The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Stokes: It's too bad the Premier (Mr. Davis) missed prayers. He's going to need them. So are the Argos.
Mr. Rae: You're supposed to wear a helmet in this place. Doesn't the Premier know that? He has the wrong hat on.
Mr. Speaker: I must point out to the honourable member that it is not proper to wear a hat in the chamber.
Hon. Mr. Davis: This is not a hat.
Mr. Speaker: Well, whatever.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I do have a statement, but before I make the statement, I know that some members opposite -- I will not say all of them -- will join with me in wishing the representatives from central and eastern Canada well in the great national event that will take place in Vancouver on Sunday.
I think it is fair to state that while not everyone is a football fan, there is a great deal of national interest. It is a day when Canadians from many parts of this country do gather together, some to watch football and some to watch football and do other things.
I confess to you, Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham) in particular will be delighted with the fact that I find it necessary to inspect, on behalf of the taxpayers of this province, the excellent transit system that was developed by Canadian technologists, engineers and scientists and that was successful over many other countries in receiving the contract in the city of Vancouver.
I have not been there to inspect that transit system, and over the weekend it would be important for me to do so and to talk to the mayor of that municipality as to just how well it is going. I shall be conducting this inspection, I know, with the support of all members of the House. The fact that it happens to go through BC Place is totally irrelevant and that the inspection tour may take place at 2:30 on Sunday afternoon is strictly coincidental.
I do know that, with the exception of the member who has challenged me, the former Speaker of this House, a number of members at least will join with me in wishing the representatives from this part of Canada well on Sunday afternoon.
Mr. Van Horne: Find out how many Canadian quarterbacks there are.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am never averse to the inclusion or involvement in some of the cultural activities of this country of people who may have had their educational upbringing in other jurisdictions. We have always been an open society. I know the member for London North would never wish to preclude the involvement of people from other countries in the well-being of --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the former superintendent of the separate school system in Kitchener-Waterloo that if he wishes to raise the question of fees and tuitions, he will find the fees paid at the university which the Toronto Argonaut attended, in terms of the cost to foreign students from out of state, are probably somewhat in excess of fees charged in Ontario. He might slide down and have a look, but I think he will find that to be the case.
Ms. Copps: What about the referees and linesmen?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The referees, I would say to the member representing a certain area of Hamilton --
Ms. Copps: The true winners of the Grey Cup -- the team that really should be there.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is what Mr. Ballard said too. I know the member for Hamilton Centre wants to agree with Mr. Ballard. If she has some question about last week's officiating, she is geographically much closer to the official who made the call than I am.
This symbolic button I am wearing has a bit of historical significance. It was given to me last evening by a very delightful young lady whose father wore this back in 1952, which was the last time the Argonauts were successful in the Grey Cup. It is not a recent button.
On a more serious note --
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I hope you will allow us to join in expressing our good wishes to the Argos, representing Toronto, Ontario and eastern Canada. I hope the Premier, by attending, does not provide a jinx for the Argos. If he takes some of his recent fortunes with him, it may prove not so well.
I am also grateful that the Premier is not going to be the announcer at the Grey Cup. If he were, it would go on for about three days and no one would know who won at the end of it. As the Premier flies out to represent our great province in his executive water bomber, I hope he has a nice weekend.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, we are not going to allow the Tory party to make of the Argos yet another political monopoly for itself. I notice with interest that the Premier did not come into the question period with his helmet on. Like many others, I have a feeling he has been playing question period without a helmet for too long a time. I notice he has his baseball cap on. I hope he has the decency to wear a football helmet when he is inside the domed stadium in Vancouver. He is going there representing all the members of the Legislature with, I suppose, one or two exceptions who may have placed bets on the other side.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, I can name you the ones who did.
Mr. Rae: I know it too, because I have placed those bets myself for the Argos, of course. The Premier is representing all the members of the Legislature and all the people of Ontario in this great east-west contest. Please give our best wishes to Pat Kinsella, who has done so much for the industrial peace of British Columbia. The Premier has done a terrific job in sending those people out there. Give them our very warmest regards.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I thank the opposition leaders for their enthusiastic endorsement. The member for Hamilton Centre did not quite share in that measure of enthusiasm. This is not a football helmet; it is a hat worn by the coaches of the Toronto Argonauts. It is strictly coincidental that the colours of the team representing eastern Canada, Ontario, happen to be blue, two shades of blue. I do not want members to think there is a plot.
I agree with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) that it is not my intent to give the play-by-play. If I did, it would be totally accurate; the listeners would understand it. It might take a little longer than some play-by-play announcers but, come Monday or Tuesday, they would know who won the game.
Mr. Bradley: They would know who won the game only if the Argos won.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, that is probably true. If by some chance the Argonauts did not win and I were announcing, it might be several weeks before the listeners found out.
Mr. Peterson: How long does it take to take a poll on the outcome of the football game?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have already taken a poll on the outcome of the football game and it is totally conclusive.
ANNIVERSARY OF MULTICULTURALISM AND CITIZENSHIP COUNCIL
Hon. Mr. Davis: On a more serious note, it is a matter of record that the government of Ontario has long supported the preservation of our multicultural heritage. In developing policies and programs to meet these needs, we have taken account of the cultural diversity of Ontario's population. As a province, we have fully accepted the responsibilities that come with being the chosen destination of the majority of newcomers to Canada since the end of the Second World War.
For many years, the province's education system, our social service and health care network and the courts have been adjusting policies and programs to meet the needs of a changing population. As is well known, Ontario continues to welcome people from across the world, many of whom are seeking the freedoms that form such an important part of this province's heritage. The province, in turn, has benefited from the skills, the energy and the commitment to Canada demonstrated by members of ethnocultural groups who have chosen Ontario as their home and as the foundation for the future of their children.
More than a decade has passed since the Heritage Ontario Congress, reflecting the deliberations of its 1,500 participants, recommended the formation of an advisory agency to continue the consultative process. In our view, the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and Citizenship is essential to government implementation of the principle of full and equal citizenship for all our citizens. The establishment of such an agency formed an important part of this government's official response to the Heritage Ontario Congress discussions.
In rising to recognize the 10th anniversary of the council and to acknowledge the presence here today of some of its members, I wish to emphasize the continuing commitment of this government to the principles of multiculturalism and to the concept of citizenship that provides the basis for Ontario's multicultural policy. This policy, which has been clearly enunciated and which is continuing to be implemented across the government, focuses on three themes: equality, access and participation, cultural retention and sharing. These are the issues that have been reflected in the council's deliberations since its establishment in 1973.
It is significant that the agency has succeeded in achieving consensus from the diversity of culture, race, religion, language and heritage represented by its membership from across the province. Its concern for our ethnocultural minorities has been balanced by consistent support for the historic rights of Franco-Ontarians and of our native people.
This province can be proud of the way in which the vast majority of people in the province have supported this government's positive response to the challenge of our changing population during the past decade.
As we set out together on the next stage of Ontario's development, the government and the people of this province share the firm commitment to further advance the goal of equality of treatment for all with respect for the languages, values, faiths and cultures which are part of our diverse heritage -- the many ways of being Canadian.
The government welcomes the participation of all Ontarians in the development of public policy and recognizes that the input provided by those who contribute their time and ideas to agencies such as the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and Citizenship will serve to strengthen the determination of the government of Ontario to continue to show leadership in building a society in which differences can be accommodated within the framework of a shared Canadian identity.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the first minister. How can he honestly expect honourable members in this House to accept his explanation tendered in question period yesterday that he "had not discussed the matters of public accounts yesterday with any of the participants," and that he had only "a 30-second discussion" about same, when we now know from published reports that Mr. Alan Gordon was coached on three different occasions by the Premier's deputy minister, Dr. E. E. Stewart, and that when Alan Gordon stormed out of the public accounts committee meeting yesterday refusing to answer press questions, he ran directly to Dr. Stewart in the Premier's office?
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Conway: How can the Premier honestly expect reasonable and honourable members to accept the kind of answer he tendered yesterday, when the activities of Mr. Gordon link him very directly to the senior mandarin in the Premier's own office?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear the member use the term "honourable members." Let us assume that means that one takes what is said as being the best, most factual and most truthful observations one can make.
I am very pleased that he says "published reports." I will just give him my own timetable for yesterday. My recollection is that a policy and priorities board was meeting most of yesterday morning. I think it is fair to state that by the time it had concluded, the deputy minister in my office had left for a luncheon appointment, although I am not entirely sure of that.
I am quite sure, however, that I did not discuss the matter of the public accounts committee meeting with the deputy minister in my office before question period yesterday. That may come as a great surprise to the member.
I also had a very brief word with my deputy minister. In spite of "published reports," there were not three such meetings. Mr. Gordon was not, using the term the member used, "coached" by the deputy minister in my office. It is just factually incorrect.
Honourable members can either accept my word on that or not. It just happens to be the truth.
Mr. Conway: Is the first minister denying categorically that Alan Gordon and Dr. E. E. Stewart met to discuss the four issues in the Ministry of Government Services that were under investigation by the Provincial Auditor?
Is he categorically denying that Dr. E. E. Stewart met with Mr. Gordon to discuss these matters? Is he telling this House that Mr. Gordon did not go to the Premier's office yesterday afternoon to meet with senior people in his office? Is he denying that absolutely?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I know now the honourable member is trying to explain that he has read a particular article, and I am not quarrelling with what people write. In his question, he is not alleging but quoting a newspaper report which I quite honestly have not read but have had relayed to me in capsule form. I sense the thrust of the newspaper article was that Mr. Gordon had been "coached" -- was that the terminology used in the article? I think that is the word the member used -- by Dr. Stewart on three separate occasions.
This is what is relevant. I think I said to the member that I had not discussed this matter with my deputy minister prior to the deliberations in the House here yesterday at two o'clock. I will not deny for a moment that Mr. Gordon came to see Dr. Stewart after the discussions in the public accounts committee meeting. There is no question about that whatsoever.
I think the question the member asked me was whether or not Dr. Stewart had "coached" Mr. Gordon on three separate occasions. The answer to that is no. Did I have consultations with Dr. Stewart relevant to the discussions in public accounts before the question period yesterday? The answer to that is no. Did Mr. Gordon come and talk to Dr. Stewart after his appearance at public accounts yesterday? The answer to that is yes.
Mr. Rae: The Premier made reference to the fact that one of the premises of this House is that we are obliged to take the word of every honourable member who speaks in the House, or indeed outside the House, with respect to his activity. There is now a direct contradiction between the statements that have been made by one of his colleagues, a member of his party, a former colleague of his in the cabinet with respect to foreknowledge of certain contracts, statements that were made by the minister and statements that were made by the deputy minister.
What does the Premier intend to do to clear up that direct contradiction of evidence? I would suggest to the Premier that he has a certain responsibility in the matter. We are talking about a former colleague of the Premier, we are talking of events that occurred when the member for Lanark (Mr. Wiseman) was a minister in the cabinet.
What does the Premier intend to do to clear up what appears to be a very direct conflict in terms of what actually transpired, what actually happened, and accounts of those transactions which have been given both to the media and to the public accounts committee, by the minister in terms of going to the media and by the deputy minister to the public accounts committee?
Hon. Mr. Davis: As I attempted to say to the press yesterday, I think there are two separate but related situations. I think the origins of the reference to the public accounts committee really related to whether or not the procedures or the activities of the Ministry of Government Services were consistent with government management policies.
I think I am right in this, in historical terms, that there were four areas the public accounts committee asked the Provincial Auditor or the minister to look at. My understanding is that the Provincial Auditor has commented on those four situations. I am not passing any judgment, but I think the feeling is that the auditor has said there is no problem in two cases out of the four. I may be wrong but I think, generally speaking, there is some question with respect to a third and perhaps a greater question with respect to a fourth.
Once again, this breaks down into other issues and one is whether or not it conformed to or was part of a policy management process, whether or not the judgements made by the ministry, in this case the deputy minister, were in fact in the public interest.
I think the public accounts committee in its assessment, in its objective look at this, will pay some attention to whether the decisions made were totally consistent with, say, Management Board approval and whether or not the motivation generally was to have greater efficiency or greater productivity within the ministry.
I sense from all of the discussions there is no question of impropriety in terms of questions of integrity or matters of that nature. I see the chairman of the public accounts committee nodding his head.
So, within the public accounts committee, it is really down to a discussion as to whether proper judgement was used, whether it was in the best interests of the functioning of the ministry and whether or not those decisions were consistent with the general management procedures of government in one issue. I hope Mr. Carman's appearance before public accounts may clarify, to a greater extent, those considerations.
As a separate concern of mine but related to this, there is no question either about the view apparently expressed by the deputy that his then minister was aware of one or two of these situations where the former minister says that to his recollection he was not. I think that is something the public accounts committee may wish to address, or in its wisdom it may wish not to address, when the other issues are settled.
Mr. Philip: How can we, when you people stifle it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect, that is a concern with which I will have to deal.
Mr. Conway: Accepting absolutely what the Premier has suggested about what we as honourable members must do with respect to the statements of fellow parliamentarians, and keeping in mind our good friend the member for Lanark, how can the first minister not only continue to stand behind a deputy minister who clearly overrode the responsible minister at the time, but also continue to defend that deputy minister and allow taxpayers' money to be spent for the hiring of counsel to advise him on his rights about the public accounts hearing of yesterday?
How can he tolerate and defend a deputy minister who has, as of yesterday, called one of our parliamentary colleagues, the member for Lanark, a liar? How can he tolerate and defend this kind of senior civil servant in the light of what he has just told us about our fellow parliamentarians?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I know the member is frustrated that he was not able to elicit from me something other than the truth as it related to the activities of my deputy minister. I now know what he said about him in committee. I know that he has a thing about a very able and dedicated public servant in this province, my deputy minister. I know that for some personal reason he does not like him very much. Perhaps the member is a shade jealous; I do not know what it is. However, I feel very badly that he wishes to attack Dr. Stewart in this fashion, as the member is doing.
Mr. Peterson: You are being silly. That is nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is not nonsense; it is true. The member knows it is true.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Very briefly in that connection, I am reminded only of the Premier's own words, "Only one person speaks for me and that is Ed Stewart." This is my interest in Ed Stewart.
Mr. Speaker: Order. That is hardly a point of privilege.
Mr. McClellan: What about attributing motives?
Mr. Speaker: If we just reflect on what was said earlier, I think perhaps it would behoove all of us to control ourselves.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I ask you, what happened a minute ago in this House when the Premier said my colleague personally disliked his deputy minister, he said he was jealous, or something else, if that is not an attribution of motive then I do not know what is. Surely you have an obligation as the presiding officer to ask the Premier to withdraw that.
Mr. Speaker: He may or may not. How am I to judge?
Ms. Copps: That is your job. That is why you are here.
Mr. Speaker: Order. With all respect --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, just so that this will not be prolonged, if the member for Renfrew North thinks by my suggesting that in his discussions yesterday at the public accounts committee meetings and things he has observed in the House and out of the House, he is not particularly fond of the deputy minister in my office, I am attributing any motivation, I am not. If he does not feel that way, I am delighted to withdraw. However, I find some of the things he has said about Dr. Stewart to be somewhat consistent with that point of view. That is all I am saying.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Has the first minister withdrawn or has he not withdrawn?
Mr. Speaker: I heard him say that he withdrew.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Tourism and Recreation concerning the auditor's report which has been reported in the Globe and Mail. It says, "The auditor's report recommends that the government should re-evaluate its financial arrangements with a Tory-dominated advertising firm which does millions of dollars of business with the province" -- a reference to Camp Associates Advertising Ltd., which has had a good deal of business with this government.
"The report says that the advertising firm is subcontracting work from other suppliers, earning cash discounts for prompt payment of the accounts and keeping the discounts." In view of the fact that the auditor's report says, "While these discounts were taken by the agency it did not pass these savings along but rather billed the gross amount of the invoice to the ministry," in view of these matters, which seem to concern the auditor very much, could the minister give an undertaking to, first, re-evaluate the relationship of his ministry with this firm as the auditor has recommended and, second, table those contracts in the House so that all members may be aware of just what is going on in this ministry in relation to the activities between Camp Associates and yet another ministry of this government?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to shed some light on the report that was carried in the Globe and Mail yesterday. I have a statement to make in the House this morning. It is now being prepared and I want copies to be sent to the leaders of the opposition parties.
With your indulgence, Mr. Speaker, if I could wait for a few more minutes, I will ask the indulgence of the House to revert to statements and then I think we can begin to cover many of the points that have been raised here at this time.
Mr. Bradley: I am prepared to stand the question down until the statement comes. What is the minister's wish?
Mr. Conway: I will take the second question, Mr. Speaker, with your permission.
Mr. Speaker: To the same minister?
Mr. Conway: No, a new question, in the light of the fact that we will now revert to statements and have a private member's question on that item.
Mr. Speaker: It is a second question, really.
Mr. Conway: With all due respect, we are quite prepared to give the honourable minister the right to revert to statements, if we are allowed then to have a private member's question. We are not prepared to surrender one of the two leader's questions if there is not agreement in that connection.
Mr. Speaker: I think we must all understand that we ask questions in rotation, as covered by the standing orders.
Mr. Conway: We do understand that.
Mr. Speaker: Just a moment. The member for St. Catharines did address a question to the minister, and then he asked that it be stood down. He will get that question again after the statement.
Mr. Wrye: It would be nice if we had a copy of the statement.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I have no knowledge of that either. Rather than interfere with the rotation, we will come back to the original questioner at the time the statement is made. In the sequence of rotation we should now recognize the New Democratic Party, unless the honourable member has a supplementary.
Mr. Bradley: I have a supplementary then, because we are not prepared to withdraw at this time unless we get that undertaking.
In answer to a question from the member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham) about these kinds of contracts with this particular company during the estimates of the then Ministry of Industry and Tourism on October 31, 1975, the then minister, the member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett), said the following: "They are paid to do this work, really, by the source in which they are placing the advertising. In other words, if we spend $1 we get $1 worth of advertising. If they get 15 per cent, which is usually the maximum percentage paid to an advertising agency in this country, it comes off the bill or the linage charged by a publication."
There was no mention of a two per cent discount and no mention of being able to keep that two per cent discount. Is the minister satisfied that he is following the same practice enunciated by one of his predecessors?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: As I indicated in my first response, this point will be covered in the statement. After the statement, if I still have not adequately answered the question, I will be prepared to reply to it at that point. I really think the best way to proceed would be to wait for my statement in a few minutes.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Surely the minister would have been aware as late as last night of this particular news report and would have been prepared to answer questions on this. Why is the minister now not prepared to do so?
Mr. Speaker: That sounds like a question rather than a point of privilege.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, can the minister explain to our satisfaction, or to his own satisfaction, the process whereby -- I think we are all at somewhat of a disadvantage because we do not have the copy of the auditor's report and I do not think the members of the Liberal Party have a copy of the auditor's report either. They have a copy of a report?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Neither did the Globe.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjection.
Mr. Rae: None of us has a copy of it. Nevertheless, we do have an account in the Globe and Mail this morning with respect to the procedures. I would like to ask the minister to comment on a statement that is attributed to Mr. Atkins. He says it is up to him and his firm. It's at our discretion whether we take the discount or not. Would the minister be prepared to say if this is the practice that is followed by all the other agencies with which the government deals? If so, does he think it is a fair practice?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, at the risk of appearing to be inflexible, I want to stress again that these questions are covered in detail in the statement. I still feel that once I have given the statement, if I still have not given all the answers the members are seeking, I will be prepared to answer the questions. That is really a much more effective, efficient and time-saving way to go at this problem. I am as anxious as the members are to get the correct information out in the open.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, it is true that we do not have a copy of the auditor's report, but one thing we do know for sure is that Camp Associates and Messrs. Segal and Atkins and Foster Advertising, with Mr. Tom Scott, have been vital aspects of the Big Blue Machine advertising in at least the last three Progressive Conservative election campaigns. They are first and second in line at the public trough in the context of advertising.
When is the minister going to take it upon himself to pull the plug on these self-appointed Tory ad agencies and see that we have open public tendering in Ontario so that we get value for money spent and end this cosy relationship between the Tories and Camp and Foster?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, for the fourth time, I must tell this House these questions will be answered. In the interim, I can assure the honourable member that the taxpayers of this province are getting full value for the dollar in working with this agency.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier, and it touches on the supplementary I put to him on the basis of the questions that were posed by the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway). The question is quite simple and straightforward. The Tory members of the committee yesterday objected when it was suggested that the member for Lanark (Mr. Wiseman) should be allowed to come forward and at least present to the public accounts committee his version of what took place in August and what took place prior to August with respect to those contracts.
Specifically, what opportunity does the Premier intend to give to the member for Lanark to state his version of what has taken place with respect to the tendering of those contracts and with respect to his knowledge of the tendering of those contracts? Since he has not been given an opportunity at the public accounts committee and since his evidence has been directly contradicted by his deputy minister, precisely what opportunity does the Premier intend to afford the member to come forward and give his version of what took place?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I understand the member for Lanark yesterday indicated to the press that his recollection was consistent with what he said in August. I am not disputing that.
Mr. Rae: That is exactly the problem. We have two pieces of evidence from very senior people, a deputy minister and a minister, which directly and flatly contradict each other with respect to what knowledge a minister had with respect to the tendering of contracts.
The question I have for the Premier is, whose word does he take? Does he take the word of the deputy minister or does he take the word of his colleague from Lanark? He cannot take both. Which one does the Premier believe?
Hon. Mr. Davis: At this precise moment I am not taking both. I said to the member for Renfrew North that I thought there were two concerns, one of which the public accounts committee is dealing with in a very direct fashion. The related concern that emerged yesterday, as to the recollections of the deputy which appear to be inconsistent with the recollections of the former minister, is a concern for me.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, accepting as we must, the word of our parliamentary colleague the member for Lanark, how can the Premier continue to defend a senior deputy minister who has been severely reprimanded by the Provincial Auditor and who has, by implication if not by explication -- and in my view both -- called the member for Lanark a liar? How can he continue to defend and support a deputy minister so reprimanded by the auditor, who now adds to the earlier concern about who is running the store the far more grievous matter of having called one of our parliamentary colleagues a liar about extremely important facts relevant to departmental administration?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, with great respect, I have not seen the transcript. I would very seriously doubt whether the deputy minister called anyone a liar.
Ms. Copps: By implication.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Rae: The Premier has in his usual elliptical way said that the question of the contradiction of evidence is something which has to be of concern to him. He is nodding his head. I take that to mean he agrees that that is what he said. I think there would be no question in this House that all of us agree that it is a concern to him, and that is why we are putting the questions to him.
What does the Premier intend to do about it, given the fact that he has contradictions in evidence. Is he going to accept the evidence of the member for Lanark or is he going to accept the evidence of the deputy minister.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I do not like the word "evidence." I do not purport to be judge and jury. I deal with these matters and have over the years. Usually, they have worked out. I just say to the honourable member it is a concern for me. I know he has a particular point of view, which I would like to think is not in any way personally motivated. I am not sure that is --
Mr. Rae: I don't even know these guys.
Hon. Mr. Davis: As I say, I am sure it is not.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member might benefit from getting to know these guys.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Will the Premier read the transcript?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes.
Mr. Rae: I know what they look like, but that is as far as it goes. I do not play football with them.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Neither do I.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, with your permission and the permission of the other members, I would like to stand down my second question until we have the benefit of the statement by the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz).
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question to the first minister, also on the matter of who is running the store and on the matter of untendered government contracts.
The Premier will recall about four or five weeks ago the Canadian Press broke a story about the letting of untendered contracts by the member for London South (Mr. Walker) -- now a prominent member of Management Board, I might add -- to two very good friends of his, two good Tories from London, Gwyn Williams and Donald Martyn.
In light of the extraordinary comments made over the past number of weeks by, among others, the Chairman of Management Board (Mr. McCague), the man who we thought was the policeman in this connection, and the new Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. F. S. Miller), both of whom have not seen those contracts and have no interest in pursuing them to see whether or not they do meet the specific letter and intent of the Manual of Administration, has the Premier put his eyes upon those specific contracts at issue in that Canadian Press report? Has he yet seen those particular contracts?
On the basis of having seen them, is he now prepared to state categorically that those contracts meet the letter and intent of his much-heralded Manual of Administration? Is he now prepared to table those contracts in this assembly so the people might see and their representatives might judge?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) here this morning and wonder whether or not he has given up the leadership of his party.
I will answer the question. I think I answered it some time ago. Once again, not being an expert in these matters, I did observe to the House that I think in this particular situation there were, shall we say, two forms of contract or understanding between the ministry and the two individuals or companies -- I do not recall whether they were companies or individuals.
I think I observed, once again not purporting to exercise any professional knowledge, that when it comes to the utilization of services for people who write speeches as one of their prime considerations, in my view, that is not covered by the Manual of Administration. I do not think one goes out and tenders for people who have that sort of relationship with a minister.
As an example, and I do not say this critically, I do not believe his leader went out and tendered for an expert on energy. He knew this gentleman who was with the Vancouver Stock Exchange and had some experience in the field. He became part of the office of the leader of the member. He has got a very fine gentleman, in my view, and I will refer him some day to the article Mr. Hutchinson wrote about the Premier before he became his leader's adviser. My guess is there was no tendering process. He did not put out a tender saying, "I am looking for a qualified" whatever it is.
I am just drawing a very genuine distinction between a contract for a particular delivery of a product or what have you and the obtaining of services from somebody who acts as a speechwriter. Now the member may not agree with that, but I think there is a genuine distinction.
With respect to the other relationship or contract with Mr. Martyn, I said that was not, in my view, in the same sort of category. I think I indicated to this House this matter would be looked into. Initially, I suggested the Chairman of Management Board. It then became the Provincial Auditor, which I think is where it should be and where it is at this moment. That is where I think we will get the answer.
Mr. Conway: On the Donald Martyn contracts worth $153,000 to stage-manage the openings of the tech centres, no less a person than the Premier's former speechwriter, Les Horswill, now ensconced as an assistant deputy minister in the relevant department, said, "Ideally, the work should have been tendered." That work, said the relevant senior bureaucrat of the relevant department, should have been tendered. That is not my word, not the Premier's word, but the word of the ADM in the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
In view of that statement, will the Premier now reflect upon my first question? Has the Premier himself with his own eyes seen those contracts between Industry and Trade and Donald Martyn and Associates? Has he with his own eyes seen those contracts, (a) to satisfy himself they exist in writing; and (b), that they meet the letter and spirit of his Manual of Administration? Will he now give an undertaking to table those contracts? Let us just cut it in the middle and say the Donald Martyn contracts, if he wants his first point, which I will grant him for the sake of argument and compromise. Will he table the Donald Martyn contacts so spoken of by Les Horswill so that we can see who is right?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I can almost sense in advance where the honourable member would come down as to who is right.
Mr. Horswill did indicate, I gather in press reports -- and I have not discussed this with Mr. Horswill -- where he said "ideally" -- I guess if one uses that terminology "ideally" means a better way would have been to do it in some other fashion but I do not think that by using the word "ideally," he indicated that what happened was improper. Ideally is the ideal. The member is an idealist some days.
I say to the member this matter is in the hands of the Provincial Auditor. I do not say this to be provocative, but I am reminded on occasion by him and others that when the Provincial Auditor or a committee is seized of a particular situation, that is where it should be. I am not going to be judge and jury per se prior to the Provincial Auditor making his report. I think it would be inconsistent and unfair to do so.
Mr. Conway: But has the Premier seen those contracts?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, and I do not --
Mr. Conway: He has not seen them because they do not exist. If the Premier does not want to give the impression of having covered up, why does he not introduce those into this House? Let the people see. Let the people decide.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Renfrew North will please resume his seat.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. This is the first opportunity I have had to welcome him back to the House after his recent illness. Now that he is here, I hope he will enlighten us on what his ministry will be doing to carry out the promises made on November 1 by the acting Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. McCaffrey) in the government's long delayed response to the social development committee's report on wife battering, which was tabled almost a year ago.
In particular, will he tell us how he is going to spend the $4 million the acting minister announced for additional services for battered women to be provided by the Ministry of Community and Social Services? Will he tell us over what time this money is to be spent and when payments will go out to those interval houses in financial difficulty? Is any of the money earmarked for special services for francophone and immigrant women, which was one of the strong recommendations of the committee?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, it is rather surprising that a person whose last endeavour with me was pulling a stunt outside my riding office while hiding behind a post would want to welcome me back.
Mr. Van Horne: Was it on Hallowe'en?
Hon. Mr. Drea: No, it was not on Hallowe'en.
Mr. Speaker: Now for the question, please.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I presume the honourable member has been busy this week and could not read. We opened or at least turned the sod or made the arrangements for a number of houses in northern Ontario which are called family resource centres or places of refuge. We are looking particularly at the per diems, not the actual cost of shelter, but at the part of the per diem that goes to purchase various types of services required not only by the females involved but by their families across Ontario.
I thought the acting minister at the time explained the program quite well. I really do not understand the question. If the member is going to come back to her old saw about why we do not block-fund, the answer now, as it always has been, is we will not do that because it would mean a very substantial erosion of the services and the ability of a transition house, house of refuge, interval house or what have you to provide the services and activities it wants to provide.
Ms. Bryden: In regard to the minister's first comment, it was he who was hiding in his office refusing to meet a delegation seeking funding for day care. There were no day care facilities in his riding at the time.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Now the supplementary of the member for Beaches-Woodbine. I would like to hear her remarks, please.
Ms. Bryden: The acting Minister of Community and Social Services also promised that stabilized funding for shelters would be provided so that the 42 existing and new shelters would be able to operate with an assured cash flow. Will the minister give us a date when the per diem payments will apply to the number of beds available and not only to the beds occupied as at present?
The existing shelters are the ones waiting for the distribution of this $4 million. The family service centres set up in northern Ontario have nothing to do with the needs of the existing shelters for immediate relief and have nothing to do with those which have deficits or with the changing of the per diem payments so that the shelters have an assured cash flow. The per diems should be based on available beds and not only on occupancy. When can the shelters expect this change in the funding? When can they expect some of this $4 million to flow out to the interval houses that are in trouble? It would be a nice Christmas present for the minister to put under their tree.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I hardly think I need a suggestion to be Santa Claus from a person who has just written off the needs of very distressed people in northern Ontario. It is not something that concerns her.
We are in the process of looking at the particular needs of various houses in this regard. The one thing the acting minister did stress is that we will not allow any house -- and they are not all interval houses -- any shelter or any of the programs that offer a specialized service in this area to have to close because of lack of financing. We are looking at the per diems and the means by which we can determine individually what their particular problem is and meet it.
Knowing the honourable member well, she obviously has some specific place in mind. If she does not want to mention it in the House, she can leave me a note. If she wants to get into some very specific details --
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Put it behind the post.
Hon. Mr. Drea: After her one adventure with me when she was caught behind the post, she will never do that again. She does not want to tell why she was hiding behind the post.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Thank you. A final supplementary, the member for Windsor-Sandwich.
Mr. Wrye: I am not going to touch the post.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Wrye: The minister will know that one of the continuing problems in terms of funding and financing for these houses is the victim advocacy component, particularly as it pertains to victim advocacy clinics in London and Windsor. He will know that in both cases those clinics are in dire need of money and may be forced to close within the next month or month and a half without new funding.
Can the minister indicate when he is prepared to announce new funding for those clinics? When can we expect a statement on this matter in the House so we can alleviate the concerns of the people who work in both of those clinics?
Hon. Mr. Drea: First, we would like to have the federal study. There is a federal study on both of those just about to be completed, as I understand. We would like to have that and then we will see what we will do in the matter.
Ms. Copps: Is that what Gord told you?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Yes, it is what the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker) told me. It happens to be in his area.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food concerning what has been referred to as his deathbed intention for the people of eastern Ontario. I refer to his announcement last week of an increase of $209,000 in tile drain loans.
Will the minister now admit that this extra allocation involves no new expenditures but is merely a minor reshuffling of original funds allocated to the tile drain program this year? Would he also admit he has never even established his so-called acreage improvement fund under the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, in which his government promised to increase the tile drainage of one million acres of farm land in eastern and northern Ontario?
Would the minister also admit that in the last three years, the five eastern counties of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott and Russell have received less in tile drain allocations than the county of Lambton alone? Is this not an utter disgrace to the people of eastern Ontario? Can he not do better than that? Is it not just plain rhetoric in the middle of a by-election?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member will take the trouble to examine the facts, he will find that what we have done with 12 townships in eastern Ontario -- five of them in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry; so the other seven are in areas where there is no electoral contest under way -- is to meet all the demands and needs that have been identified by those township councils for tile drainage in those municipalities this year.
I anticipate that over the course of the balance of the calendar year we will be making further readjustments. Each year we take the money available and apportion it where the need is. In some municipalities the needs will be less in one year than they were previously, so the money is freed up and then assigned to another municipality.
That is exactly what we have been doing. We have not been trying to pull the wool over anybody's eyes. Indeed, if the member will go back over the years, he will see there are regular announcements of the reapportionments. This is not at all unusual.
Mr. Boudria: The minister has done that throughout the whole province but he has only announced it in eastern Ontario. Why? The provincial funding under the tile drainage program is being limited to only 60 per cent of the cost, and the municipalities of eastern Ontario have asked the minister to increase the loans to 75 per cent of the cost. That was the original program and that is what we really wanted in eastern Ontario. Why does the minister not move in that direction and provide meaningful help to the farmers of eastern Ontario before he allows them all to go bankrupt?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First, I will match the programs that we provide for the farmers in eastern Ontario or anywhere in the province with anything that the member's party provides out of Ottawa. We have been altogether much more attuned to the needs of the farmers in the province and much more responsive than his party has been in anything it has delivered out of Ottawa for years.
Second, 60 per cent of the value of a project at eight per cent interest is a significant amount of assistance to an individual farmer.
Third, I remind the member that prior to last year some municipalities, including some in eastern Ontario, were providing somewhere in the area of 30 per cent and 40 per cent support. They were spreading the money that thinly. I told them I thought it should be at 60 per cent rather than that.
I do not mind the member playing his little games, which he does all the time --
Mr. Boudria: We are playing little games? Who was out there making these ridiculous announcements?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- but in the course of doing that he should not knock one of the most significant programs that assists farmers in this province every year.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, why did the minister not increase the global amount instead of taking it away from other municipalities and other farmers in this province?
Mersea township in Essex county was originally allotted $406,000 this year. On routine inquiries from the tile drainage division, Lynn Foster, the clerk of Mersea, replied in writing on August 18 that they had requests at that time for $323,200 and that would be the absolute minimum required. Why then on October 9 did the minister cut the allotment to Mersea township to $246,000 and deprive many farmers of money for tiling which they had been led to believe they would get?
Do they and we not have the right in this House to believe that funds are being manipulated for political purposes? Why does he not do the decent and fair thing and increase the global allotments?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to look into the matter of that individual township. Our practice in the time I have been in the ministry has been that where demand or need for the money is less than what has been allocated, then we move --
Mr. Swart: You cut them back by almost $80,000.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: What the honourable member is saying or alleging is that the need in this municipality has been documented as being greater than what the revised allocation is. I will look into that.
Mr. Swart: You took it away October 9.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As I say, I will look into that. However, I will tell the member that because demand does vary -- he knows very well how much the economy, as well as the weather, influences drainage work county by county and, in fact, township by township -- our policy has been that we reallocate the money in the hope that we can spend the whole budget, realizing that it is needed throughout the whole of the province.
Hon. Mr. Wells: With the agreement of the House, Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether we could revert to statements by the ministry.
Mr. Speaker: Do we have the unanimous consent of the House?
Mr. Conway: On that point, Mr. Speaker: We are prepared to give the government House leader unanimous consent, notwithstanding my frustration at seeing the Minister of Tourism and Recreation with his statement, knowing the statement is available and the holding back of same --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Conway: -- so the minister is now going to be able to control the last seven or eight minutes of question period and we are not even going to be given the common courtesy of having the thing in advance.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The honourable member will please resume his seat.
The Minister of Tourism and Recreation.
Mr. Wrye: Why hasn't the clock stopped?
Mr. Rae: Are you going to stop the clock?
Mr. Speaker: Would you stop the clock?
Mr. Rae: On condition that the clock stop at 10:20.
Mr. Speaker: Well, have we unanimous consent?
Mr. Wildman: With respect, Mr. Speaker, the clock was at 10:20.
Mr. Speaker: All right. I have made a note of that. Let us not lose control here.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, copies of the statement for the press are on their way, I am told.
I rise this morning to make a full and positive response to the misconceptions created by a news story in the Globe and Mail last night and this morning, which was based on incomplete information. It was based on a copy of a preliminary, and I will stress "preliminary," report by the Provincial Auditor, which was addressed to my deputy minister with a covering letter requesting our comments on a number of items.
It constituted, in effect, an interoffice memorandum. It was not intended for publication.
Mr. McClellan: It was cloaked in secrecy. What happened to your cloak?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: If the honourable member is not interested in this, at least the general public and taxpayers would be interested in knowing what the real story is; so maybe he had better be quiet.
Ms. Copps: It is a good thing they got the information if it wasn't intended for publication.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We have unanimous consent to hear what the minister is going to say; so let us hear him.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Its purpose was to give the minister an opportunity to review the auditor's preliminary findings and then respond with explanations on the points which we felt were incompletely understood by the auditing team of two accountants, who were unfamiliar with the basic marketing principles on which my ministry operates very effectively in a highly competitive world market.
It was our feeling at the time that our responses had corrected some of the misconceptions contained in the auditor's preliminary report. We also felt satisfied that our explanations would remove those same misconceptions from the final stage of the regular auditing procedure, namely, the Provincial Auditor's report which, as we know, is printed and published as a public document.
I wish to go on record in the House and with the media as saying that my ministry follows, has followed and will continue to follow all the competitive tendering procedures laid down by the Management Board of Cabinet guidelines for advertising contracts.
Mr. Conway: That is not what the auditor said last year.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: That is why I challenge utterly the allegation in the Globe and Mail report that millions of dollars in advertising contracts had been placed by my ministry without approval from the government's cost control agency.
I shall deal with the major statement in point-by-point refutation in just a moment, but first allow me to quote directly from the auditor's preliminary report on my ministry's management.
Under the heading, "Overall Ministry Assessment," the auditor's report states: "As a relatively new ministry (February 1982) its efforts thus far have been primarily directed at establishing role and mandate as well as systems and structures to allow accomplishments of this mandate. In this respect we feel that the ministry has made good progress."
Next, the auditor's report deals with the tourism marketing development activity. Here is what it says about our tourism marketing. "Internal controls: We found that internal controls over advertising expenditures were adequate and we are satisfied there was compliance with legislative, administrative and agency contractual requirements. However, one exception did come to our attention: approval is not being obtained on creative communications projects over $500,000, as required by the Manual of Administration."
Specifically, the report spelled out this one exception as follows: "In 1982 the ministry paid a supplier approximately $1.5 million to have a 48-page spring-summer magazine insert prepared for the ministry's advertising campaign. As the amount paid exceeded $500,000 and was for a creative communications service, Management Board approval was required in accordance with the Ontario Manual of Administration but was not obtained."
With regard to this single item on internal controls, on which we were asked by the auditor to comment, it was simply a matter of the auditors not being aware of the makeup of the $1.5-million expenditure, as all administrative procedures were followed to the letter.
The $1.5 million comprised three components of a 48-page advertising supplement for insertion in newspapers. The basic design work for the supplement as well as the placement for the supplement in various newspapers in the United States and Canada was the responsibility of the advertising agency. This work is defined under the terms of the standard three-year contract, which received Management Board approval following normal tendering procedures. The actual production of the supplement in terms of printing was the responsibility of the ministry. This work was tendered through the purchasing section of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
As the portion of the work which exceeded $500,000 was not for creative communication services but only involved straightforward printing costs, no Management Board approval was necessary. Consequently, with a total of $1.3 million of the $1.5 million in question being spent on the printing of some 8.5 million copies of the "Ontario -- yours to discover" supplement, and this being done 100 per cent in accordance with Management Board guidelines and the Ontario Manual of Administration, I can categorically deny the Globe and Mail statement that "millions of dollars in advertising contracts have been placed without approval." This is definitely not the case.
Another point that requires clarification is the Globe and Mail statement that "the printing business is tendered every year as regulations require." The fact is that our printing business is tendered by the ministry every time a supplement is produced, and there are no exceptions.
The next subject the auditor addresses in the area of the tourism market is "controls to ensure economy." On this topic, the preliminary report said "cash discounts taken by a major advertising agency are not being passed along to the ministry." The major advertising agency referred to is my ministry's international award-winning agency, Camp Associates.
We are proud to be associated with this agency, because in travel advertising, they are simply the best. Their talented staff are superb professionals in promoting travel to and within this great province. They follow the rules and practices of the advertising industry as we follow the rules of the Manual of Administration.
The financial arrangement between the ministry and our advertising agency is entirely in keeping with normal client-agency agreements throughout the advertising industry. In the occasional instance where a supplier offers a two per cent discount to the agency for payments of an invoice within 10 days, the ministry is not able to take advantage of these savings. This is because we insist on seeing proof of performance -- that is, evidence such as newspaper tearsheets attached to invoices -- and require a number of levels of approval of the invoices prior to payment being forwarded. The time required for validation to be submitted by suppliers and payment to be made by the ministry can be up to 60 days.
On the other hand, if a service requires prebilling and a two per cent discount is offered, such as in our purchase of magazine advertisements in Germany, the ministry does benefit by paying a discounted cost for the advertisements.
Another comment by the auditor that requires clarification is: "The same major agency of the ministry is not obtaining tenders/quotations on works subcontracted by them." The suggestion that the agency was not always tendering subcontracted work to suppliers such as art studios and television commercial production houses was obviously made from a lack of practical knowledge. It is an accepted standard practice among major advertisers and their agencies.
Tendering is not always practical in areas of specialized expertise such as commercial filming, film editing or computer-generated typesetting. As an example, in the latter case, hardware and software compatibility and availability severely limit the degree to which work can be freely switched from one typesetter to another. But even in these instances, firms are evaluated on a regular basis in terms of competitiveness and cost-efficiency.
Moving on to "resource utilization," the auditor's preliminary report stated, "Formal performance evaluations are not being carried out on the major advertising agency used by the ministry." It is important to realize that the emphasis here is on the word "formal." Evaluation is a constant and continuing process with any creative marketing service. While Camp Associates was selected competitively and has a three-year contract with the ministry, there is a 90-day cancellation clause.
There is also an annual internal review. In addition, in response to the auditor's comments, a more formal campaign evaluation is now being carried out by the minister.
That is what I meant this morning when I spoke about being positive. I know the rules and my staff knows the rules, and we follow them scrupulously and without equivocation. I can make this statement without equivocation because it is an absolute fact.
Mr. Conway: Not so last year.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Our agency is a respected leader in the field of tourism advertising, as evidenced by the 14 international awards bestowed upon it by its peers for both television and magazine advertising since the launching of the "Ontario -- yours to discover" campaign three years ago.
Camp Associates has developed a highly professional and sophisticated tourism advertising campaign, the success of which has been well documented. "Ontario -- yours to discover" is recognized by nine out of every 10 residents, while 80 per cent of American residents in key border state markets tell us they are aware of the summer ads produced and placed by our agency.
Inquiries for more travel information, which are generated by our advertising, continue to increase every year. All important visits to Ontario by American residents were up this year despite extremely tough competition from other jurisdictions.
All this points to the obvious success of both our tourism marketing program and the agency responsible for our advertising.
ORAL QUESTIONS (CONTINUED)
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the minister who just made his statement. I would like to ask him a question with respect to page 7 of his statement, where he talks about the lack of tendering practices by Camp Associates. He does not touch upon the question which I previously asked him, and that has to do with the practice engaged in by Camp Associates of not passing on the discounts it receives from their subcontractors.
I would like to ask two questions. First, can he tell us whether the failure to tender for subcontracts is in breach of the Manual of Administration? This is a question of fact. Are the amounts of those subcontracts in excess of the amounts allowed by the Manual of Administration? Second, can he tell us whether it is common practice for contractors or advertising agencies such as Camp Associates to keep the money paid to them on a cash discount basis or whether it is common practice for that saving to be passed on to the taxpayer?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, on the matter of tendering, an advertising agency such as Camp Associates really has several functions. One is the creative communications thing -- the development of the ads, the decisions about what the campaign slogan will be, which pictures are to be used --
Mr. Cunningham: "Davis can do it" was the last one. "Keep the promise."
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I would like to get this on record for the taxpayers, because it is their money we are talking about. I ask the member if he will please give me an opportunity to do this, because they have a right not only to know but also to understand what this is all about.
Mr. Cunningham: "Your future. Your choice."
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
Ms. Copps: Reuben, you had better watch out. Doug Wiseman said the same thing; look what happened to him. You might be joining him.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Cunningham: "Davis can do it."
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, we did it.
Mr. Speaker: We are here in this chamber to protect the rights of the individuals who have sent us here. Surely we must respect each other's rights as well.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: There are two aspects to this particular question. Camp Associates provides the creative part of the development of the material. The decisions as to which photographs, slogans and displays are to be used are the creative part. That obviously is an internal thing: so one does not tender. One cannot tender for that; it is a service they provide to the government as part of the contract, for which they had gone out to tender some time before.
The other part of the service is the actual printing. Camp Associates does not do the printing; printing companies do that. When they tell us, "Here is the program we want printed," it is our ministry, through the Ministry of Industry and Trade, that in every instance calls for tenders to have the printing done. That may answer that part of the question.
On the two per cent issue, this is a rather technical thing but I would like to explain it so this House and also the general public might understand it, because it has been suggested that there is a two per cent ripoff here, which is not the case at all. It used to be at one point that when an agency such as Camp would ask the media to run an advertisement, the media would either print the ad or show it on television. The media would be quite happy to do it and at some later time send the tearsheet back to the advertising agency.
I guess today advertising agencies do not trust the media and the media do not trust the advertising agencies; I do not know what. Anyway, at this point the media want cash on the barrelhead for the advertising they are going to do. Camp has to pay. It is only later, sometimes five or six weeks later, that the media then send back the tearsheet to Camp which in turn sends it to us, because we do not pay Camp until we have had evidence the ad was run. In many instances, Camp is carrying us for as long as 60 days.
Mr. Peterson: You don't trust him.
Mr. Conway: I'm going to cry.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The members are really not very interested. They are interested only in themselves. Can I make one final comment?
Mr. Speaker: All right. Order.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Particularly in the days of high interest rates, obviously when they carried us for 60 days it was an item. This was recognized when we signed the original contract with Camp for the two per cent.
At some future time, if the auditor feels there can be some improvement in this method, we will take a look at it. But this is the point that has to be made, this is not a ripoff by Camp on an unsuspecting or somewhat stupid ministry. It is not. It is part of a good, solid bargain made between this ministry and the best advertising agency in Canada and United States. Their peers have recognized them to be just that.
Mr. Rae: It is always refreshing to hear a defence of the agency of Dalton Camp, Norman Atkins and Hugh Segal coming from such an unbiased source as the Tory minister, the member for Ottawa West. It really does one's heart good to hear that kind of unsolicited promotion from a Tory cabinet minister.
The quotation that is there from the report of the auditor is quite clear, whether it is a preliminary report not intended for publication -- it is obvious it was not intended for publication; the government would prefer nothing ever to see the light of day -- it says, "While these discounts were taken by the agency they did not pass these savings along but rather billed the gross amount of the invoice to the ministry."
The question the minister has to deal with and to answer is whether the cost to the Camp agency of carrying the government, as he puts it, for up to 60 days is in any way the equivalent of the two per cent cash discount. It would appear from the comments the auditor made that there is no general equivalence in those costs.
Can the minister tell us what the costs are? What is the cost equivalence? What are the savings that are being allowed to be kept by Camp Associates and how much is it costing to carry the government for 60 days? There is a dollar figure here. How much is the dollar figure worth? Has the minister been able to calculate that? If he is not able to calculate it, will he refer the matter to the public accounts committee so it can have a look at it?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Of course we will be prepared to refer the matter to the public accounts committee if that is indicated; no problem at all. I can simply tell the member our marketing experts have worked with the agency around this question of what is a fair arrangement on the two per cent discount.
One way that has been suggested is that they figure out on almost every billing what the discount should be, how much the Camp agency should keep and how much should be returned to government. The reason they did not go along those lines was that it would have created all kinds of horrendous administrative detail.
Maybe there is a better way to come down to a fair and good figure for both the agency and government. I can only assure the member and the House that we are constantly attempting to work out the best formula. Certainly this is not something we are unaware of and it is not a case of some ad agency ripping off the government over these discounts.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, on page 2 of the minister's report he says, "It was our feeling at the time that our responses had corrected some of the misconceptions contained in the auditor's preliminary report." Is the minister now telling the House that the auditor is completely satisfied with these practices? Is he willing to table for members of the House the memoranda between himself and the auditor's office to indicate to members of the House whether or not the auditor is indeed now satisfied? Obviously he was not satisfied at the time he confronted the minister.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, these exchanges of memos between the auditor and a ministry are commonplace. I would imagine they happen in perhaps every audit. It is simply a method whereby the auditor asks the ministry for further elaboration, for explanation or whatever, and the ministry replies. The ministry never knows until the printed audited report is out whether or not the auditor is satisfied with the explanation.
We have reason to believe that in this instance he will be substantially satisfied with the information we have given him. Certainly there is no way of knowing how many of these comments he has accepted. In the fullness of time, I guess we will all know. We are confident that we have provided him with the information he was seeking.
Mr. Bradley: Will you provide the information to members of the House?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The memo that my deputy minister sent to the auditor on August 29 is now the property of the auditor. As the auditor's side of the exchange has been made public, I would have no objection if our reply of August 29 from the deputy minister were to be made public by the auditor. I would have no objection at all; in fact, I think then the world could see both sides of the issue. But at this time, I regard that as being the property of the auditor and he must decide how he is going to deal with the issue.
Mr. Rae: The fact of the matter is that members of our party have asked time and again in the public accounts committee for a general review of the way in which advertising contracts are tendered and the way in which they are granted by the government. This request has been consistently rejected by the Tory majority on the public accounts committee.
Would the minister indicate to the House whether or not he is prepared -- in fact, would like an opportunity -- to explain for the benefit of the public accounts committee exactly how the contracts are tendered and how the process works? Is he prepared to table for the purposes of the public accounts committee all of the memoranda, both one way and the other way, with respect to the practices from which the result has been this story?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I cannot speak for other advertising, but I can certainly speak for the advertising in my ministry and for tourism marketing advertising. I would look forward to the privilege of going into detail as to how these contracts are let and how we work with the agency and the media. We are absolutely confident that we are doing it in the best and the most efficient way possible and that the taxpayers of Ontario are getting full value for their bucks.
INFLATION RESTRAINT LEGISLATION
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned registered nurses employed by the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, situated in the city of Ottawa, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"Whereas we oppose the salary rollback of 3.5 per cent and salary increment freeze imposed on us by the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, we believe we are entitled to have this rollback reversed because, by rolling our salaries back by 3.5 per cent, our salaries fall far behind the salaries of other hospital registered nurses.
"The other hospital nurses received a nine per cent increase on October 1, 1982, and a five per cent increase on October 1, 1983. By freezing our salary increments, our service and expertise were not recognized by the above mentioned employer. The rollback occurred after the government imposed Bill 179.
"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our lost salaries and bring them to parity with the other hospital nurses."
That petition is signed by 267 nurses at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Mr. Kolyn from the standing committee on administration of justice presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill with a certain amendment:
Bill 97, An Act respecting Central Trust Company and Crown Trust Company.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for third reading.
Hon. Mr. Eaton moved that the standing committee on general government be authorized to meet following routine proceedings in the afternoons of Monday, December 12, 1983, and Tuesday, December 13, 1983, to consider the estimates referred to the committee.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Eaton moved that the standing committee on public accounts be authorized to meet in the afternoons of November 28 and 29, 1983, and in the afternoon and evening of December 1, 1983, to consider its annual report to the House.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Eaton moved that the standing committee on resources development be authorized to meet in the afternoon of Wednesday, November 30, 1983, to consider the estimates of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
MINISTRY OF HEALTH AMENDMENT ACT
Ms. Copps moved, seconded by Mr. Wrye, first reading of Bill 130, An Act to amend the Ministry of Health Act.
Motion agreed to.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, this bill is intended to ensure that hospitals and clinics in Ontario comply with and promote the World Health Organization code of marketing of breast milk substitutes, specifically that the free distribution of breast milk substitutes in hospitals across Ontario be banned and that hospitals and public health institutions encourage the World Health Organization code which has already been adopted by the government of Canada.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF NORTHERN AFFAIRS (CONTINUED)
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if we should take a few moments so that all members of the House who are not interested in northern affairs could leave quietly so that we can get on with the business of the people north of the French River.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: You do not have many people on your side interested in the north.
Mr. Wildman: We have already raised that point.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: There are five people on the opposition benches interested in the north. Let the record show that.
The Deputy Chairman: Order. The minister is speaking quite out of place and is out of order.
Mr. Wildman: Why does the minister have to be so partisan? The member was talking about everybody on all sides of the House.
The Deputy Chairman: And order from the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman). The member for Lake Nipigon has the floor.
Mr. Stokes: When we met to discuss these estimates last Monday I was talking about our inability to manage our resources in general in the north for the maximum benefit of people there. I was speaking specifically of wild rice and I was quoting from a letter from a chap by the name of Bob Shetterly, who is the proprietor of the Albany Free Traders at the mouth of the Albany River just south of Pickle Lake. I am not going to rehash the letter. I know the minister and the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne), the member for Algoma-Manitoulin (Mr. Lane) and the member for Algoma were listening.
I want to try to elicit a response from the minister as to what part, if any, he is playing in maximizing the economic impact of indigenous resources on the people in the north, specifically in this case in regard to wild rice. The minister will know we had a five-year moratorium on the issuance of any further licences for the harvesting of wild rice, restricting it to those who traditionally harvest, the majority of whom are our first citizens although there are instances of non-Indians having the authority.
My reason for bringing it to the attention of the committee is that it is having a satisfactory impact on the people in the Osnaburg area as a result of the kinds of things being done to maximize the economic impact. I want to quote two brief lines saying why that impact has had a satisfactory effect.
One of the main deterrents was and is that we should have: "One, a law requiring the correct labelling of wild rice, a simple truth in labelling act that would prevent farm-grown paddy rice from being marketed and sold as wild rice; and two, harvesting regulations that would provide controls on the time and method of harvest. It is my opinion" -- says the writer, Mr. Shetterly -- "that such simple legislation would increase production by at least 100 per cent as the product is already here."
The minister will know what I am speaking of in trying to maximize the economic impact by harvesting at the optimum time, that is, when the kernels are the fullest and the harvest is at its very best with regard to quality. I hope the minister will give us his thoughts on how he feels we could maximize the economic impact of the harvesting of wild rice by our first citizens.
We all recognize that their opportunities for economic independence are based almost solely on indigenous resources, whether mining, forestry, tourism or the harvesting of wild rice. I do not think we have even begun to scratch the surface in that regard as it pertains to our first citizens, particularly in those areas north of the 50th parallel.
I have discussed in some detail and at some length during the estimates of the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation the economic impact the tourist industry could have on our first citizens if we play our cards right. This is just a part of the continuing saga I am expounding in this assembly to try to maximize the economic impact. I will say no more on that subject and I hope the minister will respond.
I want to make one further comment in my opening remarks. It has to do with the plight of our first citizens at Whitedog and Grassy Narrows. I want to quote from a letter that was sent to the Honourable John Munro on August 8, 1983, by Mr. Bruce Knapp of Peterborough, Ontario. I have shared some of that correspondence with the minister and he will know what I am speaking of. I want to put this letter on the record to set the scene for what I and a lot of people think is a real travesty.
"I wish I could find words to express to you my deep anger and outrage over the situation of the Grassy Narrows band of Indians as revealed on the CBC radio program aired on the AM band on Sunday evening, August 7.
"The dreadful and sordid facts revealed in that program are a ghastly commentary upon the laissez-faire attitude of your department, which apparently believes its sole responsibility for the wellbeing of native people ends with the issuance of a monthly welfare cheque to them. The situation is all the more horrible because, in so far as my memory goes, it was your department which, following the destruction by industry of that band's fishing grounds upon the Wabigoon and English rivers, moved them to a regimented existence in a tiny barracks-like space from a natural reserve where they had been happy and self-sufficient, with seemingly no thought for their continuing normal way of life.
"Now the results are becoming catastrophically evident. The ratio of natural deaths to violent ones is 25:75 in a community of approximately 600. Suicide is rampant, including, incredibly, that of children down to the age of 11 years, lost to hope. The suicide rate for the community is many, many times the national average.
"Alcoholism, starvation, sickness and infant mortality are also rampant. The band, we are told by several authorities, is self-destructing from despair and apathy. Since this state of affairs stems from indifference and ill-considered action by a white government perpetrated upon a section of our native population it is being done in part in my name, and that is why I am so wrathful. I demand that you forthwith take strong action to remedy this disgraceful, astounding and most shameful situation."
It is signed by Mr. Knapp.
I do not think I shared that letter with the minister, but I shared the response Mr. Munro sent to Mr. Knapp, dated October 4 of this year. It reads as follows:
"Dear Mr. Knapp:
"Thank you for your letter of August 8 regarding the situation at Grassy Narrows, as described in the CBC program Ideas.
"I am pleased to take this opportunity to outline my department's recent efforts to deal with the community's plight. In December 1978, the band, the Ontario government and my department started to negotiate a settlement that would resolve the problems of the reserve and enable the band to gain access to resources that would allow it to create a process of self-renewal.
"The discussions have been far from easy, but I am confident that the federal government has been dealing with the band in good faith by taking part consistently in continuing negotiations to the point that I believe we will within the next few months achieve a settlement.
"I am not at liberty now to disclose particulars since the negotiations have not been concluded, but I believe that both the band and my department have worked hard to reach a settlement that will be satisfactory to both parties.
"At the same time, I am intervening on behalf of the band in its negotiations with Great Lakes Forest Products and Reed Ltd., the companies that share responsibility for the pollution of the English-Wabigoon River system. I hope that a meeting will take place shortly that will lead the band to conclude an agreement with the companies.
"In addition, my department continues to encourage the province of Ontario to negotiate with the band. The Ontario minister responsible, the Honourable Norman Sterling, responded on July 21 to the latest band proposal by indicating that the province is reviewing its position and will be meeting with the band soon. You will be interested to know that since 1978 my department has allocated special funding to the band to ensure that it would be able to take full part in the negotiations.
"I certainly share your concern about Grassy Narrows. I would point out, however, that the Ideas program failed to mention that the federal government is fully involved in a process of band rehabilitation. I hope that within a few years the Grassy Narrows community, with some outside assistance but largely through its own efforts, will have rebuilt a sense of self-worth and wellbeing.
"Yours sincerely, John Munro."
Just to bring it up to date and to give you the last I have on it, there was a meeting subsequent to that letter and it was covered in a Canadian Press news story from Ottawa, which reads as follows:
"After years of delay and acrimony, owners of a Dryden, Ontario, paper mill will have agreed to try to reach a mercury pollution compensation agreement with two neighbouring Indian bands within 30 days, so says Indian Affairs Minister John Munro. If the attempt fails, Munro warned, he will go to cabinet in an attempt to find a political solution to the impasse.
"The minister was commenting after a closed meeting of representatives of the Whitedog and Grassy Narrows bands, Great Lakes Forest Products Ltd. and Norm Sterling, Ontario Minister for Resources Development. Both Munro and Sterling said they were encouraged by the meeting called by Munro in an attempt to salvage compensation negotiations that have dragged on since 1977. The bands have threatened to press ahead with a lawsuit if a negotiated settlement fails, but Munro would not say if one federal option is to pay the band's legal costs.
"'I think we all agree at the federal level that we cannot protract this any longer,' Munro said. The Dryden mill, once owned by Reed Inc. but purchased by Great Lakes in 1979, is blamed for dumping about 10 tons of mercury into the English-Wabigoon River system in the 1960s.
"The discovery of the mercury in 1970 wiped out the fishing industry, the major source of food and employment for the two bands located north of Kenora, and caused a disastrous chain reaction of economic and social breakdown.
"Members of both bands and representatives of Great Lakes left the meeting without talking to reporters.
"The bands are also close to receiving two other compensation agreements, said Munro and Sterling. The federal government is only days away from signing a compensation agreement with the Grassy Narrows band similar to one it signed more than a year ago with the Whitedog reserve, Munro said.
"He would not disclose details of the package, but said it would differ somewhat from the Whitedog agreement, which includes a $1.5-million cash settlement, a federal commitment to build a high school and other reserve services and improve its monitoring of mercury levels in reserve residences.
"Meanwhile, Ontario hopes to sign a compensation package with Whitedog by the end of the year, said Sterling. An agreement with the band, which included a forestry program and limited Indian control over quotas for fishing, hunting and trapping near reserve lands, was scuttled earlier this year because of a vocal protest by non-Indian residents in the neighbouring Kenora area.
"Sterling said the provincial government is treading lightly this time and will take pains to explain the agreement in full to residents near the reserve. An economic and social development package for Grassy Narrows is still a long way from fruition, he added."
To put it in perspective, in terms of this minister's involvement, I know that the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Sterling) is the chief negotiator for Ontario. His predecessor, the member for Lambton (Mr. Henderson), had a go at it; his predecessor, the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Ramsay), had a go at it; and his predecessor, the former member for Cochrane North, had a go at it; and here we are, almost 10 years after the fact, still wondering whether or not the federal or provincial government give a darn about what happens on Whitedog and Grassy Narrows.
Just to give the minister something to react to, because it deals specifically with quotes that were made available to me and are from the program I referred to earlier, Mr. Crofts, one of the negotiators, and I believe the chief negotiator, is quoted as having said: "The first meeting that I recall was on October 31, 1975, Hallowe'en evening. Three characters, none of whom I had ever met, flew in from Toronto. Their names were Leo Bernier, Minister of Natural Resources at the time; Frank Miller, presently Treasurer of Ontario; and George Kerr, who at the time was Minister of the Environment." This was back in 1975.
"These gentlemen appeared at a meeting in Kenora to face the chiefs and band council of Whitedog and Grassy Narrows, and that was really my first perception of the province and how they behaved."
The interviewer says, "How did they behave?" Mr. Crofts says: "Well, they were marvellous in their performance in the two or three hours they were there, at least in terms of a verbal performance. They flew away back to Toronto, admitting that this was a situation that deserves special attention and, really, you know, by about January, which was three months later, having heard no replies from them at all, my first inkling of provincial concern or lack of concern was coming to the fore. I thought, well, if this is an emergency and we have not heard from these three characters in three months, just what is their perception of the problem?"
The interviewer says: "The position of the province of Ontario remained essentially unchanged during the entire decade of the seventies. The government's response to the mercury problem appeared to be determined by two principles: first, Indian people were not a provincial responsibility; and second, the government was not liable for damage arising from industrial pollution."
Mr. Crofts says: "My sense is there are two provincial approaches. There is the broad one which says, 'Why should we as a province take on a fiscal or financial responsibility for a group of people which, from a legal point of view at this point in time, we do not have to take on as a responsibility?'
"In other words, going back to the royal proclamation of 1763, I believe it was, there is an indication that the Indian was to be a federal responsibility. That has become a very convenient crutch for the provincial cabinet to lean on. That, to me, is really the key.
"You can go beyond that. In recent months we have had responses from provincial ministers who take a different stance in terms of the actual mercury pollution.
"There was a quote in 1977 by the Honourable Leo Bernier, who is currently the Minister of Northern Affairs. Mr. Bernier's comment at that point was: 'Ontario's policy is that there will be no compensation for industrial pollution. The courts are open to individuals to take on the polluter.' In other words, we as the province have no responsibility in this thing, quite aside from our responsibility of monitoring that plant, and if these people at Grassy Narrows or Whitedog have a beef, let them go to court.
"Now that same position, incidentally, was reiterated back in December 1981, much more recently, when the Honourable Russell Ramsay, who is presently Minister of Labour, stood up in the provincial House and made the statement, 'Any liability for damages would appear to lie with those whose actions led to the presence of mercury in the water and not, I would emphasize, with the government of Ontario.'
"Now, as I say, the legal crutch is handy in both those instances. It is easy for the government to opt out and pass the buck to the corporation. It is even easier for them to opt out of the whole Indian question generally, based on the BNA Act and the historical relationship of Indians to the federal government."
The interviewer says: "The federal government, especially the Department of Indian Affairs, did not take a serious interest in the mercury issue until the middle of the decade. There was a task force, however, appointed in 1973 to study the problem. It concluded that the federal government's approach had been fragmented and lacked cohesion.
"In response, the government established a standing committee on mercury in the environment made up of officials from different departments. It met several times over the next three years. Beset by internal squabbles as to which department had the responsibility to deal with mercury, the committee accomplished nothing.
"Then, in 1975, two events galvanized the federal government out of its inaction. The first was the organization of a mercury team within the National Indian Brotherhood. This group gathered information and put pressure on the government to act. The second was the visit of the Japanese doctors who had been involved in Minamata in Japan to deal with the effects of mercury pollution on human beings."
I would like to elicit from the minister his own personal position and the position of his ministry acting in a co-ordinating role as it does; it is a very real, very significant and very important part of his own personal mandate and the mandate of his ministry.
I know there has been a lot that has been going on behind the scenes that we are not aware of. All I know is that there is a lot of inertia and a lack of cohesion, as they say. There is a lack of any real commitment to have this thing over with after well in excess of 10 years.
I know that communication is not as good as it should be over there. I do not know what ongoing dialogue the minister has with his colleague the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development; what kind of dialogue he had with the member for Lambton; what kind of dialogue he had with the Minister of Labour; what kind of dialogue he might have had with Mr. Brunelle -- all of whom had some responsibility for bringing a conclusion to this that would be satisfactory, particularly to our first citizens.
The minister himself is quoted rather extensively in the information I referred to, and in the correspondence I shared with the minister he said:
"Thank you for your letter of September 6 enclosing a letter from Mr. Knapp of Peterborough concerning the Indians at Grassy Narrows. As you know, the standing committee on social affairs has met this week" -- the week of September 23 -- "with the chief and councillors of Grassy Narrows band on the reserve. Their report will, I am sure, contain a number of recommendations which will be of great interest to the government.
"I note that Mr. Knapp has written to the Minister of Indian Affairs, who has responsibility for Indian communities on reserve. I believe you are quite familiar with the various efforts that Ontario has made and is continuing to make to assist the residents of this community. Should Mr. Knapp receive future correspondence from Mr. Munro which points to programs which a provincial government could properly undertake to assist this community, you and I, and I know all other members of the Legislative Assembly would want to know of them. I regret that I did not see the documentary program in question, so I cannot be more specific at this point." That is signed by the minister.
I would like the minister to give me an update of where it is and why his government, if not his ministry, through the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development is not really bringing this to conclusion, given the terrible social, economic and psychological impact that pollution has had on those two Indian reserves, Whitedog and Grassy Narrows.
There are many, many things I could say in connection with that saga of neglect, indifference and inaction; but I will not. I will save it until we get into the various votes. There are a lot of other questions I would like to raise at this time, but in fairness to my colleague the member for London North and in fairness to the minister to give him an opportunity to respond to the opening remarks of the member for London North, I will leave it at that. We will continue on with the votes after the minister has had an opportunity to respond.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, I want to start by responding to the remarks of the member for London North, but let me initially express my appreciation to him for his kind opening remarks with respect to the efforts of the Ministry of Northern Affairs. I am most pleased that he recognized our efforts in trying to co-ordinate and improve generally the quality of life right across northern Ontario.
I would be the first one to admit that while we have made great strides in the past seven years, as the member pointed out, there is still much to be done. We intend to work on those areas as diligently and untiringly as we can, because we are very close to the scene up there in northern Ontario. We are on a day-to-day basis with all the various needs, problems and desires of the local people. We do have a firsthand grasp of the issues, and we continue to respond on an ongoing basis.
I also want to join with the member for London North in recognizing the contribution made by the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) to these estimates and, indeed, to other ministries I have had the opportunity of heading over the past 17 years. I must admit I am a little disappointed to learn he is hanging up his cleats. He has seen fit to pass on the political mantle in his riding to another individual. I do not think we will see him in the Legislature, but it will be nice to have the last New Democratic Party member from Lake Nipigon sitting across from us and joining us in these debates.
Mr. Stokes: Boy, that is a backhanded compliment.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: What I am saying is, they will never have a member to equal the present member. That is about as nicely as I can put it.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: I hope they will never have one.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: He is one of a kind.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: He is one of a kind. He has made a tremendous contribution.
It has been a very interesting time and the exchanges have always been on a very positive upbeat note, in a real northern Ontario atmosphere, putting forward issues and problems that need and should have the attention of this government. I accept that type of criticism.
In my opening remarks, I indicated I would like some positive, constructive remarks. When we move around northern Ontario we know the problems most times, but we are always anxious to get some help in finding solutions. The Premier (Mr. Davis) has said many times: "Don't bring me problems. If you bring me problems, bring me solutions too, so that we can resolve them." That is our job.
The member for London North made some considerable comment concerning the regeneration and reforestation program in northern Ontario. I mentioned in my opening remarks that we deal with Treasury and with the federal government in the federal-provincial program of regeneration and forest management. A $72-million program has been brought forward, and funds under that program are passed to the Ministry of Natural Resources as the line ministry for doing those various things. We work very closely with them in their efforts to develop a sound regeneration program.
I must point out that the expertise, the numbers game everybody is fond of playing, really rests with the Ministry of Natural Resources. Our ministry is not involved in the day-to-day administration of tree nurseries, but as I fly across northern Ontario and travel across northern Ontario, I see an increasing number of tree nurseries from the Quebec border right across to the Manitoba border. There are private sector nurseries all over.
I encourage my colleagues to go to northern Ontario and to look at what is happening in the regeneration and reforestation program. Millions of dollars are now being poured into that program. When I was in Natural Resources some seven or eight years ago, at that time we were trying, hard as it was, to extract those federal dollars because we always felt that with the tax return the federal government receives from the forest industries across this nation it was not putting its fair share back through the provinces in a forest management program and assisting the provinces in the very important area of regeneration and forest management.
Mr. Haggerty: The industry has that responsibility.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: It talks to the federal government. The honourable member should look at the millions of dollars across this country. It is a very important industry in Canada, and all we are asking for is a fair return on what they get from the industry itself, be it the workers or the industry itself. I think they have now awakened to that fact, so much so that in the House of Commons recently we heard that one of the members -- he was an NDP member, if I recall correctly -- has asked for a separate ministry of forestry. I think that makes sense. I really do; that is the focus the federal government should be putting on forest management across this nation.
It is all right for the federal minister to go around saying we are not doing enough and we are not doing this and to look over the shoulder of the Minister of Natural Resources and condemn each provincial government across Canada, the governments of New Brunswick, British Columbia and all the other provinces, in saying those things; but if he is going to say them, he should put his money where his mouth is --
Mr. Stokes: He is a professional forester himself, Charles Caccia.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes. I say to my colleagues in the official opposition that they are in constant contact with their federal counterparts. It may well be they should be leaning on them to try to push more money into a sound forest management program to assist the provinces across this nation in maintaining what we know is a very important and valuable industry, particularly in northern Ontario.
I have said it publicly on many occasions, and I certainly will say again, that I am confident with the thrust the Ministry of Natural Resources has geared up to now. As one who has lived in northern Ontario all his life and who was actually involved in the sawmill business, I know of their desire to further crank up their financial involvement in this whole field of reforestation, forest protection and insect control.
My father had a sawmill in Hudson, as the members well know, and it is still operating today, employing about 325 people. We were directly involved. I am confident that mill will continue for years to come, because the overmature timber is still available to many of the mills across northern Ontario and because of the emphasis on reforestation and regeneration programs and the success they are having.
If the member is looking for real numbers, I would say he should meet with the Minister of Natural Resources and ask him those questions, because that is the place he should really be getting them. We lean as hard as we can in our efforts to co-ordinate and get as much funding as we can for those programs that mean so much to us in the north.
Another area the honourable member went into in some detail about was the --
Mr. Van Horne: Can I interrupt?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes.
Mr. Van Horne: I was taking a quick look for the press clipping of a week or so back wherein it was stated by, I believe, the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources that information gathered would not be shared because he felt it would not provide enough meaningful information for us. That may not be the exact quote, but it is close enough.
I am sure the minister saw that. How does he react? Obviously he gets a chance to look at it as a government member, but here we are on the other side of the House not able to look at that, and yet in the next breath he says --
Mr. Stokes: Those estimates are on in this building in another forum.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: That is right. The member might want to go down and ask him.
Mr. Van Horne: Is that information being revealed at this time in those estimates?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am not sure --
Mr. Stokes: No.
Mr. Van Horne: No.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I have to tell the member, on reading that particular newspaper article I had the opportunity of speaking to the deputy minister and he indicated to me that with their new modern technology, satellite pictures and infrared equipment, they are in the process now of bringing all those facts and figures up to today's requirements and that to give the outdated information --
Mr. Haggerty: The moose herd too.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, but they have so much sophisticated equipment now that within a short period of time they think they can come forward with some very valuable information that will be helpful to all of us.
I would encourage the member to go down there and speak to him, because I am sure he could be more helpful than I in that particular area.
Mr. Van Horne: He will reveal the information?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am not sure precisely what he will reveal.
We were talking about the agricultural potential in northern Ontario, with which I think we all agree. We in the Ministry of Northern Affairs have identified this potential. This is one potential that we think has not even been touched to any degree at this time. There is potential for many crops that are indigenous to northern Ontario which could support a much larger farming community, be it in Rainy River, around Thunder Bay or in the New Liskeard area, which at this time I suppose are not even looked at with any great knowledge of their potential.
As an example, we are doing that with our seed potato upgrading and distribution program. I announced that in this Legislature, and my colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) similarly announced it in New Liskeard where that facility will now develop a certified seed potato. This would eliminate about 80 per cent of the imports from Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. It is something we have been working on for about two years, because we had to get federal certification. That is very important; without it we just cannot go forward. It is things such as that on which we can intensify our efforts.
The northern Ontario rural development agreement is another good example of how we can move into the field of agriculture. There are a number of programs, such as tile drainage and land clearing. That has been a very popular program. Some 900 farmers have been assisted through NORDA; not with large amounts of money, but there are 900 who have been assisted directly through that program. I will be sorry to see NORDA come to an end on March 31, 1984.
Mr. Stokes: Is it not being renegotiated?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: We are trying that now, but it is under the umbrella of the general development agreement. We have had some discussions with the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman). Various ministries expressed a desire to have an overall general development agreement. This matter was brought up at the northern ministers' conference that was held in Slave Lake, Alberta. All the ministers who are responsible for northern development expressed a similar concern, that they wanted to renegotiate the GDAs in their provinces.
There was some indication, however, that the feds were a little reluctant to go the same way in which they had gone in the past, that they might want to go a unilateral route; but they were always saying there would be consultation. We felt that if they went their own merry way there would be duplication and, of course, their priorities would not be our priorities and that would further aggravate a federal-provincial problem.
We leaned on them as hard as we could and were as tough as we could get at that particular meeting. Mr. Lumley was there and he took our concerns back to Ottawa. I am not sure where they stand at present, but I know the Treasurer is looking forward to meeting with Mr. Don Johnston to find out just where we stand on all these agreements.
However, the northern Ontario rural development agreement has really caught on. It has done a remarkable job not only in agriculture but also in the field of tourism to assist those small tourist operators with the development of marketing plans and the development of modern brochures and in trying to extend their operations on a much more solid base earlier in the spring and later in the fall. That emphasis has really worked.
I was in Sudbury on Wednesday last to meet with the Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association. It was very heartening to hear them talk so highly of the results of NORDA right across northern Ontario. Let us hope that we can negotiate a further agreement for this province and for northern Ontario.
We are working very closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, in our co-ordinating role, on the implementation of the agricultural strategy that the Minister of Agriculture and Food announced on Manitoulin Island. There are regular contacts and ongoing discussions between his ministry and ours with respect to that strategy as it relates to northern Ontario.
Mr. Van Horne: Excuse me, Mr. Chairman, may I interrupt? One of the questions I asked relating to agriculture concerned the potential of sheep farming. I may have missed it while I was looking for another press clipping. I do not know if the minister addressed that theme, but if he skipped over it, would he care to observe on it now?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes. We leave specific programs such as sheep farming to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food because it has the expertise and is the line ministry. These programs all flow through in the discussions we have with that ministry. To give an example, in my riding there is one sheep farmer who has over 1,000 sheep, assisted through the northern Ontario rural development agreement program with the strong support of Agriculture and Food.
Not only has an excellent sheep operation been developed, but there is also an abattoir from which lamb and sheep are sold to the general public. With some assistance from NORDA, there has been developed a very interesting and modern sales program for wool from the sheep and other manufactured products from the farm.
Bob Eglie and his sons, who have all gone through the educational institutions of Ontario, have now moved back into the Dryden area and work very closely as a family operation. If the member is up in that neck of the woods, he could drop in at the Eglie farm and he will be more than pleased with what he sees and with what is available; everything from fur jackets to wool toques, socks and blankets, many of them made right there on site. They have -- what do you call those gismos that take the wool and sort it out and make --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Carding.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Carding and knitting machines. People are involved in the cottage industry of knitting sweaters and mittens in their homes and bringing them to the outlet and selling them to the general public. It is a very popular operation.
Mr. Van Horne: I hope members will not mind my pursuing the issue. I would like to ask if there is much of an attempt to pursue the slaughter side of sheep farming for the meat that is required, as I understand it, in large quantities in Metro.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I did not get that question.
Mr. Van Horne: I understand there is a large market in Metropolitan Toronto for lamb. Rather than seeing this come as an import into Canada, not only from outside of Ontario but into Canada, is there much of an attempt by the farmers of northern Ontario to produce lamb and sheep for consumption?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: There is a growing interest across northern Ontario in this field but one has to have the right type of people involved. The Swiss people in my area have done a remarkable job in moving into the sheep farming business because of their knowledge and experience in another country. No doubt there is a tremendous potential in that area. Certainly, we will be following up with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
Another area of interest with respect to sheep farming is that NORDA has funded a pilot project in a couple of areas in northern Ontario in the use of the New Zealand type of fence. Predator control is very important in northern Ontario. A couple of farms in the northwest have used electric fences. That has worked and we are trying this new -- I am not sure exactly how it works but it is a New Zealand type of fence that is really helpful in controlling predators such as wolves.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: What would it be?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: It must be a tightly knit type of thing. This program is going on now in response to a specific request with regard to sheep farming.
Mr. Van Horne: I would like to continue with these interruptions, Mr. Chairman, as long as the minister does not mind. I did find that press clipping related to forestry data. It is from the Globe and Mail of November 16 and indicated:
"William Foster, Ontario Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, has decided not to release information on how much forest regeneration is being conducted in the province. The decision comes two months after the New Democratic Party asked for a detailed accounting in the areas cut and regenerated in the past five years by nine large forest companies."
The story quotes Mr. Foster as saying, "There's a lot of confusion with the data that's been collected dealing with the regenerated seedlings...the information we've collected, we don't feel is very useful."
I find that statement, coupled with the minister's in which he indicates I should speak to him, to be in conflict. I am dwelling on the point so that I can understand the situation. The minister is telling me if I speak to Mr. Foster I may well get the information he would not release, according to this story, on November 16.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I do not think that is exactly what I said. I said they had decided, at least to my knowledge, not to release those statistics because in their opinion they were outdated.
When it comes to facts and figures, as we see in this House one can manipulate those numbers to support one's argument no matter which side of the ledger one is on.
He did indicate to me they were taking some new photographs and bringing in new technology to look at all the regeneration and silviculture programs, even the resource management program. He feels strongly that once this new information is available it could possibly be made available, which I am sure it will be.
I do not want to give information that is confusing. A professional would be able to decipher it, but it is sometimes difficult for the layman to grasp the significance of those numbers.
Both the member for London North and the member for Lake Nipigon spent considerable time on the wild rice issue in northern Ontario. That is something I have had considerable involvement in over the last several years. It is something that has concerned me as the local member and indeed as Minister of Natural Resources and now as the Minister of Northern Affairs. I have to agree with the members that we have not yet maximized the economic potential of wild rice in any way, shape or form.
I get annoyed when I look back five or six years ago and think that we had 19 per cent of the world production in northern Ontario. We are down to about seven per cent. I think we have done a disservice not only to the people of northern Ontario but to our native people. We have not responded in an economic development way to assist them. I suppose what I am saying is the moratorium has been a disaster for them. I do not think it has been beneficial to them.
I am going to send each member a pound of wild rice to show them just what happened. Five years ago, California was not in the wild rice business. Today, we are seeing wild rice being imported into this province. As a northerner, it bothers me considerably to see this product imported from the United States available on Canadian shelves. I think it is disgraceful. We have the potential in our lakes. I have 50,000 lakes in my riding alone. I am sure there are thousands of those that could support the production of wild rice.
This government and I have always stood strong and firm that nobody should touch the traditional harvesting areas, those areas where our native people have harvested over the years. That is exclusively theirs and should remain theirs. There has never been any argument about that. However, there are other areas that are not now supporting the production of wild rice that could be supporting wild rice, having a really good crop and providing the economic benefit to which the member for Lake Nipigon referred. I fully agree with him that there should be tighter regulations. There is no question about it.
I do not know if that is paddy rice or natural rice. I suspect it is paddy rice. As members will know, in the case of paddy rice they just flood an area, sow the rice, draw off the water and harvest it like any other crop. It does not have the true nutty flavour we all know wild rice has.
I agree with the member that there should be regulations controlling the packaging and the grading. As members know -- I will send these over to them -- these are nice long grains, but one does get packaged wild rice that is all broken up sometimes and they still ask the premium price for it.
There is a wide range of things that can be done and should be done. We have seen the development of wild rice harvesting machines. I think there was a reluctance on the part of our native people to get involved in using these, but now they are asking for them and they are being manufactured in northern Ontario. I hope that will improve the harvesting totals in the next few years.
Our own efforts have been long and serious. We have put our money where our mouth is. I am sure members are all aware of the wild rice studies we have got going at Lakehead University with Professor Peter Lee. We were able to encourage Professor Lee to move to northwestern Ontario. He was very active in Manitoba, as members well know. I think he can be considered the world expert on wild rice at this time.
Partly because of our financial assistance to Lakehead University there is a three-year study going on now. I will send copies of the progress report -- this is the second-year progress report on wild rice -- to both critics so they can have some idea of what is being done by our ministry in this area.
I should put the objective of that study, which is a $300,000 study over a three-year period, on the record. The objective is to quantify the effects of the biological, chemical and physical factors that influence the growth of wild rice and ultimately to apply these findings on a commercial basis to increase the production of wild rice in northern Ontario.
It is interesting that we did have a seminar at Lakehead University about a year ago that was very well attended. People from all across Canada and even from the United States attended that two-day seminar, strictly on wild rice, to hear and discuss the future potential of wild rice in our area. It is discouraging when we have such potential in an area and I think our own thrusts have literally thwarted growth in that area.
Another area of interest is in Saskatchewan. Three or four years ago, there was no wild rice of any quantity grown in Saskatchewan. This year they opened up their first processing plant. I met with George McLeod, the minister responsible for northern Saskatchewan, and he was very excited about that new potential they have discovered in Saskatchewan.
When one thinks that England is now in the business of growing wild rice, as well as Germany, Norway and even Mexico, and we have been giving it away -- we gave our future away in the field of wild rice.
Mr. Bradley: We must be the source of the best rice in the world.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: In Ontario; there is no question about it.
It is interesting to note that in 1980, just three years ago, the Saskatchewan government brought wild rice into that province just to feed the muskrats. They brought it in to assist in the development of a good muskrat population. Now they have their own processing plant and last year they produced over half a million pounds. They estimate that in the near future they will be producing 10 million pounds a year in Saskatchewan.
I share the members' concerns about the route we are going with wild rice. I think we are all losing. There is no question about that. I would hope in the weeks and months ahead that it could be sorted out. I know the moratorium has for all intents and purposes come to an end. There is some strong feeling within Treaty 3 that in their treaty there is recognition of their ownership of all of the wild rice.
This has been checked out very carefully both inside and outside the government by the law officers of the crown and the treaty that was signed makes no reference to wild rice. The government has taken the position that it was a part of discussions years ago, there is no question about it. It had to be part of the discussions because there are some notes available that Treaty 3 has.
The government has asked Patrick Hartt to negotiate with Treaty 3 some possible resolution to what they think should be theirs and what other parts of the population should be entitled to. Those discussions will go on now. I think there is a commitment to meet twice a month with Treaty 3 people. The Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) will be involved and I think this is slated to go on for three or four months.
I hope they can find a resolution by the end of March or April 1984. That is the target they have set for themselves in these negotiations. To really satisfy them, I think we owe it to the native people to listen to them on that specific basis as it relates to that treaty.
I have to say again that the potential for wild rice has not even been scratched. We have an open-ended opportunity with regard to the development of an improved wild rice harvest in northern Ontario. I hope the thrust will be in that direction.
On economic development, I think the member for London North touched on our efforts with regard to assisting those single-industry communities. He questioned where we were going and what we did. I think he mentioned the cabinet committee on single-resource industries, which was dissolved some time ago.
I was a member of that committee. We had some very lengthy, protracted and difficult meetings, there is no question about it. It is a problem that is common to Canada as a whole, not just to northern Ontario, where we get a nonrenewable resource of a certain size that can support a community for a specific period of time.
Atikokan is a good example. I think members have heard me say before that I was in Atikokan with the Minister of Mines at that time, the Honourable George Wardrope, when we threw the switch some 30-odd years ago to drain Steep Rock Lake, under which was a major iron ore body. At that time, the minister and the company officials indicated they had blocked out 30 years of ore at a certain production rate. They were pretty nearly dead on. I think they were about a year out. They lasted a year longer than they had anticipated. Actually, the day they took the first shovel out was the beginning of the end. Really, there was no question about that and they were all prepared for it.
Those are difficult things to deal with, but I think now that we have the situation in hand, I suppose we might say we are heading in a very positive direction with our community economic development program. It really flowed from that committee. It gives the Ministry of Northern Affairs a lead ministry responsibility not only for those bust communities, those communities that see their resources depleted, but the boom communities as well.
I think the excellent job my deputy did with respect to the Sudbury situation will go down in the records as a real masterpiece of assistance to co-ordinate and bring together the whole thrust of Ontario government ministries into an area that really has lessened the impact of the problems that community had. When one goes clown the list of assistance to Sudbury, it is very lengthy indeed.
However, we now have the program in place, announced and funds available. There is something like $750,000 this year, and close to $300,000 has flowed already in response to about 25 communities that are using the expertise of the Ministry of Northern Affairs and are looking for co-operative funding.
I had to make it plain to the communities that we were not funding industrial commissioners per se for every northern Ontario community, but that we were working closely with them and we would have funds available for the development of community profiles, to hold seminars and to work closely with the communities to see what they want.
The real potential in any community lies within that community. It cannot be imported from southern Ontario or brought in by another ministry. It is the human resources in those small communities. With the innovativeness and creativeness of northerners and with our support, we can lessen the impact of some of the disastrous effects of the past.
I think we have the bus situation in hand. We have some framework with which to work. We have some ideas we can bring forward in situations such as we have seen at Atikokan. On the boom side, we are gaining some new experience there. I think the Hemlo area is a good example where our people, under the leadership of Ernie Lane out of the Thunder Bay office, are working on a regular basis in bringing the government departments together so they are not running off in their own separate directions.
I think if the member for Lake Nipigon were to meet with that particular group -- and he is certainly free to do so -- he could sit down with them to see what they are planning with respect to development at the Manitouwadge intersection. There are some things they would like to see there. There are some needs, specifically by the transportation companies, such as the trucking industry coming through with part or full loads of equipment and not having any place to dump them. They have wanted to control development in that area, and I think they are going to do it. However, there are certain things they will have to allow. There is just no question about it.
They would like the development to occur in the Marathons, the White Rivers or the Manitouwadge area. I might say we are working closely with the --
Mr. Stokes: It is happening now.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: It is happening now. The subdivision is in the planning process. Our people are working closely with them. It is an exciting development. I guess we will see Marathon triple in size.
I say, and I say it publicly, that I am wondering if northern creativeness was really incorporated into that planned subdivision. I had a group of developers in to see me just a few days ago who had briefly looked at the proposal. They brought this to my attention. They thought it was not creative enough, that we had a golden opportunity, particularly with the commercial area, to bring all the commercial areas together under one roof, something like what we did in Hornepayne -- not the same as that, but something like that. I put them in touch with the Marathon people and with the steering committee to use the benefit of their experience. They had some ideas that I thought were excellent. I hope we will be able to see a really imaginative development occur in Marathon which will be in keeping with that growing community.
Whitedog and Grassy Narrows are areas that have been with us for some considerable time. I hear and I am very sympathetic to the needs and the problems of Grassy Narrows and Whitedog. I have something like 22 Indian reserves in my riding. There are many of them in the same situation as Grassy Narrows and Whitedog, there is no question about it. They would like some financial infusion, some social and economic benefits.
Mr. Stokes: Surely they are different.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think the media and the --
Mr. Stokes: And Reed Paper.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Everybody talks about the English-Wabigoon river system being polluted. I take exception to that. There is not one person yet who has been found to be suffering from any mercury damage -- not one. They have studied it for 10 years, and the media have whipped this up into a bit of hysteria at times. Sometimes I think that if the number of people in the media had stayed away, this situation would have been resolved. I know even the native people are frustrated with the media coming in there and running stories downplaying all their efforts. It is very discouraging from their point of view.
Discussions are going on now and have been going on for some considerable time. I think we all realize that when it comes to dealing with our native people, they do not look at time the same way we look at it. We are always anxious to clean things up within a week. Three or four weeks are not that important to a native person, and they have politics within their operation, such as chief chains and council chains.
I am trying to get a resolution for a road through a reserve west of Kenora. Every time I get a new chief or different council, I get a new response. It is very difficult to deal with them. I know my colleague the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development is working very closely with the Whitedog people. We are close to a resolution there, but it has been going on for some considerable time. There has been a lot of discussion with the band and there has been consultation with the communities in the area.
I think that is the way it should be. There are some people in this House who think we should just be dealing with the one side. People have rights on both sides; everybody has rights. As a government, we have a responsibility to listen to both sides and to get input from both sides, and I am particularly pleased we have that input.
Somebody said it was the president of the Tory party who was leading that particular committee. Well, it is not; it is the reeve of Ear Falls, who did an exceptionally good job of bringing all the user groups together and taking, in a very positive way, their case right to the band. They sat down as a small executive group and worked with the Whitedog Indian band. I think they have resolved most of those issues we have heard so much about over so many years. But there is some fine-tuning to do, some small issues to deal with. I am encouraged and I am sure that the provincial secretary, when the time comes, will tell us about it. I am not directly involved in the day-to-day negotiations on those issues.
The provincial secretary does confer with us on a regular basis, as he thinks progress is being made. I think that is the way it should be because sometimes one gets too many chiefs and not enough Indians in discussions and things seem to break down. But they are moving ahead. He told me today that his first meeting with the Grassy Narrows group will be on Monday. Chief Steve Fobister is coming down on Monday, and that will be the first contact.
I met with Steve Fobister on a number of occasions. He basically indicated to me that they were not very anxious to move at this point and they would like to see what happened at Whitedog. He thought there was something to be gained by looking at the Whitedog agreement. I think they had some bigger and broader ideas, much more encompassing and much different. He told me then what was in the Whitedog agreement or what will be in the Whitedog agreement. I am pleased that those discussions are starting.
Mr. Van Horne: Who did the minister say was meeting the chief?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The provincial secretary.
Mr. Van Horne: That takes me back to the question I asked on the day the estimates opened. I understood that not only the minister who was just mentioned, but a second minister, the Minister of Natural Resources, were both meeting in Ottawa. Did that meeting take place back on November 14?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I understood it did take place in Ottawa. It was a very brief meeting I am told, and I have not seen the results of the discussions at this point. The Minister of Natural Resources did tell me that, together with the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development and the other groups, he had met with Munro. I have to share the frustration of members in both parties in resolving this issue.
We have said, as a government, those two areas had to be addressed with respect to their socioeconomic problems. We have never said we were paying compensation for pollution. The government has categorically said that.
We worked out a very good deal with Reed and Great Lakes Forest Products wherein they would be responsible for up to $15 million of liability and we would come in after that. In my opinion, it was something that made sense. It was accepted by all sides and now should be brought to a conclusion.
An agreement was made and funds were poured into the Great Lakes mill in Dryden. A lot of provincial dollars went in there, on a grant basis I have to admit because I was involved. The companies have a responsibility now to live up to that particular agreement. Certainly, I will join both members in asking our corporate bodies to get on with the job and accept their responsibility, as was agreed when they bought that mill. I do not think that is asking too much, because that agreement was entered into a long time ago.
Mr. Stokes: Does the minister agree with Mr. Munro when he says that if Great Lakes Forest Products does not come up with a realistic offer leading to a solution, then the federal government will have no recourse but to take political action? Does the minister agree with that?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think some action is necessary although I do not know what political action means. I do not know what Mr. Munro means by political action or cabinet action. I just do not know. We do have a legal agreement with Great Lakes to accept that responsibility. It may be incumbent upon this government to lean on Great Lakes to bring that to a conclusion. Then we could take the next step.
We made a major step forward when we got Reed and Great Lakes to agree they were liable up to $15 million. One could construe that as being compensation for pollution damage. On top of that comes our socioeconomic development package which the former minister, the member for Lambton, nearly finalized with the Whitedog band. It is a good agreement, offering a wide range of benefits to those people. We were so close to signing an agreement that I think they are losing by not jumping in and reaping the benefits now. Just the interest alone on some of those projects would have some benefits at this point.
In summing up the Whitedog and Grassy Narrows situation, I think we are moving ahead. I have other areas I hope will get some attention from both levels of government, and I say that on their behalf today. I look at the Poplar Hill, Pikangicum and Lac Seul reserves, all of which need economic activity. They are trying, but we know the potential for jobs in those particular areas is very limited. We all know that. How does one create jobs where there is no base to work from? There is just no base in some of these areas, so we have our work cut out for us.
Another area of interest to members is the problem of the hauling of pulpwood across northern Ontario. This has really captured the interest of all people using our highways across northern Ontario. Over the last several years the pulp companies have moved to what we call hot-logging -- cutting in the bush, loading on the trucks and delivering to the mill. Before that they used to dump it in the rivers and the lakes and float it down in the spring and we did not have 70-foot equipment hauling 27 cords of pulpwood down our highways at speeds that sometimes we all question.
We have had some very serious accidents in my area. In a short period of time there were three fatalities directly related to pulpwood falling off a truck. One young woman, Laurie Madder, who lost both her husband and brother-in-law in one accident, has taken up the challenge and has done a remarkable job bringing together a group of citizens in the northwest to bring this to the public's attention.
There is no doubt in my mind that particularly the independent truckers were a little lax. They were using the one-chain mining system. There was just a lack of discipline in that particular group. That is changing. The Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) and I brought together an ad hoc committee of industry, government and labour people. A number of ministries were involved. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications was the lead ministry and we were very much involved in that committee. I think it will have some benefits. I do not know if the members have seen this. There are something like 69 recommendations in there.
Mr. Stokes: Most of them already have been implemented.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, they have. I was pleased that the committee set certain dates when these would be implemented. They really meant business. I think the industry itself is serious. It is sincere in responding to the particular problem.
I would have to admit there is a feeling in some quarters in northwestern Ontario there should be legislation. However, I have pointed out to them on a number of occasions that while we can have all types of legislation on the statute books, the actual policing and the monitoring are what really have an effect. They have gone to a self-monitoring, self-policing system. They have held meetings with the private log haulers, the individuals. In fact, one company has the slogan, "You lose a log; you lose your job." That is the slogan it is using now. The emphasis is being put right back to the operator of the particular unit.
We ourselves have not stood still. In the report it is recommended we develop laybys along some of our major highways where the trucks can actually pull off the highway and drivers can check the loads and tires. We also have some load liners, huge drums that the trucks actually go through where the pulpwood can be brought in and the load corrected if there is any movement at all. Two chains are now being used on each load, and there are modifications coming to the trailers themselves. A number of different innovative ideas which are being tried have been recommended in this report.
I think we will resolve the situation. We will come to grips with it. It will always be active, and I think we have to accept that as a fact. Certainly, if we can stop one death, then I think we have made a remarkable step forward.
Mr. Van Horne: The minister has indicated he does not want additional legislation, which is understandable; if anything, he would like to reduce the amount of legislation. However, my understanding is that the spot-check teams, which have on them representatives from industry, from Natural Resources perhaps and also from the Ontario Provincial Police, do not have the authority to pursue a charge or to lay a charge. They make a report; then later on, if the Ministry of Transportation and Communications reads the report and decides that a charge would be appropriate, MTC would lay the charge. Is that not a cumbersome system?
Second, is it necessary to bring in special legislation to allow charges to be laid by that team if they find something very serious? In particular, if an OPP person is there I would think we would not have to have the legislation.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: There have been charges laid. In fact, just two or three weeks ago three charges were laid in one week. The monitoring team found infractions and charges were laid immediately, albeit one of the charges was impaired driving. I was very disappointed and I personally called up the individual. Can you imagine someone in an impaired condition hauling 27 cords of pulpwood down a highway? I think it was disgraceful and I made it known publicly that I was appalled that would happen.
The monitoring teams are in place, as the member said. They are moving around northern Ontario on an unannounced basis. Both the Minister of Transportation and Communications and I have said we will only legislate in certain areas and on certain recommendations if there is not voluntary compliance. We would like to see the self-policing and monitoring system applied first, and then we will look at it somewhere down the road. We really do not want to remove the threat of legislation; we want to keep over their heads the fact that we could legislate and we may have to. For the interim, however, we will monitor and self-police.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the committee of supply reported progress.
The House adjourned at 1 p.m.