The House resumed at 8 p.m.
BUDGET DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, this is the first opportunity I have had to do something I have wanted to do for a good many weeks now, and that is to compliment you, sir, on the way in which you have handled yourself both in the place where you now reside and as Chairman of Committees of the Whole House.
I think you bring a sense of balance and a sense of humour to proceedings around here, and the way in which you conduct those responsibilities contributes to a certain sense of decorum and a spirit of generosity that goes a long way to setting the mood of members of this House at any given time. I think you do it very well, and for that I commend you.
The Deputy Speaker: I had a couple of good teachers to watch.
Mr. Stokes: Before I start off on my usual tirade, I want to pay a compliment to two or three people over on the other side of the House. While sitting on this side of the House one gets into the pattern of feeling that one must criticize all of the time and that this is the sole responsibility of those of us on this side of the House. It is the responsibility of those over there to set policy, to take initiatives and to act in some fashion, and it is the responsibility of us to react.
I think we have a dual role over on this side. We must be critical where that is necessary; but I think that concurrent with this responsibility is an even more important responsibility, and that is to be constructive, to be positive. If we do not like the way things are being done by certain ministries or agencies of government, we have a responsibility to offer a positive alternative. It is all too easy to criticize the other person, but I do not feel we should have the unrestricted right over here simply to criticize unless we have a viable and realistic alternative.
Along that line, I would have wanted to have paid tribute to the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) for the way he responds to transportation needs in the north, for the way he has supported us in the north in trying to stop the Nakina run-through and for the way he has tried to assist us in bringing Via Rail and the federal Department of Transport to their senses over the way they are cutting back on rail transportation facilities in the north.
I also wanted to pay tribute to him for the way he has responded to the needs of the travelling public on our roadways by upgrading Highway 584 between Geraldton and Nakina, for the way he has responded to those needs along Highway 599 between Ignace and Savant Lake, and for the way he has responded to the needs of the travelling public on Highway 527, formerly known as the Spruce River Road, running north out of the city of Thunder Bay up to Armstrong. I wanted to say publicly how much I personally and my constituents generally appreciate the initiatives he has taken.
I would have liked to have paid tribute to the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) for the way he has responded to the need for extended care services in Geraldton in particular; but I am sure the people of Dryden, Sioux Lookout and Atikokan would respond in a similarly positive fashion to those initiatives in making it possible for extended care beds to be constructed in those four northern communities.
I would have liked to have paid tribute to the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) for the positive and constructive way she responded to the crisis with the pending closure of the high school in the township of Schreiber by appointing Mr. Duncan Allan as a one-man commission to look into not only that situation but also the situation with regard to small, sparsely populated and far-flung school jurisdictions in the north, particularly the ones along the north shore but others as well. He came in with what everybody agrees was an excellent report, and it was the basis for the settling of the situation I spoke of earlier, the pending closure of the high school in my home town.
The minister has responded favourably. She told me privately, and I think she has told the board itself, that the financial wherewithal to carry out Mr. Allan's recommendations will be forthcoming and the status quo will still obtain in that school system this fall.
Those are the tributes I would have liked to have paid to the ministers, had they found it possible to be here.
It is now incumbent upon me to elaborate just a little on the basis of the statement made by the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) a little earlier today during ministerial statements. We do not have an opportunity to get into these things in detail in question period, but I think it is incumbent upon me to say a few words about that ministerial statement.
You will know, Mr. Speaker, and most other members in the assembly will know, that that ministry in its previous emanation as the Department of Lands and Forests, now the Ministry of Natural Resources, has been engaged in what has been referred to as the process of strategic land use planning across Ontario, and more recently as district land use planning, where we were going to have a comprehensive statement of policy for everyone, regardless of whether he was interested in agriculture, forestry, mining, tourism or recreation -- all of the uses to which lands are dedicated in Ontario.
After 11 years of that process, in which we had great hopes for a land use plan, a land use inventory and some indication that at least one ministry over there, for the first time ever, I think, in the history of this province, was going to conduct an inventory that would indicate that this particular land was going to be dedicated to the production of tender fruit and that other kinds of class A agricultural land were going to be dedicated, maintained and preserved for other kinds of agricultural production, which my friends the member for Haldimand-Norfolk (Mr. Miller) and the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) speak of from time to time, that has not happened.
If you look at the implications of this ministerial statement and if you listen very intently, as you usually do, Mr. Speaker, you will find that we no longer have a land use planning process in Ontario. After 11 years and many millions of dollars we are not going to have a land use plan. To use the minister's own words, we are now going to have a set of guidelines that do not mean controls. It means we are going to have a good deal of flexibility with regard to the way land is dedicated, the way it is used, and with respect to the boreal forest in what sequence.
It is going to provide guidance to ministry staff and information to the public on ministry land use preferences. The guidelines have no legal status on private land, which is still subject to municipal controls in the Planning Act. And these guidelines will be applied through normal resource management programs based, we hope, on public input.
We have had this public input for about 11 years; the people have spoken. Yet after this long, drawn-out, very comprehensive, time-consuming, painstaking process we now have some guidelines -- no controls; flexibility is the order of the day. If we want the particulars of how these guidelines are going to be implemented. we have to wait for the 50 district land use plans, which in some fashion will be implemented or posted up as guidelines for the way in which we are going to manage, share and husband the resources that this province and this country depend on.
Let me be a little bit more specific. With respect to future timber supplies, they say they are going to identify a tight but manageable supply situation in the forest industry by the year 2000. They are going to call for more co-operation between the forest industry and the government in the implementation of these guidelines. They are going to call for improved protection against fire, insect and disease in some fashion. They are going to recommend better utilization methods, reduction in waste use of hardwoods and alternative technologies for logging and processing.
I know the minister himself has been furiously trying to get a wood utilization policy out of his bureaucrats and his mandarins. To my knowledge he still has not been successful in getting them to produce one, even as guidelines. The implementation of the guidelines he is speaking of now has replaced for all time the strategic land use planning the government has been talking about for the past 11 years.
Another area is resource access. In its hasty notes, the government says it is going to develop a new resource-sharing policy. Before access roads are developed, it is going to call for a site-by-site assessment of the need for such roads. It pledges full public consultation during the preparation of forest management plans and is going to indicate roads to be used only for intended uses.
If the minister has been listening to the dialogue over the years between the forest industry and those who felt their pursuits were in conflict with the forest industry, he will know the ministry and the industry always said we are going to have a multiple-use concept. That is, there is room for everybody as long as we play our cards right: there is room for the fisherman, the hunter, the logger, the recreationist, the camera buff and the birdwatcher, and we are all going to live as one big happy family.
The industry is no longer talking about multiple use, certainly not with the same meaning as it did up until very recently. They are now talking about a sequential use. They are saying, "Let us go in and harvest all of the trees that are of any merchantable value and when we are finished, it is all yours," because they will not need it for another 80 years.
Those are not land use plans. They may be guidelines, but if the government thinks it had conflicts before it should wait for those that are going to arise.
I realize and, to be fair about it, I appreciate the minister was walking a tightrope and trying to do a balancing act. On one side he had the logging industry, along with the mining industry; on the other side he had the sports fisherman and the hunter, and he had the tourist operator and all those who want to maximize the economic return based on the wise use of all our resources.
He is still on the tightrope. He has the guidelines that are going to be implemented willy-nilly, but he does not have the plans that everybody can look at and say, "This is the name of the game."
He does not have the control I thought he should have had. He is going to have these guidelines that are going to be extremely flexible; they will be implemented on a district basis, and each individual situation will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Forest reserves: I can show pictures that were taken by a small aircraft just a few weeks ago; they are pictures of an area just north of Savant Lake where I heard some tourist operators were complaining that the shoreline reserves, road allowances and things like that were being violated. There was obviously a conflict between the timber harvester and the tourism and recreation values.
That has all changed. What does the minister say? He says he is going to outline a new resource-sharing policy affecting modified management areas. That is a brand-new phrase; the members should not forget they heard it here first: modified management areas. It is not the FMA, or forest management agreement, but MMA. The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) should remember that, because he will be needing it the next time he gets up.
Mr. Nixon: MMA, right?
Mr. Stokes: MMA, yes. It is not a degree.
The minister indicated it was a "policy intended to achieve integrated resource management in these areas and protect specific resource values, replace the terms forest reserve, lake reserve and buffer with MMA." That is the new byword with regard to protecting certain areas where the logger is in conflict with the tourist, the cottager, the hunter or the fisherman. It is going to call for site-by-site assessment of values to be protected.
He goes on to say a lot about the ministry changing the designation of a good many provincial parks. Another 155 parks are being created, some of them very small, to protect the aesthetics and the flora and fauna in given areas. For that he is to be complimented.
They are also talking about having an accurate inventory of the resources. For as long as I have been in here, they have allowed us to use data that were at least 20 years out of date. Here it is, 16 years later and they are still talking about getting away from data that were 20 years out of date and upgrading them. This is their last chance to do that.
I cannot ignore this opportunity to say that I wish the minister and the ministry all the luck in the world with their guidelines; but I think it is a real sham that, after 11 years of very intensive work by a lot of dedicated people, after listening to 10,000 presentations over the past 11 years, we never did come up with a strategic land use plan or a district land use plan.
Now we have some guidelines. I hope they work, because the constituents who sent me down here have a big stake in whether that ministry has the will, the policy, the framework and the commitment to get on with managing the resources that the economy of northwestern Ontario depends upon for its very livelihood and its very lifeblood.
I want to get into another area. I promised somebody across the House that I would not speak for an unduly long time, but I do have some things I want to talk about specifically. One of them is, for those in the Legislature who do not know, a situation that has existed for a good many years on the Lake Nipigon watershed and the Nipigon River watershed.
Ontario Hydro has three generating stations. and it has been diverting water from the Ogoki River. Instead of it flowing northeast into the Arctic, it now flows south into the Great Lakes. Hydro is able to generate significant amounts of electricity on the Nipigon River by the diversion of that water.
When electricity is generated hydraulically, a head of water must be built up to have sufficient power to operate the generators. When that is done, there is a flushing-out action which causes siltation in areas where there is unstable soil. Also, there is bank erosion, because of the flushing action, the buildup and the runoff of this water.
I only wish members here knew what the fishery was in Lake Nipigon prior to that. I know there were three or four Canadian National refrigerated express cars that used to be set off at Macdiarmid every evening. They would be filled up, taken out and shipped to markets in New York, Chicago and Montreal.
That does not happen any more. The allowable harvest of all commercial fish of whatever species in Lake Nipigon was cut within the last year from something in the order of 1.2 million pounds annually to something just under 600,000 pounds annually, and everybody wonders why.
When one asks the Ministry of Natural Resources, they say: "Well, it is overharvesting" If one asks the commercial fishermen, they say it is the flushing action by Ontario Hydro that is killing the traditional spawning beds, particularly of pickerel or walleye and lake trout.
I have a plan. On Lake Nipigon and on the Nipigon River, Ontario Hydro pays for the privilege of using that water for the generation of electricity. In 1982, they paid $839,200 in water rental; that money went directly into the consolidated revenue fund. They have been paying that on a first-power basis ever since the generating stations were built.
They have the same formula whereby Ontario Hydro pays for the use of the water of the Niagara River. It does not go into the consolidated revenue fund; it goes directly to the Niagara Parks Commission. In 1981, the last year for which they were able to provide me figures, $2,649,877 in water rentals paid by Ontario Hydro went to the Niagara Parks Commission.
This is not the first time I have raised this issue; but whenever I do, they say: "No, the Niagara Parks Commission was a very specific kind of thing, and those water rentals were dedicated to improving the beauty and the tourism potential around that beautiful spot in Ontario called Niagara Falls."
It has worked so well around Niagara Falls that we think they should do more of it. When I look at the balance sheet for the Niagara Parks Commission for 1981, they had an excess of income over expenditure of $4,879,326. That is not bad at all.
Mr. Haggerty: We should have the chairman of the commission as the Treasurer here.
Mr. Stokes: Yes. He was the Treasurer at one time. Jim Allan was one of the finest members who ever sat here. If it were to take Jim Allan to convince those rascals over there that it has worked so well for the Niagara Parks Commission in the Niagara parks area, maybe I should have brought him along tonight to make the case for Nipigon. Whenever we see something working well in a certain area we should try to emulate it and say, "By gosh, we are on to a good thing here." That is what I am about here tonight.
We have formed an economic development committee in the township of Nipigon where they are gung-ho. They have a brand new council, a brand new reeve, a brand new economic development council and these are the very things that will provide a viable economic base for the township of Nipigon and the surrounding area. In that connection, Mr. Speaker, I think I should urge upon you and anybody else within hearing distance of my voice that the only way we are going to convince those rascals over there that we do have a potential for broadening the economic base in northern Ontario is by new and innovative ways of spending our money, by rehabilitating areas that have gone downhill because of the generation of electricity hydraulically, to increase the potential for anglers, for tourist operators, for cruiser operators, for the native people on both sides of Lake Nipigon, and for the tourist industry generally.
There just is no way something like this will not benefit literally everybody in that area, everybody who is looking for a new experience. There is nothing negative about the whole thing. Everything about it is positive, and yet why do they not do it? Why do they not do it?
If I could prevail upon the Minister of Northern Affairs and the Minister of Natural Resources to set up a trip to the north for all members of this Legislature, I think we could show them the new and innovative ways in which we can take advantage of the natural beauty and the tremendous potential for broadening the economic base that would benefit not only the people living in that little area but everybody.
If the Niagara Parks Commission is a viable undertaking, we all benefit. If the St. Lawrence Parks Commission benefits, we all do. If the commercial fishery in Lake Erie benefits, we all benefit in the same way in which a concept like this, if implemented, would benefit everybody in Ontario. Why do we not do those kinds of things?
I also want to talk a little about energy in the north and about the new and innovative ways in which we can use an indigenous resource with existing tried and proven technology to benefit those people who are a little out of the mainstream and who cannot demand as a right to be hooked up to the energy grid provided by Ontario Hydro. They do not have a road system. They do not have all the amenities we take for granted in urban centres, whether they be in northern or southern Ontario.
I am talking about areas like Armstrong. It does have a road into it. The north line of the Canadian National Railways runs right through the centre of it but they do not have electricity at reasonable rates. They generate it by diesels and if one is a little businessman, and I hope the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel (Mr. J. M. Johnson) is listening to me, if one is a little businessman --
Mr. McClellan: Even if you are a small businessman.
Mr. Stokes: Yes. If one wants power from Ontario Hydro, one pays 30 cents a kilowatt hour. What does my friend pay? What does our businessman friend pay out in Orangeville or wherever he lives? Thirty cents a kilowatt hour. That does not have to happen.
We had a press conference in this building where my friend and I the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) were positive. We were constructive in trying to convince Ontario Hydro there was a better way of doing things in northern Ontario. This gets me to what I think the government can do by the use of an indigenous resource, by developing technology where we have an opportunity not so much to be world leaders but to get caught up with places like Ireland and Finland and Hydro Quebec that will be developing the technology to produce electric energy by the direct burning or the gasification of peat.
It so happens we have a company by the name of Peat Resources of Ontario which has been trying for three or four years now to convince those rascals, whether it be the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch), the Minister of Northern Affairs, or the Minister of Natural Resources to develop a peat policy for Ontario. My colleague the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne) who is the critic for Northern Affairs journeyed to Quebec and met with Hydro Quebec where we had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Chamberlain who is leading a study group. They are going to have a pilot project on Anticosti Island doing just that.
We have peat resources coming out of our ears in the province. Do members know what the equivalent BTU of all the inventory peat deposits are? It is 26 billion barrels of oil. There they are, sitting there waiting for us to use them. I know we are not going to start burning it tomorrow in Metropolitan Toronto, but wherever there is a need, the resource is present. We have the technology; we should be using it.
We have an excellent opportunity to do that, not only for the people of Armstrong to give them a better break with regard to the price of their power but to develop the technology, to develop new jobs so we can export that technology offshore. We all benefit by doing something like that. Why do we not do it? Ask them in the government.
I have one other point before I take my seat, because I promised the member for Leeds (Mr. Runciman) I would not go much beyond 40 minutes. We have another technology that was developed centuries ago, I guess by the Dutch. It was used exclusively in the United States. It is now being used again for the second time around exclusively in many parts of the outback in Australia. It is called wind energy. It is something that is constant, free and there is an abundance of it. It is renewable, an infinite source of energy, not finite like a gold, iron ore or oil deposit. It is there for the taking.
I have tried to get five Ministers of Energy to develop the technology to utilize wind energy in specific areas of the province where it would be a viable undertaking. Six or seven years ago the Ministry of Energy identified all of the areas in the province where we had the highest constant wind velocities, and it is not surprising that where they were found to be the highest was on the shores of Hudson's Bay. That is proven.
They said: "That's fine. We think the technology is viable, but we want to prove it to ourselves." So Ontario Hydro, in concert with the Minister of Energy and a private firm out in Mississauga, put a little pilot project down on the Toronto Islands. They ran it for a year and a half and hooked it up in tandem, a wind generator with a diesel-fired generator, and one would take over from the other.
To nobody's surprise they found out that it was viable and had some practical application. It should be the way to go in northern Ontario, particularly in areas where they have this constant wind velocity and where fuel oil, which is the only way they can generate it now, is selling for $4 a gallon.
I got in touch with the Honourable John Munro, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in Ottawa, and he said, "We are spending an awful lot of money to heat schoolrooms and teacherages up at Fort Severn, and if you can come up with a better way of doing it, yes, we are interested."
Here we are about four or five years later, and what have they done? They have spent well in excess of $1 million to set up a wind-diesel hybrid generating capacity where? In Coniston.
Mr. Foulds: That's almost southern Ontario.
Mr. Stokes: Coniston is just outside of Sudbury. It works. I am told that even with poor wind conditions last winter, and in a place where wind conditions are not as good as they would be where it has more practical application such as way up at Fort Severn, they still feel there would be a saving of anywhere from 25 to 40 per cent.
Now, when John Munro is spending about $400,000 a year to heat a school and a few teacherages in the most northerly community in Ontario, if he can have a 40 per cent saving on an expenditure for fuel oil of $400,000, he is going to save himself $100,000 a year, and that ain't hay.
We have developed the technology, we have a more assured source of power and it is free. It is blowing between your ears every day up there. Why do we not do it?
They claim they are going to change the technology a little bit and rather than have a mechanical hookup in this wind-diesel hybrid system, they are going to have an electrical hookup so it does not have to be run in perpetuity: whenever the wind picks up, they can cut out the diesel and save a lot of money in the process.
All right; that is fine, If they want to iron out a little bit of the technology to make further savings, I cannot knock that. But we still have to build something up there, where power costs are the highest in the province -- probably on the North American continent -- and yet we are still dilly-dallying around as to whether or not we should construct a facility like that -- not the same one, but a similar one -- up there where it has more practical application than any place one can think of. Why do they not do it? I do not know how long, how often or how loud I have to say it just to get their attention over there.
In conclusion, I think the only way I am going to convince everybody around here of the veracity of what I am saying is to get them up there and let them see for themselves what the real potential is for economic growth in the bread-basket of Ontario. That is where all the new wealth is created.
The people down here process it and the value is added down here and that is fair game. The 10 per cent of the population living up there in five-sixths of the land mass of the province creates the new wealth, whether it is in mining, forestry or, to a good extent, in tourism. About 800,000 people collectively are responsible for creating over $4 billion of new wealth every year. We have some ideas as to how the government can make life a little more bearable for the people who create that new wealth. I do not know how often I have to stand here and say that but, for as long as I have to, I am going to continue to do so.
The Deputy Speaker: I recognize the member for Leeds.
Mr. Epp: Give us a good socialist speech.
Mr. Breaugh: What if there is a nuke attack?
Mr. Mackenzie: To the right of John Gamble.
Mr. Runciman: All right; fine.
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak at this time. I want to commend the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) for sticking to his word and also to say that his knowledge of his constituency is very apparent.
May I first join with those of my colleagues who have already spoken, in commending our Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) on his fine budget. It is not my intention to dwell on the many points covered by previous speakers, but rather to address some of the concerns brought to my attention by my constituents.
Mr. Cooke: This will be a long speech.
Mr. Runciman: No, it will not be. Before I do, I would be remiss if I did not note that the Treasurer's budget deserves the wholehearted support of this House for the manner in which he has approached the task of getting this province through a most difficult time in our economic history.
In his budget address, the Treasurer made it known he would like to save another $300 million and I have a few suggestions. Let us take a look at the costs associated with the surprise metrication in the public sector, not the private sector where it has run into the billions. In the government sector there have been many hidden and not-so-hidden costs. I have it on good authority that the government's demand for metric-sized paper and envelopes has resulted in a 15 per cent increase in our stationery bills.
Why are we using metric-sized paper in the Ontario government when even the federal government refuses to make the switch because of the costs involved? No one seems able to answer that question. I urge the Treasurer to take a look at this area for substantial savings.
He should look at hospitals in respect to metrication. The costs are phenomenal. Just last week I read where a small general hospital in Trenton had received a new employment expansion and development grant of nearly $8,000 to assist in rewriting the hospital's manuals in metric. It was noted that more than $10,000 had already been spent on the hospital's metric program, exclusive of the costs of retraining staff. That is just one small hospital. Multiply that $18,000 by the hundreds of other hospitals, say at $300 to $400 a bed, and the cost is incredible. I think we are all aware health costs are a major concern today.
Another hidden cost is the money provided by our government to industry and small businesses to provide new metric labels for everything and in some instances, non-metric labels for products going to the United States.
Highway signs happened very early on in the metrication program, but new costs are being added every day in education, teacher training, textbooks and such things as weigh scales in school nurses' offices. What do they cost? One thousand or two thousand dollars? We may be able to save the whole $300 million by reining in on the metric runaway.
Another avenue of savings, may I suggest since some of my New Democratic Party friends are in the House this evening, may not be worth millions but every penny counts: we could realize savings by reducing the NDP's research fund to the level appropriate for a third party.
Mr. Runciman: I thought that would go over pretty well.
I would suggest also --
Mr. Foulds: Read that note. We dare you.
Mr. Runciman: Not true. I will get on to that. Do not worry.
I would also suggest the Treasurer review the mileage rate paid to the public service, boards and commissions and those of us in this House.
Mr. Foulds: They pay that in metric too, do they not?
Mr. Runciman: That is right.
At present, we are receiving between 24 and 25 cents a kilometre and that translates into good old Canadian at about 40 cents per mile. In my riding, the private sector pays between 18 and 20 cents a kilometre or 29 to 32 cents a mile, so the government is paying eight to 10 cents per mile more than the private sector, a 25 to 30 per cent differential.
I have been unable to determine just what government expenditures in this area total on an annual basis, but I am sure they are significant. I do not believe government should be leading the private sector in terms of benefits, especially by such a significant amount. I urge the Treasurer to review the situation with a view to bringing us more into line with the private sector and achieving considerable savings for the government.
The budget stresses, among other things, the need for restraint. I recall it was only a couple of years ago when the Auditor General of Canada commented we needed a return to the old values of prudence, economy and restraint. He said they had been badly eroded and public servants tend not to regard tax dollars as real money. In this respect, he also noted little effort is made by governments generally to measure the effectiveness of their programs, whether they generate benefits or just waste money needlessly.
In the matter of job creation, I recently suggested the province should take a look at what we could do in the armaments industry within guidelines to be established. Regrettably, some of the news reports responding to my proposal could be categorized under the heading of selective reporting. Those news stories, along with the hypocritical and hysterical reactions of the NDP, caused some confusion as to just what I was proposing.
My research study indicated the present level of manufacturing in the province related to armaments, and touched on the business potential in this area and the moral questions arising from any discussion of armaments. A supplementary study listed 10 options for the provincial and federal governments to consider in respect to the armaments industry.
I neither recommended nor endorsed any of the options; instead, I recommended Ontario develop guidelines which would clearly spell out the types of armaments manufacturing we would like to see take place in the province and encourage development within those guidelines. I did not suggest what should fall within the guidelines although I expressed a personal view that anything associated with nuclear arms should be excluded.
At present, Ontario has no guidelines and has tended to ignore the very significant armaments industry already in place in this province. As a result, virtually anything can take place and often does, witness the production of the cruise guidance system by Litton Industries.
I believe my suggested approach, wherein we exercise a degree of influence over what does or does not happen in terms of armaments manufacturing in the province, is much more responsible than the present tactic of letting virtually anything happen while we ignore its existence.
Last week, the support shown --
Mr. Foulds: Actually, compared to the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker), he is quite sensible.
Mr. Runciman: Thank you. Last week --
Mr. Foulds: That was not a compliment.
Mr. Runciman: I will accept it as such. Last week, the support shown the resolution of the member for Wentworth (Mr. Dean) in respect to Ontario obtaining its fair share of the Canadian frigate program, is testimony, not only to the hypocrisy of the New Democratic Party, but to the fact my proposal was and is a valid avenue to explore. There is another important avenue open to us.
I think Ontario could reap untold benefits by leading a crusade to counter the years of anti-Americanism fostered by the federal government, aided and abetted by some left-wing educators in segments of the media. If we do not do something to mend our bridges to the south, we will indeed become again hewers of wood and drawers of water. We --
Mr. Mackenzie: Why does he not do something about that? This government is largely responsible.
Mr. Runciman: We got out of the bush and away from the water with the help of the Americans. In recent years we have been repaying them by unloading on them at every chance. In my riding of Leeds --
Mr. Mackenzie: They use spies and crooks like Securicor to undermine workers. They do all of these things and the government does nothing about it. They can not even deny it when they are caught at it.
Mr. Runciman: In my riding of Leeds, we would scarcely have an industry if it had not been for US investment. For decades, the wages paid by those firms have enabled my constituents and many of their forbears to feed, clothe and educate several generations of young Canadians. Down our way, we do not believe in spitting in the eye of our benefactors.
Mr. Allen: They have used our own money in most cases, our own money to invest in this country.
Mr. Runciman: They take three or four per cent out, and leave 96 or 97 per cent in this country. In recent weeks, the federal government, sensing a growing backlash to its anti-Americanism, has been leaning over backwards in an attempt to ameliorate the Americans. I do not think the Americans trust the Liberal government. I think it is up to us to strive to rebuild that trust and to work in harmony again with our neighbours to the south. Let us make Ontario the most attractive haven for American investment.
We have --
Mr. Foulds: Does the member mind if they invest in metric?
Mr. Runciman: The member does not have to worry about that.
We have other problems of great magnitude. The C. D. Howe Institute recently noted that Canada's primary problem continues to be the management of our economic affairs by our federal government. In the period they examined, from 1970-72 and for the last ten or twelve years, consumer taxes have shot up 515.3 per cent to the extent that every family is spending about one half of its income on taxes. This alone is a tremendous burden, and think what it means to the young person starting up in business.
Just imagine being faced with taxes such as we have, coupled with all the red tape, coupled with all the investigators, and agents enforcing regulations above and beyond the call of duty. The young person knows before he starts that half of what he will earn will go to the government.
Let us do everything possible to encourage young and old entrepreneurs, by giving them a tax holiday for a few years. Let us help them to help us make our economy healthy again. We need to take the influence of bureaucracy off their backs.
Mr. Foulds: Let us do it for the workers, too. Give them a tax holiday.
Mr. Runciman: The C. D. Howe Institute also says the poor performance of the federal government in the past decade should have caused its replacement. The institute contends that the parliamentary process has been rendered ineffective and totally irrelevant by the federal government. I feel that government at the provincial level, as well, should look in the mirror. We too, can do much to improve the effectiveness of the system.
Certainly, I think consideration should be given to the role of the back-bencher. Is it not time, is it not relevant now, to provide the back-bencher with a larger role, a feeling of effectiveness in the political process?
One of the federal leadership candidates has suggested a process for the federal House which would see the government, in its speech from the throne, identify a very limited number of pieces of legislation which would be considered as matters of confidence. All other matters dealt with by the House would be handled as free votes. This proposal and its applicability to this House merit the consideration of the government.
Speaking in Port Hope last month, the Honourable Erik Nielsen, leader of the official opposition in Ottawa, said: "Canadians are losing their freedoms and the Liberals and the New Democratic Party do not give a damn." He finds Canadian attitudes towards politics, government, liberty and freedom alarming and dangerous.
Our freedoms are being eroded by governments and bureaucracies carrying out directions without mercy in too many instances. Justice tempered with mercy seems to be out of date. We need to encourage more people to get involved in the party process to return this country to the people, with lessening government and hence bureaucratic intrusion.
I value freedom and I continue to be involved in opposing the forced use of metric in this country and in this province. I have yet to have anyone give me an acceptable answer, a credible answer, as to why we should continue our headlong rush down the metric road.
Mr. Mackenzie: What do you think it would cost to reverse at this point?
Mr. Charlton: Twice as much.
Mr. Runciman: Not a heck of a lot. We can ill afford to spend the money it is costing governments. Consumers can ill afford the increasing costs foisted on them by metrication.
Last week I received a letter from Michael Wilson, one of the Progressive Conservative leadership candidates, in which he noted, "It is estimated that metric has cost at the retail food level in excess of $500 million." He sees it as an unwarranted burden on hard-pressed Canadians. So, too, does John Crosbie. Joe Clark also noted, "It is an unwarranted expense during a time of acute economic difficulty and contravenes the wishes of Parliament."
I have letters from all of the contenders to the federal Tory mantle and every one of them is opposed to mandatory metric. They all feel it is an act of a government that has lost its sense of responsibility to the Canadian people.
I ask only for common sense in the use of metric in this country -- metric for those who want it and traditional methods for the rest of us. In other words, freedom of choice. Nor do I want coercion disguising metric as a voluntary system.
Mr. Ruston: Joe Clark is in favor of it, it says right here.
Mr. Runciman: Obviously the members opposite are very supportive of it. There is no question; the record shows that clearly. Let them go back and justify it to their constituents. Justify it to those fellows in the labour unions. The members cannot do it. It is forced metric.
Mr. Foulds: Justify what?
Mr. Runciman: Forced metric.
Mr. Foulds: Who forced it? Who was in power? Which government in Ontario brought it in?
Mr. Mackenzie: All three of them, as I understand it.
Mr. Runciman: What is the member's position on it? He should let us know what his position is. I know his position --
Mr. Foulds: The PCs brought it in.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Elston): Order, please. The member for Leeds has the floor.
Mr. Runciman: There is only one member of the opposition who has had the intestinal fortitude to stand up and be counted on this issue; one man to whom I give a great deal of credit. He is sitting in the House this evening -- the member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent). He is the only member who stood up and spoke on behalf of his constituents in reference to this issue; a man of courage.
I am very disappointed by the role the news media has played in blanketing this country under a metric snowstorm. They, knowingly or unknowingly, assisted government in one of the worst propaganda blitzes this country has ever faced.
It was quite an infamous man in world history who said: "Our goal is that the whole nation will think as one: our way." That man was Dr. Josef Goebbels, Herr Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister. Of course, he controlled the news media.
Not all the media are on this metric rape of the Canadian public, there are still some news people on the other side; but by and large the news media have aided and abetted an arrogant government and an arrogant metric commission in attempting to bring to heel those who oppose what is happening. The government's right to impose metric by law and by coercion has been challenged by few in the media.
Daily, one sees the news media using metric. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp., for instance, does exclusively. Is it required to do so? If it is required by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is that not interference that needs to be challenged? It is almost as though some of the media have become the agents of the state. The fact that older people have great difficulty with metric does not seem to bother the media, the Liberals -- with one prominent exception -- or the New Democratic Party. Could there be a message there?
We have in Ottawa today government by left-wing bullies and any politician who tends to veer slightly to the right is pounced on by the media as some sort of conspirator by the left-wing elements of the media.
We need more conservatives in this country to give balance to our political system. There is no organized right wing with clout. Why this obsession that anyone with some so-called right-wing leanings is a threat? To whom is it a threat?
Mr. Mackenzie: The member has an obsession with the left.
Mr. Runciman: I have no obsession with the left. I think the youth --
The Acting Speaker: The member for Leeds has the floor. The member will address his comments to the chair.
Mr. Foulds: Jim Snow just bought Hawker Siddeley.
Mr. Charlton: Larry Grossman is a Marxist.
Mr. Foulds: That is Groucho, not Karl.
The Acting Speaker: Order. Will the member for Port Arthur restrain himself?
Mr. Runciman: I want Hansard to note I did not make that remark.
I think the youth in this province have an idea where the threat is. They consider the main threat to peace and security in this world is not from the conservatives of this world but from the same left wing that caused the western world to disarm and brought about the First World War. So there is hope.
Young people are becoming more perceptive and less likely to swallow the tripe dispensed by the Liberals and the NDP that the world owes us a living, that the left is beautiful, that the welfare state is the answer to all our problems. Our young people are not sheep; they are concerned citizens. They are interested in their future as well as in the future of Ontario and Canada.
It is not only the young people who are catching on to the NDP. Just witness recent national polls in the British Columbia election a few weeks ago. Is it any wonder that the third party is losing any credibility it may have had?
Mr. Foulds: Dave Barrett had a higher percentage of the vote than Bill Davis did.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): Order.
Mr. Runciman: Mr. Speaker, it is good to see you back in the chair. Maybe we can bring some control to that side of the House.
Mr. Martel: Could I ask him a question? What was your percentage vote in BC?
The Acting Speaker: Order. Will the member receive a question from the member for Sudbury East?
Mr. Runciman: No, I will not. I am going to repeat this, because I do not want it to be missed by my friends across the floor. Is it any wonder that the third party is losing any credibility it may have had? Look at its leadership, both provincial and federal -- a silver-spoon socialist and a university professor. And look at the caucus.
I do not want the members of the third party to miss this. Let them listen to it. I can count on one hand the number of members over there who have any industry or union background.
Mr. Breaugh: Name them.
The Acting Speaker: Order, the member for Oshawa. What is this? What is he raising himself out of his chair for? On a point of order?
Mr. Breaugh: Yes, on a point of order, Mr. Speaker: You know full well the standing orders say that a member cannot cast aspersions on other members. If he chooses to name on the fingers of his right hand how many have --
The Acting Speaker: No, in the eyes of the chair the member for Leeds did not cast any aspersions.
Mr. Breaugh: Oh, yes, he did. I simply want him to name names or withdraw the remark.
The Acting Speaker: No, the honourable member did not. The member for Leeds has the floor and I would ask all honourable members to respect the fact that someone else is speaking at this point. Each has his turn.
Mr. Runciman: Mr. Speaker, I do not see this as casting aspersions on any of the honourable members opposite.
I mentioned the industry and union backgrounds. How can these people profess to be the representatives of the average working man or woman in this province? The answer is they cannot. People such as myself on this side of the House -- someone who has worked shift work, served as a union president, suffered a serious industrial accident; someone, in other words, who knows what the real working world is all about -- can speak for the average worker.
Mr. Mackenzie: I would like Mr. Speaker's assistance.
The Acting Speaker: No. Is this on a point of order?
Mr. Mackenzie: It is a point of order, that is exactly why I am asking. If I heard the member correctly, he said he could count on one hand those in this caucus who had had any union or industrial experience. That is a lie. He should name them.
The Acting Speaker: No. Would the honourable member withdraw that statement?
Mr. Mackenzie: He should name them.
The Acting Speaker: No. I am asking the honourable member to withdraw the statement he just made.
Mr. Mackenzie: That what he said is a lie?
The Acting Speaker: There are other ways of handling this and I would ask the member to remove that statement from the record.
Mr. Mackenzie: Unless there are more than five fingers on his hand he is not right, Mr. Speaker.
The Acting Speaker: Have you withdrawn that earlier statement?
Mr. Mackenzie: I am withdrawing that statement.
The Acting Speaker: I would ask the member for Leeds to continue speaking on the budget.
Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: The member's remarks are misleading and incorrect.
The Acting Speaker: No. Would the honourable member withdraw that statement? I would be most pleased if he would, so that we could continue to have the member for Leeds speak and then the member for Port Arthur will have his opportunity. Would you please withdraw that statement?
Mr. Foulds: I withdraw the statement, Mr. Speaker, but I would point out that the information and the research done by the member for Leeds on this point is wrong. He has read it into the record of this House and anybody who reads that inaccurate, incorrect information will be misled. My point of order is --
The Acting Speaker: The member has had his point of order. Would he resume his seat and the member for Leeds continue?
Mr. Runciman: Mr. Speaker, it is really surprising to witness the sensitivity of the third party. We all know the members of the third party would never say anything misleading.
The Acting Speaker: The member for Leeds will speak to the bill.
Mr. Runciman: Mr. Speaker, I was reviewing my history and I will review it again to emphasize the point. People such as myself on this side of the House -- someone, as I said, who has worked shift work, served as a union president. suffered a serious industrial accident; someone, as I said, who knows what the real working world is all about -- are witnessing former New Democratic Party supporters in increasing numbers turning away from that elitist, union-bought party, and justifiably so.
Mr. Runciman: Mr. Speaker, I have some comments dealing with my riding so the members opposite can calm down.
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Runciman: Mr. Speaker, down our way we have --
The Acting Speaker: Please maintain order; and the member for Leeds, keep going and do not listen to these lapses.
Mr. Runciman: The member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) came into the House a little late. He takes great glee in frequently encouraging members on the government side to voice their opposition to government programs; he is always throwing things across the floor. But I would wager that the vast majority of his constituents in St. Catharines would be adamantly opposed to mandatory metric. Where does he stand on the issue? I would like to know where he stands on the issue, and I'll bet his constituents would like to know where he stands on the issue.
Mr. Bradley: With Darcy, Tom Wells and Larry Grossman.
Mr. Runciman: Yes. What is your position? I mentioned earlier that there is only one member opposite who has had the intestinal fortitude to stand up and speak on behalf of his constituents, and it surely is not the member for St. Catharines.
The Acting Speaker: Order. The member for Leeds is speaking on the adjourned debate on the amendment to the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. Runciman: Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of concerns related to my riding. Down our way we have water that gives us problems. It has to do with drainage. When the Leeds county agricultural and rural development committee was appointed some years ago it found that a prime need in eastern Ontario agriculture was drainage.
I said that was some years ago. It is still a problem, and partly because of our restricted drainage grant. At present one-third assistance grants go to petition drains only. I would like to see that extended to mutual agreement drains, the kind that are built without a hassle and sometimes without the need for expensive engineering and legal fees. It can be the least expensive way to do a drainage project. One ditch we have been looking at down our way for three or four years has eaten up $30,000 so far and is still not started.
Mr. Haggerty: Is that in hectares?
Mr. Runciman: Only Liberals talk about hectares.
Not all drains can be handled by a mutual agreement, but a great many could, and with far less wear and tear on our neighbours.
The second concern I wish to mention is the proposed hydro corridor through my riding. I have some personal doubts about the need for this line, but I will not delve into that this evening.
Mr. Martel: Go ahead.
Mr. Breaugh: What courage!
Mr. McClellan: What a lot of intestinal fortitude you have.
Mr. Runciman: My position is on the record.
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Runciman: Mr. Speaker, I wish to put on the record my opposition to any corridor proposal that necessitates a crossing of the Rideau system. The proposals affecting my area would, if they were to proceed, deal a harsh blow to the area's main industry, tourism, and I urge the Hydro decision-makers to avoid a course of action that could seriously damage the economy, not to mention the environment, of this region.
Before closing, I would like to invite everyone in this House to come to the most beautiful part of Ontario, Leeds county. There we have the Thousand Islands and the Rideau lakes, and there too we have a couple of things to tempt anyone who has ever held a fishing pole or a rod. One is Max a Million, a spirited black bass with a tag on it. Catch that fish and you will win $1 million. That fish was unleashed in front of Brockville as part of that city's Riverfest.
It is easy to put a line in the St. Lawrence by driving along the Thousand Islands Parkway between Gananoque and Brockville. It is one of the most scenic routes in Canada, but we need a little more help from the province. May I suggest an amendment to our sign policy to allow for signs that encourage use of the parkway? It would help us divert some of the traffic from Highway 401. Thousands zip by every day without realizing how simple it is to enter the parkway and how easy it is to return to Highway 401.
In Leeds, we also find two of this province's five-star resorts. Yes, that is right, two of the only five we have. Opinicon Lodge at Chaffeys Locks is in the heart of the Rideau while Glen House is in the heart of the Thousand Islands. Try them. You will like them. That concludes my remarks, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for your patience.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Leeds. I support him 100 per cent on his metric stand. The people realize we have bilingual everything on our packaging today, French and English, but we do not have bimeasurement and we should have bimeasurement in the same way as we have bilingualism. One goes into a shop and no one in the room can say what 500 grams means, but they support that kind of nonsense anyway. I commend the member for his vision. Somewhere along the line, they will come to see he is right.
My pleasant task tonight is to criticize the budget --
An hon member: Constructively.
Mr. Sargent: Constructively, yes.
Thanksgiving came early this year. Frank Miller presented a turkey in this budget which we are going to debate. The Globe and Mail called it the garbage budget. Frank said --
The Acting Speaker: I remind the honourable member the protocol is to refer to other members by their titles or ridings. It is the Treasurer you are referring to.
Mr. Sargent: I would like to pick your brains on that a bit; I guess that would not take very long.
The Acting Speaker: I ask the member to follow that rule.
Mr. Sargent: Okay, I will try to remember that.
The Treasurer said about the Globe and Mail, "They kill good trees to put out bad newspapers." The Treasurer is a fine guy. He is a good hockey player, but he is a crock as far as being a Treasurer is concerned. This is the same Treasurer who refused a $500 million grant from the feds because he said we were too proud in Ontario to be a have-not province. He turned away $500 million that would look a hell of a lot better in the pockets of our hundreds of thousands of people walking the streets today --
Mr. Allen: It is 1.7 million.
Mr. Sargent: I am talking about Ontario, about this jurisdiction.
It is criminal that we have a man who has that kind of vision. I do not think he knows what is going on. He has a bunch of auditors who are crocks who direct the finances, and he is just the go-between between them and the people. With all respect to the Treasurer, it is a big job. We should have a man who has a background in finance, more than being a good used car salesman,
This government is out of touch with people and what is going on. Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering. It is a shocking situation when these neighbours of ours, our friends, wake up in the morning with no hope of the dignity of a job and nothing in sight. The papers today say the biggest crash on the stock market is coming shortly.
Given the economic situation we have, this budget he has put out is the most imaginative fiction I have ever read. The details of expenditures in this book prove everything I am going to say tonight.
I was talking about the economy to a guy in a bar out west. He said: "I am in the furniture business. The economy is so bad I am going to lose my ass." The girl sitting next to him said: "I am in the ass business. I am going to lose my furniture." That is how poignant things are across the country.
Mr. Sargent: I thought it was a good shot.
In no way is this budget coping with the financial haemorrhage in Ontario today. In 1978, the then Treasurer Darcy McKeough said he would balance the budget by 1980. Here we are in 1983 observing that these financial brains, McKeough and the present Treasurer, are about $15 billion wrong. How wrong can one be? We were going to have a balanced budget and Mr. McKeough made it very clear he would do that.
Feeding at the trough are thousands of firms, lawyers, party hacks and employees who cannot find anything to do around this building. The biggest job most people around here have is to decide where they will go for lunch. We are overstaffed; that is the shocking situation into which this government has drifted.
This book of expenditures makes good reading at night. In it are 200 pages of the most unbelievable things, and names of firms that have been here and that share together in the family compact, the spending of $16 billion a year by this government.
If one ever wanted to see a lot of millionaires, one should come to the opening of the House. Sitting in the centre are the top financiers and fellows who have made fortunes out of being friends of the government.
I spent the last two months going through some secret files we have of the Ontario Development Corp. which are full of million-dollar grants from the ODC. It has made loans to firms such as Campbell Soup Co. Ltd. Year after year, large American corporate firms have received grants of $1 million or $500,000 and these loans are all forgiven.
The small entrepreneur, the small businessman has to honour his loans. But hundreds of large corporations have received loans in the $500,000 or $1-million category and they have been forgiven or written off; the names of these giant US-based Canadian corporations come up repeatedly as the recipients of forgiven loans. Yet the small entrepreneur or businessman has a tough time getting a loan, and if he gets it he has to pay it back.
Is it any wonder we have a government that has stayed in power for 45 years? It has done so by buying votes with our money.
William Jennings Bryan once said that no man can earn $1 million honestly. We have a good way of doing it by reading this book of expenditures.
Overstaffing is rampant and Hydro is out of control. A few years back we had a strike in Hydro; about 16,000 people went on strike for three months and not one minute was lost. Everything went on as usual, which proved that we had 16,000 too many on the job in Hydro. They were not missed at all. Nothing happened in three months.
Now we have the ongoing saga of Darlington and the scandalous story about Steve Roman and his cosy deal with the government and Hydro. It is unbelievable that this can happen but it is ongoing. We have Mr. Macaulay, who is the brother of the man who set up the Department of Energy. Bob Macaulay was counsel for Ontario Hydro and his legal fee one year was $176,000, acting for Energy and Hydro. Each month Mr. Macaulay, the chairman of Hydro, issued a document almost three quarters of an inch thick listing the expenditures of Hydro, all the people who were on the gravy train, all these firms.
Hydro is in such a mess now that Mr. Macaulay, knowing things are falling apart and out of control, resigns and takes over the job as the bagman for the Tory party. He has a hell of a good connection. He can go shopping with all his friends he looked after in Hydro over the years; and these are multimillion dollars' worth of expenditures. So we have the ongoing perpetuity of the party because this government is using the taxpayers' funds to buy support and buy votes.
Today I had a letter from the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell). with a copy to Mr. Wilford, where he could not see his way clear to make government guarantees for loans to farmers to get their crops in. Most of my farmer friends tell me the crops should have been in in April; we had had bad weather but we still had a chance to do it.
The minister says, "As guardians of the public purse I am sure the vast majority would not expect us to do other than careful stewardship of their hard-earned tax dollars." He turns it down; he cannot support guaranteeing loans for farmers putting their crops in. What a crock that is.
We found the money to give $650 million to Suncor. The farmers do not want money; they want bank guarantees. If they cannot get them, what do they do? They go to the suppliers and if the supplier will take them on, they will lose their 15 per cent discount. Since it is short-term money, it is costing them about 40 to 50 per cent for their money to put their crops in. That is the kind of a friend we have in this man who would be the leader of this party when the Premier (Mr. Davis) retires, that is the way he treats the small entrepreneur on the farm.
Mrs. Gibson of Owen Sound phoned me the other day, and she wrote me a long letter. Her husband had a severe attack and they called the ambulance. Today he is a vegetable because there were no paramedics on hand. The doctors in Owen Sound say he would be fine today if there had been a paramedic available with the ambulance. We hear now the reason we cannot have paramedics is that there is not enough money.
Dr. Robert McMurtry, the brother of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), is one of the finest doctors in this field, I guess, in America. He is the man who we have to thank for Sunnybrook and for Lyndhurst. He says the air ambulance paramedics are invaluable for saving lives and the Ministry of Health's excuses for not immediately training more are nothing but bureaucratic red tape and smokescreens. He says it all comes down to money; that is the beginning and end of it. He went on to stress the need for paramedics.
I think it is time we had paramedics. We can find money for everything else. We can give hundreds of millions of dollars in forgivable loans to Canadian corporations that are in the excess profits tax bracket anyway. We give them these loans and then we say, "You don't have to pay them back." There should be an investigation of what is really going on.
What is badly needed in this province is an independent, outside audit. I brought this up in the standing committee on public accounts. The public accounts committee, as we know, is a crock too, because it has no muscle any more. The government has six votes on that committee, and there is no way we can ever get a vote through. Anything that comes up that should be investigated, cannot be investigated; the public accounts committee has no teeth.
We can count the ways if we want to: all the tax rebates, the forgivable loans, the millions of dollars that go back to the people in the form of the friendly father, the government, giving back to the people. If you have been through the hoops in municipal finance, you learn that when you give tax rebates it is a concession the taxes were wrong in the first place. That is a basic concept in government. But here we are throwing money around, buying votes all the time.
I am getting into the area of justice. When the banks want to put the heat on the farmers, what do they do? They phone up the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In one case the RCMP, with guns, radios and all kinds of equipment, moved in on a farm and terrorized a woman whose husband was away. The banks are using the RCMP to collect their money. It is getting close to a police state when the banks have that kind of power in this country.
Talking about justice, we have a case where if you have enough money you do not go to jail. Our friend Conrad Black has a multitude of charges against him, and nothing happens. But a farmer like Allen Wilford, who went to the penny auction, goes to jail. He committed no crime, but he went to jail because he was hurting the banks collecting their money.
We have a case in Chesley, where the Ontario Provincial Police went in and laid 17 criminal charges against the chief of police. The chief of police was told he would have to step aside until these charges were heard. Now the chief of police is back on the streets again in the town of Chesley, and the charges are still pending, but all the OPP charges have never been put into the hoop. This is justice in Ontario. If you have enough money, you do not go to jail.
We have the case of the Ontario Securities Commission. The chairman of this commission had a very clear case of conflict of interest when this whole thing came into focus. We have the editors of the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and the Toronto Sun being called to a meeting by the minister and being told not to tell the inside story, not to rock the boat. In effect, that is what happened. This could be compared to the Washington Post being called to a meeting and deciding not to lower the boom on Watergate. There is no investigative reporting going on in this area to block things such as Greymac that have been going on in the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
I would like to talk about what is happening on the issue of acid rain. In the United States, industries have installed 100 scrubbers and 32 more are on order. Canada lags seriously behind because we have no tough rules on car and truck emissions, and emissions here are three times higher than in the US.
People are sceptical because of the action of Ontario Hydro in its recent decision to backtrack on a promise to install scrubbers in two of its plants. After a deal for coal-fired electricity exports to the US fell through, Ontario Hydro found it would need to burn about a million tons less coal per year, so it shelved the scrubbers. The bottom line is that we will have thousands of lakes that are dead and can never be regenerated.
Not only do Canada's tourist associations, for example, and Ontario's 300,000 cottage owners, who are directly affected by the health of our lakes, comprise votes at the ballot box, but this government will hear from them when the public knows of the dereliction of this government in fighting acid rain. In fact, 5,000 forms and letters have been sent to the Premier about his neglect of acid rain, and 79 per cent of the people of this country consider acid rain one of the most serious environmental problems facing Canada.
It has increased 63 per cent since 1981, and there is a growing awareness of how we must fight this lack of action on the part of the government. There is a great need; Hydro is out of control. We have the story of Darlington proceeding. We have a 40 per cent surplus in power today, and we will spend $20 billion more on a project we do not need.
We must have a new search for revenue, a search that will give a fairer deal to lower- and middle-income groups, and abolish the loopholes whereby millionaires pay no income tax and banks can enjoy a lower tax rate than the man on the assembly line or the small businessman. How do we do it? I am no financial expert, but there is a trend in the US now towards some solutions that are a hell of a lot better than we have here in Ontario. Mr. Pocklington, the candidate for the Tory leadership, has one angle, a 20 per cent across-the- board tax. This is a trial that everyone should consider. A millionaire or a 40-hour-week unionist would pay the same percentage of tax.
What we need in Ontario, I believe, is a plan to clear the decks, a plan to save us from this financial haemorrhage which is now out of control. The focus of the garbage budget we are looking at is really on how far the government is going to go into debt. What we need in Ontario is to tap the billions of dollars lying untouched in reserve, to bring the economy to life, to ease the burden on millions of Ontario citizens who are not on the inside doing business with the government, who are not part of the favoured few. This is a deal called the valorem intangibles tax, or VIT.
I recall when I was a kid, the big job for my mother and father was to pay the mortgage off on the house. When that mortgage was paid off, there was a great celebration. It was all very well that they had amassed over the years about $40,000 in value that was in that house. All the years they were paying off that mortgage, they were paying an education tax; 50 per cent of their taxes was going for education. On that $40,000, they were paying the full shot for education tax.
Mr. McLean: That is not right, Eddie.
Mr. Sargent: Well, it was the case in my 12 years as mayor of Owen Sound that that is what we did, but I do not know what you are doing down here.
They had $40,000 in equity in their house. If they had had that money in cash or stocks or bonds, they would not have paid anything towards the cost of education; in other words, cash in the bank is not taxed for education costs. This is the background for a thing that is successful in the United States and that we should try here.
Everyone has heard of the value-added tax called VAT. It is a form of national sales tax used in Europe as a major sales tax. Likewise nearly everyone has heard of the proposal to transplant VAT to the United States as a way of reducing property taxes and achieving a degree of equality among taxpayers who carry the burden of education financing. But few people have heard of the alternative approach called the valorem intangibles tax, VIT, a proposed national tax on intangibles. One is VIT and VAT.
Why is VIT democratic? In simple terms, VAT is a sales tax; on the other hand, VIT is envisioned as a national tax on intangibles. Everyone would be taxed on a stated percentage of the value of his revenue-producing intangibles. In practice, the tax would fall on corporate stocks, bonds and savings accounts, with such intangibles as money, chequing accounts and accounts receivable being excluded for administrative purposes.
In other words, there are probably $200 billion or $300 billion worth of stocks and bonds and pension funds in the banks throughout this province. If the government would levy a tax of 0.5 of one per cent against these intangibles, it would probably produce several billion a year in new revenue, a tax field that has not been touched.
It is high time we started looking after people who are losing their homes and property with the economy the way it is. It is a new approach that this government could well look at.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have looked forward to having a chance to speak to you and wanted to pay my congratulations to you and talk a bit about what I believe is the issue which is going to be confronted in this Legislature and in Ontario over the course of the next decade, which is how we are going to withstand the technological change.
I spoke about this last year, and since this is part of the budget debate, I want to begin by briefly commenting on the provincial budget and then talk about how we should respond to technological change, because I think that increasingly it is recognized that it is out there and we had better do something about it before it does something to us.
My colleagues have commented at length about the inadequacies of this year's provincial budget. All I want to point out is that this year, despite the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) telling us that things are getting better, we are looking at an unemployment rate in Ontario of 11.7 per cent versus 6.6 per cent two years ago. The outlook into the late 1980s is no better. The federal budget anticipates an unemployment rate of around 10 per cent continuing to the end of the decade, and there seems to be no indication at all that we are getting back to full employment.
The responses, the policies that are being proposed from this government, from the federal Liberals and from almost every quarter are in great difficulty, to the point where I have to accept that some of the high unemployment we have now is not going to go away quickly. I believe it is structural and is a result of the technological problems we have right now, and I think we have to try to contend with what to do about it.
I spent a good deal of time this past year thinking about the question of how we do get out of the current mess, and from looking at the records of governments of every persuasion it is obvious that it is not going to be easy.
Last spring when I spoke in the Legislature I argued for the creation of a select committee on the impact of technological change, which would look into the issues created by new technologies and try to come up with policies that would help Ontario adapt to the challenge. Sad to say there was no reaction from the government, and my proposal appeared to have been ignored.
I was glad to see in the throne speech this year that there may now be some willingness on the part of the Ontario government to move. Alas, that response is pitifully small and belated. Rather than wait and react to the impact of new technology, the government says it "intends to undertake an extensive and serious study of these projected developments" so as to put the government in a position to help Ontarians adjust to the changes in industry and business. Well, that was essentially the recommendation of the task force on microelectronics, which reported to this Legislature in October 1981, and nothing has been done since then.
As I told members last year, these changes in technology are not something in the distant future; they are happening now. Today I can walk into a store and buy a computer that has four times the power of the computer I bought last year for the same price. Next year I will be able to walk into the store and, with models currently coming on to the market, I will be able to buy a home computer that will have four times again the power of this year's model for the same price, or just about.
The new technology is affecting every level of industry, from the robots that are being used at General Motors and at the Ford plant in Oakville right down to the personal computers that are being bought in very large numbers not just by trendy executives but also by small businessmen, who are finding that for a few thousand dollars they can put a machine in their offices that will do the bookkeeping, will do the secretarial work and in fact will eliminate the need to hire two or three people to do work around their offices.
By ones and by twos, as well as by 10s and by 100s, that is how we are losing jobs in Ontario, and that is one of the reasons we are coming out of the current recession, if we are coming out, with far fewer jobs than we had when it began and with no buoyancy in employment at all.
The government has recognized in part what is happening, because it has a program of building technical centres across the province, such as the Ontario Centre for Microelectronics, which we now have in operation in Ottawa. We cannot keep technological change out of the province and we cannot ignore the impact, but I fear we are still doing just that.
Last year I spoke of what two British experts called the collapse of work. They projected that 25 per cent of the jobs in Britain would disappear by the end of the century. It looks as though they were in fact rather late in their anticipation, because Margaret Thatcher has done most of it for them already.
At the time that appeared to be an extreme forecast; it was not shared by most of the experts. But now that kind of gloomy forecast has come across the Atlantic. It has come into the federal government. Perhaps there are experts advising this government who are saying the same kinds of things.
Not long ago, a report to Donald Johnston, the Minister of State for Economic Development, was leaked to the press, which predicted that two million jobs could be eliminated in Canada by 1990 because of technological change. Recently Lloyd Axworthy, the Minister of Employment and Immigration, gave a speech in Ottawa in which in essence he said he was scared as hell about the situation that was emerging in terms of jobs being eliminated.
A year ago, it looked as though the jury was out in terms of whether this computerization and the new technologies were going to enhance or destroy work opportunities. But now the experts are increasingly unanimous in saying they are pessimistic in terms of what is going to happen.
How are we at present organized to respond to the challenge of technological change? I spent some time this spring looking at both the legislation and union contracts. The basic answer is we are not prepared at all. In Ontario, just over 20 per cent of our work force is covered by contracts which provide any form of advance notice and right to consultation or have other protection against the impact of technological change. Only five per cent of Ontario workers have some contractual rights to severance pay. Eighty per cent of Ontario workers have no protection at all, apart from the limited layoff notice they get under provincial law in the case of mass layoff.
There is no provincial legislation in this industrial heartland of Canada. There is no provincial legislation related to technological change in Ontario with the exception of plant shutdowns and none has been proposed, not even in the throne speech this year. Only five or six labour contracts a year out of more than 1,000 in force in the province have been successfully renegotiated to include provisions relating to technological change. In other words, progress is being made, if at all, at a snail's pace.
For the majority of Ontario workers who are unorganized and who have no union, there is no protection at all in case their jobs are affected by technological change. In many cases, they can be put out on the street with one week's pay, or two weeks' pay or notice. In the area that is most vulnerable of all, the area of clerical and office work -- namely, women's work -- only 15 per cent of the labour force in Ontario is unionized.
British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as well as the federal government, all passed legislation about 10 years ago that attempted or purported, depending upon how one looks at it, to provide some protection to workers against the impact of technological change. A decade after that legislation was passed, it can only be described as a failure. There were so many loopholes, catch 22s and pitfalls even for organized workers with legal advice and the best will in the world, that workers cannot apply the protection of those technological change bills and the bills might as well not exist at all. Across Canada, 85 per cent of the work force has no contract protection against the impact of technological change.
In my opinion, there is no excuse for these deficiencies in the law. After all, this is not something new. We had the automation scare in the 1950s and 1960s. A lot of the thinking about what should be done began at that time. in fact, some of the legislation was written at that time as well. There is no excuse for not having acted by now, or for not having responded to what is happening in terms of the rapid progress of computerization since the advent of microtechnology just 12 years ago.
That is water under the bridge. I want to talk about what we do now because I have come to believe this crisis cannot be ignored if we want a just society, nor can it be ignored if we, in Ontario, are going to compete with the rest of the world. I say this to my Conservative friends and to my Liberal friends as well, because this is something which is not just a matter of economic democracy, as we talk about it within the New Democratic Party; it is also a matter of survival for people in this province and for businesses and industry in this province. If we do not change our ways, we are not going to survive with the type of competition we are going to face around the world over the course of the next two decades.
Both productivity and human relations are very much involved. That is why I say that whether we come from the NDP or the Tories, whether we come from management or the professions, whether we come from labour or from government, we all have to open our minds and start thinking about new approaches to managing our economy and new responses to technological change.
Mr. Speaker, I say it to you frankly. I think all of us, and I include myself and my party, have to confront sacred cows, things that we have said are absolutely non-negotiable in the past. We have got to think through traditional positions that have been held on the side of government, on the side of management and on the side of labour if we are to cope successfully with the changes that lie ahead.
I think there has to be a great deal more sharing of responsibility in the work place and in our society. At the level of values, I think we have to create a sense of mutual respect and mutual obligations in a way that too often has been forgotten in the work place in Ontario, even today in 1983.
Once again, Mr. Speaker, I think if we look in the mirror, I think all of us might say that perhaps we have made a contribution to some of the current problems and maybe we can start making a contribution to some of the solutions that are necessary.
As a socialist, I believe we should begin to explore vigorously and implement the concept of economic democracy. It is time to recognize that the workers, who enjoy full rights of participation in a democratic society, neither should nor can any longer be treated as mindless robots when they come to work their eight-hour stint in the office or factory. It is time to recognize that political democracy is fundamentally flawed if it is not matched by a state of relative equality in an economic sense.
It is time to recognize the importance of work to people in terms of their self-respect and their sense of contribution to the society. It is absolutely fundamental to recognize that we do identify ourselves through what we do, and if we do not do anything because we cannot get a job then our sense of self-respect is brutally crippled. There are people committing suicide; there are instances of stress, of marriage breakup, of alcoholism because of the unemployment situation in our province today.
We do maintain self-respect through work. Even when we do not like the job, it is still extremely important to us. It is time to recognize that work is important to people in terms of self-respect and to recognize that work for the individual is a means of self-expression as well as just a way of putting bread on the table.
In recognizing that, it is time that managers were prepared to share responsibility in their work place, and that means coming to grips with who has the power in the work place and coming to grips with that sacred cow which is the concept of management rights as it has been exercised in Ontario in recent years. But in return, I think we can consider having workers accept and recognize some obligation for the enterprise to which they have committed their working time, some share of responsibility for the firm perhaps meeting its targets in terms of productivity and in terms of quality in products, perhaps even meeting its targets in terms of cost and profits.
I can say it is difficult for me as a New Democrat to express that, but I am looking at where we are going and I am saying that if we simply go along bashing away at each other in this province, we are going to be doing that fruitlessly while the rest of the world passes us by. In many respects we are now being passed by if one looks at what is happening in our deficit in manufacturing trade.
What is required is to reconsider patterns of thought that all of us may have followed for a long time. But I think the direction I am talking about is consistent; it is consistent with my fundamental beliefs, because at stake is nothing less than a more equal sharing of power in our society and a sharing of power which is essential if we are going to cope with technological change.
Let me give the House an extreme example of the kind of work place and work that we can look forward to in the future. Up at the Bruce nuclear power plant in the riding of the member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent), the operators who are there have a collective agreement. They work shift work -- Sundays, holidays, that kind of thing -- and they do not have to wear ties when they go to the job; in other words, they are unionized employees. But there is no way they could be treated like the traditional worker, the Charlie Chaplin figure, who tightens the bolts on the fender 60 times an hour or who runs a lathe in a machine shop.
Those operators require years of training. They have to have continuous upgrading to keep on top of their job and they have to work largely on their own. If a crisis comes and they only have a minute or two to respond, there is no way they can turn to management for direction and there are far too many potential problems for someone simply to tell them what to do in advance. The red-light flag goes on and you press the green button. It is not as simple as that, as we found at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania where the operators had been too rigidly trained. They did not know what to do. They were denied adequate information and the whole plant became a disaster. Hundreds of millions of dollars of investment became a disaster because of an inability to think through what was needed to run it properly.
That experience in the United States shows it is impossible for engineers to make complex modern technology totally foolproof. More and more, we have examples of ordinary workers being responsible for a $100-million refinery, a $50-million piece of equipment, a steel furnace, a complicated $1.5-million milling or lathing machine; that kind of thing.
In other words, it is not as simple as it was in the days when one could tell somebody: "You pull the thing like this to make it go. It makes the hole. You pull it back. You put another one in the slot and do it again." Those kinds of jobs are more and more being done by machines and not by people.
Workers have to be problem solvers in this kind of work place and not just machine tenders. Solving problems requires that they be autonomous, independent and have access to information. A worker who is treated this way is not going to take to it if management then turns around and says: "As far as running this show, I am going to tell you what to do. You will have no autonomy, no independence and you will not have any information about what is going on here." That is simply not going to work. Managers can no longer treat workers as children and hope to get away with it.
As the work place changes, so does work organization. There is less authority, less hierarchy. The dividing line between workers and managers is becoming fuzzier, particularly in the knowledge industry. Where the choice exists, workers are more aware of the tradeoff between the quality of work and the sheer quantity of work to be done.
As the work place has changed in Ontario, so has the quality of Ontario workers. There are more of them who have a high school education and even post-secondary credentials. Even though some workers have been forced to bite the bullet and accept unreasonable demands from management with the current recession, the values they absorbed as teenagers, as students in the 1960s and 1970s, are still with them and will recur and will not go away. Managers cannot expect a docile labour force prepared to do what simply it is told, as in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.
There are other changes to be noted as well. One is that more of us are getting used to the idea we will have more than one job or career in our lives. Already, I have been a lathe operator, teacher, journalist, professor, alderman, and politician at the provincial level for 10 or 12 years. Goodness knows, I might do something else some years down the line. That is becoming more common in our society.
Any observer of our economy will tell you the environment in which companies and unions have to work is becoming more turbulent and unpredictable. One cannot rely on the weather, or on interest rates being the same from one month to the next. One cannot even rely on the Blue Jays and Argos to be in last place in their respective leagues.
That kind of turbulent environment also requires companies and government organizations to be flexible, able to adapt to changing conditions. At every level people who are doing the job have to be informed and able to exercise autonomy and independence. They have to be able to do a good job and participate in making decisions, rather than simply doing what they are told.
What I am talking about is not just the need for economic democracy because it makes me feel good. I am not just talking about the need for greater corporate responsibility in terms of what corporations and companies do for their employees, although it would be nice to see more of that.
I am talking in economic terms about how we are going to survive and compete in the world of the 1980s and 1990s. We will not survive if we do not face the changing work place and workers.
Facing the problem of incredibly rapid technological change -- bear in mind this is like nothing we have had in the last 50 or 60 years -- we have to have some concrete policies. When I spoke last year, I was more concerned with getting the fact accepted that the problem existed. That acceptance is there now. We have to start looking at policies and at what the responses should be.
I want to make a number of proposals tonight about responding to technological change, even though I am not sure they are the final answers. I want at least to put something on the table so we can look at it, debate it and see where it is going to lead us. It represents an attempt to cast some fresh thought on areas where we seem to be frozen now.
Let me begin with the first point. The work place has to change and that change has to begin now. If we are to respond to technological change, it is fundamental we start now to bring major changes to the work place in Ontario.
As I just explained, traditional patterns will not do any more. If workers are to do the kinds of jobs that will be required of them in the future, management has to acknowledge their right to information, consultation and participation. However, information and participation are so closely linked to the power now enjoyed by management that management has to be prepared to share its power and stop treating management rights like a sacred cow.
The current pattern of management hostility to unions or employee organizations in Ontario has to be reconsidered and has to change. Unless there is a dealing with each other as equals rather than unequals, we are not going to solve our joint problems.
We should try to learn from the differences in basic industrial relations between the European countries and Canada. Having lived in Europe for a number of years and having visited there on various occasions in the last 15 years, I know our societies are becoming more similar than they were 20 years ago.
In Europe, every European Common Market country now has legislation to provide either for codetermination, for worker representation on company boards of directors or for various other forms of industrial democracy. That legislation has now been reinforced by overall requirements from the common market commission to support industrial democracy and, in fact, to require it in every country within the common market.
In many European countries, work councils and other consultative mechanisms are found as a matter of course in companies of any size. They do not work perfectly, but they are there, they are commonly accepted and they are used far more often than they are ignored. In other words, Europe has models of industrial relations that are potentially a great deal more co-operative and productive for all parties than we have here in Ontario.
It is significant that in Europe there is also a far wider recognition and protection of the rights of workers to their jobs than in Canada. Equally significant is that in Europe the union and the workers are expected to take a responsibility for the firm, which we have not yet arrived at here. So there is a sense of mutual obligation there.
There is an acceptance of trade unions. They have a part in society whether the government is Conservative, Christian Democratic, Social Democratic or some other unique European party. There are no Liberals in power in Europe, but I guess there are parties that are friendly to the Liberal parties. Whatever party is in power, it has not gone back on legislation that gives workers rights to industrial and economic democracy; there has been no shrinking away from that. Unions and employee organizations are recognized as an estate of the society in a way which has never been recognized in Canada or the United States.
I will give an example. This spring, I had occasion to read a report on labour and technological change that came from the Swedish Trade Union Federation. It was published a long time ago, back in 1966. However, I found that report instructive in what it reflected about differences between Europe and Canada. Bear in mind this was almost 20 years ago, long before we really got to thinking about the basic work relationship in this country between workers and managers.
Like most North American trade unions, and it is a fact that trade unions here do accept technological change, the Swedish federation's report accepted the need both for technological change and for unions to co-operate actively in the process of change, something which has not yet been accepted by managers here. The Swedes see full employment not just in the sense of everyone having a job, but in the qualitative sense of making full use of the skill and potential of individual workers. Their statement argues that workers have social as well as economic needs and the rewards need not be solely economic in nature.
That is significant, because until now our unions in this country have tended to bargain for dollars, fringe benefits, pay and that kind of thing, but not for the intrinsic rewards of what the job is like. They are moving in that direction, but perhaps we in the Legislature should encourage that because it is important for society as well as for the workers involved.
The Swedish federation argues that workers have a social as well as an economic need and that rewards need not be purely economic. It says, "Imaginative and creative organizational talent and the will to accept responsibility are characteristics that are widely distributed among the population and do not repose with an elite of natural leaders."
That is almost revolutionary in a North American setting. The idea is that the workers have something to contribute beyond their brawn. They have ideas, know what the job is all about, make proposals and can help in terms of the direction of what needs to be done rather than simply being told what to do.
The Swedish unions accept the need for economic efficiency, but they say that companies should also seek to ensure that their job satisfies fundamental, noneconomic needs of the individual worker, such as the need for security, social contact and exchange, the opportunity to exercise personal talents and realize personal potentiality. Work, they say, should be designed not just to minimize risks to health and to maximize physical wellbeing, but also to maximize both job satisfaction and job involvement.
I know that sounds a bit like a dream list, but at the same time the Swedish Trade Union Federation talks about the responsibility of the workers. I have heard talk like that from my friends on the other side. I suggest that if there is some give and take, we might make some progress in terms of ensuring productivity, co-operation, progress and competitiveness on the part of industry which would benefit workers, employers and our society here in Ontario, and perhaps we can get people back to work.
The trade union federation in Sweden talks about the responsibility of workers not just to meet production norms, but to be aware of the costs connected with their work, to be willing to develop and improve vocational ability and to meet the changing needs of the work organization. In other words, it is talking about the need for a sense of mutual obligation.
More than people in my party perhaps sometimes acknowledge, the typical worker has a divided loyalty. He or she has a loyalty not only to his fellow workers and unions but also to the company. In difficult economic times we have seen that joint loyalty emerge; Bob White of the United Auto Workers, for example, headed the auto task force, and there is the leadership that the textile trade unions have shown in terms of the plight of their industry, such as the concern of an individual union, in certain cases, about helping to ensure a particular company survived.
There are common problems which perhaps can provoke joint solutions, but not if employers look to workers only for their brawn and not for their brains. We have to change the nature of work place relations.
The second point is that worker security must be protected. I know we cannot do it absolutely, but I believe that if workers are to be more flexible and apt to respond, they will be able to respond to technological change. If companies are to get co-operation in responding to an unprecedented level of competition, it is hard to see that happening so long as most workers have no protection in their job at all beyond the grace and favour of their employer.
Even with a union, many workers such as auto and steel workers are finding their security is not absolute. What is needed is a commitment to job security from employers to the best of their ability. I believe that can help a great deal to create the conditions for a joint action to respond to technological change.
We have been told recently again and again that we should model ourselves on Japan. Members should bear in mind that the major companies in Japan offer lifelong employment to workers and managers alike. It is on that basis that they expect people to be flexible, to move from job to job and skill to skill, without the fear that they might get turfed out if they do not protect the job they have because they cannot move to another skill.
The situation is different here but there are signs of change. I am interested in the fact that the courts are now recognizing more and more the fact of entitlement on behalf of managers who get fired by corporations. The courts have been rewarding them with up to a year or a year and a half of severance pay for the loss of prospects entailed in losing their jobs.
What I am suggesting is that we should take that principle and make it general. We applied it in a very limited way in this Legislature in connection with the plant shutdown legislation of two or three years ago, but I think the precedent that was there should be applied to all workers in Ontario.
We should give every worker the right to severance pay at the rate of one week's pay for every year of service as a token of the commitment of government, of the society and of employers to the workers having job security. Workers should have their pensions protected; they should not be forced to lose them if they are fired or leave their jobs; they should not be immobilized because they cannot move because they lose their pensions.
Of course, as we have argued in this party, if companies are going to shut down arbitrarily, they should be forced to justify shutdowns publicly and there should be means by which workers or a community would be able to take over a firm that is about to be shut down and keep it in operation in order to maintain jobs. Even if we cannot ensure total security, I believe we can take steps to ensure that this commitment of principle is made as a precondition for responding jointly to the issue of technological change.
In a few weeks I intend to present a bill in the Legislature that will try to deal specifically with the question of technological change. This brings me to my third point, which is that we need a new approach to technological change. The bill I will propose attempts to deal with the concerns that workers and unions have put front and centre: the need for advance notice of technological change, the need for full information and the need for consultation.
But I want the right to information and advance notice applied to every worker in Ontario, not just to those workers who are fortunate enough to be unionized. This, I believe, has been one of the fundamental flaws of the legislation both in other provinces and also federally.
The proposal I will be making in a few days would allow any 10 workers in a work place to initiate the creation of a technological change committee, on which management as well as workers would serve; or the committee could be set up at the request of the union. We have a bit of a model in the health and safety committees under Bill 70, which is already in force in Ontario.
The essential rights of this committee would be to get advance notice if technological change is proposed as soon as management decides it is actually going to put a change into force -- in other words, from the time the decision is made. The committee -- that means the employees -- would have the right to full information about what was proposed and what the impact would be, and the right to consult with management about how the change would be implemented.
Contrast that with the situation now, Mr. Speaker. I talked to a young manager last night who told me that in his firm if the managers are doing something new and they are doing it now, they look at the alternatives and place orders for the equipment; then a few days before they are going to bring the equipment on the line, they tell their employees. That is not fair, it is not equitable, it is not good enough and it has got to change.
The legislation would try to protect workers whose jobs may be displaced by change. That means the committees would be able to talk about adjustment measures, about moving workers, about retraining them, about helping them to fit in elsewhere in the plant, maybe even about moving them to another work place that is controlled by the same company; and if people had to be displaced, about doing it in the most humane and civilized way possible and facilitating the retraining of those workers so they could go somewhere else.
As part of the philosophy that workers should share in the power and responsibility in the work place, I am also proposing that management should be required to report to the technological change committees two or three times a year on the general state of the firm and on proposals for technological change or other innovations that may affect the workers or their work.
I think that if a union exists, it should have the right to bargain over technological change and to strike, if necessary, during the life of the contract, in line with a principle that was originally enunciated by Mr. Justice Freedman back in the early 1960s and has been consistently ignored by governments ever since.
Where there is no union or where the union does not want to risk having the whole contract reopened, I think the Ontario Labour Relations Board should have the power to step in and at least delay the implementation of technological change for up to a year, if management has tried to impose the change without adequate advance notice and consultation.
The fourth point I want to make is that training should be lifelong. I am not even sure where this is going to lead us, and I want to explore the implications myself because I am going to continue working on this particular problem over the course of the coming months.
Some members may recall the Houdaille shutdown in Oshawa, which is one of those shutdowns for a lot of workers aged 40 or more who thought they had security for life because they had a good contract and seniority but found themselves without it. I had friends in that situation, and it took three or four years before they got a steady job. Some of the workers who were fired from SKF, from Massey-Ferguson and from Houdaille have not got jobs yet, and their situation is really tragic.
I do not think in future we can afford to run those kinds of risks. I do not think our society, our workers or our management can afford to maintain the kind of inflexible work force we have had in which people stay in the same job for 20 years and stop learning on the job at the beginning of that period. What that means is that we have to become serious about retraining and upgrading workers in a way this country and province have never done before.
The $14 million that the Treasurer included in his budget is just a pittance. What we need, I believe, is an entirely new approach in which training becomes an integral part of every job and every work place in Ontario. I suggest that since workers, society and employers all benefit from that kind of innovation, the cost might be shared three ways. Maybe we should ask the workers to put in an extra hour a week, in order to have an hour of training. Maybe we should suggest that employers set aside an hour of paid time a week for training as well, and that some of the costs be shared by government.
At one stroke that would liberate 100 hours per worker per year for training, a type of ongoing training we simply have not known in this province before. It would be a major step forward to the concept of lifelong training.
I am not sure how we would do it. Our community colleges have not really responded because they have been cut back so viciously by this government in terms of their resources. A lot of the training would probably take place on the job. I think we have some models in certain firms -- IBM comes to mind -- which do a lot of internal training, particularly for management. That should be applied to everybody in the work place, not just a favoured few.
In our response to the budget, the New Democratic Party proposed a $150-million work futures training fund that would provide paid educational leave. We should look at that kind of innovation as a supplement to the type of training on the job I am talking about.
The task force on labour market development, a few years ago, recommended a registered educational leave plan, modelled on the registered retirement savings plan and the registered home ownership savings plan of the federal government. It would also encourage that type of recycling, that kind of time off during the prime years of one's working life, so that one could learn new skills and be recycled, rather than being thrown on the scrap heap at the age of 40 or 45.
My time is running short. I want to make my final points more briefly, but I will be developing them elsewhere. I think they are important and should be considered seriously by members of all parties.
My fifth point is that the unemployed should have the right to train. It is ludicrous that when there are a million and a half people unemployed and the federal government says unemployment will be 10 per cent, at least, for the next five or seven years, we still tell people: "You cannot take a course of training. You have to knock on doors every day to find a job." If half the unemployed workers in our country today were to be in training for better skills, so they could be more competitive and make a contribution to our society, it would not do a jot or tittle to increase the total burden of unemployment insurance payments.
I think it is important to start to think in those terms. It is an innovative kind of thing which, among other things, might help the dignity of people who are currently unemployed.
Sixth, I think our education system must be looked at very seriously. It staggers me that even today, half the young people going to high school in Ontario do not get past grade 12; they do not graduate. How the devil are they going to survive in the technologically advanced world of the 1990s and the 21st century? I do not know. Why is it that everybody in this country can learn to drive, and drive pretty safely, and yet half our population cannot even pass grade 12? What is wrong with our education system, and why are we failing to teach people about learning to learn, so they can continue to learn for their lifetime?
Seventh, we need to find ways of breaking down barriers. A friend who is a trade unionist told me a story about how his union executive invited the president of one of the companies it deals with into a seminar a few months ago in Banff. The president of the company went in there, and he was scared to death. He did not know what to expect, or what they would give him, because he had had so little contact with the other side in bargaining over so many years. We need to break down those barriers by use of community agencies, churches, the government, any way we can, if we are going to have a productive joint effort to resolve common problems with respect to technological change.
Finally, we need to look seriously at ways of sharing the work. I have become a bit of a pessimist. I recognize --
Mr. Speaker: I direct the member's attention to the clock.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a minute and a half.
Mr. Speaker: No, the time has expired.
Mr. Cassidy: May I just finish in a minute? I appreciate the forbearance of the House. Right now one in every six Ontario workers, if we count the hidden unemployed, is out of a job. That is not going to change quickly with this government. Even when we take power it is going to take time to resolve it.
I suggest we should start thinking about ways to share the work as well as sharing the leisure. That means the barriers to work-sharing should be removed, the impediments to part-time work should be removed -- the pensions, the Ontario health insurance plan problems and those kinds of things. Nobody ordained we all work 2,000 hours a year. There is no reason all of us should not perhaps enjoy sabbaticals occasionally rather than just professors and high-priced civil servants up in Ottawa.
When I get to 60, why can I not work for 1,000 or 800 hours a year and spend half the time travelling? Why can we not look at alternatives like that? If there is not enough work to go around, surely we should be talking about ways of giving everybody a chance to have the self-respect of having a job, ensuring some do not endure forced leisure while other people do not have enough.
I could say more, but I want to conclude by saying the impact of technological change is with us now. We need innovative solutions to find an answer. It is about time that people on every side began to look at some new solutions, because if we do not, we will have terrible problems facing us in this province over the course of the next few decades.
Mr. Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 28, the member for Prescott-Russell has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to a question.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Did the honourable member adjourn the debate?
Mr. Speaker: No, he did not; sorry.
Mr. Cassidy: I am sorry. I was seeking to terminate, but I am not sure if the member over there is --
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might, on behalf of the member, adjourn the debate?
On motion by Hon. Mr. Gregory, the debate was adjourned.
BATTERED WOMEN REPORT
Mr. Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 28, the member for Prescott-Russell has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to a question.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, you will recall that on Monday I asked the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Sterling) why an answer had not yet been forthcoming to the very important report tabled in the Legislature on December 15, 1982, concerning the issue of wife battering. The minister indicated to me he has not yet terminated compiling and assembling responses from the various ministries. That kind of answer after six months of delay is totally unacceptable, and I am sure that you, Mr. Speaker, will agree.
The government stated in the throne speech, "My government believes that there is a need to accelerate progress in the area of women's issues." I quote further that "much remains to be done." Such has been said many times during the last few months by this government, and many of us are getting increasingly sceptical of what the government is saying.
One news reporter, Wendy Warburton of the Ottawa Citizen, even said, on May 16, 1983, in a column, "Premier Bill Davis is handing out goodies to women these days with all the pubescent enthusiasm of a teenage boy who's just discovered girls."
All this from a government that purports to be interested in issues relating to women. I would like to tell the members that there is much to make us wonder about just how dedicated this government is towards women's issues. Let me remind the members of page 4298 of Hansard from which I would like to quote the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor), one of the respondents to the wife-battering report about which the Provincial Secretary for Justice is trying to assemble his answer so he can give it to this House.
The Solicitor General said on that day, when we asked him to increase the training for policemen on the issue of wife battering, "I am sure on another particular day there would be many people wanting more hours spent on education, on criminal investigation, on driving, on pursuit training, on any number of other areas," comparing the issue of wife abuse to such a thing as criminal investigation, driving and pursuit training, as if that were to be measured with the same kind of rule.
On another day, on page 6298, the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) stated: "Somebody said there are 50,000 battered ... women in Metropolitan Toronto alone. That is based on a one-to-10 ratio. I think that ratio is very substantially escalated. There is a study coming out that says the real ratio is about one in 300. By the end of the calendar year 1983, we will have a sufficient program in place not only in Metropolitan Toronto but across the province, where that type of emergency shelter will be available when it is required."
Six months have passed since then. Not only has the government not put these shelters in place for battered women, it has not even answered the report. Some issues have been raised today in regard to other cabinet opinions on the issue of battered women. There is a considerable number of conflicting opinions coming from that government, which has told this Legislature and the women of this province on repeated occasions, and through the appointment of a minister specifically designated towards improving the lot of women in this province, that things will improve.
This is six months after an all-party committee of this Legislature worked very hard preparing a report that was received favourably by almost everyone with the exception of a few cabinet ministers. There was one in particular who made some remarks one day that were not too favourable towards the report. But practically everyone else has acknowledged that this report was done in a nonpartisan way and for the benefit of all concerned, especially the battered women of this province. The full dedication of all honourable members of this committee was placed in this very important area.
I am sure you will agree, Mr. Speaker, that for the Provincial Secretary for Justice to stand in his place in this Legislature six months later and to say he has not yet finished assembling, correlating and receiving responses from his cabinet colleagues is totally insufficient and unacceptable, not only to all members of this Legislature but to all women of this province as well.
The House adjourned at 10:38 p.m.