The House resumed at 8 p.m.
Hon. Mr. Grossman moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Eaton, resolution 13:
That the Treasurer of Ontario be authorized to pay the salaries of the civil servants and other necessary payments pending the voting of supply for the period commencing November 1, 1983, and ending December 31, 1983, such payments to be charged to the proper appropriation following the voting of Supply.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I thought the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) might have taken this occasion to make a statement on the economy of the province, or on his projections for the future of the budget or on whatever subject would be associated with this matter. This is the first occasion when he has formally had the carriage of a matter pertaining to the Treasury of the province.
Since it is the first occasion, I want to express my congratulations to the Treasurer. In the dying months of the Conservative administration, I do not know of anyone I would sooner have in that job. Along with others on this side, I have watched him move from ministry to ministry, and I personally always enjoy his work in the Legislature. He has been known to be a bit unkind on occasion, even un-Christian, but I do not want to go too far.
I know for a fact that if you are exposed to the Treasurer when he wants either to defend himself or to attack mercilessly, he is quite capable of doing that. I also feel that his ability to take the initiative in matters under his jurisdiction in previous ministries reminds me of a previous Minister of Economics, the Honourable Bob Macaulay, who is still extant and very active in government circles.
When I was first elected, I recall the then minister used to be called, in a pejorative sense, minister of all departments, because whenever a minister got up to say something about some new initiative he was taking, he would have to give second place to Mr. Macaulay, who it turned out had the initiative in cabinet and all the background economically associated with it.
I would have thought that some of his colleagues would have found that annoying, but he did it with a lot of panache, as we call it in South Dumfries, and with a good deal of factual knowledge with which he could at least attempt to overcome critics and he carried it off rather well.
I would predict that this new Treasurer might follow in those footsteps. There is some indication that from time to time he is going to enter into the headlines of the provincial press by expressing his view of the economy, the emerging economy, the improving economy, from the standpoint of a government spokesman. But we will watch that with a great deal of interest.
One thing Macaulay used to do the day before the budget, or perhaps a few days before, was to give a major overview of the economy and the prospects of the province. That used to upstage the Treasurer to some extent, but I believe it was quite valuable and certainly would lie within the purview of the minister.
What I do intend to do in these few remarks is to begin by congratulating the new Treasurer. We expect great things of him. I would tell him in this debate, which might not be concluded this evening, that I would hope he would take the opportunity when he chooses to respond to give us a rather fuller view of what we may expect in the winter months before we are treated to another budget, some time in March or whenever, because there is no doubt the problems that have besieged the provincial economy are not going away as rapidly as some of the minister's Ottawa colleagues would expect.
I heard the Honourable Mr. LaLonde indicating publicly that since he became Minister of Finance, there has been a tremendous lightening of economic pressures, that the inflation rate has been reduced substantially and that unemployment levels are somewhat reduced to something between 10 and 12 per cent, depending on which averages one is looking at.
There is no doubt about it, the initiatives taken by the government of Canada have had a tremendously valuable effect. Even two years ago, they established as a basis for the controlling of inflation the reduction first to six per cent and then to five per cent. They are right on target, as members should be aware.
I feel this House ought to pass a motion congratulating them, not only for having the perspicacity to see into the future but also for having the will and the political initiative to take the kind of leadership that is improving the economy of Ontario in spite of the tremendous, additional albatrosses that are weighing us down. As a matter of fact, I can count 29 of them, although they are not all in their seats this evening.
We should recall that the Treasurer, in administering the budget of Ontario, is responsible for the spending of about $60 million a day. That is a rather conservative estimate. In fact, we are spending money at a greater rate than that.
I find it is helpful in assisting my constituents and anyone else who will listen to understand the breadth and strength of the provincial budget, to point out that we are spending between $18 million and $19 million a day on health services and just a little bit less than that on education if one counts the all-in provisions for education, including elementary and secondary, public and separate and the moneys raised by local school boards. In fact, the total for education is right up there with the expenditure for health.
In my view, we have a tremendous responsibility, even for interim supply, not to allow the expenditures to go through on the nod, as they say in Westminster. It has been brought to my attention by no less a person than the Clerk himself, who I notice left his chair when he saw me rise to participate in this debate, that there were many occasions in the past when interim supply was not considered to be a vehicle for any extensive debate. I certainly do not intend to make it such a vehicle tonight, but I would say that, particularly when we approach a winter of the kinds of economic problems that are certainly in the offing for us, we would be remiss in our duty if we did not give what advice we could to the Treasurer and his colleagues for the remaining period in this particular budget year.
The unemployment statistics are very little better than they were a year ago. There seems to be some lightening, but once again that depends on one's community. We saw the headlines in the Toronto provincial press two or three days ago that Massey-Ferguson, with employees in Brantford and in Toronto, was laying everybody off for a seven-week period and hoping that farm prosperity would be buoyant enough to warrant the rehiring of at least a part of that work force early in 1984. There is nothing definite or sure about that, because farm prosperity is something that has been something less than heartening in recent months.
The Speaker would be aware, and certainly the Treasurer would, that farm prices so far as grains are concerned have been considerably more buoyant this harvesting season. A year ago, soybeans were selling for around just $6 a bushel and this year they are going at considerably more than $10 a bushel.
The government officials were advising all the intelligent and progressive farmers to be sure to sell their crop in advance so they would be able to hedge the possibility of any changes in the price. Following the government's advice, some of us more progressive farmers sold our crop in advance for something less than the price it would command now. I should have known never to follow the advice of this administration or any of its agencies, but some of us are perhaps getting smart a bit too old. Next year I will not make that mistake again, but there is no accounting.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Nixon now. Nixon now.
Mr. Nixon: As a matter of fact, the farming business, as the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) knows, is very much a gamble. I think that is why he got out of it and into the construction business, where one can always count on the government paying its bills.
The situation in Brantford, which is probably as bad in as any community in the province, has been aggravated by the continuing problems with the White Farm Equipment company, about which I had been hoping to have a report from the ministry over the past few days. As we know, the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. F. S. Miller) is travelling the Pacific Rim. I have a feeling he may be relaxing in the naval --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He's back.
Mr. Nixon: Oh, he is back? We will look forward to having a report from the minister, perhaps tomorrow morning, because I can assure the House that the community of Brantford and Brant county is concerned. I have no apology to make for bringing that up in this debate, because there are 1,000 working people involved in this who have been laid off for a year to 18 months and many of them -- I suppose all of them -- have personal and family responsibilities.
If one wants to see a situation of hard times, one need only go to the Brantford and Brant county area and talk to the laid-off farm workers. They have not had permanent employment for more than two years. While we are hoping the decisions of the receivers associated with White Farm Equipment will be such that some employment will be maintained, there still are no assurances of anything associated with that. One of the problems certainly has to do with the educational system associated with employment, and I may return to that a bit later in my remarks.
However, I want to say something quite specific about the minister and the ministry, because in recent days we have been treated to some specific details of the revenue that comes into the consolidated revenue fund from the sale of alcoholic liquors in the province. I do not intend to dwell on that. Not being a teetotaller myself, I have no objection whatsoever to people making certain purchases as I know some of my good friends on the other side have already done this evening.
Mr. Kolyn: Like some of your own colleagues.
Mr. Shymko: I've got the only dry riding.
Mr. Nixon: What happened to my friend tonight? He must have been travelling.
Mr. Foulds: One for Nixon, zero for Shymko.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Nixon: I think we should be aware that the Treasurer, in one of his several previous incarnations, has expressed a deep and commendable concern, not for the profits the province makes out of the liquor business but for the effects on the community as a whole.
I want to quote something the Treasurer said March 30, 1978. He was barely old enough to vote then, although he was a member of the Legislature. This was by way of a statement by the ministry to the House on alcohol advertising. Even then the minister was prolix, and in that connection I will not read all of his statement.
Mr. Nixon: It is legal. Let me say that.
He said in part in reference to liquor advertising, "All such advertisements shall be directed towards and emphasize the nature and quality of the product being advertised, and shall not imply that social acceptance, personal success, business or athletic achievement may result from the use of the product being advertised."
Does the minister remember that? He went on to say:
"Advertisements must not suggest that the consumption of alcoholic beverages per se may be a significant factor in the realization of the enjoyment of any activity. Advertisements must not suggest that participants in work, sports, hobby, recreation and other similar activities should consume alcoholic beverages while engaging in their work or other activity. Nor may advertising suggest that consumption of alcohol in any way enhances performance or enjoyment of these activities."
I, not being as politically upwardly mobile as the Treasurer, have perhaps a few more minutes at my disposal to watch television. I watch the occasional ball game, the occasional hockey game. Actually, with the quality of the sports I see, the beer ads are sometimes the best entertainment on the TV. Mr. Speaker, you may see them from time to time. I have a magic button on the little console that allows me to change channels and watch three or four games at once, or maybe a movie and an interview of the Treasurer plus a hockey game; so I get to see a lot of those ads.
The idea of the beer advertising in this province now not accelerating the use of beer is really preposterous. Every kind of physical activity -- and I mean every kind -- is seen to be more enjoyable if at the end of it, if not before it, one participates with a foaming glass of brew that comes from one of the companies that supports the Treasurer's administration and no doubt supports the Treasurer as well.
That is another matter. When one sees how much money the Treasurer has in his leadership campaign kitty, there is no doubt that every brewer, if not in the country, on the continent, has taken part just on the off chance that some time in the future they want to call in their markers.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It's like selling your crop early.
Mr. Nixon: Yes, except that the Treasurer cannot lose. He has the money in the bank, or in the sock; I do not know.
Certainly the sentiments expressed by the Treasurer so many years ago when he was controlling beer advertising were commendable. The House broke into applause. I had spoken about this before and I thought: "Well, that is the end of that issue. We are finally going to bring some order to a problem that has plagued this province for a long time."
The idea that those beer ads do not promote the sale of beer to young people is just preposterous. The argument is put by the minister and his friends that it does not increase the sale; it just means there is competition among brands. I certainly reject that out of hand, because we know there are more beer ads than anything else, and they must surely teach the value of having a good cold beer just after you get out of the balloon or climb down off the water skis or off those fantastic sailboards or whatever they are and before you start the other activity of the evening, which is obviously well laid on.
There is no way whatsoever that the aim of this whole thing is not simply to increase the revenues of the beer companies. This does not hurt the Treasurer very much, because he shares in those revenues, which he is taking in as the Treasurer. The Minister of Revenue (Mr. Gregory), his factotum, takes in something like $700 million in markup profits alone. He is gesturing $500 million to me, but when you add that to the sales tax he plasters right on the top, we are getting up to the $700-million range.
As I say, it is a difficult thing for a person who wants to talk on this subject to draw the line. I am not saying that people should not drink; I am simply saying that we as a Legislature should beware of leading young people into this sort of thing so that they really cannot make up their own minds at all.
The quality of those ads is par excellence. I have not even seen Tory television ads in the last election campaign that could measure up to them.
Mr. Nixon: I wanted to insult the Tory members and obviously now I have done it. They have the Premier's jingle about, "Let's keep the promise." Obviously the same person who writes the "Let's keep the promise" jingle writes the other one, "Let's cut out, let's get out of here, let us go and hoist a few, let's get the boys around."
Actually, I think the beer songs are better than the Davis songs, but they are all in the same bag.
The lessons that come from those ads are really appalling.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has the floor.
Mr. Nixon: For one thing, there is not only the problem that I have spoken about -- that these young people are, through peer pressure and advertising pressure, really being led into becoming little revenue producers for the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) -- there are other lessons in those ads that are really appalling. Have members noticed it is always the men who are the fast sailors and the highest flyers in the balloon? They have all those weird machines they are zooming around the lake on. They come to shore, they walk up and there are the dainty little ladies, all with their beers on the trays, ready to serve them with a capital S.
We had a great debate this afternoon about women's rights. I cannot understand why women's organizations do not raise the devil about those beer ads. I really think they are absolutely appalling.
There is another aspect to the lesson of the ad. I will tell all the young people -- I consider myself young, Mr. Speaker, you and I -- are pretty impressionable. One of the lessons in the Treasurer's beer ads is always: "Ain't work terrible? We are cutting out. We have done it for the weekend."
There is one out at Malton airport where the guy is waving the big plane in and working very hard. He says, "Cutting out," and closes shop and hops on his motorcycle. The sooner he can get away from work the better. Obviously he has been working double or triple time, there is no doubt about that. But then he is going to do what he really wants to do. The concept is that any work one has stinks and the only thing worth doing is hoisting some cold brews with the boys.
There is another lesson that perhaps we ought to go into and it is one that concerns me a little bit. From time to time I tune in to Buffalo. It also has a lot of beer ads and they are very good too. Some of them tend to be funny. Actually, some Canadian ones make a little nod in that direction but one sees them so often that even the pathetic jokes drive one crazy after a while.
The ones in the states sort of glorify working. The guys are working hard, and after they have worked hard they have earned a few beers.
Mr. Haggerty: "It's Miller time."
Mr. Nixon: Exactly, the Miller time ones are marvellous. Of course, their beer is what per cent? Four per cent?
Mr. Foulds: No, 2.5 per cent.
Mr. Nixon: Is it only 2.5 per cent? One notices in the Miller advertisements here that while they are cutting around the little ladies carrying the beer it hits on the label and the only thing you read on the label is five per cent alcohol, so one knows one is getting good old Miller but it has good old Canadian content. So one is getting it both ways.
It seems to me the American ads have a different kind of lesson. For one thing the jokes are funny, but also the people who are working are really working and they are not considering that the worst thing in the world they have to do.
I think it is time for the Treasurer, as minister of all departments, the person who gets to spend the money, to express some concern about what has happened to the policy that he himself enunciated in this House. As far as I know, it has not changed.
Mr. Kolyn: What year was that?
Mr. Nixon: It was not that long ago. It was in 1978. You must remember that. You were only in grade 12. You were just starting.
Mr. Speaker, you may think times have changed. If they have, they have not improved, because the other example that I think we should talk about leads directly into the consolidated revenue fund also, and that is crazy Miss Penelope and that wacko grocer she buys her Wintario tickets from.
Once we let a Sunday school teacher from Brampton take over the government there is no end to it. I walked into the Legislature today and there were wheels of fortune all ticking away down there. I suppose the Treasurer comes in by a private entrance. His limousine slides into some secret hidey-hole and he comes by tunnel across here to take part in question period.
It was in a good cause. They are raising money for something useful and that is okay, so I will not talk about money changers in the temple and all that stuff. I will let that part of my speech go. But when we look at the efforts that were begun by the Deputy Premier himself to get people to buy lottery tickets, we wonder -- well, this is a Tory phrase -- where will it all end? I try to keep myself from asking that question because even this government is not going to put an end to the province.
I look at Miss Penelope -- who has to be a senior secretary in the Deputy Premier's office who has been seconded for this purpose -- and I will tell you, that old grocer is an evil man. He is pushing those tickets -- God only knows what he has under the counter that he is pushing along with it. I have a feeling --
Mr. Ruston: Careful now. Careful.
Mr. Nixon: Actually, if you listen to him, he giggles before he says anything. The next time you see the ad, Mr. Speaker -- you need only go out into the lounge on the Liberal side and turn on our large television console, it is right here -- you will find that you will be able to see Miss Penelope and the grocer and he does a lot of funny giggling.
Actually they found that these ads were not as productive as they should be. People thought, 'We do not care if Miss Penelope wins or not. When she wins, what she wins is a free ticket." Have you noticed that? A free ticket. Big deal. But they have introduced sexual tension into these ads. Have you noticed? The last time, here is Miss Penelope with this weirdo niece who is buying dark glasses just behind her, and obviously she is getting a little desperate because over in the corner is the grocer's nephew with a broom. There they are, and immediately you can think of the genius down at Foster Advertising, or Hugh Segal, who is now working for a living, thinking of what he can do to sell more of these tickets. So now he has put sex in these ads.
It concerns me. I really believe the Treasurer has a responsibility in all of this stuff -- not to restore morality because I am not sure that is what we are really aiming for -- but for just a little common sense.
We have huge revenues coming in here. We are spending $60 million a day and I just do not believe that we have to put up with so much of this bad stuff; stuff that we as members of the Legislature should be objecting to and frankly I am objecting to it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: You talked about alcohol; now tobacco.
Mr. Nixon: Exactly. That is my next item. I can recall when the Treasurer's predecessor brought his budgetary provisions in last March that there was the usual increase in the tobacco tax and I can remember well speaking on that bill, along with a number of my colleagues, and opposing it.
The increase in the tobacco tax -- because it was made an ad valorem tax and pasted right on top of it was the old sales tax of an additional seven per cent -- really meant an overall increase of about 50 per cent in one year after the large increases in previous years. There was no response from the government at all, other than the feeling from the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Gregory) that people expect tobacco and liquor taxes to go up and yes, we have done it again.
This was a huge increase indeed, and the tobacco industry is the biggest farm industry in the province, by a considerable amount, that is returning dollars to the producers and to the economy. Since the tax was imposed, they have found that their revenues have gone down.
There are politicians who are prepared to say publicly that is a good thing. There is a very fine lady in Ottawa who, from time to time, says we ought to triple the tobacco tax because people are dying from the use of cigarettes. The lady is the Honourable Monique Bégin, the Minister of Health, who sticks with her responsibilities. She does not jump from portfolio to portfolio just when things get tough, the way some ministers do.
She was expressing an opinion as the Minister of Health, but it is the Treasurer of Ontario who imposed a 52 per cent increase in the tobacco tax in this province. I go down and talk to the tobacco marketing board people. They complain about Monique -- they used to complain about Judy and they used to complain about John Munro -- because the Minister of Health for Canada had expressed the view that governments had a responsibility vis-à-vis the tobacco business. All right, that is fine.
However, the thing that is really damaging the tobacco business -- I am not criticizing them; why should I? -- is the ad valorem tax that has been dreamed up by this government and which sailed through the House without a single objection from the Conservative side. We now find that it is having an extremely detrimental effect.
I know that the tobacco board has approached the Treasurer with the very best and latest research to indicate that there ought to be some sort of a withdrawal in that connection. I do not know what is in his mind, but when we asked him in the House about it the other day, he would not give us the assurance that the taxes would not continue to increase.
It is interesting to note that from tobacco revenue alone he gets about $500 million, I believe. I have the book here. It is a substantial amount of money, because one gets sales tax on it as well. It is interesting to compare that with the total amount of money that we spend on our --
Mr. Nixon: Five hundred million dollars, the Treasurer now assures me. That is close enough. It is far more than we spend on all of our agricultural programs in this province.
My colleague the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) proposed that we have a special debate on beef farming problems earlier this week. This was not permitted, Mr. Speaker, by yourself because you considered that it was not an emergency. You realize that, while we contested that, the majority of the members of the House agreed with you. I am not here to argue about that now, other than to say there are tremendous pressures on all farmers, but particularly the beef farmers, at this time.
The way that this province has fallen so far behind the other provinces in programs designed to support these farmers is really unacceptable. When one thinks of the tobacco tax alone, that the government is getting $500 million and it is spending just a little more than half that on all of the farm program, it really means its priorities are screwed up.
It may be that the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) does not have the kind of clout in the cabinet that his immediate predecessor had. There is reason to believe that he does not, that there is a tendency for the Treasurer and others to put him down and not allow him to come forward with the kinds of programs that the farmers need.
I am just telling the members what my constituents tell me. It is not my job to say they are wrong. It seems to me that the Minister of Agriculture and Food has not taken the kind of initiatives that we might have expected from an upwardly mobile young politician who had his sights set on the stars. There are those who believe that his personal agenda has interfered with the sorts of programs that the farmers should have.
There has to be a somebody in the inner council of the cabinet. I do not know who that is. The Premier is away a lot of the time. The Deputy Premier is totally involved with women's issues. The Treasurer is just now finding his balance and trying to get his campaign chairman well established in something lucrative in these areas, so that he will have enough time to do some really important work.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Not a word of it.
Mr. Nixon: All of this is true. It is hard to tell who really is running the store. I have a lot of confidence in the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), who is always here when he can be, paying close attention. He is doing nice things in the constituency of Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. I do not crow about it too much because I do not want the Tories to get ambivalent about the money spent on roads in Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. It is difficult to know in this whole mob of 29 cabinet ministers, 28 or whatever, and 28 parliamentary assistants, who really is the nucleus of the group making the government decisions.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: All of us; one big family.
Mr. Nixon: Yes, yes. It must be murder if it is one big family.
I would just say the Treasurer may find himself long before his time having to take some pre-eminent responsibility and initiative, not just for keeping the books and delivering a statement once a year as to the budget, but he must follow the example of some of his more high-flying predecessors. Not the very recent ones; McKeough to some extent, Jim Allan to some extent, but really going back to Bob Macaulay. He was a Treasurer, but as a minister took responsibilities and even did a little bit of stepping on toes from time to time.
His colleagues may not like it, but we are going to need leadership over there. I am not saying that in any pejorative sense, but we are not getting it from the present Premier. Things are too easy for him and he thinks running the government these days, a Conservative government, is just putting out little grass fires, taking shots at the opposition parties, keeping things nicely balanced over here, playing some kind of a political game. But in fact there is nobody applying the sort of initiative that a budget amounting to $60 million a day should permit.
Larry -- Mr. Speaker, I hope the Treasurer will consider this advice, given to him in the very best --
Mr. Speaker: Order. I must caution the honourable member. That is the second time he has, inadvertently I am sure, used the name of the member to whom he is referring. I would ask all honourable members to refer to other members by their riding. Thank you.
Mr. Nixon: Right, right. Mr. Speaker, you may recall your advice on that has gone on both sides of the fence over the years, and we have now come down firmly on this side, just at the time when the committee dealing with the rules of the House of Commons has recommended to Madam Speaker there that the time has come when perhaps the surname of the member referred to might be in order under certain circumstances. Naturally we do not follow their lead in these matters, but I appreciate your advice.
I do want to say to the Treasurer that he does have an opportunity, as the supervisor of this enormous budget and as a man who I think has shown in his previous responsibilities that he can have insightful ideas -- and perhaps inciting, but insightful ideas -- that he can take the initiative a Treasurer in the past has been granted by his colleagues, sometimes reluctantly, to see that the programs are designed to accomplish the resumption of the kind of prosperity we all want to see here: namely, the reduction in the levels of unemployment to the point where we are not having to cope with the kind of misery in the province that is certainly characteristic of many of my constituents and those of the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) and others.
It is time in a government, which after 40 years is approaching the last few months of its existence, that there be a rejection of so many of the commitments made over these years to previous leaders and to previous programs. The time has come for a new look at these problems; a new look with regard to the quality of education that we have talked about before and shall certainly talk about again.
I close my remarks by welcoming the honourable member to his new responsibility, to say that obviously the eyes of the province are on him, not just tonight, although we would hope to hear from him tonight, or during this debate, as to his concepts and ideas as to what we can do in this province with a budget of $60 million a day. We wish him well and we want to offer him the sort of advice that will come from me and from opposition members during this debate with the hope we can have a better performance by those in charge of the fiscal levers and the financial initiatives than we have seen in the past.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I want to associate myself in the beginning with some of the remarks made by the previous speaker, particularly with regard to the developing soap opera drama in the Wintario-Lottario ads, Mr. Hall, Miss Penelope, niece Vicki and nephew Gordon.
I also want to associate myself with some of the distaste the previous speaker indicated for the so-called lifestyle ads in beer advertisements that are the only things one sees between the shots of the World Series baseball games.
First of all, I want to express my disappointment that the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) did not see fit to open this first debate on economic matters with a statement of his own. Unlike the previous speaker, it is not my usual habit to talk in personal terms about a member or cabinet minister, but I will this evening for a minute or two. I want to express my genuine congratulations to the minister on being appointed Treasurer. I wish him well, not merely for his sake, but for the sake of the people of Ontario, because the Treasurer's job without a doubt is the most serious cabinet portfolio a minister can have outside of the premiership itself.
I have said in the past the Treasurer is a bright, brash, aggressive and ambitious man, and I think that is still true. He has two engaging qualities. One is that his hidden agenda is so much out in the open that we know he genuinely wants to be Premier. The second engaging quality, if I may say so about the Premier -- a slip of the tongue there; I just killed the minister's chances -- about the Treasurer is the genuine affection and concern he has for his family. That is genuine, and those of us who are committed to political life and have young families feel that very strongly. I respect that in the minister.
I also used to think he was glib. Now I am not so sure. Actually, I think the feeling the Premier (Mr. Davis) has about the Treasurer is that the qualities the Treasurer has are fairly obvious and quite strong. There is in the public's mind, certainly in his colleagues' minds, the question about whether he has any depth or staying power. I suspect what the Premier thought at the parish pump in Brampton was: "The young minister has all these talents. Let us see if he has any depth. Let us give him Treasury."
Treasury has been the graveyard of people who have been capable and bright but skaters -- I am thinking of Allan MacEachen, for example. Treasury has also been the graveyard of people such as the former Treasurer, (Mr. F. S. Miller) whose strong suit has been his candour and his gee-whiz freshness. The former Treasurer almost made a professional --
Mr. Rotenberg: He did a good job.
Mr. Foulds: I would not go that far. He had many admirable qualities, but a good Treasurer the previous Treasurer was not. He was a good accountant, but not a particularly good Treasurer, and there is a world of difference. The member would not know the difference, but there is a world of difference.
I would like to say those things in a personal way about the Treasurer. I would hope he does the job with success and that he can bring some of the former Treasurer's candour and directness to the job, with the better overall view that the budget needs to be an economic document, not merely a fiscal document, and the Treasurer's job needs to be a job that basically has to do with all the economic sides of our society. Because of that, it associates itself with every single intervention the government already takes into people's lives, into the life of society.
Several of my colleagues will go into specific but limited areas, but this evening I want to talk about job creation for a few minutes.
Mr. Rotenberg: Just a few.
Mr. Foulds: Just a few. What is your riding? Armourdale?
Mr. Rotenberg: Close.
An hon. member: Wilson Heights.
Mr. Foulds: The member for Wilson Heights would not understand this because he tries not to listen whenever possible.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Robinson): Order.
Mr. Foulds: Did you call me to order?
The Acting Speaker: It was just a general comment. Try to keep the debate flowing along.
Mr. Foulds: Recently we were told that inflation is now down to five per cent. Without for a moment granting the premise that a man-made recession was necessary to bring inflation down to that level, surely the time has come for even Liberal and Conservative governments to put the emphasis on job creation.
Surely the phrase of the former Minister of Industry and Trade, and at least the temporary holder of the Provincial Secretariat for Justice job, when he assumed the Industry and Trade portfolio and said his first priority was jobs, jobs, jobs, is a slogan that should be taken by this Treasurer. Surely that is a slogan that should be taken seriously by this government because, without jobs as the cornerstone of our economic policy, we lose the human face of the reasons for an economy, we lose the human reason why we have an economy.
There are hundreds of thousands of people in Ontario still looking for the dignity of work. If I recall the figure accurately, the latest statistics show something like 425,000 people still looking for the dignity of work. Every single one of those statistics represents a person or a family finding itself quite literally in dire straits. Those are not just statistics. Those are human beings, men and women with families, men and women who had dreams and hopes, men and women who thought this was indeed a province where they could own a home and raise a family with some dignity and where they themselves had the security and the dignity of a job.
What we have found at the federal level and the provincial level is that we have governments willing to sacrifice the dignity and the security of those people's jobs. I find that shameful. I would hope that this Treasurer takes the opportunity not to talk about nine and five and not to talk about six and five. I will be satisfied with his objectives in the short term if he talks about five and five. If the inflation rate is down to five per cent, let him get the unemployment rate down to five per cent in his next budget.
If we can achieve that, all we are doing is going back to what we were able to achieve in 1975-76. I would suggest to the Treasurer that an objective of five and five is not a bad one. That does not mean restraint on the public service. That means creation of jobs in the private and in the public sector.
In the last couple of months, economists, government politicians and media experts have talked about a so-called economic recovery. We in the New Democratic Party say there is no economic recovery. There is no economic recovery worth talking about until those 425,000 people, those statistics that roll so glibly off the tongue, become individuals in our minds, become the human beings who visit each and every one of us in our constituency offices every week with their stories of unemployment, losing their homes, losing their families, losing their hope. Until those people get off the statistics that continue to face us month after month, there is no economic recovery worth talking about.
The economy, in our view, is not an abstraction out there. It is not something that we talk about as if it were hermetically sealed in a textbook or a budget or in a headline. There is only one reason we as a society have an economy and that is to benefit the people in society. We cannot benefit society as a whole unless we are benefiting each of the individuals in that society; that is a socialist talking, that is socialist talk.
When one is willing, as the Conservative government has been and the federal Liberal government has been, to sacrifice the individual for some abstract thing called an economy, then that is a government that is not worthy of leadership; that is a government not worthy of either the name Liberal or Conservative in the true meaning of those words.
I would suggest that we have had a man-made depression, a government-created depression --
Mr. Rotenberg: The union label is responsible for that.
Mr. Foulds: Oh, I will get to that. Let that remark be on the record, the anti-union remark of the member for Wilson Heights.
The Acting Speaker: Please ignore the interjection and continue your remarks. Order.
Mr. Foulds: The member for Wilson Heights interjects, which I will ignore, Mr. Speaker, with great restraint, that the union label is responsible for the recession and the depression. I just categorically deny that. I challenge the member for Wilson Heights to get to his feet during this debate and prove it and not just shoot from the lip as he is often wont to do in debates like this on a Thursday evening.
I suggest to the Treasurer that the purpose of an economy is to serve people, not to sacrifice people, as this government has done for at least three years now, on some high altar of a fiscal economy. If I may say so, that is what has been so wrong with the man-made depression of 1981-83. The human cost has been too high. The cost to the family, to individuals and to their dignity has been far too high.
I happen to have lived most of my life in a place called Thunder Bay, which is on the western edge of Lake Superior. In fact, that makes me much more a westerner in my outlook than part of the mainstream of southern Ontario. Before I was elected to this Legislature, all of my experience was in northwestern Ontario or western Canada. I think that gives me a special view of the richness, the diversity and the potential of this province.
When I travel this province, as I have had the privilege of doing for the past 12 years as a member of this Legislature, I am struck by the diversity, the richness and the potential of the regions of this province. The regions of this province are as diverse, as rich and as filled with potential as are other regions of this country.
The Acting Speaker: Order. May I ask all honourable members to limit their private conversations, reduce the level of them or hold them somewhere else, please.
Mr. Breaugh: Do you think maybe you could get the cabinet to pay some attention to you, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Foulds: We in this province have for many years been the manufacturing heartland and the richest province in Canada. We still have the resources, the human capability and the creativity, and I believe the people of the province still have the determination and the will to be that once again. But we cannot be that, as a people or as a province, without leadership.
At the present time, we continue to have plant shutdowns, and the Premier (Mr. Davis) and his government and, if I may say so, the Prime Minister and his Liberal government at the federal level, do little about it. We still have farmers losing their farms, and the Premier and his government and the Prime Minister and his government do little about it.
The native people in my part of the province have lost livelihoods and have suffered increased social disruption on account of industrial pollution and other factors for at least the decade of the Davis administration, if not longer, and the administration does little about it.
We lose two of our most precious natural resources, agricultural land and our forest resources, at an unprecedented rate, and the administration does little about it except engage in a public relations game that puts a better face and a better publicity program on the figures than actually exists.
I have indicated that I feel very strongly that job creation, putting to work, at least giving the opportunity of work to those 425,000 currently out of work must be the government's number one priority.
What worries me about the vague statements we have seen coming out since the appointment of the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman) as Treasurer and the demotion of the former Treasurer, the member for Muskoka (Mr. F. S. Miller) to the Ministry of Industry and Trade is that for a while it seemed the magic solution for creating jobs was export markets.
I do not deny the importance of export markets, but what worries me is how the government, almost in a sequential way, goes searching for the Holy Grail of a magic solution. First, it is going to be high technology, then it is going to be export markets, then it is going to be import replacement and then it is going to be something else.
Maybe the smart thing to do is to concentrate on all of those possibilities as much as we are capable of within our limited jurisdiction. In terms of import replacement, for example, we could base marvellous opportunities in the mining machinery industry. This party has talked about that for lo these 10 or 12 years. We could have job creation in the processing of food, in the manufacturing of agricultural machinery, in the development of high-tech industries and in the world of medical supplies.
In spite of the figures that appear to be coming down, it is simply unacceptable that we have an unemployment rate in Ontario of 9.4 per cent in September. When one stops to think that the average unemployment rate between 1971 and 1976 was 5.2 percent, it is unacceptable that a decade later we have an unemployment rate of 9.4 per cent.
It is unacceptable when no single city in Ontario for which Statistics Canada has statistics has an unemployment rate of less than five per cent. It is also totally unacceptable that cities such as Windsor, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Sudbury still have double-digit unemployment rates.
I will begin to admit that there is some progress on the unemployment figures, that there is some progress in the world of creating jobs, when I see in a number of those cities that there are unemployment rates of less than five per cent. That may not be a bad interim, short-term objective to aim for by the time the Treasurer presents his budget.
The most worrying thing we need to look at in the unemployment statistics, as we work through all that maze, is that the duration of unemployment is increasing. The average worker in his or her mid-40s spends almost half a year unemployed, and long-term unemployment -- that is, more than six months -- is now experienced by fully half of those who are unemployed.
What is really startling is that the age group experiencing the growing length of unemployment is those 45 and over, both male and female. In August 1982, which is the last month I have these statistics for, those people were unemployed on an average of 24.9 weeks or more.
In other words, long-term unemployment in Ontario has escalated since 1981. Long-term unemployment in Ontario in August 1981 was about 33 per cent of the total, in August 1982 it was about 37 per cent of the total, and in July 1983 it was 50 per cent of the total.
That to me is the danger statistic. That is the flashing red light the Treasurer should be looking at because, if he does not find genuine retraining programs or genuine employment opportunities for men and women in their middle years, in the 45- to 55- and 60-year age groups, we are going to be facing very serious economic problems and even more serious social problems.
Very briefly, we have not had an economic recovery. What we have had is a profit recovery. There is no question that there has been a profit recovery, but that profit recovery has not yet resulted in a genuine job creation base for our society.
The member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) has left. I regret that, because I wanted to talk a little bit --
Mr. Van Horne: I do not.
Mr. Foulds: I do not really but I am feeling in a sort of generous mood this evening in spite of the seriousness of my topic. I was in a generous mood to the Treasurer; it will probably be the last time that I will be. I would be in a generous mood to the member for Wilson Heights.
I want to talk a bit about trade because occasionally one sees the magic slogan thrown out about free trade: free trade in selective commodities, perhaps with the United States; free trade in everything; free trade in this and free trade in that.
What we have to start thinking about is fair trade and not free trade. We have to establish rules in our jurisdiction. I understand the delicacy in establishing them at the same time as they are established in other countries, or in other jurisdictions, but it is important that we do it.
We have to establish rules that say clearly to the multinational corporations, to the IBMs and so on, that if they sell goods here then it is their responsibility, as part of being a so-called good corporate citizen, to produce here, and to buy their components here as well.
Recently, for example, we lost more than 20,000 jobs alone in the auto industry. If we had fair trade and our fair share of producing the components we are entitled to under the Auto Pact, we could have another 80.000 jobs in Canada.
Our trade deficit in computers alone cost us about 15,000 jobs in Canada. We saw all too clearly when SKF decided to stop manufacturing ball bearings in Canada that it had nothing to do with the efficiency and the capabilities either of the management or the work force at that plant; it had to do with international decisions. We have to remember that General Electric decided to stop manufacturing steam irons, and RCA decided to stop manufacturing colour TVs here.
Canadians consume about $100 billion worth of imported manufactured goods every year. We end each year with a trade deficit that requires the wages of all of Ontario's manufacturing workers to pay for it, and that is no way to run a country. What we consume here and what we can produce here we should produce here. That is a very simple principle, but it is one that is not yet government policy and is not yet a reality in our economy in Ontario.
If we can grow peaches in the Niagara Peninsula, for example -- and we sure can -- we should not import them canned; it is that simple. If we mine nickel in Sudbury, surely we should be able to produce stainless steel cutlery here. If we harvest trees in northwestern Ontario, surely we should be able to manufacture the machinery that goes into cutting those trees down.
I just want to wind up with two or three remarks about one other cliché that tends to come up from time to time, and that is the whole question of sunrise and sunset in the industries. I do not think those terms are very useful.
Let me go back a bit. I believe that governments need to be part of the solution to our economic problems. They need not be the whole part, and they certainly do not need to be the end-all and the be-all; but they cannot withdraw, wash their hands of the economy and say, "Let private enterprise do it all."
This is the rhetoric we hear from Conservative mouths these days. Frankly, I hope it is just rhetoric, because governments buy a lot of supplies and spend a lot of tax dollars, and those tax dollars should be spent to create jobs here. This goes for every level of government, from town councils through to the federal crown corporations.
Many people will say that it cannot be done. In fact, the Treasurer during one of his previous incarnations as Minister of Industry and Trade for a while was very hot on what he called global product mandating. Basically, as I understand it -- and I confess, like the Treasurer, that I am not an economist. As a matter of fact, when I was appointed to this job, one of my friends sent me a primer on economics --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Who sent it to you? That's important.
Mr. Foulds: Who sent it to me? I will never tell.
Anyway, some people will say under that term of global product mandating, which now has sort of filtered down to talk about sunrise and sunset industries, that we cannot do certain things, that other countries are better at making cars or TVs or steel or machine tools or baseballs or clothing and we should let them do it; we should buy their products.
I say we can produce most of those goods, if not all of them, every bit as competently. We should not be prepared to let our basic industries decline; we should not sacrifice our basic industries, whether we are talking about clothing, machinery, cars, televisions or appliances, simply to make a mad dash for high technology on the one hand and resource exploitation on the other.
I think the distinction between so-called sunrise and sunset industries is so much nonsense. Most of Canada's major industries can be winners or they can be losers. The auto industry, for example, has been written off as mature or declining by many commentators; that is, it is a sunset industry. However, the auto industry happens to be the largest user of robotics and programmable controllers. It is a leader in applying lasers and optical scanners to production. It is the first major industrial user of computer-aided design.
The point is that high technology is fundamentally merely a means to an end. One can have all the fancy gadgets one wants, but if one does not have the industries to use them, one does not have the base domestic market to work from to grow into the international markets. Industrial winners are made, not born. One cannot pick those winners blindfolded.
Finally, I want to talk a bit about the service sector, the social sector and the government sector. We live in a world of paradox. There is too little work for the private sector and too much work for the public sector. We have an inadequate supply of basic social services today in this province and in this country. We have public subsidies to capital-intensive production, while labour-intensive public services go begging.
Hiring teachers to teach early childhood education is just as important as producing washing machines. Producing and guiding parents, helping them with their children, is just as important as producing hardware. Employing workers to install scrubbers in hydro plants to reduce acid rain and manufacturing pollution control equipment to improve the quality of our drinking water is just as useful as producing nuts and bolts. Hiring skilled community workers for day care and support programs for the elderly, hiring people for mass transit and building co-operative housing are just as valuable as any production in the private sector.
In many ways, these things are more important to what we would call our standard of living, or what the Premier used to call the quality of our life, than many private sector pursuits.
The economy is not an abstraction; it is a crucial public policy issue. What needs to be done in the economy goes beyond the reach of the private sector. As a person who believes in a mixed economy, I would say that it must include the private sector; but honestly, and even a Conservative would admit it, the private sector cannot deal adequately with the redistribution of work and the redistribution of income. Unfortunately, no matter how considered our efforts, that cannot be done merely through the private sector.
I want to end with a plea to the Treasurer. If he does anything in his tenure as Treasurer before he moves on, he will have done a lasting service to himself and to the people of Ontario if he creates what I call a new five and five program. If he keeps the inflation rate at five per cent in this province -- I know the difficulty because of the international scene and the federal scene -- and aims at and achieves a five per cent unemployment rate, he will have an achievement worth thinking about, worth having and worth becoming the Treasurer of Ontario for.
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I rise to say we will, of course, support the bill for interim supply because to do otherwise would be very irresponsible in looking after the civil servants and the people who require to be paid and all those people from whom goods and services are purchased to keep the government running; but I have a few things I would like to get off my mind to the Treasurer before we vote on this issue.
I recall the meeting we had in our caucus room a couple of years ago with the late president of Suncor, Ross Hennigar. I remember our past leader Dr. Stuart Smith digging and digging and finally extracting from the president that Suncor would not attain its purchase value at something in the order of $48 a share -- that is not the exact figure but it was in that order -- until about the end of the century when inflation caught up to oil prices, caught up to the general level as inflation moved along at its rate of eight, 10 or 12 per cent a year. When the company was finally wound down, in possibly the year 2000 -- and one will recall the price of crude oil was predicted to be $100 a barrel long before that time -- then the purchase of Suncor would be a good buy.
We have a system of mortgaging which a number of people have been caught in which is called negative amortization. That means as one pays one's interest each year, one does not pay any principal. One falls behind a little bit in one's equity position on that mortgage each year as it runs by. It is called negative amortization.
I remember reading of one very successful example of that four or five years ago when the Lord Simcoe Hotel was torn down and the lot was sold -- I think Suncor is on that site, or Sun Life Assurance Co. at any rate, Sun Life -- they said at the time that the property sold for the highest price property has ever been sold for in Toronto. If my memory serves me right, I think they said it was $1,700 a square foot. As a farmer who is used to dealing in acres, I recall there are 43,560 square feet in an acre. At $1,700 a square foot, one would need a computer to figure out the value of that land per acre, but it comes to a huge sum.
That is not the point. The point is that at the end of the windup of the Lord Simcoe Hotel, even though that hotel had never made money in one single year of its operation, which went on for something in the order of 30 or 35 years, there was so much money made on the property, which really was the result of inflation, that it paid a good dividend for all those years and the shareholders came out of the deal okay. That is an example of successful amortization.
Yet this government, and we fully supported it, seized the assets of a number of trust companies, took over those assets and is disposing of them in various ways. In my view, that is what the manipulators of those trust companies were really doing; they were saying: "If we hold on to these purchases long enough, inflation will move them along to the point where, at the end, there will be that many inflated dollars to cover the $512 million. There will be enough money there to cover that." They were all banking on inflation moving along.
From my analysis, it seems to me Mr. Rosenberg was saying: "Between point A and point B there are a lot of dollars in profit. Rather than wait to the end of the period, we will extract that profit now." What he was really doing was extracting a profit in 1982 dollars that would have been expressed probably in the year 2000 dollars. The government, and we supported it, said that was a no-no, and I think it is a no-no. Yet in my opinion we have a government doing exactly the same thing with Suncor. It is exactly the same type of operation, negative amortization, all based on a $100-a-barrel price for oil and all based on inflation.
As my leader pointed out the other day, the results of that tragic move are already too evident. He bought 10 shares on the market at $15 a share. The Premier (Mr. Davis) said that is not a true market value. I suppose there is some validity in that 10 shares hardly gives one an idea of the value of that market to the penny, but it certainly is an indication that those shares are only worth a little less than a third of the price they were worth at the time of buying.
The reason I mention all of this is to show the absurd position the government is in because of its treatment of one company and yet it uses another treatment or actions for itself. As we point out, this is often money that could be used to great advantage in other areas.
We saw one of those areas on Tuesday when the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) moved an emergency motion to try to deal with the very severe emergency position the red-meat people in Ontario find themselves in, particularly those who are in the beef area. The government, not wanting to air such a debate on the floor, hid behind the Speaker's ruling. Of course, the Speaker's ruling was independent, but they would not want to see their members from farm constituencies voting against the farmers of Ontario. One can understand that political position but it is hard to square their obvious neglect of a very important segment of our food industry which today is crying out for dollars.
One of the things I take particular exception to in that whole deal is that for the past two years our Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) has been going to farm meetings -- I have attended some of those meetings and have listened to him -- and he has made great speeches implying that all that is wrong with our agricultural economy here in Ontario is the lack of stabilization. He implies that if only that ogre up in Ottawa, Eugene Whelan, could be persuaded along with the cabinet to go with a stabilization program, we would be well on the way to recovery.
Today he has some general agreement that we will go to a stabilization program, although the provinces involved, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, have not agreed to the fine print and details of it, so it may be that we do not have an agreement at all.
Regardless of that, we wasted those two years by holding out a false hope to the farmers of Ontario, making them believe that it was safe to continue to invest in that industry, safe to continue feeding cattle, providing food for the people of Ontario, because all they had to wait for was the stabilization program to come forward. In fact, I think it is safe to say there were some hints in some of the statements that even if the federal government did not come forward, the province would, although it was never definitely stated.
Finally, today, when he made statements that I believe were designed to take away some of the heat from his own members, and he referred to stabilization, I believe he admitted what I have been saying to him in our estimates and in conversations, that a stabilization program is something like a net put under people who are performing on a high wire. If, by chance, they fall off the high wire, it saves them from death and from being smashed on the pavement below.
That was not the way he talked over the past two years, that it was a net. People listening to him would have got the impression that it would save one from falling off a high wire, one could pass safely from one side of the arena to the other on that high wire; admitting, of course, that anyone who feeds cattle, puts them in the barn, is taking a bit of a chance, it is not a guaranteed way to profits, not by a darned sight.
I believe he led people to assume that they were going to be stabilized somewhat and their balance kept while they did that high-wire walk. Today, we learn that this is not the case because he admits it is a nonincentive program. If English words mean what I think they mean, then a nonincentive program is a price below the cost of production.
I ask members what sort of program is it for the farmers of Ontario when we stabilize them in a losing position? I call it stabilized poverty. Now we have lost those two years in which to debate the larger question, which is that in Canada and in Ontario it has always been public policy, whether under a Liberal government or under a Conservative government, that in general we charge the consumer the price of food so that the consumer, when buying a roast, a hamburger or whatever, would know that the price he was paying was the true price, not a price made up of part of the production cost plus a subsidy from the government. That has been public policy in Canada and Ontario for a long time under both Liberal and Conservative governments.
There is a pretty sensible reason for adopting that stance. Canada is a large country in area with a fairly small population and very much dependent upon export. If we look at the money earned by farmers today, 50 per cent of it comes from export. When we subsidize beef or any other commodity in Canada, 50 per cent of that is going to be realized by Canadian consumers but the other 50 per cent is going to be realized by consumers offshore.
That may be all right for the United States, which is much richer than we are to begin with, but only about nine per cent of their agricultural dollar that goes to their farmers comes from export.
It is a losing game if one is going to try to get in and play that game. It is a mug's game. Canada cannot win. Now we have wasted two years where we might have debated this question in the farm community and among governments, and decided upon that policy.
I am confident that if the people of Ontario, the people of Canada and the farmers were fully apprised of that situation they would in some degree accept it. But the old road that has been taken by the minister has been to waste those years and to put out the implication that, well, it would be all well with them if they only had this stabilization program.
I am reluctant to vote for this interim supply, but of course, I know it must be done.
I certainly challenge the Minister of Agriculture and Food and the government of Ontario to come out and really level with the people as to the policies they are pursuing when it comes to food pricing. One could think back to the review we had of the food pricing system in Ontario about 1978, which resulted in a report in 1980, the investigation into discounting practices in the food industry. That report was pretty much of a whitewash. They exonerated the people who were carrying on these practices. They have continued to carry them on and some allegations are made that they are even increasing them.
But one of the statistics that really shakes one is that industry makes a net return on investment, with some of the better players in the job, of about 16 per cent. It is away ahead of manufacturers and ahead of the distributors. It is ahead of most businesses. Those are dollars that could be used to help bridge that gap between those farmers who today find themselves staring down the abyss of bankruptcy and some measure of support to help them survive.
The tragic part of all of this is that it is not as simple as a gas station going bankrupt or a cleaning business or a restaurant. I sympathize with any business that goes bankrupt for whatever reason, because the people go through hell, but the terrible part of farmers going bankrupt is that the individual person under whose stewardship the ship finally sinks can say to himself: "This farm was established by my great-grandparents in the 1800s. it has gone through several generations; it has put people through universities; professional people have come out of this farm; a lot of good artisans have come out of this farm; the people who make up the cities came from this farm and today I have lost it all."
Before this winter is over there are going to be some very sad situations in that regard. I pray it does not happen. I pray with all my strength it does not happen, but I know the turmoil and the agony that those people suffer because I have seen it. I have brushed close enough myself on those occasions when prices and weather go against one. As I say, there is another example where this government has missed its opportunity to try to help these people.
I am disturbed and disappointed, too, with the actions of the government in regard to social matters. The committee I have been on, the social development committee, dealing with the question of abuse in the family, had an excellent report submitted that was not brought forward.
Then most recently we dealt with abuse in the child welfare area. As a member of that committee, I visited Kenora and saw the plight on the Indian reserve there, the Grassy Narrows reserve, which, admittedly, is probably as bad an example as one could find. Here we find people who not too many years ago were employed in the forest industry. It is said that they could go to Kenora, stand on a street corner in the morning and be picked up by lumber operators, who would take them out to the bush where they would earn a good dollar, and they were expert woodsmen. Of course, mechanization and changes in the forest industry have taken that away from them.
Mr. Haggerty: They even took the wild rice away.
Mr. McGuigan: As the member for Erie says, they took away the wild rice, which was one of their traditional ways of earning their living. The mercury pollution coming from a pulp and paper plant ruined the fishing. So they find themselves without anything to do and they can only live on welfare.
One of the complaints the Indians made was that there was not enough housing. I mentioned this before. It seemed a bit silly to me because for a couple of days or more all I could see on every hand was trees. It seems a bit crazy that in a land that is blessed with unlimited amounts of trees, the best building material in the world, people should be lacking housing.
I said to the Indian chief, 'Were I a young Indian here and my bride and I wanted to move into a house of our own, I would be out there cutting down a tree with an axe" -- I can cut down trees with an axe; I have had experience that way -- "and I would be building myself a house."
It would be a pretty decent house, too. I have pointed out that there are people in this province, and I have seen them in southern Ontario, who are building luxury houses through the method of putting up a log house. The advantages of those houses are that they are very well insulated. Wood itself is a good insulator. Surprisingly, one might think that a house made of wood burns down rather easily, but that is not the case with a log house because logs do not burn as well as cut lumber does. It is a rather safe house to be in, a lot safer than a frame house.
Yet these people's answer was, "We cannot get at any of this timber; it does not belong to us. If we take the timber we will end up in jail." So I ask, would any member of this House, faced with those circumstances, act any differently than they do? They take the way out that most people would take. They try to drown that fire that is in their groin, that fire that is in their bellies and that fire that is in their minds. I am not a drinking man, but faced with the same circumstances, I would try to drown it, too, and I think a lot of other people would try to drown it.
Now that we have these people nearly drowned in liquor, we have the interesting suggestion that the thing to do with them is to take them out in some remote place in the bush. I find that a little intriguing and a little interesting. Here we have bushmen, people who can survive in the bush and have survived in the bush for hundreds of thousands of years, who showed the first immigrants of this country how to survive. The immigrants would have died the first winter or two if it were not for the survival tricks that were taught them by the redman.
We are saying to them, "We think the way to handle your case is to put you back someplace way in the back of beyond." It is somewhat reminiscent of the trite manner of sweeping it under the rug. We take it off the streets of Kenora where people can see it, where visitors to Kenora can see it, where it is a nuisance and put it off in not the back forties but the back four thousands.
I am not an expert on how to deal with these matters. I am not sure whether that is all bad, but it certainly strikes me on the surface that would be a rather ridiculous way to try to solve a problem because it does not strike at the root of any of the problems.
I see the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Shymko) does not like my rhetoric.
Mr. Shymko: No, I love it.
Mr. Nixon: Lucky you had House duty tonight.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. McGuigan: I put up with his rhetoric, so surely he can put up with mine.
It is more than rhetoric; it is deep feelings that come from the heart because I worked with a lot of those people all my life in my industry, the fruit and vegetable industry, which is a low-paying industry. I do not make any apologies for that; that is the nature of the industry. We are competing on every hand with products from other countries that are produced by the same method of production by lower-paid people.
Some of those people have been Indians, immigrants or lumberjacks who have been displaced from the lumber business. They are still great people, people who have a heart and soul; they have a dignity. There is nothing like the dignity of the people who carry oppression and who carry it with a smile on their face. I marvel at them. I do not think I could do it that well, I would be striking out, I would be trying to make amends. I have seen those people and that is why I feel as deeply as I do about the plight of those Indians. Yet this government says the answer is to ship them to Siberia, I guess. I doubt if they will accept them in Siberia.
I have pointed out a few of the reasons why I feel very reluctant to vote for this interim supply. Being the responsible people we are and the responsible person I am, of course, I will; but I will certainly call upon this government to correct just a few of its many under-the-rug operations.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I want to put on the record a few remarks, as I usually try to get on about the process itself, which I think is an interesting one and which brings us around to these interim supply motions. As was pointed out earlier by the members for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds), we want to discuss a little bit about jobs and job programs, how they are put together and the techniques and the ramifications of it all. I think that is important. I would anticipate that the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman), having already made some initial remarks about wanting to do a little bit towards opening up the budgetary process, may be a little more receptive than were previous ministers who had his responsibilities.
I recall the last time I did this the member for Muskoka (Mr. F. S. Miller) was the Treasurer of Ontario and he rose at the end of my remarks and said I knew nothing about the parliamentary budgetary process, which is probably true because I have only studied it for about 20 years. I think it is that complicated a piece of business that it is possible to study something like the parliamentary budgetary process and at the end of 15 or 20 years not know a great deal because there are great mysteries involved in the formation of budgets which no one really knows.
As has been the case traditionally in this House, in the House of Commons in Ottawa and at Westminster, there is a whole aura of budgetary secrets involved. Traditionally, it is true that no one but the Treasurer of a province or a nation knows what the process is, prior to it being announced. There have been Treasurers who have been taken out of a cabinet because there were leaks. We had in this Legislature on the last budgetary process a kind of a leak, a lost garbage bag full of information and a bit of a hullabaloo around it.
I am pleased to see that this Treasurer is taking to heart what I think some members of this Legislature have had a chance to see in other jurisdictions; that is, that it is possible to put together a budget which is based on a broader source of public knowledge, which allows for discussion, as our Treasurers have traditionally done with groups of their choice, but also discussions from quarters that one has never really touched upon, for example, members of this Legislature.
I hope the current Treasurer is serious about putting forward some information, some position papers, and opening up the process. I do not expect great leaps of change, but if he would just open the process up a little bit, then I think we would have a better budgetary system and we would have a system which would work better.
I think, too, that there is a whole realm of nontraditional techniques which governments in the western world are going to have to learn. There are sources which governments currently ignore or play down or say those people do not know what they are talking about. The Treasurer is going to have to find the methods by which he listens to them.
There are lots of examples and lots of buzzwords around about tripartism, about consultation and about joint efforts and a raft of management tools, economic tools and governmental decision-making bodies that are different from what once was the case.
It still is true here in Ontario that many of our programs, such as job-creation programs, are programs which, in essence, are designed behind closed doors. The minister will gather around him people he can trust, as the Minister of Industry and Trade did at one time, and spend $300,000 or $400,000. That, apparently, is the key element.
In the wire service story I read tonight, the member for London South (Mr. Walker), seemed to have some difficulty trusting other people. It is true, as the late Mr. Robarts is quoted in the story as having said, that governments do not hire their enemies, they hire their friends and their friends have a tendency to tell them what they think they want to hear. It is not necessarily what the truth is. Perhaps sometimes they tell them the truth as they see it from their perspective as an economist, as a speechwriter, as a historian or as a political scientist.
They get one expert's version of the truth in a room where there is not a lot of confrontation, in a situation where somebody is making a rather substantial amount of money for whispering in the minister's ear about what the minister should say or how he should say it; or for realizing the political reality that when a government announces a whole lot of high-tech centres but has not got a sweet, faint clue as to what those high-tech centres are going to do, the minister had better go out and spend $300,000 or $400,000 and find somebody who can put on a good show because the integrity and the reputation of the government is at stake.
I do not mean to say that I have seen a lot of governments of a whole lot of political stripes that have operated much differently than that, but I do mean to say we need to change that process, we need to change that system and we need to find new mechanisms. I do not suppose we will ever stop it.
This summer the federal government announced some new retraining programs in critical skilled trades, and they worked to a degree. A committee I sat on investigated or studied or reviewed the Ontario Manpower Commission, which from my personal point of view has a lot of potential. It has all of those experts I talked about before. It also has access to a number of ministries that are critical to the growth and development of skilled trades, and that appears to me to be at least one area where we are dramatically weak in our productivity and where we must get stronger in a hurry if we are going to compete on a worldwide basis with a market that is getting more and more sophisticated every day.
So it seemed to me we had a match here. We had a federal government announcing a program in an area where I thought it was necessary; we had a provincial government with an Ontario Manpower Commission supposedly studying those areas where those critical trades existed. It turned out that at the end of the summer Ontario sent back to the federal government $27 million, not because it did not want to use the money but because it could not find companies in the private sector that wanted to participate in this program. Now it seems to me that all of our sophisticated experts, with all of their graphs and their computers and their studies, fell flat on their schnobs, and we would have been just about as well off to take the advice of some guy who works with a shovel. He probably has not cost us $27 million so far.
It seems to me that somehow in this wonderful process that has evolved as government there are still some lessons to be learned. One of the things I have said on a number of occasions now that I liked about the latest little round of job-creation programs by the province and the federal government, the Canada-Ontario employment development program, is that instead of saying, "We will go out and dream up great schemes to create some employment of a short-term, immediate nature;" they turned to another level of government that has been hurting for some years now, municipal governments, and said to them: "Okay, now start to bring up some of your priorities. You have been really cut back in capital works programs in particular for a number of years. We know you have a backlog of projects you want to do. We know those projects have gone through your budgetary process."
It is not a sure bet but it is a reasonable assumption to make that those things have had a fair amount of scrutiny as they went through the municipal budgetary process, which is far more open than either the one used in this Legislature or the one at the Parliament in Ottawa. We know that projects are needed, we know they have been well planned and we know that the basic groundwork for developing those projects has already been done. The fault was no money.
So I was happy to see that for once the government did not take on great reams of things on its own but turned to municipalities that had a backlog of projects and said, "Okay, you are the people who are closest to being able to bring on stream in a hurry work projects that are sensible, rational and have gone through some kind of sorting process."
I have not been shy about saying to the government that this is not exactly a long-term solution to our economic problems in this country, but it is very sensible for a government when it wants to get jobs on stream in a hurry to turn to another level of government that has been holding back capital works projects for some time.
I want to say, too, that here in Metropolitan Toronto something a little different and unique was put together last spring that I support. This document is called A Time for Public Leadership and subtitled Industrial Strategies for Metropolitan Toronto. It was put together by the Labour Council of Metropolitan Toronto, issued in June and used as a focal point at a conference.
It is certainly not unusual to see documents of this kind put together. Those of us who have spent some time on municipal councils know there are industrial development commissioners, economists and schools that from time to time hold seminars and put together briefs of this kind, but they tend to be rather academic.
Those of us who have spent a little time with, say, industrial commissioners know they are very much people who are trying to do a sales job. At least, the ones I met in my municipal political career had in the back of their minds that their job was to sell, for example, the region of Durham or the city of the Oshawa or the city of Toronto.
They were not particularly concerned with the long-term development of strategies and they were not particularly concerned with jobs, except for the job angle. It was always a very attractive thing to dangle in front of anybody's municipal council, and that always seemed be the last phase of the argument. But the first phase was the sale of some land, the development of some property, some use of existing land. In some cases, developmental parks were put together. They had a valid perspective of the development of a local economy, but a somewhat narrow, limited one; they did not see it from all points of view.
One of the things I liked about the work done by the labour council here was that they did several sides to the development story. There are, for example, quotes in this particular document, using economists, planners and people who are working in the industrial development field, which I think are extremely valid.
There is also a lot of work done in here in just talking to ordinary people about what is happening in their plant, the potential for their particular work place, the potential for the community in which they live and what kinds of things could be done.
One of the things that some people will find surprising, but I do not, is that ordinary people out there often have a perspective on life, whether one is talking about social programs, restraint programs, economic growth or something which seems as sophisticated as developing industrial strategies. They have a perspective on all of that as well.
The ordinary person's perspective would be different from that of an economist, for example, and from that of someone who is working in the industrial development department for a large area such as Metropolitan Toronto, but it is a valid one. Not all of what they have to say or think may be as sophisticated as some of us would like, but it is a valid perspective. It is something from which I think we have a great deal to learn.
One of the current, very trendy items in the industrial world is to go to what they call the Japanese model for industrial development. The impression I get from reading the literature and discussing it with Japanese politicians and industrialists is that they seem to be very quick in glossing over the fact that there is a two-tiered labour system in Japan. In fact, it is more than a two-tiered system; there are three and four tiers to it. When one buys a little Sony and thinks he is buying a Japanese product, one is buying a two-tiered Japanese product, with probably a third and fourth tier involved for different parts as they move on to exploit cheaper work forces in other areas around them. That part of the system is glossed over quickly.
However, they move to something that is valid. That is, the Japanese, for a long time, have not ignored the workers in the work place. As a matter of fact, it is quite the contrary. They have become very successful managers of their plants by doing what to a North American manager would be the last thing to do. They go to someone who is working in the work place and say: 'What can we do here that would make your job better, more efficient, more productive?"
Absolutely, to a North American management mind, this is a phenomenal thing to do. The last thing that happens in North American management is talking to the workers. In most instances, from our experience, one does not talk with workers; one tells them what to do. One tells them how to punch in to an assembly line. One tells them their quota. One tells them how quickly that line must go.
It seems to me that when we did time study management, we did not care. That there was a human being involved in the process was not a factor. It seems absolutely ridiculous to me that we would take someone from an office, for example, whether that office is in a university setting or industrial setting, put him in an industrial work place that he probably had never seen before in his life, let him watch it for a relative short period of time and then, for some strange reason, feel he had the ultimate, correct view on the productivity in that work place.
I dare say there have been lots of things put into time study management where, quite frankly, the people who wrote the management study did not know anything about production, any more than we would in walking by a work station. One of the things the Japanese did do, and it seems pretty basic to me, was to say: "Well, that is a valid perspective and we are prepared to listen to that kind of stuff. We are prepared to listen to all kinds of people who have new high-technology ideas."
One of the tremendously successful aspects of the Japanese economy is to take all the things that are developed, for example, in the auto industry in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. Our auto makers looked at all the high-technology stuff and robotics and said: "That is great stuff, kids, but we don't need it. We are the world's largest car makers. We always have been. We make what the people want. We don't need your high-technology stuff."
The Japanese said: "Well, maybe we'd like to take a look at that and bring it over into our plants and refine it and make it specific to the plant that we have." In doing so, there was not a great threat to the workers inside that plant at least, because the company said to them: "Listen, we'd like your help in using this technology. We're not going to fire you," as would be the North American instinct, I suspect, on the management side. They said to their workers, "We think this technology will make our plant work better and we want you to help us implement that."
That is a tremendously different point of view. One of the things the Treasurer could do, which is happening in a number of communities around Ontario, is to listen rather than ignore the situation, as I tend to think unfortunately happened to much of what is put into this document simply because it came from a labour council.
I noticed in the debates on the Toronto city council, where this document was mentioned subsequently, there was a kind of a pro group that said, "That's a really great document," and a con group that said, "There's absolutely nothing in that document that is worth even looking at." It seems to me that is probably unfortunately typical of the way these things are perceived. I think that is unfortunate.
I would be happier, for example, when this kind of discussion took place, if people said there was a valid role for all sectors in our economy to play. People, such as the Labour Council of Metropolitan Toronto, not only have a right to sit down and put together a forum on this kind of industrial strategy, not only a right to put together a document that puts out what they think would be useful in terms of developing an industrial strategy for Metropolitan Toronto, but they have in fact an obligation to do that. I would like to see the same technique used in a variety of ways throughout Ontario, because in my reading of the document I find -- and I just want to quote a few areas in here, because I think that --
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the point I am trying to make. I think it would be useful in these debates in the Legislature and in debates on city council if those members who were elected to make these kinds of decisions simply had the good grace to shut up and listen once in a while.
I know there is a problem with politicians doing that, but I am saying that is a basic fault in the political process, a basic fault in the decision- making process, that there are other people whose ideas the minister may not like, but it is his job as a political leader and as a member of the Legislature or municipal council at least to listen to them. If he does not like to listen to them, he can find another occupation. That is fair. If he cannot develop the tolerance and the patience to listen to somebody else's point of view, that is fine.
He does not have to if he is running a business; he does not have to listen to someone else's point of view. I think it is to his peril not to. If he wants to be totally independent and free, he can go out and do that, but if he wants to be a part of the political process, he does have to develop a skill that allows him to hear what other people have to say. He does not have to agree with them; he does not even have to be friendly to them. All he has to do is listen to them. That is basically my point.
The analysis that is in this document about the import industries, the basic industries, and the specialized and export industries that are here in Metropolitan Toronto, I think is valid. Quite frankly, it could have been written by an economist at any one of our universities, or someone working in any of the industrial sections of a planning and development department or public works department. It seems to me that what they have done in this part of their report is a simple, straightforward analysis of what makes up the economy of Metropolitan Toronto.
What is a little bit unique, though, is that we do not very often do that. There is not, in the North American experience, a lot of time and effort spent on a local basis to analyse just what are the jobs in one's community.
For example, if one goes to any of the constituencies here, represented in this Legislature, and asks people on the street, or even people in the Legislature, what are the jobs in their community, I think one will find, at very best, a very unsophisticated concept of where the jobs are in one's community.
In mine, for example, I will bet most of the people here would assume that the auto industry is about it for Oshawa. That is not true. It is true to a large extent that the auto industry itself is a major force in the local economy of Oshawa, but it is also true to say that the type of production related to the auto industry has changed dramatically in the last four or five years and it is true to say that there has been a tremendous change.
For example, at one time when I visited my Oshawa and District Labour Council I would look around the room and see virtually nothing but industrial trade unions. Now when I go to the Oshawa and District Labour Council, there is a very heavy representation from public service unions, from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The complexion of the organized labour force in my area in the last 10 years has changed pretty dramatically.
The Ministry of Revenue, which less than a year ago was not even a presence in my local economy, is now third in terms of employees. Local economies change, and I think it is important to recognize when those changes occur, what they are, and what the interplay is.
For example, in my area and in Metropolitan Toronto, a lot of industrial growth, if there is going to be any, depends on the use of new technology. A lot of smaller plants do not have the facility to do that.
In some areas of Ontario, such as mine, the community college, like Durham College, has become very good at developing not just the normal academic training of students in the use of new technology but in hooking up what is done in the community college with what is done in the industries in that area, and in making that interplay an integral part of the development of what will be the new programs, how those programs will be used, and seeing, for example, that young people are trained not for a theoretical skill in a theoretical job but to try to see that at the beginning of the educational process there is an identification that when this person acquires that skill, there is a real job in a real factory that is waiting for that particular skill to be developed.
More than that it is to see that what is done inside the community colleges makes use of equipment, personnel and techniques that will help to develop small industry in that community. That is when we are beginning to realize what the faults are in our economic development.
One of the things I thought was rather nice about reading this particular document is to see that it is somewhat critical, for example, in regard to the generally held faith that it will be the private sector which leads us out of the recession. What is fundamental about this particular report is that there is an acknowledgement in here, a very strong one, that for the foreseeable future in this country and probably forever, the private sector will be where most people have their jobs. There is something in the private sector, a skill and a process at work which I hope always stays vital, but there is also a clear recognition that in the private sector the purpose of the exercise, and everybody I know who is involved in private enterprise is pretty straight about this, is to make a buck.
The purpose of the exercise is not to produce new jobs. The purpose of the exercise for General Motors of Canada in Oshawa is not to make Oshawa a great place to be. That is a byproduct, but General Motors is in Oshawa and companies are here in Metropolitan Toronto to make a profit.
If they do things which stimulate the local economy, if they have a lot of spinoff effects, everybody smiles at the chamber of commerce, at the Rotary Club, and says, "Aren't we great guys?" and we are. But when one gets right down to it, the purpose of the exercise is to make a profit, not jobs -- to make a profit for that company, not for the local economy, not for Metropolitan Toronto, or Oshawa, or Ontario, or, in many cases unfortunately, the country called Canada. Their goal is clear; they have been given an assignment from head office and they try to carry that out: make a buck.
There is nothing wrong with that, except when governments say, "Well, these people over here in the private sector who are simply trying to make a buck, turn a profit, also have to get the added responsibility of carrying the economic load for a country or a province, and they have to create all the new jobs that are going to happen." They are not in business for that purpose. Nobody ever said to them from head office in Detroit that General Motors lugs along the economy of Canada. It happens they have a pretty massive impact on the local economy in a place such as Oshawa, but when it comes right down to it, if GM is not turning the profits that they want, head office makes decisions, GM Canada makes decisions, and they slow the process down. They do not feel a great obligation to keep the plant in production if they cannot sell the cars.
In the private sector everybody seems to understand that. It seems to be in the government sector that people do not understand it. One cannot expect GM, Ford, Chrysler, Canadian General Electric, Sklar, or anybody else for that matter, to keep a plant in operation when there is nothing that requires them to do so. In this document, in the Legislature this afternoon during question period and on several occasions previously, a case has been made that when a company makes that economic decision to shut down a plant, at least some people ought to be told about it. There ought to be some advance notice; there ought to be some public justification for what is going on because of all these other ramifications that are there.
We are now going to get people who are 45, 50 and 55 years of age again thrown back on to a local labour force. They will be going to social services departments, as they have been doing in my area. It is quoted in this document. I do not mean to be too harsh or too personal about this, but take the current Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay), for example. When the last committee on plant closings and severance pay sat, I happened to sit through some of the hearings. He happens to be a gentleman I respect, not just as a member of the Legislature, but quite frankly because he is a nice guy. I am not afraid to say that.
He sat in the committee and it seemed to me as I watched him sit and listen to guys I know, who live in my community, he had never heard those things. He did not know what those guys were going through at all. There did not appear to him to be a problem, simply because none of those guys had ever talked to him before. They talk to me for reasons which are their own. They come to me. They are 45 and 50 years of age and have worked in one industrial plant all their lives, and the plant is long gone.
I cannot seriously tell those guys, "Go up to Durham College and get into the computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing program." These are guys who speak the English language but certainly cannot write it. Many of them had a very basic education in another country and have been out of school for 25 and 30 years. One cannot convince them they are going to go to a community college and learn how to run a computer. That is not going to happen. They know it and we know it.
Then one gets the unfortunate phenomenon which is caused by doing nothing. There are people, because I heard them less than two or three years ago, who would come to me and say: "There are too many people on welfare, Mike. You should not be making an argument to raise welfare allowances. That is tax money and all that stuff." They were rather vehement in their views. I am sorry to report to the Legislature that some of those people are at the social services department of the region of Durham because their unemployment insurance has run out, because they have a pension from places such as Robson-Lang Leathers in Oshawa of $12 a month and there is no place else for them to go.
These are proud industrial workers who have spent a lifetime in a factory doing what society said one had to do, which is pick up one's lunch bucket, go to work in the morning, stay there until the job is done, come home at the end of that time and see that one's family stays together and gets an education so they do not have to do that kind of thing for a living.
It seems to me the Labour Council of Metropolitan Toronto in its report said, "We have to involve people in roles which they may be uncomfortable with, which maybe they traditionally did not do." A labour council does not generally try to sit down and develop an industrial strategy for a community like Metropolitan Toronto.
To put it rather simply, the Labour Council of Metropolitan Toronto has acknowledged that it has to. It has the responsibility to its membership to put together this kind of document, to stage that kind of forum and to propose this kind of initiative.
They have not proposed pie-in-the-sky stuff. They talk about the private sector. They talk in good measure from a perspective which perhaps the government of Ontario is not quite ready to embrace totally, but I think one has to hear that, when they talk about the importance of public initiative, they are saying simply that the private sector is not interested in building the economy of Ontario, it is interested in building the economy of the plant or the company.
That is fair game. That is what they have always said they were trying to do. That is what they have always done. They have never made any pretense they were going to develop Metro Toronto or the province all on their own. That is the job and the responsibility of the government of Ontario.
When the labour council talks about democratic economic planning, we may not like the term and perhaps it is not the accurate term, but I am trying to get the message across that other jurisdictions in this world have begun using different words to do much the same thing, to go to the work place and, instead of telling people in the work place how they are supposed to do their jobs, stopping long enough to say, 'What could we do here that would make your productivity a little better?" Most of the time, it is extremely simple things, the kinds of things that engineers do not see on drawing boards, the kinds of stuff time management people do not see.
It has to do with things such as: "How far do I have to reach to get a part? How should the line come through, at eye level, or should I have to bend over all day long to fit this part on to this automobile or whatever it is we are making?"
It has to do with the idea that perhaps we would do what other people do and what we have never done here, not for a long time anyway, which is to say to people who work in large production facilities: "Do not sit around waiting for the latest robot to be developed. You are a thinking part of our production process. You have things to contribute to us. We count on and we need the input of you as an individual to tell us how we could put together a better product."
Perhaps then one could turn to a worker in an industrial plant and say, "Are you happy with your product?" We have then made it that person's product.
If one goes to any plant in anyone's riding and asks people who work in that plant, "What did you do today?" most of them did not make anything; they did something. They put three screws in a particular location, they bolted on 95 fenders that day or they ran X units through the paint line, but they did not really make anything. The person is a component part sitting there doing a rather boring, drudging and, I hope, well-paid job, but he or she did not make a finished product. They do not have the sense when they leave work at the end of the day that they created something. They did what they were told to do. They did it for as long as the company wanted and in the exact way the company wanted it done, even if, in one's heart of hearts, they knew that was the stupidest way to go about that project.
I think that is what they mean when they talk about, not democracy in the work place -- I do not think that is an accurate description of what anybody is after -- what they are talking about is a little respect, a little listening, a little feeling that maybe the worker in the work place knows a little about what he or she is doing and maybe could contribute to some kind of economic planning.
I am not suggesting we all sit down and have a vote on all these things, but I think it would be useful to listen. I think once in a while the democratic process as we know and understand it in the western world could kick in.
I wanted to touch on a couple of other areas because I think they reflect on the way the labour council in Metro went about it. It did a pretty good analysis of the basic ministries, which ones are up and which ones are down, and where there are problems in areas such as machinery, electrical products, automotive products, and clothing and textile work.
I think that kind of analysis has to be done, because the alternative is to get sucked into what is glibly tossed about at cocktail parties in Ottawa -- and I hope not too often here -- about sunrise and sunset industries. I cannot use the word which actually accurately describes that kind of mentality, but it will make the roses grow.
For some expert, economist, planner or whatever he or she might be to sit around his plush office at $75,000 or $100,000 a year and make these wonderful decisions about which part of our economy is dead in the water and which part of it ought to get all the government money to keep it going is ludicrous, to say the least. I always like to think of the former member for Sudbury who had some wonderful terms about academics who are given to making this kind of prognostication.
They do not know what they are doing. They have advice. They have information they could give to somebody such as the Treasurer of Ontario, which I think is just fine. That is what those people are paid for, for that kind of expertise. But if that is the only advice, the only perspective which politicians such as the Treasurer and people who are making decisions will ever get, they are so wrong as to be ludicrous. They are missing not just half the formula, but a good deal more.
For example, in areas that were once very active in Toronto such as clothing and textile production, there was a lot of that sunrise and sunset stuff going around. When one listens to them at the cocktail parties, the receptions and at the little academic meetings, someone says, "There is no room any more for a Canadian textile industry." It is like there were no people involved in this. It is like pieces of paper which fall off a desk and that is it, boom, it is gone and in its place is some new high-technology piece of business.
The world does not operate that way. When one gets into arguments about more complicated things like the auto pact, auto trade agreements and the federal task force on the auto industry itself, one hears people say, "We are free traders." I do not know what century that philosophy came out of.
It is a nice pleasant theory, but do not say it to someone -- for example, a Canadian manufacturer trying to sell his or her products in the Far East in places like Japan. The Japanese will often say to people from Canada, "Sure, come over here. We have no trade restrictions on that particular item. Why don't you step in here and try to sell your products in Japan?" or any other country in the Far East. When one gets there, one finds there are no restrictions, no government policy restricting one's trade in that nation, but when one gets down to the nuts and bolts of how to get the product there and on to the local market, it just cannot happen. All of a sudden there is free trade but there is no practical, pragmatic way to get that trade in there. It just does not work.
I think they have some useful things to say about a number of specific types of plants and machinery that are in operation here in Metro and a reasonable analysis of those particular sectors of a local economy.
I think the distinction, the places where perhaps the Labour Council of Metropolitan Toronto and the Treasurer of Ontario would part company would be in areas where there is perhaps a little more attention paid to the needs of individual workers and groups of workers. I would hope in time these workers would become an asset rather than a liability to the government of Ontario, a tool which it can use to make better economic decisions and that it would change its mind on that.
There is one nice sentence in here and I think it shows the balance of the report. I will conclude with this, Mr. Speaker. In their report, they say, "Most of the investment in Metro Toronto will of course continue to be in private hands." We are not talking about a theoretical exercise here; I think that is just reality being recognized. "There is, at the same time, a need to modify the dynamics that influence private capital movement so that they can take into account other costs, often social costs, of those movements."
If one has studied different economies in different parts of the world, one of the first things one notices is that in other countries people who are making money in the private sector also carry a heavy social obligation, unlike the Canadian experience where a guy can make a decision in Chicago, send that decision up to Metropolitan Toronto and close a factory so 800 people hit the streets. From that point, it is then somehow seen to be the government's responsibility to do something.
In other jurisdictions that responsibility is at least shared and in some it is more than shared. Governments have said to people in the private sector, "You can lay them off if you want, but it is your responsibility to carry the social cost for those human beings for the foreseeable future." I think in something like the auto industry, which I am more familiar with than I would care to be, in North America people have got used to the ups and downs of the auto industry. "You are going to be working overtime for two or three months and then you are going to be laid off for a while." That is why they have a thing called a supplementary unemployment benefits fund.
One of the things which struck me in Sweden as being simple but interesting is that the government in Sweden said to Volvo, "You lay them off all you want, but you pay them while you lay them off." Oddly enough, the response from the corporate world, Volvo in that case, was simply, "We will not lay them off. We will simply change our production schedule. We will even it out." So from the company's and the government's point of view there was no added cost and from the worker's point of view there was a feeling that he or she was more than just a cog in the machine, but a human being worth being listened to and worth considering.
I would commend to all members in the House this particular document put together by the Labour Council of Metropolitan Toronto, and, more important the concept that was behind the formation of this document. Its form I think is one which needs to be utilized by the Treasurer of Ontario and governments all across Canada.
On motion by Mr. T. P. Reid, the debate was adjourned.
The House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.