32nd Parliament, 3rd Session


























The House met at 10 a.m.



Mr. Sheppard: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I would like to bring to the attention of the House the fact that Bill Goodfellow died in his sleep on Tuesday morning. He was the member for Northumberland for 20 years, from 1943 to 1963, and a cabinet minister for 18 years, holding four portfolios. I am just bringing it to the attention of the House and to the members and friends he knew over those good many years that he represented the great riding of Northumberland.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): I thank the honourable member. On behalf of all members, I ask that the House express our sympathy to the Goodfellow family and acknowledge the gracious words of the member for Northumberland and certainly the great service of Mr. Goodfellow to this province and to the people of this country.


Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I would ask you to consider this and perhaps bring back a ruling to the House as early as next week on it. It may have already come to your attention that the recent actions of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) may well be in violation of standing order 39. I refer you to the fact that on May 10 this minister introduced Bill 32, which, with respect, is a duplication of Bill 11, which I had introduced on April 19. The purpose of standing order 39 is to prevent unnecessary repetition.

Notwithstanding the fact that in introducing Bill 32 the Attorney General credited three Tory back-benchers with bringing this to his attention, even though the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations had met with him and pleaded that he pass the bill I had introduced, and notwithstanding that this is not the first time the Attorney General has plagiarized bills from the opposition and taken personal credit without having the grace to acknowledge the opposition for having introduced them, I would like to advise you that if it is your opinion that the Attorney General is in violation of standing order 39 I would be happy to withdraw my bill, because it is terribly important that this legislation pass forthwith, be it under my name or that of the Attorney General.

The Acting Speaker: I thank the honourable member and I will refer his point to the Speaker, who can then deal with it.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Yesterday, you may remember, I expressed my dissatisfaction with an answer given to a question under standing order 28(a) by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller). The question was about the fact that the tax that is being imposed is also going to affect a number of very poor people in this province.

As a result we had what is known as the late show last night, but lately the late show has been turning into a no show with respect to the ministers coming to participate in that debate.

The Acting Speaker: I do not see that your privilege has been abrogated or --

Mr. R. F. Johnston: I understand that under standing order 28(b) it is a matter of the right of the minister to reply if he so wishes, I understand that; but surely in the spirit of those sections of our standing orders the idea is to give the opposition an opportunity to have a debate, not speak to an empty chair.

I would ask the Speaker to perhaps refer this matter back to the standing committee on procedural affairs so that we can look at this again, because it is not serving as another opportunity for members of the opposition to have a debate on a matter they think has been brusquely put aside, instead it is being used as a chance for us to talk to empty chairs on the other side.

The Acting Speaker: I thank the honourable member for raising this point. Your rights are clearly defined in the standing orders and I will take no further action on it.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to the same point of order, if I might.

The Acting Speaker: I have already listened at some length on it. Are you going to say anything different?

Mr. Laughren: I would like to suggest to the Speaker that he at least ask the procedural affairs committee to look into this, because the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) decided the same way the Treasurer did this week, not to bother to appear to provide for what we think are important rights of the opposition in this House.

The Acting Speaker: May the honourable members all realize that the standing committee on procedural affairs is looking at all the rules of the House, and I am sure those who are here this morning can be advised of the comments made.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, the problem with my nonappearance was that I was not informed about the matter.

Mr. Laughren: Nonsense.



Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, in keeping with my commitment to provide satisfactory support services and training opportunities for those developmentally handicapped people who are returning to the community, I am today tabling five documents prepared by my ministry in co-operation with associations for the mentally retarded and a number of other charitable and private organizations. These documents will serve to demonstrate that, contrary to some assumptions that have been made in this House and elsewhere, the transfer of developmentally handicapped people from institutions to community living settings is being accomplished through the most careful planning.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, my ministry is determined to provide as many developmentally handicapped individuals as possible with the opportunity for a richer life in the community. To achieve this we have, first, developed comprehensive tests to assess the ability of each resident of an institution to function in the larger community. We have gone on to identify the individual needs of those residents returning to the community for support services and training in occupational and life skills.

The documents before the House today are a result of a year of joint effort between officials of my ministry and representatives of those charitable organizations working with the developmentally handicapped in the community. This material has already been mailed to local associations for the mentally retarded, other nonprofit organizations serving the developmentally handicapped and operators of training workshops.

Volume 1 is a compendium of assessment services available throughout Ontario.

Volume 2 reviews various methods of assessment to assist those working with the developmentally handicapped in determining which of those methods are appropriate for the individuals concerned.

Volume 3 sets out proposed standards and guidelines for individual program planning, in which it is envisaged that the developmentally handicapped themselves and their families will take part. The need for standards and guidelines was identified in the report of the Task Force on Individual Program Planning, a body with representation from the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded as well as the ministry.

The proposals in volume 3 formalize and build on the expertise gained through practical experience over the last decade in Ontario and elsewhere. We have invited the organizations that serve the developmentally handicapped to provide written submissions on these proposals by July 29 of this year. A series of meetings, starting next Monday, has been arranged to facilitate this process.

10:10 a.m.

Volume 4 deals with community residential services for the developmentally handicapped. It proposes ways to resolve problems that have arisen in the operation of community residences in the past and ways to improve future planning of these residences. It also sets out a range of options for community living settings and services, particularly for the more severely handicapped.

Volume 5 contains issues raised in a review of workshop programs in Ontario and presents the views of the ministry regarding workshops in the future. It is concerned with ways to revitalize workshops, including the improvement of training programs, plant and equipment.

We are inviting written submissions on volumes 4 and 5 of the series by the end of September this year.

What all these documents amount to is a three-stage plan -- for each of the individuals concerned -- to make the transition from the institution to the community a trouble-free and, indeed, a rewarding experience. That plan provides for comprehensive assessment, the setting of goals and the achievement of those goals.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have worked so hard with my ministry in the development of these documents and in the larger task of helping thousands of our developmentally handicapped fellow citizens to realize their desire for a happier and more fruitful life.


Hon. Mr. Wells: M. le Président, à titre de ministre responsable des services en français du gouvernement de l'Ontario, il m'a fait plaisir de déposer aujourd'hui le quatrième rapport annuel du bureau du coordinateur provincial des services en français.

For the first time this year, I am also tabling a separate directory of French-language services which previously formed part of the office's annual report. This is an indication of the extent to which these services have expanded over the past year.

May I share with all members that today we are very close to achieving our goal of ensuring that the great majority of francophones living in Ontario have access to the government's French-language services and may I also offer my congratulations to all ministries for their support in implementing these services.

The government of Ontario is now able to provide across-the-board service in French in designated areas of the province where the majority of its French-speaking residents reside.

In other areas, where there are fewer francophone residents, we are steadily working to improve the quality of service so that French- speaking citizens can obtain information or access to government services in French.

To facilitate this access, the office of the government co-ordinator provides a toll-free telephone service, Renseignements Ontario, which enables the province's francophones to obtain information on government programs and services in their own language.

One of the major highlights of the past year, was the extension of the use of French to the county, district and surrogate courts in all designated areas of the province and to the Supreme Court in three of these areas. Changes in legislation were also made to allow court cases to be heard in French in individual locations across the province. French-speaking citizens of Ontario now also have the right to register legal documents, in designated areas, in their own language.

At present, we have full-time French-language services co-ordinators in 13 ministries, who are in constant contact with the public. Most of the ministries have a formal action plan for the implementation and delivery of French-language services.

One of our major priorities in this past year has been to expand the application of the French-language services policy to various government agencies, boards and commissions, many of which have direct impact on the daily lives of Ontarians.

In recent months we in Ontario have developed a particularly close relationship with Manitoba and New Brunswick, exchanging experiences, expertise and proposals for the most effective improvement in the delivery of services to our respective French-speaking minorities. In many instances, the practices and structures we have in Ontario have served as models to governments in these other provinces.

I would also like to mention again and emphasize the recent announcements in the speech from the throne relating to my colleague the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson). Later this year the minister will be introducing legislation to provide for an unqualified right to a French-language elementary and secondary education for any French-speaking student in Ontario. The legislation will also provide for the strengthening of the Languages of Instruction Commission and the election of minority-language school trustees who will be responsible for many of the decisions affecting French-language education in Ontario. I mention this again because I believe it to be a significant step forward for francophone rights in Ontario.

I believe the annual report I am presenting today demonstrates the very real commitment this government has towards the implementation of French-language policy and the delivery of French-language services throughout this province.


Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, today I will be introducing a bill for first reading which will revise and update the Grain Elevator Storage Act. The purpose of this bill is to safeguard the property rights of producers who deliver grain to an elevator for storage. The proposed legislation makes it clear that farm produce held in an elevator for storage remains the property of the producer even when subject to a written agreement to sell.

In past years, once grain was in the elevators and a contract for sale had been signed, confusion sometimes arose as to who owned the farm produce in question, the producer or the elevator operator, especially when creditors took over the business operation. This confusion was compounded by the tickets and forms used in the actual transactions between the parties. When elevator operations fell into financial difficulties, financial institutions would seize all the contents in the elevators, including stored farm produce. Legal battles ensued as the rightful owners tried to regain or be compensated for their property.

The bill before the House would guarantee that all grain delivered to an elevator would be deemed intended for storage, unless the contrary is established in writing or before a court. Further, the forms used in the transactions would be separated and clarified under the revised legislation. It would further clarify the position of the producer in sales transactions by declaring that the owner retains title to the grain until he receives his money.

The chief inspector would have appropriate powers to implement these provisions, including the authority to seal bins and seize, remove and sell stored grain. Such powers are deemed necessary to safeguard the interests of the owners of farm produce. These powers are also necessary because of the perishable nature of the produce and could be invoked, for example, if the elevator operator becomes insolvent or abandons the facility.

This bill responds to representations by the producer marketing boards involved and by the chief inspector, Mr. Bill Taylor, who is a highly respected figure in the grain industry. The contents have also been discussed with the Ontario Grain and Feed Dealers Association. Those concerned appear to be supportive of these measures in their present form, given the recent responses we have received from the industry. Therefore, I am introducing this legislation for first reading in the hope of revising existing legislation as expeditiously as possible.



Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. Is he aware that when he nets out the figures from his budget he is creating only 9,000 new jobs this year over the growth in the work force? By that rate of job creation, it is going to take until 2037 to put people back to work. Surely he would agree that is a totally inadequate response, given the amount of unemployment in this province.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I do not think one should be projecting to 2037 when it is hard to project to the next year.

Mr. Peterson: The Treasurer does not have the world's greatest record as a projector of anything.

Let me quote his own words in the Globe and Mail this morning, "You don't suddenly recreate all the lost jobs, but we are doing so at a fairly good rate." Is he telling us that 9,000 jobs a year is a good rate? Is he aware that for an unemployed 19-year-old today it would take until he is 73 to get a job at this rate of job creation? Surely the Treasurer would agree that is not a good enough response.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I do not know how the honourable member does his arithmetic. I said, and I do not think the member challenged me, that the number of people who would be at work in December this year would be 65,000 more than the number of people at work in December last year.

Mr. Peterson: But look at the growth of the work force. Does the Treasurer not understand his own budget?

Hon. F. S. Miller: The member asked how many more people were at work. I am responding to him.

10:20 a.m.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact there are about 17,000 people who are running out of unemployment insurance and having to go on the welfare rolls every month in this province, does the Treasurer really believe his figures -- whether it be of 9,000 jobs created by this province or even the other figures he has thrown out in the last couple of days -- are adequate to meet the need in this province?

When the Treasurer said the other day that he might bring down a mini-budget in the fall, was that an indication that it took him only 24 hours to come to the same conclusion we came to, that this budget was inadequate?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, let me clarify that comment on the mini-budget. I think the press reported it fairly. Sometimes the headline above a story indicates more than the content of the story.

I was asked whether or not I could find the $300 million shown in the budget and, if so, where. I said I expected to be working through transfer payments and other ways with Management Board to try to find that $300 million. The next question was: "What would happen if you did not? If by fall those moneys were not discovered, would it be necessary to have another budget?"

I said I had noticed on the federal scene in the last couple of years that, with a volatile economy, it was necessary for them to have at least one budget statement and one budget a year. I could not rule that out, but I certainly was not predicting it either. The world could be going much better in the fall or much worse than currently presumed. Only then would one make that decision. Do not rule out things, but do not predict them; that is all I was trying to say.

Mr. Peterson: I am going to remind the Treasurer of the figures in his own budget. He predicted 65,000 new jobs. According to his budget, there are 56,000 new entrants to the work force; net 9,000 new jobs. That is all that comes out of this budget when it happens.

Mr. Rotenberg: That's nonsense; 65,000 new jobs.

Mr. Peterson: It is net 9,000 new jobs. Those are his figures and he should understand them. He is of course aware we have lost some 489,000 jobs since August 1981. Those are the figures. Surely his response to this most critical problem is not adequate. Why did he not choose to make a more active attack on this most important problem?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Even by my befuddled arithmetic, if 56,000 more people are added to the work force, and I agree that is very likely, and if 65,000 more people are at work, I do not see that I have 9,000 new jobs. I have 65,000 new jobs.

Mr. Peterson: The Treasurer had better understand the difference between net and gross and how these figures are worked out or he will be in serious trouble.


Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, let me go on to a new question that does relate to employment. I think it was a year ago tomorrow the Treasurer's colleague announced, with his complicity, the great Challenge 2000 program whereby the government promised to spend $58 million earmarked for rental housing stimulation programs. Not one penny of that was spent.

Now in the budget, the Treasurer has said he will spend $16 million this fiscal year on rental housing stimulation programs. Of that, $10 million is earmarked for two or three small pilot projects and another $6 million for rental subsidies.

How can he claim he is attacking that most serious problem of lack of accommodation in this province, and on the other hand attacking with it the unemployment problem, with such an inadequate response in an area that has the capacity to create so many jobs?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, in the prebudget meetings, I met with the housing industry, the Housing and Urban Development Association of Canada and the Urban Development Institute on the same day. I will be addressing UDI at lunch today.

At the time they came in, they said words to this effect to me: "If we were giving you advice, we would suggest the housing industry in general is recovering reasonably well. There must be better ways for government to spend its money this year. However, if you choose to do some pump-priming, of course we would appreciate some extension of programs such as the renter-buy program last year because it was so outstandingly successful."

My friend may not wish to admit it, but I think we had some 16,000 applications under the renter-buy program where a $5,000 interest-free loan was given for 10 years. It seems to have had the desired effect, not only of stimulating the creation of housing but also of freeing up apartments, because about half the people who qualified moved out of apartments. I would have argued we covered both bases with one program.

At present, we estimate 55,000 starts in Ontario this year, up from 38,000-odd last year. That would seem to be a dramatic increase. Surely the member would also agree that when an industry seems to be recovering by itself it is not the time to add more to it.

Also, registered home ownership savings plan programs at the federal level were quite generous, giving, I am told, a tax benefit of up to $5,000 by themselves this year. Surely, again, I should not duplicate something the federal government is doing which will have the same desired effect.

Mr. Peterson: I understand the crisis is not in the single-family housing area in that sense; it is in the rental area. Surely the minister will recognize there is still a problem. I would like him to address himself to that part of the problems we are facing.

The minister is aware we have 178,000 unemployed in Toronto yet the vacancy rate is 1.2 per cent. In Oshawa there are 8,000 unemployed and the vacancy rate is 1.3 per cent; Ottawa 36,000 unemployed, vacancy rate 0.3 per cent; Hamilton 39,000 out of work, vacancy rate 1.2 per cent; Thunder Bay 9,000 out of work, vacancy rate 1.3 per cent.

These are all very low vacancy rates. Surely the minister could have directed funds into the rental area -- I am not talking about the single-family area -- that would have immediately created jobs. That area is very responsive to any kind of stimulation. Would that not have been a reasonable area for the Treasurer to attack in his budget?

Hon. F. S. Miller: The $6 million the member alluded to as rental supplement is not rental supplement. I think the ministry will be describing exactly what it is later on. It has the net effect of many more dollars. In the year before last when rental housing was assisted it was by interest-free loans of some considerable size. This year the subsidy will be in another form with the same net effect.

Let me go back to that point. If people in apartments have the ability and the desire to buy homes, they will be freeing up an apartment by doing so. Does the member not accept the fact that the two objectives -- the employment of people and the freeing up of apartments through the sale of homes -- are achieved at one time?

Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I think the Treasurer is to be congratulated. He announced today he expected housing starts to be 55,000 and in the budget he said it was going to be only 53,000. That is an increase of 2,000 in two days. That is a demonstration of just how remarkable this Treasurer has been in terms of his predictive capacity. We should all congratulate him.


The Acting Speaker: Does the member have a question?

Mr. Rae: There are 2,000 new starts in two days. This truly is a real miracle worker we have over there on the other side. Absolutely.

The Acting Speaker: The member will ask his question.

Mr. Rae: In two days he is able to produce 2,000 new starts. I think we should all congratulate the Treasurer.

The Acting Speaker: The honourable member will ask his question.

Mr. Rae: The Treasurer said he talked with what he called the housing industry and that he spoke to HUDAC and UDI in one day. Does the Treasurer really regard HUDAC and UDI as spokesmen for those 6,000 or 7,000 seniors and 17,000 families who are on waiting lists for social housing in this province?

Hon. F. S. Miller: No, Mr. Speaker, but they are pretty familiar with it. By the way, on the 2,000 difference it was my mistake -- something I do from time to time. It is something the honourable member has never learned to admit when he makes one.

Mr. Rae: I do it all the time.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Not ever. I realize the member does make mistakes, but I never hear him admit it.

Mr. Rae: You don't hear very much.

Hon. F. S. Miller: One might also look at the government with the major responsibility in that area, the federal government, which has been cutting back on its assistance in that area. I am sure my colleague when he is here will explain that.

Mr. Peterson: I will remind the Treasurer he said in the lockup that the $6 million would be for rental subsidies. He may have some magic new program he wants to announce through his colleague which may turn out like the last one -- to amount to nought.

The point I am trying to get the Treasurer to address his mind to is the question of the rental accommodation crisis. Is he happy with those vacancy rates? Does he think those are adequate to let the market forces respond? Does he think that is enough rental housing?

Does the Treasurer not feel we could have actively attacked the twin problems of lack of rental housing and unemployment by the creative approach in his budget rather than his $16-million response this year? Even in last year's terms that is inadequate. Why did the Treasurer choose not to make an active attack in that area?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I could be wrong. I may have used the term "rental subsidy" in the lockup. I think I used the term "interest subsidy." We could argue forever and I could not prove it, but I think that is the area where we are going.

10:30 a.m.

We recognize that market forces are not giving an adequate return on new rental accommodation, because I suppose rent control has kept the bulk of the older apartments at a level of rent below that which a new apartment has to have to justify being built. So it has given us a major problem: Even though those new ones are not subject to rent control, they have to be somewhere in the same marketplace; and for that reason, as my colleague knows, we have had to find various ways of lowering the net cost of his investment to a builder so that rental accommodation will be built.

We have had some very interesting chats before the budget, which, I guess sadly enough, did not materialize in time to be in the budget. But one thing I have learned about this business is that this government, at least, has learned in between budgets to take whatever actions are necessary to meet the problems head on and to reallocate our priorities. If we have to, we will.

Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, the Treasurer will find no argument in our party that the Liberal Party and the Liberal government in Ottawa have betrayed their obligations with respect to social housing.

The Acting Speaker: Is this the question?

Mr. Rae: Given the fact that the Treasurer has known for a long time about the policies of the Liberal government in Ottawa, why has his government not recognized the fact that the government of Ontario has an obligation with respect to social housing? Can he tell us why there was no commitment in his budget with respect to social housing?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have learned always to let the minister who is more expert provide the answer. He is not here today. I think the honourable member should wait for an answer from him.

Mr. Rae: With great respect, the Treasurer is responsible for the policies of this government. He did not hesitate to announce a program with respect to rental housing in his budget, and he did not hesitate to take all the credit in the world for those great programs he is so proud of with respect to rental housing. So if there is nothing in social housing, he is going to have to take responsibility for that too, and he is going to have to answer to this Legislature with respect to the total absence on the social housing front.

The Treasurer stated in his comments to the Globe and Mail on May 11, when he was referring to this phantom $300 million that he now has to cut out of his budget, that the cuts will be made in the money transferred from the province to the ministries in charge of health, education and municipalities, which, if transferred, according to the budget figures, would mean a cut of roughly $21 million in the budget for municipalities and housing.

Can the Treasurer tell us whether he has any plans for further cutbacks in housing and in other transfer payments to the municipalities that could be used in the construction of social housing in Ontario?

Hon. F. S. Miller: My friend assumes that all cuts will be prorated equally across all parts of government. I do not think that is fair with respect to transfer payments.

I did make the comment that it was my belief that municipal governments probably were among the more efficient spenders of money and that probably they had been living with more constraints of their own making than some other recipients of provincial grants have been doing. I suggested, too, that this government has shown the way since 1975, making some internal efficiency moves almost every year to improve productivity, to eliminate excess management levels and to speed up the flow of business in government. Those have worked.

We have not always insisted on that same attention to management efficiency in all the recipients of grants. We believe they can do some of that; we believe they need to share that job with us. We believe we can save taxpayers money by doing so, and that is why there is $300 million allocated in a general way.

I would also point out that there is a thing called a program review going on in government. It is referred to in the budget. That program review may be the source of all that $300 million. If so, I will be happy.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, would the Treasurer not agree with me that his method of budgeting, promising to spend in various areas and then saying, "We are going to go back and find $300 million," is about the strangest way of budgeting one could possibly find? What he is admitting is that there is fat in his own system, which his party has been running for 40 years. Surely he should have identified it by now.

How can he in conscience maintain this threat of further cuts over people's heads as he goes around and looks for a further $300 million in his budget? Would he not agree that any other corporate treasurer or head of a household in this province who did the same trick would be fired forthwith because he did not know what he was doing? It has never been done before in the history of budgeting in this province. Why did the Treasurer choose such a strange way to present the accounts of this province?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, it just shows how little my friend has ever had to do with saving a buck.

Mr. Kerrio: It has nothing to do with saving a buck -- nothing.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I want to tell him, there are very few corporate places that do not have to do that kind of fast move on a daily basis.

Mr. Kerrio: That's why we've got a $2.7-billion deficit.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Rae: Can the Treasurer confirm that the 5,000 units he is so quick to take credit for on page 13 of his budget with respect to rental accommodation would restore building levels to 1981 levels, which would mean there would still be half as many as were started in the late 1970s, in 1977 and 1978 as typical years? This would still be half the level with respect to rental accommodation in Ontario.

Given the proof of requests and pressures over the past year, not only from the co-operative movement but also from many municipalities that have nonprofit housing corporations, as well as the immense pressure on the Ontario Housing Corp. and all the other public housing corporations with respect to waiting lists in this province, how can the Treasurer justify the absence of a specific program with respect to social housing?

Does the Treasurer not recognize this absence means there are going to be thousands of people in this province who will be more poorly housed than they could have been if he had taken action?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I am sure that my colleague, given his way, would never have a privately owned home or apartment in the province; it would all have to be social, nonprofit or co-operative. It happens that the great bulk of the housing in this province is made by people who buy their own homes, rent their own apartments or build their own business.

Mr. Rae: That kind of theology is going to come as no help to those people who are looking for a decent place to live in this province, and the minister clearly does not give a damn about those people.


Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Can the minister confirm that eight of the 12 major industries discharging on the Canadian side of the Niagara River or of its tributaries are not currently meeting the Ministry of the Environment's objectives for discharge into natural watercourses? Can he confirm that information with respect to two thirds of the companies on the Canadian side? If so, how does the minister feel about the major cutbacks which the Treasurer has imposed on his ministry with respect to capital investment?

I have an additional question. How does he --

The Acting Speaker: One question. The honourable member is going on.

Mr. Rae: All right. I will let it go at that.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I think it is important for the honourable member to understand what this is in reference to. It is correct that, given the stringency of our control orders, there are several companies on the Canadian side -- I believe the correct number is seven -- where the suspended solids in the discharge at the moment are not meeting the requirements of the ministry. However, the companies, with the advice and supervision of our staff, are in the process of modifying their processes to achieve the standards we have established.

I think it is important for the member, in communicating with the public, to make a very clear distinction between suspended solids and the biological oxygen demand and, most important, the chemical contaminants that may exist in the discharges. The suspended solids are something very different. He ought to make that distinction so as not to mislead any people on either the Canadian or the American side of the border. We are talking about something very different from the threat that exists from discharges on the American side.

10:40 a.m.

With respect to the question of the budgetary allocations, I can assure the member that for the work we are doing in the Niagara River area there has been a substantial increase within our budget allocated towards that priority. The reductions that are reflected in the overall budgetary allocations and are part of the overall program of restraint within the government have been very carefully examined by me and by my staff in the course of the development of this year's budget. I can assure the member they are not in any way going to impact negatively upon the work we are doing.

It has obviously required some very careful examination of our priorities, but the reductions will be primarily in those areas of directly constructed and operated ministry facilities; that is, for water and sewage treatment. They will not impact on the areas of municipally constructed and operated facilities, whose funding we will continue, as we have in the past, to participate in. We will be able to meet, if my recollection is correct, all the requests for such facilities that are currently before us this fiscal year.

Mr. Rae: Can the minister confirm that while there are objectives of his ministry with respect to biochemical oxygen demand and phosphorus and suspended solids, as he has mentioned, there are as yet no objectives from his ministry for hundreds of industrial organic chemicals, such as trichloroethylene or methylene chloride? Does the minister not feel that the absence of these clear objectives in Canada and in Ontario acts as a deterrent when we in Ontario are making representations to New York state and to the American authorities with respect to chemical discharges on the American side?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I can confirm the first part of the member's question. Yes, there are and I am sure will continue to be for some time into the future, not only in this jurisdiction but also within any industrial jurisdiction, some chemicals for which we do not yet have agreed standards.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Some?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Certainly, some. I am not pretending that is not the case, nor would the honourable member find any other responsible individual in any other jurisdiction pretending that is not the case. However, our ministry has embarked on a major effort to establish standards and to review existing standards as they relate to chemicals in our environment. I will be announcing shortly the composition of an environmental standards advisory body which will allow, as I indicated on an earlier occasion, an opportunity for public input. In the process I hope to establish public confidence in the standards we do have and will be establishing.

The Acting Speaker: I thank the minister. I think you have answered the question.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Are you sure you do not want to hear more? It is a very interesting area, Mr. Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: There is only an hour for question period.

Hon. Mr. Norton: That was just the introduction. I am sure the leader of the third party would be delighted to hear in detail about each of the standards we already have in place.

Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that the leader of the New Democratic Party is joining forces with us to fight the problems on the Niagara River. I welcome anybody who is willing to help us in that fight.

Considering all the evidence that has been put before the minister on some of the plants discharging from the Canadian side, and more particularly those discharging from the US side, I wonder whether he would consider something I am putting in the form of a resolution, which would put a pilot plant in the city of Niagara Falls, which takes its water from the Niagara River.

Realizing the time is getting nearer when those toxics and contaminants might reach levels that are dangerous, will he consider Ontario's doing something meaningful to upgrade the research and development of a pilot plant at Niagara Falls to find out how we can best cope with the toxics in that major waterway? Would it not be in the best interests of all people across Ontario and in other jurisdictions to do that kind of research at Niagara Falls? There will be 100 per cent support from this side.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the only incredible part of that question was the last sentence, that I would ever get 100 per cent support from that side on anything.

The Acting Speaker: The minister will answer the question.

Hon. Mr. Norton: The honourable member himself should bear in mind and constantly remind his constituents of the vigilance, testing and monitoring we are doing in the Niagara River to ensure there is no threat to the health of his constituents or any other persons depending upon that as their source of drinking water.

With regard to a pilot project, I sometimes wonder whether the member does not have a pipeline into my ministry. In fact, one of the things that --

The Acting Speaker: The minister should give us the answer to the question. He is getting diverted to a pipeline.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Or worse still, a mole. At the moment, we are looking at a proposal developed by the staff at my request for the possible development of such a pilot project. As I told the member earlier, we already have in place a system for treatment of water in another location in Ontario dealing with a situation we know is emergent.

The site of any such pilot project, if we do decide to proceed with it, has yet to be determined. Obviously, Niagara Falls and any other community in Ontario that might be faced with similar potential problems would be given consideration as a possible location.

Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the minister of environmental bafflegab. I am sure the minister would not want unintentionally to misinform the people of Ontario by leaving the implication that there are no toxic chemicals involved in those discharges by the companies we are talking about, because there are some.

Can the minister tell us, first, in the case of the two companies currently under control orders, which have been extended on a number of occasions, is he going to prosecute those companies if they have not met the conditions in the control orders when they expire? Second, can he tell us when he will proceed to put in place control orders on the other five companies where there has been little or no improvement and, to this point, he has taken no action at all?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I did not at any time suggest that in the discharges there was not material present in sufficient concentration to be cause for concern. The question was raised with me as to whether they were meeting the requirements. The honourable member should not put words into my mouth.

By the way, it is not bafflegab; it is just information. I know the member does not ask questions with the hope of eliciting information; he asks questions with the hope of embarrassing somebody on this side.

The Acting Speaker: I thank the honourable minister.

Hon. Mr. Norton: If he continues to ask me questions, I am going to continue to give him information whether he likes it or not.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege, if the honourable members will allow: My privileges as a member of the House were modestly abused over the past few days in terms of a report appearing in the press that the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) was celebrating his wedding anniversary last Thursday evening.

I would like to set the record straight so my privileges would then be in order by extending on behalf of all members of the House our congratulations to the Treasurer, who is on this date celebrating his 33rd wedding anniversary and who tomorrow will be celebrating the 33rd anniversary of his 23rd year of being born. In other words, he will be 56 years old tomorrow. I would like to extend our congratulations to him.

The Acting Speaker: We all congratulate the Treasurer.

10:50 a.m.


Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the birthday boy.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: It's tomorrow.

Ms. Copps: Just a boy; that is it. I am surprised he has survived as long as he has around this place. It says a lot for the Treasurer.

That being said, is the Treasurer aware that as a result of his refusal in the last two budgets to increase the rate of Ontario health insurance plan premium assistance levels, more than 2,000 families in Ontario who were eligible for premium assistance in 1981 are no longer eligible? Does he feel this is a just measure in view of the five per cent personal income tax surcharge?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, since the honourable member called me a birthday boy, let me just say, a Miller by any other name is just as sweet.

The Acting Speaker: Please answer the question.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Each year we continue to review the limits for assistance for OHIP, and I suggest they are succeeding in one way that is important. Apparently a greater number of people are taking advantage of the exemptions as they exist today. We looked at them again this year and we felt they were still relevant and fair. I suggest that has to be done each year as long as we have full to partial exemptions on OHIP premiums available.

Ms. Copps: With respect, the reason more people are taking advantage of the exemptions is that finally the government is beginning to let people know they are available. Certainly we are happy that people know they are available, but when a family with a 1981 income of between $9,779 and $10,630 is no longer eligible for premium assistance, it would seem to me that the Treasurer should have used his very extensive clout in cabinet --

The Acting Speaker: Supplementary?

Ms. Copps: The supplementary is coming. Why did the Treasurer not use his extensive clout in cabinet to bring the doctors in under the legislation in the spirit of the wage restraint legislation? He would have had $82 million available for programs that are needed for people at an income level of $10,000.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Just for the record, it is interesting to see that 259,000 policy holders were receiving full premium assistance in January 1982, and 398,000 were this year. That is an increase of almost 140,000. I think the program has been reasonably --

Mr. Bradley: Free advertising.

Hon. F. S. Miller: That is interesting. Of course we have advertised it, and the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) keeps telling us we should not do that. One would have to say the advertising in this kind of case, the availability of a government program, is only understood through conscientious, carefully spent money, to let the public know what programs they are entitled to.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, is it not true that to get around the Inflation Restraint Act, under which he was restricted to increasing OHIP premiums by only five per cent, the Treasurer decided instead to bring in a five per cent surcharge on income tax? Is that not another example of the dishonesty of the budget he presented last Tuesday?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I guess I see honesty perhaps differently from the way the honourable member does. I believe it was a very honest budget.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: It was brought to my attention that before my arrival in the House this morning the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) rose on a point of personal privilege and suggested the Attorney General was guilty of some plagiarism with respect to the introduction of a bill --

The Acting Speaker: Could I ask the Attorney General to make this point following question period? The point of personal privilege was made before question period.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I thought it could be made at the first opportunity.

The Acting Speaker: No, it was not during question period. I will call upon you immediately following question period for this point of privilege.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Treasurer another question on the Ontario health insurance plan and premium assistance.

Now that we have the Peterson increase of five per cent in OHIP premiums, which has raised premiums to $680 a year -- and the Treasurer will surely acknowledge that is a crushing burden for many low-income workers, in particular for people on unemployment insurance who are not eligible for premium assistance -- I would like to ask the Treasurer why so many recipients of unemployment insurance are not receiving premium assistance.

Can the Treasurer tell us his estimate of how many of the 427,000 unemployment insurance recipients in Ontario are receiving premium assistance? Our calculation, based on conversations with officials in the Ministry of Health, is that in the vicinity of 20 per cent of unemployment insurance recipients are getting premium assistance.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, in January there was a total of 1,786,092 policyholders receiving full or partial assistance; on municipal welfare, on which some of those people exist, there are 112,347, and 71,885 are on temporary assistance.

The honourable member knows assistance is based on the gross annual income of the recipient, just as income tax is. If unemployment insurance happens to come along at a time that fills in a trough but still leaves a person with a taxable income in the year, I cannot for the life of me see why he would be any different from a person who had an average annual income of the same total amount and is required to pay those things.

Mr. McClellan: I do not know whether the Treasurer is doing it deliberately, but he is avoiding the question I am asking. I am not talking about senior citizens who get free premium coverage or about welfare recipients, and the Treasurer knows that. I am talking about low-income working people who are not on welfare and about unemployment insurance recipients. Neither of these groups is covered by his flimsy and flaccid premium assistance program.

Why does the Treasurer continue to dodge this question? Why does he not acknowledge that there are tens of thousands of low-income working people and tens of thousands of unemployment insurance recipients in Ontario who are ineligible for premium assistance and who face the crushing burden of $680 a year in OHIP premiums? When is he going to scrap this useless premium assistance program and replace it with a tax credit?

Hon. F. S. Miller: About 900,000 policyholders who are under 65 do not think it so useless. Less than 20 per cent of the health care system is paid for by it.

I do not know what kind of world the member thinks exists out there where $7.5 billion can be spent on health care and only $1.5 billion --

Mr. R. F. Johnston: What are the other provinces doing? This is just so much garbage.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Every time the honourable member starts losing he starts yacking.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, if the Treasurer looks at his 1982 budget and this one, it is clear from his figures in this budget that more than 2,000 families who were eligible for premium assistance in 1981 are no longer eligible. If he were to take a look at the economic climate in 1983, he might think people are more in need. With a sense of fair play, could he not introduce an increase in the premium assistance level at least to cover those families who were covered in 1981?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, in my response to the original question I said we would review it each year, and we did so this year. The five per cent increase in OHIP premiums is less than inflation. I think the honourable member will accept that. It is also about 12 per cent less than the increase in the cost of the health care system last year, as I recall it. It did not even continue to maintain OHIP at the level it previously did.

I suggest to the member that each year we will continue that threshold level at which we cut in with assistance. It will be done next year again.


Mr. Pollock: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Solicitor General. Last week, we were discussing at this time the alleged budget leaks and it was reported in one local paper that a reporter from the Globe and Mail allegedly had taken documents from a Toronto printing firm. Did that reporter take that information from the premises of a printing firm?

Mr. Wildman: Did you just hear about that?

Mr. Peterson: When did you find out about it?

11 a.m.

Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I heard the last part of the honourable member's question. Could he repeat it?

Mr. Pollock: Did that reporter take information from that Toronto printing firm?

Hon. G. W. Taylor: I thought I heard that, but I was not sure.

Mr. Peterson: George, don't start thinking about it; you'll get in trouble. Just read what you have in front of you.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon. G. W. Taylor: I am very interested in the member's question. It is a very good one. I am not sure the content and the facts are totally as I would like to answer them.

A police investigation into this matter is proceeding. As all members know, as one is doing an investigation on this matter, it is not the process and the procedure of the Solicitor General to comment on the investigation. I will just assure the honourable members that the investigation is proceeding. When there is a culmination of that investigation, we will follow the normal procedure of consulting with the law officers of the crown and come to some conclusion.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, when does the Solicitor General expect his investigation will be concluded? Does he have any indication?

Hon. G. W. Taylor: No, Mr. Speaker, I have no indication to give this House as to when the investigation will be completed. Naturally, it will be a thorough, comprehensive, total investigation and when the matter is completed, I shall inform the members. I do not have a time frame for that now.


Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. I thought the minister would be attending the Centralia College graduation today. I hope the announcement by the Premier (Mr. Davis) has not dampened his spirits, because I still think the minister is the front runner.

My question pertains to the shortcomings of the budget as it affects the agricultural industry. In view of the fact that the amount spent to date under the Ontario farm adjustment assistance program, commonly referred to as OFAAP, is $18.8 million out of a total allocation of $80 million, and since falling interest rates have made the five per cent subsidy portion of the program practically useless to farmers and figures in the budget state that $20 million of this program was underspent in 1982-83 and transferred to the following year, why does the minister not change this program as the major farm organizations have asked and subsidize the interest rate down to eight per cent from the current 12 per cent?

Will the minister not agree that this change is not likely to put OFAAP over budget, since the present allocation of funds is likely to remain unspent?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to tell the honourable member that my very well-qualified assistant deputy minister, Dr. Clare Rennie, is attending the graduation at Centralia today. I checked first to see whether the local member was going to attend, and I figured if it was not important enough for him to be there --

Mr. Riddell: I'll be there. As soon as you answer my question, I am gone.

Mr. Peterson: Would you like him to drive you down in his car, Dennis?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No. Yours.

Mr. Wrye: Come on. Get on with it and answer the question.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Do you want a long answer?


The Acting Speaker: The minister will answer the question.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As the member knows, when the farm adjustment assistance program was developed in late 1981 by a task force embracing government and industry representation and when it was introduced in 1982, it was originally intended to be a short-term program, in fact, only a one-year program. At the time it was developed the primary concern to be addressed was to be that of very high interest rates and, as a result, in 1982, through both the initial announcement of the program and the broadened criteria that I announced in this House on March 11 last year, we were able to assist something like 3,500 people, most of whom applied for interest rate reduction grants.

As 1982 wore on, the interest rates came down, so this was not as much of a problem. It had been the view of the task force and, I think, the widely held view of the industry in late 1981 or early 1982 that a 12 per cent interest rate was a tolerable level with which to work. It was not ideal, obviously; we would all like to see it lower than that, whether we are farmers, residential mortgage holders or whatever.

But as the rates came down there were still problems, particularly with respect to certain commodity prices, some of which had not improved any from 1981 and others of which deteriorated in 1982. I am thinking particularly of the cash crops.

So the program was extended and at the time I announced the extension of the program I indicated we fully anticipated that, with interest rates having come down, option B, as it is known in the program, would be a less attractive feature -- it would be useful to some, but not to nearly as many as in 1982 -- but option C, under which the government provides guarantees of new lines of operating credit, would be used more extensively in 1983. In fact, it is option C that is being requested more often this year. The intention is that the program will terminate on December 31, 1983.

With respect, I think what the honourable member is talking about is a suggestion, which is certainly advanced by some people, that the government should have a program that permanently subsidizes interest rates below current levels. We do not have any plans to do that.

Mr. Riddell: If the minister had ever tried his hand at farming, he would know that one cannot produce at any kind of profit with interest rates at 12 per cent. The farmers have no control over their commodity prices -- he should know that; therefore, they have to be helped at the other end.

But in view of the total lack of direction given in the budget to the agricultural industry at a time when it is facing its greatest uncertainty, would the minister not agree that his own argument -- that we cannot compare this year's decrease in the overall agriculture budget to last year's or even to that of two years ago because of extraordinary expenses for emergency assistance in those years -- is a clear indication of the government's failed ad hoc approach to agriculture?

The minister cannot use the $45 million he put into the tobacco crop last year because he knows that $15 million of that is federal money and the other $15 million was put out by way of loans. So he cannot use that bogyman.

Would the minister further agree that Ontario farmers cannot hope to survive if they are left to plan on a year-to-year basis without focus? Why does the minister not act on the recommendation of the government's action committee in 1981, which included his own deputy minister and which stated that the provincial government should implement a long-term strategy for agriculture? When will we see that kind of strategy?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I take it that, if I were to put a resolution before this House supporting the government's initiatives with respect to the development of a national stabilization program, the member would second it and would say to his colleague, his friend in Ottawa: "Get off the pot. Work with the provinces; work with the producers; stop talking about some better idea that you have never presented."

The fact is that it is this ministry and this government that have taken a leadership position in respect of several important initiatives in agriculture in this country, not the least of them being stabilization, and I am sure the member would support what we are doing 100 per cent because that is in the long-term interests of agriculture.

The Acting Speaker: Supplementary, member for Welland-Thorold.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Do you support the resolution?

Mr. Riddell: You know I support it.

The Acting Speaker: Order.


11:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker: The Minister of Agriculture and Food has stirred the pot. The member for Welland-Thorold.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, when I questioned the minister during estimates last year on how much additional money the province would be willing to put into this three-part program, he intimated he did not expect there would be any additional money required. What good is it going to be to the farmers if no more money is put in by the government? He is just using this program as a red herring.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I suggest the member examines the record of what we discussed during estimates, and the record of anything I have ever said in public on that question.

Mr. Laughren: Answer the question. It is not a point of order.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am sure the member will find I have said repeatedly that compared to the ad hoc approach, which in my view has characterized support among all the provinces in recent years because of the insufficiency of the existing Agricultural Stabilization Act of Canada, the cost to governments will be little more, if any, than what it has cost us with the ad hoc approach. It will cost more than a base budget, but not in comparison to ad hocking our way through.

Mr. Wildman: That is the answer to the question.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: That is not a point of order.

The Acting Speaker: I would ask the member for Welland-Thorold to clarify his supplementary question. I am asking him to repeat it so that at least the Speaker can hear it.

Mr. Swart: I have a supplementary question, but it should be pointed out to the minister, in reply to his point of order, that his ad hoc program is totally inadequate now and will continue to be totally inadequate in the future.

The Acting Speaker: You are responding to the original question. Do you have a supplementary?

Mr. Swart: Is the minister aware the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) stated in his comments that the programs in force would be continued with something like a 9.3 per cent increase this year? Will he, therefore, give a guarantee to this House that there will be a 9.3 per cent increase in the $18 million that was paid out under OFAAP last year? If it is necessary to broaden that program, as should be done, to have a minimum requirement of eight per cent or 10 per cent for the farmers to get assistance, will he change the program so that money is paid out this year?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: There are almost 4,000 farmers in Ontario who are living testaments that OFAAP does work, and that it has provided very meaningful assistance to a number of people. There is sufficient money budgeted that the program will be able to run to the end of 1983 to assist those who meet the criteria of the program. That will not be a problem.


Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. On page 9 of the budget tabled on Tuesday the Treasurer states, "The pace of our economic recovery will depend a great deal on the strength of consumer demand." With this in mind, I would like to ask the Treasurer, how can he state that his budget has stimulated consumer demand? On the one hand, he gives $55 million in sales tax breaks, and on the other hand, through the five per cent increase in OHIP premiums, the five per cent surcharge on Ontario taxes and the $135-million increase in taxes on tobacco and alcohol, a total of $365 million is taken out of the economy. That is a ratio of $7 taken out of the economy for every $1 stimulation of consumer demand. How will this possibly stimulate consumer demand in this province?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, first, my friend assumes all of the consumer demand was in the sales tax package. That is not so. There are other measures that will stimulate consumer demand, not the least of which is our employment package which will get more people back to work, and not the least of which either is the confidence people have in this government because this is a government that has had a good track record.

I think the member will see the taxes we used are either on items like liquor where our tax rate remains considerably lower than in most neighbouring provinces or on income where we have an example of a fairly high savings rate at the present time. The tax that was most likely to affect consumption would have been a sales tax increase. That was deemed to be unwise in the present economy. I hope the member will agree with that.

The small reduction on two selected items has, as far as I can see, been pretty well received by the public. On the few radio shows I have done that are live, phone-in ones, I have found quite a few people have decided to purchase a product made in Ontario. I believe this will create jobs.

Mr. Cooke: The Treasurer points out our tax on tobacco and alcohol in Ontario is much lower than in other provinces. However, for those people on low incomes in Ontario we have the distinction of Ontario health insurance plan premiums that are about double those of either of the two other provinces that charge OHIP premiums. Now we have this five per cent surtax, the so-called social services maintenance tax.

The Acting Speaker: Supplementary?

Mr. Cooke: I am getting to it, Mr. Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: Get to it.

Mr. Cooke: Will the Treasurer at least not admit or consider that the five per cent surtax was a mistake? It hits those people on low incomes who are likely to stimulate consumer demand the most because they spend every cent they have. Would he at least go the way the other three provinces -- British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan -- have gone with surtax, and charge that tax only on incomes of over $40,000?

Hon. F. S. Miller: No, Mr. Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: There is just over a minute remaining in question period.

Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, in reaching his decision to offer a short-term stimulus to the furniture and appliance businesses, the Treasurer will be aware he ran entirely counter to the views of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

I want to read a portion of its brief to him. The chamber said, "Such a program would serve to reduce inventory rather than to create jobs." Why did the Treasurer reject that advice? Can he tell us, if he believes it is going to create jobs, how many jobs will this short-term stimulus create? It is going to cost the taxpayers $55 million, about the same amount as the OHIP increase.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I assume the member is against the tax decrease. I assume he is against the people in his riding who will be buying those appliances. I hope he will tell them he opposes that tax decrease. I hope he will tell them he did not believe there should he jobs and that the $700 million of appliances bought really did not create any jobs in the province.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: As I said earlier, it was brought to my attention just before I entered the House that the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) stood on a point of order and stated that the Attorney General, among other things, had been guilty of plagiarism with respect to our Bill 32, An Act to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act.

His comments are very interesting. I invite the members of the House to look at the Residential Tenancies Act, Revised Statutes of Ontario 1980, chapter 452, which legislation I believe was passed in 1979. The members will recall there were some sections that were not proclaimed because of a constitutional issue that was raised.

In the honourable member's private member's bill, the two sections are taken directly from this government legislation. I refer all members of the House to subsection 51(2) of that legislation and subsection 52(2) of the same legislation. Also, Bill 32 does contain some important features that are not contained in this private member's bill.

In view of the fact it is quite clear the member for Etobicoke has engaged in plagiarism, of which he has accused the Attorney General, I think he owes both the Attorney General and all the members of this House an apology.

11:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker: We are not about to enter into a debate on this matter. You have raised a question of personal privilege. We now come to petitions.

Mr. Philip: On a point of order --

The Acting Speaker: Is this the same point of order?

Mr. Philip: No, on the Attorney General's point of order.

The Acting Speaker: We are not about to enter into a long debate. If the member has a quick point of order different from what has already been raised then he should make it.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, that section of the legislation which was not proclaimed came from the general government committee and not from the government. If one compares the two bills that are here --

The Acting Speaker: The honourable member has raised --

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, you heard out the Attorney General; the least you can do is hear me out.

The fact is the minister stole my bill. Even an unbiased observer, Orland French, uses the word "steal." He does not say plagiarize, he says the minister stole the bill.

Mr. McClellan: Get one of your lawyers to draft an apology.


The Acting Speaker: Order. The honourable member will take his seat. There is nothing of the order of stealing or anything else. We are here in an honourable House with honourable members. The member asked for a point of clarification. The Attorney General has sought to clarify it further. We are now at the point of petitions.

Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a new point of order. Because he is such a modest individual I would like to point out that the former Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) is a person who could possibly claim credit for this piece of legislation.

The Acting Speaker: I do not think you are leading to a point of order. Please proceed with petitions.

Mr. Riddell: I agree, Mr. Speaker; I must get to this Centralia College graduation.



Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table a petition containing 171 signatures. It reads as follows:

"We, the undersigned, wish to indicate by signing the within petition that we consider any further drainage works on Mariposa Brook and tributaries to be contrary to our best interests. Our concerns relate to the following: (1) water supply and effects on our water supply and wells; (2) natural features of the area, adverse affect on wetlands, fish and wildlife would be contrary to proposed wetlands policy for the province; (3) cost of any project at difficult economic times with little or no benefit perceived."


Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table a petition with 3,200 signatures. They are in support of the certified trade of hairdressers, barbers and hair stylists, and object to the government removing that.



Hon. Mr. Timbrell moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. McCague, first reading of Bill 40, An Act to revise the Grain Elevator Storage Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Miss Stephenson moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 41, An Act to regulate the Granting of Degrees.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, in reintroducing this bill entitled An Act to regulate the Granting of Degrees I would note that there are some changes in the wording of the bill but it is essentially the same one I introduced last year.

My conviction regarding the absolute need for this legislation was reinforced earlier this week and again this morning by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation's announcement that it is investigating a number of mail order colleges for allegedly issuing phoney degrees. Some of these institutions -- in fact, four of them -- are operating from post office boxes in Ontario.

Mr. Laughren: Do they supply the law degrees to Osgoode Hall?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: The majority of provinces in this country have at this time some form of legislative control over the granting of degrees or the use of the term "university." The absence of legislative control in Ontario constitutes a significant exception, and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada is concerned that the universal acceptance of the Canadian university degree will be jeopardized by the absence of appropriate provincial legislation in this province. The association, AUCC, has urged that this bill be enacted as soon as possible.

Mr. Laughren: Even Richard Treleaven has a law degree. Can you imagine?



Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.

Mr. Treleaven: Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to rise to speak in favour of the budget. First, this pile of Revised Statutes of Ontario really is not to be referred to, it is simply to help out my bifocals.

In reply to the interjections made by the member for Nickel Belt as the Minister of Education introduced her bill, I do not think Osgoode Hall will be unduly affected by that bill. I think most solicitors who received their call to the bar from Osgoode Hall and their legal training there are safe and their degrees and their calls will stay in place.

This budget not only exemplifies responsible financial management but also provides for direct job creation and other stimulative measures at a time when they are needed. I am sure there were many temptations facing the Treasurer in the preparation of the budget, and just as many pitfalls. Fortunately for us, he was able to avoid them. It would no doubt have been easy to invent all sorts of schemes for creating jobs in the public sector, and it appears the third party has done just that, but well-intentioned as such ideas might have been they would have been irresponsible.

The other morning as I was travelling along the highway to the riding of Oxford I had the pleasure of hearing the two opposition critics interviewed on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Each of them was hard pressed. They were like the little boy who, on the television commercial, comes up with an empty bowl and asks for more.

Their approach was less than credible. Both the Liberal and the NDP critics were asking for more goodies, asking for the government to provide more services. However, they did not state on the radio whether they wanted a larger deficit or more taxes. I submit that when one is suggesting more services must be provided, it is only credible and reasonable and mature to suggest where the money is going to come from: a larger deficit or more tax.

I will get to the comments that were made last night by the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman). He did face the issue, but the two critics did not. If one wants services, it is only credible to fess up to what one is going to tax; to stand right in front of the public and say, "I am going to tax A, B, or C." Do not hide behind just "more" and duck the issues.

11:30 a.m.

Last night the member for Algoma did stand more credibly than his party's critic. He did say he wanted to raise $2 billion more for job creation, $1 billion of which he wanted to raise by an increased deficit. I will deal with deficits later in my remarks.

He was also going to raise $1 billion through the reinstitution of succession duties and through corporation taxes. If I may review the history of succession duties in Ontario, in fact in Canada, both the federal and provincial governments got out of the field of death duties because, quite frankly, they were not raising enough taxes. The federal government got out and instituted capital gains in 1971 and the province got out of succession duties after that.

I was not a member of this House, but I was a solicitor with a major part of my practice in estates. I was certainly aware of death duties; a good part of my day was spent in estate planning dealing with succession duties, something I am sure the Speaker in the chair was also doing.

There is no possible way that $750 million is going to be raised by the reinstitution of succession duties in Ontario.

Mr. Laughren: Do not mislead the House; $100 million.

Mr. Treleaven: The member for Algoma was suggesting that last night. The member for Nickel Belt is now suggesting it was $100 million in succession duties. Does that mean, therefore, that the other $900 million was to be an increase in corporation taxes, because the member for Algoma was going to raise his $1 billion by those two means?

Mr. Laughren: Why does the member not pay attention?

Mr. Treleaven: I thought I was paying attention. I suspect the member for Nickel Belt was not listening properly to his friend. He was in anticipatory high dudgeon for the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) and his late show. I suspect he was distracted from the matter of death duties.

Getting back to the budget per se, huge expenditures without matching revenues never serve the public interest and such expenditures by government would only slow down the recovery which has just begun.

Of course, there really have not been many other serious suggestions made that differ much from the approach taken by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) in his budget. That approach has been an eminently sensible one.

The budget which the Treasurer presented illustrates a number of points. It illustrates the government has Ontario's economic prosperity and future health in mind and is not willing to sacrifice those for short-term gains. The budget also illustrates the concern of this government for those individuals who do not have jobs. I will get to that a little later.

In addition to its other programs, special provisions have been made for youth employment: a spending increase of more than 30 per cent over last year's budget figures.

Mr. Gillies: Hear, hear.

Mr. Treleaven: Yes, and certainly the member for Brantford last night extolled that move. Youth employment is his area and I am sure he convinced the member for Nickel Belt of the additional jobs that are forthcoming in the youth area.

These provisions, according to the budget presentation, are expected to create over 100,000 jobs for our youth. We should not forget as well that the other job creation and manpower training measures will also help many young people in that 15 to 24 age group.

Third, this budget clearly illustrates the government's commitment to our economic and social programs. Rather than chopping back on programs in a time of economic adversity, these programs are being maintained and will be sustained, partly by the social services maintenance tax which is also mentioned in the budget. Might I say it is also temporary.

In addition to normal ongoing processes to improve our programs, the government has moved to establish a formal program review process. I think we are all in agreement privately, if not publicly, that the best way to improve government programs is to ensure they work better rather than using the socialist solution of throwing someone else's money at them.

It is my hope the program review process will be successful. Not only will its success be of help in the near future where spending flexibility will continue to be limited, but the lessons learned from this process will be with us for a good many years. We will therefore be able to allocate our resources wisely for various measures and at the same time reduce our provincial deficit.

The word "deficit" is used by all and sundry in this House and in the newspapers. I suspect a good many people who are not very attuned to our political meanderings in the county of Oxford and many other ridings need to focus on the word. In Oxford county deficit means debt, it means the borrowing of money.

The New Democratic Party critic on that same radio interview last Wednesday morning was attempting to castigate this government because Ontario has the lowest per capita deficit in Canada, not only per capita but also according to gross provincial product. He was stating this and implying it was bad that we had the lowest deficit. Even though I cannot speak for the people in other ridings, I believe the people of Oxford still have their feet on the ground sufficiently to understand that debt is not inherently good. Debt is something to be kept away from.

Mr. Cassidy: What about unemployment? Is unemployment fine?

Mr. Treleaven: Unemployment is not what we are dealing with. Let us stay on one subject at a time.

Debt is not inherently good. Borrowing money is not something one chases after. It is a necessary evil but it is not good in itself. Deficits are not good in themselves. Oxford county common sense says that. Perhaps socialist philosophy has lost sight of what the average person in Ontario understands as debt and borrowing of money.

I realize that Ontario with its deficit comes across very well compared with other jurisdictions in this country; but while it might be tempting to leave it at that we should consider how serious things are in other jurisdictions rather than how well things are here. One had only to listen to the news last night and read the newspapers this morning about the difficulties in our adjacent jurisdictions to see the comparison as to how well, relatively speaking, things are going in Ontario.

Whether some members on the other side like it or not, we must start making plans to eliminate that section of the Treasurer's chart that shows 11 cents of every expenditure dollar being spent on interest. The great majority of the farmers in difficulty today have interest rates as a primary concern and a primary reason for their problems. The second problem is poor prices for their products.

I referred to the 11 per cent of the budget being spent on interest. The benefits of dealing with this 11 per cent interest rate are obvious. They have been discussed both inside and outside the chamber for years. Nevertheless, every time I look at the pie chart at the back of the budget I cannot help wondering what we could do if that money was freed up and available for other uses. One could look at the pie the federal government has and only dream of what could be done with those funds, the 30 or 40 per cent interest charges or carrying charges which we and future generations are going to carry.

The possibility of fewer and lower taxes in the future is there but we have to start planning for it now.

11:40 a.m.

The Treasurer's statement included the phrase "sound financial stewardship." All members on this side of the House certainly agree with that. The newspapers have given us many words such as "reasonable" and "moderate." The chambers of commerce in the county of Oxford have called it that. It is certainly an endorsement when the local chambers of commerce support their local Tory government.

Any administration that can ensure revenues and expenditures over a year-long period will remain within 0.7 per cent of original budget estimates is demonstrating its understanding and ability to control the revenue and expenditure process. It also is demonstrating an ability to react in a flexible manner to changing situations.

I am particularly happy this government will be providing assistance to beginning farmers. High startup costs mean virtually everyone interested in going into farming must borrow money. The high interest rates of recent years have probably been the greatest factor behind farm bankruptcies, though high production costs combined with low returns have also caused difficulties.

For those already in the business with financially viable operations, the Ontario farm adjustment assistance program has been able to help. I will refer to that as OFAAP in the rest of my remarks.

In view of the continuing financial difficulties facing farmers, the government extended OFAAP for an additional year in December. Yesterday in his budget address the Liberal critic referred to the criteria of OFAAP. He wanted those extended. Then in the balance of his remarks he implied that he wanted the equity base to go from 10 per cent to zero per cent.

I wish to address the upper limits of the equity -- the 60 per cent. I would hope the government could find its way clear to increase the 60 per cent equity. Several farmers in Oxford county with equities well over 60 per cent have been and are, as of this day, in severe trouble. In an average farm in Oxford county with perhaps 100 to 150 acres, a normal barn, a normal low-moisture silo, a normal range of implements, equipment and animals, there is certainly $500,000 or $600,000 involved. If a person had 66 or 67 per cent equity it would still mean he is in debt for more than $200,000.

In the ordinary types of farming it is very difficult for a person on that 100-plus acres farm to carry charges of $200,000 plus. Depending on interest rates we are talking about $25,000 or $30,000 a year in carrying charges.

Many farmers are in difficulty. Yesterday I was in touch with the Farm Credit Corp. trying to obtain assistance for a man who has had a farm for 10 years and whose equity is certainly well above 60 per cent -- probably about 70 per cent. However, with simple economic facts of life such as cash flow and decreases in the rent per acre cash croppers are willing to pay, it appears this man, in ploughing all his money back into his farm and getting systematic tileage done, is going to lose it. He simply cannot raise funds. Yet he does not qualify for OFAAP assistance.

I would like to see this government give first priority to increasing the top end of that 60 per cent equity figure rather than reacting to the lower side. I think it certainly should give the upper side the priority.

With the Treasurer's budget statement, we can now begin to look forward to assistance for beginner farmers. I am glad financial resources could be found for this program, given the current revenue-expenditure situation. I am very much looking forward to the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) providing us with the particulars of these programs.

From the details made available in the budget statement, the subsidy of up to five percentage points of interest on eligible loans for a five-year period will be of considerable assistance to beginning farmers. Because the importance of agriculture is not reflected in the number of producers involved, the potential of helping as many as 1,000 new farmers per year is very significant.

As the details are expanded upon by the Minister of Agriculture and Food, I hope they include the family farm situation where a son wishes to buy into the farm on a gradual basis, so that he can get a loan at the bank that will qualify under the criteria of acceptable loans and he can get his interest subsidy on that.

I do not think members will find this program having many people start from scratch and go into farming from nothing with no help from the family. What we will find is that it will accelerate and assist younger members of the family entering into the farming business, probably by way of incorporating the family farm and the purchasing of equity shares, perhaps in excess of the proportion which they get from the bank as a loan.

I do hope it assists this to come about. I have had numerous requests for this over the last several years. In fact, long before I was a member here I dealt with this problem of family planning in the corporate farming sphere and the younger generations attempting to buy in and increase their equity, leaving the older generation with the security they deserve from their many years on the farm. I do hope this new program does assist the family farming unit in itself.

Combined with OFAAP, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food's other programs and help received through the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development, the results of this program may well contribute to increased food sufficiency and a further reduction of food trade deficit.

One other small area this budget had in it that does not really show up and is not too relevant to most people is the unfairness which we have had in the past to implement dealers. They have been required to carry on their books, as inventory, implements, extremely valuable and expensive machinery with the turnback provision to the manufacturers whereby if it was not sold within a certain length of time it could be sent back to the manufacturer.

Yet when reporting time came on corporate tax the dealer was required to include that inventory as if it were his, paid for and nonreturnable. I believe now the implement dealers get relief up to $2 million for that inventory on the floor.

It has been a sore point with various implement dealers who have been in touch with me over the last year. I have written to the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe) several times on that and maybe, just maybe, letters from a person in the back bench here have had some little bit of influence on something like this coming about. I would like to think so.

In one other particular area. I was glad to see an additional $80 million funded into the Canada- Ontario employment development program. My remarks may be a little contrary to some of the remarks we have heard here, even contrary to some of the remarks of the person who assisted me in putting together these written remarks.

If the federal government matches the amount we are putting up in this budget as we did in the original letter of understanding, we will see just under 40,000 additional COED jobs created. Each of us by now has constituents who are benefiting from the COED program. One of its main strengths is that the programs get delivered to individual communities and organizations all across the province.

I have been particularly pleased at the projects undertaken in my own constituency. In Oxford, we have received well over $2 million under the COED program, well over 200 jobs have been created and they average over six months each. They are not 12, 13 or 14 weeks on the average; they are six months.

11:50 a.m.

About a week ago the latest statistics on unemployment for the Woodstock unemployment office reporting area were reported in the Woodstock-Ingersoll Sentinel Review. It does not include all of the riding or county of Oxford; however, it covers the great majority of it. There was a fall in unemployment. Thirty per cent of that decrease in unemployment was attributable directly to COED and 70 per cent to other factory callbacks.

We have not heard that type of endorsement in this House over the last couple of days. I do want to emphasize that 30 per cent was directly attributable to COED. Even yesterday morning in the town of Ingersoll, one of the larger municipalities of Oxford, a project was announced where COED was putting in $40,000, which created seven jobs for 118 weeks of work. These are coming along weekly. I do not think the riding of Oxford has failed to have at least one project approved in every weekly bulletin that comes out from COED.

The way COED works and the way it is able to get people to work is in a large way a tribute to the officials involved. In fact, the reason for that goes back to my earlier comments about the government's good management practices. We all know that one half of the COED program deals with municipalities; and if one of us had gone back earlier and told the average person in the street, certainly in Oxford, that three levels of government, three levels of bureaucracy -- municipal, provincial and federal -- were getting together to provide for the delivery of a program, then more often than not the average person could have been expected to express some doubts about the program's effectiveness.

In spite of that initial disadvantage, COED has been made to work. It is creating jobs, the earlier problems have been overcome and, even though the paper flow is not as fast as it was under the Ontario employment incentive program created in last year's budget, the joint federal funding has made it possible to create many more jobs.

As I noted earlier, the person who assisted me in forming these remarks and placing them on paper was not as optimistic, nor, obviously, has his information about the good working of this COED program been as much as mine.

I have absolutely nothing but compliments to give to people under the COED program. I find that they are going far beyond the usual bureaucratic degree to assist me in my announcements and to get messages to me early about which municipalities or which clubs are getting projects approved, the number of jobs and the amounts. They have been in the very front line of the bureaucratic endeavours that I have seen over the last two years from my perspective.

In closing, I would like to comment as well on our increased commitment to manpower training. The discussion paper on research and development presented with the budget is also timely and important. While specific details are not yet available, we all realize the importance of and need for a more skilled work force.

Approximately a month ago I had the pleasure of attending a banquet for 70 young people in Oxford county under what we call the Oxford industrial training group. The Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) was there and was the guest speaker. My predecessor, the then Honourable Harry Parrott, now Harry Parrott of Oxford, was also there and a great evening was had by all.

I understand that other parts of Ontario tend to call this program the community industrial training committee. We in Oxford have had 70 people involved in it. The program is going extremely well. It replaces, may I say, some of the factory experience with classroom experience. This has been funded by this Ontario government. It came to the rescue when the federal government fell down on the job last September.

When it looked as if funding would not come through for this program and the people in the apprenticeship program would not be able to start back at Fanshawe in September, this government came to the rescue, took a chance, provided the immediate funding and said, "Go ahead and we will anticipate the federal government coming in after." It did, but this government is the driving force behind that successful program.

New technologies will bring changes to our work place. I think we are justified in showing concern over what those changes will be. But rather than get carried away in the name of irrational fear, we should also continue to be aware of the job losses which will result if our economy does not keep up with change, and balance this with plain, rural Ontario common sense.

I heard yesterday, and we have heard constantly since I came to this House, reference to a 40-year-old government; then it was 38, now it is 40. That is a red herring. To be correct and true, that would mean all of us over here would have to have sat here for 40 years.

If one looks at the seating plan and checks through the years of first election of the various members to this House, and it is constant through all three parties, one will find that approximately one third of the members were elected in 1981, one third were elected in 1975 or 1977 and only one third of the members were here prior to 1975. That means this is a young government. This is a young group; I will not say it is an inexperienced group, I will say it is a young group.

It is not a 40-year-old government. The average says it is about a five-year-old government. Mr. Speaker, I intend to hoot and holler as much as you will permit each time I hear this "40-year-old government" term in the House over the next several years. In ending, I think our budget places Ontario in a good position to take advantage of the coming economic recovery. I would like to congratulate the Treasurer on the presentation of a sound, reasonable, responsible, sensible and moderate document of which we and all Ontarians can be proud.

The Deputy Speaker: I thank the member for Oxford for his remarks. At this time I would like to recognize the member for Parkdale.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Do you have to?

Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I am indeed happy to participate in this debate. I would like to divide my presentation into two aspects: one, the budget as a whole in its overall aspect, and two, specifically what it means for the residents of Parkdale riding.

Undoubtedly every member of the House, including the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston), even the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) and even the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Shymko), knows this budget affects every person in Ontario. That is why it is so crucial.

Mr. Shymko: Very positive.


Mr. Ruprecht: I only wish I could applaud this particular budget. I wish we could say something very positive about this budget, but let me say this budget in its overall design lacks one thing; it lacks vision.

It lacks vision because a budget is a response by the government to introduce new and imaginative programs. This budget does not do that. A budget is also supposed to indicate which way this province is going to move in the future. This budget says nothing about the future of Ontario, about which way the province is going to move or which way we want our children, who are our future, to move.

12 noon

There are various ways a government can persuade a population. Moral suasion is one way, but that is lacking in this government. Just think about the Rosenberg fiasco. How can this government, with this budget, try to persuade the people of Ontario to follow a new program when behind this persuasion people have to think what happened to Morley Rosenberg? What is the moral authority of this government to persuade the public of Ontario when they have to think about those kinds of decisions?

What is the moral persuasion of this government when we see no consistency --

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I appreciate that you recognized me in the middle of that stirring address. I want to know whether you can find out for us, as a point of information, whether it was Morley or Lennie Rosenberg who was at David Peterson's fundraising dinner in Toronto.

The Deputy Speaker: That is not a point of order or of privilege.

Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I am simply saying this budget really goes nowhere in leading the people of Ontario towards a new horizon; in showing where we should go for the future. I do not want to condemn the government too much. It does some things right occasionally. A blind chicken finds a kernel of corn occasionally, and that is how the government occasionally does something right: blindly falling over something.

Mr. Shymko: At least we are not turkeys.

Mr. Ruprecht: But I do not want to talk about blind chickens or blind turkeys or blind Tories who occasionally do good things. I want to talk about the future of Ontario and how this budget does nothing to provide new programs or a new vision for Ontario. It simply plods along with no imagination and creates a feeling of uncertainty about the future among Ontario residents.

How can anyone plan his or her future or the future of the children if the uncertainty of these budget proposals continues? There is no long-term strategy here. I would like any member of the government to tell me where its long-term economic strategy is for Ontario. The answer is silence, just as I expected it to be. This budgetary document says absolutely nothing about the future of Ontario and how its citizens are to develop and show themselves and in which way they can tell their children to go.

One way this government has an influence over the people of Ontario, one way it can indicate to people which way they can go and what they can expect in the future, is through a budget statement. A budget is an economic statement about the future of Ontario. But there is absolutely nothing in here that talks about a strategy or a vision of the future. That is a problem we all have to think about.

People come into my constituency office and say, "Above everything else, Tony, we need a job." They need jobs. When we look at this budget and at the job creation programs it is supposed to talk about -- of course, we on this side of the House think there is a total lack of any new imaginative policies and programs to create jobs -- we can only sadly conclude that again there is no thought given to the future of Ontario.

What the people of Ontario want is to work. So let them work. Let us work together and let us build. This budget and this government do not let the people of Ontario build and create for the future. That is part of the problem of this budget.

The people who come to my office say: "Provide jobs. Create employment. Do something, but let our kids work." They are 18, 19, 20, 21 years old. They come to my office and they say, "We have looked out there for weeks and we cannot find anything." It is no excuse at all simply to say, as I hear many members say, that all people have to do, if they really want a job, is find a job.

The sad fact is that there are no jobs. So the whole argument in saying, "Let these people find jobs; some of them are not trying hard enough and some of them are really lazy" is a bogyman and a straw man. The people of Ontario, I am confident, want to work. The people of Ontario want to build. I am sure your own constituents, Mr. Speaker, come to you with the same problem and say: "Let us get on with the business of the future. Let us get on with finding employment for our children."

What is the answer of members on the other side of the House when they go to their constituency offices and they are asked those questions? Perhaps the answer is, as my friend the member for Bellwoods indicated, that there might be a job for those who go and see members of the government party. Perhaps I should ask that question, because one person might know another person. I hope that is not the case.

Mr. McClellan: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I did not indicate that. Let the record show I did not say government members can find anybody a job.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): That was not much of a point. Carry on.

Mr. Ruprecht: That is right, Mr. Speaker.

In any case, I am simply saying the people of Ontario are coming to all of us and saying, "Please, give us something; Give us work," and we cannot find it for them. Where are we going to send them? Do we send them to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay)? He cannot provide jobs. Do we send them to the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea)? He cannot find jobs.

Mr. Hodgson: I can find them jobs in agriculture.

Mr. Ruprecht: Do we send them to the member for York North (Mr. Hodgson)? Can he find jobs for them out there?

Mr. Hodgson: There is work there.

Mr. Ruprecht: Okay. We will send them to him.

That is precisely what I indicated earlier. I have stood here and said they are going to come up with a straw man, and there is the response. The response of the government is, "If the people want to work, we can find them jobs." I challenge them to come to my office. I can give them hundreds of people in Parkdale who want work and who cannot find it. They go to the employment and manpower offices. They cannot produce jobs over there. The member for York North is saying that if they want jobs they can go to him and he can provide them. I will send him the people.

Mr. Hodgson: In agriculture I can provide the jobs.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Ruprecht: That is a real straw man. That is precisely the kind of Neanderthal thinking I would not expect the member to use. As I had said earlier, some people indicate there are jobs when really there are none.

With this budget the government has squandered our resources and consequently has squandered the future of Ontario. How has it done that? It is so serious that this government has spent more than $300 million on the Suncor purchase, which is the antithesis of Progressive Conservative Party philosophy. They are even inconsistent with their own political party. How can we ask them to be consistent with the people of Ontario when they cannot even be consistent with their own party philosophy? I say to the members, "Shame."

12:10 p.m.

Not only are they squandering our resources by spending more than $300 million for a Suncor purchase, but also they have tried to squander our resources, millions of them, to buy the Premier (Mr. Davis) a jet.


The Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Ruprecht: Had it not been for the opposition members here, had it not been for the strong opposition on this side of the House, the Premier today would have had his jet and he would have squandered more than $20 million or $23 million on that item alone. But through our conscience and the activities we have produced on this side of the House, we stopped the Premier from purchasing his jet and consequently prevented this province from squandering many more millions, as this government wanted to do. Consequently, we should stand here and condemn them for wanting to spend even more money.

They have squandered millions of dollars in advertising. What has this advertising done to create jobs? This government spends millions of dollars every year with its friends, advertising its own programs, which are the old trodden-path programs we have seen in the past. I am thinking specifically of the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, which produces nothing new; it is simply a rehash, a warming-over of the old omelettes of economic stagnation and economic unproductivity.

We on this side of the House would have funnelled the resources that the government has squandered in such purchases as I have indicated -- not only on the purchase of Suncor but also on the jet and the millions in government advertising -- into establishing a productivity centre and employment growth; and, of course, that should be jointly operated.

That is what we would have done. Make no mistake, Mr. Speaker, we would have established an industrial research assistance program for small and medium-sized businesses. With the money to create jobs alone we would have created a program to increase joint university and industry research and technological efforts.

With the money that was squandered we would have conducted research in telecommunications, space technology and computer sciences. With the money that was squandered we would have implemented an Ontario biotechnology strategy to improve resource use and industrial development.

With the money that was squandered we would have created a program to establish a university-based, computer-linked microelectronics design network. Just as we would have used this money to build for the vision and the future of this province, we would have taken that money and funnelled it into those kinds of programs that would be future-oriented and would show some imagination.

Above all, the kinds of specific programs I have outlined would have provided for you, Mr. Speaker, for me and for every person in Ontario a vision that a government is concerned about them and about the future of Ontario. Future vision is what is important, and this is what we have sorely neglected and what we see neglected in the budget.

The watchwords here are co-ordination and co-operation. Just as Ontario cannot act alone with these programs, it sometimes should act in co-operation with the other levels of government and specifically with the federal government. We must work hand in hand to create programs of this nature within the educational policies in our schools.

Above all, especially on this item, we must never be in a position to import labour. Just as we have imported labour from various countries, especially in the areas of technology and future-oriented issues and programs, we must now work with the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) so that we will never again be in a position to import labour.

Since the Minister of Education is here, and I am very happy she is here and listening very attentively, let me say to her that this importation of labour, especially technological labour, is an indictment of the Minister of Education. What it means is that she is found to be sleeping at the switch of the future. Any time we import labour we have an indictment of the minister. It means she has not been future-oriented, and it means this government has not produced educational programs that are future-oriented and can provide jobs.

Think about the anomaly. Think of the inconsistency. On the one hand there are thousands of Ontarians who are unemployed, looking for programs and jobs so their children can create career opportunities and possibilities, and on the other hand we have people going to other countries in the world and saying, "Come to Ontario, because we are inadequately trained; we are not able to find the labour necessary for our own factories."

Mr. Speaker, I know that in your fair- mindedness you would be the first one to admit the blatant incongruity of this kind of a position.

I say to the Minister of Education that, especially when we examine this budget, we see that she is found to be asleep on the future switch of Ontario. We request her to go back to her ministry and immediately provide educational opportunities and programs that will leave no doubt whatsoever about where our children will find jobs in the future and so that we will never be in a position to import labour from other countries, especially the kind of future-oriented labour this government ought to have programs for.

There is no future orientation in this budget. There is not even future orientation in the Ministry of Education. That is an example of how this government, in this budget specifically, does not do the job the people of Ontario are expecting to find so they can think forward for their own future.

Let me touch briefly on some things that are especially important for Toronto and the riding of Parkdale and that could have been addressed through the funnelling of funds into certain ministries, which then would have been more sensitive to the needs of the Metropolitan Toronto ridings.

Since I am more familiar with the city of Toronto than with the other municipalities, I will use that as an example. Many members of Toronto city council came to Queen's Park not too long ago and indicated to us that the province, and specifically the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett), had made a commitment to Toronto that money would be made available so the city could go ahead to create subsidized housing and build new apartments for people who are in great need.

Mr. Speaker, you will be the first to admit that there are thousands of poor, working-class people on the rolls who have worked all their lives and who, through some accident or some design not of their own, are not able to maintain adequate homes.

12:20 p.m.

The city was made a promise by the ministry that it could go ahead and make some purchases and some commitments to contractors to create this new housing, and that money would become available. Yet when it came down to the crunch, the expectations of some city councillors that money would come forward, specifically for the creation of homes for working-class people and the poor, were not met. When it came to the final crux of putting a name and signature on a contract, that money was not available. Indeed, they could expect a cut.

Not only is that unfair and inconsistent but, when we consider the whole thing, this means short-sightedness in terms of job creation for the future of Ontario. The minister has a beautiful opportunity to create not only short-term employment but also long-term manufacturing gains, because when we create housing, homes and apartment complexes, not only do we create short-term employment in terms of building those apartment houses and complexes but also we gain in the long run in terms of secondary manufacturing.

That is where this government has fallen short in creating housing in those municipalities and metropolitan areas that are suffering because of the low vacancy rate. In most metropolitan areas in Ontario, the vacancy rate is less than one per cent. Imagine that, Mr. Speaker. One talks about competition and the survival of the fittest; that is what one must talk about when one looks at the vacancy rate, because there is no place one can go once one has been let go.

That brings me to an important item, one I personally fought for. We have not yet received assurances from the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) that he will see to it that conversion of certain apartments to hotel-like accommodation is going to be stopped. In my own area, as well as in Scarborough, Etobicoke and North York, there are owners of apartments who are saying to tenants: "Here is your notice. You have to move out because we need this accommodation for a change in accommodation status."

What happens is that hundreds of solid tenants -- they do not come for one night; they have a yearly contract -- are being asked to move so one or two greedy persons can make a giant killing and a giant profit. What they do not know is that when they ask these tenants to move, especially on Jameson Avenue in my riding and in other places, they are not only making a killing in the real sense of the word because they are making a giant profit by upping the rent five or six times, but they are also killing a whole community and the stability of that community, including the school system.

Hundreds of tenants are being asked to move so an owner can change the apartment to hotel-like accommodation that will attract people for one, two or three nights or maybe even as much as a week. The people who come into a neighbourhood for one, two or three nights or in terms of a short-term commitment do not have it in mind to stay for a long time and to make a commitment to the stability of a community, to its school, to its transportation system, to its cleanliness. No commitment is made by people who come into a neighbourhood for one, two or three days to maintain good schools and clean streets.

That is a good indication of what happens to a whole community when this kind of conversion process takes place. Just as I accuse the Minister of Education of sleeping at the switch of future educational programs and possibilities, so must I accuse the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations of sleeping at the switch and destroying community stability.

It is easy to see what will take place in a situation such as that. I, for one, cannot be quiet when my own community is being destroyed. It is not necessarily through malice. That is not the accusation; I am not saying the government is doing this on purpose and by design. I do not think the Minister of Education or the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Leluk) -- the only two ministers listening today -- would consciously plan to create programs that would hurt the people of Ontario.

They are honourable ministers and their intentions are great, but those ministers are tired. The government is tired, and I would be too if I had been there for 40 years.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Speak for yourself. I am not in any way tired.

Mr. Ruprecht: If the minister had been in the government for 40 years she would be tired and would admit it.

Mr. Ruston: Stale.

Mr. Ruprecht: Tired, stale and unimaginative. Of course, it gets that way after 40 years. Let the fresh winds of change and imagination blow in the direction of creating programs and possibilities for the future of Ontario.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: The fresh winds of change do not encompass the hot air from you.

Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I will disregard the personal remarks, because I know I have been a little critical of the minister, telling her she has been found sleeping. But she has the opportunity either to condemn the budget because it is unimaginative, as I do, or to praise it for whatever good she can find in it.

I would think she would not find very much to praise, since she herself is in the position of not providing educational opportunities for our children. Instead, her government has to go abroad to hire people from other countries. They are doing that --

Hon. Miss Stephenson: To do what?

Mr. Ruprecht: To operate the minister's computers. She hired 20 people just last year to operate her computers. She can check it out. It is a shame. It is her government that went over to find out --

Mr. R. F. Johnston: You never told us this before, Bette.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: He has not yet produced one fact in this House that can be verified.

Mr. Ruprecht: The minister should inform herself of what really takes place in her own government. If she were to do that she might be creating educational programs that are future- oriented and might be teaching our kids the right things. The minister's response is the typical response of a tired and unimaginative government.

In Parkdale riding, the community is being destroyed because the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations has not plugged this loophole which will prevent some of the owners from destroying a neighbourhood. I leave it at that; I will only say I hope the minister will act soon. There will be hundreds of petitions going through, asking him to stop the possibility of conversions so that a person could not come into a community, raise hell and then leave without making a commitment to that community.

12:30 p.m.

A second point is also important for the Toronto area, especially for the west end of Toronto, and very specifically detrimental to the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Shymko).

Mr. Barlow: Get ready for a point of privilege.

Mr. Ruprecht: He can get up on a point of privilege. I think maybe he should if he first of all listens to what I have to say.

Mr. Shymko: Worry about your own riding for a moment.

Mr. Ruprecht: I am very worried about my own riding. I have just stood here and told the government what they ought to do, what programs they ought to institute and where they have been found to be sleeping. There is one more area that should have been addressed in this budget that has not been addressed specifically, and this is why I would say that other ministers are sleeping, too. In fact, I think when we have finished this whole program and when we have finished the budget debate, members might come to the same conclusion: the whole government is sleeping. That is what worries me.

But to get back to the issue specifically, the government has a program that is called deinstitutionalization. This means that because of the new drugs that have come out in the last decade, a person who has been admitted to a mental health centre or a hospital is simply given some of these drugs and within a very short period of time is pushed out of the hospital to wander the streets. Of course, what happens -- in my riding, in the ridings of Bellwoods, Dovercourt and High Park-Swansea -- is that many of those unfortunate people have to find a place they can call a home, which is really not a home but simply a room they might even have to share with two or three other people.

So the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) said last year: "Wait a minute. I hear so much from the west end of Toronto. I should go down there and have a look, because I want to inform myself personally to see what takes place." I must say, though, that the minister's riding is not very far from the west end; it would be central west in the first place, so he does not have very far to go.

He went in there to try to inform himself of what really takes place. When he came back he was shocked. He said, "By God, the situation there is so terrible that I have to try to do something about it."

Just as I am ready to talk about High Park- Swansea the member seems to be leaving. But now he has changed his mind and is sitting down. That's terrific.

The minister said: "We have to do something. Let's quickly put in some money." What was the result of that? The result was not substantial. But it could have been very substantial if we had had the right programs in this budget, the right financial response to those kinds of needs. We would have been in a much better position to help those unfortunate people; but we are not.

Then, just last week, another minister said: "I have to go down to see what really takes place. I have read so much in newspapers; I have heard so much on the radio; I have heard so much in this Legislature that there is a real, crying need on the part of ex-psychiatric patients and those who are mentally handicapped. I have to go down there to inform myself, to find out personally what takes place in these homes."

Of course, as members know, it was reported widely in the press. In fact, the Toronto Star had a front-page picture of the minister and his assistant. He went into these homes and when he came out he said the same thing as the Minister of Health: "By God, there is a crying need, and we should produce some programs that will help."

We want to find out where the programs and the budget allocations are that will substantially help those people in need. I am not talking about a whitewash; I am not talking about a few cents and a few dollars here and there, scattered widely all over the place. I am speaking about specific programs in a co-ordinated effort between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community and Social Services that is designed directly and significantly -- that is the catchword and the key word -- to help those kinds of unfortunate people. Co-ordination is what is important.

When we look at page 17 of the budget we see there is now a social services maintenance tax. Can someone tell me what this social services maintenance tax is? Does it mean the money now collected through this special tax will go into a special fund to help the needy?

I would think so if I were an Ontario resident who was normally informed of what takes place in this province. When I saw "social services maintenance tax," I would think this money I am now being asked to pay would be specifically oriented for those people who are of special concern and who have special needs. Of course, that includes a wide variety of Ontario residents, especially in the metropolitan area I am most familiar with.

There is no such fund. There is no such allocation that will be specifically oriented towards the needy and those who have worked all their lives who are now in great need of some financial incentives and help. The money this minister will be getting from this social services maintenance tax -- and it will be in the millions -- will not go directly into a special fund to pay for the needy; it will go into the general fund where it can be syphoned off to other kinds of programs.

I for one am very upset that this money which Ontario residents will pay, called the social services maintenance tax, may be used for further purposes and purchases such as Suncor. That is my great concern. If this government were straight with us, it would set up a special fund to help those with special needs. In that case, if we had such a fund, we would not have to go through the charade we must go through when we talk about support services for West Metro Senior Citizens Services.

The Speaker will remember precisely what happened here, as he was in this House; at least I hope he will remember. The Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) was asked when he would support West Metro Senior Citizens Services and when he would help them to establish a program, because the program of West Metro Senior Citizens Services is going down the tube. Beth Hoaster-Walsh, the program director of this specific senior citizens group, told me personally at a luncheon where they tried to raise some funds that if they did not get any help, they would have to fold the supply services to those needy senior citizens whom, at that specific point, they were keeping in their homes.

The reason they were really helped was because a great fuss was being made, because petitions were being handed in to the minister, and because the opposition parties talked to him personally about this specific organization. I am not sure what would have happened if we had not stood here and questioned him, called him personally, or written letters about it. I know I did. If we had not done that, I do not know what the minister's decision would have been.

That is neither here nor there. What is important is it took so long. It took a great deal of time to convince him to provide the $15,000 that was necessary to maintain the program to maintain senior citizens in their homes.

Think about the short-sightedness here. On the one hand, we lack hospital beds, and we lack beds and programs for senior citizens who can no longer look after themselves. On the other hand, we cannot provide between $15,000 and $30,000 to a senior citizens organization whose goal it is to maintain senior citizens in their homes so they will not be dependent totally on government. There is an incongruity here. On the one hand is the shortage of housing and beds. We cannot look after senior citizens properly when they leave their homes. On the other hand is government insensitivity in throwing them only a few thousand dollars to maintain those programs and projects so that they may have a decent life and will not be a burden to us.

12:40 p.m.

The key word here is "burden." If that money had been withdrawn, here is what would have happened. If $15,000 had not been forthcoming from the minister, the program that helps hundreds of senior citizens to stay in their homes would have been destroyed. Consequently, hundreds of senior citizens might have ended up on the government's doorstep and on the doorsteps of the hospitals waiting for some services. The taxpayer would have had to pay. I only wish that in this budget the Treasurer had addressed himself more specifically and in more detail to programs that would be effective and proper.

Finally, let me address myself very briefly to another major problem: pollution. I have in front of me a great deal of research that talks about the possibility that the quality of drinking water in Toronto is not what it used to be. When I look at reports in newspapers -- and I am looking at the editorial page on February 26, 1983, in the Toronto Star, where there is a long article called "The Fear of Dioxin." It says: "Last week we looked at chemicals in the Niagara River. Now we examine the most deadly pollutant of all -- dioxin." They examined the water supply.

The issue of pollution is not only addressed in this research report of our drinking water. The issue of pollution is so vast that it affects life in the lakes; it affects life here, how people live in their homes, how children grow up and the kinds of diseases that might be spreading. The pollution of drinking water is such that it really affects life itself on this planet.

The Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton), who is well intentioned, tries through his ministry to help out. But what has happened here over the last 20 years? In the Junction triangle area in the west end of Toronto, which is right next to residential homes and where children play, the pressure of criticism has grown so strong and the danger has been so great to people's lives and health that we are seeing at least some steps being taken to try to clean up a bit of the environment.

I am more experienced about the Junction triangle area than the Niagara River. I know, for example, after repeated chemical spills in that area, the health of people has been affected very directly. That is why we have to look at it. We have to see how much has been allocated. We have to see what statements in this budget address the allocation for cleaning up the environment.

When I say we must clean up the environment everywhere, I am speaking fairly broadly. We want to see a much tougher policy, much tougher legislation and a commitment by the Treasurer to supply funds, allocations and programs, which should then be worked out by the Minister of the Environment, and will speak directly to pollution not only in that area -- obviously I am very concerned about it -- but to pollution everywhere.

As members know, for instance, in the Junction triangle area there have been consistent chemical spills, and toxic substances that have been found are going through the sewer system and are consequently affecting every house on that sewer line. Some members may be asking: "Wait a minute. If a toxic chemical is spilled into the sewer system, how can it possibly get into the homes of the people who are complaining?"

That is a real puzzle, isn't it, because, as members know, before a smell can reach the inside of a home or the inside of a basement, it must go through the safety mechanisms of the sewer pipes. There is a certain amount of water in there, so a smell cannot go directly into a home; it must go through the sewers. Consequently it must go through the water that is there as a safety mechanism. Just like the water that is found in an ordinary washroom, the water that is found in the elbow of the sewer system should act as a safety mechanism.

The toxic chemicals are so strong -- and we have proof of this -- that they go right through the water and emerge as bubbles on the other side inside the homes of the people who are being affected. Thus, in this specific way we have chemical spills being directly responsible for the health and safety of every person who has a home on that sewer line, and it goes right through at least two or three ridings that are represented by members here. So it is important that we crack down on those people who are starting to pollute the environment because it is also important for the future.

In one way I am happy that the ministers saw fit, through the co-operation of the ministries of Health, Environment and Labour, to spend $147,000 on a health study that is supposed to take place in the Junction triangle area. This is one step in the right direction. It shows, at least, that the government is willing to spend this kind of money to find out what the health effects are in that area. Even though when I look at this budget and the policies of this government I cannot find very much good to say about them, in this situation I would say that they have taken one step in the right direction.

I think this step was also probably somewhat initiated not by the ministries I have just mentioned but by the city of Toronto. So even though I did praise them and say, "Yes, you have taken a step in the right direction," let me simply say that the initiative for this kind of program has also not come from the government.

So again, even though some of these steps are correct and fine, the situations I outlined before still stand: namely, that sleepiness is the order of the day and that the initiative, the imagination and the programs of the future have not been addressed in this Legislature by this government.

I would like to see more emphasis in this specific budget on cleaning up our environment, because pollution-related equipment, the cleaning up of the environment, can be a giant business. It can create a lot of jobs. But again, we are not in the forefront of creating the mechanism that will deliver those kinds of pollution-free feeding equipment. We are again found to be on the back burner and we are waiting for the United States and other countries and even other provinces to take the first step. But we want to see the leadership that is essential for the future of Ontario.

12:50 p.m.

In closing, let me simply say --

Some hon. members: Oh, no.

Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I am very flattered members of this Legislature would like me to keep going. That is very interesting. Thank you very much.

Let me then quickly sum up. I said at the beginning of my speech that no specific leadership had been provided by this government. I indicated that leadership was sorely lacking in various fields and what kinds of things we would do if we formed the government.

I indicated there has been no vision whatsoever of the future and no imagination used. There is no major improvement or influence to create jobs and to create confidence in the people of Ontario. I said there was no future for our children with this government and with the programs the government has outlined in this budget. I also indicated we should be creating jobs and that the people of Ontario wanted to build. I said this government has been squandering our resources.

Instead of squandering we expect leadership. We expect the government to produce an industrial strategy in the next budget that will give the people of Ontario confidence, not only in themselves but in the future of this province.

Unless that is done -- and it certainly has not been done in this budget -- the people of Ontario will lose confidence in this government and I predict they will. After 40 years of floundering, after 40 years of the inactivity that has been shown in this budget, after 40 years of being fairly sleepy I think the people of Ontario will be ready for a change. I personally hope, Mr. Speaker, you will not be involved in the change that takes place, because I think you are sensitive and you do have some sense of leadership.

The Deputy Speaker: Let Hansard show he is speaking to the Deputy Speaker, the member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz).

Mr. Ruprecht: In fact, I would say there is hope for all of the four members on the government side, because their intentions are probably good. But I am talking about the 70-odd members who are missing -- and who probably are not producing the kinds of programs that are necessary.

It is important that the people of Ontario have leadership for the future. If this government cannot provide the leadership, we are willing, ready and able -- in co-operation with others, if that is necessary -- to form the government. We can provide the future policies and programs that will re-establish confidence in the people of Ontario. Once this government is gone we can say the people will again have confidence in themselves and we shall build together, we shall grow together and we shall work together. I say let them work.

The Deputy Speaker: First, we would like to thank the member for Parkdale for his comments. I am sure at this point, the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) is going to --

Mr. Breaugh: I know you would not want me to call a quorum, Mr. Speaker.

On motion by Mr. Breaugh, the debate was adjourned.

The House adjourned at 12:55 p.m.