L003 - Fri 25 Apr 1986 / Ven 25 avr 1986
The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. McLean: On a point of privilege: I would like the House to recognize the prowess of the Orillia Travelways Hockey Team. After defeating Brockville, they are once again the winners of the central Canada trophy, emblematic of hockey supremacy from Thunder Bay to Moncton, New Brunswick. They play the first game of the Centennial Cup series on Sunday afternoon in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. They were the Centennial Cup champions last season. I congratulate the team and wish them success for another Centennial Cup.
Mr. Harris: On a point of privilege: Yesterday in the Legislature the first minister of the province and of this Legislature said, and I quote from Hansard, "The critic at large would be intellectually dishonest."
My party and I have grave reservations about the language of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) on the first formal day back in the Legislature, albeit a different day for a number of reasons. His language demeans not only a member of this House, a specific member in this case, but also all members of this House. The first minister might want to reflect on setting the tone for this session with those kinds of remarks. You, Mr. Speaker, may want to reflect on that and relay it to him.
Mr. Speaker: First of all, that is not a point of privilege; it may be a point of order. Usually such points are brought up immediately. The Premier is not in his seat, but I am sure this will be drawn to his attention.
Mr. Andrewes: My question is to the Attorney General in the absence of the Minister of Health (Mr. Elston). It is a question that concerns a vitally important issue, the negotiations that are currently going on between the government and the Ontario Medical Association. Has the government placed any time limits during which the OMA is required to respond to the government's 10-point proposal?
Hon. Mr. Scott: The Minister of Health is not in the House today. I would like to take that question as notice and refer it to him upon his return.
Mr. McClellan: He does not go to the meetings. You are the only one who goes.
Mr. Andrewes: On a point of order with respect to that response: It is well known that the Attorney General is conducting these negotiations. He is the focal point of these negotiations. In the public interest, it is only appropriate for the Attorney General to respond.
Mr. Speaker: Order. That is hardly a point of order. Is that a supplementary question?
Mr. Andrewes: It is a point of order. I will try another one.
Mr. Speaker: I do not consider that a point of order. Will the member place a supplementary?
Mr. Andrewes: As the Attorney General has declined to answer a question that is very relevant to his undertakings at present -- his undertakings at the instruction of the Premier -- I will pose that question to the Premier (Mr. Peterson), if I may, sir.
Mr. Speaker: The usual custom in this House is that the supplementary question flows out of the response to the original question.
Miss Stephenson: What response?
Mr. Gillies: The Premier is here; he probably could respond to the question.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The supplementary can be placed to the minister to whom the question was placed originally. If the minister wishes to ask the Premier to reply, that is up to him.
Mr. Andrewes: I will offer the Attorney General an opportunity to redirect the question to the Premier.
Mr. Speaker: Is that your supplementary?
Mr. Andrewes: No, it is not my supplementary; it is my point of order.
Mr. Speaker: With respect, that is not a point of order. Are you asking the Attorney General to redirect the question?
Mr. Andrewes: I now have given the Attorney General that opportunity on two occasions. Apparently he is declining to enlighten the House on a subject that currently is very near and dear to him.
Mr. Harris: On a point of order: We are dealing with one of the most important issues concerning the people of Ontario. This House started at 10 o'clock, at which time the Premier was not in the House. We had here one minister who was in the forefront of the negotiations.
Mr. Speaker: Order. There is no response from the Attorney General? Final supplementary.
Mr. Andrewes: Given that I have not received an answer to my question and the Attorney General apparently is declining to involve himself publicly in these negotiations, although obviously he is very involved, and if the government has not placed any time constraints on these negotiations -- and by the nonanswer it would appear that it has not -- my final supplementary is: Would it not be in the best interests of this House and of the government's negotiations with the OMA to stand down Bill 94, which has been described by the Premier as being draconian legislation, and create an environment of effective negotiations?
Hon. Mr. Scott: The premise of the question is that the answer I gave, in which I referred the question to the Minister of Health, leads to certain assumptions. The honourable member knows perfectly well there is no justification in drawing any assumptions from the fact that a question is to be referred to a minister. In this case the Minister of Health is in charge of the negotiations, and he will be back in his place next day. The person in charge of the negotiations should answer the questions.
Mr. Harris: As long as the record shows that neither the Attorney General nor the Premier wishes to comment and that they have no answer to either one of these questions. Neither of those two is involved.
ONTARIO ADVISORY COUNCIL ON MULTICULTURALISM AND CITIZENSHIP
Mr. Shymko: My question is of the Minister of Citizenship and Culture. In a leaked ministry document entitled Multiculturalism: How is the Liberal Government Different! bearing the name of the minister and dated February 6, 1986 --
Mr. Foulds: Which one?
Mr. Shymko: The Minister of Citizenship and Culture.
Mr. Foulds: Down, Tony, down.
Mr. Shymko: My apologies for the confusion, for which I am not responsible.
In a subtitle, "Program for Action," the minister proposes "to eliminate the existing Ontario Advisory Committee on Multiculturalism and Citizenship" -- it is interesting that after eight months with her portfolio, she still does not know it is a council, not a committee -- "which has been ineffective for about three years...."
Why has the minister singled out the three years when it was chaired for the first time by a woman, a prominent leader of Ontario's black community and a respected civil servant, namely, Dr. Mavis Burke, as the only ineffective years? Has the minister apologized for this offensive and patronizing statement to Dr. Burke and the 60 men and women who have so diligently served?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Ms. Munro: The document to which the honourable member refers is in fact a discussion paper at the staff level. I have seen the paper. I think it is my responsibility as a minister to allow people to think and to be able to glean ideas from several items.
The discussion paper is in no way a policy paper, as the member is aware. The Minister without Portfolio, the member for Parkdale (Mr. Ruprecht), and I are both engaging and are fully aware of the sensitivities of the multicultural community. This government is also aware of the sensitivities. I do not believe I need to remind the member, although maybe the member for York West (Mr. Leluk) has not informed him of the estimates data, that the Premier (Mr. Peterson), the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) and our interministerial committees are very sensitive on the whole issue of multiculturalism.
I am not going to discuss the content of that paper, which was transferred to the member in a brown paper envelope. If he wishes to talk to me about any issue relating to the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and Citizenship, he is more than welcome to do it.
I met as recently as two days ago with Mr. Frolick. I am in constant contact. I do not intend to apologize to Dr. Burke, because I made no insinuation to that lady.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Ms. Munro: If the member wants to ask a supplementary, I will be glad to discuss it.
Mr. Shymko: I certainly do have a supplementary. I think the minister should discuss with the Premier what is understood as responsibility for documents that bear her name.
I would like a clear answer: Is the minister going to eliminate the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and Citizenship? Is she going to apologize for singling out three years for some reason? I would like to know whose advice she is taking: the auxiliary minister's, the people's or the advisory council's?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Ms. Munro: I seek advice from a number of bodies. Because of the member's experience as a parliamentarian, he will surely understand the difference between discussion papers, policy papers and a number of valid ways in which this or any other government can seek advice on the direction we are going.
My colleague the member for Parkdale and I are in constant discussion over many issues. The Premier does not have to take responsibility for the fact that a discussion paper bears my name. I have told the member already that that discussion paper is one of several. He surely does not think that, as a minister, I am going to be without meaningful input from members of my staff, members of my ministry and members of the Legislature, including himself.
I have made no allegations for which I have to apologize in the manner the member is considering. I am in constant contact with Mr. Frolick. We have in a good working relationship. If the member has any suggestions to give me, he may go ahead and do so.
Mr. Shymko: I have never seen a more insulting, degrading and demeaning document as is printed here. It is presented by a top adviser in the minister's ministry.
Mr. Speaker: Question.
Mr. Shymko: Why circulate not only in her ministry but apparently also in the Office of the Premier, where the first statement of the origin of this document was substantiated, an insulting document that sets back by 25 years the policy of multiculturalism, describes ethnics as being interested only in song, dance and food, and calls the poor of this province racist and bigoted?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Ms. Munro: I remind the member that I am not responsible for what he thinks, from all his experiences, is degrading information. I assure him that, as a minister, I have the right to ask my ministry to give me information that will provide the basis for more meaningful programs in the area of multiculturalism. His definition of what he has read that is degrading in his experience is not anything I will start making value judgements on. He may rest assured that this ministry and this government are sensitive to multicultural concerns. If the member has anything he wants to talk to me about, he may do so.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I have a question for the Premier. There are two prominent labour disputes in Ontario at the moment; one is with the Ontario Medical Association, and the other has the Wheel-Trans drivers as protagonists. Why is it that for 1,700 doctors who have had a 47 per cent increase since 1982, the Premier is willing to offer $53 million, about $30,000 each extra above the Ontario health insurance plan rates, whereas for 185 disabled transit workers he is not willing to offer an extra $220,000, about 63 cents an hour in the second year of a contract -- not even money for this year -- to stop what has happened? These people earn $4.05 an hour less than regular Toronto Transit Commission drivers.
Mr. Speaker: Question.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Why did the Premier not intervene more strongly for these workers as he did for the doctors? Are their democratic rights not worth the effort?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The assumptions in the honourable member's question are faulty. He suggests a specific offer of a certain amount of money has been put on the table; he is quite wrong in that respect. The situations are not similar at all. The doctors are currently independent professionals and have a different relationship with the government with respect to payment. Wheel-Trans is a private company. We are not legislating a specific settlement to that. It is in the hands of an arbitrator and will be, presumably, if the legislation is passed. I do not see the similarity that the member attempted to draw in the two situations.
Mr. Mackenzie: The Premier says it would be draconian legislation to speed up an end to the doctors' extra-billing ripoff. Does the Premier not recognize the double standard implied in this position? For doctors, it is draconian to end what has already been months and months of hearings but for the Wheel-Trans drivers, who are underpaid and underbenefited, it is quite all right to try to jam it through in an hour. Does he not recognize the double standard he is imposing on the workers in this province?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: With great respect, I do not agree with my friend's analysis of the situation. This government came reluctantly to the conclusion that the discussions with respect to Wheel-Trans were not going anywhere and we were going to have to deal with this situation. In our judgement, if there had been any hope of a quick settlement, we would have let the process go.
The honourable member will be aware that in the Wheel-Trans situation, an agreement was reached and the membership turned it down. How long can these things go on? Government has to act in these matters. I do not see the similarity between the two. I am not sure I can persuade him, but that is the position the government has taken.
Mr. Cousens: It was a double-barrelled question, and the other half of the question had to do with the Wheel-Trans strike. To what extent will the government underwrite the costs of the arbitration?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: One could argue that we could solve every strike in this province by throwing more money here and there. Everybody wants more money. I noticed a report yesterday that recommends that members of the provincial parliament are underpaid and should get 16 or 20 per cent more. I am not sure what the view of the members of this House would be on that matter.
We do not have unlimited fiscal capacity to solve all of these problems. There were some negotiations with the government with respect to Wheel-Trans. We tried to be conciliatory and to move in some direction. We are always looking, if we can, for a negotiated, reasonable settlement. However, sometimes these things do not happen and the government has to provide the leadership. We are doing that.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: The question that surely is begged in all this is about the Premier's commitment to public transit for the disabled in this province. We do not have an integrated system. He has not said whether he wants to move towards that. The past government did not choose to do so.
We have a second-class service at this point because people have to book for it and cannot use it for all the things that we unhandicapped people do. Does the Premier not think the Wheel-Trans drivers, who put in extra work and extra effort, should be paid at least what the Toronto Transit Commission drivers, who are driving the rest of us around, are paid in Metropolitan Toronto? Should he not have done more to make sure they got that?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: My honourable friend is making the parity argument: They should have parity with this group or some other group, or why should they not have parity with some other group somewhere that is more highly paid? I have never heard anybody argue parity with someone who is lower than he is. They always find a group somewhere and say, "We should have parity with that group." I could argue that an honourable member such as himself, who is constructive, should have parity with his federal counterparts in Ottawa because he works equally hard and makes an equal contribution.
I want the member to know something, though. This government has rejected parity as an operating principle in any of these discussions. In any negotiation, I can find someone who makes more and someone who will say he deserves more. They are different situations. The qualifications are different between the two sets of drivers. I am not in a position to sit there and say, "This one equates to this one or that one" or anything else, and I do not think anyone else is.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: I have a question for the Premier. He is quoted in the papers as having said after yesterday's question period that he would not promise that the extra billing ban would be in place before the fall of this year. Why is he considering that an extra $25 million in extra billing be allowed in Ontario after the bill has been discussed and debated thoroughly, in the government's district health council forums, in second reading in this House and with more than 150 briefs in the standing committee on social development?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The honourable member asked this question yesterday and I welcome it again. I will give the same response. As long as we in the government are persuaded that the discussions that are going on with the medical community are in good faith and that progress is being made, we are going to take that approach.
I have said to the member and I said to the people who asked me yesterday that I expect a resolution of this matter this spring. If the member is asking me to do it next week, I cannot give him that date; I cannot say it is going to be accomplished by May 17 or by any other date. But we do believe on this side that progress is being made, and we expect, as I said, a resolution as quickly as possible. I am not going to let it drag, but I cannot tell the member specifically the day it is going to be passed in this House.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: It is very clear from the comments made by the Premier that the employees of Wheel-Trans and the patients of this province who are extra billed are second class to the doctors in Ontario.
Dr. Myers made it very clear when he was in front of the social development committee and in the press several times since then that the issue is the withdrawal of Bill 94 and that the doctors are not prepared to debate or negotiate a ban on extra billing with the government of Ontario unless Bill 94 is withdrawn. They are considering some task force that might report two years down the road.
What is the Premier negotiating? Why can we not ban extra billing now in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: Again, this is a repetitive question. We are going to ban extra billing and we are not going to withdraw Bill 94. The member knows where we stand. There are a number of ways to accomplish the purposes we have in mind. I assume that my honourable friend believes in negotiating where possible; it is certainly an historic position of his party. There are a number of things we have in common with the medical profession and we are searching for those, just as when we work in this House we search for the things we have in common with our colleagues, not for the things that divide us. That is what makes the system go forward.
Mr. Andrewes: I would like to try once again with the question which I posed earlier to the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) and which he declined to answer: Has the government placed any time limits in which the Ontario Medical Association is required to respond to the Attorney General's proposal?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: No, and it is not the Attorney General's proposal.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: The Premier has described our desire to ban extra billing as quickly as possible in this spring session as arbitrary and dictatorial. We have debated this bill since the middle of December in the Legislature and in committee. We have debated it in the province for 16 years. How can it be considered arbitrary, if we are to end extra billing when, on the other hand, would he not agree that his action on the Wheel-Trans strike is arbitrary, with five minutes' notice to the union?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: Let me tell my honourable friend the essential difference. With respect to the discussions with the doctors and the OMA, we believe there is a chance to solve the situation and, optimists that we are, we are pursuing it. On the basis of the information presented to us, we did not believe there was any chance or a reasonable likelihood of a negotiated settlement in the Wheel-Trans situation and we took action. That is the difference.
Mr. Gillies: My question is also to the Premier. As his minister was unable to effect a negotiated settlement in the case of the Wheel-Trans drivers, he introduced the legislation which we will be debating today. Due to the government's mishandling of the dispute with the OMA, there is a possible, threatened withdrawal of service by the doctors in this province. If that occurs, would he similarly be willing to introduce legislation that would prohibit the withdrawal of physicians' services?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The member will agree I get threatened with everything almost every day, including in this House. I do not respond to hypothetical questions.
Mr. Wildman: I suggest to the Premier that this is a question of sufficient importance that he should consider it. For very good reason and in the interests of 14,000 handicapped people, he has introduced legislation to protect the health, safety and interests of those people. Is he saying he would not be similarly prepared to protect the health of nine million people if the doctors of this province withdraw their services?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: If the honourable member opposite is advising me to bring a law into this House to ban job action or to turn the doctors into civil servants and throw them in jail, I will take it under advisement. That is not the plan of the government at this time.
Mr. Wildman: I have a question for the Premier. It is obvious from yesterday's answers he does not understand the gravity of the economic crisis facing Sault Ste. Marie, Wawa and the Algoma district generally as a result of the major down-sizing announced by Algoma Steel last week.
Has the Premier had time to reconsider his unfortunate comment of yesterday, to the effect that laid-off workers are "unfortunate byproducts" of the economic transformation, and to direct his committee of deputy ministers to arrange to meet with representatives of the workers affected when it is in the Sault and Wawa next week?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: If I used words that offended, I apologize; that was not my intention. I think we understand the depth of that human tragedy. It is of great concern to us and, as my honourable friend knows, this is not the first time this province has gone through this situation and I cannot guarantee it will be the last. There are major transformations going on in the so-called single-industry towns or resource-based communities. There is a lot of work being done. As the member knows, the Rosehart committee and others have been looking at this situation and we expect a report shortly. His suggestion is a very constructive one and, absolutely, it is part of our responsibility to work with any laid-off workers in readjusting their lives. That will be part of the committee's responsibility.
Mr. Morin-Strom: The Premier must have some level of concern about the impact of Algoma's actions on Sault Ste. Marie in this specific case. More generally, there must be some concern about that sprawling conglomerate Canadian Pacific and the action its subsidiary, Algoma Steel, is taking on Sault Ste. Marie at the same time as its other subsidiary, Great Lakes Forest Products, is shutting down a waferboard plant in Thunder Bay.
What is the Premier going to do about the growing level of corporate concentration in Ontario? Can he ensure that there is some level of corporate accountability for these actions to the employees and to the communities that are so devastated by such actions?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The honourable member raises a very profound question. Is he talking with respect to the corporate concentration in this country and the consolidation of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people, the great buyouts that are going on now, the use of the limited and finite resources we have as a country being to acquire other companies, and the big fish swallowing even bigger fish? If he is talking about that general context, that is something that concerns me. I do not know what the answer is. Some in the federal government are concerned about it, looking at it from a competitive point of view. It is something we have canvassed in this government. What can we do about the corporate-concentration question? Frankly, there is no simple or easy answer. It is in the hands of the federal government, but it is a trend that I personally do not like to see going on.
Mr. Brandt: In the light of the layoffs in Sault Ste. Marie, Sarnia and other communities, would the Premier consider making the retraining programs more flexible than they are at present? Apparently, the way the program works at this point is that if a worker has a particular trade, even though there are no job prospects in that trade, the ministries refuse to allow him to be retrained for another occupation. Would the Premier look at that to see whether he can make that program more flexible in some way, to respond to the jobs that might be available rather than to jobs that are no longer available and have, in fact, disappeared?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I was not aware of that situation. The honourable member makes a very constructive suggestion. I will ask the minister to take those comments under advisement.
Mr. Brandt: I have a question for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. O'Neil). Yesterday, the minister announced a program called the Ontario investment network. The program, ostensibly, is to provide startup funds for entrepreneurs, as I understand it. Can the minister explain how this new program will work in conjunction with the help program that is currently run by his ministry?
Hon. Mr. O'Neil: The part the ministry will play will be to refer business people to the service and assist them to develop business plans, develop and disseminate informational material on how to structure investments and provide startup funding to assist the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in promotional activities. The help fund will provide certain short-term funding and this program will be a supplement to it. We figure it will likely cover in the range of $50,000 to $500,000, while the help program is usually designated to help with a figure of less than $50,000.
Mr. Brandt: Could the minister indicate what changes will be brought about in the vast array of programs that are now before his ministry and ostensibly assisting small business? There is the Ontario investment network, the small business development corporation, the Ontario Development Corp. and a number of programs that, in my view, as a result of the proliferation of programs, will result in nothing more than confusing the small businessman who does not have the bureaucracy that the minister has to understand the programs. Will the minister attempt to refine these programs and make them somewhat easier to understand for those who are actually generating the capital and the entrepreneurship in our economy?
Hon. Mr. O'Neil: The suggestion the member makes is a good one. Since we came into government, we have been reviewing all the different plans and we hope to do exactly what the member has said.
Mr. Mackenzie: The Minister of Labour is aware of the continuing hardships imposed on the many women involved in the service industry; the cleaners employed by various companies to perform the vital tasks of keeping our society clean and sanitary. The minister is also aware of the ongoing insecurity and fear of unemployment that adds to the generally low wages these women suffer. The growing coalition for cleaners' rights, with the active leadership of some Portuguese women who have decided they do not have to be second-class citizens in this province, has asked in writing for some assistance from the minister and for some of the studies around this issue. As of this morning, they tell me he has not responded. May I ask the minister why?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I can look to see whether a response is ready for my signature. It may well be. I have not had an opportunity to review my correspondence this week. I will be doing that this weekend. We are willing to examine this issue in some depth. It is a fairly complex issue with important implications. We are at the preliminary stages of taking a look at it.
Mr. Mackenzie: Situations similar to the First Canadian Place dispute could develop in the very near future in a number of cities, including Mississauga and Ottawa. The 250 cleaners at First Canadian Place have no protection should Olympia and York decide to terminate their present contract. When is the minister prepared to enlarge the successor rights in the Labour Relations Act to give these workers some hope that the genuine efforts they make to better themselves and their condition cannot be thrown out the window arbitrarily?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I do not have much to add to my first answer. We were able to solve the problem at First Canadian Place. With the help of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) we were able to effect a solution in that situation. We do not want to continue to make policy formulation in an ad hoc way. We will be taking a look at what can be done and what appears to be appropriate. We have begun to do that, but we have not yet completed the task.
Mr. Gillies: On behalf of the official opposition, I have already indicated our support for the extension of successor rights for the employees of these cleaning contractors. Will the minister speedily bring legislative changes into the House? With the agreement of the two opposition parties, we could pass them very quickly.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: It is interesting that the Conservative opposition apparently has a new policy here too. We are examining this matter and many others that have been left over from years gone by. We are looking at the issue. I cannot give the honourable member any timetable for any possible legislative changes.
Mr. Gordon: I have a question for the Minister of Housing. Is the government prepared to stand by and allow 11,000 rental units to disappear off the market while thousands of people in Metro look for affordable rental housing?
Hon. Mr. Curling: My government is committed to seeing that those affordable rental units are not lost through conversion or for any other reason. I do not in any way intend to stand by and see them lost.
Mr. Gordon: With regard to the legislation the minister is going to bring in on the conversion of rental units to condominiums, is it his intention to have it apply across the province or will it apply specifically to the 11,000 units in Toronto about which we are so concerned?
Hon. Mr. Curling: I remind the honourable member that whatever policy we bring in it will not be done in an ad hoc way to patch it up in Toronto or Sudbury. It will be a provincial policy, sensitive to the areas being addressed. Our consultation is done in a manner that takes everything into consideration. The policy will be a provincial policy.
GREAT LAKES FOREST PRODUCTS
Mr. Foulds: I have a question for the Minister of Labour about the potential closure of Great Lakes Forest Products waferboard plant in Thunder Bay. When will the ministry and the government take steps so that giant investment corporations such as Canadian Pacific do not victimize the workers in Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay? Specifically, what steps will the minister take to ensure that the company does not close that plant until it shares the full extent of its feasibility studies and financial information with the union and the community involved?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I am not sure whether what my friend is asking is a question on Great Lakes or plant justification; therefore, I will touch on both.
In a preliminary way, we have begun a very wide-ranging look at the issue of plant justification as a whole. With respect to Great Lakes Forest Products, as the member knows, because he was involved, we had the opportunity to meet with the union about a week and a half ago. As a result of that meeting, we had the senior officials of the company in my office early last Tuesday. As a result of that meeting, Bob Joyce, a special adviser on plant closures, will be meeting with the parties, both this Saturday and Sunday, in a last-ditch effort to avoid a very unfortunate situation that would see a number of people laid off.
I might share with the honourable member and the House -- and I have shared this before with both management and labour -- my concern that when there are situations where this kind of layoff or closure could be salvaged, all too often the Ministry of Labour only gets involved at the very last instance. That is part of the study we are going to be taking a look at, because we are very unhappy to be trying to resolve a situation at the 11th hour.
Mr. Foulds: Why do Canadian Pacific and Great Lakes Forest Products seem so determined to close this waferboard plant when studies indicate it has a market for the next 10 years and this week the chief executive officer of the company was quoted on the radio in Thunder Bay as saying the company had enough capital to possibly buy the Kimberly-Clark plant in Terrace Bay, which is a much bigger operation? Will the minister take steps to put a moratorium on the closure of the waferboard plant in Thunder Bay for one year until the financial situation is sorted out?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: The company does not deny it has a large number of orders it could fill and that it was working at full production; however, the company also says quite flatly it has been in a sea of red ink in the 11 years of that plant.
Mr. Foulds: It is overcharging against the operational costs of its major mill.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Just hold on for a second. That is why Mr. Joyce has become involved. One of the things we have asked him to do is to review very carefully the company's submissions in this regard. When the discussions between the company and the union carry forward this weekend, with Mr. Joyce's involvement, we hope to have those discussions at a knowledgeable level where both parties will accept the truth of what is on the table, and whether the company's losses are exactly at the levels it maintains they are. It does not deny it has orders, but it says losses have been constant and ongoing and there is no opportunity in the near future to break even.
Mr. McFadden: I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Colleges and Universities.
Will the minister outline for the House what the government means when it suggests in the speech from the throne that "measures" will be introduced, "directed towards institutional accountability," in relation to our post-secondary education institutions?
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: We are having another session of defining words. The member knows what the institutions are. I think he understands the concept of accountability. Collectively in their organizations, the institutions themselves speak now and for the future in terms of something we generally call "planned capacities and roles." The government provides a good deal of the funding so that those planned capacities and roles can be consistent one with the other and collectively for the province. The accountability process involved in that procedure is simply saying: "We are providing the revenues for you to carry out your mandate. We want to ensure ourselves, as the paymaster in that regard, that the view we have of the future is effected."
Mr. McFadden: From what the minister has just said with regard to the province being a paymaster for the Ontario universities and from that line in the speech from the throne, it seems to me this policy promises to be a fundamental attack on the self-governance and autonomy of our universities.
Why does the minister not trust Ontario's universities to achieve the standard of excellence in the future that they have achieved in the past within this province?
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: The member misunderstood my first response and suggested the government now is somehow going to impede the progress of institutions, universities and colleges to meet their clear mandate. There is no suggestion that we are going to assert that role. The suggestion comes from the institutions themselves. "In a world where funding is more critical, we, as 15 institutions," the universities say, "must start to get together so that we can collectively fulfil the mandate," which, for the past 10 years, the government of the party of which the member for Eglinton is a member seriously underfunded and hampered in the work that was supposed to have been done.
Mr. McFadden: You never answered that one.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Allen: The minister persists in his discussion of university problems in using the language of a past regime. Will he please tell us precisely in which ways the university system is not now accountable? Is there information he cannot get from them on request under the legislative acts which provide for their existence, or are the boards themselves somehow irresponsible? Is he telling us he is going back to the proposals of Bill 42, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities Amendment Act of 1983, and the attempt to wield the big stick on our universities in this province?
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: First, there is no suggestion that we are going back to the bill to which the member referred. Second, the member is correct that there is a system of accountability. However, the member has not observed that in the direction of the speech from the throne there is a lot more to be done.
We talk about centres of excellence and we are serious about them. We talk about enhancing the potential of our institutions and we are serious about that. As we do so, we provide to those institutions revenue from the people of Ontario and we have an obligation to account for those funds and ensure that they are spent well and effectively, and that is what it is all about.
Mrs. Grier: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. Last December, I asked the minister to intervene in a hearing that was taking place into the expansion of a dump site on the Tricil site near Sarnia. The minister replied with assurances that the ultimate decision on this expansion would ensure, to use his words, "the very stringent controls she and I seek will be in place."
He now has received an approval for the expansion of this site from the joint hearings board, an approval that provides for no environmental safeguards. How is the minister going to fulfil his commitment to this House that the site, when used, will have a liner, will have a leachate system and will be as environmentally safe as it possibly can be?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I am pleased to note that the member reads Hansard very carefully and remembers what ministers say. That is most appropriate and, indeed, I did say that.
Mr. Wildman: He should too.
Mr. Davis: Now he is going to back off.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: No. The member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Davis) indicates a backoff. He knows that may have been the policy for years in the past; it is not the policy of this government. That is a very good question from the member for Lakeshore (Mrs. Grier).
It is my intention to ensure that the site is environmentally sound. We have the report from the joint hearings board. It did not make all of the recommendations that some of the environmental groups and citizens in the area wanted. It is my understanding that it has communicated to me by letter a request that cabinet review this. It is my understanding that cabinet has the ability to put in place the mechanisms necessary to ensure that the final site that is extended is environmentally sound.
Mrs. Grier: Would the minister not agree that any approval that was given to Tricil, allowing unknown quantities of untreated waste into an unprotected site owned by a company that is at present facing four charges under existing environmental protection legislation, would hardly be consistent with the proud boast in the throne speech that Ontario will continue to be a world leader in environmental protection?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: It is interesting that the member has noted that the Ministry of the Environment continues to prosecute anyone it feels is in violation of the laws of the province. She has suitably noted that charges have been laid against that company, and charges will be laid against any company, municipality or government agency that violates the environmental laws of this province.
The second part of the question asked whether we are prepared to indicate clearly that we are going to be leaders in this field. The member notes that, because this is the only site in Ontario to accept certain kinds of hazardous waste, we should be extra careful of this site. When we consider the ultimate conditions to be placed on the site, I will certainly take into consideration, and I am sure cabinet will also, that it does receive hazardous wastes and that we should be leaders in this field.
Mr. Brandt: The member has asked a number of questions about the Tricil site. Are the word "unprotected" and the term "unknown quantities of waste" applicable to this site? The ministry surely knows, through its licensing efforts for that site, what goes into it, in what amounts and how it is to be treated. If additional protection is required, the minister has the mechanisms, as he has stated, to carry out those activities. Could the minister comment on the words used by the member about unprotected and unknown quantities?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I am not prepared to referee between the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt) and the member for Lakeshore on their interpretations, one being that the site is acceptable because of the conditions that are there and the other that it is not.
Mr. Brandt: I did not say that. Why waffle? Why does the minister not answer the question directly?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I am attempting to answer the question very clearly for the member.
Mr. Brandt: Does the minister know what is going into the site?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: Our ministry naturally watches very carefully any materials that go into this site. We do that under the rules and regulations that are in place. The member for Sarnia would also want to ensure, as all of us in this House would want to be certain, that the final conditions we place on this site, regardless of the fact that we know what goes in there and we have conditions in place now, would be such that the people in the adjacent area could feel they would not be threatened environmentally.
Mr. Pollock: I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources. Get a good shot of my ploughing match crest, Mr. Cameraman. It starts September 16.
Anyway, back to the minister, who is well aware that in three weeks it will be chow time for the gypsy moth in eastern Ontario. The minister is going to subsidize aerial spraying but he refuses to subsidize ground spraying. Would he explain to the House why?
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: The spray program we are taking on is going to cost the taxpayers a considerable sum of money, some three times as much as was undertaken last year. This government has been most responsible in doing that. We are stretching all the money we have in a way that is going to do the best job.
We have undertaken to do all the aerial spraying. The ground spraying should be undertaken privately because we have some limitations. When we are spraying in the air, we have to have large enough tracts to be practical. We feel that on some smaller areas it is not unreasonable for the average person to be able to spray under those conditions.
Mr. Pollock: There are cultured tree plantations that are a fair size, and people went to quite an expense in planting those trees. Since aerial spraying is subsidized, why should these people not be subsidized? The trees were planted from the ground; why can they not be sprayed from the ground? Why should this spraying not be subsidized?
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: There is a great deal of money being put into private spraying. In this instance it is considerably more than before. That does not mean we are not going to expand the program or do what has to be done as we study the proliferation of the gypsy moth in eastern Ontario.
The former government did no spraying in 1984. It had a very small program the last time around, in comparison to ours, and we have expanded it three times. I do not know what the member expects the government to have done in the time it has been here. We realize it is a serious problem. We have done considerably more than the past government did and will continue to do that.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. He will be aware that the Michigan Air Pollution Control Commission has approved and given a permit for the construction in Detroit of the world's largest incinerator, which will be 4.8 kilometres from downtown Windsor. The minister also will be aware that in the approval process, evidence was presented indicating there would be an additional 38 cancer deaths per year as a result of this plant.
Does the minister approve of the construction of this plant? What have he and his government done to intervene to stop construction of this plant, which is a health threat to the people of Windsor?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: The member raises a very good question. He and the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. Newman) and the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) previously raised the matter in a letter to me when it was discovered. It is a very important question. The answer is that I do not approve of it, and this government does not approve of the method that was followed.
I have been in conversation with officials of the office of the Governor of Michigan on three separate occasions to discuss this matter and to express in the strongest terms the viewpoint of Ontario that the technology should be decided upon and approved before the incinerator is constructed, rather than after. An undertaking of sorts has been made that there will be potential for retrofitting before the plant is allowed to operate, and Ontario will have input. We do not think that is satisfactory, and I know the member for Windsor-Riverside does not consider it satisfactory.
In addition, the Premier (Mr. Peterson) has written to the Governor of Michigan indicating exactly the same thing, that we do not consider that to be satisfactory. The Premier has invoked the provisions of the new accord between Michigan and Ontario to have a meeting.
Mr. Gillies: Are you going to keep this one? Are you going to stick to this one?
Mr. Speaker: Order. Supplementary.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: All one has to do is use the word "accord" and it gets a response in the Legislature.
Is the minister aware of the statement the Governor of Michigan made recently that, "if the plant is found to be unsafe, additional equipment would be required to make it safe"? Is the minister aware of David Oved's statement on April 11 on his behalf that, "The governor has promised to clamp new control standards on the incinerator if dioxin and furan emission prove to be as high as expected"?
Why did the ministry make that kind of statement, which has been interpreted as the ministry collapsing on an issue that is important to the people of my community?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: If the member read the statement correctly, it was simply relating the reaction of the Governor of Michigan to the information we provided to his office, that Ontario did not consider it to be satisfactory. That was the response of the Governor's office that was given to us.
In the letter he has sent to the Governor, the Premier clearly indicates our position of wanting to have the latest and best technology available implemented before any construction of the plant is allowed.
In addition, the member would want me to reveal to him that I have been in conversation with the federal Minister of the Environment, Tom McMillan, about this. He will be raising the issue with Lee Thomas, the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, so that on both the state and provincial levels and on the national government level this issue, which deserves that kind of priority, will get it. The member can be assured we will fight in every possible way to ensure that the latest and best technology is approved before there is approval to proceed.
Mr. Speaker: Order. It is your time that you are wasting.
Mr. Mancini: I want to inform the minister that recently I met with Senator Kelly, who represents the area in which this facility is going to be located, and the senator informed me that he has his own concerns and objections to this project.
I would ask the minister whether he can have his office contact the office of Senator Kelly so we can have a co-ordinated approach both on the Ontario side and on the Michigan side as to what has to be done and what changes --
Mr. Speaker: Order. I understood there was a question there.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: The suggestion made by the member for Essex South is an excellent suggestion.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: It is obvious that the members of the Progressive Conservative Party think it is an excellent suggestion as well and are endorsing it. I will most certainly be prepared, in addition to dealing with the EPA and with the state government, to deal with the office of Senator Kelly, because there are obviously people on both sides of the border who share the concerns of all the members in the Windsor and Essex area.
Mr. Villeneuve: Why has the Minister of Natural Resources decided to discontinue the funding of weed harvesting in eastern Ontario in the Lake St. Lawrence and St. Lawrence River area?
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: I will take that question under advisement and give the member an answer next week.
Mr. Villeneuve: Weed harvesting has been occurring in Lake St. Francis during the last two years. Is the minister telling me, following the speech from the throne, that he is going to encourage tourism in eastern Ontario and he does not know what is going on?
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: I did not say that at all. I said I would take the member's question under advisement and get back to him, and that is what I propose to do.
DARLINGTON NUCLEAR PLANT
Mr. Charlton: I have a question for the Minister of Energy. In an appearance before the select committee on energy a couple of weeks ago, the minister said he would be making an announcement in response to the committee's recommendations on Darlington in the near future. The minister's staff has been monitoring the committee's recent hearings, in which we have received extensive presentations that have set out substantial, and in many cases realistic, alternatives to the Darlington project.
Can the minister assure this House that in his statement to the Legislature in response to the Darlington question, all of the recent presentations which have been monitored by his staff will be taken into account in the ministry's final conclusion on the Darlington question?
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: In response to the question relating to Darlington, this government saw fit to reconstitute a very important committee that the former government had decided was not necessary. The things that flow from it are going to be well respected and we are going to take them into account when we come to the conclusion.
Mr. Mackenzie: I would like to submit to the House notice of a resolution: That in the opinion of this House, recognizing that certain classes of workers are discriminated against by the denial of rights provided to other workers, the regulations under the Employment Standards Act should be amended to provide that standards set by the act, relating to hours of work, overtime pay and public holidays, are applicable to a person employed as a superintendent, janitor or caretaker in a residential building, who resides in the building.
Mr. Speaker: I am sorry, I thought you wanted to put this in Orders and Notices, then I thought you were going on to another matter; however, I gather you were not. I hope next time you will. It is just a resolution for Orders and Notices.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
WHEEL-TRANS LABOUR DISPUTE SETTLEMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wrye moved second reading of Bill 2, An Act respecting the Labour Disputes between All-Way Transportation Corporation (Wheel-Trans Division) and Local 113, Amalgamated Transit Union.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: In my statement to the House yesterday, I outlined the reasons the government has determined that in the public interest it is essential the Wheel-Trans service be resumed with the least possible delay. I do not intend to repeat those arguments but I would like to outline the major features of the bill which is now in front of the House for second reading.
Essentially, this piece of legislation provides for a resolution of the dispute between Wheel-Trans and its employees by sending the dispute to binding arbitration. There are two contracts: one covers approximately 165 drivers and a second covers about 15 mechanics, tow-truck operators and service attendants. Both agreements will be subject to arbitration.
Under the legislation, the executive council is given the authority to appoint the arbitrator on my advice. Once the bill receives royal assent, I shall move promptly to offer that advice to my colleagues. Under section 5 of the bill, the arbitrator is empowered to determine all matters remaining in dispute between the parties immediately before the coming into force of the act. The same section provides that each of the agreements shall be for a term of two years, from January 1, 1986, to December 31, 1987. The arbitrator is required to render a decision within 45 days of his appointment.
Members will note that under section 8 of the bill the basic hourly wage rates are immediately increased by 50 cents per hour. The section makes clear that while the arbitrator is required to include this interim increase in the award, there is nothing to prevent him from granting increases in excess of the interim increase. The bill also provides that, as soon as the act comes into force, "the strike shall be terminated," employees shall return to work and "the employer shall commence...operations" and return to normal service as soon as is practicable.
There are provisions which prohibit the resumption of the strike and which preclude changes in the terms and conditions of employment pending the decision of the arbitrator. The penalty and enforcement provisions of the bill are set out in sections 10 and 11 and are self-explanatory. Under the scheme described, each party in the dispute will have a full and fair opportunity to make its case to the arbitrator.
As the members know, there are other options that might have been followed. Examples are a legislated settlement or final-offer selection. After most careful consideration, it was decided that in the circumstances the fairest and most equitable means of resolving this dispute was to permit full and unfettered argument of all issues in dispute, other than term, before an independent and respected third party.
Mr. Gillies: I will speak briefly on second reading of the bill. I indicate initially to the minister, as I did yesterday in the emergency debate, that the official opposition will support this legislation when it comes to a vote later today, although, I reiterate, not without reservation.
When we caucused yesterday, as individual members we had to weigh very carefully in our minds the bargaining rights of the 178 employees involved against the needs, health and safety of the 14,000 handicapped people who are affected in this dispute. On balance, we recognize that the excellent service provided by Wheel-Trans is nothing short of essential for handicapped people in this municipality, particularly for those confined to wheelchairs, and we feel the legislation is necessary.
However, we have some concern about the way the bill was introduced yesterday, about the very short notice of the government's intention that was given to the opposition parties and about almost a sleight of hand that I believe the government perpetrated yesterday.
The House leaders of the three parties met yesterday morning as they do every week to discuss the business of the House for the coming days. It was indicated by our House leader, the member for Don Mills (Mr. Timbrell), that our party was concerned about this dispute and would be moving an emergency debate in the afternoon to discuss some sort of resolution and to express the concern of the members of this House about the dispute and the effect it was having. Without notice, and I believe without the knowledge of the government House leader that the government would be acting, the government dropped a bill on the desks of the party leaders and the opposition critics minutes before it proposed to have it considered in this House.
Clearly the minister has the upper hand in this one. I am not naïve. I know the realities and the politics of this situation. As responsible members of this assembly, we would be the last to try to frustrate legislation that is of such vital importance to people who need the service so very much and who depend on its reliability. However, I say to the minister in what I hope he takes to be a constructive spirit of co-operation, I hope we will not see the business of this House conducted in this fashion in the future or for the balance of this session. When important legislation is to come before this House, we expect reasonable notice and time for the leaders and critics of the parties and others who have to consider the impact of the legislation to have time to consider it in all its complexity.
We will support the legislation. I have a couple of specific things to say about it. As I said to the minister yesterday, I do not see anything particularly innovative or new about the legislation. It is a pretty standard bill, the likes of which we have seen before, legislating the end of a dispute by sending it to the jurisdiction of a single arbitrator for his consideration.
Mr. Mackenzie: You are a master at it.
Mr. McClellan: You wrote the book.
Mr. Gillies: I hear some interjections from the New Democratic Party. I think they would want to be very quiet during this debate. I think the members of the third party would want to keep their peace during this debate because I do not believe they have been quite as embarrassed by a situation as they have been in the past two days. I expect they want a little peace down there.
Mr. McClellan: You wrote the book on strikebreaking and you are still writing it.
Mr. Gillies: We wrote the book on responsible legislation in the needs of the general public in this province. His party has already frustrated this by one day and if it had its way --
The Deputy Speaker: Order. Will the member for Brantford please address the chair and pay no attention to the interjections.
Mr. Gillies: I will, Mr. Speaker, but I would say to the members of the third party that if they are not embarrassed by their stand on this bill, then they clearly do not know what embarrassment is.
It is a fairly standard piece of legislation calling for an end to the dispute and for a single arbitrator then to take into consideration the facts before him or her and to bring in an arbitrated settlement to the dispute.
I would hope for several things in this process. I would like the minister's assurance that the arbitrator will take into account the position taken by the bargaining unit when it was going through the negotiating process.
I do not feel it is for me or, frankly, for any other single member of the House to say that the position should stand on its merit. However, I was surprised to hear the Premier (Mr. Peterson) dismiss out of hand this morning during question period the argument made by the union that it deserves parity with Toronto Transit Commission drivers. I am not saying this is what the arbitrator will end up giving them; but for the Premier, who leads a government that has brought into this House pay equity legislation, to dismiss completely the argument put forward by the union that it deserves parity with TTC drivers strikes me as more than passing strange.
I am sure the minister would agree with me that there are a number of significant parallels between the work done by these employees and the work done by TTC drivers. I found it rather disturbing to see that argument dismissed quite so lightly by the leader of the government, who purports to believe in pay equity.
I will also ask a couple of specific questions of the minister. At first glance, I agree with the minister's decision to go this route as opposed to legislating a settlement or going the route of final-offer selection. I do not believe the officials of the ministry should be the ones to tell these workers what they are going to get. We have an arbitration process in this province. It works fairly well and I think it should be allowed to operate.
I would add at this point that many arbitrated settlements arrived at in this province are reasonable, and some would even say generous. It would be my expectation and my hope that the employees affected will not be totally disappointed by the settlement that is arrived at.
I would ask the minister what led the government to arrive at a 50-cent-an-hour interim settlement, to take effect until such time as the arbitrator's decision is known. I am not saying it is wrong; I would like to know the rationale and the thinking behind 50 cents an hour as opposed to 75 cents or $1 an hour or whatever it might be. I am assuming it is just an interim measure to put a little extra money in their pockets. I am hoping it is not a signal from the government in any way that it reflects its expectation of what the settlement should give the employees.
I would further ask the minister to respond during this debate to another important point the Premier failed to respond to in question period this morning, and that is the question of money. A good percentage of the money that will be needed to effect this settlement and a good percentage of the money that is required to run this service is provincial money. We would like to know just what the government proposes to put on the table by way of funding to help effect a settlement.
We understand that in the last proposal that was rejected by the employees, the province and Metro council had agreed to share $377,000 in extra funding for the service. The employees said at the time that they believed this funding would still leave them far behind their TTC counterparts -- I do not think that can be disputed -- and the proposal to increase their wages at that time was rejected by a vote of 89 to 52. What, then, is the province going to put on the table in order to help effect a settlement in this dispute, to help the arbitrator arrive at his settlement?
We have to recognize that these drivers now earn about $10 an hour and the mechanics involved earn between $11.25 and $11.75 an hour, but they lack a number of things. I know the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) will agree they are well behind other people in the transportation industry in terms of pensions and other fringe benefits. We can draw the parallel again to the TTC workers, who have a much more generous benefits package than do the Wheel-Trans workers.
I will ask the minister to consider speaking to the arbitrator or at least raising the question with the arbitrator about whether that should be a reasonable part of the settlement that is imposed.
The bottom line is that this party believes the balance has been tipped between the collective bargaining rights of the employees and the health and safety needs of the handicapped people involved. On balance, we will be supporting the legislation.
During the course of this debate, my colleague the member for York Centre (Mr. Cousens) will be participating. He should be congratulated for being the first member in this House to bring forward a proposal for an emergency debate in this session. He brought this issue to a focus that I believe directly led the government to introduce this legislation. It bears repetition that this party made this dispute an issue of sufficient importance that the government saw fit to introduce this legislation.
I look forward to my colleague's remarks and the remarks of others who will participate in this debate. On behalf of the official opposition, I say again that this is not a type of legislation or action that we undertake lightly. This strike affected some people in this municipality and this province who we, as members, purport to care for and purport to want to do everything we can for so they can pursue their own lives, get to their jobs and other important appointments and lead as normal a life as possible, faced, as they are, with a myriad of disabilities.
We have to remember that handicapped people in this province experience the highest unemployment rate of any group in our society. Handicapped people confined to wheelchairs in this province have an unemployment rate of more than 80 per cent. That is not acceptable to me, and I suspect very strongly it is not acceptable to any member of this House.
Handicapped people have come an awfully long way in the past decade. I believe some of the initiatives our government put in place have helped in that effort. However, handicapped people do not want handouts. They do not want government caring for them. They do not want Big Brother directing every aspect of their lives. For the most part, the handicapped people I know and talk to want to make their own way. This very vital transportation service is one of the prime mechanisms in place to assist them in doing that.
We believe that service has to be operated and that the dispute has to be ended. I also believe an arbitrated settlement can go a long way to satisfying the legitimate desires of the striking employees, and I am very proud of the position our party has taken in this legislation.
Mr. McClellan: The member for Brantford may be proud of his party's position on this. Quite frankly, if I were him, I would be ashamed. This strike against Wheel-Trans is taking place precisely because of the way the Conservative government set up the Wheel-Trans service in the first place and because of the way it systematically underfunded it ever since it was set up in 1979.
I regret to say the present government either does not appear to understand or, if it does understand, does not appear to be prepared to change the structure of the Wheel-Trans service. I want to review some of the background and history so we can at least understand why we are dealing with strikebreaking legislation on the second day of the second session of this parliament.
I brought in my Wheel-Trans file, which goes back to 1975. The first section of the file is a collection of letters pleading with successive Tory cabinet ministers to stop studying the matter and to set up a wheelchair transportation service that would be an integral part of the regular TTC service. It would involve modifications to the existing transit system so disabled people would be able to use our regular buses and subway system as well as to have access to specialized wheelchair facilities that would be run as part of the regular TTC service and available to the disabled as a matter of right as taxpayers.
What did we get when the government finally set up the service in 1979? We got the cheapest solution to the problem, a contracted-out service set up as a third-rate operation with vehicles that were unsafe, hazardous and completely inadequate and a schedule that was ridiculous and totally inappropriate to the requirements of handicapped people who were working. If they had leisure interests, the service was entirely inaccessible.
The second part of my Wheel-Trans file has a series of responses from the Minister of Transportation and Communications outlining the safety hazards that were identified in the All-Way Transportation Corp. vehicles in 1979 and 1980. There is also a series of successive safety violation reports, with no remedial action from the Conservative government. It is a very melancholy experience going through that old file.
There is a letter here from a young York University student, Linda Pyke, which was published in the Globe and Mail in 1979. It set out in six points the safety hazards of the Wheel-Trans service because it had been set up on a flimsy basis as a separate, subcontracted service, instead of as part of the regular TTC service. She notes:
"The roofs are too low for adult riders. Wheelchairs are belted in. The people in the wheelchairs are not. One serious jolt and an already disabled person could meet with further injury. Vans are constantly breaking down. Hydraulic lifts have stalled, leaving the person in the wheelchair a few feet off the ground terrified. The drivers themselves are harried, overworked and underpaid. Those who were formerly with Wheelchair Mobile have unresolved grievances. This combination makes them less patient on the road and less attentive to passenger safety."
"Until someone is actually killed or until a paraplegic becomes a quadriplegic as a result of this negligence, I suspect Wheel-Trans will remain a token and dangerous gesture."
That was signed by Linda Pyke in July 1979.
The next document in my file is the inquest report on the death of Linda Pyke. She was the one whom she predicted would be killed as a result of the systematic negligence and the way this service had been established as a third-rate and fundamentally dangerous service. She herself was killed while riding on Wheel-Trans. The coroner's inquest simply states that she came to her death from severe cranial cerebral injuries and sets out two pages of demands for improvements to the Wheel-Trans system, the same system we are looking at.
As a result of the death of Linda Pyke, the government replaced the broken-down, rattletrap and unsafe vehicles it had imposed on the physically handicapped of this province. It replaced them with new and modern vehicles. However, it has not solved the fundamental problem, that Wheel-Trans remains a separate service outside the regular service of the TTC.
Wheel-Trans is still not a first-class service. As speakers pointed out yesterday in the debate, it is still difficult for the handicapped to obtain adequate service in a prompt manner. The staff who work at Wheel-Trans are still treated as second-class drivers relative to the work force of the TTC itself. That is why we have a strike. It is a simple as that. The drivers provide what is supposed to be a regular TTC service, but they are denied decent wages and all benefits.
It is incredible to be reminded that the TTC drivers who provide the Wheel-Trans service do not have a pension plan of any kind. It is incredible to be reminded that these drivers, who provide such wonderful service, have no long-term disability benefits and yet they are engaged in work that is dangerous and, in many cases, heavy-duty as they assist handicapped people into and out of their homes and into and out of the vans. They are at risk of injury, either through vehicle accident or the heavy-duty demands of the job, and yet they have no long-term disability benefits. I guess they will just be thrown on the scrap heap.
In the past, the government was quite content to allow this second-class facility to provide third-rate service and to treat the employees as being less entitled to decent wages and benefits than other members of the TTC work force. It is simply, fundamentally, self-evidently and obviously unfair and unjust. The Minister of Labour knows that as surely as he is sitting here this morning.
When confronted with the threat of a strike by doctors, this government says it is prepared to give them all the withheld moneys under the Canada Health Act, now amounting to some $50 million. To prevent the threat of a strike, this government is willing to throw that money at the doctors who are extra billing already.
Instead of passing Bill 94, it is negotiating to see whether the doctors can be seduced with this wonderful gob of cash, $50 million. When the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman) was the Minister of Health and the doctors in Ontario actually went on strike, how was that strike ended? It ended with a settlement that has cost $1 billion since 1982.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: That left everybody unhappy.
Mr. McClellan: They are still not happy. Surely the point is not whether people are happy. The point is, how is it possible for the government of Ontario to find $1 billion in 1982 and another $50 million in 1986 to try to appease the doctors, and yet it is unable to find the $220,000 that would have produced a settlement in the Wheel-Trans dispute? It is unable to find sufficient resources to provide these workers with a pension plan. It is unable to find sufficient resources for these workers, who are obviously regarded in some way as essential since every time they go on strike the right to strike is taken away from them by legislation.
That we cannot find the money to provide them with a decent wage, a pension plan or disability benefits is preposterous. It is simply an indication that there is one law for the rich and the doctors and another for everybody else. The message is as loud and clear as anything this government has done or said since it took office in May. It is able to find $50 million, which it has put on the table for purposes of negotiation with the doctors and is begging the doctors to take, and yet it is unable to find sufficient money to provide a first-class transportation service for the physically handicapped in Ontario and to provide the people who work in that service with decent wages and benefits. That is all the government is saying to the people of this province by its actions here today.
The government could have settled this strike 11 days ago by undoing the damage that was done by the Conservative government in 1979 when it set up the Wheel-Trans scheme. The government could have undone that mischief 11 days ago or at any time since the strike started. It could have gone in with a spirit of generosity and said: "We know there has been an injustice here. This program was set up badly; those defects need to be corrected now. In a spirit of goodwill, we are going to do what it takes to get you a decent settlement."
The Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Fulton) has not even bothered to show up for this debate. He should have been at the bargaining table with the Minister of Labour and said: "This is what I am going to do to make this a world-class" -- that is a phrase he likes to use -- "transportation service for the physically handicapped." It is not a world-class service, and it is not a first-class service.
The government should be ashamed of itself for the way it has handled this. It is simply an intolerable situation. I understand the public relations advantages of posing and posturing as the friends of the physically disabled, shedding crocodile tears about the plight of the physically handicapped, as the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney) did yesterday. He also is no longer with us during this debate.
The government has the resources -- it is sitting on them and refusing to release them -- to turn Wheel-Trans into a first-class service and to provide decent wages and benefits. It is the government of Ontario that pays the bill, it is the government of Ontario that has withheld the funds in the past, and it is the government of Ontario that is responsible for this strike. Only the government of Ontario will be able ultimately to change the structural problems in this system and put it on a solid financial footing where these kinds of injustices and inadequacies in service will not exist.
We are opposed to this legislation because it is a real cop-out. It does nothing for the physically handicapped. The way to solve the problems of the physically handicapped is to support the services they need on an adequate basis, and not to posture and try to score political Brownie points by taking advantage of the workers who are serving the physically handicapped.
Hon. Mr. Ruprecht: I rise today in support of Bill 2, and my reasons for doing so are multiple. The dispute between All-Way Transportation Corp. and its workers has dragged on for 12 days now. As of yesterday, prospects of an early settlement appeared dim and unpromising. Without taking sides in this dispute, we in this government had to evaluate and assess conflicting interests: the interests of the workers, drivers and maintenance staff of the Wheel-Trans service versus the interests of the 14,000 subscribers to the service. In an attempt to be fair to all, we opted to legislate the workers back to work and to refer the dispute with All-Way to compulsory binding arbitration.
This was not an easy decision, since we recognize that a free, open and effective collective bargaining process is the key to harmonious labour relations and to fairness for both workers and employers. The system ensures the prosperity of all in a democratic society. However, in this instance there was an innocent third party: the disabled members of our community, many of whom are elderly. These individuals are recognized as one of the most vulnerable elements of our society and their livelihood and general wellbeing are being jeopardized.
Members know that, as an interim measure, a few days ago the Minister of Community and Social Services announced the establishment of an emergency service. This service provided a temporary solution to the mounting number of hardship cases being brought to our attention by the media and being brought to my personal attention by disabled individuals. Physically disabled clients who are unable to arrange their own transportation and who require rides for essential services such as food shopping, cashing cheques or attending the doctor can have these costs reimbursed by that ministry.
However, this service, under an ever increasing demand, is not capable of replacing, nor is it meant to replace, the existing Wheel-Trans service. Thousands of individuals in Metropolitan Toronto rely on transportation to get to school, training, work and almost everywhere else. While support networks for transportation, such as family, friends and other community services, can help, they cannot fill the gap left by the withdrawal of the service.
While the Ministry of Community and Social Services hotline can provide information and identify options for people who are experiencing difficulties associated with the strike, it cannot substitute effectively for Wheel-Trans service. Quite simply, for an individual in a motorized wheelchair, there are no alternatives.
The policy of this government for a number of years has been to promote the goals of integration and independence for all its disabled citizens. Access to programs and services and the ability to function in all aspects of daily life are essential to the achievement of these goals. With access prevented through the denial of transportation, there is contravention of the policy thrust and the principles of integration that we have fought so hard to achieve.
It is important to understand that transportation has long been one of the most central issues faced by persons with disabilities. One in 10 persons in Canada is disabled. One million are estimated to be mobility handicapped in some way, and many of them have special transportation needs. Their numbers will increase steadily and will double by 2020.
When one looks specifically at Metro Toronto, one sees that Wheel-Trans has evolved from a pilot project in 1975 with a ridership of fewer than 50 to a total of 14,000 registered riders in 1986 with up to 88 vehicles on the road at peak hours and a budget of more than $13 million. It is essential that such a service, continually growing, function efficiently for the wellbeing of its users, our disabled citizens.
My role as minister responsible for disabled persons includes, in addition to the internal co-ordination of policy initiatives for the disabled, the provision of information to disabled individuals and their families, public awareness initiatives to heighten understanding of the abilities of disabled persons and liaison with community and advocacy organizations representing the interests of persons with disabilities.
Accordingly, yesterday morning I met with representatives and spokespersons from the disabled community. The urgency of the situation was brought to my attention in spades. The individuals representing the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, the Canadian Paraplegic Association, Persons United for Self-Help in Ontario, the Blind Organization of Ontario with Self-help Tactics, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the Ontario March of Dimes and Beryl Potter were unanimous in their view that something had to be done quickly.
I am most confident that, by and large, the majority are supportive of the actions we initiated yesterday. Bill 2 will ensure the restoration of the service and also provide for an interim increase to the workers. It will ensure that the ultimate agreement will take into consideration the interests of all involved, as determined by an impartial arbitrator. It is facile to argue the relative merits of the cases of the two proponents in this dispute. In my view, discussion and resolution of these are best left to those with expertise in the field.
In conclusion, I urge all members of this assembly to lend their support to this initiative. Not to act would be patently unfair to those people whose basic rights to productive lives are being compromised.
Mr. Cousens: This is a very important debate on an important subject. I am sorry we could not have dealt with it yesterday. The government delayed its preparation and presentation of the legislation and the third party further delayed its consideration. Obviously, time to consider it has not changed their opinion and they are about to go against this legislation.
History has a way of catching up to people. On August 29, 1984, during the fourth session of the 32nd Parliament, the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) -- at that time he was not honourable, but I will call him honourable now -- was speaking on the proposed Toronto Transit Commission strike. It is interesting to hear what the minister had to say. "...I want to say I will vote for this piece of legislation with a great deal of reluctance." This had to do with getting the TTC back to work before the Pope arrived.
Mr. McClellan: Before they went on strike.
Mr. Cousens: Okay. The member should listen to his kind words, though.
Mr. McClellan: Just remember that.
Mr. Cousens: I am remembering everything. I listened with great love and interest to what the member had to say, although I did not appreciate anything.
The member for Windsor-Sandwich went on to say: "I do this with reluctance because I do not think this bill was necessary. What was necessary was for us to have a government that would handle these disputes properly and begin to think of people...be they the employees, the Amalgamated Transit Union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, who have bargained in good faith and who had the right to expect this government...." and so on.
It is funny; we are talking here about someone who was saying one thing then and is doing something quite different now. I appreciate the action the minister has to take now, but it is odd that only a short time ago he was saying that.
He said, "If it was the will of this government to deny them the right to strike to preserve the papal visit, that is one thing, but what we have here is political grandstanding of the most cynical kind...." Whoa, Billy.
I do not think any member of this House should ever be accused of grandstanding. I would not accuse the minister of that even now.
The member for Kitchener-Wilmot, who is the Minister of Community and Social Services this week, also made a speech on the TTC situation. He said, "I urge the government to work for a real negotiated settlement." He then went on to say: "In addition, it would do two very important things. First, it would avoid precedent-setting legislation which destroys collective bargaining rights and which provides the employees affected with no compensating guarantee of fair treatment. Second, it would do an immense amount to overcome the resentment and ill will that is poisoning relations...."
The history of what goes on in this Legislature has a way of coming back. The situation was somewhat different. It was the TTC and was two years ago. We were talking about legislation under which the government at that time, under the leadership of Premier William Davis, made sure there was no strike to impede the Pope's visit.
There are parallels. We are talking about a strike that has already been in existence for 11 or 12 days, a strike that could have been affected by the action, interest and involvement of key players in the government. It was apparent that this had become a crisis as of February 12 when the first proposal for a 2.5 per cent increase was rejected by a vote of 79 to one. It is apparent that the drivers have been consistent in their demands for wage parity with the TTC. It was obvious to everybody else in the province, so surely the Liberal government was aware there was a need for additional funds to help resolve the negotiations that were going on with the union.
We are talking about the involvement of another government. We are talking about a lack of funding availability. I asked the Premier a supplementary question this morning about what additional help he was prepared to give to make sure that if the arbitration award is higher than can be afforded there will be support from the government to do it. That is what happens when there are negotiations in good faith, but these negotiations have hardly even been continuing. Who knows where the money is going to come from? It has to come from two sources: the government or the people who pay for it. Obviously, the government was not prepared to make any commitment.
The nature of the demands was not terribly unreasonable, given the responsibility of the job of the drivers. The handicapped deserve greater attention than was given to them by the Liberals. Every opportunity was given to the Liberal government to get involved. Chairman Flynn of Metropolitan Toronto was calling for help. Special interest groups of the disabled and the handicapped were calling for help. However, the negotiations went virtually untouched by the members opposite.
Let us start with the number one person who did not play a role in this whole situation and who is not even in the House now. I am talking about the Premier of this province, the person who made a great display of interest last August when the TTC might have gone on strike. When it affected everybody, he was prepared to respond. When it affects the disabled and handicapped, a group that does not necessarily have loud spokespeople to go out and fight for it, he is absent. He is remiss. He did not act. He must have known, he must have cared, but he did not act. It could be he has been so busy with the doctors that he has not had time to do anything else, but I do not believe that. I believe it is because it has not been an issue of importance to him on his scale of values. That is a very serious concern to all of us.
Another person who did not play a role was the Minister of Community and Social Services who only in the latter days began to speak out and offer a few bits of help so that the disabled and handicapped can have an interim form of transportation. We are talking about a situation that has been escalating. There have been all kinds of opportunities for involvement. However, the Minister of Community and Social Services did virtually nothing.
The Minister of Labour may well have had some people down in the bowels of his ministry who were involved, but his presence was not visible. If he thinks it was, that is one thing. To the rest of Ontario, he was absent.
Where was the Minister of Transportation and Communications? It all flows from moneys from his ministry.
The Premier, the Minister of Community and Social Services, the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Transportation and Communications were all absent from the scene. The only person who was doing anything was another member, the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Ruprecht). Until he stood up yesterday, I did not know he was the minister for the disabled, because it does not even say that in the issue we have here. It turns out that the member for Parkdale is the minister for the disabled.
Mr. Rowe: It is the best-kept secret in Queen's Park.
Mr. Cousens: It is one of the best-kept secrets in Queen's Park.
Mr. Cousens: We keep reading all the government's press releases.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Everybody knows it. Between sessions, the members opposite just put their feet up and do not pay attention.
Mr. Cousens: We have been paying attention. We heard him say yesterday that he had been meeting with different groups. He was not meeting with the people who could make a difference in the negotiations. Had he been talking to the Premier or to one of the other ministers who could do something, or had he been talking to the people in the union negotiations or to the negotiators themselves, maybe something could have happened. He was too far down on the totem pole to effect any change.
We are faced now with emergency legislation on something that could have been resolved through good negotiation, possibly through some persuasive influence by one of those people mentioned. We would not have had to be doing this today under these conditions.
I do believe that the legislation was tabled yesterday because of the initiative taken by my party yesterday morning at around 10:30 at the House leaders' meeting -- and it was mentioned by members of the third party yesterday -- when we gave proper notice of three and a half hours that yesterday afternoon we would table a bill for an emergency debate on this strike. We gave notice, according to our rules, so that other members of the House would be prepared for it.
The Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) and House leader for the Liberals was at that meeting, and I can see what happened. As soon as it was over, he ran back to his office and said: "Hey, guys. Surely there is someone within the Ministry of Labour who has prepared legislation that we can raise and put into the House right away. The Conservatives are about to bring up an emergency debate. It is going to become public and everybody is going to know that we have not done anything about it. Maybe we should react now and get this thing solved, because obviously they are concerned about it. We had better react."
Hon. Mr. Nixon: You are wacky.
Mr. Cousens: I am not, Sir Robert. The fact is that no one knew the government was coming in with this legislation until the very last minute. At around 1:58 the members of the third party found out about it. At 2:15 the government handed around a paper with wet ink on it, because it had just finished copying it.
Mr. Rowe: The second-best-kept secret at Queen's Park.
Mr. Cousens: The second-best-kept secret at Queen's Park. The government caused a problem for our friends in the third party, because the fact is they had not been informed in the way that they are told everything else the government is doing. They had to go away and caucus.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Except that the member is voting for it.
Mr. Cousens: I am going to vote for it.
Mr. Villeneuve: They are voting for us.
Mr. Cousens: I am not voting for the government.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Morin): Order.
Mr. Cousens: I seldom miss a vote, and neither does our party. I am more interested in the balance that has to be maintained in this.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Welcome into bed.
Mr. Cousens: I want to make the point very clear. They were on the horns of a dilemma. Do they support the unions or do they support the disabled? They went away last night and came back today with what their position is. That is not for me to discuss; it is for them to do.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: They are always consistent.
Mr. Cousens: I could not say what the Treasurer says, because I come from a quite different background and a quite different perspective. My first concern, and the concern of our party, is the needs of the disabled. When we think of the time that has passed for them before action has been taken, that is the critical concern of our party. It is the concern of the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman), it is the concern of the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) and it is the concern of each of our members, who are genuinely concerned about the needs of these people.
I am pleased that our initiative for the emergency debate triggered the response by the government to bring in the emergency legislation, which, with our support -- not with the support of its friends in the accord but with our support -- will carry and will be passed. It will mean that people who are otherwise suffering because of lack of mobility will be able to get out again.
While this bill is a drastic means of solving a problem, it is one way of addressing the needs of the handicapped. Too often the needs of the handicapped have been shunted aside. I have seen this in other legislation by the new Liberal government when it has brought in legislation as it affected the vocational rehabilitation schemes for the post-secondary handicapped. It has not begun to understand the needs of the handicapped. It has not addressed them. It has created more problems than it has solved. This strike highlights the need for improvement in transportation services for the handicapped.
Handicapped riders have no viable alternatives to Wheel-Trans. We as people of Ontario must begin to look at expanding the present system to accommodate the needs of the handicapped people of our province, now and in the future, to ensure their independence and dignity.
We also have to respect the drivers' work. They are more than just drivers. They have many onerous tasks to perform which go far beyond transporting people. They must assist their riders in getting on and off their vehicles, as well as caring for them in their needs. They have become friends with their riders.
That is one of the reasons that during this strike the handicapped have been very quiet in raising protest because they deal with the drivers on a very personal and ongoing basis.
Here in this Legislature, we need to increase the options for the disabled. We need to place them on the same footing as a mobile person. We need to look into the future.
I am sorry there was nothing in the speech from the throne that opened up these possibilities. We do not see any long-term solutions for the handicapped and disabled in this province. We must be aware that the urban sprawl is now opening up opportunities for many more people to live beyond Metropolitan Toronto, but they may want to come into Toronto. We need to provide better services for people who live my riding, York Centre, in Markham, Unionville, Thornhill and Vaughan, to cross the borders of Metro Toronto in using transportation services for the handicapped.
The unemployment situation is dismal enough in this province. It is all the more dismal if one is handicapped. It is all the more dismal if, because of this strike, one has lost his or her job. That has happened. That is the hard reality of what has happened because of this strike. Some people have been set back further in their process towards normalization because of the failure of this government to meet their needs.
It is not easy for anyone to end a strike in this way, but we must do what we can to help the disabled, to help this process of normalization. So it is with a great deal of reluctance that we proceed today in supporting the Liberal government in its legislation.
Mr. Warner: You love hammering workers. Do not kid me, you love it. You would take away the right to strike from every worker in this province.
Mr. Cousens: No. In the meantime, what would the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) do? What would he be doing about the 14,000 people who are not going out? He would be doing nothing. He had a chance yesterday --
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Cousens: He had a chance yesterday to get the legislation passed before last night, and what did he do? He let the bells ring.
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: This is grave disorder.
Mr. Cousens: We are dealing with an important issue that is being made fun of by a member. I see it as being far greater than that. We look forward to seeing this question resolved, and I look forward to it not happening again.
Mr. Foulds: I rise to speak in this debate and I do so, frankly, with a deep sense of shame. I am ashamed of this Legislature today.
I am ashamed of the Liberal Party, which cloaks itself in progressivism but the first substantial bill that it brings into the House in this new session of the Legislature does not seek conciliation, does not seek consensus, does not seek compromise; it hammers the workers.
I am ashamed of the hypocrisy of the Tory party that governed this province for 42 years, that had the responsibility for dealing with the needs of the handicapped for 42 years and failed to meet those needs.
As my colleague pointed out in the emergency debate yesterday, when the party to my right had the responsibility of government, instead of bringing in an integrated service that would make handicapped transportation available to all the disabled over all our communities that had a public transportation system, whether it be Metropolitan Toronto, Thunder Bay or Ottawa, it chose this selective route of giving service to only a limited number of the disabled. As my colleague the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere pointed out, it failed to give the kind of service that is needed on a daily basis so the disabled are not prisoners in their homes.
This is a very difficult dispute. There is no question about that. It is very difficult when we are dealing with the needs of a group like the disabled, needs that are so obvious and that have to be met, but the Minister of Labour and his ministry do not have to meet them every single time by hammering the workers.
Let us say, for example, the minister felt it necessary to bring in legislation. Why could he not bring it in, put it in the Orders and Notices and then see what the parties would do over the weekend? Why did he not give them four days of negotiating time? When he was in his mediation, conciliation and negotiation, why did he not do what was agreed upon? Both the management and the union had agreed to the first year of the contract.
If he had to bring in this legislation, why did he not put in the legislation the base that both parties had already agreed to, which was $1 for the first year instead of the lousy 50 cents? Why did he not try, as the union was willing to do, to get a one-year agreement, to which both parties had already agreed? Why did the ministry fail to take its responsibility seriously? That is what negotiation is about; that is what mediation is about; that is what conciliation is about.
Let me speak for the moment to the substance of the dispute. None of us in this House denies that the handicapped have a right to the transportation that is provided. Most of us in this party would argue that the handicapped have a right to far greater transportation facilities than the beggars opposite are currently providing. They deserve that transportation, as I said earlier, throughout the general transportation system.
Let us look at the elements in the dispute. Does anybody in this House seriously believe that workers working for Wheel-Trans and helping disabled people should be paid $4 an hour less than their colleagues in the general transportation system? Does anybody in this House reasonably feel that is just? The Tories apparently do; the Liberals apparently do.
Does anybody in this House feel the workers working for Wheel-Trans should not have a pension plan? Does anybody in this House reasonably think somebody working in this field of what should be public transportation should not have a pension plan? The Tories apparently do; the Liberals apparently do.
Surely to goodness, in the last half of the 20th century, when we are talking about shorter work time, high-tech development, work sharing and all those nice things about co-operation among labour, government and management, this is an opportunity for the government to have shown some initiative and make that happen. The way to make it happen is by making conditions equal for those who are served, the disabled, and for those who work with them, in this case the transportation workers.
By hammering through this legislation, the Ministry of Labour is trying to victimize the workers and paint the workers as villains of the piece, and it is trying to get out from its responsibility for bringing together the parties in a dispute.
I want to conclude with this thought. I have been in this House for 15 years and I believe I have sat through more than 20 debates when the government has brought in legislation that forced workers back to work. This is the third time we have done it with transportation workers.
I give a warning to this House. Every time we bring in special legislation such as this, which abrogates general legislation that we have passed, we rupture and threaten democracy because we say, "It is all right for you to have these democratic rights except when the going gets tough." It has always been my belief that the core and essence of democracy was that we did not hammer those civil rights, the collective rights that we developed over centuries for people, when the going got tough.
When the going gets tough, it is important in a democracy to retain our laws, make sure they are abided by and keep the rights of the workers in perspective and as a sacred trust. We, as a Legislature, do not have the right to victimize them in one special case, as we are doing in this case. That is why I am ashamed to take part in this debate in this Legislature at present. However, I am very proud of my colleagues in this party because we did not allow the legislative process to be disrupted and we did not allow this bill to be rammed through in an hour and a half. That is an abrogation of our duty as legislators. Those due processes are put in place to protect the rights of minorities in our society. In this difficult dispute and in these difficult circumstances, I am very proud that the New Democratic Party has the courage to vote on behalf of the working people of this province.
Mr. Harris: I would like to make a few brief comments. I do not want to go over old ground and repeat some of the things that have been said by my two colleagues who have already spoken on this bill, but I do want to add a few words.
First, I agree with much of what has been said by the New Democratic Party on this issue. Perhaps I differ from even some of my own colleagues on this point, but I do not believe the NDP was responsible for this bill not being passed yesterday as opposed to today. I agree with the NDP's sentiments that this bill very likely will have received second reading, third reading and royal assent in less than 24 hours of our having seen a draft of it. That is a long way from what anybody could refer to as impeding the progress of the Legislature or holding things up.
I have a great deal of sympathy for that party's position on the mechanics and the way in which the government chose to deal with this issue leading up to the legislation and, particularly, with the way it chose to deal with it in the Legislature. There is absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind that this piece of legislation would not have been introduced yesterday had our party not moved the emergency debate.
I do not want to imply from this that we are taking credit for the introduction of the legislation. It was not our intent that legislation be introduced. It was our intent that the government treat this dispute and this difficulty with even one tenth of the vigour with which it treated the threat of a TTC strike in 1985 for those workers and people who are not handicapped.
If anyone doubts that the government planned to come forward with legislation, I ask him to reflect on a couple of things. First, if it was its intention on the first day, the bill probably could have been passed yesterday had more than two minutes' notice of the intention been circulated to the other two parties, as normally happens.
I do not think anybody should interpret that the difficulty the NDP has had with this bill has in any way impeded its progress. I have a great deal of sympathy for the members of the third party.
If the government wants us to believe it planned to introduce this bill, then it also wants us to believe that its method of operating is not to involve its House leader in what is happening in the House. It is no secret the government House leader has indicated that he had the same notice we did; in other words, it was 1:58 p.m. when he found out what was going to happen in what is supposed to be his job of putting forward the government business.
Thus, the evidence is pretty conclusive that bringing this bill forward was not planned. Why was it brought forward then? I believe that happened because the government did not have the commitment and the will to involve itself in effecting a settlement, as it did in the TTC dispute. It is a very glaring example of the government saying there are only 9,000 riders, not one million, so the issue is not as important. No doubt the Premier involved himself and his government in negotiations in the TTC situation. Money was offered to the TTC to help settle the strike and pressure was put on the TTC to avoid a strike in 1985. Had that same interest and the same dollars been shown by the government in the Wheel-Trans negotiations, we would not be debating this legislation today and a settlement would have been reached.
I agree with my colleagues in the NDP and I compliment them. I understand where they have a fundamental disagreement with this type of legislation. Frankly, I have a fundamental difficulty with this type of legislation as well. I will be supporting it most reluctantly and only because I do not believe this government has the interest, the time, the will or the commitment to involve itself as it did in the 1985 TTC situation. In the absence of that, regrettably with this party governing, it appears to be the only way we are going to get the problem resolved.
Let me turn to some of the statements that have been made today that concern me greatly about what will happen after this bill is passed. In what I felt was a direct threat to the arbitrator, the Premier stated that his government does not believe in parity. Before this arbitrator investigates and rules, he has a statement on the record from the Premier that this government does not believe in parity. I am astounded that the Premier would state such a thing. I am astounded that in this very delicate situation -- the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) has said this is the third time legislation has been brought forward ordering transit strikers back to work -- that kind of pressure and that kind of bias have been put to an independent arbitrator as he is given the task of arbitrating this dispute. That is irresponsible and not becoming of the government, but it is perhaps typical of the loose lips involved in some of the first minister's statements.
Another example of what bothers me is the 50 cents an hour. How can one pull a figure of 50 cents out of the air? The minister no doubt will argue it is a little bit of something in the interim. I argue that one has to be very careful when one pulls a figure out of the air in the interim. Is it the government concern that, "An arbitrator may go down the middle, so let us low-ball this thing"? Very rarely does one see an arbitrator come outside the parameters of the offers that go back and forth. My understanding -- I cannot get the information; perhaps the minister will give it to us -- is that the last offer rejected by the union and by the Wheel-Trans drivers and mechanics was well in excess of $1 an hour. I heard one figure of $1.20 an hour but I cannot get confirmation of it.
Why low-ball at 50 cents and send another signal to the arbitrator that a settlement of 50 or 51 cents is still acceptable? That is the signal that is being sent out. The minister shakes his head, but if he is prepared to rule out 51 cents, then it should be 52 cents. If he is prepared to rule out 75 cents, then it should be 76 cents. It should start somewhere over the offer that was unacceptable. Surely that -- or nothing -- should have been the amount that was placed in there, with pretty strict time constraints on the arbitrator.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: It is 45 days.
Mr. Harris: If it is 45 days, then I suspect the difference between 50 cents an hour for a period of 45 days to the Wheel-Trans workers and the threat of the lower settlement that will come out of that, caused by throwing in 50 cents, is a far greater price to pay than the advantage of having the few pennies the government will give them for those 45 days. I am disturbed by that aspect of the legislation.
The summation of the Premier's attitude, the rather flippant way he rejected parity today, and the 50 cents, send signals to the arbitrator about the lack of commitment of the government to involve itself in these negotiations and the lack of commitment to provide the necessary funds that will be shared with the city of Toronto as the government did to help avoid a TTC strike in 1985. This leads me to believe this legislation was concocted and pulled together between 11:45 a.m. yesterday and 2 p.m. yesterday.
Some have asked me, "How can that possibly be?" Quite frankly, the deputy minister was there -- I see him in this chamber -- and one could ask him. As we look at this piece of legislation, the ministry is capable of slapping this together in 10 minutes. It is a fill-in-the-blanks type of legislation. There is absolutely no difficulty in preparing this in a very short time.
Unfortunately, that lack of thought may be one of the things that led to this 50-cent figure. I am concerned. I am not happy about this legislation. I will support it in the absence of an obvious commitment by this government to have it settled through the normal channels and the obvious lack of commitment to what ought to be demonstrated in this area. I regret it appears that the government cares when you talk about a million people, but when you talk about 9,000 people, it is not that big a deal. That is tragic in this day and age.
Mr. Mackenzie: I rise to oppose the bill before us. I want to make it clear that I feel no embarrassment at all for consistently working to protect workers' rights. Workers' rights in the province do not come easily, and the issue is the right of workers to free collective bargaining in this province.
No one will argue with the importance of the service to handicapped people in Toronto. There are no apologies by New Democrats for a consistent fight to provide and improve services to the handicapped. We have not taken a back seat to anyone on that issue. However, to try to use the argument that rights and benefits must be denied because of the clientele is a form of blackmail that does credit to no one who voices it. It is an argument that is also rejected by most of the handicapped people involved. They recognize, as does any fair-minded and objective person in society, that the approach used by this government clearly establishes the service provided almost as an afterthought, a second-class service.
It is not a comprehensive and integrated system; it is a Band-Aid service that depends on the service providers. The drivers must subsidize the service offered to the handicapped. The misuse of the workers is general. We see the same thing with the Disabled and Aged Regional Transit System in the city of Hamilton. They are also required to subsidize the service and have many of the same problems in terms of benefits that the workers in Toronto face.
What is needed is a full-scale service that recognizes one of the most obviously disadvantaged groups in our society. What is not needed is yet another attack on the basic rights of workers. What is not needed is the exploitation of roughly 180 workers in the city who apparently are not entitled to the wherewithal to provide decent housing for their families and are not entitled to long-term income disability coverage, proper vacations or decent pensions in their retirement years. Instead, they are expected to work for less on every count: wages, pensions and income protection. I want to reiterate that this applies in other cities as well as in Toronto.
It is difficult not to make a comparison with the way this government has kowtowed to the doctors but has come down hard and quickly on the Wheel-Trans employees. I do not know how we can call it anything but a double standard. If we had put a fraction of the time into negotiating the Wheel-Trans situation that we have with the doctors, there would have been a settlement before this.
It is also disturbing that as one of the justifications for the legislation, the Minister of Labour and the Premier seem to use the fact that the workers voted against the contract settlement recommended by their negotiating committee. Are they saying that even a democratic vote is to be the basis for losing workers' rights in Ontario?
I cannot help but think of the many arguments we have had and of the many slights that have been made by both old parties in this House about union bosses and control of workers. It is funny that a different tune is played when the workers decide that what was negotiated was not good enough and, through the democratic process, say, "We need a better contract than this."
I want to make it clear that I think there could have been a settlement. The additional funds needed to arrive at a settlement were minimal. The effort was not put in. Some criticism can be made of the arbitration and conciliation services and of the minister's emphasis on the importance of getting a settlement in this case. The move to back-to-work legislation comes all too quickly. Frankly, I do not think it was hard for this government to do, as it was not for previous governments. This government, like the previous government, finds it easier all the time to impose an agreement in a strike situation. Invariably, the justification relates to the hurt that would be caused if the workers did not continue to subsidize what is already an inadequate service.
The handicapped with whom I have talked in this city do not believe that two wrongs make a right. They are unhappy with the position they are put in. Being used to denying justice to those who also have a legitimate case is not a good position to be put in and does not speak well for this ministry. I do not intend to support this bill, now or in the future.
Ms. Bryden: I also do not support the bill for the same reasons my colleagues have so eloquently expressed. I know the kind of hardships disabled people are suffering. Many in my riding are dependent on Wheel-Trans, and it is important to enable them not only to take jobs but also to share in social or cultural activities in the community, as well as to keep their medical appointments.
Any employer who fires a Wheel-Trans user because he or she cannot get to work during the strike should be strongly censured, because the employer is indicating he is not prepared to share the inconvenience and hardship which sometimes results from the exercise of legal collective bargaining rights.
I want the strike to end as soon as possible for the sake of the disabled who are suffering. As my colleagues have said, I believe it could have been settled by now if the provincial government had been willing to put a little more into the funding pot. The provincial government's share of public transit costs is low in comparison to that provided in other major cities in North America. I believe transportation for the disabled is a particular area where the government should be considering additional funding, because it claims to be devoted to equality for the disabled. Wheel-Trans is a step towards full equality for the disabled but it is still a long way from providing full transportation access for the disabled.
Our party's refusal to let the bill go through in an hour or two yesterday is giving us a chance to talk about the inadequacies of the service today. It is something I want to bring to the government's attention. I also want to bring to the government's attention the fact that it should not expect the workers who serve the disabled to subsidize the service. When they are denied pension benefits and parity with TTC workers, that is exactly what they are being asked to do by the government.
I also consider it important to remind the government that this situation is an example of the result of the trend towards contracting out. If contracting out a service means saving only at the expense of the workers, it should be banned.
I also want to use this occasion to express my shock at the new government resorting to the tactics of the previous government in destroying collective bargaining. This bill "cuts off collective bargaining at the knees," as one worker said. Once an industry becomes accustomed to the idea that back-to-work legislation is the way of solving a problem, collective bargaining ceases.
I am sure some of the disabled workers who are suffering hardship are also members of unions. I am sure they will be concerned that their jobs will be threatened by contracting out and back-to-work legislation which will destroy the collective bargaining process. I am very disappointed to find that the first legislation debated in this new session is a message to all workers in the province that the new Liberal government is no different from the former Conservative one. When it comes to respect for free collective bargaining, a right which is guaranteed by our new Constitution, this government has been found wanting.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I would like to add a few words, having had a chance to express myself fairly fully yesterday in the emergency debate.
Today we raised questions in question period trying to link the attitude of this government towards labour negotiations with a powerful group such as the Ontario Medical Association and in terms of dealing with a much weaker group, a small group of 185 transit workers here in Toronto. I was told there was no linkage there, there was no right to make that kind of comparison or to contrast the attitudes that indicate a class bias by this government in how it approaches these two groups.
In the answers we got, the government's attitudes came through very clearly. We had the Premier stand up and say he was opposed to the principle of parity in general and that specifically in this case no legitimate arguments could be made that transit workers working with the disabled in Metro Toronto should receive the same kind of money and benefits as transit workers dealing with able-bodied people.
What a preposterous position and what a wonderful message to send to the arbitrators: "Do not move this group to parity. Do not provide it with the kind of justice that speakers from this party have been talking about as necessary." For any members who were in the House at the time, the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) gave the history of Wheel-Trans and told us what a third-class system it used to be. Now it has finally reached the level of being a second-class system. The government knows this and yet it will not even accept the principle of parity. If it had done so, it would have found a solution to this with the few dollars it would have taken to do so rather than to take away the civil rights of these workers.
Why does the government use a 50-cent base for the arbitrator to work from? That is also prejudicing the arbitrator. The government knows there was an acceptance by management and by the negotiating committee of amounts much larger than that. In fact, a first-year contract could have been accepted. The government did not recognize that or give that message to the arbitrator. It did not say, "Start from square one and use your best judgement on things such as parity." No. The government has given out very particular messages now about how it wants these workers treated, and that is very different from how it wants the doctors treated in this province.
The government played on the heartstrings of those people who are concerned about the disabled. It may seem to be tough for us to stand up for workers and in opposition to the disabled, as has been portrayed by members of the Conservative Party to my right. I deal on a regular basis with advocate groups such as Action Awareness, the Blind Organization of Ontario with Self-help Tactics, Persons United for Self-Help in Ontario, the Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped and their representatives, who have been fighting for an integrated transit system for the disabled for years. I talked with them yesterday; my office talked with them this morning. They do not support this legislation; they support the rights of their workers. As Beryl Potter put it to my staff this morning, "It is symbolic that in a second-class system you pay your drivers and your workers second-class rates."
We want this government to recognize it is time we developed this into a first-class system. Where is the Liberal Party's progressive labour policy that it can bring in this kind of legislation without its House leader even knowing about it, spring it on us knowing we were not to sit today and expect us to pass it in an hour and a half? What kind of labour policy does the Liberal Party have in terms of weighing justice and the democratic rights of workers? What is its social policy? I have not heard one member over there yet talk about his vision of transportation for the disabled in this province, except to talk in negative terms about its not being supposed to be equal.
The Premier was saying the workers should not necessarily be paid the same amount. One would therefore presume that the rights of handicapped people should not necessarily be the same as those of the rest of us in terms of what they can expect for transportation. Should we all expect to have to wait for a week or to know a week in advance when we are going to go to a movie, when we want to go shopping or when we want to go a medical appointment? That is what they have to do now under the system that is out there. If you have epilepsy or a minor disability that does not make you wheelchair-bound, you are not likely even to get picked up at all. You are probably not going to be able to use the transit system proper, because you cannot get up and down the stairs in many of the subway stations in Toronto.
Why are we not hearing from the government what its vision is? Why are we not hearing something positive about how the transportation system can be changed to make it first-class, world-class, etc.? We have heard none of that. All the government wants to do is victimize these workers; it is as clear as that. A tone has been set for this session that the government members may have thought would distance them from us, but what they have done is set a tone of confrontation which they will regret before the session is over.
Mr. Allen: I would like to take a few moments of the House's time to stand and oppose this bill. I want to do so because there are workers in Hamilton who are drivers of a similar transit system, the Disabled and Aged Regional Transit System, DARTS. Like the recently negotiating workers of this system in Toronto, they have been in the process of negotiations.
They have the same problems. They are about the same distance behind the public transit system employees' wages. They have no specific benefits in their employment package. They also have the problem that only about one third of them are full-time and the company takes advantage of part-time workers, in terms of the service that has to be provided, by escalating the time until it is almost full-time service.
They have been negotiating since January and have been very hopeful, in the light of the progress they thought was happening in Toronto, that perhaps their objectives would be secured. That is not likely to be the case now. The minister has to recognize that the moment he interferes in this fashion in a dispute such as this, at the same time he is prejudicing the negotiations of other working groups in other communities seeking similar objectives.
In the light of the Hamilton situation, it would be very dangerous to conclude that the handicapped of our city feel alienated or disaffected as a result of the attempts of their drivers to seek better conditions. They work closely together and they know how often the drivers go out of their way to help. They know how much assistance they get from their drivers and there is a bond between them that is unusually close. They recognize that their workers are not well done by at this time.
The United Disabled Consumers of Hamilton sent a wire to the drivers in Toronto supporting them in their undertaking and hoping they would be successful. Likewise, I talked with a very active member of the disabled community in Hamilton and found a great deal of sympathy for the situation of the drivers in Toronto. They were very strongly supportive of their strike and opposed the attempt by the Legislature to legislate them back to work.
I want to conclude by saying it is a very great irony in our society that people who are in service occupations, looking after the needs of people, are so often underpaid, undersupported, underrepresented and underpowered in their employment situation. The moment they attempt to redress or improve their circumstances, particularly in a circumstance such as this where a very vulnerable part of the community is affected, it is so easy for government and society at large to jump on them because they appear to be striking a vulnerable group.
What recourse do they have? Surely they have a right to the terms and benefits of employment, to a pension and security for their later years. Yet, as we know in Toronto and Hamilton, this group of workers does not have these benefits. It is time for this Legislature to take a much more mature approach to the problem of that whole sector of employees in the service industries. No better time and no better opportunity have been presented to this government to turn that situation around and to begin to walk down a new road than the strike that is currently in progress. Instead of responding to the real issues that are there, the government attempts to suppress that strike by passing legislation to deprive workers of their rightful opportunities.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Let me comment briefly on the points that have been made. I will begin by reviewing for my colleagues on both sides the situation as it emerged yesterday. I want to be quite candid, because I hear what my friend the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) says about the tone, and I understand that. I also understand the concerns of the opposition. It was not too long ago that I was on that side, and I and the government appreciate the opposition concerns.
The decision had been made to discuss and to have further mediation. After discussions with my officials shortly after noon, however, we decided that the possibilities of progress through further mediation were not good; in fact, they were very poor. In a discussion with the leader of the government, the decision was made that to allow the strike to drag on for a few more days while going through fruitless mediation was an inappropriate way for the government to show leadership. The determination was made -- and we understood it was very late; it was some time after one o'clock -- to move forward.
I am trying to explain the sequence of events. The House leader, who was quite candid with his colleagues in the other parties, at that point was asked, "Could we move forward with these matters?" He indicated that he would check, and calls were immediately placed. I want to assure my colleagues on the other side that the government did not try to do this in an underhanded way. It was a judgement call, made quite sincerely, that the mediation effort we had contemplated carrying forward would have little chance of success and we might as well acknowledge that.
Despite the suggestion by a couple of members, no one on this side has tried to ram any bill through. The bill received first reading yesterday. I was in the House. Unanimous consent was required and was requested by the government House leader to continue on to second reading. We all know what the standing orders say. The House leader for the third party stood in his place and refused unanimous consent, as is his right and the right of any member.
Mr. Wildman: That is right. Exactly. It was improperly rammed through.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I want to tell my friend the member for Algoma that there was no complaining from this side. I went out and spoke to the press. I said the third party had made its choice and that I respected that. I resent suggestions that somehow it then becomes a government trying to ram a bill through. We are here today, we had not intended to be, but the government has made the judgement that this is a very important consideration.
As to some of the fundamentals of the bill, my friends, particularly on the Conservative side and especially the Labour critic for the Conservative Party, suggested on the one hand that we ought to have unfettered arbitration and on the other that we should speak to the arbitrator before matters get going and tell him something, although he never made that too clear. I am not sure he understands the difference between unfettered arbitration and speaking to the arbitrator.
The issue of the 50 cents was raised by two members, the Labour critic for the Conservatives and the member for Nipissing (Mr. Harris). We have opted to have a respectable initial increase even during that 45-day period. It will be a handful of days more than 45, because it will be a couple of days before the arbitrator will be put in place. In effect, we have opted to have a respectable initial increase.
You will notice the wording of the bill makes it very clear that the arbitrator can build upon that. We did not want to have the kind of increase put up front that would in any way tie the arbitrator's hands from coming out with whatever creative solution the parties may put before the arbitrator and the arbitrator may choose to accept. Quite candidly, that is the decision the government has taken on this matter and I think it is a very defensible one.
The concern we have on this matter is that this is not exactly, in spite of what my friends in the third party have suggested throughout the speeches, a dispute between the government of Ontario and the workers of the Amalgamated Transit Union. First, it was All-Way Transportation Corp. with which ATU was bargaining. More important, while the funding mechanism is partially from the government of Ontario, I think my friends would want to acknowledge very clearly that the funding mechanism is also from Metropolitan Toronto.
While there may be a suggestion that the government of Ontario simply ought to allow Metro to abrogate its responsibilities and provide all the money, I remind my friends in the third party that collective bargaining is a two-way street. In spite of the suggestion that $200,000 or $220,000 would automatically settle the dispute, it was the judgement of the government and it was certainly the view of the negotiating committee for Local 113 that the tentative agreement would settle it because they all recommended it and felt it would be settled.
It is simply the judgement of the government that the parties in the first instance would probably not be able to reach a further agreement, which would have cost more money, $220,000 or whatever amount. Further, my friends suggest they have some magic knowledge that the agreement would have been approved. I am not certain they know that, because I know I do not know that.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: Have you talked to the union?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Yes.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: What was the vote?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: The vote was 89 to 52.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: A little sweetener might have helped.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: A little sweetener might and a little sweetener might not. I think my friend would want to acknowledge that.
Let me deal with the suggestion that the government has not been involved or concerned. I reject that suggestion. First, the government was clearly involved enough that we were able on Friday last, exactly a week ago today, to effect a tentative agreement. That tentative agreement was reached after the involvement of the most senior officials of my ministry. It was reached after the involvement of this minister and my colleague the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Fulton). The tentative agreement was reached with the knowledge but not with the direct involvement -- because we did not need it -- of the Premier and other members of the cabinet.
We have been involved throughout and indeed the Premier was involved yesterday in deciding that, regrettably, this bill would have to go forward. To suggest this government has ignored its obligations is simply foolish. The facts of the matter do not support that suggestion. We managed to effect a tentative agreement, an agreement that was, regrettably, rejected by the membership.
In closing, I will make one last comment on that subject. My friend the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) has left the impression that somehow we are being critical of the workers in the dispute for rejecting that agreement. I make no judgement at all. It is the democratic right of the 141 members who voted, including the 89 who voted no, to say to their negotiating committee, "You have got us a good agreement, but it is not good enough and we are not about to support it." In a previous existence, I have been known to vote no on collective agreements that were put forward to me.
The only comment I make is that it was the judgement of the government that, without undue hardship because of the length of time that would be necessary, we could not have effected a settlement, that the divisions between the parties were very substantial. Indeed, the vote last Sunday made that clear.
The House divided on Hon. Mr. Wrye's motion for second reading of Bill 2, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Barlow, Bossy, Bradley, Brandt, Callahan, Caplan, Cooke, D. R., Cordiano, Cousens, Curling, Davis, Dean, Eakins, Elston, Eves, Ferraro, Gillies, Gordon, Guindon, Harris, Henderson, Jackson, Johnson, J. M., Kerrio, Knight, Kwinter, Mancini, Marland, McCague, McFadden, McGuigan, McLean, McNeil, Miller, G. I., Morin, Munro;
Newman, Nixon, Offer, O'Neil, Partington, Pollock, Polsinelli, Reycraft, Riddell, Rowe, Ruprecht, Sargent, Scott, Shymko, Smith, D. W., Smith, E. J., Sorbara, South, Stephenson, B. M., Stevenson, K. R., Sweeney, Timbrell, Van Horne, Villeneuve, Ward, Wrye.
Allen, Breaugh, Bryden, Charlton, Cooke, D. S., Foulds, Grande, Grier, Johnston, R. F., Mackenzie, McClellan, Philip, Reville, Swart, Warner, Wildman.
Ayes 62; nays 16.
Hon. Mr. Wrye moved third reading of Bill 2, An Act respecting the Labour Disputes between All-Way Transportation Corporation (Wheel-Trans Division) and Local 113, Amalgamated Transit Union.
The House divided on Hon. Mr. Wrye's motion for third reading of Bill 2, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Barlow, Bossy, Bradley, Brandt, Callahan, Caplan, Cooke, D. R., Cordiano, Cousens, Curling, Davis, Dean, Eakins, Elston, Epp, Eves, Ferraro, Gillies, Gordon, Guindon, Henderson, Jackson, Johnson, J. M., Kerrio, Keyes, Knight, Kwinter, Mancini, Marland, McCague, McFadden, McGuigan, McLean, Miller, G. I., Morin, Munro;
Newman, Nixon, Offer, O'Neil, Partington, Polsinelli, Reycraft, Riddell, Rowe, Ruprecht, Sargent, Scott, Shymko, Smith, E. J., Sorbara, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Sweeney, Timbrell, Treleaven, Van Horne, Villeneuve, Ward, Wrye.
Allen, Breaugh, Bryden, Charlton, Cooke, D. S., Foulds, Grande, Grier, Johnston, R. F., Mackenzie, McClellan, Philip, Reville, Swart, Warner, Wildman.
Ayes 61; nays 16.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: His Honour is waiting to give royal assent.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took his seat upon the throne.
Hon. Mr. Alexander: Pray be seated.
Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present sittings thereof, passed a certain bill to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's assent.
Assistant Clerk: The following is the title of the bill to which Your Honour's assent is prayed:
Bill 2, An Act respecting the Labour Disputes between All-Way Transportation Corporation (Wheel-Trans Division) and Local 113, Amalgamated Transit Union.
Clerk of the House: In Her Majesty's name, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to this bill.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.
The House adjourned at 1:16 p.m.