The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
INDIAN LAND AGREEMENT
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a statement today about the negotiation of a proposed new Canada-Ontario Indian land agreement which was alluded to in press reports yesterday.
First of all, I would like to explain the issue, which has been the subject of continuing negotiations and discussions over the past number of years. The governments of Ontario and Canada and representatives of the Indian people of Ontario for some years have been looking for ways, through negotiation, to remedy weaknesses in the 1924 Canada-Ontario Indian Lands Agreement, which has the full force and authority of both provincial and federal legislation.
The responsibility for the administration and control of land reserved for the Indians was allocated to the federal government by the British North America Act of 1867, now the Constitution Act. Subsequent decisions of the Privy Council in the 1880s brought to light a conflict between that federal responsibility and the responsibility of Ontario through another part of the BNA Act for land and other natural resources.
The governments of Ontario and Canada attempted to sort this out through the 1924 Indian lands agreement. However, it has been the position of the federal government for some time that the 1924 agreement did not accomplish its objectives and that there was no legal basis for many of the land transactions with respect to Indian reserve land that has been surrendered for sale.
This issue has been subject to continuous negotiation and discussion for some time. It has been continually a point of discussion in my ministry's estimates in recent years. It was also identified in the response to an order paper question put forth in this House in 1982 by the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick). The issue was again raised in the most recent estimates of my colleague the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Sterling). Negotiations have been under way through the Indian Commission of Ontario, a forum that involves the governments of Ontario and Canada and the grand chiefs and presidents of the status Indian organizations in Ontario.
Mr. Speaker, you can appreciate the sensitive and complex nature of this matter which I presented to my cabinet colleagues in confidence. I sought advice from my cabinet colleagues on the position that Ontario should take on various matters and sought to obtain confirmation of positions taken in an attempt to negotiate an agreement that would be fair and just to the Indian people as well as protect the legitimate interests of all residents of Ontario. We identified 23 separate points for our discussions in cabinet.
With respect to Ontario's position, the Constitution Act of 1867 assigns to Canada the responsibility for "Indians and land reserved for the Indians" and assigns to Ontario the responsibility for the administration and control of all crown land and other natural resources in the province.
Since 1867 Canada has had responsibility for the administration and control of Indian reserve land in Ontario. However, there are problems because of the lack of a clearly defined responsibility for the administration and control of Indian reserve land when it has been surrendered for sale. Ontario's position is that the federal government must bear responsibility for past and future original patents of land and any legal liabilities associated with that responsibility.
Ontario must retain complete control and responsibility for road allowances and beds of navigable water bodies. Ontario must also retain overall responsibility for the administration and control of crown land and resources within the province. Ontario is striving, however, in the context of the current negotiations, for an agreement which will be fair to all parties.
Another very significant objective of Ontario in these negotiations is to guarantee the federal patents for land that was surrendered Indian reserve land. Such land has been sold and patented by Canada, but the courts have ruled the responsibility for the sale of crown land, including surrendered Indian reserve land, rests solely with Ontario.
This could have a direct impact on a large number of residents of this province. It is our objective to ensure the successors in title to those federal patents, the current landowners, are protected and that their root of title is sound.
The subject of mineral rights on Indian reserve land is also a complex and significant issue in our negotiations. Ontario is prepared to negotiate on a quid pro quo basis the request of the Indian people for additional revenue from mineral exploration on Indian reserves.
My final point addresses the question of the extreme sensitivity of these negotiations. In any negotiations the parties develop positions which, when issues are discussed, are used in arriving at a consensus. It is Ontario's intent to use the various positions developed through these discussions with my cabinet colleagues in these ongoing negotiations with Canada and the Indian people on the new Indian land agreement.
The members will understand, of course, that our negotiating position should not be announced publicly prior to the negotiations. It is only fair to the other parties that we take our positions first to the negotiating table. Not all of the elements of the discussions in cabinet will be our initial negotiating position, but may or may not be fall-back positions.
I can only emphasize that full recourse to public debate will take place at the appropriate time. Because any new agreement will provide the means to supersede the Indian Lands Act of 1924, it can only be implemented by legislation and, it goes without saying, there must be a full public debate on it by elected representatives in the Legislature of Ontario and the Parliament of Canada.
The proposed new Indian land agreement will serve as the framework in Ontario for subsidiary agreements with individual Indian bands. The negotiation of these subsidiary agreements will involve the individual Indian bands and the governments of Ontario and Canada, as well as local municipalities and other interested parties at the appropriate time.
It is very unfortunate that these negotiations may have been placed in jeopardy by premature release of all elements of Ontario's negotiating position. I can assure the members I will continue to work towards a resolution of the issues surrounding responsibility for the administration and control of Indian reserve land in Ontario.
CORRECTION OF NEWSPAPER REPORT
Hon. Mr. Eaton: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I rise to correct the record. There is a report in the Globe and Mail that MPPs are now free to write off pots and pans. It goes on to say that two members moved a motion that the Board of Internal Economy --
Mr. Kerrio: No. They said some of them should be selling them.
Hon. Mr. Eaton: Probably.
Hon. Mr. Welch: The member for Niagara Falls is first in line.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Eaton: It goes on to say that two members moved the motion and it was passed by the Board of Internal Economy. That is incorrect. It was unanimously voted down by the Board of Internal Economy. Mr. Speaker, I thought you, as chairman of that board, would like to have that record corrected.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. Perhaps the minister has had a chance to review some of the recommendations of the standing committee on social development in its report on child abuse that was tabled today.
I know the minister is planning some overall changes to children's legislation, but I wonder if he might act immediately to tighten up certain provisions of the Child Welfare Act dealing with the register and with the issue of putting on professionals the onus to report when there are reasonable grounds to believe child abuse has occurred. Is the minister considering immediate amendments to those sections of the Child Welfare Act?
Hon. Mr. Drea: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the committee for that very excellent report, particularly in view of the fact that they endorsed everything I have been doing since last year. I did meet with the committee
Mr. Bradley: At third hand and outside.
Hon. Mr. Drea: What was that?
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
Hon. Mr. Drea: That was a very derogatory remark. No wonder no one wants to stand up and admit making it. One should not make fun of the problems children are having from an anonymous place in the Liberal front bench.
I believe the Ontario Centre for the Prevention of Child Abuse is already dealing with one of the recommendations of the committee that the honourable member is talking about. In the training course for professionals -- and as the member knows, the first two classes have gone through --their attention is drawn to the mandatory requirements of the Child Welfare Act with regard to reporting child abuse.
Frankly, I do not know how one can make it tighter. The act says now that one must report. If one does not, one can be charged, fined and so forth. If it was a question of people not reporting because they did not understand the act, then I could see tightening it. But as the committee said, it does not really have many solutions to this problem. It has outlined the problem and it understands the difficulty, but when we come down to the concrete results the committee does not have too many suggestions as to what can be done.
If the member is asking me to tighten up the act, she should tell me how. Right now it says, "You must report. Here is the fine."
Ms. Copps: I am referring specifically to recommendation 17, which states that the Child Welfare Act must be amended so the obligation on every individual to report suspected cases of child abuse is not contingent upon the abuse being caused or permitted by the person who has the charge of the child.
The minister will no doubt be aware of a case I brought to the attention of his colleague the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) in recent months regarding a woman in Hamilton by the name of Gail Cochrane. She herself ended up on the child abuse register and temporarily lost her children because a baby-sitter, who was subsequently convicted in the criminal court of sexual assault, had entered her apartment and sexually assaulted one of her children.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Ms. Copps: In that kind of situation, does the minister not feel we need immediate amendments to the Child Welfare Act to make sure the person who ends up on the register and the person who is faced with the criminal conviction in court are one and the same person? The gaping loophole in the present legislation allows a person who is convicted of child abuse to remain off the register while the person who has charge of that child at the time of the incident is on the register.
That is a matter of record. The minister can get in touch with his colleague the Attorney General if he would like to confirm those facts.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I do not want to talk about a particular case, but I will tell the honourable member right now, that her interpretation of the act is not correct.
Let us take the most absolute case, a child molester. If that child molester contacts and molests that child on the street and is convicted, then that molester is on the child register. One of the interpretations of "in charge" is that it does not refer to a parent or a baby-sitter or whatever; it is the person that has, in effect, exercised control over the child.
The member is shaking her head. If she wants to look at the register, and if she were in a position to do so, she would see the very loophole she is talking about is not a loophole.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I wonder if I could have the minister's comments on recommendation 22, also about the registry, which suggests we amend the registration of those cases to include those where there are "reasonable grounds to suspect" rather than the "verifiable" case that we have at the moment.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I am somewhat in sympathy with that, although I must say there is a concern in regard to the protection of civil liberties. There has to be a great deal of attention paid to that word "reasonable." I think that is one of the things we would like to address. It is a very difficult area. Quite frankly, "verifiable" is relatively easy, but it was put in the present legislation because we wanted to have a protection on the individual so it would not be a witchhunt or that type of thing.
By the same token, there have been some very stringent definitions of what "verifiable" means. It is too stringent, if one wants to put it that way. I think one of the things Dr. Bates is doing in the Ontario Centre for the Prevention of Child Abuse in the training of a multidisciplinary series of professionals right across the province is bringing a new interpretation and approach to this. We will certainly continue to look at this because I agree there are not enough cases being reported in this province.
Ms. Copps: I must return to the minister's original interpretation of the section, because it is clear from his statement here in the House today that he disagrees with the finding of Judge Allen in the Kim Anne Popen inquiry. He stated: ". . . it is my opinion that section 492 does not impose upon the professional person or official the duty, and thus liability to the penalty set forth in section 94 . . . by a relative, neighbour or family friend who cannot, in any sense, be regarded as having 'charge' of the child."
It is quite clear that under the present legislation, if the individual who is involved in the molesting does not have the charge of the child -- and again I refer to the case which the minister may be familiar with, of a woman in Hamilton who herself ended up on the child abuse register while the convicted assaulter was not on the register --
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Ms. Copps: Will the minister immediately implement recommendation 17, which was unanimously endorsed by all members of the committee who saw the glaring loophole Judge Allen saw in the Kim Anne Popen inquiry?
Hon. Mr. Drea: What I will do is ask the chief law officer of the crown for an opinion on the matter. I am sure I will be vindicated, but if I am not, then I will recommend to him that the appropriate changes be made.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I am sure the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) did not mean to confuse the record by suggesting the principal in the particular case she discussed in regard to child abuse was placed on the child abuse register because of something her baby-sitter did.
The facts of the particular case, so the House can ponder them, were that the mother was placed on the child abuse register for failure to prevent sexual abuse of her child. The person who sexually abused the child was a male acquaintance of the mother and was also placed on the register. The reason she was placed on the register was that she was in quite close proximity -- indeed, in the same place -- while this was going on. I did not want to have the record show or try to imply that a woman who hired a baby-sitter who did something to her child suddenly wound up on the register.
It is also a matter of record that when the ministry was contacted, the lawyer for the particular woman recommended that he seek an expunction hearing so his client could be removed from the list. In almost two years neither the client nor he has come forward for such a hearing.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, on that point of order: Obviously, the minister is relating the incidents as I have described them.
Mr. Speaker: It was not a point of order.
Ms. Copps: If it was not a point of order, Mr. Speaker, you should not have allowed the minister to carry through with it.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, you allowed the minister to get his remarks into the record, although they were not a point of order.
Mr. Speaker: I allowed him to correct the record as he saw it.
Ms. Copps: I am applying the same principle, which presumably applies for all members.
Mr. Speaker: All right.
Ms. Copps: I am suggesting those facts are the facts exactly as I related them. In fact, she was in the apartment at the time of the occurrence, which is the whole point of why the Child Welfare Act has to be amended. She was in charge of the child and she ended up on the child abuse register, even though the perpetrator ended up with a criminal conviction. It seems to me clear that the law has to be changed and the minister, obviously, has missed the whole point of the discussion.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications pertaining to the recommendations of a coroner's inquest conducted in Hamilton as a result of an accident which, unfortunately, involved a fatality that occurred on September 20, 1982, at the Claremont access, where a 42-year-old man was killed after his car was hit by a runaway truck.
Is the minister aware of the recommendations put forward by the coroner's inquest which concluded last week? What steps is he prepared to take to see that these very worthy recommendations are made?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the detailed recommendations. I have not received them yet. I presume they will be sent to me.
Mr. Cunningham: I am somewhat surprised the minister would not be aware, in view of the fact that officials from his ministry conducted an inspection three days after the accident at the Brantford compound of Cronkwright Transport. That inspection showed that 19 of the 20 trailers at the facility had defective brakes; only one was roadworthy. Further, one of the minister's own spokesmen indicated that four out of 10 heavy trucks on the highway today had the same kind of brake deficiency. Finally, testimony given at the inquest by drivers indicated they knowingly use defective equipment or risk losing their wages for the day the vehicle is being repaired.
Is the minister prepared to implement some meaningful changes in the context of safety certification? More particularly, is he prepared to remove the inspection process from the company itself and require independent analysis to ensure that every truck on our highways is safe?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, yes. I will give consideration to those suggestions by the honourable member.
The inspections carried out by my staff, to which he referred, would have been done following the accident, which I believe was in September 1982. The inquest, as I understand it, was completed last week. I stated that I had not received a report or the recommendations from the inquest. It is not unusual for it to be a little while before I receive them. I read about them in the newspaper long before I receive them officially.
Mr. Cunningham: Since almost 25 per cent of the accidents that involve fatalities are truck- oriented, and the ministry officials indicated quite clearly as long as a year and a half ago there are some major problems in terms of vehicle fitness, in addition to correcting the deficiency with the inspection process that I made the minister aware of five years ago, will he take it upon himself as well to see that all class A licence operators are re-examined periodically to ensure that, at minimum, they have some passing understanding and knowledge of the operation of air brakes?
Hon. Mr. Snow: One of the things the ministry is considering is an air brake endorsement for truck drivers. That is one of the initiatives we are reviewing. No final decision has been made on it yet.
As the member knows, we had Dr. Uffen carry out an extensive review of the whole matter of truck safety. Those recommendations have been received; many of them have been implemented and others are in the process of being implemented. I gave a detailed report on the Uffen commission to the Legislature this fall and we are continuing with those recommendations. We are also continuing with safety checks at our truck inspection stations.
Another matter that has been considered is extending the commercial vehicle safety inspection certificate program, which we have in force now, to a broader range of vehicles. That is also being considered at this time.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my first question is to the Minister of Natural Resources, and it concerns the forestry industry and the atmosphere of secrecy, indeed almost a siege mentality, which appears to have taken over at the Ministry of Natural Resources.
In particular, I would like to ask the minister about the fact, of which he is aware, that piles of wood are being left to rot in many woodlands operations right across the north of this province. This is a question that has been studied time and again, both within his ministry and outside. The whole question of wood utilization is one that has preoccupied observers of the scene. There is an overwhelming consensus that a great deal more has to be done about the way the wood that is there is used.
The minister is aware of the fact that a task force has reported to his own ministry with respect to the question of wood utilization. My first question to the minister is a very straightforward one. When is this report going to be made available for public discussion?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, when the leader of the third party talks about a siege mentality we should address that issue, as we did in estimates over the last two weeks, because that idea was also put forward by his party's critic, the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren).
I indicated with respect to the forest management agreements that since 1981, when I became minister, we have had open houses for the people of the concerned communities. They have had the right to come in and examine the forest management agreement document itself when the 20-year and five-year plans have been produced.
We have had open houses to allow the residents of the communities and any others who might be interested to come in. We do advertising in the press of these open houses and of the plans and what they involve. We allow affected members of the communities to come in, look at the maps and at the long-term harvest and regeneration plans that are made available through the forest management agreement. Many hundreds and thousands of people across Ontario have done just that. We have tried to open up the forest management agreement process for public scrutiny through open houses. That started in 1981.
As I said in the estimates, we are working on a number of options with respect to wood utilization, including some that involve crown dues and the system of crown dues in Ontario. As soon as the internal negotiations are completed, the background information, including that report, will be made available.
Mr. Rae: The minister can hold as many open houses as he wants, but if the reports which the ministry itself has contracted for and which have been presented to the ministry are not made public, all the talk about an open-door policy and all the talk from the deputy minister, Mr. Foster, about being more communicative and taking steps to be seen to be discussing things and involving the public are so much baloney, so much malarkey. There is no delivery in terms of the Bird committee report on wood utilization.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: I would like to ask the minister specifically why he is refusing to release the Bird report with respect to wood utilization policy. He knows the question of the use of wood is crucial to the future of this vital resource for our province. Why is he holding it up?
Hon. Mr. Pope: We are addressing the issues of wood utilization, regulation and our crown dues system. When that assessment, which involves ministries other than my ministry, has been completed then the document will be released. This is the same government that has urged and brought forward improved utilization practices that have led to the establishment of such things as waferboard plants throughout Ontario.
We know there is a problem. We know one of the effects of forest management agreements in the Abitibi-Price operation in Iroquois Falls has been to encourage whole-tree harvesting, which is another very important wood utilization issue. We are making progress on these issues; we are seeking ways to utilize more species and to advertise the availability of more hardwood species in Ontario. We are also trying to provide some encouragement for whole-tree harvesting under forest management agreements. As soon as we complete our review of the crown dues system and the regulatory reaction to the report, the member will see it.
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, when the minister finally does release this report, will he have a commentary there or will he deal with the subject of the waste that has been left in the bush up until this time? According to a federal study -- I think it was published in 1978 -- 30 per cent of forest regeneration was being prevented because of the material left behind by the forest industry.
The minister is going to encourage whole-tree harvesting and so on and all those things are quite commendable, but we have incredible catch-up ground to cover here. Will the minister address that problem and have something concise to say about it when he releases this report?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, the federal government from time to time releases reports that in general terms do an analysis of the Canadian forestry scene. We keep hoping the cries of crisis and problems in the forest industry will lead that government to a financial commitment, as it has promised over the past two years.
We found out just recently, in response to a question posed in the House of Commons, that in spite of Mr. Roberts's announcement of $650 million for reforestation -- which he announced in August 1982 and said was available to the provinces -- there has been no approval of funds from the Treasury Board to get involved in this reforestation effort. This means federal reports, which are supposed to substantiate what the Canadian Forestry Service wanted to do, did not work anyway. I dismiss them all.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Pope: The reality is that we are addressing utilization, both whole-tree and species, through FMAs and through making available to other producers other species of wood that are not being properly utilized. Yes, I will be addressing all of those issues when we reply and put in place the regulations and the financial structure necessary to encourage better utilization.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, the fact remains that until the minister releases those documents the public is going to get the truth according to Pope and nothing more.
As far back as 1975, an Ontario government report, the Henderson report, recommended that the fines for wasteful cutting practices be raised. I am wondering whether those fines have been raised. In 1982-83. when charges involving wasteful practices were laid for 27 violations under the Crown Timber Act, the ministry levied a grand total of $18,000 in penalties, for an average of $689 per infraction. Does the minister think $689 per infraction is a serious deterrent to wasteful cutting practices in the forests of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, in the discussion of estimates I gave the member for Nickel Belt a full list of all charges and penalties levied under the Crown Timber Act. I had filed that in the Legislature. The member has all that information. He is surely not prepared to admit that we did not release that or the survival rates to him. I understand the member is rather selective about what information he does or does not get.
In talking about the truth according to Pope, I notice the member changed the terminology in this report as compared to his initial press release. I -- he no longer talks about silvicultural deserts or wastelands, he just talks about slums, because in estimates he was put in his place as to who was telling the truth.
GREAT LAKES WATER QUALITY
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of the Environment. It concerns the quality of water in the Great Lakes. The minister may have seen this computer printout, which was based on the report of the Great Lakes Water Quality Board. It establishes the number of chemicals that are now found and contained in the Great Lakes. The list goes on and on.
Given the seriousness of this problem and the fact that the quality of water in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes is being seriously affected by the number of toxic chemicals that have been discovered, is the minister satisfied with the record of this province in regard to its investment in improving the quality of water in general and, in particular, in improving the quality of our drinking water?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to that particular question, because I think the record of this province in terms of water quality is an exemplary one. Quite frankly, and I think the honourable member is aware of this, not only is Ontario an outstanding example of responsible treatment of the sewage that ultimately ends up in the Great Lakes and is treated at a higher level and certainly with better quality treatment than elsewhere in North America, but also it has been well documented that any of the trace contaminants to which he is referring in that great long list he has there are coming, for the most part, from the jurisdiction to the south of us.
We have constantly intervened with the state of New York on the leachate that is occurring from the state of New York, from some of the dump sites and, in particular, from the sewage treatment plant in the city of Niagara Falls. We are doing all we can with another jurisdiction to influence, to the extent that we are able, the quality of treatment that is occurring in that jurisdiction.
I have no reservations whatever about agreeing with the member that I do have some concerns about those trace contaminants. I assure him that I will do everything I can to motivate the state of New York and some of our American friends to clean up their act on that side of the river.
Mr. Rae: Perhaps it would help the minister's case if he were going to the United States with entirely clean hands. Can he confirm the report of the Great Lakes Water Quality Board to the International Joint Commission which said the Toronto Humber sewage treatment plant, the Hamilton sewage treatment plant and the London Greenway sewage treatment plant, all three of which are large plants, were not meeting the phosphorus effluent limits of the Great Lakes water quality agreement?
I also wonder whether he can confirm that high lead levels have been found in fish from the St. Lawrence River near the Du Pont chemical plant at Maitland, in view of the fact that the Ministry of the Environment is currently allowing Du Pont to discharge two milligrams per litre of lead, even though the ministry's objective is one half of that.
Specifically, I would like to ask the minister whether he can address those two questions as well as the question of all the runoffs of pesticides which, as he knows, come as much from Ontario as they do from states bordering the Great Lakes. How can he conceivably argue that the blame lies on one side alone and that there is nothing Ontario can do to contribute to a cleanup of the Great Lakes?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: I would not want to give the impression that there is nothing we can do. The leader of the third party quite properly refers to four or five sewage treatment plants in Ontario -- Toronto Humber and London being two of them -- that are marginally below the standards we have established to control some of the phosphate that is occurring as a result of emissions from those plants. We are working to bring those plants up to standard, and I think the member will find in the course of the next while -- I cannot give him a specific date -- that we will meet the standards with all plants in Ontario.
As to the Du Pont situation, I do not mind being more specific at all. The London plant is going to be improved rather considerably as a result of certain actions that have been taken by the London city council. They have committed to my ministry that they fully intend to meet and will meet the standards that have been established.
Our standards are very high in Ontario; they are much higher than they are in other jurisdictions, where they are well below meeting the standards established by the International Joint Commission and other authorities for Great Lakes water quality.
I have some concerns, however, in respect to the question the member raised in regard to Du Pont, because I understand there have been some lead level results that have shown up in fish, both upstream and downstream from Du Pont in the Maitland area. My understanding at this point is that they still have not developed technology that will control the lead emissions discharged into the river from that plant and that would allow them to meet the standards we have set.
I want to assure the member that at the moment there are really two options. One is to continue to work with the plant and to reduce the lead emissions from that plant. The other option is to close the plant completely. I do not believe, unless the member has no concern whatever about jobs, that the second option is one we should take into any kind of consideration at this point because, quite frankly, I do not want to lose the jobs at Maitland and at the Du Pont plant if it is not necessary to do so.
I want to assure him we are working with Du Pont to reduce those lead emissions so they do not become a hazard. They are not at hazardous levels now and we intend to lower them to the point where they are completely safe.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, as to the dioxins the minister discussed last week in his statement to the House, he indicated they were primarily of those types generated through combustion, I believe it is. Is it possible the source of those is in Ontario?
For instance, has he investigated the possibility that the dioxins in St. Catharines are perhaps a result of the burning at the solid waste reduction unit in Hamilton, the garbage-burning plant, and perhaps the ones in Mississauga? Has he investigated the Lakeview coal-fired generating station as a possible source of dioxin coming down from the air to the water?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, the only direct connection we have found with respect to the dioxin question is some of the leachate occurring in the area of Niagara Falls on the American side, which is coming from some of the landfill sites that are contaminated with some levels of dioxin. We have been able to monitor the fact that there are dioxin emissions occurring on that side of the river, not on our side.
Frankly, I cannot answer the member's question, because I do not know whether the dioxin emissions in the atmosphere are in any way affecting the dioxin that was found in raw water only, as he knows, and not in drinking water. I can tell the member that dioxin does not travel easily in water unless it is attached to particles of sand or some other contaminant. But in and by itself, dioxin does not travel in water, and I believe the former Minister of the Environment indicated that in replying to an earlier question in this House as well.
We are not certain of where the actual dioxin ended up in the Mississauga area or St. Catharines, but it is a reasonably well-founded guess at this point on the part of the scientists in my ministry that in all probability, failing other information which neither I nor my ministry has at the moment, it has leached from the American side.
Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Speaker, with respect to the detection of a slight amount of dioxin at the Lakeview plant, it is a puzzle why it was detected in St. Catharines and Lakeview, yet stations in between do not have any measurements. As a result of this, does the minister intend to intensify his studies to see why, as he says, the migration does not seem to be common right across the lake? Does the minister have any comment on that?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, we intend to continue to monitor because any incidence of dioxin at whatever level is of great concern to the ministry. I want to give the member for Mississauga South this assurance because it is a question that comes up frequently and one that I know concerns a great number of citizens.
Let me reiterate that it was found in rain water and not in drinking water, so the process of treatment we have in Ontario seems to be adequate based on our present technology to treat any raw water before it is used for drinking water purposes in such a way that the water is pure. We have found no trace levels of dioxin whatever in any drinking water.
The levels at which we are testing now in Ontario are so sophisticated and at such a high level in terms of the very trace contaminants we were able to determine and find out about that a few years ago we would not have even known there was any dioxin at all in the raw water. We are looking at very small levels in the amounts of parts per quadrillion, which is a very small particle, as I explained a few days ago when I made a statement in the House.
I want to assure the member, and the members opposite as well, that we will continue to monitor and test for dioxin in both raw water and drinking water. We will also attempt to determine where the sources are from which that dioxin is emanating. At this point, the only evidence we have is that any dioxin is coming from the Niagara Falls area of New York state.
Mr. Rae: One thing that is disturbingly new -- I am sure the minister is aware of it because it is contained in the IJC report and also in some more recent scientific reports -- is the dramatic increase in the incidence of cancers among the fish population in the lake. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has shown that walleye, muskellunge and northern pike are affected by some skin diseases, but it also shows that coarse fish such as sheepshead, white suckers, brown bullheads and the carp goldfish hybrid are affected by actual cancers and that they are on the increase and are a cause of serious concern.
I have two questions to the minister following from this particular set of facts which is so disturbing. First, is he concerned about the volume of fish being consumed by certain people who rely very heavily on that resource for their food, and does the fact that these fish have been described as unfit for consumption by rats not cause him some concern with respect to the volume being consumed by some people? I am sure he is aware of that situation.
Second, if the record of the government is so good with respect to drinking water and the treatment of drinking water, can the minister explain why a Mr. Rick Findlay, a hazardous waste expert for Environment Canada who completed a study of what was going on in Cincinnati and New Orléans, which also have water that has to be treated, stated that in his opinion those two American authorities are years ahead of anything that is being done in Canada with respect to the treatment of drinking water?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Let me take the last question first. The reason some comment was made about the city of Cincinnati is that it has in place at the moment a carbon filtration process which is exactly the same as the experiment we are conducting in the great riding of Niagara Falls, in the city of Niagara Falls, where we are attempting at the moment to determine how effective that treatment is. The case is still out among many of the authorities. The member has heard from one spokesman, but I can assure him there are other spokesmen who are not as convinced the carbon filtration process is required.
The second question, and I would like to answer both of them, was whether I am concerned about the volume of fish that is eaten from certain lakes. My ministry has had a consistent, continuing concern about certain contaminated fish. As the member is probably aware, we print a book annually indicating what fish are safe to eat, in what lakes and at what volumes. Yes, we do have a concern about it and we try to inform the public if there is even a slight concern about it that should he brought to the attention of the public.
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Again, it concerns the question of drinking water and the quality of that water in the treatment process.
As he is probably aware, the International Joint Commission has received a report from the Great Lakes Water Quality Board with respect to the treatment facilities along the Great Lakes. Of approximately 300 treatment facilities, there are about 179, I understand, that are violating the emission levels.
Can the minister tell us which of those violators are located in Ontario? What does he actually intend to do to ensure that the water quality is not degraded by the emissions of those plants?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, I am constantly amazed by questions that are raised in regard to the quality of the drinking water in Ontario. Each and every time the question comes up there is more than sufficient evidence to indicate the water quality we have in this province is beyond compare with any jurisdiction anywhere in the world.
We very recently had an independent study in Metropolitan Toronto. I want to assure the member that I drink the water without any fear, without any reservation, without any concern.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
An hon. member: What about the additives?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: With no additives, I might add.
Recently, Metropolitan Toronto engaged in an independent study to compare the drinking water in this area with that very famous bottled water that is so much more expensive. We know the results. Those tests indicated that our tap water in this area was far more pure, far more healthy, and it beat the bottled water in every way. That is not to suggest the bottled water is unsafe; it simply means the water we are drinking out of the tap is even more pure.
I will look into the second part of the question in regard to the plants that may have some difficulty. I do not know of any at the moment but I will certainly investigate that and I will be happy to get back to the member on that question.
Mr. Elston: With respect to the treatment of drinking water for the elimination of dioxins and furans, I know part of the hope of his ministry is that these chemicals will attach to various particles in the water and then settle out, as it were. The Environment Canada study indicated these particles are actually dissolved in water and can go through the process rather than settling out.
I understand the Cincinnati project is more far-reaching, with far wider parameters being studied than the minister's program that is in place now in the Niagara region. Can he assure us categorically that the steps he is taking will give us the high quality of water we require in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: I can give the member that assurance. I also want to indicate that at the level we are testing at the moment we are able to detect at levels of one part per quadrillion, as the member knows. So if there are dissolved dioxins in water, in whatever form, we are able to test at such minute levels that we would be able to get the results of those tests and we would then have some indication that what the federal authorities are saying is correct.
I want the member to know, however, that if the carbon filtration experimentation that we are carrying out in the city of Niagara Falls proves to be an effective way of removing some additional trace levels, and I emphasize the words "trace levels," of contamination, we are quite prepared to move towards a program that would introduce that kind of technology in our water treatment systems in Ontario.
Quite obviously we cannot do it all at once because it is an extremely costly program, but if it proves to be of assistance in purifying the water to an even higher level, then we are quite prepared to undertake that kind of program in the years ahead, certainly not overnight.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Natural Resources continues his scurrying back to his seat, I will put a question to him concerning the ministry's forestry research station at Maple, just north of Toronto.
I wonder if the minister recalls about a year ago, when he was at Laurentian University, saying "the Maple institute has a long track record of leadership in forestry research and that our researchers were among the first in the world to begin looking at the best way of managing forest resources." In March of this year he said that "work in forest management regeneration and genetic improvement has put Canada in the vanguard of progress in silviculture."
A month after that he said, "You should he looking to researchers at the Ontario Tree Improvement and Forest Biomass Institute as part of your research arm."
My question to the minister is, given those laudatory comments about the Maple research institute, why has he since that time decided to transfer some of the work being done at Maple to the private sector and to the universities in the province? Does he not understand there is a world-class scheme at work at Maple, that he is holding a sword over their heads and that many of those scientists are coveted by other jurisdictions? It would be a sad thing if we lost them to some other jurisdiction because of insecurity created by the minister.
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, there is no need for insecurity and there is no need for feeling that the work of these particularly competent and dedicated people will not be required in even greater proportion than it has been in the past.
As we discussed in estimates, we believe it is time the federal and provincial governments, the universities and the private sector get involved in a co-ordinated and common fashion in research. I will use the words of the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) at the end of our discussion in estimates, "In other words, you are building upon the base that you have." That is exactly what we are trying to do.
Mr. Laughren: That is very interesting. I really wonder what is going on in that ministry when, I believe, just a week ago today the minister's colleague the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) said, talking about research in the universities:
"If we take the various universities, my colleague the Minister of Natural Resources has already made a public statement that much of their research will now move out of their ministry and be farmed out to those universities in the private sector. This has caused a stir within that ministry. There is no question about it. There is a feeling that it should remain within the ministry. I am one of those who supports that research going out to those institutions as they are doing."
Who is making policy, the minister, the deputy minister who made the original announcement that they were decimating the research team, or the Minister of Northern Affairs who is now saying it is already happening and it is moving out of Maple into other institutions? What is it the Minister of Northern Affairs knows that we do not know, and perhaps the Minister of Natural Resources does not know either?
Hon. Mr. Pope: The member for Kenora, the Minister of Northern Affairs, is absolutely correct as usual. Three months ago we announced in a press release a resource research program involving every university in the province and began to put out research grants to those institutions. That was in addition to our research budget. So, as usual, the Minister of Northern Affairs is absolutely correct and current on what is going on in the Ministry of Natural Resources.
The member for Nickel Belt knows that in many jurisdictions in North America and Europe the private sector, the federal and state governments and the universities are forming joint research and technology transfer teams on a co-ordinated basis, and that the decisions on where the initiatives or new research will be undertaken are made by all elements of the research community.
The priorities are established by them; and the Maple facility will be an important part, the universities throughout the province will be an important part and so will the private sector. The net effect will be more money than ever before going into forestry research in the province.
PARRY SOUND RAFTING TOUR LTD.
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Industry and Trade, whose ministry was responsible for administering the federal-provincial northern Ontario rural development agreement grant to Parry Sound Rafting Tour Ltd. in the amount of $150,000.
Is the minister aware the owner of this company has disappeared owing rebates to customers who travelled miles for the whitewater rafting only to find the company no longer in business? Does the ministry not feel some responsibility to rebate the money owing to at least compensate their monetary loss, as this is both a federal and provincial project?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, to answer the first part, no, I was not aware. To answer the second part, it would not be our practice to enter into any guarantee of normal commercial business relationships with any company to which we advanced money.
Mr. Haggerty: Will the minister also explain how this project received approval to establish whitewater rafting on the Magnetawan River with the Ministry of Natural Resources when that ministry refused to regulate the water levels at Ahmic Lake to accommodate the rafting tours?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I would have to check with the Northern Ontario Development Corp. board.
SPECIAL SERVICES AT HOME PROGRAM
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. On November 2 a young man named Tom Wagner came into my office. He is a 22-year-old muscular dystrophy victim. He came in his electric wheelchair and he has a ventilator that works through his throat.
He came to me because he had been trying to get some assistance through the government for attendant care so that he can go to university. His parents are now paying approximately $16,000 a year for an attendant to go with him to York University. The young man is getting As in the three courses he is in. He is a very determined young person with a very disabling affliction.
He applied as early as May 11 through the orders in council route to get assistance so that he can have at least the attendant paid for. Can the minister tell me what progress there has been in that? I raise it today reluctantly, because I raised it with the acting minister on November 3 and still the family has not had final word as to whether or not money will be made available. Can the minister tell us what is happening with Tom's case and what he is doing about the orders in council process, which, as far as I know, has approved only nine applications in the three years since it was established?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I will have to report back on the individual case. Second, it has not been established for three years.
Mr. Rae: What year was it, Frank?
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The man says there have been nine eases since it was established three years ago. I am telling him it was not established three years ago.
Some hon. members: How long?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of --
An hon. member: Do you know?
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Oh yes, I started them. The purpose of the orders in council has been to deal with extraordinary cases that did not fall within the ambit of the program, which provides for supportive living services. The nine orders in council that have been granted represent only a relatively small portion of the numbers that have come across my desk. The needs of most of those that have come across my desk were fulfilled by local programs in their communities that, for one reason or another, they did not know about. In the particular case the member has mentioned, I will report back.
I must say that because of a new sharing arrangement with the federal government we are in the process of expanding our supportive living arrangements, and on that basis we are going to be relatively restrictive in the granting of an order in council because the expanded living program should be able to meet most of the needs of those who are now applying for orders in council.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I do not know how the minister could restrict it much more. According to a letter from A. F. Daniels, assistant deputy minister, to Marilyn Ginsberg, since 1980 the ministry has approved eight requests for attendant care. That was in September and, as far as I know, there has been one since that.
I do not know how he could be any more restrictive. He knows there will be gaps in whatever program he puts forward and there will be a need to try to respond to particular needs like those of this courageous young man.
The eighth annual report of the Ontario Advisory Council on the Physically Handicapped this year came through with a very strong recommendation that the proposed legislation with regard to home support services include a mechanism to allow for direct payment to individuals in need of services in order to permit them to design and control a service program peculiar to their individual circumstances.
That is precisely what Tom Wagner needs at the moment -- a program designed for his needs to enable him to go to York University. His parents are willing to pick up the other $10,000 a year that it is costing them to help Tom at this point. This man really needs the government's assistance now. Surely an individualized program is what we need, not just the assistance of existing programs in the community.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I said I would look into the matter. I would remind the honourable member of what I spoke about a couple of minutes ago. From time to time there are particular cases that cannot be met even by the expanding programs I am in the course of bringing in.
Where they do qualify and where no other type of program will be of assistance, we will continue to deal with them by orders in council. I would suggest to the House that to rely upon an order in council rather than have an expanded program would be detrimental to most of the disabled in Ontario. So let us keep the matter in perspective.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor), I would like to ask the Attorney General a question about organized crime.
With the finding of the body of Domenic Racco in a field west of Brampton over the weekend, apparently connected with the murder previously of Paul Volpe, according to the police, can the Attorney General indicate something more than his recent statement accepting the fact that we do have organized crime in Toronto and Ontario and indicate what steps he and his colleagues are taking to try to bring some moderate controls over what appears to be a completely runaway situation?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member refers to a recent statement.
The first statement I made about the existence of organized crime in Ontario would have been about eight years ago. We do have a problem and we have never suggested otherwise.
As I have also said over the years as Attorney General -- and as Solicitor General for three and a half years I think the problem has been relatively well managed by the law enforcement agencies in Ontario. Our law enforcement agencies are doing very well indeed, particularly when we compare the problems in our jurisdiction with those in other comparable jurisdictions.
Over the years I have announced a number of initiatives in both the capacities to which I referred. This government has been involved in very extensive funding of joint-force operations and other initiatives which I think have waged an effective battle against organized crime in this province.
I have to take issue very strongly with the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk when he refers to a runaway situation. When one looks at the number of organized crime figures who have been successfully prosecuted in Ontario in recent years, one would appreciate it is anything but a runaway situation.
Mr. Nixon: I would like to quote briefly one or two excerpts from today's story in the Globe and Mail. It says: "Halton police are receiving assistance from the Metropolitan Toronto Police intelligence squad, which has had Mr. Racco under constant surveillance since his release from penitentiary. Provincial police are also assisting."
If he is under constant surveillance, how do they knock him off, take him out into a field and dump him? How about this quote: '''It's got to be war . . . five guys shot in three weeks,' said a Toronto criminal lawyer, who has represented several reputed organized crime figures in the past."
There have been five murders in three weeks associated with organized crime. We are not talking about a run-of-the-mill, striptease murder downtown or in the west end. There were also five deaths from overdoses of heroin in a one-month period compared with five deaths in a period of a whole year previously. It seems to me the Attorney General ought to realize the old answers that have stood him in good stead over the years since he has accepted the presence of organized crime are not good enough when we find these murders are becoming almost weekly occurrences.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Nixon: While we are concerned about the murders, we are even more concerned about the level of crime and criminal activity that must be going on in this jurisdiction over which these people are fighting and murdering.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Of course we are all very concerned. When one looks at the increase in budgets and the number of initiatives that have been taken in recent years. we are not talking about the old answers. The law enforcement agencies are constantly looking for new answers and are discovering quite a few answers.
I want to make it very clear we have not, as the member has stated, accepted the presence of organized crime in this province. Indeed, a very major part of law enforcement resources in this province are dedicated to the fight against organized crime. I do not want to suggest for a moment there is any degree of complacency in the ranks of law enforcement agencies or in my crown law officers who prosecute these cases on a frequent basis.
We treat this matter very seriously. We have for some time and we will continue to do so. I repeat what I said a moment ago. Compared to other jurisdictions, our battle has been waged much more effectively than in any other jurisdiction I can think of.
Mr. Nixon: That is a speech about the quality of education. These people are being killed.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That does not mean to indicate for one moment we are complacent about it. I simply say this matter will continue to receive a high priority.
Mr. Nixon: Baloney.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: People like the member with all the wonderful fountain of wisdom he believes himself to possess will continue to second-guess or attempt to second-guess the police forces in this province. I think this is a very unwise course. The member is very fond of standing up at every opportunity and deprecating the contribution of our police forces in this area. I do not think he is doing them a service and I do not think he is doing much for his own credibility.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Attorney General whether he is aware that public information as to the extent of the influence of organized crime in this province really came to light as the result of a special inquiry of the United States Senate in 1963, at which time Mr. Volpe's name was first made public in connection with the Magaddino family in Buffalo.
Given that this information did become public as a result of a public inquiry in the United States and given one other piece of information that public inquiries in the United States have consistently shown, that is, that organized crime is increasingly using professional fronts, previously respectable financial institutions and other vehicles for the laundering of their funds, I would specifically like to ask the Attorney General whether he does not think it is finally time, after what was seen in the Waisberg report and elsewhere, for a royal commission into organized crime in Ontario, how it works, what its power structure is, where it gets its money from, where it uses its money and how it abuses and strikes fear into people.
Does he not think it is finally time we had that kind of royal commission of inquiry in this province rather than simply relying exclusively on the individual prosecutions which, I may say with respect, have not had the results the people of Ontario would like to see with respect to organized crime?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There have been such public inquiries in Ontario. The position I, and I am sure the Solicitor General, adopt at present and have adopted is, if the law enforcement agencies of this province are of the view and strongly recommend that such public inquiries would be in the public interest and in the interest of law enforcement we would certainly receive any such advice or give any such advice great weight.
The truth is, however, the public inquiries that have taken place, not only in the United States but in other provinces, and most notably in Quebec, have been dismal failures when it comes to collecting any actual information upon which charges can be laid. The experience has been that such public inquiries do have the potential of being very seriously disruptive of ongoing criminal investigations.
First, police informants tend to disappear and the whole process of effective law enforcement is usually placed in abeyance. While these public inquiries obviously do create an understandable degree of public interest, on balance they have been a dismal failure when it comes to producing any evidence upon which successful prosecutions can be launched.
INFLATION RESTRAINT LEGISLATION
Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to the Honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which reads as follows:
"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 petition is signed by Richard Savage of RR3, Carp, Ontario.
NURSING HOME LAYOFFS
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, I have approximately 1,400 signatures on the Ballycliffe Lodge Nursing Home petition and 630 from Kennedy Lodge Nursing Home. The wording of the petition is as follows:
"To the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"Thirty-two workers at Ballycliffe Lodge and 92 workers at Kennedy Lodge Nursing Home will lose their jobs because the employer decided to sacrifice long-term employees by contracting out the work through a placement agency.
"This multinational agency, Medox, provides staff who must work for lower wages and fewer benefits, all for the sake of increasing the profits made by this nursing home. The quality of patient care can only suffer under these circumstances.
"We petition as follows:
"1. That the government of Ontario amend the Ontario Labour Relations Act to stop the practice of contracting out.
"2. That the government of Ontario intervene on behalf of these 32 and 92 employees to protect the employment status of these workers."
STANDING COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Robinson from the standing committee on social development presented a report and moved its adoption.
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Robinson has moved the adoption of the committee's report. Does the member wish to make a brief statement?
Mr. Robinson: Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege this afternoon on behalf of the standing committee on social development to move the second report on family violence, which is entitled Child Abuse.
Twenty-four years ago the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Principle 2 states: "The child shall enjoy special protection and shall be given opportunities and facilities by law and by other means to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration."
Mr. Speaker, the committee considers child abuse to be a violation of the child's right to enjoy special protection. As pointed out in our report. society's response to this violation must be guided by the principle made paramount in the UN declaration, namely, the best interests of the child.
This principle underlies our 44 recommendations. Child abuse is a particularly repugnant act. victimizing as it does those who are in an especially vulnerable position. It assumes many forms, ranging from assault and neglect to emotional and sexual abuse.
Years ago sexual abuse was not an issue, not because it cud not exist but because it simply was not discussed. The committee was shocked to hear estimates that one girl in four and one boy in 10 will be sexually molested by an adult at some point in his or her childhood.
As chairman of the committee, I would be remiss if I did not thank the members of the committee for the nonpartisan nature of our proceedings and for the work they put into the hearings and into the report.
We consider it important that, like our first report on wife battering. this report be published both in English and in French.
The committee was pleased recently to learn from the Minister responsible for Women's Issues (Mr. Welch) and the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker) that the development of more effective measures to deal with the problem of family violence is a matter of highest priority for the government of Ontario.
We are encouraged by the initiatives undertaken by the government in response to our report on wife battering. We look forward to the same kind of response after the release of this report.
Children are our most precious resource and must be allowed to grow free of fear and abuse.
On motion by Mr. Robinson, the debate was adjourned.
TABLING OF REPORTS
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: It is a fairly common practice in this Legislature that before the tabling of a report members on all sides seem to feel quite free to make statements, do press releases and whatever. That, of course, is not the practice in other parliaments. Without getting as severe as, for example, the British House of Commons, where they threaten to expel people for releasing reports prematurely, I do feel we are getting to a point where it would be wise for you to take under consideration and perhaps refer to the procedural affairs committee the matter of the tabling of reports.
Just to go briefly over some of the problems I would see with it, one is that someone leaked this report before the agreed-upon technique was used this morning when the committee released its report and as a result members on all sides were faced with questions, quite properly. from their constituents about the contents of a report they had not yet seen. For example. even with the tabling of the report this afternoon, the mechanics of it make it likely that unless one wants to aggressively pursue it, it will be tomorrow before these things will find their way back to our offices.
Mr. Speaker, I do think it would be worth your while to look at the precedents and perhaps address yourself to the question of the tabling of reports; when they may be tabled and whether the members' privileges are being aggrieved in some way by the current practices of this House.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I want to support the honourable member in his comments. I also believe it would be very worthwhile if you, with whatever advice you would care to take, would undertake such a review, because certainly the contents of this report were brought to our attention, as members of the Legislature, before the report was tabled here today.
Mr. Robinson: Mr. Speaker, very briefly on the matter of privilege before you, I simply wish to inform you and the House that there were only three copies of this report in circulation on Friday. There was my copy, a copy to the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) and a copy to the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps). To the best of my knowledge, those were the only copies in circulation.
I know where my copy is. I believe the member for Scarborough West knows where his copy is. Where the third copy is, someone else will have to answer.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I ask you to require the honourable member to either clarify his statement or make some suitable further indication. Is he indicating to this House that, in his view, the copy owned by the member for Hamilton Centre was released to the press? It he believes it is, he can say, "Yes." Then that member can defend herself.
Mr. Robinson: Yes, I believe it is.
Mr. Speaker: The matter that has been raised by the member for Oshawa is indeed worthy of concern. I understand the procedures, standing orders and rules of this House are under consideration now by the standing committee on procedural affairs. I would hope this would be one of the matters to which the committee would give very serious consideration and make very serious recommendations for its implementation.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of the whole.
PUBLIC SECTOR PRICES AND COMPENSATION REVIEW ACT (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned consideration of Bill 111, An Act to provide for the Review of Prices and Compensation in the Public Sector and for an orderly Transition to the Resumption of full Collective Bargaining.
Mr. Chairman: The committee will recall that when last we sat on Bill lit, we had postponed section 5. There was an amendment by the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid).
Mr. McClellan: Sorry; where are we? We cannot hear a word you are saying.
Mr. Chairman: For the member's benefit, I was saying that when last the committee dealt with Bill 111 we had stood down an amendment by the member for Rainy River to section 5 of the bill. I am asking whether it is the pleasure of the committee that we return to section 5 at this time to deal with that amendment.
To help the members, I will read the amendment.
"Mr. T. P. Reid moves that section 5 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
(3) This part does not apply to a change in the wages provided for in a group compensation plan where the change is required to be made in the restraint period by the regulations pursuant to the Employment Standards Act."
I wonder whether the minister may want to make a comment on section 5 at this point.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, I would like this stood down until we do the other sections; then we will come back to it, perhaps just before we finish.
Mr. Chairman: Sure. We had completed section 11; so we will be moving to section 12.
On section 12:
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, you will recall that I moved one amendment to section 12 in our last sitting, which you ruled out of order because it dealt with a matter of compensation. We challenged the chair and your ruling was upheld. I have an amendment to move to section 12 again, which I think you will find in order. I will move it at this time, if I may.
I move that there be new sections 12 and 13 as follows:
"12(1) There is hereby established a commission to be known as the Fair Prices Commission.
"(2) The commission shall consist of not fewer than three members of the Inflation Restraint Board.
"(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall designate one of the members as chairman of the commission and one or more vice-chairmen from among the members of the board, and the chairman shall have responsibility for assigning among the members the matters to be resolved by the board.
"(4) The chairman may in writing authorize one or more members of the commission to determine any matter to be determined by the commission and for that purpose the member or members may exercise all the jurisdiction and powers of the commission and the decision of the member or members on the matter shall be a decision of the commission; and where more than one member is assigned to determine any matter, the decision of the majority of such members is a decision of the commission.
"(5) A member of the commission may be removed from office by the Lieutenant Governor in Council before the expiration of his term, and the Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint any person in the member's stead for the remainder of the term.
"13(1) The commission may make bylaws regulating its proceedings and generally for the conduct and management of its affairs.
"(2) In exercising its powers under this act the commission shall, where appropriate, make use of the services and facilities of any ministry, board, commission or agency of the government of Ontario.
"(3) The commission may, subject to the approval of Management Board of Cabinet, make use of the services of its staff" --
Mr. Chairman: Order. If I may ask the member, would he not agree that perhaps he is embodying two separate motions, one of which is to section 12? Perhaps we could deal with that first and then we will come to the amendment to section 13 in its time.
Mr. Swan: Okay. That is fine.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Swart moves an amendment to subsection 12(1).
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, the purpose of this amendment is rather clear. It is combined with two or three other amendments which have already been submitted. My comments on this amendment not only will deal with this amendment but also will cover the others rather than trying to space them out and commenting at length on any one.
The purpose of this amendment and of those subsequent amendments is clear. It is to provide some ad hoc control over prices and to provide the opportunity to stop or roll back unjustified price increases. It is essential if the stated purpose of this bill is to be carried out.
I suggest to the House that the title on Bill 111 is quite misleading: it states that it is "to provide for the review of prices and compensation in the public sector and for an orderly transition to the resumption of full collective bargaining." Right on its very first page it says it is an act to provide for the review of prices and compensation in the public sector.
Prices and compensation are put in the same category, but the simple fact is that this bill provides no control whatsoever over prices. It provides no price restraint whatsoever. Compensation is restrained, particularly in the public sector, by the limits in the transfer payments to municipalities and other bodies which are in the public sector; so the bill does limit compensation but it in no way limits or inhibits price increases, and therefore the title of the bill is very misleading.
The bill is very different from Bill 179, which we passed last fall. The bottom line of Bill 111 on prices is provided by section 14, which says, "(1) The minister shall review a report of the board made under clause 13(3)(c)." The board will examine prices referred to them that they feel are excessive -- and those are just administered prices, of course -- and report to the minister.
The minister will review a report of the board. and "(2) Where the minister determines that a price increase does not conform with the criteria, he shall (a) notify the agency or person in question; and (b) report to the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the nature of the failure to conform."
That is the end of it. He reports; there is no provision in this bill, or for that matter anywhere in any legislation, for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to do anything about it.
Under section 29 of Bill 179, if the government wanted to use it, it said
"Notwithstanding any other act, the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the recommendation of the minister may by order (a) disallow a price increase in whole or in part; (b) where appropriate, substitute a price increase for the price increase disallowed under clause (a); (c) delay the effective date of a price increase ..." and so on.
There was power there to do something about it. Under this section there is no power to do anything about it. The prices section of this bill is absolutely meaningless. I hope the minister will comment on this when he gets up. He may say there is power under the Ontario Energy Board Act for the cabinet to review and adjust; but if he looks at the Ontario Energy Board Act closely, he will see that the Lieutenant Governor in Council may review it if there is an application made but it does not provide a review on its own volition. In fact, there are no teeth whatsoever in this bill with regard to prices. It is nothing more than window dressing. I hope the minister will deal with that when he gets up. It is absolute window dressing.
A report is made to the Lieutenant Governor in Council and there it lies: there is no authority for anybody to do anything about it. We in this party feel that if the government is going to control prices and if it is going to have a section of a bill that takes up a page and a half or two pages, it should base some meaning to it and not just be put there for window dressing, as apparently it is put in the title. The public will think here is a government doing something about prices as well as wages in the public sector, when there is not even the possibility of it doing anything about prices under this bill.
I want to remind the House that the main reason for the introduction of Bill 179 and Bill 111 was given as providing restraint in this province. That restraint was interpreted as a method of limiting inflation. The purpose of this bill and of the previous bill was to limit inflation. I could quote the minister who introduced the bill last year. I could quote him now straight from Hansard, but I will not take the time to do that.
The purpose of the bill is to restrain inflation, yet everyone knows the word "inflation" has now become a pseudonym for the rise of prices, goods and services; that is what we mean. The consumer price index has a rise in the price of goods and services, and yet it does not deal with that whatsoever.
I should also remind the minister and this House of the statement of Mr. Jack Biddell, the person who is still in charge of the Inflation Restraint Board. He said, in his article in the chartered accountants' magazine, what we should be doing is restraining prices.
This was read here many times before. He said the Anti-Inflation Board was mistaken in putting the emphasis on controlling wages or controlling profits; what it should have done was control prices. Here we have a bill which reputedly is to control inflation and there is no control whatsoever that can be exercised, even if the government wanted to exercise it, over the prices we have in this province.
We think it is necessary to have a meaningful prices section in this bill. The amendments we have before this House would establish a fair prices commission with power to intervene, to check whether a price increase is justified and to order it held or rolled back if found not to be justified.
I want to say to those on the other side of the House, who think the marketplace solves all the problems and it does not need intervention in any way, that is simply not the case. If one looks at such things as the price of cereals and what the farmer gets for his grain, one realizes there is need for government intervention in a relatively large number of areas to give protection to the consumer if we are serious about doing anything about inflation and about the increasing price of goods and services in our society.
We look at the tremendous increase in bank profits. I realize that does not come directly under the jurisdiction of this province, although there are a great many major steps the government can take with regard to assisting farmers and preventing the banks from foreclosing in the arbitrary manner they do. The banks this year are going to have the highest profits in their history while many farmers are in a rather desperate situation. That is the price of operating. Yet we have a government that totally keeps its hands off in that regard.
Without carrying on this debate any longer, we in this party feel if there is going to be any fairness and effectiveness in inflation control, we need a section in this bill which gives the government the power; whether it wishes to use it or not, the very fact it is there might have a deterrent effect on those who would raise prices without justification.
If there is to be fairness and effectiveness, it must have a meaningful section on prices and not just the window dressing or the smoke and mirrors that is in this bill, which has absolutely no meaning whatsoever.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, as we indicated earlier, the decision of the government this year was to go into a transition back to a situation where neither wages nor prices were subject to any control whatsoever. We expect the year in which there would be no controls or mechanisms whatsoever would be next year.
Therefore this bill, and let us make no mistake about it, is intended to have a circumstance where wages and public sector prices are subject to the measurement of some sort of standard against which all those can be measured and a measurement in fact occurring; that is, people there to monitor what has happened on both the wage and price side. I think it is only sensible when one is moving out of regulation in these areas to treat wages and prices in relatively the same circumstance.
For those who believe we should not return to a circumstance where prices are largely determined as they were before Bill 179 and Bill 111, then one might support the amendments proposed by the member; but for those of us who believe the traditional system has worked relatively well on the collective bargaining side in terms of wages and in terms of all the other mechanisms, the market and whatever in terms of prices, then obviously we believe we must begin to take major steps out of control programs.
These comments will apply to several of the amendments the honourable member is making. The prices provisions largely mirror the wages provisions. I think that is the fair and equitable thing to do.
There is not much more I can add to that. It is the approach we think is appropriate coming out of a control period. The two portions of the legislation mirror each other in terms of monitoring developments both on the wage and price side and in allowing the government to observe that process to see if everyone is as committed to continuation of restraint as they have indicated they are.
Mr. Swart: Would the minister then agree that this is only monitoring administered prices, that there is no power given to anybody here, Inflation Restraint Board or government, to roll back any prices or to hold any prices? There is no new legislation whatsoever. What is the meaning of this section other than monitoring, which is being done in any event on the administered prices?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is right. You have understood it perfectly. It is monitoring.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Swart has moved a new section 12.
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Wrye: I move that section 13 of the bill be amended by adding --
Mr. Chairman: Order. We are not on that section yet. We have just concluded section 11. The member for Welland-Thorold has moved an amendment to section 12. He mentioned that he had a section 13 that flowed from that. He mentioned that he wanted to combine his comments on sections 12 and 13. Perhaps we could put his motion, on which he has made his comments.
Mr. Swart moves a new section 13 as follows:
"13(1) The commission may make bylaws regulating its proceedings and generally for the conduct and management of its affairs.
"(2) In exercising its powers under this act the commission shall, where appropriate, make use of the services and facilities of any ministry, board, commission or agency of the government of Ontario.
"(3) The commission may, subject to the approval of Management Board of Cabinet, use the services of the staff seconded to the Inflation Restraint Board from the public service of Ontario, and engage under contract such persons as are considered necessary from time to time for the proper conduct of the affairs of the commission.
"(4) The commission shall, before making any order or determination, hold a hearing and the Statutory Powers Procedure Act applies to such a hearing.
"(5) No action for damages lies against any member or any employee of the commission for:
"(a) any act done in good faith in the performance or exercise of a power or duty, or
"(b) any neglect or default in the performance or exercise in good faith of that power or duty under this act.
"(6) Subsection 5 does not, by reason of subsections 5(2) and 5(4) of the Proceedings Against the Crown Act, relieve the crown of liability in respect of a tort to which it would otherwise be subject, and the crown is liable under that act for any tort in a like manner as if subsection 5 had not been enacted."
I wonder if the member could clarify this for the benefit of the chair. As I read your proposed subsection 13(3) -- and the member will recall our comments on this at the last time of meeting -- you are still proposing in your amendment that there could be the engaging, under contract, of such persons as are considered necessary from time to time for the proper conduct of the affairs of this commission.
It is obvious why I am asking this. You will recall standing order 15, whereby proposals for the expenditure of funds are prohibited except where proposed by a minister with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor. I have no problem with the seconding of existing staff, as you propose, for example, subject to Management Board of Cabinet; but in your very next sentences that flow from that you are again proposing to "engage under contract such persons as are considered necessary from time to time."
I guess I am asking whether you might want to make an amendment to that.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, I am rising because I can see what you are coming to. I would make the amendment to delete subsection 3 and renumber 4, 5 and 6 accordingly. I do not think you want me to read it again, do you?
Mr. Chairman: No, I do not think that is necessary.
Mr. Swart has moved the insertion of a new section 13. All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
On section 12:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that section 12 be deleted and the following substituted therefor:
"In this part,
"(a) 'administered price' means,
"(i) a price, user charge, fee, premium or rent charged by a public agency;
"(ii) a price, user charge, fee, premium or rent required, permitted or authorized by a public regulatory agency to be charged by another person; and
"(iii) an amount payable by the Ontario health insurance plan for insured services;
"(b) 'price' means any price, user charge, fee or premium other than an administered price;
"(c) 'price increase' means an increase or a proposed increase in a price or an administered price;
"(d) 'public agency' means an agency, board, commission or corporation, including any wholly owned subsidiary corporation, established or controlled by the crown in right of Ontario which provides any product, service or residential rental accommodation for which a price, user charge, fee, premium or rent is charged;
"(c) 'public regulatory agency' means any ministry, agency, board, commission or corporation established or controlled by the crown in right of Ontario which approves, establishes, regulates or requires particular prices, user charges, fees, premiums or rents to be charged for any product, service or residential rental accommodation."
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, in this motion we are enlarging the definition of "administered price" and bringing in the additional items of premium and rent.
Regardless of whether members of this House agree with the fair prices commission -- I wish the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) was listening because I think he would agree on this one -- enlarging administered prices to include premiums and rents is a very reasonable proposal. I think of the premiums for the Ontario health insurance plan, which surely should be controlled as well. We feel this is the very minimum enlargement that should be made in the term "administered prices."
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, as I said with regard to the last amendment, to those who believe we should not return to the free and open system in prices we had before Bill 179 and also to those who think we should structure an even more restrictive system than we have had even under Bill 179, this amendment would be acceptable. Those of us who believe the system as we know it works relatively well in Ontario would have to reject this amendment.
Mr. Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the House that Mr. Swart's amendment to section 12 carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
On section 13:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Wrye moves that section 13 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(1a) The minister shall establish, and may from time to time amend, economic criteria by which price increases shall be reviewed and
"(a) shall publish the criteria and any amendments in the Ontario Gazette;
"(b) shall circulate the criteria and any amendments to every public agency and public regulatory agency; and
"(c) may give public notice of the criteria and any amendments in such manner as the minister considers appropriate."
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, this first of a series of amendments to section 13 simply says the criteria the minister is establishing must be reported so the public of Ontario and indeed every agency shall be aware of those criteria. We believe it is important that we take those criteria out of the darkness and put them in the light of day so the various economic criteria by which the government is reviewing price increases can be seen by all.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, we have a comprehensive amendment to delete the section, but it does include exactly what the member for Windsor-Sandwich has stated. We will be supporting that and putting our more comprehensive resolution in just a moment.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, we accept this amendment.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Wrye has moved an amendment to section 13. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any further amendments to section 13?
Mr. Wrye: Yes, Mr. Chairman, now that I am on a roll.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Wrye moves that section 13 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(2a) any person may request that the board investigate a price increase where the price increase occurs on or after the first day of January 1984 and before the later of,
"(a) the first day of January 1985; and
"(b) in the case of a public agency or a person regulated by a public regulatory agency that has implemented a price increase on or after the first day of January 1984 and prior to the first day of January 1985, the day one year from the last such increase."
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, this amendment is similar to one which we wished to put last year. Indeed, a number of the amendments that follow are similar to those we proposed last year.
The key to this amendment is that it allows any person to request that the board investigate price increases rather than the current very narrow rights of referrals. We believe the proposed legislation is inadequate in that it does not allow for the public which may become aware of a price increase or may be concerned about it to ask that the board investigate such a price increase.
Quite clearly it is our view that in this restraint period, in this second year of restraint -- and I think while the minister would state there is a much looser restraint in this transition year, none the less we are looking at a second year of restraint -- on the price side in this second year we ought to ensure that the general public comes to be supportive of the efforts of the Legislature on the price side and that there be general unanimity among the public that where there are price increases they can be seen to be fair in that all persons can request an investigation of these price increases, and that is what our amendment would do.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, we will be supporting this amendment because once again we have it in our comprehensive amendment, which has been tabled with the members for some time.
I think, though, it is fair to say that all of this is being debuted in a vacuum if section 14 remains as it is. That prevents anybody, including the government, from doing anything about it. All of these procedures are great if they lead up to some point, somebody intervening and saying, "That price is too high;" but that is not even permitted under this bill.
Even if a person asks for this price to be reviewed, the end result is that even if it is reviewed and found too high nobody can do anything about it anyhow. It does not really accomplish much for the public.
However, I suppose the principle in that vacuum is a good principle. Maybe some day we will get some authority to do something about prices. It will not hurt to have it in a bill which is now absolutely meaningless with regard to prices.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, as I read the amendment, our first problem with section 13 is that it would have the Inflation Restraint Board investigate a price increase, and of course the intent of the legislation is that this remain an item reviewed by the cabinet committee on administered prices. This would be a fundamental change in the regime that we have established or want to establish through this legislation, which has those who are ultimately responsible to answer to the public in terms of those prices answer for those prices and make decisions.
After all, if one will reflect upon it, that is the same kind of principle we have put forward in terms of the other side of the bill, the wage side, with municipalities, school boards, elected officials, people who run the hospitals and the universities at the front line this year taking responsibility for those decisions.
I think that is equally appropriate, notwithstanding the fact it will from time to time put the burden right in the laps of those of us on Treasury benches on this side. None the less, as uncomfortable as that may be some days, we think it is appropriate that responsibility be and remain in the hands of those who ultimately have to answer for this policy. That is equally the case, whether for municipalities or school boards, or the Treasury benches in terms of provincially administered prices.
For that reason, I think it is appropriate and consistent that this amendment not be accepted.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Wyre has moved an amendment to section 13 by adding to clause 2(a).
All those in favour of Mr. Wrye's amendment will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Are there other amendments to section 13?
Mr. Wrye moves that subsection 13(3) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
"(3) Where a price increase is referred to the board by the minister or where a person requests an investigation under subsection 2(a), the board shall,
"(a) investigate and report on the price increase and determine whether it conforms to the criteria;
"(b) where the board determines that the price increase does not conform to the criteria, determine, or request the public agency or public regulatory agency concerned to determine, the maximum price increase which would so conform; and
"(c) report to the minister and, in the case of an investigation requested under subsection 2(a), notify the person of the result of its investigation and determination under clauses (a) and (b)."
Do any honourable members wish to speak to this amendment to subsection 13(3)?
Mr. Swart: Yes, Mr. Chairman. This is a desirable amendment, in our view, if we can only get the government to put some teeth in section 14. Once again, all this does is recommend that the minister have no power whatsoever. When it is referred to the cabinet they cannot do anything about it, even if they wanted to, because there is no legislation permitting it. But because it leads up to something which could be good, if we get that amendment to section 14, we are prepared to support it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: My remarks here would, of course, be consistent with my remarks with regard to the previous amendment. Might I also say that it really changes the board's role in a fundamental way, and one which we have chosen this year to reject. We have chosen to have all of those matters determined not in a forum such as this, which we think would be less appropriate, but to have them dealt with, as I said earlier, at the Treasury bench level.
Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Wrye's amendment will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Are there other amendments to section 13?
Mr. Swan: I would now like to put the comprehensive amendment, which incorporates all the amendments that have been put by the member for Windsor-Sandwich plus some more.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that section 13 be deleted and that the following new section be added:
"13(1) Where any person requires in writing that the board investigate a price increase that occurs or takes effect on or after January 1, 1984, the board shall investigate and report on the price increase and shall determine whether the price increase is fair.
"(2) In determining whether a price increase is fair, the board shall take into consideration,
"(a) whether in light of the earlier price increases relating to the same product, service or rental accommodation the person or public agency proposing the price increase could reasonably be expected to absorb a higher share of the price increase;
"(b) whether the price increase takes place in a sector dominated by one or a few suppliers of the relevant product, service or rental accommodation;
"(c) whether the price increase relates to an essential consumer product or service;
"(d) whether the public interest would be better served by a lower price increase or by no price increase;
"(e) whether a price increase would have a significant impact on the rate of inflation as measured by the consumer price index published by Statistics Canada;
"(f) whether the price increase would materially affect the general standard of living or the standard of living of a particular class of consumer;
"(g) whether the price increase would exceed current average real wage gains;
"(h) whether the price increase, apart from its own merits, can be justified in view of current economic conditions;
"(i) the economic criteria established and published under subsection 3; and
"(j) any other relevant circumstances.
"(3) The board shall establish and publish economic criteria for the review of price increases.
"(4) Where the board determines that a price increase is not fair, the board may by order,
"(a) require that the price or administered price be frozen at its current level;
"(b) require that the price or administered price be rolled back from its current level to a specified level;
"(c) substitute a lower price increase for the proposed price increase;
"(d) delay the effective date of a price increase;
"(e) impose conditions on a public agency or other person with regard to the implementation of a price increase; or
"(f) exercise any combination of the powers in clauses (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e).
"(5) Upon the petition of any person, filed with the clerk of the executive council within 30 days after the date of an order for the board, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may,
"(a) confirm, vary or rescind the whole or any part of the order; or
"(b) require the board to reconsider in a new public hearing the whole or any part of the matter to which the order relates,
"and the decision of the board after the public hearing ordered under clause (b) is not subject to petition under this section.
"(6) Any person who has filed a petition under subsection (1) may at any time withdraw the petition by filing a notice of withdrawal with the clerk of the executive council."
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, as you may or may not know, I made most of my remarks on the preliminary amendment, but I want to point out that this amendment puts teeth back in the bill, as they were in Bill 179, and gives power somewhere to roll back or to hold prices. As I have already stated, and the minister agrees, this is power that is totally absent from the present bill.
Again I point out that the present bill has absolutely no meaning whatsoever with regard to prices. We want to give some meaning to the prices section of this bill so there is some ad hoc price control against unjustified increases.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, I remind members of the House that we have chosen not to have rollback powers on the wages side. We have equally decided that rollback powers on the price side would be inappropriate.
The Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Swart's new section 13 will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
On section 14:
The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Wrye moves that subsection 14(2) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
"(2) Where the report of the board made under clause 13(3)(c) indicates that the price increase does not conform with the criteria, the minister shall notify the agency or person in question and make recommendations to the Lieutenant Governor in Council with respect to the price increase.
"(3) Notwithstanding any other act, the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the recommendation of the minister may by order,
"(a) disallow a price increase in whole or in part;
"(b) where appropriate, substitute a price increase for the price increase disallowed under clause (a);
"(c) delay the effective date of a price increase;
"(d) impose conditions on the public agency or other person with regard to the implementation of a price increase; or
"(e) exercise any combination of the powers in clauses (a), (b), (c) and (d).
"(4) No order shall be made under subsection (3) except with regard to a price increase occurring within the period referred to in subsection 13(2)."
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, the section we are moving now puts some teeth in the review of price increases that are not apparent in section 14 of the legislation. My concern is that in this year of transition the minister is attempting to put price increases that were not really controlled in any way last year into the transition year.
To hold down inflation the Treasurer has certainly, in our view, put in place -- and we have carried most of them -- sections on the wage side that will have the effect of holding down wages in the public sector. Very clearly, according to the statistics we have all seen, wage increases in the private sector remain stalled at a very low level. To say we are simply going to have a monitoring agency on the wage side is, I think, appropriate in the second year, the transition year of these increases, in that the wage increases will probably be limited by the very nature of the transfers from the province to many of the agencies and by the arbitration procedures which were carried the other night.
On the other hand, we see no reason why there should be the appropriate transition year on the price side. Quite frankly, we are still waiting for year one of price restraint. Some of the other amendments we will be moving will speak to some of the specific issues and some of the specific prices we believe should be restrained.
Failing that, the major point in this amendment is that we think it is time not simply to get on with reporting back to the Lieutenant Governor in Council where there are price increases exceeding the criteria, but we believe the minister and the government must have the power and should have the power either to disallow the increases in total or to limit them. That is the basis of our proposed change to section 14.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, you would expect we would support this amendment as well because it incorporates some of the provisions from the amendment I just put and which I referred to in my original comments.
The minister says he is treating them both the same. I say that is nonsense. He is not treating compensation the same as he is treating prices. He knows very well that in the transfers he is limiting the wages the public sector can get. There is no question about that. There is nothing in here at all to limit prices. If he is going to treat them both the same he would have monitored only, in dealing with wages in the public sector; he would not have said he was going to limit the transfers to five per cent so that is all the increase there can be in wages. He knows that very well.
The minister is abandoning totally any control whatsoever he had over prices under the last bill, which incidentally he did not use. He is not abandoning wage control of public servants. He is just going another route to get the same thing. Granted, it may be a route which is perhaps not quite as severe or quite as arbitrary, but it is a route which he thinks is going to be effective. But he is not doing a thing here about prices. Obviously, we are going to support this amendment.
The facts are that what we have, as I pointed out in the debate on a public advocate, is a system to deal with administered prices that is unfair to the consumers and that is partial to those corporations which ask for the increases, whether it is Ontario Hydro, the natural gas companies or Bell Canada. When one comes to the hearings the companies themselves have by far the preponderance of experts and lawyers there to promote their case and the consumers are left with little or no protection whatsoever.
The other evening the Conservative members, and for that matter the Liberals too, spoke against the principle of a public advocate which would have given some equality to consumers in defending themselves against increases. When we have agencies set up which do not ensure fairness, this kind of restraint surely becomes necessary in order to have the power someplace to roll back unjustified increases in administered prices.
That is exactly why we put the amendment ahead of this one and why we will be supporting this amendment.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, there is nothing I can add. This would be a logical amendment to make if one accepted the earlier amendments and believed in them; if not, to be consistent with the scheme we have decided to go with, one would have to reject this amendment.
The Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Wrye's amendment to section 14 will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Section 15 agreed to.
On section 16:
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Carried.
The Deputy Chairman: No; we are asking for participation or discussion.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, I move that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following sections:
"16a. Notwithstanding any other act or regulation, the amounts payable by the Ontario health insurance plan under the Health Insurance Act for insured services rendered by physicians and practitioners shall not increase by more than five per cent during the period from the first day of January 1984 to the 31st day of December 1984.
"16b. Section 37 of the Ontario Energy Board Act, being chapter 332 of the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1980, is amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(11) Notwithstanding anything else in this section, during the period from the first day of January 1984 to the 31st day of December 1984, Ontario Hydro shall not increase any of its rates or charges for any customer so as to exceed an annual rate of increase of five per cent based on the rates and charges in effect on the 31st day of December 1983.
"16c. The Residential Tenancies Act, being chapter 452 of the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1980, is amended by adding thereto the following section:
"125a. Despite anything else in this part, during the period from the first day of January 1984 to the 31st day of December 1984, no landlord shall increase the rent charged for a rental unit by more than five per cent of the last rent that was charged for an equivalent rental period."
The Deputy Chairman: What was that you were just reading?
Mr. Wrye: I am sorry; are you missing part of my amendment?
The Deputy Chairman: I do not have what you just read. Could you give me a copy of what you just moved?
Mr. Wrye: The whole thing?
The Deputy Chairman: No; I have 16a and 16b but you just closed off with 16c and that is not on this copy. It is missing totally from the table.
I have a problem with the motion that has been placed by the member for Windsor-Sandwich. In his amendment before us he refers to the Health Insurance Act and the Ontario Energy Board Act. For the sake of all members who want to know the reference from which I am drawing in regard to the admissibility of amendments in committee, under Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, which I am following and which I like to follow, and which I respect as this House does as a way of guiding us through business, it indicates on page 233, section 773(8)(a), "An amendment may not amend a statute which is not before the committee."
The motion presented by the member for Windsor-Sandwich refers to two separate acts that are not before this House in Bill 111. I therefore cannot accept it as an admissible amendment.
Section 16 agreed to.
Sections 17 to 21, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 22:
The Deputy Chairman: Mr. Wrye moves that section 22 be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"This act shall be deemed to have expired on January 1, 1985."
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, very briefly, this follows to some extent an amendment the third party put the other night to the arbitration section. While that amendment failed, we are attempting to sunset the entire act. Very clearly, our greatest concern is that the arbitration section of this legislation be sunsetted, although we have a general concern that this so-called transition year be exactly that and not be extended for an indefinite period.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, we will be supporting this amendment. I would anticipate the minister would also be supporting this. Certainly, he has stated over and over again that this bill will be in place for only one year. If we on this side of the House are to believe that, and if we are assured that this takes place, then this amendment will carry.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, we have indicated a couple of times that a careful reading of the bill, particularly clause 1(l)(i) and subsection 8(2), makes it quite clear that the effect of this legislation is to cover only the contracts coming due in the next period of time. It covers only one contract negotiation period.
The problem with this amendment, which obviously does little other than put in a single expiry date, is that some contracts may not have been settled by January 1, 1985. For example, the teachers' contracts fall due, I think, in September 1984. It is not inconceivable that if that process runs its fullest course, it could result in a determination being made after January 1, 1985. That would take them outside of this legislation.
In any case, the point I want to make quite clear is that the bill covers the next contract coming in, and only that contract. Notwithstanding that it is not contained in seven words in any one section, it is quite clear there is no possibility that anyone could suggest this bill applies for a more extended period of time.
Mr. Wrye: I would say to the minister very briefly that while I can perhaps understand his concern about that particular date, I would hope he would share the concern we are expressing on this side, and the concern that members of the public have expressed, that there are only vague sunsetting provisions, as the minister knows. Perhaps he might want to choose a date of his own.
I certainly understand his repeated assurances that this is a one-year transitional measure. However, the Treasurer will be aware that at the beginning of this exercise his predecessor indicated the controls of any kind were for one year. I remember the Treasurer's predecessor emphasizing on a number of occasions that we have only this one-year criterion and that the people in Ottawa have much tougher measures which are going to go on for two years.
Here we are debating a second year of some form of restraint and controls. If the Treasurer does not wish to take our date he can pick his own to indicate that there is an end, at some point, to the exercise, or that it will continue, rather than saying, "We will put these matters in place and perhaps in time they may end."
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I remind the member that, whatever date we select, we would have built into it an inherent invitation to the negotiators to drag out negotiations, to stall negotiations, until they had passed that date. This is the very real problem in doing it other than the way we have done it. The way we have done it just says, "The next time -- the next contract -- you are covered, and that is it." If one picks a date, it does not matter which date one picks, as we saw in coming to Bill 179; some contracts that had not been settled yet were a year and a half to two years old in terms of the coverage period.
Whatever date one picks, one really holds out a very real invitation to people to simply say: "I am not going to settle. I will just sit here at the negotiating table until we pass the expiry date before we have to go to this approach."
Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Wrye's amendment will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Rae moves that section 22 be amended by adding the following:
"Nothing in this act should be interpreted as taking away any rights provided for in the Human Rights Code of Ontario, RSO 1980, as amended."
Mr. Rae: Mr. Chairman, I discussed this very briefly with the Treasurer, but the reason I am putting it forward as an amendment is to make it very clear that other restrictions notwithstanding, and other unfairnesses notwithstanding -- which as far as we are concerned are a matter of public record we expect the act will conform in all its particulars to the rights in terms of equality as are set out in the Human Rights Code. For purposes of greater clarity, I think it would be useful if this were appended to the act.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, notwithstanding the concerns expressed by the member for York South, I would find it unusual if anyone suggested this infringed on the Human Rights Code of Ontario. Accepting an amendment would, by implication, suggest that one or two of the sections might operate in that way and that this section was necessary to clarify that they did not. That would be quite inappropriate, I would suggest further, since all of our legislation complies with the Human Rights Code.
I would strongly suggest that if we were to accept an amendment such as this it would be incumbent upon us to put a similar clause in every piece of legislation that went through this House, else some court, some day, could say that since this clause was specifically written in this piece of legislation, Bill 111, but was left out of all the other pieces of legislation, then the Legislature must have been implying a different kind of compliance for all the subsequent pieces of legislation, or legislation already on the books for that matter, than we put on Bill 111.
I would simply say that if we put it in here we ought to put it in everywhere. It is not necessary here because there is no clause in this bill that contravenes or can be said to contravene the code, and the implications that this would have for all other pieces of legislation that do not carry this clause would be potentially difficult.
I know all members of this House support me when I say that we all know this piece of legislation, notwithstanding the shortcomings that some members think it has, supports the code and we know that this bill complies with the code. That being the case, I would suggest the implications of putting this in would be unfortunate, to put it mildly.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Rae has moved the addition of a clause. All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
On the schedule:
Mr. Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the House that the schedule that forms part of Bill 111 shall carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Schedule agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: I believe we still have section 5 stood down.
Mr. Wrye: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, I do not believe we have done section 23.
Mr. Chairman: No. That is the last matter to be dealt with. Do you wish to go back to section 5 at this point?
Some hon. members: Yes.
On section 5:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. T. P. Reid moves that section 5 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(3) This part does not apply to a change in the wages provided for in a group compensation plan where the change is required to be made in the restraint period by the regulations pursuant to the Employment Standards Act."
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, we accept the amendment.
Motion agreed to.
Section 5, as amended, agreed to.
Section 23 agreed to.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Grossman, the committee of the whole House reported progress.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): There being 20 minutes before the next order can take place, I will leave the chair for 20 minutes, at which time the House will resume.
The House recessed at 4:40 p.m.
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, OFFICE OF THE PREMIER AND CABINET OFFICE (CONCLUDED)
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Chairman, has the Premier (Mr. Davis) finished his reply? We are in a bit of a bind. The member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) is some place between here and there; in the snow or on the plane, I am not sure. Anyway, we are prepared to go ahead. Has the Premier finished his reply?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, there are three or four other items I was going to touch on rather briefly. I could do those and finish them up, or whatever the members would like.
Mr. Ruston: I think the Premier might as well finish them and then we could go on.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I sometimes try to take these in the reverse order they were raised. I think two or three members raised the question of advertising.
Mr. Ruston: The moose are all gone now.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have a lot more to say on the moose lottery, but I guess I will ignore that. There were one or two questions raised on advertising. I am not attempting to set the record straight, but just to explain it in a way that perhaps has not appeared totally in print or deal with some perceptions that may exist.
I might also interject here that some of us were treated to an excellent presentation from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, where the president emeritus, who has been constructively critical of the government, observed with the press there -- and I really did encourage them to make notes of it -- how, on balance, he thought the auditor's report really reflected excellent management on the part of government, I just thought I would interject that from a totally unbiased, objective observer.
Mr. Nixon: The press does not pick up that kind of thing, does it?
Mr. McClellan: The chamber likes rent control too.
Hon. Mr. Davis: My recollection is that for the past two years they have been less than enthusiastic about rent control. I think that was their point of view.
Mr. McClellan: I must have missed that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We were looking at some percentage increases. As I said to the House, in terms of "government advertising" I think one has to distinguish between moneys allocated for internal communication within government and those moneys allocated for communication with the public, primarily through television, radio and newspapers.
I would point out to the members that the actual expenditure increase in 1982-83 over 1981-82 for government advertising, which is a word or phrase we all understand, really was an increase of 10.3 per cent. I think it is important it be understood that 10.3 per cent really reflects an increase in inflation in terms of the costs of buying X number of pages or X number of minutes on television or time on radio. The actual increase for "advertising" did not increase.
There was a larger percentage increase in the Ontario Lottery Corp. I am not sure whether in the auditor's report, where it was commented on, it was distinguished that the Ontario Lottery Corp. has the responsibility itself for the moneys it allocates to promoting the various games. These are not tax moneys. These are not moneys paid by taxpayers into the consolidated revenue fund and then disbursed by government. They are moneys controlled by the lottery corporation. It is part of, I guess one would say, their overhead or what have you.
Their decision is made on the basis of the market. Part of that increase in the lottery corporation really related to what was not a new game but what I gather, and I do not follow these games that carefully, was sort of an add-on to Wintario. That really was part of the reason the increase took place in the lottery corporation.
They make their judgements based on what they think is necessary to promote the lotteries, which in turn helps sell tickets, which in turn helps the total amount of proceeds. I would hope there is a clear understanding that in terms of actual government programs, like Food Lands Ontario, some of the energy materials, senior citizens and the various communications programs, there was roughly a 10.3 per cent increase in expenditure and that was primarily because of the increased costs.
I think there was some impression left that this was done on an ad hoc basis and perhaps with not a total awareness of the concept of the agency of record. Unlike one or two press reports, which indicated the agency of record received the money and then just sort of picked out various agencies to do the work, the reality is the ministries make the arrangements with the individual firms which then in turn buy the media through the agency of record.
The fees are set. It is an industry standard, as it is for the various advertising companies, but the agency of record does not pick out or select the company that is to do the work. That is done by the ministries. Then the material or time is purchased through the agency of record on the basis of a straight commission.
As I said to one or two members in the opposition who were constructively critical of government expenditures, I genuinely ask whether it is government communications of this nature that members feel should not be available in, say, the health field? Do we really suggest we are doing too much in the agricultural field, and I could go through a whole list --
Mr. Nixon: The lottery.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I say to the member --
Mr Nixon: The Premier just said he has nothing to do with that. I understand he wants one. That is a Miss Penelope that we do not need.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have discussed this briefly with the people at the corporation and they say, based on their marketing experience, that one has to promote or advertise lotteries. As a result, part of their budget is to interest people in purchasing the tickets which in turn provide the funds.
Mr. McClellan: If one is in the gambling business one has to advertise.
Mr. Nixon: They are going to give away all those millions of dollars. The Premier is telling them he wants them to be successful.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is where the lottery advertising comes from. As I say, it is not expenditure of taxpayers' money.
Mr. Nixon: Whose money is it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The money comes from the sale of tickets. It is not money that comes from taxes.
Mr. Nixon: Gamblers' money.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think I recall one or two projects in the honourable member's riding where he has been very supportive of Wintario grants.
Mr. Nixon: What has that got to do with it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member was being constructively critical of the gamblers' money.
Mr. Nixon: But to go back, saying where we could cut the advertising, my answer is Miss Penelope. Somehow the company went broke and she did not get paid.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am sorry. I did not know he was referring to a specific problem. I do not know Miss Penelope.
Mr. Nixon: Well, she looks like a Tory.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If she is good looking then she looks like a Tory; I understand that.
Mr. Nixon: I did not say that.
The Deputy Chairman: Maybe the Premier can finish his remarks and then --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have a lot more material on the question of the agency of record and I would be delighted to share that with the honourable members.
Mr. Nixon: If the Premier is trying to justify it, it is a waste of time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member will not understand it; he does not want to understand it.
Mr. Nixon: We understand it all right; he and his pals.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Does the member know how many firms are on the list in Ottawa? I think it is three.
Mr. Nixon: What does that prove?
Hon. Mr. Davis: What does it prove? It proves we are far more enlightened than they are. The member knows that to be the case anyway. I guess I do not have to prove that to him; he has known that for years.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: He will not even argue about that one.
The Deputy Chairman: Order. The Premier is completing his response to the question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am endeavouring to explain it.
Mr. Kerrio: How does the Premier expect us to know as much about the federal government as he does when he is palsy-walsy with them?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I read in the paper where half the proceeds from the last supper tomorrow night are going to the Ontario Liberal Party. Is that the federal wing?
Mr. Nixon: The Premier has that wrong. For the very first time he is kind of messed up.
The Deputy Chairman: Please stand up and make a point and then --
Mr. Nixon: Half of the proceeds are going to the federal party in Ontario. There is a difference.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am delighted to hear it. because I have read reports that the cash flow to the Ontario Liberal Party has not increased in direct proportion to what the member's leader said it was going to increase. I thought tomorrow night was a way of offsetting that. Can I ask the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk if he intends to attend tomorrow night?
Mr. Nixon: I am going to be there -- the cardinal and I.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member is in good company. He better take the member for Renfrew North with him.
The member for Renfrew North raised another concern about university financing, enrolment, etc. I just want to comment very briefly on that subject. I am not going to argue for a moment that the university community does not feel, quite sincerely, that it could properly use more money. The great difficulty we have in government is determining the priorities with respect to expenditures. I would not debate with the university community either the sincerity of its concerns or, in some cases, the validity.
I explained to some people from the university community during the latter part of last week that the problem we have is trying to determine how much out of X dollars should be apportioned to the health system, how much to the municipalities, how much to the educational system and how much to the post-secondary system.
The member for Renfrew North referred to certain reports. Not in any way to offer critical comment on one or two reports in particular, it has been my experience in some years that reports on the post-secondary area are never totally conclusive. Suggestions are made or solutions are acceptable to some members of the community and not acceptable to others.
The Fisher report, as it has been called, took the approach of decreasing the number of post-secondary institutions. I have expressed publicly, so it is not new, that I would be very reluctant to go the route of decreasing the number of post-secondary institutions in the province and that we had to find some other alternatives. One of the other alternatives was the question of increased funding.
One of the problems we have had in government over the past three or four years is that we allocated a certain percentage increase to our universities. Again without being critical of them, there has been a tendency over the years at some institutions to look at the increase in the formula amount or the total percentage increase to be allocated and say if it is X per cent then that is the target or the objective for salary increases. Much of what we have provided to the universities has gone by way of salary increases and, in their view, that has left them deficient in terms of book acquisitions or lab equipment.
It is fair to state we hope to find some other mechanisms. There is some question on the formula. We have to keep in mind that we have, on balance, an excellent post-secondary system. I do not expect the members opposite to express publicly that point of view, but I have some modest knowledge in this field. I know what is happening in many states of the union with respect to funding. I would compare the quality here favourably with just about any state-wide program in the United States, including now the great state of California.
I can recall that the member's leader's predecessor twice removed was always very knowledgeable about education, particularly in the United States. Even during his periods of great concern about cultural and economic nationalism, he would come in here and read me excerpts from American publications. I always found that to be a shade contradictory, but none the less he articulated it very well.
I can recall how on occasion he held out as an example the state system in the state of California, which I guess in the late 1960s and early 1970s was the most generously funded of state systems in the United States. That has changed very substantially, partially because of the result of proposition 13, which was not really related to the financing of the universities but the psychological impact led to reductions of state funds.
It is kind of intriguing. Every now and then I do visit the United States, not as often as some members do who are on committees but I do get down there on occasion. I go to the University of Michigan, Ohio State and other very important cultural institutions where I talk with their presidents.
The president at Michigan, incidentally, is a brother of the president of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. He is a Canadian and the head at Michigan, which is an accomplishment in itself. We discussed not how much they got but how in the year they had an absolute reduction in state allocation of somewhere around five per cent. I tell my university friends this but it does not bring them any comfort; they say it does not help them at all.
I would only point out that there are some improvements we can make and they are not simplistic. Basically, we have a good system of education at the post-secondary level in this province and it is the government's commitment to maintain that.
I will touch on Ontario Hydro very briefly because I think both members who led off this discussion referred to Ontario Hydro. Once again, I am not going to spend the next 15 or 20 minutes extolling the virtues of Ontario Hydro except to try to put it in some perspective. One cannot run a utility of that size and that complexity without some difficulties emerging and Ontario Hydro has had its share.
I try to look at it as objectively as one can in my position. I try to understand the complexities of the issues that Hydro is dealing with, whether they are on the nuclear side or whether it is the question of transmission line location.
I listened to the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) say we should privatize, not Ontario Hydro -- I will accept the members alteration of what he was perceived to have said -- but that there should be new, smaller hydro units developed. I do not quarrel with that as a possibility. I would say to him that any analysis would indicate that while there may be some sites to generate a small amount of capacity using water as the basis of electrical generation, they would only cover a very small portion related to the overall needs of this province.
Mr. Kerrio: Help us to develop the technology. It would be easier than selling the Candu reactor.
Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect, many of the countries of the world that are seeking large power developments are looking to the megaprojects, they are not looking to this sort of technology. I would be very optimistic under certain circumstances that our Candu reactor could be sold in other parts of the world in spite of the criticisms we hear here.
When one is talking to energy people from other parts of the world one finds the Candu system is probably regarded, in terms of its technology, as one of the world leaders. I take a certain amount of pride in that.
Mr. Kerrio: No question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Would you make a mental note of that, Mr. Chairman, that the member for Niagara Falls said "No question" to that observation.
Mr. Nixon: It is one of the best.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is one of the best.
Mr. Nixon: Why do they not buy them?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The sales have not been what I think they should he. I would say to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, who represents such a broad spectrum of geography --
Mr. Nixon: And population.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is not necessarily population but geography. I think one of the reasons has been the international treaties in which Canada is engaged. I think it is also fair to state that, in my view, we have not attempted as a country to market the Candu reactor as aggressively as we might have.
Mr. Nixon: The Premier sounds like a candidate.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will accept the members application. Third, part of the problem has been in other areas. I will give an example. I will have to digress, I confess, but it has been partly the financial arrangements.
The reactor bid did not move ahead in Mexico because of the downturn in its economic conditions. My guess is that the proposal from this country to the government or energy authority in Mexico would be competitive in terms of price, and in terms of the technology it would be quite competitive; but I am not so sure how competitive it was with respect to the financing.
I relate this little incident as it has to do with this area of international activity. When I was in Singapore, the prime purpose there was to deal with the favourite subject of the member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham), namely, transit systems. As a result of the visit, I hope the bid of about $500 million that will be going in in January, all being well, will be treated seriously. Our problem in that part of the world, in Singapore, was that Canada did not have a high profile. The bids were being contemplated initially from a group of companies across Canada, and one or two would have been in direct competition.
We had some success between governments in developing a totally Canadian hid. It is a Canadian consortium made up of companies from Quebec, Ontario and some of our sister provinces; so the proposal going in in January will be a single bid from a Canadian consortium, whereby it will be treated as a sort of national hid. I do not try to understand all of this except that I know in perception it is very important.
I think we can be competitive in the area of quality. I am not sure what is going to happen in terms of price, because a lot will depend on the Export Development Corp. in terms of the financing. But as a country we still have a fair amount of homework to do on these major projects in developing a national approach, supported by the various governments that are involved, so that it does not appear as though there are half a dozen Canadian companies and they do not know who is doing what; because by and large you will find West Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom are there with single proposals.
I say to the member for Brant, Oxford and wherever, it is in the area of concessional financing where I think we may have had some trouble in some of the proposals on the Candu system. I am not sure of that. I have never been privy to any of that information. I am only guessing.
Getting back to the universities, just to finalize this, I think debates on the financing and the future directions of the universities are very helpful. They have always been constructive from my standpoint. I want to assure the member for Renfrew North, who raised this issue, that the universities have a high priority from the government's standpoint. They are fundamental in terms of whatever technical or economic changes are taking place because, without trying to make a speech, the reality is that in this country we will never compete on the basis of numbers in the domestic marketplace. We are in an internationally competitive environment; so we are going to do it by quality, by excellence and by our research and development, which means the creative capacities of our people.
That gets back to a basic extent to the educational system, and particularly to the post-secondary system, where I think increasingly we will see it oriented, not in terms of its traditional approach but in terms of its relationship to what is happening in the technological fields. This is not in any way altering the view I have always held that while universities may change in many respects, there is still a major role to be played by -- I never say a liberal arts education -- a general arts education.
Mr. Nixon: You should break down and use the right word.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have seen it used both ways; but the member will use his word, I will use my word and in this case we are both talking about the same thing.
To those young people who seek my advice, and on a personal basis they are diminishing, I say to those young people who say they are not really sure shat they want to do as a career that there is nothing wrong with taking a four-year arts program and making one's determination at some point down the road. There is still great validity in a general education from a personal point of view and, to my mind, that will always be a fundamental responsibility of the university community, no matter what other changes may take place.
There are perhaps a dozen other matters I could refer to but I saw the member for Quinte (Mr. O'Neil) with his hand up -- I am getting a little hoarse today; we have just had a long meeting --and if he has a matter to raise I will review my notes; after he has raised it, I may think of another dozen things members have asked me to comment on.
Mr. O'Neil: Mr. Chairman, I am glad to take the Premier off the hook any time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You have done it all your life.
Mr. O'Neil: I have helped a little.
I want to raise another matter with regard to the estimates of the Premier's office which I raised in May or June; that was when all of the spending estimates came out pertaining to the amounts of money the different members of the Legislature and all parties had spent, not only in their own offices but also in their constituency offices.
I feel quite a problem has developed throughout a lot of the ridings, not only in the Liberal ridings but also in some of the Conservative ridings, in that the press picked up the figures quoted in those estimates of spending for the different offices. I think the Premier's office was listed as having cost somewhere around $47,000. Some of the press reports that appeared around the province carried headlines that went something like, "Local Member Outspends Premier in Spending for His Offices."
When the Premier is submitting those costs, I wonder whether he could have his officials inquire as to whether his estimates could be totally left out of those estimates and given separately or they could list the actual cost of running his offices.
When we had editorials and news articles in the papers it was a bit embarrassing not only to myself but also to other members, especially when we do watch what we spend and try to keep it in line so that we are not compared with only part of the costs of the Premier's office. I wonder whether he would have his officials look into it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I do not often forget, but I must confess that the honourable member did raise this. I will talk to the people who keep the books to see whether we can do it in some other fashion. It is never my intent to embarrass members opposite or those in our own party -- certainly in the latter case -- and never intentionally on matters of this nature. I might do so in terms of policy and inconsistencies on positions, but certainly not in an area such as this. I will take a look at it.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, I want to speak briefly on another subject which is a pet one of mine. Each time we approach the Christmas season the Premier's colleague the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) heats up an anti- drinking and driving campaign --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I thought you were going to talk about unemployment insurance cuts.
Mr. Nixon: No, no; I have made my definitive comments about that.
There is a certain degree of lack of sincerity, not by either of the ministers but in the government policy in this regard. I do not want to spend too much time on it either. We have seen the Attorney General put the old wreck at the front of Queen's Park, and now he is making a succession of speeches saying we have to do something about this and how, if only the government of Canada would follow his lead, we could bring it under control.
Mr. Hennessy: Hear, hear.
Mr. Nixon: Some of the Premier's friends are saying "Hear, hear," and I certainly hope that is going to help.
I wish I had a chance to watch television a bit more, but every time I turn it on to watch a ball game or something the largest proportion of the ads that come bombarding out to me, and to even more impressionable young people, would foster the use of alcoholic beverages in a lifestyle that would not lead the young people to take the Attorney General's message seriously.
Just as we are in the business of selling lottery tickets for a profit in this province -- which are then turned to the public good in some ways we know about -- we are also in the business of selling liquor for a profit. The profits this year are something like S600 million -- the Premier can tell me exactly -- and on top of that we tax it at 10 per cent.
The advertisements that come over the television are misleading young people. The Premier must surely understand that the advertising is as good as money can buy. The same people who write his re-election jingles write the jingles for Old Vienna, Carlsberg Light, Labatt's Blue and all the rest of it. They are very compelling.
The lifestyle that is shown in these ads appeals particularly to young men. We know that in 95 per cent of the cases of drunk driving the charges are laid against young men. The ads are associated with a macho lifestyle. The ads not only show young men that they are somehow strange if they are not drinking with the boys, but also some of the ancillary lessons in those ads do not lead to the kind of quality of life the Premier and other members of this House would support.
The young men are always put into a position of leading in athletic endeavours -- racing, swimming, ballooning, diving and everything else. The women are relegated to being delicate little flowers admiring those big, muscled bozos who are always taking the tops off ice-cold bottles of beer, but they never drink them. They have to be a weird bunch.
My wife and I sometimes go skating on Saturday nights at the local arena. Afterwards, there is always a hockey game. I see these charming young ladies who are coming in to watch the big-time hockey players play hockey; then they have a Coca-Cola or something afterwards. The women are not given a leading role in participation. They learn this baloney from the beer ads.
I just want to say that we have the law and the will to do something about lifestyle beer advertising. For the Premier and the Attorney General to go around with this pious once-a-year business, saying, "Is it not awful about drinking and driving?" when we are doing nothing about these beer ads, strikes me as something less than admirable. I wanted to get that off my chest. I am a little bit late in life to be led too far astray and nobody is interested.
The Premier has indicated there are fewer and fewer people listening to his advice, and I know what he means. His kids are growing up and moving away. Mine are grown up and all moved away. They can teach me a few tricks about certain things.
I really feel the beer ads that are coming out are giving a message that is definitely against what we as members of this House ought to be fostering. I do not know very many teetotallers in this House, but there may be some. That is not the message I am talking about. The message of moderation, the message of equality of the sexes and perhaps some kind of message about the responsibility of not driving while impaired is something we can get over better than we have.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I will not comment at length on the very colourful description by the honourable member. Two or three women have told me -- and I want to interject that one of them is not my wife, in case somebody wants to identify them -- that there is a particular beer ad where it is always "me and the boys," so they have decided to drink another brand. I want to make it clear that it was not my wife, as I do not want to get her in trouble. It is an interesting point, however, that would not have been observed five or six years ago.
In spite of what I read in the paper about a year ago where somebody who will remain nameless suggested I had quite a thirst, I believe in moderation. This subject always strikes a bit of a chord. However, I will try not to be mid-Victorian, as I have been described by some.
Mr. McClellan: It does have its risks.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It does have its risks, yes. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) pointed that out today, except he inserted the word "mid" and did not use the full title.
Some people would say to the member, not commenting on the nature of the ads, that in the beer industry we are talking about a share of market.
Mr. Nixon: That is what they say.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes.
I think if we look at the per capita consumption of beer, it is evident that there has been something of a shift from beer to wine by younger people. Once again, I am no expert.
Mr. Nixon: Beer is not going down.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, but it has not had the same market growth. I cannot comment as to whether the ads themselves encourage young people to drink beer. I cannot make that judgement. I do know from the Attorney General's perspective, and certainly from mine as well, while we may feel there are some contradictions in allowing that kind of advertising and our very real concern about impaired driving, that concern is very genuine. I just want to assure the member of that.
When we look at the statistics, it is hard for me to understand why as a society we have not been more difficult with impaired driving situations. We have perhaps been too tolerant. I do not know whether that is the right word, because there are some accidents we cannot avoid; there are some things in life that are beyond our control. However, I think the capacity to deal with an issue of this nature is with us.
I would argue, Mr. Chairman, and the Attorney General has expressed this point of view, some of it can be done by way of legislation, no question; it is a question of amendments to the Criminal Code. But I think -- and I may be wrong in this -- we are still dealing with an attitudinal problem, if I can phrase it that way. Some people who are extremely reasonable in normal circumstances lose their sense of judgement after an antibiotic of two or three and get behind the wheel of a car. Many of them are quite decent people.
I do not pretend to have the total answer to this, but if the member is concerned as to whether this is a priority or a genuine concern of the government, I assure him it is. It may be that we should be saying more about it during the course of the year and not concentrating around the holiday season. I think that is a valid suggestion and one I will pursue.
I know the member read the task force report. We have some good people working on certain recommendations contained in that report. The former commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police has become the executive director, or whatever the term is, to see that the recommendations there are moved ahead with. I think we can make some progress as a society. That does not mean there is any single or finite solution, but I want to assure the member I share his very genuine concern. I will not comment any further on how many of my family still seek advice. They never sought advice on this matter in any event, or not much.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Chairman, the Premier's comments caused me to reflect on his words, and I will speak a little bit about the energy situation, as it interests me.
At the outset, I make no apologies for being a private enterpriser and suggesting there are certain things that the government should not be doing and that the private sector should be doing. At times I get carried away a little bit with that, and I excite my neighbours to the left beyond any kind of reason.
Mr. McClellan: You have mellowed. You have sold out.
Mr. Nixon: They want you to do it right now.
Mr. McClellan: You are not your old self any more.
Mr. Kerrio: Of course, it is obvious; it happens any time I mention that terrible word.
When I suggested that in all probability small hydraulic sites across the province should have been developed, I was suggesting not only that we could add something to the system that only private enterprise can do on that scale, not only that we would be able to tap those small sources, but also that we might help develop a whole industry relating to low-head small plants. Members know my colleague has been involved in such a plant on his own property.
I brought that same discussion into my concerns about nuclear reactors. When we were able to question some of the most learned people in America at the select committee regarding Ontario Hydro and the direction we were going in, I made some comments, because of my concern about the private sector and small companies in particular, that we in this party are certainly in favour of keeping abreast with the general community -- the global community, if I could call it that -- and that we would encourage the development of nuclear reactors. That does not mean to say we agree with the direction Ontario Hydro has gone with them.
For instance, I will draw a typical example. I come from a small business community which, the Premier will recall, has to take some credit for having made this province, and indeed all of Canada, what it is. I made the comment that maybe we should have been talking about --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Are you referring to the honeymoon industry or the power industry?
Mr. Kerrio: My construction industry.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Your construction industry? Now I know.
Mr. Kerrio: That is right.
I was suggesting at that time and in that forum with some of these learned people that we might have been well advised to go into what one might call smaller nuclear reactors. We would not be in competition with the huge powers, the United States, Germany or any of those powers, and we might develop a nuclear reactor that would address two very distinctly Canadian problems.
One would be that we would not be stringing wires all over; we could have smaller reactors in various parts of the country. The other would be that we would be able to sell those to small countries similar to Canada which would put them in remote areas where they would not be interested in what I consider the Texas psychology, that "Bigger is better" sort of routine.
But the second dimension, and a very important one, is when one builds a smaller reactor all of the steel plate sizes and all of the huge components are reduced in size, so instead of having one or two plants in all of Canada which can form eight-inch-thick or 10-inch-thick steel plates, if one were to go into that phase of building a small competitive nuclear reactor one would then have many small companies that could be competitive and build those kinds of reactors.
We felt Ontario Hydro, given to making its own determinations, its own decision-making, may have gone off in the wrong direction. There were people who have had experience who might have added a dimension to Ontario Hydro's future. We may have encouraged them to do other things.
For one, as I have said to the Premier before, we should have developed every last vestige of hydraulic power before we went to the other areas. We have not even talked about pricing. We are pricing hydro the way we did when we were selling it strictly as hydraulic power. This meant that any time one wanted to draw more power from a plant one let a little more water go through. This is not the case now. Now if one wants more power one has to put some more nuclear fuel bundles in, or more coal or oil; or bring it in from the United States, which we have had to do in recent times.
When I criticize Ontario Hydro's role it is because I think it has been let go too far, making too many of its own decisions. Had we had the Premier, as the number one person over there. talk to his Minister of Energy and describe the parameters within which Ontario Hydro would have to fit and say it may have had to compete a little bit with the private sector and may have had to go the route of not becoming involved on one hand with overbuilding and on the other hand conservation -- which is a real contradiction; he would not have to get too excited about having people running the same store who have been wanting to sell and buy ads to sell power and at the same time have a group which wants to save power. It just did not make any kind of sense.
So when we criticize Ontario Hydro, which is our role, it is because we think it has a position where it does not have any real competition, any direction; and it would appear that the Premier is content to let it go substantially on automatic pilot and do what it will without really acting in the best interests of the consumers of Ontario. There are many people out there with the kind of ideas that should be brought into focus.
It is time there were some people sitting on the board who are interested parties but do not have any tendencies to one political party. There should be a reconstituting of the select committee, because I think the Premier, and I say this as a person who participated, knows full well it served the people of Ontario extremely well.
I would hope the Premier would reconsider, that he would develop through his minister an energy policy, and through his other ministries consider letting Ontario Hydro answer to a forum which would cause it to be more responsible. As I said before, there is room for the private sector to participate. I do not think competition ever hurt anyone and I would like to see the Premier give Ontario Hydro a little competition. It would auger well for the people of Ontario.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, more as a point of clarification, I wonder whether or not the member for Niagara Falls was indeed suggesting that we should have a cottage nuclear industry in Ontario. Is that the suggestion? I did not quite follow it.
Mr. Kerrio: Cottage?
Mr. Laughren: A cottage nuclear industry.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It doesn't mean a nuclear unit for every cottage, it means a small industry.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: It's like the wine industry in the Niagara Peninsula.
Mr. Kerrio: I am prepared to put it before the government.
The Deputy Chairman: The honourable member is --
The Deputy Chairman: No. The member is not putting forward any matter dealing with these estimates right now. Does any other honourable member have any comment or anything to discuss? Are ready for the question?
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, it is not often we get the Premier just sitting there waiting to discuss any subject.
Mr. McClellan: This is a fine example of work expanding to fill the time.
Mr. Nixon: No, I do not think that. I think it is a good opportunity to bring to the attention of the head of government certain matters that we may hold as personal concerns.
I want to raise with the Premier a matter I brought to the attention of the Attorney General in question period and it has to do with organized crime. No doubt the Premier will recall being here in one of his early reincarnations and listening to the politics of organized crime wafting back and forth through these halls, which resulted in a royal commission chaired by Mr. Justice Roach. He found there was no organized crime in the province in those days.
Since that time we have a new Attorney General. He said to the House he had recognized eight years ago there was organized crime here. My question was predicated on the information in the media over the last few days that there have been five gangland murders within a week and five heroin overdoses within a month.
These murders, which we see being described on the front pages of the newspapers and hear about as the lead items in the news stories on radio and television, are of the kind that we normally associate with other jurisdictions, thank God. I wish we did not have to read about them anywhere. It is almost as if they were not happening to our community, where these people are taken out of their homes, shot and stuffed in a trunk or dumped somewhere in a field out to the west of Brampton.
We see these things happening on a daily basis. The suggestion came from the leader of the NDP that we have a royal commission. That might be a good answer. We might have to do that when we cannot think of anything else. We tried it once before and really it did not help very much; although we had a good royal commissioner and he reviewed the matter for many months; in fact. years.
A week or two ago I suggested that the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor) might, however, call around himself a special advisory group of police officials and others who can take on, as a special responsibility, to stamp this thing out, or at least cool it out so that we are not going to be the innocent bystanders in a continuing gangland slaughter and war which really we do not understand. They talk about Mr. Racco being shot because he had something to do with the murder of Mr. Volpe. If all these people know what is going on, why do our police not know what is going on? I do not find that an unhealthy question.
I found it extremely offensive that the Attorney General's only response was that we are always criticizing the police. He, on the other hand, has confidence in the police. This is not the first time his answers in this House or his responses to problems of this type have taken that particular bent. This is wholly unacceptable and probably accounts as much as anything else for the reputation the Attorney General has in some quarters for being somewhat less than fair, less than completely dedicated to responding to an important issue involving his responsibilities.
I would simply ask the Premier for his comments. While we sit back and watch this going on as if it had nothing to do with us, we must hear in mind that these people are slaughtering each other because of the heavy competition for the control of illegal practices in our own community: the sale of drugs, the business of high-interest usury, loan-sharking, prostitution and, if the Premier will forgive me, the operation of striptease individuals from Toronto but mostly from outside of our jurisdiction, which are operated in a way that is completely illegal and unacceptable in the community.
The government cannot sit back and wait for this war to fight its way out. The answer that "it is worse in other jurisdictions" is completely unacceptable and I think it ought to concern the head of the government. The whole thing should concern the head of the government and I believe the attitude of the Attorney General should concern the head of the government.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I understand that a certain municipality with which I am familiar is passing a certain bylaw this evening -- at least, it is going to be presented -- dealing with the latter part of the member's observations.
I was not here for the discussions this afternoon with the Attorney General. I recall vividly the initial discussion of a comprehensive nature in this House -- I guess it was the initial one -- on organized crime and what led up to Mr. Justice Roach's royal commission. I can recall the member's former leader speaking on the subject here in the House at some length and then going outside the House to deliver the same remarks. It was perhaps one of Mr. Greer's moments --
Mr. Nixon: It was a great day for democracy.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not sure it was a great day for Harold when it all finished. However, I am sure that is a bit personal on my part.
Mr. Nixon: Harold was completely justified.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is not quite what Mr. Justice Roach said. Of course, it took Harold a while to claim responsibility for that speech, as I recall it. Mr. Chairman, you are too young to remember this. I think the honourable member and myself are probably the only two here in the House at the moment who recall those days.
Mr. McClellan: We read about it. We enjoyed it from the outside.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have a feeling the member for Bellwoods never read about it. He does not have the foggiest idea what we are talking about.
Mr. McClellan: I do.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Does he remember that club on Highway 10 south of Cooksville? He does not remember that at all. I know his leader was not born, so I can assure the member he did not know of it either.
Mr. McClellan: I read about it in my grade 8 history class.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He read it in his grade 8 history class. To be serious, I think all of us share the concern. I am not going to suggest that we are more fortunate than a lot of other jurisdictions; we are, however to say we could be comfortable because we are much better off would not be appropriate.
I do, I assure the member, discuss this issue with the Attorney General. The member may not have been totally content with his observations but I agree with him. I have great confidence in the police forces of this province.
I do not say for a moment there are not things that could be done to improve the situation. I think the member for York South (Mr. Rae) suggested a royal commission. I guess, and I say this objectively, my only observation is that I am not sure a royal commission would give us many more insights or ways to deal with this situation. There is nothing partisan in that; there really is not. I genuinely question whether that would produce the results all of us would like to see.
Speaking in a personal sense, I think this is a matter of genuine concern not just for the government but for all of us. I will discuss it further with the Attorney General and with the Solicitor General. I can only assure the members that -- not from any specific knowledge of the circumstances whatsoever; I am not involved in that -- I do have a sense that the police forces, including the municipal, not just the Metro and the Ontario Provincial Police, have an awareness and make a genuine effort. I think they have had some measure of success.
We always have to be vigilant in these matters. I am always open to any constructive suggestions. However, I do say this, and I hope the member for York South will understand, at this stage I really question that a royal commission per se would help in that process.
Votes 201 and 301 agreed to.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Eaton, the committee of supply reported certain resolutions.
The House recessed at 5:54 p.m.