L018 - Thu 28 May 1987 / Jeu 28 mai 1987
The House met at 10 a.m.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BUSINESS
CLEAN WATER ACT
Mrs. Marland moved second reading of Bill 41, An Act to encourage the Rehabilitation of Water Delivery Systems in Ontario.
The Deputy Speaker: The honourable member has up to 20 minutes for her presentation, and she may reserve any part of that for the windup.
Mrs. Marland: In rising this morning to speak to my Bill 41, I must say at the outset that this could be a little place in history for the Ontario Legislature this morning, primarily because, through my own personal experience in the riding of Mississauga South, we have discovered that we have a very serious problem with rusty water.
I have dealt with the problem at the local municipal level and subsequently had a meeting in my office with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment officials, including Dennis Caplice, the assistant deputy minister, along with the ward councillor for that part of Mississauga, Harold Kennedy, who is also the region of Peel councillor for the area; Don Markle, who is the commissioner of public works for the region of Peel; and Rick Anderson, who is president of the Applewood Homeowners' Association and who indeed is the president of the ratepayers' group for the area where a part of the problem lies.
Having addressed the local introduction for me to this particular subject, I want now to address the fact that this is not a local problem by any means. I would like to show what rusty water looks like in Mississauga South. This is a sample of the kind of water that is coming through some of the pipes in some of the homes in two or three parts of south Mississauga.
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: That's whisky, Margaret.
Mrs. Marland: As a matter of fact, I will send it over with the page to the member for York North (Mr. Sorbara). He might like to see what this rusty water looks like.
In recognizing that this is indeed a very serious problem, we also have to recognize that to the home owners, in the case of the people who experience this problem, it is not just a matter of turning on the tap and receiving something that obviously is not healthy-looking or appetizing-looking. We are assured by the local department of health that there is no health hazard to the water and that the water is tested regularly.
However, there is a real economic cost to those people who have this problem, and for that reason I will now show members an undershirt. It is certainly not a common sight in the Ontario Legislature. It is an undershirt which at one time was white. It is now brown and has very heavy rust stains in it. This shirt was sent to me by one of my constituents, and I am very sympathetic to the economic cost for a family which has this kind of problem with the laundry. Obviously, nobody wants to wear underwear or any other garment that looks like that.
The problem is not new; it is not new in terms of perhaps the last five years particularly. It is not a problem that has not been identified and recognized. Unfortunately, however, it is a problem for which the remedy has yet to be provided. The remedy is a tremendous financial cost. Certainly, the deteriorating condition of Ontario's water and sewer infrastructure is increasingly well documented. The Canadian Federation of Municipalities has called for an expenditure of $14 billion over the next five years to correct the situation.
In fact, infrastructure rehabilitation, which of course also includes transportation systems in terms of highways and roads, has become the political buzzword of the year with both the federal and provincial governments paying lipservice to the problem, but neither is willing to accept responsibility or to commit funds. Infrastructure rehabilitation is a problem of today and tomorrow. We are a young province. Our emphasis in the past has been on development and growth. However, we must now turn our attention towards maintaining the standard of living and the standard of service that we have built over the past many decades.
A fund to assist municipalities in developing an inventory of needs is not enough. My constituents cannot, nor should they be expected to, wait. In Mississauga, the councillors and elected representatives are all too familiar with the concerns of the new mother who fears washing her infant in rusty, discoloured water. We hear daily and at public meetings the horrors of damaged laundry and ruined household articles. In fact, there is quite an expense to bathroom fixtures, as well, in some of these homes.
In the region of Peel, there are some 275 kilometres of old, iron water lines that need replacing because they are rusting out. The cost of replacement is estimated at $50 million in the region of Peel alone, yet we know it will be considerably higher if the rehabilitation program is delayed.
Our local government -- the city of Mississauga and the region of Peel -- on the front line, has acknowledged its responsibility and allocated $6 million for upgrading of water lines in 1987, a hefty commitment in spite of a decreasing share of the tax pie that regional governments must work with.
Quite simply, the provincial government must stop the buck-passing and make a contribution. Rehabilitation must become a focus of established public policy. This bill will bring the issue into the Ontario Legislature, as it does today for second reading. It is time this debate began. My constituents, as well as the constituents of every member of this Legislature, have a right to clean water.
I recognize that my bill will have the support of the government today, since in the throne speech it made a very clear commitment to resolving the problem. I am referring to page 24 in the throne speech under the heading, "A Safe Environment." I will quote from this throne speech:
"Ontario's sewage and water distribution systems represent an investment of $30 billion. We will provide enriched support to help municipalities maintain and rehabilitate sewage and water distribution systems, and protect our beaches, lakes, rivers and water supplies. Funds will be provided for projects such as sewage systems improvements, sewer separation, beach cleanup, pollution control plans and agricultural erosion control."
I was particularly happy to see that paragraph in the throne speech of a few weeks ago, recognizing that the current government is now ready to deal with the problem, in spite of the fact that the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Bradley) has said in the past that he could not make progress in resolving this problem because the federal government was not in the position that it was willing to have anything to do with it.
I was also happy to see, under "Environment" on page 13 of the budget which was presented in this Legislature last week, that the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) had also addressed the problem. In the presentation of his budget, the Treasurer told us:
"Deteriorating water and sewer systems throughout the province must be rebuilt before they require even more costly replacement. To determine the extent and urgency of this problem, $14 million is being made available over the next three years, to assist municipalities in undertaking detailed assessments of the condition of their facilities."
In addressing the fact that the government has allocated $14 million for municipalities to assess the condition of their facilities, I would like to say that in the region of Peel that assessment has been done. In the region of Peel, as I said a few minutes ago, we know how much is needed in terms of mileage over these rusty water lines. We also know very well how much money that would cost. We do not need more money to go away and simply count our pipes. We have done that.
I recognize that there will be some municipalities around the province that have yet to make that assessment, but I am also aware, through a submission of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, that AMO has recognized, through all its member municipalities, that the municipal funding of replacement of infrastructure is simply not possible without help from the provincial government.
When, for people to have clean water, it requires an added expenditure in some parts of the province as opposed to some other parts, then we are not dealing with equity for our constituents. In fact, I have a constituent who spent in excess of $250 to have a water treatment system put in his house, but the cost does not end there. This water treatment system requires filtering. It is a process of filtering and it requires filters. I understand these filters normally last anywhere from three to four months; in this home, they last about 21 days.
A new filter in this home is white. Within 21 days, that white filter becomes pure brown rust in colour. As we look at the two filters, we recognize how severe the problem is in that particular house. It is also a severity financially, because these filters cost about $38 a pair and you use two at a time. So that house is spending $38 every 21 days simply on filtering out the major chunks of rust in the home -- not the fine rust, but the kind that is in this kind of water.
At this point, I will reserve my six minutes and 49 seconds until the end of the debate.
Mr. Foulds: I rise to support this bill in a spirit of generosity and fairness this morning. I have some reservations about the touching faith that the member shows in the Lieutenant Governor in Council. I am actually quite amazed that the bill is, if I may use the phrase, as wishy-washy as it is and as tentative. It is uncharacteristic of the member for Mississauga South (Mrs. Marland) to be as tentative as she is in this bill.
First, if I could just look at the first section of the bill, she leaves it to the Lieutenant Governor in Council to name the minister to supervise the act. Obviously, it should be the Minister of the Environment. Obviously, St. Bradley does not have enough on his plate as it is and needs another
Mr. Martel: St. James.
Mr. Foulds: St. James Bradley, that is. He needs another piece of legislation to keep him busy commuting from St. Clair Avenue to the Ontario Legislature.
Second, I have some problems with section 5 of the bill, where the member indicates that "the minister shall offer the municipality whatever assistance it requires in developing a plan to determine how most efficiently to effect appropriate rehabilitation of that water delivery system." That is a very difficult term to define in law, "whatever assistance it requires." I hope the member will be able to indicate more clearly, in regulations that she can put forward in her windup this morning, what assistance she feels the municipalities require.
Then in section 7, I do not want to use the term too harshly, but I really feel the member lets the government and the minister off the hook. She says, "Where the minister considers it appropriate to do so, the minister may provide grants or loans to municipalities to assist them in rehabilitating water delivery systems." I think we should have a much more clear-cut definition of what is an appropriate water delivery system, because I believe very strongly that section 4 and section 7 of the member's bill are very important and worth while. For those two sections alone, I shall support the bill.
I believe that clean water is the crucial issue of the 20th century. I am afraid this bill deals with a very minor and small proportion of the problem.
If society as a whole does not come to the understanding that both air and water are necessary for it to survive; and if society, particularly in the industrialized nations of the world does not realize that we can no longer afford to continue to pollute these God-given things that ensure our species' survival, then the species will not survive. It is as simple and as direct as that.
I am afraid the fact that the member is concerned about beige underwear does not really come to the heart of the issue. I think we need to look seriously at the state of our water delivery systems throughout the whole province, as the member indicates. I think we need to have an annual report by the Minister of the Environment to this Legislature about the state of those water delivery systems.
Merely upgrading those water delivery systems does not solve the fundamental problem of the pollution of our water. We have to stop the pollution at source. Obviously, we need to upgrade the filtration systems, the infrastructure in our municipalities, in order to ensure clean water for most of our urban centres, but we also need to look at the supply of clean water throughout the province.
With respect to the member for Mississauga South, where was her party during the crisis of the pollution of the English-Wabigoon river system back in the early 1970s? Where was her party in the crisis of the asbestos contamination of Lake Superior in the 1970s? Where was her party in the last parliament when it came to the pollution of our water systems throughout this province with polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins and other toxic chemicals?
I believe it is the toxicity of the chemical pollution of our water systems that is a far more urgent and far more crucial issue than the problem of beige underwear in Mississauga. l believe this is a very serious topic. I believe the subject is of utmost importance. If I may say so, I am a trifle worried that the member's approach has trivialized a very important issue.
But, as I say, I will support the bill and I would urge members to support the bill and put it in committee for some very tough amendments to upgrade and enhance this bill. I will support the bill, as I said, because of section 4 and section 7 in the act. I believe it is the first step to action to have a thorough and proper accounting, if you like, a listing of the facilities in the province and the state they are in.
That principle is, I think, a principle we endorsed in this party when we talked about forestry in this province. We felt the first step to getting a proper rehabilitation of the forests, a proper reforestation program going, was to get a proper accounting of what was available in our forests. Similarly, what we need in the province is a proper accounting of what our water delivery systems are like.
But fundamentally, as I said, we need to tackle the problem of pollution at source. We need to stop the polluters and we need to start making the polluters pay; and pay not merely in fines, which is simply a licence to continue to pollute, but pay by rehabilitating their internal systems so that they do not discharge toxic chemicals into our water systems.
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: I had not really intended to participate in this debate, but I really could not resist being here this morning. Having had a chance to analyse the bill, Bill 41, An Act to encourage the Rehabilitation of Water Delivery Systems in Ontario, I want to congratulate the member for Mississauga South for introducing the bill, but I just wonder, as my friend the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) wondered, whether the bill really captured what needs to be undertaken in this province in respect of clean water.
The member for Mississauga South, the sponsor of the bill, gave not a dry speech, a very good speech, in support of her bill. I do not want to say that she was all wet in her bill --
Mr. Martel: Ohhhh.
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: -- on rehabilitating the water systems, but I tell my friend the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) that there were demonstrations in this House by the member for Mississauga South, who talked about those poor people in Mississauga who are suffering the heartbreak of rusty undershirts. I am glad that my friend from Mississauga South, in respect of the decorum that this House must maintain, did not bring in other items of underwear to illustrate the problem.
She did, though, pass me a jar of Mississauga water, which is indeed full of rust. Generally, what we used to do when we had this problem is run the tap for a little while. The problem developed because the water had been standing in the pipes for a very long time. By the way, the water at Queen's Park is not full of rust because we drink a lot of it in the House and there is no rust there at all.
My friend gave a good speech in support of her bill. I thought she would use some literary references. There are all sorts of great literary references. I thought she might say that in Mississauga there was, "Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink." All of it is in the washing machines ruining the undershirts of the province and, indeed, the nation, but she did whet my appetite and encourage me to say a few words.
I want to encourage the member with her bill, because the essence of the bill is very important. The issues that are raised, although skirted around in typical Conservative fashion, do suggest certain problems that I think we need to address as a parliament in a province that is industrialized to the point where issues relating to clean water and clean air are crucial to our future.
My friend from Port Arthur spoke to those issues and I think he made a couple of very important points. Unfortunately, this bill does not speak directly to the key issue and that is, what is the quality of the water going into these rusty pipes? Surely, the matter of infrastructure that my friend from Mississauga South points out is important.
There are millions and billions of dollars worth of infrastructure in the ground and in the air, joining us up in so many ways electronically, with gas pipelines from western Canada that are deteriorating, sewage pipelines which take the sewage to the sewage treatment plants on our waterways. All of that infrastructure is important, but the key issue for a post-industrial economy is and has to do with what is going into the system. What is the quality of our air and our water?
My friend from Mississauga South suggests that the minister, whoever is chosen by the Lieutenant Governor, should make an annual report, suggesting that the minister should report on the status of water delivery systems throughout the province. That is a good idea, but surely we should go further than that if we really want to tackle the problem.
I recall that one of our colleagues in the House of Commons in Ottawa, a friend of mine, Charles Caccia, who is the federal member for Davenport, wrote an article that appeared a couple of years ago.
Mr. Grande: He is in trouble now.
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: A Liberal member, I tell my friend the member for Oakwood. He wrote a very important article in the Toronto Star in which he suggested that the true solution in terms of pollution is that industries in this province must adopt the mentality of, "If it is clean going in, it has to be clean coming out." That is the kind of situation we have to have. That is the kind of infrastructure we have to develop in this province, particularly in the industries. Frankly, we do not have that yet. We do not have a society, an economy, an industrial base that has adopted that sort of notion as the fundamental principle of utilization of our natural resources.
My friend the member for Mississauga South talks about the rust in the pipes in Mississauga. The issue she is talking about, clean water, is going to be crucial to this province, this nation and this continent over the next many years. Water used to be considered a commodity that was everywhere. I remember learning in grade 3 science that it was the universal solvent. It was to be found everywhere. Back in those days, we did not really consider that it was threatened in any way, that the precious natural resource was threatened by what we see today as severe challenges from a very highly industrialized economy.
Now, in a kind of North American post-industrial economy, we see great pressures on our water system. We see the southern part of the United States experiencing dramatic shortages in water. Are they going to be coming to Ontario? Are they going to be coming to Canada to look for new supplies of fresh water? It is a very important issue.
Mr. Foulds: If Ronald Reagan has his way, yes.
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: My friend the member for Port Arthur says, "If Ronald Reagan has his way, yes."
Mr. Foulds: And Tom Kierans.
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: And Tom Kierans.
It is something we all have to think about and be concerned about. This is a very precious commodity. We must treat it very seriously, not only in the pipes of Mississauga, where there appears to be a little bit of rust, but also throughout this province, in the north and throughout the country.
Mr. Grande: You are minimizing the problem.
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: My friend the member for Oakwood says I am minimizing the problems. I do not think so. I think perhaps my friend from Mississauga South has restricted her concern in her bill to too narrow a problem and has not gone beyond the problems of dirty laundry in Mississauga and the cost of a $21 water filter. Certainly, infrastructure has to be dealt with, but I think there will come a time very soon in this province when we have to take an entirely fresh approach to how we are going to protect this very precious resource.
I live on a farm just outside Maple where, 80 years ago, the farmer who preceded me on that farm was able to dig about 20 feet into the ground and find fresh, clean water that he could pump up by hand. The pump still sits in my backyard, and it still works, by the way. He could be guaranteed that the water was clean, fresh, potable and usable. He could wash and bathe in it, cook his vegetables in it, give it to his children and give it to his cattle. That same water in that same hole is no longer drinkable, no longer usable.
The water I use in Maple is now pumped up from Lake Ontario, which is not all that great a situation. It has all kinds of chemicals in it. It has too much chlorine in it.
The member from Port Arthur suggests we will do away with the species if we are not careful, if we do not protect this resource. I think he gives it a little bit too high a concern. I do not think we are about to poison ourselves and wipe the species off the face of the earth, but it is a very important issue.
I am glad this bill is before the House and I want to indicate to my friend from Mississauga South that I congratulate her on the bill. I thank her for her bottle of rusty Mississauga water. I thought she would add a little something else to it. I did not try drinking it. It does not look very appetizing.
I want to indicate that I support her initiative and I hope, in her desire to bring cleaner water and cleaner laundry to Mississauga, that the tide is turning and that we will, under the guidance of my colleague the Minister of the Environment be in for some very good times in this province as far as the environment and the quality of water are concerned.
Mr. Gillies: I am very pleased to join this debate this morning on the bill put before the House by my colleague the member for Mississauga South. I am delighted that my colleague has taken this very worthwhile and practical initiative, which I will be pleased to support and which I hope all members of the House will be pleased to support.
I listened with some interest to the comments made a few moments ago by my friend the Minister of Colleges and Universities. While I am pleased to hear of his support for the bill, I was drawn to the comment my friend made, that he felt my colleague had restricted the focus of her bill too greatly. I would like to talk about that, because if my friend will accept a little criticism -- not personal, but in a general sense -- I think the speech we just heard is very indicative of the approach to a number of issues taken by this Liberal government.
The Liberal approach is to express a lot of anguish and concern about the generalities of whatever the issue before the House is -- in this case, the quality of water -- but not to offer any practical solutions as to what should be done. No practical solutions at all are offered by our friends in the government, whereas the very specific bill put before the House by my colleague the member for Mississauga South does indeed offer some practical solutions.
The whole question of the deterioration of our water delivery and sewage systems in this province, the whole question of the maintenance of those systems, is one of the more pressing issues we have to face as a Legislature. I think the members would agree it is not a particularly sexy issue. The public does not, generally speaking, get in a lather over the deterioration of a system which is under their feet and is not readily visible.
We can all get concerned about potholes and the quality of our roads, as well we should, but we have an equally extensive and equally expensive infrastructure underground which also has need of our attention. As my colleague has pointed out, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has expressed great concern over the condition of this infrastructure and feels that nationally, in the coming years, we could see required an expenditure in the billions of dollars.
Certainly, the infrastructure under our feet in Ontario is estimated to be worth something more than $20 billion, and yet we do not see anywhere near the kind of commitment that is needed to maintain or improve that system.
In the recent budget, we heard the Treasurer say he was going to make available several million dollars to study the problem, to do an inventory of sewer and water systems in the province and determine where the problems are. I would suggest to the members of the governing party that is not what is required right now at all. A study has already been done -- the minister is well aware of this -- by the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Contractors Association and it has already put forward its estimate of the scope of the problem. The association said the problem is estimated to require something in the region of $150 million or $160 million a year for the next 60 years. Effectively, what they are really telling us is that the problem is going to require in the neighbourhood of $150 million or $160 million a year for the foreseeable future, because 60 years down the road the whole system will have to be revamped and we will be pretty well starting all over again.
We are not seeing anywhere near that kind of commitment and that kind of push from the government. When the member for Mississauga South brings in a very practical measure to address one part of that problem, I believe it is worthy of our support. Let us be very clear about the purpose of the member's bill. She is talking about measures to promote and assist the rehabilitation of water delivery systems. That is part of the overall infrastructure problem which, of course, includes the sewage systems too.
She is talking about investigation of the need for rehabilitation, but more important she is talking about assistance to municipalities in determining effectively how to rehabilitate their own systems, she is talking about practical financial assistance to the municipalities involved to reach that goal.
The reason this is important can be readily identified if one looks at a number of communities in the province. The one I am going to make reference to is the town of Fort Erie. The member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) is not here, but I am sure he shares my concern that there is a situation there in which the municipality is really caught in a double bind. The double bind is this: that municipality has a sewer system that is completely incapable of meeting the requirements for treating the sewage generated by that town. Indeed, whenever it rains -- three or four times a month on average -- the sewer system overflows and there are discharges of raw sewage from the town of Fort Erie into the lake.
The problem Fort Erie has, and I use this as an example, is that because of this problem the Minister of the Environment has effectively put a moratorium on further development of that community. In other words, except in extraordinary circumstances we are not seeing new buildings, new developments and new sources of tax revenue going up in and around Fort Erie. At the same time, the Minister of the Environment and this government are not willing to put forward the kind of dollar commitment required for them to correct the problem.
I am sure the problem becomes readily apparent. We have a municipality that effectively cannot grow, so it cannot generate the kind of local taxation it needs to try to meet the need, and at the same time it is not getting the assistance from this government that it needs to correct the problem.
I was in Fort Erie several weeks ago. I met with the mayor and some of his officials. As Environment critic for our party, I can say that they are very frustrated indeed. They want to work with the government to correct the problem but they are not getting the assistance they need.
This is the kind of practical assistance my colleague the member for Mississauga South is talking about. This is the kind of practical dollar commitment my friend is talking about. If, in terms of sewer and watermain rehabilitation and providing clean water for our citizens, we are talking of a commitment of $150 million or $160 million a year for the foreseeable future, then so be it. This government has the money. The Treasurer has recently opened the books. We have seen his budgetary plan for the coming year. They on the other side of the floor cannot argue that they do not have the money, because of course they do; they have a budgetary surplus. Where better could we use it than in ensuring we supply clean water to our citizens?
One thing the preceding speaker said with which I would have to agree was that the water quality issues my friend is addressing in her bill are very complex. We are talking about water discharge, about the purity of water being discharged back into the system and about the quality of water being taken into the system. With that premise, I agree. The municipal-industrial sewage abatement program currently being put into effect by the Ministry of the Environment is a small step towards the treatment of municipal sewage and waste such that we have cleaner water going back into our lakes and rivers prior to its being used by other municipalities and other people. But that too is flawed.
I will be proposing to the House in the near future a resolution that I believe is a companion resolution and is complementary to that put forward by my colleague the member for Mississauga South. It is based on this, and I will say this by way of conclusion: the program currently in effect under the Ministry of the Environment regulates only those 300 pollution sources that are dumping directly into our lakes, rivers and streams; about 300 industrial sources of that type of pollution. Members of the House should be aware that there are some 13,000 sources of industrial pollution that are not dumping directly into our waters but are dumping into the municipal sewage treatment facilities.
I believe, and I will be proposing to the House, that those sources of pollution should also be regulated. They should be cleaning up their act prior to passing along the problem to our municipal sewer systems. I think that, coupled with the clean water initiative proposed by my colleague, would put us much further ahead on the whole issue of water quality in our province.
Mr. Grande: I am happy to rise in support of Bill 41, which is the bill of the member for Mississauga South. I understand from other members who have spoken before that one of our concerns, a major concern, should be in terms of how clean the water is prior to getting in the pipes. Obviously, we must do everything possible to make sure that the toxic substances in the water are taken out and that the water is filtered and filtered well before it goes into the pipes for distribution to the homes of people of this province.
That is one issue, a very important issue. The second issue, which is just as important, is what is the quality of water the people in our province and in our municipalities get out of their taps? That is important because what the people see is the water as it comes out of their taps, the water that is supposed to be water that they can drink.
The member for Mississauga South sent me as well a bottle with reddish water in it. I guess if you disturb it, that water will become redder. There is rust in there. There is no doubt.
I brought along my own bottle. This bottle of water comes from a home in the riding of Oakwood. If I show the members this bottle, they will see there is a darkish sediment in it. If I were to disturb this darkish sediment, they would find that this whole bottle turns black -- virtually black.
I am not going to suggest or leave the impression in the minds of the members of the Legislature that this is the way the water in the riding of Oakwood comes 24 hours a day. Far from me to do that, because it is not true. The problem is that this kind of water comes out of the taps of the people of the riding of Oakwood more often than I or they want this kind of water to come through our taps.
The distribution system in the part of the city of York I represent in this Legislature is at least 60 to 70 years of age. The watermains have indeed deteriorated. What we have been finding in the last four years is that more and more of this kind of problem is occurring. This should tell us, it should tell the municipality, it should tell the provincial level of government and it should tell the federal level of government that some money, some dough, has to be put in, to rehabilitate if it is possible, or to replace that water distribution system.
The problem is that the provincial level of government appears to be interested, saying: "Well, we will give you some money, municipalities, to study the needs you have. You can go for the next three to four years and study your needs." But the federal level of government has discontinued support to the municipality for this kind of function, for the rehabilitation of sewage and watermains. The members will remember, of course, that Tom McMillan, the federal Minister of the Environment, has said: "We do not have a dime for that. It is not our responsibility. It is the responsibility of the provincial level of government and the municipality."
I just want to suggest to the members that that kind of attitude coming from the federal government is certainly not going to help us in Ontario, and the people of the riding of Oakwood and the city of York in particular, to do something about resolving this problem; which is a nuisance more than anything else but it is there. Four or five times a year, if not more, this occurs in almost every home in the riding of Oakwood.
The problem is simple. The water distribution system in some of our municipalities is too old and needs to be replaced. We need a lot of money for that. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has said we need at least $14 billion across Canada to do that; in Ontario, $6 billion.
I would hope that the member for Mississauga South, whose bill I will support, will be able to talk to the Minister of the Environment at the federal level and say: "Come on, Tom, change your mind. We need some money. We need some dollars to come to our municipalities in order to do that. Do not just shrug it off and say it is not a federal responsibility." People pay taxes to the federal level of government and people deserve those services.
The provincial level of government also has to make a commitment, and the commitment to conduct a study is not good enough in areas such as the city of York, where the water distribution system has deteriorated to the extent that millions of dollars have to be spent.
Last, the city of York does not have the tax base to generate the kinds of funds needed to provide or to rehabilitate those services. It just does not have the base. I do not know how many times I have to get up in this Legislature and say so, whether to the Minister of the Environment to the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Fulton), to the Treasurer, to the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr. Grandmaître), or to whichever minister. The city of York does not have the tax base to be able to raise the money to provide these services to its residents. As a result of that, the provincial level of government has to come through with funding so our services can be as good as -- as good as -- other places in Metropolitan Toronto.
The water distribution system has to be looked after. We do want Mr. McMillan at the federal level, and the Minister of the Environment at the provincial level, and the municipality -- the mayor of the city of York in the particular instance I am talking to you about -- to get together and say: "Look, there is a problem here. Let us put our heads together, let us put our moneys together, and let us get on and solve that problem."
In solving that problem, we also create a lot of jobs, and we lessen the unemployment problem that is there.
I would say to the member who brought forward Bill 41 that I will support the bill. I would have hoped the member could have been a little stronger in terms of the contents of this bill. In some municipalities, we have passed the point of encouragement or study. Our services, particularly in terms of water and sewage treatment, have deteriorated to the point where they have to be replaced. We need to have the money to do that; we need the federal level of government and the provincial level of government to work together with the municipality in order to provide those services for residents in our municipalities.
It does us no good for the federal level of government to be saying, "We are not interested." It does us no good for the provincial level of government to be telling us, "Because the federal level of government is not interested we are not going to get involved in it."
There are indeed very serious problems in the municipality, and we need the support of every level of government in order to accomplish our goal, which is clean water for the residents in our municipalities. It is one of the things we take for granted, but when I see this kind of water coming out of the taps of the riding of Oakwood, I say we cannot take it for granted any more. We need to do a lot of work, and we must get on with the job immediately.
Mrs. Marland: I am sorry the member for York North has left, because I was looking forward to telling him that simply running the water through these taps does not resolve the problems. He suggested they let the water run. In fact, when residents of Mississauga South let the water run, that is when they get large amounts of rust at one time and it does not improve the situation. In fact, it impedes the situation even more. Obviously, rust is not a problem only in Mississauga and that is why this bill is before the House today.
I would like to address the fact that the Minister of the Environment, in January 1986, which is about 17 months ago now, did acknowledge that the problem exists. Here again, I thought if the member for York North had been here he would have benefited from knowing this. This is not to do with the quality of water from the aspect he was arguing it but rather from the point of view of this bill. In his speech in January 1986, the Minister of the Environment said:
"Now, though, because of ageing systems, preventive maintenance and rehabilitation must become a priority. I assure you that I will do all I can to see that this happens. From where I stand, there is very little choice in the matter. We pay for rehabilitation of our municipal infrastructure now, or we pay greater costs down the road. The cost of inaction includes a deteriorating environment and increased health risk.
"In some cases, watermains will suffer from calcium buildup. Ground water will become contaminated by sewage system leaks. Sewage treatment facilities will be overloaded by inflow and infiltration problems associated with old and outmoded combined sewer systems."
The minister goes on to say:
"Acting now will save Canada and the provinces billions and billions of dollars. Acting later means, in effect, that we are squandering the efforts, funds and goodwill that built our current water-related systems by allowing to them to fall into a state of irreversible disrepair. There is also an argument to be made that any federal funds which go into infrastructure rehabilitation will be paid back in spades through job creation and economic stimulation.
"The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has issued a report demonstrating just that. The report, called Work, Work, Work, shows that an investment in public works carried with it the maximum multiplier effect. The report argues that improving the country's essential infrastructure improves its ability to grow and prosper."
I would suggest that all those benefits that were addressed in that paragraph from the federal perspective of our nation certainly have to apply from the provincial perspective of Ontario. While the minister addresses the fact that to have these projects put in jeopardy by a lack of federal funding is unfortunate, he also goes on to say, "Delay in infrastructure rehabilitation on economic grounds is an extremely unsound argument."
I could not support the minister's comments any more strongly than he has stated them. However, in making that statement, the minister has to recognize that these federal programs to which he referred, which now no longer exist, were not dismantled by the Progressive Conservative government in Ottawa but rather were dismantled before its term in office by the federal Liberal government in Ottawa.
While we now know that speech was made in January 1986 by the Minister of the Environment, and those were remarks to the Ontario chapter of the American Public Works Association, we know that almost a year and one month later, on February 5, 1987, in comments made by the Honourable Tom McMillan to the first Canadian Conference on Urban Infrastructure, he said, "Let me begin by ending the suspense for you and for me. The federal government does not intend to restore previously dismantled municipal programs."
I think it is important to recognize that it was the Liberal government that dismantled those programs and, in fact, those programs did not address the need that is addressed by this bill in the Legislature today. Those programs for funding infrastructure were for new construction only, not for rehabilitation. There has never been a funding program for rehabilitation and replacement of infrastructure in this country. That is why this bill is so important in the Legislature today.
Since we now know that the federal government is not in a position to replace even the new construction, I think it is time that in Ontario we discontinued this cop-out approach where we say, "We will do it if they do it," and, as a result, my residents in Mississauga South and the residents of all the members of all tidings in this province, if they do not face this problem today, certainly will be facing it in the near future.
Since I was asked by the member for Port Arthur why this bill did not go further, I would like to tell him that when this bill is in the committee, it will be able to be fine-tuned. The purpose of my moving this bill in the first place was to do what was needed, that is, to bring this whole subject into the public forum. We recognize the abilities of the members of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to help negotiate what the terms of the bill will be in order to address their problem.
It is with pleasure that I move this bill to the standing committee on resources development. I look for the unanimous support of this House, as it is a problem for every member of this House.
TRADE WITH THE UNITED STATES
Mr. McCaffrey moved resolution 9:
That in the opinion of this House the federal government's initiatives to negotiate a bilateral trading arrangement with the United States should be supported as part of the government's multilateral trade policy, while protecting our political sovereignty, social programs, agricultural marketing systems, the auto industry and our unique cultural identity; and further that this House believes that the provincial government must take a more active role in the development of Canada's trade strategy and the trade negotiations, including clearly putting forward Ontario's position with respect to this issue of importance to all Canadians.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Morin): The honourable member has up to 20 minutes for his presentation and may reserve any portion of it for the windup.
Mr. McCaffrey: I will be very brief. The substance of this resolution is almost identical to a similar resolution recently discussed in the House of Commons. What I want to do today in particular is provide an opportunity for two of my colleagues, the member for Eglinton (Mr. McFadden) and the member for Durham-York (Mr. Stevenson), to add some very substantive and specific matters as they apply to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the whole question of tariff reduction. The member for Eglinton will be giving some trade figures and the member for Durham-York will discuss in some detail, time permitting, some agricultural impacts of this resolution.
The thrust of the resolution I think is clear. We want to see this government be far more definitive in where it stands on this broad issue of free trade. There is nobody in this assembly who does not understand the politics of appearing to be going slowly, appearing to be going thoughtfully and appearing to be protecting the manufacturing base and other business interests in this province. There is a century of history to that position.
I want, though, to give one example of where I think this government has been unusually creative and I encourage it to carry that same innovative thrust through to other matters of the trade talks. Periodically, governments do things that reflect what I will call global realities. If I may give one specific example, in the securities industry, an industry I know a little bit about, we have in effect something nearly approaching a free trade market right now. That is the global reality of the securities business and indeed of the whole question of the financial industry.
Money moves with ease from country to country. Investors move with ease from country to country. Securities are increasingly being listed on all the world stock exchanges, whatever their country of origin. In our own country, some of our principal and major industrial companies such as Bell Canada and a number of our banks are listed and will be trading today on the Tokyo stock exchange. It is an example of a trend that in my judgement will accelerate.
About three months ago this government, through the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Kwinter), took what I think was a very courageous, creative and gutsy move in fundamentally changing the ownership provisions of the securities industry in this jurisdiction. Its impact will be felt throughout the country. What it boils down to is that the minister, with the encouragement and support of the Premier (Mr. Peterson), ruled that, as of June this year, foreigners may own up to 50 per cent of a Canadian securities dealer and that by June 1988, just a year down the road, foreigners will be able to own, control and operate 100 per cent of a Canadian-based securities dealer.
It is a creative move. By the way, it is a move that is still causing some debate in the industry, but in my judgement, it is a move that reflects the global realities of that industry and recognizes at the same time that if we are going to be able to survive as a securities and financial community, we have to be able to compete on the world level. It goes without saying that there is sufficient confidence that Canadians can compete internationally. Scores of businesses are doing it today, and I think the government simply needs to have the confidence to be able to move ahead.
Before turning this over to my colleagues, I encourage the government to be a little more candid, up front and courageous and to show the same kind of leadership in other areas of this trading question that has been shown in the securities area. It should have the confidence in Canadian entrepreneurs and business leaders that we all have. The reality is that if we do not face these global realities, we are going to be in trouble. We have no alternative but to face the international competition that Canadians can match.
Mr. Mackenzie: I rise with interest to take part in this debate on the resolution that has been moved by my friend and colleague the member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey). I find a little bit of an air of unreality to the resolution he has moved in this House. The motion says, "That in the opinion of this House the federal government's initiatives to negotiate a bilateral trading arrangement with the United States should be supported." That is fairly clear. It is probably the key to what we are debating here, except for one other item and that is the last section, "clearly putting forward Ontario's position with respect to this issue of importance to all Canadians."
Those are the key words as far as I am concerned in resolution 9 that has been presented to the House today. The problem we have is that if we buy endorsing the federal initiative, we are talking about -- because they have never backed off it -- a comprehensive, bilateral trading agreement between Canada and the United States, a trading agreement that starts from a level playing field, that establishes so-called equality between the two parties and that supposedly will be a win-win situation for both sides in the talks.
That is just not likely. We are not only dealing with the numbers -- a country of almost 26 million people against a country of 240 million to 250 million people -- we are also dealing with an industrial base on the other side of the river that can swamp almost any one of our industries at any time it wants. We are dealing with farm legislation right now that we simply cannot, in most cases, compete with. We are dealing with a US commitment to protect its countervail legislation, which means that an action can be brought at any time if somebody is being unfairly hurt in the United States.
The effort to get around that opening sentence is in the remarks that follow -- this is why I say it is almost a trip into fairyland -- which say, "while protecting our political sovereignty, social programs, agricultural marketing systems, the auto industry and our unique cultural identity." I do not know how much more evidence we need than what we have had from Mr. Yeutter and Mr. Murphy in terms of these very items having to be on the table. There is no way we are not going to negotiate some of these items.
I will take a piece out of the Toronto Star, if I can, that has been reiterated a number of times since. These are comments that Mr. Yeutter was making. I am quoting from the Toronto Star of December 19:
"I would be concerned if the term `culture' is defined in such a way that it could have a major dampening effect on the overall negotiating process. I would certainly hope and expect that Prime Minister Mulroney and Minister Kelleher and others will take a reasonable, rational view of that issue. While it is seen as premature to exempt cultural industries before talks get under way, Ottawa could always do so during the formal negotiations."
Significantly, Mr. Yeutter suggested in the same speech that Canada would have to make tradeoffs with the US if it wanted to protect these sensitive cultural industries. Is the member saying that we will deal as long as these things are exempt and not accepting the fact that, by putting these items on the table, we are going to have to make tradeoffs? That does not make any sense to me. He goes on further to say, "The argument over cultural industries can be thrashed out only at the bargaining table."
I will leave that one for a moment and talk about the auto pact, which is essential to the jobs of literally hundreds of thousands of people in Ontario. These are Mr. Yeutter's comments, not mine. This was reinforced by Mr. Murphy and by a number of other Americans on a number of occasions since. "Asked at his news conference about the auto pact, which has regulated trade in cars and parts between the two countries since the 1960s and now yields a surplus for Canada, Yeutter argued that it must be included in free trade talks." Mr. Murphy has said exactly the same thing.
I want to know from my colleague in the House if that is now all right. We can go into any one of the other areas that really concern us, some of the farm products, a number of the other industries, but is it all right now that we negotiate with those on the table and make our tradeoffs accordingly? Or is he saying in his resolution that those things have to be exempted and from there we are going to sit down and talk? I submit they are two entirely different things. It starts us out not in a win-win position but in an absolutely no-win-no-win position in this country of ours.
I know the concerns of working people. I know some of the concerns of business. There were almost as many business people, probably more, before our committee when we were holding the hearings. I will not go into the details of the trucking industry or a number of others. They outlined in graphic detail the concerns they had.
I also want to go back to this last statement he made, "clearly putting forward Ontario's position with respect to this issue of importance to all Canadians." On that item, I can agree with him. I would like to know what Ontario's position is. I would like to know what this Liberal government's position is in terms of free trade.
I know what the position of the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) is. He is on record fairly clearly as favouring the whole idea. I know the position taken on some of the arguments, all the while qualifying that the government also did not want to deal with these certain items that would really hurt us. The position that was taken by Liberal members in that committee on the free trade initiative was that they were in favour of it, provided we could somehow qualify it; but never answered was that qualification that we do not deal with those items or that we do put them on the table and make sure we negotiate protection on those particular items. In the course of doing so, what are the tradeoffs?
There are obviously tradeoffs any time one puts major items like the auto pact, like culture, like a number of other industries on the bargaining table. There are obviously tradeoffs. The thing that has bothered me in this whole argument is exactly where Ontario and the Liberal government stand as we start getting down to the short strokes in the trade negotiations that we are in in Washington now. Quite frankly, I do not know where they stand. I do not know how much grit and determination is going to be there in terms of protecting some of these things.
The minute we enter in and endorse the trade talks that we are now being asked to reinforce with this resolution, except with all the qualifications, somebody has to tell us clearly what those qualifications mean and whether or not they mean those are not on the table, period; or do they mean that they are on the table but we will do the trading off that is necessary to protect ourselves in those particular areas? If that is the argument that is being made here, then we are in a no-win position before we even start in these comprehensive trade negotiations.
When my colleague also says, "We have a history of protecting our industrial base in this country" -- and there are certain industries that we cannot let go down the tube -- I go back to the same question: Do we put them on the table and let something else go back down the tube in the course of the negotiations? It does not make any sense. This particular resolution that is before us has an air of real unreality.
Certainly, I and my colleagues cannot support it, much as we would like to know what Ontario's position is and much as we think we probably should be having more of a voice in this because Ontario has more to lose. We certainly do not endorse the type of initiative that was presented to us that said we wore not going to lose these particular items in our country. But every single day that goes by, when we listen to the trade negotiators, the US ambassador, their senior people, when we talked to the senators in the United States, it was made very clear that all the things we are talking about exempting were on the table.
I say to the members of this House that it does not make any sense at all. Our position should be much more forthright and clear as to what we want, and it certainly is not to see the continua lion of this particular federal initiative of Mr. Mulroney which, incidentally, he entered into without any predebate in this country, entered into from a position of saying he opposed it when he was running for the leadership and really tried to pull a fast one without a clear consensus among the Canadian people as to what they were trying to do. My party will be opposing this resolution.
Mr. D. R. Cooke: I rise with a little sorrow. I recall meeting the member for Armourdale in 1985 when I first was elected to this assembly and I recall receiving some excellent advice from him as to how to conduct oneself as a member of the provincial parliament. I looked forward to a fuller relationship at that time. I have hardly seen him since, I do not see him now, but I was hoping that we could welcome him back to the Legislature.
I am sorry about that, not only for personal reasons but also because we now learn, somewhat belatedly, about his interest in the free trade negotiations. We learn that he has apparently missed the most thorough and comprehensive review of the possibilities, and the downside, of free trade with the United States that has been conducted in any Legislature on either side of the border. That was conducted, of course, by this Legislature in 1985-86, and he has chosen not to partake in that --
Mr. Laughren: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: It is not normally that I would rise to come to the defence of a member --
The Deputy Speaker: What is the privilege? It is the member's time.
Mr. Laughren: The member for Armourdale's privileges are being abused because there was an implication that he left. He really did have to leave.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. That is not a point of privilege.
Mr. Laughren: He told me that he had to leave.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. That is not a point of privilege.
Mr. D. R. Cooke: That is a shameful interjection if there ever was one.
In any event, had he followed our deliberations closely, he would not have penned this resolution. That is basically what I was attempting to get at. These negotiations, we must remember, were not the initial idea of the government of Ontario. We were not initially consulted with regard to them. In so far as criticism is concerned as to whether the budget should have included adjustment costs, I remind the members that it was the idea of the federal government, and presumably the federal government will be responsible financially for adjustment costs.
Even though Ontario-United States trade stands at $95 billion or US$69 billion -- a hefty chunk of the Canadian-US two-way trade -- Ontario alone accounts for 19 per cent of the exports of the United States. That is compared to 11 per cent of their exports going to Japan. We have a great deal at stake. We have an interest to protect. I am darned proud of what our government has been doing, the work and the care it has taken over the course of the last two years to protect those interests, especially when the federal government at times seemed not prepared or ready to provide that sort of protection.
This is a poker game that we are involved in, in actual fact. The Americans are proving in many respects to be much better at poker than are Mulroney, Carney and Reisman.
Mr. D. R. Cooke: We should stick to hockey, as the member for Wellington South (Mr. Ferraro) indicates.
The pressure was phenomenal. The Americans initially said that they wanted to engage in these negotiations with Canada, and then they told us that their law said we had to write them a letter first before they could start the negotiations. "Please, write us a letter. Pretty please, write us a letter."
Eventually, the Prime Minister, having been trained the way he was since childhood, wrote them a letter. The moment he wrote them the letter, the Americans said: "Well, this was your idea. What are you going to give us?" They were not necessarily prepared to give anything to us, because that might be un-American. They asked, "What are we going to give to you? Well, we would like to do something for you, if we could, but you know how protectionist our Congress is. You know how protectionist they are. They are not in a good mood. You have got to treat them nicely. You better give us something more. We would like to accommodate you. Why do you not give us rights to intellectual property? Why do you not give us a new Patent Act? Why do you not let us into your investment a little more? Do not tamper with the Dome-Amoco deal. You might upset that protectionist Congress."
This concept in resolving crime is known as the good-guy, bad-guy syndrome. That is basically what they are playing, and perhaps Canada should be playing it too. This is the role being played by this government. It is a vital role. We have a de facto veto. The Americans know it. The Premier has said categorically that he will not support a deal unless he sees it as being in the best interests of Canada. It is a simple as that, and thank goodness the Americans know it.
Whether he knows it or not, the best weapon Mr. Reisman has is the government of Ontario. Let us hope he is using that weapon to advantage. The second-best weapon may be the Toronto Star, but the best weapon he has is the government of Ontario, and the Americans know it. The result may be a modest understanding.
Unlike the socialists, we believe we have to talk to the Americans and hopefully get rid of some irritants and hopefully obtain a dispute resolution mechanism. Certainly, we will have to give up something if we wish to obtain exemption from countervail and exemption from the House trade bill which is presently before the United States Congress.
Certainly, things have to be protected. The government has said so. The American negotiators are busy reading their Pierre Berton books to try to figure out what our culture means. Agriculture is a fight that has to be conducted against the United States and the European Community cartel by the wheat-producing nations on a global basis. That is really not a subject that should be considered seriously, except for some irritants in the trade negotiations.
The auto pact must not just be left alone but must be preserved, for the sake of the 1,200 companies and the 50,000 employees who are directly dependent on the automotive production industry. Autos are the largest manufacturing sector in Canada. They consume one sixth of our iron and steel, rubber and batteries; 14 per cent of our processed aluminum; 13 per cent of our copper, and eight per cent of our glass and paint production. The pact not only must be preserved but also must be strengthened so it will not wither away.
Yet we have the Governor of Michigan on the other side of the border writing a letter to Clayton Yeutter indicating we have what he calls an illegal automotive duty remission program; demanding that in the negotiations they include trade in automotive products governed by the Canadian-US automotive agreement and trade in all other automotive products within the terms of an overall Canadian-US free trade agreement demanding that Clayton Yeutter require the government of Canada to implement the pact on a bilateral basis and require reciprocal provisions for duty-free trade in automotive products under the terms of the pact. That is what they are saying in the state of Michigan, which has a $10-billion surplus with the province of Ontario. That is the nerve they have in the state of Michigan. In 1985, they had a $10.3-billion surplus over the province.
What is it the Americans want, then? They want more. Thank goodness, unlike the suggestion in this resolution, Mr. Reisman has a weapon. He has a tough government in Ontario with which to fight back. He does not have the wishy-washy comments that have occurred from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Grossman), whose own caucus members are often embarrassed by the comments he makes on this issue.
An hon. member: Read some of them.
Mr. D. R. Cooke: All right, I will. In January 1985, the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick says, "Free trade with the United States is not a realistic option." In October 1955 he criticizes the Premier --
An hon. member: Nineteen eighty-five.
Mr. D. R. Cooke: It was 1985. Who knows what he was saying in 1955? In 1985, he was saying, "Mr. Peterson is going along too fully with the broadly based approach of the Conservative Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney." That was October 21, 1985.
Mr. Ferraro: Who said that?
Mr. D. R. Cooke: The Leader of the Opposition, although he was not the Leader of the Opposition then.
By September 1986, he gives his full support to the free trade initiative for the first time. Then he changes his mind again in November 1986 and suggests again that perhaps we are going a little too far too fast.
Mr. Ferraro: Who said that?
Mr. D. R. Cooke: The Leader of the Opposition said that. I do not know what the member for Eglinton thought. He must have been ashamed when he saw this sort of thing.
Finally, the latest: On April 11, 1987, he said, "We should get off the fence and embrace freer trade with the United States even though it would give away the greatest weapon Mr. Reisman has."
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Grande: Are you supporting that or not?
Mr. Turner: Are you for it or against it?
Mr. D. R. Cooke: I'm agin it.
Mr. McFadden: In considering this resolution this morning, I think it is important to put trade into some perspective. The fact is, there is no country in the world that depends more on international trade than Canada. In fact, Ontario as a province exports more per person than any industrialized country.
According to figures released by the provincial Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology, one job in three in Ontario depends on export sales. When one considers that the United States takes in 80 per cent of Canada's exports and 90 per cent of Ontario's exports, it is obvious why the federal government launched trade talks with the United States and why a new trade arrangement between Canada and the United States is critical to the future of our country.
Since 1945, the world has enjoyed the longest and greatest period of widespread economic growth in the history of mankind. During the last four decades, the world's annual output of goods and services has tripled. One of the most important engines for this kind of economic growth was international trade liberalization, which opened up the world and literally provided millions of jobs for people in countries throughout the globe.
Today in Canada, two million jobs depend directly on trade, and of those, one million are right here in Ontario. Yet there are major storm clouds building. Protectionist winds are blowing as never before in recent years in the United States, in Europe and in other parts of the world. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, under whose auspices the tremendous growth in trade has taken place since the Second World War, is in serious trouble and is under attack from all sides.
It is easy to forget what happened the last time protectionism ruled the world economic order, back in the 1930s. One of the major reasons for the Depression of the 1930s was the collapse of the international trading system. This was brought on by the passage in 1930 of the Smoot-Hawley Act in the United States, which raised American tariffs to protectionist and prohibitive levels.
As a result of the American trade legislation passed in 1930, Canadian exports to the United States fell, by 1933, to one third of their 1929 level. The fact is that if we had that kind of drop in our trade to the United States today, Ontario alone would lose 500,000 jobs. What is frightening is that the United States Congress is now in the process of enacting omnibus trade legislation which is more protectionist than any legislation passed by the American Congress since the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930.
The trading relationship between Canada and the United States is now the largest trading relationship between any two nations in the entire world. It represents a total trade in goods and services of over $170 billion. As Thomas d'Aquino, the president of the Business Council on National Issues, said in a recent address to McGill University:
"The Canada-US trading relationship is much too big and much too important to be left to chance. The time has come to encompass it within the rules and discipline of a bilateral agreement. Without such rules and discipline, the law of the jungle will apply, and in the jungle, the strong usually have their way."
What might be included in any agreement? We would suggest there should be a further phasing out of most tariffs on goods shipped between Canada and the United States, a reduction in discriminatory procurement policies by government on both sides of the border and the establishment of an effective bilateral trade commission, which would be mandated to solve trade disputes between our two countries.
When talking about tariffs, it is important to note that some 80 per cent of Canadian goods now go into the United States duty-free, while over 70 per cent of American goods come into Canada without any duties.
A broad cross-section of business, trade and professional groups, consumer organizations and economists throughout Canada support the federal government, because they know a freer trade agreement will help the consumers, maintain and open up trade opportunities for our country in the United States and create new jobs for thousands of Canadians. But it will do more. A trade agreement will also preserve thousands of jobs now at risk as a consequence of protectionist US trade legislation.
The business community recognizes that the old status quo is over. Some members of this House may not acknowledge that, but the old status quo is over, and it will be definitively finished when the omnibus trade act passes through Congress this year and is signed into law by the US President. The reality is that we, as a country, must reach a trade accord with the United States or gradually sink into a trade war with the Americans, which over time will cost millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.
A trade agreement not only will assist in maintaining an opening-up of vital markets in the US but will also ensure that Canada remains an attractive place to invest in new and expanded plants for both Canadian and foreign investors. If our markets to the US are jeopardized through a trade war with the Americans, we can be assured that new investment in industry will dry up. With reduced access to the American market, manufacturing plants and other businesses will be closed or cut back in Canada and in Ontario and new plants and businesses will not be opened. This will cost thousands of jobs in this province in the years to come.
We are not advocating the signing of a trade agreement at any cost, as this resolution indicates. Our resolution states that no agreement should be finalized which would endanger our political sovereignty, social programs, agricultural marketing systems, the auto industry or our unique cultural identity, and the Americans understand that to be the case.
The fact is that we are all devoted to Canada, on all sides of this House, and we want to see this country maintained as a strong and independent nation. Is anyone seriously suggesting that high tariffs will in some way make Canada more independent? Nonsense. The fact is that there is no example in this century where the opening of trade links between countries, the liberalization of trade, has led to political integration.
While the negotiation of a trade accord with the US must be one of our priorities, we recognize that we should also support the federal government's initiatives to strengthen the eroding world trading system through the new round of GATT talks. We should get behind that initiative. It is vital to Ontario, as it is vital to Canada.
We should also work to develop, in a concerted fashion, new international markets, particularly in the Pacific Rim, to reduce our overwhelming dependence on the American marketplace. But we should remember that development of new export markets will take time, it will take persistence and it will take considerable energy. This kind of initiative represents a long-term strategy but no realistic alternative to maintaining our vital markets in the United States.
Where does the Ontario government stand on this? Does the Ontario government favour negotiating a freer trade agreement with the US or does it not? When you read what the Premier has said over the past two years, the answer is a rather fuzzy "maybe." On such an important issue, which is so critical to the jobs of thousands of Ontarians and the economic future of this country, we require a determined leadership.
Since studies in Canada and the US indicate that Ontario will be the biggest winner if a trade accord is reached with the US and would be in fact the biggest loser if a trade war broke out with the US, it is essential that Ontario support the federal initiative in an open and helpful fashion so that we can get on and establish a new relationship with our important American partners.
Mr. Morin-Strom: First, I would like to comment that the Liberal chairman of the standing committee on finance and economic affairs has again illustrated the duplicity of the Liberals on this issue. After a long harangue against the federal government, he again has confirmed that, yes, his party does support what the federal government is doing in pursuing a free trade agreement with the United States.
I must take exception with the extremist views expressed on my right by the Conservatives, that the choice here is between a free trade war --
Mr. D. R. Cooke: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: The member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Morin-Strom) is misrepresenting what I said. I did not say that.
The Deputy Speaker: I listened very carefully to the member, and he was referring to "the Liberals." I do not think he referred to the member for Kitchener in any way.
Mr. Ferraro: He said "the chairman," and the member for Kitchener is the chairman.
Mr. Offer: Rule him out.
The Deputy Speaker: Did the member for Sault Ste. Marie refer to the chairman, the member for Kitchener, specifically?
Mr. Morin-Strom: I referred to the comment he made at the end of his long harangue, in which he said, yes, he is supporting this resolution.
Mr. D. R. Cooke: I did not say I am supporting --
Mr. Ferraro: He said he was not supporting it.
Mr. Morin-Strom: The Speaker may check the record, but he did say, yes, he supports the resolution.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. We will check the record and take it up. We are now running into the time of the member for Sault Ste. Marie.
Mr. D. R. Cooke: In point of fact, I am opposing the resolution and I made that very clear in my speech.
The Deputy Speaker: Thank you. We will check.
Mr. D. R. Cooke: It does not need to be twisted and turned by the member for Sault Ste. Marie. An apology is in order.
Mr. Morin-Strom: Now he is going to change the record. I guess I have half my time remaining. Thank you again.
I have had the opportunity to participate in many weeks of hearings before Ontario's standing committee on finance and economic affairs. We visited Washington, DC, three times to discuss this issue with congressmen, senators and administration officials. As a result, I am strongly opposing this resolution, which endorses the Mulroney attempt to negotiate a free trade deal with the United States.
Many important questions remain unanswered. Which regions, industries and people would be the winners and which would be the losers in a free trade deal? Numerous companies and industries and workers have indicated that they would be devastated, but not even the free trade advocates have been able to identify the winners.
Would we have to sacrifice unemployment insurance, environmental protection and worker health and safety, along with our cultural sovereignty, in order to conform with US practices? Such areas may well be extremely vulnerable under a free trade agreement. Will jobs that are currently guaranteed under the auto pact be lost? Will the family farm disappear in Ontario? These are serious questions which must be addressed and have not been to this point in this debate.
No doubt discussions are necessary to resolve contentious, nontariff issues. They are going on and they will continue. It is the focus of these discussions that is in question. The free trade advocates claim a comprehensive free trade pact would solve the risk from US protectionism. Instead of a comprehensive free trade initiative, we need better management of the trading relationship by the imposition of an impartial dispute settlement mechanism. This could be accomplished by setting up an international joint commission aimed at mediating and arbitrating trade disputes as they arrive.
In dealing with the US, I would far prefer to be operating from a position of strength rather than one of weakness. To date, the Canadian government has shown nothing but weakness, having given into Reagan completely on issues such as the Foreign Investment Review Agency, the national energy program, cruise missile testing, shakes and shingles, low-cost generic drugs, the lumber duty and acid rain. What have we received in return? Nothing.
We now see Amoco taking over Dome Petroleum, and the government is looking at giving up all controls on foreign investment in Canada. Canada is literally up for sale.
One of the most serious problems facing Canada in this dispute is the American definition of free trade. It bears no resemblance to what the words might mean to the average citizen. Continually, we hear their reference to "a level playing field." The American terms are not tariffs but rather are economic and social policies. Any economic, social or political policy that would give a cost advantage to a Canadian firm over an American one is viewed by the Americans as a subsidy that must be eliminated under their definition of free trade.
There will be pressure on the Canadian government to match the US in such fields as taxation policies, labour laws, environmental regulations and private ownership of our forests. It could mean the end of Canadian social programs, agricultural marketing boards, government purchase preference for Canadian-made goods and regional development grants.
In support, the United States, in collaboration with Mulroney and much of the Canadian business community, would like to see severe restrictions on Canadian autonomy in economic and social policy. In this light, it is clear that free trade poses a severe threat to Canadian sovereignty.
Business people have claimed that the biggest benefit of a free trade deal might be to give Canada some exemptions from very restrictive trade legislation now going through the US Congress. From my personal experience in accompanying the committee to Washington last month, the people who believe that are living in a dreamland. This trip was a very valuable one. It taught us, as Ontario legislators, a number of truths. The US Congress remains in a very protectionist mood, with the Democrats now flexing their muscles. Their only interest in free trade, however, is as part of a method to expand their domestic market. Any interest the US has in free trade is simply to make Canada part of Fortress North America, and that is not going to work.
One of the most famous stories that came out of that trip was our meeting with Senator Spark Matsunaga of Hawaii. Ten Ontario legislators crowded into his office. In his view, he had become a Canadian hero by casting the deciding Senate committee vote approving the fast-track negotiations, but his views were expressed by phrases such as these: "The sooner your country blends with ours, the better. I am a free trader except when it comes to Hawaiian sugar," and "Free means an integrated economy." Although his views were graciously expressed there was no doubt left that Senator Matsunaga had no understanding of Canada's fight for independence for over 120 years, nor did he think Canadians should resist the welcoming bearhug of American culture.
On behalf of all concerned Canadians, I want to say that Americans cannot have the fair advantage which had been requested by one of the congressmen with whom we met. Canadians do not wish to become a cultural, economic or political dependency of the US. Today, this Legislature should stand up for Canadian sovereignty by strongly opposing this resolution.
Mr. Mackenzie: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: My colleague certainly is not required to give any apology to the member for Kitchener (Mr. D. R. Cooke), but I may.
The Deputy Speaker: This is not a point of order. Apologies are not points of order.
Mr. Mackenzie: Could you correct the record, Mr. Speaker?
The Deputy Speaker: You can correct only your own statements; you cannot correct someone else's statement.
Mr. Mackenzie: In heckling the member, I took his response to be yes, he was supporting the resolution, and I passed that information on.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. The member for Armourdale reserved 15 minutes for his wrapup, but I do not see him in his chair. The order therefore reverts to the normal rotation, which means that the member for Sault Ste. Marie has another three minutes if he wishes to use it.
Mr. Morin-Strom: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, but I had come to a conclusion and I would hope that the Legislature will strongly oppose this resolution. I look forward to the Liberals, in particular, standing up and saying what they really believe on this issue.
Mr. Ferraro: It gives me great pleasure to rise and say a few things about the motion. I should say quite unequivocally at the start that I will be voting against the motion. While the member's motion was qualified enough to make it to some degree a motherhood motion, essentially I am voting against it for the last two sentences where it says, "including clearly putting forward Ontario's position with respect to this issue of importance to all Canadians."
I also take issue with members of the socialist party who say that Ontario's position is not very well known. I dispute that, and I say quite candidly that the approach we can take is one or the other. We can take the approach that we trust Mr. Mulroney that we are going to have unequivocal free trade, but we do not know what the agreement is -- and I say quite candidly that I am sure the agreement has changed considerably since they first started it, for obvious reasons.
The other approach we can take, which is one that the New Democratic Party takes and that I do not support, is that we should not talk to them, that indeed we should do it on a sectoral basis and that we should not get into any free trade negotiations whatsoever.
I think the approach taken by the Premier is the right one. It is cautiously supportive, cautiously concerned and against selling out our country. Until we see the agreement we do not know what it is. We do not know whether we can support it, and we reserve that judgement. As my colleague the member for Kitchener says, "We are perhaps the best weapon Reisman has."
It never ceases to amaze me that we are talking about an agreement for free trade negotiation, and I want to reiterate this point, when we do not even have free trade in our own country. You cannot sell beer in one province unless you have a plant there. I refer members to an editorial recently in the Toronto Star, that bastion of conservatism. It says: "The 10 provinces are equally busy erecting and defending protective walls between themselves. For example, a trucker can't haul a load of furniture across the Ontario-Manitoba border without checking first to see if he has breached the different weight rules on either side." I mentioned the beer.
"Numerous well-publicized cases show the folly of such interprovincial rivalry. The Ontario Sheet Metal Workers Union used an obscure province-wide contract clause to force a Quebec ventilation duct company to drop a contract it had won in Ottawa. And later, across the Ottawa River, the town of Aylmer, Quebec, ordered a new brick sidewalk torn up because it had been built of Ontario bricks." It goes on and on. It is ludicrous that we are talking about an unqualified -- depending on who you are listening to -- free trade agreement and we do not even have it in our own country.
I want to make mention of the Conservative Party. I have some empathy for my friends, particularly on the finance and economic affairs committee. Their leader has jumped back and forth on this issue three or four times. It reminds me of a story. If I can draw an analogy to my friends in the Conservative Party, it is like being an outfielder playing for the Texas Rangers. There was a pitcher on the Texas Rangers who was to some degree similar to the Leader of the Opposition and he was having a pretty tough night. They were hitting about every second pitch he was throwing.
Finally the manager came out to the pitcher and said, "Well, son, I am going to have to take you out of the game." Like Mr. Grossman, who does not know which position to take or when he is beat, he said, "Coach, I am not tired." The manager said, "Well, son, I know that, but your fielders sure are." I say with great respect to my colleagues in the Conservative Party that they must be getting tired of switching their position as the Leader of the Opposition continues to switch his.
l have had the pleasure of sitting on the finance and economic affairs committee with my colleagues from the Conservative and New Democratic parties. We have gone to Washington, in my case twice; they have gone three times. Quite frankly, the last time was probably the most beneficial and rewarding trip in my view. We had many candid and long conversations with many powerful senators and congressmen, and I believe we did a tremendous job in the interests of Ontario. The one undeniable fact I concluded from this trip, which we suspected when we made our recommendations in our first two reports, was that Ontario does a lousy job in communicating, or if you will, presenting Ontario's interests to American legislators.
There are countries, entities, states that spend millions of dollars lobbying the United States. Whether we like lobbying or not, it is a reality. When you are exporting 90 per cent of your exports to the United States, as Ontario does, I think it is imperative that Ontario have a more substantial presence in Washington. Our sales force, if I can refer to it in that regard, at the moment is in the body of Mr. Gotlieb, our ambassador. While everyone we talk to -- it is my own conclusion and I am sure the other members of the committee will so conclude -- says he is a terrific man who earns his pay and does a tremendous job, it is just not enough.
I can recall my friend the member for Eglinton presenting that questionable ally of Canada and Ontario, Senator Heinz, with statistics that in the trading relationship between his state, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, he has a $600-million credit. Here is a man standing up in the legislature for no other reason and with no substantiation of facts in my view, bearing in mind the trade surplus his state has over Ontario, than that he is politicking, as many in this House do, because he is up for re-election. In my view, the hard fact of the matter is that Ontario has to have a better presence in Washington.
One of the recommendations we had was that we should have an Ontario House there. We have an Ontario House in Britain. We have an Ontario House in Paris. We have an Ontario House in Tokyo. We are in the process of getting an Ontario House or a presence in India. We have a presence in China. But the country on which we spend the least amount of money and with which we spend the least amount of time is the country where we are 90 per cent oriented in our exports. We have a federal representative representing us. There is something categorically wrong there and I believe all members of the committee believe we have to increase that presence substantially.
Mr. Wildman: Don't worry; Bruce is in Washington.
Mr. Speaker: Order, order. I have recognized the member for Wellington South to speak, no one else.
Mr. Ferraro: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I cannot say it enough: one cannot put all one's eggs in one basket. There are other provinces that have representation there. I think it is a very serious mistake if we do not rectify that situation very quickly.
I want to conclude by saying again that I will be voting against this motion on the basis that I believe the Premier of this province and our caucus have stated our position quite clearly. It is, and I wholeheartedly agree, that we are not going to embrace anything until we see what it is we are talking about.
Let us talk; let us see if we can approve things. There is not a politician in the House who is going to stand up and say, "Well, we want to get rid of the auto pact." There is not one, not only from a logical point of view but from a political point of view. In fairness, as most members in the House know, the auto pact can be cancelled by either side with one year's written notice.
So if nothing else, and I say this quite candidly, if they can come up with an agreement on freer trade that makes things better, that substantially gives more security to the auto pact -- and I think everybody would have to agree that it is in our best interests -- then I think, as the Premier said, when we see what we have to vote on we will then determine the best interests of Ontario and, indeed, the best interests of Canada.
I reiterate that Conservatives and Liberals were unanimous in the report of the economic affairs committee which said basically the same thing; but when we receive the pudding, we will find out whether we want to taste the pudding.
Mr. Stevenson: I want to concentrate primarily on some of the agricultural aspects of expanded trade but, because there is very limited time, I am going to go over these very quickly. It is quite clear that, when the Liberals invited Donald Macdonald in this past week to explain to them what the issue of expanded trade and fair trade is all about so they could understand for the first time what the issue really is, it is clear that he did not really explain it to them all that well.
Very clearly, I think the governments of Ontario have been after expanded trade with the United States for some time. Indeed, we put offices into the US and we had intended to put eight agricultural trade officers in those trade offices. The current government unfortunately cut that back to six.
l think we can look at the current discussions with the United States as really nothing different from a business person talking to his or her best customer. When that best customer starts grumbling about certain aspects of their business relationship, most certainly one is going to talk to one's best customer. I do not think many fair-minded people can argue with that.
It is our hope that, as a result of these discussions, we will see some sort of new committee or new tribunal established that will solve many of the trade irritants between our two countries before we go to countervail. A tremendous amount of time, cost, and of course all the politics involved have just been major problems in all sorts of trade with the US. But just recently in the agricultural field we have seen something more than $100,000 spent by the corn producers' association. We are now seeing precountervail action in beef. We have been through countervail action and appeals in pork. We are seeing it in cut flowers; and on and on it goes.
Anything to establish a new body to try to get rid of some of these problems will be a major step forward, and then individual issues can be negotiated as these irritants come forward. Certainly, we see that we can have some gains particularly in the beef, pork and corn areas and in some vegetables, and we will have assured access to those markets, but as the motion states we very clearly want to make sure that our marketing agencies in this province, in this country, are protected. We believe, quite frankly, that they can be.
It is broader than just marketing boards, as our friends on the left here are chirping. It has been very clear. The marketing boards have lobbied and our trade experts have lobbied MPs and MPPs extremely well and the people in the milk, eggs, chicken and turkey commodities have made their positions very clear. As the party that brought most of that marketing legislation into Ontario, we very clearly stand in favour of that legislation. We have protected it in the past and we will continue to protect it in the future.
Briefly, I want to mention the grape and wine industry. The member for Lincoln (Mr. Andrewes) and the member for Brock (Mr. Partington) have brought the grape and wine situation to the attention of our caucus on numerous occasions and expressed their great concern, and the concern of the grape and wine industry, about what would happen if there was some sort of across-the-board opening up of the markets here to grape concentrates and to American wine. At the moment, of course, we have uneven tariffs that favour the US grape industry and that is a major concern to our local growers.
We also, of course, have the local Liquor Control Board of Ontario, which has discretion in listings and has differential markups. Any move to seriously alter that will have a major impact.
I wish I had a few more minutes to go over the song and dance that the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell) has given on the trade issue but I will have time on some other occasion and I will put it forward at that time. I ask all members to support this excellent motion put forward by one of our caucus.
CLEAN WATER ACT
Mr. Speaker: Mrs. Marland has moved second reading of Bill 41, An Act to encourage the Rehabilitation of Water Delivery Systems in Ontario.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for standing committee on resources development.
TRADE WITH UNITED STATES
The House divided on Mr. McCaffrey's motion of resolution 9, which was negatived on the following vote:
Andrewes, Ashe, Barlow, Bernier, Cousens, Dean, Gregory, Harris, Johnson, J. M., Lane, Marland, McCague, McFadden, McLean, McNeil, Mitchell, O'Connor, Partington, Pierce, Pope, Rowe, Runciman, Sheppard, Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, Turner.
Allen, Bossy, Bryden, Charlton, Cooke, D. R., Cooke, D. S., Ferraro, Foulds, Fulton, Gigantes, Grande, Grier, Hart, Hennessy, Johnston, R. F., Laughren, Mackenzie, Mancini, Martel, McClellan, Miller, G. I., Morin, Morin-Strom, Newman, Offer, Polsinelli, Pouliot, Ramsay, Sargent, Smith, D. W., Smith, E. J., Swart, Wildman.
Ayes 27; nays 33.
The House recessed at 12:13 p.m.
The House resumed at 1:30 p.m.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I have a message from the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor, signed by his own hand.
Mr. Speaker: The Lieutenant Governor transmits estimates of certain sums required for the services of the province for the year ending March 31, 1988, and recommends them to the Legislative Assembly. It is signed by His Honour Lincoln Alexander.
CHÔMAGE DANS LE NORD DE L'ONTARIO
Mr. Pope: Alors que le taux de la croissance économique est très élevé dans la communauté urbaine de Toronto, l'activité économique stagne et les emplois ont disparu dans le nord de l'Ontario. Chacun doit recevoir sa juste part des fruits de la prospérité économique.
Le gouvernement de l'Ontario n'a pas réparti les bienfaits de la relance économique dont profitent certaines régions de la province. Le taux de chômage est de 4.3 pour cent à Toronto. À Sault-Ste-Marie il est de 14.9 pour cent. Dans le nord de l'Ontario, le taux de chômage est de 12 pour cent en moyenne. Il est évident que le gouvernement libéral tolère une grande injustice dont les gens du nord subissent les conséquences.
This government has failed over the period of one year, when we have had massive layoffs and unemployment in northern Ontario, 10 per cent more than in the community of Toronto, 10 per cent more unemployment in Sault Ste. Marie than in Toronto. This government has failed.
It has failed to follow through on the promise made on January 8 by the Premier (Mr. Peterson) to put funds in the retraining of laid-off forest products workers. It has failed to have any kind of retraining program or employment program for miners. It has failed to help the workers of northern Ontario, their families and their communities. They deserve to be condemned.
Mr. Warner: TVOntario is an organization which all of us here and throughout the province should be very proud of, because it is an organization which should be able to create excellent educational programs, children's shows and the type of material that can be used in our school system.
Unfortunately, as members are aware, over the past six years there has been a decline in the budget of TVO so that its programming cannot expand. This decline has been accelerated by the present government. In fact, the present government is now responsible for 50 staff positions having been eliminated at TVOntario.
The number of hours of programming by TVO will be reduced by approximately 10 per cent. The number of programs purchased from other sources will drop by approximately 15 per cent, and to quote the producer of children's programming, "We can survive with what we are doing now, but we have no one to develop next year's programming."
It is very sad to learn that the present government does not support the good efforts of TVOntario, and I hope it will reverse its unfortunate decision.
JET POWER CREDIT UNION
Mr. Callahan: I would like to report that I had the delight of attending the 35th annual meeting of the Jet Power Credit Union in my riding. Jet Power Credit Union was formed by a number of very young women and young men who had the foresight to recognize that when traditional opportunities for borrowing were not available to them, they could be made available through this credit union.
The credit union was established at the A. V. Roe company in 1950, and it was with a great deal of foresight that they did this, because they had assets of $2.5 million at the time. In 1955, when the then Conservative federal government cancelled the Avro Arrow on the day known as Black Friday, their assets were reduced considerably.
Since that time, however, they have prospered in a tremendous way, and I would like to congratulate the members, the board of directors in the past, the present and those who will serve in the future, for establishing such a major event for the people of my riding.
ACCESS TO LAKES
Mr. Laughren: I wish to comment on an issue that is becoming increasingly important across northern Ontario, namely, the closing of access roads into lakes for local residents to go in and fish.
For a number of years now, there have been tourist operators on many of these lakes. They were given land use permits on the assumption that they would have remote access, they would be remote access lakes. In the meantime, however, the Ministry of Natural Resources, as only the MNR can do, allowed the forestry industries to cut right down almost to the shoreline, in some cases directly to the shoreline, and of course they had to build roads to get to the shoreline to cut the wood.
Now we have the fishermen going in and fishing and the local tourist operator who has a major investment in there, perhaps $500,000 or more, suddenly no longer has a remote tourist lodge. Someone who has paid a great deal of money to fly in gets up in the morning and finds a bunch of boats out on the lake and people fishing and it is no longer a remote access lake.
The Ministry of Natural Resources has attempted to close off those roads, and in so doing it has alienated not only all the local fishermen but, up to this point, the local tourist operators as well. The Ministry of Natural Resources has made a complete shambles out of a policy. There is no need for anybody to have been alienated. There are lots of lakes and lots of fish in northern Ontario, and they have simply screwed it up.
Mr. McLean: Ontario has lost a great ambassador with the passing of Paul Rimstead of the Toronto Sun. For many of us, the Rimmer was, in an abstract way, a modern-day Stephen Leacock.
Bass Lake was his Mariposa in the riding of Simcoe East. I know many of the constituents in my riding join me in an expression of sorrow at the passing of a one-man institution, Paul Rimstead.
He pointed out not only our foibles but also his own. He was a member of the world community, but we were rich through his presence in our community of Simcoe East. We shall miss Paul Rimstead and extend our condolences to his family. He was often imitated but never equalled.
Mr. Wildman: In this House, the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Kerrio) has admitted that a park, specifically Holiday Beach park, has been removed from the provincial park system against the guidelines of the Ministry of the Environment and against the regulations of the Environmental Assessment Act.
The minister has admitted that in the House and it remains to be seen what the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Bradley) is going to do about it. Surely it is the Minister of the Environment's responsibility to ensure that the regulations under the Environmental Assessment Act are adhered to by his colleagues in the government.
It appears that in order to meet a political obligation to the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini), the Minister of Natural Resources has ignored the Environmental Assessment Act as it applies to the removal of a park from the provincial parks system. It remains the responsibility then of the Minister of the Environment to ensure that this is not allowed and that this government upholds the Environmental Assessment Act. We await action from the Minister of the Environment.
Mrs. Marland: I rise today as the critic for senior citizens with a very pleasant task, and that is to recognize the service and dedication of an employee of the city of Mississauga, Mrs. Olga Tyne.
Mrs. Tyne has been a full-time employee of the city of Mississauga recreation and parks department for the last 20 years. Indeed, today there will be a party celebrating her retirement. On the one hand because it is a celebration of the recognition of the tremendous contribution that Mrs. Tyne has made to the lives of a great number of people in our city, that celebration is taking place in a building which she had a part in planning and developing, namely, the Mississauga Senior Citizens' Centre on Cawthra Road.
In 1975, Mrs. Tyne became the co-ordinator of community recreation and was responsible for the development of arts, youth and seniors programs in Mississauga. Particularly, she was responsible for the inception of the Mississauga Royal Flash Majorette Drum Corps, which has won world recognition. She was also responsible for the establishment of the Mississauga Gymnastic Club, which is training world-class gymnasts.
I am proud indeed to recognize Mrs. Olga Tyne's contribution to our city.
Hon. Mr. Ruprecht: I would like unanimous consent to make a few comments on the significance of this day for the Armenian community.
Mr. Speaker: Is there unanimous agreement'?
ARMENIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY
Hon. Mr. Ruprecht: On behalf of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) and the government of Ontario, I rise for the purpose of recognizing an important event that took place on this day 69 years ago, the proclamation of the Republic of Armenia on May 28, 1918.
This date is of great significance to the Armenian community here and to Armenians around the world. Ontario and the Canadian nation have prospered through the courage and industry of people of many nationalities who have come to this land in search of freedom and opportunity. On this day we are especially mindful of the important contributions that our citizens of Armenian ancestry have made to our province and our country since first arriving in Canada to settle in the St. Catharines area in 1886.
The celebration of this anniversary fosters within us a deeper appreciation of freedom, liberty and democratic ideals. On behalf of the government of Ontario, I invite all members of this Legislature to join me in remembering May 28 as Armenian Independence Day.
Mr. Shymko: I would like to join in the remarks expressed by the member for Parkdale (Mr. Ruprecht) on this very special day.
The 69th anniversary of Armenian independence, proclaimed on May 28, 1918, is once again a reminder to all of us of the sacred responsibility we hold in maintaining vigilance for the very principles and the foundations of our society, of liberty, democracy and freedoms we enjoy both individually and collectively.
It is occasions such as these that not only remind us of that great important factor of vigilance but also remind us of the contribution that many of these communities, particularly today the Armenian community, have made to the growth and prosperity of our province.
I remind my honourable colleague it was 101 years ago, in 1886, that the Armenians first settled in our province at St. Catharines and later in the area of Georgetown. So, certainly over one century, they have contributed to the common endeavour of building the prosperity we enjoy today in this province and in this country.
I would also like to point out that we had a joint resolution by all members of the House from all three parties seven years ago. This resolution was presented by Gordon Smith, who represented the riding of Simcoe East, now represented by my honourable colleague to the right. This resolution asked the government of Canada to officially recognize and condemn the atrocities that were committed tragically in 1915, where over 1.5 million Armenians perished through genocide.
We have held a very sacred relationship with the Armenian community to remind our society and the world that genocide and the extreme of those horrors is something that happens, but it begins with intolerance, with bigotry and with a disrespect that we sometimes unfortunately hold towards one another and collectively, group against group.
Mr. Speaker, I wanted to make a few remarks in Armenian today, but it is unfortunate that according to a ruling you made recently -- and I have the greatest respect for your office -- the Armenian language or any nonofficial language used only on these special occasions will not deserve translation into the language of William Shakespeare.
We have to be very careful as a Legislature, as a parliament, not to have such rulings misinterpreted, signalling to our community out there that they may represent some aspect of intolerance or disrespect. In moments such as today, when we do occasionally use a nonofficial language and ask for its translation for the benefit of honourable members and the benefit of history, where these remarks are translated into English and they become a historic record, I would like to point out that shows the respect we have for one another.
I conclude my remarks by asking that the Legislative Assembly, through the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly, perhaps consider allowing on occasions such as these any one of us to dignify the occasion by making remarks in the appropriate unofficial language. We should perhaps review the present standing orders and allow for a translation into one of the official languages. I thank the members for the opportunity to address the House on this special occasion.
Mr. Warner: I appreciate the opportunity to make a few remarks on behalf of my party. I think it is important for members of the assembly to realize the difference between Armenian Remembrance Day, which is April 24 of each year, and Armenian Independence Day, which is May 28 of each year. As this is the opportunity for Armenian Independence Day recognition, I naturally will not speak about Armenian Remembrance Day.
It is important to recall the words that were spoken on May 28, 1919, which was the occasion of the first anniversary of the republic of Armenia. To quote:
"`To restore the integrity of Armenia and to secure the complete freedom and prosperity of her people,' the government of Armenia declared that `from this day forward the divided parts of Armenia are everlastingly combined as an independent political entity.'
"`Now,' added the declaration, `in promulgating this act of unification and independence of the ancestral Armenian lands located in Trans-caucasia and the Ottoman empire, the government of Armenia declares that the political system of United Armenia is a democratic republic and it has become the government of this United Republic of Armenia.'"
This was in keeping with a statement that had been made almost a year earlier, on August 1, 1918, when the acting chairman of the Armenian National Council was reflecting on the aspirations of the Armenian people. It is important to read this quotation, because when we reflect on what has happened from then until now, I think we will know the significance of today's events.
"Yes, our republic is small and its bounds are narrow. It is deprived of its best lands, and there is not enough room for all the people. It seems as if conditions are lacking for its independent existence. But I feel that the boundaries of a state cannot remain inflexible for ever. I believe that our borders will spread with the iron force of life, with defence of our just and indisputable rights concerning the occupied lands, and with a new treaty of friendship with Turkey and its allied governments... We have chosen the path of mutual agreement and peace, and we would like to believe that we are not mistaken in this."
As we know, the independence has been lost and the land has been lost, but the spirit of the Armenian people has not been lost. The hope of the Armenians is that their land will be returned to them. We support their hope and call on our national government to assist Armenian Canadians in the quest to fulfil their aspirations.
Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, l wonder whether I might have the unanimous consent of the House to commemorate briefly the retirement of one of the servants of the House.
Mr. Speaker: Is there unanimous agreement?
Mr. Grossman: This Legislature is the sum total of many people's efforts. On television, the viewer gets to see the MPPs, and if they are still tuning in after they have seen us they sometimes see the Clerk of the House and the staff. We all know they get to see the Speaker all the time; mostly during my questions, I might add.
There is more to the Legislature than these people. For example, there are the special constables who keep order, so to speak, in the area surrounding this chamber. Today, my party and l would like to pay tribute to one of the special constables, George Lubinski. George has been with us in the Legislature since 1975, since the time the Premier (Mr. Peterson) and myself, as well as others, joined this assembly.
George first began his career with the province, ironically and maybe coincidentally, maybe appropriately, working in security at the Royal Ontario Museum. Someone thought it was appropriate to move from the museum to keeping equal order in the Legislature of Ontario. For the past five years, George has been serving Ontario, while the gallery is in session, at his post just under the press gallery on this side of the House, which we have come to learn to enjoy so much.
George has seen a lot of history from that vantage point but he has experienced a lot of history in his own life. He fought for the freedom of Poland in the Second World War, escaped the Nazi invasion and was awarded the rank of captain in the Polish forces in exile. Following the war, he served as a Polish liaison officer with the British Army, where it was his duty to help displaced persons, the victims of slave labour and the concentration camps, to find their way back home.
George has certainly earned his retirement. We on this side of the House have come to regard him as a colleague and certainly as a friend. We will miss his thoughtfulness, his cheery "Good day" or "Good afternoon" or "Very good question, sir," as we depart the House every day. George will be leaving us on Friday to spend his well-earned retirement with his wife Henrietta.
To you, George, and to Henrietta, my caucus and I wish you all the very best. We will miss you.
Mr. Breaugh: On behalf of my caucus and I am sure all members, I want to join in the congratulations that are in order for George Lubinski today. There seems to be a regular stream of retirements from that corner of the chamber for some reason. George is one of many distinguished members who will not be around for a little while. I want to thank him for his efforts here as a security officer.
Members will know that part of the job of guarding the chamber entails being here, often when it is exciting and often when it is not so exciting, and part of George's job is to -- perhaps the television cameras could do something extraordinary, Mr. Speaker; George is now appearing just to your left. He is not allowed on the floor of the chamber, but I think he has been here long enough that all members would want to join me in asking that George gets a little picture on the video. We want to congratulate him and hope that he and Henrietta have a fine retirement.
Mr. G. I. Miller: I, too, would like to rise on behalf of the government side of the House to wish George Lubinski well on his retirement. He has served this Legislature well over the past 12 and a half years. George always made us feel more safe around here, particularly me in my 10 years in opposition; and he always gave us directions. We would like to wish George and his family well for his contribution to the Legislature and the province of Ontario.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: The government of Ontario has demonstrated a strong commitment to the encouragement of independence and self-direction for citizens of this province who have developmental disabilities. Today, I am pleased to announce a multi-year plan that will serve as a road map to maximum participation in society for as many as 11,000 with developmental handicaps in Ontario.
We are launching a series of new strategies over the next seven years. With the co-operation of our partners in the community, the associations and groups that will help deliver these services, we are laying the cornerstone for a new long-term system.
This recasting of future directions is the result of an extensive reassessment of our services to developmentally handicapped citizens in this province. It is the product of a great deal of input and advice from the families of handicapped people, service agencies and interested individuals across Ontario.
Specifically, we are now committing ourselves to the following long-term goals: the establishment of a comprehensive community service system in which all developmentally handicapped people receive the support they require in their home communities, and the phase-out of all institutional placement of people with developmental handicaps.
The introduction of this new era of community living will be advanced through a seven-year series of new service initiatives and program modifications, but before l go into the details I would like to briefly sketch the history of this new vision.
In 1974, the responsibility for service to developmentally handicapped individuals was shifted to this ministry from the Ministry of Health. At that time, Ontario made a major commitment to provide community living alternatives to people with developmental handicaps.
Community service expansion since that time has enabled the ministry to reduce the number of developmentally handicapped people living in institutions by almost 3,000. More important, we have increased the number of those served in their home communities from 4,600 to about 25,000.
The accomplishments of the last decade are the result of our partnership with associations for the mentally retarded and other community associations. In addition, other ministries -- most notably the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health -- launched initiatives which were major contributors to the goal of full integration.
We have accomplished much more than numbers, however. We have learned the concept of community living does indeed work. There is broad agreement that the transfer of developmentally handicapped people from institutions to community alternatives has resulted in an improved quality of life for all concerned. These social and human benefits have convinced us that we are on the right track. This province must now continue to promote a level of integration and participation of its developmentally handicapped citizens that was not previously considered possible. We are talking about a new era of service to people with developmental handicaps, new forms of living options for these citizens of this province.
Beginning immediately, over the next seven years we will provide a wide range of residential, supported living, employment, day program and support services for 8,000 to 9,000 developmentally handicapped people now living in the community.
We will assist families to better care for their developmentally handicapped children at home through parent relief, infant development and other forms of developmental programs. We will assist the sons and daughters of ageing parents to set up households with the support and supervision they need. We will reform the sheltered workshop system, introducing state-of-the-art forms of affirmative business, employment training and supported employment programs.
We will establish an objective and equitable wage policy for the people in employment training and alternatives to competitive employment. We will provide community-living opportunities for 1,000 developmentally handicapped people currently living in institutions. We will provide community-living opportunities for 1,000 people with developmental handicaps who are now living in nursing homes and we will work with community service agencies to ensure their management skills are equal to the challenges that lie ahead.
It must be recognized that the goal of total community living cannot be accomplished within these seven years. We cannot turn our backs on those who will continue to live in institutions, for the time being at least.
As a result, we will ensure that high-quality services continue to be offered by the institutional sector. Renovations and upgrading will be carried out to ensure that health and safety standards are maintained until such time as all people are transferred out.
In addition, we are committed to using the expertise and the experience of institutional staff to contribute to the goal of community living for developmentally disabled people. These valuable employees must be given options for the future.
I would like to emphasize that what we have here is an architectural plan, a preliminary design to expand the boundaries of what the community-living concept means. Our next step is to consult with our partners in the community in order to implement and refine our strategies.
We have a lot to do. We are building a new future for thousands of developmentally handicapped children and adults, individuals who are our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, our neighbours.
The goal is to offer these special people lives of quality and purpose -- no more, no less than the members of this House could wish for themselves.
Our duty is clear. Together, caring men and women across this province can make this a reality.
CENTRES OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: I am pleased to announce today that the government is calling for proposals for centres of entrepreneurship at Ontario's post-secondary institutions.
The centres will be designed to provide a focus for entrepreneurial research and skills development. Details of the objectives and proposal assessment criteria have been distributed to universities and colleges.
There will be six centres of entrepreneurship established on a pilot-project basis, divided equally between provincial universities and community colleges, although it is important to point out that, as with centres of excellence, consortia applications are eligible and, indeed, are being encouraged.
À titre d'information, je soutiens que cette initiative est patronnée par le conseil du Premier Ministre établi en juillet 1986 et dont le mandat est d'encourager l'esprit d'entreprise et la créativité dans toute la province et de consolider fermement la position de l'Ontario comme société de classe internationale capable de se mesurer à n'importe quel pays.
The council's committee on entrepreneurship determined that measures are required to foster an environment conducive to business initiatives and activity. These are a necessary complement to the other efforts of the council to support and encourage scientific and technological research, as well as innovation in the private sector and post-secondary institutions.
We are asking that detailed proposals be submitted to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities by Friday, July 17. The province will fund up to 75 per cent of the eligible costs of establishing a centre of entrepreneurship, to a maximum of $150,000 per annum for four years. The provincial commitment will complement private sector support, either in cash or kind, for the remaining 25 per cent of the commitment.
Le succès de ces centres dépendra de la participation du secteur privé qui jouera un rôle crucial pour l'intégration --
Mr. Rae: Are you going to give an MA in pyramid selling?
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: You will have your turn.
-- la coordination et le développement des activités en gestion d'entreprise.
The centres of entrepreneurship will also support the work of campus-based innovation centres, invite experts to review business plans of budding entrepreneurs and stimulate studies on entrepreneurship. This is another program aimed at encouraging co-operation among the various sectors of our society, and it reaffirms the conviction of this government that, "Ontario will flourish only as an enterprising society when business, labour, educational institutions and government work together to create prosperity and opportunity."
This initiative is an integral component of the overall thrust announced in the speech from the throne in April 1986. It supports numerous other measures already announced to encourage the development of research and technology transfer to ensure that Ontario remains in the forefront of economic leadership and technological innovation.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Today I am pleased to announce new work place protections for miners in Ontario. These regulatory safeguards, as they relate to ground control, are the most rigorous and advanced in Canada. They have been developed in consultation with, and unanimously recommended by, the Ministry of Labour's Mining Legislative Review Committee. This committee has four members representative of labour and four members representative of management.
All members of this Legislative Assembly have deep concerns about worker health and safety. The new mining regulations represent an outstanding example of how effective a co-operative approach to the work place health and safety challenge can be.
The measures I am announcing involve additions to our mining health and safety regulations in five areas: underground lighting, mine design, falling-object protection, training and communication. The new provisions will be published in the May 30 issue of the Ontario Gazette. All but the underground lighting provision will take effect next Monday June 1. The lighting measure will take effect June 1, 1988.
Here is what we are doing. In underground lighting, our regulation will now specify for the first time anywhere in North America what the illumination must be so that the miner can more clearly see and evaluate ground conditions in the area in which he is working.
In mine design, our new provision will require, for the first time anywhere in Canada an annual written assessment of the ground stability of a mine. This will include a copy of the mine design, a description of its geological features, outlines of existing and planned excavations and descriptions of previous instances of ground instability.
In falling-object protection, our regulation will require mine owners, in certain circumstances, to install devices on motorized vehicles to protect drivers. In communication, our regulation will require, for the first time anywhere in Canada, specific procedures for passing information on a mine's safety conditions between all shifts and between all workers and supervisors. In training, our regulation will require programs to be put in place for hard-rock and soft-rock miners.
These new measures, which constitute a major addition to the mining regulations, are a direct result of the report of the Provincial Inquiry into Ground Control and Emergency Preparedness in Ontario Mines. As honourable members will recall, the government has already taken significant action on that report. With the solid co-operation and support of both labour and management in the mining sector, a research institute in ground control has been established and improved training programs for miners, supervisors and nonminers are being implemented through the Mining Tripartite Committee on Training.
In addition to the chair in rock mechanics and ground control at Laurentian University that has been funded by the government, chairs have been established at Queen's University and the University of Toronto. Expanded mine rescue training and equipment acquisitions are being implemented through a tripartite Technical Advisory Committee on Mine Rescue. In co-operation with the Steelworkers and Mine, Mill unions and mining industry management, we are reviewing the recommendations concerning first-aid qualifications and regulations for underground mines.
Finally, as part of the government's major northern relocation, we are establishing a miners' health and safety centre in Sudbury as part of the consolidation of our mining health and safety branch there.
I know that we will all be encouraged by these initiatives and by the co-operative work that has been done by labour, management and government to bring about the new regulatory protections to Ontario miners that I have just described.
Hon. Mr. Riddell: Coming from southwestern Ontario, Mr. Speaker, you will appreciate this profound statement.
White beans are a major cash crop in this province. White pea bean producers have contributed an average of $28.4 million annually to Canada's trade balance. That kind of return to growers and the economy as a whole is something well worth protecting and this is doubly important to this province since the bulk of Canada's white beans are grown here.
As we have demonstrated to the honourable members in the past, this government is firmly committed to the principle of tripartite national stabilization plans for food producers. These are income assurance programs to protect producers from dramatic price fluctuations. The national tripartite program for red meat producers is but one example of an ongoing trend, which leads to the announcement I am pleased to make today.
In conjunction with the government of Canada and the growers concerned, Ontario has signed a national tripartite stabilization plan for white beans. This agreement also provides for coverage for other dry edible beans in the future.
This will be a voluntary program for producers with the cost shared equally by them and the federal and provincial governments. In addition, white bean growers in Ontario enrolled in the 1985-86 stabilization year will receive a payment of $730,000 under the Ontario grain stabilization program. This represents the total payment for the crop this year and should put money into the hands of 1,079 white bean growers by the end of June.
This new national program is another positive step forward, part of my government's continuing efforts to bring greater financial stability to the farmers of this province.
Mr. Grossman: The Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney) made another of the government's multi-year statements outlining a plan to help 11,000 developmentally handicapped people over seven years. One would have thought that with $8 billion in additional revenues since it came to office and with $275 million being devoted to 5,000 new civil servants, it might not have taken seven years to assist 11,000 developmentally handicapped people. Indeed, that is just over 1,000 people a year it is going to have the money to look after.
The minister reports quite accurately that this initiative was begun long before he became minister, in fact in 1974. He goes on to point out that 3,000 people have been moved out of institutions into the community in that time. His very modest goal is another 2,000, over the next seven years we presume, so he is purporting not to increase the rate but in fact to take 3,000 who have already moved out and add another 2,000.
We wonder whether the minister, who clearly had enough work done to outline what he today calls only a preliminary design, a road map, yet knew specifically that $33.6 million would be spent, might have taken the time today to tell us what the communities are and what the specific plan is. He knew enough to talk about $33.6 million. We have come to know that he often does not spend the money he says he will, but if he had it: What are the communities? What is the process? Who has he consulted with? Which parents has he spoken to? Which communities has he dealt with?
Indeed, when one gets to the very last paragraph, it becomes clear that this is just a promise, another of those seven-year promises where he says is just a road map to the future. A road map to the future after two years in office is simply not adequate. He should have come forward today with a plan.
CENTRES OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Mr. Grossman: Speaking about inadequate, I want to speak about the incredible statement made by the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Sorbara) outlining six centres of entrepreneurship established after two years in office, one year after they set up the Premier's Council. One year at work and they now have decided to call for tenders for a pilot project. What are they going to give it? This announcement says $150,000 a year. I am not making that up. It says here $150,000 a year on these entrepreneurship centres. In other words, they are going to spend as much on these new centres as they spend on airplane flights throughout Ontario for the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Fontaine).
I was also interested to see the definition. I urge everyone to read the minister's statement calling for the entrepreneurship centres, which will help "review business plans of budding entrepreneurs and stimulate studies on entrepreneurship;" and then to refer back to page 10 of my 1984 budget, which says: "We will establish innovation centres in selected universities...to link the marketplace and the academic community...These centres will provide a...point of entry for local businesses to draw on the expertise of our learning institutions," and so on.
When one reads the announcement, what the minister is doing, as he admits on page 3, is adding $150,000 a year to the innovation centres that were put in three years ago by his predecessors on the campuses of all six institutions. He is taking the old innovation centres that have worked well and is giving another $150,000 per year in the case of six of them. Boy, I cannot wait to speak to President Mitterrand this evening and tell him about this. He will probably leave the dinner, leave the Premier (Mr. Peterson) in his black tie, fly home to France and say: "Look out, colleagues, the Ontarians are coming. They are putting $150,000 a year into six institutions for innovation."
Mr. Pope: Briefly, I am pleased that the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) has joined the evolving process of improvements or enhancement of occupational health and safety in mines. I specifically want to know, and I think it is clear the Minister of Labour should have indicated today, what the compliance period will be, whether there is any help for small mines or for mining companies that go into old mines that are no longer in production and whether they will have some help with compliance to make them carry out that compliance immediately.
We welcome the reference to the safety centre in Sudbury, but we believe assessment and medical research centres should be established in other mining communities in northern Ontario.
Mr. Stevenson: The announcement on white beans is just one of the announcements that farmers in Ontario have been waiting for. We have not heard from the minister on apples, and of course we have not heard anything about what is going on in the red meat sector, where British Columbia now is giving $11 a ton to its farmers and $15 per ton to grain producers for producing grain for feed.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I would like to respond to the statement by the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney). First, I laud him for the goals of his announcement about finally ending institutionalization and allowing people who are developmentally handicapped to participate in our communities. However, following that I must say it is a bit disappointing to see that there is no mention of money. There is no question about the need but he is not saying what he is going to put in. We already know he is terribly underfunding the community needs that are out there.
What we have real need of here is not a preliminary plan but a very full paper. He has been working on this for over a year. I do not understand why we do not have a very precise idea of where the money is going to be spent and who is going to be helped.
Mr. Drea, not known for being a progressive, closed 1,000 beds within five years. I think we should look at this minister's promises in that context. If we look at the nursing homes, about half the people who are developmentally handicapped would be remaining in those nursing homes after his seven-year period, most of them older developmentally handicapped, many of them without even an individual program for them at this stage.
If we look at the minister's emptying of the schedule 1 and schedule 2 facilities, 1,000 out by 1994 would still leave 4,000 people in those institutions, as the present count exists, which is a far way from getting everybody out of the institutions as he has down as a goal.
I have some questions that come out of this. What is going to happen to the nursing homes that currently serve the children he is deinstitutionalizing? Is he going to close those or is he going to fill them up with people from the schedule 1 facilities, which is basically what Mr. Drea's plan did?
What is the situation of the mentally retarded in rest homes? I do not think he even knows how many are out there. A local association in Windsor discovered that in the University Rest Home, where they thought there was only one person, there were 24 developmentally handicapped. I would just like to say that what we do not need is an architectural plan. We want precise engineering specifics at the moment and we want a critical path.
Mr. Martel: I wish I could, like my friend the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope), congratulate the minister for what he is doing in mining but I am afraid I cannot. There are two key problems in mining. One is lighting and one is things falling on your head.
It is interesting that the minister has said he will improve lighting and that he basks in the glory of new regulations. In fact, what he is going to do is have a lamp that instead of being 700 or 800 lux is going to be 1,500. We are not talking about lighting in a mine that will make it like we are working in here. We are still talking about having a little white beam on the top of your head and walking around with that. That is what the minister is talking about. The owners in Canada have resisted lighting the mine as they do in Sweden where it is like working in daylight. One of the big key problems facing miners, and why so many are killed, is that reason.
The second reason is things fall on people's heads underground. Most of the miners are killed because something falls on their heads. The minister was very cute in his statement. Listen to what he says: "In falling object protection, our regulation will require mine owners, in certain circumstances, to install devices on motorized vehicles." What about those who are walking around working? What about those who are drilling? No protection for them.
What, in God's name, is he trying to sell here today? That he is out to protect the workers? My goodness, they resisted this. They wanted much more because in the Sudbury region alone in the last eight months we have killed eight or nine miners. We come in with this minuscule stuff, package it up and make it look good, but when we take it apart and talk to those people who participated on behalf of labour in the tripartite committee, they say we are barely touching the bases that will reduce the number of accidents and the number of fatalities in the mining industry.
CENTRES OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Mr. Warner: I wish to respond briefly to the minor statement made by the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Sorbara). It is not just that this announcement, with a small amount of money, is the wrong concept. Our party has put forward what I think is a far more constructive concept of the community economic development centres that offer the opportunity to bring together business, labour, community representatives and all interested parties in a community to work out plans for their area on how to develop and sustain business. That, to me, is a more substantial approach.
Worse than that, the timing of this is really an insult and it shows the bias of this government. While they are quite prepared to support the entrepreneurial community, they are in the process of closing out the only Centre for Labour Studies in this province, the one at Humber College, and that shows the bias against workers that this government has.
Mr. Grossman: In the absence today of the Premier (Mr. Peterson), I have a question for the Minister of Housing. Mr. Speaker, you will be pleased to know it is a brief question. How many new rental units were actually built in Ontario last year?
Hon. Mr. Curling: I am not able to give the member a precise figure. I will get back to him with the figures.
Mr. Grossman: I do not expect the minister to know the answer right down to the last unit. I wonder whether the minister could tell us, for example, if the number of rental units built in Ontario last year was closer to 1,000 than to 20,000. That is an easy one. Is it closer to 1,000 or 20,000 new units?
Hon. Mr. Curling: I repeat to the member that I will get back to him with the figure. What I can say to the member is that the commitment I have made over the last 18 months of over 25,000 nonprofit housing units is far more than what that government had done in its time in the previous year.
Mr. Grossman: I find it appalling but not surprising that the minister does not know whether the government built closer to 1,000 rental units or 20,000 rental units in Ontario last year; he is the Minister of Housing. However, we did what the minister has not done. We called his staff, which is not a bad place for him to find out how many units were built. If he checks with his staff, he will find out the correct answer was closer to 20,000, but not very close; 11,000 new rental units were built last year.
Since the minister has said, as he always does in answer to every question, that his government's commitment was greater than the commitment of the previous government, which is his only, single answer, I want to tell him that last year he built 11,024 new rental units. Four years ago, in 1983, 16,060 new rental units were built in Ontario. How, therefore, can the minister explain (a) his lack of knowledge of how many units were built, (b) the fact he is building fewer than were built four years ago, and (c) that in spite of that, the budget reduced capital expenditures for his ministry by 15 per cent?
Hon. Mr. Curling: If I heard the honourable member's first question, he asked me how many units were built; he did not ask how many units were built by the government. There is the private sector. As usual, I anticipated a very intelligent question from the Leader of the Opposition and maybe I looked in too much detail at what he was saying. But again, I stand by it that we have committed more units to be built in the more than 18 months I have been the Minister of Housing. I should also say that the kind of system and policy we have in place makes it possible for the environment to work much more effectively.
ASSISTANCE FOR THE DISABLED
Mr. Grossman: I have another short, skill-testing question for the Minister without Portfolio responsible for disabled persons.
Mr. Stevenson: Remember, David is not here today.
Mr. Rae: Come on, Larry, pick on somebody else.
Mr. Grossman: Well, the Premier (Mr. Peterson) is not here again today. In the absence of the Premier, let me ask the minister for the disabled this simple question. Can he tell the House what the poverty line is in Ontario today?
Hon. Mr. Ruprecht: The Leader of the Opposition should know that when he asks a question, he should be more specific. There are a number of responses a person could provide. Is he talking about the poverty line of his residents or what is he specifically referring to? He has to be a little more specific in his question.
Mr. Grossman: Let me try to be more specific. First, I am talking about Ontario. Second, I am talking about the poverty line for people living in Ontario. Third, can the minister tell us what is his estimate of the poverty line today for single individuals living in Ontario according to, say, the average of Statscan, the National Council of Welfare, whatever? What would the minister say the poverty line is for a single individual living in Ontario, approximately?
Hon. Mr. Ruprecht: I understand the general context of his question but let me indicate that these kinds of questions the Leader of the Opposition is asking remind me of a line of Shakespeare that giving a little authority "plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven as make the angels weep."
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Grossman: Let us be serious about this issue. This government recently had the opportunity to pass on $150 a month to the disabled people in this province, whom it is getting paid to protect. With $8 billion extra dollars, this government chose to alter its support for the disabled so as to make sure the $150 was not passed on, but only $50. This government chose to keep $100 per month from the disabled. The net result of that is that disabled people in this province have been expected by this government to live on $7,860 a year, when most people would know the poverty line is somewhere around $11,000.
Given all that, it is a serious failure of responsibility for the minister (a) not even to have known what the poverty line is and (b) to have participated in a government which chose to take $100 per month away from the disabled and keep them $4,000 below the poverty line. How can the Minister without Portfolio responsible for disabled persons justify having been part of a government that took $100 a month out of the pockets of the disabled?
Hon. Mr. Ruprecht: The Leader of the Opposition and some of his members have asked this question in a number of ways over the last three weeks. I do not blame them for asking their questions, but let me point out to them that there is simply no comparison between what this government has done over the last 18 months and what they produced previously in the last 10 years. When we look at the programs, I can provide the member with a whole litany of progressive steps this government has taken for disabled persons.
Let me add finally that there is simply no doubt in my mind, this government's mind or the minds of those people who are serving the disabled community, that progress has been great and has been phenomenal. The people whom we are serving are happy that we have taken those steps.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Mr. Rae: I see the Minister of Labour is coming back. I have a question for him.
Further to the questions I was asking yesterday about the death of Stefano Rizzi, the minister gave the House an awful lot of information about the number of officers who had been hired, the number of inspectors who had been hired and the incredible increase in the size of the staff of the Ministry of Labour in the safety branch.
Can the minister explain why, according to the latest figures we were able to get -- we were not able to get the 1987 figures; we have been able to get figures for 1986 -- there are 69 field inspectors in the construction safety branch as compared, for example, to 102 in 1984 and 116 in 1981; and in 1986 numbers, the total number of staff is 105 as compared to 129 in 1981?
Mr. Speaker: And the question?
Mr. Rae: Can the minister give us today an absolutely accurate count of how many inspectors there are now at work in his ministry with respect to not only construction safety but also industrial safety, so we can have those numbers?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I will try to be helpful to the honourable gentleman so that I can clear this up and he has numbers that are absolutely accurate.
I cannot tell him how many are at work today. I am sure the member will understand this. I would have to check whether there are vacancies, whether there is anyone with long-term disability or whatever. The leader of the third party will understand that some of these positions are positions that were provided in the funding for this fiscal year.
The number of currently funded positions, and we are continuing to hire -- I can tell my honourable friend we will have 11 new construction inspectors starting work on Monday of next week, four of them in the Toronto area. The number of positions currently funded in construction for field office inspectors is 109; in the industrial health and safety branch for field office inspections it is 157; and for mining health and safety for field office inspections it is 45.
Mr. Rae: Before the seals start to applaud, I wonder if I could raise with the minister the fact that the question that arises out of the Rizzi inquiry is not so much a question of how many officers are at work: the question is what is the best system for getting orders of officers enforced?
I note with interest that in the Ministry of Natural Resources there are, again according to the 1985-86 figures, 238 conservation officers, which is more than twice the number of construction safety inspectors across the province. There are 238 conservation officers. Presumably, the number of moose, the hunting of moose and the catching of fish is of greater importance.
Mr. Speaker: And the question is?
Mr. Rae: In addition to that, there are 550 deputy conservation officers who are specifically deputized at various times and in various places to assist conservation officers in the performance of their duty.
Mr. Speaker: Question.
Mr. Rae: In the light of what the coroner's inquest said yesterday about the need to have people on the job site whose specific responsibility it is to enforce the orders that are put in place, does the minister not think that is a very sound recommendation and one that should be put in place right away so that we do not have a recurrence of the kind of tragedy that occurred at Harbourfront?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Regrettably, the honourable gentleman continues to suggest and leave the suggestion that the orders that were issued on the job site were orders that, had they been complied with, would have prevented Mr. Rizzi's death. That is not the case. The leader of the third party continues to leave an impression that, frankly, is quite inaccurate.
The fact of the matter is that we have in the work places of Ontario today joint health and safety committees. Those health and safety committees have certain responsibilities now under proposals we have made in our draft amendments. In the final amendments, I believe they will continue to have more responsibility.
I expect that those committees will play an important role in ensuring that the compliance dates and the compliance times that we set on our orders are met. They certainly have every right. I quite publicly urge them to exercise that right and where those compliance dates and fumes are not met -- and where, having not been met, they cannot get the matter cleared up to contact our branch and we will get the job done.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Final supplementary.
Mr. Martel: Why don't you protect them using section 24?
Mr. Rae: I want to come back to this question because I think it is so fundamental. The minister seems to have agreed with the proposition that it is not going to be possible for every site to be inspected all the time, by whatever number of inspectors there may be. Whether there are 69 or 109 or whether there are 45 or 167, it is not going to be possible for those inspectors to be on every site at the same time.
The question I have for the minister is, why does his ministry and his government consistently refuse to introduce the one recommendation from this inquiry -- indeed, the recommendation that has been made by my colleague the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) for a great many years -- that it will be in the public interest to ensure that there are workers whose specific responsibility it is to enforce the act and who themselves are given some authorized powers to shut plants and sites down if the employer is not doing what the minister's government and his inspectors who have been on the site have told them to do?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: The honourable member knows that the right to refuse under section 23 is written right into the act. The leader of the third party also knows that there are specific amendments and new strengths being proposed to the right to refuse.
I suspect the honourable gentleman is talking about expanding the number of so-called worker inspectors who are now present in some of the mining areas. Frankly, there has been a great expansion of the number of worker inspectors in the mining area. It is a technique that has been used by and large in that sector and seems to work better there. We continue to review whether that technique can be expanded to the industrial sector, particularly to larger companies. Should there be a decision to allow that kind of change in policy or to support that kind of change in policy through amendments, then those will come forward at the appropriate time.
Mr. Rae: I have a question to the Minister of Housing. I want to ask the minister about what is happening with people who are continuing to pay excessive rents because of the rental increases that have been applied by landlords but have not yet been approved.
Robert Desy is a young fellow who lives at 135 Marlee Avenue, apartment 1905. He has seen his rent increase from $695 a month in August 1985 to the current rent of $945 a month, which includes a 28.2 per cent increase in November 1986.
On another occasion in this House, the minister said that Mr. Desy and others like him would have their complaints and concerns settled in hearings that would take place before March 2. I wonder if the minister can tell us when Mr. Desy's complaint will be heard, since clearly, with the 20,000 applications that are now in, he is in a backlog.
Hon. Mr. Curling: In response to the honourable leader of the third party, he speaks of many of the tenants who were not protected previously. Those are the tenants who are occupying units in post-1975 buildings. Those are also landlords who were applying for increases before January 1. It was agreed that they would pay the increases that were asked for and then the rebate would be given. That was an agreed process. Many times, the leader of the third party has raised the point as if that was a situation that was illegal. It is an agreed-on position.
In the second part of his question, the member mentioned March 2. We had said the rent review process would be in place, meaning that after the proclamation of the bill in January, we have done the necessary forms, we have set up the rent review process and we have done various other things from that point. Very soon, we will start addressing those appeals.
Mr. Rae: To assert, as the minister has in this House, that the tenants have somehow agreed to this rental increase or agreed to the process is just factually incorrect. To be charitable to the minister, I am sure that could not be what he meant to say, but that is what I heard him say.
For the entire building at 135 Marlee Avenue, If the tenants do not pay this increase that has been imposed by the landlord, they are out on their ear, and the minister knows it. The tenants will have advanced to the landlord by July 1987 $176,000 above the legal rent guidelines from August 1985 to July 1987.
The minister told this House and he told the tenants that all their problems would be settled back in March of this year. Now we know that is not true. We know these increases are going ahead and we know the hearings are backlogged because there are 20,000 applications waiting to be heard. My simple question to the minister is, how much longer will these tenants have to give their landlord an interest-free loan? At what point is the minister going to step in and protect the tenants? That is the question.
Hon. Mr. Curling: I am going to ask the assistance of the leader of the third party in his questions and in my response so that the people of Ontario will understand it properly. We hope his question is not leading to the fact that we are doing anything that has not been agreed upon or is illegal.
Of the 20,000 applications he speaks of, and I think the figure is much nearer to 18,000, 15,000 of those tenants were never included under our protection process in the past. It is a transitional process, and we expected this number of tenants to appeal or to present their case before the rent review administration process and, later on, to the rent review hearing process. It is a startup process, and we are not in a backlog. We are monitoring the situation very carefully. I am quite sure they will all be looked after very shortly.
Mr. Rae: My final supplementary to the minister is simply this: my colleague the member for Riverdale (Mr. Reville) has put forward a private member's bill which will deal very clearly, categorically and specifically with tenants who are in this situation, tenants who are now paying landlords rents that are miles above the guideline because they are in this twilight zone period of moving from not being covered to being covered.
Nobody is suggesting that what is going on is illegal. The minister made it legal. He made the collection of this amount above the guideline legal. We are not saying it is illegal. We are saying it is immoral and we are asking the minister to change the law by accepting an amendment since his own people have admitted that with 20,000 applications these tenants are going to continue to pay amounts well in excess of the guideline, which is not covered by any interest rebate. They are basically giving an interest-free loan to the landlord.
At what point is the minister going to step in? How many more cases does he need before he realizes that he has a problem on his hands and he can deal with it very quickly?
Hon. Mr. Curling: I make it very clear again to the honourable leader of the third party that the process we have put in place will be effective and I will not step in to change that process at the moment.
The critic of the third party had his opportunity in the hearings to put those amendments through the democratic process. It did not materialize. We go by the law. We are a law-abiding country and the law is in place. I will follow it accordingly.
Mr. Andrewes: In the absence of the Minister of Energy (Mr. Kerrio) and in the absence of the Premier (Mr. Peterson), a long-time expert on this subject, I will put my question to the Treasurer.
The Treasurer will know that since he became Treasurer of Ontario, Ontario Hydro's staff has increased by 3,800 positions or some 13 per cent. Since no major construction projects were initiated during this period of time, I wonder if the Treasurer can tell us what policy direction from his government encouraged that increase.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Actually, when the question was raised last week by the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies), I was interested in looking at the figures. I believe the total number of employees now is fewer than it was in 1982.
Mr. Brandt: No.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I see. We will look at the numbers and see.
Mr. Rowe: Nice try, Bob.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: All right. Let us see.
Mr. Rowe: Look under your desk, Bob. Maybe it is on the floor.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Unfortunately, the copy of the annual report that I thought was right at my hand and I am sure is -- I know the honourable member would prefer something more extemporaneous on the basis that Ontario Hydro is now serving 68,000 additional customers. It is building some of the largest nuclear reactors in the world -- I believe the largest and the best -- and the chairman of Hydro can amply justify the numbers presently employed.
Mr. Andrewes: The Treasurer will remember this quote given by the honourable member for Niagara Falls on June 7, 1985, shortly before he became Minister of Energy: "The Liberals would make Hydro more accountable to the Legislature. They have to answer to someone, which they do not have to now."
There are 3,800 positions which at an average cost of $35,000 is $132 million in additional expenditure. That is more than it will cost Hydro to forgo its banking privileges that the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Bradley) announced earlier this week. The policies of this government have encouraged the growth, in the same way that same government and those same policies have allowed for a growth of 5,000 positions in the public service. If that is accountability, how can the minister justify that growth?
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I have already indicated to the honourable member that there are, I believe, more than 60,000 new customers. Ontario Hydro has a rate of expansion, particularly in capital construction, that is probably the largest in the world. I understand the Darlington construction site is the largest construction site in North America and that the chairman of Ontario Hydro needs these people to carry on his proper duties in an effective and efficient way.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: My question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. It follows the minister's statement today about the deinstitutionalization of the mentally retarded. In my response, I said that we deserved a more particular plan. I wonder whether the minister will give us the details on how much new money he is going to spend on those being released in his seven-year plan, how much he is spending on those who remain and how much he is going to spend in new money to keep those people in the community who are presently there. If he does not have that information, will he at least table with us the documents on which his announcement is based?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: In response to the member's former comment, there is a much more extensive document that will be made public tomorrow. The member will appreciate that it has always been my practice to make an announcement in the Legislature before I release anything in a public way. He is welcome to a copy of that document, as is anyone else.
With respect to the specific costs, the first-year cost, the current-year cost of the program will be $33.6 million; $26.6 million of that will be for community development and $7 million will be for institutional development, as I explained it in my comments, upgrading of staff and upgrading of facilities. The costs for the entire seven years will be allocated on an annual basis but I can assure the honourable member that I have approval from my cabinet colleagues and from Management Board and Treasury that the goals we have set will be met and that the annual allocations will be delivered.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Do we presume this is new money?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: Yes.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: One thing the minister alludes to is his desire to stop having people institutionalized, to end institutionalization, and yet it is clear by his announcement that he is not closing any institutions and that there will be about 4,000 beds remaining at the end of this seven-year period in homes for special care and in the schedule 1 and schedule 2 facilities. Is it not realistic for us to ask the minister what he intends to do actually to see the end of institutionalization? Does he not see rest homes becoming new institutions de facto for people who now are not moving into schedule 1 or schedule 2 facilities?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: The statement clearly indicates that the goal the member describes is certainly our goal as well. There are a couple of other factors that have to be considered, though.
Over the past five years, the five-year plan that was started by the former government concentrated almost all of the resources on moving people out of institutions and back into the communities. As a result, over that past five years the development of services for people already living in the community, the assistance to parents keeping their children at home, the assistance to older developmentally handicapped people living with aged parents, simply were not met.
That is why, as the first thrust, a considerable amount of our resources has to be allocated to those communities which have got so little over the past five years, and that is why the resources for an additional 8,000 to 9,000 people in the community are one of the major thrusts.
At the same time, we are going to be moving people out of institutions, we are going to be moving people out of nursing homes, and we are going to be improving the quality of life for those people who are still in institutions.
What I am trying to say is, we are operating on four fronts simultaneously. They all need attention.
Mr. Polsinelli: I have a question of the Minister of Citizenship and Culture. I read in today's Globe and Mail that TVOntario has had budget cuts for the 1987-88 season, and I understand these cuts will mean a significant reduction in the number of hours of English-language programming.
Will the minister explain what the impact of these cuts will be on production and programming?
Hon. Ms. Munro: I have also read the newspaper reports, and I would like to assure my honourable colleague in the Legislature on a number of issues.
First, we have not, through our ministry, decreased our operating grants to TVOntario for 1987-88. I think that is a very important first point. We have, in fact, increased them by 22.3 per cent or $32.5 million, which I think indicates this government is fully behind that educational broadcasting system, which indeed is a cultural institution.
Second, in the area of program priorities, we have gone along and worked with the board, and our ministry has been taking a look at priorities. In the areas of programming, therefore, we have put substantial amounts of money into science programming and skills training. That does not mean we have lost sight of our commitment to children's programming; indeed, my son also watches TVOntario programs. What the article states and what I can commit myself to is that many of the programs will be rerun but there will be no programs that are cut. The production schedule for new programs will continue in its priorities within the next year.
But right now we have two priorities, science and skills training.
Mr. Polsinelli: I appreciate the very tidy answer the minister has given, but when I go home to my six-year-old daughter tonight, can I give her an assurance that her favourite program, Today's Special, will not be cut for the next season?
Hon. Ms. Munro: Yes, the honourable member can, and my favourite program also, Polka Dot Door. He can tell his daughter she will have a chance to revisit many of her favourite programs being rebroadcast, and that TVOntario is currently looking at new ideas to continue her programs.
Mr. Rowe: In the absence of the Premier (Mr. Peterson), I have a question for the Minister of the Environment regarding a dump site in Innisfil township in my riding. This site was closed in 1983 because of concerns about what was on the site and leachate off the site. Ongoing tests were ordered and the preliminary result indicated a large plume heading in the direction of a nearby residential area. The site was reopened in November 1985, while those same tests were not yet completed.
Why did the minister reopen a dangerous site, thus placing residents at risk of drinking contaminated water?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I will be happy to look into that for the member because, as he would know, a large number of sites in Ontario were approved previous to the environmental assessment process being applied as rigorously as it is today. Many of them were approved under the Environmental Protection Act. Some of them --
Mr. Rowe: You were the minister.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: No. I am talking about the original sites that were approved. As the member will recall, I was not the minister when this site was put into effect. As he knows, all new greenfield sites in Ontario must go under the Environmental Assessment Act. One of the reasons we have that in effect is simply because we want to avoid these kinds of problems.
Mr. Rowe: I remind the minister that he reopened it, not us. We closed it and he reopened it.
His own ministry standards demand that a dump site be a minimum of 1,000 metres from a drinking source. A constituent of mine, Mrs. Davis, has a well 50 metres from this dump. Leachate is oozing through the ground behind her home. I have a picture of it right here. Why has the minister reopened this dump site, knowingly endangering Mrs. Davis and the other residents who drink this water? He reopened it. Why?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I indicated to the member that I would be happy to gather further information on this particular site. I would indicate to him that it represents, as I say, a rather comprehensive and extensive problem across Ontario that we are attempting to address at the present time.
One of the initiatives that the member would be --
Ms. Fish: You reopened it. You reopened it in November 1985. It was a closed site.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: Oh, come on now. Let us take it easy, opposition.
For instance, one of the initiatives that the member saw mentioned in the budget of my colleague the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) was one which would address problems of the kind that the member has suggested exist. That is because under the money that could be provided for waste management, the member would realize the remedial action that is required can be taken. When there is further evidence that there is a contamination of a site, the options which are available to us at that time -- and I will explore all of them -- are (1) that remedial action can be taken or (2) that the site may be closed.
Ms. Fish: You reopened it.
Mr. Harris: Answer the question and sit down.
Mr. Martel: I knew he did not know the answer.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I appreciate the help from all the members; however, it is not necessary.
Mr. Harris: It was, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
CENTENNIAL COLLEGE OF APPLIED ARTS AND TECHNOLOGY
Mr. Warner: I have a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities.
The minister goes to Humber College and hands out money, and they are considering closing the Centre for Labour Studies. He hands out money to Durham; they lay off 17 staff. He gives a lot of money to Centennial College; they lay off 50 staff. If he keeps handing out cheques, soon there will be no one employed at our colleges in this province.
I would like to know if the minister can explain to us why, while Centennial College is receiving $9.5 million extra over the next three years, it is laying off 50 staff members. Is it a result of fiscal mismanagement, or is it deliberate in order to help pay for expansion?
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: I am surprised at the tone of the question of my friend the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere. I really am. l am wondering whether my friend is suggesting behind his question that perhaps if he were in my place, he would not have recommended a $9.5 million allocation to Centennial College to expand their Progress Road campus.
As far as I am concerned, that project was approved on its merits because there was a desperate need for additional space at the Progress Road campus. We are allocating nearly $10 million to fulfil the aspirations of the students in his very own riding, who will be going to that campus at Progress Road within the next two or three years.
He asked about the layoff of some faculty members and support staff at Centennial College. There have been some layoffs, but that is because of changes in programming that require that if a program is going to be cut back or eliminated, one does not just keep the people on in the teaching positions so they will have a guaranteed income. That is part of the organic development of the college. I am satisfied that there has not been financial mismanagement. I regret my friend the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere has suggested that there has been.
Mr. Warner: The minister, as Mr. Speaker noticed, has a rather distorted view of reality. I would suggest that a sloth with sunglasses has a clearer view of reality than this minister.
An hon. member: Sloth?
Mr. Warner: Yes. Can the member picture him with sunglasses on, hanging upside down from the trees?
Mr. Speaker: And your supplementary is?
Mr. Warner: Is the minister aware -- and he is certainly aware that I supported the expansion of the college and pushed him as hard as is possible to get him to act -- that the staff at Centennial College claimed that the college management reached a decision about the cuts of 50 staff members through incomplete research? The faculty advisory committee was not consulted, efforts were made to conceal the decision, misleading statements were made, incomplete data were circulated, students were not involved and several aspects of the college's strategic plans were violated.
Will the minister initiate a full investigation into the activities of the college management?
Mr. Speaker: Order. The question has been asked. Will the minister investigate?
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: If my friend the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere pushed me as hard as he could on that allocation to Centennial College, I would suggest a very long program at Vic Tanny for my friend. If that is a hard push, I am wondering what he does when he treats me gently.
We have been concerned about matters at Centennial in terms of program adjustment for quite some time. I am not going to lodge a full-scale investigation because I am satisfied that in our program evaluation work and our review of what is going on there, the adjustments that are being made are satisfactory from my point of view.
I should tell my friend -- and I think he knows without my even telling him -- we are looking at the matter very carefully. If there are matters that warrant a report to this House, I will do that, but for him to make the kind of suggestions he did in his supplementary is absolutely ridiculous.
ASSISTANCE FOR THE DISABLED
Mr. Davis: Can the Minister without Portfolio responsible for disabled persons tell this House why, if he is, as his title suggests, responsible for the disabled, he did not stand up for the disabled within the corridors of power when the decision was made to take away $2 out of every $3 in Canada pension plan payments? Can he tell this House why he did nothing?
Hon. Mr. Ruprecht: The member had my answer to this question yesterday. He has now asked that question a number of times, and so have a number of his colleagues. To my mind, that question was very adequately answered yesterday by the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney).
Mr. Davis: To the Minister without Portfolio responsible for disabled persons: Perhaps he would like to tell the House -- l will just make a preface first.
Mr. Speaker: A supplementary would be fine.
Mr. Davis: A supplementary on the preface. The question I asked yesterday had nothing to do with the question I ask today. What I asked the minister is what did he do as the budget was being established and his colleague was taking money away from the disabled? Where was his voice for the disabled? I would like to ask the minister, what does he do for the disabled in this province?
Hon. Mr. Ruprecht: I am indeed delighted to be able to answer that question for the member. My honourable colleague will know that:
1. This government over the last few months has instituted the change in the Ontario Building Code that my friend the Minister of Housing (Mr. Curling) was involved with, as was my office;
2. We changed the Human Rights Code with my friend the Attorney General (Mr. Scott);
3. As this budget was being released I was involved with the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) in working out a program of accessibility to major institutions, including community and social service centres;
4. I would like to indicate to this House that we, for the first time, have instituted a program called the community action fund. That program contains $800,000 for purposes of ensuring that disabled persons across this province can access this government for purposes of looking for jobs and services.
This government has produced programs that are progressive. We are proud of the policies of this government.
Mr. Foulds: I have a question for the Treasurer, who will recall writing me on April 28 as a result of a letter and resolution that I forwarded to him from the city council of Thunder Bay with regard to gasoline prices in northern Ontario. The Treasurer wrote to me as follows: "As you know, the budget preparations are now well under way, and I can assure you that the topic of northern gasoline prices is under active consideration."
He may not know that the Minister of Energy (Mr. Kerrio) also wrote to the corporation of the city of Thunder Bay on the same topic on May 5 and said as follows; "Clearly, our task is to devise remedies which will result in lower prices for the residents of towns like Marathon....The government considers northern gasoline prices to be an important issue. We will be announcing an initiative on this matter very shortly."
What happened to the initiative? Who mugged the Minister of Energy?
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I think the honourable member will be aware that the budget had substantial improvements in the financing for transportation in northern Ontario -- $106 million for roads alone. We actually have something like $27 million in the northern development fund, an additional $30 million for the northern Ontario heritage fund, as well as all the jobs that have already been announced to improve the situation in the north.
The honourable member would also know that in recent comparisons of prices for unleaded gasoline, Thunder Bay was at 44.7 cents a litre; Vancouver was at 50.2 cents; Brandon, 49.2 cents; Montreal, 56.8 cents; Charlottetown, 52.6 cents; Halifax, 52.3 cents, and so on. I would not for a moment say that gasoline prices in Thunder Bay are cheap enough; they should be far better. But it was the decision made by the government to allocate funds to improve transportation for everybody in the north, and we feel that is sensible, fair, equitable and supportable.
Mr. Foulds: I think the Treasurer must have misheard my question. I did not ask about gasoline prices in Thunder Bay. I asked about gasoline prices in northern Ontario, specifically the one-industry, remote towns like Marathon. I asked him about gasoline prices, not about highway building or a heritage fund. His party campaigned in the last election on lowering gasoline prices in northern Ontario. That was a commitment they made in the accord, and they have not kept it.
Specifically, the Minister of Energy indicated the government would be taking an initiative on gasoline prices. The Treasurer failed to take that initiative in the budget. Is the government going to take an initiative on gasoline prices? If so, when?
Hon. Mr. Nixon: The initiative, which I have already characterized as equitable, in the best interests of the north and supportable, has already been undertaken.
Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: The Treasurer was wrong on his figure for unleaded gasoline. It is 47.7 cents. It is a misprint in his printout.
Mr. Speaker: It is not a point of order.
Mr. Pope: In the absence of the Premier (Mr. Peterson), I am wondering whether the Minister of Labour is still in the House.
Mr. Speaker: I do not see the Minister of Labour. Someone else would probably like to ask a question.
An hon. member: You would get the same answer.
Mr. Pope: Yes, it would not matter.
In the absence of the Premier and in the absence of the minister -- I am sorry, here he is.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Where were you?
Mr. Pope: Where was the Treasurer?
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I was here, looking at your empty seat.
Mr. Pope: It does not look like it. The Treasurer spent two years doing nothing for northern Ontario. He has not been doing his job. He should not preach to anyone else about doing his job.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Would the member for Cochrane South take his seat.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Anyone else with a question?
Mr. Pope: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Can the minister explain why he has different standards for lung cancer among uranium miners in Elliot Lake than for lung cancer among gold miners in Timmins?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I believe the criteria we now have in place, which the board has been applying for lung cancer victims in uranium and gold miners, are basically the same as to the number of years of exposure and the time that exposure began. They are the same kinds of criteria for lung cancers in uranium and gold miners; they yield different results.
I can tell my friend that in the case of lung cancers for uranium miners, the Workers' Compensation Board has sent on a request to the Industrial Disease Standards Panel to look at the criteria it is now using; perhaps that will yield some different results.
Mr. Pope: The minister will be aware that the criteria used by the Workers' Compensation Board with respect to lung cancer in uranium miners in Elliot Lake relate to five years of exposure with respect to a certain kind of cancer and 10 years of exposure with respect to all other types of lung cancer.
As this is now the minister's initiative, as it was gazetted, can he explain to me why this government has allowed it to be gazetted and therefore has accepted, at least for comment purposes, standards that are clearly unacceptable, of 15 years of exposure pre-1936 and on up to 60 years of exposure after 1955, when the very same person who was chairman of that panel said back in 1976 that "compensation should be provided to victims of lung cancer whose disease can reasonably be attributed to working in uranium mines and that the act of granting compensation is a human decision and not susceptible to sharp, quantitative prescription?"
Why is the minister making these sharp, quantitative distinctions that are to the detriment of the widows of the miners who have died from lung cancer in Timmins?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I presume my friend the member for Cochrane South was present in cabinet when the idea of establishing an Industrial Disease Standards Panel was put in place. We decided we would put in place an independent group of experts, which we now have, to provide advice, not to the government but to the Workers' Compensation Board in an independent, scientific way, as to what the criteria ought to be for granting compensation on industrial diseases.
Now that this advice is being offered, the honourable gentleman says we ought to just ignore it. It is advice; the honourable gentleman also forgets that the panel is an advisory panel. The board, quite openly, can accept, reject or amend the advice.
We have put a pretty good process in place, and I would hope the honourable gentleman would allow that process to begin to take hold and take effect. It is a great deal better than the previous kind of hit-and-miss determination by the board, where it determined how much it would give, with nobody really offering the kind of independent advice that the Industrial Disease Standards Panel will offer.
ARGOSY FINANCIAL GROUP OF CANADA LTD.
Mr. Philip: I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Now that it is fairly obvious that the Liberals in government have flip-flopped or taken a complete turnabout from the position they took in opposition on Argosy; now that he as the minister has obviously rejected his own party's research report, which says, and I quote: "The Argosy collapse shows a number of lapses in the administration of our investor protection laws as well as a number of shortcomings in the relevant legislation and regulations."
What, if anything, is he going to do for the senior citizens and other people who have lost their money in the Argosy collapse? Will they receive any compensation from the government? If so, how much and when?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: The member is well aware that the report of the standing committee on the Ombudsman, which looked into that matter, is tabling that report today. I have yet to see it. When it is tabled, I will look at it and then will respond.
Mr. Philip: It is interesting that the minister has yet to see it when he probably told his four members who voted in a block on it exactly how to vote
Mr. Speaker: Order. Does the member have a brief supplementary?
Mr. Philip: I wonder if the minister can inform the House how the small investors in this province can have any confidence in a regulatory system that allows a self-confessed swindler like Carnie, a rogue by anyone's standards, to operate as a mortgage broker and to issue securities under the Ontario Securities Act? How can a small investor have any confidence in a regulatory system that allows people like that to operate right under the eyes of the regulators in this province?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: The member will know that he is talking about a situation that took place over a period of 13 years. Since that time we have done a great many things. One of the things, which I hope to get third and final reading on today, is the Loan and Trust Corporations Act, which will bring a great many reforms to that whole area.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: Yesterday, the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) brought to my attention and to the attention of members of this House a procedure whereby the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. was offering a negative option to some of its policyholders. I undertook to look into the matter and to get to the superintendent of insurance and report back to him.
I have the pleasure of telling the member that the superintendent of insurance first became aware of this practice on Thursday, May 21, 1987, and after review on Monday, May 25, contacted the insurer to advise the insurer that there was not an acceptable practice in this type of offering. We were awaiting its response before proceeding further.
On May 27, 1987, the superintendent followed up with the president of the insurer to confirm discontinuance, of which confirmation in writing was received today, May 28. I am pleased to inform the member that the company has discontinued the practice and it will revert. Anyone who took up the offer can have it rescinded. I am delighted to be able to report that to the member.
Mr. Swart: May I say to the minister that is not good enough. I had a call today from Professor March of McMaster University to tell me that over a year ago, London Life did the same thing to him without his knowledge. I would suggest to the minister that what he needs to have is legislation to prevent this kind of practice by all insurance companies in this province. Will he bring in that kind of legislation?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: The record of this government over the last two years is that when an issue is brought forward and is deemed to need legislation, we have not hesitated to bring it in. We are examining that whole area. I am delighted to tell the member that in the particular instance he brought to my attention yesterday, we solved it today, which is not bad, and we are in a position where we are monitoring these things all the time.
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.
TABLING OF INFORMATION
Mr. Martel: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: The standing orders say the minister should answer questions when asked, either under standing order 29(a) or under oral questions. Yesterday I asked with respect to Koolatron, and I quote, "will the minister table in the House all the orders issued and the compliance dates?" The minister did not answer, nor did he table any of those orders today. Would Mr. Speaker be so good as to obtain those for me?
Mr. Speaker: I appreciate the request made by the member for Sudbury East. Once again I must remind him and all members of the House that I do not believe that I, as Speaker, have the authority to make any member of this House present any information. However, I am certain the minister responsible is within hearing distance somewhere. l am sure it will be looked after.
Mr. Reville: I have a second petition on the subject:
"Protect our safety; keep the Toronto Taxi propane station closed until the report is received from the Committee on Siting of Alternate Transportation Fuels Outlets."
It is signed by 266 people, all of whom are members of the --
Mr. McClellan: New Democratic Party.
Mr. Reville: -- Jamiatul Muslemin of Toronto. Actually, it is a Muslim mosque.
DRUG WHOLESALERS' DISTRIBUTION ALLOWANCE
Mr. Morin-Strom: I have a petition which reads:
"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and, in particular, the Minister of Health:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"That it present a bill before the House to amend Bill 54 and Bill 55 to accommodate a drug wholesalers' distribution allowance."
This petition has been signed by 27 individuals from Sault Ste. Marie.
TABLING OF INFORMATION
Mr. Harris: I have a petition signed by three people. It says:
"To the Lieutenant Governor:
"We, the undersigned, petition the government to answer outstanding questions in Orders and Notices, some of which have been outstanding for up to a year."
Mr. Speaker: That does not really appear to be in order. However, we will take a very close look at that one.
REPORTS BY COMMITTEES
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
Mr. McCague from the standing committee on general government presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:
Bill 170, An Act to revise the Pension Benefits Act.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for committee of the whole House.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE OMBUDSMAN
Mr. McNeil from the standing committee on the Ombudsman presented the committee's report and moved adoption of its recommendations.
Mr. McNeil: The report I am presenting to the House today is the committee's report on Argosy Financial Group of Canada and the committee's recommendations resulting from the hearings it held on this matter in April.
The committee heard representatives of the Argosy victims during its hearings, in addition to the Ombudsman, Dr. Daniel Hill, his staff and the staff of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations and the Ministry of Financial Institutions.
While the report is short and speaks for itself, it might be appropriate to state that the committee, after its deliberations, was unable to support the recommendations of the Ombudsman, including his recommendation calling for the government to compensate victims for 50 per cent of their losses.
The committee does, however, recommend that the House and the minister consider the appropriateness of an ex gratia payment to the victims in recognition of the uniqueness and disturbing circumstances of this matter.
A substantial dissenting opinion has been included with this report.
On motion by Mr. McNeil, the debate was adjourned.
Mr. Philip: Another Liberal flip-flop.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Etobicoke does not have the floor.
Hon. Mr. Nixon moved that the standing committee on general government be authorized to adjourn to Sudbury, Ontario, on any day during the month of June on which the House is not meeting.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Nixon moved that the standing committee on regulations and private bills be authorized to meet following routine proceedings on Wednesday, June 10, 1987, and Wednesday, June 17, 1987.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
BEEF CATTLE MARKETING AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Riddell moved first reading of Bill 77, An Act to amend the Beef Cattle Marketing Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Riddell: The present Beef Cattle Marketing Act permits the refund officence fees paid on the sale of beef cattle at the request of the sellers. I am pleased to introduce the bill to amend the act and revoke this provision, making these licence fees, also known as checkoffs, nonrefundable. These funds go to the Ontario Cattlemen's Association, and at the association's annual meeting in February, 85 per cent of voting delegates voted in favour of this action.
In addition, the bill also adds regulatory powers to allow for the collection of confidential information on cattle sales.
These changes will greatly improve services to all Ontario cattlemen, and I urge the speedy passage of this bill.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
LOAN AND TRUST CORPORATIONS ACT / LOI SUR LES COMPAGNIES DE PRÊT ET DE FIDUCIE
Hon. Mr. Kwinter moved third reading of Bill 116, An Act to revise the Loan and Trust Corporations Act.
L'hon. M. Kwinter propose la troisième lecture du projet de loi 116, Loi portant révision de la Loi sur les compagnies de prêt et de fiducie.
Mr. Ashe: I rise to support the passage of Bill 116. As the honourable members are aware, and of course the minister is particularly aware, it is a substantial piece of legislation that, frankly, I think has been made better because of the process it went through.
I want to commend the minister and his staff for the amount of involvement they had in this piece of legislation and the process they took it through. I think we would all agree that the consultation that went on with the industry was substantive. The deputations and representations that were made to the committee dealing with the legislation were deep, to say the least, and I think the spirit in which the ministry people and ultimately the minister dealt with some of these changes was well received and very appropriate.
I sincerely feel that the growth of the trust company industry in Ontario has served the financial community generally extremely well and, most important, the consumers of Ontario. When we had only the major chartered banks dealing with the people, I think they were a very remote type of institution that really did not give the average person the impression they were there to serve them. They gave the impression they were there to serve the corporations of this country and this province, but not the individual. With the competitive coming into being of the trust industry and the growth of the services, it was able to provide us with not only those services but also, more important -- to use the expression -- it made the banks smarten up to some degree in their dealings with the public.
With the passage today of Bill 116 and, I am sure, the very early proclamation of same, I think the industry is in an even better position than ever before to be part of the financial marketplace of the world. We are in a very competitive market, whether it is in the financial community or elsewhere, and if we are going to compete in that market effectively and competitively, we have to be able to think of it in world terms. I think Bill 116 does a fair bit of allowing that to happen.
I do not think Bill 116, as with any piece of legislation this large, is perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. I can assure members the industry would have liked a little more flexibility, but I am very encouraged to note that when we were considering some of these areas that would have expanded, shall we say, some of the capacity of the industry in certain areas, the minister was acceptable to reconsidering, based on the experience as we moved along, implementing the broader areas the companies could do business in under Bill 116.
I hope the minister and his staff will follow through on that offer and make not only himself but his ministry available to keep up to date on the implementation of the bill and come forward at a very early opportunity. I am not talking about next month; obviously, we are talking about a year or whatever from now. I hope others will be able to do it for him in that time. In any event, I think the key is to make sure that if we are setting up an industry that is world competitive, we remain in that competitive position by being able to do it.
I think all the members of the committee took a very active part in making this bill better, but we on this side particularly would like to take a little credit for something the minister did confer about -- and I give him credit for that -- that is, making sure at least half of the directors on these corporations are outside directors. In the original proposal, it was only at least one third.
We had a strong feeling that was ultimately, as I recall, unanimously supported, including again, I acknowledge, the minister. It was agreed that a majority of outside directors was probably better to fulfil some of the other spirit of Bill 116, which says there should be others always keeping an eye on the operation to make sure self-dealings and so on do not go on.
In closing, this is a substantial piece of legislation that has been long in the offing. It goes back to the previous government administration and has come along over a period of years of long consultation, drafting and redrafting. I think it will serve the industry well.
I only received the bill this morning but I did have a chance to read every word, to make sure that all the amendments from the committee were in it. In so going through it I found out there was a typing mistake on page 315. I hope there is only one. I will draw it to the attention of the minister, to let him know, seeing as it was on the last page, that I did read this whole document since this morning. The typographical error says section "322" rather than section "232."
Mr. Morin-Strom: I will make some brief comments as well. I think the work that was done on this bill, which is a very substantial bill, was done very co-operatively and in a spirit of attempting to ensure that the consumers in the province, particularly those who are putting their deposits on faith into our institutions, our loan and trust companies in Ontario, do have those deposits insured and protected. I think and certainly hope this bill will accomplish that better than we have in the past in this province.
The bill is a substantial one. I understand it is the longest bill ever to go through the province, more than 300 pages. It is one on which we have received a number of submissions from industry and one in which we have made a number of amendments. The government proposed a number of amendments through the clause-by-clause process but the government was also receptive to amendments being put forward by both the opposition parties, and I am very pleased by that.
As we have just heard from the member for Durham West (Mr. Ashe), some of the amendments made by the Conservative members were accepted. I appreciate the fact that one amendment in particular that I suggested -- to ensure that the investments of loan and trust companies were not too heavily concentrated in the area of common stocks -- was also accepted. The original bill would have allowed up to 25 per cent of their investments to go into that area. It was tempered down to a limit of 10 per cent, which I think provides better assurances of security for depositors in loan and trust companies.
The work was done very co-operatively. The government was open to suggestions and several minor changes were made in the bill -- passed or not by very close votes, but very amiably. I appreciate the work that was done by all members on this committee and I hope we have established in law a bill that will hold this industry in good regard for many years to come.
Mr. Speaker: Are there any comments or questions?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: I just want to make a statement.
Mr. Speaker: You may make a windup statement. The member for Eglinton.
Mr. McFadden: I rise to comment very briefly in terms of the work of the committee and the remarkable participation in this process of everybody who had any interest in this particular topic. I think it was an example, perhaps, for other legislation to follow.
I know that, for about four years now, the process of reviewing the loan and trust legislation has gone on, and right up until the very end we have had active participation through the process, day after day in that very hot committee room -- participation from the Canadian Bar Association, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, the Trust Companies Association of Canada, the Canadian Bankers' Association and so on.
It seemed to me, based on the comments of members of the committee during the hearings but also in hearings the committee had last year on corporate concentration within the financial services industry, that our overwhelming concern was the protection of not only the shareholder but also the depositor. What we sought to do through all of the work of the committee, through hearings and through the amendments, was to ensure that all the various competing interests were being met and listened to; at the same time seeking to protect the very legitimate concerns of investors in trust companies and loan corporations and the major concerns of depositors.
Our hope with this legislation is that we will never again have the kind of situation that grew up several years ago around the collapse of Crown Trust, Greymac Trust and all the various other trust companies that ran into financial difficulties in recent years.
The problem we have in any piece of legislation of this sort is that we cannot entirely guard against dishonesty; we cannot entirely guard against incompetence; we cannot guard against thieves, no matter what we do. But I think we have at least put in place a legal and a regulatory framework that will better protect the depositors and the shareholders who do business with the various trust companies carrying on business within this province.
The banking industry raised a number of concerns, which I imagine will have to be monitored by the minister and his staff to ensure that some of the worries they raise do not create problems within Ontario in terms of mortgage financing. The amendments that were introduced would appear to have addressed their concerns, but I think that area should have ongoing monitoring.
As I mentioned in the committee, an area I would hope the ministry would monitor is the process: There are various points in the legislation where discretion is given either to the minister or the superintendent and I think it is important, in all administration of legislation, that we constantly monitor the way in which power is exercised and whether it should be changed on the grounds of either efficiency or fairness. As we pointed out in committee on several occasions, there are areas that should be monitored and perhaps amended at some future date.
For me, one of the most important amendments was the requirement that at least 50 per cent of the directors be outside directors. One of the things I think happened in recent years was that some people who owned trust companies were under some confusion as to whose money they were looking after and what was the most appropriate way to act. Hopefully, through this legislation, through the standards that have been set out, which are agreeable to the industry and interested parties, and with the requirement that at least 50 per cent of the directors must be outside directors, we can avoid the kind of confusion of responsibilities and the kinds of consequences which occurred in the various trust companies that ran into severe difficulties a number of years ago.
I am very pleased to stand to support this bill and to compliment the members of the standing committee on finance and economic affairs for the time and attention they put into this legislation. I would also like to compliment the minister and his staff for the detailed work and co-operation they displayed. As well, I think we should make special mention of the various organizations that spent a long number of hours over a considerable period of time working with the government and with the committee to try to put together a bill that is generally going to be satisfactory for the financial services industry in Ontario.
I am pleased to support this bill. I hope that as things work out over the years ahead, the kind of goals and objectives we have had for this legislation will come into reality.
Mr. Speaker: The minister may wish to make some windup or wind-down comments.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: I am going to be very brief, but I really wanted to put into the record my deep appreciation to the members of the standing committee on finance and economic affairs -- its chairman, the member for Kitchener (Mr. D. R. Cooke); the member for Wellington South (Mr. Ferraro); the member for Eglinton (Mr. McFadden); the member for Durham West, and the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Morin-Strom), all of whom brought a spirit of co-operation to the hearings. This is truly a formidable document. It is the largest document ever to be passed in the history of this House. Another very significant first, it is also the first commercial bill that is officially in the French language. That again is a milestone.
Before I close, I would be remiss if I did not publicly compliment the people in my ministry who did such an outstanding job in the drafting of this document, in anticipating the problems that could arise and working out compromises so that we could get relatively speedy passage through this House. I think this is an example of the finest in the way of legislation and how it is performed and created. All of the participants should be proud. This really is a fine day in the history of this House.
Motion agreed to.
La motion est adoptée.
MEMBERS' CONFLICT OF INTEREST ACT / LOI DE 1987 SUR LES CONFLITS D'INTÉRÊTS DES MEMBRES DE L'ASSEMBLÉE
Mr. Ward moved, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Scott, second reading of Bill 23, An Act to provide for greater Certainty in the Reconciliation of the Personal Interests of Members of the Assembly and the Executive Council with their Duties of Office.
M. Ward propose pour l'hon. M. Scott la deuxième lecture du projet de lot 23, Loi assurant une plus grande certitude quant au rapprochement des intérêts personnels des membres de l'Assemblée et du Conseil des ministres avec les devoirs de leurs fonctions.
Mr. Ward: Bill 23 replaces legislation that was introduced in the last session under the title of Conflict of Interest Act, I believe, a bill that died in Orders and Notices when the House adjourned.
Confidence in the government demands that those who serve the public must at all times act in the public interest and not take or appear to take advantage of their positions to further private interests.
I believe that Bill 23, in replacing the guidelines that have existed for members of the executive council over the past several years with clear legislation that applies not only to the members of the executive council but also to all members of the Legislature, is legislation that provides for the disclosure of the private interests of members, legislation that provides a prohibition on the carrying out of certain outside activities for members of the Legislature and provides for an independent arbiter to judge and make rulings on issues of conflict of interest.
I believe that all these things greatly assist not only the members of this House in carrying out their duties but certainly also the public in assuring them that in fact they can have confidence in the activities of all those in public office.
I look forward to the comments that members may have as we proceed through second reading of this bill.
The Deputy Speaker: Questions and comments of the member for Wentworth North? There being none, debate? The member for Cochrane South.
Mr. Pope: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is always your misfortune to draw me.
The Deputy Speaker: Or the member's to draw me.
Mr. Pope: That is right. We dealt with that last time.
I refrain from questioning or commenting directly to the parliamentary assistant, although I have some questions I would have put to him. However, I think it is probably a better contribution to this debate if I just put on the record some of my comments and some of my concerns about this legislation.
First, I would like to briefly take members of this assembly and the people of this province over some of the history that led us to today's date.
Mr. Ward: I recognize that book.
Mr. Pope: I know the parliamentary assistant recognizes this book. This in part represents some of the information I wish to put on the record this afternoon with respect to this government's performance in conflict-of-interest matters.
First, this bill, this legislative approach, represents a stinging indictment of the conduct of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) by his own government. Under our legislative processes, under our traditions, it is the leader of the government, the Premier of this province, who is responsible for the standards of conflict of interest. Our Premier is responsible for the administration of the standards for conflict of interest of members of the executive council, and our Premier is responsible for the enforcement of those standards for those who would violate the guidelines for conflict of interest of members of the executive branch.
In all three, this Premier of this province stands indicted by this legislation for, first of all, his failure to deal with the standards themselves; second, his abject failure to administer those standards; and third, for his failure to enforce those standards properly when they were clearly breached.
I want to review very briefly the performance of the Premier of this province on these matters. First, there is no doubt the Premier of this province was not even prepared to admit that in 1985 he had amended the 1971 guidelines introduced by Premier Davis. His statement to this House in the summer of 1986 indicated it was time that the 1971 Davis guidelines be reviewed. That was clearly his statement.
Nowhere in that statement, which was a lengthy and detailed one, did he even refer to the fact that the previous year his own government not only had reviewed the Davis guidelines of over a decade before but had in fact also established its own new guidelines, which were issued in September 1985. Nowhere in the statement of the Premier of this province, when he stated that he would review the Davis guidelines, did he once mention that there were new guidelines in place, nor did he once mention that he had undertaken this review in 1985, after coming to office.
His clear call to the members of this assembly was that it was time to review the Davis guidelines and come up with changes or amendments that would facilitate some reform in the whole conflict-of-interest area. Clearly, there was a rather glaring omission of fact from the statement of the Premier of this province on a very important issue current to the day that he made his statement, in the context of the resignation, or impending resignations, of two ministers of his cabinet over conflict-of-interest matters.
Second -- and I am going to detail this from the documents that were available to the members of the standing committee on public accounts -- the Premier of this province on numerous occasions during the summer of 1986 indicated the guidelines were being properly administered, that every "t" was crossed and every "i" was dotted; every teeny detail had been taken care of. Then two months later he appeared before the public accounts committee and indicated he really did not have any time to be bothered with this; he really never reviewed it, and in retrospect maybe he should have reviewed the compliance of his own ministers to the conflict-of-interest guidelines he had created.
What was the commitment by the Premier to enforcement in clear circumstances of conflict of interest? First, we had denial after denial after denial. Second, we had delay after delay after delay in getting specific information and specific action taken by the government of the day. Those are well documented in the Hansard reports of the public accounts committee.
No audit was done of Wyda Systems. After we unanimously requested an audit in August and September 1986, after we publicly tabled a motion for an audit in late October 1986, still no audit was done until Wyda Systems closed its doors; then, after the fact, auditors were sent in to do an audit. We were promised an audit. In October 1986, we were promised an audit by the government, by the Liberal members of the committee, who announced an audit would be done. Guess what we got, two months later? A financial review; an unaudited financial review which took at face value the documents we already knew to exist.
I want to remind all members of the Legislative Assembly, particularly those members of the public accounts committee who sat through the entire Wyda investigation that involved alleged conflicts of interest with one Wilfred Caplan and his spouse, the member for Oriole (Ms. Caplan), that we requested audited financial statements because we were convinced by the end of the day -- all of us, Liberal, New Democrat, Conservative -- that the debts of Wyda Systems that had been paid off through the government investment were in fact overvalued and overstated.
The members will recall that it was on April 10, 1986, at a meeting at the Inn on the Park with Mr. Caplan, Mr. Dobzinski and a representative of IDEA Corp., that the essential nature of the investment was changed a week before the closing of the deal. The essential nature was changed -- and this was a unanimous finding of fact -- to one of a debt payment system; the existing debts of Wyda Systems would be paid off using the government investment.
We became convinced, halfway through our deliberations, that the information supplied on a piece of paper that morning by Mr. Dobzinski and Mr. Caplan was not an accurate reflection of the true value of those debts. We asked for an audit. We never got one. We got delays and excuses from the Ontario Development Corp. Finally, after the company closed its doors, an audit was ordered.
Guess what the audit showed? It showed exactly what the members of the public accounts committee had warned the government of, seven months prior to this date.
Seven months prior, we had said we felt the debts were overvalued, that the assets were overvalued and that we had invested in the company as a government a Liberal investment -- and we were paying for debts that were not legitimate. That is exactly what the audit found. The assets were overvalued, the debts were overstated and $1.7 million of the taxpayers' money was spent in 11 days, from April 19, 1986 to April 30, 1986. In 11 days, that money was put right through Wyda Systems out to the supposed creditors of the company, and that money was lost. The monthly budget of Wyda Systems went to $500,000 a month in May 1986 and back down to $175,000 a month in June 1986.
These are all facts. The government refused to respond to the unanimous requests of the public accounts committee. It refused to provide for an audit. It refused a forensic audit. We now have an Ontario Provincial Police investigation going on as a result of the audit work that was done after the fact. There has been a totally inadequate, totally puzzling response from this government, which, given a unanimous request by the committee, failed to act. It failed to protect the investors' money and failed to protect the public's money in this investment, but that again is in line with the whole nature of the government response to this problem.
The Premier stated in the Legislature that a law firm, and one Mary Eberts, had been asked by the Premier -- and there is some argument as to whether it was a retainer or a simple duty performed on request -- that Mary Eberts and others had made this a priority and had advised members and prospective members of cabinet and that the conflict-of-interest guidelines had been adhered to; that every member of his cabinet and every member of the executive branch had filed specific information pursuant to the conflict-of-interest guidelines.
When information started to surface that in fact there had not been disclosure of certain holdings by certain members of the executive branch of his government, the Premier reacted by indicating that he would commission an independent review by Blake, Cassels and Graydon, a law firm in Toronto, of whether the filings had been properly done and whether there had been some omissions, a report which he subsequently refused to release to the committee and to the public. He stated, however, that the report exonerated his cabinet. The Blake, Cassels report exonerated the cabinet of the day of any breach of the conflict-of-interest guidelines.
It was only after the members of the committee threatened to move for a Speaker's warrant to get production of the Blake, Cassels and Graydon report that the Premier relented. He did not offer it. He did not step forward with the information and take the members of the committee into his confidence. We had to force it from him.
I invite members to guess what it showed. It did not show, as the Premier said it showed, that every member of his cabinet was in compliance, that there had been no breach of the conflict-of-interest guidelines. No, it did not show what the Premier said it showed. It showed massive breaches of disclosure, massive breaches of the conflict-of-interest guidelines by over 14 members of this cabinet. It was a document that was withheld from the public accounts committee until the Premier was threatened by the combined forces of the New Democratic Party and the Conservative Party. Only then was it produced. It said something completely different from what the Premier had said to the public and to the members of this assembly several weeks earlier.
This is the same Premier who denied in his statement to the Legislature that the 1985 guidelines even existed. He never referred to them. It was as if they did not exist. This is the same Premier who, when conflict-of-interest matters were drawn to his attention, indicated that he had completely investigated the matters and was satisfied there was no conflict of interest.
Mr. Polsinelli: How did the previous Tory government administer it?
Mr. Pope: I will get to that. In the meantime, we had two resignations offered by the ministers themselves -- not demanded by the Premier, but offered by the ministers -- because of breaches of the conflict-of-interest guidelines or their sensitivity to the position of the opposition members that they should not carry on their duties when these allegations of conflict of interest were outstanding.
But let us talk about what the Premier said, and for the members of the standing committee on public accounts, who I know are following this closely, I am referring to tab A, subsections 1 through 8, of the documents that were made available to the members of the public accounts committee.
First, on January 28, 1986, the member for Leeds (Mr. Runciman) made a request of the government. The question was:
"The government has been in power since last July...adequate time for cabinet ministers to disclose financial holdings that could cause conflict of interest. As of last Friday, not one minister, including the Premier, had filed any disclosures with the Clerk of the House. When might we expect to see these documents?"
The answer from the Premier:
"My impression was that they were all filed. The member may know something I do not. I will check with the Clerk. He has no standing to speak in this House, but it is my impression that it has all been taken care of."
The Premier, in a subsequent answer:
"We had a very esteemed counsel from the law firm of Tory, Tory, DesLauriers and Binnington, which the member and his colleagues know well, look at this matter and check these things very closely."
Mr. Polsinelli: Is that a Tory firm? Tory, Tory is a good firm.
Mr. Pope: In fact, we are talking about Mary Eberts, who was a member of the Liberal transition team. That is who we are talking about.
Further from the Premier: "I will personally look into this." It had been looked into not only by independent counsel "but also by the legal official in the administration, the assistant deputy minister of civil matters, who is an authority on these things. He had seen all these things and they were all filed. If there is some technical misunderstanding, I will be very happy to check into it and clear it up."
The Premier, when told the matter had still not been filed, said:
"I told the honourable member, obviously these are things one takes very seriously in the construction of the cabinet. I can assure the member a great deal of attention was given to these matters last summer when I was in the process of making the decisions that I did.
"Extensive documentation was filed and, to the best of my knowledge, every little, tiny detail has been tied up and everything is as it should be, in conformity with the guidelines. I should point out that I have had legal opinions on that, so if he has any suggestions, if he is standing in the House and suggesting there is a conflict of interest somewhere, I will be delighted to hear his charge or allegation, but l do not think it is quite fair to stand up and make some blanket allegations in the absence of some facts."
That was the Premier's reaction: that every tiny, little detail was taken care of. This is what he said on January 28, 1986: that all the filings had been done, that he had had independent counsel, namely, Mary Eberts of the Liberal transition team, and the assistant deputy minister for the Attorney General review these matters and that the filings had been made and properly made.
As we find out from the Blake, Cassels report, of course, the Premier could not have been farther from the truth. Not only were not all the filings made but also all the t's were not crossed, all the i's were not dotted, and in fact 14 cabinet ministers were in breach of the conflict-of-interest guidelines.
So much for the reassuring words of the Premier of this province on January 28, 1986. So much for his words. So much for his assurances to the people of this province through his statements in the Legislature that he was taking proper care of the conflict-of-interest matter that was starting to surface.
The reality was that some eight months later, when the Premier appeared before the public accounts committee, he was forced to admit that in spite of his statements on January 28, 1986, that he had looked into this matter and everything was taken care of, he spent virtually no time on this matter.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. The member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Shymko) and the member for Yorkview (Mr. Polsinelli) are being particularly noisy. I am having trouble hearing the person who has the floor, the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope). Will you please desist from your interjections?
Mr. Pope: As I was saying, it was clear that the reassurances to the members of this Legislative Assembly and to the public of Ontario given on January 28, 1986, by the Premier of this province were not true. He had not taken care of this matter. His own report, the Blake, Cassels report, showed that 14 ministers were in violation of the conflict-of-interest guidelines for failing to disclose their holdings, including himself.
Mr. Polsinelli: Why don't you go through them, Alan?
Mr. Pope: I am going to.
Seven months later, the Premier was forced to appear before the standing committee of public accounts and admit that in spite of his statement on January 28 that he had this matter in hand, that he had taken care of it, in fact he had not spent much time on it. He had left it to Blenus Wright and someone else and maybe, in retrospect, he should not have. His statement before the public accounts committee was entirely different from his first-line defence on January 28, 1986, which said he had taken care of it.
So much for the Premier's words. So much for the trust we can place in the Premier's words on this matter, like so many other matters in which this government is involved.
The next reference I want to make, and I know the members are following this closely, is to January 30, 1986, when the matter was raised again.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. I have been listening carefully to the wording of the member for Cochrane South and he is dancing very close to certain lines with remarks such as the one about, "So much for the trust we can place in the Premier's words." You are getting very close to the line of being unparliamentary.
Mr. Polsinelli: He has been close to that line for years, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Pope: And so have a few other people who are in breach of the conflict-of-interest guidelines. The Premier of this province took no steps to find out what was going on at the time or to ensure compliance, and that is close to the line because it involves public trust and confidence in the executive branch of this government. It is clear that the Premier was saying one thing when the reality was confessed some seven months later, that the matter had not been properly dealt with.
Is that on the other side now?
The Deputy Speaker: It is still on the all right side.
Hon. Mr. Curling: But we brought the bill forward.
Mr. Pope: I say to the Minister of Housing (Mr. Curling) that the government brought the bill forward because it recognized that the Premier of this province cannot administer the guidelines, cannot enforce conflict of interest. He is going to hide behind an independent voice. The Premier does not want to do his job, a job that so many other Premiers did in the past. He does not want to do the job, and that is the problem. He does not want to accept responsibility. He is afraid it will stick to the Teflon suit he is wearing. Well, he has responsibility.
Ms. E. J. Smith: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I believe motives are being imputed in a completely ridiculous way here as to why this bill was introduced and what it represents in this House.
The Deputy Speaker: Which wording was imputing motive?
Ms. E. J. Smith: The member implied that the Premier was hiding behind this and doing it to cover an inadequate job.
The Deputy Speaker: That is still in order. I do not think motives were imputed beyond what is parliamentary. I do agree we are dancing close to the line.
Mr. Pope: Maybe the government whip will read the statements of the Premier to the public accounts committee. He admitted that he was not monitoring to ensure compliance, that he did not want to get involved in the administration of conflict-of-interest guidelines and that he did not want to get involved in enforcement, even though clearly, under our parliamentary tradition, it is his obligation on behalf of the public to do so.
It is his statements before the public accounts committee that condemn him for his failure to properly administer conflict-of-interest guidelines. They are not my words; they are his. He said that he would not want to do it, did not want to do it and did not do it, that he should have spent more time on it. It is his own confession that stands as an indictment of this bill. That is why the government is doing this right now, because the Premier appeared before the public accounts committee and said he did not do the job on behalf of the people and someone else should do it because he was not prepared to.
Mr. Polsinelli: Will the member for Cochrane South permit a question?
The Deputy Speaker: Will the member for Cochrane South permit a question?
Mr. Polsinelli: It is a simple question. As a member of the public accounts committee, did the member for Cochrane South not endorse the legislation introduced covering conflict of interest and is his real fear not that this legislation will also cover members of the opposition parties?
Mr. Pope: My real fear is that this government, given its track record, has never taken matters of conflict of interest seriously. It has forced the public accounts committee and members of this assembly to expose what has been going on; it has never properly applied its own guidelines it put in place in September 1985, has never made them a priority and never took proper steps to enforce and administer them adequately. It tried, whenever it could, to deny to the people of Ontario there was a problem. That is what is going on. That is what is unfair and inappropriate in the conduct of this government on this matter.
My next reference is to the Legislative Assembly proceedings on January 31. We then deal with the then Minister of Northern Development and Mines and the reference to the interest in Hearst Forest Management and the blind trust.
This is the Premier again: "The minister said yesterday" -- referring to the then Minister of Northern Development and Mines -- "that he instructed his lawyers to put all of his interests in a blind trust, which I assume was done. It took some time to work out the legal technicalities and it was all turned over to Mr. Blenus Wright, Assistant Deputy Attorney General, who acts in these matters. He makes the decision when to file, and then they are turned over to the Clerk at some point that is appropriate in his judgement. This was the traditional method employed by the former administration.
"It is all going to be available to the public, and the member is welcome to spend as much time as he wants in scurrying through it trying to find some suggestion of conflict of interest. He can put his mind to it because obviously he cannot find anything else constructive to do here."
That was the attitude of the Premier, that at some point in time the public might have a right to know, when Mr. Blenus Wright was allowed to file the documents.
My next reference is to February 3, 1986. A question was directed to the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Kerrio) and all we got on that day was an assurance that there were no problems with the conflict-of-interest matter, that there was nothing for the public to be concerned about and that all had been proceeded with in the normal course. Of course, the Legislative Assembly committee took that particular matter in hand and its findings now are a matter of public record. The findings are clearly contrary to the statements made on that day by the Minister of Natural Resources.
Then on June 10, 1986, a question was raised by the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) with respect to IDEA Corp. and two investments, Graham Software Corp. and Wyda Systems (Canada) Inc. The Premier's response again was typical of the Premier in these kinds of circumstances during the year 1986, and I quote:
"My honourable friend has been standing in this House and coming very close to making allegations I suspect he would not make outside it. I have never heard of this guy Graham. I think the member as a gentleman should have the honour not to participate in the sleazy politics I have seen from some of his colleagues. It is amazing to see a young man, who is supposed to be filled with some ideals, being sucked into the gutter the way he is."
In fact, the allegations the member for Brantford made that day, and I refer the members of this House to page 1305 of Hansard, in every detail were found to be true. All we had in reaction from the Premier of this province was an attack on the character of the member for Brantford. That was his first line of defence, to attack the messenger, to attribute motives to the member who was raising legitimate concerns in this House relating to conflict of interest on matters that turned out to be true. His allegations turned out to be true. We have the Premier, representing all the people of this province, whose only answer is not to get at the truth, his only response is to attack the member who raised these legitimate questions.
And then, on reconsideration with his staff, there was a more thoughtful response on June 11. First, he indicated that IDEA Corp. had been established under the previous government and that the members of the board of directors of IDEA Corp. were eminent Ontarians. Then he indicates that all will be surprised by the allegations the member for Brantford had made. Then he gives a breakdown of the nature of IDEA Corp. since the very beginning.
He then makes some statements that I think do not stand up to public scrutiny and that I want to quote: "With respect to the two specific cases raised by my honourable friend opposite, the following are the facts. Graham Software Corp. initially contacted the IDEA Corp. in the summer of 1985. It received initial funding from IDEA on September 18, with an option for future investment, which was later exercised after a thorough review of the application by the staff. It is my information that Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Graham had no business relationship at the time of the application, having severed their business relationship three years previously."
Of course, the members of the standing committee on public accounts now know that was not the case. It was not the case that they had severed their business relationship three years previously. In fact, at the very time they made the application they still had on the books of the companies branch of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations ongoing business relationships in at least five different corporate entities that were not wound down or were not disentangled until after the application.
"The application of Wyda Systems (Canada) was made to the corporation in August 1985, following preliminary discussions with staff. Prior to these events, in June 1985, the Assistant Deputy Attorney General, civil law, had a general discussion with Mr. Caplan concerning conflict-of-interest matters as part of an ongoing process to advise Liberal members and their spouses. Mr. Caplan mentioned that he was president of Damaza Consultants Ltd., a financial consulting firm. He stated that from time to time he might act as a consultant for companies that had applied to ministries or government agencies for grants or loans.
"Mr. Caplan was advised that, pursuant to the conflict-of-interest guidelines, a minister of the crown, which included the spouse of a minister, could not have an interest in a private company that had a contract or agreement with the government. He was advised that he would be precluded from" -- seeking -- "an interest in the equity of a client company seeking funds from the government or any interest based on the amount of funds received from the government. He was also advised that the member for Oriole, as a minister, should have absolutely nothing to do with any decision on whether any client of Mr. Caplan received government funding.
"In the opinion of the Assistant Deputy Attorney General, civil law, Mr. Caplan has complied with these guidelines.
"At the time of application and approval of the Wyda proposal, Mr. Caplan was listed by Wyda as a financial consultant and given the title of vice-president, finance. The application was made in the summer of 1985, placed on the IDEA board agenda for February 19, 1986...approved on March 6, 1986. Mr. Caplan's relationship to Wyda was disclosed by Mr. Macdonald" --
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Morin): Order. You are reading at great length.
Mr. Pope: And? I can read from Hansard.
The Acting Speaker: This is not --
Mr. Pope: Fine, I will put it down and I will reconstruct Hansard myself then. Okay, let us talk about what the reality was as opposed to what the Premier said that day.
First, I have indicated he was wrong on the relationship between Terry Graham and Abe Schwartz. He was clearly wrong on the records contained in his own government's ministry, at the companies branch of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations; and it is clear he was totally wrong with respect to the relationship between Mr. Caplan and Wyda Systems (Canada) Inc., found to be wrong unanimously by every single member of the standing committee on public accounts.
He was not given the title of vice-president of finance: he was an officer of the company, he was vice-president of finance and administration. He was not told he could not have an equity interest: he was told in a letter from Tory, Tory, DesLauriers and Binnington, by Mary Eberts, a member of the Liberal transition team, to sever his relationship. That is what he was told to do, to sever the relationship. We had this cockamamy interpretation of the meaning of the words "sever the relationship" that Mary Eberts arid others attempted to convince the public accounts committee meant to change the nature of the relationship. The public accounts committee, in its unanimous finding, was rather kind. It said that interpretation was unique at best because the reality was that Wilf Caplan was told to sever the relationship, to end it, to get out of the relationship and in fact did not.
Nowhere in the Premier's statement is there a reference to a very important meeting that took place on April 10, 1986; that the committee unanimously found took place, that the committee unanimously found involved Mr. Caplan, Mr. Dobzinski and an employee of IDEA Corp. The committee unanimously found decisions had been made at that meeting that changed the essential nature of the investment.
The committee also examined the actual notes of that meeting, in which the supposed debts and assets of the corporation were listed on a single piece of paper. That was on April 10. Nine days later, without going back to the board, the deal, having had its essential nature changed, closed. Eleven days after that about half of the $3 million was paid to Wyda and then out of Wyda to a variety of creditors, including almost $500,000 to the president personally for what were called shareholders' loans. That was the deal negotiated on the morning of April 10, 1986, at the Inn on the Park with Mr. Caplan, Mr. Dobzinski and an employee of IDEA Corp.
Those are the facts, the unanimous finding of facts. That is a far cry from the statements of the Premier on June 11, 1986, a far cry from what we were told was the reality of this matter.
The Premier made further statements to which I will not refer on June 12, 1986, in which he attacked the member for Brantford for impugning the integrity of people from outside the Legislature. I reiterate that in reality the member for Brantford was correct in every single statement and allegation he made to this House in June 1986 and throughout this entire matter. He was factually correct and was unanimously found to be factually correct by the members of this Legislature in the public accounts committee.
It was only after sustained questioning by both opposition parties through June 1986 and a threat by the combined opposition parties to refer this matter to the public accounts committee that the government House leader and Deputy Premier (Mr. Nixon) rose in this House and said the government was initiating a referral to the public accounts committee. The reality was that the House leader had been told earlier that day that the combined opposition parties were going to move that the whole matter be referred to the public accounts committee. It was in the light of that information, conveyed by the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) on behalf of his party and the member for Nipissing (Mr. Harris) on behalf of the Conservative Party, that the government responded.
Let us disavow ourselves of the notion that the government voluntarily moved on this matter, that it was open and that it provided all the information immediately to the members of this assembly. That did not happen. There was a statement and, for whatever reason, it was incomplete and in some aspects inaccurate.
It may be that the Premier and his office did not have time to review the matter properly. They should have taken the time. It may be that they did not get all the information that was available from the files. They should have had access to all the files and they should have insisted on access to all the files. It may be that the Premier's office, for some strange reason that Mary Eberts tried to explain, did not have the dossiers on all the members of cabinet and the executive council and therefore could not review the matter unless they got the permission of Mary Eberts or the members of cabinet themselves. It turns out that they should have got that permission immediately, because the Blake, Cassels report showed that there was a great deal wrong, there was a great deal of nondisclosure of assets.
In reality, it was on September 14, 1972, that Premier Davis outlined to the Legislature of this province a comprehensive set of guidelines. The new government, when it assumed power in 1985, did review the guidelines that were produced by Premier Davis. They did publish new guidelines, and ministers did violate those new guidelines.
I do not think there is any doubt of that matter, in retrospect. Having been given the information that members of the public accounts committee have been given and the members of the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly, under the chairmanship of the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh), and that therefore all members of this assembly have had access to, it is clear that the conflict-of-interest guidelines of September 1985 were violated, that there was a contractual involvement between a company that a minister or his or her family had an interest in, that the contractual involvement involved services rendered to Wyda Systems for the negotiation of a government investment, and that those negotiations actually took place, involving a spouse of a cabinet minister, on April 10, 1986, and well before that, in December 1985 and January 1986.
It is clear those meetings took place. It is clear as to who was present at those meetings. It is clear the IDEA Corp. staff at those meetings knew who Mr. Caplan was, knew who his spouse was and knew they were dealing with the spouse of a cabinet minister of the Peterson government of Ontario. That is clear from all the information we have been given.
We know Mr. Caplan was paid for his services. There is some argument as to whether or not he had other duties to perform for Wyda Systems, as well as being involved in preparing financial information that was used to support this application. It is clear that in any event, regardless of how we define his duties, whether they involved other things or not, he was paid for his services.
We found unanimously that he received payment. He was paid, I believe, $2,000 a month, on average. In the early part of 1986, around the time that the deal was finalized, his payments, or severance package or however you want to define it in technical terms, started to be $8,000 a month. Of those payments, the first payment was made on the day that the government cheque was given to Wyda Systems Inc. That very day, the first $8,000 payment was made to a spouse of a cabinet minister.
That is not my partisan opinion; that is a unanimous finding of fact, that is documented. That is documented in the book that I know all members of the public accounts committee will remember for ever more. It is a documented payout between April 19 and April 30, 1986.
It is truly the failure of this government to properly police these kinds of activities that led the standing committee on public accounts through the summer of 1986, and the Legislative Assembly committee through that same period of time, into extensive hearings.
It is clear that having a problem on its hands, the government responded in a way that I think even it, in retrospect, would think was inadvisable. That is putting it charitably. We had to force the government to refer this matter to the public accounts committee. We had to indicate in the public accounts committee that we expected the Premier to attend. We had to threaten the Premier's office with Speaker's warrants to get access to information that we should have had immediately.
We demanded an audit. We were refused by the Ontario Development Corp., acting on instructions. When they did relent -- and I suspect they relented because of pressure from the Liberal members of the public accounts committee -- we did not get an audit at all; but they never told us it was not an audit until the clay they produced at an in camera meeting what was in fact a financial review.
The financial review took all of the information we already knew, as members of the committee, and just rearranged the numbers in different columns -- same numbers, but in different columns -- and tried to explain it to us. What we had been calling for since August was a forensic audit that would go beyond the financial statements, go beyond the documents and verify their truth. Verify, for instance, whether or not computer equipment that was assigned a value of millions of dollars was, in fact, only worth a couple of hundred thousand dollars.
We asked, for instance, for the production -- and we know they exist -- of the customs documents, because that equipment came from England to New York City, through New York state into Ontario. We asked for the valuation on the customs documents. The customs documents, to this day, have not been produced for the members of the committee.
But we did get, in court documents and in statements by Mr. MacKinnon of the Ontario Development Corp., the admission that we were probably right, the computer equipment was worth many times less than the stated value. l remind the members that stated value was used in obtaining government funds and in flowing government funds through Wyda Systems (Canada) Inc. to related creditors.
I want to emphasize that, "to related creditors." Those are creditors who had some ongoing business relationship with Mr. Dobzinski and/or Wyda Systems. They were two London, England, corporations. We were aware of their relationship. We were aware of the fact that the two corporations had the same answering service and that they had the same building -- although they faced on different sides of the building -- for their business addresses.
We were aware that there was a long-standing relationship between Mr. Dobzinski and Wyda Systems with those two companies. We were aware that hundreds of thousands of dollars were being claimed by those two companies for computer equipment on lease contracts, and yet the government refused to move on a forensic audit until the company folded up and until the $3 million was lost.
We did not get co-operation. We had to drag this government, kicking and screaming, into an admission that there had been mistakes made, an admission to the fact that there had been breaches of the conflict-of-interest guidelines. Now we have an Ontario Provincial Police investigation, quite frankly -- and we will tell it now -- with which the members of the public accounts committee from the opposition parties threatened the government, in camera in September 1986, unless we had an audit done.
It was only after those threats were made that the government said, "Yes, we will do an audit." When it came down in October, in reality it was a financial review and not an audit at all. Now we have an OPP investigation that the government was forced to do because of the facts of the fall of Wyda Systems. Guess what we have now? All of a sudden, we cannot find out from the OPP the status of the investigation. All of a sudden, no one knows where the report is, even though the OPP has all the transcripts of the standing committee on public accounts hearings, all the documents that the public accounts committee had.
How long ago was the report started? It was started six months ago and we still have no response from the government. We still have no response from the OPP, who originally were giving us information on the status of the investigation and who, suddenly, two months ago said: "We cannot give you any more information. You will have to put your request in writing." Tell me about this government that is so open and co-operative in these and so many other matters. The reality is that the co-operation and the openness was not there and never has been there from the outset in the Wyda Systems matter.
How is the bill going to change that? If the government is not going to be forthcoming, if it is going to force the opposition parties to bring these matters to a public accounts committee, if it is going to refuse to produce the documents while giving the media and the people of Ontario its own interpretation of them, which turns out to be inaccurate, if it is not going to carry out legitimate audits and forensic audits of these matters to see whether the taxpayers' money is being wasted, if it is not going to do all those basics of good fundamental government, of good husbanding of the taxpayers' money, how can an independent commissioner get any further than the opposition parties with this government when we have this history of lack of co-operation and forthrightness by the government of this Premier?
To me it is very clear. This bill is proof of the failure of this government, historically since it came to office, to take care of this very important issue. Not only that, it is an indication of the intention of the government not to involve itself ever again in conflict-of-interest matters. They will give it to somebody else because they do not want it. They will allow some independent commissioner to deal with conflict-of-interest matters.
I want to say I do not think that is appropriate. I happen to believe that the fundamental responsibility for conflict-of-interest guidelines, for their administration and enforcement, rests with the individual ministers of the government and, more important, rests with the Premier, the leader of this government. That is historic tradition in our parliamentary system.
It is something that this Premier, uniquely, does not want to get involved in, and I think that is not to his credit. Notwithstanding his admission last summer to the public accounts committee that he thought someone else should do it, that does not remove from his shoulders ultimate responsibility for the consequences of a breach of the conflict-of-interest guidelines.
I think the Premier should be here, should involve himself in this debate, as the leader of this government that has had so much trouble with conflict-of-interest matters. I think the Premier should be here to explain to the members of this assembly how, in the light of subsequent events, the information that we received on January 28, 1986, is so different from the findings of fact of all members of all parties of the standing committee on public accounts and the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly.
I think we deserve an explanation from this Premier, which we have never had, as to why the Legislative Assembly committee and the public accounts committee, which I am aware of particularly, had to fight this government every step of the way to get the Blake, Cassels report, to get an audit done, to get information out of the Premier's office.
By the way, we still do not have Bob Carman's documentation. We still do not have the documentation of his advice to the Premier in spite of the promise of the Premier that he would be open and co-operative with the members of the standing committee on public accounts. We will never see that information, because the Premier has decided we should not see it. Will the independent commissioner see it?
I believe there are some rather substantial issues that go to the very heart of the performance of this Premier and this government on conflict-of-interest matters that are still not finished. We still have the OPP investigation, and we read some suggestion in the paper today that there may be charges forthcoming from a justice of the peace with respect to the hearings of the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly.
We still have not finished with this matter. This piece of legislation will not deter the members of the public accounts committee from finding out what actually happened to the public's money. That is our mandate as members of the public accounts committee. That is what we spent three months determining in the summer of 1986. Clearly, the Premier has never made it a priority of his or his government to find out what happened and to make sure it never happens again.
By giving his responsibility, the responsibility that is uniquely the Premier's, to someone else, he is abdicating one of his fundamental responsibilities as the leader of the government of this province. He is abdicating it because he does not want to do it, because he does not want the political heat, because he does not want the political consequences.
There is more to governing than wearing a teflon suit and a red tie. There is an obligation to take care of the basics of parliamentary democracy, of democratic government. One of the basic obligations is that the Premier is ultimately responsible for the conduct of his ministers. He is the one who must insist on the resignations when they are in breach of the conflict-of-interest guidelines. He is the one who has to take the time to find out what is going on with his ministers. He is the one who has to make sure the system is properly administered.
On each and every one of those counts, the Premier not only has not co-operated, not only said things that turned out not to be correct, but also is now abdicating his responsibility and saying, "I do not want it any more." That is an indictment of this Premier's attitude towards this place and towards parliamentary democracy that I cannot accept.
Mr. Breaugh: I rise to support the bill, with some reluctance. I think all members on just about all sides in here have had a round of conflict of interest one way or another. For many of us, last summer was perhaps the most difficult one we have had in quite a while. In that period, we dealt with two major conflict-of-interest allegations in a parliamentary forum, before a legislative committee. In our federal Parliament, they have used another technique, a royal commission of sorts, to investigate allegations of conflict of interest.
It seems that more and more people in the public eye are having their intentions questioned. I happened to be off sick for the last day or so and I was able to watch CNN's coverage of Jerry Falwell's press conference yesterday morning. Then I got to watch Nightline last night, where Jim and Tammy Bakker were giving their side of the story. At the end of it, neither side looks very gracious or very Christian or seems to benefit by the process.
Gary Hart, a candidate for presidential nomination in the United States, has gone through a similar set of allegations and has now resigned from that. It seems that more and more scrutiny is being placed on those who are in the public eye.
The previous speaker was correct. In our traditions in a parliament, we have always said that all members are honourable, that they do not participate in things from which they might gain personal profit, that there is kind of a code of the west that applies to members of the assembly and, essentially, that is in the hands of the Premier.
In this chamber, traditionally it has been something the previous government codified in the sense that it had a policy of cabinet, a set of guidelines, which were reasonably well known, I suppose, to members of the cabinet but certainly not the subject of debate in the Legislature. They were not guidelines determined by their peers; they were guidelines established by the Premier of Ontario. The Premier essentially said, `You must conform to this set of guidelines." In the end, it was essentially this. The Premier of Ontario decided what was right and what was wrong. He decided who was guilty and who was not guilty.
I do not recall an occasion in my experience here as a member when the previous government ever let a legislative committee scrutinize whether somebody had violated those conflicts. The Premier made that decision solely on his own and, for the most part, the Premier has tended to be quite ruthless. If there was the hint of an allegation, as soon as it became apparent that it was not going to go away, that the allegation was going to remain a matter of public scrutiny for some time period, the minister resigned.
The minister very often reappeared from limbo six months, a year or two years later, but there was the perception of swift justice, that if the members of the cabinet did not behave as the Premier expected them to behave they were gone. If they were big, strong folks they would reappear at a later date.
I have some problems with this bill. I want to spend a little bit of time this afternoon talking about them.
The first problem I have with the bill, frankly, is the name of it. This bill is to deal with conflict of interest and the perception of that in the public's mind. In my view, it is not then an advantage to call the bill An Act to provide for greater Certainty in the Reconciliation of the Personal Interests of Members of the Assembly and the Executive Council with their Duties of Office.
I am an advocate of the view that if you want to do something, you should call it by something that the rest of the world will really understand. This seems, in my view, to obfuscate the issue. It does not tell you what it is supposed to do. That is the fault with it. I do not think the government does itself a favour when it starts off by saying, "We are going to open up this process and we are going to codify it in legislation. It will be so straightforward that there will never again be a conflict of interest."
In the first place, I think the government has done itself a disservice by the title of the act. It would have been much better off simply to say, "We are going to put into law conflict-of-interest legislation and that is what this will be." Then the public would understand what the government is trying to do, and so would we.
The second flaw I see in the bill is its approach. The way to categorize it is that the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) has attempted to do this from the lawyer's point of view. He has written a bill that says, "If you file this document with this person and you provide us with this list of things and you fulfil all these legal obligations, you will escape the conflict."
I do not believe that is true, not for a minute. I do not believe this is about whether people filed pieces of paper on time. I do not think it is about whether they completed the form properly. I do not think it is about whether they got good legal advice. l think it is all about whether the public perceives that something was done improperly. It is as simple as that and it needs to be no more complicated than that.
Members of my committee have had an opportunity to study various American jurisdictions and their attempts to codify this. They really go at it hammer and tongs down there in ways we would find totally reprehensible. It is standard practice in many states of the union that if you are even nominated to hold a public position, there will be a complete investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of your whole background and a complete and open audit of all tax records and an auditing of all the records of all your family, in a way that is very un-Canadian, let me put it that way.
The Americans have accepted that. It is a part of their political way of life. If you are running for public office or if you are going to be appointed to an important public post, virtually all of the documents about you, your family and your connections will in some way become public documents. They may not start out that way, but it seems almost inevitable that if somebody really wants to get this information, there is a statement on public record. You can put it before a congressional committee or you can use their freedom of information laws, but it all comes out. There will be detailed records of what was made in a given year, where it was made, and all of that.
They have their own reasons for doing so. I was interested in the last year to talk to some people from Congress about their pay raises. The House may be aware that members of the American Congress have gone through a rather dramatic pay increase in the past year, and they have a good rationale for it. They had just gone through a long period where members of Congress made it a practice not to pay themselves very much; certainly not to give themselves a pay increase.
But members of Congress had always made it a practice, too, to accept money for speaking engagements, to begin to work for lobbying groups, to work for private industry, to go and address a convention in Hawaii and stay on for a week or so at the company resort. Many of them made a very good living on the side, doing what each one of us does every night of the year, although we do not do it in quite such glamorous places.
They give a speech to somebody for which they are compensated and they make that part of the public record. It was beginning to become a problem. In many senses, they had fulfilled all their obligations; in a sense, they would fit very nicely into this kind of legislation, because they had all filed the documents saying, "I got $5,000 from this company to do this, I got $10,000 from this company to do this and I got this kind of money from this lobbyist group over here." They filed all that information, but the conflict persists.
That is one of the difficulties that is in here. There is a legalistic attempt to codify what kind of information members should put on record, where the list should go, who should see copies of the list, what the commissioner does, what kind of advice is given to the individual members and particularly members of the cabinet. I do not think it gets right on the problem of the public's perception.
I want to point out some areas where I think we need to do two or three things. When the bill goes off to committee I am going to at least talk about this if not move some amendments in these areas.
The first major problem I have is that there is an exemption in here for members voting on their own salary. I think we have to deal with this problem head on, maybe not in this act, maybe in another act, but we must find a way to deal with that problem in a straightforward, upfront manner and get rid of it; get that conflict of interest, which is not just a perception but a real one, out of the way and dealt with.
The second thing is I noticed there was an attempt in here to get away from divesting, that is that at some point in time people will have to recognize that no matter how you use a blind trust, no matter how you put your assets under someone else's control, the perception of a conflict of interest will remain. I believe we cannot escape that.
l do not believe that in all circumstances members have to divest themselves of an interest, say in the family farm, but I do think that option must remain a viable one. The commissioner will at some point in time have to say to some member of this assembly: "You have to get rid of the stocks in that company. You have to get rid of your share of the ownership of that firm. You have to divest yourself of those interests."
I am not advocating that it always has to be that way, but I am saying there are certain conflicts that will not go away unless the member no longer has an interest in that piece of property or that firm or that asset, whatever it might be. I think that is something that has to be in here as well. Other jurisdictions have taken a shot at this.
I am supporting the legislation for these reasons. I believe the old rule of the west that all honourable members are honourable and would never do anything wrong is not standing us in very good stead these days. It is not good enough for me any more to say, "Somebody broke a guideline." You either did something right, in which case you have nothing to be ashamed of, or you did something wrong, in which case, like most other citizens, you should have broken a law. That again has been our problem.
As we went through the hearings last summer, this same frustration kept surfacing in both the legislative committees: first, people may have broken some guidelines but they did not break any laws. People were interested in the status of the guidelines and the status of legal opinions given to members of the cabinet who were filing certain documents.
I think, too, mention has to be made that somehow we have to make the distinction here between what is important to do and what is not so important. I do not think it is important that members, particularly members of the cabinet, forgot to file certain pieces of paper -- that is barely relevant in my view -- or that there were irregularities in the filing in that they did not give complete information. What is important is that there is on the public record a clear indication of where the conflicts might arise and a clear indication as well of how the member, the Legislature or the commissioner in this instance handles that conflict of interest. This is not easy water.
For example, in Quebec they have done something reasonably similar to this proposal. The commissioner was set up. First of all, he advises the members on how to make these declarations. He then handles whether there are conflicts. As long as you stick with the commissioner and follow his directions, other members are not supposed to ask questions about this. It is considered to be a legitimate defence that the member rises in his place and says, "That is under the consideration of the commissioner and he gave me proper advice and I have followed his advice." As long as you do that, that is your protection.
I am not sure that is an absolute solution here. l recognize that it seems to be working reasonably well for them, but I think under this proposal we are going to have some problems with that. I am not quite sure that members of this assembly are going to be prepared to say that the member followed some advice. Certainly last summer during the committee hearings where it was repeatedly stated that legal advice had been sought it was not good enough for committee members.
It was not good enough for members of the cabinet or former members of the cabinet to come before legislative committees and say: "I was just doing what I was told. I got some legal advice from this person, that person and the other person and I thought I had done what was expected of me." Members were not really attributing a whole lot of motives, but that was not seen as a good response. You had to do more that.
I think in part this bill suffers from a bit of that. What this bill does, which I think is quite good, is at least it lays out a beginning format; at least it provides that there will be some kind of recognition that a commissioner is in charge of all this, the same advice will be given to all members and the same rules apply to all members. I think that is fair.
It has been a problem to date that we did not pay much attention to these conflict-of-interest guidelines. There was no one person who was designated really to take charge of this. There was a civil servant, in fact two or three, who did portions of this process in terms of providing advice. Some received documents and tabled them with the clerk and others reviewed and advised various members, but there was not really a job to be done.
This was done occasionally and, in part I suppose because one political party was in power for a rather lengthy period of time, they just kind of assumed they knew how to rule the roost. They assumed they knew how to advise members and they knew how to get them out of hot water. To be blunt about it, they wrote the rules the way they wanted them, and because there were guidelines laid down by the office of the Premier and not laid down by the Legislative Assembly, members here had no handle on that. The Premier was judge, jury, adviser and all those things rolled into one.
When a new government came into place it stumbled over the process. I do not think that is being unkind either. In the committee deliberations I thought there was a reasonable amount of openness, certainly on the part of the two members who were alleged to have had a conflict and others who testified before the committees that there was new ground being broken here, that there had been a review of the guidelines. No one quite knew how to do all of this. There was a transition team in place that was not a permanent part of the government's bureaucracy. They were brought in for the most part on a part-time basis from the private sector or from other ministries to get the new cabinet in place.
I think too, to be fair, the expectations that were put on brand-new members of this Legislative Assembly were unreal. People who had never seen the place before were suddenly now members of the assembly and, more than that, some of them were members of cabinet. They did not know how this place worked because they had never been here before. There was a totally unreal set of expectations laid upon them and nobody was really in charge.
Certainly in the committee that I chaired, the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly, a new member was brought in and given a whole set of expectations that were totally unrealistic. He was given some advice on some occasions and no advice on others. There was no follow-up to the filing of what, in this instance, turned out to be some rather important information. There was no codification of a system. There was very little follow-up of the system. There was very little consistency, I would say, in the kind of legal advice that was given to members of the cabinet.
This bill may, I hope, straighten out that part of the process. What is missing and what may be difficult for us to capture is the understanding of the public, the perception that we now have a process at work to handle this.
I want to say a couple of words about the processes we have used so far, and perhaps it is a bit of a defence that this technique may be a little bit better. As somebody who spent some time last summer, more time than I cared to, going through a process of hearing these allegations, I have come to the conclusion that there are some things that a legislative committee has a very difficult time doing. Hearing allegations of this kind is one of those things.
In my own committee, which has striven over the years to be as nonpartisan as committees can be here -- let me put it that way -- there are no illusions that we are not members of a political party, but the committee has worked very hard, because of the nature of the work it usually does: the standing orders, reviewing agencies, all that kind of stuff. There is an occasion, and members rather relish that occasion, to set aside their partisan differences and not to deal with the work along party lines. We really did try, during the course of the hearings we had, to stay on that nonpartisan basis; but it is almost impossible to do.
Although in my committee we did not quite have the bitterness perhaps that the other committee had, at the end of a long effort I am not sure that we were able to do that. In the end, the nature of the allegations was very partisan and the process itself was very partisan, so it was very difficult to steer clear of partisanship. We tried, and I think we succeeded to some degree, but in the end I think most of us would have said: "Don't ever give us a job like that to do again. Find some other way of doing that."
The alternative that we know of is to strike a royal commission and to run that route. I do not know what Sinclair Stevens would say about his treatment under the royal commission process. Having been thoroughly publicized in the way his allegation was for a lengthy period of time, I suspect he may not be very happy with it. Certainly if you were cost-conscious you would not be very happy with that process.
I am not so sure, if you were a great fan of the judicial system, that you would be really happy that lawyers on both sides went at it hammer and tongs for a lengthy period of time and the whole proceeding was televised. The public really paid a lot of money for this, and I am not sure that it served any truly useful purpose. I am not sure that there was more fairness there than what members got before our legislative committees, with a great deal less public expenditure.
Of the two processes that we know I am really not very happy with either one of them. I am not sure that, in the long run, we are going to be thoroughly thrilled with this process either, but I will say this: at least it lays out a common framework; it has a reasonably neutral person, the commissioner, providing advice and adjudicating as a first try.
Will it stop the allegations? I doubt that very much. As long as I have been a member here there have been allegations of this kind put on the record during question period, for example, and pursued very aggressively by opposition parties and sometimes by the government: that somebody got something as a favour, that somebody was in a position to lobby someone else. I do not know that we will ever get away from those allegations. As long as there is a political appointment made somewhere, as long as there is a contract let, as long as governments build roads and buildings and give jobs to people, allegations of favouritism and conflict of interest will probably persist.
What we do not have is a fair, reasoned way to deal with those allegations. This bill attempts to do that. It attempts to codify; it attempts to put in place a process that deals with conflict of interest. How I wish the person who drafted the bill had said it in those plain words, then we would have something to work with.
I think it misses the mark, though I am aware the Attorney General is considering separate legislation to deal with lobbyists. I would be happy to entertain that discussion, and I want to get into that when we go to committee. But if, for example, he thinks he can solve this problem by making members of the assembly file pieces of paper, he is wrong. If there is not a way to register or at least to identify people who function as lobbyists -- and this is a growth industry in this country now -- he is in trouble.
I think we had better deal with that, whether we deal with it as part of this bill, and I would be happy to propose some amendments to do just that in a very simple form, just to have them register; or whether he wants to deal with it in separate legislation, which is also acceptable to me as long as I see it and we have some indication of what the government's plans are, that is fine too.
I do not think we can let it slide. The government needs to investigate this from as many angles as it can. I think, in its final form, they cannot escape the fact that they cannot expect from cabinet members anything any different or anything they would not expect from all other members. In other words, this is a group of peers, and if the rules apply to members of cabinet, who may have a slightly different angle on this -- I would not deny for a moment that they may be in positions where they could have more conflicts or where the conflicts would be more apparent to the public; they may be in a position to give government contracts in a more direct way -- I think the rules have to apply to all members equally.
In other words, I advocate that members of the cabinet should not be practising law two days a week in private practice. I also advocate that members should not be doing that either. I get very angry when expectations are placed on me as a member that seem to be totally lost on everybody else. I am not happy to spend a lot of time in committee during the summer, but I am a lot more unhappy when some other member of the assembly who gets paid just as much money as I do is off practising law, running a business or dabbling his little toes in the lake; all of which are probably reasonable occupations during the summertime, but I think there has to be some fairness here.
These rules have to apply to all members of the Legislative Assembly, and I do not believe there can be part-time members of this assembly any more. I know it is possible and it is not a new phenomenon either. I know there has been criticism, for example, of a good number of Conservative members who have now gone back into private practice somewhere or gotten a job and have retained their seats for a bit. I do not think we have a good way to resolve that, but I think we have to draw the line.
I think the process has to be started now that people cannot purport to be doing their job in the assembly when they are somewhere else and that all members have a right to live or die by the same rules, so to speak. If you are an elected member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, I believe that precludes you from holding another job. If you are a member of the cabinet, I think that is particularly true, but I believe any member of the assembly should not be working for a law firm or a business or carrying on his profession, and I would caution members that the moment they are a bit slipshod about that they get themselves into a very dangerous field.
If it is fair for some members of the assembly to hold an outside job, it seems logical to me that one of the things they will get into sooner or later is advising certain groups on how to deal with governments, which at first blush sounds fairly harmless, except that it becomes a lobbyist position. Then we will find that the lobbyists not only are advocating a point of view to other members but are also sitting in judgement from time to time on whether that particular group of people gets the regulations put together in a certain way that is to their advantage, or gets a law drafted in a way that is to their advantage and is then getting payment for doing just that.
We all do this all the time. I believe it is part of our job as members of the assembly. We advocate for groups, and that is fine as long as we are not getting paid or charging people to do that. As long as we see that as our role as a member, there is nothing wrong with it. But, for example, the moment I start charging compensation people who come to my office and say: "Fine, I will do a little compensation work for you at the Workers' Compensation Board; you owe me 20 bucks for consultation fees," I would see that as being quite outrageously wrong; and that is the road we are on.
I think we have to be a little tougher than this bill. It needs to cover a little more territory. It has to say something about the lobbying industry; we have to get started on that process now before we have a big problem. I do not perceive that we have a big problem now, but the time to write the rules about that is before we have one, not after the fact.
We have to say this bill has to apply to all members in a very straightforward way. I do not think we can have exclusions on that. We have to deal with the conflicts that are there now and that we perceive will be there in the very foreseeable future, and we have to do that in a way that grabs the public's perception. The public has to feel that the government of Ontario has moved to provide a law and that the law is clear and straightforward. If I have a difficulty with this bill, it is simply that this bill is not clear and straightforward. It begins with a rather obtuse title. As one goes through the bill, it makes a lot of sense, I suppose, if one is a lawyer, but if one is a layperson, it does not.
I want to remind the government that the purpose of this bill is not to make the lawyers happy. The purpose of this bill ought to be to make the public reasonably satisfied that politicians are not breaking any laws; that the people who hold public office, who hold that kind of trust, are not taking advantage of that position for their own personal profit. That is the purpose of the exercise. It is not to file pieces of paper. It is not to make the lawyers happy. It is not even to remove all the conflict of interest that one can think of. The purpose of the bill is to remove the public perception of that conflict. As we saw in our legislative hearings, those can be two different things. One can follow the letter of the law and yet retain, in the public's mind, the perception of a conflict of interest.
That is the sticky part: whether, in the process of taking this bill through committee, we can do a little reworking here to solve that dilemma is a good question; whether we have to take this bill, change it, perhaps not substantially, but change it somewhat, get it in operation for a while and then get that restored is a further question.
I want to conclude by saying this. I do not know how we resolve this final problem, but I do think it has to get resolved. The public perception of the political process is really quite askew. I do not understand how it got quite this way, but it did. I think it is part of our job to restore public trust in the political process. I see this bill as being a step in that direction; but I want to report, and I am sure it is no secret to the members here, there is a real problem out there with the public's credulity about the political process. It seems now not to fall on a particular political party or even on a particular political person. It seems to fall on the process in general. That cannot be allowed to continue. We must find ways of reversing that process. The public's trust in the political process is slipping badly.
I do not mind when people criticize Brian Mulroney, I do that myself on occasion, but I think it is particularly dangerous when the people in Canada have a public perception of the job of Prime Minister that is less than honourable. I believe we are pretty close to that mark. I believe it is particularly dangerous when the public perception of the Premier of Ontario or members of the cabinet or members of the assembly is that they are less than honourable, that there is a problem with conflicts of interest or that there is some difficulty in the way they are proceeding to carry on the business of Ontario.
Maybe it is an oversimplification to say that people are telling too many jokes about all politicians being crooks, but whatever message is being spread among the public, that message is starting to stick. That is a particularly dangerous one, because I think that when the public loses faith in its own political process, we have a problem of major proportions. This bill is an attempt to begin to rectify that situation. If this bill were in place, would the allegations of conflict that were put in this chamber last year still happen? They might, but the process would have a bit of a defence mechanism to deal with it. That is, I think, about as good as we are going to get with this.
I do not think we will ever stop opposition members from popping up and saying some minister of the crown is doing something wrong. I hope not: that is what the parliamentary process is all about, that give and take between the opposition challenging what a government is doing and the government challenging whether the opposition is right, wrong, whacko or whatever on that given day.
I do not think it is bad to have that. The parliamentary system, warts and all, has survived for a long, long period of time and by and large has served the people well. What is wrong is when it gets personalized, when you start alleging that people are doing things of an almost criminal nature and getting away with it because they hold public office. That is wrong, unless you can make that stick or unless you have a process that can deal with that kind of allegation.
I support this legislation, however flawed it might be, because it attempts to do that; it attempts to put in place a process to handle that. It attempts, I suppose, to remind the members of the assembly that they do have a public trust here -- in different capacities, depending on whether one is in the cabinet or an ordinary member of the assembly -- but they have got it, whether they like it or not, and they have to deal with that.
My fear, which I think we will have to deal with as we go through this process as well, is that we may wind up having each member of the assembly fill out a whole lot of pieces of paper. It may be a real aggravation to each member here, and more important, to members of our families. I am afraid that one of the things in this bill is a little bit of the old-fashioned notion that a member of the assembly will be, first of all, a male out of the business jurisdiction. That is not true any more. The other notion is that sons and daughters will be little kiddies and will not be involved in other things. This is not true either.
I am concerned somewhat that the mechanics of this bill may be awkward for people. I do not want to do things that will be both awkward and useless at the same time. Frankly, that has been my observation of what some American jurisdictions have done. They have made people file a whole lot of papers. They have made that all public knowledge. One way or another, whether you want it to or not, I believe that once you start this kind of process it gets to be public. You may not intend that to happen, you may intend a lot of confidentiality and it may start out that way, but sooner or later it gets public.
I do not think we want to stop women from being involved in the political process. I do not think we want to make it impossible for a woman to be a member of our cabinet and her husband still to be able to carry on business. I want to remind members that is not far off the allegations that were put in this chamber just last year. I do not think that should be the purpose of the exercise. I would be really saddened if that is what happens in the long run.
I do not think we want to stop bright young people from coming in here if their parents are going to stand around and say, "Listen, if your running for public means I have to put in a public form all of my financial transactions, I do not want to do that." That would prevent that young person from holding public office. I think that would be wrong.
There are a lot of pitfalls on this road and we should try to determine just exactly where they are. The important part of that process is simply to establish your own priorities. What are we trying to do here? I do not think we are trying to make life miserable for a whole lot of people. I hope that is not the point of the exercise. I do not think we are trying to make the lawyers wealthy by filling out legal forms. I do not think that is worth doing.
My hope is that this bill will do something as simple as to make the members of the assembly aware that they have the public trust in their hands and that they should be aware of where these conflicts of interest might arise, if the filling out of a form makes them more aware of that it is a good thing, that is fine.
We should try in this bill to get the public feeling that if somebody does something wrong, he has done more than just broken a whim of the Premier, a guideline set by the cabinet office or the Premier's office. If somebody has done something wrong, he should be breaking a law just like a person driving home tonight, if he exceeds the speed limit, has not broken a guideline he has broken a law. We put out police officers to remind them of that, and we have a judicial system which deals with them.
In that sense, the bill is supportable. It is certainly supportable on principle on second reading, and we will be happy to support it on that. I am trying to point out to the members that the bill may be a little too legalistic in many senses; it may have lost its basic sense of purpose. I hope that is not the case. As we go through it, as we do clause-by-clause on this bill, I want to explore some of those areas.
I think you have to start by saying that it deals with all members on an equal footing; that it deals with all aspects of lobbyists, even if it is only registering in that case; and that it resolves a problem. If it results in pieces of paper being filed on time, it will have served no useful purpose, in my view. If it results in people feeling there is at least a guideline there that is a law, there is a process there that is known or there is a means by which you can sort out the allegations of conflict of interest, then it will have served a useful purpose.
Mr. Warner: I have both a comment and a question. First, it was an excellent speech. I appreciate it.
Members may want to know why we should be trying to raise the public profile and the perception of the public about what we do. I received a letter recently from a constituent who raises three issues -- the Workers' Compensation Board, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and pay equity -- and then says:
"In these days, the financial support of various functions, such as political parties, is a major consideration of conducting business. As such, serious consideration must be given as to where to invest these business dollars. Like any business decision, my financial support to any organization and/or individual is based on many factors. One of the factors will be where you stand on the concerns I have addressed herein."
If we want to demonstrate how far we have to go in trying to re-establish the trust of the public, that we are beyond being bought, that our vote is not going to be bought and that we are straightforward and honest, that certainly proves the point.
My question to the member for Oshawa is whether he can explain in a little bit of detail why it is important that this legislation apply to all members and not just the cabinet.
Ms. Fish: I have a question for the member for Oshawa. In dealing with the issue of whether a member of the Legislative Assembly should work outside of the assembly while holding a seat, the member made particular reference to the illustration of lawyers, suggesting that perhaps it would be inappropriate for members of the Legislative Assembly who were lawyers to be part of an active practice. I think the member's exact words were "working for a law firm" at the time of holding a seat.
I wonder whether the member, in his mind, feels there are any other business interests, occupations, vocations, activities or professions that would be complementary with holding a seat in the assembly or whether he feels there are none. In particular, we can point to those who may come to us as members, not in a salaried circumstance; not as partners in a firm of professionals where they might be able to maintain a position in the firm but not be active and not draw down.
I am always put in mind of the illustration of the family grocery, for instance, a small farm and that sort of thing. I wonder if the member would be good enough to comment on some of those issues as well.
Mr. Speaker: The member has up to two minutes to respond.
Mr. Breaugh: In detail.
To answer the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) first, I think we are all equals and that means the same rules apply to each and every member in here or there are no rules that make any sense to me. It may seem a little more stringent, and the illustrations are obvious. A member of the cabinet makes more direct decisions about government contracts than I do, but I think the rules have to apply to every member; there is no way to get around that.
The member asked whether you could hold an outside job. Sure, there probably are such members. In other jurisdictions, people do that. If I were a member at Westminster in Britain, I would probably remain a teacher. People would know that they do not pay the members very much there. I have a family to feed and a mortgage to pay. I teach all day and at night I go in and vote once in a while. I am not expected to be there every day. There are 50 or 60 members out of 625 members who attend regularly and they kind of conduct the business. That is their tradition. I do not think that is our tradition at all.
We could find examples of where you could probably retain an interest if you were an artist or a writer or something like that. You could do that. If you have a basic outside source of income that draws you there first, that is where the problem occurs. If I am a writer, surely I could write at night. But if my purpose in life is writing a book, I should go and do that and I should not pretend that I am member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario first.
We could probably devise a system which would accommodate both, but I caution members that there are dangers once we start to do that. I would be happy to take no salary if you would allow me to charge one per cent of bills that I vote on. If you would allow me to work as a registered lobbyist for nine major multinational firms, I am sure they would be happy to buy my vote. In other jurisdictions, this is done. I am just saying it is not appropriate here.
Ms. Fish: I am pleased to join in this debate on second reading of Bill 23 and have a variety of things that I would like to share with the Speaker and the members of this assembly in dealing with this discussion on the principle of the bill.
Perhaps I will begin by posing a question of why we would need such a piece of legislation. I think it is instructive to reflect on how such matters have been dealt with in the past. We know that in dealing with conflict of interest in the case of members of the executive council, members of cabinet, those standards have traditionally been established by guidelines and they have been traditionally established, overseen and enforced by the Premiers of this province.
We have seen, in the last two years in particular, two things. One is a very dramatic change in the guidelines that would govern the conduct of the members of the executive council, that change to substantially weaken the provisions and standard of conduct to be met by members of the executive council in putting their personal financial interests, affairs and benefits into a secondary position behind the discharge of their duties within the public domain and the public trust that attaches to that.
Second, we have seen a surprising unwillingness on the part of this Premier to enforce even those weakened guidelines. We have had two resignations from cabinet that have occurred after extensive and repeated raising of charges of conflict of interest and improper action by members of this assembly and not expeditious, rapid movement on the part of the Premier to enforce his own guidelines and a high standard of ethical conduct with regard to conflict of interest on the actions of the members of his cabinet, his executive council.
We have also seen an extensive series of reviews, reports and examinations that have come forward in a bewildering array, apart from the two entirely separate committees that dealt with the activity and the conduct of two former ministers of the crown, the member for Oriole and the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Fontaine).
We also saw the repeated response of the Premier to concerns raised about weaknesses in his guidelines for conflicts of interest as being a shoving away of the issue, an unwillingness to deal with it directly, but rather to have a variety of individuals, all of whom were outside of this chamber, outside of the legislative arena, dealing with a variety of reviews of conflict of interest, conflict-of-interest guidelines and questions of conformity with the guidelines, or lack thereof, by members of his cabinet.
Indeed, it is worthy of mention that, even within the very watered-down guidelines that he himself introduced as a major change, with, I might say, much fanfare, much public statement and press coverage, there were some 14 ministers, including the Premier himself, who were in violation of those guidelines, as established by one of the several reviews that were undertaken of conformity with the guidelines by members of the cabinet.
I think it is worth reflecting that those are 14 members, exclusive of the member for Oriole and the member for Cochrane North, who were specifically not included in the review. They include such worthies as the Minister of Education (Mr. Conway), the Minister of Housing, the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Fulton), the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr. Grandmaître), the Minister of Natural Resources, the Solicitor General (Mr. Keyes), the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and Minister of Financial Institutions (Mr. Kwinter), the Treasurer, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. O'Neil), the Premier himself, the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell), the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Ruprecht), the Attorney General and the Minister of Skills Development and Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Sorbara), a troubling list of a clear majority of the cabinet who were themselves in noncompliance with the Premier's own much watered-down conflict-of-interest guidelines as he established them.
Within that list, there were varying degrees of noncompliance, as indicated by the report and the review. Several, however, were in rather extensive noncompliance, with multiple companies, corporate interests, investments and holdings not being included within the statements and corrections not being made, even within the required filings of these much watered-down conflict-of-interest guidelines that this Premier introduced.
So part of the reason we have a piece of legislation before us today has been the woeful failure of the guidelines established by this Premier to govern the actions and conduct of his cabinet members, members of his executive council, and the woeful failure of this Premier to enforce those guidelines and to live up to the promise he so grandly made in introducing them, that all the members of his executive council, of his cabinet, would be brought firmly to heel, that all the i's would be dotted and all the t's crossed, to ensure that none were in any way out of compliance with those much watered-down conflict-of-interest guidelines.
Yet we find some 14 were not in compliance, including the Premier himself, and no steps whatsoever were taken to deal with those in any way -- a very sorry state of affairs, made sorriest, I think, by the fact that one of the key elements of this legislation, extremely troubling to me and some members on this side of the House, is that it would appear to remove a key responsibility from the shoulders of the Premier of this province, whoever he or she may be, now or in the future, namely, the responsibility of determining who should be serving in cabinet and the responsibility of ensuring that those who do serve in cabinet, the executive council of this province, are indeed in total conformity with any conflict-of-interest guidelines or legislation and have in every respect placed the public trust above any personal holdings, investments or a gain that might otherwise accrue to a member by virtue of not complying with the conflict-of-interest guidelines or the legislation.
I think that is a sorry Americanization of a process here. Perhaps a common fault that has occurred over the years historically in Canada, not simply here in Ontario, has been to look with some longing at the approaches that have sometimes occurred in other jurisdictions, and particularly often when we find that perfectly good structures and procedures have suffered because of terribly imperfect individuals who have held office within them. We have sought instead to change the structure, to say that the problem has been the process or structure, and not to place the blame where the blame is properly placed, at the feet of the persons who have failed to follow the procedures, who have failed in the trust given them to discharge their responsibilities within the structures we have.
I think the move that appears within this legislation -- it will perhaps be examined more carefully through a proper clause-by-clause review -- the direction that appears to be here is to replace the clear responsibility of the Premier of this province, which is to set the highest ethical standard for his or her own conduct and in turn to ensure the highest ethical standard on behalf of his or her members of cabinet, with the judgement of a separately appointed, separately located commissioner.
I think that is an extremely unfortunate step to take. It is not so much that it would be inappropriate to have a commissioner with whom filings might be made and not so much that it might be inappropriate to have an office where questions might be raised on the part of members of the cabinet when considering what does or does not come under guidelines or legislation or regulations that might implement it, but rather it is that there appears to be a replacement of the judgement that properly rests with the first minister of the government of this province, placing it instead in the hands of an appointed official.
I think that removes even further from the hands of the electorate an opportunity to judge the conduct of those of us who are in this chamber, those of us who sit on the Treasury benches and occupy the seats of the executive council, the cabinet, the cabinet ministers. That is unfortunate and unnecessary and has been brought forward principally because of the abject failure of this Premier to introduce firm guidelines rather than the dreadfully watered down conflict-of-interest guidelines that were introduced, and because of the abject failure to ensure that even those minimal standards were met in their completeness and totality by the members of his cabinet, or those members would no longer serve in cabinet.
I am troubled as well, however, by a couple of other elements in the legislation. Let me speak in no particular order to a couple of things I think come through.
First is the issue of whether it is appropriate to draw a distinction between what cabinet ministers must be required to meet by way of conduct or compliance and what is required of private members of the Legislative Assembly. Unlike the member for Oshawa, I am of the view that there is a very distinct difference in the burden that appropriately rests on the shoulders of cabinet ministers and of private members of this Legislature. I draw the distinction for a reason of some considerable substance. I draw it because, within the parliamentary form we have, members of cabinet have access to confidential information that members of the assembly do not have access to.
Members of the cabinet have the responsibility for drafting and putting into place laws of this province that members of the Legislative Assembly may never have the opportunity to debate. I am speaking, of course, of the process of establishing the regulations that are the companion implementation of virtually every piece of legislation we have. Those regulations very often provide exemptions that have not been detailed in the legislation that is debated upon and voted within this chamber. They also very often put additional requirements that have similarly not been specified, not been debated or not been specifically decided within this assembly. That power, and power it is, rests squarely and solely with the executive council, the cabinet of the government of Ontario.
Second, within the structure of laws that we have, within the structure of statutes that we have, discretionary power is vested directly with the ministers, discretionary power to override the legislation, to change a requirement, discretionary power very often not simply to award a contract but to lay a charge, to withdraw a charge, to direct that an investigation occur, to suppress an investigation, to do a variety of things that have a very much more direct effect on the interests of the members of the public of this province, the personal interests of members of this assembly, the personal interests of members of the cabinet. Yet those decisions are not the subject of a vote within this assembly. They are not the subject of a review that would have the effect of altering the decision under our present system of law.
Those two areas, fundamental to the system we have and fundamental to the structure of government we have, cannot be altered without a fundamental change in our structure of government, without going to the very heart of whether we should even have a cabinet and ministers.
I happen to be one of those who feels that we should have a cabinet and ministers of the crown, that we must within our legislation provide for areas of discretion and that we properly have within our implementation of legislation regulations adopted by the cabinet and not by the Legislature. They are areas that, when coupled with the confidential information that flows to members of the cabinet and not to members of the Legislative Assembly, taken together form a very powerful and compelling reason to establish a very different standard that is required in disclosure, in disposal of assets and in limitation of the conduct of those members. That is precisely because there is a much greater power that is given to members of the cabinet to exercise decisions and to exercise authority within the public arena. With that power comes a much greater responsibility to exercise that authority properly within the public trust.
I believe it is appropriate to draw a distinction between private members of the assembly and those on the Treasury benches who are members of the cabinet. That does not in any way, however, suggest there ought not similarly to be requirements that must be met by private members of the assembly. l believe there properly should be. I think, however, that in one area in particular, and perhaps more, we have not given adequate thought to the changes that have occurred in our society over the last few generations.
Let me deal at the outset with the question of exterior work. That subject was touched on just a few minutes ago by the member for Oshawa and, indeed, I questioned him a little bit on that.
l am of the view, as the member for Oshawa has indicated, that the definition of what is proper exterior work and what is not is a very difficult definition indeed, that the line to be drawn is a careful line to be drawn and one even more careful to be walked. But I am troubled at the suggestion that no exterior work is possible.
I am similarly troubled at the suggestion -- or perhaps it is not a suggestion; perhaps it is simply what I inferred from the member's response to my question -- that any exterior work would be viewed by the member as having a priority over his or her responsibilities to the people in this Legislative Assembly.
I am of the view that there is quite a variety of activities, occupations and vocations that would be very well subject to a part-time involvement, that might be very well subject to an evening involvement and that might be very well subject to their proper place for exterior work; that is, in a secondary or tertiary position to the primary responsibilities to the people of this province here in this Legislative Assembly. I would be loath to feel that we ought to require that there not be any continued pursuit of a person's work, of a person's vocation.
I give you the example, for instance, of someone who might be teaching. Would we really want to suggest that it would be totally inappropriate for someone to continue on a part-time basis providing some occasional evening instruction, perhaps to students of special needs, perhaps within the parameters of an adult learning centre, perhaps, for example, within the framework of a community group where there is, indeed, even a modest remuneration that might attach to the instruction that is done or perhaps to someone who might be a part-time lecturer at a university?
I am not at all persuaded that we should be telling the people of this province that anyone who wishes to continue that sort of work, to continue his occupation in a secondary way, in a part-time way, in a way that clearly puts the priority behind the priorities of work here in this assembly, ought not to be able to do so.
I agree that finding the definition is tough, and I am not sure I have it. I am certainly not standing in my place today to offer that definition to the Speaker or the members of this assembly. But I feel very uncomfortable indeed at a suggestion that, because a definition is difficult, we ought simply to say nothing should be done, save work in the assembly.
I would prefer to see us, in the course of careful examination, find the ways to encourage people who, for a variety of reasons -- not the least might be the rather unique job interview that all of us in this assembly must go through from time to time to retain our jobs here -- might wish to keep their hands in, as it were, in another area of work, but who would be prepared to do so, whether as writers, teachers or a number of other occupations, on a part-time basis in a secondary position to the principal responsibility here.
I think it is extremely important that we not close that door of opportunity for the members. It is not only because I think we would be closing the door of this assembly to people who would want to remain active in some of these other areas; it is also because I think this assembly could benefit from a greater degree of representativeness and a greater degree of sensitivity that would flow from its members being up to date and aware in a hands-on way of some of the things that are occurring outside these august halls in a variety of fields.
We think, for example, of the benefits of having within our halls people who are practising farmers when we discuss issues of agricultural policy. Surely, if there is a desirability in having people who are practising farmers in this assembly when we discuss agricultural policy, there is a benefit in having someone who might be a writer discussing issues of cultural policy, for example, or a teacher discussing education.
These are the things I think can be the positive benefits if properly defined and if properly placed in terms of their secondary position of priority, can be positive benefits to the debate, to the ultimate legislation that we adopt and, in the final analysis, to the shape we give this province for the people of this province when we examine the legislation, when we examine programs, when we examine expenditure priorities.
Mr. Speaker, I will be going on for some time. Would it be your wish that I continue for another four minutes, or would you wish me to adjourn the debate at this time?
Mr. Speaker: That is up to the House.
Ms. Fish: Shall I continue then?
Mr. Speaker: I am just wondering. There might be an announcement of what the business would be.
Ms. Fish: That was my thought, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: The member may, then, offer an adjournment of the debate.
On motion by Ms. Fish, the debate was adjourned.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Elston: I would like to indicate the business of the House for the coming week.
We will consider legislation each afternoon next week. The specific bills to dealt with, including a bill to be introduced early next week and perhaps discussed in the caucuses dealing with an amendment to the Mental Health Act, are the following:
For second reading, Bill 23, conflict of interest, if not completed today, which I guess means it is not; Bill 7, regional municipalities; Bill 25, the wine content act; Bill 62, retail sales tax; Bill 63, income tax;
Committee of the whole House on Bill 34, freedom of information; third reading of Bill 154, pay equity; second reading of Bill 56, auto insurance, and committee of the whole House on Bill 170, pensions.
On Thursday morning, we will deal with private members' business standing in the names of the member for Cornwall (Mr. Guindon) and the member for Northumberland (Mr. Sheppard).
The order in which these matters are considered may be revised following consultation among the real House leaders.
The House adjourned at 5:58 p.m.