The House met at 1330.
Mr R. F. Johnston: I want to draw the attention of the House to the possibility of a strike, as early as this weekend, in the city of Toronto by the Canadian Union of Public Employees workers of Local 79. There are 12,000 workers in mediation at the moment, including some 600 child care workers and 1,300 full-time workers in homes for the aged as well as another 1,600 part-time workers in the same homes for the aged.
The reason I raise it here is that the province of Ontario has decided to request that Metropolitan Toronto divest itself of its day care centres. It has suggested that the homes for the aged should have their funding frozen. It has provided an increase of only four per cent as an inflation adjustment to Metropolitan Toronto. This is causing the potential strike to take place because, as people will know, the inflation costs in Metro are around 6.5 per cent to seven per cent at the moment.
This province, of course, has decided to give us extra taxes if we live in the Metro area, to punish us for the privilege of living here in Metro. We are directly responsible at this level for the potential strike or cutback in services or other serious difficulties that will arise for children who are in day care or old people in homes for the aged as a result of our obdurate Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon), who decides we should pass on only four per cent to the city of Toronto and to Metropolitan Toronto.
Mr Pope: I note with regret the passing of James Westcott, a police reporter with the Toronto Sun. While a high school student, Jamie was recognized for his contributions to his school through numerous awards and distinctions that he earned while he attended that school in London. He was an excellent student, graduating from Centennial College with a diploma in journalism.
In his all-too-brief journalism career, through hard work and dedication, he shared or received himself numerous awards and citations. He was a credit to his profession, which in return respected him. He was a source of pride to his family, who loved him. He carried his pain and the effects of his disease with dignity until his life ended at the age of 25.
To his wife Lori, his mother and dad, Virginia and Clare, whom many of us know so well, and to all his family and friends, all members of the Legislative Assembly offer our sincerest condolences at the passing of Jamie Westcott.
Mr Fleet: Today is Commemoration Day. It is also a tribute to the faith and determination of people striving for freedom.
People of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian heritage commemorate 14 June 1941. On that day, occupying Soviet armed forces in the Baltic states began massive deportations of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians to Siberia. In an act of cultural and national genocide, 78,000 men and women, including the elderly and children, were forcibly transported away in cattle cars. This and subsequent waves of Soviet deportation and executions directly reduced the Baltic population by 20 per cent.
The effects of forced depopulation and subsequent Russification are still being felt today. It has taken almost half a century, but finally the Baltic states are regaining a measure of sovereignty. Gains over the last few months are still fragile and the struggle for democracy continues.
We congratulate and encourage the people of the Baltic states for their courage and persistence. Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians are also a symbol for the Chinese students and other Chinese citizens who cry for democracy in the face of brutality by another totalitarian regime.
Let us be of one strong voice for democracy for all peoples of the world. Let us join in commemoration for those who have suffered and sacrificed for freedom.
Miss Martel: The Ministry of Skills Development administers the Ontario skills development incentive program, designed to meet employer training needs. It would be a good program if adequate funding were actually provided.
As an example, the township of Hagar in my riding requested funding for training of two municipal employees. Council was advised there was no funding left for this fiscal year for training projects submitted by municipalities.
A call to the Sudbury Skills Development office revealed that indeed there is no more funding for 1989-90. There are 6.000 employers hoping to access the program and only 325 clients can be served. These 325 clients are divided into eight economic sectors, of which municipalities are only one sector, entitled to 20 per cent of the overall budget. That 20 per cent is also being used to respond to clients on waiting lists from last year.
Funding problems aside, the application process is bizarre. The township of Hagar must first request to become a registered client of Skills Development, not of the program itself. Next January, if accepted as a client, the municipality would meet with a ministry consultant to develop a training program for the employees. The municipality would then apply for training funding, but this time under the incentive program itself.
Managers of the program would then determine if the application meets the guidelines and if the project will be funded. Therefore, even if the municipality becomes a client and submits a program, it is not guaranteed to receive funding.
Surely this program needs to be reviewed, both concerning the level of funding and the selection process itself.
Mr Jackson: I would like to take this opportunity to offer our support for the steps being taken by the United States to finally curb acid rain emissions south of the border. The champagne corks may not be popping, but it is indeed a historic occasion to see that the efforts of our federal government in Ottawa are finally paying off. Clearly, the United States has recognized the acid rain threat as a real threat.
Combined with the existing Canadian reduction program initiated in 1984, the US program should cut acid rain emissions over eastern Canada in half by the year 2000. The President’s bill is a positive first step in the right direction that will improve the airways over our country. The Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain has praised this bill as “a real program that has teeth.” When interviewed yesterday, the president of the coalition, Jeffrey Shearer, said, “We have a really terrific start.”
We must now give our full support to the federal government to seek improvements in the United States bill and to strike an international agreement that commits both our countries to achieve their promised targets for our environmental safety.
SUNNYCREST NURSING HOME
Mr Furlong: I rise today to pay tribute to the staff and volunteers of the Sunnycrest Nursing Home in Whitby.
Earlier this spring, Sunnycrest was presented with a Long-Term Care Achievement Award by the Ontario Nursing Home Association.
Last week, Sunnycrest presented awards of its own. Two and a half years ago a Sunnycrest volunteer, Helen Mulligan, convinced the staff and administrators to open a care college for the residents of the home, the only college of its kind in Ontario.
The purpose of the college has been to stimulate the residents’ feeling of ability and accomplishment, to give them a sense of challenge and to increase their awareness and concentration.
Courses ranging from conversational French to armchair travel run once a week for seven weeks and are approximately 45 minutes in length. Depending on their content, courses are awarded from between one and five credits. A total of 30 credits is required to graduate.
On June 6 of this year, Sunnycrest Nursing Home honoured its first care college graduates. I know all members of this House will join me in saluting 65-year-old Margaret Sears, 68-year-old Mary Napier and 92-year-old Effie Ralston, the Sunnycrest Nursing Home Care College class of 1989.
I would also like to extend congratulations to the college dean, Helen Mulligan, nursing home administrator Jean Forrest and life enrichment director Lynda McNabb, who have brought real meaning to this year’s seniors theme, Tap the Potential.
Mr R. F. Johnston: I wish to briefly join the comments by the member for Cochrane South (Mr Pope) about the very sad passing of Jamie Westcott, which most of us have read about in the papers today. He was a young 25-year-old reporter, and in connection with this House, the son of a servant of this place for many, many years -- Clare Westcott, a constituent of mine.
Along with his wife, Virginia, he is, I am sure, suffering a great deal, as do all families that have a premature death of this sort strike them. On behalf of our caucus colleagues, I would like to pass on our condolences to that family today in this time of need.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
TORONTO AREA TRANSPORTATION
Hon Mr Fulton: Ontario’s efficient system of roads, highways and transit is essential to the economy. Spending on the transportation system has increased by more than 30 per cent since 1984-85 and totalled $2 billion in 1988-89. However, sustained economic growth will require enriched funding to reduce congestion and improve access to growing markets.
Accordingly, the government is committing an additional $2 billion over five years to the new transportation capital program. This program will support highway capital projects, major municipal roads, transit projects and additional GO Transit services, details of which will be announced at a later time.
Today, I would like to provide added details to highway and road improvements scheduled for the greater Toronto area. The projects outlined are consistent with Transportation Directions for the Greater Toronto Area, a document I released in May 1988, following consultation among the several regions in the GTA.
Through this budget, we have been able to commit $690 million in new capital funding to provincial highways and municipal roads in the GTA. These new funds will accelerate work on several developments.
Specific highway projects were named in the budget. The largest of these is Highway 407, a northern bypass of Metropolitan Toronto. Over the next five years, we will be flowing an additional $83 million, for a total of almost $300 million, to Highway 407. That will allow us to expand to construction on three projects from the current one.
Design work will begin this year on extensions east and west from the current phase 1 project between Highway 427 and Dufferin. Construction on phase 2 from Dufferin to Woodbine, Highway 404, will now start in 1991. Phase 3 from Highway 427 to Airport Road will now start 1992. Previously, no start dates had been scheduled.
Further, construction will begin this year on the expansion of the collector-distributor lanes on Highway 401 east of Highway 48 to Brock Road in Pickering. Accelerated funding will permit completion of the project three years ahead of schedule, in 1997.
Additional widenings of Highway 410 north from Highway 401 will also start this year.
Next year, construction will begin on the new link of Highway 403 from the Queen Elizabeth Way north to Highway 5 at an additional cost of over $40 million.
In 1992, there will be an acceleration of the widening of Highway 401 west to Mavis Road in Mississauga at a cost of $15 million.
I might add that there are a number of other provincial highway projects in the greater Toronto area, but today I have limited myself to highlighting those projects on controlled-access freeways. I will be detailing the other projects over the next few weeks.
This infusion of new highway capital dollars will also allow the government to get started on a wide number of rehabilitation and widening projects. Again, details on these projects will follow.
Funding for municipal roads in the GTA has also been enhanced. The five-year accelerated capital program provides an additional $65 million over current provincial funding.
The provincial government will continue working with municipalities on projects that have been identified in our Transportation Directions document.
I have mentioned the importance of expanding the transportation system to advance Ontario’s economy. An important factor in that economy is employment. We estimate that the construction jobs, suppliers, services and indirect employment generated by the capital program across Ontario will total 35,000 person-years of employment.
Employment, efficiency and enhanced safety all justify expanded investment in transportation. Ontario’s competitiveness and employment opportunities will be greatly promoted by the development of the economic corridors provided for in the transportation capital fund.
Hon Mr Phillips: I know that all members of the House will join me in condemning a very disturbing act of overt racism and antisemitism. I am speaking, of course, about the vandalism that occurred at the Shaarei Shomayim Synagogue and Yeshiva in Toronto. It was obviously perpetrated by an organized and vicious group of individuals.
My ministry staff, and particularly the staff of the race relations directorate, have been, and in fact are today, meeting and consulting with representatives of the synagogue and the Canadian Jewish Congress. We have expressed strongly to them our outrage, on behalf of the government, for this action.
Such actions are tragic not only for the Jewish community but for all people of this province. For people who are committed, as we all are, I know, to making our society a model of tolerance and compassion, it is incidents like this one that remind us that elements of intolerance, bigotry and antisemitism are far more prevalent than any of us would like to believe.
The Ontario policy on race relations states in part, “Racism in any form is not tolerated in Ontario. And racially motivated offences will be met with the full force of the law to ensure the protection of the dignity and safety of all persons in Ontario”
Therefore, I want to indicate that officials of my ministry are assisting the Jewish community in whatever ways we can. Specifically, the race relations directorate of our ministry, in conjunction with the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, is meeting with community leaders to address the issue of recent white supremacist actions. They will be recommending to us a range of public awareness and education activities which will help to combat such actions.
I wish also to commend the Canadian Jewish Congress for showing leadership in offering a reward for information that would lead to the capture of the perpetrators involved.
Finally, I hope that the police investigation which is under way now will reach conclusive results. I know that communities and organizations throughout this province will join with all of us here in speaking out and condemning this awful action that has no place in the Ontario which we wish to build for ourselves and for our children.
Mr B. Rae: I do want to respond to the statement made by the Minister of Citizenship (Mr Phillips). I can recall vividly the first time I visited Shaarei Shomayim Synagogue. It was about 20 years ago exactly, in June 1969, to listen to a talk on a Sunday evening by Elie Wiesel, whom I had not heard of up to that time. I listened to him give a talk for about an hour on the subject of the Holocaust and its meaning for him and for the Jewish community.
The synagogue has been one of the most important in the cultural life of the community and Toronto, and the event which took place on the weekend is an atrocity. I am very proud the minister spoke out today as he did and proud that he has been meeting with members of the Jewish community in order to reinforce the sense of outrage which I hope -- I cannot say that I know, but I can say that I hope -- unites all the citizens of this province.
The placing of swastikas on the doors of a synagogue is as obscene a gesture as one can possibly imagine. It is as profoundly hurtful and destructive a gesture as could be raised against any person or any group in our community. It has a resonance which frightens and offends. It has an impact in many homes where there are people who lived through Kristallnacht, who managed to get to Canada, who came as refugees after being survivors of the Holocaust in the Second World War.
As a Canadian, I can only say I am outraged -- I know the members of my caucus are -- but having said that, we must do whatever we can to track down the perpetrators of this kind of a gesture and to make it clear that, while it may seem to them something of a prank or it may seem simply an expression in some perverted form of their own twisted view of the world, we can only say it must not be allowed to happen and it in no way, sense, shape or form reflects the views of the vast majority of the citizens of this province.
It is something that offends gentiles and non-Jews as well as Jews. It is something all decent citizens should be united in speaking out against and in taking steps against, and I congratulate the minister in as full-hearted a way as I can for the statement he has made today.
TORONTO AREA TRANSPORTATION
Ms Bryden: I would like to respond to the announcement today by the Minister of Transportation (Mr Fulton). I think he should be renamed the minister of highway project recycling. Almost all announcements today were in his 19 May 1988 Transportation Directions for the Greater Toronto Area. The May 1988 document apparently aroused so little interest and dropped with such a thud that he is now deciding to recycle it and bring out those great announcements that were in it, but it was mainly completing a few connecting links on highways already started.
I admire the minister’s enthusiasm for adding
to urban road congestion in the greater Toronto
area and encouraging more urban sprawl, which is eating up our very precious farm lands and adding more congestion into the centre of the city. I am still shocked that he has not listened to those who want more action on public transit to get more people out of their cars so that we do not need as many highway extensions. So far, he has not responded beyond the one little extension of the Spadina subway.
I had hoped that this announcement today would be on public transit as well as public roads, and I am still waiting for him to --
The Speaker: The member’s time has expired.
Mr Brandt: I want to join with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr B. Rae) in congratulating the Minister of Citizenship and the minister responsible for multiculturalism (Mr Phillips) for his very strong and, I think, very specific response to the incident that happened at the Shaarei Shomayim Synagogue. I too, along with my party, want to indicate that the defacing of that particular synagogue on the part of some unthinking and obviously irresponsible individuals is intolerable in today’s Ontario.
I and the members of my party are proud, as I am sure the minister is, to be citizens of this great province. One of the reasons that I guess I stand proudly as an Ontarian as well as a Canadian is that we have, through this grand experiment of bringing peoples together from so many countries, developed a society with a great deal of tolerance. When we see these kinds of individual incidents, I think it brings home the reality that we need a human rights commission; we need the kind of race relations division that was set up in 1979 to guard against those kinds of individuals who in a very insensitive and unacceptable way would perpetrate this kind of crime against a group within our society.
I want to endorse what the minister has said in his statement. I want to say that our party shares the sensitivities that the member has in regard to this kind of behaviour. We wish him, the police and others who are looking into the incident the very best of success in bringing to justice those individuals who have perpetrated this particular intolerable crime. Good luck to the minister.
Mr Cousens: I just wish that all members had a chance to speak in support of what the Minister of Citizenship has said today. I do not think there is any doubt that across this province we just cannot accept the intolerance that people are showing to people of the Jewish religion and what has happened there. I thank our leader for what he has just said.
TORONTO AREA TRANSPORTATION
Mr Cousens: The Minister of Transportation (Mr Fulton) has made an announcement today and, just to put it into perspective, I think we should realize that transportation funding is now at a catch-up point. Thirty per cent of the transportation funding is purely that of catch-up for 40 -- for four years of neglect.
Mr Carrothers: Forty-two years.
Mr Cousens: The taxes have increased by over 100 per cent The last four years this government has had a chance to do something and has been --
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Cousens: I make it very clear that during the past period of time this government has had a 50 per cent increase in its domestic product but there has been only a 30 per cent increase in the transportation budget. I will accept his responsibility on the part of all people to put something into transportation, but the failure of this government to do what it needs to do --
Mr Cousens: My good friend the member for London North (Mrs Cunningham) points out that the median barriers still are not on the agenda, but let me give the minister a compliment. It is good to see something happening with Highway 407. I know the people of south York region will join in thanking him.
It is good to see something happening with Highway 401 and its widening. I just wonder how the people are going to get in and out of Toronto during that process. I hope he can start putting some deadlines on when the work is going to be done rather than stretching it out for an extended period of time. Highway 410 is certainly a needed project, and Highway 403. I want to save a moment for my honourable colleague the member for Burlington South (Mr Jackson) to comment on that one.
The fact is there is no mention about Highway 416 or eastern Ontario in the statement of the Minister of Transportation. There is no mention of the northern highways such as Highway 69, Highway 17 or Highway 11.
The fact is we are not satisfied with what is happening. There has to be a far greater emphasis on resolving the problems of transportation in and around Metropolitan Toronto. It is serious. This minister is just coming out and reannouncing projects that have been announced previously. It is high time he stayed on top of it. I hope he is there long enough to really make it happen.
Mr Jackson: I, too, would like to commend the road initiatives which are included in the statement, but also to clarify a point. I called the ministry and found out that the Queen Elizabeth Way-Brant Street interchange -- which we had to coerce the ministry into announcing a year ago -- is now being funded by the greater Toronto area. Halton taxpayers will pay $200 million to the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) under his GTA tax and we are only going to get less than $100 million back.
CONDUCT OF CABINET MINISTERS
Mr B. Rae: I have some questions for the Minister of Culture and Communications, in the absence, I might point out, of the Premier (Mr Peterson) today.
I am sure the minister has had an opportunity to read yesterday’s Hansard; I expect that she has. She will find on page L-13 that the Premier, in answer to a question from me, said, “My impression was” -- this is his impression from the conversation that he had with the minister last Wednesday -- “that she mentioned a number of people and her mother was mentioned, as my friend is aware.”
I wonder if the minister can clear this up once and for all, because there do appear to have been two different impressions left behind. I wonder if she can tell us if she referred to Mrs Starr a number of people, among whom was her mother, or if she simply mentioned her mother’s name and no other names. Which is it?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I mentioned the name of my mother and no other names.
Mr B. Rae: I am glad we finally had that cleared up.
Can the minister recall exactly the circumstances of this conversation? Can she recall when it happened, where it happened or whether it was the end of another conversation? Exactly what were all the circumstances surrounding this particular conversation that she had with Mrs Starr?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I had a conversation with Mrs Starr in which she asked if I knew of anyone who could assist her in making a mailing, basically a mailing, connected to the survey. I asked her exactly what it would entail and she told me. I said I knew the names of several people in Hamilton who could do that and that my mother could certainly do that, because she had done that work in the past.
My recollection is that it was on a social occasion. I did not pursue the nature of the work any further and, in fact, the first opportunity I had to know that there was any work performed by my mother was when I read it in the press.
Mr B. Rae: The minister has not told us what year it was or where it was. I take it from the minister’s statement that it was not a phone conversation, it was a one-on-one conversation. Can the minister tell us, then, when this conversation was? Does she admit that, in the course of social conversation, she also gave a phone number to Mrs Starr in relationship to this particular contract?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: My recollection of the time of the year would have been spring or early summer. I had seen Mrs Starr in a variety of positions. As we all know, she was connected with the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada. She was also a professional and a volunteer in her own right, and was also connected with the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority.
I cannot place exactly where I had the conversation, and to the colleague who is asking what year, I indicated it was about two years ago.
Mr B. Rae: So we do not know whether it was 1986, 1987 or when it took place in that sense. The minister does not have any idea; she has no recollection at all of what year it was.
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I will repeat. I indicated two years ago, in the late spring, early summer.
Mr B. Rae: It is an important fact of the minister’s financial returns that the recipient of this particular contract made a $750 contribution to the minister’s campaign on21 August 1987, as did Harry Oddie make a similar contribution of $750. So the timing of this particular conversation is of some importance.
The minister has now had some opportunity to reflect on the appropriateness of her conduct. Can she tell us, does she not now realize that to refer her mother to Mrs Starr, knowing the nature of the funding relationship between her ministry and Mrs Starr, was inappropriate and is something that needs to be examined by the minister, is something that needs to be reviewed by the minister and understand that it was an inappropriate suggestion by the minister that a contract of that kind should be given to her mother by Mrs Starr?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: The conversation I had with Mrs Starr was a casual conversation. At no time did we discuss the nature of the contract, the group or individual it was being done for or the payment of fees and services. I therefore do not believe I am in conflict of interest.
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: As I have indicated to the House, I have written a letter to Mr Justice Evans to determine if he feels I am. I do not feel that I am in conflict.
Mr B. Rae: Has the minister had an opportunity to get a copy of the survey that was contracted for by Mrs Starr and has she made inquiries as to exactly when the survey was done, what it was about and to whom it was mailed?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I have had no further contacts with Mrs Starr about that conversation and do not have a copy of the report.
Mr Brandt: My question is also for the Minister of Culture and Communications. It is in regard to the letter she did in fact send to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, Mr Justice Evans. My staff contacted the minister’s office to see if we could receive a copy of that letter in order to determine the parameters upon which this investigation will be carried out and to see what information she did provide to the commissioner, so that would be known to us as well. At this point in time, I have not received any response back from her office indicating her willingness or the willingness of her staff to co-operate in making that letter public.
Would the minister agree to table that letter with the Clerk of the House so it will be available to the members of this assembly as soon as possible?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: In response to the member, I have no difficulty in making a copy of the letter available to the honourable member.
Mr Brandt: I thank the minister. I would like to indicate that yesterday in question period the Premier did make a commitment that everything would be as open and public as possible surrounding this entire matter.
I would like to ask the minister, with respect to the line of questioning that was taken by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr B. Rae) in regard to the $5,000 contract, when one looks in retrospect at the funding relationship between Mrs Starr, the organization that she headed at that particular time and the way in which those grants are provided from her ministry, as the minister looks at this, perhaps not as a conflict matter but as a question of judgement, does she not see a very serious problem in the way in which her judgement can be called into question as a result of her referring what is a $5,000 contract to her mother?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I did not in fact refer a $5,000 contract to my mother. I do not see any conflict of interest. I simply received an inquiry from Mrs Starr for a particular kind of work and made no connection at all with -- nor did I ask for whom the work was to be done. She asked for a number of people and I gave her the name of my mother.
I have put the matter before the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. I am confident that the Solicitor General’s announcement will see a speedy resolution to many of the questions that you have asked. I want to assure the member that I am more than willing to be as open and accessible and have co-operated to the best of my knowledge in any reported irregularities.
Mr Brandt: Could the minister perhaps inform the House as to the particular guidelines that would be shared with her by the Premier at the time of her swearing in or after, when she became a participating member of the cabinet, not only in connection with guidelines, but in connection with the behaviour of ministers of the crown, relative to family associations and contractual arrangements, perhaps of the kind we have talked about? Did the minister receive any kind of guidance from the Premier’s office in that regard at all?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: As I indicated last week, the Premier expects each one of his ministers to act in an appropriate fashion. We try to do that, to the best of our ability. As a minister, I am aware of all kinds of checks and balances within my ministry to assist in my doing that, and I think I understand exactly what ill conduct and inappropriate behaviour is.
I can assure the member that members of this government and this cabinet are most aware of items on conflict of interest and, in fact, the bill that was put forward reflected many of our thoughts, as it did the member’s.
Mr Brandt: What I am trying to establish is conflict-of-interest guidelines we can read and we can interpret, and a strict technical interpretation of those guidelines would indicate that there is a good possibility that Mr Justice Evans may find that there is no technical conflict between her mother and herself, as it relates to the Patricia Starr matter. That is a possibility, because of the way in which the word “family” is defined within the context of the act.
I ask the minister if, perhaps, she does not feel that there is some sense of question with respect to her judgement or the ethics of her ministry and her decisions within that ministry, relative to this matter, irrespective of what the response is back from Mr Justice Evans.
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I do not feel that there was any conflict of interest on my part nor do I feel, with all the checks and balances present in my ministry that any group or individual applying for capital or project funds goes through and has to live within the criteria that are established there -- I feel very comfortable about that and, therefore, I do not see myself having made any errors leading up to conflict.
Mr Brandt: Understanding that there has been close to $1 million that has flowed from the government in various ministries to the national council that is headed by Ms Starr, and that this money would have to be approved by various ministers, does it not disturb her that, in addition to the $5,000 contract, which she is in fact washing her hands of and indicating a certain limited amount of knowledge about, that there were donations made to her own campaign, along with the campaigns of others of her colleagues, that came from Ms Starr.
If one pursued that further, one would see that some of the money used by Ms Starr, according to two Toronto newspapers, was money that was directly linked with relationships of grant money from the provincial government, and in fact was Ontario taxpayers’ money. Does she not feel some sense of disease or difficulty with that particular problem?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I can assure the member that any group or individual accessing, or at least trying to figure out if they are eligible for capital or project funds through my ministry, go through a fairly rigorous procedure in order to see if they are eligible.
I can tell the member that, in the last couple of reports the auditor has, in fact, reflected on the tightness of those procedures. First, my decision-making authority rests on a number of checks and balances and sign-offs by various members of the ministry. The initial application, as the member would know, is usually received at the field office; a lot of the basic information is received at that point. I feel very, very comfortable that the minister’s signing off is done after a lot of careful investigation and decision-making all the way up, including members of the applicant and also my field staff.
Mr Brandt: Does the minister, in fact, feel comfortable with the fact that something of the order of $2,000 flowed from the slush fund that Patti Starr was using and that this ended up in a bank account which the minister indicates she had little knowledge of?
I wonder, in response to that particular contribution to her campaign, whether the minister uld indicate when she found out about it. what bank account that money was put into separated, I presume, from her normal campaign fund -- and what has happened with that particular money. Has it been returned? Does it remain in the minister’s account in her name? What is the disposition of that money from Ms Starr --
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Brandt: -- at this particular time?
The Speaker: That is quite a few questions.
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: As the member would know and as I have stated, I received an inquiry from the press in February 1989, asking if I was aware of a contribution or any contribution from the National Council of Jewish Women or Ms Starr. I said that I would certainly take a look through, referring it to my president, and I did so. I understand that he went through the records and informed the Ontario Liberal Party and also the Commission on Election Finances.
I further am told that the money that was not recorded through the riding association was repaid to the commission. In answer to the member’s question yesterday about the $350, I am also informed that money was paid back by the riding association to the commission, the delay being occasioned by the fact that these documents were held by the auditor. All of that can be verified.
Mr B. Rae: The Premier yesterday tried to clear up what happened exactly in terms of who referred this matter to the commissioner. The minister will no doubt be aware that the act which established the office of the commissioner received royal assent on 11 February 1988 and that the jurisdiction of the commissioner took effect on 11 February 1988, which would be the earliest time at which he could be seized of a matter.
I wonder whether the minister would be prepared to release to us today the exact contents of her letter to Mr Justice Evans, exactly what it is she asked him to look into, exactly what the transaction was that she felt might be improper and whether she would be prepared to make all that public since it is quite possible that the minister has referred --
The Speaker: Thank you, the question has been asked.
Mr B. Rae: -- something which the commissioner has no jurisdiction over.
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: As I indicated to the leader of the third party, I am more than willing to release that letter. I am more than willing to take part in any stage of the investigations that are currently going on and being co-ordinated by the acting Solicitor General (Mr Scott) -- the public trustee, the Commission on Conflict of Interest or the Commission on Election Finances.
Mr B. Rae: Let me just get quite clear what the minister is saying. First of all, Mr Justice Evans has said he cannot deal with it until after the Ontario Provincial Police investigation. It is quite possible that the judge will also say that there is no way he can deal with this matter because it is something that took place prior to his appointment and prior to the law coming into effect.
What I hear the minister saying and what I heard the Premier yesterday saying was simply this: They are prepared to park their conscience with Mr Justice Evans who may be, in fact, powerless to make this kind of investigation.
I would like to ask the minister, does she not feel in all conscience that what she did was improper, given the nature of the financial relationship between her ministry and Mrs Starr’s charity? Does she not realize that?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I am not prepared to deal in allegations or possibilities. I sent the letter to the Honourable Mr Justice Evans in order that he could make a decision for me. I have already told leaders of both the official opposition and the third party that I would be more than willing to release that letter.
Mr Brandt: I wonder if the minister could clarify for the House whether it was her decision to send a letter to Mr Justice Evans, or was it a decision by her Premier to have that letter sent to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I sent the letter to Mr Justice Evans, and it was concurred with by the Premier.
Mr Brandt: In light of the fact that these allegations are very clear in terms of the moneys that flowed both to her mother and to her campaign fund from a particular individual with a questionable relationship with her ministry, why would she not do what the present Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) did under somewhat similar circumstances some time ago and step down from her ministry until such time as this matter has been thoroughly investigated and reported on, indicating whether there is any fault on her part or not? Why would she not do the honourable thing?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: The definitions of “honour” are manifold. I have indicated to the member that I have done everything as fast as I could whenever any report of irregularities has come to me and that, secondly, I have asked for advice from the Conflict of Interest Commissioner to understand clearly whether he thinks I am in conflict. I am not advised as to whether the Ontario Provincial Police investigation precludes any decision by Mr Justice Evans coming to me. I have heard the member’s statement.
Mr McGuigan: My question is to the Minister of Natural Resources. The Great Lakes Fisheries Commission has said that it needs a minimum of US$9.6 million in 1990, if it is to maintain its existing sea lamprey control program. The budget for this fiscal year is about $6.8 million.
The commission says its current control program is inadequate and that upwards of $15 million is needed to properly fund this important program. Can the minister tell the House what the potential impact of a cut in the control program will be?
Hon Mr Kerrio: I am sure all members would be interested in the impact that the cutting of this funding is going to have on a very important initiative by the two governments of Canada and the United States of America.
The sea lamprey is a resilient animal that has lived through centuries even though man has done everything he can to eradicate it. The sad part of it is that the impact on our fisheries is great. In fact, at one time it had reduced our fish to very small numbers.
Members can see that this kind of fish that has the resilience it does, that attaches itself to another fish and would draw its very lifeblood, is a very serious threat to the fisheries. During a sea lamprey’s life cycle it will take some 40 pounds of fish from the Great Lakes. It is a great threat and I am doing everything I can to get the governments of Canada and the United States to have a second look at funding this very important program.
Mr McGuigan: Part of the blame for this lies with the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley). Since we have cleaned up some of the --
Mr Reville: It’s him. It’s him.
Mr McGuigan: No, you.
Since the minister has cleaned up the streams that go into Lake Erie, now it is a hospitable place for the lampreys. The pollution used to kill them, but now they are coming back. I wonder if I could point out to the minister that the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission is jointly funded by the federal governments of Canada and the United States at a ratio of 31 per cent from Canada and 69 per cent from the United States. What is the minister doing to encourage the federal government to adequately fund the sea lamprey control program?
Hon Mr Kerrio: The member for Essex-Kent (Mr McGuigan) is absolutely right on the target. As the waterways have been cleaned up by the Minister of the Environment, the fishing opportunities have come back to what they have not been for 25 years. The commercial and sports fishing on one of our Great Lakes is probably the largest in all of North America and we have to protect those opportunities.
I have written to Mr Siddon on two or three occasions and it looks like the federal government is backing off on everything that is worth while and that we have to do everything we can. I would ask the kissing cousins sitting over there to lean on their federal counterparts to see if they will not do something that is responsible to help us with this great fishing opportunity in this province.
Mr Kormos: I have a question of the acting Solicitor General. Douglas Edgecumbe indicates that he wrote to the Solicitor General two months ago reporting an incident which on its face would appear to be an offence, a serious offence, at least under the Election Finances Act. The question is, when did the Solicitor General, if at all, send that letter from Mr Edgecumbe on to the Commission on Election Finances in view of the fact that it illustrates a serious offence?
Hon Mr Scott: That letter came to my attention as acting Solicitor General -- or in any other capacity -- this morning. It was communicated by the Deputy Solicitor General, at my request, to the Ontario Provincial Police. I believe that, in the ordinary course, they will notify the election finances administration.
Mr Kormos: Do these types of allegations and this type of information only become important once they become known to the press and are reported? If the letter was sent two months ago, then what was the Solicitor General’s office doing sitting on a very serious allegation involving one of the government’s own ministers?
Hon Mr Scott: Obviously, the matter is taken seriously. I took it seriously when it came to my attention and we forwarded it to --
Mr D. S. Cooke: You read about it in the Globe.
Hon Mr Scott: No, as a matter of fact --
Mr Pouliot: You have been there since tomorrow.
Hon Mr Scott: No, I have been there longer than that, as the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr Pouliot) knows. When it came to my attention this morning, it was forwarded to the Ontario Provincial Police by the Deputy Solicitor General, and they have communicated with Mr MacDonald of the election finances commission.
Mr Runciman: My question is to the Minister of Financial Institutions and it is dealing with auto insurance -- I am sure that will make him happy -- in respect to the announcement by Prudential of America General Insurance Co that it is not going to offer auto insurance to Metropolitan Toronto-area families with drivers under 25. We have been telling the minister for over a year and a half now that exactly this sort of reaction was going to occur because of his government’s initiatives: that more and more people were going to be compelled, especially in the Metro Toronto area, into the high-priced facility insurance.
Can he indicate to us how he intends to respond to this action and other insurance companies’ similar actions? Is he prepared to review the risk classification system that he has brought in, with a view to having it recognize the reality of the highways?
Hon Mr Elston: I am particularly happy that the honourable member has asked the question because, first of all, it lets me have an opportunity to clear his mind of something that is not correct, and that is the fact that there is a risk classification that I have brought forward that is causing this difficulty. That, in fact, is not the case. As the member knows, Bill 10 postpones classification implementation, and the member knows that quite clearly.
Hon Mr Elston: That particular situation about which these people are laughing right now is a very serious one. I have to tell the honourable gentleman that from my point of view what is happening with the announcement from Prudential that it will not write insurance for automobile coverage for people with family members is reprehensible. It may not be illegal but it is, in my mind, almost bordering on the immoral to say that when people in Ontario have family Prudential will not write insurance.
I do not like that sort of thing and I have had my staff contact the company. I do know that the people from my point of view are making statements that family units in Ontario will not be provided with coverage through the private market. It becomes a very bad statement about what the companies think of family units in Ontario. It extends too far, in my mind, for me to condone that type of activity.
I would like to send the very strongest message to the private insurance company, Prudential in this case, and there is an indication or an allegation that other companies are doing something similar, that it ought --
The Speaker: Supplementary.
Mr Runciman: The minister, through his failed policies, has become the chief insurance broker for the Facility Association. The tires have fallen off the minister’s auto insurance policies, and in effect he is siphoning the fuel from the tanks of thousands of Toronto motorists by forcing them to line up at the Facility Association for a very costly engine overhaul.
The minister has said he is upset about this. Can he give us some specifics with respect to how he is going to respond to this, how he is going to correct the error and how he is going to help out Metro area drivers, specifically young Metro area drivers, who are being forced to look to the very costly Facility Association as their only source of auto insurance in this province?
Hon Mr Elston: I do not know what the honourable gentleman is trying to indicate his position is. It may be that he wishes the government to insure those people. If that is the case, he should clearly state that as opposed to doing something else.
I can tell the honourable gentleman that while we are looking at product reform in the Ontario marketplace, we will consider all options. I can tell the honourable gentleman where the correction is required: It is in fact the decision by that private company to more or less do away with covering family units for automobile insurance in Ontario.
I suspect, and I understand, that there is a considerable flurry of activity around that particular company because people are very upset with that. In fact, the market is making it very clear to that company that it is not happy with that announcement.
Hon Mr Elston: If he will give me an opportunity, I will reply. I can tell the honourable gentleman that in an earlier interview with people in the media, I said quite clearly that I take this type of activity so seriously that where it comes to having other products that are held by people in Ontario with that company, perhaps they should consider not doing business with it. I find it reprehensible, as I said earlier, for this company to say --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Hon Mr Elston: -- anybody in Ontario with 16- to 24-year-olds need not apply --
The Speaker: Order.
RENTAL HOUSING PROTECTION
Mr Faubert: My question is to the Minister of Housing. Tenants in the buildings of 2029, 2035, 2041, 2049 and 2055 Victoria Park Avenue in my riding of Scarborough-Ellesmere have recently contacted me regarding their concerns about a letter received from their property owner, Laxton and Tobis Investments Ltd. This letter offers them, through an intermediary realty company, an opportunity to purchase their own units.
We are advised that although no application for conversion has been made to date to the city of Scarborough, some residents of these maisonettes are obviously concerned about the possibility of their homes being converted into condominiums. Could the minister advise the House of the protection provided such tenants within the Rental Housing Protection Act.
Hon Ms Hošek: I thank the member for his notification of the question. Under the Rental Housing Protection Act, approval of the municipal council has to be obtained before any rental unit can be converted to a condominium or a co-operative, or severed for separate units.
I am informed that the owners of this property are aware of the act. If they decide to make an application, the act requires them to notify all the tenants that they are making such an application. The next requirement is that this whole matter be brought up to municipal council. Municipal council is required to hold a public meeting, notifying the tenants about it, and the tenants can say what they wish to say to council about this. They can make their views known to municipal council.
Council can approve this only if it is satisfied this would not have an impact on the supply of affordable rental housing or if the applicant agrees to relocate the tenants who may be displaced to similar units at similar rents, and also to replace any units lost as a result of the applications. There are quite stringent requirements there.
If the municipal council decides to approve this application, it can add further requirements on top of those, but those are the ones in the act. They have to make sure the tenants would have another place to live at a similar rent, similar price, similar location and also --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Hon Ms Hošek: -- they would have to say that the supply of affordable housing in the area would not be impacted.
Mr Faubert: I appreciate the response from the minister, because I am holding a meeting with the tenants tonight and I will be sure to pass along the information the minister just provided.
I would like to ask the minister, recognizing that the right of approval lies with the municipal council, what recourse do tenants have if they are not satisfied with the decision that council makes on this subject?
Hon Ms Hošek: If there is a decision made by municipal council that the tenants are dissatisfied with, they can appeal that decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.
CONDUCT OF CABINET MINISTERS
Mr B. Rae: I want to go back to the Minister of Culture and Communications and ask her to tell us exactly what it is she is asking us to believe. She is asking us to believe she had a casual conversation with the president of the organization in question, Mrs Starr. Mrs Starr asked her in a very casual way whether she knew of somebody who could help her out with some mailing. The minister gave her the name of her mother with a phone number.
The minister is asking us to believe her mother apparently got this contract -- although she has not seen the contract, has not seen the survey and does not know anything at all about it, $5,000 apparently was transferred from the organization to the minister’s mother --
The Speaker: The question?
Mr B. Rae: -- and there were no conversations at any time between the minister and her mother, no talk at all between then and apparently now as to the nature of the relationship between her mother and Mrs Starr’s organization. Is that what the minister is asking all of us to believe?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: That is right.
Mr B. Rae: I can only say, with great charity to the minister, that I find what she is saying stretches any degree of credibility with regard to what happened. It really does just stretch anyone’s notion of credibility.
Did it not strike the minister as odd, did it not ever strike the minister as a little bit strange that Mrs Starr, who is the president of an organization that has a very substantial financial relationship with the minister’s ministry, would ask the minister if she knew somebody who could help her with some stamps, when Mrs Starr is the president of an organization that has literally hundreds of volunteers who are available to Mrs Starr to do that work?
Would it not occur to the minister for a moment that what in fact was going on was quite simply an effort to buy the minister’s goodwill? Did she not understand that --
The Speaker: Order.
Mr B. Rae: -- was the nature of the transaction that was being discussed back in 1987 when it took place?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: No.
Mrs Cunningham: My question is to the Minister of Skills Development. In November, when he and I were asking and answering questions in this House, he stated in response to my question with regard to apprenticeship programs that he is working with four other ministries to bring out an effective training culture within this province and a working partnership with educational institutions and the business community. Can the minister advise this House specifically of the progress these four ministries have made over the last seven months?
Hon Mr Curling: I am very happy the member asked that question. Those five ministries are working very closely together. They are the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, the Ministry of Education and my ministry. As members know, we find it extremely important that the training strategy of this province encompass everyone working together.
Since then, we have met. Each minister has put forward various policies and various strategies and very soon the member will see the results of these committee meetings coming forward, bearing fruit.
Mrs Cunningham: I am really disappointed. To take a look at a Canadian Vocational Association conference, with another $100,000 spent on a study that tells us things we have known for literally years; that is, that young people are not sure of what they want to do when they finish school, that they are dropping out of school, and by the way, are dropping in and out of the workforce -- the study traced the path of young people between the ages of 17 and 28.
When the minister was asked a question about what was needed to solve the problem and provide this competitive workforce and training environment for people, he said he did not have any firm recommendations to offer to this group. He should be ashamed of himself. The minister should answer the question now. Does he have some firm recommendations to offer? Surely, if he has been meeting for years and specifically seven months --
The Speaker: The question has been put. Minister?
Hon Mr Curling: I am not ashamed that I do not have the results or the solution today. The problem really is that many times we have quick-fix responses to these problems that never last very long.
The honourable member can see from the throne speech and from the budget that we were able to impress upon the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) to put forward money and $10 million will be targeted towards training. That is a result of the 5M committee coming together and putting forward a strategy.
I am not at all ashamed we do not have the answer today. I am convinced that as a result of the way we are going and the consultation we are having, we will have some good results and some good response to the problems we have.
Mr Daigeler: My question is to the Treasurer. There was some great news in the Treasurer’s recent budget. At the same time, there were some steps that are a little bit more difficult to take and one of them is the new tire tax. As the minister knows, concerns have been expressed in the Ottawa area and other regions of the province that have easy access to other provinces. First, these business people are unclear about the purpose of this new tax. Second, they are concerned about a possible loss of customers to the neighbouring province or country.
For the benefit of the people of Ontario, can the minister restate the main objective of the new tire tax and can he address the special problem of border-town business people?
Hon R. F. Nixon: I thank the honourable member for giving me notice of the question. I consider it an important one. I believe the honourable member is aware there are now 18 million discarded tires lying around in stockpiles or distributed in farmers’ fields at the present time, and these are increasing in number at the rate of between eight and nine million a year.
They cannot be put into landfill. They cannot be burned. The Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) is undertaking research in conjunction with many individuals in private enterprise who are coming up with answers that have to be financed. The leadership that is coming from the Ministry of the Environment is going to assist us in solving that problem.
I do not want to say the revenue from the tax is earmarked, but it will form part of the support that has enabled me to announce an increase in the environmental budget of 16 per cent this year. which is directed towards assisting in the solution of that problem and many other environmental problems.
The honourable member had a second part to his original question, whether or not he has a supplementary. He indicated some difficulty with the competition across the border with Quebec. I can tell the honourable member that in many products, wherever our sales are in competition near a border, there are these problems. I should point out that the sales tax in Quebec is nine per cent and it is only eight per cent here, but there are other things that really mean that on both sides of the border there are these problems.
Mr Daigeler: I thank the Treasurer very much. I think the information regarding the main purpose of this tax will be especially useful because it is information that --
The Speaker: Order. Once again you are wasting the time. I am glad to wait but I know other members want to ask questions.
Mr Daigeler: I would like to ask the Treasurer about the tires that actually fall under this new tire tax. Apparently, this includes tires for wheelbarrows, lawn tractors and Rototillers. It would appear to me that a $5 levy on these kinds of tires seems rather steep, given the low purchase price of the tires themselves. May I ask whether the minister is prepared to exclude gardening equipment, as he has already done with bicycle tires, farm equipment and production machinery?
Hon R. F. Nixon: I can say that I agree with the honourable member and that I am prepared to ask the Minister of Revenue (Mr Grandmaître) to bring forward an amendment that would accomplish those changes.
Personally, I feel the tax is aimed at tires for cars and trucks. Also, it is designed to provide the kind of financing we need to control the problem. So I appreciate the honourable member raising the important matter here and I hope that when the House comes to deal with it, it can be dealt with along the lines the honourable member suggests.
CONDUCT OF CABINET MINISTERS
Mr Allen: I have a question for my colleague the member for Hamilton Centre, the Minister of Culture and Communications. I want to frame this question in as personal a way as I can, because I have had considerable respect for her as a politician.
Clearly it is going to be a long time for the investigation that is going to look into the events that have been swirling around her over the last few days. Nevertheless, the principal facts are clear: There are illegal election donations by charitable organizations with which she has done a good deal of business; donations in excess of legal limits; the laundering of donations to hide their illegality; she herself recommended her own mother for a contract with an organization with which she does a good deal of business.
Surely she must recognize that her ability to function without suspicion as a minister is seriously compromised by that series of events, regardless of how the details may work themselves out in the end.
The Speaker: The question?
Mr Allen: I want to appeal to her personally as a colleague from Hamilton. Does she not see that her own integrity and the standards of conduct of a minister of this government would be best affirmed by her accepting responsibility at this point in time and accepting resignation while the rest of those details are worked out? Is that not better and more honourable and neater for her than stonewalling the issues?
The Speaker: Order. The question has been asked.
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: To the member, I would like to return the respect. I understand where he is coming from.
I do not believe my integrity is compromised and I am awaiting any word from the Conflict of Interest Commissioner as to whether he feels a conflict of interest does apply, notwithstanding the technicalities that were brought up by the member’s leader. I do not believe my position as minister is compromised. As I said to the leader of the third party, I have listened to the member’s statement.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Mackenzie: Is the minister not aware that a previous minister in Hamilton, one John Munro, in his letter of resignation when he got involved in a situation --
The Speaker: Order. I have listened to many of the questions over the last few days and I have tried to be as fair as possible and allow questions of many ministers. I would just like to remind all members that the traditions of Parliament here and in many other countries are that questions should relate to ministerial responsibility. I hope members will keep that in mind.
Mr Mackenzie: Exactly.
A previous Hamilton minister who got into trouble, John Munro, said in his resignation letter: “The call was made and with the best of intentions and indeed my conscience is clear. However, in the circumstances, I have no choice but to submit my resignation as Minister of Labour.”
Does the minister not think the examples that have been set in the case of George Kerr and John Munro in the Hamilton area, who recognized the perception as well as the fact of acceptable standards and resigned quickly, would have been a much better approach for her to take rather than continuing to lower the standards of this government?
The Speaker: Order. I think it is time for all members to pause.
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I thank the member for the question. I return the respect to the member also.
I cannot compare the reasons for resignation of any minister. If the member wants to ask me a question, he should do so.
Mr Eves: I have a question of the Minister of Health. I have a memorandum in front of me from the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation dated yesterday, 13 June 1989. It was addressed to all the centre directors for the foundation and it was from Dr A. E. Clarke. The subject matter is radiation shortfall. I will read it. It is very brief.
“Following our meeting, detailed investigation shows that Kingston and Ottawa can only accommodate 200 of the anticipated 700 patients requiring radiotherapy by the end of the year. Is there any other way of absorbing these patients? Should consideration be given to not treating certain sites, e.g., asymptomatic lung cancer of a specified type? Please reply as soon as possible, in view of the board meeting on June 14,” which is today.
Is the minister aware of the memorandum, and what is her ministry doing about it?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I am not aware of the specific memorandum the member addresses, but in fact Dr Clarke has been appointed cancer program co-ordinator for the Ministry of Health. As the member knows, cancer care has been identified as one of our specialty care and priority areas in the ministry. I am pleased to know that Dr Aileen Clarke is active in communicating with all of those providing cancer care in the province to determine that we have the kind of program that will respond to meeting the real and changing needs of people with cancer in this province.
Mr Eves: This is a very serious problem. The problem arises, as I am sure the minister is aware, because of the need to close down, from lack of staffing, two out of 10 radiation machines at Princess Margaret Hospital here in Toronto which do a great deal of radiation treatment for people from all over Ontario.
I would like to quote to the minister from another letter, dated 18 May 1989, from Dr Corringham at the northeastern Ontario oncology program to Dr. Carlow here at Princess Margaret. It says, “I understand this reduction in available machine therapy time is planned to reduce the number of treatments given in 1989 to 57,600 from 75,000 in 1988, a reduction of 17,400 treatments a year.”
He goes on to say that he understands it is their intent to reduce potentially curative, radical radiation by 125 in the next six months, the number of patients received for palliative radiation by 3,300 and that the waiting time is now up to six weeks or more --
The Speaker: The question?
Mr Eves: -- and that people who have potentially curable cancer are now becoming incurable --
The Speaker: If the member cannot place the question --
Mr Eves: What is the minister doing about this very serious problem? Yesterday --
The Speaker: Order, order.
Hon Mrs Caplan: In fact, I can say to the member that, as I mentioned, cancer care has been identified as one of the priority areas for the ministry as part of our specialty care action plan. The appointment of Dr Aileen Clarke as our cancer care co-ordinator is a significant step in addressing many of the issues in cancer care around the province so that our vision of equity and access to effective, quality care is significant.
I can say to the him that, in fact, we have already made a $16.8-million announcement for the final phase of construction for radiation therapy equipment at the Northeastern Regional Cancer Centre. I can tell him that significant resources have been made available -- $I million for our cancer research centre in Sudbury.
As well, I can tell him that the Princess Margaret Hospital has doubled the number in its radiation therapy training program, which is the program in Ontario. Seventeen are expected to be certified this year and an additional 30 in 1990. We are also stepping up its overseas recruitment program, as well as developing a work plan so that we can, as we plan to meet the needs for the future, determine that we not only have the resources available in dollar terms but in human resources, as well. I can say to him that we are actively planning to meet the ongoing and changing needs of the people of the province, not only in cancer prevention but also in cancer treatment.
Mr Fleet: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. Earlier this week, President Bush announced a program to reduce acid rain emissions in the United States. I believe the target he set was in the order of 10 million tons by 2000.
The reality is that in Ontario, approximately half of all the acid rain deposition that falls on us is from the United States. Of course, it affects virtually every single person in Ontario, as well as agriculture, buildings and industries. The Countdown Acid Rain program that was announced by this government involves cutting emissions on our side by some 60 per cent by 1994.
I am wondering if the minister could inform the House how the President’s proposal is going to have an impact on this province.
Hon Mr Bradley: First of all, we do not have the intricate details of the program yet, but certainly the ballpark figure of 10 million tons being reduced is a very positive step forward if Congress actually enacts this legislation and provides some items in it that could be of some improvement.
What we are concerned about as a province, and I think this is shared by other provinces as well, is the provision for the trading of pollution credits, which is allowed in the program within states in the first five years, I understand, and in the second portion of the program between states. We think that could have a detrimental effect on Ontario in the second half, potentially, if they are allowed to trade credits to California, for instance, the west coast or Florida or something of that nature, in which it would not have a positive effect on Ontario, specifically, for instance, in the Muskoka area.
We think we have to analyse that very carefully. I hope that does not prevent the kind of cuts we need here in Ontario. Many of us have gone to the United States, and others will remember the early days of going to the United States, in an attempt to persuade them. If this can be built upon and improved upon in Congress, I think it is very positive.
Mr Fleet: I have a supplementary question. I am pleased to hear about some of the positive aspects. I am concerned that there may still be some weaknesses in the proposal of President Bush. As I understand the Ontario program to cut down on acid rain, there is a permanent cap on emissions that originate in this province regardless of the growth of industry or the economy in general.
I am wondering whether the minister can tell us, to the extent that we are aware of the current proposal in the United States, whether there is a similar cap that would be applicable. If there is not such a cap on American industries and sources, then how might we persuade the Americans to include that kind of protective provision in their legislation?
Hon Mr Bradley: My understanding is that there is not a full, permanent cap, but the opportunity will be there for members of Congress, on both the House and the Senate sides, when the legislation actually proceeds through the House, to put a permanent cap on. We think that is essential because if you simply look at the existing sources within the United States and cap those existing sources, and you allow for growth of sources as a result of economic and industrial growth, then you have not made the kind of gains I think are necessary.
I am hopeful that people who have been strong advocates of acid rain abatement legislation in the US Congress will add that provision, which would be beneficial not only to those of us in Canada but certainly to those in the United States who are also impacted by acid rain.
HOME CARE/TEACHERS’ SUPERANNUATION
Mr M. C. Ray: I have two petitions: one with 295 signatures, addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly, petitioning for increased funding for the Victorian Order of Nurses; the other with approximately 10 signatures, dealing with Teachers’ Superannuation Act amendments. I have affixed my signature to both.
Mrs Grier: I have a petition addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which calls upon the government to introduce legislation “that would guarantee naturopaths the right to practise their art and science to the fullest without prejudice or harassment.”
Mr Epp: I have a petition addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It deals with the Teachers’ Superannuation Act and the pension fund. It is signed by 12 people from my constituency.
Mr Reycraft: I have two petitions related to the Teachers’ Superannuation Act. One is signed by 10 constituents from the riding of Wentworth North, and the other by 13 constituents from Scarborough East.
Mr Reycraft: I also have a petition related to the practice of naturopathy, signed by 10 constituents from the riding of Oakwood and a fourth signed by 21 constituents from Oriole related to freedom of choice with respect to health care services.
Mr Brown: I have two petitions to the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. They are with regard to French-language services, and call for the government not to proceed with the implementation. I do not agree with these petitions, but I have affixed my signature.
Mr Kormos: I 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:
“Whereas Bill 162 (a) does nothing to improve lifetime pensions (especially for disease and soft-tissue injuries); (b) denies injured workers the right to rehabilitation; (c) offers reemployment rights that are less than afforded by the human rights act; (d) gives too much discretionary power to the Workers’ Compensation Board to deny injured workers benefits; (e) restricts injured workers the right to appeal;
“We request this assembly to advise the Labour minister, the Honourable Gregory Sorbara, to withdraw said Bill 162, An Act to amend the Workers’ Compensation Act.”
It is signed by Carey Harfst along with nine others, and I, of course, have put my signature on it as well.
Miss Nicholas: I have a petition to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and it deals with amendments to the Teachers’ Superannuation Act. Not many are from my riding but some are. There are a great number of signatures, and I affixed my signature to it as well.
REPORT BY COMMITTEE
STANDING COMMITTEE ON REGULATIONS AND PRIVATE BILLS
Mr Furlong from the standing committee on regulations and private bills presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:
Bill Pr9, An Act respecting the City of Windsor.
Your committee recommends that Bill Pr11, An Act respecting the city of Windsor, be not reported.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
POWER CORPORATION AMENDMENT ACT, 1989 (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 204, An Act to amend the Power Corporation Act.
Mr Cureatz: It is with a great deal of pleasure that I have the opportunity to once again participate on Bill 204. I am so pleased that the chairman of the --
Hon Mr Conway: I will be back. Mr Cureatz: Tell the member for Carleton (Mr Sterling) to just hustle in here and the member will not have to listen to me to prolong the agony.
Mr Cureatz: One of the few times I am met with a round of applause.
I am so pleased that the former chairman of the select committee on energy is in attendance. Of course, I had indicated to the Minister of Energy (Mr Wong) in my opening remarks yesterday --
Mr Cureatz: Vince Borg complains about my tie. I wonder if he thinks it is long enough today, if he is watching on TV. He wants me to wear makeup. I will not go with the makeup, but I can adjust the tie. The member for Scarborough Centre (Miss Nicholas) is coming to adjust my tie.
Let me see, my opening remark about the bill, if I can just find it -- just be patient -- was that among other things we were most appreciative of the Liberal member for Oakville South (Mr Carrothers), who headed up the select committee on energy. In my own humble estimation, I think he did an admirable job.
Mr Cureatz: Scattered applause. If there was one fault, I say to him if he is listening to me, it was that he extended the committee day a little too long -- from about 10 in the morning, sometimes 9, until 6.
Mr Carrothers: The taxpayers got their money’s worth.
Mr Cureatz: They sure did. But the problem is that when one is sitting on the committee it becomes a little tedious to try to assimilate all the information that is coming forth. All I want to say --
Miss Nicholas: Assimilate?
Mr Cureatz: If the member for Scarborough Centre were to sit in her own seat and heckle me, that is one thing, but for her to have the audacity to sit there and natter away not in her own seat -- I know the Speaker, under standing order 24(b), is very upset about that and will reprimand her very shortly.
The Deputy Speaker: Interjections are never in order, no matter which seat the member is sitting in, may I add. Only the member for Durham East has the floor; therefore, he may be the only one to proceed.
Mr Cureatz: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I know that at 3:10 in the afternoon so many people at home are watching this enthusiastic debate and we have scattered applause here with some guests in the gallery. We have one or two looking down here. I hope they do not drop anything. I was here once on the nickel debate and people threw down nickels from cans. I happened to be sitting on the back bench way over there where the minister was sitting and got hit on the head with nickels. I hope we do not have the same thing today.
I say to the chairman of the select committee on energy, “Don’t prolong those committee hearings,” because I have a sneaking suspicion that we are going to come to some satisfactory resolution to Bill 204 in the process we are involved with. We will hopefully get it to committee, about which I want to mention a thought or two in a moment.
I did miss out yesterday a compliment that I wanted to give to the minister. I indicated how lucky he was, being a new elected member, to be suddenly put into the position of power of holding a very important portfolio in Ontario in terms of supplying energy to the residents of this fine province.
I failed to do what I want to do now -- and I know that the present Speaker will allow me to deviate for a moment or two from Bill 204 -- to compliment the minister and, yes indeed, the government of Ontario on the newly appointed deputy minister, Tom Sosa, who has taken up his position just in the last five or six weeks. I did not have the opportunity of bringing that to the attention of the minister or the government.
I know we are into some pretty heavy times here during question period, but listen, I like giving credit where credit is due. I think the appointment of the minister’s deputy is very innovative. It shows an indication that sometimes we in opposition, with the goings-on that we see recently, get blinders on and think in terms of politics, that everything is politically oriented.
But I feel comfortable in terms of Mr Sosa’s appointment. Looking at his educational background, I think his credentials are exemplary. He certainly has shown through the past number of years in education at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute his ability to work with people. My interest was more in relation to his, I believe, appointment, as a layperson, as a bencher in the Law Society of Upper Canada.
If there is one group of people who are difficult at the best of times to work along with -- and the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) will remind us -- it is the barristers and solicitors of Ontario. My understanding is that Mr Sosa had worked along with the former treasurer and now lifetime bencher, Laura Legge of the firm Legge and Legge here in Toronto.
We are looking forward to Mr Sosa’s introduction to the ministry and indicate that we are confident with these kinds of, as I can see, nonpartisan appointments. It does actually put a good stamp that we have not seen lately on the government in certain areas.
We are hoping that the minister will work along with his deputy. Having had the opportunity of working with Jim Taylor, former Minister of Energy and member for Prince Edward-Lennox -- he gave the famous speech about being mugged in the corridors of power, referring specifically to, I think, his deputy minister at the time and various underlings under him -- I am confident we will not encounter that kind of association between our present minister and the deputy minister. We give credit to the government for Tom Sosa’s appointment, because ministers come and go and deputy ministers always seem to hang on for ever and ever. I am sure he will make his mark within that portfolio.
As I indicated under my comments yesterday afternoon, to refresh the minister’s memory, we had taken a tour of the various select committees that had sat in Ontario. More particularly, we had not had the opportunity of centring in on the last committee’s sittings.
For a moment, as I bide my time, I want to bring to the minister’s attention one or two aspects of the committee’s report that I know my friend and colleague the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr Charlton) had indicated. To refresh the minister’s memory, of course, the whole concern I think we had, notwithstanding that my colleague the New Democratic Party critic and I had indicated that we are supporting the bill, is that we are most interested for the legislation to go to committee. We are interested in maybe a three-week span.
I know the select committee on energy is not officially sitting, but my understanding through my past experience of being Deputy Speaker is that anything can happen in this place if we have all-party agreement. I feel confident that the House leader for the government, our own House leader and the NDP House leader can come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement so that at some appropriate time the select committee on energy would be able to sit, even though it is not at the moment in Orders and Notices.
That being in mind, what do we do about the immediate problem? I think there is a possibility that the bill could carry on, possibly to the standing committee on resources development, and then maybe off into the select committee on energy at such time as this House can make such arrangements.
That is all well and good, but I sort of have the feeling that this should be a two-phase committee meeting. My friend and colleague the member for Hamilton Mountain indicated about Bill 204 -- and I see my friend and colleague the member for Chatham-Kent (Mr Bossy) is looking with great interest. The reason he is doing that is that he and I had the opportunity of participating in a very interesting meeting concerning the affairs of the province, along with the member for Nickel Belt (Mr Laughren) and my colleague and almost-friend the member for London North (Mrs Cunningham).
During those discussions of concerns that we had for the people of Ontario, I think the member for Chatham-Kent got an appreciation of some of the various aspects that I have about Bill 204 and the direction this present government is taking in terms of energy. I know the member, who is more partial to baseball than he is to electricity being produced by Ontario Hydro, was not too enthusiastic about my concerns.
I do not particularly blame him because my friend and colleague the member for London North was not either, as indicated by the fact that she is just about to leave in the middle of my speech. But I know she will be going to her office and tuning in directly so that she can listen verbatim to the thoughts and concerns that I have about this particular bill.
As I indicated to the minister, I think my colleague and friend the member for Hamilton Mountain indicated that there are three areas, generally speaking. One is the bill and the third area is the government intervention. Oh yes, the second area was the Ontario Energy Board and its areas of parameters that are not covered by the bill.
Of course, my friend the member for Hamilton Mountain has that kind of concern because he brought in a private member’s bill. I think he said when. Let me see. This is the spring; it must have been last fall. I had the opportunity at that time of debating the bill in the Legislature and discussing it with caucus, and of course we all know how supportive my caucus is of the official opposition, especially since 1985, when the NDP decided to support the Liberals in minority government and not ourselves.
But with great enthusiasm and vigour I was able to convince my caucus to support the honourable member for Hamilton Mountain on his proposed amendment to restructure the Ontario Energy Board. That is the second phase he indicated that is missing in terms of this three-phase proposal and the third phase, which I am sympathetic about, goes back to the government intervention.
What are we going to see that is coming forward from the bill in terms of government policy? I have a sneaking suspicion that this bill is not overly supported by those who are housed over in the southwest corner of College Street and University Avenue, those in the Ontario Hydro building -- who, by the way, have a lovely view as you get up to the top floors -- because it certainly, we think, is going to cramp their style in terms of decision-making.
Lo and behold, after all these years of rattling along with people like Julian Reed, who was the Energy critic for the Liberal Party a long time ago now, who indicated that Ontario Hydro was out of control, the government at that time was not getting a handle on it, I suppose this is the big piece of legislation, Bill 204, An Act to amend the Power Corporation Act, where at long last we are going to see that the government is attempting to get the necessary power, through this legislation, to give specific policy direction to Ontario Hydro.
Do any members think for one moment --
Mr Pouliot: Question, Mr Speaker.
The Deputy Speaker: No.
Mr Cureatz: Does the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr Pouliot), I wonder, for one moment think that Ontario Hydro is going to be supportive of this kind of legislation? I know in the response to the debate he will be more than pleased to indicate what he thinks about whether Ontario Hydro is going to be supportive of this kind of legislation.
Then there is my good friend and colleague the member for Sault Ste Marie (Mr Morin-Strom), who came into the Legislature in 1975. He defeated a great and wonderful member, a former Minister of Labour, a colleague of mine, one of my first seatmates, as a matter of fact. For that matter, does the member for Durham Centre (Mr Furlong) wonder for a moment what Ontario Hydro thinks about the bill?
I can see with the hush that has ascended over the chamber that they all know what Ontario Hydro thinks about the bill. I do not think Ontario Hydro is particularly supportive of the legislation, because there is an intrusion into what Ontario Hydro has had for a long time, probably a pretty strong monopoly on decision-making processes in terms of producing electricity in Ontario.
Mr Pouliot: Where are all your distinguished colleagues?
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. One member at a time, please.
Mr Cureatz: I want to say, Mr Speaker, that my friend and colleague the member for Lake Nipigon is extremely concerned about the process that is taking place here in the assembly. It will not fall on my head but, sir, I am concerned that there is not a quorum.
The Deputy Speaker ordered the bells rung.
The Deputy Speaker: A quorum is now present. The member for Durham East may proceed.
Hon Mr Kerrio: Oh no, Sam, we came back for this.
Mr Cureatz: Oh no, I say to the Minister of Natural Resources, who berated me yesterday about energy problems, that he is the one who probably caused some of these because he held the two portfolios at that time back under minority government. I say to all the Liberal backbenchers that they should have seen the Minister of Natural Resources in those days gone by. He really whacked away at the members of the then third party, now the official opposition, and called them all kinds --
The Deputy Speaker: Order. Only the member for Durham East has the floor. The interjections are uncalled for and against the standing orders.
Mr Cureatz: I appreciate that very much. I can only speak on behalf of all my colleagues and feel very confident in saying that they are only trying to give me assistance, but it is not needed under the circumstances because I think I am doing fine as I am.
I do apologize for having to call the quorum bells, but of course I wanted to call the quorum bells only because the nasty House leader of this great big arrogant Liberal government has brought forward legislation that is going to change the rules, and no doubt under those rule changes he is proposing to do away with quorum calls. He does not want to take the responsibility that he has of running the government of Ontario.
While we still have the standing rules, I wanted to make sure that I would be allowed to make my quorum call, not like the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay (Mr Black), who was in fact criticizing the opportunity of all of us reading petitions and, lo and behold, he stands up and reads a petition. I reminded him that he had better get going in reading it because by the time this nasty government has finished the democracy will be gone.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr Cureatz: We will be gagged here in the Parliament of Ontario and will not have the opportunity of reading petitions or making quorum calls.
I know the Speaker wants to know what this has to do with Bill 204. Let me just work it in. Under the present rules of procedure, all of us have the opportunity of participating in debates on legislation. As the present rules allow us to do so, I am going to take the full opportunity of doing that because I know what is going to happen. Even that opportunity that I have now will no doubt be taken away, because the government just thinks it can go change the rules willy-nilly.
The member for Durham Centre does not understand that; the member for Mississauga North (Mr Offer) does not understand that. They have no appreciation of the parliamentary heritage that we have around here. They get in the back benches -- as I said the other day, the back benches are unbelievable.
The then Solicitor General, the member for London South (Mrs E. J. Smith) resigned, and the front four of the apocalypse over there, the government House leader, the member for Renfrew North (Mr Conway), the Attorney General (Mr Scott), the Treasurer and the Premier (Mr Peterson). looked over the great big list. For all the people at home, we should have a close-up here on the television. These are all Liberals over here, and there are more. It is called the Liberal rump.
Those four guys could not find one person, not one person, good enough to fill the shoes of the former Solicitor General. Now, how does that make all the 64 backbenchers feel? There are a lot of lawyers in there. It is a good thing that the Minister of Energy is way back in the back bench over there in discussion of Bill 204; otherwise, he might have wound up being the Solicitor General. We know that he had to concentrate --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Can I ask the member what this has to do with Bill 204?
Mr Cureatz: I was straying just a little, but when I saw the government House leader, the hair on the back of my neck rose and I was so upset about the process that is taking place here, I did get carried away.
The Deputy Speaker: My hair rises when you stray off topic.
Mr Cureatz: Having the fullest respect for you, Mr Deputy Speaker, having the opportunity I once did many, many years ago to sit in the esteemed position that you have, I will now do my utmost best to turn my attention back to the legislation at hand.
I indicated to the minister that we feel very comfortable that there will no doubt be an agreement in terms of how this legislation will unfold in the fullness of time. Of course, there was some manoeuvring. The government wanted an automatic vote on this to carry it forward.
Mr Furlong: You like this process, though. You like to waste time.
Mr Cureatz: I can only remind the member for Durham Centre -- albeit he was elected in a Liberal landslide and, happily enough, with the good support of the people in Durham East, I was able to withstand the onslaught -- that we humble people in the opposition have one or two concerns. After all, we are the opposition; we have been elected. This is not New Brunswick. The Liberals do not have all the seats here, although I bet they wish they had.
Mr Furlong: Not yet.
Mr Cureatz: “Not yet,” the member says. Wait and see after the next election. There is no way that this Liberal government is going to come back with 95 seats. That I can guarantee the member.
All the Liberal backbenchers had better be looking after their own seats. One way they can be looking after them is worrying about Bill 204, because under Bill 204 there is an attempt to instigate a policy direction by the Liberal government.
I give credit to my colleague the member for Hamilton Mountain, who spoke before I did. He came very close to the concerns. As I have said before, the bill has lots to say and it has nothing to say. It has lots to say about the fact that the government is going to be intervening but it does not say anything about how the government is going to be intervening.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr Cureatz: The Speaker, no doubt, is concerned about what the follow-through on this is. Here is the concern.
Over the last couple of years we have had the select committee on energy. As those committees have unfolded, as I indicated yesterday, I only read half of the reports. Of course, if I get really enthusiastic and I hear the clamour of more of my colleagues, I can continue and read the rest of the reports, although I specifically want to get into the more recent report that I did all that homework on anyway. I might as well at least take a little whack at it.
The point of the matter is that, with the investigation, and if we get the select committee on energy structured again, which I have every confidence that we will, where do we go from there? I have asked the Minister of Energy his concerns about supplying the electrical needs of the people of Ontario. To date, I have not got too much of a response. Lo and behold it was like manna from heaven. I can only say that he indicated to me that the manner in which the problem is going to be resolved, in looking to evaluate whether, where and when we need another major electrical plant, will be some time in the fall when Ontario Hydro comes forward with its demand-supply option.
I say to the minister that is not going to be the be-all and end-all, because it is going to be very confusing. There is going to be no crystal ball, although in gratitude to Ontario Hydro, being the critic for the Ministry of Energy, I want to say I had the opportunity this morning of attending the research facilities of Ontario Hydro, whose little booklet I am sure is close by and members are all awaiting with great anticipation. I have this one, a colouring and activity booklet, ZAP, the Friendly Safety Bird. I am going to take that home for one of my children. I know they will enjoy colouring that in. Oh, here it is, lo and behold.
It is this kind of approach Ontario Hydro takes that maybe the minister is going to be concerned about under Bill 204, although I somehow doubt it.
For instance, they had an open house on 13, 14 and 15 June over at the research centre. Goodness knows, I could take the next hour to go over it. They had 43 centres at the research centre. I got there about 10 o’clock and ran around for two hours just to get a little synopsis of the various research aspects. Ontario Hydro -- holy smokes, talk about information -- just piles it on. Your head starts to ache.
The only really good part was this acoustics room they have. Members really would have loved this and no doubt will have a free vote to put me into the acoustics room. This acoustics room is a small room. It is totally insulated and on springs. It is the quietest room in the country next to the research room the National Research Council of Canada has in Ottawa, I guess for the federal politicians if they want to go in there. That is very interesting. The room is so quiet that when one goes in there it is noisy. Members have to think about that. I invite all members to call Ontario Hydro to go in the acoustics room.
The point of the matter is that the minister is going to have a very difficult time in terms of trying to get those policy directions to Ontario Hydro, because it has a volume of information.
Did the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr Kerrio), who held two portfolios back in those days, as Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Energy, ever visit the research centre on Kipling?
Hon Mr Kerrio: I was everywhere.
Mr Cureatz: He has done everything. I will speak to his lovely wife, Rose, to see whether he has done everything. That is a matter for debate at another time.
I say to the now Minister of Energy that he should be talking to the Minister of Natural Resources, who has held the portfolio before, and that is the one problem with Hydro. Sitting on the select committee on energy, the problem the minister is going to have under Bill 204 is directing the policy, because Hydro has been there for a long time, since Sir Adam Beck. There is a history of the institution that goes back a long way, and in the late 1970s and early 1980s there was beginning to be another interest in the institution. I guess that interest is reflected in what we are seeing here in the legislation.
By the same token, as voluminous as the information by Ontario Hydro was at the research centre, I will say this for it. I mean, it is operating I suppose one of the biggest industries, if not the biggest industry, in Ontario. What could be bigger? I do not know: General Motors, Inco or Dofasco? I do not think so. When one thinks of the billions of dollars that have been spent on our generating facilities and the number of people that are working, it is a world unto itself.
Knowing the kinds of technical material they have at their disposal, and being a representative for the riding of Durham East where one of the world’s largest nuclear stations is being built, I have the concern, as has everyone, that we cannot afford any kind of accident whatsoever at any of our plants.
When I was walking around the research centre, they gave me so much information that I have to say one does feel comfortable with the kind of depth Hydro goes into in terms of the various aspects of the production of electricity. I left with the gut feeling that they do have things under control.
Maybe that goes back to narrowness, though, because their mandate has always consistently been the production of electricity at the lowest cost possible. Maybe they have not centred in on some of those other areas like cogeneration or conservation. That is what Bill 204 is all about, is it not, I say to the minister?
As a result, I want to say that if we are able to get this into the select committee on energy, which I suspect we will be able to -- I give credit to the minister and thank him if he gave us support to carry on that way. Hopefully, it will be the member for Oakville South who will be chairing it again. He certainly has a good tradition of doing an admirable job.
I do not think we should stop there. I am not suggesting the committee should continue on for the summertime. I say to the member for Brampton South (Mr Callahan) that he has been around now for a while, so he has learned a few tricks of the trade. Regarding the select committee on energy, if we do not continue to sit throughout the summer, we can make it two to three weeks on this particular Bill 204
Hydro is going to come out with its demand-supply option. I know the people at home and our own party whip probably do not get too excited about electricity. You stagger into your office and turn on the switch and on go the lights. You turn on television at night to watch the news and see what is going on. But I will tell members that the time when people are going to get concerned is when we do not have enough electricity. I want to say to the minister that I do not think he is particularly bringing his attention to that focus. He is not going to pull any tricks on me.
The member for Oxford (Mr Tatham) had a question. I have the question here. The question was -- I am searching; let me see. No, that is on the bird bill; that is tomorrow. The question is in my folder. If members are really keen, I could dig it out. Questions, questions. In any event, the member was really being cute. It was a staged question. He had asked the minister about feeling comfortable. “Through conservation, are you going to conserve” -- I think it was 5,000 megawatts. The minister stood up and said by rote, “Oh yes, but you know, we have to break it down and we’re going to conserve it through this and we’re going to conserve it through that.” It was a nice little setup question. He is not going to fool anybody with that one.
I say to the minister that when Ontario Hydro comes out with its demand-supply option this fall, it is still going to be very unclear about the manner in which the government is going to decide how we are going to produce the required electricity in Ontario. I am strongly urging the minister -- I have every confidence to believe that my friend and colleague the member for Hamilton Mountain, his colleague the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Mrs Grier), myself and possibly the member for Leeds-Grenville (Mr Runciman), if he is on the committee, will be supportive of the continuation of the select committee on energy some time in January, February, or March 1990 so that we can take a look at what Ontario Hydro is going to propose under the demand-supply study option.
I say to the minister that when he gets it on his desk, it is not going to be the be-all and end-all. It would not hurt one bit for his former chairman of the committee to constitute the committee again in those months so we can take an evaluation, an examination of what Ontario Hydro is going to propose for its demand-supply study option.
Do you know what? I am going to look into the future. I think we should examine it, but I bet it is going to say that we are going to need another plant. Of course, we all know what those people in the government are going to do. They are going to try to postpone that plant until after the election because they know the only kind of plant they can build is nuclear. But we will wait and see. I say to the minister that we should reconstitute the committee in January or February 1990 so we can take a look at the demand-supply option of Ontario Hydro.
As I said to him at the termination of my remarks yesterday and as I say at the termination of my remarks today, notwithstanding some of my thoughts and concerns, we are supportive of the legislation. I think at this time -- no, I am not going to adjourn the debate; I am just going to sit down.
The Deputy Speaker: Would members have questions and comments on the member’s statement?
Mr Black: I have a comment. I want to first of all thank the member for Durham East for his comments. It is not that we agree with all of them, but he does serve to provide us with entertainment and relaxation here in the House. I thought yesterday I was going to have the opportunity to get up and thank him for making his speech because there were no other members of his party present in the House to do that. At the beginning of today’s speech, there was no one here from his party who might have done that. I will not have to do that now because two other members have come in, but I do want to say to the member for Durham East we appreciate the entertainment.
Mr Pouliot: With the highest of respect for the member for Muskoka, I cannot sit idly by when we have been the recipients, collectively and individually, to a member, of words of wisdom and a good deal of knowledge indeed that is pertinent about Bill 204. The member spoke. He did not ride the puck. He did not entertain. He spoke from the heart about a matter that demands a great deal of expertise, and to be labelled “entertaining” does not even begin to give him justice. He is a person of colour.
Ms Collins: A character.
Mr Pouliot: No, no, he portrays things. He simplifies what is indeed a complicated matter and he should be commended so that the members of this House will hang on every word and will begin to understand the flaws that are associated with what is being proposed here. He did it better than anyone, collectively with our distinguished representative, our critic on Ontario Hydro matters, not an easy subject.
What is regrettable indeed and should have been mentioned by the member for Muskoka is that the Minister of Energy was left like the proverbial soldier at his post and we had to call for a quorum. He was by himself when he should have been supported by the spear carriers that are 94 members out of 130.
The people of Ontario are watching and are aware of what has been said by the two critics and they do indeed join me in offering sympathy to the Minister of Energy, for he was by himself. We appreciate the courtesy, the compliment he paid us of listening so patiently to the proper alternatives being proposed by the opposition.
Mr Black: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I appreciate the opportunity to raise the issue of both the member for Durham East (Mr Cureatz) and the member for Lake Nipigon, who failed to recognize that for the past 20 months this position --
The Deputy Speaker: That is not a point of order.
Mr Black: I just want to point out that I am the representative for Muskoka-Georgian Bay. The many thousands of people who live in the Georgian Bay part of my riding would appreciate the recognition from all --
The Deputy Speaker: Order. Thank you for the point of information.
Mr Callahan: I want to join in the debate and agree with the member for Lake Nipigon. The member for Durham East surely does have colour, and I think it is not blue; I think it is red. In addition to that, I want to say one thing. His entire speech was electrifying.
The Deputy Speaker: Any other words of wisdom from members?
Mr Sterling: I want to respond to the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay, who seems not to understand that the opposition parties, with 17 and 19 members respectively, have many, many responsibilities, not only in this Legislature but outside this Legislature, to tell the people of Ontario how badly they are being served by the present government.
It is not possible for us to be in the Legislature at all times. Therefore, in our caucus we have delegated to various people the responsibility of carrying the debate in the Legislature. I myself, for instance, am supposed to be in another committee this afternoon. Most members of our caucus have to serve on at least two committees. Some serve on three committees.
Even though we are strapped for numbers, I will say this: When we take on a job, we do the job from start to finish, unlike the five Liberal members who attended the standing committee on administration of justice on Monday to hear the clause-by-clause reading of the bill on sheriffs’ responsibilities in courthouses. We had five brand-new Liberal members who had not heard public representation come in to do the clause-by-clause section of the bill, a travesty to the system that members of the back bench of the Liberal Party do not seem to understand.
Therefore, I would like to thank the member for Durham East for carrying out his responsibility as delegated to him by our caucus and thank him for his excellent presentation.
The Deputy Speaker: Are there any more questions and comments on the statement of the member for Durham East? If not, would the member wish to respond?
Mr Cureatz: With the two minutes I know are allowed me, far be it from me to let the opportunity pass by without participating in the conclusion of the debate. Of course, what else can I do but heartily agree with the member for Lake Nipigon in terms of his thoughts and concerns that I have; even the member for Brampton, although he still owes me a lunch; I suppose he thinks that is a payment back.
Of course, my friend and colleague is a front-bencher and I sit way back here on the back bench, but notwithstanding that difficulty, we thank the member for Carleton because indeed what all the nasty backbench Liberals have yet to figure out is that we have some tools of the trade around here that are still allowed us and that one of them is in terms of maybe stretching the time out a little bit. If it annoys them, then that is what the job is all about, is it not?
They have been elected to run the province so they have to sit here and run it. What? Do they not want to be in their places? Do they not want to sit there and represent the fine people of their particular ridings? Throughout my various dialogue, I have expressed some concerns, if members examine carefully the comments I have made to the minister about the legislation, that we are running out of electricity. How many guys in the back bench have stood up in the caucus of their party and said: “Mr Minster, by the way, if we run out of electricity, are we going to be in trouble in the next election?”
I bet not one of them stood up and said that, and that would be the biggest issue in the next election if we have a brownout or a blackout on the hottest day of the summer or the coldest day of the winter. That is what I have been trying to say for the last, I think, only three hours.
Hon Mr Conway: Sam, did you take the seagull to your caucus?
Mr Cureatz: If it takes four or five hours to get it through the thick head of the honourable House leader who has the audacity -- before it is all through, he is going to bring in the new rules in which his kind of interjection probably will not be allowed, except for government members. I can see the way we are going.
We are looking forward to the continuation of the committee in the new year, 1990.
The Deputy Speaker: Do other members wish to participate in the debate? If not, would the minister wish to wind up?
Hon Mr Wong: I am very pleased to have an opportunity to respond to the comments made by my colleagues, the critics from the two parties, on second reading of Bill 204, An Act to amend the Power Corporation Act.
Let me say that I am also pleased with the support of many of the government members who are here, particularly my colleague the former Minister of Energy, on whose foundation we have built, in part, the amendments and the memorandum of understanding; my parliamentary assistant who in addition to being an engineer was a person who had worked for Ontario Hydro in previous years -- his input and advice have also been quite helpful. I am very pleased today to see the member for Oakville South is here, the chairman of the previous select committee on energy.
Let me say that I have appreciated the constructive, thoughtful and sometimes colourful comments from both of my colleagues from the other parties, the member for Hamilton Mountain and the member for Durham East. I want to add that I was very happy to hear them say yesterday and today that both, in representing their parties, were very supportive of this important piece of legislation.
I would also like to refresh all our memories as to how important Bill 204 is, the amendments to the Power Corporation Act. Ontario Hydro, as most members would know, is the largest electricity utility in North America. It is also the largest nonfinancial company in Canada; that is, it is not a bank and it is not a trust company. It is a large corporate entity within Canada with assets of about $33 billion, with a revenue level of in excess of $6 billion for the current fiscal year in which we are operating.
Hydro, of course, has a staff of approximately 24,000 people, and when you add the approximately 6,000 people who are completing the Darlington plant that equates to 30,000 people, recognizing that the rest of the government itself has a current figure of about 87,000.
We are dealing with an entity that has had a very profound influence socially, economically and environmentally on this province. In all of Canada we are very lucky and fortunate when it comes to energy and electricity. In Canada we use, for example, 16,000 kilowatt-hours per capita. In many Third World countries, they use in the order of 400 to 500 kilowatt-hours per capita. So Ontario, as the leading industrial province in Canada, is a big user of electricity. It is important not just to the individual consumer, but to business and also to industry.
What we are trying to do here with this bill is cause Ontario Hydro to be more responsive to government policies and to public concerns and initiatives. As I said yesterday, this legislation package, comprised of amendments and a new memorandum of understanding between Ontario Hydro and the government, is a significant step forward in fulfilling this government’s energy policies.
Changes made in this package will help Ontario Hydro carry out the government’s top priorities: conservation and energy efficiency. These changes will play an important role in helping this government effectively plan the future of our electricity system in Ontario.
We face a number of challenges in electricity planning, including the question of when and what type of new supply will be needed in the future. I am confident the new policy framework the government has developed will ensure that the decisions we make will be well informed and timely. The new memorandum dictates that Hydro will provide the government with its long-term plans and studies to help ensure this will be the case.
While we do not yet have all the answers on the question of new supply, this government has made a long-term commitment to demand management through conservation and energy efficiency. While we proceed to do our homework on new supply, we will be aggressively pursuing improvements in demand management.
Legislative roadblocks that prevented the utility from offering incentives to its customers to achieve such improvements have been eliminated. Ontario Hydro will be spending $1.5 billion over the next five years to produce gains in demand management. We have also asked the utility to provide us with targets on conservation and efficiency and on its plans for achieving these targets, so that they may be reviewed and assessed by the government.
I want to assure this House that I have a personal commitment to demand management and that I have noted my critics’ suggestions on the subject with great interest.
Parallel or independent generation, another important government priority, has also been addressed by this legislation. Last summer, I received a report from Ontario Hydro that set 1,000 megawatts as a target for independent generation by the year 2000. I told the utility that I believed more could be done, more could be accomplished in this area. I think in fact that we could double that target.
In the very near future, I will be presenting the government’s policy statement on parallel generation to this House. This will be the first of a number of policy statements the government will issue to Ontario Hydro that Hydro shall respect.
In addition, this package meets the government’s commitment, and my personal commitment as minister, to protect the environment. Hydro has also committed itself to ensuring that its programs are compatible with our environmental goals, including the improvement of air and water quality through lowered harmful emissions.
I believe that this package has improved the utility’s accountability and responsiveness to government policies and public priorities.
Yesterday my critics questioned this fact, the question of accountability and how responsive this document was. I can tell them that Hydro is accountable to the government in many ways. First, the government, through the Treasurer of Ontario, controls the purse-strings of the utility. It is through the Treasurer and the cabinet that Ontario Hydro gets the approval to sell the bonds.
Second, the government has control over who is appointed to the board of directors of Ontario Hydro. By controlling the dollars and the people on the board of directors, these are very strong levers indeed. But the question I think the critics were raising, and the government and I were listening, were questions like, “Is this enough to ensure Hydro is responsive to the government?”
When we reviewed the Power Corporation Act, we asked ourselves this question and many related questions. We responded with a number of initiatives. The government now has the authority in Bill 204, when it becomes law, to issue policy statements that the utility shall respect. What that means, as I said yesterday, is that Hydro will leave no stone unturned, in plain English, to carry out the government’s policies.
In the new memorandum, an elaborate document, the government’s goals are set out clearly. Hydro has committed itself to attain these goals. I will just mention a number of them. They cover the areas of electricity conservation, energy conservation, environmental protection, the role of government in provincial economic development, cost-effective operation of the electricity system, enhanced consultation, public participation and information-sharing in the development of Hydro’s major planning decisions, increased encouragement of renewable energy supplies, disposal of Hydro’s surplus lands on a housing-first basis, greater private-sector participation in development and increased involvement of remote and native communities in electricity planning.
I urge all members, if they have not read the memorandum of understanding, to read this document. The memorandum also requires that Hydro provide the government with up-to-date and factual information on a regular basis. This includes Hydro’s short-term and long-term plans, which the government will review and comment upon.
Responsiveness will also be assured through the new Hydro committee. This committee will meet at least four times a year to review Hydro’s progress in meeting our goals and to provide policy leadership to the utility. As a reminder again, this is a committee chaired by the Premier and involves a number of senior ministers from the cabinet.
Also, I think it is an important reminder that Hydro has many other specific controls which make it accountable to different levels of government. Hydro, for example, must already comply with more than 25 statutes pertaining to federal, provincial and municipal levels of government. I might remind all members that Hydro needs government approval for major land purchases, construction, borrowing -- which I mentioned before -- supply purchase contracts and for export.
My friends the critics for the other parties raised other questions yesterday and today, questions of evaluation and assessment. Should the Ministry of Energy or the Ontario Energy Board conduct such evaluations? Should we be setting up superstructures to mirror Ontario Hydro in order to challenge and to examine the decisions coming out of Hydro? Or asked in a different way, what appropriate mechanisms can be used to evaluate the decisions coming from Ontario Hydro?
Let me assure my friends, the critics of the other parties, that we gave these questions considerable consideration also. Under Bill 204 what they will see is that the Ministry of Energy and the Ontario Energy Board would both continue to have a role to play in carrying out this important function.
However, I would respond specifically to answer the concerns of the critic, the member for Hamilton Mountain, that this government also has a number of additional ways of determining the results of our policy initiatives on Ontario Hydro -- technical advisory panels, special inquiries, interministerial reviews, to mention several. One of the most important ways of gauging our progress is through the all-party select committee process in which both critics have made considerable comment. In recent years, we have had two select committees in which my friends the critics for the two parties have taken part.
Before I comment on the select committees, let me just go back a half step and say that we have heard their comments yesterday and today with respect to needed changes to the Ontario Energy Board Act. I wish to assure them that when the amendments to the Power Corporation Act have been passed, it is our intention to focus our attention more intensely on the OEB Act. Already, the ministry has been working on proposed changes.
I must remind all of my colleagues in the other parties that the OEB Act pertains also to the other 80 per cent of the $13-billion worth, at wholesale prices, of energy that is consumed in Ontario. Namely, it covers the oil and gas policies in which this government’s energy policy must also be involved. Currently, the natural gas deregulation policies of the federal government and the western Canadian gas-producing provinces and their effect on Ontario, which is the largest provincial consumer of energy in Canada, make these issues very important in our considerations of the amendments to the OEB Act.
But going back to the select committees, let me say that these committees have provided the government with significant input into energy policy. I would add that this process has also allowed for important input into energy decisions from the public, from Ontario Hydro and from a cross-section of energy interest groups.
I know that some of the members of the select committee on energy are here and I wish to acknowledge that. The report of the committee has been given to Ontario Hydro and will contribute to Hydro’s preferred plan, which the critic from the third party referred to a few minutes ago; the preferred plan which we expect the government will receive this fall. I want to take this opportunity to thank the committee for its valuable recommendations.
In particular, let me at this time respond to the comments the New Democratic Party’s critic raised yesterday on recommendations 10 and 12 contained in the 1986 select committee report.
On recommendation 10, regarding conservation projects: I would remind the member that the government requested a conservation plan from Hydro which significantly raised the targets for demand management and moved forward the dates on which significant programs would start.
On recommendation 12, regarding Hydro’s promotion of conservation: I would respond that Bill 204 extends Hydro’s authority to provide grants for conservation and efficiency improvement programs. Government will also have access to Hydro’s conservation plans for comment and review.
In addition to select committees, the government has commissioned, as I mentioned a moment ago, independent reviews of aspects of our energy policy. I refer specifically to the Hare report on nuclear safety and to the independent panel of experts who reviewed Hydro’s draft demand-supply planning strategy.
About a dozen government ministries also conducted a review of the demand-supply planning strategy and conservation and parallel-generation aspects have been reviewed by Ontario Hydro and by independent consultants.
One of the best ways of evaluating our energy policy -- because that is what we are talking about -- is talking to our energy stakeholders in the province. As minister, I have met regularly with energy interest groups, as I am sure members also have in meeting their duties in a very responsible way. The many groups that I have met with and consulted with would range from Energy Probe to the Municipal Electric Association, to give two examples.
I also have had the opportunity to listen at first hand to the comments of the people of Ontario while travelling around the province in my capacity as minister. I am pleased to meet with members of the public and my opposition critics at any time to hear and respond to their concerns and comments.
I believe the amendments to the Power Corporation Act together with the memorandum of understanding is an important step towards ensuring that we meet our mandate of providing safe, reliable and adequate supplies of electricity to the people of Ontario in an environmentally and socially acceptable way.
I agree with my critics that the relationship between the government and Ontario Hydro should be monitored closely. The members have my commitment that we will continue to assess this relationship. Should we at some time in the future decide that improvements could be made, we will make such improvements.
This is the first time in 15 years that a major review of the act has taken place. I believe this government has been successful in bringing the relationship up to date and in bringing it more in line with current realities. We have ensured that Ontario Hydro will be responsive to government policies and public priorities.
Last but not least is the part III area that both critics had raised. I think one of them put it in the framework of: “What is the government’s strategy and overall direction? What have we been telling Hydro? What will we be telling Hydro?”
I wish to remind my colleagues of the things we have been saying to Hydro, which will be amplified, magnified and improved as time passes under the new legislation. What we have been saying up until today is that the number one priority is energy efficiency and energy conservation. The members know that we have talked about the 4,500-megawatt target by the year 2000, which is more than one Darlington nuclear plant. In other words, if we do not do this and Ontario Hydro and Ontario, the people, the businesses and industry do not do this, we will have to build another big power plant to do that. But doing that will help us to conserve 4,500 megawatts.
More parallel generation is another important message to Ontario Hydro. The members heard the numbers and the targets I gave a moment ago, and the fact that we hopefully soon are coming out with a specific policy statement -- it will be the first -- to be made after this legislation has been passed.
Other things for Hydro to consider in determining the electricity role that it plays and what we hope to see reflected in the preferred plan this fall would be encouragement of a greater use of the cost-effective renewables; more parallel generation; more cogeneration; giving consideration to some purchases; at least negotiating with our neighbouring provinces; and considering the rehabilitation of old plants. Of course, as I have just said, we have asked Hydro to take these very complex considerations and put them into a preferred plan, so that the public and the government in the next stage can examine this thoroughly and effectively before we make the next major decisions that will take this province in energy policy and electricity policy into the next century.
Of course the people have been saying: “We want reliable and safe supplies of electricity. We want low-cost electricity and we want to protect the environment.”
Let me wind up and again say that I thank all the members of the opposition and all my colleagues here for their comments on Bill 204. As I said yesterday, I would be happy to ensure that this bill proceeds to committee. I will look forward to participating in this committee process and I welcome suggestions on the legislation.
Motion agreed to.
Hon Mr Conway: I might just say at this time that by agreement, this bill will be referred to the select committee on energy, a motion for the reconstitution of which will be prepared and presented to the House very shortly.
Bill ordered for select committee on energy.
INDIAN LANDS AGREEMENT CONFIRMATION ACT, 1989
Mr Offer moved, on behalf of Hon Mr Scott, second reading of Bill 200, An Act to confirm a certain Agreement between the Governments of Canada and Ontario.
Mr Offer: I am pleased to introduce for second reading legislation that will confirm the 1986 Indian Lands Agreement.
Members will recall that when introduced for first reading it was emphasized that this new agreement does not change or attempt to change any rights of Indian bands within our province. The members will recall that until now many of the issues surrounding Indian reserve lands and natural resources on those lands have been governed by the Indian Lands Agreement of 1924.
That agreement has proven vague, ineffective and unsatisfactory. This new agreement has been developed co-operatively with the federal government and representatives of the Indian bands through the Indian Commission of Ontario and is intended to accomplish two goals.
First, it will stand with the 1924 agreement and provide a legislative mechanism to correct existing deficiencies. Second, it will allow individual Indian bands to join with Canada and Ontario to negotiate and implement specific land and natural resource accords.
It is important to note, particularly in the context of the positions taken by native people on aboriginal self-government and this government s commitment to support initiatives to achieve aboriginal self-government, that this bill provides that agreements will only come into force when confirmed by Indian band involvement. This is a significant step forward in the way in which the federal and provincial governments deal with Indian bands.
The cabinet supported the contents of this agreement in October 1985. Both the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr Kerrio) -- who I am pleased to see is in the House at this time -- on behalf of the government of Ontario, and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development on behalf of the government of Canada, have signed it.
Our colleagues in Ottawa confirmed this agreement in July 1988. I ask for support of this House for confirmation of this agreement so that this very important agreement may take force and effect.
The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): Are there other participants? The member for Durham East.
Mr Cureatz: Oh no, no. lam just standing up to clear my papers, getting ready for the bird bill tomorrow.
The Acting Speaker: The member for Lake Nipigon.
Mr Pouliot: I want to thank the distinguished representative from the government for bringing forth what is really the --
The Acting Speaker: Can I first clarify: Is the member on a comment?
Mr Pouliot: I am a participant. Mr Speaker, you did specifically, if my memory serves me correctly -- excuse me, you have asked a question -- call for participants in the debate. I rose and I was recognized.
The Acting Speaker: And I have to beg your indulgence. Are there any comments or questions? There are none. The member for Lake Nipigon.
Mr Pouliot: What we are talking about here is basically an update, something that has to be done, an agreement between the feds and the province, a sequel, film II, to an agreement in 1924, which the representative from the government should not take a great deal of pride in, for the sequel represents very little native participation.
I guess it is his job, his mandate. He does it quite well. He tells us about the less fortunate in our society, about what really represents government at its worst. When we put people on reserves when, in some cases, they represent living conditions that rival those of some people in the Third World, I would not rise at my post with a great deal of pride. A lot remains to be done.
What the government representative should tell us is that communities such as Summer Beaver, Webequie and Lansdowne House -- and there are many, many others -- have been waiting for a number of years to have a place they can call their own and that they have been caught in a ping-pong game, in the dilemma between, among others, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the directorate, the mandate of the minister responsible for native affairs (Mr Scott) and the federal government. For a few dollars more, for a few square metres, not miles, in some cases, those people have filled every criterion, moved through every loop, filled every condition to move from band to reserve status and have been waiting a long, long time.
I had the opportunity to respond to the compliment of an invitation to be not a participant but an observer at the 1985 federal conference, the conference on aboriginal matters, the first ministers’ conference. I too was somewhat shocked at the very heading, the very mandate. We were in Ottawa at a first ministers’ conference daring to decide on matters concerning our first Canadians. The sequel, rightly so, should have read “with self-government.” It should have been a first nations’ conference dealing with their own affairs, but I guess we are not there yet.
We all readily acquiesce, we sympathize with people who have a little less and we try to put ourselves in their shoes and say their time will come. When you live on a reserve in a northern community, it is not something you are very proud of. We call it “15-amp hydro service,” a restricted service. In other words, if it is winter and Ontario Hydro cuts you off if you do not pay your bill -- the normal reaction in this business world -- it puts you on 15-amp service. If you are a native up north, that is what you get. So literally, when it talks about Hydro powers, the bill recognizes that and perpetuates what was said in 1924.
It means very simply that you have one of those little hot stoves. You see them at some camps someplace. You plug in once and you have a little pan, if you wish, or you boil some water for coffee. It takes some time, but it is fairly expedient. Then you gain the next room, if you happen to have one, and you plug in your electric frying pan. But you cannot watch TV at the same time because then your system will be surpassed, will be exceeded and everything will kick out. This is 1989. This is what we are talking about.
It is not a matter of pleading; it is a matter of putting our best foot forward, putting it on top of our agenda, looking at the native Canadians. Give them the opportunity to defend themselves and cope with society; no assimilation, but a degree of integration in order to meet the economic mainstream of Ontario, to be like the others. It does a lot for pride.
I just returned with my distinguished leader and other members of our party. We spent four and a half days on the shores of James Bay, you know, Attawapiskat and Kashechewan. Eighteen per cent of the people in my riding of Lake Nipigon -- we are the next riding -- are either Ojibway or Cree. They are Cree in Fort Severn, which is the northernmost community in the riding of Lake Nipigon. Then you go to Big Trout Lake, the largest reserve in our riding, and on and on. You spend days there, overnight, it is no big deal.
When you look at the comparison, you cannot help it. Life is short, we always say. If one has an ounce of a social conscience -- we all do, every member of this House does, for sure. We look at it and then we come back here and look at the jurisdiction and look at what is being presented. Do we not begin to stew emotionally? I do not care what one’s stock is, whether one is from a Latin background or whatever.
Do we not begin to agonize, to search within ourselves? Hopefully there is something left there and we say, “Given the opportunities we have, given our mandate to make rules and to help people, we can do this here at times with the stroke of a pen.” Other times we have to listen, as well as speak well. But we must ask them what they wish so that tomorrow will look better than today. They are not asking for a great deal.
We will support this endeavour simply because it represents a constant. It is continuity of what was established in 1924; it is a sequel. The real answer lies with the ability of people to decide their own affairs. It will come for there is no other alternative. It may take one, it may take two or it may take three, but when it does come it will be the last first ministers’ conference on aboriginal matters.
I want to present to this House, perhaps by way of conclusion, a phenomenon that is occurring. I, too, dwell on statistics, not only as they affect Ontario, Canada and North America, but the world. Statistics Canada does that fairly well, and there are other bodies that supply us with endless but nevertheless relevant and interesting statistics.
A community like Fort Albany, for instance, has a population of some 1,200 people. I visited the school; the little ones only go from grade 1 to grade 8. I talked to the chief. He said, “Gilles, there are 1,200 people here.” I asked, “How many people are in this school?” He said there are 610 people.” I said: “It can’t be. What about the little ones who are not between grade 1 and grade 8? What about the elders and down the line, people who are past grade 8?” He said, “The average age in Fort Albany. on this reserve, is 19.” I said, “My God.”
That says a lot for the progress of modern medicine in some ways. It says a lot for the future of cultural identity. But it is very scary. If you look at it from the point of the old premise whereby when we look at standards of living, we do not look in terms of a maximum but always in terms of a minimum, it means a lot. What I have said about Kashechewan or Fort Albany is not an isolated incident. It represents the overall situation of our native Canadians and also our first Ontarians. I think we have to listen better to the alternatives.
I know, with respect, that I am taking a little too much time, but it is a matter that needs to be addressed. The opportunity is not always present to do so. Perhaps when I leave -- life in this House is very short, indeed, be it by political accident or by choice, if I have that luxury, it is the one message that I will take with me, the one message that we can, indeed, when it comes to our first Canadians, do a lot more.
Mr Daigeler: I must say that as a member from eastern Ontario, I do appreciate when the member for Lake Nipigon speaks about his experience in the north and in particular with the native people. I think he is pointing out some concerns that are very real and that I think all of us have to address with great care and great sensitivity. I did want to thank the member for the points he is making and for making members such as myself more aware and more attentive to the concerns of northerners generally and of native people in particular.
Ms Bryden: I would also like to congratulate the member for Lake Nipigon on his extremely well-presented arguments of the needs of the native people and the need for those concerns to be looked after in this agreement, and perhaps in a better way even than the agreement presently states. I think he has given us a very real picture of life in the north. We must not ignore the people up there and we must not neglect to ensure them the quality of life that we enjoy down here.
I would also like to say that I completely agree with his views on what we should be doing for the native people in the north.
The Acting Speaker: Are there any other comments or questions? Would the member for Lake Nipigon care to reply? No? Next, the member for Parry Sound.
Mr Eves: It is a pleasure to rise on behalf of our party in the Legislature this afternoon and support this piece of legislation.
I thought it might be useful for some members of the public to understand the background behind this particular piece of legislation. The purpose of the bill, as I understand it, is to confirm Ontario’s commitment to the 1986 Indian lands agreement between the government of Canada and Ontario, as was established with the federal legislation, the Indian Lands Agreement Act, in 1986.
The federal-provincial agreement was initiated by the federal government to strengthen and improve the 1924 Canada-Ontario Indian lands agreement. It represents, in essence, a renegotiation of the 1924 Indian lands agreement. A clause in the 1986 federal act indicates that it will come into force when it is confirmed by both the Parliament of Canada and the Legislature of Ontario and this bill, very simply, ensures Ontario’s confirmation of that 1986 act.
Before this federal act was passed, a series of court decisions had established that the title to and interest in all surrendered Indian lands in Ontario be passed to the province free from any Indian interest. On 24 March 1924, Canada and Ontario entered into an agreement to give the federal government the right to dispose of surrendered Indian lands and give the proceeds to the native people. Ambiguities in the wording of that act have created doubts about whether the act applies to lands surrendered before the agreement was signed; that is, before 1924.
Since the 1924 agreement, Ontario has held 50 per cent of mineral resource revenues and has given the remainder to Indian bands. Since the 1950s, several discussions have been held between federal and provincial governments, culminating in an agreement signed on 5 August 1986 by Canada and Ontario, the Union of Ontario Indians and the Sarnia and Six Nations bands.
In 1986, the Indian Lands Agreement Act allowed Canada, Ontario and individual Indian bands to enter into band-specific agreements that remove the provincial control over any land or resources from lands surrendered by Indians prior to 1924. As a result, it is possible that up to 200,000 acres of land could be added to the reserves of Ontario Indians. The extended resource and land base resulting from this act may help Indians establish an infrastructure to support self-government among themselves.
It should be noted, however, that the removal of provincial controls will occur only if all three parties -- that is, the federal government, the provincial government and the Indian bands -- agree. If they do not reach an agreement to that effect, the act really will have no effect.
The rights of any third-party occupants will be dealt with as part of any band’s specific negotiations, and where occupied lands cannot be returned to reserve status, other methods of compensating bands, I presume, will have to be explored.
Bands that do not wish to enter into specific agreements will continue to be governed by the 1924 agreement. In other words, the province can continue to control surrendered Indian lands or resources unless Indian bands wish to enter into agreements with both the federal and provincial governments to give themselves control over or financial compensation for their properties.
I would like to associate myself with the remarks made by my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr Pouliot). They were most eloquent, and I think he said them out of far more experience, perhaps, than I have. There are something like six Indian bands in my particular constituency, and I meet with them on a continuing basis. I think he is quite right when he says that too often we do not do enough listening and we do too much talking as members of the Legislature. I think that applies to us all from time to time.
I can remember in early 1985 when I was the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development in Ontario, and as such, part of my mandate was native affairs in Ontario. Attending a first ministers’ conference with then-Premier Frank Miller in Ottawa, we came very, very close indeed at that particular first ministers’ conference to agreeing upon an avenue of self-government for native peoples not only in Ontario but all over Canada.
I would have thought then in 1985 -- and I am not saying this in any political sense at all; I am saying it quite sincerely -- that I would not be standing in my place in the Ontario Legislature in 1989 without self-government having been achieved.
I am not being critical of this government. I want that very clear. I think that Ontario over the years has led the way among its sister provinces with respect to a progressive attitude towards Indian and native self-government. If some of our sister provinces were perhaps as progressive as this province has been over the last many, many years, I think we would have native self-government all across Canada today.
In summation, Bill 200 does not change the rights of Indian bands in Ontario. It merely provides a mechanism to correct inconsistencies in the 1924 agreement and make control of all surrendered Indian lands subject to subagreements by Ottawa, Ontario and Indian bands. Bill 200 does nothing more than indicate the province’s intention of keeping its promise to adhere to the 1986 Indian lands agreement, and we for our part will be pleased to support this legislation.
Mr Offer: It is my pleasure to wind up the debate and first to thank my colleagues and their respective caucuses for their unanimous support of this very important bill.
I think this bill, as has been indicated, provides the statutory authority for the implementation of subagreements with individual Indian bands on specific land and natural resource issues. As contained in that agreement, that would include, for instance, mining revenues from Indian reserve land, roads and road allowances in surrendered Indian reserve land and confirmation of administration and control of surrendered Indian reserve land. That is the type of subagreement that is contemplated in this agreement, as well as other matters.
Of extreme importance is that such a specific agreement shall only come into force when it is confirmed by orders in council of both Canada and Ontario and by the band. Within that particular agreement, confirmation, and the process for confirmation by a band, is specifically outlined. That is an important addition to the whole question of negotiation in terms of the specific agreements.
In conclusion, I would like to refer to some of the comments from the member for Lake Nipigon specifically. He has eloquently and very knowledgeably talked about the necessity for a greater understanding, a sensitivity, a compassion and a forging of emotional ties. I know the member for Lake Nipigon will recall it was just about a month ago that there was an exchange program between persons in his riding from the Webequie tribe and individuals from my riding at Westwood Secondary School, where there was that forum of exchange, that forum to build upon an understanding, an emotion and a sensitivity.
With the lessons shown and the examples shown by that exchange program, by the leadership of this Legislature, those emotional ties, the sensitivity and understanding will be not only forged but strengthened. I thank the members very much for the approval of this legislation.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for third reading.
PROVINCIAL OFFENCES AND HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Mr Offer moved, on behalf of Hon Mr Scott, second reading of Bill 189, An Act to amend the Provincial Offences Act and the Highway Traffic Act.
Mr Offer: Part V-A of the Provincial Offences Act establishes special provisions for young persons charged with provincial offences. When these procedures were established, the provincial act followed the federal Young Offenders Act, and imposed a complete ban on publication of the identity of young persons involved in the proceedings. That blanket prohibition created serious and unanticipated difficulties in the administration of justice.
One of our early victories in achieving amendments to the Young Offenders Act was in obtaining necessary exceptions to that ban. This bill will likewise provide necessary exceptions to the provincial publication ban, while maintaining respect for and protection of the identity of young persons.
Mr Hampton: I will not take a great deal of time with this bill, merely enough time to point out and to state that it is pretty clear these amendments are necessary. It is pretty clear, in view of the impact of the Young Offenders Act, that these amendments have to be dealt with, and it is pretty clear that if police and other public law enforcement officials are to be able to do their job properly and yet respect the spirit and intent of the Young Offenders Act, these amendments must be placed before the House.
We will be supporting the amendments and look forward to getting on with that in very short order.
Mr Sterling: I want to indicate with regard to this bill, along with another bill which we may be considering today, Bill 93, An Act to revise the Justices of the Peace Act, as well as Bill 200, which we have just passed in this Legislature, that we in the opposition parties suggested these be put on the legislative mandate because we agree in general with those pieces of legislation. We want to see the Legislature progress and pass legislation that is fairly straightforward; we do not want to stop up this Legislature with legislation which seems to be fairly well thought out. We are quite willing to be co-operative in those instances.
Bill 189 is one of those small pieces of legislation which in the larger sense is not going to have a great impact on the people of Ontario but causes a great deal of inconvenience and problems for various parts of our justice system and for people who work with our justice system on a day-to-day basis.
These amendments deal with the disclosure of the identity of young people under the age of 18 in certain circumstances, primarily dealing with automobile driving offences. We believe these changes are necessary in order for us to have a coherent insurance industry or in order to give police the capability of properly investigating car accidents. We believe, therefore, that this legislation should have speedy passage. We give our full support to the legislation.
Mr Offer: Briefly, I would like to thank my colleagues on the other side for their support of a necessary piece of legislation which will provide an improvement to the existing system. It was on that basis I moved second reading of this bill.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for third reading.
COURTS OF JUSTICE AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Mr Offer moved, on behalf of Hon Mr Scott, second reading of Bill 2, An Act to amend the Courts of Justice Act, 1984.
Mr Offer: I think members of the Legislature will know that in this bill we are dealing with a vision of court reform in this province. It has been more than 100 years since the last reform movement of this nature and, as such, we are dealing with a very fundamental change in the trial court system in this province.
As the Attorney General (Mr Scott) indicated at the time the bill was introduced, this represents an important first phase of a fundamental reform in the structure of our courts. Ultimately, the government hopes that Ontario will have a single trial court composed entirely of superior court judges capable of dealing with any kind of dispute.
Bill 2 takes us a significant step in that direction. It will merge the existing federally appointed trial courts, the High Court, the district court and the surrogate courts into a single superior court called the Ontario Court (General Division). The Divisional Court and the small claims court will be operated as branches of this General Division.
The merger of the federally appointed courts will result in superior court judges being locally resident throughout the province. It will no longer be necessary for litigants outside Toronto to wait for a judge to be sent out from Toronto to hear certain kinds of cases.
The bill will also fuse the provincial court (family division), the provincial court (criminal division) and the provincial offences court into one court.
Mr Hampton: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.
The Deputy Speaker: Under which standing order?
Mr Hampton: I will look it up, but we lack a quorum, I believe. If this is so important, I think there at least ought to be a quorum in the House.
The Deputy Speaker ordered the bells rung.
Mr Offer: As I was indicating prior to the quorum call, the bill will fuse the provincial court (family division), the provincial court (criminal division) and the provincial offences court into one court called the Ontario Court (Provincial Division). Fusion will provide for greater flexibility in the use of judicial resources, although provincial judges in the new court will be able to continue to specialize in the area of law that most interests them.
Another important feature of the bill involves the jurisdiction of the small claims court. The bill will allow the court’s monetary jurisdiction to be established by regulation, and the Attorney General has indicated that jurisdiction will be increased to $5,000 across the province. As the members are aware, this represents a dramatic increase in access to the small claims court and simpler, less expensive procedures, especially for litigants outside of Toronto. For those litigants, this type of an increase in the monetary jurisdiction is fivefold.
Other provisions of the bill will regionalize the operation of the courts. Regionalization will facilitate more effective management. Judicial resources as well as court staff resources will be managed on a regional basis. Each region will have regional senior judges responsible in their region for the judicial resources of their court. The Divisional Court will also be required to hear appeals in each of the regions, making appeals more accessible outside of Toronto.
Another important aspect of the bill is its recognition that the management of courts requires the co-operation of judges, administrators, crown attorneys and the bar. The bill is intended to facilitate this co-operation by establishing forums where information and ideas can be shared.
As the Attorney General said on the introduction of the bill, our goal is the creation of a court structure that will promote a simpler, less expensive and co-operatively managed system in which we can all have confidence and pride.
We have been gratified by the many positive comments that the bill has received across the province. I look forward to hearing the views of my colleagues in the House. I feel confident of the ultimate success of this undertaking. We can settle for nothing less if the justice system is to continue to have the respect and confidence of the people.
We should all bear in mind that the purpose of the total court reform vision is to advance and improve the administration of justice and provide the best possible trial court structure for the people of this province.
As I have indicated earlier, I look forward to hearing comments from my colleagues and to passage of this legislation.
Mr Hampton: In view of the fact that Criminal Code amendments may be necessary -- will be necessary, from what I am told -- in order to ensure that phase 2 of the bill is implemented, and in view of the fact that constitutional amendments may be necessary, particularly in the area of divorce and in terms of the provinces assuming jurisdiction over divorce, can the parliamentary assistant tell us what discussions have gone on between the Ministry of the Attorney General and the federal Minister of Justice on these issues?
Mr Offer: As the member most likely will be aware, any vision in terms of the effective administration of the trial court system is one that is shared in the main not only by the province of Ontario and its Attorney General but in large measure by other provinces and the federal government.
In terms of the first phase of this legislation, there is the requirement for approval by the federal government. As the member will be aware, the federal government has given that approval to other provinces in earlier circumstances. We expect through our negotiations and discussions with the federal government that this will be forthcoming in this phase.
As one deals with the second phase of court reform, the full, total vision in terms of the court reform proposal for the province of Ontario, there will be the necessity for ongoing discussions between this province and the federal government. Those discussions are ones which will be of an ongoing nature dealing with matters which will come up and have to be discussed.
I personally am confident that we all share in the end result, the ultimate vision of a most effective trial court system, and as such, I am quite confident those negotiations will prove fruitful.
Mr Hampton: I want to say on behalf of my party that we certainly welcome this bill. We have felt for a long time that the court system in Ontario should be simplified and that its structure should be made more open so that members of the general public will have a greater opportunity, first of all, to understand what is happening in the court system and, secondly, to have access to the court system.
In principle, we support this legislation and we think it is long overdue. In particular, we support the extension of the monetary limit of small claims courts across the province to $5,000. Indeed, some of us have wondered how the government could allow the anomalous situation of a $3,000 limit within Metropolitan Toronto in terms of small claims court and only a $1,000 limit elsewhere in the province. That was a most unjust system. If you lived elsewhere in the province, you had to endure significant costs in order to collect on a debt of $1,500, whereas there was a simple and inexpensive small claims court procedure to collect on the same debt in Toronto.
In particular, we support that aspect of this legislation. We think it will make it easier for many people who have small debt problems to collect on those without having to involve themselves in the arcane procedure of our superior courts.
Having said that we support this bill in principle and what the legislation aims to do, and that in particular we support the extension of the monetary jurisdiction of the small claims court, I think it is only fair that I point out all of the things we do not see in this legislation and that we think are going to be problematic.
The first phase is a good step, in our view, but it must be noted, and I think we need only listen to some of the comments from some of the judges in this province, that if the first stage is to be properly enacted and implemented, it is going to require this government to spend more money in terms of judges’ salaries and the administrative process for the courts than it has heretofore been willing to spend. In other words, the government very quickly is going to have to come up with some funding if this process is to be meaningful. I would hope that the funding issue will not be another matter of pulling teeth, as it has been in terms of the wages and salaries and working conditions of provincial court judges.
The other element that I think will have to get some attention is this. Provincial court judges in the family and criminal divisions have said to this government over and over again that it must appoint more judges and that there must be an increase in court facilities. What is happening at present in many of our family and criminal courts in this province, especially in those courts in southern urban Ontario, cannot pass for justice, because there are trials being delayed for more than a year and simple hearings being delayed for extended periods of time.
It is not enough for the government just to pass this legislation. What is necessary along with it is that the government produce the money to pay for the increased administrative costs that this legislation will necessarily mean; that the government produce the money to pay for the courtroom facilities that are so clearly necessary, and that the government produce the money to permit the judges and the other dedicated people who work within our provincial court system to do the job that they want to do and are unable to do at this point in time. It is not enough just to pass the legislation. The government is also going to have to come up with the money.
I want to comment just briefly on phase 2. I have to say that the statement the Attorney General made when this bill was introduced in the House for first reading was quite overblown. In fact, when I read that statement again I almost thought that the Attorney General was announcing a revolutionary change in our court system in Ontario. The fact of the matter is -- and again, judges in this province have said this -- that most of the phase 1 changes are quite cosmetic indeed and that the real meat and potatoes of the changes will not happen until phase 2.
However, the point is this. In order for the phase 2 changes to the court system to be implemented -- and I am glad that the parliamentary assistant acknowledged this -- the Attorney General will have to engage in concerted discussions with the federal government and other provincial governments for changes to the Criminal Code and to the Constitution in terms of dealing with jurisdiction over divorce and other matters corollary thereto. In fact, those are going to be very difficult discussions. We know that because we have seen them before. They have taken a great deal of time. It is very difficult to get agreement among all parties.
What we have here really is that upon the introduction of the bill the Attorney General made a statement of great fanfare, saying that this was going to be the change of all changes for the Ontario court system, but in fact the real meat and potatoes of the changes to the court system cannot happen next year, they probably cannot happen in 1991 and, if I read the comments of members of the judiciary correctly, they probably will not happen for another three to five years, if at all. I think that needs to be put very clearly on the record.
What is happening here in phase 1 is very much cosmetic changes. Mind you, they are cosmetic changes which will require the government, if it is going to live up to what it says is in this legislation, to spend some more money and improve the administration and the physical framework of our courts. Beyond phase 1, the phase 2 changes are going to be very difficult to implement. I think they will probably be subject to a great deal more debate.
Let me move on to something which I cannot believe is not in this legislation. If the Attorney General really wants to make the court system and court procedures more open to the public and more amenable to the general public, then somewhere in this legislation there should have been a part dealing with class action suits.
The government has reports and reviews which have recommended that the government bring in a class action act which would permit such actions by members of the public, consumers who feel aggrieved by the products they have purchased, who feel aggrieved in terms of their commercial relationships. This would have been a perfect place to do it.
There should be a part in this bill dealing with and implementing comprehensive class actions so one does not have the silly situation, as it is now, where if one has 2,000 consumers who are all aggrieved in regard to the same company, all bought relatively the same product and all have the same problem with the product, they cannot sue together in a class action.
Mr Callahan: Yes, they can.
Mr Hampton: No, they cannot. There are so many rules and exceptions to it that they cannot.
Mr Callahan: Practise law.
Mr Hampton: No, they do not. In fact, to the member for Brampton South (Mr Callahan), I went through the rules of practice again last night and I went through the government’s own report on class actions. There is agreement in both the rules of practice and in the government’s report on class actions that even the changes that were made in the new rules of practice do not permit class actions as they ought to permit them and that, in fact, class actions in Ontario are still restricted to a very unreasonable extent.
I ask the parliamentary assistant: If this bill is really what he says it is about, if it is really about making the courts more open, more amenable to the ordinary person, why is there not a part in this bill dealing with comprehensive class actions so that aggrieved consumers in this province can make better use of the legislation?
As I said, we will support this legislation in principle, but for the Attorney General to stand in this House as he did and pretend that it is the be-all and end-all of court reform, we simply cannot accept. Phase 1 is relatively cosmetic changes. Phase 2 may never happen and will likely take five years to happen if indeed it does happen.
Most of all, some of the measures that would have made this legislation very meaningful for the general public, measures such as comprehensive class actions, simply are not there. As I said, we will support the legislation in principle, but this legislation, though it does a couple of good things, leaves an awful lot to be desired. The government should know that. Quite frankly, if the government is serious about this legislation it should bring in amendments now to deal with those things.
Mr Sterling: Bills 2 and 3, which we are considering today, have some significance in changing how our courts are run in Ontario. When the Attorney General announced these changes, this being the first stage, I believe our party was supportive of the Attorney General immediately in terms of the first stage and also the second stage in its aspect for the future.
I must say, however, that I do not expect the second stage to happen in my lifetime or the lifetime of the member for Brampton South. Because of the nature in which its proposal was introduced here in the Legislature of Ontario, I suggest that there might have been a political mistake at that time, if the Attorney General was genuine in his intent to have the second stage carried through.
It requires a great deal of accommodation and a great deal of co-operation on the part of our federal colleagues. I thought it would have been better perhaps for the attorneys general of all the provinces and the Minister of Justice of Canada to make that kind of an announcement together at some time in the future after some preliminary negotiations had taken place.
Notwithstanding that, we are dealing with the first phase and while it is a significant step for Ontario -- I will give the government that -- we are the eighth province out of 10 to really take this step. We are, in a large way, trailing behind the other provinces in carrying forward the merging of the district and supreme courts of our province.
Therefore, it appears to those such as our judges and bar, who are dealing day to day with this change, that it is perhaps not as significant a step as one first would believe. It has been achieved in seven other provinces and, therefore, our federal government is quite willing, as I understand it, to give the first phase its blessing, as that will be necessary in order to effect the changes that we are talking about here.
I would like to comment briefly on the changes resulting from Bills 2 and 3. While there has been some holding out on whether there will be efficiencies achieved, I think it is important to note the words of the Honourable W. G. Howland, the Chief Justice of Ontario, on the opening of the courts on 6 January of this year:
“The one subject about which the public is vitally concerned is whether any reorganization of a court system will result in the elimination of the backlog of cases and will restore to an accused person his right under the charter to be tried within a reasonable time. A new regional administration, however superb, will only provide the necessary backup. But the judiciary must have up front the required number of judges, courtrooms and court staff to fulfil its task. It is important that this situation is fully understood.”
I think what the Chief Justice of Ontario is stating is that, in spite of the fact that perhaps we are going to have some efficiencies achieved by the unification of certain levels of court at stage 1, it will not work unless the necessary resources are there to carry it out and to back up what the justice system has needed in the past.
I would also like to refer to another part of Chief Justice Howland’s remarks to the opening of the courts this year, wherein he was talking with regard to the Court of Appeal. Chief Justice Howland supported the recommendations put forward by Mr Justice Zuber, who was the instigator behind court reform in Ontario. Mr Justice Zuber reported in 1987, and Bills 2 and 3 are the result in part of his findings.
One of the parts which has been left out of Bills 2 and 3 -- Bill 2 in particular -- relates to dealing with the problem of the backlog of appeals before the Court of Appeal of Ontario. I will read again from the remarks of Chief Justice Howland: “The most serious problem presently facing the Court of Appeal is how to deal with its backlog of appeals which is too great for the court to cope with by its present resources.”
The Zuber commission recommended the establishment of an intermediate court of appeal comprising a Chief Justice and some 24 judges, and six judges to hear appeals from the intermediate court, only by leave. The Court of Appeal had supported this recommendation. I would hope that during the committee process, the Attorney General will consider once again the creation of the intermediate court of appeal, which I believe should at least be tried in this province because of the very large case load the Court of Appeal for Ontario is now asked to hear.
There was some discussion about whether or not Bill 2 and Bill 3 should be referred to a committee, and not committee of the whole House. I want to make it clear that our party in no way wants to stall Bill 2 and Bill 3 at all. However, I must say that I feel the only responsible route is for this Legislature to send Bill 2 and Bill 3 out to a committee in order to allow members of the bar and members of the judiciary, either directly or indirectly, to have their views heard on a very complicated piece of legislation.
In fact, I was informed by the parliamentary assistant, who agreed to send this bill out to committee after some discussions with myself and, I believe, the critic for the New Democratic Party, that he now has some 25 amendments to place before the Legislature on Bill 2. This bill was introduced on 1 May 1989, and I presume that over the past five weeks the Attorney General has identified 25 errors in this piece of legislation. That is quite understandable, quite frankly, with a very difficult piece of legislation like Bill 2, dealing with a lot of technicalities.
Some of those amendments are not of great import to the general thrust of the legislation, but I do feel we should allow a little more time to pass and draw on the resources of the bar and of people who are going to be dealing specifically with the new legislation, to eliminate as many of the glitches as we can from Bill 2 and Bill 3. I believe that by sending it out to committee we will achieve that through the legislative process. I predict there will be more than 25 amendments put forward by the government during the hearing of this bill, probably closer to twice that number when all is said and done.
I only want to say as well that as a member of the Carleton Bar Association in eastern Ontario, which has had a very active role in court reform, has been a proponent of court reform and in particular the regionalization of our Supreme Court in order to allow people in eastern Ontario to have a better net of justice, I think I would be lacking as a member of the Ottawa-Carleton area in not allowing the Carleton Bar at least the opportunity to make a presentation in front of the standing committee on administration of justice, which I believe would receive this legislation.
There are many individuals in the Ottawa-Carleton area who would, I am sure, like to have some say as to what this bill might do. I guess as a representative of a riding that is some 200 to 250 miles away from the city of Toronto, I believe this legislation will be of benefit not only to the bar -- the lawyers in the Ottawa-Carleton area and eastern Ontario -- but also will be of great benefit to the people of eastern Ontario in that it will allow them to get speedier justice in terms of interim motions, which have to be brought before a Supreme Court judge and where one is not always available at the present time, but hopefully will be available under the regionalization of the Supreme Court into, I believe, the Ontario Court of Justice, which it will become under this new legislation.
I am also very pleased that as we have been urging, the former member for Oakville, Terry O’Connor, brought forward several pieces of legislation to try to increase the jurisdiction for the small claims court for all across Ontario, but this government has not seen fit to do that until now, some three or four years later.
That will be received, I believe, very well, not only by the public in general but I also want to indicate that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has been long pushing for this, as well as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, so that business transactions that fall apart can be resolved on a summary basis and in a very short order.
I would have hoped, however, with regard to the small claims court -- perhaps the jurisdiction is not enough or high enough at this time, and I would be interested in hearing the arguments, probably during the committee stage, as to why there is a differentiation between full-time small claims court judges and part-time small claims court judges in the jurisdiction that they may hear. In the former, I believe it was $5000 and in the latter, I believe it is only $3,000. I think probably one overall monetary jurisdiction would make more sense in that it will make, I believe, a more difficult system if the government tries to keep it divided into two within the one small claims court.
I am anxious to hear representations from the public on this bill. However, if in fact there is not a great deal of interest in coming before the standing committee on administration of justice, I want to assure the government we will co-operate in every way we can through the standing committee on administration of justice to have the clause-by-clause process go through as quickly as possible.
I hope the government will treat this legislation in a more open fashion than I have seen with regard to some of the other legislation, because I believe that in effect this kind of bill is a bill that is nonpartisan in nature. I can only say that in the amendments I will put forward, I will try to be as objective as possible in placing those and will try to view the justice system, not only from a political point of view but also, of course, from the long-term good of the system.
Therefore, in summary, we support this legislation. I believe it probably can be improved during the committee process and I look forward to that process in the very near future.
Mr Offer: First, I would like to thank my colleagues the member for Rainy River (Mr Hampton) and the member for Carleton (Mr Sterling) for their support, in principle, of this legislation. We of course are not going to be opposed to this legislation proceeding to committee stage for some discussion. I think we have made that patently clear.
I would like to indicate in conclusion that this is a very important and in many ways a historic step in terms of the total revision of the trial court system in Ontario. As I have indicated earlier, it has not been done for over 100 years, save as to what has been done on an ad hoc basis.
What we are today discussing, this afternoon in this Legislature, is the first major, fundamental change in the court system of this province, a vision that there shall be a unified one-court system that I believe, and this government and this Attorney General -- it is very much his vision -- will best serve the people of this province, not only today and tomorrow but for generations to come. On that basis, I moved second reading of this bill.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for standing committee on administration of justice.
COURT REFORM STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Mr Offer, on behalf of Hon Mr Scott, moved second reading of Bill 3, An Act to amend certain Statutes of Ontario Consequent upon Amendments to the Courts of Justice Act.
Mr Offer: Very briefly, this bill consists of amendments to a variety of statutes, all of which are consequential to the changes made to the court structure as indicated by Bill 2.
The Deputy Speaker: Any questions or comments? Do other members wish to participate in the debate?
Mr Hampton: Only to agree with the parliamentary assistant. This is the companion legislation. It changes the names of courts in a lot of different statutes of the province. Therefore, let’s pass it quickly because it does not by itself make any substantive changes.
The Deputy Speaker: Any questions and comments on that statement? If not, do other members wish to participate? Does the member for Carleton have anything to say?
Mr Sterling: Thank you very much for anticipating my involvement in the debate, Mr Speaker.
This act really complements the other act. It involves a lot of technical amendments to various other pieces of legislation affected by Bill 2. One could take any part of the act. For instance, I will read one part of it. It is changing the name of somebody in another act to be in accordance with Bill 2, and that is the nature of this particular piece of legislation.
I would think, however, that Bill 3 is totally dependent on Bill 2 and therefore we should refer both of them to the justice committee, just in case we amend Bill 2 in the justice committee and would want to amend Bill 3 to be coincident with our actions in Bill 2.
We support Bill 3.
The Deputy Speaker: Does any other member wish to participate in the debate? If not, would the parliamentary assistant wish to wind up?
Mr Offer: Just to be brief, I agree with the comments made by the member for Carleton that because this is really consequent and piggyback with Bill 2, which has already been referred to the justice committee, this bill, upon its passage -- I do not presuppose but we have already indicated we heard the agreement by the other parties to its passage -- should also be referred to the justice committee with the previous bill, Bill 2.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for standing committee on administration of justice.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE ACT, 1989 / LOI DE 1989 SUR LES JUGES DE PAIX
Mr Offer, on behalf of Hon Mr Scott, moved second reading of Bill 93, An Act to revise the Justices of the Peace Act.
M. Offer, au nom de l’hon. M. Scott, propose la deuxiême lecture du projet de loi 93, Loi portant révision de la Loi sur les juges de paix.
Mr Offer: As the Attorney General (Mr Scott) indicated when this bill was first announced, it represents a major, substantive and long-needed reform in the administration of justice.
This bill is intended to bring about a fundamental restructuring of the justices of the peace system. Much of the bill is based on recommendations made several years ago by Professor Alan Mewett of the University of Toronto faculty of law. I would like again to express our gratitude to Professor Mewett for the valuable assistance he has provided.
I will briefly mention three of the major changes this bill will bring about.
First, Professor Mewett recommended that a provincial judge be appointed as co-ordinator of justices of the peace, with specific responsibility for the supervision, assignment and organization of justices of the peace throughout the province. The bill will implement this proposal. Provincial co-ordination will promote the effective provision of justices of the peace services in all areas of the province. The co-ordinator will also be responsible for the development and delivery of educational programs designed to further enhance and maintain the high standards of competence of our justices of the peace.
Second, the bill will abolish the archaic system of paying many justices of the peace by fees. Although the Court of Appeal for Ontario has upheld the independence of justices of the peace, I believe the abolition of the fee system will enhance this independence. The bill provides that instead of individual fees paid for each service, a part-time justice of the peace will be paid a fixed proportional salary based on the co-ordinator’s determination of the justice’s workload.
Third, the bill revises the system for reviewing the conduct of justices of the peace so that it more closely resembles the system in place with respect to provincial judges. In addition to an investigation by the Justices of the Peace Review Council, a public inquiry by a judge will be necessary before a justice of the peace can be removed from office. Moreover, the Justices of the Peace Review Council will for the first time include a justice of the peace and representatives of the public.
I believe this bill will bring about significant improvements in the administration of justice and I look forward to the comments of my colleagues in dealing with this legislation.
Mr Hampton: I have only one brief question of the parliamentary assistant. At this time, there is a program under way to, I believe, increase the number of native justices of the peace. Could the parliamentary assistant tell us if it is a requirement for native persons who want to become justices of the peace that they complete a brief education and training program?
Mr Offer: I am glad the member brought forward that question, because this particular piece of legislation is so designed that those persons who are acting as justices of the peace in that particular program will not be impacted in terms of the part-time, full-time, presiding or nonpresiding aspect and whether they may be employed in other areas of the government.
We believe this particular piece of legislation does come to grips with the concern raised by the member opposite. In fact, there is specific provision within this particular piece of legislation which will not, in my estimation, negatively impact upon that particular program.
Mr Hampton: I want to say again at the outset that we are in favour of this bill in principle. We believe it does some good things in terms of putting some order to the justices of the peace system in this province, which has been described variously by the Canadian Bar Association and by Professor Mewett as being a system in some disorder and a system that, in the past, has been quite difficult to figure out. So we support this legislation in principle.
Having said that, I briefly want to put before the parliamentary assistant and the House the number of ways this legislation may yet be improved. If one reads Professor Mewett’s detailed review of the justices of the peace situation in the province, he outlines in detail a number of things that should be done. I am sad to say that only some of the professor’s recommendations are in fact found in this legislation and I want to briefly delineate some of the things that are not found in the legislation.
Both Professor Mewett and the Canadian Bar Association, in their respective reviews, have stated that the legislation should have within it some statement of the minimum standard of competence or the minimum standard of qualification for justices of the peace. They have said it basically for two reasons.
One is, because, as our legal system becomes more and more complicated, the need not only to have the ability to make very sound judgements but also to understand what is becoming some fairly complex law is readily apparent.
The second reason that has been brought up is quite simply that in the past, and this is unfortunate, the position of justice of the peace has been used as a handy, shall we say, political repository. Unfortunately, in the past we have had situations where people have probably lacked the qualifications but have been of the correct political persuasion at the time and so were appointed JPs. I do not think I need to emphasize the point. That simply should not happen if we really, truly respect our justice system. There should be minimum standards of competence.
The second thing which I do not find in this bill would have taken a very simple statement. All that is required is a statement that the Justices of the Peace Review Council shall establish minimum standards of training. Professor Mewett recommends that as soon as someone is considered for the position of a justice of the peace, he should go through a training program. If he is unable to complete the training program with the proper standing, he cannot after that be a justice of the peace.
He simply points out in his report that there are requirements of law and there are requirements in terms of being able to understand process that can be taught in a classroom and that it is an absolute requirement that a justice of the peace understand and be able to work with those. If they cannot complete such a training program, they simply should not be justices of the peace. That should be in this legislation.
Professor Mewett and the Canadian Bar Association both say that, in order to keep on top of a changing legal world, justices of the peace should be required to complete a continuing education program. Once again, and Professor Mewett goes to great lengths to point this out, the education program the justices of the peace receive now is sometimes by accident, sometimes through the generosity of the local crown attorney, sometimes through the generosity of a provincial court judge and sometimes not at all. It would be very simple to include an amendment that the Justices of the Peace Review Council shall establish an ongoing continuing education program which the justices of the peace shall follow.
Finally, there are questions of recruitment to the position of justice of the peace. Professor Mewett makes the point, and the Canadian Bar Association agrees with him, that the whole process of recruitment and appointment should be opened up. In fact, if we really believe in an independent judicial system, if we really believe that the justices of the peace should be perceived to be independent of the government of the day and to be independent of politics, then the recruitment process, by law, should be an open one and we should advertise for justices of the peace. There should be an established system set out whereby the review council conducts interviews and then makes recommendations with reasons to the Attorney General.
If these measures were included in this bill, we in this party could and would say that we would support the bill without any reservations, because we believe that we would then be putting in place a very firm foundation for the selection, appointment, training and employment of justices of the peace who truly understand our legal system and who are truly prepared to work within it and are truly given the proper tools to work within it.
I ask the parliamentary assistant to consider bringing some of these amendments to this legislation so that when we get into the finer consideration of it later on, we can support it wholeheartedly. At this point, we support it in principle, but there is a lot lacking which should be there and which, as Professor Mewett points out in his report, could easily be there if the government had the will to do it. I encourage the parliamentary assistant to speak to the Attorney General and, hopefully, bring in amendments which reflect some of the inadequacies that are still left in this situation.
Mr Sterling: I would like to indicate at the outset that we will be supporting this bill. It is my understanding from the parliamentary assistant that we will be asking for this bill to be considered by the committee of the whole House at some future date and that he has under consideration some amendments to the legislation as put forward on 6 January this year.
I am anxious to get on with reforming this legislation dealing with justices of the peace. It has been a long time coming and, therefore, I had asked the government House leader that this legislation be brought forward at this time. I think the member for Rainy River (Mr Hampton) from the New Democratic Party has put forward many of the arguments that I was about to put forward with regard to the Mewett report.
I would hope that during the committee of the whole House consideration and after we have had an opportunity to view the amendments put forward by the parliamentary assistant for the Attorney General, we will be able to perhaps deal with some of the issues which were left out of Bill 93 but which were included in the Mewett report.
One of the matters that I would like to have clarified perhaps, though, is that under our present system -- albeit overly complicated and hard to understand by the public and therefore bringing us to support this legislation in general -- I would like to have the parliamentary assistant for the Attorney General assure me that those people who will be serving as part-time justices of the peace after this act comes into force will be properly compensated for the actions that they take.
I think it is important that we maintain the flexibility and the co-operation of part-time justices of the peace, as many of them are available at times when full-time justices of the peace may not be available. I am talking about in the middle of the night on Saturday, early Saturday morning or Sunday morning when warrants have to be sought and have to be signed by a justice of the peace.
Quite often it is necessary for police to call several justices of the peace in order to find a justice of the peace whom they can go and appear in front of. Therefore, I think it is necessary for me to obtain some assurance from the parliamentary assistant that these people will be properly compensated so that we can ensure that they will continue to serve in a part-time manner.
We are pleased to support this legislation in general, which I think brings some badly needed reform to the system. We will be anxious to see the amendments of the parliamentary assistant in the committee of the whole House and will probably be bringing forward amendments ourselves to widen the scope of Bill 93 to be more coincident with the Mewett report.
Mr Callahan: I have to be very cautious in what I say, because, as chairman of the standing committee on administration of justice, I very infrequently get an opportunity to say anything other than to keep the members in order.
Mr Callahan: There seems to be a lot of applauding about that, but the reason I want to speak to this bill is that over the 26 years I have practised law, I have had a great passion for justice and I suggest that the introduction of Bill 93 by this government is a very dramatic step forward towards ensuring that the old adage that justice is not only done but appears to be done is carried out.
In the past, I am sure the system of fee justices of the peace was honoured by those men and women who exercised that role; but in some areas I am sure that there were members of the public who perhaps had some concern when the income of justices of the peace -- whose responsibility is by no means minuscule but a very significant one, a sacrosanct one: to swear out search warrants, to swear informations which start criminal proceedings, to issue summonses -- was based upon how many they could sign within a regular period of time and thereby increase the amount of money they would make.
In fact, I can recall in 1985 when we were reviewing the estimates of the Ministry of the Attorney General that there was one justice of the peace who was a part-time justice of the peace or a fee justice of the peace who made $90,000 in one year, and that was only his part-time income. I submit to members of the House, that the effect of that -- and I suppose there was some significant press about it -- creates the image in the eyes of the public that it is a piecework project. Surely that is not the image we want to create in terms of our justice system. I think our justice system is sacrosanct. Once it loses any credibility in the eyes of the people, real or perceived, then our liberties in totality are jeopardized. So I support the bill.
I also would like to say that the differentiation between presiding and nonpresiding justices is an excellent balance. Again, I am sure people who are in an administrative capacity are fine people and will attempt to do their jobs in the best way they can. But the perception of members of the public is paramount, that they not be confronted with a situation perhaps where a justice of the peace in an administrative capacity finds himself or herself carrying out a duty with a person who may subsequently appear before him or her in court, if he or she was in fact going to walk from that position right into the court to hear a case. So I suggest that is eminently fair and I think it serves our justice system well.
The other instances, too, are that quite obviously we are served with a very significant and very worthy justice system in this country, both by our police and by our courts. But going back to the question of a person who is a fee justice, there may very well be a real perception by the public that there is some degree of camaraderie arranged between him and the police. I am sure that is not the case, but the perception could be there. I think that for the purposes of preserving that desirability of making certain that justice is, as is pictured in the images that we see, blind, there is no connection in that regard.
I did not have an opportunity to speak to Bill 93, but by way of general representation of that and in view of the fact that I, as chairman of the standing committee on justice have to remain mute, I would like to say that to see a government that is moving ahead is, to me, worth having run for this Legislature on four occasions. Not only a government; I applaud the members of the opposition parties. It is interesting to see that on an issue of justice we can have, at least in terms of moving second reading, a degree of nonpartisanship and I think that augers well for the people in this House.
What it says is that, although we can have our partisan spats on other issues, when it comes to the question of justice we are all, in an equal vein, concerned about it, perhaps in different fashions, and maybe there will be suggestions by members for amendments. But what we do is we say that for the people of Ontario justice is important. It is important that we maintain its integrity and it is important that we maintain its image.
I suggest that the first phase of the efforts of the Attorney General towards court reform -- it is interesting to understand that it has been more than 100 years since that was done before. Much of the court presentation and the court formation was done in the light of 1867 when the Fathers of Confederation could have absolutely no idea what things would be like in 1989. As a result, the implementation of part 2 of the legislation should take on a very significant review of the question of where we are today in 1989 in terms of justice. Is justice something that is confined by provincial borders, is it confined by objects of jurisdiction or is it justice for everyone in all terms?
I suggest to members that the assistance we may have in trying to convince or to carry out conversations with the people in Ottawa is that we have to look towards a situation where people are not required to go to four or five courts for a single remedy. I am sure that any member of this House who went through law school, or even who is practising in the courts, found that it was significantly difficult to determine under two rules -- and I cannot remember what the numbers were -- whether you went to a master, a judge, a judge in chambers, a Divisional Court or the Supreme Court. Half of the time you spent the majority of your time in research trying to figure out what court you went to. The statutes were very unclear because they referred to a judge and the judge could be anything, could be of any jurisdiction.
In fact, it got to the point where, with all due respect to the court system, if you appeared in weekly court and you were supposed to be before a judge but you wound up before a judge sitting in chambers, you had to adjourn the case and go out and get your gown and go to weekly court. To me, that is a disservice to the public because every time a person representing a litigant is required to take further time in court, that costs that litigant money. If there is anything that will maintain our freedom, in terms of Canada as a whole and perhaps the world as a whole, and also maintain the integrity of the justice system which is meant to serve people, it is if we can keep the costs down.
I suggest that the former system needed revamping, and I applaud the Attorney General and this government for having taken those steps.
The final item I will speak of is the question of the Small Claims Court increase. I think it is something that is worthy of being done. I have had great accolades from people in the community, not just people who are involved on a day-to-day process in terms of earning their livelihood, as one might have expected, but from the general public as a whole.
People were in fact being shortchanged in the past. If they had in fact a $1,500 claim, if they wanted to proceed through the Small Claims Court -- or the Divisional Court as it used to be called -- provision, they had to in fact forgo $500 of their debt. In essence, that it not fair to people either. Or, in the alternative, if they wanted to collect the full $1,500, they had to proceed through the then-county court, today district court.
That was a tremendous expense; tremendous time was consumed in doing that. In fact, I think in a significant way it created a backlog and a clog in our system that, again, caused great delay for litigants, great delay for people who were in fact wanting to be tried to perhaps retain their freedom or get their freedom returned to them.
So, in fact, we created a system that, by its very nature, because it was not reviewed and because of its technicality was, in fact, instead of expediting justice, delaying justice.
If there is one proverb, I guess, that all of us who practise law know and follow, it is the factor that justice delayed is justice denied. There is no question about that. I have seen instances, and I am sure my colleagues in the House who have practised in the criminal courts have seen instances, where perhaps people changed their pleas or instructed counsel to provide a plea of a different nature simply because of the delay in the court system.
That delay in the court system in a large respect will be influenced by the legislation that is being brought forth by this government.
Hopefully Ottawa, which at the present time appoints section 96 judges, which always blew my mind -- I could never understand why there was any differentiation, but I guess that is 1867 again -- in fact would look at it in terms of creating unified courts to minimize the amount of moving around that the average citizen has to do.
I think, in the final analysis, with this type of legislation being brought forward, it will create a system that is fairer not just to those people who have need for the courts immediately, but it will be fairer in the eyes of all Ontarians, all Canadians, and in fact will create a respect for the law which, as we look around the world and look outside of our own jurisdiction, we see that in fact the law is held in disdain in other areas where justice is either denied or appears to be denied.
So I would hope that this legislation will be carried through quickly and that we will be able to advance to the stage of having co-operative efforts with our federal colleagues in terms of having a unified system.
Having said that, I will go back to my normal rock where I am during the standing committee on administration of justice.
Mrs Cunningham: I just want to agree with the comments of the member for Brampton South (Mr Callahan) and to say that our party has had a lot of input from justices of the peace around this particular piece of legislation, and generally they are quite pleased with the bill.
They are very happy with the different levels of authority that are being established here in a much cleaner system, as they put it. They think that the bill will allow for justices of the peace to be more professional in their outlook of their responsibilities. They are happy with the salaries -- that particular format of remuneration.
They do ask us, though -- and I would ask the government to respond to this request, if it could -- if in fact the government will be putting forth any amendments, that we could have them as quickly as possible and therefore they could have them as quickly as possible, so there would be an opportunity for input around those amendments before consideration of the bill in the committee of the whole House.
The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): Other comments? The member for Carleton.
Mr Sterling: I just want to say, as I expect that we will be voting on second reading very shortly on this bill, I had a brief discussion with the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr Kormos), who had to leave the Legislature at this time.
Perhaps on his behalf -- although it might seem odd, in that he is of course a member of another party -- I just wanted to say that he was very much concerned with the fee-paid justices of the peace who have served this province for a very long period of time. I believe I also echoed the concern about that.
I would hope that the parliamentary assistant for the Attorney General either can assure us now or during the committee of the whole House which will follow, I suspect, in one, two or three weeks’ time, as to how these people are being compensated for the loss of income which is going to result when Bill 93 becomes law and these people are stripped of a source of income.
Some of them have served the people of Ontario for a long period of time and it was his feeling -- and I agree with that feeling -- that there should be some method of compensation or some recognition of this long term of service.
The Acting Speaker: Are there any other comments? Would the member for Brampton South care to reply?
Mr Callahan: No, I think I have said enough, Mr Speaker.
Mr Offer: As I indicated at the outset, this bill represents a major, substantive and long-needed reform in the administration of justice in dealing with a fundamental restructuring of the justice of the peace system. I would like to thank the members participating in the debate today for their support in principle on this legislation and to indicate that we will, at the very first opportunity, provide those amendments, as has been our custom in the past, to members opposite for their consideration.
There has been discussion, in terms of education and compensation in terms of the justices of the peace. Through this legislation there is the establishment of a co-ordinator who will be charged with the responsibility, first, of educational programs and policies in dealing with justices of the peace throughout this province, and second, of conducting an examination in terms of the compensation question, when one moves from a system based on fee to one based on an hourly or other kind of rate.
We believe this is an important and necessary improvement in the justice of the peace system of this province and we are secure in our knowledge that it shall serve the people of this province in a matter befitting their anticipation as to what the justice system of the province should and ought to be.
That is what these amendments are designed to accomplish. I thank the members for their support in principle on this legislation.
Motion agreed to.
La motion est adoptée.
Bill ordered for committee of the whole House.
Le projet de loi est déféré au comité plénier de la Chambre.
Hon Mr Conway: We have had a very productive afternoon, with the help of all honourable members, and I want to congratulate my colleagues for such an expeditious dealing with so many important matters of public policy.
Mr Sterling: We did that with the old rules.
Mrs Cunningham: Just think the old rules are still working. We don’t need new rules.
Hon Mr Conway: I just want to say to my very close friend the member for London North (Mrs Cunningham) that I am always pleased to have her in the House because she adds a very, very salutary effect, particularly upon the member for Carleton (Mr Sterling).
As we are drawing very close to the normal adjournment time, I think it would be unwise to call another order, so I would be quite happy to simply have the House adjourn.
The House adjourned at 1800.