The House met at 2 p.m.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I have a message from the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor signed by his own hand.
Mr. Speaker: The Lieutenant Governor transmits estimates of certain sums required for the services of the province for the year ending March 31, 1984, and recommends them to the Legislative Assembly. Signed under his own hand, Toronto, May 12, 1983.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that after the usual consultation I am tabling the sequence, location and time allocations for this year's estimates, which members will, I expect, find attached to today's Hansard and tomorrow's Orders and Notices [see appendix, page 691].
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Before we start the question period, I would like to draw to your attention that we have in the Speaker's gallery with us today a former member of the Legislature, a quiet-spoken, introverted member who used to represent Eglinton riding, Len Reilly.
Mr. Speaker: It is always a pleasure to welcome one of my constituents as well.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I will let the Treasurer take his seat. I have a question concerning his budget. It deals with unemployment or employment, depending on how one wants to talk about it. The Treasurer prefers to talk about employment, even though many other people see the problem in terms of unemployment. In any event, his prediction in his budget is that 1983 will be some 65,000 above the level for the fourth quarter of 1982 in terms of employment. However, employment growth will not begin to reduce the number of unemployed unless it exceeds the labour force growth, as I am sure he will agree.
The budget forecast labour force growth of some 56,000, year over year in our estimate would mean an increase of some 86,000 in terms of fourth quarter to fourth quarter. When one nets that out, what it says, according to the minister's figures, is that fourth quarter over fourth quarter he is going to have 20,000 more unemployed people. What that says is we are not keeping pace in terms of unemployment; we are going backwards. Why would he consider his budget an adequate response to this most critical problem?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I tried to point out we reached the trough of the recession somewhere between November and December. It was during December that the number of employed started to grow. I realize we can play with the employed and the unemployed. I can only use one as a given constant or sure figure, and that is the number at work. The number in the work force tends to move in and out according to a number of factors.
As the member correctly stated, the 65,000 is what we currently estimate to be the improvement December over December. I suspect the 56,000 he talks about is mid-year over mid-year. I would have to compare the December over December figures to check them to see if they coincide with the same time frames. We estimated 1.2 per cent growth in the work force this year, if I am not wrong, and we have roughly 4.5 million in the work force at the present time. Does that sound right to the member? So we are not far off. One per cent would he 45,000. I think his figure of 56,000 is about right.
Over almost the last decade, Ontario has coped with a faster-than-world growth rate in the labour force. It is just now starting to taper off as the baby boom moves through the work force. I suspect in two or three years the natural growth in the work force will start to decline below the one per cent figure. I can only say we are doing our best -- and we are doing our best -- to stimulate jobs in the private sector and to give some short-term training and jobs, particularly to the group that is between 20 and 29 where unemployment is heaviest.
Mr. Peterson: Even with the minister's stimulation programs for the private sector and small business, and even with his direct job creation program -- taking all that into account and using any figures he wants to use, be it year by year or quarter by quarter -- we are going to have more unemployed people in 1983 than we did in 1982. Fourth quarter to fourth quarter there will be 20,000 more unemployed young people.
According to the statistical rates, it was a 9.8 per cent average in 1982. The minister's figures say 11.7 per cent overall in 1983, an increase in real numbers of some 93,000 more unemployed in 1983 than in 1982. When one compares that with his so-called job creation program, netting out the carryovers and netting out some of the strange allocations, he has increased his funding in direct terms by some 5.1 per cent.
Surely, given the magnitude of this problem, this is not an adequate response to this most severe problem which, according to him, is going to stay with us for some considerable length of time in the future.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I did not detect a question, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, because the Treasurer tells us and we accept that the number of people entering the work force in Ontario is going to be growing rapidly, and since the vast majority of those people are young people and we already have over 200,000 young people unemployed in this province, I would like to ask the Treasurer how he can possibly justify putting only $36 million more into youth employment in this province and only 28,000 new jobs. That is a blasted disgrace. How can he justify it to the young people of this province?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I am sure I would be as happy as the member for Windsor- Riverside to see all those problems disappear. I suggest we are taking what I consider ample and important measures.
The member tends to forget there are two levels of government working on this. One of the reasons I took some time -- and I said I would take some time bringing my budget in -- was to complement what I hoped were federal measures. I believe there are some there.
I do not like the projection of unemployed that we currently have; I sincerely hope it will turn out to be wrong. I assume at the moment it is correct because I have no better figures to offer, but we are doing our best at this difficult time to solve those problems.
Mr. Peterson: I suggest the Treasurer is not doing his best. He is forecasting higher unemployment and he is passively accepting that. There are a lot of credibility problems with respect to the last forecast, of which I will remind the Treasurer.
He told us a year ago that employment would increase by 125,000; in fact it fell by 209,000, a difference of some 334,000 jobs. After he told us the government would spend $91 million on youth unemployment last year to create 93,000 jobs, he in fact spent considerably less than that and created only some 75,000 jobs.
How does the Treasurer expect us to take his forecast seriously when we remind him of his old forecast? I remind him that in November he told us the Canada-Ontario employment development program would create some 30,000 jobs in his budget, and the ministry now tells us it created fewer than 24,000 jobs.
The Treasurer said the $50-million supplementary employment stimulation fund would be completely spent by March 31, 1983, and now we are informed it is a two-year program and only $30 million was spent last year.
How can we take even his very pessimistic forecast seriously this year when he was so absolutely wrong in every respect for the last year?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I suppose that is the very reason the Leader of the Opposition should be encouraged. If my forecasting is so bad,perhaps I have overestimated the unemployed. Did he ever stop to think of that? He is not willing to accept them when I make good forecasts; why is he so willing to accept them when they are bad?
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the Treasurer, and it deals with his philosophy of the budget, his view with respect to the importance of stimulating or at least not hindering a return to consumer confidence. This was acknowledged in the throne speech where it said: "Nothing will offer a surer sign of improving economic conditions than the decision by individual consumers to enter the marketplace."
It seems to me the Treasurer has gone out of his way in his budget to abort any so-called consumer-led recovery. Granted he has given some $55 million in sales tax remissions for a short period of time, but while he gives $1 in selected areas, he has taken $7 out of the consumers' hides.
How can he possibly have a consumer-led recovery when he has these very high tax increases on top and he is taking away a lot of disposable income that could theoretically be spent in this consumer-led recovery? How does he reconcile what he has done with the philosophy that he has articulated?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, for a person who lectures me regularly on the size of my deficit, I am surprised the Leader of the Opposition did not take the time to review the care with which the taxes were chosen and the fact that even though the temptation to go to a larger deficit was real, we have shown what most observers in the financial community and the business community have said is a proper balance in a difficult year.
I wish the member could sit, as I did this morning, in the room where the hot line is, where we are answering questions from the public. He would find that indeed the public does believe that $55 million will spur it into making some purchases for furniture. He would find there are very few complaints about this year's budget and that this time around our office has received nothing but calls of congratulations about the budget, one that he is trying to make look bad.
Mr. Peterson: I used to think this was a government led by public opinion polls; now I find out it is a government led by hot-line shows.
How can the Treasurer go on maintaining he is going to have some kind of consumer-led recovery in the light of the statistics I have given him and considering the overwhelming critical opinion, as expressed in the comment that it seems to contradict other measures that make the outcome more uncertain? He is operating at cross purposes. He cannot stimulate by taking away more than he is giving.
Given the fact that the federal Minister of Finance gave him a little lead last week by deferring some of his tax increases until the recovery took hold, why would the Treasurer not follow that lead, if he feels obliged to raise taxes, and defer that for some period of time in the hope that this consumer-led recovery will take some hold on the economy?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I have a couple of points, Mr. Speaker. I think the Leader of the Opposition should look at the most recent sales for department stores in Canada and he will find they have a real growth this year in the latest months shown. It is one of the most encouraging signs we have had about the consumer-led recovery. He should also look at the fact that most of our major automobile manufacturers currently have most of their employees called back, which is an indication of a return to consumer buying.
I suggest the Leader of the Opposition should recognize those facts and realize that things are coming along, rather than dampen that by his kinds of actions. We did nothing on the consumer tax front. We taxed the savings side and the personal income tax; and cut off the tax at $2,178 taxable, leaving 500,000 families in Ontario not taxed, or 500,000 taxpayers not taxed, on that surcharge. That is not considered improper taxation technique.
I would also ask,if he is so proud of the delays in Ottawa, is he just as proud of the $31-billion deficit the federal government has?
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I suggest to the Treasurer the reason he has only been getting positive calls into his office is that I think he only has one line and it is connected to John Bulloch's office.
I would like to ask the Treasurer whether he realizes, when he mentions the auto sector and says everybody is back to work, that there have been about 35,000 jobs lost in that sector and those people do not have any recall rights any longer.
Does he not also realize that this five per cent surcharge will in fact hurt consumer demand? It takes income away from those people who can least afford to pay that extra tax. Why did he not take a look at other kinds of taxes to distribute fairly the cost of this recession -- in other words, tax those people at the highest income level who are not sharing the burden of this recession?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, my friend in the New Democratic Party is trying to draw a fine line. It is true he recommended a surcharge on personal income tax, is it not?
Mr. Rae: Over what amount?
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Thirty-thousand dollars.
Hon. F. S. Miller: We differed with his amount, but it is a tax he recommended.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if one of the people who called in on the Treasurer's hot line was the Minister of industry and Trade (Mr. Walker). Is the Treasurer aware that his colleague the Minister of Industry and Trade said following the budget, "I don't think taxpayers can take a great deal more without a revolt and it won't take much more to cultivate one"?
Does the Treasurer not think the tax increases he is imposing on consumers, including a 2.4 per cent personal income tax hike disguised as a surtax, will push those very same taxpayers his colleague was talking about to the very brink of revolt?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, my colleague tells me he was talking about Quebec.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I admit that about April 29 each year I feel very much like revolting when I send a cheque to myself, and I suppose all of us who are human feel that way.
All I would say is that, compared to many jurisdictions in the world, we are very fortunate people in Ontario (a) to have a good government. (b) to have good services and (c) to have relatively fair tax systems.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, the Treasurer has told us in his budget that there are going to be fewer people working in 1983 than in 1982. He has told us real consumer spending will be up by less than two per cent, which is "a lower rate than in most previous recoveries." He has said there will be "a further reduction in the level of business investment in fixed capital" in the private sector in Ontario.
Given those three very basic, very straightforward facts, which describe an economy in the grips of a deep recession, how can the Treasurer possibly justify the two main features of his budget, which are, first of all, that taxes are now rising at a more rapid rate than expenditures; and second, that in real dollar terms there has been a very significant decline in public investment and job creation in Ontario? How can he possibly justify those kinds of measures, which are going to do nothing to create jobs and in fact are going to take away jobs from the people of this province?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, my friend the leader of the New Democratic Party does believe somehow that one can deliver services without ever paying for them, without ever taxing. We do not believe that on this side,and that is one of the reasons this government has done such a good job of maintaining its credibility in the world financial markets. We really do not accept the socialist jingoism that there is some way of giving everybody in the world something without in fact destroying the monetary system.
We simply believe we have to tell the facts the way they are. Sure, I would like to put facts in there saying there are more jobs, but we say there will be fewer jobs in total on average this year. Is that dishonest? I should hope that if we show not as rosy a picture, it may be accepted as real.
But the fact remains that the trend is up; that is the fact that is important. The 1.9 per cent real growth is our best estimation. It is based on the current, true, real interest rate of about five per cent.
The honourable member knows and I know that traditionally at the beginning of a recovery interest rates are negative in real terms. It is an exceptionally high rate. It can be changed dramatically by a change in American interest rates. It may happen; it may not. We have assumed it will not; therefore, we have tempered our rate of growth.
I would suggest to the member that it is pretty normal when capacity is running at 60 to 70 per cent that the investment side is not very active. Investment will not come into the economy until the recovery is well under way; I am sure he knows that as a student of economics.
Mr. Rae: If the Treasurer thinks it is somehow responsible to leave three quarters of a million people in this province without any prospect of employment this year, that is a very bizarre and, I would say, even perverse definition of responsibility in Ontario. If that is what it takes to be responsible and respectable, then I am proud to be a member of my party and not a member of that complacent crowd over there.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: I would simply like to ask the Treasurer, since he has not really responded to this question, given the fact that private investment is down according to his own figures and according to his own arguments, how can he justify a continued cut in capital investment by the public sector when there are people out there waiting to do some work and when there are jobs that so clearly need to be done in this province?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I watched my friend on TV on the night of the budget, repeating a lot of things I did not think were in it -- I suppose they may be; I will have to look through it -- talking about cuts here and cuts there. A $247-million increase in the capital spending program in addition to that which is normal, in my opinion is not a cut.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the Treasurer's programs have about a five per cent increase, which is less than inflation. In real terms, that is a cut.
Mr. Nixon: The Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) got a cut.
Mr. Peterson: That is a cut.
The reality is, and we have to get back to the essential point, the minister is forecasting higher unemployment next year than this year. That means the government and the Treasurer have decided that is not a priority. Why did he make that decision, that he is not prepared to actively attack the unemployment situation?
Hon. F. S. Miller: My colleague assumes I did not, Mr. Speaker. I am simply telling it the way it is. The member does not want to hear the facts. I would like to wipe it off the slate. I challenge him to tell me what he would do to get rid of 500,000 unemployed tomorrow morning.
Mr. Rae: If the Treasurer has his budget, he can turn to page 50 where he will see, "Table 7, Recent Trends in Ontario's Capital Investment. Social investments, 1982-83, $469 million; estimated 1983-84, $458 million." That is a cut. That is less; $458 million is less than $469 million. "Economic investments, $1,660 million in 1982-83; $1,653 million in 1983-84." That is a cut. That is $7 million less.
How can he justify investing less in the social services and less in the economic infrastructure of this province at a time when there are 750,000 people out of work and at a time when on his own admission the consumer recovery is not there and the private sector is not doing the spending on its own?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The member is talking about two different kinds of investment. I was talking about investment by the productive side of society. It is to this figure that I understand the $247 million was added. If the member would look at the bottom, $2,314 million is greater than $2,282 million.
Mr. Rae: If we add the financial assets, the land and miscellaneous, we come up with a figure which is still less than real inflation in Ontario
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: -- but if we look at the economic and social infrastructure, we have a cut. No matter how the Treasurer cuts it, he still has a cut and he cannot turn that around.
FUNDING FOR POLLUTION CONTROL
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Treasurer a question with respect to the environment in particular. If he would turn again to the budget -- and no matter how he cuts it, he can try to play with the figures all he likes but the figures stand on their own -- with respect to the Ministry of the Environment, given there is, admittedly, a very real crisis with respect to pollution in the Niagara River, given that acid rain remains the greatest environmental problem facing the province and much of North America, and given the real problem of cleanup of many of our landfill sites, how can the Treasurer, speaking on behalf of the people of Ontario, justify a $32-million cut in expenditures by the Ministry of the Environment?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I am sure when the ministry's estimates are up, the member will be able to go through them line by line to see where those differences occur. It happens that the ministry has been very actively involved in some major projects around the province. I would like the minister himself to tell the member what his overall investment is as opposed to the previous year. I think he can do that more adequately.
Mr. Rae: With great respect, the Treasurer is responsible for the economic policy of this government. With great respect, he is not going to be able to fob it off on some minister whom he claims is going to give us the answers. Those of us who try to get some answers out of the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton) know how difficult that is. I think we are entitled to ask the Treasurer about the figures contained here.
Let us look at the economic investment side: "Environment, 1982-83, $318 million; 1983-84, $280 million." Given the things waiting to be done in this province with respect to acid rain, the cleanup of the Niagara River, maintaining a safe water system, the cleanup of the dump sites and an end to industrial pollution, how can he possibly justify the kinds of the cutbacks he is carrying out, given that we still have 750,000 people unemployed?
Hon. F. S. Miller: That is the very kind of question one does ask in estimates rather than to the minister responsible for economic development. But let me point out, using the member's own figures, with $38 million less on the capital side, if I added that back on the general operating costs, which include many of the things he is talking about, the figure would be higher. So I suggest the member wait tor the explanation by the minister who has the details of that.
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, during the budget speech the Treasurer mentioned that a further $300 million was to he trimmed from his budget. Can he guarantee those of us who are very sensitive about environmental problems in Ontario that he will not be asking the Minister of the Environment to cut more money from his programs at a time when we know the Ontario Waste Management Corp. requires extra funds to deal with its project and there are serious problems with the water tower systems of many small municipalities which the Ministry of the Environment must repair? Can the Treasurer guarantee that the Minister of the Environment will not have to forgo money for those very necessary and emergency programs with respect to the environment in Ontario?
Hon. F. S. Miller: With great respect, Mr. Speaker, it is intriguing tome that this is the day the honourable member asks me to spend more, but most of his party colleagues' speeches will be aimed at the government's alleged waste of money. That is exactly what I hear all around the province. When those fellows return to their own ridings, they do not say, "We asked them to spend more," but, "Why did they spend so much? Why did they run such a poor government?"
I am sure my colleague the Minister of the Environment can and will answer those questions. The member knows he will have his crack at him, because he does it every year.
Mr. Elston: I asked you about the $300 million.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The member cannot suck and blow at the same time. Right now, that is what he is doing; he is talking in class.
Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, considering our rate of unemployment and the need for capital expenditure in the area of the environment, how can the Treasurer possibly justify cuts in the capital expenditure area? How does he think that will be viewed, both by the public in Ontario and by our American neighbours, with whom we are trying to negotiate an increase in capital expenditure in terms of pollution abatement?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I am glad the honourable member talks about our American neighbours. Compared to any neighbouring state, our track record in cleaning up the environment is absolutely superb.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, the Treasurer wants to talk about the debt; so perhaps we can. I am sure he is aware that the public debt has increased from $17.6 billion in the 1981-82 fiscal year to $22.5 billion in the 1982-83 fiscal year, an increase of 27.6 per cent in two years. He is aware that we owe $2,555 for every man, woman and child in this province.
What we are talking about here are the Treasurer's priorities. Can he tell us how he can justify this increase in debt, which is not providing jobs for the people of Ontario? In fact, the Treasurer's own figures indicate unemployment will increase at the same time the public debt is going up. Obviously we are not seeing any results from that increased public debt.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, is that not nice? I hope I can tie this question in with the comment of the honourable member's leader that I was not spending enough. The member is telling me I have too big a debt and his leader is saying I should not raise taxes. How do I put those two questions together? Why did I raise taxes? Why did I let the debt go up? Seriously, what would the members over there do?
The last time there was a Liberal government in this province -- thank God it is 40 years ago; it will be another 40 until there is another one, and I hope the New Democrats do not get in in between -- we were left with four years' revenue-debt ratio. They left us with four years of debt compared to revenue. We have one year. We have improved it by one quarter.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Obviously the Treasurer did not listen carefully to the question. We are talking about priorities. We are not complaining about the size of the deficit if it is providing jobs for the people of Ontario. We are complaining that the deficit is for Suncor, advertising, Minaki Lodge and all that stuff. That is what we are complaining about.
The government's fiscal mismanagement over the past 10 years of the Premier's (Mr. Davis) reign means the Treasurer can increase the deficit to deal with the unemployment problems we have in this province right now.
No doubt Mr. Kaufman was the one who was crying on the phone about the Treasurer's present difficulties. Can the Treasurer tell us what is the advice from his financial experts as to how high or far the provincial deficit can go without endangering our credit rating, about which the Treasurer is so concerned?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I am so glad the member mentioned Minaki because I understand his brother got elected on Minaki.
Hon. F. S. Miller: What is sauce for the goose ought to be --
Mr. T. P. Reid: Oh no he didn't.
Hon. F. S. Miller: He did not, eh? I think he supported Minaki; did he not?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Oh, yes, he did.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: He is a big hero around there.
Hon. F. S. Miller: He is a big hero up there and we are glad to get the comments back.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Does the member ever talk to his brother?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I wish the member would turn to page 46 of the budget. If he looks at the little bar chart he will see that in terms of deficit per person, Ontario is the lowest in Canada. He does not like that figure, does he?
Mr. Martel: Where is your unemployment rate?
Hon. F. S. Miller: That is Alberta. It is the highest in Canada. Whether the member likes it or not, Ontario's economy is recovering faster than any other province's in Canada. A lot of them are pretty envious of us right now.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Treasurer about this year's deficit. I would like to ask him why he decided to use an approach which I believe really lacks honesty. He presents the deficit at $2.6 billion when it is really $3 billion because there are $300 million worth of cuts in expenditures still to come in Ontario. Why did he not present an honest budget that either had those cuts already in the estimates or a budget that presented the $3-billion deficit that really exists now?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, last year when we gave our revenue and our expenditure estimates, each was within 0.7 per cent of being accurate. That was the best track record in Canada. We found over $700 million of adjustments in the year and the member wonders if I cannot find $300 million with the help of this highly qualified team behind me.
Mr. Cooke: The point is the Treasurer and the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) go out one day and say they are going to give big grants to the hospitals and they get all sorts of good publicity and the next day they cut those grants back. It lacks honesty.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
ONTARIO PROPERTY TAX CREDIT
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Treasurer to explain what he meant by the statement on page 20 of his budget. In talking about program review he says "in this regard I have questioned the usefulness of continuing the Ontario property tax credit now that comprehensive property tax reform has been postponed indefinitely."
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to. The member asked me all last week for an open approach to tax reform. I am asking, as I have in three previous budgets, a basic question about the wisdom of a particular program.
I will have a full year of input, I hope, between now and the time I have to respond. Next year I, as Treasurer, will be quite glad to decide whether or not we need that property tax reform after I have heard the reaction of the municipalities and the people of this province.
Mr. Cooke: I would like to quote from the 1972 budget presented by Mr. McKeough, where he introduced the property tax credit. "Our property tax credit plan has one primary oblective: to produce a fairer and more progressive distribution of the property tax burden borne by individuals and families in Ontario."
Without property tax reform in this province, how can the Treasurer even flag the possibility of eliminating the property tax credit which to some small degree eliminates some of the regressiveness of that property tax?
Hon. F. S. Miller: To ask about the appropriateness of a program is not automatically to eliminate that program. We asked about the appropriateness of personal income tax and did not change it. We asked about the appropriateness of the Ontario health insurance plan and did not change it. We are asking about the appropriateness of this tax and we want to see what people think.
Unlike the member's group, we listen before we act.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, obviously this is again going to hit those who can least afford it in our society. Could I recall to the Treasurer the statement: "Our property tax credit plan has one primary objective: to produce a fairer and more progressive distribution of the property tax burden borne by individuals and families in Ontario. It will replace the basic shelter grants that have been in effect since 1968 and deliver relief from the regressive property tax according to individual needs."
Is the Treasurer repudiating that philosophy, which seemed to everyone who was in the House at the time to he a reasonable arid fair one?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Of course not, Mr. Speaker, but I think the points made were, one, it was expected there would be a comprehensive property tax reform; that has not occurred. Second, it also appeared to be a shift towards the municipal taxpayer of the tax burden. In the last four or five years that has been reversed. We have to look at the total share of taxes, of income paid at the property tax level, to determine if it is fair.
We have been lowering that share through very progressive grants from Ontario.
ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. I am sure the minister was as disappointed as I was in the Treasurer's obvious lack of commitment to the agricultural industry, with the exception of a regurgitated promise to start a credit program for beginning farmers.
In view of the fact that farmers who are in the most serious financial difficulty are the beginning farmers, those who have entered the industry in the last few years, can the minister tell us whether the reannounced beginning farmers program will be made retroactive to include these recent entrants into the agricultural industry? How does the minister intend to help those farmers? Will eligible loans for subsidy under the program include those secured through banks, trust companies and supply companies, as well as the Farm Credit Corp.?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, contrary to the point of view of the honourable member -- which is not surprising; I would not expect anything positive from him -- my colleague the Treasurer has been extremely co-operative and extremely supportive of agriculture at this time. In a couple of weeks' time when we get down to looking at the estimates of the ministry, one need only look at 1982, when the Treasurer provided significant assistance to agriculture, whether through assistance to the Crop Insurance Commission of Ontario, or through the farmstead improvement program or in any number of ways.
The pledge that is evidenced in the budget address of 48 hours ago is very significant in terms of the numbers of young farmers we anticipate will be assisted by it. I am sure it bothers the member that the program commitment has been so well received by members of the farm community. They appreciate how significant it is. I expect to announce the details of the program in the next three or four weeks.
Mr. Riddell: In view of the fact there was no announcement in the budget for any financial assistance for the Ontario Veterinary College which, as the minister well knows, is in desperate need of funds and which has recently had its accreditation reduced for the first time since its beginning in 1922; in view of the fact that the quality and training provided by the college has a direct impact on the viability and competitiveness of the agricultural industry; and in view of the fact that the Quebec budget, also given on Tuesday last, promised $402.2 million to the farmers in that province as opposed to $295 million in the Ontario budget, how can our farmers hope to remain competitive with this lack of commitment?
Will the minister at least assure us that increased funding for the veterinary college will be announced, as part of the $8.4 million allocation for agriculture, under the new capital acceleration program?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am not sure that is entirely supplementary to the first question, but I am happy to answer it. I am also happy to answer it in some detail, so I will apologize now for what may be --
Mr. Speaker: Briefly, please.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: All right. I would take the member back to the last accreditation report of the Ontario Veterinary College. At that time, they identified essentially two kinds of problems: one being the capital needs of the college, the other being the operating needs with respect to clinical services. Just over a year ago, I went to the University of Guelph and announced that my colleagues had given me the authority to commit an additional $1.8 million per year to be devoted to clinical services, particularly for the externship program. That $1.8 million was the amount, to the penny, that Guelph itself had calculated was required to address the clinical service problems brought out in the last accreditation review.
At that time, the president of the university and others said, "Yes, but there is this capital problem we have." Fortunately, I knew at that time that in the spring of 1982 the University of Guelph had placed the Ontario Veterinary College as number seven on its list of capital priorities. I said to them quite frankly: "If it is that serious, why is it not number one? It cannot be that serious or it would be."
Since then I have met with the administration of the university several times. As a result of those meetings it is now number one on the list. Since then, I have also met on several occasions with my colleague in Ottawa, Mr. Whelan, urging him to get a commitment from his colleagues in the federal government to do their part, as in the past, in addressing the capital needs of the OVC.
I do have a commitment from my colleagues the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson), the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and the Chairman of Management Board (Mr. McCague) that Ontario is prepared to put up its 50 per cent of the cost of beginning to address the capital needs of the Ontario Veterinary College and to do it this year. We will be approaching the federal government to get its commitment to do likewise and to start this year to plan for that.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, recognizing that regardless of how the minister cuts it there is going to be a substantial reduction in Ontario's agricultural budget this year -- the minister shakes his head, but of course there is -- will he assure this House that this beginning farmers program of $9 million this year and the additional moneys next year will not come out of any regular farm program or any assistance program, but will be new money going into that program?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the money committed by my colleague the Treasurer in the estimates of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food for the beginning farmers assistance program is new money. I want to say to my friend we can get into it in estimates again starting June 1. We went through a similar exercise last fall. In fact, the spending by the ministry, the base estimates of the ministry, are higher this year than they were last year.
I remind the member we put significant amounts of money into crop insurance in 1982, especially for the tobacco growers of this province, which had not been budgeted for and which put us well beyond the printed estimates of the ministry.
I anticipate that, Lord forbid, if we were to face a similar tragedy of nature in 1983, the support would again be there from my colleagues in the cabinet, as it has been in the past.
FUNDING FOR NORTHERN ONTARIO
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. Is he fully aware of these three factors in his budget as they affect northern Ontario:
I. The Ministry of Northern Affairs expenditures are apparently slashed by $22 million, if table C3 on page 59 is correct.
2. The natural resources centre he announced with such pride is to be located right across the street at the University of Toronto when the vast majority of our natural resources are in northern Ontario. That centre is not to be located at Sudbury or Thunder Bay.
3. There were absolutely no specific details in funding to back up the throne speech promise on page 8 which was, "Specifically, we can expectassistance to single-industry communities in northern Ontario."
Can the Treasurer tell us whether this neglect of the north was deliberate or simple political insensitivity and stupidity?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I want to say one thing. As long as my colleague the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) is in his present position, which will be a long time, the member will never need to worry about political insensitivity to northern Ontario. Would I had the same ability when it comes to getting dollars out of the government of Ontario.
The member should look at the two special projects in last year's budget. He should recognize we put a lot of money into Minaki and into the Detour Lake road. They were two specific projects.
The member should also understand that he is trying to make it look as though a brand new centre is being created where nothing exists. At the University of Toronto they are amalgamating a number of parts of campus activities that have been spread all over the place in old buildings into one convenient location, in modernized buildings, not necessarily new buildings.
I hope the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) can discuss that at greater length, but it in no way takes away from the quality of the courses at Lakehead or at Sudbury, and the member knows that.
Mr. Foulds: Is the minister telling me there are no special projects for northern Ontario in this year's budget to replace Minaki? Is he telling me the so-called natural resources centre is nothing new, that it is simply an amalgamation of old stuff that is already located at the University of Toronto? Finally, will he answer my question about the specific promise for help for single-industry towns in the throne speech, which was not delivered in the budget?
Hon. F. S. Miller: How many questions can I answer, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: One.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I find it astounding to have the member for Port Arthur telling me I should replace the money spent on Minaki after listening to him complain about it for so long.
Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, the government through the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) indicated some time earlier this year that there would be new initiatives for the agricultural industry in northern Ontario. We cannot find evidence of that in the budget. Would the Treasurer care to comment on that?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the member knows it is quite proper to ask the specific minister about that. I do not see that as a supplementary.
TELEVISION IN LEGISLATURE
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs in his capacity as government House leader on the televising of the proceedings of this House. Members of the House will know that on Tuesday we could not move around this building for television cameras. There were two what looked like permanent cameras here and here. There were a large number of cameras along the gallery, out in the hallway, all around this House. Those cameras are always here, Mr. Speaker, as you know, for the two premier events the government brings forward, the throne speech and the budget speech. There is great coverage of that, and nothing now, of course.
I am aware this is a subject of discussion and negotiation, and my question to the minister is this. In the interests of balance, fairness and accessibility to the proceedings of this House for the people of this province, will he give an undertaking as government House leader, and can he tell us the views of the Premier (Mr. Davis), his leader, on the televising of all the proceedings of this House at the earliest opportunity?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, if my friend will talk to his colleague to the left he will understand, as I am sure the Speaker will also be able to tell him, that this matter is being discussed by the Board of Internal Economy next Monday. All views will be presented then. We will have a chance to have a full discussion about the use of television, electronic Hansard, whatever one wants to call it, in this House.
I also want to say that the camera will he here. There was a guarantee the camera would be here. We are so fair that we have given up having the camera over there for the presentations of the members opposite. There will just be a camera over here. It will be appearing soon.
Since we were all sitting here and did not have an opportunity to view the presentation, I might say there was no live television coverage of the Treasurer's budget the other day, and that bothers me. The cameras were in here, but it was not what went on in this House that went out over television.
Mr. Bradley: I should note in my supplementary that the House leader of the Ontario Liberal Party indicated that is exactly the answer the government House leader would give me. He was anticipating that.
I know there are negotiations going on. I know the Board of Internal Economy is discussing this matter. What I am asking the government House leader and his Premier is whether they are prepared to say they will endorse the full proceedings of this House being televised in this meeting. Are they prepared to endorse that? Are they prepared to give it their okay? If they do, it is guaranteed to go through and at long last the people of this province will have access to the other legislative chamber that exists in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I do not play cards very much, but when I do get into a game I do not turn over my cards and show them until I really get into the game.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: What did you feed the seals today?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: I don't know what you fed the seals, but they are working well.
Mr. Speaker, given that we could utilize TVOntario to carry question period, since we have some responsibility in this area, and seeing that the select committee recommended as early as 1976 proper television coverage for the zoo, can we have some assurance that, as part of the package that is being contemplated, television so that question period, the budget and the throne speech will be carried live to the people of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Wells: First of all, let us be very clear about this. Television is in this House. I do not know what all that is up there in the gallery. Television is in this House, and with the agreement of the Speaker at any time those cameras can appear, these lights can come on and any proceeding of this House can be televised. So the question is not whether we should have television here or not; it is the manner and form of the television.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Wells: We have agreed to discuss this at a meeting that I think is next Monday, and I think it is really very premature to discuss anybody's views on this until we get in and have a discussion at your committee, Mr. Speaker.
INCOME TAX SURCHARGE
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Treasurer, and it applies to his social services maintenance tax or surtax.
The Treasurer will know that the surtax we talked about was on taxable incomes of over $40,000; that is where it would start. How does he explain this tax as being at all fair and exempting the poor when somebody who earns $3.70 an hour will have to pay this tax and when a family that has an income of $12,500 a year will have to pay this tax? How can he possibly accept the notion that somebody who is getting the average amount of unemployment insurance payments in this province of $155.93 a week will have to pay this tax? Is this not a regressive tax?
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, it is not, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I find it hard to believe that the Treasurer would answer in such a cavalier fashion.
Will the Treasurer please comment on this strange anomaly? Even under his elusive premium assistance plan, which the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) raises a lot of the time around here, one can be eligible to receive premium assistance if the taxable family income is less than $3,500 a year, yet his surtax will apply to people who have a taxable income of $2,178 a year. How is it that somebody can be too poor to pay his Ontario health insurance plan premiums but not too poor to pay the Treasurer's surtax?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Not all taxes take over at the same level. I am sure the member knows that. For example, sales tax, which he considers progressive most days of the week, has no such exemption, but we do have our credit on the income tax form. I simply say that we have a very wide range of carefully balanced taxes in this province producing revenue in fair and proportioned ways.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, does the minister not feel that even naming a tax a social services maintenance tax adds to the stigma of those unfortunate people who are unemployed and on welfare assistance right now? Would it not have been more appropriate to call any surtax the Minaki Lodge fiasco tax, the land banking vision tax or the Suncor interest maintenance payments tax?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I do not really think the honourable member was expecting a serious answer.
Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Trade.
Press reports in the past five months reflect a determination on his behalf to prevent the city of London from getting a grant to help it build a new arena in the south end of the city. Will he explain why he is trying to use his influence as a cabinet minister to interfere with the affairs of the city of London?
Hon. Mr. Walker: First of all, Mr. Speaker, that is a question that does not pertain directly to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. However, I am prepared to answer it if you desire that I answer something beyond my own particular field.
Mr. Speaker: Briefly.
Hon. Mr. Walker: The short of it is that I have the right as the local MPP to express an opinion about anything that may occur in the city of London involving provincial funding. This particular matter involves provincial funding.
Mr. Van Horne: I thank the Speaker for ruling as he did, because in one of the press reports I have in front of me the minister is making reference to public money putting a business out of business and he was speaking in reference to his position as the minister.
The minister and the member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton) are on record as trying to get the city to buy Hockeyland, a facility that is out in the township and is owned by a Mr. Skinner. I wonder whether this is the same Mr. Skinner who gave the minister a significant amount of money in his election campaign; if this is so, is this not a conflict of interest?
Hon. Mr. Walker: It certainly is, and I think it is the same man who also gave some money to some of the other candidates in the London area. The honourable member might like to check that out.
ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. It does not matter what kind of excuses are given; the fact is that the amount he has in his budget for agriculture in constant dollars is 19 per cent lower than it was last year.
We know that the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) has given the excuse that there was an extraordinary expenditure for insurance to tobacco growers last year. If that is the reason, how does the Treasurer explain that the amount he has in his budget for agriculture this year is 13 per cent lower in constant dollars than it was two years ago when that payment was not paid to the tobacco farmers?
With the amount of mortgage and loan payments in default by farmers being 50 per cent higher in March of this year than it was a year ago, the impending disaster in the farm community is every bit as great as it was last year, although it may be more spread out and not just involving the tobacco farmers. How does he justify that tremendous decrease in the amount for agriculture?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, there is probably a difference between the actual expenditures and the printed estimates, and I think one should always look at the printed estimates before the year began. The honourable member will realize that in each of the last two and possibly three years there have been fairly heavy extraordinary, one-time-only payments made in Agriculture and Food.
I have no idea whether there will be some calamity this year requiring similar extraordinary payments. We have shown the flexibility to meet them in the year when they were needed.
Mr. Swart: Does the minister not feel the fact that farmers are in default in their payments in an amount 50 per cent higher than last year is already a calamity and an indication of an impending disaster?
Is he unaware of what Ralph Barrie, the president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, said about his program? Mr. Barrie said he criticized the Treasurer for failing to address the credit needs of Ontario's 40,000 to 50,000 established farmers. "This program doesn't do a bloody thing for those people," he said. Can the minister deny that?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I have great respect for Mr. Barrie. I would like to have a chat with him before I react to the member's quote out of context.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, is it not a fact that farmers in Quebec get assistance to the tune of $9,000 a year while the Treasurer assists farmers in Ontario in the order of $3,000 a year? How can he expect farmers from eastern Ontario to compete with their counterparts in that neighbouring province when from the start there is a $6,000 difference in the assistance they will get from government?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the farmer in Quebec pays a 40 per cent tax on his gasoline too. The farmer in Quebec, if he makes any income, pays a much higher income tax. The farmer in Quebec is faced with a government that has not run its funds too well. The farmer in Quebec receives, through the federal government, equalization payments of almost $3 billion a year, mostly from Ontario.
NOTICE OF DISSATISFACTION
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Pursuant to standing order 28(a), I wish to advise you of my dissatisfaction with the response of the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) to my question on the social services maintenance tax.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): Pursuant to standing order 28, the member for Scarborough West has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Treasurer and Minister of Economics concerning the social services maintenance tax. This matter will be debated at 10:30 p.m.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that notwithstanding any previous order of the House, the estimates as they are presented to the House be referred to the standing committees as indicated in the estimates statement tabled earlier today.
Motion agreed to.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the standing committee on resources development be authorized to sit the afternoon of Wednesday, June 1, 1983.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
SMITH BROS. & SONS LIMITED ACT
Mr. Kells moved, seconded by Mr. Kolyn, first reading of Bill Pr24, An Act to revive Smith Bros. & Sons Builders Limited.
Motion agreed to.
ONTARIO LOAN ACT, 1983
Hon. F. S. Miller moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 34, An Act to authorize the Raising of Money on the Credit of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Motion agreed to.
TOBACCO TAX AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Ashe moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Bernier, first reading of Bill 35. An Act to amend the Tobacco Tax Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, this bill provides for the amendments arising out of the Treasurer's budget of May 10, 1983, as well as for some administrative amendments.
The bill increases the rate of tax on cigarettes and cut tobacco from 40 to 45 per cent of their retail prices. This change, which is effective May 11, 1983, brings the applicable tax to 2.3 cents per cigarette and to 1.4 per cent per gram or part of a gram of cut tobacco and all other tobacco products, except cigars. The tax rate on cigars remains unchanged at 45 per cent.
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Ashe moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Bernier, first reading of Bill 36, An Act to amend the Small Business Development Corporations Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, this bill implements amendments arising out of the Treasurer's budget of May 10, 1983, as well as some administrative amendments.
The bill limits the maximum investment in any one project by one or more small business development corporations to $5 million. The eligibility requirements for an investment by a small business development corporation have also been amended. The administrative amendments contained in the bill enact certain policies required in the effective administration of the act.
RETAIL SALES TAX AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Ashe moved, seconded by How Mr. Bernier, first reading of Bill 37, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, this bill contains the changes to the Retail Sales Tax Act announced in the 1983 budget as well as some administrative amendments.
The bill provides for a temporary exemption for new residential furniture and major household appliances. It broadens the exemption for machinery and equipment purchased by manufacturers and producers and for certain transportation vehicles and equipment. In addition, the bill eliminates the exemption for tobacco products. The tax on beverage alcohol sold at retail outlets will increase from 10 per cent to 12 per cent, effective May 24, 1983.
Other budgetary changes include the expansion of exemptions concerning alternative-fuel-powered vehicles, admissions to places of amusement, certain gold coins and educational publications. The majority of the proposed administrative amendments are aimed to update and revise a number of penalty provisions, which should help in deterring noncompliance and the ensuing loss of provincial tax revenues.
CORPORATIONS TAX AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Ashe moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Bernier, first reading of Bill 38, An Act to amend the Corporations Tax Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, the bill contains amendments arising out of the Treasurer's budget of May 10, 1983, as well as some administrative amendments.
The budgetary measures being implemented by this bill include the increase in the income tax rate by one percentage point, the extension of income tax exemptions for small businesses by one year and the temporary capital tax relief for "loss" corporations.
INFLATION RESTRAINT AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Peterson moved, seconded by Mr. Nixon, first reading of Bill 39, An Act to amend the Inflation Restraint Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, these are amendments to Bill 179, which passed in the last session. They would make the bill more equitable and fair for everyone concerned.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before calling the orders of the day, I might ask the table to keep the time allotments for the contributions this afternoon. It has been agreed to split the time remaining from now until six o'clock between the two speakers.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
BUDGET DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I rise to present the official opposition's views on the 1983 budget of the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller). We intend to be very positive in our remarks and in putting forward our views on what should have been in the Treasurer's budget.
We in this party agree with some of the budgetary measures proposed by the Treasurer, particularly the extension of the tax holiday for small businesses and those matters that parallel the federal initiatives in terms of the carryback and carry-forward losses and profits relating to corporations. We agree with those measures fully.
Last year's budget was a budget of sins of commission, particularly the extension of the retail sales tax. This budget can be largely criticized as a budget in which the sins are of omission. That is primarily what I want to talk about.
In this party we are concerned about the fact that the Treasurer is predicting an unemployment rate of more than 11 per cent for the next year. That concerns us very deeply, especially when we put that in conjunction with the highest deficit and highest budget we have ever had in this province. Yet we do not see the jobs being created with those tax dollars that are being spent.
More than that, our concern is that the economic future of Ontario is not dealt with in this document at all. We were told by both the Premier (Mr. Davis) and the Treasurer that this was the economic statement of the year as far as charting Ontario's course went. If this is the budget and the economic document that is going to give some hope to the people of the province, some vision of the future, it is not just sadly lacking, but completely lacking. The budget should have told us where this province wants to be in five, 10 and 20 years. This budget has refused to face the future squarely.
A Liberal government would have seized this opportunity to position ourselves for the future, for the rest of the 1980s. Strategies concerning productivity, research and development, human resource management and the careful husbanding of our natural resources are the cornerstones of the Ontario Liberal policy. Government has a role to play in ensuring orderly change in society. Uncertainty about the future destroys the individual's ability to make long-range plans.
As I mentioned, the government has made some constructive changes in this budget, but these good points are lost in a myriad of ad hoc and piecemeal changes. Can the government tell us today what the long-term strategy is for this province? Can we claim that this government's stewardship, typified by this document, is leaving the proper legacy to our children? Unfortunately, the government has stopped running in place and has started only to walk in place.
I want to deal with only about four or five items. I particularly want to talk about productivity in the context of charting a course for Ontario for the 1980s.
Productivity has been defined in a number of ways, usually as the output per man-hour, mostly in terms of labour input and output. But productivity is not a problem of laziness of our work force. Productivity is not simply high technology, as the Treasurer would have us believe. Productivity is efficiency; it is what our performance is.
I have tried to engage the Treasurer both in terms of last year's budget and in terms of his estimates in dealing with productivity and the Ontario economy. I suppose I can take some small measure of consolation from the fact that he mentioned the word once in this budget, but that is all.
Productivity is efficiency and productivity is competitiveness. How we can have a budget document, the main economic blueprint tor Ontario, and not deal with these crucial matters is beyond me, especially when we all know Ontario and Canada have one of the worst demonstrations of productivity of any western democracy. We should have been discussing this. The Treasurer should have recommended that there be a discussion paper on this issue more than anything else.
What should be done in terms of productivity? There probably should be some system of tax incentives for those who can improve productivity, there should be an expanded definition of research and development and we should be paralleling some of the incentives at the federal level.
With the shifting industrial structure, it is imperative for Canada and Ontario to establish and maintain a comparative advantage in as many sectors as possible, not only in secondary industry but also in primary industry. A comparative advantage does not simply happen by itself. Planning and hard work develop one's strengths and enable one to capitalize on potential opportunities. That is what the budget does not do. We have no plan to emphasize our strengths and we will not be able to capitalize on our opportunities.
Productivity and research and development are crucial elements in an overall strategy vision for Ontario in the 1980s. Let us take advantage of what we have and what we can have. A misconception exists that Ontario's poor productivity performance is due to employee laziness. For instance, people might say Canadians are not working as hard as the Japanese or the West Germans. That is simply not the case.
Productivity is not simply high technology. Another misconception that is reinforced by the Treasurer is that productivity is simply incorporating high technology into the production process, i.e., computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing robotics. This is true in many respects, but it misses huge potential in other areas.
Productivity is efficiency. Productivity is simply a measure of efficiency, how innovatively industry uses each element that goes into producing a product or service. Productivity is not working harder, but smarter.
From 1960 to 1980, Canada had a productivity growth of 2.4 per cent a year on average. This is clearly below the average of 3.9 per cent for the 16 other member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Only the United Kingdom experienced a slower rate of growth, approximately 2.3 per cent. This 2.4 per cent figure has dropped to a point where we are losing ground in productivity.
The reasons for our poor efficiency are numerous. The Economic Council of Canada claims the present recession accounts for only half the productivity decline. The other half comes from structural problems and the orientation of management, labour and government. This budget does nothing at all to address these issues.
Management and labour, and obviously this government, do not look to comparative advantage and productivity as a fight for survival. Management was content to concentrate on mergers and acquisitions, which take up scarce capital but which produce no real economic growth. Labour has been seen as totally disregarding competitive problems. As well, management does not trust labour, labour does not trust management and neither trusts government.
Efficient co-ordination of production components cannot take place in an environment such as this. With all our major trading partners, such as the United States and the European Economic Community, it is interesting to see the co-operation among government, labour and management in this area and to see the kind of involvement government has.
They say the United States is based mainly on myth, and one of the myths is the free enterprise system of which the Treasurer is so enamoured. For someone presumably of his experience and knowledge, he is awfully blind when it comes to seeing the tremendous amount of assistance given to industry by governments at all levels in the United States.
The role of government should be to facilitate a structure and environment in which productivity will be improved. The budget is said, by the Treasurer among others, to be a psychological document, yet no mention is made of improving management's or labour's orientation to productivity improvements. No attention is focused on these pressing problems.
We in this province could embark upon a productivity centre which could be developed here. The centre would provide an emphasis and focus on productivity and its benefits, providing a framework for co-ordinating production components. Specifically, this would involve collecting and performing research on productivity and providing practical application of the theories. Areas of emphasis could be on the development of a co-operative environment, partially through employee participation, and on providing courses on modern management techniques and plant management, distribution, material and inventory control, and industrial engineering.
Unlike Board of industrial Leadership and Development technology centres, productivity centres would emphasize a whole production process and not simply automation through robotics, CAD/CAM and microelectronics.
Ontario is far behind in developing a productivity emphasis. The Japanese productivity centre was started in 1953, the West German in 1952 and the US centre in 1977. It is interesting that the Premier himself, I understand, gave some thought to this in 1975, but for some reason unknown to me he killed the idea at the outset.
Of the funding for the centre in Japan, 20 per cent is provided by the government, while for the West German centre, 60 per cent funding is provided by the government, and the one in the US is privately funded. Perhaps there is a role of funding, but it seems to me, with the resources available to labour, management and government, those items could be worked out.
If we define productivity as high-tech production, we lose the benefits in the important resource-based industries. Increased harmony among labour, management and government, and the application of modern management and distribution techniques will surely help the mining and forestry section.
Ronald Anderson wrote a column in the Globe and Mail of December 22, 1982, entitled "Serious Consequences Loom If Productivy Issue Ignored." I quote from that article:
"Productivity improvement, however, must be a long-term, rather than a short-term, objective. It should be regarded not as a threat, but as protection for existing jobs. Without an improvement in productivity, as the United States recognizes, many jobs will be destroyed by an inability to compete in the market."
One of the benefits of doing this, of course, will be to deal with that one facet of automation and the effect it will have on our work force, and to bring labour into the whole discussion in terms of how to adjust. We are kidding ourselves and the labour people as well, because to compete internationally we are going to have to be as competitive as, or more competitive than, our trading partners in the world.
Andrew Kniewasser, president of the Investment Dealers' Association of Canada, stated at an Ontario Chamber of Commerce meeting on April 14, 1983: "In our situation, and with our export reliance, increased productivity is the only way to achieve substantial increases in employment. It is the only way to ensure secure employment in Canada."
Again, planning for the future, research and development is a crucial element in an overall strategy for Ontario in the 1980s. For Ontario to develop comparative advantage, we must have a competitive edge. Research and development is like productivity in that it can make us competitive, but we must develop this capacity.
We know that Canada spends less than one per cent of its gross national product on R and D, compared with 2.5 per cent in the United States and 2.1 per cent in West Germany. We must have not only a higher quantity of research and development but also R and D in a quality form, a form that enables development of secondary processing of our natural resources.
The Treasurer, in his Tory ideology of the 19th century, gives us a paper in which he comes to the conclusion that there is nothing Ontario should be doing. But if we do not increase our R and D in this province, one of the significant and sad losses to Ontario is going to be those people, our human resource, with the education they have obtained at great expense to the taxpayers of this province. They will go somewhere else if the opportunities for them to exercise their expertise, knowledge and skill are not available here in Ontario.
There is nothing in the budget that recognizes this fact. What the Ontario Liberal Party would do would be to parallel the federal investment tax credit for R and D carried out in Ontario. For instance, a four per cent Ontario tax credit would be roughly equivalent to the 10 per cent federal credit that is now available. The April 1983 federal budget announced the extension of the carry-forward and carryback provisions to seven years and three years respectively. Ontario could parallel these measures.
As well, we see an expansion of the definition of R and D. The definition should not apply strictly to pure R and D, but should be expanded to include costs related to preproduction planning, trial production, troubleshooting and engineering follow-through. This would make the R and D incentives more desirable and would emphasize practical applications for the marketplace. Let us get the products developed and into the market.
Obviously part of any strategy for the Ontario economy has to deal with capital formation. We were glad to see the extension and expansion of the small business development corporation program. But obviously the continued formation of pools of capital is absolutely necessary to economic growth and security in this province. Further, this capital must be used in innovative ways. Innovation is the engine of economic growth, and the government can help by designing policies that put resources in the hands of the innovators in our society.
It is interesting that because of the recession, people have been thrown back to a large extent on their greatest resource, themselves. An unprecedented number of corporations has been formed, and people are coming forward with ideas. That we applaud, and we think it should he encouraged.
We applaud the government's decision to increase funding to the small business development corporation program, but we ask: "Has the government gone far enough? Are we stifling some of our most creative entrepreneurs when the government spends only $30 million on this worthwhile program whose benefits extend throughout society, but $40 million is used in advertising and self-congratulatory praise?"
We must encourage grass-roots, public participation in the financing of our entrepreneurs. We need innovative policies to get the money out of the sock and into the hands of those who can help to create prosperity in society. The current tax system heavily favours the issue of debt rather than equity. We need fiscal policies that will put debt and equity on an equal footing. For instance, capital is so crucial to our future that this issue might have been a discussion paper within the budget or attached to the budget rather than a discussion about doing away with the home shelter program that is going to hurt the poor. Instead, we should be looking forward and thinking of these things in a sophisticated way. We do not see this in the budget.
We might have had a paper discussing whether we should allow individuals to make equity investments and defer capital gains tax as long as the equity was rolled over and was put forward. This is the type of policy that might encourage the formation and retention of a strong capital base, These are the kinds of ideas we might consider. We might have had a discussion paper considering doing away with or partially reducing Ontario's portion of the capital gains tax. We might have had a discussion about those things, yet these matters were not put forward by the Treasurer as being of any import.
Ontario should move to implement the Toronto Stock Exchange proposal for a junior exchange. I am sure my friend the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) would agree with that. He knows that when the government, in conjunction with the Securities and Exchange Commission, did away with junior stock promotion in Ontario it hurt a lot of small entrepreneurs, in northern Ontario particularly. Small investors could infuse desperately needed capital directly into those ventures, which carry not only the greatest risk of failure but also the greatest opportunity for substantial economic growth, again in northern Ontario in particular.
In order to further encourage capital formation for high-risk ventures, the government could also consider exempting the capital gains of junior equity issues from Ontario income tax and could press the federal government to do the same. These matters should be considered.
The Ontario Securities Commission has pointed out in the past that there is virtually no mechanism for small and medium-sized business to raise relatively small amounts of capital from the public. Ontario desperately needs to revamp securities legislation to get the capital out of the socks of the province and into stock a phrase that has already been used -- and into the productive investments we need. Obviously, if we were to do these kinds of things. those very jobs that the Treasurer says will he created at some time in the future, but we do not know when, would come as a result of these suggestions.
I want to touch briefly on job retraining and the human resource. Today, about one half of the young people receive the necessary education or skills training in formal institutions. We know the private sector is not filling the gap, as over 70 per cent of business-provided training is for less than 26 weeks in duration and it does not build the long-term skills we need.
The Ontario Manpower Commission projects that we will be 45,000 skilled tradesmen short by 1986. The current government-sponsored apprenticeship program is abysmal. Less than six per cent of young people started an apprenticeship program and less than three per cent managed to complete their apprenticeship. Last year only 1,358 apprentices actually graduated. Yet since the late 1960s and early 1970s we have heard about what a great job we are doing in Ontario.
The budget does not even acknowledge that a problem exists. A token $14 million is allocated through the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development to manpower training. Is this thinking for the long term? We need a comprehensive system to determine where the opportunities will be in the future and to disseminate this information to those who are making career choices.
We must send secondary school guidance counsellors into the real world so they can return to the secondary schools and help our young people make intelligent career choices. The current nonsystem offers virtually no help to the teenager making decisions that will affect him or her for a lifetime. The government must make a concrete commitment to the training of highly skilled blue-collar workers. Last year the government spent $185 million on manpower training and $2 billion on colleges and universities. Both training grounds are vital if we are to position ourselves for the future.
This budget has sinned in this regard by omission rather than by commission. In failing to provide the long-term skills our economy and young people so desperately require, we are creating a powder keg that can explode at any moment. This area once again shows that the government of this Premier has turned its back on the future. It is saying that our economy is in retreat and that our young people, who are entering this world with no marketable skills whatsoever, are those left in the cross-fire.
If there is one priority the government must bring to the budget-making procedure it is the commitment that funds must be invested in the most important resource we have, the residents of Ontario. Without this commitment the budget is failing its most basic responsibility, and the route to prosperity is destroyed. This budget has failed to make that commitment.
I want to speak very briefly about some of the sectoral problems of our economy that again were not addressed at all. Obviously the automotive sector is one of the primary sectors we have to deal with. The automobile and automotive parts sector remains our single largest industrial sector. At its peak in 1978, 110,000 workers were directly employed. Unfortunately, by 1982 this number had dropped substantially to approximately 97,000.
Some carefully considered action is required if we are to keep this sector vibrant. Since the 1975 signing of the auto pact agreement with the United States, Canada has run a net surplus only three times. A renegotiation of this important trade agreement is required. With Japan we are running a trade deficit in the auto sector of over $100 million every month. The auto parts sector, made up of many independent Canadian manufacturers, is hurting particularly. In 1982 the auto parts sector had a $4.2-billion deficit with the United States.
It is time we considered bringing into place a graduated domestic content restriction. Our goal is to achieve a minimum of 65 per cent domestic content in the automotive parts sector. It is time the Ontario and Canadian governments started playing hardball in this absolutely vital sector.
I turn now briefly to agriculture. This budget, as my colleagues have pointed out, does nothing to give Ontario farmers any confidence in the future of their industry. It fails to provide any sense of direction to farmers at a time of greatest need. Our farm sector is most vital to Ontario, and yet we find little direction and few resources extended to this part of our economy.
The budget offers farmers $35 million less than last year. Agricultural budgetary expenditures are to remain at 1.09 per cent of total budgetary expenditures, the same level as two years ago. The minister's argument that we cannot compare this year's decrease in the overall budget allocation to last year or even to two years ago because of the extraordinary expenses for emergency assistance in those years is a clear indication of the government's failed ad hoc approach to agriculture. Inadequate long-term commitments to agriculture lead to instability and the need for emergency assistance.
What is seriously required in this province is a long-term strategy for agriculture within which farmers can make their decisions. Ontario farmers cannot hope to survive if they are left to plan on a year-to-year basis.
The government's commitment of $295 million to the whole agriculture industry pales in the light of the $533 million that will be collected by the tobacco tax alone. Almost twice as much is collected in the tobacco tax as is expended by this government on agriculture. In comparison, the Quebec budget of two days ago promised farmers $402.4 million next year. That is $8,358 per farmer in Quebec as opposed to $3,578 per Ontario farmer.
The only major announcement for farmers in this budget is a beginning farmers program, which we in this party have been demanding for years now. Even this announcement, however, is really a carryover of a promise made in last year's budget. We have yet to see the details of this program and we will reserve judgement until we do. I hope, however, as my colleague the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) has put it to the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell), this program will be made retroactive to include recent entrants into the agriculture industry and the program's criteria will be broad enough to accept loans outside of farm credit corporations.
We are also concerned that this budget contains no announcement of increased financial assistance for the Ontario Veterinary College.
We are disappointed that, while tile drainage is essential for the improvement of Ontario's food land and an additional 2.9 million acres are still in need of improved drainage, the funds allocated for that purpose for next year will be reduced by $6 million from last year. Instead of reducing these funds, the government, we believe, should be providing up to $50 million per year and should cover 75 per cent of the cost of the drainage work as opposed to the present 60 per cent. We are glad to see, however, the government took our advice and reduced the interest rate under this program to eight per cent.
We are disappointed also that there was no announcement in the budget to expand the guidelines under the Ontario farm adjustment assistance program. Very little of the government's announced $80-million allocation for this program will be spent if changes are not made. Only about $18.8 million has so far been spent and $20 million from last year's program has been carried over to next year because it was underspent. We believe the guidelines under this program must be relaxed to allow producers under 10 per cent equity to be eligible, and the interest rate should be subsidized from the current 12 per cent down to eight per cent.
We currently import about $2.3 billion worth of agriculture and food products into Ontario each year but there is no mention of an import substitution program. We could create thousands of new jobs in the agricultural industry by displacing these unnecessary imports. There is no announcement of any program that would develop the agricultural potential in northern Ontario even though the government has announced marketing studies to examine this question since 1977.
What the budget has announced, however, is an increase in Ontario health insurance plan premiums of which farm families must pay 100 per cent, which will cost them $2.6 million extra per year. The present emergency economic difficulties facing the agricultural industry in Ontario are directly related to the lack of commitment and direction given to this vital industry and underline the failures of years of Tory misrule.
The only time one hears of any dedication to agriculture by this government is during an election. Then one hears promises such as those in the last election to drain and develop one million acres of land in northern and eastern Ontario or to move the stockyards out of downtown Toronto. These promises have never been kept. Each election is filled with promises simply to cover another crop of failures. The rest of the time is spent blaming the federal government.
I also want to refer to northern Ontario and in particular to our mining, forest and tourism sectors. It was interesting that today questions were put about northern agriculture. We were promised some kind of policy relating to one-industry towns in northern Ontario. This was not addressed in the major and only economic statement we are going to get from the government this year.
Mr. Speaker, I am sure you will recall that the Brampton charter of 1972 promised to replace with at least two trees every one harvested henceforth in Ontario and to regenerate every acre harvested. The fact is that many northern Ontario communities are facing economic constraints in the near future due to shortages of timber. We are facing imminent timber shortages of crisis proportions due to years of government mismanagement which has permitted more trees to be cut than have been replaced. The total backlog of unregenerated cutover forest lands since 1971 is over 1.4 million acres and is growing at a rate of 180,000 acres per year.
The years of government failure are starting to catch up with us. Of the 562,000 acres of total cutover in 1981-2, regeneration was undertaken on only 38 per cent of the land. Some 180,000 acres were left untreated, essentially written off. The government has allowed this resource to be mined rather than to be treated as a renewable resource. This record makes a mockery of this government's promise contained in the Brampton charter.
In the forest industry we would insist on sustained-yield management and the regeneration of all cutover lands. This would ensure adequate supplies to meet current demands and allow future expansion. Jobs would be created as part of an accelerated forest renewal program. Timber-cutting practices have to be changed, particularly with respect to the clear- cut.
We would expand the use of wood products to include biornass production of methanol. We could have an improved and accelerated forest cleanup program so that trees could be planted, we could expand our nursery stock and we could create, literally overnight, thousands of jobs.
We are spending about $35 million on this program this year. All the experts have said we should be spending at least double that; in fact, probably closer to $100 million. Let us use the unemployment insurance commission funds constructively in our other programs. Let us put people in northern Ontario into productive work, improving the yield from our national crop, which is our forests.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): Order.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Oh, come now.
The Acting Speaker: The member for Rainy River, carry on please.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I want to touch as well on the housing program, or the lack of same, that was announced in the budget: $40 million, of which $16 million is going to be spent this year in demonstration projects. We have heard for the last two years -- in fact we have rent control dating back to 1975 with the prices at that time that there was not sufficient rental accommodation available, particularly in urban centres; yet there is very little in this budget to deal with that program some eight years later.
The government is claiming with this program that it will create some 5,000 units and 12,000 jobs; this, of course, is based on spending the whole $40 million. But the facts and figures contradict each other. Unofficially, I have learned that $10 million will be used for three experimental projects, creating fewer than 1,500 units. The Treasurer indicated in the lockup that the remaining $6 million will be used for rent subsidies. Details have not yet been announced. Thus, the program cannot be evaluated beyond noting that it is an incredibly uncreative use of meagre funds and it does nothing to stimulate construction.
Ontario Liberal proposals for a rental housing stimulation program, which were released on December 20, 1982, were designed as a first step towards raising vacancy rates in major municipalities to three per cent. The cost was $129 million, the number of jobs created 23,500 and the number of Units built 13,350. The average cost per unit would have been $9,700.
On May 14, 1982, the day after the budget, at an early morning press conference, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) unveiled Challenge 2000, composed of four programs: renter-buy; quick mortgage repayment scheme, which, of course, is not costing any real money; InnoRent -- the price tag for these three is $48 million; and Renthab, aimed at rehabilitating and preserving existing rental housing. In addition, the government was to launch a series of demonstration projects designed to create new rental units from existing housing, with a price tag of $10 million.
The $58 million needed for these two programs was never allocated by the cabinet. The $16 million in 1983-84 represents only 27.6 per cent of last year's promise. a promise that was never kept. Government has created an illusion that over a two-year period it has put $98 million into rental housing construction proposals. In fact, at best we can hope for $16 million this year.
The government also cut back on the Ontario home renewal program. which was of great benefit to people in rural areas and in the north. It cut back on that program, which was helping the elderly and the poor to rehabilitate their homes and bring them up to standard. Again, they suffer because this government really has no commitment to helping that sector of the population. The Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto and the Ontario Economic Council have suggested that the property tax credit program be redesigned to help people who need the help most. That fell on deaf ears this year, that is sure.
I want to speak briefly about employment and job creation once again and about the BILD program. The budget admits that the employment situation will continue to deteriorate. The unemployment rate for 1983 is forecast to be 11.7 per cent, compared with 9.8 per cent last year. On average, employment will drop by 37,000 and unemployment will increase by 93,000. The difference is a result of the increase in the labour force.
To deal with this problem, the budget announced $242.3 million in programs to help create 76,000 short-term jobs. At first, this sounds impressive. However, last year the government was supposed to spend about $226 million to create approximately 40,000 jobs. In fact, expenditures fell short by about $10 million. This year's funding shows an increase of only $16.3 million, or 7.2 per cent over last year's allocation. Yet average unemployment in 1983, according to the Treasurer's own estimate, will be up 21.1 per cent over 1982.
Though job creation funding is up only 7.2 per cent, the total number of jobs to be created has almost doubled from 40,000 to 76,000. Obviously,either the jobs will be of even shorter duration than last year or someone is inflating the numbers. The former may be happening -- we will not be able to tell until the programs are well under way -- and the latter definitely is occurring.
In many cases, it would be difficult to shorten the average duration of jobs created under the various programs without totally destroying their effectiveness. Last year the average length of jobs created under the northern employment incentives program was 4.9 weeks. The average participant under the repair program for college, university and local school buildings cost the government $577, hardly symptomatic of a major campaign to create jobs.
An expenditure of $14 million to enrich manpower training programs by 9,100 positions is listed under the short-term job creation program. I welcome any increase in training efforts, even this pittance, since our party has been pushing the government to act in this area. But manpower training is not job creation.
Training expenditures are listed separately from job creation in expenditures by category in the budget, and manpower funding has never been included under job creation. To do so here is a blatant attempt to overstate what is actually being done in job creation as well as being naïve double accounting. When compared on an equal basis, job creation expenditures this year will be $221.8 million versus allocations of $226 million or actual expenditures of $211 million.
Even using the most favourable measure, funding for job creation will increase only 5.1 per cent this year. The people of Ontario were not expecting that the five per cent restraint rule would be applied to the government's efforts to get the economy back on its feet.
While on the topic of job creation, it is worth mentioning the fate of the Canada-Ontario employment development program. When the Treasurer announced the program in the House on November 22, 1982, he told us the federal- provincial actions would create 30,000 jobs. This year's budget reveals that the $80 million to be spent on COED in 1983-84 will yield only 19,000 jobs, 5,000 fewer than would be expected on the basis of the Treasurer's estimate.
A check with Treasury officials found that the total cost of COED has now been revised downward because of higher costs. Since the Treasurer made such a commotion about announcing the original 30,000 jobs, I am curious why he did not stand in the House and tell us that 20 per cent of them had disappeared before they even got started because of his department's miscalculation.
There is one last area I wish to touch on with regard to job creation, namely youth emploment programs. We are all aware that "youth unemployment stands at 22 per cent at this moment and will rise over the summer. Fully one in four young Ontarians, more than 250,000 people, will be unable to find employment. I am sure the Treasurer will not deny that the youth unemployment rate in the coming months will be an unbelievable eight points higher than last year's horrendous level.
The youth programs this government put in place in 1982 were an unmitigated disaster. I have already mentioned the Ontario youth employment program, which, through an administrative foul-up, had $6.5 million left in its kitty after turning away hundreds of willing employers and thousands of eager and needy young workers.
But OYEP was not the only failure. Youth programs listed in last year's budget were supposed to create 93,000 jobs, but the current document tells us that only 75,000 positions were achieved. It is ludicrous that in a year when youth unemployment soared to unprecedented heights, the Ontario government fell 18,000 jobs, or 20 per cent, short of its already inadequate goal.
Whether or not this year's target will be achieved we shall have to wait and see. However, the important fact is that the target itself is far too low. The government is aiming to create fewer than 101,000 jobs for young people, or fewer than 8,000 more than last year. I will say here and now that 8,000 jobs will not even deal with half the additional unemployed in the first month of this summer, much less the year-long plight of our youth.
There is much in this budget that speaks of the government's lack of vision for the future, but something more direct than this shameful abandonment of those who will mould our future cannot be found.
I want to touch on the tourism sector. One of the major shortcomings of this budget is its failure to deal with our tourism sector in a year that followed the first deterioration we have experienced in our provincial tourism deficit after years of improvement. Our tourism deficit had been progressively shrinking, to $392 million in 1980 and $328 million in 1981, but in 1982 this trend was reversed and our preliminary estimates indicate that the deficit could be well over $400 million once again.
Our tourism revenues were much lower than expected last year when one considers such factors as the exchange on the dollar, which should have attracted more American tourists and kept Ontarians at home, and a substantial expenditure on our promotional budget.
Ontario's tourism industry may well be one of the brighter spots in our economy, but tourism on a worldwide basis has been expanding at such a rate that it is expected to be worth $120 billion globally by the year 2000 and certain to be the largest industry for this province. Given this growth in the tourism sector throughout the world in the past decade, Ontario's share of world tourism expenditures actually fell from 4.2 per cent to 2.7 per cent. In reality, then, while millions more people visited Ontario this year than a decade ago and spent billions more dollars here, our share of potential visitors to Ontario decreased.
The point here is, if Ontario had maintained its share of the world tourism market since the early 1970s, our economy would be richer by $850 million, the provincial government's revenues would be 375 million higher and, most important of all, perhaps 58,700 more jobs would have been created for Ontario.
Tourism Ontario made a pre-budget presentation to the Treasurer in which a number of recommendations were made to improve our tourism sector.
One of these dealt with a 10 per cent licensed trade discount on all purchases of beverage alcohol and 15 per cent on domestic wines. When a consumer purchases a bottle of liquor from a Liquor Control Board of Ontario outlet his price is made up of the basic selling price plus the retail tax, currently 10 per cent but which this budget will increase to 12 per cent.
When the owner of a licensed establishment purchases the same bottle of liquor, he pays the basic selling price minus a five per cent licence fee discount plus the 12 per cent gallonage tax. As a result, the price differs from the consumer price by only about three per cent. However, when he sells a drink in his establishment he must add on the 10 per cent retail tax and submit that as well to the provincial government.
Compare this situation with licensees in the US, our closest competitor, who may benefit from volume discounts when they purchase liquor. It is one factor that immediately places our hospitality industry at a competitive disadvantage with our closest neighbour.
I took the time in last year's budget reply to point out some actions that could be taken by this government for the benefit of our tourism sector. I want to repeat some of them because one suggestion was actually picked up, the realignment of ministries to form the new Ministry of Tourism and Recreation.
Tourism is one of our largest employers, providing jobs for 541,000 Ontarians or about 14 per cent of our employed labour force. The participation of government in this sector is crucial since the industry is made up of over 30,000 firms, most of which are small but all of which need to advertise.
The government, therefore, assumes a very important role in co-ordinating this effort and promoting the industry as a whole. The government, however, has failed to provide the framework in which the individual tourist operator can carry on business. The industry is so over-regulated that tourism operators can find themselves dealing with as many as 14 provincial ministries.
That means up to 14 different ministers can all be making policy decisions without knowing how the decisions will affect the tourism sector. Without one person representing the tourism industry, many policy decisions have been made negatively affecting tourist operations. We had hoped this would be remedied with the appointment of the new Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz).
I want to touch briefly on some of the suggestions we have to improve this sector of our economy. Some of these have been put forward by my colleague the member for Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins) in previous speeches.
We suggest taxing tourist resorts in a way that takes into account the fact that they may operate for only part of the year; implementing a full restocking program for our lakes, which would improve the attraction of fishing in our province; giving local travel associations a bigger voice in deciding how the provincial tourist advertising dollar is spent; using our community colleges more fully to improve the skills of those in the hospitality industry, and providing facilities in the soon-to-be-built Metropolitan Toronto Convention Centre for making reservations for resorts and attractions in any part of Ontario.
One final word on our promotional budget: While the "Yours To Discover" campaign may be paying substantial dividends and attracting tourists from targeted markets in Canada, bordering US states and overseas markets in Britain, Germany, France and Holland, we have to work even harder today just to maintain our position in these markets.
We must never forget we are living next door to the most successful promotional campaign ever with "I Love New York." In addition to that, the state of New York increased its aggressive tourism marketing budget by 17.5 per cent in 1982, and Michigan augmented its impressive tourism budget by a remarkable 50.9 per cent. Given all of this, the only measure affecting the tourism sector in this budget is a negative one: an increase in the purchases by tourists eligible for the retail sales tax rebate to $100.
Given the multiplier effect of tourism spending on the provincial economy and the impact of this sector on employment, any stimulation of this industry can have profoundly beneficial effects. This budget is sadly lacking in this area of stimulation, and we will continue to press for such measures for this sector. Considering the number of jobs that could be created in the tourism sector, particularly for our unemployed youth, it is almost criminal that this particular sector is not taken note of in this budget at all.
I have a number of comments to make on the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program. I am not going to go over the BILD program; it has been completely discredited. There is no one in Ontario who believes it was anything more than an election ploy, which unfortunately worked. But it has no credibility, the Treasurer has no credibility when he talks about it and neither he nor the Premier can even keep a straight face when they talk about the "bilge" program.
It is interesting. This is supposedly the cornerstone of whatever economic policy this government has, and yet the funds in that program have gone up all of $9 million over last year.
Mr. Bradley: But you have to be fair. It has been good for the sign-painting industry.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Yes, a lot of ministers have had their names painted on signs; that in fact is true. But there is no one, from the chamber of commerce to anybody anywhere else, who believes that as an economic strategy, as an economic document, it is anything but a bunch of warmed-over programs previously announced and with money previously allocated under other budgets.
I had intended to talk about the deficit in financial stewardship. It is interesting that nine cents of the taxpayer's dollar used to go to pay the interest on the provincial debt. In one year that has risen from nine cents to 11 cents, so that for every dollar the taxpayer puts into the pockets of the Treasurer he is paying 11 cents of interest -- completely unproductive. That is an increase of over 20 per cent.
I asked the Treasurer during question period and he pretended not to understand the question. We understand that we have to run deficits in times of recession and bad years, but I think the people of Ontario are entitled to see that they are getting something for that deficit in job creation and in jobs for our unemployed, both our youth and the rest of the population.
This is an unproductive deficit. The taxpayers are still paying for Suncor and Minaki Lodge; for the overblown cabinet we have and the limousines that go with it; for the $40 million in advertising by the government, a good half of which is for self-congratulatory pap; and for the land banks that we are still holding on to.
Somebody asked me the day the budget came out, "Should the Treasurer resign because of the leak?" I think he should resign not because of the leak but because this is an abysmally bad budget.
I tried to put forward some creative, innovative and, we think, constructive ideas for improving things in Ontario, particularly for the future but also for the short term. I have tried to be constructive and I have tried to be positive, as we always are in the Liberal Party. I have said there are things in the budget that we agree with and applaud.
There are a few things, unfortunately, that we do not agree with. I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about the Ontario health insurance plan premiums. I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about the increase in personal income tax. I am not going to talk about the social services maintenance surtax.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Tell us about the $45 million, a good half of which the government wasted on Minaki?
It has long been the position of this party that we would eventually like to see the Ontario health insurance plan premiums phased out and that there be a charge on the consolidated revenue fund through personal income tax. We realize that is not going to be done with a stroke of a pen, but we wonder if the Treasurer has not launched us in that direction with his five per cent social services maintenance surtax.
I must say to the Treasurer that I do not know if my colleague on my left was listening to me the other day or not, but I think its title is demeaning both to the Treasurer who presented it and to the people at whom, presumably, it is aimed. I frankly think it verges on Archie Bunkerism or that kind of thing. I will leave it at that, but I really believe the Treasurer is a much more honourable person than that. I believe someone has slipped that into the budget and I find it quite distasteful.
It is distasteful because it points out or points at a particular segment of our society, generally those who need assistance the most and who should not be singled out in a budget any more than anybody else.
Second, even worse than that, is probably the fact that the Treasurer, who prides himself on being honest and direct, which I believe he is generally, has stooped to such a subterfuge to say that he is imposing a temporary surtax. He knows and has said himself -- and I have all the quotes here to prove it -- that all the money that is collected goes into the consolidated revenue fund.
There is no such thing as particular taxes earmarked for a particular program. There never has been. It has been the position of the government, and I think rightly so, that it be that way.
What the Treasurer is trying to do is smudge and fog the issue when in fact he is simply doing nothing more than increasing personal income tax. That is all he is doing. He is trying to set up a smokescreen and perhaps have people pointing their fingers at one segment of society, a straw man that he puts up, because he was afraid to admit honestly, for once, that he had to raise personal income taxes. It is as simple as that. But we are again concerned about the temporary nature.
I do not have to tell the Treasurer because I think he, as a veteran of the Boer War, was around during the First World War when the personal income tax was first brought in. It was going to be a temporary measure. After April 30, ask anybody who has filled out his income tax if that was a temporary measure.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I think the minister is more of a bore than a Boer.
We are concerned about the corporation tax and the processing tax. We are not sure that those are appropriate in times of recession. It bothers me that the Treasurer seems to be convinced we are out of the recession, or coming out of it fairly rapidly. I do not believe that is the case. I think this five per cent surcharge on OHIP premiums and the eight to one ratio that my leader mentioned are going to abort the consumer-led recovery that he has talked about.
I want to go off on a bit of a tangent for a moment because I was completely baffled listening to the news last night, then reading in the media this morning, to learn that the Treasurer, one day after he announced his budget for 1983-84, is talking about having a mini-budget in the fall. We have not even digested this one and he is talking about a mini-budget in the fall. This is big news, for some reason. It really boggles the mind. It may well have been another smokescreen he was putting up.
If the Treasurer is trying to create a climate of confidence and stability, surely to say one day after he tabled his budget, "I probably will have to change all this and none of this is going to make much sense six months from now," is hardly creating a climate of confidence and stability. Perhaps he really thought about how bad this budget was and decided he would have to bring in another in the fall to refurbish his image.
Incidentally -- probably this is closer to the truth -- the Treasurer may simply be picking up on my idea that at least twice a year once in the budget and at one other time some six months after his budget -- we should have a statement of the economic wellbeing or otherwise of the province so we will know exactly where we are going. It is deceitful for the government to table estimates in this House and table a budget and then cancel programs without announcing it has done so, as it did in last year's budget.
I have tried to be positive and constructive; I have put forward a few ideas but I am more interested in the general philosophy and thrust. In my remarks I have tried to look to the future and where we are going to be for the balance of the 1980s and into the 1990s. I have suggested we have to do something about productivity and the government has a role in that. I have suggested some job creation areas that should be looked into and acted on quickly, and that there are particular problems in some of our economic sectors which can be dealt with in an innovative way. I have tried to be constructive in looking at and positioning Ontario so we can take advantage of the opportunities that will be ours in the rest of the 1980s and 1990s.
We in this party are concerned about the future. We are concerned that the government that has been in power for 40 years seems to be more concerned about looking backward than forward.
The Acting Speaker: Mr. T. P. Reid moves, seconded by Mr. Nixon, that the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of this government be amended by deleting the words following "that" and adding thereto the following -- do I have the approval of the House to dispense with the reading?
Mr. McClellan: No, we want to hear it.
Mr. Rae: Read it out.
The Acting Speaker: I would be pleased to read it.
This House deeply regrets the 1983 budget fails to recognize the most serious and fundamental problems facing the province of Ontario today and condemns the government for:
"Ignoring the continuing plight of the more than half-million unemployed Ontarians, neglecting in particular the desperate prospects faced by hundreds of thousands of idle Ontario youth, by refusing to introduce any serious long-term job creation programs nor any significant job training proposals;
"Ignoring the serious structural economic deficiencies plaguing Ontario's industrial infrastructure, neglecting in particular the need for a sound and thoughtful vision of Ontario's economic future for the rest of the 1980s and beyond, relying instead on short-term and shortsighted Band-Aid measures;
"Introducing yet another series of inequitable and unfair tax increases, and at the same time increasing the provincial deficit, thus punishing the citizens of Ontario for such wasteful government excesses as the Suncor purchase, the land banks, Minaki Lodge, government advertising, government polling and the practices of Ontario Hydro, among others;
"Ignoring or reducing the provincial commitment to such important sectors of our economy as agriculture, tourism and the auto sector;
"Threatening our social services with the prospect of cutbacks while a plethora of government excesses continues to be funded;
"Ignoring or reducing the provincial commitment to northern Ontario and environmental protection in this province;
"Ignoring the crucial issue of productivity across ail sectors of our economy;
"Producing a budget which is unfocused, without direction, contradictory in its proposals and offering little hope for the thousands of Ontarian citizens suffering during the current recession;
"Therefore, this government lacks the confidence of this House."
Some hon. members: Well read.
The Acting Speaker: Thank you. The honourable members are very kind.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to lead off the remarks for the New Democratic Party and our reaction to a budget that is --
Mr. Samis: Boring.
Mr. Laughren: Boring.
Mr. Cooke: -- boring and I guess in many ways maintains the momentum that was established by the throne speech earlier this year.
I must indicate that last year when we gave our budget responses, the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) was several thousand miles from Ontario. This year, for most of the response of my colleague from the Liberal Party, he was just several hundred feet from the Legislative Assembly and most of the members of the Conservative Party again are not in attendance for the budget debate.
I must again, and I have said this several times, state how dissatisfied I am with the process this Legislature is following. We just do not take this place seriously and, on the most important document that is presented before the Legislature and us, who represent the people of Ontario, the members of the Conservative Party are satisfied simply when their honourable whip tells them to stand up and vote. They do not think it is their role to participate in the debates and listen to the opposition positions on these very important matters.
Once again I just want to put on the record that I think they are contributing to the downfall of a very important process in this Legislature, and the members of the cabinet, the so-called leaders of that party, should be somewhat concerned about their back-benchers.
I want to make a few comments. I probably will not take all of my time on the budget that has been placed before us and the people of Ontario.
At a time when we needed imagination, we received instead a budget that can only be described as bland. At a time when we needed action, we received inaction. At a time when 750,000 people needed hope, they received a budget that gives them nothing but hopelessness. At a time when we needed jobs, we received virtually no jobs. At a time when nearly 250,000 young people in the province are unemployed, we received at most only 28,000 jobs -- and that is not even 28,000 man-year jobs.
This government seems to be satisfied with real growth of only 1.9 per cent, with an unemployment level of 11.7 per cent and with the reality that there will be 37,000 fewer jobs in Ontario in 1983 than there were in 1982.
This budget means that average unemployment will remain at an incredibly high level -- 535,000 people -- and the real unemployment level will continue to run at nearly 800,000 people in this province. Yet the Treasurer describes this budget as realistic.
The budget talks about the recovery, but the reality is that for nearly 800,000 people in this province there is no recovery; and there will be no recovery as long as this government is in power.
The statistics show also that there is no recovery at this point. So far, the figures for January and February of 1983 show a 31 per cent increase in layoffs over 1982 levels. Those figures are from the Ministry of Labour.
The budget restates a faith in the private sector and refuses to accept that the public sector has any active role to play in creating economic development and wealth in this province.
I would like to read a couple of letters into the record, one from my own riding and one that was sent to the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston).
"Dear Mr. Cooke:
"As a welfare recipient with a wife and two children. I am a welder with 10 years practical experience. I have just completed a course at the Industrial Resource Centre in Windsor to upgrade my skills to that of a fitter-welder, third-year apprentice. Included with my study, I earned certification from the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, technical standards division, pressure vessel branch, as a high-pressure pipe welder.
"When I went to the Industrial Resource Centre, courtesy of the Canadian government, my area was and still is considered to be a critical trades area. With co-operation from Canada Manpower and local industry, students -- including myself -- were led to believe that although no promises were made, employment would be readily available for successful graduates.
"I was successful. However, there are no jobs available to me, even though I was and still am prepared to relocate anywhere in Canada.
"The government also has an incentive program for employers ready to continue my training: the critical trades skills training assistance for employers.
"I have attempted to seek employment but was unable to even obtain application forms, let alone an interview, at which I could introduce myself and my skills.
"I am also listed with Canada Manpower for a position under the NEED," new employment expansion and development, "program and, thus far, no jobs have been forthcoming.
"My question to Mr. Axworthy" -- this was originally written to Mr. Axworthy, with a copy to me -- "is, if the welding field is a critical trade area, where is the shortage?"
The fact of the matter is, this young man in the city of Windsor has gone through for training, he is a skilled tradesman in a so-called critical skills area, and still no jobs exist in this province for him.
Here is a letter addressed to my colleague the member for Scarborough West:
"I am a 23-year-old, university-educated male who has been ungainfully employed for over a year. My political leanings are left of centre, although I have never voted for the NDP. I was brought up in Montreal but returning there is out of the question.
"I spent four very difficult years studying journalism at Carleton University. I supported myself since I was 16 to go to university. While studying I never managed to live more than $2,000 under the poverty line. Me and many other students who were in the same situation didn't mind the hardship, however, because, perhaps naively, we considered our education as an investment for our future and would pay for itself many times over. As it turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.
"In November 1981 I got a job as a reporter with the Peterborough Examiner. After four years of post-secondary education I was making $225 a week for sometimes as long as 50 or 60 hours. Conditions were deplorable. In January 1982 the Examiner newsroom was recognized by the Ontario Labour Relations Board as a local of the International Typographical Union. In March 1982 I was fired, I suspect no small part because I was a member of the union.
"Since March 1982 I remained unemployed. At the moment I have a temporary job filing at a Toronto law firm. That job ends at the close of business today." The letter was written in March.
"The financial problems of unemployment are well known to us all. In my case circumstances are not as bad as many. I don't have a family to support and I don't have any major debts. But my concern is the other problems that unemployment brings.
"My résumé will soon he on the best-seller list if any more copies are distributed. In our lives we must all experience rejection, but the feeling of going home day after day to a mailbox of rejection letters would discourage even the most hardy of us all.
"Of course, we all know that this is the worst possible thing: to find a job while you are discouraged is next to impossible. But how many times can you lie to yourself and say things will be all right when there is no indication that things will be all right?"
The letter goes on to describe this individual's feelings.
I suggest that these two individuals, along with thousands of others unemployed in Ontario, have no more prospect of a job today than they did at the beginning of this week, before the government brought down its budget.
This budget offers no vision, it offers no direction and it offers no hope. Instead, it says, 'Corporate profits are on the rebound; so hold on, recovery will trickle down some time." For our party and for the people we represent and care about, that philosophy is completely unacceptable.
Let us go through some of the specifics of this government's job creation proposals; for example, the Canada-Ontario employment development program. They have a commitment in this budget that they will match any further federal money if any is coming; so it is an if-maybe-but program.
But there is old money in the budget under the COED program. I remember when the Treasurer announced the COED program. He said this money would be spent quickly and jobs would be in place very quickly. To date in Ontario, 5,000 jobs exist under the COED program. It is a disgrace at a time when there are 17,000 new welfare recipients every month coming off the unemployment insurance rolls and having to go on welfare.
Let me read some of the welfare statistics of various communities across this province to show how desperate the situation is.
In Chatham their welfare budget in 1980 was $993,000; in 1983 they are projecting that their budget will be $2.4 million -- from less than $1 million to $2.4 million in just two years. The city of Brantford now has the distinction that four per cent of its population is on welfare.
In Sudbury there has been a 39 per cent increase in the welfare budget; in 1982 their budget was $11 million, and this year they are projecting it will be $15.4 million. In London their budget is up by 49.7 per cent for welfare this year over last year. In Hamilton-Wentworth there has been a 19 per cent increase in the welfare case load, and their budget this year is up by 20 per cent over last year's.
In Sault Ste. Marie there were 1,152 general welfare cases in December 1981; in December 1982 they were up to 1,670, a 45 per cent increase. But even more remarkable, their welfare budget for 1983 is up by 71 per cent over 1982's. In Kingston the case load is up by 9.9 per cent. In Kitchener, the welfare case load is up by 45.4 per cent.
In my home city, our case load has been increasing since 1978. The case load in December 1981 was 3,900 and in February 1983 it was 5,043, which is an increase of 24 per cent. I have a couple of other statistics to indicate how badly off that community is: in 1982 there were 625 personal bankruptcies and 145 business bankruptcies in Windsor.
Communities in this province are suffering because of the inaction of this government. More and more people are being forced to go on welfare, which for many individuals in this province is the very last resort and something that requires them to swallow all their personal pride, to walk to the welfare office and apply for something that has a very negative stigma attached to it.
This government has not seen fit to do anything to try to turn around that situation by job creation. In fact, based on the budget statistics for the various municipalities, we are likely to see more and more people forced to go on welfare because there just will not be the job opportunities.
Let us take a look at this government's accelerated capital works program, which is supposed to be a job creation program as well. They say 12,000 jobs will be created, and they tell us $246 million will be spent on capital works.
First, last year, when the accelerated capital works program was announced, $133 million was the provincial share. Now this government presents us with a figure of $246 million, as if it were all provincial money. The reality is that only $167 million is provincial money.
Then they tell us there are going to be 12,000 jobs created, but their officials in the lockup could not tell us how many man-years that is. They tell us it is going to be spent over two years, but for some reason all the jobs are going to be created this year. It really does not make a lot of sense. It is an indication of other aspects of this budget that lack some basic honesty with the people of this province.
Capital investment by this province as a percentage of total budgetary expenditures has fallen. To maintain even 1981 levels would require an additional $430 million of expenditures by this province.
Unemployment in the building trades province-wide is more than 37 per cent. In some cities it is much higher. In Sault Ste. Marie, for example. it is 75 per cent. In Sudbury it is 64 per cent; in the Quinte-St. Lawrence area it is 75 per cent, and in the Essex-Kent region it is 60 per cent. Yet this government cannot see fit to create more than 12,000 jobs, the man-year equivalent of which we do not know, and it cannot see fit to bring up its capital works expenditures to the levels they were at in 1981.
We need those jobs now, and it would make much more sense for this government to get much more involved in capital works, to create jobs now and to build facilities that will be useful not only today but also for many years in the future. This type of investment cannot be looked at as a waste of government money or as make-work projects. Capital works investment is something that the government gets a return on as well as creating jobs now when we need them.
Youth employment: With nearly 250,000 young people unemployed in this province, this government comes in with a program of 100,000 jobs. but it does not tell us that in 1982 there were more than 75,000 jobs created under this program. In reality, they are putting only $36 million more into youth employment in this province and at most they are creating only 26,000 new jobs, according to the figures they presented to us.
At a time when our young people are unemployed, not just for one or two months but for very long periods of time, and when our young people are feeling more and more alienated from society because they are not allowed to participate in or contribute to our economy, this is a miserly approach to youth unemployment and does not take the problem seriously. This government is sowing the seeds of problems for years to come by not putting our young people to work today.
In housing, the last statistics show vacancy rates in Toronto were 0.7 per cent; in Hamilton, 0.6 per cent; Oshawa, 0.5 per cent; Thunder Bay, 0.6 per cent, and Ottawa, 0.2 per cent. Those are the vacancy rates in those communities, yet what does this government propose? It proposes a $16-million program over four years to upgrade and rehabilitate 5,000 units. What a disgrace at a time when we need not only those jobs in the housing sector but also the housing units.
There are 10,000 senior citizens on waiting lists for social housing in Ontario and we can come up with only 5,000 units. This is after the government shut down or eliminated the Ontario home renewal program just a couple of months ago. The net amount of money being put into this program is practically nothing at a time when we have a housing crisis.
In the small business sector, this government pays lipservice to the small business people of this province. A tax holiday for small business is a great political gimmick. It certainly satisfied many small businesses that are profitable and incorporated, but it does nothing for those small businesses that are in trouble because they have experienced high interest rates and falling consumer demand in this province.
Over the course of this recession, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said that across Canada we lost 700,000 to 800,000 jobs in the small business sector. If 40 per cent of those jobs are in Ontario, that means we have lost 300,000 to 350,000 jobs in the small business sector during the course of this recession.
The $200-million tax giveaway to the profitable, incorporated small businesses would be much better used to help those small businesses in difficulty and to act as an incentive to create jobs in that sector of our economy.
This tax holiday was supposed to create 10,000 jobs in the small business sector, but ask the Treasurer today how many jobs were actually created and he will tell us, as he told me last December, that there has been no evaluation. As he said, acting like my father: "David, if you were ever in this position, you would institute taxes based not on what really works but on what your gut reaction is. My gut reaction was that this was a good tax expenditure; so we put it in place."
There was no attempt to evaluate it. From a government that is supposed to have good business practices, there was no attempt to see whether this tax expenditure was working and creating jobs. It was just the Treasurer's gut reaction. Perhaps he was hoping to get another dinner out of it as he did from the car salesmen.
What we need in this province is a small business strategy that will plug the small business manufacturers into an industrial strategy, that will increase consumer confidence and consumer spending so there is activity in those corner stores, and that also, for the manufacturers, plugs into an automobile parts strategy, for example. The vast majority of our Canadian-owned auto parts firms are small businesses within this province. If we had a strategy in the auto parts sector, those businesses could benefit.
Instead, the only answer from this government to the problems of the small business sector is a tax holiday for what was two years and now is three years. The chances are that there probably will be a fourth year, because they will want to get past the next election without reimposing this tax.
In the agriculture sector, again this government talks a good line about its commitment to the farm community, yet in 1982, 43 per cent of farm bankruptcies were in Ontario where we account for only 25 per cent of Canada's farms. Since the last election, an average of three farmers have gone bankrupt every week in this province. In 1982 farm income dropped by 26 per cent.
The Ontario farm adjustment assistance program fails to address the problems of foreclosures and has assisted very few farmers in Ontario.
Ontario still lags far behind other provinces in terms of long-term credit programs. With inadequate returns for farmers, the problem will continue. So far this year there have been 47 farm bankruptcies, the same number we had in 1982. Last year there were 176 for the entire year. There is no reason to believe the same number of farms will not go into bankruptcy this year without a proper program from the government of Ontario.
The beginning farmers program announced by this government in its budget is a program our agriculture critic has called for, previously Donald MacDonald and now the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart). We have called for that program for many years and we congratulate the government for finally bringing it in. We look forward to seeing the details of that program, but an awful lot still needs to be done in the agriculture sector of this province.
The tax changes announced in this budget again demonstrate the basic philosphy of the Conservative government of Ontario. The cost of the Ontario health insurance plan is up $60 million or five per cent. A family now will be paying $680 a year for health insurance and a single person $340 a year; that is a 42 per cent increase since 1980. We have the distinction of being one of only three provinces that pay premiums and we charge by far the highest premiums in all of Canada.
The premium assistance program remains untouched in terms of levels of income to qualify for that program. We, along with Alberta and British Columbia, are the only provinces that continue to charge premiums. The so-called link between premiums and the cost of health does not exist. Even Mr. McKeough, the former Treasurer, admitted that back in 1978.
At the same time that premiums rise to pay for an overly generous settlement with the doctors of this province, we allow extra billing to continue in Ontario. Extra billing is a deterrent fee, a user charge that hurts those on fixed and low incomes the most. It should be stopped by this government immediately. Instead, not only does this government allow extra billing to continue but also it has the audacity to approve of it through the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman).
If one is a low-income person or cannot afford these deterrent fees imposed by the doctor, he says, "Go talk to your specialist, go talk to your doctor and beg for charity medicine." That is what it boils down to. One has to go to his doctor if he is on welfare, is in a low-income bracket, is paid the minimum wage or is a senior citizen and say. I cannot afford to pay your extra fee, so would you please not charge it to me?"
I thought charity medicine had gone out in Ontario when the health insurance scheme came in during the 1960s. This government is allowing charity medicine to creep back into the system at increasing and alarming rates.
The social services maintenance tax introduced the other day by this Treasurer is a part of the budget that I believe lacks honesty. This is simply a surtax that was introduced to raise revenue. It had nothing to do whatsoever with maintaining social services in this province. It had to do with the fact that this Treasurer wanted to increase taxes.
The Treasurer did not want to talk about any substantial increases in taxes for his corporate friends. Instead, he wanted to bring in this surcharge, which hits people on low incomes the hardest by trying to give those people on low incomes the guilt trip that they have to contribute to those people who are drawing on the social services system of this province because of the recession.
That is exactly what this government is trying to do. It is a regressive tax, and it has nothing to do with the proposals this party made of a surcharge on net income of more than $30,000. There is no parallel whatsoever. This surtax will kick in on incomes of $7,500 for a single person and $12,400 for a family. An individual who has a gross income of $7,500 is going to have to pay this surcharge, the so-called social services maintenance tax.
What a disgrace in Ontario when we decide to put a surtax on those people who are at the lowest income level, many of whom work in the social services sector. For example, nursing home workers have very low incomes; this government, which put them under wage controls last year, now slaps a five per cent surtax on their income.
This particular tax demonstrates more clearly than anything else in the budget the philosophy of this government. I am very sorry this government decided to bring in this type of tax, and I can pledge that this party will be fighting this tax as hard as it possibly can.
I want to give just a few examples of the lack of honesty in this budget. As I have already indicated, the job figures that have been totalled up by this government are not real job figures, because they have not been put in man-years. They give the illusion that a few thousand jobs are going to be created, but the reality is that they are part-time, temporary jobs that will do virtually nothing to turn around the economic situation and the unemployment crisis.
The one aspect of this budget that is very dishonest, and it was raised in the Legislature today, is how the deficit is presented in the budget.
The Treasurer and other ministers have gone around the past few months announcing increases in transfer payments -- in some cases percentages that have been ahead of inflation; for example, in the hospital sector -- and tried to give the impression that these areas are now priorities for this government. After years of underfunding, they are now going to give adequate funding for one year.
Then they present a budget, the bottom line of which says the deficit will be approximately $2.6 billion plus $300 million, which has to be squeezed out of transfer payments to achieve that $2.6-billion deficit. The reason it was presented the way it was is that with the $300 million as part of the deficit, as it should have been, it would have been reported as a $3-billion deficit. And that is what we have.
I do not have any trouble with a $3-billion deficit, as long as it is a productive deficit. I do not agree with the spending priorities, but I think the Treasurer, because of his philosophy, has great difficulty with even a $2.6-billion deficit. He did not want the publicity of a $3-billion deficit; so he played this new little gimmick in reporting whereby we can squeeze out another $300 million. I think that lacks honesty with the people of Ontario and with the members of this Legislature.
I want to spend some time going through some of the proposals that this party outlined in a document called Ontario Can Work and released last week at a press conference in Toronto. The document defines economic recovery as one that has full employment as its goal. An 11.7 per cent unemployment figure is unacceptable, and our proposals were designed to create new jobs and to protect existing jobs.
In the job protection field we once again call for amendments to labour laws in three areas: (1) longer notice before mass layoffs or a shutdown, (2) universal severance pay, which is something we do not have in Ontario and, most important, (3) a process of justification before a plant can close down in Ontario.
Companies in this province now are allowed to close their doors with no explanation or justification to the community and to the workers. I want to give an example from my own riding. The Chrysler spring plant will be closing down in July 1983. They have been able to sell the idea that the plant is going to be closed, not because the plant is not profitable but because the plant can be more profitable -- $5 million more profitable -- by relocating and contracting the work out to non-unionized plants in the sunbelt states in the United States. That is exactly what Chrysler is doing.
The Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) buys that line and has interpreted the $5 million in increased profits as meaning that the plant is now losing $5 million. But the plant is profitable; it always has been profitable. Yet it is going to move out because it can make $5 million more. Why is it less profitable than a plant down in the southern states? Wages may have something to do with it. What are we to do? Are we to lower our wages to the levels they pay in the sunbelt states and the right-to-work states?
The reality is that in the 60 years that plant has existed in Windsor, there has been virtually no investment by the corporation in new machinery. So, of course, productivity cannot compare with that in a brand new plant. The answer is not to close that plant down. The answer is not to allow it to close and lose for Ontario another auto parts plant and the 350 jobs associated with it. The answer for the corporation is to invest in that plant with new machinery to make it productive, make it competitive and increase the quality of its output.
The government cannot blame the workers who made concessions to that company in 1978 in order to try to save jobs. It cannot blame the workers when the company refuses to invest in its own facilities. A process of public justification would make those facts very clear to the community and to the government and would offer an opportunity to make a clear case for that plant and for 350 jobs for people in Ontario.
There are numerous other examples that have been brought up by my colleague the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie). There are examples in Hamilton. There were numerous examples brought before the committee studying plant closures in the province, but that committee was not allowed to report because the election was called and the Tory majority refused to set up a new committee.
A process of justification is overdue in this province. We will continue to raise the issue of individual plant closings and layoffs in the hope that this government will some day see the light and bring in legislation to provide for justification.
With respect to youth unemployment, we called for a 25 per cent increase in student job programs. The cost would be $16 million, and the total jobs created would be 89,000. We called for an increase in seasonal employment expenditures such as the Experience program. A 25 per cent or $27-million increase would create 24,000 jobs.
In the area of forest conservation, we suggested teams of young people with supervisory staff be established in each of the Ministry of Natural Resources districts for forestry-related work. This program could be expanded as new seedling stocks and nurseries are established. Its cost would he $20 million and it would create 1,400 jobs.
We suggested that a neighbourhood service program be set up, again with teams of young people, funded to provide maintenance and home-related upkeep for the elderly and the disabled living at home. The cost would he $8 million and 1,000 jobs would he created. It would not only provide the jobs, but it would he an important service to the elderly and disabled in this province. It is something we need and are eventually going to have to establish. Why not establish it now when we need the jobs?
In the area of energy conservation we suggested that in the regions of highest unemployment, teams of 30 young people be employed in residential energy conservation programs. Their work would be combined with classroom training in which they would learn to perform energy audits in residential homes. Such training will allow them to make recommendations on energy conservation in those homes. We suggest that 4,000 jobs could he created in that area.
We would use $100 million of the $200 million of the tax expenditure to provide a manufacturing wage subsidy to small business. We suggest that if the $100 million was redirected to $5,000 subsidies for hiring young people for a year, without displacing existing workers, then 20,000 jobs could be created for our young people in this province.
In those programs, with a little bit of innovation and a little bit of effort on the part of government, 140,000 jobs could be created for our young people in this province. We also suggested that the whole area of training has to he examined and, later in the budget debate, my colleague the member for Hamilton West (Mr. Allen) will present some of our detailed plans on training in Ontario.
In the area of accelerated capital works, this budget calls for $167 million over two years. This does not even bring up the expenditures to 1981 levels as a percentage of budget expenditures, and it overestimates jobs. We suggested that at least $300 million in new money should he put into accelerated capital works in this province. These investments today would benefit this province now and for many years to come. This proposal would realistically create 12,000 jobs in Ontario.
In agriculture, by increasing the tile drainage program and funding by $25 million, agricultural productivity could be increased and 2,000 jobs could be created. Furthermore, we believe the $3,000 grant provided to farmers for farm improvements is inadequate and we suggest that a $25-million program to write down loans to eight per cent would be more effective and create more jobs.
In the area of energy and conservation, the program we suggested would be directed towards encouraging and supporting the development of conservation and renewable energy sources. Such a commitment has the potential to create thousands of jobs. A residential energy conservation program, with Ontario Hydro acting as the agency with municipal utilities, should provide low-interest loans, technical advice, inspection services and follow-up.
Jobs would be provided across Ontario. Job creation examples would be 1,000 utility personnel to perform the energy audits, 8,500 construction-related jobs, 1,000 skilled trades jobs for the conversion to natural gas, 4,500 in insulation manufacturing, 800 in furnace manufacturing and 3,000 in other related conservation production. The job creation potential in this area is at least 18,000 to 20,000 jobs for a program that has the resources put behind it and for a government that wants to implement this type of program.
Again, this kind of a program is not a make-work program. It is a program that has long-lasting benefit because it means fewer people will be relying on oil, it means those who are still on oil will use less of it because of conservation methods, and it means we will not have to import as much and therefore there will be tremendous savings to the people of this province and to the country as a whole.
In the environment, a program of environmental remedial action is long overdue. Over one million tons of hazardous industrial waste are produced by Ontario industries every year. Every year, 1.6 million tons of sulphur dioxide are pumped into the atmosphere by Inco Ltd., Ontario Hydro and Falconbridge Ltd., and by the oil, pulp and paper and steel industries. Solving these problems presents significant opportunities for job creation in Ontario.
We suggest an environmental repair fund should be set up in this province. It would be funded by government and industry, and it would clean up five waste sites in the province -- the Beare Road waste site, the Upper Ottawa site in Hamilton, the York Sanitation landfill site in Stouffville, the Eric Pauzé landfill site in Tiny township and the Uniroyal site in Elmira. We suggest the cost would be $25 million, some of which would be funded by the industry. There is a potential of 1,500 jobs to be created.
We have suggested other environmental areas where jobs can be created, again with long-lasting benefit to our province. The member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr. Charlton), our environment critic, will be explaining those in the course of the budget debate.
The housing sector was the most disappointing to the members of this caucus in terms of this government failing to take advantage of the opportunity that exists for job creation. There are 10,000 senior citizens right now waiting for rental units in Ontario. A program in this field, as well as in the co-op and nonprofit area, would meet an important need. Over 30,000 jobs could be created in the province. Again, the low vacancy rates that are a problem today provide this province with an incredible opportunity for job creation.
There are other housing areas such as renovation. About 20 per cent of our housing stock in Ontario is 50 years old. A program of renovation and conversion to rental units where appropriate would create jobs, in addition to upgrading Ontario's housing stock.
Again, opportunities exist for job creation in health and social services. Our document proposed several programs in the health and social services field. They include child care, neighbourhood support, homemaker programs and nursing homes. I want to focus on one of our suggestions. The others will be dealt with by my colleagues the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) and the member for Scarborough West when they join the budget debate. All these people did not plan on speaking, but they do now.
The area I would like to address in the health and social services field is the nursing home sector. I became fairly involved in this area after my election in Windsor. I found nursing homes in this province were not providing the kind of care I expect them to provide, because the motivation in the nursing home sector is profit and not care. There can be simply no doubt about that when one tours the nonprofit homes for the aged and sees they provide much better care in Ontario.
We suggest the government has to get into nursing homes and nonprofit nursing homes in a big way. We need those beds now. There are people on waiting lists. In fact, in many areas of this province it takes a year to get into a nursing home. In the meantime, people have to remain in unregulated rest and lodging homes across this province, where the care, to say the very least, is inadequate.
We suggest there should be 2,000 nonprofit beds provided in the nursing home sector in this province. We are not suggesting these beds would be run directly by the Ministry of Health. We are suggesting, instead, that church groups, municipalities and other community groups get involved in running these nursing homes and that government work with them, providing capital while they provide the care and maintenance in running these nursing homes.
I am convinced that in the long run, nonprofit nursing homes would not only provide better care for our senior citizens and others who need to be in nursing homes, but they would also be less expensive for the people of this province because the profit would be turned back into care for our elderly. Instead, the profit is taken out and given to the owners of the nursing homes. This is an area that would create 3,000 permanent jobs, and the capital funding for this program would come from our accelerated capital works program.
In the long term, we have to develop an industrial strategy in this province, not a political strategy such as BILD was, but a real industrial strategy. Ontario imports $35 billion worth of manufactured goods every year. If we could replace just 15 per cent of that, 60,000 jobs would be created. We have deficits in food, in auto parts, in machinery, especially mining machinery, and in electronics. These problems, these deficits, represent significant opportunities for job creation in Ontario. Our proposal is for a $5-billion investment over five years.
I want to focus on auto parts and food processing. Other parts of the proposal will be described later by other members of our caucus. We still have significant problems in the auto sector, even though we heard the Premier (Mr. Davis) in his summary of the throne speech say the auto sector has made a magnificent recovery. The fact is that in 1978, in Ontario, the UAW had 100,000 members in the auto sector. Now they are down to 79,000, and the working members are only 65,000. So 14,000 of those 79,000 are on layoff.
Thousands of auto workers in this province have lost their jobs and those jobs have gone permanently from our economy unless something is done to bring them back into Ontario. The reason the layoff numbers seem so low is that thousands of auto workers have lost their recall rights because they have been on layoff for such a long time. The reality is that the structural problems in the auto sector remain. They are there today just as they were in 1980 and 1981. We still have an incredibly weak auto parts industry. We still have no research and development. We still have an assembly bias and we still have a bias in the work force towards unskilled workers rather than skilled labour.
The government proposal in the throne speech to bring the offshore companies under the same kind of rules as the auto pact in my view is a cop-out. It was only a year ago that the former Minister of Industry and Tourism, the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman), said we needed 100 per cent Canadian content. Now, a year later, they say they are willing to settle for 65 per cent and, for example, Chrysler and Ford are running around 50 per cent Canadian content in what they produce and what they sell.
What we need in this province from our Liberal colleagues' at the federal level is content legislation, not just for the offshore auto makers, but content legislation that applies equally to the North American auto makers as well.
When that content legislation is brought in, there will be an increased demand for auto parts in Ontario. In order to take advantage of that increased demand for auto parts, we need to set up a crown agency, as we have suggested before. You are familiar with this, Mr. Speaker, because you are the one Tory who voted for my resolution. We need a crown agency that we would call AutoCan. You can call it whatever you want, but we would call it AutoCan.
AutoCan's purpose would be to get into joint ventures and co-invest with the Canadian-owned auto parts sector. It would be to get into research and development and joint ventures in the research and development field with the private sector and to build a process of Canadianization of the auto parts sector in Ontario. The potential for job creation in the auto parts sector, if content legislation was brought in, would be 35,000 jobs, most of which would be here in Ontario.
In the food processing sector we again are going backwards rather than forward. Between 1979 and 1982, imports rose by 57.5 per cent in Ontario and the trade deficit in food processing increased by 50 per cent. Two hundred million dollars worth of replaceable fruits and vegetables are brought into this province every year. That represents 9,000 jobs. We suggest a program should be set up and funds should be provided to small food processors throughout the province in existing or new co-operatives, small processors and canneries. In return, these Canadian companies would sign performance guarantees and the money would be advanced through co-investments with the private sector.
A very real opportunity exists for a government that has the will to eliminate the trade deficit in the food processing sector in five years. I want to spend a few minutes talking about how this program should be paid for. This $2-billion program for short-term job creation would create, as I have said, 150,000 jobs throughout Ontario. Of this $2 billion, about $400 million is composed of low-interest loans that would be paid back over time. In addition, some of the funds would come from redirecting existing commitments. Some would be provided by Ontario Hydro, for example, in the residential energy conservation program, and some directly through private sector contributions. such as in the work futures training program.
Another $700 million would be offset by increased revenues, leaving less than $1 billion in net addition to the deficit. The total deficit with our increase would be less, as a percentage of the gross provincial product, than the deficit in this province in 1975-76.
Compare a deficit that would be close to $4 billion under our suggestions to the costs of unemployment in Ontario. Under the present circumstances we lose $11,265,000,000 in lost wages every year, $1.5 billion in lost taxes, and $4.7 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and welfare payments in Ontario.
We have a choice. We can invest now and put people to work in productive activities, or we can maintain high unemployment, low revenues and high deficits for many years to come.
The increased deficit we suggest is a productive deficit, one that adds needed facilities to our province. These are facilities that have to be built sooner or later, so it is not wasted money. It is money well spent for today and for tomorrow. A productive deficit also increases revenues for the government through direct and spinoff job creation.
In the area of taxation, I want to make several proposals. Over the last 30 years in Canada, the inequality of income share has remained remarkably constant. At present, as in 1951,the bottom 20 per cent of the population receives only four per cent of the income, while the top 20 per cent of the population captures more than 42 per cent of the income, which is more than the entire bottom 60 per cent of the population receives.
The distribution of wealth is even more unequal. The richest 10 per cent of Canadians own 57 per cent of total Canadian wealth, while the lowest 40 per cent own less than one per cent of the total wealth in this country. A progressive tax system can mitigate some of these inequalities.
Under our current system, regressive taxes greatly offset the progressiveness of the personal income tax. We have sales tax, Ontario health insurance plan premiums and property taxes. Furthermore, the favoured treatment of investment income means wage and salary incomes are taxed at roughly double the rate of investment income.
This budget, along with the last two, has raised taxes in Ontario for families by about $800 annually. The Lalonde Liberal budget imposes $3 billion worth of additional taxes over the next four years. At the same time, the Lalonde Liberal budget proposes corporate tax cuts of about $1 billion. This budget parallels some of those federal tax changes, therefore giving further benefits to the corporate sector.
We have examined a few areas in which we believe revenue could be raised, while at the same time providing more equality in the tax system. Canada ranks last of all Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries in terms of taxation of wealth. An annual net wealth tax is levied in the Scandinavian countries, West Germany, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg. This tax is at an annual rate of between one and 1.5 per cent of net worth on an individual, in excess of an exemption level. This tax is applied in addition to succession duties.
Ontario does not even have succession duties. That tax was eliminated at the end of the 1970s. That tax raised $75 million when it was phased out. We believe a tax on estate wealth should be reintroduced and a net wealth tax should be considered. The estate tax could raise $100 million a year in Ontario and should be imposed in such a way as to avoid taxation of the family farm.
At present, the current tax treatment of dividend income and capital gains has resulted in a situation where many wealthy income earners effectively reduce their income rate to levels below what is paid by the average income earner. According to the federal Finance department, in 1979 there were 152,000 people filing tax returns who were identified as having incomes in excess of $50,000 a year. Of these, some 3,400 had no tax liability. A further 21,300 were taxable but paid less than 10 per cent of their income in federal tax. There were 740 individuals with incomes over $100,000 a year who had arranged their affairs so that they paid no federal income tax. A 20 per cent surtax on only the taxable portion of capital gains and dividend income would raise approximately $200 million in Ontario.
In addition, this government should be reviewing all its tax expenditures to business to determine if in fact they have been achieving job creation. I assume the only purpose for a tax expenditure to a business is to create jobs. They should be assessed to determine if they are. If they are not, then those tax expenditures should be plugged and we should redirect those funds so that jobs are created.
We believe that rather than introducing more and more tax expenditures we should be using a more direct approach of grants, joint ventures, loans and loan guarantees with performance guarantees attached to them. This provides for more accountability and an easy evaluation of success or failure. By raising other taxes such as capital tax on banks, trust companies and corporations to levels of other provinces, an additional $110 million could be raised. These tax changes along with the increases in corporate tax announced in the budget would raise in excess of half a billion dollars for the province.
In summary, as a member of this Legislature I feel a great deal of frustration with this government. The reason I feel frustration is that when one examines the sectors of the economy -- whether it he housing, auto parts, food processing, or mining and mining machinery -- opportunities exist for jobs to be created, thousands of jobs. I am convinced that if the government took advantage of these opportunities, this province could achieve full employment.
But the fact is we have a government that no longer has the will to govern. It no longer has a vision for its people. We have a government that refuses to take advantage of those opportunities and create jobs for the people of this province. It is incredibly frustrating when one comes from a community that now has had over 20,000 people unemployed for going on five years; in my home town we have had over 20,000 people unemployed.
Every week we have people who come in and virtually beg us for jobs, assuming that we have connections to get people jobs. They have come to the point where they will go and see a politician, an MPP; they have become so frustrated and alienated and so completely lost and filled with despair that they will go to an MPP's office and ask if they can get connections in order to get a job. This happens weekly.
Then we come and hear a budget read to us that creates not even enough jobs to take care of 10 per cent of the people who are unemployed in the province. It is frustrating and disappointing. One can only hope that eventually the people of this province will see this government has completely collapsed. It is completely void of any direction and ambition to do what is needed for this province.
We in this party have a vision for this province. We see that full employment can be achieved in Ontario. We would dearly love to have the opportunity, and I believe we will have the opportunity to implement our programs. In the meantime, we will harp away each day at this Treasurer and this government and put our proposals forward, communicate with the people and hope and pray that some day the Treasurer and the rest of his government will see the light and implement the policies to bring about the economic growth we know can be achieved.
In conclusion, I would like to present our amendment to the motion by the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid).
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): Mr. Cooke moves, seconded by Mr. Rae, that the amendment of Mr. T. P. Reid be amended by -- should I dispense with the reading?
Some hon. members: No.
The Acting Speaker: Are you sure?
Mr. McClellan: Read it slowly.
The Acting Speaker: Mr. Cooke moves, seconded by Mr. Rae, that the amendment of Mr. Reid be amended by adding after the word "recession" and before the words, "Therefore, this government lacks the confidence of this House," the following:
"Continuing the government's slavish" --
Some hon. members: Slavish.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Slavering and slavish.
The Acting Speaker: I apologize to all members of the House.
"Continuing the government's slavish adherence to the economic directions established by the Liberal government, policies which have resulted in the unemployment of hundreds of thousands of Ontarians;
"Ignoring the overwhelming evidence of the budget's own figures that the private sector in general and private sector investment in particular are not leading us to economic recovery, yet cutting back on vital public investment in environmental protection, housing, health, social services, agriculture and the north;
"Failing to introduce a major program to assist the construction of co-operative and nonprofit housing to create jobs and meet pressing needs for shelter;
"Failing to respond to the unacceptable levels of unemployment among young people and women with concrete proposals to create permanent jobs and comprehensive skills training programs;
"Failing to respond to the needs of older workers laid off or threatened by technological change by the establishment of a workers' training fund, improved layoff and severance pay legislation and pension reform;
"Increasing once again regressive OHIP premiums instead of shifting this unfair tax burden to an equitable tax source;
"Failing to reform the funding of health care in Ontario by banning extra billing and user fees:
"Abdicating completely its responsibility for the economic wellbeing of Ontario's people through its failure to introduce any long-term investment proposals to plan for our future."
On motion by Mr. Gillies, the debate was adjourned.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the government House leader, may I indicate the business of the House for tomorrow and next week?
Tonight and tomorrow, the budget debate; on Monday, May 16, in the afternoon, the budget debate; on Tuesday, May 17, in the afternoon and evening, legislation, with second reading and committee of the whole if necessary, as follows:
Any third readings on the order paper; Bills 32, 1, 25, 28 and 29 standing in the name of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry); Bills 4, 5, and 13 standing in the name of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie); and, if there is time, Bill 14.
On Wednesday, May 18, the usual three committees may meet in the morning.
On Thursday, May 19, in the afternoon, private members' ballot items 1 and 2 in the names of the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) and the member for Wenthworth (Mr. Dean); in the evening, budget debate.
On Friday, May 20, beginning the estimates of the Ministry of Government Services.
The House recessed at 5:36 p.m.