The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Shymko: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw to the attention of all honourable members the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the great famine in the Ukraine. The member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. Newman) made reference to it earlier this week.
Present today is the bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, His Excellency the Most Reverend Bishop Borecky, and representatives of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee. Dr. Petro Hlibowych, president of the Ontario council, and Dr. Orest Rudzik, president of the Toronto branch.
The 50th anniversary of this tragedy is a moment for all of us to think of the implications of one of the greatest holocausts perpetrated by a regime, by a state policy, 50 years ago. It took place not at a time of war but at a time of peace. The victims were not those who had taken up arms or had any political motivation; they were innocent men, women and children. The magnitude of this is to imagine 90 per cent of the population of Ontario, more than seven million people, wiped off the face of the earth within a period of eight months. Seventy per cent of the victims were children under the age of 14.
It is a tragedy that today, for some reason, when someone gets up in the House or outside the House to talk about this, he must feel embarrassed talking about some minority ethnic problem or raising a particular concern in a particular part of the world. It is a tragedy if we do not see the perspective of this horror that is affecting each and every one of us, whatever our racial background, and the implication today of what we are witnessing when even the holocaust is being questioned by many in Canada and outside of this country as being untrue. To this day the regime that, by policy, perpetrated this genocide refuses to admit it. Very often in our own schools, textbooks do not refer to this tragedy. If they do refer to it, they justify it as being necessary for the industrialization of a certain region and the policies of a government.
I point out to the members that when we speak of peace, all of us are concerned that peace, liberty and justice are principles we are all fighting for. Yet we must remember it was not during a time of war but at a time of peace that seven million people perished, their only crime being that they loved life and their country.
Canadians of Ukrainian origin will be highlighting this anniversary throughout the year in their own communities. This Sunday at 2:30 in the afternoon, in front of our Legislative Building, there will be a rally with approximately 10,000 people attending to commemorate this tragic anniversary.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to draw this tragedy to the attention of all our members and of all Canadians so that we all know about it and can speak about it. We cannot be silent about such genocide, be it the holocaust of the Jewish people, the genocide of Cambodia or the holocaust of Ukrainians in 1932-33. That information has to be got across and spoken about, because the perpetrators have never been brought to justice and have never admitted their crimes.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I simply want to indicate, on behalf of our party, in recognizing the presence of Bishop Borecky in the gallery today, that while the Soviet totalitarian regime was tragically successful in carrying out its objective of destroying a good deal of Ukrainian society and in collectivizing and destroying the spirit of freedom of that people, and was tragically successful in carrying out a policy of systematic elimination of a great many people in the Ukraine, Soviet totalitarianism has not succeeded in breaking the spirit of the Ukrainian people; nor has it succeeded, nor can it ever succeed, in eliminating the memory that those of us alive today, and those Ukrainians alive today throughout the world, have of their homeland and the spirit of freedom that has characterized the Ukrainian people for so many years.
In our party we recognize the extraordinary tragedy of what occurred in the 1930s in the Soviet Ukraine. We express our deepest sense of outrage at what occurred in that country at that time. Like all freedom-loving peoples, however, we in our party recognize that the human spirit can never be crushed and that our ability to remember and to name the names of those who were killed and to name the names of those who perpetrated these horrendous acts is in itself a tribute to the spirit of liberty in the world.
Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, as you know, the member for Windsor-Walkerville made a statement on behalf of our party yesterday. I want to draw to the attention of members that our leader will also be speaking on this subject, specifically at the rally that will take place on Sunday, starting at Queen's Park at two o'clock.
Let me briefly say that this year, as the member has already indicated, marks the 50th anniversary of the man-made famine in the Ukraine. The imposed starvation of seven million victims cries out even to this day, as we remember what took place 50 years ago. At that time, no prayers were delivered for the innocent souls and no crosses marked their graves, so it is incumbent upon us today to remember what took place in those years.
As we deal in the future with the Soviet monolith, including the Soviet government, we must remember the history of 50 years ago. In those days, it was quite clear that this kind of famine was a policy by the government to eradicate millions of people who, to their minds, were unwanted.
As we commemorate this event today, and as the Ukrainian Canadian Committee -- and the whole community, indeed -- will commemorate this event on Sunday, we must remember that today we can play a part not only in educating our young people through our school system but also in remembering how these people were treated. In the future when we deal with the Soviet government we can indicate to it that we do not approve of actions of this type in the past, in the present or in the future.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
NATURAL RESOURCES CENTRE
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, over the past six years, as you know, the University of Toronto, one of our older and more prestigious institutions, has been investigating ways and means of improving facilities in the southwest area of the St. George campus.
Four of those who have been actively involved in this interesting and most useful investigation are sitting in the east gallery this morning: the president of the university. Dr. James Ham; the chairman of its board of governors, Mr. John Whitten, and two vice-presidents, Mr. David Nowlan and Dr. David Strangway.
This venerable Canadian institution, one that I believe all members will agree is of world class, has accumulated a large number of buildings, many of which are in need of upgrading or replacement. In view of this situation, I am therefore pleased to announce that the government of Ontario will provide $30 million over the next five years to the University of Toronto as part of a program to upgrade facilities.
This very substantial amount will go towards an estimated capital cost of $44 million for the replacement and consolidation project to be known as the Natural Resources Centre in the southwest area of the St. George campus. Government funding is being provided on the understanding that the remaining money, estimated at $14 million, will be provided from a combination of the university's privately raised funds and a special fund-raising campaign within the natural resources sector to be undertaken as soon as profitability renders this possible.
I am delighted to confirm that Mr. Adam Zimmerman, who is president and chief operating officer of Noranda Mines as well as a senior board member or officer of many other companies, has agreed to chair the fund-raising campaign. I am sure his valued commitment will ensure its success.
As the Lieutenant Governor said in the speech from the throne, the stage appears to be set for an enduring economic recovery in Ontario and Canada. It is our view that it is the responsibility of government to create the proper climate for the private sector to foster economic growth, to co-operate and assist business and industry in supportive and appropriate ways and to assist directly those who require help.
In Ontario, industries in mining and forestry, together with our farming community, make a very significant contribution to the economic wellbeing of both the province and the country. We can strengthen Ontario through the ongoing discovery, economic utilization and renewal of natural resources, which will require leadership in research and development.
The establishment of the Natural Resources Centre will provide a setting for the interaction and the integration of many dimensions of scientific and professional studies. This project provides the opportunity to bring together the faculty of forestry, the departments of botany, geology and geography, and the Institute of Environmental Studies from their current locations scattered throughout the campus.
The physical consolidation of academic units close to the other supportive sciences and to engineering will create an environment that will contribute to the development of higher-quality programs of study and research.
The project will also create jobs. Over the next five years it is estimated that some 1,750 new on-site jobs of an average duration of 12 weeks and a similar number of off-site jobs of varying lengths will be created.
Thirty-five per cent of the total project gross area of 31,400 square metres will consist of renovations, and the balance will be replacement construction.
On many occasions in the past, I have encouraged universities to seek support from the private sector and from alumni for activities that would benefit the institutions as well as the community and our society. I do so again, and at the same time I offer my heartiest congratulations to the University of Toronto for its highly commendable fund-raising activities for this most important project.
Mr. Riddell: I hope you give the same consideration to the Ontario Veterinary College. It is one of the oldest institutions in the province and it is crying out for help.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Go speak to Whelan, will you?
Mr. Kerrio: He says you are dragging your feet.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That is from a master of foot-dragging.
Mr. Speaker: Order. If you want to continue this debate, I suggest both of you perhaps can go outside and continue it.
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: As a member of this Legislature and on behalf of all my constituents and the other 14 members of the assembly living north of the French River, I want to protest in the strongest possible terms the expenditure of $30 million of government money in southern Ontario for a Natural Resources Centre that obviously should have been built in the north.
It is common knowledge that the base of our primary resources, whether it be forestry or mining, is in northern Ontario. The federal government has started some initiatives to improve our capacity for research and development in the resource sector. Had the government built part of it in Sudbury and in Thunder Bay, it would have had the acceptance of everybody in Ontario and would have demonstrated beyond any doubt that the government was serious about renewing the renewable resources upon which Ontario and Canada depend so greatly.
Mr. Speaker: Having listened very attentively and carefully, I must rule that is really not a point of privilege.
Mr. Stokes: My constituents will think so.
Mr. Laughren: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I know you will recognize that standing order 32 states that when a major bill is introduced, there should be a compendium of information tabled with it for the opposition.
While the Minister of Education did not table a bill this morning, she made a statement of major proportions. I wonder if you could persuade her to table a compendium of information to justify this outrageous decision, particularly in view of the fact that the northeastern Ontario university system is being restructured at this very moment by the Parrott committee and it would have been an ideal opportunity to develop a resource centre in northeastern Ontario.
Mr. Speaker: Once again, having listened very carefully, I must rule that nothing is out of order and that is not a point of order.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, we think the former Speaker made an excellent point of order. It is probably a precedent to support what he did --
Mr. Speaker: It was a point of privilege.
Mr. Peterson: Whatever it was, it sounded good.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table today in this House a resolution in both English and French to amend the Constitution of Canada to give effect to the accord reached by the first ministers and aboriginal leaders on March 16, 1983.
The introduction of this resolution was preceded by a very historic occasion, the first ministers' conference on aboriginal constitutional matters. Not only was it the first constitutional conference under our new Constitution, but for the first time the Prime Minister and the 10 Premiers were joined at the table by the territorial heads of government and the leaders of Canada's national aboriginal groups: the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Committee on National Issues, the Métis National Council and the Native Council of Canada.
The result of the first ministers' conference was an accord signed by 16 of the 17 participants. Although the government of Quebec participated fully in the conference, Premier Lévesque chose not to sign the accord.
The first item considered by the accord was another constitutional conference. This conference will be a first ministers' conference and must be convened by the Prime Minister within one year of the conference which was completed on March 16, 1983. The agenda of the conference shall include all those items that were not fully considered at the March 15-to-16 conference this year.
The second item considered by the accord was an agreement by each government to table before its legislative assembly a resolution to authorize a proclamation to amend the Constitution Act, 1982. This is the object of the resolution which is now being introduced in this House.
There were four amendments to which governments agreed and I would like to explain them briefly.
The first amendment is to include in the Constitution a provision to require the convening of two further constitutional conferences composed of first ministers and aboriginal peoples. The first conference is to be held within three years after April 17, 1982, and the second conference is to be held within five years after that date. The agenda for each of these conferences shall include constitutional matters that directly affect the aboriginal peoples of Canada.
The second amendment will ensure that aboriginal and treaty rights will be guaranteed equally to aboriginal men and women.
The third amendment will provide for consultation with aboriginal groups whenever an amendment to the Constitution is proposed which affects aboriginal rights. The consultation will take the form of a constitutional conference called for that purpose.
The final amendment will guarantee that existing and future land claim settlements will enjoy the same constitutional protection as existing treaties.
The March 1983 conference, the accord and this resolution are not the end of a process but only a beginning. Ontario has a lasting commitment to this process. We initiated inclusion of the aboriginal rights item on the constitutional agenda in 1979. We were actively involved in the achievement of the accord. In co-operation with other governments and aboriginal leaders, we will continue to seek the resolution of the many issues remaining on the aboriginal consti' tutional agenda.
Finally, in tabling this resolution today, I would like to acknowledge the very constructive role played by Ontario's aboriginal leaders during the first ministers' conference and throughout our discussions leading up to the conference. In particular, I want to recognize the efforts of Gordon Peters, Fred Kelly, Joe Miskokomon, Pat Madahbee. Chief Gary Potts, Peter Kelly, Grand Chief John Kelly and Grand Chief Wally McKay, all of the Assembly of First Nations: Mrs. Donna Phillips of the Ontario Native Women's Association, and Duke Redbird of the Ontario Métis Association.
The resolution before the House embodies the work and efforts of many people over a great deal of time. It captures some of the hopes and aspirations of the aboriginal peoples of Canada. It also provides the mechanism through which many of the other goals of aboriginal peoples may be discussed and agreed upon. I urge each and every member to give the resolution his or her careful consideration and support.
TOXIC WASTE DISPOSAL
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment relating to the Pauzé dump we were discussing yesterday in this House.
The minister will be aware that oil-contaminated grey sludge, said to be from Rolland Inc. in Toronto, was found dumped on the Pauzé site outside the authorized dump site in October 1982. At that time the ministry's position was that it had been there for some years. The central regional senior environmental officer said there was 146,000 gallons of waste dumped at the site by Rolland Paper Co. Ltd. in 1978 and 1979. The ministry's tests show it was contaminated with 21 dangerous chemicals such as tolerene, exlenes and ethylene compounds.
I know the minister is aware of this. Yet apparently, fresh grey sludge was dumped into an obviously freshly dug trench eight feet wide, three feet deep and some 25 feet long, which was found by local residents Jack Therrien, Professor Cummins, Mark Bourrie and Lester Dekany, who is in the gallery today.
When they returned to the dump they found that this newly discovered toxic material was covered with a layer of earth. Mr. Dekany fell into the sludge and since then has suffered problems with chloracne, reputed to be symptomatic of certain organic chemical poisoning.
I want to know why the minister allowed the grey sludge to be dumped outside the authorized landfill. Is he aware of the additional dumping of the sludge after the order was issued in 198O for Pauzé to accept no more liquid industrial waste? Is he going to prosecute?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the honourable member to send over to me, if he has them, all the particulars of the more recent incident to which he refers; at the moment I am not fully familiar with it. If there is evidence of any such activity that we can pursue and that can lead to prosecution within any limitation period, I can assure him this is a course of action I will pursue vigorously.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Dekany is in the gallery today and will be very happy to talk to the minister at his convenience today -- right now, if he likes so he will be brought up to date on everything that has happened.
I have another suggestion for the minister. As he will be aware, there has been some chat about deformed eggs in that area, particularly from Mr. Gary Posey's chickens, which have been drinking the water in that area. I am sure he saw the article in the Globe and Mail this morning with respect to that problem. He knows that these chickens have been --
Hon. Mr. Norton: Send it over.
Mr. Peterson: I am going to send this over to the minister, because I am going to ask his ministry to test it.
The minister is aware that these chickens have been drinking contaminated well water, and there are a number of organic chemicals in that water. I am asking the minister two things. Number one, will he immediately undertake tests on that well water to find out all the harmful chemicals in it? Number two, will he immediately test those eggs to determine how they became deformed?
Mr. Speaker: Order. The question was put to the Minister of the Environment.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I have a feeling they do not like my answers. After they have asked the questions, they babble so that nobody can hear what I have to say.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Speaker: This is an abuse of question period, and I ask all members to pay attention to what is going on.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I too take this issue and this question very seriously. The very fact that it has been raised is obviously going to cause a significant amount of concern in the minds of members of the public, and they ought to be aware of all the information that is available.
First of all, just to put the egg in context -- by the way, it is a single egg; I presume there are others, and I hope the member will provide them to us, or that others will, so we can pursue this -- I point out to ihe member that, as he may already be aware, I set up some months ago now a team of expert individuals in a multidisciplinary group operating out of the head office of my ministry to deal with specific issues relating to problem landfill sites, Pauzé being one of those.
As recently as Tuesday evening -- and this is just to put the whole issue in context -- there was a meeting with the citizens in the area of the Pauzé landfill site, at which time the question of the testing of wells was discussed and it was proposed that we would do an exhaustive range of tests on two wells. As I understand it, that was agreed to at the meeting. In fact the citizens, I believe with the advice of Joe Cummins, their adviser at the time, were asked to designate which wells they would like to have tested.
As I understand it, the subject of the Posey well was not raised at that time, nor, interestingly enough, was the issue of any deformed eggs, and I assume these deformed eggs were not all laid since Tuesday night. Nevertheless, that does not alter the seriousness with which we will treat them, now that the issue has been raised, even though it was not raised at a meeting with the scientists from my ministry on Tuesday evening.
To put this issue further in context, in terms of the deformity of the eggs, I grew up in rural Ontario and we had hens and there have been deformed eggs as long as I have known about hens and eggs. That is not to make light of this, given the specific geographical context; however, deformity in eggs can be from a variety of causes. It can be caused by virus infection, by bronchitis or by an imbalance of vitamin D or phosphorus. If the hens happen to be leghorns, there is a predisposition to deformity in the eggs. I am sure the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) could tell the members that.
There is a variety of possibilities. If it is an isolated incident, then we would want to know. I assure the House we will pursue the matter in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. We will also, I assure the members, do further work on Mr. Posey's well and site.
Another interesting and important factor that must be examined with respect to Mr. Posey's well, because it has already been tested, as the members know, is the fact that the chemicals that have been detected in his well are different from those that have been detected in the few other wells where contamination has been found. That may well be related to the fact that on the site he has a furniture refinishing operation that uses chemicals. We do not know that for sure, but that may be a source of contamination that is not related to the landfill site. I assure the members we will inspect it fully.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Surely statements are supposed to be made before question period.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Don't you think statements should be made before question period?
Mr. Speaker: Order. If the honourable member continues with his outburst I will have to take action. That is the final warning.
Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I would like to go back to the original question by the Leader of the Opposition and the minister's response to that question, about new information. The issues that were raised in his question I raised with the minister by letter in December. He responded by letter, so I assume by now, since he signed the letter, he is aware of the issues raised, such as Mr. Dekany's rash. I also raised with him the fact that a number of people who visited that site became ill as a result of fumes from the grey sludge.
Yesterday, in response to my question about that grey sludge, the minister said it was the opinion of his ministry that it was harmless. Mr. Gray, of the ministry's regional office in Barrie, told me in front of a public meeting of several hundred people in Perkinsfield that the sludge had been mixed with illegal waste from Chemical and Petro Waste Disposal Ltd., the trucking company we also discussed yesterday.
There is no question in the minds of most of the people who live in the area that the sludge is very dangerous. Will the minister have that sludge retested before he does anything about moving it on and spreading it over the site? We know the site is leaking and that will just add to the problems that exist in the community.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I believe it has been, but I will certainly confirm that before any further action is taken. Going back to the original question, as the member suggested, I am not aware, there may well be some --
Mr. Speaker: The question was, will the minister have the material tested? I think you have answered that.
Hon. Mr. Norton: But he did raise an issue with respect to --
Mr. Speaker: No, it was not part of the question.
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, since the saga of Pauzé landfill is really one of inability by the Ministry of the Environment to monitor the deposits of waste in that site, can the minister tell us why his ministry was unable to detect the dumping of three cases of dynamite in that site, exactly where that dynamite has come from and what action he has taken to prevent any dumping of similar sorts of waste in that site from now on?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that the cases of dynamite that were reported to have been deposited on the site -- I do not know if anyone has recently seen them; there was a report, I believe from someone who worked at the site in about 1976, that he had seen some cases of dynamite when they were filling the site. We consulted with the experts in the federal government as well with respect to the best way to treat it, if in fact there was dynamite on the site. Their advice was that the safest thing to do with it was to leave it where it was, and that has been the course of action we have pursued.
We will continue to monitor the site as closely as is humanly possible. If somebody with a mindset is determined to get into that place when no one is around and do something which is contrary to the law of this province, I cannot assure the member absolutely that we can prevent it, but we will do everything possible to continue the level of monitoring with the variety of police forces that are involved.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Solicitor General about the questions that were raised yesterday in this House with respect to pornography and that he felt left out of. I would like to solicit his opinions on a variety of issues.
We have checked with the federal Minister of Justice and he has no record of any correspondence from the minister to him with respect to the minister's position on changes in the Criminal Code. Will the minister table in this House and share with all the members his position on changes in the Criminal Code, with respect to changes of definitions of obscenity and any changes in increased penalties he would suggest for violation of the provisions? What specifically is his position and will he share it?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, the Leader of the Opposition has just got aboard the train with this government and ministry, along with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Metropolitan Toronto Police. We have had Project P in operation for some considerable number of years, and indeed not just on the matter of women's issues but on the matter of child pornography and other areas of pornography.
If the Liberal leader feels stung by the fact, then where was he when Mary Brown was talking about censorship, where was he when we were in the committee talking about censorship? Not to be seen, not to be heard. These are matters that we have been concerned about for some time, not like a Johnny-come-lately as he is on the matter.
As to the correspondence, I have correspondence to the then Minister of Justice, Jean Chrétien, dated August 20, 1982, where I made specific note of child pornography and that it should be changed. The reply came back from the Honourable Mark MacGuigan on September 27, 1982, agreeing with my statement that there should be some changes in the Criminal Code regarding sexual exploitation of children and that it was disturbing to him that Bill C-53 did not get through.
I have no difficulty in tabling these pieces of correspondence. Indeed the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) has made the same representations on changes in the Criminal Code, so when the member all of a sudden puts forward his communiqué and says we have done nothing, I look at the statements I made at the opening of the estimates -- over 1,000 videotapes seized between January 1 and May 1, 1983, with a value of over $130,000, and 90 charges laid -- so action has been taken.
Prior to the Leader of the Opposition's statement, I had also mentioned there was a necessity for changes in the Criminal Code. He also mentioned in his questions yesterday that the number of officers in the project had been reduced. It has not. It is the same as it was at the outset. There is, moreover, further training in the field of the other officers involved in this. Correspondence to the federal government on the subject goes back about four years, so we have been active in this area. As I mentioned yesterday when asked by the media, it is just something new to the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Peterson: The minister may have all these wonderful suggestions so perhaps he will share them with this House. My advice to the minister is for him not to hide his light under a bushel basket, particularly when a quart basket will do.
Let me ask the minister to share that information with the House so that we can have a discussion on his specific recommendations about the changes in the Criminal Code. Why is he hiding all this?
Understanding that the number of prosecutions increased in the first few months of this year, there are many more than there were for all of last year, but in reality Project P has been cut back. There were officers seconded to that area in the past. We have only four officers working on it now. There were six a little while ago and eight before that, so in real manpower terms there has been a cutback. All of the people working in this area feel that it needs more human resources.
Would the minister commit himself to committing more human resources to this area to deal with this burgeoning problem in society?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: In regard to putting lights under baskets, I have not put any lights under baskets. I sometimes wonder what documents the member reads from time to time. If he would read something more than his own communiqués he might see that a couple of weeks back, or earlier than that, I put out memoranda to people, to society, and to the media, warning parents of the possibility that children could obtain these cassettes in today's market.
I would also say to the member that we have not reduced the individuals in Project P. They are the same as when it was commenced. They are doing an excellent job. Indicative of their excellent job is the number of charges, the amount of surveillance going on and the extent of representations being made to many groups about pornography and about the type and style of that pornography. One has only to view some of the films and the content of these to know that it is now even a greater concern to the members of this Legislature and to the police.
It is a social problem that is of some significance and one that the federal government should move quickly on and change its legislation to make it an offence.
In regard to the other areas, we are working with the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) to change some of the sections under the Theatres Act so that certain features that have been challenged under the Charter of Rights can now be regarded as pornographic and can be labelled and censored in that way. So this government has been taking initiatives. There are no baskets over any of the lights that have been shining on this particular subject.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I still fail to get from the Solicitor General whether he understands the social dimensions of the problem. There are now four ministers of the government directly and intimately involved in the questions of the inadequacy of the definitions in the Criminal Code.
The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations is wrestling with the problem with respect to the Theatres Act. The Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch), who is also in charge of matters relating to the affairs of women, the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), and now the Solicitor General are all in this field, which is a matter of immense sensitivity in the social context. It impinges directly on the relationship between the Criminal Code and freedom of expression under the charter.
Will the minister, or whoever is the appropriate minister of the government, look at the fundamental questions of the definitions in the Criminal Code with respect to obscenity and pornography, and to distinguish from pornography the erotica which is a question of significant importance as far as freedom of expression is concerned?
Will he look at the very specific definitions which are required, respond to the National Action Committee on the Status of Women on its very direct recommendations about the code and provide for us the exact wording of any amendments the minister or any of his colleagues have submitted to the government of Canada on this question?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, the member for Riverdale has, as always, put forward some very thoughtful positions on the matter. We have been discussing this subject in estimates and I have listened to his comments there and they have been very good. When the forthcoming round with the Attorneys General and Solicitors General commences in June and July of this year I am sure this will be a major topic of discussion, with the lead member being the Attorney General of Ontario. He will be making recommendations on that matter.
As to the past history, yes, I will undertake to discuss this with the Attorney General. I will table any documentation that is available and allowed to be tabled in this Legislature. The member then will be able to see any areas of amendments to the code that have been suggested or recommendations of a general nature that have been made.
Mr. Peterson: As pointed out by the member for Riverdale, a number of ministers are involved in this difficult question. Obviously we have to co-ordinate all of those ministries as well as several levels of jurisdiction in order to attack this problem which, I think we all agree, is growing in proportion almost daily.
Would the minister lend his considerable weight in cabinet to the establishment of a select committee that would deal with the problem of those vaguely defined community standards? Would he urge the appointment of such a committee that would address the problem the censor board had in the courts? It was ruled unconstitutional because the standards as they now exist were deemed vague, undefined and totally discretionary.
Does he recognize we have a difficult problem as a society to put a definition on some of these questions? And would he assist in persuading his colleagues to establish that select committee so thoughtful members of this House such as the member for Riverdale could wrestle with these difficult problems? Members could assist the minister and the people of this province in coming to better answers to these problems.
Hon. G. W. Taylor: The Leader of the Opposition has suggested a select committee. That is the panacea he always puts forward. He has made the same suggestion regarding many subjects previously. I am not so sure that is the only route possible. But since he suggests I put my considerable weight behind the subject, I will see what amount of weight I will put forward for that subject. I have heard his statement and I will consider it.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Would you consider, sir, declaring unparliamentary, in so far as they refer to the member for Riverdale, the words "thoughtful," "responsible and "lawyer"?
Mr. Speaker: That is interesting. I will indeed.
WILD RICE HARVEST
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier and it follows on the statement made today in the House by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) with respect to the Constitution and aboriginal rights. Is the Premier in a position today to make a statement to this Legislature with respect to the harvesting of wild rice in northwestern Ontario? Can he speak to the request that has been made to him by Treaty 3 to respond immediately to their concerns about their rights with respect to the harvesting of wild rice?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, no.
Mr. Rae: I appreciate the speedy answer. The Premier must be aware there is deep concern among the members of Treaty 3 with respect to the delay in the announcement of the government's intention about the moratorium. He must know the Treaty 3 members are concerned about their rights with respect to the harvesting of wild rice.
The Premier and the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) have made certain commitments about responding to Treaty 3. They have not met those commitments. There has been an extraordinary delay. The five-year moratorium runs out at the end of May. The Premier knows that. Can he tell us why he is not in a position today to make that kind of statement?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I do not think the question of why is really relevant. I am quite aware of the concern and I do not accept the point of view expressed by the leader of the New Democratic Party that we have not lived up to the understandings with Treaty 3.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, is it not the case that Treaty 3 submitted a legal opinion on their rights to wild rice harvesting in that area of the province to the government of Ontario in the fall and at that time the Premier indicated he would respond to Treaty 3 by the end of December?
We are now close to the end of May, the moratorium is running out and there is no statement by the Premier. What is the government going to do? What is the status of the moratorium after May 31 if the government has not yet responded?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I recall some of the discussions. The Minister of Natural Resources met with Chief Kelly just a few days ago. As I recall, we obtained legal opinions, both internally and externally. We intend to share those opinions with Chief Kelly and others.
NATURAL RESOURCES CENTRE
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Northern Affairs. Was the minister, along with his colleagues the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay), all northern Ontario cabinet ministers, involved in the decision to spend $30 million of government funds for the establishment of a resources centre at the University of Toronto?
Does not the minister think it passing strange that the justification for it seems to be the upgrading and replacement of some old buildings in the southwest corner of the University of Toronto campus? Was the Minister of Northern Affairs a part of that decision and, if so, does he agree with it?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I think the member is fully aware I am a member of the cabinet that made the decision.
Mr. Stokes: The justification for the expenditure of this money seems to be to provide opportunities for the primary resource sector, in particular mining and forestry, and for the renewable resources. Given the fact that we have many forest management agreements that we hope will be our last chance in the forestry sector, and given all of the geological investigation which is going on in Red Lake in the minister's riding, in the Timmins and Hemlo areas and in all of the areas in northern Ontario where we think we have untold opportunities for expansion of our primary sector, does he not think this $30 million of government money and the $14 million from the private sector could better have been spent in the north where the resource really is?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: If the member will read the statement my colleague made to the Legislature this morning he will realize, or should realize, that this was directed primarily to research and earth sciences. Lakehead University is directed to the management of our forests.
I am sure the member for Lake Nipigon realizes my colleague the Minister of Natural Resources is putting millions of dollars into forest regeneration programs and FMAs right across northern Ontario. He is also aware of the research dollars going into Lakehead University and Laurentian University with respect to mining technology and forest technology in those areas.
Mr. Riddell: It makes the statement about northern development yesterday somewhat redundant.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Riddell: Yesterday he was talking about all the great things being done. Now they are all redundant.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, the minister must be a little bit embarrassed. Did I understand him correctly when he implied that in fact there was no university in northern or northwestern Ontario that would be capable of carrying out the kind of research involved? If not, why is the centre not going to the north?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, no, I did not imply that.
Mr. Stokes: Is the minister, along with his other cabinet colleagues from the north, prepared to go to the north and explain the matter to people like Mr. Hearnden at Lakehead University and to all of the others who have been urging not only the private sector but the government to do something useful and meaningful to make the forest management agreements and all of the geological investigation in the north work?
Is the minister prepared to go to the north and justify this expenditure of $30 million on something that more appropriately should have been spent in the north where the resource really is?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I must remind the member that we are still one province. While we do have a Ministry of Northern Affairs to look after the very special, unique problems of northern Ontario, we are still one province. I make that very clear. I know the members from southern Ontario would agree with me when I say that.
When it comes to strengthening those universities, those major institutes of learning in northern Ontario, we are committed as a government to increase the research at both Lakehead and Laurentian. We are doing that in a very positive, progressive way.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I was incorrect when I raised my previous point of order. It is standing order 26(c) that states, "After any policy statement the minister shall table a compendium of background information." I would ask that the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) do so.
Mr. Speaker: Having listened again very carefully, I find that it is not out of order. There is nothing out of order, and I cannot recognize your point.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, are you saying that the statement by the Minister of Colleges and Universities was not a policy statement of the government?
Mr. Speaker: Not in my opinion, no.
Mr. Renwick: What is a policy statement of the government? We have always thought they were short on policies, but we thought this was one of them.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I have a question --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Ms. Copps: Sometimes I think we should abolish Fridays.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Is that a motion? I second it.
Ms. Copps: Let's sit on Wednesdays instead of setting it aside.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. He will no doubt be aware that in this House last week the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) announced the paramedic program pilot project that is going to be operating in Hamilton and Toronto.
He will no doubt also he aware of comments made in Toronto yesterday by Dr. Les Vertesi of Vancouver in which he stated: "It is a pretence that there is a good ambulance service here. Toronto is a world-class city in medical care, but its pre-hospital care is 10 years outdated." Dr. Tom Estall, director of emergency services at St. Michael's Hospital said, "Ontario is so backwards in medical care that it is embarrassing."
The Premier will no doubt further be aware that the proposal brought forth by the Minister of Health does not deal with the very critical issue of cardiac patients, because it addresses simply emergency medical care attendant 2 care.
When the Management Board of Cabinet is looking at allocating funds for the EMCA 2 program, will he include EMCA 3 under that umbrella so we can have full paramedic programs in Hamilton and in Toronto and not simply a sham such as has already been proposed by the Minister of Health?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health has never proposed a sham.
Ms. Copps: The Premier knows that according to Dr. Estall the ambulance staff will be slightly above those who are currently on the road, but they will not be able to give medication or do advanced resuscitation. According to the Premier's own Dr. Psutka, in fact, they will be dealing only with victims of trauma and will have no impact on saving the lives of cardiac patients.
I repeat: will the Premier please commit funds not only to begin the EMCA 2 program in Hamilton and in Toronto but also to begin immediately the 26 to 30 week training program that is needed for EMCA 3 training as compared to the six to eight week program that will develop this second-tier paramedic program in Hamilton and in Toronto?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the minister has dealt with this to a certain extent, and I am sure he will be delighted to expand on it further on Monday. The minister, I know, very definitely is exploring all aspects of this proposed service and I am sure he will be delighted to share the most recent views with the honourable member on Monday.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources, who must surely be very embarrassed about the announcement made by the Minister of Colleges and Universities earlier this morning.
The minister will recall that he told this House on February 3, 1983, that reaching the government's goal of planting two trees for every one harvested clearly illustrated how his ministry has succeeded in accelerating the regeneration of our forests in co-operation with the private sector."
Can the minister explain to us how he could have made a statement like this, given the fact that the latest figures available show that the percentage of annual cut receiving regeneration treatment has actually declined from the date of the Brampton charter, as it is now popularly known, from 42.5 per cent to 38 per cent for the fiscal year 1981-82?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Is that it?
Mr. Laughren: That's it.
Hon. Mr. Pope: Okay. Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to reply to the honourable member. He, of course, selects some of the figures he wishes to use to prove his point of view, as usual. He did not quote from the rest of the statement in which I indicated that with the private contracts issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources to 19 different private growers in small communities across northern Ontario, we had increased our capacity through those private contracts to 132 million trees. Those trees are now being planted.
If he will go out to his own area, to Timmins, Kenora, Dryden and Thunder Bay, and look at the coverage in the newspapers of our reforestation efforts and the opening of new greenhouse facilities, then he would not question the Premier's commitment to reforestation.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I know you will not fail to note that the minister did not deny the figures I quoted to him. I wonder if I could switch from percentage of annual cuts to the number of acres that have been regenerated. The minister stated that for 1981-82 his forest production policy for regeneration was 280,000 acres whereas the actual amount achieved was only 214,000 acres, a 24 per cent shortfall.
Would he tell us how it is that his government is falling so far short on his forest production policies? What steps has he taken to make sure the targets set out in that policy will be met?
Hon. Mr. Pope: The member also did not take the time to deny the fact that we have in place contracts that will produce 132 million seedlings this year. He did not deny that commitment knowing that the harvesting level is 58 million and knowing that we have 132 million seedlings in place. That makes two for one in anyone's arithmetic except that of the New Democratic Party. That is what it takes.
The member knows we are spending an extra $35 million this year in Ontario under forest management agreements. He knows that in order to clear up the backlog of regenerated areas we need to have all-season access into those areas. That is precisely why we are putting so much money into all-weather road construction, and he knows the net effect will be that we will successfully regenerate all areas being harvested. This province stands first in Canada in its commitment to reforestation.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, is the minister telling the House that the promise made in Bramalea by the Premier of two for one with regard to trees in the north has been fulfilled? Is he actually telling the House that promise has now been fulfilled?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, I know the honourable member would not be aware of the situation in northern Ontario, nor will his party ever be aware of what is going on in northern Ontario. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) goes to Sudbury and Thunder Bay once in a while and makes idiotic statements that show he does not understand the north or the state of its industries. That party will never change. It will never represent northern Ontario in this Legislature.
MOBILE PCB DESTRUCTION UNIT
Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Speaker, I thank the opposition for the interruption because it gave an opportunity for the Minister of the Environment to come back, and my question is for him.
Mr. Kennedy: All right. Cool it, fellows. He is having a good week.
Recently there was test burning of polychlorinated biphenyls at St. Lawrence Cement and this evidently was successful as measured by the trace atmospheric gas analyser. There is more interest and information about the testing of the mobile PCB destructon unit. Could the minister advise us of the status of this? Is it intended that this will substitute for a fixed installation such as was originally proposed for the South Cayuga site?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member refers to the burning that occurred in Mississauga. It was not a PCB material burning; it was the use of a supplementary source of fuel which was lightly contaminated by PCBs to a level of under 10 parts per billion. That is substantially below the internationally accepted level at which PCB-contaminated material is regarded as unfit for burning. That level is 50 parts per billion, so this was less than one fifth of the internationally accepted level.
That was not really a PCB burning but we did monitor it to ensure there was no emission that would cause any concern with regard to local residents. As the member has indicated, that was successful.
With regard to the mobile burning units that are coming on stream, we are nearing completion of guidelines for the testing of those units within Ontario. There are a couple of issues that remain to be resolved before the guidelines are put into the environmental assessment process for public review and hearings.
One of those issues relates to whether the burning would occur in each individual municipality where PCBs are present or whether it would be more suitable to have it done on a regional basis with the unit moving from region to region around the province.
As soon as those decisions have been finalized it would be our intention to put those guidelines into the process and go through a period of public consultation with full information being made available to the public. I hope we can achieve that before the end of this calendar year.
Mr. Kennedy: Would the minister comment on whether these mobile units will be a substitute for a fixed disposal setup for liquid industrial wastes?
Hon. Mr. Norton: The ones that I am aware of at the present time would clearly be a substitute for a fixed facility with regard to the destruction of PCBs. They would not eliminate the need for a facility that would deal with other chlorinated hydrocarbons that the mobile unit, to the best of our knowledge at the moment, does not handle adequately.
However, there is one unit that is --
Mr. Speaker: I think the minister has answered the question very well.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, has the minister abandoned the research at the Royal Military College in Kingston on the development of a plasma arc, so much supported by his predecessor Dr. Parrott with many thousands of public dollars? Is the minister going to allow that to come forward as one of the better alternatives, as it was described by Dr. Parrott?
Hon. Mr. Norton: No, Mr. Speaker, it certainly has not been abandoned. We have been supporting the research on the plasma are as well as the plasma torch, which is being developed by a private firm in North York. In fact, the plasma arc researcher is building a larger prototype to deal with larger volumes and make it viable on the basis of service within the province.
I would expect that once the guidelines are in place they would apply to the testing of not only the American technology that is now on the market but also the possibility of the diesel engine from Smithville, with which the member is very familiar, as well as the plasma technology and any others that may come forward for testing.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the same minister. Can he explain what authority Dr. Chant and his officials received to allow them to go on to the Six Nations reserve to do the soil tests that now designate the reserve as one of the principal possibilities for the industrial liquid waste storage and disposal unit that is so much in the minds of some of us who are representing areas coloured orange on the map of projections for this facility?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, to the best of my knowledge, there was no express authority and I do not know whether they ever actually set foot on the reserve. The consultants were identifying, without respect to municipal or any othcr kinds of boundaries within the province, the hydrogeology of the various areas and the soil --
Mr. Nixon: They did not do any testing?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I am sure they have done some, but whether it was done specifically on the site of the reserve, I do not know. I do not have the map in front of me to show exactly how large the area that includes part of the reserve would be.
Mr. Nixon: Very large; almost the whole reserve.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I assume it includes some land in the same area that is not on the reserve. I do not know because I do not have the map in front of me. There is obviously an issue with respect to jurisdiction there that has --
Mr. Nixon: Not at all. You do not have any jurisdiction.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Certainly. They have not been given any express authority to go on or to do anything on land that is under the control of the federal government or subject to native treaties.
Mr. Speaker: Having said that, I think that was the answer to the specific question asked.
Mr. Nixon: I will not ask the minister to reiterate the exclusion of the Indian lands from his jurisdiction or that of Dr. Chant. I know my constituents on the Indian reserve will be glad to receive the word that the minister realizes they are completely excluded from the provincial writ in this connection.
My supplementary is as follows: Being aware of the deplorable, not-in-my-backyard syndrome, the one the Premier (Mr. Davis) has spoken of so frequently, will the minister bring to the Premier's attention the fact that the same map that designates the Indian reserve as an area that could receive this storage and control facility also designates a part of the Brampton area? Will he also bring to the Premier's attention that he has an opportunity to provide the sort of leadership for the province that is necessary and indicate that his area is quite prepared, since it has been designated by Dr. Chant, to allow the planning and construction to go forward without further delay, particularly since most of the material comes from this area?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I assume the member was asking a serious question, and I am intending to give him a serious answer.
Mr. Nixon: Dr. Chant must have been serious when he put the orange spot there.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Norton: It has always been my assumption that anyone seeking to hold public office, whether it be on that side of the House, this side or wherever, has some responsibility to exercise public leadership.
Mr. Nixon: We do not want it in our backyard. We want it in his.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That is obvious.
I do not think the leader of the party of which I am part needs to be reminded of his responsibilities with regard to public leadership. However, the honourable member might pass that message on to some of his colleagues in his own caucus, in particular the member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham). If the remarks reported in the press coming from some of his colleagues are accurate, leadership is something his caucus knows nothing about. No wonder they are in the opposition.
ARROW CO. PLANT CLOSURE
Mr. Allen: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Trade. The minister no doubt is aware, as those of us in Hamilton are, that another plant is closing, the Arrow Co. plant, and 190 people will be laid off. That closure is to take effect in mid-August. It is the ninth plant to close in Hamilton in something like eight weeks. That plant is owned by Cluett, Peabody, an American corporation, and the reasons given are not just the recession but the matter of imports we discussed yesterday in this House. Cluett, Peabody has plants in Mexico, Venezuela, Guatemala and Hong Kong. Does the minister know whether or to what extent those imports are from Arrow's own plants in those low-wage countries?
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I do not know the answer to that question. We can certainly attempt to determine it. There is no question the official reason given was the sales decline due to imports. I might, however, mention that they do have plants in other locations in Canada, including Kitchener, and there is an intention to transfer about 60 people to the Kitchener plant. So at least there is some attempt being made to resolve the problem. We will undoubtedly be looking into the question further. The honourable member has raised a point and I would be glad to look further into it.
Mr. Allen: The problem is not that imports come from Kitchener and other plants in Canada. The point is that the imports come from plants owned outside this country -- by such firms as Arrow shirts and Cluett, Peabody -- in low-wage countries. This poses a desperate and basic problem for many industries in this country.
If the minister does not know the answer to that question, does that not suggest there should be public justification for such closures? Will the minister, in conjunction with the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay), now introduce legislation requiring public justification of plant shutdowns so as to protect workers' jobs and local economies such as those in Hamilton?
Hon. Mr. Walker: We will certainly look further into the question the member has raised. I have noted the point he has made.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, the minister will be well aware that the threat to the textile industry, particularly in Quebec and Ontario, has been a long-standing one. He knows the federal government has changed the quota system a number of times to give that industry, and/or the two provincial governments, time to readjust.
What plans has the ministry in Ontario undertaken over the last two or three years to take advantage of that time period to help the industries readjust so that not only the industry but the people who work for it will be able to cope with the changes now coming home to roost?
Hon. Mr. Walker: On August 6, 1982, our ministry urged the federal government to support very strongly the recommendations of the textile and clothing advisory panel. So we have offered very strong support and advocacy for reopening the bilateral agreements on clothing and to reduce the quota levels.
On October 4, 1982, we took a position that welcomed the federal government's announcement to negotiate the lower levels of clothing imports for 1983 only. Even later on in 1982 our ministry informed the federal government there were no indications of a rapid recovery in the economy or that imports will not continue to improve penetration. We informed them a longer-term adequate level of quota protection would be more likely to encourage the industrial investment that is required during this rather difficult time we are going through at the moment.
ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of other ministers I have a question for the Premier. Perhaps it is fortunate because the Premier is the only person who can really solve this for me.
Last October, I asked a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) concerning 21 tomato producers in southwestern Ontario who are not being paid the $511,000 owed to them by Southland Canning. The minister indicated that $350,000 had been loaned to the company as part of the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program and that it could be used to pay part of the money that was owing to the growers. He said it could be released to them because the province was in a secured position.
I quote from what he said, "If it came to the worst, we would be in a position to recover at least a portion and thereby to assist the growers." I just want to point out to the Premier that most of these growers are young, beginning farmers because they could not get a tomato contract from the major companies. So we have a group of younger farmers forced into going with this new company, and the new company was backed up by BILD money.
Mr. Speaker: Question please?
Mr. McGuigan: I have a letter from the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) of May 16, saying he would not release the BILD money. In view of the terrible situation this puts the minister in and the even worse position these producers are now in because on the strength of that promise they extended loans, reborrowed money, and have dug a deeper hole, will the Premier get these two honourable gentlemen together to resolve this situation? I tell the Premier that unless the minister can be pulled out of this position of not being able to deliver on his promise, he would be better use to the farmers of southwestern Ontario pulling weeds.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I recall the issue being raised. I am not sure the honourable member is quite correct in saying the minister made a commitment that this problem would be solved. I think the minister demonstrated a genuine concern and sympathy with respect to the growers in that part of southwestern Ontario, which we all share. I only say to the member that I will discuss it with the Minister of Agriculture and Food.
I understand there has been some further discussion at the BILD committee of cabinet, and it may be we will be discussing it at cabinet itself this next week.
Mr. McGuigan: I appreciate the Premier's endeavours. I wonder whether the Premier is aware that the federal government, through the Agricultural Products Board, had offered to purchase 500,000 cases of the canned tomatoes at a price $2 per case over the market price; that actually would have returned to the growers about $144,000, which represents about 28 per cent of the loss.
It now appears the federal people are reconsidering that offer, because they say they made it contingent upon the province assisting. I certainly hope the federal people will come through in any event, but at present, unless the province comes through, it looks as if even this offer of 28 per cent will not come through.
Is the Premier also aware that because of the age of these people, they face absolute personal disaster in many cases; that it will be simply the end for them? I hope again that the Premier will be able to make his greatest effort for these people.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I did not hear the last part of the question. I heard the first part, but not the last part.
Mr. McGuigan: I simply wanted to make the Premier aware of these other circumstances and to ask him again to make a great effort to get everybody off the hook in this situation.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Once again I am going substantially from memory. My recollection, and I can only share my recollection, is that to my knowledge the federal proposal -- I do not know whether it was an offer; it could be phrased in that way -- was not necessarily contingent upon what the government of Ontario might do.
I gather what the member is saying to me now is that he has certain information that indicates the government of Canada, in spite of this proposal made to the producers, now is saying it may withdraw that proposal if this government does not assist in some manner. Is that what the member is conveying to me?
Mr. McGuigan: Yes. It is possible.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
CANADIAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION ASSOCIATION ACT
Mr. Kells moved, seconded by Mr. Barlow, first reading of Bill Pr17, An Act respecting the Canadian National Exhibition Association.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES (CONTINUED)
Mr. Chairman: As I recall, the minister was in the process of responding to remarks and questions.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Chairman, I believe I had finished my response to the honourable members' questions. If they have any more, I would be pleased to try to answer them, or we could go right into the vote, whichever way you want to handle it.
Mr. Chairman: Actually I saw the member for Oriole (Mr. Williams), believe it or not, rise first.
Mr. Philip: I rose first, then I gave my spot to my colleague from Sudbury.
Mr. Chairman: Someone refresh my memory. I think your opening statement was completed, was it not?
Mr. Nixon: That is correct.
Mr. Philip: We are still on vote 1; I want to respond to the minister's nonanswers and ask him if he is going to give some answers to my questions. That is why I rose. We are still on the first vote.
Mr. Chairman: We were just into opening statements. I am going to recognize the member for Oriole. We are not on a vote. We are on a preliminary.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Chairman, with regard to vote 1, there were a couple of matters that concerned me. I would like to address them this morning and have the minister's response to these concerns.
In particular, there are two issues I would like the minister to consider. First, I would draw to his attention the fact that last November I was involved in the estimates of the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz). While on the face of it it may not seem relevant to the present discussions, I will make it quite clear how those discussions were extremely relevant to what I have to say this morning as it affects the Minister of Government Services.
During the estimates of the Minister of Tourism and Recreation, we were dealing in particular with the tourism aspects of his ministry. There was considerable discussion about the emphasis this province puts on the tourist industry. It was pointed out that it was the second largest export industry in the whole province and we were talking about an industry that ran into not millions but billions of dollars -- over $9 billion.
At that time the minister also pointed out that our marketing and tourism programs were being expanded from $19 million in the preceding year to more than $21.5 million during the current period. While he was promoting tourism and convincing the committee -- and I do not think we really needed convincing -- how important it was to our economy, some of the marketing techniques being used were discussed. Of course, central to the whole marketing process, particularly to our American cousins, is the logo we use in all the tourism promotion material we put forward. Of course, we all know the logo is the Ontario flag.
We spend millions of dollars, justifiably so, on this marketing program, particularly in the United States but also in other countries of the world. As a result, while the majority of tourists coming into this country are from the United States, we are drawing a significant number, ever increasing, from Europe and even from the Far East.
One of the things that must surely register from all the promotional material that goes out, whether it is promoting the northern regions of our province or the areas here in Metropolitan Toronto, is that the logo stands out, that is the Ontario flag.
I have raised with the minister a concern I had, not from a tourist point of view but simply to point out that this is something that is embedded in the minds of the tourists. They expect to see that symbol of Ontario, the Ontario flag. Of course, to those of us who are Ontarians, it has even greater meaning and significance because it is our provincial flag. All of us, within this assembly and throughout the province, are pretty patriotic when it comes to flying our flag.
When members of this Legislature and many Ontarians travel to different jurisdictions it does not take long for us to identify the state or province we happen to be in or the fact that the buildings on the streets we are driving down are government buildings.
Here, as far as federal government buildings are concerned, there is always the Canadian flag flying; so it should, and proudly so. If one goes to Nova Scotia, Quebec or any of the other provinces, one will see --
Mr. Philip: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: The speech the honourable member is making is very interesting, but we have had the leadoff statements. If he is going to make a leadoff statement for the opposition within the Conservative ranks, that is fine; at least we can have one of those statements. But I thought these estimates, after the leadoff statements by the opposition critics and by the minister, were for questions. I do not hear a question being raised by the member for Oriole.
Mr. Chairman: I point out to the member for Etobicoke and the member for Oriole that I am having difficulty. We did have opening statements by thc critics. Subsection 48(c) of our standing orders says latitude is allowed to the critics only; then it says, "thereafter members shall adhere strictly to the vote and item under consideration."
I have given the member for Oriole some five minutes, but I have not quite worked out which vote he is talking under.
Mr. Williams: I am speaking under vote 501, Mr. Chairman. I am coming to the questions the opposition members are anxious to hear.
If I might proceed, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Right; but which item?
Mr. Williams: Vote 501. It has to do with the overall management of the properties owned and administered by the Ministry of Government Services.
I understand there are some 9,000 facilities throughout the province that are either owned or leased by the government of Ontario. I would like to know how many of them display the Ontario flag, as other provinces and jurisdictions fly their flags.
It seems to me it is important that there should be some presence of provincial government service and some pride displayed in the fact that these are provincial government facilities.
If I walk less than a block away from this particular building, outside of the Canadian flag and the Ontario flag one sees in front of this building, I do not see one Ontario flag on any one of the number of government buildings that lie immediately to the east of Queen's Park Crescent.
A person from out of town, or even in town coming downtown, would not necessarily know these are government buildings. It seems to me we should be exercising some pride and giving some recognition to where government buildings are located, as do the federal authorities and as do other provincial authorities.
I have raised this question with the minister in the past. It is not new to him. I just feel we should be taking greater pride and giving greater recognition to facilities that are either owned or leased to display, where practical. the provincial flag to show it is a provincial government facility.
I understand there are many leased facilities where it would be impractical to do so; they may be housed on the 20th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Centre or whatever. But there are some storefront operations or facilities where we are the primary tenant, and it would be appropriate that the Ontario flag should be proudly flown. It should be a condition of the contract that the landlord provide the facilities to ensure we are able to display the Ontario flag.
As Ontarians, we should be conscious of the need and desire to proudly recognize our government facilities, and the minister could take some leadership in developing that. It does exist, but I am not sure it does across the board; I am not convinced of that and I have cited one example.
The Ontario flag should be flown not only on government buildings but also on those learning institutions that in large measure we help to fund as a government, whether they be universities, community colleges or other learning institutions. I see the Royal Ontario Museum does fly the Ontario flag, which I think it should, and the Ontario Science Centre, but there are --
Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: The member persists in making a long statement. I am sure we are all interested in hearing his views, but these estimates are to give the members of this House an opportunity to ask specific questions of the minister.
In this seven- or eight-minute preamble, I believe the member for Oriole is asking the minister whether he thinks more Ontario provincial flags should be flown on government buildings. Perhaps the minister would answer that question and give other members who have specific questions an opportunity to participate in this debate.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Chairman, with respect, I do not think I need the assistance from the member for Etobicoke to phrase my questions or to present my arguments.
Mr. Chairman: I know, but he has raised a good point.
Mr. Williams: The honourable member is noted for voluminous comment in this House and for running the clock. He holds the record for using up House time to get his point of view across. My comments pale by comparison as far as the time factor is concerned.
Mr. Chairman: I do have a problem, believe me.
Mr. Williams: I want to raise this question with the minister.
Mr. Chairman: That is not my problem. Believe it or not, I am trying to help you out. Although I am looking feverishly, technically I cannot see what you are driving at under vote 501. I can see it under vote 502, item 7, accommodation alterations. All honourable members have been very gracious so far to allow you to continue. If I got rough, I could say you would have to wait until vote 502.
Mr. Williams: Let me assist you, Mr. Chairman, if I may. It has been traditional in the general vote that not only can the critics raise everything and deal with every issue they feel comes within the estimates of the particular ministry, but so too can any of the members who are participating in the estimates. There is nothing that limits --
Mr. Chairman: I am sorry. We have to stick to the rules. I am just trying to interpret the rules that all of us have agreed to. It says in subsection 48(c), "Latitude shall be permitted to opposition critics on the first item of the first vote of each set of estimates, and thereafter members shall adhere strictly to the vote and item under consideration."
As learned as you are in the law --
Mr. Philip: May I now have the floor to ask a question?
Mr. Chairman: No. The member for Oriole has not asked his question yet. I am just trying to egg him on. I recognized him first, much to my chagrin.
Mr. Williams: I will ask the question, if you are going to feel that way about it, Mr. Chairman. I simply put a series of questions to the minister. How many goverment buildings do we have sole control over and how many are leased so that we could, in either instance, ensure that the Ontario flag had a presence? How many of those facilities do and how many do not fly the Ontario flag? If not, why not?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Chairman. I am very pleased the member for Oriole asked that question. I wonder why we do not have an Ontario flag flying on a lot of buildings. The honourable member has mentioned that our federal counterparts have lots of signage on their buildings.
Mr. Nixon: Does the minister mean the flag of Canada?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: The flag plus the signs and so on.
Mr. Nixon: Listen, when it comes to signs, you wrote the book.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Well, we are looking to improve the book. We are going to look at the flags and make sure they are flying the Ontario flag, particularly if they get a lot of their money from the province. We have about 9,200 buildings, and we have leases on about 1,400.
I should also say we are looking into signage. We will have different sizes of signs for different types of buildings, and perhaps the honourable members will notice --
Mr. Nixon: The Premier's name, the minister's name and the deputy minister's name -- all that great stuff.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: That would be lovely, but we will not go quite that far. We will see trilliums and signage on all government buildings starting as early as possible.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, I have a supplementary to that question. I wonder whether legal counsel for the ministry could answer this question or perhaps help the minister answer it. The original question, or the preamble to the question, dealt with the logo of the province. Is that logo patented? May anyone who is not acting on behalf of the government use that logo?
Mr. Williams: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: I think that question is clearly out of order and beyond the realm of the responsibilities of the minister in his estimates.
Mr. Philip: I think the minister will decide that.
Mr. Williams: I think the minister will decide which questions he will take. I wish the member for Etobicoke would show a little more courtesy and respect. He seems very abrasive this morning. I cannot understand why. He must have got out on the wrong side of the bed this morning.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I understand the trillium is not supposed to be reproduced. We will get a legal opinion on it and get back to the honourable member.
Mr. Philip: When the minister is getting that legal opinion, I wonder --
Mr. Chairman: Is this a further supplementary?
Mr. Philip: This is a supplementary to my supplementary. When the minister is getting that legal opinion, will he also find out whether the government does have a legal patent on it? If no one other than the government may use that logo, why it is that the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Leluk) in his own private capacity is sponsoring community sports clubs and using that logo on the sweater of those teams? Is the minister violating some patent law of the province?
Frankly, I have no objection to the kids wearing the logo; I think it is pretty. But I would not want the Minister of Correctional Services to accidentally get himself into trouble, as he did in terms of the Election Finances Reform Act. I think it would be useful to find that out and to advise him, because I know the gentleman is providing a good service in the community by sponsoring some of those teams.
I did have another question directly related --
Mr. Williams: Mr. Chairman, I have a supplementary on top of a supplementary. I would like to know how it is that the logo, which is being used and promoted through the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, becomes a responsibility of the Ministry of Government Services. I thought that was a matter solely within the realm of responsibility of another ministry, the ministry that has been promoting and using it. It seems to me the question should be directed to that ministry. Perhaps the minister could clarify the situation for us.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Chairman, we will find out what the legal status of this is in a few moments. One of our lawyers is checking it out now. Would someone else like to go ahead with some other questions?
Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, I have questions related to the minister's answer to my fairly detailed questions on government limousines. I find his answer absolutely preposterous.
If I may refresh the members' memory, I was asking for some very specific details about the costs as well as which ministers and, indeed, who else had access to government limousines. The minister's answer -- and if the Chairman did not happen to be in the chair at the time, I know it will probably amuse and annoy him -- was that he drives a better car than the government supplies him with. Well, I say, "More power to him." I hope he drives a Cadillac, a Rolls-Royce or whatever makes him happy.
But that is not the issue. The issue in this set of estimates is that my colleague the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) made an inquiry of the ministry on October 12, 1982. It has not been answered, and the inquiry was very specific. I am asking this minister, who has responsibility for this, to give us some very specific answers.
Will the minister list the names and the kinds of automobiles that are available for the use of all ministers, deputy ministers, assistant deputy ministers, executive assistants, parliamentary assistants and officials of each ministry? Will the ministry list the numbers, names and kinds of automobiles that are available to the chairmen, presidents and officials of each agency, board and commission of the government?
Will the ministry indicate the total capital and operational costs for such vehicles in each jurisdiction, including each agency, board and commission, on an annual basis for the 1981-82 fiscal year? Will the ministry itemize the cost of each vehicle in its jurisdiction? Will the ministry list the name and position of each official who has access to and the use of the vehicles? Will the ministry table the criteria and guidelines that are used for granting the use of these vehicles to the personnel of each ministry, agency, board and commission?
I think that was a legitimate and very specific question.
The member for Prescott-Russell (Mr. Boudria) similarly asked a number of questions that were very interesting but were not quite as direct as that. I know the ministry answered those questions, but the answers do not supply us with a complete picture of the cost and the use of limousines.
The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfold (Mr. Nixon), on the other hand, made some very interesting statements, with which I agree, in questions related to the use of limousines by certain ministers without portfolio. Why does the member for Mississauga East (Mr. Gregory) need a limousine when he has no specific official functions outside of this House but, rather, the function of a Minister without Portfolio and chief government whip?
One would ask what the ministers without portfolio are using these limousines for, what are the costs and where this fits into any statement of objectives this minister might have in providing limousine service to cabinet ministers and other senior officers of the government.
Those are very specific questions. Frankly, I do not care what kind of automobile the minister drives at home. I want to know what kind of automobile he drives here, what the costs are and what the costs are for each of the other cabinet ministers and other officials in this government. That is all I care about.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Chairman, the member for Etohicoke did not read all my remarks when he talked about cars. Everyone calls the cars we have limousines, but I want to point out, as I did the other day, that the people in Lanark do not think the car I drive around on the weekend is a limousine. A limousine to me is one of those big, long devils, a Cadillac or something; I look at that as a limousine. But I drive an average car -- I do not know what the member drives -- and I am sure the people of Lanark do not think I drive a limousine.
I told the honourable member last week I could tell him approximately what my car costs, for the driver and so on. However, he has been around quite a while and knows the question he asked comes under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
To put it in perspective, he mentioned everyone on this side of the House but he forgot to ask what it costs for the car -- I will not call it a limousine -- of the member for York South (Mr. Rae). If he is going to ask for the costs, why does he not ask for them all? He should ask officials of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications when they have their estimates.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: To correct the record, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications only has the responsibility for purchasing the cars. I am asking the Minister of Government Services if there is a statement of objectives for the use of limousines. I am quite prepared then to find out the cost of the car of the leader of the New Democratic Party and that of the the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson). I am sure the Liberal Party is not hiding that. They are both gentlemen who have to undertake extensive travelling throughout the province.
Mr. Boudria: A lot more than the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Gregory).
Mr. Philip: An awful lot more than he does, I am sure.
What we would like is a total picture. Why is he failing to provide this? What is he so ashamed of? What is he so afraid of that we cannot get that kind of information?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: In fairness, the member knows that Management Board sets the policy. As I said before, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications administers it. I know what my car costs to operate. If the member would ask the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) when he has his estimates he could probably get the information he seeks.
I read the same question the member is asking now on the order paper last year, I believe, but he should ask it of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. I do not have anything in my budget to cover the cars for all the members who get them, including the two opposition parties.
Mr. Philip: With respect, the Minister of Transportation and Communications has the responsibility for the purchasing of the cars. Surely --
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: If I could correct the member -- and responsibility for the operation. That is where we seem to be at loggerheads. If the member accepts that --
Mr. Philip: Each ministry operates its own vehicles. Does the Minister of Government Services not see that he, as the minister responsible for government services, has some responsibility for the setting of objectives? Or is this simply something that runs loose throughout the government?
Since this is a question that has been asked for a long time, could he not contact each of the ministries through his office and try to get the figures? Do we once again have to put a motion before public accounts to try to find what the costs of these things are and who is getting access to them? I would like to know which deputy ministers and which of the political hacks on his side are running around in limousines.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Etohicoke has asked his question three times in different fashions and forms. I would like the minister to answer it once more and then let us get on with the vote.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: As I said before, Management Board sets the priorities and the rules. We do not administer this. We have nothing in our budget other than for our own car. Transportation and Communications carries that out. Each vote of each minister has in it his car and the expense for it. I would ask the member if he wants this information to ask the Minister of Transportation and Communications when he brings in his estimates. Then perhaps he could put this together.
We have about 60 different functions in the Ministry of Government Services, but getting all this information on the cars is not one of them.
Mr. Chairman: Before the member for Ottawa Centre stands up, I would note that we are trying to go in rotation and diside the time equally. The member for Oriole had 10 minutes. The member for Etobicoke had 12 minutes. I was seriously thinking of recognizing the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty).
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, would the minister kindly give to the House now the cost of operation, the depreciation on the capital costs, the cost of regular pay, overtime and fringe benefits for each of the cars and all the drivers who are currently occupied in providing limousine services for himself, his deputy, his executive assistant or any other officers, officials or parliamentary assistants within the Ministry of Government Services?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: We will get that information together.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: Simply to correct the record and for the minister's own information, on November 8 the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk asked some of the very questions I have been asking in different words and perhaps not quite as --
Mr. Williams: So you have nothing original to offer?
Mr. Philip: My questions are original. More so than the hogwash the member wastes time with in this House.
Mr. Williams: You said you were stealing them from the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. That is really scraping.
Mr. Philip: If I gave you a penny for your thoughts I would have change coming.
Management Board of Cabinet was asked for information similar to that. My questions were more specific than those of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. He was particularly concerned about the Minister without Portfolio driving around in a limousine when he had no government business to do outside the House. My questions were very specific, but even the simpler and more direct questions asked by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk in terms of one ministry were not answered by Management Board. If Management Board cannot answer and the minister cannot answer, then where do we get the answers? What is the minister trying to cover up?
Mr. Rotenberg: Stop that nonsense. You will not listen. Ask the questions in the appropriate place.
Mr. Cassidy: We do not get any answers. The questions get asked time and time again and there are never any answers. It is Tory patronage and you are covering up.
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Chairman, in the minister's opening statement he indicated to the House, and it was also in the throne speech, that Ontario public service employment has decreased by 6.1 per cent, leaving Ontario with the fewest public servants in Canada measured on a per capita basis. How much part-time help does the minister employ within his ministry and how many jobs are contracted out --
Mr. Chairman: Gentlemen -- and I use the term loosely at this time -- I am having difficulty listening to the member for Erie and he is right beside me.
Mr. Haggerty: There is a Sergeant at Arms there, Mr. Chairman. You know what you can call him in for. Run them through.
Did the minister get my questions at all?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: No, I did not.
Mr. Haggerty: The minister is not listening either.
In regard to the contracting out of jobs, what dollar value are we looking at? How many persons are employed?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: As of March 31, 1982, we had classified staff of 2,808 and unclassified staff, such as contract people, of 210. As of March 31, 1983, there were 2,789 classified and 217 unclassified.
Mr. Haggerty: In other words, the numbers work out about even then, do they not? There were 2,808 classified staff in 1982 and 2,789 in 1983, and there were about seven more in the unclassified category in 1983.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Sometimes we get people in on contract for appraisals or things of that sort. Particularly in certain months of the year, the unclassified category may go up a bit. As we get some money from the Ministry of Energy, we bring people in that field in as unclassified staff to help us retrofit our buildings for energy conservation. Many of them are used in that way, and we sometimes use them for extra summer work out and around the regions as well.
Mr. Haggerty: How are these persons employed, then? Is it done by bidding or tendering? How does one choose the manpower? Who decides which agency one should go to, that is, the unclassified jobs outside of his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: My officials in front of me can correct me, but I believe these people have worked for us in the past. We found their work to be satisfactory, particularly in the appraisals, and we bring them in again if they are in the area where we need these appraisals done.
In the regions, I believe it would be left up to the regional managers to hire people they felt could do whatever they had to do in their particular regions. In the computer areas, we have a list on which we can draw if we need someone, and we advertise that area.
Mr. Haggerty: What I am really driving at is that I was concerned about the government indicating it had cut down on civil servants. I do not know whether they do it through attrition or not, but apparently, from all indications of other ministries, they are now using the procedure of tendering employment outside; that is what they call unclassified staff, I guess.
I was wondering whether the numbers in the long run really change. Perhaps the government can come back and say, "We reduced the public service" -- I am just taking round figures -- "from some 80,000 in 1980 down to 69,000 now," because they have just changed their mathematics around and gone out and hired part-time employees.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: About four years ago in August, when I went to the Ministry of Government Services, the number that seems to stick in my mind is something like 3,200 employees at that time. The member can see that we are considerably under that almost four years down the road. At the same time we have had a reorganization within the ministry and have taken on other responsibilities and reduced our staff in doing so, as I mentioned in my opening statement. For many of the new functions we have taken on we have not added any staff; we live with the staff we had.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, who was responsible for arranging the openings in Lanark and for the courthouse in Ottawa yesterday, since they were both projects that were under the responsibility of his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Was the member for Ottawa Centre mentioning the great county of Lanark as well?
Mr. Cassidy: Yes, I was.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: The one in Lanark was looked after by the great people of that county: the warden, all the great councillors and reeves and so on. They looked after it and they very kindly asked the Premier (Mr. Davis) as well as the member for Lanark to be present at their official opening. If the member for Ottawa Centre would love to have been there. I would like to have had him, because I am very proud of the building they put up and the building they got for the dollars they spent.
With respect to the one in Ottawa, government building openings and sod turnings, for the most part, are the responsibility of Government Services. I did look around yesterday and maybe I was wrong, but I did not see the honourable member at that sod turning; I did see most of the other members from the area, but perhaps he had something else on that day.
Mr. Cassidy: Perhaps the minister can explain. Does he give directions to his officials that they should behave in a petty and partisan way when something is taking place that happens to be in the riding of an opposition member? I ask because I was not invited to the sod turning that took place in Ottawa yesterday. I happened to be in Ottawa, but by the time I learned of it I was unable to attend.
Frankly, there were not a lot of people there, but I was upset because it is a project that I happen to have supported because of the need for judicial facilities in the Ottawa area. I have taken a personal interest in the project. When some people suggested that it be put somewhere else and they did not want it in their backyard, I stood up for that particular project and said it was a good thing to go into that particular site because there is not a provincial presence in Ottawa.
I am speaking temperately, but I can only assume there was a deliberate decision made by the ministry, perhaps by the minister or perhaps by who knows, the Premier, that the local member would not be invited. I have taken the trouble to check with my staff both in Ottawa and in Toronto and neither received any information about that opening.
Frankly, for something like that it is appropriate not only to have the local member invited, of whatever party, but also to have one of the local members up there on the platform, all that kind of stuff, if it is taking place in that constituency.
Perhaps before I go on the minister could comment about this and we could have an assurance that in future when there are projects, whether they are ground breakings, openings or that kind of thing, that kind of petty partisanship will simply not take place in future. I think it is demeaning to the government, to the Consersative Party and to this Legislature since, after all, we all represent the people of Ontario; it is not just simply the people on that side of the House.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I am sorry the honour- able member did not get an invitation. It was not because of any instructions on my part that he did not get invited. To be perfectly honest, I found it strange that he did not show up yesterday. I looked around for him and did not see him there, but I will ask my staff why he was not invited. I have no idea why he was not invited. As I said, we looked around to see if he was there because we knew it was in his riding.
As far as playing politics, if the member had been there, and perhaps he heard, I made mention of all the help the mayor of Ottawa had given to us and she did likewise. I mentioned the three cabinet ministers I have dealt with to get the project to this point -- the Honourable Erik Nielsen being the first, the Honourable Paul Cosgrove the second and Honourable Roméo LeBlanc. I gave them all credit for that, as I did the committee that helped us -- the users committee, Bud Drury -- the member knows the meetings we had with him and how helpful he was -- the concerned citizens, the people from the high school, I mentioned them all.
As I said, it was not my intention for the member not to get an invitation. The only thing I could say that has happened, and there is no excuse for it, is my people have had a lot of openings. We had five last week and we had two or three this week and an awful stack of invitations go out, as the member well knows. Perhaps it got overlooked. I will find out and I will let the member know if we can find out if an invitation did go out. If it did not, I apologize.
Mr. Cassidy: I do not hear any particular contrition on the part of the minister. I do not hear an apology of any substance, nor do I hear any guarantee that this will not recur, that, accidentally on purpose, members of the opposition will not be invited or notified when something takes place in the member's riding. This is not the first time this has happened. That is why I say I think it is a petty and cheap form of politics.
I do not think the minister can excuse it by saying some secretary made a mistake somewhere. I notice, for example, the reporter from the Globe and Mail was invited to go along for the trip. As the minister said, a number of cabinet ministers were invited and were present. In other words, elaborate arrangements were made for this shindig. It was not just a very small affair. Under the circumstances, how is it that everybody else in the world gets notified, apparently, and the minister somehow managed to leave the opposition parties out of it?
I note that my friend the member for Prescott- Russell (Mr. Boudria), who has constituents who will be served by the new courthouse, was also not invited. It is not directly in his area but certainly he has an interest in it and he might well have wished to attend and take part. I have not yet had a chance to talk to my friend the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) because he is practising law two days a week in Ottawa. The chances are he would have heard on Monday, when he was practising, that the opening was going to take place later in the week. I was doing my job in the Legislature.
It makes it a bit difficult, in light of doing the work in our constituencies and because we are opposition members, if we constantly have to try to monitor everything the government is doing in order to ensure this kind of thing does not happen. I repeat, that is partisanship of the lowest order and I do not think it should occur.
I think the minister should assure the House that at a high level of the ministry he will ensure this will never again occur with these kinds of events taking place anywhere in Ontario. Whether it is 10 in a week or one in a week it is inexcusable for that to occur.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I did not check with the member for Ottawa East nor with the member for Prescott-Russell to see whether they got invitations. However, a lot of the members are often away. I was at an opening when the member for Wellington South (Mr. Norton) was on the platform in Guelph about two weeks ago.
I was surprised to see a writeup in Welland the other day which said the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) had not been asked or recognized. My goodness, he was sitting right there when I read the report. I could not believe that whoever wrote it said he was not recognized, because he was.
I can assure the members the opposition parties will be notified of the openings. I have a riding girl in Lanark and she keeps her eyes on all the papers. We had it in the papers on two occasions -- the full list -- in English and French. There was a mistake on the Wednesday. They put it in English and French on Tuesday but for some reason or another it was just in French on Wednesday. I had a correction made on that too. However, the member has my assurance that in future opposition members will definitely get the notification. But I thought that was the case right now.
Ms. Bryden: On a point of privilege. I think I heard the minister say that in his riding he has a riding girl. I wonder if the rest of his employees are "riding boys" or "ministry boys"?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Or secretary helpers? Assistants?
Mr. Cassidy: I was disturbed to find out the problems that had occurred in Welland. The people in Welland were very upset at the circumstances. While the member for Welland-Thorold was recognized from the platform he was not invited as being part of the official party for an important opening of the registry building in --
Mr. Chairman: Many times in my riding I have never been part of the official party -- so there you go.
Mr. Cassidy: I think you are now stepping out of your role, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: I am, but I am angry too.
Mr. Cassidy: I am making the point to the minister, because I would hope that would be an assurance for not just the minister but also his ministry. It is about time the Tories stopped using those kinds of games in Ontario.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, I have a supplementary on that. I think the member for Prescott-Russell has a supplementary, so I will let him go first.
Mr. Chairman: No, he doesn't. It might be in your party's and the minister's interest to know I am trying to divide up the time.
Mr. Philip: I am assuming that since the minister has admitted he has responsibility for the handling of these grand openings, he also probably has some influence over the announcements of these openings or of these projects. Quite frankly, I found it quite astonishing that during the last provincial election -- this may not come as a shock to the Liberal Party, but maybe it has happened also in his area -- the board of governors of the Etobicoke General Hospital found there was a press conference being held in the middle of the lobby of our hospital.
I am on the board of governors of the hospital. They called me up and said, "Why is a press conference being held by the Tory candidate in the middle of the lobby of our hospital?" I said I had no idea. Of course, she was there to announce an agreement, that we had not even looked at, that was going to be made with the hospital for a new nursing home -- a private nursing home at that, but nonetheless a nursing home -- to be put on our grounds. She was there to announce it.
I also look in some of the local newspapers -- I have a cottage that I occasionally retreat to. I read the Campbellford Herald and the Norwood Register and I see the local member almost acting like a Liberal, handing out cheques and getting his picture taken. I have never once been asked to hand out a cheque on the part of the government. I wonder if the minister feels it is right that in the middle of an election, Tory candidates, who have no official status whatsoever, can make these presentations.
If the local closest Tory, such as the member for York West (Mr. Leluk), can make announcements of a new separate school extension in my riding, even though he is not the Minister of Education, this kind of patronage that goes on not only discredits the government but is also quite irritating. At least, if they are going to do these types of things it would be a common courtesy to advise the member, whatever his political persuasion, that such announcements are going to be made and have him present so he can comment on them.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: In the Ministry of Government Services we have 60 some-odd functions, as I have mentioned, but running hospitals or hospital boards is not one of them.
During the last election I went to the riding of Nickel Belt and opened an Ontario Provincial Police office there. The member's colleague, the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren), was right in the middle of an election, so he was there with his campaign buttons on and the whole bit. I am sure he wanted that Ontario Provincial Police building there and I am sure if that member was in his seat this morning he would say he is really pleased, as he did that day, that we have new OPP facilities there.
Perhaps if I could reminisce a little bit more I could come up with some others too. So for the member for Etobicoke to say -- I think he had better research a little. He will find we have openings in a lot of different areas. Our buildings are put there because there is a need and the largest responsibility of the Ministry of Government Services is to provide accommodation for ministries and agencies of the provincial government. They are in the planning stage for a long time, are given high priority by the different policy fields and so on. We just do not start them overnight, as the honourable member would appear to indicate.
Mr. Chairman: Here is the deal. Everyone is awfully testy today, I do not know what it is.
The third party has had its allocation. I am trying to be orderly about this. I am going to have to say that is it. Is there anyone from the government side who wishes to speak? No? Then let us go with the Liberals for 10 minutes.
Mr. Philip: Allow me to make one distinction, though, to the minister. I am sure that the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) will agree with the distinction and may want to comment on it.
Surely, there is a difference between the Minister of Government Services, in his capacity as minister, making an official announcement, or the Minister of Education and Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) coming to Etobicoke to make an official announcement of capital expenditure for the expansion of St. Dorothy's school, and someone who has no responsibility for that portfolio, who happens not even to live in the area or, more particularly, who is a Conservative candidate and makes the announcement.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. The member for Wilson Heights has a point of order.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Chairman, we are dealing with the Ministry of Government Services. The matter the member for Etobicoke is bringing up is no way related to anything within the responsibility of the Ministry of Government Services. I would ask you, Mr. Chairman, to rule the member out of order.
Mr. Philip: You defend that kind of partisanship.
Mr. Rotenberg: You are more partisan than anybody.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, I agree that some of these complaints are pretty small potatoes. Yet the minister must be aware that opposition members are very sensitive about these matters.
I have to tell the minister that I cannot recall an occasion when I did not feel that the office, if I can call it that, of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk was not properly recognized. As a matter of fact, the minister was good enough to invite me to the opening of a new Ontario Provincial Police facility in Brantford serving my area. It does not serve Brantford at all. I was not able to attend because it was conducted while the House was in session.
I should tell him about an incident that happened just about a week ago when the minister opened the courthouse in St. Catharines. Whether that was for regional Niagara or Lincoln, I do not know what the designation is, but the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley), who is not a shy person at all, was telling me he received no notice other than the notice in the newspaper.
Responding to that, he went to the affair. There was a good crowd of about 400 Tories and other highly placed people who were opening this marvellous new building they were all very proud of. I think three or four cabinet ministers were there. The chairman of the event was none other than the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch) himself. Not that it was in his riding, but there is a certain feeling about the Deputy Premier in St. Catharines -- like the Pope and the Vatican -- one would say, "Well, if he is going to be chairman that is quite all right." But my colleague the member for St. Catharines was sitting in the audience.
There was no indication on the program, which was beautifully printed and embossed -- copies were handed out to everybody, and also sent out to the usual mailing list that the member for St. Catharines would be involved, although there were three or four cabinet ministers present, and the mayor and the regional chairman were there; everybody but Laura Sabia -- I do not think she was there -- and the Liberal member got in on it.
The member for St. Catharines is a sensible person. He read the ad, as everybody has a right to do. When they got near the end of the program he simply crawled over the barriers, shouldered past the cops, went up the steps and went over to the microphone where the Deputy Premier was giving his usual line of patter, as he drew to the end following all the speeches, and simply said to him, "Mr. Welch, I have a few words to say." There was not much the Deputy Premier could do other than turn to the massed gathering and say, "Mr. Bradley, the member for the area, has a few words to say." Then he spoke.
I do not see too much wrong with that, but some members are probably not quite aggressive enough to see, presumably, that this is their right since the people have elected them as members. The courthouse is a very important facility in the area. It is an instance where I really do not think the cabinet minister responsible for this, and it might very well be this minister, would seriously sit down and say, "I am going to keep those rotten Grits out of here." I am convinced that is not so.
I have a feeling, and I am not talking about the senior level of officials who are present here this morning, that the masses of public relations experts, flacks, speech-writers and general hangers-on who go with the minister have a funny feeling about what they should do. They are much more political than the minister himself; I believe that. They are more political, and they try to think about the minister, and they do not give him the credit of realizing that it would be absurd not to ask the elected member for the area. I am sure the minister's intention would be to ask them and give them every kind of fair recognition. Certainly that has been my experience.
The minister does have a responsibility to see that his staff is well aware of what his intention is. He should not let them dream up what his intention is because they do not give him the credit for the political bread; and it is good sense, too, because on these occasions politicians always compliment each other.
Here you are before the home-town group and the local member, if he is a Liberal, always compliments the cabinet minister, because none of his constituents are there; and then the cabinet minister turns around and compliments the local member, which is really pay dirt. It works very well that way, and I am sure all the minister has to do is to inform his employees -- well, tell them to smarten up and see to it that these invitations go out so that, one hopes, if at all possible the various members have an opportunity at least to bring greetings or to be recognized.
There is nothing worse than to have a lineup of cabinet ministers, particularly to have the Premier (Mr. Davis) who always comes off with a very jocular, friendly but slightly needling comment about the opposition people there, and then for us not to be called upon at least to respond in a jocular, friendly, receptive way. It just is not fair. You tend to get your hackles up and you tend to go and grab the microphone and hit somebody with it. That is maddening.
The only other occasion I can recall when the judgement of the government as a whole would have been called into question was the great banquet to recognize the elevation, the appointment, of the Bishop of Toronto, Cardinal Carter. Members may recall that this was one of the very grandest affairs the taxpayers had ever put on in recognition of one of our citizens who had received world prominence and eminence.
The largest ballroom in town was used at the Harbour Castle with the very best of everything, including the 48th Highlanders band and all the best wine, an open bar, the best beef and vegetables and everything. When we looked at the head table, of course, there was nobody but cabinet ministers there in force, no representative of the opposition. Certainly it would not be me, but the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of the third party in all of our traditions have always been asked at important state dinners to represent, in this instance, the majority of the people, because more people vote for us than vote for the members opposite, as they well know.
Mr. Rotenberg: What has this to do with Government Services? It is out of order. It has nothing to do with this.
Mr. Nixon: I will not go on to describe some of the rather strange complimentary comments that passed between the Premier and Cardinal Carter at that time. I will simply point out in response to the interjection from the cheap seats at the end of the row down there that it is the responsibility of this minister, who builds these buildings and participates in government policy, to see that the opposition is properly recognized. In my opinion he always tries to do so. The only foul-up is when his staff react, probably on the basis of what they think he thinks; but they are entirely wrong in this because I know of his broadmindedness and friendship to everybody in the House.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Chairman, if I may respond to those brief remarks by the honourable member, in St. Catharines the other day the member for St. Catharines did have a very prominent seat. He did not have to go through the security and all the rest; he was sitting right up at the front with the judges. Then he just hopped up at the last and took all the credit for the building and everything.
Mr. Nixon: He has been pushing to build the courthouse for years. If it were not for him, it would not have been built.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: That s what he said, but I think he went to church last Sunday. I think a little bit of credit goes to the member for Brock (Mr. Welch) and a little bit goes to the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) who, shortly after he was elected, went up and promised it to them long before the member for St. Catharines was elected. Anyway, he took all the credit.
But I agree with what the member is saying. We will make sure that members opposite do get invitations. I had thought, as I said before, that this was the case. I was glad the member mentioned that when we opened the Ontario Provincial Police facility at Brantford, he got an invitation. I looked around. I asked the chairman that day whether he had seen the member. Then I talked to the member a day or two later and said, "I missed you in Brantford." He said he was here in the House.
I am sure the member for Prescott-Russell got an invitation when we had the official opening of the new agricultural college in his riding. So it was an oversight in the case of the member for Ottawa Centre, and we will try to make sure it does not happen again.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Chairman, I have a supplementary on the same topic. I did have other things to raise, but perhaps you will recognize me later for those.
The minister just stated that I was invited to the opening of the Collège de technologie agricole et alimentaire d'Alfred last year. I did receive the invitation something like three days before the opening, after I had announced quite widely in my riding that I had not been invited.
When I entered the premises I saw no room had been left for the member for the area, despite the fact that the French agricultural college is located in my constituency and I am one of the very few French-speaking members of the Legislature. I was not invited to take part in the ceremony. My name was not inserted into the program or anything like that. I never raised that issue in the Legislature until now, but it is coming up and I think it should be mentioned.
The only recognition I received was from the minister's parliamentary assistant, the member for Elgin (Mr. McNeil), who was there replacing the minister. He recognized me in the audience because the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) had forgotten to do so in his opening remarks. I do not think the minister is doing himself a favour by doing those sorts of things, intentionally or not. The parliamentary assistant came to speak to me afterwards and he was not pleased with the way things had gone on. Needless to say, I think my constitutents were upset with the way the whole thing was handled.
From the podium the Minister of Agriculture and Food was handing out keys to the facility which were mounted on plaques. He gave one to just about everybody under the sun who would have one but did not offer one to the local member. His own parliamentary assistant kept one and gave it to me after the ceremony was over. I do want to thank him publicly for having done that. It is the only memento I have of the opening of the Collège de technologie agricole et alimentaire d'Alfred. I just wanted to mention the way the whole series of incidents occurred that day.
In speaking to others, whom I will not name, it became rather obvious that the Minister of Agriculture and Food had orchestrated things to be that way. That is what I have been led to believe by certain people in the ministry; they told me that was the wish of the minister. This minister has the responsibility for organizing such ceremonies, and in this regard his authority is superior to that of other ministers. Thus I hope he will use his authority to see these things do not happen.
The minister is far less partisan than some of his colleagues, the Minister of Agriculture and Food being one of them, and I hope that in future he will not take the attitude that some of his other colleagues have taken, especially the Minister of Agriculture and Food. It was not seen well in my constituency. I did not like it very much, and I am sure my electors were insulted as much as I was in the way the incident took place that day.
As for the other opening this week, the sod-turning ceremony for the Ottawa-Carleton courthouse, I was not just indirectly connected to that event, as the member for Ottawa Centre said. I have a direct connection because I represent the counties of Prescott and Russell and the township of Cumberland, which is part of Ottawa-Carleton. So the judicial district of Ottawa-Carleton definitely entails part of my constituency.
Perhaps because the name of my riding is Prescott-Russell, that has been overlooked by the officials of the ministry. At least I am giving them credit for the possibility of a mistake having happened there, because it does happen quite often with various government agencies that the name of the riding gets confused with the area it represents.
Of course, my constituency, if I were to describe the area represented, should be called Prescott-Russell-Cumberland or Precott-Russell-Carleton, because I do represent part of the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton; that is, the township of Cumberland. Perhaps that is why this incident took place this week -- not that it would have mattered much, because in the case of the event yesterday, I was not available to go anyway. But I definitely was not invited. As I say, it is perhaps explainable in that case. The one at Alfred, though, was a little bit harder to swallow.
Mr. Cassidy: I want to conclude, Mr. Chairman, by saying that the point of the member for Prescott-Russell is very well taken. This type of partisanship on the part of the government does not benefit that party. In fact, it is seen by people in the area as being cheap politics, and therefore it hurts the party.
When an opening is taking place, or some other event like that, while government goes on whoever is in power, those things have to be done from time to time. Often the local member, regardless of party, may well have been connected with efforts to facilitate or further a particular project as I had been with the courthouse; as the member for Prescott-Russell has been as a very able spokesperson on behalf of Franco-Ontarians; as the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) certainly has been on behalf of all the interested people in his own riding and in the Niagara Peninsula in general, and as the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley), another able member in this House, has been.
When people in the area learn there has been an accidental forgetting to invite the member, or a snub, or leaving the member in the hall, or cheap shots from the Premier as he gets into his Johnny Carson act, or that kind of thing, they come away feeling badly about it. If anything, by doing that, the government may even be perpetuating the members of the opposition in office, I do not know. But that, among other things, is a good reason this practice should end.
Out of the small number of members in the House, there have now been four members who have raised this same issue. Mention has been made of the member for St. Catharines. The member for Prescott-Russell has spoken about the situation in Alfred. I have spoken about the situation with respect to the courthouse in Ottawa. We have spoken about the situation of the member for Welland-Thorold and about that same opening in St. Catharines.
My colleague the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) reminds me that in the case of the extension for St. Dorothy's school, something he had fought for and worked for intensely, energetically and very competently, when it finally came through, it was not done in a joint way. It was announced by the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Leluk), within whose riding the school is not even located.
One can come to a couple of conclusions. One can conclude that when these things occur, it is because people constantly make mistakes in the minister's office and in the offices of other ministers concerned. I cannot believe that. I think the people generally do what they are asked to do. If it happened once, one could believe it, but we have had four examples in widely different areas of the province. One can also conclude that there is incompetence in senior management, that they constantly forget that opposition members happen to exist. That might he a slur on senior management, because they do what they are told as well.
What one has to conclude, therefore, is that this is a long-standing and a deliberate practice on the part of the government. Because it has been entrenched in power for 40 years, the government does not believe that anybody from the opposition parties exists or has the right to be around; therefore, either specifically or by omission, because the government did not correct it when it was learned a mistake had been made, it has perpetuated this or allowed it to go on.
In other words, it is a deliberate, partisan act that has been carried out as an act of conscious policy by the government of Ontario. I am asking the minister to condemn that policy for having been wrong and to guarantee to this Legislature that it will not continue in the future, neither on his part nor on the part of other cabinet ministers in the government of Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Chairman, with the exception of two instances, the honourable member was going back over a period of years. He did not refer to some of the opposition members. He did not recognize that the honourable member who is just leaving his chair had received an invitation to the Ontario Provincial Police ceremonies in Brantford the other day. He did not recognize that the member for Prescott-Russell had an invitation to the ceremonies. The member for Prescott-Russell had talked to me about it on many occasions. We tried early to get a time that suited him for the opening. Those things were not said.
The member for Welland-Thorold -- I could not believe the paper when I read it -- was recognized at it. The member for St. Catharines sat in the front row. The Deputy Premier got up and recognized him. That was not enough; he jumped up on the stage afterwards. That is his prerogative, but he was recognized.
To say this is something that is done all the time is crazy and irresponsible, and the member for Ottawa Centre should not say it.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Chairman, perhaps I could change the topic. As interesting as some of us may think it is, there are more serious things to talk about in so far as the ministry is concerned.
One thing that concerns me is the condition and surroundings of the Legislative Building. A number of months after being elected to this Legislature, which is not that long ago, one of the things that struck me was that this building is not recognized by the general population, especially in this city, as being the Legislative Building.
If you are going to Queen's Park and you do not tell the cab driver exactly where you are going, he will take you to the Macdonald Block or somewhere. If you are in this building and you phone for a cab, the dispatcher says, "Is that the old parliament buildings?" or something like that.
Perhaps something could be done either to enhance the appearance of the building -- I recognize that the grounds around the building are beautiful; they are very nice, with the flowers and everything -- or to emphasize the importance of this Legislature. I am not even sure how that could be done. I am not coming up with any germ of an idea to tell the minister what to do; rather, I am telling the minister what I perceive to be a problem.
In Ottawa, if you asked a cab driver to take you to the Parliament Buildings, you would have a very good chance of ending up in the right place. But if the minister has taken cabs to this place, as I do two, three or four times a week to and from the airport, he will know that you very often have to explain in detail where you are going, because this building is not as easily recognized as it could be.
The member for Oriole (Mr. Williams) has suggested that we could do a little more flag-waving around the building. Perhaps that is a good idea. He pointed out something I had not noticed; apart from those on the front lawn, there are no other flags around this building indicating that this is the seat of the government of this province. Maybe his is a good idea. Maybe all the doors of this building should be decorated or have something done to them so that we could associate this building with a greater importance than it has now. I leave that to the minister for his consideration.
The second thing about the building that I am concerned with is its interior. Recently the ministry has been redecorating the north wing and laying carpets. The night of the budget they decided that was when they were going to put carpet in my office; very convenient, of course, that the contractors decided to do it at that time. This Legislature does not sit for five months a year, but it seems as if that particular carpet had to be laid the week of the budget and at no other time.
When the ministry is doing things like that in the building, I just wonder whether a little more attention could not be paid to the fact that members are here to do a job, and when they start taking furniture out in the middle of the week or on budget day or in the middle of the presentation of the throne speech or at some other important time, perhaps they could reschedule it to a more appropriate time.
I am sure if they were doing the fourth floor in the north wing, perhaps they did other floors where New Democratic Party members are, although I am not sure; they can speak for themselves if that has happened on their floor. I only leave the minister with the suggestion, again, that perhaps there are better times of the year to do such repairs to the building.
I know the minister may say, "You are one of the people who keep saying this building has to be spruced up on the inside and has to be fixed up." Of course I still believe that, and I am not advocating that the ministry not repair the building. This structure is a monument to the people of Ontario and it deserves to be treated that way and to be in the best of shape at all times. I would encourage the minister to do everything in his power to keep up and even improve on the appearance of this building.
This brings me to another topic concerning the building. I am asking this because I really do not know the answer. It has to do with the carpeting in the hallways. I would like to know what is underneath all that carpet. Are there wonderful-looking wooden floors in the hallways that are perhaps similar to some of the very decorative wood that we have in this chamber? Maybe the minister can explain to us what they look like.
We know that 10 or 15 years ago it was fashionable to carpet everything in sight, including the ceiling. They have carpeted the hallways, and they do look nice, but I wonder if there are very nice wooden floors underneath the carpets and if perhaps the carpeting would be nicer just in the middle of the hallway to try to restore some of the original appearance of the wooden floor in the hallways, on the grand staircase and in other areas of this building.
I am not sure that when this building was designed it would have had that kind of carpeting in it. Of course we are all sure that this is not what the building was intended to have from the beginning, because in the 1890s when this building was built I do not imagine carpeting like this would have been contemplated to cover most of the floors and especially the grand staircase.
If the minister does not happen to know, maybe he can find out what the floor looks like and whether it can be restored. I offer this as a personal suggestion. Looking at the grand staircase, I think if the floor underneath it looks like some of the woodwork in this Legislature it would perhaps look better if it were restored to that condition.
Those are some of the concerns I have about this building. None of them is critical in a negative sense; I only offer suggestions and ask what can be done to improve things.
Lastly in so far as this building is concerned, I am no longer on the members' services committee, but at one time when I was on it the minister showed us a plan for expanding or replacing the present north wing. It was a combination of building two other wings and then tearing down the north wing and replacing it with another section as well, which, in a three-phase process over a number of years, would have expanded the building so as to house all honourahle members in this building, including those who are scattered here and there right now -- the parliamentary assistants and those of us who have a rather limited amount of space for ourselves and our staff at the present time.
I wonder if the minister would care to expand on some of those subjects.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Chairman, I have the answer for the member for Oriole on the use of the Ontario trillium and the coat of arms. Those symbols are both registered trademarks and their reproduction outside of the Ontario government is strictly prohibited. I think that would answer the members for Oriole and Etobicoke.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Chairman, I just have some further observations along the line expressed by my colleague the member for Prescott-Russell, to do with the issue that was raised by the minister as well at the top of page 13 of his opening statement, where he specifically indicates that the Legislative Building has been a great source of pride to the people of Ontario. He takes great pleasure in the fact that he is playing some small role in ensuring we have a continuing program designed to retain the dignity, heritage and security which it conveys to all of us. I think we all agree with that.
Not only was the member for Prescott-Russell talking about the building, he was also talking about the grounds on which it is located. Indeed, it is with a sense of pride that we have this magnificent structure located at the top of University Avenue and the beautiful grounds and landscaping surrounding it.
What I would like to determine from the minister and what is really concerning me is, we have a facility that not only is something of pride and dignity to the people of Ontario but also to the visitors whom I mentioned, the tourists who come to see this great city. Ten times a day from May through to October we have the tourist buses coming up University Avenue. Whether it is even during the tourist season or at any time of the year, what I cannot comprehend or understand is why would we permit camping.
We all recognize and appreciate the democratic process and the right of people to come to the front of the Legislative Building to protest, wave placards, march and do whatever. Why is it that we do allow, it appears, someone or some groups to encamp on the beautiful grounds of this Legislative Building and create a visual blight on the scenery that surely must be most embarrassing to us as the representatives of the people of Ontario, regardless of the cause?
I am not here to argue the cause of any people who have a complaint about our society, the government or anything, but I think it is totally wrong that we allow some group -- I understand there is some group at the very foot of our grounds, where all the tourist buses and all the people visiting this fair city and coming to see our beautiful building are confronted with some torn bedsheets with some names written all over them; bedsheets, tents and what looks to them obviously like litter spread all over the front lawn.
Mr. Cassidy: Are you opposed to peace?
Mr. Williams: It seems to me that -- I do not even know what group is out there. I do not know what peace has to do with it. I am just saying that --
Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: I would like to draw the member's attention to the fact that the young people who are camped out there are similar to a group of young people who are camped on the steps of Parliament Hill in Ottawa because of their concern for peace. Surely this is the most overriding issue in the world today. Maybe they do not happen to have the right kind of clothes or the right kind of bedding and so on, but perhaps it is still more important that they care about what is fundamental for the future of our society.
Mr. Williams: As I was saying, I do not care what the group is. It may be the league for the preservation of warble fly in Ontario or the league to preserve and ensure that we have white snow in the winter. I do not care what group it is or what cause it is promoting. It is the principle of allowing any protest group to encamp on the grounds and thereby destroy the dignity we are trying to preserve with regard to this building.
Mr. Cassidy: You don't mind the bomb so long as it is well dressed.
Mr. Williams: I do not care whether they are here and want to march in front of the building 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and I do not care which group it is, whether I support their cause or I am opposed to their cause. That is different from allowing some individual or group to encamp on the grounds and in that way to cause a blight on the attractiveness and beauty of our grounds and certainly to take away from the dignity of the building and the grounds on which it is situated.
I really would ask the minister to develop a policy, if he does not already have one, that will ensure that no exceptions will be made to the rule that no such encampments will be permitted.
I am not here to raise the issue about any particular group that may be here now, because I do not want to give any publicity to anybody; they can raise their own publicity. That is why I am not even interested in what the group is. I am simply saying to the minister that it is wrong, in my judgment, and that he as the minister is responsible for ensuring that the grounds are kept beautiful and are something that tourists who come to this province will go home with a memory of, and that they will not be confronted with this type of blight, which really, I think, detracts from a memory of Ontario as represented by this very building, the very seat of government of this province.
I would like a clarification of what the minister's responsibilities and policy are in this regard, and I really hope the policy will be that while this situation may prevail today, hereafter and henceforward no exceptions will be made to the situation that if anybody wants to object, he can certainly walk up and down in front of the building, even though that may not be overly attractive; at least he will not be using the grounds as a place to dwell.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: I think all of us have been very patient, but I just wonder whether the minister can be allowed five minutes at least to reply to the questions we have asked.
The Deputy Chairman: Is the member for Oriole finished so that the minister can speak and maybe we can have a vote before 1 p.m.?
Mr. Williams: I am just concluding my last sentence, Mr. Chairman. I would simply like a clarification of this, and I hope the minister will have a policy that will be without exception with regard to preserving these grounds for the people of Ontario, so that they will not be used as a dwelling place for those who have a particular cause to bring before the government of Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Chairman, to answer the questions of the member for Prescott-Russell and then of the member for Oriole about the people recognizing this building, I have had occasion, as the member has, to take a taxi, and sometimes those taxi drivers do not even know where the Eaton Centre is. A good many taxi drivers are new Canadians, and I guess they have not familiarized themselves with the seat of provincial government or some of the other landmarks in Toronto.
In a lot of ways we do try to promote this building, as the members know. We have 60,000 school children visit here every year, and we have some 50,000 tourists visit our Legislature. We are trying to improve this all the time. As I mentioned in my opening statement, we will have giftware for those people in the lower lobby, and perhaps pictures of the Legislature, postcards or whatever, that will also help to promote it. The members' services committee, I hope, will come over and give us an idea of what it thinks should be sold there, because we in Government Services do not have all the answers and we want to buy what members want us to have there to sell to their constituents and mine when they come in.
We do have, and will have for July 1, even larger flags flying out there to recognize this building. As I walk over on many mornings I notice the bus tours going by. They do stop and point out our lovely Legislative Building.
The member for Prescott-Russell mentioned that we showed a plan some time ago of major improvements for this building. If he would bear with us, we have some plans that we will be bringing forth in the near future to show, perhaps over the next 10 years if we can get the money to do it, that we will upgrade this facility even more than we have. Each year we do more and more work within the building, and perhaps at another time we can get into just how much work and money has been spent on this building itself.
The member mentioned the rug-laying on the day of the budget. That was not intentional. We try, as far as possible, to have the work done so that it does not inconvenience the staff or members -- over the weekends or while we are in recess. We are not always able to do that, however, as happened when the budget was on. As for the carpeting, and what it is covering up out here, we still have another hour of estimates. I have not yet found out what is under there, but I will find out and let the member know.
We have great plans for this building, all the members will be pleased to hear, because we do feel the building needs our attention right away.
We will take the suggestion of the member for Oriole --
Mr. Grande: On point of privilege, Mr. Chairman: Perhaps I misunderstood the minister, but in his remarks I think he mentioned that there are many taxi drivers in Metropolitan Toronto who are new Canadians and who do not know where the seat of government is.
The Deputy Chairman: He was referring to something that came up earlier. It was not something he initiated at all.
Mr. Grande: The fact is the minister did make that comment.
The Deputy Chairman: That is not a point of privilege. If you had been listening to the whole debate, you would have understood the context.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Gregory, the committee of supply reported progress.
The House adjourned at 1:03 p.m.