The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: As I am sure the members will know, our party is sponsoring a spring fair on Sunday, May 22, at Harbourfront at the foot of Bathurst Street. It will start at 8:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast and will go until 11 in the evening. There will be music, dancing, soccer and food.
On behalf of the New Democratic Party and all of our members, I extend an invitation to you, sir. In the absence of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson), I will ask the page to give an invitation to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon). In the absence of the Premier (Mr. Davis), I wonder if the page can take this invitation to the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) and simply say to him that, although there will not be a shooting gallery there, he is more than welcome to come.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, if I may reply to the point of order, I want you to know that I will be visiting the Litton Systems exhibit at the spring fair that the NDP are having.
Mr. Speaker: I thank the honourable member for his thoughtfulness. However, I am not sure this falls within the ambit of being completely nonpolitical, nonpartisan or whatever, and I seek your guidance.
NHL FRANCHISE FOR SASKATOON
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Earlier this week my friend the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh), very proudly wearing the sweater of the Oshawa Generals, came before this House, and all members from all sides of this House paid tribute to the Oshawa Generals for their role in the Memorial Cup.
As a member of the Legislature, I am of course very proud of the community I serve, the city of Windsor; but I am also very proud of my birthplace, and that is the great province of Saskatchewan. I am sure all members will be shocked and dismayed, as members of this Legislature representing Ontario, at the actions this week of Harold Ballard and the board of governors of the National Hockey League in rejecting the fine application of that great province for membership in the NHL.
In Windsor, when we want to see NHL hockey, many of us take the opportunity to go across the river to Joe Louis Arena. When teams from Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and the other Canadian cities in the NHL come to Joe Louis Arena, it is a very special occasion for many of us who had our birthplace outside of Windsor and, indeed, outside of Ontario. I am sure the Saskatoon franchise would have enjoyed that same kind of extra dimension when they came to Joe Louis Arena.
We have many hockey players, some of whom play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were born in Saskatchewan. Many of us, including myself, believe the greatest player of them all was a gentleman from Floral, Saskatchewan, Gordie Howe. That spirit would have made the franchise for Saskatoon a great one. It would have added a new dimension, I believe, of Canadian unity.
I hope all members on all sides of this House will join me in suggesting to Mr. Ballard and the other members of the board of governors that they reconsider their very ill-timed decision and grant Saskatoon the franchise that they deserve and that, I am sure, they will live up to.
ATTENDANCE IN HOUSE
Mr. Riddell: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Looking across the House I see that a number of ministers are not here, and it is indicated they will not be here. They include the Premier (Mr. Davis), the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton), the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier), the member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton), who is a Minister without Portfolio, the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Henderson), the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope), the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and the Minister of Education and Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson). I do not see --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Riddell: Does that not substantiate the need for reform around here?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Where is the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson)? Where are all the rest of your guys?
Mr. Riddell: Let us sit Monday to Thursday and do away with these crazy Friday sittings.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Riddell: This is absolutely ridiculous. Let us have a bit of reform.
Mr. Speaker: I might point out to all the honourable members that if there are any changes they will come from the assembly.
Mr. Newman: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Yesterday the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) was in the city of Windsor and he took the time to announce to the public that none of the Windsor members was present at that meeting. I would like to mention to the members of the House and to the public in Ontario that the Minister of Health is absent from the Legislature at this moment.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure all members will take note.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on another point of order: I was quite concerned with something, particularly since you may recall the discussion yesterday on private member's legislation from the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) having to do with the attendance in the House. You can imagine how disconcerted he and his colleagues were when the Minister of Health attending a public function in the member's constituency brought to public attention the fact that the elected members for the area were not at the meeting back home.
I would suggest the fact the member for Essex North raised this as a point of privilege merits some concern in the House. I do not know what else he can do except slap a writ on the guy or something like that, because it really would be infuriating where a minister of the crown goes down there in some blooming limousine, goes to a meeting in the member's own area and criticizes the fact the member is not there, when the member is back here in the House doing his duty, which I submit is the principal duty for all of us as elected members, including the members of the administration.
Mr. Speaker: Your point is well taken. I try to be as lenient as I can in dealing with alleged points of order and points of privilege. However, I think in order to preserve some order and the decorum of the House, rulings have to be made, perhaps not in strict compliance, but in compliance with the standing orders. Having said that, I think you made your point extremely well on behalf of your colleague.
The minister did address himself to the problem and offered the explanation that he made the remarks somewhat facetiously, tongue in cheek and so on. Having said that, I presume the matter is dealt with.
Mr. Newman: Mr. Speaker, if I could talk to that, I would like to point out to the House that the minister isn't in his seat right now --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the member please resume his seat.
I just point out that is an example of what l am trying to deal with. That matter was raised earlier. You made your point, and I allowed you to make your point.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
MCMICHAEL CANADIAN COLLECTION
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to announce this morning to the House that the McMichael Canadian Collection will reopen on Monday, May 23, as promised by me before a committee some months ago. I would like to take this opportunity to invite all members of the assembly to attend this event. In addition to special festivities at the gallery and in the town of Kleinburg there will be a parade featuring antique cars, free concerts, marching bands and plenty of entertainment for the children. All in all, it will be a Victoria Day picnic.
This is going to be a festive reopening for a world-class art gallery that is one of Ontario's major tourist attractions. The McMichael Canadian Collection is unique in North America. With a design that complements its setting in the beautiful Ontario countryside, it is a jewel among this province's cultural institutions. Equally important, it is one of the finest collections of the work of the Group of Seven and represents a vital period in Canadian art when a definite Canadian consciousness began to appear.
We would not have this fine collection of Canadian art had it not been for the generosity and vision of Robert and Signe McMichael. In short, Bob McMichael had a dream and he has realized it. The collection now can be seen and enjoyed to its best advantage thanks to the foresight of the trustees in undertaking the needed renovations. In this regard, I wish to extend a special word of appreciation to Mr. J. Allyn Taylor for his outstanding service as chairman of the board as well as to all other members of that board. I would also like to compliment the staff at the McMichael gallery for their hard work.
The trustees and the staff of the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture have expended a great deal of effort in making the building safe for both the public and the collection. The gallery is now up to world-class standards. The environment for the art works has been vastly improved. The humidity control and the air conditioning will greatly reduce the potential deterioration of the collection and will extend its life for many decades.
All the renovations have been in keeping with the original architectural design. The character and charm of the gallery that attracted so many people not only has been maintained but also has been enhanced. The real success of the renovations lies in the fact that despite all the changes, repairs and functional additions, the integrity of the original building remains.
I might point out one major improvement that has been made. The whole building is now fully accessible to persons in wheelchairs by means of a series of specially designed ramps.
When the gallery closed, I, along with other members of this assembly, was concerned about the economic impact of that closing on local merchants, for we knew what a major role the gallery had played in the economy of Kleinburg and the surrounding area of Vaughan township.
For this reason, my ministry condensed the rebuilding period. While this increased the cost to the government, it meant that in the long run less revenue would be lost to that community.
The residents and merchants throughout this period were extremely well served in this regard by their representative, the member for York North (Mr. Hodgson), who worked very hard and continues to do so to assist in that area.
I am pleased to announce the gallery's reopening in time for the summer tourist season. The McMichael Canadian Collection will continue to contribute greatly to the local economy.
In closing, I hope the honourable members and others will join with me on Victoria Day in celebrating this event.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I have been advised that the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) was in Windsor yesterday and last night, and apparently he was very critical that the three or four members who represent that area were not at the function he was attending. I want to assure you, Mr. Speaker, and the minister --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Ruston: -- that we look after the area, but when there's business to be done in this House --
Mr. Speaker: Will the honourable member please resume his seat?
An hon. member: He's correcting the record.
Mr. Speaker: There is no record to correct.
Mr. Martel: Talk about sleaziness; Larry, you're getting better every day.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Be careful or I'll go to your riding.
Mr. Martel: Well, why don't you come?
Mr. McClellan: Just stay out of Bellwoods.
Mr. Martel: He's teaching you how to be sleazier.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He's teaching you how to be a good member.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
FORT HENRY GUARD
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation has achieved remarkable success in promoting the tourism industry with the "Ontario -- Yours to discover" marketing campaign.
But strong marketing of the province as a travel destination is only part of the package my ministry deems of essential importance to maintaining the success of this industry. Our product must be continually upgraded if we are to attract more foreign visitors and encourage our own residents to spend more in the province, rather than travelling elsewhere.
Therefore, we have made available a wide range of financial assistance programs; in fact, provincial investment in this key sector of our economy totalled $44.7 million in 1982-83.
Today I am happy to announce a grant of $335,300 to expand the guard at Old Fort Henry from 111 men to 141 men over the next two years. This grant is being provided under the federal-provincial eastern Ontario subsidiary agreement.
The increasing popularity of the Fort Henry guard as a travelling drill unit both in Canada and abroad has made expansion of the guard a priority. The EOSA grant will assist in the creation --
Mr. Martel: Did General Walker influence you?
Mr. Rae: Is Walker in charge of this brigade?
Mr. Speaker: Order. Never mind the interjections, please.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: This is tourism.
The EOSA grant will assist in the creation of another guard unit, which would be available for travelling engagements and for additional military displays at the fort, including a third Ceremonial Retreat night. Marketing studies of the Kingston area show that surrounding tourist industries benefit markedly on the evenings of the retreat.
In addition, the travelling unit is expected to have a similar positive economic impact by drawing attention to the unique attributes of eastern Ontario as a travel destination.
This grant is but one example of the positive role the government of Ontario has assumed to stimulate the tourism industry.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, just before the question period, I think in the very fine tradition of the House and perhaps because there is a bit of superstition among horse players -- after all, a couple of weeks ago we did wish the --
Mr. Ruston: Here they go, around the bend. What have you got bet on him?
Mr. McClellan: We don't have the covering statement. The standing order requires it.
Hon. Mr. Drea: It really dazzles me that people on the other side of the House will turn their noses down at an industry that employs 40,000 people. They keep walking into it time after time.
Two weeks ago this Legislature --
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: We do not have a copy of this ministerial statement as required by the standing orders.
Mr. Speaker: Obviously, the minister has risen on a point of privilege.
Mr. R. I. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, if he does not have a ministerial statement, he could at least share the Racing Form with us.
Hon. Mr. Drea: To reply to the last one, for many years it has been well known that my best friend is the Racing Form, and I am very particular about who I share my best friend with.
On a serious note, two weeks ago I rose in my place to draw attention to a very fine representative of Ontario in a world-class event, one that was relatively unknown. Two weeks later, Sunny's Halo is not only the toast of Canada and of Ontario but also one of the toasts of the United States.
In the light of some of the things that were said earlier about what happened to Saskatoon when it was unfortunately denied the right to be in world-class competition, perhaps people in the United States will take another look at what can be accomplished north of the border.
The people of Ontario are very proud of this horse, and I am sure the representatives of the people of Ontario will want to extend to Mr. Foster, the owner, to Mr. Cross, the trainer, and to Mr. Delahoussaye, the rider, all the best in tomorrow's Preakness. Those three people, particularly the two Canadians, Mr. Foster and Mr. Cross, have been first-class representatives of this province. They have brought distinction to this province, along with their horse, Sunny's Halo.
As always, nothing comes easy for a Canadian. He has to come out of the 11 hole tomorrow, which is relatively difficult. One will not get much money at the end of one and three sixteenths miles but, if one has some mortgage money, I would put the mortgage on him because we are going to see the red and white stripes flashing well past the 16th pole and bringing more distinction to an industry in this province that has worked in co-operation with the government, with the public and with a self-help program to establish itself as one of the world leaders.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, as to your decision that mine was not a point of privilege, it was certainly more a point of privilege than that was.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, one hardly knows where to begin.
Mr. Kolyn: Take your choice.
Mr. Conway: I will take my choice, such as it is on this Friday morning. I have a question for my friend the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mindful of the just-read injunctions of our friends the Minister of Citizenship and Culture (Mr. McCaffrey) and the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz) to discover Ontario, whether it be in Kleinburg, Kingston or many points in between, does the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations not share with me and millions of others in Ontario a sense of indignation and outrage that, on this first long weekend of the spring-summer season, the retail price of gasoline in the province has doubled in many communities? My colleague the member for Haldimand-Norfolk (Mr. G. I. Miller) tells me that in part of his constituency the retail price has gone from something in the order of 16 cents a litre to 47 cents a litre.
We have heard the minister's comments in connection with this subject on a number of earlier occasions. But given the fact that literally hundreds of thousands of Ontarians are momentarily about to take their automobiles to discover Ontario, is the minister satisfied that the consumers of gasoline in Ontario are not being gouged on this long weekend and that what we are seeing here is not the vagaries of the marketplace but something much more negative and something much more directed at extracting from the consumers as much as those oil companies can on weekends when they know the demand for their product is going to be very high?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think the member for Renfrew North and I share an understanding that neither of us is a fortune teller or can see into the future -- although both of us happen to believe in the tooth fairy; I agree on that.
Let me also say that I cannot predict what will happen this weekend in the marketplace, but I can say that the Conference Board of Canada, an agency the honourable member's party speaks very highly of, stated as recently as yesterday or the day before that we have now seen a stabilization in gasoline prices and predicted that they may well go down. I know he accepts whatever the Conference Board says, because he has said so many times during a recent election.
But that is not to say there are not great variations in gasoline prices throughout the province. We all understand that. As he has said, there are often good marketplace reasons for that. We also know there has been some concern expressed by many people about the overall marketing practices in the petroleum industry, and that is currently the subject of an inquiry being carried out by the federal government. That is clearly the place it has to be looked at.
Mr. Martel: How long are you going to hang on to that one?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The member does not like to hear the truth, does he?
Mr. Martel: How long are you going to use that flimsy excuse?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Conway: Would the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations not agree that the millions of Ontarians about to consume gasoline in this province this weekend are more than a little bit justified at the suspicion they harbour about why retail prices are so exceptionally high on this weekend relative to just a few days ago?
Is the minister satisfied that there is not gouging taking place on this weekend, as his fellow Ontarians wish to discover Ontario? Will he give an undertaking to investigate the circumstances in this province this very week to ensure that what we are seeing is the dynamics of the marketplace and not the kind of gouging that many of us feel is taking place?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I have no reason to believe that we are going to be seeing gouging; that does not mean there will not be. Certainly if there is any business practice that takes place in the community which needs to be looked at, we are always prepared to consider it.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, in the circumstances the minister talked rather fatuously about the prices coming down. I think the minister should know the facts.
We have done a survey of gas stations across the province over the past couple of days. It shows that in Windsor, St. Thomas, Toronto, Kingston, Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Elliot Lake, Kitchener, Waterloo, Ottawa, Cornwall, Lindsay, Peterborough and Sault Ste. Marie the price increases have been as high as 50 per cent and that right now the prices are ranging somewhere between 46 and 50 cents a litre, whereas recently they had been as low as 25 or 30 cents a litre or even 20 or 22 cents.
As the minister responsible for protecting the consumers of this province with respect to prices, does he not think he has an obligation to defend consumers with respect to retail prices in this province? He cannot fob it off on the federal government. He cannot fob it off on the Liberals. He has an obligation to the consumers of Ontario to see that they are not being taken advantage of on this long weekend.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that it is nice to speak with different tongues on different occasions, and I know the honourable member would like us to duplicate all the efforts that are being carried out in the national interest. But we do not propose to do that sort of thing. We believe the royal commission that is being carried on at present with respect to oil pricing and marketing is addressing the issues that he is concerned about and that we are concerned about. We have written to the minister to tell him of our concerns.
Mr. Rae: A whole letter? What happened?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Conway: From a government that was happy to spend millions analysing media violence, which was a federal responsibility, it is hard to accept that it is always anxious to restrict itself to its own local jurisdiction.
That having been said, might I ask my friend the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations to share with this House the specifics of his letter to the federal government? When did he write the minister? What did he indicate was the measure of his concern? In his letter did he specifically indicate that the Yo-Yo syndrome is having a deleterious impact on much of the small business sector in this province that is involved in pumping gasoline?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The Yo-Yo syndrome? That is not a medical term I understand. Is that a Renfrew North term? I have heard of the suck and blow syndrome. Is this a new one?
I indicated to the minister that we had some concerns about pricing practices and about wide variations in prices and that it was our sincere wish that those matters be addressed by the royal commission as it proceeded with its hearings.
Mr. Speaker: New question, the member for Renfrew North.
Mr. Conway: Needless to say, we would like to see a much more active role by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, whom we expect to perform more vigorously in this connection.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health. We are mindful that it was more than a year ago that the government of Ontario announced in a speech from the throne that Ontario "will be developing special advanced training programs for ambulance personnel and begin the establishment of a province-wide program of utilization of these services."
That was more than a year ago. We are all aware that in recent days there have been loud and, in my view, justifiable complaints by many in the medical hospital community --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I have to ask the honourable members please to restrict their private conversations. If they have private conversations, conduct them outside the House, please.
Mr. Conway: The minister is aware that in recent days in this city there have been many loud and, in my view, justifiable complaints, but all we have seen from the Minister of Health in the intervening 13 or 14 months have been promises of blueprints and suggestions that more study be developed. So great is the frustration that even Dr. Robert McMurtry at Sunnybrook Medical Centre is reported as having said that he is fed up with blueprints and smokescreens.
How many more people are going to be put in jeopardy while blueprints and smokescreens represent all the government's commitment? When is the promise of the 1982 speech from the throne going to be lived up to? When are we in Ontario going to see an active paramedic program, which is being called for by all parts of the medical and health community?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, that was really a terrific four-minute speech, as I timed it, asking when we are going to start to train paramedics. The answer to that, without taking the time of this House to give not an equally eloquent speech but a lengthy explanation, is that the cabinet committee on social development approved the paramedic program last week, and that paper is on its way to Management Board, which will deal with it perhaps next week or the week after.
Mr. Conway: Can the minister be more specific and more helpful to the thousands of people who will be on the roads and highways of Ontario this weekend, and indeed to people like Dr. Robert McMurtry and others whose frustration is broadcast on this occasion about the lack of government action? When specifically are we going to have the beginnings of that program?
Would he care to comment on the statements attributed to Mr. Enright of his ministry that it cannot be implemented until all kinds of additional infrastructure are put in place? Would he care to comment specifically with respect to Metropolitan Toronto on what we are lacking in this community at this time to prevent an immediate implementation of a much-needed and properly called for paramedic program?
Mr. Speaker: Would the minister address himself just to the question and not the comments?
An hon. member: Oh, come on. That's not fair.
Mr. Speaker: Well, maybe not.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Metropolitan Toronto is just about ready, though not entirely, for a paramedic program which will be totally helpful. One of the major deficiencies is that Metropolitan Toronto lacks the cardio-pulmonary resuscitation training for at least 20 per cent of the population. If we had 20 per cent trained in CPR, which we do not -- we are not even close -- the numbers of lives that could be saved that the doctors were talking about in the newspaper would be real numbers. I refer to people whose lives could be saved after having suffered some cardiac problem.
Without CPR training, without a citizen getting to a heart attack victim within four minutes, an ambulance arriving in six or seven minutes, which they usually do, will not help at all. It does not matter what emergency-medical-care training the person on the ambulance has -- whether the person is an EMCA 1, EMCA 2, EMCA 3, paramedic or a doctor -- unless someone is there providing CPR in the first four minutes.
That is one of the reasons we have been trying to encourage municipalities to do all the other things they have to do. If they will do that, then, depending on my Management Board of Cabinet submission, we will be ready to put paramedics on ambulances so we will have an effective and useful system. It is that simple.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, does the minister not understand the heads of emergency departments at four major hospitals in Metro Toronto have completely repudiated the nonsense he has just uttered? I refer specifically to Dr. Rowed, Dr. McMurtry, Dr. Borden and Dr. Hastie. They have completely repudiated this nonsense about the necessity of having all these elaborate additional systems in place before a paramedic program can be established.
Would the minister specifically comment on a conversation we had with Dr. Rowed just before question period? He said to us that as of today the hospitals in London, Hamilton, Kingston and Toronto have the necessary sophistication to support a paramedic program. With $1 million today, he could put 10 rigs on the road and guarantee a saving of life. Why does the minister continue to pretend he has to do a zillion peripheral things?
We know that in Vancouver one in three cardiac arrest victims leaves the hospital. In Kingston, which does not have a paramedic program, a recent study of 65 cardiac arrest victims indicated that none of them left the hospital.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I could take the rest of the question period to discuss those statistics and other statistics which would prove that in terms of the --
Mr. McClellan: Why don't you listen to the doctors instead of your own bureaucrats?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member mentions certain doctors. Dr. Rowed is deeply involved in this program, as is Dr. McMurtry, largely because of the initiative of Dr. Psutka who works for our ministry. He has involved them so we in the ministry could tap the expertise those doctors have. That is why they are so well informed about the state of our activity. That is why they are urging that we now move in those areas that we believe we now have succeeded in moving in.
Dr. Psutka has explained to the doctors who are making this point this morning that if we have paramedics in those hospitals they should be made useful. I hope these doctors are indicating, after the work they have done with our ministry, that their own hospitals and their colleagues working in other hospitals are prepared to do the necessary things to make paramedics useful.
The member sat through estimates and heard Dr. Psutka go through emergency health care at some length. As he well knows, paramedics must be in radio contact with an emergency physician in a base hospital. Then the acts which are delegated to those paramedics can be done under the direct supervision of a medical doctor who has special training in emergency care. Without that we cannot have the paramedic service.
Are those doctors prepared to say the hospitals in which they work and other hospitals in which their colleagues work are now ready to do several things? Are they prepared to rationalize their facilities so there is a base hospital for all trauma and cardiac victims? Are they prepared to have one hospital shift its activities to another so we can have that contact?
Are we hearing from these doctors that they are prepared in their hospitals to have emergency-trained physicians in the emergency room 24 hours a day in minute-to-minute contact with all paramedics? Without that, the training paramedics get to deliver delegated medical acts cannot be exercised.
Mr. Conway: Is the minister saying that Drs. Rowed, McMurtry and Hastie are wrong in saying they are ready to go with that paramedic program in this city now?
Given what the minister said earlier about the need for additional work, could he explain the reason for his recent letter? This letter, which is only three or four weeks old, was written to the Niagara Regional Area Health Council turning down their request for training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. If I recall correctly, he said in his letter that it was premature. How does he square that rejection with his earlier statement that there is more that needs to be done by way of training and education?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It is a different problem in the Niagara Regional Area Health Council. They have the CPR training there. In fact, it is one of the best programs in the province for CPR coverage of the population.
Mr. Bradley: It's the funding we need.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, it is not the funding, it is the other things we have talked about that are in place in Toronto, such as the 911 central ambulance dispatch and the tiered response. I have acknowledged and agree that those doctors are ready in Toronto and perhaps Hamilton. Those are the two communities that those doctors and Dr. Psutka in our ministry agree are just about ready.
I only point out this morning that in order for it to have the kind of effectiveness that everyone believes it is going to have with cardiac victims, we are not going to get those numbers without CPR training of 20 per cent of the population. That is the reality.
SAFETY STANDARDS IN MINING INDUSTRY
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to ask a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) and I hope he will come back. I will go to a question of the Minister of Labour.
I am sure the minister is aware of the death of Gary Guilbeault at Stanleigh mine in Elliot Lake that I asked him about last week. The coroner's inquest gave its recommendations on Tuesday evening and I am sure the minister is also aware of that.
According to the coroner, the recommendations are basically twofold: that regulations be drawn up to provide for better lighting, for safety devices, for distinctive markings on the curtains; and -- this is important -- that employers in the mining industry enforce strict conformity with basic safety rules with all personnel and particularly with operators of these kinds of vehicles.
First, I would like to ask the minister if the government is going to be moving ahead to amend the mining regulations to conform to the recommendations of the coroner's inquest? Second, and particularly, is it going to be moving with respect to requiring employers to enforce the safety standards that have been developed?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, the honourable leader of the third party has brought forward several excellent points. The matter is being looked at very closely within our ministry at the present time. When I say "the matter," I am referring to the recommendations coming out of the inquest. We hope to be able to answer it in more detail in a few days' time. In the meantime, I have prepared a letter which is on its way to the member in respect to his earlier questions about the tragic fatality.
Mr. Rae: The minister will also be aware that one of the questions that is very much at issue, not only in this tragic instance but in many others that have occurred in the last few years, is the question as to whether underground vehicles should be required to have safety roll bars. Does the minister not feel that sufficient evidence was produced at the coroner's inquest in this case -- as well as the six deaths which have occurred since 1976 and eight other unusual occurrences which involved the lack of a roll bar -- to mean that underground vehicles as well as vehicles that are operating above ground should have these roll bars so we will not have tragic deaths occur such as occurred last week at Elliot Lake?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: The matter of roll bars is under consideration and deliberation at the present time.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, could the minister explain why Ted Tuori, one of the ministry inspectors who testified at the inquest, stated that this particular ventilation door had never been inspected and it was not until the accident investigation that it was inspected? This new type of door, which had a safety device which was then removed, had never been inspected by the ministry. Why is the ministry not complying with regulation 3 of the mining regulations which requires inspections of new installations such as this?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, that comment by the inspector was noted. We are investigating the reasons for his statement and the reasons for the door not being adequately inspected.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I want to return to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and ask about the incredible leap in gasoline prices that has taken place over the last while. Peace has been declared very conveniently just prior to the long weekend.
Given that in 1975 his government took action with respect to retail prices in the gas field and given that the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs in Ottawa, with whom he is in constant correspondence, it would appear, has stated in the House of Commons on a number of occasions that in his view the federal government does not have jurisdiction with respect to retail prices in the gas sector, does the minister not think he has a clear obligation -- instead of giving the consumers of this province the runaround, the old provincial-federal shell game that simply leaves them out in the cold -- to take action with respect to retail prices, particularly since his own government was prepared to move some eight years ago?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, the member for York South and I have discussed this issue on other occasions. It is nice to have the opportunity to review it again with him, now that he is back from Dallas. How were the gas prices down there? Everything all right? Did the world look well down there? He came back through Washington. Is the world all right there too?
I am not trying to minimize the impact that the great variation in the price of gas has on individual consumers. I like to think, though, that members understand the consumer price index has been influenced largely by the price wars that have been taking place; we all understand that. They have not been healthy in some areas for some dealers. Many dealers are in great financial difficulty as a result of the price wars, and the member knows that. If he is suggesting that those dealers are gouging people, he should stand up and say so, and let us hear from them about whether they feel they are gouging the public.
Mr. Martel: The dealers have no control.
Mr. Rae: It is not the dealers and the minister knows that.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I know the member does not like the story. He just likes to be on some side that is criticizing nobody except the government. He knows the dealers have had a very difficult time during the price wars and the change in gas prices recently has been related to the diminution of those gas price wars. He knows the federal government may say what it wishes about this, but it has instituted a royal commission to look into this issue. If the member is suggesting we should duplicate that, I think he is talking about wasting taxpayers' money by such duplication.
Mr. Rae: The minister knows perfectly well there is no royal commission to discuss this question. He knows the commission of inquiry that has been established is dealing with a completely different question from this question of retail prices. The minister should stop the smokescreen, stop the smoke and mirrors. It has nothing to do with what is going on today.
With respect to retail prices, does the minister know whether the oil companies have been phoning the dealers? We are not singling out the dealers at all; we are singling out the oil companies. We are looking at the oil companies and the impact they are having on retail prices. Is the minister prepared to look at the question of retail pricing and price practices in this province, right across the province -- northern Ontario, southern Ontario, isolated communities and urban communities -- and to come up with a fair deal for the consumers of this province? Is he prepared to do that or is he not?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I think the preface to the question really was, "Are you going to stop beating your wife?" The issue really is --
Hon Mr. Drea: Are you?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I never did beat her, so that is not a problem for me. I do not know whether the minister -- no, he does not do that either. My wife beats me up on occasion.
First, I do not start out with the assumption of the member that the dealers and all the other people involved in the distribution of petroleum products are out to gouge people. I think by and large we have been well served by the process that is in place.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is with regard to the answer the minister gave to the first question of the leader of the New Democratic Party about retailers setting the price. Is the minister not aware that retailers have nothing to do with setting the price, that the company calls them and tells them what to sell it for?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am aware there are company policies. I am also aware that the dealers do have some options with respect to levels.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows very well that neither I nor my leader is suggesting it was the gasoline retail dealers who were gouging the public. The minister must know that the price war was manipulated by the major oil companies --
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Swart: -- to put the squeeze on both the independent distributors and the independent dealers. Independent dealers, by and large, were not getting the same low price from the big oil refining companies that the direct outlet or commission agents were; thus, they could not compete and they lost business. One of the companies that is the worst at squeezing out the independent retailers is Suncor. It has a conscious policy now of not renewing licences and then of going into direct selling itself.
If the minister cares at all about the small independent business people in this province, will he do a comprehensive study of the current practices and their effects on the small retail and distributing independents?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I do not think there is any reason for anyone to doubt the concern this government has about the small independents and the dealers and consumers in this province. As I said, I do not start out with the same presumptions those members do, that everybody is always out to gouge everybody else.
CHRONIC CARE FACILITY
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health about some of the announcements he made in Windsor yesterday regarding chronic care facilities in Riverview Hospital. I want to welcome the $1 million he has pledged to keep Riverview Hospital safe with respect to fire standards, at least in the interim. It seems the minister is now a latter-day convert to the need for a new chronic care facility, which we on this side have been pushing for more than a decade.
Given the timetable he has outlined to the hospitals and to the health council to come up with a plan for a new unit, what is the minister's timetable for construction of the facility? Will he provide funding for the capital construction of this facility as soon as the new plan is in place this fall?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, as soon as an agreement is reached we can begin the normal planning process, and the funding will be on our usual format.
Mr. Wrye: The minister knows full well that the normal planning process is one of five, six and up to 10 years. We do not have 10 more years. To upgrade that facility is going to cost $9 million in the next two or three years, and surely when we are talking about $30 million for a new facility we ought to put money where it well belongs.
The minister is quick to place the blame on the hospitals for this, but I want to read from a document I have that reports on the position of the ministry. Dr. Dyer sent a letter to the council last fall saying the figures would indicate, with respect to the need for a new chronic care hospital, that at this time Windsor cannot justify a new chronic care hospital until the conditions stipulated by the ministry can be reached. He went on to say that capital dollars are not available to fund a new chronic care hospital. However, the ministry is supportive of private funding that would also incorporate operating costs.
Will the minister give us a commitment today that this government will provide the financial backing for the construction and operation of a new facility so that our new chronic care hospital is not maintained at the whim of the private marketplace but is part of the overall health care system in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: When I was in Windsor yesterday I predicted the honourable member and his colleagues would jump as quickly as possible to try to take all the credit for what this government had decided to do in the Windsor area and they never let me down.
Mr. Wrye: We won't take credit for that firetrap.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In any case, let me make it clear the statement I made a moment ago stands. When there is agreement and the planning process is undertaken, it does not take seven, eight or nine years. Given the point they are at in Windsor, I would expect to have the facility rebuilt; if everything goes on schedule and if agreement is reached this October, perhaps it will be commenced in another year and a half and completed three or four years from today, depending on the size of the project. Our funding will come in place as always.
I might take this opportunity to say to the member and to his colleague the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) that the comments I made about them were tongue in cheek; the audience appreciated that.
Mr. Wrye: That's not what we heard.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Oh, yes, it is. I noted for them that I knew the member would have been there had he been in town. His friends will tell him that.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, the people of Windsor know who is committed to health care. They also know it was this government that fought for three or four years to try to close the only chronic care facility, Riverview, that we have in the city of Windsor. It was this government that tried from 1975 to 1979 to close that hospital.
We need these chronic care beds urgently in the city of Windsor in view of the backup into both nursing home and unregulated rest home and active treatment beds. It is a problem and is costing the taxpayers money. Also, we need the jobs in the building sector. This facility simply has to be built in the next few years. Why does this government not accelerate that capital works project and build the chronic care hospital that is so desperately needed in the city of Windsor?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I have not seen the Windsor paper this morning but I must have done fairly well yesterday. I have now had three of those members up. If the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. Newman) will get up, it will be a clean sweep.
In order to get it on the record, the member asked me why we do not begin to build the hospital as quickly as possible. My answer is simple. We have indicated that October is the absolute, last cutoff date for all the hospitals and the medical community to come to some agreement, so the ministry can commence its part of the exercise which is to rebuild the facility.
Might I say that on the open-line program in Windsor yesterday morning, I quite enjoyed taking a call from the member's mother who asked some questions he had fed her. She did not identify herself, but she did a credible job in trying to put the New Democratic Party's case forward.
CLOSURE OF CLARKE IRWIN
Mr. Allen: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Trade. As the minister will know, this past week saw an important event in the history of Canadian publishing and the survival of Canadian culture, namely the closure of the publisher Clarke Irwin and Co. Ltd. in this province.
He is also aware there have been two other closures in recent months, that there are 14 other institutions of the same kind being supported by the Ontario Development Corp., and that McClelland and Stewart is in a cash-short situation. Yet the minister is reported to have said, in response to this situation, that receivership was simply one way the province had of protecting its investment.
Given the enormous influence of Canadian publishers in the expression of the traditions, ideals, insights, values and aspirations from which the fabric of our cultural life is woven, does the minister intend to persist in viewing this case, and those of the 14 other publishers supported by ODC, with this simple trust-in-business fundamentalism? Does he propose to protect, in some other fashion I hope, the immense cultural investment we have in Canadian publishing, or is he simply going to place Price Waterhouse patrols in all the corridors and change the locks?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Development Corp. is involved with a number of publishers, but in particular it was involved with the Clarke Irwin company. There was a substantial loan there. In fact, it was a guarantee of $1.5 million which basically grew to $1.6 million.
The bank, in essence, called the loan on it and, with our guarantee, we were required to respond and provide the funds that were asked; $1.5 million of taxpayers' money is not something to be trifled with. We tried to extend with the company as long as possible. We worked with them. We massaged the situation. We tried to do everything humanly possible to cause that firm to come to a situation of profitability. We had projections made by the firm that suggested it could have come to a profitable situation, but nothing was happening and the taxpayers' money was being jeopardized in the process.
It behooved us to respond in a way that recognized the trust the public had given us in terms of its money. This money was there. It is the taxpayers' money. We must protect it. In this case, after extending month after month -- in fact, after extending for a period of close to a year -- we had no choice but to go in and put the firm into receivership. There was absolutely no choice whatsoever. Anybody assessing this from a financial point of view would probably have said, "Why did you not move in sooner?"
Having done that, I think it is fair to say, and the Minister of Citizenship and Culture (Mr. McCaffrey) would support me in this and may wish to offer some observations, we hope that from this receivership will come a restructuring from a financial point of view with an infusion of new moneys, with some new partnership participation in the process, perhaps even with a sale of the operation. There are four or five potential purchasers. From all that, we might then have a reasonable book industry -- a reasonable industry in this particular case -- that will again make sure the taxpayers' money is protected properly. I do not think the members would want anything less.
Mr. Allen: I am not asking the minister to trifle with taxpayers' money. I suggest perhaps the government might use some of it more effectively and efficiently. Presumably the minister is quite familiar with the basic economic facts of the Canadian publishing industry. Canadian-controlled firms spend three times as great a percentage of their net sales on bank charges and interest as foreign firms. He is aware of the kinds of supports he has recited to me from the Ontario Development Corp. and the kind of problem that Clarke Irwin specifically got into.
But is he aware that the Ministry of Education, through its book-purchase plan, subsidizes school book purchases from Circular 14 to the tune of over $2 million a year? Despite the advantage that foreign-owned firms have in the field of book imports in this province and in this country, the Ministry of Education persists in giving them equal access to the book-purchase plan and they now appear to dominate it. Clarke Irwin has been one of the losers in that squeeze.
Will the minister press the Ministry of Education to amend the terms of the book-purchase plan so that the books in question may be purchased only through Canadian-owned publishers' agencies, as happens in at least one neighbouring province? Surely that is the kind of affirmative action his ministry and the Ministry of Education ought to be undertaking with respect to Canadian publications.
Hon. Mr. Walker: I simply reiterate that there is a lot of money invested in this company. I will certainly pass on to the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) the comments the member for Hamilton West has made. She is quite capable of looking after her ministry and recognizing the requirements and priorities within it. She will do a fine job on it and, if it is in the interests of the public, she will take into account some of the observations the member has made.
In respect of this loan, in April 1982 -- that was a year ago -- the guarantee was extended a further six months. In September 1982 it was extended on a month-by-month basis. There was absolutely nothing else that could be done. The public will judge us on the basis of this and will say we acted prudently under the circumstances. I think the member will be satisfied once he sees the final outcome of the situation.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister to forget about the money and just to pretend Clarke Irwin is Minaki or Foster Advertising or Camp Associates and he might not be so nervous about the dollars involved. Has the minister personally involved himself, together with the culture minister, and met with the principals involved, particularly those at Clarke Irwin, to make them aware of the kind of framework of government policy the minister is prepared to support to ensure this particularly valuable cultural and economic operation will be allowed to continue in Ontario? Will he personally involve himself, together with the culture minister, to make sure the principals are aware of their support?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, let me begin by saying that everybody wants to have the company saved in the process. Everybody wants to have the company survive and the jobs survive, and that is something on which this government and this ministry, and the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, are particularly intent.
On May 16, 1983, Dr. William Clarke, who is the president of Clarke Irwin, met with the Minister of Citizenship and Culture. In addition, my officials have been meeting without fail over months and months on this issue. The lead minister in this case is the Minister of Citizenship and Culture. He has been meeting directly with them. If he feels my presence is required, I am certainly prepared to take part.
In this case, the Ontario Development Corp. is acting on behalf of Citizenship and Culture in response to the financial side of the issue. There is no question this government will meet its obligations, that the government members and ministers will meet as required to resolve this. There has been no reluctance on their part to be part of a solution.
NIAGARA RIVER WATER QUALITY
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Deputy Premier who attended, along with me, a public meeting in Lewiston, New York. He showed his anger and disappointment that there was pollution going on in the lower Niagara River. He made a comment that he did not want to see another drop of any kind of pollutant going into that water. For that, I commend him.
Now I am asking, will the minister and his government join myself and many groups in Niagara, such as the Preservation of Agricultural Land Society, Operation Clean Niagara, Mr. Oleksuik from Chippawa and many concerned citizens, in resisting in every possible way the setting up of a chemical dump site on those farm lands in Niagara?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, just to make sure I understand the question, is the member making reference to the reports that have been recently made public by the Ontario Waste Management Corp.?
If I have understood that particular report, that area is not on that list. I do not think Dr. Chant indicated the region of Niagara was part of the preferred list or at the top of the list. I may have misunderstood that, but that is what I thought Dr. Chant had indicated in his report. The member makes reference to our joint and mutual interest in the quality of water in the river. Certainly since that very historic night in which we both participated, there has been a lot of things happen.
Over a period of time the member has asked questions of the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton) and provided him with an opportunity to give progress reports there. I think progress is being made because the people generally are quite supportive of initiatives being taken there. We realize how we are benefiting in our area by the involvement of so many well-meaning people who have rallied around this cause to keep these issues very prominent and to give them a very high profile.
The member knows as well that the work being done by Dr. Chant and that particular group has taken into account all sorts of factors with respect to the ultimate proper site. I think we always have to keep before us, and it has always been part of the debate with respect to this issue, that there has to be some place found where we can properly treat these very dangerous wastes. Obviously no final decision will be taken until everyone is completely satisfied that wherever it is to be finally located, that work can be done in a very safe and proper way.
Mr. Kerrio: The fact they even considered the Cayuga dump site on the banks of the Grand River frightens me, and the fact Dr. Chant and his group have not decided there should be a minimal distance from any water course for the disposition of this kind of chemical site concerns me greatly.
The fact some people are using the not-in-my-backyard syndrome is not what motivates me. My concern is, first, all of the pollution in the river; second, having an American railroad that cuts right across the peninsula to take toxic chemicals from Niagara Falls, New York, to Detroit; third, having added to that trucks bringing in chemicals to this dump site; and finally, and probably most significant of all, the fact that they would be using some of the prime agricultural land in Canada would suggest to me that we need all the help we can get to resist it, because of these facts that I bring to the minister.
I am wondering if all those points have been considered. I am afraid they have not. That is why I am asking for the minister's personal intervention and an appeal to his cabinet that Niagara should never be considered for this kind of site.
Mr. Speaker: I believe the question was, "Have all these points been taken into consideration?"
Hon. Mr. Welch: The Minister of the Enironment and I were in the constituency of Brock about a week ago meeting with high school students, which provided a forum for some discussion on this and related issues. Some of the representatives of these other groups were there as well and the minister was provided with an opportunity to meet with them and to hear their concerns.
I think we have always got to keep very clearly in mind -- surely there is no dispute in so far as any member of this House is concerned -- that we have to find a site for the treatment of these dangerous wastes. They have to be treated.
I heard Dr. Chant, as did the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio), as he was discussing his report within the last few days, indicate that the waste management corporation is taking into consideration all the points to which the member quite rightly draws our attention. Ultimately a site has to be found so we can treat these chemicals in a responsible way. I know that has been the consistent position of the member for Niagara Falls during these entire discussions. Where that site will be obviously will be the result of careful determination, taking into account all the matters to which the member makes reference, the ultimate matter being the safety and the health of the people of the province.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, recognizing that something like only four per cent of the chemical waste is generated in the Niagara region, does the Deputy Premier not think it would be something of an imposition for the people of Niagara to have to take the disposal plant for all of southern Ontario? Does he not think it would be more appropriate for that disposal plant to be located in Brampton where there is a site that meets all the criteria?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I am quite satisfied that ultimately a very responsible group, chaired by Dr. Chant, will take all these factors into consideration in coming to a decision which will be in the best interests of the people of this province.
At the next opportunity, I will be very happy to mention to the member for Brampton (Mr. Davis) the member's interest in his constituency.
TTC SAFETY STANDARDS
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) regarding the Toronto Transit Commission's failure to implement inquest juries' recommendations.
It is almost one full year since the death of Mr. R. Achong, an electrician who was killed while relamping light fixtures at track level in the Toronto Transit Commission subway during operating hours on June 1, 1982, and it has been five months since the inquest. Can the Minister of Labour explain why the TTC still has not installed red flashing lights; why the TTC continues to refuse to include additional flag-men in all track-level work crews during so-called revenue hours; why the TTC has not carried out the safety training program for all employees working at track level; and why the TTC has refused to develop a nonvisual warning system, all of which measures were recommended by the coroner's jury?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of several meetings that were held with officials of my ministry and also with the officials of the TTC. I must admit I felt that from the information which had been provided to me the matters had been resolved and the appropriate action was being taken. If that is not the case I will certainly be more than pleased to look into it and to report back to the honourable member.
Mr. Wildman: The TTC has installed a large red light but not a red flashing light, as was recommended by the coroner's jury. Considering the failure of the TTC to implement the measures that the coroner's jury stated were necessary to improve safety for track-level crews, why has the minister not intervened to protect the rights of workers to refuse unsafe work? There were 19 employees who lost three days' pay for refusing to work at track level without a red flashing warning light being installed. Why is the minister, through his meetings with the TTC, co-operating in stalling on the establishment of proper health and safety committees?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I cannot accept the observation that there has been stalling on the part of the ministry. The opposite has been true, in so far as the information with which I am familar is concerned.
I will have to look into the matter he has brought up in respect to the refusal to work and the fact that salary was withheld from these men. These are points on which I will be happy to report back.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, when the minister reports back to the House, will he report not only in general terms on the refusal to work and the problems that arose out of that, but on each and every one of the recommendations of the coroner's jury and exactly what the TTC plans to do? If his ministry does not intend to force the company to implement those recommendations, will he tell us on what basis the ministry is agreeing with the TTC?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
CONSTRUCTION LIEN ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence, I have the answer to a previously asked question.
On May 2 last, the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) posed a very important question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) regarding the Construction Lien Act. The problem raised by the member for Oshawa relates particularly to subsection 80(5) dealing with the priority of liens over mortgages registered subsequent to the commencement of an improvement.
When a purchaser of a new home who has not had the house built for him or her, and therefore is not an owner under the act, closes the transaction, advances the purchase price and receives a conveyance from the builder, it is clear that if no liens are registered at the time and the purchaser has no written notice of a lien, the interest of the purchaser has priority over any lien.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: The answer of the Attorney General is a four-page prepared text. I wonder if you might stop the clock on question period. We would certainly be glad to have this statement made as a ministerial statement.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That will be fine.
Mr. Speaker: I am not aware of the length of the answer.
Mr. Nixon: I am bringing it to your attention.
Mr. Speaker: Do we have the concurrence of the House to revert to statements?
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
CONSTRUCTION LIEN ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, when a purchaser has no written notice of a lien, the interest of the purchaser has priority over any lien, and that is the effect of subsection 80(6).
It has long been and, in my opinion is now the law that a mortgage arranged by the purchaser who is not an owner, advanced and registered at closing, also has priority over liens which have not been registered. It was not our intention to confiscate part of the interest of mortgagees lending to purchasers. The lien has a right over the interest and the property of the person who had the improvement made.
While several highly regarded lawyers have given the same opinion as I have just expressed, doubt apparently remains in the minds of some lenders. They have not been advancing 10 or more per cent of the price on closing. Some purchasers of new homes have been forced to arrange interim financing for a period of up to 60 days from closing. Not only could this be harmful to the individual purchaser, but it could also put a cloud over purchasing a home and might thereby harm the construction industry which is so important to the economic health of the province.
I could refer the interpretation of the subsection to the courts and wait for clarification. However, that would not be the desire of the government or, I think, of the members opposite.
While I had hoped to wait for at least a year before making amendments to the act, I believe there should be amendments in the near future to clarify the intention of the legislation.
The effect of the amendments I will bring forward will make it clear that a mortgage of a purchaser's interest in a new home is not subject to the priorities of subsections 80(2) or 80(5). These amendments will be retroactive to April 2 when the act came into force. In addition, the conveyancing bar has requested there be legislative clarification of when a purchaser of a new home becomes an owner and thereby becomes responsible for holdback, and these amendments will clarify this issue.
I trust the lenders in the province will act on this statement of intention to bring forward legislation. It is not necessary and it is undesirable for a lender to a purchaser to be concerned about the priority of liens under subsections 80(2) or 80(5). Because of my wish to consult those involved, a ministry official will be meeting with lawyers representing lenders to work out the details of these amendments. Representatives of contractors and labour will also be consulted.
To avoid misunderstanding, I want to emphasize that the principles of the act and holdback security will not be reconsidered in connection with these proposed amendments. Holdback security in the present form will remain until all segments of the construction industry can agree on a better method for protecting the vital interests of those who supply services and material to improve real property.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the speed with which the Attorney General has reacted to the problem. He is not known for speed.
There is one little problem which remains. In my area, and I take it in other areas of Ontario, there are people who have had to get the money and put it in a trust account. That is one thing not mentioned in the statement the Attorney General made today. Would he give some consideration to such people who have already paid a financial privilege and in some cases lost the ability to purchase or complete a home because of these problems? Would he give that some consideration as well?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am not sure what we can do about that. I will discuss the matter with my senior advisors.
ORAL QUESTIONS (CONTINUED)
FAIR EXCHANGE RATES
Mr. Eakins: I would like to address my question to the Minister of Tourism and Recreation. As the minister knows, millions of dollars are spent in attracting people to visit and discover Ontario. Since this is our first long weekend, would he comment on his ministry's activity to make sure the fair exchange program is in effect in Ontario and that fair exchange on United States currency will be recognized in this province?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: As the honourable member knows, the implementation or application of a fair exchange program would fall outside the mandate of my ministry. In the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation we are doing what we can -- that is to advise incoming tourists, particularly Americans, that they should be making their exchanges at official exchange places. If they do not heed our constant advice and counselling and run into a situation where they do not feel they are getting a fair exchange, unfortunately, that is their problem. It is not something I and my ministry can correct.
I want to assure the member and all those here that we do try as well and as comprehensively as we can to alert incoming tourists to make sure they exchange at officially recognized exchanges. We have never heard of any problem when they do that.
Mr. Eakins: What is the ministry doing to monitor the situation? The minister works very closely with Tourism Ontario and hotels. He has recently received one letter I know of in particular about people who booked into a hotel in the evening and could not get a fair exchange on their money.
The minister might also take a look at the Toronto Transit Commission which the government subsidizes. The sign in the ticket windows states one will only receive 15 per cent up to a maximum of 20. Is the minister monitoring those facilities to which the government contributes taxpayers' funds in this province?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I can assure the honourable member that is exactly what we do. As the minister I do not get many complaints from American tourists about having received an unfair exchange rate. However, when I do hear from these people, each complaint is followed up individually. Where we find a motel, hotel, restaurant or whatever that tends to be gouging tourists on exchange rates we ask the local travel organization to follow through and exercise some discipline.
A lot of self-policing can and does take place in Tourism Ontario and some of the other tourist associations. Certainly, if I hear from a disgruntled American tourist saying he has been dealt with unfairly on the exchange rate, we do follow through on that. We also do it through ongoing programs of advising travel associations and so on.
OVERCROWDED CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Correctional Services concerning the decline in the capacity of his institutions in Metro to accommodate inmates, with the closing of minimum security facilities to the point where the facilities in Metro designed for 628 inmates are now holding over 1,500. Is the minister not concerned that the conditions caused by overcrowding have become so dangerous that leaders of the 3,100 guards in Metropolitan Toronto East, Metropolitan Toronto West and the Don Jail have instructed their members not to intervene when violence breaks out in those institutions?
Would the minister agree with the statement by Lyn Hooker, president of the jail workers of Metropolitan Toronto West, that one of these days there is going to be a blow-up and when it does come we will not be looking at one or two dead but maybe 30 or 40? What is the minister going to do about it?
Hon. Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, I have spoken many times in this House, as the member for Etobicoke knows, about what my ministry has been doing in relation to providing the additional bed spaces required, particularly in the Metro Toronto area where we have the most serious problem of overcrowding. We have been addressing that.
In the last 11-month period we have created some 150 bed spaces at Mimico Correctional Centre by upgrading that facility from a minimum security facility to a medium security facility. We have opened the fifth floor at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre, which created an additional 60 bed spaces there. We have put forward a long-range accommodation plan that calls for a new maximum security facility for the Golden Horseshoe area that would provide an additional 500 bed spaces.
Mr. Martel: Why don't you use Burwash again?
Hon. Mr. Leluk: Pardon?
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
Hon. Mr. Leluk: I am trying to answer the question of the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) and I ask the members opposite to give me that opportunity.
In regard to the members of our correctional staff who have been asked to stand by and not to intervene, we have certain guidelines and policies in our ministry that we expect our correctional staff to follow at all times. They do this on a day-to-day basis and this is what is expected of them.
RESPONSE TO WRITTEN QUESTIONS
Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: A number of my colleagues have brought to my attention their concern with the lack of application of standing order 81 and the answering of written questions on behalf of the ministry. The Speaker is aware that on Tuesday of this week, the honourable government House leader tabled a very large number of answers. On examination, most of them appeared not to be answers at all.
There is some complaint that too many questions are asked and that they are too complex. I can assure the Speaker there is no intention on our part to jam up the so-called government machinery, but I would like to say that answers to some of these questions have been pending for seven months, since last October, and they are carried over on the order paper if they are not answered in the interim period.
It seems to me that if the government feels it cannot deal with this material, under the standing orders it has the right to refuse to answer. I suppose we would object to that as well. But the argument that our research complement in the library and estimates and so on are the places where the answers might be available is not satisfactory.
I felt, Mr. Speaker, you should be aware that the government, in our view, is not living up to the spirit of standing order 81. If government members want to say to this House in their answers that they refuse to provide an answer for reasons they think good and sufficient, there is not much we can do about it but complain.
But I say to you, Mr. Speaker, they have not done that. The answers have been pending for seven months and I believe it is your job, or I would respectfully submit to you it is your responsibility, to see that the standing order is lived up to both in its letter and in its spirit. The information should be put before this House.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure the government House leader (Mr. Wells) has paid close attention to your submission and in turn will contact his colleagues to ask them to live up to the intention and the spirit and the letter of standing order 81.
CONVERSION OF RENTAL UNITS
Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by many tenants across Toronto, which reads:
"To the Honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario that immediate steps be taken to protect us against unscrupulous landlords who evict tenants in order to create furnished hotel-like suites. This change not only eliminates valuable rental units, but these hotel-like suites will destroy our community by creating giant flophouses in our neighhourhoods."
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that when this House adjourns today, it stand adjourned until Tuesday next, May 24, at 2 p.m.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
ANDONALD ENTERPRISES LIMITED ACT
Ms. Fish moved, seconded by Mr. Robinson, first reading of Bill Pr29, An Act to revive Andonald Enterprises Limited.
Motion agreed to.
BERNARD BETEL CENTRE FOR CREATIVE LIVING ACT
Mr. Cousens moved, seconded by Ms. Fish, first reading of Bill Pr20, An Act respecting the Bernard Betel Centre for Creative Living.
Motion agreed to.
CLASS ACTIONS ACT
Mr. Swart moved, seconded by Mr. Cassidy, first reading of Bill 47, An Act to provide for Class Actions.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to provide a statutory procedure whereby one or more persons may sue a defendant in the form of a class action. The bill is designed to achieve this purpose by permitting a person who wishes to sue on behalf of a class to apply for a court order authorizing the class action. Once the order is obtained, the action proceeds as a class action, and the final judgement binds all members of the class except those who have been excluded, as well as the parties to the action.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Gregory, resolution 8.
Reading dispensed with [see Votes and Proceedings].
Motion agreed to.
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Chairman, I have an opening statement.
It is a distinct honour and a privilege for me to rise in this chamber to present the Ministry of Government Services expenditure estimates for the year 1983-84. I am sure each and every member of the Legislature believes, as I do, that we are very proud and very fortunate to be able to serve the people of Ontario in the productive and sincere manner that our system of government has provided for the past 200 years.
As a farmer, businessman and politician, I can only say that I regard myself as perhaps the most fortunate of all to be able to stand in this historic chamber for yet another year and provide the members on both sides of the House with the expenditure plans for the ministry. It is truly a great personal honour for me.
Before I proceed with the detailed discussions and debate on the various votes in our estimates, I would like to offer a brief opening statement, which I believe will provide the members of the House with a perspective on my ministry and on our approach and plans for 1983-84.
In one respect my ministry is no different from any of the other ministries of the provincial government: that is, we were founded and built on the need to provide service to the people of Ontario. Service is our mandate: service is what this government is all about. In my humble opinion, the leadership role that the Ministry of Government Services has taken to provide our sister ministries, agencies, boards and commissions and the people of Ontario with government services is second to none.
If I were speaking from a private sector perspective, I might say the Ministry of Government Services is really more than two dozen businesses rolled into one. We are in the construction business, the furniture business, the moving business; we are printers, architects, real estate agents and business administrators. Our resources extend from computer and telecommunications expertise to running one of the most efficient mail services in the country.
Most important of all, we are the ministry of people: people who are dedicated to public service; people who are constantly looking for new and improved methods of serving the taxpayers of this province. I believe we all have a real role, a real responsibility, to address the most pressing concern of our society today. That concern is employment. We must do everything in our power to stimulate employment opportunities and to provide employment incentives to aid the thousands of Ontario men and women now out of work.
The Ministry of Government Services continues to encourage job creation in the private sector. It has been and will continue to be our philosophy that we can best serve Ontarians through the privatization of many of the services we provide. In 1983-84 we will create an estimated 6,556 jobs in the private sector in our capital allocations and repairs program through expenditures of some $76.8 million across Ontario. When I say "across Ontario" I mean just that: we will be looking at every corner of this province to offer the needed economic stimulation to get people back on the job.
Last year, through the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, we were able to create an estimated 1,400 jobs through $10.4 million in construction, repair and alteration projects. This year we hope to create employment for 1,200 men and women through the $50 million in BILD expenditures in capital construction alone.
Further job creation initiatives will be realized through the Canada-Ontario employment development program. We already have three projects approved to date that will provide 278 job opportunities through the expenditure of some $821,000. As an update on that, just a few minutes ago we found out that we had been granted another $500,000 in that program, so there will be even more jobs created. We will be seeking, as I will mention later, approval for more throughout the fiscal year.
Our efforts to stimulate employment in the private sector include increased privatization of many of the services my ministry provides. In 1983-84 we estimate spending $87 million on contracts in the private sector to design, operate and maintain government buildings across Ontario.
We are also taking initiatives to inform Ontario businesses of how they can sell to their government. To increase opportunities for access to government markets, we will be involved in trade shows and will participate in exhibits. We will explore new and improved ways of communicating with the business community.
I am firmly convinced that the results will be economic stimulation and the benefit will be further creation of employment in the private sector right across Ontario.
The Ministry of Government Services has constantly been looking at methods of saving dollars while at the same time improving service. Through a reorganization of government office space in downtown Toronto, we expect to save the people of Ontario $10 million during the next three years and some $60 million over the next decade.
This Metro Toronto initiative also kicks off our program to reduce all government office accommodation by 10 per cent across Ontario. When we consider the fact that the Ministry of Government Services holds responsibility for approximately 11 million square feet of office space in this province, this initiative alone will save us many millions of dollars.
Our government continues its leadership in the area of energy conservation and cost savings and my ministry is proud to play a vital part in that program. Over the past six years, we have reduced energy consumption by 25 per cent. That is a saving of $27 million -- I used the example yesterday -- enough to heat and light 54,000 homes. In this fiscal year, we expect further savings as we continue to practise and promote this worthwhile effort.
We have been able to accomplish these economies through new building designs, through energy-efficient retrofits of existing buildings and through co-operative programs with the Ministry of Energy aimed at educating our employees in the area of conservation.
One excellent example of the energy-efficient design is the new headquarters for the Ministry of Revenue in Oshawa. Another is the Macdonald-Cartier building in Kingston: yet another is the one we opened yesterday, the new courthouse in St. Catharines. These are all well-designed people buildings, and all operate at a fraction of the energy costs we experienced a few years ago.
There are other areas of cost savings we have identified and are proceeding to take advantage of. As one example, let me point out that in the past we disposed of outdated government records through incineration. The cost to the government of Ontario was approximately $140,000 per year. We are currently going through a system of shredding and recycling under strict security measures. Through this system we will not only save that $140,000 but also show a return this year of $12,000 through the sale of this recycled paper.
Use of new electronic innovations, such as a minicomputer in our collection services section, will increase our revenue by a projected $700,000 in this fiscal year. Through our accommodation division, the reorganization of our field offices across Ontario will produce a 7.5 per cent increase in productivity and service, while actually saving money through a six per cent reduction in staff as a result of some amalgamation and the normal attrition process.
The Ministry of Government Services places great emphasis on its human resources, its people. We believe our managers should be encouraged to manage. Through the reorganization of our field offices, more and more decisions will be made at the local level. We believe our human resource programs are providing the knowledge, the training and the encouragement that will provide us with a strong foundation of dedicated men and women to carry out the programs of today and address the challenges of tomorrow.
We are continuing to place emphasis on the career development of women within our ministry. Women now hold 32.5 per cent of all positions in the Ministry of Government Services, up from 31 per cent just a year ago. On our senior management committee, three women are involved in senior policy discussions and decisions being made at MGS. We are committed to all programs designed to offer equal opportunity for advancement and career development of all our employees and we will continue to pursue those objectives.
Earlier in this statement, I mentioned some of the initiatives we are taking to encourage the business community to sell to their government. I would like to take a moment to share with the House a number of purchasing policies and programs.
In these times of constraint and tight money, purchasing has become a real challenge for both the buyer and the seller. To say competition in the marketplace is fierce would be putting it mildly. I am pleased to report that my ministry's one-window collective purchasing program for common-use products and services exceeded $50 million in the last fiscal year. That is a saving of $13 million, and I fully expect us to advance that saving even further in 1983-4.
My ministry is firmly committed to the buy-Canadian policy. That policy is solidly entrenched in all our purchasing activities. I have taken a strong personal interest in this commitment, as has my entire staff. The result is a continuous intensive review of the ministry's sources of supply. I am sure the honourable members will be interested to know that 100 per cent of some 1,100 MGS stock items are purchased in Canada and 95 per cent are manufactured in Canada. We will continue our commitment to the buy-Canadian program because in MGS we know Canadian products mean Canadian jobs.
To assist us in achieving that goal, we will be appointing a full-time agent in our purchasing services branch with the responsibility to identify and promote further opportunities for import replacement with Canadian-made products. The purchasing of Canadian-made products means more private sector initiative, and that means more jobs.
I might also take this opportunity to mention a number of other initiatives we are taking in the area of corporate services.
We are now providing telephone translation services to our client ministries for more rapid reponse to our francophone citizens in Ontario. By using new approaches to take full advantage of the postal rates, we were able to save $800,000 in mailing costs last year. Our publication services are providing a looseleaf version of the Highway Traffic Act; this new approach will allow faster and more economical updates. Leadership in records management will see dollar savings and increased retrieval efficiency through privatization in this very important area.
These are but a few of the opportunities we are taking to improve service. We have not been asleep at the switch when it comes to technology either.
My ministry has recently installed an audio teleconferencing capability which will bring people together via the telephone in up to 14 locations outside Metro Toronto. Usng intercity network lines, this service not only will save us long-distance charges but also will offer an opportunity for government employees to conduct their business in a rapid and more productive manner.
Video teleconferencing is another initiative my ministry has taken to offer a more streamlined and effective method of communications throughout government. To date we have established video conferencing centres in Toronto, Thunder Bay, Sudbury and Oshawa. Additional centres are planned in this fiscal year for Kingston and Sault Ste. Marie. This system has all the benefits of audio conference with the added bonus of face-to-face dialogue, resulting in considerable savings in government travel and accommodation.
A new computer data base will allow our switchboard operators to provide instant response to calls requesting information on a specific service this government provides. All members will be interested to know that it will also give us a current electronic government telephone directory.
Improving the telephone system in the northern regions of this province has been a major goal of our ministry. Funds allocated in this fiscal year will see improvements in that northern telephone service.
On the subject of intercity telephone lines, this service saved the government $7 million last year and handled more than 15 million calls. I am sure the members of the House are aware of the many improvements we have made in the intercity lines right across this province in the past year. There will be more, and I shall share these new initiatives with the House as they are put into operation.
Before I leave the subject of telecommunications, I would mention the pilot project we have in place at the Ministry of Government Services to aid us in determining the most effective use of our telephones.
The "datapulse" system we have installed on a trial basis will show what the peak periods are for incoming calls. It will determine the number of calls placed and received from a specific telephone, and it will establish how long the caller had to wait for the telephone to be answered. These data not only will allow us to determine dollar-saving opportunities but, equally important, it will also offer us opportunities to improve service to our clients through more effective staff scheduling.
New Ministry of Government Services computer centres will offer improved facilities and state of the art service to the Ministry of Revenue, which has relocated to Oshawa, and the head office of the Ontario health insurance plan, relocating to Kingston. To provide the expertise and support for these services, my ministry will be relocating 50 employees in our computer and telecommunications service division to Kingston early this summer.
We are not only looking towards the external application of computer services. We are a progressive-thinking ministry which is also using new internal methods for improvement of services and savings of administration dollars. We plan to share this knowledge with our sister ministries throughout the government. We hope this sharing and leadership in the electronic age will return our dollars and time invested many times over.
This Legislative Building has been a great source of pride to the people of Ontario. I take real pleasure in playing some small role in ensuring that we have a continuing program designed to retain the dignity, heritage and security it conveys to all of us.
We are also in the midst of designing a gift shop to be located in the main foyer of the Legislative Building. The number of requests we have had from visitors to Queen's Park suggests this type of service will be extremely well received, not only by Ontarians but also by visitors from all over the world.
In the past 12 months or so we have provided improved accommodation for our sister ministries in everything from fish hatcheries to multipurpose office towers. We have opened facilities in the northern, eastern and western areas of Ontario. These facilities will allow the ministries to offer the people of Ontario up-to-date services in modern and efficient facilities.
In this fiscal year we will be officially opening a state of the art office complex housing the Ministry of Revenue in Oshawa. The Macdonald-Cartier building will provide a new home for the head office of the Ontario health insurance plan in Kingston. Ground-breaking and construction will begin on a $50-million Ottawa courthouse. The St. Catharines courthouse, which I mentioned before, was opened earlier and will provide a quality of service not possible in the former facility. Our accommodation division will continue to upgrade and respond to the needs of our client ministries and of Ontarians right across the province.
Some honourable members might recall that things got a little cool around here last winter when the boiler failed and shut down our heating system. We are now hooked into the Toronto District Heating Corp. steam plant and will be providing a safer, more efficient method of heating for the entire Queen's Park complex.
We most certainly have not forgotten the direct services we deliver to the people of Ontario. We are dedicated to searching for new and improved approaches to bringing the people of this province and their government closer together.
We have seen the effect that the blue pages have had on providing the taxpayers of Ontario with the necessary information to contact their government toll free across Ontario. The blue pages were just the first step in providing total access to the provincial government by citizens in every corner of this province. We are now looking at the implementation of one-window information centres outside Metropolitan Toronto. They will be designed to offer the same personalized service that is now available to the citizens residing close to Queen's Park.
Mr. Chairman, as you might have noticed, I am proud of the accomplishments of the men and women of the Ministry of Government Services over the past year and the approaches we are taking to the 1983-84 fiscal year. I am especially proud of the fact that we have been able to do all the things I have outlined above, along with a great many more that time does not permit me to expand on, while at the same reducing our overall staff complement across the board.
I would like to close by offering my thanks for your kind attention and by saying once more how appreciative I am of having the opportunity to serve the people of Ontario for yet another year. I look forward to hearing the comments of the honourable members opposite, considering any new ideas presented and having a full discussion of the expenditures of the Ministry of Government Services for the year 1983-84.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: I do not recall that the second paragraph on page 13 was read. I wonder if it forms part of the minister's statement, because I think the information there is rather important. If it is just an oversight, I am sure we can just add it to the record but I think the ideas expressed in that paragraph are certainly worthwhile.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Which paragraph is it?
The Deputy Chairman: It begins, "We are currently preparing a master plan." It was not read.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I missed page 13, did I?
The Deputy Chairman: No. You missed reading the second paragraph on page 13.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Oh. I thought I had done that.
The Deputy Chairman: On page 13, you read the first paragraph, as the member for Prescott- Russell pointed out.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: We are currently preparing a master plan which will address matters of refurbishing, repairs and improvements while at the same time maintaining the historic and architectural values ingrained in the legislative building of Ontario. I will be disucussing this plan with my colleagues on both sides of this chamber in the near future and presenting the completed plan to the House at the earliest opportunity.
Mr. Haggerty: I want to thank the minister for his comments.
Perhaps I will repeat some of the things I said last year during estimates when discussing some of the problems and issues I feel he should be directing his ministry towards. I believe we discussed last year's estimates on October 22, 1982. My comments dealt primarily with government programs and the financial programs that should follow.
I was concerned about the deficit spending of the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller). I am again concerned about the deficit spending this year, which he has estimated at $2.7 billion. I am drawing a parallel with previous Treasurers of Ontario. Back in the 1960s and 1970s they showed some prudent fiscal management. I think 1970 was the last year we had a surplus in Ontario and we have continued to spend and spend.
I would also bring to members' attention a study done by the C. D. Howe Institute, a nonprofit organization that does research into Canadian economic policy with an emphasis on fiscal policy issues. I suggested some of the recommendations to the minister so he could improve on his fiscal management and policy on issues related to the Ministry of Government Services.
Listening to the minister's opening remarks this morning I realize there is no doubt he has followed up on some of those suggestions. I commend him for definitely cutting back on expenditures in specific areas. One area the official opposition has been pointing to for a number of years is the establishment of a central purchasing agency for the government. I believe the minister mentioned the word "window." They were establishing a purchasing agency which would buy certain things of a similar nature that could be used in other ministries. I think this is the right approach.
We have been suggesting to the minister for a number of years that he should follow some central purchasing practice. In the long run there is a saving to the taxpayer and to the government. The money saved can be spent in other areas of higher priority. I commend the minister for moving in this area.
I have tried to get my thoughts in line with some of the items in the estimates, in particular the summary of estimates and the proposals put forward. I have found difficulty with some of them because there are about three areas in which we find different figures to contend with.
In 1982-83 the estimates were $365 million, yet in public accounts the figures were changed considerably. In the preliminary public accounts for 1982-83 I believe the actual expenditure was $383,937,000 and the appropriations were almost $390 million, in round figures. I suggest the variance in these figures may be confusing, particularly to members on this side, in determining what the correct figure is.
I want to draw the minister's attention to the word "appropriations." I think of the manner in which the American governments handle their government expenditures. They use the word "appropriations" rather than "estimates." When "estimates" is used the figures can be juggled around and the Treasurer can say, "We were close," or something.
It is amazing the way the Americans deal with the problem. We are dealing with the minister's estimates now. There is no doubt the money has been committed for expenditure in this year without being authorized by members of the Legislature. The expenditure has been authorized by the minister himself and the cabinet. I suggest a proper fiscal management policy, a program that would be more acceptable to the people of Ontario, would be to bring in a budget a year in advance as they do in the United States; then the House could deal with certain matters and could advise the government where it should spend the money.
The minister may consider his approach to expenditures on certain capital projects to be the right one; however, other members in the House, even on the Conservative side, will say, "No. I do not think you should be spending it in this way." I think the main benefit of the American method of fiscal management is that members --
Mr. R. F. Johnston: On a point of privilege, Mr. Chairman: I really regret interrupting the honourable member --
Mr. Haggerty: I can see it on his face.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I do, very seriously, and I will only take a minute or two.
At this very moment on the front lawn, down by the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, a group of peace activists is trying to establish a peace camp as has been done in Ottawa. Under direction from the Ministry of Government Services the security guards are ordering that the pup tent which has been established be torn down. They say they will allow it to stay up if the minister so indicates. Therefore, I am going to ask him to do so; and if not, to explain why not. It seems to me there is a basic infringement of their rights. I do not understand why the pup tent cannot be put up. I would like an explanation from the minister.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: If the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) would go on, I will find out from my staff a little bit more of the background on this and report.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I understand they are being treated as trespassers at the moment, and think that is pretty offensive.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: If the member would go on with his remarks, I will find that out.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Chairman, before we hear the opening remarks of the NDP member, I would like to answer the point of privilege raised by the member for Scarborough West.
Some time ago, as the member knows, we had a similar case, where a group wanted to put a Johnny-on-the-spot out on the lawn, and we said at that time it was our policy not to do that.
In this case I wanted to make quite clear, before I responded at all, that this group had a permit. They have not, I am told, obtained a permit from the city of Toronto. That is upsetting the Metropolitan Toronto police, and the member opposite who asked the question knows full well that we have not allowed tents and things of that sort to be on the front lawn since I have been the minister. I do not think anyone was ever allowed to do that.
Our staff are very co-operative, as they have been with all demonstrations around this building. We will set up microphones to be helpful to them. In this case I understand nothing was done about the permit from the city of Toronto and nothing was done to contact our staff about setting up microphones. So they will have to remove the tent. We will be pleased to set up the microphones if they wish us to do so, but I wish they would follow the rules, which I think everyone has become very familiar with. The know our ministry will assist them if they go about it in the proper way.
I hope that answers the member's --
Mr. R. F. Johnston: It does not exactly. If I might --
Mr. Chairman: We cannot go into that. You have had your point of privilege.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: No. I want to continue my point of privilege. You can throw me out of here if you want and continue this kind of attitude. The minister's officers would not even let me come up here and get his answer before they were going to call the Metro cops and evict those people.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The member will have his opportunity to question the minister as soon as he finishes responding to the member for Erie.
Mr. Chairman: Please do not turn on his microphone. I am not recognizing the member. Would the minister care to respond? Not to the point of privilege; the member has had his opportunity.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I think I have answered the member. I told him the tent has to be removed. In future I suggest if he knows of a demonstration like this, he should advise the group of the proper steps to take. There are proper steps. If they would like our staff to set up a microphone, and there are no other demonstrations planned ahead of them --
Mr. R. F. Johnston: They don't want a microphone.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: -- because the odd time we get a group that has not set up a demonstration in advance and wants to bump out a group that has; we take the one that has gone through the proper procedure. In this case, if the member wants an answer from me, the answer is they have to remove the tent. If they want to demonstrate, that is their business, providing they follow all the rules.
Mr. Chairman: Would the minister continue with his response to the remarks of the member for Erie.
Mr. Philip: I thought the minister's normal procedure was that both opposition critics would speak.
Mr. Chairman: Would you proceed then?
Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, by way of continuing on the point of privilege under my opening remarks, I would like to suggest to the minister he may have misunderstood the point my colleague the member for Scarborough West was trying to make. He had advised this group of the proper procedures, as any of us do when we are advised of a demonstration. We are all concerned that demonstrations, particularly peace demonstrations, are peaceful and follow normal procedures that are set out. However, what I believe my colleague was trying to say to the minister was he had asked that nothing be done until he had an opportunity, a period of 10 minutes, to discuss this with the minister, but even during that period of time the forces, if one wants, were being active.
I can understand his anger. A 10-minute delay until he could discuss it with the minister was not an unreasonable request. I hope the minister will look into this further and report back to us.
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES (CONTINUED)
Mr. Haggerty: I was dealing with the appropriations procedures established in the United States Congress. I suggest their approach to government expenditure is something this government should consider. Even changes recommended by procedural affairs and so on should be considered by the government. I think we should deal with current estimates, not those already adopted or planned this year without having been authorized by the Legislature itself.
We do everything about a year behind. We should be dealing with things for the year ahead. Then the government, in bringing about its expenditures, could set the stage for the direction the economy will flow in. It would be of benefit not only to the people in the chamber but people outside the private sector would know the direction in which the government is programming its expenditures.
In the long term there would be a spinoff to the private sector and everyone would share in it. Not only that but the jobs can be better predicted than they are here. In the minister's speech he said jobs are the most important thing facing this government. I think it is even more important to everyone outside this chamber who is unemployed. There has to be a clear-cut direction for the government to move in: more than the new employment expansion and development program where persons will be employed for a maximum of three months or six months and then will go on to unemployment insurance. Then we seem to forget about them.
I suggested to the minister that he move those capital projects up a year or two years so we could create additional jobs for at least two or three years of steady employment, particularly in construction, since the government is building new buildings throughout Ontario. We should be looking at the American side in budgeting the programs and the different ministries in the province. I think it is worthwhile to take a good close look. It would give the opposition members, and even the back-benchers on the other side, an opportunity to have some say in where capital projects should be constructed in Ontario.
I am not quite convinced when I look at the minister's estimates that he has spent all the money estimated last year for capital projects. It was a good figure, over $70 million. I do not know if he has spent that. There is nothing in his budget or estimate papers or in his comments this morning that indicates whether he has spent that money.
This year, estimated capital projects will be about $34 million, almost a $37-million change from last year. I draw that to the minister's attention. There are so many vacancies in his approach to numbers that opposition members, or even government members, cannot tell whether he has spent the money. There are so many different ways one can look at those figures. They vary so much it raises some concern for me to find out if he has spent the money.
I believe I mentioned the public accounts where the appropriations -- I use the word "appropriations" -- were almost $390 million, some $15 million more than what the estimates were. There is nothing in there to tell me where that expenditure really occurred. If we are going to be dealing with taxpayers' money, I suggest that full disclosure should be one of the major concerns of the ministry. We should have disclosure of certain areas where the money is going to be spent.
The Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) has an excellent program. One can go almost five years ahead and know pretty well where the road expenditures and capital projects are going to be developed or constructed or will commence to be constructed. This is good and I think this is one of the policies this government has sent out, for example, to local municipalities on their five-year forecasting for capital projects. This ministry could develop such a program, so that we would have more knowledge and better views of the minister's department. That is one of the areas I am concerned about. It is an area that requires some improvement.
In connection with the NEED program: The minister has indicated he wants additional jobs created in Ontario. We should be taking a look at his long-range program on capital projects. Can we perhaps advance them so we could create jobs in the construction industry that would provide additional jobs for a period of one, two or three years, and allow the private sector to catch up? By that time, we may have a better job opportunity climate in Ontario. We are looking at some 551,000 people being employed in the province.
With those few comments I will give the minister time to deal with some of the questions I have raised, and we will wait for the New Democratic Party critic to bring forth his ideas. Then we will get into the bread and butter issues of the minister's estimates.
Mr. Philip: I appreciate an opportunity to participate in these debates. I am not going to make a long opening statement because I would rather deal with items one at a time under the appropriate vote.
There are four ministries for which I act as the critic, and in dealing with this ministry I always feel a little frustrated. I feel a little like a priest who is hearing the confession of a surrogate sinner, if one can imagine such a thing. This ministry is often in a position where it has little control over certain policy matters. It is really carrying out the sins of other ministers, so to speak: therefore, it is hard to find blame in many cases or even to offer constructive alternatives when many of the problems this minister faces are really not of his own making.
I was pleased to read the statement of the minister of April 22 concerning the pilot project to determine economies and improvement in telecommunication systems. However, I would appreciate it if we could go into more details on this study: more specifically, when it will be completed and exactly how much is expected to be saved.
In the statement he made in the House the minister alluded to the fact that private sector corporations have shown savings of up to 25 per cent in telecommunications costs; however, there has been no indication of exactly how much he is projecting will be saved by this study.
Since the ministry has announced that certain people, at least members of the Legislature and certain levels of government, will now be switching to the much faster and more convenient push button phone system, I think it would be interesting to find out if there have been any studies in terms of productivity to find out exactly what the savings can be by switching to that kind of telephone system over the old, obsolete and slow dial system.
I imagine productivity could be increased substantially in certain offices; I look at the savings I have experienced in my riding office that has the push button phone and which I hope will now be realized in my parliamentary office.
I must say I find the opening statement of the minister alarming. I find it alarming inasmuch as it is so general one really wonders at times what he is talking about.
I am particularly concerned about these broad, general statements about privatization of government. We have had this happening in the health care field where the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) has not been prepared to table contracts, such as the one with Extendicare over Queensway General Hospital. He has not tabled any cost-benefit analysis.
From some of the information we have been able to get out of places likes Hawkesbury where this privatization is taking place, we do know it is taking place by a reduction of staff and, one would suspect, probably by a reduction of service. I find that alarming in the health care area, but I also find it alarming in other areas of government services.
Nor do we have any kind of assurances this privatization will not take place by the process of using nonunion labour. I would certainly like the minister to address himself to that question. If any savings are accrued by this privatization, is it really on the backs of the public employees, who through their union movement have fought for decent wages? Will it be on the backs of nonunionized, underpaid workers that this government plans to make this kind of saving?
In contrast to the route the government is taking let me suggest, in particular when the minister is talking about the need for co-ordinating services, that one area I would like to see the government look at, and I would be interested to know whether or not the minister has had any studies on it, is the co-ordination of travel.
When one considers the great number of flights taken by government officials, by officials of the various ministries, the ministers themselves and members of the Legislature, one can imagine that there could be considerable savings by having an office to co-ordinate travel. Other governments have done this. It would be interesting to find out exactly what savings have been made by those governments which have a co-ordinated government office for this purpose. We would also like to look at whether or not it might make sense for such an office to take over from the Ministry of Natural Resources in negotiating contracts for charter flights and for the private craft that are being used by ministers and occasionally, I suppose, by some of the senior officials of the government.
While I am on the topic of travel, I find interesting, and I would like this minister's view on it, the whole area of limousines. My colleague the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) has placed on the order paper on at least two occasions fairly detailed questions on the use of limousines by cabinet ministers. It is interesting to note this government has failed to reply to those questions.
What is this government afraid of? Why are they afraid to tell us exactly what limousines are being used, why and by whom? Are they senior officials? Are they deputy ministers, political advisers? Who exactly are using these limousines; when; and what is the total cost? We really do not have a breakdown on such things as staff costs for the manning of these limousines, food costs while on the road, which ministries are making the most use of them and in what way and so forth.
Similarly, I would like to deal with the whole area that is spelled out in the minister's statement about the use of private rental space by the various ministries. I am particularly astounded by the Ministry of Energy's communications branch on the ground floor of Queen's Park Place. That is a very expensive building. I can understand that perhaps the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) wants to go first class, but I would ask what criteria are used by the Ministry of Government Services in deciding what office space is rented and where. One wonders why they need that kind of luxury space in that kind of building. What kind of buck are the taxpayers paying for that?
If I am not mistaken, the Ministry of Energy's communications branch has been accommodated in rented and leased space on the ground floor of Queen's Park Place at 62 Wellesley Street West. This is during a time of restraint. Would it not be more appropriate for this office to be located in a standard, government office building?
I would also like the details on the cost of accommodation compared to government owned and operated space. This whole thrust towards privatization has to be measured in terms of cost, and I suspect the thrusts this ministry and other ministries are taking, in the long run if not in the short run, are actually costing the taxpayers more money than going some of the more traditional routes.
The ground floor space in the building I am talking about was clearly designed to accommodate a service commercial establishment -- that is, a convenience store. It was not designed as a communications or propaganda office, if you want. As an indication of how luxurious this accommodation is, when the suites in this building were first offered for sale in 1981 they were placed on the market at from $180,000 to $286,000.
I would also ask the minister to bring us up to date on what is happening to the east-of-Bay land. Is the Ministry of Government Services, in conjunction with the city of Toronto, actively working on that development plan for this property, other than the new Young Men's Christian Association, which is currently under construction? What is the latest update on east of Bay, and how does this minister's plan for the use of space fit into this?
I also want to have an update on the memo from the ministry of December 23, I believe it is, on parking. It says: "It should be realized that any long-term solution to parking problems can only be obtained when considered in conjunction with the many other associated problems with regard to this building: the ongoing changing occupancy in use, ongoing proposals, renovations, aesthetics," and so forth.
One assumes that the ongoing problems are the ongoing problems of the use of various types of real estate, in this area anyway, for government purposes. I would like to know where the government is going in this regard, where the various projects and rental space in private- enterprise buildings in the area fit into this and where we are going to have, if you want, the bodies that are using the various parking spaces the minister is concerned about.
A number of proposals or recommendations were adopted in that memo: authorize ticketing of unauthorized vehicles; obtain special status permitting government staff to issue tickets; relocate kiosks, especially at the southeast entrance; issue compulsory identification to authorized parkers; improved directional safety; restrict parking signage: relocate authorized parking; instruct MGS staff regarding enforcement, and communicate progress to user group.
I hope the minister can provide a detailed update on each of those points and that we can deal with them accordingly. What is happening in each of the recommendations? I recognize that the minister was kind enough to write me a letter on March 11, 1983. That is my birthday, so it is a birthday gift to me. It gives me some information, but I hope he will give us more details on that.
I found it interesting in the minister's broad, general statement about improving access to public buildings that he throws around a figure of $2 million that has been spent, yet he does not say where it was spent, when it was spent and the time frame. One has to ask what the $2 million really means. It is a meaningless figure unless you talk specifically about what was spent, where and how and what they intend to spend in the future.
I am sorry; I guess the $2-million figure came from the minister's statement of April 12, rather than the statement he gave in the House. It was a statement dated April 12, 1983, with a heading, "Improving Access to Public Buildings for Handicapped Persons." By the way, the reference to $2 million was in the third paragraph.
I also found the next two paragraphs interesting. They state: "To help co-ordinate these efforts and to provide a one-window service to client ministries and the disabled, the ministry has set up a barrier-free-design office.
"This office is in the design services branch and will provide technical advice on adapting existing buildings and designs of the new buildings. It will also keep an up-to-date record of new developments in this field."
I would find it interesting if the minister would tell us whether or not there is now an inventory of buildings in terms of what needs to be done to provide accessibility for handicapped persons and what the role of this new office will be to see that those that are designated as being insufficient will have work done on them to bring them up to required standards of accessibility. Furthermore, what is the time frame? What are we talking about in terms of costs for each of those? What is the time frame on the various projects that need to be done?
It may well be this office is still in the process of setting up that information, but it would be useful to have that kind of statement from the ministry.
I found a few other statements by the minister rather interesting. He talks about the shredding of government documents and the fact he has been able to save some money by the recycling --
Mr. Boudria: How about the shredding of budgets?
Mr. Philip: The shredding of budgets; I do not think that falls under this particular minister's worry. There are other documents he is concerned about which, of course, would have to be shredded.
We had a fascinating exercise with the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) over confidentiality of records a number of years ago. Finally, he put into the act the minister's responsibility if private, confidential, medical information were accidentally leaked to insurance companies or others who might profit by it. The ministry could be held responsible for it.
I am wondering what the security system is that the minister talks about. What is the responsibility if there is a leak? What are the kinds of documents he sees as having a high security priority? What are the ones he has to take particular security with?
When we develop a security system, as the minister will well recognize, we do not have a whole bunch of people going around protecting everything. If we do, it is very costly and invariably whatever really is high-priority security gets through. What is his target in terms of security? What are the kinds of things he is trying to protect? It seems as though he is saying everything is going to be shredded. Maybe I have misinterpreted the statements by the minister because they were very general, but what is he targeting in terms of the shredding? What happens if some of those documents are leaked? Who is responsible for that and what are the repercussions?
I found the minister's statement on "buy Canadian" very general. First of all, he does not really say that in buying Canadian we are buying from Canadian-owned-and-operated businesses. I assume he means his buy Canadian policy would include Canadian-based companies owned by multinational, American or other foreign interests. I am wondering if there is any distinction he makes in the buy Canadian policy in this regard.
I also find it interesting that the US federal government has a policy whereby one third of its expenditures on procurement is directed to small businesses. I am wondering whether the minister has looked into --
Mr. Boudria: Like John Eakins's bill.
Mr. Philip: Yes. I have not had an opportunity to study the bill of the member for Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins) in great detail, but I have looked at what the US federal government has done.
One of the interesting things we find is that the small corporations in Canada, by and large, are owned by Canadians, whereas as we get into the larger corporations there is a larger preponderance of foreign ownership. One would think that in keeping with the minister's buy Canadian policy -- which one assumes is part of a general philosophical feeling he and I both share of being masters in our house, to repeat an old cliché -- he would have a policy of encouraging small business, which would be encouraging businesses that are more likely to be owned by Canadians or by people living in Ontario. Therefore, in a sense, in that way we would be sharing the profits of our taxes with our own people.
There has been renewed interest in Minaki Lodge. I am not going to deal with that now, but --
Mr. Boudria: Forty-five million dollars.
Mr. Philip: Yes, $45 million, as I said on Metro Morning yesterday and as the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) and I were discussing there yesterday.
The Minaki of jails has to be Burwash. The only difference is that at least Minaki now has a few rich businessmen who are using Minaki, whereas Burwash has the beautiful basketball courts but nobody is using them. Also, Bison is the analogy.
I am sure the minister is embarrassed that this great white elephant -- another white elephant of the north in this case -- happens to have been built and is sitting there vacant. I am sure that somewhere down the line the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz) will come along and say: "Burwash is a great site for Minaki II. We have a luxurious gymnasium there. We will have to expand it. We will spend another $45 million on it. We will have another group of rich businessmen using the jail rather than the people for whom it was intended."
One really has to wonder. The rationale in closing Burwash, as I recall -- I was not the critic at that time -- was that it was inhumane for people to come a great distance to see their relatives in this site. Now we have seen the closing of the jails in Sudbury, and I am sorry the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Leluk) has left, because I did not get to ask my supplementary in response to his answer to the question I asked him in the House today.
We are trying to be "humane." So we close Burwash because people have to go too far to visit their relatives. Then we have Sudbury. But we close Sudbury, 20 miles away from Burwash, and ship those prisoners 600 miles to Thunder Bay. If we are going to be humane to people, why is it any more humane for northerners whose relatives would have been in a jail in Sudbury to go to Thunder Bay than for me, if my sister or brother, heaven forbid, should end up in jail, to visit him or her in Sudbury?
We seem to have two standards. We do not want these poor southerners to go all the way to Sudbury to visit their relatives, but it is okay for the poor suckers in Sudbury to go all the way to Thunder Bay to visit their relatives.
Now, if I were a northerner -- and I am, because I represent northern Etobicoke, so I have a certain empathy for the north -- I would say there seems to be discrimination against the penal population in northern Ontario. The government has empathy for the poor people in southern Ontario travelling long distances, but the poor people in northern Ontario are rugged and are supposed to be used to this kind of thing; they can go over to Thunder Bay to visit their relatives.
What is the real purpose of this? What is the minister going to do with the thing? Is he going to build another jail in Sudbury? Why can he not open up Burwash so the people in Sudbury will not have to travel that great distance?
The Minister of Correctional Services talked today about all the great things he is doing to open up more space. He is not opening up more space; he is simply crowding more people in. If you look at the renovations that are being done, they are taking away recreation space, storage space and other kinds of space and simply cramming more bunks and cell space into it. Yet here we have Burwash sitting empty -- rotting, if you want -- while people and officials and so forth are travelling back and forth from Sudbury to Thunder Bay or, at the very least, to North Bay.
Those are a few of the comments I would like to make. I have some other comments in greater detail about media studios and a few other things.
In closing, I would like to invite the minister to see how a party that knows how to run things in a businesslike fashion can run something. I invite the minister to be my guest -- I will even buy the button for him -- at the New Democratic Party spring fair, where he will see a great amount of enterprise, where he will be more than welcome along with the 8,000 or 10,000 other people who will show up on Sunday, where he will be treated royally to bands and other entertainment and, indeed, where the member for York South (Mr. Rae), our leader, will no doubt have a special song for him.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Chairman, after that last commercial I do not want to lump all NDP people together but, being a small businessman from Lanark, I have never found they are very good at doing day-to-day business with the small business people whom the member for Etobicoke says we should be looking after. Many of them have never had to meet a payroll, as I have myself. But I could be wrong; you might find one or two in the caucus who had done that.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, on a point of privilege: I recall the day in this House when that kind of silly statement was made by another minister. At that time I asked all the people in the House who had business experience to stand up, and there were more who stood up from the NDP than from the other two parties.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Probably if the honourable member tried that today, it might not work out that way for him. However, I do not want to be provocative before a long weekend.
I would like to try to answer some of the questions. The member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) asked about the difference in our capital allocation going from approximately $90 million in 1982-83 down to $44.2 million this year. That is quite simple to answer, I believe: It was because of two big capital projects, the Oshawa Revenue building and the Ontario health insurance plan building in Kingston.
Mr. Chairman: Fine building.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: The Chairman says it is a fine building.
Mr. Chairman: What are we going to do with Pine Ridge school?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: He will be able to ask me questions on that later.
I do agree with the member for Erie that it would be nice if we could have a five-year plan. We are working towards that. Just to share this with the honourable members, we do have a different system than we had a few years ago in that we take all the projects each ministry has on its wish list, if one wants to call it that, to the policy fields and the policy fields help us decide from the allocation they have which ones are given the high priority.
I think the members know we have to be a bit flexible on that, because what is high priority today may not be high priority five years down the road, for many of the reasons the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) mentioned.
We may need a new correctional institution or something of that sort that we could not foresee, or perhaps that we found was of higher priority than some of the other buildings we had on there. We have to be a bit flexible but we are working and trying. It would be a lot simpler for my staff if they had a five-year plan.
I will go over some matters briefly and the members may want to come back at our next sitting to get into more detail on them. As far as the push-button phones for the members' offices are concerned, we gave all the information to the Board of Internal Economy and I know, from using one myself, it will speed up the operations of our gals in the office and of ourselves.
To give a dollar saving on that is pretty hard, as I think the member knew when he asked the question, but listening to the standing committee on members' services, I think everybody there felt it would be a great help, not only to them but to their office assistants.
I was a little disappointed the member for Etobicoke thought our statement did not spell out a little more about what we were going to do. I listened to his seven or eight questions after that. If he had listened to and read the statement, he would have seen we covered those in it.
Maybe the statement did not mean as much to him as it did to me but, being a businessman, any time I can show savings such as we have in there in different areas -- I did not have time to show all the savings we have made and at the same time keep our staff at a lower level -- then I think that is running a business in a very efficient way.
To answer the statement that we were so general in a statement like this, if the member wanted me to take a couple of hours, I guess I could have done that, but I would sooner have the dialogue back and forth so the member asks the questions he knows are bothering him, to which I hope we can give the answers.
As far as wages go, in all our contracts we use the fair-wage guidelines. We have not had much trouble with that over the period I have been with Government Services, so we will continue to use that government policy. We use fair-wage guidelines in determining the wages we pay for jobs.
The member knows the Ministry of Natural Resources looks after planes. I will only say, as one minister, that if we are going to a particular area we do try to double up. In some cases the Premier (Mr. Davis) feels only a certain number can go on a plane for safety reasons. I guess he does not want us all wiped out in one shot if it happened to go down. I could be wrong, but I believe the number travelling on any one plane at any one time is something like three ministers of the crown.
Many members make reference to limousines. The car I drive at home is better than the car that drives me around when I am here. I really do not believe the people of Lanark think I drive a limousine. I drive a Buick. I drive an Oldsmobile here but the one I have at home has many more features than the one I have here. I am sure the people of Lanark do not believe it is a limousine. I could not afford one anyway.
As far as giving the cost of all these is concerned, I have seen that on the order paper different times. We can give the cost for our ministry, but I do not have all the other ministries at my fingertips.
We are pursuing the east-of-Bay project with the mayor of Toronto; in fact, yesterday afternoon we had another meeting on that. We are sticking to our guns for the million square feet of office space for the future across the other side. Members have heard me say many times that is what we want. We are getting more co-operation now, and it looks as if we will have something settled in the near future on that site. I will be able to report back to the Legislature when that happens, but at this time I do not want to say too much more because we are still in negotiations.
Mr. Haggerty: I thought you had the footings in already.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: No. We will have them in pretty fast if we get that million square feet: some of them anyway.
As to the $2 million for our handicapped, referring to the statement the honourable member mentioned I made in the House, we have done a lot of work, and I think the member knows that, around this building and others. He wondered what the officer is doing right now. I spoke to him yesterday and we are working on another area. For those who have a hearing problem, we will have phones located in this building as well. The phone will be marked, and no one will know the person has a problem, other than by the sign above it saying it is a phone that can be adjusted to a person's hearing needs. We will have them in this building and other buildings throughout these complexes.
As the member knows, just around this building we built the ramp at the front. I know that was in years gone by, but if he looks around he can see the washrooms here were done in last year's budget to give access to the handicapped. One just needs to look around this building. It is very difficult to have a lot of services here for the handicapped because of the age of the building and the elevation at the front and so on, but we have done it. We have done it on all our retrofit buildings, and of course it is a must in all our new buildings, such as the new courthouse that opened in St. Catharines yesterday.
The shredding of documents is another saving we are making. We do not have to keep them in storage. We used to have to pay in advance $140,000 a year. Now we are shredding them, and we are putting them back into recycled paper. I do not have to tell anyone that I hope something up to 1,000 tons of recycled paper will go in to make up this $140,000 this year. The $12,000 we are paid is another add-on, so we are really saving $152,000 in that program and may be helping not to destroy so many trees.
I think everyone in this House knows I am fully committed to the buy Canadian policy. I know the member for Prescott-Russell (Mr. Boudria) knows that. If members read the statement I made, it showed that 100 per cent of the 1,100 items in the sundries end are purchased in Canada and 95 per cent of those are manufactured in Canada. Only about five per cent, I am told, are bought offshore and assembled here. They are all assembled or sold through Canadian manufacturers or suppliers.
We have set up a procurement officer -- we give him another title in the statement -- to work along this line, to show where we can buy more Canadian products. We have gone to trade fairs. There was one held here recently at the Skyline and we had our people there talking on how to sell to government. We found people who manufacture certain items we did not know they could manufacture were in fact manufacturing in Canada. So it was helpful to us and to them to have this dialogue with us.
We will continue to work along with the Ministry of Industry and Trade. As I said in my statement, we know that if we buy Canadian it means more jobs for our fellow Canadians, those who are out of work, and we have a responsibility in that area.
Regarding Burwash, if the honourable member knows anyone we could sell that to we would be pleased to hear from him. We have tried, since I have been in the Ministry of Government Services, to assist the people in the area -- through Sudbury 2001, I believe it was -- and the member for Sudbury (Mr. Martel) was supporting them. We helped when they had the goat farm and we have allowed farmers to farm the farm land. On the part across the road east of the entrance, we have given a lease to the native people to develop it. I understand that development is taking place.
Regarding Burwash, we are actively trying to get someone in there. We have had some of our sister ministries up to have a look at it. I hope we will be successful. I know the member for Etobicoke would like to see something for the benefit of all Ontario, but he would not oppose something that would be of benefit to the member for the area, the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon), and members from his own side of the House.
We are actively working on that, and we look forward to our next session.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Wiseman, the committee of supply reported progress.
The House adjourned at 1:03 p.m.