The House met at 2 p.m.
MINISTER'S RETURN TO HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, just before the business of the day: as has already been noted, it is, I am sure, a pleasure for all of us to see the Minister of Health (Mr. Norton) back.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Healthy.
Hon. Mr. Wells: He is back healthy, and I am sure he is going to talk to members about nursing homes today.
Mr. Speaker: I hope at not too great a length. It is nice to see you back.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I have a lot of catching up to do.
Mr. Speaker: You have, indeed.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I am sure it was a relief to have me absent for a while.
Mr. Speaker, at the outset I would like to make it clear there is more substance to my statement than simply to rise and announce that I have returned. However, at the outset I would like to extend my thanks to the honourable members on both sides of the House who during the past two months have expressed to me in various ways their good wishes and encouragement at a time when I can assure them it was both very helpful and appreciated, and also to the House leaders on the opposite side who co-operated with our government House leader (Mr. Wells) in adjusting the time for the estimates of the Ministry of Health, although I might say I would have been quite happy if they had been a little harder nosed about it and our government House leader had carried the estimates.
Mr. Nixon: He was hard-nosed.
Mr. Foulds: He was chicken; he didn't want to do it.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I see. I am sure all members will understand what I mean and the sincerity of it when I extend a very special thanks to my colleague the government House leader who, in addition to his already onerous responsibilities as House leader and Minister of Intergovernment Affairs assumed the responsibility, as he always does with great competence, and acted as Minister of Health for a period of two months.
Mr. Conway: As a former Minister of Health he knew all the inside stories.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That is correct. I am sure that earlier experience served him well during the course of this fall.
Finally I would like to thank my parliamentary assistant the member for Carleton (Mr. Mitchell) who, in addition to assuming additional responsibilities within the ministry during this period, also substantially increased his schedule of public commitments in filling in for me in my absence and inability to meet my public commitments during that time.
Mr. Speaker: I would ask the House to join me in greeting Mr. Stephen Terlecky, member for the constituency of Cardiff West in the Parliament at Westminster.
Mr. Terlecky is a delegate to the Ukrainian World Congress being held in Toronto and is a guest of the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Shymko). It is interesting to note that Mr. Terlecky is the first Ukrainian-born member ever to be elected to the Parliament at Westminster.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
HUMAN RIGHTS WEEK
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, in 1962 this province became the first jurisdiction in Canada to consolidate antidiscrimination legislation into a comprehensive human rights code. Since then the Ontario Human Rights Code, changing as it has to meet the needs of the people of the province, has remained in the forefront among actions taken by governments across Canada to promote equal opportunity.
Today marks the first day of Human Rights Week, and on Saturday, December 10, Canada will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose principles form an integral part of the preamble of the Ontario Human Rights Code.
When the universal declaration was unanimously proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1948, it was viewed as a first step in the formulation of an international bill of human rights that would have legal as well as moral force. Since then the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has inspired a number of specific international human rights agreements by which Ontario has consented to be bound, thus demonstrating our province's commitment to strengthening support for equality and fairness at home and abroad.
The adoption of the universal declaration on December 10, 1948, was a particularly significant event because for the first time nations of the world spoke with one voice to proclaim the fundamental principles of human rights. Since that date the declaration has served to evidence a commitment to the goal of universal social justice.
In the intervening 35 years the United Nations has sought to realize the principles underlying the universal declaration through the implementation of programs designed to achieve concrete results in the protection of human rights. New initiatives launched this year include the Decade of Disabled Persons, which will involve Canadians in a worldwide program to eradicate the social and physical barriers that limit the full participation of persons with disabilities in the life of the community.
In our commemoration of this anniversary of the proclamation of the universal declaration we take special pride in the fact that a new Human Rights Code for Ontario was proclaimed in June 1982. I believe that the extended grounds and broadened mandate of the code demonstrate Ontario's continuing leadership in the fields of women's rights, race and ethnic relations and the rights of disabled persons.
The past 21 years have seen great strides in the protection of human rights in our province. The many policies and programs that we now take for granted were the result of dedication, diligence and vision on the part of legislators, administrators and concerned members of the community.
It is important to recognize, however, that legislation alone cannot guarantee or safeguard human rights. For this reason this government last year adopted a policy on race relations based on the recommendations of the cabinet committee on race relations. This was the first policy initiative of its kind to be produced by any government in this country, and it has been distributed widely throughout our province to promote understanding of the fact that racism cannot be tolerated. In addition, this government established the Ontario women's directorate this year to be a focus for the range of government programs designed to promote equality of opportunity in our province.
I know members will agree that although the Ontario Human Rights Commission has a unique role to play in this process, it is imperative that all individuals, all organizations and institutions in our province work together to build a society based on mutual respect and tolerance.
As we celebrate Human Rights Week and the 35th anniversary of the universal declaration, I hope that all of us as members will reaffirm our shared commitment to equality and human dignity, which has always meant so much in our society in this province.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak on behalf of the official opposition on the occasion of the marking of the 35th anniversary of the human rights declaration and to recall to all members of the House that, going back to the time of Mr. Frost and certainly Mr. Robarts, many important steps were taken to establish Ontario in the forefront of the provinces of Canada and, in fact, as a leader in most jurisdictions in the establishment of human rights.
Before we congratulate ourselves too much, however, I think we must realize that a good deal is left to be done. The Premier might even agree with me in looking back over his own political career that there is at least as much prejudice in the community now as there was even a quarter of a century ago. I am not at all sure that our best efforts in education and the best leadership we have been able to provide in the Legislature here in human rights legislation and elsewhere have done as much to change and improve the attitude of the community as we would all have expected and seriously hoped.
Nevertheless, all of us are optimistic in this regard, and I am sure all members of the House can take some credit in the establishment of our legislation and the way it is being administered. We are proud of these accomplishments and we look forward to improving on them in the future.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, it is my distinct honour and pleasure on behalf of the New Democratic Party to associate ourselves, as I did last year, with the spirit of the Premier's remarks with respect to this week and this very particular day.
However, we in this party believe there are some symbolic things that the government could do to make a stronger case for human rights and for international human rights than has been done to this time.
I have often wondered, for example, why the Liquor Control Board of Ontario spends as much time as it does promoting the alcoholic products that come from South Africa. I happen to believe that if Ontario took a strong step in indicating its disapproval of what is going on in South Africa, it would do as much to consolidate and to make people feel that the opposition of this government and of all parties to racism was as strong as is sometimes declared on this particular day.
There are things that need to be done in terms of our labour legislation and our human rights legislation to make opportunity real for a great many older people and a great many young people who continue to suffer, if not active discrimination de facto discrimination because equality is still not equal in our province. Equality is still not equal for people of all different racial and ethnic backgrounds, and that is something about which we can never be complacent.
Yes, we can look back and say, "We as a province have accomplished a great deal." But I say to the Premier that we in this party are not satisfied with the progress that has been made. There is much more the government of Ontario can do through its own agencies, and there is much that all of us have to do to make Ontario a truly multiracial, multicultural society which respects people from all backgrounds and all walks of life and which gives all people of this Ontario a place in the sun which they so richly deserve.
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS BILL
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, as part of the government's program of initiatives to improve the situation of working women, I would like to announce that later this afternoon I will be introducing for first reading a series of amendments to the Employment Standards Act and regulations which have particular benefit for working women in Ontario.
As honourable members are aware, Ontario has a long and honourable tradition of promoting the rights of working women. We were the first province to enact equal pay legislation. We were the first province to establish a women's bureau. In 1975, the affirmative action consulting service was established and, since then, more than 230 employers have established affirmative action strategies involving more than 300,000 women.
As well, the government in its capacity as an employer has pursued an aggressive program of affirmative action within the Ontario public service through the women crown employees' office. These activities are now being co-ordinated by the women's directorate, reporting to the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch).
There can be no doubt that these initiatives have resulted in significant steps towards the goal of equality for working women. I note that in the Ontario public service, for instance, since 1978 the number of women has increased in 80 per cent of the employment groups in which they were underrepresented. We know, as well, that more women are moving into management, professional and technical jobs, and that the number and proportion of women receiving training in nontraditional occupations are increasing.
In spite of these initiatives, there are still a number of problems facing working women that need to be addressed.
The issue of equal pay has received a great deal of attention over the past few years. The size of the female labour force and female labour force participation rates have increased dramatically, yet a significant wage gap between men and women remains. While much of the gap can be accounted for by nondiscriminatory factors, there appear to be inequities and inequalities in wage and salary practices that are capable of rectification through legislative change.
As members are aware, the Employment Standards Act currently provides for equal pay for substantially the same work. In determining whether the jobs being compared are substantially the same, the legislation requires four factors -- skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions -- to be separately assessed. Unless all factors are individually comparable, the act does not apply, even though the jobs, overall, may be similar. As a result, the current provision is, in my view, too narrow to cover some valid comparisons.
I will, therefore, be proposing an amendment to provide that the basis for determining equality of work be broadened to allow a composite evaluation of the four existing criteria, while continuing the requirement that the jobs compared be substantially the same. What this will mean, in effect, is that the Employment Standards Act will provide equal pay for work of equal value as between substantially similar jobs.
I believe this is a significant and responsible move to address the wage gap problem. It applies the equal value test to jobs that are capable of meaningful comparison. I intend to continue to monitor the situation following the amendment to assess its effectiveness in addressing the wage gap problem.
Experience has also revealed some technical problems with the present equal pay provisions. For example, the law may be circumvented by hiring a female employee to replace a male employee and paying the female employee a lower rate of pay for the same job. In that situation, since there is no basis for comparison -- there being only one occupant in the particular job classification -- the existing law does not apply, even though the offence may be obvious.
Equally, the existing provision may be avoided by deliberately restricting jobs to employees of one sex, who are then paid at a lesser rate of pay than when males and females were performing the work. My intention is to amend the act so these practices will be prohibited.
I do not wish to suggest that such practices have been widespread, but the possibility for abuse does exist and the amendments I will be proposing will, I believe, rectify the situation.
As honourable members are aware, there is widespread recognition of the important contributions that women make to the economy as well as to their own family incomes. The Employment Standards Act guarantees 17 weeks' leave for pregnant employees subject to certain qualifying conditions. However, there is nothing explicit in the act to prohibit dismissal or demotion of pregnant employees who have not yet become eligible for pregnancy leave or who have returned from such leave.
Based upon inquiries received by the employment standards branch and the Ontario Human Rights Commission, there are grounds for concern that dismissals or demotions in the pre- or post-pregnancy period may be occurring solely on the basis of the fact of pregnancy. This, of course, is unacceptable and the proposals I will be introducing will permit a complaint to be filed and adjudicated where this allegation is made.
It is my intention as well to deal with several other issues concerning the rights of pregnant workers. These include reducing the qualifying employment period for pregnancy leave entitlement from 63 to 52 weeks; providing that upon returning from pregnancy leave an employee shall be entitled to reinstatement in her former position or in a comparable position without loss of pay or benefits; providing for the accrual of seniority for all purposes during pregnancy leave; and permitting the employee to shorten her leave and return to work provided she is medically fit and gives sufficient advance notice.
I would now like to refer to the question of adoption by working parents. I have received a number of letters concerning workers who are encountering difficulty in obtaining leaves of absence from their jobs when they elect to adopt a child. Since the period of time at home with the child is a requirement imposed by adoption authorities, such workers are placed in an untenable position. I will, therefore, be bringing forward an amendment to the Employment Standards Act to provide for unpaid adoption leave. In this connection, I might also note that as of January 1, 1984, workers taking leave for purposes of adoption will be eligible for benefits under the Unemployment Insurance Act as is now the case for those on maternity leave.
Finally, I intend to strengthen the protection now afforded to domestic workers. When the employment standards regulation for domestics was introduced in 1981, one of the provisions applying to live-in workers was a duty-free period of 36 consecutive hours each week. This standard was in keeping with the prevailing practice in the community at that time. However, it now appears more common to allow two days' free time per week. Accordingly, the employment standards regulation will be amended to provide additional duty-free time for live-in domestics.
As I mentioned in announcing the planned revisions to the minimum wage a few weeks ago, a review is being conducted of the other provisions of the Employment Standards Act and regulations relating to domestic workers to ensure their adequacy and fairness.
I am confident these various measures together will significantly improve the legal rights of women in the work place.
NURSING HOME CARE
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, as members are aware, the Ministry of Health has been involved in a major program to upgrade the quality of the care of patients in our nursing homes through education, encouragement and enforcement.
As members might have suspected, the government House leader indicated to me there might still be some abiding interest in nursing homes at the time of my return.
The initiative to which I have referred was first announced by my predecessor once removed, the present Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell), in a speech in February 1981 and has been reiterated in specific ways by the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) after he succeeded the member for Don Mills in the portfolio.
The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) has reported to the members from time to time over the past couple of months that the ministry is devoting increased financial and human resources to respond to this priority.
I think it will be more than obvious to everyone that this is a major priority of ours and one which is being supported in a very tangible way by the government as a whole. We are determined to ensure that our nursing homes meet the highest possible standards.
As some members will recall, nursing home care became an insured benefit under the health insurance program in 1972 and the ministry accordingly established an inspection program. At that time there were 22,741 beds licensed in 455 nursing homes across the province. Today there are 29,206 beds licensed in 335 nursing homes. In other words, there are more than 6,000 more beds and 120 fewer homes.
In almost every case, homes closed because they were too small, inefficient or obsolete to meet the ministry's standards which were being enforced with increasing determination. The remaining homes which predate medicare have been brought into compliance with the ministry's fire and safety requirements but they have been allowed to defer correcting some structural and other environmental shortcomings which affected the living standards in the homes. This policy was justified on the grounds that we needed beds and the owners were entitled to some reasonable time to prepare for the financial and other obligations entailed in what would, in many cases, be major reconstruction.
We believe there has now been enough time and have decided as a matter of policy to deal with the deferrals over the next two years. To achieve this, I have directed my staff to review with the individual homes involved and the nursing home industry as a whole the means by which our policy can be implemented and to present us with options which the government can consider before the beginning of the next fiscal year in April 1984.
We can certainly discuss this in greater detail when the social development committee is considering my estimates over the next fortnight. In the meantime, I have two other specific initiatives to share with the House today.
The first concerns inspection. When we began this thrust three and a half years ago, the then minister, now the Minister of Agriculture and Food, announced a restructuring of our nursing home service as part of the institutional operations branch. When it became clear that the 24 inspectors were not enough to provide the level of inspections we required, my predecessor, now the Treasurer, arranged with our colleague the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) to second seven fire inspectors to help us for a period of one year. As well, we were able to divert some additional staff and technical resources from within the Ministry of Health in spite of the staffing constraints that had been imposed on all of us.
In order to deal with the shortcomings that were previously deferred and to maintain the intensity of our current inspection program, we will need some additional inspection capacity immediately. While an assessment is being made of the specific staffing requirements, I have authorized the immediate recruitment of 10 more inspectors for our nursing home service.
The success of this program will depend on the degree of compliance we receive from the nursing home operators of Ontario, the vast majority of whom are dedicated, compassionate and committed to the welfare of the residents they serve. However, there are some who may be reluctant and who will need to be nudged by prosecution.
To ensure that this happens promptly and thoroughly, I am pleased to report to the House that my colleague the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) has seconded Lloyd Budzinsky, QC, a senior crown attorney from the central office in Toronto to the Ministry of Health to work full time and exclusively on prosecutions or revocations that are justified by the noncompliance of any nursing home operators.
Members may be aware that there are now four letters of revocation before the Nursing Homes Review Board and 39 charges pending before the courts. I expect that Mr. Budzinsky's demonstrated diligence as a prosecutor will stand us in good stead in the months ahead.
As I said earlier, I will be happy to share our plans in greater detail with the members of the social development committee, but I felt that I should use this first opportunity to demonstrate to the House my personal priority and the determination of the government as a whole to ensure the excellence of care for those who are resident in nursing homes in this province.
EQUAL PAY FOR WORK OF EQUAL VALUE
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Labour and is based on his announcement this afternoon of amendments to the Employment Standards Act. He will be aware that his colleague the Minister responsible for Women's Issues (Mr. Welch) has said that the government is striving to build a society offering, to use the minister's words, "pure, unqualified equal opportunity for women."
Given that this House approved in principle the concept of equal pay for work of equal value earlier this fall, why has the minister specifically rejected this approach in the amendments he has proposed today in favour of the smoke-and-mirrors approach of a composite test?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I certainly do not agree that it is smoke and mirrors. A lot of careful thought and study was put into this matter before it was introduced today. We think it is a legitimate and practical approach to the work place as we know it today and we feel it will give us an opportunity to monitor the composite test provisions, which are really a form of equal value for similar jobs. Let us take that step before we start to monitor or implement equal value for dissimilar jobs.
Mr. Wrye: The minister will be aware that all that has happened is that we are now going to take the four criteria of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions jointly and evaluate them, but we are going to continue looking at those criteria, and the minister has underlined this in his statement, in "substantially similar jobs," to use the minister's own words.
He will be aware of a comment by Donna Lenhoff, writing on Equal Pay for Work of Comparable Value as a Strategy. She said:
"Once women are restricted to employment in only certain occupations they are overcrowded into those occupations, the demand for women's labour is low, the labour supply is great and women therefore are forced to accept lower wages. It is a classic case of labour market segregation in which division within the labour force reduces its overall bargaining power."
Given those comments about occupational segregation, how do the minister and the government expect that a composite approach, which looks at only the four criteria in substantially the same area of work, will change the kinds of job ghettos that we have in Ontario and which mean that women today make only 63 per cent of what men make?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: The honourable member used the word "comparable" jobs; I think we are talking about equal jobs. We could go back and forth all day and really not reach any sort of agreement between the member and myself. I happen to feel this is an important measure; I feel very strongly about that. I plan to monitor the situation very carefully. It is just another step towards the equality of men and women in the work place. As far as the wage gap is concerned, there has been significant progress made in that respect in Ontario and this is just another step in that direction.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, the question in all of our minds is why the step is so small and halting. I would like to ask the minister specifically if he can address this question. Why did the government reject the approach of equal pay for work of equal value while limiting itself in terms of comparable jobs? Why did the government limit itself in that way?
The minister knows it is simply going to have the effect of continuing the job ghettos which now exist not only in the public sector but throughout the private sector as well. Why did he specifically reject the other approach which was put forward by this party and the other party in the debate in the last two months?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, obviously I do not agree with the honourable member. As to rejecting any approach, we have taken a studied approach to this matter. We feel we are doing it in a reasonable way. We are trying to take into consideration the marketplace and the needs of women in Ontario. I feel we are doing it in a very adequate way.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, the minister may believe we are making progress but the facts belie his statement. The fact of the matter is we are making almost no progress whatsoever and we are going to make very little new progress as a result of the minister's change today. I will go back to the question the leader of the third party has asked. The minister referred to it as another step. Why did he not take a giant step for the women of this province? Why did he take a half, halting step? Why do we have staged progress?
Finally, considering the minister is going to monitor this situation, what progress does he expect in the narrowing of the wage gap before he rejects this idea and takes the final full step of equal value legislation?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, the whole matter of the narrowing of the wage gap is not necessarily related to legislation. One cannot do it all by legislation. One has to break down those traditional barriers which are being broken down in our schools and universities. That is a fact. One also has to take into consideration the comments of Professor Gunderson, who did a report not too long ago. He said something to the effect that the approach to equality is in using an arsenal of weapons. No single factor will bring it all to a successful conclusion. That is what this government is trying to do, to bring forward an arsenal of weapons to approach this problem.
Further, Dr. Gunderson also said in his report that the legislation for equal value would only narrow the wage gap by one or to percentage points. That is why he was saying we need a much broader --
Mr. Speaker: Order. New question.
PROVINCIAL AUDITOR'S REPORT
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, could I have the Solicitor General's attention? He had better pay attention to the report of the Provincial Auditor. I would like to refer him to page 90, particularly, and pages 91, 92 and 93. They are a litany of mismanagement which has cost the taxpayers of Ontario a great deal of money.
Can the Solicitor General explain to the House how the cost of his telecommunications project went from something in the order of $24.4 million in January 1980 to a projected cost of almost triple that, $71 million, three years later? Can he explain how this monumental underestimation could have taken place? Who was responsible for the estimation and for carrying this project through?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, as you can very well understand, the process that initiated this program went back some considerable number of years. It was decided that the present radio system in Ontario Provincial Police cars, which is about 34 years of age, was not carrying out the functions the OPP wanted it to carry out. Obviously, with a system that old there were blind spots and frequency problems. It was decided, through the usual process of study, Management Board planning, ministry planning and OPP planning, to upgrade the system.
This was a major undertaking of some note when we consider that the OPP is deployed throughout the province. Also, when we look at the figures, I think they are a little deceptive. There was an estimated figure of $24 million when the program was commenced, but since that time we have had some increase in dollars by way of inflation. We have had an increase by way of expansion both in the electronics field and in the computer field. There has been a massive increase both in costs and in technology in a very short period of time.
We are building a system which can accommodate innovations in the future which other police communities such as Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa are experimenting with, so we can have in-car digitals.
The situation developed whereby when I became minister and watched the progress of the project I discovered it was not going to go along as was estimated originally. The matter was then taken to Management Board and a whole new management team and tight controls and planning projects were put in.
In answer to my friend's question as to why it appears in the Provincial Auditor's report, at that time I also opted to inform the auditor that we did recognize this project was becoming a little more expensive than was originally expected. As it was increasing in cost on its design as originally contemplated, we decided to put a management team in there in conjunction with the representatives of Management Board. We now have that management team in place and are proceeding with the instrumentation of putting these new programs into place.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I have never heard $50 million called "a little more" increase in cost. The minister will take C. D. Howe out of the history books. Talk about reverse hyperbole.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. T. P. Reid: There is a whole litany of mismanagement in this ministry. Who was responsible for allowing this project to get out of hand so that, in effect, the minister had to call in Management Board, which said -- the report concluded that effective controls had not been exercised? Who was responsible for this? Who was responsible for the cost escalating from $24.5 million to $71 million?
Surely the new computers and all the electronic communications have made things cheaper, not more expensive, in the past three years. Who was responsible for the short-term absences of the ministry's management personnel? Who was responsible for the poor administration of the Ontario Police College? What is the minister going to do about it? Where does the responsibility lie?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: With the honourable member's background he should not have to ask with whom the responsibility lies.
The process of the auditor's report is to provide us with information and, indeed, to instruct us with that information. We have put in certain procedures to make sure the programs are carried out. When he speaks of absenteeism and of the Ontario Police College, we have certain programs designed within the ministry and within government generally to make sure these things do not happen. However, one has to recognize that although we do not condone or approve, from time to time some of these programs do not function in the way one would precisely want them to function. The Provincial Auditor brings that to our attention and we put in corrective measures.
In the same document the member speaks of there are corrective measures that were taken within the ministry to make sure these things did not proceed in that way again or to try to prevent them from continuing on in the direction they were going.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, the minister has not answered the basic question. Fifty million dollars have just been magically added to a major telecommunications project. If the minister is not responsible, then who in his ministry is responsible for what has happened?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Obviously, the members want me to name the specific people within the ministry whose functions these are. These procedures are set up to make sure the program takes care of itself and is provided with a management team.
As to the estimate, it is only an estimate at this time. We are within the original budget and are proceeding along with the tight controls that Management Board has placed on this matter. The matter now has a management team that reports directly to the deputy minister and periodically he has to report to Management Board as each process proceeds.
Also, we are scheduling -- and it is taking place -- the pilot project of the radio system. The honourable member said that some of the equipment is being reduced in price. That may be so in some electronic fields, but this is a custom program for the Ontario Provincial Police to meet their user requirements. Indeed, it is one of the major undertakings of the company to provide us with the material in all aspects.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I want to make this very clear to the minister. Two people are responsible: he, as minister, and his deputy minister. That has been established. We have even seen, as recently as Friday, where sometimes civil servants have to take their lumps; although in Mr. Gordon's case, it seems he is going to prove the adage that in government heads roll uphill rather than downhill.
Can the responsible minister, the minister responsible to this Legislature and to the taxpayers of Ontario, tell us what steps he has taken to ensure that matters such as those in all three cases do not happen again? Were any reprimands made or disciplining taken with the people who were responsible for overseeing the three particular items in the auditor's report?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: If one wants to ask whether any reprimands are taking place, I think that is within the process of the Ontario Civil Service Commission.
As the honourable member knows, we have Management Board in place. They were brought in to oversee the program when I saw that it was not being carried out within the usual process of budgetary control. There are people within the ministry who are responsible for different phases of it. The Ontario Provincial Police were responsible for different phases, as were ministry personnel, and both were aware of their duties.
One might say they are carrying out those functions. Maybe honourable members would say they were not being carried out precisely. When it was discovered, we made corrective measures and brought in the necessary corrective team. We carried out this matter in an expert, very efficient and responsible way when we learned that the project was not going in the desired direction.
EQUAL PAY FOR WORK OF EQUAL VALUE
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my first question is to the Minister of Labour and it concerns the announcement he made today. In his final answer to questions about the announcement, he said that, according to Professor Morley Gunderson, application of the equal pay for work of equal value test would only reduce the wage gap by one or two per cent.
The obvious question to the minister is, is he not then admitting that his own new test, which is more limited in scope than the wider scope Professor Gunderson was talking about, will mean even less than one or two per cent?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, first of all, in responding to that, I should perhaps indicate to this Legislature why we have not gone further, as the honourable member has suggested we do.
Primarily, there still are several major questions in my mind about the practical implementation of equal value for dissimilar jobs, including the reliability of the job evaluation techniques required, the impact on collective bargaining and the ability to limit a change to comparable jobs occupied by men and women, as distinct from those of the same sex. All those questions are still unanswered, but we are not just standing by and waiting for those questions to be answered. We are trying to move forward with something like the composite test, which gives us the opportunity to monitor and look at this type of approach.
Mr. Rae: The minister did not answer the question. He did not even start to answer the question. Therefore, I am going back to the minister, who has quoted somebody from the University of Toronto as saying that equal pay for work of equal value is not the answer to all the problems. There is no disagreement on this side.
He then goes on to throw out the figure of one or two per cent. That is the figure upon which the minister is relying. By how much is this proposal going to reduce the wage gap?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is forgetting about the other factors that have already been implemented, the other procedures that are taking place in this province, the changes in attitudes that are taking place in this province, all of these things. "An arsenal of weapons," to quote Professor Gunderson again, has been in existence in this province and this just adds one more factor to that; one more very helpful factor, incidentally.
Mr. Wrye: Since the minister has referred to his arsenal of weapons in this province, I want to refer him back to pages 1 and 2 of his statement.
An arsenal of weapons presumably includes affirmative action programs. The minister admits for the record that since 1975, when the affirmative action consulting service was established, a grand total of 230 employers have established strategies. That involves only 300,000 women out of a work force of well over two million or three million.
Can the minister tell us if he has any plans afoot to add a little power to this part of the arsenal of weapons? Since he quotes Professor Gunderson at length, he will be aware that Professor Gunderson has said affirmative action programs are important. When are we going to get serious about affirmative action, or is the minister satisfied that 230 employers in some eight or nine years are adequate to indicate some kind of progress?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, the 230 employers are up from 175 employers of not too long ago. I know in my own community of Sault Ste. Marie, where affirmative action programs were taken up only by the Algoma Steel Corp. and the board of education, since that time, within the last few months, there have been four other major employers who are now considering looking at affirmative action.
Those 230 employers represent a network of employers across this province. If one adds to the 300,000 women the number of women who are covered by the affirmative action programs in the civil service of this province, that figure will be substantially greater.
Mr. Rae: The minister knows full well that at the rate the government is moving on affirmative action, it will take 1,800 years to include all women who are working for employers who employ more than 20 employees. That is the kind of staged progress we are talking about.
The question I have for the minister simply relates to the fact that in his answers today he has clearly indicated the government has rejected in principle the notion of equal pay for work of equal value. That has clearly been rejected by the minister. He is raising objections to it which amount to objections in principle. He can fudge it over any way he wants, but that is substantially what he is saying.
I want to go back to the basic question I asked the minister. By how much do he and his experts in the Ministry of Labour expect this measure will reduce the very substantial wage gap existing today between men and women working in Ontario? Just how much is it going to do?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I can only repeat what I have said before. It is one of many measures, and I am sure it will have substantial benefits for women in the work force in Ontario.
NURSING HOME CARE
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. I want to start by welcoming him back to the Legislature. We on this side have certainly missed his not being around; we certainly missed some answers. The short, quick replies we have come to associate with the minister were sorely missed on this side. I want to welcome him back and say how glad we are to see him.
I want to ask the minister some questions arising from a statement he made today. I do not understand how he could have been so cruel to his predecessor, now the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman), who just a few short months ago on February 22 said in this House that we have "what I consider to be an excellent inspection team. That is one of the reasons I feel comfortable in saying we have adequate staff. The system is good." That was the message from Larry in the middle of the fourth annual crackdown he announced in one year.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: I want to congratulate the minister on adding now the fifth annual crackdown. I think we should almost declare this to be a public holiday in terms of crackdowns announced by the government with respect to nursing homes.
Just to throw the minister a very quick, easy question, because I know he is a little out of shape and wants to get back into shape, would he be good enough to tell us the names of the four nursing homes which have received the letters of revocation before the Nursing Homes Review Board?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the honourable member is aware that since the initial announcement of the program to which I referred in my statement there have been substantial improvements, particularly with respect to environmental standards in nursing homes and in all of the areas about which concern has been expressed.
I would echo the words of my predecessor that the staff of the inspection team is excellent.
Mr. Rae: Adequate.
Hon. Mr. Norton: On the particular point of adequacy of numbers, I happen to have a somewhat different perception. The work load has been steadily increasing, and it is my opinion it has reached the point where it is taxing the staff of that branch almost to the limit. In order to further beef up the inspections and enforcement, as I have indicated we plan to do, I feel further staff is necessary. We have taken steps to enhance that.
With respect to the four nursing homes, I think the honourable member is aware, as I am, of a couple of them. I would have to undertake to give him the names of the others tomorrow.
Mr. Rae: I am sorry the minister missed that question but I am sure he will be able to get an answer to us. It would have been of interest to us. He is a little out of shape.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I have them now.
Mr. Rae: He now has them. He has his runners working, I see.
Hon. Mr. Norton: On a point of privilege: I would like to make it clear that the honourable government House leader (Mr. Wells) is not my runner.
Mr. Speaker: Now the member for York South.
Mr. Rae: Even designated hitters occasionally take the bat off their shoulders.
Could the minister comment on the fact that the Provincial Auditor's report in talking about transfer payments says: "In this connection, we believe the government has the responsibility for assuring the funds are managed with due regard for economy, efficiency and effectiveness"?
The minister will recall that last year I raised the example of the Heritage Nursing Home financial statements for 1980 which were made available to us. They showed that the owners of the home had managed to take nearly $500,000 out of the home in one year: $169,000 advanced to shareholders; $91,000 advanced to various companies owned and controlled by the same people; $23,759 advanced to the owner's family trust; $158,278 paid out as a management fee; and $42,983 rent in excess of mortgage; portion of profit to owners and the other half to the partner; making a total of $486,000. The minister will also be aware that same home in that same year spent $1.90 per day per resident on food, excluding wages.
I would like to ask the minister whether he would not agree that it might make sense for the ministry itself to refer the whole question of transfer payments in the nursing home sector to the Provincial Auditor so that the people of this province can get an independent assessment of whether they are getting value for money and whether they are getting due regard for economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
Hon. Mr. Norton: It might surprise the member, but I am not familiar with the question he said he asked a year ago. It might have something to do with the fact I was not in the ministry. I am not familiar either with the financial statement from a year ago of the Heritage Nursing Home.
I am sure he is aware all parts of the Ministry of Health, with respect to transfer of payments and otherwise, are open to the Provincial Auditor at any time. I am sure he could refer his question to the Provincial Auditor if he is so deeply concerned about the implications of the financial statement to which he has made reference. If he has some substance to his concern, that might be sufficient to provoke the Provincial Auditor to take a look. Certainly, he is welcome to do so at any time.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, what are we to make of the minister's statement today which reiterates the government's commitment to high levels of care, to excellence and to apparent vigilance when we read nowhere in his statement of a new or an altered funding regime to take into account the heavy or extended care burdens which are crippling so many of our nursing homes, particularly nursing homes in his part of Ontario and mine?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, that is certainly a commonly alleged problem faced by nursing homes. It is true that in some instances the levels of care have increased over the years, in particular in communities where there may be a deficiency of chronic care beds. I think the honourable member and I are aware of one which impacts particularly upon his constituency.
However, it is not necessarily true that it is generally a problem throughout the province. We have sent teams in to do assessments of patients in nursing homes where such allegations have been made. In a number of cases, we have found the suggestion that the levels of care had exceeded that of extended care and were of a chronic care level was not substantiated. Independent physicians have confirmed that in some of the nursing homes.
It is a problem in some. It is one we are trying to address and will continue to do so. I am hoping we might be able to address some of the more glaring examples of that in the relatively near future when we receive the next allocation of chronic and extended care beds.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, when are we going to see amendments to the regulations or amendments to the act that deal with the quality of life issue and the quality of care issue? All consumers' groups, the Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities as well as other consumers' groups, and even Mr. Heagle from his own ministry when I was on a panel with him, indicate this is an area the Nursing Homes Act does not address at all. When are those issues going to be dealt with?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I would agree. I was not present, of course, and cannot say if Mr. Heagle said that. I know Mr. Heagle very well and I doubt he would have made such a sweeping statement. There may not be anything that is specifically called that in the act, but surely the member recognizes that a number of the areas of regulation do impact upon the quality of life of the residents.
I do not know whether the member is more able than I. This is something I have considered over the last year --
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I do; I can clear that up for you.
Hon. Mr. Norton: The member can answer that, can he? I am sure he can.
Over the last period of time since coming to the ministry, this is an issue I have given some thought to. It is a very difficult area to define in regulation. Often issues relating to the quality of life in a residential facility such as that really end up being a product of such things as attitude and the kind of interrelationships that exist between staff and resident. I am not sure how one commits all of those very subtle but important things to regulation. I know the member's party does not like to admit this, but there are some things in this life that one cannot commit to regulation.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Mindful of the contention of the Premier (Mr. Davis) that the choice of 1954 as Ontario's bicentennial is based upon historical rather than political considerations, I wonder whether the minister can tell the House whether he consulted the Premier before he spoke to the Progressive Conservatives of Roseneath recently when he was reported in the November 25 edition of the Cobourg Daily Star as saying the following:
"On Monday, Claude Bennett, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, outlined his reasons for predicting a 1985 election when he addressed a group of Tories in Roseneath. He said the Premier wants the publicity generated in 1984 by the bicentennial celebrations, the Queen's visit in July and a papal tour in September to set the stage for re-election."
Did the minister consult the Premier before coming forth with this astute analysis for the Roseneath Tories?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I am sure that if I had I would not have been given permission to say that. I do not recall those being my words either.
Mr. Bradley: I have never found the Cobourg Daily Star to misquote me on any of the issues in this House. I ask the minister, as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and now the minister responsible for bicentennial celebrations, whether he agrees with many in the province who are now saying, that with the housing crisis in existence in this province, just some of the money designed for the purposes which he has suggested to the Roseneath Tories might be devoted to the acute housing crisis in this province, and will he be recommending that at the next meeting of the cabinet?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I have to suggest to this House very directly that I think the opportunity of celebrating the 200th anniversary of this province is worth while.
Mr. Foulds: Which year?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: In terms of the number of dollars from either my ministry or through the Premier's office, I think one will find the municipalities have felt we should have been giving them more in the way of trying to help them celebrate the particular activities.
I have no way of refuting the fact that next year, 1984, will be a great year for Ontario with the bicentennial. I know most members of the opposition will participate, because out of 838 communities, we now have about 760 that want to be part and parcel of the celebrations in this great province in 1984.
With the number of dollars we put into the program, I think it will be money well invested in the people of Ontario. It is one of the priorities, along with housing, health, education and the other fields of responsibility of this government.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, just to clear the record, is the minister denying he made this statement?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, is the member referring to whether I feel the Premier will not call an election in 1984? Yes.
SUBSIDIZED RENTAL HOUSING
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the same minister with respect to the failure of ORCL, the Ontario rental construction loan program, to provide affordable housing for low-income households.
Since the minister gave us the information about two weeks ago that under the ORCL program about 15,000 rental units had come on stream since 1981, and given the requirement under the ORCL program that up to 20 per cent of these units were supposed to be offered to local housing authorities for allocation to low income households under the minister's rent supplement program, can the minister explain why, out of the 15,000 units that have come on stream, only 992 have actually received rental supplement, which is not exactly 20 per cent but is more like 6.6 per cent of the units?
How is it, at a time when there are 25,909 households on the waiting list for subsidized housing, that the minister has managed to create a program that has fallen short of its target so phenomenally?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, let us go back to the time we announced the Ontario rental construction loan program. We had three things in mind. The first was to try to provide new rental accommodation in the various communities across the province; that was the number one objective. The second was to try to create some opportunity for employment. The third --and I do not put them in their order of priority; they are just three things we were looking at -- was to provide some of the units that would be in the Ontario rental construction loan program from the private sector for rent-geared-to-income.
Mr. McClellan: Twenty per cent.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The percentage is correct; 20 per cent is correct. I do not deny that. It is very clearly spelled out in the rules and regulations in making one eligible for the interest-free loan that was being offered for the program.
If the honourable member also wants to look at the completion dates for these buildings, it will be in 1984 and even early in 1985 before some of them are in the mill for rental purposes; they are still under construction. I do not know the exact number of units today -- but I can get the information -- that have been completed and are on the market both for rental in the free-rent system and for rent-geared-to-income. As far as I know, a very substantial portion of the units that were made available to the various local housing authorities in this province in the jurisdictions where the units were built have been taken up, but I want to remind the House that there are still a large number of units to be completed and put into the rental market.
Mr. McClellan: Is the minister aware that the number of private sector apartment units under the Ontario Housing Corp. rent supplement agreements was 11,499 in the 1979-80 fiscal year and that the total three years later, at the end of the 1982-83 fiscal year, was 11,094, for an absolute decline in the number of rent supplement units of 405 over the course of the three-year period?
Does the minister agree it is obvious that private sector landlords are simply pushing low-income tenants out of their buildings if they are on rent supplement and using the very tight market conditions to replace rent-supplement tenants with more affluent tenants who can afford to pay the market rent? Does the minister not understand that this is what is happening, that the kind of program he has set up under ORCL simply will not work in today's market conditions? When is Ontario going to accept its responsibility to put in place housing supply programs that will create affordable housing for low-income households in this province?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Some years ago, when we first got into the program of renting from the private sector for people who required public assistance, we entered into that program for a definite period of time; five, 10 or 15 years, depending on the agreement we could arrive at with the landlord. I do not deny that today as those contracts are expiring some of the landlords have clearly indicated to us that they wish to put the units back into the private rental sector without going through public housing.
Mr. McClellan: That is what I said.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Yes, but just listen. At the same time, while that program has been in place, since 1978 we have also had the creation of municipal nonprofit corporations, private nonprofit corporations and co-op developments across the province where a percentage of the units under those programs, sponsored by the federal and provincial governments, have been made available to us. We have taken up those units, and the member will know that we have gone further than that by increasing the percentage we will make available under that program for rent-geared-to-income.
At the same time, we have continued to try to find other programs. ORCL was one. Another was the Canada rental supply program, under the federal government, which indicated that a third of the units could be made available for public housing purposes; we have taken up that opportunity, mainly because it was not counted against the allotment coming from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. to the ministry in Ontario or, for that matter, to any other ministry in the other jurisdictions.
We have realized our responsibility. We have moved with various programs over the past three or four years to encourage municipalities, private nonprofits and co-ops. Indeed, we have gone to the point of encouraging the private sector through the federal program and our own. The last program, the renter-buy program, was to encourage people to move out of rental accommodation into ownership to free up some of those units so they could be made available for people of lesser incomes on a general basis throughout Ontario.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Solicitor General. On Friday last in the House I brought to the attention of the Solicitor General the fact that the mayor of North York in promoting Sunday shopping was offending the conscience and dignity of a large number of families and workers in my community who truly value a full day of rest one day a week to seek nourishment for both body and soul. At that time the minister made a very positive statement indicating the government's resolve in preserving these fundamental rights under the Retail Business Holidays Act.
Given the fact that the mayor of North York in siding with the Ontario shopping centre operators wants to portray all of the city of North York as a tourist resort to seize on a provision in the Retail Business Holidays Act supposedly to legitimize wide-open commercial shopping in our city, could the Solicitor General make it clear to this assembly and to all the people of North York that this vision of the city being a tourist mecca is an aberration that clearly offends the spirit and intent of the Retail Business Holidays Act?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I know some days I have difficulty with my honourable friends in making clear what I do say in the Legislature, as many other members do, but on this point I have no difficulty in stating that there is an act and it is being interpreted by different judges and by different individuals to their own purposes.
As I can recall some of the debates that went on in this Legislature, I do not think the tourist exemption, as it is described in the vernacular, would include items of the size of malls of the type of Yorkdale, of communities the size of North York, of the Eaton Centre or of places of that nature. One would have to admit that from time to time tourists do go through those establishments, but in no way do I think they were in the realm of contemplation of the type of business that was for maintenance or development of a tourist atmosphere.
I did not have quite the opportunity last Friday when the question was raised, but I mentioned afterward that I would have to bring back the legislation to this House for clarification or definition of what they felt and this House felt was a tourist establishment. I do not think it would be wide-open Sunday shopping in Metropolitan Toronto.
Mr. Williams: Given the fact that recent court decisions in Ontario and Alberta have challenged such legislation on constitutional grounds in relation to the Canadian Charter of Rights, could the Solicitor General indicate to the House what initiatives he is taking to ensure our law is maintained and enforced in the interests of Ontario society?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Briefly, I think the Alberta decision, without being the authority on the law in that situation, was based on another statute that does not have application in Ontario. The decision that described the laws in Ontario as being unconstitutional has been appealed. I hope the courts will interpret it differently from the way the judge at the lower level did. I think we will have success on that. That would leave us in the position that retail stores of the nature that were open should be closed on Sundays.
The other part is that we have police forces throughout Ontario that are prosecuting under the legislation. The judges have been asking and have been obtaining and giving out larger fines so it does not become a licence to open on Sunday. I think the legislation has very wide and respected support from all aspects of our society and all sectors of our society.
As to those people who are staying open, I think it takes little difficulty to understand the legislation. It starts off that all stores are to be closed. There are a few exemptions and emergencies, and a few tourist and other recreational exemptions. But when they try to push the definition then I think they are asking for the intervention of the different and respective police forces to enforce the law specifically.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, in view of the harmful impact on hundreds of thousands of retail workers and their families of widespread Sunday openings at the shopping malls across the province, and in view of the fact that our stores are already open from 60 to 70 hours a week from Monday to Saturday for the convenience of consumers across the province, could the Solicitor General undertake that there will be a clear statement of government policy made in this Legislature before we rise for Christmas saying that Sunday hours in shopping plazas will not be acceptable to the government? Could that statement be made clearly before Christmas in order that this matter can be settled once and for all, rather than leaving loopholes which will be open to be exploited by certain operators?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, the law is quite definite and speaks for itself. As I mentioned, it does not need any specific interpretation. I think what I have said today is a statement not only in respect of the legislation but how I feel on the subject as an indication of how it should be enforced. As the honourable member has spoken for workers, I think it is not only a statute for workers but also a statute for operators of businesses and for individuals so that we do have that pause day, that day we all recognize which is set aside for family and other reasons. Having the questions put and the statements we have made in the House, there should not be any difficulty for the public, business and retailers to understand our position on the subject.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Energy regarding the select committee re-establishment, a "yes or no" situation.
I am sure the minister was here the other day in this very forum when the Premier (Mr. Davis) said he does not have a closed mind as it relates to the re-establishment of a select committee. I am sure he is also aware that the acting chairman of Ontario Hydro has pointed out that forum served the public of Ontario extremely well and that those members who sat on that committee conducted themselves in a very responsible manner.
Now I find the minister has shared some of his feelings, not here in the Legislature but with Jacob Beam Public School, where it was reported he said he would not re-establish a select committee. I would like to know whether that is what the minister said and whether he has taken that initiative out on the hustings instead of here in this forum where he should make such important announcements.
Hon. Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Speaker, that is not what I said at the Jacob Beam Public School parent-community-school meeting.
Mr. Kerrio: It certainly leads to a supplementary, because it opens the question as to what the minister did say. It seemed he was not willing to share that with us. I am quite surprised at that.
I have to put the question again; so I will put it as a supplementary as well. The minister went on to say the reason for that position was that he did not want to give less responsible members of this Legislature a forum to question Ontario Hydro.
Mr. Bradley: The minister did not say that when he was a back-bencher.
Mr. Kerrio: No. There are possibly two questions. Has he arrived at a position of deciding whether he will allow such a forum? Did he say those people who served on those committees were less responsible members of this Legislature? What would lead him to say that when that select committee was given applause on all sides, not only by people concerned about where Hydro is headed but also from very responsible people in this province?
Hon. Mr. Andrewes: I would like to tell the honourable member that we have reached no decision with regard to the select committee. Second, my statements were simply that I had some concerns that members of a proposed select committee under a majority government situation would act responsibly.
The member can understand that. He has seen, on occasion, the situations that arise in committees where members of the opposition do not take a responsible position, where they ask the government to continue to take positions on committees that are not in keeping with the tradition.
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I find the minister's statement amazing when we know that he was faced with the situation of coming before this House and not knowing how to answer because Hydro does not inform the minister.
Mr. Rotenberg: What is your question?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Di Santo: I do not know how to quarrel with the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg), and I do not.
In view of the fact the government has always said that we do not need a select committee at this time because we have an annual review before the Ontario Energy Board, and the energy board has said the annual review does not make Hydro accountable to the Legislature and to the government, does the minister not think the actions he is taking contradict what he is saying today?
He says the government has not made up its mind yet and the Premier just two weeks ago said we do not need a select committee. Can the minister tell us what the policy of the government is? Above all, can he tell us how we can make Hydro accountable to the people of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Andrewes: I would be glad to address that question, but we have only about five minutes left in question period.
Mr. Speaker: You have about a minute and a half.
Hon. Mr. Andrewes: Briefly, the member has once again quoted very freely from the 1982 report of the Ontario Energy Board. He has quoted the opinion of board counsel that was rendered in that decision and this is not necessarily the opinion of the board itself.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Treasurer, in the absence of the Premier (Mr. Davis), regarding the Federal Task Force on the Canadian Motor Vehicle and Auto Parts Industries. What steps does this government plan to take to put pressure on the federal government in order to implement the major recommendations in that report from the federal government?
Keeping in mind the Big Three auto makers in particular are making decisions now as to where they are going to be sourcing both auto parts and cars, if action is not taken by the federal government on the task force very soon, these decisions will be made and thousands more jobs will be lost in the auto sector.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, the government of Ontario has shared the honourable member's concerns which he has had for some time in this area. In mid-July the Premier wrote to the Prime Minister indicating we felt the auto industry must remain high on the federal government's agenda. We indicated we were anxious to have many of the portions of the task force's recommendations acted upon with due diligence.
At each and every point at which the federal government and this government have got together to talk about the economy, we have urged that action be taken on the matters the member has raised. We have indicated our support for many of the recommendations and we have had extended meetings with Mr. Lavelle and others with regard to the specific recommendations.
During the summer, when we last met at some length although there have been subsequent meetings, there were some particular requests to us from the task force that we make some follow-up suggestions and phone calls to the federal government. We accepted those requests and communicated further our desire to have some firm action taken.
We have repeated time and again our position that it is important the federal government not back off on some of the sourcing and investment suggestions as the quid pro quo for being able to sell automobiles in this country in the face of pressure from other parts of the country.
We believe it is not a matter of trading off another part of this country against Ontario, but when faced with the realities of international economics no business in fact will be lost to any part of this country because the federal government was insisting upon the same kind of deal from the Japanese, the same kind of sourcing and the same investment they have successfully extracted in other countries from those same people.
Mr. Cooke: The phone calls to the federal government and the speeches are fine, but what is this government prepared to do to put real political pressure on the government to make the positive political decision at the federal level that is needed, and that is to implement the specific suggestions on content legislation?
Will the minister recommend to the Premier to initiate a high-profile meeting with the Prime Minister of this country to put additional pressure on? Will he also put some pressure on Mr. Mulroney to take a stand on this issue so that the leader of the official opposition in the federal Parliament also finally takes a position on one issue and puts some pressure on the federal government as well? Those two moves would go a long way to putting the kind of political pressure on the federal government that is needed to implement the task force recommendations.
The minister will know that if something is not done soon a federal election will intervene and we are talking about 1985 before any of the really important recommendations will be implemented. That is simply too late. By that time the auto industry will pretty well be gone from Ontario if something is not done.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have a lot more confidence in the responsiveness of the next government of Canada to these kinds of issues. I am surprised that to date the city of Windsor, through its three, four or five cabinet ministers in Ottawa, has not had the clout to get some specific action on this subject.
We surely have exercised every degree of pressure on and advice to the federal government. In fact, it was not more than two weeks ago that I last wrote Mr. Lumley reminding him once again of the need to do this, that the place for new auto investment was indeed largely in Ontario and that we had to get about doing some of these things. That communication from me to Mr. Lumley is not two weeks old, so we are continuing the pressure at that level.
RESIGNATION OF MINISTER
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I want to draw attention to the fact that we on this side have just become aware that the Provincial Secretary for Social Development, the member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey), has written to the Premier (Mr. Davis) submitting his resignation on grounds of health, and I want to express our very best wishes to him.
There are resignations that we have called for from time to time; there are resignations, no doubt, that other parties have called for; this is a resignation that I can honestly say we on this side of the House regret.
On behalf of all my colleagues in the New Democratic Party I express our very best wishes to the member for Armourdale. We hope for the speediest of recoveries and for his return to this House as an honourable and private member.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I had hoped to refer to this in a few days' time when the minister could be present with us, but the word is out that the member for Armourdale has written to me. I will not read the letter, in that it is somewhat personal, but I gather that the letter in its entirety is available.
The minister has indicated to me that for reasons of personal health he has been advised not to continue as a minister of the crown. I have communicated to the press that, with regret, I shall be accepting the minister's resignation. I have not done so yet and I quite honestly had been hoping to await his return. He has gone away for a few days of change.
I shall perhaps have something more to say when the honourable minister is present with all of us here in the House. He is a very distinguished individual and one for whom all of us, myself in particular, have a great deal of respect and affection. He handled his responsibilities with total dedication and loyalty to me and to the government and his presence will be missed. I am sure we all regret the circumstances that have led to this determination on his part.
I had wished to inform the members of the House in the presence of the member for Armourdale, but it is true, he has communicated this to me. He is away for a few days and I know all of us hope this change, which will be something of a relief to him because he takes his responsibilities very seriously, will be beneficial to him in terms of the advice he has received.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I would like to join the members for York South (Mr. Rae) and Brampton (Mr. Davis) in expressing the support of members of my caucus in this connection.
I have known the honourable member since he entered this chamber some six years ago. I suppose what is sadly ironic about this situation is that, speaking from my own point of view, I do not know of another member of this assembly who has worked more assiduously to keep himself in good shape than our friend and colleague the member for Armourdale. That he could be stricken in this way is a reminder to us all of the consequences of public office. I am not suggesting that is entirely the case here.
On behalf of my colleagues in the Liberal Party I want to wish the member for Armourdale a full and speedy recovery and I look forward to seeing him back in this chamber in a different capacity in the not too distant future.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you. I must say in a very personal way I am extremely sorry to hear this news. I would wish the minister well in whatever duties he may proceed with in the future.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Ramsay moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Bernier, first reading of Bill 141, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, OFFICE OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I think the estimates for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor are self-explanatory. As I have on other occasions, I would like to express in a public fashion in this House my appreciation to the Lieutenant Governor of this province for the manner in which he conducts himself in the discharge of this very important responsibility, and of course extend that to Mrs. Aird as well.
I think it is fair to state, and I am sure all members will agree, that the Lieutenant Governor brings to that important office a sense of dignity, certainly a great deal of hard work and at the same time, having been with him on many occasions when he has been with the public or members of this House at various gatherings, a very great sense of humour and a real sense of being able to identify with those individuals and groups he is visiting.
I want to say in a very personal way how delighted I have been to be in his presence at the many functions we attend together; I should emphasize of a nonpartisan nature. I would like to express personally and on behalf of the government our thanks to the Lieutenant Governor for the way in which he is conducting himself in this very important responsibility. I add once again the addition of Mrs. Aird as well.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, I might in an entirely bipartisan spirit associate myself and my colleagues with the remarks of the honourable the first minister in paying tribute to the Lieutenant Governor. This weekend I happened to read, among the many journals which it is my responsibility to survey, the Ontario firefighters' monthly report, and I saw that the Lieutenant Governor and Mrs. Aird were prominently carrying out their responsibilities in respect of that important group of people in this province.
While I have not had the honour and privilege of welcoming this Lieutenant Governor to the great hardwood hills and pine valleys of the upper Ottawa Valley, I look forward in the not too distant future to doing so. I am sure he will find the time and we in the great country of Renfrew can arrange the opportunity to welcome him to the constituency.
Certainly he has, as the Premier has properly pointed out, very onerous and trying responsibilities across the entire province. We commend him for the discharge of those responsibilities in the past year. We wish him well in the 12 months upcoming, and of course we are able, without any real difficulty or discord, to vote this appropriation without further comment.
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Chairman, I would like to join with the Premier and the member for Renfrew North in echoing the sentiments they have expressed with regard to Ontario's first citizen and Her Majesty's representative here in the province.
I had the privilege of playing host to His Honour during a visit starting in Thunder Bay and down along the north shore of Lake Superior and up Highway 11, where His Honour had an opportunity over a period of four days to speak to more than 4,000 students and to be the guest of honour at luncheons and dinners hosted by the municipalities in which we stayed overnight. I can say that was the highlight of the year for the students who would wish to identify with the democratic process and the system of government we have here in Canada and in Ontario, headed by the Monarch and her representative.
I also had the opportunity of arranging a visit by His Honour to the northern reserves, starting at Pickle Lake and going on to Fort Hope and up to Fort Severn on the shores of Hudson Bay and back to Big Trout Lake, where His Honour had an opportunity to visit with the chiefs and band members in all those communities. It is the first time since the treaties were signed by the chiefs of the day, some 100 years ago, and the representatives of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. They were signed by commissioners and the chiefs at that time. There has never been a visit of Her Majesty's representatives since that time.
On that occasion, His Honour was quite a hit, as he always is wherever he goes. I think it gave the people in those remote communities a sense of identifying with the crown and with much of what goes on down here.
I do not think I am telling any tales out of school. His Honour made two commitments. One was that he would pass on whatever he heard about the concerns of the people living in those remote communities in the north. I am sure he has done that. I am sure the Premier has received a communication from His Honour, passing on the concerns, whether social, economic or cultural, which were expressed to him on that auspicious occasion.
His Honour also indicated that if he were invited back before his term of office expires he would be happy to accept another invitation to the north.
In a very real sense it was a moving experience for His Honour and his party to be exposed for the first time ever to the lifestyle people have in those far northern communities. I do not know whether the Premier has ever made such a visit. If he has not, I would be happy to set one up for him if that is his wish.
I want to tell the Premier it was unlike any other experience. I have had representatives from the media up there on a number of occasions. I have had Bill Casey from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., George Hutchinson when he was with the London Free Press, and Rosemary Speirs up there when I think she worked for the Toronto Star.
It was like opening up a whole new world for those people. People like myself or my colleague the member for Kenora (Mr. Bernier) or my colleague the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché) can come down here and express our views which reflect the kind of lifestyle those people are subjected to up there. However, unless one gets up there at first hand and experiences it, one really will not have a full appreciation.
I have had discussions with the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) about this. Any time I talk about native people, I think we have to start with education, not only of ourselves but about making a really true educational experience available to them. I have often expressed the wish and the desire, if it could be worked out, that the Ministry of Education take over responsibility for education with a proper transfer of financial resources from the federal government.
While we have our shortcomings in terms of education in the province, it is far superior to what they are getting at the present time. If the minister has had an opportunity to speak with His Honour, I am sure this would have been reflected in his perception of the way things are going in the north. Unless one goes there, as His Honour has done, one really will not have a full appreciation of the lifestyle there.
This is the kind of thing His Honour has been doing. It is the kind of thing he enjoys. It is the kind of thing he sees as his responsibility as the first citizen. I think the incumbent, the Honourable John Aird, is doing an excellent job on our behalf. I can only say any funds we are voting here are moneys well spent. I think perhaps we could even give him a little more because I know he has to run a pretty tight ship.
I happen to have some personal knowledge whereof I speak. I think he could be even more effective if we could increase the funding, but I know it is not within my domain to move an amendment that would give effect to that kind of thing. All I know is that the dollars we are being asked to authorize are moneys that are extremely well spent.
I would like to pay tribute in a very personal way to the present incumbent. I know he is doing an excellent job as Her Majesty's representative in Ontario and I was so pleased to be a part of his trip to the far north. I think in general terms we will all benefit from it and I think we should have more of it.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Chairman, I rise to add just a dimension to the involvement of the Lieutenant Governor that brings a great deal of pride in what might be considered his historical responsibility in representing Her Majesty at various functions. In a personal way I had an experience not long past with the Lieutenant Governor as we attended the opening of Branch 479 of the Royal Canadian Legion in the city of Niagara Falls.
I think the attendance of the Lieutenant Governor added a dimension that was very much appreciated by those veterans in our community who do so much more than meet on occasion to talk about their own personal interests. Because they are so involved, because they move about in the community and help so many people, it gave me a great deal of pride to see the Lieutenant Governor honour the legionnaires of Branch 479 by attending the opening.
It was a pretty impressive ceremony with a 15-gun salute and the pipers leading the Lieutenant Governor and his party to inspect the Canadian forces assembled there. To acknowledge the participation of our veterans and to be a small part of those festivities was very rewarding for me. The fact the Lieutenant Governor was in attendance pointed out the dedication this honourable gentleman has in moving about the province to acknowledge those people who have, in a way that is important to all of us, continued to participate in our various municipalities.
There is a specific note that brings a sense of pride to us in border cities. A good number of American visitors come across the border to share with us memorial services at the cenotaph. We had nothing but the highest compliments about the significance of having the Lieutenant Governor participate in the opening of one of the branches of the Legion in my area.
I wanted to put that on the record to give some small indication to the Lieutenant Governor that the role he plays is important to people who give dedicated service to their communities. In a small measure I would like to say thank you to him. I am looking forward to the many more occasions on which he visits our great part of Ontario.
Vote 101 agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, can I assume the usual practice will be followed with this next item of business, just to make it easier? While the vote is the Office of the Premier, could we combine both the Office of the Premier and the cabinet office for purposes of these discussions and not differentiate, to make it easier for us all.
ESTIMATES, OFFICE OF THE PREMIER AND CABINET OFFICE
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is my custom to lead off with a few brief observations; however, in the light of the fact the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) is elsewhere -- I know inadvertently -- and I understand the leader of the New Democratic Party may have difficulty being here on Friday, I thought perhaps I would save my observations until later on in the estimates.
In any event, members opposite will appreciate the news of a few moments ago has sort of diminished to a certain extent my competitive instincts for a while. I thought that in order to accommodate the concerns of the leader of the New Democratic Party, I would suggest the opposition members make their observations so the member for York South (Mr. Rae) can get on, and I will probably have a few words in reply.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, let me begin by thanking the first minister for making himself available. I regret my parliamentary colleague, my leader, is away in Kitchener on a previously scheduled circumstance.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is good practice for you.
Mr. Conway: When one represents 80 per cent of the electoral districts in a given region, as I know the member for Scarborough East (Mrs. Birch) will well appreciate, it is important to be seen in those precincts from time to time, as the Leader of the Opposition does so well in that marvellous Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph area.
First, I want to share with the Premier a sense of depression at the news just announced by the leader of the third party involving our colleague the member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey). For me in particular, it is very sad news. I do not profess to maintain or have close and good relationships with a lot of people around here, but I do like to believe the member for Armourdale and I are reasonably close. We became that way under the tutelage of the now Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) who chaired that famous select committee on health care costs and financing where the member for Armourdale was vice-chairman.
I want to reiterate the point I made earlier. The sad irony of this situation is that, while not every one of us here can be said to be vigilant about his or her health, certainly in my experience the member for Armourdale was as careful and prudent about his fitness as anyone I have known in my time here. To see him struck down in this way, and a resignation now flowing from that health problem, is a very major caution to all members of this House.
As well, as we are on the subject of ministerial health, I want to welcome back from his absence the member for Kingston and the Islands, the Minister of Health (Mr. Norton), who appears to be in substantially improved fettle, and to note also that the member for Scarborough Centre, the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea), has returned and appears, if his exchanges with the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) can be taken as any guide, to be fully recovered from any health problems he might have endured as a result of his most recent experiences.
In noting the presence in the gallery of the now returned Globe and Mail correspondent -- I will not mention Miss Stead by name -- I want to say it is very good to see her back. It is the first opportunity I have had to --
Mr. McClellan: Always trying to butter up the press.
Mr. Conway: Trying to butter up the press, says the member for Bellwoods. I do not know about that. All I can say is that the correspondent mentioned has made a very significant contribution to the demographics of Ontario and for that she has our unanimous approval.
I want to say to the Premier, in respect of the health of his ministers -- I do not want to be frivolous -- that I did read the weekend edition of Toronto's only national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, and there is printed an account under the byline of one Rosemary Speirs about the new Minister of Citizenship and Culture (Ms. Fish). I mention the article only to underscore my concern about the health and safety provisions of ministerial office under the Premier in this province because it concerns me no little bit to read in the public press that the elegant and upwardly mobile and -- can I quote the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) -- the "touchy-feely" -- member for St. George was forced to await her call to the rarified air of executive council underneath the brambles or whatever shrubbery adorn the outside approaches to the Brampton residence of our first minister.
I simply point out to the Premier that it concerns me, as I know it concerns my friend the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan), to read that members of the caucus who await the call have to take refuge underneath or around the --
Mr. Stokes: Mulberry bush.
Mr. Conway: -- the mulberry bush or such other shrubbery as adorns the Main Street residence in Brampton of the first minister.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They were not bramble hushes.
Mr. Conway: I would accept that. I cannot recall the shrubbery around the Main Street residence of the Premier, but I am concerned that the health of future ministers of this Conservative Party will not be improved by his insistence directly or through his ever-burgeoning staff of minions and operatives, that these putative ministers must undergo the pain and perhaps private affliction of waiting for the call underneath the shrubbery of 61 Main Street, Brampton, Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Actually, she enjoyed it.
Mr. Nixon: I am not going to pursue that.
Mr. Conway: I do not know whether she enjoyed it or not, but I simply put on the record my concern about the working conditions this first minister has been forcing upon the upwardly mobile. It may be that is why, having spent some time underneath the shrubbery at the first minister's residence in that great Peel region community, the member for St. George can be described by our good friend and colleague the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick as "touchy-feely." One would be presumably very touchy-feely after a few hours underneath the shrubbery at 61 Main Street in Brampton.
My friend the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) has left. I was going to just also make reference to him and I am sure the Premier would want to join me in offering our collective praise to the Attorney General. According to the same weekend paper, he has received the written commendation of the Prime Minister of Canada for his memoir which appeared in one of the more recent editions of the Queen's Law Journal.
I must say, as the government House leader (Mr. Wells) disappears underneath the gallery, I felt the memoir the Prime Minister found so attractive and which I read with great care and for which I praised the Attorney General on previous occasions was somewhat deficient in not paying sufficient regard to the not inconsiderable efforts of the government House leader, who, I am told, had a place in the overall development of government policy.
Mr. Nixon: Nobody properly appreciates him over there.
Mr. Stokes: He wasn't in the kitchen.
Mr. Conway: The member for Lake Nipigon indicates he was not in the kitchen.
I must say to the Premier, just again in passing at the outset of these remarks, that when I finished my homework, I happened the other night to put on the television and to see the Premier's introduction to the federal member of Parliament for Central Nova who was down at the Toronto Hilton Harbour Castle Hotel for a certain event.
I must say to my friend the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) that when the Premier finished his remarks I fully expected Ted Rogers to get up and thank the guest speaker. It reminded me somewhat of the old Intercolonial Railway; it was what one would call circuitous. At any rate, the speech had some good lines. I am sure the member for Central Nova appreciated so public a display of support and affection as was tendered on that occasion by the Premier of Ontario.
I have been a little concerned about some of the tension that appears to have been developing between the member for Brampton and me.
I noted what some would call a scrum of a few weeks ago. The Premier was expressing some reservation about my want of humility, my apparent self-righteousness. As I always do, I followed the Premier's advice and injunction with great care. I just wanted to perhaps build a new and better relationship and congratulate the Premier in one particular way. I have not had the opportunity thus far but after 31 years of loyal and at times difficult support for the Toronto Argonaut football club I really feel that I, from the eastern hinterland of Ontario, should tell him how pleased I was for him.
I must tell him I was in the city of Brampton when the Argonauts were declared victors in that contest last Sunday night. I felt a certain twitch of bipartisan support for the Premier about whom, I might add, I have been reading this past weekend.
I do not want to make too much of this, but earlier in the year that is under review in these estimates, there was a lot of discussion and debate around the Ontario Legislature and within the ambit of provincial politics about the intentions of the Premier with respect to alternative employment in politics in this country of ours.
It was in that context that I enjoyed very much the recently published work of Messrs. Patrick Martin, Allan Gregg and George Perlin, The Contenders, a book about which one of my brothers, who is an assistant editor at Prentice Hall, has been telling me a lot in the past number of weeks. He kept telling me how much I would enjoy it when I finally saw it. I have not quite finished it; I have been dividing my reading between this and Paul Martin's equally interesting book.
But I did get to that part of the Perlin-Gregg-Martin account which dealt with the Premier's potential candidacy. I know my friend from York South has a better understanding of national affairs than I can ever hope to have.
Mr. Stokes: Says one who is waiting in the wings.
Mr. Conway: My wings are those of Icarus. I plan to fly nowhere. I am quite happy to stay put serving the good people of Renfrew North in the provincial Legislature lest my friend the member for Lake Nipigon get the wrong idea about my plans. He may be more clairvoyant than others, but I have a fairly good knowledge of my own intentions in that connection.
To return to the book, I presume the Premier has a copy and I presume he will be reading it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will be reading it over Christmas.
Mr. Conway: He tells me he will be reading it over Christmas. That is interesting. I would like to have a review.
I understand -- and I hope I am not letting any trade secrets out of the bag; maybe I am -- the Premier is venturing into the academic world sometime early in the new year, where I am apparently going to follow a few days or weeks later. I might even invite myself to that lecture, because I find the prospect of that lecture very enticing indeed.
I feel after eight and a half years in this place that I do not have a very good sense of the member for Brampton. Maybe it is just my own failure to pick up on those telepathic signals he emits in his own inimitable way. But I get a feeling I know something about the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman) or the government House leader, the member for Scarborough North (Mr. Wells) or my friend the member for York North (Mr. Hodgson). I think I know what makes them tick a bit. Other than the overwhelming competitive drive of the member for Brampton, I often do not have a very good grasp of why he does some of the things he does or what has occupied his mind for a given time.
Mr. Hodgson: A little older and you will be okay, Sean.
Mr. Conway: My white-haired friend, the squire of Keswick, informs me the advance of age may improve my capacity in that connection. He is undoubtedly right. I always defer to the better judgement of my friend the member for York North.
Let me make a few points about the contenders. I was one of those Liberals who felt -- and I bet money on this -- that our friend the Premier was not interested, that he was too shrewd an analyst of the national and provincial political mood to risk so much now. I read about 100 and some-odd pages of this book over the weekend, and the best pages in this book for an Ontario politician are pages 48 to 52, where the "Davis potential candidacy" is under scrutiny.
I am prepared now to amend my earlier point of view, granted with hindsight and the help of this book. Our friend the member for Brampton was very close indeed, if this triumvirate is to be credited; and on the basis of their inside knowledge, they certainly have a fair measure of credibility with those of us who are more neutral and objective about the Conservative Party, not having the inside, subjective linkages that the people over there have.
Mr. Stokes: The chemistry was not there.
Mr. Conway: My friend the member for Lake Nipigon says the chemistry was not right. I did not know that Grant Devine had played so important and central a role in vetoing the Norm Atkins-Hugh Segal proposal that apparently had moved our friend the member for Brampton off what I had to believe was his initial intention not to run. I was very struck by the role described for and about the Premier of Saskatchewan in this connection.
I was also very impressed by the internal reaction, as described in this book, within the Premier's camp to the rather extraordinary charges made by the former Prime Minister of Canada, the current member for Yellowhead and the new disarmament spokesman for the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. This book talks about how, in the quiet confines of southern Florida, our Premier was, to quote the book and Finlay MacDonald, "peeved but restrained;" but the Davis camp was really annoyed about our friend the member for Yellowhead. I did not realize that things got quite as tender as Messrs. Gregg, Martin and Perlin describe in this account.
I must say as well that there is a very poignant description in the book of the Albany Club speech that officially terminated any formal or informal arrangement to bring the Premier of Ontario into the federal Conservative leadership race that produced the Mulroney victory. But I want to give a billing to the book by my friend George Perlin from Queen's, Patrick Martin, and certainly Allan Gregg, who does not need any financial support, given his clientele. I think this is a worthwhile read for the members of the Ontario Legislature. It helped me understand the pressures that have been at work on the Premier during the past eight or nine months.
I must admit to surprise at the extent to which Segal and Atkins upped the ante and almost tripped our friend the member for Brampton into a race that, quite frankly, would have been exciting beyond words had he entered it. I do not mean to insult the extremely considerable, substantial and successful political record of the Premier, but I still cannot believe that he would have pulled it off. I would not bet the family farm on that, but I think his initial judgement was right. I am surprised that the influence of the advance planning group, Camp Associates and others whom we read about in other provincial accounts of recent date, is as significant with the Premier as Messrs. Gregg, Perlin and Martin would have us believe.
At any rate, it is a very interesting book. I highly recommend it to the House. The next time I am in the presence of the Premier of Saskatchewan I am going to draw back and think about the power in that toothpick that has made him famous in Estevan. I did not think therein lay such a veto within the Conservative Party of Canada, but obviously his phone call that Tuesday morning apparently changed the direction of current affairs and, who knows, the history of this country.
Mr. Kerrio: The cardinal would know.
Mr. Martel: He is chief adviser.
Mr. Conway: I do not want to pay much attention to some of the interventions. Having been educated by the Lutherans, I have always been told to keep a focus on what is in front of me. I must say there have been days lately when, having had a Lutheran education to supplement my Catholic education, I felt a little more comfortable because there was at least a choice, under pressure perhaps.
I want to talk about a couple of issues that have been before the House recently. One of the concerns I have had in the years I have been here as a member has to do with the way in which this Legislature tries to discharge its responsibility as an independent body. I have said it before, and I will repeat it now, it is a matter of some chagrin for me that we do not have, I expect among other reasons but principal among the reasons as a result of 40 years and six months of one-party rule -- a rule I must admit was commemorated in the public press last summer in a surprisingly congratulatory, adulatory way --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I thought it was very modest.
Mr. Conway: The member for Brampton imagines everything to be modest. Some of us are not given to have reliance on that word to the same degree as he appears to have found.
At any rate, I have always felt this Legislature has suffered because of the executive dominance, which I think can be explained by virtue of one-party dominance in this province for the past 40 sears. I will give credit to the Big Blue Machine; they have won and others have lost. That is the nature of the competitive spirit. I hope I am not going to cry over that. I will fight back; I believe in the principle of countervailing forces under those conditions when there has been so static a governmental situation.
Oh yes, the hegemony has a new leader every 12 or 13 years and I will not enter into the record that marvellous quote the members might have heard from Ma Murray last night on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. I do not know whether anybody watched that, but Ma from Lillooet had a great line about why we need to change governments every now and then. There was a certain analogy which was perhaps a little inelegant and I am sure not parliamentary.
The Deputy Chairman: Let us go right back to the Premier's estimates.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, I could not enter into the record such an earthy analogy, given the elegant frock in which you have adorned this chamber in recent weeks. Suffice it to say, it is a 40-years-and-six-months-old government, one that began before some of us even began; a government that has gone on longer than anything since, I guess, Enver Hoxha in Albania. I do not mean to suggest that is necessarily a parallel, but I think there has to be a greater emphasis placed by the Legislature on scrutinizing what is done on our behalf by the executive council.
I know it is difficult for bright young people or middle-aged people like the member for Oxford (Mr. Treleaven) to press too hard against the executive council. He would do well to follow the example of the member for St. George. He would do far better to spend his time off to the side a bit underneath the press gallery, leaning up against the post every day of his parliamentary week talking to the Premier's political secretary. It worked remarkably well and rather quickly for the member for St. George. I cannot expect the good lawyer from Woodstock would want to deny his prospects.
Unfortunately, we have a system now where the value in being a good, solid member of the Legislature is for too many on both sides of the House a devalued currency. Everybody on the government side wants to be a minister. With the parliamentary secretaryships that are thrown around, most people over there get provided for, but however unhappy we are about it we cannot realistically expect someone like the member for Oxford always to be a vigorous independent spirit in the best traditions of the reform movement in Oxford county. So it is left to some over there who have been discharged, for whatever good or bad reason, and to those of us over here, whose job it is more obviously to push back and to exercise the accountability function, to be that countervailing force. It is in this connection that I have personally monitored with interest the situation in some of the government ministries.
I am going to be specific. One of the issues about which I want to talk today relates to the Provincial Auditor's report on the Ministry of Government Services. Let me say at the outset that I know there are some over there -- I do not know that I can include the Premier -- such as the Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet (Mr. McCague), who have been saying that my interest in these matters owes itself entirely to the electoral calendar, which is, of course, of particular interest to those of us in eastern Ontario.
The Chairman of Management Board has said that my interest in the running of the government, in particular ministries such as the Ministry of Government Services, has a lot more to do with the by-election than it has to do with anything else. I have a lot of respect for the Chairman of Management Board, but I do not think that is at one with the facts. I think the record indicates that it was in late July or early August that I raised my concern about the situation in the Ministry of Government Services.
One of the issues I want to talk about with the Premier in these estimates has to do with the question of who is running the government. I am not completely satisfied in my own mind that we have now closed the book on the auditor's report on the Ministry of Government Services. I note the resignation on Friday morning at or around 11 o'clock of the former Deputy Minister of Government Services, Mr. Alan Gordon, in a letter to the Premier dated on Friday and, of course, the Premier's response to that.
The concern I have had throughout this entire piece has been what kind of enforcement provision there has been of the restraint doctrine within the Ontario government, particularly at the senior levels, throughout the past 18 months, when restraint has clearly been the principal policy offering of the current government. There is no question that restraint is being felt in some other quarters of this province in a way that is real and in many ways aggressive.
On the weekend I met again with a couple of young people in my constituency who are being harassed -- and that is the only word for it -- by collection agencies representing the Ministry of Colleges and Universities about their student loan paybacks. I have people on general welfare assistance who feel the accounting practice of the Ministry of Community and Social Services is niggardly to the point of being miserable.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I do not quarrel with that; but it was interesting that the auditor also said, as I recall, that they were not pursuing it vigorously enough.
Mr. Conway: I read that. I thought about it, actually, and I am prepared to say, given the terrible dislocation, social and human, we have all seen in our constituencies in the past 18 months, particularly for those people who are disadvantaged by this recession, and particularly for those young people who have been thrown out of work, in many cases before they had any opportunity to really establish themselves, that if we have to err on the side of spending a little bit more let it be for those unemployed people who are out of work, out of unemployment insurance and who have no opportunities whatever.
It is my honest impression that in most cases the Ministry of Community and Social Services is vigilant to a fault with hundreds and thousands of people in this province who are at the very bottom of the economic ladder and who have little immediate prospect to correct that difficulty.
It was a matter of grave concern to me to be told and to hear in the summer of 1983, and there had been discussions throughout the confines of this building, that all was not well in the Ministry of Government Services, that there had been some serious difficulties.
I say to the Premier we are not entirely surprised when we hear that. I do not want to be unduly historical, but there is on the public record the commentary of our friend the member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. J. A. Taylor), the former Minister of Energy, who when he left his departmental function complained rather openly about the problems he had. I do not profess to suggest there are no problems, there are problems in any executive council, but to be told by a former Minister of Energy that he was mugged in the corridors of power by people from the Premier's office sets my mind to worry about the whole question of responsible government.
Now we are told that one of Malcolm Rowan's fellow spirits from former days in the cabinet office, Mr. Alan Gordon, was repeatedly and knowingly exercising an override provision with respect to his minister. What I was particularly interested in was the whole question of the Foster contracts. The issue was obvious. The reports have made it clear that the issue was whether or not a $900-a-day consultant could be defended in the light of the great foofaraw in Ottawa with Jean Wadds and others who are being paid $800 a day from the federal Treasury which at the same time was offering a diet of public sector restraint.
We read under the conditions of the summer of 1983 that a minister who tried to exercise some control in that connection was discharged, for whatever reason. I do not mean to suggest there were no other factors in the mind of the first minister. As a graduate student, I spent some considerable time looking in an historical way at the inputs of cabinet formation. While I have not served either as first, second or third minister, I think I know something about the great practical and political difficulties in keeping an executive council together and in reforming it from time to time.
But to have done what he did in the summer of 1983, within much of the public service and some of the political world of Ontario the Premier very much appeared to have taken sides. That was of course the concern I had, that a minister who was trying to restrain public expenditures was discontinued in his cabinet functions and his deputy minister continued unabated. I point out that according to the auditor he violated in a couple of other cases, one of which involved significant amounts of money, the government guidelines as set out in the Ontario Manual of Administration.
The questions that presented themselves and do present themselves to the people of Ontario, to the taxpayers of Peel, Caledon, Petawawa, St. George and everywhere in between are these: "Is there one set of rules for the inner circle of the government of Ontario? Is there quite another set for you and I, the unwashed in the hinterland and outside that circle?" That very much appeared to have been the case.
When the auditor came in two weeks ago and made a report to the public accounts committee stating that in fact that very thing had happened, that there had been a violation of significant proportions in the Telepac matter, the matter in my view was heightened yet again.
One of the problems we have had, and I say this with all due respect, is that throughout all of this the answers proffered by the Chairman of Management Board have been wholly inadequate. The people of Ontario pay a Chairman of Management Board $75,000 a year or thereabouts to be the general manager of the government accounts. They expect that general manager to behave in a vigilant and a vigorous fashion.
I find it incomprehensible that somebody with the business and private sector experience of our friend from Alliston should daily get up in this House and say: "I saw no evil. I will seek out no reports. I consider my responsibility to be no more than that."
The Chairman of Management Board reminded me not so much of a general manager but of a referee in one of those professional wrestling matches: the referee who gets distracted by some passing irrelevance while the Sheik is gouging out the eyes of his opponent with some foreign object. This is the kind of imagery of the Chairman of Management Board.
Hon. Mr. Davis: How does the member know so much about wrestling?
Mr. Conway: I will tell the Premier. One does not grow up in rural, small-town eastern Ontario and not go to those kinds of events in his adolescence. I am quite proud to tell him, and I am sure my friend the member for Lanark (Mr. Wiseman) and others who know something about the rural rhythms of small-town Ontario could report the kind of experiences we used to have with those kind of visiting operations every summer.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He always said it was lacrosse.
Mr. Conway: We are not into that kind of rough and tumble.
However, I have to tell the Premier, with no good humour intended, that as leader of this government he ought not to tolerate the kind of attitude with respect to the management of government accounts which has been routinely suggested in this session by the Chairman of Management Board.
The people of Ontario just cannot accept that kind of supervision of the $25 billion of their tax money which they put under the Premier's care for any given fiscal year, using this as an example for those particular purposes. Actually those are the expenditures; the revenues are going to be considerably less than that, something in the neighbourhood of $22.3 billion. However, the expenditures are going to be roughly $25 billion, as I understand it.
It is simply not good enough for the Premier as first minister, in his notes for purposes of an address some days ago to the chamber of commerce in Brampton, to indicate he is happy with the record of his government in the management of its accounts, that there has been prudent and rigorous control of public expenditures.
The Premier will know that the Provincial Auditor in his most recent report found all too many examples of misappropriation or, in some cases, even worse. One of the incredible experiences which I have had in the course of my involvement with this Ministry of Government Services case in the last four months was to be told that when the alarm hells go off in the firehall which is Management Board nobody, least of all the Chairman of Management Board, even bothers to send out a fire truck to report on potential difficulty. I submit this is just absolutely unacceptable, given the restraint doctrine which the Premier continues to offer to the taxpayers of this province.
Of course, last week we were treated to the statement of Secretary of Management Board, Mr. Robert Carman, as to what the new rules and the new spirit on compliance are. I want to reiterate I found more than passing strange the date of the Premier's letter. The Premier's letter is the operative word and quite frankly it should be. I have no quarrel with that at all; I expect that the buck stops at his door.
To be told that the Premier's letter is the policy for compliance with the Manual of Administration is not a great surprise to me. What is a surprise to me is that the Secretary of Management Board informed us at the public accounts committee that the date on the Premier's new direction is within hours of the Provincial Auditor's stinging indictment of the --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Actually it was probably two days before.
Mr. Conway: I grant the Premier that it may have been two days, it may have been four days; but I want to say to the Premier, as a distinguished member of the Law Society of Upper Canada he knows the reasonable man and woman looking at that might be just a little bit suspicious at what brought on that outburst of enthusiasm for compliance to the Manual of Administration.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If it had been two days later you would have been even more suspicious. You cannot win.
Mr. Conway: I perhaps might have been but I find it quite remarkable that throughout the whole piece, in the summer and fall, he kept saying, and being reported as having said, "Oh, well, the people at Management Board; Bob Carman, he will clear it all up; there is no question about direction." Bob Carman tells us the Premier has cleared it all up in a letter of November 16, 1983.
I just simply want to indicate to the Premier that there is no question in my mind, on the basis of the record of the public debates in this connection, that there has been throughout much of his restraint period a complete and total vacuum in terms of the enforcement of the Manual of Administration.
The minister in charge of Management Board has indicated that vacuum time and time again. I will not make too much of the statements of the member for London South (Mr. Walker), who also became a person of some public interest in this connection when it was reported by Joan Walters of Canadian Press some five or six weeks ago that he had over the course of the past number of months and years, in three separate departments, seen to it that untendered contracts of value in excess of $400,000 went to two of his good friends.
I am going to be cynical here, I am going to tell the Premier that I think we as taxpayers in the province should all get a free copy of Gord Walker's A Conservative Canada, because I say there is a prima facie case for saying we paid for it. We paid for that in about as direct a fashion as we have paid for anything.
I was intrigued to hear, and this was an unconfirmed report, that Colin Brown Sr. in the National Citizens' Coalition Inc. bought up some of the early printing. If that is true I would really like to talk to Colin Brown Sr.; not to mention Colin Brown Jr., who I understand has an involvement --
Mr. Chairman: Let me remind the member that we permit as wide a latitude as possible, but there are two things: when we are referring to a member in his ministerial capacity, perhaps you should use that name or his riding, and state how this all relates to the Office of the Premier estimates.
Mr. Chairman: That is fine, but could the member tie that to these estimates.
Mr. Conway: I thank you, Mr. Chairman. That is a very insightful, useful injunction that I shall make every parliamentary effort to follow, knowing of your keen interest in the sharpest application of the standing orders to these matters, and I thank you again for your helpful intervention.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Do you want a free copy?
Mr. Conway: I want to say to the Premier that I have a copy; I have two copies. I do not know where they came from; I do not know where one came from, I know where the other came from. I would not want to implicate the learned member of the press who offered me his copy. I just want to say to the Premier we have a member of Management Board stating, "I will give untendered contracts worth $410,000 to my good friends because, as I understand it, there are no rules prohibiting that and what is more I will do it because everybody else at the Cabinet Office is doing it." Les Horswill was quoted as saying in the public press, "Ideally, those contracts ought to be tendered."
I want to tell the Premier it is simply not good enough to get that kind of statement of policy from the member for London South, who also serves on Management Board. What kind of enforcement is likely from a group of people who take the attitude to the management of public funds I have described in the cases of the member for London South and the member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. McCague), who is Chairman of Management Board?
The people of Ontario are prepared to abide by his restraint program if they get some sense of fairness and evenhandedness. We members of the Legislature clearly found out a few weeks ago, however unfairly some of the portrayal of that might have been, that we are all expected to live very carefully by the rules we have set for the public beyond this place.
It is simply not good enough to have the Chairman and the Secretary of Management Board indicate they see themselves with no responsibility to monitor and pursue in the ways the auditor has indicated in his testimony before the public accounts committee would be more befitting, given their legislative mandate.
I recommend that to the attention of the House; because if one looks at the legislative framework in which Management Board operates it is clearly given the kind of discretion that ought to have been recognized and used in these cases. I simply note, according to the public accounts testimony of last week, there is now going to be developed within the upper echelons of the public service some means of positive reinforcement with respect to compliance. I want to encourage the first minister to see to it that the letter of November 16 is applied with rigour and with regularity to every single minister in this government, particularly but not exclusively because of the restraint program under which 8.8 million Ontarians are currently living.
I cannot tell the Premier how flabbergasted I am to hear that we had in place a system which expected a violating civil servant -- and this is what Bob Carman told us last week, that in the difficulties we were looking at with respect to the Ministry of Government Services the safeguard outside of goodwill was to have the deputy minister report on himself. That just does not ring with any sense of reality in my ears or in the ears of most reasonable taxpayers.
That kind of system, together with the attitude of the Chairman of Management Board and others on the Management Board, is simply not good enough. We are going to expect there will be now applied not only positive reinforcement, but that there is going to be seen a discipline where compliance is not indicated.
I note that the Deputy Minister of Government Services has resigned his responsibility as of Friday. Quite frankly, I am pleased his resignation was tendered and accepted because it has helped clear the air. I cannot and I was not prepared, by-election or no by-election, to live with a situation where we had such an obvious corruption or perversion of responsible government as was indicated in this situation.
The Premier indicated, and I want to touch upon this today, that in the final analysis we have to believe our parliamentary colleagues. In believing our parliamentary colleague the member for Lanark, we could not over here believe the former Deputy Minister of Government Services. There were some very difficult consequences flowing from that failure to be able to believe.
His resignation certainly clears the air in that connection, but not completely. I know the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) has indicated that Mr. Gordon should have been excised completely; he should have no role in the Ontario public service. That is not my view. I wanted him disciplined and he certainly has been disciplined to a point by virtue of his resignation.
I must tell the Premier, sitting at home in Pembroke on Saturday I was annoyed in the extreme to see the kind of champagne celebration so pictorially conveyed in the Toronto Star of last Saturday, married with a statement from the Premier about this offending senior civil servant of 17 years' seniority. We are not talking about somebody who did not know his way around. This man came to us from the University of Waterloo in 1967 at an assistant deputy minister rank and was never at a rank less than that. If we were dealing with somebody who was junior or new I would be prepared to be more generous than I was obviously prepared to be in this connection.
There was an awful lot which indicated that Mr. Gordon's conduct in MGS, in the last year in particular, was certainly creating many problems that had to be dealt with.
Can the Premier indicate that in accepting the resignation last Friday morning of the Deputy Minister of Government Services, he now accepts the public comments of the member for Lanark (Mr. Wiseman), our parliamentary colleague and the former Minister of Government Services, as the truth of the matter with respect particularly to the Foster and Telepac contracts?
I listened to a tape this morning of Mr. Gordon being interviewed on CFTO on Friday evening in which he said that, of course, as far as he was concerned, the resignation admitted to no wrong-doing. I find that, quite frankly, unacceptable in light of the auditor's judgement. We have been told repeatedly by cabinet ministers and others across the aisle that the auditor is the final arbiter in these cases, that he is the outside referee who has the capacity and mandate to adjudicate disputes in this connection.
There is no question, particularly when one reads what the auditor has had to say about the Telepac matter, that there was a violation. He heightens that, and he said himself that no more damning indictment could he write than that report suggesting there was an intentional end run, a wilful end run if the Premier would like, around the sanctions of the cabinet board secretariat.
First, in accepting the resignation of the former Deputy Minister of Government Services, I want to know if the Premier is accepting the version of the member for Lanark of the Foster and Telepac matters as the truth of those two cases. Second, it has been my view that where there is noncompliance in terms of the Manual of Administration there must be discipline, particularly if it is a repeated and intentional violation. There must be discipline so the right signals are sent out to others in the public service that this kind of conduct will not and cannot be tolerated, particularly at a time of restraint.
I have a question in light of the Premier's comments of Friday, in which he states on page 2 of his press release accepting the resignation that Mr. Gordon will be assigned new duties in the Ontario public service at a later time. Can he indicate today, or in the response to these remarks when he is able to make that response, specifically whether he has any intentions now for that new assignment? Where is it? What is it? Will it involve a demotion in terms of rank and salary?
It is extremely important. I have no desire to be unnecessarily punitive with respect to Mr. Gordon, but I think it is vital that clear and incontrovertible signals are sent out to the rest of the public service. I would be interested to know whether or not the offending former deputy minister is going to be assigned new responsibilities at the same rank and the same salary, because if that is the case obviously champagne is in order. There is no practical penalty, no definite discipline associated with that kind of lateral transfer whatsoever.
I want to know, and I would appreciate the Premier's response to this, what the new responsibilities are, at what rank and at what salary, expecting from my point of view that it will not beat a deputy minister's rank or salary, based on my belief that there must be positive reinforcement. There must be a clear signal that this kind of action so clearly pointed out by the auditor represents misbehaviour that will not be tolerated.
Further to that, let me simply indicate to the Premier that the time may well have been reached when he is going to have to look seriously at the membership of his Management Board. It may not be good enough. In my view, it is not at all good enough to leave people on the Management Board who take the cavalier view that they can offend the rules as interpreted by their own senior staff.
I am talking now about the member for London South and his assistant deputy minister when in the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The Premier simply cannot expect to have any credibility at all in that general managing function that is surely Management Board's, when apparently he has offending ministers stating that they have no intention of changing their ways, when the Chairman of Management Board does not yet find himself able to reverse himself and say he is going to get proactive.
When the fire alarm goes off in the Management Board office he should at least say he is going to send someone out to report on the nature and extent of any fire that might have begun. Anything less than that is simply not acceptable. I think it is clear from the public reaction in recent days that it will be seen to be unacceptable.
As well, I want to touch upon a couple of subjects that are related to this. Let me say to the first minister that one of the unhappy results of the dismissal of our friend, our parliamentary colleague the member for Lanark, is that we in rural, small-town eastern Ontario now do not have a representative at the executive council. We are not happy about that. To give the Premier credit, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party has ruled for these 40 some years by virtue of tying in at the executive council level to the rhythms of rural Ontario. With the dismissal of the member for Lanark, the Premier has removed the only farm representative from rural eastern Ontario. The squire of Manotick does not count, with all due respect.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member knows a lot about it; I was elected in Brampton when it was almost a rural area.
Mr. Rae: It was all trees. It was a wild forest when you were elected.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, but a lot of farm land.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The member will direct his comments to the chair.
Mr. Conway: Knowing, Mr. Chairman, of your overwhelming desire to be vigilant, evenhanded and vigorous in the application of the standing orders, which you drew to my attention about 10 minutes ago, I delight in your calling us all back to order.
The Premier does not have to take my word for it. He simply has to look at the resolutions passed by people like the members of the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark county councils to realize that the folk of rural eastern Ontario are not amused that they now have no cabinet representation to offset, in particular, the misanthrope of the asphalt twins, the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food, who are creating endless havoc for the life and times of farmers in Renfrew and other reaches of eastern Ontario.
Mr. Rae: Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.
Mr. Conway: I do not want to be seen as forever pandering to the activities of a by-election. I think it is an issue in the by-election to an extent -- and let me be candid; I have gone through many elections and many by-elections wherein it has been suggested one has to vote for the government candidate because the government candidate is an entrée into the sanctum sanctorum of decision-making at Queen's Park, that he is a conduit to the Premier's office itself. Why bother with a flattering nabob of negativism in the opposition when one can elect a government man or woman and have such a close, personal, working relationship with the potentate of all politics at Queen's Park, the Premier himself?
As he returns in 36 hours to the homeland of James Pliny Whitney, John Sandfield Macdonald and the late Osie Villeneuve, a great and historic part of Ontario, home as well, almost, of the member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis), I want to say to the Premier it does not do much for the argument of electing a government member when the reality of March 19, 1981, is, among other things, that the Premier takes a $650-million position in an oil company without consulting 66 of the duly and newly elected members of his government caucus; when he has an eastern Ontarian defrocked as Minister of Energy because, by his own account, his senior mandarinate in his own office interfered and the Premier's hirelings made his departmental responsibilities impossible; when he has a fine, upstanding Conservative from Lanark put in a hopelessly compromised position of the Premier's making as of July 5.
What good is it, they ask me in Pembroke and Williamsburg and Bainsville and Manotick, to elect a government man when the top man himself pays not a whit of attention to their advice on a variety of matters and seeks it not at all on major undertakings of government policy?
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is not quite accurate.
Mr. Conway: Well, you will have your chance.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will use it, too, because I can recall some things you said about the former Minister of Energy that aren't totally consistent with what you say today.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Stokes: Which point of view do you agree with?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have my own, but there are some very good quotes there.
Mr. Conway: I must say in all seriousness -- and I have never raised this with the Premier -- I have seen some of his use of my quotes. One I well remember in the 1981 election speech he made in Kingston, which was reported widely, suggesting that I had somehow failed to support and was opposed to the transfer of the Ontario health insurance plan offices to Kingston. We have a word for that in Renfrew county and it is not parliamentary. I was annoyed in the extreme. I do not know which mole in which of the oak-panelled corridors of his office discovered that fact, but I was annoyed then and I am still annoyed because that just ain't the truth.
I hope that kind of difficulty will not be created again. I am quite prepared to say that my eight and a half years as a member in this place are littered with a variety of situations in which, if offered a chance to comment upon them now, I perhaps might not choose the same syllables. But in that particular instance I might warn the Premier that I hope when he seeks to represent my views he will do so with some effort to tell the truth, because the truth was not told in that connection. I felt it quite beneath the --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Maybe we could reach an understanding if you do the same.
Mr. Conway: I am quite prepared. I appreciate any specific evidence you have where I have deliberately or clearly misrepresented reality as you have described it. I would be delighted to see the list, if it exists. He says it is long and perhaps loud.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I said nothing about loud.
Mr. McClellan: You can tell this is going to be a high-level debate.
Mr. Conway: Well, the people of eastern Ontario are not amused about having been shut out from the cabinet office and from that level of decision-making as a result of the Premier's actions in early July of this year. They are not amused to be told in eastern Ontario that they have to live with less, that they have to make the same go a greater distance, when they see people like Donald Martyn and Gwyn Williams lined up at the public trough and into it with both hands and feet, apparently, with no apparent sanction for that kind of self-indulgence.
There is, as I have said before, the impression abroad in the land, my part of it in particular, that there is one law for the taxpayer and another law for the friends of the Conservative Party. The auditor himself pointed out in his most recent report that there are relationships that are too close, that Tom Scott and Foster Advertising cannot help getting the multimillion-dollar business of government advertising accounts by virtue of the kind of framework the government itself has struck. There is very much the appearance -- and in some demonstrated cases the reality -- that the family compact is doing very well indeed while the body politic is struggling under the five per cent rule.
I would like to move briefly to a couple of other subject areas. I know the member for York South (Mr. Rae) is interested and anxious to involve himself this afternoon in the debate. I made a commitment to his House leader that I would leave him some time and I intend to do that.
Mr. Rae: That is very kind of you.
Mr. Conway: It is indeed very kind of me, given the fact that reciprocity has not always been offered in other connections. However, I respect entirely the desire of the member for York South to involve himself.
There are a couple of areas where I think the Premier certainly has to take an initiative. I might begin by saying we know, as of May, the Premier's decision to stay in the world of provincial politics. We hear from my friend the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) via the Cobourg Daily Star, accounts that indicate he plans a spring 1985 election to take into account the maximum publicity he and the government can gain from the bicentennial, the papal visit and the royal visit. That is from no less an authority than my friend and colleague the member for Ottawa South, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett). The minister said that in the great burgh of Roseneath but two weeks ago.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I heard that he indicated he may not have said it. I just quote what I heard.
Mr. Conway: The Premier will have his chance.
Some of us who are pristine in these matters imagined that the papal tour, the royal tour and the bicentennial of the member for Scarborough East (Mrs. Birch) would be nonpartisan. Now we have the member for Ottawa South suggesting it is all a grand plan quite to the contrary. At any rate, the Roseneath speech would indicate the member for Brampton is going to be around to lead the charge of whatever brigade in about 16 or 17 months hence.
Given that that is the latest intelligence, can the Premier confirm or deny in his remarks during these estimates that Dr. E. E. Stewart will very soon be leaving the Ontario public service to become chairman of Ontario Hydro? I think that is a very important report that deserves some prime ministerial confirmation or denial. Since there is great public interest from a personal and a policy point of view in the operations of that great utility in charge of the people's power in this province, can the Premier indicate authoritatively in his response to these remarks whether or not rumours and reports to the effect that Dr. E. E. Stewart will soon become the new chairman of Ontario Hydro are accurate reports? I would like a definitive response in that connection.
Hon. Mr. Davis: How many hours would the member like me to take?
Mr. Conway: A yes or no answer would be useful and timely. Unfortunately, I do not count on it, but I expect even the Premier, after 24 years and seven months of parliamentary bafflegab, could get himself to utter at least that much on that question. Is Ed Stewart going to be appointed or is he not? If he is not going to be appointed, can the Premier indicate when he expects to fill that vacuum in terms of an appointment? He may indicate that the acting chairman, Mr. Nastich, will be confirmed in a more formal way.
I gather in the press over the weekend there were some statements about our Ombudsman. I would also like to know whether or not --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Whether or not what? I am interested.
Mr. Conway: I have always said in this business one has to be able to take it as well as give it. I will score one for the Premier in that silent aside. I have one of my own I might offer very privately.
Mr. McClellan: The line forms on the left.
Mr. Rae: The polls cannot be that bad.
Mr. Conway: I must say I am with Gérard Pelletier on some of these jobs. Some I am interested in, others not at all. I would like to know what the Premier intends to do in that connection.
Mr. McClellan: Does the Premier have any application forms?
Mr. Conway: I want to say to my friends in the New Democratic Party that I would not want to see any great enthusiasm over there for some of this, although I can imagine the member for Bellwoods would make a marvellous Ombudsman.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Let's put that to a vote.
Mr. Conway: If he wishes my nomination, I am quite prepared to offer him up as Ombudsman.
Now that we have the statement of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing that the Premier is going to be around for at least the next year or perhaps a little longer, we over here expect he will forget the federal scene as he has clearly forgotten it for the time being and interest himself in the leadership responsibilities that have been his for the past 12 years and some months -- 13 years in six weeks, if my memory serves me correctly, or eight to 10 weeks -- and deal with some policy questions that clearly have not been very well resolved.
It is well known that my friends in the NDP deserve credit, and particularly the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren), as do my colleagues the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne) the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) and the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. A. Reed), to name but three, for addressing attention to the critical condition of our Ontario forests and the forest-related economy.
I had discussions with senior forestry specialists in this country as recently as three or four weeks ago. In one case it was reported to me that the Brampton charter commitment of 1977 is an unhappy and painful joke that bore no relation to reality then and bears no relation to reality now, six years later. I simply ask the Premier to involve himself in making good a commitment that he campaigned on some six years ago, which was to oversee the regeneration of the vital forests in this great province.
I can never forget, and I am sure the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) and the member for Bellwoods will recall, the night the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) was in the House with the late member for Leeds, James Auld, who was minister. Can members recall the night the member for Sudbury East wanted to enshrine the two-for-one provision of the Brampton charter in the Crown Timber Act? My God, there was more chaos over there and to my left than I have ever seen on any other occasion. The Brampton charter was just so much puff and politics. "We cannot legislate two for one," it was said, and the reasons given were as colourful as they were irrelevant.
In my part of the province and in the great north of Ontario, the devastation of the forest resource is creating uncertainty and economic dislocation that has to be dealt with. I would like to see the Premier, as the author of the Brampton charter, exercise a far greater control in that connection than he has indicated. He ought to be concerned that outside experts see the Brampton charter commitment of two for one as a promise that has totally not been lived up to, a joke in terms of his current management ethic. It was suggested to me by a consultant that Ontario has at the senior level some of the most out-of-date attitudes in terms of the management of our forest resources of any of the provinces in the whole of Canada. That concerned me a great deal.
I have a forest research centre in my great constituency. On occasional visits there I am told that Ontario has a lot of catching up to do, not only in terms of regeneration but also in terms of management attitudes. We have miners in charge of our forest policy, not managers, not people who are prepared or interested even in planning for forests of the 1990s and the 21st century.
About agriculture, let me say the Premier has there a difficulty that is obviously going to be responded to. I was told the other day -- and I believe it, because the source is almost impeccable -- that Darcy McKeough's alter ego, the former head of the budget office, Duncan Allan, has outlived his usefulness after 18 months in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. One half of the asphalt twins will be broken up and Mr. Allan will be assigned new duties early in the year 1984. All I can say is that I have dealt with Mr. Allan on a number of occasions. I well remember the day he came to our caucus in haste in March or April of 1978, clutching the Davis compromise on the Ontario health services insurance plan. My old friend Harold Greer and the late leader of the Opposition and I sat down with Mr. Allan --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Is Harold Greer really a friend of yours?
Mr. Conway: I must say that Mr. Greer and I worked on that initiative very closely.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You did not answer my question.
Mr. Conway: Of course he is a friend of mine. I know he is a close friend of the Premier. It is not mentioned in the Contenders, but there are an awful lot of people mentioned in the Contenders who I see give independent analysis on my CBC, my public radio service. I am going to have to write Mr. Gzowski another letter so that these highly paid consultants who are the inner advisers to the Premier of Ontario are not offered up as some kind of independent point of view on public policies. That story about Dalton Camp in there, too, is water under the bridge.
Mr. Stokes: What about Eric Kierans?
Mr. Conway: The member for Lake Nipigon says, "What about Eric Kierans?" I say, what about anyone? If Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Lewis can be on morning after morning, month after month, I think Mr. Eric Kierans, giving as he is the massive lectures at the University of Toronto, has a place in that sun as well.
I want to say to the Premier that the agricultural policy of this province is in a very bad state indeed. When the asphalt twins took over the deputy minister said all he could determine after looking at the books was that there was no policy at all. Members can remember that. I will supply the relevant quote if it is not handy. I am sure it is in the Treasurer's book.
We have had the deputy minister saying in recent days that there has been no recession in agriculture, that many of the people in the red meat industry perhaps would do well to find alternative employment. There are people in the ministry who do not know about the existence of a broiler chicken industry in far eastern Ontario.
There are people in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry who are bitterly concerned and complaining about the disproportionate allocation of funds in places like Lambton, where there were more funds allocated for tile drainage in one particular year a few years ago than there has been allocated for most of the eastern county in that same year. It is a complete imbalance that has not been corrected by the visit of the member for Don Mills (Mr. Timbrell) in recent days when he just accidentally happened to be in Avonmore making a variety of deathbed repentances.
Farmers in Ontario are not amused that there has been no one of the executive council who has been able to take up the mantle and clout of the former member for Middlesex, Mr. William Stewart, who for all his enthusiasm -- some of it misguided, my colleagues tell me -- had clear ability to get some inside influence for agriculture in his early administration. It is now known to just about every farmer that the current pair, the asphalt twins, are badly out of whack and do not appear to have either a very good grasp of or any kind of response to the problems of agriculture.
About education, let me just say to the Premier that I have the great responsibility and the recreational joy of being associated as a critic for Colleges and Universities, which brings me from time to time into contact and sometimes conflict with the redoubtable member for York Mills (Miss Stephenson), a person for whom I have a genuine affection. I have said that to her; so there is no need to write this down.
Mr. Rae: I knew that love was blind, but I never knew it was that blind.
Mr. Conway: I will remind the member for York South of some of his associations in a moment, if time permits. I do not want to talk much longer.
In terms of education, and in particular matters relating to university policy and postsecondary education, we have a vacuum that is just beginning to become all too apparent to many people within the community, most of whom the Premier knows well from his long years as Minister of Education and Minister of University Affairs.
One of the things I keep being asked by people at the university level in particular is, who sets the policy? My friend the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) was on his feet 10 days ago asking the Premier about the college of education matter, which is of great concern to teachers in this province. He elicited from the Premier a decidedly different and happily much more moderate posture than that normally associated with the minister herself.
In her estimates debates, both in terms of Education and Colleges and Universities, the minister was quick to point out a number of cases, particularly separate school financing, about which a number in the hierarchy and many of us below are anxiously awaiting some kind of indicator about new adjustments, new policies, and yes, new moneys.
However, in terms of separate school policy and other matters in Education and Colleges and Universities, there seems to be very much the impression that the Premier is exercising an override on a number of those cases and that the minister herself is more routinely now than ever before referring to the Premier as the man who is most involved in the discharge of a given education or education-related policy.
If this is the case, and the record should show the first minister nods his head in the negative, I say to him --
Hon. Mr. Davis: You have to shake your head in the negative. You do not nod your head in the negative.
Mr. Conway: That is a good point. If the Premier is as direct on some of the other points I will be very happy indeed.
However, in terms of universities, the Premier will recall his response three years ago to growing complaints from university presidents and others with a vital interest in post-secondary institutions, particularly the universities, who came to him and said things were getting very bad indeed. He responded to that concern by striking a blue ribbon panel, which was co-ordinated by Dr. Harry K. Fisher, Deputy Minister of Education.
That blue ribbon panel's final report to the Premier in August 1981 -- there was a preliminary report -- was an absolutely clear presentation of the problem, of the challenges and of the options. The one point that Dr. Fisher et al stressed to the Premier as the man who asked for the report and as the man who helped build much of the expanded system, was: "Please do not muddle through. We cannot afford at any calculation that kind of procrastination, that kind of old 'tomorrow' politics."
I have to say to the Premier that it concerns me very much, not only as a critic of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities but also as someone who, like so many others on both sides of the aisle here, has a real and, I believe, ongoing interest in the activities of our great universities in this province, that nothing has been done to respond to the vital policy questions raised in that report.
I simply have to tell the Premier that kind of policy vacuum cannot be tolerated if our education and economic prospects are going to be improved for the latter part of the 1980s and well into the 1990s. I invite the Premier to indicate in his response to these remarks that there will be a statement from him, as leader of the government, as to what he intends to do about ensuring that the 15 or 16 Ontario universities will have adequate financing and a good sense of the direction in which he expects them to take us all into the 1990s.
On Friday I spent some time with my friend the member for Hamilton West (Mr. Allen) at that great liberal arts university in Peterborough.
Mr. Stokes: Yes; you were an hour and a half late.
Mr. Conway: I was an hour and a half late. That is right indeed.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I call it a general arts university.
Mr. Conway: The Premier can call it that; I will probably agree. I just say to him that there is grave concern in universities like Trent, which have had a very good relationship with previous first ministers in this august jurisdiction of ours, that they are being threatened very immediately and very seriously by the lack of clear policy and by the lack of any reliable funding formula that had been long since expected from his government. That kind of policy vacuum, that kind of lack of direction, that kind of lack of action from the Premier on the management of public accounts, on the direction of our resource policy for the 1980s and 1990s and on the critical questions of education cry out for his involvement and his address.
Yes, we are pleased to know the Premier stands foursquare for the Toronto Argonaut Football Club, and we are delighted he has met with success in that connection. However, many in this province who have a vital economic and social interest in our forests and in our universities would like to see the same measure of commitment and enthusiasm from him in those areas as he has demonstrated in others.
Yes, indeed, we in eastern Ontario are interested to see what prospects there are for a dome in the great reaches of Metropolitan Toronto and Brampton. But that does not mean we are prepared to live with the diet of neglect that leaves us with a traffic hazard on the national capital throughway, the like of which the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) is dishing up.
People in my part of the province, for whom hunting and fishing is a vital interest, have very little confidence in his ability to run the government in general if he cannot run a moose lottery. We expect to see an abler and a more vigorous administration of those kinds of resource and educational issues. As I resume my seat, I want to tell the Premier that --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have made a point to check particularly on the moose lottery.
Mr. Conway: I want to tell the Premier that in my part of the province, in places like Killaloe, Rolphton and Deux-Rivieres, if one cannot run a moose lottery one is not considered able to run very much indeed. I tell the Premier, he wants to talk to his friend the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope).
I have not been in to see my friend Clarke Rollins in Bancroft recently, but I can just hear Clarke on the subject of the foulup of the moose lottery. Clarke is very typical of that kind of rural spirit and he, like so many of the rest of us, has a genuine want of confidence in any government that cannot run a moose lottery.
I say to the Premier, the record speaks for itself; he fouled up and mixed up and otherwise failed in the moose lottery for this year.
I want to simply say that I appreciate the Premier's indulgence in these remarks. I would be very interested to know, in summary, what he intends to do with Mr. Gordon. Is there going to be a new assignment in the very near future? What is it? Where is it? At what rank? And at what salary, I might add?
What specific undertakings is the Premier prepared to give us in these estimates that there is going to be a positive prime ministerial reinforcement in terms of noncompliance, with the spending failures of certain senior people and others not so senior in his government?
What undertaking is he prepared to give us that the Management Board will begin to take seriously its legislative mandate and its political function to be a true-blue manager of the government accounts?
What particular information can he give us with respect to confirming or denying the appointment of Dr. E. E. Stewart to the chairmanship of Ontario Hydro?
Can he indicate in general and specific terms, on the eve of the winter break of this session, what specific undertakings he is prepared to give us on critical questions of resource policy and economic development that will begin to deal with many of those structural problems I have identified in these remarks and that are well known to him on the basis of questions and comments from members of this party over the course of the past two months?
Mr. Rae: Mr. Chairman, I do not know how the Premier would like to do this, but he may recall that last year I expressed a preference to be able to go on a shorter question-and-answer format and deal with one subject matter at a time rather than cover the expansive waterfront from moose lotteries through resources to education to Mr. Gordon and back again, which was followed by my friend the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway).
I would appreciate it if I could simply put some questions to the Premier very directly on the most recent controversy surrounding Mr. Gordon and our colleague the member for Lanark. Perhaps I could simply ask the Premier if he would answer the question that I think was put to him directly at one point in the proceedings by my colleague the member for Renfrew North, the deputy leader of the Liberal Party.
I preface it by saying that in our view the letter Mr. Gordon wrote to the Premier on December 2 and the Premier's answer do not really resolve the question that is still on our minds; that is whether the Premier has in a sense decided whether it is the account of the deputy minister, Mr. Gordon, or whether it is the account of the member for Lanark with respect to those two contracts that were the subject of such controversy which he himself believes. If he is not prepared to answer the question, I wonder if he would tell us why he is not prepared to answer.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I understand the leader of the New Democratic Party is unable to be here Friday. What I suggested while he was still out of the House was that he might raise the issues he would like to raise -- I have made a note of the questions raised by the deputy leader of the Liberal Party -- and I would make a note of all of these. If the member is not able to be here Friday morning, I can refer to them and one of his colleagues or others could communicate them to him. I thought this might be the best say to accommodate the concerns the member has on Friday morning.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, on that point, I had understood we were going to do the general waterfront and then go back to specific questions. I am sorry if that was a false impression.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That was my understanding, so why does he not raise --
Mr. Rae: Far be it from me to challenge the understanding of those two gentlemen with respect to this matter.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I understood it was the member's.
Mr. Rae: I do have an engagement in Chesterville on Friday. I am sure the Premier will appreciate that Chesterville is a town that assumes greater importance as we approach December 15.
I have some other questions I would like to address to the Premier that have to be clearly established. The first is simply to say to the Premier with respect to the remarks that have been made by the deputy leader of the Liberal Party that those are questions with respect to the management of provincial expenditures which have to be answered. I do not think they have been answered or settled by the letter of resignation by Mr. Gordon.
If anything, the letter itself raises some questions. For example. I find it somewhat strange that in his letter of resignation Mr. Gordon would say, "I wish to submit my resignation effective at the time and under the conditions which you deem appropriate for all concerned." That would indicate to me, and I think Mr. Gordon confirmed it in some interviews, that as far as he is concerned there is no problem from his point of view with respect to his conduct and there is no problem with respect to any statements he made before the committee.
I say to the Premier that does not settle the issue. I think he knows exactly what I am talking about. When we have two very clearly conflicting accounts from the deputy minister and the previous minister, we in this party feel those conflicts have to be resolved. It is not enough for the Premier to say he is not aware of exactly what is going on or that he is not fully cognizant of all the conversations and statements that have been made. He has to become aware and become cognizant of them, as I am sure he is by this time.
I and the members of our party expect to have a resolution of this matter and some clearer statement from the Premier's office with respect to the different statements and accounts that have been given of certain events. In particular we need to know, and the Premier has to address this question, was the minister aware of the contracts or was he not aware? If he was aware, when was he aware of the contracts and by whom was he made aware of them? Those are questions which simply have to be resolved.
Personally, I feel the member for Lanark himself could go some way to clearing the air by answering those questions but, in the event he is not disposed to answer those questions in detail, I think it is the Premier himself who has to resolve the issue because I do not think it is one that has been settled. I think it is one that still remains outstanding.
I would say to the Premier that as an exercise in accountability, the answers we have received from the Chairman of Management Board with respect to the contracts which appear to have been allocated and authorized by the then Minister of Industry and Trade also leave something to be desired. I would put it this way to the Premier: it is all very well for one group of people, one minister, to say that is the responsibility of the auditor, for the auditor to take it upon himself to make a report and then say that it is not his responsibility to enforce those decisions; but from a political accountability point of view, that is obviously completely and totally unsatisfactory.
At some stage the government has to take political responsibility for the fact that things have gone awry in government spending and in the allocation and awarding of certain contracts. If there has been a breach of the practices as set out in the Manual of Administration, I do not think it is good enough for anyone to say, as I heard the Premier say, that 99 per cent of the time there is no problem. I would suggest that could be true of many people who appear in our criminal courts who say, "I did not do anything wrong 364 days of the year and now you are singling out one day and you are taking that one day and you are deciding I did something wrong." I would suggest to the Premier that is the way the system operates.
I say to him with all respect, if there has been a breach of the Manual of Administration, and if there has been a breach in terms of the failure in the case of the Minister of Industry and Trade to seek a tender for contracts that were in excess of a certain amount of money, then I suggest to the Premier that he has to deal with that issue and it is not enough to simply say the auditor is looking at it and the auditor is going to deal with it. If there has been a problem then I believe it is up to the Premier to resolve the problem and to state very clearly and very specifically exactly what the government intends to do to see that the Manual of Administration is followed and that the findings of the auditor have some teeth and have some meaning.
The whole question of responsibility is one that was raised again today dealing with the problems of the expenditures of the Solicitor General; and always we get the response -- and I find it interesting -- from cabinet ministers saying, "You want us to name names of civil servants and we are not going to do it."
No one in this party has suggested we go around naming names of civil servants. What we have suggested is that ministers have to start taking responsibility, and more clearly taking responsibility; and if they are not prepared to, then the Premier has to take responsibility for those areas where spending is out of control, where spending has not been carried out according to the requirements of the Manual of Administration and where it has clearly broken down.
I want to ask the Premier to address the question of Hydro. I too would like an answer to the question dealing with the future appointment to the permanent chairmanship of Ontario Hydro, but while I am relatively new here I think I can honestly say I do not anticipate an answer to that question from the Premier. However, I do want to address to the Premier something he said in the House on Friday with respect to Hydro because I think again it touches the key question of accountability.
The Premier will be aware that in the course of the examination of crown corporations the auditor had this to say with respect to crown corporations and the ability of this Legislature to get at them. I would like to read this into the record because I think it needs to be responded to by the Premier.
Quoting from the auditor on page 125: "There is currently no process under which the annual operating budgets of operational agencies which are completely self-funded are subject to review and approval by either government or the Legislature. Major examples of corporations in this category are Ontario Hydro, Ontario Lottery Corp., Urban Transportation Development Corp. Ltd. and the Niagara Parks Commission.
"Additionally, for these self-funded agencies there is no requirement whereby either the government or the Legislature receives information as to the efficiency of their operations or how well they are meeting their objectives. Confusion results, hence clouding the accountability issue when different agencies have similar and overlapping mandates or where their mandates overlap those of the ministry in part.
"Uneconomic and inefficient use of resources can also result from this type of a situation. For example, one of Ontario Hydro's purposes as set out in its memorandum of understanding is the provision of energy conservation programs to encourage the safe and efficient use and the conservation of all forms of energy. At the same time, the description provided in the estimates for the Ministry of Energy's $28.9 million energy conservation program is to reduce the rate of growth and demand for energy by inducing efficient and nonwasteful energy utilization."
This subject matter was raised by my deputy leader the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) on Friday. I will quote from page L-1040-2 of the Instant Hansard, which is now available to us.
"Hon. Mr. Davis: I am trying to convey to the member in terms of the information, in terms of Hydro's planned financial expenditures and planned revenues, in terms of all the information that 'a select committee would have available,' that information by and large is available and has been available through the submissions to the Ontario Energy Board.
"Mr. Foulds: Nonsense, nonsense. That is just not right.
"Hon. Mr. Davis: I have seen some of the material. That information is available for debate here in this House if members wish.
"Mr. Foulds: The energy board said otherwise.
"Hon. Mr. Davis: No they did not."
I would like to ask the Premier if he would have a look at the report in 1982 of the Ontario Energy Board. I see the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch) is here. At that time he was the minister responsible for Ontario Hydro in this Legislature. He will know that counsel to the energy board, Mr. Donald Rogers, made a number of important comments. He challenged Hydro in several significant areas in the course of that hearing.
In particular, the board said, and I am quoting from page 97, Mr. Rogers's final argument to the board: "However, it is important to recognize that of the total gross revenue requirement of $4.2 billion, over 50 per cent consists of costs which cannot be thoroughly examined. It is submitted that this should be brought to the minister's attention in the board's report."
Again, if I can go on, because I think it is important to say this -- this is not the New Democratic Party speaking, this is not the Liberal Party speaking, this is the counsel to the energy board who is speaking with respect to what information the energy board has when it deals with the question of a rate increase.
The Premier knows full well that the whole question of Hydro's capital plans and Hydro's capital expansion cannot be looked at by the energy board. It does not have the jurisdiction to do that. That jurisdiction has been specifically refused it. Therefore they do not have that information, and therefore they cannot consider those questions when they are dealing with the question of a rate increase.
So when the member says, "The energy board said otherwise;" and the Premier says, "No they did not," and when he says that they have the material, I want to suggest to the Premier that he goes back and has another look because, in fact, the counsel to the energy board is saying quite the contrary.
Counsel to the energy board said: "Hydro is plagued with excesses, including generating capacity, heavy water and heavy water capacity, western Canadian coal, oil, uranium, nuclear fuel, land and possibly people. The board has not been able to examine many of these areas of concern due to claims of commercial confidentiality."
In a final argument of the board, Mr. Rogers, counsel of the board, went on to say: "Capital expenditures seem to be increasing at an alarming rate and a more detailed examination of Hydro's control system should be undertaken at a future hearing." That did not happen. "Also, operation, maintenance and administration costs, particularly wage rates, are rising much faster than the forecast rate of inflation. Ontario Hydro is faced with very rapidly increasing capital costs in all phases of its business. This is perhaps most dramatic in the large generating projects such as Darlington. The same phenomenon is likely occurring at the lower levels of the organization although they are not so visible.
"There does not appear to be any mechanism which would trigger a re-evaluation of the need for a capital expenditure when a change in escalation factors causes the forecast cost to rise. This is left to management judgement."
That is the problem. The problem is that at the moment -- and the Premier knows this because he himself, I am sure, has had to take a very personal interest in many of the decisions surrounding Ontario Hydro -- there is no opportunity in our system to have an independent review of the capital plans of Ontario Hydro.
The Premier knows those questions are the exclusive prerogative of Ontario Hydro and the only place where anything can be reviewed or changed, as the Premier knows, is in the executive council of Ontario itself. But that is not done on the basis of any review carried out publicly nor on the basis of any independent assessment. It is done on the basis of certain decisions taken by the executive council for whatever reasons it may choose to adopt them.
What we suggested on Friday, and what I would suggest again to the Premier today, is that he should talk to people in business -- I am sure he is having dinner with them very frequently from what I see on Rogers Cable TV -- and ask them seriously how they feel, as I have done, about what is happening at Ontario Hydro. He should ask them about their concerns over Ontario Hydro's capital expansion; whether they think that capital expansion is necessary in the way it has been proposed and whether it is something the province can afford to take on at the present time. He will find a great deal of well-rooted and deep-seated concern.
Let me give the Premier one example. I was in Kenora -- I am saying this not because the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) is here but it is an example that comes to mind. The minister will know perfectly well that Boise Cascade has been planning and has yet to make a final decision on a major refurbishing of the paper mill in Kenora. The Premier should know that when I was through the mill in September in connection with our forestry task force I saw the model of the reconstruction of the mill. The model alone cost $1 million. The minister has seen it, he knows the one I am talking about.
I asked the manager of the mill, "What are the main concerns holding you back?" He said: "Do you know what I am concerned about? I am concerned about the size of Hydro's debt. I am concerned about the potential energy costs, because the new thermal operation is going to be much more energy intensive and I am very concerned about how we are going to end up paying in terms of energy costs if we go the route Hydro wants us to go."
I do not believe this was a supporter -- although he could be; I did not ask him -- of the New Democratic Party or of the Liberal Party. I do not know. I see the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) is here; this is a subject of concern to him.
That is a concern being expressed by people who are in a position to make a major decision concerning capital investment. One of the concerns holding them back, and I do not think this is confined simply to them, is the very real question of whether or not the energy path plotted by Ontario Hydro is the path which makes the most sense from an economic point of view.
I see the Premier shaking his head. I know a lot of decisions have been taken and a lot of people have a stake in those decisions. I have never been one to attack the nature of public power or a public utility. Public power has been a vital institution in Ontario and the control of public power is essential to this province.
Mr. Kerrio: Do you think it is here to stay?
Mr. Rae: More than does the member for Niagara Falls. He called for selling it off to private enterprise. That was the position he expressed in the Globe and Mail some time ago in an article I saw.
Mr. Kerrio: I am not embarrassed about that.
Mr. Rae: Let that be the record of the Liberal Party in terms of where it stands on Ontario's energy. They believe it would be better run if General Electric and Westinghouse took it over and ran it.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Chairman, on a point of personal privilege; this is pretty important. I am sure the leader of the third party said it a little facetiously. I was talking about small projects which I thought Hydro could not run but the private entrepreneur could. I was very specific and I hope the leader of the third party would accept what I said as gospel.
Mr. Chairman: That is a point of information. It is not a point of personal privilege.
Mr. Rae: I did not intend to cause yet another split in the Liberal Party or another change in their position. All I can say is I read the article in the Globe and Mail. I did not see all the qualifications on the particular quotation the member says he now has. However, since he has expressed them, far be it from me to wish to differ.
Nevertheless, I say to the Premier I think it is time this government and this Legislature had an opportunity to look seriously at the capital expansion plans of Ontario Hydro and the impact those plans will have on energy costs. In particular, I think it is important for a committee of this Legislature to be able to look at the implications of the tube replacements and the breakdown at Pickering unit 2 and what they have for cost in the rest of the system. It is important for us to take a hard look at what alternative energy paths would make more sense.
Hydro is planning to build a line that goes from Lennox Generating Station to Ottawa. It will be going right through the Rideau lakes, along Highway 15. The Premier is well aware of the lines that are being proposed. They are two extremely large lines in terms of towers that Hydro plans to put up. Hydro is doing this on the grounds there is the prospect of an electricity shortage in Ottawa.
We are told by Hydro out of one side of its mouth that there is going to be an electricity shortage in Ottawa. The potential could be there. They show all the reasons; such as if this breaker goes and that thing breaks down and there is a storm here and then this falls apart we might actually have brownouts. That is the political basis on which Hydro has been operating in trying to sell the line.
At the same time, the Premier should be aware, and I am sure he is aware, that Ottawa is one of the five areas in this province that has been singled out by Hydro as the focal point for its advertising campaign, "Go electric." At the same time that Hydro is saying there is going to be a tremendous electricity shortage. it is also doing everything it can to flog electricity to the residents of Ottawa.
That is the contradiction we are seeing; that is the contradiction that is there. The contradiction is that we have the ads that are being put out by the Ministry of Energy -- and I see the former minister here. He is getting a little agitated by what I am saying. I remember so well the "Preserve it, conserve it" ads that came from the Ministry of Energy. One could not go to the back of a bus without seeing 25 energy ads. Then there was the dog that barked. Every time one wanted to turn the light on, it would say. "Off, off, off." Now what do we have? We have the talking furnace.
We have a utility that is in the business of flogging electricity. Why are they flogging electricity? The Premier knows the reason. They are flogging it because the only way we can keep rates at an even moderately affordable level in this province is if the volume of electricity use goes way up so we can pay for the immense capital costs reflected in the cost of the nuclear stations, including Darlington.
I suggest to the Premier that is the hard fact. We now have a utility that has a built-in stake, not in conservation but in increasing use. We have a utility that has flown in the face of demand management and all the recommendations of the Porter commission. It has continued to go that route.
I can remember a conversation I had with Mr. Nastich about Darlington. I am sure he will not mind my recounting it because we had it in front of a number of people when I was first elected as leader and had a briefing on Ontario Hydro. He said to me. "Just let us build this one more nuclear station and then I promise you we will start talking about conservation. I promise we will start talking about demand management."
It only occurred to me as I left the room that it reminded me of St. Augustine in his confessions saying, "Make me pure, O Lord, but not yet." That is the approach Ontario Hydro is taking, "We will be the new puritans. We will put on all the conservation techniques you want. Just let us go ahead and build one more" -- I believe quite unnecessary -- "project." I have said that before in terms of what is needed to be done and I say it again to the Premier.
I say in all seriousness to the Premier he should look at the institutions he has. There is the Ontario Energy Board, which is shackled and cannot deal specifically with the question of capital increases. There is the public accounts committee, which has been told by the majority on that committee, and indeed by the auditor himself that it cannot deal with future policy, that it cannot deal with future policy or questions of the future, that it can only deal with past expenditure and cannot deal with any questions with respect to load management and things of that kind.
There is not an institution in this Legislature at the moment which is adequate to gain control over Hydro. I know he has given the answer that we have the estimates. With great respect, we have one day of estimates, a couple of hours in which we are able, a very few short hours -- I do not have the numbers on me -- five, I believe.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You could have had all five.
Mr. Rae: Don't start. If the Premier of Ontario is saying it only takes five hours to understand the implications of Hydro's capital plans on energy rates and on the future economy of this province, then I think he is wrong.
Mr. Conway: He is dreaming in Technicolor.
Mr. Rae: I would not use that cliché more than once a week.
I am going to leave the Hydro question there, but I honestly believe, and I say this to the Premier, that eventually he is going to have to deal with it. If the government tries to brush it under the rug now it is going to come back and haunt him in the new year. It is not a problem that is going to go away. The accountability of Hydro is a political question of tremendous importance in this province. I think the Premier is aware of it.
He knows the feelings that are being aroused by the construction of the two major lines that are going in, one in the southwest and one in the east of this province. He knows the very real concerns that are there with respect to Hydro rates when Hydro rates are going up. For example, Toronto Hydro rates are going up by 9.5 per cent when the rate of inflation is only at five per cent. That is something which is of deep concern to all of us in this party. I do not think it is being addressed by the government and I do not think there are the vehicles the Premier seems to think there are to deal with it. I say that with the greatest of respect.
I have two other questions for the Premier which I would like him to deal with now, and I am sure some members of my party may have more.
The first one has to do with the question of separate school funding. I think everyone in this chamber knows that question has historically been one of the most difficult and sensitive issues in the province. It has never been dealt with politically by the Conservative Party and certainly has never been treated as a subject to be handled in a partisan manner. That has certainly been my experience in my short life in politics.
I am sure the Premier is aware of a growing sense in the province, and I think it needs to be said publicly perhaps more often, among people whose children go to separate schools, that the very real anomalies in their funding have to be dealt with. This has two aspects, and I would like to deal with the two aspects.
The first aspect, and this is something we are attempting to do a survey on ourselves, is the number of separate schools at the primary and junior high school levels, which are supposed to be funded on the basis of equality, that have temporary facilities that are literally bursting at the seams. There are lots of kids in separate schools who are in portables and whose facilities are not equal, whose class sizes are larger and who are not in receipt of similar and equal access to quality facilities because of the funding restrictions and because there is a demographic imbalance in terms of the two systems. I think that is something the government has to address.
All of us are the products of our experience. I have been to a couple of schools in my riding and I have not been pleased with what I have seen in terms of kids having to go across school yards into temporary facilities, little youngsters having to head out into the rain and snow in order to get from one part of the school to another, and of facilities which are not equal and which do reflect some real problems which have to be addressed.
I know that addressing these problems is not easy. We all understand the very real difficulties that stand in the way when there are those who would resist any recognition of the inequality. The fact is there and it is something the government is going to have to deal with.
I would also say to the Premier that in terms of extending the funding for grades 11 through 13, it has been my view since I became leader, and I think it has been the view which our party has expressed for some time, that we basically have two public systems in the province and it is time we got on with recognizing that fact in all its fullness.
I want to indicate to the Premier, for the record again, that those are the views of my party and those are my personal views. As I say, we are all the products of very different experiences in this Legislature, but that is my personal view and it is one which is felt strongly by our party as a whole. It is something I think the government is going to have to face up to and deal with. I want to indicate to the Premier that we expect and anticipate some steps will be taken to deal with this question.
I would not like to say anything further than that, except to say I take some joy in the fact that in our bicentennial year we are going to be graced with visits from both His Holiness the Pope and Her Majesty the Queen. I have never been one to associate those two figures with any particular political party. In our party, we look forward to joining in the celebrations which will be taking place with the arrival of those figures who play such an important part in the lives of all of us in this province.
I say to the Premier we look forward to joining in and I hope he gets that message. We look forward to being there when these events take place. We look forward to being able to participate in a totally nonpartisan way on those occasions, which I am sure it is the full intention of the government to do, as it has always done.
Mr. Conway: Have you ever known Walter Borosa to do otherwise?
Mr. Rae: No. When I got my invitation the day before the lunch to meet the Premier of Greece, whom I have met on a number of other occasions, I took it as a sign of real success that we were going to be included in that way.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I only got mine two days ago.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: So much more notice than usual; I usually get it the day after.
Mr. Rae: The final question I want to raise with the Premier quickly before turning to some general remarks is the question of the French language. I have not read Contenders: The Tory Quest for Power. I do not know what was said about him in that book with respect to whatever federal ambitions he may or may not have had.
Mr. Conway: It is one of the very few books in which you are not mentioned.
Mr. Rae: Did I detect a note of jealousy there from the member for Renfrew North?
Mr. Conway: Yes; it is a good book.
Mr. Rae: I would just say to the Premier that I really do think when the history of this province and the history of the -- I was going to say Davis decade but that is wishful thinking -- decade or whatever may happen to be written, the failure to move officially with respect to French language rights is always going to represent something of a black mark in the sense that it shows an unwillingness to take what I think would be a courageous step, but one that would be accepted as an important one by and large in the province. It is one that would have tremendous symbolic value for the Franco-Ontarian minority in this province and one that I think would also do a great deal, not only for the Franco-Ontarian minority but for all minorities in this province and for all the people of this province.
We have spent today celebrating and recognizing the importance of Human Rights Week. All of us in this province and in this Legislature have come to celebrate the multiracial and multicultural character of our province, the fact that we are all in a sense boat people. We may have come here in different boats, but we are all in the same boat today.
I would say to the Premier that the failure to move on the question of official language legislation for Franco-Ontarians is hurting us in Quebec. The Premier shakes his head.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I did not shake my head.
Mr. Rae: I have family there and I am in contact with them almost daily. This subject is one which comes up from time to time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Who phones whom?
Mr. Rae: We phone each other. For the record, both my brother and my sister live in Quebec.
Mr. Conway: Both very prominent Liberals, if my memory serves correctly.
Mr. Rae: No, that is not true. The member for Renfrew North is going on very faulty information.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think of your family history and I wonder what happened to you.
Mr. Rae: So do they.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I know they do.
Mr. Rae: I can say to the Premier I think the impact that step would have on the country, the impact it would have on creating a broader sense of understanding in the whole country between the French and English communities, would be enormous. I think the failure to move underestimates what this province is all about and what this province can do.
The Premier and I may have different versions of what the province is all about; however, I think it includes a statutory and constitutional recognition of the right to be a Canadian in the fullest sense in this province, which means the right to speak one of Canada's two official languages when dealing with the provincial government and when dealing with provincial social services.
For the life of me I cannot understand why, in a province which has the largest representation of French-speaking people outside Quebec, this government continues to resist taking that step. I know we have made progress. I grew up in Ottawa and I know what it was like 30 years ago in terms of the French and English communities.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That was kindergarten.
Mr. Rae: That is all right. I was a very aware child at that stage. I am saying to the Premier I know what it was like growing up when one had a sense of the different communities. That has changed. There are real changes which have happened.
And that has as much to do with what the Liberal government has done in Ottawa as it does with what the Premier's government has done at Queen's Park; in fact it has far more to do with it. I do not see any reason why we should be second-class citizens with respect to that question in this province any longer.
Finally, I would raise a general policy matter. I could do the gamut here because so many are the same issues I have raised, from resources to education to many of the other questions that were raised by the deputy leader. However, I just want to focus my remarks very briefly on the question of jobs and the economy.
I say to the Premier I think we really do part company with him and with his colleagues on the question of the meaning of recovery and whether recovery has really happened in terms of jobs. I saw a headline in the Globe and Mail the other day which said the gross national product figure showed we have now reached what can be called recovery and that this is something we should all rejoice in.
I can only say to the Premier that it is some recovery in terms of jobs. There are some very disturbing features of this recovery. Unlike almost any other recovery which has taken place in a cyclical way since 1945, it has not been matched by a recovery in jobs. The Premier knows it; the Treasurer knows it; every member opposite knows it. We all know it as individual members because of the numbers of people we see.
The deputy leader of the Liberal Party talked about welfare recipients and the problems they were having in his constituency. We all share those problems. I say to the Premier that we in this party expect action on the economy for the winter. We are not satisfied with just holding back and waiting, waiting for something nice to happen out of some future federal, provincial or whatever program which may or may not take place.
In our view, there have to be some emergency measures taken as quickly as possible. We made some modest suggestions last week. We will have some other suggestions to make directly to the Treasurer with respect to action which we anticipate. However, the one thing I have come to learn about the Treasurer in his previous incarnations is that while he may announce the intention to do a number of things, he is a little slow in actually doing them.
For example, I notice he gave out a major release at one time, talking about the fact there were going to be major budgetary statements made at the end of November and then at the beginning of December. Now we have come through, if I am not mistaken, the end of November and what I would regard as the beginning of December and we have not seen any of the statements the Treasurer said he was going to make.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is now December 5.
Mr. Rae: That is right: there is no argument about that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Does the Treasurer know that?
Mr. Rae: Therefore, I say to the Premier that it is all very well, we are all politicians here, we all know the name of the game is --
Mr. Conway: Some are statesmen.
Mr. Rae: A statesman is just an unsuccessful politician of one kind or another.
Mr. Conway: If you read the Parliamentary Guide you know the difference.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Some are knights and statesmen.
Mr. Rae: I take it back, I was thinking of the member opposite.
But none of us mind, really, except perhaps in moments of some depression, the kind of attention the Treasurer gets whenever he makes these bold announcements of crackdowns in the nursing home field and major reform in the budgetary process. We all expect him to get publicity for those things because he is very good at doing that.
I only wish, for the sake of literally hundreds of thousands of people who do not have jobs, that the Treasurer would do a little more in substance to announce some measures for the winter that would make a difference to people. That is what we are waiting for, that is what we have not seen and that is what we are going to be insisting on in the days ahead.
Mr. Chairman: That is all the time we have today for these estimates. When we return we will resume consideration of Northern Affairs estimates.
The House recessed at 6:01 p.m.