The Fourth Session of the 32nd Parliament of the province of Ontario opened at 3 p.m. for the dispatch of business pursuant to a proclamation of the Honourable J. B. Aird, Lieutenant Governor of the province.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor, having entered the chamber and being seated upon the throne, was pleased to open the session with the following gracious speech.
SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Hon. Mr. Aird: Pray be seated.
Mr. Speaker and members of the Legislative Assembly, before reviewing our immediate circumstances and outlining the commitment of my government to the renewal of our economy and the enrichment of our way of life, let us gratefully acknowledge that this is a year of special celebration and rededication.
This is the 200th anniversary of the first major settlement in Ontario, and it is appropriate to take some time to reflect on our heritage, to mark our achievements, to celebrate together and to express our appreciation. Our communities are strong and blessed with people who have journeyed from around the world to build one vigorous and tolerant society.
Our citizens have embraced this event with genuine enthusiasm. Indeed, as one giant fair, this summer all across Ontario close to 790 municipalities, Indian bands and service districts will participate in community celebrations to mark our bicentennial.
Throughout, the province will emphasize the importance of community and the generous contributions of all those who built Ontario -- from the first native and French-Canadian settlers, from the Loyalists to the waves of new settlers ever since.
My government is particularly pleased that our Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, will be with us to help celebrate our bicentennial. The monarchy is at the heart of our democratic system. The presence of the Queen in our province will bring life and meaning to that fact while giving Ontarians an opportunity to display the loyalty and affection we feel toward the royal family.
De plus, nous aurons le privilège de recevoir cet automne la visite de Sa Sainteté le pape Jean-Paul II, événement d'une importance considérable pour des millions de Canadiens. Sa présence nous rappellera non pas nos réalisations, mais les obligations que nous partageons avec le reste de l'humanité à l'égard de la vie et de la paix.
As well, our province will be graced this fall with the visit of His Holiness Pope Jean Paul II, whose presence will be of deep significance for millions of Canadians. He will remind us, not of our unique accomplishments, but the obligation we share with all humanity to cherish life and to work for peace.
In my address last year I indicated there were signs the economy was beginning to emerge from recession. Indeed, it is now evident Ontario led the Canadian recovery in 1983. For instance, manufacturing shipments rose by 10.7 per cent compared with 7.0 per cent across the rest of Canada. Similarly, retail sales expanded by 9.6 per cent in Ontario versus 6.6 per cent in the rest of the country, and most encouraging was the 5.2 per cent increase in employment since December 1982.
The automotive industry played a key role in driving Ontario's recovery. In fact, almost half of the growth in manufacturing shipments in 1983 was secured by the transportation equipment industry. This experience demonstrates the ongoing importance and underlying resilience of this base industry. Also, it confirms the importance my government attaches to helping our firms adjust to new global circumstances. As well, it strengthens our determination to encourage offshore auto manufacturers to increase significantly investment in North America. We expect to see concrete results this year.
Of comparable importance to northern Ontario, our mining industry is extremely robust. Last year, for instance, exploration activity doubled, and with the completion of the new gold mining and milling facility at Hemlo, 800 full-time jobs will be secured and Ontario will again take the lead as Canada's largest gold producer.
Across our province the recovery will expand in 1984. Strong United States growth is expected to continue, offering wider export opportunities. As well, the European economies, along with most others where performance has lagged behind the North American recovery, are now growing again, providing further opportunities for trade. Within Ontario, healthy growth in real incomes, along with an improved mortgage market, should result in a good increase in housing starts in 1984.
A renewed spirit of confidence in ourselves and in our circumstances will assist us in our important work. However, the fear born of deep and painful recession cannot be replaced by complacency or neglect. Indeed, while our challenges can now be more confidently addressed, our responsibilities remain great and have not diminished.
The upturn of a severe business cycle will alleviate much of the hardship our people have experienced. Nevertheless, without responsible leadership and co-operative action, it cannot assure just and secure growth with decent opportunities for all our citizens.
We should be encouraged that Ontario made a leading contribution to employment recovery last year. Furthermore, employment expansion will continue. However, while the unemployment rate has declined sharply, it remains too high and will stay too high without a fresh commitment to serve the nationwide employment goals we enjoyed in the past.
As well, while economic growth is under way, we are witnessing a major transformation of the economy and, thus, we must prepare to meet new tests and new risks. Traditional patterns of employment, skill requirements, investment and industry growth are changing dramatically. These changes raise social as well as economic questions that cannot be answered merely by traditional economic policies. Nevertheless, if they are addressed directly with supportive and sensitive measures, they can be overcome.
So, the central task before our province is to take full, fair and durable advantage of the recovery under way at present. Before proceeding on the agenda ahead, however, my government emphasizes that our goals cannot be reached by forcing the rate of growth generally or exceeding the financial and practical limits of government.
Hard lessons were learned during the fight against inflation. It is well understood that inflationary deficits do not create genuine growth in long-term employment; rather, they can cost jobs. At the same time, inflation always imposes a heavy tax on the less powerful and those on fixed incomes. Clearly, it is essential that profits are turned into productive investments and that wage claims are disciplined by the realities of world competition.
My government is determined to extend its efforts to ease and encourage adjustment. However, while government can be the friend of positive change, it cannot fully control the processes. Indeed, it is precisely at times of rapid adjustment that private enterprise and individual entrepreneurs make their greatest contribution, seeking out new opportunities and setting aside old ways of doing things. From that perspective, my government will undertake selective and supportive measures and will maximize its efforts by working in co-operation and in partnership with all those elements of the economy committed to meeting the challenge.
It must be noted that the leadership of the government of Canada is in transition and, consequently, the general direction of national economic policy may be uncertain for some time. Nevertheless, my government reconfirms its willingness to work with the government of Canada on important specific tasks. Bearing in mind the fresh interest in technology, innovation and industrial adjustment, many opportunities exist to improve the effectiveness of our efforts through more systematic and concrete co-operation. The distance between our senior governments, even when they are not differing, is a real tax on Canada's vitality -- a tax our major competitors do not pay.
For our part, the government of Ontario will carry its share of the challenge. My ministers, and in particular the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) in his budget, will place before you a range of initiatives to help Ontario advance in the year ahead. In order to maximize for all Ontarians the benefits of the present recovery, my government's actions will be guided by three fundamental and timely goals. It is within our capacity and it is our obligation to improve access for young people and women to the benefits of economic growth and challenging work; to reinforce the ability of industries and mature workers to meet and master change; and to ensure steady improvement in our quality of life and in the quality of government services.
Last year, public support for youth employment creation was increased dramatically. In the light of the continuing dimension of the challenge, my government will extend substantially this priority commitment. To countenance for long massive youth unemployment would be unconscionable and would diminish Ontario's future vigour. Simply, economic renewal without meaningful work for our young would be a cruel illusion.
We should appreciate, however, that the economy created 49,000 new jobs for our young people during the past year and that a strong economy will make the greatest contribution to expanding genuine employment. That is our overriding responsibility. In addition, we can and will increase our direct support to help provide employment for young people.
Along with an increase in funds for the Ontario career action program, our youth employment counselling centres will be expanded significantly. In order to assure clear access to the array of initiatives across our ministries, a consolidated one-window approach will be introduced with one responsible minister. To enhance critical skill requirements in our small and medium-sized enterprises and, as well, to introduce graduates to potential careers, my government will broaden its export apprenticeship program to critical fields in the applied sciences. Also, the government will extend access for young people to entrepreneurial opportunities.
Along with efforts to improve women's rights and opportunities in the marketplace, my government will undertake a significant reform of its own manpower policies in order to enhance management and employee flexibility and, consequently, to increase career opportunities in government, particularly for women. From now on, to provide wider access to improved rights and benefits, the civil service will include employees who work on a regular part-time basis.
Furthermore, many initiatives designed to maintain and extend our social capital and basic services will create worthwhile employment. For instance, my ministries will assist small communities to upgrade police and fire stations, support the growth of recreational boating and help develop new marinas. Our support for local measures to protect our water resources will be broadened and, of course, the construction of the Natural Resources Centre at the University of Toronto and the extension of the GO Transit lakeshore line will be of significant benefit. Along with the federal government, we will provide funds for the design and manufacture of bilevel railway cars to strengthen employment and transportation in northern Ontario.
Further initiatives will help the private sector create employment. For instance, we will work with our tourist industry to create tourism co-operatives to help unemployed tradespeople find jobs, strengthening our richly diverse tourist resources. In addition, we will intensify our efforts to attract American tourists to Ontario.
Increased long-term job creation in our service sector, along with a healthy broadening of our vital financial community, will most certainly take place following our decision to create a self-governing and self-financing insurance exchange in Toronto.
It is acknowledged universally that industrial transformation inevitably destroys some jobs, but it can also create many more. The key to emerging from this period of adjustment with full employment and a strong, prosperous and competitive economy is investment, and investment must accelerate now before it is too late.
The high level of underutilized plant capacity in our economy does not excuse inaction. In this period of fundamental change, the measure of competitive world-class investment is not merely the dollar value of plant capacity but the quality of our performance in manpower training, technology adaptation, trade development and teamwork. These four goals require and will receive intensified action by my government.
With the growing mobility of capital and technology, our people will be the critical arbitrator of our wellbeing. Furthermore, if adjustment is to be accepted and not resisted, workers must have reasonable access to new skills and new technology. Good government cannot protect our working people from change itself, but it can equip them with the ability to change and to continue to enjoy rewarding, valued employment.
Consequently, the government will introduce a substantially expanded training and retraining program which will support new initiatives in the work place and in educational institutions. Also, it will create a province-wide network of training and business development consultants to assist industry in upgrading their human resources. The government intends to consult shortly with the government of Canada on this shared area of responsibility.
In addition, we are preparing initiatives, based primarily on the review of the sheltered workshop program, to widen work and training opportunities for handicapped persons in our society and to improve the business marketing acumen of these industries.
To enhance the focus, co-ordination, access and public understanding of our training priority, the government will take all necessary steps to co-ordinate the efforts of local training councils, develop training software and facilitate the process of industrial adjustment and skills development.
With continuing high real interest rates in Canada, the introduction of competitive state-of-the-art technology is not simply a consulting problem, which our technology centres are addressing vigorously, but a cost problem as well for many of our best small and medium-sized industries.
Two thirds of all new jobs are created by enterprising men and women who start small businesses. Their success now depends on their ability to use up-to-date technology. Thus, the Ontario development corporations, in concert with our technology centres, will change their loan programs to simplify financing for new ventures, help small companies acquire high-technology equipment and develop new uses for Canadian high-technology products in the service sector. Also, the government will continue to encourage a closer working relationship between our financial community and the higher risk innovation requirements of our industrial base.
As indicated in previous statements to this assembly, the development of new and expanded facilities in higher education will henceforth be selective and related to those programs that best serve the interests of the province and nation as a whole. In this regard, funds will be directed towards the expansion of facilities for the Institute of Computer Research and related activities at the University of Waterloo: where such programs have already earned a worldwide reputation. We are confident this investment will not only produce graduates with skills and knowledge required for the years ahead but will create incentives for industry to expand its efforts within related fields of excellence.
In addition, unique measures to meet unique assignments will be designed for such key areas as the retooling of our winning Canadian auto parts firms and the modernization of small food processors.
The future wellbeing of our agriculture industry will be assisted by creating a widely representative advisory council on agriculture. It will provide independent advice to the government on all matters affecting agriculture's future prosperity.
Beyond intensifying our efforts to export our agriculture products to the American market, the government will set up a commercial crop development fund to support research on new crops with commercial potential in Ontario. Crop research and production initiatives will also be undertaken to support the further development of agriculture in northern Ontario.
World trade almost doubled in the 1970s and is expanding once more. If Ontario is to prosper and maximize its potential, we must share fully in this adventure. In the past year, our export performance strongly contributed to economic recovery and job creation. It is crucial that this momentum continue and broaden. My government reaffirms its commitment to exports and, accordingly, further action will be undertaken.
For instance, the export success fund will be reinforced and the Ontario International Corp. and the Ontario Educational Services Corp. will be integrated and strengthened to accelerate the export of our highly regarded professional and public sector services. Also, support will be provided to take advantage of our world-recognized competence in mobile communications and electrotechnology.
The Board of Industrial Leadership and Development will co-ordinate these investments in training, technology and trade, while the marketplace will serve as the best allocator of precious resources in the private sector. Nevertheless, if our collective efforts are to be mobilized to best effect, we must match our competition in teamwork as well.
Successful industrial jurisdictions avoid interfering with the swift decision-making ability of the entrepreneur. However, they have come to understand that if the state nurtures common goals and a spirit of shared investment in change, then, in fact, more is accomplished on time. My government has long held this to be a national priority, has expressed its views to the Royal Commission on Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada and will respond positively when the government of Canada chooses to lead.
However, the 1980s are well under way and, bearing in mind the urgency of the task, my government, under the stewardship of the Premier (Mr. Davis), will convene, primarily with business and labour, a Conference on Ontario's Economic Future and its competitive position in the world economy. Working with the strategic directions outlined in this address and in the upcoming budget of the Treasurer, my government will help lead our economic partners in Ontario to a shared appreciation of the basic questions underlying our investment in the future. Specifically: Do we agree on the goals that can bring us together? What are our significant and separate responsibilities? What are the critical obstacles? How best can we help each other?
The ability, along with the obligation, of any government to set new directions while maintaining public trust largely depends on the care it takes in maintaining basic services and in advancing community concerns. This is well understood by my government, and during this session the government will be active in both these fundamental fields.
In order to preserve the quality of our future and the diversity of our rich heritage, my government will undertake further initiatives to sustain our natural resources and protect our environment. A Canada-Ontario five-year agreement has been developed to strengthen the management and renewal of our forests.
To secure the future for our commercial fishing industry, we are implementing a new licensing and management system. Furthermore, the government will convene a Water Resources Conference this June, representing all responsible Canadian and American governments as well as scientists and technical experts, to assess the conflicting demands on and the future quality of our Great Lakes system.
Beyond the government's firm commitment to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 50 per cent by 1994, my government remains ready to stand together with the government of Canada in pursuing serious co-operation on the part of the United States.
While we remain vigilant in the protection of Ontario's birthright, the environment, we are prepared to reform, from experience, the processes in our regulatory framework. For instance, in some cases mediation may be a more sensible means of resolving disputes than existing administrative or judicial processes. Consequently, experimental mediation procedures will be initiated with the Environmental Assessment Board. Also, in close consultation with environmental groups and other interested parties, we will explore whether indeed this is the time to review, not the intent but the costly complexity of the procedures now mandated by our environmental laws.
Our government-wide responsibility to streamline, modernize and prune government regulations will be pursued energetically this year. Also, the government looks forward to the recommendations of the Thom Commission of Inquiry into Residential Tenancies. In improving our rental review procedures, the government will hold to its commitment to protect the legitimate interests of both tenants and landlords in Ontario.
My government has resolved, in the face of increasing pressure on and opportunities in the financial sector, to determine the necessary measures to ensure the health and competitiveness of the financial institutions operating in Ontario including the banks, trust companies, investment dealers and insurance firms. Towards this end, the government will establish a task force to advise us on the organization and operation of the financial community in Ontario.
Following careful and extensive consultations, the government will be introducing, in this session, reforms to the workers' compensation system, ranging from the benefit structure to improved labour and business representation on the corporate board.
Along with our determination to advance the just interests and rights of women in our programs generally and in the community at large, specific actions will be undertaken. Building on our own extensive program, the government will provide leadership in the field of positive affirmative action. Crown agencies, school boards and municipalities will be asked to join with us in setting up effective affirmative action programs. Beyond the 245 private companies which have made similar voluntary commitments to date, the government will continue to encourage further participation in the private sector.
The government will proceed with amendments to the Employment Standards Act to strengthen provisions for equal pay and pregnancy and adoption leave. Also, we will review access to and the quality of child care in Ontario, with particular reference to the needs of families in both urban and rural areas.
In serving our society, my government will undertake a series of initiatives in the social and justice fields. They are not inspired to extend the reach of government, but to enforce and enhance the rights of the individual in this civilized and decent province.
In the light of arguments before the courts on the legal framework of the Ontario Board of Censors, my government firmly restates its conviction that it is this assembly's obligation to uphold our community values and provide reasonable and clear-cut protection against exploitative film and video productions. Required legislative changes will be introduced swiftly.
One true measure of a society's respect for the individual is its attention to the needs of its elderly citizens. Accordingly, the Treasurer will pursue with other senior governments pension reforms to increase benefits for single elderly and the disabled, along with inflation protection and improved portability for private pensions.
Significant further resources will be provided to fight violence against women and children in the home. Funding will be increased for transition houses and northern family resource centres and associated services to encourage greater community involvement in addressing this intolerable social problem.
To improve the framework of services to children, the government will proceed with the proposed Child and Family Services Act. In order to maintain the integrity of the Family Law Reform Act, amendments will be proposed and, as well, a strict enforcement of family maintenance orders will be instituted. In addition, the definition of family property will be reviewed.
Drinking and driving remains, tragically and wastefully, a major killer in Ontario. Consequently, my government will intensify its efforts to combat this menace. While looking forward to action by the Parliament of Canada to strengthen the criminal law, my government will continue its leadership in heightening public understanding, extending community-based programs and enforcing our rights to reasonable safety on the highways.
As well as strengthening law enforcement and the efficient management of our courts system, the government will improve the services and programs designed to help victims, witnesses and other innocent citizens who come into contact with the justice system. Enabling legislation will be introduced to provide for provincial administration of the Young Offenders Act. Furthermore, building on our tradition of community concern and action, we will continue to encourage communities to set up Neighbourhood Watch committees as an invaluable and effective means to enhance the safety of our citizens.
The government is determined to maintain for the people of Ontario what we believe is the finest health care system in the world. Our success will depend on the continuing co-operation of the medical profession, our public hospitals and all those involved in the delivery of health care.
New measures will be required and will be undertaken this year. For instance, the introduction of teaching health units will advance the public health sector. Emphasis on community-based care for the elderly and the mentally ill will allow the vast majority to remain in familiar surroundings. The government will continue to provide additional institutional facilities for those who will best benefit from such care. Additional chronic and nursing home beds will be built, and changes in the living environment within existing facilities will be based on the express desires of residents.
Le ministère de la Santé accroîtra l'accès aux méthodes les plus à jour dans le but de prévenir les maladies rénales et de les traiter. De plus, les services d'urgence seront élargis afin de faciliter aux malades l'accès à l'hôpital le plus approprié, et une nouvelle loi sur les services d'urgence sera soumise a l'Assemblée législative. En outre, nous allons entreprendre des programmes visant à augmenter le personnel francophone dans le domaine de la santé et voir à une meilleure répartition de ces services dans les régions francophones.
The Ministry of Health will increase access to the most up-to-date methods to prevent and treat kidney disease. Emergency services will also be expanded to enhance patient access to the most appropriate hospital centre. At the same time, a new Emergency Health Services Act will be introduced. In addition, we will undertake programs to increase the supply of French-speaking health care workers and a better distribution of health services in French-speaking areas.
As our society evolves and advances, your government will continue reform and innovation necessary to maintain our high investment in education. For instance, this year remote secondary schools in the north will receive special funds to deepen their curriculum and upgrade their capital facilities.
In consultation with the Council of Ontario Universities and the Ontario Teachers' Federation, the government will work to design a province-wide testing program necessary to assess the effectiveness of our curriculum and the performance of our students. The teacher in the classroom is the cornerstone of excellence in education and, to a great extent, the promise of Ontario. However, to assist the government in meeting its responsibilities and parents in participating in their children's education, such tests will help all of us maintain the high quality of our education system.
Consistent with our previous commitments to minority-language education rights in our province, my government will reintroduce early in this session amendments to the Education Act to recognize the right of every French-speaking or English-speaking pupil to an education in his or her own language and to enable the Minister of Education to resolve situations in which a school board or the Languages of Instruction Commission of Ontario may disagree on an appropriate course of action.
As well, legislation will be introduced regarding the governance of minority-language education along the lines proposed in the Ministry of Education's white paper, as refined by the current consultation process with the school boards and associations concerned.
To help new immigrants become full and confident members of our community, the government will extend its Ontario Welcome House program and continue to improve its support for special English language training. To widen access to our highly regarded TV Ontario network, provision for additional transmitters in eastern Ontario will be initiated this year. Progress in building and extending access to Ontario's cultural excellence will be maintained. In the long haul, the calibre of our society and, indeed, its economy will be shaped significantly by our commitment to the arts and the artist.
Further to the recent first ministers' conference on the Constitution, my government restates its determination to work with other governments to confirm aboriginal rights in our Constitution, consistent with the economic development goals of all citizens of Ontario.
My government anticipates that this assembly will agree that the initiatives we present will be of general and timely benefit to Ontario. However, we wish to reassert that our continuing ability to meet new opportunities will not be borne by a diminished private sector but primarily by careful management of our resources and significant productivity gains in our services.
While our growing population has increased the need for services, public sector employment has steadily declined and public sector wages have risen responsibly. Consequently, our productivity has clearly increased, much to the benefit of the public at large and much to the credit of our employees.
The burden of government spending and our deficit is the lowest per capita in Canada. However, productivity is an ongoing responsibility and further measures will be taken to enhance the value of services for each tax dollar. Also, we will work closely with the agencies which receive provincial funds to consider value for money in their operations. Approximately 75 per cent of our expenditures are transfer payments. The autonomy enjoyed by these agencies carries with it the responsibility for effective financial and administrative stewardship through modern management practices such as value-for-money auditing.
Honourable members, I am most pleased to acknowledge the appointment of a new Governor General and indicate that we look forward to welcoming her officially to Ontario. Also, it is appropriate to point out that the government will support the United Nations' choice of 1985 as International Youth Year, with the theme of participation, development and peace. Those principles are the signature of a youthful heart. Truly, they were well expressed in the courage and energy of the builders of Ontario we honour this year.
It is my government's confident expectation that the directions we will now undertake will help provide a future of opportunity and fulfilment for the spirit of youth which still charges this great province.
May Divine Providence attend your deliberations.
In our Sovereign's name, I thank you.
God bless the Queen and Canada.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.
Mr. Speaker: I beg to inform the House that I have obtained a copy of His Honour's speech. In order to prevent mistakes, I will now read it. [Reading dispensed with.]
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
COUNTY COURTS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 1, An Act to amend the County Courts Act.
Motion agreed to.
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor to this House be taken into consideration on Thursday next, March 22.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that commencing tomorrow, March 21, the House will not sit in the chamber on Wednesdays unless otherwise ordered.
Motion agreed to.
HONOURABLE WILLIAM EARL ROWE
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, it is my very sad duty to formally notify the House of the death of the Honourable Earl Rowe on February 9, at the age of 89.
Throughout his full and active life, Earl Rowe made numerous contributions to the conduct of public affairs at all levels of government in Canada. His record of achievement included service as a municipal councillor, as a reeve, as a provincial legislator and as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. In addition, he served with distinction as a long-time member of Parliament, the youngest member of the Bennett cabinet, a member of the Privy Council and as the Queen's representative in this province.
Thus, for some 66 years of his 89, Earl Rowe gave distinguished and caring service to the people of Simcoe county, to this province and to this nation. On a day such as this, it is particularly fitting that we recall the five years during which he ably executed the responsibilities as our Lieutenant Governor. His efforts did much to establish the respect and affection in which the Queen's representative is held in our province.
While public life certainly occupied a great deal of his time, Earl Rowe also managed to find fulfilment and achievement in the areas of business; farming; the breeding of horses, primarily standardbreds, and standardbred racing itself. His accomplishments encompassed the sporting life of our province, and his interests were translated into the establishments at Windsor and, his most recent affection, in the great community of Barrie.
As one who knew him rather well, I believe his greatest and probably his most important achievement was the raising of his family together with his very gracious wife, who passed away earlier this year. His daughter, Jean Casselman Wadds, and his son, William, both of whom are with us in the House today, have already done much in their own right to ensure that the Rowe family will continue to play a vital role in the life of our province and our country.
On behalf of the government and the members of the Legislature, I extend our deepest sympathies to the Rowe family. I say in a very personal sense how much I will miss the advice, stories and reminiscences of the person I always regarded as not only a very great Canadian but also a very decent human being.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise on behalf of my colleagues to share the Premier's words about the esteemed Honourable William Earl Rowe.
A poet once intoned in his poem God Give Us Men:
"Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy,
"Men who possess opinions and will,
"Men who have honour,
"Men who will not lie."
Such a man was the Honourable William Earl Rowe.
Many of us in this chamber began our public careers after Mr. Rowe's public career had ended, but there are many of my veteran colleagues who remember him with great warmth and affection. I refer particularly to the dean of the House, the member for Wellington South (Mr. Worton), the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. Newman), and the former leader of our party, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon).
There is no doubt that Mr. Rowe took great pride in achieving the lofty position as Her Majesty's representative in this great province. It was a fitting tribute to his tireless contribution to our system of parliamentary democracy, so well chronicled by the Premier today.
Aside from his political career, he gained great respect as a businessman and horseman of some note. He knew his horses very well, I am told. Someone told me he gained some knowledge of the anatomy of those horses from his attendance in this House.
It is for his devotion to the people of Ontario that he will be remembered by us all. I join the Premier in expressing to his very distinguished children our sympathies, as well as congratulations for having such a wonderful father.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, in a very real sense we are here not to mourn but to celebrate a remarkable public life and, as has been pointed out by the Premier, a remarkable private life.
In doing my research on the career of Mr. Rowe, naturally I spoke to my predecessor and the chairman of our caucus, who remembered him well and with affection. He even remembered the 1937 election which, I need not point out, Mr. MacDonald did not contest, but he remembered listening as a student at Queen's University to the radio debates and broadcasts at that time.
I perked up in looking at Mr. Rowe's career, because I realized he served in both the provincial and federal Houses and then left federal politics to take up the leadership of the Conservative Party. Unfortunately, he did not manage to win a seat in the election of 1937 and went back to Ottawa. I do not see any particular parallels in that career; other than the obvious comparison between Mitch Hepburn and the current occupant of the Premier's chair, I cannot see any other comparison.
It is a time of celebration. This is a remarkable person who had a career of tremendous distinction both provincially and federally, one that extended over many decades and many governments. As has been mentioned, he took a great deal of interest in all aspects of life, including the world of sport and recreation.
To the family that is here today, Mrs. Wadds and Mr. Rowe, I want to extend our strongest feelings and warmest best wishes to you on the career of your father, and we join with you in remembering him with affection and respect.
The House adjourned at 4 p.m.