The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I know all honourable members would like to join me in offering congratulations to Canada's number one junior hockey team, the Oshawa Generals. I just wanted to point out that rumour has it they did lose one game someplace in Oregon, but in Oshawa that does not count. This team is the best in the nation. Being from Peterborough, Mr. Speaker, you can attest to that fact.
I wanted to invite all members here to come to Oshawa this afternoon at about 5 p.m. At the Oshawa city hall there will be the beginning of a rather large party. If members do come, they should know that in Oshawa we like to do things right, and this may take some time. We will be back around Thursday or Friday.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to that point in that one of the teams Oshawa eliminated along the way was the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, which had finished first in the same league that Oshawa occupies.
But I want to echo the words of the honourable member and say that we should all be extremely proud of the team from Oshawa, particularly so because they had to reach into Sault Ste. Marie to obtain their coach. He is a native of our community.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure we are all very pleased and will extend our congratulations to the players and staff of the Oshawa Generals for doing such a wonderful job.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, today I will be reintroducing the bill entitled An Act to amend the Ministry of Colleges and Universities Act, which has been referred to as the university deficits bill.
Since I originally introduced this bill in December 1982, ministry staff have been engaged in discussions with representatives of the universities pertaining to the application of the legislation. I am pleased to note that we have agreed to a number of changes in the reporting requirements and procedures, which will apply when the bill becomes law, and that these changes are reflected in the policy compendium which is being tabled in conjunction with the bill. Our discussions with the university community with respect to the bill and its applications, however, are continuing.
I would like to reiterate that we are taking legislative action to address the problem of university deficit financing on the basis of advice the government has received from the Ontario Council on University Affairs.
DEATH OF DONALD G. DAVIS
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, it is with regret that I must inform members of the Legislature of the sudden accidental death this morning of Dr. Donald G. Davis, director of the animal industry branch of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. A native of Huron county and a 1948 graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College, Dr. Davis served his profession and the agricultural industry of this province with dedication and integrity.
He was recently named director of the animal industry branch after having served 10 years as cattle diseases consultant for the province. His career with the ministry spanned 17 years, beginning as a regional veterinarian supervising meat inspection in the west central region in 1966.
His professional accomplishments have included being president of the Ontario Veterinary Association in 1970 and co-author of the Bruce county beef study that investigated feeder cattle diseases and led to greater emphasis on preventive herd health programs.
Dr. Davis also worked closely with the Ontario Veterinary College over the years as a member of several committees, including the curriculum committee for the new doctorate of veterinary medicine program.
In addition to his contributions to his profession, Dr. Davis also generously served his community. From 1952 to 1956 he served as a councillor and mayor of Uxbridge, Ontario, where he operated a large animal practice for 18 years prior to joining the government.
Dr. Davis enjoyed his leisure time too. He was an avid horseman, but in his characteristic humour he would say the activities he enjoyed most were fishing on Lake Simcoe in the summer and inhabiting hockey arenas in the winter.
I ask that all members join me and all those in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in expressing sympathy to Dr. Davis's wife, Irene, their five children and their granddaughter.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, in the last few days I have considered long and carefully my responsibilities as Treasurer of the province. I have the greatest respect for parliamentary tradition and I have never tried to avoid my obligations, however difficult they may be. I had decided that, whatever the outcome, my conscience was clear since both I and my staff in Treasury and Economics had taken every reasonable measure including specific contractual agreements to ensure confidentiality.
I have reviewed the legal and constitutional precedents with the solicitors from the Ministry of the Attorney General who are assigned to work with my ministry. I am tabling their memoranda today. They have informed me that the three ingredients which traditionally have required a minister's resignation were not present: first, the minister himself was not in any way responsible; second, all reasonable precautions had been taken; third, no tax measures were involved, prior knowledge of which could have permitted unfair gain.
Regarding the question of ministerial responsibility and accountability in the parliamentary tradition, Mr. Graham Stoodley, QC, after an extensive review of the history, advised as follows: "The rhetoric about resignation is not supported by the facts. Indeed, if the Treasurer were to resign over the issue it would be contrary to the parliamentary tradition evidenced in the Parliaments of Canada and the United Kingdom."
I have discussed the matter with the Premier (Mr. Davis) and we have agreed that, given the facts in this matter, there is no reason for a resignation.
My decision was also affected by the kind support of my colleagues and by so many hundreds of people who have been encouraging -- in particular, the media. I plan to remain as Treasurer of Ontario as long as my Premier requires my services.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. Is the minister going to respond directly to the requests of a group from Iroquois Falls who are asking that a French-language secondary instructional entity be established there? Has she met the delegations that are at Queen's Park today, and can she tell the House what her response to that request is going to be?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I met, informally and I think not entirely by accident, a group of students with M. Serge Plouffe outside the entrance to the east annex on my way into the Legislature this afternoon.
During my absence due to illness, a request was received in my office which was responded to by the arranging of a meeting this morning in my office with the assistant deputy minister responsible for French-language services. That meeting, I believe, did take place; that meeting, having occurred, will of course be reported to me.
The honourable member obviously knows that under current legislation the responsibility for this decision rests primarily with the local board of education. When there is dispute or discomfiture about that decision, the services of the Languages of Instruction Commission of Ontario may be requested.
That has been done. The LIC has made a recommendation that has not at this point been accepted by the board responsible in that area, but it is my understanding that there is a significant number of citizens within the area who are attempting to provide an equitable and reasonable solution to the difficulty which apparently lies in that area at this point.
The member also knows we had made a proposal about four weeks ago regarding a modification of the responses to the languages of instruction commission, which, if accepted, could be introduced as legislation as early as this spring. We are considering that modification right now.
Mr. Nixon: We are all aware that these decisions do not come readily or easily; but with the reference that the minister has made to the announcement about four weeks ago, which certainly captured the attention of people right across Canada, that Ontario was prepared to provide French-language education for each individual who was basically a French-language student, surely the minister is in a position to indicate to the House now what her intention is in this regard, whether the appropriate legislation will be forthcoming and what we as members of this House can expect during the remainder of this session to come to grips with the problem.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: As I said, the proposal has been widely announced. It would appear to have received reasonable support, and we are in the process of drafting legislation right at this point, which must, of course, proceed through the usual processes before it can come to the House. That has not been completed as yet. I do not think it is going to take very long, I am sure the honourable members will see the results of it in the not very distant future.
I would remind the honourable member that the proposal specifically, as introduced four weeks ago, ensures that instruction is available for children within this province in either English or French where those children are in a minority. It is not limited only, as I am sure the member realizes, to francophone education; it also applies to anglophone education.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that, because of illness, Mr. Kipp did not meet with the students from Iroquois Falls this morning? My understanding is that therefore they have not been able to have official contact with the ministry.
Given this situation, will the minister agree to meet with these students, who travelled for eight hours in a yellow school bus yesterday in order to meet with the legislators of the province because of their desire to see the creation of a French-language entity at the Iroquois Falls high school?
Will the minister also agree that ministry officials will go to Iroquois Falls to explain to the community, which is very confused, just what an entity would involve and how an entity can be introduced into the community without the disruption that some people in the area feel?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, in response to the final question of the honourable member first, may I say that the representatives of the regional office have already done that significantly within that area and will continue to do so.
It is my understanding there was a problem this morning with the meeting which had been arranged with the assistant deputy minister and it has been postponed until this afternoon, I believe, at 3:30 p.m., and will be with senior officials of the ministry.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, this minister will recall her own immortal words of October 5, 1979, when she said her government took it as a matter of principle to offer, wherever numbers or other circumstances warranted, French-language entities. Would the minister not admit that program has been and will continue to be a failure until she gives quasi-judicial status to the languages of instruction commission so the decisions can then be implemented properly instead of being a popularity contest? This will be the case even with her new white paper, assuming that it is ever approved.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, unlike the member for Prescott-Russell (Mr. Boudria), I have no presumption that my words are immortal at any time.
Mr. Wrye: That is about the only thing we would agree with you on.
Mr. McClellan: Simply infallible.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The minister certainly is not immortal.
The content of that statement of October 5, 1979, was a very important statement on the part of this government. It is a statement which has been carried forward and has been successful in a significant number of areas the honourable member, of course, deliberately chooses to ignore. There are some areas in which there are difficulties and we have been continuing to try to find solutions to those difficult situations.
There is no policy in this government in the area of instruction or education which is totally static, nor should it be, because it is a progressive kind of activity and we continue to be progressive in our attempts to solve the problems associated with it.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Tourism and Recreation, dealing with his publication entitled, Your Complete Travel Guide to All the Places Where the World Comes to Play, which was perhaps even in the Peterborough Examiner over the weekend and in the Brantford Expositor and in all the other dailies in this province and in many American publications as well. It contains not only the minister's name but of course the Premier's (Mr. Davis) name -- but not his picture, unless he is in one of the crowd scenes at Ontario Place.
My question to the minister is how could he have undertaken the publication of this with the approval of the Premier himself, when the only reference to Minaki is on page 45? This is the only reference at all and it says Minaki is "a small picturesque village situated on the Winnipeg River." There is no reference whatsover to the Taj Mahal that has been built in honour of the minister and his colleagues.
How could he possibly have overlooked an investment of $45 million? He is expecting to entice American and Canadian guests there and perhaps to pay at least part of the overdue interest on that establishment, yet he does not advertise this in his major publication.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased the acting Leader of the Opposition raises the question about this highly successful encyclopaedia. I am glad to hear he recognizes it is a very highly successful publication. In fact we do distribute it to over eight million households in Ontario and in our neighbouring states. It is a very popular and effective publication.
Mr. Kerrio: Minaki will never pay.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Will the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) hold it; Niagara Falls is mentioned.
There is a very simple explanation to the question the member has raised which is that, as he goes through it, he will note we do not advertise individual lodges, hotels, motels and so on. In fairness to the private sector, which constitutes the background of our whole tourism inventory, we would not give special treatment to our own wonderful Minaki Lodge. Minaki Lodge is being advertised through Radisson Hotels.
I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, since I am on my feet, that the bookings are going ahead extremely well. If you want to go up there, I would advise you to book early.
Mr. Nixon: I am sure the minister is aware that under our present status of indemnity it would not be possible for my wife and me and my little family even to consider going up there at $135 a day. Unlike the ministers, who fly up there in their own aircraft and get free provision of service, the rest of us just have to press our noses against the shiny glass of Minaki Lodge and see what all the rich people are doing.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Nixon: This leads me to my supplementary. The minister has helped me with this, because we are told that 8.5 million copies were distributed in Ontario and the United States -- nowhere else in Canada -- at a cost of $2,264,781, and I was wondering if perhaps the only reference to Minaki was under the item "Sunset Country," where they advertise "Millionaire Days."
Is that the reference to Minaki? And as the minister in charge of this main thrust of job development in northwestern Ontario, why would he equate it with "Mosquito Bite Lodge" and those other places that are privately owned in the area, trying their best to make a living in competition with the millions of dollars that the minister puts forward against them rather than in favour of them? Surely this is an oversight that the minister cannot explain.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I do not really see the question there, but obviously the acting Leader of the Opposition has once again illustrated that his party simply does not understand northern Ontario or northwestern Ontario.
I will personally send him the statistics to show him he has missed many thousands of man-days of work that we have created up there and how much this means to the economy of that wonderful northwest -- the "Sunset Country," as he quite correctly refers to it. It is a brilliant place, a wonderful place, and this lodge has meant an enormous input into the economy there. I will send him the statistics personally, because he has some difficulty over there understanding what Minaki Lodge really means to the north.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, the minister will understand that with an expenditure of $45 million this has worked out to $300,000 per job for 150 jobs, of which only 30 are permanent. Can the minister tell us exactly how many local jobs have been created and how many are permanent for northern Ontario as a result of this very large expenditure of the taxpayers' money?
Mr. Speaker: I do not think that is a supplementary question.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, there is someone else there who apparently does not have the information or chooses not to see the impact of Minaki Lodge both through its renovation period and now particularly in long-range terms. Some 140 people will be working there for six or seven months of the year, quite a few of them year-round, so the impact there with respect to creating jobs is something tremendous.
One of the honourable member's earlier leaders also did not believe it, and when I was up at Minaki the last time they showed me the exact spot on the road where they said: "Here is where we stopped Stephen Lewis. We wouldn't let him get any closer to the place."
Minaki Lodge is making a real impact on the employment situation in that area of the world.
Mr. O'Neil: Mr. Speaker, I notice the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) has gone out, but maybe I could ask the minister whether or not he might give the Treasurer a minute to give us the rates at his lodge, which are likely to be a little cheaper.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I feel it is imperative that I read you a note I received, signed by somebody named Frank, while I was asking the question. It says: "You'll like the rates at our lodge. In addition, you get a member's 25 per cent discount."
Mr. Speaker: That sounds like a commercial.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I just want to say here and now that Minaki Lodge is competitive with any lodge in this province, including the Treasurer's.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to correct the record before the Minister of Tourism and Recreation gets on my back. On page 38 of his publication Minaki is referred to, but the hotel of the Treasurer is not. The rates of Minaki -- $130 a day -- are not listed, nor is it stated how to get there. I thought perhaps I should bring this to the minister's further attention.
INSPECTION OF NURSING HOMES
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health about nursing homes. By way of preface, the minister will recall that on February 21 and February 22 I identified four nursing homes and asked him to give a full report to us about their record of compliance or noncompliance with the act and the regulations. The minister has not had either the courage or the courtesy to reply to those questions.
Specifically, today I want to ask about one of those nursing homes, the Country Place Nursing Home in Richmond Hill. Is he aware that his chief inspector has verified violations of the regulations at that nursing home that include, as preposterous as this seems, the nursing home closing down its kitchen as a cost-saving measure in January 1983? The meals are now prepared in another building on other premises and are delivered to the residents in a golf cart. Is the minister aware of that?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, there are 340 nursing homes. If the member wants to have an intelligent discussion about any of the 340 nursing homes in this province, all he has to do is call my office in the morning and tell me which one he wants to discuss in question period.
Mr. McClellan: How many times should I raise it? This is the third time.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Do not get nervous. We have recently sent out several notices to nursing homes in the province pursuant to the crackdown on inspections. I talked about that here several months ago. That may well be one of them. If the member wants a list of them I will be happy to provide it.
Mr. McClellan: The minister has a nerve. This is the third time I have brought this particular nursing home to his attention and asked for a report. He has continued to stonewall.
Is he aware that the same chief inspector, Mr. Gould, verified that food at the Country Place Nursing Home frequently consists of left-over food that is puréed and served the subsequent day? Is he aware that the residents are receiving baby foods? Is he aware that there is a shortage of supplies, including a shortage of linen? How many times, and on what occasions prior to March 1983, have his inspectors found violations of the Nursing Homes Act and regulations at the Country Place Nursing Home?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member knows very well in his experience in this House that if he wants an answer to that sort of question he should put it in Orders and Notices and we will be pleased to provide it.
If there are two or three matters the member is still awaiting information on, then I must say I understood, in regard to the two or three homes in question, all that information had been forwarded to him by now. I will find out why it has not been forwarded to him and he will have it forthwith.
Might I also say that if the member wants to get into the business of discussing the state of affairs in nursing homes, I hope he will be a little more cautious and a little better researched than his leader was in a quite outrageous display the day he made his vaunted speech in this House at the opening of the session. As we reviewed the accusations he made here without prior notice and without doing sufficient research, we found he was inaccurate in so many cases that I have been waiting for him to stand up and take another crack at it during question period so that I might review, for the members of this House, what a hideous exercise he did in doing his research.
Perhaps the member will invite him, when he returns from Dallas, to stand up and discuss nursing homes with me, and we will review the thoroughness of his research. It is all here; let us see who has the information.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, when the minister talks about having a full and responsible discussion, I think what we need to look at is not simply isolating three or four nursing homes; we need to have a look at the inspection service and at the situation that faces every nursing home across Ontario.
I know the minister promised in the last session that we would be getting access to inspection reports that would be made public. Can he give us any indication when this information will be available for all nursing homes so that we can have a responsible discussion and not simply point a finger at one nursing home without having facts?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: July 1, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. McClellan: We will see how the minister's bravado stands up as we deal with these cases one at a time. Does the minister not understand that his enforcement of the Nursing Homes Act and regulations in this province is a joke and, instead of making smart-alec replies, will he make a serious commitment to table the answers to the question I raised here February 21, February 22 and again today?
So that the minister understands it and so there is no weaseling out, specifically how many times and on what occasions have his inspectors found violations of the Nursing Homes Act and regulations at each of the following nursing homes: The Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Alliston, Barton Place Nursing Home in Toronto, Country Place Nursing Home in Richmond Hill and the Lakewood Nursing Home in Huntsville?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Again, I can say in all seriousness I did think that was provided to the member. I thought it was. I do not like --
Mr. McClellan: Maybe while you were bouncing around in Switzerland somebody forgot to send it over.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Maybe when the member for York South (Mr. Rae) gets back from Dallas we will find out whether he wants to try nursing homes again.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Is he staying at the Radisson Hotel?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is right. He is staying at the Radisson Hotel in Dallas, the same chain that is operating Minaki Lodge. I presume he will come back with glowing reviews over the future of Minaki.
Mr. Foulds: Better get them to run the nursing homes as well.
Mr. Martel: You can get anything for $45 million.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Hold it, troops. In any case, the member will have that information by six o'clock this evening.
SECURICOR INVESTIGATION AND SECURITY LTD.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Solicitor General. Given the stinging condemnation of Securicor in the Ontario Labour Relations Board decision of this Friday past, what is the minister's response to the decision, which indicates, and I give him two short quotes, "In addition, these actions would be illegal apart altogether from the Labour Relations Act," and "We consider the unlawful conduct of Securicor to constitute flagrant and [shocking] violations of section 64"?
What action is the minister prepared to take with respect to the licensing of David Ivers in particular and with respect to the principals of Securicor who counselled illegal activities and actually engaged in improper conduct?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, we have just received the decision in printed form from the Ontario Labour Relations Board and members of the ministry are reviewing the content of it. When they have reviewed it, I will be able to make a further comment as to the direction in which we may go on the material contained in that decision.
Mr. Mackenzie: It is almost a year since I first started asking the minister questions on this. On page 32, paragraph 41 clearly states that part of Securicor's defence was that its actions "were known and condoned by two sets of police" in the province. Since when have the police in Ontario been silent bystanders in dirty, illegal and covert activities designed to undermine the laws of the province, and what action will the minister be taking?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: The honourable member has suggested and alleged that the police are condoning this, or possibly are part of this, by reading part of the decision out of context. In no way do I accept that the police in this province condone or accept any of the type of activities that possibly have taken place in this regard. The police do an excellent job in the service of the people of Ontario, and in no way will I accept the comment that those actions have been condoned by the police in this province or by the Ontario Provincial Police.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, surely that is a totally inadequate answer. The Metropolitan Toronto Police and the Ontario Provincial Police knew for some period of time that Mr. Ivers was involved as an agent provocateur with that company. Yet they did not go to the Steelworkers union unti1 February, until the point had come when the actions of Mr. Ivers were becoming suspicious to the Steelworkers themselves.
Does the minister believe it is acceptable behaviour for the police to condone the actions of this kind of agent provocateur in the first place, and does he not agree with me that the actions of the police in this case will do absolutely nothing to convince the labour movement in this province that the police are neutral in labour disputes?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, the police are neutral in these matters. I challenge the honourable member to show instances where they are not. They perform their duties under the law of this province and do an admirable job in the situations they encounter.
Mr. Mackenzie: I am not sure whether the Solicitor General is aware of it, but the police knew as early as October 4 that Ivers was lying when he said he was not a security employee. That means they were aware, not just since the time at which they first reported it to the union but as far back as October.
On page 50, section 63 of the OLRB decision, the following comments are made: "The board views this aspect of Mr. Ivers' activities with deep concern because in our experience strike situations are volatile enough without the introduction of this type of outside influence. It is one thing to report upon disorder on the picket line; it is quite another to be part of it. The remedies for this aspect of the respondent's activities lie largely in other forums, but to the extent that they contravene the Labour Relations Act they are a matter of serious concern to this board."
What is the minister prepared to do in terms of criminal charges against those who counsel theft and other illegal activities?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: As I mentioned before, the time we would consider any charges would be after we have reviewed the material: the transcript, the decision. If there are any facts that come out of that review, if any laws of the province have been transgressed, naturally there will be consultation as to whether criminal proceedings should follow.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. Is the minister aware of the concerns being expressed by administrators, department heads and classroom teachers about the ramifications of implementing the Ontario Schools: Intermediate/Senior draft curriculum guidelines? If she is, will she inform the House as to the manner in which she is addressing these concerns within the somewhat narrow time frame she is permitted for a response to the OSIS draft proposal? Is she glad I asked?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would doubt that even the honourable member could suggest the time frame is narrow for a response to OSIS. I would also remind the member that is the first draft of OSIS. It was written deliberately in a relatively provocative manner to elicit as many responses as possible, and we are succeeding in that. I am certainly delighted to know that is happening.
Hon. Mr. Welch: He's a teacher, you know.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Of course, yes.
I am sure the member will be responding himself, personally, as a former teacher in the system, along with his colleague the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney), who is a former director of education, principal and teacher. They might consult with at least five or six of their colleagues in the New Democratic Party caucus who were also teachers. I forgot about the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne), who is a former director of education in that area.
Hon. Mr. Welch: And not to overlook the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon).
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Oh, but it is so long since he taught it does not really matter any more.
Mr. Nixon: About as long as you have been away from medicine.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Oh, it is far longer since the honourable member taught than it is that I practised medicine.
Mr. Speaker: Now to the question, please.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The responses have certainly been fulsome. Some of them have expressed a very real concern based upon strange interpretations of both the Renewal of Secondary Education report and OSIS. I must say we have been attempting to overcome some of the groundless fears that have been expressed, because they have been fostered rather deliberately by certain individuals. None the less, we believe the final draft of OSIS will be ready for fall publication and distribution. It will have had the benefit of a great deal of response from the public as well as from the educational system.
Mr. Bradley: I am glad that in her initial answer the minister did not ruin the supplementary I have written out here.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I tried.
Mr. Bradley: I know she tried.
Genuine concerns are being conveyed to the Ministry of Education about the financial implications of the provisions of the OSIS document and about the impact of some of the proposals on the general level or basic level students in the system, many of whom might best be served by, let us call it a modification of the stipulations in the present OSIS report -- this is coming directly from classroom teachers, who are on the front line -- in a different way, for instance, from those who might be university-bound or more academically oriented.
Taking that into consideration, will the minister consider delaying implementation of the OSIS provisions for an additional year or at least give thought to implementing them on an incremental basis -- I think that is the way we refer to it -- starting in grade 7, if indeed the ministry can meet the curriculum problems that exist?
Is the minister prepared to delay for one year the full implementation so she can make everybody in the education system happy?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I gather that one of the great deficiencies in response to OSIS has been the lack of careful reading of ROSE on the part of many of those who responded. If the honourable members have carefully read both the recommendations of the secondary education review project and ROSE, they will recognize that for the very first time concentration upon the curriculum specifically for basic level and general level students is to be demonstrated in the renewal of secondary education in this province. Their curriculum will not be simply a watered-down advanced student curriculum. They will have specific curriculum for their own needs, meeting their own educational requirements for the purposes for which they determine their educational process will be used.
In that light, those respondees to OSIS might modify some of their statements about OSIS if they really and truly understood, or indeed had read, the documents that were developed to provide the foundation for OSIS in the first place.
We are considering all options. I am not sure that any one is closed. But the honourable member demonstrates that he is one of those who really does not understand the basis of the renewal of secondary education when he makes the statement that he did, even though he quoted it from someone else's letter.
Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, in that the SERP report talked about the particular sets of criteria within OSIS and said the problem in secondary schools is primarily for the general level students, will the Minister of Education admit that the report is silent, at least in the first draft, in regard to general level students and the courses for general level students?
Given the compulsory nature of the courses and that more than 50 per cent of the courses in secondary school would be compulsory, will the minister admit that it will be more difficult for the general level students to graduate, that it will increase the dropout rate and that in effect accessibility to post-secondary education will be denied to a lot of students in this province?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the member for Oakwood is barking up the wrong tree as usual. He has not read the hymn book properly, the one he is trying to sing from.
Mr. Cooke: You're the only one who barks around here.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: He barks and sings at the same time. You cannot tell the difference.
Hon. Mr. Welch: You are feeling better, aren't you?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Yes, I am. It is obvious there are specific problems which must be addressed in secondary school education for the general level students. It was because of our concern about those students that we appointed the secondary education review project in the first place, and it was on the basis of their concern about the way in which the secondary education should be organized for those students specifically that their report was drafted and our response was drafted.
It is our intent to ensure that none of the actions we take will increase the dropout rate but will encourage students, particularly at the general level, to remain longer within the school system because they will recognize that the courses they are taking are of value to them in their career choices and will provide them with the appropriate background for their lifespan as well as for their careers.
That is our intention. That is the direction in which we are moving and that, unfortunately, is what the member does not see.
SPEAKER'S WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, on a very quick perusal of the rules I find nothing in them that precludes a minister of the crown asking a question. I have a question and I would like a precise yes or no. Is it true that 36 years ago today you married your wife, June?
Mr. Speaker: It is indeed true.
SECURICOR INVESTIGATION AND SECURITY LTD.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour.
Given the seriousness with which the Ontario Labour Relations Board views the illegal and incredibly damaging involvement of security firms like Securicor in employee-employer relationships and the clear statement by the board that disclosure laws are a necessary addition to tough labour board policing, what is the minister prepared to do in terms of legislative action to deal with this industrial relations cancer we seem to have growing in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, from my preliminary perusal of the decision and listening to some of the senior leaders in the trade union movement, I certainly get the impression that the Ontario Labour Relations Board was well able to address the matter of Securicor.
Mr. Mackenzie: The minister's answer never varies and it does not deal with the question. He knows full well that covert actions can cause serious harm to employees, whether or not they are aware of a spy in their midst.
The decision of the OLRB clearly recognizes this fact in arguing for disclosure laws, citing the Landrum-Griffin Act in the United States, which seems to have been successful in this particular situation, infiltration of picket lines.
Will the minister comment on the reference to the need for such legislation recommended by the board and the very clear indication that they need this kind of action over and above the policing of the board?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I was in the company of the member for Hamilton East in Collingwood on Saturday afternoon. At that time he asked me the question. I gave him the answer that I just gave. I wanted to be sure my answer was consistent.
As far as the answer to his second question is concerned, senior officials of my minister and I will be meeting first thing tomorrow morning to study in depth the decision by the Ontario Labour Relations Board in regard to Securicor. I think it would be inappropriate for me to make any comment until I have had an opportunity to discuss the matter.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, given that Mr. Ivers testified that he routinely infiltrates companies posing as a worker and reports to companies about drug use, alcoholism, theft and a whole variety of other things, some of which may be fact, some of which may be fiction and all of which in a sense violate civil liberties, and in view of the fact that the Ontario Labour Relations Board has given a clear statement on the unacceptability of industrial espionage within the framework of collective bargaining, why will the minister not give us a commitment now to introduce legislation that would prohibit such offensive practices in equally clear terms?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat what I said a few moments ago. Certainly the possibilities will be thoroughly studied, but I do not think the honourable member opposite expects me to make some sort of a commitment just two days after a decision has been handed down. If I did make a decision within two days of a decision of that nature, of that seriousness, of that complexity, the member would be standing up here in the House and criticizing me for over-reacting.
Mr. Barlow: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Trade. A few days ago, I received a phone call at my home. I might add that this call really disturbed me. In view of the fact that this government has a very substantial investment in Massey-Ferguson, I would like the minister to verify for me whether it is true that two weeks ago today, on May 1, the complete combine line had to close down because a large percentage of the shift had phoned in sick but, in fact, they went fishing at the opening of the trout season.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I do not know the answer to the question, but I have heard the rumour as well and I think it is something we might inquire about. On the other hand, if the employees chose to take the day off for whatever reason, I suppose that is their choice and they are the ones who are diminished in income. Maybe there is fisherman's flu going around or something. Sixty-nine per cent of the line, when there are 3,000 people working there, is quite an extensive turnout. Whatever the case, I will be glad to look into the question.
ONTARIO HOME RENEWAL PROGRAM FUNDS
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and it concerns the Ontario home renewal program. In reply to questions put to the minister by my colleague the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp) and myself last month, he indicated he had not excluded the possibility of replacing the Ontario home renewal program with some other renovation or rehabilitation program.
The minister is aware that last week's budget promises no relief and represents no new initiatives for the low-income families that are in desperate need of such a program, despite the fact that it contains a very positive job creation component. Now that the budget has destroyed the hopes of hundreds of municipalities and thousands of low-income families that they might have housing that meets minimum standards, where does the minister suggest they look for money?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member goes back and looks at my answer of the day, I believe I also indicated very clearly that the federal government had implemented a program to allow for refurbishing, renovation and rehabilitation of units. I very clearly said at the time that there appeared to be another complication that had been thrown into the situation, in that the feds had come along and attempted to duplicate the program. If he will recall, I said I believed that is the direction we will go in the ministry. Those people who inquire of the ministry, and indeed the municipalities, will be referred to the federal agency.
Mr. Wrye: If the minister is referring to the Canada home renovation plan, he will be aware that it provides only 30 per cent and people on welfare cannot afford to find the rest of the money. Since apparently the minister has not done any checking with the municipalities, perhaps he is unaware of what large and small municipalities all over the province are telling us about cancellation of the program.
The town of Penetanguishene -- and I am quoting from letters -- says, "This is an old town and we are concerned that the province may not reinstitute the OHRP and it would certainly be detrimental in the long run." The town of Goderich says, "Fifty jobs funded by OHRP over the past three years certainly contributed to the wellbeing of local contractors, whether they hired new staff or were able to maintain present staff levels in slow economic times."
My colleague the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) is well aware that there are 81 applications outstanding in the town of St. Catharines.
The town of Welland says, "The program is very worth while and without adequate funding much of the existing housing, which is below minimum standards, will not be upgraded. But it is imperative that it be reintroduced."
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Wrye: In the town of North Bay, the cancellation of this program will have a substantial effect on the ability of that town to bring its housing up to standards. Even the little township of Elderslie says, "We have approximately 12 names on our waiting list at this time and, working through a repayment of moneys, we could only fund two applications a year." So 10 more people will have to be told they are out of luck.
Given that demonstrated need and given the ability of the program to create jobs, rehabilitate older homes and save the province money by reducing the need for the government to build new low-income housing, will the minister make a commitment to review the cancellation of the program once again and see whether we cannot get this program, which is so popular with municipalities and the low-income people who have benefited from it, back on track?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I said at the time that we would continue to review the program. Let me do an analysis of the remarks made by the member first on the number of applications that are outstanding in the various municipalities throughout Ontario. If one looks at the applications that have been outstanding each and every year the program has been under operation -- obviously we never funded the program, nor was it even within our expectations to fund the program, to the full extent of maximum applications or 100 per cent of the applications each year; very clearly that was not our expectation.
The member will recall the program was 100 per cent provincially funded. Most municipalities have operated very effectively and efficiently under the program. They have lent some of the money and have written some of it off. They had that option. They were able to charge interest rates on some of the moneys they lent and now have developed, to some degree, a revolving account. The member can shake his head. The whole funding was by the province and the basis of it was laid down very carefully and clearly as to how it would function.
The member made one statement that is not applicable. He indicated a person on welfare was eligible. If he goes back and checks the terms of reference, he will see there had to be the ability to repay some portion of the loan. If the member checks on that, he will find there were none, to the best of my knowledge. I cannot say everyone operated 100 per cent by the rules. Obviously, as the member knows, some municipalities did a little configuration of their own.
We continue to review all our programs. They do have a true application. This is not to be the exception.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education with respect to the French school situation in Iroquois Falls. I was there nine days ago and want to share with her the sense of frustration people there feel.
Is the minister aware that last year there were repeated requests by the French-language advisory committee for the creation of a French-language entity and that those requests led to a survey paid for by the board of education and carried out by the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education, which is certainly a reputable body? That study, which surveyed all the francophone ratepayers in the area served by the secondary school, showed that 58 per cent of the parents wanted to have the French-language entity.
In view of the minister's commitments to this French-language entity and her commitment in March to a guarantee of the right to French-language education, is 58 per cent support not sufficient for the ministry to go to Iroquois Falls and find a way to create the entity?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that there has been some concern expressed about this; we have looked at that. All of this is being taken into consideration in our activities related to the solution of the problem in that area.
Mr. Cassidy: When I was in Iroquois Falls, I also met with a group of parents who were opposed to the creation of the entity. Their prime concern was the understanding they had that their children would be forced to take all their education in French if an entity were created and their children were in the French-language entity. These were Franco-Ontarians.
Will the minister give this House and those parents reassurance that if the entity is created and their children wish to take a certain number of courses in English while they are part of the entity, that will be their option and that should not be an obstacle to the creation of a French-language entity at the school in Iroquois Falls?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am sorry; I was interrupted during the midst of the question expounded by the member for Ottawa East --
Mr. Cassidy: Ottawa Centre.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Ottawa Centre. Pardon me. Forgive me.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: One and the same.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The Tuesday and Friday member is the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy). Right? Could the member repeat the latter part of his question?
Mr. Speaker: Briefly, please.
Mr. Cassidy: Given the concern of the French-speaking parents who have opposed the entity because they believe the creation of it in Iroquois Falls would compel their children to take courses in French only and they would not be able to take enough courses in English to become bilingual, will the minister reassure the parents who are blocking the entity that it would not require that all courses be taken in French but that if pupils desire, they would have the option of taking a substantial number of courses in English?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The member does not really understand the establishment of the entity. When a francophone entity is established, it is one in which the instruction is carried out in the French language. That is indeed a French-language school. If it is in a building with an anglophone entity, then obviously the students must make a choice as to whether they will attend the one or the other.
In Iroquois Falls at the present time, in a bilingual or mixed-language program, there is an opportunity to study to a certain degree in the French language and the remainder in the English language.
It is because of the concern of those parents who have added their names to a very lengthy petition -- and as I perceive the list almost all of them are francophone -- that we have to look at the problem from both aspects that have been developed in attempting to find a response in Iroquois Falls.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, does it not concern the minister that this whole business of using numbers for the identification of people who want to attend the entity is nothing more than a popularity contest and that the provision of services for a minority should be done on that basis? In Smooth Rock Falls, which is not far from Iroquois Falls, 32 anglophone students were granted an English-language entity some time in the past, yet in Iroquois Falls something like 300 francophone students are being denied the same privilege. That is 10 times more students. This whole business of using fractions, percentages and so forth as a measure is really a popularity contest. It is an unfair way to deal with minorities.
Mr. Speaker: That was no question.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the use of figures, percentages, etc., has not been a directive of the Ministry of Education. It has not been a point which the Ministry of Education has proposed as a way --
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member did not ask a question but rather made a statement.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: The minister's information directly contradicts information I have received from two senior officials of her ministry with respect to --
Mr. Speaker: Order. The honourable member will please resume his seat.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I did ask the minister a question. Does she not agree this is an unfair method? I did ask that so there was a question in there, Mr. Speaker, if you will verify it from Hansard.
Mr. Speaker: Yes, but then you went on.
Mr. Boudria: But I did ask a question.
Mr. Speaker: Perhaps the minister could respond with "yes" or "no?" Does she think it is unfair?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I simply said that we have never used that basis. That is not a directive of the Ministry of Education.
PUBLIC LIBRARIES IN ONTARIO
Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Citizenship and Culture. The ministry has spent a long time studying the public library system in Ontario with an eye to making changes in the Public Libraries Act. The outcome to date has been the green paper, A Foundation for the Future. Will the minister permit the library community to comment on the draft legislation before the bill receives final reading?
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, in all likelihood, the answer to that question will be yes. We are now receiving responses to the consultation paper and I think we have received about 200. I would have no hesitation in doing that. There are some proprieties we would want to look at collectively.
I do not think we can send out a draft bill but if we can, we will. However, if we cannot send out a draft bill, we will make certain the explanatory notes that would accompany a bill are circulated. We will do everything we can within the proper procedures of the House to make sure the last step in the consultative process is a full step.
Mr. G. I. Miller: How soon will it be dealt with? If the minister is not going to send out the draft bill could it be dealt with at the committee level?
Hon Mr. McCaffrey: Dealing with it at the committee level would be an option but I think another two and one half weeks or so would be required before all of the responses, many of which are still coming in, are properly collated and we are in a position to deal with them. We should have the draft legislation in place by mid to late summer; I think that is as close as my guess could be. I see no difficulty in our achieving that objective. Certainly by the fall we would want to table the proposed legislative changes.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, there is considerable division within the library community about the matter and I believe in the consultation paper there is some ignoring of the previous review that was conducted by -- I have forgotten the chap's name, but it was the librarian from Scarborough. Because of that, could the minister give us the assurance that, if the legislation were tabled in the fall, he would leave it on the order paper for the fall and then proceed with it in a subsequent session of the Legislature rather than during that session?
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, that is certainly an option. I think what all of us would have to look at is whether we are just delaying a series of changes that are inevitable. I think it is the balance between a full and thorough hearing, particularly after the Bassnett study and the consultation paper. I would have no difficulty in doing that but I think the member's opening statement is a particularly operative statement. The library community is split on a number of things, including how much longer we are going to consult on this matter before we get on with the changes. That is a legitimate point of many of the people in the community.
I do not want to rush ahead after all this time. If we could have the proposed changes in place by late summer in the form of explanatory notes or a draft bill, have that circulated and get some response, we could table it and get on with it. If we cannot meet that objective of tabling and circulating it, to deal with it at another session is certainly still an option. It would not be my first choice, however.
EMPLOYEE HEALTH AND SAFETY
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour regarding Canadian General Electric and the 25 women who have cancer or tumours. Is the minister aware of a statement made by the company last week? It said, "An official government investigation into the CGE Dufferin Street lamps plant has confirmed the company's position that there are no known cancer causing substances in the coiling area of that plant."
The second part said, "The ministry reported to the company and the union that no recognized cancer causing substance had been found in the coiling process and advised that no further literature or laboratory investigation was warranted pending the results of the study."
Does the minister agree with the company that methylene chloride is not a mild carcinogen and is being used there? Would the minister also indicate if the workers can be assured that none of the processes used there might be what is causing a high incidence of cancer among those women?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, nothing has changed from earlier responses to questions from the member in respect to the circumstances at Canadian General Electric, neither in my mind nor as far as I am concerned within the ministry. We still feel the same way we did previously. We are still moving forward on a study that is being done by McMaster University and we are prepared to participate and support that to the fullest.
Mr. Martel: Is the minister telling me this statement by the company is erroneous? Secondly and most important, because I misunderstood his answer as to the study he talks about at McMaster, is it not a fact that the epidemiological study has not yet started? Is the minister aware that last week the company told the union that, if it wanted that study to be funded by it, it should "get Martel to shut his mouth"?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I am not aware of the statements the member for Sudbury East has attributed to the company.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment, if I can get his attention.
Is the minister satisfied with the fact that Ontario Hydro is not putting scrubbers in the plant at Atikokan? Is his ministry satisfied that this will not add to the acid rain problem in the area? Has his ministry had a look at that?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the answers are yes and yes.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
MINISTRY OF COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Miss Stephenson moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Welch, first reading of Bill 42, An Act to amend the Ministry of Colleges and Universities Act.
Motion agreed to.
INCOME TAX AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Ashe moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Leluk, first reading of Bill 43, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act.
The House divided on Hon. Mr. Ashe's motion, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Birch, Brandt, Cousens, Cureatz, Davis, Dean, Drea, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gregory, Grossman, Havrot, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kells, Kennedy, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk, MacQuarrie;
McCaffrey, McCague, McLean, McMurtry, Miller, F. S., Mitchell, Norton, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Robinson, Rotenberg, Runciman, Sheppard, Shymko, Stephenson, B. M., Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wiseman, Yakabuski.
Allen, Boudria, Bradley, Breithaupt, Bryden, Cooke, Copps, Edighoffer, Elston, Foulds, Grande, Haggerty, Johnston, R. F., Kerrio, Laughren, Lupusella, Mackenzie, Martel, McClellan, Miller, G. I., Newman, Nixon, O'Neil, Philip, Renwick, Riddell, Ruprecht, Ruston, Samis, Sweeney, Van Horne, Wildman, Worton, Wrye.
Ayes 61; nays 34.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, this bill contains two amendments arising out of the Treasurer's (Mr. F. S. Miller) excellent budget of May 10, 1983.
First, the bill introduces a temporary income tax surcharge for the years 1983 and 1984, at 2.5 per cent and five per cent respectively, on the basic Ontario tax. The surcharge will apply only to taxpayers with taxable income in excess of the threshold established for the application of the Ontario tax reduction program. Therefore, for 1983 the surcharge will not apply to taxpayers with taxable income less than $2,179.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: That's right. It's all right here.
The second amendment sets the tax rate for 1983 at 48 per cent of the basic federal tax. This is the same rate as for the 1982 taxation year. Up until now the rate had to be legislated every year, even when there was no change from the previous year. As a tax simplification measure the bill now provides that the 48 per cent rate will remain in effect for 1983 and subsequent years until a rate change is required.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS IN ORDERS AND NOTICES
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the answers to questions 1 to 7, 10 to 14, 18 to 28, 30 to 34, 184, 186 and 192 and the interim answers to questions 8, 9, 15 to 17, 29, 35 to 183, 185, 187 to 191 and 193 to 195, all of these standing on the notice paper [see Hansard for Friday, May 20, 1983].
Mr. Foulds: The minister said they were going to answer this at the end of November, and I had an interim answer last session.
Hon. Mr. Wells: The member has another interim answer.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
BUDGET DEBATE (CONTINUED)
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. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I rise to make a few remarks in the budget debate. First, it is pretty hard to get excited when you get a budget such as we had presented in this House the other day and, second, to feel that there is much hope for young people and workers in Ontario. One of the first things I had to ask myself was, is the government living in a real world or has it totally lost touch with reality? Because surely there are two issues that are bothering people today. One of them is jobs; and I do not know where some of the members across the way are these days, but the other one is very much a case of security. Workers simply want to know what kind of security there is, what kind of future they possibly have in this great province of ours.
I took a look at the figures on page 40 of the budget and I noted that in 1981 employment was listed as 4.186 million, in 1982 it was listed as 4.078 million and, in the government's own figures, in 1983 we are to end up with 4.041 million. We have heard a lot about all the jobs this government has been creating, but unless I am missing the bottom line this simply says to me that we are going to have 37,000 fewer people working in Ontario at the end of 1983 than we had at the end of 1982. I think that is nothing short of dishonest. I think the entire presentation of the budget was an exercise in deception, and I do not know any other way to put it.
I take a look at the deficit they are talking about. First, on page 57 of the budget, I see the estimated revenues for 1983-84 are $22.015 billion. Then, in the expenditures on page 59, I see a neat little bit of sleight-of-hand -- the old pea-under-the-pod routine, I guess -- where we actually have a $25.010-billion expenditure list. Mind you, you can throw in, as the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) neatly did, the $300 million that has the little brackets around, which says he is going to find another $300 million to cut out of the expenditures; but he did not have the guts to tell us from where when he submitted the budget to the House.
If you do not achieve that projected further cut of expenditures in the budget, we actually have a $3-billion deficit. What we were told, of course, in all the rhetoric that went with the budget, was that we would have a $2.7-billion deficit. I do not know why the government and the members of that government cannot be honest to begin with and tell us it is a $3-billion deficit and not a $2.7-billion deficit, because that is exactly what it is.
I will not go into this in great detail, but I can recall some of the criticism from across the way when we projected a deficit last year -- I forget the figure now -- just as we have done again this year in the proposals we have made. Last year the Tory deficit ended up just about the same size as ours was -- the one they made fun of -- the difference being that most of our deficit was in specific, long-term job-creation proposals. I do not think the message has ever got through to the members across the way that they are either going to spend the money as a deficit or on unemployment. You only have to look at the amount we are paying in welfare and unemployment insurance benefits and what the municipalities are being stuck with.
Surely there is nothing wrong with outlining a budget with a deficit if most of that deficit is in specific job-creation projects. That will at least put people to work and it may just start cutting some of the deficit. Certainly it would mean we would have fewer people on the unemployment rolls in the province and that people would have just a little bit more pride and security because they would be working. It is almost as if working were some kind of sin, yet nobody will more quickly criticize people who are not employed and not getting out and doing their best to find a job than some of the members across the way. There is something wrong, something perverse in the priorities we have in this country of ours.
The question of security is one that will come home to roost for an awful lot of members in this House. I know it is bothering people. I know it is just about the top concern in society now. We have to be concerned when there are 780,000 people out of work in the province, when there are 230,000 or more women out of work, and when there are some 220,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 out of work. We have to start wondering what they see as their future, what they see as their hope. They can only be shoved back into schools, universities or training programs for so long. Many of them do not see much of a possibility, even with the additional training.
Another thing that bothers me is we seem to be putting all our eggs in the one basket with the call that we have to move quickly into the high-tech generation. We do not seem to have a concern about the cybernetics of society today, with automation and robotization. We say it is great and we have to start developing the high-tech sector of our economy. When we see what is happening with traditional industry in our province, we have to wonder.
Once again the members may get sick of hearing it, but an awful lot of our problems lie in our branch-plant economy and the fact that many of the multinationals which have put up branch plants in this country of ours are bigger than governments. They make the decisions and they make them when there is little in the way of legislation or requirement that they have some responsibility to the people of this province.
We see these companies shutting down their branch plants in this country or using the current buzzword of corporate rationalization. We have gone through this many times and I will deal with three or four of them. It does not always succeed, but it is done so the company will be a little healthier and better able to compete in world markets today. The one consideration that is not there is what happens to the workers they dump along the way, the employees who have worked in those plants, in many cases with long seniority.
There is a drastic drop in our traditional industries. With that drop, if we follow the pattern of contract settlements over the last year or two -- and I predict it is going to get worse -- we find that settlements of less than five and six per cent are the norm. I know of two recently in my own town of 4.8 per cent. Indeed, some people are so scared they will work for almost anything in an area where there is no organization or union to protect the workers.
To my way of thinking, we are seeing a deliberate depression of wage levels in this province. It is made easy with the kind of unemployment we have.
If we are to be successful, and if we are to be the beneficiaries of this drive for high tech in this province, I think the question that has to be asked is what makes us think we will necessarily be the beneficiaries. Almost every country in the free western world and a good deal of the Third World are desperately trying to be the successors in the fight to develop or get this high technology in place. There is no guarantee we will get that many jobs out of it. I do not think anybody argues it is one of the components we have to look at and do what we can to achieve. However, if we do, what will we end up with?
Are we looking at the traditional wages in a better-paying industrial plant that may have been paying anywhere from $8 or $9 to $12, $13, $14 or $15 an hour? That is not a heck of a lot, but with it people could afford to buy a house, a few of the extra consumer goods we try to sell and have some chance of assisting their kids to get through university. I am darn sure most of the people in this House understand some of the costs involved there.
I currently have three children who have not had much success with jobs. I am trying to help finance them through university. I will have four, starting next year. I am better off than most people and I know darn well it has been about as tight a financial year for me as I have ever seen, trying to assist them.
If we are heading for the kind of a society where we have depressed the wages and where we are going to have to argue economy to get new high-tech industry in this province, are we really asking our people to say goodbye to high wages? There is no point in protecting much of the traditional industry that pays good wages at the moment when we want high-tech industry. Are we going to end up with $7 or $8-an-hour jobs? I think that begs the question; this government is not looking at the planning of our priorities.
If we can do all this production and get all these benefits out of a move to high technology in this province, what are we going to do about distribution? Whether we want to face it or not, that is what we have got to look at. I do not think our problem any longer is production. We hope like blazes that some of the slack will be taken up with the service industries and trades, health and others. There is no question that we can now and will increasingly be able to produce just about everything we need, and do it with fewer and fewer people.
The problem then is not production. It is the distribution of the goods. How do we get the goods around? How do we give people the ability to purchase what we produce and the ability to pay some of the bills for their families, whether for education or to buy some of the things they would like to buy, or to be assured of a reasonably secure future once they reach retirement age? We are sure as blazes not doing it by improvements in the basic pension or the Canada pension plan, a route we have long felt we should go in this province.
If we are not doing it in that area, what are we likely to achieve in the area of the few reforms we have talked about in the private pension field? It is not the major component of what people are living on when they finally reach retirement age. We are not doing a job there. Maybe that is not the right road to use for redistribution of income. One thing that is very clear to me is that our major problem is going to be how we distribute the goods we can produce or the dollars that used to be there in wages among the people in our province. How do we distribute them to the 780,000 people who are currently out of work in this province?
We have not given much thought to that. The budget's chief approach seems to be short-term job creation, hoping like blazes we can either get a few more young people working or what seems to me to be more the pattern, establish some make-work projects that might get somebody who has currently run out of benefits back on the labour force for enough weeks to qualify once again for Unemployment Insurance Commission benefits. Quite frankly, that is one hell of a way to run a society and not an awful lot to give people in the way of hope.
I cannot understand why we are not dealing more directly with the corporate rationalization problem we have. I know I have raised this matter before. I intend to keep on raising it as I look at the plants closing in my own town, such as the six most recent ones; Consolidated-Bathurst, Allen Industries, Flavorite Poultry, H. & R. Johnson, PPG Industries' glass division; and Western Star Trucks which just joined the list last week, another small plant closed down. It is going to do a warehousing operation only here in Ontario.
We get the kind of answer we got the other day that I mentioned in this House during the throne speech debate. We asked the president of Consolidated-Bathurst: "Why are you closing down this Hamilton plant that you have just spent $2.8 million in upgrading? Why are you letting 140-odd employees, who have an average of 24, 25 and 26 years seniority, go without even giving them first choice at another job within the company? Why are you putting a third shift on in your other plants, all in the interest of the financial health of your company, and doing nothing, except what you are required to do by law or by contract, for the 140-odd workers who for 25 or 30 years have built up that plant and who happen to have skills and some real feeling for their jobs? What is your responsibility?"
The president of the company lashed back at us and said: "We have met our responsibility. We have done what is required by law and by our contract. Don't you understand that we have the right to move our order book around or our plants around?" That raises serious questions. That one bothered several of the Tories enough that even there we heard comments about their not being the best corporate citizen.
That is, unfortunately, not the exception; it is happening all too often in these situations. The issue very clearly, then, is at what stage the corporate decision to be able to operate their business the way they want, to move their order book around, to move their plants around, to let those 140-odd workers go without any concern, not only for what it does to them but for the additional cost it brings down on the municipality they live in, raises serious questions. Should or should not a corporate rationalization move that is supposed to be to the benefit of that company have as one of its components a discussion with some input from the workers or the community, some feeling on the part of the government that is supposed to set the rules in this province of ours, so that part of the concern in such a move, which will so drastically affect those workers in the community, has got to be what happens to those workers?
If we are going to allow this kind of thing to happen, we should also say that there is a responsibility: some of the cost has got to be to the company that is going to let these people go, going to let that plant shut down, going to affect that community and the workers. I do not think this is asking too much. We certainly got it again in Allen Industries the other day, when their fibre division was being closed down; and we find that right now in the Ford Oakville plant there is more material in from their plant in Virginia than they have ever had, and all of the production is now going to be done in the Virginia plant, so we lose 100 or 105 workers in that particular operation in Hamilton.
The seniority there was not quite as long; most of them had about 12 to 14 years. But they have very little hope of another job, and they did not get any more than the basic requirements that have been negotiated for them. That operation is supposed to benefit the conglomerate that owns Allen Industries. We find further, when we dig into this situation, that they are probably two or three years down the road. They would not even give us, when we had a good, efficient plant there, the benefit of the last two or three years; they are going to be replacing this particular insulation under the hoods and dashes of cars with a brand-new material. But has this government got enough clout to say, "Hey, we have already got a deficit in our auto pact parts trade"?
This government should insist that this company do some of the production here and take care of some of those workers whom they have had working up until now. No way: what we find is that the new plant will be down in Illinois, and when they finally are ready to phase out, they will do the same thing, probably, to the workers down in Virginia that they have done to the workers in Hamilton. They are the last concern.
As a matter of fact, I think what upset me most at the meeting we had in the office of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) with the top officials of Consolidated-Bathurst was the argument they advanced. When we went after them to give some priority to the workers they were letting go in their other plants in Ontario or at least -- inasmuch as they sprang this on us, and apparently even the ministry did not know it at the time, the fact that they had really already sold the plant so that the meeting was an exercise in futility to begin with -- to consider talking to Reid-Dominion, the next-door firm that was buying their plant, on behalf of the workers, because the plant would be employing 60 or 70 people and maybe some of these skilled workers could be taken by this new plant, they simply told us they would not appreciate anybody telling them where to get their work force, that their workers were a market commodity and the new firm would go on the market. Sure, they might hire some; they knew of one or two who already had been hired; but they were not going to put any extra effort out, the workers were a market commodity.
I say we have sunk a long way in this tremendous province of ours when our workers become strictly a market commodity. I guess my upset is that I see nothing in this budget. I see 37,000: that is all the brand-new new youth jobs there are in that budget. All of the other programs that are listed there were already on stream. When I see that in fact, with all of the talk about what we are doing in this budget, we are going to end up with 37,000 fewer people working at the end of 1983 than we had at the end of last year, when I see that the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) is trying to get away with telling us we are going to have only a $2.7-billion deficit when it is $3 billion, I call it a dishonest exercise in deception.
When I see that it does not really tackle the problem of jobs and security, then I recognize that this particular government really has no answers.
It is more than just the branch plants. I used the six or seven names in my own town, but this is happening across Ontario. It is the way labour -- this market commodity, as the president of Consolidated-Bathurst calls it -- is viewed today.
I think of the meeting we had last week with 45 workers -- all Portuguese women who had worked at the Eaton Centre. As a matter of fact, rather than 45 women, that meeting turned out to be a meeting of 90-some odd. It drew not only every single woman who worked in that centre but from a number of other places as well, including several of the staff from our own building here.
We found the same thing happened to them as has happened in a number of government ministries. It has happened in nursing homes and in a number of other places. They had negotiated a contract and had been under tremendous pressure in negotiations to take as little as possible. They had ended with a wage range of from $4.85 to $5.85 an hour. Their own union admitted they had to take a substandard contract not because they liked it but because of the threat they might lose their jobs.
It has been two months since they signed the contract. Now they find the contract has been sold to another cleaning firm. That firm will not take any of the women. If it does, the women will start at an even lower rate. Successor rights do not exist in a situation like that when a contract is sold out. I think it bothered the Minister of Labour and he had a meeting with them subsequently.
My colleague the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) raised an instance of the same thing happening in one of the nursing homes in the west end of the city of Toronto. Eight women were drawing a wage of between $6 and $8.05 an hour. That was the top rate in that nursing home. Once again, after they negotiated their last contract, the company said: "Hey, that is too rich for us." So it sold the contract to another outfit.
The other outfit was not going to offer any of them jobs at first, although they could have used some of them. Those women had up to 14 years in that nursing home. The company said it would take them on if they wanted to work for $4.50 an hour. Some of them went to work for that company because they were desperate for jobs. But of the eight women who sat in the gallery here the other day when my colleague raised the matter, one of them got 10 days of work, one got a week and another got three days. They also happened to be the key people in the union who had negotiated the last contract.
Three of them got a minimum amount of work in the two months since this happened. They came to us in frustration and said: "We know there is not much you can do to get our jobs back. We think what is going on is lousy so will you at least raise this matter in the House?" That is why we raised it.
I did not dig up the comments, which were pretty light, from the other side of the House, although I should have. I am pretty sure the government was not aware the eight women were sitting in the gallery. The eight had gone through a hell of a rough time and even at $4.50 an hour were not going to be taken on by the outfit that had bought out the contract.
So in some ways they were in the same position as the Portuguese cleaning women at the Eaton Centre. They have nothing, and they had settled for only $4.85 to $5.85 an hour. These women, because they had shown some gumption and fight, were not even getting back in at $4.50 an hour where they had been making from $6 to $8.05 an hour. That was the top rate in that nursing home.
This is happening to workers right across Ontario. The government can do what it likes about the market, the problems we are in, but it cannot escape some of the responsibility for what is happening. It must share the responsibility when it brings in the kinds of bills it does, such as the restraint bill. When it brings in the kind of budget we had presented in this House -- it was lousy in terms of jobs for people -- then you, Mr. Speaker, and your colleagues are directly responsible for some of those things that are happening to workers in Ontario. It is time we realized this is not the way out of the dilemma we are in. It is not going to give people very much hope.
Considering some of the disputes we are having I might take a few excerpts out of that 69-page decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, depending on how long I want to talk today. I have been around the labour movement for a long time. I do not think I have ever seen as devastating an indictment as that board decision.
It really makes one wonder when one sees workers treated the way they have been treated. I am talking now about the Automotive Hardware Ltd. strike that went on for six and a half months, from 1981 to 1982. We will go from that to a few of the situations we have today.
One sees the workers undermined. One sees an undercover person hired by the company on recommendation of Securicor, after the employer decided to bring them in several weeks prior to the strike. One sees his reports and his specific instructions to keep away from certain people but to get close to the local union president. He is seen being criticized because he got away from them. He got a little too active with a couple of the dissident groups he had worked on himself within that local situation, and was told to go back and get next to the president so they would know exactly what was going on.
One sees him counselling theft on two occasions, something even he did not deny when it was finally before the board, by the president of the local. The president was smart enough not to take him up on it, although for a while he thought he was a good, loyal, hard-working and responsible member of the local union in a tough strike situation. In his reports a number of weeks later he says, "Hey, we did not succeed in getting him to steal, but I know now how we can nail the president of the local." That is the exact expression he used and submitted to Securicor and to the company.
One sees that kind of activity and sees that kind of person leading the way and throwing eggs, tomatoes and rocks. One sees him suggesting they grease the wheels of the tracks, or tear up the tracks going into the plant. One sees him moving around with a petition, the wording of which he got changed by the company itself, to try to get the union decertified while this dispute was going on.
One sees all of these kinds of rotten, stinking activities and knows the Metro Toronto Police and the Ontario Provincial Police were aware of the agent provocateur and what was going on in that plant. We have been raising it for a year and a half or two years with the Minister of Labour and this government. One wonders at the further undermining of the rights -- not so much the rights as the hopes, aspirations, or faith in the system on the part of working people in Ontario. They are the ones the government wants to call on for its restraint programs, for its minimum wage make-work programs, for its no-concrete-action in terms of our loss of branch plants or corporate rationalization.
Sooner or later a majority of the people, I do not know when it will come but they are going to get so bloody wise to the government we are going to have real trouble in this province, in this country of ours. Somebody over there better start thinking in terms of ordinary people.
Not only is that what happened, it brought about this decision. I doubt they will but I wish every member of this House, and in particular every Tory and Liberal member, would read this 69-page decision to give them some feeling or some idea of what was going on in that situation.
One moves from there to what is being done to the women cleaners in the Eaton Centre, to what is being done to some of them in the nursing homes and to what is currently going on in the Central Precision Ltd. strike, where it is also a group of new Canadians; once again, a lot though not all of them, are Portuguese workers. And what do we have in that situation?
I am not going to go through the "up yours," the arm signals and the deliberate provocation that has been introduced by the Securicor people in that particular strike, or the fact that one of their proud boasts to the workers on the picket line is: "Keep it up as long as you want. We do not even care if you scratch the odd side of a car because it is all on our bill. The longer you are out on strike, the longer we are going to make $20,000 per week."
The members may recall when we raised in this House that the evidence before the Ontario Labour Relations Board was that in the Canada Cement strike their bill was over $600,000. I think it was $697,000 this firm collected. There is big money in this kind of dirty activity.
The workers wonder why there is this deliberate provocation on the part of the security outfit. They wonder why everything they do is photographed with a movie camera. They wonder why the deliberate provocation takes place on the picket line. One or two of them do get caught kicking the side of a car or something.
Their jobs are at stake. Some of the charges are not legitimate but some are; those in the mischief field -- I have never denied that in this House -- things done under severe provocation. I wonder why this security firm is able to go down to a local justice of the peace and swear out an arrest warrant when that same justice would not take it from the union.
Then -- not immediately, in one case over two weeks later -- suddenly the local police force arrives on the picket line and starts arresting the workers on that line. On April 6, four of them, including the local union president, were arrested. The police conveniently arrived exactly at the time when the vans were there to take the strikebreakers through the line. In the course of some 27 charges, they finally accepted one from the union over a couple of workers who were hit by one of the vans going through the line too fast and whom we had to take down to the hospital. They have now arrested 27 of the workers and forbidden them to appear within so-many hundred feet of that picket line. That is almost the entire leadership in that plant.
I do not know how they can get more deliberate in their provocation, their undermining of the rights the Ontario Labour Relations Act says all workers have to organize and to conduct free collective bargaining. There should be a lesson that Tories, of all people, should learn. In a Communist system -- Roy Reuther taught me this in the year and a half I had the privilege of working on his staff before he died; Roy and Walter Reuther were involved, but I worked directly for Roy -- the first people who are undermined or who disappear in a totalitarian system are the workers and their organizations. Communists are very good at that. Conservatives are not very far behind them in undermining workers and their organizations.
The member can do a little bit of smiling up there --
Mr. Kells: That is allowed.
Mr. Mackenzie: He should read that and then tell me how he defends what has gone on in this province.
So we now have a picket line that has pretty well been decimated in a legal strike situation. They went through this before, 11 years ago, with Canadian Driver Pool and Richard Grange, about as rotten an outfit as we had in the business at that time. I wonder why this is allowed? If nothing else gets through to the Tory members, surely when somebody goes there and meets with them or meets with some of the families, as I have done, they crowd around and ask: "How can this happen here? Why, when we have a legal strike situation, have we got to take on not only the company but also Securicor, the security outfit, and the police?"
They want desperately to believe and trust in the institutions we have, but they are losing faith rapidly. Joe Pierro was phoned and told he was the 27th; they had a warrant for him. He was not picked up in the picket line. When he came down to the station at the request of the local union president the first thing they did -- and it was only a mischief charge -- was to slap handcuffs on him. We heard that from some of the family. Where is the fairness? How can they do it?
I have had them say to me on that line: "Mr. Mackenzie, after we have had our morning confrontation, why is it that a couple of hours later those cars that have been whirring the cameras on the picket line when there was some trouble -- we had the volatile situation the board talks about, and a strike is always dangerous enough without the deliberate provocations that are made by a firm like Securicor -- shoot out of the lot, go across the street and park beside the police car? They roll down the windows and talk and smoke for an hour or two. Whose side are they on? How can we expect some justice in this system?"
I think there is something here a lot of members of this House should be worried about. There is enough cynicism about politicians generally as it is. I guess all of us to some extent are responsible for some of the things we do or try to do or do not do. I am perfectly willing to take my share of the blame in that area. But when we let either bad law, misuse of the law or refusal to uphold the law begin to destroy people's faith in the system -- the faith of workers and new Canadians in particular -- when we start letting that happen, we are on a slippery slope. We had better start worrying about it. It worries me, and it is an honest and sincere worry.
I do not like what is happening. It scares the literal hell out of me. I do not know why it is so hard to get through to people that maybe some of the things they are doing require a second look.
I noted with interest that Douglas Fraser is resigning at the convention they are having down in Dallas right now. Unlike some, knowing the internal United Automobile Workers politics I come out of, I would have voted for Leonard Woodcock for the first term, but a person I have a lot of respect for, Walter Reuther, really thought Douglas Fraser was probably his immediate replacement. Douglas Fraser is resigning. It is unfortunate for the international union, the United Automobile Workers. I think the story in this morning's Globe and Mail underlines to some extent the very concerns I have been raising in my few remarks in the House today.
Some of his comments follow. I raise them because they tie into the point I want to make in terms of whether we have to decide to protect some of the basic industry in this province of ours. The Globe's story says: "The very life of the North American auto industry is threatened by the tide of Japanese imports. An equal threat to employment of US and Canadian auto workers is posed by production outside Canada and the United States of components for vehicles assembled in North America.
"In his keynote speech to the 2,800 delegates, Mr. Fraser said that he hoped that the union's collective bargaining convention next March will focus on bringing more democracy into labour relations in the United States and Canada, because unions can no longer afford merely to protest against company decisions.
"Workers must have a greater voice in their own destiny, said Mr. Fraser, who is a member of the board of directors of Chrysler Corp. Mr. Fraser noted that more than 40 per cent of UAW members in Canadian independent parts plants have been laid off."
He noted also, talking about recovery, "Although car sales in the United States increased by 7.2 per cent in the first four months of this year over the same period last year, the current rate, if carried to the end of the year, would still leave US sales 2.5 million behind 1978." He said that in Canada, where the sales have been up 14.5 per cent in the past few months, they are still 41 per cent below 1979.
I think the key point here is: "Mr. Fraser said more than ever before the union's priorities, such as local content regulations, require action in Washington and Ottawa. By 1984, the North American car makers plan to import two million engines and transmissions for North American cars, he said. The union is campaigning for legislation in both countries to require a specified percentage of Canadian and US content in imported cars."
He also said, and this is interesting, that the union's lobbying in the United States House of Representatives had resulted in its adopting domestic content legislation. We all should have a little bit of warning on this. Once again we are following the pack. When we talk about Ontario, we never lead in Ontario, we are following the pack. They moved to that extent. Unfortunately, before the Senate could deal with it, it died because of the election. They hope to reintroduce it. They had moved so far as actually to get that through the House of Representatives.
Mr. Fraser went on to say that we cannot sacrifice "auto workers' jobs on the altar of free trade. 'The very foundations of metalworking industries are now threatened as the result of the not-so-benign neglect by conservative leaders.'"
There is more to the story and it is one well worth reading. It underlines one of the points we have made. We are not so naïve as to think the answer is in here. It is the simplified response to what we say in this House that annoys me as much as anything. We are not so blind as to think we do not have to trade and do not have to sell.
We have let ourselves get sucked into believing that it is only because we can sell our raw materials in this great country of ours to the extent that we do that we are really keeping our economy as healthy as it is. We cannot get sucked into thinking we have to go the total free trade route. We cannot get sucked into thinking we can do a total protection job. It is pretty obvious in this country of ours that we have to be selective. We have to take a look at where the jobs are. That has never been the first consideration. It has been what benefits the company, the trickle-down theory that is all the way through this budget.
For once we have to start taking a look at where the jobs are and at the industries in which we have the expertise. Have we done the production in the past? Do we still have the production capability?
I do not know better examples -- I suppose I should use a machinery or parts example -- but, as I have done a number of times, I will fall back on our food industry and the fact that it was only about 30 years ago in Ontario that we canned about 70 per cent of all the peaches and tomatoes we ate. Today we are down to less than 30 per cent. We might have got those a penny or two cheaper at the time we allowed them to sell out the industry. Once we have lost the productive capacity, we can no longer set the prices and we are probably paying through the nose for it now.
When that started, the big boost was Del Monte's buy-out of Canadian Canners, and they shut down about 32 of the 37 canning plants in Ontario over a very few years. We are now importing something when even Liberal and Tory agriculture ministers say we could can 100 per cent of our needs. We cannot supply it, because of our climate, other than during our limited fresh market season, but we sure could can everything we need. Instead, we are importing 70 per cent of it.
If we take that into machinery and into the refining of the raw materials, which we do not do, into almost anything in the industrial sector, we will find the priority of this government or of the federal government is not whether we can do it and do it well, but whether the company, the conglomerate, big or small, can do it better and cheaper through free enterprise and private enterprise means. In other words, they make the decisions.
We have to look after our order books and be able to move our plants, the president of Consolidated-Bathurst told us. That does not take into consideration what we are doing to the workers in that operation. It seems to me we have to be selective. We have to take a look at a little self-sufficiency in some of the industrial areas where we do have the ability to compete and do well.
If some assistance is needed, perhaps those are the areas we should be looking at. Maybe we should be looking at some protection in those areas. By being selective, perhaps we can also be sure we do not get into something where we know we simply cannot compete.
I have a suspicion the argument that the rest of the world will not buy our products if we do not buy all their manufactured goods is not necessarily totally true, because our products -- our raw materials, power, food, minerals, wood -- are things that are needed around the world. It seems to me we have not been good managers, good organizers or good in terms of getting our share; nor have we been best at working out a fair and good business deal in our country.
I repeat, the one thing we have never brought into the equation is the workers. Sooner or later, we have to decide that some of the future in this province is going to be in deciding that our priority is seeing that people have work, or we had better move like hell in deciding how we will be able to redistribute some of the earnings and some of the productive capacity of our plants, because that is our problem.
I see a budget that does not deal with that kind of situation and a government that is not taking a look at something like content legislation. I do not know whether it is correct to say he laughed at us, but I still recall some of the arguments we had across the floor on that issue from the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman) when he was the minister, and which we still get from the present Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker).
One would think we were raising something that would destroy the whole system when we were talking about content legislation. How else are we going to protect a foot in the door, never mind a window on the industry, if we do not decide we are going to go the route of content legislation?
In allowing branch plants to come in to supply a Canadian market, we must set down some rules so that for as long as they are here they have an obligation to the workers they hire, an obligation beyond the time they are here if they arbitrarily decide to close down a plant because they can do it cheaper in the United States, Brazil, Europe or some other country.
They also have an obligation to do research and development. All of us in the House, New Democrats, Liberals and Tories, know that we are almost at the bottom of the western industrial world when it comes to the percentage that is spent on research and development, which is where spinoff jobs come from. There are reasons for that too. Such a large percentage of the industry in our branch plant economy now is foreign-controlled that the foreign owners make the decisions. The plants are here in many cases to supply a narrow Canadian market, and they do not do the research and development, nor are they required to.
When we also run into, as we did in the plant shutdown committee -- and we have raised this time and again, but it does not seem to get through to people -- some companies that have branch plants operating here, once again to supply a Canadian market, but they are even forbidden to compete on the export markets of the world, we understand the decisions that are being made and we realize that maybe those branch plants were not worth the price of getting them. Certainly the decisions that are being made are not conducive to any guarantees of employment for Canadian workers.
We simply must have legislation that sets some rules: "You are going to have a responsibility to the workers involved. You are going to do some research and development in this country. You are going to let your branch plants compete on world markets so that we have some chance of catching some of the spinoff benefits that are in the content legislation and of getting probably a better tax structure than we have at this time."
Our laws are going to have to recognize at least fundamental rights of workers, which are being undermined, and that there is some modicum of responsibility for workers such as the 45 women at the Eaton Centre who, two months after they had signed a new contract, were told arbitrarily that they were no longer wanted.
Those are not radical, wild or unworthy suggestions. They are suggestions that put the wants, aspirations and needs of our people a little higher up the ladder than they seem to be today in Ontario and in this country of ours. There is a desperate need to turn some of our priorities around. There is a desperate need to reach out to the people and say, "One of the things has got to be an effort to provide some security that does not exist today." We have to respond to that desperate desire for security.
Many little things have bothered the heck out of me in recent days. One of them is the argument I had back and forth with the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) and the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) over pensions. It has taken us 10 or 15 years to establish that negotiated pension plans are deferred wages. As a matter of fact, I thought that even the Tories had finally accepted that argument.
Then we had the recent example in Toronto where a small firm went belly up and ended up having a substantial surplus in its pension fund. They had $1.5 million in it, and about $1,020,000 would have funded the workers who were there. But what happened? That principle of deferred wages and workers' rights did not mean a thing in this plant. The legislation does not cover it, we find. The company that went belly up will not get it -- some of its creditors will, some of the banks and trust companies -- but the $500,000 surplus in that fund went right into the debts of that company.
Even little things we thought we had won in this province are not secure today.
This budget does not deal with any of the questions I have raised. It does not deal with some of the suggestions we have made and others will make.
I do not know of any single way in which the government could provide additional jobs more quickly and do more for our economy than through housing. Last year this budget said we were trying to create 38,000 jobs in the housing field, but what is in the budget this year? All of 12,000. By golly, what are we doing? That is one area that everybody admits has the quickest payout. If the money had been put into that, those people would be working; they would come off the unemployment rolls and pay taxes and we would not have the kind of increasing deficit situation we have in the province.
Surely to goodness we could take a look at sufficiency, content legislation, protecting some of our existing industries, capital works that have some meaning, housing, and probably more assistance to the various lower-income people in our province, which is also not in this budget.
I do not know many people who are on mother's allowance, the guaranteed annual income system or a pension with nothing to go with it, who do not spend just about every cent they get. There are a few who are better off, but anything they get they will use to purchase things. At least that has the potential to help our economy. But we are giving them nothing to meet the increased costs they are facing.
Almost everything we are doing in this budget does not make a heck of a lot of sense but, most of all, it does not meet or try to meet the needs of the people of this province. There is no way I can have any confidence in it. There is no way I can have any confidence in a government that brought this kind of document into this House. There is no way I see it doing a heck of a lot to restore a little trust, faith and hope in the citizens of this province.
I guess it is hopeless, but I really hope the members of the government party will take a look at the road they are taking us down; they may have the numbers now, but I am not sure those will stay with them when the people finally realize how thoroughly they are being taken in this budget.
Mr. Kells: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity --
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I see we have only one minister sitting on the government benches and only 6.7 per cent of the members of the Conservative caucus. We do not have a quorum in the House. We would like to have an audience.
The Acting Speaker Mr. Cousens): Are you asking for a quorum call?
Mr. Di Santo: Yes.
The Acting Speaker: Is there a quorum?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, may I --
The Acting Speaker: It is not a point of order about whether a minister is on duty or not.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: This is not about that.
The Acting Speaker: Before we take the count.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I was here on Friday morning, at which time there were two members of the New Democratic Party and two members of the Liberal Party present in the House for the entire budget debate.
The Acting Speaker: Thank you. That initial part of his point of order -- he got distracted. Is there a quorum?
The Acting Speaker ordered the bells to be rung.
Mr. Kells: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Downsview (Mr. Di Santo) for attracting a crowd.
I welcome the opportunity to participate in this debate on the budgetary policy of the government and the policies and programs contained in the 1983 budget of Ontario.
Two other provinces, Quebec and New Brunswick, brought down budgets at about the same time as Ontario, Quebec on the same day and New Brunswick on May 6. I believe a comparative survey of the budgetary measures introduced by those provinces would help us put Ontario's budget and the budgetary policies of this government into perspective.
In its May 6 budget, New Brunswick increased its sales tax from eight per cent to 10 per cent. At the same time the province extended its retail sales tax base to include labour done on personal property. The Quebec budget leaves that province's retail sales tax rate at nine per cent. Last year that government increased its retail sales tax rate from eight to nine per cent, supposedly for a temporary 10-month period. Now apparently it has found it cannot afford to forgo the revenue it would lose through a one per cent reduction in the retail sales tax rate. In Ontario our sales tax rate remains at seven per cent.
The expansion of the retail sales tax effected by the 1982 budget has not had the disastrous impact on our economy that was predicted by some parties. Events have proven correct the conclusion of the Treasurer that in a very sensitive economic environment the expansion of the sales tax base presented the best method of raising revenues needed to support our social programs.
Because of this government's record of sound financial management, we have been able to use the retail sales tax system as a stimulative instrument without endangering either delivery of services or our financial stability. Between the fiscal years 1975-76 and 1981-82, we have used the sales tax system to provide incentives to the automobile industry, the hospitality industry, the tourist industry and the home appliance industry, to name a few. The total cost of these measures to the province has been pretty close to $1.7 billion.
In the 1983 budget our government indicates it will again use the sales tax to support specific sectors of our economy. The exemption on sales of production machinery and equipment has been expanded and a 90-day tax holiday has been granted on purchases of new household furniture and appliances. Total cost of these two programs is estimated at $150 million. This brings the grand total for this type of program to almost $1.8 billion. That is a lot of stimulation and a lot of jobs created and protected.
Let us now turn our attention to another major provincial revenue source -- the gasoline and motor fuel tax -- and see how the three provinces compare.
In its May 6 budget New Brunswick increased its gasoline tax from 16 to 20 per cent of the pump price, raising the price of a litre of regular leaded gas by 1.6 cents. The Quebec budget left the gas tax unchanged; I call members' attention to the fact that it remains at a full 40 per cent of the retail price. In the last survey available to me, this tax amounted to 15.2 per cents per litre of regular leaded gas, 16.4 cents on regular unleaded gas and 16.8 cents on premium gasoline.
In explaining why he did not reduce the gas tax, Mr. Parizeau, the Quebec Minister of Finance, noted that the tax had brought in $600 million in revenue in 1983. I quote: "There is no way in which we can let such an amount go uncollected at this point."
In Ontario, in March, this government actually reduced the provincial tax on gasoline. That reduction left the provincial tax rate at 7.3 cents per litre for regular, 7.7 cents for unleaded and 7.9 cents for premium.
Let members compare the Quebec and Ontario rates of 40 per cent and 20 per cent respectively and then decide where they would prefer to fuel up.
I mention these two taxes because they have a direct and immediate impact on the consumer. Critics argue that certain policies of this government militate against the consumer-led recovery. These claims are questionable in themselves and ignore the fact that this government's ability to hold the line on the sales tax and the gasoline tax has and does increase consumer purchasing power.
Much the same can be said of the provincial and personal income tax. The New Brunswick budget increased that province's income tax from 55.5 per cent of the federal tax to 58 per cent. The Quebec rate is 52.7 per cent. The Ontario rate -- the third lowest in the country -- stands at 48 per cent.
Some criticism has been directed against the five per cent surcharge on personal income tax that was introduced by this budget. This tax, which is a temporary measure only, will produce $170 million in this fiscal year. This revenue will be used to help pay for the job creation programs outlined in the budget and will help finance the social support programs on which many of our citizens depend.
Few would argue that a temporary five per cent surcharge is preferable to an increase in the actual tax rate. Furthermore, I am certain most Ontarians, given the choice between a small surcharge or a decline in the level and quality of services, or the choice between a temporary surcharge or increased government borrowing, would select the surcharge.
To conclude this brief but I hope illuminating comparative survey, let us take a look at the relative financial positions of the three provinces as outlined by their budgets.
The tax increases introduced by the New Brunswick budget, including those I mentioned and others such as a special levy on municipal tax rates, an increase in the property tax, the introduction of a property transfer tax and the reintroduction of hospital user fees, were part of that government's effort to control the ever-expanding deficit on its current account. In addition to these measures designed to raise new revenue, that province as a restraint measure has asked its public sector employees to accept a one-year wage freeze.
As a result of these measures the New Brunswick government hopes to be able to hold its 1983 deficit at $190.6 million. However, had it not taken such forceful action to raise new revenues and control expenditures, the deficit was projected to reach $381 million in 1983 and to escalate to $466 million in the fiscal year 1984-85.
I am sure all members will agree that the New Brunswick measures are strong indeed. However, according to the New Brunswick Minister of Finance, they were necessary because the deficit in the province was not the product of cyclical factors that would vanish with the recession. Rather, the deficit has become a deeply rooted structural problem arising from an ingrained expenditure level that was growing faster than revenues.
In its 1982-83 budget, the Quebec government estimated its deficit for the year would be $2.98 billion. In fact, the estimate was revised upward in November 1982 to $3.2 billion. Again this year the Quebec deficit will be in the $3.2-billion range and it is likely to remain at that level for the next few years.
One consequence of this high deficit has been that Quebec has had its debt instruments downgraded. As a result, neither the province nor its crown corporations can borrow at the most favourable available market rates.
By comparison, the deficit in Ontario, thanks to a long-standing commitment to restraint and expenditure control, has not become institutionalized and is not built into our financial system. Most of the deficit in this province is due to the effects of the recession and will be gradually eliminated as the economy recovers.
Ontario's per capita deficit stands at about $293, the lowest among any of the provinces. In addition, our deficit relative to our gross domestic product is also the lowest of any Canadian province.
Mr. Kerrio: There shouldn't be any. We're the richest province. What are you boasting about?
Mr. Kells: Just wait until I get to the comparisons with the federal government.
At the national level, despite the fact that the Canadian economy is less than three times the size of Ontario's, the federal deficit of $31.2 billion is more than 10 times the size of Ontario's deficit.
An. hon. member: Big deal.
Mr. Kells: It is quite a big deal. It is no accident that this province finds itself in such an enviable financial position. It is a result of this government's long-standing commitment to, and the practice of a cost-efficient delivery of, services and restraint.
No province in Canada has been able to escape the negative impact of the recession on its economy. Even Alberta with its oil riches is now facing a deficit of between $2.2 billion and $2.4 billion and unemployment rates approaching the national average.
Few provinces have been able to cope with the recession as effectively as Ontario. The degree of flexibility afforded our Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) because of our past management practices enabled us to expand our spending in response to the recession and thereby help the people of the province through a very rough economic period. We were able to do this without undermining the long-term growth prospects for the province and without burdening the people of this province with higher taxes.
Furthermore, Ontario now finds itself in a position to take full advantage of improving economic conditions. In all probability, Ontario will rebound more quickly from the recession than any other province. In large measure this is because of the budgetary policies of this government, which will help to accelerate the recovery through sensitive stimulation of those sectors of our economy on which recovery must be built. In part it is also because of our diversified economic base, in which upturns in one sector can lead to recovery in others.
We will also benefit from the fact that we are a trading province. Improvements in the economies of our major trading partners will rebound to our advantage in the form of increased export sales.
This budget puts in place the policies that will help our private sector take full advantage of improving conditions. It puts in place the programs that will help our industries increase their productivity and thereby compete more effectively in the domestic and international marketplace.
Every province was hit by the recession; every province is now attempting to pull out of that recession and encourage recovery. In most cases they are attempting to do this through policies that restrain public sector expenditures and encourage private sector growth. Nine of the 10 provinces have introduced official restraint programs. None of these programs has been, in my opinion, as equitable or as effective as Ontario's inflation restraint program.
All the provinces are looking to the private sector as the main engine of recovery. As the Quebec Minister of Finance pointed out, "The essence of our efforts must be on job creation and economic recovery, and that requires serious support from the private sector." If that sounds familiar to the members, it should. It is precisely what our Treasurer said in his budget address to this House. It is precisely what this budget and last year's budget have been working towards.
I have conducted this brief survey to help put Ontario's budgetary policies, its fiscal position and the claims of the members opposite into perspective. I believe, and any member who can for a moment rise above the limitations imposed by partisan prejudice will agree with me, that this survey demonstrates that we in Ontario are in a most fortunate position. The simple truth is that this is a well-managed province and that we are much better off than many of the members opposite would like to believe.
In Ontario we have what is referred to as a mixed economy. This administration has long acknowledged that government does have a positive role to play in the economy. We have never subscribed to the view that one must choose between economic progress and social justice, and that the former can only be achieved through a laissez-faire market and the latter through massive state intervention and economic centralization.
On the contrary, we have always held that an economic progress which does not increase social equity is not progress and that social progress must involve economic justice. Our commitment to these principles is reflected in our budgetary policy. As this budget makes clear, this government will continue to participate constructively in the economic life of the province as it is its responsibility to do.
In this case, our contribution will continue to be made on two broad fronts: first, through policies designed to stimulate job creation and economic development, and second, in the delivery of fundamental social support services to the people of the province.
This government has met these responsibiities and, as this budget makes clear, will continue to do so. We have always acted with sensible restraint. We have done so, not, as some would have one believe, out of any mean-heartedness or lack of concern, but because we recognize that neither the immediate nor long-term interests of the people of this province are served by policies which would squander our resources and ransom our future.
This government has resisted the urgings of those who would substitute destructive interference for constructive intervention. This government has always considered it was its responsibility to encourage real growth, not the illusion of growth. The 1983 budget will help us meet that responsibility.
This government has the confidence of the people. It has won that confidence because it has taken a pragmatic, moderate approach to governing; it has consistently produced policies and programs which have not only dealt efficiently and effectively with the problems facing Ontarians, but also have been progressive and farsighted, so that Ontario has been always in a position to take advantage of new opportunities.
In our approach to government we have rejected extremism. While adherence to extreme positions may make policy-making easy, it does not make policies effective. Rather than content ourselves or betray the people of this province with simplistic solutions to complex problems, we have attempted to base our policies on a sound and thorough analysis of the issues and on a reasoned accommodation of the legitimate interests of all the parties involved in a given situation.
The budget demonstrates this moderate, pragmatic approach to the management of the province will be continued. In my opinion, it would be disastrous to depart from that at this time. It is essential that in the coming crucial months we deal with things as they are and not with some fantasy of things as we would wish them to be.
Our record shows that by adopting this pragmatic and moderate approach we have been able to provide the people of Ontario with good, inexpensive and responsible government. I am certain this record will be continued and the confidence which the people have in this government will be vindicated.
Likewise, this government has confidence in the abilities of the people of this province, and has faith in their willingness to work to build a better future.
It is imperative that during this time of recovery the mutual confidence and trust, which is the foundation of the partnership between this government and the citizens it serves, be maintained. The road back from the recession will not be short, nor will it be easy, but it is a road which, if we are to travel it at all, we must travel together.
In closing, I would urge all members to support the programs and policies outlined in the budget, programs that reflect our appreciation of, and will deal effectively with the challenges which face this province.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, I would start by saying that this is one honourable member who will not support a budget that is not worthy of support.
Mr. Treleaven: Is that the speech?
Mr. Wrye: I will take a little bit of time because I see my friend the member for Oxford (Mr. Treleaven) is here and he is seeking ways to support the budget. He will hear very little of that in this speech because I could find very little that would receive the support, the applause or in any way, the approval of my constituents.
When I went into the lockup last Tuesday, it was not the first time I had been in a budget lockup. In my previous incarnation as a journalist I had occasion on three budgets to go into the lockup and study the proposals of previous Treasurers of this government. One of the things that struck me immediately, and strikes me even more as I reread this document, is how simplistic it is, how little vision and foresight is contained in it. It could have been written on the back of an envelope for all the quality and imagination contained therein. The Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) spent more time repeating the same things time and again than he did outlining any programs.
This is a budget with no vision, no charting of a course for Ontario for the 1980s and 1990s. It is a budget completely devoid of any long-term strategy. Perhaps that is because we are not close enough to an election to be tantalized with the kind of economic gobbledegook that featured the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, which was brought in just days before the last campaign. There is certainly no vision in this budget; there is no recognition that Ontario, as an industrial giant in Canada, is in desperate trouble and needs the support, the encouragement, the enthusiasm and the financial backing of this government to get out of the mess this government has got us in.
There are a handful of short-term jobs in this budget; not enough. There are a few, and I will not deny it. Many of them are jobs where the Treasurer has simply hooked his railway car on to the job creation programs of Mr. Lalonde. There are no proposals and no plans for medium-term job creation, and I doubt that this government has given any thought to what long-term job creation and a long-term industrial strategy to take us through the rest of the century even would mean. This government thinks only in terms of the next election. That comes through very clearly in this budget.
What also comes through very clearly is what we can hope for. The people of this province -- and of my community, who have faced unemployment of around 20 per cent for some two or three years -- can hope for no relief in the year to come. It is nothing short of a disgrace for this government, with a smile on its face, to suggest that while the labour force will grow by 56,000 this year, the number of those employed will actually shrink by 37,000. It is a disgrace that this government has come before this House with what it considers to be a budget to put Ontario back on the road to economic recovery, with a budget that, having said that, presents the people of Ontario with an unemployment rate over 1983 of 11.7 per cent.
There are many things wrong with this budget. First, I want to deal with how some of the voodoo economics of this Treasurer came about. I noted the previous speaker alluded to just how proud this province's deficit record was. It is not hard to get a deficit down to $2.7 billion and to hang it all on the feds when federal transfers once again this year rose by 14.2 per cent. That is a little over inflation; about double. But that is because Ottawa has recognized the depth of the recession and has said it will take a short-term deficit, a large deficit, in order to allow the provinces Ontario and the other nine provinces in this great country -- to be able to deliver the social services this country so desperately needs at this time; to be able to deliver health care to those who cannot afford it; to be able to deliver family maintenance to those who, for one reason or another, need it.
The federal government properly recognized that. While it maintained in its sphere of jurisdiction the control over the unemployment insurance program, it said, "The provinces, and the municipalities as creatures of the province, will need help as well so we will transfer to them a significant amount of money" -- an amount of money which, as I mentioned earlier, is approximately double the rate of inflation.
So this year the federal government transferred a total of $3.759 billion, up almost $500 million from last year. I am sure it did so in the expectation that Ontario would choose to be just as generous to its municipalities and school boards; yet the opposite has been the case. This province, in order to protect its triple-A credit rating, in order to brag about how low its deficit is in comparison with those of everybody else, has shafted the municipalities once again and has given them 6.8 per cent.
Mr. Wrye: My friends, the members for Nipissing (Mr. Harris) and Durham-York (Mr. Stevenson), indicate that we ought to be thankful.
Later in my speech I will read into the record, for the member for Nipissing, a letter from the mayor of the municipality of North Bay which tells just how thankful the people and the council of North Bay are for the fact that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett), in his always infinite wisdom, scrapped one of the most effective programs for low-income families that this province has had -- a program that the minister himself termed a success. I suppose that is why he scrubbed it. I'll bet he did not scrub any of the self-congratulatory advertising he would do.
So this year the provincial government has turned 6.8 per cent more over to the municipalities. In this budget it could have increased and it did not -- its share of the welfare payments from 30 per cent to 40 per cent for those municipalities which are hard-hit and struggling; municipalities such as mine, those of the members for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon), Chatham-Kent (Mr. Watson) and Brantford (Mr. Gillies).
It is amazing how many of those really effective Tory members did not get anything for their municipalities. Maybe the people ought to know just how effective they all are as well. It is said that the opposition members can never get anything. That seems ironic since it appears that the Tory members do not get much either. I suppose they do not get much because there is so very little understanding of the real crisis faced by municipalities today.
I want to turn to two of the other horrible measures in this budget. First, the increase of five per cent in the Ontario health insurance plan premiums. This is a new increase which brings the increase in OHIP premiums -- and I hope my friends over there take note of it because they are all going to hear about it during the next election campaign -- since the people of Ontario decided to let the Premier (Mr. Davis) keep the promise, up to 42 per cent in two years and two months.
One of the promises of the Davis government was to keep taxes low. I suppose all government members will go out on the hustings and suggest to the people that OHIP premiums are not really a tax. What a ridiculous suggestion that is.
Our party has made our position on the premiums very, very clear.
Mr. Foulds: I thought your leader said five per cent was okay.
Mr. Wrye: Unfortunately, I am going to have to digress for a moment to respond to my friend from the New Democratic Party. The leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, if the member will check, suggested that if the increase was over five per cent, there could be a court challenge to it. However, if the deputy leader of the New Democratic Party would like, I will send him a copy of the Liberal task force report, On the Critical List, for his perusal and enjoyment.
He will find the position of the party, a position which has not changed for many years, is that OHIP premiums should be, and should have been in this budget, frozen at their present level and a phase-out period should begin, a phase-out period we believe would take four to five years.
Mr. Foulds: Your leader agrees with that, does he?
Mr. Wrye: The leader is in absolute agreement with that position.
Mr. Foulds: Five per cent is okay. You can freeze that.
Mr. Wrye: No. I will not explain it for him again. He can go back and read Hansard. The member is obviously a slow learner. I would suggest --
Mr. Foulds: I would sure be a slow learner when it comes to Liberal economics.
Mr. Wrye: I suggest perhaps he might want to go back and reread that.
Mr. Wrye: The point is what has happened in this budget, and I hate to argue with my friends from the left, but they have become so irrelevant in Ontario politics, and so irrelevant in national politics that they fear for their very survival as a viable party in the next election.
Mr. Foulds: How many seats do you have in northern Ontario?
Mr. Mackenzie: That is what we heard in Hamilton West, too.
Mr. Foulds: Look at Hamilton West and York South.
Mr. Mackenzie: It was the Liberals who were irrelevant.
Mr. Kerrio: Are you talking about British Columbia?
Mr. Wrye: We will not talk about BC and we do not want to talk about Saskatchewan either. We will leave all that alone.
Mr. Foulds: How many Liberals or Tories are there left in British Columbia?
Mr. Wrye: I think we came back. We got three per cent of the vote.
The govenment likes to talk about the fact there is premium assistance. I am just delighted to see the Treasurer has included in this document under one of his appendices, "Premium assistance limits will continue as follows." Of course, when we get into limits for premium assistance we do not recognize there has been any inflation. Of course, inflation only goes on when it is for the government.
It says, "Free coverage: single persons having taxable incomes of $3,000 or less; families having taxable incomes of $3,500 or less." Well, is that not generous? In other words, if one has a wife and two children and is making somewhere around $10,000 a year, one will qualify for premium assistance. If one is up around the massive, huge gross salary of $16,000 or $17,000 a year, one gets the rare privilege, unless one's employer covers it of course, of paying, I think, $56.65 or $56.70 a month. That adds up, in case the government has lost track, to $700 a year of regressive, Robin Hood-in-reverse taxation.
If there is one matter that makes me, in a sense, even angrier than the OHIP increase, which I suppose is about all we could expect of this government, it is the personal income tax increase. What makes me honestly and genuinely angry about it is not so much the increase, but the name. I resent, my constituents resent and I think any honourable member of this House ought to resent the title "social services maintenance tax."
We suggested in the House the other day it should be called the "Suncor maintenance tax" or the "Minaki Lodge maintenance tax." In a sense, I guess that was good for a laugh, but I do not think entitling a personal tax increase with a title like "social services maintenance tax" is a laughing matter.
I deal in a riding where the unemployment rate is probably 25 per cent, where mother-led families are numerous and where there has been, and continues to be, a lot of real human misery. Somehow this title swipes out at those people in a very mean-spirited way. It says to the middle class, "Here you are: you are going to face another personal income tax increase and it is all to pay for health care, family benefits and the like."
Why do we not call it the road maintenance tax increase? I could make as logical an argument that that is what it is for. How do we know this is for social services maintenance? Why not call it the medical profession maintenance tax increase? They are getting $250 million more this year as a result of the agreement the government negotiated with them.
No, in this era of the rightward drift, the Tories think they can move to where Reagan is and a little further right, and in this way they will be the champions of the Canadian people. This is the title they want to put on the tax increase. I find that tax increase title reprehensible.
I cannot comment on whether it is temporary or not. I will simply note that we have had a number of temporary taxes over the years and most of them became permanent. We will wait until December 1984 to see whether this becomes permanent as well.
The interesting thing is the OHIP premium, which is a tax by any other name. Somehow seven provinces out of 10 manage to pay for their health care systems without premiums so they must be raising the money through taxes. Thus it follows the premiums we have are taxes by another name.
The combination of OHIP premiums and personal taxes now means we are effectively paying provincial taxes at a rate of 62 per cent of federal tax payable. That is just about the highest in the whole country. And what did one specific large group get for these tax increases which strike so hard at them? It did not strike so much at the very poor, because the government has let off the hook single people earning less than $7,500 and families earning less than $12,000. But what did that large group of people struggling along on gross incomes of $15,000 to $25,000 get?
One of the first things they got was a tax holiday on furniture and appliances. The other day I asked the Treasurer about this and he said to go and tell my constituents I am opposed to this tax holiday. I told him I already had -- and I want to repeat it today. It is wrong-headed, it is just plain poor economics and it will create far fewer jobs than the $55 million we will spend. My opposition to this may put me in a minority in this place, but I suspect we could have placed our dollars far better and I will explain why I do.
I want first to read into the record the comments of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. This is a body I do not always agree with but on this one occasion I think its wisdom is great in what it had to say about this kind of tax holiday. In a brief to the Treasurer before the budget, which he should have reread when he was preparing it, they said:
"The Ontario chamber is opposed to any short-term stimuli to the economy such as a reduction or partial removal of Ontario retail sales tax. Such a program would serve to reduce inventory rather than to create jobs, in that it brings forward purchases of items which would otherwise be bought at some point in the future.
"Where inventories are low, lowering Ontario retail sales tax could actually hurt the recovery more than help by creating short-term abnormal demands of the manufacturing sector, which may in turn spark instability and inflationary pressures."
I want to add a few other suggestions why I think this move is ill-advised. First, I have looked at the list and there are some nice things in here that maybe I could use. I am employed. Maybe I could use a new sofa, or a hutch, or some floor coverings or a new freezer. But today many of my constituents cannot afford these things, which are essentially luxuries, because of the depth of the recession. What they need desperately is jobs so they can put food on the table, so they can repair their homes and have a decent roof over their heads, so they can go out and buy some clothes for their children and all of those necessities of life.
There is not much point in them going out and saving seven per cent when they buy a freezer if they do not have any food to put into that freezer, and for too many of my constituents that is the case.
The Treasurer and the government would argue that this kind of stimulus, as I understand the argument, will pull money out of the banks and out of the short-term certificates and get it back into the marketplace to stimulate the furniture and appliance business.
I would argue that this is already beginning to happen, and I would argue this as a member who comes from an automotive community that in recent months has seen spiralling automotive sales. This has happened for two reasons.
First, interest rates have dropped, so those who are employed -- and the vast majority, 88 per cent or so of the people of Ontario, are employed and a goodly number of them enjoy jobs that allow them to buy those fairly expensive, big-ticket items -- are now getting into buying those items again because, while they cannot fully finance them, they can afford interest rates that have dropped down to more respectable levels. They are not as low as I would want them but they are at more respectable levels.
There is another side of the coin, which is that at the same time the interest rates on borrowing have dropped to more respectable levels, interest rates on savings have dropped dramatically. It seems obvious to me that one of the reasons those who were employed were putting their money away was the very high interest rates they were earning on their money. As little as nine or 10 months ago banks were paying 14 or 15 per cent on simple savings; on short-term notes the interest rate was up to 17 or 18 per cent and people were leaving their money there because it was growing very quickly.
If you go to a bank today, on your savings account you will get somewhere between six and one half and seven per cent. People are seeing that now they have saved a substantial amount of money through the interest that was payable, they are prepared to move back out into the marketplace and buy those freezers, those sofas and those cars.
Quite frankly, I do not believe -- and the car market proves me right -- that the Treasurer's $55-million tax holiday for those who already have the money was in any way, shape or form necessary. Indeed, it seems to me it could be argued very forcefully that had the Treasurer taken this $55 million and put it into the construction industry, so we could have constructed large, new amounts of low- and middle-income rental stock in this province, that in itself, as people moved from one location to another, would have generated much of the business in furniture and appliances to which the Treasurer has given a tax holiday.
And it would have done more. It would have created desperately needed jobs in the construction industry. There is almost no industry in this province that has been harder hit by the recession than the construction industry. Unemployment rates in that industry in my community and in so many others have been absolutely astronomical: 60 to 70 per cent of the industry is out of work, and not for the last month, not for the last three months; some of those people, the vast majority of them, have been out of work for a year or more.
This was an opportunity for the Treasurer to put his money into solving, beginning to solve at least, the housing crisis in this province and at the same time to create many much-needed jobs, which would have had an accelerating effect on consumer spending and the so-called consumer-led recovery the Treasurer believes is so important.
While I and my party welcome the extension of the tax exemption for small businesses, I want to make the same points I made in last year's remarks. First, the exemption is limited to incorporated small businesses. Second, and perhaps more important given the community I come from, it is limited to small businesses that are making a profit. This may come as a surprise to members from areas that have not been hard-hit by this recession -- and there are areas of this province that have been far less hard-hit than mine -- but very few small businesses in Windsor made any money last year or the year before, and very few will make any money this year.
I would have thought the Treasurer might have consulted with some of his cabinet colleagues, had some discussions with them or with some of his back-benchers, and they might have raised that very real problem with him. I cannot imagine there are very many small businesses in Sudbury that made any money last year or will make any money this year. I cannot imagine there are very many small businesses in Brantford that made any money last year --
Mr. Harris: For most of them, this is the best year they have had. Why don't you get your facts straight? Talk to the member for Sudbury, and find out how small businesses are doing.
Mr. Wrye: The ones that have survived?
Mr. Harris: Yes. Very well.
Mr. Wrye: The ones that are still in business --
Mr. Harris: Most are still in business and doing very well.
Mr. Wrye: -- or the ones that went out of business because they did not get a break from this government? They did not get any break at all. My friend the member for Nipissing always reminds me of the ones that are still in business. That is exactly the problem. So many small businesses in my community could have used the help of this government last year. Yet the money was poured into giving a tax holiday to those already making a profit.
I understand that not all companies will survive, and that there is nothing implicitly wrong with making a profit. I understand that, and my party understands that. But I am saying the budget is wrong-headed. It helps those who in these very difficult times need help less. That is not to say it is not welcome for small businesses making a profit. It is to say the job of this government was and is and ought to be to help small businesses that are on the brink. This government has failed to do that.
I want to turn to a matter that troubles me greatly and that has bothered a number of people in my municipality. I have had a number of calls to my constituency office asking what the Treasurer meant when he questioned the usefulness of continuing the Ontario property tax credit. That credit allows those of modest income to have some kind of relief. It is a program I would not describe as perfect, but it is one of the programs aimed at those who most need our help.
Yet here we are raising this possibility so we can argue throughout the next year, really waste our time arguing with the Treasurer, that this program should not be scrapped. Then he will announce next year: "We are not going to scrap the Ontario tax credit program. Aren't we great? Is that not a great thing for us to do?"
I think the only great thing the Treasurer could do right now is to stand up in his place tomorrow and say: "I reread that sentence and we are not going to do anything to the Ontario property tax credit. We are not going to scrap it. We are not going to hit those who can least afford it one more time."
I am sorry my friend the member for Nipissing left, but I want to read into the record some of the host of letters we are getting. I just photocopied a handful which I raised and read into the record during question period. I want to raise them again in this budget speech.
It is curious the government seems to have so little idea of where it ought to be going in terms of providing some economic stimulation that would not be make-work, but would be responsible, would be useful in the short term and would put people back into gainful employment.
We have contacted a large number of municipalities regarding the scrapping of the Ontario home renewal program. The letters are virtually flying back to us from municipalities, all of which are exceedingly upset over the scrapping of this successful program.
I want to put a few of these letters on the record because they speak to a wide variety of reasons why each and every one of these municipalities think the program was a useful one. Some believe it was useful to help bring houses up to standard alone. Some have mentioned the fact it created jobs. Some have mentioned that by bringing what are often older homes that are substandard back up to the minimum standards of the municipality, there has not been a need to build new housing, thus saving the government money. There have been a number of very interesting responses.
The first letter comes from the clerk administrator of Penetanguishene who was asked to reply by the mayor. I will just read one sentence:
"This is an old town and we are concerned that the province may not reinstitute the OHRP program. It would be certainly detrimental in the long run."
The mayor of Goderich also responded. That town has received about $250,000 since the inception of the program and has been able to fund most of the applications received. I do not know how it is going to fund the applications from now on. I suppose what will happen is there will be no more applications. Our friends on the other side of the aisle, led by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, will just assume everything is all right.
The mayor says, "Fifty jobs funded by OHRP over the past three years" -- that is 50 jobs in a small community. When the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) can brag about nine jobs, I think 50 over three years in a town the size of Goderich is probably worth mentioning. I should give this to him so he can use it as a statement by the ministry. It is obviously worth more jobs than some of the statements he has had. "Fifty jobs funded by OHRP over the past three years in excess of $200,000 certainly contributed to the wellbeing of local contractors, whether they hired new staff or were able to maintain present staff levels in slow economic times."
The Treasurer did not promise us any rose garden last Tuesday. He said that while the recovery was under way it was going to be very slow. His figures certainly bear that out.
The city of St. Catharines is interesting. They had been able to make great use of the Ontario home renewal program. They had 66 applications in 1980. In 1981 the number went up to 86 and in 1982 they had 120. This government cut off funding for OHRP. It did not cut off any funding for advertising, but OHRP went in the first restraint cutback; they were able to fund only 41 of the 120 applications. It is too bad the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing does not ask the mayor of St. Catharines what has happened with the other 79.
The mayor of Welland has responded. He says: "It is clearly evident that OHRP has been very well accepted in the city of Welland. The program is very worth while and, without adequate funding, much of the existing housing which is below minimum standards will not be upgraded. It is imperative that funding be reinstituted for the home owner under the Ontario home renewal program."
The member for Nipissing ought to sit down some time and have a chat with the people in the city of North Bay.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: He does. Every day.
Mr. Wrye: Then he would know, I am sure.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: He lives there and he knows that community. He doesn't have to play whisper mill.
Mr. Wrye: Then I am sure my friend the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) will be aware, as the member for Nipissing will be aware, that this is the view of North Bay on the cancellation of OHRP. It is too bad he did not talk to the minister about it.
"This is to advise you that termination of funding under the OHRP progam will have a substantial effect on this municipality's ability to deliver this program.
"A substantial amount of each loan to date has been forgivable, therefore repayment is being received on only one third of the total loan amount to date. Repayments are averaging in the range of $2,500 to $3,000 per month."
Well, with $2,500 to $3,000 per month they will not be able to fund very many programs.
The town of Fort Erie also sent us a reply. Here is the interesting thing about the Ontario home renewal program that the minister might have learned had he done any checking. This is a very interesting reply. It was not one which I thought of until we began to do some investigations. The co-ordinator for that community said:
"It is estimated that a total of 20 jobs have been created annually as a result of OHRP." Again, Fort Erie is just a small community. "Not that job creation was primarily for the OHRP" -- this is the interesting part -- "but the neighbours, upon seeing work being done, invited the contractor to look at their homes although the home owners were not part of the program.
"In one instance as many as four homes were being worked on simultaneously."
In other words, the program of bringing substandard housing up to standard in itself generated new jobs, a new commitment for people to bring their housing up to standard. After all, I thought jobs were the number one priority of this government in the budget, and yet a program which was funded to a meagre $20 million is not to be funded this year, but this government will find money for advertising.
One last letter from the town of Dunnville:
"Personally, I feel this is one of the better and needed government programs and support it emphatically. It is unfortunate that no new funds have been allocated to OHRP."
This gentleman goes on to say that fortunately for the town of Dunnville, they do have a decent reserve fund. I will be quite fair about it; many of the towns did indicate they have a fairly decent reserve fund, but many of them do not and as a result will be hard hit by the cancellation of this program.
I thought it was interesting that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing once again this afternoon, as is his wont, turned over the solution of this problem, as he usually does, to the federal government. He said, "Well, the feds have a program so we will let them handle the problem."
This province has managed to let the feds manage so many problems, its deficit has reached the levels it has because this province continues to cop out of its responsibilities. This whole budget does.
I could speak at some length about the youth employment crisis. It seems to me the government would have found the numbers to be so startling and frightening that it would have done something and yet it has thrown virtually a pittance at the problems of youth unemployment. Most of its new money, $25 million, is for a program of subsidizing employers for a short period of time without the commitment that those short-term jobs will turn into long-term jobs and that our young people will begin to be allowed to find the productivity of useful employment. I find that very disturbing.
I was struck by a figure my leader used last Friday in question period. He said that given the commitment this government had to youth unemployment in Ontario, if that commitment continues at the same level, some 19-year-olds will be 73 years of age before this government helps them to get a job. That is really discouraging and disturbing.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That is really the most idiotic analogy that has ever been propounded in this House.
Mr. Wrye: I would have thought the Minister of Education and Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) would have more concern for young people than she shows.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I have far more concern than you have, but I would not use stupid examples like that.
Mr. Wrye: I suspect, if the minister had more concern for young people, we would not have this disgraceful amount of money being thrown at a program, a totally inadequate amount of money being given to a program when the need is so great and so desperate. We have 250,000 young people out of work, and this government finds $36 million for them. It creates, with $25 million of it, 12,500 jobs and the minister shrugs, she shakes her head and she feels that is adequate. That will lower youth unemployment by six per cent.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am shaking my head at your logic which is so full of holes it looks like a Swiss cheese.
Mr. Philip: They created 130 part-time jobs in Minaki. Don't you understand that?
Mr. Wrye: We are still waiting to find out how many of them are local.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): The member for Windsor-Sandwich is possibly being provocative. You are enjoying yourself.
Mr. Wrye: Some of the interjections -- I will try to press on.
Finally, I want to speak about the 1983 capital acceleration program. This government trumpeted that it has a $247-million acceleration of capital works to create 12,000 jobs. On reading a little further into the fine print the Treasurer did not bother putting in, it turns out that of $246.8 million, the province is only putting in $167.5 million. That is just fine, and typical of this government to play with numbers, taking credit where no credit is due. I suppose we all ought to be used to that.
Then we see this great new program is not a one-year program; it is a two-year program. These are not jobs that are going to be created now, today, next month or next year. This is not money the Minister of Education, the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) or the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) can go to the provincial Treasurer and ask for to get the ball rolling on this or that project. At some point the government will have to say "Whoa," because this is a two-year program. We are not going to create 12,000 jobs this year, and we should not pretend that. This program, even if it gets started instantly, will probably create -- I will be generous -- 6,000 or 7,000 jobs this year. Will they be full-time jobs or part-time jobs? I suspect most of them will be the latter.
We also have that other great line, the one in my community we do not know whether to laugh or cry about, which is targeted primarily to regions of the province with higher levels of unemployment, and it is going to be coordinated by the "bilge" program. We have hardly received one dollar from the "bilge" program so far, and I suspect somehow this government will manage to find that it will not pour any money or very little money into our community for this program as well.
I see my friend the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations in the House, and I remember this great provincial initiative. I remember my friend the member for Brantford saying that he and the minister got on a plane and went to Ottawa to see if they could not get Brantford included in the industry and labour adjustment program.
It is too bad we do not have an ILAP in this province. That is exactly what we ought to be doing. We ought to target this money specifically to those communities that have been hard hit over the long term. Everybody has been hard hit over the last seven or eight months, and those communities that were able to buffer themselves from the recession longest are the ones that are showing the most signs of coming out of it.
I have a look at the unemployment statistics every month, and the figures for Metropolitan Toronto and the city of Ottawa, to use two communities as an example, indicate the employment trend line in those two communities is far superior to that in many of the other cities that are surveyed.
As I said at the outset, I cannot agree with my friend the member for Humber (Mr. Kells), who said this budget deserves the support of all of us in the House.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: It is a great opportunity you are missing.
Mr. Wrye: I will have my opportunity in two or three years.
I regret that I cannot support the budget. There is so very little reason to support the budget, and I suppose that is the reason the honourable member's speech was so short: there is very little here to support. There is, indeed, very little in it; there is very little of substance, there is certainly nothing of creativity.
As I said at the outset, there is no vision; for so many people in Ontario, 500,000-plus unemployed, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I hope that as this becomes clearer to the Treasurer in the months to come, perhaps he will take his own advice and bring in a mini-budget some time this fall, a budget that will address all of the problems this document should have addressed but completely failed to do.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I think that with the time available I will have 12 minutes to make some preliminary remarks about the Millertime budget.
I have been in the Legislature, some of my opponents would say, too long: 12 years.
Mr. Philip: No. No.
Mr. Foulds: Sometimes when I hear a budget like that just brought down by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) I feel it myself. But frankly, the budget we had this year is, in the 12 years I have been in the House and the 12 years of the administration of this Premier (Mr. Davis), simply the most duplicitous, the most dishonest, the most inadequate budget that I and the people of Ontario have ever experienced.
The central question that must be asked after any budget revolves around questions like these: Is anybody better off as a result of the budget?
Mr. Philip: No.
Mr. Foulds: Is there a sense of direction of where the country or the province is going after the budget?
Mr. Philip: No.
The Acting Speaker: The member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) can go back to his seat if he wants to interject, and even then he might be brought to order.
Mr. Foulds: Is there even a hint or a touch of vision in the budget? Is there any hope for the helpless, the unemployed and those who, through no fault of their own, have become the victims in our society?
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. Foulds: The answer to all of those questions has to be no. As my friend, my colleague and my very good parliamentarian, the member for Etobicoke, has said several times, the answer is simply no.
In a good budget, the answer "no" can also be given to those questions if there is something in it that leads to an answer "yes" in the coming years -- a positive answer to any of those questions. If one goes through that series of questions as it applies to any future economic development, any future hope for those on social assistance or those who are unemployed, the answer would still have to be no. In that sense this budget is a total and absolute failure.
One thing in the budget those of us in opposition resent most is the implicit threats to those who cannot respond. I want to take one directly, from page 19: "Public agencies, municipalities, boards of education, universities, colleges and hospitals -- indeed, all bodies financed largely through tax dollars -- must be expected to show restraint in their compensation plans."
That is a veiled threat that the wage control legislation the government brought down last September is going to be continued. I would like this government to demonstrate one economic benefit that came as a result of that legislation. I would like them to demonstrate one job that has been created through it. I would like them to show me one extra fridge, one extra appliance, that has been bought as a result of it. I submit they are unable to do that.
More important, the threat that is naked in the budget this time is the threat to those on social assistance. "Recipients of provincial funds should not anticipate future increases at levels above, or even at, the rate of inflation." That means those people who are largely now living below the poverty line -- because the rates of social assistance in Ontario are not very generous -- will be living on less as inflation mounts. The Treasurer cannot make the commitment to the poor of this province that they will even keep pace with inflation. That is the worst kind of Neanderthal welfare-bashing, the worst kind of Reaganomics that we have seen in this province in a long time.
A sad thing about the so-called Progressive Conservative mindset is that it is progressive only when it is politically advantageous. It is progressive and spends money on the victims of our society only when the party can get political benefit from it. They do that when they want to further their own individual careers. This was the case with the present Premier; a lot of money was spent on education in the late 1960s when he held that portfolio. They do that when they feel the atmosphere out there is generous enough that the electorate will vote for them on those issues. That seems to me to be inherently dishonest.
I will mention a second thing about who benefits in this budget. Leading up to the federal budget on April 19 and leading up to this budget, we had a good deal of hype by both the federal and provincial treasurers. Both the federal and provincial treasurers are having, if I may say so, more and more parallel careers in every way. The hype we had was that the number one concern of government had to be unemployment.
If the number one concern is unemployment, then the number one obligation of government has to be to create jobs. It is that simple. You engage in politics and obtain power so you can take some action. That is the point of politics. Politics is the art of the possible, but politics is also the endeavour of activity. If a person does not want to do anything, he should be a philosopher and think about problems and write knowingly, productively and stimulatingly about them, but he should not be a politician.
When a person undertakes a politician's role, he undertakes a very grave responsibility. His commitment has to be to action. It has to be a commitment to use whatever authority, influence and power he has to change things, to make things better. That is what politics is about; it is a commitment to action.
If the number one priority is unemployment, then the number one action of a politician in power -- and the Treasurer is a politician in power; he is the politician who is the chief financial officer and the chief economist of the province -- has to be to create jobs.
I am sorry to say that the Treasurer, by his own admission, failed and failed miserably on that test. He admits that the unemployment rate will increase during the year of this budget. I do not say it will increase as a result of the budget, because there is nothing in the budget that creates unemployment; I admit that. But there is nothing in the budget that creates employment either.
That is a very grave abdication of responsibility on the part of the Treasurer. A Treasurer's job involves more than dealing as an accountant with the balance hooks of the province. It is a Treasurer's job to deal with the economic fabric of our province. The Treasurer has failed to do that.
As well as that, there is the threat to the municipalities, the agencies and the boards. I quote from page 20: "I have questioned the usefulness of continuing the Ontario property tax credit now that comprehensive property tax reform has been postponed indefinitely and local taxes account for a lower percentage of personal income than they did in the early 1970s."
If property tax reform has not been brought into effect, it is this government's responsibility, because with a huge majority it has not had the guts to implement this in more than a decade.
Mr. Martel: They started that in 1967.
Mr. Foulds: My colleague the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), who has been in this place four years longer than I have, says they started saying they were going to do that in 1967. If they have the power, if they have the majority, they have to have the guts to bring in the kinds of programs they say they believe in. Even with a majority in the good years of spending, and now with a majority in the so-called bad years, the Tories did not have and do not have the guts to bring in that kind of reform.
In the minute or two I have remaining to wrap up this section of my remarks, I would suggest that the very fact there has not been property tax reform is the reason property tax credits are increasingly needed by those who in the old areas of town are overtaxed because there has not been tax reform. Because their incomes, by and large, are lower, they do not receive the income to pay those taxes; therefore they need the property tax credit.
The Acting Speaker: This might be an appropriate time for the honourable member to --
Mr. Foulds: I see six seconds left. This is a petty budget of threats, distortions and absolutely no vision. I will deal with those items further in the budget debate.
On motion by Mr. Foulds, the debate was adjourned.
The House adjourned at 6 p.m.