34th Parliament, 2nd Session
























































The House met at 1000.





Mr Owen moved resolution 6:

That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing the unique nature of owned-home leased-lot retirement communities, the government of Ontario should undertake a review of these communities that would include: the apportionment of common amenities and services; tenure arrangements including leaseholds, life leases and condominiums; verification of maintenance and operating expenditures; contractual restrictions on the right of resale of units; the absence of fiduciary regulation; the registrability of leases and the role of rent regulation for these communities.

The Deputy Speaker: The member has up to 20 minutes to make his presentation and may reserve any portion of it for the windup.

Mr Owen: In addressing this resolution, I would like to point out that in my riding of Simcoe Centre is located the oldest and largest retirement community in Ontario, Sandy Cove Acres. I would like to say at the outset that I have found through the years that the people living in Sandy Cove are a very happy group. They enjoy the camaraderie of living and sharing activities in that community.

However, notwithstanding that, there are problems that have arisen and become apparent through the years in that type of structure.

I would also like to point out that in this province we are relatively new to retirement communities. There are other parts of the world, such as Florida, New England and parts of Europe, that have been involved in retirement communities for many years before we have been. I think we can benefit from their experiences, their problems and what they have done to address some of those problems.

Retirement communities are generally defined as groups of housing units planned for independent older people, most of whom are retired. They normally include common amenities and services, particularly those of a recreational and social nature. Tenure arrangements include leaseholds, life leases and condominiums. Most retirement communities in Ontario are operated as leasehold arrangements where residents own their unit and lease the land for a long-term period of 20 years or less. It is with this type of tenure arrangement that most of the concerns have been identified by myself and by this resolution.

One of the most often expressed concerns in connection with the owned-home leased-lot type of retirement community is the inability of residents to verify the maintenance and operating expenses of the community. Often the lease will provide that the landlord-developer shall have the right to estimate the maintenance and operating cost for the coming year and to charge the tenant-owner one twelfth of the estimate in advance on a monthly basis. The landlord undertakes to adjust for any deficiency or excess.

However, there is no requirement that the landlord-developer provide financial statements or documents verifying expenses. Indeed, if any statement is produced, there is no requirement that it be audited to ensure its veracity or conformity with generally accepted accounting principles. Several associations have expressed the concern that costs other than operating or maintenance expenses, such as sales, marketing or construction costs, may be included in the maintenance and operating expenses charged to the tenant.

I should identify here that most of the retirement communities in this province have associations made up of people who live in those homes and that they have now for the past two years had an association across the province where they equally and mutually share their concerns.

At present. there is no way of verifying this claim they are making. Some residents have complained to me of being charged for directors’ fees of over $100,000 per year, or $148,000 of loan interest without explanation, or gas expenses that would have required the developer’s trucks to operate 24 hours nonstop according to some of these association people.

Under the Residential Rent Regulation Act, operating expenses can be examined by the Rent Review Hearings Board only where the landlord applies for a rate variance greater than the guideline set for the year. There is at present no mechanism available to residents to ensure they are paying only what they contracted to pay. This problem is particularly onerous for the owners of those units that are exempt from the RRRA, that is leases entered into prior to 1 May 1985 for units that had been exempt from rent control under the previous legislation where the tenant is the original tenant. The terms of the lease respecting rent increases will there govern the parties.

In these cases, maintenance and operating costs are not subject to scrutiny by the Rent Review Hearings Board, nor are increases limited to the yearly guideline. Residents are therefore without the ability to verify the amount and nature of the expenses, and at present a number of nonrent-regulated residents face increases of 40 per cent in maintenance charges, according to some of these people.

I would suggest as possible action that at the conclusion of each fiscal year, each retirement community landlord-developer should provide audited statements of maintenance and operating expenses to all the residents in that community and adjustments then could be made in accordance with these statements.


A number of leases in these retirement communities provide that the right to resell the resident’s unit is subject to the landlord-developer’s right of first refusal. Several of the people who have been in touch with me from these communities have expressed concern that these clauses are prevalent in retirement community leases and that they severely limit the right of resale.

The effect of such a clause, it has been suggested, is to restrict a resident’s ability to leave the retirement community by limiting the ability to attract purchasers and by imposing on the resident an additional cost, of at least five per cent of the purchase price, because of the discount he must give to the landlord. In some instances, the resident actually pays an additional 10 to 12 per cent of the purchase price, five per cent to the landlord-developer in the form of a discount and five to six per cent to an agent as a real estate commission for finding a purchaser who is ready, willing and able to purchase the unit.

Additionally, it has been suggested that the right of resale is open to the abuse that once a landlord-developer has purchased the property for 95 per cent of the price, it may be resold by the developer to the original purchaser for 100 per cent of the purchase price. I have seen this happening in the Sandy Cove situation where the estate of someone who had been a resident was trymg to sell. It had obtained a purchaser, the owner had refused to allow the sale to the purchaser, had turned around and then on its own terms to its own benefit had sold to the very same purchaser originally contracted by the estate.

It has also been suggested that in these circumstances the landlord-developer is in effect trading in real estate without a licence to do so, contrary to the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act. The Landlord and Tenant Act prohibits a landlord from acting as an agent for a tenant-vendor “except pursuant to a written agency contract,” which is subsection 125(6) of the act.

What can we do about it?

First, I would suggest that we prohibit the right of first refusal in favour of a landlord-developer or at least prohibit this being done at discounted prices, as is now available to them.

Second, we should permit the advertisement for sale of the units by posting signs on the units. Most of the retirement communities will not allow this to take place at the present time.

Third, I would suggest that if the lease is left as is, then provide that the landlord-developer must disgorge any profit made on resale to the original purchaser within a reasonable time. A registration system would ensure compliance with this requirement.

Let me go on to another concern represented in this resolution. At present, there is no consumer protection regulation of the relationship between a landlord and tenant where the tenant prepays rent at the beginning of a long-term lease. There is no obligation on the landlord to keep any portion of the funds invested for repayment in the event of termination of the lease or refund to the estate in the event of death before expiration of the term.

Similarly, there is at present no protection in the event a landlord becomes bankrupt or is unable to continue the operation of the community and has spent the funds. A civil action for damages is not a satisfactory remedy in this case because of the likely insolvency of the landlord -- which has happened many times, I understand, in the state of Florida -- and the time factor involved in such litigation. What should be done? Although an implied trust may be imposed by law, it has been suggested that an explicit statutory fiduciary obligation be imposed in these circumstances. The trust funds would have to be kept separately, and failing that they could be traced by the tenant.

It has also been suggested that a reporting mechanism be implemented requiring the landlord to produce yearly audited financial statements. At a minimum this would provide disclosure of the handling of the funds. A less onerous mechanism for regulating the relationship and of ensuring the performance of the landlord’s obligations is to require the posting of a performance bond. In the event the landlord failed to maintain the operation, funds would be available to compensate the tenants.

A further problem we have addressed in this resolution is the nonregistrability of leases. Many of the leases in these retirement communities are not registrable under the present legislation, the Land Titles Act or the Registry Act. To be registrable under either an instrument must refer to a legal entity and often in these communities there is no such legal entity because there is no proper lot division such as with a plan of subdivision or a reference plan.

There is no legal description of the land. There may be a developer’s sketch of the lots, but this is not acceptable for registration. As a result, the leases are not registrable as between the tenant and the landlord. They are, nevertheless, enforceable contract agreements. I would suggest here that we require the filing of a reference plan for all such leased-lot communities. This will ensure that each lot has a legal description and is capable of registration.

A further problem is that it has been suggested the act falls short of protecting these retirement communities because of their unique nature. First, they are designed as close-knit communities of independent seniors having similar interests who wish to participate in the social and recreational life facilities. The RRRA, however, creates tensions and divisions among residents because of the statutory exemption for some units from the protection of the act.

First, any lease entered into prior to 2 May 1985 for a unit that was previously exempt from rent regulation where the original lessee remains as tenant is exempt under the act.

Second, as a result of the previous rent review legislation, there is a great disparity among rents. Under the earlier legislation, pre-1976 units were regulated but post-1976 units were not.

Third, the definition of rent under the act excludes any property tax referable to the building. Therefore, the building portion of the property tax is not subject to rent regulation.

Fourth, there is the potential for a pass-through by the landlord-developer to existing tenants of capital expenditures for future phases of the community.

The Rent Review Hearings Board will of course attempt to establish the line between the existing and future tenants in these circumstances. It could, however, be difficult to accomplish where, for example, a landlord installs a larger piece of machinery than is warranted by the existing number of tenants.

Possible action? It has been suggested that the RRRA be made more responsive to the specific needs of a retirement community, first by extending the application of the act to all leases; and second, the act could be amended to require production of source documents and audited statements for all operating and maintenance expenses and for capital expenditures, to eliminate the potential for incorrect pass-through expenses or expenditures. The building portion of the property tax could be subject to strict accounting to ensure no overpayment has been made, and excess amounts levied could be subject to interest payments to discourage overestimation of the tax.

In many ways, municipalities are pleased to have retirement communities because they do not require services such as schools and school and other transportation, recreational facilities, snow removal or parks. There is concern, however, about ensuring the integrity and ongoing operation of the community as a retirement community in the future. Municipalities are concerned they may be called upon to save these communities if the developer, through insolvency or bad marketing, is unable to operate a community as a retirement community. This problem has developed in other jurisdictions. I hope it does not happen here in Ontario, but we should be prepared to see it does not.

Most of the hard services in these communities, such as roads, sewers and water systems, are private and have not been constructed to meet stricter municipal standards. The developer’s abandonment, for whatever reason, could result in a large, unplanned-for financial burden on the municipality to upgrade these services. What I am suggesting should take place here is that the report coming out of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs be used to respond to these concerns more comprehensively than has been done thus far.

I note that there are still five minutes, Mr Speaker, and I would ask if I could reserve that time to address any concerns raised.


Ms Bryden: As the New Democratic critic for senior citizens’ affairs, I am pleased to speak in support of the resolution of the member for Simcoe Centre. The resolution is calling on the government to review the housing arrangements in retirement communities throughout the province.

I gather he is referring to communities where the land is privately owned and lots are leased to home owners. In addition to land rent, they pay fees for common amenities and services. Since he calls them somewhat unique, I think he should have provided us with a more precise definition to make it clear what current housing and financial services legislation now applies to them and what the gaps are.

I am somewhat surprised that a Liberal backbencher has to use a private member’s resolution to bring the need for this kind of legislation to the government. I would have thought a government which has been in power for almost four years would have already reviewed the current legislation applying to retirement communities and would have found there is a serious need for regulation of the diverse home owner arrangements and payment for services in such communities.

I am sure the government is aware of some of the problems being encountered by seniors in these communities. I am particularly surprised that a government which made its concern for seniors a key part of its 1985 election promises has now ignored this field where legislation is apparently very much needed.

In fact, I remind the members that the accord signed in May 1985 between the Premier (Mr Peterson) and the member for York South (Mr B. Rae) shortly after that election contained this clause about seniors. The program for action from common campaign proposals to be implemented in the first two years included this clause: “Reform of services for the elderly to provide alternatives to institutional care.”

This is the problem, that nothing has been done in this particular field to help seniors operate independently in their own homes, to be able to stay out of institutions and not have to pay unreasonable amounts for the kind of housing arrangements they have undertaken in these retirement communities.

I remind the members that it was the accord that I just quoted, between Premier Peterson and the member for York South which made it possible for the New Democrats to vote with the Liberals to defeat the Progressive Conservative government, which had held office for 43 years. This happened in 1985.

The new Liberal government even went so far as to set up an office for senior citizens’ affairs. Unfortunately, it was only a token gesture, since the minister appointed to take charge of it was a minister without portfolio. I often wonder if the resignation from the Legislature of the first holder of that office, Ron Van Horne, the former member for London North who resigned in 1987, was not partly due to his frustration at the impotence of that office. Certainly his successor, the member for Dufferin-Peel (Mrs Wilson), has illustrated her inability to get many needed changes in legislation for seniors, because she always has to say “I will draw it to the attention of the minister responsible for that area.”

An example is the need for the Attorney General (Mr Scott) to remove the “no pets” clause from tenants’ leases. It is being used by unscrupulous landlords to gain possession of apartments from tenants when they do not like those particular tenants or feel they could rent their apartments at a higher rate if they were evicted.

With no ministry to administer regulatory legislation affecting seniors, the current minister responsible for senior citizens’ affairs is certainly not able to carry out the Liberal promises to help seniors stay in their own homes or to protect seniors who are living in their own homes in retirement communities in the province.

I suspect that this area of regulation for seniors has been so long neglected because the government is not prepared to take on the task of regulating the terms of these seniors’ leases and tenure with the land owners and developers. The only ministers who could bring in legislation and regulations to protect the many seniors who are living in a state of uncertainty about their leaseholds and tenure include the ministers of Housing, Consumer and Commercial Relations, Municipal Affairs, Financial Institutions and the Attorney General. There may be others as well. Certainly we need the Minister of Housing (Ms Hošek) to bring the rent review procedures and appeals into these retirement communities.

I am somewhat surprised that a Liberal backbencher is moving away from the Liberal fetish against regulation and its worship of the free market by introducing this motion. New Democrats have been accused of wanting too much government intervention. We have opposed most of the deregulation moves of the Liberal government here and the Conservative government at Ottawa. We are now seeing the results of deregulation in the chaos in our airline world, the trucking industry and other fields that have been deregulated.

By asking for the kind of legislation that the member for Simcoe Centre (Mr Owen) thinks seniors need, he is asking the government to go back to the kind of regulation New Democrats have long supported. What we need are regulations to protect people from exploitation by unscrupulous operators in the so-called free market. Does the member for Simcoe Centre realize that he has a tough battle on his hands to convince his own freewheeling caucus to look at more regulation? That is exactly what all the members of this House will be voting for today if they support this motion.

I support it because I believe it is time we recognize that regulation is still necessary when the free market is full of freebooters. If this motion passes, I hope the government will get on with bringing in legislation and regulations as soon as possible to protect the hundreds of seniors who may be subject to exploitation by unscrupulous landlords and developers in retirement communities. The situation is a matter of extreme urgency to the people concerned and I hope the government will bring in legislation before the end of this session, preferably before the end of June.

Mr J. M. Johnson: I would like to just point out that I do not intend to speak on this resolution, but the member for Durham East (Mr Cureatz) and the member for Leeds-Grenville (Mr Runciman) both do intend to speak on it. If we pass now, hopefully we will have 10 minutes before the hour is finished.


The Deputy Speaker: Fair enough.

Mr Callahan: I rise to speak in support of this motion, but before I do, it is a very technical question and it is one that perhaps lawyers can understand and deal with.

It is unfortunate that the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms Bryden) had to inject into this entire discussion a question of partisanship. Normally, my experience in private members’ hour has been that there are motions put forward by private members. It is not a matter for partisan argument or criticism, and yet the totality of her speech appeared to be in that vein. That is regrettable.

I might add, as well, that she says nothing has been done by the government. This is the last thing I will say in terms of a partisan statement. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs, in fact, has just recently completed a two-year study of the impact of these types of communities on municipal planning. It’s final --

Ms Bryden: Has it been tabled?

Mr Callahan: Just a second. The member should just relax and lighten up.

Its final report will be released in the spring or early summer of 1989; it may be a little behind, but it is coming. It is expected that the report will establish planning guidelines for the evaluation and development of retirement communities. I suggest that the member is misinformed or she lacks the information in saying that we have done nothing. We have, in fact, and the motion of the member for Simcoe Centre today is most appropriate in that regard.

Let’s get down to try to explain in simple language the problem that exists here. The problem that exists here is that a developer who has perhaps a 100- or 200-acre parcel of land and either does not wish to go through the normal channels of getting a severance to sell off a specific lot to a person or does not wish to go through the difficulties of filing a plan of subdivision and all of the additional financial payments that requires in terms of sewers, roads, etc, takes that 100- or 200-acre parcel of land and he tries to develop what in essence is, I guess, almost a group home in a sense, because everybody lives on the same piece of land. They have their own individual units and there is no definition for them in terms of what they really own. They have access and rights to use the total facilities for recreational purposes and so on.

This works very well, except that it does require regulation. The regulation is required to protect seniors from, as the member indicated, unscrupulous people who might try to use this sort of unregulated process to perhaps not deal with seniors fairly.

I suggest that no one is perhaps pointing a finger at anybody whom I know of, but the possibility is there. I think that is the major function of government. It is not to interfere with the free enterprise system; it is to in fact establish an atmosphere within which people of all ages are going to be protected and can be certain that what they are paying or not paying or what they are being allowed to do or not do is in fact something that is lawful.

The member for Simcoe Centre has brought forward a number of concerns. The question of a right of first refusal is not necessarily an unusual one. That is sometimes quite an acceptable one. But when the mutuality between the two parties allows the developer to require a five per cent reduction if he buys it, that perhaps is going a little way towards not giving the seniors the full opportunity to reap their investment should they decide to leave the seniors community.

In addition to that there is the question of the moneys they pay in advance, whatever types of moneys they may be. If they are not held in a trust account and the developer or the owner of this property goes bankrupt, these people are in fact left to the mercy of the creditors. There are a whole host of statutes of this province, the Mechanics’ Lien Act and so on. Where moneys are in fact being advanced, they should be held in trust. I suspect that the results of the reviews by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs into this will come up with some form for holding moneys in trust.

The additional factors, such as the question of being able to dispose of their property, become very significant features in the case of seniors or retired people, because upon their death there can be a very difficult problem in terms of the estate trying to deal with that particular property.

I think seniors move into these communities for a number of reasons. They move in because it gives them the possibility of being outside urban areas, because this is where most of these units are established. It gives them the possibility, as well, of having the flexibility of being able to move between here and some other location, either in Ontario or outside Canada, without having to worry about whether the lawn is cut or the snow is shovelled.

I think that is to be admired. I think that is something we should encourage for our seniors because they are at a stage where they are freed of the obligations that they may have had with children growing up in their earlier years, and they now have the opportunity to travel and to take advantage of some of the sights, sounds and tastes of the world. I think it has to be encouraged.

At the same time, I think we have to be certain that the people who are perhaps most vulnerable in our community are protected adequately. The member for Simcoe Centre also refers to the question of maintenance costs. Without some regulation to stipulate what can go in those maintenance costs, it really becomes what you might call a landlord lease. He or she or it can put anything in it that he or she or it wants. The seniors are trusting. I am not for one minute suggesting many of them do not have good business acumen, but they are trusting and they are people who believe what is presented to them. They do not question it.

Accordingly, I would submit that it is very necessary that we provide for a proper accounting by the owner of this development to the seniors, because without that proper accounting you can wind up in situations where people are perhaps strapped for funds. That may be the case for some retired people. Others may have more money now than they did before because of the freeing of the responsibilities that they had before, but in the main I would think that they are watching their pennies. They may not be watching them because they are short on money. I think retired people, as well as parents and seniors -- I think I will feel the same way and perhaps everyone in this House will, as we approach our golden years -- attempt to preserve what is left to pass on to their children.

My experience with seniors has been that they work very hard to do that. I have always encouraged them to go out and spend it all. The children do not really deserve it. They worked for it; they should have the fun of spending it. But that does not seem to be the attitude of seniors. They want to look after leaving an estate for their children. Accordingly, they are very frugal. In their frugality, if they are being taken advantage of, and I am not suggesting that I can name any particular situation where that is happening, but if the possibility exists that they could be taken advantage of, that is a very significant item in the law that we should correct.

I support my colleague the member for Simcoe Centre. I think it is of some significance that he brought this forward. It is unfortunate that it is a highly technical issue and it is one that there are a number of ways of solving. For every solution that you suggest, if you rush into it rather than do a study such as the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr Eakins) has done, there may be an equal problem that will arise as a result of that solution.

So I think it is something we have to deal with very carefully and very sensitively to ensure that the members of our community who have contributed so greatly to Ontario are protected as adequately as any other member of society, and perhaps it is even more significant for the reasons I have stated. I am very pleased to speak in support of this motion. I would hope that all other members of the House would see fit to support the motion by the member for Simcoe Centre.

Ms Bryden: Unfortunately, our second speaker has not yet arrived. He is tied up in traffic somewhere. I guess the Progressive Conservative Party is not ready to proceed either. If other speakers can proceed, we would still like the allotment of the second 10 minutes.


The Deputy Speaker: I still have to proceed with the usual rotation, and there being no member from the two official opposition parties, we shall proceed with a Liberal then.

Mr Callahan: I am sure there will be unanimous consent to do that, although I should raise the point, and perhaps this is nasty, that on one occasion when I was late, the honourable member who is asking for that request tried to adjourn the House.

Mr Elliot: I recognize that the member for Wellington (Mr J. M. Johnson) indicated that the member for Durham East may be arriving to speak, and should he do that I will be glad to cut my remarks short and give him the floor. I understand he was under the impression that this motion was going to be put second today, so he was planning on coming in a little bit later in the morning.

I too am pleased to stand for a few moments and speak on behalf of this resolution that was put by the member for Simcoe Centre “That, in the opinion of the House, recognizing the unique nature of owned-home leased lot retirement communities, the government of Ontario should undertake a review of these communities.” It goes on to list a number of things that should be included in that review.

I think this is a very important, timely point at which this kind of resolution should be considered by this House, because the fact of the matter is that this type of retirement community is relatively new and it is very timely that a complete review take place with respect to whether or not the residents of retirement communities are being fairly treated. The allegations out there are that the seniors are being taken with respect to maintenance costs and excessive rents and a whole lot of other allegations. I think in large part this may be very unfair to people who have spent a lot of time setting up very worthwhile communities.

I feel rather close to this, because had I not been elected to this House, I would probably be entering my retirement officially, as of next month, from my own career. For a period of two years or three years, I was looking at a number of different options with respect to my own retirement plans and accommodation associated with that, and this was one of the types of accommodation that my wife, Anne, and I looked at.

There are a lot of benefits associated with it and most of them are economic, because in our preview of what was available out there, it looked like private enterprise people had acquired sufficient acreage to set up a very nice retirement community atmosphere, the advantages being that if you bought into that kind of a situation you are going to be associating with a number of people in your own age bracket and all kinds of recreational facilities are set up.

I think it is unfortunate that if there is the odd exceptional case where advantage is being taken of the people who are resident in these retirement communities, the whole concept gets a bad name because of that, so at this point in time I think the member for Simcoe Centre is right on in suggesting to the government of the day that we do a very detailed review. As the member for Brampton South (Mr Callahan) said, it takes a legal mind to cover all the ramifications of a contract or a lease signed in this kind of situation.

I think what should happen is that people contemplating going into this kind of arrangement should very carefully, through a solicitor, make very specific arrangements with respect to their particular deal, because in particular cases that have been brought to my attention, generally there was a lot of goodwill but very little legal expertise went into the signing of the contract. A lot of the time, it was misinformation or no information being there that was causing the concern.

For example, in the case of maintenance costs, if you sign a contract that says they have to be done by a certain individual and you are locked into that particular person’s remuneration scale, there is very little you can do about it.

These things are signed with the best of intentions usually, and I can see why the owner would want to have continuity with respect to maintenance of such a facility. You want to maintain an adequate level of service in that regard and make sure the community continues to have a good look about it, because there are going to be resales and you might possibly be wanting to enlarge the facility, sell some more units in it. All of that depends upon the community looking really nice from a saleable point of view.

Having said all of that, I do not think the one person who spoke on this motion from the opposition really highlighted the right kinds of information, starting off by saying that they were supporting the motion but then bringing in some things that really do not have very much to do with this kind of resolution that is before us.

I believe it is a good resolution. I commend the member for Simcoe Centre for bringing it to the House at this particular time. I think it is timely. I would hope the particular agencies and ministries of the government that are responsible for this particular area, including that of the ministry that looks after seniors in particular, would take a close look at this motion and come up with legislation and regulations very quickly to cover this very important aspect of our life out there.

As everybody who is watching the population growth in Ontario knows, the very important senior sector of that population is going to be growing at an increasing rate over the next decade or two and it is very important that we treat these important members of our society most fairly, because they have contributed a great deal to society. They have done a lot for Ontario. I think it is only fair that they be treated fairly in their retirement years, so I support this resolution with a great deal of enthusiasm.

Mr Runciman: I am not participating in the debate, but I wanted to put on the record that the member for Durham East, who was planning to speak on behalf of our party, apparently has been tied up in one of those infamous traffic jams between here and his riding in Oshawa. I will also put on the record for our party that we are supporting the resolution.

The Deputy Speaker: Seeing no other members wanting to participate in the debate, does the member for Simcoe Centre wish to wind up?

Mr Owen: Yes, I am delighted to do that. I am grateful and express my appreciation to the member for Brampton South and the member for Halton North (Mr Elliot) for their kind remarks in support of this resolution, and also to the member for Beaches-Woodbine for the support of the opposition party.

I have talked about this matter rather extensively in the past to the member for Durham East of the Conservative Party. That member has a very large retirement community in his riding and from time to time we have shared our concerns about what has been transpiring in these communities and what we thought could be done to improve the situation.

I would like to point out that this government, contrary to what has been stated by the member for Beaches-Woodbine, has addressed many of the needs in these retirement communities. As a matter of fact, many of the protections which are afforded the people who now reside in these communities are there because of the concern, the direction and the dedication of this government.

However, these retirement communities are relatively new to Ontario and we can always do better. As we see them in operation, we see new things which can be considered.

Since I was elected nearly two years ago, I have also discussed the problems of retirement communities with the various ministries. For example, I am very pleased that the Minister without Portfolio responsible for senior citizens’ affairs, the member for Dufferin-Peel, is not only concerned but here in the Legislature this morning showing her concern as she has always in the past for what can be done to improve the lifestyle for these people who have chosen to live in these communities.

I have discussed these difficulties and problems with the Minister of Housing. The Minister of Municipal Affairs has not only expressed concern but has done an in-depth study of retirement communities, and the results of that study are available or will soon be available for the province to look at.


The matters involve consumer and commercial relations, and the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr Wrye) has addressed some of the difficulties we have had with regard to registering these leases. His ministry indicated to this Legislature, only a matter of months ago, that the people living in these communities can insist upon registrable descriptions of the lots on which they have their homes and the leases then could be registrable.

On the matter of health, I have discussed these matters with the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) as well. The Victoria Order of Nurses has been very active in going into these retirement communities, with support from our ministry.

I would like to point out that in my area, we had a substation for ambulance service at the south end of Barrie, and up until a year ago it was only functioning during daytime hours. We found out that 60 per cent of the use of the ambulance service at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie came from the south end of Barrie, particularly from Sandy Cove. Because of this, the ministry allowed us to open up 24-hour service, seven days a week, for the ambulance service to address that problem.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food is another ministry which has been involved. The Ministry of Community and Social Services has been involved, because of the visiting homemaker program that goes into these communities. We have the commitment of this government.

As has been pointed out by an earlier speaker, these are complex issues. We want to protect the people involved, but we also want to avoid overkill. Remember, these retirement communities are happy places, they are people places. The people there enjoy each other’s company and the activities they afford to one another. All we are here to do is to try to see that they are afforded the protection that the law can provide and that their happy times in these places will continue.


Mr D. S. Cooke moved resolution 2:

That, in the opinion of this House, recognizing the inability of the Liberal government to ensure auto insurance protection for Ontarians or progressive reform of the workers’ compensation system and recognizing that numerous government studies have supported the concept of a universal sickness and accident system, the government of Ontario should introduce legislation during its current mandate to implement a universal sickness and accident insurance program; and further, that this legislation should be based on the results of a widespread open public consultation held between now and the introduction of a bill.

Mr D. S. Cooke: I am a little disorganized here because we were just in a House leaders’ meeting and the timing did not work out appropriately. If I take a break to blow my nose or cough or whatever, I am dying of a cold today, and if members were wise they would wear masks or something to keep the virus away from them.

I am very pleased to be able to present this resolution today. In my 12 years as a member of the Legislature, this is the first time I have had an opportunity to be drawn at the beginning and have had an opportunity to present a subject that is near and dear to my heart, but, more particularly, that has been promoted for many years by the member for Nickel Belt (Mr Laughren) from my caucus. That is, of course, the concept of a universal sickness and accident program.

The resolution I have presented to the Legislature today refers to auto insurance. It also, of course, refers to the Workers’ Compensation Board and that system of compensation. It does so because we see a universal sickness and accident system as a solution both to some of the problems we have had with auto insurance for many years and to the complete unacceptability that employers and employees, or injured workers, feel with regard to the workers’ compensation system.

Currently in Ontario, people who are sick from disease or are injured at the workplace are compensated by a variety of programs. People injured on the job are compensated through the workers’ compensation system. People injured in a car accident would be compensated through private insurance and perhaps a lawsuit.

Some people would be protected with sickness and accident programs in the workplaces. Many of the people who live in your riding, Mr Speaker, and in my riding, have the benefits of being organized with a union and, as part of the negotiations at the bargaining table, have the protection of a sickness and accident program.

All too often, however, individuals have to rely on sickness and accident or unemployment insurance or, in the end, if they have no private protection at all, they have to resort to disability benefits through the welfare system in Ontario, which we feel, and I am sure all members of the Legislature would agree, is a completely unacceptable system since the levels are so low and it is a means-tested program.

Depending on where you get hurt or how you come down with a particular illness, you could end up living out your days in the world in poverty. If you come down with an illness and you get workers’ compensation, the benefits under workers’ compensation after a long fight -- if you qualify and if the board agrees to pay you -- are relatively generous if you are at 100 per cent disability.

However, if you cannot prove that you came down with cancer, for example, at the workplace and you do not get workers’ compensation benefits and you end up having to go on the disability program through the provincial welfare system, then you are going to be living in poverty for the rest of your days.

We have all had cases in our constituency offices over the years. I think a couple of the cases that stand out in my mind are people whose spouses or themselves have had multiple sclerosis. Lou Gehrig’s disease is another example of a catastrophic disease.

The story is always very similar: I had a good job or I owned a small business, and then I came down with multiple sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease or some other catastrophic disease. I had no private insurance and, as a result, I have had to apply for welfare and the disability program through the welfare system, and now I cannot survive at the same level that I did before.”

Sometimes there are cases where the spouse has come down with the disease and the other spouse continues to work. Obviously the two of them had been working because today in Ontario it is quite normal and it is also very essential in most cases that both the husband and wife work in order to afford homes and so forth.

When one individual comes down with a disease or is injured and does not qualify for any private system or the workers’ compensation system, then that has a dramatic effect on the family income. They often come into our offices and say, “Why can’t I qualify for the provincial disability program?” Of course, the provincial disability program is based on income, and if one spouse is still working, then the couple do not qualify for the disability program through welfare. As a result, the entire family’s standard of living drops dramatically.

If we had a system of universal sickness and accident benefits, I think many of those problems and inequities and unfairness would be resolved. With one system, the workers’ compensation system, as members know it can be literally months or years before your case can be resolved.

One case that I was very much involved in is a case that was reported in the press, the Pival case in Windsor. Mr Pival, in that case, worked at Wyeth in Windsor, and he developed a brain tumour. He became very sick, eventually died, and during the whole time that he had the disease, we were fighting his workers’ compensation case.

It was a couple of weeks after his death that the Workers’ Compensation Board said that he would be compensated for that disease, as the board had come to the conclusion that it probably did relate to the workplace, but I thought it very sad that he went through his last couple of years alive fighting the WCB and he died not knowing whether his widow was going to be adequately compensated and have financial security for the rest of her life.


If we had had a universal sickness and accident program in Ontario, it would not have mattered whether the brain tumour was related to work or it was outside of work. There would have been a compensation system and that family would have been able to eliminate at least one of the very difficult aspects of the last couple of years of his life.

Currently then, a disabled person can receive income from private disability insurance, unemployment insurance for a time, Canada pension disability, workers’ compensation, car insurance, a lawsuit from the injury, some compensation for victims of crime or the welfare system. The bureaucracy involved in the hodgepodge of private and public compensation plans is absolutely mind-boggling, and obviously the cost of that bureaucracy is paid by all of us.

Whether we pay for the community and social services bureaucracy through our provincial taxes, the bureaucracy of the Workers’ Compensation Board through assessments against companies or the private sickness and accident system through premiums at work, we all end up paying in the end. It is not a matter of instituting some major new government program that is going to cost the taxpayers millions and millions of dollars. We are talking instead about implementing a universal plan that would consolidate all of these avenues of compensation for people, rationalize all of these alternatives and provide some compensation to people no matter where they became sick or were injured.

The WCB alone costs companies, through assessments, billions of dollars. As you know, the welfare system costs millions of dollars. Again, I think that simply reinforces that a rationalization of the system as it is now in place would be not only more humane but obviously cost-effective and much more efficient for the taxpayers of this province.

There would be, as I have said, substantial administrative savings. There would not be costly disputes over the cause of disabilities. There would also be less confusion and expense with a single administration dealing with disability-related income replacement. For example, there would be no need to process welfare assignments or to determine Canada pension plan integration with pension supplements, as currently must be done in our workers’ compensation scheme.

The best examples to illustrate the advantages are disease cases. Consider a worker who develops lung cancer after a workplace exposure to known toxins, some of which are suspected of causing cancer. The worker may have a family history of cancer and perhaps smokes. It is extremely unlikely that such a worker would end up receiving workers’ compensation benefits. First, the workplace exposures and a possible cause for the cancer would have to be identified and a claim made. Second, the workplace exposure would have to be accepted by the Workers’ Compensation Board or the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal as a probable cause of cancer. Both of these events are unlikely to happen currently.

The administrative costs of compensating for disease claims can be enormous. Various administrations may be involved -- the WCB, CPP, welfare and a private disability insurer. This may create obvious concern about double payment and a consequential cost to avoid it. If a workers’ compensation claim is made, there are likely to be large medical, legal and administrative costs in adjudicating that claim. Anyone who has dealt with workers’ compensation knows that is the case.

The financial concerns are obviously important to all of us, but even more important than that, I believe, is the emotional trauma that people are put through fighting for something while they are also trying to get well or go through rehabilitation or just deal with their disease.

People are concerned that a universal sickness and accident system may take some of the responsibility for cleaning up the workplace away from employers. I think that could be dealt with in a couple of ways. First, we can look at how the system is paid, and we may in fact be able to develop a system that has assessments against employers if they are in an industry that has a lot of compensation claims or if they have a poor record.

More important than that, the current workers’ compensation system obviously has not dealt adequately with sickness in the workplace and prevention of sickness or accidents in the workplace. The primary way of resolving that has to be by the passage of bills like Bill 208 and giving some clear power to the workers in the workplace to be able to enforce cleanups.

We also obviously have to have another enforcement system and fines that act as an incentive to companies to clean up their workplace. I do not think it is adequate to say on the compensation side that higher premiums are going to result in a workplace cleanup. It has not worked now. The way to do that primarily, I think, is through the Ministry of Labour, through huge fines that will act an an incentive when a company has been caught breaking the law and putting people’s lives or health at risk in the workplace. With rigorous enforcement, I believe, of the occupational health and safety laws and substantial fines, that can act as the main deterrent.

It seems to me that the current workers’ compensation system of payment has not deterred, as I have said, employers across this province. At the same time, the current system of compensation has put workers at risk. The risk of years of battles is in itself reason to reform the system. Tinkering with the workers’ compensation system through Bill 162, which in our view is going to put us back even further, is not going to bring about a clear alternative.

There is much we can learn from other countries. My colleague the member for Nickel Belt has been to New Zealand and has looked at the universal system of compensation in New Zealand, and I am sure he will speak in more detail about that, but there are other jurisdictions that have implemented this plan. It is not something that is brand-new. We can learn from their experience and the benefits, as well as from some of the mistakes that have been made over there.

The point, however, remains that the current system in Ontario is unfair and inefficient and needs to be dramatically changed, not just tinkered with.

Mr Laughren: Hear, hear. Well said.

Mr D. S. Cooke: Of course.

I want to read briefly some of the comments that were made in the Thomson report about this issue, because I think that while the recommendations from the Thomson report were not as clear on this issue as we would like to have seen them, some of the statistics and some of the references make the point very clearly. I quote from page 105 of the Thomson report:

“As statistics presented in chapter 2 clearly indicate, a substantial proportion of social assistance recipients are disabled. Almost 90,000 people -- or approximately 30 per cent of the combined GWA and FBA case load -- are categorized as having some form of disability or impairment.”

In this province 90,000 people, and obviously a lot of dependants in addition to this, are relying on a form of income which has been means-tested as totally inadequate, because they either are sick or have become physically disabled because of an accident. In Ontario, the richest province in this country, it is completely unacceptable that a person would have to live in poverty because he has become ill or disabled. The report goes on to say, on page 107:

“The disparities and inequities of existing income programs for disabled people have been thoroughly and well documented elsewhere. Some of the major shortcomings that force some people to turn to social assistance are outlined below.

“When total disability results from an injury that occurred on the job, workers’ compensation is relatively generous. Earnings replacement amounts to 90 per cent of net income....Not everyone injured on the job will receive benefits from this program, however. Benefits are not provided when the Workers’ Compensation Board...decides that the injury did not result from employment. With many disabling conditions, it is not possible to determine cause. Cases involving back injuries, chronic pain, and diseases that may be occupationally related are particular sources of controversy....

“For people disabled by accidents, compensation may be provided by way of the legal system. In fact, however, compensation is paid only to between one third and one half of accident victims. In addition, some estimates suggest that anywhere from one third to one half of the total system costs are absorbed by administration, insurance companies, and lawyers. Those who do receive compensation can experience delays of one year or longer, and those in greatest need often settle more quickly for lower settlements because they cannot afford” the wait.


Under “A New Approach” in the Thomson report it says: “Our view of the future suggests that the time has come to develop a comprehensive disability insurance system and to move quickly to implement such a program.

“The concept is not new. It has been the subject of numerous studies and reports over the years. A federal-provincial task force has been studying the feasibility of a national disability income program since February 1982. Three options for a disability insurance program have been considered and a report has been submitted to the federal Minister of Health and Welfare.

“Nor is the concept untried: the New Zealand government implemented a form of disability insurance in 1972, and we can benefit from that country’s experience. Australia also tabled legislation...but it died on the order paper...in 1975.”

The point is that time after time we look at issues. We study them for years and years and years and we do not take action because governments tend not to lead on issues like this; especially in this province, they tend to follow.

Now is the time -- and especially this government -- if this government wanted to make a mark on this country and to show the way in a particular area, this is where it could do it. By bringing in a universal plan and leading this country to a different and humane way of dealing with people who have come down with diseases or become disabled through accident, this government would accomplish something it would be remembered for, for years and years, just as the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party government was remembered for the introduction of medicare.

We believe that this type of universal plan is and would be as significant to the people of this province and this country as medicare was back in the 1960s and 1970s.

I want to save myself about a minute to respond at the end but I hope that members of the Legislature will agree with this concept in principle and support it. I obviously hope that the government, which has passed at its own party conventions resolutions supporting this concept, will implement it and not continue just to study and talk about it.

Mr Runciman: Although we appreciate the good intentions of the member for Windsor-Riverside, our party is not going to be supporting his motion. We have a great deal of difficulty with many aspects of it. Certainly his reference to automobile insurance is one that causes us some concern.

We appreciate that the member and his party believe that government is the answer to virtually every problem that faces society. We do not share that view of the world. Although Mr Thomson did make this recommendation and we are supportive of the implementation of the first phase of the Thomson report, there are other aspects of that report that I think merit some very serious consideration by all members of this Legislature before we make commitments to those initiatives which do indeed have sweeping implications for this province.

The member made reference to the New Zealand program. I am sure his colleague the member for Nickel Belt is going to be speaking at length about the New Zealand situation. I hope he will make reference to the fact that recently there have been some very significant cost escalations of the New Zealand program, and we should make reference to the fact that the New Zealand program is not as comprehensive as the one the member is suggesting or the one that Mr Thomson is suggesting.

I think the cost implications of this proposal are significant indeed and while we have some assurances from Mr Thomson and from the member for Windsor-Riverside that these will be met in a reasonable way and that there will not be any undue burden placed upon the taxpayers of this province, I think that those kinds of assurances have to be looked at very closely. New Zealand is a good case in point in that respect, where initially the program did realize some cost saving but the long-range impact has been anything but cost saving.

This also makes reference to universality. That is certainly a topic for heated discussion in this country currently, whether the universality approach is the way to go. If we take a look at the problems of many provincial governments and the federal government in respect to the debt burdens that most jurisdictions currently carry, a good portion of those debts can be related directly to the concept of universality of social programs in this country.

Mr Laughren: Do what the free trade agreement tells you to do, Bob.

Mr Runciman: This is an opinion and a view that I held for some time prior to the free trade agreement. I want to say that this again is an approach of universality, so that someone who is earning a significant income is still going to be covered by this kind of approach.

It is the same situation we have in a whole range of programs. We have a rent control program in Ontario, for example, where we have someone earning $400,000 or $500,000 a year living in downtown Toronto in a rent-controlled apartment for $450 a month. That is the sort of inequity and unfairness that is built into the concept of universality. We can apply it to a whole range of programs at both the federal and provincial levels. It is not the way to go.

We do believe there are some problems out there, especially in respect to the disabled in society. But let’s target our programs for the people who are in real need in society and not have this blanket approach so that everyone is protected and covered and we are all paying stiff fees for this and putting all of our governments into significant levels of debt which are really limiting our ability to get into programs that we really do need in society.

I think the example of Heather and Frank Pearson of Ajax is a good one. Frank has cerebral palsy and is unemployed. He married a gal who is making $14,000 a year. As a result of that income, Frank was cut off from his benefits under the family benefits allowance he was receiving. That sort of thing is totally inappropriate, but it is occurring under current legislation.

Indeed, I agree that we have to address that kind of situation, the one that Frank Pearson in Ajax is faced with; we have to have appropriate programs that will target individuals who are being penalized by legislation currently on the books. There is no doubt there are some real problems out there, but this universal interventionist “government-knows-best” approach is not the one that is going to work best for this province, in our view.

Again, on the government intervention aspect in terms of automobile insurance, I think we know where our friends are coming from and I think the government is heading in that direction. I predicted that in 1987 when they announced the establishment of the Ontario Automobile Insurance Board. Phase 2 of that is no-fault insurance and phase 3 is a crown corporation to operate automobile insurance, to sell automobile insurance in this province.

In any event, this is what I am getting at in terms of the government involvement in all of these programs; I sat through the hearings for Bill 2, as the member for Kingston and The Islands (Mr Keyes) did. I am not sure if anyone else in the Legislature today did.

Some of the testimony we heard before us was that in Saskatchewan, for example -- programs brought in by an NDP government -- every second automobile insurance claim involves a ministerial intervention, if you can believe that. Every second claim involves a ministerial intervention. That is how politicized the process gets.

We see what is going on here now. These people are getting deeper and deeper into this process and getting into more and more hot water because of the ever-growing involvement of government in the operations of this program. They have bought the bill of goods that this is a social policy matter and that government has to play a role.

I think one has to be careful about the further growth of government into all areas of society in this province. Again, I want to talk a bit about New Zealand. I think that perhaps there is more of an argument in respect to New Zealand. I do not buy the New Zealand approach. but it is a national approach; it is not done by a province or a state, it is done by the national government.

I think that whenever you look at this kind of a comprehensive program, it has to be done on a national scale. You cannot look at doing it on a province-by-province basis. If this approach is adopted, we may see even more significant growth in the population of this province than was forecast by the Ministry of Treasury and Economics a few weeks ago when it indicated we are going to have growth of about three million people by the year 2011, I think.

The Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon), by the way, did not know anything about that, and I think that says something about the forward planning of this government. When I asked him how he was going to react to that kind of growth in this province he did not know anything about it. He does not know how they are going to react to it and what it is going to mean to education, health care, waste disposal, a whole range of very critical issues, when we are faced with this kind of growth in population.


This kind of approach in terms of going it alone at the provincial level, albeit we may be the largest province in terms of population in this country, I think has ramifications in terms of its impact on our population growth and a whole range of other areas.

I want to indicate that indeed there are problems at the Workers’ Compensation Board and most of us who have even modest levels of industrial operations in our ridings are faced with situations on a weekly basis whereby people are continually being frustrated with the maze at the Workers’ Compensation Board. Indeed, that is a problem that has to be addressed, and I do not think it has been addressed adequately up to this point.

I had some high hopes with the new leadership a number of years ago that we would see some very positive things take place in terms of a more effective and efficient operation. I have not seen any meaningful signs of that occurring up to this point, but I am still going to hold out hope.

I guess I would like to see someone go into that board who has proven himself or herself as an effective manager in the private sector; someone who can come in and get rid of all the dead wood, get rid of all the red tape, get rid of all of these various stages of delay that workers in this province face in trying to get resolution of their claims and in terms of the problems that industry and business are faced with in dealing with this very onerous bureaucracy, an ever-increasing bureaucracy.

In conclusion, although we certainly agree that there are problems in society, especially with respect to meeting the very real needs of the disabled, we do not agree with the approach proposed by the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr D. S. Cooke).

Mr Ferraro: I rise to participate in this debate with some anticipation.

The member for Windsor-Riverside and the member for Nickel Belt certainly are strong proponents of this particular motion, and I am sure they have had similar motions in the past, being strong socialists as they are. I do not say that disrespectfully; far from it. Just as much as I respect that, I am sure they respect the fact that I am more of a strong free-enterpriser, and I say that with just as much pride, quite frankly.

I think the whole idea does deserve some comment about socialism and universality and more government control. It is worthy of note that at this point in time there is no province in Canada that has a socialist government. I think that says something about the mood of the Canadian people, quite frankly. Indeed, in a global sense, when one looks at very socialistic countries, in fact at communism, which is a significant degree of socialism to say the least, if not the ultimate, one sees a move towards free enterprise and less government control in countries such as Russia and China. I just find that interesting.

I find it interesting too -- and I do want to comment that when the member from the Conservative Party started off --

Mr Laughren: I won’t call you a fascist, I promise.

Mr Ferraro: I just say to my friend the member for Nickel Belt that he should try to control his gums for a little bit. I will listen to him when he speaks.

In any event, the Conservative member for Leeds-Grenville started off by saying that his party will not be supporting this motion. I just want to say right off the top that my caucus has not caucused this particular issue. Indeed, being private members’ hour, quite frankly, I think it should be up to the individual members. Having said that, I certainly hope that indeed members will take a good look at it and make their own decisions, as I am sure they will.

I find it interesting too that the member of the Conservative Party in his condemnation, if you will, of universality, and his condemnation of my government, used the word “interventionist” and all the rest of that. I find it interesting that when I look upon previous actions of his government it is somewhat inconsistent with his viewpoint today.

I speak specifically of 1975, when the Conservative government of the day brought out rent controls, a universal program of controlling rents in buildings that were built prior to 1975. That definitely flies in the face of the comments that were made. Also, very briefly, it brings to mind the Ontario health insurance plan. The Conservative government in Ontario negotiated the deal with the federal government of the day and brought universal medical coverage to Ontario. So there are some inconsistencies.

Having said that, there are also inconsistencies with my friends from the socialist New Democratic Party. I have yet to hear a New Democratic Party member stand up and say, “We’re against small business.” That in itself, in my view, is the epitome of free enterprise.

I suggest with great respect that all political viewpoints have some variants, if you will, in their idea of socialism and free enterprise.

I want to say, and I am sure it will come as no surprise to the member for Windsor-Riverside and the member for Nickel Belt, that I will be voting against this motion,

I suggest that this motion, as far as I am concerned, was doomed right from the start. The reason is not so much on the specific debate dealing with universality of the sickness and accident system, or even the other debate that seems to be prevalent in society: whether or not there should be a guaranteed annual income. I think there is some merit in debating that, and indeed, I support that type of debate.

The difficulty with this particular motion is in the premise. It starts off, and I want to reiterate, by saying: “In the opinion of this House, recognizing the inability of the Liberal government to ensure auto insurance protection for Ontarians....” I want to deal with that specific point. That in itself compels me to vote against the motion. It is, in my view, confrontational and totally erroneous, and it does not do much for the member’s attempt to debate the substance of the motion per se.

The wording, as I reiterated, indicates that he says the Liberal government was incapable of ensuring auto insurance protection for Ontarians. What does that mean specifically? Does it mean that people who require auto insurance in the province of Ontario cannot get insurance? I suggest that is one interpretation, and it is categorically wrong.

If members would like to present cases to the Ministry of Financial Institutions where people cannot get insurance, I can assure them as parliamentary assistant to the minister that we will facilitate the same. Automatically, members are going to say, “Yes, but it is expensive.” I agree. In some cases, it is expensive. If you have had three or four accidents or you have had some drunk driving charges, you are going to pay for it. I think most Ontarians would agree with that. But the reality is, the wording says, “the inability...to ensure auto insurance protection.” I suggest, to some degree, that is erroneous.

The reality, dealing with auto insurance, is that the government had three alternatives. I have said this before. We could do nothing, in which case the insurance premiums were rising at an unbelievable rate, for good reason as far as the insurance companies were concerned; we could take over the insurance industry, which is advocated by my friends in the opposition, particularly the NDP; or we could take the approach we did take: that was to set up an independent committee, composed of consumers and people familiar with actuarial expertise, to look at the situation.

We have learned much and the public has learned much about the insurance industry in Ontario. We have taken some of the mysticism out of the boardroom and brought it to the forefront, in a very public, open -- albeit confusing perhaps in certain situations, but understandable way.

Members will know that we took that action on 23 April 1987 when we set up the Ontario Automobile Insurance Board.


Mr Laughren: That is intervention in the marketplace.

Mr Ferraro: My friends are saying it is intervention in the marketplace. I would not call it intervention, as opposed to saying it is re-education, if you will. They would advocate that we go in there with the storm troops, automatically seize all presidents of all insurance companies and indeed put in place a socialistic public insurance program without even indicating the costs of such a program. We could debate the ramifications of a public as opposed to private insurance program ad nauseam, I suspect.

I find it particularly interesting, I really do, that every time they advocate a public-run insurance program, they do not talk about the fact that 80 per cent of all premium costs, as we have found out from the insurance bureau, are related to claims costs. I have yet to see them debate or present to the House in any substantive way the costs of a public insurance program, the dislocation of thousands of employees.

The member for Windsor-Riverside talked about bureaucracy. Indeed there is bureaucracy, but I suggest there is a significant amount of bureaucracy in every public or government-run institution or form of intervention, if you will.

The final point I want to make is the last line, which I find particularly interesting. It says all this study of a universal sickness and accident system “should be based on the results of a widespread open public consultation held between now and the introduction of a bill.” I totally agree with that, but I find it totally inconsistent with many of the arguments that have been exuded by the opposition in recent weeks about the fact that the public automobile insurance system, totally public, is ridiculous, a waste of taxpayers’ money. Indeed, it is obviously acceptable now but it was not in previous discussions,

Mr Laughren: First, I would like to commend my colleague the member for Windsor-Riverside for bringing before the House a matter of great importance. I do not believe you need to be a rocket scientist to know that the workers’ compensation system in Ontario is in a mess. Why else do we have Bill 162 out there, which is being opposed universally by the very people it is supposed to help? I think most of us on all sides would agree, if we dropped into our constituency offices, would have to come to the conclusion that the present workers’ compensation system in Ontario is in a mess and is not working.

As far as the automobile insurance system in Ontario is concerned, here we have a government that believes in the free enterprise system, which brought in an automobile insurance board as the only mechanism of setting rates, then overruled the board and said, “We don’t like your rates,” and is bringing in a bill this afternoon that is going to reverse that process. What could be more of a joke than the way this government has handled workers’ compensation and automobile insurance in this province? Nothing could be more of a joke.

It is true, I went to New Zealand about four or five years ago specifically for the purpose of meeting with the people in their Accident Compensation Commission. When I was there, I met with employers and employee groups, government people and people at the accident commission itself. Nobody, including the employers, would go back to the old system. They do not want it. They think the old system was ridiculous.

They have some problems with it. They say, “We don’t like the way some people get covered when they have an accident playing a sport,” that kind of thing; but nobody, absolutely nobody, wants to go back to the old system. The same applies in the western provinces of this country. Once you had, as the member for Guelph (Mr Ferraro) would say “the socialist experiment” of public automobile insurance, once that was in place in those western provinces, did any of them go back when the governments changed and there were free enterprise governments in place? Not one. Even though they had the opportunity to get rid of the public auto insurance plans in those western provinces, not even a Social Credit government would change it.

Mr Ferraro: They changed the government instead.

Mr Laughren: Well, when the governments changed, they left the public auto insurance in place, so the argument that it is inefficient is absolutely ridiculous.

I would like to quote from a study here in Ontario a couple of years ago by Professor Weiler. This was 1983, so some of the numbers would have to be updated, but this is what Professor Weiler said:

“Suppose that a single person earning $30,000 a year is permanently disabled in an automobile accident on his way to work. If he can establish that someone else is entirely at fault, he will collect tort (legal damages) calculated at $2,500 a month, nontaxable. If the accident occurred while he was at work, perhaps driving a truck, he will collect about $1,400 a month in compensation, again nontaxable. If he was not at work and cannot establish that the other driver was at fault, he will collect $600 a month in ‘no fault’ auto benefits. If he was injured at home as a result of a crime, such as a burglary, he will collect $500 a month. But if he was injured at home due to nobody’s fault and must rely solely on CPP or Gains programs, he will get only $300 a month.”

What in the world kind of equity is that? There is no equity in accidents in this province.

What we are trying to say to this government is that it really should not matter where you get hurt, the point is you are hurt and you need to be compensated, you need to be treated and you need to get rehabilitated.

That is what the government of New Zealand decided, and the same argument that it is a national plan there and we are only a province could be made for medicare. Medicare started as a provincial program in Saskatchewan. Now it is a federal program administered by the provinces. It makes no sense to make that silly argument that it has to be national. I would prefer a national, universal disability program; no question.

In New Zealand, what happens there is that you can take the plan as a pie, if you will, and divide it into three pieces. If an earner gets injured at work or at home, the employer pays the first week’s salary and then after that the plan kicks in, whether that earner was injured at home or at work. The other piece of the pie is auto, and that is paid for by the car owners of New Zealand. If you get hurt in a car accident, it comes out of that premium. The third is “others,” so that if someone gets hurt at home or, as I mentioned, in a burglary, playing a sport or whatever, then that is picked up.

We have plans here too. We have decided in this country that nobody is going to starve to death, so we pick up the tab anyway, one way or another. What this does is make it a lot more logical.

Chairman David Slater of the Ontario Task Force on Insurance had some interesting things to say about the system in New Zealand:

“Overall, one can conclude that the money flowing through the workers’ compensation system and the automobile fault/insurance system was sufficient to finance the no-fault scheme and that the scheme is almost certainly cheaper than a continuation of the old system. It was estimated in 1982 that the accident compensation scheme resulted in annual savings of over $100 for the owners of private motor vehicles. Similar results have been predicted in Australia and the United Kingdom. It has been claimed that a similar scheme in Australia would save the country $1 million a day and the Pearson commission” -- which was a UK commission -- “found that a move to no-fault resulted in an annual saving of $84 million.”

Every group that studies a universal program comes out in favour of it -- every group. I would like to have the members opposite, instead of ranting and raving about socialism or free enterprise, take a look in a thoughtful way at studies that have been done on universal programs. I would defy them to show me those studies that say it is not a good idea. Professor Weiler said it was a good idea. The Thomson report said it was a good idea. The Slater commission said it was a good idea. Virtually everybody who studies this program says it is a good idea.

They can get up on their hind legs and say, “No, it’s socialism; we’re not going to buy it.” Fine. They can keep extracting their pound of flesh from those people who are least able to defend themselves in our society; just keep on doing it, my friends. I think they have an obligation to do something better than that, because I will tell them something: The present system is not working, and the sooner they come to that realization, the better.


I happen to believe that people who work are making a real contribution to our society. I think collectively we have decided that the work ethic is not such a bad thing and that when people work they make a contribution to all of our wellbeing, some more than others of course. Therefore, we have a community responsibility to people who get injured, regardless of where they get injured and regardless of fault. In New Zealand, everyone is covered unless it is self-inflicted -- then, of course, it is not covered -- or they are injured in carrying out a crime.

I am appalled by some of the arguments the member for Guelph made. I thought we could have a civilized debate in this chamber on whether or not a universal system was right for the people of Ontario. Instead of that, the government members are getting up on their hind legs and pretending this is a battle over capitalism versus socialism. I want to tell them that if the way they are treating injured workers in Ontario is the kind of benchmark they want to use for the treatment of those people in our society who are least able to look after themselves, then they are welcome to it, but that is not the reason they got elected with a huge majority in this province.

I believe they have an obligation, just as their convention said they did. It was a Liberal convention that said there should be a universal program. The Treasurer said it was an idea whose time is coming. The member for York Mills (Mr J. B. Nixon) -- no relation, I am sure he would want me to say -- also agreed at that same convention that it was time in Ontario we put behind us that vast array of programs. They overlap. They are expensive. They are illogical. They are inequitable in that they pay people different rates for the same kind of injury. It makes no sense whatsoever.

Somebody is going to have to tell me the difference between someone who gets injured on the job and is in a wheelchair for the rest of his life and someone who is born with a debilitating disease and spends the rest of his life in a wheelchair. I ask them to tell me how they justify that morally, paying one person an income several times that of the other person for the rest of his life. How is that fair? How do they justify that?

In New Zealand, they have not brought in sickness. The member for Leeds-Grenville is quite right, it covers only accidents. They are looking at sickness because they see the illogic of the present system. I believe it is a matter of time until sickness is included in the New Zealand plan as well. I very much hope so.

I have enjoyed this debate very much and I commend the member for Windsor-Riverside for bringing it before this House.

Mrs Sullivan: I want to start out with some personal remarks about the resolution itself that is before us. I like and respect the member for Windsor-Riverside. I assume his colleagues do as well because they elected him as their House leader. Although the member has himself expressed with some humility surprise at the confidence his peers placed in him, I have never shared that private surprise. I believe that here is a man who knows the rules of the House and the niceties of its traditions. Here is a man who does his homework on House matters, in the Board of Internal Economy and in the corridors, or maybe even the back halls.

But I am surprised and indeed chagrined that the member has framed his resolution in the way he has. The preamble is heavily partisan and I believe it would have been useful to have discussed some of the concepts he has subsequently put forward in the debate outside of that partisan framing. I think we all could have benefited from that. Because of that, I will not be able to support this resolution. I also have other reservations relating to the proposal that I will speak to in my remarks on the essence of the bill.

The government has examined many aspects of comprehensive disability insurance since a standing committee, I believe in the early 1980s, recommended this kind of approach. It has participated in a federal-provincial group, which was mentioned earlier, that has studied the prospects for a national disability scheme. More recently, the Ontario Automobile Insurance Board has been asked to analyse two options for no-fault auto insurance.

Those initiatives, along with such others, which once again have been mentioned, such as the Social Assistance Review Committee report recommendations and discussions about a compensation fund for victims of medical misadventure, contribute to our understanding about the implications of a comprehensive accident insurance scheme.

It should be noted that the costs of comprehensive disability insurance could be substantial if adequate benefits were to be provided. The member for Leeds-Grenville has spoken a bit about the situation in New Zealand where the no-fault accident program has met with high benefit and administrative costs that are unfortunate. Given the uncertainty about the future costs of a comprehensive scheme and the administrative complexity that would be required to implement it, reform of the existing array of disability insurance programs may indeed be preferable to one comprehensive scheme. I wish we had been able to discuss that kind of approach in a less partisan way.

We are now in the process of major substantive reforms of the largest no-fault eligibility insurance program in Ontario, the Workers’ Compensation Act. As members know, the workers’ compensation systems, 12 in all through workers’ compensation boards, in Canada are based upon principles that were defined and articulated at the turn of the century. It is our belief these principles are still relevant and applicable today. Workers’ comp occupies an intermediate position between the two primary methods for reimbursing lost income. The methods or models are, of course, on the one hand the tort liability system, and on the other hand the social welfare network.

In contrast to the tort liability approach, which is currently used to settle compensation claims out of motor vehicle accidents, workers’ compensation is based on a no-fault premise in the awarding of benefits. Our system of workers’ compensation is the result of a historic tradeoff. We all know that the tradeoff meant workers in Ontario gave up their right to sue their employers in court, and therefore the opportunity to collect damages for all the economic and other losses they have incurred. In return workers were guaranteed protection against income losses due to workplace accident, irrespective of fault.

It was no surprise to any of us who participated in the Bill 162 hearings recently that several individuals and groups stated that the present system of workers’ compensation is essentially sound. There are reservations, and we are familiar with them. Workers complain about benefit levels, difficulty in proving claims, and delays and poor treatment at the hands of board representatives. Employers, on the other hand, have been heard to complain about the escalating cost of assessments, fraudulent claims and malingering.

But what is most revealing is that both workers and employers were united in defence of the system when it was recently challenged in Newfoundland. Participants in the court case included attorneys general from three provinces and workers’ compensation boards from six provinces and one territory, as well as representatives of employer groups and organized labour.

Under Canadian systems of workers’ compensation, the historic tradeoff of which I spoke earlier has meant that workers receive benefits and rehabilitative assistance without having to establish any liability on the part of the employer. What is essentially a no-fault insurance plan has replaced a legal system that would have involved greater delays and large legal costs.

In Newfoundland, the widow of an employee who was electrocuted contended that the death of her husband was due to the employer’s negligence. She then tried to bring an action against the employer rather than accept survivor’s benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act. In the trial court, she argued successfully that the denial of her right to sue constituted discrimination under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

At the Court of Appeal, however, the court ruled that the scheme of workers’ compensation was neither unfair nor unreasonable. It provided compensation for medical aid, rehabilitation services, job search and medical rehabilitation with no delays in receiving benefits, no legal costs, no dependence upon the solvency of an employer for compensation matters that would arise out of the issue, no issue of liability to be resolved, no reduction in compensation when the injured worker was negligent, and tax-free benefits and coverage for short-term disabilities


The point is that the basic operating principles of workers’ compensation in Newfoundland were proven to be fair and reasonable, and we believe that in Ontario the same applies. As legislators, we must seriously ask ourselves if we want to confuse the principles guiding compensation for auto accidents with those for workers’ compensation.

It is difficult to compare circumstances surrounding accidents in the workplace environment to those as a result of auto accidents. The workplace brings together various economic needs: the need to produce goods and services, the need to earn an income, the need to be productive. Accidents occurring in this environment must be dealt with differently from those occurring on the roads and highways.

There are 500,000 claims filed every year with the Workers’ Compensation Board. Those claims that are eligible to receive benefits do so at the employers’ expense. Some form of universal accident insurance that extends coverage to both the workplace and automobiles would require a different form of financing, which would shift the burden away from employers.

In New Zealand, its form of universal accident insurance has meant that every driver must pay a levy. Every taxpayer also contributes to the maintenance of the program. This is a far cry from the funding arrangements now operating within the Ontario system of workers’ compensation where employers, not ordinary taxpayers or car drivers, pay for workplace accidents.

Again, this approach comes very close to paralleling the social assistance model of income replacement. I think we should be careful not to confuse workers’ compensation with social welfare. Social welfare carries with it the concept that a community as a whole is under an obligation to care for the economic needs of those unable to care for themselves. That is not what drives workers’ compensation.

I believe, as my party has debated and concluded, that there might be merit in a comprehensive disability system in the province. I do not concur that the workers’ compensation system should be dismantled by its inclusion in a comprehensive scheme such as put forward by the House leader of the opposition.

I regret the way the member has framed his resolution and I will not be supporting it at the time of the vote,

The Speaker: Are there any other members wishing to participate? The member for Riverdale for up to seven minutes.

Mr Reville: Seven minutes may seem like a boon to members of the Legislature who have heard me speak for much longer than that on several occasions, and I hope will want to again.

One of the things I found most amazing in terms of knowledge that you pick up as a member of Parliament was a meeting I had that was chaired by the then member for Sudbury East, Elie Martel. We were looking into concerns that workers had about the response our society makes to loss. We talked to a person who described the different outcomes that were possible for people in Ontario today who had suffered a catastrophic loss, who had become, say, quadriplegic.

In Ontario, depending on how that misfortune befalls you, there is a remarkably different future ahead of you. If, for instance, you are born with a disability that is profound, probably what will happen to you in this province is that you will get family benefits, $300, $400 or $500 a month.

If, like Barbara Turnbull, you are working in a convenience store and you are shot and become a paraplegic, then you will get $500 a month from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.

If you slip and fall in your own kitchen, suffer a profound trauma and are rendered a paraplegic, again, you may get family benefits.

If you are crushed in a workplace, and the Workers’ Compensation Board decides you have suffered a work-related injury, then you will get a percentage of the salary you had earned.

If you go to the lottery system of the courts, as did the parents of the young fellow in Brampton who suffered a terrible bodily injury while riding on a dirt bike -- originally the courts awarded $6 million and found liability against the municipality of Brampton; half of which, of course, was for gross-up. It was overturned on appeal and he got nothing. If his parents should die, as I guess one day they will, then he will be on family benefits.

If you win the court lottery and you get the $6 million, you pay $3 million of that to the federal and provincial governments for taxes. You are left with $3 million. The amount of money it costs you to pay for the services you need -- an attendant perhaps, renovations to your home, a redesign of your work career; and this has happened to people.

I know of a lawyer, for instance, who suffered an injury that left him a quadriplegic. He was able to rearrange his law practice so that he could continue to work out of his own home. He made an income of about $60,000 a year, which members of this Parliament would think was a fairly significant amount of money. After that gentleman got finished paying for his attendant, his special equipment and his medications not covered by health insurance, he was living below the poverty line.

Those are the kinds of outcomes a person in this province can expect. I think it is wrong that you get a terrible outcome or a modestly bad outcome or a slightly-below-the-poverty-line outcome depending on which category you fall into. I have never heard a description that more makes the case for a universal sickness and disability plan than those kinds of real-life stories, which regrettably happen to people all the time in Ontario.

In those cases where a system has been developed and put in place, you then go and fight with that system for the benefits you are entitled to, and we all know, every member of this House knows, how hard a fight that can be. In many cases, those benefits are more theoretical than real, but at least you have access to the system.

The woman who falls off the chair in the kitchen may have no access to a system like that. If I am run over by a garbage truck in front of my house, perhaps the city of Toronto’s self-insurance will kick in and I will be one of the lucky ones who gets the $6 million, but I suspect I will not be. Even if I do get that, it will not cover all my expenses.

The New Democratic Party has been talking about universal sickness, accident and disability plans for sometime. We began to talk about them with particularly topical vigour when in fact the gnomes of Zurich began to do strange things to reinsurance moneys about two years ago. Municipalities found themselves unable to afford insurance, hospitals found themselves unable to afford insurance and groups like the Rose Parade people, who are volunteers, could not afford to pay the municipalities insurance money so that they could have their parades. All sorts of voluntary activity was cut off at the knees.

I think society has to plan to compensate people adequately for loss. The best way to do that is to support the resolution of the member for Windsor-Riverside.


Mr D. S. Cooke: I would like to thank the members who have participated in the debate and respond to a couple of points. First of all, I would like to say something to the member for Halton Centre (Mrs Sullivan) who said that the evidence is that the workers’ compensation system is basically sound. I would like her to go tell that to the Bendix workers in my area who worked with asbestos or the gold mine workers in this province. There are many others who would say to her that she is totally and completely wrong.

To the member for Guelph, I always thought that it was our party that was accused of being overly ideological. He has proven to me today that he and his kind of instinctive approach to these types of issues show that ideology prevents us from finding some basic solutions. This government has to decide whether they are here to simply get re-elected or whether they are here to eliminate the injustice and unfairness that currently exist in this province. If they want to eliminate some unfairness and injustice, they would show the way in Canada by bringing in a universal sickness and accident program.

The Speaker: We will now deal with private members’ notice of motion 6, Mr Owen’s resolution.


The Speaker: Mr Owen has moved resolution 6.

Motion agreed to.



The House divided on Mr D. S. Cooke’s motion of resolution 2, which was negatived on the following vote:


Breaugh, Bryden, Charlton, Cooke, D. S., Grier, Kormos, Laughren, Mackenzie, Martel, Morin-Strom, Pouliot, Reville.


Adams, Bossy, Brown, Callahan, Cleary, Collins, Cooke, D. R., Cordiano, Cureatz, Dietsch, Elliot, Epp, Faubert, Fawcett, Ferraro, Fleet, Hart, Henderson, Jackson, Johnson, J. M., Kanter, Keyes, LeBourdais, Lupusella, MacDonald, Mancini, Marland, Matrundola, McClelland, McGuinty, Nicholas, Oddie Munro, Offer, Owen, Pelissero, Pollock, Polsinelli, Poole, Reycraft, Roberts, Runciman, Ruprecht, Smith, D. W., Sola, South, Sullivan, Tatham, Wilson.

Ayes 12; nays 48.

The House recessed at 1211.


The House resumed at 1330.


Mr B. Rae: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I would like to raise with you a question of privilege regarding the conduct yesterday of the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley), if I might have a few moments to put forward my point.

The Speaker: Very good.

Mr B. Rae: This is the first time in my experience as a member of any Parliament when the members of a legislative body have been treated, and indeed the public health of the province has been treated, with such contempt by a minister of the crown.

Between the official opposition and the third party we asked a particular, specific question to the Minister of the Environment yesterday not once, but a total of 13 times. We asked a very specific question. The minister refused to answer that question on each occasion. He then went out of this place, was prompted by the principal secretary of the Premier (Mr Peterson), members of his own staff and the government House leader, and 45 minutes to an hour later met the press and answered that very specific question as soon as it was asked by members of the media.

I simply want to signal to you, sir, that I regard a minister who would treat the House in this kind of way, who would treat in this way legitimate questions put to him very specifically and clearly, who would refuse to answer that question and then choose to go outside and almost as a casual kind of aside refer to the time when he knew about the contamination of fuels in this province, as treating this House with contempt, as treating the privileges of members of this House with contempt.

What is the point of having a question period if after spending a length of time asking a very specific question, the minister just ignores that question and chooses instead to stonewall it until he is told by his advisers that his tactic of stonewalling is simply not going to work? It shows contempt for the House. More important, it shows contempt for the people of this province and for the public health of this province. That is why this minister should resign.

Mr Harris: I would like to take a couple of moments to comment on the point raised by the Leader of the Opposition, certainly to support everything he has said and put forward and also to indicate to you, Mr Speaker, as you reflect upon our comments today, that it may be you will want to reflect on them and think in a serious way about the rights not only of the members of this House, but indeed of Ontarians, and about what question period is, what the purpose of question period is.

I do not want to restate the facts of the situation. I think they are clear to all members and I think the Leader of the Opposition has stated them very accurately. I would add to the importance of the comments that were raised by the Leader of the Opposition that I believe, sir, that the public is increasingly wondering what question period is for. Is it a time for members on all sides of the House to get information, to get answers to questions and to find out what is going on? Is it a time, through that questioning, as is our duty, for that information to be made public and to be available to the public or is it some kind of game? It really concerns me that the public seems to be getting this sense.

I say on behalf of my party that we do not think it is a game. Yes, politics enters into this; partisanship politics enters into it. But we do not think that is the principal reason for question period. The contempt that was shown for both parties of this House yesterday and for all the public of Ontario, through us, by the Minister of the Environment is unacceptable.

Mr Speaker, I do not know what ruling exists for you as our leader, as our parliamentary arbitrator. I do not know what vehicle exists for you to perhaps censure the minister. Indeed, I suggest to you that this minister ought to resign. Indeed, I suggest to you that there may not be that vehicle there for you and it may be that you may have to convene a meeting of key representatives of all parties in this House to look at what authority and what powers you have when such a blatant abuse of our rights as we saw yesterday is allowed to take place.

Hon Mr Conway: If I might briefly address the point of privilege the Leader of the Opposition has raised, in dealing with it I would like to make two or three observations.

The first is that I spent almost all of yesterday in the House. I heard my colleague the Minister of the Environment answer a number of questions put by my friends in the opposition during the course of question period. I want to say that the Leader of the Opposition has made a number of charges about who prompted whom. I think those are allegations he might want to really think about because he accuses me of doing some things that certainly do not square with my understanding of the reality of which I was part.

I must say that not only did the Minister of the Environment participate in question period, but he was in his place later in the afternoon addressing the situation at some length in the emergency debate that was asked for by the opposition. I well remember yesterday afternoon around five o’clock the Minister of the Environment setting out in some detail, once again, the situation that concerned honourable members opposite.

As well, in so far as a contempt of the House is concerned, I have to say that the people who watch the daily proceedings of this Legislature would probably share with me a concern that if there is a contempt of this House, it is when honourable members duly elected to do business and to debate the issues of this province in this place simply walk out and refuse to participate, as we saw yesterday.

I have to say to my friends in the opposition that of course they have a right and a responsibility to ask questions, and the government has a right and a responsibility to answer those questions. It is up to the opposition to decide how they choose to ask their questions, and it is equally up to the government to decide how it chooses to answer those questions.

I want to say to the opposition House leaders that we have seen from the government perspective activities here over the past number of months that concern us and I am sure concern the reasonable people of Ontario. We see ministers not being allowed to introduce bills and we see ministers of finance -- the provincial Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) -- not being allowed to read budget.

We have to say that there are in fact developments here that we believe are not very responsible, that are contemptuous of the place and of the traditions. We would say the opposition bears a very considerable share of the responsibility for some of those activities.

I just want to say, concerning the point of order, that the Minister of the Environment was here yesterday, both during question period and during the emergency debate; he gave an accounting of his actions in a way that I think explains what his department has been about, and it was not the Minister of the Environment who walked out of this chamber yesterday, but rather the opposition.



The Speaker: Order. I have listened very carefully to the three members who have spoken. As I understand, the Leader of the Opposition rose on a point of order and it turned into a point of privilege.

I recall that on many other occasions in this House similar points have been raised and I, along with other Speakers, have made rulings on similar circumstances. As the members will know, the Speaker is here to make certain that the standing orders, as set out under power of the members who are sitting here, are maintained as I understand the standing orders, particularly during question period.

It is not up to the Speaker to state that a minister must answer in any certain way. I think I have tried to fulfil that as well as I could in the past. I must also say it is up to the Speaker not to become involved in what takes place outside the House. However, there have been occasions when I have reminded members that it is common courtesy to make announcements within this House.

I feel it is not a point of privilege.



Mr Mackenzie: Members of this House have been treated to the spectacle of thousands of Ontario citizens being exposed to some of the most toxic and deadly contaminants in our industrial society: polychlorinated biphenyls, where a minor spill will close plants or even highways, and dioxins and furans, which are a real danger to health in even minute amounts. These chemicals, mixed with fuel by sick and unsavoury characters, have been shipped to Ontario. Their use can contaminate homes, hospitals, garages and greenhouses.

Gas station attendants and construction workers may be more directly affected than others by the nature of their contact with contaminated gas at the pumps and the use in construction of fuel for machines and heavy equipment. Here the real need to bid low makes cheaper fuel a real incentive. These workers can be exposed at levels that would not be allowed in a plant with a straight PCB spill.

This shocking disregard of the health and safety of workers and the public is underlined by this government’s hesitation in bringing in fundamental health and safety legislation such as Bill 208. The government has put a minister’s ego and an investigation ahead of the public’s right to know in terms of a threat to its health. This government listens to a powerful employer lobby that says current levels of death and injury in the workplace are acceptable and that the right to manage business should supersede a joint, equal and co-operative right to a safe and healthy workplace.

If that is the position of this government, it will stand condemned and convicted of accessory to workplace slaughter in the eyes of workers across this province. The Premier (Mr Peterson) should wake up and listen to his heart and not to the corporate wallet and proceed with Bill 208.


Mr Pollock: Approximately two years ago, the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr Kerrio) invited me to join him to fly over the abandoned railroad line known as the Marmora subdivision. The day was an ideal day for flying and we had a good view of the abandoned railroad line. The minister had an excellent chance to assess the terrain and acquaint himself with that particular part of eastern Ontario.

The former Minister of Tourism and Recreation committed funding for a feasibility study. This document contained the pros and cons and costs and revenues of this being a recreation trail. The government has appointed an interministerial committee of four different ministries; namely, Transportation, the Environment, Tourism and Recreation, and Natural Resources. Their job was to hear briefs about abandoned railroad lines all over Ontario.

There have been many other jurisdictions that have taken over abandoned railroad lines; to name a few, Quebec, Michigan and Florida. These states and that province claim they are a boost to the tourism industry. Florida regards its abandoned railroad lines as state park corridors. When is the Ontario government going to assume responsibility for some of these abandoned railroad lines?


Mr Adams: The Peterborough Petes are the élite of the Ontario Hockey League. They are the club with class, decade in and decade out.

The Petes were founded in 1956 and have produced more National Hockey League players than any other OHL team. There are currently 40 former Petes in the NHL. Coaches Nielsen, Greene, Bowman, Martin and Keenan all graduated from the Peterborough club.

The Petes have always been concerned about the education and social life of players, as well as hockey skills. Players drafted to Peterborough become a real part of the community.

Coach Dick Todd and the 1988-89 Petes are worthy representatives of this fine tradition. They have won the club’s sixth OHL title and are once again representing our province in the Memorial Cup.

The Peterborough club meant a great deal to Eddie Redmond, who died last week. Ed joined the Petes’ executive in 1968 and remained associated with the club. He followed its successes and was especially proud of this year’s team.

I am sure my colleagues will join with me, the people of Peterborough and the Peterborough Petes hockey club in offering condolences to the Redmond family. Eddie Redmond was a distinguished sportsman and citizen of this province.


Mr Laughren: I have written the following letter to the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan):

“I have received a copy of a letter written to you by Dr R. Corringham, director of the northeastern Ontario oncology program. Dr Corringham has, understandably, taken offence at a conversation he had with your deputy minister, Dr Martin Barkin, on Friday, May 5, just three days before your scheduled visit to Laurentian Hospital on May 8.

“Dr Barkin told Dr Corringham that if he raised the question of Dr Anthony Ho at the press conference then there would be no more visits from the minister and no more ‘goodies’ for Sudbury.

“Madam Minister, what is going on? When you allocate funds for the cancer treatment centre in Sudbury, you are not doing us a favour, you are carrying out your duties as a Minister of Health. You are spending public funds, not your own, and certainly not Dr Barkin’s. I personally don’t give a damn if I ever see your face in Sudbury, but you have an obligation to fund the northeastern Ontario oncology program without engaging in ‘bully-boy’ tactics and intimidation.

“I can only assume at this point that Dr Barkin was acting on his own and that you will offer an apology to Dr Corringham, who has worked tirelessly to make the cancer treatment centre a reality.”


Mr Runciman: I rise to speak once again in support of police officers across Ontario and to recognize the concerns they have expressed over many provisions of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force report now under consideration by the Solicitor General (Mrs Smith).

The Police Association of Ontario says that police are petrified by some of the proposals and that many of them must have been drafted by, and I quote, “an idiot.” I agree, and like many police officers I am concerned about how this trendy, soft-on-crime Liberal government will react to these proposals.

This is a government that sends two cabinet ministers to the funeral of a man shot by police while driving a stolen car, yet fails to say one word of condolence to the family of an Ontario Provincial Police officer killed in the line of duty.

This is a government that restricts the weaponry of police and will not permit soft-tipped bullets, while at the same time the criminal element utilizes Uzi submachine guns and high-powered rifles.

This is a government that spouts endless rhetoric about fighting illicit drugs, but takes virtually no real action to combat the growing menace.

This is a government that ignores the reality of street gangs and their increasing violence.

This government, this Liberal government has, through its anti-police rhetoric and action, severely shaken police morale and is doing its best to thwart the efforts of our police to maintain the high degree of safety that is not only a custom in our province, it is taken as a right.


Mr Ferraro: On a more pleasant note, I am pleased to have this opportunity to make sure all members of the House are aware of the Guelph Spring Festival and indeed to invite them all to one of the highlights of the Canadian artistic calendar.

The festival opened last Friday in Guelph and will run until 3 June, a period in which my city will be, without question, the entertainment capital of Canada. The members may already know this festival started in 1967 as a national vocal competition, but now serves as an international showcase for everything from children’s concerts to world premieres of ballets and operas.

This year’s program alone, for example, will include the first North American visit of Moscow’s Poliansky Choir and the world premiere of a murder-mystery detective opera written especially for the festival. The festival was set up 22 years ago to honour one of Guelph’s favourite sons, Edward Johnson, who was a renowned opera singer and former general manager of New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

I know the members of this House will make every attempt to be part of this four-week celebration of the arts and would want to offer their best wishes to the festival’s artistic director, Louis Applebaum, the staff of the Edward Johnson Music Foundation and everyone involved in putting Guelph and Ontario on the cultural map of the world.



Mr Philip: No one can question the value of the Ontario Human Rights Commission in bringing about a fairer, more humane and more sensitive society, but at the present time its ability to do so is clouded by a series of allegations of mismanagement, irregular hiring practices and favouritism.

We have seen resignations of key staff people and indications of poor morale among the staff crippling the work of the commission. Leaders of visible minorities have wondered why members of their communities have been passed over for key appointments, and the minister himself has admitted that in the past few days he has received numerous phone calls from groups and individuals wondering what is happening to the commission.

In spite of this, the minister, rather than showing leadership, has acted as an interested spectator. Even today, we have an indication that he has no statement to present to the House to tell what action he intends to do to take care of the matters and allegations of the Human Rights Commission.

It is time for the minister to act; it is time for him and this government to establish a royal commission to look into the allegations. Nothing less will clear the air; nothing less will serve the people who feel that they have a grievance; nothing less will serve the interests of those people who feel that they have been abandoned by this government.


The Speaker: That completes the allotted time for members’ statements. Just before I call the next order of business, I know all members would want me to draw their attention to three former members in the lower west gallery: Pat Hayes, Ross McClellan and Milton Gregory.

Mr Brandt: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I do not know of anyone who served in this Legislative Assembly by the name of Milton. Could you qualify who that might be?

Mr B. Rae: This Bud’s for you.

The Speaker: If I made a mistake, I apologize.

Hon Mr Sweeney: I welcome our former colleagues back to the House again.



Hon Mr Sweeney: For the past three years my ministry, with the assistance of the volunteer bureaus of Ontario, has been honouring volunteers, who are the backbone of our social service agencies in the community, with the Community Service Award.

Each year, one person is selected from that list of 40 Community Service Award recipients to receive the minister’s award as Volunteer of the Year.

I am delighted to be able to introduce my ministry’s Volunteer of the Year for 1988, Larry Knapp of Sault Ste Marie. Today Larry, his wife Rhea and son Philip are seated in the east gallery and we welcome you.


Hon Mr Sweeney: This is truly an exceptional person. Larry is a representative of all the wonderful volunteers -- young and old, from all sectors in the community -- who give of themselves in order to improve the quality of life for someone in their community.

Larry is an artist who, a while back, lost his vision completely.

The professionals and volunteers with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind in Sault Ste Marie helped Larry to accept the fact that in spite of his physical limitations, he still possessed extraordinary gifts and talents.

One example is his talent as a leader and ambassador on behalf of people in northern Ontario who have physical limitations and disabilities. Larry is working diligently to have buildings designed to allow easy access to persons who may rely on the use of a wheelchair or other mobility aids.

For the last 12 years, Larry has been extremely active with the Sault-Algoma advisory board of the CNIB -- three of those years as chairman.

In addition to his role as chairman and head of the public relations and fund-raising committees, Larry is involved in the agency’s direct services.

He is training others who have lost their vision to maintain their independence through the use of new technology and by offering personal counselling. Larry is providing the same type of training and empathetic support that he himself received when he lost his sight.

Larry Knapp inspires and helps these people because he is such a marvellous example.

Instead of giving up his art, Larry made the transition from painting to sculpture.

Larry Knapp was selected this year because he is helping all of us to appreciate the abilities of people. He is helping all of us to appreciate the gifts that are freely offered by persons, regardless of their age, status in society or limitations.

Mr Knapp and the volunteers that he represents help us to become more caring, more respectful and more considerate as a society.

On behalf of the people of Ontario and all of my colleagues in this Legislature, thank you, Larry.


Hon Mr Riddell: I would like to present to the members of the House the results of the beef cattle marketing vote held in April 1989.

As my honourable colleagues are probably aware, the vote was announced in February 1989, at the recommendation of the Ontario Beef Marketing Task Force. The mandate of that task force was to develop a plan of action aimed at achieving a long-term, viable beef industry in Ontario. The mail-in ballot that beef cattle producers received last month provided them with the opportunity to vote on the future of the marketing system for their industry in Ontario.

Today I wish to report the results of that vote to the House. Twenty thousand producers cast valid ballots; 72 per cent voted “no” to the establishment of a producer-controlled marketing commission to regulate the sale of all Ontario beef cattle. As a result of this significant percentage, Ontario beef cattle producers will continue to have individual choice of marketing methods.

Earlier today, I met with the executives of the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association and the Ontario Beef Producers for Change and reported the results of the vote.

The beef industry has debated the market-structure issue for several years without a resolution. Now that all producers have had a chance to vote on this issue, I have encouraged both groups to work co-operatively to address the challenges facing the beef industry.

I have also indicated to them my willingness to proceed on the other recommendations of the Beef Marketing Task Force report, which affect the whole industry.

Members of the House will also be interested to know the results of the sheep referendum. In a ballot sent out last month, Ontario’s sheep, lamb and wool producers were asked if they supported the continuation of the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency.

Of the 1,529 eligible votes cast, 72 per cent supported the continuation of the agency. I am pleased that the Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency has been supported by such a high percentage of voters.



Mr Morin-Strom: I am very pleased to be able to respond to the announcement today by the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr Sweeney).

The selection of a fellow Saultite, Larry Knapp, as the Volunteer of the Year for Ontario, I think, is certainly a very appropriate one. For many years, Larry has been a true inspiration to the people of my community and our area of the province.

Larry started his career as a teacher of art in our school systems, someone who wanted to work for people and pass on a skill he had to others in our society. That is a profession that is a particularly important one to our community as Sault Ste Marie has historically been a community of great artists, a community that was a centre of focus for the Group of Seven, historically, and has generated many excellent artists in recent years.


Unfortunately, Larry faced a very difficult personal tragedy, as many would look at it, as he lost his sight more than a dozen years ago, obviously a condition which is absolutely critical to the profession he had chosen. But Larry has taken that disability and really turned it into an ability and has transformed his own life and his own abilities into continuing in the art profession himself in the area of professional sculpture work. More important for all of us in our community, he has turned it into an asset in terms of what he has put into the local community, particularly the blind community through the Canadian National Institute for the Blind in Sault Ste Marie and the work he has done more recently with respect to building design for the physically and visually handicapped.

His work has truly been an inspiration to the people of Sault Ste Marie and now is being presented as an illustration of the kind of work which is an inspiration to everyone in Ontario. I thank you so much, Larry.

Mr Allen: As social services critic for my party, I want to add my voice to that of my colleague and the minister and to congratulate the minister in his excellent choice. As critic also for the Office for Disabled Persons, I have sat with the minister in that instance where we ranged through scores of applicants, persons with disabilities who have done amazing things in their communities as volunteers. It is just literally true that there are scores of people out there whose lives, like Larry’s, have become an inspiration, a triumph over personal adversity turned into service to our communities. We certainly praise them deeply for what they do.

None the less, without taking a single moment of glory away from those volunteers or those with disabilities who serve our communities so well, I want to at least note that the government and the past government have taken advantage in significant ways of the volunteer tradition, sometimes to the disadvantage of our social services. I refer, for example, to the case in point of the associations for community living, which have arisen out of the volunteering spirit. Because of that, the transfers the government has given to those agencies have unfortunately been of a rather less than adequate character. The staff are paid against a background of volunteering which has meant that their compensation has been rather less than adequate.

As I say, that does not take away from the importance of this occasion, but I think it is a note that we want to put before the government, as they make these awards, that they should not take advantage of the volunteer spirit in unfortunate ways for agencies involved.


Mr Laughren: In response to the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr Riddell), I was pleased that he was able to announce the result of the vote today. The beef cattle industry now actually has spoken and they have spoken very strongly on how they feel. We were looking forward with some interest to that vote. The minister in his statement said, “Members of the House will also be interested to know the results of the sheep referendum.” As someone who was raised on a farm, I can say that I have often wondered what sheep were thinking.


Mrs Marland: This is one of the occasions in this Legislature when it is indeed a privilege to rise, when one can join in the commendation of Larry Knapp. We are all proud today to share in the recognition of you, Mr Knapp, as Volunteer of the Year for 1988 in this province.

Those of us who have worked in the community as politicians -- as leaders, hopefully -- and as volunteers at some time, know that nothing government can ever do in any community can ever replace the depth or quality of work of our volunteers.

I know, as he is recognized specifically today, that he realizes he is sharing his honour as a representative of all the volunteers in this province. His particular talents and willingness to share those talents are indeed an inspiration for everyone. For him to become the exemplary role model which he has become to all of us, volunteers alike, he obviously has become a motivator and an inspiration which we should all follow as carefully as we can. Obviously his compassion, caring and commitment are indeed outstanding.

On behalf of the Progressive Conservative caucus and all the people in Ontario who depend on volunteerism to make their daily lives happier, more comfortable and more enjoyable, we indeed pay him the greatest tribute we possibly can and thank him from the bottom of our hearts.


Mr Villeneuve: In reply to the announcement by the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr Riddell) today: It is not really surprising to see that the vote was overwhelmingly for status quo in the red meat and beef industry. I do hope the two warring factions take his advice and work together. Numerous fiery meetings were held across the province to try to explain both sides of the issue, and the producers have now spoken. This is but the beginning.

I also address my comments to the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon). The Ontario Federation of Agriculture took a very neutral position when the beef vote came up, but it will not be taking a neutral position on the possibility of the government unilaterally changing the farm tax rebate. I know the Treasurer had a meeting with them and they are not sure what the message was he conveyed to them regarding the farm tax rebate.

To the Minister of Agriculture and Food, we certainly have a situation in rural Ontario where there is an 18 per cent reduction in net farm income predicted in 1989. This is a very poor time to talk about discontinuing farm tax rebates, about reducing the Ontario family farm interest rate reduction program by 60 per cent. These are very important aspects of agriculture.

I am speaking to the minister in charge of Agriculture and Food in the province of Ontario, to the past president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. Yes, we need input from the federation of agriculture, but to the minister in charge of Agriculture and Food and the Treasurer in the province of Ontario, Ontario farmers receive the least financial support of any province in Canada for the major industry of agriculture and food.

This is but the beginning. This is a very serious situation and let us hope the government of Ontario does not throw the farmers to the wolves -- or should I say the sheep to the wolves?



Mr B. Rae: Last day we tried to get some answers from the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley). He did not have the courtesy to tell us; he went outside and told the press that he in fact knew about the question of contaminated fuel some time in January. Other evidence was given by other officials in his department that in fact the department has known for some time before that.

Whether the minister has known for five months or whether his department has known for eight months or a year, what I want to ask the minister today is this. Again, it is a very specific question. Can the minister tell us why, when he had apparently solid information in January with respect to this problem, he took none of the steps which, as minister, he is obligated to do, to inform the public, to advise the public of a potential health risk?


Hon Mr Bradley: What the member would have liked me to do, obviously, is to act on rumour and allegation. When there are rumours that circulate or allegations that come to the attention of the investigations and enforcement branch, its job is to investigate to see if there is any basis for those rumours.

Does the Leader of the Opposition think I should develop a blacklist of companies, for instance, that might be suspected because of the rumours that are forthcoming or the allegations that are made? I do not think I could responsibly do that.

If I want to protect the province, I have to ensure that these people are put out of business, not simply report on rumours and allegations, so that we develop as extensive an investigation as possible, including interrogation of people or discussion with people and including the actual testing that takes place at such places as the border and the plant gates.

Mr B. Rae: It is interesting that it would take not a member of my party but someone who I understand is a member of theirs, Jim Conrad, who is also with the Canadian Federation of Independent Petroleum Marketers.

In a letter to the Premier (Mr Peterson) today, Mr Conrad said: “Jim Bradley is only damaging the reputation of government when he says he has the answers when he doesn’t.” He also says that there has been information available to the ministry and to the Ministry of Revenue with respect to the tax evasion problem and with respect to the contamination problem for a considerable period of time.

The minister alone knows what the source of his information was, but his executive assistant tells us that the Ministry of the Environment was going on police information. Steve Naum of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States says that the information the ministry is working with is information that has been provided by the FBI. That is not a rumour --

The Speaker: Question?

Mr B. Rae: -- that is information that is provided on the basis of police sources. The minister knows that when he talks vaguely about rumours.

I want to come back to my question and I want the minister to answer it specifically. Why did he take no steps whatsoever to inform the public, to protect the public, to advise the public of a potential health risk?

Hon Mr Bradley: I say to the Leader of the Opposition that if his approach is to act on allegations which are made that come to the attention of the Ministry of the Environment --


The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Bradley: When these allegations come to our attention, when no charges have been laid, I do not know how the member expects that we can act on that basis. What we have to do and what we have done is initiate a strong, very extensive investigation that involves, as I say, questioning people, obtaining tips from people and in fact doing some tests, either at the border or in other places, to determine the veracity of the allegations that are made. When we can obtain that information, of course we are then in a position to take the kind of action that the member suggests should have been taken.

Mr B. Rae: Let me put it to the minister that if he has been conducting tests -- he says he got this information in January. The only tests he has told us about are tests that took place in April. If he is telling us today that he took tests back in January and none of those tests proved anything or showed that there were any contaminants in any fuels, let him say so. Let him make that statement today. Let him state categorically that the tests he has conducted -- he now says “other sites.” He does not tell us where, apart from at the border. Let him stand up and say that he has determined as a result of those tests that there is in fact no problem.

The fact that the minister has not had the courtesy to tell us or the people of this province what the results of the tests were indicates that there is indeed a problem. I want to come back to his obligations that are clearly established under the Environmental Protection Act. If he has reasonable and probable grounds to believe there is a problem, under section 7 of that act he has to act.

I want specifically to ask the minister this question: If he has reasonable and probable grounds to launch an investigation which has taken some five months, involving four ministries at least, by the admission of his own ministry --

The Speaker: Order. Would the member take his seat?

Hon Mr Bradley: I go back to the fact that I indicated --


The Speaker: Order. Once again, we will just wait, if you want to waste the time. Order. Minister, response?

Hon Mr Bradley: When we have that kind of substantiated evidence to present, we are then in the position to take action. That is what I have said to the member.

When we have results which show, in fact, that there is a case to be made and there is confirmation of these allegations, then I will be in a position to announce action on the part of the government; particularly action which is designed to get at those who are perpetrating this crime, if there are those in the province who are doing so, Whether it is people in Ontario doing it or whether it is people in other jurisdictions doing it, that is what our investigation is designed to do, when we have the results.

When I said, for instance -- the member makes reference to January. I was informed in January, as I said, that there were allegations --


The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Bradley: The member is interested -- that there were allegations that were going to be investigated in this regard, and our ministry then commenced an extensive investigation which involved the tainted fuels aspect of it. They indicated that could be a possible way people might be disguising wastes. So they commenced that investigation. One of the aspects of the investigation, I say to the leader of the third party if he is interested, was that the blitz was conducted at the border and at the plant gates. There were other aspects of the investigation as well.


The Speaker: Order. New question.

Mr B. Rae: Perhaps I could ask the minister this simple factual question. He has had five months now, by his own admission, in which he has apparently been taking tests, according to his answers to my first questions; tests at the border and tests at other sites, among other things. I would like to ask the minister, has the government in fact conducted tests at various sites across the province, what are those sites and can he tell us the results of those tests?

Hon Mr Bradley: The tests did not commence in January, as I indicated to the member in my response. What I said was that it was brought to my attention by my ministry in January that there were allegations being made that this could be a problem. They said, “We are going to commence an investigation into this specific aspect of it, because we think there could be problems.”

They indicated that to me and then proceeded to commence an investigation. Part of that investigation involved the plant-gate physical tests that took place, plus those that took place at the border stops themselves. As a result of those, as I said to the member, if there was evidence that could indicate that in fact that is a problem, we would be prepared to take action.

In addition to that, I indicate that the federal government is also involved in tests of that kind and, as a result of these tests, I have said to the Solicitor General (Mrs Smith) that on those aspects which might involve a criminal conspiracy, the OPP would be asked to look at those aspects and the Ministry of the Environment would continue to look at the aspects which relate to the environmental consideration.


Mr B. Rae: Let me perhaps ask another question to it, because I think the minister is simply indicating today in the House that he knew in January, that he was advised by his ministry. He has not told us what his ministry knew and when it knew it; he has only told us when he knew and what he knew.

When the minister received the allegation with respect to the possible contamination of fuel in January, can he tell us why he did not at that point immediately start conducting tests with regard to the possible contamination of Ontario’s fuel with polychlorinated biphenyls? If the minister heard about it in January, why was he not ordering his officials --

The Speaker: Thank you. The question has been asked.

Hon Mr Bradley: They commenced the investigation in January of this year because they said it was brought to their attention through allegations and rumours that in fact this could be one way in which waste -- and the member should keep in mind there is more than one problem with wastes that exists in North America, and one of the problems could in fact be tainted fuels.

As a result, they were to commence an investigation. First of all, they have to determine whether the rumours have any substantiation, whether the allegations have anything to them. They develop such an investigation with the co-operation of others, and then they try to produce the results which will either confirm or not confirm the allegations which are made and which will build a case designed to put crooks out of business, if indeed that is what they can find.

Mrs Grier: We on this side are very tired of the Minister of the Environment treating serious questions to a fog of obfuscation and refusing to answer them. Does the minister not realize that PCBs in contaminated heating oil was a public health threat when he first heard about it, was a public health threat when he began to investigate it and is a public health threat today? Why has he not told the people of this province what he knows about it and what they ought to be doing about that threat?

Hon Mr Bradley: A couple of points come to mind. I was watching The Journal last night and I made some notes on that. Some of the notes are rather interesting. The people who made some suggestions on what might be done --


The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Bradley: Incidentally, one individual was Colin lsaacs of Pollution Probe, a former colleague of the member’s, who has expressed his concern about this. What he said, I think, is something most people in this province would agree with. He said:

“It is something that has to be done at a governmental level right across the country, and I think it is very important that we set up programs to stop this at the source, rather than trying to protect ourselves one on one...on a personal level, I do not think it is going to do too much to me unless I have my nose stuck right up their exhaust pipe.”


The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Bradley: I am simply sharing with the member one point of view that was expressed.

The Speaker: Order. Perhaps I should remind all members of standing order 24(b). I am sure there are many members who would like to ask questions if they were allowed.

Mr Brandt: My question is also for Bingo Bradley, the Minister of the Environment.

Hon Mr Bradley: He stole that from you, Bob.

The Speaker: Order.

Mr Brandt: I would like to remind the minister that in addition to the environmental laws of this province, we also have the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which requires the minister to act in a particular way under certain circumstances. Under subsection 11(1) of that act, I would like to advise the minister, it states very clearly that a minister shall “disclose any record to the public or persons” if that record reveals “a grave environmental health or safety hazard to the public.”

As has been pointed out to the minister and as he has now acknowledged, he has known about a serious potential health hazard in this province since January. This particular matter has been brought to his attention by what I would consider to be an agency of some repute in the United States, namely, the FBI. Why has the minister not acted after all these months, knowing full well that he has a legal obligation to respond under the act?

Hon Mr Bradley: On matters that are directly related to a prosecution, for instance, the member would know that there is an opportunity to develop a case on the part of a police force or an investigative force, and those matters must be proceeded with in that particular manner.

I know the member has never been a fan of the prosecution route. He has criticized me by saying that we prosecute too much and we do not work with the companies enough. That is fair.

Mr Brandt: I have never said that.

Hon Mr Bradley: The member has said that.

I know that is not the member’s approach. I know he has criticized our ministry for being more prosecutorial than it ever was when he was in office and that it is better to work with the companies. I am not saying “these companies”; I am saying the member has said that general approach is better. But we have to work in this direction if we want to find out who the culprits are and protect the interests of the people of this province, and that is what we have been attempting to do.

Mr Brandt: The minister can try to divert this issue from the attention it is now receiving and the focus that it has on him by talking about other matters, which I would be delighted to debate with him in this House at some other time.

But I would like to remind the minister that on 4 May 1989, there was a press release from the Ministry of the Environment which indicated that Canadian Pacific had been charged under the environmental acts of this province for a particular matter that it was responsible for. That matter took place in April 1988. It took the ministry one full year to lay charges for what, in the case of Canadian Pacific, was a grass fire.

If it takes the ministry a year to get the evidence to lay charges against Canadian Pacific for a grass fire, how long was the minister prepared to let toxic chemicals be transported across the US border into Ontario? How long was he prepared to allow that to go on before he was prepared to --

Hon Mr Bradley: We are proceeding as quickly as possible with our investigations at this time. We have laboratory analyses of the samples that have been taken in the process at the present time. We have indicated that the federal government as well, with our assistance, had been conducting some investigations yesterday, and I expect the federal minister will be releasing those results in the very near future. As I have indicated, this is the kind of evidence that is going to be needed to provide those charges to be made.

Mr B. Rae: You knew it in January and you are doing test results in May. This is unbelievable.

Hon Mr Bradley: The member is not correct there. The member is inaccurate when he makes his interjection in that way, but I will go back to him with another question perhaps.

The Speaker: Disregard the interjection.

Hon Mr Bradley: I say to the member that we are developing a good case. I suspect that we will be moving as rapidly as possible on this to ensure that we can come forward with a prosecution if we have sufficient evidence to do so. I think he would know that you have to have the evidence to do so before you can lay the charge.


Mr Brandt: Some time ago in this House there was a member of the opposition who addressed a question in a similar tone to the then Minister of the Environment, who happened to be the Honourable Keith Norton. I read from Hansard, 3 May 1983:

“Surely the minister’s responsibility is to move ahead of time, not after the fact. His entire approach seems to be that we will wait until someone gets very ill or until there is evidence, and then we will move on the situation.” And further, if I might briefly, “He is waiting for evidence of major health problems before he is prepared to move, and by that time it is going to be too late.”

In responding to those particular quotes, I would like to advise the Minister of the Environment that the speaker --

The Speaker: Question?

Mr Brandt: -- who raised the question at that time was the now Premier of this province, the member for London Centre (Mr Peterson). Now we are asking the minister to move in quite the same way as the member for London Centre did back on 3 May 1983. How does he respond by moving after the fact as he is now suggesting --

The Speaker: Order.


The Speaker: Order. Minister, response?

Hon Mr Bradley: First of all, we all know how rapidly the member’s government moved on these kinds of issues in terms of prosecuting those who were responsible for crimes against the environment, and we all know the number of times his government did so was somewhat diminished from what we see today because there is a different thrust.

Mr Brandt: In your own modest way, you might say that.

Hon Mr Bradley: No. It is a different thrust. It is a different philosophy to use and I accept the philosophy that has been enunciated in debate. In fact, they believe we should work with the companies first and worry about prosecutions, if at all, at some later time. At the Ministry of the Environment, in the tests that we have conducted, to this point in time for the fuel-blending part of the investigation we looked at, we have not yet found any results that would show the detection of these substances. If we did, we would be prepared to move forward, but when you look --

Mr Brandt: Are you saying no PCBs?

Hon Mr Bradley: No PCBs in any of the fuel samples we have taken to this point in time. That is what I am saying to the members opposite --

The Speaker: Thank you. Order.


The Speaker: Order. It would be helpful if all members would show respect to other members when they are on their feet.


Mr Brandt: My question is to the Minister of Citizenship. The minister will be aware of allegations that were made today by the former director of compliance of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Jim Stratton.

Mr Stratton stated he has documented proof that the decision to fire him was made three weeks before he was interviewed to apply for the position that he held formerly with that particular commission. The document he refers to that was handed him on 27 October was signed by the former Deputy Minister of Citizenship.

Can the minister tell us and this House if he is aware of the allegations that have been made, and can he confirm or deny that his ministry was involved in the rather blatant act of unfair treatment and discrimination that impacted on this particular employee?

Hon Mr Phillips: I am not aware of the specifics of that. I will say, however, in light of the increasing concerns being raised, that in addition to the fact that we have asked the Legislature to review this, and I think there is all-party agreement on that which I gather will come before one of the legislative committees, I have also asked that we conduct a human resources review of the various allegations. My deputy minister is now drawing up the terms of that and over the next few days we will be proceeding with that.

Mrs Marland: It is unfortunate that members of the standing committee on public accounts have not informed the Minister of Citizenship of what took place this morning. I placed a motion this morning asking for the Ontario Human Rights Commission to come before that committee. That motion will be dealt with next week, but already the Liberal members of that committee were questioning the procedure and my right to place that motion, and in particular the member --

The Speaker: Order. Is your question, “Is he aware?”

Mrs Marland: Mr Speaker, l do indeed have a question of the Minister of Citizenship. I want to tell this minister I attended --

The Speaker: Order. Point of order?

Mr J. B. Nixon: On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: The member for Mississauga South made allegations about what I may have said this morning before the standing committee on public accounts. The matter is on Hansard. I ask her to check Hansard. In no way did I question her right to put notice of a motion before the committee. In fact, I only suggested to her --

The Speaker: Order. I have listened to both members. I must remind all members that I am sure the committees can decide what takes place in the committee. Would the member place her supplementary.

Mrs Marland: In attending the press conference this morning of Jim Stratton, who is today a private citizen, for the reference of the minister, I want to quote one part of what he said in order that the minister can answer my question.

Mr Stratton said that Ms Molloy is one of the finest human rights’ lawyers it had been his privilege to work with. She resigned because she could not condone a coverup of the unfair and discriminatory hiring practices of the Ontario Human Rights Commission since it had been taken out of hand by Raj Anand. He also said he entered five competitions and lost them all, including one for the position.

The Speaker: Do you have a question?

Mrs Marland: My question is, with these challenges to the function and the operation of the Ontario Human Rights Commission -- one of the most sacred commissions, I may suggest, in this province; people died for rights in this country --

The Speaker: Order. Would the member take her seat. Minister.

Hon Mr Phillips: I said two days ago, and I will say it again, that it is very important we recognize a couple of things.

In December 1987, I rose in the House to say that we were strengthening the Ontario Human Rights Commission and that the commission staff would henceforth report directly to the chief commissioner. That was designed to give the commission independence. They have been operating independently for good reason, I think for the very reasons the member outlined. We want to ensure it protects the rights of all individuals in this province.

I said before that the chief commissioner would be happy to appear before a legislative committee. That is now set up.

I said the other thing too earlier: It is important, I think, that we clear up these recent allegations. I am concerned about them. There is no question of that. I am concerned about a perception in the community that the Ontario Human Rights Commission is not acting in a way, in its own operation, it would want the rest of the community to operate in. I am concerned about that. That is why, as I say, I have asked our deputy to conduct a human resources review of the commission to get at those kinds of issues.

Mrs Marland: I am interested to hear the minister say it is operating independently when one of his deputy ministers signed the dismissal letter of Jim Stratton. That is a very interesting statement.

I would like to ask the minister, based on Mr Stratton’s statement that when he was given final notice, he did not speak out publicly because he was afraid: “I was afraid for my ability to earn a living. I was afraid of the ruthlessness of those people. I was afraid of being called a sore loser. I want you to know that I am a good loser in a fair contest, but these competitions were rigged.”

With this kind of accusation, is the minister happy at this point to wait until that committee hearing before he suspends Raj Anand as the chief commissioner?

Hon Mr Phillips: I think it is very important that one follow some process and not necessarily prejudge an individual; it is extremely important. What we are dealing with are the two things I mentioned before. The chief commissioner is quite happy to appear before an all-party legislative committee to answer those questions.


Mrs Marland: He cancelled his press conference for this afternoon. That is how happy he is to be public.

The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Phillips: The second thing is that as I said earlier we are quite prepared to do the human resource review, as I said to ensure we get at those --

Mrs Marland: He had a press conference at 3 o’clock and he has cancelled it.

The Speaker: Order. Would the member for Mississauga South control herself? Thank you.


Hon Mr Phillips: I think I was virtually finished, but I will finish my comment that we are looking at the issue of the hiring practices in this review that I mentioned to the members earlier.


Mr Mackenzie: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Did the Minister of Labour know, as did the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley), as early as January 1989 that workers, especially gas station attendants and those in construction, were being exposed to highly toxic, tainted fuels? If he did, what did he do about this intolerable situation? If he did not know about the great occupational health risk these workers were facing, why not? What did the Minister of Labour do to protect workers from the toxic effect of tainted fuels?

Hon Mr Sorbara: It is an interesting question, it is simple to answer. No information had come to the ministry through its regular investigation procedures relating to workers, whether in refineries, gas stations or any other place in the province.

Mr Mackenzie: That is almost unbelievable. This had a potential effect on workers and the Minister of Labour was not one of those notified by the Minister of the Environment. Can the Minister of Labour tell us if this scandalous situation does not demand the government move quickly to give workers more control over their health and safety, and this includes bringing in a bill such as Bill 208 so that workers have a tool to use? The minister knows that fuels laced with polychlorinated biphenyls, especially being burned, can be some of the most hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

Hon Mr Sorbara: If I read Hansard and analysed the question, I think I would find the question is whether we would be bringing in a bill like Bill 208. I have to tell my friend the member for Hamilton East that Bill 208 is on the order paper. I think virtually every member in this House was visited today by a representative or two from the Ontario Federation of Labour, expressing their desire to support Bill 208 -- if I look at the handout -- and to strengthen it and pass it. I encourage members, as well, to do that.


Mr Eves: I have a question of the Deputy Premier. The Deputy Premier will be aware of allegations that were referred to by the member for Nickel Belt (Mr Laughren) in statements today, allegations that the Deputy Minister of Health has been threatening doctors in the province -- in this case, Dr Corringham, the chief of the northeastern cancer treatment centre in Sudbury. Does the Deputy Premier consider that sort of conduct, if these allegations are proved to be founded, appropriate from a deputy minister of the crown?

Hon R. F. Nixon: I am not aware of the facts in the case. I will determine what those facts are.

Mr Eves: I would like to quote from a letter Dr Corringham wrote to the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) on 8 May 1989.

“Dr Barkin told me that he wished to give me some “advice”. He went on to say that if I used the press conference “as a platform” to raise the issue of Dr Anthony Ho, then there would be no more ‘goodies’ for Sudbury: no more visits from the minister. The point that I wish to make in this letter is that I do not consider this appropriate behaviour for a senior government official. In fact, to so threaten an individual like myself who is only trying to do his job is outrageous and shocking. I do not think I need elaborate further. It hardly seems necessary to remind Dr Barkin that we happen to live in one of the most advanced democracies in the world. You may rest assured that no amount of intimidation, bullying or threats, is going to prevent me from exercising my personal rights as a citizen of Ontario.”

The Speaker: Is there a question?

Mr Eves: Yes, there is a question, Mr Speaker. My question is this: The Premier (Mr Peterson) moved in the space of 24 hours to remove another deputy minister in this minister’s government because he made the mistake of approving a biography --

The Speaker: And your question?

Mr Eves: -- which referred to the fact that he had a degree instead of a diploma. Will the Premier --

The Speaker: Order. Deputy Premier.

Hon R. F. Nixon: It appears there is a difference of opinion between the good doctors and the honourable member is taking sides. I do not know any of the facts in the matter, but if there is any thought that Sudbury might be spared the visits of cabinet ministers, I am glad to inform him that this will not be true and that I myself am looking forward to going to Sudbury in the next two weeks.


Mr Daigeler: My question is to the Minister of Culture and Communications. On 15 March, the council of European ministers issued a directive that would require member countries of the European Community to accept severe quotas on foreign television programs and co-productions.

This directive is part of a series of agreements leading to the formation of the single European market in 1992. From statements by the federal Minister of Communications, it appears that Quebec-France co-productions are safe and will be expanded rather than curtailed. May I ask the minister whether the same could be said about Ontario television productions in English or French, or will they fall under the European quotas on foreign productions?

Hon Ms Oddie Munro: The question is a very relevant one since Ontario, as one of the lead provinces, is making a good deal of headway into film production and co-production, and indeed we have several very good arrangements with the province of Quebec.

I spoke with Marcel Masse last Friday on the whole question of Canada’s response to the European Community, and was given to understand that he is making headway and will let me know the results of any representations, should they break. I believe he will do that.

Mr Daigeler: I hope the minister will keep us informed on the progress of these kinds of discussions. In a more general vein, could she inform the House whether there are in fact considerable dealings with European countries with regard to television productions, or is our television and film industry directed mostly towards the United States?

Hon Ms Oddie Munro: So far, we in Ontario are making a good deal of headway with the European countries and have in place a number of co-productions. Certainly, through our own agency, the Ontario Film Development Corp, we are encouraging that kind of ultimate process.

We also have arrangements with America but find, as do many other countries that are trying to establish a cultural product, that the sheer mass of the market and the control by the American film and movie producers just simply places us in a noncompetitive situation.

We therefore were dismayed, as were many of the other smaller countries, at the influence the American movie and film producers have. However, we were also dismayed, I guess at the analysis of the recommendation put forward by the European film producers’ community and are hoping Mr Masse will be able to make our case known. Indeed, we believed we were on a very good baseline with European countries and that the co-productions we had embarked on in the past would continue in the future.


Mrs Grier: Somewhere in the almost impenetrable reply of the Minister of the Environment to questions some time ago, I think he said he had no evidence of polychlorinated biphenyls in fuel that was being imported into this province.

If that is the case, it means one of two things. It means that for the last four days a lot of newspapers have been writing incorrect stories and a lot of people have been talking about something that had no basis in fact, and I assume the minister is going to take action; or it means this ministry is so incompetent it does not have a clue what is coming across the border in the way of contaminated fuel or what it contains.

The Speaker: The question?

Mrs Grier: Is the health of this province at risk? Can the minister tell us yes or no?


Hon Mr Bradley: The choices that she has provided are not ones wherein I would necessarily agree with her contentions. As I indicated to the leader of the third party, in any tests that I have seen so far, we have not detected in the fuels either solvents or PCBs when people blend fuel and waste. I think that is what those people have been dwelling on.

Are there indications that these allegations which have been made are true? We have heard these allegations. We have investigated, based on these allegations. To this point in time, the results we have indicate no detection of that. That is not to say that we will not in the future; further results will perhaps show some. But to this point in time it does not. When it does, I will be happy to see that a prosecution takes place and that, in fact, there is confirmation of allegations.

Mrs Grier: I wonder why the minister did not reassure the people of this province some days ago that there was, in fact, no risk to public health if he is saying it is only allegations and we have no proof. The minister knew that contaminated oil was being illegally imported into this province; he spent two days talking about kingpins and organized crime and the investigation he was doing.

The Speaker: You have a question, I hope.

Mrs Grier: I have a question for the minister. Does the minister feel that there is any contaminated oil in this province being imported illegally; and if so what has he done about it?

Hon Mr Bradley: Of course, as I have said consistently, I believe we should investigate all of the allegations which have been made. That is precisely what we are doing: investigating the allegations.

I indicated to the leader of the third party, as I did to the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore in my response to her and in my response to him, that we have not found in our results so far any detectable PCBs or solvents. This does not mean that these products are not coming in. There has been a major newspaper series that has been on in the last four days which has contained allegations about this, in addition to other information that is out there. That is precisely what we have been investigating.

When we find these results, if we find these results, we will certainly bring them to the attention of the public by prosecuting these people. That is what we have to do. That is what we are investigating for. We cannot simply go on the basis of rumours that are out there or compose some kind of blacklist saying you should not buy from this company or that company based on rumours that are out there. Maybe the rumours are true, and that is what we are trying to determine.

Mr Brandt: My question is to the Minister of the Environment. The Federal Bureau of Investigation does not think they are rumours. Obviously the Provincial Auditor --


The Speaker: Order. It would be much easier to hear the questions and responses if one person talked at one time.

The member has a question, and to which minister?

Mr Brandt: The Minister of the Environment. I just want to remind the minister that the FBI and certain other agencies he is aware of do not think these are rumours. The Provincial Auditor has indicated up to $100 million in tax revenue is being lost to Ontario as a result of illegal shipments that may in fact be contaminated. It is serious enough that the minister’s federal colleague Sheila Copps has already, on this self-same matter, called for the resignation of a minister of the crown in the House of Commons.

How long was the minister prepared to wait before he acted, recognizing that it takes about six months before his ministry can lay charges? Based on the current timetable, it takes six to eight months before his ministry can even check out samples. How long is the minister prepared to wait before he will bring the evidence before the people of Ontario?

Hon Mr Bradley: The first point I would make is, I ask the member, “Has the FBI laid charges as a result of the exchange of information?” There are a lot of exchanges of information that take place between international agencies, provincial agencies and state agencies. To my knowledge, the FBI has not laid charges based on the allegations which have been made.

We were happy to co-operate with them as a ministry, I am told, at that time. We would be happy to co-operate with them in the future. In terms of our border exercise, we had excellent co-operation from New York state, for instance, from its Department of Environmental Conservation.

This is a team effort. This is something everybody has to be involved in, and we have tried to do that. We have tried to work with others. We have tried to protect the people of this province. That is what our role is, and we will continue to exercise that role.

Mr Brandt: Had the story not broken in the Globe and Mail a few days ago, we would still not have any knowledge whatever about the potential hazards associated with these contaminated shipments of blended fuel coming in from the United States.

I ask the minister once again, in light of the earlier Hansard comments that I read into the record, made by his leader indicating that the Minister of the Environment of the day back in 1983 – 4 May if the minister is looking it up --

Hon Mr Bradley: And 3 May.

Mr Brandt: The minister should take a look at 4 May too. It is a good date.

What the leader of the minister’s party said at that time is that he has a very direct responsibility and obligation in the first instance to protect the health and safety of the people of this province, prior to having all of the information at his disposal, prior to laying charges, prior to taking all of the actions he is talking about now.

The Speaker: Question?

Mr Brandt: Why is it different when the minister is in government from when he was in opposition?

Hon Mr Bradley: I say to the leader of the third party that we have in fact exercised our responsibilities. We have conducted interviews through the investigations and enforcement branch of this province. We have taken samples. Any of the samples that we have, as I have indicated to the member and his colleague the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, have shown in fact no solvents and no PCBs.

If we find those, I will be pleased to see our investigations and enforcement branch move forward with the prosecution, and certainly that will be a very public incident, that is our responsibility. My responsibility is to protect the people of this province, and I believe I have protected them by having the investigations and enforcement branch do a thorough investigation so that we can get at the people who are responsible for this and close down those who are the criminal element, if indeed that is what they are, in Ontario or beyond our borders, who are involved in tainted fuels.


The Speaker: Order. I would remind all members that there have been occasions when members have become overly excited and said things they are sorry for. I would ask all members to --


The Speaker: Order.



Mr Tatham: My question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. He released the county consultation report several weeks ago, and I wonder what action has been taken by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs since that time.

Hon Mr Eakins: As members know, the report was recently released to the wardens of the counties and made public. I want to say I am quite encouraged by the positive initial reaction to that report. I have asked them to review the document and report their comments to me by 14 July. I will then review the submissions and look for areas of consensus.

Since the release, a number of counties have indicated their desire to review not only their structure but their administration, and I look forward to meeting with them to assist in that regard.

Mr Tatham: What happens after the reply back to the minister?

Hon Mr Eakins: Following the receipt of the submission, assessing the consensus and further consultation, I would like to move to recommend changes which are necessary to strengthen our county form of government. I feel it is important that these changes are known well in advance, at the beginning of 1991, so that any changes can take effect for the 1991 municipal elections.


Mr Reville: I want to go back to the Minister of the Environment, because it is my job to be concerned about the public health of people as well.

The minister has talked about this team effort that he believes is necessary to deal with these allegations. We know that the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, the Ministry of Revenue and the Ministry of the Solicitor General have all been involved in this investigation.

What is concerning me is, if the minister thought that these allegations had enough merit to them to launch an investigation of this sort, will he advise the House now whether or not he sought advice, in terms of the risk to people’s health, from the medical officer of health for Ontario?

Hon Mr Bradley: Our investigations and enforcement branch is there to determine, in an investigative sense, who might be responsible for any of the allegations that come forward, whether to do with this or any other subject. They are the ones who actually conduct these tests; they are the ones who do the investigation to determine whether the allegations are true or not.

What I indicated to some of the member’s colleagues is that until such time as we are able to confirm any of the allegations, we are not in a position to take any of the kinds of action the member is contemplating.

Mr Reville: That answer is not satisfactory. If a home owner has in an oil tank in the basement, a load of oil that is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls and on cold evenings turns on his furnace and there is a blockage in the flue, that house will be full of PCB fumes, dioxins and furans. The medical officer of health of Ontario would have told the minister that.

I cannot believe that the minister has not consulted with the medical officer of health to hear his advice as to the measures he should be taking to protect the people in this province who this weekend may be starting up their garden tractors, who may be turning on their furnaces --

The Speaker: Question.

Mr Reville: -- who may be pumping gas at a cut-rate gas station --

The Speaker: You have a question?

Mr Reville: -- and getting PCB-contaminated fuel on their skins. Those are real, legitimate public health hazards. Has the minister in fact talked to the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) or the medical officer of health about these very real risks?

Hon Mr Bradley: I say to the member for Riverdale that unless we had a list of guilty companies, what general action would we be able to take in this regard’? The member has suggested that, based on allegations and rumours, some kind of general warning should go out there. How would the people know which particular companies would be responsible unless we have done the investigation to determine which companies might be responsible or what violations there might be?


The Speaker: Order. The member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry is waiting patiently. The member for Riverdale was allowed to ask a question.


The Speaker: We will just wait.

Mr Villeneuve: In my riding, farmers are firing up their tractors, their 95 per cent plus all-diesel tractors. Heating oil is used by the vast majority of the constituents in my riding to heat their homes and other buildings. The possibility is that some of these constituents of mine, and indeed the Ontario public, are unknowingly using a potentially very dangerous product to run their tractors and to heat their homes. Why has the minister not advised them sooner of the very real possibility that faces them now?

Hon Mr Bradley: Unless someone could provide a particular list of companies that might be involved in this business as a result of the investigations that take place, then one cannot advise what particular product might be used or what might not be used. If we had that particular list, we would be able to do so.

The member has a genuine concern, and I understand it, but we do not have a list of those companies. That is why what we have to do is make sure we gather sufficient evidence to prove that in fact a company is in violation. That is what we try to do.

Mr Villeneuve: I was listening to a radio broadcast from Quebec. They have had that problem, at least they perceive they have had it, for quite a number of years, and I am quite sure it has existed in eastern Ontario for probably the same amount of time.

Has his ministry not been looking into these possible illegal entries at all ports of entry along the St Lawrence River, where many carriers cross? Have his people not been looking at this recently?

Hon Mr Bradley: I recognize that the federal government has some jurisdiction in terms of the international transportation that the member makes reference to. I want to tell him that our particular investigation has been extremely extensive.

It would be very nice to be able to provide the member with a list of people who are convicted of this, if in fact this can be substantiated, because I do not believe the member is doing anything other than directing a sincere request in this regard, but we cannot simply sound the siren and say that you cannot burn any fuel any more in this province or in some other provinces based on the information we have at the present time.

I say to the member that when I have that kind of information and it can be substantiated, we will present that immediately.


Mr Mackenzie: On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: With respect to my question on Bill 208, I am sorry to have to tell the members of the House that yet another paperworker is dead today as a result of an industrial accident. That is the fourth in less than two or three weeks in Ontario. Guy Duchesne, who worked in the Smooth Rock Falls operation, died in hospital as a result of an accident yesterday.




Mr Owen: I have two petitions to file. The first is:

“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:

“Whereas it is my constitutional right to have available and to choose the health care system of my preference;

“And whereas naturopathy has had self-governing status in Ontario for more than 42 years;

“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government to introduce legislation that would guarantee naturopaths the right to practise their art and science to the fullest without prejudice or harassment.”

It has been signed by myself for submission purposes and it has been signed by 89 residents of my riding.


Mr Owen: The second petition is addressed to the government of Ontario and the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, headed “Hold the Line on Tobacco Taxes”:

“Cigarette taxes have increased 300 per cent over eight years. Ontario imposes the highest tax on fine-cut tobacco in Canada. We, the undersigned, taxpayers aged 18 years and over, call upon the government of Ontario to maintain tobacco taxes at their present level.”

This petition is signed by 1,893 signatures.


Mr Reycraft: I have a petition:

“To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“I, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:

“I urge Premier Peterson to keep the promise he made during the election when he said he had a ‘very specific plan to lower insurance rates.’”

It is signed by one other person from the riding of Oakwood, and I have affixed my signature.


Mr Reycraft: The second petition I have is signed by 62 individuals from Frankford, Ontario:

“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:

“Whereas we, the greatest majority of taxpayers in Hastings county, have our roots as United Empire Loyalists; and

“Whereas we believe the amendment to regulation 262 relating to ‘the collective recitation’ of the Lord’s Prayer in opening or closing exercises in the public schools deprives many Ontario citizens of an established freedom; and

“Whereas the Parliament of Ontario has given the municipalities the right to decide on Sunday openings,

“We therefore pray that a new regulation would be passed that would give the freedom of choice to the individual Ontario county school boards to establish their own program which would more accurately reflect the religious beliefs of the community and which could include the Lord’s Prayer or Christian prayers instead of multicultural prayers, thus recognizing our individual religious freedom denied by the compulsory use of multicultural prayers.”

It is, as I said, signed by 62 other individuals, and I have affixed my signature.


Mr Cureatz: I have a petition:

“To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the government of Ontario:

“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:

“Cigarette taxes have increased 300 per cent over eight years. Ontario imposes the highest tax on fine-cut tobacco in Canada. We, the undersigned, taxpayers aged 18 years and over, call upon the government of Ontario to maintain tobacco taxes at their present level.”

It is signed by 308 fine constituents in the great riding of Durham East, and I have affixed my name.


Mr Kozyra: I have a petition in support of the Thunder Bay and District injured Workers Support Group, and it reads as follows:

“To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario, and we demand that Bill 162 be withdrawn.”

Mr Mackenzie: I have a petition from the Simcoe County Injured Workers Association:

“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:

“We urge the Liberal government not to proceed with Bill 162, an Act to amend the Workers’ Compensation Act,

“Because Bill 162 contains the most significant changes to the Ontario system of workers’ compensation contemplated for many years, and yet the Minister of Labour, as reported in the media, wants the bill passed and implemented -- in other words, without an adequate process;

“Because Bill 162 represents an attack on injured workers and their families and all of those people who have fought over the years to achieve fairness and justice for injured workers and their families; and

“Because Bill 162 will eliminate the current lifetime pension for lifetime disability and replace it with a dual award system combining a lump sum and actual wage loss award benefits that has been rejected by injured workers, their advocacy groups, community legal workers and lawyers working on their behalf and by the trade union movement since it was first proposed for implementation in Ontario by the 1980 Weiler report and the Conservative government’s 1981 white paper; and

“Because Bill 162 virtually ignores the devastating critique and recommendations of the Majesky-Minna task force report on vocational rehabilitation, that was submitted to the Minister of Labour and suppressed by the Liberal government until April 1988; and

“Because Bill 162 gives legislative form to the unacceptable and reactionary policy of restricting access to supplement awards announced by the Workers’ Compensation Board in 1987; and

“Because Bill 162 restricts an injured worker’s right to appeal decisions within the adjudication process and elsewhere, notably the percentage ‘impairment rating’ and reinstatement; and

“Because throughout Bill 162, injured workers are made subject to increased discretionary power at the hands of Workers’ Compensation Board functionaries, and made subject to ever more intrusive, invasive and demeaning assaults on their dignity, their privacy and their right to fair and just treatment.”

It is signed by 10 workers from the Simcoe area. I have affixed my name to it and agree with it.

Miss Martel: I have a petition addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and it reads as follows:

“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:

“We urge the Liberal government not to proceed with Bill 162, An Act to amend the Workers’ Compensation Act;

“Because Bill 162 contains the most significant changes to the Ontario system of workers’ compensation contemplated for many years, and yet the Minister of Labour, as reported in the media, wants the bill passed and implemented by the end of 1988 -- in other words, without an adequate process for public consultation, debate and discussion; and

“Because Bill 162 represents an attack on injured workers and their families and all of those people who have fought over the years to achieve fairness and justice for injured workers and their families; and

“Because Bill 162 will eliminate the current lifetime pension for lifetime disability and replace it with a dual award system combining a lump sum and actual wage loss award benefits that has been rejected by injured workers, their advocacy groups, community legal workers and lawyers working on their behalf and by the trade union movement since it was first proposed for implementation in Ontario by the 1980 Weiler report and the Conservative government’s 1981 white paper; and

“Because Bill 162 virtually ignores the devastating critique and recommendations of the Majesky-Minna task force report on vocational rehabilitation, that was submitted to the Minister of Labour and suppressed by the Liberal government until April 1988; and

“Because Bill 162 gives legislative form to the unacceptable and reactionary policy of restricting access to supplement awards announced by the Workers’ Compensation Board in 1987; and

“Because Bill 162 restricts an injured worker’s right to appeal decisions within the adjudication process and elsewhere, notably the percentage ‘impairment rating’ and reinstatement; and

“Because throughout Bill 162, injured workers are made subject to increased discretionary power at the hands of Workers’ Compensation Board, and made subject to ever more intrusive, invasive and demeaning assaults on their dignity, their privacy and their right to fair and just treatment.”

This is signed by seven members of the Simcoe County Injured Workers’ Association. I have affixed my signature to it and I agree with them entirely.

Mr Kormos: I have a petition from the Simcoe County Injured Workers’ Association addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads:

“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:

“We urge the Liberal government not to proceed with Bill 162;

“Because Bill 162 contains the most significant changes to the Ontario system of workers’ compensation contemplated for many years, and yet the Minister of Labour, as reported in the media, wants the bill passed and implemented by the end of 1988 -- in other words, without an adequate process for public consultation, debate and discussion; and

“Because Bill 162 represents an attack on injured workers and their families and all of those people who have fought over the years to achieve fairness and justice for injured workers and their families; and

“Because Bill 162 will eliminate the current lifetime pension for lifetime disability and replace it with a dual award system combining a lump sum and actual wage loss award benefits that has been rejected by injured workers, their advocacy groups, community legal workers and lawyers working on their behalf and by the trade union movement since it was first proposed for implementation in Ontario by the 1980 Weiler report and the Conservative government’s 1981 white paper; and

“Because Bill 162 virtually ignores the devastating critique and recommendations of the Majesky-Minna task force report on vocational rehabilitation, that was submitted to the Minister of Labour and suppressed by the Liberal government until April 1988; and

“Because Bill 162 gives legislative form to the unacceptable and reactionary policy of restricting access to supplement awards announced by the Workers’ Compensation Board in 1987; and

“Because Bill 162 restricts an injured worker’s right to appeal decisions within the adjudication process and elsewhere, notably the percentage ‘impairment rating’ and reinstatement; and

“Because throughout Bill 162, injured workers are made subject to increased discretionary power at the hands of Workers’ Compensation Board functionaries, and made subject to ever more intrusive, invasive and demeaning assaults on their dignity, their privacy and their right to fair and just treatment.”

That is signed by 10 members of the Simcoe County Injured Workers Association, and of course by myself.



Mr McGuigan: I have a petition to the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. I will not read it because it is rather long, but it has additional names to the petition I presented last week. I respectfully submit it, and I have signed it. It is regarding irrigation waters and lands in southwestern Ontario.


The Speaker: Just before I call the next order I might remind members and suggest that they might all read standing order 31 regarding the presenting of petitions. I think members will find in there that it is their duty to present the material allegations from their constituents and people across Ontario. However, we do not necessarily need all the reasons why. I think I have tried to explain that in the past, and I just draw standing order 31 to the attention of the members.


Mr Runciman: Earlier today a press release was circulated in the gallery offering a critique of a bill to be introduced later on this afternoon. That was a totally inappropriate thing to occur. It was done by a member of my staff, and I simply wanted to put on the record my apologies to the Minister of Financial Institutions (Mr Elston) for that occurring. He has been most co-operative in terms of dealing with me as a critic for my party, and I feel quite badly about it. I wanted to put my feelings on the record.



Hon Mr Conway moved that Mr Villeneuve and Mr Runciman and that Mr Pope and Mr McLean exchange places respectively in the order of precedence for private members’ public business.

Motion agreed to.



Hon Mr Elston moved first reading of Bill 10, An Act to Control Automobile Insurance Rates.

Motion agreed to.

Hon Mr Elston: The introduction of this bill will accomplish what I had announced on 17 April, namely that we were capping the automobile insurance rate increases at 7.6 per cent. There is a framework included in the bill which will allow that to take place. We have done this so that we can have a period of time in which we can make a decision with respect to product reform in automobile insurance in Ontario.

With respect to the bill, I hope we can move the bill quickly through the House so that we can ensure that the rates are, in fact, capped for 1 June 1989.


Mr Fleet moved first reading of Bill 11, An Act to amend the Change of Name Act, 1986.

M. Fleet propose la première lecture du projet de loi 11, Loi portant modification de la Loi de 1986 sur le changement de nom.

Motion agreed to.

La motion est adoptée.

Mr Fleet: The Change of Name Act continues to insult and demean women. The act forces a woman who changes her name at the time of marriage to also change her original name on her birth certificate. This infers a woman loses her identity as if never born with her original name. It is completely unnecessary and should be eliminated. The government’s response to show both the married and original names on birth certificates is better than before, but inadequate. As I proposed last June in Bill 164, and repeat again, let’s amend the bill.


Mr Fleet moved first reading of Bill Pr5, An Act respecting Certain Land in the Town Plot of Gowganda in the District of Timiskaming.

Motion agreed to.


Mr Reycraft moved first reading of Bill Pr22, An Act to continue The Corporation of the Village of Killaloe Station under the name of The Corporation of the Village of Killaloe.

Motion agreed to.

Mr Harris: I think I may need unanimous consent to move a motion put forward by my leader, who is occupied outside these chambers.

Agreed to.


Mr Harris moved, on behalf of Mr Brandt, pursuant to standing order 37(a), that the ordinary business of the House be set aside to discuss a matter of urgent public importance, that being the crisis facing Ontario citizens as a result of the Minister of the Environment’s failure to fulfil his duties and responsibilities as a minister of the crown as defined by legislative act in the province of Ontario.

The Speaker: I must inform the House that I received this notice at 3:15 pm on 10 May, which was according to section 37(a) of the standing orders, so I find this motion in order and I will allow representatives from each party to speak for up to five minutes on the reasons why this matter shall be debated.


Mr Harris: Subsection 11(1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act states, under the section Obligation to disclose:

“Despite any other provisions of this act, a head shall, as soon as practicable, disclose any record to the public or persons affected if the head has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that it is in the public interest to do so and that the record reveals a grave environmental, health or safety hazard to the public.”

That indeed is the obligation of every minister of the crown. That indeed is the obligation under the freedom-of-information act. Aside from whatever other legal obligation may or may not be there, aside from whatever moral obligation, that is the obligation of the Minister of the Environment under subsection 11(1) of the freedom-of-information act.

I suggest that is an obligation the instant that minister has knowledge that there are “reasonable and probable grounds to believe” -- not proof, not knowledge to the extent that he can hold a press conference in New York and bring down the entire Mafia and bring these kingpins to justice -- but “reasonable and probable grounds to believe.” That obligation is not if he is requested; it is if he has that knowledge he must disclose that knowledge without a request. Indeed, it is the public’s right to know.

I suggest that this minister had that knowledge, that this minister did not disclose that knowledge and that this has caused a threat to the health and the safety of Ontario citizens. I further suggest that were I such a minister, under those circumstances I would have to think very long and hard about whether I should continue on in my responsibilities in this chamber.

To put into perspective the problem that we are talking about, when two Chilean grapes were found tainted with cyanide in the United States, Canada immediately cut off all imports from that country -- immediately. Yet the Ontario Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley), it now appears by his own admission, knew for months; he had more, I would suggest, if we look at the rhetoric, than reasonable and probable grounds to believe that Ontarians had been tanking up with deadly fuel cocktails which increased the public’s risk of exposure to toxic emissions, including furans, including dioxins. Yet he did not bother to warn that public; he did not bother to put the safety of the health of the people of Ontario first.

I suggest further, as I heard the minister responding today, that his first priority, it appears to me, is to catch the criminal and to have the headline that, “I did all this and I caught the criminal.” His first priority is not the health of Ontarians.

I suggest that is wrong. l suggest that if you, Mr Speaker, responsible for this building, knew or had very good reason, had more than probable grounds to know that a bomb was in this building, you would not wait to clear this building until you found out who planted it. Surely you would put the safety of people first while you went on with your investigation to find out who was responsible.

I suggest that this minister did not do that, that it is his obligation under the freedom-of-information act, subsection 11(1), to do that, and that this minister has not lived up to his responsibilities.

Mrs Grier: I am pleased to support the resolution that is before the House at this time, because I think if there was a need yesterday to discuss this issue, that need is even greater today, because today we have the minister saying all that has been said over the past four days really did not amount to very much, because he had no evidence there was any contamination.

One wonders why we did not hear that on Monday; why we heard him saying he is going after the kingpins; why his executive assistant said, on May 10, that for a decade Ministry of Environment investigators have suspected toxic waste was being mixed with waste crankcase oil from the United States; why the minister said since last fall he has been investigating the waste; why he said, in response to all our questions yesterday, “I am investigating.” If those investigations have shown nothing, why did he not tell us? Much more important, why did he not move to protect the health of the people of this province, as he has the responsibility and the jurisdiction to do?

My colleague has mentioned freedom-of-information legislation. I would like to remind the members about the Environmental Protection Act, which says that when the director, upon reasonable and probable grounds, is of the opinion that a source of contaminant is discharging into the natural environment any contaminant that constitutes an immediate danger to human life, the health of any persons or their property, the director may issue a stop-work order.

A further section says that a police officer or a provincial officer may seize the permit and the number plates of a vehicle, where he is of the opinion, upon reasonable and probable grounds, the vehicle was used or is being used in the commission of an offence in respect of hauled liquid industrial waste or hazardous waste.

The minister has failed to exercise his responsibility under either of those sections of the act, and yet a year ago this minister said: “I want to stop the illegal flow of toxic wastes into and out of Ontario. The health of our citizens must be protected from the illegal handling of toxic chemicals.”

What the minister should have done, as soon as he became aware of even the likelihood of large amounts of contaminated fuel being for sale in this province, was to run immediate and extensive tests and to tell us the results of those tests. He should have informed people that there was the possibility, at their retail outlets, they could be buying this kind of fuel.

He ought to have informed people what to watch for, how to know if perhaps the fuel or the oil they were buying was contaminated. He should have explained to them that the fumes may be different. He should have alerted them to the need to perhaps examine what they were buying, to be conscious of the fact that if there were any emissions from their furnaces, they ought to take some particular care, because of the likelihood that there was contaminated oil.

He should have ensured that particularly greenhouses, particularly furnaces involving the production of food, particularly places of education or child care centres should have been alerted to the possibility. If those places which are most likely to look for cut-rate oil because of the restrictions in their funding that have been imposed by various levels of government had any reason to suspect there was anything wrong with their heating installations, they ought to have looked for it and they ought not to have been burning that particular oil because we have a danger to health. We know polychlorinated biphenyls, furans and dioxins are a danger to health and we know when they are improperly burned, they are a danger to health.

At the very least, this minister should have informed the federal Minister of the Environment immediately, so the customs and excise division of the Department of National Revenue and Environment Canada could become fully involved in matters underneath their jurisdiction. He should have informed the medical officers of health and he should have sought the advice of the chief medical officer in this province. He indicated today that he had not done that.

It is important that the people of this province know finally whether or not there is any risk. If the minister says he has no evidence, he has ceased all investigation and there is no risk, let him say so. He did not say that. He said, “I have no evidence, but I’m investigating and I can’t tell you what I’m investigating until I find the kingpins.” That is not good enough, and we deserve more from our Minister of the Environment.


Hon Mr Conway: I have only to say, let this debate begin.

The Speaker: Three members have spoken.


The Speaker: I remind all members that they may speak for up to 10 minutes. Speakers may continue until we have run out of speakers or the clock strikes six. The first speaker will be the member for Leeds-Grenville.


Mr Runciman: It is a pleasure to participate in this very important debate. I think members of the Legislature have been made aware over the past two days just how important those of us in the two opposition parties, at least, consider this issue. Certainly we believe, from the reaction in the media and the calls that are coming into our offices, that our concern is shared by many members of the public.

Our House leader was talking earlier in his efforts to convince the House, which I am pleased he was able to do, with respect to whether or not we should have this debate. He drew an analogy between what happened with respect to the discovery of cyanide on two grapes imported from Chile into the United States and the reaction that took place on that occasion.

Someone opposite shouted, “Ridiculous reaction.” I may share that observation that it was certainly, in many respects, an overreaction to what was, in many minds, a rather modest cause for alarm. Perhaps part of that may have been because of the source of the grape. I am not sure. There always seems to be an overzealous reaction to anything emanating from Chile or South Africa, so that may have been part of the rationale behind that reaction. I do not know.

But when we take a look at that reaction and take a look at the response of the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) with respect to this particular concern, I think there is a good case to be made that the minister’s response in this particular situation was not adequate and was not appropriate. I am sure that upon reflection, although we are not going to hear it here this afternoon, in his own thoughts and in the privacy of his apartment with friends and colleagues, he might admit that perhaps this should have been handled somewhat differently than it has been up to this point.

We talk about the danger presented by this particular problem. We do not know how significant it is, I agree. We do not know how widespread this problem is. That is indeed accurate. But again, comparing this to the Chilean grape situation, I want to quote from the article in the Globe and Mail with respect to the lacing of fuels with toxic wastes, and some description about the possible impact and the possible dangers posed by this practice.

“Participants in the scheme said that when wastes were available, fuels were diluted 10 to 15 per cent with whatever wastes were easily disguised in the fuels, usually solvents or waste oils.

“Hazardous waste disposal experts said these fuel cocktails would produce toxic emissions, including furans and dioxins, when burned in truck engines or in industrial boilers.

“PCBs, once widely used as coolants and lubricants, were banned in both Canada and the United States” -- and this is a very important aspect of this – “after they were shown to cause brain, nerve, liver and skin disorders in humans and cancer in laboratory animals. Furans and dioxins, produced when PCBs are incompletely burned, are even more dangerous.”

I think that is certainly an important ingredient of this discussion and this debate about the response of the minister and the ministry. We are talking about waste products that do indeed, it has been scientifically proven, present very serious and real hazards to human life in a variety of ways.

I think when we reflect upon that, no matter how uncertain we are about the scope of the hazard that may or may not be out there, it is incumbent upon the minister in a situation like that to make the public aware of what may be happening: that there is indeed a problem out there, that he is not aware of the significance of it but that his ministry is conducting a thorough investigation to ensure that if it is occurring in this province, he will, as best he can, make every effort to put an end to this practice.

He obviously made a decision for reasons known best to himself, and perhaps we will never know. There have been charges assessed today and yesterday with respect to the minister’s efforts to enhance his public relations situation. We saw him running off to Ottawa and indicating that he was having urgent meetings with the federal Minister of the Environment to bring him up to speed on the problem.

He indicates in this House, on virtually a daily basis, his capabilities to handle every problem that could possibly come before his ministry. He has indicated in fact that he is Mr Superminister of the Environment.

Mr Fleet: And he is a superminister.

Mr Runciman: Certainly I would call him a superminister in terms of patting himself on the back. He must have a couple of tired arms, because the minister is almost continuously patting himself on the back about the wonderful job he does.

This is an indication of the fact that perhaps public relations came before very valid public safety concerns. When it becomes an argument between public relations and public safety, I think those of us in the opposition parties believe -- and I am sure, Mr Speaker, that the vast majority of your constituents and mine would share the view -- that public safety should be the top priority, not public relations or who we can or cannot charge and getting up on a platform and indicating to the public: “Look how strong, how tough I am with polluters. I have laid yet another charge.”

At the same time, we can go on for months and months with possibly significant health hazards being posed to the members of the public without this minister making them aware of that possibility. It is a very serious matter indeed and one this minister is not going to be able to walk away from very easily.

I want to talk about this ministry and touch briefly on another aspect of the minister’s efforts to portray himself and his ministry as untouchable and the saviours of the environment in this province. In my own riding late last fall, we had a proposal to construct a hazardous waste incinerator. That proposal came as a complete surprise to people in the riding, but the Ministry of the Environment, which had been involved in those discussions for some time, did not provide any advice, assistance or support to the township council in that situation, a very naïve council without the ability or the financial wherewithal to have expertise on staff. They have to rely on the Ministry of the Environment in situations like that, and the ministry did not come through.

What happened? That municipal council was thrown out of office on its ear and we had a citizens’ group established to fight the toxic waste incinerator in our area. This minister was approached. He met with groups from that area, he was approached by the new council, he was approached by myself. What kind of an attitude did he take in that situation?

Obviously there were not enough brownie points or headlines to be made. He took the attitude that: “I’m going to sit on my hands on this one. I’m not going to be get involved. Stay on the sidelines and out of the game.” This is a very serious environmental question for a significant part of eastern Ontario and northern New York state. Mr Speaker, I am sure you were made aware of this issue even in your part of eastern Ontario. What happened? Nothing from the Ministry of the Environment: no assistance, no support.


When we get down to the really significant issues, and this one that we are discussing today is certainly one of those, and other issues of very critical importance to people in this province who have great concerns about where we are going in respect to the environment, this minister has failed and failed miserably.

I will tell members where he has not failed, and that is in projecting the persona of the saviour of the environment. I will give credit where credit is due. He has done a good job in that respect. But I am saying here today that when we talk about fuel being laced with toxic waste and the release into the environment of products that can cause brain, nerve, liver and skin disorders in humans, and it has been proven to be a cancer causer through laboratory experiments, and also that when they are incompletely burned they are even more dangerous than the experiments up to this point have indicated, it has to bother all of us that the minister did not consider that a significant enough situation that he would inform the public, make them aware of the situation and certainly clarify how extensive or nonextensive it was and allay the concerns.

The Deputy Speaker: I have been told there is an agreement to go counterclockwise, the reverse to tradition for rotation. I presume there is unanimous consent for that.

Agreed to.

Mr Pouliot: Unlike the previous distinguished colleague, I take no pleasure in participating in this emergency debate, although I am fully cognizant that it has become a necessity. When I say I take no pleasure, if I may just reminisce a bit, I too read the papers and try to keep au courant of developments in the province, trying to find out what is being pushed, what is high profile and what is not.

Always in my usual manner I like to be positive and believe. We have known for the past four years -- or we were told -- that the government of Ontario places a very high profile on the environment.

We were also fully cognizant and aware that the present Minister of the Environment, in some circles, had an immaculate record. We were shocked. I think we were disappointed, not because it was a blot on an otherwise immaculate record that would take on even greater proportions, but because of truth and, I should say, or consequence.

The papers report that the minister was aware; the minister knew. The minister was tipped off as far back as a year ago that a potentially deadly blending of an essential commodity was taking place; fuel oil and diesel oil was being mixed with some pollutants, with toxic materials. We are very much aware of the costs of disposing of toxic waste.

The minister knew some months back that this was taking place. The minister was also very much aware of the shortcomings when it comes to regulating the transportation of fuel from the United States to Canada. He knew because the Provincial Auditor told him. He told all of us by way of the Minister of Revenue (Mr Grandmaître). He in fact indicated that the province was being shortchanged to the tune of at least $4 million in revenues simply because the province had failed in its duties in monitoring compliance.

That is what the Provincial Auditor said. The government of the day acquiesced; it said, “Yes, we shall monitor compliance in the future.” It is my understanding that they have recouped some $4.6 million.

The Minister of the Environment had to make a decision. I can appreciate the impasse. I can appreciate the dilemma. One gets accustomed to the spotlight, the feather in the cap, the responsibility of not jeopardizing -- he is the one who is saying this -- an investigation. However, if one suspects or knows that one is blending toxic chemicals with fuels, one does not have to be a chemist to know that one will surpass or exceed the tolerance levels, the acceptable levels.

The minister, incidentally, was trying yesterday to save his own political skin in this House by refusing 14 consecutive times to answer the very simple question of his colleagues the representatives of the people of Ontario who asked him, “When did the minister find out?” The opposition wanted to help the minister. They wanted to share and jointly find ways by which the problems could be solved. It was 14 times -- and the records will attest to that -- that the minister refused to answer that very simple question.

The rationale was that the investigation would be jeopardized, and yet less than 10 minutes later the minister seemed to come to his senses or choose another forum. He went right outside the House and divulged that he had known since January 1989.

The minister likes to talk about partnership and the collective effort of Ontarians and parliamentarians, and yet the suspected health hazard was not shared with the public. If in doubt when it comes to public welfare and public health, Minister, one does not wait until after the fact and try to lead one’s colleagues in a cloak-and-dagger episode of catching, as he has said, the kingpin. No, no, no.

“I, the Minister of the Environment, sincerely believe in the welfare and health of my fellow citizens.” He should act first. He should not take chances. He should abide by the provisions that are set forward; they are right there in black and white. He should obey those.

His mandate, his duty, but perhaps just as important, his obligation -- he should do what he senses, what his heart, his gut feeling, tells him, what his instinct tells him -- his obligation is to stop what is taking place. He should use, for instance, the search and seizure provisions of the Environmental Protection Act. Did the minister do that? No. One runs tests on these fuels at the point of sale. Did the minister do that when he was first informed of the potential hazard? No, he chose not to.

Did the minister inform the public, the retail outlets, that toxic material was on the loose and was being used for daily consumption? No, he did not. Did the minister use the stop-order provision in the act? Did he do that? He chose not to. Again, the minister was not at his post. This is the same minister who takes a great deal of pride in saying, “The government of Ontario is dedicated, more than any other jurisdiction in North America -- provincial, state or federal -- to protecting the environment,” and yet when it comes to what every one of us in the House should do, the minister is not at his post.


We are talking about public health here. It is regrettable, because I was aware of the agenda of the Minister of the Environment. I know how busy he is. Sometimes I am pleased to have coffee with him, and he speaks so sincerely.

Hon Mr Conway: About Terrace Bay and other things?

Mr Pouliot: He does indeed include the many paper companies in the riding of Lake Nipigon, knows inside out the wording of what monitoring compliance on work orders does and follows through. So I share with him a sense of disappointment.

I am not asking for the minister’s resignation, as some have done. All I am asking the minister to do is abide by the rules. This is the protection that the public has, and whenever there is potential to affect public health, he should not worry about what his advisers tell him; he should worry about his neighbours, his community, his colleagues and the workers, and he will find the right answer. Should he fail to do this, he should listen to someone with a social conscience and read the act to make sure, for his own protection and for the protection of people, that this kind of tragedy, a potential calamity if you wish, is never allowed to take place in Ontario.

Hon Mr Scott: It is not often that I have an opportunity to participate in the debate in the House, but I asked our whip if I could have the opportunity to speak today because I think what is happening in this Legislature is important and I would like to express my views about it.

I do so because I understand well the way the Minister of the Environment has responded to this important issue, and I think it would be useful if I could make some comment on it, and I feel an obligation out of loyalty to him and out of admiration for his record to do so.

I have been in this assembly for four years and I understand well that when an opposition party, having read the Globe and Mail, gets the bit within its teeth, there is almost nothing to which it will not stoop in order to make the next headline or the headline after that. I understand that well.

We have come to understand -- I myself have experienced it -- that there will be weekly, if not daily, calls for the resignation of this minister or that minister. Indeed, I think some who will be speaking today have several times called for my resignation. It is rather the thing to do to draw attention to an issue in which the opposition feels it has something to say.

We understand that. We understand the process. We understand the game and the way it is played, and we are prepared to submit to those rules, which of course is why we participate in the debate.

But once that is all understood, it is worth while in a case like this to look at the issue and determine the extent to which there is a real issue as distinguished from the almost daily kind of trumped-up issue that opposition parties -- ours included, no doubt, when we were there -- have to present in order to get their names in the papers.

Let me just begin by giving members an example from my own experience, because if the Minister of the Environment is guilty of what is alleged against him, I am guilty. In the Ministry of the Attorney General, it is a daily event to receive allegations about criminality. The criminality alleged often involves the commission of a crime of very serious proportions, often involving death.

Our responsibility in my ministry is precisely that of the Ministry of the Environment: to receive the information and to act promptly and diligently to investigate it to determine if there is evidence that you can put before a court that will justify a conviction.

That is the way process works in a democratic society, and the fact that members of the opposition do not want to be democratic today and want to get their names in the paper is just beside the point.


Hon Mr Scott: The fact of the matter is that if it came to my attention as Attorney General that the honourable member opposite, who is just about to interrupt, had committed a great crime, it would not be my right -- indeed, it would be inconsistent with my duty -- to announce that to the public to his prejudice, to his disadvantage.

My obligation, on the other hand, would be to take that allegation seriously, to investigate it, to build a case and to present the case so that affirmative action to stop the criminality, if such there was, could be undertaken. That is the way it is done under our process and that of course is precisely the process that the Minister of the Environment has wisely adopted and followed in this case.

There is no suggestion, and there could not be any, that he has misled the House. He has now indicated when the information came to his attention, and he has given the House an account of the steps he has taken to ascertain whether that information is correct. He will in due course, if the information can be substantiated, take action, under environmental legislation or the Criminal Code, designed to terminate the practice. That is the practice; that is the way it has to be done.

It is really amusing today to hear the New Democratic Party members saying that the bald allegation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation should be broadcast across the community. Never before in 20 years have I heard such devotion to the interests of the FBI as has been exhibited by the great civil libertarians in the opposition party today.

The fact is that the Minister of the Environment, in this case, is doing what the statute requires and commands. Now, if at the end of the exercise it should be illustrated that there has been any misconduct in the way he has conducted himself, that is another question, but that is not the question we are dealing with now.

The opposition parties want action before it is proper to take action, because there is no evidence. When that evidence is forthcoming, if it is there, action will occur.

Now, having said that about it, it is worth observing that the allegation made against this Minister of the Environment is not only wrong for the reasons I have given but is totally inconsistent with his political career in this Legislature. There is no minister of the environment in the country, and probably no minister of the environment in North America, who has more aggressively advanced the interests of the citizens of his community than our friend the Minister of the Environment.

The way he has advanced those interests is not by kicking over wheelbarrows, destroying process, barging around, being ineffective. The way he has done it is by listening to concerns, investigating, building a case and acting effectively on that case,

Mr B. Rae: And waiting from January till April before he conducted his first test.

Hon Mr Scott: As I said before the Leader of the Opposition (Mr B. Rae) returned, we are all quite used to the experience that our resignation is demanded by the opposition. We do not ask for their resignations. What would be served by that? They ask for ours, and on a number of occasions, as I say, almost daily, the resignation of one minister or another is sought.

Mr Mackenzie: I have never heard such colossal errors.

Hon Mr Scott: My friend is not even listening.

Mr Mackenzie: The minister was elected here, he says, to play games.

The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): Order, please.

Hon Mr Scott: Does the honourable member have a question? I would be glad to respond to it.

Mr Pouliot: Go back to making money.

Mr Fleet: The member doesn’t like a good answer anyway.

Hon Mr Scott: No, no, the member prefers to interrupt, and I understand that. That is about the level of his contribution to the debate in the House, although I understand he will be making a speech later.

The reality is that this minister has nothing to answer for on the issue that is presented in this resolution. I say to the House again that I am satisfied that what is alleged against him is totally inconsistent with a record as minister in environmental matters that has been created over four years, when on all the important issues of environmental concern he has outreached the parties in this House in responding effectively and aggressively to the needs of our people.

I think I speak for all my colleagues in the party. We are delighted and proud to associate ourselves with this minister in asking the House to reject this motion.

The Acting Speaker: I understand we are going counter-rotationally. The next speaker, the member for Mississauga South.


Mrs Marland: Obviously, the significance of this subject which has now necessitated a second motion in this Legislature -- I read into the record that I am speaking in support of a motion under the name of the leader of the Progressive Conservative caucus, the member for Sarnia (Mr Brandt), and that motion is “that the ordinary business of the House be set aside to discuss a matter of urgent public importance, that being the crisis facing Ontario citizens as a result of the Minister of the Environment’s failure to fulfil his duties and responsibilities as a minister of the crown as defined by legislative act in the province of Ontario.”

It was very interesting a few moments ago to hear the Attorney General (Mr Scott) stand in this House and suggest that the only reason we had an emergency debate on this subject yesterday, and the only reason we are having a second emergency debate on this subject today, is because there happened to be a story in a Toronto newspaper.

Mr Faubert: He’s right on.

Mrs Marland: The Attorney General also went on to say that because of that story, the opposition would take “the bit within its teeth,” to quote his analogy, and run with it. I want to assure the Attorney General and any other misinformed members of the Ontario Liberal government that both opposition parties have far more to do with their responsibilities as elected representatives in this Legislature than chase down a Minister of the Environment, who obviously does not choose to fulfil his obligation to be an advocate for the environment, for the health and safety of the people of Ontario.

When the Attorney General says he knows the rules and understands the games and that he was in opposition, I want to tell members that I am personally insulted. I think every one of us in the Progressive Conservative caucus is insulted, because when the Attorney General stands in defence of his Minister of the Environment and suggests that all we are doing as members of the opposition is playing games --

Mr Faubert: That’s right.

Mrs Marland: -- then I would like to suggest that there was no greater gamesmanship than what this Legislature faced yesterday in this House when we asked the Minister of the Environment a very simple question 12 times.

Mr Faubert: It was 13.

Mrs Marland: The gamesmanship of this Minister of the Environment was that he chose not to answer the question in this Legislature that was asked 12 times. His game was to go out into the lobby and answer the question in the media scrum. Now, if members want to talk about games, the Attorney General certainly is right on target with the kind of game we saw here yesterday.

While we are talking about games, we should look at the kinds of games we had with the question periods at the beginning of this week. What kinds of conclusions can the members of this opposition party draw when we get totally conflicting answers in question period from two ministers of the crown? We had a Minister of the Environment, on Monday, stand in this House and tell us that the Ontario Provincial Police indeed was investigating this very serious matter.

Mr Faubert: No, he didn’t say that at all.

Mrs Marland: Then the following day we had the Solicitor General (Mrs Smith), whose office I understand is responsible for the Ontario Provincial Police, stand in this House and say the Ontario Provincial Police was not involved.

Mr Faubert: They got the names wrong.

Mrs Marland: Mr Speaker, I understand the rules of this House preclude the kind of continual interruption I am presently being targeted with from the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere. The unfortunate thing about having 94 members in a party that is in government is the fact that most of them never have any opportunity to speak other than in interjections. It shows the strength of their ability to speak when their own caucus does not give them their own platforms and their own time to speak. They spend their time with interjections. Personally, I think it is akin to kindergarten.

The real issue the Attorney General referred --


The Acting Speaker: We are on limited-time speeches and I do not like to interrupt, but if the members are going to persist in interrupting I will use some of the time to admonish as well. The member has the floor. She is entitled to speak no matter how much you disbelieve what she may have to say. That is irrelevant. Let the woman speak.

Mrs Marland: Mr Speaker, I appreciate very much your intervention and I appreciate your fairness.

When the Attorney General talks about what is the real issue, the real issue here is whether or not the Minister of the Environment is fulfilling his obligations to the people of Ontario. The Attorney General said the Minister of the Environment is doing exactly what the statute requires. I do not know to which statute the Attorney General was referring. I do know, however, that there is a statute existing in this province today that requires the Minister of the Environment to release information to the public under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act when that information might reveal something that puts the public at risk.

Mr Haggerty: You can apply for them.

Mrs Marland: To show how little is known by the member who has just interjected, the member for Niagara South (Mr Haggerty), who said that information can be applied for, I would refer that member to the act. Indeed, under the freedom-of-information act we can apply, the public can apply, for information.

However, there is an exception. The exception is that where the public may be at risk, you do not have to apply for that information. It is a requirement of the minister of the crown to release that information without being asked for it. How interesting, when here we have the possibility of the public being at risk, that this minister did not choose to release that information. Not once in four months did he choose that.

Why do members suppose this minister decided to be his own cops and robbers specialist? Is it possibly because he happens to be the king of egos? Is it possibly because he does not understand the freedom-of-information act and does not understand the requirements that he, as a minister of the crown, is under? What is the reason this minister failed the people of Ontario? What is the reason that for the second day we have to discuss something this Minister of the Environment did not do? His failure to fulfil his mandate, which is to advocate for the environment on behalf of those people who rely on him in terms of health and safety in the environment, is a reflection on the entire government.

On this issue, the Liberal government of Ontario has indeed failed. They have failed, as this minister has in a number of other areas during his term of office. It is quite interesting to have the government House leader stand up yesterday and laud the attributes of the Minister of the Environment. In fact the member for Renfrew North (Mr Conway) said: “I absolutely reject the analysis the Leader of the Opposition has offered with respect to how the Minister of the Environment has met his responsibilities....we believe the Minister of the Environment has acted very, very responsibly in this matter, as he has in all other matters.”

I ask the member for Renfrew North, is he satisfied when this Minister of the Environment does not meet a requirement under the freedom-of-information act, and is he satisfied when this minister puts at risk every single person in this province for four months? He does not even have the sense, the sensitivity or the responsibility to report this matter to his federal minister. No, he keeps it completely under wraps. He is going to find out everything about it while everybody is at risk.

The point is that the public should have the choice of knowing. The public should have the choice of leaving, if they so wish, but with the minister’s lack of information and of telling the truth of the matter to this House, then everyone is at risk without any choice.


Mr B. Rae: I had not intended to participate in this debate until I heard the comments of the Attorney General. I felt it important to try to put those comments in some perspective, because they are based on a completely erroneous comparison and a completely erroneous reading of the law and a completely erroneous view of what public policy should be.

The Minister of the Environment stated in this House today, though he did not have the courtesy to do so yesterday, that certain information came to him in January.

Mr Speaker, I do not want to --


The Acting Speaker: Could we terminate a private conversation on this side of the House, please? The Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

Mr B. Rae: The minister has admitted he knew in January of certain information. He has not told us what information. He has not told us the nature of that information. He has not told us the source of that information. He has not told us the extent of that information. He has not told us where it came from or exactly what it is.

His comment today in answer to questions was that he did not want to do anything based on rumours. I do not know whether the minister is saying he only had rumours. I do not know whether he had information given to him by his staff, whether he had a staff memorandum. I do not know whether in fact he has a copy of the report which according to the Financial Post yesterday the Federal Bureau of Investigation claims to have provided to the Minister of the Environment.

We do know that in addition to there being police investigations in the United States --


Mr B. Rae: I will come to the member for Niagara South in a moment.

He has not told us whether it is based on the information that was before the American Congress in 1985, whether it is based on other sources of information or what exactly it is. The minister has not told us because it is not in his style to be frank with the House in terms of what he knows and when he knows it. You have to get it out of him grain by grain, squeak by squeak, and that is the way it has been with this minister. As a result, he has made a fool of himself.

Yesterday he was on Canada AM saying: “I’m going to get the big guys. I’m going to get organized crime.” He comes out of a meeting with Lucien Bouchard saying: “We’re going to get the big guys. It’s going to be a long, hot summer and we’re going to nail them to the wall.” Today he is saying: “Rumours? allegations? I don’t know. You can stick your nose up the tailpipe. It doesn’t bother you. It doesn’t bother me. It’s no big deal.” Eliot Ness becomes Inspector Clouseau in the space of 24 hours.

If there is a problem, and he has four ministries that are working on the problem, the minister had the information in January and he did not conduct a test until April. There are no tests until April. Outside the House -- again not here, outside -- apparently the minister has said, if I am not mistaken, there are 25 tests that were taken and he has the results of 12 tests.

Hon Mr Bradley: I said that in the House. I said that to Ruth and I said that to Andy.

Mr B. Rae: The numbers?

Hon Mr Bradley: No, but I said that in the House.

Mr B. Rae: Did you say the numbers in the House? Did you say how many tests?

The Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Hon Mr Bradley: I said all the tests we had taken.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr B. Rae: Outside the House you said the number of tests you had taken, and outside the House you said the number of results you had.

The minister is saying he said that in the House and he did not. In response to questions in the House, the minister said there was no positive test result.

Hon Mr Bradley: I answered to both of those people. Be accurate. You can be miserable, but be bloody accurate.

Mr B. Rae: I am being completely accurate. You said there were test results. You did not say how many. Outside you said how many. You did not say that in here. You can show me in Hansard where I am wrong and I will apologize tomorrow.

Hon Mr Bradley: I said any results that we have --

Mr B. Rae: You show me where I am wrong.

The minister, unrefuted, had a chance --

The Acting Speaker: The Leader of the Opposition will continue his address to all of us and not this private discussion.

Mr B. Rae: The minister had information in January. No tests were taken according to what he has told us. Again, if I am wrong let him state in the House that he has test results in January. He has test results for February from gas stations. He has test results from industrial fuel sites. He has test results from diesel trucks. If he has those test results for January, February and March, let him come forward and produce those test results. He has not done so. Why? Because he was carrying out his, in quotes, “investigation,” and according to the Attorney General he was doing exactly what he should have been doing.

I do not agree with the Attorney General. I think in fact he is flat wrong. I think he is wrong about the law. I do not know whether the Attorney General has read the Environmental Protection Act or not. I do not know whether he has read the Health Protection and Promotion Act or not. I say to the fixation he has, the fixation the Liberals have, with making charges and with criminal convictions, that this sort of Eliot Ness fantasy over there has nothing at all to do with the issue at hand.

The issue at hand is the public health. If a public health inspector goes into a restaurant and finds there is a piece of liver on the kitchen table that is contaminated, he has a responsibility to take steps.

Under subsection 13(2) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, “A medical officer of health or a public health inspector may make an order under this section where he is of the opinion, upon reasonable and probable grounds, that a health hazard exists.” Similarly, the Environmental Protection Act says, “When the director, upon reasonable and probable grounds, is of the opinion that a source...is...discharging...any contaminant that constitutes...an immediate danger to human life, the health of any persons, or to property, the director may issue a stop order.”

The reason I cite these is to say that there is a complete and total difference between the burden of proof with respect to a criminal conviction and the burden of proof with respect to the obligations of a minister when he thinks or believes that there is a potential public health problem.

It is obviously difficult for us because we do not have access to the ministry documents that tell us what the minister knew. I must say, having watched the minister these last three days, that I do not think we will ever find out what the minister knew and when he knew it. I do not think he will ever produce the documents unless we are able through freedom of information or through some kind of leak to get the minister to tell us exactly what he knew back in January.

What I do know is that information was available to the minister, because it was available eventually to the Globe and Mail, that should have led him to prompt the kind of investigation and the kind of survey across the province that would have made a difference to the public health of this province and to the citizens of this province. The time to launch that kind of inquiry and investigation and that kind of testing was not in April, some four months after he had the information, but in January, the very month he had the information.

The minister has said in this House, “I do not want to announce anything because if I announce anything, I might blow the investigation.” Let me tell the minister what the effect of his delay has been. The effect of his delay of over three months in conducting any tests into this matter and the effect of his delay in limiting the tests he conducted simply to the border sites was this: Does he not think that when Jock Ferguson started his story and when the criminal investigation started in the United States, the major firms in the United States and the firms in Canada that were conducting this business were warned off what they were doing?

Does he not think that for three or four months after January when the Ferguson story apparently was started and after the minister was informed at roughly the same time, people had three or four months to get their act in order in terms of what they were doing? Of course they did.

The effect of the minister’s delay in introducing these tests was to give the perpetrators of this crime a chance to clean up their act. That is exactly what the effect of that delay has been. The minister may stand up and say: “Now, you know, there is no problem. There is no result. There is no difficulty.” But I say to him that his delay and the incompetence he has displayed in his handling of this matter are such that it may be very difficult to find a particular problem at a border site, but that does not mean for a moment that the problem does not exist. It simply means that the way in which this investigation has been carried out by the ministry has been such as to make it all the more difficult for public health to be protected.

That, I think, is the story. It is very difficult to deal with this minister. He is a minister who has had a great deal of respect in this House, but in my opinion he has lost it.


Mr McGuigan: I am, I guess, not overjoyed to join in this debate. It would be rather preferable for all concerned had this not happened. I think it speaks to success; there is some measure of success being enjoyed on both sides of the border with efforts to clean up the environment. It is not as easy as it was a number of years ago to take toxic or banned materials and put them in the nearest stream or put them in the nearest landfill where no questions are asked.

The system appears to be working somewhat, not perfectly, but the system is working to the extent that it is now becoming expensive to get rid of these materials. Organized crime moves into any field where money is to be made. I say it speaks somewhat to the success that is being had on both sides of the border that we are today debating this question.

One of the things that has been alleged in interjections and comments is that the minister has been hunting for headlines and that rather than looking after court cases and looking after the Detroit incinerator, he should have been crying “panic” in the streets. I can say that the people in southwestern Ontario who live in the shadow of that incinerator -- myself included, my constituents, my children, my grandchildren and hopefully generations to follow -- are very appreciative of the efforts that this minister has taken in that regard.

I am not going to bore members with all the courts that we have been in and out of. There is a whole list of them. Nevertheless, the minister has followed this on every occasion and has had his officials present cases to the American courts. And he is still at it. This minister is the first person who has done that.

I want to go back to an event that I recall when I was in opposition. The minister was then simply the member for St Catharines. I think the former member for Erie, the present member for Niagara South, was with us. We went over to Niagara Falls, New York, to a lake conference. It was on a matter of the environment and pollutants in the lake, etc. We spent the evening over there and came back.

While we were waiting -- actually, I think it was at the border when we were waiting -- we ran into a number of people from the Ministry of the Environment who also had been attending the same event. We got into a bit of a discussion about the philosophy of how you preserve the environment. They made a very strong case that you did it by gentle persuasion: “Come on in, fellows, and we’ll sit down and we’ll talk over this gently. Don’t cause much trouble. Don’t threaten any person’s job, but just be nice, good fellows and clean up your act.”

I remember the minister giving his philosophy at the time. His philosophy was that we hit the polluter and we hit them hard. It seems to me that when you strip away all of the rhetoric around this debate, you are really talking about what the best method is of dealing with polluters. Do you do it with gentle persuasion or do you hit them, and hit them hard, with fines such as $500,000 or long stretches in jail? That is the course the minister has followed. I believe, in the long run, it will be the course that will show results, because simply closing this border or checking things at the border for the moment does not mean those criminals and people who are involved in this, where there is a lot of money, are going to stop their efforts.

I spent a fair bit of time at border points, because we used to import and export some products, and I watched the process of examining those trucks. Trucks come over with mixed loads of chemicals and the inspectors take a cursory look at them. There is no way it is possible they could go in there and analyse every package and every barrel of product that is in that truck. It could easily be, if we cut off the fuel as a means of bringing this in, they would simply put the pure product in a barrel, label it with some fictitious name and send it across to a receiver on this side of the border, who then proceeds to dump it in any convenient tank of oil and it goes unsuspected.

If we are going to stop this, we have to get at the people who are doing it. I believe the minister is taking that course and ultimately, it will result in greater protection for the people of Canada and Ontario.

A lot has been made about the fact that the minister should have created panic in the streets. He should have gone out in January, because some brown envelope, phone call, tipster or whatever had told him there is a possibility some of the fuel is contaminated.

Should the minister have then gone out in the streets and said, in the hospitals that are heated with oil furnaces, “Turn off your furnaces”? It is January. The temperature, in Ontario in January, is pretty damn cold. Should he have done that? Should he have gone to the greenhouse people and said: “Because someone has sent me a note, or because of a whisper, there is a slim possibility a small part of the fuel of Ontario is contaminated. Shut off your greenhouse. Let the stuff freeze”?

To take an extreme example, should he have said to the ambulances --

Mr Sterling: What does Sheila Copps say?

Mr McGuigan: I was not talking about Sheila.


Mr McGuigan: Great lady. She is a lovely lady. I am not going to get into any sort of arguments. She is a lovely person and was a great colleague of mine.

Just to use an extreme example, shall we say to the ambulance drivers, “Don’t answer that call for the person who has been the victim of a fire, sickness or whatever, because someone told me there is a slim possibility your tank might have some contamination in it”?

The point I am trying to make, ladies and gentlemen, is we should be a little bit practical and give the minister some kudos for being sensible, for being practical, for being responsible in this situation. He has been --

Mr Charlton: Was he responsible on Monday?

Mr McGuigan: I am not going to answer for the member’s quarrel with the minister on how he responds to questions and how questions are answered. He has ample chance to do that with the minister himself. I am simply talking about the philosophy and the system that he has introduced to Ontario. I will tell members it is the best philosophy and the best system that is available to us, given the fact we are dealing with rumourmongers. We are dealing with criminals. We are dealing with highly sensitive matters. To simply go out on the streets and cry panic, I think, is the wrong thing to do.

Mr D. S. Cooke: What does Sheila Copps say?

Mr McGuigan: The last time I looked around, I thought we were in the Legislature of Ontario. Sheila is very capable, more capable than I, I would suggest, at defending herself and making her statements. I am not responding to Sheila. After all, she might some day be the Prime Minister of this country and I would not want to be on record as contradicting her. I could do that at times, but she might be Prime Minister. She would make a great Prime Minister, as she does make a great representative from her riding of Hamilton East.


Mr Sterling: I think it is important that we turn our thoughts again to this particular issue today. If in fact the placations we have heard put forward by the Minister of the Environment that there is indeed no problem here in Ontario with regard to this whole matter, if we are to buy what I consider a complete reversal of the position of the Minister of the Environment this afternoon from everything else that has gone on this week, then that is fine and dandy, but let’s at least learn from this particular situation so the Minister of the Environment will not truck off to Ottawa and raise speculation by having meetings with the federal Minister of the Environment that in fact there is an environmental problem.

He will not appear on Canada AM and make threats against mobsters and crimebusters and environment busters.

Mr J. B. Nixon: Let’s take Andy Brandt off Canada AM.

Mr Sterling: I hear the member for York Mills saying “Let’s take Mr Brandt off Canada AM.” The member for Sarnia would not have been on Canada AM, nor would the member for York South (Mr B. Rae), had the minister not held up the straw of there being a problem with regard to toxic waste here in Ontario. Neither one of them would have been there, and the public would have been spared a waste of the Legislature’s time for two days with regard to this particular problem.


The Acting Speaker: Come on. Order.

Mr Sterling: That is what the Minister of the Environment is telling us today: “There is no problem here.”

We have a problem with the philosophy of the Minister of the Environment. The previous speakers talked about the new philosophy of this government. I will tell members what the philosophy of this government is. First and foremost, the Minister of the Environment must prosecute. The second priority is the public, and that is what we are arguing about here in the Legislature today.

We are arguing for the people of Ontario to be protected. We would like the people who are breaking our environmental laws to be prosecuted, but first of all we are concerned with the safety of the people of Ontario. That is our most important priority. That is why the former Minister of the Environment, the member for Sarnia, our leader, takes issue with the Minister of the Environment with regard to his dealing with the prosecution.


Mr Sterling: The people across the floor say it is one and the same. We have an example before us here today which tells us where the priorities of this government are. They are with prosecution first and the public second. They are less concerned about the ill effects that these supposed toxic wastes might have on the people of Ontario than they are in chasing down these criminals, if they are criminals.

Earlier this afternoon I heard the Attorney General talking about the prosecution process in this province, about his ministry and about how things have gone on for years and years with regard to prosecuting people.

Our motion today was brought in order to point out to this government and this minister that times have changed; the laws of our province have changed. It is about time they were changed.

Recently, we passed the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1987. Subsection 11(1), which was passed by this Parliament in its last session, brought forward what I consider one of the most significant sections in all of the freedom-of-information acts in the world. Our Parliament here in Ontario decided that over and above every other freedom-of-information act in the world that we would put upon the shoulders of our ministers an obligation to disclose, even though they had not been requested to disclose a piece of information.

That section was put in there because it was in the bill which I introduced in 1984 before this Legislature; subsection 11(1) is a straight lift out of that particular bill, Bill 80. I argued with the bureaucracy; I argued with the business interests of this province to make certain that any freedom-of-information bill, either during that period of time or in the future, would contain a section whereby a minister of this crown, if he received evidence that there was an environmental hazard, would be forced to disclose that, even though he did not have a request, because it would be impossible to have a request --

Hon Mr Bradley: You couldn’t get that past cabinet, Norm. I was on your side then, and you couldn’t get it past your colleagues.

Mr Sterling: The minister asks if I got it past the cabinet. Of course, I got it past the cabinet. It was introduced in this Legislature on 24 May 1984. That particular section was in the act at that particular time and was approved by our cabinet. This is a straight lift out of that particular bill, and the minister knows that.

Mr J. B. Nixon: Show us your evidence.

Mr Sterling: Read Hansard, 24 May 1984.


The Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr Sterling: They obviously do not want to give any credit. It is more important to talk about political pasts than it is to go on into the future and tell these ministers their obligations under the law.

Subsection 11(1) reads, as my leader read it earlier today, “Despite any other provision of this act, a head” -- and that means a minister under this act – “shall, as soon as practicable, disclose any record to the public or persons affected if the head has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that it is in the public interest to do so and that the record reveals a grave environmental, health or safety hazard to the public.”

Therefore, this minister --


The Acting Speaker: Order. We have a conversation going here. Could you please listen to the member for Carleton?

Mr Sterling: Thank you very much for your intervention, Mr Speaker.

This minister and any other minister of this government -- and I do not think that some of the ministers are aware of that obligation -- have an obligation even though they have not received a letter from a member of Parliament or a citizen of Ontario. They have an obligation to disclose to the public if they have a reasonable belief that in fact there is information which they should disclose to the public so the public can protect itself from a potential hazard. That is why I told my bureaucrats to put that in the act. It is not in any other act or in any other freedom-of-information act in the world. We have legislation which will, hopefully, protect our public from a Minister of the Environment who sees information but does not disclose it.


What happens if the minister does not disclose this particular information, and there is damage to some citizen across the province as a result of his holding that information back? It puts the government in legal jeopardy with regard to that particular information. In other words, if someone in the province has suffered over the past three months as a result of PCBs from toxic waste, then he has every right to sue this government for the damages that result therefrom. That may be of little solace to somebody who has in fact been injured over the past few months because of these toxins.

I hope at the very least that this minister will in the future conduct himself in a more responsible manner with regard to the disclosure of information and how he conducts himself as a minister of the crown.

Mr Charlton: I enter this debate again today with some significant degree of unease. I should say that as we get further into this debate, the sense of anger that I feel grows substantially with each day that this debate progresses.

We have heard a number of members during the course of this debate, specifically the member for St George-St. David, the Attorney General, earlier this afternoon suggesting to this House that yesterday’s and today’s questions and debate were an effort on the part of some opposition members -- presumably he was referring to both of the opposition parties -- to get their names in the press and blow this issue all out of proportion.

I want to suggest that if we follow the process the Attorney General set out for us and weigh the facts of this case that so far have been presented in this House, in fact exactly the opposite is true. Let’s just take a moment to run through some of those facts. Unfortunately, we have to run through them in reverse order.

Mr Dietsch: Alleged or real facts?

Mr Charlton: Real facts, according to the Minister of the Environment in his statements in this House today.

After three consecutive days of harangue in the media and in this House --

Mr Dietsch: Two days. He wasn’t here on Monday.

Mr Charlton: Three: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Monday the harangue was in the media. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are three days, not two.

After these three days, the Minister of the Environment stood in this House this afternoon and said that, as a result of his learning of this problem in January and of his doing testing of fuels in April, the Ministry of the Environment had been unable to find any substantial evidence --

Hon Mr Bradley: So far.

Mr Charlton: -- so far, of contaminated fuels. The purpose of the questions and debate yesterday and today is to look at the question of whether or not the Minister of the Environment had acted reasonably and responsibly in the circumstances.

Some members across the way, and specifically the member for Essex-Kent (Mr McGuigan), suggested that some of us were asking that the minister run through the streets of this province spreading panic. Now let’s look at who is spreading the panic. Who was it on Monday who started this whole thing? Was it the Leader of the Opposition, the leader of the third party or the Minister of the Environment?

Who said to the media on Monday of this week, “Officials are tracking ‘the big guys’ who mixed millions of gallons of toxic chemicals with gas and oil fuels”? The Minister of the Environment said that. Today he stood in his place and said, “We have absolutely no evidence that any of that is happening.” But on Monday he started the panic in the streets by saying, “We’re after the big guys who used millions of gallons.” Those are the words of the Minister of the Environment.

Let’s talk and think about responsibility here in this debate. Based on what the Minister of the Environment told us here today, a responsible, reasonable thing for the minister to have said on Monday would have been:

“Yes, I am aware of the problem. I am aware that there are accusations to that effect. My ministry is investigating those accusations. We have tested numbers of gallons of fuel from vehicles coming into this province. To date, we have been unable to find any evidence that the accusations are true. However, it is time the public of Ontario became aware of the possibility of an environmental problem in this province.

“Any citizen of Ontario, any resident of Ontario who has any reason to believe that he may have purchased contaminated fuel because of irregular performance by that fuel or strange odours being created by the burning of that fuel, please contact the Ministry of the Environment so we can follow up and find out whether in fact there is any contamination in that fuel.”

That would have been a reasonable and responsible position for the Minister of the Environment to have taken on Monday, not the position that he took, “Officials are tracking the big guys who mixed millions of gallons of toxic chemicals with gas and oil fuels,” when he has absolutely no proof of that and he said so here in the House this afternoon.

The Minister of the Environment is the one who started the panic. The questions that were raised here on Tuesday and Wednesday and again today are all questions that flowed out of the minister’s statements of Monday and Tuesday. They had no other source.

Hon Mr Bradley: I think the Globe and Mail might have been the source.

Mr Charlton: The Globe and Mail story would have been raised in the context of: “Was the minister aware? Yes.” If the minister had not made the statements he made, the Globe and Mail story would have been raised in the context of: “Was the minister aware and what is he doing?”

Hon Mr Bradley: You guys saw how it played well in the federal House on Monday and then you came into it on Tuesday.

Mr Charlton: Yes, by the minister’s colleagues. It was the Minister of the Environment of Ontario who misled the people of this province in terms of what the real extent of the problem was and what was really happening in terms of his investigation.

I refer back to a letter which my leader referred to earlier today. There are still a lot of questions that the Minister of the Environment has to answer for in addition to what he has told us here today. But I would just refer to this letter which was sent to the Premier this morning by Jim Conrad, who says in his letter, “Dear David, you know of my strong support for you and the Liberal government.”

In the fifth paragraph in this letter, he says: “Jim Bradley is only damaging the reputation of government when he says he has the answers when he doesn’t. David, your officials don’t have the answers. They are the problem, not the solution.”

Hon Mr Bradley: Now read who he says has the answers. The companies, the industries.

Mr Charlton: I do not see where he says that. He says the people of Ontario have the answers. Industry and environmentalists have the expertise that the minister’s officials do not have, but he says the people of Ontario have the answers, not industry. The minister should take the time to read things a little more carefully and present things a little more factually in the House.

The point I am trying to make is that because of the way the Minister of the Environment has behaved this week and the way that he has handled and presented this issue, he has not only created a credibility gap for the Ministry of the Environment, he has created a credibility gap for this government, even among its own supporters.


One of the useful things that might come out of this debate -- and we still, to this date, have not got this out of the minister -- is what any person in the province should do if he should suspect as a result of all the publicity this week that he has in some fashion purchased contaminated fuel: heating fuel, diesel fuel or gasoline. Nobody anywhere has told people what they should do if they have reasonable cause to suspect the fuel because of the way it is performing or because of strange smells that it creates when it gets burned, how to find out what is going on and whether there is contamination in that fuel.

This government has a responsibility to protect the people of this province, and it is failing that responsibility.

Mr Black: I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this debate. We have an issue before this House which is of significance. It is a serious issue, and although there may be cynics who suggest that the issue was raised by members who perhaps did not have the best of intentions, who might have been seeking political gain, I am prepared to accept that they have raised the issue out of genuine concern.

If we are going to look at the issue in the true scope that it deserves, what we must look at, it seems to me, is the record of this Minister of the Environment. He has been in his post for four years. What has he done and what has he accomplished during that period of time? If we are really going to look carefully at that record, it seems to me we must have some kind of benchmark to which to compare the current minister.

We are fortunate in this province in that we have several benchmarks. We have had, in the past 15 years that the Ministry of the Environment has been in operation, a total of about 11 ministers. It is interesting to note that nine or 10 of those people came from the Progressive Conservative Party, nine or 10 ministers of the environment over a 10-year-period. That in itself may speak very clearly to the priorities that the previous government gave to environmental issues.

What kind of record did those nine or 10 ministers of the environment have in this province? We know, for example, what they did on acid rain. My riding is one of the ridings in this province that suffers the most from that particular problem. It is a riding that does not have natural protection and therefore was at serious risk during the time when acid rain fell, and continues to fall, throughout this province.

The previous government did, as I have said, absolutely nothing. Unlike their federal cousins, they did not even have the good grace to send an emissary to sing songs with the American President. They simply sat and did nothing.

What has this government done and what has this minister done? I think the record is very clear. We have had legislation passed. We have had action taken. We have had the four major polluters in this province brought into the position where they are now reducing the emissions which cause that problem.

We can look at the issue of the spills bill. What is the record of the previous ministers of the environment in relation to toxic spills in Ontario? I think it is somewhat ironic, Mr Speaker, and I know that you will agree because I know that you are interested in this topic, that the people who have moved the very motion which we are debating today are those people who probably caused more pollution to the environment of Ontario than any other single government or any other single minister could have done.

The current minister is being criticized for an issue that is perhaps only a few months old, and yet we have been faced with several ministers of the environment who, for several consecutive years, did absolutely nothing to try to protect the environment against the spills of toxic chemicals.

We see the record of this minister in terms of recycling. This morning I attended an event in my own riding, an event sponsored by the Muskoka Recycling Association in which a fourth member was added to that association. Would that have been possible during the days of the earlier ministers of the environment? The answer is very clearly no.

Let’s look at the record. When this government came to power in 1985, the previous government had allocated a mere $750,000 to the recycling programs throughout this province.

Mr Campbell: How much?

Mr Black: My friend the member for Sudbury asks me to repeat that figure: only $750,000. What is the record today? The current budget has $7.7 million allocated to recycling.

Perhaps even more important is that that contribution on the part of this government has been responded to by industry. For example, we have the soft drink industry, which is spending considerable amounts of money, $20 million in additional moneys, to further the cause of recycling in the province. We see a Minister of the Environment who has once again provided the leadership and has brought with that leadership response from industry and from business throughout the province.

I want to tell members that there are probably three premises which underlie this motion which we are debating today, and if we are going to accept the premises, we must debate what they are.

The first premise that has been talked about to a large extent in this House in the last two days is the premise that there has been a significant threat to the health of the people of Ontario. If that position were to be made, one would expect that evidence would have been provided, that documentation would have been brought into this House, that members of this great Legislative Assembly would have been provided with the opportunity to examine at first hand the evidence which had been collected, the data, the records, the documentation.

Do we have such evidence? I ask you, Mr Speaker, have you had the opportunity to examine the evidence brought forth by either one of the opposition parties that there has in fact been a threat to the health of the people of Ontario? The answer to that question is very obviously no. What we have is a series of allegations, unfounded at this point, unproven.

The second premise we are being asked to accept is that somehow this minister has failed to act responsibly, that he has failed to carry out the responsibilities which have been assigned to him. I want to look at that premise for just a minute, if I may.

The opposition parties have suggested several things the minister might have done. Yesterday, I believe the member for Mississauga South (Mrs Marland) suggested that perhaps the minister should have been considering evacuation. I ask you, Mr Speaker, what parts of this great province should he have evacuated? What communities should have been asked to leave their homes? What people should have been asked to move outside of their communities?

No answers are given. Should he have gone to Mississauga and evacuated that community? Should he have said to greater Metropolitan Toronto, “We’re going to evacuate you and move you to Atikokan or to Sudbury”? I think not.

The opposition members have suggested that the minister might have made a public statement. He could have gone on television. He could have said: “We don’t know whether there’s a problem yet. We don’t know whether there’s a threat to health. We’re not sure, for example, that we face a situation that places people in this province at risk, but just on the very possibility that there might be a problem, I want to make a public statement.”

Is that responsibility? Is that what we would expect from a minister of this government? I think perhaps not.

The final premise on which the opposition bases its arguments is that somehow this minister has failed to respond to questions in a manner which pleases its members.

When it comes to that particular accusation, I have some sympathy and some understanding. It may well be that his responses to their questions were not exactly what would have pleased them. I suspect that, like many other ministers in this government and in previous governments in this province, his answers have not always been the kind that would please the opposition. But I ask you, Mr Speaker, is that reason enough to request that a minister leave his post, to suggest that he is not meeting his commitments, that he is not fulfilling his obligations? I think not.

Mr Speaker, I want to share with you and with other members of this House a little anecdote. I attended a social event last night in Metropolitan Toronto. During the course of that evening, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with a person who is not widely known as a supporter of the political party to which I belong. He is in fact -- I am sorry to have to say these words -- a person who was formerly an employee of ministers of a previous government. In case anyone has forgotten, he then worked for governments of the Progressive Conservative faith.


During our conversation, I said to this man that there was likely to be a motion today in the House that would suggest this minister should resign. He responded in this manner: “I don’t believe it. There is no way this minister could have his credibility attacked. He is the last minister of this government who should have to undergo that kind of attack, given his record.”

When members of the Progressive Conservative Party take that view, one wonders why the party would, in this Legislative Assembly, bring such a motion forward.

I cannot help but note that we have in this House very few members of the Progressive Conservative Party at the present time. The third party is conspicuous by its absence. The official opposition is almost conspicuous by its absence. So we have a situation where two parties had this great need for an emergency debate and to waste the time of this Legislature, but have so little interest in the topic that they refuse to attend.

In conclusion, let me say that any considered resignation by this minister would be a loss to this government, would be a loss to the people of this province and would be a loss to future generations that will benefit from his leadership.

Mr Pollock: I am pleased to take part in this emergency debate. There are a few things I want to put on the record.

Of course, this is like the chickens coming home to roost, because after all this Minister of the Environment has been grabbing some splashy headlines over the last four years, and all of a sudden those headlines have turned around on him. They are not so splashy any more.

Some of that has even been brought on by himself because he failed to answer just when he knew about this. The members of the opposition and the third party here kept asking when he knew about it, and he would not answer. We finally, in disgust, walked out. Then eventually he went out and told the press that he knew about it in January. Why could he not answer us? I could not understand that. On top of that, the FBI claims it told him well over a year ago.

That article in the Globe and Mail, which states that well over one million litres of toxic waste have been shipped into Ontario, is a major concern to me and I am sure it is to the Minister of the Environment. It is his responsibility to get a handle on this. He said he is going to nail them to the wall. I hope he does, but at the present time it does not look as though that is really going to happen. It is going to get a whitewash or a coverup.

I asked the Minister of the Environment a few days ago about the situation of mine tailings and if he would actually join with the federal government in having a study.

Hon Mr Bradley: We paid for the first study already; we paid 100 per cent.

Mr Pollock: Yes.

The Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr Pollock: They have already had a study, but the study came back in a type of code nobody understands. Therefore, the people in that area want a study. They want to know whether these mine tailings are safe or not.

Once again, we find the Minister of the Environment making a statement like this, that the responsibility for radioactive waste is a responsibility of the federal government. Who said it was radioactive waste? It is mine tailings. He is alarming people all over that area of eastern Ontario. I do not know whether those mine tailings are safe or not, and I just asked for a study.

Apparently, the cost of that study, this Ontario government’s cost, would be around $45,000. That is peanuts in comparison to the overall budget of the Ontario government. So I do not know why they cannot have this particular study and find out just what the problem is there and if these mine tailings are safe or not.

They seem to have the money to buy houses in the Malvern subdivision, and nobody really said that was radioactive waste. There was another situation where the government bought these houses and turned right around and rented them back to individuals. Is that contaminated soil in Malvern safe or not? We do not seem to be able to get a handle on that. You might say it is along the same particular lines as this toxic fuel thing. We do not seem to be getting the answers, and yet we keep trying. We as an opposition should be getting those answers.

Also, the minister was asked at one point in time by a gentleman in eastern Ontario what he was going to do with regard to pulp and paper companies dumping toxic waste into the streams. The minister said he had a plan that he was going to announce in a week’s time. In a week’s time, the minister announced that he was going to have another study. The minister knows right well that there are toxic chemicals going into those streams, and he should be supplying some assistance to the pulp and paper mills to stop those toxic chemicals going into our streams. That is his responsibility.

Hon Mr Bradley: Taxpayers’ money to help the companies.

Mr Pollock: Pardon?

Hon Mr Bradley: Taxpayers’ money for the companies.

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Mr Pollock: Is the minister interested in the environment or not? The Minister of the Environment seems to think we should not be concerned about toxic waste going into the streams now, let alone toxic waste going into our fuels. This is a major concern to me.

For instance, here is what some of the ministry people are doing, and it is a little surprising to me. If a person wants to dump sludge on his farm, the Ministry of the Environment people will come out and they will ask, “Is that all right?” But they will turn right around and tell you, “If you do not like it, there is nothing you can do about it.” I do not really have any complaints about their dumping sludge on their farms, but with this cat-and-mouse game of coming around and asking you and then turning around and saying, “There is nothing you can do about it,” they might just as well stay home as far as I am concerned. Maybe in one way it is only good public relations, but it is really not accomplishing too much.

Those are some of the things I just wanted to put on the record, the concerns about this contaminated soil in Malvern and also the mine tailings. We do not seem to be getting the answers from the Ministry of the Environment. The federal government has said it will put up its money, but this minister will not put up money in that regard. I think we deserve more from this particular Minister of the Environment in regard to this toxic fuel oil and fuel contaminants that are coming into Ontario from the United States.

Those are a few of the things I wanted to put on the record.

Mr Philip: I found it interesting, as matters evolved in the last few days, thinking back to similar scandals that have happened over the last 14 years, but I cannot truthfully, and perhaps the government House leader will help me, think of a single example where there has been such a set of examples of pleonastic oratorical sonorities, without any kind of atoms of truth stemming from the minimal truth, stemming from the cranium or the oesophagus of a cabinet minister, than we have seen stemming from that of this cabinet minister.

After numerous questions in this House, we find out that some time in January the minister knew something was wrong in terms of hazardous waste being transported into Canada. We know the matter was a serious matter because it concerned PCBs and we know PCBs are a matter of life and death. We have dealt with the seriousness of these contaminants in this House on numerous occasions. You do not need a medical degree to know exactly how serious the matter is.

We know that in April the Ministry of the Environment did testing, but we do not know where. We have not been able to find out what happened between January and April in the Ministry of the Environment and why, if the minister became aware in January, no testing was done until April.

What were the things that were done before? We know that the minister said it was serious and that he found out in January. He did not tell the House that. He told the press under examination in the corridor, but eventually we did find out that he knew something was seriously happening in January and that nothing was done. Nothing, he has informed us, was done until April.


We also do not know exactly what contact, if any, he made with the Solicitor General. I find this of particular concern because on Tuesday the Solicitor General in this House answered she was not aware of the problem. Oh, she was aware of a revenue problem. She was aware of the revenue problem because, of course, it was exposed by the Provincial Auditor. She would have been conducting an investigation into the allegations and the concerns of the Provincial Auditor that millions of dollars may possibly have been lost through a system of possible fraud in terms of the transportation of fuel oils.

The Minister of the Environment would also have been aware that the Ontario Provincial Police and the Solicitor General were concerned about this, because this was a matter that was brought up in the House. He would also, of course, as a competent and reasonable cabinet minister, have been aware of the report of the Provincial Auditor.

Yet at no time is there any evidence, unless of course the Solicitor General has had a lapse of memory -- if we can believe the Solicitor General, at no time did the Minister of the Environment go to that Solicitor General and say, “Look, I know you are concerned about possible fraud in terms of revenue, but I have something that is even more serious that may be going on and it is reasonable to assume the same people may be doing the same things.”

Mr Dietsch: You’re using the wrong tack, Ed.

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Mr Philip: The Treasurer says I am using the wrong matter. The Treasurer, of course, had some knowledge of it and he did not do anything either.

If we take the royal commission on illegal activities and the environment, the Petroleum Marketers Association of Canada, in a letter to the Premier dated 11 May, says: “The time has come to set up a royal commission on illegal activities and the environment. The suggested terms of reference are attached. Essentially, the role of this commission would be to define the extent of the problem and to recommend solutions.

“Bob Nixon” -- that is the Treasurer – “of whom we have the greatest of respect, was told these problems on several occasions. Last November, I wrote Mr Nixon. I know he read my letter....I met with....” It goes on to say who they met with.

First of all, we know the Minister of the Environment was aware several months ago. Then several months passed before any tests were done. But now we also know the Treasurer was made aware, and yet somehow on Tuesday the very person who should be most concerned, the chief police officer in this province, says she does not know anything about it.

One must ask what kind of communication goes on in that cabinet when the Treasurer is aware of the problem, the Minister of the Environment is aware of the problem, but nobody thinks it might be a good idea to have the chief police officer in the province, a fellow cabinet minister, look into this problem.

Eventually, the minister does get around to saying, on 9 May, “A surprise border check was set up by the provincial, state and federal authorities, in an attempt to crack down on improper hauling of liquid industrial waste between Canada and the United States.” He does it in a release. Whoopee. He knew months ago. Nothing seems to happen. He does not even tell his colleagues who should be most concerned, and his cabinet, and then suddenly he decides he is going to become Superman and save Ontario by having some surprise border checks.

One must ask, I wonder, what happened if there were contaminants, if there were, as the Minister of the Environment in a rather inflammatory statement on Tuesday would suggest, underworld elements involved, why he would not have gone with his suspicions early when he first obtained his information?

On Tuesday, here is what the Minister of the Environment says: “Officials are tracking the big guys.” The big guys; I assume that is the underworld. I do not know any other big guys; I have a friend who is six foot six, but I assume that is not the big guys he is talking about.


The Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr Philip: It certainly is not my colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr Laughren). He is big when you measure him from the shoulders up, but one assumes that the big guys --


The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Big guy or little guy, only one member gets to speak at the same time around here; one at a time, big or small, according to the standing orders.

Mr Philip: He says, “Officials are tracking the big guys.” We assume the big guys are not the cabinet ministers, because he goes on and says he also “cannot rule out organized-crime involvement in the lucrative scam of blending the PCB-contaminated waste chemicals with gas, diesel and industrial fuels.”

That was on Tuesday. On Tuesday, the Minister of the Environment, not having even talked to the Solicitor General, was going to go out and become Eliot Ness stopping crime in this province by catching the big guys. He has not talked to the Solicitor General, but he is going to do it.

I hate to tell Superman this, but if there was ever a person who has inflamed the situation it is the Minister of the Environment. It is not the opposition that has said there is organized crime working here. It is the Minister of the Environment who sets aflame the public by saying there may be.

Now today we have Superman who wants to be both Solicitor General and Minister of the Environment, the Eliot Ness against organized crime who suddenly says: “The opposition is being alarmist. How can we lay charges? We’ve done some tests and we’ve got no evidence.” Where was his evidence on Tuesday when he suggested organized crime was involved?

What we clearly have is a minister who has failed in his responsibility, a minister who possibly wanted to take personal credit for zeroing in on this, who sat on a serious issue of consequence to the health of the public in this province, who did not share the information with the one person who could possibly have done the best investigation based on the suspicions and information he had, who did no tests, unless he has got more information to release to the contrary, until three months later and who says the tests are inconclusive.

The Deputy Speaker: Thank you.

Mr Philip: The minister is irresponsible and should resign. He has not done his job.

Hon R. F. Nixon: I am delighted to have a few moments to rise in this debate in order to express my views and my confidence about my colleague the Minister of the Environment. Not only is he totally competent and trustworthy, but he happens to be the best Minister of the Environment we have had since the office was inaugurated. I can tell members that I feel a bit sensitive that so many of my colleagues in the Liberal caucus were anxious to speak and that I am particularly grateful the House leader has asked me to participate, although as I rose he said, “Try to keep it to seven minutes.”

In this connection, in this sense, having asserted my confidence in the minister -- I know the arguments that have completely devastated any sort of comments from the opposition have already been put -- I am glad to follow the honourable member for Etobicoke-Rexdale (Mr Philip) who was quoting a letter that has been distributed in the press gallery. Addressed to the Premier, it has been circulated by the Leader of the Opposition. It is signed by Jim Conrad, a person I know personally and have known for years.


As a matter of fact, since the letter has been widely quoted, there are just a few selections I think might be appropriate for the edification of the members. The letter is dated 11 May and says:

“Dear David:

“Re: Royal commission on illegal activities in the environment” -- that is a good idea for tomorrow, guys, if they have not thought of it.

It begins: “You know my strong support for you and the Liberal government. The time has come to set up a royal commission on illegal activities in the environment. The suggested terms of reference are attached.”

“I can play a key role.” I just put that forward, because I am going to read another letter from Jim in a similar connection, because the letter which has already been quoted a few times said, “Bob Nixon, of whom we have the greatest respect,” and I appreciate that. Yes, I say that, because there is a small footnote to history that the honourable members might be interested in.

During my nine years of leadership, there was always sort of a revolving cabal called the Impeach Bob Nixon Committee. I mention that in connection with Jim Conrad only as an irrelevancy, but he said, “of whom we have the greatest respect, was told of these problems on several occasions. Last November, I wrote Mr Nixon. I know he read my letter, or so his political staff said.”

Okay, I have the letter here. The date of the letter is 1 December.

“Dear Bob:

Re: Solution to tax evasion, gasoline and diesel:

“The auditor’s report and the media have made this matter an important priority. I would suggest it is urgent for the government of Ontario to get this matter under control. I would like to suggest that my experience and knowledge is exactly what you need in order to resolve this problem and to meet the many conflicting objectives of public policy.

“This could be by appointing me to: (a) head a public inquiry; (b) lead a senior-level task force; or (c) serve as an expert adviser to the minister.”

He goes on to talk about his credentials, which are very impressive indeed. As a matter of fact, he uses that very adjective, “impressive” knowledge of the petroleum industry.

Nowhere in this letter is the possibility of the illegal disposition of PCBs or any other solvents even referred to. The whole matter has to do with tax evasion, which was brought to public attention, as far as I know, not by any newspaper reporters or any individuals, Liberals or otherwise, but by the Provincial Auditor and the Minister of Revenue. My good friend of course had the responsibility to deal with that loss of revenue, and having questioned the honourable minister and he having made a number of statements to the House, the honourable members would know that the government is proceeding in the matter in an effective and appropriate way.

This gets to the point that the Minister of the Environment has made repeatedly, that the government of course understands the rule of law. They understand our mutual and collective responsibility to the public. We know that until evidence is available of wrongdoing that no charges can be laid, and not even the friends of the NDP, those people who are so keen about the alphabet, the FBI, have done any of that. The fact that information came to the Minister of the Environment would mean that our research would be focused in such a way, but you certainly cannot arrest somebody because you get a telex from the FBI or some kind of a garbled letter from Jim Conrad, no matter how effective he might be.

I would say that really, the results of this debate are essentially a waste of time --


The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Hon R. F. Nixon: -- other than that there is a certain degree of enjoyment exchanging views with the honourable members of the opposition as they troll back and forth in the clear lake of government operations hoping to catch some sort of a rubber boot.

But, once again, they have failed entirely. Once again, the confidence of the people of the province remains unimpaired in our minister and our policies having to do with the environment, and in this connection, I just reiterate the view that has been expressed by all thinking members of the House, and that is that this resolution is totally inappropriate and unsubstantiated and the sooner we get rid of it, the sooner the embarrassment of the opposition party will come to an end.

Mr Cureatz: Well, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to follow the diatribe of the Treasurer --

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Mr Cureatz: -- one of the Four Horsemen of this government, after years of my having the privilege of sitting in that chair listening to him, of all people, condemn that great and wonderful Conservative government of years gone by and criticize ad nauseam all of those ministers when I was a backbencher way back in the fourth or fifth row. I listened to him carry on admonishing us about parliamentary procedure. I can remember on some specific occasions outside of these chambers his expression of exasperation. Now he is coming in here and telling us.

I can only refresh the Treasurer’s memory. Back in about 1985 when that esteemed Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Morley Kells --

Mr J. B. Nixon: He thought PCBs were good for you.

Mr Cureatz: That is right. It just so happened at a particular election when a truck was travelling from Quebec to the western provinces, there was a spill in northern Ontario. Here I was, knocking on doors in my riding trying to defend Catholic funding. Lo and behold, Morley comes out and says, “The only thing that is going to be affected are the rats coming out of the bushes.” I tell the members I fell flat on my face on the sidewalk on a downtown street of Oshawa. Then that was not the end of it.

We heard from the leader of the official opposition, the member for London Centre (Mr Peterson), and how he condemned that nasty government under Frank Miller, and more so the then-Minister of the Environment. I have to admit, if I had been the Minister of the Environment -- Frank Miller did not put me in cabinet when he first became Premier -- I would have jumped in a helicopter on the expense --

Mr J. B. Nixon: He was not even going to make you a sheriff.

Mr Cureatz: Well, the only reason he made me a minister was that I happened to keep winning my riding. The fine people of Durham East understand good representation. I have my doubts about the people in Brant-Haldimand, but that is a speech for another day.

I would have gone flying up to northern Ontario and I would have condemned that trucking company and I would have put the brakes on what was taking place --

Mr J. B. Nixon: Sam for leader.

Mr Cureatz: I know; the Liberal rump has often volunteered to support me for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Ontario. As soon as I get a monetary commitment from them, I am going to take it under serious advisement.


The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Mr Cureatz: Does this strike of a similar situation? We have our Minister of the Environment, to whom, on a personal basis, I have had the occasion to listen at great length. I should remind people about how he went on about the jet in these chambers, but I will save that speech for another time.

Here he is, for whom I have nothing but the utmost respect personally; he has been the shining light since that minority government was formed. I like to remind the official opposition, now that we are the third party, how they made them that government over there, and the Minister of the Environment was the new shining light of the environment.

Indeed, I will say that he has over the past four years talked a pretty good line, and he prides himself on it, similar to the way Jimmy Auld did. The Treasurer used to refer to Jimmy Auld as “nailing jelly to the wall” -- he used that phrase quite often. It is the same kind of situation with the Minister of the Environment. When the official opposition critic and our critic of Environment ask any kind of question, we get a long, boring, delaying, stall-tactic, repetitious, time-consuming answer and the Speaker has to finally get up in his place and ask him to sit down.

It has finally happened. It has been building to a great crescendo. First it was landfill sites in the Golden Horseshoe of Ontario. I can remember bringing in a garbage bag into these chambers. I can remember bringing a seagull into the chambers to bring to the attention of the Minister of the Environment that he was taking no leadership in regard to landfill sites in southern Ontario. Why do members not ask the honourable member for Durham West (Mrs Stoner) about what is taking place over landfill sites? We have not heard the end of that discussion. What do we get in addition to that? A new municipal authority, GTA, the greater Toronto area authority, made up of regional chairmen surrounding Metropolitan Toronto. These people have not been elected at large; it is another tier of government and they are coming forward to impose a solution to landfill sites.


I have told the minister before that he should have taken some initiative on his own to try to get the issue resolved, and it has not been resolved yet.

I will tell members, we met with the Pickering-Ajax Citizens Together organization from the Durham region and it is darned upset. I will say to the member for Durham West that it is a heck of a lot better organized than my group was out in Durham East, and she and her government are in for some stormy times.

What has taken place now is that the issue has come forward through the investigation of a newspaper. I can remember when I was Deputy Speaker that the Treasurer -- the then frontbencher of the opposition -- would casually lean over to me just before question period, hold up the front page of one of the Toronto papers and say, “Here are the questions for today.” Well, history repeats itself and we are doing it now. It takes one of the greater Toronto newspapers to put its staff on a story and reveal to the province of Ontario a very important issue that I think the Minister of the Environment, whom I respect a great deal, has failed miserably on.

Now listen: do members think he is going to resign? I doubt it. Do members know why? The minister has been with Dave for a long time. He has weathered the storm. He has finally made it in the government and he is not going to be dumped from cabinet. Do not worry, he will still have the limousine driving him to St Catharines, I am sure. Two years is a long way until the next election. But right here, right now, he is in trouble.

I will say to all these backbenchers who got a little nasty over some of the discussion, trying to defend their minister, that I advise them just to quietly sit back and observe how this is unfolding. Do they know why? This was not a policy decision. This was not Sunday shopping where they could discuss the direction in which they should be going in caucus, in the Legislature and in committee work. This is not Bill 162 and another policy decision, this is a judgement call. The minister has made a bad judgement call. He should have come forward when he found out about the particular problem that was facing all of us in Ontario. I know it is very difficult. I mean, he cannot run around and monitor each truck that is driving up and down the highway.

Mr Fleet: He is investigating.

Mr Cureatz: He is investigating. But I think it would have been important to announce to the people of Ontario: “Look, we do have a serious problem. We’re trying our best to get a grasp on it. We’re working with other law enforcement agencies and we will assure you that when we do have the information, we then will continue with the necessary charges.” But did he do that? No. He made the judgement call to put the lid on it.

The other possibility was that he did not know anything at all about it and he is embarrassed to beat 60. I guess I could almost forgive him for that. He is busy tearing around, trying to look after his riding and after the ministry, giving speeches and trying to support the government, which is a tough job to do, I must admit. I could forgive him for that. But the judgement call was made and in my humble, quiet estimation, it was a bad judgement call. He should have come forward with the information as soon as possible so we could work along, in the capacity we always have in opposition, copacetically and agreeably, to try and help him resolve a very big issue that covers a kaleidoscope of problems, as the opposition members and we ourselves have brought forward --

The Deputy Speaker: Thank you.

Mr Cureatz: -- be it gasoline, fuel or industry.

The Deputy Speaker: The member’s time is up.

Mr Cureatz: It was an extremely --

The Deputy Speaker: Order. The member’s time is up. I have been told there has been an agreement to revert back to the traditional rotation and proceed immediately with the government House leader.

Hon Mr Conway: It was almost three hours ago that I stood in my place and invited this debate to begin. I am delighted now at a quarter of six to participate in the concluding of this debate, the vast majority of which I have listened to.

I want to direct my remarks very specifically to the motion standing in the name of the honourable member for Sarnia, who I want to say -- good fellow that he is -- has not been in this chamber at any point during the course of this two-hour-and-forty-minute debate.

I very much appreciate all the observations that have been offered. But I just want to say to my friends in the chamber, because I take this matter very seriously, I look at this resolution that the honourable leader of the third party has put before this chamber and think it says a lot that the leader of the third party, a former Minister of the Environment, did not think it important enough to grace this chamber this afternoon to either participate in this debate or to listen to any part of it. I might say, moreover, that at no time in the afternoon has there been any more than about four Tories in this chamber.

I just want to say that I reject the resolution as it stands, and put by the absent member for Sarnia. The crisis, if any exists, exists clearly in the third party.

The member for Mississauga South was in this afternoon asking me in her wonderfully delicious and rhetorical way if I was satisfied. I want to say to her in her absence: you bet I am satisfied with the stewardship of my colleague, the member for St Catharines, the Minister of the Environment.

I want to talk a little bit about that, because that is the issue -- the record of this government and the outstanding leadership of the minister.

I say to the absent member for Sarnia: let’s look at this record as compared to that record over the years when they had the responsibility of stewardship in the environment and elsewhere. What has this minister done in the four years that he has been responsible for the Ministry of the Environment in this connection?

I want to say to the member for Durham East (Mr Cureatz): unlike the Tories, the Minister of Environment had the guts to move on the spills bill. Do you remember that? While the Tories were out there, while the member for Sarnia was out there encouraging industry and others that this was a terrible matter that ought not to be proceeded with, the minister stood in his place and showed the guts and the leadership in a way the Tories never did.

I well remember a few years ago when the Tories, under the leadership, I believe, of the member for Sarnia, wondered about recycling. Did they have the guts to do anything about the pop bottles?

Some hon members: No.

Hon Mr Conway: This minister and this government did, and that is what we are here to talk about today.

The municipal-industrial strategy for abatement program, which this minister has brought to this province, is an outstanding example of the kind of leadership that he has shown.

It is just a few months ago that some of the most significant private sector people in this province admitted that the tough Countdown Acid Rain initiatives that the minister introduced here a few years ago were the right direction and would be complied with.

I say to my friends here this afternoon: we do not claim perfection, unlike the official opposition, the NDP -- newly divined perfection. We, on this side, do not claim perfection. I think, though, it is really paradoxical, is it not, that the leader of the official opposition would last week absolve Michael Wilson from any obligation to resign for what is clearly his responsibility as Minister of Finance, and now come into this chamber puffing away, saying that the Minister of the Environment for Ontario should resign for behaving in so responsible a fashion as he has done.


I just want to say to my friend the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Mrs Grier) that I am glad she is back to participate in this debate. Let us look at what we are faced with at the present moment. I thought the member for Essex-Kent said it so very well. Can members imagine the New Democrats if any minister of the government had gone out without the kind of hard evidence we require to make a charge stick? Can members imagine, as the member for Essex-Kent said so eloquently here this afternoon, the outrage from the official opposition?

If there is anything of the spirit of Jim Renwick left over there, I hope it would be visited upon those members of the official opposition who understand that you cannot go forward and make a charge unless you have the evidence. That is what this debate has been all about.

Responsible ministers of the crown, unlike members of the opposition, who have their own imperatives, must show leadership, must act responsibly. The Minister of the Environment has made plain what his course of action has been. I find absolutely no inconsistency between what he has done and what reasonable people in this province would expect a minister of the crown to do.


Hon Mr Conway: Again, I just listen. I am sorry the member for Sarnia is not here, because the Tories have to be judged not by the outrageous language of this resolution but really by what they did when they had the chance. I have been here for 14 years. Ten of those years were when I was in opposition watching the Tories in office. I think it is fair to say that in the 10 years between 1975 and 1985, there were nine different Tory ministers of the environment; one a year. They had people such as the former member for Humber, the great Minister of the Environment Morley Kells. When asked, and I am quoting now from a newspaper article in 1985, “Are you an environmentalist, Morley?” “Not really; I am a politician.”

Well, that is about where the Tories stand. They were merely politicians when they were charged with the responsibility. And I will tell members the real environmentalists are not in the third party. When they had the opportunity, what did we see? We saw the member for Sarnia quoted in the London Free Press in November 1985, and I quote the headline, “Be Fair to Corporations, Media Urged: Andy Brandt.” That is what the member for Sarnia was saying. “Go lightly on the polluters. Be fair to corporations.” That was the position of the third party in 1985.

I said earlier what their view was in respect of the spills bill. We saw what they could not do or would not do when it came to recycling. And they have the breathtaking effrontery to put a resolution of this kind in this chamber at this time and ask us to compare this government’s record with that performance. I must say I cannot imagine an easier task.

I might answer my earlier question: Where have all the Tories gone today? Perhaps the answer is that shame has driven the member for Sarnia and the vast majority of his colleagues out of this chamber.

I want to say to the three Tories left in this chamber that we are quite prepared to follow the Minister of the Environment as he goes forward in a serious and responsible fashion to get to the bottom of this. I do not expect some of my friends in the official opposition to understand some of the complexities and responsibilities of office. As Stephen Lewis has observed recently, that is not their responsibility in the overall scheme of things in our political culture.

But I expect more from the Tories because they know something about the responsibilities of office. The distinguished Leader of the Opposition has come in here today and he has made a great noise about what the Minister of the Environment ought to have done.

I repeat, the Minister of the Environment has made plain what he has done and what he needs to do to move forward to ensure that this matter is brought to a successful conclusion. I cannot imagine that any party politician would want that prejudiced for whatever imperative one might imagine.


Ms Bryden: I would like to thank the members opposite for the applause which broke out as soon as I stood up.

I must say that I have never heard such an irrelevant speech as that given by the government House leader on this very important issue. Everything that the government House leader said the Minister of the Environment had done was done under the whip of the accord written by the New Democratic Party and signed by the Premier (Mr Peterson) and the member for York South in order to bring this government to power. But what has he done on this issue? The House leader did not tell us anything about that, and that is what we are debating today.

The public is expecting some action from the Minister of the Environment. What is before us is the stewardship of the Minister of the Environment in dealing with a very serious pollution issue. For too long the public has been conned by ministers of the environment, their administrators and their bureaucracies that there is nothing to worry about when a spill occurs, when pollution occurs or when a situation such as we have just heard about in this last 10 days occurs.

They say: “We are looking after your welfare. We are looking after public health.” For too long the public has been kept in the dark. They have not been told of the dangers to public health that are occurring. We all know that at one time PCBs were legal. Now we have discovered they are lethal, but we have not caught up with that yet by way of getting rid of them. They are still being stored in improper places so that they can then be mixed in with fuel in illegal operations.

We know that DDT was at one time accepted and is now rejected. We know that with all sorts of pollutants the government’s levels or guidelines have been found inadequate. People no longer trust a minister who does not take them into his confidence and tell them about threats to their public health. To say that he must follow the prosecutions -- it will not affect the prosecutions if he tells the public what is going on and alerts them to the dangers to their health. We must have a minister who will make his primary mandate to protect public health when a contamination threat arises from any product or activity in this province. We do not have that. That is why we need a change of minister.

Second, we must get a minister who will have the guts to use the powers in the Environmental Protection Act which he has and which he could have used in the last two or three months or more when he knew about this scam that was going on. He could have used a stop order to prevent the sales of any fuel shipment from companies undergoing investigation by the ministry or by US authorities. He could have run tests on the fuels at the point of sale. He could have used the search and seizure provisions of the Environmental Protection Act to trace the sale of possibly contaminated fuels from the companies under investigation in the last several months or years.

He could have informed the public about what to watch for when buying and using heating oil, diesel fuel and gasoline and set up a system for the public to report incidences. He could have ensured that no possibly contaminated fuel is sold in institutions run by the government, particularly where there is health care, education and child care.

The Deputy Speaker: The member’s time is up.

Ms Bryden: He could have used these, but he did not. That is why we need --

The Deputy Speaker: Thank you. This concludes the debate on this matter. The government House leader has some announcements, I presume.


Hon Mr Conway: Pursuant to standing order 13, I would like to indicate the business of the House for the coming week.

On Monday, 15 May, we will continue with the reply to the speech of His Honour the Lieutenant Governor and the vote on the throne speech will be taken at 5:45 pm on Monday.

On Tuesday, 16 May, we will deal with bills 205, 206, 207 and 218. Time permitting, we will deal with Bill 194 in committee of the whole House.

On Wednesday, 17 May, after question period, the House will adjourn for a short while and resume at 4 pm as the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) reads his budget speech.

On Thursday, 18 May, in the morning, we will deal with private members’ business standing in the names of Mr Villeneuve and Mr Matrundola. In the afternoon, we will be dealing with the opposition budget responses.

The House adjourned at 1802.