L017 - Wed 21 May 1986 / Mer 21 mai 1986
The House met at 2 p.m.
BOARD OF INTERNAL ECONOMY
Mr. Speaker: I beg to inform the House that I have laid upon the table a copy of an order in council appointing the Honourable Gregory Sorbara, Minister of Colleges and Universities and Minister of Skills Development, as commissioner to the Board of Internal Economy in place of the Honourable Robert Fletcher Nixon, Treasurer of Ontario and Minister of Economics and Minister of Revenue.
Mr. Andrewes: Occasionally we hear about errant mail finding its way into the wrong hands, mail soliciting funds for political organizations and even soliciting membership in certain of what we might call deciduous political fora.
Recently, we came into possession of a return postcard addressed to Bob Rae, MPP, Leader, Ontario New Democrats. On the reverse side of this postcard are what appear to be two multiple choice questions. However, there is no choice. The questions are: "Yes, I believe we should end extra billing." "Yes, I support the Health Care Accessibility Act. Name and address."
Members of the New Democratic Party have often been heard to castigate government by poll. Public opinion has long been a part of politics, but when a political party offers the public no choice, it gives the public no option. Please let the public be heard.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Mr. Martel: For some time now, I have been suggesting that the Ministry of Labour and 400 University Avenue are a swamp. If one were to read today's headline in the Toronto Star, it supports all the allegations I have been making for months -- in fact, for about four years. The headline says, "Workers Dying as Safety Laws Ignored, Inspectors Charge." These are the very people who are in charge of trying to enforce the act, except that they are limited in what they can do.
If we start from square one, they have six to eight weeks of training and three to four hours of training on toxic substances. If we look at code 99, about which I asked the minister several weeks ago, which eliminates all forms of routine inspections, there are fewer inspections than ever before. This is the minister who is going to get tough with those who are violating the act. Out of 116 cases recommended for prosecution, only 56 cases in the past eight or nine months have been successful. Out of 263 charges laid in the fiscal year to date, only 58 convictions have been obtained.
It would be nice if the minister were to hire Sopinka and Robinette, whom they were going to hire to prosecute me, to prosecute some of those individuals. What is more important, it is time the inspectors got some support out of that swamp down there and that convictions occurred when workers are killed because the act is violated.
Mr. Ward: Last November the Minister of Health (Mr. Elston) announced in this House a northern health travel grant program. This program has enjoyed the support of all parties in the Legislature. In addition, members representing northern ridings have been helpful in providing input and offering suggestions to improve the program further. I thank the members for their input and indicate that as we review the operations of this program, their concerns will be taken into consideration.
I am informed that in the first three and a half months of the northern medically necessary travel grant program more than 9,000 patients have received funding and grants of nearly $1.5 million have been processed. Again, this has been in a period of only three and a half months. By comparison, during the last election campaign, the previous government announced its intention to implement a program that would provide funding to an estimated 4,400 patients who found it necessary to travel to southern teaching hospitals, thus bypassing medical care that was already available in the north.
In short, the northern health travel grant program has been an overwhelming success. It fulfils a commitment this government has given to the people of northern Ontario. As this program is reviewed, it will no doubt be further refined and enhanced. I look forward to the input of members as we undertake that review.
CONTAMINANTS IN FOOD
Ms. Fish: Recent discoveries of chemical contamination in our food highlight the need for a pure food act in Ontario. My leader, the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman), proposed just such an act several months ago. The possible sources of contamination in our food are pesticides used in our own production, contaminants moving into Ontario by wind or rain and contaminants of all types coming in on imported food.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell) should be the advocate for the production and sale of contaminant-free food. Expanding laboratory testing facilities would provide farmers with production tools that would result in foods of unquestionable quality and assure the consumers of this province of the safety of our production system and the resulting quality of its products.
Checks of imported foods are particularly critical because there are chemicals used in other jurisdictions that are not licensed in Ontario. In many other countries, the levels of care and management of producers are not nearly as high. How can we permit the consumption of imported food that is not subject to the same strict standards applied locally?
The food producers in Ontario want to be assured that they are producing, eating and selling food products of excellent quality. The consumers of Ontario want similar assurances.
OSHAWA SPORTS HALL OF FAME
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I am sure that you and all the members will want to know that tonight in Oshawa at the civic auditorium we will be inducting some 20 people into the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame. We have a fine tradition of excellence in athletics in the community of Oshawa. The 20 people who will win the awards tonight are an interesting variety of people in amateur and professional sports, all the way from people one would readily know, such as Bobby Orr and Eddie Westfall, to people who won medals in track and field at the Olympic games in the 1940s. The purpose of the exercise is to offer role models, some examples of excellence in athletics to young people who are very much interested in athletics.
While I am on my feet, I want to congratulate the committee that put together this idea, even if it was headed by one Terence V. Kelly, who is a known Liberal in Oshawa. He is also a fine man. We have handled the problem by hanging red ties around their necks so no one will hurt them.
Mr. South: Eastern Ontario has never seen a forest pest as destructive as the gypsy moth caterpillar. Last year almost 250,000 hectares of land suffered moderate to severe defoliation. During 1986, this area may increase threefold. This government is committed to easing the burden of this voracious pest. The joint Ministry of Natural Resources-municipal government co-operative agreement is a step towards this goal in assisting private land owners in controlling the gypsy moth on their properties. To this end, I would like to inform the assembly of the opening of the Irvine Lake air strip, which took place on Friday, May 16.
The entire gypsy moth aerial spraying program will be co-ordinated from Irvine Lake. It will have the largest fleet of airplanes of the five airstrips involved. Aerial spraying with bacillus thuringiensis will begin very shortly, weather permitting.
I want to commend the minister and his staff for their commitment and organizational ability demonstrated in this project.
Mr. Jackson: It is my great pleasure to welcome a very special group from Bavaria visiting us in the Legislature today. They are hosted by the students of Aldershot High School in the great riding of Burlington South. The principal, Mr. Cooper, and his staff and students are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their school this week.
Their guests in Ontario and in the House with us today are members of the Statdkapelle Buchloe Band, now under the direction of Mr. Horst Adolf Garner. The band has performed throughout Europe for more than 100 years. It has travelled to many countries, including those of the Eastern Bloc, and has brought many memorable performances to those who have had the opportunity to hear and enjoy it, including those members who were privileged to hear the band today in the lobby downstairs.
Travelling with the group and seated in the west members' gallery is the mayor of Buchloe, Mr. Gert Daiseberger, along with the conductor, Mr. Garner, and the organizer, Mr. Bernard Rid.
It is with great pleasure that I welcome them and ask all members to join with me in a big Ontario Willkommen.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY AND RESPONSES
Hon. Mr. Fontaine: Yesterday a number of questions were raised regarding what this government would do for individuals in the community of Winisk in northern Ontario, which was totally devastated by spring floods this past weekend. At that time I indicated I would be meeting with representatives of the community to determine their needs and to direct provincial efforts to those undertakings that would be most useful in helping the community and the people who live there.
I would like to outline exactly what is happening. This morning, cabinet declared the community of Winisk a disaster area for purposes of receiving financial assistance under the disaster relief assistance program. Cabinet also established an interministerial committee, headed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, to co-ordinate the provincial response and to work with the federal government in delivering our relief initiatives. Other ministries involved in the provincial response are my own Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
Quite rightly, the immediate response of evacuation, temporary housing and food was provided by the federal government, which has responsibility for status Indians. It is my understanding, having met with federal officials this morning, that in the longer term the federal government will also undertake construction of a new town site for the inhabitants.
In a telex to the Premier (Mr. Peterson) and me, Chief George Hunter of the Winisk band said his main concern is to get an early start on an airport at the new townsite of Peawanuk. The province has arranged with Chief Hunter to meet with representatives of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the provincial interministerial committee tomorrow morning to discuss ways in which the airport construction program can be expedited by the province.
Furthermore, after federal funding, the province will contribute the amount necessary to restore the victims to their pre-disaster condition under the terms of the disaster relief assistance program.
I would like to extend the sympathies of all of us here to the members of the Winisk band in this time of loss and sorrow because of the death of two band members.
Mr. Harris: If I might, I would like to comment briefly on the statement on Winisk. We applaud the initiative taken today. We join in the sympathies at the loss of the two band members. However, as we indicated yesterday, we are very concerned at the lack of provincial presence in this disaster for the first five days of the disaster.
As one who represents a riding that went through a similar situation in 1979 with the community of Field, but not nearly as serious, a typical response that a community in Ontario can expect from its government is that the Premier and the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr. Grandmaître) will be there. If it is in the north, the Minister of Northern Development and Mines will be there. One would expect a decision-making body to go there, make the decision and reassure the community, and not wait for five days.
As the member for Kenora (Mr. Bernier) pointed out yesterday, they were concerned there was no provincial presence for those five days. It was in those early moments when they were losing their whole town site, their whole village. Where was the Minister of Northern Development and Mines? He was at a wedding. Where was he the next day? I guess he was recovering. It took two more days to get up there.
Where was the minister responsible for native affairs, the Attorney General (Mr. Scott)? He was sitting down here in Toronto. Where was the Premier? Where was the Minister of Municipal Affairs? Is it because this village is so far away? Is it because they are native people, out of sight, out of mind? Does the government think nobody knew what was going on?
The response was a joke, it was ridiculous and the government should be embarrassed.
Mr. Pouliot: I quote from page 5 of the statement by the Minister of Northern Development and Mines: "Furthermore, after federal funding, the province will contribute the amount necessary to restore the victims to their predisaster condition under the terms of the disaster relief assistance program."
It is an appalling and shocking statement to invite the residents of the former community of Winisk to go back to the Third World conditions -- and I choose my words carefully -- that prevailed in the northern part of the province. The silver lining in this disaster, if there is any, is, first, an invitation to the government not to wait for the feds to do their share, but if it means what it says to act now by showing the way. Second, the uniqueness of the situation demands that the government improve on the conditions, not perpetuate the kind of substandard conditions that our first Canadians have been asked to endure for decades and decades.
I bring this to the minister's attention, with respect, to amend in its entirety his statement on page 5, make a big, bold step forward and give --
M. Pouliot: Ne m'interrompez pas, attendez une minute, là.
Give the people of Winisk a chance to become like the others.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: My colleague the Minister of Northern Development and Mines (Mr. Fontaine) and I were advised yesterday by Falconbridge of a decision by that company to lay off a substantial number of its employees at its Kidd Creek mine in Timmins. Members may now be aware of the numbers of layoffs. Today notice was given to 269 employees. Of this number, 36 workers -- 27 staff and nine clerical -- will be terminated immediately and will receive 16 weeks' pay in lieu of notice. Approximately 205 additional employees -- 146 in production jobs and 59 in clerical jobs -- will be terminated on September 2, 1986, having received 15 weeks' notice and two weeks' additional pay. I am advised the remaining 28 employees will take early retirement. Finally, 21 summer students will be laid off and between 150 and 200 contract employees will be laid off by mid-June.
The work force at Kidd Creek currently totals 2,724. Following the layoffs, it will be reduced to 2,455.
Everyone appreciates that mining and other resource companies are operating in a difficult economic environment. Metal prices are weak and efforts are being made by resource companies to become more competitive through cost reductions.
Having said that, my colleagues and I and, indeed, all members of this government are determined that due process and fairness must be observed in dealing with the workers affected by the cutbacks, workers who are the real victims.
While Falconbridge has observed the technical notice and payment in lieu of notice requirements of the Employment Standards Act in this instance, I must say I believe that companies such as Falconbridge and others have a moral obligation to advise the government and the affected employees at the earliest possible date in order to explore every alternative to employment reduction and, where employment reduction seems inevitable, to make every possible effort to ameliorate hardship for those affected. That is why we very much regret that we received notice of the substantial layoff only hours before it was made public.
This situation heightens my concern about the adequacy of current provisions with respect to notification, consultation and review in major layoff situations. I want to advise the House that this matter is under active review within my ministry. A report of the inadequacy of current provisions and possible revisions is being prepared in collaboration with other concerned ministers.
In addition, I am writing to major employers and their organizations to indicate our concerns about present processes and to enlist their support for reforms which would address the hardship and unfairness occasioned by announcements which are a shock to all involved and leave us little or no time to intervene constructively.
As the recent situation at Great Lakes Forest Products has shown, there are steps that government can take. There, following the intervention of the Premier (Mr. Peterson), the Minister of Northern Development and Mines and myself, a third-party review of the justification for the closure of the company's waferboard plant is under way. Similarly, we have sought and obtained assurances from Kimberly-Clark that no action will be taken at its operations in Terrace Bay and other nearby communities by way of work-force reductions until there has been a full and collaborative assessment of the problems and potential solutions to that company's current problems.
I will keep the House fully informed as we proceed with these initiatives.
Mr. Gillies: I have several points with regard to the statement by the Minister of Labour on the work reduction at the Kidd Creek mine.
First, I remind the minister, who comes in here and tells the House he learned of this layoff only hours ago, that my colleague the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope) raised this in the House last Thursday, and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. O'Neil) said he knew nothing about it. While the minister comes in here and wrings his hands about Kidd Creek, my colleague the member for Cochrane South is in Kidd Creek at this moment meeting with the mayor, with officials of Falconbridge and with federal officials to see what can be done about it.
I remind the Minister of Labour of two quotes. This is from the Premier during the election campaign last year. In response to the closure of 172 plants in the province in the last three years, the Liberals promised legislation, and I quote the Premier, "so that a company will have to provide workers and the community at large with justification for a closure."
I again quote the Premier. The Premier told the Toronto Star in October of last year that Ontario will name a committee to probe layoffs in mines both at Falconbridge and Inco.
Neither of those promises has been kept. The minister tells the House that companies have a moral obligation to inform the people of this province when there is going to be a layoff. We in the official opposition say the government has a moral obligation to keep its word.
Mr. Rae: Of all the weak, pathetic and half-baked statements that have been made in this House by the Minister of Labour, and they are large in number, none is more pathetic than the one he chose to make today with respect to the announcement at Kidd Creek. No specific measures are set out in his statement. The government has dithered and dallied and has done nothing about layoffs, reductions in the work force, notice or justification.
If I might comment briefly on the remarks made by the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) for the Tory party, the government has continued a tradition of 42 years of sustained inactivity with respect to protecting the workers of this province when it comes to layoffs and shutdowns. We had 42 years under the Tories and we have had nearly a year under the Liberals, and nothing has been done with respect to this.
The minister says the government has got something going with respect to "a third-party review of the justification for the closure." The closure took place in Thunder Bay. After the closure took place, it does not have a process of justification; it has somebody in there who is going to be reviewing the company's decision.
At Kimberly-Clark, where my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Pouliot) and I met last week with the management, we had no sense of its eagerness and willingness to sit down and talk to the people of this province about justifying whatever reductions will take place. This is not good enough. There is a complete absence of leadership when it comes to jobs, and the minister's government deserves to suffer for it.
Hon. Mr. Scott: On a point of privilege or order, as you may decide, Mr. Speaker: The member for North Bay --
Mr. Harris: There is no member for North Bay.
Hon. Mr. Scott: Well, wherever he is from; Nipissing. In the course of his response, the member made a reference to my role as minister responsible for native affairs. I was dedicating myself to native issues when he was playing pitch-and-putt in North Bay. The reality is --
Mr. Andrewes: Poor boy.
Mr. Grossman: Did he hurt your feelings?
Mr. Speaker: Order. It is appropriate for members to get up to correct statements they have made. I appreciate the member's point of view. However, now it is time for oral questions.
Mr. Grossman: We are sorry if the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) is not used to criticism, but he will have to get used to it if he plans to stay for even the one term he is going to serve.
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: You still have a great lesson to learn.
Miss Stephenson: So have you, and you are going to learn it rapidly.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Davis: There is a passage that says, "Pride goeth before...a fall."
Mr. Grossman: My colleague should be careful. He will hurt the Attorney General's feelings again.
CONTAMINANTS IN FOOD
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I would like to address the city of Toronto's paper on toxic contaminants in food and its serious implications.
I have just returned from the World Conference on Large Lakes in Mackinac Island, Michigan, where the paper was presented. Yesterday I was briefed by the author, Dr. Kate Davies, on her findings and further actions called for to protect our food.
The preliminary information we have both from this paper and from our own test results indicates our food meets the Department of National Health and Welfare standards set out in the Food and Drugs Act. None the less, I will not be satisfied until we have eliminated these substances from our food chain.
However, the Food and Drugs Act does not cover dioxins. An Ontario Ministry of the Environment report on dioxin ingestion standards, which I ordered released to the public last year, is a leading document on this topic worldwide.
The Davies paper reported a composite sample of fruits had dioxin levels 38 times the standard proposed in the Ministry of the Environment study. Another fruit sample in Dr. Davies's study showed dioxin levels at 1.5 times the proposed intake standard.
When government scientists were asked to review a preliminary draft of Dr. Davies's findings, they initiated testing of Ontario apples, the major component of the fruit composite. Our lab's results, completed yesterday morning, do not confirm the earlier findings. Ministry results showed dioxin levels at one four-thousandths or less of the proposed standard. More testing is clearly called for. We are doing it for fruits, as well as for milk, meat and vegetables.
In general, Dr. Davies's findings confirm my ministry's recent actions in dealing with this worrisome problem of toxic substances in food. Her main preliminary finding is that toxic contaminants in southern Ontario food, water and air are at levels similar to those found elsewhere in North America. A broad program of source reduction is the only sensible way to cut the amount of toxic substances going into the environment and thereby into our food.
This is the course I set for my ministry 11 months ago. On taking over the Environment portfolio, I was determined to take a hard line against polluters. I believed then, as I do now, that the people of this province are fed up with the fouling of our water, air and land.
In addition to ordering a stepped-up enforcement of our environmental laws, I instructed my staff to stand back and take a sceptical look at the fundamental premises of those laws. We found the approach was wrong. In a nutshell, the legislation allowed polluters to pour poisons into lakes and pump them into the air, provided there was enough dilution. They just watered down the stuff and out it poured. That is why we are turning the regulations around to reduce the total loadings of toxic chemicals into the air, rivers and lakes.
Consequently, we are developing a series of new regulations to reduce greatly the discharge of toxic contaminants by industries and municipalities into water bodies. Once these contaminants get into the water, they get into the aquatic food chain. We are also learning that evaporation can lift those poisons from the water, carry them a long distance and drop them on forests and food crops.
My ministry is also revamping its 18-year-old regulation on air pollution to deal with both short-range and long-range transport of hazardous pollutants. However, the brutal reality is that even if we totally eliminate the use of toxic substances in our province, it would not prevent some contaminants from getting into the food we grow here.
In an unfortunate parallel with our acid rain problem, we must realize that we cannot do it alone. A solution calls for an international approach.
We are just entering a new era of realization that chemical poisons can be carried great distances by the winds and come down as rain. Dioxin is one of those poisons. An international effort is imperative. People at the Mackinac conference, such as Dr. Davies, Dr. Doug Hallett and commissioner Robert Welch of the International Joint Commission, all advised me that this is the case, and I concur.
Dr. Davies has done us all a valuable service in presenting this report. It is further proof that we are on the right track in cracking down on the sources of chemical contamination.
Ms. Fish: On the matter of dioxin found in our foods, we certainly are pleased to learn today that the Minister of the Environment has been briefed by the author of a most disturbing study sponsored by the Toronto Board of Health on dioxin contaminants in our food.
The key that is before us in this statement that is so disappointing, however, is that the minister indicates nothing more than expressed concern and nothing more than further studies. He talks, for example, about changing the regulations. He has talked about that for a year and he has done nothing. The single regulation he has changed is to make it easier in this province to list dangerous pesticides in the absence of full and complete opportunities for the public to be informed.
The other thing he has done in the area of dioxin, notably on dioxin in drinking water, is to decide that whereas no level of dioxin consumption was safe in the past, once it was found in drinking water, some was safe.
Is that this government's response to dioxin in the food chain? Now that we have found it, is some consumption suddenly safe?
Mrs. Grier: The statement of the Minister of the Environment on dioxin in food shows at least that he understands the problem slightly better than does his colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell), but that is all I can say about his statement.
The minister says the Food and Drugs Act does not cover dioxin. The Food and Drugs Act of this country does cover dioxin. It says the standard for dioxin in food in this country is zero detectable. That limit says we must have no dioxin in our food. The fact that the World Health Organization has no standards for dioxin is an indication of its concern about this poison.
What disturbs me is that the minister appears to be taking pride in the fact that his ministry is developing standards for dioxin that are to be used in this province. The standard has to remain at zero, and until that is enshrined in the legislation of this province, none of us is safe.
It is time the minister stopped telling us about the regulations he is going to revamp and started taking some concrete action, because there is not one whit less pollution in the rivers or in the air of this province since he took office than there was before he took office.
CONTAMINANTS IN FOOD
Mr. Grossman: In view of the absence of the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell), my question is for the Minister of the Environment. I wonder whether the minister can indicate to us if he knows specifically which countries are using chemicals currently banned in Ontario to treat crops that eventually find their way to grocery stores in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: The honourable member may be aware of the statements of Kate Davies in her report at the conference on large lakes in Mackinac. One of the things she indicated was that DDT, for instance, is showing up rather strangely, in her view, particularly in the light of the fact that DDT has been banned in North America.
To a certain degree one has to say it is speculation, but it was her estimation, being a relative expert in the field, that very likely that would be emanating from Central America and would be deposited through long-range airborne pollutants not only on Ontario but also on much of the rest of Canada and the United States.
In terms of that conference, we are looking at a number of areas where countries may be using substances that we do not use in North America at this time. That was the one example she revealed to me, and she thought Central America was probably the source.
Mr. Grossman: The minister is admitting he does not know which countries are using chemicals that are banned in Ontario.
Mr. Grossman: I do not want to hurt the feelings of the Attorney General (Mr. Scott). Given the fact that the Minister of the Environment either knows now or ought to have known quite some time ago that other countries were using chemicals banned in Ontario, what measures is he taking not only to test Ontario foods but also to test those foods such as pineapples which as a result of chemicals used in other countries do contain chemicals such as 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane, a very dangerous chemical? What tests is he doing on imported foods to make sure DBCP is not contained in pineapples imported into Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: The member may be aware that the Department of National Health and Welfare has done some considerable testing in the field of foods. Those foods relate not only to Ontario but also to the rest of Canada. It is my view that the Department of National Health and Welfare, in conjunction with provincial ministries, should co-ordinate an effort to test as many of these foods as possible.
As the member appropriately points out, we can look at the deposition that takes place in our province, some of which originates in our province and some of which originates outside the province. However, there are other practices that are followed in other countries in the world and depositions that come from extraneous sources in other parts of the world that might well have a marked effect.
In conjunction with the Department of National Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of the Environment in Ontario, it is our plan to test as many of these products as possible to determine, as the member again shows his concern about, those which may be subjected to pesticides or herbicides that we would not permit in this country.
Mr. Grossman: I have read the minister's statement today and listened to his answer. Is the minister informing the House today that he is currently doing no testing of imported fruits, even though he is aware that some countries use chemicals banned in Ontario and that he is only now, as a result of the issue raised in this House, beginning to think about doing tests on those imported fruits?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I do not think the member can say it is as a result of an issue being raised in the House. If the member had been at the conference -- and I recognize there are duties in the House for him -- it would have been interesting for him to see the number of people on an international basis who were exceedingly impressed by Dr. Davies, who was essentially breaking new ground for many of them. They indicated that on an international basis, there would have to be testing of foods by those countries where they originated and by other countries, with co-operation through some United Nations agency, the World Health Organization or other avenues. It is our view that with the Department of National Health and Welfare being responsible for the health and welfare of the people of this country --
Mr. Grossman: That is buck-passing.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: No, it is not. They are the member's friends in Ottawa, and I know he would want to see them do that.
Mr. Grossman: Is the ministry doing any testing? What is it doing about it?
Mr. Speaker: Order. I did not call for a supplementary.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Mr. Gillies: My question is for the Minister of Labour and arises out of the very serious charges made against officials in his ministry in the Toronto Star today.
In view of charges that officials of his ministry are intentionally thwarting prosecutions against employers, pressuring inspectors to rescind health and safety orders, ordering inspectors to stop regular inspections of some work places and sending in a second team of inspectors in an attempt to undermine the original inspector's orders, what does the minister say?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I want to acknowledge at the outset that I am pleased to see that party's new-found concern for the occupational health and safety of workers in the province.
I have had a chance to review in a preliminary way the report that was prepared by the occupational health and safety officers subcommittee of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union divisional negotiating committee. The report contains a number of matters that give me very serious concern as well as some very serious allegations.
We are reviewing the report right now. I have had some discussions with a number of my colleagues. I intend to have further discussions with them as I look at options for responding, which I will be outlining in the next short while.
Mr. Gillies: It is all very well for the minister to refer to new-found concern on this side of the House. There were more prosecutions issued under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 1985 than there have been in 1986. The workers of this province were better protected under the previous administration than they are under this one.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will you ask the minister the question?
Mr. Gillies: It is now some three months since representatives of the inspectors within the ministry said they were inadequately trained and not able to meet the tasks put before them. I remind the minister again that while his request for prosecution of --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the member place his question?
Mr. Gillies: What is the minister doing to equip his inspectors to take on the manifold tasks he asked them to do but it is clear they are not able to do?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: First, unlike the previous government, this government is committing substantial additional resources. The Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) has granted an 18 per cent increase in the budget of the Ministry of Labour, a budget those people flat-lined year in and year out. Part of that budget is going to be dedicated to increased and comprehensive training, particularly in the occupational health field.
One final thing: That honourable member likes to suggest prosecutions are down. In April 1985, the last month the Conservatives were in power before the election, the number of prosecution requests from the industrial health and safety branch was three. In April 1986, with this government in office, the number of requests was 39.
Mr. Gillies: The requests from the opposition for information from this government are up; but that does not mean we get any more. The requests for prosecution are up; the prosecutions are down.
We recently brought to the minister's attention the case of the Ministry of Health where, faced with a prosecution order, the Ministry of Labour reordered after six weeks and permitted a second inspection to allow the situation in those ambulances to drag on for a total of eight months. If the minister cannot solve something as simple as defective ambulance equipment, how can we expect him adequately to protect the workers of this province against hazardous substances?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: It is interesting, but the honourable member has his facts wrong. There was no second inspection. There was an opportunity for the Ministry of Health to see methods by which the compliance could be achieved. That has not yet been achieved, but the ambulance in question, as my friend might know --
Mr. Martel: Baloney.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: -- as I am sure my friend the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) does, that ambulance has been taken out of service.
The member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) has not yet learned that one of the reasons his figures are wrong and my figures are right is that not all matters that have gone in for prosecution during April have yet come out; not all prosecutions are under way. However, I can tell my honourable friend that in the year ended April 30, 1986, prosecution requests to legal from the industrial health and safety branch were more than double, 195 as opposed to 79. In the period since our new orders policy and our new prosecution policy went into effect, the number of requests is more than triple what the members opposite were doing.
Mr. Speaker: Order. New question.
Mr. Rae: I have a question for the Minister of Health. I am sure the minister will be aware that the Ontario Medical Association consultancy fee, in terms of extra billings, is roughly $6,000 an hour. That is what it is costing the people of this province: We have now had all the meetings in November, all the consultations in January and all the so-called negotiations starting in March. At the end of every meeting, either one party or the other says some progress is being made, but when you finally cut the mustard, we find nothing has changed.
When is the government going to move off the dime, move off the mark and bring in the legislation to finally end extra billing in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Elston: The honourable gentleman knows legislation was introduced in December. We did move off the mark, and the mark has been developed over the course of several weeks of debate in this legislative forum. It has gone out to committee; it is in committee now.
I can tell members that we have had several meetings and that the people in the province expect us to deal in a very sensitive and rational way with respect to negotiations and to try our very best, which we have and as we are doing, to come to an agreeable settlement. I did not see the progress that I had hoped to see last night, as has been widely reported, and I can tell the honourable gentleman that I will be speaking with the Premier (Mr. Peterson) on his return tomorrow.
Mr. Rae: Great. The minister is going to have a chat with the Premier tomorrow. That is his definition of action. I do not think that is going to impress the public. The public wants to know whether the minister is going to bring forward the legislation he has left in limbo. Yes or no? Is it the government's plan to bring forward the legislation from committee that will finally, once and for all, end the charging of extra fees costing $100 a minute, $6,000 an hour, $1 million a week to patients in this province?
The delay is costing patients every minute we speak. Why not bring in the legislation? Let us get on with it and end extra billing in the province.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Elston: We are and have been moving to deal with this issue in a very sensitive way. Some people would like us not to enter discussions with the profession in this province. That is something I have rejected. I have made every effort and attempt to enter into those discussions. Very worthwhile opportunities were explored. We have not been able to make substantial progress at this stage. That is not unnatural in situations like this.
What that gentleman would like me to say is that this government has a position which would not entail making that very substantial effort to come to an agreement. We have made that agreement, and we have tried the best we can. I have a report to make to my Premier, as I have indicated to people who have asked that question. I will do that, and following that meeting, perhaps there will be more to say.
Mr. Rae: That will cost $144,000 to patients in the province who are going to be extra billed as a result of that delay. On May 15, the minister said in the House in answer to a question from my colleague the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan), "We will reimburse those people," referring to patients, "for any payments made for medical services that are insured services in this province." Can we take it from that comment that at the very least it is his intention to reimburse the $6,000 an hour or $100 a minute that is being lost every moment the minister delays bringing in this legislation to patients who are paying through the nose because of his inability to make up his mind what to do?
Hon. Mr. Elston: The honourable gentleman speaks of my delay. It is not my delay. There are certain people who have needs for legislation to be processed through the standing committee on social development. I recognize that; he recognizes that. He has set certain deadlines and he wants to work towards those deadlines. That is fine. He can explore those. Each of us has a legislative timetable, and we are working on those to deal with what is very important business in this House. We have a lot of very important and constructive business to do, and we will bring that legislation forward when we have the opportunity, obviously.
The question he asks, though, is about reimbursing people. Our position has always been that no patient in this province should have to pay extra for insured benefits. That is what that statement was designed to indicate to that member and to the people. The problem is that we are working with a situation of the old order that extra billing be allowed. We are working on ways of eliminating that. The legislation is there. We have worked as best we could with dispatch, understanding and reason in our attempts to come to a negotiated settlement.
Mr. Rae: I think the minister said no. I am not sure, but I think that is what he said.
Mr. Rae: I want to ask a question of the Minister of Labour. The minister said in his statement today, apparently justifying the layoffs on behalf of the company at Kidd Creek, "Efforts are being made by resource companies to become more competitive through cost reductions." That was his justification for the layoffs.
When he rose to make the statement, was he aware that Kidd Creek made a profit of $5.5 million in the first quarter of 1986? That is a dramatic improvement over 1985, when it made $13.4 million, and over 1984, when it made $16.8 million. Was he aware of those facts? How could he make that statement if he had any understanding of the profitability of Kidd Creek?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: The comment in terms of the profitability of companies and the competitive position of resource companies was not aimed specifically at the Kidd Creek situation.
I do not intend to stand in this House and attempt to justify the decision announced by Mr. James yesterday. We on this side of the House intend to have discussions with Mr. James and with the workers to see whether these changes can be alleviated. Those discussions will take place with me and my colleague the Minister of Northern Development and Mines (Mr. Fontaine).
We do not accept that these layoffs necessarily have to and ought to take place, and we have already been in contact with Mr. James. He is out of the country until next week, but we intend to see him immediately upon his return. There are a number of options that we believe may still be open to us, and we intend to explore those options with Mr. James in as comprehensive a way as we can.
Mr. Rae: I am sure the minister is going into his discussions with Bill James legally nude. He has no power, no capacity. Bill James is going to laugh in his face because the minister has no power to tell him any different.
Is the minister aware that after Falconbridge bought Kidd Creek for roughly $615 million, it increased its debt costs by much more than $30 million and that the workers are being laid off and fired to pay the bank debt that Bill James and his swashbuckling friends at Falconbridge have incurred because of their decision to swallow Kidd Creek? Is he aware that is what has happened in this situation?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I am not aware of all the details of the purchase of Kidd Creek, but I say again to my friend the leader of the third party, it is not the intention of this minister to stand in the House and justify the layoffs. My statement today was simply a statement to the House, indicating the course of events as they transpired in the past 24 hours, to bring the House up to speed in terms of the level of the layoffs and to indicate in a general sense the government's interim response. That response is to write to the chief executive officers in northern Ontario to indicate to them that we wish to have, in a voluntary way for now, some earlier indication of potential problems. I say to the leader of the third party that we are continuing to look at more permanent solutions.
Mr. Rae: The minister has two gears and two speeds, neutral and reverse. Those are the speeds he demonstrates in the House every day.
Why does the minister not have the power in terms of justifying a decision? Why does he not have the power to force a delay in the making of layoff announcements? Why did the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. O'Neil) not know the answers to our questions yesterday when we asked him specifically about Kidd Creek? Why does the minister not have the answers to any of those questions?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I can only say that the government is looking at changes it might undertake, changes that have been discussed. I acknowledge to the leader of the third party --
Mr. Rae: Bob Elgie was looking at them six years ago.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: We are actively looking at changes we might make that would give us additional notice time or would move to a form of justification of one kind or another. My friend suggests this government is no different from the previous government. I reject that. The difference between this government and the previous government is that when that party was in power, it never looked at the options open to government. This government does, and it is doing so on an active basis.
CONTAMINANTS IN FOOD
Mr. Grossman: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. Some months ago, when the minister first discovered there was some dioxin in the drinking water --
Mr. Foulds: Are there no back-benchers in that party to ask questions?
Mr. Grossman: There are more backbenchers in this party than in my friend's party; I can tell him that.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Once again, I will just wait until there is order.
Mr. Grossman: Some months ago, when the Minister of the Environment first learned of dioxin in drinking water, he asked for an immediate meeting with the two opposition party leaders. He gathered a lot of staff for a secret meeting in the cabinet room to share that concern with us. He then called a massive news conference, together with some of the experts in the ministry, to tell the world about the problem, to deal with and explain the extent of the problem.
Now we learn that the minister, together with the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell), became aware some weeks ago of the possibility that there was dioxin in our food. Why did the minister participate in that coverup? Why did he not call an immediate press conference, as he did in regard to water, explain the extent of the problem, have all the scientists and follow his government's policy of no walls, no barriers and no secrets?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I am certain the member is fully aware that the information he is referring to is not information of the Ministry of the Environment. The member will recall that when we talked about dioxin in the water, we had found dioxin in the raw water supply before. He should not pretend it has not been there for years. I indicated that in measuring in parts per quadrillion we had found for the first time ever, in our detectable limits, dioxin in drinking water.
The Ministry of the Environment did the testing, and we provided the information. The report to which the member is referring is not a report of the Ministry of the Environment; in fact, it is a report by Dr. Kate Davies for the International Joint Commission.
An hon. member: That is not what the Minister of Agriculture and Food said yesterday.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: It is. It is a report --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Interjections are out of order. They are not supplementaries.
Mr. Grossman: Is it therefore the position of the minister, as he outlined it, that if the Ministry of the Environment, his own ministry, finds some dioxin in water or food, he will immediately tell the people of Ontario, but if information comes to him from a source other than his own ministry, he is not going to tell the people? He is going to sit on it for a number of weeks, do some internal studies and if he is satisfied it is time to tell the public, then he and his friend the Minister of Agriculture and Food will do so. What is the difference between the two cases?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: The Leader of the Opposition knows that he is completely mischaracterizing it. When we received an indication, because of this report, that there were findings of dioxin, on the request of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, we immediately did a test as a peer reference.
Mr. Rae: Yes, they did.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: The leader of the third party recognized that. As soon as we did our tests -- and we got the results yesterday -- members had the results sitting here in the House. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food provided those. The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for providing the information that is available, and we will do so on any occasion.
Mr. Gordon: Only because we asked.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: No, not because members asked. The member knows --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Grossman: Where was the ministerial statement?
Mr. Speaker: Order. Could I remind all members that interjections are out of order?
Mr. Speaker: A recess may be in order. I remind members of section 19(a) in the standing orders. Will you please address your question or response through the chair? Does the minister have any further comment?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I will say to the Leader of the Opposition, as I have, that a number of people at a number of times are doing various studies and have findings. I cannot confirm whether these are accurate. These people are commissioned by the International Joint Commission and there is an undertaking that they release their results. The paper which was presented to the conference is one that belongs to Kate Davies. She will stand by the information. Upon receiving information of this kind, the Ministry of the Environment does confirmation testing and then reveals its results. That has been and will continue to be the policy of this minister.
Mr. Grossman: Where are the results?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I am not responsible for releasing results.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I remind members that it has taken six minutes for a question, a response, a supplementary and a response. It is my job to make certain as many members as possible can ask questions and receive replies.
Mrs. Grier: It is important that the Minister of the Environment make it very clear who was speaking for the government, the Minister of Agriculture and Food yesterday or himself today.
We heard yesterday that the Ministry of the Environment had been asked to test fruit. It has been testing apples since we first heard there might be a dioxin problem. The test results have not revealed the same kinds of results the Toronto study revealed. If that is the case, can the minister tell us why he has not tabled those results, what other testing he has done and what results he has found in any extensive testing?
Mr. McClellan: Right on. Get the story straight.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: With all due respect to the member, the story is straight. The Minister of Agriculture and Food revealed that yesterday. The results I have here today are directed to Dr. Frank, who is a director of the agriculture laboratory services branch, provincial pesticide residue testing laboratory, and it comes from R. E. Clement, Ph.D., senior scientist, dioxin, mass spectrometry research.
Mrs Grier: Is that dated May 20?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: It is dated May 20, 1986.
Mr. Grossman: Yesterday; that is quite a coincidence.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: That is right.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the member take his seat?
Mrs. Grier: Perhaps the minister can explain why there were no results until May 21, 1986. We had the Storm Warning report last November. The Minister of Agriculture and Food told us yesterday it was several weeks ago that he was advised of the findings in the Kate Davies study. What has the Ministry of the Environment been testing, when was it doing the testing and when will the results be tabled in this House for us all to see?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: As I have answered the leader of the official opposition, as soon as the Minister of Agriculture and Food made the request to the Ministry of the Environment, we immediately began the testing of apples that had been requested, because the laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the member would know, does not have the ability to test that. Our laboratory at the Ministry of the Environment does have that ability. Therefore, we did the testing as soon as requested, and the results are as the minister indicated yesterday.
Mr. Grossman: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. First, this is not a question; it is a request. I trust that the minister, in keeping with his policy, will now send us immediately, not after question period, a copy of the test results he has referred to.
Is the minister telling the House that several weeks ago his ministry was put on notice that there might be a problem with dioxin in apples and that, coincidentally, the test was completed yesterday, the very day the issue was raised in this House by the opposition parties?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: As the member is aware, and she alluded to this, first, we had Storm Warning, which was issued and then withdrawn by Environment Canada. Then we had the Royal Society of Canada, in conjunction with its counterpart in the United States, talk about toxic rain. Then we had the Canadian Environmental Law Research Foundation talk about toxic rain. Then the Minister of Agriculture and Food asked to discuss it with Dr. Doug Hallett, who was the senior scientist with Environment Canada until he departed from there some time ago.
When we got that request -- I believe it was three weeks ago -- to do the testing for the dioxin, we did the testing for dioxin in those apples, so we would have that information. As soon as we had the results of our dioxin testing, they were revealed.
Mr. Grossman: They were not revealed. We do not have them.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: They were revealed by the Minister of Agriculture and Food yesterday.
Mr. Grossman: I say to the Minister of the Environment, who still has not revealed that information, that in question period yesterday the Minister of Agriculture and Food was here. If the test was completed before two o'clock, he could have risen and made a statement to this House, as this minister has promised to do on every environmental problem. He did not. He did not release it during question period yesterday when we asked the question, and the Minister of the Environment did not make a statement today releasing that information. We still do not have it. As of 3:10 this afternoon, he has not given it out.
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary?
Mr. Grossman: If, when he was alerted several weeks ago that there might be a problem with apples and other foods in Ontario, and if, as he acknowledged earlier in question period today --
Mr. Speaker: Question?
Mr. Grossman: -- he knew that other countries were using dangerous chemicals --
Mr. Speaker: Order. I asked twice for a supplementary question. I did not hear a question. Therefore, I am going to ask for a new question.
Mrs. Grier: I asked the Minister of Agriculture and Food yesterday whether he would table the document. It appears to be the same one the Minister of the Environment had. I hope it will be tabled today.
Mr. Speaker: Question?
Mrs. Grier: My question is a more general one. Despite the very specific reports we have had today, his statement is very general in talking about the report he had released earlier on dioxins. Does the fact that he has released and boasted about this report on dioxin ingestion standards indicate that he is contemplating setting standards for this province that would apply to the ingestion of dioxin by way of water or food?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: As the member will know from that document, which was released several months ago, our ministry had been working with several other bodies to develop standards, because we are always requested to do so, for dioxins and dibenzofurans. As a result of our discussions with the World Health Organization, after some peer review and after some consultation with the federal people, that document was produced.
The member would agree with me, and she has said so consistently, that we would not want to see any of these substances in food, water or anything we would consume. The fact is, however, that they are present. Sure, they are not present in the largest quantities, but the fact that they are present at all should be a matter of great concern.
Mrs. Grier: Given that all these substances are present and given that extensive testing is revealing the presence of these substances, can the minister tell us why he has taken no action against the 43 per cent of industries surrounding the Great Lakes that are exceeding even his minimal guidelines? When can we see some action to reduce the amounts of these contaminants from all sources within this province?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: Of course, that is exactly the avenue of action that both Dr. Hallett and Dr. Davies have advocated, particularly Dr. Hallett, on many occasions. That is the route we feel should be followed.
That is why, for instance, we have at the present time the changing of regulation 308. As the member would know, regulation 308 deals with emissions coming out of stacks. The practice in the past has been to do this in the context of the point of impingement as opposed to what is actually coming out of the stack and not really to take into account appropriately the total loadings into the atmosphere.
Second, we are in the process of developing a new water regulation that will deal with the effluent going into the water. It is one I would have liked to see in effect 10 or 12 years ago, but it was not. We are now in the process of developing that, and it will contain very extensive monitoring, followed by abatement. Again, it will take into consideration --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Runciman: My question is for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Can he inform the House what action he has taken on behalf of Ontario's consumers to ensure that appropriate, adequate tests are being carried out for dioxin, DDT and other contaminants in baby food?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: As the questions and answers have been going on all afternoon, the actual direct responsibility for food testing is that of the federal government under the Canada Health Act and the Food and Drugs Act. That is not a responsibility of this ministry.
Mr. Runciman: Apparently, this minister is too busy negotiating for shopping malls to register an interest in consumer safety. He did not mind shouting to anybody who would listen about potentially tainted wine. Will he now ensure that his cabinet colleagues take whatever action is necessary to protect Ontario's consumers?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: The problem is one we have addressed to the federal government in a general way, not in a specific way as far as baby food is concerned.
However, to reply to the member, wines are a direct responsibility of ours because we market them. When it comes to these other products, just because we do not do it does not mean we are not concerned about it. It is just that certain responsibilities belong to the federal government -- that happens to be one of them -- and we have certain responsibilities.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Mr. Martel: I have a question to my friend Russ, the Minister of Labour. In November, the minister talked about tough directives for prosecutions for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Today's report in the Toronto Star indicates the minister's inspectors are not getting any support. I quote one sentence, "In our view, there is a resolute reluctance on the part of this ministry to initiate prosecutions that inspectors have requested and an equal reluctance to successfully prosecute when these have been undertaken."
When is the minister going to get serious and clean up that swamp down there and lay charges in a way that is going to protect the workers of the province?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I am sure my honourable friend, who has seen the ministry's prosecution policies, agrees with me that in carrying forward those policies vigorously we will be entirely serious.
I have had an opportunity, as I said to the House earlier, to look at the contents of the report fairly briefly. I can only say to my friend that we are reviewing the report on an intensive basis and I expect to be in a position to advise the House by the beginning of the week at the latest on what actions we will be taking in response to the report. I am sure the member will understand I wish to discuss these matters with the Premier (Mr. Peterson) on his return.
Mr. Martel: Is the minister aware that at Campbell Red Lake this year alone there have been two fatalities? Henry Hens died of suffocation in January and Ingo Budweg died in March. The minister's own policy indicates that within 13 weeks the ministry will decide whether to prosecute.
In accordance with his own policy, can the minister tell me why to this time there has been no decision to prosecute in the first case, which is now in the 18th week since the fatality, or in the second, now in the 12th week? When is the minister going to get serious and realize his own staff is taking him to the cleaners?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I want to share with my honourable friend and with the House a concern I have that I believe is probably true, that is, because of the new policy, we have been loading on to the legal branch of the ministry very large amounts of additional work.
As I pointed out in an earlier response, in the month of April alone, we sent from the industrial health and safety branch to the legal branch 13 times more requests for prosecutions than were sent in April of the previous year. We have had some increase in the number of people working in the legal branch, but we have not yet had the kind of increase that may well prove necessary.
I asked the director of the branch some 10 days ago to indicate to the deputy and me whether there is sufficient manpower to deal with all these matters in the kind of timely way I know the member and I wish them dealt with.
INTEGRATED HOMEMAKER PROGRAM
Ms. Hart: My question is directed to the minister with responsibility for senior citizens. My riding of York East has a very large population of senior citizens, and I have heard from them that their primary concern is being unable to stay in their own communities and in their own homes for the longest period possible.
What has this government done to date to enable those seniors in York East to stay in their communities and to stay in their own homes?
Hon. Mr. Van Horne: I want to observe that it is very pleasant to see our new colleague the member for York East showing such sincere interest in her constituents.
Prior to the member's joining us, in January of this year, I had the pleasure of announcing some new initiatives of this government. They came as a result of the review I had made of seniors' services in the province. Basically, we announced in January that we would be spending $11 million on home support services. Beyond that, my colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney) announced a further program involving $60 million for the long-awaited integrated homemaker program.
Mr. Speaker: Order. It is your time you are wasting. I will wait.
Ms. Hart: I understand the integrated homemaker program is in the pilot project stage at present. When will the evaluation of that pilot project take place so that other communities, including my community of York East, will be able to take part in it?
Hon. Mr. Van Horne: That is a very good question because there are implications for not only the citizens of York East, but also for the citizens of other communities in Ontario. It is our intention that the evaluation be immediate and that additional centres be brought on stream in this coming year, as was indicated in the budget of the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon), and in the forthcoming five or six years so that, ultimately, all communities in the province will benefit from the program. The evaluation will begin immediately.
CONTAMINANTS IN FOOD
Mr. Grossman: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. Yesterday his colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell) said, "Our tests have definitely indicated that the amounts of contaminants found in food, not only of dioxin but also of PCBs and other contaminants, are well below the standards set by the Department of National Health and Welfare and well below the standards set by the world testing organizations." The minister said, "Our tests have definitely indicated."
I now have a copy of a report which we finally got from the minister a moment ago. The covering letter says, "Because samples such as apples have not been previously analysed by our laboratory, the precision and quantitative accuracy of the data are not known."
How does the minister reconcile this report from his own laboratory with his remarks earlier today and with the remarks of the Minister of Agriculture and Food yesterday?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I will just re-read this section that the member has made reference to. As members may or may not be aware -- and the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt), who is the former Minister of the Environment, might inform members of this -- until about two years ago or about 1984, there were no protocols for the testing of dioxin in water, but those have been developed.
As the member for Sarnia will be aware, the protocols have not been easily developed for the testing of dioxin in food. This testing, too, is relatively new. That is the procedure it has to go through, which is why one cannot be as precise as one wants to be in this regard if one is a scientist. The development of the protocols -- for instance, how an apple is crushed or what part of the apple one tests for dioxin -- is very recent in regard to the testing of dioxin in food.
Mr. Grossman: The Minister of Agriculture and Food tried yesterday to reassure everyone that there was no problem with regard to apples, based upon the work of the Ministry of the Environment. The ministry has now done a study where, by its own admission, the precision and quantitative accuracy of the data are not known.
How can the minister take the position that he found out about the problem three weeks ago, that he has not tested any other products, that he is not yet able to reassure the public with regard to the products tested and that his lab can only by today report to the public that it cannot say very much because the accuracy is not known? How can the minister defend his position, given the seriousness of this problem?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: That could be said of the precision of any of the testing that has been done, whether it has been done by the Ministry of the Environment or by other labs that have done testing in these cases. For instance, one specific lab might do one test and find one result, and the same lab might do another test and find a result significantly different from the previous test.
This is why Dr. Davies said that two things are most required at present. The first is further extensive testing to confirm or not confirm the results of any testing done so far, and the second is a determination to eliminate and reduce the sources as they exist in this province, this country or the world.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I remind the members that the last question and response and the supplementary and response took close to six minutes.
Mr. Harris: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I think this should be done during question period. We are at an important stage in question period. I have a point of order and I wish to express our concern to you. We are dealing with one of the gravest situations. It is a technical matter. You have chosen this time to cut questions short, to cut off technical data
Mr. Speaker: Order. I will explain why following question period, rather than taking the time now.
Mr. Grande: My question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Culture and relates to cultural industries and free trade. I would like to ask the minister whether she is aware that Richard Parker, a top adviser to United States Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter, labelled Canadians an emotional lot because we want to defend our country. He further stated that the US will never agree to a free trade pact unless Canada agrees to withdraw laws protecting broadcasting, book publishing and other cultural industries. The response of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) was very weak. Does the Minister of Citizenship and Culture not agree with me that the weak response of the Premier clearly indicates a softening of the position he took in November 1985 when he said --
Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister.
Hon. Ms. Munro: From observing what the Premier has given as his commitment to cultural industries, my indication is that we will never allow those products and industries to be put on the bargaining table. In connection with any of our talks with Marcel Masse, the federal Minister of Communications, and other ministers, we have made it quite clear that those products and that expression of our cultural identity are not up for grabs. My impression is that Mr. Reisman is waffling, and this province is digging in its heels in not allowing cultural industries anywhere on the bargaining table. If the member would like to expand his question, I can respond.
Mr. Grande: It is clear from what the government of Ontario has been saying that the federal government has dismissed the provincial government's attempt and considers it to be a total failure. Since that attempt to keep cultural industries off the negotiating table has failed, what other steps will the government take to protect the cultural interests of our province and our people?
Hon. Ms. Munro: I do not believe the Premier is going to back up at all on his stand on the protection of the cultural industries. What this minister has done in that regard is to lobby effectively across the provinces to make sure we have an effective block against the lobbying and protectionist stand in the United States.
I do not and cannot believe that this province and this country will allow anything as sacrosanct as our cultural expression to be up for grabs. What I perceive from Mr. Reisman are observable signs of waffling, and I know this government and this ministry will pick him up on that.
Mr. Mancini: All this week my constituency office has received calls on a regular basis in regard to statements made by a member of the opposition. Therefore, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Housing. Can the minister inform the House very clearly and emphatically about the process that must be carried out to pass the rent review legislation we so desperately need in this province to protect tenants?
Hon. Mr. Curling: I think the member is referring to Bill 78. As he knows, Bill 78 has already gone through first reading, and second reading is coming up. The Rent Review Advisory Committee has presented a report to me that is very extensive. We have read it extensively, and amendments will be made to Bill 78. At the moment it is going through the process, and I expect it will be in the House by perhaps the first or second part of June. I hope so.
Mr. Mancini: I am very glad to hear that the member of the opposition who made those public comments is incorrect.
I would further ask the minister, in regard to retroactivity of this important bill, whether we are going to have the four per cent retroactive, or whether that is one of the things the minister is still considering. What advice has he received from his landlord and tenant group on this matter?
Hon. Mr. Curling: When we announced the four per cent when Bill 77 was approved, it was retroactive. We have also stated that when Bill 78 comes out, it will be retroactive. It is not a matter for consideration. That is the position this government has taken.
CONTAMINANTS IN FOOD
Mr. Grossman: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. The study he sent over to us says, "It is not known whether the Zenon data" -- those are the data from the other study -- "are comparable to the data in table 2, since the Zenon results are for a fruit basket composite, while the data in table 2 are for apples only." Given that and the statement in the end of the summary, which says, "The available database is too small to make any general conclusions regarding average levels of" dioxin "found in food," is the minister prepared today to support the assurances of the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell) given in this House yesterday?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: The information we have provided to the House through this document -- and I am sorry; I thought it had been provided yesterday in the House -- and the information we have from our lab results would confirm by and large what the Minister of Agriculture and Food has had to say.
What is important, and I think the member identifies this, is that we are looking at one particular product. The member would understand that there would be a need for a wider number of tests. We were asked by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to test the apple because it had been identified, I believe, as the one that was shown in the Davies report to have the highest reading of dioxin.
I think the member would agree with me -- he has stated this in the House -- that the testing of a wide range of products would provide a better base of information for all of us, and that is what Dr. Davies has had to say.
NUMBER OF QUESTIONS
Mr. Speaker: I would inform the members because of the previous point of order that I have tried my best to make certain that as many members of this House as possible have the opportunity to ask questions and receive responses.
In the past we have been able to get up to about 45 questions and supplementaries, which means 90 members have actually been able to get on their feet within the hour. However, today we had only 33 questions and supplementaries. Therefore, I felt that some of the questions were long and some of the responses were long. I hope you will allow me to try to get as many members as possible to participate.
Mr. Shymko: This petition is addressed as follows:
"To the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"Whereas it is our constitutional right to have available and to choose the health care system of our preference;
"And whereas naturopathy has had selfgoverning status in Ontario for more than 42 years;
"We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government to introduce legislation that would guarantee naturopaths the right to practise their art and science to the fullest without prejudice or harassment."
Ms. E. J. Smith: This petition is sponsored by the Ontario Motor League. It contains roughly 300 signatures and states:
"To the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario:
"We request the government of Ontario to reduce gasoline tax by 1.1 cents a litre from 8.3 cents a litre to 7.2 cents a litre immediately and to phase in further reductions over three years to 5.4 cents a litre by 1989."
REPORT BY COMMITTEE
STANDING COMMITTEE ON REGULATIONS AND PRIVATE BILLS
Mr. Callahan from the standing committee on regulations and private bills presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill, as amended:
Bill Pr12, An Act respecting Ottawa Little Theatre Inc.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
BUDGET DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) had finished his part of the debate. I do not know whether any other members had responses. I see that the member for Oshawa is not available at the moment.
Mr. Harris: I will stand down my response, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Offer: I am pleased to join in this debate on the budget of May 13 last. At the outset, may I take a moment to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on the evenhanded manner in which you oversee the workings of this chamber. You have, like your predecessors, made certain that proceedings within this House are carried out in a most propitious manner.
This budget provides a specific direction that this province should and must take: how this government can best meet the needs and concerns of the people of this province not only today or tomorrow but into the 21st century.
We must recognize that we in this province are at a fiscal crossroads where we have a clear choice of the direction in which we can move. We have the choice of retaining the status quo, of not listening to the sounds of change about us, of not responding to the increasing calls of many sectors to adapt to that which is happening; or we can move forward on many different fronts to respond to those demands being made today and, maybe most important, be in a position to respond to the demands which we know, or should know, will be made tomorrow. The choice is ours.
This budget clearly indicates that this government is ready to respond to the demands so often ignored in the past. This budget provides for the continuation of change, of new direction, of new purpose which the people of this province asked for in May 1985.
I feel very fortunate and honoured that the people of my riding of Mississauga North gave me the opportunity to have a voice as their representative in the shape this province is to take. The riding which I have been instructed to represent is, to my mind, a riding of diverse interests, of many needs and concerns.
The riding of Mississauga North clearly expects and demands this government to move forward to make certain this province is a leader in this country and is characterized by proaction rather than reaction. This expectation is not unique to the riding of Mississauga North, but indeed to the city of Mississauga. This city is one of the fastest-growing cities in North America. It is a dynamic place to live and work. It is a city that cares about its citizens. It is a city that is responding to the demands of the people who live and work within its boundaries.
Like the workings within the city of Mississauga, this budget clearly looks not only to tomorrow but also to the next decade and beyond. It recognizes that we must meet the needs and concerns of the day and yet at the same time not unnecessarily burden the future. It recognizes that this province is part of a world economy, an economy in which there is great competition, demand and responsibility. We must not only continue that which we now have and build upon it, but we must also reach out for the new, more competitive, more technologically demanding forms of enterprise. If we do not, if we lack the political will and courage, then we shall fall back. We will not even be able to maintain that which we now have.
The budget of May 13 clearly indicates that this government will be moving forward and adapting to the demands of the future. For instance, I see a special place for our small business sector in this budget. For too long, this sector has in the main been ignored. For too long, the small business person has shouldered the greatest of tax burdens on the one hand and yet on the other has been responsible for most of the new jobs in this province.
At long last, the small business persons and the role they play in this province are recognized in a concrete way and not just given some lipservice. The small business sector provides a source of opportunity for women, our youth and minorities. The small business entrepreneur is unafraid to take a risk. These persons provide the inner strength of our business community.
I am honoured to be part of a committee made up of parliamentary assistants whose mandate is directed towards meeting the needs of the small business entrepreneur. This first-time committee is not just a legislative and regulatory review mechanism, though that is one function. This committee is there to propose and recommend programs designed to enhance the small business sector. Most important, it is to be an access point to small business interests; it is there to listen and to act. Not only to recognize but also to enhance this sector of our province is to strengthen our province immeasurably.
The new ventures program outlined in the budget will assist the small business person in that it will provide loan guarantees of up to $15,000 to newly established businesses, along with advice and counsel to new entrepreneurs. This program will develop self-discipline among participating business owners through a strong emphasis on business planning. Measurable improvements in the survival and growth of new firms will result from the linkage of better access to capital and management upgrading. This one program alone will result in job creation and great growth of new companies.
This program is unlike others in the past. First, it applies solely to the small business entrepreneur. Second, it applies to operating capital as opposed to hard assets. Third, it keeps the small business entrepreneur free and independent. It enables him or her to start a business without the government delay of the past, but with government help only. It is a program that maximizes the strength of the small business sector and minimizes the often negative effect of government involvement.
The budget clearly maintains this government's response to the environmental concerns facing Ontario. This budget provides for continued support for the security fund for waste cleanup and new funding to ensure quick and efficient response when toxic spills occur anywhere in the province. This government has clearly demonstrated its resolve in the protection of our water, air and land. Much more can and will be done.
It was only a few weeks ago that I attended the annual meeting of the Mississauga Citizens Environmental Protection Association. The president, Linda McKee, spoke at some length of the problems facing our environment and how local associations such as MCEPA can make a difference. This association is not one that started yesterday; rather, it has been in existence for some time. It has taken on hard, controversial issues and has seen them through. For instance, it provided effective and persuasive arguments against the placement of a toxic waste site in Mississauga.
As Ms. McKee spoke, she alluded to the actions of the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Bradley). She spoke highly of his efforts and the direction he has given. That is so important. This province finally has a Minister of the Environment giving directions and unafraid to take action. I believe this Minister of the Environment will in many ways be looked upon as the first true such minister. He will be the minister everyone else will be compared to. In the future, all persons will be measured against this Minister of the Environment and his achievements.
The time is long overdue for government to have regard not only to maintaining but also to improving the quality of life of our senior citizens. There is no question that the demographics of our society are changing. A greater percentage of people in this province are getting older. It is necessary for government to respond to this fact. It is well that this government is so responding. As a first step, a cabinet minister has been made responsible for the specific and growing concerns of our senior citizens.
It is not sufficient that senior citizens' homes be the only way to meet the concerns of our seniors. The seniors of this province have been responsible in large part for making our communities what they are. It was through their efforts that the communities were shaped to meet the needs of the people who now live within them.
Through the efforts of this government, if seniors have made communities responsive to the needs of those who live in them, the communities now should be responsive to the needs of their senior citizens. In a short while, a white paper will be released dealing with health and social services for seniors. It will recognize what must be done. Greater emphasis must be put on programs enabling seniors to remain a viable part of the communities they shape and on programs enabling seniors to live independently and to continue to contribute to their communities.
This budget focuses on helping people lead more independent lives; it allocates funds for the improvement of community support services. This government understands that it cannot afford to ignore the lifelong efforts of people such as Velma Kennedy, 70 years of age and the Mississauga Citizen of the Year. This government understands that it strengthens this province to offer the Velma Kennedys of this province the opportunity to continue to contribute to and remain part of their communities.
This budget clearly is responding to the needs of our health care system in a responsible and forthright manner. As indicated in the budget, $850 million will be allocated for a major, multi-year hospital capital expansion. This program provides for acute and chronic care beds, with the realization that planning takes years. The budget reflects the government's position that health care planners need to know not only what the position of the government is today but also what it will be in years to come. This budget breaks new ground in governmental fiscal responsibility. It provides a clear indication to all that this government's commitment to our health care system goes beyond this year in question and extends to the future.
As we move ahead, not only in small business, the concerns of our senior citizens and health care facilities but also in technological training, employee-employer relationships, education and child care, this budget and this government reflect the realities of the day. Lottery revenues no longer shall be limited only to community recreation and cultural activities. As many people have suggested, they shall now be allocated for other concerns and programs, such as cancer treatment, community hospitals and university research. The realities of lottery funds are finally meeting the realities of the needs of the province. The message is out: This government is listening and responding.
Perhaps most important, the budget realizes that certain budgetary allocations must not be foisted, as in the past, on the shoulders of our citizens of the future. The budget understands this and for the first time embarks on a road to financial responsibility. There is an understanding that, on the one hand, certain programs have finite parameters of affordability; it is understandable and acceptable by all that we can pay out only that which we take in. Yet on the other hand, the budget clearly sets out that there are expenditures of long-lasting benefit, which transcend the current fiscal year. For instance, moneys spent on hospitals, schools, housing and the like are clearly expenditures which will benefit not only the citizens of today but also future generations.
It is understood and accepted that financing expenditures of this kind is not only permissible but also responsible. The business sector has long called out for this distinction. It has long stated that there is a difference between financing a plant and financing the wages of persons working within the plant. It has indicated clearly that plant financing can and should be done over many years -- that benefits many for many years to come -- but when employee wage financing goes beyond the fiscal year's planning, the degree of financial stability of that company decreases. This government clearly understands and recognizes that. This recognition by the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) and by the budget acknowledges the reality of what the province is and what it can become.
It might be said that where budgets of the previous governments have had as much common sense as rain in the Sahara, this budget and Treasurer have refreshingly rained down on the people of this province with responsibility, understanding and sensitivity.
The Deputy Speaker: Are there questions and comments?
Mr. Gregory: I do not know whether my points are questions or comments. I am truly amazed at the words of my colleague the member for Mississauga North. He expresses great admiration for the budget and all that is new in it. While talking about all the new things it does, he recites a litany of things that were happening before. I am not sure the member is totally familiar with what went on in government before. Obviously he did not like it, whatever it was, even though he does not know anything about it.
He talks about the great new benefits for small business. From what I can determine from the budget, the new government is going to sit around and talk about small business. That is its way of helping it. There is not much mentioned other than that. The member does not seem to be aware of the concrete things done by the former government in the way of actual tax holidays to assist small business. The previous government gave financial help over a period of many years, but the member does not agree with that. I wish he would stand up on his feet and tell small business in Mississauga he does not agree with it. It was a good program. I will remember that, and I will make it a point to get him on television some time doing just that.
The member for Mississauga North seems to have forgotten the great new innovation that he talks about for help for small business. The large part of it and the only monetary part of it was the small business development corporations program, which he did not add any new money to. All he did was expand the terms of reference of the SBDC program and add nothing to it at all. He did not add to the budget. He did not even increase the amount of money we had allocated for the different segments of the province.
The Deputy Speaker: Thank you. Your time has expired.
Mr. Gregory: Just as well, sir.
Mr. Mancini: I wish to compliment my colleague the member for Mississauga North for the fine speech he made in regard to the budget. I also want to inform my colleague the member for Mississauga East (Mr. Gregory) that his current leader, the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman), campaigned and made statements prior to the first leadership convention in regard to the tax holiday mentioned by my colleague the member for Mississauga North.
The current Conservative leader stated emphatically that he was opposed to this particular tax holiday, although it was supported by the then Premier, the member for Muskoka (Mr. F. S. Miller). The current Leader of the Opposition stated very clearly that he opposed the tax holiday that had been instituted by the previous Conservative government. This government has carried on the tax holiday for new businesses that are being created.
The Deputy Speaker: If there are no other questions or comments, is there a reply from the member for Mississauga North?
Mr. Offer: Yes. It is a pleasure to have an opportunity to reply under the new rules. I take note of the comments made by the member for Mississauga East. It is a shame the great Credit River of Mississauga does not run through his riding. He seems to be typical of some of the salmon that continually run upstream at this time of year. He is continuing to go the wrong way down a one-way street.
The member for Mississauga East has indicated he has seen no visible, tangible benefit in this budget for the small business sector. Unfortunately, the member has not read page 7 of the budget, which indicates the new ventures program will provide, for the first time, tangible, hard help for the small business entrepreneurs of this province. When the member was on the government side, that was something he could not think of. He could not envisage that this help would be forthcoming. This government has responded in the most tangible way and has been applauded by many organizations throughout this province with respect to that program.
There has been some comment from members opposite saying this budget is a soap opera version of the Liberal Search for Tomorrow. I assure the member it is more like The Young and the Restless having Days of Our Lives and the Premier (Mr. Peterson) being our Guiding Light.
Mrs. Marland: It is a privilege and an honour for me to represent the people who live in Mississauga South. As their member of the Legislative Assembly, I am pleased to have this opportunity to comment on the direction and content of the Liberal government's budget, its second in one year.
Naturally, as an elected member of this Legislature, I was listening carefully when the Treasurer announced his budgetary initiatives on May 13, paying particular attention to those special measures which will impact on my constituents. I also made note of the omission in specific government initiatives which the people of Mississauga South had hoped would be forthcoming.
As the people of Ontario know full well, this Liberal-New Democratic Party coalition government inherited the stewardship of a province that has only known prosperity, largely as a result of the sound management and direction provided by the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.
There is a very real reason why Ontario is the premier province of Canada. It is in defence of this prosperity and quality of life we enjoy that I now stand in this forum to question the direction of the Treasurer's budgetary initiative, which could detract from the prosperity we have always known.
As I turn first to the economic implications of this budget, I must admit in all candour that I was most pleased to hear the Treasurer single out the small business community as the most vital sector of this province's wealth-generating base. These comments indicate the Treasurer has taken note of the policy initiatives which my party had espoused and applied and which are the reasons for this province's standing today as a world-class industrial region.
Despite the Treasurer's good intentions, he has chosen to disregard the advice of the small business community and its concerns over this province's escalating deficit in favour of his nickel-and-dime spending spree. It is regrettable that the Treasurer is not in the House at the moment to hear these comments, which I had hoped might help him in preparing his next budget for this province.
What makes this irresponsible course of action less palatable is the fact that the Treasurer inherited a very opportune situation in which he could have addressed the deficit while causing no undue hardship on any sector in society. In times of explosive economic growth, sound economic and fiscal management calls for a course of action where moderating policy should be employed by government to try to stabilize and prolong the peaks rather than trying to cash in on them in the short term.
It is also the government's duty to try to take the personal hardships out of economic troughs by having the foresight to prepare for such turndowns and ease the effects of a recession. Instead, we have a government that has increased provincial spending at a pace unknown to any other provincial government in the post-recession era. Such action may seem acceptable in the short term, but this legacy of free spending will inevitably come home to roost, a lesson the Treasurer's colleagues at the federal level learned a short time ago.
Were this not enough, this government's actions are actually regressions and can be likened to a double-edged sword in the light of the present cost of having to deal with the deficit. This is to say the largest single expenditure in this budget that can be quantified at present, given the Treasurer's tendency to obscure expenditures in multi-year plans, is the new money that will be required to finance the provincial deficit.
This budget increases payment on the existing public debt by more than $300 million, the largest single identified expenditure in the entire document: Even so, the Treasurer saw no need to address the deficit other than with a meek gesture. Instead, he chose to increase expenditures by 7.4 per cent at a time when inflation is running at only 3.8 per cent.
I would also like to point out in this regard that of the three leaders in the Legislature, the only one to call for a more prudent approach to the deficit sits on this side of the Legislature. It is no coincidence that the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick was the last Treasurer who actually decreased the deficit while not increasing taxes, all of which was achieved in an economic climate far less favourable than that of today.
Despite the prosperity which has been inherited by the Liberal government of Ontario, all the Treasurer has managed to achieve is to increase the deficit by some 30 per cent during his first year in office while at the same time causing this province to lose its triple-A credit rating.
Coming back to the specific concerns of my constituents in the riding of Mississauga South, I would like to turn to some real and tangible examples of the impact of this nonspecific, multi-year, four-year, new-initiative budget that recognizes some of the needs of our economy and society but does not do enough in any one area.
In fact, when I have asked many of my constituents about their thoughts on this budget, I have heard the frequent reply, "This is the first budget that does not affect me." I find it incredible to believe that any government can increase expenditures by more than seven per cent without affecting anyone. Perhaps that is what the government should be complimented on.
This is why I believe it to be important to enumerate today those areas that should have received some spending priority, those specific areas that would have a definite positive impact on my constituents if maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in our community is, as is claimed, a priority of this budgetary initiative and of this government.
As opposition Culture critic, I have a special interest in seeing that funding is guaranteed through the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture for the many projects that are outstanding or in progress across this province and in the city of Mississauga. When I note the budget of that ministry has been increased by only some $3 million over the spending estimates of the Progressive Conservative government in 1984, delivered during a time of restraint, I may add, I cannot help but conclude that the Minister of Citizenship and Culture (Ms. Munro), the minister responsible for this critical portfolio, carries very little weight in the cabinet.
A $3-million increase in the Citizenship and Culture budget equates to 1.4 per cent. With inflation at 3.8 per cent, that is a depressing figure for the arts community and for the people of this province as a whole.
Despite her government's pronouncements that the cultural integrity and sovereignty of this province is indeed a priority, the budget of her ministry has not even kept up with the rate of inflation relative to 1984 expenditures. With the extent to which lottery capital has been used to support and promote the arts in this province, the government's announcement to open up the spending parameters previously imposed on lottery money must be of serious concern to the entire arts community in this province.
In reminding the House that it was this same ministry that reduced its own budget by some $13 million in the area of lottery capital expenditure in 1985, I want to assure my constituents that I will continue to work hard to ensure that the new Meadowvale Theatre, the Mississauga Centre for the Arts and the Mississauga Art Gallery in the new city hall will not lose when this money is reallocated in the cabinet sweepstakes.
Earlier this year, the Minister of Citizenship and Culture announced that she intended "to see that culture gets the attention it deserves as an economic development priority." I wholly support this direction. I only wish it had been more than just a statement by the minister and could have become a reality.
Contrast this statement with the announcement by the Treasurer of an additional $10 million to provide incentives for fund-raising efforts and to improve the financial strength of Ontario's arts organizations, and members will see that this small amount indicates the Treasurer and the minister do not share the same or similar concerns. This paltry $10 million is also to be spread out over a four-year period with no specific designation. The needs of TVOntario alone cannot be met with a mere $2.5 million for the upcoming year, let alone all the other objectives this money is to fulfil.
Nowhere in this budget is the minister's commitment to recognizing culture as a sunrise industry reflected either. Ontario will not have an arts industry if we do not ensure that an educational infrastructure is in place to provide a comprehensive skills training program in all arts disciplines. This is a matter that has been brought to the minister's attention by those involved in our community college system and by our arts council, and it is something the minister promised to discuss with the Treasurer and with the Minister of Education (Mr. Conway). This was after I had asked her this question earlier this year while reviewing her ministry's estimates of expenditures.
This budget does little to indicate that the Treasurer paid any attention. I might add here, as my colleagues have already stated, that education does not appear to be a concern of this government, as is evidenced by the modest increases in financing, leaving Ontario the lowest per capita spender on post-secondary education in Canada.
Many of the residents in Mississauga South have experienced an increase in their property taxes this year as a result of our city council's decision to go to market value assessment. Therefore, we in our constituency are painfully aware of the increasing costs of public services provided by municipal government and of the increasing constraints placed on the flexibility with which these precious tax dollars can be allocated.
No matter how fantastic a job Mayor Hazel McCallion is able to do, along with the members of the Mississauga council, who are all very responsible elected officers of the corporation of the city of Mississauga, it is impossible for them to try to balance the needs of the municipality with the funding that currently is available from the province without adding an even greater burden to the property tax base.
We also find ourselves in a very special circumstance resulting from the astronomical rate of growth that our city and our region are experiencing. Mississauga now has 370,000 people, and it is the fastest-growing city in Canada. As we grow, our tax dollars are spent prudently, but necessarily, on providing those costly services that must exist to ensure a quality of life in our community that is the envy of all others.
Mississauga is now a major urban centre and shares the same inner-city concerns and problems as those present in venues like Toronto and Montreal. These inner-city concerns result in higher costs in social services and in other areas such as policing. Vital services in older established neighbourhoods and existing public services and buildings must be maintained at an appreciable cost now or at an even higher cost in the future.
The burden of this cost increasingly falls on the municipality and the region because the provincial government is not living up to its cost-sharing responsibilities. The government's own April publication of Energy Ontario carried an article warning of the serious repercussions that will follow if maintenance does not also become a priority. This matter has been repeatedly brought to the Liberal government's attention by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.
Yet, obviously lacking the political will and more concerned with engendering the greatest amount of publicity for every dollar spent, the Treasurer has not seen fit to address municipal transfer payments for conditional grants. Worse, he has asked municipal governments to wait until November to hear what he has in mind. The result of this nondecision will be more significant than the nonimpact of all the Treasurer's other decisions combined.
For example, in the region of Peel, of which the riding of Mississauga South is a part, the five-year budget for reconstruction of roads amounts to some $40 million, $8 million of which will be covered by the federal government and surrounding municipalities. Of the remaining $32 million, only 28 per cent will be covered by the province instead of 50 per cent, which was the practice in the past. This will result in an inevitable delay and higher costs.
In 1981, Ontario provided some $2.1 million in funding to assist the region of Peel with its total road reconstruction and resurfacing budget of $63.5 million. Today, in 1986, the province is still providing only $2.1 million to assist the region with its budget of some $81.1 million. That is a drop of almost 50 per cent in real terms.
To exemplify even better what has happened over the years because of the significant reduction in cost sharing, today there are 62 kilometres of roadway in the region of Peel already designated as deficient. Over the next five years an additional 51 kilometres of roadway will become deficient, based on usage and growth patterns. Given the smaller piece of the pie the local government has to work with, however, we can afford to upgrade only 34 kilometres of roadway within that five-year period. At the end of the five years, 79 kilometres of roadway in the region of Peel will be deficient. One step forward, two steps back.
I remind the taxpayers of my riding that this same Liberal government collected an additional $240 million in gasoline taxes. What better time to make this commitment than when our province is experiencing increased industrial growth and the provincial Treasury is no longer empty.
Some weeks ago I wrote to the Minister of Health (Mr. Elston) in support of an application for funding of Peel Aftercare Resources. This is an organization aimed at preventing rehospitalization and facilitating the reintegration of the psychiatrically ill. This organization is not only performing a special service for our community but also saving the provincial Treasury an estimated $250,000 in hospital costs by providing community-based services.
Organizations such as this, as the minister knows, represent the leading edge in health care initiatives in this province and a system of medical care to which we should be returning. The Minister of Health responded with his assurance that this funding request would be examined within the context of the upcoming budgetary considerations. Again, although there is nothing specific to indicate in the $850 million earmarked for health care in this province that this funding will be forthcoming, I hope it will be reflected in the more detailed estimates of that ministry.
I have shared with the rest of the knowledgeable people of this province the real concern that, after all the Liberal rhetoric about health care, we have ended up with a budget giving $840 million for capital building over the next five to eight years. Even if it is only over five years, that is $170 million per year and we are currently spending $168 million per year. One cannot get very excited at a difference of $2 million, recognizing that does not even keep up with inflation.
None of these revenues seems to be transferred into maintaining or rehabilitating our residential infrastructure. Motorists across this province have been petitioning the Treasurer to reduce the tax on gasoline, in view of the declining cost of oil. Some 200 of my constituents have written to me on this issue. The Treasurer did not seem to hear them either.
In Mississauga South, we have a water quality problem. Some of the water lines in my riding date back to 1909, and although these outdated lines do not pose a health problem, the iron piping causes significant discoloration of the water. As every municipality in Canada knows, the cost of upgrading, whether to replace or coat these pipes, is phenomenally high. The estimated cost of replacing this system in my riding alone is almost $50 million. Again, I remind property taxpayers that Ontario does not have a cost-sharing agreement with the municipalities to cover the cost of rehabilitating water and sewage systems. Given the favourable state of the provincial Treasury, this would have been an opportune time to address this funding void.
On a related matter, the region of Peel, serving the constituency of Mississauga South, is still waiting for some 297 chronic care beds in extended care facilities. These beds were allocated in April 1985. The funding has not followed. The Treasurer has not answered this question in his statement either.
That there is not one new housing development in this budgetary statement is disturbing. We have a housing crisis in this province, albeit it has been with us for a number of years since the inflation of the 1970s and the high interest rates of the 1980s. However, here again, because of the special nature of our city and our unprecedented growth, our need for nonprofit housing is tremendous. This is compounded by the fact that we did not enter into this era of crisis with an existing base supply of assisted housing for our poor, our disabled, our elderly or our ill.
The Peel Non-Profit Housing Corp. is appreciative of the 300 additional units it received this year. However, I want to point out that 800 were requested. There is no indication in this budget that the balance will be forthcoming. There are some 2,300 needy families on the waiting list. To emphasize the significance of the size of this waiting list, the turnover rate on these units is less than one per cent each year, a figure which compares with that of any city in this country in its urgency.
On another subject, day care, there are thousands of young, middle-income families in Mississauga South who I am sure remember the election promises of the Liberal Party, promising an enlightened day care policy. These are the same middle-income families who are disproportionately burdened by the Treasurer's three per cent surtax on taxable incomes announced in the October budget. These same families have now been told this interim measure will not be lifted. Those whose day care costs are not subsidized pay as much as $5,000 per child in day care costs alone each year, yet only $2,000 of this expense is tax deductible. We have not seen the progressive or enlightened day care policies of this government to date. Overtaxing our middle-income families only further erodes the quality of life both parents must work so hard to attain. It creates an even greater burden for the single parent.
Before leaving this topic -- this is of special concern to the family and of importance to women in particular -- I want to mention the need for additional shelters for the victims of family violence in Mississauga and, in fact, for the region of Peel. Currently, the entire region of Peel, which has a population coming up to 600,000 people, has one shelter. On May 1, the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) reiterated his government's commitment to ensure that "the right of women and the family to a safe home environment free from family violence that threatens too many women is protected." This is a special priority of every party represented in this Legislature.
Currently, Interim Place in Mississauga is the only hostel of such a type in the region of Peel. For every family that can be accommodated, two are turned away. In a region such as Mississauga this statistic can only be worsening. There is a desperate need for money to address this need. The May 13 statement of the Treasurer did not reflect the Attorney General's concerns. No new money has been made available to help fund these projects. Each week I hear of more mothers who cannot get into Interim Place and of those in Interim Place who cannot get out because of a shortage of affordable housing.
I mentioned earlier my concern for the direction the structure of funding takes with respect to our health care system, that we must direct our energy and revenue at promoting community-oriented services for the ill and the elderly. In short, we must be prepared to respond to our changing needs and newly identified problems.
As the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney) knows, his ministry currently does not assist in providing funds for counselling services for the children of violent homes or for the fathers who cannot understand or break with their long-established behavioural patterns. When we consider that between one third and one half of the families who use Interim Place go back to their homes and attempt to reunite their families, it obviously highlights the need for counselling of all family members and the inadequacy of the present structure of funding.
Unless the commitment to ensuring the rights of the victims and to ensuring the fostering of new understanding for the perpetrators of these violent acts is complete, I wonder whether here again we are not taking one step forward and two steps back. I hope the Minister of Community and Social Services is listening.
As well, I hope all members of the Liberal government have paid particular attention to the concerns of my constituents in Mississauga South and to the concerns of the people in Ontario as a whole. These are the same concerns shared in a general way by every member of this Legislature. I hope they will be reflected in the detailed estimates of the various ministries of this province.
Mr. Speaker: I understand the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) would like to ask a question or make comments for up to two minutes.
Mr. Martel: No. My friend wants to ask a question.
Mr. Callahan: When I spoke on the budget, my friend the member for Mississauga South suggested I speak about Brampton. I am going to speak about Brampton now.
My friend has nothing but negative comments to make about the $850 million this sensitive government has put forward to deal with the question of hospitals and medical facilities. As a member of the city council of Brampton, I waited for eight years for the most important person in the previous government to make an announcement about a hospital for the people in my community, and not one word was said.
All I have to say to the member for Mississauga South is that while Mississauga was getting all the money directed down there to create all sorts of hospitals so that it had no difficulties, the people of Brampton, a city that was increasing dramatically in size to the same degree as Mississauga, were being denied that right. We had people waiting five and six hours in our emergency departments.
Was that the role of a sensitive government? Was that the role of a riding that had the Premier representing it? I can say right now that if the Premier in the previous government, which was there for 42 years and probably will not be back for another 42, had taken steps to look after the hospital facilities in Brampton, I probably would have hung up my shoes and would not be here today.
One of the indicia of this government is sensitivity. It is not going around the province proclaiming, "We will create a hospital here, we will create an arena there." It is doing it. It is putting the money where its mouth is. I suggest that the member for Mississauga South speaks of a situation she does not know much about.
In addition, she objects to the fact that lottery funds are being directed towards hospital services. I applaud that move. The minister in charge was very sensitive in doing that. The previous Tory government would pop into a riding and say, "Hey, guy, we have to get re-elected; you must need a new arena or a park," and it would allocate the money. I am pleased to see that change.
Hon. Ms. Munro: I would like to reply to some of the comments made by the honourable member in the area of support for the arts and culture. One of the major programs we introduced was entitled Investing in the Arts, which we believe is an innovative, creative way in which we will be able to respond to the public and private sectors in moving towards deficit funding. This will free small and medium-sized theatre groups from worrying about their increased deficit and will allow them to continue operating.
We are also continuing to stick to our policy of arm's-length funding, and we do so with the full recognition that not only the Ontario Arts Council but other agencies also are able to operate to the full degree of accountability that we ascribe to arm's-length funding.
I remind the member that, with regard to cultural industries, we are trying to shore up the economic side of culture by focusing on jobs. She mentioned the aspect of training, and we certainly are affording community-based organizations access to our program areas to make sure they acquire the necessary skills.
We feel the recent move by the Treasury on changes in lottery dedication will allow this ministry to respond more fully to the needs of cultural and multicultural organizations by allowing them to compete and to put their case forward strongly. Thus, rather than viewing the lottery dedication as a gradual deterioration of our funds, we believe it is an opportunity for us to respond.
I thank the honourable member for her comments, and I assure her that I view the superstructure of culture in this province as extremely important.
Mr. Ward: I was very interested in the comments of the member for Mississauga South and particularly her references to inheriting the sound financial stewardship of the previous government.
When she is reminding her constituents of that sound financial stewardship, I wonder whether she will also remind them of this province's $600-million loss in its investment in Suncor, an investment by the previous government, its loss on unnecessary land holdings through the Ontario Land Corp. and its losses under the Urban Transportation Development Corp., I believe $150 million over six years.
I hope she will remind her constituents of those. I hope she will also remind her constituents that this budget has the lowest net cash requirement of any budget in this province for the past six years and that the deficit has been substantially reduced.
I was also interested in her comments about our not taking advantage of a golden opportunity to reduce further the province's deficit by restraining expenditures. I found this a little hard to swallow, particularly in the context of her other comments that related to insufficient funding, in her opinion, with regard to the transfers to municipalities and to health care.
I remind her that the health care budget has increased from $9.8 billion in 1985 to $10.9 billion in 1986, much of it new money for hospitals. I remind her that expenditures for colleges and universities increased by eight per cent, nearly double the level of any previous increase in the past several years. I suggest that she look carefully at that.
With regard to her comments concerning the transfer of funds to municipalities, she seems to have some difficulty with the fact that the Treasurer makes known the level of support for municipalities in November, whereas the previous government used to make it known in February, three months into the municipal fiscal year.
Mrs. Marland: I am gratified the member for Brampton (Mr. Callahan) has finally decided to speak up on behalf of the riding he represents. Better late than never, I say.
In response to the comments of the member for Brampton about additional hospital funding, he had better look very carefully at the fact that additional funding was provided for an addition to Peel Memorial Hospital, including an allocation by the region of Peel, and that addition has never been built. That is particularly significant.
I would also like to talk to the member for Brampton about sensitivity and his extreme lack of vocabulary. When he talks about sensitivity in health care and uses the words, "Put your money where your mouth is," I would like to take him to some patients in Mississauga who hardly even have a mouth and probably will not have one now because of the outright outrage that has been forced upon the doctors of this province, in particular the forcing of Dr. Ian Munro out of our province. Because Dr. Munro is leaving this city, we will end up with young people who have tremendously disfigured faces, who otherwise would have had a decent chance to walk into a room with no problem by the time they were teenagers.
Mr. Callahan: He did not go for that reason. That is a sham.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mrs. Marland: On the subject of the lottery funding, which the Minister of Citizenship and Culture referred to, my concern was raised because in 1985 we had a $13-million reduction in the area of lottery funding, and with the fact that lottery funds will be used for even more purposes this year, my concern is even greater.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Sudbury East.
Mr. Martel: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Haggerty: Is there a quorum?
Mr. Martel: I do not need a quorum. Nobody listens anyway. I learned that a long time ago. One just deludes oneself if one thinks someone is going to listen, but one likes to hear the resonance of one's own voice.
I want to say a few things about this government. I am afraid my friend the member for Brampton, who was just speaking, did not look around in his riding. He did not go to the courthouse or anywhere such as that.
Mr. Callahan: Yes. I did.
Mr. Martel: Billy Davis did not forget Brampton. That has to be the greatest edifice in the province.
Mr. Callahan: It is totally without function.
Mr. Martel: It is there. I heard on the radio today about those communities that do not even have one that works. In the courthouse in Hamilton, one has to go to three different places for criminal court.
Mr. Callahan: One has to in Brampton too.
Mr. Martel: Is that not wonderful?
I have a couple of kind things I want to say about this budget. I want to tell those beggars over there that they are no different from the Tories. They really are not.
Mr. Ferraro: Now that hurts.
Mr. Martel: I am sorry. I do not want to hurt the members, but when it comes to northern Ontario, Tories and Liberals are the same. They do not know how to deal with the north because it means planning, and planning is not the strongest hand a free enterprise government has, except for giveaways. If they could give away the store, they might do it.
I watched, throughout my 19 years in this place, as one-industry towns one after another closed. The Tories did not have a response. That is why I am always so amazed when I hear the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope), on the half day he is in here every week, when he comes around on the odd occasion, do a little rant about what the government is not doing in Sault Ste. Marie. What did they do? What did that government do when Sudbury lost 6,000 workers at Inco and Falconbridge? Not a thing.
Mr. Haggerty: And Port Colborne.
Mr. Martel: And Port Colborne. Not a thing. It established a select committee, Bill Davis came north and he put $600,000 into -- what do they call that crazy thing? I cannot even remember any more.
Mr. Haggerty: The science centre?
Mr. Martel: No. They were going to build for the future and this great group of businessmen and labour was getting together. It was Sudbury 2001. They pumped in $600,000 over three years where we had lost more than 6,000 jobs. Then they built a provincial building, which was needed anyway, for $12 million or $13 million. It created a handful of jobs for a short period of time, and since then Sudbury has declined by 15,000 people.
When the member for Cochrane South comes in here and starts wagging his finger over there saying, "You guys are not doing anything in Sault Ste. Marie," I say to myself: "What chutzpah. For a government that did nothing in one layoff after another, what chutzpah." We heard it again today with the layoffs in Timmins.
Of all people, the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) was doing his rant about disclosure and what not. I remember the select committee under his government. The day we started to write our report, which we hoped was going to have in it that plant closures had to be justified, Bill Davis called the election.
Mr. Runciman: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I want to ask a question. We are supposed to be debating the budget, and this member is consistently talking about a previous government
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member has the opportunity, as all members know, to request the opportunity to ask a question.
Mr. Martel: I am just setting the stage. My friend heard me start out by saying there is absolutely no difference between that group over there and this group when it comes to dealing with northern Ontario, but let me get back to it.
We were on the select committee on plant shutdowns the day the then Premier called the election. We were going to start to write the recommendations about what to do about towns when companies close, walk away and forget all their social responsibilities. When we came back, the government would not reconstitute the select committee to write its report. Is that not wonderful? They had a majority; so they said, "To hell with them, let them eat cake." Here we are today.
Mr. Ferraro: Cop-out.
Mr. Martel: Now I am going to get to this government. Talk about a cop-out, I am glad the member said it. I wanted to get around to it because we have company after company making layoff announcements. The Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) got up today and scraped his knee when he genuflected in front of Bill James and tore the ends off his elbows when he paid homage to the great Bill James, but he did virtually nothing. A lot of prattle may get him a headline, but there is no substance. I want to talk about substance.
We have some serious problems in the north and they are not going to go away by themselves. The north has vast stores of wealth which the south has gobbled up for years. They take the raw material out of the north, whether it be from the forest or the mines, bring it to the south or send it to Europe or the United States, process it partially or not process it at all. They get it out of the ground and get it out of the forest and get it down here or somewhere else.
No one wants to interfere because if they wanted to interfere to help the north, they would have planned and done things such as crown corporations and co-ops and put together consortiums of private and public funds as they do in West Germany. When they want someone to locate next to the Russian border, they have plans in place to get growth to go where there are people. We do not have that. We have plans to bring people where there are jobs. It is never vice versa. It is the ripoff of the north.
Let me mention a couple of things this government could do. The Tories closed the Burwash institution in 1974 or 1975. The same year it opened up an institution in the riding of the then Minister of Transportation and Communications. The fourth largest employer in the Sudbury district was wiped out because of Tory patronage. They could not care less. They closed it down, having spent $5 million in the previous two or three years and walked away from it. It is still sitting there.
Then, lo and behold, last year the Tories decided they might build a new prison in the Bruce Peninsula. They have an empty prison in the north and they may build a new one in the Bruce Peninsula.
When we changed governments, I talked to the minister responsible. He thought it was a great idea to go back and look at Burwash. He came north. He said: "It is a marvellous place. For $13.9 million we can build an institution that would cost us $25 million anywhere else in the province." Half the cost. There were some guttural sounds that bothered me from the deputy, such as: "It is too far. The buildings are not adequate."
I sent in a structural engineer. I said, "I want you to go and check out the buildings at Burwash to see if it is in a state of decay." There is a brand-new gym with three basketball courts that was used for six months before the Tories closed it. There is a singles quarters with 42 beds in it that has never been used. There are six shops ready for equipment. There is a Butler building bigger than this Legislature. You could put airplanes in it. It sits there not used.
The Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Keyes) said, "That is a great place." We set up a meeting with the Premier. The Premier said, "Great." What does the minister say two weeks ago? He said, "It is dead." Who got to him? I know who got to him: a guy by the name of McDonald. He is the deputy minister.
I was at the meeting when he made the presentation on behalf of the government to the mayors of the Sudbury region. He was careful. He said, "We have an institution in northern Ontario that is only 70 per cent full." I should tell members the two reasons they closed Burwash were that they did not have enough prisoners from the north and it was too far from southern Ontario; it is 200 miles.
When the deputy minister started laying it out for us, he said: "We have an institution that is only 70 per cent full. That is one reason you cannot have another prison in the north." I said: "Do you mind telling me where it is?" He said: "It is in Thunder Bay." From Sudbury, Thunder Bay is 600 miles one way. The Tories closed Burwash down originally because it was 200 miles from Toronto to Burwash. They said: "It is too far to bring anybody from the south to the north. We will bring them all from the north to the south."
He was careful. He was very careful as he laid it out for the Premier. He said: "There are not enough prisoners from northeastern Ontario, the type of prisoners that would go into Burwash, for us to build. There are only 70 or 80 of those types in the north. We are going to bring them to the south." He did not bother to tell the Premier that in doing so they were going to have to expand. There is overcrowding now in facilities in the south. They are going to have to expand the facilities in the south to accommodate those prisoners from the north, because they do not have enough space in the south for the prisoners from the south. Is that not wonderful?
I said: "Wait a minute. Why do you not tell the Premier that you are going to expand some of the facilities in the south?" He said: "That is right. We might have to expand two or three of them to meet the needs." I said: "Why does the mentality continue to be prevalent in this government, as it was with the Tories, that you can bring all the prisoners from the north to the south but you cannot take the prisoners from the south to the north?"
We want to have a little bit of fair economic development, particularly at this time when unemployment is 6.24 per cent in the south and 13 per cent in the north. What do we have? Mr. McDonald, who opposed the minister, is going to have his way. We are going to continue to bring prisoners to the south rather than keep them in the north, and we can send prisoners 600 miles from Sudbury to Thunder Bay. That is what the Tories did.
One Minister of Correctional Services after another has got up in here over the past 10 years and said: "Look at what we are doing in the south. We are growing vegetables at the institutions now." Wonderful. Whoop-de-do. They had enough milk and vegetables from the Burwash farm to supply every institution in the north.
Mr. Haggerty: That is the way to go.
Mr. Martel: That is what they did. These birds tore it all down and gave it away. Now the minister, who was all in favour of it a year ago, says no. Just figure out $13.9 million for 200 to 225 jobs. It is not a very high cost when one considers megabucks and megaprojects today. Consider the spinoff. If we make 225 jobs for an institution in Sudbury, there will be another 225 jobs in the service industry, because the figures are at least one to one.
By 1990, our welfare bill in Sudbury is going to be $20 million. We can build and create 500 jobs for $13.9 million. That is why I say the Liberals are no different from the Tories, not a damned bit, because they are prepared not to put a cent in the north and just keep creaming it off. That is what the Tories did. All the Tory deputy ministers are still around insisting that the same mentality pervades over there as it did for the 42 previous years. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. They do not think any differently from the Conservatives.
I will give another example; it is a cute one. I have listened to the member for Cochrane South make statements at least twice this year about how we need people who are going to be involved in speech therapy, speech pathology and the whole business. We just hired five Americans in the Sudbury basin. I have a son who applied to Western; he was 35th on the waiting list of 600 or 700 applicants.
I wrote dozens of letters to the previous Minister of Education and Minister of Colleges and Universities, the member for York Mills (Miss Stephenson), who is here this afternoon. I had a couple of arguments with her in the House, and she said: "This is a democratic system. We cannot make the students take courses they do not want to take." That is not the issue at all.
There are not enough places in the university. We are hiring five kids in the Sudbury area from the United States. My colleague the former Speaker sends his daughter to Chicago at $16,000 a year. Three ministries have offered her jobs already, but we could not get the previous minister to say to the universities: "Look at you beggars. We need more speech pathologists. We are putting some money in; so get cracking. Let us train some more." No way; there was every type of red herring. I have heard the member for Cochrane South raise this issue twice this year.
The Tories did nothing. They did nothing for years when they could have created jobs. In areas where there is a need, they did not do a thing, and we could not interfere. The reason I started into this is that I want to spell out the next area I want to talk about.
Before I leave Burwash, the other thing we were looking at in Burwash was using the buildings that are there to get a co-op going. There is a citizens' group. There are places in Europe where co-ops provide 4,000 jobs. We have not even started to touch what co-ops could do in our society. Four thousand jobs in one co-op.
Mr. Brandt: Where is that?
Mr. Martel: Portugal.
Mr. Brandt: What is the unemployment rate?
Mr. Martel: Where?
Mr. Brandt: In Portugal.
Mr. Martel: I know what it is in northern Ontario; it is 13 per cent.
Mr. Brandt: It is probably higher in Portugal.
Mr. Martel: It is 13 per cent in the north, and we have the resources. That is the difference. That was the problem with the Tories. The will was not there. I can make comparisons with Japan too, which does not have a resource but has all kinds of jobs. We have the resources. Those birds gave them away. That was part of the free trade program they started years ago. It gives the store away without getting anything in return.
If the government were serious, it would want to talk about co-ops in the north; it would want to find alternatives. There is a group that wants to take Burwash if the government is not going to open the prison. In fact, the group says it is prepared to go in there even if there is a prison, because there is a whole town sitting vacant.
I want to talk about a second whole town that is there in the north; it is in my riding as well. It is the radar base at Falconbridge. It is worth $9 million; we can buy it for a buck. That is what the federal government wants for it. The province gets the first kick at the can, then the municipalities and then the private sector.
I have been meeting with the Sudbury Algoma Hospital board, which wants to start something new and imaginative. If one looks at our rate of dealing with kids in trouble with the law, our success rate is really bad. Most of the kids who get in trouble with the law have had problems in school. They are slow learners -- there are a variety of problems -- and they start to fail. Kids will get attention one way or the other, and when a kid does not get it because he is successful, he finds ways of getting attention and frequently starts getting into trouble.
We send them off to a variety of institutions. We can hide what they are any way we want; they are virtually jails. When we send kids to institutions such as that, they learn. They learn well. They learn to be crooked, or more crooked. We have these institutions.
We have this radar base sitting there. It has a swimming pool, a gym, a school, 125 houses; it has everything. It is a whole community. Sudbury Algoma Hospital says: "Let us start a program. When kids start to get in trouble, rather than put them away somewhere, we will have a kind of boys' academy. We can make it coeducational. We will put some psychiatrists and psychologists in there. Some teachers will teach school. We will bring in the parents, if need be, in some of the houses. We will put the whole family in a house and treat the whole family. There is no sense taking the kid out of the house, treating him in isolation and then putting him back into the same environment. It is not going to do a thing for him. If he is a slow learner, it is going to take us a little longer. So what?"
The Treasurer said to me last year that they had to put another $120 million into the Young Offenders Implementation Act. I say to the minister: "Give us some money. Let us try something new in the north. Let us try something new on behalf of the province. Let us try something new on behalf of kids. Rather than putting them in what is essentially a jail, no matter how you describe it, let us have a town with families, psychiatrists, psychologists and teachers in French and English."
All the facilities are there. We could have them for a buck. It might cost $11 million? So what? We spend that on institutions, in putting them in prisons willy-nilly. Why do we not do something imaginative? Why do we not try something different? One cannot get an answer.
The budget certainly did not tell it, and we have the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney). I met with him.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: The minister of earnestness.
Mr. Martel: Yes. It was just awful. The Tory bandwagon up there had strangled him. He said: "We are already doing this. We are taking people out of institutions, and you are trying to make another institution." I said: "Do you understand anything? We are talking about a radar base and moving so far away from institutional care." He said, "We have to get them in the communities they come from." I look at the backup services in the communities we have in this province, and they are worth a big fat zero.
My friends across the way are no different from the Tories.
Mr. Epp: The member is wrong.
Mr. Martel: Oh, baloney. There is an opportunity to open up Burwash and create 500 jobs for $13 million. The government will not do it. We could do this --
Mr. Epp: The member can call us a lot of things, but that is not one of them.
Mr. Martel: I am sorry. This government is just as bad as they ever were. It does not know how to deal with the north. It is not prepared to put money in.
Why would we not try an imaginative program with a facility that is worth $8 million or $9 million that we can get for a buck rather than put kids in jails? The Minister of Community and Social Services was so taken to the cleaners by his own staff that he did not know what he was talking about. He said, "We have to keep them in the community." What community? What facilities are in Toronto or in Sudbury for kids who are in trouble with the law so that we do not put them in jail if they are in serious trouble?
Why do we not try something different? Following what we have is not working now. In Canada we have the greatest rate of recidivism in the free world, and we will not try anything new. The Treasurer complains about the extra costs under the bill, $120 million more than last year -- to do what? They are going to put more kids in prison. That is why the government needs $120 million more. We are not going to start services for kids. We are going to throw more of them in jail.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: For longer.
Mr. Martel: Yes, even better: for longer. This government is not any different.
I am going to continue. This is great stuff.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: We are almost as enthused as the member is about this.
Mr. Martel: There is another thing we wanted to do at the Royal Canadian Air Force base. Cambrian College wanted to move out there and use some of the houses in conjunction with the college. We could buy all the heavy equipment for that buck, I tell my friend the minister. We could get all the equipment that is there for a buck. Cambrian could start to teach heavy equipment operation. It would be doing something. It would have the space to do it. It would have accommodation for 200 students. Crombie -- we all know him well -- wants to introduce horticulture and agriculture there, and the space is there. We could do it all for a buck and we are going to let it go.
Tell me how different this government is. We could take kids who are at Cambrian working with children and they could work with these kids who are in trouble with the law, rather than put them in a jail, in this academy. We could take those young people who are learning and give them hands-on experience while they are learning.
It is too much to ask of this government to spend some money to create some jobs in the north. It puts all kinds of money into various enterprises in the south, but I cannot get it to put $13.9 million to create 225 jobs in a prison that is sitting there empty. In fact, they do not even have a guard at Burwash any more. As of last week, the vandals could start walking in and smashing things around. There is not even a guard at the entrance any more. That would be 225 spinoff jobs. The government could put another $11 million into the Sudbury Algoma Hospital with all its specialists. We just got eight more psychiatrists. We could open up the radar base, get it for a buck, take the money out of the Ministry of Correctional Services -- God help me, what a place to take it away from -- and put it into the treatment of kids before they are in such trouble that we put them in jail.
This government is no different from the previous government. The one member I thought we might have some help from was the Minister of Community and Social Services. He was the worst of all. We drew a total blank from the minister. It was so depressing. I had a whole group of people there, and we walked out totally depressed. We got nothing but a negative response.
A number of years ago my colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) and I put together a paper called A Challenge to Sudbury. It was a good document; it stands the test of time. It is interesting. For four years my colleague and I tried to get a government interested in taking the phosphates from Cargill township and the sulphur dioxide in the form of acid from Inco and combining the two to make fertilizer. We could not get to first base with the Tories. Interestingly enough, Inco said three months ago: "We think we should do it. We should have a feasibility study. Whoop-de-do, we are on the bandwagon. We are going."
The member for Cochrane South bitterly opposed it. The previous member for Cochrane North opposed it because he said we were going to take the resources from his community and move them to Sudbury. We were better off leaving them in the ground than taking two byproducts from the north, providing jobs in the north and making fertilizer. The member for Cochrane South and the previous member for Cochrane North bitterly opposed it. We could not get an answer from the Tories.
Let me tell the members what I did. I sent the Minister of Northern Development and Mines (Mr. Fontaine) a copy of A Challenge to Sudbury. I said, "Give me a response to what you think of A Challenge to Sudbury." I got a letter from one of his flacks, and it was a Tory response. I am going to quote some of it for the members. It is a great letter. I will show the government how different it is. When I got the letter, I wrote the minister back and said:
"This will acknowledge receipt of your document to me dated December 5, in response to our document A Challenge to Sudbury. First of all, who in your ministry prepared such a garbage reply? Indeed, three years have gone by since Floyd Laughren and I prepared the report, but little has changed in Sudbury except that 15,000 people have left the area in search of employment. Unemployment is 15 per cent."
Here is what provoked me. It says:
"I have now had an opportunity to read the document A Challenge to Sudbury. May I congratulate you and Floyd for the time and effort which you spent." That was nice. "Having reviewed the document and consulted with staff, I note that three years have passed since the paper was released and it occurs to me that many of the recommendations have been pursued by the regional municipality of Sudbury and the federal and provincial governments." I would like the minister to tell me one.
"For example, with regard to your proposal for a nickel institute" -- that came out of the select committee report; it creates a couple of jobs, and it is here in southern Ontario -- "four major mining firms have since formed a research group called Hard Rock Mining at Laurentian University as a successfully established centre in mining and mineral exploration."
The Machine Resource Centre created 19 jobs for $19 million over five years. That is what that is. It was created by the Tories. It has not done a thing. It has not been involved in the production of mining equipment. It has not done a blessed thing.
Listen to what the Minister of Northern Development and Mines says is going on. "Since 1982, Continuous Mining System...." That is Into. It brought that in and it is reducing the number of workers underground. If we were producing for world use, it would be one thing but it has 50 people in it. The members have to remember we had 19,000 mineworkers in Sudbury in 1972-73, and we are now down to 6,500. These are the things that are going to save us under the Liberal government.
"In another area, the region has taken great strides in becoming the health care centre for northern Ontario with the establishment of a cancer treatment centre at Laurentian Hospital." I am waiting for them to bring the shovel up. We have two doctors, and Dr. Corringham is overworked.
What else? "One important sector which has not been addressed in your paper which has become a significant contribution to the local economy is tourism." Whoop-de-do. The minimum wage is $4 an hour for seasonal work. This is what I get from the Minister of Northern Development and Mines.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Is it only in the winters?
Mr. Martel: Yes, in the winter. They work only in the winter. When I get that type of response --
Mr. R. F. Johnston: He writes the way he talks.
Mr. Martel: Who? Me? I do not talk very well. I do not write well either. Is that what the member is saying?
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I thought the member had read it the way he talks.
Mr. Martel: No.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
5:10 p. m.
Mr. Martel: Let me tell the members a couple of others. I raised the whole question of gasoline the other day. Those beggars were going to do something about gasoline. In Sudbury, I paid 46.5 cents a litre for gas. I went back a few years and dug out a question I raised in 1968.
Mr. Haggerty: Is it Petrocan you are buying from?
Mr. Martel: Just a minute; I will come to it. My friend should not throw me off.
I went back to a question I raised in this Legislature in 1968. I said to the minister then, "How come in the north we are paying a difference of five to eight cents a gallon compared to Toronto?"
Mr. Haggerty: I remember that. You have been saying that for 19 years.
Mr. Martel: That is right. We got the great conversion from gallons to litres. Does anyone know what the hell happened? It is the same difference per litre that it was per gallon. There are 4.4 litres per gallon, and at a difference of six cents per litre, it is 26.4 cents. Last Monday, I paid 26.4 cents a gallon more in Sudbury than I did the same day in Toronto. It used to be a difference of five to eights cents a gallon; now it is a difference of 25 to 30 cents a gallon.
I asked the minister what he was going to do for the north. He said, "We have a report coming." Am I ever glad we have a report coming.
The other way we got ripped off, and the Tories would do nothing about this either, was that before we converted from gallons to litres there used to be a difference of 2.5 to five cents a gallon between leaded and unleaded. What has happened since then? The spread is 2.5 cents per litre.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: It is three cents.
Mr. Martel: Three cents a litre; that is right. It is 2.5 cents to three cents a litre, which brings it to 14 cents a gallon more. Being the free enterpriser that I am, I know that the more you buy, the more you produce and make a buck; that cuts the price down, does it not? Is that not the theory? That is the theory. Now they have changed it. Being a free-enterpriser, I understand that. If you buy a lot, you produce a lot and it drives the price down. It is called competition.
We converted from gallons to litres and the difference went up to 14 cents a gallon. When we converted from gallons to litres in the north, compared to Toronto, as of last week the difference became 26.4 cents a gallon.
Mr. Haggerty: Yet the gallons are the same size.
Mr. Martel: The quantity is the same. It is just that we applied the difference that used to be in gallons to litres. There is not a government that has enough --
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Gumption.
Mr. Martel: Gumption; I was going to say something else that was not printable. The Tories did not have the guts to do it and neither do they. They are apologists. Somebody over there should tell me the difference. They shake their heads. Somebody should tell me why I am paying a difference of 26.4 cents a gallon.
Mr. Ferraro: It is the feds.
Mr. Martel: Do not tell me it is the feds. Put it in your ear; it is not the feds. We have the power to enforce it here. Those guys do not have the courage. They let me and my people in northern Ontario get ripped off by 28 to 30 cents a gallon just as the Tories did. They do not have the courage, nor did the others, to say, "Roll it back." That is another thing. As we go through this wonderful budget of the Liberals, as I said, it is no different from the Tories' .
Let me give another one. We have a problem with hospitals and a shortage of beds. The budget promises $850 million for capital construction across Ontario.
Mr. Martel: I do not know whether you will clap on the next one, Billy. Northern Ontario has 10 per cent of the population. Do you know what our share is, Billy, in your budget for hospital capital construction? It is three per cent. Tell me why.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. I have gone on a long time allowing names to be used and so on, but when we get down to first names that is too far. I ask the member for Sudbury East to refer to other members by the names of their ridings.
Mr. Brandt: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Before the member for Sudbury East continues, we are having some difficulty attempting to identify Billy.
The Deputy Speaker: That is not an appropriate point of order.
Mr. Martel: I apologize for calling the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) "Billy." His name is Russell.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: You should have called him "Russ."
Mr. Martel: I should have called him "Russ." I will call him by his riding. He is the member for Windsor -- which Windsor is it?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Sandwich.
Mr. Martel: Windsor-Sandwich. My friend the minister clapped when I said $850 million. He should tell me why northern Ontario's share of the capital construction is going to be only three per cent. I wish the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt) would not distract the minister, because I know he wants to answer this. He was so happy about the $850 million. I want to know why, with 10 per cent of the population, we are getting only three per cent of the capital construction money.
Mr. Ferraro: Does it have to do with the bank?
Mr. Martel: Yes, I am coming to that. I am glad the member for Wellington South (Mr. Ferraro) asked. I thought he would not, but I am glad he did.
We have shortages in chronic and acute beds in the north. There are going to be 3,200 chronic beds and 1,350 acute beds out of that budget. In the north, we are going to get 176 chronic beds and 34 acute beds out of the budget. Using the ministry's own formula, our need in the city of Sudbury alone is for 105 chronic beds, and we are going to get 176 in the whole of northern Ontario over five years. If the need is there, perhaps my friend can tell me how they are different from the Tories when they give us three per cent of the budget for capital construction.
Mr. Ferraro: I waited 20 years for a hospital in my riding.
Mr. Martel: The member cannot change the subject. He is trying to digress. The issue is that southern Ontario is getting 97 per cent of the budget with 90 per cent of the population.
Mr. Ferraro: Talk per capita needs.
Mr. Martel: Per capita.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: That is what he is talking about.
Mr. Martel: That is what I am talking about. I thought it was what I was talking about. Maybe I was not very clear. Does the member want me to repeat it for him?
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Start again.
Mr. Martel: I will start again so he will get it. We have 10 per cent of the population. Does the member for Wellington South get that? He should write it down: 10 per cent.
Mr. Brandt: Is this going to be a tough question?
Mr. Martel: It is tough. He is a slow learner. One really has to work with him. Out of that we are getting three per cent of the total budget. Why should the south, with 90 per cent of the population, get 97 per cent of the allocation? That is not too difficult, is it? We have greater shortages than my friend does. We do not have a cancer centre yet. It is a 30-minute or 40-minute drive from his area to Toronto for someone to come for treatment.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Only if he drives like you do.
Mr. Martel: If he drives like me; that is why I gave him 40 minutes.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: It is an hour for him.
Mr. Martel: Maybe it would take him an hour. We do not have one in the north. We have a couple of oncologists at last. They already have patients we thought we were going to have by the year 2001. They have them already and no facilities. He should tell me whether we have needs. At Laurentian Hospital we just closed the sector for speech pathology for kids. We do not have the specialists.
Mr. Ferraro: Neither do we.
Mr. Martel: The member has a lot more than we have. There are not enough therapists for physiotherapy. One can go right down the list, and the government gives us three per cent of the budget.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: And Sudbury is better served than most of the north.
Mr. Martel: That is right. We are better served than most of the north because we have become a service centre to some degree.
The other thing I want to talk about briefly is market value assessment. The region recently asked for market value assessment because we are going down the tube in the north with taxes. In Willowdale, a friend of mine has a four-bedroom house and he pays $1,800 a year. I live in the boonies in northern Ontario in a town of 4,000 in a four-bedroom house and my tax is $1,980.
Mr. Ferraro: How come?
Mr. Martel: How come? The reason is easy. We have never got a fair return from mining revenues. None of the northern municipalities, whether they rely on the forest industry or on the mining industry, has ever got sufficient returns from either of those to have a tax level comparable to anywhere else in the province. We have never been able to get the previous government to deal with it seriously.
All mining municipalities and all municipalities that rely on the forest industry do not get enough back because it is beyond the confines of their towns, so they have to make it all up with residential assessments. That is not difficult for us in the north to know. The member for Nipissing (Mr. Harris) is well aware of that. Just ask any member from the north.
Our municipalities decided they had to go and get assessed this year. Going for a regional assessment, the assessment levels out to some degree, but it creates another whole host of problems at the same time that did not exist before. My friend shakes his head, but it does. I have a lovely old fellow I worked with in 1953 as a machinist. He has a house that might sell for $10,000. He has 146 acres of swamp. He does not have a service; not one. His taxes went from $349 to $1,200 in one year.
Mr. Offer: The local municipality could defer.
Mr. Martel: No, they do not have the right yet.
Mr. Offer: The local municipality can meet that problem.
Mr. Martel: How? We are going to be meeting with the deputy shortly. The real problem is not market value assessment, although it creates some inequities. The ministry has to establish a new criterion in that designation, whether for residential or commercial. I am no great tax expert, but all these people who spend all kinds of time in the mines have cottages without a service, and every last one's tax bill doubled just like that. The government bought them off. It threw out a little sop, $7 million over three years. What happens at the end of three years when the $7 million runs out and they have to make it up and they do not have any base to work from?
In the north, we have to get a greater return from mining and from the pulp and paper industry from the taxes they pay locally or in Toronto, or we are going to find in most of northern Ontario that we are assessed far more for residential assessments than anywhere else in the province. I believe Sudbury is the second-highest-taxed city in the province in terms of residential taxation.
Unless we get a greater return, the towns that support the pulp and paper industry and the mining industry are going to see their residents paying tremendously high taxes, much higher than in comparable communities. As I said, I compared my taxes with those of a friend who lives in Willowdale. He has a four-bedroom house, and I have a four-bedroom house. He pays $1,800 here, and I pay $1,980 in the town of Capreol in northern Ontario. There is something wrong.
I remind members that in the first election I was in, 1967, one of the key issues was market value assessment, and the Tories were going to fix her all up. They did not do a thing.
I said to the Treasurer yesterday, "I hope you have some money." He said, "I have no more money." I do not want any more money directly from the province, but governments have to realize that one-industry towns based on resources do not have the tax base to support community services without ripping off the people to death. With mining, one cannot assess underground, and the whole mine is being moved underground. One cannot tax the equipment or anything. All one can do is tax the bloody buildings, and what does one get from a couple of buildings? We have to get a return of the resources that come out of here.
Lastly, I want to talk about a subject that breaks my heart. I picked up the paper the other day and I read this horrendous headline. Let me dig it out. When I see these things I shudder. It says, "Parents Bear No Grudges as Check Breaks Son's Neck." Since 1972, with Pat Reid, I have tried to get governments to respond to the ravages of hockey. It is a game I played and know a fair amount about, and for which our society has gone absolutely nuts.
Dr. Charles Tator, in his most recent report on spinal injuries, states that we have had 88 spinal injuries in Canada since 1977. The spinal injuries were not just to boys; there are four females now. There were 88 kids with spinal injuries in one sport. Does that sound like a sport? Virtually all of them have been since 1977.
Out of that group there are 40, I believe -- I want to be careful, because I do not want to stretch the figure so that someone says I am doing it deliberately; I have the precise numbers -- 40 young men who have been rendered quadriplegic as a result of hockey injuries during the past eight years. Can members imagine? Forty quadriplegics in eight years.
Do members know what the cost is for a lifetime? It costs more than $1 million, Dr. Tator says, to look after a youth who has been so damaged, if I may use that term. It is not even the money that bothers me. A life is virtually wiped out.
We know as a society how most of those occur. That was the tragedy to read this story. The mother said, "If I had only known." His parents steadfastly described the son's injury as an accident. That is not true. It was accidental but we know this boy was hit from behind. We know from Dr. Charles Tator's studies that where quadriplegia has occurred, 22 had been hit from behind.
I tried to get the Tories to change it. All they did was to take a poll which showed that 55 per cent of the people agreed hockey was too violent. Only two per cent said government should intervene; so their decision was to do nothing. We have 40 youngsters who are quadriplegic, 22 of whom were hit from behind.
It is not a sport to hit someone from behind. I know something about this game. Tell me what is sporting about running at some kid who has his head down in the corner and hitting him from behind? If someone can tell me where the sport is in that, or where there is anything about that in hockey, I will sit down and shut up. But it is not there. It is not part of our game. We have decided that winning can be done at any cost.
My friend at the back can shake his head. I am going to go through a whole series. I am glad he is here. Another 16 who have spinal injuries were pushed or checked, another 16 were hurt by sliding into the boards and so on. Let me tell my friend who shakes his head that there is something totally obscene about what is going on.
By the way, Dr. Charles Tator also indicates in his report that there have been 54 spinal injuries from diving as well. One wonders whether we are crazy in this society of ours. There are 500 spinal injuries a year, many of them from sports. I ask myself why this is going on.
Mr. Offer: And the eyes.
Mr. Martel: They have cut down on eye injuries. Since Dr. Tom Pashby put the face mask on, the only people who are losing their eyes now are adults who are playing in commercial leagues and are too macho to put on a face mask. They have reduced it from more than 250 eye accidents a year to fewer than 50, according to Dr. Pashby, with whom I had the pleasure of spending some time. There are reasons for this.
Mr. Haggerty: Right at the coaching level.
Mr. Martel: That is correct. Everyone wants to blame the referee. I do not. I blame the coaches. As a teacher, if I had that many sports accidents in a school, the lawsuits would be unending. If a kid came home with a broken shoulder from getting hurt at school, one would have a lawsuit on one's hands.
Let me put it in some perspective. Part of the reason is that we have developed this attitude that one wins and one wins at all costs. It does not matter what one has to do to win, one wins. One watches it in the National Hockey League.
Mr. Haggerty: One just has to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Mr. Martel: That is correct. Why? We are not dealing with little men. We are dealing with boys; girls; kids 12, 13, 14 and 15 years of age. Why do we encourage that sort of nonsense, that brutality? Has anybody followed it this winter? There have been more sports accidents this winter, more hockey accidents. Even in high school they have had to call off whole series this year. They have had to call off the playoffs. They could not finish the series because of the fights. That is sport.
My idea is to take kids out and teach them some skills and how to compete with one another and enjoy themselves. If you win, that is a plus. The real pleasure should be teaching kids how to enjoy and develop skills in shooting, skating and passing. That is what it is about.
Mr. Haggerty: About $400 in safety equipment for hockey and they still have injuries.
Mr. Martel: My friend is right; we keep loading them down. I was reading the paper. There is such a difference in the same Toronto Star. Lois Kalshman is writing. She is a great writer. She interviewed some parents on the number of accidents. This is on the sports page. I will come back to the other page. The irony is delicious. Here is what parents with nine-year-olds and 10-year-olds and what coaches are saying.
The article says: "Size differential and lack of instructions are major reasons cited for the injuries. Players 12 and 13 can vary by 100 pounds. Coach Jim Gray of Don Mills Flyers, minor peewees in the MTHL major series, contends, `When the Soviet Union beat Canada in 1979, the CAHA's reaction was to take out bodychecking to help our young players develop their skills.'" That was to their credit. He goes on. "`What they should have demanded was the upgrading of coaches. That is only now taking place. I have never had a year when I have seen so many broken bones. Most have occurred after a check.'"
There is a solution to that. It says one cannot have body contact until a certain age and one cannot use the stick as a weapon on somebody's body.
Here is another coach, a real winner. "Flynn says, `I am teaching boys of 12 what they should have learned at nine. Bodychecking should be in all the way.'" Man, oh man, the old macho. Get it in at eight or nine. They cannot even stand up and skate properly, but get them hitting sooner. That will end it, because when they have that first year in they will be used to it.
What do doctors such as Dr. Charles Tator say? They say, "Wait a minute. Muscularly, the kids are not ready for that type of bodily contact." What does that matter? We will teach them early. We will teach them young to be tough so they can resist it. We are mad.
These guys go on. "Paul O'Neill, coach of OMHA's King City peewees says he has several players hurt this season as a result of checks. O'Neill candidly says he discouraged his son, Don, a five-foot-11 1/2-inch, 185-pound 13-year-old from bodychecking because he is so much bigger than his opponents." That is the attitude. Teach them young enough to hit them.
Then there is Jim Proudfoot on the same page. His article says, "NHL Allows Violence Because It Sells." Is that not putting it nicely? We have all these crazy coaches saying: "That is what we have to have. We have to have violence to sell."
Have the members watched the Russians when they come here and play the Canadians? One cannot get near the arena. Why? It is a game of skill. Watch the clowns, junior B or junior A, and they have the stick work and are running at each other. One could not get away on the streets of Toronto or Sudbury or anywhere else with what they get away with in an arena.
Proudfoot has it right. When one hears the coaches saying, "We have to copy the NHL," what they are saying is that we have to have goonism, because otherwise parents will not go to the arena.
Mr. Haggerty: Look what they did to Ted Kennedy and Bobby Orr; they chopped their legs off.
Mr. Martel: Yes. If that is what NHL hockey is all about, why do we have coaches saying we have to teach bodychecking early and we have to teach them to run at each other and beat each other with a stick, because that sells? I thought we were there so kids could have fun, develop skills and develop camaraderie. If somebody won because he was a better coach and happened to have better players, that was a plus for a year.
It was in the same copy of the Toronto Star. Imagine this other gobbledegook: "Is 12 the Age to Start Hitting? Injury Toll Raises Painful Doubts." I have never had any doubt about sending kids out to hit each other deliberately. I have never had any illusions that it was all right. I have said for years that it was all wrong.
It is easy for some stupid man to send a bunch of 12-year-olds out to kill each other. Have members ever asked themselves why so many kids have left hockey? They have a double arena in my town. We do not even have a house league any more. Why? Kids are saying: "What the hell. This is not sport. This is mayhem." We have adults sending kids out to hammer each other, and we put up with it.
Last year, when I put the hockey report out, my assistant said to me, "You are neurotic about this." Carmen's son played his first year of body contact, and by November he was in the hospital. He was a good little hockey player, scoring goals left, right and centre. What happened? They put the thug out to get him. He had a shoulder break up this way, through that part of the bone -- not across the top.
I am not a doctor. I am sure my friend down the aisle could tell me. His shoulder was broken upward. His doctor said it was one of the worst breaks he had ever seen. A 14-year-old kid is sent out there and somebody is hammering the hell out of him. He ran at him from all over the ice.
Carmen goes to the meeting. The executive of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association in the district said she was just a neurotic mother. That is the way one gets rid of it: "You are just a neurotic mother."
I am not sure who is neurotic. In fact, I am not sure who is crazy, but we have to start teaching attitudes. Those people who are going to deal with kids have to deal with kids as though they were kids and not little adults. They have to be healthy and wholesome attitudes. Everybody who does not have that should be out of coaching. It has to stop.
I do not care whether the government has to take on every league in this province. We have a responsibility to protect the health of those kids. When we have 88 spinal injuries in eight years, we are lacking in courage. That we allow it to happen is a disgrace.
When coaches tell me there are more accidents this year than have been seen in years and they start dithering about the age level at which we should allow them to hit, I will tell members part of the reason. A year ago they sneaked in an extra year and reduced it by one year. The Canadian Amateur Hockey Association was clever. It reduced the age in which bodily contact is started by a year. We had finally got rid of it to age 12. What one does is change the designation around a little and get it in a year earlier.
There is no age until the kid's body is ready to absorb the impact. Bodychecking is a skill just like any other skill, and one has to wait until the kids are ready to develop that skill. One can develop it only when the body is muscularly ready to absorb the impact.
Mr. Haggerty: They have to learn to skate.
Mr. Martel: That is correct. They have to learn to skate and all the other skills. As Carl Brewer says to me, "Look, 16 is soon enough."
I want to tell members why all the stick work and hitting from the rear is there. Ninety per cent of the coaches cannot teach a kid how to bodycheck, because they do not know how to do it themselves. They say to the kid, "Go out there and get them." The kid runs out there, and he hits them. The stick is here and the stick is there; it is in the groin, and it is everywhere. Most of them cannot teach a good check or a shoulder check, and they are telling kids to do it.
That is why it should be at around 15 or 16 years old. We might have enough people at that level who are dealing with kids and can teach them how to do it properly. Until we get rid of that nonsense, we will continue to have the constant stickwork. That is where the damage to kids is coming in.
As I prepare to take my seat, I say as I did last week when I wound up on occupational health, that I hope some day before I leave this zoo -- those were the words I used -- we will see a government that has the courage to say: "We will not tolerate young kids being injured because coaches think they have to sell hockey and the only way they know how in the NHL is through violence. We will have enough courage to say we are not putting up with it."
I do not care whether all the coaches quit, quite frankly. It might be the best thing for hockey if half of them were to quit and we brought in some new people with some new attitudes. There are a lot of bright young people out there who would like a chance, if we were prepared to help them to develop their skills through coaching clinics with proper attitudes and so on.
There have been five task force reports in the past 10 or 12 years, and nothing has happened. It does not matter whether it was the minor report I did or the one done by Dr. Barry McPherson of the University of Waterloo. It does not matter whether it was a report done by Judge Neri and Regan or Bill McMurtry's study. They have all been there. We have not yet had the courage to act. I hope that will happen before many more children are hurt by wanton, useless acts of violence in a game that is supposed to be a sport, not goonism.
Mr. Haggerty: The member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) has provoked me to respond. I made some notes, particularly about the Burwash property in the Sudbury basin.
I have listened to the member's comments over a number of years, and on this side anyway, he has me convinced he is correct about what should be done with the Burwash farm. Some of the suggestions he made included providing it as a correctional institution or a centre for young offenders. There is a good possibility that site could still be used in that capacity as a rehabilitation centre for young offenders. There is a good opportunity there, particularly with the mining sector up there, for these youngsters to get out and get into the area of basic machine-shop training that is needed in the northern part of Ontario.
Some of the area that could be used is good agricultural land. He made a good point that is not new. It is something that has been used successfully on the American side in the penal institutions and correctional services. Where there is good agricultural land, it can be used very productively to supply food and milk to other institutions such as hospitals. It is part of a rehabilitation program.
With regard to another area he talked about, I think particularly of the not-too-good success the previous government had in reforestation of the lands in northwestern and northeastern Ontario. That complex of land would be an excellent place for a new seeding operation for reforestation.
New plants and new trees could be grown in that area instead, and some greenhouses could be built in other parts. It could be farmed out to the private sector. It could be done in that place and could provide an excellent opportunity for rehabilitation and job opportunities that are required in the north. I support him.
In the matter of the area --
Mr. Speaker: The member's time has expired.
Mr. Haggerty: I did my best.
Mr. Ferraro: I agree with much of what the member for Sudbury East has said today, particularly on hockey. Where I have some difficulty, and he knows better than I as he expounds on the severe problems of unemployment in the north, is that it is my understanding that private enterprise is the solution to the problem. The reality is, in my understanding, that they do not want to go to the north.
Being the strong free-enterpriser that I am --
Mr. Runciman: The member is in the wrong party.
Mr. Ferraro: -- save and except on some issues, and I know the member is referring to extra billing, I know the member in his anger does not want to give the appearance that he is angry that the south is so prosperous. I suspect he is probably angry that he has not had the same degree of success in the north.
The specific question I want to ask the member, just so I understand him correctly, is whether the solution, as far as he and his party are concerned, is a philosophical one in that the only solution, and the only one I can think of, is more government involvement in private enterprise. If that is the solution, then it is going to be very difficult, bearing in mind the philosophies of our party and the Tory party. Indeed, there are going to be frustrating days ahead for the member for Sudbury East.
I want to be perfectly clear whether that is the solution, because I think the government's solutions -- Burwash and hospital funding -- are minuscule when one considers the overall problems in the north. The real solution is to get private enterprise up there. We can do incentives, but if it means direct government involvement, it is going to be an extremely rocky road.
Mr. Martel: To respond to my friend, it is a combination of many ways of doing it. For example, the private sector in Sudbury has had an opportunity to do something with nickel, gold, platinum or silver for years and has not done it. One might say that part of it, as in West Germany, is to have some government money combined with some private money. One goes in and tries to establish an industry that could be viable, using the resources that are there. I would not suggest for a moment that we take something from the south and bring it to the north. There is an abundance of wealth.
I used the example of sulphur. We have a tremendous problem with sulphuric acid, which is ravaging southern Ontario now. There is the big stack at Inco, and some of it is coming down here. We have excess volumes of sulphuric acid. If one produces it, one is going to glut the market. But if one were to produce and use it with something else, such as phosphates from Cargill township in the riding of the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, if one combined the two, one could make fertilizer that we are currently importing into Ontario.
One of the solutions is to look at what there is in one's own area. Some of it could be straight crown corporations; I do not deny that. Others could have, and must have, private and government funding to get something established. There is a variety of ways. We could encourage co-ops.
However, we cannot sit back and simply say we cannot do anything. We have had 100 years of waiting for the private sector to come to the north on its own, and it has chosen not to do so. That is why, whether the member likes it or not and whether I like it or not, we are going to have to have government involvement; otherwise, the north is never going to develop. We can do it by a number of methods. There is no one solution to all the problems. We could develop a variety of programs.
Mr. Runciman: I commend the previous speaker for his comments in reference to hockey violence. I fully support him. I know how strongly he feels about this and how well he has brought the case to this House over the past number of years. I want to indicate my support and, I am sure, the support of many other members of this party. We wish him well in his ongoing battle.
I have the honour to represent the historic riding of Leeds, a strong agricultural area, and one of the great dairying sections of Ontario. Therefore, it will not come as any great surprise that I would like to make a few comments in regard to agriculture in the last or second-to-last budget of the Treasurer.
With respect to agriculture, this budget is disappointing for what it does not say rather than for the little it does say. Where is the capital assistance program promised by the Liberals in the 1985 election campaign? Where are the low-interest loans for farmers promised in the accord? Where is the 75 per cent funding for the drainage work? Short-term interest rate relief and the expansion of current programs are not long-term answers to the financial crisis in Ontario's agriculture industry.
When one takes a look at the programs introduced in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and in the United States with its farm bill, it becomes painfully obvious that this government has done precious little for farmers. There is no financial reform to speak of in this budget and no significant increase in budget share.
There is an old saying that the farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything he buys at retail, sells everything he sells at wholesale and pays the freight both ways. Today there is still a lot of truth in that. The farmers in this province are facing tough times. This is an era when we need dynamic leadership in agriculture, and this government is failing to provide that leadership.
My colleague the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve) over the past month or so has been referring to concerns about the St. Albert cheese factory in his riding and the milk quota. At one time, Leeds was the centre of the cheddar cheese industry in Ontario, with more than 100 cheese factories. Today there are only two, and both are famous for their products. Mr. Speaker, perhaps you have tried Plum Hollow cheddar or that made by Forfar.
A combination of factors led to the demise of the small cheese factories. Big condenseries moved in. They needed milk supplies; so they would buy up a small cheese factory to get its milk supply. They then closed the cheese factory. At one time, four of the largest condenseries in Canada were in Leeds, one in Gananoque and three in Brockville. Like the cheese factories, they have disappeared, although there is still one milk plant left, Ross Laboratories in Brockville, which produces the world-famous baby-food formula Similac, but with a milk base from a milk plant in another riding.
It is impossible to turn back the clock, but I think we should endeavour more strenuously to ensure that the family farm in Leeds and elsewhere does not go the way of the cheese factories and the milk plants. I urge the government to assist me in ensuring that the two remaining cheese factories and others such as the St. Albert factory continue to survive and prosper.
Many in the agricultural community in Leeds have expressed concern about the government's proposed ban on the severance of farm land for residential purposes. They believe the Ministry of Agriculture and Food should be placing more emphasis on the right to farm. For that matter, the government should have an overall agricultural policy rather than dealing with issues such as food land preservation on an ad hoc basis.
As part of that overall policy, perhaps the minister should be looking at the idea of government acquisition of development rights of prime farm land and prime farm land only. I am sure members are aware that there is a chronic discrepancy in central and southwestern Ontario, especially between the value of land for its productive use in farming and for its consumptive use in development. In many instances the discrepancy is so great that market forces typically operate to drive land out of agricultural use.
I suggest to the minister that he consider a concept that is in use in a number of American states, the development of a voluntary program of public purchase of development rights. Basically the American programs provide state funding to purchase the right to develop property. The land owner pays the difference between the price his land would bring on the open market and the value it would have if restricted to agricultural uses. In return for this payment, the owner signs a covenant with the state and town. This agreement forbids use of the land for other than farm purposes and requires that the land be maintained in a condition suitable for agriculture. I will not go into more details, but I encourage the minister to investigate this option actively.
In the budget, there is no mention of eastern Ontario agriculture, and that does not augur well for the east. Our farmers have to be competitive, keen and efficient, and governments have to keep it as simple as possible. Ontario can and will provide food at very competitive prices for our consumers and will still benefit our farmers if we set things properly in place. We need to examine on a regular basis exactly how, when and why things are being done in agriculture in Ontario. I urge this temporary government to pay heed to the specific concerns of eastern Ontario farmers.
I want to make a brief comment which is a compliment to the government with respect to a recent appointment. A former member of this House, a former member for Cornwall, George Samis, was recently appointed to the Ontario Highway Transport Board. I want to commend the government on that appointment. George is a friend, a colleague and a fine individual. He certainly did not fit the mould of the traditional NDPers as we have come to know them. Apparently, George was able to purchase the right size of underwear. We have often suspected that most NDPers wear two sizes too small. In any event, I am sure George will do a fine job.
The speech from the throne and the budget reaffirm the government's commitment to policies outlined in its accord with the New Democratic Party; in other words, its socialist agenda. Make no mistake about it. This is what we now have in place in Ontario: a socialist government. The electorate at large is slow to come to that realization, thanks in no small part to the media. Papers such as the red Star refuse to say anything negative about this government, but that will be overcome. The electorate at large will very shortly begin to appreciate the socialist nature of this government.
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: Oh? Did we buy Suncor?
Mr. Runciman: The Minister of Energy (Mr. Kerrio) remembers my position on that, does he not? Former supporters of the NDP already understand it. They are deserting that party in large numbers and it is understandable. Why support a socialist party that will never have a chance of governing when a person can support one that is already governing? This caucus, to my left and to everybody's left, made a serious error and it will pay for it. Its members were like lemmings being led to the precipice by the Pied Piper, the member for York South (Mr. Rae).
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Runciman: In the next election, they will pay the price for their subversion of principles. They may even reap the whirlwind before an election as many people within the party start to give vent to the outrage that this little red rump has generated by jeopardizing the future of their party. Even the Leeds NDP passed a resolution recently condemning the accord. In any event, the days are numbered for the silk-stockinged socialists behind this deal. We all know that a certain fireman from Hamilton is just waiting in the wings to restore principle to a once-proud party.
I described the present government as socialist in nature, but "quasi-socialist" might be more accurate. I believe that is borne out by the facts.
In every province where socialists have assumed power, there immediately follows the same pattern of attacking professional groups, interference with business and industry, and retroactive legislation.
We are seeing it now in Ontario. We have seen it in the past in British Columbia, in poor old Saskatchewan, which the socialists almost wrecked, and in Manitoba, where they turned sunshine into drought by interfering with business and industry, by overloading the civil service and through policies that are causing most business headquarters to vacate the province. The socialist takeover of a province is a prescription for disaster, the stifling of individual enterprise in favour of collectives and rapid debt increase. People are now recognizing what it means when socialists seize power. The promise of socialism long ago proved to be a bad dream.
Mr. Martel: Saskatchewan had money in the bank until Devine took over. He wrecked it.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Leeds may continue.
Mr. Runciman: What this quasi-socialist government stands for, and in some degree is putting into effect through its Faustian pact or coalition with the New Democratic Party, will not encourage economic growth but will produce more government growth. It can turn Ontario, the economic powerhouse of this country, into the poorhouse of Canada.
It was Stephen Leacock who said that socialism will work in only two places: in heaven, where they do not need it, and in hell, where they already have it. In my view, Ontario is closer to heaven than it is to hell, and we in the Progressive Conservative Party intend to do what we can to keep it that way.
I will say a word or two about concerns brought to my attention by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union in relation to the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital and, more specifically, the manner of operating the forensic unit in that hospital. As members may be aware, that unit treats some of the most violent criminals in Canada. I feel OPSEU has a legitimate fear with respect to the manner of staffing this unit, bearing in mind the type of patients and their potential for unpredictability.
For starters, this ward has 40 patients in it. That is more than the Brockville Jail. I am told that in Penetanguishene there are approximately 20 patients per ward. On night shifts ward K, the forensic unit, has four nursing staff, one male and three female, a ratio of 10 patients per nurse. The staff of this so-called medium-security facility also receives $2 to $3 an hour less than comparable staff at Penetanguishene.
It is obvious that changes are required. The Minister of Health should consider the reduction of patient levels to approximate the ones at Penetanguishene. This could be accomplished by developing G, H and K units as totally forensic and utilizing the vacant E and F buildings for uses currently located in G and H.
The ratio of male to female staff in the forensic unit must also be changed. The present shift ratio of one male to three females is, in the view of most observers, unsafe. The male complement must be increased.
Finally, the pay inequity between nurses in Penetanguishene and those in the forensic unit in Brockville must be reduced. When one looks at the histories of patients housed in ward K, this request becomes eminently justifiable. A salary increase to bring wages more in line with those at Penetanguishene would also go a long way towards eliminating the problems of staffing the forensic unit. Very few people want to work there, and understandably so, when they can receive similar rates of pay in other, less dangerous areas of the hospital.
The forensic unit at the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital requires closer scrutiny by the minister's staff and special measures to alleviate or eliminate the unhappiness and fear that seem to permeate the staff. I urge the minister to review this situation.
I will make one final reference to the psychiatric hospital, and that is with respect to a strong concern among staff regarding the activities of the patient advocate. I am glad to see the minister's parliamentary assistant is here. I am not taking sides in this matter, but I ask the minister to reconsider the makeup of the committee he has established to evaluate the patient advocate program. The committee, chaired by a well-known civil rights activist, is stacked against medical and hospital support staff. Obviously, the minister or, more likely, some of his underlings are looking for unanimity in the report. I ask the minister to review personally the representation on this committee to ensure that the problems that staff members contend this program generates are given a hard look.
The government has introduced a bill on French-language services, and I want to speak very briefly on a related subject that has been studiously avoided: official bilingualism. The question of whether Ontario should be declared officially bilingual appears to be a subject that is unofficially off limits for discussion in this House by all three parties. I am not sure why that is, but one suspects it is because the issue is very controversial and, with some people, can generate very strong emotional reactions.
I believe it should be talked about in this House, and at length. It is a very important issue, and if one believes many of the recent pronouncements of the current Premier, it is something we as a Legislature may be faced with in the very near future.
When one opposes official bilingualism, one can expect to be quickly dumped on by many in the media and others. One is quickly labelled a redneck, a bigot or a racist, never a thoughtful person genuinely concerned about the long-term social and economic implications of such a move.
My wife is bilingual and rapidly becoming trilingual. I too am attempting -- I stress "attempting" -- to learn French, although admittedly my progress is slow. Je ne suis pas un bon étudiant, mais je fais un effort. There is no fear of languages in the Runciman family. If one has travelled in Europe, one cannot help admiring the many people who have facility in a number of languages. The establishment of increased language training opportunities in this province is something to be encouraged and supported.
The provision of French-language services for Franco-Ontarians is something for which my party has a distinguished record indeed. On behalf of this party, outstanding spokesmen such as the member for Cochrane South, the member for Cornwall (Mr. Guindon) and the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry will continue to be strong advocates for French-language services, and I know they will have the wholehearted support of their caucus colleagues.
Appropriate French-language services and the expansion of language training opportunities unquestionably deserve the support of this House. Official bilingualism, however, is a horse of a different colour. The proponents of official bilingualism, such as the Premier and the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr. Grandmaître), like to say that official bilingualism would simply confirm in legislation what is already the practice in many situations.
The key words here might be "in many situations." Canadians are light years from the fluency in each other's language that is common to most other multilingual democracies. Even in such a troubled case as Belgium, where about 60 per cent speak Flemish and 40 per cent speak French, around half the population is bilingual; so there is little justification in numbers for declaring Ontario officially bilingual. The social base for official bilingualism in Ontario is further weakened by the regionally diverse distribution of Ontarians claiming to be bilingual.
There is no question where the Premier and his party want to take us. It is down the Pierre Trudeau freeway in a continuation of his supreme exercise in social engineering, as Richard Gwyn described it in his book The Northern Magus: Pierre Trudeau's social revolution, whose central, inescapable fact is loss of power for unilingual Canadians.
Official bilingualism for Ontario is not appropriate. It will create considerable social and economic problems. It will be very divisive and it will mean second-class citizenship for the vast majority of Ontarians.
I would like to discuss tourism for a moment. As many members know, my riding is without doubt the most beautiful part of Ontario. I invite those who have doubts about that view to visit. In Leeds we have the Thousand Islands and the Rideau lakes and canal system. Leeds is an especially tempting area for anyone who has ever held a fishing pole or rod. It is easy to put a line in the St. Lawrence just by driving along the Thousand Islands Parkway between Gananoque and Brockville.
It is one of the most scenic routes in Canada, but we need a little more help from the province. I suggest an amendment to our signage policy to allow for signs that encourage the use of the parkway. It would help us divert some of the traffic from Highway 401. Thousands zip by every day without ever realizing how simple it is to enter the parkway and how easy it is to return to Highway 401.
In the throne speech's only reference to tourism -- and the budget did not expand on that area at all with regard to eastern Ontario -- the government talked about installing Peterson privies and upgrading a tourist reception centre in Lancaster, and the budget made vague references to additional funding. It is not much of a commitment.
I want to suggest a number of potential projects that merit government support and could have a tremendous impact on Leeds and all of eastern Ontario. First, I urge the government to give serious consideration, following the completion of Expo 86, to dismantling the Ontario pavilion and relocating it along the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Gananoque and Brockville would be excellent sites. Perhaps an even more attractive location would be somewhere along the Canadian span of the Thousand Islands International Bridge. This would be a major attraction and could generate huge dollar returns.
Another proposal that would impact on my area would be the development of a tourist railway, the Rideau Valley railway. The Rideau Valley division of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association has been working on a project that would see a tourist train plying the abandoned CN tracks between Smiths Falls and Chaffeys Locks on the Rideau Canal system. This is an imaginative and viable concept that would bring tremendous advantages to the area. Both direct employment, such as shop work, track work and train personnel, and indirect employment, such as store, motel and restaurant work, would be greatly enhanced. I urge the government to give this group as much encouragement and support as possible.
One final proposal is the concept of an ethnic village just outside Gananoque. This is in its infancy stage, but I urge the government to lend its wholehearted support to it.
Mr. South: It is a pleasure to speak in support of the budget. This is a fiscally responsible budget, a pay-as-you-go budget. After the budget, this party and this government held a reception in room 228 where there was a pay bar. We never saw those with the previous government. They were at the Albany Club and somebody paid the shot.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Shots.
Mr. South: Shots; that is right.
Hemingway said, "When you drink a man's whisky, you accept his morality." Who paid for the free bar after the Tory budget speeches? We do not know. Was it the taxpayers or was it the big financiers on Bay Street?
This budget saw a reduction in net cash requirements from $2.1 billion to $1.5 billion. It saw a deficit reduction of $260 million. The budget is good for eastern Ontario in spite of what my friend the member for Leeds (Mr. Runciman) says. He needs only to look in the Toronto Star today to see that 59 per cent of the residents of eastern Ontario support this government. The honourable member's position is in jeopardy.
Since coming to power, this government has increased the agricultural budget by 39 per cent. It has increased the expenditures for forestry protection by 13 per cent. The government in the budget has tried to even out the good fortune of the province to everyone.
Two notable exceptions where we are having problems are with the farmers and the mining industry and people in northern Ontario. However, the budget certainly addresses some of the problems of the farmers. I agree that we need to do more for the mining industry and for northern Ontario.
Mr. Runciman: What is the member's position on official bilingualism?
Mr. South: I see nothing wrong with it.
Mr. Runciman: Great. I will get Hansard.
Mr. South: We have a budget that has, as I have said, done much and will do more for eastern Ontario. The people recognize that and are accepting it. We see before us a transfer to the Ontario Development Corp. and the revitalization of the Eastern Ontario Development Corp.
The opposition has seen a government come in that has been innovative and has not been fearful of taking new tacks.
The Deputy Speaker: I remind the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) that he is not in his seat.
Mr. South: I say to the opposition, let us be a little more creative in how we oppose; let us be a little more innovative. Let us not just ask, "Why do you not cut two cents off the gasoline tax?" Two cents apparently means something like $300 million in revenue. That is a responsible statement only if they are asking, "What programs are we going to cut by $300 million, or where are we going to gain that loss of revenue of $300 million?" It is very irresponsible to stand up in this House and give only one part of the equation: "Cut two cents off the gasoline tax." That is very irresponsible if they do not also say what program they are going to cut or where they will get that money.
Yesterday the member for Brantford expressed the thought that the deficit should have been reduced by $800 million. I ask my honourable friend, who is not here, where would he get that $800 million? What programs would he cut back, or what taxes would he increase?
I give those in the opposition the challenge: Start to be a little creative. Start to be a little innovative. Start to try to follow the lead of a government that has the courage to come in and try new things. Do not fall into the rut of what was done last year, the year before, 20 years ago or 40 years ago. Be brave. The people of this province need the best government they can get, and we will get the best government only if the opposition is responsible, creative and innovative.
We have indicated some philosophies in the budget. We have indicated that there will be no giveaways in regard to freer trade. The opposition is continually wondering what our stand is, and it has been very clear and very emphatic right from the beginning where we are going and what it will do to us and for us. Let them tell us; and if they convince us there is a positive gain to be made by this province and this country, then we will be receptive and supportive.
I say to the New Democratic Party, which is concerned -- and I know well it should be -- about what is happening to northern Ontario, that it is a real tragedy. Instead of continually criticizing and asking what we are doing, why does it not make some suggestions? Why does it not come out with a positive program?
Mr. R. F. Johnston: What do you mean? We wrote the accord, for goodness' sake.
Mr. South: I disagree with the honourable member.
It should come out with a positive program for the north. What is it that we can do for Sault Ste. Marie? We have to realize that the production of steel faces a shrinking market. It faces increasing competition from countries such as Korea which have very up-to-date steel mills, very low-paid labour and, as I mentioned at the beginning, a shrinking steel market.
In Sault Ste. Marie, what should we do? Let them come up with positive ideas. Let them join with us and let us go together and see that the good fortune and the good management of this province are extended to everyone in the province. Give us more Liberal members in the north, and we will do more for the members opposite. That is a steal from a former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. The member for Muskoka made that statement in Simcoe. The member did not like that, eh?
Again, I support this budget. It will do much for eastern Ontario. It will help the tourism business. I have to agree with the honourable member for Leeds that we have one of the most naturally beautiful areas in the world: the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands. With regard to tourism, I believe we have hardly scratched the surface.
Tourism is a nonpolluting industry, and it is labour-intensive. What has killed tourism in this province in the past has been the one-season approach. We have to go after the four seasons. We have to have some central tourist complexes that are big with facilities for all weather conditions. The sun does not always shine, not even in Ontario with the Liberals. It is necessary to have activities for those inclement days.
We need some big, central tourist facilities which will have such things as racquetball sports, indoor tracks, lots of room for crafts, arts, sensitivity training and all those fun things that frustrated spouses go on. I guess I cannot say "housewives" any more.
Mr. Runciman: Does the member know any?
Mr. South: Frustrated spouses?
Tourism is an area where I feel this province can do a lot. We have to be selective. Again, eastern Ontario has been singled out as an area where we could wisely spend some good tourism dollars. I will be very anxious and supportive and insistent upon this government doing just that.
The other area where we need to do a lot more is with regard to the management of our forests. With our government and the dedication and commitment which the ministry now has from its minister, I believe we will manage our forests better, and we will get good production from one of our best natural resources.
In closing, I throw out the challenge to the opposition members to be creative in their thoughts. When they shoot across the room here with "Cut this" or "Why did you not do this?" let them come out with ideas on where that money is going to come from or come out with which program we should cut back, and perhaps then they will have our attention.
The Deputy Speaker: Are there any comments or questions?
Mr. Runciman: I hope the member will be in the House to respond to these. I would like to pursue his comments
The Deputy Speaker: Perhaps at this point the member for Frontenac-Addington will move adjournment of the debate, so the member for Leeds can then start his two minutes the next time.
On motion by Mr. South, the debate was adjourned.
The House adjourned at 6:30 p.m.