L014 - Fri 5 Jul 1985 / Ven 5 jul 1985
The House met at 10 a.m.
BOARD OF INTERNAL ECONOMY
Mr. Speaker: I beg to inform the House that I have laid upon the table a copy of an order in council appointing the following members as commissioners to the Board of Internal Economy:
The Speaker, who shall be chairman; the Honourable Robert Fletcher Nixon, Treasurer of Ontario and Minister of Economics and Minister of Revenue, appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council from among the members of the executive council; the Honourable Jack Riddell, Minister of Agriculture and Food, appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council from among the members of the executive council; the Honourable Elinor Caplan, Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet and Minister of Government Services, appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council from among the members of the executive council; Joan Smith, MPP, appointed by the caucus of the government; Milton Edward Charles Gregory, MPP, better known as Bud, appointed by the caucus of the official opposition; Elie Walter Martel, MPP, appointed by the caucus of the New Democratic Party of Ontario.
Mr. Speaker: I would also like to inform the members that we have a guest in the Speaker's gallery, the Honourable John J. Harman, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia. Mr. Harman is breaking his journey in Toronto on his way to attend a presiding officers' conference in Kiribati, formerly the Gilbert Islands. I ask the members to join me in welcoming Mr. Speaker Harman.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Later today I will be introducing for first reading a number of amendments to the Workers' Compensation Act to provide for an increase in benefit levels. In recent years, it has been the practice to make such increases effective annually from July 1. That tradition will be maintained, with the awarding of a general adjustment of five per cent.
In addition, those claimants receiving survivors' benefits prior to April 1, 1985, the date on which the new benefit provisions of Bill 101 were implemented, will receive a further increase of three per cent, for a total increase of eight per cent. All these increases will be effective from July 1, 1985.
In arriving at a determination of the appropriate level of increase for workers' compensation benefits in 1985, the government was guided by the desire to ensure that at the very least the adjustment in question keeps pace with both the increase in consumer prices and the increase in average wage levels throughout the provincial economy since the last benefit increase in July 1984.
At the same time, the government needs to be mindful of the potential impact of a benefit amendment on the future assessment rate policies of the Workers' Compensation Board. It is also very conscious of the fact that we are currently in the midst of a major overhaul of both the benefit system and the administrative structures incorporated into the act, a process that was begun but not completed with the recent enactment of Bill 101. I will return to the subject again in a moment.
A five per cent increase provides a margin over and above the rise in both the consumer price index and the average industrial wage in the past year. I am confident that no member of this House will begrudge that extra amount to the injured workers of this province. Even with the five per cent increase, the cumulative rise in workers' compensation benefits over the past decade would be slightly lower than the increase in the average industrial wage over the same period. At the same time, a five per cent increase meets the test of affordability. In short, it represents a responsible and equitable adjustment to the benefit levels of injured workers at the present time.
The additional three per cent increase for those in receipt of survivors' benefits paid in respect of fatalities that occurred before April 1, 1985, recognizes that this group received no direct monetary benefit from Bill 101. That bill created a differential between the respective entitlements of pre- and post-Bill 101 survivor's benefit claims. The government is proposing that those survivors who remain on the pre-Bill 101 system of flat-rate spouses' pensions and dependent children's allowances will under this bill receive an extra three per cent and will continue in future years to receive benefit increases somewhat above the general average until such time as the gap I described is completely closed.
I referred a few moments ago to the fact that Bill 101, in the government's view, represents only a partial response to the very real problems and concerns experienced by injured workers in Ontario. These include the crucial issues surrounding the determination of appropriate levels for permanent disability pension; the frequency with which and the means by which these are to be periodically adjusted, including the issue of indexation of benefits; the whole question of reinstatement and re-employment rights for injured workers; and the securing of improvements in the effectiveness of the board's vocational rehabilitation programs.
Furthermore, I believe it is highly appropriate, in an era of escalating costs for the workers' compensation system, that we actively seek out new ways of ensuring the system is cost-effective. Certainly, an improved overall health and safety performance in the work place, in addition to its intrinsic value, would also have a welcome cost reduction effect. In furtherance of these objectives, and as part of its phase 2 review, this government is examining the contribution that experience rating of assessment premiums can be expected to make.
In considering the next stage of the review process, this government intends to keep open effective lines of communication with the board's client groups and to continue public discussion and dialogue on workers' compensation matters. However, a guiding principle of the review exercise will be to develop and implement the needed reforms in as expeditious a fashion as possible.
Accordingly, the review will be given high priority and upon its completion I will bring forward appropriate amending legislation. In the meantime, the benefit increase I have announced today will adequately compensate injured workers for the loss in value of their present benefit levels since the last increase they have received. I know of no group more deserving of such treatment.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: It gives me great pleasure today to announce the immediate proclamation of part IX of the Environmental Protection Act to provide a much higher level of environmental security and protection for the people of Ontario who may be affected by spills of environmentally hazardous substances.
This legislation has been under development by the previous administration for a very long time. It has been 2,024 days since this bill received royal assent and 2,035 days since it received third reading in the Legislature in December 1979. I am having this legislation proclaimed just nine days after being sworn in as the Minister of the Environment.
Accordingly, I have set a tight implementation deadline. The regulation for this legislation will go into force without fail on November 29, 1985. I have reviewed the basic legislation, which is sound and embodies basic principles on which I believe all of us can agree. Let me review those principles.
First, the owners, handlers and carriers of hazardous materials must take all precautions to prevent spills of those materials. Second, once a spill has taken place, those same parties bear full and absolute responsibility for its immediate control and cleanup and for restoration measures to undo any damage to the environment. Third, any innocent victims who bear cost or suffer damage from a spill are entitled to reimbursement and compensation.
Essentially, all parties in this Legislature have agreed on those principles since 1978 when the spills bill, as it was called then, was introduced. The problem has been the political will to implement it. I have reviewed the draft regulation prepared by the ministry after extensive discussions with interested parties to implement this legislation. It is in many ways good legislation and a good regulation.
The ministry would have the authority to order immediate control, cleanup and restoration of a damaged environment by those responsible for the spill if they do not respond quickly enough on their own. When a hazardous substance has been spilled to the detriment and risk of the environment and the public, control and cleanup cannot wait for the question of liability to be resolved.
As a further detail, the ministry would be authorized to order municipal or other parties to do control, cleanup and restoration work and to provide right of access for those purposes. The legislation also provides for the recovery of reasonable costs and expenses.
The legislation also provides for an environmental compensation corporation to deal with applications from those who incur costs or suffer from a spill. Beyond that point, however, I noted flaws in the draft regulation as I first saw it. Most notably, it established the new compensation corporation as a court of last resort that could act only after all other legal remedies are exhausted.
I believe spill victims deserve better treatment and I have ordered the draft regulation changed so the corporation can provide more immediate relief for innocent parties who suffer from a spill. My staff is moving quickly to revise the regulation and make it available in its new form.
I also intend to take immediate action to appoint the environmental compensation corporation so the corporation can be ready November 29 to deal with applications from any innocent victims seeking costs or compensation as a result of a spill.
A special panel will be appointed shortly to review the regulation in public meetings and to consider the views of all interested parties. The review must be completed by the end of August so that any remaining concerns can be resolved and the regulation fine-tuned. It should be in final form early enough to give industry and insurers at least two months to take the necessary steps to comply with the law by the end of November.
In the interests of good and open government, I will ensure that this final fine-tuning of the regulation is done in an open and consultative way. However, the consultation will be brief and to the point to ensure there is no further needless delay in getting these protective measures in force. We are not debating the principles of the bill in this process. I want to make it clear that my government stands behind the basic principles proclaimed in the bill itself.
I am also proceeding immediately with some administrative changes within my ministry to ensure prompt and effective response in dealing with spills in this province. I am establishing a spills reporting centre, which will operate 24 hours a day, with a single reporting number for all spills anywhere in the province. This office will assess the spill and arrange an immediate investigation by ministry staff or other responsible agency.
In the interim, while this office is being set up, I am providing police forces with direct access to response teams through the emergency response number provided under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act. All this is on a tight timetable, which reflects my sense of urgency and the importance I attach to this issue.
ROMAN CATHOLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Mr. F. S. Miller: I wish to address a question to the Minister of Education. We have been watching with great interest over the past day or so as Bill 30 came forward, and I want to know one thing: If the court rules that the bill is unconstitutional, will the minister give an absolute guarantee that the funding will continue and that he will not backtrack on his commitment?
Hon. Mr. Conway: I want to make it very clear that this government, while it believes Bill 30 is appropriate and constitutional, will take whatever direction the Ontario Court of Appeal might provide when it makes its ruling. We hope that will be some time later this fall.
Mr. F. S. Miller: I have some trouble with that answer. I have a quotation from the Premier (Mr. Peterson). It makes me wonder who is making the decisions over there. Here is the quotation: "It is going to happen. If the courts find full funding to be unconstitutional, then the province will change the law or push for an amendment to the Charter of Rights."
Is that the minister's position? Is that the Premier's position? Is it the party's position? What is the government's position?
Hon. Mr. Conway: Our position is that we want to discharge our responsibility in making good the commitment that has been unanimously agreed to by this and the previous Legislative Assembly. We will take under advisement whatever the court tells us.
Quite frankly, as the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) has indicated to me on a number of occasions, we expect this to be approved and rendered valid by the Court of Appeal. But if one wants to get into hypotheticals, there is a whole range of hypothetical situations. I do not and cannot at this time canvass all of them. Very clearly, this is a law-abiding government and it will take under advisement and do what the Court of Appeal suggests has to be done.
Mr. Rae: If we could change the rules, I would address a supplementary to the Attorney General. I cannot, so I will ask the Minister of Education why the government is ignoring the fact that in all likelihood there will be an appeal from the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
I would have thought the government would at least leave open this possibility. Surely it wants to wait for the highest court in the land to speak on the question of the constitutionality of a change of this kind before it makes the kinds of statements that have just been made by the Minister of Education.
Hon. Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, the leader of the third party has indicated an interest in having the view of the Attorney General. I would, with your permission, refer that supplementary to the Attorney General.
Hon. Mr. Scott: I do not think there is any inconsistency between the question and the answer given by the Minister of Education. If the Court of Appeal should decide the bill is unconstitutional and unamendable, I would anticipate this government would not submit it for passage. But we will reserve our right, as all parties to the reference will reserve their rights, to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. That is the court that ultimately will decide this question.
Mr. Pope: My supplementary is to the Minister of Education. The minister has initiated this reference. He knows it is going to take at least three years, with an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. He has thrown this issue into total confusion by referring it to the courts when the Premier said clearly six weeks ago that it was going to happen, that he was going to amend the legislation or the Charter of Rights and that there would be funding.
Am I to take it that he is not guaranteeing the students, parents and teachers of this province that he will continue the funding?
Hon. Mr. Conway: The parents, teachers and trustees in the Roman Catholic school system should be under no wrong impression about our commitment to them in this connection. I hope they ought not to be under any confusion about the position and the commitment of the honourable members in the loyal opposition of the Conservative Party in this connection as well.
Quite clearly, we will not act in a way that disregards the court. I want to make it clear that we decided upon the court reference because it was obvious that there were some people in the community who were going to take this matter to court. Because we feel very strongly that the matter, which we believe to be constitutional, will be so found, we have made the reference in that connection.
I want to reiterate that we feel a very strong commitment to the young people who have acted in good faith on the basis of a three-party commitment. To the very best of our ability, those young people now moving into Catholic education will be provided for.
Mr. F. S. Miller: What he is saying, of course, is that he is running it, not his leader.
Mr. F. S. Miller: I have a question of the Premier. He has told his Minister of Health (Mr. Elston) that he is to discuss extra billing with the Ontario Medical Association. Are the Premier's instructions to him that he is to ban extra billing at any cost, in any event, or is he to discuss some options? Which is it?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: It is very clear. We are opposed to extra billing. We have instructed the minister to have discussions with the OMA and other interested parties to work out an effective route. The Minister of Health will be aware that a number of other provinces have dealt with this issue and in some of those provinces they have had courage and leadership. They were not just a captive of one group, but they have moved sensibly to comply with the provisions of the Canada Health Act.
We are not anxious to sit by and lose $50 million a year under the Canada Health Act transfers, nor do we believe that extra billing is appropriate. Therefore, we are going to work out a sensitive system that is respectful of the rights of our medical profession, for which we have a very high respect, and we are going to work it out in consultation. That is our approach; that is the style of government we have.
Mr. Speaker: The member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick.
An hon. member: The member is popular.
Mr. Grossman: Where were you when I needed you?
Mr. Breaugh: We were here.
Mr. Grossman: Among the options that I understand are going to be discussed, I would like to know from the Premier specifically whether those options will or will not include any discussion over whether some doctors in Ontario will be permitted to continue to extra-bill for any length of time under any circumstances? Will that option be discussed or not?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I cannot tell the member today all the options that are going to be discussed.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: Look, we will discuss a whole range of options, but those members know where we stand; we do not know where they stand. With great respect, that is a silly question.
We are going to discuss in a sensitive way all of the things that are available. We are opposed to extra billing. There are a number of things that have to be worked out with respect to research and so on. Members opposite know where we stand. We are not afraid to make decisions, unlike my friend opposite, who runs away from all of it.
Mr. Bennett: Make one today.
Mr. Grossman: They are going to have a green paper on it.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Rae: Wait for it. It is nice to see the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman). It is nice to have a House leader here again.
Mr. Speaker: It would also be nice to get a supplementary question.
Mr. Rae: I am sure the government will have studied the number of approaches taken in other provinces. I hope the Premier will look at the arbitration procedures worked out in Nova Scotia, the agreements that have been arrived at in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and realize that there are Tory provincial governments right across this country that have finally come to terms with one of the realities of the 20th century, which is that we have a publicly funded, universally accessible, medical insurance plan in this country, in which we would like and expect the medical profession to be participants in a fair and just system of compensation for the profession as well as for other people.
Is the Premier looking at those various schemes? Is he putting those particular options, which get rid of extra billing and provide fairness for the medical profession, before its representatives in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The answer to the question is a very clear yes. There are a number of options available, as the leader of the New Democratic Party knows. I am sure my friend opposite knows this as well. We want to work in a sensitive and humane way.
We are opposed to extra billing; let there be no mistake about that. But there are a number of options, and we are going to do it as effectively as we can, with consultation with the medical profession. Those meetings have already started. I hope we will have meaningful discussions in the near term and have something to present to this House this fall. That is our intention and that is the time line to which the minister is working at the moment.
Mr. Grossman: As House leader, it is nice to be back and it is nice to have an opposition party in the House. In this case it is the Progressive Conservative Party. I remember when it used to be the New Democratic Party.
Mr. McClellan: Let us hear it for extra billing. Stand up for it.
Mr. Grossman: The Liberal rump is complaining over there.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Was your question, "Are you aware?"
Mr. Grossman: In the absence of an NDP question trying to nail down how many doctors will be permitted to extra-bill, I should like to --
Mr. McClellan: It is your issue. You can have it.
Mr. Grossman: They liked it better when I was not back.
Pursuant to the supplementary question of the NDP, if the Premier is going to discuss arbitration, I presume he is going to discuss other adjustments to the fee schedule for Ontario doctors. Can he assure this House the adjustment in the fee schedule, which obviously he will discuss with the OMA, is not going to amount to more than the $50 million he is fighting to reclaim from the federal government? Can he give a firm commitment to this House that he is going to save that $50 million, or is he going to entertain spending more than $50 million in adjustments to the fee schedule?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: To my honourable friend, who represents the opposition not only in this House but in his own party, I will say I am not going to stand in this House and give guarantees of anything in this regard right now. It would be most foolish to do so. Had he been sitting over here, the member would not have done that either. We are going in with an open mind, a spirit of generosity and with our principles intact, and we expect results. That is what the member will see.
ANNUAL REPORT, OMBUDSMAN
Mr. Rae: I have a question for the Premier arising out of the Ombudsman's report yesterday. I am sure he will be aware that the report lays out 19 cases in which the Ombudsman received no satisfactory response from the government. I would like to ask him whether he would be willing, as a matter of basic practice, to reconsider each of those cases on an independent assessment, based on the very strong grounds put forward by the Ombudsman, ranging from compensation for home owners, to people who feel they have been unjustly dismissed from the public service, to cases involving the Ontario health insurance plan and to many, many cases involving the Workers' Compensation Board.
Will the Premier now be prepared to open each one of those cases and have an independent review by the executive council on the decisions taken with regard to those cases?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I have not had an opportunity to review that report in detail, but I am generally aware of some of the suggestions of the Ombudsman.
I have been thinking about that in the last little while, and perhaps the member's approach is a good one. Another approach would be to put that immediately into the hands of the select committee on the Ombudsman. As the member knows, we are dedicated to making the committees of this House work effectively and well. It may be a legitimate role for the Ombudsman's committee, which is going to have to arbitrate some of these things and build more effective relationships between the Office of the Ombudsman and the WCB.
That is one suggestion I am prepared to put forward. I will discuss it with all members of this House. If they have better ideas, then I am certainly determined to get justice in these matters.
Mr. Rae: The difficulty is that in many cases the Ombudsman's committee has spoken on certain matters and there still has been no response from the administration or the response has still been negative.
I would like to ask the Premier, particularly with respect to the Workers' Compensation Board where there are 11 cases involving what the Ombudsman describes as "systemic problems" -- not simply examples of individual injustices -- to deal specifically with the problem the Ombudsman refers to on many occasions which is the fact that the board has consistently accepted the advice of its own hired doctors as opposed to independent consultants who are advising particular claimants before the board. That is the first problem.
Mr. Speaker: I believe the question has been asked.
Mr. Rae: Will the Premier look at that particular problem with respect to the Workers' Compensation Board? Will he deal with it directly since time is awasting on this issue?
Some of these cases have been floundering within the bureaucracy for four and five years and people still have not had justice done because the government has refused to respond to the Ombudsman.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I certainly have no problem looking at doing what we can do under our jurisdiction; I am happy to do that. Perhaps the structural problems can be addressed in other ways as well. Maybe we will have to look at that through the Workers' Compensation Act and/or the Ombudsman's committee in order to build that better relationship. Perhaps it is something we can work on mutually at the same time. I will have no problem reviewing that, when I have a chance to look at the report, and instructing our officials to move with dispatch on those structural problems the member speaks to, to make for easier communication and quicker and speedier justice.
Mr. Runciman: I am wondering whether the Premier might address a specific question in regard to the Office of the Ombudsman, dealing with the operation of the office and the continuance of the operation of that office. I am basing the question on the position taken by the Treasurer, the member for Brant-Oxford Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), in years gone by, where he is on the record as indicating that the office is really redundant, a waste of taxpayers' dollars and should be abolished. In view of the fact that this member is now the Treasurer, what position does the Premier take on the continued operation of the office?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I do not recall those precise remarks. I do know there were certain discussions in this House on various occasions about the extravagance of certain occupants of the office and certain suggestions on how to make it more effective, lean and efficient. That being said, we will not be eliminating the Office of the Ombudsman.
Mr. Rae: The Premier will know that the process specifically laid out in the act is that the reports of the Ombudsman go to the Premier. What I would like to suggest to the Premier and urge him to do as quickly as possible --
Mr. Speaker: Or you would like to ask the Premier.
Mr. Rae: I would like to ask him whether he will meet with the Ombudsman as soon as possible to discuss the logjam of cases, which is a very real problem affecting thousands of people in the province. In particular, will he discuss the ways in which government can move quickly, without need for legislation, in terms of a change of administrative practice at the board level, the commission level, right through the public sector in order to remedy some of these cases which have been building up for so long?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I certainly have no problem at all in addressing those specific injustices. I am also concerned about developing a system that does not create those problems again. I think if we work on both fronts, and I will do that and follow up on the member's suggestion, the members of this House can work to build a system that does not create these problems in the future.
Mr. Rae: I have another question for the Premier. I listened with interest to the statement made by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) today. Can the Premier explain why the government, in its draft proposals or first-reading proposals, makes no mention of indexation of pension benefits for injured workers?
Given the events that have taken place in Ottawa over the last two months, during which time we have all come to terms with the importance of and the overwhelming public support for indexing, which the Premier mentioned in his speech a couple of days ago, I am amazed that it is not contained in this first chance to deal with Workers' Compensation Board benefits.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The reality of the situation is that under our proposals the benefits will increase more than they would through indexation. Inflation is running at a three per cent level. Our bill today will increase those benefit levels by five per cent, so that in the immediate short term there is an increase in compensation beyond inflation.
In addition, the minister will be working in consultation with his officials on the question of indexation. It is a complicated issue. We will be consulting with the various players, the various people who are concerned about the issue. We did not want to hold up the flow of benefits applicable as of July 1. Because of the haste of some of the things we have had to do in this House, we moved immediately and did not want to see anything hung up.
Mr. Rae: Nobody wants to see anything hung up. The Premier will know that the rate of level of increase of benefits over the last 11 years has been behind that of the consumer price index. It has not kept up.
The present Minister of Labour said on June 20, 1984, when we were discussing the last annual increase: "I want to raise two issues with the minister. The first is the lack of automatic indexing. I, for one, cannot understand why we have to go through this same charade every June."
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary, please.
Mr. Rae: There has been an overwhelming consensus that it is time to move on the indexation question. It is not an enormously complex matter. Either the government chooses to do it or it does not so choose.
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary question.
Mr. Rae: Why not give that sense of security and that ability to keep up with inflation to workers who have lost that right because of what is happening to their wages?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The member is aware that every year at this time we go through this same exercise. I am very much aware of that. Here we are on July 5 dealing with benefits retroactively, at least for the last few days. We have been under a time pressure. We had to make a decision whether to move immediately and give a relatively generous amount, given the current inflation rate, and consider the structural problems later. That is the decision we made.
We will be addressing the matter of indexation. It is something we happen to believe in. I say to the honourable leader, with respect, it is not as simple as all that. I want to make sure it fits into the overall context. I hope some time in the not-too-distant future we will have a bill to deal with this in perpetuity. Then we will not need the discussions we all remember having every year at this time, or the time pressure that has been used in the past to get things through that were not always as well thought out as they should have been. That is our intention.
Mr. Elgie: Without indicating in any way that we will not support what the minister is proposing, because it is my present intention, having reviewed his statement briefly, that we will be, I would point out that he mentions consistently throughout his statement that this increase meets the test of affordability, that it is cost-effective and that all these things are of great concern to him.
I am directing this to the Premier, but if he wishes to redirect to the minister, I will be pleased to have that happen. Why did the minister not tell us the actual cost that would be involved in this so the public might know that and know what it means in terms of rate assessment increases for individuals and groups within the WCB program?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: As the honourable member knows, the cost for the additional money for spouses and other dependants is fairly minimal. Let me deal with that first. I believe it will add some $11 million to the board's liability.
I do not want to mislead the member with exact figures, but the major announcement is the cost of the pensions. The member will know the former government put in place a five-per-cent increase in April 1985 under section 133 of Bill 101. Most of those who are on temporary benefits have been taken care of. In fact, the five per cent gets us in line for all injured workers.
I believe the overall cost for those receiving permanent pensions is in the $170-million range over a lifetime in terms of the board's liability; but the view of the ministry, and I believe the view of the board, is that it is reasonably affordable.
Mr. Rae: I can advise the Premier that this indexing has not been too complicated for British Columbia which moved in 1966, for Quebec which did it in 1974, for Nova Scotia which did it in 1974 and for the Yukon which did it in 1975.
It has been discussed. The ministry is aware of it and has had it available as an option for years. Both opposition parties raised it consistently throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s. I do not know what the hangup is. It would be an enormously important gesture to the injured workers of this province to let them see there was going to be a change in practice along with the change in government with respect to the annual cap-in-hand exercise.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: Why not change the annual cap-in-hand exercise and move to indexing on a quarterly basis to ensure that workers would not have to keep coming back, depending on the largess of government, but instead could have it as a matter of right every three months? That is what we should have in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I can only repeat to the honourable leader that in eight days we had certain decisions to make and we moved immediately on that one. It is our intention in this and in many other matters not to be, in a sense, dictatorial, but rather to share legislative proposals with the members of the opposition and the members of the client groups affected. We will be having discussions with employers and employee groups on this system to make sure it is as fair as possible. Given the time frame, we decided to move immediately and not let that be hung up.
I want to make it clear that it is our intention to move in those directions. We will welcome the member's advice and the experience of other provinces in developing the most sensitive legislation to prevent exactly the problems the member has spoken about.
Mrs. Marland: My question is for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, in view of the minister's personal statements recently on the subject of censorship. In particular, he is quoted as saying, "It's difficult to start tampering with artistic endeavours." He also commented on the responsibility of the Ontario Film Review Board. I note his comments are in conflict with the public position of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) on censorship in the past.
Has the minister read the elimination reports that are published for the public monthly by the Ontario Film Review Board? They describe such things as the view of a skull being slit and a woman torn apart.
Mr. Speaker: That was a good question -- has he read it?
Mrs. Marland: Has the minister read those reports? For the sake of the House, I will not continue to read them because I would like everybody to be able to eat his or her lunch. Has he seen the out-takes film at the review board office and has he met with the chairman of the Ontario Film Review Board yet to discuss either the film or those reports?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: Several questions were presented and several of the answers are no, but I should say to the honourable member that just before I entered the House I had a conversation with Mary Brown about the elimination reports. They are given on a regular basis and I have not seen the most recent one.
My position and my statement are not at all inconsistent with those of my leader. What we are talking about is a situation where there is a difference between tampering with artistic endeavours and protecting the public. There is no question in our minds. If the member saw my statement, she will see that I was consistent. I think we have a responsibility and what we are talking about are areas of personal judgement and areas of erotica versus the new pornography.
There is no question in my mind that some of the out-takes of film the member is talking about are areas of grave concern. I am certainly mindful of the concern of the public. We will be looking at the situation and all I was suggesting is that there is obviously concern on both sides of the line. It is not an easy question and there are no easy answers. We will be reviewing it with that in mind; that was the result of my statement.
Mrs. Marland: The minister is quoted as saying: "There is no such thing as an obscene book, but one either well written or poorly written." I have to wonder if he would have said that if he had seen the book which described in detail the brutal sexual attack and murder of a 16-year-old girl in Mississauga two years ago, had that 16-year-old girl been his daughter. This book described in full-colour detail everything that happened to this girl, and this book was found in the home of the murderer. He is talking about the Ontario Film Review Board. He says he wonders whether a few should make the decisions for the majority. I have to ask the minister if a film review board, which is made up of 40 members from around this province, is less representative than a jury of 12 in a criminal court.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: The agency for which I have a responsibility is a film agency and does not deal with books. The comment I made about the book is a very basic one, and if I could take a moment, I would like to elaborate on that.
When we talk about the written word, the written word is man's tool and there is nothing that man can conceive in just the position of letters that is obscene. It may not be acceptable on certain levels, but it is either well written or poorly written. I am not talking about the graphic depiction of photographs or things of that kind. That is not my opinion --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: -- that is an opinion which is well founded. To address the situation about the 40 members --
Mr. Speaker: Briefly, I hope.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: -- I am sure the member will know that when movies are reviewed they are not reviewed by 40 members; they are reviewed by panels of four and five members who are drawn from that overall panel of 40. It is quite possible that those four or five members, depending on their particular bent, can have an undue influence. All I am suggesting is that we are going to take a look at it.
Mrs. Grier: My question is to the Minister of the Environment and it concerns the report of the Commission on the Regulatory Control of Mobile PCB Destruction Facilities which I know the minister received on Friday.
Does the minister share the concern of this party, and of some of the citizen groups who have already commented on that report, about the fact that the report does not recommend any kind of public hearing or environmental hearing prior to the location of one of these mobile units at a specific spot?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I want to thank the member for the question. I found the report to be an extremely interesting one, and I am pleased the previous minister took the opportunity to appoint this commission so that all concerned could make their views known.
In respect to the specific question the member asks, this government will want to ensure there is appropriate consultation, particularly in the initial stages, to ensure that whatever kind of operation might take place with regard to the destruction of polychlorinated biphenyls we would have the very best of technical and scientific advice available to us before there would be movement. Particularly, I think, the member's concern and that of the general community has been with those PCBs considered to be high level as opposed to others where the technology is less controversial.
We intend to have a consultative process. I am unable to say at this time what that specific process will be, but I share the member's concern to have that kind of consultation in each of the cases.
Mrs. Grier: I would like to hear from the minister, perhaps, a broader definition of his understanding of the term "consultation." As we understand the recommendation, there is provision for notification of people when a site has been selected. Would the minister not agree that, regardless of the level of PCBs, each location, and each operation of this facility, might be different? Would he not agree that the citizenry, as well as those experts on the whole question, ought to be consulted and given an opportunity to have their inputs before a site is decided upon?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I think the member is correct in assuming a suitable consultative process must be found in each of the circumstances. The first process to which I made reference concerns the actual procedures to be used in the burning. I realize there are two separate questions to deal with and that is one of them. I think we must have an ultimate assurance it is a technology acceptable to everyone.
Second, as to specific sites, I think there has to be some consultative process there as well. I am attempting to determine with my officials, and in consultation with environmental groups and others who are interested, just what that will be. We all recognize there is a genuine problem in this province with PCBs, with 19 major locations and many others.
Mr. Brandt: In the light of the comments made by the member for Parkdale (Mr. Ruprecht) on a number of occasions with respect to the safety of the equipment being proposed for the disposal of PCBs, could the minister give this House an assurance that he is completely, totally and unalterably satisfied that the equipment being proposed for that purpose is, in fact, safe to the best of his knowledge?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: Naturally, the member will understand, that is what a Minister of the Environment would like to determine. In consultation with the officials of the ministry and others who are very knowledgeable in the technical area as well as those who have specific environmental concerns, I will be making that determination. Of course, I would want to ensure that would be the case before there is any destruction of the level-1 PCBs.
Mr. Elgie: Will the minister check with the member for Parkdale first and make sure he agrees?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I will have the widest consultation.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I understand the Minister of Transportation and Communications has a reply to a question previously asked by the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart). I am sure, after yesterday, it will be very brief.
Hon. Mr. Fulton: Very briefly, I have a response to the question raised by the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) on Tuesday regarding the application by CNCP Telecommunications to compete in providing long-distance service, and the potential impact on local telephone rates.
Let me say at the outset that I approach telecommunications policy questions with goals of universal access at affordable rates, increasing the efficiency of the network and development of a system that supports the economic growth of this province.
There is considerable confusion and misinformation today about telecommunications policy in general, and specifically about CNCP's application to provide long-distance service.
Last year, CNCP applied to compete with Bell Canada and BC Tel in providing long-distance or message-toll service in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. In response to that application, Bell Canada proposed to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that telephone rates should be restructured or rebalanced before competition was allowed.
In its final argument to the CRTC, Ontario stated it did not support Bell's rates rebalancing proposal. I would like to remind the member, the former government only took that position against increased local rates after the then Leader of the Opposition, now the Premier (Mr. Peterson), stated in this House he was asking the former minister, and I quote, "to stand up with his colleagues on behalf of the telephone consumers of this province and say he will stand four-square against that position."
While not supporting rate rebalancing, the government of Ontario expressed support for CNCP's application for competition.
Mr. Speaker: Point of order.
Hon. Mr. Fulton: It is two minutes long, if I could be allowed to continue, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. J. M. Johnson: On a point of order: Mr. Speaker, I brought this to your attention yesterday and I must do so again. This is a statement and not an answer to a question.
Mr. Speaker: I again say the honourable member has made a very good point of order. I would ask that we add a minute to the question period and I will ask the minister to make the statement on Monday. I think we have not really been following the rules of the House.
Mr. Baetz: An Ottawa Citizen June 27 headline read: "Grandmaître to Press for Official Bilingualism." I also quote his follow-up comments in the Citizen: "Grandmaître says he has the support of Premier David Peterson, who said during the campaign he was personally in favour of official bilingualism for Ontario."
These are very clear statements by the minister responsible for francophone affairs. Would the Premier tell us whether the obvious determination to press for official bilingualism accurately reflects the present government's official position and its scale of priorities?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I would be happy to discuss this issue with the member. He will know my colleague who is in charge of francophone issues feels very strongly about these issues. It is one of the things --
Mr. F. S. Miller: He is in cabinet.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: Of course, he is in the cabinet -- and he feels very strongly about these issues.
I said publicly some years ago that at some time I would like to see this province officially bilingual.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: Of course I have said that and it is very clear. The member's leader will be aware of that because he ran around this province during the campaign pointing that out to everybody and trying to elicit response from it -- but the member can make his own judgement about his leader's behaviour on this matter.
My intentions and my personal desires are quite clear. I have talked about what we have to do in the short term and in the long term. The first job is adequate provision of francophone services. Members may recall we unanimously passed in this House a bill of my former colleague Albert Roy about the creation of a French-language services commission. All members of this House participated in the debate on this. In personal terms, it was probably the best debate I have ever seen in this House.
Many generous Conservatives -- government members then -- were standing up, speaking out and reaching out about the kind of things we had to do to build tolerance and respect in this province. It would have put in statutory form something that has been happening
Mr. Barlow: Answer the question.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: Would that member mind settling down for just a little? This is an important question his friend has asked. If he does not want an answer, that is fine.
Mr. Baetz: As a supplementary, I would please ask the Premier once again to try, in a very forthright, specific way, to answer the question on official bilingualism.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I will be happy to discuss it. I said very specifically we would like to recommence with a bill to establish a French-language services commission that would analyse the francophone services across this province on the basis of objective need.
These services should not be dolloped out on the basis of political whim. They should not just be handed out in francophone press releases while not going out in anglophone press releases.
There should be no playing two sides against the middle or trying to stir up people in some of the small communities that may not be feeling so happy about the situation. Rather, they should be provided on the basis of building on the leadership instincts we hope every person has in this House.
My friend will be aware, because he is a sensitive man, of how divisive religious, linguistic and cultural issues can be in this province. He will be aware that some politicians choose to use those unscrupulously for their own purposes while others try to build. He will be aware of that because the history of this country is filled with those kinds of responses.
What I am saying to him is that we are going to start with that approach. We are going to build on what the former government already commenced, such as statutory protection for courts and the right to education and French governance. Those are good starts. Ultimately they will see themselves enshrined in the law at both levels. That is our approach. We want to be specific about it. That is what I talked about 20 or 100 times during our campaign and I am happy to repeat it in this House. My position is extremely clear.
M. Rae: Question supplémentaire pour le premier ministre. Est-ce que je vous comprends bien que vous nous dites aujourd'hui que c'est la position du gouvernement que vous allez commencer avec une loi cadre sur la question des services à la communauté francophone et c'est la question de la loi cadre qui garantira les services en français aux régions et aux personnes spécifiques qui sera la première étape envers la reconnaissance des droits des francophones dans la province?
M. Peterson: La première étape pour ce gouvernement sera la création d'une commission pour les services francophones ici en Ontario. Et ça va être une commission indépendante qui va étudier tous les services partout dans cette province et où il y aurait les besoins vrais on va garantir les services dans ces circonstances. Après ça on va enchâsser dans les droits, dans les statuts de cette province, dans les projets de loi ici et aussi j'espère enchâsser dans la constitution les droits des francophones ici en Ontario. C'est la première étape, vous comprenez, je suis sûr, et nous affirmons clairement que nous voulons faire de vrais progrès sur cette question.
MINISTRY REGIONAL OFFICES
Mr. Wildman: Will the Minister of Northern Affairs and Mines clarify the comments he was quoted as making in the Kapuskasing Northern Times on May 29 and June 19 to the effect that he would like to change the ministry headquarters in northeastern Ontario away from Sault Ste. Marie and that he would like to see the ministry split into smaller administrative regions instead of the two northeastern and northwestern main offices, indicating there would not be a concentration of ministry staff in Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury?
Hon. Mr. Fontaine: I do not know why the honourable member reads that Kapuskasing paper. I do not read it. Does the member know who the owner of that paper is?
I want to reassure the member for Algoma that I never said I would relocate the regional office. I said that in our program we will form smaller regional offices and Timmins will be a centre for the northeast to take care of the Highway 11 corridor and Highway 101.
I never said I would be closing Kenora. The office would have been closer, but what is done is done. At that time the minister did not listen to us, but the mayors at that time -- I am talking about 10 years ago -- were saying Timmins should be one centre and Dryden should be the other centre, but the minister decided otherwise and we will not change that.
Timmins will be a centre and we are going to move some people there. It will not be 200; it will be a few. The office in Sault Ste. Marie will stay.
Mr. Wildman: I am sure the minister would not want to give the impression that the former member for Cochrane North would in any way influence the editorial policy of the Kapuskasing Northern Times.
For the sake of the members of his ministry staff who have been alarmed by these quotations or misquotations in that newspaper, will the minister indicate how many staff might be moved from Ste. Saint Marie and Sudbury and how these smaller administrative units would work to ensure his ministry serves the people of northern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Fontaine: I met with those staff members and told them exactly what I felt.
Mr. Timbrell: And they quit.
Hon. Mr. Fontaine: No; they have not quit yet.
Mr. Timbrell: Have you been in your office yet today? Check the mail.
Hon. Mr. Fontaine: I am getting more applications.
I assured them they will be consulted because we are an open government. I will not do anything to make them lose morale because I need them to work together. At first they were discouraged because of what was reported in the newspaper, but I met with them last week, and the junior people this week, to assure them it will not happen and everybody is going to have a job. There are people who want to move; some have already said it was a good idea to move some people to Timmins.
Mr. Pope: I have a supplementary for the minister --
Mr. Pope: The members to the left had better worry about what the people up north are saying about them.
I wish to ask the Minister of Northern Affairs whether it is his intention to have a new government-wide policy involving all ministries which will change the regional offices in northern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Fontaine: I have told him twice, and I am going to repeat it again, about regional offices. The members opposite are the ones who put them there and I will not change them. However, there will be more emphase mis sur le développement, non pas seulement les petits cadeaux que tu as donnés à tout le monde.
We need development in the northeast -- in the honourable member's town -- in the ridings of Cochrane South and Sault Ste. Marie. There are a few other ridings with lots of suffering and unemployment among youth and old people. That is where we are going to concentrate our efforts, on rural employment.
Mr. J. M. Johnson: My question is to the Premier regarding the tornado disaster of May 31. Many of my municipalities -- townships as well as the counties of Wellington and Dufferin -- are quite concerned about the financial impact on their communities. Will the Premier advise his cabinet as to the special needs of these municipalities?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I know of the honourable member's great concern. He was on the site of the tornado the day after it struck and has been very active. I hope to have his ongoing support and help in dealing with these matters.
The former Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the member for Don Mills (Mr. Timbrell), also acted quickly and, in my view, great government leadership was provided. A very quick response was made by the previous government. We intend to continue to honour all those commitments.
The member's point is well taken. There are a number of special needs that do not necessarily fall into neat little categories. We have to be most sensitive in rebuilding these communities. I had a conversation with the mayor of Barrie a few days ago. I assured him, as I assure the member, we will be most sensitive in that regard. When the member has specific suggestions, as I know he does and will, I hope he will share them with our minister in co-ordinating those matters.
The rebuilding that has gone on already is remarkable. It is a testament to the courage and farsightedness of the people of this great province. I thank the member for his very fine leadership in this matter.
Mr. J. M. Johnson: I thank the Premier. I would like the Premier's permission to notify the municipalities that if they will substantiate their specific needs, the Premier will notify the ministries, particularly the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, to provide the assistance that will be needed. Is that in order?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: Yes. Perhaps it would be a good idea to arrange an immediate meeting between the member and the minister responsible to draft that and to work together on these matters, as we want to do, as well as with representatives of the New Democratic Party and whoever the area's official representatives are. That would be the approach I would prefer to follow. Perhaps the former minister has some ideas; I would welcome those as well.
Mr. Philip: I have a question of the Chairman of Management Board of Cabinet on the assumption that she is responsible for the government's announced review of advertising.
I have supplied the minister with a very large, one-page advertisement by Suncor, a company in which the taxpayers of Ontario have a massive investment. It is an advertisement for a sweepstakes program. Is the minister aware of this massive advertising program? Does she consider the expenditure of moneys in this frivolous manner is in any way in conflict with the government's announced program of a cut in current advertising?
Hon. Ms. Caplan: I am very pleased to respond to the question with the answer that, as the honourable member knows, Suncor and Sunoco are private and independent companies. This government is the inheritor of a minor share. Our position on the ownership in Suncor is clear and has been addressed by the Premier (Mr. Peterson). These companies would not in any way be covered by our freeze on advertising contracts or the review which the Management Board has undertaken. The Premier has been very clear in that statement as regards our policy on all advertising from this point on.
Mr. Philip: Until the government decides what kind of loss it is prepared to take on Suncor, would the minister not agree the government should use its influence and leverage on the board of directors of that company to ensure that this kind of spending of millions of dollars on advertising, which is not in the best interest of the consumers, would be better directed at the reduction of the price of gasoline at the pumps?
Hon. Ms. Caplan: As a minor shareholder, we will certainly take that under advisement and consideration to see what influence can be brought to bear.
Mr. Grossman: On this very interesting topic, given the historical position of the then Leader of the Opposition, now the Premier, in his advice that advertising contracts should be given out without any reflection of political bias whatsoever, can the Chairman of Management Board assure us that those advertising contracts currently in existence will be allowed to stay with the companies that won them in the fair and open tender --
Mr. Grossman: I will wait until the minister gets the answer. Did the minister get that?
Mr. Speaker: Order. I think that was a question.
Mr. Grossman: No. It is not a complete question. It was a comment.
Can the minister assure us that upon cancellation or termination of any of those contracts we will not see any barriers or walls to non-Liberal Party ad agencies and we will not find Liberal ad agencies taking over some of the accounts quickly?
Hon. Ms. Caplan: If the honourable member's concern is whether we care who has the contract for his future campaigns, leadership or otherwise, and whether we are concerned about Mr. Atkins's or Mr. Segal's future with him, frankly, we are not.
As Chairman of the Management Board, I will be following closely the directions of the Premier in the review of all tendering procedures. His indication to this House in his statement regarding the freeze on all advertising contracts is clear.
Mr. Runciman: I am sure the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations is familiar with some comments made in April 1985 by the leader of his party that Liquor Licence Board of Ontario inspectors were pressuring liquor licensees to contribute to the Progressive Conservative Party. Is the minister prepared to back up those allegations with facts, launch an investigation or apologize? Which will it be?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: I am planning to meet with the boards of both the LLBO and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. I will take a look at their operational procedures, and when I have done that I will be delighted to reply to the honourable member's question.
Mr. Runciman: That is not an adequate response.
Is the minister not aware of reports published in the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, two towering examples of accuracy in journalism? I am sure the Premier (Mr. Peterson) would go along with that assessment. For example, on April 19 the Globe quoted the now Premier as saying the inspectors were exerting subtle and implied pressure on licensed establishments. On April 21, his beloved Toronto Star reported he charged that the provincial government exercised subtle intimidation in its dealings with licence holders.
Is the minister going to leave that sort of cloud, that kind of red haze, hanging over the inspectors who work for his ministry? He has to deal with it.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: What we hope to do is to clear all the haze that has been covering that sphere of operation.
Hon. Mr. Elston moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Riddell, that the standing committee on social development be authorized to meet in the afternoon of Monday, July 8, 1985.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
WORKERS' COMPENSATION AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wrye moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Sweeney, first reading of Bill 32, An Act to Amend the Workers' Compensation Act.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
ELECTORAL DISTRICTS REDISTRIBUTION
Hon. Mr. Elston moved, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Nixon, seconded by Hon. Ms. Caplan, resolution 4:
That the House consider motions 1 to 36 standing in Orders and Notices and further notices filed with the Clerk of the assembly relating to the provisions of the Report upon the Redistribution of Ontario into Electoral Districts, such further notices to be published in the notice paper on a day prior to the conclusion of the debate on this resolution, and notwithstanding its previous terms of reference, the commission is hereby authorized to give consideration to all motions so filed and to all submissions reported in Hansard during the discussion of this resolution.
Hon. Mr. Elston: We have in front of us this morning a resolution that deals with a question of equal concern to all three parties represented in the Legislative Assembly. The question deals with the redistribution of ridings. There are very numerous and specific suggestions set out in notices of motion 1 through 36 dealing with specific ridings. These notices have been signed by a number of members from all across the province.
These members are representing in a nonpartisan way the concerns they have fielded from their individual constituents about the successful representation of those various and sundry areas right across the province. It seems to me that we as legislators must take a great deal of time and concern in discussing this resolution and dealing with the motions so filed.
We have gone through a rather lengthy process based upon a regular review of the representative capabilities of the province. We have to consider, in the light of the deliberations of the appointed commission, the length of time that has been taken to review the demographics, the changes that have been reflected as a result of the growth of government and other items, in having come to a resolution by making an initial report to us.
All members here know that the initial report was reviewed in some detail by members here and by each of the parties. We were then provided ample opportunity to have public input -- I was represented with members of my constituency both in the great city of Kitchener and in the great city of Barrie -- to deal in a public way and allow all parts of our constituencies to represent themselves in front of the commission and to speak eloquently about the need either to retain or deal in specific ways with the areas of the province.
In many ways the concerns expressed were not limited to parochial, if I may describe them that way, concerns of individuals. In a large way there was a degree of concern expressed about various communities in a regional sense; for instance, the southwestern Ontario regional concerns. We also dealt with the concerns of, and made some provision in the initial motion put to this House to deal with representation in, northern Ontario. They deal to a large extent with the difficulties of transportation and the need to provide very specific and essential services in the great northland of this province.
We have gone through that process and we now have received a report from the commissioners that satisfies some people but does not satisfy others. For some others there is still no great concern. However, we do have notices of motion 1 through 36, as I indicated, which require us as a Legislative Assembly to take them seriously and consider them over a length of time.
The motion we have before us is to allow that discussion to carry on. In one way or another I think we will be doing a great service to the constituents of the whole province if we discuss in this open forum the whole question of redistribution. The process must not only be open but must appear to be open. That is essential to any process with which this government is going to be dealing in the days of its mandate just begun.
For my part, as a member whose riding apparently would disappear under the redistribution formula, there is a concern. I admit that fully and to everyone who starts to smile. I do not think there are any of us who want to see in any sense an area or a constituency in this province underrepresented in respect to the importance of that constituency to the welfare and livelihood of the province.
My concerns have been expressed publicly in Barrie. I had the opportunity of sitting in on some discussions that were undertaken in Kitchener and I reviewed those. The agricultural community of this great province expressed a concern that the erosion of representation is causing some difficulty with regard to dealing with the development of policy and the proposals for the government of the day.
In many cases there is a lack of government presence in the area -- a lack of official government offices. Because of the type of representation that has developed in those areas, I think the member fills a very specific and precise role in addition to that of legislator. In other words, he is doing an awful lot of the constituent inquiries and almost acts as an ombudsman. From that standpoint, where there is underrepresentation of government offices, it is a function that is indispensable to the overall program which is set before a prospective member or a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in those areas.
I think examples are legion of the style of what has become described partly as a populist endeavour on the part of some of the members from the outlying areas. I think we all agree there has to be some consideration given to preserve that style of representation in this Legislative Assembly.
If we consider the importance of this discussion to be made fully and in a public sense, I think those items ought to be discussed openly in this legislative forum. Then we can direct certain deliberations for the commission to study. In the course of our debate we may well end up with some options we were not faced with originally.
We will leave it to the discussions of the day to examine various possibilities with respect to very specific ridings. My comments are made partly specifically, but more in a general sense, when I say we have an obligation as members to have a full and ongoing discussion of this essential question of representation. There is always the basis of our whole democratic society, the representation-by-population issue, and that also ought to be examined and discussed rather fully in this forum today.
I am looking forward to having the members participate, and I want to underline that. It goes without saying we would like to see this as the hallmark of this new government. We should like to be seen as indicating the value and the essential nature of participation in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario with regard to discussion of very difficult decisions that have to be made for individuals and those that will shape the future of the province.
Therefore, I think this debate sets forth a very basic picture of how this province is going to operate, how the individual members are going to operate, how the constituents of each riding are going to be represented. It is without question a matter deserving of a very long and full discussion.
I would say to members that certain of their colleagues will have some very specific items. Perhaps these items may be too specific for individual interest on every member's part.
However, they will set forward some options that will have to be discussed by each of us when we come to determine the final recommendations that will have to go forward to the commission.
Thank you for this opportunity. I now invite members throughout the House to join in discussing this motion.
Mr. Timbrell: I am pleased to join, however briefly, this discussion on redistribution of the electoral districts of the province. This is the second time in my almost 14 years as a member that I have gone through this process. In my view, despite all the faults that any one member can point to over the years, the process as it is now established in Ontario is a very fair one. It is seen to be fair in that the commissioners who review these matters take their guidance from the criteria as agreed upon by the parties in the House and then, in a very fair and objective way, bring forward their proposals.
What we have before us is the second set of proposals from the commission. Once this debate is concluded -- I hope before the House rises, presumably next Friday -- the Hansard of this debate and the resolutions of the various members already in Orders and Notices and those which will be submitted subsequent to today will go to the commission. Following that, they will submit the third and final set of recommendations.
As a caution to the Minister of Health (Mr. Elston), I would hope that after this very thorough debate, after the concerns of individual members with respect to their constituencies and concerns about regional and proportional representations are on the record, the government will not make major alterations when that third report is delivered to us, presumably some time this fall. I think it is very important with respect to the credibility of the process and of this assembly that the government not tinker with it too greatly.
I understand there may have to be some minor changes even at that point -- changes of name, perhaps the straightening of some boundaries in minor ways -- but not major changes. Otherwise, with all due respect, if the government were to do that at that time, it would throw the whole process under a cloud of suspicion.
We have been vary careful over the years, on the two occasions in which I have participated in the process, to recognize certain regional requirements. First, there is the fact that northern Ontario, which is close to the order of 90 per cent of our land mass but with a very small proportion of our population, must be protected. We did that in the drafting of the original criteria that went to the commission, and I think by and large they have done a rather good job. I suspect some of my colleagues from northern Ontario may have some comments to make about how the recommendations can be improved, but the level of representation for northern Ontario, with the support of all members and all parties, has been held intact.
Then there is the question of rural requirements. I am pleased the Minister of Health touched on that matter because, while I represent an urban constituency, members are aware of my long-standing interest in and concern for rural Ontario. I am not at all sure that in the second report of the commission it has properly applied the 25 per cent variation in the population figures per constituency.
I am concerned and I know many members of my party, and perhaps of all parties, are concerned that some of the rural constituencies recommended by the commission could well be much too large. Some of the constituencies are not based on communities of interest. Some of the recommended constituencies would make it very difficult both for members adequately to represent them and for the people in those constituencies to have a proper access to their members of the Legislative Assembly.
My constituency is one which the commission has recommended be changed fairly substantially, removing several parts of the constituency and adding only one apartment building. As far as I am concerned, I would be prepared to have the constituency of Don Mills stay as it is even with the population growth that has occurred since the last redistribution and since the census which provides the figures for the commission's calculations.
If the commission decides that it cannot leave Don Mills alone, then I have registered in motion 11 in Orders and Notices, certain concerns about the specifics of its recommendations. However, I want it to be known that I would be just as happy to have it left alone if that would help the commission to ensure that rural Ontario would get a better share of the 130 seats that will make up the 34th Parliament of Ontario.
A number of my colleagues will participate in the debate today and in the ensuing time allocated on agreement of the House leaders. We look forward later this year to receiving and, very soon thereafter, implementing the third and final report of the commission, so the machinery can be in place very quickly when the marriage of our two colleagues breaks apart within the next 12 to 18 months and all will be ready for the next general election based on redistribution.
Mr. Wildman: I will not get into the questions of marriage and divorce alluded to by my colleague the member for Don Mills (Mr. Timbrell); I will speak briefly in this debate. You will know, Mr. Speaker, that I was not one of the members who filed a motion on the notice paper with regard to redistribution, but I do want to make some comments about representation in this province, in northern Ontario particularly, as well as some minor comments about the riding of Algoma.
I agree with the comments made by the member for Don Mills about northern Ontario. It is imperative that the north maintains at least the representation it has now in this Legislature. Very few members from southern Ontario have any real understanding of the size of most of the northern constituencies.
I know my colleague the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Fontaine) can explain to his friends in his own party something about the distances involved in a northern Ontario riding. In my experience, very few members who come from southern Ontario have any real understanding of the distances we have to deal with in northern Ontario.
Before dealing specifically with that, I would like to raise one question I have with regard to the figure of 130. Personally, I do not know how we came to that figure. It seems to me we may have arrived at it without first dealing with the questions of criteria such as population and distance in a way adequate to ensure that there is not too great a variance between rural and urban ridings and northern and southern Ontario ridings with regard to population.
Many members in this Legislature, when I tell them I have 50,000 people in my riding, would say that is one of the smallest ridings in Ontario, and it certainly is in population. I should point out, however, that by road, from one end of the constituency to the other, the distance is approximately 400 miles. In other words, it is about the same distance from Algoma Mills in the southeast end of Algoma to Highway 11 in the northwestern section of Algoma as it is from Sault Ste. Marie to Toronto.
While some members of this Legislature, I am certain, can walk around their riding in an afternoon, it would take about seven hours to drive from one end of my riding to the other. Obviously, that does present problems about representation. It presents problems for the member and it also presents problems for the residents of Algoma district when it comes to ensuring they get the kind of access to their member and to the legislative process that all citizens of this province deserve.
The commission has done an admirable job of trying to take into account population and distance in coming up with its proposal.
I certainly support the position taken by all three parties in this Legislature that the number of constituencies in northern Ontario should not change, or at least should not become smaller. We must recognize that if we increase the total number of seats in this Legislature while maintaining the same number of northern Ontario seats, we are lowering the representation of the north.
On a personal basis, in my riding of Algoma, I am very happy to continue to represent the people in the communities of Algoma district, as I have in the past. I was pleased with the support I received from the people in the various communities on May 2. I am quite happy to have Algoma remain as it is and as the commission has left it.
However, I should point out that the neighbouring riding of Sault Ste. Marie is one of the largest in Ontario in terms of population. It makes sense, on an economic and social basis, to say Sault Ste. Marie should remain one contiguous provincial riding. It could be argued that the people of Algoma, with its smaller population, have a greater say in the legislative process than do the residents of Sault Ste. Marie. Those are problems we had to deal with that made the commission's job rather difficult.
I will conclude by referring to two or three small problems with the current boundaries of Algoma riding. For the life of me, I do not understand why commissions, or those charged with the responsibility of drawing electoral boundaries, seem so enamoured with geographic township lines.
For instance, it makes absolutely no sense that the small community of Algoma Mills, with a total population of about 60, should be divided between Algoma and Algoma-Manitoulin. Surely all that community could be either in Algoma-Manitoulin or in Algoma. Simply because the boundary line of the geographic township of Striker runs through the middle of Algoma Mills, it is divided in two. It does not make any sense.
A similar situation is found in the northeastern section of Algoma district near the community of Missinabi, which is in my riding. Three miles east of Missinabi is a community called Renabie, where there is a mine. That community is in Nickel Belt. Most of the people who live in Missinabi work in Renabie. Certainly, the people from Renabie share most of their social functions, shopping and so on, with the people in Algoma riding.
It does not make any sense for Renabie, which is many miles from the closest community in Nickel Belt, to be in that riding. My colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) will forgive me if I point out that I, rather than he, do most of the work in Renabie. It would make sense to change the boundary slightly to include that community.
In the last election campaign there was a rather interesting controversy in the community of Hornepayne, in the north end of my riding of Algoma. A number of people suggested that perhaps the community of Hornepayne, the township of Wicksteed, might be redistributed into the Cochrane North riding. The arguments presented were quite persuasive. It was pointed out that there are closer ties among Hornepayne, Hearst and Kapuskasing than there are among Hornepayne, White River and Wawa.
Economically, the ties are with Hearst and Kapuskasing. Traditionally, the lumber industry has been related to those two northern communities rather than to White River. It could be pointed out that chips are also shipped to Marathon, so there are connections with the riding of Lake Nipigon.
With respect to highway transportation, traditionally there has been closer contact between Hearst and Hornepayne than between Hornepayne and White River, although that has been changing since a highway through to White River was completed in the early 1970s.
Having pointed that out, I should say there is no consensus in Hornepayne as to whether this change should take place. There was a good deal of controversy and there is no indication at this point that a majority of the people in the community want it changed. However, I think it is legitimate to say that a large number of the business leaders in the community would like a change.
I wanted to put that on the record so the commission would consider it. I have enjoyed representing the community of Hornepayne in the past and I will continue to enjoy representing it. I have had discussions with my colleague the member for Cochrane North on this issue. One problem with the geographic location of Hornepayne is that no matter which riding it is in, it is going to be at one end of the riding. That makes it rather difficult for Hornepayne to be in the centre of any large northern riding unless the lines across many electoral districts are changed substantially.
I commend the commission for its work. I think it has attempted to take into account economic and social ties as well as size of ridings, population and district. It is a very difficult task. I hope and trust the commission will take into very serious consideration the views expressed in this debate by the members. I look forward to the continuation of the debate later in the autumn, and to the eventual redistribution and changes in electoral boundaries that will probably be in effect when we face an election two or perhaps four years hence.
Mr. McKessock: I rise to take part in this debate, my motion being number 23 in Orders and Notices. I realize the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission has a tough job to do sorting out and making changes to the electoral boundaries. However, I have to object to the provisions set out in the report. My objections are confined mostly to the reduced ridings in rural Ontario and I will get specifically to my riding of Grey.
It seems the commission has come up with an expansion by about eight urban ridings. Five more have been added to the 125 now in force. There will be about eight more urban ridings and the rural ridings will be reduced by about three.
The biggest concern I have is that rural Ontario is going to lose more representation. The farming community and agriculture, and the tourist area in my riding, have continued to be squeezed over the years. We have to realize that these ridings represent not only the people of the riding but also a big concern of the province.
I have received numerous comments from people throughout the riding, giving me their views and concerns about the change in electoral boundaries. They too express the concern that we will be losing rural seats in the House; that is their main concern. As responsible citizens, we recognize change is inevitable, but the method and frequency is negotiable and that is why we are addressing the question.
I have some comments from one of my constituents that I think are worth repeating and I would like to present them. They are from Duncan McCallum, who makes some worthwhile comments on how accessibility would be changed. He states:
"In the Metro Toronto area where the...seat of government is located, the public have ready access to all legislative offices as well as most ministry offices in that area. The citizens of the whole Metro area are well served by convenient, low-cost access to the total operation of government.
"Likewise, in most of the major urban centres across the province, many suboffices of the various ministries are readily available to local citizens.
"In rural areas like Grey, government services are not readily available. The alternative is to use the local member's office." If we reduce the number of local members' offices in rural Ontario, the people will not have the same accessibility to government. This significantly increases the demands for service on the local member's office. He points out that to enlarge these rural ridings would further affect the level of service to the detriment of the member and his constituents.
He also makes some comments on continuity and stability:
"Further, it is our contention that the boundary changes affect continuity and stability in an area. Changes that decrease area representation have a more disruptive impact on an area than changes that increase area representation. In short, taking away is more disruptive than additional giving.
"We ask your consideration of the following suggestions:
"1. There has been a democratic principle established, whereby provision is made to set definite minimum representation from a geographic area regardless of population ratios. This could provide for increased representation from the growth areas at the same time.
"2. Fix any decreasing area boundary changes for a definite period of time...to provide stability. This would encourage interested and qualified persons to offer themselves for service or election with some degree of certainty in the foreseeable future.
"In summation, we request that the boundaries of the riding of Grey and associated rural ridings not be adjusted at this time without further consideration of the following aspects."
We are remembering here that Grey is one of four rural ridings in our area which would be reduced to three under the proposal of the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission.
"I. The prime importance of the agricultural industry to the total economy and the essential need to provide for a substantial elected body of support to maintain it in a healthy condition.
"II. That geography rather than population be the determining factor for representation to provide equality (a) of service to all citizens and (b) full communication of information available.
"III. That minimum representation for a fixed period of time become a concrete tenet of establishing riding boundaries to provide a degree of stability and continuity."
I would also like to point out that I have received numerous resolutions from all parts of the riding which, again, point out the necessity to hold the line on decreasing the number of rural ridings. We would like at least to maintain the rural ridings we have in Ontario.
The township of St. Vincent in Grey riding states that the township has been made aware that the commission's preliminary report proposes to reduce the ridings of Grey, Grey-Bruce, Huron-Bruce and Huron-Middlesex from four to three. On April 16, 1984, the municipal council of the township of St. Vincent adopted the following motion:
"That the township write the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission expressing concern over the reduction of ridings in this area. The above ridings represent a very large portion of Ontario and any reduction in the number of members is unjustified. The four ridings are basically rural and, to properly present the complicated issues of the rural area, we definitely need to retain the present number of members."
I also have a resolution from the town of Durham outlining and stressing much the same sentiments. It points out that, as usual, it appears that rural Ontario is being shunted aside in favour of the urban areas. Farmers are given less and less say in government but are expected to continue to provide sustenance for the entire country.
The town of Hanover states in its resolution: "That the town of Hanover is opposed to the reduction of electoral boundaries in rural Ontario and that a letter from the town be sent to the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission recommending that the ridings of Grey, Grey-Bruce, Huron-Bruce and Huron-Middlesex remain unchanged."
From the village of Flesherton and the township of Bentinck we have further motions passed by their councils. The southern part of the riding which represents part of Palmerston and part of Grey riding from Wellington county states opposition to the reduction of rural seats. There is also a resolution from the township of Egremont.
I stand here as one who is probably more familiar with the riding of Grey than anyone else in Ontario, having been its representative since 1975. I have travelled the length of the riding, which is approximately 90 miles, and the width, which is approximately 60 miles, a great many times in the last 10 years.
Grey riding consists of 26 municipalities, about half of which are small towns and villages and the other half townships. Although it involves three counties, since parts of Dufferin and Wellington counties were brought in in 1975, they fit in well with other municipalities as being typical rural small towns, villages and townships. The riding is very diversified, depending mainly on agriculture. The small towns and villages depend on the agricultural community for sales and service industry to a large extent.
Tourism runs a close second to agriculture, with the ski hills of Collingwood township and Euphrasia township and many snowmobile trails, parks, rivers and streams for fishing throughout the riding. There is room for considerable expansion in the tourist business in this riding. There again, because tourism is so important to Ontario, we feel a reduction in ridings in our area would be detrimental to the whole province.
Many small industries are established in the towns and villages in the riding, such as Thornbury, Meaford, Markdale, Dundalk, Durham, Hanover, Harriston and Palmerston. Hanover is the largest town in the riding with 6,000 people. To take the rural areas at the south end out of the riding -- Melancthon township in Dufferin county, and Minto township, Huriston, Palmerston and Clifford in Wellington county -- and bring in the city of Owen Sound with 20,000 people at the north end would change Grey riding from a predominantly rural to a predominantly urban riding and increase the population from 55,000 to 73,000.
That is considerably above the suggested average of 60,000 people and much above some of the ridings further south which have been set at 53,000 population. The opposite could be said for Bruce riding. If it loses Owen Sound, it will change from a predominantly urban to a predominantly rural riding. I see no good reason for upsetting these ridings in this manner. Owen Sound services the northern part of Bruce county more than it services the southern part of Grey.
I guess I have just made a pitch to leave Grey riding the way it is.
I want to branch out to an area that gives me even more concern, as I have mentioned before: that is, losing three or four rural ridings in Ontario; my neighbour riding, Huron-Bruce, being one of them. We cannot afford to lose any more rural ridings in Ontario. When I say "we," I mean everyone in Ontario. Agriculture is too important to Ontario to cut out any more of its representation in the Legislature. One of five jobs in Ontario is related to agriculture.
The rural ridings, although they may not reach the average 60,000 population figure suggested, have more importance to Ontario than just their population. A rural riding such as my own not only represents people and acts as their voice in the House, such as a riding in downtown Toronto would, but also is a voice for agriculture and tourism for all Ontario.
Representing people and their rights and welfare is fine, but without someone representing agriculture, tourism and these other things, the welfare of people from urban ridings could be in jeopardy. Therefore, I would like to see our area -- and I am talking about all four ridings -- remain much the same as it is, with the riding of Huron-Bruce staying as one of those valuable voices for the welfare of all the people of Ontario and not just that of the local riding.
Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to have an opportunity to address this august House on such an important matter. First, since this is the first opportunity I have had, I want to congratulate you on your appointment as Deputy Speaker and, through you, the Speaker on his appointment. The excellent training you had when you first came into the House under the great whip in the Conservative Party at that time will serve you in good stead and will go a long way to helping you manage the House. I am sure you will take advantage of that.
As many members do, 36 in all, I have a motion in Orders and Notices outlining my concerns and objections to the latest submission by the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission. I am not going to go into too many of the details because they are pretty clearly outlined. I know everyone in the House will be very interested in reading the motion word for word to know precisely what my objections are.
What I want to do is to voice one or two of my concerns regarding the methods used by the commission. I want to do that because it seems to me there is a certain amount of inconsistency. Perhaps I do not understand the method used, but one can almost imagine three people sitting there, one with a bunch of numbers, another with an adding machine and a third with a big black crayon, starting at one or the other end of the province, adding up to 68,000 and drawing a black line wherever it should fall, regardless of the present riding boundaries and the disruption being caused by these suggestions.
My case in point is Mississauga in general and, more specifically, Mississauga East, my riding. The city of Mississauga is rather exceptional in Ontario primarily because of its rapid growth. It is unique when one considers that today it has a population of 330,000, which makes it about the eighth-largest city in Canada, but that perhaps only 20 years ago its population was around 30,000 or 40,000.
It is easy to understand there have to be major changes in redistribution when we are going by figures alone. However, bearing that in mind, some special consideration should be given to communities that have built up and worked well together over such a growing period.
There is one thing that puzzles me. When the initial submission by this commission was brought forward we were all asked to make some comments. Through my association and my ratepayers' group, I submitted some suggestions as to what could be done to improve the submission. When the second submission came back, the recommendations had been totally disregarded and an entirely new configuration was created that had absolutely no relation to the original riding or the first submission. It seems it became a case of juggling numbers around and it did not matter where the boundaries fell.
I have a couple of points to illustrate that. A lot of members come from western Ontario to Queen's Park, some every day and others once a week. They drive the Queen Elizabeth Way and know that nothing could be a more natural boundary for a riding than that highway; because it is impossible to get across it if one is walking, it has to be done by automobile on one of the main roads.
Mr. Haggerty: I also have highways you cannot get across.
Mr. Gregory: I understand that. I am not complaining about the highway. I am saying it presents a natural boundary for a riding, depending on the size of the riding, as is probably the case in the member's case. The other natural boundary is Highway 10, and that is a similar situation. Etobicoke Creek, which is the division between Mississauga and Etobicoke in Metropolitan Toronto, is another natural boundary.
Within those boundaries, it is quite possible to change the configuration of Mississauga East and Mississauga North without disrupting those boundaries much. The latest submission by the commission totally ignores those boundaries and reduces the size of Mississauga East quite substantially by moving away from the Queen Elizabeth Way north to Dundas Street, by moving away from Highway 10 east to the Cawthra-Highway 403 configuration, which are not natural boundaries, and then proceeding north to take in an area that once was Malton and now is part of the city of Mississauga.
It is all part of Mississauga, and that is fine; however, the problem is that there is no natural or historic connection between Malton and the southern part of Mississauga on the basis of representation. What makes that even stronger is the fact that the international airport falls between the two segments they are now trying to join. I see the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Offer) nodding. I think he agrees with my comment that there is absolutely no connection and no logical reason why this should have been done.
I cannot speak for the present member for Mississauga North, because he has only been here a short time, but the former member for Mississauga North had certain negotiations and certain arrangements with ratepayers' groups. It makes it easier to represent an area if one has some connection with the ratepayers' groups and community organizations.
In my riding of Mississauga East I have such a thing. The recommendation from those citizens' groups and community organizations was precisely the recommendation I put forward on the initial submission; and for the very same reason, that there was a community of interest there.
The recommendation we have in this final submission totally destroys that community and makes it, not impossible because nothing is impossible, but extremely difficult to be a representative in the same fashion. Going back over my 10 years in this House, it takes 10 years to discover and really determine how one best represents one's area. Some ridings have to be disturbed when there is redistribution; that goes without saying, I am not arguing against that logic. However, things have to be taken into consideration other than simple numbers and the big black crayon marking on a map.
I object in the strongest terms to what is being done. I feel they have ignored almost all the terms of reference they were given to work with. My motion under the Orders and Notices outlines that. In my opinion, they did it because they chose to operate simply on the numbers, the adding machine and the big black crayon.
We have to be very careful, and the commission must be advised, that due respect is paid to traditional boundaries. The fact these have been in existence for 10 years gives them a certain historic validity. In the long scheme of things with respect to some of the ridings in north-central Ontario, 10 years is nothing. I understand that, and that is precisely why I believe Mississauga has to be treated a little bit differently in this regard because it has grown so fast.
When people live together in an urban environment it is a little different from a rural community. In an urban community they must and do band together because of the ideas and thoughts they have. They see it as their way of representing themselves with their elected representatives. All I am asking is that this be allowed to continue.
To totally mangle a riding to achieve the numbers game is silly. Bearing in mind the population of Mississauga East at present is 100,046 -- it is oversized -- we recognized in the suggestion we made initially that it had to be cut down. That could have been done by simply slicing about a third, perhaps, off the north end. It is recognized that it has to be done. However, when it is sliced down to the point where it is about 40 per cent of what it used to be by taking off the south and west ends and bringing it back up to strength by adding something remote from it, that seems to me a rather brutal way of doing things.
I feel quite strongly about what is being done. I urge this House, and particularly those members who have endorsed my motion, to be supportive. I hope the member for Mississauga North will support what I am saying, because it reflects on his own riding in the same way.
I want to be on record as being totally opposed to this recommendation by the commission.
Mr. Breaugh: I want to put a few words on the record about the findings of the commission. I have followed its deliberations on the matter and find them unique in the sense that this was a group reporting on a rather touchy issue of setting up different boundaries and ridings. It seemed to me the evidence was pretty clear in their work that they had some guiding principles and adhered to those pretty well all the way through. They had a population range they wanted to observe, and that was the mark against which all their decisions were made. By and large, I support that notion.
I want to put a couple of other viewpoints together which are true for my area and, I think, for many others as well. It would be nice if it were possible to simply devise a formula, particularly a mathematical one, and somehow at the other end that would spew out the shape and form of all the ridings. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I believe my area is an example of the kind of small problems, not major ones, that we incur.
It occasioned me to do something I have not done in a long time and that is extremely unusual for me: I signed one of the motions put forward by the member for Durham West (Mr. Ashe). I think that is about the first time in a decade I have agreed with the honourable member on anything. It seemed to me he had a valid point in objecting to a new riding that is being carved out. It is a good example of the kind of problems that can occur when the population guideline is the guiding principle.
It is obvious that the whole region of Durham has been a growth area for some decades now and that there is a legitimate reason for creating another riding there. The commission tried to do that. But when one sits down and says, "Another riding should be put in this area; how do we do that?" one gets into other problems. One problem is whether to alter the boundaries of the riding of Oshawa by moving a chunk of the city over a bit and bringing that into the riding. That might involve taking a chunk of Oshawa and tacking it on to Whitby and taking another chunk of the northern part of the community and tacking it onto Durham East.
I am sure this makes eminent good sense; if one is working with a population allocation the numbers come out roughly the way they should. In the proposal to change the boundaries of the riding of Oshawa it means the member will have by far the largest population to serve of all the ridings in the Durham region, about 78,000 people. That obviously creates some problems for whoever is the sitting member. He will have a larger population to serve, but he will get the same allocation to serve that population as everybody else.
I would make a plea that if the government wants to have a riding that serves a larger proportion of the population, it will need some extra allocation of resources. That translates into money for people to do constituency case work.
The second problem is that not many of my constituents -- not many of the people who live in Oshawa -- read the report of the commission. Not many of them, I am sad to report, know where the boundaries of the riding are. I have been a member for 10 years, and I am still explaining to people where my riding boundaries are. For some reason they seem to think when one is the member for Oshawa, one is the member for Oshawa. That seems pretty straightforward to me.
Every time I try to explain to them, "Yes, you live in the city of Oshawa, but you do not live in the provincial riding of Oshawa," I do not get very far. They seem to think just because they live on the other side of Adelaide Avenue they should not be excluded from receiving some help from me. If they are a little north of Rossland Road and 10 feet outside of my riding, the argument I put forward to them, "You do not belong to me; you belong to Durham East," does not seem to hold much water. They come to me and say, "Mike, I have a problem with compensation," or "My pension did not come in and I expect you, as somebody I know and who is supposed to be the member for Oshawa, to service my case."
Mr. Eakins: They can take it to the member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz).
Mr. Breaugh: We have tried on occasion to remind people gently that they live in the riding of Durham East and not in the riding of Oshawa, but it just does not have a lot of sway with those folks. When they are standing in front of my desk and they have a problem that needs to be resolved, they hand me the problem. One cannot get along for very many hours saying, "No, you live in somebody else's riding." They think they belong to Oshawa. Of course, they all voted for me even though they do not live in the riding, and they all work very hard for me, so I am in honour bound to solve those people's problems.
There comes into the mix something I think the commission had a little problem with: how does one draw boundaries and find natural constituencies?
There is not much to join the people of the city of Oshawa with the people of the town of Newcastle; so in the riding of Durham East there is a problem for the member. There are three or four Legion branches he has to attend every Remembrance Day. There is also a problem for the constituents, who do not follow quite as accurately as we do all the workings of the provincial government. They may not know where the boundary lines are. There are no road markers or anything like that to indicate where Oshawa starts and Durham East stops.
The same thing will be true under the new proposal. The concept that one can somehow tack a portion of the city of Oshawa on to the town of Whitby and create a new riding called Durham Centre is quite possible in theory. However, in practice the people of Oshawa and the people of Whitby think of themselves as two groups. Their two councils think of themselves as two separate entities. Sometimes they have very different perspectives on matters and very different points of view on what should happen in their municipalities and their ridings.
I am going to make a bit of an argument that some reconsideration ought to take place about these boundary lines, both for my riding of Oshawa and for the proposed riding of Durham Centre. I know what the commission was trying to do. I know the population range was something it really did want to adhere to, but there are two problems that are created by the current recommendations.
The proposed new riding boundaries for Oshawa riding leave it with a rather large population to be served and the boundaries, in particular the northern boundaries, are arbitrary. I do not think there is any question about that. Somebody had to draw a line on the map and he drew a line at an area called Taunton Road when he could have drawn it at Rossland Road or any other of a number of intersections there.
It creates a bit of a problem for whoever might represent the riding of Oshawa in the future. I want to put that on the record. I am not objecting to it very strongly, but I am saying it will put a strain on the resources that are allocated to individual members to service a riding. That problem is going to occur.
Quite frankly, in crass political terms it makes no difference to me. How one devises the boundary lines in my area throughout the whole city of Oshawa makes relatively little difference. It simply means I will walk a different set of streets for a portion of the riding. I do not anticipate the results will be much different because I walked those streets in the federal election and came up with not bad results.
I am happy to have a portion of the boundary shifted over to the eastern part of the city. I am a little sad to lose some of the western part of the city because I have worked that part of the constituency for a fairly lengthy period of time now. I am very comfortable with those people and very happy with that relationship. I do not think they are going to fit very nicely into a new riding that consists of the town of Whitby and a chunk of the city of Oshawa.
It is an awkward mix. It is going to be more awkward probably, for people in the town of Whitby, which has a long history of identity. It was originally a county town. When they put in regional government they did not mess around very much with the boundaries for the town of Whitby. It has an identity of its own. How a member is expected to serve the town of Whitby, almost a constituency by itself, and a chunk of the city of Oshawa, is going to be difficult to explain. There will be awkwardness there.
I guess what I am trying to say is that, like other members, I like to have a constituency that has an identity, where people understand easily, without any real problem and without reaching for a provincial riding boundary map, which riding they belong to. There is some measure of difficulty now in the Durham region with people not knowing who lives in Durham East, Durham West, Oshawa and Durham-York, which has changed its name in the last 10 years at least once. That problem is going to be compounded if the proposals in the current report are adopted.
I am not suggesting for a minute that a revolution is going to break loose in Oshawa. All I am saying is that the commission is creating, if it adheres to these current proposals, a couple of more headaches for me or whoever represents the riding of Oshawa, which I suppose is of no great concern to anybody in this House but will create some problems for the people we are purportedly serving here.
It is not impossible to devise a redistribution scheme which has as a guiding principle a population range. I am in agreement with that, but I do not think it should be the overriding principle. In other words, the government should seek some identity that is already there, as in the case of the town of Whitby.
I could give a pretty good argument that the town of Whitby is pretty close to being an entity with sufficient population range. If the commission wanted to bring in part of the northern part of what was created under regional government -- it now belongs to the city of Oshawa, though it never did in the past but was part of Ontario county -- it seems to me it could come up with a configuration there which is not quite as neat and tidy a package as I would like but is something where people have for a long time related to the county town. It is part of the old county of Ontario, which is now part of the region of Durham and the city of Oshawa.
Some people have not accepted that quite as nicely as we would like, even after more than a decade of regional government. I think the commission could create a Durham Centre seat there that everybody would understand. They would know that a new seat had been created. It would make some sense to them. The current proposal, to take a chunk of the city of Oshawa and tack it on to Whitby, is not sitting too nicely. There are no fist fights in the bars over this, but there will be some discussion about whether the member services a chunk or portion of the city of Oshawa or services the town of Whitby.
When it comes to events that happen on Remembrance Day, New Year's Day or whatever it is, the member will obviously have to make a choice, "Do I go to where more people are or do I go to the one that has the nicest fruit punch?" Through some wonderful means, the member is going to have to decide which ceremony he or she attends; and that will create some problems.
When I have been talking to the member for Durham East, he has mentioned from time to time that it is difficult to make an arbitrary decision as to which social event one goes to and which legion one goes to. One is expected to appear at those events, but one obviously cannot appear in five places at the same time. The member has to select one event. Then people in the other part of the riding often say, "I did not see the local member at my Remembrance Day ceremony." For many people, it is important the member be there; it is seen to be part of the member's job.
I wanted to put on the record some of my concerns about the way in which the boundaries were drawn. I understand the principle and I think it is admirable we are coming closer to the mark in getting to a population range where there are no wild variations. However, I think there is another element that is important: some kind of community must be served.
Perhaps I could make a couple of remarks on areas other than my own. For example, I heard members speak today about making sure that the north, in effect, does not lose seats. I think that is important. There are a number of ridings in northern Ontario that are quite huge and are very difficult for a member to service. Even though we use tie-lines and telephone communications, and even though we mail out and have a northern air allowance and all that, it is tough to service a constituency slightly larger than the state of Texas; we have one of those. I think that should be a problem for us. I think there should be additional representation for northern Ontario.
Other members have talked about rural Ontario. If we become totally fixed with the notion that a population range must be the only consideration, we create problems in parts of the province that need to be represented in this Legislature. Farm communities need to be represented here. They may not have huge population bases, but it would be quite a wrong move if, in some attempt to get to population base as a better guiding principle, we damaged the representation, the number of members who are in this Legislature from northern and rural Ontario, whether it is eastern or what we call southwestern Ontario.
I think that would be a wrong move because it would upset the balance here. Even though the north may not always have the population base to warrant an additional constituency, the problems and the potential of northern Ontario dictate it not lose any representation in the Legislature.
The same principle is true for rural Ontario. It would be dead wrong to say eastern Ontario does not have a lot of people and so it has to lose some representation. It would be even worse to say that eastern Ontario can have the same number of members, but more people live in the Ottawa-Carleton region, therefore there is redistribution under which the people from Plum Hollow, a rural community included in a new Ottawa-Carleton riding, do not know their representative at Queen's Park. They should know who represents that wonderful community or the community of Plum Hollow or Delhi or any of the other areas. They have to be represented here even if there is not a huge population base to warrant dividing the constituencies on that basis.
In the north, in the east and in the southwest, it is important that, whatever we do with respect to redistribution, we do not damage the kind and amount of representation. That would be another principle I would put forward as being very important.
Finally, I want to say a bit about the number of members who are here.
Hon. Mr. Eakins: Here today?
Mr. Breaugh: It is actually not bad for a Friday morning. I have been here when there was less riff-raff hanging around.
We recognize there is an arbitrary piece of business at work with this. There is no real reason for this House to have 125 members now and no real reason for the proposal for 130 members. There is no real reason it could not be 155, 150, 140 members or whatever number. A certain measure of arbitrariness enters the picture.
Mrs. Grier: There is no room.
Mr. Breaugh: Yes, there is that problem. We have a bit of a difficulty here this session because of the way the numbers fell in the election. The electorate did not respect the fact that we wanted to have an aisle down here. My favourite place to hang out when I wanted to stand up for a little while has been nationalized by some members. We now have our desks right up against the wall. There is no place for me to stand any more.
Mr. Grande: It is against the fire regulations.
Mr. Breaugh: It probably is against the fire regulations. We should call in the fire marshal and get that out.
There is no real rationale that says there ought to be 125 members here. I think not a bad case can be made for additional members from a number of points of view. I say that with the clearest stipulation that I do not want to see any reallocation of ridings which damages northern Ontario or the percentage of members who come from the north or which damages rural Ontario. Even though we are not a powerhouse in eastern Ontario yet, we are coming along and we will be there one of these days.
A good argument can be made that if the committee system does become more active around here, and it will, we are all going to have some problems finding members who can spend time on them. The government side in particular, which is a little short of ordinary back-bench members, is going to have a little difficulty stocking those committees. There will be a lot of folks on that side who will be very busy for the next while. All the parties are going to have that problem.
It seems to me that what someone suggested in jest a little while ago is probably pretty close to the truth. We designed the number of representatives in Ontario in part -- I do not want to say altogether -- in part because we cannot fit all the desks in here. That has always been a consideration as long as I have been around here. Whenever we talk about adding additional seats to the Legislature one of the first-line arguments is there is no room for more desks.
I am not sure this argument is worth much consideration. At Westminster, for example, where there are more than 600 members in Parliament, if they all showed up on any given day nobody could find a seat anywhere. They hang around upstairs. They go through lobbies to vote. They do not have a big desk; they have long benches. There is a pecking order as to where they sit, but they find places and sit down. One member stands up, gives his speech and then goes out into the lobby to vote. There are ways to accommodate them all.
I believe the commission did a pretty good job in doing a rough draft, but I would like to see the first draft rethought somewhat. I am not afraid of the notion that additional seats should be added. I want careful consideration to make sure parts of the province which I believe are important, even though they do not have the population base, such as the north, rural areas -- and west Metro, I am told -- do not get hurt in this process. Although I know it is difficult, I would like to see them try, when they do change boundaries and add additional seats, to identify a community of interest.
I reiterate that there is not a lot of interest between the town of Whitby and the city of Oshawa, particularly when the new riding is going to be the whole town of Whitby and a little chunk of the city of Oshawa. I do not think that is going to work too smoothly. In its proposal for boundaries in the new riding of Oshawa I think the commission came close to the mark, but I do not think it quite hit it.
I should admit that although I am not terribly pleased, it will not be I who will bear the brunt of this. It will be the one person who works in my constituency office who pays the price. I will be down here telling the members of this House how bad it is, but she will be back in the office listening to all the people who have problems and need a little bit of help.
On those two grounds, I think these are matters the commission ought to think about and see if it can find a better way to redraw those boundaries to identify communities of interest.
I will conclude by congratulating the commission for doing a pretty good job, and a very difficult one, of redrawing the boundaries and sticking to its principles. I would have liked to see a little more in the way of public hearings. In my area, for example, the people could have come to Toronto or could have gone to Peterborough, but I do not think it would have been impossible for the commission to have had a hearing within the region of Durham. It is a big chunk of turf. There are a lot of people there, a quarter of a million or more. A lot of municipalities are affected, five or six ridings, and they are proposing not only small boundary adjustments but also an additional riding.
I do not know whether we can have more in the way of public hearings, but I would hope when the commission is making proposals of this kind in future it goes to places where it is suggesting rather major changes. Even if it is not a full day's hearing but only an opportunity for people to appear, I think when changes of that size are being proposed a chance to have a hearing locally is necessary.
I know our people could have gone to Peterborough or come to Toronto, but I also know I personally wanted to make a bit of a presentation -- not a long one -- on the day the committee was scheduled to have its hearings, but it was in Peterborough and I was here at Queen's Park doing committee work. Had that hearing been in Oshawa, I could have dropped in on the way back home that night or before I came to the meeting here. To ask me to drive an hour to Peterborough and another one back to the riding would have been rather difficult. In practical terms, it was awkward.
I want to congratulate them for doing what I think is a very good job of putting together the proposal. All I am saying is it was not a perfect job, and I do not think anybody on the commission would pretend it achieved perfection here. There were those problems I identified.
I appreciate the chance to try to participate a bit during the course of this debate. It is one of those occasions on which I would hope a lot of members speak. There are a number who are taking the time to participate in the drafting of motions and putting their names to them, but I think it is an important part of the process that the members of the Legislature, who after all work with these boundaries, should have an opportunity to debate this now and presumably pick it up a little later on in the fall session. Designing the boundaries is an important part of the process of redrafting and filing the report.
Although it is unreasonable to expect members of the commission to know all of the local nuances of Algoma Mills, or wherever, and the 60 people there and how it affects them, that is the local member's job. Members are expected to know their own constituencies and adjacent ones and to be able to participate in this kind of debate, in which they bring to the commission's attention things about which it could not reasonably expect its members to know very much.
I appreciate the opportunity to do that and I will listen with great interest to other members.
Hon. Mr. Eakins: I would like to speak briefly in this debate as it affects the electoral boundaries of Victoria-Haliburton. May I, first of all, offer congratulations to the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker on their appointments. I know they have a very important task and I wish them well in their deliberations in the days ahead in this Legislature.
I want to associate myself with and commend the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh), or that part of Oshawa he represents, for his comments in this debate. When my daughter moved to Oshawa, I assured her that if she had any provincial problems she would be well looked after, but after a few visits I found she did not live in the member's riding although she lived in Oshawa.
I understand and associate myself with many of the concerns the member has raised. I think in many ways they are reflected in a number of ridings across the province. Some of the comments are certainly applicable to the one I represent. I know it is important to look after the great population influxes into some of the ridings, especially the urban areas of the province, but in doing so, I do not think we should place in jeopardy some of the rural regions, especially the area I am going to mention in Victoria-Haliburton. It may seem very insignificant compared to many of the problems some of my colleagues have mentioned here this morning.
I attended the hearings in Peterborough before Mr. Justice Samuel H. S. Hughes. At that time the plan was to remove three townships from Victoria county. I might explain that at present the electoral boundaries encompass the exact boundaries of the two counties of Haliburton and Victoria. The original plan of the commission was to remove three townships: the townships of Dalton and Carden were to be placed probably with Simcoe East, and the township of Manvers was to be placed with the electoral riding of Durham East, farther to the south.
Following our presentation and the further report from the commission, Dalton and Carden were very correctly placed back into the county of Victoria. However, we were not so fortunate with the township of Manvers. If there were some good reason for Manvers township to become part of Durham East, I think I could readily agree to it, but it is simply that a population of somewhere in the neighbourhood of 3,350 people is being shifted and disrupted, I suppose to make up a quota for Durham East. There must be a better reason than simply just to divide up the people.
In 1974, when the region of Durham was brought into being, the township of Manvers requested that it be part of the county of Victoria. I think it was a very wise decision. They have many things in common: the geography, the people come to the Lindsay area for many of their needs and they feel at home. I understand the grandfather of the chairman of the commission, Mr. Justice Hughes, that is, the late Lieutenant General Sir Samuel Hughes, was the member for Victoria and Haliburton. I believe at one time he taught school in Manvers township and then he moved farther north into the county of Victoria, which he represented for many years. I see no good reason that the township of Manvers should not remain within the county.
Since becoming part of the county of Victoria in 1974, the reeve of the township a few years ago was elected warden of the county, which seemed to cement a good relationship and made the people of the township feel at home and a part of Victoria county. Why disturb a county structure that is working well?
The member for Oshawa mentioned the problems of serving the people when they wonder to whom to turn when they need help in a particular area. When resolutions are passed by the county of Victoria or there are other problems, they know they can come to their local member. If the township of Manvers is placed with Durham East, it would mean the people of Victoria and Haliburton would have two members representing them. We might say we know some counties where they have three or four members, and that may be fine, but historically we have had one member for the counties of Victoria and Haliburton. I see no reason why now, for the sake of one township, we should end up having two members representing that area.
The people in Manvers township want to stay with the county of Victoria. I believe they have circulated some 700 letters to the commission asking that they remain within the county structure. I fully support that request. During the election campaign, the then Premier and now Leader of the Opposition (Mr. F. S. Miller), at a meeting in Lindsay, assured Manvers that it would remain part of Victoria-Haliburton. I hope the Leader of the Opposition will be taking part in the debate and will stand up and say he fully supports its retention within those boundaries.
I simply ask the commission to please leave this one township with the structure of government where we have represented the exact boundaries of the two counties. I can see no reason that one township should be taken out of the county structure and out of the total riding, simply to provide a few more heads for Durham East. It makes no sense. The people do not want to go there; they want to remain where they are. Their natural support and business is to the north, towards the town of Lindsay and farther north. I urge the members of the commission not to take one township to benefit another simply for the sake of trying to even up certain areas.
What the member for Oshawa has stated is: "Make the people feel they know who their representative is and that they know the boundaries they are involved in." It is sometimes very difficult for people to know who represents them, especially if one were to take a township out of its present county. It is very difficult to know who the member for Oshawa is, even when one is in that city.
It would be very difficult indeed for the people of Manvers township to understand fully who is representing them. People who have a case involving workers' compensation naturally come to their member. Now they will be wondering: "Which way do I go?" Since the member has been their representative, they will still feel the member should be giving them service.
It may not seem very important to take the time of this assembly to discuss one township, but for the people in Victoria-Haliburton and the people of Manvers township it is most important. It is very important that the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission reconsider this one township. It should leave it with a community of interest; that is, within the county where they were placed in 1974 with the creation of the region of Durham.
Mr. Barlow: Mr. Speaker, let me begin by congratulating you, sir, on your appointment to the office you now hold. I know you will bring justice to the position and do an exceptional job in it.
I want to re-emphasize a few of the remarks I put in my motion regarding the matter of redistribution and changing electoral boundaries.
The riding I represent, Cambridge, has been virtually intact since 1867 when the British North America Act came into being. The riding was then known as Waterloo South; it was made up of the townships of North Dumfries, Waterloo South and Wilmot, the town of Galt and the village of Preston.
Now the riding is known as Cambridge; that came about in 1974 at the birth of the city of Cambridge, which was formed from the amalgamation of parts of five former communities: the city of Galt, the towns of Preston and Hespeler, and parts of the townships of North Dumfries and Waterloo. They all joined together to make up the city of Cambridge. At that time there was still a township of North Dumfries with the parts that were left over.
Over the years, whenever there have been new redistribution proposals, be they federal or provincial, North Dumfries has been a target for movement from one riding to another. The last time there was a redistribution proposal for what was then Waterloo South, North Dumfries was going to be moved into another area quite remote from the rest of the riding. At the time, my wife raised an objection and was successful. I hope I can convince the commission this time, as did my wife before the previous commission, to retain North Dumfries in the riding now known as Cambridge.
The population of North Dumfries is only 4,422 people. It is very constant. It has not changed. It is not a growing community in any way, shape or form. The residents are very proud of their background and ancestry. It is not a community that is expanding, where large subdivisions are developing and so forth. There is no foreseeable change in the immediate future. It will no doubt have a population of fewer than 5,000 for the next 10 years or beyond. There is no official plan to suggest it will be anything different. So much for the history lesson.
The proposal under redistribution would remove the township of North Dumfries completely from the regional municipality of Waterloo, which was also formed under regional government on January 1, 1974. To remove North Dumfries from that regional municipality would mean a portion of it being moved to the new riding of Brant-Haldimand, which would mean that township would not have representation by a member from the rest of the regional municipality.
North Dumfries pays a portion of the municipal tax dollar to the regional municipality of Waterloo. They pay their education taxes either to the Waterloo county board of education or to the Waterloo county separate board of education. They would be totally remote from people living in the little village of Ayr and the village of Branchton. There are several little villages there, all part of the township of North Dumfries under one municipal government, which would be remote from being represented by a member from the regional municipality of Waterloo.
Within the next 10 years or so I can see the whole regional municipality expanding in population to the point where an extra seat will be required the next time there is redistribution. At present there are four seats in the regional municipality -- Waterloo North, Kitchener, Kitchener-Wilmot and Cambridge. They are all fairly high in population compared to the average population of the province. Cambridge even now, if North Dumfries were taken out, would still be one of the largest in population in the whole province.
However, just representing a big population is not the reason I am opposing this proposal by the commission. I feel if we move North Dumfries at this time to another riding, the riding of Brant-Haldimand, 10 years down the road when redistribution is considered once again, it will come back into the regional municipality. The people of North Dumfries are just going to be shifted back and forth, as has been proposed in the past number of redistribution proposals, both federally and provincially.
To talk about populations for a moment, the accepted average in the province for southern Ontario is 66,347. The upper end of that, 25 per cent above, would be 82,934; the lower end, minus 25 per cent, would be 49,760. The population, according to the 1981 census for the riding of Cambridge, which includes the township of North Dumfries, would be 82,155, which is very high but still within the 25 per cent above the provincial average.
The proposed Brant-Haldimand riding would be 63,546. If North Dumfries were taken out, the 4,422 people I mentioned previously, Brant-Haldimand would still have a population of 59,124. That is well within the lower end of the plus or minus 25 per cent.
To leave North Dumfries in the riding of Cambridge would not upset the provincial populations. It is true it might be second highest in the province as far as population is concerned, but that is still within the recommended limits.
I would like to put on the record a couple of letters from Jim Gray, chairman of the regional municipality of Waterloo. His first one, dated March 15, was sent directly to the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission. It reads:
"The advertisement showing the proposed electoral boundaries for the regional municipality of Waterloo indicates that the region will be covered by the electoral districts of Waterloo, Kitchener, Kitchener-Wilmot and Cambridge. A notable exception is that a small portion of the region (part of the township of North Dumfries) would be split off and added to Brant-Haldimand.
"If this were a rapidly growing area with increasing population, I could see some logic in attaching it to a separate jurisdiction, but the entire township of North Dumfries has a population of fewer than 5,000 and it has remained stable for many years. To suggest that a township of this size should have two different provincial members seems ludicrous and would be confusing to the residents. I therefore would strongly urge the commission to include all of North Dumfries within the electoral district of Cambridge."
In a second letter, addressed to me and dated February 11, 1985, Mr. Gray says: "I note in the press that the matter of electoral boundaries will soon be addressed in the Legislature. I am enclosing a copy of a letter sent last March" -- the one I just read -- "to the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission, and copied at that time to you, and ask that you share my views with your colleagues." That is what I am doing now.
"I would also ask that you emphasize the opposition of the residents of North Dumfries to being separated from the region of Waterloo. It has taken a number of years and considerable personal effort for a regional government to achieve the present level of acceptance by area politicians and residents. I see the proposed boundary change as a giant step backwards. It will be confusing, it will be divisive, it will remove the hard-won sense of community and it will be unnecessary. Please do everything you can to prevent the proposed change."
Finally, and I will not read it in full, there is a letter from the township of North Dumfries. I appeared before their council meeting on February 4 and they passed the following resolution: "This council recommends that the present provincial boundaries of the South Waterloo riding remain intact, as it is, and be assessed at a later date." The clerk was a little behind when he referred to the South Waterloo riding.
I would like to emphasize the effect of removing the township of North Dumfries to another area in order to achieve our electoral boundaries in the riding of Cambridge, which would be well represented by any subsequent member, I am sure; that is not the concern. It is a matter of retaining North Dumfries within the boundaries of the regional municipality of Waterloo because the next time there is redistribution, a fifth seat will be required because of the population of Waterloo. For the number of people who are going to be affected, I strongly urge the commission to reconsider its recommendation and leave North Dumfries as part of the riding of Cambridge.
On motion by Mr. Barlow, the debate was adjourned.
The House adjourned at 1 p.m.