, and material that appears to have come from the budget has entered the public domain.
Security has very clearly been breached, and because of this breach we cannot be sure what other information may be available for people to use for their personal or institutional gain. Indeed, the entire budget process has been poisoned by this most unfortunate episode.
We have to ask ourselves why we have secrecy surrounding a budget. It started with a king who wanted to preserve fairness, the lack of advantage to any of his commoners as a result of proposed changes in taxation. The purpose of secrecy was to tell all citizens at the same time what policies were to be changed so no one individual could take advantage.
Budget secrecy symbolizes that fairness, justice and the principle of respect for the Legislature and the privileges of the members therein. It symbolizes British fair play.
There are many precedents which deal with budget leaks such as this. In 1936, for example, the India Secretary in the British government disclosed an excise tax that would affect stock markets in advance of the budget release. He took the honourable course and resigned.
In 1947, the Chancellor of the British Exchequer, Hugh Dalton, told a reporter en route to the House of Commons that there was to be an excise tax increase on cigarettes. Even though this disclosure was made only moments before the budget was released, the minister resigned.
More recently, in Newfoundland in 1978, the Minister of Industrial Development and Rural Development made it known in advance of the budget that there would be no special support for regional hospitals. Although he only stated what was not going to be contained in the budget, he still took the honourable course and resigned.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Peterson: In each of the cases I have mentioned, the conventions of the British parliamentary traditions were adhered to and the minister resigned. They became questions of honour.
Beyond the many precedents, another important test is whether the information leaked could be of advantage to anyone. From the information disclosed in the Globe and Mail reports of today, it would appear that the material does affect the conduct of daily economic business in the province.
For example, the documents include figures on the funding provisions for the renter-buy program, the budget statistics and an indication of cuts in agriculture, industry and trade sectors, which have implications for many institutions. Private lenders could take advantage of the information with respect to government-funded programs in evaluating the creditworthiness of individuals.
Indeed, the size of the deficit and the apparent move into the private market to finance has other implications in the financial area.
It has been pointed out by the parliamentary expert Eugene Forsey that the tradition of secrecy is based on the need to prevent people with prior knowledge of what is in the budget from making a "killing."
There is also a long-established principle that a Treasurer is responsible for security as well as the content.
As honourable members, as friends of the Treasurer we can all sympathize with his personal dilemma, but he has found himself in a most unfortunate position which has become for him a question of honour. We have had other Treasurers in the past who have found themselves in apparent conflicts of interest and who took the honourable course and voluntarily resigned without delay.
The Treasurer had the option of coming to the House last night at eight o'clock upon finding out about these breaches. He chose to absent himself from the House and not take the members of this Legislature into his confidence with respect to the very serious breach.
In addition, members will note that no lesser person than the Treasurer himself has set the standard for public morality on this issue. There was a recent incident in Ottawa -- I am sure members are aware of it -- when the Minister of Finance there changed the figures. This Treasurer described it as "cute." He said, "Those of us in the business think it is a very serious problem."
He went on to say that the federal Minister of Finance then admitted his leak and did not wipe the slate clean. He said, "I thought the rules were such that you had to quit after that sort of thing."
Mr. Speaker, those are the words of the Treasurer of this House. I say to you, sir, our privileges have been very seriously abused. It is going to call for you, sir, to make a judgement. You sit in sole judgement on this matter. It is a very weighty responsibility that you have. You have obviously been getting a great deal of advice in the past 12 or 14 hours. That being said, I call upon you to exercise your responsibility with the great care it deserves in this situation.
Mr. Speaker: The member for York South.
Hon. Mr. Eaton: We want a report on the BC election.
Mr. Rae: No, I am not going to talk about British Columbia this morning. I have more important items on my mind.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Tell us about BC.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, it is a pity that the leader of the Liberal Party could not quote himself on the subject of Marc Lalonde. I think that is an irony we will all have to live with.
You have heard, sir, the basic arguments that have been set out for you with respect to the traditions on budget secrecy, ministerial accountability and the personal responsibility of the minister for what is taking place. I simply want to --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Rae: I hate to interrupt these personal quarrels, Mr. Speaker, but I wonder if I could just have your attention for a moment.
The arguments with respect to budget secrecy and ministerial responsibility are important, and I will make them to you very briefly, since they have been put to you.
The tradition with respect to the secrecy of the budget is crystal-clear. If I may say so, this tradition was respected even in its breach in the events we saw in Liberal Ottawa a short few weeks ago. The importance of that should not be lost to you.
The second major principle, which I think has to be recognized as equally important as the tradition of budget secrecy and which is fundamental not only to this Legislature but indeed also to the entire parliamentary tradition, is the principle of ministerial accountability and responsibility. It is a tough doctrine, in some respects it can be a rough master; but it is nevertheless the principle of our political and constitutional life which must be respected.
The principle is that in this instance the Treasurer is responsible for maintaining budget secrecy. The Treasurer is responsible from the time whatever thoughts he or his ministry may have with respect to the budget are first formed to the moment they are put on paper, to the moment they go from the Treasury to wherever the Treasurer decides to have it printed -- he can have it done in house or have it contracted out; that is his responsibility. He is responsible for all the security arrangements with respect to that budget. That is the personal responsibility of the Treasurer, and if information leaks out at any time during that entire process, during that continuum, it is the personal responsibility of the Treasurer for that leak.
Hon. Mr. Eaton: Even if it's stolen?
Mr. Rae: Now, I heard a comment from somebody else saying, "Even if it's stolen?" I would say that if it could be established -- and I have not heard anything that would suggest this -- that there had been a surreptitious break and enter and a direct theft of documents that no security arrangements could conceivably have prevented, then this House would want to listen to that evidence and would want to weigh it very carefully. I think that is a fair statement to make; I think we would all want to listen to it.
But I do not think the facts as we have heard them so far have disclosed that; and if the Treasurer is saying we have not heard all the facts, that is not our fault. We were here last night. Where was he? The Treasurer chose to be elsewhere and did not speak to the House about the events, and I am afraid we have to reach our judgements this morning on the basis of the information we have available thus far.
I want to make just one other point, Mr. Speaker. When you are considering this as a question of privilege, when you consider the basic test, which I suggest is, "Has the work of any member of this Legislature been impeded, been prevented?" I say that it has. In the normal course of events there would be a budget lockup, critics would be informed of the contents of the budget and we would be able to deal with those contents in an informed and reasoned way and to respond accordingly.
Each and every member would be able, on the basis of equal information, to communicate with his constituents on the contents of the budget. Members would be able to make whatever arguments, from different sides of the fence and from different points of view, they would with respect to the information that had been made available. I suggest, with a leak of this magnitude and of this proportion and the way in which it has been done, we have been prevented from doing our job in the way we are normally accustomed to doing our job.
Some hon. members: Come on.
Mr. Rae: No. I think that is a reasonable test. I suggest to the members that on the basis of that test you are entitled, sir, to rule that this amounts to a breach of privilege and that the privileges of this House and of each and every member have been abused.
In that sense, sir, I want to suggest that you reflect a while on the arguments that have been put before you. I think we have a very basic problem here. In my view, the Treasurer should do the honourable thing; he should resign. The matter should be referred to a committee, and if that committee finds there was the kind of evidence I have suggested might be persuasive, then it is possible for us to look at the Treasurer's position again.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Rae: The budget process has been deeply tainted. The budget process now is thoroughly flawed. The budget cannot go ahead in its current form. If the Treasurer has the gall --
Mr. Rae: Wait for it.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Rotenberg: Hang him first and then have the trial. What kind of nonsense is that?
Mr. Rae: The member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) is getting excited.
Mr. Rotenberg: Come on, be fair; you started out well. Bad enough you want him to resign, but you want to hang him before the trial.
Mr. Foulds: You can get up later on a point of privilege.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Rae: If I may make this point again to you, Mr. Speaker, I suggest the budget process now is fundamentally flawed. For the Treasurer to say, as I heard him say this morning, that we do not know whether there is a leak and we will have to wait until Tuesday to see what is in the budget is an argument that is totally derivative of Marc Lalonde. That in itself makes it suspicious to me.
In addition, the Treasurer knows today whether there has been a leak, and he cannot pretend he does not know whether there has been a leak. For him to suggest that we will only know on Tuesday is an argument that does not hold water. The Treasurer is in a unique position to change the budget between now and Tuesday. I suggest that process would be completely improper in the light of everything that has taken place.
Mr. Speaker, I put to you the case, which I think is a reasonable case, that there has been a fundamental breach of privilege. I think it can be shown that there are countless instances in our tradition where ministers have accepted personal responsibility. Even though it is a rough test, even though it is a tough test, it is a test that all of us must live by. None of us as individuals make the rules. We cannot make the rules as we go along in this place. The rules are there for the protection of everyone.
If sometimes they mete out a justice that seems a little hard in some circumstances, that is the way it has to be to protect the basic traditions of this place, to maintain the essentials of budget secrecy and to maintain the principle that a minister is responsible for what goes on in his jurisdiction and in his department. He must bear personal responsibility before us, as representatives of the citizens of this province, for sins of commission and for sins of omission as well.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, we are speaking on a purported point of privilege. We are not engaged in a debate on whether the Treasurer should resign, whether there has been a budget leak or anything of that nature. We are discussing what the Leader of the Opposition stood up and said he was speaking on, a point of privilege.
We had a request for an emergency debate given to us last night. I have indicated to both parties we are agreeable to that debate. I submit the speeches we have had should properly be made in that emergency debate.
I will read from Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, by the former law clerk and parliamentary counsel to the House of Commons, at page 191 regarding "Privileges Concerns Member as Member, Not as Minister, Party Leader, Whip or Parliamentary Secretary." I will just read one paragraph, sir, because I am sure you are very familiar with this book:
"Furthermore, parliamentary privilege is concerned with the special rights of members, not in their capacity as ministers, or as party leaders, whips or parliamentary secretaries, but strictly in their capacity as members in their parliamentary work. Therefore, allegations of misjudgement or mismanagement, or maladministration on the part of a minister in the performance of his ministerial duties do not come within the purview of parliamentary privilege. And neither does an allegation that a minister permitted a budget leak constitute a matter of privilege."
That is in that book. If I could quote from another writer, Michael Valpy said in a recent column in the Globe and Mail:
"A string of Speakers, stretching back more than two decades, has ruled that budget leaks do not constitute a breach of an MP's privilege. Breach of privilege means that an MP has been prevented from speaking freely, been molested or threatened or bribed, or something of that nature."
Mr. T. P. Reid: Do you believe everything that's in the Globe now? Read this morning's edition.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I believe everything --
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections please.
Hon. Mr. Wells: After reading this morning's Globe and listening to what has been said, I think the person whose privileges have been molested and mistreated is the Treasurer.
Let me also remind my friend of something. I am sure the House leader for the Liberal Party, who is an astute student of parliamentary rules and precedent, will realize when he looks at some of the precedents about budget secrecy in the United Kingdom my friend talked about that, as Eugene Forsey said in a letter recently published in one of the papers, "All those precedents in Britain involved leaks of tax changes." Just remember that.
I submit that the question we are dealing with at this point is whether this is a legitimate point of privilege. There is a string of precedents from Speakers for decades that will show, as the law clerk of the House of Commons has shown in his book, that the matter we are on now does not constitute a point of privilege. Let me read two paragraphs from the last Speaker who has made a decision on this.
This is from Madam Speaker Jeanne Sauvé on November 18, 1981. This was in the case involving the publication by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. when there was a debate somewhat similar to this and questions of points of privilege and so forth. I will not read her whole statement, but there are these two paragraphs.
"What this particular precedent says to us is not that breaching budgetary secrecy is a question of privilege but that the honourable member for Kenora-Rainy River" -- and I am sure my friend knows who that member is -- "had a question of privilege because he had been accused by a newspaper of breaching budgetary secrecy and doing something dishonourable in the exercise of his function. That is the important point which has to be considered in this case.
"I must repeat that the protection of privilege has to do with the protection of the capacity of honourable members to function as members in this House. If we are dealing with the wrongdoings, conduct or behaviour of a minister or the methods used by a minister of which some honourable members do not approve, that does not constitute a question of privilege, although it might be of great importance to the honourable members concerned. It is difficult for me to deal with such matters as questions of privilege."
Mr. Speaker, I can say no more than that while we are prepared to debate this matter for the full time this morning in an emergency debate, which we are agreeable to, this certainly does not constitute a point of privilege. No members' privileges have been abused by the events that have occurred in the last little while.
Mr. Speaker: The matter that has been raised by the Leader of the Opposition and joined in by the member for York South is indeed a very serious matter with wide ramifications. In the brief time that has been given to me to hear the arguments put forward, I am not going to try to make a judgement on this matter immediately. I will take it under consideration and make a decision and a judgement as quickly as possible.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your comment that you are going to take time and take the matter under advisement. I hope you will not mind if I, and perhaps certain other members, have an opportunity to express our views on the point to you.
Mr. Speaker: If I may, with all respect, I think the three parties have put their positions forward very eloquently. Rather than getting into a wide-ranging debate at this point, I must say there has been enough representation for me to make a judgement. I say to all honourable members that we should now get on with the regular business of the House.
Mr. Nixon: I regret, Mr. Speaker, that I cannot accept your advice in that regard. You may recall that at the first opportunity we had to put this before you last night you were unwilling to accept my advice on that occasion, and I may have an opportunity to raise that with you again.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Nixon: I want to say now, without expressing my view to you as an elected representative --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Nixon: I personally find it unacceptable, and you will certainly have to dispense with my services in this House if you are not prepared to hear my views on this matter, which I consider of urgent importance.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I respect the feelings of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. I certainly respect what he may have to say, whatever that may be. But when points of order or points of privilege have been raised, I think I have been very generous in listening to others besides the member who originally raised --
Mr. Nixon: Were you generous last night?
Mr. Wrye: What happened last night?
Mr. Speaker: Order. I am not going to get into a debate. There is nothing provided for in the standing orders --
Mr. O'Neil: The government House leader (Mr. Wells) talks about being fair, but you cut us off last night. You would not listen.
Mr. Speaker: I am not going to enter into a debate, but I would suggest to all honourable members once more to make themselves familiar with the standing orders.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, there is no standing order that says only three views, one from each party, are to be heard by Mr. Speaker. I know of no such standing order and if you are introducing such a standing order then I must strongly object. I am not prepared to let this occasion pass without giving you the benefit of my views on this important matter. I beseech you to take your place in the chair and allow other elected members to express their views on this point of privilege. Nothing less is acceptable.
Mr. Speaker: Obviously, I have --
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I am concerned about the decision which you are about to make and rise in support of the point of the individual members' rights to speak on the matter.
Mr. Speaker: I certainly respect that point of view. It was not my intention to limit anybody, but rather to facilitate the business of the House after having heard --
Mr. Breithaupt: This is the business of the House.
Mr. T. P. Reid: There is nothing more important.
Mr. Speaker: Order -- after having heard the representatives of the three parties, however, if it is the wish of the members of this assembly that I hear further representation, I will be pleased to do so.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to speak on this. Obviously what my friends want is a chance to discuss this matter. The speeches the members opposite gave had nothing to do with a privilege matter. My speech dealt with the privileges.
To facilitate all members who wish to discuss this, with the agreement of the two other parties, we would be agreeable to suspending all other business and moving into the emergency debate right now.
Mr. Nixon: I would like to point out to the government House leader that if we suspend the business for a debate on a matter of urgent public importance, the minister knows full well that nothing is concluded. The clock runs out at 1 p.m. As soon as the debate starts his own colleagues disappear and do whatever they do. We look at all the blue seats.
In this circumstance, Mr. Speaker, this is a day when you are going to earn your money. You have had quoted to you the thinking of Mr. Valpy, Mme Sauvé and the Speaker in the House of Commons in 1680 on this. I want to submit to you, if you will give me an opportunity in a few moments, that obviously the Premier and the Treasurer are considering this matter lightly. They are counting on their 68 supporters simply to inundate the opposition and to support what may very well be the eventual ruling that our privileges have not been interfered with.
I would submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that if you were to judge that our privileges have been abrogated, the Treasurer is done. Obviously he is not prepared to make this decision on his own, as was clearly the example established by at least one of his predecessors.
He is prepared to sit there and smile with the Premier, with 68 members beating their desks thinking that is justice. It is up to you, Mr. Speaker, to realize that the documents in the Globe and Mail which we have read have already had an impact on the citizens of this province. Think of what the farmers of Brant-Oxford-Norfolk think when they see the expenditure for agriculture is to be reduced by 13 per cent. It is already less than 1.5 per cent of the budget. Can you think of what the bankers are going to say to the farmers who go in there to get an extension of their loan?
We stand in the place of the nine million taxpayers in this province. The traditions, the procedures in this province since we entered into Confederation and before, have been established on the secrecy of the budget. The Treasurer had his opportunity to use another procedure if he chose. He could certainly have opened it up, as he has said, and that may be the view of himself or his successors in the future. But he did not do that. He maintained it as secret, went through all of the jokes about Scary Tales comics and so on, but now we find, for example, that the money to be available for industry is to be reduced by 38 per cent, according to the papers in the Globe and Mail headed by Budget Statement by the Hon. Frank Miller, Budget 1983.
I would say to you, Mr. Speaker, if you consider that does not interfere with the business community, the farm community and our responsibility to represent them, then you are making a grave error indeed. If you do not make such a judgement in this connection, it means that the Treasurer, affable man that he is, with the support of the resurrected Premier of Ontario sitting back with his usual complacency when he is under any pressure at all, will simply laugh this out with the support of his 68 members.
It is up to you, Mr. Speaker, as the custodian of our privileges, to rule that they have been interfered with. When you do, there must be a resignation of the Treasurer, the establishment of a new budget, under new budgetary leadership, and nothing less is acceptable under the circumstances of our privileges being so seriously breached.
I simply end by saying, Mr. Speaker, that you must understand that we stand in the place of the nine million citizens of Ontario, residents of Ontario for whom we speak and who elected us, and that the breaches of information have affected business already. The farmers in my constituency, the business people in my constituency, had the right to receive this information all at the same time and not have it leaked out by press investigation.
There really is only one choice for you, Mr. Speaker, and that is to rule not that he should resign or that somebody was stealing something, or that a committee should look through garbage bags, but that our privileges have been breached.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I want to deal with the comments made by the government House leader that this matter is somehow not particularly serious and does not constitute a breach of privilege because we are not dealing with a tax measure.
That is preposterous. The main leak, the main item that has been spilled from the budget, has to do with the five per cent Ontario health insurance plan premium increase. The government of Ontario raises hundreds of millions of dollars through the taxation of people through premiums. It is preposterous to argue that somehow this is a mere peccadillo, this is not serious, this is somehow insignificant -- a five per cent increase in one of the major government user taxes, indirect taxes, sales taxes.
As if that were not enough, the Treasurer was heard on the radio this morning at least to suggest that he was prepared to pull a Lalonde and extricate himself from the mess that the government is in by somehow adjusting the budget between now and Tuesday night. The clear inference, and I may say the clear threat, is that there is a possibility of a further increase to the OHIP premium.
If the budget process of Ontario now gets to be created, adjusted, influenced, affected as a result of this process, we are in a complete and preposterous mess. The Treasurer has compromised the budget-setting process of Ontario in the most profound and complete way possible.
If he does not change the budget between now and Tuesday night, if he is unwilling to do it in front of the Legislature, he verifies that the leaks are indeed bona fide budget documents. If the budget figures are changed between now and Tuesday night, it is clear that the budget process itself has been affected by this.
Mr. Gordon: What a childish argument.
Mr. McClellan: I do not know what is childish about a major alteration in a major tax of the government of Ontario as a result of the negligence of the minister of the Treasury. It is a very simple proposition, and I fail to see how the government can think it will simply get away with this by stonewalling and steamrollering.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I will be brief. I want to join in this debate --
Hon. Mr. Ashe: It doesn't look brief from here.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, if I may have your attention and that of honourable members, it is a serious matter. I appreciate the interventions that have been made by others. I simply want to make a few comments in specific terms.
First, it concerns me greatly that the indications are that the Treasurer knew as of about late yesterday afternoon or early last evening that this material was going to be in the public press at or around 10 p.m. last night, and I do feel that the privileges of honourable members have been abridged to this extent at least: that the Treasurer had a duty and an obligation to the 124 other members with whom he shares this place to come here at the earliest opportunity, to express himself on these matters and to indicate the circumstances in which this apparent leak or spill had taken place. That he did not do so is a serious breach of the privileges of the members of this House.
In fact, as the member for York South has pointed out, there may be a variety or a whole host of circumstances surrounding this material of which we are not yet apprised. The Treasurer had a duty, it seems to me, to come to this place as soon as he knew there was going to be this kind of press report to take members of this House into his confidence. In that respect he did not do the parliamentary thing, and I believe the privileges of this House, to that degree at least, were abridged.
The government House leader referred to Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, by Joseph Maingot. I do not want to repeat that, but I do want to indicate, as has been mentioned by a number of other members, that there is a variety of issues at stake. The fundamental one for me, of course, is the whole concept of ministerial responsibility, something the Premier (Mr. Davis) and I were talking about in this place some few hours ago. The principle of ministerial responsibility is absolutely central to this debate. The minister, as has been pointed out, has responsibility for this budget from its conception to its delivery on budget day.
Sir Geoffrey Howe, the current British Chancellor of the Exchequer, recently allowed, and I will quote one sentence from his comments on the subject of budget secrecy: "The budget is shrouded in secrecy until the chancellor unveils his master plan. He presents it as a fiscal fait accompli, receptive to neither the benefit nor the opportunity of prior examination or constructive comment."
I think in a real way this remark says it all. The principle of ministerial responsibility, as R. MacGregor Dawson points out in his much-referred-to book, The Government of Canada, is central to the basic principle of our parliamentary democracy. In my humble submission this principle of ministerial responsibility, and therefore the very essence of our parliamentary democracy, has been undermined in this connection.
Like other members -- and I think of my friend the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) -- I have complained to you, Mr. Speaker, on at least two occasions in recent months about the leaks around here. I can think of some involving the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman), about which a number of complaints have been registered. Some of us, quite frankly, have harboured suspicions about how some of this material is getting into the public press.
I think of how many honourable members across the way chortled not too many days ago when the Minister of Health, in what I thought was a subterranean tactic to say the least, engaged the House in some debate about what the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) had been discussing in matters related to health policy. Talk about a breach of parliamentary honour. It seems to me we have been seeing too much of it around this place. We all know that the leaks have been a matter of ongoing concern.
In this case, I will conclude by saying that the Treasurer had an obligation to come to this House at the earliest opportunity, which was last evening some time between eight and 10:30 p.m. -- in fact, the House sat until about 11:30 p.m. -- to announce to this place what had happened and what his intentions were.
I heard a minister of the crown talking on a Toronto radio station about a police investigation and related matters. Those are very important issues, as I know the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor) would agree. The Treasurer had an obligation, as an honourable member and as a minister of the crown, to come to this place and to announce his intentions and give some kind of initial explanation.
That he did not do so abrogated our parliamentary privileges. By allowing this alleged budget spill to carry across the pages of the daily press and much of the electronic media in this province has undermined the basic principle of ministerial responsibility.
I think the Treasurer has, as my colleague the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has indicated, a first-order obligation in the tradition of the great Darcy McKeough to resign, at least to stand down until the air is cleared, and then of course to reconsider his position.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I simply want to draw to your attention two or three matters which perhaps you will take into consideration when considering this particular serious matter. I am referring at this time to the events other than the fact that the Treasurer did not see fit to make his first statement about this matter in the assembly, which I will comment on briefly in a moment or so.
When you are giving consideration to this question and, indeed, when the government is considering what it will do with respect to the future problems that need to be resolved because of what has transpired in connection with the appointment of a committee of this assembly to look into a number of matters, I would like to draw your attention to the matter which affected the brother of our colleague the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) when the sixth report of the standing committee on privileges and elections of the House of Commons in 1975 had to say, and I quote from that report -- not all of the report, of course:
"Your committee reasserts the principle that the reputation of every member of the House of Commons must continue to be protected, because a reflection upon a member is a reflection upon the House itself. At the same time, your committee is conscious of the balance which must be struck between the principle that Parliament should be protected from improper obstruction of its functions and the principle of freedom of speech of the citizen to criticize the institution or membership of Parliament."
Then I refer to the statement made by the then Minister of Finance the Honourable Donald S. Macdonald, in the House of Commons on May 25, 1976, when he stated:
"The tradition of budget secrecy has two grounds. It is intended to deny anyone financial advantage from advance information. And it is intended to ensure that important statements of government economic policy are disclosed first to members of the House of Commons. Both of these reasons are valid and important."
I would refer to the study done by the parliamentary group on budgetary process in 1977, in which it states the rule would appear to rest on two premises. The first premise is that no one should be able to gain a private advantage by reason of advance information about matters to be dealt with in a budget. The second is that all important statements of government policy ought to be announced first at the House of Commons.
It then goes on to make this comment -- I draw this particularly not only to the Speaker's attention but to the government's as it determines what will be done: "In practice, however, there has been very little in the way of critical analysis of the scope of the rule and the context of the role of the budget in modern times. Little has been written about the subject."
Mr. Speaker, I would say to you that the first question which you must decide is whether or not this is a matter of privilege. The consequences of your decision will then determine in large measure what the House must do, what the assembly must do and, indeed, what the government must do. In a funny way, the point of privilege is crucial to the ongoing determination of what course we may follow.
It is clear to me in any event, and I make this submission to the Speaker, that if it is determined that there has been financial advantage to anyone -- whatever that term "financial advantage" may mean -- I do not think the Treasurer has any alternative under the rigid, arbitrary and harsh rule.
If, however, it is not a matter in which it can be honestly determined there has been a financial advantage, then we come to a different question and that is the extent and degree of the negligence and the carelessness or the lack of proper precautions to protect the assembly, to protect the secrecy of the budget, and whether there was an omission on the minister's part.
I want to make it clear that there is absolutely nothing which would indicate that the minister himself has made any disclosure or that the minister himself has committed any indiscretion, which are part of the historic reasons why on other occasions either members of the cabinet or chancellors have been forced to resign.
Again I want to say to the Speaker, if he makes no decision at all on this issue until he has reflected on it, I wish he would make on behalf of this House the most formal statement he can to stop persons involved outside, who may be witnesses before a committee of this assembly, from making any statements to anyone.
This is why I felt very deeply and badly about the fact that the first comment I heard from the Treasurer was heard over the radio and in the media. I think that in itself is a serious matter.
It has just come to my attention that there is circulated from the Office of the Premier to members of the press gallery a statement saying:
"I have been informed that the chairman of the board of Carswell Co. Ltd. and Carswell Printing has an important statement to communicate to the members of the press regarding the incident reported in the Globe and Mail of this morning. Mr. Mullin, QC, can be reached by phone at his office at First Canadian Place, 39th floor, in the law offices of Fraser and Beatty."
I want someone to get on the phone to Mr. John A. Mullin of the law firm of Fraser and Beatty and, with the greatest respect as a classmate of his, I would tell him to tell the president of that company to keep his mouth shut until the matter is reviewed in this assembly.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, when we are talking about privileges in this House, there may be those in the public or, on occasion, in the press gallery who worry about how we view our opinions of what is going on in this province. But when one sees this news release brought before us over the name of Denis Massicotte it makes one wonder how seriously the government, its staff and supporters take this Legislature. It is very difficult, indeed it is upsetting and it is rude that we should see something like this as another side-door approach to the privileges of this House.
I have no quarrel with Mr. Mullin speaking to whomsoever he may wish. It may well be a convenience for the Premier's office, his staff and others to ensure that as many people are talking about this matter as is possible. It looks to me that instead of coming into this Legislature, perhaps with a statement on behalf of the people who are the printers, then I think --
Hon. Mr. Davis: It's right here. Give him a chance to make it.
Mr. Breithaupt: We will be delighted to hear from him in due course. It is things like this I find very upsetting.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He has been waiting since 10 o'clock.
Mr. Breithaupt: I am delighted to have the Premier's interjection that the Treasurer is prepared to speak to this House and we will give him the opportunity to do so right now.
Mr. Rae: Go ahead.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Come on.
Mr. Wrye: Come on.
Mr. McClellan: Make the statement.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He will be making a ministerial statement.
Mr. Foulds: Why doesn't he make his statement?
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: If the Treasurer is not going to speak, I would like to make a point of privilege. If the Treasurer wishes to speak, I will certainly give the Treasurer the floor.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest we move to ministerial statements and then we can resume this debate afterwards on consent of the House.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: One could almost have felt sorry for the Treasurer until the statement from Mr. Massicotte was brought to our attention.
Unlike the leader of the third party, I do not believe we should first put the Treasurer in jail and then find out if he is guilty or not. That is not the main point in the points of privilege that have been raised today. The main point that has been raised is whether or not the Treasurer inadvertently or purposely abused the privileges of the members of this House. We will find out later under what circumstances the situation took place.
When the Treasurer of Ontario has his credibility smeared, it not only affects him but it affects the whole province. It affects all the business structure of Ontario. Indeed it affects the people on Wall Street who are going to borrow money for the Treasurer on behalf of the people of Ontario.
The $733 million which, as was stated in the Globe and Mail, was to be borrowed for our short cash flow is going to have a serious impact on the people of this province. Unless the Treasurer can give an adequate explanation as to how these matters appeared to take place, all of us are on the losing end of this situation.
Yesterday evening I was truly shocked to see the front page of the Globe and Mail. Never could I have imagined that a leak of this proportion could have taken place under the secrecy that is to be encircled around Treasury documents. When we were able to read about the shocking cuts that were to take place, I truly believe that not only affected the members but all the communities of this province.
Also, yesterday evening we awaited some word from the Treasurer. We were truly disappointed that he saw fit to meet with the press and not to meet with the members of this Legislature. That is a second breach of privilege the Treasurer has brought upon the members of this House.
Mr. Speaker, you will recall that last Tuesday certain questions were put to the Premier. He told us to wait until the budget date. He said he could not give us any further information at that time. If the matters were secret on Tuesday, then they should be secret today, they should be secret tomorrow and they should be secret until the time allotted for the Treasurer to make his statement next Tuesday.
I do not want to go on to repeat what other members have said, but I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that if what took place yesterday is not a breach of the privileges of the members of this House, then there is very little that can take place in this chamber that can breach anybody's privileges.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney).
Mr. Gordon: Here comes the bishop.
Mr. Bradley: The Premier will not like that comment.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, you have just been advised by some of my colleagues of our great displeasure at the way in which the matter of Carswell Printing Co. has been handled. I would like to read into the record the statement from Carswell Printing Co. The statement is by Mr. John Mullin, chairman of the board of Carswell Printing Co.
"Carswell Printing Co. has maintained the best possible methods of ensuring secrecy in relation to the printing of the provincial budget, which it has done for many years. These security measures are under the supervision of the Ontario Provincial Police and have been approved by them. They include the shredding of all scrap. It appears, however, that a few proofs of pages were placed in garbage which was not shredded but which remained on the printing plant property. These scraps were searched for and removed by a reporter or reporters who quite improperly trespassed and invaded the plant property and searched the garbage, which was still the property of the printing company. Consideration is being given to instituting procedures for theft."
Mr. Speaker, we should fully understand that these security measures are part of the jurisdiction of the Treasurer. As a matter of fact, on Wednesday of this week, when the Treasurer playfully held a photo session with reporters, it was reported that he took painstaking measures to ensure that he did not leak the budget.
It is also known that up until two years ago the security staff of this building was responsible for the security of the budget. At that time the Treasurer decided to make a change, and make the Ontario Provincial Police responsible for it. What I am trying to point out is that the Treasurer clearly understands himself, and has taken measures to ensure, that he is ultimately accountable and responsible for the secrecy of this budget.
The second point is that the Treasurer has clearly indicated by his actions and by his words that the secrecy of the budget is manifestly important to him. As my colleagues have already indicated, he could have chosen not to adopt a secrecy procedure. He did so choose and, therefore, he is responsible for it.
The House leader of the government party has indicated to us that our individual privileges have not been misused. We have to realize that each one of us in this opposition party is responsible, as a member of Her Majesty's loyal opposition, for being a critic of the various ministries of this government. Yet we are advised through this leak -- it is not a leak; it is a deluge -- that 37 per cent of the budgetary allotment for the Ministry of Industry and Trade is going to be reduced. I suggest, as critic for that ministry, that this does impinge upon my responsibilities as critic and my responsibilities as a member of this Legislature.
That says to the people I am trying to represent in this House that there is going to be reduced growth and development in the area of industry and trade, at the very time when we need increased growth and development. It says there is going to be a reduction in research and development, at the very time we need an increase in research and development. It says there is going to be a reduction in employment opportunities, at the very time we need an increase in employment opportunities. It says there is going to be a reduction in productivity gains, at the very time we need increases in productivity gains.
That is the message that is clearly being sent out to the businessmen, the manufacturers and industry in Ontario. That may not be the intention -- I see the Premier shaking his head -- that may not be the intention, but between today and next Tuesday that is one of the messages that can clearly go out, and that is an abrogation of my privileges as a member of this House.
It is also clearly indicated, with respect to any possible gain by people outside this House, there are three or four issues that have been brought to our attention through this leak. We see, for example, that corporation tax revenue is supposed to go up by 29 per cent. We know from every single indicator that has been given to us from other sources that the economy of this province is certainly not going to grow by 29 per cent. Some of that 29 per cent would be accounted for by growth. Part of it must be accounted for in some other taxation measure. We do not know what they are, but there is bound to be rampant speculation on Bay Street today and on Monday and Tuesday as to how the government accounts for that 29 per cent, and it is going to affect the markets in this province.
We also know that the Treasurer has boasted over the years that he did not have to go out and borrow money on the public market. He has said they did not do that and they did not want to do it. Yet this report indicates that up to $733 million is going to be borrowed on the public market. Does that not send a signal out there? Does that not indicate something to investors and borrowers and lenders? It most certainly does. It is a significant leak.
We see in this report that the transfer of money from the federal government to the provincial government is going to increase from $1.9 billion to $2.3 billion. At the same time, we see that provincial transfers to municipalities, agencies and boards are going to increase from $5.4 billion to $5.7 billion. Does that not send a message to the business community? Does that not send a message to those who deal with provincial-municipal relations? Darned right it does.
All those people now have information they are going to act on in one way or another. We do not know how they are going to act on it, but the information now is in the public domain and can make a difference to how people make decisions over the next two or three days. That is a leak of substance. That is a leak of importance.
Mr. Speaker, my privileges as an individual member of this House have been invaded and abrogated. My privileges as a critic in Her Majesty's loyal opposition have been abrogated and, therefore, with legitimate right, I stand before you and say that you must so decide.
Mr. McClellan: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: We are prepared to listen to the Treasurer if he would do us the courtesy of making a statement.
Mr. Breaugh: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I want to make a couple of comments. One of the things that I am beginning to find rather aggravating is that the House has now been in session for a rather lengthy period of time. I had anticipated, quite frankly, that the Treasurer would have made a statement to the Legislature this morning.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Let us recognize the rights of the members. The member for Oshawa rose on a point of order.
Mr. Breaugh: If I might just continue briefly, I have been sitting here in the Legislature this morning waiting for the Treasurer to account for what happened -- what was reported last night and this morning on the radio. There have been probably a dozen opportunities for the Treasurer to take the floor in the course of this debate or before it, or, on a number of occasions now, for the government to ask other members to give way so the Treasurer might make that statement.
Paramount to all the arguments about privilege, secrecy and all that is the simple rule I would recognize as being the first one: the Treasurer has an obligation to explain to us, the members of this Legislature, just what the hell happened.
I do not see much indication that this is going to occur, and on the point of privilege that members are purportedly debating this morning I would think the Speaker would want an explanation from the Treasurer as to what did occur.
So I am going to use a not-often-used part of our standing orders. I am going to give way so that the Treasurer may now rise in his place and explain to us just what did occur.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, there has been great comment about the proper procedure today. I have a statement. I assume that ministerial statements are made under orders of the day. I am prepared to make my statement under orders of the day when the matter of personal privilege has been resolved. I will do it at that time.
Mr. Rae: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: The point of privilege that has been raised by members on this side is a question that can be answered only in the course of the privilege debate by the Treasurer himself. It is a matter the Treasurer has to respond to, and for him to hide behind a ministerial statement and refuse to deal with this in the course of this discussion with respect to the privilege, in itself demonstrates a contempt for the proceedings of this House.
Mr. Speaker: I think we are getting a little ahead of ourselves. The point of privilege was raised, and he was --
Mr. Speaker: Order. It is my decision to make, to find out whether a point of privilege has been made or breached.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the honourable member please resume his seat?
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I have two or three points I want to make to the point of privilege.
First of all, I am bothered by the contempt that the Conservatives show for this House and this issue. I have been watching them drift in and out, and there was a point when there were fewer than 40 members in the House on the Conservative side. This is a major issue, and those benches should be filled to capacity when we are discussing an issue of this kind.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the honourable member just confine his remarks to the point of privilege?
Mr. Riddell: As the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk indicated, we have been elected to this Legislature to react, to respond and to represent nine million citizens in this province. Not only that, but I think it is our duty to dispel any suspicions that the people outside these chambers may have about the parliamentary process and the way in which members are supposed to be guided by parliamentary tradition. I want to deal with that in the last of my comments.
I represent a certain group of people known as farmers, as many other members do in this Legislature, and they have been visiting my office in droves, asking what they may expect in the budget, because it will certainly have an effect on what their plans are going to be. In other words, they have been asking me whether we might expect some kind of financial assistance, either long-term credit or a reinforced Ontario farm adjustment assistance program. They have been making arrangements with their bankers whereby the banks would take a mortgage for a year, let us say, hoping something will be announced in the budget so they can then transfer that mortgage to a long-term financial credit.
Based on the information we received in the throne speech, and based on information I received from the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food, I have been telling the farmers there is some glimmer of hope that the farmers might well expect something from this government. Then we see from this budget leak that there has been a 13 per cent cut in the agriculture budget.
When the comments have been made, the Premier has been saying, "It has been printed in the estimates year after year after year." What a preposterous statement that is. When we did the Ministry of Agriculture and Food estimates last time, there was no mention of a 13 per cent reduction in the agriculture budget. With the agriculture budget now being 1.1 per cent of the total provincial budget, where can one cut any more if the farm industry is to be saved? That is what they are worried about and that is what I am worrying about.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: You are doing the farmers a disservice with your games.
Mr. Riddell: What is going to happen is that when the farmers now go into lending institutions to get loans, the lending institutions are going to say --
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: You are a disgrace.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the honourable member resume his seat, please? Let us listen to the member for Huron-Middlesex.
Mr. Riddell: There is great confusion in the farming industry as a result of the leak in this budget, because at this time, when the farmers are going in to arrange operating loans to plant their crops, the lending institutions now are going to say based on this budget: "The government obviously is not committed to your cause because of the 13 per cent reduction. Why should we be committed?" The farmers are going to be in more trouble as a result of that leak. With that in mind and with what I have been telling the farmers, I figure my privileges have been breached.
Last, I mention about dispelling suspicions. I have been receiving calls since last night from people who are a little suspicious of what has gone on. We all know that it would take at least a day, so I am told, to prepare the wide spread that was in the Globe and Mail to have it come out in the Globe and Mail last night.
Questions are being asked of me. I hope the person to whom I am going to direct this will get up and dispel any suspicions. What they are saying is, "Is there any connection between the budget leak of yesterday and the decision of the Premier only hours before that he was not going to contest the leadership?"
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the honourable member resume his seat, please?
Mr. Riddell: Will the Premier get up in his place and tell us he did not know the budget was in foreign hands before he made that decision? Will he do that?
Mr. Speaker: Order. The honourable member will resume his seat.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I do not think I heard the honourable member. So we can all hear it, would he please state what he said in the last part of his question? I do not think I heard it. I hope I did not hear it. I cannot think of one of his colleagues who would tolerate what I think I heard.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member was departing from the point of privilege. I am of the opinion that the presentations are becoming somewhat repetitive. I think we have had a fair representation of opinion and submissions. I wonder if I could get a consensus or a feeling --
Mr. Nixon: Not without hearing from the Treasurer.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege. I want to speak to the other matter of privilege in a moment to try to help to sort it out a little bit.
On a matter of personal privilege, I believe the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) either asked a question or phrased a statement coming from his own fertile imagination that may show on Hansard -- and I will look for it. In fairness to every single member in the House, including members of his own party, if I heard him correctly and I hope I did not, this is an opportunity for him either to restate it, not saying he has been asked this by others but recognizing it is a statement made by him, or withdraw it.
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, first of all, let me say it was suspicions that were raised with me. But if the Premier wants to take the debate and move it to the part I mentioned, then I will withdraw the latter part of my remarks.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It was a cheap shot.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, on the point of privilege: We certainly see it as being in your hands to direct that the Treasurer respond to the points that have been raised, to bring this discussion of the point of privilege to an end.
If I can come back to the main point of why we are here, it is because there has been an unprecedented budget leak. The Treasurer failed to stand up at the opening of the session this morning to explain what had happened, and he should now make that explanation as part of the point of privilege. I therefore give way to the Treasurer so he may speak.
Mr. Speaker: I will hear one more speaker and then we will get on to the routine proceedings.
Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that I am the last in our party who was to speak anyway, and I will be brief.
An hon. member: No, you are not.
Mr. Van Horne: I am not? Sorry about that.
At any rate, the point made by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk in the very beginning was that he simply wanted to have the right to do what he is elected to do, and that is to speak in this chamber. Mr. Speaker, you have granted him that right and I think it applies equally to all of us. If there are others, I am sure you will be so kind as to listen to them too.
My point is very simple and very brief. I point out that we are taking this matter of privilege very seriously because it affects the credibility of the whole parliamentary process and, in turn, the credibility of its members.
If we look back at the throne speech we find a couple of statements in there that I think are related to what I am saying now. We read first that the government will introduce measures to contribute to an enduring economic recovery that will create the jobs necessary to allow Ontarians to lead productive lives and that it will strengthen the management of the province's affairs. Certainly the budget is part of that.
It goes on to say that emphasis will be placed on strengthening the province's long-term economic potential. My colleagues have indicated the seriousness of this particular happening on the monetary matters of this province and the international money market, and certainly for people within the community who have to go to banks for loans. I am referring, of course, to members of the agricultural community.
Finally, if I can paraphrase what the Treasurer said this morning when I listened to him on one of the radio stations, he said essentially that the issue is not who goofed or how the information got out; the issue is whether in fact information did get out, and if it did, the Treasurer or the minister has to accept responsibility. He made a point of repeating that. I do not think there is any question that the information got out. What we want to hear is him accepting the responsibility for it getting out.
Mr. Speaker: I indicated when I recognized the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne) that he would be the last speaker to be heard. I would like to think I could have the co-operation of the House to get ahead with the routine proceedings.
Mr. Nixon: You are certainly going to get lots of co-operation from the Premier and the Treasurer on that one.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Renfrew North, briefly.
Mr. Conway: Yes, Mr. Speaker, very briefly. It concerns me a great deal that this morning there have been two versions of a statement released by Mr. John Mullin, chairman of the board, Carswell Printing Co., referred to by the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick).
The Liberal Party research individual picked up what I will call exhibit 1 at the offices of Fraser and Beatty. There is a second version, which I will call exhibit 2 and which was circulated in the Queen's Park press gallery. These are not the same scripts. It is the same language, clearly. The layout and the typing is different. I am suspicious about the difference.
The office of my friend the Premier was associated with exhibit 2. Perhaps he will speak to that. This is of great concern to those who have had this kind of experience. The Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell), who in an earlier incarnation was Minister of Health, will recall doctored documents. I want to submit exhibits 1 and 2 of the Mullin statement and ask you to consider them, and the Premier may wish to clear the air. We want to be sure the Carswell Printing Co. is speaking for itself in all respects and is not acting in some adjunct capacity for anyone else.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, to try to confine the issues somewhat, I will speak very briefly to the last point raised by the honourable member.
I have not seen exhibits 1 or 2 -- I have seen the notice given -- because our office has been inundated by requests from the press and others with respect to this matter. I am quite prepared to accept either version of Mr. Mullin's statement. There is no authorship in the Premier's office or anywhere else; I do not think we should let that obscure our discussions. I am not familiar with either of the two statements. The member says there may be some difference --
Mr. T. P. Reid: You shouldn't be involved in his statement at all.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He asked that this be transmitted, I gather. I do not see any harm or any problem with that. I just do not want that to become part of the issue.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That is not the function of the Premier's office. Will you send out mine?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, we are here, it is a Friday morning, and people communicate. With great respect, the members opposite do it on their stationery day after day. There is nothing improper in that.
Mr. Conway: Did you get your office to type one of these copies?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I do not have the foggiest idea.
Mr. Conway: Can the Premier find out?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Sure. But I do not think it is relevant, with respect.
Mr. Speaker: I think we should now proceed --
Mr. McGuigan: I would like to challenge your ruling, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: It is not a ruling. I am acting at the request of the House; I am in your hands. I just made the observation that I felt the representations were becoming repetitive.
The member for Kent-Elgin.
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I direct my remarks only to you. My privileges have been abused in this situation, because yesterday, today and all this weekend I have appointments to meet with farmers and businessmen.
One of the farmers has been presented a letter from his bank saying that under the Ontario farm adjustment assistance program the bank will go along with him this year provided he signs a statement saying he will voluntarily liquidate next year. This man has seed ready to go into the ground this very day. He is looking to me for advice as to whether he should chuck the whole thing, put an end to it now, or go ahead and plant those crops.
How can I, as a conscientious person, offer that man advice when we have a report that there is such and such a thing in the budget, that we are sending out a signal to bankers and financial people and all involved that we are downgrading the agricultural industry? Is that in the budget or is it not? At this moment I do not know, and I do not know how I can respond to those people.
Mr. McGuigan: The Treasurer has been invited many times.
I have people who are involved in the new employment expansion and development program. One man has put about eight years into a project; it is at the very crucial stage as to whether or not it goes forward. If it goes forward, a great many people will be employed; if it does not go forward this man will lose his property, his goods, his house and his furniture, and he could very well be out on the road. What sort of advice can I give that man this weekend when I do not know what signals are being sent by this government?
On Sunday I am going to a celebration in Dresden, to the opening of a museum that is celebrating 100 years since the death of Josiah Henson.
Mr. Gordon: You'll fit right in, you're just about that age.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Isn't the Premier ashamed of that remark by his colleague?
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Rainy River will please resume his seat.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege.
Mr. Speaker: No, there is one on the floor and I am listening to it.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I will deal with it as soon as --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I make no apologies for my age. The Lord willing, I will be 60 years old this November.
Mr. Speaker: Now to the point of privilege, please.
Mr. McGuigan: Those 60 years have taught me a little bit about humility, about honour and about tradition, and that is what we are really talking about here in this whole debate.
I am going to be speaking on Sunday at this celebration of 100 years since the death of Josiah Henson. One of the things that comes to mind is that 150 to 200 years ago there were people who said slavery was a necessary evil; it was evil, but you had to have it. But there were other people who said there was a higher morality, that the British system meant more than the economic system. The people of morality prevailed and we did away with slavery.
Where is morality today in this situation? I would not feel so bad about the Treasurer had he come in here last night and laid it on the table. Had he resigned and had the Premier rejected the resignation, I would not feel so bad about it. But we were cut off in this Legislature. We have a flood of press releases. We have all of these uncertainties that abridge my privileges as a back-bench member who on this weekend has a lot of people to deal with.
I am very sad and I am very sorry about the events that have happened. I just feel that those traditions and those high principles are being voided, and I am sorry for that.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, under standing order 19(b) I move that the Treasurer do now speak.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Rainy River rose first.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I would not ordinarily do this, but I sat here yesterday afternoon and was lectured by the Premier himself in self-righteous tones that I have not even heard outdone by the New Democratic Party about name-calling and personal references.
In the last half hour in this House we have heard, from the Conservative back benches, one of my colleagues referred to as "the bishop," and I believe it was the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon) referring to my friend in derogatory terms with regard to his age.
Now I would presume, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. T. P. Reid: I'm not being self-righteous.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Perhaps we do not have a standard here, as I had presumed. The Premier was addressing himself to it yesterday, and lectured us ad nauseam, so I presume that he will do the honourable thing, stand in his place and repudiate those two remarks on behalf of the Conservative caucus.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Sudbury, please. Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, on the matter of personal privilege --
Mr. Speaker: I will recognize the Premier because he is going to respond directly. The member for Sudbury shakes his head.
Mr. Gordon: Mr. Speaker, in the heat of the debate I have to say that my remark was unparliamentary and I certainly withdraw it and apologize to the member.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, on the matter of personal privilege raised by the member for Rainy River --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Okay, the point of order. I would like to reply to the point of order.
The member for Sudbury has already indicated that he withdraws his remark. I would only say to the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney), and I do not say this facetiously, I was at the traditional Easter gathering of the Catholic bishops of Ontario and the trustees' association some many years ago and I was introduced as Bishop Davis. There was great applause and I was very flattered. I have never considered that as being a derogatory term, and I am sure his colleague will not.
If the member is going to get up and ask me to discipline or say something to members of my caucus, I am prepared to do that --
Mr. T. P. Reid: You lectured us all afternoon yesterday.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Now listen, that's fine.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Sure, you can be as pious as you want. Maybe you should be a bishop. I've never seen one as pious as you are.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, if you had not heard me previously. I move under standing order 19(h) that --
Mr. Speaker: I have indeed heard you, and I was going to deal with that.
Mr. Foulds: -- the Treasurer, the member for Muskoka, do now speak.
Mr. Speaker: I must point out that that covers the rules of debate and we are not really having a debate. We are dealing with a point of privilege that was raised by the Leader of the Opposition. We have been confining our remarks to that point of privilege, so really it does not fall within the parameters of the standing orders to accept that motion.
Mr. Nixon: On that point, Mr. Speaker, if I may: There is a motion before the House; you are about to rule it out of order, perhaps, but I would like to speak on it just before you do.
Mr. Speaker: Which motion?
Mr. Nixon: The motion that the Treasurer be now heard. You have not ruled it out of order, but you are getting fairly close to it.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk.
Mr. Nixon: I must say I agree to some extent with what the honourable member put forward. It is incredible that the Treasurer has not risen in his place to defend himself in this important point of privilege. He has said he is prepared to speak in ministerial statements, which come up later.
Mr. Speaker, perhaps you are supposed to draw the information you require for your important decision from something that is said after this debate. The Treasurer probably presumes that because he is a minister he has some special privilege in this connection; but it seems to me that he is badly advised by his seatmates to the left and right when he does not rise in his place as an honourable member and explain this situation.
It may very well be satisfactory to his colleagues and to the Speaker, but how can the Speaker make a legitimate decision without hearing the Treasurer's defence?
I have every sympathy with the purpose of the motion before us. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. The House can vote to hear the Treasurer, but if he will not speak there is nothing we can do but urge him to do the proper thing, and that is speak on this point of privilege.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, on the point raised by the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds), it says, "A motion may be made by any member who has risen." I would submit the Treasurer has not risen and therefore the motion is out of order.
Mr. Speaker: If I may deal with the motion that was made by the member for Port Arthur --
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, may I speak to it?
Mr. Speaker: But you already have.
Mr. Foulds: No, I haven't. I just made the motion. You never allowed me to speak to my own motion.
Mr. Speaker: I thought you were on your feet twice.
Mr. Foulds: I just want to say I find it absolutely incredible that we have this very important matter before us. The Treasurer has indicated by various means, as has the Premier, that he has a statement to make, and that statement has to do with the most important matter that is before this Legislature in this province, and it has not been made. Whether the procedure is through a point of privilege, through a ministerial statement, or through rule 19(b), I plead with the Treasurer and I plead with the House, to allow the Treasurer to speak.
Mr. Speaker: This is a matter of procedure, and to deal with the motion which was made by the member for Port Arthur I would have to rule, as I think he well knows, that the motion is indeed out of order. That, first of all, covers rules of debate, and second is only applied when two or more members rise to speak at the same time. I rule the motion, however well intentioned, out of order.
We are dealing with a point of privilege which you have asked me to take into consideration. I will do that and will give it my most serious consideration. I would like to thank all those honourable members who have taken the time to make me aware of their views, and now if we can get on with routine proceedings we will have statements from the ministry.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I wish to give a report to this House --
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I just want to observe to the Treasurer that I do not have a copy of the statement, which is the normal courtesy.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I wish to give a report to this House on the incidents which have occurred in the last 24 hours with respect to certain aspects of the production of the 1983 Ontario budget. I will begin by sharing with the members the sequence of events that took place yesterday afternoon.
First, members of my Treasury staff were alerted Thursday afternoon to apparent attempts to breach security at the premises of Carswell Printing Co., where I had planned to have the budget printed. As a result of this, a request was made to the Ontario Provincial Police, who are responsible for part of the security of the budget, to investigate this matter.
Yesterday, I met in my office with Robert Stephens and Rosemary Speirs, two reporters from the Globe and Mail. This meeting took place at their request. At that time, they showed me documents purported to be parts of my budget. I have not received from the Globe and Mail copies of these documents.
As the members of this House know, I cannot comment on any of the specifics of my budget. If I were to do so, I would be breaching budget secrecy. However, I can say that the documents that were shown to me yesterday did not appear to be from final drafts of my budget, nor could they have been since final decisions have not yet been made.
Hon. F. S. Miller: That happens to be true.
The actual drafting of a budget begins long before the final decisions are made. As every member of this House knows, the preparation of a budget is a very complex process and involves the compilation and analysis of complicated financial information. To expedite production, I send preliminary material to the printers very early in the process, in fact well before decisions have been finalized, and make revisions to the proofs as required.
From the first day of this process the OPP is responsible for security at the Frost Building, where the budget goes through its drafts, and at Carswell Printing Co., which has the contract to print the budget. This security arrangement is a long-standing one. Until this occasion, that process has worked well. In addition to special OPP security at the Carswell plant, the tender for the printer includes this clause, which I quote:
The printer is required to, "Guarantee absolute security and secrecy of any and all parts of this job while in his possession, e.g. manuscript, galley proofs and page proofs, printed sheets and folded sheets. Any spoiled parts must be shredded immediately."
Let us review what has happened here. Draft documents which the reporters allege may have formed part of an earlier draft of my budget have apparently been picked out of the garbage at the commercial printing establishment by a Globe and Mail employee. There is no suggestion that any material related to the budget came from me or any member of my staff.
As of today, final decisions have not been made on the 1983 budget, nor have final drafts been printed. I have now directed that the budget preparation process be revised and that the entire production of the budget, including reproduction, be transferred to the Treasury building where it will be under the strict control of my staff. I have asked my staff to report to me by Monday on whether or not logistical changes will require me to delay the presentation of my budget. I will inform the House of my decision on Monday.
In addition, I would like to put on the record the statement that was issued by Mr. John Mullin:
"Carswell Printing Co. has maintained the best possible methods of ensuring secrecy in relation to the printing of the provincial budget, which it has done for many years. These security measures are under the supervision of the Ontario Provincial Police and have been approved by them. They include the shredding of all scrap. It appears, however, that a few proofs of pages were placed in garbage which was not shredded but which remained on the printing plant property. These scraps were searched for and removed by a reporter or reporters who quite improperly trespassed and invaded the plant property and searched the garbage which was still the property of the printing company. Consideration is being given to instituting proceedings for theft."
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Treasurer. In the Globe and Mail of today he is quoted as saying that he had finished the budget. Yesterday he apparently said he was still doing some rewriting of the text but was making no changes in the figures. He purportedly said that three days ago. Is that quote correct or not?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, at about 11:30 yesterday morning I was talking to at least one reporter on this matter. I said to him I had the second draft I had seen of the text of the budget as opposed to budget papers. Those budget papers this year, as I may have explained, are being bound separately simply to have flexibility. That was decided six months ago -- no, three months ago.
At that point I was making a number of structural changes to the phraseology and as a matter of fact following that, at the request of one minister who was privy to a program, I made a program change. That was at the specific request of one minister who wished me to remove something. That was done.
Mr. Peterson: Just so I understand, because there is a lot of confusion over the sequence of the details here, is the Treasurer saying it is incorrect that three days ago he had finished his budget? He is making changes. Is that what the minister is saying to the House, or is it his intention to change the figures further?
Hon. F. S. Miller: For example, I had no idea the program which I had included and which I thought had been approved by a minister, when passed by him yesterday was not approved by him. That made a change which I did not expect to make. If the honourable member says three days ago, I would say that on Monday morning I was still working on figures and made a number of changes because I had some legal requirements with the government of Canada for certain notices, and those changes were coming fairly late in the day. I had left open the possibility of change but it is factually correct to say I had not planned any more dollar and cent changes.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, does the fact that the Treasurer has decided to change the method of production and reproduction of the budget, and transfer it to the Treasury offices themselves, indicate that the previous measures taken were inadequate or that there was a problem with them? Does he not feel a sense of personal responsibility for the deficiencies in security which appear to have taken place?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, if any papers are available anywhere through any means obviously the system of security broke down. I would think that answers the question the member raised. Am I responsible? For all of the lecturing that has gone on this morning, some of it serious, some of it a bit pious, I would suggest to the member I have never ever taken my responsibility lightly, nor assumed that I, as Treasurer, was not responsible.
Mr. Peterson: Do we have the Treasurer's assurance or is the Treasurer making any further changes to his budget? In addition to that, is there any additional material missing that was not quoted in the press? Has he made inquiries to that extent, and is, in fact, what was printed in the Globe and Mail correct?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I would have to go through the Globe and Mail in great detail to make sure if it were correct or not. Because I was given a set of pages which looked very much like many other pages -- I do not have them all memorized -- I was trying to decide whether they were part of the budget document, whether they were part of the budget papers or whether they were part of the estimates being printed by the Management Board of Cabinet.
Several of those possibilities appeared to be open when I saw the first documents yesterday. Therefore, I cannot categorically say everything is correct or that it is not correct, nor do I wish at this point to speculate, because if I tell the honourable members what is right or wrong at this point I have committed a breach of confidence in the budget.
Mr. Peterson: Having been able to solve the logistical problems of transferring the printing back to the Treasury department -- assuming he can do that -- is it the Treasurer's intention to go ahead on Tuesday?
Hon. F. S. Miller: It is my current intention to go ahead on Tuesday and the reasoning is this: I believe I have taken the minimum possible time between Mr. Lalonde's budget and the mechanics of having mine adjusted to match his. I believe the economy of this province deserves a budget as soon as possible. I would not like to see the budget process delayed and I would like to say I intend to deliver that budget as Treasurer.
Mr. Peterson: I assume the Treasurer admits to saying -- because I heard the tape -- "I thought that the rules were such that one had to quit after that sort of thing." That was his response to the Lalonde indiscretion. Is the Treasurer telling us now in this House that he does not believe his indiscretion, or the mistakes made in his ministry, were similar and that he has absolutely no responsibility?
Is he telling us he does not have any obligation to honour his own advice to the federal finance minister? Does he not feel he has a responsibility to resign, given his responsibility for the security of the documents as well as their contents?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I am going to be giving that continuing thought. I believe what I said in a very brief press conference last night was that I would deliver the budget before considering any alternatives to resignation or staying on in office. I intend to do that.
I suggest there is a great deal of difference between what appears at this point to have been something that was less than legal in a mechanism for obtaining information and the direct holding of a current budget in the hand of a minister in front of a camera. I suggest there is a big difference.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, in the second paragraph on page 2 of the Treasurer's statement he says he is not going to comment on any of the specifics of the budget. However, he wants to tell us the drafts that were there did not appear to be from final drafts of his budget, nor could they have been since final decisions have not yet been made. Is the Treasurer telling us he intends to make further changes now as a result of the information having been disclosed?
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, Mr. Speaker, not on the basis of what the member alleges to be the disclosure of information.
This year, I deliberately left the printing process with roughly a 24-hour time span between printing and delivery so that I could make changes right up to that point, based upon economic need or other tax matters.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, in view of all this, does the Treasurer not think it is time he changed the whole budgetary process? Should he not make it a more open situation and accept some of the very valid and positive remarks of the Leader of the Opposition and even myself on the whole matter of producing the budget and putting it forward? Does he not feel a lot of these things could be avoided if we brought the budgetary process in Ontario into the 1980s?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, my honourable friend and certain members of his party are very good parliamentarians. I have learned to respect them. I would think they should understand there is a difference between the British system and the American system which he appears to want us to emulate.
In the American system, there is a committee that does peruse and adjust budgets. In the British system, a government is held responsible for a budget provided by a finance minister. I have to take that basic responsibility and I share that with very few colleagues. It is then brought forward to this House and a government is either defeated or upheld on the basis of the budget. It is not a shared responsibility in the British system.
Mr. Rae: There is a serious question here which has to be dealt with. I think it is a question of what is a budget and what is a budget leak.
According to what the Treasurer is telling us, the budget is entirely a movable feast and can be different on Wednesday from what it was on Tuesday and different on Tuesday from what it was on Monday and so on through the weekend, back and forth. If that is so, there can never be any such thing as a leak of budgetary information, according to what the Treasurer is telling us. It would always be possible for him and his ministry to change the budget once certain information has been revealed.
In that respect, is it or is it not the intention of the government to raise Ontario health insurance plan premiums by five per cent? Is that a feature of the budget that is set in stone? We are entitled to an answer to that question. Is that or is that not a feature of the budget?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The member will discover that on Tuesday.
Mr. Rae: What we will discover on Tuesday is whether or not the Treasurer and the cabinet, after meeting about this matter, have decided to change their minds once the information has been made public. That is what we are going to find out on Tuesday and that is a very different thing.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: I would like to ask the Treasurer to answer directly: Did he or did he not tell members of the press earlier this week that the budget was finished? Did he or did he not say he had finished his budget?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes, I did. I also tell the member that since that time I had to change it because of forces that existed before I even knew of this leak. Therefore, I had to change it after thinking it was complete.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, the Treasurer himself has admitted in the public press that there are documents awash in the city of Toronto that, to quote him, "could ruin his life." He has admitted here this morning that he has not yet had an opportunity to complete the inventory of lost or missing material. We can understand how difficult that might be.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is impossible.
Mr. Conway: The Premier says it is impossible.
My question to the Treasurer is, how can he plan to go forward in three days' time to introduce a budget in this House that may have been breached in ways that the Treasurer this morning and in the intervening hours may not be able to satisfy himself about? How is that going to be possible? How is he going to know when he stands in his place here on Tuesday that some of this information has not disseminated beyond the immediate confines of Queen's Park?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The point I was trying to make, Mr. Speaker, was that once I read my budget you will know whether there was or was not a leak and you can hold me accountable.
Mr. Rae: With respect, the record will show the Treasurer has told us there was a leak. I would say to him the only person who knows as of today whether there has been a leak is the Treasurer, and what was a leak on Friday may well prove not to be a leak on Tuesday if the government decides to change the budget.
Does the Treasurer not feel that the whole budgetary process has been flawed and that the credibility of the budget has been seriously undermined as a result of what has happened? Does he not think he now has an obligation to start again? I suggest he should step down from his position and let someone else start the process over again until we determine by means of a parliamentary committee precisely what has happened with respect to this extraordinary leak.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The police are investigating what happened. I would like to know what the police find. I think that is important. Once they have had a chance to complete an investigation, I suspect we will learn in this House what the results of that investigation are. Until that happens I do not want to speculate.
As to the rest of it, I believe, and I hope the member believes, it is important right now to have a budget brought forward. It is in the interests of the unemployed about whom he talks quite a bit. It is in the interest of the economy. I believe I have many measures not hinted at anywhere that are of use to the people in this province who need help.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the Treasurer can tell us, since he has admitted there has been a leak, whether he has any idea if there are any more. Does he know whether there is any other information floating around? Is he going to wake up tomorrow morning to discover that more information has been leaked?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, that is a one-sided alternative. I do not know what I do not know.
Mr. Rae: I am not sure the Treasurer knows what he knows, and that is the problem. He certainly is not telling us what he knows, and that is another problem.
I ask the Treasurer in all seriousness whether he does not feel the credibility of this budgetary process has been undermined. Does he not feel that the publication of this information with respect to the five per cent Ontario hospital insurance plan premium increase, with respect to the cutbacks in expenditure on the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the prepublication of that kind of information in itself, taints the entire budgetary process?
Does he not feel it is important that we start again with a fresh Treasurer and with a fresh approach rather than proceed in a manner that is going to leave so many questions unanswered, because he is the only one who is in a position to answer them?
Hon. F. S. Miller: First of all, the member asks about the process. I suggest that perhaps I have lost just a little confidence in the collection of news and what in fact is a legitimate way to go about collecting news. He talks about the budget process having been depreciated. I suggest to him that when somebody comes to me and says, "I was testing the security of your system," that is not what I consider the normal technique of collecting news. I have no idea what will be found. If one deliberately sets out either to break the law or to find ways and means of obtaining otherwise well-guarded information, I do not think that is the normal technique that has been used by what I think are very fine people in the press gallery.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, is it now fair to say the Treasurer's position is that he has rejected the time-honoured tradition and responsibility that the Treasurer is responsible not only for the contents but also for the security of the budget document? Is it now his position that he is not responsible for the security of those documents? Is that what he is telling this House?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, what I said was that the members will not know what my budget is until I deliver it. They will then have an opportunity to assess whether they believe there were genuine leaks. I have never tried to say I am not responsible for the process. I am not sure about, and I have not had legal advice on, the extension of that responsibility to purloined information.
Mr. Peterson: It is a moral question. You don't have any moral counsellors over there.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, on a matter of privilege: If that gentleman thinks I find this easy or that I have somehow lost my moral competence in this, I suggest he does not know how I have felt for the past 12 hours.
Mr. Rae: I simply say the Treasurer is the only person in this House who knows as of today whether there has been a leak. That is why the question becomes one of personal honour. The Treasurer today is the only person in a position to know whether there has been a leak; that puts a particular onus on him to make a decision.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: If the Treasurer is not prepared to make a decision on resignation today, which I regret, is he at least prepared to see that as of today this entire matter is referred to the standing committee on procedural affairs?
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, Mr. Speaker. I simply suggest this: I have a responsibility and a duty to bring forward a budget. I see that the highest needs of the province will be served by doing that. I have not in any way tried to say I will not be considering whatever responsibilities I may have once the member sees the document. I want the member to see that document. I want it to be in effect so we can at least start the actions that are contained in it.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. God only knows what else is missing. Surely that is the point. That is the real concern. We do not know what is missing and we are going to get a budget that may be compromised because of that ignorance.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Conway: My question to the Treasurer deals with the second paragraph of his statement: "I will begin by sharing with the members the sequence of events that took place yesterday afternoon. First, members of my Treasury staff were alerted Thursday afternoon of apparent attempts to breach security at the premises of Carswell Printing Co. where I had planned to have the budget printed."
At exactly what time and by whom were his Treasury officials notified? Can he now share with the members of this House the specifics of what that breach of security was alleged to have been?
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, Mr. Speaker. I suggest the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor) has pointed out to me that his own investigations are more likely to succeed if I or others do not speculate on, or give information about, the information in his hands.
Mr. Conway: As he knows and I am sure understands, that really makes the job of the official opposition and all members who are inquiring into this situation very difficult.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Conway: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Don't you want to get at the truth?
Mr. Conway: The Premier says," Don't you want to get at the truth?"
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections.
Mr. Conway: Yes, we do; and of course the wall of sub judice has been put before us many times before.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We haven't mentioned that.
Mr. Conway: Given the Treasurer's rather unique and personal view of the essential and central convention of ministerial responsibility, can he explain to me and to this House why, after having been told some time late yesterday afternoon that this storm was about to break, he did not come to this House last evening at eight o'clock or some time thereafter to give members of this assembly an indication of what was taking place and what kind of initiative he was undertaking with the Solicitor General to protect this most sacred of government processes and documents?
Why did the Treasurer not retire from Napoleon's restaurant last evening just long enough to share at least that much with the members of this assembly gathered in evening session, as I think he ought to have?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The question as to whether anything at all should have been said last night was discussed. I had been told by the Globe and Mail at approximately 6:15 p.m. that it would publish information last night. I had no reason not to believe that was so. By eight o'clock, I was aware of certain information in the Globe and Mail.
At that point I felt it was just as wise to let the rest of the press gallery know that was happening and that I would have the information for a statement this morning once I had a chance to look through some of the material. If the honourable member went through what was very short advice to that group of approximately four or five reporters, he would discover I simply told them a story was being printed that night and I would be checking its authenticity and checking the documents purported to be from my budget.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I was certain I heard the Treasurer on the Metro Morning interview this morning indicate that the Ontario Provincial Police was responsible for the security measures surrounding the budget, and I notice in his statement to the House he has now said the OPP is responsible for part of the security. Will he tell the House who is responsible for the security and what agencies of government share that responsibility?
Hon. F. S. Miller: It is not an agency of government, Mr. Speaker. In fact, it is in my statement, which I read to members, that the printer has responsibilities; that is, he shares part of the responsibility.
BUDGET PRINTING CONTRACT
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, on page 3 of the Treasurer's statement he says: "The printer is required to 'guarantee absolute security and secrecy of any or all parts of this job while in his possession, e.g. manuscript, galley proofs and page proofs, printed sheets and folded sheets. Any spoiled parts must be shredded immediately.'"
That is a contract the Treasurer signed with the printer. It was a part of the tender put out by his ministry. If that is what he expects of the printer, whose responsibility is it to make sure the contract is fully and totally carried out?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I think the contract is signed by the Ministry of Government Services as the major manager of that type of purchase and it is done on behalf of Treasury. Any time a contract is tendered, there are performance requirements. It does not matter whether one is building a building or printing a book. If there is a breakdown in the performance from one point of view or another, usually there are some penalty clauses or other actions one can take. There has appeared to be a breakdown in that clause. I do not know what actions will be taken, I will be awaiting legal advice on that matter.
Mr. Cooke: I am sure the Treasurer approves the specifications for his contracts on matters of budgetary tendering. Is the Treasurer saying to us that it is not his responsibility to make sure this contract is fulfilled? Is he saying the security breakdown does not come back to him, or is he now saying it is the responsibility of the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Wiseman) or perhaps the Solicitor General? Where does the responsibility lie in this parliament?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Obviously the police are involved. I assume the police report first to their minister and secondly to me. I am held accountable, as are ministers of the crown on the collegial basis for our actions. In no way am I trying to put that on anybody else. I think the honourable member is trying to make it look as if I am; I am not.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, was the minister personally briefed on the security aspects of farming the job out to an outside printer? If he is not now satisfied, for obvious reasons, how can he so conveniently move it back into the Treasury building, where it probably should have been in the first instance?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, this is my fifth budget. In terms of being briefed on security arrangements, since I believe the same printer has been used each time, I was briefed earlier and I was rebriefed after this incident for refreshment.
There are lots of things that can be done in-house at greater cost. We had no reason in the first 10 years to have any reason to believe the security measures were not adequate. We found the efficiency and cost of the outside firm to be to our advantage and therefore we used it. Now that security is probably seen to be more important than cost, we are bringing it back in-house with some difficulty.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, it has been said by two or three members that the Treasurer is the only one who knows whether a valid leak has occurred. He is reported in the Globe and Mail yesterday as having assured that the figures were final, without any equivocation. He has now gone back on that and has said one specific program had been changed because of an oversight in one of the ministries.
Can he tell this House whether the figures we have all read in the Globe and Mail are part of the budget as it was established in his mind before the leak, if it was a leak? If he has assured himself of that, is it his intention that those figures will be changed?
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, I cannot, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Nixon: This is the catch 22 we face. There is only one person who knows whether there was a leak. It is really completely invalid to say one has to see what is in the budget to know whether a leak has occurred. The minister is personally responsible for this and he knows the course of action that is necessary. For him to say that if he comments on that in any way, he simply reveals the contents of the budget ahead of time is the worst kind of sophistry I have ever heard.
The minister has stated clearly that it has nothing whatsoever to do with how the information becomes public. When a leak occurs, he has only one course of action. Does he not see that in his own mind, if a leak has occurred, his resignation must be put in the hands of the Premier?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I am aware of the rules.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. Is it not a fact that his government raises more money through the Ontario health insurance plan premium than it does through corporation taxes and that it is a major source of revenue for this government? Can he tell us again, because we still do not understand, whether the five per cent increase in the OHIP premium, allegedly a leak from his budget in today's Globe and Mail, is a leak from his budget?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I said I will not comment on that.
Mr. McClellan: We went through this same episode three weeks ago in Ottawa and it cost the taxpayers of Canada $200 million to save Marc Lalonde's neck. Can I have some assurance from the Treasurer that the people of this province are not going to have to pay through the nose in the form of even higher OHIP premiums as a result of what has happened with his budget?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I cannot make a comment on it. I would like to point out to the honourable member that OHIP premiums do not even have to be in the budget. They are subject to regulatory change.
Mr. O'Neil: Mr. Speaker, from his discussion of the leaks and from his discussions with the reporters from the Globe and Mail, can the Treasurer tell us whether they have additional information that will be printed, or was that the total amount they got from the garbage bag?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have answered that question previously. I do not know.
ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Is the minister aware that some of the lending institutions are telling some of the farmers they will not honour the guaranteed line of credit portion of the Ontario farm adjustment assistance program because the Ministry of Agriculture and Food itself is going to guarantee only a certain portion?
With the announcement in the budget leak that there will be a 13 per cent reduction in the agriculture budget, is the minister not concerned that the lending institutions now are going to take a very firm stand and say to the farmers, "It is obvious that the government has very little commitment to the agriculture industry, so why should we risk giving you a new line of credit?"
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I remind the honourable member that in the recess between the extended fall sitting of the Legislature and the resumption of the House I met with representatives of the major chartered banks to discuss the question of credit to the agriculture industry, specifically to the part of the industry that concerns the member in his question, the farmers.
The net result of those many meetings was a clear conclusion, stated by them to me, that they see agriculture as a continuing priority, an industry in which they want to continue to be involved and in which they see a growth in activity in 1983 -- that is to say, they would foresee extending more credit to agriculture in 1983 than in 1982.
In addition, I think it is fair to say, not only from my private meetings with the banks but also from statements attributed to them in their appearances recently before a parliamentary committee of the House of Commons and from statements of the bankers' association, that they see the farm adjustment assistance program in this province as an example of how governments, the lending community -- which is broader, of course, than just the banks; as the member knows, it involves credit unions and trust companies as well -- and the agricultural community can work together.
To go to the opening part of the member's question, if he has specific cases about which he is concerned, the door, as he knows, is always open. He frequently sends me over notes about individual cases, and they are always tracked down.
We pride ourselves in the ministry that, as much as or perhaps more than any other ministry, we do deal very fairly with individual cases. One of the member's colleagues, the member for Grey (Mr. McKessock), gave me a case just yesterday, as a matter of fact, which we will begin to look into today and, I hope, be able to resolve.
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, the minister just said the parties can work together, yet I mentioned earlier a case where the bank has said, "We will go on with the bank's recommendation and the OFAAP recommendation only if you sign this agreement to go into voluntary liquidation a year from now." How is the minister dealing with such cases? I know of one case that has been brought to his attention.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: On an individual basis, Mr. Speaker. There are well over 80,000 farmers out there. To date, we have about 3,700, I guess, who have been or are involved in the farm adjustment assistance program. No two cases are exactly the same; we have to deal with them on an individual basis.
If the honourable member has not already drawn that individual's case to my attention or to the attention of my deputy minister or members of my staff, I wish he would do so because, as I have said, the offer is totally open to all members of this House -- indeed, to anybody concerned about an individual farmer's financial situation -- to track down on an individual basis all of the facts and, where possible, to assist in achieving a resolution.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that loans to farmers will have been put on hold as of last night, and, oh yes, in view of the urgency and the need for farmers in even the next three or four days to have assurances of those loans, has the minister been in touch or will he be in touch with the banks to express any displeasure about putting those loans on hold because of the budget leak?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, with respect, the honourable member is really building something of a straw man. He knows that the farm adjustment assistance program has been extended through 1983. He knows, surely, although I cannot recall his drawing any individual cases to my attention, that we are in touch on a daily basis with the lending institutions -- I use that broader term because it is more than just a bank; there are a number of trust companies and credit unions which are also part of OFAAP.
I have absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe, nor should the member -- he is raising a spectre which will unnecessarily concern some people -- that the information quoted in today's press will in any way, shape or form, influence any lender's decision.
Mr. Swart: The Minister of Agriculture and Food is out of touch with regard to the loan situation relative to farmers and the jeopardy they are in.
Mr. Speaker, I have a new question to the Treasurer on the same subject. My understanding of his position on the budget leak is that he will not confirm the accuracy or inaccuracy or the degree thereof of the budget provision, as reported by the Globe and Mail. I think that is an accurate interpretation of what he said.
Irrespective of the accuracy, does the Treasurer not think that a 13 per cent decrease in assistance to agriculture would be a major economic mistake and would demonstrate an unconscionable degree of heartlessness towards the plight of the farmers?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, my friend the member jumps to conclusions. I would suggest he should see the details before he makes any assessments of what is happening in the budget.
Mr. Swart: Now that the situation is changed from when the leaked budget was in preparation, now that there will be no race among the ministers for the Premier's chair and now that there is no need for the Treasurer to undercut any of his colleagues, including the Minister of Agriculture and Food, will the Treasurer give this House the assurance that the final budget which will come before us here on Tuesday will, far from containing reductions, contain substantial increases for agriculture?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The member will know on Tuesday.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, just so that we are clear: The Treasurer intends to proceed with the budget on Tuesday afternoon at four o'clock, even though he by then may not have satisfied himself that he has fully contained the leak. Is that a correct understanding?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, they are speculating on a leak. I am making no more comments on it.
Mr. Speaker: The Solicitor General has the answer to a previously asked question.
DEATHS AT HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable members will recall, on April 28 I advised them of an investigation into the death of a child at the cardiac ward of the Hospital for Sick Children. The investigation by the Metropolitan Toronto Police began on April 24 after consultation with Dr. Bennett, the chief coroner. Elevated levels of digoxin were found.
A team of scientists at the Centre of Forensic Sciences has conducted further tests. The investigating officers have met with Dr. Bennett and his staff, Dr. Hastreiter and Dr. Kaufman, experts in the field of paediatrics and digoxin, and with crown counsel and the Deputy Solicitor General.
I have now received a report of the results of the meetings from Dr. Bennett and my deputy, Mr. McLeod, and can advise members that, after receiving both medical and legal advice, the police are satisfied the case should not be treated as a homicide. Accordingly, the events surrounding this death will be the subject of an inquest, which has been set for Tuesday, May 24, 1983.
I can also advise the members that Dr. James Young, the regional coroner for Metropolitan Toronto, will be conducting the inquest.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, can the minister assure this House that there will be no limitations placed on the coroner's inquest? Can he tell us if relevant portions of the report of the Atlanta Centers for Disease Control, which do not point the finger at individuals but deal with the whole issue of digoxin, will be tabled so that the coroner and the people involved can have a look at all the information relevant to the toxic and lethal levels of digoxin?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, when a coroner conducts an investigation there is a statutory duty upon that coroner to seek out the information he or she feels is necessary to continue the investigation. I am sure the honourable member would not want me to direct the coroner as to what information he is to look at and what he is not to look at. It is an investigative hearing conducted by the coroner as a hearing officer.
The experienced regional coroner from Metropolitan Toronto, Dr. James Young, will make the determination of what he needs to investigate that death. As I said, I am sure the member would not want me putting in anything that would probably be described at that point as political interference on this very important hearing matter before the coroner.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, the Treasurer admitted this morning that there has been a leak of material to the public. He has admitted that substantial material has become public. He has admitted that material is related to the budgetary process. Can he tell us if the rewriting that is taking place at this moment and that will take place throughout the weekend in the Treasury offices will have absolutely nothing to do with the incident of this material becoming public last night and with the material that has been made public and released to the public?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the member is on a flight of fancy. He can speculate as much as he wishes. I will make no commitments.
Mr. Foulds: In the material that has been made public, it has been indicated that there is a cut in the Ministry of Industry and Trade expenditure of 37 per cent. Can the minister confirm whether that has been contemplated at any time in the budgetary process? Can he confirm whether that is the thrust of his budgetary policy? How can he justify that in terms of the job creation that is so necessary in the province at this time?
Hon. F. S. Miller: As I said to the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart), do not jump to conclusions until you see the budget.
Mr. Foulds: You will be rewriting history, Frank. You are pulling a Lalonde.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Treasurer a question that has been asked in a slightly different way. Can he inform us what assurances, after he became aware of the leak --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Wrye: Can the Treasurer inform us what assurances he sought from the reporters or from the newspaper involved, after he became aware of what he described as a leak in this House this morning, as to what other aspects of the budget the newspaper or the reporters may have, what documents they may still have in their possession?
What assurance has he sought to make sure they have no additional material so that no aspects of the budget he is to present on Tuesday, which may be favourable to insider knowledge, could result in financial gain? Is he satisfied, and has he sought assurances, that the Globe and Mail has no other leaked documents?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, that is the third time the question has been asked. I do not know.
CUTBACKS IN EXTENSION PROGRAMS
Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. In view of the leaky budget that came out last night and the cutback of 13 per cent that has been estimated in the report, I have received several letters from various women's institutes and other groups expressing concern about cutbacks in extension programs such as 4-H --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. G. I. Miller: -- short courses and home economics adult courses --
Ms. Copps: Order.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you. Order.
Mr. G. I. Miller: -- currently provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Is the minister planning on making cutbacks in these programs under the new rural organization and services branch of his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I did not catch the question.
Mr. G. I. Miller: I will run the question by him one more time. I have received many letters from various women's institutes and other groups expressing concern about cutbacks in extension programs such as 4-H short courses, services provided to the rural community and adult home economics courses currently provided by his ministry. Are there going to be cutbacks in those services to the rural areas of Ontario through his ministry?
Mr. Riddell: It took you three months to appoint an agricultural representative in Middlesex county.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Is the member displeased with the decision?
Mr. Riddell: No, I am pleased with it.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections please.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The member is happy we took the time to make sure we found the right individual.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Haldimand-Norfolk has been recognized.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I will not deal with that. I will deal with that on Monday night when I am in Huron-Middlesex.
The ministry is making no plans to cut such services. In the reorganization of the ministry and the creation of the rural organization services branch, it has been our intention all along not only to maintain the services to the rural community, but within the bounds of our budget and our staffing to try if anything to be of more service to the rural community.
In the next couple of days the member should receive a memorandum I have sent to all members of the House outlining the distribution of staff in both the agricultural representatives branch and the rural organizational services branch. The members will see, when they get that memorandum, that we are maintaining, not cutting, services to the rural community.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Can the minister assure us there will be no cutback in staff at the local offices such as the ag rep offices at Cayuga and Norfolk and in other areas around Ontario? Can he assure us there will be no cutback in the staff and that service will be provided?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I do not have the memorandum here and I cannot recall each individual office. There have already been some redistributions depending on the work load. Some counties are more demanding, have a heavier work load for certain services, and as always there will be some redistribution of staff in that regard. To answer the question, we are not planning to cut services to the rural communities.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, if the leak proves to be true and there is going to be a 13 per cent cutback in his overall budget, in which departments of his ministry will he make the cuts?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to discuss any aspect of my ministry both after the budget next week and when we start estimates on June 1, rather than dealing in hypotheses based on press speculation.
FUNDING FOR MINISTERIAL PROGRAMS
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Industry and Trade. Now that the minister is aware he may be facing a 37 per cent cut in his ministry, can he tell us what programs he would cut to accommodate such a reduction in his funding?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, anyone with any understanding of the ministry and of the budgetary process would realize there is probably a distortion within the system from the point of view of purchases made by the ministry that were attributed to the ministry last year, which this House passed and that would relate to statutory decisions made by this House.
I have nothing further to relate to that. I cannot tell the member what is in the budget. I do not know that. None of the ministers is aware of the details of the budget. However, by a simple cursory look at the estimates of the ministry and of the infusions of a statutory grant during the last year, one would come to the conclusion immediately that the member is totally off base in the question he is now posing.
Mr. Mackenzie: With the desperate need for jobs in Ontario today, would the minister not agree that any savings he is talking about would be more than offset by the need for job creation programs and assistance to industry that is going to create jobs from his ministry? Can he assure us there will not be any cuts and that additional funds will be available for job creation in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Walker: The budget will be what it is and the estimates will be what they are. I suggest the member should go back and take a look at what has been passed by this House and by him specifically in recent years. He will finally come to the conclusion about how any figures might be arrived at. The member is not doing much on his research. He had better take a look at it. He is digging in a little further than he should on it.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, the minister has indicated he has no idea what is in the budget for his ministry. Yet the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) indicated 10 or 15 minutes ago that some minister came to him and wanted a program change, so obviously he must have some idea.
The information is now out there that somehow, some way, 37 per cent is going to be cut out of the minister's budget. I think the minister would have to agree that could be interpreted, correctly or not, as a cut in research and development, a cut in productivity gains or a cut in employment opportunities.
We still have three or four days and there are people out there who could be employed, who could be making market decisions, who could be making investment decisions. Can the minister assure us those are not the places where his share of the budget is going to be cut? Can he make that claim?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I think the member is digging himself in deeper and deeper. What he had better do is go back and have a look at his figures from last year. One look at them and he will know the answer to his question. Both these members have to do better research.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy regarding another obvious bit of mismanagement on the part of Ontario Hydro. I am referring specifically to the 15-year contracts with Petrosar that amount to roughly $1 billion and which have already cost Ontario consumers some $60 million for not taking oil.
Can the minister tell us why there has been no allocation in Ontario Hydro's submission to the Ontario Energy Board relating to this cost? Is he aware that if the $105-million lawsuit by Petrosar under the contract is successful there could be an increase in Ontario Hydro rates of up to 12 per cent rather than 9.7 per cent? The minister might also share with the House what it might cost to cancel these atrocious contracts with Petrosar for oil we do not need.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I just have one or two observations in response to the question from my learned friend.
I suppose it is always comfortable to be able to second-guess decisions that were taken some years ago by people who were charged with the responsibility to ensure there was a security of supply for the fuels that would be needed so that the people of this province would have an uninterrupted source of electricity.
Whatever judgement may be brought to bear on the wisdom of those earlier decisions, the honourable member will also know that this contract is the subject of litigation. Thus it would be improper for me to speculate with respect to the outcome of that until such time as the litigation has been dealt with.
Mr. Kerrio: The minister should be able to recall us questioning Hydro on uranium contracts and other important contracts relating to supply of the basic fuels for Ontario Hydro. I certainly do not go along with his comments on the future guarantee of oil. He knows very well our sister provinces out west have an abundance of natural gas and much of this oil did not have to be bargained for so far in advance. We know now it was an incredibly bad deal.
Would the minister consider tabling the contract and also consider reconstituting the select committee, so that this committee of the Legislature could do some of the very worthwhile things that were done during a minority government, when it seemed the government was more willing to be answerable to the people of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Perhaps the member will have an opportunity to look over his question in Hansard and will perhaps then be able to appreciate the chronology.
I am sure that at the time of the negotiations with respect to the oil supply, the adequacy of relying on natural gas was very much in question. The member will know the history with respect to those developments. I am not that far back, perhaps, in the energy history of this province.
However, I repeat what I said, this matter is now being litigated and I think it would be wise to await the outcome of that before offering any further comments in response to the member's question.
BUDGET PRINTING CONTRACT
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, will the Treasurer ask the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Wiseman) to table the printing contract with Carswell Printing? Will he reveal what penalties exist for breach of the contract, particularly breach of the security provisions of that contract?
Mr. Foulds: Doug, that's you; Minister of Government Services.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: No, it was to the Treasurer.
Mr. Speaker: Would you ask the Minister of Government Services to investigate the contract to see what provisions were made -- for security?
Mr. Philip: I will repeat the question, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: All right.
Mr. Philip: Will the Treasurer ask the Minister of Government Services to table the contract with Carswell Printing? Will he reveal what penalties exist, if any, for breach of that contract, particularly the security provisions of that contract?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I will consult with him to see if that is in order.
Mr. Philip: Can the Treasurer tell us whether or not there are penalties for breach of the contract? Can he tell us whether there are any documents other than the contract, such as ministerial guidelines or memoranda of understanding, with that company? Most important, will the documents be tabled in this House?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I answered the last part first. I do not know the answer to the penalties. I assume there are always some ways and means of recovering costs if a contract is not properly completed.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, what steps did the Treasurer take when he heard on Wednesday that there was some problem with the security at the printing office?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, it was Thursday when I learned about it. I do not want to make any comments. I do that on the advice of the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor).
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I have a final question to the leader of the government, because the leader of the government must surely know from his long experience in the assembly that what we have witnessed here in the last 18 hours is unprecedented in the long and distinguished parliamentary traditions of the Ontario Legislature.
Does the leader of the government not share with all honourable members a sense of deep concern about the impact not only of this leak but also of the rather exceptional reaction to it by his Minister of Treasury and Economics? What specific advice will the leader of the government be tendering to the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) over the next 72 hours, as he tries to prepare a budget for delivery here at 4 p.m. on the afternoon of Tuesday next, in the event that the Treasurer cannot isolate and contain the leaks, which he himself has indicated this morning he has no control over at this time?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, because the time has run out, I will be tendering just one word of advice to the Treasurer and that advice will very simply be this: I have confidence in him, I have respect for his integrity, I think he is a great minister of the crown, and I will tell him that so he can mull it over in the next 72 hours.
ALL-ONTARIO PITCH-IN DAY
Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: The All-Ontario Pitch-In Day 1983 campaign begins on May 9 and runs to May 15. I wonder if the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton) is going to make any comments in regard to supporting this campaign, and are the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson), the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) and the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) going to be involved in it?
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, before the introduction of bills and other matters, I would like to draw the attention of the House to an event that will take place tomorrow featuring a very distinguished Ontario product.
I am sure the members of the House will want to join with me in extending to Mr. Dave Foster, the owner, Mr. David Cross, the trainer, and Mr. Eddie Delahoussaye, the jockey, the thought that the hopes of all Canada are with them on --
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I thought that looked like a racing form in your pocket.
Hon. Mr. Drea: If members want to make derogatory remarks about an industry that produces 40,000 jobs in this province, let them go ahead, Mr. Speaker.
The very fact that a breeding industry and a thoroughbred racing industry such as we have in this province, which not only provide jobs but are so important in the preservation of agricultural land, can produce such a distinguished colt as Sunny's Halo is indicative of the tremendous endeavours of the people in this sector of the agricultural community of this province.
While the horse is being wildly heralded as a Canadian product, it should be underlined that he is a product of Ontario breeding, an industry that has been massively supported by this government, an industry that now is achieving worldwide recognition and providing more jobs, more opportunity and more export sales.
I am sure all members will want to join with me and the government in extending our congratulations, our best wishes, because this particular horse has had a most distinguished winter season. Even if it does not fare as well as it should tomorrow afternoon about six o'clock, the people of Ontario are very proud.
WITHDRAWAL OF MOTION
Mr. Speaker: Before proceeding with the orders of the day, I have been advised by the New Democratic Party House leader that the notion which was going to be submitted by the member for York South (Mr. Rae) has been withdrawn for today and is to be resubmitted for consideration Monday next.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order. You may recall the circumstances of the House last evening when you were called from your office to take the chair and hear the report of the committee of the whole from its chairman.
After you received the report and had it approved by the House, I attempted to get your ear, as the first opportunity when a matter that I considered of importance could be brought to your attention. For reasons not known to me, you refused even to recognize the fact an honourable member was on the floor trying to get your attention and simply kept repeating that the House was adjourned.
Perhaps you could explain to the House the sequence of events that led up to that. I would just like to say to you, sir, that if you had some strong feeling that nothing of that nature could be raised because of the hour it was quite within your powers to say so.
My own feeling is that in a matter at least one member considered of importance, and I believe was important, it might well have been possible for you to hear the submission. I regret very much it was not possible to do that and at the time I felt the conduct of your duties did not live up to the standard that, frankly, I have come to expect from you.
It is not for me to criticize, but I felt I had to put that to you and hear your response.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you very much. There was not any mystery and it was a matter of discussion when it became quite obvious that time was going to exceed the normal limit for adjournment.
Mr. Nixon: And had.
Mr. Speaker: And had indeed, yes. I would refer the member to standing order 3(a) and 3(b). The hours of adjournment are set in the standing orders. I do not have any discretion to change those. The only way they can change is by the passage of a government motion for that purpose, but such government motion shall not pass if 20 members choose to oppose it.
It is a matter which is dictated to the Speaker by the standing orders, over which I have no discretion.
Mr. Nixon: If you will permit me, Mr. Speaker, I have just one brief, further comment. In view of the importance of the job you hold, there have been occasions, which may come forward again, when your own judgement in these matters might prevail over a rigid reading of the standing orders, whatever the advice you may receive. I feel quite strongly that you, as a member of the House as well as the Speaker, should know in this instance that I felt my own privileges were not properly safeguarded, and should know the strength of my feeling in that regard.
Mr. Speaker: I appreciate having the member's point of view, but I must point out to all honourable members that I have to have regard for the standing orders no matter who they are applied to, and deal with them in an evenhanded way.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, we will not take the time to go into committee of the whole House and then out, which would be for only a few minutes.
The House adjourned at 12:57 p.m.