The House resumed at 8 p.m.
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF TREASURY AND ECONOMICS (CONCLUDED)
The Deputy Chairman: We are continuing with the estimates of the Ministry of Treasury and Economics. The minister has finished his response to the members. Just before we proceed, are we going to discuss it generally before we begin to discuss the detailed votes? Is there agreement to discuss generally?
Mr. Nixon: Do you mean the whole thing?
The Deputy Chairman: Unless you want to go to specific votes and do them item by item. Do members want to deal with the votes item by item? I want to know the guidelines before the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) begins.
Mr. McClellan: Since we are limited in time, why do we not allow general discussion?
The Deputy Chairman: I am quite in favour of that but I want to know if that is what the House wishes. Is it agreed? Fine.
On vote 901, ministry administration program:
Mr. Bradley: Keeping that in mind, Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to share with the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) a number of areas of concern with which his ministry may be able to assist those of us who represent individual constituencies.
I listened with a good deal of interest to the initial remarks of the two opposition parties and the response of the minister to them. Naturally, one of the areas the opposition was zeroing in on was where we feel the Treasurer can be of particular assistance in the area of initiatives to alleviate the unemployment situation in Ontario.
I know the minister has listed for the House a number of initiatives he feels have been useful in reducing the extent of the unemployment problem, but for those of us who represent constituencies such as the St. Catharines-Niagara area where the unemployment rate has been chronically high, it is difficult to come to the conclusion that the present economic policies of this government are sufficient to alleviate that chronic and at the same time acute unemployment situation.
Over this past year, our unemployment rate in the St. Catharines-Niagara area has been as high as 22 per cent. As I look around the House to the members who are sitting here, in particular those who are not from the Niagara Peninsula, I think many would probably anticipate we still live in what is called the Golden Horseshoe of Canada, certainly the Golden Horseshoe of Ontario.
I think the minister would recognize from the continuing unemployment figures being supplied to him that the Niagara Peninsula is no longer the Golden Horseshoe or, if it is, the gold is somewhat tarnished by the experiences we have had in the last few years.
Therefore, it is my view that the Ministry of Treasury and Economics has the opportunity through the expenditure of dollars -- I am not suggesting that throwing money around solves every problem but certainly in terms of stimulating the economy, an infusion of government funds is extremely helpful.
While many areas of Ontario would benefit from the same thing, I would suggest the minister should give additional attention to those areas experiencing both an acute and a chronic unemployment situation. We happen to face both of those circumstances in the Niagara Peninsula, contrary to the general perception that our part of Ontario is a very wealthy and contented part of the province.
Our leader in the House and others have indicated to the minister from time to time that we feel there is a particular problem with young people who have not been able to land any kind of permanent place in the work force and are not now equipped to enter the work force easily. The minister has suggested that for others the Ontario career action program is a reasonable program. I want to tell him that although from time to time we are critical of government programs and their lack of initiatives, I personally happen to feel OCAP is a good program. If it were appropriately funded it would be an even better program for this province.
I urge the minister to become involved in a program such as we in the Liberal Party brought to the attention of the government, I believe on October 26 of this year. I think we demonstrated to the people of this province, and certainly to the members of this House, that we were not prepared simply to be critical. We were prepared to offer an alternative.
This plan alone is not perfect. I am sure if members of the House were to look at various details in it they might find some flaws or some ways in which it could be improved. But I am hopeful that when the minister emerges from the December 8 meeting with the federal government, which he has indicated is his target date for discussing this problem with the federal government, he will rise in the House to announce a program very similar to ours.
No doubt it will have a different name and it will be introduced with a good deal of fanfare, but I suppose that is part of the political gamesmanship that takes place. What is most important is that the minister at least announces this kind of program and that the young people, who are the hard-core unemployed, benefit from it.
The minister can take the credit for it and we will attempt to take credit for it as well. I think what is going to be important ultimately to the young people is that they are going to benefit from it. They are the people we are talking about. I know a lot of young people have problems, but I am speaking specifically about the hard-core unemployed who are not equipped educationally and not equipped by the counselling process to enter the work force and be constructive and useful members of the work force, which they would like to be. I would urge the minister to give consideration to our program and to expand upon some of the programs he has made available to the province at present.
I also listened to my friend the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) talk about one of our favourite topics in the House, particularly those of us who have served at the municipal level. The member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) and others who have served at the municipal level are aware of this. It is the winter works program.
The winter works program is not the answer to everything. However, in times of high unemployment, at times when the private sector is not providing the employment opportunities it does in the boom years, then municipalities and provincial governments have a chance to advance capital projects that are on the books. We are not asking the government to create them; we are not asking to paint the arena for the 15th time. We are looking for good projects that are going to serve the community well, that are on the books, that are almost ready to go, and to advance those to this winter, which will be a difficult period.
For instance, in the Niagara Peninsula one project I can think of that would be of environmental benefit to the people of the peninsula and would advance our case in dealing with the Americans on the issue of pollution in the Niagara River would be an announcement by the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Brandt) when he comes to St. Catharines on January 6, or by the Treasurer before that, that the provincial government is prepared to provide its fair share of funding for the secondary sewage treatment plant in Niagara Falls.
All of us like to see secondary sewage treatment plants where they do not exist today, but I want to point out that this is of threefold importance. First, it does provide a higher quality of effluent to the Niagara River. Second, it provides employment opportunities and generates economic activity in the peninsula. Third, when we go to the Americans to discuss their lack of adequate handling of the waste and environment problems around the Niagara River, we have yet another ace to play in this discussion with them if we can show we are prepared to advance the necessary funds for the secondary sewage treatment plant in both Niagara Falls, where the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) has long advocated this, and along near Fort Erie, where the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) has advanced that cause.
I urge the minister to look at environmental projects which are of benefit to hard-core unemployment areas of the province and to advance those in his list of expenditures.
I also look at the roads report. It seems to me that during the Ontario Good Roads Association convention -- or was it during the Association of Municipalities of Ontario convention? -- they pointed out a problem once again that those of us who have served municipally are well aware of. This is the problem of deteriorating roads. We have had other commitments to meet that unfortunately have been of a higher priority.
Many municipalities have had to push road reconstruction into the background. Those who are engineers would know better than I that the deterioration of roads is important because one gets into a complete reconstruction or complete renewal if they are not looked after on a year-to-year basis.
Once again, we are talking about an area of generation of employment opportunities, oftentimes for those with not a lot of skills, and that can be helpful at the same time as reconstructing our roads within our municipalities and provincial roads. That stimulates the economy, that gets things going, and once the economy is booming again then it is the role of the private sector to provide those job opportunities. But in between that time, during the lull, during the downturn, governments can play a significant role in producing that kind of economic activity.
Also, the Treasurer will recall that I raised on many occasions with the previous Treasurer the possibility of having the province provide an even greater share of the cost of welfare payments. The reason for that is obvious; those communities which are hardest hit in the economic downturn are those that are then asked to provide even more funds from that shrinking tax base to help those who are no longer collecting unemployment insurance and who are on welfare. This is not to suggest that this is the be-all and end-all, that we want to pay more and more money to people on welfare; we prefer to see them in jobs.
But while there is a difficulty and municipalities have to meet those welfare payments on an increasing basis, I would hope the province would continue to enhance its policy of providing additional funds to hard-hit communities.
I would also hope that the minister would give consideration to looking at education as an area where he can be of some assistance. Members of the House will recall that back in 1975 Ontario provided approximately 61 per cent of the cost of education on a province-wide basis; provided for that cost under the funds coming into the provincial Treasury. Today, that has diminished to some 48.5 per cent of the cost of education now assumed by the province.
I know there is not an unlimited amount of funds. I do not want to stand here and pretend that money grows on trees and that forever and ever one can spend as much as one wants on everything. I am suggesting, however, that the province has diminished its responsibility at least -- forgetting about the Edmonton commitment, which many of us recall from 1973 -- the province has diminished its commitment to the funding of education and that has fallen back on the municipalities and the municipal tax base.
Once again, to go back to our days -- those of us who sit here from municipal days -- we know that the municipal tax is the most regressive form of taxation because it does not take into account a person's ability to pay. Probably the worst off areas economically are Port Colborne and Fort Erie; they would be harder hit than St. Catharines, although we are hit badly.
We will take a person in Port Colborne, for instance, who has been unemployed for six or seven months. That person, when the tax bill comes to a municipality, has to pay that tax; it does not diminish because he or she has been unemployed; the tax is the same. If it is $1,000, they have to pay $1,000. If it is $1,200 they pay $1,200. Whereas, with the income tax, it does take into account ability to pay, because if one's paycheque is diminished the amount of money one is contributing to government coffers at the federal and provincial level is diminished.
That is why I think it is important that the province upgrade the amount of money it provides in the field of education. I hope the provincial Treasurer is on my side in this battle because I think it is an important point, and I hope the Conservative members of the House are cognizant of this point because it is an attractive proposal.
The Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) has suggested that we have the Martin proposal implemented. That is a proposal which would take some of the money generated from the industrial and commercial tax base in Ontario, property tax base, throw it into one big special pot -- I do not know how one can throw it into anything other than the consolidated revenue fund; I think that is the only place one can put it into -- and then redistribute that to the so-called poorer boards across Ontario.
That is really not the solution. Once again, I will go back to those who have served municipally and to those who have certain sympathy with municipalities. The member for Carleton (Mr. Mitchell) served municipally and he will know what I am talking about; as did the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Robinson), he will understand this. Even the member for Humber (Mr. Kells), who is certainly another municipal politician, and the member for Wentworth (Mr. Dean), will understand this, being a great municipal politician over the years with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.
The Deputy Chairman will know this as a person who has served at the local level. All these people will know we cannot allow the provincial government to get its hands on the one solitary source of significant funding for municipalities in terms of generating their own funds; that is, the municipal property tax. That should be left to the municipalities. It should not be tampered with by the provincial government or, heaven forbid, the federal government, which constitutionally cannot get its hands on that money. It should be left to the municipalities.
I hope the members opposite will oppose it on that basis. I do not want to go into it in great detail because we are in Treasury estimates and it is more appropriate to Education estimates where I went into it in some detail, but I hope they will view it as not being a satisfactory answer to the funding of education; instead those funds should come from the more progressive tax bases that are available to the provincial government.
I do not think for a moment that the people on the opposite side, although in the House they are required to vote one way -- that is our British parliamentary system -- are satisfied with the kind of funding that is available to municipalities and to boards of education. I recognize it is going to be within caucus circles as opposed to in the House, but I hope the members join with us in urging the Treasurer, who is a very powerful individual in this province, to be fair to the municipalities and local boards of education.
Another area where the Treasurer can be helpful with his funds, and this is not as significant an expenditure as it might appear to be, is in bringing forward the legislation known as the Teachers' Superannuation Act. Mr. Chairman, if you will allow me to diverge just a bit to give a little background on this, one of the problems in education, if one looks around the classrooms, and more important looks around the staff rooms, is the ageing of the teaching profession, the lack of opportunities for young people to come into the system. At present, I would be considered to be one of the younger people in the teaching profession. That is awful to say because I am getting old these days. When you get into your mid-30s --
The Deputy Chairman: Do not go into too much background. There is so much to be said tonight.
Mr. Bradley: When you get into your mid-30s, that is considered to be old at this time.
The way to accomplish this is to free up new areas for people. There are many people who are in senior jobs in education who are prepared to move out of those jobs. The way to help local boards of education to meet their declining enrolment problem and to bring new people into the system is to make provision through the Teachers' Superannuation Act for people to retire earlier than they might otherwise be prepared to do. That problem would be solved quite nicely if the minister would proceed with that legislation this session. He would find he was being very helpful to local boards of education.
I also suggest the size of the cabinet might be reduced. That is not the Treasurer's fault, but he certainly has influence on the government. Every time there is a federal shuffle the editor of the St. Catharines Standard talks about how large and bloated the federal cabinet is. When there is a provincial shuffle, there is no mention of the fact that the provincial cabinet is bloated, the largest provincial cabinet in all of Canada, and unnecessarily so.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: The member for Lambton (Mr. Henderson) was dropped from the cabinet. Why is the member talking about bloated?
Mr. Bradley: I am not picking on any particular member because I do not like to do that. I am just suggesting that, for instance, the policy secretariats are certainly not essential. We could save a lot of money, not only on limousines that can be of some cost to the province, but on the entire operation of ministries with a consolidation. It is always easier to say that when one is in opposition and not trying to fill those seats with people, but I hope the Treasurer will look at that as a potential way of reducing expenditures.
I would also say to the Treasurer that if he provides funds to hospitals and to health care in this province, he is going to find support over here. He was Minister of Health so he knows this very well. No doubt the people over there also take polls, and he would know this from them.
I have found in talking to my constituents that time after time there are two areas where they will allow the government to spend money. I will not say they will allow it on an unlimited basis, but they are prepared to accept and support expenditures. One is for health care to provide, as the minister likes to suggest it is, the best health care system in the world. If he did that with the funds he has the people of this province would support him very strongly; certainly we in the opposition would. The other is for cleaning up the environment. I think he will find a general consensus that the public is prepared to support him very strongly if he makes expenditures in those areas.
I am not suggesting that he be inefficient. I think the Treasurer has a tough job. He has to loosen the purse-strings some times and pull them in at other times. He loosens them at election time. But he must want to see that his government is efficient. On the other hand, I do not think efficiency at the expense of good health or the environment is necessarily a wise endeavour on the part of the Treasurer.
I would like to suggest another area that is of great importance -- and perhaps this has been accentuated more by the fact that we are in difficult economic times -- and that is housing. My leader has addressed questions to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) concerning the amount of funds put into the housing sector. We recognize it as being important.
We know that in the Niagara Peninsula, for instance, we are well down in the construction sector. I know that provides a lot of job opportunities and generates a lot of economic activity in any area of the province. At the same time, there is a genuine need.
We have an organization or agency called the St. Catharines Nonprofit Housing Registry, a nonpartisan group, an objective group but not a confrontationist group, whose job it is to match hard-to-place clients with landlords in housing. This group also did some excellent studies of the real needs for housing within the community.
I am sure that many who sit comfortably in their own homes must be a little uneasy to know that for low-income people, for those with special needs, such as handicapped people or ex-psychiatric patients and others -- maybe there are a large number of children in the family or they are hard to place -- we simply do not have adequate housing in so many of our communities.
An infusion of funds into that area on the part of the provincial government would meet this social need and, at the same time -- and surely this is important to this government -- would generate the kind of economic activity that would, in turn, generate revenues for the provincial Treasury.
We suggest that the government would be able to save a considerable amount of money. I just cannot figure out why the government across the floor from us ever embarked on this large expenditure of $650 million for one quarter of Suncor. I do not think this Treasurer probably supported it. I do not know; I am not privy to cabinet decisions and I hate to dwell on it at great length.
The Minister of Revenue (Mr. Gregory) would be interested in knowing where I get the complaints on this. It is not so much from those who would normally support the New Democratic Party or even from the Liberals who have complained bitterly to me about this. It is from my good friends in the Progressive Conservative Party in my community who have come to me to ask, "Can't you do something about our friends over there to restrain them when they want to embark on these ill-advised courses of action, when they want to blow $45 million on Minaki Lodge, when they want to spend $40 million on advertising?"
I hope the Treasurer does not get up in the House, as he wisely did the other day -- wisely from a political point of view -- and talk about the fact that I want to cut out all the tourist advertising. I am not suggesting that. The minister, being the coy person he is in the House -- "cunning" is a better word -- knew enough to get up and throw that back in my face, but he knows I am not suggesting that.
What I am suggesting is that those recent ads in which the Ministry of Energy is simply trying to justify an expenditure on Suncor, those self-congratulatory ads, are not necessary. It would be better if the ministry were to purchase a third mechanical hand for each of the members of the cabinet to pat himself on the back with than to spend those great sums of money it has on advertising.
I hope the Treasurer tries to bring some sanity to the deliberations of cabinet when it comes to making expenditures on items such as Suncor or trying to get into land-banking schemes, lavish receptions for bankers and things of that nature.
I would also think the Treasurer would be concerned about the recent revelations concerning contracts in the Ministries of Government Services and Tourism and Recreation. Since the Treasurer preaches restraint, I would say if he were consistent he would find more acceptance for his words than when his government is inconsistent. But when he is preaching restraint I think it is incumbent upon him to impress upon the Chairman of Management Board of Cabinet (Mr. McCague), upon the Premier (Mr. Davis) and upon all members of the cabinet that they should be extremely careful in the expenditure of their funds.
They should ensure that funds are expended in the appropriate fashion, meeting the requirements of the Ontario Manual of Administration, the approval of the standing committee on public accounts and ultimately that of the provincial auditor. I realize that comes after the fact -- and certainly engaging in the public tender process because, from the point of view of saving money, the public tender process is ordinarily the best way to proceed.
Secondly, it is the one safeguard we have in Ontario. I can go to the people in this province and say: "That government is giving out contracts to its friends." But if the government goes through a proper tendering process, the minister then sees his fellow ministers make prudent expenditures, while, at the same time, removing the opportunity for rewarding political friends or getting involved in corrupt practices. Then the appearance of corruption is not even there.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Corrupt practices?
Mr. Bradley: Yes. I said it avoids the appearance of corrupt practices if the ministry goes to public tender. If it does not go to public tender, then the suspicions arise that somehow there is corruption, patronage or privilege. I am suggesting to the minister that if the government adheres to the public tender process and does not have deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers who eventually run federal Tory leadership campaigns, if it has these people avoid these circumstances then the people can see that the government is clean and serious about saving money for the taxpayers.
I also want to indicate to the minister that in every area of endeavour, when he preaches restraint in Ontario there is a fairly sympathetic ear out there in the general public. He would know of this better than I because of the government's polling, but I think there is a pretty sympathetic ear for efficient government.
But when the government leaves itself open -- I am not saying this of the minister himself but perhaps of his colleagues -- to the shots we can take at it for the kind of expenditures it makes, then it diminishes the credibility of its program to try to restrain government expenditures and keep things the way people want to see them. People are looking for a lean government, not for big government. They want the services, but they want them provided with the best bang for the buck. If the Treasurer can do that, I think he is on his way to ascension to the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party.
If he can -- and I am not saying that is his goal -- perform that way as Treasurer, I do not know how the Progressive Conservative delegates can deny him the opportunity of ascension to the throne if that were the case.
I have advanced a number of areas where I hope the minister will address the problems. I do not for a moment stand here in seriousness and think the minister is unconcerned. I do not want to portray him that way. I suppose as an opposition member it is my duty to say: "He is unconcerned and he is not willing to look at the problems that exist in this province. He is not willing to make expenditures in certain areas. He does not care about the flagrant examples of the misspending of public funds."
I do not believe that. I happen to think the Treasurer has a social conscience and a concern for efficiency in government. I think he would want to address those problems in his next budget and through the economic policies he can implement before the difficulties of winter set in.
I ask him to accept some of the initiatives that have been suggested here from among his own colleagues who will be coming to him to advance other suggestions. If he were to do so, we are not going to pat him on the back publicly. He does not even expect it and he does not really care about it, but I think he will have served the people of this province well if he addresses a few of the areas I have talked about and some of my colleagues on this side of the House have talked about.
As I say, who knows? Whenever the master politician steps down, the minister may find himself as the leader of the next-to-be opposition.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Chairman, I wanted to speak for a moment or two on two subjects, one of which the Treasurer has alluded to in his leadoff. I am not sure what he said, though. Perhaps I can simply ask a brief question, which the Treasurer is permitted to answer as we are in committee and we are not in a really formal situation. It has to do with the recommendations of the select committee on pensions.
That committee's first report is now more than two years old. One of my colleagues on the committee was the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) before he became the Leader of the Opposition. The recommendations were passed with a remarkable degree of consensus, not to say unanimity. While we were holding hearings on the question of vesting and portability, there was virtually nobody who came before that committee from the finance community who expressed the slightest objection to the kinds of reforms which were being discussed.
Yet the previous Treasurer sat on the recommendations of that report. Indeed, it is fair to say he suppressed the recommendations of that report despite the willingness of other members of the government to bring forward the necessary legislation. Because it was in the Treasurer's house, the recommendations simply gathered dust on the shelves for over two years.
Before I make my second point, I would simply like to ask, does the Treasurer intend to bring forward a package of legislation which would modernize vesting provisions in our private sector pensions in the next session of the Legislature or not?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: To put it in some context, I should say that in addition to the other projects we have had on stream during this period of time, we have been working quite extensively this fall, first, to brief the new Treasurer on the entire pension issue, which --
Mr. McClellan: Let the Treasurer read the report.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I did, but there is a lot more behind it as well. We have been spending a lot of time on that. Now that is complete, we have undertaken to spend a fair amount of time with many people who have special interests in the pension area. I have had several of those meetings. Tomorrow I will be speaking to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association on the subject of pensions and will set out some of the plans we have and some of the issues upon which we deem there to be a consensus.
Subsequently, the federal parliamentary committee will be bringing in its report. We expect that will be in December; in fact, I am sure of that. I will be calling the provincial ministers responsible for pensions together before the spring of next year here in Toronto, as I am chairing the group of provincial ministers responsible for pensions. Before that time we will be setting out the government's position on all of those items.
Mr. McClellan: When is that again?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It will likely be just before or just about the time the spring session convenes.
Mr. McClellan: That is encouraging. When I said there was unanimity and consensus, I meant it. There was no objection with respect to the major reforms we proposed having to do with private sector pensions anywhere, in the Liberal Party, in our party, in the Progressive Conservative Party or in the various deputations from the insurance industry and other sectors of the financial community that appeared before the committee.
As a socialist, I can tell you, though I probably should not tell you, that you make it inevitable that there will be major changes to public sector pensions with this dogged and stubborn refusal to bring private sector pensions into the 20th century. We have a situation where the majority of people in the work force retire without private sector pension coverage simply because of the inadequacy of existing pension laws. If you continue to refuse to acknowledge that fundamental empirical fact, you simply hasten the process of the kind of pension reform you profess to find loathsome and repellent.
May I touch on one other subject for the Treasurer? Very briefly, this has to do with what is left of Ontario's housing policy. It may seem strange to speak to the Treasurer about housing policy, but he does control the purse-strings. I am sure he must be aware at this point that the federal government is about to bail out of the housing programs which have been in place since 1978 and it will leave Ontario very shortly without any social housing supply programs at all.
Ontario went out of the housing business in 1978 and piggybacked on to the programs run by the federal government through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. under section 561 of the National Housing Act. Ontario Housing Corp. was turned into a holding company to run the existing portfolio of public housing and all housing that has been built since 1978 has been social housing.
Ontario has had a free ride and has managed to make considerable political hay at the expense of our hapless federal Liberal government, but even the Liberal Party has awakened to the fact that it has been wasting its political capital in allowing the province to exploit the federal programs. They have signalled about as loudly and clearly as is possible for a government to do that they intend to terminate these programs.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has his head firmly implanted in the sand and professes absolute ignorance about the state of policy discussions at the federal level. Within a month or two or three, by the spring of 1984, Ontario is going to find itself with an enormous housing crisis on its hands, combined with huge unemployment in the building trades and a complete absence of housing supply programs.
The federal government is about to pull the rug out from under your feet. You will be left with no policy and no programs and without the slightest capacity to develop programs or initiatives that would provide low-cost, affordable housing for families, seniors and single people.
I am quite curious to know whether the Treasurer has been involved in any policy discussions within the cabinet with his colleague the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing or whether he has been involved with discussions at the federal-provincial level with his colleagues the other provincial treasurers and officials from the federal government with respect to the future of federal-provincial housing programs.
I would be quite curious to know if any discussions have taken place. I put that question to the Treasurer. It is clear that his colleague the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing does not have the slightest clue as to what is about to transpire. May I ask the Treasurer whether he has any inkling about the future of what has been described as a federal-provincial housing partnership.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let me try to deal with each of those questions on the housing initiatives, which we have debated in the House before. It is our view that over the past couple of years we have provided a lot of money to the housing sector. It may not have ended up in the particular subsidies the member would advocate, but any analysis of housing and accommodation starts this year and last year would indicate it is one of our strongest performers. That is due in no small way to the activities of our government.
I refer the member to the publications of some people who are perhaps the closest to the construction scene. I quote directly from the report of the president of the Housing and Urban Development Association of Canada in its bulletin of July. He says:
"I and the majority of HUDAC Ontario members cannot argue in favour of new, across-the-board subsidies at this time. Sales figures have dropped, but we expected that. Lower interest rates and the signs of economic recovery are still with us. Consumer confidence is still fairly strong. We have a program of stimulus (albeit complicated and difficult to explain to the average purchaser) in the revised treatment of RHOSP plans introduced in the federal budget."
So, generally speaking, the trend is that things are going well, government programs have been most helpful to date on both levels and the accommodation sector did not perform badly last year. In fact, it performed relatively well.
With regard to the future of federal programs, I must say that while my colleague and I have discussed this at length, we are both dealing in a circumstance where it is very difficult to predict what the federal government is going to do, particularly in those programs where we have a history of partnership.
As we have found out in many other areas -- general development agreements being one that I discussed earlier today -- the federal government is simply indicating it wants to go to direct delivery and does not want to co-sponsor programs with provincial governments. I think that is a mistake. In some areas, they are going to find they cannot do that in a practical sense. I cannot predict today what they are likely to do in the housing area. To date, they have been most secretive about their plans.
Mr. McClellan: Only with you, apparently. I really hate to say this, but everybody else seems to know about this.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: There are lots of rumours and stories around. In the general development agreement area alone, I could recite six different versions of what is about to happen. Every one of those versions, quite seriously, is sourced back to the federal government. I do not know whether they have changed the policies that often or not.
Mr. Wildman: Sourced back?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Sourced back.
Mr. Wildman: What kind of phrasing is that?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member will learn. We will send him some Hansards and he will understand.
In any event, that is the circumstance, that is the state of the art, so to speak, right now in that area. I cannot give a definitive answer. Perhaps, and I say this quite seriously, the member's colleagues on the opposition benches in Ottawa might put those questions to the federal ministers and see what kind of response they get. I can only report on the responses we are getting here.
As my colleague and I deal with the implications of what may or may not happen in Ottawa, we are looking at the statistics for last year. We are looking at the same figures the member is talking about. There is some concern here about the future in the event that kind of federal withdrawal occurs. All of that will be looked at as we sort out our 1984-85 allocations in the next few months.
Mr. McClellan: I appreciate the minister's response, and I will not belabour the point, but I venture a modest prediction that, by the time spring rolls around, the programs we have known as the municipal nonprofit housing programs will be as dead as a dodo. One of the reasons for that is Ontario's refusal to pay its fair share.
There is no possible way the Treasurer can dispute the contention that Ontario has not paid its fair share of the freight on the provision of social housing programs since 1978. The best calculation I can come up with is four cents on the dollar. I believe I am actually in error by at least 100 per cent. To be as generous as possible, I calculate that the government's contribution has been in the vicinity of four cents on the dollar since 1978. This is for the provision of affordable housing for low-income households, the programs that replace housing provided by the Ontario Housing Corp.
When the federal government bails out of these programs, it will leave the government with 40 municipal nonprofit housing corporations that the ministry has sponsored, developed and put in place across the province, each with its own capacity to develop social housing under subsection 56(1). Quite frankly, the government is being left to hang in the breeze because of the gamesmanship it has played with social housing since 1978, since the late John Rhodes advised the government to go out of the housing business and it then proceeded to go out of the housing business. It made a serious mistake.
The crowings of HUDAC do nothing about the crisis in affordable housing that confronts the people of this province, as the minister knows full well. I do not delude myself for a second that our Treasurer does not understand as well as I do the nature of the housing crisis that confronts low- and average-income households in places like Metropolitan Toronto, Ottawa, Sudbury and Windsor, where the market has been unable to produce anything other than quite expensive housing.
According to one of the real estate groups that came before the standing committee on administration of justice to talk about Bill Pr3, the demolition bill, the cheapest that people can put a modest one-bedroom apartment on stream in the city of Toronto now is for a rent in excess of $800 a month. That is the cheapest they said they could put on the market. They were saying they would love to have a new program of shelter allowances. I am sure they would. I suspect our evil friends in Ottawa are looking at that kind of nonsense very carefully.
If the government has any residual concern about the provision of social housing in this province, and it does have a record in which it can take some pride, if it has any concern about whether Ontario continues to assume a responsibility for the provision of decent, affordable housing for low-income families and senior citizens, then government members are going to have to put their heads together real soon. I have no doubt at all the government is going to have the rug pulled out from under it and it is going to make the present crisis in the provision of affordable housing seem like the good old days.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I want to share some of the concerns of the member for Bellwoods in that there will be some fallout in the event the federal government withdraws from yet another program. I can only say we are not about to see people in real need go wanting in that circumstance.
On the other hand, I know the member for Bellwoods understands our problem in that whenever the federal government senses we are going to come into the breach, that only encourages it yet again to parachute out of the program, leave us to do exactly that and shift the tax load and the burden of doing that on to provincial taxpayers. We do not want to encourage that to happen. Thus, we have to presume they are going to stay in the program, and we should not react in such a way that we encourage them to parachute out of the program by saying, "If they --
Mr. McClellan: It depends how much room there is in Claude's sandbox. I think he is taking up all the head space in the sand.
The Acting Chairman (Mr. Robinson): Please let the minister respond.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We will see how it sorts out. To be fair, and the member for Bellwoods has been fair at least in most of his remarks --
Mr. McClellan: You always qualify that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So does he.
He has acknowledged the very good record of this government in the field of public housing. We have a record of commitment in that area. If times change as a result of the federal withdrawal, then we will have to look at the area in which we do have a proven track record for further assistance. But again, I do not want to encourage the federal government to believe it can exit gracefully and leave the entire job to us. That would be unfair to us. We have to work, not on rumours but on facts. My colleague is trying to ascertain the state of the art right now.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Chairman, I have a few points I would like to raise with the minister, concerning mostly eastern Ontario issues.
It strikes us as somewhat unusual that this government has money to do various things. We heard only lately that the government had lots of money to hire $900-a-day consultants: at the expense of one of his colleagues from eastern Ontario, I should add. There seems to be no shortage of funds when it comes to advertising, when it comes to preparing reports with glossy pictures of the minister or some of his colleagues. There seems to be plenty of funds for those things. There seem to be funds for a variety of things, such as producing a $600,000 telephone book, yet very often there seem to be no funds when it comes to providing for eastern Ontario.
In the past, many people have written about the wrong of not giving a fair share to the eastern part of our province. While we cannot directly blame the Treasurer for that because he has not been the minister for very long, I do think he is in an excellent position now to right the historic wrong with which we are all familiar.
I am sure the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling), who is sitting here in this room, will agree with me today that there would be no better opportunity for the Treasurer to correct this wrong of not providing a fair share for eastern Ontario. I need only remind him of a few examples of how eastern Ontario never did get a fair shake from this government.
The classic example, I suppose, of eastern Ontario not getting its fair share happened last summer when we heard that the Treasurer's colleague the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) decided that to repair the main highway through the city of Ottawa -- I am referring to the Queensway -- would take eight years. It is rather difficult to imagine that repairing four or five miles of road through the centre of the city of Ottawa would take this long and why it would be necessary for the government to drag its feet that long on a project for the people of eastern Ontario.
The first reaction one has is, how long would it take to rebuild the same amount of roadway if it were in Toronto or some other city far removed from eastern Ontario and far closer to this place here?
In a letter I wrote to the Minister of Transportation and Communications I outlined to him how I felt about that work taking eight years. It was subsequently changed to seven years and was appropriately referred to by the press of Ottawa as the seven years of bad luck for the residents of the nation's capital. My leader also referred to that project in the national capital as being a national disgrace.
In any case, the seven years that it was going to take for the project was rationalized in a response that the Minister of Transportation and Communications gave to me. The basic thrust of his reply was, "There are other projects around the province and we just cannot put any more money in eastern Ontario." That is kind of weak, but that was the major theme of his reply.
I am sure the Treasurer would want to be apprised of these things in order that in his future endeavours for a higher position within the party he will strive to improve those conditions that have traditionally been wrong in our part of the province. We know he is just waiting to hear about all these things so he can go right out there and correct them as soon as possible.
In an effort to assist the Treasurer to do this, I would like to provide for him a few suggestions of where to invest money in eastern Ontario. Needless to say, I do not want him to buy any more land banks the way some of his predecessors did, such as the Carlsbad Springs land bank, which is right near my constituency: part of it is in my riding, as a matter of fact. I believe the government spent $13.8 million in that particular venture in eastern Ontario. It still has not figured out what to do with it. It spent $9.6 million on the Edwardsburgh land banking scheme, which is also in eastern Ontario: it is a little farther away from my riding but nevertheless is in eastern Ontario. I understand the government is planting some poplar trees -- mighty expensive poplar trees, I should add.
In any case, those are some of the investments the Treasurer's predecessors have made in the past in eastern Ontario. I see the minister's colleague the member for Carleton-Grenville, the minister for freedom of information, is standing beside him at this moment, advising him on how to respond to these matters. I think the only way to respond to the problems we have in eastern Ontario is to have a commitment here and now on the minister's part that he will endeavour to go to eastern Ontario and correct the years and years of neglect by his predecessors.
I would like to discuss briefly the underfunding of agriculture in eastern Ontario. It is unfortunate the member for Lambton has left the chamber; he was here a minute ago. Last Friday in this Legislature I raised the point that under the tile drainage program of this province the five counties of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry -- I am sure those three counties ring a bell at the moment -- Prescott and Russell together get less funding than the county of Lambton by itself.
An hon. member: That is because of the applications.
The Acting Chairman: Order.
Mr. Boudria: That is a very interesting comment by the member for Carleton-Grenville, who is not in his seat at present.
Mr. Wildman: He is not in his place, Mr. Chairman. He cannot interject.
The Acting Chairman: I just called him to order.
Mr. Boudria: He does bring up an interesting point, however. Historically, in southwestern Ontario, when they started some of those tile drainage programs, loans were available at a much lower rate of interest than they are now. Even though the commercial interest rate was approximately the same as it is today, at that time one could get funds for four and six per cent.
Now that all of southwestern Ontario has been tile drained, or about 90 per cent of it, I do not know where they are tile draining now in Lambton; they must have three or four rows, one over the top of another, because they are still putting money in there -- now that they have put all kinds of money in southwestern Ontario and are now draining eastern Ontario, the interest is higher for the applicants there.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) was in the riding of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry not long ago; I guess it was last week. Some chicken farmers greeted him there. I am sure he will recall his meeting with them. They had all kinds of nice things to say about the minister, most of which I would not repeat in this Legislature. In any case, when he went to eastern Ontario, he announced there would be new funds. Of course, there are no new funds provided for the tile drainage program in eastern Ontario, as the minister knows.
As a matter of fact, the tile drainage program of this government, which was originally slated to extend some $30 million in the current year, now has gone down by $4 million for the simple reason that the program is so unattractive when it lends only 60 per cent of the total capital cost, as opposed to the 75 per cent that it did in the past. When the interest rates are at least two per cent higher than they should be for such a program, it is not surprising that the minister is not spending all the amounts he has in there.
However, when it was time to drain the other areas of this province, for 75 per cent of the cost, the money was available at lower interest rates, two and even four per cent lower than at present. The member for Oxford (Mr. Treleaven), who represents another part of this province, will remember what a good deal his constituents had under the tile drainage program at that time.
Why can the minister not give as good a deal for the people of eastern Ontario? If he is going to make an election promise -- a deathbed repentance, as my colleague the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) has called it -- in the riding of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, then at least he should make it a good one rather than a half-hearted effort such as he has made. If he is going to make an election promise let him bring a bucketful of goodies, not this business of just a handful of things for them. He should do it right.
Let me tell him just how serious the situation is in eastern Ontario. If we do not improve some of the farm land shortly we are going to be in big trouble. I will review very briefly some of the statistics of how our farm land is disappearing in this province and, more important, how it is disappearing at a much faster rate in eastern Ontario than in the rest of the province.
One can only keep and increase the production of our farm land by properly draining it; that is the modern method of farming. Otherwise, the people of our part of the province will not be able to be in a competitive position with the people of other parts of Ontario. Historically, they have had that problem, courtesy of the government principally, and now they have the same problem again.
From 1971 to 1981 Ontario lost about 6.5 per cent of its farm land, and that in itself is rather serious. However, if one looks at these figures a little longer, it is easy to determine where in the province the farm land is disappearing. The southwestern region, for instance, has had a decrease of two per cent in its acreage of farm land. Again, that is of some concern but it is not very large in relation to other parts of the province.
In eastern Ontario the acreage of farm land in the last decade has decreased by 13.3 per cent: it is very important to underline that and to say the people of eastern Ontario need more from this province.
Let me go into some of the counties and see just how bad it is. The county of Russell in my constituency has lost 13.9 per cent of its farm land over that decade; the county of Prescott, 11.5 percent. Let us look at another county I am sure the minister would be interested in. The county of Stormont -- and naturally that name rings a bell at the present time -- has lost 12.1 per cent of its farm acreage over the last decade.
I am telling the minister we need greater attention paid to agriculture on the part of his government. It has been said in the past that his government spends less on agriculture than any other province in this country as a percentage of its gross provincial product.
Whether he is number 10 or number nine is not really relevant, if he is going to rise in his place once I terminate my remarks and say he is not really number 10, maybe Newfoundland is worse or Prince Edward Island or something. The fact remains that he is not giving a fair share to the people of our region. The people of eastern Ontario in many instances market their product in Quebec.
I may remind the minister of an incident where some chicken produced in eastern Ontario was marketed in Quebec. I am sure he will recall that, and if he does not, his colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Food can easily remind him of the history behind chicken production in eastern Ontario.
In any case, much of the marketing for our agricultural products occurs in the Quebec region or occurs in competition with the Quebec producers. Let us say that if one is a farmer in my constituency in the eastern end of the riding, and one is right near the Quebec border, the producer on the other side gets more funding, he gets more grants from his government because the government of Quebec pays much stronger attention to agriculture than this minister does. He is not even listening to members of the opposition telling him about the agricultural problems of eastern Ontario.
When Quebec has lower hydro rates for its farmers than we have in this province, when there are all kinds of subsidies offered to them and none to the people of my constituency and neighbouring eastern Ontario region, it is very difficult for us to compete with those same people.
One only needs to be reminded of the beef situation in eastern Ontario. Quebec farmers are coming into our region, buying the beef and taking it back over there and making money. Producers in our area just cannot survive in the beef industry. Our pork producers are getting about $58 a hundredweight at the present time for their product. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food says it costs about $85 a hundredweight to produce it. Those are not my statistics; they come from the government.
How can the agricultural community of eastern Ontario survive with that kind of neglect from the government of Ontario? It just cannot do it. The member for St. Catharines is quite correct as usual in saying that it is very difficult for the people of eastern Ontario to manage when they are not getting their fair share from this government.
If the minister has extra funds to expend in eastern Ontario, I am sure we could all provide good, constructive ideas about where to invest those funds. I will touch on only a few areas.
First, no discussion of eastern Ontario would be complete if I did not talk briefly about the very grave situation right now in Hawkesbury. I have raised this matter in the Legislature before. The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing was supposed to give us an answer immediately but, as with many things with that particular minister, it does take a little longer than with other people.
In any case, the town of Hawkesbury this year lost $800,000 worth of revenue with the closure of the Canadian International Paper plant last December. As the minister will recall, the town of Hawkesbury was expecting to lose some money, because when a plant closes one anticipates the assessment against that structure will decrease, but nobody thought the decrease would be of this extent.
As a matter of fact, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing had given to our area a grant of $251,000 over two years, roughly $125,000 a year. This is the amount it was anticipated would be lost because of the closure of the plant. CIP or its owners decided to appeal the assessment to get it further reduced and, unfortunately for our community, won the appeal. The net result was a decrease of some $800,000 in revenue for the combined local governments. I am speaking of the various school boards, the county council, the town of Hawkesbury and so forth. The town of Hawkesbury itself lost an amount of $309,000 for this year. That is twice the anticipated loss predicted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
At the same time as we have this phenomenon occurring the minister will know -- because he was in eastern Ontario two weeks ago -- we have increasing case loads of general welfare assistance and increasing case loads of other services that need to be provided to our people. These expenses are caused by our difficult economic situation.
What we need are more funds immediately for the town of Hawkesbury, the county of Prescott-Russell and our two school boards to get over the difficulty we have right now.
We must also get assistance in the area of our water and sewage rates because the CIP mill was the largest user of those services in the town. Since it is no longer operating, it is no longer paying that share. The effect of not having the CIP mill as a consumer of water and sewer services will result in an increase of those rates of some 35 per cent to the rest of the community, again a burden that is very difficult.
Another side effect is that if the town increases the tax burden there is not an incentive for new industry to move in. That is why we want the government to move immediately to stabilize those rates at the present levels. Then we can make the economic climate of Hawkesbury and Prescott-Russell in general better in order to attract new industries into our area and get the community back on its feet.
The minister was in eastern Ontario a couple of weeks ago speaking at a Tory nomination meeting not far from my riding. As a matter of fact, he was only a few miles from my riding. It is too bad he did not come over and have a look at some of the difficult situations we are having; it would have assisted him in his work. I know Claude was in my riding, but I want the Treasurer to know that is not half as good as having him there.
The Deputy Chairman: The member should refer to ministers by their titles.
Mr. Boudria: The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing was there --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He has been keeping me well informed.
Mr. Boudria: Yes, I am sure he does.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: And Noble will keep me very well informed as soon as he gets here on the 16th.
The Deputy Chairman: Order.
Mr. Boudria: I suggest that the minister let the people of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry decide who they want for a member. That is not going to be decided by the minister. As he knows, the people there are mature enough to make their own decisions, in spite of the fact that he is trying to make people decide what he likes as opposed to what they like. However, I must tell the minister that in their wisdom the people there will not likely choose another member from his party. I am sure they will see the light and elect someone from another party and give a real strong speaking voice to the people of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry in this Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let's make a bet.
Mr. Boudria: I am not here to make wagers with anyone.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I guess not. Your judgement isn't that bad.
Mr. Boudria: This has nothing to do with my judgement. As I say, the people of that constituency will make their choice. I think they will do it very wisely as electors normally do, or normally should I suppose I should say.
I was speaking moments ago about some projects that would be necessary in our area and I discussed the economic difficulties of the town of Hawkesbury; but there is more that is needed. In Prescott-Russell we are in dire need of some major provincial highway improvements. I hope the Treasurer is paying close attention to this and that in concert with the Minister of Transportation and Communications he will give some priority, if not a very high priority, to some highway projects in the vicinity of Prescott-Russell.
On Highway 417, the minister will know we need a fully developed interchange at the McCrimmon Road exit. That is probably the road he took to go to that meeting in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry the other day. If he did not take that road, may I suggest that the next time he goes to that constituency, or to any other one in eastern Ontario, he use that particular egress from Highway 417 and he will see that it needs some improvement.
Highway 17, with which the minister is no doubt familiar, goes from Ottawa to Montreal through the great riding of Prescott-Russell, along the Ottawa River; it also needs quite a bit of improvement.
I would like the minister to take note of the fact that we need some major improvements, especially between Rockland and Orleans. Rockland, a community approximately 30 kilometres east of Ottawa, is now developing as almost a suburb of Ottawa. Many people are living in that community and commuting to the city: therefore, there needs to be a better link between those two communities. The traffic count is getting to be considerably higher and we need a strong emphasis to be placed on highway improvements in the area between Orleans and Rockland.
I hope the minister will bring this matter to the attention of his colleague the Minister of Transportation and Communications and offer him the funds necessary to do these projects.
Mr. Wildman: The Rockland stretch used to be called a suicide stretch.
Mr. Boudria: The member for Algoma reminds me that the highway between Rockland and Ottawa used to be called the "killer strip." He is quite correct; that was a very bad stretch of highway, it is still bad and needs improvement.
If improvements are being made to the highways, I suggest they are also needed in the area of L'Orignal and Hawkesbury, because of the Ivaco steel mill up there.
I have touched on only a few items that we need in agriculture, transportation and assistance for some of our municipalities. My colleague the member for St. Catharines has outlined to the minister how his government really needs to provide extra assistance for counties and municipalities that have a high incidence of general welfare assistance.
The minister will know, of course, that his colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) has offered some mild improvement in that area, but as I see it there is only one county in this province that qualifies to get an increased percentage of assistance and, as far as I have been able to see, the counties of Prescott and Russell will not qualify, being short of the criteria that were established by his colleague. Needless to say, the government has to be more generous in that area because there is a serious strain on our county social service system in Prescott-Russell.
Also of concern, and I want the minister to know this, is the development agreement between this province and the federal government. It seems to me again that eastern Ontario throughout the years has been getting a decreasing percentage of the funds from that agreement and I want the Treasurer to address that in his comments. I really want to know from him what he intends to do to correct the iniquitous situation that we have in eastern Ontario.
There is another theme that I would like to raise very briefly, and again it was touched on by my colleague the member for St. Catharines. It is the whole issue of our unemployed young people. Surely it is the saddest thing that we can see in this province right now, and I say this from a nonpartisan viewpoint and as objectively as I can. The unemployment situation among our young people should be a top priority for the Treasurer, his ministry and his government. The fact that some 169,000 young people in this province between the ages of 18 and 25 are out of work is certainly one that we should all be concerned about, and very seriously.
It strikes me that we are letting our young people down if we do not take immediate initiatives to improve that situation. It is very difficult when you are in your constituency office to see young people come in to show you their diplomas, their degrees, their certificates and what have you and to have to turn these young people back and tell them you are sorry but you have nothing to offer them. That is indeed a very sad situation.
About a year and a half ago my colleagues the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) and the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) and I were assigned to a task force on youth unemployment by our leader, the member for London Centre.
We toured the province and met with various groups of young people from all areas and from all walks of life, whether they were from drop-in centres or in high schools, universities and everywhere else. We did not just go to one area and listen to one particular segment; we talked to young people from all walks of life and they all had one common theme in what they told us: they were not guided very well in the direction they were going.
They do not receive nearly enough assistance when they are in school towards professional or career guidance by our teachers. That is not because our teachers do not do a good job; it is because the number of our guidance teachers is not large enough to fulfil the demands made upon them by the students. When our guidance teachers are busy doing crisis counselling or such matters they are not leading our young people to a career goal.
It is very unfortunate when we see a young person of 17 or 18 who has chosen to leave school, who has dropped out, and he tells us he had no idea what work was like, that he left school wanting to be an auto mechanic. Unfortunately, we still let our young people believe there are all kinds of opportunities for them in any given area. Young men still like to play around with automobiles and want to be auto mechanics at one point in their lives, when they are 14 or 15. It seems to be a very neat thing, I suppose.
Our young people direct themselves to areas where there is very little opportunity, if any at all, for them. Our young ladies watch Loveboat or something on television and want to be cruise stewardesses, not even asking themselves whether there are opportunities for employment in that area.
All this is to say, before the Chairman indicates to me that perhaps I am not speaking directly to the estimates at hand -- I believe I am, of course -- we need a greater commitment from this province to providing career opportunities for our young people and from this government and this ministry in providing programs that will bring our young people back on the job market rather than having them stay at home with little or nothing to do.
I believe the minister, being one of the younger ministers in the cabinet, can perhaps relate to this problem of youth unemployment better than some of his colleagues because it is not so long ago since he was that age himself. It is a few years ago, but not so long that he will have forgotten, I am sure.
When the Treasurer and I were leaving school, however, there were jobs there. I will not say, in my case, they were the best jobs one could have, but at least if I wanted to work there was work for me as a young person. I did not have the very best of jobs when I got out of school and started to work, but there was something for me to do. If one did not like a job, one could switch to another because there were plenty of jobs to go around for everyone. We do not have that situation now.
I am sure if the Treasurer has a son, or if people he knows have children in their teens, he can see them approaching that period in life when they are going to be starting to look for employment, or they could potentially look for employment. But the situation is totally different from when he and I were that age and started out in life by being gainfully employed. I really hope the government over the next short period of time will address itself in a major way to the very serious problem we have with our young people in this province and the lack of opportunities that are afforded to them.
Certainly, the people of my constituency would like to see a few other measures enacted by this ministry. The budget of little over a year ago placed a seven per cent tax on such things as children's lunches at school and other necessities of life -- without enumerating them as has been done in the past in this House. Given the difficult economic situation some of our people are facing, I am sure the minister would agree that this tax is very regressive and very difficult for our people to pay, especially in areas of very high unemployment such as my riding.
In ending, there is one other topic I would like to raise very briefly, namely, the matter of the preferred shareholders of Crown Trust. There are members of this Legislature who may think that when talking about hardship cases why talk about preferred shareholders in a trust company? I want to remind all honourable members that most, if not all, of the preferred shareholders of that company are senior citizens, people who have saved some money and placed it in Crown Trust in the hope and honest belief their funds were as secure as if they had purchased treasury bills. They were of the belief they had a very secure retirement income. For them, that was their pension. That they have been let down by everyone is most unfortunate.
The Treasurer, handling funds as he does for our government, will know what it is like when one's investment disappears. The government invested money in Suncor and it has seen that disappear, so the minister knows what it is like to lose money. The money these people are losing, however, is their own and the only money they have, whereas the money the government invested in Suncor is somebody else's, the taxpayers'. If it does not have enough it can always go back and ask the taxpayers for more, which they will reluctantly give, unfortunately.
These preferred shareholders were replied to by a colleague of the Treasurer in a letter of November 14. His colleague, Mr. Dennis Timbrell MLA, as he calls himself in this letter --
Mr. Haggerty: Misled all around.
Mr. Boudria: Pardon? His colleague the member for Don Mills writes in a letter he sent to the preferred shareholders, "Such a situation is quite different from a case where a businessman is investing his money and is prepared to take substantial risk in the hope of correspondingly large profits."
What he is saying to the preferred shareholders in this letter is simply that they are high risk-takers in the hope of making a quick buck. The minister and I know one does not buy preferred shares in Crown Trust expecting to make oodles of money. I wonder how Hansard will spell "oodles." One does not invest money in such a venture in the hope of making very high returns. This was a long-term retirement income for those people and they have not seen this government prepared to do anything for them. Because most, if not all, of them are senior citizens in great need of assistance, I wanted once again to raise their concerns with the Treasurer, who is the minister handling the purse-strings on behalf of this government.
I hope the Treasurer will give a fair share of provincial dollars to eastern Ontario and maybe just a little more than a fair share to make up for all the years we did not get what was rightfully ours.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, I wish to try to cleanse the record in terms of the treatment eastern Ontario has received from this government.
Mr. Wildman: Did you say "whitewash"?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have not had the opportunity to get the specific details of the incredible support this government has offered eastern Ontario over the years.
Mr. Haggerty: You probably wouldn't find any.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: However, I was able to find something at hand. Because there has been so much support, there is always some evidence of it close at hand.
I should remind the honourable member that I was at the ground-breaking for the fine new Hawkesbury hospital, a major investment of $16 million or $17 million in that community. It is one of the finest facilities we have built. We made that commitment and we are spending those dollars at a time when the economy badly needs those dollars and at a time when most provinces are not investing anything in facilities like that because they do not have the money to invest. We do.
I had occasion to be in eastern Ontario not too long ago, in Ottawa. I visited the new Canada's Capital Congress Centre in Ottawa. I was there with all my colleagues -- and happily there are many of them -- from the Ottawa area. That is an impressive new building. Our contribution will be approximately one third of $36 million, if not more. At that time, I was able to hand over a $3-million cheque to the regional chairman as an interim payment against that very fine facility, which would not be there if it were not for the government of Ontario.
I have been to many hospitals. Not only was I at the Hawkesbury Hospital sod-turning, but at many other hospital events in the Ottawa region in my time as the Minister of Health. The Ottawa Civic Hospital had an opening just a short time ago in September. I attended ceremonies at the Royal Ottawa Hospital and one or two others in my short 17 months with the Ministry of Health.
My colleague the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Sterling) reminds me of the new agricultural school in the great community of Alfred, which, as all members of this House will know, is there because of the excellent work done by the predecessor of the current member for Prescott-Russell (Mr. Boudria).
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Isn't the courthouse in Ottawa under way?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The courthouse is under construction now. I had forgotten the Ottawa courthouse.
Whenever we on this side think of our dear former colleague Albert Belanger, who served the Prescott-Russell area so effectively for so many years, we often think of the boundary road between Osgoode and Russell townships which is there thanks to his good efforts.
My colleague the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development reminds me of the many additions and improvements made in his riding in eastern Ontario to the Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology.
The member has referred to the eastern Ontario subsidiary agreement. I know he would want me to read into the record the full extent of that agreement. It was signed only in 1979, but in that short number of years there have been commitments totalling $46.1 million. The Minister of Revenue would like that in his riding, would he not? That is $46.1 million under the eastern Ontario subsidiary agreement.
My colleague the Minister of Revenue wants to know what that went for. I want to tell him that $23 million went to agriculture in eastern Ontario, $9 million to forestry, $4 million to minerals, $4 million to tourism and $10 million to small business, the heart of our economy. That is really quite significant support.
Lest members think this is the entire support for small business, I should remind the member for Prescott-Russell that the Eastern Ontario Development Corp. has the kind of preferred rates for eastern Ontario that are not available to my colleagues the Minister of Revenue, the member for Humber or the member for Oxford. They are not available in their ridings and certainly not in my riding. But eastern Ontario has preferred terms and interest rates from the EODC.
Thanks to the efforts of many of the fine members from eastern Ontario on my side of the House, the EODC since 1972 has offered so much assistance that by the summer of 1983 we had $71 million worth of outstanding loans in eastern Ontario. These loans not only have contributed a great deal of employment, but have also levered more investment from the fine burghers of eastern Ontario, as the member for Renfrew North would say.
They have contributed $12 million in addition, capital that we have levered through the EODC from the private sector to invest in the member's community. We are talking here about all the assistance programs we have talked about -- not to overstate it, because I do not wish to overstate it -- and literally thousands of new jobs in eastern Ontario.
Mr. Boudria: That is why everything is so great. There is 20 per cent unemployment in my riding. You have been doing really well. Let's have a vote on it in my riding.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We will have a vote on December 15 on it and we will see how it turns out. If you wish to wager, I will see you after the House adjourns. You can name the price and I will even let you name the odds. How is that?
In any case, I just wanted to verify that for the sake of consistency and a semi-complete record, because I have not gone back to the office and checked the records; I have not had the chance to consult my colleagues who have done so much in areas such as agriculture. I have not spoken to the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. F. S. Miller) to get more complete details. Indeed, if I had had the opportunity to consult with them, the one hour and 49 minutes yet remaining in these estimates would be taken up just with my cataloguing the things that have been done in eastern Ontario. But I am sure Noble Villeneuve is doing that for me this very evening as we sit here and as he will be doing here on December 16.
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Chairman, I was interested in the minister's comments earlier today when he talked about job creation plans, particularly for the youth in the province. I know my area -- and when I say my area I am looking at the Niagara region -- still has one of the highest unemployment rates to be found anywhere in Canada. It is well above the nine to 10 per cent that the minister indicated previously. It is still running about 14 to 15 per cent and it is rather a serious problem.
He also talked about the deficit this government has accomplished over the last 10 or 12 years under the Davis government. He still says it is within reach of the taxpayers. I do not know whether it is those of this decade or the next 20 years, but he is borrowing on the backs of the young generation that will have to pay the large debt this government has accumulated over the last 12 years.
That is one of the concerns I have about the government and its fiscal restraint program, if one can call it that, and its financing of the taxpayers' money. Much of this will be paid, perhaps through the year 2000, on the backs of some of these young pages who are here tonight and who will be carrying the heavy debt this government has brought about.
I want to direct a question to the Treasurer. He does handle the purse-strings here, and there is no doubt that it has been discussed in caucus. I raised a question a couple of weeks ago to the Premier concerning a second helicopter deal for the province. I am quoting from the Financial Post of October 15, 1983:
"A second helicopter manufacturing facility for the world market, this time in Ontario, will be established by West Germany's Messerschmitt-Bulkow-Blohm GmbH, with an announcement from Lumley and his Ontario counterpart Frank Miller expected in a few weeks, the Post has learned.
"MBB, one of Europe's most prominent aerospace conglomerates, is said to be planning exclusive Canadian production of both an advanced new rotor system and an updated version of existing B-105 twin-turbine helicopters.
"The MMB operation -- likely to take the form of a joint venture with Fleet Industries Ltd. of Fort Erie, Ontario -- will complement the Bell Textron-Pratt and Whitney deal for Quebec."
I know there are rumours that the figure of about $45 million will be required for the investment to get this off the ground in Ontario. I have also had some discussions with the Minister of Industry and Trade in the past couple of weeks concerning the proposed helicopter deal for the province.
I know there is going to be some involvement of federal capital as there was with the deal involving Bell Textron in Quebec. In that particular deal, $275.4 million was funded by the federal government and $110 million was funded by Quebec in the sharing of this new venture in Canada. Again it is going to create some 3,000 new jobs in Quebec.
Has the cabinet or the minister had any discussions with his counterpart the Minister of Industry and Trade about the involvement of the provincial government in this area? I am talking now about the seed money that Ontario is considering to bring in additional foreign capital to Ontario and create perhaps 200 or 300 new jobs at Fleet Industries Ltd. in Fort Erie. I can say this much: If it does locate in Fort Erie, which I hope it will, it will mean an expansion of the plant facilities down there and perhaps will mean a new building to handle the new venture in helicopter construction in Ontario.
What input has the minister had in this area? Can we expect some involvement in seed money from Ontario and in particular from his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: On this one, I and my colleague the Minister of Industry and Trade were under severe pressure from the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development to consider an eastern Ontario location for this particular --
Mr. Foulds: Why is the member for Prescott-Russell clapping?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is what it cost for eastern Ontario.
Just to confirm this for the member, we have indicated that we would be happy to provide an appropriate level of support for that facility, be it in eastern Ontario -- as so many of our investments have been -- or in the Niagara area.
Mr. McClellan: Or in the Toronto Islands.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, we do not want it there.
Mr. Foulds: No investment in the Toronto Islands? No housing projects?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I had a lot of sweat and blood on the thing. It is a big investment, not helicopters.
Mr. Foulds: Don't let me sidetrack you.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I got sidetracked. I heard "Toronto Islands." The Islands always sidetrack me but never vote for me.
Mr. McClellan: Let's talk about redistribution.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: See how they like it.
The Minister of Industry and Trade has been very interested in this and has come to the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development and asked for the support of BILD for this project. The BILD ministers, aggressive as always in promoting the industrial development of this province, have offered good support for this project. They have offered the Minister of Industry and Trade sufficient latitude to negotiate an appropriate level of support to ensure that project comes to the Niagara area.
We are hopeful the federal government will work with us in a co-operative way to ensure that the kind of excellent record we have established here in Ontario for negotiating good, tough but fair deals will be made available to us. Those negotiations are still going on, but I want to take this opportunity to assure the member that we are committed to doing everything reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances to allow the Minister of Industry and Trade sufficient latitude to make an appropriate deal.
Vote 901 agreed to.
Votes 902 and 903 agreed to.
On vote 904, economic policy program, item 1, economic policy:
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I raised a number of questions in my opening remarks about economic policy in Ontario with regard to regional development, diversification of industry and so on. I will not repeat my remarks. I would just like the minister to reply to them.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Would the member repeat the question?
Mr. Foulds: I raised a number of questions in my opening remarks, which I need not repeat, relating to economic development. They had to do with regional development, diversification of industry, upgrading our skills in the manufacturing area and technological development. I need not bore the members who have been listening attentively to this debate all afternoon and this evening by repeating those remarks. I would simply like the minister to respond to the concerns raised in my opening remarks.
Mr. McClellan: Otherwise?
Mr. Foulds: Otherwise I may be called upon to repeat them.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Well, he may be. Let me see if I have all of our notes from earlier today.
The member for Port Arthur talked a bit about not enough --
Mr. Foulds: Not a bit -- quite profoundly.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Well, extensively, not profoundly.
He talked about the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program. I think I recall him suggesting that BILD was not composed of comprehensive, long-range packages. I must say I was surprised to hear him say that. I thought he might be interested in some more objective analysis than I might give.
Mr. Foulds: You already gave us that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, I did not, not on BILD. The member might have missed this report, which appeared in the Edmonton Journal.
Mr. Foulds: No, I never miss the Edmonton Journal.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He must have on June 2.
Mr. Foulds: No.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He may have read the sports pages, but he missed the business pages, as always. I want to quote directly from the Journal --
Mr. McClellan: Could you not find an Ontario paper? Must you go all the way to Edmonton to find support?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: "Canada's recession was a death knell for some businesses while for others it heralded new life. Some firms could not adjust to the rapidly changing economic conditions and failed, but the companies who have survived are lean, mean and poised for post-recession growth. The same is true of the public sector. Some provinces" -- here is the interesting part -- "are helping themselves out of the recession with bold new policies and strong crown corporations to stimulate economic development. Others, like Alberta" --
Mr. Foulds: Strong crown corporations?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes. "Others, like Alberta, seem to be sitting back waiting for deliverance."
Continuing the quote, it goes on to say -- and the Minister of the Environment will want to hear this --
Hon. Mr. Brandt: I'm listening.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The editorial goes on to say: "Ontario is a front-runner among the doers."
Mr. Foulds: It reminds me of the roadrunner and -- what is that other beast?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It gets better. "Its Board of Industrial Leadership and Development (BILD) was set up to meet the challenges of the 1980s and 1990s: increased energy costs and competition and decreased growth of labour." End of quote from the Edmonton Journal.
I know the member for Port Arthur is also a devotee of the Financial Times.
Mr. Foulds: Watch it. One of my colleagues used to write for that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: However, he took a wrong turn and ended up in the member's caucus.
On April 8, the Financial Times said -- I will read it: "The Ontario government's vehicle for revitalizing the economy is known as BILD." It went on to point out: "Under the BILD program, five technology centres have been set up." It went on to talk about each of those centres.
"Ontario has moved to help small businesses in all sectors by removing its corporate income tax and through seminars in its overseas trade offices is encouraging them to export. The BILD program is having some success in building up a food processing industry to cut back on the $2.5 billion of imports that came into the province in 1981. The Davis government has also used BILD money to create about 40,000 temporary jobs to alleviate unemployment."
Mr. McClellan: It sounds as if they just printed one of your handouts. This is a press release. They just printed a press release. Any fool can read a press release.
Mr. Foulds: As this exercise has just proved.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The article goes on. I forgot to tell the member it is not the Financial Times that his colleague used to write for; it is an even more prestigious journal which his colleague probably could not have written for, the Financial Times of London.
Mr. Foulds: London, England?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is right. That is looking from a distance and commenting in a jealous way about the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development and its success.
Mr. McClellan: Which page was it on?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I do not know what page it was on. The member has --
Mr. McClellan: Not page 903? It sounds like the personnel ads.
Mr. Foulds: I had a number of specific questions.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Did you? Terrific. I just want to cover a couple of the matters the member did raise. He talked about several of our job creation programs. An analysis of those programs last year will indicate in all fairness that we did have a good array of job creation programs. The member has spoken of winter works, capital works programs and the like, and the record is fairly substantial. I am going to read it into the record for him, because I know he would want to have it read.
Mr. McClellan: Why don't you just give us that book?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Does the member want to find out what the leader of the third party said before he came here?
Here they are. Let us just look at some of these. If the member has some questions to ask while I turn the pages, he can go ahead.
Mr. Foulds: Can the minister explain why, under the BILD fund, the financial assistance for the Metropolitan Toronto convention centre is $5 million more than the Urban Transportation Development Corp. equity purchase of the vehicle articulation works?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Because it costs $5 million more and that is the difference in cost.
Mr. Foulds: Specifically is the UTDC equity purchase of $32.1 million the purchase price of the Can-Car trailer division of Hawker Siddeley Canada?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No.
Mr. Foulds: What is it?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The research lab in Kingston -- part of our continuing investment in research and development -- was for UTDC and has allowed it to do a lot of its international sales and development of new vehicles,
Mr. Foulds: Why is it listed as an equity purchase?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Because it was an investment in the expansion of UTDC. We put more equity into the company, which allowed it to expand and build a new research facility.
Mr. Foulds: But how much is the acquisition of Can-Car Hawker Siddeley going to cost?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will get the precise figure for the member.
Mr. Foulds: Can the minister also tell me where the $12.5 million for the drydock construction is slated for?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It is the Collingwood and Port Weller drydocks proposal, which has not been taken up yet. It is an allocation that has not been drawn down.
Mr. Foulds: It has not yet been taken up. Has any submission been made on behalf of the Port Arthur drydock at Thunder Bay?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am sorry; did I not say Thunder Bay as well?
Mr. Foulds: No. You said Collingwood and Port Weller.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am sorry. I did not mean to leave that out. There are three projects.
Mr. Foulds: Can the minister indicate what the proposal is and how much federal funding, if any, is being contributed to it?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: As my staff recalls the specifics of that item, one quarter of the amount was to be put up by the companies, and they indicated their willingness to do so. We have indicated our willingness, as evidenced by our allocation here, to come to the table as well and provide that degree of funding. The federal government to date has not been willing to make a firm commitment to those projects. When it does, our commitment will be drawn down. I am informed that the private sector has indicated its willingness to participate to the extent of 25 per cent. All we need is the federal contribution.
Mr. Foulds: Is the provincial contribution going ahead whether or not the federal contribution comes forward?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: All parties have agreed that federal participation is necessary to make the project go. We stand ready in this circumstance to fund the amount we have indicated as being set aside and committed for that, provided the federal government comes in for its portion.
Mr. Foulds: "All parties." That means the Treasurer and the private companies concerned. Why is it necessary for the minister to wait for the feds to proceed?
Mr. Boudria: What would you do without the feds?
Mr. Ruston: You take their money and blame them for something else.
The Acting Chairman (Mr. Robinson): Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: All members of this House are anxious to get projects such as this, and I know the member for Port Arthur is particularly anxious to get these projects under way. We are all equally anxious to make sure we do not begin to take on the backs of the Ontario taxpayers only responsibilities that the federal government has taken on behalf of all the taxpayers of Canada.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Wait a minute. There is quite a difference, because the federal government in many other provinces has met its responsibilities for drydocks. In several other provinces in the last couple of years it has been willing to support drydock upgradings such as this but it has so far declined to do so in Ontario. This is not unlike some of the things we were talking about before.
Obviously, I share the desire of the members to get these drydocks under way. I was part of the group that wrote the original BILD document and wrote those drydock projects into that document. We wanted to indicate we were prepared and fully committed to putting up funding to allow this to happen. But drydocks are a federal responsibility. We put those moneys up to try to lever quicker action and get those projects under way.
The federal government, at the same time as it is continuing to support drydock upgradings in other provinces, has to date refused to participate with us in Ontario. It is a difficult situation we find ourselves in. If we do 100 per cent of it, or 75 per cent with the private sector doing the other 25 per cent, pretty soon we find the federal government is spending all the money it collects from Ontario in other provinces and we are beginning to pick up the total burden of industrial and economic development in this province, which would be patently unfair. I do not think that is an unreasonable position.
Mr. Foulds: I have some sympathy for the argument the Treasurer has put forward, except it is my understanding that the province actually announced this part of the BILD project without consulting with the federal government in the first place. So what the Treasurer did was on speculation. There had been no intergovernmental negotiations about the possibility of the project ahead of time. If that is wrong, I will be glad to hear about it.
I would like to put to the Treasurer as strongly as possible, because I am at this level, that the Great Lakes water system, the three shipyards we have on the Great Lakes, is in fact one of the major industrial components of our economy in Ontario. We have neglected the Great Lakes, both in terms of its port facilities and in terms of its shipbuilding facilities, for far too long.
I agree with him that the federal Liberal government has done so, but I also suspect there has been a fair amount of Liberal and Tory rivalry about which of the shipyards gets what; in one case, Port Weller Dry Docks has traditionally been a Tory firm and the Collingwood-Port Arthur shipyard has been traditionally a Liberal firm.
I would suggest that kind of corporate politics has no part in the development of those centres. I would suggest to him that there has been far too much politics played, in the pejorative sense of the word, with the development of the dry docks in these areas than is good for the people in those communities.
I would like a commitment from this minister that this will not happen and that he will not play these games: "It is the feds' fault, not the province's fault." I would like to see the damned work gotten on with and done.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let me say, and this is helpful because of the member's particular concern, which of course is shared by my colleague the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy), and because of his particular concern he may take this message forward, we have indicated to the federal government on this and on many other projects that if it feels a particularly pressing need for political profile at this particular time it can have it all; we care nought.
I have related that to the federal ministers. The member can check with them. I have told them that. They can have all the credit, do all the ribbon cutting; they can put up all the signs they want. All we want is our fair share of the economic development money for Ontario.
In these three projects, the same applies. We have made our commitment quite clear and under any terms on which the federal government wishes to participate. I have to leave myself the option of, say, not coming with unreasonable terms, but under any set of reasonable circumstances under which they want to come in on those three projects, if they want to come in on one, two or three, if they want to come in taking all the credit, if they want to re-announce, I care nought.
I simply want to get those three projects under way and the member may relay that message. I have relayed it already in terms of all the projects we have on stream. Give us our fair share of economic development money, particularly in those areas where they have the primary responsibility, such as dry docks, and our money is available to be drawn down.
Mr. Foulds: I wonder if the minister could share with us the particular proposals with regard to those three shipyards. If they are not available now, I wonder if he could in fact forward them to me. Exactly what are we talking about in terms of drydock construction? Is he talking about specific proposals from each of the two companies about the three drydocks? Is he talking about rehabilitation? Is he talking about extension of drydocks? If they are not now available, I would be pleased if the minister could forward the particulars of those proposals to me.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We are trying to get a federal government commitment, which I think is the only reasonable way to proceed, to participate in these projects. I think the final shape, everyone knows; the companies of course know the general areas, the size and the cost of the projects. The federal government knows that as well, because we have relayed the information to it.
All that is outstanding is the question of participation in principle. They have to say yes, they are going to come in and meet their responsibilities for drydocks in Ontario as they have in other provinces. If they do that, then I can say with some confidence that the specific structuring of the deals will not be an impediment. The major impediment now is that they simply do not want to participate in the deals. It is not that they are saying they do not want to participate to the levels we are talking about. They are not saying they do not want to participate with a degree of partnership or the way the deal is constructed. They are currently saying they do not want to participate.
The Acting Chairman: The vote is 904.
Mr. Foulds: I have something further.
The Acting Chairman: I knew that.
Mr. Foulds: You had better believe it, Mr. Chairman.
The Acting Chairman: The member cannot fool me. Does he have other questions on vote 904, or did he want another member to speak?
Mr. Foulds: I certainly do. I notice in the specifics under vote 904 that the Premier's study committee on the domed stadium is being funded to the tune of $300,000 out of the BILD fund. I would like to know the specifics of that. What kind of per diem or salary is the chairman getting? What does that figure represent?
The argument I put in my leadoff was that surely to goodness the deputy minister, with one or two other knowledgeable people, could make a decision on that without having this kind of extra-parliamentary committee.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will have to get the member the details on that. It is a figure that was arrived at so that the committee would have the opportunity to make the detailed investigations that are appropriate. It is a very small committee, as the member knows, with no significant bureaucracy, or no bureaucracy. It has had an extensive number of meetings and heard an extensive number of submissions. I shall get the actual figure as opposed to the allocated figure for the member.
Mr. Foulds: If I may, this is a committee where we have a bit of a discussion back and forth, as well as questioning on these particular items. This $300,000 does seem to me to be a lot for a committee to examine the possibility of a domed stadium. It would seem to me that before we have an allocation which we vote on, we should have some details of that. However, the minister said he will get that for me.
Can the minister also explain why there is $10 million set aside under the BILD fund for advertising and marketing of tourism in Ontario? Why does that come out of this fund? Why is that not in the advertising fund of the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: One of the things that I was successful in getting written into the BILD document a couple of years ago was the extension of our support for tourism into the United States market.
The member will know that one of the very successful things the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation has done over the past few years is the newspaper supplement that appears twice a year in Ontario newspapers. We really wanted to get that into the United States and did not have --
Mr. McClellan: Do you mean the one for New Brunswick? The one for New Brunswick or the one for Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The Ontario one.
Mr. McClellan: I understand they are done by the same firm.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: One goes with the best people. We had hoped to get that but, of course, in the 1978 to 1981 period of time we had an enormous growth in the budget for tourism advertising. It was felt it was sufficient, through the normal allocations process, to look after the domestic needs.
When the BILD program arrived, it allowed the expansion into foreign markets, particularly in terms of earning export dollars. At that time, I was successful in convincing my colleagues that an extension of that newspaper supplement into American markets would be one of the ways we could earn export dollars in one of our most important industries, the tourism industry. I know the member will support me in this.
I wanted the expansion to put that supplement in papers such as the Detroit Free Press, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Buffalo Evening News and two or three other newspapers in border markets. My colleagues agreed and, therefore, they agreed that in order to run those supplements in the American newspapers we would provide $2 million a year, which is the cost of those supplements in, I think, five newspapers. We will provide this for five years running, which would amount to $10 million.
Mr. Foulds: It does seem to me, as much as I admire the Treasurer's commitment to tourism in Ontario and as much as I admire his commitment to marketing Ontario's tourism outside Ontario's borders, that it is somewhat -- I am trying to think of the right word -- inappropriate that something that is called industrial leadership and development is spent on advertising.
Advertising has its place and I have never denied that. Even advocacy advertising for tourism in Ontario has its place outside the borders. What I find strange is that he has it in this item. Why is it not up front in the advertising budget of either this ministry or the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation? That is what I find strange. Why is it buried in here?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Very simply, the way you develop the tourism industry is not only through the traditional loans we have through the Ontario development corporations, the loans BILD provides through the tourism redevelopment incentive program and the other programs we have to support the tourism industry; the way you develop the tourism industry largely is by introducing into foreign markets the excellent infrastructure we have helped to build throughout the programs I have just mentioned. The way you develop that market is by advertising in foreign markets.
I should pause to correct my information. I recalled it being five markets in the United States, but in fact there are 11 markets. In any case, it is listed here because that is the developmental aspect of tourism. Advertising in this case, I would respectfully submit, would be an incorrect designation. It is, in fact, developmental marketing; that is what it is all about and that is the way you do it for this business, the tourism industry.
Mr. Foulds: I would like to know what studies are being conducted by the ministry and by BILD or whatever to see what effect the kind of advertising program they have in here has and whether they are getting their $10 million worth. I think this is crucial if they are going to be spending that money. What kind of follow-up and what kind of survey of tourists who actually visit Ontario are they able to conduct in order to find out whether they have come here as a result of this kind of expenditure? It is only by evaluating that kind of expenditure that they can find out whether or not it is worth while.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I might say this whole area of surveying is quite foreign to me, but as I recall, the --
Mr. Foulds: As my 10-year-old son would say, "Just one of Larry's little jokes."
Hon. Mr. Grossman: You have a very intelligent son; I can't understand it.
As I recall from my time at Tourism, these surveys are done on a regular basis. They literally monitor all of these activities. I do not want to mislead the House in any way. I am not sure if it was done this time under this same contract, but it is often done as part of the services purchased from the agency; that is, they do some pre-marketing, they do the advertising and they do some post-market analysis in order to answer the very question the member raises.
I remember the first time we ran those ads. I was still Minister of Industry and Tourism. This is unscientific, but many of the operators in Ontario told me they had to stay beside their phones because some of them got as many as 50 or 60 phone calls the weekend the ad went in the paper. As a result, the next time -- I was not the minister -- the ministry had to alert the tourism operators involved as to what weekend the supplement was going in the American newspapers because of the extraordinary number of calls that were coming. I presume that is still happening; I cannot be sure.
Mr. Foulds: I would like a commitment from the minister that he will make public and table with the House the post-market analysis of this expenditure.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I cannot give the member that commitment. I may be able to, but that will be up to my colleague the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz). Some of that material would be most helpful to other jurisdictions that are searching for the same tourism markets as we are. Obviously, things like the "I Love New York" program are pointed towards the same markets in Ohio and Pennsylvania as we are. However, if that is not a concern of the Minister of Tourism and Recreation, then it will be made available. We have to do the right thing.
Mr. Foulds: Finally, on this item, I would like to point out some inconsistency in the explanation the minister has given us. He tells us this is in his ministry rather than in the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation because it is part of the BILD program.
Yet on the same sheets we have in our briefing book for BILD, we have listed the projects that have to do with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. For example, the incentive for increased production of asparagus, the incentive for increased production of tender fruit processing and the incentive for cream processing are all programs funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. So what they have with BILD is a grab-bag. This minister is taking credit for some; other ministers are taking credit for some. I would suggest probably the $10 million on advertising was an attempt to bury it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member would be wrong if he suggested that.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Chairman, very briefly, on the subject of economic development in my constituency, there is one question I did not raise earlier. It is one I would like the minister to respond to. The Treasurer will recall that his predecessor the member for Muskoka (Mr. F. S. Miller) after the closure of the Canadian International Paper plant in Hawkesbury asked a gentleman by the name of Milliken to produce a report on the effect of the closure on the town of Hawkesbury, and more particularly on what could be done to salvage the plant, to find new customers for the CIP mill and so forth.
This report was given to members of the town council of Hawkesbury and myself at a meeting we had with the member for London South (Mr. Walker), the former Minister of Industry and Trade. I guess that was around Christmas last year. Given that the Milliken report was prepared under the auspices of the Treasurer's ministry, I wonder if he knows of any more positive indication of finding customers for the CIP mill, people who could reopen it as some facility or other, recognizing all the things we know from the Milliken report, the age of the structure and so forth. Does the minister have any new information for us on that facility?
Also, to reiterate something I asked to which the minister did not respond in his remarks, in regard to providing for the town of Hawkesbury, will he and his colleague the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing be providing more funds this year for the county and for the town of Hawkesbury?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I know the member is aware of the commitment we have to doing something about the mill. The Ministry of Industry and Trade, as the member has acknowledged, has had the study done. I think the cost was $25,000. We have made it quite clear we are very anxious to do whatever is necessary about that circumstance. Unfortunately, the study did not produce much hope at present of getting someone else to take over that operation. The ministry is continuing its search for someone and is doing so very actively.
Mr. Boudria: Is that still active?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes. They are keeping it on their books and continually trying to identify an opportunity for someone to come in there. Of course, the economic circumstances are not the best for any investments, let alone that one. However, the ministry continues to work on that particular item.
Mr. Boudria: Even if a customer were found tomorrow, there is still that serious deficiency in the municipal tax base of that area. I have outlined earlier this evening the problem with the sewage rates, the water rates, the decreasing assessment of some 15 to 20 per cent in the town and the effect it has on the united counties, the school board, etc. It is a loss of more than $800,000 worth of revenue.
I have raised this with the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch) and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Can the Treasurer tell us if there is going to be any assistance for the current year? This is a very difficult situation. The calendar year has almost come to a close and the municipalities desperately need those funds. At the end of the year they are $309,000 short in a small community like Hawkesbury. It is very serious. The Treasurer has responded to the other part of my question. Can he provide any information to enlighten us on this part of it?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Our transfer payments are all calculated in order to reflect differing economic circumstances and the tax bases as they ebb and flow in various communities. Those circumstances are supposed to be picked up by virtue of the formula, which seems to have worked very well.
There are several communities that are experiencing particularly difficult economic times. The member for Erie has spoken of the particular problems in Niagara, and they are severe. My colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) is probably facing some of the most difficult circumstances in the province with the enormous layoffs at Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie. He has been speaking with me about those problems extensively. My colleague the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) has been through some difficult times in his community. We could go on and on.
In most of these circumstances, the grant structure has taken all of these matters into account because the formula is structured to do so. In all these communities, when particular opportunities present themselves -- be it an opportunity for new investment, an opportunity for a speeded-up capital works project or anything that will aid the economic recovery of that community and add to the tax base -- we have not hesitated to participate. Indeed, I just finished indicating to the member for Erie that in the case of the helicopter proposal in his area we are a party to the negotiations and are anxious to have those negotiations completed successfully.
Mr. Boudria: Perhaps the Treasurer was not listening to what I said earlier. I recognize that the grant allocation for this year had an increase in it of $125,000. That was the original amount of money the local government expected to be short by the closure of the plant. However, that $125,000 for the city has turned out to be $309,000. So what I am saying, notwithstanding the fact that the government has made a special allocation this year there have been new considerations mid-year in that particular crisis.
I am asking if the Treasurer will make another special consideration because of what I have just enumerated. Can the Treasurer recognize the different steps that have happened here? I recognize he went in mid-year and offered something extra. However, since then the Assessment Review Board has come down with a decision that further decreased the revenue since the Treasurer made that special allocation. A new initiative is required. I just emphasize that again.
The Acting Chairman: The Treasurer has no comment on that.
Mr. Ruston: Could I ask the minister one question with regard to the BILD program? The government gave the H.J. Heinz Co. $3 million -- and it is a matter of the philosophy that different people have -- and they put in $12 million of their own for expanding the tomato industry, which is fine. One of the things I was told by different people in the community is that that did not mean any new farmers received tomato contracts.
That is a worry to some people who are trying to get into the business and expand their acreage. It looks as if that expanded the large ones from 100 to 125 acres, the present growers, but no new farmers received any acreage at all. I suppose I should be talking to the Minister of Agriculture and Food, but since the Treasurer is involved in actually putting the money out it is a concern I have.
The other thing I have been told by some of the smaller plant owners who are also looking for assistance to do similar things is that if the government would lend this money to them interest free for about three years and then have them start to pay it back at a small interest rate that keeps increasing as the time goes on, that would be a way many more plants could make use of this same amount of money.
As I say, it is a philosophical matter as to what is the best way, but maybe they have a good point. It is just something I have been told by them because they have not been able to get in on it yet and they think the money would certainly go a lot farther.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will get some of those details. As the member indicated, those questions are more appropriately asked of the Minister of Agriculture and Food.
On the second item, the member has reflected on the way the Ontario Development Corp. traditionally carries on its programs in its own bailiwick. I will consider the member's last comments with my colleague.
Mr. Foulds: I just have one point I would like to make with regard to the youth employment winter Experience program.
It is my understanding that the criteria have changed since the program was initially announced. I ran into this problem with a constituent, and it is a constituency problem I brought to the attention of the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mr. McCaffrey) who is in charge of the youth secretariat.
I would appreciate it if it could be made clear in the future that if the program is expected to be for those who have less than grade 12 education, that be clearly on the application forms and all of the ministries out there that are developing some very worthwhile projects know that when they interview the people.
In my particular case, there was a constituent who had a university education and who, I understand, is more than qualified for the project in every other respect except that she is "overqualified." She has been unemployed for the required period of time. I would suggest that in the winter Experience program it would be worth while to have university students who have been unemployed for long periods of time able to take advantage of that program.
The last thing I would like to say is that on the Inflation Restraint Board we will make our comments on Bill 111, where there will be ample opportunity.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I should just draw this to the attention of the member for Port Arthur. First, I think his comments are well placed and we will take that up with the youth secretariat as well with regard to making it clear that it is for people who do not have a degree.
The young Ontario career program, which is just starting up, sounds like precisely the program the member is talking about. It is well-funded with $25 million. The point of that program is for post-secondary graduates who have not found suitable employment six months after graduation. Other than that, the framework of the subsidy, etc.. is very similar to that of the other programs. That is the program they should apply to. It is starting up, so there is lots of space in that program.
Votes 904 to 906, inclusive, agreed to.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Grossman, the committee of supply reported certain resolutions.
The House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.