L035 - Mon 29 Jun 1987 / Lun 29 jun 1987
The House met at 1:30 p.m.
TRADE WITH UNITED STATES
Mr. McFadden: The jobs of one million Ontarians depend on export trade. In view of the fact that over 90 per cent of Ontario's exports go to the United States, it is obvious how important the American market is to our economic future. Thousands of jobs in Ontario are at risk as a result of the protectionist omnibus US trade legislation which will become law by the end of this year.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. O'Neil) has confirmed in this House, in answer to my question last week, that the natural resource, telecommunications and steel industries are particularly at risk. Trade in motor vehicles is by far the biggest single export category between Ontario and the United States, yet the economic future of the auto industry is also now in serious question as a result of overcapacity in North America.
What is the answer of the Peterson government to these crucial challenges? Confusion, indecision and inaction. At a time when the federal government is seeking to develop a new and mutually beneficial trade accord with the United States through the freer trade talks, nobody really knows where the Peterson government stands. At a time when there is clear evidence of developing overcapacity in the North American auto industry, the Peterson government buries its head in the sand and refuses to acknowledge there is a problem. At a time when trade issues have become matters of urgent concern, the Peterson government has left the position of assistant deputy minister of industry and trade expansion vacant for close to a year. The Peterson government is failing to provide coherent, capable leadership in trade.
ONTARIO MUNICIPAL BOARD DECISION
Ms. Bryden: I would like to ask the government to grant the request for cabinet review of a recent Ontario Municipal Board decision refusing to reopen a case involving a proposed development at 2365-71 Queen Street East. The request was submitted by Alderman Christie and Councillor Jakobek from ward 9 and supported by me in a letter to the Premier (Mr. Peterson) today. Several local residents' associations also support the request.
Witnesses say that in refusing to reopen the case, the OMB acknowledged that natural justice had been denied to the city of Toronto through lack of notice, but it ruled that it could see no available new evidence which would lead it to change its decision. In fact, the city of Toronto had an expert witness ready to present new evidence.
The OMB's blatant disregard of the principles of natural justice and fair hearings for all parties in this case has converted a local matter to one of pressing provincial interest. The question now at issue is nothing less than the integrity and impartiality of this government-appointed board.
I submit that the board's bias in favour of the developer is so blatant as to disqualify it from further involvement in the case, and I urge the cabinet to overrule the board and restore the decision of the committee of adjustment.
PIT BULL TERRIERS
Mr. McGuigan: I want to add to my statement on pit bull terriers. The danger to humans and animals from dog attacks is not limited to pit bull terriers. It is probably not possible to ban the breeding of any dog. Breeders would go underground.
Defenders of aggressive dogs use the argument that the offender is the owner, not the dog. Accepting this premise for the moment, we must look at the possibilities of enforcing present leash laws, picking up all dogs running at large. Accepting the fact that the Dog Owners' Liability Act compensates the injured party only for the time and medical costs, the act does not charge the owner for criminal offences for the owner's irresponsibility in failing to license the dog, train the dog, leash the dog or confine the dog, if these failures result in death or serious injury. This should be changed.
The Toronto Humane Society is canvassing the history and intent of legislation designed to address the issues in both the United States of America and Canada. Initially it appears that its definition is a problem. For example, one account says that the pit bull terrier is a genetically engineered dog from terrier, bulldog, bull mastiff, Rhodesian ridgeback and Rottweiler blood lines.
It appears that legislation aimed at vicious dogs in general is useful. Paragraph 1 of section 210 of the Ontario Municipal Act gives municipal councils fairly wide powers for dealing with this issue. The results of the research conducted by the humane society will be examined by the Solicitor General (Mr. Keyes) and representatives from other ministries as soon as can be arranged.
Mr. Brandt: I am pleased to join my colleague the member for Kent Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) with respect to the issue of pit bull terriers.
As the member will know, this past weekend there were two more incidents involving pit bull terrier attacks. These are dangerous animals. They comprise less than one per cent of the dog population and yet they are involved in 10 per cent of dog bites and attacks. In the United States, of 18 deaths that were related to dog attacks over the past year, fully 10 involved pit bull terriers. It is time for action.
While I recognize the difficulty in passing a law aimed only at pit bulls, there is no such difficulty when the law is aimed at all vicious dogs and, more important, their owners. Therefore, my party would call upon the government to introduce immediately legislation that will, first, require that all vicious dogs be muzzled and leashed in public places; second, require that all vicious dogs be penned and secured when on the owner's property; and third, immediately raise the amount an individual owner can be fined if his or her dog attacks without provocation, and make such a fine contingent upon the attack, not upon the owner's refusal to take remedial action after such an attack occurs.
Last, I call upon the Solicitor General to order the Ontario Provincial Police to set up a special task force to investigate illegal dog fights in this province. The aim of the task force should be to eradicate this blight on our society and to put illegal dog owners and fighters out of business once and for all.
ASSISTANCE FOR THE DISABLED
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I wish to respond to the announcement by the Minister of Housing (Mr. Curling) of a fund for assistance to housing for disabled persons that was made late on Friday. He may recall that last November I raised this issue about the plethora of programs that are out there, most of them totally useless to disabled people or their parents who wish to renovate their homes to allow their children or their loved ones to stay in their homes.
I am very pleased with the developments, especially of the $15,000 forgivable loan which is now available. The announcement is a little misleading in that there is a statement that there are no income restrictions for applicants. In point of fact, there are restrictions, although they are much more generous than they have been in the past, and I am very pleased to see that.
However, it would have been very wise for the government to have announced this in a systematic package that rationalized the various housing assistance programs we have for the disabled in the province, to have brought them all under some kind of rational, uniform approach and to have stopped penalizing families that are keeping their children at home. The cost of keeping them in institutions would be so much higher.
I would like to raise the case of a Fred Weeks, whose multiply-handicapped son is at home. He needs an inside elevator, a whirlpool to do physiotherapy for his child and a second exit from the child's bedroom. He needs to gut the bathroom entirely. His basic cost will be $58,000 for that renovation. He will now be eligible for up to $15,000 assistance.
Mr. Speaker: The member's time has expired.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: That is not enough.
D AND E WOOD INDUSTRIES LTD.
Mr. Pollock: I am pleased to inform the House that D and E Wood Industries is establishing a state-of-the-art combiboard facility in Herschel township near Bancroft. Opening ceremonies took place at 10 a.m. today. This plant is estimated to employ 84 people directly and 50 indirectly, as soon as it swings into production. Startup time is in the fall of 1988.
This industry will provide a service to a large area of eastern Ontario. I would like to congratulate the Herschel township council and the economic development committee consisting of Ivan Fowler, Jim Clayton, Lloyd Churchill, Bruce Davis and Jack Hatton.
The federal government has agreed to contribute $6.75 million and the provincial government is contributing the same through the Ontario Development Corp. I am pleased this industry has decided to locate in the riding of Hastings-Peterborough.
Mr. Stevenson: The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario has strongly supported and continues to support organized marketing of agricultural products in Ontario. We also strongly support the right of farmers to decide what form of marketing they want for each commodity. Does the current government and the current minister believe in the same system? The answer is unclear.
The Ontario Vegetable Growers' Marketing Board has developed an improved marketing plan. It has been waiting for an answer from the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell). The growers want a vote on the delegation of quota power. They do not want the minister to impose his own system. No action at all will destroy the current marketing of vegetables for processing. Our party supports a vote. Where does the minister stand on this issue and on other delicate marketing issues relating to trade?
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I am making this statement as acting Chairman of Management Board.
I am tabling today two reviews of the Ontario Public Service: the I Count voluntary survey and the Avebury study, both of which examined equitable employment practices in the public service.
As a result of a review of these reports, I am announcing a new government-wide employment equity program, which will be headed by the human resources secretariat. This program, to be applied on the merit principle, will increase employment equity opportunities for women and will include all minorities.
The program will include the setting of targets and goals to ensure that five initial target groups are fairly represented in the public service and in the senior ranks of the public service. These target groups are a starting point.
The employment equity program will be extended to other ethnic groups following further data collection and an ongoing review of the program. We want to be sure the public service is representative of the diverse public it serves.
The employment equity program will be government-wide, and each ministry will be required to review its own data and to develop goals and timetables within the broad framework developed through the human resources secretariat.
The secretariat will work closely with offices that have a particular interest and responsibility in this area, including the cabinet committee on race relations, the Ontario women's directorate, the race relations directorate, the Office for Disabled Persons, the Ontario native affairs directorate, the Office of Francophone Affairs, the office of equality rights of the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture. In addition, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union has indicated its strong commitment to employment equity and will work in partnership with the government on this initiative.
Equal opportunity for all Ontarians is a fundamental objective of the government. This employment equity initiative is an important part of that thrust.
Hon. Mr. Scott: In the recent speech from the throne, the government reaffirmed its commitment to combat systemic discrimination and help ensure that all residents of our province enjoy equal opportunity to employment and fair treatment in the work place. In the area of race relations, this commitment was reflected first in the promise to establish a race relations directorate. Today, I am pleased to announce the mandate of the directorate.
Responsibility for promoting tolerance and positive race relations must be shared by all sectors of our society. Still, I believe government has a crucial role to play by providing a focus for community concern about racism and leadership in this area. The race relations directorate will assist the government in fulfilling this role through promotion, advocacy and policy development for the ministries in race relations.
The mandate of the directorate will include the monitoring and evaluation of government initiatives -- such as the ones just announced by the acting Chairman of Management Board (Mr. Nixon) -- and legislation that have race relations implications, as well as public education. The directorate will address the serious gap in information available on race relations in this province through the development of a race relations database and research capacity. The directorate will also consider the effectiveness of private sector activities that have an impact on race relations.
In addition to its policy and promotion functions, the directorate will work to reduce racial tensions in the community by playing a mediation role and by assisting public and private organizations to establish programs to foster harmonious race relations. It will inquire into incidents of and conditions potentially leading to racial conflict where they exist, and where appropriate, will help set up mechanisms or co-ordinate strategies to resolve or prevent racial tension.
To assist the directorate in fulfilling its mandate, the existing race relations division of the Ontario Human Rights Commission will be transferred to the directorate. Responsibility for investigating and conciliating complaints of racial discrimination will of course remain with the commission.
The mandate of the directorate reflects the fact that discrimination is not often the result of individual ill will, but instead may be the result of policies and practices that may unintentionally have a discriminatory effect. For this reason, the directorate is being encouraged through its mandate to play a proactive, preventive role rather than a responsive or reactive one.
We hope that the establishment of the directorate, which is the first of its kind in Canada, puts Ontario at the forefront of race relations policy in the country.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Hon. Mr. Wrye: In February, I introduced draft legislation setting out the first comprehensive revisions to the Occupational Health and Safety Act in almost a decade. My purpose was to initiate wide-ranging consultation with labour, management and the public in general. The result of these consultations has been much constructive input that will make for a better occupational health and safety system in Ontario.
Later today, I will be introducing legislation that allows the work place parties to meet their health and safety responsibilities more fully. Should the work place parties not live up to their responsibilities, the government will have at its disposal a strong hand to act effectively.
The bill responds to key concerns of workers in Ontario in a number of ways.
It expands a worker's right to refuse to do a job the worker believes to be unsafe by including an activity the worker believes would endanger himself or herself or someone else. This provision covers such activities as lifting heavy objects. It also precludes an employer from assigning refused work to another employee until an investigation has determined that the work is safe.
Under the right-to-refuse provisions, the bill recognizes that there might be occasions when the refusal itself could create an imminent danger to other workers or to the general public, so the legislation would permit an employer to assign another worker without having to await the outcome of an investigation, but the second worker would still have the right to refuse as well.
The right of refusal without the right to be paid for the time lost is an empty right. This legislation will ensure the right for workers to be paid 75 per cent of their wages and benefits for any time lost because of a work refusal or stop-work order.
The legislation is designed also to increase greatly the number of joint health and safety committees and worker representatives in Ontario by eliminating certain exemptions that have been granted in the past. It enhances significantly the role of the joint health and safety committee by increasing minimum committee membership to four and requiring co-chairmen, one each from labour and management.
The bill would also require that, at a minimum, the committee or health and safety representative inspect some part of the work place on a monthly basis and the entire area at least once a year.
Of central importance, this bill prescribes a number of measures to underscore the fundamental responsibility that the employer has for health and safety. The government believes that the protection and promotion of health and safety in the work place require the commitment and active involvement of senior management. In this regard, the bill would place upon every director and officer of a corporation a duty to take all reasonable care for worker health and safety.
Employers would be required to establish health and safety policies, undertake work place health and safety programs and provide effective training for employees. Employers would also be required to respond in writing within 30 days to any recommendation of a joint committee or of a worker representative. That response would have to provide a timetable for implementation. If an employer disagreed with a joint health and safety committee recommendation, the reasons would have to be stated.
Committee members and worker representatives would also have a right to be present when work place testing takes place and employers would be required to provide them with access to testing information.
Finally, the bill would increase the maximum fine to $250,000 from the present $25,000. In addition, it would permit the crown to elect that charges brought under the act be tried before a provincial court judge instead of a justice of the peace.
This legislation is designed to ensure that Ontario's health and safety system is responsive to the challenges of the 1980s and, indeed, the 1990s. Moreover, it reflects the expectations of Ontarians that in 1987 workers have a right to sustained health and safety at work. We are committed to moving towards that goal.
Hon. Mr. Riddell: As the members of this Legislature know, beef production is a major source of income for Ontario farmers. To protect producers' incomes during times of depressed market prices, the government of Ontario and the government of Canada signed a tripartite income stabilization agreement for red meat in 1986.
Separate schemes were developed for slaughter cattle producers and for those with cow-calf operations. A total of 2,580 Ontario slaughter cattle producers have now enrolled, representing approximately 75 per cent of the province's beef slaughter production. Some 1,628 cow-calf producers enrolled under that scheme.
While the agreement was a positive first step, not all beef producers were covered. Neither of the two beef plans applied to feeder cattle. I wish to inform the members today that steps have been taken to remedy this situation.
In conjunction with the government of Canada and the producers concerned, the Ontario government has signed an extension of the tripartite agreement for beef cattle. Tripartite stabilization will now include the feeder cattle or backgrounder segment of the beef industry.
This extension to the agreement comes into effect on July 1, 1987. With its implementation, tripartite stabilization will be available to all beef producers. The deadline for enrolment or transfer is August 31, 1987.
The new scheme offers Ontario producers two additional choices: a new feeder cattle option and a combined slaughter-feeder option. Slaughter cattle producers currently enrolled in tripartite may transfer to one of the additional options.
Producers who enrol in the new options may do so without penalty. However, established producers who did not join in the original tripartite program but enrol now with a slaughter cattle or cow-calf component will be subject to a late entry penalty for those options.
This new federal-provincial program is another positive step towards this government's continuing efforts to bring greater financial stability to the farmers of this province.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Mr. Gillies: With regard to the statement made today by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) on his proposed occupational health and safety legislation, we want to express our dissatisfaction with the progress the minister has made in this area.
Mr. Speaker, you may recall, it was on the last day of the last session that the minister came in here with a statement proposing draft legislation that his ministry would be studying and evaluating, and on which it would eventually be taking some concrete steps. What do we see today? The minister comes in on what may well be the last day of this session and introduces a bill. I am sure, if the minister was being candid with this House, he would agree that is just a bit of a farce and that the bill in all likelihood will die on the order paper in the face of an election; or even if there is no election this year, the minister's bill will be in committee in the fall and will eventually possibly find its way into law.
The minister says in his statement that he is introducing a bill to meet the needs of the 1980s and the 1990s. We say by the time he gets around to passing his bill, the 1980s will be over and we may well be into the 1990s.
Mr. Gillies: Similarly, the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) brings us basically a reannouncement of the creation of a directorate on race relations. There was no need to tell the House there was going to be a directorate on race relations. We knew that; but what is actually significant about this statement is that we see that the war is over. Anyone who has been around here for a while knows there has been a fight over the control of the race relations part of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. In the past, strong and able Ministers of Labour were able to guard that turf and keep the human rights commission together as an integral unit.
Clearly, the Attorney General and minister of everything has won the fight, because after years of maintaining the human rights commission together as an integral unit, the fight has been lost by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) and the directorate is moving over to the Attorney General's department.
I would say to the minister that some of the initiatives he proposes are all well and good, but if he really wanted to strengthen this province's attack on racial discrimination and if he really wanted to increase the mandate of the directorate, he would rather have increased the resources and the powers of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The minister would have stood behind Canon Purcell and his people in their attempt to do the jobs that he assigned them rather than splintering the effort the way he is doing.
Mr. Stevenson: We are pleased to see this statement today on the tripartite stabilization for feeder cattle. I am glad that the minister followed our advice. He will remember that in the last estimates of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, we spent a great deal of time talking about coverage for feeder cattle producers and for red veal producers. Even his own colleague, the member for Grey (Mr. McKessock), was very upset at that time with the lack of action that the minister had shown on this particular issue.
It was the intent, of course, and the hope, that this would be in place at the time the tripartite stabilization program was first announced, but we know the minister made some considerable haste at that time because he wanted to put on a good show at the first Ontario Federation of Agriculture annual meeting after he got into the minister's position.
The other thing I hope, although it is not very clearly stated here, is that the red veal producers are going to be covered by this. I would assume that they would come in under the slaughter-cattle-feeder option section of this program. If they are not covered, then I would suggest that the minister go back and start doing his work all over again, and get them involved.
Mr. Hayes: I would like to respond to the tripartite stabilization program. I welcome the announcement because it finally does include beef feeder cattle. I think it is very nice that the minister is finally coming out and coming forward with some of these late announcements prior to the end of this session, and I am sure that beef producers will be pleased to hear this announcement.
Hon. Mr. Riddell: I want to stay here all summer.
Mr. Hayes: Will the minister answer my question on the Ontario Vegetable Growers' Marketing Board while he is at it?
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Mr. Martel: The announcement of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) is a clear-cut indication that problems will persist in this province. The swamp will never be drained if what is being proposed goes ahead.
The Minister of Labour knows full well that every agency has spoken out against the internal responsibility system as it now is, except McKenzie and Laskin, and he paid them $483,000 to get the answer he wanted.
One has only to look at the Ontario Law Reform Commission; one only has to look at his own advisory council; one only has to look at the survey done for the advisory council; one only has to look at the Provincial Auditor: they all say the internal responsibility system does not work.
I wish the Big Four, who are at the front benches, would listen to all of the people who oppose the minister's proposed legislation. It has not worked for eight years and he is perpetuating the present system. I have not even mentioned the Ontario Federation of Labour or the various trade union movements which indicate the act cannot work the way it is. The minister has not changed the power structure one iota. He has left power in the hands of upper management, totally and completely, to make all the decisions.
It is strange that where companies have put worker counsellors in, at the cost of the company, the accident rate has been reduced. I think of Inco, where it has been reduced from 13.6 accidents per 100 to 1.6 per 100 because they have workers who have some say on how the thing is going to work and how the act is going to work and how the internal responsibility system is going to work.
The Minister of Labour, contrary to what everyone has asked him, including his own advisory council which said "Please open up the process," brings back the same legislation they opposed after he introduced it in February. He flies in the face of everyone. In fact, we will continue to count the bodies, one every working day of the year and 440,000 accidents last year, and he does not change a damned thing. He is a disgrace.
Mr. Rae: First, I want to say I am shocked and dismayed that we have not had a statement today from the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Kwinter). We were expecting one. We were told, along with many of the media, that one was coming. It is an indication of the way in which the minister has handled the whole insurance débâcle in this province. The cheques are going out; the minister does not have the guts to bring in his legislation so we can have a proper debate and get the insurance companies to tell us how much money they are really making.
Mr. Speaker: On which statement were you responding?
Mr. Rae: I just wanted to make that comment about a statement that was not made. Now I have a brief one about one that was.
Mr. Rae: Well, it is the last day.
Mr. Rae: With respect to the announcement made by the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) and the acting Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet (Mr. Nixon), the Attorney General pats himself on the back as he always does, saying that Ontario is far ahead. I want to point out to him that the federal government not only has an employment equity program but also has requirements with respect to contracts of major companies with the federal government, something this government has clearly rejected. So too does the city of Toronto, which program the minister is aware of. When he says Ontario is in the forefront, he is simply distancing himself from the truth at a very rapid rate.
Mr. Rae: Did you like that? Similarly, I want to say to the Premier (Mr. Peterson) that I think one of the areas in which his government has clearly failed is this question of human rights legislation and the need to give clear mandates and clear leadership in the field of human rights. He had an opportunity to do it two years ago. He had a battle between bureaucracies, which he has known about for two years; he has chosen to fudge it. He delayed with respect to the I Count survey so that it is now coming out so late that nothing is being done and no legislation is being put in place.
Whatever the press may say, I think the record is much less than meets the eye and much less than what is required.
Hon. Mr. Curling: Mr. Speaker, may I have the unanimous consent of the House to introduce a former member of the Jamaican government?
Hon. Mr. Curling: In the chamber today we have Portia Simpson, a former member of Parliament for Jamaica and a former parliamentary secretary in the Prime Minister's office, responsible for social affairs. She is also vice-president of the People's National Party and president of the party's women's movement.
Mr. Rae: Having had the opportunity to attend a fraternal gathering between the New Democratic Party and the People's National Party on Friday, and having had the occasion to speak with Portia Simpson on a common platform, I am delighted to see her here with her delegation. We have a very strong relationship with the People's National Party and with Michael Manley's government in waiting in Jamaica and we look forward to even closer relations when we both have our elections this year.
Mr. Grossman: May I join in welcoming our guest. I have had the pleasure of meeting both the current Prime Minister and the former Prime Minister and found them both to be very intellectually stimulating and dedicated servants of their people. Our guest might take some counsel from my colleague to my left in that she had best find, I suspect, a third party with an accord option if she seeks to perhaps re-establish her foothold in government. In the meantime, I urge her to take guidance not only from my colleague to my left but also from colleagues to his right, which are only over here not only there, before she finishes her visit.
Mr. Grossman: On this day when we will be considering in Orders and Notices both the bill finally to open bookstores on Sunday, thanks to the efforts of Ed Borins and the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, and as well will deal with conflict of interest, I have some questions to the Premier on conflict of interest.
Mr. Speaker: The question is?
Mr. Grossman: My question to the Premier is this: a year ago when his colleague the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Fontaine) was Minister of Northern Development and Mines, he approached officials of his own ministry on behalf of a company that he owned and controlled and subsequently got a forest management agreement, awarded by his own, former ministry by then, to his own company. As a result, when this matter was studied by the Premier, he said: "I am satisfied there is no impropriety whatsoever. Having looked into the situation, I am absolutely persuaded of that." Yet in this past week, Réal Levesque, a competitor of the member for Cochrane North, was found guilty of breaking the law and was convicted of a criminal offence.
Mr. Speaker: The question, please?
Mr. Grossman: The question is this: given the fact that the judge in that matter said, Mr. Fontaine's breach of the conflict-of-interest guidelines, the judge said, "I think it is a reason why" Mr. Lévesque "committed the offence," and given the fact that his minister's activities caused someone, due to the findings as found by a judge, to break the law --
Mr. Speaker: Question?
Mr. Grossman: -- would the Premier not now agree that his assurance of a year ago was totally without substance and would he like this afternoon to withdraw that assurance?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The honourable member may want to correct the record. The FMA was not entered into with his ministry; it was another ministry. He will recall it had independent scrutiny by Dean Baskerville, Mr. Spooner and others.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I think he will want to check that out. With respect, I just want the record to be clear because my honourable friend inadvertently left some facts on the table that were not quite accurate. As he knows, I gather the judge reviewed this matter, as the select committee of this House reviewed the matter, and they have all made their own determinations on this situation. The member for Cochrane North left the cabinet because of it, as the member well knows, and there the matter sits.
Mr. Grossman: Where the matter sits is that the Premier has chosen to reappoint him, at least as a parliamentary assistant. Where the matter sits is that the Premier is on record as saying there is no impropriety whatsoever. Where the matter sits is that the Premier insists it is a technical violation when a judge has found that the member's activities have caused another law-abiding citizen to break the law.
The Premier has had an opportunity this afternoon at least to cleanse the record and withdraw his statement of a year ago and he chose not to.
Given that, my question is this: Judge Cadsby said, in referring to Mr. Levesque, "What I find to be important so far as the public is concerned and so far as the government of Ontario is concerned is what can result from a violation of the Premier's conflict-of-interest guidelines by a member of his cabinet. "Too often such a conflict may be regarded by the public as a mere technical breach, not really hurting anyone. What happened in this case indicates that when the conflict-of-interest guidelines are violated, then members of the public who perceive themselves to be affected will react."
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Grossman: "In this case, the reaction of the defendant was the commission of two criminal offences." Given that conclusion by a judge, approved and supported by submissions made by the Premier's own crown attorney, will the Premier not agree that it is appropriate now to send out the conflict-of-interest bill to a committee of the Legislature where we may hear from Mr. Levesque about what happens when conflict-of-interest guidelines are perceived to --
Mr. Speaker: Order. The question has been asked.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I think the honourable member's point does illustrate why we need very clear conflict-of-interest legislation in this House. It is something we support very strongly, as my honourable friend knows.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: My honourable friend opposite, who is making all the noise --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: -- has a lot of reservations about this; I do not know why. I would encourage my honourable friends to support this particular piece of legislation. If they have better ideas on how to amend it, we are willing to listen to them. I think it is important in the interests of everyone who participates in public life in this province, and I would highly recommend that my honourable friends opposite look at the situation.
With respect to the judge's determination, I understand his conclusion in the matter. I gather that was advanced as some sort of mitigating effect from Mr. Levesque, who on two or three occasions, whatever it was, offered bribes to certain ministry officials. I would hope that neither my honourable friend opposite nor anyone else in this province would say to himself, "Someone else broke a law, or I perceive that he broke the law, or I perceive that he is doing something else; therefore, that is an excuse for me to break the law." As my honourable friend knows, the legal system does not work that way.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Does the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt) have a supplementary, or the Leader of the Opposition?
Mr. Grossman: What we are talking about here, let us be clear, are actions of the Premier's minister which he defined as "absolutely fine," as "no impropriety," and which a judge appointed by the provincial government, with the supporting submissions of the Premier's own crown attorney, said was not a mitigating factor, as the Premier tries to diminish it.
I will read from the judgement. The judge says: "I find it difficult to consider this a mitigating factor. I think it is a reason why he committed the offence." That is the behaviour of his minister approaching the very same officials, whom Mr. Levesque approached, and in self-defence as the judge says, offered some money. Not for special treatment: the judge says, "When asked, he consistently stated that he sought only to be treated fairly," by officials who were being approached by their own minister.
Mr. Speaker: And the question? Order. Final supplementary.
Mr. Grossman: The Premier suggests that if we have better ideas, we should offer them. One, reinstate Mr. Davis's tougher guidelines; and two, stand up and enforce them. He has failed every time to enforce the guidelines.
Mr. Speaker: Was that your question?
Mr. Grossman: My supplementary question is this --
Mr. Speaker: Quickly.
Mr. Grossman: After the member for Cochrane North left cabinet, he was subsequently awarded the forest management agreement contract a couple of months later. Would the Premier not agree that the awarding of that contract by his government to a former minister is in total violation of clause 6(1)(a) of his proposed conflict-of-interest act? Why would he try and propose legislation after he lets his ministers violate what he then tries to legislate against?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Grossman: If he meant it, why did he not stop them from --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The honourable member would want to be aware, just so he is clear on all the facts, that some of the alleged bribes, or I guess the now proven bribes, took place long after the member for Cochrane North had left the cabinet.
Mr. Grossman: What has that got to do with it?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I think the honourable member wants all the facts to be very clear.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I cannot understand the honourable member's conclusion that it was somehow or other dependent on equalizing a situation.
I believe we need clear legislation in this province. I think the member should support it. I know he perhaps would rather delay it for some reason that I cannot understand, but I think my honourable friend should be persuaded that it is in everyone's interest to pass it very quickly.
The member has an independent arbitrator on the situation. We are all subject to disclosure. We all play by the same rules. I am very happy to do that, and that is why we brought forward the most progressive piece of legislation this province has ever seen.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Is there a new question, and to which minister?
Mr. Grossman: I have a question again to the Premier. It is not the most progressive; it is less progressive than the Davis guidelines. They are not even equal to the Davis guidelines.
Mr. Speaker: New question.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Grossman: Clause 6(1)(a) of the Premier's proposed conflict-of-interest guidelines reads as follows: "The executive council: a member of the executive council...shall not knowingly, (a) award or approve a contract with, or grant a benefit to, a former member of the executive council, until 12 months have expired after the date when the former member ceased to hold office."
Would the Premier not agree that in awarding the forest management agreement contract to the member for Cochrane North three months after he left cabinet, his cabinet has violated completely clause 6(1)(a) of Bill 23?
An hon. member: Already.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: It is an interesting point. My honourable friend says "already", we have violated a law that is not even in existence. He is suggesting that and yet he does not support the law.
My honourable friend cannot have it both ways. He will recall that this FMA was referred out, because it was controversial at the time, for independent scrutiny by Dean Baskerville and, as I recall, Mr. Spooner. It came back for a clear independent assessment. The member has seen that, it is all public and everyone knows what the procedure has been.
Mr. Grossman: Just so the Premier understands the reservations we have about any set of conflict-of-interest guidelines left in his hands, let me restate the question. Would the Premier agree that had clause 6(1)(a) been in place when the FMA was awarded last September or October, it would have been in total and complete violation of the legislation?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The member does not even like the legislation. How can he stand in the House and, on one the hand, assert the primacy of the legislation and, on the other hand, not support the legislation? It is like my honourable friend all the time. He wants it both ways on everything. I tell him to come forward and bring forward some clear rules with an independent commissioner so everyone will play by the same rules.
Mr. Grossman: If ever there was a definition of wanting it both ways, it is of course exactly what the Premier has done in wanting it both ways. First, he does nothing on conflict of interest and he allows his minister to approach his own employees, then leave on his own account -- not on the Premier's account -- and then get an award of the FMA contract.
After the member has done that, after he has got what he wanted to get from his own ministry by pressuring his own officials -- and then got it after he left cabinet -- the Premier wants to have it both ways by legislating against it and saying, "Look at what a tough Premier I am." Of course he is not tough. He let the member get away with what he later legislated against.
Mr. Speaker: What is the question? Does the Leader of the Opposition have a final supplementary?
Mr. Grossman: The Premier has now had the opportunity of getting some advice from the Attorney General (Mr. Scott). Would he answer the question?
Mr. Speaker: Does the member have a question?
Mr. Grossman: Had clause 6(1)(a) been in place at the time when the member for Cochrane North got his forest management agreement to the exclusion of Mr. Levesque, would it have violated that section? Yes or no? The Premier should stand up for once and give us the answer.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I invite my honourable friend to look at that act quite closely. It brings in much tougher disclosure rules, it includes everybody in a situation, it brings certainty to the situation, in that an independent commissioner would judge on the situation. Why is my honourable friend, who is asserting the act, so reluctant to stand up and support it? Why does he continue to want to have it both ways? He is just interested in causing a fuss as opposed to dealing with the issues. That is the difference between us.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The Leader of the Opposition has taken up plenty of time.
Mr. Speaker: Order. We will just wait if you want to waste the time. New question, the member for York South.
Mr. Rae: A question for the Premier on this question of conflict: I wonder if the Premier can confirm that when his cabinet was being formed and when his government was being formed, he had before him and his cabinet the Davis guidelines and the cabinet members realized at that point that many of them could not continue to serve unless they divested themselves of some of their interests. I wonder if the Premier can confirm that Mary Eberts in fact changed the Davis guidelines so that they permitted members of his government to stay in the cabinet and that is why those guidelines were changed.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I think we have gone through this discussion before many times in the committee, but the member will recall that the senior crown law officer in charge of the situation, one Blenus Wright, had recommended changes for some long time previous to that. There is nothing new or exciting about that revelation the member has brought to the House today.
Mr. Rae: I was not asking for a judgement as to whether my questions are any good or not or whether they are even new or exciting; that is not the issue. Some days are good days, some days are not so good. I do not know; I do the best I can.
What I would like is a yes or a no this time. It is not a multiple-choice question; it is not a good or a bad question; it is a yes or no question. I would like to ask the Premier: can he confirm that his own government's guidelines were watered down so members of his cabinet could stay in the cabinet and maintain their private business interests at the same time?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: To the question that private business interests were maintained, everything was put in blind trusts. There were problems that my friend knows about along the way, but that was on the basis of recommendations coming forward from Mr. Wright for some long period of time.
Mr. Rae: I wonder if the Premier can confirm that he himself could not have served in Bill Davis's cabinet with respect to his own business interests under the Davis guidelines and that in fact the guidelines were changed by him and his government in order to allow him and others to stay in the cabinet and maintain their private business interests at the same time.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The member is quite right -- as a matter of conscience, I could never have served in a Davis cabinet and never would have tried to. But he is quite wrong about the latter part of his question, quite wrong; that was not the reason.
Mr. Speaker: New question, the member for York South.
Mr. Rae: The Premier has said I am quite wrong.
Mr. Speaker: Is it a new question?
Mr. Rae: Yes, it is. I would like to ask the Premier a question. Would he not agree that one of the main features of the Davis guidelines was a requirement that a member of cabinet could not have any financial holdings or business holdings in a company that did business with the government; yes or no?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: Yes, that is my recollection.
Mr. Rae: All right. Now, can the Premier tell us, does he know in fact whether there are private business holdings that are held by members of cabinet or that are held in blind trust by members of cabinet that do or do not do business with the government?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I am not aware of any, but I am also under the impression that all the assets are in blind trusts and not managed by any of the members of council. The member may have a different view or different knowledge on that situation.
I am going back to the old Legislative Assembly Act. I gather there was an exclusion for people holding timber licences -- I may well be right; the Attorney General could assist me in that -- to take into account that situation where people are normally involved in relationships with government. But I am not aware of anything that the honourable member suggests.
Mr. Rae: The Premier could not be aware, and neither could anybody else, precisely because these interests have been placed in a blind trust. How do we know what a conflict of interest is? How can cabinet members be aware of whether or not they have a conflict of interest? How can this government have a protection with respect to people doing business with the government when the very term "conflict of interest" is not defined anywhere in this government's legislation? Nor is the commissioner given the authority to order people to divest themselves of property. Can the Premier not confirm that?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The leader of the third party is quite wrong. Conflict of interest is defined very clearly in section 2 of the act. Obviously, a conflict of interest is if someone puts his personal interest ahead of the public interest, and obviously the member and I would agree that no one should ever take special advantage of the situation. It was clearly spelled out in section 2.
Not only that. I gather my honourable friend is uncomfortable with blind trusts. The new act would bring in complete disclosure, not only for ministers of the crown but also for their spouses and, indeed, for all members of the Legislature; all there for everyone to see.
At the same time, it would be judged by an independent commissioner who would have a view in making judgements with respect to those situations if there was any potential of a conflict of interest. That would be reported back to the House and, ultimately, would be the responsibility of the Premier.
If my honourable friend looks at the act, he will see that all the problems he has raised have indeed been answered.
Mr. Grossman: That shows precisely why we need hearings. The Premier does not understand the legislation, and those questions have not been answered at all.
I want to repeat my question, because the Premier keeps refusing to answer it. He is very evasive this afternoon and uncomfortable with all conflict-of-interest questions.
Under clause 6(1)(a) of his proposed legislation, Bill 23, would the award of the forest management agreement to the member for Cochrane North three months after he left cabinet be a violation of that section? Yes or no?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I just sought some of the highest-quality legal advice this province could ever avail itself of. The Attorney General tells me the answer, in his legal opinion, is no.
Mr. Grossman: If the Attorney General once again wants to give, shall we say an unusual interpretation to a piece of fairly straightforward legislation, it proves once again why we need public hearings -- so we will know what is allowed and what is not allowed.
We know the Premier would have studied this act carefully. Under subsection 6(3), which the Attorney General refers to, it says, "Clauses 1(a) and (b)" -- he must have been caught under subsection 1(a); that is why the Attorney General tries to exempt him under subsection 3 -- "do not apply if the conditions on which the contract or benefit is awarded, approved or granted to the former member are the same for all persons similarly entitled."
Mr. Levesque was in the problem he was in and subsequently broke the law precisely because it required an arbitrary and discretionary decision; not one based upon "all persons similarly entitled," but because some got and some did not get. Mr. Levesque clearly did not get. He was a competitor of the minister and the minister did get. The judge says Mr. Levesque broke a law because the minister appeared to exercise influence with his own employees.
Mr. Speaker: Do you have a question?
Mr. Grossman: Would the Premier explain how subsection 6(3) somehow exonerates his former minister, who got an award at the expense of Mr. Levesque, so the courts say?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I will refer this to the Attorney General to give my honourable friend a legal definition to make him feel better.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The question has been referred to the Attorney General.
Hon. Mr. Scott: I think the answer to the question is that subsection 3 provides "Clauses 1(a) and (b) do not apply if the conditions on which the contract or benefit is awarded, approved or granted to the former member are the same for all persons similarly entitled," and the question here is, what were the conditions on which the person similarly entitled to an FMA received it? The honourable member who was a beneficiary under that contract received it on the same conditions as the others who were entitled to it.
That is answer one. The other answer is provided by clause 11(1)(d) of the Legislative Assembly Act, which speaks to the eligibility of a member of an assembly, of course, but stipulates that no one is ineligible "by reason of his being the holder of a mining licence or having a contract or agreement with Her Majesty or with any public officer or ministry with respect to the same or to mines or mining rights, but no such person shall vote on any question affecting such licence, contract or agreement or in which he is interested by reason thereof."
The honourable members will know there are certain other sections, such as clause (f), that speak in precisely the same terms to timber licences, with which we may be concerned here, and fishery licences.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Grossman) take his seat?
Mr. Rae: I have a question for the Premier on a new subject. I want to ask the Premier a question about the employment equity announcement today that was made by the acting Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet (Mr. Nixon). On February 18, 1985, a communiqué from the Liberal Party quoted the following statement by David Peterson: "We shall bring forward legislative changes to ensure that equality of opportunity becomes a reality." Then he went on to say, "Companies doing business with my government will have to have affirmative action programs as a condition of contract compliance."
In the draft cabinet statement on multiculturalism that went to cabinet under the rubric of the Minister of Citizenship and Culture (Ms. Munro) in November, there was again a direct reference to the question of contract compliance.
In the announcement made today by his colleague the acting Chairman of Management Board, there was not a word said about the private sector, not a word said about what was going to be done, not a word said about legislation, not a word said about the law --
Mr. Speaker: And the question is?
Mr. Rae: -- not a word said about the world outside the government. I would like to ask the Premier: what has happened in the last two years that he has turned his back on the millions of people who are working in the private sector and who are having to fight against discrimination? What is he going to do about them?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The member heard the statement quite accurately. We have entered into the I Count study, as my honourable friend will be aware. It gave us a statistical base on which to base certain policy judgements, and we have started, conscientiously, in the public sector. That experience, once gleaned, and when we share the results with the broader public sector as well as the private sector -- we have made a significant and important start today, based on not just a feeling and not just a reaction but with statistical evidence, and I think it is a significant step forward.
Mr. Rae: The seals can applaud, but the reality is that the Premier has done --
An hon. member: The Treasurer is not a seal; he is a walrus.
Mr. Rae: All right -- walrus.
The reality is that the Premier has done less in this legislation than the city of Toronto and less than the federal government in Ottawa. That is an astonishing achievement -- less than Brian Mulroney or Art Eggleton. I would never have thought it possible. That is the reality.
Can he explain why Art Eggleton can move on contract compliance and Brian Mulroney can move on contract compliance but the Premier does not have the guts to stand up for minorities who are working in the private sector and see that they have a law that protects them, not just a statement but the law that protects them, the law of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: To my honourable friend and his inflated rhetoric on this matter, I think it has been a very carefully thought out policy that my honourable friend announced today. We are determined to make real progress. We know the problems. We know the strengths. We know the weaknesses, obviously, of the public service at the present time. We think that can be a model for all and we are determined to make it happen.
Mr. Reycraft: I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Health concerning Bill 98, An Act to amend the Health Protection and Promotion Act, affecting immunization measures.
Based on an interview that was reported in Saturday's London Free Press and a report on CFPL-TV London last night, it is obvious that there is considerable confusion about the motivation and the intent behind Bill 98. Would the minister please clarify for the record why Bill 98 was brought forward and what its effect is?
Hon. Mr. Elston: Briefly, Bill 98 was brought in because we had received representations from the medical profession that indicated that the broadness of the provisions under Bill 52, the private member's bill sponsored by the member for Rainy River (Mr. Pierce), was such that they found it was almost impossible for them to comply with the terms of the amended act. They asked that we make things more precise so they could be more assured that the information they were giving would cover their responsibilities as professionals.
We did that by introducing Bill 98, which was passed here last week. The motivation for the amendment was to clear up the difficulties that had been found after the bill was sent through the committee stage. We have eliminated some of the broadness of the act so that the professionals will be able to feel that they can proceed to deliver vaccinations to children and prevent some of the spread of disease that vaccinations are designed to prevent.
Mr. Reycraft: Bill 52, as it was amended by the standing committee on social development, had two inherent principles: first, that parents would be advised before immunization of the benefits and the risks associated with the vaccine; and second, that whenever a child had a serious reaction the reaction would be reported. Can the minister affirm that the amendment, Bill 98, does not weaken either of those principles?
Hon. Mr. Elston: The amendments via Bill 98 that were just passed require the parents or the patient, depending on the age of the person, to be informed about the material risks accompanying vaccination. It also does not affect the requirement for reporting.
It is to be noted that one of the concerns that was expressed to us by the professional groups after the passage of Bill 52 was the fact that they had no opportunity to bring their expertise to bear with respect to some of the amendments that came in very late indeed in the committee hearings, in clause-by-clause. It was as a result of analysis after the bill was passed through the Legislature that some of the implications were determined and, as a result, the request was made to us to clarify the amendments.
Mr. Gillies: My question is to the Premier about his government's continuing coverup of the Graham Software and Wyda Systems scandals. We would like to ask the Premier again, as we did last Thursday: in view of the fact that Jack Biddell, whom the Premier asked to review these matters, the failure of two companies that cost the taxpayers of this province more than $8 million, and in view of the fact that his report on both Graham Software and Wyda was completed in February and the minister has been covering up the report ever since, will the Premier take steps to ensure that the report is tabled in this House today so that the public can learn a little more about where its $8 million went?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I may be wrong, but I think the honourable minister answered that question in complete detail last week. I assume the honourable member was here. We are happy to make it public as soon as it is all gathered up.
Mr. Gillies: Just to review the facts of this matter again: Mr. Biddell told the committee that the report on the two companies that sparked the scandals was completed in February.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. O'Neil: He did not. He said it was an interim report.
Mr. Harris: You said it. He didn't say that. You continue to lie in this House time after time after time.
Mr. Grossman: He said his work was finished in February.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Speaker: No. We will just wait. Just relax and wait.
Mr. Gillies: To the Premier: Mr. Biddell also told the committee he would not recommend that any of the work being done on the continuing viable companies be made public because it would endanger their ability to continue in business. Will the Premier now agree that any of the work Mr. Biddell is doing, which he will recommend be made public, has been completed for five months? If he does not table that report today or possibly tomorrow, then he will have succeeded in his efforts to cover up this matter and keep it from public scrutiny. Will he ensure that this report is tabled?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: My honourable friend continues to hoot and holler about this issue, but let me just quote Mr. Biddell's words to him. I am operating on the premise that the member was there but was suffering from selective amnesia when he was there. It said, "Immediately on reception or the submission of this interim report;" according to Mr. Biddell, "and when I submitted the draft report to Mr. Lavelle;" it said "he is going on to do additional work." It is quite clear and the answer has been clear for some time.
Mr Speaker: Order. Order, the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell). Order, the member for Nipissing (Mr. Harris).
Mr. D. S. Cooke: I have a question for the Minister of Health. How could the Minister of Health possibly sign an agreement with the doctors last week that would guarantee them a 1.5 per cent special adjustment to deal with the economic impact on the medical profession as a result of a ban on extra billing? Is it not true that last year he and his Premier (Mr. Peterson) promised the people of Ontario that the recovery of the money from the federal government as a result of the ban on extra billing would not be used to buy off the doctors, but instead would be used to improve the health care system for the people of this province? Why did he go back on his word to the people of this province?
Hon. Mr. Elston: We did not go back on our word to the people of this province. In fact, we recovered that money and we have expanded the health system of this province extraordinarily well. Just to mention two or three items: we have the University of Ottawa Heart Institute at the Ottawa Civic Hospital and the Toronto Western Eye Institute; we have the viral lab at the University of Toronto; we have expanded an air ambulance. We have done a number of things. In fact, we have made expenditures far beyond the money that was recovered and withheld previously by the federal government, and the member knows that.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: The minister will know the money he announced for capital was in the budget the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) brought down before the doctors' strike even occurred. Is the minister trying to tell the people of this province that it is just a mere coincidence that the buyoff, the 1.5 per cent, is the exact same amount of money that was recovered from the federal government when the ban took place?
I would like to ask the minister with respect to administrative charges still in place in this province, how in blazes is he going to negotiate a ban on those administrative charges when he has absolutely no bargaining power whatsoever now, as he has already settled the fee dispute in this province?
Hon. Mr. Elston: We have the mechanism of the bill, which the member, who was in the House, helped us to pass last year, and we are using it. We have provided those patients who have been charged in the past with reimbursement and then have pursued the collection of the money from the doctors who have offended. We can now tell members that we are much more thoroughly prepared to deal with those people, who are an embarrassment not only to the medical system but also to the medical profession in this province. We will continue to pursue those people who are such an embarrassment.
Mr. Speaker: We will just wait. Order, the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel).
Mr. Gillies: A question again to the Premier: since the Premier is into Hansard readings this afternoon, I would like to read back something the Premier said last Thursday when we were questioning him about the Biddell report. He said, "We are happy to make public whatever is appropriate in the circumstances."
In view of the fact that the public invested $8 million in two companies, Wyda and Graham Software, in view of the fact that this money is now lost to the public, in view of the fact that there are ongoing investigations into these and related matters and in view of the fact that both of those companies had close ties to the Liberal Party and to this government and to a former minister of this government, does the Premier not think, and I quote his own words, that it would be "appropriate in the circumstances" that the details of this whole sordid mess be brought before this House and before the taxpayers?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: We said that all the information will be made public. That is the same answer I have given on many other occasions, but go ahead and ask the question again.
Mr. Gillies: We have to put this question in some kind of context. The Premier is very happy to stand up time after time --
Mr. Speaker: Is there a supplementary?
Mr. Gillies: By way of supplementary -- to say: "We are open. We will make this available; we will make that available." In the last year, the Premier has said that he will make available the details of the investigation into Wyda, that he will make public the details of the investigation into PEC Financial Corp. and that he will make public the details into the Vaughan land sale. Now he tells us he will make public the details of the Biddell report. The Premier has made none of these things public.
Is the Premier relegating this Biddell report to the ashcan of these other reports and investigations in some sort of vain hope that they will disappear before an election comes and goes?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The answer to the member's question is a very clear no. My honourable friend will know that his esteemed leader has said the election is going to be some time next year, so we have lots of time to share it with him.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: My question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. The minister is no doubt aware of press reports that the welfare administration in London is demanding that recipients who are employable accept jobs as scabs with Canada Post or be denied their benefits. Can the minister let me know his position on this? Does he not feel these people have a right to be opposed, like the Prime Minister, to crossing picket lines? Would he perhaps be concerned about their health and safety?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: The principle of this government is that nobody has to cross a picket line.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: The minister has an override. Many members may know that if he chooses, he can reinstate someone who has been denied welfare by a municipality and force the municipality to pay for that person's assistance. Is the minister willing to take that kind of initiative with anyone who is denied welfare in London for failing to become a scab?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: When I heard the rumour, and I emphasize that at this point that is what it was presented as, I checked and found out that in fact that has not happened.
Mr. Speaker: The acting Minister of Government Services has a response to a question asked previously.
LEASE OF GOVERNMENT LAND
Hon. Mr. Conway: I would like very briefly to respond to a question put some weeks ago by my colleague the member for Brampton (Mr. Callahan). The member for Brampton asked whether the province could review the process of selling lands in his riding leased under the former home ownership made easy program.
I am pleased to advise my colleagues in the House that new procedures have been put in place along the lines he suggested. Effective immediately, land appraisal prices for resale property will be fixed for 60 days from the date of the written appraisal. The appraisal price will remain in effect until the sale closes, provided it closes within six months of the written appraisal.
ONTARIO HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
Mr. Gregory: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. I wonder whether the minister could inform the House as to the procedure taken by the Ontario Human Rights Commission to investigate a case of sexual harassment. In answering, could the minister explain how long this process takes and what is the average length of time taken to investigate a complaint?
Mr. Martel: Put it on the Orders and Notices.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I heard somebody from the third party mention putting it on the Orders and Notices. I think the question asked for a great deal of detail, which talks about the length of time not only for any and all investigations but also for a general investigation. I hope my friend realizes he has asked for a lot of detail, but I can check into it and get back to him, perhaps by letter.
Mr. Gregory: It is obvious to me that the minister does not have the foggiest notion of the answer to the question, not the foggiest, but I am going to help him a bit and give him an idea of the information he does not have.
Could he perhaps explain for me how a complaint of sexual harassment lodged with the commission in November 1984 still remains unresolved today? During that time, the complainant had to engage a lawyer, wait a full year for the investigation, respond to the complaint, wait for the case to go to the legal department, re-sign the complaint twice because of clerical mistakes and spend $4,000 on legal fees, only to be told on June 5, 1987, that a hearing would be held but no date was given.
Would the minister care to comment on that?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Let me just comment in general by saying that one of the things we have done over the last while with the Ontario Human Rights Commission is to beef up the number of compliance officers. If memory serves me correctly, we had about 37 compliance officers including perhaps one or two in the honourable member's area, when we took office. We have added more than two dozen additional compliance officers because of exactly the kind of point the honourable member alludes to, that is the unacceptably long delays.
Certainly, in listening to the litany of delay that the honourable member points out, I must say that seems like a very lengthy time. If the honourable member wishes to send details, including the name of the constituent, over to me, I will check into this matter and get back to him. I would note to the honourable member that I hope, now that the matter is going to a board of inquiry, we will be able to get on with the board just as quickly as possible.
Mr. Gregory: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: To help me understand, the minister has asked me to supply the name. Perhaps the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) can comment on whether in fact I should be doing this when the case is being investigated.
Mr. Speaker: Order. It is not a point of order.
Mr. Hayes: My question is to the Minister of Health. My office receives many calls and letters from people who are very upset because of the long delays in the waiting time for bookings for heart bypass surgery. One of my constituents, Cyril Chevalier, who is 61 years old, from Woodslee, needs a quadruple bypass. He was tested in October 1986, and his family has been calling every week trying to get a date on when Mr. Chevalier can go in for his surgery.
One of the key problems is that phase 2 of Victoria Hospital has not been approved, to my understanding. Can the minister tell us when he plans on giving the approval for Victoria Hospital, phase 2, so people like Mr. Chevalier and many others do not have to wait as long for their surgery?
Hon. Mr. Elston: I thank the honourable gentleman for the question. He would likely wish to acknowledge that the concern about setting the time frame in which bypass operations are to be held is a function of several things. One of them might be the question of the second phase of Victoria Hospital, but it also has something to do with the ranking that the physician gives to the particular condition that Mr. Chevalier is suffering from. There are a number of items which come together to determine the place for someone in the ranking of surgery priorities for the physician.
It is interesting to me that the member is bringing forward the concern that we expand in a substantial way our institutional sector when we have been urged by his Health critic to redirect our attention to other things. We have been now urged by two of the Health critic's colleagues, the member and the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner), to increase significantly the institutional sector at a time when we are trying to reorient ourselves towards community care and advantage those people who require a flexibility of delivery of care systems in Ontario. I will, however, look into the question of Mr. Chevalier if the mem ber is able to provide me with more details as to --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: I would like to ask the minister if he is aware that at Victoria Hospital there are 172 patients waiting for urgent cardiac surgery and at University Hospital in London, according to their annual report, there are 269 people awaiting cardiac surgery. These are people who, according to the annual report, are patients who are judged to require admission within 14 days because they are urgent cases, and the average waiting period is 70 to 80 days.
Why does the minister have enough money to buy off the doctors to end extra billing but he does not have enough money to deal with people who are in urgent need of bypass surgery in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Elston: I thank the honourable gentleman for his invitation to expand our institutional sector. I think he would like to acknowledge that the planning for the expansion of capital resources takes some time to put into place. It is also a function of a planning process that has been stymied over the past several years by a previous government that was unable to come to grips with the problem of the consumption of our capital structure in our hospital sector and, therefore, we sometimes find that we have lagged considerably behind in renewing our hospital sector to the state where it can deal with a number of these problems.
The particular list that the member has provided us is a good indication that he, like other people in his caucus, is now coming around to see that we do have a role to play in putting together a heightened institutional sector. I am really quite pleased that the New Democratic Party is now advocating a considerable expansion of the hospital and institutional sector at a time when they are telling us to reorient ourselves to community care.
Mr. D. R. Cooke: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. Apparently, according to the United States General Accounting Office, that country's main acid rain research program, the national acid participation program, has stopped studying the economic costs of acid rain and, from here on in, is studying only whether acid rain is a problem and the costs of abatement equipment. This is despite the fact that a maple tree that had a life expectancy of 300 years when the minister and I were children now has a life expectancy of less than 70 years. Thousands of our lakes are dying and the national Congress itself, the Capitol building, is being perceptibly eaten away by acid rain.
Does the minister feel that the report of the General Accounting Office is accurate that the United States research program seeks no positive action on acid rain, only justification of further research?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: If I may, over the din, I know the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Grossman) was going to ask this question next if it did not get asked this time.
Mr. Speaker: And the response is?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: Yes, the response is this. When I was speaking to the American Bar Association just a short time ago, outlining the position of Ontario in this regard, I indicated at that time statistics which had been prepared for Senator Stafford, Senator Mitchell and Senator Proxmire, all of whom had bills before the United States Senate. All of this material contained good evidence which would demonstrate that there was more money to be made and better economic activity from the abatement of acid rain in the US Midwest than in attempting to avoid this particular piece of regulation.
It is my view that in fact the money would best be directed into demonstrating clearly again that there is a better economic benefit in the abatement of acid rain, whether it is here or in the United States, as opposed to spending the money on matters that would concern it otherwise.
Mr. D. R. Cooke: There are 3,000 studies worldwide showing the costs of acid rain to humanity. Is the minister in possession of a number of these studies? If he is, is he prepared to forward these studies and perhaps have staff explain them to the United States acid rain participation program?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: The member for Kitchener makes an excellent suggestion.
Mr. Speaker, for the members of the House who would not be aware of this, and perhaps for you as well, it is interesting that this battle has been characterized as a confrontation between Canada and the United States when in fact the United States, at least through the administration, is out of step with the world on this issue of acid rain. For instance, there are a number of countries in Europe that are called the 30 to 50 per cent club, which have already made a commitment to abate their acid rain by at least 50 per cent or a varying figure by the mid-1990s.
It seems to me the United States, at the suggestion of Canada and Ontario, should be following the same mode of action as have those in Europe and those of us in Canada on the issue of acid rain.
Mr. Andrewes: It must be a slow day in Brampton.
ALCOHOL AND DRUG ADDICTION
Mr. Andrewes: I wonder whether the Minister of Health could tell us why last year 340 people travelled from northeastern Ontario to New Hampshire for treatment for drug and alcohol problems at a cost of $1 million to the Ontario taxpayer.
Hon. Mr. Elston: I cannot comment on the figures the honourable gentleman has brought in. I do not have the basis upon which the decision, which was made by the individual people from northeastern Ontario, was made.
I can tell the honourable gentleman that, from my standpoint, probably one of the reasons is that there are not enough alcohol and drug addiction programs in place in Ontario. I can tell the member that there is probably the fact that some people wish to remain anonymous. Some may be enrolled in programs that are sponsored by corporate employers and deal directly with people from out of province. There could be other possible reasons that some people may have travelled to New Hampshire.
Mr. Andrewes: In a submission made to the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Fontaine), a number of community-based groups made that very point. I want to remind the minister and ask him why L'Arc-en-ciel, for instance, a treatment centre for young male drug addicts, closed in December 1986 for lack of funding, and why Foyer L'Espérance, a group home for young women, is in financial difficulty, currently living off support of the church and other community private donations.
If the minister can answer these questions and answer why there is a lack of community services in northern Ontario, some 4,500 people who are awaiting treatment at these facilities would be very grateful to him.
Hon. Mr. Elston: We recognize there is a great deal more to be done with respect to our addictions programs.
Mr. Martel: In southern Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Elston: Not only in southern Ontario, I say to the member for Sudbury East, but also in northern Ontario and right around this province. In fact, the member can tell the people in northern Ontario that we have allocated substantially increased funds to some of the programs in Timmins, Hearst and other places. We recognize that the increasing case load has to be dealt with, and we know that the success rate of the people who are operating these programs is generating an awful lot of interest among the community leaders in fact to develop more programs to assist in stamping out a very difficult personal problem.
I can tell the honourable gentleman that, as well, we have an indication in our throne speech that addictions programs for the youth of Ontario are a high priority of our government, and in fact will take an increasing part of our interest in providing an addictions treatment program right around the province.
We expect as well, in relation to the federal program, details of which we are unable yet to access, that we will be able to deal with the problem of addictions in a much broader and better way, in a co-operative fashion. I thank the member very much for bringing this --
Mr. Speaker: Order. New question, the member for Welland-Thorold.
Mr. Swart: I have just received a news release -- two of them, in fact -- from the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations or, perhaps more appropriately, the Minister of Financial Institutions, relative to the tabling in this House of what he has stated is his most important legislation dealing with auto insurance. I want to note the disrespect that the minister is showing for this House to have not tabled a statement so that the opposition parties could reply to it in this House.
Mr. Speaker: The question?
Mr. Swart: The minister brings in this statement at the last minute. Is it not true that this is deliberate on his part so that this bill cannot be dealt with in this House, so that the rate review board cannot be set up before the summer, before the government calls the next election, so that the people will not know how much the rates are going to increase because of that rate review board?
Is this not deliberate on the minister's part to distort the whole process of the rate review board and to give the people of this province misleading information, so that in fact --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I know the member for Welland-Thorold was trying to be very careful there.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: The member for Welland-Thorold is giving his final display of absurdity in that statement. If I had made a statement -- which I have made many times, I have told this House I am bringing in a whole package of reforms; the two bills I will be introducing this afternoon are part of that package -- he would have had the opportunity of saying exactly what he said right now.
When he talks about the use of this House and the things that are going on, we had Bill 56, which his party could have dealt with in this House. They chose for political purposes not to do it. They have held 300,000 drivers in this province hostage for their crass political purposes.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Gordon: "To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Legislature of Ontario as follows:
"I rise today to present a petition on behalf of the Croatian people of Ontario on a matter of grave concern for all free peoples, a matter involving an individual man, a man doing God's work, who has been stripped of a most basic liberty by an undemocratic and tyrannical government.
"I speak of Father Simon Coric, a noted Croatian Franciscan priest, writer and artist, a man of international stature who carries on his pastoral work in every corner of the globe. Only a few weeks ago, Father Coric was detained by Yugoslav authorities and his passport has been confiscated.
"I speak for all concerned Canadians and the Croatian community in Canada in calling upon the Yugoslavian government to live up to the terms of the Helsinki agreement and the United Nations Charter of Rights and return to Father Coric his freedom to travel so he can continue his artistic and pastoral work. Father Coric has a major tour of Australia, which is home to a large and vibrant Croatian community, set to begin on July 3."
Ms. Caplan: I would like to table an additional 1,000 petitions on behalf of the residents of North York who have signed requesting that the government approve funding for the Sheppard subway line now.
Mr. Hayes: I have a petition signed by 2,803 people. It reads:
"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"That government auto insurance be implemented to stop excessive premiums and escalating rates, prevent cancellation or refusal to renew insurance, stop rates which victimize young male drivers with good driving records, stop the penalizing of all drivers in a household because of one driver's poor driving record, stop discriminatory rate increases and ensure that all drivers can afford insurance they are legally required to have."
Mr. Morin-Strom: I have a petition signed by 70 employees of the jail in Sault Ste. Marie:
"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, petition the Ministry of Correctional Services to reinstate Mr. Ole R. Thompsen, correctional officer 2, to the staff of the Sault Ste. Marie Jail in that he was unjustly fired and proven so by a jury of his peers."
Mr. Rowe: I have a petition:
"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario.
"We petition the Ontario Legislature to enact the recommendations of the Simcoe County District Health Council in April 1986 calling for the construction of a new hospital in the city of Barrie.''
It is signed by some 375 residents, which now brings the total to just over 4,000 residents.
Mr. Sterling: I have a petition:
"To the Lieutenant Governor:
"We, the citizens or merchants of Arnprior and west Carleton are opposed to the stopping of eastbound traffic at the above-mentioned exit. We request that the municipalities of Arnprior and west Carleton exert whatever pressure is necessary to have the Ministry of Transportation and Communications keep open, or reopen, this exit.
"Should the ministry, in their wisdom, consider this exit improperly designed for the safety of the travailing public, then we request that they spend the necessary funds to correct the design problem in a way which will still allow eastbound traffic to use this exit."
That is signed by over 1,000 residents.
Mr. Harris: I have a petition:
"To the Lieutenant Governor in Council:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to table a petition condemning the government for their underhanded, sneaky release during question period today on the Ontario Automobile Insurance Board Act and for not having the courtesy and forthrightness to make a statement on this matter."
It is signed by five very concerned members of the Ontario Legislature.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wrye moved first reading of Bill 106, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Motion agreed to.
BEDS OF NAVIGABLE WATERS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Haggerty moved first reading of Bill 107, An Act to amend the Beds of Navigable Waters Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Haggerty: The bill would establish the high-water mark as the boundary of property described in the crown grant bounded by navigable water to provide a uniform interpretation in such cases.
AGRICULTURAL AND HORTICULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS ACT
Hon. Mr Riddell moved first reading of Bill 108, An Act respecting the Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Riddell: The intent of this act is to combine and replace three existing acts. They are the Agricultural Societies Act, the Horticultural Societies Act and the Agricultural Associations Act. The proposed act will streamline and update legislation affecting agricultural and horticultural societies and provincially based agricultural associations. The act will designate corporate status for organizations, define objectives for the societies and allow financial assistance programs to be maintained under the regulations.
The drafting of this act was done in full consultation with the affected organizations and their provincial associations. The current and future needs of the agricultural and horticultural bodies were a guiding influence in the bill's creation.
The three current acts were all established in the first decade of the 1900s and, despite amendments, they have become outmoded. This new bill provides enabling legislation to bring these important societies into present-day relevancy, and I would suggest we move on to second and third readings.
MOTOR VEHICLE REPAIR ACT
Hon. Mr. Kwinter moved first reading of Bill 109, An Act to regulated Motor Vehicle Repairs.
Motion agreed to.
ONTARIO AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE BOARD ACT
Hon. Mr. Kwinter moved first reading of Bill 110, An Act to establish the Ontario Automobile Insurance Board and to provide for the Review of Automobile Insurance Rates.
Motion agreed to.
HAMILTON CIVIC HOSPITALS ACT
Mr. Ward moved first reading of Bill Pr24, An Act respecting Hamilton Civic Hospitals.
Motion agreed to.
EDUCATION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 111, An Act to amend the Education Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Mackenzie: The purpose of the bill is to allow boards under the Education Act to provide certain medical and insurance benefits to their retired employees and their spouses and children. The act as now worded allows boards to provide these benefits only to current employees and their families, as some of the bargaining units have found out to their chagrin.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Nixon moved resolution 11:
That the following standing and select committees be authorized to meet during the summer adjournment in accordance with the schedule of meeting dates agreed to by the three party whips and tabled with the Clerk of the assembly, to examine and inquire into the following matters:
Select committee on the environment to consider Niagara River toxic waste management.
Select committee on health to consider chronic care needs of the elderly.
Standing committee on general government to consider Bill 56, An Act to control temporarily Automobile Insurance Rates in Ontario, and to complete the report on the Teachers' Collective Negotiations Act.
Standing committee on government agencies to review the operation of certain agencies, boards and commissions of the government of Ontario.
Standing committee on the Legislative Assembly to consider matters related to the administration of the House and to adjourn to Indianapolis, Indiana, to attend the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Standing committee on the Ombudsman to consider the annual report of the Ombudsman and expanded jurisdiction of the Ombudsman.
Standing committee on public accounts to consider matters relating to its permanent terms of reference and to adjourn to Quebec City to attend the Ninth Annual Conference of the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees.
Standing committee on resources development to consider Bill 149, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Standing committee on social development to consider Bill 80, An Act to amend the Education Act.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I would point out a shortcoming in this lengthy motion establishing our committee schedule for the period between sessions, in that the standing committee on finance and economic affairs was somehow inadvertently overlooked. Therefore, I would like to move an amendment as follows:
"Standing committee on finance and economic affairs to consider federal tax reform proposals."
Mr. Speaker: You have all heard the amended motion. Any comments?
Mr. Ashe: I was of course going to rise to ask what happened to the finance and economic affairs committee, because the government has given a lot of lipservice to the importance of that committee but has not deemed, in its wisdom, particularly through the House leader, to afford it much opportunity to get into the various things that are on its plate.
We have now recognized it to some limited degree, but I think one of the other issues is already very obvious now as well. We heard earlier that the government, at the very least, is in a quandary and very ambivalent about the whole free trade issue and the impact upon Ontario. If only the government House leader would confer with the chairman of that particular committee, I think he would find that all members of that committee from all parties found a trip down to Washington in the early part of the year to be very helpful and very fruitful in really promoting the problems and concerns in the trade issues, related not only to free trade but also to the general trade issues vis-à-vis Canada and the United States, and most important, between Ontario and the United States.
In preparing its budget recently for the current fiscal year we are now in, that committee submitted to the board of infernal economy, better known as the Board of Internal Economy, a budget that included a subsequent follow-up trip down to Washington, which was approved in a financial sense. Now the government has deemed it inappropriate for that committee to carry on the mandate that was given to it. I think we have to be very disappointed in that and have to challenge and ask the question: Does the government really care what happens vis-à-vis trade between Ontario and the United States of America?
Mr. McFadden: In last week's meeting of the standing committee on finance and economic affairs, we had all-party agreement, as at previous meetings, that as a committee we should attend at Washington to talk to members of Congress and members of the administration immediately before the projected return of the Legislature, to discuss with American officials the current trade discussions going on.
We expect that by October 5, one way or another, we will either have a trade accord or we will not. If we have an agreement, it would be important at that time at least to find out what the American attitude is on this agreement and what an appropriate Ontario response should be to the accord, based upon American reaction to it in Congress.
Second, by early October it will be pretty clear what the omnibus trade legislation now being considered by Congress will be. It will be clear by then the kind of trade hurdles Ontario industry will have to deal with, starting at the end of this year, as the new major trade legislation becomes law in the US.
It struck every member of the committee, from all parties, that the first week in October was a particularly important week for Ontario in terms of its trade relations with the US.
The select committee on economic affairs recommended strongly in its report to this House about a year ago that it was important that legislative committees of this House visit the US -- and of course, legislative committees of the US should come here -- to encourage a greater exchange of information and better understanding of the problems between our two countries. There has never been a time when that is more needed than today, in view of what is happening in Washington and the important trade issues that are going on there.
It is very disturbing that at this time the notice of motion presented by the government House leader made no mention whatsoever of any form of committee meetings, hearings, visits or anything else in relation to international trade and particularly our trade relations with the United States. We hear about how important all this is. We hear discussions of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) complaining about Ottawa's consultation, nonconsultation or whatever. We know that every party in this House is worried and concerned about the impact of what is going on today in Washington, as well as of what is going on in Ottawa, in terms of trade. There is not a single mention of any hearings or meetings to take place that are being authorized by the government House leader during the term of the adjournment.
I think it is a very serious omission. It completely omits one of the most vital single issues facing this province and this country. I think it shows just a complete disregard for the importance of those issues. I do not know what the agenda of the government is on this. Maybe it does not want any discussion to take place of a public nature. Maybe the government's strategy is for this committee not to carry on and involve the public or learn what is really happening.
I do not know what the hidden agenda is, but I think it is incredible that at this point in Canada's history, this committee should be denied the right to get on with having hearings on trade and visiting Washington, in view of the vital importance of the entire trade issue to Ontario and in view of the current developments on the entire trade front. I urge the House leader to reconsider this motion and, in line with the agreement of all parties who were on the committee, that we be provided with the time that was requested by the committee last week.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: There was not agreement among the whips that the committee trip to Washington occur. The committee has been there twice, and I think that is just great. Honestly, this is a motion that could be amended, as far as I know, by anybody. Why does the member not say that he would like to go to Washington and then we will see about that? I do not have any strong feelings about this.
Mr. Breaugh: At the invitation of the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) --
Mr. Speaker: Order. I appreciate that. I just wanted you to realize that I had asked if any other members wished to participate. No one had risen.
Mr. Breaugh: I know that.
Mr. Speaker: Now the government House leader has suggested that if there is consent of the House --
Mr. Breaugh: I just want to help him. I do not really want to speak to the motion, but would he accept a friendly amendment to allow the committee to travel to Washington?
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Yes.
Mr. Breaugh: He would. I will so move.
Mr. Speaker: I am having a little difficulty. There is an amendment to the motion, and now there is a verbal amendment to the amendment. I have the main motion. I have not received the amendment or the subamendment yet. Then I would know.
Hon. Mr. Nixon has moved an amendment adding to the original motion. It reads:
"Standing committee on finance and economic affairs to consider federal tax reform proposals."
Then there was a subamendment by Mr. Breaugh, "and to travel to Washington." Are you aware of what is contained?
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I am not sure of all the ramifications of it.
Mr. Speaker: So? Is it permissible to place the --
Hon. Mr. Nixon: That is fine.
Mr. Speaker: On the subamendment, the member for Eglinton.
Mr. McFadden: The trip to Washington is not the relevant issue here. We are not going to Washington anyway to deal with federal tax reform. The point I made was that we have the further provision to consider federal tax reform proposals and to consider Canada-US trade. I do not believe the trip to Washington is necessarily a relevant addition. If we want to add that as a caveat to the consideration of Canada-US trade, that is fine, but just to simply add a trip to Washington is completely irrelevant in that respect because we are not going to Washington to consider federal tax reform proposals as that would indicate.
Mr. Speaker: We have the motion, the amendment and the amendment to the amendment. I know every member has the right to vote for or against it as he wishes. I will place the amendment to the amendment, which would add to the original motion, "Standing committee on finance and economic affairs to consider federal tax reform proposals and to travel to Washington."
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: Therefore, we have the amended amendment. All those in favour of the amended amendment?
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of the amended motion?
Motion agreed to.
GREAT LAKES BIBLE COLLEGE ACT
Mr. Andrewes moved second reading of Bill Pr5, An Act respecting Great Lakes Bible College.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
House in committee of the whole.
LANDLORD AND TENANT AMENDMENT ACT
Consideration of Bill 10, An Act to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act.
Mr. Chairman: We have in front of us Bill 10, An Act to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act. Are there any comments, questions or amendments, and if so, to what section?
Mr. Reville: I do not believe there are any amendments, so I move the committee do now rise and report.
Mr Chairman: Mr Reville moves that the committee rise and report.
Is it the pleasure of the committee that the motion carry? Carried.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Now wait a minute.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Chairman, are you going to carry the sections first? We have another bill to do.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: We have another bill to do.
Mr. McClellan: Why do we not carry all the sections before we move the bill?
Mr. Breaugh: Perhaps I could assist. As we are in committee, it would assist us somewhat, procedurally, if we carry the sections of the bill before we report it. Could we do that?
Mr. Chairman: Do we have unanimous consent to revert to prior to that motion?
Mr. Breaugh: I seek unanimous consent to do that.
Mr. Chairman: Do we have unanimous consent?
Mr. Breaugh: Now let the government House leader move the sections.
Mr. Chairman: I repeat that members have a chance to say whether they have any comments, questions or amendments, and if so, to what sections. There appear to be none.
Sections 1 through 9, inclusive, agreed to.
Bill ordered to be reported.
RETAIL BUSINESS HOLIDAYS AMENDMENT ACT
Consideration of Bill 188, An Act to amend the Retail Business Holidays Act.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any comments, questions or amendments, and if so, to what sections?
Mr. Ashe: I understand that the Solicitor General (Mr. Keyes) has an amendment to section 1. My amendments come after the first one he was going to make.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: If I might be helpful to the honourable member whose bill we are considering, we might -- I have sent for the minister. I understand he is in the precincts and we expect him here any moment. If not, we will proceed without the amendments. I think the honourable member has some amendments, so let us do his with the understanding that we may request to revert. I do not think it is the end of the world if we do not.
Mr. McClellan: Here he is.
Mr Ashe: I will step down and allow the Solicitor General to present his first amendment.
Mr. Chairman: Minister, you have some amendments. Do not move them. I just want a listing of them, please.
Hon. Mr. Keyes: I have amendments to sections 1, 2 and 3.
Mr. Chairman: The chair has a section 1 amendment on one sheet and section 2 and 3 amendments on another. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Keyes: That is correct.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any other comments, questions or amendments, and if so, to what sections?
Mr. Ashe: Mr. Chairman, therein is part of the dilemma. My amendments pertain to what are now subsections 1(2) and 1(3), but if the first amendment of the Solicitor General carries, they will be renumbered as subsections 2(2) and 2(3), so I will pass those on. If that utterly confuses you, that is fine.
Mr. Chairman: Let us deal with them in their present numbering, subsections 1(2) and 1(3).
Are there further comments, questions or amendments, and if so, to what section?
Ms. Bryden: Are we dealing with the amendment to section 1?
Mr. Chairman: It has not yet been moved, but I am asking for comments, questions or amendments to various sections.
Ms. Bryden: Okay.
Mr. Chairman: You wish to discuss the section 1 amendment. Is that correct?
Ms. Bryden: Yes.
Mr. Chairman: Thank you. It will be moved later.
On section 1:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Keyes moves that section 1 of Bill 188 be renumbered as section 2 and that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following section:
"1. Section 2 of the Retail Business Holidays Act, being chapter 453 of the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1980, is amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(3) No person carrying on a retail business in a retail business establishment, and no person acting on behalf of such a person, shall counsel or require any person to contravene subsection 2."
Mr. Chairman: Minister, we are having a wee bit of trouble finding where this relates to the existing bill. In the existing bill, the entire section 1 deals with clause 3. Then section 2 is royal assent and section 3 is the title. Your amendment appears to deal with section 2, which is not in the original bill. Can you help me out there?
Hon. Mr. Keyes: What it is doing is adding a section within this particular bill, Bill 188, about which I spoke to the proposer of the bill. If you wish, I can give you a very brief comment on it. It is amending Bill 188 by adding a section within it; amendment by addition.
Mr. Chairman: It appears as if you are adding on or amending sections in the original act that are not referred to in this bill in front of us, the bill of the member for Durham West (Mr. Ashe). Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Keyes: Yes, that is one way of looking at it. What I am doing, however, is amending the bill proposed by the member for Durham West by adding a section to that bill that does pertain to the original Retail Business Holidays Act.
Mr. Chairman: In that case, I must rule it is out of order. I refer you to page 233 of Beauchesne, the fifth edition. That is not permissible because you are doing exactly what you stated you are doing. It is not within the bill of the member for Durham West.
Are there any other comments on subsection 1? Subsection 1(2)?
Mr. Ashe: I will have to give you a new motion relative to the fact that the first motion was ruled out of order. If I may, I will read the first one. This relates to subsection 1(2).
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Ashe moves clause 3(3)(d) of the act, as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill, be amended by adding at the end thereof "provided that no other goods are available for sale except as sundries, the number of persons engaged in the service of the public in the establishment does not at any time exceed three and the total area used for serving the public or for selling or displaying to the public in the establishment is less than 2,400 square feet."
Mr. Ashe: I move this particular amendment rather reluctantly. I personally have some misgivings that my bill, as it relates to bookstores and art galleries, should be under the size and staffing restrictions. Having said that, I recognize that this recommendation came through unanimously from a select committee of this Legislature with representatives, of course, from all three parties. I respect their suggestion and recommendation in this regard and that is why I am moving the amendment.
As I mentioned, I personally really do not see how the size restrictions apply to these particular retailing establishments because I think they can operate so differently in the way of the kinds of services they operate. They are narrow in nature and yet the bigger the size, the better the service they can provide to the public.
Again, recognizing the reality of the committee system and the realities and practicalities of the recommendation being brought forward by the committee has prompted me to move this amendment.
Ms. Bryden: I am glad we have finally got to the committee stage of Bill 188 because I think all parties have been pretty well agreed that there was an anomaly in relation to the situation with bookstores under the Retail Business Holidays Act. Video stores could stay open and drug stores could sell books, along with other items, on Sundays and holidays, but bookstores could not be open legally on Sundays. This section, as amended, brings in bookstores. The select committee on retail store hours also recommended that bookstores should be added to the establishments that were exempt from the act and therefore able to open on Sundays and holidays. The New Democratic Party members on that committee supported that recommendation.
I think all members of our party also support the bill and the amendment that narrows down the exemption, and narrows it down in a way that may narrow down all exemptions if the Retail Business Holidays Act is amended further. At the moment, it narrows it down to small bookstores, to ones that do not employ more than three people on Sunday, and the total area for serving the public would be not more than 2,400 square feet. I think that is a valuable amendment to provide provision for Sunday opening for small book stores, where people consider it more of an educational and recreational activity on a Sunday or holiday to browse before they purchase or even just to browse. I think it has been an anomaly that all of us would like to see removed. Therefore, all members of our party are supporting this amendment of the member for Durham West (Mr. Ashe).
Hon. Mr. Keyes: I rise to support the amendment because we have supported the concept behind the bill, but we do feel it was rather negligent in not addressing the issues. Since the time was not quite available to us to do a very comprehensive bill that included all the amendments of the committee, it is my intention to support this amendment brought in by the member for Durham West and also to try to improve the other sections of the bill. That is why I rose on the amendment.
I do support the inclusion of the bookstores that are in here and the sizes and the staffing. Again, it will not satisfy all the persons who are in the business of retailing books, but it is one that has been recommended by the committee and applies to the other exemptions and therefore we support it.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any further comments? Shall the amendment of the member for Durham West to subsection 1(2) carry?
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Ashe moves that subsection 3(3a) of the act, as set out in subsection 1(3) of the bill, be amended by striking out "of a retail business on a holiday in an art gallery" in the second line and inserting in lieu thereof "of the retail business of an art gallery on a holiday, where on that day the number of persons engaged in the service of the public in the art gallery does not at any time exceed three and the total area used for serving the public or for selling or displaying to the public in the art gallery is less than 2,400 square feet."
Mr. Ashe: My comments relative to subsection 1(2) are also appropriate for subsection 1(3) so I am not going to repeat them. Again, I have the opportunity to thank the House, of course, the government and the members of the third party for supporting this bill. I think it will correct some anomalies that have been in operation in the marketplace and it recognizes finally and legally the fact that bookstores in the first section and art galleries in this one are a form, if you will, of a different kind of entertainment.
Some like to go to the horse races, some like to go to sporting events and in this case we have people who like to browse and shop for art. In the previous section, those people who like to browse and shop for good books will now have the opportunity, hopefully by this weekend, to be able to do so legally.
Ms. Bryden: I also support this amendment for the same reasons I supported the previous one. I do not think that adopting these two amendments, which are correcting anomalies and extending the idea that bookstores and art galleries are more than just commercial sales outlets and are recreational as well, breaches the basic thrust of the report of the select committee on retail store hours, which said it felt that Ontario still needed a pause day where there was a limitation on commercial activities. But they also felt that bookstores and art galleries were somewhat different in category from most commercial activities and recommended that both of these extensions should be made. That is why we are supporting this and are still, at the same time, in favour of a pause day as the basic thrust of our legislation.
Hon. Mr. Keyes: In supporting the amendment, I too recognize that we will not be satisfying some part of the public that feels there are family activities on a Sunday just as entertaining as going to an art gallery. There are many of those I could think of, and many have been suggested to us in letters and petitions of one nature and another. But short of a full-blown review of the act, in order to keep the intent of the common day of pause, we too have agreed that art galleries should be included as one of those exemptions as long as they adhere to the restrictions placed on them by the current legislation.
Motion agreed to.
Section 1, as amended, agreed to.
On section 2:
Hon. Mr. Keyes: Again, I would like to move that the bill as printed be amended by renumbering sections 2 and 3 as sections 4 and 5 and by adding thereto the following section -- I have the amendment, but I do not want to pre-guess. You ruled out another amendment that I did not consider to be out of order. I will not challenge you, but I do not consider it to be out of order.
Mr. McClellan: Did you have a legal opinion from the Attorney General (Mr. Scott)?
Hon. Mr. Keyes: No, but I will move anyway that the bill, as printed, be amended by renumbering sections 2 and 3 as sections 4 and 5 and by adding thereto the following section:
"3. Section 7 of the said act is repealed and the following substituted therefor:
"7. Every person who contravenes section 2 is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more $50,000 and, in determining the amount of the fine, the court shall take into consideration any evidence respecting the gross sales in the retail business establishment on the holiday on which the contravention occurred.
"8(1) Upon the application of counsel for the Solicitor General to the Supreme Court, the court may make any order that is necessary to ensure compliance with this act by a party named in the application.
"(2) An order under subsection (1) is in addition to any penalty that may be imposed under section 7 and may be made whether or not proceedings have been commenced in the provincial offences court for a contravention of section 2."
Mr. Chairman: Thank you. For two reasons -- the one that was enumerated before and that your amendment is beyond the scope of the bill -- for both reasons, for each reason, it is out of order.
Sections 2 and 3 agreed to.
Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.
MEMBERS' CONFLICT OF INTEREST ACT / LOI DE 1987 SUR LES CONFLITS D'INTÉRÊTS DES MEMBRES DE L'ASSEMBLÉE
Consideration 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.
Étude du projet de loi 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. Chairman: We have in front of us Bill 23. Are there any comments, questions or amendments, and if so, to what section?
Mr. Harris: Nobody knows what to do here, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: I have a sheaf of yellow sheets in front of me which appear to be amendments.
Mr. McClellan: Why do you not follow the procedure of asking if there are any amendments to any section and then carry the sections?
Mr. Chairman: I have already asked that question. Having heard no comments, questions or amendments to the bill, shall sections 1 to 19, inclusive, stand as part of the bill?
Sections 1 to 19, inclusive, agreed to.
Bill ordered to be reported.
Le projet de loi devra faire l'objet d'un rapport.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Nixon, the committee of the whole House reported two bills without amendment and one bill with certain amendments.
The following bills were given third reading on motion:
Bill 10, An Act to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act.
Bill 188, An Act to amend the Retail Business Holidays Act.
MEMBERS' CONFLICT OF INTEREST ACT / LOI DE 1987 SUR LES CONFLITS D'INTÉRÊTS DES MEMBRES DE L'ASSEMBLÉE
Hon. Mr. Scott moved third 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.
L'hon. M. Scott propose la troisième lecture du projet de loi 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.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon. Mr. Scott has moved third reading of Bill 23. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. Harris: Excuse me. I was busy getting the report on Bill 85.
The Deputy Speaker: Mr. Harris moves that the motion for third reading of Bill 23 be amended by deleting all the words after the word "that" and substituting the following therefor:
"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, be not now read a third time but be recommitted to the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly for the purpose of holding public hearings on the bill and then pursuing clause-by-clause consideration of the bill and reporting back to this House."
Mr. Harris: I do not plan to speak at great length, but I do plan to get a few things on the record on Bill 23 and particularly, of course, the handling of this bill.
Before I do that, let me thank my colleague the House leader for the third party for the drafting of the motion. I lifted that from a similar motion earlier this session. I thought it worked very well at that time and I have no doubt it will work very well this time as well.
Let me first of all say that our party does not disagree with the need for something far different from what has been going on for more than two years now in this Legislature. We are not opposed to a bill or a piece of legislation to assist with the process of conflict of interest.
While I am mentioning conflict of interest, I know at the very end of Bill 23, the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) says the short title of the act is the Members' Conflict of Interest Act, 1987, but if you were to read the title of the act, it appears that far more consideration and craft went into coming up with a title for this particular piece of legislation than there was with the actual content of the legislation itself.
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: typical of the public relations style we have seen with this government on a number of very significant issues, and on this particular issue, of the abject failure of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) not only to enforce reasonable guidelines -- the first thing he did was to weaken the guidelines that were in place when we took office, those that were established by Mr. Davis --
Mr. Gillies: Substantially.
Mr. Harris: Substantially, I might add. The second thing he did was then to ignore them totally.
Mr. Andrewes: I might add.
Mr. Harris: I might add. I am getting lots of help here, I might add.
After having first weakened them and then ignored them, when problems began to develop, he tried to wash his hands of the whole affair, and that really comes to the heart and the core of a Premier's responsibilities: that is, from among those people he has available to him, to appoint people to positions of responsibility, such as cabinet ministers and parliamentary assistants and, I might add, senior civil servants, which is not in this bill. I do not know why. When we finish with it next fall, it will be, I think, in this bill, and some of the senior staff and appointments.
Most successful business people will tell you that the secret of their success is the people they surrounded themselves with, the people they appointed to positions of responsibility and who make things happen. It is a very important matter, and just the title of the act itself indicates the whitewash with which the government has treated a very serious responsibility that the Premier of the province has.
Mr. Davis: Coverup.
Mr. Gillies: Coverup.
Mr. Harris: It is not the only thing that has been covered up by this government, I might add as well.
Mr. Gillies: That is right.
Mr. Harris: Somebody is going to say, "I might add."
Mr. Gillies: I might add.
Mr. Harris: It really comes to one of the most important functions the Premier has. We have here in Ontario, and have had for a couple of years, a Premier who, like Pontius Pilate, wants to wash his hands of this responsibility, wash his hands of the whole affair. When things go well, he wants the credit: "David Peterson, I am the man. I am the boy. I did this." When things go wrong, he wants to wash his hands of the whole affair.
I do not think I have to remind the members of this Legislature of the number of things that have gone wrong, even with the watered-down guidelines the Premier has brought into place.
Mr. Davis: Tell us what they were.
Mr. Gillies: What were they?
Mr. Davis: Spell them out again.
Mr. Harris: If they will feed them to me one at a time, I will get them out.
Mr. Gillies: The Wyda problems.
Mr. Harris: There were the Wyda problems, the problems with --
Mr. Gillies: Graham Software.
Mr. Harris: -- Graham Software, with the member for Oriole (Ms. Caplan), with the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Fontaine) and, quite frankly, with the current Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Kerrio). In fact, as we found out today, the whole executive council and the Premier, the whole lot of them including the Premier, have blatantly violated section 6 of this new act. When the Premier was asked about it today he said: "Yes, that is what we want to do. It is good legislation and it is sound and it is all ready, but it is not law yet so we do not have to go along with that now. It is not law."
Conflict of interest, morality and these types of issues are ones that really should not have to be in legislation at all. Surely if there is any integrity in the office of the first minister of this province, we would not need any type of legislation.
Hon. Mr. Scott: -- never had it.
Mr. Gillies: It was never needed until you beggars took over.
Mr. Harris: It was never needed, either.
Mr Gillies: Now we need bars. We need individual cells for each minister.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. The member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies), the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Davis) and the Attorney General are all disturbing and upsetting the House. I might say to the member for Nipissing (Mr. Harris) that that statement is getting awfully close to the line about saying there is no integrity in the office of the Premier.
Mr. Harris: I agree with you on that, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Harris: Let me go on. I welcome the interjections.
Hon. Mr. Scott: Make him withdraw. What kind of Speaker are we having here? Are we all going to laugh at the member or he is going to withdraw?
The Deputy Speaker: I can do without the verbal assistance of the Attorney General.
The member is too close to the line. I believe his words were, "If there was any integrity in the office of the Premier, we would not need this act." I believe you should withdraw. That implies there is no integrity in the office of the Premier.
Mr. Harris: I agree with you, Mr. Speaker.
The Deputy Speaker: That is not good enough. Would you please withdraw that?
Mr. Harris: I would be happy to withdraw anything I have said that has offended you, but I do agree with your statements, Mr. Speaker. I want that on the record.
Let me say that I welcome some of the interjections because it really does get to a statement I made earlier that we do see a need for a piece of legislation for the first time in the history of this province. Why do we need a piece of legislation now? We have not needed it in all the years of the history of this province and under all the former Premiers. We had never seen a member of the public, a member of this Legislature that I can recall in a major way from any party or a reporter for any of the major media come forward and say that Ontario needs a new law to control conflict of interest until this bunch of rascals took office a little over two years ago. I suggest the current Premier has set new, low embarrassing standards for this province.
Very briefly as well, I want to talk a little bit about the bill. I do not want to go into all the major amendments we have tabled and, were it not for this motion I am speaking to now, would have spent considerable time debating. After we have heard some expert opinion from other provinces, from other jurisdictions, from those who may be affected -- as my leader pointed out today, perhaps Mr. Lévesque may want to make an appearance; His Honour Judge Cadsby may want to appear, too, to talk about what happens and the problems he foresees for justice in this province when a member of the executive council is allowed to run rampant over any form of guidelines that may be there.
I am not going to go through all the amendments, but I do want to talk very briefly about some of the thrusts of this particular piece of legislation we are not very happy with.
Hon. Mr. Scott: You do not have to. The die is cast.
Mr. Harris: The Attorney General, the eyes of the province, even though all of Ontario is watching him, is still very quick to interject and to speak out of place.
When this bill was in committee for a very brief time, I might say the Attorney General and his staff could not answer very simple, straightforward questions on what this particular piece of legislation meant. Today, when questioned by my leader, the Premier did not have a clue what section 6 meant vis-à-vis a very glaring example, one that surely any other Premier would in conscience have tried to wrestle with over his two years in cabinet, parliamentary assistantship, and then out to get his stuff and back into parliamentary assistantship and all that.
The Premier did not know. Then he consulted with the Attorney General, and that today was mistake number one, because I do not think the answer we got back from the Attorney General will be accepted by very many other learned members of the law, certainly not by this assembly.
Mr. Gillies: Or Judge Cadsby.
Mr. Harris: Certainly not by Judge Cadsby. Judge Cadsby would not agree with that.
There are some general areas of some of our amendments that we wanted to look at. I guess one of them would be the title of the act, which I said earlier epitomizes the entire charade this government likes to put on matters.
As well, my colleague the member for St. George (Ms. Fish) has placed an amendment we have tabled with all parties and with the table, one she feels very strongly about. She pointed out that her interpretation of this bill, and I concur with it, establishes two classes of MPPs based on sexual orientation. I know that, had we had to proceed with this bill, she was prepared and still will be, to proceed at some length with just that one aspect of the bill.
I might add as well that we feel this bill that requires private members to disclose their interests should not be required. I will tell members why. We believe that private members should have to abide by the provision regarding bribes, undue influence, gifts, having to disclose a conflict of interest if a matter is before the House or in committee, and in any matter that they have a personal interest. These rules are the rules that private members have lived by in the province for years. They have lived by them under the Legislative Assembly Act, and they have served the people of Ontario well.
Name one problem that has arisen because of a conflict of a private member. There is an old rule, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Nobody has shown me one example in the history of the province of a private member who has had a problem because of conflict of interest and that in fact the rules under the Legislative Assembly Act have not applied.
That is not why there was seen to be a necessity for this bill. It was not because of private members, it was because of the conflict problems of the members of the executive council.
This assembly does not vote for the members of the executive council. This assembly does not vote for the parliamentary assistants. The people of Ontario do not vote for the members of the executive council. The people of Ontario do not vote for deputy ministers, for senior staff or for any other of these senior positions, parliamentary assistants or cabinet ministers. One man is responsible for all those: the Premier of the province. That is where the responsibility belongs. That is the parliamentary democratic system. The first guy I have heard come along and say "No, I want to wash my hands, I do not want that responsibility" is this Premier, and that is not acceptable to us
Private members are not privy to confidential information, they are not apprised of government policy that is being considered, and consequently we do not see the need for disclosure by private members as a real one. We see it as one trumped up by the present government for political purposes, trying to hide the real issues that have prompted this bill to be introduced.
This bill removes from the Premier the responsibility for overseeing compliance and determining enforcement when the act is breached and tries to put it on a commissioner of the assembly. Our amendments would bring some of that responsibility back where it belongs, to the man who is responsible for appointing all those people. That is the Premier.
As well, we are looking at amendments to include senior civil servants, senior ministerial staff and parliamentary assistants. I do not see parliamentary assistants in this bill, other than treated as a regular member, in spite of the confidential information they have access to and the responsibilities they have.
We have many concerns with this bill, and I guess in moving the motion we are moving today we are not satisfied with the reasons for this bill, we are not satisfied with a number of the sections of the bill, we are not satisfied it goes nearly far enough in a number of areas, and we have been very dissatisfied with the answers we have been getting in the House, in committee and anywhere else to questions of conflict and the answers we have not been getting on the interpretation of what this bill means.
For some partisan political reason, to allow the Premier of this province to ram a bill through in a hurry without hearing from other jurisdictions, without hearing from people who may be affected -- and we heard a glaring example today from one who was affected -- is not good government, does not make sense, and I would urge all members of this House to support this motion to send this bill to the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly.
Mr. Rae: I want to spend a few moments indicating my support for the procedural motion that has been moved by the member for Nipissing. I think it is important for us to understand some of the history of this issue and of this bill and for us to clearly understand why public hearings are, it seems to me, something that is in the public interest and something that makes a good deal of sense.
This issue has bedevilled the politics of this province for quite a long time. I can remember as a law student just across the park listening with interest in the early 1970s as various allegations of conflict and scandal literally rocked the Davis cabinet and the Davis government. There were, I think, several buildings that were built, and a question as to what extent they were moved by public tender, a question of the publicity surrounding a number of issues, the question of ministers of the cabinet holding public land which was then sold, and the question of information which cabinet ministers had. But, indeed, I think it would be wrong for us to simply limit this to the last few years or even the last decade.
The standards with respect to public life have evolved over a very extended period of time. I can speak from anecdotal evidence and, indeed, from evidence of which I am aware. As recently as 20 or 30 years ago, it was not unusual for cabinet ministers of the federal and provincial governments to have shares, to know what those shares were and to trade in those shares, and for there to be seen that there would be no problem.
Of course, there are obvious examples where scandals have emerged from time to time with respect to particular conflicts -- ministers getting caught with their fingers in the cookie jar and people being shown to be in clear breach of their public trust. But for a very long time it was not seen as a breach of public trust for ministers of the crown to have very extensive private business holdings which would continue to operate, and they certainly would have no conflict of interest.
For example, did C. D. Howe have a trust fund? I do not know. Did he have a blind trust? Does anybody seriously think ministers of that era seriously divested themselves entirely of their interests? I do not believe so. I do not think they would have been expected to do so. I do not think they did. In fact, for the Liberals and Tories of that time, not only did they not have to set up blind trusts for their own holdings, but also trusts were set up for them.
What is fascinating when one reads the history of Canada is that virtually all political leaders of the Liberal Party in Canada, until very recently -- I am speaking federally now -- had special funds that were set up for them by their friends in the Liberal Party, in the words of one observer, "so they would not have to worry about money."
Mackenzie King was not born a person of great wealth, but when he died he left very substantial sums of money. That was not regarded as something extraordinary, weird or strange. Presumably, the people who were involved in supporting him were very much involved in supporting his interests and his lifestyle and in saying: "Here is the money. Do not ask where it came from."
I give this bit of history so that it becomes clear precisely what the problem is and how it has evolved. I want to state very clearly and categorically that I do not agree with the member for Nipissing that we do not need a law. I do not agree with the member for Nipissing when he says we do not need a law that pertains and applies to private members as well as public members.
In fact, I took the occasion to make my views known on this matter on August 29, 1986, nearly a year ago, when I wrote a letter to Mr. Aird, who had been asked by the Premier to study this question. I set out then in that letter, which was a public letter, precisely what my own personal views are. I think they are shared by a number of my colleagues. They have been expressed in committee and on a number of occasions, but I want to set out precisely what they are.
I think the first point that has to be made is that politics cannot be, is not and should not be in any way a rich person's game, nor should it be something one enters out of a spirit of private advancement or private interest. That has to be stated quickly, categorically and without any compromise whatsoever.
In order to make that clear to the public and in order for the public to recognize that question, it seems to me crucial that we do one basic thing, and that is to set up a law which is broad, which is tough, which is uncompromising, which is effective, which is categorical, which is clear, and if I may say so, that is not the law which we have, drafted by the Attorney General and standing in his name.
As I said in my letter to Mr. Aird, it seems to me what is required is a law that applies to everybody but that also has some very special rules and requirements with respect to members of the cabinet and with respect to members who are in the government.
The member for Nipissing said that private members do not know of any government decisions, or are not aware and do not have any information. I can say I do not think that is true with respect to members on the government side. I do not believe, for example, that private members who have been given a special responsibility and a special task by the Premier -- for example, long after the member for Cochrane North was out of the cabinet and a private member, he was travelling on government business all over the province; he was given special responsibilities for travel by the Premier; he was clearly given responsibility for northern travel.
That travel extended to going across the north, to setting up the economic development committees, to attending in the ridings of members of all parties, and explaining that if they wanted to do business with the government, they had to understand that they had to have a government member in order to do that; that if they wanted to get anywhere in this world, they had to have a Liberal Party member in order to do that. The member for Cochrane North was doing that. He is still doing it today as a parliamentary assistant. He has been going around the province doing that ever since he got into politics.
I say to the government that is the reason I think this legislation has to apply very toughly both to private members and to members of cabinet. But I also say to my colleagues in the Conservative Party that the one point I share with them is the procedural point that these are questions which must be thoroughly examined and on which the public has a right to be heard very directly and on which we need to draw on the expertise and the experience of a great many jurisdictions in drafting and producing this legislation.
It is well known that Sinclair Stevens, the federal member for York Centre, has had his affairs subjected to a very extensive scrutiny by Mr. Justice Parker. I do not know when Mr. Justice Parker's inquiry is coming down. I would anticipate that it would be in the reasonably near future. I would think, and I am sure the Attorney General would agree, given, I am sure, the sense of fraternity which he has with the results of the Parker inquiry --
An hon. member: He has seen it.
Mr. Rae: Maybe he has; I do not know whether he has seen it or not. I am not alleging that for an instant. What I am saying is that kind of document, that kind of presentation, that kind of presence, that kind of discussion is a very useful one, it is one which we need to have and one which I think all members want to be involved in.
There is a very real question, and I know it is one that has raised some concerns in other parts of the House and has indeed received some commentary in the newspapers. There is a concern that perhaps the legislation should not apply to spouses or should not apply to children under the age of 21 or under the age of 18.
There are questions about the modern family. I myself take the view that if marriage is a partnership and if both partners are going to benefit and do in fact benefit from the private circumstances of a member of the Legislature, it is impossible for conflict-of-interest rules not to apply to a marriage and not to apply to a marriage partner. It is inconceivable to me, in the light of the partnership which marriage is, that we would not make it apply in some way.
Nevertheless, I want to say I am interested in hearing the points of view of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. I am interested in hearing the points of view of a number of groups that have expressed concern about whether this would in fact create undue hardship for some people.
Finally, I want to stress that I think it crucial that we give in this law the power on the part of the commissioner, a clear and explicit power, to order the divesting of private economic interests when, in the view of the commission, that is the best way to resolve any problem with respect to conflict or indeed any possible view that there might be a conflict of interest.
Let me state, as I did to Mr. Aird, my preference is a basic rule that people who are in the cabinet should not have extensive private holdings.
I find it ironic that this is objected to by a great many members; yet if one looks at the experience of members entering the Reagan administration, even they had to divest themselves of many of their economic interests. They did not want to do it. They were reluctant to do it. They felt it was onerous for them to have to do it. I can remember watching the hearings in which Mr. Regan, who is now gone, was named the Secretary of the Treasury and assistant to the President. He said, "I am having to sell everything in order to comply with guidelines."
I want to state categorically that under the guidelines of the Premier, you would not have to sell anything. Why is that? I will tell you why it is. It is because the Premier of this province has always had the view that the Davis guidelines were unreasonably tough. He has always had the view that they were tough, and that is why he changed them.
I do not know what went on around that cabinet table and I do not know what discussions went on with Mary Eberts, but what I do know is that, as a result of the discussions which Mary Eberts had with members of the cabinet, the Davis guidelines were not toughened up. The Davis guidelines were weakened, and those are the guidelines that are contained in this legislation.
That is the problem the Liberal Party is trying to get around, as always. I cannot understand the public relations bubble that surrounds this government. I watch it with a sense of bemusement and astonishment. I saw on the news the other night the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) being quoted as the government House leader saying the opposition was preventing the Liberals from passing tough conflict-of-interest rules.
Mr. Rae: The Treasurer is applauding his own statement, which is exactly what one would anticipate, but I want to say for the record that that is absolute nonsense. I think the Treasurer and government House leader knows better than that. Perhaps he does not, in which case I will inform him. These are not tough guidelines. These are weaker guidelines, weaker even than those introduced by Mr. Davis. I think it is time we had government rules and basic laws in place that are in fact tougher than the Davis guidelines, because I think there were problems with even the approach taken by Premier Davis.
I do not know what the problem is. There is nothing wrong with having public hearings. I hear people say the bill is being hoisted and the bill is being hiked. Somebody else said to me the bill is being killed. Nothing could be further from the truth. This House is ongoing. The House will adjourn today if the current mood --
Mr. McClellan: Recess.
Mr. Rae: It will recess for a few weeks. We do not know for how long. It can come back at any time. Was the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Kwinter) saying, when he introduced his legislation today, that he introduced the legislation in order for it to be killed two hours later? Would the minister do that? Would he introduce a bill just so it could be slaughtered? I do not believe that. I do not believe he would do that to this baby bill, this little flower. Would he do that to this little flower?
Mr. McClellan: Only the Toronto Star would believe that.
Mr. Rae: Only the Toronto Star. Would the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye), whose fight on behalf of injured workers has inspired and moved the people of this province for the last two years by the effective way in which he has dealt with that issue, bring in health and safety legislation in order for it to be killed in two hours? I find it hard to believe that a government would have that level of cynicism with respect to its own legislation. Let me say that all we are doing with this bill is referring it, quite properly, to a committee.
For the benefit of those people who are watching, I think it is important to know that much of the work of this House goes on in committee. I know it is boring for cabinet ministers. They do not go there very often. I know it is demeaning for cabinet ministers to have to go in and sit down and listen and answer questions. It is hard for the Liberals, because not all the cameras are there, not all the attention is on them and they cannot control it the way they can control some other things. It is difficult, it is tough, but that is the way this House works. We work in committee and we have those kinds of questions.
I want to hear from members. I want to hear from the public. I am not afraid of having tougher legislation. Nobody in our party is afraid of having tougher legislation. We want to hear from the public of Ontario. We want them to discuss the Peterson government's record on conflict of interest. We want to have a full airing of that. I do not think any of us needs to be afraid of that. I am amazed when I hear members say that this matter should be dealt with in just a short time and we should not have the opportunity to hear from the public.
Let me make just one more point. If the Liberal Party were really worried about conflict, do members think it would have taken two years to get to this point? They shuffled and they delayed and, yes, they dilly-dallied and they shilly-shallied. We waited for some time, for months and months. We had to raise case after case. We had to bring up the personal circumstances of minister after minister. We got stonewalled, we got "No problem," and then we got some resignations.
Finally, they recognized the problem and they asked Mr. Aird to set up his report. He set up his report, worked through the summer and reported in the fall. The Liberals took until May to bring us even a draft of their legislation. If a government were really serious, if it really cared, it seems to me it would do something. But what is the real Liberal agenda here? The real Liberal agenda here is the old tactic: wait till the very end and then try to ram it all through at the very last.
Mr. Martel: They learned it from the Tories.
Mr. Rae: That is an old, old trick. The Tories used to use it all the time. It is the oldest trick in the world. But let me say to the Liberals, it is not going to work this time. Conflict of interest is a live issue. They may try to kill it, they may try to make it disappear, they may pretend that their hands are lily-white and full of soap, but I want to make it clear that we do not share that view.
We think there have been problems with this government, we think the public is entitled to know what they are and we think the public is entitled to know that this legislation can be improved, can be toughened up, can be beefed up and can in fact ensure that politics in this province will be about principle, will be about purpose, will be about service and will not be about money. That is what sending it to committee is all about.
Hon. Mr. Scott: Mr. Speaker, to close the debate before the vote, can I just make one or two observations? I do not propose to be long, because in the two years I have been here I have learned how to count, and when I see the combination of the New Democratic Party and the Tories ranged against a proposition, I understand that not much is to be gained in a minority House by speaking to the contrary.
Let me begin by saying that I think the honourable leader of the third party was right to illustrate the fact that conflict-of-interest questions perplex all elected governments wherever they may be found. He was very graphic in discussing not only the conflict-of-interest problems that he says have confronted this government but also those that affected the government of Premier Davis.
He omitted, of course, to make reference to the conflict-of-interest allegations that confronted the Pawley government in Manitoba. There is nothing wrong with that. He will find it very useful to read the Friedman report to get some sense of what is required in Manitoba to achieve the absence of conflict of interest. I just say to him in passing that this bill goes miles further than any bill ever introduced in the Manitoba Legislature to deal with conflict of interest.
While I am here, let me say, as an observer and active participant in politics, that if we did not have Manitoba in this country, we would have to invent it. The wonderful thing about Manitoba and the New Democratic Party government that is there is it is always the proof of the NDP promises. When we hear them say that they are, for example, in favour of pay equity in the private sector, we can then go and look where they have been, and indeed are, a government, to see if they do what they promise. The answer, of course, is that they do not do what they promise.
When they say here, as if it would sell on the streets of Ontario, that they want tougher conflict-of-interest guidelines because of the dangers that governments in Ontario present, if members go to Manitoba, they will see where the NDP has problems and the weak-kneed response it makes to the problems there. I say that if we did not have the NDP government in Manitoba here, we would have to invent it to keep everybody straight and accurate about what promises really mean and how they are implemented in a place where power is theirs. That is the first point.
Second, this bill responds to the Aird report and is based on the late governor's proposal as to how conflict-of-interest problems could be solved by legislation. It is by no means the ultimate bill. There may be improvements that can be made to it, and both here and in committee -- it was some days in committee -- amendments could be submitted that would make it, perhaps, a better bill.
What the bill essentially does is three things. Of course, the Progressive Conservatives and the NDP do not want these things done because they know perfectly well that within the memory of the rest of them here they will never form a government. What it does is, it requires total disclosure.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Scott: It sets up total disclosure. Surely all honourable members are in favour of total disclosure. It removes the blind trust behind which federal ministers have hidden. Surely everybody is in favour of removing the blind trust. It defines conflict of interest in section 2. Surely everybody is in favour of defining conflict of interest.
Most important, it creates a mechanism for deciding who is in conflict and who is not so that one does not have to go to a committee composed of a majority of members from the opposite party for judgement. That is the most important feature of this bill, that those who were alleged to be in conflict of interest can have their case judged quickly and impartially by an independent commissioner and are not obliged to submit their reputations to the parties that sit opposite.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I am finding it very difficult to hear.
Hon. Mr. Scott: The Conservatives are opposed to the bill and have proposed that it go to committee, and their motion will obviously carry. But it is apparent that the heart of their objection, as the leader of the third party has quickly pointed out, is that they do not believe that the conflict-of-interest rules should apply to any of them.
The honourable House leader says so plainly. He says he can think of no example where one would even want to ask if conflict of interest might exist with respect to a private member in opposition. Of course, there are lots of examples. There are examples of people in opposition who have been pharmacists and who have taken part in debates about pharmacy bills. There are examples of people who have been employees of dental companies and who have taken part in debates about medicare and other issues.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: We haven't even got to the lawyers.
Mr. Martel: Yeah, and they are in on every piece of legislation. Can you ever get the lawyers away from the trough?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Scott: I think the member for Sudbury East or West, whatever it is, has graphically made the point that lawyers who have clients, who have traditional connections and who are often found in opposition, continue to vote without disclosure on a wide variety of matters. Like the third party, we believe that is a breach of any reasonable conflict principle and that private members should be covered by conflict-of-interest legislation. When we go to the streets of Ontario, let it be heard that the Progressive Conservative Party members did not believe that conflict of interest should apply to them in opposition.
Now we come to the New Democratic Party. Its position is more perplexing, because its leader says, "What we want is the committee to which we are going to refer this bill to have public hearings so that the citizens of Ontario can come in and be heard." That makes a lot of sense in some ways, except that you must remember that this bill has already been to committee. The chairman of the committee was the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh), and a fine chairman he was. In that committee, the Conservatives proposed that there should be public hearings, and do you know what? The members of the New Democratic Party said there was no need for public hearings and voted against them.
Mr. Breaugh: But there is a need for travel.
Hon. Mr. Scott: As the chairman says, there may not be a need for public hearings, but the committee certainly thought there was a need for travel. That may be, but the reality is that when asked whether they would have public hearings, whether the public could come into the committee, the NDP members of the committee said: "It is quite unnecessary. We know all about this bill." Then when the bill comes close to being passed, when it is to be debated on the floor of the Legislature, to which their votes, NDP votes, remitted it, they change their minds. An NDP government, even in Manitoba, cannot be allowed to change its mind as quickly and as radically as this party does here. So it cannot be that it is the desire for public hearings --
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I know I cannot say the honourable member lied, but this afternoon he could walk underneath a snake with a top hat.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I think maybe it is time we just calmed ourselves.
Hon. Mr. Scott: Having heard the honourable leader of the third party and having seen the performance of his political colleagues in the committee from which this bill has just come, I have grave difficulty in accepting that this is the real cause for their vote today. I have grave difficulty accepting that they really want public hearings, because if they did, they would have voted for them several weeks ago.
Why are they doing what they are doing? Why are they voting with the Conservatives? Mr. Speaker, let me tell you: last Thursday the accord expired, and that party is restoring to itself the practice it followed for 20 years, the practice of voting with the Tories at every chance it gets. This is another example.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I understand the Attorney General is finished with his remarks. Are all members aware of the amendment?
The House divided on Mr. Harris's motion to recommit Bill 23, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Allen, Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Brandt, Breaugh, Bryden, Charlton, Cooke, D. S., Cousens, Davis, Dean, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gregory, Grier, Guindon, Harris, Hayes, Hennessy, Johnson, J. M., Johnston, R. F., Lane, Leluk, Mackenzie, Marland,
McCague, McClellan, McFadden, McNeil, Mitchell, Morin-Strom, O'Connor, Partington, Philip, Pierce, Pollock, Rae, Reville, Rowe, Sheppard, Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Swart, Treleaven, Turner, Villeneuve.
Bossy, Bradley, Callahan, Caplan, Conway, Cooke, D. R., Curling, Eakins, Elston, Epp, Ferraro, Fulton, Grandmaître, Haggerty, Hart, Kerrio, Keyes, Knight, Kwinter, Mancini, McGuigan, Miller, G. I., Morin, Munro, Newman, Nixon, O'Neil, Offer, Peterson, Poirier, Polsinelli, Reycraft, Riddell, Ruprecht, Sargent, Scott, Smith, D. W., Smith, E. J., Sorbara, South, Sweeney, Van Horne, Ward, Wrye.
Ayes 49; nays 44.
Mr. Speaker: I declare the motion carried.
Bill recommitted to the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly.
Le projet de loi est renvoyé an Comité permanent de l'Assemblée législative.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I wonder if we might have unanimous consent to revert to reports of committees.
Mr. Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
REPORT BY COMMITTEE
STANDING COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
Mr. R. F. Johnston, on behalf of Mr. Laughren, from the standing committee on resources development presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:
Bill 85, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for committee of the whole House.
House in committee of the whole.
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS AMENDMENT ACT
Consideration of Bill 85, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act.
Mr. Chairman: We have in front of us Bill 85, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act. Are there any comments, questions or amendments? If so, to what sections?
Mr. Mackenzie: We have five amendments. Four are very short; one will take a little more time.
Mr. Chairman: Maybe you could list which sections those are.
Mr. Mackenzie: They are: on page 4 of the bill, section 40; on page 4 of the bill, subsections 40(2a) to (2g); on page 7 of the bill, subsection 40a(1a); on page 8 of the bill, subsection 40a(1c); and page 9 of the bill, section 5.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any further comments, questions or amendments? If so, to what sections?
I assume that the people standing up are not making amendments or trying to catch the chair's attention. No? Fine.
Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 4:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Mackenzie moves that section 4 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(1a) Subsection 40(2) of the said act is repealed and the following substituted therefor:
"`(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), no employer shall terminate the employment of 25 or more employees in any period of 12 weeks or less unless the employer gives 26 weeks' notice in writing to each employee and to the minister and the notice has expired.'"
Mr. Mackenzie: The requirement for longer advance notice is imperative --
Mr. Chairman: Order. It is impossible to hear the member for Hamilton East. Keep the noise down please. Carry on.
Mr. Mackenzie: The requirement for longer advance notice is imperative if there is to be an adequate public response to plant closings and mass layoffs. Besides the obvious benefit to workers, sufficient advance notice is crucial to the public justification procedure.
Several studies have dispelled the argument that if the company were to give a long period of notice, the workers would desert it, remaining contracts would go unfinished and productivity would stop.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: The government will be opposing this amendment. We believe the bill has moved forward in the area of notice, certainly for individual notice. In terms of mass notice, we remain on the leading edge of all Canadian jurisdictions. I point out to the House that four provinces and the Northwest Territories do not even have notice provisions.
I would point out to my honourable friend that the real problem with the 26-week notice provision is that lengthening the provisions to that extent could place many Ontario employers in the untenable position of having to serve notice of termination on employees without knowing whether such layoffs are necessary.
I only point out to my honourable friend that this happens now. There are these so-called precautionary notices in a number of cases now. I think that by adopting this amendment, the House would be putting us into a situation where employers in some cases, particularly in areas that I am very familiar with, would be giving notice almost constantly, because the loss of a major order would get them into that situation. With the 26-week provision they would be forced to face that problem almost continuously.
Mr. Chairman: There being no further comments or questions, shall Mr. Mackenzie's amendment to section 4 carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: The next amendment we have is that of Mr. Mackenzie to subsection 4(2).
Mr. Mackenzie: This one will take four or five minutes to read. It is probably the crucial one. It is the justification procedure. The only reason I am not responding to the minister is simply that we have had these arguments in committee. Unfortunately, we were not able to convince either of the two other parties in committee, but I think the five amendments we have distilled out of the number of motions that were defeated in committee are important.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Mackenzie moves that subsections 40(2a) to (2g) of the act, as set out in subsection 4(2) of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
"Public Audit Board:
"(2a) There is hereby established a Public Audit Board consisting of a chairman, one or more vice-chairmen and an equal number of representatives of employers and employees, all of whom shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
"(2b) The purpose of the Public Audit Board is to inquire into the causes of intended layoffs and plant closings and their effect on individual employees and communities and to recommend specific actions which are required in order to prevent or mitigate the harmful effects of such layoffs and plant closings.
"(2c) Where the Public Audit Board determines that an intended layoff or plant closing is of major significance, the board shall forthwith conduct an inquiry into the circumstances and the expected social and economic impact of the intended layoff or plant closing.
"(2d) The Public Audit Board shall determine whether the intended layoff or plant closing is or is not justified and,
"(a) if it is justified, what specific remedy is required; or
"(b) if it is not justified, what action is required to prevent the intended layoff or plant closing from taking place.
``(2e) In making a determination under subsection 2c, the Public Audit Board shall have regard to the number of persons affected by the layoff or plant closing, the economic importance of the industry to the community and the region in which it is located and such other factors as the board considers to be appropriate.
"(2f) In carrying out its duties under this act, the Public Audit Board has the power to,
"(a) establish its own procedures;
"(b) conduct audits of any books or accounts relating to a plant closing or major layoff;
"(c) designate persons to investigate any aspect of a plant closing or major layoff; and
"(d) hold hearings and summon witnesses.
"(2g) Where the Public Audit Board completes an inquiry into the plant closing or layoff, it shall submit its report to the minister at least 60 days before the closing date set out in the layoff notice and the report shall set out,
"(a) the findings regarding the circumstances of the plant closing or layoff;
"(b) the findings regarding the economic impact of the plant closing or layoff on individual employees and their community;
"(c) an opinion by the board as to whether the plant closing or layoff is justified; and
"(d) recommendations for actions considered necessary to mitigate the harmful effect of the plant closing or layoff on the employees and the community.
"(2h) The minister shall make the report of the Public Audit Board available to any interested member of the public and, after considering the report of the board, may make such orders as the minister considers reasonable to reduce the impact of the layoffs or plant closings on the individual employees and the community, including an order that the employer,
"(a) make additional contributions to the pension plans of the employees;
"(b) continue payment of the wages and benefits being received by the employees for a specific period of time;
"(c) defer the sale, removal or transportation of equipment, machinery, parts and inventory owned by the employer;
"(d) pay reasonable relocation costs to displaced employees;
"(e) participate in providing a skill training or retraining program for the employees;
"(f) make adjustments to the community adjustment fund;
"(g) make the plant available for sale; or
"(h) offer security of employment to employees affected by the layoffs or plant closings.
"(2i) The minister, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, may acquire on behalf of Her Majesty in right of Ontario or authorize an agency of the government of Ontario to acquire all or part of the property of the employer for the purpose of continuing the operation of the enterprise for the benefit of the employees and the community.
"(2j) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations,
"(a) establishing criteria to be considered by the Public Audit Board in making a determination;
"(b) determining whether a layoff or plant closing is of major significance;
"(c) prescribing forms and providing for their use;
"(d) respecting an audit or investigation carried out by the Public Audit Board; and
"(e) specifying the amount the employer is required to pay to effect an order of the minister under subsection (2h)."
Mr. Mackenzie: The purpose of the amendment is to require that such a public audit board be established to inquire into the causes of intended layoffs. We do not envisage justification as an opportunity to castigate employers or to force firms which are not viable to remain open. Some plant closings are unavoidable. However, the decisions to close plants or lay off a significant number of workers are made in an isolated manner dictated by a corporation's calculations of internal costs and benefits, and we do not accept the notion that the only role left to legislators is to ameliorate the severe social and public consequences of private corporation decisions.
We feel there is a public duty and responsibility to ensure that public scrutiny and control is exercised to either prevent or minimize social hazards. We have found the existence of this type of legislation in other jurisdictions has not been a deterrent for companies in those jurisdictions. Coupled with a number of positive benefits of investing in Ontario, we are not swayed by corporate arguments that investments will drop and competitiveness will be hindered by this type of legislation.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I should congratulate my honourable friend the member for Hamilton East, if only for ploughing his way through those four pages and for having an amendment which, while I disagree with what it will ultimately accomplish, is nevertheless a well-reasoned amendment which provides for an area of justification.
There are a number of reasons why we do not support this amendment and rather prefer the present wording of the legislation which for the first time in any jurisdiction in North America would provide for public disclosure of some very important information and which would have for the very first time public disclosure of the economic reasons for the closure.
I do not agree with my honourable friend that this amendment would not have a very negative effect on investment in this province. I do not think there is any doubt that businesses, as they try to make a determination whether to establish their business in Ontario or elsewhere, would look very negatively on this. As well, I point out to my friend that there is no jurisdiction anywhere in Canada or the United States that provides for this kind of intervention in the situation.
Finally, I know my friend the member for Hamilton East has mentioned that other jurisdictions have looked at this area and have legislation in this area in which this kind of public justification is considered in a positive vein. I suggest to my friend that he might look more carefully at some of those jurisdictions, specifically at France.
We have looked at a number of European jurisdictions. We found that only in France do they have any kind of justification process. In 1986 in France, the national agreement abolished the requirement for prior authorization from the labour inspectorate when declaring redundancies. So even in France, I suggest to my friend, the level of justification proposed in this amendment is being backed off from. I think it is mainly because the level of justification may be viewed to be just a little too intrusive.
Mr. Chairman: Shall Mr. Mackenzie's amendment to subsection 4(2) carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Section 4 agreed to.
On section 5:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Mackenzie moves that subsection 40a(1a) of the act, as set out in subsection 5(1) of the bill, be amended,
"(a) by striking out `50' in the first line of clause (a) and inserting in lieu thereof `10'; and
"(b) by striking out `five' in the last line and inserting in lieu thereof `one.'
Mr. Mackenzie further moves that clause 40a(1b)(b) of the act, as set out in subsection 5(1) of the bill, be amended by striking out `50' in the first line and inserting in lieu thereof `10.'
Mr. Mackenzie: The purpose of this amendment is to require that severance is payable in situations where 10 or more employees have their employment terminated in a period of six months or less where the terminations are caused by the permanent discontinuance of all or part of the business of the employer at an establishment. The government bill says 50 or more. Also, severance is payable to employees who have been employed by the employer for one or more years. The government bill says five.
Where there is a permanent discontinuance of all or part of the business at a location that is part of the establishment consisting of two or more locations and 10 or more employees are terminated in a six-month period, then the location is deemed to be an establishment for the purpose of determining the rights of employees. The government bill says 50 employees.
The new bill still excludes at least 55 per cent of workers from qualifying for severance pay. Over 50 per cent of layoffs occur in firms with under 100 employees, so the new bill does little to help them. In addition, approximately 55 per cent of all workers have been in their jobs for less than five years and thus are excluded from severance pay provisions. The New Democratic Party believes that severance is compensation for the investment effort and commitment by an employee to his or her job and that this begins with the commencement of employment and lasts throughout the job tenure.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: The government believes that the levels we have set, the 50 and the five-year level, are appropriate. We have made a major step forward in opening quite wide the definition of "employer," and as well in providing for the payment of severance in those areas where the employer, as defined, has wages and benefits of $2.5 million or more.
It is fair to suggest that by leaving the number at 50 there is a small business exemption. I think that is an important area that we should leave open. As the honourable member will know, the legislation certainly provides for a fivefold increase in the numbers of employees who will be covered by the severance pay.
In terms of reducing the five years to one, I would use exactly the same argument that my friend the member for Hamilton East uses in leaving the five years in place. Severance pay, as opposed to termination notice, is a payment for the kind of special investment and the special skills that a worker has learned in the employment, and indeed is a payment for the fact that in some situations there may be a necessity for a worker to relocate.
It is in effect, and this is the argument my friend from Hamilton East and other members of the third party will know, an argument that we put to the federal government that severance pay represents payment for a capital loss. I think the argument we have been making, and I hope we will continue to make and be able to make successfully, to the federal government would fail if we reduced the five years to one because in effect we would no longer be reflecting the fact that severance payment is capital loss; rather, it would be another level of termination notice.
If I were to make a suggestion to my friend -- we have voted against the earlier clause -- if we were to reflect what I think the member for Hamilton East wants to reflect, it would be enriching the mass termination provisions, because in moving the area down to 10 employees or more and reducing five years to one, that is really what he is suggesting; that is, that we provide more payment through the mass termination notice. The government does not agree with this amendment. We believe that other aspects of the bill very greatly widen the number of workers covered. I agree there are some workers, a very substantial number, who are not yet covered but I think this is a great step forward.
Mr. Chairman: Are there further comments on Mr. Mackenzie's amendment? There being none, shall Mr. Mackenzie's amendment to subsection 40a(1a) of the act carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Mackenzie moves that subsection 40a(1c) of the act, as set out in subsection 5(1) of the bill, be amended by striking out "but shall not exceed 26 weeks regular wages for a regular nonovertime work week" in the ninth and 10th lines.
Mr. Mackenzie: The purpose of this amendment is to remove the 26-week maximum on severance pay, such that there will be no ceiling on amount received. There should be no legislated maximum to the amount of severance pay payable to an employee. There is, of course, a more biological maximum in that no employee is likely to work more than 35 to 40 years in his or her job. Since the difficulty of securing new employment increases with age, it is unreasonable to arbitrarily put a ceiling on the amount of severance payable. That is especially true considering the severance pay is compensation for the investment, effort and commitment made by an employee to his or her job.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: The government will not support this amendment. We believe that the 26 weeks' pay is generally sufficient to recognize cases suffered by long-service employees, keeping in mind that the closer one gets to retirement the less the future earnings losses are. I think my friend would agree that at 26 weeks entitlement most workers are getting close to retirement, so we will not accept this amendment.
Mr. Chairman: Further comments upon the amendment of Mr. Mackenzie? There being none, shall Mr. Mackenzie's motion to subsection 5(1) of the act carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Mackenzie moves that section 5 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(3a) Clause 40a(3)(d) of the said act is repealed."
Mr. Mackenzie: It is unfortunate that we have so little support for these basic amendments that have been argued and were presented to the committee, I think with such force, by the representatives of workers in Ontario as well as this party. However, the purpose of this amendment is to add to section 5 a clause which repeals clause 40a(3)(d) of the act.
This clause says, "An employee who, upon having his employment terminated, retires and receives an actuarially unreduced pension" is not eligible for severance pay. That is certainly one of the real loopholes we have in the legislation. Severance pay is compensation for the investment, effort and commitment made by an employee to his or her job. The provision of pension benefits is an issue quite separate from severance pay and should not be conditional on the receipt of a pension.
Many workers, as we saw in the recent Goodyear plant closing, are eligible for pensions but are nowhere near retirement age and cannot afford to retire. A worker of 45 or 50 may qualify for a pension under a 25-and-out clause but be unable to retire for both financial reasons and reasons of a more personal nature, i.e. at 45 or 50 one still wants to be a productive member of society.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: We considered this amendment quite carefully, because I understand, I believe, what my friend is getting at and he just alluded to it in the case of the Goodyear workers. Suffice it to say we will not support this amendment at this time.
The proper interpretation of this provision of the bill, which my friend points out is the words, "an actuarially unreduced pension benefit," is currently the subject of a referee's review under the Employment Standards Act. We do not believe that the point my friend has made regarding the Goodyear workers will be upheld by the referee, but the government is sympathetic to the point that he makes. However, we do feel differently about those who would be literally retiring with an actuarially unreduced pension, not the worker at Goodyear who is out of a job at 45 and has his pension actuarially unreduced, but actuarially unreduced as if he is at 45 rather than 65, rather than that 20-year gap.
We will be following the referee's hearing decision and should the interpretation the branch puts on this matter, which has been suggested by many, not carry the day in this section 51 hearing, it would be my view as Minister of Labour, and the government's view, that we would look upon this kind of amendment, perhaps reworded, in a sympathetic way. I say to my friend that in the days to come we will have an opportunity again to amend the act, as the member for Hamilton East will know as Labour critic.
I think the government will be studying the Donner task force report over the next short period of time and we will want to move forward with appropriate dispatch with the changes to the hours of work and overtime. At that time, should the referee's decision be one which he would not support, nor would I as Minister of Labour, then I think we can look at this amendment at another time. For now, we will not support the amendment.
Mr. Chairman: There being no further comments, shall Mr. Mackenzie's amendment to section 5 carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Section 5 agreed to.
Sections 6 to 9, inclusive, agreed to.
Bill ordered to be reported.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Nixon, the committee of the whole House reported one bill without amendment.
The following bill was given third reading on motion:
Bill 85, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Is there anything else anybody wants to do? Then I am going for the Lieutenant Governor.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took his seat upon the throne.
Hon. Mr. Alexander: Pray be seated.
Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present sittings thereof, passed certain bills to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request your Honour's assent.
Assistant Clerk: The following are the titles of the bills to which Your Honour's assent is prayed:
Bill 7, An Act to amend certain Acts respecting Regional Municipalities;
Bill 10, An Act to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act;
Bill 25, An Act to amend the Wine Content Act;
Bill 34, An Act to provide for Freedom of Information and Protection of Individual Privacy;
Bill 62, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act;
Bill 63, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act;
Bill 77, An Act to amend the Beef Cattle Marketing Act;
Bill 79, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
Bill 85, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act;
Bill 96, An Act to revise the Bees Act;
Bill 98, An Act to amend the Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1983;
Bill 116, An Act to revise the Loan and Trust Corporations Act;
Projet de loi 116, Loi portant révision de la Loi sur les compagnies de prêt et de fiducie.
Bill 154, An Act to provide for Pay Equity;
Projet de loi 154, Loi portant établissement de l'équité salariale;
Bill 170, An Act to revise the Pension Benefits Act;
Bill 188, An Act to amend the Retail Business Holidays Act;
Bill 190, An Act to amend the Mental Health Act;
Bill Pr2, An Act to revive Adona Properties Limited;
Bill Pr5, An Act respecting Great Lakes Bible College;
Bill Pr9, An Act respecting Hamilton Jewish Communal Projects;
Bill Pr11, An Act to revive The Quetico Foundation;
Bill Pr18, An Act respecting Port Stanley Terminal Rail Incorporated;
Bill Pr19, An Act respecting the Township of Chapleau;
Bill Pr20, An Act respecting the Town of Lindsay;
Bill Pr39, An Act respecting Canadian Opera Company;
Bill Pr45, An Act respecting the City of Barrie;
Bill Pr51, An Act respecting the city of London;
Bill Pr57, An Act respecting the City of Toronto;
Bill Pr63, An Act respecting the Institute of Municipal Assessors of Ontario;
Bill Pr65, An Act respecting the Ontario Institute of the Purchasing Management Association of Canada Inc.;
Bill Pr68, An Act respecting the Windsor Youth Marching and Concert Band.
Clerk of the House: In Her Majesty's name, his Honour the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to these bills.
Au nom de Sa Majesté, Son Honneur le lieutenant-gouverneur sanctionne ces projets de loi.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I can have unanimous consent to revert to motions.
Mr. Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
Hon. Mr. Nixon moved that during the summer adjournment, at a time agreed to by the three party whips, the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly be authorized to meet to consider 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.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I make the following motion of some significance.
Hon. Mr. Nixon moved that when the House adjourns today, it stand adjourned until Tuesday, October 13, 1987.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Unless, of course --
Motion agreed to.
The House adjourned at 6 p.m.