The House resumed at 8 p.m.
BUDGET DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, lest anyone wonder, I saved just a little touch for this evening, just enough to get the place warmed up again for the next speaker. I can see that the place is packed, which is not unusual for Thursday evening. I will in any event attempt to bring in a few of the concerns that I have about the Ontario budget, 1983 edition.
I have just said all there is to be said for the moment about the good stuff. I want to talk about where the budget is lacking in foresight. I would like to remind the members that I come from a small rural area in southwestern Ontario. Parts of this area, for example Huron county and parts of Bruce county, are populated by small towns and by farming people who have, generally speaking, for these last few years raised children, and schooled their children by sending them to the big city, to provide a good number of qualified people to operate the industries and to provide administrators for government and all the things the urban market offers to those people looking for jobs.
The fact of the matter is, and my own upbringing in the town of Wingham exemplifies this, that of some 35 or 40 people from the area and town where I attended school about five of us returned there after grade 13 and after our university and post-secondary training.
That is a sad commentary, I think, when it comes down to thinking about what is going to happen to that area as the years progress, because, as we all know, when the younger people remove themselves to the urban areas, we are left with an ever-increasing proportion of older citizens in the area who require more special needs. The people who are left there to work are just not able to contribute enough to provide the adequate services that are required by those people.
What could happen with respect to budgeting and the process that the budget speaks to is that there could be far more foresight placed in the economic development of this great nation of ours and in the great province of Ontario if, for a change, the governments would take a look at developing the whole of the resources they have at hand. There is a widely held belief that Ontario and the government operating out of Queen's Park are really run for the benefit of Metropolitan Toronto and one, two or three other areas. By and large the rest of the province is either forgotten or left to its own devices, and has to struggle along with policies developed to help a growing area here in Metropolitan Toronto.
Unfortunately, whether it is true or not, that is what the policy seems to be for us. For instance, in my area I have a grandmother approaching her 90th birthday. Today she is lying in a hospital bed in the town of Wingham, and unless some minor miracle occurs, that dear lady will not be with us very many more days. The fact of the matter is that if she had had access to chronic care in her own home when she needed it, the funding for which should have been available through the Ministry of Health to areas like ours with a high percentage of senior citizens, she might well have been with us much longer.
If, for instance, adequate funding were made available to the fine community of Kincardine, residents could have a nursing home facility in their own town instead of having to take their seniors 35, 40 and 50 miles away to the nearest nursing homes. Then maybe the spouses of the people who have to go into a nursing home would be with us for a good period of time longer.
There are a number of areas where social and economic planning in Ontario could come together to make far better use of the social dollars at our disposal. Quite frankly, many of us recognize that in times of tough economic conditions the social dollars are really pulled in; things tighten up. They have tightened up and have had to tighten up because of the difficulty Ontario citizens have had in finding employment. We are no longer in that great boom era of the 1970s when people of my age had everything they wanted, and certainly everything they needed. In most cases they have now come to confuse the wants with the needs: In other words, I think they have equated the two, and we are left with this unhealthy feeling of "What in the dickens do we do now that the magic bubble has burst?"
What I really want to say about the budget is that it does not recognize the resources available to the people of Ontario. There are pressures put on budgets to provide adequate housing for citizens in metropolitan areas; pressures to provide sewage treatment facilities for urban areas; pressures to provide for the adequate health care of ever-increasing populations: pressures to provide money for transportation facilities, whether those be roads or such urban transportation facilities as the Toronto Transit Commission.
If we take a look around the province and take stock of what this province is made of and what it can offer to the people of Ontario, we will find a good number of small communities, such as those located in the riding of Huron-Bruce and all over the province, which have inexpensive and very adequate housing, very sound housing, available for people. We have the transportation potential to get those people to industrial sites easily if a priority were put on locating industrial sites in those areas. We have health care facilities that could be made suitable to provide for every need that a young, growing and vigorous population would want; we have the sewage facilities; we have industrially zoned land available for any company wishing to establish a business in those communities.
Yet for some reason there has always been a major drift that has been, I think, helped by the process of financing our business communities and other programs in Ontario. It has been aided and abetted by that budgetary process in dragging all the people, or at least the vibrant part of our population, from the smaller areas into the urban centres and putting real pressure on the facilities that have been made available here through the years.
We get into real difficulties in having to consider policies like rent controls. We get into real problems in trying to figure out how we are going to spend our health dollars to make sure they go far enough to provide for an ever-growing population. How do we deal with our education costs?
It seems to me that if this budget paper would just look at the province as a whole and consider policies that would instil in the people in the business community of this province a sense that their rural areas have something to offer to the population of this province, then perhaps we could stretch our social dollars, if I can call them that, much further than they are now being stretched.
Maybe it would not be quite so necessary to come up with these programs that the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) speaks to of trying to provide extra dollars for the unemployed students, providing extra dollars for retraining individuals here, there and in other places. Perhaps if they gave priority to developing the resources of the province as a whole, then we could get back to some kind of orderly economic development for the province.
It is not in this budget. This budget is a hotchpotch collection of Band-Aid attempts at holding a bewildered and beleaguered economy together until something better happens. It is in many senses a piggy-back budget that is really tied closely to the federal budget, which preceded it by a mere two weeks, I guess. I really do not think it has shown anything of a thinking government's reaction to difficulties. We are really in trouble when the best the Treasurer can say about his budget is that, first, it creates some jobs; and second, it is wonderful because it increases our deficit by only a few million dollars.
A lot of people said this was the best the Treasurer could do. It may well be that it is the best he could do, but when they talk about the difference between a $2.6-billion and $2.9-billion deficit, for some reason in my own mind, when you are increasing it by that many millions of dollars, it seems a much more significant increase than those commentators would lead any one of us to believe. I do not think, for some reason, that it should be minimized to the extent that a lot of commentators suggest it should be.
I understand there are difficulties in trying to raise enough funds to do the types of things this government feels it ought to do. All I am suggesting, in my own fashion, is that it take a look at other areas of the province where it could get a lot more bang for its buck, as the saying goes, if it were to look at the province as a whole, because the impact of each dollar would be so much more significantly felt in all areas of the province. In fact, I think it could probably solve two or three major problems with one stroke.
I know it is not quite as simple as that, but in speaking to the House this evening I just want to bring to the attention of the people in the government that they should at least attempt that type of process and somehow figure out that perhaps if they took the pressure off the large urban areas, they might well come up with a good number of answers to several of their problems.
I do not usually congratulate the government very often at any time. I am a little like the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. Newman), however: any time I see them doing something of a positive nature I do say "Thank you" and congratulate them.
I noticed when I was doing a little bit of shopping at the government bookstore, as I do on occasion, that there was a study conducted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. It was piloted by the former president of the London Knights hockey club, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett). Perhaps during his days as president of that hockey club he noticed that there were difficulties in the smaller urban areas, so his ministry had a little study that was done by Llewellyn-Davies Carson Ltd. dealing with older industrial areas and strategies for improvement.
This booklet, when it talks about the advantages and good things about those old areas, does not go far enough in suggesting that the government do a number of things to improve those areas by building and revitalizing them. It should be suggesting that the government as a priority come into the older areas and provide incentives for the industrial people and business communities actually to make use of those older industrial areas.
They have studied areas in Peterborough, London and Woodstock. It is not a bad analysis of a problem that has existed for a good number of years but seems to have just come to their attention. I want to congratulate them on at least looking at these areas and coming to the realization that there is potential in a number of these areas that could be tapped and could provide us with a goodly number of beneficial effects.
I want to make a couple of comments on the budget. One concerns the social services maintenance tax. I was somewhat taken by that wizardry with words. Why the Treasurer in his wisdom could not have come straight out to the people of Ontario and said, "We are going to increase income tax by X number of dollars or X percentage points," and let it go at that, I do not know. I presume he wants everybody to think that in the next year or two somehow or another this magic-phrased tax, this social services maintenance tax, will disappear, as it is apt to do. I expect it to be swallowed up in a major increase in the income tax and no one will know.
If the Treasurer had really been fair and straightforward with the people, as he says he often is, he should have gone ahead and just raised the tax and let it go at that; but he could not bring himself to do that, because he could not admit to the real reason this tax had to be imposed. It was not so much to feed the social services that are required in our tough times as it was to make up for the depreciation of the capital supplies or their funding for such other programs as were mentioned by my honourable colleagues: the Suncor purchase and the trade of a large executive jet for two water bombers.
It really should not be part of the budget process to pull the hood over the poor people of Ontario. it is really an injustice to the people who are receiving social assistance or social services of all sorts to blame them or to single them out in particular by calling it a social services maintenance tax.
I want to comment a little on the retail sales tax. When I go to local sporting events and see the ladies' auxiliaries of minor sports clubs of my area working at the booths for nothing to raise a little extra money, and when I see my daughter going up to buy bubble gum and licorice pieces and they tell me there is tax on it, the same retail sales tax that the minister imposed, it makes me want to yell out, because it really is a petty tax.
What is the tradeoff for that tax that was imposed last year? This year we have a sales tax holiday for anybody looking to buy furniture. Mind you, my daughter does not usually buy furniture; in fact, I can guarantee that this year my daughter will not be buying furniture. She will still be buying bubble gum and licorice. It does not seem to me that for some strange reason, because the children of the province are buying candy bars to feed the general revenues, all of a sudden we should have a tax holiday for another segment of our industry that has always been taxed.
I know that it is to the benefit of some of the manufacturers of furniture, it will stimulate them in the short term. Between May and August I expect there will be a good deal of interest from the people who were thinking of buying furniture anyway. The same thing holds for people who were thinking they might buy some new appliances. I know some members of this House who may even be looking to build new houses and buy new furnishings who may benefit from this holiday.
One big hesitation a lot of the retail furniture dealers in my area have is that they expect a very big run on what furniture they have in stock until August, and then they expect to starve after August until goodness only knows when. This tax exemption in many ways provides an unrealistic market for our retailers in furniture. I can understand the reason behind the desire of the Treasurer to bring it in: he wants to reduce inventories. But I just do not know why he wants to bring in a retail sales tax holiday for these markets when he has already acknowledged with respect to the car industry that such retail sales tax holidays really do not have the beneficial long-term effect everybody hopes they will have. I do not understand it.
I am sure we will find that the artificial demand created by this retail sales tax holiday will kindle a few of the factories to hire one, two, three or several more employees in the short term, and then they will be let off again in the fall. We do not seem to me to be moving fast enough towards economic recovery to ensure that the jobs available for people who may be taken on to fill the orders that, in the case of furniture, have to be delivered by November 9 will last long enough to provide the stability for which we are all hoping.
I also want to talk a little about the problem of youth unemployment. The budget speaks about the job creation attempts the Treasurer has developed. In many senses he really has not done anything except tag along with the federal government. They are the same people he usually kicks in the teeth because they have apparently cut back on the transfers. He then quietly snuggles up to them when the time is right and takes their dollars to create jobs for our young people.
Mr. Wildman: The Ontario Liberal Party has a similar attitude towards the federal Liberals.
Mr. Elston: I am afraid the federal Liberals and the provincial Liberals --
Mr. Wildman: You accept them when they do what you like and you reject them when they do not.
Mr. Nixon: As Broadbent does with Trudeau.
Mr. Bradley: Hazen Argue does not like poetry anyway.
Mr. Elston: Need I say more with respect to the position of the third party? These poor people do not know which way to turn --
Mr. Nixon: There is just no fight left in them.
Mr. Elston: They talk about the federal situation, and we have to talk about the federal situation when we take a look at the Treasury process in our fair country.
It is an amazing turn of events when a leading critic of finance who vas formerly in Ottawa comes to Toronto, presumably because there is more fertile ground. The member for York South (Mr. Rae) obviously felt that from an economic standpoint there were more people to snipe at here than there were in Ottawa. There are a number of federal New Democratic Party members who decided to run back to British Columbia. The federal ship is no longer riding high on the economic good news that those collectivists would like to disseminate.
Mr. McClellan: They sure do miss Murray Gaunt.
Mr. Kerrio: Imagine poor old Trudeau trying to sleep with Broadbent on one side and Clark on the other.
Mr. Rotenberg: Better than the position here.
Mr. Nixon: But here the choice is clear.
Mr. Elston: It is a crowded scenario for the poor people of Ontario when they have to consider the two opposition parties in Ottawa fighting over a couple of rag-tag ends while we have some definite alternatives here.
I was speaking in general terms earlier about the type of things I thought the Treasurer should take a look at to stimulate our economic development and stretch our dollars further. I got a little bit sidetracked, because I wanted to talk about the so-called great efforts that were broached in the budget about youth employment. In my riding a journalism student who had just come out of a session at Georgian College came home and expected to pick up a summer job he had held the previous year. In fact, he had held full-time employment for a couple of years before he went back to school. He had been working last year at about $4 an hour because he had attained a certain level of efficiency in working with the Ministry of the Environment at a particular site.
He knew he had the job and all he had to do was report. The day before he came back to take up his position for the summer at a rate he thought was going to be around $5 an hour he was told not only that his job would not pay $5 an hour -- that is, a small increase over last year -- but that he was going to be cut by about 40 per cent in his wages. Not only was his hourly rate going to be cut by that much but he was going to be cut back to a maximum of 11 weeks' employment. This fellow, who had made about $3,000 last summer for the job he did, was going to be making somewhere around $1,500.
The reason all this took place was that the Ministry of the Environment, and I presume it happens in many other ministries in this province, decided to reclassify that position. It became what is known as a summer Experience position. Instead of getting more than $4 an hour, as he had last year, the poor fellow was told he was getting $3.50 an hour; and instead of getting the normal allocation of summer weeks he was told he was getting 11 weeks' work.
By reclassifying the job and not telling this poor fellow about it the ministry prevented him from taking a look around for other comparable employment opportunities. It was virtually too late for him to take advantage of many of the other positions that might have been available through other ministries or through private industry.
That sort of reaction to youth employment possibilities is not fair. Certainly it would stretch the dollars of the Ministry of the Environment further, and I do not fight with the idea that ministry people must try to extend their funds as far as they can; but when they have a person locked into a position like this and are thinking about reclassifying it, they ought to have told this young man.
This young fellow was so disheartened and upset by the whole process that he decided not to take the job. His experience was such that he would have been able to allow the regular operator or the supervisor to take a full two or three-week vacation. He knew he had that ability. Now the supervisor of this plant cannot take a vacation, because he will not have anyone with experience comparable to that of the young man, who refuses to go to work there.
I am not commending the young fellow for deciding not to take the job. That was a decision he had to make. There is work available for him. He feels he will be able to get a few part-time jobs that will get him just as much money so he can go back to school. What I do condemn, though, is the type of reclassification that takes place without telling the young people what is happening.
In addition, there are two or three other people. One fellow is 26 years of age and has graduated from university with a bachelor of arts degree. He is partially handicapped in the sense that he is not blessed with full vision. This person is unable to find a job anywhere. He has been looking now for more than a year and there is just no opportunity for him to take advantage of employment in this province.
If I am not mistaken, I think originally he received a certificate to teach in the province -- not a certificate but at least he graduated from an education college so he could qualify to teach in this province; his handicap did not prevent him from fully participating in teaching activities, but there is nothing for that young man anywhere. There is no social agency in this province that is able to provide him with the additional help he needs. There should be but there is not.
Another fellow is in his early twenties and has a wife and child. He has been unemployed for several months and was able to take advantage of the unemployment insurance retraining program. The difficulty was that he lived in a little placed called Holyrood in my riding and he had to drive to this retraining program some 60 to 65 miles one way a day. With a wife and child at home, this fellow was unable to make ends meet with the allowance he received from unemployment insurance.
We approached the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and it just so happens there is no program that allows this person to receive a little extra assistance to help him become retrained. There is no program and no money to help him become retrained so that he could take advantage of a job possibility if it existed.
The budget does not provide any sort of economic realization that programs have to be made available from the social standpoint for these young people: the handicapped fellow who needs some special assistance to get a job and the unemployed fellow who would like to become retrained. Since the fellow could not get enough money to keep afloat, he has since separated from his wife to go first to Quebec to find a job or, if he cannot find one there, he is heading off to western Canada.
It is unfortunate and tragic that this young man had to leave his wife and child to do that sort of thing. There is a real hole in our social responsibility when those things happen. There is nothing in this budget that even suggests the employment programs offered here would be of any assistance whatsoever to that young man or to any of the young men I have spoken about.
It is a sad commentary on this budget and on the ability of this government to recognize its responsibility. It is the best it can do, I will go along with the commentators on that, because it is the best it has ever done. It recognizes as many ad hoc programs as it can. It tries to spread a few dollars here and there and usually tends not to recognize the real basis of its difficulties.
If the government would just get down to brass tacks, as the expression goes in our area, and start looking at some of these very basic problems of our economy from that point of view, maybe we could make some strides to providing some social justice for my grandmother, for instance, a senior in my riding, who could have taken advantage of some very good social programs under which a nonprofit organization in my riding would be prepared to step in and provide chronic home care services.
It would be nice if we could have a nursing home for the town of Kincardine so that those folks do not have to tear themselves away from their native area. It would be nice if we had retraining programs for that young fellow so he did not have to go away from his wife. It would he nice if that fellow who was handicapped with vision problems was not left in the lurch month after month. But there is no realization in this budget that there is a process to developing sensitive fiscal programming for this province that would come to grips with our new social factors.
The old way of doing budgets, the old way of managing the province, just does not work. It is time this government decided that it would take new initiatives and develop new processes to allocate the dollars they have available for the benefit of the people of this province.
I suggested earlier that perhaps the government would like to take a look at the whole of the province instead of focusing its attention on just heavily populated areas. Perhaps there will be some alleviation in that. I believe that is a possibility. I believe the wealth of the province was created when we reached out into all areas of this great land and drew on the resources, whether they be natural, human or whatever, and got everybody pulling his own weight as far as the province went instead of tapping one area to feed the rest. We are almost at a stage in this province where we are cannibalizing parts of the province to feed the hungriest section. We cannot afford to do that.
I hope the Treasurer will take seriously my thoughts about developing programs to have industries locate in the smaller centres and take the pressure off the housing market in urban areas and develop a new dimension as far as progress in the province is concerned.
One thing I was thinking about on my way from dinner this evening was that we have in the province a rather large budget. It sort of struck me as funny that we do not have a Minister of Finance; we have a Treasurer. We have a Minister of Treasury and Economics, who goes by the homy title of Treasurer. I was treasurer once of several organizations. I was treasurer of the local hockey club, for instance. I was treasurer of the local association --
Mr. Nixon: And had a balanced budget every year.
Mr. Elston: In fact, we even made a little money. I have had more experience as a treasurer than the current Treasurer of the province. What a homy title for a fellow who handles billions of dollars.
Mr. Bradley: If you had one balanced budget, it would be one more than Bill Davis's bunch has had.
Mr. Elston: I did happen to have two or three that worked out rather well. But it seems to me it is rather a homy title for a fellow. It sort of recognizes the existence of a situation where that fellow is not really in control but, rather, he is being controlled by a set of circumstances that he just manages to cope with rather than steering towards some kind of effective policy.
It seems to me that the province, as far as its budget process and fiscal planning go, has got to get serious. It has got to change its emphasis from the silly Band-Aid programs it sets up all the time, which it sets up as temporary programs, and get down to the hard facts of dealing with the real problems that are at the root of our difficulties.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for allowing me to speak this evening. Many members should understand it is a privilege to speak in this House. I regard it as that. Many more people should have a bit more respect for the chamber and be a little more sensitive and thoughtful in their speech-making; perhaps then we could provide a little more relevance for this chamber, not only in day-to-day legislation but perhaps also in the fiscal planning for the province as a whole.
The Deputy Speaker: I thank the member for Huron-Bruce. At this time it gives me great pleasure to recognize the member for Hamilton West.
Mr. Allen: My goodness, such an introduction, Mr. Speaker; thank you very much.
I rise to speak to the amendment to the amendment to the speech from the throne moved by the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke) and seconded by the member for York South (Mr. Rae). In particular, after some introductory comment, I want to address my remarks to the clause that reads, "Failing to respond to the unacceptable levels of unemployment among young people and women with concrete proposals to create permanent jobs and comprehensive skills training programs."
Mr. Bradley: That motion is poetry to my ears.
Mr. Rotenberg: That motion is over; the throne speech debate is over.
Mr. Sheppard: I thought you were talking on the budget.
Mr. Allen: In the course of this past week, I was looking through a small book entitled Fear of Fragmentation, by an author named Anthony Wesker, a British dramatist who has undertaken some innovative work in the field of dramatics and in the presentation of theatre to working people.
Speaking on what he called the misunderstood and so-called pessimistic works of many contemporary artists, he comments, "Yet there are some plays with pretensions to exultation which are hollow and therefore reflect contempt, since they rest on the assumption that the people must be fooled in order to help them grow."
I submit to members that quotation is not an inapt description of the budget that has been presented to this House. It is not a budget of confidence; it is a budget of contempt. It is not a budget of justice; it is a budget that puts people in further jeopardy. It is not a budget of recovery; it is basically a budget of retreat. Essentially, what offends me most is that it is a budget of contempt.
Listening superficially to the budget presentation, one might initially have gathered a sense of energy and large objectives being entertained in response to a provincial crisis of major economic proportions. Two weeks later, the aspect of that budget has a rather different form and it appears rather more like a reactor in the process of meltdown, so much did its potential and promise change on examination.
It appears now as an exercise in illusion. The Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), learning quickly and well from his federal counterpart, covered his tracks deftly, promising what he only seemed to promise, or promising what had already been promised, or promising what lay beyond the temporal bounds of the budget year in question.
The job creation proposal sounded good until one woke up to the fact that the Treasurer was indulging in double accounting. He has 100,000 jobs for youth; but 72,000 of those were already in place. When one looked at the rest, there were 28,000 short-term enrichment jobs to meet the needs of 233,000 unemployed young people in Ontario.
He announced an accelerated capital works program amounting to $246 million. Half of that was already committed in federal and provincial moneys. The real figure was $82 million and would produce only 12,000 jobs.
In a similar sort of fallback from earlier targets of previous budgets, the co-operative projects employment fund dropped from 6,000 jobs to 3,200; and his housing initiatives from 38,000 to 12,000.
In short, the promise melted moment by moment as one read through the budget and reflected about it on second reading through.
In the end, the best figure we could come up with for job creation, breaking it all down, was something like 29,000 man-years of work -- 29,000 man-years of work against a real unemployment figure in this province of some 780,000 unemployed, 230,000 of them women and 230,000 of them young Ontario workers.
The enormity of the budget was compounded by the pretension of the Treasurer to be relying on what he called "the private sector" for recovery. "Recovery" is a nice word, and it can have a lot of meanings. It means something very helpful in the hospital room, when the doctor announces to his patient that recovery is under way. It can be used by a Treasurer to carry a lot of freight that is not going anywhere.
Recent reports, which all of us have read in the newspapers, have indicated there is a profit recovery of sorts under way. It is tenuous indeed, even in that respect, but that is the proportion of the private sector recovery we are looking at. The Treasurer floats in this beautiful word "recovery," as an omnibus word, to convey the hope that something else is happening. Like the job figures, it deflates very quickly.
For example, John Grant, an economist with Wood Gundy Ltd., referring to the Treasurer's pretension that he is helping a private-sector-led recovery, said, "The message of the budget is, 'Private sector, heal thyself.'"
Jack McArthur, financial analyst for the Toronto Star, said: "The private sector is not promising to create much new employment. In fact, many executives say openly that there will be the opposite."
Leo de Bever, chief economist of Chase Econometrics Canada, said the same.
The Canadian Manufacturers Association said, "An alarming number of Canadian manufacturers continue to operate near the brink of failure."
Today, May 26, 1983, we heard the announcement in Hamilton of the closing of another factory, that of Arrow Shirt Manufacturing Co., resulting in the loss of 160 jobs; the ninth closure in eight weeks. That is private sector recovery.
The light the Treasurer appears to see is really the light he sees in his rear-view mirror as he drives deeper into his endless cave. The light he thinks he sees ahead of him is the light behind him in the opening of the tunnel by which he entered. There is only darkness ahead and he drives farther, it seems to me, into the gloom.
The Treasurer is not indulging in significant job creation. If the private sector is not promising to deliver, what are we to say of this budget? How are we to measure it against the recent prediction of a federal study that 2.5 million jobs will be lost in the Canadian economy by the end of the decade?
The budget also offers a consumer-led recovery and then reduces purchasing power dramatically, as indeed it did last year. It offers stimulus to investment through tax breaks. Investment? When capital is already excessively underused? When macroeconomists and taxation specialists tell us that tax exemptions in such a time, if in any time, are largely lost money and distort any pretension to progressive taxation?
I come back to my opening quotation, that the budget in essence reflects contempt, since it rests on the assumption that people must be fooled to help them.
What we face in Ontario, in the face of the Treasurer's neoconservatism and his refusal to confront directly the employment problem, is a major crisis not just in jobs but also in work. The job crisis we have had in periodic depressions that have marked our economy over generations. The work crisis is a lingering problem that has been with us since the industrial revolution of the late 18th century.
The industrial revolution did two things, basically. First, it began separating working people from their tools, from their means of production. Even prior to the industrial revolution, no less an observer than John Locke, on whom much liberal theory is based, observed, "A man has a right to that with which he mixes his labour." What the industrial revolution did in that respect was to separate a man from that right.
Later, as that revolution progressed, there was increasingly a deskilling of workers by the rationalizing of production from the plant office. In short, progressively over time, the intelligence that was used on the plant floor became the property also of management.
In the Canadian economy, that happened most dramatically in the 1890s, when mass production overtook our economy in a time when skilled tradesmen, who earlier in that century had patterned their crafts after a very high vision of work, had the notion that they were patterning their own lives in their work after that of their God, who was a creator and had created this vast machine. In their work on their machines they felt they were working in His image, doing their daily productive application of their skills. They were following in the wake of a worker-creator.
In the course of the early years of this century, scientific management, known as Taylorism, still furthered that march of the intelligence off the plant floor and into the head offices and the managerial structures of industry.
In those two major steps, working people were progressively alienated from their work itself, which for aeons they had seen as their basis of life, providing the structure of their daily existence, Now, in our time, it appears working people in large numbers may be being pressed that next step to complete separation from the hollow shell of what remained of what was once a meaningful concept of work and an image of life itself. In immense numbers they stand outside the plant gate.
However we do it, that entire process must be reversed, not just by job creation, but by a reversal of the flow of alienation. If productivity is to be enhanced, if work is to become meaningful once more, if those things are to happen, the exercise of intelligence must flow back from the manager's office on to the plant floor.
It is very interesting that in an address recently given to a symposium in Hamilton by no less than the president of Westinghouse, much the same idea was echoed, that it was necessary to challenge that earlier application of scientific management, just as the Japanese in their industrial strategies have been doing. He put it this way: "We must reverse the old idea and take manual work out of the shop and put the brains back in. That has great implications for the way we work, and it has great implications for the way we train and treat our human resources."
That does not imply that the application of technology must lead us in the direction of further large-scale or permanent unemployment. As he pointed out, Japan is said to be operating more than 70 per cent of the world's employed robots, and yet its unemployment rate is less than three per cent. And they do it because they make a commitment to full employment and to lifetime employment. They make a commitment to training and to the culture of the worker.
In addition, the reintegration of working people with their tools must be the path of the future, so that whatever kind of work may mark the productive unit of the future, that production will be marked by a full participation of working people in the decisions that affect them and the industries within which they work.
Those are the two fundamental reforms that must accompany the advance of the new technology. A recent papal encyclical, which lies behind the much-discussed bishops' statement, an encyclical entitled On Human Labour, makes the following observation, which I think is very pertinent to the crisis we find ourselves in and which this budget fails to address.
The Pope states, "Human work is a key, probably the essential key, to the whole social question, if we try to see that question really from the point of view of man's good." Going on to speak about the relationship of work and property, the Pope argues that all productive property in industry is essentially a product of work or reproductive labour of some kind; therefore, all industrial property must be viewed as social property.
Then he goes on to speak about socializing property -- heretical statements coming from the papal mouth, I would think, to the members opposite.
"We can speak of socializing," he says, "only when the human character of society is ensured. That is to say, when on the basis of his work each person is fully entitled to consider himself a part owner of the great workbench at which he is working with everyone else. A way towards that goal could be found by associating labour with the ownership of capital and by producing a wide range of intermediate bodies with economic, social and cultural purposes."
Pope John obviously is issuing a real challenge to the Canadian economy and, I think, to the government opposite in its industrial strategies, its educational policies and its training and retraining programs.
But precisely because the budget abandons working people in their worklessness, and makes no pretence to undertake a beginning of that great reversal to which I referred and the consequences of the industrial revolution of 200 years ago, I find it a document that offers no hope at all. In hiding its lack of hope in so many clever ways, all the while holding it out, it is a budget of contempt.
It has been commonplace recently to observe that we are moving into an information-based economy and that we therefore will have to educate, train and retrain as never before. That is an observation that goes hand in hand with the two reversals which I suggested were necessary in our industrial organization and in the face of labour in the work place.
if work is to be rehabilitated for countless thousands in our land, it will require a virtual revolution in our approach to the skilling and educating of the work force.
The historic problem we face in that respect is well known. We exported our resources and we imported our skills. In spite of the entry of the federal government into technical training 70 years ago, and in spite of the provincial and federal programs of the early 1960s, that pattern has persisted. Even as we trained young people in the new vocational centres built in the early 1960s, we imported huge numbers of European tradesmen who became the core of our skilled labour force.
The same contradiction of importation of skills and training proposals afflicts current policies. In the past year many of us read that 65,000 skilled tradesmen would be necessary before 1985 or 1986; that notion put a great deal of pressure upon our colleges and universities and upon our industries for apprenticeships. Then we were told that over the next three years we could expect that 20,000 skilled workers would immigrate to Canada just as a matter of course. What was the incentive if we were going to go through it all again? We would export our resources and import our skills.
A survey in 1976 and 1977 of 61 Ontario companies measured for us the results of that policy. It showed that only 27 per cent of our skilled labour force was born in Canada.
Furthermore, not only has the skilled work force aged in time but also, at a time when an unsettling proportion of them are reaching retirement, the shortages we expect to have to fill are the ones that are also afflicting other industrialized countries. There is no longer a skilled work force of any proportion available elsewhere to move to Canada.
Yet another problem in our skills training area which this budget fails to address satisfactorily is its concentration on training young people under the age of 25 for those skills rather than looking to the constant and regular reskilling of the work force throughout its mature years. That is beginning to change, but there is little evidence of government or private sector initiatives to institute skills training programs that provide for what might be called entire life-cycle education for working people.
The economy at large, not to mention individual working people, will face a bleak future without a massive effort in that direction. The general judgment, unfortunately, seems to be that Canada's skills learning system -- institutional, industrial, apprenticeship -- is inadequate, fragmented and in many cases misdirected. Much of it trains people for surplus occupations, while on the other hand the current fad for high-tech skills misses the entire area of skills related to significant worker participation in the work place, in economic decision-making.
Again, much of what is done in that direction is directed at youth, or those who are unfortunate enough to be disabled for some reason or other, or those who are for a short time in the work place and need retraining, or those who are facing the actual disaster of job loss.
All these problems have shown up regularly in the testimony before the New Democratic Party's task force on educational policy, which has been travelling this province. Labour representatives in Sudbury, for example, pointed out the inadequacies and outmoded nature of vocational school equipment and the outmoded skills their children were learning as they attended those centres.
Professor Rudy Moro, professor of the department of technological studies at the University of Western Ontario, explained the lack of a rigorous integrated technological curriculum for high school trades training. He pointed out the problems afflicting that field and the inadequacy of government and industry alike in their responses to the problem.
Fortunately, there are models to help us through this crisis that we can adapt to our own ways. In a recent address, Lynn Williams, the secretary of the United Steelworkers of America, speaking again to the Hamilton symposium that I referred to earlier, made the following comments about what he calls the magic of lifetime employment commitment enjoyed by millions of Japanese employees. They know their jobs are guaranteed and that technological change is not something that threatens their work. They can therefore review its introduction with much more equanimity, even enthusiasm, than their Canadian counterparts.
Williams goes on to make this interesting observation: "Another element of this magic of even greater significance is that the lifetime commitment alters even more dramatically the approach of the employer to the implementation of change. There can be no facile assumption that excess employees will simply disappear and therefore vanish from the employer's range of concerns.
"Quite the opposite is the case. The lifetime employment commitment requires the employer to develop constructive alternatives in which skills and abilities of the employees who are not needed in their traditional jobs may be harnessed. Many of Japan's most efficient and successful new industries have developed as a result of this exacting responsibility, which requires employers to develop creative opportunities for employees, not to eliminate them."
Also, one could refer to the comments of a noted management consultant by the name of Peter Drucker, who points to another example that we may all follow. Drucker points to Sweden as the example of what planning for such changes can accomplish in an economy.
"In 20 years," he writes, "from 1950 to 1970, Sweden changed from a primarily preindustrial raw material producing economy to a modern technological economy under the leadership" -- and this will give some horror to some opposite -- "of a trade union economist with the involvement of industry and government.
"With well-developed labour market programs for training, retraining, the identification of growth sectors, mobility assistance and such, Sweden moved almost half of its labour force" -- note that -- "into new positions in those 20 years without great difficulty and at a fraction of the cost of paying unemployment compensation."
If one can refer to Japanese and Swedish models, there is obviously some hope for us in facing the massive tasks of training and retraining, of developing paid educational leave and alternative innovative programs for working people in Canadian industry. It is becoming clear to many that the objective must be the provision of lifelong learning throughout our society, but also specifically that it must be made a clear goal for working people in our industrial and business occupations.
The objective cannot remain restricted only to vocational skills, as the tendency of government and current Canadian industrial thinking on this subject tends to imply. Rather, it must be in the terms of the paid educational leave provisions that have been proposed to the world industrial community by the International Labour Organization.
It must be in terms that refer to policies of education for working people on a paid-leave basis which will offer them the possibility of acquiring, improving and adapting their occupational and functional skills; the promotion of their employment and job security; their competent and active participation as workers in representing their members in all the undertakings of community life; the human, social and cultural advancement of themselves as working people and generally the promotion of appropriate continuing education and training helping workers to adjust to all contemporary requirements that are laid at their doorstep.
In order to move us further towards a resolution of our crisis of work and productivity in Ontario, this party is proposing a work futures training fund which would begin to make paid educational leave a reality in this province. What we propose is the adaptation of a proposal of the Dodge task force on labour market development by which a contributory fund paid into by government, employees and employers would finance paid educational leave for Ontario working people. May I read part of our proposal?
"Ontario should establish a work futures training fund which would provide paid educational leave on the basis of bank credits built up over time. Individuals wishing to take advantage of their credit could undertake job training and skills upgrading in the work place or educational upgrading in education and other institutions.
"Funding of the program would be on a shared employer/employee/government basis with the employer portion funded by a payroll tax and matched by government contributions. Because workers' needs will vary regarding educational leave and because much of the labour force does not bargain on employment conditions collectively, considerable flexibility would have to be built into the program. For example, where there is a collective agreement, paid educational leave could be a matter for bargaining. A tax-sheltered education savings plan would be an alternative for other employees.
"Finally, the program would not preclude workers taking educational leave at reduced income rates on the basis of employer and government contributions alone."
There is very much more that can be said on this complex and immensely important subject, not just in its specific work training proposals and the options available to us but also with respect to the major crisis of work which our proposal addresses as one small solution. We will all have occasion, I hope, to address those issues further in the future. In rising to speak to the clause and the amendment to the amendment to the budget, which I referred to, I felt there was nothing more important I could address than the question of the crisis of work facing our people in this province and suggesting at least a major step towards its solution.
Mr. Barlow: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise and speak on the budget debate. The last member speaking on the amendment to the amendment to the speech from the throne is either a few days early or late on that. It is a pleasure to give some comments on this debate. A large number of my constituents along with myself believe we have an excellent budget before this parliament. It is one that could be brought in only by a responsible government.
On a personal level, the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) deserves our continued support for his exemplary behaviour concerning the Garbagegate issue. It seems to be a rather sad situation for certain members of the press gallery who, incidentally, often pride themselves on keeping this government on its toes --
Mr. Wlldman: Why does the member hate the press?
Mr. Barlow: I do not. The New Democratic Party and the official opposition members are the people who wanted to make a big issue of that. I feel our Treasurer did a great job in bringing a good budget before us in spite of the issue that came out.
Mr. Wildman: He brought in a garbage budget.
Mr. Barlow: He brought in an excellent budget, as the member knows. I know of many Cambridge residents who wrote to the --
Mr. Barlow: I appreciate my support.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Barlow: They are trying to get me rattled. It is unkind.
Many residents of Cambridge wrote to the Globe and Mail and, instead of asking the Treasurer to resign, asked the president and the chairman of the board of the Globe and Mail to resign. It was a very clear issue. Of course, the opposition supported this Garbagegate issue.
The entire incident also served to draw some attention away from the actual content of the budget. That is unfortunate, because there are many items in the budget of benefit to many Ontario residents which will also assist in our economic recovery. We should not lose sight of that. Rather than provide the quick-fix solution some members opposite have called for, this budget will both encourage and assist the economic recovery as it gains momentum.
There are provisions for a large number of jobs to be created directly, particularly through the Canada-Ontario employment development program, the capital projects acceleration program and the youth enrichment program. I am glad to see such programs are targeted specifically to those groups which need them the most. They are also worth while from the point of view of the employer and the community involved. I want to say a bit more about these programs a little later on, because they are an important component of the budget, but right now I would like to mention some of the other budget measures.
One particular point was good news for many Ontario consumers and businesses, many of which are located in Cambridge. This was the temporary tax cut on certain residential furniture items designed to create consumer demand. Although this initiative will last only until early August, I think many thousands of people will benefit from it: the consumer, the retailer, the manufacturer and certainly the employees of each of these components.
On the whole, the products covered have a high Canadian content -- very important in this economy. The beneficial effects of this tax cut will, therefore, be largely confined to Canadian products, many of which are manufactured here in Ontario, many in my own riding of Cambridge. Furniture, appliances, drapery material and floor coverings are all manufactured in my community and I certainly want to see those businesses flourish.
As well as providing an incentive for consumers to buy these products, we can also expect that a sizeable part of the $55 million the consumer will save will be pumped back into the economy through increased consumer spending.
I realize some members always want the government to get more and more control of our daily lives. These individuals would rather spend billions on government make-work programs, as the member for Hamilton West (Mr. Allen) has just suggested. Government cannot create these jobs. Even though some temporary job creation programs in the public sector may well do some good in the short run, we have to recognize that in the long run it is the private sector that provides ongoing, productive jobs. The Treasurer has acknowledged this fact in his budget; he has recognized that permanent, meaningful jobs must come from the private sector.
Even more specifically, this budget recognizes the private sector is best served by encouraging the wellbeing of the small business community. Ontario's small business development corporation program is this country's most successful venture capital program. Rather than just let things lie with the knowledge of the facts, I was glad to see that the Treasurer decided to build further on this success.
As announced in the budget, changes to the Small Business Development Corporations Act and to the regulations will have a number of positive effects. By raising the limit on the number of full-time employees allowed a small business to qualify for an SBDC investment from 100 to 150 employees, more business will become eligible.
As well, the proposed changes will cause the small business in question to remain eligible until the number of employees exceeds 300. Even in that case, the SBDC investment in the business will cease to be eligible only after five years. As well, in order to spread the benefits as widely as possible and while remaining effective, the budget proposes a limit of $5 million as the total allowable investment of SBDC in any one small business.
Last year, in order to improve the confidence of small businesses and to help them through a period of economic hardship, this governmeni removed the corporate income tax on small business in Ontario for a two-year period. This incentive was extremely well received across the entire province. It was certainly well received in Cambridge and I am sure in all of our communities.
Mr. Allen: Did anybody evaluate its benefits?
Mr. Barlow: Yes, I think that is under way. The member knows very well that it has been successful. When it is successful, that hurts. I realize that. I find it a bit surprising that some members opposite have forgotten about how successful it has been. Perhaps it is because they do not wish to acknowledge the significant role that small business plays in the economy of this province.
Mr. Gordon: What about the socialist policies in France? They have not gone anywhere.
Mr. Barlow: Socialist policies do not work and we all know that.
Mr. Gordon: The people of British Columbia could not cotton to the NDP either. The NDP is just whistling in the dark.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, the member is interrupting.
Mr. Barlow: I am encouraging him to. I keep feeding him a little note every once in a while saying "Applaud here," but he has not done it yet.
All of us on this side of the House have welcomed the Treasurer's proposal in the budget to extend the small business exemption from corporate income tax for an additional year.
Mr. Epp: All 10 of them.
Mr. Barlow: Also the residents of Waterloo. The entire region welcomes it.
I also want to mention just for a few moments the positive steps that this budget takes to help create jobs and improve manpower training. As was the case last year, I believe the Treasurer has chosen wisely in deciding to target the groups and regions hit hardest by the 1982 recession. The Canada-Ontario employment deselopment program has been especially successful in helping unemployment insurance exhaustees find jobs which in almost all cases benefit the total community in which they are carried out.
In my own area several interesting projects have been undertaken. The Grand River Conservation Authority has been able to create well over 100 jobs, ranging widely from a program review to erosion control and landscaping along the river banks. With COED help, the Grand River division of the Canadian Railway Historical Association has been able to disassemble a railway station in Guelph, deliver it to Cambridge, reassemble it and it will become a railway museum. This will certainly not only be a boost in creating jobs on a temporary basis, but it will be a tourist facility for Cambridge.
Mr. Wildman: Maybe we should set up a museum about our manufacturing sector in Ontario.
Mr. Barlow: The member should look around, there is one.
Also, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce will be able to staff a satellite tourist information centre right at the junction of Highways 401 and 24. The city of Cambridge will be able to survey its buildings with regard to energy conservation and do any immediate repairs and improvements or renovations. In all, the Cambridge area will benefit from more than 7,000 work weeks for about 209 people that COED has made possible. and that is only from those projects approved as of a few weeks ago. There are more coming, I understand. I know there are more applications in. They will benefit the communities.
In his budget, the Treasurer has also made provision for an additional allocation of some $80 million which, if matched by the federal government, will create many more of these useful jobs. The acceleration of certain capital projects is also going to help in job creation. The first year alone should see a cash flow of $82 million towards these projects, including roads. I see the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) is here and I know he is very pleased to see those extra funds come in. They are going to various water and sewer protects and into homes for the aged and tourism facilities.
In order to target one of the harder-hit groups in the province, the budget included a $25-million allocation for new programs, to be called accelerated youth employment programs. We still have to wait for the final details to be announced but the Treasurer did indicate that a portion of this money will go specifically to recent post-secondary school graduates. Whereas most government employment programs for youth are aimed at those in the 15 to 24 age bracket, this program or at least part of it seems to be directed at a higher age category. While not minimizing the employment difficulties of the 15 to 24 age group, I think there may be a group of young people between 24 and 30 years of age who will also benefit from employment incentives.
Details have yet to be announced for a new manpower training initiative which has also been included in the budget. As businesses emerge from the recession and consumer demand builds, there will be an increased need for a skills trained work force. Ontario has the human resources to provide such a work force and throughout this decade we will be concentrating on developing the new required skills and the retraining of existing manpower.
I also believe we are going to see a closer link between the educational institutions and the work place. The manpower training enrichment announced in this year's budget will supplement this government's many existing programs and will contribute to the development of the highly skilled work force we will need in the coming years.
There are many worthwhile aspects of the budget in addition to the ones I have covered. However, from the various points I have mentioned, I believe it is obvious that this government is taking the proper steps to bring Ontario out of the recession. Of the many measures undertaken by this budget, some will assist those still facing hardships, while still others will ensure Ontario can rise to the challenges of the 1980s and certainly well beyond.
The Deputy Speaker: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon).
Mr. Rotenberg: Bob, you have nobody over there helping you. We will help you.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I think the news of my speaking tonight must have leaked out among my colleagues. However, I have discussed many of the matters that I will be raising with you, sir, and our fellow members of the Legislature; they know my views on these various areas of policy already. So I am going to have a good opportunity to discuss these matters with you, and perhaps your assistant who will be relieving you from time to time between now and when I finish.
I was very interested to see that the Ontario budget this year had to be printed in a rush in one of the storerooms at the top of the Frost Building, the Treasury. Frankly, I have no objection whatsoever to its appearance, which is almost like a mimeographed document. I have often thought the ministers, growing in numbers year by year, have a certain internal rivalry as to who can print the glossiest documents with the fanciest covers and the most elaborate pictures of themselves as minister and their deputy -- somewhat smaller but on a separate page -- with all of the ornamentation that goes with the august position of being a minister of the crown.
The fact that the so-called "garbage budget" -- to quote the honourable member who is just now leaving the chamber, having unloaded his contribution -- mixed up the plans of the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) a bit, does not hurt my feelings at all. I am not particularly critical of the Globe and Mail's approach to this matter. As a matter of fact, the very fact that the information from the budget was published in the Globe and Mail several days before it was announced here in this House indicates that the secrecy of the budget is certainly by no means secure. I am very much convinced in the future it will be better, whether or not the present incumbent continues in his role.
I was interested to hear, among the many comments the Treasurer made during the foofaraw pertaining to the leakage of budgetary information, one statement which I thought was quite interesting. The Treasurer said he did not think anyone should be in government more than five years. I am not sure whether he was thinking of himself or the Premier (Mr. Davis), who has been considerably longer than five years in government.
Of course, those of us on this side are not in government and perhaps it is the pedagogue in me that leads me to say to my good friends in the back row, who hope to be in government but are not, that I wish they would stop talking about being in government until they make their oath to His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor. Of course, some of them have and some of them may next week, who knows. At least they have been waiting patiently enough. They have been polishing up the handle on the Premier's front door for long enough. They have been kissing the hem of his garment long enough.
I have almost come to the conclusion that he does not see any talent in the back row so he sticks with these old tried-and-true colleagues of his in the front. He somehow has forgotten how to clean house.
In examining the material in the budget, I was interested just today or perhaps yesterday to receive in the mail another very impressive government document, nicely bound in blue with a very carefully constructed motif of the dollar sign and the trillium on the front. It is entitled, A Separate Personal Income Tax for Ontario: An Economic Analysis by the Ontario Economic Council, by Douglas G. Hartle and others. I do not know the others, but I know that Doug Hartle is a very competent person indeed and if the Ontario Economic Council assigned him this task it would obviously be done extensively.
This particular report was as a result of a moment of pique by the Treasurer in one of his looser moments. He is such an interesting person. He jogs around Queen's Park and gets the bright idea that he should take the sales tax off automobiles. That was a couple of years ago. I do not know where the inspiration came from to take the sales tax off dishwashers and similar appliances, but in a moment of pique when he felt that the government of Canada was not following his lead appropriately he said: "We might withdraw from the tax collection agreement. I am going to have the Ontario Economic Council examine that possibility." I am sure he himself forgot that he had given the order.
Many months later, many hundreds of thousands of dollars later, after many hours of careful concentration by Dr. Hartle and others, whoever they may be, we have the distillation of their thoughts: 641 pages. Guess what their conclusion is? It would be very foolish indeed to withdraw from the federal agreement. Of course it would be foolish. We told the Treasurer immediately following his exclamation that perhaps we would punish the federal government by withdrawing from this agreement.
We told him he would not do it, that it would be the height of asininity. He has achieved some very high plateaus, but this would be the height of asininity because all we have to look at is his own budget and look at the figures in the back on page 57. In revenue, he gets $6,045,000,000 from personal income tax --
Mr. Piché: We should note that there is only one Liberal and one and a half NDP members here.
Mr. Nixon: Yes, but there are quite a few old Liberals on that side. There is no doubt about that.
Mr. Piché: One Liberal and one and a half NDPers in the last four hours.
Mr. Nixon: Quite a few back-slid liberals, who sold their birthright for a mess of pottage and they have not even got it yet; nothing but a back-row seat.
This is the end of the line for the members opposite. However, we will take them back, if they are nice to us when we change over. Yes, Sir John A. Macdonald called them loose fish, and that is exactly what they are.
Mr. Speaker, I have been somewhat interrupted in the flow of my thought, and while I am interrupted I wish to say how much we appreciate the actions you, sir, participate in when you are in the chair. I have a high regard for Mr. Speaker himself, and you as Deputy Speaker.
In case this is confusing to the many thousands who will be reading these remarks in Hansard, you, of course, from time to time do take the chair. I must say I admire the graciousness with which you apply the rules in an evenhanded way.
I think the acid test for that is when the whip of the Tory party gets mad at Mr. Speaker, we know he must be doing something right. I want to congratulate you in that regard, and if they get too tough with you, let us know and we shall certainly come to your defence.
Back to the train of my thought: We were talking a moment ago about the Treasurer's threat to withdraw from the tax collection agreement with the government of Canada. This was entered into many years ago, during the war. Mackenzie King, one of the greatest Prime Ministers any democracy has ever had -- one of the greatest leaders in peacetime or wartime that this nation has ever had the great good fortune to experience -- decided that in order to prosecute the war properly and have a proper war effort he would co-ordinate the revenues from personal income tax.
He, of course, had no difficulty in working out an agreement with the government of Ontario, then led by the Honourable Mitchell F. Hepburn, one of his personal friends and former colleagues, that the government of Canada take over the collection of personal income tax and in return a "rental," which was the word used, would be paid to the participating provinces.
Ever since then, the government of Canada has collected the personal income tax that is levied by this Legislature, the revenues from which form the largest single source of revenue in payment of our provincial bills and as revenue for our provincial Treasury. This year alone, the government of Canada is collecting on our behalf $6,045,000,000. It is estimated that is what it will be.
In addition to this, there are a number of federal programs that are paid directly to the Treasury of Ontario. Some are conditional, but more and more they are block transfers of very large sums of money. Specifically, on page 57 the Treasurer reports to us and all taxpayers in Ontario that payments from the federal government will amount to $3,759,000,000.
I want to say more about that if I can find the appropriate table. I cannot find the appropriate table at this time, but if these are added, it will be seen the Minister of Revenue federally extracts from the taxpayers of Ontario $9.8 billion that is returned to the provincial Treasury with no strings attached.
All of the members know, when they look at the paycheque they receive at the end of each month, that there is a deduction for income tax, at which point they go through the litany of damning the wastrels in Ottawa and make their daily commitment to turf out the government in Ottawa because of that.
That will not happen, however, particularly now the nominations for the federal leadership of their party have closed. I am sure the members of the government can feel the cold hand of defeat once again pressing on the backs of their necks. It is typical that hardly any of the 70 members of the Progressive Conservative Party in this House have even come forward and indicated any sort of smidgen of support for one of those candidates.
The only one with guts, if I may use the word, is the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Leluk). The members will agree with me that this description is entirely correct. He has come out in support of at least one candidate. Most of the members of the government -- who see themselves as, if not immediate leaders of the provincial party, perhaps leaders in some distant time -- were working so assiduously to get the Premier (Mr. Davis) out of here that they have not recovered from their shock and have not found a candidate to support.
It is pathetic. As a sometime leadership candidate myself, I felt so sorry for Joe Clark when I read in the Brantford Expositor just yesterday about Mr. Clark coming to Queen's Park and going into the caucus room to meet the Ontario caucus, all of whom are delegates to the leadership convention. It said he had a tepid response and that only half of them showed up.
Mr. Ruston: Or less.
Mr. Nixon: Or less. I saw it on television. The chief government whip was there very much in the forefront as the host. I asked him today if that denoted his support for Mr. Clark. but of course he said no, that in conjunction with all the Tories in Ontario, he is really not supporting anybody.
I have a feeling they are waiting for a word from the Premier and they are going to adjourn the Legislature almost two days early so they will be rested up for the big weekend, go down there to Ottawa in a bloc, have a lovely time and try to make a "king."
Of course it will be very difficult to do this because the Premier is not going to indicate who he is supporting or that would be the kiss of death. It would certainly have what one would call a negative result. It will be interesting to watch that, and it is only three weeks away. So as the campaign heats up, all of us are very interested.
I am just slightly off my carefully prepared text at the present time, but I felt that all the members should know Mr. Pocklington, who is a well-known candidate, is going to be entertained in South Dumfries township in my constituency just a week from now at the home of my neighbours, Harry and Cecile Witteveen. I wouldn't be prepared to invite the members, but I am looking forward to going there because their hospitality is always excellent and I would really like to know what makes the gentleman tick.
Quite a few of my neighbours are Amway salesmen and I expect to meet them there as well. I have to make a small purchase of oil to mix with the atrazine that I spray on the corn and perhaps I can do a little business on the side.
Mr. Gordon: That is real corn.
Mr. Nixon: Did the member say "porn"?
Well, I think we should certainly be aware that the Treasurer's burden is substantially eased by the fact that, in spite of all the criticism levelled at the government of Canada and the criticism levelled particularly at its budgetary policy, still it sees fit to return to the Treasury of Ontario almost $10 billion, which is collected by the government of Canada and rebated to this province, no strings attached. If one compares that with the total revenue of Ontario of $22 billion, one will see I am not exaggerating when I say that approximately 44 per cent of the provincial revenues are collected by the senior level of government and are rebated to this Treasurer.
When the Treasurer threatened to get out of the tax collection agreement, I for one thought, "I hope he is dumb enough, ill-advised enough, so to do," because it would inject a tremendous amount of democracy into the politics of this province. It has certainly been a difficulty over the many years I have been in politics to get the taxpayers to realize that when we travel on our good roads and we go to the opening of yet another William G. Davis school and we go to another opening of a John Roharts library or a John Robarts whatever it may be -- there are many of these things very properly in honour of a Premier who was a good friend of all of us here -- that still 44 per cent of the dollars are actually paid by a federal Minister of Revenue who has to assume the political responsibility for squeezing the money out of the taxpayers.
I find it very difficult indeed to listen to those people, those ministers-in-waiting in the back row of the government side, most of them --
Mr. Gordon: Who did it? Mitch? Mitch did it.
Mr. Nixon: That person may leave the room if he has to.
It is very difficult for me to listen to the continuing criticism of the fiscal policies of the government of Canada when these people here are extracting every ounce, every iota of political benefit, out of handing the dough out to every little organization across Ontario. As one well-known minister said, "Me and the Premier have brung you the cheque." That is the basis of the moral philosophy of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario: "Me and the Premier have brung you the cheque."
The reason I have great difficulty in having any respect for that party at all is that the rich uncle it criticizes all the time keeps putting money in its account. I do not know why the government of Canada is so good to the government of Ontario. It really amazes me.
When I read this report from the Economic Council of Ontario I am very much concerned as well. While I have a high regard for the people who did the research, and it is well written, of course -- it arrived just this morning, but I have read most of it -- when I read this sort of baloney from the part of the summary I have already read, item 8 on page 615 --
Mr. Watson: I suggest you hurry up.
Mr. Nixon: I hope the ministers-in-waiting will contain themselves, because some of this they will like.
"The federal revenue budget process is grievously flawed, and the result of the process, the existing federal tax system in general and the personal income tax system in particular, hears testimony in part to the weaknesses of the federal process."
It appals me that somebody hired by the government of Ontario, and being intelligent enough to know what it wants to hear, produces the kind of baloney we read in this report. It is simply a political criticism of many of the things that are done in Ottawa. I am probably one of the last people in this chamber still to have an enthusiastic level of support for Pierre Trudeau and most of his ministers, but even I feel this is an indication of a serious waste of money from the Treasury of Ontario.
I have today put a question on the order paper asking for the actual cost of the preparation and publishing of this volume. I am sure the Treasurer will never read it, because even before the thing hit the desk, we saw a notice in the paper that the Treasurer, after careful consideration, has decided that we are not going to have a separate personal income tax collection service.
I was interested to note as well that in one of the very fine projections, Dr. Hartle and others have said that if we were to have such a collection here ourselves it would cost us between $170 million and $360 million. That is pretty fine tuning, I must say. The point is that we obviously cannot afford to collect our own personal income tax, but at the same time, when we ask the senior level of government to do so, we must realize it dislocates the perception of democracy in this province. Another level of government is in fact paying 44 per cent of our bills.
At the same time it is running up deficits that everyone is concerned with, and some people, with a certain level of lack of understanding, are seriously critical of it. The people in Ottawa have their Minakis; they have their Suncors; they have their extravagant ministers, some of whom show a certain degree of inadequate judgement. At the same time the very expensive programs that are keeping this country afloat during the most serious economic recession we have experienced since the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché) was a boy -- and that is a few years ago -- are paid for almost entirely by the government of Canada, including unemployment insurance, a very large proportion of the welfare costs, and almost all the programs that are designed to stimulate economic development and employment.
In this connection, I mention something the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) mentioned the other night when he brought his personal claque down into the gallery, that is, a selection of the Progressive Conservative Association with a few Liberals added from Brantford.
Mr. Gillies: And some from Brant-Oxford-Norfolk too.
Mr. Nixon: Oh well, there must be a few Tories out there, but I have never been able to meet any. There are probably federal Tories from time to time. Anyway, I will not question that.
The federal program that has been most advantageous for a number of very depressed cities, including Sudbury, Brantford, Chatham and Windsor, has been the industry and labour adjustment program which, once it is administered, or once it is initiated, only lasts for one year, or if one is particularly fortunate, for 18 months. Perhaps in Windsor it went for two years, but that is another matter.
I feel very strongly that the initiative taken by the government of Canada in this particular connection has been as successful as we could possibly have expected in these difficult times. I believe the Treasurer particularly, as a person who criticizes federal initiatives so often and so vehemently, is seriously at fault when we look at the proportions of our provincial programs that go towards making work.
Every time the government makes any sort of announcement at all, it adds up all the programs we have had for years. The member for Brantford is the maharaja of the youth employment program, and we get this large amount of money, a very impressive amount of money. What is it $95 million, $45 million?
Mr. Gillies: It is up to $120 million.
Mr. Nixon: Up to $120 million; all right. It is made up of the program that sends young people into the north to the provincial parks and so on, the Junior Ranger program. We have had a summer Experience program since the time my aging daughters were in high school and were taking advantage of those programs. They were very good then. Those were prosperous times; young people could get jobs and there were all sorts of opportunities.
Just today I talked to an extremely good old friend of mine. She and her husband are teachers in the Brantford system. They have a son, an outstanding student with an honours degree from the University of Western Ontario -- I suppose he cannot help that little lapse in judgment -- who is a specialist teacher. He simply cannot get a job. I hope he will get one some time.
A very good friend of mine, a constituent who is a farmer, has an extremely capable son who took a bachelor of arts and a master of arts at the University of Guelph in field husbandry, or whatever they call it now -- agronomy or something, the names change. He went on to get a doctorate at a very highly regarded American university. He wants to come back to Canada and there is simply no job for him. He is one of the most capable young men I know of, with a top-flight modern academic background together with the good callus-on-the-hand farm experience that is well suited to the sort of work he is looking for. The opportunities have dried up considerably.
The federal government, through the industry and labour adjustment program and other programs, as well as through its huge responsibility for funding continuing unemployment insurance benefits, now coming from tax funds to a very great degree, is paying the largest proportion of welfare, the safety net that lies under everything. It is funding through the housing authorities, many programs that are advantageous in the Brantford area. Even in my local village of St. George, these programs continue.
The patchwork approach of this budget certainly does not measure up when we look for the sorts of initiatives we need as Ontario and this country start to pull out of the very serious recession. There have been others of my colleagues -- I am not sure who they were -- who when they spoke earlier in this debate mentioned we ought to have a program that is parallel and supportive of ILAP. Then in those cities and communities which are particularly suffering from the recession. the province could come in with a co-ordinated, focused approach, not just a series of neat little programs with attractive acronyms and upwardly mobile young parliamentary or legislative assistants to sell them all across the province.
That is all great in the grand scheme of things as the slow trickle-down from the back row to the middle row occurs. It is very slow indeed; it has been well over two years and there has not even been a drip get down. It is certainly a very slow process. However, I feel I am leading myself off the subject.
I simply wanted to say that those matters pertaining to the budget are disappointing to us. It is true that at the same time as we talk about better programs, we also decry the level of the deficit. When the Premier says we cannot have it both ways, that we are trying to suck and blow at the same time, we can point out to anyone sensible enough to listen to us, and they are myriad, that naturally we are talking about a new approach to government which will not permit the expenditure of $43 million on some sort of palace of a hotel in northwestern Ontario administered by an American hotel chain, a hotel at Minaki that has just opened.
I notice in an answer I got from the order paper the other day that the government has already awarded a $170,000 advertising program to guess who -- Camp Associates -- to advertise the blooming thing. I would think all the executives of Camp Associates would go there on government expense to look the place over, if there is ever a sunny weekend before July 1, so that they know what they are selling.
It is so typical that when we talk about waste in government, the list is extremely impressive. I am not going to deliver my tirade about the waste in Townsend. I have done it so often, and it does not make any impact on the people over there. There is the waste in the payments for Suncor, which have not given us even a window on the oil industry.
What we are talking about is settling down to the kind of business in government that the Conservatives have promised for 40 years and have never delivered, at the same time taking seriously their responsibility to the community to see that the $22 billion we receive and the $24 billion we spend is going to be for the benefit of the community and not simply to increase the lustre on the rapidly rusting Tory image.
I might as well mention it now, this being 1983, that we are within two months of the 40th anniversary of the election of the Conservatives. I do not think they were Progressive Conservatives that year.
Mr. Ruston: René wasn't a Conservative then either.
Mr. Nixon: No. It is certainly an interesting anniversary, there is no doubt about that. It probably goes into the record book right after Bulgaria for tenure of government.
I certainly remember the summer of 1943 very well indeed. I was not involved in any of the activities of that movie, Summer of '42. I might have been starting to think about them, but I was not involved in it because my dad, who was the Premier of Ontario, was out campaigning. It was a very wet, cold spring. My friend the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) mentioned at dinner that they were planting corn on --
Mr. Ruston: June 13.
Mr. Nixon: -- June 13, so it was a very wet, cold spring. I remember the haying season was very wet. I was 15 years old and left at home with a couple of hired hands on the farm. We had to get the hay in. It was wet, mouldy and heavy. It was very tough indeed. My mother was away campaigning with my dad.
One of the important interim changes in the regulations of Ontario that was brought about by Premier Nixon was the reduction in the driving age from 16 to 15. As my birthday on July 17 approached, I was all set, and got my driver's licence as soon as I was 15, so that when election day came on August 4, I was out drawing votes. I thought, "God, isn't this exhilarating. It is so easy to win these elections." Wow.
Anyway, the results that night were certainly devastating for the Liberals, who ended up as the third party, just as the Conservatives did in 1919. We all have interesting history in our past. In 1919 the Conservatives were sitting down there in some sort of a rump. Mind, they made a comeback, as we all will. It is simply the time factor that is a little disappointing from time to time.
I have a couple more subjects to refer to. One of them has to do with a bit of a defence of my own position. I have been a substantial, at least from my point of view, critic of the policies and practices of Ontario Hydro for as long as I have been in politics. I have followed it with a great deal of interest. Hydro, along with separate schools and booze, have been the principal continuing issues in this province for 60 years --
Hon. Mr. Snow: And roads?
Mr. Nixon: Roads too. The Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) is feeling better. He is back in his seat and giving us the devil again. I am very glad that is so. I am very glad to have him back and in good shape.
Back in those bad Tory days, the minister of highways was the principal member of cabinet. Almost all the funds supporting the political activities of the government party were channelled into the Treasury through the minister of highways.
Hon. Mr. Snow: It still is that way.
Mr. Nixon: I do not know whether it is or not; a lot of the government's construction friends have fallen on hard times. It seems to me if we went back to the approach where we built the roads that commerce needs, and if the minister of highways had enough clout to get his fair share of the budget, we would have Highway 403 finished up into the riding of my honourable friend the member for Oxford (Mr. Treleaven) in short order. As a matter of fact, I am glad to be supported by the honourable member for Oxford.
To give the Minister of Transportation and Communications credit, he has lived up to the political promises he made. He was good enough to ask me to the opening of the Robert Nixon memorial bridge across the Grand River on a very cold day. I am the only one who calls it that. I think his ministry had to spend $15 million to cross the river and add about four or five miles to Highway 403. It is agonizingly slow getting this commercial artery established. All of us agree the depressed city of Brantford needs it desperately.
There is another matter that is perhaps not quite that important. The artery the other way, which connects the city of Brantford to Hamilton and the heartland of Toronto itself, has been developed. The minister was good enough to remove almost all the traffic hazards on that road. It is at least four lanes wide and in many instances even wider than that, but he persists in maintaining a speed limit there that is absolutely unconscionable. The speed limit is dangerous and it is only because a defeated candidate, the present mayor of Ancaster, is afraid some of her constituents from the old folks home who cross the road, not in the travelled part but in the village itself, might be subjected to automobiles going faster than the man walking in front with the red lantern, of whom we have all heard.
It is time the minister assumed his responsibilities, realized that road has had millions of dollars invested in it to upgrade it to high provincial standards, and we should certainly bring the speed limit --
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege --
Mr. Nixon: I do not know whether I am going to yield the floor or not.
The Deputy Speaker: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Communications.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I just want to draw to the attention of the honourable member, who has been the Liberal House leader for the last 40 years, that it is not necessarily the former Tory candidate and the present mayor of Ancaster who is totally opposed to raising that speed limit which he so greatly wants raised. It is also the Ministry of Transportation and Communications critic of the Liberal Party. I think it is the honourable member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham). Little Eric is very much opposed.
If the Liberal transportation critic and the Liberal House leader could get their act together, go and see the mayor of Ancaster and come and see me, maybe we could do something about that.
The Deputy Speaker: That was not a point of privilege.
Mr. Nixon: I appreciate the minister's interjection. I have a feeling I might be able to make more headway with the mayor of Ancaster than I can with my colleague, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications critic.
I must also say that a number of my constituents are not anxious that the speed limit be raised. The probable principal spokesman in the area, an extremely fine gentleman named Walter Madden, has come to me on a number of occasions and expressed his strong personal support for my continuing activity in politics, but disagreed with me strenuously on the speed limit issue.
As the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, if I may be permitted, I want to say in this House to the Minister of Transportation and Communications that I find his persistence in maintaining an incredibly low speed limit over that road in which he has invested millions of dollars to be almost unbelievable. I still simply do not understand. After all, he is the minister now.
If it is his decision that it would be unsafe to raise the speed limit to even 80 kilometres per hour, perhaps he should say so, but for him to rest the decision on the broad shoulders of our transportation critic and the graceful shoulders of his former candidate I do not think is good enough, because we are paying him $68,593 to assume this responsibility. I do not know.
I have heard that the minister is going to be retired to the provincial senate some time this summer and that the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope) is going to take it over. I hope that does not happen because I have talked to a lot of people who, even though they are strong Liberals, feel he has been a very straight shooter. He has not promised anything that he has not delivered, but in this instance I must say that the minister is disappointing me. After all, what is the sense in being minister if one cannot at least have a uniform speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour, if not 100, on such a fine road? However, we will see what develops.
I was going to mention just briefly something about Ontario Hydro. Many members have heard my repeated pleas to the Premier and anyone who would listen that the requirement for new hydro lines to bring power from the nuclear plant at Bruce down into -- I do not want to drive everybody out of the House with this; I am simply raising it to say that I am not going to repeat it.
When the Premier in the election two years ago promised to put sulphur dioxide scrubbers on the stacks of the Nanticoke coal-powered plant and then reneged on that promise, that is a matter of concern for me. The Premier has an elaborate explanation of this apparent not keeping of the promise. He has indicated Ontario Hydro is going to be using low-sulphur-content coal, and that without putting the scrubbers on at all it is going to reduce the sulphur dioxide coming out of the stacks.
My own feeling is that it is going to achieve the so-called promise to reduce the sulphur dioxide by simply using more and more atomic energy, which is cheaper if one does not take into consideration the capital cost of building a plant or the unknown capital cost of decommissioning it some time 40 years in the future. It is my opinion that since the government was trying to sell power to the United States through a cable run under Lake Erie, if one can feature it, and that scheme has fallen through, more and more the usefulness of the Nanticoke plant is coming into question. When the power from the atomic plant gets down into southwestern Ontario, as frankly should have been provided for almost a decade ago rather than now, then the usefulness of Nanticoke will certainly be in question, there is no doubt about that.
I was quite interested and flattered that the new chairman of Hydro, Mr. Nastich, undertook to write a letter to the editor of the Brantford Expositor. Many members read that paper regularly, along with the Sarnia Observer and whatever else comes to hand. He wrote a letter to the editor saying I was completely wrong. Frankly I hope I am; I hope Hydro can keep that coal-fired plant in operation long enough at least to pay off part of the tremendous cost of its construction and the interest on the money we borrowed in New York to build it. We are paying probably an average of 13 to 14 per cent on that particular money. I do not believe it was a very good decision.
I am very glad a lot of the people in the area have jobs there watching over the intricacies of this marvellous plant which is one of the largest in the world. The only possible exception is a coal-fired plant in the Soviet Union. It is certainly the largest coal-fired plant in the non-centrally-planned community, which is a phrase we like to use in South Dumfries.
I thought I should mention that because Mr. Nastich's letter to the Expositor was somewhat critical, indicating there was no basis whatsoever to look into the future and see the possible mothballing of the Nanticoke plant. Certainly if Hydro gets its way and builds the elaborate new network of high-voltage transmission lines coming down from the huge Bruce nuclear installation, then the necessity of running Nanticoke at anything like 100 per cent of its capacity will be a thing of the past.
I am the last one to say the power in the nuclear plants should be bottled up; far from it. These plants are really a miracle of technology, design and construction and they are nearing completion. We are already getting power out, of course, but they are nearing completion in the Bruce and it really is preposterous that we should not have that power readily available on the grid in Ontario.
I simply say, without being I hope needlessly repetitious, that the idea of bringing the power from the Bruce Peninsula to London by way of Barrie. Highway 400, Milton and around Hamilton, and dividing and going along the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway through Oxford county and the very fine farm land there, and also through Norfolk county and the very fine farm land there, is preposterous in the extreme.
I see two or three people are listening, and it is very difficult to get this message across. The hearings held about that power line did not attract the attendance or the interest of the citizens in Oxford and Brant and Norfolk and Wellington and Waterloo counties because nobody in his right mind would think the lines would ever come through those areas.
The farmers in the other areas were well organized. They got the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food, who was new to his job and wanted to make an impression on the farming community and certain members of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, to go to the meetings and say, "You are not going to put this line through these marvellous acres of farmland." He stopped it there, so it is coming by the most circuitous route you could imagine -- through Oxford, Waterloo, Brant and so on.
The farmers we are talking about, the people in the small towns affected and the property owners, really were denied an opportunity to make their objections. The matter was appealed to the cabinet and the cabinet rejected the appeal. Unless people become concerned about this, a grave injustice will be done, even more grave when it becomes clear that power utilization in southwestern Ontario or in the whole of Ontario is not increasing at the old rate of seven per cent or even at the projected rate of three per cent; it actually fell last year.
For us to borrow the hundreds of millions of dollars to go ahead with the construction program that is an idée fixe in the mind of the chairman of Ontario Hydro in my view is preposterous, wasteful, unnecessary and really an injustice.
I see it is now 10:06 p.m., the time of the evening when I get most enthused about certain areas of my responsibility. I want to close with a reference which might not be as brief as the members would hope but it should not be long. It is two related matters.
I have the honour to represent the largest Indian reserve in Canada, the Six Nations Indian Reserve. It is the largest in population. In the coming year, the are celebrating the 200th anniversary of their arrival in what is now Canada. Most of us think the Indians were here from the beginning and the dawn of time and history. That is the case with many of the bands in Ontario but not the Six Nations.
For the most part, 200 years ago and for a long period of time before that they made their home in what is now New York state or in a strip running right under the Great Lakes across what is now the United States of America. They were originally five nations with a tremendous co-ordinated type of government that they tell me Benjamin Franklin used as a model for the Constitution of the United States itself. They met and decided their own affairs, not by voting but by discussion among the chiefs until a consensus was arrived at. They disseminated the various responsibilities among the six nations which, if I think carefully, I could name for the House.
These Indians were very warlike and they considered this part of Ontario a happy hunting ground here on earth. Their hunting parties would cross at Niagara and they would come into this great primordial bush of huge white pines -- 12 feet through at the base, almost unbelievably huge; something that we have not even thought of here for more than a century -- and they would have great hunting.
They would be at war with any Indian group they met not of their own confederacy. The Iroquois really were responsible for eliminating or driving out all of the Indian community from Ontario. The Algonquin Indians, the Neutral Indians and an Indian band called the Tobacco Indians were really destroyed. A small remnant of the Algonquin Indians were driven into northern Ontario, so that really 200 years ago there was nothing in this part of British North America but bush.
A few Jesuit missionaries had come to replace those who had been slaughtered during the Indian wars. We know of that; that is Sainte-Marie-among-the-Hurons. There was a collection of French settlers and farmers who had gone down into Essex County very early, 200 years ago, and the descendants of those families are still there. They are still speaking French and they have the opportunity to send their children to French schools, if they so desire. They even have French television out of Windsor.
We should not forget the very earliest real settlers -- we are not talking about missionaries, we are not talking about Indian hunters -- were these French farmers who went down to Fort Detroit and under the protection of the military at Fort Detroit established a farm community there.
About 200 years ago when the United Empire Loyalists and the Six Nations Indians came into Ontario, they were not dispossessing anybody; nobody was here. There were not even a few Indian hands because it was certainly part of the area of the world that the Iroquois confederacy held strongly under its warlike control. It had established peace because of its warlike abilities -- enforcing abilities, I suppose we would call it -- for over 100 years. It really is quite an amazing record.
Of course they fought with the British. They were loyal to the crown during the American Revolutionary War. They picked the wrong side and lost the battle. They were granted a large tract of land running right through the heart of Ontario, six miles wide, six miles on each side of the Grand River from its mouth to its source. If members look at the present municipal maps they will see the shape of the townships bending around to coincide with that six-mile boundary on each side of the river from its mouth to its source.
Their Mohawk leader was Chief Thyendanegea, Joseph Brant, a very interesting and compelling Indian leader. It is interesting also that Governor Haldimand, who had applied to the British government for this grant, was quite anxious that southwestern Ontario be reserved for the Indians. He was not at all anxious to allow white settlers, United Empire Loyalists and others, to come in here.
He thought they should be brought into the French community down in Quebec -- for a number of reasons, not the least of which was to dilute the community, which was 90 per cent French, with English-speaking people. They thought that was the thing to do, but it was the Indians themselves who insisted their white friends from New York state -- farmer friends, and they had very good associations with them -- come with them, if they desired, into what is now Ontario.
So the United Empire Loyalists, many of them with hardly the clothes on their back, suffering the kinds of deprivation we read about with horror in wars today and wars in history, came here with their families, having sacrificed their farms and their traditions going back many generations in the American colonies. They were driven out in disgrace in the minds of their revolutionary neighbours and brethren. Many of them were executed. I do not think the old phrase "tar and feather" began there, but many of them were treated in the most humiliating and painful way and got away with nothing but their lives.
They came across and settled, in the Niagara region to begin with, and took up land that was granted by the British crown for those loyal to the crown. The members can imagine their surprise when they came over with their Indian friends and found the name of the colony was Quebec: the broadmindedness of the colonial office at Westminster had permitted the French to maintain most of the prerogatives of government except the very top ones.
They did not name the governor, who was, of course, appointed by the government at Westminster, but the French Civil Code was the basic law and the tenure of land was by way of seigniorial rights, where the large land owner was expected to provide a church and a grist mill in protection for the farmers who were living on his land. They found that while the established religion was the Anglican church, the missionaries were Jesuits, Catholic was the religion and French was the language.
Here were these people loyal to the British crown, trying to carve out a place for themselves, and they could not understand what had happened to this part of British North America. It is interesting because we have gone through a time when there has been a good deal of controversy about separatism, but it was these English settlers who were the first separatists. They got together a petition which they sent to the King in England, saying, "We want you to draw a line down the Ottawa River to keep the French Catholics on one side and leave the English protestants on the other." They were certainly the first separatists, there is no doubt about that, and in 1791 the petition was granted and the colony of Quebec was divided into two parts, Upper and Lower Canada.
There was a Governor General, and we had a Lieutenant Governor here. We had a Governor in Lower Canada as well. Our first Governor was John Graves Simcoe, who arrived in 1793 and that was the beginning of the province of Ontario, although it was not known by that name when Simcoe came and convened the first assembly in the region of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The reason I am spending so much time on this is not because I am sensing a terrible pressure here tonight, but because we are coming up to the 200th anniversary of these momentous events. It grieves me to hear the kind of criticism that I think in some respects the government has earned. Here is the anniversary of the beginning of our province -- not our nation by any means, but our province -- and the way the government is approaching it, there are those who can say with some justification, "Well, they are planning this for election year." They are going to put a lot of money into the festivities in a way that we on this side, who are maybe a little cynical and certainly quite sceptical, have got used to. With all the bread and circuses the government has shown it is capable of when it is handing out cheques and free money for fireworks, we tend to think the motives of this government are somewhat less than pure.
I am not prepared to argue that, simply to say that some of my colleagues are very tense about the possibility of the kinds of celebration that are planned for the 200th anniversary of the beginnings of our province. I regret that, but I would say to the members opposite, it is not complete paranoia on our part that the government has earned the kind of sceptical and cynical approach that one sees referred to in the community and sometimes hears from the opposition. I do not want to dwell on that because I hope we do have a celebration. I think it is esssential we recognize the importance of the roots of our province.
The other thing that concerns me is that there are those who say, "Those United Empire Loyalists are all Tory." Of course, they are not, as members know. "They are all Tory in thought. They came up here to get free land and to be pets of the Governor and the government." I can tell the members that I have researched this carefully and that is not the case. These people were fugitives, suffering just about the same way the boat people suffered, coming with nothing but their lives, having lost kith and kin and family, their farms, and everything they had worked for, for three or four generations.
They did not realize in any way that they had done anything but the best, and that was tobe loyal to the King, which, next to humbleness before God, was the principal virtue ingrained in them. They were not here to comment on that particular part of it, other than to recognize that their motives in that instance were pure. To think that they came over here and drove their stagecoaches with six white horses across the Rainbow Bridge, or on the Maid of the Mist or something, to get free land is absolutely preposterous.
There is no doubt that everybody in this province is an immigrant. We normally talk about "our first citizens," the Indians. It is true that in certain parts of the province, in the north and perhaps down in Peterborough, there are indigenous Indians who go well back beyond 200 years. But in this settled part there was nothing but trees. When the United Empire Loyalists came, the first settlers were obviously the handful of French farmers in Essex county. This goes back 200 years and I hope that we, as a group of legislators and a group of citizens, are able to recognize with a certain degree of respect the antecedents of this province. From those people sprang to a great extent the supporters of William Lyon Mackenzie.
Certainly my people, and I do not say this with any false modesty, were part of that group that came over. I might take a moment or two to say something about that. They were very much in support of him, as were most of the hardworking farmers who were kept out of the Family Compact back in the 1820s and 1830s. They were doing their best to grow enough wheat to raise a little cash to establish themselves in their community. Mr. Speaker, think of the work of cutting down those trees or burning them off or slashing them down and letting them rot, to try to eke out a few acres of fertile farm land.
They found themselves facing a government based on preferment and favouritism, with a nucleus of the British Governor, the Anglican church, the well-to-do English or Scottish tradesman and the half-pay military. If one were not in that select group, one was not in at all.
The leader of this rebellious feeling was William Lyon Mackenzie. We have read a couple of excellent books about him recently. There is some indication he might have had certain schizophrenic tendencies. He was a member of this chamber and was expelled and re-elected by the people repeatedly. The Governor had him expelled because of his intractability. He finally led a rebellion that was unsuccessful.
We know about Montgomery's Tavern. The farmers, many of them coming from United Empire Loyalist stock, came down Yonge Street with their pikes and pitchforks, stopping for a cool beer at Montgomery's Tavern, and the militia found them there and that was the end of the rebellion.
It was probably just as well for all concerned, because the news of the rebellion got back to the government at Westminster and they did what governments always do: they appointed a royal commission. A relative of the Minister of Colonial Affairs, a young lordling, Lord Durham, was sent over here. We are very lucky he had some real brains and some real commitment. He might very well have just had tea with the Governor and said: "What is going on here? I am sure everything is all right. All you need is some more troops. and we will keep this thing going the way it should." But he went out to talk to the rebels.
The government at Westminster, by the way, had sent an order to the government of Upper Canada, saying, "On no account execute any of the rebels." The story is that the Governor read the thing, turned it over and said, "I did not see that," and went out and hanged the two rebel leaders. I should remember their names, but I cannot think of them right now. They are buried in the necropolis just at the end of Wellesley Street. Some time when members are driving down there they can find the gravestones and the plaque commemorating what happened.
In trying to make it up to one of the rebels who was hanged improperly, at least hanged without justice being done, his descendants were made sheriffs of Simcoe county for many years. Just recently -- what was the name? -- anyway, the family tradition ran out maybe 30 or 40 years ago.
My point is this: Those people have even said it to me that the United Empire Loyalists somehow think they are better than anybody else, that they were the preferred group of the British royal party. I would say to members that this is not correct; but some of them undoubtedly were, and they went on to get good educations. They became lawyers, they took over the important offices of the government; but the large majority of them were simply farmers and they still are, as are their descendants right across this province. All of them are proud of their heritage. They are quite prepared to describe it to anyone who will listen.
What I am saying is that we are approaching the 200th anniversary of those great events, and I simply ask everybody to inform himself of these matters and not to be quick to put down the events, the circumstances and the people through a lack of understanding of the facts and the motives of the day.
The British crown and the government at Westminster had admirable initiatives -- some rotten ones, too -- but admirable and generous initiatives. The Indians led the way in generosity and, as a matter of fact, saved the young nation in 1812. There is no doubt that without the leadership of the Indians of the Six Nations falling in behind General Brock, the American manifest destiny would have been fulfilled and our system of government in this chamber would have been far different.
As I say, we are coming up to this anniversary. It is my intention to put a motion on the order paper in my name calling on the House to recognize the anniversary. I know it will be recognized officially by the government, which has already set in train certain expenditures and procedures.
It may or may not be criticized, but I think that eventually, when the time comes, it would be suitable if the House had an opportunity for members on all sides to express their views about the roots of the development of our community and to pay our respects to our history, which is an important one, an interesting one and one of value even today.
On motion by Mr. Stokes, the debate was adjourned.
The House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.