34th Parliament, 2nd Session

































ARMX ’89























The House met at 1330.




Mr Farnan: Today, I wish to deliver a timely message to the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) from the Cambridge city council. Just last week, mindful that the Treasurer would soon introduce his budget, the Cambridge council passed a motion urging the implementation of a speculation tax on the purchase of all homes that are not primary residences.

The Cambridge motion underscores the fact that the housing crisis is not simply a Toronto phenomenon, but one that affects the entire province. In the past year, the average price of a Cambridge home rose 31.2 per cent, and the increase on this same home since this Liberal government came to power just four years ago is a staggering 128.2 per cent.

I have raised this issue on a consistent basis over the past 19 months and I can tell the Treasurer that the people of Cambridge will be watching closely this coming Wednesday to see if their concerns are addressed in the upcoming budget.

The time is long overdue for the government to take the heat out of the housing market and renew the hopes of young couples so that they may still aspire to own their own homes. A speculation tax on the purchase of all homes that are not primary residences would be a good first step. The time is long overdue for such a tax. The Treasurer should not let us down.


Mr Jackson: This government has a history of floating trial balloons to the media to test reaction to specific budget items under consideration. Last year’s trial balloon was an increase in the sales tax, and we all know that cost us over $1 billion.

On 17 February, the Treasurer suggested to the Toronto Star that he was thinking of increasing the land transfer tax. Today, at a Queen’s Park press conference, the presidents of the Mississauga, Ottawa-Carleton and Metropolitan Hamilton real estate boards gave the government a simple message: “Any increase in the land transfer tax would be a punitive measure which hits purchasers hard and is totally unnecessary. This regressive tax constitutes a threat to private property rights, a threat to stable real estate values, and most importantly, a threat to affordable and accessible housing for Ontario citizens.”

Ontario’s land transfer tax, both on the basis of total revenue and average cost to home buyers, is the highest in Canada. This government takes in over $560 million in total revenue from this tax. As well, the total revenue collected through this one tax has increased by 302 per cent since the Liberals first came to power. On Wednesday, should the Treasurer proceed, then the Peterson government will have increased this housing tax twice in the last four years. The message the citizens of this province are sending this government is simply this: “David Peterson, don’t even think of raising the land transfer tax again.”


Mr Offer: Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to inform the House of a recent major business award by the Mississauga Board of Trade.

Each year the Mississauga Board of Trade holds its annual business awards and recognizes the local businessman of the year. This year the award recipient is Donald Matthews. Mr Matthews was recommended for businessman of the year by Desmond Morton, principal of Erindale College, who noted that Mr Matthews’s record of achievement is exemplary, a fact that is supported by the positive work of the Matthews Group throughout Mississauga.

This is demonstrated in his building called the Sussex Centre in the heart of Mississauga at Burnhamthorpe and Highway 10. This state-of-the-art building is a mix of office, hotel, residential, retail, dining and theatre space and represents a significant departure from the traditional office complex in Mississauga and a unique concept in the Mississauga city core.

I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the exemplary record of the Mississauga Board of Trade. Formed in 1976 with only 400 members, it has grown to include 600 member companies and has over 3,200 individual members. It is the second largest board of trade in Ontario. Today, I recognize an individual and an organization from Mississauga with exemplary records of community service and congratulate them on the contribution they have made both to their community and to the province.


Mrs Grier: Today, I am tabling for first reading an environmental bill of rights. This bill is an updated and revised version of a bill of rights first introduced to this House by my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms Bryden) in 1980.

Today’s bill contains the essential rights people of this province need if they are to play their part in protecting the environment: the right to go to court, the right to request the minister to investigate alleged pollution, the right to be informed about and involved in all decisions affecting the environment, and the right to be protected from reprisals if they blow the whistle on a polluting employer.

But the bill has been strengthened by including a statement of purpose that recognizes the right of Ontarians to an environment that is adequate for their health and wellbeing, as well as sustainable into the future. Twice since 1985 an environmental bill of rights, introduced by me, has passed second reading in this Legislature. In opposition, the Liberals supported such a bill and before both the 1985 and 1987 elections promised to introduce similar legislation. I anticipate that the second reading debate on this bill will occur in June and I look forward once again to widespread support.


Mr Harris: Last week, I was informed by a constituent that it was impossible to obtain a copy of the Drivers Handbook in Ontario. Members will know that knowledge of this guide is required to obtain a driver’s licence. Assuming this was a mistake, I made inquiries to the Ministry of Transportation head office in Toronto. I found out that not only had the ministry run out of handbooks but that none would be printed before July.

In the meantime, thousands and thousands of prospective new drivers are unable to apply for, let alone take their driver’s test for at least two months. It has been suggested by some that this is no accident. The incredible delays and waiting time for driver’s tests are well-known. Some people may think the ministry held up printing of the guide to reduce the backlog. Some say it is their solution to deal with the transit mess they have created or to cope with Ontario’s deteriorating highways by keeping cars off the road; but I do not agree, I attribute this extraordinary situation to sheer incompetence. It is simply another example of this government’s inability to plan.

I do not expect much from the Liberals, and they have always met my expectations. If they cannot even provide the Drivers’ Handbook at the height of an insurance crisis, it is no wonder they are failing so miserably to deal with crisis after crisis in the fields of health care, housing and education.



Mr Velshi: I would like to take this opportunity to formally recognize the efforts of the Canadian Red Cross Society and the Flemingdon Red Cross branch within the riding of Don Mills.

Certainly, all of us are aware of the tremendous service the Red Cross performs for the medical community through its blood collection and distribution. Their relief efforts both here and abroad also have gained the Red Cross a great deal of due recognition.

However, not all of us are aware of the magnitude of the Red Cross’s involvement at the community level. Whether it means driving seniors throughout the community, lending sickroom equipment, providing space for community groups, food and clothing banks, first aid or water safety instruction, the Red Cross can be counted on. Wherever people are in need, the Red Cross is present.

As a past member of the executive and past chairman of the board of directors of the Flemingdon Red Cross, I feel privileged that this branch office, directed by Judy Spears, can contribute so greatly to the Don Mills community.

As the summer holiday season will soon be upon us, a time when blood is often in short supply, it is important we recognize and never forget that the Red Cross counts on our generosity to donate. We have always been able to count on the Red Cross in times of need. This summer, let us not forget the needs of those who so vitally require blood.


Mr Reville: Because of the unprecedented nursing shortage in the province, the reasonable person might be forgiven for thinking that those who employ nurses are doing their best to make sure that nurses are happy in their work. That is probably why all of us are surprised to find out the way the Toronto General Hospital is treating its 1,500 registered nurses.

Among other things, it has failed to pay 16 months of retroactive money, delayed the implementation of contractually agreed salary increases, increased nurses’ parking rates, denied negotiated vacation benefits, given preferential treatment to nurses from elsewhere and required mandatory overtime -- this in the midst of a crisis when nurses have been telling this government and others that it is crummy to work in many of the workplaces where they have to work.

The head nurse said this is ignorance at best and arrogance at worst. It is hard to disagree with that.

Mr Harris: I wonder if I could seek unanimous consent to say a few words about the late E. P. Taylor.

Agreed to.


Mr Harris: I want to take a few moments to honour one of Canada’s outstanding citizens, E. P. Taylor, who died yesterday. Mr Taylor was a man who was outstanding in many fields and I want to take a minute or two to go over some of his many achievements.

Mr Taylor was one of Canada’s outstanding businessmen. He founded Argus Corp, which remains one of Canada’s most successful investment corporations. Mr Taylor’s willingness to invest in Canada and to stake money on Canada’s strength, especially after the war when many predicted economic catastrophe, was indeed an example of the strong business leadership that allowed Canada to develop and compete in international markets.

E. P. Taylor was renowned for his efforts on behalf of the community. He raised unprecedented amounts of money for the Toronto General Hospital, helped support the Art Gallery of Ontario, helped build the O’Keefe Centre, was on the board of the Victorian Order of Nurses and supported McGill University and Ashbury College.

But two achievements of Mr Taylor stand out for me from among his very many. I remember the great pride felt by Canadians all across this country when Northern Dancer won the Kentucky Derby. This was the first time a Canadian-bred and Canadian trained horse had won the derby, and it showed that Canadian horses could compete and win against the best horses in the world. Northern Dancer, as members will know, went on to become one of the leading sires in the world and indeed the foundation sire of the best blood line in North America.

I was also impressed by the initiative shown by Mr Taylor in the planning and development of Don Mills. He realized that planning developments would be necessary as the urban populations grew, and now as the housing situation has reached crisis proportions I believe we can appreciate even more the importance of thoughtful planning.

E. P. Taylor reminded us that even when a situation seems overwhelming or when most people believe something cannot be done, the individual can indeed make the difference. He showed us that Canadians can be the best in the world. I believe Mr Taylor serves as an inspiration in his support of health care, education, sports, the arts, his community and indeed his country.

My leader, my caucus colleagues and my party extend our sympathies to the Taylor family.

Mr J. B. Nixon: I too rise, on behalf of my caucus and my party, to pay tribute to a man whom many consider to be a great Canadian. It is true that he was a man of great wealth, but he was also a man of great contributions and great gifts. His personal life was shrouded in anonymity, but his public life and public record are well known to all Canadians.

His contributions to the public wellbeing were creative, legendary and too numerous to list, but they include raising more than $16 million for the Toronto General Hospital in 1951 -- I remind all members that was when $16 million really was $16 million -- not to mention the fund-raising activities on behalf of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the development of the O’Keefe Centre and his stewardship of the Victorian Order of Nurses.

He recently donated his main house on Bayview Avenue in York Mills and 30 acres to the city of North York. It was subsequently transformed into the Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies.

His administration of the Canadian economy during the Second World War as one of the fabled dollar-a-year men led to his appointment by the late King George as a Companion of St Michael and St George. His contributions as an entrepreneur to Canadian business and commerce are similarly legendary and too numerous to list, but they include the construction of the Argus empire, Canadian Breweries Ltd and industrial companies whose international scope and competitiveness should make all Canadians proud that he was one of us.

He redrew the Canadian corporate map and littered it with such names as Hollinger, Dominion Stores, Domtar and Standard Broadcasting. The development of the rolling hills of Don Mills and York Mills in the 1950s by the Don Mills Development Co created the community of Don Mills at a time when few others were thinking of planned communities. Don Mills is legendary for its mixture of housing types and inclusion of all income strata in Canada’s first planned community.

As chairman of the Ontario Jockey Club, he transformed Ontario’s leaky-roof racing circuit into one that is international in stature. lndeed, the man surrounded himself with legendary names and legendary acts of charity and philanthropy.

As a private person, he was not well known to the Canadian public. He is a man who touched all of us in one way or another and his acts of business enterprise and public generosity are well known to all of us. For these, he will never be forgotten.

Mr Speaker, I too would ask that you convey, on behalf of my party and caucus, our sympathies to the Taylor family.

Mr B. Rae: Mr Taylor lived a very long and active life. He made a great many friends in a great many fields. He had a remarkable family and has a remarkable family. It is to that family that we wish to extend our condolences today.

The Speaker: When Hansard, the official record of this House, is printed, I will of course make certain a copy is received by the Taylor family, so that your words of sympathy are received.




Hon Mr Sweeney: Members will recall that on 6 February, I addressed the House following two very tragic incidents involving young offenders. I announced then that my ministry’s staff, with the support of staff from the Ministry of Correctional Services and the Ontario Provincial Police, would undertake two reviews within a 90-day time period.

The first was a review of safety and security measures in place at all secure custody and detention facilities serving young offenders. The second was a review of the community-based, residential placement options for high-risk young offenders.

I wish to report to this House that the reviews are now complete and today I am tabling a copy of the report in the Legislature. I will review its findings and, as soon as possible, report back to the Legislature on my ministry’s plans to address the important issues raised therein.


Hon Mr O’Neil: I rise today to remind members that this is National Tourism Awareness Week in Canada. Earlier today, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting in Stratford to participate in its celebrations. As we all know, and especially you, Mr Speaker, Stratford is the hub of the beautiful county of Perth and a cultural magnet drawing visitors from around the world.

I told the members of the Stratford Visitors and Convention Bureau just what their industry means to our province, a province in which tourism and related services generate nearly five per cent of our gross provincial product.

In 1988, travellers in Ontario spent an average of $29 million a day for a total of $10 billion, up from $9.3 billion in 1987. The tourism industry contributed over $1 billion to provincial revenues. Despite the enormous economic impact of this industry, it is largely invisible.

Our industry is substantially made up of small businesses, locally owned and in touch with their communities. While these businesses are locally based, they are increasingly being drawn into global competition for the patronage of the international travelling public.

Recognizing we can no longer depend on prosperity and growth flowing from only the domestic market, my ministry is doing all it can, in the spirit of long-term directions enunciated in the recent speech from the throne, to enable our tourism professionals to meet the challenge of the nineties.

Tourism is already one of our top five export industries. To move it to the head of the list, we are aggressively pursuing new markets and consolidating our resources to give more effective assistance to our clients. The efforts of innovative small businesses are a key motivator for an industry that provides full-time employment to more than 470,000 Ontarians. They form an important part of the foundation upon which our province’s future is being built.

I ask all members to join me in saluting the men and women of the tourist industry and their remarkable achievements as we mark National Tourism Awareness Week.


Hon Mrs Smith: Mr Speaker, as you know, this is Police Week in Canada, a time to show our appreciation to the dedicated men and women who serve and protect the citizens of Ontario. Earlier today, the Premier (Mr Peterson) and I participated in the official ceremonies launching Police Week. I announced that this year’s theme in Ontario is “Shake hands with a cop.”

As Solicitor General, I have had the pleasure of shaking hands with many police officers throughout this province. They are part of a new breed that sees policing as a community affair. In Ontario, that means a partnership between the police and the community. Programs such as Neighbourhood Watch arid Crime Stoppers are fine examples of that co-operation with communities that helps to prevent and solve crime.

There are other police initiatives to improve access and visibility in the community. What were once old ideas are new again. In many areas of the province, police are back walking the beat and many others are working in storefront offices. These efforts by police to become more involved with the community they serve have been welcomed with enthusiasm.

In Ontario, safe communities do not just happen. They are a tribute to the quality of our police forces. Citizens can participate in Police Week by introducing themselves and their children to the local police. I invite everyone to join in this theme, “Shake hands with a cop.” Visit your local police force. Get an opportunity to say thank you to them for the fine job that they do for Ontario.


Hon Mr Bradley: Today I wish to inform the Legislature of results of tests for toxics in fuels and to update members on recent meetings.

Twenty gasoline samples tested at our ministry laboratory over the weekend detected no polychlorinated biphenyls or solvents. These samples were gathered from a variety of Metropolitan Toronto and Peel gasoline stations last week.

In addition, I am informed by M. Bouchard’s office that Environment Canada has just gotten results from tests of 59 fuel samples, 43 from Ontario border crossings. Their analysis found no PCBs in any of those samples.

These results are in addition to the 12 vehicle fuel and heating oil samples taken during the April border checks, reported last week, where analysis revealed no PCBs or solvents.

I noted in the weekend press that the Toronto Sun, using Mann Testing Laboratories in Mississauga, analysed fuel samples from six discount gasoline stations in Metro and, in its words, “failed to find PCB-tainted fuel.”

These results do not prove that no toxic wastes are being hidden in virgin fuels and imported into Canada, as has been alleged, or that we should not continue to look for them. We shall.

Any contaminated fuel found in our sampling will be traced back through the distribution chain to uncover every conspirator involved. The participation of the OPP, the RCMP and Environment Canada in a joint task force will aid us in rooting out any trafficking that we can confirm.

At their meeting last week, hosted by Ontario in Toronto, the Great Lakes governors pledged their support and co-operation in these investigations.

It remains my belief that the best way to protect the people and environment of Ontario is to stop pollution, in all its forms, at the source.

On a related matter, I wish to inform this House that a truck carrying PCB-contaminated wastes from Ontario to Michigan has been impounded at the Bluewater Bridge international border in Sarnia. My ministry yesterday laid six charges against the Milton company where the shipment originated.

The company, Aimco-Solrec, has been charged with unlawfully receiving, transferring, generating and processing PCB wastes. The maximum fine the judge may impose on the counts upon first conviction is $25,000 for each count.

In addition, a director’s instruction was issued requiring the company to cease operations at this unregistered PCB storage site. The operation has been padlocked by ministry officials. This is a case concerning charges of illegally contaminated wastes, however, and not tainted fuel.

As the Legislature may have heard from reports over the weekend, my deputy and I met with the federal ministers of Health and Environment and the Quebec Minister of the Environment in Ottawa last Friday to discuss further actions.

It was decided that the federal government would step up border checks of fuel trucks for PCBs and would restrict the number of border crossings fuel trucks may use so as to be able to scrutinize the traffic more carefully.

My ministry’s enforcement officers, skilled at the specialized task of tanker sampling, took the initial samples for Environment Canada at the border and will assist Environment Canada until its own inspectors are trained.

Environment Canada will also be provided with assistance from our laboratory scientists on developing a capacity at the federal level to test fuels for contaminants other than PCBs.

On that same day. a meeting was held at my ministry with the OPP, RCMP, Environment Canada officials and members of our investigation and enforcement branch to further coordinate efforts to confirm the allegations of tainted fuel trafficking.

Sampling for PCBs and other toxics in fuels throughout Ontario will continue to be carried out and reported.




Mr Allen: Responding to the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr Sweeney) and his review of the young offender residential service system, all members will remember the traumatic circumstances under which this report was generated, the murder of Krista Sepp in the Midland home.

One of the primary recommendations and observations in this report is an utterly damning indictment of the ministry and its funding levels with respect to such homes and such residential facilities, when it says that lack of funding is such that it is difficult to maintain a stable staffing environment.

Second, the emphasis at that time in this House was upon the need for additional staff, not just at the young offender and the secure detention facilities, especially to remedy the single staff personnel that were on duty at certain times. It is rather astonishing that this report really says almost nothing about that and goes on to refer only to the young-offender-related institutions and the secure facilities, which need a minimum standard, as it puts it, for night staffing and secure facilities. In so far as I am able to see in a quick review of the document, it really does not address the central issue that was of concern to this House at the time.

I hope the minister in his review, as will the rest of us in this review, will try to look closely at that particular apparent omission, and one would almost suggest whitewash of the present situation by its failure to address the question of secure staffing at nights, in particular in facilities which may possibly have young offenders in them, not just necessarily young-offender-related institutions.


Mr Hampton: On behalf of the New Democratic Party, I want to acknowledge the importance of police work to us and to all the working people of Ontario. However much we may condemn this government for its mishandling of police matters, we do express our deep appreciation to those dedicated women and men whose daily work as police officers is to serve and protect the citizens of Ontario.


Mrs Grier: Finally, after a week of the most intense debate both here and in the House of Commons about tainted fuel in this province, we have a statement from the minister: and what does it tell us? That last weekend he did not find any contaminated fuel.

How stupid does the minister think the illegal importers of tainted fuel are? Does he think that they are going to be still importing it last weekend after the issue was made public a week ago in the Globe and Mail?

When it first became public, what did the minister say? The minister said --


The Speaker: Order.

Mrs Grier: A week ago, we heard that the minister was looking at every possible violation and believed he was building up --


The Speaker: Order.

Mrs Grier: On Monday, he was building a powerful case to bring before the courts. On Tuesday, he said he was dealing with people who are not unsophisticated, they are experts in the field and there will be a long hot summer. Then he went to Ottawa. There was still no statement in this House on Wednesday. He said he was looking for the kingpins and that was why he could not explain to this House what was happening because there were bigger fish he was going to fry.

On Thursday he acknowledged that he had found no results of contaminated PCBs, and on Friday he went to Ottawa again and all the border crossings were closed. Obviously, somebody felt there was a major problem and somebody said to the minister, “You’d better make a statement fast, because you have not really been heard on this issue.”

What this statement shows is proof that having known about this problem for a year, this minister is today unable to explain to this House that he realized the health implications of the problem when it first came to his attention. He is unable to tell us or has not told us the extent of the investigations that his ministry has undertaken, not since last Monday but since he first heard about it a year ago. Nor has he reported to us on who he found importing illegal waste, what charges have been laid and the extent of the problem for the people of this province so that they can understand what the health implications are. We think they are very severe and we think this minister should have shared them with us long before now.


Mr Farnan: The Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr O’Neil) means well. However, despite my repeated calls, there is still no representative of the hospitality industry on the Premier’s Council. Surely the minister will recognize that he has been castrated by his own Premier (Mr Peterson). When will we have members of the hospitality industry on this council?


The Speaker: Order.


Mr Brandt: I would like to respond to the statement made by the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) with respect to the latest actions taken in concert by his ministry and the federal Department of the Environment.

When one looks at the facts, in that the federal minister found out some time last week for the first time in terms of direct advice and has acted to close some border points down to limit the number of access points into Canada, has initiated rigorous testing and is attempting to get, through the work of the RCMP and I hope in co-operation with the OPP, to the bottom of where some of this criminal activity is taking place, all of which our party agrees with.

We would like to go on record as saying that we are in fact very much in support of the testing and very much in support of the reduction in the number of border points in order to be able to confine to an absolute minimum, if you will, the number of access points where this material could be brought into Canada.

Having said that, the position of our party has consistently been that this minister had a responsibility to share with his colleagues federally and his other colleagues in this Ontario Legislature who have the appropriate responsible ministries, the information that he had back in January. It would only follow that if it is correct, proper and appropriate today to start this kind of rigorous testing and elimination of some of the border points where this material could flow freely into Canada, it would have been equally as appropriate to do the same kind of action back in January when the minister himself claims he was first advised of this type of illegal and potentially criminal activity.

I say to the minister with all due respect that he is acting after the fact. We have said consistently that the shortcomings of his ministry and the minister personally have come from the fact that he wanted to get his so-called bad guys in advance of warning the public. His first priority had to be to tell the people of this province that there was a potential health risk, and that was the responsibility he failed to exercise.


Mrs Cunningham: We would like to respond to the tabling of the report on young offenders, Review of the Young Offender Residential Service System, by the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr Sweeney).

We certainly applaud the review and from our short chance to look at it, we think the recommendations are definitely far-reaching. I think the most interesting fact about this review is that it seems so thorough, and it is an internal review and therefore the minister’s own staff are telling him what the problems are. I think that is the best place to hear it from.

We are very concerned, of course, about the staffing and remuneration levels, the lack thereof: the turnover and the training, as the report defines. The security is the other part that the minister promised he would deal with. I guess the bottom line is truly that we have to recognize the lack of financial resources, both for personnel and capital.

The question would be, when will the recommendations be dealt with? We will be looking very carefully at that.


Mr Sterling: I would like to add my party’s support for our police community. It has been evident to our party over the past year that there has been a substantial lack of support on the part of the government for our police community. It is nice to see this government, at least for one week, recognize the contribution of these people who put out for us in so many ways during the year. I hope that in the coming year, not only for this week, that its support for the police will be more tangible and of longer duration than we have seen in the past.

Of course, we have recognized in the past year and continue to recognize the very significant contribution these individuals give to society and the very tough task they have. We believe they deserve this support. They will always have our support.



Mr McLean: Briefly, on the National Tourism Awareness Week, which was announced by the minister, I want to say it will be with great enthusiasm that we will see the input he has in the budget of the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) that he will not extra-tax the cigarettes and many items that will be --

The Speaker: Thank you. That completes the allotted time for ministerial statements and responses.


The Speaker: Order.



Mr B. Rae: I would like to go to the Minister of the Environment. On Friday the minister was in Ottawa, and on Friday it was decided by the federal government, after a meeting which he attended, that 125 of the 175 border crossings across Canada would be closed and that all fuel-bearing trucks at the other 50 crossings would be tested. That is a sign, a symbol, a signal of how seriously the allegations and rumours which the minister referred to in the House last week were taken by a group of senior Environment ministers in this country.

Alone among those ministers, this Minister of the Environment has known about this information since January of this year. That poses the obvious question: Why did the minister not organize that same, similar meeting as soon as he was informed by his department, so that instead of closing the border after the horse is gone, there would have been a chance of catching people back in January when the minister himself knew about this problem?

Hon Mr Bradley: The investigation commenced when the suspicions and allegations were coming forward in the month of January; the investigation was initiated at that time. I repeat to the member, as I did last week, that there was no concrete evidence of this happening. In fact, it represented allegations and suspicions at that time and nothing more.

At the present time, for instance, there has been a series of newspaper articles with some rather intricate details which have brought to the attention of the public and others even more information which could be followed up, and we now have activity in a number of areas. I say to the member that the investigations and enforcement branch of the Ministry of the Environment was in fact working on this investigation for some period of time.

Mr B. Rae: I am not asking the minister to report on the investigations and enforcement branch, which took some three months before it even took its first sample in April at a border crossing, and it was not until this weekend that it first started testing gasoline stations.

I am asking the minister personally this question. He knew about this problem in January. He was personally the only Minister of the Environment who knew about it. His federal counterpart has stated publicly that he did not know. I am asking this minister this question: The border was shut on Friday. Does the minister not realize that the border could have been closed back in January when he personally knew about it? Can he tell us why he did not inform his federal counterparts, why he personally did not phone up the federal government, why he personally did not --

The Speaker: Thank you. Order.

Hon Mr Bradley: The matter of waste management, particularly hazardous waste management, itself is a matter of ongoing interest and has been for some time with Environment ministers across the country.

Our investigations and enforcement branch, when it was informed of the information, felt it would be worthy of taking a careful look at all aspects of waste management. That does not include exclusively and only what the member describes as the possibility of contaminated fuel, but a number of potential problems that could exist, any potential problem that could exist; in other words, where the paperwork does not correspond in fact to what you find in the trucks or what you find when they get to a plant gate, for instance.

That is what our ministry was endeavouring to do, to attempt to substantiate these allegations and suspicions, and that is what it continues to do.

Mr B. Rae: I want to ask the minister a question again. He alone, among those ministers, knew about this problem in January. When the other ministers discovered it, they decided to close down a border. Why did the minister not personally inform his colleague the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) and the federal Minister of the Environment with respect to a potential public health problem that was sufficiently serious that the border was closed on Friday? Why did he personally not do that in January when he first knew about it?

Hon Mr Bradley: Because, as I say to the member again -- he does not want to listen to this, and that is his prerogative -- he was talking about suspicions and allegations at that time, and not about any further information that was forthcoming.

We have been investigating for some period of time by conducting interviews through the ministry’s investigations and enforcement branch, by doing border testing in addition to that and by doing testing in other places in Ontario, to attempt to determine whether in fact there is any substantiation to this. If in fact this practice is going on, it would be our goal to ensure that we get the people who are ultimately responsible.

Mr B. Rae: I have a second question to the same minister. Nothing has changed since January; he has as little or as much information now as he had then. The only thing that has changed is that the Globe and Mail made it public last Monday, and that when the federal government realized the potential seriousness of this problem it decided to close the border on Friday. Those are the only things that have changed.

The minister is in the unique position among ministers in that he personally knew of these suspicions. He personally knew how serious it was and that is why he started the investigation. That is what he told the House. No testing happened unt11 April.

Why did he so badly underestimate the seriousness of this problem that he did not tell his federal counterparts about it when he personally knew about it?

Hon Mr Bradley: Because, to this very day, there is not the kind of evidence that we would need to be able to take the kind of action that the member contemplates.

For instance, I mentioned that we had a team of people at the border in April, assisting us and providing the kind of co-operation that we thought was very good at that period in time, including Environment Canada officials, along with the OPP, which was dealing with the issue of transportation of contaminated wastes -- in other words, the proper placarding -- and also the Highway Traffic Act, to ensure that whatever trucks were carrying wastes were capable of doing so in a physical sense. We had the co-operation of the customs and excise division of the Department of National Revenue; we had the co-operation of a number of people in those border checks. At that time we took our tests, and to this point in time we have not been able to confirm those allegations.

Mr B. Rae: I would like to ask the minister this question: Can he tell us why closing the border on Friday made sufficient sense that I heard him endorse it? I heard him say on the radio with my own ears how this was going to introduce the element of surprise. I would like to ask the minister: If that solution was endorsed specifically by the minister on Friday, why was it not an equally valid solution when he personally knew about it in January?

Hon Mr Bradley: First of all, the opportunity for the federal government to do this -- and this was its prerogative, which I would support -- is one which of course we support because it allows the government to utilize its resources in the best possible way and that is its decision.


I am not here to pick on the federal government over this issue or to attempt to cause problems for the federal government. I am here to co-operate with the federal government in this. The member may be here to make political hay, and that is his responsibility. I recognize that.

Mr Reville: There’s nothing in the barn to eat the hay.

The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Bradley: We are certainly continuing to co-operate with the federal government, as it co-operated with us at our border checks in April.

Mr B. Rae: Bingo tried to be Rambo and came up Clouseau. That is what we have.

I want to ask the minister this simple question. If he cannot answer any of the other questions that I have put to him, I would like to ask him this simple question: If he took it so seriously back in January and if he was in charge of it to the extent that he says it was, can he tell us why the first testing was not done at the border unt11 April and why there were no tests of gasoline stations until this weekend?

Hon Mr Bradley: We began to develop our investigation, through the investigations and enforcement branch, in the early part of this year by initially conducting interviews, attempting to gather information from individuals and then setting up a testing program at the borders, plant gates and other places around Ontario. In fact, that is what we have done. We were the people who were doing it.

We had the co-operation of the federal government in April of this year in doing so, and I appreciate that co-operation. We have had the co-operation of using their property on those border points. In fact, members will remember that there were a number of people who were there at the border from the news media and other areas who were aware of what was going on, the testing that was going on at the border at the time, and the federal government was supportive of what we were doing. I think that was an appropriate way in which to move.

Mr Brandt: My question as well is to the Minister of the Environment and it relates to the same subject. The minister obviously, as he has indicated in his responses, is thankful for the co-operation that he is now getting from the federal government with respect to closing border points, increasing the amount of testing to a more rigorous discipline than perhaps it has been in the past and also stepping up the number of checks that are going on at these entry points.

Given that the minister is in favour of what is now happening as a result of the involvement of the federal government, could the minister perhaps enlighten this House as to exactly what steps he took back in January when he first found out about this with respect to any testing that went on at that time, any particular actions by his ministry? What did he do with that information? We know the minister did not share it with anyone in this House or with any other ministries or with the federal government. Exactly what did he do with respect to testing back in January?

Hon Mr Bradley: As I indicated, when the information of these allegations and suspicions came to the attention of the investigations and enforcement branch in January of this year, they commenced an investigation which takes into account a number of different tactics that must be used in these investigations. In addition to that, they decided they would proceed as well with some actual tests that took place.

We as a ministry, through the investigations and enforcement branch, were involved in this undercover operation in an attempt to get not just the people who were immediately involved in it -- and the member would recognize the importance of this -- but those who were ultimately responsible for it as well. That has been the goal of our investigations and enforcement branch, and it continues to be.

Mr Brandt: If there were investigations carried out in January as well as testing, then I would think it would only be appropriate for the minister to share with this House his findings as a result of any activities that he carried out from January on through to the time that this became a public issue a week ago.

The minister has now indicated some of the tests that occurred in April, and he has shared those results with us, but I wonder if the minister can perhaps enlighten us as to the full range of activities that did take place, obviously on his own, because he did not co-operate with anyone else at that particular time in terms of sharing the information that he had back in January.

Could the minister perhaps just lay out for this House in some detail the activities that occurred back in January and from that time on until it became a public issue and the results of the tests that took place during that time frame?

The Speaker: Minister, I know the member asked for great detail. Probably you could do it in a reasonable length of time.

Hon Mr Bradley: I will try to do it in a reasonable length of time, Mr Speaker, but I go to the fact that the member is very much aware, as one who has had certain responsibilities, as have some of his colleagues, that a minister is not in a position to reveal the specifics of an investigation. If you do so -- there are certain portions which, as I say, have certainly been revealed, but I think the member in all honesty could not really ask me to ask the investigations and enforcement branch to provide the kind of detailed information on an investigation which he is seeking, because the opportunity of jeopardizing that investigation is always present. I really ask him to consider that when he asks that question.

Mr Brandt: I think the minister could certainly provide to this House some indication of the number of personnel who were assigned to the investigation, the number of tests that were carried out and the results of those tests--perhaps not by mentioning the specific companies involved.

It comes as no particular surprise that the most recent testing does not turn up contaminated fuels or any tainted blended fuels when one recognizes that the red flags have gone up at 150 border points saying: “Don’t ship now; the heat’s on. Now is not the time to be shipping fuels across the border.” It does not take any genius to figure out that if you are engaged in criminal activity --

The Speaker: Question?

Mr Brandt: -- now is not the time to carry out those particular types of activities.

I would ask the minister again, with respect: Would he share with this House the number of personnel that he in fact placed in a position to review this particular matter back in January? Exactly when were they assigned to that task? What types of tests were carried out? I am asking for general information; I am not asking for the minister to identify ABC Corp.

Hon Mr Bradley: I think the member is in fact attempting to gather the kind of information which is potentially damaging to an investigation. He knows that. The people who have held the position of Solicitor General or Attorney General or Minister of the Environment are well aware that in terms of investigations going on, it is not appropriate to provide the details of investigations. I am interested in tripping up the potential criminals and not in tipping off the potential criminals.


Mr Harris: I have a question for the Treasurer. On at least four occasions since last December I have asked either the Minister of Housing (Ms Hošek) or the Treasurer himself whether any studies or reports have been done on the question of proposed new lot levy taxes on housing. Each time I was told that no studies had been done.

I have now obtained a copy of what I can only assume is a confidential report to the former Minister of Education on the subject of lot levies, dated April 1986. Would the Treasurer tell us what he knows about this study and why he failed to confirm its existence when asked about such studies in the House as recently as the last couple of weeks?

Hon R. F. Nixon: I was not aware of its existence and I still am not. I would appreciate it if the honourable member would give me a copy of it.

Mr Harris: Perhaps I can refresh the Treasurer’s memory. The document was prepared as a result of correspondence to him from the former Minister of Education on the issue of new school construction. In fact, it was prepared by a Liberal staff member by the name of David Goyette, who I understand was then special adviser to one Robert Nixon. It mentions several drawbacks to the imposition of a levy on housing for school construction purposes, calling it “a grab” and an option that “moves us one step away from the concept of good community planning.”

Can the Treasurer tell us why he has suppressed this information and why he is acting against its recommendations?

Hon R. F. Nixon: I have not suppressed it. I have already indicated my knowledge of the report.


Mr Harris: Perhaps the Treasurer is suppressing his memory, not the document. This was prepared by the Treasurer’s special assistant. It is indeed an interesting document. It states:

“It appears to be unwise to impose an additional education-related tax on those residents who already pay education taxes through the property tax. Affected residents would probably feel, with no school in close proximity or with the presence of portables, they are not getting their money’s worth now, and a further tax is not justified.”

It is interesting as well that the report also rejects a targeted provincial tax, believe it or not, simply because it might publicize the school shortage problem and leave the government open to attack.

Again, I would ask the Treasurer, why has he not searched for any government documents? Why has he not released this one done by his own special assistant, a report that says no to lot levies and yes to sound urban planning, before embarking on yet another Liberal tax grab --

The Speaker: The question has been asked.

Hon R. F. Nixon: I do not know how lot levies could be a Liberal tax grab since, if they were to be introduced, they would be at the behest of the municipalities and the school boards.


Hon R. F. Nixon: Well, it is the truth.

Actually, Mr Goyette did excellent work when he was working for me when I was Minister of Revenue, having to do with market value assessment. The review was actually led by my colleague the member for Waterloo North (Mr Epp) and was widely circulated and highly regarded.

I am not aware of the document the honourable member is leafing through in a peremptory way and I hope he will send a copy over. In fact he will be aware that the green paper I presented to the Legislature in December has been widely circulated. There has been substantial response from school boards, municipal councils and a wide variety of individuals interested in adequate financing for school capital.

The honourable member will know that we have raised our budgetary allocation for school capital from the niggardly $84 million per year his government allocated when he was a member of the government to $300 million this year, with a four-year commitment in that regard: a $1.2-billion commitment.


Mr Laughren: I have a question for the Treasurer as well. The Treasurer will know that when his government came to power, the provincial income tax rate was 48 per cent of the federal tax payable. Since then he has raised it to 50 per cent, 51 per cent, 52 per cent and now, if rumours are correct, it is going to go up to 53 per cent this year.

I would not ask the Treasurer to comment on a rumour; however, I would point out to the Treasurer that since he has become Treasurer, the number of people earning income below the poverty line has increased substantially, and in the last year for which figures are available almost 3,000 individuals in Ontario earning over $50,000 paid no income tax whatsoever. Could the Treasurer tell us if he thinks that is fair? Why has he not done something about it by now?

Hon R. F. Nixon: Mr Speaker, I do not know whether you would agree with me, but that is somewhat reminiscent of the question asked by the honourable member last week. He must consider it a good one, so we will have another run at it.

I think the honourable member would know, at least looking at my ready reference here, that the revenues from corporations last year increased by just under 20 per cent and the revenues from personal income tax increased by 12.5 per cent. That may not be adjusting the balance sufficiently for the honourable member, but I thought those figures would speak for themselves to some extent.

I think the honourable member would also know, and probably support the concept, that our tax reduction program means well over 300,000 residents of the province who are registered to pay federal income tax are exempt from provincial rolls. Once again, I would agree with the honourable member that while that is insufficient, at least it is an indication of a movement by the government, budget by budget, in the direction he advocates.

Mr Laughren: That is simply not true. The Treasurer has not moved to relieve the burden on low-income taxpayers in the province. In 1988, as a matter of fact, the income tax reduction program to which he refers cost the Treasury about $40 million, I believe. The preferential treatment of capital gains cost this Treasury almost $500 million. How in the world does the Treasurer think it is fair to have individuals earning $2,000 below the poverty line paying income taxes while the better-heeled income earners out there are being subsidized to the tune of almost $500 million a year because of the preferential treatment of capital gains? The Treasurer does absolutely nothing about it. Does he think that is fair?

Hon R. F. Nixon: I do not know how the honourable member can say the policy of the government does absolutely nothing about it because he knows otherwise. He knows that is clearly not true. I have already indicated to the honourable member the tax reduction program, which has already been described, and at the other end where it maybe even catches the honourable member, we have a surtax of 10 per cent on taxable incomes over $80,000. We think that is quite an appropriate and progressive move that the honourable member should support and not ignore.


Mrs Cunningham: My question is directed to the Minister of Community and Social Services. MARC, which is the Metropolitan Agencies Representatives’ Council, representing people with developmental handicaps, had a press conference today and advised us about some very serious concerns with programming for developmentally handicapped people.

Parents were there. Workers were there. Directors, board members and even unions were there. They advised us of a staffing crisis we know the minister is aware of. When can these parents and young adult children expect to receive the quality of care the minister promised in this report called Challenges and Opportunities that was released some time ago?

Hon Mr Sweeney: The honourable member will be aware that within that report we identified two populations of developmentally handicapped citizens of this province. The first were those who were living in the communities at the present time with their families, and for the most part had already done so. It would be our intent to provide more community-based services for those families so they could continue to keep their young people at home with them with that range of supports. The other group were those currently living in institutions, whether they are nursing homes or facilities directly operated by the ministry. The intent there was to provide opportunities for them to move out of those institutions and back into the community.

It is because of this two-pronged attack, if you will, that we have not been able to provide the whole range of services those people already living in the community would like to get. I believe, though, the record will show that for those people we have moved out of the institutions we have provided a residential service and a day programming service. Our job now is to continue to try to catch up with the requirements of the community-based services for those families already there.

Mrs Cunningham: We heard from parents who still have children in their homes and are looking for some group home rather than what the minister and I would call institutionalized care. There are some 900 of those families on waiting lists right now. We also heard from a parent who has his 27-year-old developmentally handicapped child in a group home and who advised us of things the minister would be very much concerned about. I am now talking about staff turnover, lack of training, no confidence, things that are very concerning to parents.

The real issue here, Mr Speaker --

The Speaker: What about the question?

Mrs Cunningham: -- is full parity when it comes to wages, so my question is, when will the minister table a plan for full parity and when will he table a plan for fairness in programming for these special families?

Hon Mr Sweeney: I indicated, I believe about three weeks ago, to another questioner that I would be announcing fairly shortly -- I am hoping it is going to be within the next couple of weeks -- particular target populations for community programs in which we would move closer to parity. I think I indicated at that time, and I will repeat it again, that I do not expect in this first go-around to get there but to close -- to narrow the gap, I guess is a better way of putting it. I hope to be able to make those kinds of announcements some time within the next couple of weeks and I think we will deal at least in some way with the question the honourable member raised.



Mr Daigeler: My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. The ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany recently wrote to me regarding a charity event in which the embassy wanted to participate. The purpose of the event was to provide support for underdeveloped countries. The embassy was willing to provide German wines to the organizers who would then sell them to the participants.

The ambassador is upset that the Liquor Control Board of Ontario is unwilling to grant tax-free diplomatic prices to the embassy but insists that the wine be purchased at full price. May I ask the minister, why is it the policy of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario that embassies purchase wine at full price for charity events?

Hon Mr Wrye: The honourable member should know that the event a charity would be putting on, and which the federal republic would be supporting, nevertheless would require a special occasion permit under the rules as we now have them.

Neither the federal republic, the embassy, nor anyone else can provide that wine free of charge to any charitable group to put on an event. The wine or any other beverage alcohol for that event must be purchased by the person holding the special occasion permit. Those are the rules, and those are the rules we must follow. In fact, the embassy or any other embassy can only have tax-free diplomatic purchases for its own personal use and not for the use of others.

Mr Daigeler: I thank the minister for his answer. In the same letter the ambassador wrote to me, he also makes reference to another practice to which he objects. Apparently, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario refuses to sell wine from Vintages stores to embassies tax free and at diplomatic prices. According to the ambassador, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario is the only provincial authority that persists in this policy. I am informed the Department of External Affairs also disagrees with this particular policy of Ontario. I wonder whether the minister has any clarifying information on this or whether he can get back to the House at a later date.

Hon Mr Wrye: I should tell the honourable member that there is in effect a tax-free diplomatic discount, if you want to call it that, but we require that that embassy and others purchase their beverage alcohol through the LCBO head office. It is probably best for inventory control. They can get not only regular beverage alcohol, but also Vintages products through the head office. We do that because it is only at the head office that all of the additional charges, the additional taxes and other charges, have not been added. So we do not allow embassies or others to buy from Vintages stores or regular stores.

The LCBO also reserves the right to limit the amounts of Vintages products that it will sell to any embassy, as the products by their very nature are limited in quantity. We want to assure ourselves and assure people in Ontario that they can all partake of those very special brands of wines.


Mr Allen: I want to go back to the Minister of Community and Social Services on the question of the Metropolitan Toronto agencies serving the developmentally handicapped.

The minister’s response to the Conservative critic suggested he had a good deal of time to respond to this issue that he says is a result of some two-pronged offensive of his. The fundamental question these agencies have put is that they are in fact in jeopardy. Today, they announced that they were not introducing any new programs and that their existing programs were deteriorating seriously as a result of funding levels that may have been appropriate in recession or depression times, but which certainly do not make them competitive. They have staff turnovers that are absolutely horrendous at this point in time in a service that requires stability of service to the clientele.

Will the minister please explain to this House and to the agencies concerned how he expects his program of deinstitutionalization and community living for these people to succeed in Metro when his grants force them into this kind of situation?

Hon Mr Sweeney: The honourable member will perhaps recall an earlier discussion about this when I pointed out to him that last year, I believe it was, for the first time in the history of this province there were more resources going to community-based programs for the developmentally handicapped than there were for those based at the institutional level. That is a clear indication of the shift of emphasis within Ontario from facility-based programs to community-based programs. A large number of dollars in fact have flowed that way.

The member will also be aware that there is definitely a staged and gradual implementation of Challenges and Opportunities. I think we have made that pretty clear in the document. I indicated to the previous questioner from the Progressive Conservative Party that I would be making an announcement within a couple of weeks, dealing with the wage question at the community level.

I recognize that is a problem and we are prepared to begin to deal with it more effectively than we have. I would conclude by reminding the honourable member that in areas like Metropolitan Toronto, we do have a particular problem, particularly with the very high cost of housing with respect to young people, whether they are already in the community or coming from residential facilities. We are paying a very high cost and quite frankly are asking ourselves how much longer we can afford it.

Mr Allen: The living costs are the costs of the workers the minister has to have employed in the agencies in order to see that his program is effective. He has said we have reached a balance where we are putting more resources in total into the community agencies than into the institutions. That means we are at a critical watershed in the whole program of deinstitutionalization.

If he is telling me, in his last remarks, that it is virtually impossible for him to pay wages that make it possible for those agencies to keep people in place, to serve the clients in the whole program of community living, then we are at a very sorry pass and the watershed will reverse and we will have to go back to institutionalization, because many workers are beginning to lose faith in that process as a result of the situation in which they find themselves.

Hon Mr Sweeney: I regret if my words were misunderstood. I was attempting to indicate that it is difficult to establish new programs in areas like Metropolitan Toronto because of the high cost of the physical facilities. I would not for a minute suggest that we are not prepared to move towards reducing the gap -- I think I indicated in my first answer that we were prepared to move towards that -- with respect to parity between the two types of workers.

I agree with the honourable member, as I have told him in the past, that we need to do that as quickly as we possibly can. He will hear within a couple of weeks one of our earlier steps to do that.


Mr McLean: I had a question for the Premier (Mr Peterson) but I guess he has left, so I will direct my question to the Minister of Tourism and Recreation. In Friday’s Globe and Mail, it was reported that Patricia Starr, the Liberal-appointed chairperson of Ontario Place, was in violation of federal law by making almost $60,000 in political contributions from the funds of a charitable organization. Does the minister find this type of activity acceptable or will he ask the chair of Ontario Place to resign?

Hon Mr O’Neil: I should tell the member, of course, that those allegations, and that is what they are, have nothing to do with my ministry or with Ontario Place. But I might tell the member that Ms Starr has asked for a leave of absence until these allegations are cleared up. In the meantime, Clare Copeland, who is the vice-chairman, will be the acting chairman.

Mr McLean: The minister will recall that Ms Starr made some very inappropriate and partisan statements in the 1987-88 annual report for Ontario Place. What I found most disturbing about Ms Starr’s appointment to the board of Ontario Place was the fact that she was double-dipping at the taxpayers’ expense. While she was still on the board of the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority, the government appointed her to the $140-a-day Ontario Place job.

Why did the minister not do the honourable thing at that time and ask Ms Starr to give up one of her patronage positions? Now that we have learned Ms Starr made illegal payment to the campaign of the Minister of Housing (Ms Hošek), does the minister not think that Ms Starr should step down from Ontario Place and that the Minister of Housing should return the $10,000 that was reported in the paper?

Hon Mr O’Neil: I think the member should be a little careful about some of the allegations he makes. Those are allegations and I do not think it is fair he should make such.


Mr Adams: My question is for the Minister of Education. There is great interest in lifestyle and health nowadays. It seems to me the foundations of a healthy life are laid in the schools. Is the ministry doing enough to ensure our students have a healthy lifestyle?


Hon Mr Ward: As the member will know, the new curriculum guideline for health and physical education in fact speaks at length to the notion of the healthy lifestyle. That is throughout the curriculum and continues to be.

Mr Adams: I thank the minister for that. I know of his personal commitment to physical fitness. I understand that teenage females are among the least fit in our society. Is his ministry addressing that particular sector of the student population?

Hon Mr Ward: I am sorry I could not hear the last part of the member’s question, though I did hear the preamble, and he did refer to the physical fitness of teenage female students. I want him to know that the guideline and the initiatives through the ministry and throughout the school system are very much geared to promoting health and physical fitness among all students.

ARMX ’89

Mr R. F. Johnston: My question is for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. Each day somebody is killed in El Salvador or in South Africa or sometimes in Chile and other countries around the world. Next week in Ottawa, there will be a conference of merchants of death called ARMX, which will involve the participation of -- or at least invitations have been extended to -- people from those countries and to independent arms dealers who often deal with those countries.

Given who is going to be there, can the minister explain to this House how it is that Ontario is investing $20,000 for our arms merchants to participate in that kind of conference?

Hon Mr Kwinter: The member raises an interesting problem, but he has to understand that the policy of this country is set by the federal government. We have a very active aerospace industry. The member may feel that some of the products that are manufactured by that industry are used for purposes he does not approve of, but in the meantime they are a viable part of our economy; they are providing jobs, I am sure, even to people who live in his constituency, and we have an obligation to support them. That is the reason we are there.

Mr R. F. Johnston: I understand it is the minister’s point of view that there is virtually an unlimited export potential for defence products and that he endorses the expansion of that already too large industry in our province rather than a divestment and conversion.

Given our policies about South Africa and, I hope, about some of these other repressive regimes in the world, what advice does the minister give to those 20 firms that will be using the space he is paying for in terms of who they should deal with or not deal with? Does he think they should be able to sell arms to just anybody in the world and leave it up to the federal Tories to decide what is appropriate for Ontario tax dollars?

Hon Mr Kwinter: I am sure the member knows that there are federal restrictions on where products can be sold. That is a decision that has been made by the federal government, which has the sole jurisdiction in that area, and the manufacturers in Ontario abide by those particular guidelines.


Mr Eves: I have a question of the Minister of Health. The minister, I believe, has received as recently as last week a copy of a letter directed from Dr. Kevin Nugent, the only child and family psychiatrist in northwestern Ontario, to Dr. Morrison, the district 9 representative of the council of College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

In his letter of 6 January of this year, he points out that at present, in northwestern Ontario there are 12 psychiatrists serving the entire region, with a population in excess of 230,000 people. If they had the proper population per psychiatrist ratio, they would have approximately 30 psychiatrists in northwestern Ontario. “In fact,” he says, “it’s entirely likely that our paltry psychiatric group here will drop to as low as six to eight psychiatrists in the coming year.”

Is the minister aware of the problem? What is she doing about it?

Hon Mrs Caplan: I am very aware of this particular situation. The ministry has retained the services of Dr William Copeman, who for quite some time ran the underserviced area program. He is on retainer for the specific purpose of attracting psychiatrists, particularly for northern Ontario but around the province, and I believe his efforts are significant.

Mr Eves: This situation is somewhat similar to the problem with getting Dr Ho accredited at the cancer centre in northeastern Ontario. The minister says no, it is not.

I will read further from Dr Nugent’s letter: “I had every reason to believe that Dr Gopfert was a well-trained, conscientious and competent practitioner of psychiatry, and indeed his training and credentials might be seen as markedly superior to my own.” This is a psychiatrist who received his accreditation from the Royal College of Physicians in Britain, but for some reason the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario does not think he should be allowed to practise psychiatry here in Ontario.

Dr Gopfert said that his contacts with the college were, to quote Dr Nugent, “so discouraging that he completely despaired of proceeding with a formal request This experience is a most frustrating and discouraging one from my own point of view, and I offer it as an example of how very discouraging” --

The Speaker: Order. Do you have a question?

Mr Eves: My question to the minister is -- she has had examples with respect to the cancer centre in northeastern Ontario. Now we have the psychiatric situation in northwestern Ontario. The minister has the duty, not just the --

The Speaker: Order. Will the member take his seat.

Mr Eves: Is the minister going to do anything or not? Is she going to exercise her duty under the act?

The Speaker: Order. I gather the member is not interested in a response.

Hon Mr Riddell: Will you repeat the question?

Mr Eves: I am interested in an answer and I would love to get one.

Hon Mr Kerrio: How can you get one when you’re yapping?

The Speaker: Order. The member for Parry Sound and other members may wish to refrain.

Hon Mrs Caplan: We have a number of initiatives under way in the ministry to address the human resource needs of northern Ontario. The member would know that the northern manpower committee has been recently formed and is addressing the very specific needs of the north. I mentioned the efforts of Dr Copeman and the northern incentive grants, which provide additional resources to physicians, but in fact the member is misinformed if he is suggesting that it is appropriate for the minister to intervene on the basis of a political assessment to assess and license physicians in this province.

I believe it is improper for me to intervene in an area which is rightly that of the college of physicians and surgeons. Through a peer assessment, through evaluation, it has the responsibility as an independent body to assess and license the physicians in this province and those who wish to practise in this province.

I would say to the member that I am surprised he would suggest that I take action which is clearly improper.


Mr Beer: My question is to the Minister of Transportation. As the minister knows, Highway 404 has been under construction in York region for a number of years now and has had, over that period of time, some problems in the construction process. I wonder if the minister could bring the House up to date as to when it is now expected that the section which is currently being constructed through to Davis Drive in Newmarket will be completed.

Hon Mr Fulton: I appreciate the question from my colleague the member for York North and his ongoing interest in matters related to my ministry. I can tell him that notwithstanding the various difficulties that have had to be overcome with respect to that very necessary highway into Newmarket, we will be on schedule and open for full-use traffic by the fall of this year.

Mr Beer: I know that everyone in that area is going to be delighted when that is finally open because of the great need. That raises the supplementary, which is in terms of the future direction of Highway 404.

I know that last month the minister was with the member for Durham-York (Mr Ballinger) meeting with officials from East Gwillimbury and, in the past, we have had discussions around Highway 89. What plans are now being looked at, in terms of extending Highway 404 north of Newmarket and on into the area to the south of Lake Simcoe?


Hon Mr Fulton: The member for York North correctly identified the fact that I spent the best part of a day with our friend the member for Durham-York, who I know was also representing the member, because he was unable to be with us that day. We had an opportunity to meet with quite a wide variety of municipal people.

I can tell him that the extension of Highway 404 will take place eventually, and at some point we will have a specific announcement. We are working very closely in the study stage with the various municipalities and expect to be entering into the environmental process stage in the very near future. Certainly, our commitment is to proceed in a northerly direction from Davis Drive, and we will be able to advise the municipalities, my friend the member for Durham-York and our friend of the details very soon.


Miss Martel: I have a question for the Minister of Labour concerning Bill 162 and deeming. Here is the case of Cecil Mohabir:

In 1983, Mr Mohabir was earning $20,000 net a year as a supervisor of office equipment repairs. In November of that year, he slipped on grease in a storage room while carrying a 70-pound typewriter. He landed on his back and head and was knocked unconscious. After returning to work, he was fired because he could no longer carry the heavier equipment. He looked for jobs for two years, received no rehabilitation from the board and finally, in 1985, he set up his own office equipment repairing business.

Last year, he had a net income of $15,000. He applied to the board for a supplement to make up his lost wages. He underwent a vocational reassessment and the board told him he was capable of being an office equipment salesman and would make $25,000 a year. Because he could make more as a salesman than he presently makes he was not allowed a supplement. I would like to ask the minister why he is allowing this practice of deeming to continue at the board.

Hon Mr Sorbara: My friend the member for Sudbury East should know, because she has been an employee of the Workers’ Compensation Board, the statutory language, under the act as it exists now, provides for temporary supplements and gives the board broad discretion to make the kinds of decisions she is referring to.

If she looks at Bill 162, she will notice the language is very substantially different and the practice of deeming, as she refers to it, will be qualified and constrained by regulations which will be made under the authority of the act, so that the question of suitable and available employment will be subject under the act to the regulations of the government.

Miss Martel: As a former board employee, I look at this bill and realize quite quickly that the discretion granted to the board is even broader, as it is phrased under this bill. For example, the practice of deeming allows for these qualifications or these criteria, not only is suitable and available under these criteria, but the board can look at “the personal and vocational characteristics of the worker,” the “prospects for successful medical and vocational rehabilitation,” any other payments he is receiving, “what constitutes suitable and available work” and, finally, “such other factors as may be prescribed in the regulations.”

The Speaker: Do you have a question?

Miss Martel: My question to the minister is this. If they do not catch us on the first five, they will catch us in the regulations after. What is he going to do to limit the deeming, which is only enhanced under this bill?

Hon Mr Sorbara: It is absolutely surprising that the member should make those sorts of suggestions. The very fact that the board has broad discretion now, without any statutory guidelines at all, I suggest argues very strongly for statutory language, because the statutory language, as my friend knows perfectly well, allows a worker to register an appeal in the event that that worker is dissatisfied with the decision and gives the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal a statutory framework, to ensure that the worker is treated fairly when a decision on an appropriate economic loss award is made.

I am surprised and shocked that she would be arguing for a system which has no statutory language. If my friend wants to suggest --

Miss Martel: Language means nothing, Greg, and you know it.

Hon Mr Sorbara: If she will stop screaming for a second, I will tell my friend if she wants to propose --


The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Sorbara: Now they are all screaming. Now we have a chorus of screamers from the New Democratic Party.


The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Sorbara: If, when the bill is considered on a clause-by-clause basis during its consideration in the standing committee on resources development, the member wants to suggest additional statutory language to that section to ensure that the worker is treated fairly, I will be all too happy to consider that language at that time.


Mr Villeneuve: To the Minister of Agriculture and Food: The Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario are still very much in the dark as to the status of their request for checkoff funding. Can the minister tell us when he will deliver the promised checkoff to the OFA and the Christian Farmers Federation?

Hon Mr Riddell: With all due respect, I say the member who is in the dark is the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.

Just last Thursday I met with the Christian Farmers president, Brigid Pyke, the OFA president, and I met with the Christian Farmers Federation president. They made a proposal to me, and that proposal was that they wanted me to establish a task force consisting of commodity groups, the general farm organizations and my staff to completely review the situation and look at various proposals. That is where we stand at the present time, my friend.

Mr Villeneuve: I happen to have the announcement that the OFA put out shortly after the minister’s meeting. They are getting a very mixed message from him. It appears that the federation would like to see checkoff from the tax rebate. It appears the government wants to see checkoff from commodities, which is not working very well in Manitoba. Where does he stand and which direction is he going in?

Han Mr Riddell: If I decide to establish a task force, its members will be the ones to advise me. Unlike the Tories, I do not tell them; I listen to what they say to me.


Mr Callahan: I have a question for the Minister of Culture and Communications in her capacity as Minister of Communications. Just recently, I received a call from one of my constituents, who had received a telephone solicitation by reason of a computer voice over the telephone trying to sell this person something. My constituent did not wish to buy whatever they were selling.

Mr Hampton: Liberal fund-raising.

An hon member: Tory membership cards.

Mr Callahan: No, they were selling NDP cards is really what it was.

He decided to hang up, but shortly thereafter he picked up his phone and this machine obviously was still continuing to spiel the pitch.

His concern and the nature of my question to the minister is that in the region of Peel and in other regions there has been extensive public money spent to create 911, which is an emergency service. If that cannot be rectified, and I am not certain whether it is within the minister’s aegis or not --

The Speaker: Does the member have a question?

Mr Callahan: The question I would ask is whether something can be done about making certain that if the person hangs up, that will cut off the communication. Otherwise, someone would be left without a telephone in a case of an emergency.

Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I am not aware of the complexity and details from a legal point of view, but I understood that after a period of 10 seconds, or at least a defined period, the advertiser has to get off the phone, which is the only way I can think of putting it. But I will get back to the member, because it has been something that has been discussed in the context of our communications. It is not within my ministry, but it certainly is something that I will investigate for the member and get back to him on.

Mr Callahan: If it turns out that it is not within the minister’s jurisdiction or not within her particular ministry, I would ask that she would consult with her colleagues, because certainly my constituent, even though the members of the official opposition seem to think it is frivolous, was terribly concerned that people, particularly elderly people, would be faced with the possibility of being without a means of communication simply because someone wanted to sell something by reason of a computer. Surely the computer message does not rank higher than access of our disabled and our seniors to that particular type of safety valve, and we should see that it is dealt with in a very significant fashion. I would ask the minister to do that.


Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I will certainly look into it. I know our ministry often acts as a licensing advocate on a variety of issues relating to public accessibility and rights. I just do not want to mislead the member about whether we have the final decision-making on monitoring the situation, but I will get back to him.



Mr South: 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:

“To amend the Teachers Superannuation Act, 1983, in order that all teachers who retired prior to 31 May 1982 have their pensions recalculated on the best five years rather than at the present seven or 10 years.

“This proposed amendment would make the five-year criteria applicable to all retired teachers and would eliminate the present inequitable treatment.”

This is signed by 253 teachers, and I have also signed the petition.

Mr Pope: I have a petition:

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

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

“To amend the Teachers’ Superannuation Act, 1983, in order that all teachers who retired prior to 31 May 1982 have their pensions recalculated on the best five years rather than at the present seven or 10 years.

“This proposed amendment would make the five-year criteria applicable to all retired teachers and would eliminate the present inequitable treatment.”

This petition is signed by 651 teachers from my constituency and the second signature is one Linda Fillion-Pope, so I think I will attach my signature to it.

The Speaker: In case members had not noticed, the member for Nickel Belt was trying to get the floor.

Mr Brandt: I am just taller than he is.

Mr Laughren: It is not easy, Mr Speaker; it is not easy.


Mr Laughren: I have a petition signed by over 3,600 individuals from the Affordable Housing Action Group. I wish the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) was in his seat to hear this.

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

“Given that property speculation in Ontario has contributed to driving up the cost of home ownership, to increasing the cost of building nonprofit housing, and to rent increases for tenants because speculators are rewarded under the provincial government’s rent review law, we demand that the government of Ontario impose a tax on the capital gain on nonprincipal residences and land, so that:

“100 per cent of the profit is taxed away on resales within one year;

“75 per cent of the profit is taxed away on resales within two years;

“50 per cent of the profit is taxed away on resales within three years;

“25 per cent of the profit is taxed away on resales within four years.”

There are over 3,600 signatures to this, and I wish that the House leader had been listening so he could pass the word on to the Treasurer.


Mr Matrundola: I rise to present a petition signed by some 4,620 residents of Metropolitan Toronto and surrounding area. About 80 per cent of them are real estate practitioners and members of the Toronto Real Estate Board--the largest real estate board in the world -- and the rest are home owners or prospective home owners.

These people are concerned that there might be an increase in land transfer tax in the upcoming budget. In the event that the land transfer tax would be increased, it would punish the home buyers.

The petition is addressed to Premier David Peterson and reads:

“Don’t increase the land transfer tax and punish home buyers!”

The vice-president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, Mr Peter Saccoia, is now in the members’ gallery. He has signed a petition with some other 4,620 coupons I have here and am presenting to the Legislature; and I subscribe to it myself. I have the coupons here.

Mr Brandt: This is one of the few times in this House I will agree with the member opposite. My petition 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 on February 17, in the Toronto Star, Treasurer Bob Nixon suggested tax changes, including ‘increasing the land transfer tax;’ and

“Whereas that will be the second time the Liberal government of Premier David Peterson has increased the land transfer tax, these taxes have risen by 300 per cent since 1985; and

“Whereas property owners will pay over $560 million in land transfer taxes this year;

“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government of Premier David Peterson to stop punishing people who contribute to the economy$ David Peterson, don’t even think of raising the land transfer tax again!”

These petition cards have been collected by the Sarnia Lambton Real Estate Board, and the petition has not only my support, but it also has my signature.


Mr Hampton: I have a petition:

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

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

“To amend the Teachers’ Superannuation Act, 1983, in order that all teachers who retired prior to 31 May 1982 have their pensions recalculated on the best five years rather than at the present seven or 10 years.

“‘The proposed amendment would make the five-year criteria applicable to all retired teachers and would eliminate the present inequitable treatment.”

This petition has been signed by 41 former teachers from across northwestern Ontario, and I have affixed my signature to it as well.


Mr Tatham: I have a petition:

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

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

“We support the expansion of home care and visiting nurses services as the most cost-efficient mode of health care delivery. We therefore want our government to adequately fund the Victorian Order of Nurses.”

It is signed by 367 fine citizens plus yours truly, Charlie Tatham.


Mr Jackson: I, too have a petition today:

“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 on February 17, in the Toronto Star, Treasurer Bob Nixon suggested tax changes, including ‘increasing the land transfer tax;’ and

“Whereas that will be the second time the Liberal government of Premier David Peterson has increased the land transfer tax, these taxes have risen by 300 per cent since 1985; and

“Whereas property owners will pay over $560 million in land transfer taxes this year;

“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government of Premier David Peterson to stop punishing people who contribute to the economy$ David Peterson, don’t even think of raising the land transfer tax again!”

These petition cards have been collected by the Metropolitan Hamilton Real Estate Board. The petitions have my support and my signature.


Mrs Stoner: I have two petitions today. The first one is signed by 732 residents of the Pickering-Ajax area, and it reads:

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

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

“To request that the Premier and government of Ontario withdraw immediately the P1 site located on provincially owned land in the town of Pickering as a proposed new mega dump site for Metropolitan Toronto; and

“To urge that Metro Toronto never again be permitted to locate garbage dumps any where in Durham Region; and further

“To urge that whenever a site or sites are chosen either as contingency or long-term dump sites any where in the region of Durham or in the province of Ontario, the people always be granted their full and complete environmental rights and safeguards according to the Environmental Assessment Act processes.

I have signed that.


I have a petition that is signed by 52 residents of my riding, and it reads:

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

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

“We request that Premier David Peterson and Minister of the Environment Jim Bradley guarantee that any proposal for a solid waste landfill in the region of Durham be subject to a full environmental assessment under the provisions of the Environmental Assessment Act; and further

“That the Minister of the Environment not utilize the less restrictive provisions of the Environmental Protection Act to convene a hearing before the Environmental Assessment Board with regard to the said proposal and thereby bypass the provisions of the Environmental Assessment Act and a full environmental assessment.”


Mr Harris: I have a petition:

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

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

“Whereas on February 17, in the Toronto Star, Treasurer Bob Nixon suggested tax changes, including ‘increasing the land transfer tax;’ and

“Whereas that will be the second time the Liberal government of Premier David Peterson has increased the land transfer tax, these taxes have risen by 300 per cent since 1985; and

“Whereas property tax owners will pay over $560 million in land transfer taxes this year;

“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government of Premier David Peterson to stop punishing people who contribute to the economy$ David Peterson, don’t even think of raising the land transfer tax again!”

These petition cards have been collected by the North Bay Real Estate Board. The petition has my support and signature.


Mrs Sullivan: I have a petition:

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

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

“Whereas problem areas of visiting homemakers’ wages and benefits, homemaker training standards and resources, the rate-setting processes and structures; all these were identified by the interministerial committee on visiting homemaker services for nonprofit organizations; and

“Whereas no action has been taken by this government to rectify these problems; therefore

“We urge this government to act immediately on the implementation of a responsive and flexible system of nonprofit visiting homemaker service in Ontario, responding to the recommendations outlined in the interministerial report, including any necessary revisions to legislation.”

This petition is presented by 40 members of the Canadian Red Cross Society in Oakville. I have affixed my signature.


Mr Sterling: Before I proceed, I would just like to recognize a former colleague and former Speaker of the House, Mr Stokes, who just entered the Chamber. I am sure that if Mr Stokes were down here he would agree with us as well.

I have a petition:

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

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

“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government of Premier David Peterson to stop punishing people who contribute to the economy$ David Peterson, don’t even think of raising the land transfer tax again!”

These petition cards have been collected by the Ottawa-Carleton Real Estate Board. They have my support and signature.

Mr Villeneuve: I, too, have a petition addressed:

“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 on February 17, in the Toronto Star, Treasurer Bob Nixon suggested tax changes, including ‘increasing the land transfer tax;’ and

“Whereas that will be the second time the Liberal government of Premier David Peterson has increased the land transfer tax, these taxes have risen by 300 per cent by 1985; and

“Whereas property owners will pay over $560 million in land transfer taxes this year;

“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government of Premier David Peterson to stop punishing people who contribute to the economy$ David Peterson, don’t even think of raising the land transfer tax again!”

These petition cards have been collected by the Cornwall and District Real Estate Board. The petition has my support and signature, and it is supported by 61 real estate people and brokers from the Cornwall area.

Mr J. M. Johnson: “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 on February 17, in the Toronto Star, Treasurer Bob Nixon suggested tax changes, including ‘increasing the land transfer tax;’ and

“Whereas that will be the second time the Liberal government of Premier David Peterson has increased the land transfer tax, these taxes have risen by 300 per cent since 1985; and

“Whereas property owners will pay over $560 million in land transfer taxes this year;

“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government of Premier David Peterson to stop punishing people who contribute to the economy$ David Peterson, don’t even think of raising the land transfer tax again!”

Can the minister see that?

These petition cards have been collected by the real estate boards in the county of Wellington. The petition has my support and signature.

Mr McLean: I have a petition:

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

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

“Whereas on February 17, in the Toronto Star, Treasurer Bob Nixon suggested tax changes. including ‘increasing the land transfer tax;’ and

“Whereas that will be the second time the Liberal government of Premier David Peterson has increased the land transfer tax, these taxes have risen by 300 per cent since 1985; and

“Whereas property owners will pay over $560 million in land transfer taxes this year;

“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government of Premier David Peterson to stop punishing people who contribute to the economy$ David Peterson, don’t even think of raising the land transfer tax again!”

These petition cards have been collected by the Orillia and District Real Estate Board. The petition has my support and signature.

Mr McCague: I hope the message is getting through.

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

“‘Whereas on February 17, in the Toronto Star, Treasurer Bob Nixon suggested tax changes, including ‘increasing the land transfer tax;’ and

“Whereas that will be the second time the Liberal government of Premier David Peterson has increased the land transfer tax, these taxes have risen by 300 per cent since 1985; and

“Whereas property owners will pay over $560 million in land transfer taxes this year;

“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government of Premier David Peterson to stop punishing people who contribute to the economy$ David Peterson, don’t even think of raising the land transfer tax again!”

That is what the sign says.

These cards have been collected by tie Collingwood and District Real Estate Board. I have signed my name and certainly support the petition.

Mr Pollock: I have a petition:

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

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

“Whereas on February 17, in the Toronto Star, Treasurer Bob Nixon suggested tax changes, including ‘increasing the land transfer tax;’ and

“Whereas that will be the second time the Liberal government of Premier David Peterson has increased the land transfer tax, these taxes have risen by 300 per cent since 1985; and

“Whereas property owners will pay over $560 million in land transfer taxes this year;

“We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government of Premier David Peterson to stop punishing people who contribute to the economy$ David Peterson, don’t even think of raising the land transfer tax again!”

These petition cards have been collected by he Peterborough Real Estate Board. The petition has been supported by myself and it has my signature.

The Speaker: This may be the appropriate time to say that my mother watches this every day and she wonders why the cards are put up every day. She is only 91.




Mrs Grier moved first reading of Bill 12, An Act respecting Environmental Rights in Ontario.

Motion agreed to.

Mrs Grier: This is an updated and revised version of an earlier environmental bill of rights that has received second reading by this House. It is legislation to ensure that the people of Ontario have an ability to participate in environmental decision-making and can protect their common interests in a healthy and sustainable environment.


Mr R. F. Johnston moved first reading of Bill 14, An Act to amend the Planning Act, 1983.

Motion agreed to.

The Speaker: Does the member have an explanation?

Mr R. F. Johnston: My explanation -- adding that this is the third time I have introduced this for the first time -- is that I thought it would be appropriate today to bring in my two bills around nuclear-weapons-free Ontario implementation. As members will remember, in 1986 we passed a motion overwhelmingly in this House to make Ontario a nuclear-weapons-free zone. These two bills -- this is the first one, amending the Planning Act -- deal with that. I thought it was appropriate to do it today, as the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology has admitted that we are now
spending --

The Speaker: Order. I appreciate the member’s words. However, we are not debating the bill at the moment. We are just introducing it. New bill?

Mr R. F. Johnston: Absolutely, there is another one and I will certainly be able to manage to slip in the rest of the sentence.


Mr R. F. Johnston moved first reading of Bill 16, An Act to provide for the Conversion of Technologies and Skills used in the Nuclear Weapons Industry to Civilian Uses.

Motion agreed to

Mr R. F. Johnston: The point of this bill is to convert industries from production of arms to production of useful civilian kinds of products; instead of promoting defence companies and arms production that we have in the province and participating in ARMX merchant-of-death-style conferences.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the amendment to the motion for an
address in reply to the speech of His Honour the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.

Hon Mr Conway: Before the debate proceeds, I might indicate that by agreement of House Leaders and whips, we are going to conclude the debate and take the votes associated with this item of business later this afternoon. It is thereby agreed, as among House leaders and whips, that the windup speeches will be shared equally in units of 30 minutes by each of the three windup speakers, beginning at approximately 1615 and concluding at 1745 this afternoon.

The Speaker: Is there unanimous agreement the vote shall be taken at 1745?

Agreed to.

Miss Nicholas: It is with great delight that I have an opportunity to speak on the throne speech today. I feel like an episode of Dallas, where every week they recount what happened last week so you can refresh your memory.

Since I started this participation in the debate about this time last week, I thought it appropriate that maybe I recap just a few of the things I highlighted. I first said what a fascinating, thorough, interesting, informative and fully supported throne speech we had delivered by the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor just a few weeks ago.

Some highlights I went into were on economic development. I talked about how important it is to have on-the-job training, and I welcomed that in the throne speech we did make mention of on-the-job training. Many people would like to move up within their companies, but cannot unless they are provided with some training on the job to move up, because they cannot quit their jobs for other educational endeavours, or they cannot take time away from work to learn because they need the income from their jobs. This is providing on-the-job training and I encourage many companies that are not already participating in this to participate even more fully.

Then I talked about our education initiatives. While I would not want to go over all I said, I did give my personal experiences with education and my full support for the fact we are now going to help everybody in the education system. We are not just going to address those who learn easily or those who perhaps need a little remedial education. Everybody will have entitlement to quality education. I think it is so important and good that we set out a good proposal for how education will go in the next few years.

I had just come to the social assistance aspect of the throne speech. I was just beginning with that and I was commenting how important it is that we give people the opportunity to move from dependence to self-reliance. I commented how last year there was an increasing need for social assistance in Ontario and how important it is that we address this problem of social assistance, and that many, many people want to get off social assistance and go out to work and how we can help and best assist this process.

One of the things I have had the opportunity to do since I have been the member for Scarborough Centre is to visit a lot of our Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority units. I have some 2,050 units in my riding, quite a number, and I have had the pleasure of being able to go there and participate in the many functions they have, but I think it is more important to understand that so many people really do want to get out into the workforce, but feel somewhat held back by our current social assistance system.

One of the things I had particular joy in doing was joining the breakfast clubs that are held at the MTHA units. One I had with Gordonridge, at the opening of their breakfast clubs. Some 40 children attended that morning and I gather that about 35 to 40 attend on a daily basis. They enjoy a full breakfast for 25 cents, or if they are unable to afford 25 cents, even less than that. It ensures these children go to school with a tummy that is full. It may seem very rudimentary to have a full tummy, but it has been learned that many children are not able to learn at school because they are so hungry their minds cannot concentrate on the work before them during their school day.

I think it is important we do that. One of the places I had to go just last Friday was 400 McCowan Road, another unit that has a well-established breakfast club. Those children were just full of enthusiasm in the morning. They were able to have a full breakfast and go off to school healthy, happy and ready to learn. I wish this could be offered to people outside the units. I know some schools do provide lunches or breakfasts to ensure their children are not hungry when they go to school.

I think this is a great step forward; however, would it not be greater if they had the ability to be able to be provided breakfasts in their own homes each and every day? I think it is very important we recognize there are great projects going on, but would it not be better if we could revamp social assistance programs in some way so that all these people would be able to have a breakfast in their own home and not go to school hungry?


One of the things the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr Faubert) and I put on in April was a forum for our constituents, and in fact constituents of Scarborough, to come before us and make presentations on how they felt about Transitions, the report of the Social Assistance Review Committee.

We had the honour of having the member for Kitchener (Mr D. R. Cooke) attend as well. He chaired the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. That committee supported wholeheartedly the Transitions report and in its prebudget committee report suggested to the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr Sweeney) that he say yes. That is what they said; they said yes to this report and suggested to the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) that we support this wholly.

I was very happy to see it was in the throne speech. I just want to reflect on one or two of the submissions that were made that day. One of them was that of a woman who really did want to go out and work, and she did go out and work. She worked hard for long hours, and the way our social assistance system is now, she ended up at the end of the month losing $10 because she went out and worked. I think Transitions addresses this very deep concern that there is no incentive for people to go out and work. In fact, they end up losing money. It is not sufficient money to raise their families. I think that is the most important part. If they do go out and work they do not have enough food and will not be able to afford a home for their children.

One of the things that was very important to them too was the availability of subsidized day care, because if they did not have somewhere to put their children during the day or they could not afford it, again, there was no incentive for them to go out and work.

One of the things I think was important was they felt that when their children got to five years of age and were in the school system and they were able to go out and work, they had not worked for five, six or seven years and they were unqualified to participate in a job career. So at least they felt it was important that they continue working in the first five years of their children’s lives so they would be able to continue working and not lose the ability to be qualified to participate in the job that perhaps they had been trained for, but that could change so much in that time that they would no longer be in demand.

I think these people sometimes need a boost, and that is what the throne speech said. We are going to give them a boost. We are going to change their welfare cheques into paycheques. Some people really do want to work, and the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere and myself understood that there is a great percentage of people who would work if they could afford to work.

There are some people who cannot work and never will be able to do so. They are disabled and they are ill. They cannot be self-sufficient and our social assistance will always look after them. I think it addresses the concern of many people who would love to go out and work, but they just need a little boost. I am very pleased the throne speech addressed this problem, and that the minister responsible for social assistance is here in the House today to hear that my constituents and in fact those of many from Scarborough are fully in support of the implementation of the Transitions report.

The next area the throne speech dealt with was “safe and secure communities.” I think many, many people believe Toronto, Ontario is very safe. I know people in Scarborough have always felt how important it is that they can take a walk in the evening with their dogs, their spouses, their friends or just by themselves and have no worries that they will be attacked or approached in any violent way. I think it is very important we address this as one of the things all Ontarians believe to be a basic need in our community.

One of the areas that was highlighted was an antidrug strategy. It aimed at education and prevention programs, and these would include primary and secondary students, in those grades. You say to yourself, “Is that too early, primary students, to be taught about antidrug strategies?” I would say it is not too early.

The problem is that a lot of people are getting into drugs at 11 and 12 years of age, or even earlier, and I think the earlier we can tell them the horrors of having drugs, the better it will be. I think we should start very young, before it is too late.

I think we have to plan a wider range of treatment programs. Currently, the programs that are available are overworked. I had a constituent of mine who called the available programs and it took us some time before we could find some spot for his son to have a drug treatment program. We need some help. We need a wider range of programs. We have to recognize that there are a lot of people who have drug dependencies and are looking for help but it is not available

The other area is alcohol abuse. I think this is a particularly important area to address, because while drugs may in most cases be illegal to obtain, alcohol is something we can get at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario throughout Ontario, and probably on most corners in Scarborough. It is something that can be very dangerous if abused.

It affects our health. It can affect our family life when someone is an alcohol abuser and he is unable to devote the same amount of time to his family as he would otherwise. I think there are a lot of groups that have recognized how dangerous alcohol abuse can be, in particular People to Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere. Ten years ago people thought nothing of driving after they had had a few too many drinks. In the last decade, with the enforcement the Ministry of the Solicitor General has put on drunk drivers and the Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere program, I think people have become more and more aware of how important it is that people who drink should not drive, and that in fact it could be affecting their work and their social life.

The other area that was of particular importance to me, and one I fully support, is the one directed against violence against women and children and directed at the need to address this growing problem.

I had the opportunity this past weekend to attend an event put on by the Huron County Community Child Abuse Co-ordinating Committee. They had a Teddy bear dream auction and raffle. It was to raise money for their group, which deals with and provides programs for victims of child abuse. It not only addresses the victims; it also tries to rehabilitate the abusers. Here was an excellent example of community efforts to try to help with the problem of child abuse that is going on in many homes across Ontario.

The unique thing this committee does is that it has puppet presentations that go to schools and talk about child abuse. Apparently, right after some of these puppet presentations, the children then disclose that they have been abused by their parents. They tell these puppets more than they would tell adults, because they are intimidated to tell adults, so it has been a very effective program.

They provide information about positive parenting to parents and they try to increase the level of expertise and co-ordination of the local people in dealing with child abuse. I think we can all be aware of child abuse, diagnose it and be of some assistance in preventing it.

I think our knowledge of child abuse has changed dramatically over the last few decades. I think many people felt that if you had a socioeconomic base as to whether you were a child abuser or not, it could not happen in rich homes; it could only happen in poor families. Now we realize that child abuse can occur at all levels of socioeconomic prosperity and I think that is an important first step we did.

The second is that it is out of the closet. We recognize it does occur. It is in the open. We see it in our newspapers and on television, and that was something that did not happen even a decade ago. I think sometimes acknowledging that there is a problem is a big step forward in trying to prevent future abuse.

The statistics we are hearing are very grim. In some one in every five Canadian homes, a child is being beaten, slapped, scalded, kicked, sexually abused or neglected. I think we will all agree that this is a tragedy, that we have to break this cycle of violence, that we have to deal with it, that we have to rehabilitate abusers so that abusers do not continue to abuse. More important, it has been suggested that the child who has been abused will one day become an abuser too, so it is important that we provide programs, that we stop this cycle of violence that is occurring in families and that we provide the necessary programs to prevent it.

I think the example of the Huron County Child Abuse Co-ordinating Committee is an excellent one of how volunteers and the community at large can assist in trying to prevent child abuse.


The one other thing we did address in the throne speech was the Young Offenders Act. Many people from my community understand that it is important that young children who have a criminal charge against them not be scarred for life for stealing something from their local drugstore or confectionery store, but that they have an opportunity after they are 18 to go out without a criminal record, if it was a one-time occurrence, and not be scarred for life in their ability to obtain a job; that they should be able to function fully in the community.

But many people from my community have also expressed how concerned they are that the Young Offenders Act as it is presently provides for 16- or 17-year-olds to commit such a dastardly act as murder and be out in three years. I think it was important that the government urge the federal government to make amendments to the Young Offenders Act. I hope we continue to try to assert this position so that the federal government sees it as a top priority to make amendments to this act.

The next area I thought was just so fitting, given what has happened in the last year to me and my family, is health and the importance of health care, the importance of having access to quality health care for everybody in Ontario regardless of ability to pay. The idea of health promotion and disease prevention is one we have been trying to stress for many years.

The federal government has offered the idea of Participaction to try to get people out there participating, taking a 5-minute walk or trying to do some kind of health promotion. I think we all have to address this, that we have to think about things we can do to keep us fit and full of energy so that we are not using the health care system more than we have to; but that when we do have to use the heath care system, it is there and it is providing accessible, affordable and appropriate health services for everyone. I am fully behind this. I am committed to it and I am pleased that special mention was made of it in the throne speech.

I have had special links with the health care system. My mom is a nurse and has been for about 34 years. She has worked very hard to ensure that proper patient care is occurring at Scarborough General Hospital. Many of her colleagues are ensuring that that is going on as well. We are very proud of the hospital which services my riding on a daily basis. My family has used it a number of times ourselves. My father had cancer in 1971 and Dr Dobson operated on him at that time.

We have to remember that in 1971 cancer was not as well known to us as it is today. Today it is hitting almost every family in Canada, or a relative is being struck by cancer at some time, but in 1971 it was less known and there was less chance of survival. I am here to tell you that my father is still strong and doing well.

Having said that, he had an aneurysm removed from his aorta just two weeks ago, and again that was done at Scarborough General Hospital. There was terrific surgery that went on. He is on the road to recovery and is quite pleased with the service he received at Scarborough General Hospital. The emergency, the intensive care unit, the rooms -- Everybody provided him with excellent health care. I am pleased with and proud of the hospital we have in Scarborough, along with our other hospitals, but I have had particularly close dealings with Scarborough General Hospital.

Having said that, we hear a lot about people who are unable to use a hospital in their area and who have to travel to another hospital to have health service provided. I had hoped to have my baby just seven months ago at Scarborough General Hospital. In fact, I was admitted there by my doctor, Dr Linkenheil, and had hoped to have my baby there, but when it was found out that my child would be about two pounds when she was born, Dr Linkenheil, who had been trained in neonatal birth, made the decision that it would be best that I travel to Mount Sinai Hospital and have my child there, because it has a neonatal and intensive care unit and the facilities to be able to give the proper health care to a two-pound child.

So I transferred to Mount Sinai, and while I am disappointed, perhaps, that it could not have been done at Scarborough General Hospital, I think we have to recognize that these neonatal intensive care units take a great deal of knowledge, staff and facilities and it is unrealistic to maintain them in 222 hospitals across Ontario. It is more important we provide it at some key locations so we can put more beds in each one and we can try to provide this service to those who need it.

I was very lucky, though. I had my baby before the quads were born just three days later, or else there probably would not have been room for Leahanne there and I may have had to go to yet another hospital, but probably not much farther away.

They have an excellent system there and I am pleased to see in the throne speech debate that we are providing assistance to infants. Mount Sinai has two operating rooms and a little room in between that has four paediatricians waiting for this child to come in. Their sole responsibility is to concentrate their efforts, in the first few minutes of that child’s birth, on making it breathe and trying to give it medical attention that will allow the child to live a full and prosperous life. I was very thankful for the paediatricians who looked after Leahanne and I am pleased to see that we made an ongoing commitment to providing this kind of service.

The next area we did deal with was the environment. The environment has been given a lot of attention, I think, over the last few days. In fact, that is why my speech has taken one week to finish, because in the intervening time we had a great deal of debate in this Legislature over environment and the government’s commitment to a clean and safe environment, to the air, water and to our food.

As many members know, the Scarborough Bluffs are an the riding of Scarborough Centre; that is the southern part of my riding. I am very proud of it. It is a very picturesque area. It is an area where many can go down to the beach on Lake Ontario and enjoy a Sunday afternoon -- in fact, on any day of the week -- and have full access to the lake and parks on the edge of the lake.

I think it is always important that water be swimmable, fishable and drinkable at all times. We always talk about reducing, reusing and recycling. I am pleased Scarborough finally is coming on board in its recycling program. I believe June is the date for starting recycling in Scarborough. I can only say I wish it could have started sooner, but I am pleased it is about to come under way. I know I get enough calls from my constituents wondering when we are ever going to get our blue boxes. While our boxes may not be blue -- they may be yellow or some other colour; they have not decided -- we will have a box that is used for recycling.

I remember I contributed to a forum on energy; it was an attempt to get business to try to reduce electricity and water use so that we can have more for the future. I remember trying to suggest to them that they should do what my husband and I thought was our contribution to reducing the use of water, and that was showering together. They have reminded me of that ever since, that that was a good suggestion to pursue, but now that we have a baby and a dog it makes it a little more difficult.

This throne speech suggests educational programs so that students get a greater sense of personal responsibility for environmental protection. This week in Scarborough is the start of Environment Week, and I have the opportunity on Thursday to give out environment awards to students for their recognition of how important it is.

I think last year’s “Clean and green” was a very interesting slogan we had to clean up Scarborough. In fact, in the pitch-in part of it, 60 schools participated. They went through the Rouge Valley and collected garbage. They made their contribution and increased their awareness of the necessity for us to clean our areas.


The other area was the “green,” where the Ministry of Natural Resources has provided 30,000 trees per year for planting in Scarborough. I just want the members to reflect for a moment on how green Scarborough is going to look after 10 years with these added trees.

We had 60 schools participate last year. This year there are even more schools participating in the pitch-in. It has been overwhelming.

I think it is important that we continue to sensitize our young people to how important the environment is. We have been doing that. The school boards have been trying to make sensitizing them an important priority within their systems, but I think it is important that we do it each and every day. We, as adults, could become even more aware ourselves, because we are very fortunate that our children are probably coming home and telling us what they are doing and how important it as to be aware of the environment; that it is our future and it is necessary that we keep it clean, and that our air, food and water be usable for the rest of our lives.

I would like to say that this throne speech builds a better future for all of our children. It provides for the basic learning skills. I think it is necessary that all of us, no matter what our economic background, have access to learning. Then we can make our own decision whether we use that as well as we might.

Contrary to those who have mentioned that this throne speech does not contain a lot, I think it is indeed very focused. When I look over it, I think it would be impractical or very difficult for any of us to speak on every portion of the throne speech that was presented and to delve into any one area in any great depth, but I can tell the members that the constituents from Scarborough Centre will be benefited by many things that are in this throne speech. I think it is important that we try to work on these programs as best we can over the next year to try and implement them. I look forward to hearing the ministers’ statements on a daily basis, addressing each one of the different presentations, the different promises, that were made in the throne speech, and I am proud to be part of the government that is putting forward such a good agenda. I look forward to it unfolding.

In closing, I just want to say that I will try not to take a week for my next speech. Indeed, it has probably been one of the longest speeches in the Legislature, and I thank you for allowing me the opportunity to participate.

Mr Neumann: I would just rise briefly to commend the member for Scarborough Centre for her very fine speech outlining the benefits of the speech from the throne and the programs which will flow from it and how they affect her riding of Scarborough Centre.

I find it very interesting listening to the members in this House outlining how these programs are benefiting so many different areas across our province. I was particularly interested in the comments she made on the environment and the tree plantings which are taking place in Scarborough. It is certainly a very worthy objective.

In our community, a number of organizations have banded together to put together similar projects, and these projects will benefit people for many years to come.

Again, I would like to commend the member for her very fine speech. It is obvious that Scarborough Centre is benefiting greatly from her wise leadership and representation.

Miss Nicholas: I just wanted to say that I appreciate how good some of these programs are and I am glad that Scarborough Centre, as well as all ridings, will have an opportunity to participate in this.

One thing I did not reflect on was the approach by the member for Brantford (Mr Neumann) to this throne speech. I just want to reflect, given that the wrapup will occur in a few minutes, that he mentioned VCR: vision, commitment and results.

I think that is exactly what this has done, and the people of Scarborough should be commended for their environmental awareness. I know it has affected each one of our communities, the environment, but as my community is on the lake and Scarborough has the Rouge Valley, which is an issue that is becoming province-wide, acknowledged as an environmental issue and a concern for all of us, then I am particularly responsive to the throne speech commitment to environment. I just want to say that I am proud to represent Scarborough Centre, and I am proud that these programs will profit all of my constituents. I thank the members and the member for Brantford for his kind comments.

Mr Villeneuve: I want to first thank the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr Charlton) for so graciously allowing me a few minutes just before wrapup to get some items on the record, particularly as they pertain to agriculture and the lack of mention agriculture had during the speech from the throne. I thank him very much.

It is rather ironic that the budget will be forthcoming on the 17th of this month, actually this Wednesday, and that is the day before the final deadline for application for the Ontario family farm interest rate reduction program, which has been totally wound down by the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr Riddell). The OFFIRR program has been a very well-received program, a very needed program throughout rural Ontario, and I certainly hope that on the 17th, on Wednesday of this week, the budget will include some form of replacement of the OFFIRR program.

I am pleased to see the minister in his place here this afternoon. We have to remember that the OFFIRR program was brought in when interest rates were considerably lower than they are right now. They were below 10 per cent; we now have a prime rate that is over 13 per cent. Agriculture is faced with an anticipated 18 per cent reduction in net income in 1989. Yet the OFFIRR program is being phased out totally and indeed is only providing 40 per cent of the benefits in the year 1988 that it had provided in previous years: the interest rates are considerably higher now than they have been at any other time during the lifespan of the OFFIRR program.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food in the last two years has budgeted funds for a number of programs. However, in the last two years some $50 million of targeted and budgeted funds to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has not been used within that ministry. I think it says something to the fact that agriculture and food seems to have been relegated to a rather low profile by this government.

Certainly, agriculture and food is the backbone of Ontario’s economy as we get away from the downtown Metropolitan Toronto area. Agriculture and food provides well over 20 per cent of all jobs within Ontario both directly and indirectly. Less than three per cent of the population in this province are farmers, yet they provide sufficient foodstuffs and commodities for large exports. We cannot in any way, shape or form belittle the many good things that are provided to this province and to the people of this province by the farmers in this province.

It is rather ironic that the tobacco tax received by this government last year was some $680 million, yet the entire budget for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food is a shade under $500 million spent. I think that says something. It says something rather negative about the profile the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has, relating to this government.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is very concerned about a number of possible scenarios. One of them is the very real possibility, after discussion with both the Minister of Agriculture and Food and the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) of this province, that the farm tax reduction program may be altered, and it may well be altered without Agriculture and Food and without the farmers having a great deal of input. I certainly hope that is not the case. However, the message that was left by the Treasurer when he discussed this particular problem and scenario with representatives of the federation of agriculture left them all wondering exactly what the plans of this government are.


As members know, this very important program was brought in simply to try to provide some equity within the funding of our school system. The school system is most important and certainly I, as a member of the select committee on education, am looking at ways to fundamentally change the way school taxes are assessed and collected.

When one considers agriculture, because of the nature of the industry where you need buildings and a large land base in many instances, and of course these are all taxed, I think the only equitable position was to reimburse the farmers who pay the taxes for that portion which is school tax. Certainly there have been some improvements made to that. This program was initiated quite a number of years ago and it is one that has benefited all of agriculture. The fact that some $165 million is returned on an annual basis to Ontario’s farmers says a great deal about the importance of that particular program.

Again based on the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s presentation recently to cabinet, to the Minister of Agriculture and Food and to all political parties, they are very concerned about the farm debt and farm income situation. Again, as I said about the OFFIRR program, we have had no new programs initiated recently that would be all-encompassing, that would assist in providing some financial support to an industry that has been struggling.

Recently we have had some General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade decisions that have many of the supply-managed commodity groups very concerned. I know I will be meeting with a number of our dairy producers. I think the GATT decisions have to be worked at in a very diligent way and I was quite disappointed whenever the Minister of Agriculture and Food told us, on many occasions, that the food processing industry was one that could very well suffer tremendous losses because of a number of scenarios, including free trade and including GATT decisions. Yet this government did not put its money where its mouth is and was in providing some support and some endorsement to the food processing industry.

I believe we must monitor the GATT decisions very closely. The dairy industry in particular is very concerned about the decisions that were handed down recently and also about the freeze on the market-sharing subsidy quota which is guaranteed until the end of 1991. It has been judged as going in opposite directions to what the GATT requirements are.

Certainly we must be hard bargainers and negotiators when we have the European Community basically being the heavyweight at the GATT and having a great deal of input. They are monitoring what is happening here in Canada very closely. I think in many instances they probably know better than many of us do what is happening here.

Certainly they are certainly using their intimate knowledge of our particular system of marketing to their advantage. When they call marketing board supply management a subsidy equivalent or something that is equal to a subsidy equivalent, I think we have to make our position very clear that it is not a subsidy; it is simply ensuring an adequate supply yet not an oversupply. I think it is a system that has served our producers very well and is a system that has to be protected. The recommendations by the federation of agriculture and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario are very much the same, that the OFFIRR program must be continued. Again, I emphasize the fact that it is ironic that the very deadline for the OFFIRR applications for the year 1988 is the day after the Treasurer will be presenting his budget in this Legislature on 17 May, this week.

In closing -- I realize that we have to start windup at 4:15 -- agriculture and eastern Ontario were totally overlooked.

I appreciate the fact that the Ministry of the Environment will he looking at reducing the pollution emitted by car exhaust. Certainly I have on a number of occasions suggested to the Minister of Agriculture and Food, and he is well aware of it, that we can provide clean octane enhancers derived from the production of grain alcohol. It is something that would be safe to our environment and it would contribute to saving our ozone layer.

In a situation we have had even this year and certainly last year during the heat of the summer, when the pollution index count here in the city of Toronto was almost intolerable, the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) suggested at one point that he would even consider limiting the number of vehicles in this city. I think that says it all in a nutshell.

It is a situation that must be addressed, and agriculture can and certainly will be the saviour in this particular area. I think we have to get on it much quicker than the year 2000. It is an imminent problem, a problem that is with us now, and agriculture has the wherewithal, has the product to provide the solution.

The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): As agreed between the parties, we will now proceed to the windup speeches, beginning first with the third party.

Mrs Cunningham: It gives me some degree of encouragement to see this democratic process operate the way it does and for all of us to have had an opportunity to talk to the speech from the throne. I suppose it was for me the first throne speech and I suppose I should say I was more disappointed in what was not in the speech. I would like to speak a little bit about that today.

I think the positive things I will say will probably be somewhat limited, because as I said before, really the announcements in that speech had a lot to do with some of the broken Liberal promises. If the speech in fact is going to be one that is encouraging the government to move forward and fix things that have been broken for so long, then the public should feel somewhat enlightened and encouraged by that speech. That is the most positive thing I can say.

I think the focus on building a better future for our children gives a public perception of action. I hope this government has taken the time to realistically think through the planning, the programming and the funding that will be necessary in order to really see these promises, which appeared once again in this speech, become a reality.

Therefore, even today as we were chatting about some of the public announcements, my heart goes out to the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr Sweeney), because I think he is truly committed to the programs his government has promised. What I hope is that on Wednesday of this week, we will see the commitment from the other members of the government who seem to have some very strong opinions and a lot of clout in decision-making to give him the kind of resources he needs in order to make the programs that are extremely needed in this community a reality.

I can speak now about such things as child care. I can speak now about what we were talking about today, pay differentials. We were talking about lack of funding and support staff in institutions for the disabled, in community resource allocations for the disabled; talking about group homes where families have been able, through a lot of sheer hard work, dedication and pure love for their children, to keep them home for a very long period of time. Certainly all of us in this House support that approach, but one cannot just make those kinds of promises without putting the commitment, the supports, in there behind.

That is not to say that there is not a trade-off which this government can make. If we are taking a look at just one of the small tradeoffs that would be, I think, realistic for the government, we should be looking not only at the size of the civil service, and I have said this before, but the efficiency of the bureaucracy should be looked at. The frontline workers are what we are here to talk about. That is who we need first.

So if this government in this throne speech again makes these promises, and I am talking about services for children, it is going to have to look at efficiency within its own management and it is going to have to look at the numbers.

I think the public knows that over the period of 1985 to 1988, the size of the civil service increased by 6,884 positions or by 8.6 per cent. Really, it is not always a matter of having more people to do the work; it is a matter of having good people, who are well trained, who will make the commitment to get the education. I am now talking about working with children. Then those people are usually dedicated and will do the work.


What is so discouraging is to watch others around them who are not as committed, who have not had the opportunity for training. Quite frankly, in many of our facilities right now, whether they be group homes or schools or hospitals, we often have to get people who wish they had more training and who we wish had more training, just to hire them, because we have this terrific turnover rate in our institutions.

Therefore, families who are looking for support for their young people are very disillusioned and very concerned. Many families are worried about what is going to happen to their disabled family members whom they have to leave in our trust. They are wondering what is going to happen when they are no longer there to be the watchdogs.

I am not just talking about the disabled. I am talking about young people who are in trouble with the law. I am talking about young people who are troubled because this world happens to be a very, very challenging place to live in for many people who have not been blessed with some of the resources and the intelligence and perhaps the good health that some of the rest of us have.

I was very concerned about some of the things that were missing in the throne speech, but I am even more concerned about the commitment. We will all be watching very carefully on Wednesday as we see just what kinds of resources will be given, especially to the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

There was no mention of immediate measures to deal with the waste management crisis, no assistance for farmers still experiencing dire financial problems and no talk about the need to improve Ontario’s deteriorating infrastructure. Just take a look at driving along the highways nowadays.

The housing crisis is ignored: literally ignored, not even referred to. If we are talking about people we should be concerned about in this wonderful province of Ontario, I would have thought one of the very first priorities of that speech would have been to clarify the housing crisis and at least to announce that the public of Ontario could be looking forward to a plan of action for housing.

The plan has been announced, but most people in the community, and certainly in the community I represent, do not recognize the so-called housing plan as a plan. In fact, it is not. What we are looking for is a plan that talks very clearly to the public of Ontario about who is going to provide affordable housing for people who cannot afford it, who is going to deal with young people today when we take a look at --

Mr Faubert: Who do you want? Do you want the government to do it?

Mrs Cunningham: No, but my friend does. This government has said: “We will provide money to nonprofit groups. We will back nonprofit groups.” In fact, in the city of London -- and the member from Middlesex (Mr Reycraft) knows all about this issue
-- we have some 400 new housing units approved, and I cannot even find out where they are. They are on paper. We have approved them. We have approved the groups but we have not approved the location, and the government should be --


Mrs Cunningham: The groups do not have their sites. That is a fact. Out of the 10 new sites, I was only able to find some four sites. Imagine saying to a group: “Look, you can build 80 new units or 16 new units. Pick your spot, but don’t spend over $80,000 per unit.” What a panacea.

If you got $80,000, where is the incentive to build something that is really worth $80,000? There is none. You could go build something worth $40,000, $50,000 or $60,000. There is no private enterprise there at all, just turning around and saying: “Pick the spot. Put the houses there and we’ll give you $80,000 without even looking at what you’re really talking about.”

At the same time as people in London are told that there are 400 units anywhere, they are also being told that 206 units will disappear because this government did not think that units that are now occupied in the centre of our municipality by low-income families, that are affordable housing, are worth saving. But it is worth building 400 new ones where there are no buses, no schools, no support systems, nothing.

That is a very poor decision. If that is an example of a housing policy, I should think this government should go back to the drawing board. Anyway, they can throw it out at me and I will give it to them. I have to live it every day as I represent the people who have elected me, arid they are not very pleased at all.

Let’s get off housing and let’s talk about the disabled who were not even mentioned, or seniors who were not even mentioned in the throne speech. What about the auto insurance fiasco? It is not mentioned in the throne speech

Do members want to hear what the Premier (Mr Peterson) said about universities not too long ago? I am sure they will all wonder about this one. The throne speech, Ontario, 28 April 1987: “We must compete by putting the most advanced technology in the hands of the best educated and best trained workforce.

“We must compete by becoming more aggressive and skilful at marketing our goods and services to the world....We must compete by bringing together the best minds of industry, labour, universities and government in the development of creative solutions.”

What did the government do? Was there public support? Yes, 90 per cent of the public said in a Gallup poll at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education just a year ago that they were willing to put more money in. Government decisions? This is what the Council of Ontario Universities says. They need 10.1 percent to make this work. What did the government give them? It gave them four per cent in base budgets in 1988-89, and then it gave them another 3.5 per cent for all the extra students it has encouraged to go to the universities because of accessibility policies.

It is very interesting. In capital, the universities are not mentioning it in this speech, which is called Blueprint for Mediocrity, a brief presented to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs of the Legislature by the Council of Ontario Universities in March.

lt also goes on and talks about this. “A weakened university sector is a more ominous harbinger of how Canada will fare in free trading with the United States than the more emotionally grounded fear of dominance through an unchecked flow of cultural goods.”

It is striking, they say, “in the government’s recent decision to close the 22 innovation centres which had been established to promote university and business collaboration, at a time when Canada has just approved the free trade arrangements with the US and is already experiencing factory layoffs and corporate takeovers.”

The government chose to close 22 innovation centres. The universities are extremely frustrated at this point. Really and truly, I do not think this government takes the universities seriously at all in regard to the contribution it expects them to make to our economy, to the education of our young people and to our country as a whole.

Really, in Western News, August 1985, the Premier said, “Our general approach is that it will become one of the most important areas of public policy.” Not mentioned in the throne speech was the four per cent to the basic operating grants. It is taking more students every year and expecting more to be delivered.

What shall we go on to next? The speech is a compilation of secondhand ideas -- it truly is -- so lacking in direction that it has been reduced to recycling promises it made in the past but has not kept. That is what the throne speech was all about.

Turning to economic development and international trade, once again, the Liberals say they will be continuing, and I quote, because this is one of my portfolios and I know it well, “to provide the leadership” in developing the economy of Ontario -- the members know what the universities think of this government -- but it gives no indication if this leadership will extend to the management of the province’s finances.

In fact, the throne speech gives no hint as to how the Liberals intend to pay for this kinder, gentler, child-friendly Ontario. They are talking about leadership extending to the management of the province’s finances. They are talking about being kind, gentle and encouraging our young people. Instead of talking about the positive programs that we should be talking about, they talk about negative programs to help Ontario companies and workers take full advantage of free trade opportunities. The Liberals are offering re-employment assistance after layoffs and plant closures, which is a negative response.

Let me tell the members a little bit --


Mr Reycraft: We’ve got to retrain all those wealthy barracks people. Somebody has to retrain these wealthy barracks people.

Mrs Cunningham: The member for Middlesex just loves this part of his job, standing up and heckling his neighbour. It is a darn good thing we like each other.

Here is something for the government on Transitions. Never mind free trade, this is the retraining that is supposed to take place right now. Here is a promise to retrain older workers, aged 45 to 64.

The ministry spent only $284,000 on Transitions, two per cent of its $14-million budget a year ago. Otherwise, they said: “Look, this is so important. We want to do it. We’re going to spend $14 million.” It spent $284,000, roughly two per cent.

So last year I was really looking forward to an improvement, and we got an improvement. In the last fiscal year, they should be very proud. They reduced their budget. This is retraining, getting ready for the real world of the economic challenges, being a big player in a big world. They cut their budget from $14 million to $8 million and this year spent $1 million on Transitions. This is a training program.

If they cannot train people now, what are they going to do when people are laid off, when people do have a problem, when the economy does have to adjust? What are they going to do? What are they going to do when the big businesses start asking us to provide workers?

I spent some time on Friday talking to someone in the welding business and heard about the technology. Do members know we do not even have an apprenticeship program for welding, either in its old format or in its new, challenging -- They are talking about plastics. We do not even have an apprenticeship program. We do not provide it.

This is a government that is talking about retraining in the past. It is talking about worker adjustments, and we cannot train people now.

In that conversation I had with a number of people from the London and Middlesex community, they were most disappointed about a lack of a training plan. The problem with it, and it is not unlike some of the other ministries, is that this particular ministry has to start from the beginning and look at what it really wants to do. They should be talking to the school systems, so that young people who are bored and do not want to stay in school can be working with their hands part of the time and can be working in the community part of the time as well as getting an education.

We have been talking about this now for two or three years and even longer. Pilot projects must be going on in this particular government in every school board, but for heaven’s sake, make a policy decision that says it is important enough to make it happen.

How do you make it happen if you do not train teachers? We have 140 teachers in our community colleges this year who are being trained in technical education. I have said it before and I will say it again: If a school board were smart, one board would go out and hire all of them.

If you really want kids to stay in school and you really want to talk about training and you really want to get on with what is right in this world, that is what we should be doing. Apprenticeship programs have to take on a new format and a new meaning. Whether they are university graduates or whether they are at the colleges or whether they are in our secondary schools or whether they are in grades 7 and 8 wondering what to do with their lives, we should be talking to young people right now about apprenticeship programs, but not the way we deliver them now, because truly this government has an abysmal record.

Do members know that in the apprenticeship and skilled worker shortages programs we have been asking for a long time now just for an opportunity to train? We have journeymen to apprenticeship ratios of one to one. Can members imagine training the numbers we need in the next few years -- not the next decade; we do not want to think that way, it is too depressing -- but in the next two or three years? There is nothing in this throne speech that even talks about changing. They talk about skills development and they talk about it in a negative way, that is, responding to layoffs instead of training our young people for what this world is all about.

We have been asking for someone to look at the ratios and no one has. We do not know how the minister is going to solve that problem. We are very disappointed about the negative approach this government has taken in responding to training people to deal with economic development and international trade.

I suppose we could move on into the area of education. I should just pick up the throne speech at this point and see what the government has promised. I will read it: “Provide funding for school boards to offer full-day senior kindergarten programs, where classroom space permits.” That is a joke.

Every parent out there could be misled by that kind of statement in a throne speech. We know we have crowded facilities right now. We know quite well that everyone wants to send his or her child to kindergarten now. We are doing it half days and we are crowded.

To make a promise like this and then to say “where classroom space permits” is deceiving to the public. It is an expectation being raised, and at a time when we have not even solved the basic problem about what children really need during the day.

If they are three, four and five years old, do they need an all-day program for education? Or does the public right now say that part of that day should be in a child care program, for two reasons?

First, children do like to play. They do not need a structured environment. They like to go outside, they like to go outdoors. And that age group still likes to have a rest in the afternoon, just like some of the politicians who visit this Legislative Assembly. They, too, like to have a rest in the afternoon and there is every excuse for them to have one.

Let me say that no one in this government has told the public whether we are going to be providing education programs for three-, four- and five-year-olds all day, or whether we are going to be providing child care programs all day. We are not sure, but we should be thinking very seriously about what children need. That is what we should be talking about.

After we think about what children need, we can talk about what their parents need. We have a very different workplace now, with more women entering full-time careers, professions and jobs for a couple of reasons. First, we have done a better job of educating in the last 20 years. More important, have members ever looked at the price of a house? Every family’s dream is to own its own home and nowadays it takes two people working to do it. Therefore, little children, for a number of reasons, are left in the care of others.

People have mixed views about that. My view is that it is happening. It is this government’s responsibility to respond to the needs of the people it represents, and they are telling us they need it and want it. It is necessary. It is not like Sunday shopping that was not needed nor necessary, but we gave it to them. Child care and education are needed and they are necessary. If we are going to do it, let’s do it right.

I was very disappointed in that particular part of the throne speech, which confused the public, where the policy had not been carefully thought out and the costing had been ignored.

In the history of this province, to expand right now into full-day education programs when we do not even have classrooms for students is irresponsible. It is very disconcerting that this particular government chose this time to confuse the public and act irresponsibly once again.

Social assistance: Everyone knows that the social assistance review report, called Transitions, is a number one priority for the citizens of this province, for a couple of reasons.

First, we have recognized for some period of time that we are not meeting the needs of many of our poor families, in a couple of ways. First, many of our families right now would love to go to work. Again, the world is a different place. There are many more single-parent families. Single-parent families want to raise their children. That is their first dream, their first hope and their first aspiration. It is the same as everyone else’s; they want to do a good job of raising their families.

Some of them, for a very short period of time, need our assistance; not for their whole lives, but for a few years and especially when their children are very young.

At the same time as we are assisting them, we should be helping them become retrained and educated and move into the world of work. That Social Assistance Review Committee report, Transitions, does just that. It does not encourage yet another generation of people living below the poverty line and accepting social assistance without question. It does the opposite, hopefully.

None of us is proud to be even thinking about the poverty in our province. Ontario is in booming economic times. People are paying more taxes, more people are working, more people are in school, yet we have even more young children living in poverty than ever before. We have to do something about it. The public is committed to doing something about it.


I had the distinct privilege of sitting for a couple of days on the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. On the two days I sat there, I was absolutely thrilled, first, about the way the chairman conducted the meetings, and second, about the number of persons who came before the committee to tell their stories and say what they felt was a priority for this government as we move into dealing with the real issue, and that is providing the resources.

One can imagine my distinct happiness to know that the first two recommendations of that particular committee had to do with the Transitions report, and read like this: “1. The committee endorses the Social Assistance Review Committee report, Transitions, and recommends complete implementation of stage one.” The second recommendation was unanimous: “2. The government should proceed with the cross-ministry cost-benefit analysis of the recommendations in all stages of the SARC report, and such an analysis should be completed as quickly as possible.”

The two things they want are, first, that this government commit itself to stage one immediately, and, second, they want to know about the cost. They also want to know if the government is going to take the time to ask the opinions of those people who are most responsible for the implementation of these recommendations. I hope the government is listening, because we will be watching very carefully in the next two or three weeks just how the government is going to deal with stage one of this report. It was unanimous. People from all walks of life were in favour of the Transitions report.

I think what they stated at that committee is that it is economically sound. First, if people are working and have an opportunity to work, they feel as if they are contributing. Therefore, if we have people contributing, we are then doing a much better job of planning our budget in areas that people do not even think about. Healthy people who are well fed and feel good about themselves will not be using the health care budget as much as unwell people are now. We hope the cost of social assistance will go down and we hope that young children in school, young children who are well fed and happy and who have a roof over their heads without their parents constantly being concerned about increasing rents and moving, will have some stability. That is what this report should be about and that is what we will be looking for.

There were a number of aspects of this throne speech we could chat about, but I should say that I really hope, given the extent of the speech, that the government is now going to follow through on the recommendations and, again, the promises it made. In the visions we have for this province of Ontario. we would hope that this government will come forth with a very sound housing policy: that it will deal with the issues of the environment; that it will look at the real needs of education. When I talk about education I am talking about supplying capital dollars for schools without infringing for ever on the municipalities and the local taxpayers.

There must be ways this government can look at in order to become more efficient. I have talked about the growth in the size of bureaucracy. I wish someone would look at it. Efficiency has a whole lot to do with human resource management policies. In just the short time I have been here I have looked at the policies as they differ across the ministries. I am now talking about workplace environment appraisals; I am talking about a number of audit reports around finances and program; and I am talking about a simple thing such as a performance appraisal.

If the people who are working in the offices of our government are made to feel good about what they are doing and evaluated so they themselves know they are making a wonderful contribution; if they can support each other and if they can work towards giving our ministers and this government the best information they can, and feel good about themselves because there is good leadership among the government, we will be much more efficient. But those policies are lacking and differ between ministries.

I think right now many of our civil servants are very depressed about the workplace they work in. Part of it has to do with the promises they thought would be kept, because they too spend money on taxes; they too have families to support.

In closing, I hope that just some or most of the promises in this throne speech will be followed through on and that the public of this province can look forward to better education, better opportunities and taking care of the people we most care for, the poor people in our province.

The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): Thank you. I would remind honourable members that there are no questions or comments in response to windup speeches.

Mr Laughren: I am pleased to rise on behalf of my colleagues this afternoon. I must say, without pointing fingers, that attendance in this assembly for the throne speech debate from beginning to end has plummeted in recent years. I think part of the blame must be put on the Premier (Mr Peterson) who has shown zero interest in his own throne speech. That is true. It was true last year and it is true again this year.

The leadership must come from him; to reinvigorate the throne speech, if members of his caucus -- and the opposition parties, too, to be fair -- are to speak, for him particularly to at least hear what his own members, particularly the backbenchers, have to say. I think it would be a useful exercise for him.

I would think in particular with this throne speech that he should have been in here listening to some of the very positive suggestions from the opposition, because we are witnessing a government -- I know he is no longer in this world, but I would have thought Stephen Leacock was in charge of the government. Do members remember Stephen Leacock? Most members remember him. One description I always liked, and this is the way I think of the Premier and the leadership of this government, is of the fellow who jumped on a horse and rode off in all directions. I think that is exactly the way the Premier is running his government in Ontario these days.

If one thinks back to the period of 1985 to 1987 when the agenda of the government was set, and I do not think Liberal members would disagree with this, the agenda was set by the accord signed between the Liberal Party and the New Democrats. It was a very exciting legislative period of time between 1985 and 1987, because it was agenda-driven. That is what made this place hum between 1985 and 1987.

An hon member: And fear.

Mr Laughren: And fear. There was a component of fear, too; I will not say who had the most fear, but there certainly was an element. Since the 1987 election, there really has been a drift in the kind of direction the government has tried to give. One does not need to look very far to see it; it is very fundamental.

The other day, when somebody asked me, “Is the Liberal government a free enterprise government?” I thought to myself, “I don’t know.” If one looks at the whole question of auto insurance, which is an issue that comes up and as one that everybody understands, the basic choice in this province is whether you have a publicly run auto insurance system or whether you have a privately run auto insurance system. The government says, “No, no, we’re free enterprisers.”


I heard the member for Guelph (Mr Ferraro) the other day get up and talk at great length about the evils of communism. I did not know it was a threat in Ontario but the member for Guelph obviously thinks it is and checks under his bed every night, I am sure, to see if there are any Reds there.

Anyway, we have the very fundamental question of how the automobile insurance system is going to be run in this province. The government says, “It is going to be free enterprise.” Then it says: “Wait a minute now. We do not really like what the free enterprise system is doing, so we will set up the Ontario Automobile Insurance Board.” So it sets up the board, not to take over insurance, but to keep an eye on the private sector and make sure it does not do anything too damaging to the drivers of Ontario -- more appropriately, too politically damaging to the government.

The government sets that up and then it passes a bill that says it is the one that will set the rates. Then the Ontario Automobile Insurance Board comes out, sets its rates and the government says: “Oh, just a minute. We cannot allow this watchdog on the private sector allow the private sector to have those kinds of increases in auto insurance rates.” So what does it do? Last week it brought in another bill, which says: “No, no. We will take that right away from the Ontario Automobile Insurance Board and we will set the rate of automobile insurance increases.”

If somebody out there was watching this government in action, what would he conclude from its actions on auto insurance? Would he conclude it was a private sector, free-enterprise government, or would he think that any government that intervenes in the marketplace in that way could not possibly be a free-enterprise government? I wonder what people are thinking about this government. Are they just saying, “It is neither; it is a Liberal government”? Is that what they are saying? Jumping on a horse and riding off in all directions is really what it comes down to.

I am glad the Minister of Education (Mr Ward) is here because I can remember all the applause when the minister said, “We are going to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio in grades I and 2 to 20 to 1.” I am sure the minister will correct me if I am wrong. At that time the ratio was about 28 to 1, as I recall.

The only thing is that the minister forgot a few things. He really did not understand that this was going to require about 4,000 teachers --

Hon Mr Ward: I understood that.

Mr Laughren: Oh, he did understand that -- and that 4,000 teachers were going to retire.

There are going to be roughly 4,000 teachers graduating from the teachers’ colleges. Then the minister announces, “Well, we are also going to bring in junior kindergarten and kindergarten for all parents who want it.” That is going to require some more teachers, more spaces and more portables.

I see the minister is nodding his head. One really has to wonder what in the world he is thinking of.

The York Board of Education estimates that the new policy could put in place between 4,000 and 5,000 kids in junior kindergarten. That means 90 more portables for the York board. This means that in September 1989 the York board is going to have 16,000 students in 656 portables. There is no room in some of the schools to even put the portables in place, and not enough money.

Hon Mr Ward: Are you saying, “Don’t do it”?

Mr Laughren: What I am saying is that what the minister is announcing gets great ink and much applause. We support it too. But then the minister does not come through with the money and has not thought through the ramifications of the teacher shortage problem. They are recruiting teachers out of province like crazy now. The minister did not think of that. He simply thought he could make some great announcements and the problem would look after itself, which is really silly.

The Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) announces that we are heading for an era of home care, that we want to ease the pressure on the health care institutions in this province. Then the very people who deliver home care, the Red Cross and the Victorian Order of Nurses, have to come begging and screaming. It becomes a big issue here in the Legislature. Finally, she gives in reluctantly and begrudgingly and gives them some money.

If the minister is out there in a proactive way promoting home care, why does she put the organizations that deliver that home care through what she puts those organizations through? It is absolutely ridiculous. The minister puts in place a cancer treatment centre and a cancer research centre in Sudbury, and then will not do what is necessary to make sure the qualified director of the research centre is hired. She will not intervene for licensing purposes -- she simply will not do it -- and then allows her deputy minister to bludgeon the director in Sudbury.

If there is any minister of the crown who has received high marks in the last couple of years, it is the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley), but then I see what has happened to him lately. He made a decision on Temagami that environmentalists certainly are not in favour of, nor am I.

Mrs Grier: He was not involved in the garbage issue.

Mr Laughren: The garbage issue: Where is he? And his idea: There used to be a principle in this province that the polluter pays; no more.

Now, the gamblers pay for the polluters through Cleantario, the government’s lottery system. That is what it is. There used to be a very well-entrenched system of the polluter pays.

I look at the minister’s performance in the last week concerning the tainted fuels. It is not one he will remember fondly when he writes his memoirs, I am sure.

Labour legislation: What is the government saying about labour legislation? The Minister of Labour (Mr Sorbara) brings in a bill affectionately known as Bill 162, An Act to amend the Workers’ Compensation Act. He brings in that bill, universally despised by the labour movement, injured workers and legal clinics. They universally despise that bill. The minister is determined to proceed.

Then he brings in a bill called Bill 208, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act. That is one labour in general supports and all the employers in the province cannot stand.

Nobody knows where this government is going. There it goes, riding off in all directions again. Remember Stephen Leacock. He must have known these people were going to be on the scene. How else could he have described them so accurately?

I look at the Premier’s technology fund. The great feather in the cap of this government is the technology fund. A lot of people say the Premier is looking ahead. He has his eye on the future, because of this technology fund that is going to pick the winners out there and make sure Ontario is well placed as we head into a high-tech world. That is the word.

Then along comes an opportunity to be in the forefront of scientific research in the entire world. In this province, it requires $7.2 million over a four-year or five-year period and they balk at it, because they say, “We do not know what the practical application is of a neutrino observatory in Sudbury.” That is what he says and that is what the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr Kwinter) says.

Hon R. F. Nixon: What’s this weirdo thing, down the mine?

Mr Laughren: That is the thing I am talking about. If every time in the history of this world when an opportunity came along for research, people said, “We are not going to spend any money on it because we cannot at the moment see a practical application,” we would not be enjoying many of the benefits we do now. Yet the Premier seems to think, because there is no practical application at this point, he is simply not going to do it. Even though it would put Ontario in the forefront around the world on pure research on neutrinos, this government has so far refused to find it.

Italy has committed funds. The United States has committed funds. Ottawa has committed funds. I believe Great Britain has committed funds. But not Ontario, even though it is situated in this jurisdiction. Surely it is time the government got off its assets and began to fund this very useful project.

Housing: the rent review system is a shambles. Everyone would agree with that; everyone in the province. The landlords and the tenants both agree rent review is a shambles in Ontario. House prices: Look at house prices in Metropolitan Toronto. The average price of a new home in Metro now is in excess of $350,000. The average price of a resale home in Metro is $280,000.

Mr Faubert: Not this week.

Mr Laughren: Yes, this week. An average family income of $102,000 is required to buy that resale home priced at $280,000. What does the government do? Will it bring in a speculation tax, even though the price of that home has gone up $50,000 in the last year? Will it entertain a speculation tax? Not on principal residences; only on land and housing speculators. Not on principal residences; that has never been our position. It is only on speculation, not on someone’s principal residence.

That is not what we are saying and the members opposite know that, and this government simply will not bring it in. It would rather see the marketplace have its way out there. There is speculation going on in housing. We think that is fundamentally wrong.

The Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) has made it clear he has no interest in intervening in that way. All he does is keep telling us prices have peaked. He was telling us that two years ago and a year ago.

Mr Faubert: Going down fast.

Mr Smith: Going down fast.

Mr Laughren: The Treasurer told us a year ago they were going down fast. He told us two years ago they were going down fast. Where are they? They are $50,000 more now than they were a year ago and $100,000 more than they were two years ago when the Treasurer and the Premier were saying, “They’re going to go down.” We have been hearing that now ever since the issue of a speculation tax was raised.


Mr D. R. Cooke: They’re going down.

Mr Laughren: That is what they told us two years ago.

Mr Laughren: Speaking of the Treasurer and Treasury matters, there are a few points I would like to make to the Treasurer. One, the Treasurer is for ever whining about the federal government cutting back transfer payments to the province. He whines a great deal about it. What does he do to those jurisdictions over which he has some control? He freezes the unconditional grants to the municipalities. He freezes the grants for roads assistance. He transfers the cost of court security to the municipalities. Those are all very expensive projects.


Mr Laughren: That is what the federal government is saying. Why will you not buy the same argument from the federal government that you buy from your own Treasurer? Because it is not self-serving, my friend; that is the only reason.

The Deputy Speaker: The member will address his remarks through the Speaker.

Mr Laughren: Look at school boards. In 1975, in round numbers, the province paid for about 60 per cent of the cost of education and the school boards paid for the difference. In 1989, those numbers are almost reversed. The province is paying only 42.7 per cent of operating expenses, despite a Liberal promise that they would move back to 60 percent. It is a sad day for people at the local level.

The provincial government awarded increases of 6.1 per cent to the school boards, I believe. If you take away two per cent due to enrolment increases and another two per cent due to the announcements made by the Minister of Education dealing with class size, kindergarten and so forth -- you have done away with another two per cent -- there goes four per cent out of the 6.1 per cent increase, leaving the local school boards with a two per cent increase in grants to deal with in a year when the inflation rate is going to be around five per cent.

They are cutting back to the municipalities and to the school boards in exactly the same way the federal government is cutting back to the province of Ontario. That does not stop the Treasurer and the Premier from whining about it, of course, but there is an inconsistency there.

Mr D. R. Cooke: You can’t give away what you haven’t got.

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Mr Laughren: Well, we have shown the Treasurer how to raise money to have a fairer tax system in this province and his eyes and ears are closed. That is what it comes down to.

Mr D. R. Cooke: Give us the figures. The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.

Mr Laughren: The member for Kitchener (Mr
D. R. Cooke) keeps flapping his gums without understanding that we have costed every single program we have put before the Treasurer. The land speculation tax --

Mr D. R. Cooke: You’ll never be able to tell us.

Mr Laughren: The member is talking through the top of his head. He is just flapping his mouth without knowing what he is talking about.

The Treasurer simply wants to have it all ways when it comes to dealing with the municipalities and the federal government. He whines nonstop at what the federal government is doing to him and then does the same thing to the municipalities and the school boards. It really is no different. We have told the Treasurer many times where the new tax money can be and where we should spend it.

We do not expect the Liberal government to be a NDP government, but we do expect more fairness in the tax system than the Tories had in their tax system. Perhaps my understanding of what Liberalism means is different from the Treasurer’s idea. I always thought that to be a Liberal was to be at least more progressive than a Tory. I used to believe that, but I want to say that when you look at the tax system in this province, it is not one hit fairer now than it was when the Tories were in power in Ontario. It is just as mean-spirited now as it was then. It is just the same. There is no difference at all.


Mr Laughren: Well, I could give an example. I am glad the member for London North (Mrs Cunningham) talked about the Transitions report, the Social Assistance Review Committee report, the Thomson report. None of those words were mentioned in the throne speech of course. Nevertheless, there is the whole question of assistance for those people below the poverty line in the province of Ontario.

The Thomson report recommended that what it said should be implemented in stages. He made a very specific plea. He was testifying before the standing committee on finance and economic affairs, Judge Thomson was; I guess he is Mr Thomson now.

Hon R. F. Nixon: Deputy Thomson.

Mr Laughren: Deputy Thomson. He said he did not want the report implemented in bits and pieces; he wanted it done as a whole. Here we have now in the throne speech --

Mr D. R. Cooke: He did not say that.

Mr Laughren: I do not mind the member for Kitchener heckling, hut I wish he knew what he was talking about.

This is what Mr Thomson said:

“We think that the first stage, as a package, is extremely important. It is important for practical reasons because if you do not deal with all elements -- adequacy, incentives and what you receive when you are working -- you can create a more illogical system than the one we have now. Secondly, it is extremely important symbolically to demonstrate that we are changing the whole approach of the system. If we just do little bits of stage one, it will look like what we have done for 20 years, which is a piecemeal change here and a piecemeal change there that have added up to a very costly system, but one that overall does not make sense.”

The member for Kitchener was trying to say he did not say that. Well, that is exactly what he said.

What does this government do? This government is going to introduce it piecemeal. There has been no announcement that there is going to be an increase in the minimum wage. Can you imagine thinking that you are going to turn welfare cheques to paycheques with the minimum wage at $4.75 an hour in the province of Ontario’? It is absolutely ridiculous.

This government seems content to watch the people below the poverty level depend on food banks. I went and did some checking on food banks and there are 84,000 people a month now using food banks in the Toronto area alone. That is up 13,000 in one year. One seventh of all the children in Metropolitan Toronto rely on handouts from food banks. Surely to goodness this is unacceptable in Ontario and in Metropolitan Toronto. How can you accept that? Prior to 1980, there were no food banks at all in Toronto. Now there are 80 food banks in Toronto alone. They are Ontario’s biggest growth industry.

Do you know what would make the Liberals happy, Mr Speaker? The Liberals would be very happy to see the Jaguars, the BMWs, the Audis and the Cadillacs pulling up to the food banks and dropping off canned food. That is their idea of social assistance, having those who have it make a charitable case out of it and deliver canned goods to the food banks.

The thing I live in dread of is that this government will ever declare war on poverty, because its idea of a war on poverty will be to throw stones at beggars. I can see it now. They do not seem to understand that people want to be self-reliant. They do not simply want handouts from people who hop out of their Jaguars and drop off a box of canned foods.

I should say, before I leave the question of poverty, how much I think we all owe the people who marched from Sudbury, Windsor and Ottawa in support of the Thomson report and in support of those people living below the poverty line in Ontario. I think they have done us all a service. I think they have made all Ontario aware of how unfair it is in the province of Ontario.

To this day, a single person earning $2,000 below the poverty line in Ontario will pay about $1,000 in taxes, and a family earning $20,000 will pay about $2,000. It is absolutely ridiculous when you see those people who are not paying taxes compared to those people who have so little paying so much.

I believe the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr Sweeney), understands. I happen to believe he does have sympathy for and a comprehension of the enormity of this problem. I want to tell the members that I believe we are all demeaned when we allow this kind of poverty in our midst, and I think the minister understands that. I am not at all sure that the people to whom he has to answer in cabinet understand that, though, but we will see.


When the budget comes down two days from now, we will see whether the minister has won or should resign, because that is really what it comes down to, in our view. Either the minister substantially gets phase one of Thomson or I do not know how he can continue to sit in his place with any integrity. I really do not understand that.

I wish the minister well. I hope he wins, and we will be the first to applaud him if he does. We would be very happy to --


The Deputy Sneaker: Order, please.

Mr Laughren: No, I am not the minister, but I do think there is a matter of great principle involved here. The Thomson committee did its work well; it took its job very seriously. I think in most people’s minds their recommendations, while expensive, were absolutely necessary if we are going to break that dependency on the social assistance system in Ontario. That is why it is a package and you cannot do it piecemeal; I hope the minister understands that.

There is one other area of major importance that, while it was not in the throne speech, I think the government would be well advised to think about seriously. If it is looking for something that will give it a label or a tag as a reform-minded government, this is it.

Last Thursday my colleague the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr D. S. Cooke) brought before this House a resolution calling for a universal sickness and accident scheme for Ontario. It is no surprise to some members in here; as a matter of fact, the Nixon boys are both here and both of them called for it during a Liberal convention a year or so ago. I am very pleased that they are both here today too. They both said that a universal system is something whose time has come. I can assume that the member for Kitchener and the member for Guelph were not at that convention, because they certainly would have had their heads if they had heard them say that at the convention.

We believe that a model exists in the country of New Zealand. It is a universal, 24-hour system that compensates people regardless of where they are injured and regardless of fault. New Zealand does not yet have sickness built into the system. I think they felt they had to start with accidents and some day, I hope, they will move to sickness being included as well.

Our present system does not work. What makes them think they can keep amending the workers’ compensation system, keep adding things on to it, and it still makes everybody unhappy? The employers in Ontario are unhappy. The injured workers are very unhappy.

It is not going to work. The compensation system in Ontario will collapse under its own weight; $7 billion is now the unfunded liability for the Workers’ Compensation Board. They cannot fix it up. It does not work. It cannot work. It is not possible. So the sooner they realize that what we need in this province is to do away with the Workers’ Compensation Board and put in its place a universal system, the better.

It is a very simple system. I wish I had a chalkboard here, because it is very easy to depict a pie divided into three sections. One section has workers injured on the job, or even away from the job, another section has automobile drivers and passengers and the third section has everyone else. That covers everyone.

It is not an adversarial system. If someone gets hurt, he gets his cheque and then internally it is determined whether the employer pays, whether it comes out of the automobile fund or whether it comes out of the other fund for people injured at home or at play.

Hon R. F. Nixon: There must be a lot of appeal jobs there.

Mr Laughren: No, as a matter of fact, that is not the case. Our present system is an adversarial one where the worker has to prove that the injury happened on the job. The system in New Zealand is nonadversarial. Nobody will go back to the old system in New Zealand -- nobody. It is absolutely a certainty that if you go to New Zealand--and I wish some government members would go to New Zealand and talk to them about it -- the employers would not go back to the old system. The employees would not go back to the old system. Nobody would go back to the old system they have there.

Mr Dietsch: Maybe the chairman of the resources committee will bring that up.

Mr Laughren: As a matter of fact, I do think the standing committee on resources development should do some serious travelling one of these years and investigate this system.

We know that no government can be everything that everyone wants, but we do think we have a right to expect competence, consistency and fairness. We are not getting any of those from this government. We are not getting competence, whether you look at health care, education or the environment. We are not getting consistency. We are not getting any fairness from our tax system.

That is why, two weeks ago, my leader moved an amendment to the throne speech which basically was a motion of nonconfidence in this government. In conclusion, I would say I would be very surprised if a lot of people in Ontario will not agree with us at this point that they too have no confidence in this government.

Hon Mr Ward: I am indeed pleased to have this opportunity to address the issues that were raised in the speech from the throne some two weeks ago, issues which will command much, but not all, of the attention of this government over the course of the next year.

I have listened very carefully to the comments made by the member for Nickel Belt and, before him, the member for London North (Mrs Cunningham). I listened to those remarks with some hope and some expectation that perhaps some positive points of view and some constructive suggestions would be put forward. Unfortunately, I think the remarks of both of them were somewhat lacking in the positive, but I do understand they are fulfilling a very important role here and I do not want to go on at much length in that vein.

I do want to congratulate both the member for Northumberland (Mrs Fawcett) and the member for Don Mills (Mr Velshi) for their input to this debate in moving and seconding the speech. As new members to this Legislature, they have clearly distinguished themselves over the course of the past year and a half. Certainly for both of them I know it would have been an honour to move and second the speech and I do want to offer them some words of congratulation.

I can also recall taking part in the very first throne speech debate of this government. The previous speaker, I think, spoke a little bit of those happy times back in 1985 when we first formed a government. There is no question that, at that time, this province had an awful lot of ground to make up and, after 42 years of one-party rule, it is fair to say there was certainly a lot to do. A great deal of this government’s first throne speech reflected the campaign commitments which my party had already put forward in the 1985 election.

We were indeed making up for years of neglect, so we did indeed have to move on many fronts at once, such as establishing freedom of information, eliminating extra billing and moving ahead in pay equity. There was simply a great deal to do in many areas and our immediate goals alone made up some components of one of the largest throne speeches in history.

Mr Pouliot: What about the accord?

Hon Mr Ward: My friend across the way asks, “What about the accord?” There is no question that had an impact in that exciting time in this Legislature. But perhaps one of the things that made that first throne speech even more significant was the greater commitment seen on all sides of this House to get things done. There was a feeling around here that each and every one of us, even the opposition, had a contribution to make to the work of this House.


Mrs Grier: Well, as soon as you begin to recognize that again, we’ll co-operate.

Hon Mr Ward: There was an atmosphere around here that. I believe, was far more constructive. To my friend the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, I think that from time it still does surface; but in my view it is unfortunate that it is so noteworthy because of its rarity. I guess I have not been here long enough to become cynical but I, for one, really do believe that each and every one us does has a contribution to make, and that we on this side of the House are prepared to listen to that kind of positive input and react accordingly.

We made a lot of commitments back in those days, and by the time the 1987 election was called we clearly had fulfilled those commitments. I think it is fair to say that the voters in September 1987 were rewarding a government for doing what it said it would do. We had indeed promised to do many things. We kept those promises and we were given the opportunity to put forward a new agenda.

The next stage of this government was laying out a broad long-term agenda, which we did in the fall of 1987. It was an agenda that was based on a commitment to ensure Ontario’s ability to compete, to provide our children with the kind of education they will need to meet the very real challenges of the next century and to reflect in government policies the major changes that were taking place in this province’s population.

Moving ahead on this agenda required a broad range of commitments, which we have made an excellent start towards fulfilling. This year we have recognized that it is necessary to spell out a specific set of immediate priorities, which require considerable attention over the course of the next 12 months. I think that this speech from the throne indeed sets out these priorities on the path to fulfilling the government’s overall vision for this province.

The throne speech deals with six priority areas. I want to speak to each one of these, focusing particularly on the area in which I have some responsibility, the education of our children. No one, though, should get or create the impression that these six areas are all that we are doing. This government has most certainly not lost the habit we established early on, of moving progressively on many fronts at once. We are moving ahead in reforming labour legislation, creating affordable housing and improving transportation systems, to name just three of many other important areas. The government has no intention of slowing down in any of these fields.

However, the throne speech does make it clear that we intend to put a pronounced emphasis on six areas in particular. In creating the programs outlined in the speech, we begin with the recognition that our most important obligation is our children’s future. For the past four years we have been very fortunate in this province. We can be proud of one of the longest periods of sustained economic growth that this province has ever seen in its history.

As we pointed out in the throne speech, since 1982 we have “outpaced the industrial world in economic expansion.” Our economy has grown enormously. We have created hundreds of thousands of new jobs. In order to build on our strength in this province, we want to maintain that economic growth and ensure that its benefits are shared by all members of our society.

Most important, we want to invest in the next generation, in the future of our children. Indeed, we do recognize over here -- and I am sure the opposition shares that -- that this is the most important investment we can make. That is why the policies outlined in the speech from the throne are geared to the needs, both long-term and short-term, of the next generation of Ontarians.

We see six areas as crucial to the future of this province.

Our children do need an education system that will equip them with the knowledge and skills they will need to keep up with a rapidly changing world. Our children need to be assured that the basics of adequate food, clothing and shelter are there.

They need the ability to overcome some of the terrible disadvantages society all too often places on them. They need to grow up in stable communities, in an atmosphere of security rather than fear. They have a right to the twin legacies of a society that promotes both a healthy lifestyle and a clean environment. Indeed, if we cannot pass on to our children a legacy of clean air and fresh lakes, then little that we pass on to them will be of any value whatsoever.

Finally, we know that our ability to build on the programs that help us to achieve these goals depends on our capacity to maintain and sustain the economic growth that has been known around here as the Nixon boom.

Mr Laughren: John Sweeney won’t buy that line.

Hon Mr Ward: Even my friend the member for Nickel Belt will know that it is through economic growth that we can continue to enhance those very important social programs that provide our province and its people with the stability we need and the quality of life that we have come to enjoy.

That is why the throne speech outlines the steps we will be taking to ensure economic growth. We have already put in motion, through the Premier’s Council, a program to create an economy that is truly prepared to compete with the rest of the world.

We are going to build on that program in all regions of this province, because we realize that Ontario’s industries can only be as competitive as the people who make them up. That means, as my friend the member for London North has pointed out, that we have to continue to support apprenticeship and other skills training arrangements that combine education with necessary on-the-job training. We are going to help train new workers and retrain older workers.

We also know that our economic health has to be matched by our physical health, so we are shifting the emphasis of our health strategy from health prevention to health promotion. We are going to move further and faster into community-based health care services and continue to provide accessible, affordable health services for all and take special steps to address specialty care needs.

We are also going to support a high-quality physical environment. On this point, I think most people in this province will concede that over the course of the past four years we have made tremendous progress under the leadership of this Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley).

We have moved from a Ministry of the Environment which used to be known for defending the rights of polluters to one that is now known for defending the right to be protected from polluters. For many years, this province saw the environment as something to be traded off against our economic needs. We see the two as going hand in hand. That is why we continue to develop pollution abatement technologies and that is why we continue to encourage more efficient water use and conservation by industry.


As well as the right to inherit a clean environment, the next generation has the right to grow up in a secure environment. Ontarians have always had the opportunity to live in safe and secure communities, free of the fear of drugs, free of rampant violence and free of intolerance and hatred. The world has been changing in many ways and most surely Ontario is not an island. We are not immune to the kinds of problems we see in other jurisdictions or in other nations.

That is why we are taking steps, as outlined in this throne speech, to strengthen our communities and shield them from the threats of the 1990s. That is why we are moving ahead with education and prevention programs to stop the spread of drugs in schools and in high-risk communities. That is why we are providing a wider range of treatment programs, a beefed-up enforcement capacity and expanded efforts to prevent violence against women and children. Enhanced race relations training for the police and reform of our court system are part and parcel of this commitment to more secure communities in this province.

These steps will help to provide children with freedom from fear, but we also ensure that all children in Ontario are free from want, free from hunger and free from poverty. There is no question that the burden of poverty is one that I have seen children bring with them to the classroom. It is a tremendous burden to bear, and indeed a terribly unfair one.

That is why this throne speech spells out that we will be moving to a new policy aimed at breaking that vicious cycle of poverty, rather than just easing it. The reforms to the social assistance system in this province will help people get off welfare. It will remove the disincentives to work and expand the network of counselling, support, referral and skills training in job preparation.

At the same time, for those who are unable to break free of this cycle, we will be increasing support for the necessities of shelter and increasing support for children’s benefits in order to help that next generation make its own way on a more equal footing with all of its fellow members of society.

This brings me to the area of the throne speech in which I of course have to take the greatest personal interest. In my view, a government agenda dedicated to the needs of children will do a great deal to assist us in the job that we clearly must do in our schools. The school system itself must be restructured to do its job. Educational needs have been changing a great deal over the course of the past few years. We all agree that our schools must provide children with the basics, but that definition of the basics must expand to fit the times.

Two of the characteristics our children most certainly will need are competence and flexibility. They will need competence because the world is indeed more complicated than it was, and they will need flexibility because the world is changing so quickly. Our schools must empower children to acquire the knowledge. the skills, the attitudes and the values they will need in this world.

We must ensure that our children, our students, have the ability to identify problems, to go about solving them and to acquire new information, organize it and apply it to new situations. In short, we have to teach our children to think for themselves.

To achieve that, I believe we have to start early. We have to make sure that all of our children feel comfortable in a learning environment, are able to get along with other children and that they have the solid foundation they need to complete school and, more important, to benefit from it.

Then we have to be able to ensure that they are able to broaden their life and learning skills during the formative years. We have to help them make the adjustment from primary school to the more specialized studies of high school during the transition years.

Finally, once we have provided our children with this learning base, we have to help them carve out a spot that is right for them during the specialization years when they must master the marketable skills that they will need.

I believe the throne speech contains a framework that we will need to provide our children with the full support they must have at every stage of learning. It is upon this framework that we are building our vision for education in Ontario.

I do want to say at this point that that vision for education undoubtedly differs very little from the wish of every parent in this province. In fact, I think it is a vision that was very much captured by the participants in the select committee process.

Perhaps the reason that that is so notable is that this has been one experience during the course of the last session to which all members of the Legislature have made a very sincere and worthwhile commitment. They have put forward a set of proposals in a spirit of co-operation. I would point out that in their deliberations, it was one of the few examples over the course of the past year and a half in which all members from all sides of the House put their names to a series of recommendations with total unanimity.

I think that committee has put forward a vision that appeals not just to our needs but as much to our hopes, because education is clearly the one tool that can be a great equalizer in what is sometimes a very harsh and frightening world. It can be the great equalizer because it is the means by which any child in this province can rise above and escape poverty, can escape hunger and can escape any of the disadvantages that our world all too often offers.

As I have travelled throughout Ontario over the course of the past 18 months, I have often heard of the great burden put on all of us legislators, educators, parents and trustees by the enormous expectations our citizens hold for our schools. Our schools are expected to lead the fight against society’s ills, whether it be drug abuse or family violence. It falls to our schools and our educators to overcome whatever shortcomings we, as a society, have developed.

Our businesses and industries expect our schools to churn out the cogs of the gears of our economy by immediately producing fully skilled workers. Our parents expect us to teach values and responsibilities, filling a role that traditionally has been the primary responsibility of the family itself.

All of these are expected of our schools because over time, publicly funded, universally available education has proved that it can make a very real difference. Indeed, education can be the great equalizer, so the vision put forward in the throne speech is that all children in Ontario can leave our schools confident that they have the skills, knowledge, understanding and values to be the very best that they can be.

I truly believe that every time a child falls short in this pursuit, then it is we too who have failed in our skills, our knowledge and our understanding. If we are prepared to accept the failure of a single child with complacency, then we too are failing in terms of our values.


The speech from the throne pointed the way for direction and renewal for our education system. The specific initiatives laid out in the speech highlight key components of a broad range of reforms that begin at what has been traditionally regarded as preschool and end ultimately with entering a career. When fully implemented, it is my belief that this renewal will restructure our education system to create a solid ladder of opportunity for each and every child in Ontario.

This renewal focuses on the development of language and social skills in the preschool years; it focuses on a greater mastery of basic skills and problem-solving in the elementary grades; it focuses on creating a smooth transition between elementary and secondary school and, finally, it focuses on career acquisition and job-related skills at the top of the ladder.

It is important to note that this plan was determined not in isolation and not solely by the recommendations of those who participated in the select committee process, but was formulated after literally years of input from parents, educators, consultants, even from critics from outside the system, and it was formulated with very broadly based public input from parents across this province.

The changes do not represent merely a reaction or a response to the issues that have been raised. Rather, they are put forward to take the initiative, to set out an agenda and to focus for a change on solutions instead of just on problems.

It is based on four principles, the principles of equality of opportunity, quality of education, accountability and values. The program in junior and senior kindergarten is intended to encourage every child to reach his or her full potential by giving every child in this province an equal opportunity to learn at an earlier age.

I do not think there is anything that bothers me more than to hear from time to time critics of this proposal characterize it as glorified baby-sitting, because anyone in this Legislature who has raised a child knows full well the natural curiosity of a four-year-old. Anybody in this chamber who has survived raising a four-year-old has experienced the joy of seeing the tremendous capacity to learn that exists in the minds of all the four-year-olds in this province.

Today, we are ensuring that those 50,000 young citizens of this province who have never had access to these programs, perhaps because of their economic background, perhaps because their communities do not wish to see the benefit of these programs, will now have the opportunity to access this program.

In fact, in the area of early childhood education, it is interesting that virtually everyone who has had input to the select committee, virtually everyone who has suggested change, has pointed to the need to start children earlier and the tremendous benefits that can accrue by doing so.

The second component of the plan is to revitalize the curriculum in grades I to 6 to focus on the development of literacy and numeracy and to ensure that all our children can develop analytical and communication skills. There will indeed be a greater emphasis on assessing student performance and on ensuring that we have a mechanism to determine which of those students need additional help and how best to see that they get it. In the past two years, we have committed millions of dollars to reducing class sizes in the primary grades, in an effort to ensure that children can get the extra help they need, particularly in the early years.

The third initiative is to move to a core curriculum in grade 9 and to structure grades 7, 8 and 9 as transition years because clearly we know that ability streaming has had a tendency to reinforce educational inequality. It is no coincidence that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are terribly overrepresented in the basic stream.

In the past we have asked children to make the most important decision of their lifetime with no high school experience. With appropriate guidance and support we will ensure that they are able to make that transition and make a choice that will allow them to acquire the essential skills that they will need to make the appropriate transition to the workplace.

If we want our economy to grow and survive and if we want to continue to maintain the high standard of living we currently enjoy, then I believe that these initiatives will ensure not only that we are meeting the needs of this generation, but that we are in fact preparing the next generation for the kind of Ontario that we all very much want.

The Speaker: On Thursday, 27 April, Mrs Fawcett moved, seconded by Mr Velshi, that an humble address be presented to His Honour the Lieutenant Governor as follows:

“To the Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council for Canada, Knight of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, one of Her Majesty’s counsel learned in the law, bachelor of arts, doctor of laws, colonel in Her Majesty’s armed forces supplementary reserve, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario:

“We, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario, now assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious speech Your Honour has addressed to us.”

On Monday, I May, Mr Rae moved that the motion for an address in reply to the speech of His Honour the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session be amended by adding the following thereto:

“This House, however, regrets that the speech from the throne simply confirms the slide of this government into the complacent drift of a huge majority and condemns the government for:

“Failing utterly to address the issue of tax justice, despite the predictably draconian tax unfairness of the federal Tory budget, while continuing its unprecedented financial squeeze on municipalities;

“Ignoring the garbage crisis in Ontario while trivializing our environmental problems with its proposed lottery;

“Continuing its attack on the rights of working people through its proposed changes to workers’ compensation and its broken promises on pensions;

“Playing politics with social assistance, proposing much, much less than the first phase of the Thomson report’s recommendations, while signalling buck-passing on the costs;

“Making empty promises on education reform by failing to back up commitments with financial support; and

“Leaving untouched and unmentioned an extraordinary range of issues facing the people of Ontario, including car insurance, home care, the north, housing, energy, the nursing shortage, the teacher shortage, post-secondary education, employment equity, health and safety, agriculture and employment standards, among others.

“Therefore, this House declares its lack of confidence in this government.”


On Tuesday, 2 May, Mr Brandt moved that the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of His Honour the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session be further amended by striking out everything after the phrase “and leaving untouched and unmentioned an extraordinary range of issues facing the people of Ontario” and substituting the following therefor:

“In particular:

“The continued mismanagement of the provincial taxpayer’s dollars and lack of planning for fiscally responsible public policies;

“The failure on the part of the government to come to grips with the serious shortage of affordable housing in the large urban centres of the province;

“The confusion and lack of leadership demonstrated by the government with respect to automobile insurance;

“The lack of financial commitment and planning to continue the move toward increasing community-based health care begun by the previous government and the failure to mention home care in particular;

“The ageing of our society and the need for public policy initiatives to assist the seniors of the province;

“The continuing practice of the government to offload its responsibilities to other levels of government, in particular its attitude to worker training, retraining and workforce management and its continued delegating of provincial responsibilities to the municipalities;

“The total absence of any acknowledgement of the vital role of resource policies for the provincial economy, including agriculture, mining, forestry, tourism and energy;

“The failure, on the part of the government, to present a program which recognizes and would address the problems of regional disparities of the north and the east; and

“The government’s wilful blindness to the growing shortages of nurses, teachers and other professionals and skilled tradespersons, which, if they persist, will threaten the viability of our economy, the competitiveness of our industries and the quality of our public services;

“Therefore, this House declares its lack of confidence in this government.”

The first question to be decided is the amendment to the amendment to the motion.


The House divided on Mr Brandt’s amendment to the amendment to the motion, which was negatived on the following vote:


Allen, Brandt, Breaugh, Bryden, Charlton, Cooke, D. S., Cunningham, Eves, Farnan, Grier, Harris, Jackson, Johnson, J. M., Kormos, Laughren, Martel, McCague, McLean, Morin-Strom, Philip, E., Pollock, Pope, Pouliot, Rae, B., Reville, Villeneuve.


Adams, Ballinger, Beer, Bossy, Bradley, Brown, Callahan, Campbell, Carrothers, Chiarelli, Cleary, Collins, Conway, Cooke, D. R., Cordiano, Curling, Daigeler, Dietsch, Elliot, Elston, Faubert, Fawcett, Ferraro, Fleet, Fontaine, Fulton, Furlong, Grandmaître, Haggerty, Hart, Henderson, Hošek, Kanter, Kerrio, Keyes, Kwinter, Leone, Lupusella;

MacDonald, Mahoney, Mancini, Matrundola, McClelland, McGuigan, McGuinty, Miclash, Morin, Neumann, Nicholas, Nixon, J. B., Nixon, R. F., Oddie Munro, Offer, O’Neill, Y., Owen, Patten, Pelissero, Peterson, Phillips, G., Polsinelli, Poole, Ramsay, Ray, M. C., Reycraft, Riddell, Roberts, Smith, D. W., Smith, E.J., Sola, Sorbara, South, Stoner, Sullivan, Sweeney, Tatham, Velshi, Ward, Wilson, Wrye.

Ayes 26; nays 79.

The House divided on Mr Rae’s amendment, which was negatived on the same vote.

The House divided on Mrs Fawcett’s main motion, which was agreed to on the same vote reversed.

The Speaker: It is resolved that an humble address be presented to His Honour Lincoln Alexander, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario:

To His Honour Lincoln M. Alexander, a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council for Canada, Knight of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, one of Her Majesty’s counsel learned in the law, bachelor of arts, doctor of laws, colonel in Her Majesty’s armed forces supplementary reserve, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario:

May it please Your Honour, we, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario, now assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious speech Your Honour has addressed to us.

The House adjourned at 1806.