The House resumed at 8 p.m.
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. J. M. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, this is a carryover from the speech this afternoon. I will make some comments on the bill of the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston).
I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the budget debate. This is one of the few occasions when a member is able to discuss matters of provincial interest as they relate to his or her personal point of view.
I wish to mention too at this time that on May 4 the Premier (Mr. Davis) announced his decision not to become a candidate for the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative Party, a position that is only one step away from being Prime Minister of Canada. As a Canadian I was very disappointed, because I believe the Premier is the outstanding statesman in this country. However, as an Ontarian I was pleased with the Premier's decision.
Mr. J. M. Johnson: Thank you.
Mr. McClellan: Gordon Walker didn't applaud. Boom Boom didn't applaud.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): Order.
Mr. J. M. Johnson: Canada's loss is Ontario's gain, and I look forward to serving in the Legislature with this Premier for many more years.
I also was extremely pleased with the decision by our Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) not to resign over the so-called leak of his budget. I fully support our Treasurer in this decision, as do all of his caucus colleagues.
Now on to the budget.
Mr. McClellan: You mean the so-called budget.
Mr. J. M. Johnson: Will my friend kindly go away?
I am proud to be a member of a government which has once again delivered a thoughtful, responsible and responsive budget to the people of this province. I wish first to take a brief look at the major incentives introduced in the budget and then to dwell at some length on the philosophical basis for these initiatives.
The honourable members of the Legislature, especially the honourable members opposite, might well benefit from such a consideration. After all, the principles behind this budget are those that have pervaded our government for the past 40 years. They are also the same principles which have made our province that which it is today.
Let me first speak of the budget and of those whose task it was to design it. In the light of today's uncertain economic climate, there is no doubt the Treasurer has produced the right budget for the times. In preparing this budget, policymakers had to grapple with three conflicting challenges.
First, they were faced with the task of preserving the real gains made over past years. Second, they had to balance future and long-term goals with the real need for short-term relief. Third, they had to meet the challenge of ensuring the interests of all Ontarians as well as responding to the special needs of specific groups in our society. The Treasurer's budget has faced these three challenges squarely and honestly, and has met them.
Real gains have been preserved by sound fiscal policy that has refrained from excessive and costly stimulation. In these times of high unemployment and low capacity utilization, we frequently hear calls for government to spend more and more money. However, this must be resisted lest it lead to the recently broken inflationary cycle starting anew. We must preserve our real gains.
Real gains were made by the government last year in its fight against inflation. This was done in a number of ways. First, public sector cost reduction was passed on to the private sector in the form of lower tax increases. Second, government decreased its demands in the capital market and thus eased pressure on interest rates. Third, the government set an example by signalling an era of lower wage settlements to the private sector.
Finally, the government has preserved real gains by keeping Ontario's actual expenditures and revenues within 0.0 per cent of the original budget estimates tabled last May. As a former businessman, I say this kind of management is remarkable. On a personal note, I ask any of the members of this Legislature if any of them was able to keep his or her budget at less than one per cent off base.
The future wellbeing of this province has been addressed in the budget through the encouragement of investment and productivity improvement in the private sector. Long-term consideration for future needs is also evident in our co-operative stance towards the federal government. We believe we must work in harmony to improve our long-term economic prospects.
Lastly, the best interests of all Ontarians have been ensured by maintaining a fiscal framework that permits the funding of beneficial public programs without imposing an excessive burden of debt on our citizens.
The budget has met the three challenges I mentioned through the following praiseworthy initiatives. The budget holds the increase in government spending below the growth rate of the economy. It keeps a tight rein on the provincial deficit. It fosters provincial-federal co-operation. It stimulates business investment. In this context, I remind the House that the Treasurer has introduced $335 million worth of tax cuts and incentives, most of which are aimed at small business. Increases in business taxes amount to only $70 million, and the province will put another $30 million into the small business development corporation program, providing equity capital to small businesses with fewer than 150 employees.
The budget provides funds for new capital works, manpower training, youth employment and job creation programs. It stimulates consumer spending and raises consumer confidence. The headline in the Globe and Mail this morning said that very thing, that consumers are spending more. They have confidence in the economy of the day.
Mr. Cooke: Do you believe everything you read?
Mr. J. M. Johnson: Not in the Globe.
As a representative of a farming community, I am pleased to see the introduction of the new beginning farmers program. This program will provide up to five percentage points in interest subsidy on eligible loans to beginning farmers for a period of five years. Up to 1,000 new farmers can benefit each year. At current interest rates, this program is expected to provide $9 million in interest subsidies in the first year and $135 million over five years.
I was also very pleased with the Treasurer's decision to extend for one more year the farm adjustment assistance program, which was scheduled to expire in December 1982.
In 1983 and 1984, $10 billion will go to fund health and social services, and $5.5 billion will be spent in education in Ontario. This translates into $1000 per citizen for health care and $1,800 in education for each young person.
The government is committed to maintain and encourage fundamental social programs. Unfortunately, its ability to do so has been seriously hampered by certain federal policies. Members of this House are aware that the federal government has cut its transfer payments to the provinces for health and post-secondary education. These cuts cost Ontario $288 million last year, and this year it will be $315 million.
The federal government has compounded the problem by capping the growth of post-secondary education transfer payments. This takes away an additional $37 million from our revenues this year; so the difficulties facing Ontario in the areas of health and post-secondary education are evident.
The budget deals with financial problems realistically. It faces the fact that money has to be raised to pay for social programs. That is one thing the members opposite always forget.
The guiding principles behind the budget can be summed up simply as belief in the private sector, in the individual and in free enterprise; belief in the people of Ontario.
Mr. Bradley: Like Suncor?
Mr. J. M. Johnson: I have not even thought of mentioning anything about Bryce Mackasey; so do not tempt me.
Mr. Cooke: Let's talk about Bryce.
Mr. J. M. Johnson: Do you want to talk about Bryce?
My government believes the recovery we all anticipate can only be led by the private sector. Only private enterprise can undertake investments and create permanent jobs upon which recovery depends. Government works best when it works hand in hand with the private sector.
It always surprises me how fashionable it is among the opposition to criticize business people. Businessmen are accused of being selfish and viewing the world simply as a marketplace. However, it is precisely in times like these when we have narrowly averted a depression that we begin to realize that clearing the economic air depends largely on the ideas and risk-taking of the private sector.
Our society needs entrepreneurs. They create jobs, and they have special insights that can help shape policy aimed at bringing about economic growth and a healthy society. The innovations of the private sector contribute to technical growth and productivity. By the way, very often these fall outside the realm of government grants or even formal research and development. I am talking about the innovations that result from intelligent business thinking. I am talking about the risk-takers in our society who do not wait around for the government to create jobs for them, but who figure out what product or service is needed and find a way to provide it. Thus they create jobs for themselves and for others.
The Treasurer and I both believe that excessive government intervention does not lead to economic recovery. People and businesses are best served when government restricts itself to extending a helping hand. My government has extended a helping hand to the movers and risk-takers in our province. This was demonstrated in last year's budget when the corporate tax on small businesses was eliminated for two years. This has been extended in the current budget to the end of 1984. This year's budget has also included business loss carryovers that apply to small business, farmers and fishermen.
Mr. Cooke: What about Suncor? Do you support Suncor?
The Acting Speaker: The member for Windsor- Riverside (Mr. Cooke) seems to be asking a question, and it is not question period.
Mr. Cooke: What about Suncor, Jack?
The Acting Speaker: The member for Windsor- Riverside should hold his questions until tomorrow, when someone could respond.
Mr. Cooke: But I can't ask him questions.
The Acting Speaker: I am giving a warning to the member for Windsor-Riverside.
Mr. J. M. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, the member for Windsor-Riverside asked a question about Suncor. I have had a long-standing relationship with Suncor. My father sold Sun Oil gasoline for more than 40 years. It is a great company; I am glad the government saw fit to buy a chunk of it. Maybe some time in the next few years we could sell it.
This is what I call extending a helping hand.
Mr. Cooke: Suncor?
Mr. J. M. Johnson: No, Mr. Bulloch, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, interviewed at CFTO-TV after the recent budget, said:
"The government has sent a very strong message to the private sector and a powerful message to small business. I want to tell Mr. Miller that there are 250,000 small businesses out there that think he is doing a fine job and that the small business emphasis in his budget will stimulate the small business sector and create the jobs he is looking for, and we support him wholeheartedly on the total thrust of his budget."
The members opposite would do well to talk to the small business community and see what it thinks.
The government's faith in our businessmen, whether they be merchants, farmers or fishermen, rests in the belief of the value of free enterprise. My government maintains that basic economic freedom is necessary to give each individual the means and the right to arrange his or her affairs independent of the state. Economic freedom, by the way, is as important for the average person as it is for the corporate executive. It is the small plot of land, the shoe repair shop and the corner store that allow people to live their lives as they see fit.
This is not to say that free enterprise does not allow for a network of services for those in need. It was during the post-war free enterprise period in the western world that the profits and the means were created to provide the most generous benefits and the most equitable distribution of wealth the world has ever seen. This is why I am deeply disturbed by the NDP opposition members, who insist that free enterprise and the profit motive are somehow wrong and destructive to the wellbeing and dignity of our society, as if profits do not accrue to people, as if the opposition could find anywhere in the world, in any period in history, any other system that better shared its profits with its people. That is why those people will always be in the opposition.
Mr. Mackenzie: Are you going to use your storm troopers on us, Jack?
Mr. J. M. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, they are wild over there.
The Acting Speaker: I am having a lot of trouble too.
Mr. J. M. Johnson: To ensure the smooth functioning of the free enterprise system, government has the important role of providing a climate favourable to capital formation and --
The Acting Speaker: I must interrupt the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel: a point of privilege, I believe it is.
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, my point of privilege is that the honourable member does very well when he is reading the speech. Why does he not stick to the written text? His interjections do not add anything to the --
The Acting Speaker: I must ask the member for Downsview if he has any point worth considering in this House at all?
Mr. J. M. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, the member for Downsview came into the chamber and bothered me earlier in the evening and I did not say anything. Now I would appreciate it if he would just stay silent for about another seven or eight minutes.
As I was saying, to ensure the smooth functioning of the free enterprise system, government has the important role of providing a climate favourable to capital formation and to long-term employment creation. The best way of ensuring this is through responsible fiscal management. Therefore, the government is preventing our borrowing from increasing to the point where our ability to borrow would be impaired. As we know, this is the case in many other jurisdictions.
For example, we are all aware of the problems faced by the federal government. It is hamstrung at every turn. Its deficit is so great that it simply cannot finance new programs. So whether one believes in the value of government spending or not, one can see that a balanced budget provides the means of preserving flexibility when it is needed.
The Treasurer has done that: Mr. Lalonde tried to do it and failed. Our Treasurer has done it without overtaxing Ontarians. As he says, "Fiscal reality is not something government can put aside for another day or another budget." I do not want my grandchildren or my children to pay my debt. We should pay our way in our day.
The members opposite sometimes fail to realize that our high credit rating is more than a status symbol. It is concrete evidence to investors that Ontario is a secure place to put their money. This is precisely what we need. When investors have confidence in a province, then we will ultimately have jobs.
Members may be interested to know that during last year's International Monetary Fund meeting, the Treasurer was told by investors from around the world that Ontario is a good place in which to invest because it is one of the few places in the world where government spending is well managed.
My government is well aware that the adjustment to lower inflation has caused some problems in terms of unemployment. But what are the alternatives? We learned in the 1970s that when nations lived beyond their means through excessive monetary and fiscal policies, they ultimately paid the price in inflation and unemployment. The double-digit inflation many developed nations experienced from 1971 to 1981 sent interest rates skyrocketing, forcing governments to take painful corrective action.
Thus we have learned that over the long term, sustained and real economic growth requires a stable, uninflationary environment. Therefore, establishing the condition for such growth must remain a high government priority.
Good statesmanship involves a vision of one's responsibilities that emphasizes the general interest and long-term good. As a former Prime Minister of Britain, Harold Macmillan, said: "History is apt to judge harshly those who sacrifice tomorrow for today."
As I said earlier, no government will be thanked for mortgaging the future by raising government expenditures now, expecting our children to pay for them at a much higher price --
Mr. Di Santo: How about mortgaging the past?
Mr. J. M. Johnson: Those members should think of their children.
In these hard times, the people of Canada are crying out for leadership and co-operation in consensus building. Our government is prepared to join with Ottawa in any appropriate economic recovery program. We realize we are past the point in our history where we can think or act in isolation.
We are also past the point where the Liberal government in Ottawa can play various groups and governments off against each other and still hope to emerge with meaningful economic renewal. Every government, whether federal or provincial, whether in Quebec or Manitoba, faces similar problems.
We believe the people of Canada have a right to expect their political leaders to confront their common problems in a constructive manner. To reach constructive solutions, we believe goernments must put aside their partisan and jurisdictional disputes and adopt a co-operative attitude that will allow all governments to work together.
I want to stress once more that the initiatives in this budget have been designed for the benefit of all Ontarians. There are some, I know, who feel they have been neglected or penalized in the process. To these individuals or groups, I would like to present a wider perspective that may help in overcoming this tunnel vision. Many individuals and specific groups think more in terms of what is due to them or what they have lost than of how specific initiatives on the part of the government may be helping others with whom they are directly involved.
For example, improved social services inevitably benefit our children, our parents and our grandparents, if indeed these services do not benefit us directly. Assistance to farmers does in the long run benefit consumers. Job creation for young people cannot help producing positive side effects for the fathers, mothers and families of the young people who get these jobs. Measures in support of small business will surely work towards the overall economic wellbeing when one considers the key role played by small business in the creation of jobs in the province.
Revenue-producing initiatives taken to ensure a controlled deficit and at the same time maintain our essential services will produce a more secure economic future for all the citizens of this province. In the words of a noted American economist, Mr. Alfred Kahn, "The problem in our economy is that we have these persistent, well-organized pressures by each individual and group to preserve his or her absolute position, regardless of what happens to the country as a whole."
To achieve and sustain economic recovery it is important that we change this kind of tunnel vision. Today both public and private resources are limited. A responsible government must manage and balance its scarce resources to satisfy many competing priorities and must do what it can to ensure that Ontarians are gainfully employed. It must also fulfil its role as provider of essential services. Through the measures enacted in the budget, our government is acting with responsibility. It is preparing the way for sustained economic recovery while setting the pace for restraint, it has taken a balanced and reasoned approach.
Tonight I would like to reaffirm my faith in the ability of our province to achieve recovery. I believe that Ontario stands to come through these tough times in winning form. Ontario will survive and prosper because it is a well-run province. Under the leadership of the Premier and a cabinet minister like the Treasurer, I am confident that this outstanding management record will be maintained.
Now that I have the undivided attention of the House, there is one other matter of particular concern to me which I would like to comment on; while it is not directly related to this year's budget, it is a matter that has budgetary implications for the province as a whole and the farming community in particular.
Over the years since becoming a member of the Legislature, I have watched with growing dismay the attitude of confrontation that has developed between Ontario Hydro and the farming community. This attitude is all the more surprising when one considers the benefits that Hydro has provided to rural Ontario and its farmers.
I remember well my predecessor John Root's claim that he intended to have rural Ontario electrified as one of his major objectives, and undoubtedly the accomplishment of that objective through the efforts of Ontario Hydro cannot be taken for granted.
It is important that we all recognize the tremendous benefits that have been derived through the expansion of Hydro throughout the rural community of this province and remember that the goals of Ontario Hydro and the farming community are in many respects mutual and compatible. It is therefore extremely disappointing, and often discouraging to me personally, to be a witness to the perception on the part of many farmers that Ontario Hydro is somehow the enemy.
But I am also aware that Ontario Hydro is in large measure responsible for the creation of this perception and that the responsibility for overcoming it will therefore have to be borne by the corporation. I am convinced that Hydro needs to look at its policies more closely. It needs to develop a fresh and more responsive approach to its dealings with the farmers. It needs to view itself as a partner with rural Ontario rather than as an all-powerful benefactor. It needs to adopt a more co-operative and sensitive stance and thereby gain the confidence and friendship of those whom it is attempting to serve.
Only through the implementation of new and progressive methods will Ontario Hydro be restored to its rightful place of esteem in the minds of Ontario's farmers, and the steps to do this should not be delayed.
In this respect, I would like to pay tribute to the immediate past-chairman of Ontario Hydro, Mr. Hugh Macaulay, on his recognition and response to these problems. I hope his successor will follow in his footsteps and continue the promotion of open consultation between Hydro and the farming community.
In this process, I feel members of Parliament also have a role. Indeed, they have an obligation and a responsibility to do their share in fostering a spirit of understanding and co-operation between these two parties and towards resolving any misunderstandings which arise. This will surely be to the benefit of all Ontarians.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to take part in the budget debate on the 1983-84 fiscal budget and the manner in which the Treasurer of this province has attempted to address the problems that confront Ontario as we move into the mid-1980s.
Mr. Conway: Tell us about the courthouse.
Mr. Bradley: I should diverge slightly as it has its budgetary implications. It would certainly come under the relevance of this particular --
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Robinson): I know you will draw everything in as you go along.
Mr. Bradley: Yes, certainly. It is a $14-million facility in St. Catharines.
The former Speaker of the House is here and he will recall this well. In fact, I have recounted this story many times to all who would listen.
On many occasions, when I first entered this House in 1977, I would use the opportunity in question period to raise the matter of the need for a courthouse facility in St. Catharines. One particular question of note comes to mind. My friend, the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) asked a question in the House one day on a proposed tourist booth in Fort Erie. He sat down and I got up on a supplementary question. The member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) was in the chair. He took one look at me and said, "Supplementary?" I replied, "Yes." He asked, "On the tourist booth in Fort Erie?" I replied, "Yes." "Try me," he said.
My supplementary question was, "While the Minister of Government Services is looking into this matter, could he report to us on the progress of the courthouse in St. Catharines?" The minister need not have replied because I simply saw the "No" from the Speaker indicating that was not an acceptable supplementary.
It did bring to mind the situation that took place this morning in my constituency of St. Catharines and the expenditure of $14 million of taxpayers' money there. I emphasize it is taxpayers' money because sometimes, when the ground-breaking ceremony or the actual opening ceremony takes place, one would think the money had come directly out of the pockets of the provincial ministers who are in attendance.
Mr. Conway: Me and the Premier (Mr. Davis) brung you this cheque.
Mr. Bradley: Or the Premier himself.
The Speaker is an individual who has not been infected by involvement with the cabinet. The people in the cabinet, not necessarily the Speaker, do themselves no credit by the performances that take place at these openings.
I was reticent to cause too much of a scene but I knew when I arrived that first of all, I would not be on the platform. That is not accepted.
Mr. Stokes: Were you invited?
Mr. Bradley: I did get the official invitation on Monday of this week. I had word of it previous to that, though it was nothing official. The official invitation arrived on Monday.
Some of my Tory friends in the city indicated to me that they suspected I would not be on the platform. I said, "That is par for the course. I was here when the Premier came down to break the ground in whatever way he did it."
Mr. Nixon: He broke what?
Mr. Bradley: He made some passing reference to the local member. Then I looked at the program. Of course, the program lists all the people who are going to speak, all of them except one, the Chief Justice, who does not have a political affiliation, as I recall.
There was no official recognition in the program and no room on the platform for the local member for the city of St. Catharines where the courthouse is being built. It is not a matter of ego, I suggest, or even necessarily a matter of protocol. It is a matter of common courtesy.
I have seen this happen before at both the federal and the provincial level. I have seen it happen to the federal opposition as well, and I disapprove of it no matter where it happens and no matter what the jurisdiction. If only the members on the far side -- I am not particularly pointing to the ones who are here this evening -- would recognize it, it really reflects badly upon those on the government side when this happens.
Having looked at the program I had to figure out where I could crash the platform; it was well fortified. It had the chairs at the very end and it was going to be difficult to get on that blue platform and bring a few words of greeting and a few points to the ministers who were assembled there.
Mr. Conway: Were the many government limousines drawn around in a circle?
The Acting Speaker: I thought you were telling the story rather well on your own. Perhaps if your colleagues would allow you to continue without their help, we could keep going.
Mr. Bradley: That portion of Church Street was completely blocked off permitting the limousines to be driven up in front of the new courthouse building. I figured there must be some way that I could break into the program in a very diplomatic way. After it said the last person, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie). would speak --
Mr. Roy: Was he there too? What was he doing there?
Mr. Bradley: I then decided that I would hop up on the side and just move to the microphone. Unless security guards were there to tow me away, which they were not, I would have an opportunity to bring greetings to our visitors from outside the provincial constituency of St. Catharines, to outline the role of a member of the opposition in the construction of this building and to share the credit with those in the community who had worked so hard to persuade the provincial government of the need for a courthouse.
I must say we went through several elections where it was promised. The interesting thing is during the last campaign, the pitch of those on the far side was, "You have to have a government member to get something." We had government members for years and it was not until an opposition member was elected in the constituency that the courthouse was built.
I suggested to a few of my friends of Conservative persuasion, who nodded in acquiescence -- today, if they want their Queen's counsel, they are not going to admit this, but those who already have their Queen's counsels are prepared to admit it -- that there had just been some little contribution made by an opposition member in St. Catharines, who brought the matter up in the House during the question period and embarrassed the government over it in committee.
I want to commend the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) who gave me a sympathetic ear on many occasions. I also want to commend the member for Brock (Mr. Welch) who no doubt was, as I indicated today on the platform, putting a pretty sharp elbow into the Attorney General and the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Wiseman) in attempting to persuade, as I was, the right powers in government that we needed this particular courthouse.
Mr. Conway: Jim Bradley drinks real water.
Mr. Bradley: Anyway, it was quite a ceremony. I did get my opportunity to speak there. It was not scheduled, but I was nevertheless there and the democratic process was carried out. I am pleased the taxpayers of Ontario have been provided with this very much needed facility.
I indicated to the Attorney General on many occasions that I thought if I knocked on 10 or 20 doors in St. Catharines, the people would not say that was the number one thing we needed, but those who are familiar with the circumstances certainly recognize the need for a courthouse facility in Niagara North. I am pleased that we have it today and I will be certain to include it in my next constituency brochure.
Mr. Roy: Well done, Jimmy. Well done.
Mr. Bradley: I had not intended to diverge on this, but the arrival in the House of the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) and the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway), prompted me to become involved in that particular issue. I did want to look specifically at the provisions of the budget, and how they affect the people of Ontario.
If one were to look at the overall budget. I guess the best words for it are "stand pat" or "somewhat lacklustre" budget. However, a budget that extracts from the people of Ontario millions of dollars more than it gives back is certainly not a budget that could be accurately described as "stand pat."
It is a little bit of what could be termed a shell game. The government shows one thing at one time by apparently assisting people through job creation, and takes money away with the other hand.
We have some interesting taxes. One, of course, is the Ontario health insurance plan premium. That is an unfair tax. The government can call it what they want, it is still a tax. Let me explain one example of how it is unfair.
When the OHIP premium officially goes up. I suppose those of us who are members of the Legislature will automatically have the government pay our full OHIP premium. So it is no skin off our necks, so to speak. Yet, my constituency office secretary, who does not have these benefits and must pay her own OHIP premium is in a position of being taxed an additional amount of money that will come directly out of her pocket.
Therefore, the tax is inequitable. It has been pointed out many times in this House that the premium assistance provision, which the government brags about in this House but does not talk about much in the hinterlands, has not been increased in any significant manner in recent years so more people would qualify for it. That would certainly alleviate some of that problem.
We also had an interim social services maintenance tax. I am highly offended, as I think many members of this House are, with the terminology used. It somehow suggests that the poor, the disadvantaged of Ontario, are to blame for the amount of money that must be extracted from taxpayers. Better, as my colleague the member for Prescott-Russell (Mr. Boudria) said in his remarks in the House, that it he called the Suncor tax, to pay the $650 million that is being invested in Suncor.
I always thought the socialist party was the party immediately to our left, a party that certainly does not decide that it is not socialist, is above board and says that is a platform on which to run. That is fine, and yet across the floor we have the party that appears to be, or likes to appear to be, the party of free enterprise, which suggests that an expenditure of $650 million on an oil company for Ontario is a reasonable expenditure.
I would suggest this tax could be called the advertising tax. On many occasions I have been critical of this government, for in the past two years it has spent some $40 million in each of those years on advertising campaigns.
I am not one of those people who thinks all the good people are over here and all the bad people are over there, and everybody on the other side is automatically acquiescent to what is done. I think there are a number of people over there who probably have enough of a conscience to know that for governments to spend the kind of money they do -- and I say "governments," plural, but we are elected to this provincial Legislature, so I will concentrate on the government opposite -- for them to spend $40 million in a year when they are preaching restraint to everyone else, in a year when money could be used in other areas, is certainly not something that can be easily defended. I suggest, therefore, the social services maintenance tax can be called the advertising tax.
Certainly, we do not need to spend in that manner the money used to tell us, "Life is good, Ontario, preserve it, conserve it;" or that our streams are nice and clean or something of that nature. There are reasonable areas of expenditure in terms of providing information.
An example of a reasonable expenditure is the Ministry of Health's advertising campaign that indicates to the people of Ontario that all children must be immunized. Another is the government's advertising program that shows its child restraint program. They said: "This is the new law, this is how it must be enforced."
That is a reasonable expenditure, and we on this side will not quarrel with such an expenditure. But when the money is squandered, as it is in so many cases, on self congratulations on the other side, that is when we justifiably object.
We could call it the Minaki Lodge tax. The total amount of money associated with this project is some $45 million.
I see the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon) is here tonight. I want Hansard to record that he is here. I know his community has been particularly hard hit by unemployment. He and the people in his community are subject to the ups and downs of the economy. When the economy is down it particularly hits those of us who represent automotive centres and those who represent mining centres. Certainly, I do not expect him to agree with me tonight, he is a member of the government side, but I think he could think of 45 different projects at $1 million each that would be of more benefit to his community and the surrounding area than Minaki Lodge was.
It is not that we object. What concerns me is when certain northern members say to us, "You are against the north and that is why you are against that." That is not the case. If the member for Sudbury were to stand in this House and suggest a number of areas in which we could spend money productively on his and other areas I would be very supportive of that, because I think the north deserves, and certainly needs, that kind of assistance.
Over the years it has provided us with the raw materials that we have required. Some of the toughest jobs we have in this province are in northern Ontario. They deserve a return up there. Those of us who reside in the south, where most of the economic action and benefit from the raw materials of the north are realized would be pleased to see that kind of expenditure.
That tax could be called the Minaki Lodge tax or it could be called the land banking tax. How much money did the government spend on land banking? Who knows what was spent?
Mr. Boudria: It was $570 million.
Mr. Bradley: I cannot help thinking, once again, there are many members over there who do not believe in land banking. There are some specific occasions when land banking is probably useful. But it seems to me that in the three major examples that were given, land banking was not a particularly good investment of the taxpayers' money. We have a few houses in Townsend, a municipality that was supposed to be booming by now. In Pickering we had a large expenditure of money, and in Edwardsburgh we had a large expenditure of money. In all three areas the money could have been used more productively to produce job opportunities and the kind of economic activity that brings forward those job opportunities.
We also had the jet. I know the jet has been shot down. I recall a resolution I brought forward in the House on April 8, 1982. We talked about the jet. There is one person I wanted to commend on that occasion. He is a person from the north. We had the governor of the north, as he is affectionately known by those of us in the opposition, the member for Kenora (Mr. Bernier), who indicated clearly to us, along with the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope), that those of us who opposed the jet were opposing northern Ontario. What we were opposing, of course, was the provision of a luxurious Challenger jet for the comfort and convenience of the Premier (Mr. Davis), the cabinet and other senior government officials.
There were two issues concerning which the government ran into flak with its own people. One was Suncor. I talked to a lot of Tories in my community and they told me to go after the people on the other side, and tell them what they think of this. People laughed at the jet incident. They said, "Oh, it is $11 million and in a big budget that is not much." That did more damage to the people on that side of the House than almost anything last year in terms of a proposed expenditure. Finally, the government had to relent and change the jet magically into two water bombers, which I am convinced will be of far more use to northern Ontario than the jet.
That kind of expenditure is like waving a red flag in front of people in communities with high unemployment. The member for Sudbury experienced unemployment of over 31 per cent on one occasion. It has been about 22 per cent in our area. That kind of expenditure is fodder for the opposition, sure, but it is damaging for the government. I hope the people in that caucus will remind the Premier, will challenge the Premier and the senior cabinet ministers when such expenditures are made.
Let me give an example in my own area. I was pleased to see $14 million spent on the administration of justice building. It was very much needed. It helped our construction industry. There were two components. First, it was good for the economy in the jobs it produced and, second, it was a needed facility. Let me contrast that with the creation of that government on the opposite side.
It was the former member for Chatham-Kent who was primarily responsible for regional government. Guess what we are going to be opening on June 4, June 5, or June 6, in St. Catharines -- not in St. Catharines --
Mr. Boudria: Could it be regional headquarters?
Mr. Bradley: It is a regional headquarters. We have to have a focus for regional government. It is called a focus; we must have a focus. What do we have? We have a palace on the brow of the escarpment. Several million dollars in cost at a time when the people in our community are being asked to restrain themselves and at a time when the municipal taxes are increasing. If one wants to sell regional government, one does not run out and build a brand new headquarters. It is going to be nice for the staff. It is going to be nice for councillors. They are all new chairs, by the way. They cannot move the chairs from the other regional council into the new regional council; they have to have new chairs.
Mr. Conway: Do you think the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) knows about this?
Mr. Bradley: I am wondering if the Minister of Education would know about this, because she was particularly critical of people in the field of education, but did not use the same daggers on those who are in regional government.
Many people are good councillors. I have many friends who sit on regional council and some of the senior staff and other staff are people who are very competent. This is not what we are challenging; surely this kind of unnecessary expenditure of the taxpayers' dollars is like waving a red flag at a bull, and the taxpayers in this case are very displeased with that kind of expenditure.
Once again, I mention that I listened to speaker after speaker on the other side tell us that this government knows how to manage the economy. My friend the member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. McCague) indicated that he was pleased to see the way the provincial Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) had managed the economy. We have a deficit of only $2.7 billion. I remind that member, and others in this House, that since the present Premier of this province came to office, this province has had a deficit every year.
That would not be so bad if that is the way they want to finance things and they were above board and said that was the way they want to finance them, but they go about this province talking about fiscal responsibility and they squander that much money and they run deficits every year. Previous to the budget, I said it would be understandable, if we, in both opposition parties, would not be jumping all over the Treasurer if he were to have a deficit which was substantially higher than a lot of people would like to see it in normal economic times.
Indeed, there was not a good deal of that kind of criticism except in the context of what we say are the unnecessary expenditures that are in this budget.
Mr. Conway: The member for Prince Edward- Lennox (Mr. J. A. Taylor) made a few hot speeches.
Mr. Bradley: I am not always on the same wavelength in terms of personal philosophy as the member for Prince Edward-Lennox, but I must say he is a person on the opposite side who often speaks his mind. I have sat in committees with him and he is a refreshing individual to have in the committees. I cannot misquote this, because he once corrected me on how it happened, about being "mugged in the corridors of power." He will read this in Hansard because I know he reads every word in Hansard and tell me that I am wrong again about "mugged in the corridors of power" or words to that effect.
There is a person who has been through the Ministry of Energy, who had to deal with Ontario Hydro. There was not a better person on our resources development committee when we dealt with the Pickering Project than the member for Prince Edward-Lennox. I must say he did a top-notch job because he has been through it. He knows how one gets snowed by some of the stuff that comes from certain government agencies.
He was prepared to stand up against that. He has paid the penalty. He is no longer a member of that cabinet. Still, in committee, that gentleman is prepared to challenge even his own government; and I admire that because there are many who are not prepared to do so, either because they feel they are upwardly mobile, and if one were to challenge the government it would be downwardly mobile, or they are simply prepared to be trained seals. There are too many elected to this Legislature on the government side to be simply trained seals.
Mr. Conway: What about the member for St. George (Ms. Fish)? Is she a trained seal?
Mr. Bradley: I well remember when the member for St. George was a member of the New Democratic Party, but I know the Speaker does not want me to get off the budget.
The Acting Speaker: You are absolutely right as usual.
Mr. Bradley: I will not get into that. I will not be moved in a different direction. I simply want to say that for years this government has lived on a reputation of being a great financial management group. It is my contention that they have not been nearly as great as they would like to pretend to the people of this province.
Nevertheless, as the Premier has said on many occasions, it is not the substance that counts, it is not the reality that counts, it is the perception that counts; and the people on the opposite side have been very successful in creating a perception of fiscal responsibility and sound management of the economy.
I want to move to a couple of other areas. I want to talk about taxes, for instance. I was speaking on the interim social services maintenance tax; which I think is a backward step, but it is taken. There is a tax on tobacco and alcohol, and we in the opposition cannot complain about that. It is a tax on sin, supposedly. What it really means, of course, is that those who are wealthier are able to pay more for the sin, and the sin does not hurt them as much financially as it does others. I cannot dwell for a long time on that. It is the kind of tax members on the opposite side are able to get away with.
I get annoyed when I hear people say at income tax time, "Well, I am sending Trudeau this much money." When I filled out my income tax this year, I almost forgot to put in the provincial tax. It looked pretty good until I had to take 48 per cent of the meagre sum of money that I was paying in tax, and I recognized once again that the provincial government is extracting from this economy a considerable amount in income tax. Not many people know that.
This brings me to another topic related to this budget. I heard the Treasurer -- and some of us heard this in the public accounts committee -- talk about the fact that the provincial government might give consideration to collecting its own taxes because they are not entirely happy with the rules and regulations affecting the federal tax.
Let me assure members that this will simply never happen, and it will never happen for one reason: not because of the cost of administration, not for any reason they can dream up other than the fact they would have to take the heat. The people of Ontario would know they are paying their taxes in droves to this government as well as to the government in Ottawa. It is fine to let the government in Ottawa take the flak; then, when expenditures are being put forward that are going to be beneficial to the province, those on the opposite side will be first in line to take the credit.
We cannot forget two other taxes. One is the extension of the retail sales tax that happened last year. Everybody forgot about last year's budget, when this government moved into new areas of taxing people on essential items. When they put a sales tax on nonessential items or luxury items it is more acceptable than when you have it on essential items, but I guess the Treasurer recognized that when the econoniy was well down, people were not buying the non-necessities to the extent they had bought them in the past; the only place to derive the kind of revenues he needed was in the essential items, and therefore he extended it. I was hopeful he would have removed those taxes again and reinstated the exemptions, but of course he has not. We will have to wait for the election year for that to happen.
I got a call at my constituency office again today, from someone who asked: "To whom do we complain about the gas tax? Is that the federal government?" The federal government and the province of Alberta certainly participated in discussions about this and the government of Saskatchewan was involved in some discussions. They are the oil-producing provinces, so they have a certain vested interest in higher prices.
But we must not forget for one moment that here in Ontario -- and this is a subject near and dear to the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), who knows his people pay even more than most people in the southerly parts of Ontario -- 20 per cent is being taken on top of the established price. Of course, the people on the opposite side then benefit from inflation, because the higher the price goes the more revenues are derived and go into the pockets of the provincial government.
I would like to see them go back to the old fixed tax on gasoline. I recognize they need revenues; I am not unfair enough to say they can remove all taxes. They have programs they have to support, and therefore, I am prepared to say I know there are going to be taxes on gasoline. But let us go back to the fixed sum so when they want to raise it, if they do not think sufficient revenues are coming forward, they have to come back to this Legislature and make their case to the members of the Legislature and to the public rather than simply slip it in through as an ad valorem tax, which automatically increases when the price of the gasoline increases. Those are some comments I have on taxes.
There is another area I wanted to touch on which I think is of particular importance to all of us. We have the veiled threat by the Treasurer of the removal of the property tax credit. It has, of course, served in the last several years to alleviate at least part of the burden on the municipal taxpayer. It certainly has not eliminated that by any means. It has not reduced it as much as we would like, but at least part of that burden on the municipal taxpayer has been alleviated through the implementation of the property tax credit.
Now we have the Treasurer saying: "Watch out. We may be taking it away." I hope the members opposite, as well as those on this side, will continue to remind the Treasurer of the need for this since he is underfunding municipalities and boards of education, thereby forcing them to raise their municipal taxes to a greater extent.
I also want to dwell on some areas I think are necessary expenditures, but before I do so I would like to point out to the people of this province, all who are going to read Hansard, where the provincial government gets some of its money. Everybody thinks there are perhaps one or two provincial taxes.
Let me read into the record where some of these sources of revenue are. Under taxation revenue: personal income tax, $4,928,000,000; corporation income tax, $1,322,000,000; capital tax, $329 million; insurance premiums tax, $118 million; mining profits tax, $56 million; retail sales tax, $2,853,000,000; gasoline tax, $759 million; motor vehicle fuel tax, $172 million; reciprocal taxation, $48 million; tobacco tax, $345 million; land transfer tax, $129 million; racetracks tax, $59 million; other taxation, $18 million.
Then we get into other revenue: Ontario health insurance plan premiums, $1,179,000,000; Liquor Control Board of Ontario profits, $502 million: interest on investments. $623 million; vehicle registration fees, $296 million; Liquor Licence Board of Ontario fees. licences and permits, $170 million; other fees and licences, $179 million; Ontario lottery profits, $137 million; fines and penalties, $76 million; royalties, $67 million; utility service charges, $73 million; sales and rentals, $64 million; and miscellaneous, $122 million,
What I want to point out is the many taxes and sources of revenue that are involved with the provincial government. This is so the people of this province happen to know. I know they will all be reading Hansard and will want to know that.
Let us look at what this budget should have produced; then let us look at what this budget did produce for us. I guess what we were looking for, and I think all of us in the opposition probably place this in the first category, was some job creation. There may be some quarrel as to the specific way of having that job creation and I am pleased some money was placed in job creation. I think it is inadequate, but some of the money was put there and I want to be fair enough to give credit that there was some allocation of funds in that area.
My friend the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) listed a number of people this afternoon, or at least had a release that talked about a number of people who do have jobs in Ontario. There are many in my community who do not, people who have been out of work for months in the automotive industry, in the construction industry and so on. None of them were as fortunate as the former cabinet minister, John Yaremko, who gets $51,000 as the chairman of the Liquor License Appeal Tribunal; or Marvin Shore who was once a member of this Legislature who was given a $30,000 a year job with the Ministry of Industry and Tourism following his defeat in 1977; or Omer Déslauriers, the candidate in Ottawa East, who gets a $52,000 salary and $25,000 in perks as Ontario's Agent General in Brussels.
Morley Rosenberg gets $60,100 on an Ontario Municipal Board appointment. Bryan Hocking, the 1981 candidate for Renfrew North, has a three-year term on the Regional Development Corp. John Howard White, the former Ontario cabinet minister, was appointed president of the Ontario Heritage Foundation. William Clark, active in the campaign of the member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz), and a home owner with no experience in rent review, in 1981 was appointed to the Ontario Residential Tenancy Commission at $35,000.
A large number of people are listed here. I do not want to go through all the names. These are some of the people who did not have a job. I did not want to mention some people because then I would have to talk about the person who gave a recommendation for Morley. There are some people who wrote recommendations for Morley who today may be mighty sorry they wrote them. In fact, one of those people has had to move from the first row to the second row now that he is no longer leader of the New Democratic Party. I do not want to get into those things because they can be embarrassing.
What we need in this province is some job creation measures that will put people back to work, particularly older people who have been victims of plant closings. All of us in our communities have had those people. I feel sorry for the people who are 49, 50, 51 or 52 who are out of a job and have to head in another direction. It is very difficult to get employment at that age in another job that might be available in a plant.
First, we have high unemployment and that is difficult enough. People in that age bracket find that, by and large, companies are not willing to hire them unless they are extremely skilled or have some very significant contribution to make in the work place. The average individual does not have that chance. It is pretty heart-rending to hear their stories when these people come into our constituency offices. They are down and out and simply unable to get another job. They are people we should be addressing ourselves to in this Legislature.
A second and growing group is composed of the young people who come out of our educational institutions hoping and expecting there might be good job opportunities in the province that used to call itself the "province of opportunity," but whose slogan now says, "Keep it beautiful," or what is the new slogan?
Mr. Boudria: "Yours to discover."
Mr. Bradley: One thing the young people are discovering in this province is that job opportunities are not there.
This is not to suggest the government in itself can produce all the job opportunities. It can produce some of them, but it certainly cannot produce the majority of them. They must come from the private sector. That means we need a budget that is going to stimulate the economy; not a rush of funds that will produce inflation, not extremely heavy expenditures, but a significant amount of money, certainly more than was infused into the economy by the Treasurer to create that kind of economic activity. There should be some cuts in taxes to put more money back into the hands of the consumer so the consumer can get back on track and produce the kind of economic activity that will produce jobs.
Another area where there is a great opportunity for job creation is the environment. There is nobody in this House who is not concerned about the environment. There are some who would place it in a different category in terms of priorities. Some say jobs first and the environment second. I have never accepted that we have to sacrifice the environment for job creation. The two go hand in hand. We have a unique opportunity at a time of high unemployment to establish ourselves in areas of technology that can be particularly useful to other jurisdictions by working on the environment, by cleaning up the environment, by producing pollution abatement equipment and so on.
Those of us who represent the Niagara Peninsula ridings are extremely concerned, as I know all members of the House are. Certainly the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) and others on many occasions have raised the issue of the state of the Niagara River and the money that can be expended on it. Some say, "It is the Americans' fault." Certainly the United States, at least a portion of New York state, specifically that area in close proximity to Niagara Falls, New York, and right along to Buffalo, has a lot to answer for to the people of the world.
If we are to make the best possible case, we on our side have to be squeaky clean. We have to enforce our regulations on our side and, most particularly, we have to make a commitment of funds to clean up the environment.
The Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton) would get applause from over here if he stood in the House tomorrow and said we are now prepared to fund secondary sewage treatment at the Fort Erie plant, secondary sewage treatment at the Niagara Falls pollution abatement plant; maybe even tertiary treatment if necessary, with activated carbon charcoal filtation being put in at the plant on an experimental basis, let us say at the Niagara Falls filtration plant; or a comparable system, not necessarily activated carbon filtration, if there is a comparable and less expensive system.
I would be the first who would be prepared to tell the news media. I would say it is very late in the day to do it, but I would be delighted at the fact he would make an expenditure of that kind of dollars on cleaning up the environment; because it does two things.
First, it cleans up the environment but, second, it gives us a far better case when we go to the Americans on cleaning up their environment if we ourselves, to use the terminology, are squeaky clean. I urge the Minister of the Environment and his colleagues to take that kind of action and accept the credit because the credit would be due to the government if they were to do that.
I also urge the government to meet its responsibility in terms of --
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: As the only former leader of any party present in the Legislature who has moved to the second row, I wish to correct the record on a statement that was made by the honourahle member just before I came in.
I regret to say that, yes, I did recommend Morley Rosenberg as a Queen's counsel. It was not something I was in the custom of doing but at his request I did so. It was certainly long before he got into his conversion to the Progressive Conservative Party. However, I did not at any time recommend his appointment to the Ontario Municipal Board, particularly after he had broken ranks with the New Democratic Party and become a Conservative.
Mr. Roy: He got on the OMB because he had a QC.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): We are on the budget.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I certainly apologize to the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) if I in any way have embarrassed him through that. I accept entirely what he has said as being accurate. I do not know whether I can agree with the member for Ottawa East that he got the QC and that made him eligible for the OMB --
Mr. Roy: He did not get on there because he was a Tory.
The Acting Speaker: The honourable member would do us all a favour by discussing the amendment to the amendment.
Mr. Bradley: I have always had a great admiration for the member for Ottawa Centre and I accept what he says entirely on this particular issue. I want to go on to another issue of importance and that is the issue of education in this province and the amount of funding that is provided to education.
I sat in on a speech which was delivered by the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) to the Advertising and Sales Club of Toronto.
Mr. Conway: A bristler.
Mr. Bradley: It was a bristler to be sure. It was the right audience for peripheral teacher-baiting and public servant-baiting and it drew applause in certain areas. It conjured up the kind of concerns we often hear from members of the ad and sales club or other groups about the expenditures in the field of education.
Mr. Conway: It sounded like an attack on Bill Davis.
Mr. Bradley: Of course, in the policy she has announced in recent years, the minister has completely repudiated the Premier's policies as Minister of Education, but that is not directly related to the budget and I want to deal more with the budget.
What is happening in this province is that one has the Minister of Education who I happen to have a great deal of respect for, I like the Minister of Education. She has been kind to me on many public occasions and in the House is very quick-witted and combative, to say the least.
She and the government are starting to set out to pick out the enemies in the municipalities and the boards of education. They are saying this year, "Boards of education get a 5.73 per cent increase." That does not always translate into a 5.73 per cent increase. It sometimes translates, as in the case of my own board of education, the Lincoln County Board of Education, into probably less than one per cent increase.
Yet they must meet expenditures and there are one or two things that can be done. First, services and programs must be cut and, as the minister herself has conceded, the public is demanding more and more from the education system in this province so that is not a viable option.
The second option is to raise municipal taxes. As anybody in this House knows, if there is one tax that is regressive it is the municipal property tax. A person in my riding who has been unemployed for seven months gets a tax bill that says, "You owe $1,000 as a result of the assessment on your house and our mill rate." That person who has been unemployed for seven months still has to pay $1,000, the same as the employed person who might be making $30,000, $35,000 or $40,000 and is quite able to meet that commitment.
The property tax at all times, but particularly in difficult economic times, does not take into account a person's ability to pay. It is regressive, yet the government is forcing municipalities and boards of education to raise those taxes.
The government is mandating programs. The minister says: "Why do you not cut back on education? The local boards know where they can cut." Yet the province mandates programs. It says: "We have Bill 82. You must implement Bill 82." All members of this House agree Bill 82 is a very progressive step. We commended the government on it. We commended the government for accepting our suggestions and modifications on it. It is a model bill for many other jurisdictions.
To be an effective piece of legislation, the bill requires the funding to go with it and that is what local boards of education are concerned about. They are concerned that, while there may be some new and additional funding coming forward to meet the obligations of special education, at the same time money will be taken away from other areas of education and the local taxpayer will be forced to assume a greater portion of the load.
It is interesting to note that in 1975, the Ontario government provided on an average across this province over 60 per cent of the cost of education; that is, the boards of education and the provincial government. Today, according to a figure someone has given me, that has fallen and less than 49 per cent of the cost of education is now assumed by the province. While the dollar figure is going up because inflation is going up, the portion assumed by the provincial government is well down. That figure should go up substantially and I think 60 per cent is a reasonable figure to be aiming at in the context of 1983. We look for that assistance.
I recall the announcement on French-language education was made before the Premier had finished his count of delegates. Perhaps at that time he was thinking he might be able to top the choice of the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Leluk), whose choice is Michael Wilson, fine gentleman that he is. There was a time when the Premier thought his vote total would be somewhat higher and the announcement was made of the extension of French-language education to every francophone student in the province.
I know the member for Hastings-Peterborough (Mr. Pollock) publicly expressed his great concern about this particular announcement on the part of the Minister of Education.
I do not want to dwell on the policy aspect as much as on one other thing. My friend the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) pointed out something very significant to me when the announcement was made. He was listening to it on the radio. He said, "There was something missing in that announcement." I said, "I think they said this, this and this about it." He said, "No, something was missing."
Then it dawned on me no announcement had been made as to how this would be funded. The minister simply said it would cost $1 million more or something like that and it could be easily funded. The announcement was made but there was no corresponding announcement of funding from the provincial government.
It would be much more acceptable to the member for Hastings-Peterhorough and others if the minister were to announce that the provincial government would be funding this program. That is the kind of thing we are looking for.
Bill 82 and francophone education are two examples of mandated programs, but the provincial government is not providing the necessary funding. I urge the minister that, rather than attempting to stir up resentment about the salaries of people who are involved in the education system, to provide the necessary funding to ensure our system meets the needs of the 1980s. As she aptly pointed out in her speech, those needs are substantially different than they were in the 1960s and 1970s, and certainly than they were at the time when the member for Renfrew North went to school.
Mr. Conway: It was a long time ago.
Mr. Bradley: I also want to touch briefly on the area of health because I am one of these people who believes that, when the provincial goverment spends money on health, it is spending money in an area where it is going to receive a lot of support.
The hospitals in this province have certainly indicated their needs. I am not suggesting and I think it would be foolish for us to suggest on this side, or anywhere, that there is an unlimited amount of money available to spend. But if we were to talk to the people of the various constituencies in this province, they would agree that an expenditure of funds on health care is a good expenditure.
I think of my own jurisdiction of St. Catharines and St. Catharines General Hospital. I attended along with the member for Brock (Mr. Welch) who was very gracious in many of the comments he made on that evening. He included me in his comments on the need for a computerized axial tomography scanner and the kind of support we could expect in the community. The interesting thing is that $1.65 million will be paid for the CAT scanner by the people of our community, not the taxpayers of Ontario. I think the provincial government will provide $150.000 a year for the operating costs, which will not cover the operating costs.
I think we would all agree the CAT scanner is an essential item. Health care has a very high priority with everyone. To have people have to wait four months to get into it when they perhaps would benefit from the diagnosis that is available from the CAT scanner at an earlier point is unacceptable. I would certainly not be critical of those kinds of expenditures.
In my own constituency, we have a dire need at the St. Catharines General Hospital for replacement of a particular wing. It is called the McSloy wing and it was built in 1911. If members were to travel through that wing they would be ashamed. When I hear the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) say we have a health care system in this province second to none, I would like to drag him through the McSloy wing in the general hospital in St. Catharines to see its state, to see the plaster falling off the walls and the paint peeling off the walls. It is a dismal situation. It is like sending people to a dungeon. What it has essentially turned into is a chronic care wing of the hospital.
The only thing which makes it at all acceptable is the kind of care that is given by a loving and concerned staff there. If one looks at the way the staff treats the chronic patients, one can only be very proud of those people and have a great admiration for them. That is the only thing that makes it livable in the McSloy wing.
What they have asked for some time is funds to replace that particular wing because the Community wing looks very good, the Mills wing looks great. We have many good facilities at the Hotel Dieu and the Shaver Hospital, but the one which stands out as being in need of an expenditure of provincial government funds is the McSloy wing.
I appeal to the Minister of Health and others on that side to provide the kind of funding which would restore it. I know he will be reading the Hansard and responding rapidly to my plea. I think the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) wishes to speak tonight and I do want to reserve some time for him
Mr. Kerrio: Do we have to listen to him twice in one day?
Mr. Bradley: He is certainly worth listening to because --
Mr. Breaugh: You have not listened to me yet, Vince. Why start now?
Mr. Bradley: Where was I? The auto industry is another area of interest to the members from Windsor, Oakville, the Niagara Peninsula and Oshawa. They are all concerned about the future of the automobile industry. I think most of us know that, at least in the case of General Motors and perhaps some of the other plants, we are back to work to a large extent. Our people are back. They are earning a good deal of money now because there is overtime. There is at least a minor boomlet at least in the automotive industry.
Our concern is with the long-term future of the automotive industry and those industries which are reliant upon a healthy automotive industry. There have been many discussions. Once again today, the matter of Canadian content was raised in the House and we had the report that was produced. Mr. Lumley, the Minister of Industry and Regional Expansion, released the report, An Automotive Strategy for Canada.
There were some well-known people on that, such as the president of General Motors; Sam Gindin, who is the director of research for the United Automobile Workers in Canada, a person very knowledgeable in the field of the automotive industry; Mr. Harrigan, president of the Ford Motor Company; Mr. Sedgwick from Magna International Inc.; Mr. Dykes, from the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers' Association; Mr. Closs, president of Chrysler Canada; as well as two people who have had a high profile on this issue, Pat Lavelle, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association of Canada, and Robert White, who is the director for Canada of the UAW.
I think when these people -- and some of them on many occasions, serve on the union side or the management side in negotiations -- delved into the issue of the future of the automotive industry and put aside those differences for a moment, they came up with a report which I think offers some good opportunities for us in the future. I do not believe those of us who represent the constituencies are being parochial --
Mr. Cooke: Is Bob White one of those union bosses the member for Ottawa East refers to all the time.
Mr. Bradley: Was he in Florida when the member was there for a month? He was not there; I just wondered. Anyway, I will not be diverted.
I happen to have a good deal of respect for Robert White, the head of the United Automobile Workers in Canada. I know many people in this caucus have a good deal of respect for him, and for the others on the task force. There is no question those of us who represent constituencies which have a large number of automobile workers recognize, perhaps more than anyone else, the need for Canadian content in our automobiles. We --
Mr. Cassidy: You respect the unions if there are enough of them to count. Is that right?
Mr. Bradley: I think they have made a case very well. I think there are those who accuse the members from Windsor, the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh), the member for St. Catharines and so on of being parochial, of thinking only of their communities. We recognize that while the automobile industry is important to our communities, it is also of great importance to this province and this country in terms of economic viability. All of us should therefore recognize, no matter where we live, the importance of Canadian content.
Mr. Cassidy: You take this position as an individual, we do it as a party.
Mr. Bradley: If the Peugeot is to be produced in Canada, that would be Canadian content. We would insist the largest proportion of that, 80 or 90 per cent be produced in Canada --
Mr. Cooke: When are the Liberals going to bring in content legislation?
Mr. Bradley: The member will have to ask his friends in Ottawa that, because it was his friends who put that party back in power. They defeated the Conservatives and brought it back to power in the next election. The member for Ottawa Centre will have a hard time figuring that out.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Would you ask the member for St. Catharines to run through that one again? I did not quite get it.
The Acting Speaker: I would appreciate all honourable members allowing the member for St. Catharines to speak to the amendment to the amendment.
Mr. Cassidy: He accused the New Democratic Party of putting the Liberals back in power in Ottawa. I heard him distinctly.
The Acting Speaker: There is confusion all over this place.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I will be brief in my response to that because I want to clarify what I have said. We all recall that famous night when Walter Baker was unable to count appropriately, and when the New Democrats voted along with the Liberals, the federal alliance, to defeat the Progressive Conservative government at that time.
Now they are paying the price, particularly in western Canada, for that kind of support of the Liberal position on that evening, which brought down that government and ensured the re-election of the Liberal party. Is what I have said not logical?
Mr. Bradley: Let me describe another area in which the provincial government can be of some assistance. I do not want to go into the last budget in Manitoba and how it raised taxes, because that is irrelevant to our provincial budget.
The Acting Speaker: No, we are talking about the Ontario budget.
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Bradley: I want to go to another area where the provincial Treasurer could have been of assistance to those communities which have been particularly hard hit by unemployment.
I think of the St. Catharines area, Hamilton; certainly Sudbury and Windsor. These are areas of extremely high unemployment in Ontario that are being hit very hard by high welfare costs. After the unemployment insurance benefits.
of people run out, many of them are forced to seek social assistance from the regional municipality or the other municipality that administers it. Then, on that basis, we have substantial increases in the budgets for those communities.
It is a double whammy because those communities are already hit hard by unemployment; they are already suffering from a decline in assessment. The government then turns around and asks those communities to spend more to assist those who require it.
I know that suggestions have come from various areas in the House, but what I have suggested is that the provincial Treasurer provide a formula whereby those communities that have been particularly hard hit by unemployment and have very high welfare bills be assisted to a greater extent in terms of the percentage of the cost of welfare paid by the province.
For instance, at the present time we know the federal government pays 50 per cent, the provincial government pays 30 per cent and the municipal government pays 20 per cent. What I am suggesting is the provincial government, in those areas of high unemployment, provide a greater percentage. It might break down to a split of 40 to 10 per cent or 45 to 5 per cent, depending on the amount of unemployment in a specific area.
That is the suggestion I had, which the Treasurer could have acted upon. Unfortunately he chose not to and therefore our communities have been hit hard.
I could go on all night but, in a sense of fairness, I want to ensure that others have a chance to speak.
I did want to point out to members of the House what the impact of the 1981, 1982, 1983 changes for the average Ontario family were as a result of those budgets. Who in this House remembers, just before the election, when the provincial Treasurer ended his budget speech by saying, "and all this without an increase in taxes."
Let us look at what happened subsequent to the election, subsequent to the realities of March 19.
The Ontario health insurance plan fees have gone up $368; retail sales tax, excluding the hospitality tax, $181.08; hospitality tax, $160.18; liquor and tobacco, $77; the ad valorem tax on gasoline, $181.12; provincial income tax, $368.52. The total increase per family was $1,336.30, and more if anyone in the family happened to buy a pet, pay university or college tuition, purchase unleaded gasoline, renew a driver's licence and so on.
These figures are based on a family of four with an average income, a single wage earner and the standard deduction from 1981 and 1982 tax guides, with average consumption adapted from the 1978 Statistics Canada survey, adjusted for inflation, with one automobile and the 1981 Ontario gasoline consumption average.
So the members can see there was a substantial increase since the election, but I am sure that will decrease in the year just previous to the election.
There is one other project that I know is dear to the heart of the member for Ottawa Centre, and to many in this House.
From time to time we look at TVOntario. There are some good programs on TVOntario, by the way. I must say I enjoy some of them. One of those programs is the question period from Ottawa; I mean the entire question period. We also see on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., at the end of the week, a half-hour program, This Week in Ottawa. It outlines the highlights of speeches from various people in the federal House.
What they have in Ottawa, as they have in some provincial jurisdictions, is what is called the electronic Hansard. They have full coverage of events taking place in the House.
In this province and in this Legislature we have been well served by those who operate the newsreel cameras that are in the Speaker's gallery. During question period there is ample coverage of what is going on as far as the leaders are concerned and many of the lead questions; there is an opportunity for them to focus on those things they feel are important, and there are interviews out in the hall. So there is very good coverage at the present time.
But what some of us are suggesting -- and I think not just those of us who are in opposition; there are a few on the government side -- is that we implement additional coverage, a broadening of the coverage of the Ontario Legislature, so that the people of this province have direct access through television cameras to the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, where many of the major policy decisions are made and the expenditures of dollars take place.
I am not suggesting we have an elaborate system that is going to cost millions upon millions of dollars but a system that simply operates as it does in the two premier shows for the provincial government: that is, the provincial budget and the speech from the throne. Members will recall that in this chamber at those times there was a camera behind the opposition benches and another behind the government benches, and these cameras could be used to televise the entire question period.
Some will say, "Well, of course there can be coverage, and if the news people feel it is of importance, they will cover it." But we must recognize that they have their time limitations. For instance, if question period goes on until 4 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. and they want to interview the leaders outside, often those cameras are taken down, perhaps with 15 minutes left in question period; so if one of the members -- the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Kolyn), for instance were to ask a question in the House in the last 15 minutes, a question of great importance to his constituency, it might not receive the coverage it deserves. The member for Sudbury, I think, has two primary television stations in his area.
Mr. Conway: Are they both nationalized?
Mr. Bradley: They could be.
He might well be in a position of wanting to ask a question, and on occasion he has asked some questions on behalf of his constituents that have been embarrassing to his colleagues. In perhaps the last 10 minutes of question period he might have a question that is of importance. That question does not receive the kind of coverage it might if there were an electronic Hansard trained on him.
So what some of us are proposing -- and I know there are others in the House: the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), the member for Ottawa Centre, the member for Renfrew North and others -- is that an electronic Hansard be available so the people of this province will have access to the entire question period and to other debates that take place in this House, and that there be full coverage so the people of Ontario can see what is going on.
If we in the opposition do not fulfil our obligations, do not perform well, then that is our fault; if the government does not, that is its fault. But the people can make that judgement about what is going on in this assembly. It is supplementary service. It is not a service that I think should supplant any of the newsreel cameras. In fact, if the government were to suggest that the newsreel cameras be removed and replaced, that would be unacceptable to us and unnecessary on their part.
It is something that can be implemented, and I think if we want to talk about equality of access, the people in all parts of this province would then have direct access to this Legislature.
I have gone on at some length. There are many other issues I would like to raise in this House. but I will have a chance to raise them on other occasions. I have appreciated the opportunity to share with others in the House a few thoughts on this budget. I believe it is a deficient budget but I think in some very specific areas it can be helpful to the people of this province. I look forward to listening with a good deal of care to the contributions that will be made by other members of the House this evening.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I want to begin my contribution to the debate by speaking, as I usually do, a little bit about the process that results in a budget as it is presented here at Queen's Park.
It is one that from the outside, I am sure, is strange indeed to an observer who is not involved in the budgetary process in the sense that he might work for the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) or for an opposition member, because the focal point of it is that in a very complicated age, with questions around unemployment and productivity and economic growth that even worldwide experts cannot seem to agree on, and with a great deal of public argument about all of those things, the process comes down to one individual who, in theory, is the only person in the province who knows what the budget contains before it is put out.
It seems to many observers and to me that is a strange process, which might have been appropriate 100 or 200 years ago, but does not fit the world as it is now.
In recent years we have seen the traditional budgetary process change a little bit. We have seen it expanded so that both here at Queen's Park and in the federal Parliament, treasurers say they have consulted widely before they prepare a budget. There is a great deal of fanfare about the number of groups that have been to see the treasurers and have had an opportunity to make a presentation to the treasurers, both provincial and federal. I guess the myth is perpetuated that there is a lot of consultation, but we soon see when the budgets are revealed that there may have been a treasurer or members of his staff sitting in the same room, but that does not necessarily mean there was a lot of talking back and forth. There may have been some listening but not necessarily much impact.
All that we do in our parliamentary system around the preparation of a budget has an aura of secrecy about it. It comes back to the idea that one person has the mental ability to prepare something that will resolve the economic problems of a nation or a province, It has always been my contention that that is a completely absurd thought. That is not the way it is practised in reality or something that is appropriate to a modern world or something that serves our parliamentary system well.
To be fair and to put a little balance into the argument, the Treasurer made the argument in here himself that that is the old traditional concept of a government and that a government may fall, in fact, on a budgetary matter. That is true, but surely it cannot be beyond the creativity and imagination of modern parliamentarians to put an influx of openness into that system.
In the last couple of years, for a variety of reasons, we have seen the preparation of papers that purport to bring about more openness in the budgetary process. Unfortunately, a series of events -- oddly enough, parallel events in this year's federal budget and the provincial budget -- blew away the whole myth of secrecy.
In one instance, Mr. Lalonde inadvertently displayed a budget book that was picked up by a television camera, monitored, enlarged and translated, so that what he thought were secret parts of his budget were known before they were presented to Parliament or to the Canadian people. In the other instance, portions of our Treasurer's provincial budget were found in a garbage bag and then published in the Globe and Mail with a great deal of foofaraw. In both instances there seems to have been an explosion of the myth of secrecy for different reasons in different circumstances.
I want to put on the record again my feeling that there must be ways in which the process of putting together a budget, the process of examining what needs to be in a budget and the process of putting forward solutions, can be done in a different and more open way involving more human beings, more skills, more information, and with dissemination of that information to the public that supposedly will feel the impact of this economic measure.
There is a difficulty in making this argument in this House, even with a Treasurer who has just gone through an experience which, one would think, would tend to make him back off from his very traditional feelings about the preparation of a budget and the power of a Treasurer and the secrecy that is necessary. When we had this discussion last year, at the end the Treasurer got up and in a very few words said I did not know anything about the parliamentary system.
This was despite the fact that I had been on a procedural affairs committee studying parliamentary systems around the world with several of his colleagues and members of the Liberal Party and my own caucus. I am not speaking off the top of my head. Many of us in this chamber have spent a lot of time and effort looking at other systems, finding things we could use here that would not challenge the traditions of a parliament but that would open them up and make them look at the preparation of a budget in the context of the world in which we live.
The parallels between what happened to Mr. Lalonde -- and our Treasurer's comments that he must resign -- and what happened to our Treasurer in the preparation of his budget here are really quite remarkable.
Frankly, I was rather taken aback by the number of people who, during the controversy, said they really liked the Treasurer but thought he ought to resign. I want to put forward the counter-argument: I do not like the Treasurer, not in personal terms but because of the things he has done in this budget; however I would rather he did not resign, but looked at his process and opened it up and responded to the things the standing committee on procedural affairs has recommended this House give consideration to, as have many other people in the parliaments around the world.
The parallels between the federal Minister of Finance and our Treasurer are really quite remarkable this year, not only around the preparation of a budget and the mishaps that caused both of them to get into hot water, but in the assumptions they made in preparation of a budget. Both of them, though they are purportedly from different political philosophies, seem to have written the same budget in a slightly different vein.
Both have as their main premise for what they are doing in the next year, in economic terms for the country and for the province, a remarkable assumption that one can take an unemployment rate of just under 12 per cent and live with it. I find that quite remarkable. If a treasurer or minister of finance had said, for example, five or six years ago in this country, "There is nothing wrong with having 12 per cent of the population unemployed," that would have been quite a remarkable statement for that person to make.
The fact we have come out of an economic depression which has made the unemployment rate much more severe, has established an attitude so that in places such as Sudbury an unemployment rate of 12 per cent would look pretty good; in my own riding last December and in January this year it would have looked not too bad. It is quite remarkable, then, to see that as a main assumption in the preparation of a budget, both federal and provincial governments have accepted the premise that it is okay to have more than one in 10 unemployed. That I find remarkable.
When they look at some kind of response for what might happen after that, one sees some remarkable assumptions put in place. Both of them have said they want some measure of job creation but that they want it mostly in the private sector. They feel that is the route that will bring about an economic recovery for the country and, in this instance, for the province.
Again, I find that another remarkable assumption, because I do not recall an occasion when the private sector has ever done that. When one speaks to people who are influential in the private sector, one very quickly learns the private sector is pretty straightforward about why it is in business. It is in business to make money, and it says so.
It is not in business to create jobs, although sometimes it does that; it is in business to make a profit. The individuals I respect in the private sector say that in a very open and straightforward manner. They say things such as social services are not the responsibility of the private sector; their contention is that they are the responsibility of government. When they talk about unemployment, they say it is not the responsibility of General Motors or Ford or Chrysler or any other private sector company; they say it is the responsibility of a government.
Yet we now have governments at the federal and provincial levels saying, all of a sudden. "We say all of this is the responsibility of the private sector, and they will take it over." I do not recall anybody in the private sector saying, "Okay, it is our responsibility, and we are going to take that over." So it is quite remarkable that we see parallels between the federal and provincial government in this approach to the private sector.
I want to say a little about unemployment in an unusual way. I sense many members on the government side and others in our society think that somehow the reason a 12 per cent unemployment rate is okay -- not nice, but okay -- is that they have traditionally thought the unemployed are really unwashed, untrained, unskilled and unenergetic.
They do not want jobs. they do not work.they are not productive, they do not look good, they do not wash themselves, they do not cut their hair, they do not wear clean clothes. If only they would go out and take a shower and get a haircut and wear a clean suit and learn how to read and write and fill out an application form, they would not he members of the unemployed any longer; they would somehow join the ranks of what some people would call the productive society.
I know some of this government's programs, for example, are directed exactly at that target group. The member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies), who has responsibilities in another incarnation, came to my town and talked about a program for a group of people I happen to like and work with a lot, the John Howard Society in Oshawa. It is a group of people, under Bill Fry and his staff, with which we work a lot. It is not that my constituents are more given to criminal prosecution than anybody else, but somehow we have a relationship that works. We help the John Howard Society a lot and they help us a lot. They are very good and energetic people.
The Ontario youth secretariat has a program that deals with literacy and getting people back to work, young people in particular and people who have run afoul of the law. In this instance, the member for Brantford said something like 59 young people had gone through this program, had learned a little about reading and writing and, I suppose, arithmetic; and had learned a little more about how to get a job in the first place with the help of the John Howard Society.
He was quite enthusiastic that something like 59 young people had gone through this program and 36 of them had retained their jobs. That is good. There is no question in my mind that 36 young people in my region of Ontario getting jobs because of a government program is nice. But if one is looking at 12,000 unemployed people, which I am, it may be nice but it is not significant. Part of the problem is that people have to understand who is unemployed these days and what the problem is.
I know members opposite may not like it too much, but I ran across one neat little piece of business. There had been a lot of discussion in this Legislature well before I got here about the Tory patronage scheme in Ontario. On the standing committee on procedural affairs we had some discussions with groups like the Liquor Control Board of Ontario about whether there is patronage left in the LCBO. Of course we were assured there was not; at one time there might have been, but there is not any more. I was impressed with the presentations: one fills out an application form, which goes to Lakeshore, and the most qualified people get jobs. All of that seemed quite normal.
But I ran across a term that was new to me; it is "ministerial referral." Some young people came to my office who said they went to apply for jobs at Whitby Psychiatric Hospital, jobs they had held in previous summers. These young people found that although the hospital wanted to hire them because they had performed that task before and their work had been satisfactory, they could not be hired.
Somebody had sent a memo, saying: "This quota" -- it was something like 15 per cent of the jobs this summer -- "will be held for ministerial referral." That struck me as interesting, because I had not heard the term before. The member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) explained some things to me. It was used in the Ministry of Natural Resources last year and, I think, in previous years.
It seems someone has decided that we will not have patronage any more, but we will hold a certain number of jobs in the ministries; we will tell people who run those institutions to hold on to 15 per cent of their jobs and those referrals will come from the minister's office. They say, "Whether you want to hire them or not, whether you like them or not, whether you have someone locally who is more deserving and can do that job better, hold on to those jobs."
That is a concept of sophistication. We do not have patronage in Ontario; we have something called ministerial referral. In essence, it is a pretty good description of the Tory philosophy: call it by another name and it will mean something else.
I want to talk a little about who is unemployed, because I think this is an important topic. I pulled the files of three people who have been to see me recently who are out of work and have been for some time.
One interesting case is that of a man who is 39 years old, He has an honours bachelor of arts degree. He has his grade 13. He has been to Humber College. He had a good job for a number of years. He has a fairly good amount of work experience with several firms up to the position of administrative assistant to the vice-president. He is not a member of the great unwashed. He is somebody who has worked his way up through the system, who has done what society says one ought to do: "Get a good education, work hard, and get some work experience."
He is a victim of the circumstances of our time. He is someone who does not need to be told how to dress, how to fill out an application form or how to write a résumé. He is someone who can do all those things very well and has been doing so for the past two years and still cannot get employment. That speaks to some of the concerns I have heard other members raise, saying: "If only people would look for it, the work is there. If only they would clean up their acts, there would be no trouble getting jobs."
Another case is that of a young man who from time to time has worked for several of the short-term programs in various ministries. In other words, one can do a job and do it well for the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Revenue, but at the end of a certain time period -- three months, six months, six weeks, eight weeks -- that job no longer exists. So you fish around and try to find another similar kind of job with another ministry, but it is much the same kind of thing.
This is a young man with a BA, who has taught in schools, has worked for General Motors, has worked for two or three of the ministries. We cannot find anything in his work record that says this person is not ambitious, does not work hard, does not do a good job, has not succeeded at the jobs he has been able to get. But again, he seeks to better himself and cannot. The jobs are not available, not for want of trying but for the very simple and unfortunate reason that jobs are not there.
I want to raise a third case, and I think I will use the name in this instance, because the person has had a newspaper story written about her. It is one that I found particularly typical, I guess, of the problems this government has in coming to grips with unemployment. This is a young woman whose name is Gloria Nitchie. She lives in my riding. She is 29 years old and a single mother of three. She lived on mother's allowance and found it is not exactly a bed of roses.
She is a bit of a fighter, so she decided she would try to go back to Durham College to get some retraining, because the common mythology out there -- and of course Durham College, like all our community colleges, is very active in pursuing just this point of view -- is that you should teach people skills that are needed in the marketplace, train them well and get them back into the marketplace. As an observer of the workings of Durham College, I think they really attempt to do that up there.
Gloria is one who did all that. I will bet most members on the opposite side would say in rather blunt terms that she got off her duff. She went back to school; she is trying to learn new skills.
Now, there is not a lot of money in going to Durham College. But Gloria saw up on the college bulletin board a number of programs that were advertised under the Ontario youth secretariat as a summer program that is known as students in personnel. There is not a lot of money involved in this, but the frank reality of it all is that students need work experience if at the end of their community college career they intend to move into a particular field. They cannot go in there just out of community colleges, and all community colleges are aware of this and try very hard to make sure that college courses are connected with whatever industry or business the students are being trained for.
Here is one who has done what I will bet members would all say she ought to do: get off mother's allowance, go back to school, do something useful, get a job, get some job training. There is only one problem with Gloria; Gloria is 29 years of age, and the youth secretariat, of course, does not function for anybody over the age of 24.
This is a bit of a bind, and I thought: "Well, this is a little dumb. She obviously is a student; she is obviously going to a community college. The minister spends all that money to put up posters about all of these programs in the community colleges. All it is going to take to straighten this out is for me to write to the minister responsible."
I got a response. It seems that a couple of years ago under the Human Rights Code you could not have done this, because it would have been called age discrimination. When the revisions to the Human Rights Code were put through, amendments were made that provided for affirmative action programs, and they now provide waivers to the Human Rights Code for certain of the ministries.
In this instance that is apparently what happened. The human rights people said they gave a waiver to the youth secretariat so the youth secretariat said they could not handle it. It strikes me as being unreal that in this day and age a government says it cannot handle this kind of problem, that it cannot admit it has a program in place that it advertises and spends money on and that it is so lockjawed it cannot make an exception or, for that matter, several exceptions to the program. The reply from the minister's office offers the chance for Gloria to go around and look elsewhere and offers some things she already knew, I am sure.
What I find particularly disappointing is that the young man who was in Oshawa, the member for Brantford, is the same member who replied to Gloria. While on the one hand he comes to my town and says to the people in my community , "Here is our government doing good things for people in your community, trying to get people back to work," and we are all supposed to applaud for him -- and we did and do and will again -- on the other hand when he is asked to review the case of an individual who needs some help, his reply is two pages long but in essence means, "Tough luck, too bad, look elsewhere, try somebody else."
That is what I find particularly aggravating about what the government of Ontario is trying to do these days. Can it not understand in simple human terms, without all the numbers, statistics, analyses, growth projections and all that stuff that surrounds the budget, that the unemployed are not numbers? They are people who require some help.
I am not asking that the government of Ontario design 300,000 individual programs. I am simply saying could they not develop the capacity, the warmth, the humanity to respond to somebody like Gloria Nitchie? Could they not find some way to take the programs and the rules and make them fit the needs of an individual? It appears they cannot and that is a shame.
I want to say a couple of other things about need. All of us who have spoken to this budget talked about the need for things in our ridings, in places we have all been recently when we were back home during the break period. We went through our schools, our hospitals, institutions of different kinds and we saw the paint peeling off the walls. We saw the need at Durham College for expanded facilities to do this kind of retraining program. We saw in our schools that there was a need for capital equipment and repairs. With our municipal people, we saw there was a need to build bridges and fix roads. We know about layoffs. Even teachers are being laid off these days, which is unusual I admit, but it is real and it hurts a teacher just as much as an auto worker. There is absolutely no difference between the two groups that I can see.
We know there are very real needs in every one of our communities. I have not heard anybody here make a pitch for some grandiose project. As I have listened to the replies to the budget, I have heard a constant stream of people saying: "Do not do dumb things. We do not want big programs about this, that and the other thing. We want you to come and fix my school, my hospital."
Is there anybody here who has not been faced lately by someone saying: "My wife was in the hospital across the road from this Legislature. The paint is peeling off the wall. Can they not afford to paint a hospital room any more?" The truth is, they cannot.
Is there anybody here who has not talked to someone in a community college or university and had it put to him fair and square that the government has been squeezing the very lifeblood out of our colleges and universities for a five- or six-year period and there is no more to be squeezed? Is it any wonder the veterinary college at Guelph is having a little trouble with its certification? It should not be to anybody here; we should all understand that by now.
People are not making a plea that we spend tax dollars stupidly. We could all find some pretty stupid projects that have been undertaken by all levels of government. People are saying there are very real needs.
I am looking at municipal budgets now that have been faced with substantial squeezes; things such as libraries. Library boards across Ontario were told they are not going to get any more than five per cent. For some strange reason, they assumed the payments to library boards next year would probably not give them a lot but would give them the five per cent. Now I am told they are going to get nothing. They may get what they got last year, but they will not get any increase. That is a little unreal.
I know people can make all kinds of arguments, such as: Libraries are not essential; they are not top priority with the government any more; we have cut back facilities for blind and deaf students so we have to cut back there; the same meanness should apply to other places. It is reaching the absurd.
I have listened to government members talking about the closing of institutions. Some government members, particularly ministers of the crown, seem to say, "This is a good thing. We have to close down institutions, but do not close mine." There are some who would be unkind and say that is just being selfish for the needs of ones own riding or ones own political gain.
I honestly do not think so. I believe individual members know their constituencies reasonably well. They know what works and what does not work in their community. When some ordinary Conservative member stands up in the Legislature and presents a petition which says, "Do not close this thing; it works; it is needed in my community." the government ought to pay some attention. It should take that as a sign that there are some things wrong with what it calls a restraint program, there are some things that hurt individuals and that the government is not doing the right thing about them. Unfortunately I do not see much of a response.
As I look through the budget that is here, I see, both in print and in what ministers say, a constant movement of costs and of responsibility on to the municipal tax base. As I read the clippings as they come in, I see boards of education taking a lot of flak around Ontario because they must by law raise tax dollars to provide programs this Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) says they must provide though they cannot afford to do it. The actual tax dollars they get from Ontario are remaining about the same, with the percentage declining substantially. There is a bump at the municipal level.
I see many municipalities trying to respond and, of course, they can. They could shut down the system, there is no question about that. They can and in many cases have shut down, they have laid people off and they have stopped doing things because they have to hold the line on property taxes because the system will not take any more.
We do have those needs. They are identified in every municipal budget I have looked at in the last few years. They can easily be identified by members from all sides of this House in their own ridings. I do not think there is any question that one could, if one wanted, take another look at unemployment, take another look at the needs of people across Ontario and provide a rather different kind of budget than we have here.
I am interested in some of the things that were almost thrown away, not said at the tail end of this budget. One small thing was dropped at the end of it. The Treasurer was making his argument about fiscal responsibility and good credit ratings and all of that. At the end of his budget statement he said, "But we have to cut $300 million in order to bring this budget in line with only a $2.7-billion deficit."
I find it rather remarkable for someone to preach restraint, to say a credit rating is the most important thing in the world and the deficit is under the $3-billion mark -- to say at the front end of a budget that it is $2.7 billion -- and then at the back end of a budget, "All we have to do to make the thing work, folks, is cut another $300 million from the ministry."
There is no pleasant way to say this. That $300 million is going to come out of the hides of the residents of Ontario, even those who voted Tory. That means the school boards, municipalities and community colleges which at the front end of this budget may get something good and be among the lucky ones getting a little help with Canada-Ontario employment development programs or benefiting a bit from manpower training programs, should know now the $300 million will be coming out of their tails at the end of the system. They may be very grateful and happy when the minister arrives with the cheque to build a new building, but they had better know there is a chunk of money coming out of the system by the end of this process. That, I think, is a pretty tough way for the Treasurer to present what appears on the surface to be not a controversial budget.
A couple of other things struck me in here. He has mused and mused in other quarters that the end is near for property tax credit. Members may recall that this program was introduced some years ago and "this and other progams," he says, "are things which need to be reviewed." I could list some government programs under way now that do not appear to be working particularly well. I could give chapter and verse on a number of things this government is doing which I think the world could live without. There are a lot of things Ontario spends money on which do not appear to me to be necessary and which the Treasurer could chop. It seems to me particularly ironic, at the same time he is loading on to the municipal property tax base more programs and more requirements, that this seems to be one of his prime targets for removal of programs.
It seems fairly clear to me in the latter part of the budget -- and one really has to read its fine print to find these things -- that the government of Ontario, and in particular the Treasurer, have at least put on the table the threat to extend the wage control program. I do not think there is any question this pretty controversial program, which was brought in to save the nation federally and to save the province provincially last fall, is something whose full impact we have yet to see.
We do not yet know how many people are going to get targeted by this; we do not yet know whether the Anti-Inflation Board will be a particularly effective group of folks or not too effective. I think my guess would be that it will not be effective, that at the end of this wage control period it will propose a motion to extend. Of course, in the second year, when we see this legislation introduced, one of the much-needed things we could do is bring in a garbage truck to handle the members' waste paper and to take the extraneous members out of the chamber.
I think there is very little question that there are needs that could be identified in each of our communities, and that if one looks at the small print in this budget, there are things yet to come. On the surface of it, people will look now and see that the price of a pack of cigarettes has gone up and the price of booze has gone up. Most people in Ontario will look at that and say, "So what; they always do that to me." Then they look at an Ontario health insurance plan premium and say, "So what; these guys are always jamming that one at me." Then they look at a surtax on income for a social services program, and say, "It is new, but they are just sticking it to me in a slightly different way."
I think they ought to be more interested, though, in the very concepts that are put in the back end of this budget: that somewhere, $300 million is going to come out of it; somewhere, programs are going to get pulled at the last moment to make the books balance; somewhere, without question, there will be an extension of wage controls in the public sector. That, I think, is a rather unusual way, to put it politely, to prepare Ontario for economic recovery.
I want to say something about the response of the budget to unemployment, because again, like the proposals from the youth secretariat, young people are recognized as being a major problem of unemployment. There is a response, and I suppose now the Treasurer and all the members opposite will go around Ontario saying: "Yes, we did something for youth. We did something for the municipalities. We extended this Canada-Ontario employment development program. we are going to build some new things, we are going to do some manpower training."
That is true. There is just enough of that kind of programming in this budget for the members opposite to go around Ontario, or stand in the Legislature and say, "Well, we have a program for youth." Never mind, like the case I outlined before, this deals with 36 people out of 12,000 unemployed. Never mind whether or not it works, we have a program.
I think in large measure the responses to unemployment that are contained in this budget are just simply that: they are meant to be a political response. They are designed so that ministers of the crown and others can say, "We responded." From their point of view it does not matter whether or not they work, it does not matter whether they do anything to relieve unemployment. It really does not matter either whether they do anything to turn the economy around. What matters is that there is a program, a brochure, a pamphlet, a poster, something that justifies saying, "We did something, never mind what." That, I think, is tragic because that is rather typical of what the government of Ontario has tried to do for a number of years.
There is one other thing that disturbs me immensely about what this government has done to the budgetary process and to the taxation process in the course of several budgets -- not all at once, but over half a dozen of our budgets. It has found a group of folks it wants to tax, people with lunch buckets under their arms, people who work in offices and factories and businesses, people who get a regular weekly paycheque. It wants them and it is going to zap them in as many ways as it can.
Of course we have theoretical arguments about what is a fair tax and what is not a fair tax. I must admit, the opposite side has taken a rather unique view of how to tax people. The first rule of their process is: do not call it a tax, find another name; call it a surtax, maybe. There is one of those in the 1983 budget. It is new and different, and people will take a little while to figure out what that is. Call it a premium; it does not matter whether it has anything to do with health care or not. Call it another name and collect it.
Their favourite one, which they use extensively now, is one that has nothing to do with them from the public's point of view. That is to say, with all those little manipulations that happened at the gas pump -- where some guy in a Gulf jacket comes out, pumps gas in your car and collects a whole lot of tax money for Ontario -- it is tough for the average motorist to figure out that the Treasurer of Ontario is grabbing his tax dollar when a guy in a Gulf jacket is pumping gas in his car. It is tough to make that point. One does not see the Treasurer of Ontario out there grabbing pennies off you, but he is.
It is tough when one goes into a smokeshop now to see that the reason a pack of smokes costs $2 is that governments, federally and provincially, decided this was a major source of revenue and they ought to grab as much as they can. We should not get too hypocritical about this; these are not taxation measures designed to convince the population to quit smoking for health reasons. These are taxation measures to grab a lot of money out of the little folk; it is as simple as that.
The same goes for the price of booze, which this government has turned into a major taxation source. The fact that it nationalized the sale of booze in retail stores some time ago and purports to be a free enterprise party, is another matter we will deal with on another day. What I want to deal with tonight is that it is a major source of revenue. Every month the government raises the price, and in every budget it raises the tax structure. It has now become a government which is really dependent upon the sale of booze and the fact that people will continue to smoke.
In later years the government of Ontario has moved hot and heavy into the numbers racket. It is impressive when one looks in this budget as to how dependent this government has become on the numbers racket in Ontario. If people stopped betting on the ponies, if people stopped buying numbers racket tickets in their various forms, this government would be in financial difficulty. Yet those are not called taxation measures.
They do recognize the impact on the budget in the budgetary paper, but one does not see the Treasurer of Ontario standing in his place saying, "One of my favourite taxes, Lottario, is generating a lot more money for me this year." There is a bit of a distance there.
When one goes to buy a Lottario ticket, it is true it has something to do with Ontario but it is not an agent of the Treasury who is standing there, or an agent of the Ministry of Revenue; it is your local corner guy. He probably has a licence that says he can collect this, pay this tax, get a refund and do all those things, but he is the person who is selling you all of these matters.
Of course, the retail sales tax is on exactly the same model. It is somebody else, other than the government, who is collecting that tax money.
Most of us are people like me who once a year sit down and figure out their income tax. When they get $70 back they somehow feel they have beaten the system. It is rather ironic. Very few members in this chamber, especially on this side of the House, have consultants, lawyers and all that stuff who, three or four times a year, advise us how to do this or that, how to get into this tax shelter and wind up like E. P. Taylor paying no income tax at all.
Most of us are ordinary Joes. The federal and provincial governments get the money out of my paycheque before I get it. I have nothing to say about it. I do not miss the money because I never had it, and once a year I sit down to figure out why I should get $40 back and I feel good.
There is something strange about that psychology. It is rather typically Canadian, but it is true that that is the taxation target; that is the group of people the government wants to get. It wants to get them in as many ways as it can. It wants to nickel and dime them five or six times a day. For most of the members here -- Mr. Speaker, stop and think that you are no different from the population at large out there -- how many times, and in how many different ways did the members put money into the tax coffers of Ontario today?
It would be unusual if it was not half a dozen times a day that the members got nailed. It would be unusual if they could identify once, during the course of a day, when the Ministry of Revenue and the Treasurer of Ontario extracted money from them during that time period. But they did, and they do that consistently and across the board.
I want to say a couple of things around other matters. I think that as well as the process and measures which were described in the budget, what saddens me somewhat is that there is a potential in this province to do things. Again, as with other measures I have described, this government seems to sense what they are.
It senses that one of our greatest weaknesses is we do no research and development in Ontario at all; nada, not a thing. We know it is one of the greatest weaknesses in our industrial sector. We even know what the weaknesses are. We know that in the automotive industry. We do not do any of that stuff here. Still, after all the years of debate, we test in Kapuskasing whether cars will start in cold weather and that is it.
We have a nucleus of an automotive technical development centre in St. Catharines. What has it done? What is its connection with the private sector? Where is the great plan that will use that tech centre to develop our auto industry? It ain't there.
Mr. Wildman: The Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) says we will get it all from the United States.
Mr. Breaugh: One of the most dramatic examples is that in Peterborough they have a robotics centre. So far they have gone to a convention in the United States to sell their product, which they imported from Japan.
There is no connection between the high-tech centres and our industrial development. There is no plan. Somehow we feel that, unlike the Japanese, the Germans and everybody else in this world, we do not need a plan; we will somehow stumble on to success. That is not going to happen; it never will. Until the connections are made between the industrial sector, the public sector and the high-tech centres and we get ourselves together, develop a plan, make the everyday connections between the tech centres and our industrial life, nothing is going to happen.
We will have some trade shows. We will visit Chicago. We will tour the world. We will publish brochures. While we are doing this, the Japanese are going to snow us under with their technology. There is no question in my mind that one of the saddest things in this budget is that a political mention is made of the high-tech centres and absolutely no consideration is given to their utilization. There is no connection between the auto industry in Oshawa run by General Motors and the automotive tech centre; none. We can find a public relations connection if we look hard enough, but that is the extent of it. The day-to-day work in the plant does not change because the government of Ontario set up an automotive tech centre somewhere in the province.
What is tragic about that is the lost potential. There is a chance there, just a chance, that we might take the technology we can develop and do what other countries in the world have done. We should not forget that what happened in Japan was pretty simple; they took technology that came out of the United States. The American auto producer said: "Technology? What the hell are we going to do with technology? We don't need that. We produce cars over here." People who had bright ideas took their thoughts, their designs and their mechanics to another country that put its act together and planned its economy. Now they are back here challenging.
If one went to General Motors, Ford or Chrysler 10 years ago and asked them, "What do you think about the offshore imports?" the answer was the same: "What the hell, they will get nine per cent or 10 per cent of the market. That is it. That leaves us with only 90 per cent of the market. Are we worried? The Volkswagen Beetle is a passing fad. Who is going to buy a funny little Japanese car anyway? That is not what North Americans want." It was not until imports got up to around 20 or 25 per cent of the market in North America that the companies began even to think there might be a problem and the North American auto industry actually might have to do something.
One of the tragedies in this budget is that it says where the tech centres are but it does not indicate the connection between tech centres and our industrial life. It will not indicate where we are going or how we are going to get there. It suggests we should hope that somehow these tech centres will infiltrate into our industrial life and that somehow we will come back in good form. I do not think that is going to happen.
Mr. Wildman: The Minister of Industry and Trade is going to line them all up with the Pentagon.
Mr. Breaugh: Quite possibly.
One of the things that bothers me a bit is that in this budget, and again in Mr. Lalonde's budget, there is some talk of a recovery. There is the usual garbage about having turned the corner and there being light at the end of the tunnel and all that kind of stuff. What recovery? Where?
The member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) said that in his town, and in mine supposedly, the recovery is under way. For some folks, yes. There are some people at General Motors who have now been recalled on a second shift in the truck plant and in other plants. But I want to put it on the line. Even in the auto plant that is back to work, somewhere in the shuffle we lost 2,000 jobs, and it is not through yet. Some of us are back to work, but not all of us. Those who never had a job in the auto plant are still as badly off as they were before GM recalled the second shift.
To say my community is better now is only, to be truthful, to say marginally better. If one talks to the people who have just been called back, who have been back to work now five or six weeks, and asks them, "Do you think this thing has recovered? Have we turned around?" they say: "Hell, no. I am back to work now we are doing a little bit of overtime. But I remember in the fall before the big layoff, we were doing overtime. I remember we were doing double shifts in our truck plant in the fall, and when the yard was full of little trucks, what happened? They shut the plant down. That is what happened." They remember it was not that long ago it happened to them, and they are not sure at all the job they have right now is going to be there six months from now. They are not sure what kind of cars are going to be made in Oshawa in the next 12 months.
We have heard two or three versions of that so far. We do know that people who have a lot of seniority in our plants have lost their jobs. That is not because they did something wrong, but because the jobs are not there any more. There is just no hope. So to talk about recovery is nice and polite, but it is irrelevant; it is not there. To say one can find little indicators in the economic analysis from some writer here or some statistic there, saying we have turned the corner, is premature, to be polite about it.
I want to say a little bit too about productivity because I have heard other members talk about that. I think there are some pretty silly words around, and that is one of them. When one speaks about comparing our auto industry with the Japanese, people say Japanese workers work for less money. The fact is they do not; the wage rates are comparative. Then the value of the yen drops a bit and that hurts.
When one asks how come Japanese organized labour works so well with management, the fact is there are a lot of people in Japan who make cars who are not organized. They have two levels going there. It is true there are some organized workers, but there are a whole lot of unorganized workers too, and there are a lot of considerations about productivity and management which are reasonably sensible propositions.
I like to quote Don Hackworth, the president of General Motors, who said in at least one speech that the number one problem in the Canadian auto industry and in the North American auto industry is not the worker; the number one problem is management. I believe that. I believe we have not changed our management techniques in North America in virtually any of our industrial sectors since the turn of the century. If you cannot run the machines the same way you ran them at the turn of the century, you sure cannot run the work force in the same way.
The lessons have got to be learned, whether people like them or not. Whether it affects the status of the foreman in the plant or the management people who walk through the plant, it is pretty clear to me that if they do not learn some lessons on how to deal with human beings, we are not getting any better, we are getting worse. It was bad enough when the rest of the world was kind of ignorant of this as well, but now there are nations in the world who understand that the relationship between management and worker is an important one. This is not the 17th century; these are not a bunch of coolies the government is dealing with out there. It has to learn to listen and to talk and to lead and to co-operate.
I want to say one or two words on that because I listened to Marc Lalonde at the end of his budget where he went strictly to the private sector and said, "To heck with what organized labour, or unorganized labour for that matter, thinks is a priority. Here is mine: the private sector." Then in Ontario the Treasurer said, "Here is mine: small business."
At the end of all this garbage where they picked one sector of the economy and say, "That is where we are going, that is where our incentives are," then they turn around to all the other sectors in the economy and say: "Now we want all of you kids to get on-side with this. We know we rejected what you had to say when you consulted with the Treasurer previously, we know we did not pay any attention to your needs or your wants or something that would do good for you. We know we went to another group in our society -- the private sector -- and said, 'Here you are, boys, here are all the goodies.'"
After the government has given to one part of our economy all the goodies, then it turns around to all the other parts and says, "Now we want some co-operation." That is dead wrong. If people want to talk about productivity, if they want to talk about co-operation, if they want to talk about changing techniques that involve a good deal of consultation from all sectors, then the government had better design budgets which do that as well. It had better design budgets that are balanced between the private sector and the public sector. It had better design incentives that are fairly distributed across that spectrum and that reflect the things it heard from those people as well.
If the government is not prepared to do that in the development of its economic plan and the development of its budget, then it should stop being so hypocritical as to turn around at the end of all this and say, "Now we want everybody to co-operate." If they want everybody to co-operate, they should start listening to everybody.
I want to conclude on two small points. One is, I have heard some people talk about the private sector and free enterprise. I do not know where they live, but it cannot be Canada. We began as a crown corporation. The history of this country has that mix, integral. How ironic it is that the Conservative Party under Sir John A. Macdonald began one of the largest socialist ventures in the country building a railway line. How ironic that in the Parliament of Canada this morning we are still arguing about the Crow rates, whether the damned railway works or does not work, or charges too much money or does not, and who will get the subsidy and who will not.
There is not a free private enterpriser left in North America. I wish we would all admit that. The only difference is that the little guy that I represent wants a buck and a half this week in terms of an allowance. The guys at the other end of the block in their three-piece suits want a $2-billion exemption for this, that or the other thing, or to set up a trade barrier, or to pay somebody not to produce some goods, or to subsidize this plant or guarantee this loan.
None of us believes in that kind of stuff any more. Members across the way do not, those who run the liquor stores and the hydro and the roads and the sewer systems and Suncor and transportation systems. It is not a free enterprise party, so why do they not admit it? Why do they not say -- and would it not be a useful exercise for all of us to say -- that our needs in Canada have nothing to do with the philosophies of another century?
Why do we not come together? Why do we not try to do some things that do not reflect words that are too simplistic; things that recognize how tough it is, how much need there is for a change in the way we put together a budget, for a change in the way we review a budget, for a change in the way we deal with our economy. I believe that was the chance the Treasurer had and on which he passed.
On motion by Mr. Elston, the debate was adjourned.
INDIAN BAND AGREEMENT
Mr. Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 28(b), the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Henderson) concerning the changes in the draft agreement between the provincial government and the Islington band.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I note with regret, but not a great deal of surprise, that the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development has not come into the House to listen to this debate or to participate and respond. This is really not too surprising. Apparently the governmemlt takes this attitude towards all the questions raised in this manner in this House.
I think it is also indicative of the attitude of the provincial government, which has not seriously tried to finalize the negotiations with the lslington band over compensation for damages and loss of livelihood or new economic development since this process began. The government has been dragging its feet for four years through the negotiations, and it is now more than 13 years since the discovery of mercury pollution in that area.
Today in the House, the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development referred to the statements he made on Tuesday that the changes in the draft agreement with the band "improved the clarity and accuracy of the agreement, but have not altered the major thrust of the agreement."
When faced with the fact that article 2 of the February draft provided for the transfer of the ownership of the land and the buildings for the greenhouse, a $1-million asset, while that article in the new agreement provided only for a 10-year lease of the land and for ownership of the building to revert to Ontario if the agreement with the Ministry of Natural Resources for seedlings was not renewed, the secretary for some reason quoted a paragraph he claimed was part of article 2 on page 4 of the draft agreement. He said this confirmed that all along only a lease was contemplated. He claimed the changes in the new draft were only clarifications.
I have searched through both copies of the draft -- the February draft and the draft the minister referred to on Tuesday -- and the paragraph he quoted in the House today is not included in either draft. When the secretary quoted another paragraph, which he said was on pages 9 and 10 of the draft agreement regarding the rice harvesting agreement, I again searched through both drafts and it is not included either.
I do not know what the minister was reading. Either he was reading part of the covering letter he sent to Chief Mandamin or, more likely, a ministry briefing note that was written for him by some member of his staff to try to explain to him what this was all about.
Mr. Boudria: Unsuccessfully.
Mr. Wildman: I am afraid unsuccessfully. At any rate, what he read was not part of either draft of the agreement. I think it was very inappropriate for the minister to get up and try to give the impression that he was reading from the draft agreement when it is not included in either draft.
No matter how much the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development tries to confuse the issue, the fact remains the provincial government has significantly downgraded the settlement offer that was made to the Islington band at Whitedog. The new offer is not worth nearly as much as the first one and is at least $1 million less in value than the original draft that was signed by Chief Mandamin in March.
This government has failed to meet the challenge to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion which was presented to it by the Islington band in March when it signed the February draft agreement and sent it to the Premier (Mr. Davis) for his signature. Instead, the government, led by the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development and the Minister of Northern Affairs, the member for Kenora (Mr. Bernier), decided to renegotiate the February agreement not with the Islington band but with a citizens committee from Kenora and Ear Falls -- some might say the Kenora riding association of the Progressive Conservative Party.
That group is apparently diametrically opposed to the recognition of the band's aboriginal claims and its rights to compensation for the mercury pollution. As a result of these negotiations with this so-called citizens group, the government rewrote the agreement and came up with a new draft which was presented on Tuesday by the minister. That draft has changed substantively; it is not just clarification of words. It is a substantive change in the agreement proposed. In doing this, the provincial government is forcing the band to seek an adequate settlement through the courts because it is impossible for it to reach an adequate settlement through out-of-court negotiation.
The Provincial Secretary for Resources Development is either not being truthful with the House when he claims the changes incorporated in the new draft are only for clarification, or he is so obtuse that he does not understand the significance of the articles he was referring to.
The House adjourned at 10:37 p.m.