The House met at 10 a.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
RETIREMENT OF CAM FELLA
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, it is with a great deal of pride on behalf of this Legislature and on behalf of the people of this province that I rise this morning to draw the attention of honourable members to a most significant event which will take place tomorrow.
That event is the last race and the beginning of the official retirement of the greatest racehorse that has ever lived, a horse named Cam Fella, which has brought distinction to this province and this country and has probably done more for Canadian racing -- in conjunction with his owners, who are here this morning, and his driver-trainer, who is also here this morning and whom I will introduce in a moment -- than any person or any horse in the past; and there have been very many distinguished Canadian horses.
Cam Fella is truly a world-class champion. By suppertime tomorrow night he will have become the greatest single money winner in the standardbred field. He will have done that in slightly more than two years. He will eclipse the mark of Rambling Willie, who took many more years to go over the $2-million mark.
As the representative of Ontario and Canadian racing, Cam Fella is going to leave behind a signal number of marks. First, by tomorrow night he will have won 28 straight races, which is something unheralded and almost into the superhorse category. Every one of those was under two minutes, which again is an extremely notable accomplishment.
More than that, the owners and the owner-trainer of Cam Fella took him the length and breadth of this country and the United States. They took him to the small tracks in Ontario where he attracted new people to the racing industry and new patrons to the sport. I am sure my colleague the member for Durham-York (Mr. Stevenson) would testify to the fact that they brought new impetus to the racing and farm industry in the Uxbridge area. As representatives of an industry that has a very close relationship and intimate partnership with government, they have been exemplary citizens.
It is my pleasure this morning to draw to the attention of the House that we are honoured with the presence of the co-owners of Cam Fella, Mr. Norman Clements and Mr. Norman Faulkner, and the driver-trainer, Mr. Pat Crowe. To plagiarize a bit out of the program for tomorrow, part of it reads that no horse has ever had owners like Norman Clements and Norman Faulkner, who have done what they did for the industry, and no horse has ever had a driver-trainer of the calibre of Pat Crowe for so long a period of time.
I am sure that tomorrow afternoon in a very special race at Greenwood, when Cam Fella and the field follow behind the gate and are near the start and my good friend Earl Lennox begins the call that they are off and pacing, the best wishes of this Legislature will go to the owners, the driver-trainer and all those associated with Cam Fella, as well as the very sincere appreciation of what they have done for this province, the sport and for an industry that employs 40,000 people.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, very briefly, I want to associate myself and my colleagues entirely with the sentiments of our good friend the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea). Might I add that we as Liberals are more than passingly pleased to endorse the great achievements of any horse which, according to the honourable member, has surpassed even the great Wandering Willie.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: It is Rambling Willie.
Mr. Conway: I am corrected; it is the great Rambling Willie.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, whether or not it was the great Rambling Willie or Niatross, all can agree that Cam Fella is without doubt among the greatest horses that has ever been seen in the standardbred field, and we can rise and pay tribute to that horse and those who will, we hope, bring him to his final victory. Unfortunately, the minister's record in supporting horses in this House has somehow jinxed one or two of them in the past. I would hope that with the support of all of us he might overcome that jinx and Cam Fella might win the last race of his career.
ERROR IN PUBLICATION
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a very serious point of privilege: I should reveal to the House that I am probably in this House illegally because of something which has happened. I understand that in a Ministry of Energy publication the city of St. Catharines was placed in northern New York state. As a result, I am afraid my colleague from the Niagara Peninsula, who is the Minister of Energy (Mr. Andrewes), is the only one who could possibly bail me out of this; otherwise, I would have to relinquish my seat and perhaps be a member of the Legislature of New York state.
This is not a question, but perhaps the minister might reveal to the House how St. Catharines made it into New York state.
Hon. Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Speaker, before the member for St. Catharines --
Mr. Speaker: That is not really a question.
Hon. Mr. Andrewes: I realize that, but I would want to respond, since it is Friday morning. Before he resigns his seat, and indeed before the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) resigns his and seeks new citizenship --
Mr. Kerrio: Oh, I am not going to.
Hon. Mr. Andrewes: -- l want to offer them my apologies, first of all, and to note that in the glossy Ontario Energy Review those errors on the map have been noted and corrected. Certainly we want to make sure that Niagara Falls and St. Catharines stay as part of Ontario. Indeed, the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) would be very interested to note that Crowland is on that map. There is a fair bit of history there, it being the heart of the natural gas industry for some time, if one looks back into history.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure we all feel much more secure.
WATER QUALITY TESTTNG
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to bring honourable members up to date on the results of my ministry's extensive sampling and analysis program for dioxins and furans in both raw and treated drinking water.
Applying our newly developed capability of detecting quantities to a level of 10 parts per quadrillion, my ministry tested samples from 15 water treatment plants in the western end of Lake Ontario, including the Niagara River-Welland Canal area.
One part per quadrillion, I might mention, is equivalent to one second in 32 million years, or the width of one human hair in a distance equal to 1,000 times around the world. Within this minute detection limit there were no dioxins or furans found in any samples of drinking water tested.
In my ministry's current series of tests we did find trace amounts of one of the 75 known forms of dioxin. This was discovered in samples of raw water only from St. Catharines and the Lakeview plant area of Mississauga. While the extremely low levels of dioxin detected in the two raw water samples do not constitute a health risk at this time, I am concerned that these substances were found at all.
Although we do not know the precise source of the dioxins, we do know that waste sites on the United States side of the Niagara River contain this substance. For this reason I believe the federal Minister of the Environment, Mr. Charles Caccia, must use his office to effect an early cleanup of these waste sites. In the meantime, my ministry's Niagara River improvement team will maintain its ongoing efforts to reduce contamination of the river.
I want to emphasize that these trace amounts were found in raw, untreated water. No amount, no matter how small, has been found in any sample of Ontario drinking water at any time.
My ministry has been testing raw and drinking water samples from Lake Ontario and the Niagara River for more than a year. In February my predecessor, now the Minister of Health (Mr. Norton), announced we had found trace amounts of dioxin in raw water from the Niagara River and a channel off the Welland Canal near St. Catharines.
In co-operation with my ministry's international scientific advisory committee on dioxins and with scientists at Health and Welfare Canada, our scientists have developed very stringent testing standards in order to ensure painstakingly accurate results. The committee members report that our analytical methods are as good as any techniques currently being applied anywhere in the world.
The results I am reporting today have been reviewed by my advisory committee of experts on dioxins, chaired by Dr. F. Y. Spencer and including other distinguished scientists from Quebec, the Netherlands and the United States.
I also want to inform members that our monitoring program will be extended to include other selected sites at which a continuous dioxin monitoring program will be conducted. In addition, we intend to expand the routine tests flow performed for drinking water to include tests for a broad range of trace organic chemicals.
This is one of a series of ongoing initiatives under my ministry to ensure the residents of Ontario continue to enjoy a safe and secure supply of drinking water.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, a first question to the Treasurer.
In view of the Treasurer's rather strong endorsement on Wednesday of this week of the youth employment direction of the most recent federal speech from the throne, and in view of his comments yesterday following the finance ministers' meeting in Montreal, wherein he was quoted as having said that employment must remain as Canada's number one priority, can he now indicate whether he is prepared as Treasurer of Ontario to reconsider and to commit additional funds to one of his most popular and best government programs, the Ontario career action program, which is completely out of money and is being asked repeatedly by all the community colleges and hundreds and thousands of young Ontarians between the ages of 16 and 24 who are out of work and looking for work, for the kind of help that only the Ontario career action program can provide those people?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, as we discussed earlier, the young Ontario career program is a program that was brought in by this government this year to create about 13,000 positions for people who otherwise would go into OCAP. It is a more flexible program which provides longer-term employment than OCAP. In fact this program is more expensive and costs more because its provisions are more generous than OCAP.
Many of the young people who are still attempting to find a place in OCAP are more properly placed in the young Ontario career program. To date, that program still has many vacancies since it is a new program and people are just discovering it and coming into it.
With respect, we would not be doing many young people a favour if we told them to go into the more restricted and shorter-term OCAP when we have space for them in the young Ontario career program. It appears that people are now beginning to understand that and make that change into the newer program.
None the less, I have already indicated to my colleague the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) that should it become apparent that OCAP is going to need some topping up in order to make sure that people are not left between the two programs, that will be done.
Mr. Conway: How can the Treasurer say the young Ontario career program which he has introduced this year looks after most of the people who would be involved in OCAP, given that the new program -- there are so many of these acronyms, it is hard to keep track of them -- the young Ontario career program, is specifically targeted at those people between the ages of 20 and 20 and a large part of that budget is directed to graduates of colleges and universities, when OCAP is specifically targeted at the 16-to-24 age group where unemployment is very high and where OCAP deals particularly with those who do not have a very high level of education, training or experience?
Will the Treasurer not agree it is that 16-to-24 group that OCAP deals with specifically, where rates of unemployment continue to be very high, that calls out for some action, and that his new program does not deal with that group in quite the same way OCAP does?
Given the enormous success of OCAP, which is one of the best programs and is heavily subscribed to, virtually all colleges are now out of those funds. Can the Treasurer not give us an undertaking that he will respond positively and immediately to, among others, his own colleague the Minister of Colleges and Universities, who, we understand, has petitioned for additional funds now so that those hundreds of prospective employers who stand by ready to create those new jobs and the thousands of young Ontarians between the ages of 16 and 24 can be dealt with now?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: By reaffirming the value of OCAP to that particular age group, the member explains very well the validity of starting the new program and the rationale for our new program. It is to shift out of the OCAP area older and better-trained people with more education into the young Ontario career program, thus opening up spaces in OCAP for those who most particularly and only qualify for OCAP.
What we are trying to do now is make sure the better-trained and better-educated people move into the young Ontario career program instead of using up OCAP positions. Thus, we have spaces opening up in OCAP. That is certainly and surely the proper way to organize our youth funding programs.
In sum and substance, between the two programs there is enough money available for all the young people looking for spaces under those two programs. The object of our activities to date is to get those who belong in each program properly placed under those programs. It is not a shortage of money. It is people applying to the wrong program and not being familiar enough with the new one.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, does the Treasurer not think youth unemployment is a serious enough problem in Ontario, with youth unemployment statistics running at twice the rate of the general unemployment rate, that it should be required of this government to increase funding for OCAP and to increase funding and develop the young Ontario career program? Both programs are necessary. Will he not make a commitment before Christmas to fund both of them at an increased level?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, the youth unemployment rate is not twice the total unemployment rate. The total unemployment rate is 9.1 per cent. Youth unemployment is still too high at 14.7 per cent, but it is not twice the level. In addition, we have had some employment growth in jobs for young people in the last 12 months and in the last month, so we are heading in the right direction.
The point I would make is a great many programs were started by this government over the course of this year. We now have more than $100 million in programs for young people alone and a great portion of another $200 million will create more jobs for young people.
What we tend to forget with these programs is that jobs do not come on stream the day the programs are announced and the day they are started. Many of the vacancies and job opportunities created by those new programs are just now coming available to our young people. I believe we will see an improvement in the youth unemployment statistics because of the programs currently in place.
Just to name one of those programs, the young Ontario career program we have just been discussing still has space for literally thousands of young people. Our young people are already, I would argue, decently well served by programs which have already been announced and which have already been funded. We should make it clear that employment opportunities are available and have already been created by programs announced earlier this year and just coming on stream now to help the youth unemployment problem this winter.
Mr. Conway: The Treasurer will know that the 16-to-19-year-olds, particularly 16-to-19-year-old males, represent the worst unemployment group in the entire economy. There is only one program that will deal with that group and it is OCAP.
Can the Treasurer indicate this morning, clearly and without equivocation, whether he is prepared before Christmas to commit additional funds to the Ontario career action program, the only program which deals specifically with the chronic rates of unemployment for the 16-to-19-year-olds in the Ontario economy?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have stated on earlier occasions that if, after getting the young people placed in the proper programs, it appears that the lack of funding, or I should say the oversubscription, to put it fairly, for OCAP still is there, then we will provide the additional funding to OCAP to look after those young people.
I cannot say it any more clearly except to add that we are not going to provide that money until we have tried to organize our young people into the programs and the funding that is already available and not being taken up. For example, if we moved an amount of money out of the young Ontario career program into OCAP to make up that difference, then the money would clearly be available.
It would not hurt if young people are not employed in the newer program; it would not reduce any jobs because they are not yet applying. But it would mean that we were sticking with an old, more restricted program. Instead of moving the people in the older age group, we would be keeping them in a more restricted program and not giving them the full advantage of the new money. That is all we are trying to do.
To make it clear, so that the member cannot quibble about it later on or suggest we are not prepared to move money into that program, let me say succinctly and clearly once again that the young Ontario career program is not fully subscribed and is not close to it. That is the proper program for many of these young people. If they do not subscribe to that program and if OCAP as a result remains oversubscribed, then additional funds will be put into the OCAP program to make sure that no young person is left without a job because of the OCAP funding.
Mr. Conway: It is clear that the winter is going to pass and one of the minister's best programs dealing with one of the areas of highest unemployment is going to go unaddressed. I think that is a tragedy that ought not to be left unresponded to.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
LCBO HIRING PRACTICES
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, my next question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and it concerns the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. It being the holiday season, most of us good Ontarians are off to the minister's monopoly stores to make our contribution to the great monopoly business he runs. I will set aside the prices that he charges in his monopoly business because I want to pursue a concern about employment opportunities in his liquor stores.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Conway: The minister will know that in the most recent report of the Provincial Auditor it is reported that the recruitment and hiring practices at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario are at best quixotic and at least very unclear.
Can the minister indicate, particularly at this holiday season, when those hundreds of liquor stores across Ontario will be taking on hundreds and thousands of temporary employees to accommodate the rush of the Christmas season, what direction, if any, he has given to the liquor board to make sure there is fairness and equity in the hiring practices at the liquor board and that it does not continue to be as irregular and as unclear as the auditor has reported, and of course, as we all know, as shot through with Tory patronage as is well known throughout the land?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, may I say on behalf of the people of Ontario that we welcome any purchases the member plans to make. I am not one of those who agree with the reputation he may have as a result of his leader's meeting in Kitchener, which I understand he disavowed. The member is not a scandalmonger. He is other things, but he is not a scandalmonger. All the other things are good, by the way.
The auditor did comment in his report on the hiring at the LCBO, and the chairman of the board did advise him that within the last six months the board developed and published staffing standards for all store positions that are subject to posting for promotion. He also indicated that they intended that staffing standards for entry-level positions would also be established, along with written guidelines and procedures for the staffing process.
I have given no specific instructions with respect to the Christmas hiring. I understand that it is pretty well all in place now.
Mr. Conway: The minister's predecessor, the man to his immediate left --
Hon. Mr. Drea: Never. No way.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: He does not like to be considered to be to my left.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Conway: -- the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) said in the procedural affairs committee three years ago that there was a clarification of the hiring practices at the liquor board and that the old days had been sent into history. The auditor has clearly indicated that the words of the minister's predecessor, the member for Scarborough Centre, came to very little in the light of the auditor's findings in his most recent report.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Conway: Can the minister give an undertaking he will see to it that the kind of irregular practices which bring people into the LCBO are improved upon and that we will not continue to see those well-paid positions from Kenora to Cornwall and from Toronto to Timmins dished out in so irregular a fashion as we all know them to be and as the Provincial Auditor has reported? Is he personally going to involve himself to ensure that those job opportunities, both temporary and permanent, are made available on a clear, understandable and regular basis?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, may I just clarify one issue? When members, or even I, refer to my colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) as being to my left, it seems to upset him greatly. I do not look on him as being on my left; certainly from the member's perspective the minister is on his right. I am sure this makes him a lot happier.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Why?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Where do you stand?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Far to the right of you.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Far to the right. You sound as if you are a Liberal if you are to the right of me.
Mr. Speaker: Now to the question, please.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I think the member who geographically sits to my left -- and I do not know where he sits philosophically -- indicated same time ago the collective agreements within the LCBO required that temporary employees receive certain preference with respect to hiring for permanent jobs. I think the member knows and understands that.
In its response to the auditor, the board has indicated it is looking at staffing standards for entry-level positions. I certainly will follow the course of those developments.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, can the minister inform the House how many part-time workers are actually working full-time hours, that is, 30 hours or more a week, in what amounts to full-time positions, as is the case in the Rexdale warehouse where three employees have worked on a full-time basis for over six months? Does the minister not feel this is simply exploitation of workers, a cheap way of getting full-time workers without paying any kind of benefits which should be going to them as full-time workers?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I do not have those exact figures. As the member knows, the Whitby warehouse is at present just opening up. There have been some efforts in the board to make certain that displacement of employees does not become a problem for those employees in these difficult times. I would assume they are trying to man certain other areas on a temporary basis simply to facilitate the continuing employment of present full-time employees. However, I will certainly look into this.
Mr. Conway: I have a final supplementary to the minister on the hiring practices. He will know that in the just-released ninth annual report on the status of women crown employees, it is reported the LCBO has the worst record in terms of hiring women employees of any government ministry or agency.
Women get a worse deal from the liquor board than anywhere in the government of Ontario. The records are shameful. In terms of occupational characteristics in the stores, only 5.6 per cent of the employees are women. This is the shame of the government's record, which is shameful to start with.
What specific undertakings is this minister prepared to make to this House and the women of Ontario that this outrageously bad record will be improved upon for women in terms of job opportunities at the LCBO?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I hope the member would agree that historically it is a traditional thing in life that it seems to be male applicants who are the primary applicants for positions at the board. However, this is changing. We are certainly prepared to discuss it at committee where we have the relevant people available.
If we look at the statistics, we will find that the number of women who are temporary employees has gone up dramatically. It has been this pool of potential employees from which the permanent employees come. I certainly would look forward to an increasing number of women in a variety of positions in the LCBO and I will continue to encourage that achievement because it is a fundamental goal of this government.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. He will recall that in his brief to the Donald S. Macdonald permanent employment royal commission, the royal commission on the economy, he said: "Nothing would be more detrimental to the achievement of our larger goals than a legacy of discouraged, unemployed workers."
Can the Treasurer tell this House what immediate steps for the discouraged, unemployed workers he is going to take before Christmas this year? Is his statement next week going to be a talking piece or an action piece?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, just so we understand my prebudget statement next week, it will be what it was said to be when I first spoke about it in this House on October 11. Just so the member will not be able to say he was disappointed that the speech did not offer what it was supposed to offer, let us be clear about it. It is not a budget and it is not a statement of new government programs. It is the beginning of the prebudget process so that he and others can give us advice on what programs we might begin and what economic policies we should pursue in the budget.
Let us be clear, Mr. Speaker. It is not now, nor was it ever intended to be, a statement of new government programs or new initiatives. It is simply setting the framework and sharing information as the start of the budget process. That is all it was ever said to be -- an important document. That being said, the member should not run out into the hall next Thursday afternoon and say he is disappointed or surprised that we had no new programs --
Mr. McClellan: I think we could do it right now.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, he can do it right now. He can go right out this morning and say he is disappointed that I will not have it next Thursday. The member should not say he is surprised because he is not surprised. I said that on October 11.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you.
Mr. Foulds: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Now that is even easier.
Mr. Speaker: No surprise.
Mr. Foulds: Is the Treasurer aware that the number of people running out of unemployment insurance -- in other words, the number of unemployment insurance exhaustees -- has jumped dramatically from 10,000 a month on average in 1985, to 12,745 a month on average in 1982, to some 17,700 a month in 1983? In other words, there has been a 38 per cent increase so far in 1983?
Does the Treasurer not think it is his responsibility to commit his government to act instead of just talk before this House recesses to meet the needs of these exhaustees?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let us be clear. This government did not wait until December of this year to act. We have a lot of programs in place; we have talked about some of the youth employment programs already. We have not yet discussed this morning the Ontario training incentive program, OTIP. We have not discussed the capital acceleration projects. We have not discussed a lot of the projects that I could enumerate fairly completely this morning.
But all those programs indicate the government did act before December 1983 and January 1984. What we did was act early this year. Many of those projects will be coming on stream this winter. The success of those programs and others is quite obvious, namely, 196,000 jobs in this 12-month period, a figure that neither the member, nor I nor anyone anticipated. Those programs together with other factors are working.
Let us be clear. Many of those programs will be achieving their full impact over the next few months; we have talked about some this morning. Those suggestions that we are doing nothing about unemployment problems this winter are, with respect, quite unfair. Those programs were put in place some time ago and will have an impact this winter.
To the extent that further activity might be required and warranted by us, I would remind the member that in Montreal yesterday we, Ontario, put youth unemployment and unemployment generally on the agenda. As a result of the concern expressed by all ministers yesterday, there was agreement by the federal government that we could all have more access, with their co-operation, to the Canada assistance plan and unemployment insurance moneys once again this year in order to create even more jobs.
The Canada-Ontario employment development program under section 38 was very successful last year and created a lot of those 196,000 jobs.
Mr. Di Santo: Time.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will sit down if the member wants.
We have created a lot of those jobs through those programs. I was encouraged by yesterday's undertaking to work with us on those programs and I am concerned that as the full impact of our 1983 programs begins to reach its peak and tail off into 1984, at that stage we will have more of the federal money behind us and with us so that we can continue our job creation efforts into 1984. I think that is a sensible and co-ordinated way to go about it.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary on the exhaustee situation. The minister will recall it was one year ago last week that the Compagnie Internationale de Papier du Canada plant in Hawkesbury shut down, putting 20 per cent of the population of that town on unemployment. Most of those workers, with the exception of those who worked on the Canada- Ontario employment development program in Hawkesbury, are now becoming exhaustees. Most of them are middle-aged. What programs, if any, does the minister propose to undertake for those middle-aged workers who are in this kind of situation in Hawkesbury and elsewhere?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, as members will know, the member for Prescott-Russell (Mr. Boudria) raised this question with us during my estimates. We indicated at that time the Ministry of Industry and Trade had moved in very quickly to conduct a study with regard to the future of that operation. Unfortunately, that very good exercise has not produced any alternatives to date, but we are continuing to work on every viable alternative and they have been told by their minister that funding will be available for any reasonable proposition that might turn up in that area.
The panoply of other government programs I have outlined -- and to be fair, some of them are supported by the federal government -- will be available to workers in those areas. Any new moneys we might put into this program will be pointed particularly towards areas of high unemployment, of which Hawkesbury will be one.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, instead of offering the people of Ontario an alphabet soup of relatively ineffective programs, can the minister tell us what he is going to do to meet the needs of the 12,000 people who will be losing their COED jobs at the end of this month and the additional 9,000 people who will be losing their COED jobs over the next three to four months to May? What is the minister going to do to ensure that those people who are running out of unemployment insurance benefits do not have to go on welfare? Can he actually create some jobs for them so they can have a useful and productive winter?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let us make a couple of points, Mr. Speaker. In fact, COED was a requalification program in large part, which is not to say that is all that should be done but it does indicate the program was to requalify them, it was not to have them go off the unemployment rolls. They will not be going off the unemployment rolls. In fact, COED will specifically succeed in requalifying them.
Mr. Foulds: You have an increase in unemployment insurance exhaustees and an elimination of COED jobs.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: With respect, perhaps the honourable member has missed the essence of COED, which is to keep them qualified. They will not be disappearing, as he has suggested. They will be requalified as a result of a lot of money being put in by both levels of government.
With regard to the figures, we can bandy them around for a long time, but one thing I can tell the member is that, regardless of which figures we use, we can all agree the problem is serious. The last figure the member's leader used grossly overstated the situation by doing something I have never heard of, which was to compare the July unadjusted figure with the November unadjusted figure so as to inflate that far beyond any reasonable or fair measure. This indicates the trouble one gets into when people try to deal with this problem by virtue of their own version of the statistics.
I hope we can all agree there are a lot of government programs in place, and surely we can agree Ontario has seen a far greater improvement in the job employment situation this year than the average improvement for Canada; that is, 196,000 jobs. As the member will see in my statement next Thursday, I am decently optimistic we can continue that, even without government programs. Let me also make it be clear there will be further government initiatives.
HOMES FOR SPECIAL CARE
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. It concerns the matter of the triministry project which I raised about a month or so ago in the minister's absence, and the underspending of about $8.7 million or 32 per cent that has been projected for that project. I want to ask the minister specifically about what is happening to the devolution of that project in eastern Ontario.
I wonder whether the minister is aware of the letter sent to the Premier (Mr. Davis) by Mr. Douglas Whitmore, chairman of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Working Group, with a copy to the minister and others, in which he says:
"According to your government, the triministry project was to last four years, and within that time period all assessments were to be completed and necessary programs in place. We are now within the last fiscal year of the TMP and the only programs in place in our counties are life- or work-skill programs for 20 persons in Cornwall. There is nothing for the other 62 persons.
"We are told that there is no more money in this fiscal year for the triministry project and we are given little or no information as to future availability of funds."
What is the minister doing in eastern Ontario? Could he give us some update on whether those figures are accurate or whether there will be more money coming?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, first of all, this is not the first time the honourable member has thrown out this little canard that somehow there is no more money in this fiscal year. New programs are being approved in this fiscal year, right now. Money is flowing. The member knows full well he has had full answers in estimates to many of the things he has raised here, and he has agreed with what we have said in estimates, not only in May but even a year ago.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: What are you talking about?
Hon. Mr. Drea: The member is shaking his head. Let me go on with this point. The fundamental point is that we said all would be assessed. However, we have said in the last two estimates that not all were going to be assessed. The member does recall that. We pointed out that because of geriatric considerations and some other things some of the older people were not going to be assessed, we were going to look at some other approaches. That is hardly new to the member.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Answer the question, Frank.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I really think I was answering the question, not listening to a lot of interjections from a surly smart aleck.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Answer the question. What are you trying to do in eastern Ontario? Don't try to bamboozle people.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I find it very interesting that the man who portrays himself as the workers' friend keeps sneering at an industry that employs 40,000 people. They think about as much of him as he does of them.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I'm sneering at a minister who doesn't give a damn about his clientele. He should be removed from his position.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: If the government had any integrity, this minister would be removed from his position.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: The question is to the minister in terms of his bamboozling us with his figures. Is it not the case that in the nursing homes, the homes for special care in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, 52 of the 84 people have been assessed? One year after that happened, only 20 of those who have been assessed are receiving any kind of program at all. There have been other kinds of initiatives put forward; about $268,000 worth has been requested. What is the minister going to do for those other people? How much money will be going there and when will it be going there?
Hon. Mr. Drea: If I could be allowed to continue the answer I attempted to give, before we had the histrionics from the far left -- they are the far left, are they not? Their little brochure says they are.
Mr. Speaker: Now to the question, please.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The whole thrust of the triministry project now is to provide service directly to the client, and particularly service directed to the client, not to service providers. We have been evaluating the triministry project over the summer and the fall. The member knows that, yet he continues to ask this type of question. We are devising new approaches so we can deal with programs directed to the individual. I will come back on Monday or Tuesday and tell the member what the remaining programs are in that area and when they will commence for those who have been assessed and for whom a program has not begun.
I do not think that is bamboozling or anything else. I think it is an accurate statement of exactly what is going on. It is a matter of record that each year more and more money is being paid out on behalf of programs for those in the triministry project. The member does not need to shake his head. That is a matter of very solid fact.
One of the things that annoys the party of the left just a little bit is that all the groups which set themselves up thinking they were going to share in all this largess by directing programs are not going to do it any more. We want to make sure it goes to the particular individual in that home for special care.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding all the histrionics on both sides, I think the issue has to be the fact that the Minister of Community and Social Services --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Ms. Copps: The minister has embarked upon a program and he has done assessments in many communities across the province, including Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. At the Muskoka Nursing Home in Gravenhurst, where 26 assessments were done -- I am sorry; can the minister not hear me?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Would the honourable members please curtail their private conversations? The minister is having difficulty hearing the question.
Ms. Copps: I have a question for the minister which has to be asked for the people in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and in other areas around the province who had their hopes raised by the 26 assessments done in the Muskoka Nursing Home. I visited there and saw 26 people living in one room. Those people were counting on a follow-up to that assessment. In that case they waited for a year and had no action.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Ms. Copps: When can we expect there will be action on all the assessments that have been done throughout Ontario with respect to the triministry project?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I did not hear all of what the honourable member said about the Muskoka Nursing Home, but the programs have commenced there for those people.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: When?
Hon. Mr. Drea: My friend was not there two days ago. They have commenced; I know, because the money has flowed.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: When? Since I raised it?
Hon. Mr. Drea: The member was there when?
Mr. Speaker: Never mind getting into a debate.
An hon. member: He was there several months ago.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Drea: In any event, those programs have commenced.
Second, as I pointed out in the answer to the previous question, the approach now is to have as many services as possible directed to the individual clients commence immediately rather than waiting for or evaluating proposals of service providers. For the number that have been assessed, which is 2,200 in round figures, I want those programs, if they have not already commenced, to commence for the individuals no later than in the next calendar year.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: It would be interesting to know the actual date when that program started in the Muskoka Nursing Home. Perhaps the minister will add that in his reply to this final supplementary, which is about Prescott and Russell because I have been asking about eastern Ontario and the individualized programs he is putting into place for the individuals there.
In Prescott and Russell, 54 of the 110 people who are in the homes there have been assessed. There is a calculated need in that area, put forward by the working groups and others in his ministry, for about $700,000 in programs that would be needed to serve those people. As yet, however, I understand there are no programs in place for any individual in any of those homes. If it is the case, how can the minister say he is providing programs to individuals and somehow going around these other project proposals that are being put forward?
Hon. Mr. Drea: That is a rather convoluted question. The working groups are not part of my ministry. The working groups that deal with this are outside the ministry and not as stated by the honourable member. If he wants a report on what is going on at Prescott and Russell I will include it, but he should not try to tell me that the working groups that propose $700,000 in programs are in my ministry, because they are not.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I did not say that.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Drea: This is the service provider group. It is the very one we are talking about.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I would like to correct the record. I erroneously gave the impression that the Minister of Community and Social Services is doing nothing in terms of the homes for special care triministry project. I want to let the House know that two days ago, 36 days after I raised the question and several months after the projects were approved, the ministry gave two thirds of the money that was initially asked for to the Muskoka Nursing Home.
FARM STABILIZATION PROGRAM
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Treasurer. Since I started putting questions to the Treasurer pertaining to agricultural matters there has been some activity in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. There is a recent report, whether it be fact or fiction -- and I am inclined to think it is fact -- that the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food will be relieved of his responsibilities in that capacity as of January 1.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Riddell: If the Treasurer can influence that kind of activity in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, I want to ask this question. I recall the minister's recent stints in rural Ontario, his recent pleas to farmers to let him know what is needed for the agricultural industry in this province and his letters as recently as December 1 to hog producers where he stated, "Based on the current prices, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food advises that support payments will exceed the $5 per weaner payment you suggest." This was in response to a letter he received from Martin Bruyn, one of the sow-weaner producers, which has led producers to believe they would have been eligible for a payout per sow under the sow-weaner program.
Was the minister as shocked as we were to hear there will be no payout to sow-weaner producers this year, even though prices have averaged about 82 cents a pound while costs of production are $1.39 a pound, according to the ministry's own figures? Will he confer with the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) and assure those sow-weaner producers who are facing financial ruin there will be a payout this year?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether the honourable member's rumours are correct about the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food, but he served me as my Assistant Deputy Minister of Industry and Tourism and he was and is an excellent civil servant I would be proud to have working for me at any time, just as I know my colleague has been happy to have him serve him. He has been served well by him. He is a loyal, dedicated and excellent civil servant. He always has been and always will be.
Mr. Riddell: I don't know why the farmers asked for his resignation.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let us be honest. The member would be delighted to have him working for his caucus at any time. He knows that.
Mr. Conway: He once did.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He wishes he could get him back again.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: With regard to that payment, if the member has a concern he should raise it with my colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Food --
Mr. Riddell: You were the one who made the statement.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member read the letter accurately and said the ministry had informed us as followed. I told in that letter what the ministry had informed us. The member should address the question to my colleague, because not only does he understand that program far better than I and the people in my ministry but also he understands it a heck of a lot better than does the member. The member should ask him the question. He might learn something.
Mr. Riddell: It is obvious the Treasurer does not take the problems of the agricultural industry seriously, but I will try a supplementary on him.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Riddell: In view of the fact the market value for pigs under the provincial stabilization program is based on the price of finished hogs and not on the price of weaners, which often bear little relevance to each other, and since the number of farmers enrolled in the stabilization program has decreased from 4,424 when the program was introduced in 1980 to 3,000 at present, and has declined from 97 to 50 in those counties of most concern to the minister at present, namely, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, do not the low enrolment and the fact that farmers are dropping out of this program indicate to him the inadequacy of the provincial assistance, especially when our producers compare it to the $20 million paid last year to Quebec producers by their government under their pork stabilization plan? I understood the minister was the one who had the grasp of it.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Riddell: He was in Dufferin county. He said the beef industry is in trouble and needs help --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the member place his question right now?
Mr. Riddell: I will do that, Mr. Speaker, but bear in mind also that you let the Treasurer ramble on.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Place your question.
Mr. Riddell: Will he not tell our farmers that this government will introduce a stabilization plan which will offer meaningful assistance to them? To keep our pork producers alive, will he convince the Minister of Agriculture and Food that a payout simply has to be made to the weaner producers for the 1983 production?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will refer that question where it ought to be placed, to the Minister of Agriculture and Food, which might interfere with the free flow of the speech that was just delivered.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, this matter was raised in the House the other day by the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart). I thought the member for Huron-Middlesex was in his seat that day.
Essentially, the existing sow-weaner stabilization plan in Ontario is one which was developed a number of years ago and about which the Pork Producers Marketing Board was consulted. At that time they approved of the terms of the plan.
In the first six registration periods of the sow-weaner plan we have made payouts in three of the six periods, the most recent one being the one I announced in Stratford at the Pork Congress in June 1982.
In the most recent period, period seven, the average market price for the period April to September 1983 was $69.80 per hundredweight. The Ontario support level was $68.69 per hundredweight.
I would remind members that this plan is administered by a board made up in the main of producers. It is not one that is run by civil servants. To be sure, the director of the plan is a civil servant, but he answers to the commission.
At my request, following a meeting with the representatives of the pork board two weeks ago this morning in my office in this building, the commission reviewed the matter again and concluded that based on the numbers they cannot recommend a payout. They have said they will waive the fees for period eight, but based on the facts and based on the plan that was agreed to by the producers who run the plan, they cannot recommend a payout.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, it is nice that the member for Huron-Middlesex has now found out about the nonpayment under the sow-weaner program after I asked the question several days ago.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Swart: Recognizing that the rules of the stabilization commission prohibit payment for the sow-weaner program at this time simply because it is based on the price of pork and has nothing to do with the low price of sow-weaners -- it is a very silly situation and I am sure it will be changed -- recognizing that Ontario farmers are getting something like $140 less for beef on average than the producers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec, and $20 less on their hogs, will the minister now institute a red meat subsidy program to the farmers of this province based on these figures until we get the tripartite stabilization program which may come next spring, next fall or not at all?
Mr. Speaker: That does not sound like a supplementary really. Briefly, please.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Briefly? Me? Mr. Speaker, I will leave it to your good judgement whether it is a supplementary or a new question.
I am sure the honourable member noted with interest that in the speech from the throne in Ottawa on Wednesday of this week the federal government has firmly committed itself to a red meat stabilization plan. Quite frankly, that is due in no small measure to the work of this government in this province in leading the fight for it in Canada. I can say without any fear of contradiction that it would not have been in the throne speech of Canada if it had not been for the work of this government.
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I believe I have a point of privilege since the member for Welland-Thorold made reference to my name in his supplementary.
It is because the member for Welland-Thorold is quite guilty of giving information that is not always factual that the farmers do not have any faith in him and they come to me --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That is not a point of privilege.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations in his capacity as the overseer of the rent review program. Is the minister aware of a recent guideline by the Residential Tenancy Commission advising the rent review commissioners that the preferred approach to rent review of co-owned buildings is for each co-owner to apply for rent review for a specific unit? Does the minister realize that in the case of a building such as 30 Allanhurst in the city of Etobicoke this could mean 58 individual rent review hearings for a building that has only 59 apartments?
What is the minister prepared to do to correct the impending chaos that is being created by this guideline?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding there was a recent court decision relating to co-op share ownership which indicated individual units should be dealt with individually. It is also my understanding it was the decision of the Residential Tenancy Commission that this decision had implications with respect to co-tenancy and therefore it was appropriate this principle, proclaimed in our common law jurisdiction, would have to be applied in the co-tenancy situation. That is the reason it was done.
Mr. Philip: I have a copy of the memorandum from the Residential Tenancy Commission, and the very court decision it refers to is the one we are all aware of, which is the Madeiros versus Fraleigh case.
Does the minister not recall that the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) introduced legislation to correct the problem caused by that decision and that he himself introduced legislation, Bill 113, indicating people who own a share cannot, under the Landlord and Tenant Act, be considered as landlords for purposes of eviction?
Does the minister not see that the thrust of the Residential Tenancy Commission guideline is in direct contravention of the idea of one building, one rent review hearing brought in by rent review in 1977 in the new act, by the Attorney General's bill and by his own recent legislation? How can he have one guideline going in direct contravention of three pieces of legislation by this government?
What is he going to do to correct it? Is he prepared to change the guidelines or bring in an amendment to section 126 of the act so this does not happen?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: First of all I do not, cannot and have not ever changed the guidelines of the Residential Tenancy Commission. Those are their decisions and they execute them. I have given the member the reasons that have been given to me to explain their actions. They are in line with that decision.
The legislation brought in by the Attorney General, as the member knows, dealt with landlord and tenant matters. This is an issue of rent review and it relates to the same principle as was outlined in that case, namely the individual share ownership in a co-op unit and the transference of that principle to co-tenancy occupation.
If the member has serious questions about it, we are currently in estimates, the Residential Tenancy Commission will be there and we can have a much longer discussion of it. I am just reporting the reasons they took the steps they did.
USE OF RHOSP FUNDS
Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. The registered home ownership savings plan, or RHOSP as we know it, the federal tax shelter plan, can now be taken out of tax-free status and used towards the purchase of furniture and appliances until December 31 without being taxed.
Would the Treasurer in his ongoing discussions with the federal government -- specifically Marc Lalonde, I guess -- take up with him whether those funds could be used towards home repair and renovations? Such a program should relieve unemployment through the winter for the affected trades and would not cost either government anything.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to do that. It is an idea that might have some potential. On the basis of our discussions of yesterday in Montreal, the federal government now clearly seems to be prepared to look at some existing programs and legislation with a view to making them work more actively in terms of creating employment, hence its agreement on the Canada assistance plan moneys and unemployment insurance money. Perhaps we can take this proposition to the federal government and see if it is willing to divert RHOSP tax money back into employment as well. I will take this proposal forward to the federal Minister of Finance.
SPARTON OF CANADA LTD.
Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour concerning the labour practices of Sparton of Canada Ltd. in London. The minister will be aware that on December the company gave notice to 34 employees that they were being temporarily laid off commencing the following day. I would add in parentheses that after considerable local media attention, nine of those 34 were subsequently recalled.
The notice was given just hours before the contractual deadline after which the workers would have been eligible for eight days' holiday pay. The layoff expires immediately in the new year and was obviously intended specifically to avoid having to pay the workers for their holiday time. While the company's action is legal, it is also reprehensible.
Has the minister talked to Sparton and done anything in his power to try to convince the company to reconsider its actions in the best interests of labour relations in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I have not spoken personally with the representative of Sparton of Canada Ltd. but our employment standards branch has been in touch with the company and is trying to resolve the matter.
Mr. Van Horne: Sparton's actions this week would be bad enough as an isolated example, but they are clearly part of an ongoing campaign against the London workers. The minister will recall that questions were raised late last year and earlier this year, by me and by other members of our party and the third party, concerning the propriety of the company's actions in establishing the non-union plant in Campbellville.
Could the minister assure us he and his officials are keeping a careful eye on Sparton's operations to guarantee the labour laws of Ontario are not circumvented and jobs in London subsequently lost as a result?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Yes, that is being done.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I would like to put a question to the Minister of Community and Social Services. The minister must be aware that an unemployed person who is at a low unemployment insurance rate and receiving a welfare supplement loses the welfare supplement and associated benefits if he or she accepts a Department of Employment and Immigration sponsored training course, because the government's arbitrary rules consider he or she is no longer looking for a job and is thus ineligible for welfare.
How can the minister justify this cruel rule which puts a family income substantially below the recognized welfare level?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, one of the rules of general welfare assistance has always been that if one enters into a federally sponsored training program we do not supplement the federal allowance.
I am willing to look at the case, but after a lot of urging from us the federal government recently raised its training benefits because of the fact we are not in a position to use local welfare assistance money to subsidize federal training programs. Surely the member's question should be to the federal government. It is its training allowance the member is calling into disrepute, not any rules of the government of Ontario.
Mr. Swart: The minister is passing the buck again; of course the purpose of welfare is to supplement those who are on extremely low incomes for any reason.
I want to give the minister the case of Bruce LaRiviere of 221 Hellems Avenue in Welland, who is married, has one small child and is on unemployment insurance of $455 plus $51 welfare supplement. On November 21 he started a 40-week training course at Niagara College sponsored by the federal employment department. His child is in the hospital.
Because he was no longer in the work force he was cut off welfare, which of course causes him and his family to lose dental and Ontario health insurance plan coverage, plus reducing his monthly income to $455. He is seriously considering quitting his training because he cannot live on that income.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Swart: Will the minister change this cruel regulation, in consultation with the federal government if necessary, so that this man and others in this category at least get the minimum welfare benefit?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I notice the member has changed the bottom of his question a little bit. The simple fact is it is a federal program and a federal responsibility. If he is going to have me, through the local taxpayers --
Hon. Mr. Drea: The member should calm down. His problem is he is running counter to the fellow waving his left hand in front of him. He is the one who does not want the local ratepayer to pay any of this at all. The member is now asking the local ratepayer through his property tax to pay and subsidize the federal government for its dereliction.
WEDDING OF MEMBER FOR HURON-MIDDLESEX
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, a point of information that I know will interest you and all members of the House is that our colleague the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) is to be married tomorrow. I know all members of the House would want to join to wish Jack and Anita much happiness. We hope somehow it will strengthen his voice here in the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of our party, we not only extend congratulations but we know this upcoming relationship will temper and moderate his contributions here and may lower the decibels a little bit. We are very excited. Quite sincerely, we express our congratulations. The only thing I might add is that I would be delighted if the House leader could stand up and announce, maybe on Monday, that the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) was taking a similar step.
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I certainly want to thank all the members for their expressions of best wishes that I have received over the last little while. It has been hard to ascertain whether they were actually wishing me the best or commiserating with me. Believe me, my party has complained that I have become somewhat better tempered and mellow since the big day has been approaching. I do not know whether that is the case, but we will continue to carry out our responsibilities to the best of our ability after the big day.
Mr. Speaker: Will it reduce your propensity for long questions?
An hon. member: I doubt it.
Mr. Speaker: Congratulations on behalf of all members.
INFLATION RESTRAINT LEGISLATION
Mr. Sheppard: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition.
"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining rights; and
"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act."
The above petition is signed by several hundred teachers from the schools listed.
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions of the same tenor, signed by 15 teachers of the Queensborough Junior High School, 23 teachers of Jane Junior High School, 16 teachers of Eastdale school, 15 teachers of Fisherville Junior High School, nine teachers of Dublin Heights Elementary and Junior High School, and an individual petition of the same tenor signed by two more teachers.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
PROVINCIAL COURTS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 149, An Act to amend the Provincial Courts Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, this bill which concerns the procedures under which parking offences are prosecuted, clarifies the intent of this House when it adopted the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1950.
Before the revised statutes came into effect, section 147 of the Provincial Offences Act clearly established that parking infractions could continue to be prosecuted under the Summary Convictions Act until part II of the Provincial Offences Act was proclaimed. In reliance on this, municipalities across the province have continued to conduct their parking offence proceedings under the Summary Convictions Act. However, in the statute revision process, the language in section 147 was changed slightly.
This change has now been found by a count county judge to render invalid parking offence proceedings under the Summary Convictions Act, even though part II of the Provincial Offences Act has not been proclaimed.
My ministry is seeking leave to appeal the decision of the county court judge to which I just referred. However, in the light of the enormous number of cases which have been determined under the law as it was assumed to be until that decision, and of the great many cases now in progress, I believe we must settle this point as quickly as possible.
Accordingly, this bill is being introduced definitively to restore the law to the state this House had intended it to be since the Provincial Offences Act came into force. Because of the reliance which has been placed on the generally understood state of the law, in order to remove any uncertainty which might otherwise exist in relation to parking offence proceedings taken since the effective date of the statute revision, the bill is retroactive to that date.
However, in clarifying the law, I do not want to impose any hardship on individuals who have expended time, effort and perhaps, in some cases, money for legal fees in pursuing a remedy based on any uncertainty about the law. As a result, the retroactivity will not apply in crown appeals from acquittals entered up to today, nor in defence appeals filed up to and including today where such appeals are based on the ambiguity to which I have referred.
In particular, the appeal being pursued by my ministry on the decision of the county court judge will not be affected by the retroactivity of this bill. Our argument in that case will be based on the old law and will assert that His Honour erred in finding the statute revision had effected a change in parking offence procedures.
UNIFIED FAMILY COURT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 150, An Act to amend the Unified Family Court Act.
Motion agreed to.
PROVINCIAL OFFENCES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 151, An Act to amend the Provincial Offences Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The two bills I have just introduced designate the provincial courts (family division) and the unified family court on an interim basis as the youth courts for the purposes of the federal Young Offenders Act.
Despite the request of all provinces to delay proclamation of the Young Offenders Act, the Solicitor General of Canada stated last week he intends to proceed with this legislation on April 1, 1984, regardless of the needs of the provinces. Accordingly, this legislation is required immediately.
Young people who commit criminal and other federal offences are now dealt with under the Juvenile Delinquents Act in juvenile court, which in Ontario is the family court system. The Young Offenders Act will repeal the Juvenile Delinquents Act and replace juvenile courts with youth courts.
The purpose of these bills is to minimize the disruption in the court system. The Young Offenders Act comes into force on April 1, 1984. At that time, the Young Offenders Act will apply only to persons under the age of 16. Accordingly, these bills will ensure that persons under 16 who commit criminal offences will continue to be dealt with in the family court, sitting as a youth court under the Young Offenders Act.
In 1985 the federal legislation will compel Ontario to bring 16- and 17-year-old offenders under the Young Offenders Act. The addition of this age group will triple the case load in the youth courts. Consequently, we will have to consider major readjustments of our youth court system at that time and examine the options then available.
Therefore, we are proposing that the designations we are making in these bills will expire on April 1, 1985, and that the issue of designation of the youth courts for the full age range, including 16- and 17-year-olds, be brought back before the assembly at that time.
Our justice system has rarely had to deal with such a mammoth piece of legislation with so many unknown factors. The experience we will gain during the first month of operation will greatly assist developing our policies in relation to the age increase in 1985.
In the meantime, our immediate need is to provide a youth court in 1984 for young persons under 16 years of age. These bills will provide the certainty and assurance that is necessary to maintain until April 1, 1985, the high level of service now available in our youth court system.
PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THE CROWN AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 152, An Act to amend the Proceedings Against the Crown Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, this legislation will make the crown subject to garnishment in the same manner as other employers for the wages of crown employees. It will also make the crown subject to garnishment for money owing under a contract for the supply to the crown of goods and services.
In addition, the act will give crown employees the same protection of the Wages Act that is currently enjoyed by other employees. Section 26 of the Public Service Act, which sets out a cumbersome and time-consuming method to reach crown employees' wages will be repealed by the act.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, OFFICE OF THE PREMIER AND CABINET OFFICE (CONTINUED)
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, normally when we conduct these estimates we have a nice give and take of views. I have the funny feeling the Premier (Mr. Davis) is under the impression that we are all going to unload and then he is going to unload. Am I to gather that we now have a new process that is like second reading of a bill, where the minister sits and absorbs all this marvellous stuff, then responds and that is it and we do not have a chance for the kind of give and take that might lead to debate on a subject?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, that is not the intent. My understanding was that both the leader of the Liberal Party and the leader of the New Democratic Party were today otherwise constructively engaged. There are three or four items I sensed the leader of the New Democratic Party wished to be here to discuss, and I would assume the leader of the Liberal Party would like to be here for two or three issues as well.
I thought if there were other matters that do not relate to those that have already been raised which the House leader would like to raise and so on, I would be delighted to reply. But I was just anxious to have them here to participate because I gather we are going on again Monday afternoon around five.
If the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk is saying to me we could wrap up all of this by 12:30 today, I would not object to that either.
Mr. Nixon: It is quite possible, and I appreciate the Premier's concern that our deputy leader and the leader of the NDP be present for his responses to what they brought to his attention earlier in the week. I had the impression from the comments made by the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) that we were embarking on another procedure. My own feeling is that many of the estimates -- not this one, of course -- have been somewhat marred by overly lengthy speeches from the minister concerned.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You know how long I took.
Mr. Nixon: From the minister concerned. As I said, this does not apply in this case exactly.
But I really do think all of us in the House are going to have to give some thought to the review of the estimates expenditures in the future, since many of the Premier's colleagues in the ministry have seen fit to have prepared extremely long screeds, normally prepared section by section by the employees in their ministry, which they then read at the beginning of the estimates. Many of these speeches are up to 100 pages in length and unbelievably boring, the sort of thing that absolutely kills any sort of investigative process around here that might lead to an exchange of views.
I should say, to be fair, that this is often followed by a carefully prepared review from the other point of view of the kind of criticism of the estimates that, while it is not as long and fascinating in its content, tends to stultify any sort of exchange of views, which is supposed to be what we are here for.
I have raised it with my colleagues and I hope the Premier will bring it to the attention of his colleagues, particularly one of his senior colleagues just now entering dock.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I haven't said anything.
Mr. Nixon: I know. All right.
While we are giving some thought to the improvement of our rules, we should also perhaps do some things about the activities around here not really governed by rules but governed, we hope, by good sense and an understanding that we do have a responsibility to keep things moving a little bit and slightly interesting. The worst things that happen are these 100-page loads of material unloaded by the ministers as they go into their estimates. They may have the bright idea that somehow they are going to use up the limited period of time, which often amounts to 20 hours or more of pure good stuff. When one starts off with a two-and-a-half-hour speech, really it is absolutely cruel and unusual and we have got to stop it.
Having said that, I have a few remarks on a subject dear to the Premier's heart. As I mention it, I have a feeling that it will electrify the House. It has to do with the future of the Indian community in Ontario.
I raise this particularly for two reasons. First, since we are approaching prorogation, I understand the Premier and first ministers across Canada will be called to a special conference, mandatory under the constitutional amendments, to deal with the future of the Indians in Canada. Of course, we are concerned with their future here in Ontario.
The second reason I feel it is appropriate to speak briefly on this matter is that we are just approaching the bicentennial of the arrival of the largest and, in my view, the most progressive group of Indians anywhere in Canada, the Six Nations.
There are one or two matters here which surely bear some discussion since we now have received copies of the report of the federal committee of parliamentarians. In my view, it is one of the most important and far-reaching committee reports, at least for its proposals, that we have had with regard to the Indian community in my time in politics.
Mr. Stokes: Self-government.
Mr. Nixon: My friend who is knowledgeable in this matter, the member for Lake Nipigon, who has spoken about it many times, has interjected the word "self-government," which essentially it is.
The report calls for the phase-out of the Indian Act and the Ministry of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, which has for a century been criticized and damned and yet, under the circumstances, has often been generous, sometimes to a fault. It has done the best it could under circumstances which have been trying and in many respects, I suppose, self-defeating. As long as the attitude has been in this country and reflected in this province that the non-Indian community knew best what was appropriate for the Indians, then we were doomed to failure.
One of the most glaring examples was the historic situation about 100 years or more ago when a company was formed for navigation on the Grand River, travelling largely through lands owned by the Six Nations Indians and granted to them by the Haldimand charter 200 years ago.
With the coming of the steam engine and the trains, it was decided that the government of Canada, which had large investments in this system of barges going up and down the Grand River, ought to persuade and, in fact, did persuade the Indians with their band funds created from the sale of lands over the many years to invest their money in the system which was in operation on the Grand River.
Within a decade the whole business had been lost and the money was lost. The Indians had lost the moneys that had been collected through the sale of their lands. The whole thing was the most preposterous fiasco one could ever think of. The Indians, to their credit, do not go around beating their breasts and crying about it; they did for a long period of time. Sometimes, almost as a joke, it is raised in reference to the wisdom of the Indian's white brother in helping him with his investments. Most of us have been on the receiving end of that kind of assistance but never on such a scale as this, where the Six Nations really lost their financial birthright because of the actions of the then government of Canada.
Probably that is the most glaring example, but there are many others, particularly involving some of our reserves and the Indian communities in the far north of Ontario where well-meaning people in offices in Ottawa, Toronto and perhaps in some of the northern urban areas have made decisions "for the good of the Indians." In many respects, those decisions have turned out to be among the most tragic disasters to which any race we have observed has been subjected.
It is almost appalling when we read some of the accounts of the lifestyles that have developed in some of the Indian communities. Naturally, this is not true of all of them, but it is almost difficult to read these accounts. Some weeks ago there was a series, I believe in the Globe and Mail, in which some of the circumstances of the type I am talking about now were referred to. I do not intend to talk in any detail about what went on or what still goes on, but obviously something has to be done to improve the ability of the Indian community to improve their lifestyles themselves.
The federal committee worked long and hard. The chairman of the committee was Mr. Keith Penner, MP from Cochrane-Superior. I believe he is a former minister of the United Church; is that correct? That is probably irrelevant, but it indicates that throughout his career he has had a dedication in his training and acceptance of personal responsibilities that would lead him very effectively into the chairmanship of this committee. We need only read the report to realize what tremendous labour has gone into it, and a commitment that this time, surely, the recommendations are going to be significant and worthy of support and enactment.
When we passed the amendment to the Constitution making meetings with the Indian community mandatory, I thought that was probably the most preposterous constitutional amendment I had ever heard of. Imagine the Canadian Constitution having as its first amendment -- a phrase we often hear in reference to the Constitution of the United States of America, which guarantees the right of free speech -- simply that meetings with the Indians are mandatory. I did not feel too good about it. Naturally, I spoke in favour of the amendment, and I am glad those meetings are taking place.
Now that there is some sort of rapport breaking through the miasma of indifference and carelessness that has been the earmark of our policies for a century, I really think we are on the verge of doing something useful. The Premier -- and I would be glad to hear his views -- might also feel we can do something more than just mark time and make the obligatory nice comments about how something must be done. Now, with the leadership given by this committee of parliamentarians in Ottawa, we can consult with the Indian leadership and move on with a great experiment where there is such goodwill, in all the people and governments at all levels and the Indian community itself, that there are great prospects for real success.
I want to speak briefly of the Six Nations community, which in my view is one of the most progressive anywhere in Canada. I have told members many times, but nobody ever remembers, that it is the largest Indian reserve by population in Canada.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I remember.
Mr. Conway: We all remember.
Mr. Nixon: Good, good. But they do not seem to react; they tend to glaze over.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I never glaze over anything.
Mr. Conway: Gloss over or glaze over?
Mr. Nixon: No. It is my friend's eyes I am talking about.
Mr. Conway: They are not normally visible.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I squint a lot. It is the bright lights; I am not used to them.
Mr. Nixon: I will soon be drawing my remarks to a close, but I want to tell members that the chief of the Six Nations, who was recently re-elected by acclamation, and his new council, which was not elected by acclamation -- as a matter of fact, they had very hot and heavy ward elections there -- now constitute a council with experienced and new people in it. Led by the chief, who has had that responsibility for three or four terms, they could provide some of the best basic advice to the Premier and his colleagues. I hope he will go out of his way to see that those people and the other Indian chiefs in the province do have a chance to speak to him personally and to the delegation that will go from Ontario.
Many of them will be able to speak through their own spokesman at that meeting, but I feel quite strongly that with this report, the goodwill on all sides, the constitutional amendment and unusually able leadership in the Indian community, we are now in a position to work out the kinds of solutions that all of us hope for.
There is a good deal more to be said, but perhaps I will let it rest simply at saying that this is the time for the kinds of actions that will break through the terrible difficulties we have experienced for 100 years and then some.
It is particularly fitting since the Six Nations Indians are celebrating their bicentennial in this country. There are reports Her Majesty the Queen will be visiting the Six Nations reserve and will be formally opening Her Majesty's Chapel of the Mohawks, which is undergoing an extensive renovation.
Hon. Mr. Davis: And if she does, will you be invited?
Mr. Nixon: Well, will the Premier? That is the question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I hope so.
Mr. Nixon: That is very good.
I know we must hear in mind that Her Majesty, in visiting the Brantford area, is honouring the Six Nations. They have been here for 200 years; nobody can question that date. It is a real bicentennial, and if we do not think about their role in history then we are truly ingrates.
I am not prepared to tell members again, as I have told them before, about their role on the British side in the American Revolution. They came here as Loyalists, and when the American concept of manifest destiny was pursued in the War of 1812, many people, including me, believe that General Brock and the Six Nations Indians saved the nation. Without the Indians fighting there, my forefathers and many other farmers going to war with pitchforks and a few muskets probably could not have withstood the horde of republicans from the south. But with the Indians they won the war and they kept the Americans on the other side of the Niagara River finally. There is no doubt about it; this would not have been possible without the Indians.
While we are marking their bicentennial, we must be aware of the great role they played not only in the history of our nation but also in our community right here.
We are proud of those people, and they are on the verge of a change in their role and status in our country that in my view is one of the most important prospects we have faced in a decade. I know the Premier has all the goodwill in the world, but he has the opportunity, along with the other first ministers, for some significant accomplishment that will mark this conference coming up as a benchmark in the history of our country.
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Chairman, I have listened, as I always do, to the comments of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon). We covered in general terms where we stand and what I think our collective responsibility is to our first citizens when we had the debate on the constitutional amendment here. It is always interesting to have the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk remind us of the historical significance of the role that those first citizens played in and around the southwestern part of the province.
But I want to talk to the Premier, for the first time I think, about an ongoing saga within the present administration. I want to remind him of a sessional paper that was introduced in the House by the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope) when he was Minister without Portfolio and had some responsibility for developing a freedom of information act.
In October 1980, the member for Cochrane South gave a ministerial statement with some background information and a compendium, which included a letter from the first minister to all ministries, and I would like to quote from that document. It says:
"This government is committed to greater openness in its administration and increased access by the citizen. To this end, the Premier last week wrote to all ministers with guidelines for civil servants in communicating with the public. Let me quote briefly from that letter:
"'Between now and the time freedom of information legislation is enacted and the administrative apparatus for its operation is in place, there is a great deal we can do to give the policy of open government meaning and consistency. A step that can be taken in this interim period is to encourage open and responsive behaviour among public servants in their daily dealings with the public, particularly including members of the Legislative Assembly and representatives of the news media.'"
That is the end of the quote from the Premier's letter. The member for Cochrane South went on to say, "The guidelines instruct civil servants that the basic communications position for the government of Ontario is to be 'open' as opposed to 'closed' and goes on to lay out a code of expected conduct."
In the guidelines the Premier issued to all the ministries, there was a list or a code that everybody was to be governed by. I want to read them into the record.
"Policy guidelines for civil servants -- communications with the public:
"1. The basic communications position of the government of Ontario is to be 'open' as opposed to 'closed' in its dealings with the public.
"2. Members of the civil service have a duty and a responsibility to communicate with the public, including particularly members of the Legislative Assembly and representatives of the news media.
"3. While the staff function and support of communications efforts in ministries is the responsibility of ministry communications personnel, program managers should be prepared to explain and describe programs of policies for which they are responsible and which have been announced or implemented by the government, and to assist, wherever possible, in helping members of the public obtain additional information.
"4. Ministerial responsibility will result in queries on policy and policy alternatives being restricted to ministers while civil servants will restrict themselves to factual information. It is not appropriate for civil servants to discuss advice or recommendations tendered to the minister or to speculate about policy deliberations or future policy decisions.
"5. It will be normal for civil servants to be interviewed by the media in regard to factual information and to be quoted by name in regard to such interviews.
"6. Civil servants acting in good faith under these guidelines will not be considered as having violated their oath of secrecy.
"7. Nothing in these guidelines authorizes the disclosure of information which is specifically prohibited from disclosure by law, nor do they authorize the disclosure of information which would jeopardize enforcement proceedings, security, cabinet confidentiality, individual privacy or confidentiality of commercial information supplied to the government on a confidential basis."
My reason for raising that at this time is to try to elicit a response from the Premier. Notwithstanding these fairly understandable guidelines, which were released in 1980, we still have this problem. I do not want to go over the MacAlpine saga. He is back at work providing yeoman service for the ministry he is employed by. He has the total and undivided support of everybody in the northwest who knows what he is doing. He is a young, enthusiastic, dedicated civil servant, and I hope what has gone on before will be put behind him and everything will be fine and dandy.
But in people who are just as dedicated as that person was, I sense a reluctance to be open and to try to explain what the roles of various ministries are. The Premier will know that people are becoming much more involved in land use planning, land use guidelines, the management of forestry resources, fish and wildlife resources -- all the things that people in the north in particular are affected by.
We know that in terms of tourism there is a conflict in land use guidelines or land use planning unless there is an openness, a frankness and a willingness to try to accommodate each other's need to use the land base in a specific way without encroaching unduly on somebody else's use of it. There has to be an openness.
As a result of the incident that happened previously, I sense a real reluctance in people to be as open as I think they must be if there is going to be understanding, as in the case of the fishing agreement.
I applaud the efforts of the member for Cochrane South, the now Minister of Natural Resources, to try to come to grips with that thorny problem. Because there is not an openness, there was an obvious conflict between two of the Premier's ministers. It was an honest difference of opinion, I believe; nevertheless, it was there. There was not the perception in the public as to what the member for Cochrane South was attempting to do. He is still having problems with his counterparts at the federal level.
Going back briefly to something the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk was saying in his remarks about our first citizens, if the Premier looks at the intent of that fishing agreement, the native people are making a concession. When one sees what the courts have been ruling with regard to the enforcement of fish and game laws, most of the decisions by the courts have come down in favour of our first citizens.
The Premier saw his colleague the member for Cochrane South being able to reach an agreement, an understanding or a compromise where we make our first citizens part of the whole process of conservation and wise utilization of those resources. I think that was a major coup. I have no hesitation in saying that. But it certainly was not done with unanimity, and some ministers of the crown denied any knowledge until after the agreement was signed in December 1982, I believe it was, about a year ago.
There is a need for openness, not because we think the Premier is being nefarious, stonewalling or anything like that, but because of the sort of mindset that all governments have, where they think, "We don't want to give all the information because that would be giving away the store, tipping our hand or something like that."
The Premier knows the dialogue that went on in Ottawa for several years when Jed Baldwin was in many respects trying to make the same speech or the same plea in Ottawa as I am making here.
If I was asked to bring in a freedom of information act, I am sure I would have great difficulty because I do not know the background to it all. I have never been in cabinet and I never will be. But the first minister makes statements and sets guidelines, such as wanting it to be open as opposed to closed, and saying members of the Legislative Assembly should be briefed and brought up to date and any information that does not involve cabinet secrecy should be made available to us.
It is not being made available. My colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) attempted to get information about the stocking levels in our regeneration process in the wise management of our forests. When we got the information, we started to muse about it in public. Then the minister and his deputy said we did not understand the data. When we got others more knowledgeable than us about how to analyse forestry data, survival rates, "free to grow" and all these technical terms foresters use nowadays, they said we should change our method of data retrieval, our method of interpreting, because the kind of data we are putting out now tends to be somewhat misleading. We should work it right through the whole system again.
That is just one instance where, if they collected realistic data about the number of trees we are planting, survival rates and what we are attempting to do, that would be fine and dandy. We all make mistakes, we are not perfect, but in the dissemination of information, how much easier it would be if we were all on the same wavelength, if we had the same information they had about something as important to the people in Ontario and the economy of northwestern Ontario, where 75 per cent of all industrial activity is directly related to forestry.
We have over 40 communities in northern Ontario that exclusively owe their very existence to the forest industry and our ability to manage it well. How much easier it would be if there was a free flow of information, a dialogue with the professionals out there who are charged with the responsibility of managing that very important resource on our behalf. But that is not happening.
Finally, the Premier will know that our top level civil servants, particularly in the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Northern Affairs -- the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources will be all finished at the end of this year. I am not telling any tales out of school. There is going to be quite a significant change in the top-level civil servants the Premier will be announcing in a matter of days, I suspect.
Let me remind members that the former Assistant Deputy Minister of Natural Resources who became the Deputy Minister of Northern Affairs, when he reached the time in his career when he could retire on full pension, did just that. He has taken a job in the private sector as a lobbyist for the sawmills and lumber mills in Ontario. That is fine. I have not heard that he is upsetting the apple cart.
However, there was a former Assistant Deputy Minister of Natural Resources who is now in the private sector on a consultant basis who is saying that unless this government and this ministry does certain things, we are going to be in real trouble with regard to the supply of timber. In quite detailed fashion, he is saying what the ministry must do and what the government must do. He was one of those who was primarily responsible for developing the policy and the management of that very important resource.
We have another one who was a chief forester of regional forests who has gone into the private sector. He is teaching at a university. He is telling what we must do to get our act together. As I say, there are three or four very senior civil servants who have gone back to the private sector and are now looking back at from whence they came.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Which is always the easiest, I have discovered.
Mr. Stokes: Yes. What does the Premier think about that kind of thing? Almost without exception, while they are in our employ, civil servants are very dedicated people. One can differ with them philosophically but I think they are all honest, sincere, dedicated civil servants. However, as soon as they reach that 35-year mark and get their maximum pension they take off for greener pastures and they start looking back and saying, "This is what you must do to clean up your act."
Darn it all, they are the very people who presided over any sins of omission or commission and now they are hiring themselves out as expert consultants to be critical of the very things they were responsible for in the first place.
This causes me some problems. I want to know what the Premier is going to do to really put into effect this policy of openness and fairmindedness, in sharing of information with the public generally and with members of the Legislative Assembly, as he suggests in his guidelines and as was echoed in the remarks in this sessional paper which was brought in over three years ago by the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope).
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Chairman, there are two matters I would like to raise. I will not take much time. I know a number of things have already been raised and the Premier would like to respond to those. However, there are two matters of concern I would like to raise and he will probably notice these have been emphases of mine in the last year or so.
First is the whole question of poverty in Ontario, the question of the redistribution of wealth and that function of government and how it operates. The second is disarmament issues. Given the Premier's feelings about the resolution I brought forward, what kind of action does he feel we should be taking at the provincial level to encourage moves toward multilateral verifiable disarmament in the world?
If I can deal with the redistribution of wealth and just preface my thoughts by saying I think it is not just this government but most governments in Canada and in the western world have not really reviewed their policies on poverty issues in a systematic fashion since the mid 1960s.
Instead, what we have tended to do is to look at individual programs, to adjust them as there are sometimes political pressures on them or when matters of social justice make it obvious there should be changes in them. We have made modifications for some groups more easily than others.
I think of the elderly who, as a group, seem to be more politically acceptable or have more clout in terms of them being able to receive systematic increases to their incomes in the province and in the country, whereas other groups have had to wait for individual decisions by individual ministers in each province and that kind of thing. There really has been no systematic approach to it.
What I would like to urge the first minister to consider would be that this is a very good time to review in total the poverty package in terms of who are the people who are in poverty; those who are less well off than the vast majority of people in Ontario, not only as defined by some of the academic sort of poverty lines that exist.
What are the programs in place? How is our safety net? Is it inequitable? Is it in good shape in all its areas? I would suggest there are many areas where it is not.
We have just announced an increase in the minimum wage for those people who are our working poor in Ontario. I do not want to debate, as I have in the past, the question of the amounts. What I want to discuss is the process that we undertake for looking at the minimum wage. We have not done a thorough investigation in this province, nor have I been able to find one done well anywhere in this country, defining who are the people on minimum wage or just around minimum wage.
There have been some spotty kinds of studies done but nothing very systematic. There has been no approach devised to ascertain what kind of methodology or increasing the levels for those people can be put into place that will not have the effect of then injuring the industries which employ those people.
I think rather than leaving it up to, as all provinces do, individual ministers of labour or other ministries to come forward to a cabinet meeting and say now is the time for an increase and place arguments on a very ad hoc basis, it would very good if we had a formula for dealing with that, an idea of how we could systematically deal with that issue. We should have open hearings that would involve employers, employees and various social groups who would like to talk about that.
I think it is our working poor who in many ways in this country and in this province are suffering the greatest hardships at this point. Surely we would all agree the work ethic is one of the basic knitting factors within our society, very important to people's self-esteem, and one that needs to be supported as much as possible.
In another area, we have allowed our whole level of welfare to be very much determined by what the property tax base can bear. In this context, not just on that particular issue alone and the way it is administered differently in different parts of the province, that is part of this poverty fabric and the reassessment needed of it all; we should be looking very seriously at the policy matter which says that the property tax should bear any of that burden at all. I think it would be appropriate to do so.
I think it is also appropriate to look at the whole range of disabled individuals in this province and the variety of levels of income they receive. We have about a $100 a month difference for a single individual who is disabled to live on as a basic income, compared with that which a single senior citizen receives as basic income in Ontario.
That disabled person is going to be disabled for the rest of his life, just like the senior citizen is going to be old for the rest of his life. In fact there can be many arguments made that a single disabled person has greater financial needs than a single senior.
I would also argue that in looking at the question of employment and the disabled, and that whole question therefore of poverty and institutionalized structured poverty, when one looks at that in terms of government figures indicating that as high as 80 per cent of those disabled who wish to work are unemployed, the other kind of categories we talk about in terms of youth unemployment and other groups in our society who are suffering the recession at the moment are nowhere near as hard hit as the disabled people who would like to be out there in the work place.
We have this incredible range where if one is injured on the job one has a whole set of protections that come in with a minimum amount one can receive from workers' compensation, which is well above that which one receives if one happens to be born with a congenital disease and is disabled in this province for that reason.
I think it is time we looked at a comprehensive insurance package for people who are injured, through illness or disability on the job or on the way to work, or wherever it happens, so that at least there is some kind of social justice and equality within that framework.
We continually have raised in this House, and again not just to deal with it in terms of the issue as it is raised but in terms of this package, the question of the relative poverty of single seniors on basic income, as compared with married couples, and the need for us as legislators to act to give them approximately 60 per cent of the income of the married couple so that they will again have an equal capacity to get by in our society with the heavy costs that are borne by people on low incomes at this time.
A lot has been made already of native communities and their needs and the question of autonomy and decision-making and that sort of thing. I would suggest that in the little experience I have had in this field, and I would acknowledge that in comparison with that, for instance, of the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), I have been shocked and stunned by the levels of poverty that we still see in our native communities in many parts of this province.
That issue must be dealt with both in terms of the overall poverty questions we have and also in terms of why it is that our policies, not just in this province but across the country, have failed in terms of redistribution of wealth and in terms of our native community. I really think it is time we looked at that.
We look at our tax system and the way we approach giving assistance to some people in the lower income levels. I would suggest it is not equitable in terms of the various kinds of groups who receive assistance. If I could just make a comparison between a disabled person and a senior citizen, the senior citizen gets a tax grant. One does not get that as a disabled person.
One can be living in a very similar situation but not receive the same kind of economic assistance at the same time as one is receiving less basic income than the senior citizen. We should take another look at our tax system and how it can be used to redistribute the wealth in our society.
There are two other brief matters I would like to raise that I think have to be looked at in this package. One is the older worker and the effects of recession and plant closings. I am not thinking about somebody such as the Premier but people in their 50s; people in my riding, the SKF Canada Ltd. workers whose average age now is 51 or 52; the Canadian General Electric Co. Ltd. workers who are going to be laid off in the next little while. We know it is very hard for those people to be re-employed.
We know the changes in the structure of our economy are such that they are less likely to benefit by the changes in technology than our younger workers, and yet because of our failings in terms of portable pension plans and any system of being able to assist those people through that 10-year period when they may be with either part-time work or occasional work before their retirement, they are going to be moving into poverty, something which they had never anticipated because they have been trying to prepare for it in a very systematic way for many years. In terms of this poverty matter, we must look at the effects on older workers in general.
The final thing I would suggest on this issue is that the housing question and the failings, in general terms, of our housing policy to meet the needs of those people who are less well off in our society is something which we must address.
The second matter I wanted to raise is the question of disarmament. As the Premier knows, I raised the notion of us taking action at the provincial level to declare ourselves a nuclear weapons free zone and hoped that would meet with nonpartisan support within the House.
The results are now on record and I do not wish to dwell on them at this point. The first minister took the position that his problem with the resolution was primarily that it was ultra vires, that it was not in our mandate to deal with defence matters, but was a question of the federal government's jurisdiction in this area and therefore my resolution was inappropriate.
I would like to know from the first minister what he feels would be appropriate action. What kind of things can we do in a consensual way in this House to lend our support to those people who are trying to take action for disarmament within their various jurisdictions around the world? Would the Premier see it as an appropriate act, for instance, for us to have a resolution come forward from this House to support the actions of our first minister in Ottawa and the kinds of things he is trying to do? Would that be an appropriate kind of gesture for us to make?
I do believe the people in our society in Ontario would like to see us take some action. They need to believe something can be done. They need to believe it is something which is of concern to members of this House. If my particular approach to it was not appropriate, I would like to hear from the first minister what he thinks would be appropriate; and I will lend my support to any kind of consensual action we can take here to get the notion across that action can be taken, that we are interested, and that we believe it is something we should interest ourselves in at this level.
I would very much like to know the first minister's opinions of those two matters: the overall review of poverty policy in this province, and some assistance or direction as to where we might go on disarmament issues.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, we have a somewhat new situation in the Premier's office with the appointment in May of a Minister responsible for Women's Issues. It was long overdue. Many other provinces and the federal government have had such a cabinet minister designated for that kind of work for a long time.
We now have a women's directorate with an executive director and some staff. We now have a co-ordinator of initiatives in the field of family violence responding to the report of the social development committee on battered women. We now have all the present programs for women co-ordinated in one directorate.
It has been given a huge mandate. According to the Minister responsible for Women's Issues (Mr. Welch), "The Ontario women's directorate has been created with a mandate to help us achieve justice, equity and fairness for women in every facet of life." In addition, the Premier promised us studies on every piece of legislation submitted from now on to determine the impact of such legislation on women.
I want to ask the Premier to tell us things that cannot be ascertained from the present estimates for the Premier's office. The estimates contain no separate section for the women's directorate or for the Deputy Premier's work in connection with his new responsibility as the spokesperson on women's issues. We do not have any legislation setting up the directorate, so we are not entirely sure what its mandate is. We do not have any provision for an annual report and we do not have a clear picture of how the independence of the Ontario Status of Women Council will be preserved now that it has been brought under the Deputy Premier and his directorate.
I would like the Premier to give us some concrete and precise figures on what he is planning to spend on the Deputy Premier's responsibility in this field and on the directorate, and to promise us an annual report on what progress is made each year.
There has been little progress in the 10 years since the green paper on women's issues came out. That was in 1973. It is rather interesting that it came out under the name of the minister who is now the Minister responsible for Women's Issues, who was Provincial Secretary for Social Development at that time. We need much more precise information than these estimates give us on the funding and the complement of both the directorate and the Deputy Premier's responsibility. Could the Premier supply us with that information either today or by letter at some future time?
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I just want one question on the record that I hope the Premier will address. Why does the Premier not establish a select committee on Ontario Hydro or on energy?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I am never at a loss, but I am just wondering if all the matters have been raised that members wish to raise and whether I can cover them all in the next 35 minutes, which would mean the conclusion of the estimates, or on Monday if we are going to be here to discuss them further. Then there are two or three matters that I think, in fairness to the leader of the New Democratic Party and the leader of the Liberal Party, I would like to do in their presence. I am looking for a little guidance from across the House.
Mr. Conway: On that point, Mr. Chairman, the Premier should know that the issues that are currently before the committee do not represent the alpha and the omega of our concerns about his office. We would appreciate his response to those issues that have been raised, but there are others that I and some of my colleagues will be pursuing during the remaining time of estimates on Monday or whenever.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, the Premier can feel free to respond to any of the questions by the leader of the New Democratic Party. He has asked me to be here in his place and we will take note of them and respond accordingly.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, on that point, since I raised the issues on behalf of our party and intend to raise some additional ones on a subsequent occasion, the first minister need not worry; he can take this opportunity or any other in these estimates to respond to issues we have raised or concerns he would like to ventilate.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I may have one or two I might raise. The thing I always find intriguing about the estimates of the Premier's office is that it has always been the tradition that questions are asked, and very properly so. However, I have never found anything in the estimates -- maybe on occasion -- where the head of government on this side of the House might just query, not the expenditures by members' offices, because we are all the same in that regard, but the public funds allocated to the discharge of the responsibilities of the Leader of the Opposition. I think the deputy leader of the Liberal Party might make a few notes of some questions I might be prompted to ask if I were acting in an area of public scrutiny of the wisdom of those investments, but I do not intend to raise them.
Mr. Conway: I know your classes at university were large, but even you understand the dictates of responsible parliamentary government. We get to ask the questions; you have the duty to answer.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But I can pose questions. The classes were large when I was there, and I have my own view of what might be asked with regard to political science, etc. I may not raise them; I may wait until the leader is here on Monday.
Mr. Conway: You clearly have something to say. I am quite prepared to hear you out now.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No. I think after the article on December 7 you might have lost some of your enthusiasm.
Mr. Conway: I can assure you that none of my enthusiasm has waned here or elsewhere in the Far East.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will get back to that on another occasion.
I perhaps will discuss some of these matters in reverse order. I do not know whether the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) is coming back in. I am sorry. I should start with the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden). I have not had an opportunity to check, but I will before Monday. My recollection is that the estimates for the women's directorate are found in the Ministry of Labour estimates, which I think -- and her House leader can --
Ms. Bryden: That is incorrect.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will check that out, but they are not provided for within my estimates. The member for Brock (Mr. Welch) is the Minister responsible for Women's Issues, but there is no statutory provision for including that vote as a ministry because it is not a ministry, so a part of it is in my estimates. But I will clarify this for the honourable member for Monday.
Dealing with the matters raised by the member for Scarborough West, I do not intend, I would say to the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds), to reply in any detail except to note his observations with respect to the concern about the great variety of programs relating to the disadvantaged within our communities, using that in the very broad sense of the word.
I have made a note of his suggestions that there could be some reconciliation of some of these programs. I have never said that in programs of this nature or policies of this government there is never room for improvement. History has recorded over these past number of years that in all these areas we have made progress. The member for Scarborough West would argue that it is not enough, that it is not as comprehensive as it should be, and I think these are understandable, constructive criticisms. These are the judgements that government is called upon to make.
I would make this rather general observation when discussing the needs of the disadvantaged or the handicapped in Ontario. I do not say for a moment we have accomplished everything by any stretch of the imagination, but I think back to my own experience in the House of the progress we have made in statutory provisions over some number of years and in policy as it relates to the economic conditions of these people in our society.
I understand that some members opposite will argue it is not sufficient. I am not going to get into a debate. I do not think it would serve any useful purpose in terms of our assessment as to whether it is or is not sufficient. I was interested in the suggestion that perhaps there could be uniformity -- perhaps that is not the right word; it is not the word he really intended -- some better reconciliation of the variety of programs that exist. I might convey to the member for Scarborough West that I understood that part of his discussion.
I will move to an area the member for Scarborough West raised this morning, I would say, speaking very personally, in a rather constructive fashion. I do not often comment on what is contained in the reportings of proceedings in this House. I have learned over the years that to argue with the people who with great regularity can correct us six days a week, and perhaps we may get one chance, does not make much sense. By and large, they are sometimes right, so I do not often indulge in this.
Mr. Conway: That is not what the Premier was saying in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry 24 hours ago.
The Deputy Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have not had so much fun in a long time. I said to the fellow from the Ottawa Citizen who was sitting there -- and he was a very charming young man, I must say -- "Do you know what I would like to see in the Ottawa Citizen?"
Mr. Conway: You are making my point so well. Did you threaten to take his St. Lawrence parks pass away?
The Deputy Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No. I just said to the gentleman, "This is what I would like to see, after reading some of those totally untrue Liberal ads. 'The Premier says unequivocally and unhesitatingly that no one is planning to take $100 per household away from those great people in that riding.'"
The Deputy Chairman: Order. I recognize the member for Port Arthur on a point of order. He is truly trying to get us back on the subject.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, are the Liberals' ads paid for out of the estimates of the Premier? Would you mind keeping the Premier on the subject.
The Deputy Chairman: I was in the process of doing so when you stood to help me.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I was interrupted.
The Deputy Chairman: I know.
Mr. Conway: Did you threaten to take his pass away?
The Deputy Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I did not threaten anything. I did not call my former leader stupid or any of those things.
The Deputy Chairman: The Premier was speaking on a point made by the member for Scarborough West.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, the member for Renfrew North is provoking me and I swear I am not going to be provoked this morning. But I keep reading this and the temptation is tremendous. It is overwhelming, but I want him to be here.
The Deputy Chairman: The Premier was speaking to a point made by the member for Scarborough West.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I just want to make this observation to the member for Scarborough West. I was not present when that private member's resolution was debated. I am not offering this as a criticism, but I must say it disappointed me just a little bit and it upset a certain member of our household who has some very strong views on this issue to read in a column that the Premier was either so uninterested or so busy that he was going to attend a fund-raiser and was not here in the House when this was discussed. I think that was the tenor of one or two lines.
I felt badly about it because I have never been here for private members' discussions on matters that are as important to me as to the private members in this House. Perhaps it could be open to question, but I have always taken the position that private members' business is for private members. Obviously, if I come into the House and express a point of view, then I am construed as speaking for what perhaps should be government policy.
I just interject that. I did not have the opportunity. I am not being critical of the journalist who wrote it except it did disturb me because the impression was left with some people that I was not interested and that I was off to a fund-raising dinner. The reality is I did not leave here until after six o'clock that evening and the end of the debate itself.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: Just to correct the record on what is a very important matter, I raise this in light of the Premier's most recent remarks and in the presence of my esteemed parliamentary colleague the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Shymko) who said on that day, November 24: "I will say something I should not be telling members now. After question period recently, someone from the Premier's office came to me and said, 'The cabinet is worrying about what you will be saying. Make sure you don't go overboard.'"
Perhaps the member for High Park-Swansea has told us that the interest of the Premier's office in what goes on in private members' hour is not quite as he just reported it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect, that is not what I said. I think the honourable member is misconstruing and misinterpreting -- I will use that phraseology. He should ask the member for High Park-Swansea if I have ever suggested that in private members' hour. I was with him at a luncheon the other day. We sat there and I made my modest contribution. Then I listened to the member for High Park-Swansea deliver an excellent speech totally in Ukrainian. I applauded vigorously and I am not exactly sure what he said.
Mr. Conway: I have a feeling his Ukrainian would tell us more than the Premier's English.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have a feeling that may be the case. Sometimes I worry about the member being able to understand all of those things I have to say.
Mr. Conway: You are not easy to understand.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I understand that. I understand the member for Renfrew North does not always find it easy to understand me.
Mr. Conway: You are always speaking in parables, most of which are quite incomprehensible.
The Deputy Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: At least I try to deal in facts as much as I can.
Mr. Conway: Parabolic and parabolical.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member deals in hyperbole.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That is right.
Hon. Mr. Davis: With regularity. Let us face it. I can even spell it if the member wants me to. Can he?
Now getting back to the matter --
Mr. Conway: My classes were small.
Hon. Mr. Davis: His classes were small and his horizons are small. I did not have the good fortune. I went to university when classes were still very large and where the underfunding was --
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: I enjoy the repartee as much as anybody does, but it was an important issue and I would not like to see it demeaned by carrying this on much further. Might the Premier continue with the response? I think this is a waste of time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I do not want to be interrupted by the member for Renfrew North, but he does put his foot into it and I cannot help but reply. Also, I have to say that he has some colleagues who do the same thing on occasion.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: We all do.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We all do. Let us move back to the matter.
I do not really have a suggestion as to what position this House might in unanimity take. I do not want the position of the members on this side of the House to be misunderstood either in terms of what they felt or the vote that was taken.
Very recently at a Conservative fund-raising dinner, which is not always the most appropriate place to say what I said last Tuesday evening, where primarily Conservatives but also a number of former good Liberals were also in attendance, I did not use the word "compliment," but shall we say, I --
Mr. Foulds: Endorse.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- endorsed the present activities of the Prime Minister of Canada.
I am not going to go back from that statement. While others may perhaps be somewhat cynical about it and while some may say there is political motivation here, and we are all professional politicians, I said it even before the fund-raising dinner but I repeated that evening that I was supportive of the initiative he has taken.
As I say, on this very crucial matter, which is not an issue in terms of the jurisdiction of this House, the point I was endeavouring to make to the members of the press was that it is an issue that I am sure concerns each and every single member. When I was asked about the resolution by the members of the press, I did point out, and I may be wrong in my interpretation of the law, that it was not within the competence of this Legislature or of any provincial parliament to "declare this province a nuclear-free zone." I may be wrong in that, but I think that legal point of view is correct.
As I read some of the discussion that went on, I think it was a constructive sort of dialogue. I do not think anyone in this House is not as sensitive as the member for Scarborough West is to the enormity of this issue in the global sense. One does not have to watch every single newscast every day of the week to see what is happening in the Middle East, which does not relate necessarily to the member's concern about disarmament but which none the less is disturbing to each and every one of us. One sometimes wonders what the answers are even in that, shall we say, restricted geographic area in terms of what the ultimate solution may he.
I was concerned about the escalation that took place two or three days ago, at the larger intervention of one of the countries involved. Yet when one looks back at what happened to them about three weeks ago or whenever, one asks oneself: "Where is the balance? What is it we can do to create a greater measure of understanding?"
I do not purport to have the answers to that. I would not object if the member were to focus on that one geographic area of the world which is in turmoil at this moment. I think he would get all-party support for a resolution to say, "Let us find a way to solve the problem." But the member and I know that is not going to have any practical effect.
Then one moves into the broader area, the very real concerns that are raised with respect to activities in this country as they relate to the obligations of Canada as a partner in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. One looks at the problems that would be experienced by any country as a member of the NATO alliance taking a position that is contrary to its partners. The member may argue with me that Canada would have to opt out of the NATO alliance and, as I read it, that is really what his resolution would mean if it were to be put into effect and taken to its logical conclusion.
With respect, if the member would take it to its logical conclusion, I do not know how else he could come to any other sort of decision. He may disagree with me, and I am trying to be really constructive on this; I am not playing any party politics
Mr. R. F. Johnston: You are against conventional weapons, which is also what Denmark is in favour of.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Sure, but I suggest to the member that if we are to meet some of our commitments as a partner in NATO, the logical conclusion one could draw from his resolution -- I may be wrong in this, but I do not think so -- would be to opt out of our NATO commitments.
I guess the thing that has always given me the most trouble in all these discussions has not been any lack of commitment on the part of myself or anyone on this side of the House to see disarmament take place and to see greater stability in the world community. It is the feeling that we may express these points of view -- there are people in other countries of the world expressing this point of view, and we all know it -- yet there is a very large country, not just in terms of geography or in terms of population, where one does not sense this same feeling is manifesting itself. The member may have some indication that it is; I certainly have not seen it.
I am not sure history can teach us everything in situations of this kind, but there are always some lessons from history. There is fairly recent evidence, and I think what happened in Afghanistan has to be considered as still relatively recent in historical terms. There has been no real explanation offered on the part of the Soviet Union with respect to the tragedy of that aircraft. One looks back in history and asks oneself: "Is there any sort of sense on the other side?" -- I do not like to be saying "sides," but I guess that is what we are saying -- "Is there any evidence that they are as concerned as we are and are as motivated as the member would like to see the public of this country become?"
I do not think one has to do any polls or anything of that nature to know the people of this country and the people of this province are genuinely concerned. My only observation to the member is that we can express this concern. I think in the debate, that concern was expressed by everyone.
I do not find any easy way of translating that into something tangible which will have some influence or impact upon the other major force in this world debate. That is where I wish I had some sort of constructive suggestion to offer to the member. I hope he understands my point of view. We are as committed as anyone. The problem is, how does one do it when it relates to one side? That is where we are at and the difficulty that faces me at least in a rather personal sense. I hope that helps the member in terms of my --
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I appreciate the time you have taken.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It may come as a great shock to the member, but I feel as keenly on this as he does. It may be that we will not agree on how this might be solved, but I just hope he does not think -- and I know he does not -- that he has a monopoly on concern. I just want to make that quite clear.
I do not purport to be an expert on all these international matters, but I do tend to keep an eye on them. I read the member's resolution very carefully; I tried to take it through to some sort of logical conclusion. He may disagree with where that leaves us, but I am not too sure that I am wrong. Anyway, we will leave that for another time.
The member for Port Arthur will convey to the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) -- I quite often just say "Nipigon" -- who may be in the area there to hear me, that I was interested in his review of the policy guidelines I sent out to members of the public service and his observation that in some instances they are not being totally observed. I am not sure of that.
What I could not understand, and what the member opposite might ascertain for me, is whether he was also concerned about former employees of the government moving into the private sector and then being constructively critical of those programs with which they were invoked. I could not quite get his point as to whether he was saying they were acting contrary to appropriate policy etc. I was not sure.
The only point I will make on this issue, which is difficult, is that the distinction I had hoped was really inherent in the communication to the senior public service in 1980 was the fact that I believe senior government officials have an obligation to communicate factual information, certainly to members, to the public and to members of the press.
I always try to draw a distinction in having a public servant involved in, shall we say, defending policy or taking on what might be construed as a somewhat political connotation, about which I am sure members opposite would be the first to complain. It is a very fine line in some issues; I think we all understand that.
However, the real intent of that communication was to say to senior public servants that if the member for Port Arthur or a member of the press calls and says, "How many of this are there in an existing government program?" or asks them to be helpful or to communicate information, I think that is appropriate. But I do not think it is appropriate to ask a public servant to get involved in the discussion of the formulation of policy or advice given to a minister etc., for these things can then become a matter of public debate.
One of the great difficulties I have always experienced in government, because we are talking here about openness, is the attempt on the part of government on occasions to involve the members and the public in a greater form of dialogue. We have used green papers, white papers, blue papers and so on.
Mr. Foulds: The Hydro select committee.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will get around to that.
We have used that sort of process. I do not think there is the degree of misunderstanding in that process, which I think in many cases can be helpful, that existed four or five years ago. I have been here on many occasions when white or green papers were tabled -- and I am not being critical here; it is a fact of life -- when there was an assumption that the green paper or the white paper represented committed government policy. That has been the history on a number of occasions, and it is the kind of thing that makes it difficult to have the sort of nonpartisan or objective discussion of the issues raised in the paper that is very helpful in the governmental process.
I think things are better than they were four or five years ago, but it is something that government has to face in a practical sense. I would like to think, in the context of the apparent desire on the part of the member for Lake Nipigon to have a broader discussion of some of the sensitive issues in northern Ontario related to some of the matters he raised, that these discussions could proceed in a constructive, nonpartisan fashion.
But I caution the member for Port Arthur, because I have been here a shade longer --
Mr. Foulds: Twice as long.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes. I have seen how some of these things have developed. With the greatest of respect -- well, at least a measure of respect -- there is a tendency on the part of some members opposite to use some of this information, if we are having a public discussion, to take sides and make the issue a partisan one. I am not being critical of this; I am just stating factually what happens. I hope the member will convey to the member for Lake Nipigon my awareness of the points he raised.
I want to move to the matters raised by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. I will deal with them very briefly, because I think the government House leader (Mr. Wells) covered a good part of this in the debate on the resolution of this House. I have made a note which I would like to convey through the deputy leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario about the member's observations about the bicentennial and the importance of the Six Nations. The member has always expressed this in this House and properly so; I understand it.
I would only make this observation. I too look forward to the first ministers' meeting in March. It is fair to state that Ontario played a rather important role in having the other first ministers and the government of Canada commit themselves to this process as part of achieving a consensus close to unanimity at the time the charter proposals were accomplished.
This is open to correction, but I think the government here has developed a very good working approach to these discussions with the leaders of the native groups in this province. That does not mean we will necessarily accept all the suggestions they will be making or that they will agree with every position we present. But I think there has been the opportunity for discussion and presentation of points of view, and we will be able to move towards these meetings with a very real measure of understanding.
There will be further meetings. I am committed to meeting with the leaders of the native peoples of this province prior to the meeting in March. There will be other ministers' meetings and involvement with the native people.
I was interested in the member's observations about the federal report. It is a very important report, in my view, dealing with many aspects. The one aspect that was highlighted was the concept of self-government. People who have raised it with me do not totally understand; they tend to confuse self-government with sovereignty. That is not the intent, as I understand it.
It is a question of self-government within some defined area that would be comparable to another level of government -- I think one might use this terminology -- whereby certain responsibilities that are now discharged by the government of Canada primarily, and in some cases by the provincial governments, would be assumed by the native people themselves.
I think we have to be very careful that the public does not get the impression that self-government means something more than was the intent of the paper or what the native people are suggesting. At the last first ministers' meeting there were several good presentations explaining this which perhaps were not totally understood. I hope that sort of misunderstanding will not emerge.
The deputy leader might convey to the member that if he has any further thoughts on this matter prior to the meetings in March -- the House will not be in session -- he should not be reluctant to communicate them directly to me or to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs or the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry).
Mr. Chairman, I guess I could keep going --
Mr. Conway: What about the Alan Gordon matter?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am going to deal with that, because it is an important matter. I really want to deal with it when the leader of the New Democratic Party -- I will do it on Monday.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: I am trying to accommodate the Premier's interest in this connection, and I appreciate he is a busy man, but I have raised the issue and I came here expressly to put some questions to him about that matter. Unfortunately, I may not be able to be here on Monday. I have about five minutes. Since I raised the questions, I found the time to be here to begin the Premier's estimates. I would hope that as a matter of courtesy to me at least, he might simply deal with Mr. Gordon in the remaining time this morning.
What are the Premier's intentions, if any, at this point? Does his government intend to redeploy Mr. Gordon in the immediate future? If so, does he know where? If so, will there be a reduction in rank and salary as a result of his difficulties in his former incarnation as Deputy Minister of Government Services, about which the auditor has had so much to say in recent weeks?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I really want to deal with this matter, not in a lengthy period of time, but in terms of the whole process, the role of Management Board etc., as it relates to this matter.
I can tell the member, and he can accept this or not, that there has been no determination it all made with respect to Mr. Gordon at this moment. When I say no determination has been made, I mean I have not made any decisions as to what his future might be within government. The member will just have to be patient; I hope he will understand that it will take a period of time.
Mr. Conway: Do I then understand the Premier to say that Mr. Gordon continues to draw his salary as Deputy Minister of Government Services and that until a determination is made he will remain in that capacity? Am I clear on that?
Hon. Mr. Davis: No. He does not remain in the capacity as deputy minister. I have accepted his resignation, which was, if the member will read the letter of resignation, without any qualification or anything of that nature. Under the rules of the public service of this province, I think Mr. Gordon is entitled to certain holiday pay or whatever it is. The matter will be dealt with, but it will not be dealt with in the next 48 hours or three or four days.
Mr. Conway: He is not now an employee of the Ontario government?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not saying he is not in the employ of the government or that he is not drawing whatever he would be entitled to, but he is not acting at all in terms of the Ministry of Government Services. His resignation has been accepted and that has been final.
Mr. Conway: So if I phoned him, could I reach him in the government of Ontario today?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can almost guarantee the member that he might not reach him, period, today. I am just saying I think he may be away for a few days. I am not sure of that.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary --
Mr. Chairman: The Premier was proceeding with an orderly answer to this question.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I just wanted a supplementary. Did I understand the Premier to say he is committed to finding a job for Mr, Gordon in the public service of Ontario and that at the present time he continues to draw the salary he would be earning as if he were still an active deputy minister?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not sure exactly what the ground rules are. I think anybody who leaves the employ or who is in the process of change from one job to another is entitled to some form of compensation. The member for Port Arthur may not agree with that, except I have to tell him that the position of his party on so many other issues has been totally on the other side.
Mr. Conway: This is serious. You are his employer.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I say to the member for Renfrew North, I am trying to be helpful; I am not getting into some of these more provocative issues, which he tempts me to do.
I read that article in the Globe and Mail and I said to myself, as I listened to him the other day and I sensed that he was being constructive, that he believed those things he was saying. Then I read what his leader said, and he can stand up here and say he never used those words. I have to tell the member, no newspaper picked those three names out of a hat. If he does not think the seed was not planted, that he had been pursuing some of these things -- and I would never plant it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Please, do not provoke me, because it is too close to one o'clock.
I am telling the member it is my statement to him that there has been no determination as to where Mr. Gordon may be in the public service or under what terms or at what salary level. I received his letter -- when was it?
Mr. Conway: A week ago today.
Hon. Mr. Davis: A week ago today. Whether the member accepts this or not, and I thought he was very gracious in his observations last week, he cannot reach Mr. Gordon as a deputy minister today; he cannot. I will be dealing with this, but I cannot tell him it will be done by Monday afternoon: I cannot give him that undertaking.
Mr. Conway: Are we correct in assuming he is on a severance leave right now?
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, the member cannot assume that. His status is up in the air. I guess I cannot describe it in any other fashion. I cannot describe it in any other fashion until such determination is made. If the member cannot accept that, which I would like to think he could --
Mr. Conway: I've got to accept that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Sure. To me it does not sound very unreasonable.
In the 30 seconds that are left, I want to deal with the very major issue raised by the member for Renfrew North, the moose lottery. I have had my staff spend hours developing a detailed response on what was obviously the most urgent of matters for the member for Renfrew North who felt, during the Premier's estimates, with inflation and unemployment still as problems as well as many other issues some of which are never contained in the estimates of the Premier's office, that the moose lottery was very high on his list.
Mr. Conway: If the government cannot run a moose lottery, it cannot be counted on to run much else.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We can run a moose lottery. We are running a moose lottery. It is being done well. The moose hunters are content. They have had a pretty good season. I am going to tell the member that this moose lottery works better than in any other province in Canada, because I do not think they have any other moose lotteries in the rest of Canada.
Mr. Conway: The government fouled up the moose lottery.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, we did not foul up the moose lottery. The computer made a mistake.
Mr. Foulds: Are you making fun of this?
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would never make fun of moose hunters.
Mr. Foulds: You are doing it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I did not. I am making fun of the member whose major priority is the fact that the computers did not work. We altered them; we made it more equitable. People were allowed to reapply. It worked extremely well, supported by some of the naturalists' groups and the anglers and hunters. I have quotes from all over. I just wanted to assure the member we know how to run a lottery and it is working well.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, on a point of privilege: I want to be very brief and clear, because for the thousands of good people in Renfrew North for whom I have the great pleasure of being their representative, there is no more important issue in the fall of any year than the hunting regulations of the government of Ontario.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Conway: Those people know this government fouled up the moose lottery.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The member for Renfrew North will please take his seat.
Mr. Conway: If you cannot run a moose lottery properly, you cannot be allowed to run anything else. That was my point.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I want to make it abundantly clear, Mr. Chairman, we know how to run moose lottery.
Mr. Chairman: It was not a point of privilege. Would the Premier perhaps move that the committee rise and report?
Hon. Mr. Ashe: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman --
Mr. Foulds: It is past one o'clock.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: That is fine. I think that may be what is out of order.
Mr. Chairman, may I draw to the attention of the Chairman, seeing he was in the chair today, that perhaps we could have some clarification on another day either from yourself or from the Speaker as to the role of the electronic communications system in this chamber. One of the things that prompts the kind of back and forth response from a member who sits in his place is the putting on of the loudspeaker system. I am not quite sure that adds to the decorum in here and probably prompts the back and forth debate that should not take place.
Mr. Chairman: I did notice the light go on when the member did not have the floor. We will look into that.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Davis, the committee of supply reported progress.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment of the House, can I indicate the business and perhaps with the agreement of the House have permission to make a motion?
The business for Monday afternoon is as announced: Bill 111, which will go until about five o'clock, when the Premier's estimates will be begun and the complete time will be taken on them. On Monday evening, we will deal with second readings and committee of the whole, if necessary, on Bills 132, 133, 119, 120, 121 and 134.
If there is time, we will then go to the Social Development policy field concurrences, beginning with the Provincial Secretary for Social Development, Education, Colleges and Universities, and Community and Social Services. Following each of these concurrences in order will be the supplementary estimates for the Provincial Secretary for Social Development, Citizenship and Culture, and Community and Social Services.
On Tuesday afternoon, we will do second reading and committee of the whole, if necessary, on Bills 139, 145, 147, 144, 135, 136 and 142. The business for Tuesday evening will be announced on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for clarification. Is my understanding correct that, horrible thought, should Bill 111 go beyond 5 p.m. on Monday afternoon, it would be the first item of business on Monday evening?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Of course my friend knows that, Mr. Speaker, but I have a pretty good assurances from everyone that it will likely be finished in the time available. We will have to face that when we come to it.
I failed to indicate, Mr. Speaker, that there is an agreement that any votes for Monday afternoon will be stacked until 10:15 on Monday evening.
Mr. Conway: I have a feeling the Premier's attitude early next week will determine --
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I shall be here the following week.
Mr. Conway: So will I.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, in order to put in place the concurrences and the supplementaries to be handled in the way I indicated, could I have agreement to make a motion?
The Acting Speaker: Does the House agree?
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the supplementary estimates of the ministries of the Provincial Secretary for Social Development, Citizenship and Culture, Community and Social Services, Attorney General and the Office of the Assembly be transferred from the standing committees to the committee of supply.
Motion agreed to.
The House adjourned at 1:07 p.m.