STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
BY-ELECTION IN STORMONT, DUNDAS AND GLENGARRY
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think it is essential that I report to the House on a matter of great significance and public importance that occurred in Ontario yesterday; an event that, glancing at one of the morning newspapers, in that I do not get the other one, I found buried on roughly page 12, because we get the early edition.
I know that if the result had been somewhat different it might have found its way to page 1, where I did read the headline -- and I never quarrel with headlines, because reporters do not write the headlines -- that the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) found an intriguing way, apparently, of spending money on winter works that would reduce the deficit. Mind you, I then read the headline a little more carefully and discovered that he was going to raise taxes. Now, I sat here and listened yesterday. The New Democrats did not listen yesterday, but I listened and I never heard him say that. However, I saw that other story on the back pages of that great paper.
I do report, because it is significant, that after nearly three years in the tenure of this government -- three years that have not been easy in the economic life of this province, three years when there have been opportunities for the opposition parties to establish their positions and their points of view in the minds of the public, under a new leader in both instances -- the voters in a very important part of this province had an opportunity to assess their judgement, with objectivity and in good weather.
I was intrigued, because it was reported to me that one of the rationales from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) was that we did so well because the weather was good. I cannot understand how anyone in a democracy would want to have poor weather to limit the vote, to limit the opportunity of people to express their point of view.
I heard the rationale that the New Democratic Party vote collapsed. That vote did collapse, but if that is the reason they think the Tories did so well I have to say to the Leader of the Opposition that has to be the largest figment of his imagination in recent history.
I was spending a very quiet evening in my constituency last night, a very quiet evening indeed, doing those things that a local member must do. But even in Brampton I heard the bleating of the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) and the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) suggesting that it was the cost of the campaign. Even the Leader of the Opposition suggested that. The Leader of the Opposition can send any analysts in. We had trouble matching dollar for dollar the money the Liberal Party of Ontario spent in that by-election, and he should not try to kid anyone that this was not the case.
I was in that great representative area of Winchester not too many days ago and I spoke to that group. I did not talk about personalities in that sense, but I did talk about, shall we say, integrity in the political process. I talked about the Liberal campaign, which for two weeks had been suggesting to the people of that great riding that we had some scheme whereby taxes would be raised by an average of $100 a household.
I said to those great people in Winchester, without equivocation -- which is difficult for me -- without fear of contradiction and without any convolution, that this would not be the case. The Leader of the Opposition travelled the length and the breadth of that constituency the day after, suggesting the Premier had not been informed and we were going to raise taxes. I would say the people in that constituency made their judgement as to whom they believe.
I have been sitting patiently in this House listening to the Hamlet from Renfrew North --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No. It said "omelette" here, not "Hamlet."
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I said "Hamlet," not "omelette" -- although they did lay an egg in that riding last night.
I listened to and I read his protests about the visit of the cardinal to our dinner. I did not see any of the Liberal members who were there as guests of who knows who -- and I know who -- walk out of the dinner the other night when that same distinguished individual was a guest at the Liberal fund-raising dinner. I did not see any of them leave on television.
What is important to the public of this province is that in spite of all of those pressures, in spite of all those campaigns and in spite of the suggestions in this House that we were neglecting eastern Ontario for a multitude of reasons, I just want to tell members a few facts.
The Progressive Conservative Party won in 1977 with 49 per cent of the popular vote. The Progressive Conservative Party won in 1981 with 55 per cent of the popular vote. The Progressive Conservative Party won yesterday in that great historic area of Ontario with a very distinguished Ontarian-Canadian by 58 per cent of the popular vote.
In spite of the pundits who say that PCs wonder whether tradition will hold, or the pundit from the Toronto Star who spent a day or so talking to who knows who that it was going to be the closest by-election in the history of that constituency, I hope they now understand that they have to understand the people that I understand in that constituency.
I now introduce the member whom we have elected -- I know he will be warmly received by all members -- the next member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, a great Canadian, Noble Villeneuve.
Mr. T. P. Reid: After listening to that, he may want to resign.
Hon. Mr. Davis: After yesterday, the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) may want to walk across the floor of the House. What is more, I am suspicious he will not be alone.
As well, Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce his very charming wife, Elaine, who probably got more votes for Noble than he got for himself, as Cathy does for me in the great riding of Brampton.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, although it is difficult to tell from the remarks of the Premier (Mr. Davis), I assume he was pleased with the outcome of the by-election.
On behalf of my colleagues, may I issue our congratulations to the new member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. I am sure he would be the first to admit that he has come to this House to fill very large shoes. It was a well-fought campaign. I congratulate him. I congratulate our candidate, of whom I was very proud, on the vigorous campaign that was fought on behalf of our party.
As Mr. Villeneuve has embarked on his first day watching this Legislature, soon to be part of it, I hope he is not too turned off by the process so far, because there is so much left to do for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. I am sure he will be an able representative of that great area in this province. I offer him my congratulations.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, the Premier has learned, as we all have, that graciousness in victory is extremely important. There was a quality to the speech today which I must say I did not hear upon the election of the member for Hamilton West (Mr. Allen) a little while ago and upon my own election just a short year ago.
It was John Kennedy who said, "If you do not know how to lose, then you do not deserve to win." New Democrats in eastern Ontario have had a long history of learning how to lose.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: You defeated yourself yesterday.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You could carry it too far.
Mr. T. P. Reid: They are getting better at it all the time.
Mr. Rae: We are getting a little too good at that. Nevertheless, I do want to say, first of all, to Mr. Villeneuve and to his family that we look forward to him joining us here. I want to offer him my personal congratulations and congratulations on the part of all of us who are part of this somewhat crazy process known as political life.
I also want to congratulate him on the way in which he conducted himself in the election. I was there a number of times, though I must say the results do not necessarily reflect that. Perhaps if I had gone more often it would have been even worse, I do not know.
What I do want to say is that I want to pay tribute as well to our own candidate in the riding, Mr. Derstroff, who in my view conducted himself with great distinction. I simply want to say that we look forward very much to this process continuing. I do not know how much longer this House will be in session. One hears all sorts of rumours with respect to the future plans of the Premier.
All I can say to the new member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry is that he is welcome to be one of all of us here in this chamber on a nonpartisan basis. It was in a nonpartisan mood that the Premier struck with such grace and tone today. There was really an element of making everyone feel equally involved in the welcoming of the member. He outdid himself today in the nonpartisan spirit of his remarks.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: It is Christmas.
Mr. Rae: It is a Christmassy holiday mood which has so aptly characterized the arrival of a new member in this chamber. In that same spirit I want to welcome the new member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. I only wish we had had exactly the same kind of welcome for the member for Hamilton West when he so successfully succeeded the late departed Liberal leader, Mr. Stuart Smith.
SENIOR CITIZENS' BENEFITS
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise to report to the honourable members on my ministry's efforts to ensure that Ontario's senior citizens receive their property and sales tax benefits in time for Christmas.
The members will recall my earlier statements concerning the commencement of the property and sales tax grant cycles earlier this fall. Alongside the simplification of the property tax grant application form and various improvements to our processing operations, members will also recall I made particular reference to the enhancement of our capacity directly to assist MPPs' constituency offices to deal with inquiries and problems.
There is no doubt these improvements have contributed significantly to a very successful fall payments campaign for both grants. For example, we have now cleared 99.4 per cent of the property grant applications we have received, which is over 37,000 more than at this point last year. At the same time, the great majority of those applications still on hand comprise simple deficiencies awaiting replies from seniors and newly received applications from late filers or people who have just turned 65 years of age. Altogether, to date we have mailed more than 563,000 property tax grants for a total value of $139 million, as well as more than 909,000 sales tax grants totalling $45 million.
In reporting on this progress, I wish to inform members that we will be writing shortly to report to their constituency offices on the program in overall terms and of our management of their inquiries in detail; and most important, to thank them personally for their excellent co-operation. Their response was most encouraging and was particularly important in view of the fact there was no paid advertising for the program this fall.
Since early September we have cleared more than 93 per cent of members' inquiries, while 83 per cent of the 76 outstanding ones have been received within the past week. The average time taken to resolve these inquiries has been only 3.2 days, while members' offices are also informed within five days as to why any inquiry will take longer to resolve. I want to take this opportunity to express publicly our great appreciation for the support we have received from the constituency offices and to acknowledge their contribution to the results I have just described.
Finally, I am pleased to report that our mini-campaign for paying property tax grants to seniors who became 65 in the second half of 1983 is running ahead of schedule. More than 12,000 applications were mailed on November 14 to seniors who turned 65 in July, August and September, while a further 6,800 were mailed at the beginning of this week to seniors with October and November birth dates. These new applications are being turned around well within our target of 10 working days. In fact, more than 75 per cent of the November 14 mailing has already been received and paid.
Mr. Speaker: Just before proceeding, I wonder if we may have the co-operation of all honourable members in restricting their private conversations.
Mr. Sweeney: You are looking at the wrong side, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: I thought I was looking at the right side.
WATER POLLUTION CONTROL
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report to honourable members on several important initiatives which will contribute significantly to the protection of the environment in our province.
Funding in excess of $17 million is being provided for high-priority environmental projects in Niagara Falls, Sudbury and Timmins. Of this total, my ministry has already disbursed $4.4 million towards a water project in Timmins and $2.2 million for improvements to sewer and water facilities in Sudbury. We will also provide $2.2 million for the upgrading of the water pollution control plant in the great city of Niagara Falls.
Earlier this week I signed an agreement on behalf of the province covering additional funds for these communities under the special recovery capital project program which is administered by Environment Canada. This agreement provides up to an extra $3 million for the Timmins project, $2.5 million for Sudbury and $3 million for the plant improvement in Niagara Falls.
The project in Niagara Falls will upgrade that city's water pollution treatment plant by converting the existing primary treatment plant into a secondary facility providing full biological treatment. My ministry's latest investment in Niagara Falls reflects our ongoing concern with respect to pollution in the Niagara River resulting from waste disposal practices on the American side. Members are aware of our three-year, $1-million program to install a pilot-scale granular activated carbon water filtration facility at Niagara Falls. I want to give every assurance that this project is proceeding.
The moneys for Timmins are to expand an existing water treatment plant to a capacity of 10 million gallons a day and to improve the water distribution system throughout Timmins south. At Sudbury, my ministry has supported over the past year a program to improve service in the community's Algonquin Road area through the provision of a new network of watermains, collector sewers and sewage pumping stations.
Negotiations with respect to federal government participation in these projects were conducted with great efficiency by the secretariat of the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development in close collaboration with officials of my ministry.
In addition to the obvious environmental benefits that these undertakings will confer on the three municipalities, new job opportunities will be created as a result of the construction and engineering required to complete these projects.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege: I would like to thank the minister for this wonderful Christmas present. I would like to commend him for taking this initiative because, in doing so, I think we can more clearly deal with our American friends in cleaning up the environment at Niagara.
If I may, four ministers later, take just a small part of the credit for keeping constant awareness of the situation.
COMMUNITY JUSTICE WEEK
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I have an announcement about Community Justice Week. The pursuit of justice and prevention of crime is not only the concern and responsibility of government, but of the citizens of Ontario as well. In order to emphasize and highlight this shared responsibility in our province, I am happy to announce that April 8 to 14, 1984, has been officially designated Community Justice Week in Ontario.
This special week will be co-ordinated by the Justice secretariat and will help to enhance public awareness about the rights and services which the justice system provides, as well as the responsibilities it places on the people of our province. We hope that volunteer participation throughout the justice system will be encouraged by our efforts.
A special emphasis this year will be placed upon the victims of crime, and I believe that victims are more important than the perpetrators of crimes. The needs, rights and feelings of victims are often trivialized and I think it is time that the concept of victim justice permeated our entire justice system. Appropriately, the theme of our week is "Victim Justice: Care and Share."
I commend the more than 50 Ontario communities which actively endorsed and participated in Community Justice Week last year and I am pleased to report that almost 100 communities have already indicated eagerness to participate in the 1984 event.
We look forward to working with the many governments, groups and agencies across the province in the planning of this most positive initiative in community-based crime prevention.
CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES LEGISLATION
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to table the draft legislation for the Child and Family Services Act. Before I discuss these proposals in detail, I would like to set the context of their great importance with a few remarks about the history of children's services in this province.
It is a generally recognized fact that Ontario has some of the finest children's legislation in the world. We have a long and proud record of child care and protection. Nevertheless much progress has been made in just the few years since my ministry in 1977 was given responsibility for serving most of the children with special needs. I hasten to add that I do not say this in a partisan way.
The point I am making is that in these six years great strides have been made in the framing of children's services as a responsibility not just of government but of the entire community. We have advanced considerably the multidisciplinary approach to work with children, an approach that I am sure nobody would disagree is both sensible and progressive.
In addressing the requirements of these children we have striven to extend and strengthen our partnerships with others engaged in this vital work: municipalities, children's aid societies, professional agencies and many other organizations and individuals. This has been done and is continuing to be done from the standpoint of a philosophy that we consider to be practical as well as caring in the broadest sense.
That philosophy is that the care and protection of children with special needs, whatever those needs, is the responsibility of us all as legislators, as citizens, as family members and as members of the community at large. It is in this context that I would ask the House to consider the draft legislation and commentaries that have been placed before the members today.
The process of consolidating 10 existing pieces of legislation affecting children, consulting with those groups affected by the changes and drafting the new act has been a long, difficult and, indeed, controversial one. It has taken more than a year and involved 150 meetings with key groups. More than 350 written briefs were received.
As is the case in most exercises of consultation, we found that the majority of respondents focused on recommendations they opposed rather than on those they supported or on which they did not have a strong opinion. This, in a democratic society, is a natural reaction and one, indeed, to be welcomed because it adds to the element of professional expertise that is so vital in the process of policy-making.
Probably the most controversial of all our proposals were those dealing with the family. It was argued that we had been moving towards a position that was too protective of the family as a unit and not sufficiently protective of children, especially those at risk. This contention was and continues to be born from a misunderstanding of our overall objectives, and I hope that with the publication of the material before the House today we will finally succeed in removing that misunderstanding.
First, though, let me say that we listened during the public consultation process; we listened and we made changes. We have not changed our philosophical viewpoint regarding the care and protection of children in this province and the role of the family in that process, but we have reworded our proposals so that there will be no further misunderstanding of our purpose. For instance, we have avoided emphasizing the phrase "family autonomy," which gave rise to misgiving, however misplaced it may have been.
I have said before and I will say again today that the protection of children in this province is a clear and paramount duty. It is a clear and paramount duty, as it always has been, of this government, of my ministry and of all those with whom we share in this work. It is indeed a clear and paramount duty of every adult citizen of the province.
I have also said before and I will say here again today that I have no hesitation whatever in defending the family as the most basic and important of all our society's institutions. Perhaps never before has the importance of preserving and strengthening the institution of the family been so evident as it is today in these times of severe unemployment, economic hardship and international uncertainty about how to cope with the trauma of sweeping and sudden change.
More than ever, in times such as these the family is a refuge and a source of strength. The resilience of our society as a whole, its ability to survive and adjust to the forces now testing its very fabric, depends to a tremendous extent on the resilience of the family. Its survival, its sustenance is, too, the duty of us all.
What we have been trying to do with the new legislation all along is achieve a balance between the clear and paramount duty of society to protect its children and the right of parents to raise their children according to their own values and beliefs, providing that those beliefs are not unduly in conflict with the prevailing moral standards of a decent, humane and progressive society. Our purpose ideally, a practical and also a desirable purpose, is to work with the family and not at odds with the family when this is feasible and in the best interests of the children concerned.
That philosophy, as I have said, was not compromised when, after the public consultation process, we made the changes that members have before them today. But we did come to the conclusion that what was perhaps most needed was clearer guidance, a clearer statement of goals and principles, in our joint activities. We felt we could achieve this, in part at least, by removing as much as possible of the language of the proposals that was perceived to be ambiguous.
It is our contention here that, aided by the clarity of the written statement of objectives, those whose responsibility it is to co-operate with us in children's services will succeed in achieving the unwritten values we all desire.
Given a clear statement of our society's paramount duty to protect children, I believe those organizations and individuals in service with us will also achieve, through their own professionalism, dedication and goodwill, the delicate balance between the community's duty to protect children and the right of families to carry out the duties and responsibilities of families.
I have referred repeatedly to our objectives. I want to stress here that in the task at hand we do not see ourselves as a ministry, a department of government, so much as an agent of the community at large. I will return to this point in a moment for it is a highly important one.
First, though, I would like to talk a little of the matters that are to be dealt with in the proposals before the House. It is not my intention to go into them at length.
This draft legislation, together with its accompanying commentaries, is complicated and extensive. These matters are worthy of the members' scrupulous consideration. It would serve no good purpose for me to attempt a definitive analysis today. I would instead like to touch on a few of the more important provisions.
I would draw the House's attention, first, to the proposed new declaration of principles. I will mention only the first two paragraphs in detail. These are:
(a) In all matters under this act, the paramount objective is to ensure the best interests, protection and wellbeing of children; and
(b) While parents often need assistance in caring for their children, the assistance should, wherever possible, support the family unit and be provided on a voluntary basis.
The consultation paper proposed that the services being provided be grouped into the five categories of family support, residential care, child and family service, child development and youth work. As a result of the feedback received, it is now proposed that the services be grouped differently -- as child welfare services, child development services, treatment services, young offenders services and community support services.
There was considerable discussion during the consultation period on definitions in existing legislation and on our earlier proposals concerning children in need of protection. We have again made material changes that do not change the existing intention of the legislation so much as provide a clearer statement of purpose.
For example, the word "serious" has been deleted in regard to the test of whether a child has suffered, or is at risk of suffering, physical harm.
The proposal that the authority of a child and family service agency to apprehend a child without court authorization should be limited to emergency situations has also been revised. As the proposal now stands, apprehension would be permitted where there are reasonable grounds to believe there is a need for protection and that the time taken to obtain a warrant would endanger the child. In such a case, the matter must be brought to court within five days of the necessary interim intervention.
In general, in connection with this point, I believe our new draft legislation will provide great assistance to the courts and other law enforcement authorities and to the children's aid societies in carrying out their duties, again through the provision of a clearer statement of purpose.
I should mention in passing that provisions for dealing with children in need of protection will also be used when it is necessary to intervene with children under 12 after the federal Young Offenders Act comes into force. Under that act, children under 12 will no longer be charged with an offence.
During the consultation period, some concern was expressed by professionals, including doctors, psychiatrists and social workers, that the review process for children who had been placed in long-term residential care of one type or another might be unwieldy and overly bureaucratic, that it might even cause some children to become lost in the system, so to speak.
The purpose of the consultation was to elicit such constructive criticism and, again, we have made desired changes. We have now proposed a peer review mechanism that I believe will satisfy the reservations of those who will be involved in these deliberations. I think our new proposals on this matter will be seen as nonlegalistic and flexible, though still effective in serving children in need of care and treatment, both in the long and the short term.
Earlier, I spoke of the ministry regarding itself in the task at hand as an agent of the community at large. In closing, I would like to return to that thought.
What we are presenting today, I believe, is good draft legislation in a highly complicated and emotional field. We have endeavoured to reconcile differences of opinion among those organizations and individuals who co-operate with us in this difficult area through full and open consultation. That consultation will continue in this forum.
I would therefore say to all members of this House, and in particular the members of the standing committee on social development which I understand will be studying these proposals through the winter months, that my officials and I look forward to working with them.
We are all working in the best interests of families and children. This, I suggest, is not a political matter. It is something that is of vital concern to all of us as members of the larger community, for our children are not only the wards of us all, their wellbeing is essential to our future.
TRIBUTE TO SECURITY OFFICER
Mr. Speaker: If I may have the indulgence of the House, I would like to recognize a person who has served this chamber faithfully and well over the last several years. He will be retiring in February 1984 and this is the last opportunity we will have to say thanks to him. Sam Harland has served for the past nine years on the sessional platoons of the security service in the chamber. I want to recognize the service Mr. Harland has provided.
He has always carried out his responsibilities with great efficiency, dignity and sensitivity. I know you will join me in wishing him well in future years and that he may enjoy health and happiness.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I share your remarks and I can think of no finer candidate for a Queen's Counsel in the next month or two.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer with respect to his economic statement yesterday. When one cuts it down, one can see the projections he made were on the assumption that there were no policy changes at either the federal or provincial level. At the same time, given current assumptions, there is going to be an increase in the deficit which he has said is not tolerable in his view. He is worried about threats to the triple-A credit rating of the province; therefore, there are going to be tax increases coming in his next budget. That is the clear conclusion.
If the Treasurer wanted meaningful input into the budgetary process and wide consultation as to the potential consequences of his exercising various tax options, why would he not bring forward what his options are? Why would he not present econometric studies or analyses of what those increases in taxes would do to his various forecasts on growth, consumption, retail sales and a variety of other things? Why would he not share all that information with the people of Ontario so that we could have a meaningful discussion about our economic future rather than just facing this self-serving pap he has given us?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, the presumptions the member is making are not necessarily accurate. If he will read the statement, he will find we have indicated that if spending grew at the same rate as our revenues are projected to grow, then it will produce a deficit which is larger than it ought to be. Neither of those presumptions may be in place next May.
There will be policy changes at both the federal and provincial levels which will affect both spending and revenues, so one should not presume that this scenario will still be in place next May. That is what it looks like now if our spending increases at the same rate. The first presumption that we have to remember is that there will be policy changes and the projection as laid out in the statement will be affected by those changes.
Second, in terms of where we go next May, there are many options open to us. No decisions have been made and the point of this document is to lay out the general framework for adjusting those policies by next May so that we do not end up with an increased deficit and with cuts and taxes where they cannot be afforded.
If the member looks back at the many budgets preceding the one next May, he will find we have usually had some sort of mixture of those. In some circumstances, one of the mixtures has not included tax changes.
This is simply background showing what the projection would be if spending rose to match our revenues. That is not a presumption; it is an assumption which gives a projection if nothing were to change. That is the purpose of the document.
Mr. Peterson: The net result is that taxpayers are again going to be losers. That is a reality unless the government is tougher on some of its wasteful expenditures such as Suncor, the land banks and a whole variety of things.
The other clear result of the Treasurer's statement of yesterday is that property taxes will increase across this province. Every municipal analyst who has looked at what the Treasurer has said recognizes there is going to be a property tax increase, probably very much in excess of five per cent, as a direct result of his transfers.
Why would the Treasurer not have included those projections in his statement of yesterday? Why did he back off on his commitment to me in the House a couple of weeks ago when I asked him about municipal transfers? He said he would be transferring over and above the five per cent wage component. Why has he decided again, for I do not know how many times, to transfer his tax burdens on to the regressive property tax and further punish people in this province?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let us be clear about the unconditional grants. Last year they were 4.3 per cent; this year we have announced five per cent. As I go down the list of all the transfers I announced yesterday, only the unconditional grants to municipalities out of that whole list will go up at a quicker rate and have a larger figure. All the others have lower transfers, obviously reflecting differences in inflation impacting on those this year as opposed to last year.
Those who would suggest municipal mill rates need to go up and that there is a transference of obligations and taxes to the municipal taxpayer are, with respect, not interpreting it and not understanding it, or are perhaps just looking for more money.
Last year it was 4.3 per cent; this year it has gone up to five per cent. That is hardly consistent with the analysis the Leader of the Opposition wants to put forward.
Mr. Peterson: Is the Treasurer prepared to give assistance to those municipalities whose wage settlements go up in excess of five per cent? Is he now willing to tell those municipalities that if they do get stuck with a higher award, because there is no relief from that, he is going to provide assistance so property taxes will not go up? Will the Treasurer make that clear commitment?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let me give a clear answer. The answer is no, we are not about to abandon all our efforts to fight inflation and to continue to get the inflation rate below 5.3 per cent. That is our projection for next year. As I said in my statement, that is too high.
If the member wants to put forward the proposition that we should encourage, through the provincial tax base or any tax base, settlements in excess of the rate of inflation, then I have to say we could not disagree more fundamentally on how the future of this economy should be structured and should unfold.
My colleagues on this side of the House and I strongly believe we must continue the fight against inflation and that those settlements should not be encouraged to go higher. The settlements both in the public and private sectors must be encouraged to be lower. That is what will protect the provincial and the municipal tax bases.
WHITE FARM EQUIPMENT CANADA LTD.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Trade. Could the minister bring this House up to date on the very disturbing news about the breakdown in negotiations between Borg-Warner and White Farm Equipment? What is he doing to save those 1,000 or so jobs? Is it indeed a fact that the negotiations are at an impasse?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, we are disturbed ourselves. We had no warning until the press reports came out yesterday. We have been very concerned about it. I understand the Ministry of Labour is standing by, if asked, because it appears to be a question of resolving a difference of opinion between the United Auto Workers and the potential buyers in terms of the contract conditions. I believe that was a precondition to the agreement or it was spelled into the memorandum of understanding entered into at the time of the acceptance of the offer.
Obviously, Ontario is very anxious to see a satisfactory resolution of those differences. In reading the newspaper reports today, which are as accurate as any other sources I have right now, from what I can tell there appears to be in the quotations attributed to the representatives of Borg-Warner a glimmer of opening for some counter-offer to bring the two sides together.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, since the representative of Borg-Warner is quoted as saying, "This is not a negotiating tactic, it is for real," does the minister not think he and his colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) might call in the representatives of Borg-Warner, the UAW and the receiver, since one of the major alternatives to this is simply the liquidation of the assets and the loss of those jobs, and indicate our direct concern and interest and try to work out an agreement between the two sides so that we are not going to play this brinkmanship game, which could result in the loss of these 1,000 jobs?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Let me assure the member that Ontario is not playing any brinkmanship game. Indeed, Ontario stands --
Mr. Nixon: I know that. Surely you understand what I am saying.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I hope so. I am only saying that because this is a difference of opinion between the potential employer and the union representing the employees, I would suspect my colleague would require some request; I am not sure of that. I would also assume he would quickly respond --
Mr. Nixon: Don't play an Alphonse and Gaston game with this important matter.
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, I am not. I simply say my ministry obviously does not get involved in the direct discussions between the unions and the company. I do not think we should because we could do more harm than good. My colleague, on the other hand, has very experienced people who know how and when to do these things.
I assure the member opposite that it is in our interest and I hope to see this resolved. I hear the other potential buyer from Manitoba making sounds saying, "I am still ready to take the deal and move it all out of Ontario." Obviously, we want to keep it here.
Mr. Gillies: Mr. Speaker, my friend the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) is quite right. The report is very confusing because the representative of Borg-Warner has said, "This is not a negotiating tactic, it is for real." But he also said he is "hoping the union may come to its senses" and approach the receiver.
My information is that the UAW and Borg-Warner are only about 15 cents apart in negotiating a new contract and that they are very close to resolving the question of back pay. In view of the government's very considerable investment of some $8 million or $9 million in this company, will the minister undertake to tell me and the other members of this House that he will not allow White Farm Equipment to move out to Winnipeg but will use his good offices to keep it where it belongs, in Brantford?
Hon. F. S. Miller: My colleague's question assumes I can order them to stay where they are. If I could, I would. It is as simple as that.
I obviously want them to stay in Ontario and I obviously want them to stay in Brantford. I can only assure the member we will do whatever we can, but there is a role for the two parties, too. It was the second quote that gave me some glimmer of hope. I saw it as an indication that the company was at least still willing to listen.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker. I am disturbed, frankly, that the minister and the government are not a little more up on this situation. He knows how hard he works to create jobs in this province, and we face the spectre of 1,000 lost jobs. Surely this is worthy of a herculean effort on his part and on the part of the Minister of Labour and anybody he deems necessary in that exercise. I am disturbed by the indication of hesitation on the part of the minister, that he is not prepared to take a little more initiative.
May I ask him to take the initiative in conjunction with his colleague? If the differences are as small as 15 cents an hour, there may be a resolution here. There is some meeting of the minds, but it has clearly broken down. Who knows when the minister personally and his offices may be able to break that logjam?
I am asking him on behalf of the people of this province and of Brantford in particular to make sure he exercises every single possible power he has to try to make this thing happen.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Of course we do; but at the same time I am sure I have heard many times from all sides of the House that we should allow the process of negotiation that exists between these parties to be as free as possible. I can only suggest that further questions on the process of negotiation are better directed to my colleague the Minister of Labour than to me.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I had a question for the Premier about the conduct of the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea). I was told the Premier (Mr. Davis) would be in the House for that question, and I hope efforts will be made to find him. He is on the list as being in the assembly this morning, and this is the last opportunity we have to ask him directly about that matter.
In the Premier's absence, I will go by way of another question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. It concerns the question of concentration in the trust industry. I am sure the minister is aware that the six largest trust companies operating in Ontario have 64 per cent of the total assets of all the trust companies operating in the province. I am sure he is also aware that the largest, Royal Trust Corp. of Canada, the Royal Trust Co., is itself owned and basically controlled by the Edward and Peter wing of the Bronfman family and that the problem of concentration in that industry goes through Royal Trust to Canada Trust to Victoria and Grey and Canada Permanent Trust.
Given this fact of concentration, which is undeniable, and the fact that these institutions are competing directly with banks that are subject to quite different rules with respect to concentration, why did his ministry reject the basic proposal that there be a share limitation in terms of ownership in the trust industry when most observers recognize that the problem of concentration in the trust industry is growing and becoming more serious and more difficult to control?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, first of all, in a broad sense, and I am sure there was no implication otherwise, the issue of concentration of power and competition and so forth is not a matter within the jurisdiction of this government. The specific issue raised is the issue of the trust companies and the recent white paper proposals. I know the view of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson), which was well accepted in a recent by-election, is that there should be limitation of ownership with respect to the trust companies in this province. I think I have answered this before, but I am pleased to do it again for members of the House, because we did go through a very careful and thorough deliberation on this issue and we concluded as follows.
First, if one looks back historically, the situation with respect to the banks and the limitation of ownership there was first imposed at a time when economic nationalism was in everybody's mind. That was one of the primary reasons it was put in place. This government, through legislation in the securities industry and the trust industry, similarly dealt with foreign ownership within those industries. I am sure the member appreciates that.
Second, it was not a difficult situation with respect to the banks. As the member knows, ownership of banks is widespread among a number of mutual funds and a number of individuals so it was not a matter of great consequence. Third, it has not been our impression that limited ownership in the banks has avoided concentration of power within the banking community. Indeed, what we seem to see is that the concentration of power continues to grow within that industry.
Finally, the recent proposals of the federal government with respect to limitation of ownership, which I am not sure they now support -- indeed, I have evidence to believe otherwise -- were related to companies with deposits of over $1 billion. Certainly, on the basis of our recent experience, those proposals would have had no effect whatsoever.
I am sure the member will also take notice as he reviews the white paper proposals that one of the criteria we propose the registrar look at when he is approving a transfer of a trust company is the issue of competition.
Mr. Rae: It is unbelievable that the minister would take the view that the question of competition is solely in the jurisdiction of the federal government when he knows full well trust companies that are incorporated in Ontario come fully within the jurisdiction of the government of Ontario and fully within the jurisdiction of this Legislature. He knows that.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: Does the minister think it appropriate that one individual, Henry N. R. Jackman, Esq., should control not only Victoria and Grey Trust Co. and the Premier Trust Co., but should also have a controlling interest in the National Trust Co. Ltd. In turn, Victoria and Grey has interests in the Casualty Co. of Canada, Dominion of Canada General Insurance Co., the Debenture and Securities Corp. of Canada, etc. The degree of financial concentration in the insurance industry, the finance industry and the trust industry is growing and it is growing in a sense that is profoundly worrisome to many observers of the financial scene who are not, I might point out, members of the New Democratic Party.
Is the minister concerned about that degree of concentration? Is he concerned about the interests that are being held now by trust companies in the insurance industry and elsewhere? Is he concerned about the impact this is going to have on competition and a degree of real fairness in the whole financial services field?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think a perusal of the white paper with its conflict of interest provisions and its other comments with respect to the issue of holding companies and their control of a diversity of industries will show these are matters we have looked at.
I find it intriguing that in the first part of the member's question he referred to Royal Trust, Canada Trust and so forth, all federally incorporated companies, but the final so-called coup de grace came in reference to Victoria and Grey. Is there some reason he has to believe that company is not acting appropriately and has not been responsible or accountable to the shareholders and fair to this province in an honest and honourable way?
Mr. Renwick: That is deliberate misrepresentation by the minister.
Mr. Rae: That kind of comment is really beneath the minister. There was no --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Final supplementary please.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear and let the minister be very clear as to what he is saying. What we are talking about is a trend which has been worrying observers of the scene in this country for a very long time. It has to do with the degree of concentration in the trust industry which is not subject to any rules with respect to dispersion which other financial institutions are subject to. He should not talk about anything else because nothing else has been mentioned in this House and the minister knows it.
Is the minister aware of the statements that have been made by the former chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission, Mr. Knowles, who has expressed a profound concern about the fact that a very few families now have control not only of the trust industry but also of the insurance industry? Is he aware of that fact? Is he aware of Mr. Knowles's opinions in this regard? What does he intend to do about it in terms of the future of this province and the ability of the little people to be able to compete with these giant companies which are gaining a control over the whole structure of the financial and insurance industry in Ontario?
Mr. Speaker: Just before the minister responds to that, I would ask the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) -- and I am sure he made the remark in an emotional outburst -- if he would withdraw the observation he made.
Mr. Renwick: There was nothing emotional about it. I am surprised at the minister, but I certainly will withdraw it if you think it is improper, sir.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you very much.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am aware Mr. Knowles made a speech. I must confess I have not read it. I am aware, as I am sure the honourable member is, that there are a variety of debates and discussions going on in the financial institutions area in general today. I think if the member had had the opportunity to read the remarks I made to a group meeting on Monday to discuss those issues, he would have read that I do not think the changes that are taking place in the financial institutions area should take place without government involvement. I think public involvement is very important in the reputation and integrity of those institutions and that government involvement is important in the management and consideration of changes that take place in that industry. I committed myself to being involved in that process.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a question to the Attorney General, in the absence of the Premier (Mr. Davis), who we were all told would be here today, the last day on which we have an opportunity to question the leader of the government. He was able to make a 15-minute speech with respect to an election victory in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, but he is not here to answer leaders' questions with respect to the operation of the government, which I find absolutely incredible.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: I would like to address a question to the Attorney General concerning the remarks that were made both inside the House and outside this chamber by his colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea). I asked the Attorney General, on the day those remarks were made, whether he would make an inquiry with respect to the law. I would like to ask him whether he has made that inquiry and whether he is prepared to make a report to the House with respect to those remarks.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, what I said was that we were looking into the matter. As the honourable member knows, there are a number of allegations of statements made outside the House. We will be reporting to the House when we have an opinion.
I know the leader of the New Democratic Party would like to turn this into some sort of political football. However, I am not going to do it.
Mr. Rae: It is obvious the Attorney General is not going to do anything. He has had four days in which to interview the parties involved. He has had four days in which to interview the woman involved. He has had four days in which to interview the Minister of Community and Social Services and to look at the section of the legislation.
There is no alternative but to suggest that he is not prepared to come into this chamber to make a report with respect to the activities of one of his colleagues when it is clearly in breach of the statute and clearly in breach of his obligations as a minister to protect the confidentiality of records on the child abuse register.
When is the Attorney General going to make this report, if he is not going to make it today?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I have nothing further to add.
Mr. Rae: This represents an absolute and total cover-up by the government with respect to the conduct of the Minister of Community and Social Services, nothing more and nothing less.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That is total nonsense.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the Attorney General please resume his seat?
Mr. Rae: He should have the courage to come into this House or the courtesy to answer the question.
Mr. Speaker: Again, I call the attention of the leader of the New Democratic Party to the language he used.
Mr. Bradley: To which you listened with great interest.
Mr. Speaker: Yes, I listened with great attention. However, I would ask the leader of the New Democratic Party to withdraw his remarks in the interest of --
Mr. Laughren: It's not unparliamentary.
Mr. Speaker: I beg your pardon?
Mr. McClellan: It was not an unparliamentary remark.
Mr. Speaker: I am not suggesting that it was.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: You make political and parliamentary and all sorts of --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: Distortion. That is if --
Some hon. members: Sit down.
Mr. Speaker: We can both stand here all day, you know.
Mr. Martel: You can do what you want.
Mr. Ruston: Let's adjourn the House.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, for the last couple of weeks, you and several of your deputies have simply added words. Last week, I was forced to withdraw the word "distort." Are you going to continually add to the list daily, or are you going to have some guidelines? Just what is it? If you do not like something, it is out of order.
On that side of the House, the minister just made an accusation against my leader. That was quite fine. He deliberately distorted what my leader said. However, you did not say anything. It was an inference against my leader, but that is okay.
You either conduct this in an impartial manner or they will start dreaming up new words to dump on your list every day.
Mr. Speaker: Do not come in here and assume you can give me direction.
Mr. Martel: Well, don't you either. Just show some fairness and we'll accept it, or we won't play the game.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I did not hear any inflammatory language on the part of the minister.
Mr. Laughren: No, you never do.
Mr. Martel: It does not have to be inflammatory. You can slip it in nicely, and then it is okay, isn't it?
Mr. Speaker: You are the teacher, not me.
Mr. Martel: You're supposed to be --
Mr. Speaker: I am indeed. For the information of all members, it is not a question of whether the language is unparliamentary or not. I have mentioned this many times. It is the context in which it is used.
Mr. Breithaupt: It's not what you say, it's how you say it.
Mr. Speaker: Just a minute.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Get Mary Brown in here then.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, when my colleague the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) got up and said that the minister --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Ruston: Let's adjourn until next Monday.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I have asked the member for York South to --
Mr. Martel: Well, ask the minister to withdraw too.
Mr. Speaker: No, he -- well, I am not going to get into an argument.
Mr. Martel: I know; don't ask him.
Mr. Speaker: I imagine the member for York South has given the matter due consideration and, in the interest of the decorum of the House, he will please withdraw his remark.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I have always respected the chair. If you feel the use of a term is unparliamentary, I will not use that term. The substance of my remarks is a matter of record, and the record of the government is a matter of record. But I have always respected your judgement with respect to the use of language.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the leader of the New Democratic Party has made a serious allegation against two members of this Legislature, one of whom is a member of the executive council. The other is the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps). As the Attorney General and as the senior law officer of the crown in this province, I regard such an allegation as a very serious matter.
After the question was asked, within an hour I had instructed my staff to look into the matter, to review the facts as we can ascertain them through press and media reports as well as what was stated in this House. When we have an opinion to express on this matter, we will express it. Given the interest in the matter, and as the House obviously will not be sitting for some weeks, I will be quite prepared to make a public statement at the appropriate time.
But in a matter of this seriousness, which requires some careful consideration and review, we are not going to be stampeded into rushing through with some opinion just to suit the member's own partisan political agenda.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, what about the tone?
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, you say I am imputing motives. Is that not imputing motives?
Mr. Speaker: Just give me an opportunity before you give me directions. I am sure the Attorney General would rather withdraw the use of those words.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, if you feel suggesting they have a political agenda is unfair, I will withdraw it. I would not have thought they would have chosen to deny that fact.
DELAY IN COMPLETION OF HOMES
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations relating to the Markham situation. The minister is aware of the terrible situation that exists with the 21 families that paid out thousands of dollars, in many cases their life savings, as deposits to purchase homes in Markham. This situation has been dragging on for some time and no solution is yet in sight since the developer and builder are squabbling over who owns the lots and are taking each other to court. The Toronto Home Builders Association has hired a lawyer to represent the home buyers. Because of these circumstances, the home warranty program is unable to help those people until the courts determine who is at fault.
In view of the fact that this is a situation without precedent, and it has been alleged the families cannot recover their money until the judicial process has run its course, will the minister look into this situation to see whether some special action could be taken in this unique situation, such as an order in council to enable the Housing and Urban Development Association of Canada to reimburse the 21 families? One of several other suitable mechanisms could be employed, such as an ex gratia payment or a payment and release whereby the government would be subrogated to any future recovery in the courts.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the situation and I agree with the honourable member that it is not just unfortunate, but is tragic from the point of view of those people who have put deposits down and have now spent some considerable time respecting the debates and the battles that are going on legally.
At the moment, I am not prepared to discuss it in any greater detail for reasons I hope the member will respect. I can only say we are exploring all possible options to endeavour to be of some assistance to those people. I happen to think the mere statement that somewhere down the line, if they are out their deposits, they will be covered, does not help them, because it is such a prolonged and, I am sure, very troublesome issue for many of them.
Mr. Epp: I am sure the minister agrees that the situation must not be allowed to happen again. Under the present system the onus is on the home buyer to insert a clause in his contract nullifying the deal if the house is not completed by a certain date. In many cases, such as the Markham situation, the builder can simply refuse to accept this clause. Therefore, what constitutes a reasonable delay in completing the home has to be decided by the courts.
In view of this, would the minister consider the merits of legislation providing for standard contracts for home purchases that include a clause dealing specifically with the time allotted for completion of the home, allowing for this time to be flexibly negotiated between the home buyer and the builder but, in any event, not less than 180 days, and ensuring through this device that the time needed to complete the home is clearly spelled out and is settled before the deposits are made?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I am sure the member appreciates that it is not by way of question in this chamber that any decision will be made as to whether any action will be taken to try to avoid situations like this in the future. I think the fact that I have indicated we see it as more than an unfortunate situation -- it is tragic for those people -- means we will be exploring a number of options and looking at possibilities.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, the minister has had this matter under consideration for a considerable period of time. Was his first response to the member for Waterloo North to the effect that he has exhausted all the available options open to him and that these persons are going to suffer that direct loss?
Mr. Elgie: No. Mr. Speaker, I did not say that. What I said was that a number of options are still being explored, and I would prefer not to discuss them in the House at this time.
Mr. Cousens: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary on the whole question of there being a precedent for this. I would like to ask the minister whether he could comment on precedents to this kind of situation where the government does go beyond the limits of HUDAC to assist home owners in this matter.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I do not think there is any legislative authority for the government to make the kind of payment the honourable member is talking about. The home warranty program is set up by HUDAC and really functions on the basis of its own income. The member has raised this with me on many occasions, and I want to assure him that we are exploring options with respect to the very difficult problems these people are facing.
REBATES FROM ILLEGAL RENTS
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I want to ask whether he is aware of a company called Rent Recovery Service, 6013 Yonge Street, Willowdale. It is a private business set up to collect rebates for tenants from landlords who are charging illegal rents. As its fee for services, this company charges 50 per cent of any moneys collected from landlords who are charging illegal rents.
Do I understand that illegal rents are so widespread in this province that private entrepreneurs can set up a business and make a living out of half the proceeds of illegal rents? How long has the minister known about this company, Rent Recovery Service? Why has he done nothing to prevent the flagrant violation of Ontarios residential tenancy law by landlords who charge illegal rents?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I confess I have not heard of this company, nor have I been advised of its existence. I take umbrage with the statement that the government and the Residential Tenancy Commission have ignored or avoided the issue of illegal rents. I am sure the honourable member knows full well that even during this fall there were numerous charges, and to the best of my recollection there have been some convictions registered with respect to the whole issue of illegal rents.
As we know from the annual report, a number of situations with respect to rental payments have been mediated successfully. The member also knows that the Stuart Thom commission in phase one of its report presumably will be looking at matters like that. So to say that the government is ignoring it is not quite accurate.
Mr. McClellan: The minister may be interested to know that Rent Recovery Service is having a Christmas sale. This week they are charging only 10 per cent of any moneys they rebate to tenants that are recovered from illegal rents. Is the minister not aware that the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations legal service wrote to him on November 18 about this very matter? Does he not read his mail?
May I ask the minister for an assurance that in the spring session of the Legislature he will bring forward legislation to establish a mandatory rent registry and to empower the Residential Tenancy Commission to hear and investigate complaints from tenants about illegal rents, to audit rents that are being charged in this province and to enforce the law, with stiff penalties for violations?
When does he intend to stop permitting the residential tenancies law of this province to be flouted with impunity by any landlord in Ontario who wants to charge illegal rents? When is he going to start enforcing the laws of this province?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Again, I did not even know there was a special of 10 per cent. I would have thought the number on the member's mind these days would be -- is it 2.9 per cent or three per cent? I cannot recall the figure, but I know that is a figure the member does not want to talk about much these days. I must confess that I honestly do not recollect being advised about that firm, and if that warrants an apology, then I offer it. But I am not trying to withhold anything; I am not trying to avoid issues. Certainly no one has ever accused me of that.
However, I think the member opposite is avoiding the issue when he suggests there has been any lack of interest in prosecuting those who have been found to he charging illegal rents. I do not think the record substantiates that, and if the member honestly reviews charges laid this past fall, I think he will have to agree with that.
As to what the government will be proposing by way of legislative change, when the Thom commission report comes in it will be reviewed and evaluated by me and my colleagues on this side of the House, and proposals will be put forward before the Legislature for the consideration of the whole Legislature.
HOSPITAL ADMITTANCE DELAYS
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. I want to bring to his attention the continuing intolerable delays that are taking place for people all over southwestern Ontario who need specialist operations in London hospitals.
I do not want to name my constituent in this place, but I will send the minister all the pertinent information. My constituent developed cataracts suddenly last year and has been blind for nearly a year. She is a 52-year-old widow and will need someone to care for her until she has an operation to restore her sight. This past Monday my constituent saw Dr. Charles Dyson, a specialist in this kind of surgery in London, who informed her that he would not be able to book her for surgery until January 1985.
Will the minister please look into this specific situation? Will he tell us why a woman like this, faced with these enormous problems, has to wait 13 months for an operation to restore her physical and, obviously, emotional health?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I certainly shall. It does sound rather extraordinary that the time to book such surgery should be that far into the future. There may be some factors that are not apparent on the face of the information available at the moment, but I will be pleased to check further into it.
Mr. Wrye: The problems of bed shortages in London, especially with the number of specialists serving that area of the province, were raised with the minister's predecessor as far back as June 1983. The fact is that the physician in question in this matter, Dr. Dyson, who is one of Ontario's renowned specialists in this area, has just 13 beds a week assigned to him and sees between 20 and 30 new patients every week from all over the area. It is also a fact that this critical bed shortage affects not just my constituent but people from all over southwestern Ontario.
How can we expect the government of this province to provide adequate beds for hospitals such as the Victoria and University hospitals, which serve such a large area and population of this province, when the minister will not act on many of the recommendations that his consultant reported to his ministry as early as the spring of this year?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I think if the member has addressed this issue with any degree of intensity he will understand that the situation he describes with respect to a particular physician or a particular service may not represent a general bed shortage at all. In fact, in some hospitals, by virtue of what I think personally are sometimes antiquated methods of allocating beds, they can end up with a surplus of beds in some services and an apparent shortage in others. It is incumbent upon the administrations and the boards of those hospitals to try to come up with a more effective way of allocating beds.
If the situation described represents a general problem with respect to bed availability in the hospitals to which the member refers, then I will certainly report back to him. But I will have to check further to get more details.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, the minister must realize that the hospitals in London are not just hospitals for the London area; they are regional hospitals that serve the entire area of southwestern Ontario.
I raised this matter in the Legislature in the spring and the minister's predecessor said the matter was under control and additional beds were going to be put in service in order to meet the need because of the consultant's report.
When is the minister going to put the beds in service so that people are not having to wait months, and in this case a year, in order to get so-called elective surgery? Does he not understand what he puts people through when they have to wait several months?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member knows that it my predecessor made that statement to him, then it is the truth. My predecessor would never mislead that member or any other member of this House, either advertently or inadvertently; and he agrees with me.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I might deceive you, but nobody else in this House.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That is right. He says he might mislead me, but nobody else in the House.
I shall report to the member as well as soon as I have the information available.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Trade. The minister will know that it will be one year next Friday since Chrysler Corp. cancelled its engine proposal, which had been worked out with both the provincial and federal governments. The minister will also know that in the last few years Chrysler Corp. in Windsor has closed its truck plant, its engine plant and its spring plant and that there is no car being built by that company in Canada.
In view of the fact that this company signed the Federal Task Force on the Canadian Motor Vehicle and Auto Parts Industries report, and in view of the fact that the company is not living up to a 60 per cent Canadian value added in its own company, what action is this government prepared to take to make sure the engine plant in Windsor is reactivated so that, instead of importing hundreds of thousands of engines from Japan to be put into Chrysler products, we will produce those engines here in Canada?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, in fairness, I think my friend -- who I believe attended the opening of the new Chrysler plant not long ago, did he not? -- will realize that perhaps the biggest single investment Chrysler has ever made in any single location, $400-odd million, was just made in Windsor, Ontario.
I believe the number of people currently at work includes most, if not all, of the people laid off. They have put into Windsor what we hope is one of their potentially most successful products. It required a restructuring of facilities. The one that was moved down to the United States, the Fifth Avenue rear-wheel drive plant, while successful, is seen as a short-term product, whereas the one put into Windsor looks like the coming generation of product.
I am sure he is also aware that the engine plant he talked about last year, by my recollection, was a Perkins-Massey-Chrysler deal related to diesel; that for the time being diesel engines have lost something of their market demand and that this was more the reason behind the change than any, as I recall.
With respect to the 60 per cent bit, does the member want me then to cut Chrysler off or recommend that it be cut off entirely and see that the jobs all go to the US? I do not think he does.
Mr. Cooke: It is a pretty silly response. The reality is that there are 6,000 fewer jobs at Chrysler than there were in 1978 and they are importing hundreds of thousands of engines from Japan, not diesel engines but engines that could be produced in that plant.
Does the minister not feel it is absolutely essential that we get diversification in that city and in the auto industry? We should not be reliant on a van-wagon and a van, in case the sales go down. When a car company is producing a car we should also be doing some parts, an engine. Does the minister not feel it is his responsibility to work with that company, which is now making record profits and has invested only half of what it originally promised it would invest in Canada in retooling?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Of course, it is in our long-term interest to see that happen. Three years ago, probably the member and certainly I did not believe we would see the company in existence. It has made very real strides. I believe we will see success. The 2.6-litre engine the member is talking about is a Mitsubishi engine. Whether I like it or not, the world car exists today.
The issue is not whether the engine is from Mitsubishi. The counter issue is what we ship to make up for the things we import. That is the field I have been working hard on. That is why my speeches of late have stressed that we have to deal with the Japanese on the basis that there must be 60 per cent Canadian content. That is why I have supported the task force to Ottawa. That is why I am asking Mr. Lumley, who comes from Windsor, and three federal ministers to stand up with us and say, "There must be 60 per cent on the Japanese cars."
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, I suppose I come at this a little differently from my friend the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke) who continues to complain that we do not have a car in spite of the fact the van-wagon is likely to be the biggest seller and the most pleasant surprise Chrysler will have in many a year. I am glad Chrysler has chosen to put it in Windsor.
We have an empty engine plant. In Windsor we have one of the highest rates of unemployment in the province. About the only areas I can think of that are higher are Sault Ste. Marie and perhaps part of the Niagara Peninsula. What specifically is the minister doing to try to convince Chrysler to either put that engine plant back into operation and well over 1,000 people back to work or. as an alternative, to get Chrysler Corp. to build some other parts in Windsor so that we can get that 60 per cent value added and have those exports?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, unless my arithmetic is wrong, I understood that Chrysler, and at times Ford, were not complying with the strictest terms of the auto trade pact. On the other hand, the last time I saw the overall Canadian figures for the value added in Canada, we were well ahead of the projections and the requirement in total. As the member knows, there has been an anomaly in trade in the past two years. We have had a trade surplus in the sum total of auto parts and cars with the US.
Whether I like it or not, if an analysis is made, a good deal of that was due to Chrysler Corp. contrary to the image being given here now. The products they were making were selling very well. It was only a short while back I heard my colleagues being criticized in this House for not putting pressure on General Motors, Ford and Chrysler to put the products in Canada that were seen to have a future. We now have them. We have them in every company. We are making good progress.
I will be continuing to put pressure on the company now that it is able to invest some money. At the same time, I hope the members will all be kind enough to realize that when we do help a company like Ford put an engine plant into Windsor, it is a bit tough when we are not thanked for it, and by some people we are even criticized for it.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, before I ask my question, could I direct a comment to the Minister of Industry and Trade? I understood the content legislation was Canadian parts for Japanese cars, not Japanese engines for Canadian cars. Maybe we had better check.
Mr. Speaker: Now to the question, please.
HOSPITAL ADMITTANCE DELAYS
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. In responding to my colleague the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) with respect to bed shortages in London, I recall the minister saying something to the effect that the problem is not widespread. I want to draw to his attention that four weeks ago during his absence, the acting Minister of Health, the member for Scarborough North (Mr. Wells), was asked a question with respect to bed shortages in Kitchener-Waterloo. I hope the minister has been given that information.
At the time, I drew to the acting minister's attention that seven patients in Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital had to have their surgery cancelled because of a lack of beds. It was discovered that 58 beds in that hospital were being occupied by people who were waiting to go into nursing homes and chronic care facilities.
The acting Minister of Health said he would have the ministry review the request of the local health council to have additional chronic and nursing home beds established in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Can the minister indicate today whether or not that review has been carried out and whether or not a favourable response can be brought to my constituents?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I presume the most important part of the question is the last part, whether or not there is an opportunity for a favourable response at this time. I would point out to the honourable member that I cannot give him any response because we are still awaiting the final word on the allocation of beds for this fiscal year.
I hope we will have the word on that in the near future. It would be only at that point that we would be able to review the priorities established by district health councils and the needs in the various communities across Ontario to establish province-wide priorities. I can only say at this stage that I would hope we will have the allocation firmed up early in the new year.
There is one additional point I would like to make, although the member may say it does not have a direct impact upon his question. I think it is not at all uncommon for us to experience what appears to be a shortage of beds, particularly in the fall. It is a very common phenomenon that people choose not to have elective procedures done during the summer months and save their options, if they have them, until the fall.
I received letters early in the fall, particularly this year as it is my first year in this ministry, from patients complaining vociferously about that very fact. In one instance, a woman explained to me she had spent the summer at the cottage with her husband and had chosen not to have elective procedures performed during that time. She went to her doctor to get a date for the procedures and he told her the earliest would be November 1. She was very upset about that because it conflicted with her departure to Mexico for the winter.
Mr. Speaker: That is a very full answer.
Hon. Mr. Norton: We cannot build hospitals to meet those very specific needs in all cases.
Mr. Sweeney: I would draw to the minister's attention that neither I nor the local health council has requested that he build more hospitals. All we are saying is that the beds are there but they are being occupied by people who should be in chronic care or nursing facilities. Until these people are moved we will continue to have this problem, whether it is in the fall, the spring, the winter or whenever.
To back up that contention, we did a random sampling of nine nursing homes in our area. May I share with the minister the results so that he will know the impact of what I am talking about?
Mr. Speaker: Perhaps you could just ask the question.
Mr. Sweeney: Sunnyside Home had a three- month waiting list; Millwood Manor, six months; Maryhill, up to five years; Pinehaven, one year; Cambridge Country Manor could not even give me a figure; Heritage House, six months; St. Raphael's could not give me a figure.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Sweeney: Nine at random all had very long waiting lists.
The prompting for my original question was a 97-year-old woman living with her quite elderly daughter who physically could no longer look after her. She was trying to get into a nursing home. This is the impact.
Would the minister not agree, in view of that kind of waiting list in one community, that the request to the local health council is not a frivolous one? It is based on fact. We cannot have 97-year-old patients being looked after by their own elderly children. As an aside, I should point out that the 97-year-old woman is now in a hospital bed because there was no place else for her.
Would the minister not more seriously, more quickly and with greater immediacy look at the need in our area, and I suspect in other areas as well? He is not going to solve the problem of the shortage of active hospital beds if he does not deal with the chronic and nursing home problem.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I did not deny there is a problem and that there is a need for more nursing home and chronic beds in the province. I point out, though, that one has to be careful about accepting all waiting lists and waiting periods at face value. Sometimes they do not bear up under close scrutiny. I caution the member on that.
As I say, I am not denying it. We have a request currently before Management Board for approval of allocations in this fiscal year for both nursing home and chronic care beds. As soon as I have those, I will be in a position to make appropriate decisions.
The member is right in saying there are other areas of need. The Bruce Peninsula is another one that comes to mind --
Mr. Speaker: Thank you.
STATUS OF AGRICULTURE INSPECTORS
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) promised to be in the House for my question, but I do not see him.
Mr. Speaker: Maybe you can ask somebody else.
Mr. Swart: Perhaps I will put the question to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay). I wonder whether the minister can explain why eight regular summer employees --
Mr. Eakins: Here he is; change it.
Mr. Swart: May I change it, then, as the Minister of Agriculture and Food has come in, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: I would just direct your attention to the clock.
Mr. Swart: I will pose my question to the Minister of Agriculture and Food while he is coming to his seat. I wonder whether he will explain why eight regular summer employees of his ministry at Vineland were told at the beginning of the past summer that they would not be re-engaged this year as ministry employees but would have to go on contract if they wanted to work, even though they were doing exactly the same kind of inspection work they had been doing in previous years. They were told these orders came from the ministry's office at Queen's Park.
As a result of this contracting out they lost their workers' compensation, Canada pension and unemployment insurance benefits as well as their seniority rights.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Swart: Is the minister aware that the Department of National Revenue ultimately ruled that one must pay into the Canada pension plan and that they won, retroactively, their workers' compensation coverage?
Will the minister explain why this contracting out took place, why these employees should be the sacrificial lambs in his ministry's policy to try to cut down on the number of its employees, and do it by contracting out? Will he reconsider and retroactively try to get these employees reinstated under the Canada Employment and Immigration Commission so they can draw their unemployment insurance benefits?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First, Mr. Speaker, I am going to take the question as notice. I have a vague recollection of some of the facts about it. It was six months ago and I wish the honourable member had raised it at that time. I will get an answer to the member. I want to emphasize, though, that in terms of the inspection work they did, that did carry on. The services of the ministry were not affected.
As I say, I cannot recall all the details. I would rather get the information and give the member a complete answer. I will take the question as notice this morning. I realize the House will likely rise today, but I will get him an answer in writing as soon as possible.
RESPONSES BY MINISTERS
Mr. Philip: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: On November 9, I put a question on the order paper concerning the transfer of certain contract employees when certain ministers, such as the member for London South (Mr. Walker), transferred their portfolios. Under standing order 81(d), the minister is required to provide at least an interim reply within 14 days. I have not even had the courtesy of an interim reply.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure the minister will take notice of your request and will respond.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I would like to bring to your attention that on three occasions during the past couple of months, one as early as the middle of October, I asked a question of a minister who said in the House that he would respond quickly.
I asked one question of the member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey), which was to be passed on. I have asked two of the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea), one as recently as last week, which he committed himself to answer either Monday or Tuesday of this week.
I have had no answers to any of those questions. I have no means now, with the House being prorogued, to get those answers. I wonder whether you can look into what my rights and privileges are as a member in terms of a commitment to respond, made in the House, that has not been followed up.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure you are well aware that is beyond my authority and jurisdiction. However, I assume the minister will take notice of your remarks. Perhaps he will contact you directly.
TOXIC WASTE DISPOSAL
Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, in view of the Toronto health department's recommendation yesterday to have the Canadian General Electric plant shut immediately to prevent the spread of polychlorinated biphenyls, this petition is very apt. It reads:
"To the Lieutenant Governor and the members of the Legislature of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned residents, demand that your ministry test immediately for PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, contamination in our soil and sewers, and in the ground of those companies which have used PCBs in their production. Since PCBs are extremely dangerous to human health and their use is now outlawed, we want you:
"1. To inform all chemical companies in our neighbourhood immediately to remove their stored PCB waste; and
"2. To remove and destroy all PCB-contaminated soil.
"A simple fire in any of these PCB storage sheds would cause another Mississauga-like disaster with catastrophic effects on our health."
NURSING HOME LAYOFFS
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, I have several hundred names on a petition, similar to the one brought in last week, from friends and people concerned about what has happened at Ballycliffe Lodge and Kennedy Lodge Nursing Homes. I will not read the whole thing, just the final part of the petition, because I have read it into the record before.
"We petition as follows:
"That the government of Ontario amend the Ontario Labour Relations Act to stop the practice of contracting out work that could be performed by existing employees; and
"That the government of Ontario intervene on behalf of these 32 employees to protect the employment status of these workers."
It was appropriately made out to the Lieutenant Governor. I would like to table it now.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Barlow from the standing committee on resources development presented a report and moved its adoption.
Mr. Barlow: Mr. Speaker, this is actually the second final report. The first one was produced the other day in the local press.
The standing committee on resources development considered the report, Reshaping Workers' Compensation for Ontario, prepared by Professor Paul Weiler for the Minister of Labour and the related white paper on the Workers' Compensation Act which represents the response of the Ministry of Labour to Professor Weiler's report.
In considering these two documents, the committee focused its attention on the 21 major proposals of the white paper which comprised part 1 of the report. Other matters relating to workers compensation, such as the treatment of existing claims, rehabilitation, retraining, right of action, some of which are mentioned either in Professor Weiler's report or in the white paper, were brought to the attention of the committee and are dealt with in part 2 of the report.
The report reflects written submissions, presentations and related discussions associated with some 53 organizations or agencies and nine private citizens who appeared before the resources development committee. Hearings were held in two phases, during September 1982 and in April through to June 1983. They included the history-making meeting on the steps of this Legislature.
Following the conclusion of the public hearings in June 1983, the committee held 23 days of in-camera deliberations in July, September, November and December of this year to formulate this report.
As a result of this thorough review, the committee is convinced that the white paper and Weiler proposals for reform constitute a worthwhile and integrated reform package. While the committee has modified some of the proposals, the basic integrity of this comprehensive package for reform remains intact. The committee recognizes that all the 21 white paper proposals are important. However, proposals 1 through 4 and proposal 7, in particular, are recognized as being critical in establishing a new and more equitable basis for the compensation of injured workers and their dependants or survivors.
Many of the 21 proposals which relate to Workers' Compensation Board administration practices, particularly those relating to the establishment of independent appeal and medical review bodies, should serve to make board practices more open to external review and participation.
The committee is confident these procedures will provide improved mechanisms for the resolution of sensitive cases demanding careful consideration and judgement. Because of these extensive deliberations, a majority of committee members believe the white paper proposals for reshaping workers' compensation will result in significant improvement in compensation for work-related injuries in Ontario.
A majority of committee members also believe the new compensation system will result in an equitable and fair adjustment of assessments. We believe that under the new compensation system the employer will be under strong financial pressure to reduce the incidence of work place injuries in that proposal 17 recommends a mandatory experience rating plan.
The committee looks forward to a positive response to this reshaping of the workers' compensation system from the Minister of Labour and from the government.
On motion by Mr. Barlow, the debate was adjourned.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege or perhaps it is even a point of view: I wonder if the chairman of the standing resources development committee would ensure that a copy of this report gets to every member's office today; not just to the mailboxes, because I think most members will get a lot of requests or queries about the report during the next few weeks.
Mr. Barlow: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will attempt to have that accomplished.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the standing committee on regulations and other statutory instruments and the standing committee on resources development be authorized to meet today.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the House sit beyond 1 p.m. today to complete its business.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 160, An Act to revise the Limitations Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to move first reading of a new Limitations Act for Ontario. This bill has been a long time in development. Its origins go back to the report on limitations of actions published in 1969 by the Ontario Law Reform Commission. As an aside, I recall that the first question I was asked as Attorney General by Vern Singer back in 1975 was about when we were going to introduce this new Limitations Act.
There have been many developments in the law since that time, and the bill also draws on developments in other jurisdictions, on the work of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada and discussion of the draft Limitations Act which was circulated for comment by my ministry several years ago.
The purpose of the new Limitations Act is to consolidate, rationalize and clarify the law relating to limitation of actions. This is a major step in making the law simpler and more accessible to the average citizen. In the future, the Limitations Act will be the repository of all limitation periods affecting the bringing of actions in the courts of Ontario. Many special limitation periods that now exist in statutes other than the Limitations Act will be repealed. Others that are required to be kept for a variety of reasons will be required to be scheduled to the new Limitations Act in order to be effective.
One of the most significant reforms in the bill is the provision that in respect of certain types of action, including personal injury and property damage actions, time will not run out until a potential plaintiff has sufficient information to know he or she has the right to bring an action. In addition, the bill contains a general provision about liability that applies to all types of actions. Time will not run out against someone who is under a legal disability such as mental incapacity or minority. Never again will anyone in Ontario lose the opportunity to bring a law suit before he or she can reasonably be expected to know the right to bring it exists.
I might mention very briefly a few other features of the bill. In the future, the crown will be bound by limitation periods. Provision is made in the bill, in accordance with the recommendations of the Ontario Law Reform Commission, for the elimination of the acquisition of easements in land through length of possession. This will simplify transactions involving real property.
In addition to these, there are many other provisions in the bill that modernize and clarify many technical aspects of the law of limitations. I look forward to detailed consideration of the bill by this assembly later today.
Mr. Nixon: On a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker: I know the Attorney General is in his usual good humour, so I thought I should tell you, sir, in his presence, that he mentioned Vern Singer's interest in limitations and in statutes pertaining to them. I understand Mr. Singer is approaching statutory retirement in his appointment to the Ontario Municipal Board.
If, in fact, his appointment is allowed to run out, he is looking forward to contesting the Liberal nomination in Wilson Heights. Under the circumstances, therefore, I suggest his appointment might be extended for 25 years just to keep the incumbent there in his seat in as safe a position as he possibly can be, even though it is precarious at the best of times.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, I would indicate to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk I would be more than delighted to have a rematch with the former honourable member in my riding, if that is the situation. I have no fear of him whatsoever.
Mr. Cureatz: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I am confident the Attorney General will be providing all lawyers of the assembly with some detailed information about the bill he is going to be passing so soon this afternoon. Will he not be?
ORDERS OF THE DAY
MALTON MEMORIAL RECREATION ASSOCIATION ACT
Mr. Jones moved second reading of Bill Pr30, An Act to revive the Malton Memorial Recreation Association.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
CITY OF NORTH YORK ACT
Mr. Williams moved second reading of Bill Pr51, An Act respecting the City of North York.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
TECO MINES AND OILS LIMITED ACT
Mr. Cureatz moved second reading of Bill Pr52, An Act to revive Teco Mines and Oils Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
CITY OF OWEN SOUND ACT
Mr. Nixon moved, on behalf of Mr. Sargent, second reading of Bill Pr53, An Act respecting the City of Owen Sound.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Ramsay, resolution 15.
Reading dispensed with [see Votes and Proceedings].
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Ramsay, the resolution be amended by inserting "the committee shall have authority to adjourn from place to place in Ontario" at the end of the eighth paragraph.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Ramsay, resolution 16.
Reading dispensed with [see Votes and Proceedings].
Motion agreed to.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE OMBUDSMAN
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Eaton, resolution 17.
Reading dispensed with [see Votes and Proceedings].
Motion agreed to.
STATUS OF BILL
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Eaton, resolution 18.
Reading dispensed with [see Votes and Proceedings].
Motion agreed to.
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BUSINESS
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Eaton, resolution 19.
Reading dispensed with [see Votes and Proceedings].
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Eaton, resolution 20.
Reading dispensed with [see Votes and Proceedings].
Motion agreed to.
STATUS OF REPORTS
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Eaton, resolution 21.
Reading dispensed with [see Votes and Proceedings].
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: On page 16 of the order paper, a motion for the production of papers in the name of the member for Victoria Haliburton (Mr. Eakins) calls for the tabling of a report on the feasibility of an employee buyout of White Farm Equipment Canada Ltd. This is a report that was paid for by the government. It is in the hands of the United Auto Workers and there was some indication that report could be tabled. This motion has been on the order paper now for many weeks. We would certainly hope that the government House leader would take some notice of it so that this document would be made available to the citizens interested in the future of White Farm Equipment.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, notice has been taken.
BARRIE-VESPRA ANNEXATION ACT (CONCLUDED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 142, An Act respecting the City of Barrie and the Township of Vespra.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker. I am getting lots of good advice today on things I might say.
Mr. Nixon: Perhaps I could assist in the advice.
Mr. Breaugh: I am sure my friend will.
I had an opportunity to begin my remarks yesterday and to get the introduction on the record.
Mr. Kerrio: We thought you were up to the "in conclusion" part.
Mr. Breaugh: The member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) seems to be back in his proper place today. I am pleased to see him.
Mr. Kerrio: He is always in his place.
Mr. Breaugh: I think the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp) is correct. My friend is about the worst heckler in here.
Mr. Kerrio: Well, you give me cause.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Breaugh: We had an opportunity last evening, during the course of the estimates of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett), to listen to the minister himself, not his parliamentary assistant, provide more detail to the members on why this bill is here. As the minister went on at some length about the purpose and the details of the bill, it became more and more evident the government's real agenda in proposing this bill is to bludgeon one or both of the parties into a settlement.
One of the difficulties that opposition members have, of course, is that we do not get to hang around the back rooms of Queen's Park where the real agendas are established. We are forced by precedents here and the traditions of parliament to believe that when a government prints up a bill and puts in writing what its intentions are those are the intentions of the government.
As we listened last night to the minister state the real agenda, it became more and more apparent to me that what is printed in the bill has very little to do with the intentions of the government; so we are at a bit of a loss here, in a bit of a quandary.
As we went through each of the principles that were enunciated in the bill, the minister repeatedly said, "Well, we do not really mean January 1, but we had to put a date in." So that is over. As we talked about the boundaries, he said, "We do not really mean those boundaries, but we will figure that out somewhere later on." As we talked about financial concessions that might be made on both sides, he said, "Well, we do not really know yet; we will figure that out as we go along."
When we get right down to it, we are debating a bill that is not going to happen, at least not in the form in which it is printed, and we are going to have to come back in the spring session of the Legislature and debate it all over again.
I am faced with a bit of a quandary. There is not much sense in debating a bill when the minister presents it in the Legislature, makes a statement, has the Legislature print it all up and says, "This is what you are talking about, boys," then goes off into estimates and says: "But that is not what we are talking about, boys. We will tell you later what the real agenda is."
I think we are really faced with no choice on the matter. This bill is going out for hearings during January, and perhaps somewhere in the course of three weeks of committee hearings we will find out what the government really intends to do about this very vexing problem in Barrie and Vespra.
It is my hope that during the course of those hearings we will get the government to come clean as to its real intentions with this annexation. Perhaps we will get a clear idea of just whom they intend to bludgeon, because it is now apparent that somebody is going to get hammered, though we do not quite know who the victim will be just yet.
I will wait until the committee hearings have concluded, and then I will attempt to make a good guess in the spring session as to what the government really means when it prints up its second bill dealing with the Barrie-Vespra annexation.
I find it unfortunate that members of the Legislature are forced by tradition to believe that when a government prints a bill, that is exactly what it means to do, and then to hear during estimates and, I imagine, in subsequent debates today that this is not really what the government had in mind. It becomes very difficult for us to pick which agenda the government is actually moving on in the course of this debate.
It seems to me that there is not a great deal of sense in prolonging a debate on a bill on which the government has already admitted it really does not intend to proceed along those lines, despite the fact that it went to all the trouble of printing the bill and going into some detail in statements by the minister and in compendiums to the bill as to exactly what the bill means and exactly what the government intends to do.
In estimates last night the minister made it quite clear that is not what they want to do, that is not the date they are going to use, that is not the boundary that will be the final solution. I am not an advocate of great theoretical debates and I do not want to pursue it any longer, but I do anticipate that during the course of the hearings in the standing committee on general government we will be allowed some glimpse of the government's real intentions.
Perhaps in the spring session of the Legislature we will get a bill which says what it is the government wants to do, as opposed to this bill, which appears to be some kind of bludgeon that it is going to use on one of these municipalities.
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the two critics of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp) and the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh). Naturally, I listened to their comments with some interest. It is unfortunate that their knowledge of the situation is so minimal, as is their knowledge of the history of the area and their knowledge of what they think is best for the area.
I make those comments knowing the member for Waterloo North comes from an area that has set the mark, I think historically, for the number of annexations. He knows the total history and pattern of annexations in that area. He probably participated in many of them as a municipal councillor and knows the total background of such events.
Also, I listened to the member for Oshawa talk about the history of the area. I remember he quoted different features of this legislation. I recall very vividly that he supported a piece of legislation by one of his colleagues. Indeed, it did much the same thing but did not provide any method or mechanisms for hearings so there could be input.
I think both of them do a disservice to this Legislature when they comment that the hearings will provide nothing, that there will be no witnesses and that if they do add information, it will not be listened to. Indeed, if they say and believe this, then surely they must believe all those other committees which they ask for are not worth while either. I think their comments do not have, in my mind anyway, a great deal of validity.
This legislation has the support of cabinet, myself and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
Mr. Wildman: We didn't think it would be introduced if it didn't have the support of cabinet.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon. G. W. Taylor: I have followed this subject in the area for some 10 years while it was going on. There have been 10 years of dispute, 10 years when the major benefactors have been the lawyers and planners. There have been 10 years of unsettled progress and 10 years of lost opportunities. I say it is a minimum of 10 years, because it has been going on much longer than that.
It has been going on to such an extent that it has formed one of the longest and costliest Ontario Municipal Board hearings in history. It has, on procedural matters singularly, gone to the Supreme Court of Canada. When it arrived back, the 0MB made two decisions on the merits. It has drawn much the same lines and considered the same geographical areas.
What it boils down to is that when it is finished we have one decision that has been decided many times on the merits by the local councillors, by the Simcoe-Georgian Area Task Force and by the Toronto-centred region plan, the design for an expansion of the urban area known as Barrie.
This matter has had many opportunities for discussion for settlement. I and previous ministers of housing have sat down with the individuals on all councils and suggested methods of settlement and offered opportunities for settlement. They have not been accepted.
Throughout the litigation in the same process, because of this instance, we had to bring in new legislation. I am sure the new legislation, as it was debated here, also has to have a certain amount of goodwill, understanding and compliance or it will not work.
The minister, who is more familiar with these types of situations throughout the province, has indicated from his knowledge of the situation that the parties will not talk, will not negotiate, and will not look toward settlement of the matter, but will litigate.
When I look upon the history of the matter and I hear the percentages that have been used about the commercial area and the assessment, when this area was developing -- we are talking about the late 1960s -- the urban municipality of Barrie decided that certain functions had to be carried out in the downtown core and certain malls had to be progressed within their economic ability and what they thought was good planning. Naturally enough, the developers thought, "We will put our malls right across the border or right across the street."
When we talk about 90 per cent of the commercial assessment, that is very true. In 1968, they did not have that 90 per cent of commercial assessment. When Barrie was saying, "Do not put it in the urban area and do not put it outside," Vespra and the developers decided to put it right on the border in competition with those inside.
The dispute was apparent at that time. It was apparent then that it was not good planning. It was apparent at that time from the studies that were going on by all the local councillors and the Simcoe-Georgian Area Task Force that undoubtedly and inevitably the area would become part of the urban area of Barrie. Indeed, that has been the policy of the provincial government for some considerable period of time. As Barrie expands the urban core, it provides the services. Many of the services are there waiting to go into the new area.
The process has undoubtedly been unsettling for the area. We look at the traffic problems on the roads; they have been compounded. We look at the landfill sites in this potential area to be annexed. There have been disputes as to where hospitals and schools should be located, as to fires and who should fight them, as to sewers and as to roads and services, all of which disputes should not be. The spirit of co-operation has not been there. There has been a spirit of frustration about some of them. All these features I have mentioned, which are only a few of them, should never have even occurred. There should have been greater goodwill between the councils, and that has not been the case.
When I look at the possibility of commercial development not proceeding -- and there is $20 million or more of commercial development waiting to go -- when I see hospitals that may be delayed, when I see landfill sites that may not be proceeded with and when I see schools that are going to have difficulties, it is very difficult not to support legislation of this type.
I continue on about this particular legislation. As the minister has said, if he had gone the other route, the boundary negotiations legislation, he saw it would be on his desk for final settlement in any event. As the minister said when he explained the legislation to the municipalities, "You have an opportunity even now, before the legislation goes through and is completed, and before the hearings, to draw it to a conclusion, to settle it, to bring some negotiated settlement to it." They will still have that opportunity when they come before the legislative committee. I do not know whether those communities will accept it. I suspect they will not. Therefore, there has to be a time frame.
Since the legislation was introduced, the potential development has already started to move. Those developers will be proceeding with their development, involving some considerable millions of dollars which, if this had gone on, had the potential of being lost. It is for the whole area, not just for Barrie and not just for Vespra. It is for the whole area. That is the central core of Simcoe county. As it develops. the others benefit. Without that benefit, I think we lose for that entire area. It is with the intention of supporting the entire area that I support this legislation.
I am sure when this legislation appears before the committee, my colleagues on the government side of the House and those on the opposite side will listen to the arguments made and will then draw the line between the two municipalities where they think the boundary would be best suited.
As the legislation suggests, the line that is put in the legislation is the maximum amount of land that can be incorporated within the annexed area. They have plenty of opportunity to look at what would be best suited to that area. Much of the land is already owned by the municipality of Barrie. Other land is in hazardous or environmental protection areas. That will not cause them a great deal of concern.
If one looks at who can best service the land and who can best look to the future benefits of that land, all the participants will recognize that for the good, the potential and the benefit of the area, this legislation suits the majority of the people. I am sure the compensation package the minister will look at later will provide adequately for individuals who think for some reason they will be less than adequately compensated by this legislation.
Many of the legislative policies, the taxing policies and grants for both the urban and rural areas recognize those two features of urban and rural. In this situation, what is recognized as a rural community, Vespra, is taking on the aspects of an urban municipality. It is in the historical pattern in this province that it will soon become part of the urban area.
Those are my few comments on this legislation. As it proceeds to committee and then back to the Legislature in the spring for third reading, there will be ample opportunity for anybody who has concerns to put them to the committee. I am sure the committee members will listen and make their decision on that material.
For the potential of the area, the matter has to be resolved. This method of resolution has some finality to it, compared to spreading our money throughout the court systems of this jurisdiction, which will bring no finality but will provide great compensation for the lawyers.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, very briefly, the main question before us is, why this process? If it were a new application for annexation, it would be under the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act. But this application was first made seven years ago. There have been seven years of bitterness arising out of disputes. There is no advantage now to going through the voluntary negotiation process. It is clear that process will not work. It is clear there will be no voluntary agreement and the negotiation process will accomplish nothing but a waste of some more time.
The negotiation process has been proceeding, although somewhat informally, over the past number of years. The politicians and the staff have been involved, and I have been involved. In our opinion, further voluntary negotiations will accomplish nothing. We want this dispute to come to a conclusion, and we want to have full and complete public hearings at the committee meetings next month because we feel this is the best democratic process to bring the matter to conclusion.
As the minister said in his opening address, the boundary in this act is the maximum amount that will be annexed. The committee will hear all interested parties and it will make a decision as to what the boundary shall be.
As to the dates, as I said in this House on Tuesday and as the minister said in estimates last night, absolutely nothing can take effect until there has been third reading and royal assent has been given to this bill. There will be business as usual on January 1. Nothing will be changed by a second reading of the bill, because second reading has no authority in law. We want the date to be set by the committee.
After all the other matters are settled, we hope the two municipalities will be able to agree on an effective date. If they do, it will be put into the bill. If they do not, then the committee will have to select a date, the best date for an orderly, smooth transition of whatever area is to be annexed. The date will not be retroactive unless both municipalities want it to be retroactive before third reading debate in this House.
The members opposite have taken issue with a number of details of the bill. In view of the time and the day, I will not discuss those now, but there will be full opportunity to discuss the details of the bill in committee.
As far as I am concerned this process, the second reading of the bill, which is almost like a white paper but in a form that makes it mandatory for discussion, and full open hearings in the committee are the only way we will get all the parties to sit down and seriously negotiate all the details in full, open public hearings.
I am now committing myself, my ministry and the government to listen at those open hearings and to make changes and amendments as required.
I think the members opposite will remember that we spent all of the summer of 1982 in similar hearings after second reading of the Planning Act. The member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp) and the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden), who is here, will remember that the government listened, the government made many amendments as proposed by the public and a number of amendments as proposed by opposition parties. Their amendments were accepted. I anticipate the same kind of process.
Whatever the results, we want this matter settled in 1984. I would say to the member for Oshawa that what will happen to the bill will be as a result of the committee hearings because the committee will report an amended bill back to the House and that is what we will support.
Finally, let me repeat, just to stress to everyone concerned, nothing takes effect until third reading and royal assent some time in the spring of 1984.
With those remarks, I would ask for second reading of this bill.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I wonder if the honourable member could indicate whether or not he might make arrangements for that committee to meet in Barrie.
Mr. Rotenberg: It is not up to me. My understanding is that the committee chairman is already taking that into consideration. If the committee so desires, I would support having at least a visit to Barrie. It will be up to the committee, not myself, to make that decision.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I want to raise this point of order now so that it does not come as a surprise later.
Members may not be aware but we did approve the following motion: "Notwithstanding the prorogation of the House, upon the commencement of the fourth session of parliament, Bill 142, An Act respecting the City of Barrie and the Township of Vespra, shall be deemed to have been introduced and read the first time, be deemed to have been read the second time and referred to the committee."
I just wanted to point out that this will put the members in a bit of an awkward position, or has the potential to do that, given the nature of the bill and the commitments for change that have been made by both the minister and the parliamentary assistant. I would just like to put the members on notice that there may be another process that would be a better way to proceed, and that is to introduce the new bill and let it go through the process. I think we may have inadvertently caused the Legislature a bit of an awkward moment in the next session by passing that resolution this morning.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: The only way the bill can be brought before the committee in January is if the bill has had second reading in this House. If we wait until introduction of a bill in April, there is no way we can have a committee hearing in January.
The House divided on Hon. Mr. Bennett's motion, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Birch, Brandt, Cousens, Cureatz, Dean, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Havrot, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Kells, Kennedy, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk, MacQuarrie, McLean, McNeil, Miller, F. S., Mitchell, Norton;
Piché, Pollock, Ramsay, Robinson, Rotenberg, Runciman, Scrivener, Sheppard, Shymko, Snow, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Walker, Watson, Welch, Williams, Yakabuski.
Bradley, Breaugh, Breithaupt, Bryden, Charlton, Conway, Cooke, Copps, Cunningham, Di Santo, Eakins, Edighoffer, Elston, Epp, Foulds, Grande, Johnston, R. F., Kerrio, Laughren, Lupusella, Mackenzie, Mancini, Martel, McClellan, McGuigan, Miller, G. I., Newman, Nixon, Philip, Rae, Reed, J. A., Reid, T. P., Renwick, Ruprecht, Ruston, Swart, Sweeney, Van Horne, Wildman, Wrye.
Ayes 58; nays 40.
Bill ordered for standing committee on general government.
RELEASE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: You may recall there was a discussion of the House being denied a document before we prorogued this afternoon, and I was looking for your kind assistance in ensuring that the House has this document, which the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) apparently has.
I am referring, you would know, to the public accounts, volume 3, and the dispute between Mr. Childs from the minister's office, who suggested it would be available next week, maybe even Monday -- of course, after the House has prorogued -- and Mr. Rivers, the manager of Carswell Printing Co., who said it was shipped at least two weeks ago and that he had no idea what Mr. Childs was talking about.
I wonder whether the minister, through your assistance, Mr. Speaker, would be able to provide this volume to the House before we prorogue today or whether he can shed some light on this for us.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, Treasury is simply the point of delivery of those reports. As soon as they get there, they are distributed here. May I say quite clearly that I have not had them for two weeks. I understand they were just at the point of being delivered yesterday and today. As soon as they are in, they will be out and distributed.
The printers' strike was the problem. I understand the confusion may have come around the point at which they began printing. But I am telling the member that as soon as they are all in, they will all be out.
Ms. Copps: On another point of privilege or order, Mr. Speaker: I hope the minister is a little more accurate in that than he was in the statement he made yesterday vis-à-vis the extra-billing discussion we had in the House. I would like to --
The Deputy Speaker: I will have to remind the member this is not a debate or a time for discussion.
Ms. Copps: I realize it is not a time for debate, Mr. Speaker, but I would like to correct the record because the minister stated yesterday that he and his colleague the Minister of Health (Mr. Norton) at estimates had not contradicted each other about the number of extra-billing cases.
The Deputy Speaker: I am sorry. It is not a point of privilege. If you want to make a statement, there is another time and place for that.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY, MINISTRY OF LABOUR
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few short moments to make some comments concerning the Ministry of Labour as we debate concurrence in supply. I would like to say that it has only been a few weeks -- probably less than three weeks -- since we had ample opportunity to debate many of our concerns in the estimates of the Ministry of Labour. We spent some 22 hours debating what we felt were the issues of the day.
I believe we had a very open and extensive debate concerning the different parties' positions on matters such as health and safety, plant closings and equal pay for work of equal of value. It was only last night that we had a recorded vote on second reading concerning the very important issue of equal pay for work of equal value. I will not take the time of the House to repeat today what I said last night.
Mr. Laughren: We were here.
Mr. Mancini: Thank you. The member for Nickel Belt is one of the few moderate socialists left in the New Democratic Party. I was asked a short time ago, "What is wrong with the New Democratic Party?" and I gave the answer, "Left and down." That is their problem, left and down.
The Deputy Speaker: Back to the concurrences.
Mr. Mancini: As we take our recess, the minister should give himself some time to consider some very important matters which are going to be discussed over the winter, some in the committees. I refer particularly to the matter of the workers' compensation review.
I want to tell the minister right now that I want to put the House on notice that he is going to have a tough time if the government thinks it is going to be able to take away from the injured workers such things as the Canada pension plan, their security in knowing what their pensions are going to be on a yearly basis, or whatever increase in pay they will get if they do go back to work. I want to put the minister on notice right now about that.
We are not going to allow the kinds of changes made to the Workers' Compensation Act which we think the government is going to try to push forward. Those changes are absolutely unacceptable. We have our own position and we are going to put it forward. It is a reasonable position when one takes into consideration cost factors, historical factors and the needs of the injured workers.
We are going to put the minister on notice. We did last night. My friend the member for Nickel Belt --
Mr. Laughren: Make up your mind.
Mr. Mancini: Does my friend the member for Nickel Belt have something to say?
Mr. Ruston: No.
Mr. Mancini: No, he does not have anything to say. He is a moderate socialist.
The Deputy Speaker: We will get on with the concurrences of the Ministry of Labour.
Mr. Laughren: Make up your mind which side you are on.
Mr. Bradley: They got 2.9 per cent.
Mr. Laughren: Do you support the proposals or not? Make up your mind.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, we also want to put the minister on notice, and I believe we did last night, concerning the matter of equal pay for equal work. The Conservative caucus voted en masse, unanimously, to support that principle. The bill that was introduced, the one we voted against last night, did not reflect the vote taken by the Conservative caucus on October 20.
Those are some of the issues we have been concerned about, and we expressed our concern on many other issues during the estimates. We will be bringing forward further concerns, but the immediate problem we face, as I said earlier, is the reform of the Workers' Compensation Act. I put the minister on notice there is going to be tough slugging here in the Legislature if he thinks he is going to be able to pass some of the things that were stated in the majority Conservative report. I look forward to the debate that will take place on these important matters in the near future.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I will make no threats I am not likely to be able to carry out, such as came from the previous speaker. I simply want to raise two things and two things only with the minister.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I have never threatened anyone in the Legislature in the eight years I have been here and I did not threaten anyone today. I sincerely resent the remark made by the member for Hamilton East. I believe if the member takes time to reconsider what he said, he might consider it slightly unfortunate.
Mr. Mackenzie: I want to raise with the minister two points only, and do it as seriously as I can, because I think they are two of the real problems we are facing. There is any number of issues we could cover, but we are trying to wind up the session.
I want to raise with him once again the question of the tens of thousands of workers who are losing their jobs as a result of plant closures in this province and as a result of the fact that we have no real justification procedure of any kind whatsoever in this province. There is ample evidence in any number of plants, specifically ones the minister himself has met with -- and I have been with him on occasion -- that there should have been a little more openness by the minister.
The minister himself did not get all the information on Allen Industries, as our last meeting pointed out, and we still do not have the company willing to come back to us. There are serious considerations in the plant closure I raised yesterday at Dominion Bridge. There were and are problems at Consolidated-Bathurst and Canada Packers -- the list is almost endless. There is firm legislation that tops our Ontario legislation in many of the industrial countries in western Europe.
One of the problems that is going to be with us for some time to come and which is really hurting older workers in particular is the question of plant closures with the loss of jobs and in many cases the difficulty of workers ever again being employed at their age level. We simply have to do something in the near future to deal with this serious problem.
The second issue I want to raise with the minister is the issue of contracting out. So far it has seriously impacted only on nursing homes and two or three cleaning companies that I am aware of, but it is an issue that is patently unfair. It is an issue where a third party moves into the action and makes a nice little profit on selling its services. This is undermining workers and putting them out on the street when, in many cases, they have really worked to upgrade their skills and develop a profession. I am thinking in particular of nursing home workers.
This really threatens the quality of care to the inmates of some of these nursing homes and undermines in the most basic way the rights of those workers. I do not see how the minister can not take action on this issue as well and take action rather quickly before we have a very serious problem right across this province in terms of contracting out as a method not only of undermining the workers who are organized, but also of providing an unnecessary profit for a third party intervening in this kind of care.
I ask the minister to take a serious look at those two issues as quickly as he can and to come back to this House at the beginning of the new session with some answers that will deal with them because they really are fundamental to workers' rights and protection in Ontario.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few short comments, specifically with regard to the occupational health and safety branch of the Ministry of Labour. I would like to refer to the minister's decision, based on the advice given him by the mining legislative review committee, which recommended against changing the safety regulations with regard to miners working alone.
In this party we believe it is incumbent on the minister to move as quickly as possible to eliminate the practice of miners doing solitary underground work since it is a very difficult situation when accidents occur. We regret very much the minister's decision to go along with the recommendations calling for more co-operation between labour and management and further research to improve radio communications underground. It is just not an adequate approach to that problem.
I wonder if the minister could inform us of the status of the royal commission on asbestos which was established in April 1980 after pressure from my former colleague from High Park-Swansea, Ed Ziemba. This commission has been in operation for some time and we have not heard very much about it. We have not had any indication of when it is going to report.
I want to refer specifically to the radon reduction program in Blind River and on the north shore. I hoped the minister would comment on the matter I raised with him regarding the information provided by Dr. Aitken, the chief of the radiation protection service of his ministry, which gave a number of scientific studies to show that estimates of additional lung cancer range from a low of 140 to a high of 1,800 in a population of 100,000, with the so-called recommended level accepted by the ministry of 240 additional lung cancers in a population of 100,000, when the 0.02 work level standard for homes of underground miners is accepted.
I find those figures appalling and I would hope the minister, in conjunction with the federal authorities, would be moving to lower that standard so we can be protecting at a much greater level, the people who work in the uranium industry and the nuclear industry in their homes.
In regard to Blind River, I would like to know why the minister is unwilling to extend this reduction program -- the abatement program in the homes -- not only to the underground miners who commute to work in Elliot Lake, but also to the workers who work in the nuclear industry at Eldorado Nuclear Ltd. resources in Blind River.
Mr. Bradley: Very briefly, I would like to ask the Minister of Labour what consultation he has had with the Minister of Education in terms of including teachers in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The minister will know that teachers have not been included since the act was passed and there have been discussions going on about the possibility of including them because of certain circumstances they face within the education system, probably more so in science labs and in the technical end of education and perhaps even in physical education, than in other areas, but certainly throughout the system. I would like to ask the minister whether an announcement to include teachers will be made by the government in the very near future under the provision of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I have just one question for the Minister of Labour. Although it does not fall under his jurisdiction, I know he is very interested in it.
I wonder if he could advise us, and certainly make recommendations to the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor), regarding the issue of mandatory inquests following industrial accidents. The minister is aware of an industrial accident that occurred in my own area in the not too distant past. The difficulty in getting a coroner's inquest to deal with the industrial accident was unbelievable.
The minister has supported in principle the notion of mandatory inquests in construction accidents, but I think the mandatory provision should apply to all industrial accidents that occur in Ontario. I wonder if the minister could give us some idea of whether he is planning to lobby the Solicitor General to make sure this kind of provision becomes part of the law of the land in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could respond to the last item first in that I believe I can respond in a rather positive manner. The honourable member has asked me to lobby the Solicitor General in respect to having mandatory inquests in industrial fatalities. I would like to advise her and the other members here who have asked me the same question in other forums that I have already done so approximately 10 days ago.
I have not had a response as yet, but I am on record with the Solicitor General as recommending that inquests be mandatory in industrial accidents. I intend to continue to follow up in that respect.
I note the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) is not here. He was a little offended that someone perhaps suggested he was making threatening comments to me. I did not accept them as such. He told me he was putting me on notice. There is nothing unusual about that.
He did have two concerns. One was the matter of the proposed changes to the Workers' Compensation Act. That does have a high priority. I am a little disappointed, though, with his comments about the government taking away from the injured workers. The whole idea of the reform and the review is not to take away, but to improve the process and improve the act. It is on that basis that we will be approaching the new regulations and the new statutes. I can assure the members of that.
On equal pay, I have to say again that I feel the government has taken some very positive steps in respect to the amendments to the Employment Standards Act. It was debated here in the House last evening and will be heard in committee on January 9, 10 and 11. I am looking forward to those hearings. It will be an opportunity once again to have the input of various interest groups expressing, I am sure, divergent opinions on equal pay for work of equal value.
As far as closures are concerned, I want to assure the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie), and I am going to be repeating myself, I do not think anything causes me to lose sleep more than the issue of plant closures. It is the most difficult thing I have to deal with. I say with the greatest of respect that if I thought that bringing the plant closure committee together again or introducing disclosure legislation would save just one job, then I would do so, but I am not convinced it would.
The member referred to Allen Industries. He is absolutely right. I was very disappointed the first time we had those people in. I am disappointed that last week when I asked them to come in and meet with me and union officials, they at first agreed to do so and then changed their minds. They thought there might be legal complications in doing so or that what they had to say might be used against them later. I can understand that, but I still think we could have had a productive meeting and we could have eliminated the problems they were worried about.
I want to advise the honourable member that I have not given up on that. There will be a meeting with the Allen Industries executives from the United States in my office on either Monday or Tuesday. They have agreed to come. At that meeting I hope to convince them that we can have another meeting with the union people there. We are still trying desperately to address that problem.
I do not say this with any measure of delight or satisfaction, but this is a Canadian Press story. It says:
"An almost 60 per cent drop in layoffs in Ontario during the first 10 months of 1983 over the same period last year is an encouraging sign the provinces economy is bouncing back, says Labour Minister Russell Ramsay.
"Ramsay was commenting on a Ministry of Labour report that shows employee layoffs in the first 10 months of this year fell 57 per cent to 16,025 from 37,652 last year. From January to October, 10,065 layoffs were caused by reduced operations. Last year's figure was 27,494."
It goes on with some other facts.
"Ramsay said in an interview" -- and this is the point I want to make -- "that the facts are encouraging and, I believe, an indication of economic recovery. However, he warned that troubled times are not over and there is still cause for concern and there is cause for concern just as long as there is any plant closure or any person in this province being dislocated in their employment."
Nursing homes are a very thorny, complex problem. It is one that I am hopeful can be dealt with through the mechanism in place at present, and that is the Ontario Labour Relations Board, which is giving priority to addressing this matter. I assure the member that if the Ontario Labour Relations Board is not able to deal with it in a fair and equitable way, then we will have to look at other measures.
In the area of occupational health and safety, I did refer the matter of miners working alone to the Mining Legislative Review Committee. It met on October 26 and October 27 and reached the consensus that the existing section 15 of the regulations for mines and mining plants is satisfactory.
As the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) pointed out, the committee called for better co-operation within the joint health and safety committee structure as well as the expediting of current research towards improving the reliability of radio communication systems. But I did want to make the point that the committee concluded the Ontario regulations are by far the best in Canada.
With respect to the status of the asbestos report, I followed that up probably around the end of September or in early October and was told at that time there was a good possibility of the release of that report early in 1984. I intend to keep after that.
Finally, the matter of the radon gas is a very scientific one. I have some material here which I am reluctant to use only because, to be candid, I am not sure of the scientific information that is here, not from the point of view that it is not accurate but because I am not sure I could relate it to the member in an accurate manner. For that reason, there is a letter in preparation to the member which I hope will address his concerns.
I am a little disappointed about the reference to Blind River and the fact that we may not have gone far enough, because when we first set up the radon detection service for the commuters to Elliot Lake, it was going to be for Blind River residents only. It was through my efforts, I believe, that I was able to get that extended --
Mr. Wildman: I do not deny that.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I am sure the member does not. But it was through my efforts that it was extended to Iron Bridge, Massey and the other places from which miners were commuting -- all the bedroom communities. But the member does make a point about the Eldorado miners and we are looking into that in concert with our federal counterparts.
Finally, in response to the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley), I must admit that I had hoped the matter of teachers being covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act would have been resolved by now. In fact, I had high expectations this summer that we would have it in before the school term started.
There have been some complications. I am almost embarrassed to say that we have struck another committee, because we have had so many committees on this. But we have struck a special task force made up of minimum representation from the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Education, the Ontario Teachers Federation and the Ontario School Trustees' Council. We thought that with a smaller number and a time limit on their deliberations, we might be able to come to grips with this.
Mr. Bradley: What is the time limit? Do you know?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: We are in the process now of setting up the committee and getting the names of the people involved. I assure the honourable member it is something I thought I would have had completed by now, and I fully intend to have it completed as quickly as possible.
I have addressed each of the subjects that have been brought forward today. I want to pay tribute at this holiday season to the members opposite who have acted as either permanent or one-day critics, whatever the case may be, of the Ministry of Labour. Their criticisms have all been extremely responsible. They have all shown a deep concern, interest and knowledge of what goes on in the Ministry of Labour. I have always considered their questions to be constructive rather than otherwise.
Resolution concurred in.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY, PROVINCIAL SECRETARIAT FOR JUSTICE
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, in rising with respect to this concurrence, there is one issue I would like to raise with the Provincial Secretary for Justice this morning. I was interested to read in this morning's Globe and Mail that the government of Ontario intends to end the 12 bail programs it pays for, which currently are of assistance to accused persons who lack bail money to get out of jail while awaiting trial.
As the provincial secretary is well aware, there are those within our society, and I am one of them, who believe that a program like this is needed as was set out in the article, which I quote, "to protect the rights of those who don't have the money for bail and shouldn't have to be in jail before their trial."
This morning I received a telephone call from Mr. Andrew Telegdi, who has been conducting one of these programs in Kitchener. Apparently, a study of the effectiveness of these programs was done during the summer of 1982. It was conducted by Sheri Lee Davis and several others. Apparently, it reflected positively and had complimentary terms as to the programs that are in existence, with the possible exception of some comments that were not entirely complimentary, so I am informed, on the Sudbury and Ottawa programs.
Apparently, those two required some further upgrading or certain recommendations were made with respect to them. I say "apparently" because this study has never been made public and has not been given to the various persons involved in these programs, to my understanding.
The cost of these programs, we are informed, is some $812,000. The general comment made by the Ministry of Correctional Services apparently, through the reported comments of Donald Evans, is that the $812,000 is to be put to certain better or other uses within the ministry.
I recognize that a variety of programs are coming under review in this province, but reflect for a moment on what $812,000 means within the provincial budget and within the areas of expenditure that concern us. As I recall, the interest on the provincial debt is about $5 million a day; so the amount of this whole program is the equivalent of four hours' interest on the provincial debt.
The amount of this whole program is a little more than twice the amount reported to have been paid by the former Minister of the Environment through his ministry for renovations to certain offices -- offices, I might add, that he occupied for only a month. Certainly this amount of money, through political and other commitments, is much less than the total cost of that by-election in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry of which we heard so much earlier this morning.
Moneys are put to a variety of uses within this province, and certainly there is the possibility that decisions are made with a variety of considerations that are before us.
This article to which I referred says:
"Lawyer Harold Levy, editor of the Criminal Lawyers Association Newsletter, said the bail programs play an important role in verifying information ... Criminal law lawyers 'would be most alarmed if such [an] important, useful, tried and tested program was to be scrapped,' Mr. Levy says in an editorial to be published in the newsletter's next issue. 'The principles at stake, such as the presumption of innocence and recognition of the perils of confinement, and the knowledge that people who appear for trial in custody are more likely to be convicted,' should work against disbandment" -- that is, disbandment of the program.
I share those particular concerns, and they are heightened not only because of this report but also because of the statement the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker) made to the House this morning as he dealt with Community Justice Week for 1984. Community Justice Week, it so happens, was started in Kitchener -- indeed, it was started by that same person I referred to, Andrew Telegdi -- and is now proclaimed as being of such value and use that 50 communities took part in it last year and it is hoped that 100 communities will participate in this year's event.
That seems to be a lot of thanks a person gets who, without any consideration or any contact, as I am told, reads in this morning's paper that the program is wiped out and, it so happens, is, at least by inclusion, praised for being involved in a program that is clearly of great value.
I note that the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Leluk) is drawing nigh to the provincial secretary, and I hope he will be able to provide some information as to the background of this whole theme. Indeed, if he wishes to speak on the matter himself he can deal with it, in two or three moments from now, with a comment on the concurrence in his own ministry.
I bring it to the attention of the Provincial Secretary for Justice because in his own remarks this morning he commented, if I may remind the House of this: "This special week will be co-ordinated by the Justice secretariat and will help to enhance public awareness about the rights and services which the justice system provides, as well as the responsibilities it places on the people of our province."
Here we have an opportunity to deal directly with justice policy within this province: to see how, in the envelope of funds available to the ministries that make up this policy secretariat, priorities are reached and comments can be made and leadership given as to why one program continues and perhaps another does not.
Certainly there are a variety of choices that have to be made by the line ministries as they deal with the programs available to them. Indeed, it is not so much that the choice has been made, if such is the case; it is the way it apparently has not been communicated to the persons involved. It may be that certain letters have been sent and they have not as yet been delivered. I certainly hope that is the case.
It is always unfortunate that persons can be hurt because of comments in the media or elsewhere, indeed even in this House, in advance of receiving in due course the kind of information to which they are entitled and which I should say, more often than not, is already in train so that they would have received information.
They know that is a problem. It is one we cannot easily or readily overcome because people hear about certain things and make comments. There may well be a quotation somewhere or other in the media in advance of the fact that a letter did go or a message was sent. That can happen and if that is the case, I welcome a comment from the provincial secretary, or if not now, in due course from the Minister of Correctional Services to say it is the case. I certainly hope it is.
One of the comments that was made, and again I only have this quotation that appeared in this morning's Globe and Mail, was in allusion to a comment of Donald Evans, the executive director of the community programs division of the Ministry of Correctional Services: "This decision in no way reflects dissatisfaction in the services but is a result of our budgeting and priorities that we have to meet." He is further quoted as saying, "They provide a really good service, but the services aren't directly to us." I suppose that is the case, but they are services that are involved surely in the variety of principles, programs and policies towards which the Provincial Secretary for Justice must direct his attention.
Mr. Evans further says, apparently in a general comment, "Jails are still crowded and the programs haven't been proved conclusively to cut down the number of remand prisoners (those awaiting trial)." The jails are crowded. It certainly appears to be a symptom within our society at this point that every time an institution is built it very quickly becomes filled up.
Mr. Wildman: Most of the jails have been built a long time, though.
Mr. Breithaupt: Indeed. In the same instance, the Minister of Correctional Services, as the province's greatest provider of services to a variety of guests, is under great strain in his budget. He is more aware than any of the rest of us that outdated and crowded facilities bring on further problems within a system. The system is one that I recognize he has attempted to address, and I congratulate him for the concern he has shown in the matter.
Just as the widening of a highway seems to fill up that extra lane with cars in a week or so, or the provision of an extra series of nursing home beds is immediately responded to -- they are filled up and there are still pressures on the active treatment beds in hospitals and whatever -- in this circumstance the provision of new facilities or the remodelling of old facilities by the Ministry of Correctional Services still brings about the need for additional programs and opportunities to deal with the population of clients who are constantly before the courts.
I look forward to hearing from the provincial secretary how he views this situation. I believe the programs are of great value. While they are funded through the Ministry of Correctional Services they are, as has been referred to, not a service that goes directly to correctional services. If they are not a service that goes directly there, then perhaps the budget for them should come from somewhere else. If they are a program that is worth while, then it may be that under the Justice secretariat itself a particular earmarking of funds or an overview of obligations should be at that level.
Of course, that is not the principle. The principle is not to have direct line funds in the various secretariats. The whole idea for the secretariats was that line ministries would continue their peculiar and particular tasks as assigned in the overview of the operations of the cabinet and the responsibilities of ministers within Ontario.
The policy opportunities could be a clear reflection of the availability of funds within budgets if the policy secretary was convinced, as I am, that these kinds of programs are of value. I am sure that even Mr. Evans in his comment would not at all have ever wanted the impression to go abroad that just because the services are not of direct benefit to that ministry, they should not continue; of course not.
He recognizes, as I dare say all of us do, that there are certain obligations within the ministry to at least attempt to protect and maintain direct services as they reflect the requirements of the ministry. Here is a program that perhaps does not reflect that requirement but I am quite certain the provincial secretary will agree with me that it is a useful inclusion in the panoply of services that exist under the provision and administration of justice within Ontario.
I referred to the comments made by the provincial secretary in the statement which lauded and encouraged the involvement of all of us within the province in Community Justice Week for the period April 8-14, 1984. Yes, I agree we have not brought forward to the same proportion the rights of victims within our society. I certainly agree, as the minister has said, that very often we trivialize the rights and feelings of the victims and their families and are much more concerned about the opinions of the mother or father of the accused or the convicted. Very often, we forget the burdens which are placed upon the victims, or the families, the neighbours and other associates of those victims.
We are going to entitle this program "Victim Justice: Care and Share." That is going to be the theme of the week. That is most important, but in dealing with that theme let us include in it a failure to recognize the usefulness of the variety of bail programs. We see much in the media of reports of a certain person released on bail who then goes out and commits some other offence. He may be convicted of that, or is at least charged with the commission of that offence and the cry often goes up, "Why is that person out on bail?" It is as though the retention of that person within one of our correctional facilities, a jail or in some holding facility, should be a penalty required in advance of a trial and conviction.
Many persons in this province do not understand that the purpose of the bail system is solely to inquire and be satisfied, as I understand it, that a certain individual will appear for his or her trial. It has nothing to do with retribution or, indeed, with justice or penalty or punishment in advance of the event.
I suppose if we work on the theory that the person would not have been charged unless he or she was guilty in the first place, one can accept the fact that we will get at least a few weeks of that person's time in a facility, whether or not he or she is finally convicted. But I do not think this is a very healthy approach, and I see from the smile on the face of the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker) that he probably agrees with me on that one.
But there is a problem. The problem that concerns me is the one that brought this urgent phone call this morning and directed my attention to an edition of the Globe and Mail that I had not at that point had the opportunity to see and perhaps might not have even noticed, so that the opportunity to speak on this issue at the peculiar time that we simply had this opportunity might not have otherwise occurred.
I was not contacted by the reporter in the case. I notice that my colleague the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) is quoted, so he was obviously involved in having some of the matters herein drawn to his attention and I hope he may join in speaking to this matter as well this morning. Certainly his comments that the program should not be ended without consulting the people involved must be the clearest and most obvious result.
Whether there is any presumed merit, necessity or requirement to do that and to have those programs end, surely not to have been informed, as apparently was the case, is a most unfortunate result and I am sure the necessary apology or the necessary direct comment, made by either the Provincial Secretary for Justice or the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Leluk) in due course, would go some distance to reverse the necessary feeling of some bitterness that the persons involved in these dozen programs across the province might well feel.
So we are to have Community Justice Week next year, we are to have a continuation of a variety of programs that have been discussed over these last several years by my friend the member for Riverdale and myself with the various secretaries for justice policy as they have been given those responsibilities and we now have the opportunity in this concurrence debate to discuss this particular theme. Surely this is a matter of justice policy. Surely the division of these funds and the validation of the variety of programs such as this one is, I would hope, one of the duties and one of the real opportunities for a provincial secretary in this system.
Programs may well come and go, I cannot quarrel with that, because the variety of needs changes and there are not always the funds that every minister, I am sure, would like available to deal with whatever worthy projects are brought forward. But I believe we have to have some explanation of why this is happening, we have to have some commitment to consider the impact this is going to have, and I hope we will have the opportunity for comment that will explain why it was seen in the press before at least one of the locations involved was aware that this was going to happen.
I have asked for the study that was done by Sheri Lee Davis to be made public. I hope that will be the case because, no doubt, comments based on those findings, if they are as I was informed they were, will be of use as the value of this entire program is considered.
Any program that is costing $812,000 is spending a lot of money. But we must also look at the proportion I have set out as to how much of those funds relate to other government commitments and to other government priorities. It is unfortunate in this brief time we have that we cannot deal at length with a variety of these concerns. It is a theme that I hope the provincial secretary will speak to. I welcome his comments and explanation on the points I have raised.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, it is my intention in the concurrence debates to speak on two or three matters. On the matter my colleague the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) has discussed with respect to the fee-for-service contracts cancellation for the Toronto Bail Program, I simply want to say to the Provincial Secretary for Justice that I endorse totally what the member for Kitchener said. I do not want him to be under any misapprehension about the vacuum and the problem, and the effect this will have on the provision of bail by community organizations across the province that are in touch with the social and economic circumstances of the persons who have had the advantage of this program.
I am going to reserve the major part of my comment on that topic until we come to the Ministry of Correctional Services, whose minister is responsible for the programs and responsible for their cancellation. The provincial secretary is well aware of the two purposes of the bail program, well aware of its history and well aware of the benefit that has accrued to people from it.
In the concurrences of the Ministry of Correctional Services, I will put on the record the sequence of events since his estimates when we questioned him on these matters -- the member for Yorkview (Mr. Spensieri) and I questioned him particularly about the bail program -- and the answers we got to the inquiries we made.
I want to mention to the provincial secretary that yesterday, in the concurrence estimates of the Ministry of the Attorney General, I raised this question with the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry). I raised it because Mr. Evans said to us in committee in October that any question with respect to this bail program has a judicial side and would not be dealt with without consultation with those responsible. I believe the person responsible to be the Attorney General of Ontario.
I asked him yesterday, and I quote from yesterday morning's Hansard on this question, referring, first of all, in the course of the remarks to the remarks of Mr. Evans, the executive director of the community programs division, in the estimates as late as the end of October about the seriousness of this question. Without reading it all, in one paragraph some very real fear is expressed that somehow or other the question of this program is being rethought, that the contracts are going to be cancelled and the funding for them is going to disappear.
If my memory is correct, the ministry's response was, "Of course it would not be up to us because that is part of the judicial function we would have to consult before we terminated or affected the funding." This is not an exact quote, but it is the substance of it. I will put the exact quote on the record when we get to the Ministry of Correctional Services.
The laconic comment of the Attorney General at the end of the concurrence was: "It is fair to say that the Toronto Bail Program which has fee-for-service projects with the Ministry of Correctional Services is under review at present and, to my knowledge, no decision has been made."
Mr. Breithaupt: That was yesterday.
Mr. Renwick: That was yesterday at one o'clock, about 24 hours and 20 minutes ago. It has now been for all practical purposes confirmed that they are being advised under the terms of the contracts that the funding will not be resumed.
I will deal at some length with the appropriate minister whose program it is, but I want to say this is a matter of immense and serious concern to me because the program has a mutual benefit to members of the public and the ministry. I thought it was secure in relation to the questions we had raised about it during the estimates.
There are two purposes. The bail program prevents the unnecessary incarceration of accused persons in one case by providing more complete and more accurate information to the court more quickly than would otherwise be provided and, in the second case, by providing a form of surety for an accused person who because of poverty or family circumstances would be unable to produce one. There were reasons for the program. Those reasons exist. The member for Kitchener and I speak with one voice on this matter, which is unique in itself. I will also deal at some length with that matter when we get to the concurrence for the Ministry of Correctional Services.
The second matter I want to ask the Provincial Secretary for Justice about is that, on at least one and I think two occasions in the House of Commons, there has been an exchange between a member of the Conservative Party from Nova Scotia sitting in opposition and the Minister of Justice, the Honourable Mark MacGuigan. I am not certain the opposition member sits from Nova Scotia; he may sit from Ontario; I am not certain about that. In any event, the matter related to whether Donald Marshall was going to be compensated in any way with respect to the 11 years he spent in prison.
The Minister of Justice of Canada chided the member who asked the question by saying, "If only Nova Scotia would do what Ontario is obviously doing in this matter," I know we have talked about it at great length. I have certainly put on the record two or three cases that have come to my attention with respect to the way in which, in my view, people have been unjustly treated by the justice system. On the question of compensation for them, it is difficult for the provincial secretary to understand they are victims of crime, victims of the criminal justice system. They are persons for whom the justice system has failed.
The question appears to be that something is being done in the province. There was talk about some kind of study of it. What is it that the Minister of Justice of Canada appears to know that we in this assembly do not know? If there is an internal report on the matter, or if there is a process specifically going on where something positive has emerged, I ask the Provincial Secretary for Justice to share it with us.
My third and last comment is about how the Ministry of Correctional Services deals with the question of the Young Offenders Act and the imminent likelihood it will come into force in April 1984, and then in April 1985 would include the 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds within the jurisdiction of the youth courts. In the estimates of the Ministry of Correctional Services, and I quoted this yesterday to the Attorney General, the Minister of Correctional Services said: "In yesterday's remarks regarding young offenders I believe Mr. Renwick made some reference to the fact that the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) and myself as Minister of Correctional Services were involved in some kind of heated debate and dispute regarding to whom the responsibility for young offenders might fall."
Mr. Spensieri interjected, "At loggerheads." The minister continued: "I just want to assure him and the members of the committee that we have had some discussions not only between the minister and me but also between our senior staff, and about all they have been is discussions. There is no disagreement or what have you. We have both stated our cases and we will await the decision by those who will finally make one based on the information I have just given the committee."
The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) yesterday responded to my comment, which I have just repeated. "As to the young offenders legislation and the designation of the ministry, this is a matter which is under active review. I would like to think the decision that will be made will be made by cabinet as a whole" -- and we would assume that it would be. "I would like to think the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General will have some influence in the decision. It is hard to really predict just where these discussions will end, but I agree with the member that we have to get on with that issue because it is of increasing concern."
In the responsibilities I have, which are spread across four ministries of the government in the field of justice, I raised at some length in the estimates of the Ministry of Correctional Services the two conflicting theories about which ministry should have responsibility.
More important than the theory, more important than the ideological discussion about punishment as contrasted with treatment and care, is the fundamental question about the availability and choices which a judge has, when making a decision with respect to a young offender, in order to adapt to the best possible circumstances, the welfare of that person within the justice system, having regard for the security of society that will best further the reformation of that person.
It is obvious, if one reads Judge Beaulieu's comments in the two cases which were provided to me by the Ministry of the Attorney General, there are very limited choices available to a judge sitting in the provincial court, family division, for the disposition of young offenders' cases right now. I think the ministry has got to forget the jurisdictional dispute between the ministries.
It has to come to grips with the fundamental question of the broadest possible range of options available to the sentencing judge, having regard to the welfare of the accused person, the convicted person before him and having regard to the security of society. Then the ministry can begin to cut through the nonsense of discussions which are not going anywhere, discussions which obviously were in a state where somebody has to make the decision.
I have to accept that cabinet will make the decision. I want to know who will make the recommendations to cabinet and how those recommendations will come forward. I am not even asking to be made privy to what the recommendations are. I am asking for whatever light I can get from the minister because I can get no light anywhere else. I doubt if I will get very much from the minister as to what is going to be done about the question of the facilities available to a sentencing judge when considering what the sentence should be on a person convicted of an offence under the Young Offenders Act. I think we have to know that.
There is a large problem. The only contribution I know of is one that the former Provincial Secretary for Justice, now the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Sterling), made to the argument when he provided the statement to the Premier (Mr. Davis) so he could raise the question of funding at the August 1982 meeting of the Premiers.
Since then the thought processes of this government have stopped. We had tabled today in the assembly, with an accompanying statement by the Minister of Community and Social Services, the recommendation of that ministry very specifically stating that they be the lead ministry, after the studies they had done and after all of the reorganization of that ministry with respect to young people that took place under the present Minister of Health (Mr. Norton) when he was Minister of Community and Social Services and when the associate deputy minister was a seconded judge of the family court.
This matter, I fear, is going to be resolved not by intelligent assessment of the needs of the system to adapt to the Young Offenders Act but by default. There will not be any change; there will not be any facilities, because one of the principal recommendations now framed in the Young Offenders Act is a separation of the process with respect to all aspects of the process for young offenders.
Those are the remarks I have on the concurrence in these estimates. I would appreciate any comments the minister may care to make about them.
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the Provincial Secretary for Justice that some months ago a number of us in the Legislature and in the public were concerned about the results of the introduction of pay television in Ontario.
I am glad to report from an article in yesterdays Toronto Sun written by Jim Slotek, who is a commentator on entertainment, that apparently our fears were unfounded. What he actually says is that, because of complaints from the public, the two pay TV channels are leaving off their programming some of the worst sadomasochistic movies. What this really tells us is that the public has a far better way of dealing with these things than perhaps we do here in the Legislature, and I am encouraged by that.
But I do have a concern about the things we are trying to do by legislation. These are matters where largely children, who do not have the funds to influence these things, are subjected to what I think is rather poor taste in entertainment. I am speaking particularly about a movie called Scarface currently playing in Toronto. This is a remake of an old movie theme of several decades ago, but it has been described by a movie critic as a Babylonian extravaganza of violent crime, including dismemberment by chainsaw, disembowelment by stabbing and other various sorts of murders and beatings. The film is centred on the cocaine trade. But the interesting part that caught my attention when I heard the critic on CTV's Canada AM was that he said that each succeeding nausea of blood and guts is greeted by cheers and applause by young audiences.
I suppose probably some of those young audiences are simply taking it as a big laugh and a big joke, and I guess if it is seen in that light that we have nothing to worry about, but I do worry about young people who might see this as a modern trend, as the way in which we are moving.
When we look at street crime, which the federal Justice Minister admits is on the increase, we have to wonder about the facilities we have to look after these matters. Apparently, the censor board has passed the movie, and perhaps the only last line of defence would be through the Attorney General in laying charges on obscenity grounds.
What I am suggesting is that the minister talk over this matter with these various gentlemen and see whether or not he has a role to play in a matter which is of some concern to the public.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Chairman, I would like to respond to the contributions made by the three honourable members and thank them for their comments. Their comments really do weigh upon us and there are frequent occasions when in our deliberations we take into account some of the observations made in this House, made at estimates time and made in direct correspondence with us. In the past, I have found useful the views that have been expressed.
The bail project is no exception. I had a certain stake in the bail project, having started it some four years ago as an experiment. Basically, I can sympathize with the concerns expressed by people who have become very much a part of it.
I suspect the line minister responsible, the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Leluk), will respond in a much more comprehensive way to the issue when the matter is raised at his concurrences in a few moments time. But it is fair to say that all of us feel that whenever any program disappears, there is a certain something missing that we would prefer not to have missing, and this is one such case.
I know the minister has to weigh his concerns. The member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) very rightly pointed out that changes occur and a variety of needs develop from time to time. I know the minister is faced with pressures based on the allocations with which he is provided in this House. On the basis of those allocations, he must make his needs fit the bill we have. That is the kind of problem he was faced with.
I do not think the process of making decisions relating to the bail project in any way diminishes the value of the project. It is just to say that sometimes there is greater value which will come from other projects and other community endeavours. To the extent that program has had to undergo a review and be modified, I know that certainly is something the minister has found very difficult to do. It was simply a case of weighing aspects that were more attractive on one side than on the other and concluding on that one side.
I am sure the minister will respond more directly in a few moments time to the issue of the bail programs. They have served well in their period of time. Sometimes in some cases, they have outlived their usefulness in certain areas. Even the studies suggested that there were uneven results, and the member made some reference to it himself. So there are new avenues to pursue, and the minister has chosen to go in that particular direction.
The member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) raised that issue as well, and both members touched on the items involving victim justice. Victim justice is certainly coming into being in a much stronger way. When we first started talking about it some four years ago, victim justice was not in any way countenanced by any organization. It was almost a surprise to hear the views of the federal government of the time, but things have changed and there are a lot of new positions which are being advanced today, to a point where even the throne speech in Ottawa made some reference to victim justice.
The federal Minister of Justice, Mr. McGuigan, made comments back in July, following some presentations I had made and following, as well, the victims task force which was, by and large, set up under the Ontario Provincial Secretary for Justice, with the Deputy Provincial Secretary for Justice in charge of it, basically accepting the recommendations and intending to bring in changes to the Criminal Code that reflected victim justice. I think particularly of the victim impact study and a few other matters that were in the request we put to the minister several years ago now.
We will see victim justice becoming much more a part of our day-to-day routine and part of our theology when it comes to justice, that victims are very important in the process and more attention must he paid to them. During the years remaining in this decade, we will find victim justice being very much at the forefront in the whole justice field.
In terms of the question raised specifically by the member for Riverdale on what the Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Canada was hinting as to what Ontario might do in the case of being faced with a Donald Marshall situation, it is fair to say that while it is under review within the Ministry of the Attorney General, there has been no conclusion drawn -- we are some distance from that -- other than to say it does fit in with the concept of victim justice. I share with the member the view that victims are --
Mr. Wildman: If you bring back the death penalty, it will be very hard to compensate anyone who has been hanged.
Hon. Mr. Walker: There is no doubt that is a very truthful observation, but victim justice will certainly take a place in our own justice system and this kind of approach fits in with it. We are anticipating some observations from the Attorney General.
In terms of the Young Offenders Act, there is no dispute between ministers per se. I am the principal negotiator on the question of the Young Offenders Act. Until I have concluded the negotiations on behalf of this province with the federal government, it is impossible for the cabinet to arrive at a conclusion as to whether or not it better fits within the Ministry of Community and Social Services or within the Ministry of Correctional Services.
There is the issue of funding. In some cases, funding is welfare-related and, therefore, related to the Canada assistance plan and that has a substantial bearing on it. It depends on how the funding issue is sorted out. Mr. Kaplan, the Solicitor General of Canada, took the whole issue of funding to cabinet yesterday. To the extent that is ultimately played out and to the extent we ultimately agree, that will have a substantial bearing on what my recommendations will be to cabinet on the matter of the funding issue. From the funding issue will flow the decision on where it will fit best within government, whether it fits within Community and Social Services or Correctional Services.
I expect that to happen very quickly. We intend to be in Ottawa towards the end of January for the final negotiation period. Given that the Young Offenders Act will be proclaimed on April 1, 1984, in so far as the 12-to-15 year-olds are concerned, and in so far as it will be proclaimed a year later for the whole issue of the 16- and 17 year-olds, one can rest assured that it is important to us to have that decision, to have the agreement as quickly as possible. I can assure the members that will happen.
I would like to take into account the observations of the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) and thank him for his views.
Resolution concurred in.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY, MINISTRY OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, on this matter, I will not take much of the time of the House other than to ask the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor) to bring us up to date with respect to the incident in Fergus last June that I had raised with both him and the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry). The members may recall that the Attorney General commented, during the concurrence for his estimates yesterday, that the matter continues to be under review with respect to the involvement and activity of the crown attorneys in that county. I am content with that point in that the sorting out as to whether they were particularly involved or not is something we shall hear about in due course.
As I understand it, we have now had some further information from the police commission to the Solicitor General. I would appreciate it if in his response today he can advise us as to what has happened since the matter was brought before the Legislature by me on November 22.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, the question of the Solicitor General of Canada has come up in connection with the problems relating to the Young Offenders Act. I am delighted that there has been some minor form of divine retribution by way of a Metropolitan Toronto Police officer who stopped the Solicitor General in his tracks the other night. There are a couple of questions I would like to ask. I am not asking that it be a public matter but, in view of the nature of the press report, I ask the minister whether he himself would investigate the circumstances of the stopping of the Solicitor General.
The press report indicated he fumbled somewhat for his driver's licence. He did not produce it but produced some document showing who he was and his status as the Solicitor General of Canada. I have no criticism of that. Whenever the police stop me, I have trouble finding my driver's licence as well. Seriously, I ask the Solicitor General to try to find out whether the proper process was followed. I believe from the press reports it probably was, but they were so interlarded with comment that I think it deserves the minister's attention.
I do not know what the Solicitor General is doing with the Police Act. He has been talking about it for ever, that it is in some kind of process. We desperately need a new Police Act. It is inhibiting any process of reform and regularizing of police practices and bringing them up to date in all respects, particularly with respect to the obligations of the police to citizens under the charter.
Early in the next session, I think the minister should either table a draft of that Police Act or make available to the public whatever he has about the Police Act for some form of public comment. If he does not have anything, he should say so. If he has something, he should not think for one single moment that an act of such immense importance to the province can be tabled in this House as a fait accompli, having gone through some long gestation process.
My guess is that the minister has a draft. I am asking that it be made available in the early days of the next session at the latest for public comment, public review and public statement of concern. We have come a long way from the time when the Police Act, as we know it now in Ontario and the lack of regulations under it, is adequate to meet the need with respect to police forces throughout Ontario. Only public exposure will indicate that the framework of the law behind the police is modern, up to date and adapted to the needs of the community. That matter is one I feel strongly about.
When the Police Act comes in, I want to give the minister notice I will be moving an amendment, if I am still here at that time, to outlaw the use of the polygraph by the police in the same way we did under the Employment Standards Act a few days ago after considerable debate in this assembly.
I draw to members' attention that by accident last night, when I arrived home and flicked on the television set about midnight, I heard a first-class trialogue on the Nightline program of the American Broadcasting Corp. on the question of polygraphs. In the United States, Congress ordered a study on the state of the art. All the mythology is around, among those who support the polygraph, the false proposition that people should be entitled to prove their integrity by taking a polygraph test. That distortion of the English language and the justice system is abhorrent to me.
I would appreciate it if the minister would do whatever is necessary so that when the bill does come in and I have an opportunity of moving that amendment, his people will be as informed as possible on both sides of the question so that there will no difficulty on his part in accepting my amendment.
The third item I want to deal with is the question of the peace activists who were subject to search warrants in the Litton Industries matter. As far as I am aware, the only arrests that have been made in that matter are of five persons who were arrested in British Columbia on January 20, 1983. The bombing took place on October 14, 1982. During the month of December, in the early weeks of December, there were police raids in Toronto and Peterborough on the homes and offices of organizations actively devoted to the peace movement. In January, arrests took place in British Columbia.
Remarks were then made, which turned out to be incorrect, that other arrests were going to be made in Ontario within a very few hours of the arrests in British Columbia. Fortunately that was corrected in the press. Then in April, when as I understand it the preliminary hearings took place or there were court appearances in British Columbia, there were other discussions and such comments in the headlines by the police as "We are in no hurry in Ontario" and "We will he having discussions with the crown about these matters."
I want to know whether, as I specifically asked in this assembly on or about January 22 -- I cannot remember the exact date but it was the earliest possible date available to me after the arrests in British Columbia -- there was any evidentiary connection between the persons who had been subject to the raids by the police in Ontario and the arrests made in British Columbia. I have never had a satisfactory answer to that.
The people who were subjected to those police raids, who belong to the peace movement and who are activists in the movement, are entitled to have it clearly stated at this point, 14 months later, one way or another whether the police investigation has concluded, whether the police were on a legitimate police operation or were engaged in a fishing operation, whether there is continuing surveillance of those persons and whether in a clear-cut way something can he done to remove the cloud that was cast over those persons by those raids. The minister is well familiar with it. I outlined it at some length in the House when the occasion afforded itself, I believe some time in February of last year. The dates and particulars are all available.
I think it has to be clearly understood that if there are charges to be laid and arrests to be made, the obligation on the police now is to deal with that matter and not to wait in the hope that somehow or other they will then uncover evidence. If they do not have any evidence by this time, those persons are entitled to be so informed. They are also entitled to be so informed from the point of view of the effect those raids had on the legitimate peace movement in Canada.
I know it is difficult for members of the Conservative Party, with very odd exceptions, to understand that persons committed to the cause of peace are not doing something wrong. I know it is difficult to understand that belief in the fact that nuclear destruction is not the end of man is not a position which can be derided. I think the ministry and the government have to understand that if a person stands up and says he is against the testing of the cruise missile on Canadian territory, he is not thereby somehow or other breaking the law of the land or has not thereby become some form of subversive or traitorous person.
What has been bothering me from the moment this question came up was the incapacity of the authorities to understand that there is a legitimate peace movement that is entitled to the greatest and utmost respect. If, in the course of the operations of the police, it was necessary to carry out those searches because of the seriousness of the offence that took place at Litton, it is equally incumbent 14 months after the date -- as I have waited and waited for some statement to be made that while it was within the legitimate police process to have carried out what they did carry out, and I can understand that the police might well think that, those persons are entitled to be cleared of any cloud of suspicion.
If they are not entitled to be cleared, then it is up to the police to proceed now. But it is absolutely essential that persons who are law abiding, against whom there is no traditional background of antisocial activity and who are engaged in a legitimate protest movement in Canada as members of a nonviolent activist society -- those persons and all those associated with the peace movement are entitled to have that cloud erased from them.
I do not know how else to put it. I hope I have communicated with the Solicitor General on the importance of the matter. In any political sense one cannot, regardless of one's personal political views, doubt the sincerity of the vast numbers of people in this country and elsewhere who are engaged in the peace movement. He may differ with them, but he is not entitled to doubt the equal sincerity of their views.
I expect a response from the Solicitor General on a matter of extreme concern.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I will be extremely brief, in keeping with the implication that we are supposed to be brief this afternoon, in simply bringing to the attention of the Solicitor General the concern that many of us have for the composition of police commissions.
He is aware that in the Niagara Peninsula at the present time the police commission will have three vacancies as of January 1, I believe. Judge Donald Scott, Mr. William Greaves and Mr. B. P. Davies will be leaving at that time, one person by choice and two by the new regulations or legislation brought in to ensure that people cannot serve beyond a certain period of time.
Once again, I implore the minister to give serious consideration to providing at the minimum for a majority of members of a police commission to be elected members. In other words, the regional council in this case would have the opportunity to appoint three out of the five members so they have a majority because they are directly responsive and responsible to the needs of the people who elect them in a democratic system.
Failing to do that through legislation, as we are obviously not going to do now in these appointments, the minister would receive a lot of applause if the provincial appointees are people who are elected members of the regional council at the present time. That would certainly go a long way towards indicating his good faith and his belief in the democratic system as being the most responsive to the needs of the people in a specific area.
No doubt there are some names that have come forward to the minister but I am concerned that as of now, December 16, we do not know who the new people are. Perhaps he has chosen them and they will simply be announced later, but I think even the other two people on the commission at the present time who are elected people are concerned that the new people will take over on January 1 or shortly after that and they will not have had any experience with the police commission. They will therefore have a fair amount to learn before getting involved in the job.
A second way, since we look at the reality of things as they are as opposed to the legislation, is to consult with a number of people in the community -- heaven forbid, even the opposition members -- over those who might well be reasonable people to serve on a police commission. Perhaps it is going a little too far for the minister to ask that those of us who were elected in the last election might have some input into the process, even if it were notification of the appointments to determine whether there is a large objection to the specific person to be appointed.
Other ways might include getting suggestions from people in the community, from local councils and others who might be able to provide the minister with information about those who can best serve.
As the minister knows, the major complaint in an economic sense against police commissions in Ontario has been the fact that regional councils and others providing the funds for policing are in a position of simply having to provide the funds when the commission asks for them. I well recall that a couple of years ago, a 22 per cent increase was proposed by the police commission for police services in the Niagara region, and all of this while the chairman of the region was telling other departments in the region they must keep their increases down to seven per cent or five per cent or whatever it was in that year. I think a lot of those senior civil servants felt they would have liked a 22 per cent increase if they could get it.
I am simply asking that the minister make the police commission a more democratic body by appointing to it democratically elected people. I hope he does that through legislation and I would urge him in his appointments to take a unique step, perhaps a first step in appointing elected people, people already elected at the local level, to the police commission to serve in what I feel would be a very good capacity. I leave that with the minister in the interest of brevity today.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have two or three small things I want to raise. I will raise them quickly and I will be brief, unlike the others who said they would be brief and have not been.
If I could have his attention, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) indicated in his earlier comments that he had lobbied the Solicitor General with regard to mandatory inquests in cases of industrial accidents and fatalities in the work place.
As the minister will know, it is required that inquests be held in mining deaths and construction deaths. However, since January 1983 there have been 201 inquest decisions in total, of which 53 of these inquests have been into work place deaths in all three sectors: mining, construction and industrial.
Of the three sectors, inquests are mandatory for construction and mining deaths, as I have said. The largest number of deaths is in the industrial sector. For that reason, although my leader does not want me to proceed, I will proceed. I think it is important the minister respond to the request of his colleague the Minister of Labour and change the act to require there be inquests into industrial deaths as well as construction and mining deaths. As the minister probably would agree, many of the recommendations made by coroners' juries could be very useful in suggesting ways to avoid further deaths.
The other thing I wanted to mention is the question of the Indian policing agreement. I would like to know what the status of that is and also of ensuring that Indian band constables have pension benefits, which I understand they are paying towards.
I would also like to know what progress, if any, the minister has made in bringing about a legal definition of fire teams and firefighters in the unorganized communities of northern Ontario. In his letter to me he agreed that these individuals who volunteer to protect our communities against fire do not now have any legal status with regard to being firefighters.
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I will try to be as brief as possible with the answers. I know the leader of the third party wants to get home to see his wife. I think we all want to do that -- not his wife, but our own wives and children. I received his Christmas card. He has a fine, lovely family on the Christmas card.
I will come back to the point because I know our House leaders will be reading this and wondering why, after instructions to keep it brief, we did not keep it brief. However, the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) talked about the Fergus matter. I have the report from the Fergus police. It was a lengthy report with considerable --
Mr. Breithaupt: From the Fergus police or the police commission?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: From the police commission of Fergus regarding the Fergus police incident. It is a thick document of background material. I have it now and my deputy minister is reviewing the material to see what direction or what action we will take on it. I have quickly perused it. It gave me sufficient concern that I put it into his hands to look at the legal processes that might be available to us, what procedures we might use or what actions we might take.
The member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) wanted me to intervene in something divine that happened to my federal counterpart. Solicitors General seem to be having a problem in our country these days. I hope nothing befalls me. As reported in my brief information on it, I believe the officer acted on the material he received and on the evidence which was before him. He used his discretion in laying those charges or proceeding in the manner the evidence indicated. However, I might inquire further for a little more detail for the member. I noticed the officer is an experienced officer and has received citations for his work in the past.
Regarding the Police Act, I will have it ready for some type of introduction in the spring, be it for first reading, for perusal or for comment. If it is not for first reading, I will definitely have a paper which can be reviewed as a document. However, like the member, I hope the staff will have it ready for me and the committee which is reviewing it so I can introduce it for first reading.
The peace activist one in general broad character is Litton Systems Canada Ltd. I will have to obtain further information on that. I do not have an answer for the honourable member at this time. I am sure the member has a feeling for the peace movement, as we all do in this Legislature in some form or other. Naturally, I hope to have the information which is available and on which I can comment, so he can be assured that the activities of the police were conducted in accordance with the law of all of the jurisdictions. I will get what information is available and report it in letter form to the honourable member.
The member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) referred to the police commission. I am aware of the vacancies. The legislation went through this Legislature in a form that will increase the number of municipal participants in the new year. I hope to have that in place by February 29 so an elected representative or someone of the municipality's choosing can be on that particular commission.
I have received correspondence from the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman). In the mandatory inquest situation, in each accident, a coroner does have what --
Mr. Wildman: I do not want them to have the discretion. I want it changed so they do not have the discretion in industrial working places.
Hon. G. W. Taylor: I recognize what the member wants. I can assure the member the coroner does perform an investigation. He then has to exercise his discretion on the facts that are before him, as the member has suggested, to warrant whether a further investigation should be carried out by way of an inquest.
There are numerous statistics on the matter which I will not go through now. They come out in our annual report. Along with my colleague, I shall take the member's comments into consideration and perhaps we could see our way clear to changing that particular feature. They are there now in certain industrial situations. I cannot really find fault or any hindrance to proceeding further with it. I will discuss that with my colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) to see if it could be transferred to a greater portion of the work place. It would give the workers the security of knowing any recommendations coming out of an inquest could provide for a safer work place.
With regard to the fire teams definition, we are working on the firefighters act now; along with the Police Act, it is just about ready for introduction. I will take the definition of fire teams into consideration when I am reviewing the final draft.
The Indian police agreement has finally got around to some definition. There are some outstanding matters in that among the federal government, the provincial government and the Indian bodies that are the third party to that agreement. That has been resolved now and the cost sharing is now being worked out among the federal minister responsible, our Provincial Secretariat for Justice and my own ministry as to the final details of that agreement.
When that is completed, we will bring it in also in regard to consideration of pensions. I know he has raised a point which I think is a fine point as to whether they are caught within our two government restraint plans. There is a complication there that I do not think was foreseen when we were putting the agreement together. It was not one which was specifically raised at my discussion level on it. The member has brought that to my attention in correspondence and I hope when we are doing the final details on it that will be considered.
Those are my brief comments to the items that have been brought up by the members in this concurrence of supply.
Resolution concurred in.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY, MINISTRY OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, first, if I can just get a response from the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Leluk), he was in the House when the matter of the bail program was raised by me and by the member for Riverdale with the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker). I am particularly anxious to know the reasons and the background for this event which comes upon us, as the member for Riverdale said, just 24 hours and a little bit more since his comments that consideration and consultation would occur.
I look forward to hearing the comments he has to make on this theme with the hope that reconsideration will occur and this valuable program will be continued. I particularly look forward to having made public the report by Sheri Lee Davis, to which I referred, as to the usefulness and practicality of this program which, as far as I was informed, was shown in the conclusions that were reached, albeit in two examples, I understand, there were some further recommendations or some greater changes that were to be considered in Sudbury and in Ottawa.
I am most interested in this from the comments I have made, particularly as we look to the whole theory upon which this program is based and also as we look to the statement of the provincial secretary this morning, to which I referred, which called us all to consider the victim and those charged and convicted of perpetrating a variety of offences. The bail program is a most useful aspect of the administration of justice within the province, and I look forward to the Minister of Correctional Services' views and explanations on this matter.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I have three very brief items and I also want to speak about the bail program question.
I would ask specifically of the minister, now that his colleague the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) had introduced for first reading Bill 153, An Act to revise the Election Act, that the ministry would work closely with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and the government House leader on the question of providing the process by which persons held within institutions under the minister's jurisdiction on election day would have the opportunity to participate by voting in provincial elections.
I raised this matter in the estimates and the solicitor in the ministry responded about the consideration that was being given to the matter. I think it is absolutely essential that when An Act to revise the Election Act is passed, there should be very clear and specific provision allowing persons within institutions to cast their vote. I do so not only because that is something I believe should take place, but also because under the political rights guaranteed in the charter, I think we should be in advance of anyone in making such a provision.
On another matter, while I do not believe we can have an overall hearing about the needs and necessities for the new Metro detention centre that was going to be built, I really urge the minister, as quietly and as persuasively as I can, to provide some method for public hearings or public discussion in some way not only about the need for such an institution to establish whether that need is there, but also on the question of the location of the institution.
In my view, that is a most important opening up of the ministry to some sense of public participation and discussion about major questions. We would all learn a great deal from it. There are people in the community, both as individuals and groups, that would be very much interested in participating in a positive and constructive way on the question of the need for extra facilities in the Metropolitan Toronto area. It may well provide a model for the ministry should occasion require it elsewhere.
I do not believe for one moment they need to be extended discussions. I do, however, believe it would be important for the ministry to sponsor such a process, whatever the process may be, and for the minister to make available the reports, internal studies and other documents which led him to the conclusion he needed such a facility.
I need not pursue at this time my concerns about the jurisdictional questions and the final decisions about which is to be the lead ministry, or how the arrangements are to be worked out in connection with the Young Offenders Act. I have spoken on the concurrence in supply for the Attorney General yesterday and on the concurrence in supply for the Provincial Secretary for Justice earlier today. I believe the minister was in the House on both occasions.
I do not need to repeat my remarks, other than to say I think it is absolutely essential that the prime starting point in whatever decision is finally made is to provide the sentencing judge in the youth court with the widest possible range of choice and options about care, treatment, punishment, all of the aspects of sentencing, so the most appropriate sentence, care and treatment can be provided to the person who has been convicted and stands before the judge for sentencing.
We had a considerable discussion in the estimates about that matter. I think it is essential an early decision be made. As soon as it is made, I hope it will be made fully and publicly with a complete explanation.
I raised the question of the bail program yesterday in the concurrence for the Ministry of the Attorney General. My colleague the member for Kitchener and I have spoken about it this morning and I believe my colleague the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) also wishes to speak about it. What I want to draw to the attention of the minister as briefly as I can is that I am concerned about whether the problems in the Toronto York Bail Program which led to the dismissal of Ruth Morris as the director of that program were the precipitating cause which led to the decision to cancel all the contracts without any public statement.
I will refrain further because I would not consider for a moment that the minister was simply waiting for this session to be over before he made an announcement about that matter. I know some people might think that, but I would not. Therefore, along with my colleagues, I ask the minister, while there is still time to reconsider the decision, to cancel those contracts.
They are contracts which provide a service at a community level by people interested in the community matter, which I think is of great value and cannot necessarily be expressed only in dollars. I do not know of any alternative process which would be anywhere near as acceptable as the process that has been developed under the bail program.
I know the matters have been monitored by the ministry, as quite properly and appropriately those 12 contracts should be, but I had no idea the minister was moving so quickly to a decision to terminate them at the time the questions were raised in his estimates as late as October 26 and 27 of this year; certainly as of yesterday the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) said that to his knowledge no decision had been made. Yet, as the director of the minister's branch had said, there was a judicial content to this matter and they could not possibly be cancelled without consultation with the Ministry of the Attorney General.
I do not know what the situation is; I have no idea of it. But I want to have, along with my colleague, the evaluation study that was part of the process of making the decision. I want to know whether in the case of the Toronto/York Bail Program there were some objectives of that association that did not meet with the approval of the ministry. I want to know why it was decided that these programs should be cancelled when they benefit some 1,000 persons across the province, of whom, in rough figures, 500 are in Metropolitan Toronto.
It does seem to me, and I am no mathematician, that the overall cost of providing this essential service both to the courts and to the individuals concerned is negligible and that the community participation factor is of immense importance.
I particularly draw to the attention of the minister his response to me in the estimates, which seemed to me to be clear and unequivocal, although I had a little difficulty getting an answer to my question. It is on page J-306 in the estimates of the ministry. My question, after an interchange that I will not need to read into the record, is very brief.
"Mr. Renwick: Was there any reason for dissatisfaction on your part with the performance of the bail program?" That is in connection with the Toronto/York Bail Program.
"Hon. Mr. Leluk: No."
There was some further discussion, and Mr. Evans, the executive director of the community programs division said:
"Mr. Evans: There is a considerable amount of thinking about and review of the whole relationship of bail to the Ministry of Correctional Services ... As you are well aware, the business of bail is really a judicial function and certainly would be something we would have to take up with the ministry responsible for that in the situations that are involved."
Then as a result of those matters I repeated them again yesterday to the Attorney General, and I have already quoted his remarks. The minister has heard what my colleague the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) has said. I await with interest what my colleague the member for Kitchener-Wilmot will have to say on this matter.
I am disturbed that in the dying days of the assembly, when by accident the concurrences of the Ministry of Correctional Services are before us -- it is in some sense accidental that the matter came up at this late point -- I had no indication that the minister had intended to make any public statement. I think it would have been wise, that decision having been made, for a public statement to have been made setting out the reasons for that decision, setting out all of the process by which the decision was raised and, more important than anything, indicating very clearly whether there was full and complete consultation with those persons who have provided the service through those 12 contracts on a fee-for-service basis over the last three years in the province, and also the fundamental question of who is going to provide the substitute verification services for the courts on bail applications and the question about those persons whose circumstances do not permit them to provide surety but who, through the facility of the bail program, were able to be out on bail with all of the advantages that this has with respect both to their trial and to the justification for it.
I find it extremely difficult to understand that the minister would be considering the need for an extra centre when we are talking about 400 or 500 people who, but for the bail program, would not be out on bail.
In my last comments in this session of the assembly I can do nothing else than to beg the minister to reconsider this decision as being one that I think is ill advised and that should be reconsidered because, as I understand it, under the contracts he has until the end of January before he has to give something called formal notice of his intention not to review the 12 contracts. I ask his earnest consideration of that request.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I had an opportunity this morning to confer with the Minister of Correctional Services on the accuracy of the story that is in the Globe and Mail today about the bail program being cut. The minister assured me it was an accurate statement and that we would have an opportunity at the concurrences this afternoon to discuss the rationale for it. That is the main reason I rise even at this late time. I will not take very much time.
The minister is well aware of the fact that I come from a community where alternatives in the justice system have set many precedents and have been very successful. Not only do we have a bail program called Youth in Conflict with the Law, but we also have the first community resource centre in Ontario, called Kitchener House; we also have a neighbourhood reconciliation program and a victim-offender program. It is for these reasons that the people of my community are very sensitive to these kinds of alternatives and to the positive advantages of them.
I noticed in the story in today's Globe that the justification for this decision specifically hinges on this one paragraph: "Jails are still crowded and the programs haven't been proved conclusively to cut down on the number of remand prisoners ... Mr. Evans said."
I had an opportunity to talk to the people who run the program in my community and I was advised that in September, 13 young people were put under bail supervision; in October, 22; in November, 12. That is 47 young men and women who are out of jail who would otherwise have been in jail. These specifically are people who would not have been out were it not for this program; that is the best information I have been able to get. I would remind the minister that having 47 young people under bail supervision certainly is preferable to having those 47 young people in jail at a much higher cost. The minister is much more aware than I am of the cost per day of keeping people in jail.
That is one point the minister must take into consideration. There may very well be some areas where this program is not meeting the expectations of his ministry. So be it. If his review and his consultation discover that, then changes obviously are required. But in communities such as mine where it is working, we do not believe it should come under this kind of blanket indictment; and in other communities where it is working, it should not come under this blanket indictment.
Second, I had an opportunity to get some feedback from the John Howard Society in my community. They bring to my attention several other advantages of this program not directly connected with the cost factor but certainly connected with the success of the justice system in our community and in this province. First of all, they point out to me that the people who are out on this bail supervision program are shown time after time to have better prepared their defence when they go back into court. We want that to happen and here is an example of where it does happen.
We also discovered that the young people who come back into court come back with a better appearance, and judges have told us over and over again that this is a factor they take into consideration in making their sentence or in whether there is a conviction or an acquittal. We want that to happen.
Third, we know that those who stay in jail as opposed to those who are out on bail have a higher rate of convictions. I appreciate there are lots of reasons for that, but there is a direct correlation and it is something we must take into consideration.
Finally, while these people are out on bail supervision they can look after their own families, they can meet several community responsibilities and they can maintain their jobs. All of these are positive social and economic benefits as well as justice benefits.
All I am trying to point out to the minister is that we do not believe from the experience in our community that there has been sufficient consultation with the people running these programs, we do not believe he has all the facts that should be taken into consideration and we do believe that some programs are obviously working better than others. Before this decision is made he should take into consideration the cost factor, but I think we can demonstrate that the cost factor can be positive as well as negative. He should also take into consideration those other factors, which are equally important, and then make his decisions in consultation with the people involved in the program and in consideration of these kinds of facts.
I can assure the minister that the people in my community, both the ones running the program and the judges, the police, the private citizens and the people in various levels of government, would be quite prepared to point out the success we have experienced in this program and in the other ones I mentioned earlier. I would urge the minister on this possible last day of our sitting to reconsider that blanket decision.
Hon. Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the member for Kitchener-Wilmot, the member for Kitchener and the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick). I want to thank them for their concerns regarding the matters they have raised and I want to tell them that I share these concerns.
The member for Kitchener-Wilmot talked about programs in the community, alternatives to incarceration. This minister is totally supportive of our community programs. We have continually looked for new, innovative community programs that will be alternatives to incarceration. However, we must keep the public safety factor uppermost in our minds, the fact that the public has a right to be protected from dangerous and violent criminals.
Perhaps I should emphasize this point for the member for Kitchener-Wilmot. He may not be aware that on any given day in this province we have 6,000 people incarcerated in our 51 institutions across the province and an additional 36,000 people in the community who are on probation or on parole. That is a ratio of six persons to one who have committed offences who are in a community setting rather than the institutions in this province. So this minister is a firm supporter of our community programs, which have been in place since 1978, and I continue to encourage new and innovative programs in this area to provide an alternative to incarceration.
In relation to the bail verification and supervision program, this was not an easy decision for me to make as minister. I want to point out to the member for Riverdale, for example, that the advantage of sitting on the opposition benches is that from time to time we are criticized, and this minister has been criticized along with his staff, for not taking any kind of initiatives with respect to the problem of overcrowding in our institutions. Yet when a program that is not serving its purpose is scrapped by the minister he is also criticized for taking it away. I am criticized even though it may not have been doing the job it was intended to do. It is a case of one being damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.
This ministry in 1979 first began offering bail verification and supervision services throughout the province at four locations. These were in St. Catharines, Hamilton, Kitchener and Toronto. The intent of the program was to reduce institutional overcrowding. This was to be accomplished by reducing our remand admissions and remand days' stay by providing bail supervision for those accused who were unable to provide surety or cash bail.
The funding for the pilot project I mentioned came from the Solicitor General of Canada's consultation centre and the work-load fund of the probation and parole branch of my ministry. Following the initial pilot year in 1979-80, the ministry assumed total responsibility for the projects and their funding since there were no other sponsors forthcoming.
As I stated earlier, the bail projects were originally designed to reduce institutional counts. To date we have conducted some detailed systematic review. Also, as was mentioned, a report was put together by Miss Sheri Lee Davis, after discussions with all the administrators involved in the 12 projects across the province.
Mr. Breithaupt: But they have not seen the report.
Hon. Mr. Leluk: Our staff has seen the report. This matter has been under systematic review for some time. This decision was not made in isolation or overnight by this minister. I had some difficulties in making the decision that was reached.
Mr. Renwick: At one o'clock yesterday the Attorney General said that to his knowledge no decision had been made. It is on record. Those are his exact words.
Hon. Mr. Leluk: The Attorney General does not happen to be the minister who makes the decision with respect to this program. This is a program that is directly under the Ministry of Correctional Services.
Mr. Renwick: I do not understand that. It happens to deal with the administration of justice --
The Deputy Speaker: Order. The Minister of Correctional Services will continue.
Hon. Mr. Leluk: As I stated earlier, to date we have not been able to determine whether these programs have had any significant impact on the institutional population. The members opposite know very well that the institutional counts have been rising since this program was put into effect back in 1979.
Mr. Renwick: The director said in the estimates that the figures were on the decline.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Leluk: I think it is generally recognized that the bail projects have met an unfulfilled need of the provincial justice system. I do not deny that. However, there has been a lack of evidence to indicate success with regard to our correctional needs; that is, the specific needs with respect to the reduction of our institutional counts, coupled with the severe provincial resource limitations. This matter did go before the cabinet committee on justice and that committee unanimously endorsed the termination of this program.
Ms. Copps: So the Attorney General does not know about it? I guess he was away that day.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Leluk: The decision was endorsed by that committee.
Mr. Renwick: Is the Attorney General a member of that committee?
Hon. Mr. Leluk: Yes, he happens to be a member. However, he may not have been at the meeting when this matter was discussed. I cannot answer for the Attorney General.
Mr. Lupusella: He is your friend, with the greatest of respect.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. The minister will just continue with his remarks and ignore the interjections.
Hon. Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, am I going to have an opportunity to respond to the questions, or do you want me to sit down?
Mr. Renwick: No, sorry. I want you to respond.
Hon. Mr. Leluk: Not only was the decision to terminate this program endorsed unanimously, but the money expended therein, and the figure is somewhere in the neighbourhood of $812,000, will be reallocated to the growing demands of the probation and parole services branch.
I believe the member for Riverdale indicated in his remarks that there was concern the funding was going to disappear, and I want to reassure him and the other members opposite that this is not the case. These funds will be placed in other community programs, including drug and alcohol education and treatment programs. They will be placed in services to clients with special needs, such as the handicapped, natives and women, as well as life skills and employment programs, mental health services and, in large measure, to expand our community service orders program.
So those moneys are going to remain in the community programs division, and I am sure that in many of those areas where the bail program is currently in effect we will see some of those moneys placed in some of these other areas.
The member for Kitchener spoke about a Mr. Andrew Telegdi, whom I happen to know and for whom I happen to have a very high regard. The fact that this program is being cancelled has absolutely nothing to do with the personalities of individuals or with dissatisfaction by this minister with the services that have been provided.
Mr. Breithaupt: He should not have had to read about it in the paper.
Hon. Mr. Leluk: Let me answer that question too. I think the member for Kitchener raises a very valid point and I share his feelings in that regard. We had every intention of notifying those administrators of the 12 projects in writing, which is the way it should have been done. However, the media, as the member knows, have a way of obtaining information in advance, and it is unfortunate, as he has said, that these people had to read about it in the media.
I can tell the members we have letters in the mail notifying the directors, and they should receive those early next week. As a result of the news story this morning they were notified this afternoon and earlier this morning verbally by telephone.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY
Resolutions for supply for the following ministries were concurred in by the House:
Ministry of Correctional Services;
Ministry of Agriculture and Food;
Ministry of the Environment;
Provincial Secretariat for Resources Development;
Ministry of Tourism and Recreation;
Ministry of Energy;
Ministry of Natural Resources;
Ministry of Natural Resources, supplementary;
Ministry of Health;
Ministry of Health, supplementary.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY, MINISTRY OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS AND HOUSING
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, I have a speech I would like to make, which I have been saving up all year: 45 or 50 minutes on the benefits of electing your own regional chairman in your own community where you live. In fact, I have my notes prepared right here.
I would like the minister to reflect very seriously on the concern that exists within our community in Hamilton-Wentworth about the necessity of having region-wide elections. I still do not know what the aversion of this ministry or of the minister would be to such an incredibly democratic process whereby we would elect our own chairman, but I hope that in the new year the minister will have a point of view radically different from that he has had heretofore and that he will contemplate Hamilton-Wentworth on the basis of an experiment alone.
It is something that I think is worthy of consideration. The people in our area have been very clear, I think, in their requests for it, and we have the support, of course, of five of the six area members.
Resolution concurred in.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY (CONTINUED)
Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations;
Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, supplementary;
Ministry of Industry and Trade;
Ministry of Industry and Trade, supplementary;
Office of the Provincial Auditor.
BUDGET DEBATE (CONCLUDED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. Rae: Just call me the three per cent solution, Mr. Speaker.
I am speaking on the subamendment --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The 2.99 per cent solution.
Mr. Rae: Don't get me going, now.
I am speaking on the subamendment that was moved by my colleague the member for Windsor- Riverside (Mr. Cooke) at the time he was the Treasury critic for our party:
"Continuing the government's slavish adherence to the economic directions established by the Liberal government, policies which have resulted in the unemployment of hundreds of thousands of Ontarians;
"Ignoring the overwhelming evidence of the budget's own figures that the private sector in general and private sector investment in particular are not leading us to economic recovery, yet cutting back on vital public investment in environmental protection, housing, health, social services, agriculture and the north;
"Failing to introduce a major program to assist the construction of co-operative and nonprofit housing to create jobs and meet pressing needs for shelter;
"Failing to respond to the unacceptable levels of unemployment among young people and women with concrete proposals to create permanent jobs and comprehensive skills training programs;
"Failing to respond to the needs of older workers laid off or threatened by technological change by the establishment of a workers' training fund, improved layoff and severance pay legislation and pension reform;
"Increasing once again regressive OHIP premiums instead of shifting this unfair tax burden to an equitable tax source;
"Failing to reform the funding of health care in Ontario by banning extra billing and user fees;
"Abdicating completely its responsibility for the economic wellbeing of Ontario's people through its failure to introduce any long-term investment proposals to plan for our future."
Mr. Speaker, how well those words read today. It is almost prescient that they are still just as relevant today as they were when they were moved some time ago upon the introduction of the Treasurer's budget.
I want to take this opportunity, if you will permit me, Mr. Speaker, not simply to respond to the budget that was moved last spring by the then Treasurer, now the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. F. S. Miller), but also to look at the reporting update that was made available by the new Treasurer (Mr. Grossman), the master of tinsel and packaging, the public relations expert of the Conservative Party, who did such service, I think, as Minister of Health in trying to convince people that things were being done when they were not being done and who, as the Minister of Industry and Tourism, was the person responsible for the technology centres in the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program.
But then we saw the report that was made by his successor in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, now the Provincial Secretary for Justice, the member for London South (Mr. Walker). There was a rather plaintive note when the member for London South was found by an industrious reporter to have allocated certain contracts without tender. The member was confronted with this fact and was asked, "Why did you do this without tender?" He said in effect: "You know, I was made responsible for Industry and Trade. When I got there the desk was bare, and I had this program to introduce, the program for the tech centres. I found that although an announcement had been made with respect to the establishment of these tech centres, there was no budget, there was no program and there were no people to put it into effect."
That is the Grossman solution par excellence: no program, no budget, no personnel. It was the same in the Ministry of Health and it is the same today in the Treasury.
I want to take just one concrete, specific example of what I am talking about. It is on page 40 of this packaged blue document, which was presented with such fanfare. I do not know why everything is done in blue and white; there must be some symmetry involved, I guess; I do not know. Anyway, the only difference is that their colleagues in Ottawa, their bosom buddies in Ottawa, would do it in red and white; otherwise it is exactly the same kind of pap that has been distributed to the Canadian people for so long. The Treasurer's signature is there saying: "This statement outlines the issues that the government will have to deal with in the 1984 Ontario budget. Suggestions from all citizens of our province are welcome."
What a measure of humility. If only others had demonstrated a similar humility today.
Quite apart from all the pap and bumph about the minister not being prepared to tell us what the unemployment situation really is and what he will be doing about jobs for younger people and older workers, I want to read just one thing. It is on page 40 and concerns the steel industry. I only wish the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay), the member for Sault Ste. Marie, were here to listen to this account of what is happening in Ontario's steel industry.
The Treasurer says: "Capacity utilization in the steel industry is almost 20 per cent above the average capacity utilization rate for 1982 as the result of an increase in overall demand for steel. Over the past 12 months, there have been improvements in employment levels at mills producing steel used for the production of consumer goods.
"In the first eight months of this year, demand for various hot and cold rolled products improved by as much as 30 per cent over the comparable period a year ago. However, demand for some other products such as plate and large-diameter pipe is still depressed. Canadian steel consumption is expected to recover by 11.2 per cent to 9.4 million tons in 1983 and to 10.7 million tons in 1984. Compared to most international producers, the outlook for Ontario steel producers is positive."
There is nothing in that statement that is not true, but there is so much in that statement that is not said. That is what is wrong with this kind of approach taken by the government.
Let us have a look at the reality of those towns that depend on steel, and depend on buoyancy in steel markets for their wellbeing. Sault Ste. Marie is one town that is in a major depression at the present time. It is a town that has been isolated for many years by virtue of the fact that its major employer, Algoma Steel, was able to ride out successfully many other recessions.
In fact I can remember very distinctly being there in 1981 and speaking at a number of public meetings. I warned of some of the things that were happening to the steel industry in the United States and in Hamilton. Yet there was a certain sense in the Sault of, "We are doing all right; we have just hired on new people, and we have just placed some new orders." The word coming from the company was all optimism and was all positive.
But about a year and a half ago, the market suddenly changed. Instead of having high employment and very high participation rates in the economy, the Sault suddenly found itself facing the reality, for the first time in nearly 50 years, that a great many of its people were not able to find jobs. A great many people were forced to go on unemployment insurance first of all, and then literally hundreds and thousands more were forced to go on welfare.
Any account of the steel industry in this province should mention that in comparison with the way things were in 1980 and 1981 in major communities dependent upon steel, one of them, Sault Ste. Marie, today lives in the throes of a continued depression. It should note the company says employment levels are never going to return to what they were prior to the recession.
The same statement has been made by Stelco and the same thing is true of Dofasco. Instead of facing up to that fact and having the courage, guts and good sense to put that down on a piece of paper, what we have from the Treasurer here is all things packaged as if everything were going to be fine, everything were just hunky-dory and there were no real problems. Compared to most international producers, the outlook for Ontario steel producers is positive."
What does that tell us about the state of the steel industry in Sault Ste. Marie? It does not tell us a thing. It does not allow any citizen who wants to make an input to have a real impact on this government. The government is so determined to present the world in a kind of Pollyanna light that it fails to come to grips with some of the major human consequences of this major recession which our economy has been suffering for such a long time.
I come from a tradition of political thinking and political feeling in this province that is fundamentally optimistic. It is optimistic because it is based on the view that people can effect change. It is based on the premise that people can create institutions that can improve their lives and that government has a creative and innovative role to play in improving the overall economic framework and the economic environment.
It comes from a tradition in the 1930s when the R.B. Bennetts, the Howard Fergusons and the others were saying: "There is nothing that can be done. There is a world recession. We do not know what this great Depression is. We cannot do anything." This was the Herbert Hoover view that said there were no solutions.
The social democratic tradition in this country, in the United States and in Europe said: "Governments can act, can move and can make a difference. Governments can create demand, can create fair taxes, can get involved and can help." It is a tradition that says government is not an enemy, government is a friend. Government is only an enemy when it is cold and refuses to act, refuses to do anything and refuses to be innovative and creative.
We stand in direct contradistinction to those people. I suppose they would be described as the new Conservatives, although they are preaching the gospel of the old selfishness and the private enrichment arguments we have heard so often on our side, which we identify so well with the Tory mind at work and at play. We contrast ourselves with that view in saying there are things governments can do and should do.
When I look at the empty rhetoric that came from the Treasurer and think of the contrast between that and the people I have been seeing in my riding office every week since I was elected in the west end, as I was elected previously in the east end of this great city, it is a contrast I think deserves to be spoken of in this assembly.
I can remember just a short while ago a fellow came into my office who was well into his 50s.
Mr. Nixon: Oh, that is old?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am well into my fifties.
Mr. Nixon: You will find out, Robert Rae.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Look at Brother Renwick. Now, be careful.
Mr. Rae: I appreciate this is a subject of some sensitivity for some members.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He gets free rides on the TTC and all.
Mr. Renwick: And a $50 rebate for the sales tax.
Mr. Rae: I can appreciate this is a matter of some fun for members, but it is not when I talk to people who are faced with having been unemployed for over a year and who have a record of employment that goes from company to company, having worked for smaller firms and in basically unskilled jobs for 30 or 40 years, as this man had. He is faced with no pension plan because he did not work for any one employer long enough to get vesting and the one employer he worked for for over 10 years had no pension plan.
When this government talks about reforming the private pension system, it is worth pointing out that one out of every two workers in this province is not covered by a private pension plan today. Let us remember that fact when the government says it is going to be reforming private pension plans. Let us remember the millions of workers in the province who are not covered by those plans and are not going to be protected by any kind of so-called reform the government might want to carry out.
I do not mind saying it is very hard to listen with any degree of sympathy, and I found it difficult to listen yesterday, having read what the Treasurer was going to say, to the kind of benign bromides that came from his mouth about the job situation in the province. It is not just a question of young people, though the fact that there are so many young people out of work is offensive to everything all of us believe in in terms of the importance of the work ethic and the value our party places on being able to get a job and being able to keep a job, being able to bring home a paycheque and pay for those things that are so important to families.
It is also a question of older workers who have had years of seniority in a firm and who are just cast aside. In the words of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay), there are so many workers who are too young to retire and too old to retrain. This government has no plan for that group of workers. It has said nothing about that group. Our party has put forward proposals for younger people. We have put forward proposals for older people.
We have made proposals for some tax changes this winter. We have made some proposals for action on housing. We have made some proposals on action for public works and municipal capital projects. We have made proposals for supplementary benefits to unemployment insurance exhaustees. We have made proposals for income security, in which older workers over 55 would be guaranteed a company pension and in which we would create a layoff fund that would be financed by a payroll levy.
We think these proposals are practical. We think they can be paid for. We think they can be done. We put them forward for a simple reason. Our party believes, as it has historically, that we as legislators do not have to lie down in the face of this recession. It should be possible for us to create jobs and to take action on the problems we face in the community, in the nursing home sector, in the environment, in the cleanup of our Great Lakes, in the provision of clean air and clean water, in the provision of decent social services for our younger people and our older people in need of help.
Out of that need should come jobs as well. Out of that need should come a response from government. The government should not simply give out statements that say it cannot do anything because of the deficit or because of the tax situation, statements that say, "We cannot do anything, we cannot do anything, we cannot do anything."
I suppose all of us today are operating somewhat under the shadow of the by-election that took place yesterday. I do not think there is any question about it and there is no point in pretending there is not. If one considers what public opinion is supposed to be, according to the polls at the present time, the Conservative government of this province could be said to have convinced the people that it is the only alternative in an immediate political sense. But I want to respond to that.
Sometimes one is faced with polls that say the margin is 50 per cent or 48 per cent and then there is a result like the one that occurred yesterday. One says to himself, "If the people think this is good enough, why should we feel obliged to continue to present what we think are real alternatives?"
The answer is that we all go back to our constituencies. I go back to mine and talk to the people who come into my office and say to myself: "Is what the government is planning to do really going to do anything for these people?" Are we really saying there are no more houses that can be built in Ontario to accommodate those people? Can we not build any more in Ottawa, for example, where people are still sleeping out on the street or sleeping in churches?
What am I going to say to the woman who is 55 years old, who has worked in offices all her life and who suddenly finds herself unable to get a job because her typing skills are not quite what they should be? Maybe she cannot compete with all the younger women who are coming on who have computer skills and data processing skills. Am I going to say to her, "I am sorry, the government is doing all it can and there is nothing more to be done for you. You will have to wait until you are 65 before you get any kind of public support"? Is that really the position we should be taking with these people who come in to see us for help?
Then there is the young black guy who comes into my office and says he has not been able to get a job for a year and he has a strong feeling of outrage because he knows he is qualified. He knows it is because he is confronted with a world which is often antagonistic to him simply because of the colour of his skin. Am I supposed to sit back and say, "The government does not have any programs for you. I am sorry, but it is doing all it can"? Is that the message we are supposed to be giving those people?
What are we supposed to say to the 900 workers at Canada Packers who are going to be out on the street in January? What is the answer the government of Ontario is giving to those workers today? Does it say, "Do not bother us; we have the support of more than 50 per cent of the people in the Gallup poll?" I do not think that will work; I do not think that washes.
What washes and what works is the sense that all of us as politicians must have: that we can, we should and we must be doing more. Every time we see a worker out of a job, whatever age he or she may happen to be, we should be saying to ourselves, "What can I do to make sure the economy works for that person?"
I do not see unemployment clearly attacked as the number one priority in this autumn prebudget statement. There is no sense of focus on the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of Ontarians who are out of a job and that this is a disgrace in 1983-84. There was no sense of that in the document that was presented by the Minister of Industry and Trade as Treasurer seven or eight months ago.
I simply want to say to the Premier (Mr. Davis), whom I am delighted to see here -- it is so rarely that we get a chance to have these exchanges in the Legislature these days -- that it is because of those people that my colleagues and I are here arguing that the picture is not, from where we stand, from where we sit and as to how we see it, as rosy as the government of this province would present it.
While profits may have recovered in the banks, which may be having a year that is unequalled in their history, making nearly $2 billion worth of profits, there are still literally thousands and thousands of people in this province who do not have a decent home in which to live; there are literally tens of thousands of people who do not have a job; there are a great many people in this province who are not being paid adequately for the work they perform, who are working part-time or who are having to work nights, who are having to have many members of their family work at the same time because they are not being paid sufficiently for the work they do.
The message I want to leave with this House on behalf of our party as we head into this break period and as we head into 1984 is that there has not yet been a recovery for people in this province. When a minister of the crown presents a view -- and I presented only one industry -- of the steel industry which implies somehow that recovery is taking place and that recovery has reached the workers of this province, that kind of statement is misleading. It does not reflect the human reality of communities that are dependent on industry for their growth and recovery; that there is always more and better not only that government can do, but that employers and all of us can do in seeing that jobs are created, that needs are met and that hardship is ended.
The question I think is going to be number one on the minds of the people in 1984 is recovery for whom? The word "fairness" and the question of poverty did not appear once in this document. Every single major analysis or understanding of what is happening in this province tells us that the great recession that has taken place for the last two years has had a major impact on that old question of why so many people are poor in our society; yet that problem was not addressed once in this document.
The Treasurer somehow sees the economy out there as a money-making machine; he never sees it as something that responds to human need and to human value. I suggest the question to be considered is the question of recover for whom, the question of fairness, the question of the redistribution of opportunity, the fact that there are pockets of wealth in our society that continue to go completely untapped, that there are literally tens of thousands of taxpayers in Ontario who are not taxpayers, not because they are poor, not because they fall below taxable income, but because they have lawyers and accountants who have protected their incomes and guaranteed that even though they might make more than $100,000 or $200.000 a year, they do not pay a cent in tax.
Mr. Kerrio: Oh, there aren't many like that.
Mr. Rae: The Liberal member for Niagara Falls says there are not many people like that. I want members to know that thanks to the Liberal Party in Ottawa and its control over the income tax system, in co-operation with the government of this province, there are literally hundreds of people like that. If the member does not believe it, he can have a look at the figures that are published by the Department of National Revenue in Ottawa and he will see exactly that many of the people who have earned the golden loophole award in Ottawa live in Ontario, and the government of Ontario is doing absolutely nothing about creating a fair tax system in this province.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Name names. I do not know any.
Mr. Rae: The Premier says, "Name names." He has colleagues who are experts in naming names when names should be kept confidential. That is something we will leave to members on that side of the House. They do nothing about it when it is done. They do not even express any views on the subject.
It is not simply that the question of poverty is not addressed. There is another question that has not been addressed by this document and has not been addressed by the government in what has happened. That is what I want to close on, the question of pensions.
I find it astonishing, not simply that nothing has been done in terms of housing construction, which could have made such a difference; that tax reform has been put on the back-burner in this province, and that public works and municipal capital projects have not started which could have started, because government is not prepared to be generous and creative enough in making those investments; but that in the one area where the Tory party is supposed to have a conscience, in terms of dealing with the problems of older people who have retired, this government has done absolutely nothing about pension reform.
It is nothing short of a disgrace that a year after the Provincial Secretary for Social Development, as she then was, the member for Scarborough East (Mrs. Birch), now the parliamentary assistant to the Premier himself, rose in this House and said she was in favour of one minor reform to ensure that older women who were living alone would receive a higher percentage of the share that goes currently to couples, which would cost the government about $100 million; that over a year after the seniors secretariat said it was in favour of it; that well over two years after the select committee on pensions said it was in favour of it; and over three years after the Royal Commission on the Status of Pensions in Ontario said it was in favour of it, the Treasurer said yesterday the government is still reviewing the question of the poverty level that literally tens of thousands of older women are living under, thanks to the fact this government has chosen not to move.
There are literally millions of workers who are not covered by any private plan whatsoever. There are literally tens of thousands of workers who are forced out of their jobs when they are over 55 and have no income support, no income protection whatsoever until they reach 65. Many of the people who have to rely for their living solely on old age security, guaranteed income supplement and the guaranteed annual income system are living well below the poverty line. This is a subject that is nothing short of a disgrace in Ontario.
It is very much connected to what is happening to younger people today as well. When we see the situation today in which, despite the fact we have been in a major recession for the last two years, there has not been one reform of any of the major social safety nets that are supposed to provide some kind of protection to people who are living in difficulty, not a single reform -- not one -- in terms of the basic social security framework in this country and in this province, then that situation creates an incredible competition for jobs between younger and older people.
I will close by giving the example of the Canada Packers situation. Because of conversations I have had, I happen to know there are a lot of workers who are over 55 who have been working in that meat-packing plant for a long time who would be glad of a chance to retire at age 55 or 60. The hard fact of the matter is that this government, at a time when layoff after layoff has gone like a juggernaut through southern and northern Ontario, has not lifted a finger to see that any single employer in this province is required to sit down and bargain and make a better deal with respect to early retirement for workers over the age of 55.
Yet they do absolutely nothing. In the time of the greatest recession since the 1930s, they are not prepared to lift a single finger, and the Treasurer has the nerve to say that there are structural changes taking place that are going to demand some infrastructural adjustments. I think those are the word he uses.
I would like the Treasurer to come down to Canada Packers and talk to the young guys who are coming off at 25 and 30, who have three kids and a mortgage at $40,000, $50,000, $60,000 or $70,000 and who do not have a job as of January 15 and say, "You know, fellas, we understand where you are coming from because we know there are structural adjustments that need some infrastructural changes." They will tell him where to put his infrastructural changes and that is where they deserve to be put.
It is time these words were said. This is a government that has not been prepared to move. This is a government that is so trapped in its own indolence that it is incapable of understanding the human misery and the human difficulties that people are facing because of the structural changes that have happened. Of course there are structural changes. What there is not is a humane, positive and active response to those changes, a sense of leadership, a sense of anticipation, a sense of caring, a sense of being there on the line when those changes are happening to men and women who are tossed around by this recession the way they have been tossed around.
As long as this government presents budgets, papers and prebudget statements that do nothing to deal with the problems I see in my office every week -- that is the test I use and I suspect it is the test all of us use -- as long as we have people coming in who are complaining about basic injustices in workers' compensation, who have no place to live, who have no job, who are facing discrimination in the work place, who are facing hardship at home and difficult circumstances because of governments that say, "We have done all we can," then we are going to be proud to come back into this place in March and fight this government tooth and nail until it sees the fact that there are things that can be done.
There is a job to be done. All we are looking for at the present time is a government that is willing to do that job.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise on behalf of my party for the windup of the budget debate. I have been here for some time now, not nearly as long as the Premier (Mr. Davis), although when history is written it will probably show much longer, but we will leave that debate for another day.
I have seen a whole variety of budget windup debates by a whole variety of people -- leaders, nonleaders, senior critics and others -- and in history we have respected the right of each leader to bring forward the remarks he wants to make. Obviously, the debate technically revolves around the budget motion, the amendment and the subamendment, but we have historically allowed a great deal of latitude.
May I say at the beginning, because it is our amendment which we will obviously support and I do not think it needs repetition here at the moment that we will not be supporting the New Democratic Party subamendment --
Mr. Martel: Oh, I'm shocked.
Mr. Peterson: I will read part of it for your consideration, Mr. Speaker. It begins, "Continuing the government's slavish adherence to the economic directions established by the Liberal government, policies which have resulted in the unemployment of hundreds of thousands of Ontarians..." I could address that in a partisan way, but I choose not to.
Mr. Foulds: We cannot turn this chamber into anything political.
Mr. Peterson: The NDP has put that in obviously in an attempt to embarrass, and I am frankly not embarrassed about it. But I think in a way it epitomizes the kind of debate this House sometimes gets into. I understand partisanship; I happen to be a fierce partisan, and I say that unapologetically. On the other hand, sometimes it seems to me that the commitment and purpose that we all bring to this House are lost in that trivialized partisanship, which sends the biggest noises forth from this House rather than the things we are all trying to accomplish together.
I suspect if we really cut down all of the 125 individuals from all their parties, granted their philosophical and value differences, probably there would be far more things that unite them than divide them. Each in his own way is trying to serve the people of his own constituency and his own province.
I think sometimes we lose sight of the essential reasons we are all here. If one asked every member of this House who made the original decision one, two, five, 10 or 20 years ago, "What was it that made you run for politics?" or "What was it that prompted you to come forward for your party and run for a nomination?" I suspect one would hear a number of common responses regardless of party.
I think it is important, in particular as we wind up the session and enter into the holiday season, that perhaps it is a time to remember that we are all, from many points of view, trying to attack these problems in the same way.
It is going to be left to some of the pundits and the analysts to look at the accomplishments of this session over the last year. I do not intend to make a major review because very frankly, and I am not trying to be partisan in this way, I do not believe we have made a lot of progress in tackling the fundamental issues.
One can see the juxtaposition of some of the well-publicized debates that come forward here, whether we are picking a new tree, bird, insect or a national chocolate bar, and all the attention and merriment that creates and we all participate in that. I understand that. Then one sees some of the major issues that have gone neglected for so long. When have we ever had a major debate in this House, for example, on educational policies?
Aside from some perhaps partisan or hypercharged remarks in estimates, we do not really come to grips with those kinds of issues. What about the higher education area, the post-secondary area in which the minister announced yesterday she was going to create a committee? I do not want to be too critical because we probably need it, given the deterioration that has occurred. That being said, we are asking two people, Dr. Mustard and Dr. Watts and a third yet to be named, to try to solve problems that we as a Legislature should have been dealing with for the past 10 years. What we are speaking to is the crisis that has developed.
I recognize that governments everywhere tend to respond to the immediate, to the pressing problem, to the great events of the day and who knows what they will be tomorrow; members do not know and I do not know. Part of the way we are judged as politicians is how we respond to those externally imposed events. I understand that but it does not excuse our collective lack of attention to the fundamental long-term and planning issues that are so important in Ontario.
It is a matter of record that provincial politics in Ontario gets as little attention as any other legislature in this country. I have seen studies saying, for example, that the amount of television and lines in newspapers in other jurisdictions and provinces surpass ours in great measure. I do not know the reason for that; I am not even complaining about that. I am just explaining I think it is a fact that a lot of people in Ontario do not make the same connection with their provincial government as they do in other parts of this great country.
It may be because we do not have a strong sense of regionalism in this province. Almost every other area does have a strong sense of regionalism. One hears people refer to themselves as Maritimers, Québécois, westerners or British Columbians and they tend to identify on a regional basis. We do not. Has anyone ever heard anyone say "I am an Ontarian"? We say here, "I am a Canadian."
I am a Canadian and I am not disputing that, but it tends to take the focus away from the real role of the provincial government and the provincial politicians in Ontario. I am proud of our historic role as the lynchpin of Confederation and we should continue on in that regard, but at the same time none of us should be deceived into thinking we do not effect policies that touch everyone's lives in many ways more than even the federal Parliament does.
When I look at my own little family and the things that interest and concern them, such as the working conditions that my wife sometimes works in, the education of my kids, the future they will have, the medical bills my parents, who are getting a little older, have gone through in the last year, those are all things we control. We control the policies that will affect their lives and by logical extension the next generation.
I do not think we as legislators should downplay the role we have. We should march forward and say, "Here we are in a province that is bigger and richer than most countries in the world, with a bigger budget than most countries in the world." Surprising as it seems, we have one of the highest gross domestic products of any jurisdiction in the world. We should march forward saying, "We have the levers and the weapons." Collectively, we should be out launching an active attack on those fundamental things we can control. If we as legislators adopt the view that we too can play by the politics of anaesthesia, that people do not really expect us to do very much, then I believe it sets our collective sights lower than they should be.
Granted, we are going to have partisan differences about how to accomplish various aims, but let us at least start with the premise that we have a great deal of power here, a great deal of resources and a great deal of responsibility. I think sometimes in the past we have tended to take the easy way out, saying, "It is a federal problem," or, "It is a municipal problem," or, "I cannot make up my mind so I will make it a matter of local option." Sometimes I think we collectively denigrate the great power and great responsibility we have.
I wanted to make that point as I started off my remarks this afternoon. I am not going to do an analysis of last year's budget or indeed the budget statement of yesterday. It was my party and I that put forward to this House a comprehensive program of reforms to the budgetary process. It was in the wake of federal budgets which in my view were not all that constructive in advancing the economy of Ontario or Canada, and the provincial budgets were coming forward under a cloud of secrecy.
In response to that the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) has come forward with a statement which in my view does not really share the budgetary process with the people of this province. I do not want to be too critical, but let me just say what should have been there.
We recognize we face a myriad of difficult decisions ahead. That is not a responsibility from which I shrink, but one cannot make those decisions without all the facts. I think we have to go beyond being self-serving. I say to the government it would then make better decisions. Indeed, if it makes bad decisions it is going to get less political heat if it is prepared to share those decisions.
I do not think a one-day committee hearing on a budgetary statement is participating in the budgetary process. I believe participation in the budgetary process would be giving us the facts, giving us the econometric models, giving us the tax options and the impact they would have on the economy, and having a thoughtful discussion.
I believe everybody in this province recognizes there is no easy way to accomplish anything. I think we all recognize the simple or simplistic solution is gone. But we all recognize too that the process of involving more people not only in the making of the decision but in the implementing of that decision is good for the democratic process and better for every person in this province.
I think we have failed in that regard, in the specific program. I recognize my responsibilities not just to attack and say nasty things about the government, but to put forward my alternatives. Our alternative was a revised budgetary process that would have allowed for that and would have allowed a legislative committee to have an in-depth, profound view of the various options so as to be of assistance to the minister. Obviously, the minister would make the final choices and would be responsible for them.
We had a tiny movement in that regard. In my view it was not satisfactory and did not go nearly far enough, but at least perhaps it is a start. In reality there was very little, if any, new information given yesterday that was meaningful to anyone in developing a budget process. I recognize the difficulties the Treasurer is facing at present using his current projection of revenue and expenditures. Given no changes in public policy or fiscal options, the deficit will increase and he is worried about the credit rating of the province. That has always been a sacrosanct principle in Ontario.
I worry about those things too because we do know a drop in rating would cost us 25 or 50 more basis points, which translates into more tax revenue or more expenditure on tax translated into higher expenses at some time in our future. As I said earlier, everyone recognizes there are no easy choices. I believe everybody recognizes burdens are going to have to be carried and burdens are going to have to be shared among all people in this province. The philosophical or partisan debate goes on the question of who should be carrying those burdens and where we should be spreading the discomforts of trying to bring our economy back into whack.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): May I ask the honourable members to stop the buzzing of their conversation. The Leader of the Opposition has the floor.
Mr. Peterson: I think we will have a lot of division over that subject, but I believe every generation has to accept the costs of its own comforts. I do not believe we can go on in perpetuity asking our children to pay for our consumption any more than I believe we have the right to expect our children to clean up our environmental mess.
I start from a fundamental point of morality in the business, saying each society has to solve its own problems. We have no right to go on increasingly burdening our children with either our overconsumption -- I mean as a society; I am not singling out individuals -- or our excesses of the current time. That is the context I start from. Like other thoughtful members, I am concerned about the impact of short-term budgetary policies on our long-term capacity to compete.
The reality is that there is no way to cheat. We can borrow any amount of money today, I recognize that, but we also recognize we will pay a price for that later, either in higher revenues, in inflation or in inability to compete. There is no way, history tells us, to escape those realities. That is something every political party has to come to grips with within the context of its own philosophy. Some of them deal with it, some do not.
Our party in the last year has tried to put forward in a constructive way the things we believe in for the consideration of this government. I am proud of the contribution we have made in conjunction with my colleagues who have been very active and very aggressive in putting forward those options as well as in calling the government to account.
We have been very concerned in the environmental area with acid rain, with the entire drift of Ontario Hydro, with the lack of accountability. Lest you think, Mr. Speaker, we are talking through our hat, everything we said was vindicated by the Provincial Auditor. This is not just a specious academic argument. I do believe one of the great challenges that confronts the Premier, as I look at him across the aisle, is to select a chairman of Hydro who is going to get a real handle on that.
I think he has been unfair in only having interim chairmen, even though I have great respect for the current chairman. It is too big a job not to have a permanent chairman. Anyone who is trying to get a hold on Hydro is going to take some time, and he cannot be expected to go through the insecurity of three-month or six-month interim appointments. The Premier knows our view of how that process should take place. We believe in a confirmation style hearing. That being said, we would ask him to please make an early choice of someone who is competent to get on with the job.
I am not going to go into a speech that others may want to about lack of drift or direction in the government. That is not my intention today. My intention is to put forward, so that it is clearly understood, what we would be doing in the circumstances. A variety of other devices have been suggested: the resurrection of the select committee, legislative approval on borrowing -- this may be the chairman of Ontario Hydro just walking in now.
These are specific ways which we believe would bring more accountability by Ontario Hydro back to the Legislature where it ultimately belongs and where it has to be. We have not had any counterweights on that system. We have not had any resisting pressure since the dissolution of the select committee. I think if one reads its report it would show that it did very good work in increasing the quality of debate about Ontario Hydro, its future and its options.
We stand behind that and we will continue to take that point of view to the people of Ontario as part of our policy.
In the environmental area, we are a strong environmental party and proud to be so. We have had many discussions about acid rain. We have talked about scrubbing the coal because it looks as if there is going to be an increasing draw on those coal-fired plants as the nuclear plants are down. The coal-fired plants are not obsolete, as the government would perhaps think they are. As the second largest point-source emitters of sulphur dioxide, we are going to have to clean up those coal-fired plants of Ontario Hydro.
There is a price and we are prepared to pay that price. We believe it is responsible to do so. We believe consumers of this province would agree to paying it if the message was taken to them properly. They have the choice of either paying now or paying later. The price of not cleaning up is probably greater than the price of doing so. We have not only a moral responsibility but also an economic responsibility to show leadership in this area. We have talked about this before, but I want it known very clearly where we stand and where we will continue to stand on this issue.
There have been a whole variety of other environmental issues, but I know members are anxious to get back to their constituencies and their homes and my House leader has asked me not to go on very long today. However I want to speak briefly about some of our thoughts in the health and social policy areas.
As members know, my esteemed colleague the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) travelled about this province heading a task force on health care in this province. She specifically pointed out a number of recommendations with respect to the declining quality of health care in this province. We think this was constructive. The task force put forward to the people a document which could be discussed. We put forward our alternatives in that area.
Figures have come out recently in Toronto regarding the shortage of chronic care beds. Something like 13 per cent of the beds are misplaced at this moment, i.e., we have chronic care patients in active care beds. We need a rationalization of the system, an approach from the continuum of needs. We have to look at home care programs following into a variety of institutional care. This is an area that is clearly going to require fresh new thought, an area we are prepared to address from our point of view.
I will not go on in great detail about some of the deficiencies in the system; for example, the lack of psychiatric care in Timmins and the crisis that was created there by a lack of chronic care beds. However, we have to have an approach that will look to the next decade and the next generation.
It is now trite to talk about the ageing population and the increasing number of seniors; it is now conventional wisdom. However, this was conventional wisdom to some 10 years ago; at least it should have been conventional wisdom to thoughtful policy planners and to government officials, but it was not. We are facing tremendous pressure on the system today because of, shall I say, benign neglect. It was not conscious, just a mentality that said, "Gee, I hope my problem will go away before I have to address it."
I see in this area, as in so many others, that pressure is starting to back up. I see so many eruptions here, there and the other place. Without a fresh view of some of these problems, we are going to see the problems increasingly compounded. The longer we leave them the more difficult they are to deal with.
In the health and social policy areas we have put forward our alternatives and the government knows where we stand. One of the great debates in the next little while is going to be the whole opting-out issue. Should doctors opt out all the way or should they not? The government obviously is finding itself increasingly isolated in this debate. With Mr. Mulroney and the federal Tories this week, as well as the Tory government of Nova Scotia now moving to ban extra billing, I am sure the government policymakers and the ministers with their sensitivity and their great polling apparatus are going to see this debate is going to polarize this country.
I would hope this government would reassess its position in view of these realities, in view of the clear will of a vast number of people in Ontario. I can tell the minister that his party is on the wrong side and we will, as best we can, make it easy for it to move forward in this particular regard. I commend that policy to the Premier and I know he will reassess it in that regard.
We have talked in our party, with great knowledge and sincerity, about the problems in the agricultural area today. I could not be more proud of the very thoughtful and competent spokesmen we have in that regard. But we know, because we are sensitive to the needs of Ontario as we travel throughout this province, that the agricultural sector is in a crisis situation. We run the risk not only of seeing more economic collapse but also a change of face in rural Ontario. We are seeing more and more family farmers incapable of carrying on, more and more moves to family farmers becoming tenants on their own farms owned by the banks, moves towards the agrifarms and the big operations; a complete change in the sociology and the values of rural Ontario.
It is not a change we welcome. It is a change we believe has to be counteracted with specific proposals. We have put forward to the government an eight-point agricultural policy that would have involved changes in the Ontario farm adjustment assistance program, young farmers' assistance, emergency financial assistance in the red meat area and a variety of other proposals that we believe would have gone a long way towards stemming the crisis in that area now.
I know of 15 pork producers who probably will not be in business two months from now unless something happens. The crisis is that imminent. There is not a farmer in Ontario who is more wealthy today than he or she was three years ago, and there has been a tremendous loss in equity. We have seen commodity prices stay low, putting strains on the system that are almost intolerable to a great number of farmers -- not just isolated groups but a great number of farmers. I commend to the government our proposals in that area. I am sure it does not want to see any more deterioration in that regard than do we.
Another area in which our party has shown a lead, and I am very proud of my colleagues, is in the area of women's initiatives and women's issues, so-called. The government responded with a new minister this year. He came in with great promise, but it is going to be some time before the jury comes back on what real contribution he has made. Let me restate that we put forward an active attack on the spread of videotape pornography; we put forward our position for the consideration of the government and had some debate on it. The government knows where we stand on that issue and we will continue to fight.
The government is aware of the resolution and initiatives of my colleague the member for Hamilton Centre on the matter of equal pay for work of equal value. We have seen some watered-down versions sneaking in during the last little bit. It is a commitment of our party and we will continue to fight in that regard. One small step perhaps is better than nothing, but it clearly is not satisfactory.
Unlike Mr. Mulroney in Ottawa, who does not see his responsibility as identifying where he stands on the issues -- and the Premier may want to speak to him about that -- I believe our responsibility as the alternative government is to tell the government clearly where we stand on every issue. One can argue that we are wrong, but at least one knows where we stand on the whole variety of issues. We have put forward alternatives and many amendments to improve the lot of working women in this province and we will continue to do that.
One of my great interests has been in the area of pension reform, where I believe we have been so far behind the eight ball. We have studied this question to death with the Haley commission, select committees and a variety of other commissions. Now we have the federal committee coming down, and it is coming close to a time for action from this government.
We went through a great, long educational process on this issue with the former Treasurer. Just as he was about to really understand what he had in his hands he was moved to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and now we have a new Treasurer. We need plans for flexibility of pensions in this province, we need changes in indexation and we need changes in portability, and a whole variety of changes to the legislation here in Ontario that are fair, humane, affordable and that have been agreed upon many times. The only roadblock at this point is government leadership. It is an issue I have been very close to over the years, and I will continue to be close to it and will watch it with great interest. It has been brought up before.
With regard to the plight of the single elderly, there is not a commission at any level that has not recommended moving on their plight immediately to bring them up to at least 60 per cent of the married rate level. It is accepted as conventional wisdom as the very least we should be providing in this area. I recommend to the government that it move immediately; I can tell it that we would.
Just to finish talking about the unemployment area, which I am sure has to be the biggest concern of every member in this House, I know that in my duties as the member for London Centre I sit in my office on Friday nights or Saturday mornings and I have trails of young people come in and say, "Please help me. Where can I find a job?"
Last week a good-looking, well-dressed young man came in and showed me a binder with 200 letters of rejection; all terribly organized, listing those who had rejected him. He had been trained at a community college as a land assessor and appraiser. There are just no opportunities for this young man.
We put forward for members' consideration a program that would have provided a work experience for this young man. When I asked him, "Would you be prepared to work for the minimum wage?" he said, "I would work for below the minimum wage just so I could develop work experience so I could prove what I have, so I could stop having to say to employers, 'No, sir, I do not have any experience."
That is the great hangup; and yet we have an opportunity to provide that experience here in Ontario. We need action desperately in this area. If there is one message I can leave the Premier and the Treasurer from my brief remarks today, it is that we have not used our great resources in this province to attack this problem in the way we should. I would ask the Premier to make this a priority for himself and the executive council going into the next year. Time is of the essence. The next budget is not good enough. It is going to be a very difficult winter for many people; and not just in economic terms, because we know about that; I want to impress upon the Premier also the damage to morale, the damage in human terms.
I do not know how one will ever quantify what has happened in the last year or two. We can quantify it somewhat economically, but when we look at the creation of a generation without hope, when we look at the disillusionment, when we look at the lack of morale, when we look at my talk with that young man with 200 rejection slips -- and I could not even get him a job in the liquor store; the only thing I could do was to try to keep up his morale up and tell him not to give up, because he was close to the point of giving up. There is no one in this room who could go through that experience without feeling a little disheartened.
It is not that he is not a good boy; it is only that there are no opportunities. I am trying to impress upon the government that we have a responsibility and we should be moving immediately in that regard.
We have also put forward to the government a program in the rental housing stimulation area that would go some way towards meeting the crisis in affordable rental housing in this province, as well as creating employment in the construction area where unemployment is so high at this moment. The government has those specific plans. We would be prepared, as a government, to spend money in these areas to accomplish those dual, noble purposes.
They are aware of the crisis in vacancy rates in so many of the major centres across this province. Unless we attack it, it is just going to get worse. We are going to see more pressures on rents. The problem will compound itself day by day, as it has been doing for some time. We have a choice. We can sit here and pretend it is going away or will go away, or we can launch an active attack on that problem. We need a government here with the energy and commitment to solve some of those problems. They can be solved in an affordable, sensible way with a real dividend to all the people of this province.
A lot of this session has been dominated by the capacity of the government to regulate, be it the trust companies travel companies, grain companies, real estate companies or a variety of others. We cannot neglect that area of regulation. Bad government and bad regulation lead to more government. That is exactly what we have had in these circumstances.
In all of these cases, and I do not mean to be critical, the signals were there. Somehow we have to make sure there is a division between the regulators and those who are regulated. We have to remember that the purpose of regulation is to protect consumers, depositors and the people of this province. It is not to protect the people who are regulated. We have lost focus in so many areas of what the real responsibility of government is in this regard. Presumably, now that there have been so many assaults on the regulatory capacity of this government, we will see some active and major changes in that regard.
We have had many discussions about accountability, waste in government, advertising, Minaki lodges and all that kind of thing. We will continue to have them because when the Treasurer stands in his place and virtually says, "We are going to have to charge more in taxes this year, be it sales taxes, personal income tax or property taxes," I do not believe we have the right to go to the taxpayers of this province and ask for one more nickel until they are persuaded we are stewarding and spending the money we already take from them reasonably well. That impression is not on the streets today.
Let the Treasurer put himself in the position of an ordinary taxpayer of this province or of this country who reads daily about waste and mismanagement from the federal Auditor General or the Provincial Auditor. There is favouritism, patronage, $100,000-a-year jobs, advertising contracts to friends and speechwriting contracts to friends. It never stops at both levels. But this government is not superior in any regard in that question.
Let the Treasurer ask himself what the average taxpayer of this country thinks. They see politicians as feathering their own nests with their own faces in the trough. They see money being spent poorly. What does it do? It damages faith in democratic institutions. It damages faith in the things we are fighting for here and the process we are fighting through. There is no doubt it drives the black economy, which is becoming an increasing percentage of the economy of Ontario and Canada.
I am not trying to paint too dismal a picture and I do not believe, in many ways, we have any right to be holier than thou. But I say to the House again, at the end of my remarks, we have a collective responsibility, individually, in all parties, to try to build that faith in the system we believe in, for all of its inadequacies, which still serves the people of this province best.
As I draw to the end of my remarks -- my House leader is starting to tug on my sleeve to try to get rid of me --
Hon. Mr. Eaton: A little higher, Bob.
Mr. Nixon: We have a lot of time left.
Mr. Peterson: As we are winding up today, I hope my remarks were constructive in pointing out very clearly where we in the Ontario Liberal Party stand and the programs we will be taking to the government and to the people of this province. I recognize a number of others are concerned about the same things and approach them from different points of view.
Let me take this opportunity, as my final speech of this session, to wish all members of the House a very happy holiday season. It is going to be good for all of us to go back to our constituencies, to our families, to get in touch with reality once again, to remember the spirit of sharing, to remember the great message of peace on earth, goodwill to all men. We will come back with renewed vigour and a renewed sense of purpose in the new year.
To the leader of the New Democratic Party, to his family, and through him to all his colleagues; to the Premier, to his family, and through him to all his colleagues and their families, I wish a very happy holiday season and a very happy new year.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, in rising to conclude the traditional debate on the budget of the Treasurer of this province, may I at the outset express my appreciation to you for the excellent leadership you have given to the conduct of the affairs of this House. I know that view is shared by every member of this House in their more lucid moments.
The member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), in one of his confidential chats with me, such as we have on so many occasions, casually remarked that you are the greatest Speaker this House has ever had. Is that not roughly what the member said?
Mr. Nixon: He had a lot of nice things to say about you too.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will do my very best to limit my remarks. I know both the opposition leaders felt they were going to be 20 minutes. I did not time them, but if I am 21 or 22 minutes, I apologize in advance. I will try to expedite the process.
Mr. Martel: That is not the agreement.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I understand what the agreement was. I also understand what has been said. I have to reflect on one or two matters. I regret that the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) is not here, because I was reading the communiqué. I was not participating in all activities yesterday when he introduced a couple of bills. One, he said, was serious. The other was, he said, an unabashedly frivolous bill entitled the Insect Emblem Act. Did he really introduce that?
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Because if we still had an opportunity to introduce a bill today it would be the Endangered Species Act, New Democratic Party, 1983.
Mr. Breaugh: Go to Oshawa and say that. Come on down.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not saying that. I want to assure members I would not have introduced that bill. But I think the member for Port Arthur might have introduced that bill today.
Mr. Breaugh: You introduce it in Oshawa. There is another endangered species in Oshawa. It is called Tories.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I listened very attentively to the observations of the leaders of both the opposition parties. I say to the member for York South (Mr. Rae) that I sensed a very impassioned plea in terms of the philosophy of his party and what he felt was necessary and I do not quarrel with that. I do not agree with many of the things he stated and I will come back to that at some future occasion in 10 or 15 minutes.
I listened with great interest to the leader of the Liberal Party. I appreciated his expressions of goodwill as we enter the Christmas season. As I listened to the early part and the end of his remarks I sensed something of a transformation that was not there in his outlook two weeks ago, four days ago, or in this past session. Perhaps this can be interpreted as being extremely encouraging. Maybe he is even going to vote for the motion in front of us at present in that same spirit of compromise or conciliation. I would be delighted to welcome him in support of that very excellent budget.
I confess to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) that I have some difficulty in adjusting to some of his observations today in the light of things he has said earlier. I am not going to be provocative here except to say that I was hurt. I am not going to get into all the accounts in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record but it was the concluding paragraph that upset me a great deal.
"Although he criticized Davis throughout the day, Peterson also admitted he has some admiration for the Premier's political abilities. 'He's a shrewd operator. I kind of even like the guy ... but not very much.'"
I thought he had some greater feeling of affection after all the advice I have attempted to give, after I have consistently tried to help him in his years in this Legislature and since his assumption of the important responsibility of Leader of the Opposition. I have tried to assist in every possible way; then to be told he does not like me very much, Mr. Speaker, you do not know how badly I felt.
I showed it to Kathleen and she said to me: "How can David feel that way about you? You have been so kind, so gentle, so encouraging to him in his political career." I said to myself, "Gosh, I'll just keep on trying."
In that spirit of attempting to assist the Leader of the Opposition, I make two or three rather simple observations. We on this side of the House are not insensitive people. I listened to the criticisms, some of them justified, some not always totally justified. I have listened to the introduction of personalities. The former member for Sudbury reminded me that this House was never a tea party, never intended to be a tea party. The House leader for the party heard that great speech. It was a great speech.
It is not a tea party, but I like to think it is civil and that we do respect one another; but when I am reminded by the deputy leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario that we take the word of an honourable member, whether he is recently from cabinet, in cabinet or whatever; when I am asked, in terms of the Leader of the Opposition with respect to that report in the paper, I did not dispute it when he got up and said he had not said those things, I accept it.
I would only urge that he also accept the word of the Premier of this province, the ministers and members when it does not necessarily suit his political advantage. That has to be part of this process. One cannot play by two sets of rules, One cannot say, we are to respect the process and the words of individuals, if some two weeks later in some other part of the province or in the course of some speech in Belleville one says to the public, "I was born under a corrupt Tory government and I have lived under a corrupt Tory government all my life." I am prepared to accept some political licence; I may not always have been kind in my observations but there is a certain margin, a certain sense of decency that must be maintained.
I listened to the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) in relation to a certain subject that has given me great concern in this House. I know observations he has made on other occasions. I know some of the references he made with respect to a distinguished member of the cabinet of this province, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie), some of the things that were said to him and about him in terms of his difficult responsibilities.
I perhaps sensed today an awareness by the Leader of the Opposition that this sort of thing is not necessary in terms of this House or the political process. I can quote chapter and verse. I believe in terms of my colleagues in cabinet that we may not always be right in the decisions we make, but please do not question the motivation.
I listened to the rather interesting remarks of the Leader of the Opposition about accountability, patronage and appointments to positions with a lot of money. I do not know what he is talking about in terms of the activities of this government. I have never denied that on occasions when appointments have been made we have considered people who have been Progressive Conservatives. The reality is that in election after election a large percentage of the population of this province acknowledges that it is in a secret ballot.
I make no apologies in terms of the integrity of this government, the accountability and the things we have done in the interest of the public of this province. We may have made mistakes, but our motivation has been 100 per cent. The intent has been to serve the people of this province. We may disagree on policies; that is fair and proper.
I was intrigued by the observation of the Leader of the Opposition that part of his responsibility is to define clearly where his party stands. I accept that. But he must admit that on some days I stand here as leader of the government totally confused as to where he stands on some issues from one week to the next, or one month to the other.
I confess I was having a bit of fun this morning, but there are two or three things I want to say before I conclude my remarks. I do not often get upset, but I was. The member for Renfrew North sent a letter to a very great Canadian, a gentleman who was at our fund-raising dinner out of respect for the position of the Premier of this province. If the member checks carefully he will find my observations were pretty nonpartisan. That gentleman deserved better than what he received from some members of the Liberal caucus.
Then I saw and had reported to me that some of the same members were at another dinner where that same very distinguished Canadian appeared at the head table, once again out of respect for the Prime Minister in the process of government in this country. The same sense of outrage and concern was not demonstrated in that instance.
Mr. Nixon: The member for Renfrew North was perfectly consistent.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not talking about him. I am not talking about --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I know what he did and I know what he felt.
I am suggesting to the leader of the Liberal Party that I think it would be great, in the spirit of Christmas, if some sort of communication was delivered to that very distinguished gentleman. It disturbed me as a person. I say that to the leader of the Liberal Party with some sense of conscience. There is a certain sense of decency and consistency in all this.
I want to move to another piece of unfinished business. It is a matter that has given me deep concern as the leader of our party and as Premier. I have listened to the observations made with respect to certain situations. I listened to the leader of the New Democratic Party say, "Mr. Premier, you have to say who is right and who is wrong." I want to say this in the presence of the member for Lanark (Mr. Wiseman). I want the member for Renfrew North to understand a bit of the history. He has asked me to accept his word as an honourable member and I ask him to accept mine. I know he is smiling and looking in the other direction.
One of the most difficult tasks for any first minister in any government is to determine those men and women he asks to be associated with him in the executive council. What is even more difficult is on those occasions to relieve those ministers or ask ministers to leave the executive council.
I know the member for Renfrew North was endeavouring to create the impression that a relationship existed between my request to the member for Lanark and other incidents that have been reported and debated before public accounts and in the media in this province. He can accept it or not, but as an honourable member, which I consider myself to be, I want to tell the member for Renfrew North that there was no relationship in my request to the member for Lanark. I have always regarded the member for Lanark as a man of integrity, decency and honesty; that has never been questioned.
But I also want to add that it has been my experience as a human being that there can always be differences of point of view with respect to people's recollection of incidents. It is very simple for the member opposite, because maybe he has never had that responsibility. I know he has been pressing me and some of the other members, including the member for Lanark, although I really sensed the other day that he had a certain sense of charity about him.
Before he asks, I will tell him that I accepted the resignation of the deputy minister who has been involved in some of these discussions, which was given without any qualification whatsoever. I know I disturbed the member for York South (Mr. Rae) because I said he was in fact a good public servant and that I would find him a place in the government service. That offended him and I can never understand that from a person who has, he says, such a sensitivity for human beings and individuals.
Mr. Rae: I never said a word about that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You did indeed. I might also say, so that this matter will be brought to a conclusion, that the former Deputy Minister of Government Services, Mr. Alan Gordon, has communicated to me the fact that he will be entering the private sector and will not be remaining within the government. I just wanted to establish that and put it on the record.
I want to move to some of the areas of policy, because I am not going to refer to some of the things --
Mr. Rae: I never said a word about that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If you say you didn't, I accept it.
Mr. Rae: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I would not do this were it not for the fact that certain remarks and views were ascribed to me that I have never, to my recollection, expressed. I have never ever expressed any views with respect to the future of Mr. Gordon. I have never expressed myself on that subject and I do not think it is appropriate for the Premier to ascribe remarks to me that I have never made, to the best of my recollection. If he can point out where I did make them, I would appreciate his bringing them to my attention; but I do not believe I have ever said anything on that subject at all.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I hope the honourable member is correct. My memory is sometimes quite erroneous, but I sensed it in some of the questions he posed during the beginning part of my estimates. If I am wrong I will be one of the most delighted people. I accept the member's point of view.
I want to move to matters of policy. I listened to the leader of the New Democratic Party being rather vigorous in his attack on the presentation by the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) yesterday. I have been here in this House for a number of years. I have listened to members of the New Democratic Party express points of view where they think they are the only ones who have, shall we say, a social conscience.
I go to my constituency office. I have been going to mine for a lot more years than the member opposite has been going to his. I have probably seen more people. I have probably seen as many who are unemployed and disadvantaged as the member has seen in his brief career here at Queen's Park, and when he stands up and indicates to me that the New Democrats are the only ones who have that social conscience and are concerned about the unemployed and the disabled, that they have a monopoly on all of these feelings, he is wrong. This government is as sensitive and as concerned as he will ever be.
What is so symbolic of what bothers those people is that while I know the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) has a genuine feeling about nuclear war and disarmament -- and I do not debate that -- however, with respect to the intent or perhaps the feeling that he is the only one in this House who has a concern, I have to tell him he does not have a monopoly on interests of this nature.
When I look at this country, when I look at this province, when I look at the programs that have been introduced, when I see what we have done, when I see the progress we have made in this province for the disadvantaged, for the handicapped, for the elderly, when I see how we have developed our health care system and our educational system, when I see what we have done in the political lifetime of the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), I have to say to the member for York South (Mr. Rae) that this government, this party, is as sensitive as his has ever been. What is more important, we have done something positive and constructive to come to grips with these important social issues.
We have differences. He thinks he could increase taxation. He thinks he could solve the problem by government intervention, which would kill the economy. That is not the approach we take. We genuinely believe that, by stimulation within the private sector, the creation of long-term jobs is the relevant way to approach the difficulty.
He zeroed in on the steel industry. I know a little bit about the steel industry myself. In any analysis of the steel industry in the world and in parliament today, the conclusions are obvious. There are problems, but in terms of the relative health of the Ontario industry compared to that of the United States or other places, we are still doing better than most other jurisdictions in North America. I do not pretend there are not difficulties. I do not pretend for a moment we do not have challenges, but I ask the member, please, not to come in here and tell me only his party has that point of view or that degree of social commitment.
I listened to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) and I was encouraged by some of his observations, but I really question some others. He pressed about Hydro. I have a letter he sent to many of the utilities. Has he read the replies? I am not going to read them into the record. The replies say they think Hydro is doing quite well; they think the accountability process is quite good.
I do not quarrel for a moment with the need for the members of this House to be involved in discussions about Ontario Hydro. It is very relevant, but I ask the member, please, not to create the impression Ontario Hydro is anything but an extremely well-managed utility. I challenge him to show me a public utility of that nature in North America that is as efficient, with a rates structure that is as reasonable, and that has a record in terms of borrowing capacity as Ontario Hydro. The reality is there is not one. He knows that and I know that.
I listened to his recitation about the youth sector and the fact that we have a lost generation, I think he said. I do not happen to share that point of view. The young people in this generation are certainly faced with difficulties, but this government has taken certain initiatives and it will continue to take them. I hope the member is not so pessimistic or so negative as to say it is a lost generation. Some of them are doing well. They have been well educated and they are going to have an opportunity to participate. I have to tell the leader of the Liberal Party I am far more optimistic about their future than he seems to be.
I listened to some of his reactions to the Treasurer's paper. The Treasurer said very simply that he wants to consult. The member said he is going to take the opportunity, and assume his party will be replying to the Treasurers proposal and he will have something constructive to offer. I hope that is the case because he has started the process in a somewhat different fashion. I believe it might help us not only in terms of public discussions, but also in giving an opportunity for the business community and others to participate in the budget process. Certain alternatives have been laid out, and I hope the Leader of the Opposition seizes the opportunities to move in and make a contribution, if that is his instinct.
I will not dwell on a number of the other matters raised because time is getting short. I will finalize my brief observations to the members of this House. I do not believe we have neglected some of the important issues. The member talked about post-secondary education. We have had opportunities and Bill 42 has been debated for several hours.
If the Leader of the Opposition wishes more time on some of these subjects, I have kept track of the introductory questions that have been raised day after day, the priorities that he himself has established, and if he wants to alter those, if he wants to have a debate on post-secondary education in this House, the minister and I would be delighted to debate it with him. At least the minister would, and I would love to listen. He should please not say we have not treated some of these issues in a thoughtful and deliberate way because we have.
I do not say the process is perfection. However, I have been here a lot of years and I happen to have a great deal of faith in the legislative process in spite of its frustrations. Of course, I happen to believe this is about the best system one can devise. I know there is always a tendency to look to the United States. I guess if I were in opposition I would see a certain appeal to their ideas on committee structure and greater decision-making and agreements on appointments. However, that is the republican and presidential system of government; it is not our system. We have to assume responsibility for the things we do.
In finalizing my remarks, I have to say it has been tough; it has not been an easy year for the former Treasurer, the present Treasurer or for government. It has been difficult for all Ontarians. I happen to believe we have seen the worst of it. I happen to believe we are beginning to find our way out of the recession, that confidence is being restored and that the vitality and enthusiasm of the private sector are emerging. I believe one can be cautiously optimistic about the economic outlook for this province in 1984. It is going to require direction, it is going to require policy and it is going to require perhaps new initiatives.
I want to conclude the session in 1983 on a very positive note, on a note of enthusiasm. I would not talk so much about what government has done or, as the members opposite will say, has not done. But I really have a great measure of confidence in the people of this province. I have been impressed in the past couple of years at how Ontarians have reacted and how responsible they have been. I am impressed by the confidence that is re-emerging, the enthusiasm that is there because, in essence, that is where it is at.
I must confess this morning I had a bit of fun. The opposition has tried to make our life difficult for the past couple of months, so I thought I was entitled to 15 or 20 minutes of reminding us all where it is at. Sure, it is not just that our party won. I guess it was the expression by that important group of people that showed where it is at because they are representative, they are rural and they have had difficult periods. But they sort of said last evening to the government, to our candidate and maybe even directly to the Premier, they may not agree with everything we have done but they too are optimistic about this province.
I think they were saying they support the leadership the government is giving and, as a result, I think there was some measure of confidence expressed last evening in eastern Ontario. It was not just another by-election; it was an opportunity for the people to express a point of view.
It was consistent with my own view that in spite of whatever shortcomings we may have either as Premier or as a government, the Treasurer's budget deserves support. The policies of this government deserve support. I say this in the spirit of the Christmas season, when I extend to every single member of this House my best wishes. I convey those from my wife Kathleen, my five children, three children-in law and our new granddaughter Christine, who is not yet quite able to articulate these messages on her own behalf. However, as her grandmother was, she is far advanced for her three years. We do wish to all of you a very Merry Christmas.
In that spirit, I know the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) and the member for York South (Mr. Rae) will join us in this great Christmas feeling in supporting the great budget of the great Treasurer of this government in the province of Ontario.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I have no idea why the Premier felt it necessary to set up straw men, but in the process of the debate on the resolution I brought forward on nuclear disarmament, I never suggested that members on the other side were not interested in the issue. When we had our exchange the other day, I did not do that with the members either. I do not know why the member feels it necessary to do so. If there was any resolution which was brought up, any means of trying to have discussion among all members before and during that hour, I think it was that resolution. I resent the implication.
Mr. Speaker: Order. As the member well knows, that is not a point of privilege.
On Tuesday, May 10, 1983, Mr. F. S. Miller moved, seconded by Mr. Davis, that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
On Thursday, May 12, 1983, Mr. T. P. Reid moved, seconded by Mr. Nixon, that the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of this government be amended by deleting the words following "that" and adding thereto the following:
"This House deeply regrets the 1983 budget fails to recognize the most serious and fundamental problems facing the province of Ontario today and condemns the government for:
"Ignoring the continuing plight of the more than half-million unemployed Ontarians, neglecting in particular the desperate prospects faced by hundreds of thousands of idle Ontario youth, by refusing to introduce any serious long-term job creation programs nor any significant job training proposals;
"Ignoring the serious structural economic deficiencies plaguing Ontario's industrial infrastructure, neglecting in particular the need for a sound and thoughtful vision of Ontario's economic future for the rest of the 1980s and beyond, relying instead on short-term and short-sighted Band-Aid measures;
"Introducing yet another series of inequitable and unfair tax increases, and at the same time increasing the provincial deficit, thus punishing the citizens of Ontario for such wasteful government excesses as the Suncor purchase, the land banks, Minaki Lodge, government advertising, government polling and the practices of Ontario Hydro, among others;
"Ignoring or reducing the provincial commitment to such important sectors of our economy as agriculture, tourism and the auto sector;
"Threatening our social services with the prospect of cutbacks while a plethora of government excesses continues to be funded;
"Ignoring or reducing the provincial commitment to northern Ontario and environmental protection in this province;
"Ignoring the crucial issue of productivity across all sectors of our economy;
"Producing a budget which is unfocused, without direction, contradictory in its proposals and offering little hope for the thousands of Ontarian citizens suffering during the current recession;
"Therefore, this government lacks the confidence of this House."
On Thursday, May 12, 1983, Mr. Cooke moved, seconded by Mr. Rae, that the amendment of Mr. T. P. Reid be amended by adding after the word "recession" and before the words, "Therefore, this government lacks the confidence of this House," the following:
"Continuing the government's slavish adherence to the economic directions established by the Liberal government, policies which have resulted in the unemployment of hundreds of thousands of Ontarians;
"Ignoring the overwhelming evidence of the budget's own figures that the private sector in general and private sector investment in particular are not leading us to economic recovery, yet cutting back on vital public investment in environmental protection, housing, health, social services, agriculture and the north;
"Failing to introduce a major program to assist the construction of co-operative and nonprofit housing to create jobs and meet pressing needs for shelter;
"Failing to respond to the unacceptable levels of unemployment among young people and women with concrete proposals to create permanent jobs and comprehensive skills training programs;
"Failing to respond to the needs of older workers laid off or threatened by technological change by the establishment of a workers' training fund, improved layoff and severance pay legislation and pension reform;
"Increasing once again regressive OHIP premiums instead of shifting this unfair tax burden to an equitable tax source;
"Failing to reform the funding of health care in Ontario by banning extra billing and user fees;
"Abdicating completely its responsibility for the economic wellbeing of Ontario's people through its failure to introduce any long-term investment proposals to plan for our future."
The House divided on Mr. Cooke's amendment to the amendment to the motion, which was negatived on the following vote:
Allen, Breaugh, Bryden, Charlton, Cooke, Di Santo, Grande, Johnston, R. F., Laughren, Lupusella, Mackenzie, Martel, McClellan, Philip, Rae, Renwick, Swart, Wildman.
Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Birch, Bradley, Brandt, Breithaupt, Conway, Copps, Cousens, Cunningham, Cureatz, Davis, Dean, Drea, Eakins, Eaton, Edighoffer, Elgie, Elston, Epp, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Havrot, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson;
Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kells, Kennedy, Kerr, Kerrio, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk, MacQuarrie, Mancini, McGuigan, McLean, McMurtry, McNeil, Miller, F. S., Miller, G. I., Mitchell, Newman, Nixon, Norton, O'Neil, Peterson, Piché, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Reed, J. A., Reid, T. P., Robinson, Runciman, Ruprecht, Ruston;
Scrivener, Sheppard, Shymko, Snow, Spensieri, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Sweeney, Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Van Horne, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wiseman, Wrye, Yakabuski.
Ayes 18; nays 90.
The House divided on Mr. T. P. Reid's amendment to the motion, which was negatived on the following vote:
Allen, Bradley, Breaugh, Breithaupt, Bryden, Charlton, Conway, Cooke, Copps, Cunningham, Di Santo, Eakins, Edighoffer, Elston, Epp, Grande, Johnston, R. F., Kerrio, Laughren, Lupusella, Mackenzie, Mancini, Martel, McClellan, McGuigan, Miller, G. I., Newman, Nixon, O'Neil;
Peterson, Philip, Rae, Reed, J. A., Reid, T. P., Renwick, Ruprecht, Ruston, Spensieri, Swart, Sweeney, Van Horne, Wildman, Wrye.
Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Birch, Brandt, Cousens, Cureatz, Davis, Dean, Drea, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Havrot, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kells, Kennedy, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk;
MacQuarrie, McLean, McMurtry, McNeil, Miller, F. S., Mitchell, Norton, Piché, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Robinson, Runciman, Scrivener, Sheppard, Shymko, Snow, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wiseman, Yakabuski.
Ayes 43; nays 65.
The House divided on Hon. F. S. Miller's main motion, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Birch, Brandt, Cousens, Cureatz, Davis, Dean, Drea, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Havrot, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kells, Kennedy, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk;
MacQuarrie, McLean, McMurtry, McNeil, Miller, F. S., Mitchell, Norton, Piché, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Robinson, Runciman, Scrivener, Sheppard, Shymko, Snow, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wiseman, Yakabuski.
Allen, Bradley, Breaugh, Breithaupt, Bryden, Charlton, Conway, Cooke, Copps, Cunningham, Di Santo, Eakins, Edighoffer, Elston, Epp, Foulds, Grande, Johnston, R. F., Kerrio, Laughren, Lupusella, Mackenzie, Mancini, Martel;
McClellan, McGuigan, Miller, G. I., Newman, Nixon, O'Neil, Peterson, Philip, Rae, Reed, J. A., Reid, T. P., Renwick, Ruprecht, Ruston, Spensieri, Swart, Sweeney, Van Horne, Wildman, Wrye.
Ayes 65; nays 44.
The following bill was given first, second and third readings on motion by Hon. Mr. Grossman:
Bill 161, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service for the fiscal year ending March 31,1984.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might have the concurrence of the House to move a motion.
Mr. Speaker: Do we have concurrence of the House to revert to motions?
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that, notwithstanding the prorogation of the House, upon the commencement of the fourth session of this parliament, Bill 141, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, shall be deemed to have been introduced and read the first time, deemed to have been read the second time and referred to the standing committee on resources development.
Motion agreed to.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS IN ORDERS AND NOTICES AND RESPONSE TO PETITION
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I also table the answers to questions 15, 16, 17, 189, 320, 354, 360, 361, 362, 364, 366 and 367 to 395, and the response to the petition presented to the House, sessional paper 213 standing on the notice paper.
I might indicate that with the tabling of these answers we have answered 387 of the 395 questions asked, or 98 per cent.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took his seat upon the throne.
Hon. Mr. Aird: Pray be seated.
Mr. Speaker: May it please your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present sittings thereof, passed certain bills to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's assent.
Assistant Clerk: The following are the titles of the bills to which Your Honour's assent is prayed:
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;
Bill 117, An Act to amend the Telephone Act;
Bill 119, An Act to amend certain Acts respecting Regional Municipalities;
Bill 120, An Act to repeal certain Private Acts related to Municipalities;
Bill 132, An Act to amend the Powers of Attorney Act;
Bill 133, An Act to amend the Mental Health Act;
Bill 134, An Act to amend the Immunization of School Pupils Act, 1983;
Bill 135, An Act to amend the Construction Lien Act, 1983;
Bill 136, An Act to amend the Benefits of Provincial Judges and Masters;
Bill 139, An Act to amend the Public Commercial Vehicles Act;
Bill 140, An Act to amend certain Statutes relating to the Commission of Offences by Young Persons;
Bill 144, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act;
Bill 145, An Act to amend the Planning Act, 1983;
Bill 147, An Act to amend the Building Code Act;
Bill 148, An Act to revise the Teachers' Superannuation Act;
Bill 149, An Act to amend the Provincial Courts Act;
Bill 150, An Act to amend the Unified Family Court Act;
Bill 151, An Act to amend the Provincial Offences Act;
Bill 152, An Act to amend the Proceedings Against the Crown Act;
Bill Pr13, An Act to incorporate Heritage Windsor;
Bill Pr30, An Act to revive the Malton Memorial Recreation Association;
Bill Pr43, An Act respecting Ottawa Civic Hospital;
Bill Pr48, An Act respecting the City of Sault Ste. Marie;
Bill Pr50, An Act respecting the Town of Harrow;
Bill Pr51, An Act respecting the City of North York;
Bill Pr52, An Act to revive Teco Mines and Oils, Ltd.
Bill Pr53, An Act respecting the City of Owen Sound;
Bill Pr54, An Act respecting the Hungarian Canadian Cultural Centre (Hungarian House);
Bill Pr56, An Act respecting the Alex Manoogian Cultural Centre.
Clerk of the House: In Her Majesty's name, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to these bills.
Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, we, Her Majesty's most dutiful and faithful subjects of the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario in session assembled, approach Your Honour with sentiments of unfeigned devotion and loyalty to Her Majesty's person and government, and humbly beg to present for Your Honour's acceptance, a bill entitled An Act granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the Public Service for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1984.
Clerk of the House: The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth thank Her Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, accept their benevolence and assent to this bill in Her Majesty's name.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to deliver the following gracious speech.
Hon. Mr. Aird: Mr. Speaker and members of the Legislative Assembly: The priorities of this government during this third session of the 32nd Parliament of Ontario have been the restoration of economic prosperity and the enhancement of the services available to our citizens.
The 1983 budget introduced a number of job creation, job training and capital works programs with particular attention being directed towards the provision of employment opportunities for the young men and women of Ontario. A number of tax measures were also implemented to increase the investor confidence and consumer spending required to sustain the return to economic wellbeing.
Such measures include the extension of the small business tax holiday from provincial corporate income tax, expanded exemptions from retail sales tax to encourage investment in production facilities and the 90-day tax exemption for the purchase of household items. Through these measures, our economy has strengthened considerably as exemplified by the fact that there are now 196,000 more Ontarians employed than there were in November 1982.
Demonstrating its long-standing commitment to fiscal responsibility, the government continued its public sector wage and price restraint policies for an additional year. These efforts, together with the self-discipline that has been practised since 1975, have enabled the government to weather recent uncertainties without sacrificing the social services Ontarians have striven to establish and maintain.
Indeed, a number of additional services and measures which reflect my government's continued emphasis on social justice were introduced during the session now ending. Such initiatives include the appointment of a Minister responsible for Women's Issues, the establishment of the Ontario women's directorate, the appointment of a provincial co-ordinator of family violence initiatives, the nomination of a respected human rights advocate to the position of Ombudsman, an increase in the minimum wage and improvements to Ontario's income support programs.
Honourable members, I commend your sense of duty and the progress you have achieved. In closing, may I take this opportunity to wish you a safe and pleasant holiday season.
Au nom de notre souveraine, je vous remercie. In our sovereign's name, I thank you.
Je déclare cette session prorogée. I now declare the session prorogued.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker and honourable members of the Legislative Assembly, it is the will and pleasure of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor that this Legislative Assembly be prorogued and this Legislative Assembly is accordingly prorogued.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.
The House prorogued at 5:24 p.m.