The House met at 1330.
Mr Hampton: The Minister of Transportation (Mr Fulton) recently announced that at long last his ministry was considering increasing the speed limit on so-called secondary highways in northern Ontario from 80 kilometres to 90 kilometres an hour. The time is long overdue for such a change to be made. Let me point out just a few reasons why.
Highway 71 connecting Fort Frances and Kenora is not a secondary highway in anyone’s mind This is also true of Highway 502 connecting Fort Frances to Dryden, Highway 72 connecting Sioux Lookout to Dryden, Highway 105 connecting Red Lake to the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 808 connecting Atikokan to Dryden and Ignace.
The highways I have just listed are the main routes of transportation between the main communities of northwestern Ontario. Not only that; they are the main tourism routes which bring tourists from Manitoba. the rest of Ontario and the Midwest of the United States to all of the tourist enterprises that the government advertises and is so proud of.
How these highways were ever designated secondary highways in any sense in terms of the geography of northwestern Ontario is beyond anyone. The fact simply is they are the main routes of transportation and ought to be designated main highways with a 90-kilometre speed limit. If need be that the speed limit be lowered in certain sections, so be it. That is already the case on Highways 11 and 17.
Mr Harris: Over 40 per cent of Ontario’s conservation officers are here today to protest the treatment received from the Liberal government and by the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr Kerrio). Ontario’s conservation officers are responsible for the enforcement of more than 20 provincial and federal statutes, including the Criminal Code of Canada. Conservation officers are frequently drawn into situations that can be as volatile as any of those that a member of the Ontario Provincial Police is drawn into.
They should be receiving the training and remuneration to reflect this fact. There is no doubt that there exists a growing gap of over $10,000 between the wages paid to provincial conservation officers and those paid to other provincial officers, namely the OPP and the Ministry of the Environment officers.
I raised this matter with the minister as far back as 10 February 1986. The minister said then in response to my question, “We will do the right thing by those conservation officers.” The right thing is not stonewalling, the right thing is not hiding behind the Management Board people, the right thing is not hiding behind the Chairman of Management Board (Mr Elston) and the right thing is not continually frustrating the arbitration process.
The reality is the Minister of Natural Resources has both the power and the authority to step in and redress the current inequity, which is both unfair and a potential hindrance to them carrying out their jobs and I call on the Minister of Natural Resources to acknowledge that and to reclassify, both in title and in remuneration, the conservation officers.
CANADIAN AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION -- PETERBOROUGH
Mr Adams: A highlight of the 75th anniversary of the Canadian Automobile Association -- Peterborough were the reflections of Charlie Huffman, retiring after 60 years with the Peterborough Automobile Club.
In the early days of the club, few roads were paved and fewer had signs. How did we find our way around before Charlie Huffman and his father put up road signs? What did the Minister of Transportation do in those days? CAA Peter-borough, or the Ontario Motor League, as we used to know it, also organized the first driver education courses in local high schools. What did the school boards find to do in those days?
In those days too, the association supervised road service contract garages in four counties. In recent years CAA Peterborough has developed a highly respected travel agency. It is an established local business which is recognized for its contributions to community life. The current board and staff are to be commended for nurturing and enhancing a fine tradition.
Our thanks to Charlie Huffman and the pioneers of our automobile associations. The full text of Charlie’s reflections will be placed in the archives in Peterborough.
PROPOSED NEUTRINO OBSERVATORY
Miss Martel: Picking up from where my colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr Laughren) left off last Tuesday, I also want to make some remarks regarding the proposed Sudbury neutrino observatory.
Suffice to say that many members from all sides of this House, in particular the northern members, have been lobbying on the Sudbury neutrino observatory project and understand its scientific significance. Therefore, I cannot understand why the Liberal government is so reluctant to fund this project over a four-year term. The province has been asked to commit some $7.2 million, a drop in the bucket compared to the funding which still exists in the Premier’s Council technology fund.
Surely a pure research project which would attract scientists from the international community to Sudbury is an endeavour this government would be most eager to participate in.
Two weeks ago the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council indicated it was prepared to commit some $15 million to the observatory. This is far beyond what SNO leaders have requested from the Liberal government. It seems to me that a favourable response would go a long way to proving that this government is serious when it says it is committed to technology and development.
I last wrote to the Premier (Mr Peterson) on this important matter on April 19. Unfortunately, I have yet to receive any response regarding the Premier’s intentions or the intentions of staff of the technology fund regarding the project. Given the recent announcement by the research council, it is high time the government agreed to fund its share of this project.
Mrs Marland: The Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) told us the blue box program would be the answer to all our garbage problems. He told us not to worry about markets for the recycled material; he had everything under control.
We now find there is a glut of recycled material in the marketplace. We have reports of newspapers being stored in huge warehouses at taxpayers’ expense and being exported, of glass being thrown into garbage dumps and of cancelled pickup for corrugated cardboard. Because of the glut, market prices are down and the success of the municipal recycling program is being threatened.
It is obvious the Minister of the Environment did not do his homework. He has done nothing to ensure that the markets for recycled material would grow; instead, they have become saturated. The minister should have established programs to encourage industries to increase their use of recycled materials. For example, newspaper publishers must increase their use of recycled paper.
The blue box program is not alone in facing collapse. Today, we heard that Peel region is threatening to pull out of the greater Toronto area solid waste management strategy. We already know the citizens of Durham region are not happy with the plan. The Minister of the Environment seems to have washed his hands of the GTA strategy and is giving no guidance whatsoever.
This government has mismanaged both of these key initiatives. The message is simple: the Liberal government cannot handle the pressure and is stumbling its way through the garbage crisis facing southern Ontario.
UNCLE TOM’S CABIN
Mr McGuigan: On Sunday 18 June, the 200th anniversary of Rev Josiah Henson’s birth was celebrated at Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Dresden, Ontario. Thelma Henson, a great-granddaughter of Josiah Henson, unveiled a portrait of the person whose personal story inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write, in 1852, the powerful antislavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a book that ranks with Charles Dickens’s novels in terms of its effect upon the course of social and political history. Historians believe that, but for the publication of this book, the kings of Europe would have sided with the Confederates during the American Civil War, possibly changing the outcome and postponing the end of slavery in the United States.
The north star was a guide which many fugitive slaves followed to freedom along the underground railway to termini in Amherstburg in Anderdon township in Essex county and North Buxton, Shrewsbury, Chatham and Dresden in Kent county.
The Henson family settled in the Dresden area about 1841, where Josiah was an active leader in the church and helped to create the British-American Institute. The Henson home, known as Uncle Tom’s Cabin, has been preserved along with other buildings and many artefacts. The site is maintained by the county of Kent, with support from the Ministry of Culture and Communications.
The member for Chatham-Kent (Mr Bossy) and myself invite all those interested in Ontario’s history to visit this historic site.
Mr Wildman: In May 1985, 98 per cent of Ontario’s 235 conservation officers filed a classification grievance. On 26 April 1986, the Crown Employees Grievance Settlement Board ruled unanimously in favour of the conservation officers -- and we still do not have this problem resolved.
The government keeps bouncing this back to the grievance board. If there was a real commitment to ensuring that our conservation officers had a classification standard that truly represented what they do and a salary commensurate with their enforcement role, it would happen.
It appears that the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr Kerrio), despite his comments, does not really want to resolve this issue and get the conservation officers the kind of recognition they deserve in this province.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Mr Speaker, could I ask for unanimous consent to read a message referring to la Saint-Jean-Baptiste?
The Speaker: Is there agreement?
FÊTE DE LA SAINT-JEAN / ST JEAN BAPTISTE DAY
L’hon. M. Grandmaître: Les francophones de l’Ontario se sont regroupés samedi dernier afin de célébrer la Saint-Jean. C’était l’occasion de fêter notre histoire, nos traditions et notre culture.
Les nombreuses activités artistiques, culturelles et communautaires qui se sont déroulées dans toutes les régions de notre province témoignent de la vitalité de la population francophone de l’Ontario.
À la veille de l’entrée en vigueur le 19 novembre prochain de la Loi de 1986 sur les services en français, la Saint-Jean nous a permis d’exprimer notre confiance en l’avenir et notre volonté de participer à la vie économique, politique, sociale et culturelle de l’Ontario.
Ontario francophones got together last Saturday to celebrate St Jean Baptiste Day. It was an opportunity for us to mark our history, traditions and culture. The vitality of Ontario’s francophone population was reflected through the many activities, artistic and cultural, this community organized throughout the province.
As we near 19 November, the day the French Language Services Act, 1986 comes into force, St Jean Baptiste Day activities enable us to demonstrate our confidence in the future and our desire to participate fully in Ontario’s economic, political, social and cultural life.
Mlle Martel : Nous profitons de l’occasion qui nous est donnée aujourd’hui pour souhaiter à tous les Canadiens français nos meilleurs voeux pour la Saint-Jean-Baptiste.
Nous savons qu’il y a eu de nombreuses activités populaires dans toutes les régions de l’Ontario pour célébrer cette journée. La fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste démontre l’esprit dynamique et la vitalité de la communauté francophone en Ontario. Je voudrais saluer, en particulier, la contribution des Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes qui protègent la langue et la culture françaises en Ontario.
Il y a eu, bien sûr, des difficultés, mais les francophones ont travaillé fort et de façon continue afin de réaliser la construction d’écoles et de former des organismes linguistiques et culturels. Il reste beaucoup à faire. De notre côté, nous espérons que le français sera bien accepté partout. Nous espérons qu’au cours des prochaines années, les francophones auront enfin la possibilité de vivre leur vie quotidienne en français.
À l’avenir, j’espère que nous pourrons tous accepter et partager le riche patrimoine culturel et linguistique des francophones de l’Ontario et du reste du Canada. Ce jour-là, la fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste sera un jour de congé en Ontario comme au Québec.
M. Villeneuve : Il me fait aussi plaisir de saluer tous nos amis francophones, en cette fin de semaine où les francophones ontariens, avec leurs voisins du Québec, célébraient avec enthousiasme la fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste.
À Toronto, cette fête était reliée aux célébrations de la Semaine française. Cette fête nous démontre les contributions à la vie culturelle qui ont été apportées par nos Canadiens d’expression française. Nous sommes une province et un pays beaucoup plus riches à cause de nos deux peuples fondateurs.
Dans le passé, nos ancêtres ont travaillé d’arrache-pied et se sont imposé de nombreux sacrifices afin de garder notre fierté, notre langue et notre culture.
Le futur des Franco-Ontariens et de la francophonie en Amérique du Nord appartient aux jeunes de notre province et de notre pays, et ce sera à eux -- quand nous, leurs aînés, serons obligés d’abandonner la partie -- que reviendra la tâche d’épauler nos projets et de lutter continuellement. La seule façon de garder notre langue et notre culture, c’est de lutter. Ce sont les générations à venir qui devront porter le flambeau de cette grande tradition.
Il me fait plaisir de saluer tous nos francophones ontariens.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
CRASH OF AIR AMBULANCE
Hon Mrs Caplan: Mr Speaker, it is my sad duty to inform the House of an air ambulance crash into the waters of Pelee Island last Saturday night which took the lives of three people. Two people survived the crash, one being the patient for whom the air ambulance had been called, Margaret Fraser.
I would like to extend our sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of those who did not survive the plane crash: pilot Fred Lewis, ambulance officer Charles Ransome, and the patient’s husband, Ken Fraser. Co-pilot Peter Marshall is to be commended for his part in the survival of Mrs Fraser.
The plane was a seven-passenger, twin-engine Piper Navajo owned by South West Air of Windsor. It was chartered by the Central Air Ambulance Communications Centre in response to a request received at 9:31 pm on 24 June from the Windsor Central Ambulance Communications Centre.
After arriving on Pelee Island to pick up the patient and her husband, the plane took off at about 11 pm for the 15-minute flight to Windsor. It crashed into the water shortly after becoming airborne.
South West Air is a general aviation contractor operating in the southwestern Ontario area which has been working for the ministry for approximately seven years. South West Air has provided at least 2,600 air transfers during that time. Our air ambulance service transfers about 15,000 patients a year. Our air ambulance operations, of course, must meet all Department of Transport requirements and the standards set by this province.
In the interest of maintaining public confidence, I am initiating a comprehensive review of our air ambulance standards and procedures. This special review will be done with the assistance of Transport Canada, and I expect to be able to announce the name of the individual who will lead the review very shortly. The terms of reference of the review will include a comparison of Ontario’s air ambulance standards and procedures with other North American jurisdictions. I have asked that the review report within six weeks.
The Ontario Provincial Police and the Canadian Aviation Safety Board are conducting separate investigations into the accident. Their findings will be made public.
CRASH OF AIR AMBULANCE
Mr D. S. Cooke: On behalf of my party, I would like to join with the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) and offer our sympathies to the individuals, Fred Lewis, Charles Ransome and Ken Fraser, who died this past weekend in the tragic air crash near Pelee Island.
I commend the minister that she has initiated a review and will set up terms of reference. I am only saddened that when a tragedy similar to this occurred in northern Ontario not too long ago, there were suggestions that this type of review of our air ambulance system in Ontario take place and the minister said that it was adequate to have Transport Canada look into the matter and not for the provincial government to participate directly.
I think that if this type of review had taken place before, perhaps this tragedy could have been averted and perhaps we would have had a better understanding of some of the problems in our air ambulance system in Ontario.
I also suggest to the minister that the emergency services provided in this province, and in particular ambulance services, whether it be air ambulance or ground transportation, have some serious problems in them that the ministry has not been addressing for a long time. We have volunteer systems, municipal systems, direct provincial systems and a for-profit ambulance system as well.
I think if the minister is to be serious about addressing the inequities of service and the difficulties we have in providing adequate levels of service, the entire ambulance service across this province must be reviewed. We must have something that is safer and more consistent right across the province.
Again, on behalf of the New Democratic Party, I offer my sympathies to the people affected this past weekend. I hope the minister will take some of our concerns to heart.
Mr Eves: As the Health critic for our party, I am rising to respond to the Minister of Health’s statement in the House this afternoon. I think that all members should be aware that this is the third accident by Ontario air ambulances in the last seven months. I share the comments made by my colleague to my right with respect to the previous tragedies.
The Ministry of Health has had three opportunities now to respond to these problems. It had the opportunity when the Shapiro report came out and was made public on 15 November 1988. It had the opportunity on 30 November 1988 with the Chapleau air disaster. It had the opportunity in January 1989 when a helicopter blew upon the pad at the Buttonville Airport. After two other tragedies we have a third one, and now the minister is finally going to do what Shapiro suggested on 1 June 1988 that the minister do. It is too little too late, unfortunately, for the people whose lives have been lost.
It really disturbs me that when opposition spokesmen stand up in this House and when an independent report suggested to the minister that she could launch her own investigation and inquiry into air ambulance services in the province, she does not take any of this seriously until we find ourselves in the third tragedy.
There are a lot of things in the ambulance system in general that need to be improved in the province. I do not think there is any doubt about that. We need a full provincial inquiry into ambulance services, the first step, I think, to improving emergency care in Ontario. We need more money for equipment, vehicles and staff. We need some standardization of ambulance services, air and otherwise, in Ontario. Until her ministry treats this very seriously, I am afraid that we are going to have more statements like the one read here in the House today.
I express on behalf of our party the sincere condolences and sympathy to the family and friends of those whose lives were lost. I just hope we do not have to stand a fourth time and say it again.
Mr Pope: Pilots, co-pilots, attendants and paramedics who are involved in providing a much-needed emergency air ambulance service across this province deserve our wholehearted support. It is forthcoming from the members of this Legislature. We join with the minister and opposition spokesmen in offering our sympathies to those who lost their lives and their families. It is a terrible tragedy to take place, for those who are trying to help out their fellow man. We respect their commitment to doing that through our air ambulance service.
The minister will know that when the Chapleau air ambulance crash occurred last year, I rose in the Legislature and asked that the minister review the procedures that were in place in northern Ontario for the transfer of the air ambulance service from one carrier to the other. I also asked the minister for more information. She indicated at the time that she thought I was being disrespectful to those who lost their lives in that terrible tragedy.
The point we were trying to make then was that we wanted the minister and her officials to spend some time on this issue, to review the procedures and to make sure that these kinds of accidents could not happen again. The minister did not answer our questions in the Legislature. When I applied under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to get the basic details from the Ministry of Health, I got stonewalling for two months and a bill to pay, and when I did get the documents, over one third of them had deletions on them, so we could not find out what the basic decision-making process in the Ministry of Health was.
We now have the third air ambulance crash, and I think the position of the Ministry of Health -- not the minister, but the ministry -- on this matter is regrettable and has frustrated any attempt by this Legislature and this minister to review, as should have been done six months ago, the whole operation of air ambulances in this province. Now we are going to get a review after the third incident. I think the Ministry of Health deserves to be condemned for its actions to date.
Mr B. Rae: I have a question to the Premier. On Friday at his press conference, at which he announced the government’s general plans with respect to a judicial inquiry, one of the things he said was with respect to Mr DelZotto, the president of the Ontario section of the federal Liberal Party.
I am quoting from what he said: “I have absolutely no influence over that particular situation. I can say that if he was the president of the Ontario Liberal Party, I would ask him to step down.”
I was intrigued by that comment for several reasons, but perhaps I could start by simply asking the Premier this question: Can he tell us why he thinks Mr DelZotto should step down?
Hon Mr Peterson: The allegations have been made, and until the matter is thoroughly dealt with and cleared up or the resolution is obtained, I think it would be in his interest to do so.
Mr B. Rae: I am intrigued by that response, because when I have asked the Premier on several occasions about members of his own cabinet about whom allegations have been made. which have been admitted to -- in the case of the Minister of Culture and Communications (Ms Oddie Munro), she has admitted to the $5,000 sweetheart contract between Ms Starr’s slush fund and her own mother -- the Premier’s response to me has been, and he has said it in very argumentative terms, as well as telling everybody what he thinks of me, that as far as he is concerned, he is going to wait, he is not going to prejudge anything and he is going to take his time.
I find it fascinating that in the one individual about whom he says he is absolutely powerless, Mr DelZotto, the simple mention of an allegation is sufficient for him to say, “He should definitely go,” but when it comes to members of his own cabinet, over whom he has responsibility and he has authority, his response has been consistently to stonewall and to say he will take no such steps.
The Speaker: The question?
Mr B. Rae: I want to ask him, why does the same rule not apply to the Minister of Culture and Communications as applies to Mr DelZotto?
Hon Mr Peterson: My friend continues to make the same point day after day, and I respect his right to do so, but I say to him my answer is the same day after day.
Mr B. Rae: I do not know how the Premier’s answer can be the same when he has already said he has a different standard for people over whom he has no control. Why is his standard for people over whom he claims he has no control and no influence so totally different from the standard that applies to members of his own executive council?
Hon Mr Peterson: As the member knows, the nature of the allegations is very different. I have told my friend what we are doing with respect to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and others and I have indicated that there will be a cabinet shuffle in the not-too-distant future and I will deal with it all then.
Mr B. Rae: Whether or not the Premier has heard from the conflicts commissioner? He is saying one thing on the one hand and another on the other.
The Speaker: Question?
Mr B. Rae: It is my understanding. and we have just had it confirmed by Mr Maywood, who is the acting deputy chief and who informed us, that the criminal investigations service group of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force did prepare a confidential memo with respect to information contained in the Waisberg report about the DelZotto family. I wonder if the Premier can tell us if in fact that is the case.
Hon Mr Peterson: The acting Solicitor General (Mr Scott) has investigated this matter.
Hon Mr Scott: I am happy to tell the honourable member that the Deputy Solicitor General routinely makes oral inquiries of police sources and other sources before appointments to either local police commissions or the Ontario Police Commission are made. I have no doubt that was done in all these cases over the last four years.
Our investigation, however, does not reveal that any written report had been asked for, promised or indeed received by the time appointments were last made to the Ontario Police Commission.
Mr B. Rae: Perhaps while I have the acting Solicitor General on his feet, although he was not the Solicitor General at the time that presumably any of these alleged appointments were to have been made or not made, since under the rules I can no longer ask the Premier a question, I would be delighted to ask the acting Solicitor General this question.
He will know that he has responded to me on a number of occasions about the question of judicial inquiry as opposed to other means of investigation. He has told me specifically, as did the previous Solicitor General when we have asked for judicial inquiries, that with respect to a particularly narrowly focused inquiry, it is completely improper to proceed by way of judicial inquiry at the same time as a police investigation is ongoing.
I would like to ask the acting Solicitor General what he is going to do when people who are appearing before the judicial inquiry to answer particular questions about particular allegations claim their charter rights and simply say with respect to a potentially criminal charge, “We cannot respond in this way to this kind of a proceeding at the same time as a criminal investigation is ongoing.”
Hon Mr Scott: The honourable member is quite right about the response I traditionally make and, I think, properly make to these questions, and I make the same one now.
I believe the government responded appropriately by indicating that a judicial inquiry would be appointed. I anticipate that as long as a police investigation is under way, no judge in Ontario would commence the taking of evidence at that inquiry, because to do so would run a real risk that any criminal charges that were pursued would have to be dismissed against the accused by virtue of the breach of his charter rights. But that will be a determination that will be made by the judge conducting the inquiry. He will have sole determination to proceed or not to proceed.
Mr B. Rae: What the acting Solicitor General is telling us is that the inquiry announced by the Premier cannot in fact proceed and that the inquiry that was announced by the Premier appears to be a simple public relations exercise on the part of the Liberal Party of Ontario to get away from the executive responsibilities of the Premier for his own office.
I would like to ask the acting Solicitor General, since he has now told us that no judge can proceed to investigate particular matters --
Hon Mr Scott: I am not saying that.
Mr B. Rae: What I heard him say was that he cannot proceed to take evidence with regard to questions that are currently before the police and that may result in criminal charges.
Why would the acting Solicitor General not endorse the proposal we have made? Rather than have a narrowly focused inquiry which deals specifically with allegations which the acting Solicitor General knows perfectly well are in fact the subject of a police investigation, why does he not join with our approach, which is to have a far more broadly based inquiry into the relationship between the development industry and the governments of this province, and indeed of this country, so that we can finally understand why this whole scheme was established in the first place?
Hon Mr Scott: You get asked a question, you give your answer, then the Leader of the Opposition gets up and says what the acting Solicitor General has told us and puts back something that could not have been further from my mind, as if that was the end of the matter.
Mr D. S. Cooke: You said he wouldn’t be able to take evidence.
Mr Wildman: Who do you think you are?
Hon Mr Scott: Now that gets them all excited and it is going to happen again. Is everybody finished? Okay.
As the honourable Leader of the Opposition, who practised law for a while, knows perfectly well, the answer to the question does not depend on the breadth or the narrowness of the commission of inquiry. If any of the persons who are named in the current reports are charged -- and that will be a matter for the police to decide after their investigation -- their charter rights would be seriously infringed, as the honourable member perfectly well knows, if any questions, whether raised in a broad or narrow inquiry, which ask anything about them or anything about which they might be concerned were advanced.
I have said those questions will be for the judicial inquiry judge to decide. He can start the day after his appointment or he can give effect to charter rights if he thinks that is the appropriate thing to do.
What I am sure the honourable Leader of the Opposition wants is not a political game; what he wants is that justice should be done in either the criminal court or the inquiry process. It is my job to do everything we can, without inflaming my friend’s political instincts, to guarantee that that happens in Ontario as long as I am in this job.
Mr Brandt: My question as well is to the Premier. I want to indicate to the Premier that I listened very carefully to what he had to say in connection with his announcement on Friday and I have listened very carefully to what the Attorney General (Mr Scott) has had to say in his comments in response to the Leader of the Opposition today.
I find there are certain changes or alterations with respect to the two positions. The shell game that the Attorney General is now talking about is totally unacceptable. In no way did the proposal that the Premier of this province made contain any of the alterations and the changes and the modifications that the Attorney General is now proposing to this House.
I ask the Premier, which is it. his position on Friday or the Attorney General’s position today?
Hon Mr Peterson: The positions are the same, and the Attorney General will tell the member what the position is.
The Speaker: Supplementary?
Hon Mr Scott: The difficulty with this question --
Mr Wildman: The Premier answered the question.
The Speaker: Order. Was that referred or not?
Mr Brandt: Well, since the Premier answered the question, I --
The Speaker: Order. I asked if it was referred. It is referred.
Hon Mr Scott: On Friday, the government announced the immediate appointment of a judicial inquiry into these matters. I can tell the honourable members that when an order in council is executed and the Chief justice of Ontario has made the requisite appointment, that inquiry will be in place and can begin meeting immediately.
The question that arises is: In the event that a criminal charge is laid, will it be proper for the inquiry to take evidence that will bear on that charge? The reality is that that will be a question for the judge conducting the inquiry. As the honourable member knows, there are lots of examples where that occurs. The position of a coroner’s inquest is precisely the same under the statute as the position we are advancing today.
We have made an immediate appointment. The judge will be in place as soon as that can be arranged. He will decide the order of business and the timing of business. There is no question that persons who may be accused may ask him to protect their rights under the Chatter of Rights and Freedoms.
Mr B. Rae: No kidding.
Hon Mr Scott: I do not think that is such a shocking thing. The leader of the third party has not submitted to this, but the Leader of the Opposition, when he has the political bit in his teeth, will just ride over any rights that the law provides.
The Speaker: Thank you. Order.
Mr B. Rae: On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: I wonder if the Attorney General would consider what he has just said.
Mr Brandt: As in withdraw.
Mr B. Rae: Yes. He cannot say that kind of crap.
Hon Mr Scott: I suppose if I said “hypocrisy,” the honourable Leader of the Opposition would not object to that.
Mr B. Rae: I did not set up the inquiry. He did. Okay?
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Scott: I do not want to offend the honourable Leader of the Opposition. I have too much respect for his ability and integrity --
The Speaker: You will withdraw?
Hon Mr Scott: -- and I do not hesitate to withdraw.
The Speaker: Thank you.
Mr Brandt: In the spirit of civility that is now on the floor on the part of the Attorney General, I would like to address my supplementary to the Attorney General in connection with the difficulties that I well appreciate surround this entire issue.
Is the Attorney General -- through him to the Premier, to whom I cannot address this question -- prepared at least to negotiate with the leaders of the opposition and their parties in connection with the appointment of the head of this judicial inquiry, and also to very carefully -- I say to him in the interests of co-operation -- and very sensitively develop the terms of reference for the inquiry, so that we can bring some order to the way in which we proceed through this House and through the inquiry, which obviously will be independent of this House?
Hon Mr Scott: I should say, without hesitation, that I look forward, either in this place or by letter or more informally, to any suggestions the Leader of the Opposition or the leader of the third party wants to make on that subject. I want to assure them they will get my best possible consideration. I share their instinct.
Mr Brandt: I would ask the Attorney General not to wait for a proactive move on the part of the members of the opposition. What we are in fact asking for is for the Attorney General and the government to sit down and discuss, at least in somewhat of an amicable fashion, the method by which we can proceed in order to get on with other business in this House, as well as just this affair that is before us at the moment.
My appeal to him, as a gentleman and as an honourable member of this House, is, is he prepared to sit down with us and negotiate adequate, reasonable terms of reference with respect to this entire matter so that it will not become, on a daily basis, an issue for us to raise by way of questions to him about the inadequacy of the inquiry, the inadequacy of the terms of reference and the parameters upon which he drafts this entire inquiry? Is he prepared to set that issue aside by sitting down before the fact and working out some of those details with us?
Hon Mr Scott: The honourable leader of the third party asks me not to await any proactive stance on the part of his party. Many years before I came here I waited vainly for any proactive stance on the part of his party and got none. But let me say this: I am prepared to receive, as is the government, whatever suggestions he may have. If he cares to meet with me at the end of question period so I can hear his suggestions, I am willing and will make myself available precisely for that purpose.
PROPOSED POLICE COMMISSION APPOINTMENT
Mr Brandt: My question is to the Premier. Today’s Globe and Mail carries a story in connection with the possible appointment of one of the DelZotto brothers to the Ontario Police Commission. I wonder if the Premier could confirm if that possible appointment was in fact discussed between him and the Attorney General in connection with the appropriateness of the appointment?
Hon Mr Peterson: A great number of names come forward for potential appointments, including ones that the leader of the third party brings to my attention, as do other members of this House. The answer is that it was raised, and it was discussed and rejected.
Mr Brandt: My understanding is that it was a little more complicated than that. My understanding is that the former Solicitor General, the member for Kingston and The Islands (Mr Keyes), did in fact recommend one of the DelZottos for an appointment to the Ontario Police Commission, but that there was an intervention on the part of the Attorney General (Mr Scott) with respect to that possibility. Could the Premier confirm that was the sequence of events?
Hon Mr Peterson: I do not think I can confirm the first part of that. Definitely, the second part, I can confirm. The Attorney General and I agreed it was not the appropriate appointment in the circumstances.
Mr Brandt: Could the Premier also confirm that a former member of the Ontario Police Commission. Archie Ferguson, I believe, had discussions with him in regard to the appropriateness of that appointment and that this intervention, as well, took place in connection with the possible appointment of one of the DelZottos to the Ontario Police Commission?
Hon Mr Peterson: He was not a member of the police commission; Archie Ferguson was the commissioner, Ontario Provincial Police. Frankly’ I do not recall whether that was specifically discussed with him. Generally, police commission appointments are not discussed with the commissioner, at least not by me. At the same time, there is wide discussion about these kinds of things. For example, if a potential police commission one comes along in some community, I am told and the acting Solicitor General (Mr Scott) will confirm this, generally there is discussion with the local people as to the appropriateness and all of that kind of thing.
Let me just finish up and, I guess, answer the question I think my friend wants to ask. It was never the Attorney General’s intent, or mine, to appoint the named individual. So I am not sure -- and this could apply to many, many other potential appointments. I guess what I am telling my friend is that there is a lot of excitement about something that did not take place.
Mr B. Rae: There certainly is. I think the Premier is quite right about that. We know a report was in fact prepared with respect to one of the DelZotto brothers. I would like to ask the Premier this specific question: Which one of the members of the DelZotto family was proposed for a position on the Ontario Police Commission? When did this take place and precisely why was Mr DelZotto’s name rejected?
Hon Mr Peterson: I will refer it to the Attorney General.
Hon Mr Scott: Our understanding, having made an investigation, is that routinely the Deputy Solicitor General makes inquiries in the community and for the Ontario Police Commission in the broader community about persons who may be considered for the appointment. Those inquiries are orally made and orally responded to.
At the time of the appointments to the Ontario Police Commission last made, I am also advised there was not on hand any written police report about any of the DelZottos as far as we can ascertain. That is the circumstance and that is an important fact to know in light of the newspaper’s report this morning.
Which of the DelZottos was being considered for the police commission. I am not frankly able to say at the moment, except that I simply observe this: None of them was appointed. It was the determination of the government of the day to appoint other people to those jobs, and we did.
Mr B. Rae: Perhaps the acting Solicitor General, who has again been referred this question by the Premier -- I would much prefer my supplementary to go to the Premier. The criminal investigation service did apparently prepare a memorandum of some kind with respect to one of the DelZotto brothers, and I do not know which one because the Premier has not told us. The Premier in his previous answer said a name was raised. It was discussed and it was rejected. All we are asking to know is this: Who raised whose name? Who proposed whose name? Who discussed whose name? Who then decided to reject it and why? I think we are entitled to an answer to each of those questions.
Hon Mr Scott: There are parts of that question I do not think anybody can answer, but what l can tell the honourable member is that routine inquiries from communities and police are made not only with respect to OPC appointments; they are made with respect to all police board appointments and with respect to other appointments of a quasi-judicial character such as the appointment of judges and the appointment of members of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.
I can tell the honourable member that no written report, as far as can be ascertained, was received about any of the DelZotto family being appointed to a police commission. As the Premier has already said, there were a number of people who were opposed to any such appointment even being considered, and none was made. That is the reality of the matter.
Mr D. S. Cooke: Why?
Hon Mr Scott: I will tell my friend why none was made. None was made because it was thought either that the appointment was inappropriate, or alternatively, that a better candidate was available, the same basis on which we reject thousands of people, including applicants from the New Democratic Party, for a wide variety of government jobs.
Mr Harris: A question to the Premier: We are all indeed concerned with the integrity of the system and with the perception of politicians in general, from all parties.
This past weekend the Minister of Revenue (Mr Grandmaître) was on a CBC radio talk show. He spoke about a $1,250 donation his riding association received. He said: “It” -- meaning the cheque -- “was endorsed over to the Ontario Liberal Party. They cashed the cheque, provided me with the money, $1,250, and that is perfectly legal. That is according to the law, and we have to close those loopholes.”
When asked further, the Minister of Revenue said, “I did receive the money, but indirectly through the Ontario Liberal Party.” When asked by the interviewer if he had a problem with that, the minister said: “Exactly. We have to close the loophole. We are going to change the law.”
I would ask the Premier if he can tell us what sort of credibility he expects to have as Premier when one of his cabinet ministers is saying how terrible it is to have these loopholes and the law has to be changed seconds after he admits, “Yes, I exploited those loopholes for my own purposes.”
Hon Mr Peterson: The Commission Of Election Finances is looking into this matter. I am not sure if my honourable friend is alleging anything illegal or getting around the law in the circumstances. He may well be, and if there was a mistake made, obviously the election expenses commission will look into this and report back to this House.
I cannot stand here and attest to the fact that no mistakes have been made in reporting. Obviously, some have. They may have been for the member’s party or other parties as well. But let me say at the same time to my honourable friend that if he believes or if other members of the House believe there should be changes in the Election Finances Act, which the commissioner, Donald MacDonald, former member of this House and former leader of the New Democratic Party, argued was the most open in North America -- I think those were his words -- if the member for Nipissing thinks the law can be changed and improved upon, let us look at this matter. Let us sit down together and change the laws, if he thinks that is appropriate. We have no objection to looking at them.
Mr Harris: During the same interview, Matt Maychak of the Toronto Star was interviewed. When asked about the situation, Mr Maychak said he had discussed the matter with the chairman of the election finances commission, who stated clearly that what the Minister of Revenue had done was not take advantage of a loophole but break the law; simple as that.
In view of the fact there was no problem with the law -- the Premier keeps coming back to this law and he wants to have more and more laws to replace what I suggest are integrity, common sense, doing the right thing. I myself do not know whether the law was broken; I do not know in this situation. But I am telling the Premier that when he has ministers talking about using all the loopholes and saying we have to close the loopholes -- apparently it was not a loophole; it was breaking the law -- when he has ministers in this sensitive time, on air, talking this way, it does not do justice to the Premier, his party or indeed any member of this chamber.
I would ask the Premier if he has looked into this situation and if he is satisfied that indeed that is the way his ministers are supposed to be carrying out their activities, looking for these loopholes to see if indeed they can find ways to get around the laws.
Hon Mr Peterson: Frankly, I am not aware of this particular interview or the facts surrounding this particular donation, but my honourable friend stands in the House and says on the one hand. “We do not want any more laws.” On the other hand, he says he does not know whether he has broken the law or not, but then he stands there and makes a lot of allegations.
Is that not why we have an election expenses commission and an independent commissioner, to make these determinations? He is doing that. He may well come to the conclusion the law has been broken, in which event penalties will be levied in the circumstances. Surely, that is why the whole situation is there.
My honourable friend cannot, on the one hand, say he does not know whether the law has been broken, but he does not want any more laws, and on the other hand, make allegations that laws have been broken. I think my honourable friend would want to be somewhat fairminded about this. I attend, as he does, the report of the chairman of the Commission on Election Finances. If the member has any suggestion of anything being done that is incorrect or against the law, I think he should refer it to the election expenses commissioner, who is an independent officer of this House.
HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION AND SIGNAGE
Mr Adams: My question is for the Minister of Transportation. There were two serious accidents on Highway 115 yesterday and I am very concerned that it is at a dangerous construction stage. Part of the highway is already four-laned and part is not. People have great difficulty adjusting speed to the two situations. Can the minister give me some assurance that the four-laning of Highway 115 is on track.
Hon Mr Fulton: I appreciate the member’s ongoing interest with respect to transportation in and out and within the city of Peterborough. I can assure him that as we move the project forward, as we announced two or three years ago, the four-laning of Highway 115-35 is on schedule, almost to within the week, and will be completed in 1992.
Mr Adams: I thank the minister for that reply. On a related matter to do with Highway 115, prior to the completion of construction it seems to me important, from the point of view of safety and from the point of view of the profile of our communities, that signage on it be really well designed. Is the ministry willing to consider suggestions about signage for Highway 115, and in particular, the suggestion that the highway might well have a name?
Hon Mr Fulton: Certainly, we would be willing to meet with any people who have thoughts on how the highway should be signed. Specifically, if the member is talking about designating it with the name of a person or tourist attraction or some such, I think we have a mechanism between the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation and the Ministry of Transportation with a committee comprised of residents and perhaps the member and others with an interest in the project. We would be more than happy to set that in motion for him.
PROPOSED POLICE COMMISSION APPOINTMENT
Mr B. Rae: I want to go to the Premier on an earlier answer he gave. He talked about a name being raised, about a name being discussed and about a name being rejected. Can the Premier tell us whose name was raised, discussed and rejected?
Hon Mr Peterson: Elvio DelZotto.
Mr B. Rae: I want to ask the Premier precisely, when did this discussion take place in the life of this government?
Hon Mr Peterson: I cannot tell the member precisely the date. It would be -- oh, I do not know -- two or three years ago. I just cannot tell the member precisely. I can find that out. I can check the records in order to do that. But I want to tell my honourable friend, it is like many other names which are discussed at various committees by various people, like any other name that comes along from him or anybody else. It came up and was rejected.
Mr Brandt: My question is to the Minister of Culture and Communications. I would like to ask the minister, in light of the events of the weekend, information that has come out further confirming the contact she had with Mrs Starr in regard to the appointment her mother received, has she reconsidered her position with respect to resigning from cabinet?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I think my position is the same as it always has been. I have listened to every member of the House, to the community and to the press on my reaction. I feel that I was not in any conflict of interest. I have asked for a ruling from Mr Justice Evans. I cannot say anything other than that. I really am confident that the investigation, which I intend to participate in fully, will end up answering all the questions the member has. If he would like to advance to me any further reasons for answering the question, I will try to answer it to him.
Mr Brandt: My difficulty with this whole matter, and it is a difficult matter, is the fact that the minister intervened by way of recommending a member of her family, namely, her mother, ultimately ending up in a $5,000 transaction with a party who is now under a great deal of study and concern on the part of this Legislature, namely, Ms Starr, and a party with whom her ministry has a great deal of contact, as well as to whom grants are provided.
If the minister is not prepared to do what some consider to be the honourable thing under very, very difficult circumstances, and I appreciate that, does she not see, irrespective of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner’s position, a difficulty in recommending her mother for this kind of contract through a party like Ms Starr, with whom the minister has other arrangements and other dealings on behalf of her ministry? Does the minister not see that problem?
Hon Ms Oddie Munro: I have indicated that I realized there would be a perception among some members of the House and the community that my role would be inappropriate. I do not believe I made any intervention. I think that in my casual conversation with Mrs Starr she did not represent herself as asking questions on behalf of the National Council of Jewish Women.
I believe my only recourse is to ask the Conflict of Interest Commissioner for a ruling. That is exactly where I stand. My position has not changed. I want the member to know I have listened and I continue to listen to all the opinions of this House, the media and the community.
The Speaker: New question. That completes the questions? The Leader of the Opposition.
Mr B. Rae: I was expecting a Liberal to get up. I guess they do not have any questions today.
PROPOSED POLICE COMMISSION APPOINTMENT
Mr B. Rae: I want to ask the Premier again about this process of the potential appointment or the recommendation of Elvio DelZotto to the Ontario Police Commission. I want to be clear with the Premier on how this recommendation came to him. Presumably if it came to him it was in its final stages of discussion.
Can the Premier tell us, did a recommendation come to him from members of his staff, did it come to him from the general appointments process, did it come to him from the Solicitor General at that time? Whence came the name Elvio DelZotto?
Hon Mr Peterson: I should explain the general appointments procedure to my honourable friend. As he knows, we have opened up very substantially the appointments procedure in this province. There is a book available to everyone in this province about all order-in-council appointments and when the dates come up and who is there. This had never been the case, as my honourable friend knows, before we changed the system and opened it up.
So people come in regularly and look at the book and say, “Gee, I would like to be on X commission,” or whatever. People recommend --
Mr D. S. Cooke: That’s what happened to DelZotto.
Hon Mr Peterson: Well, my honourable friend the member for Windsor-Riverside sits there very smugly and sanctimoniously and tells me about -- he does not figure that he and his friends take advantage of the process. We have appointed a lot of his friends and will continue to do so because we think, contrary to popular belief, some of those people have some talent. I am prepared to do that and we have done it in the past.
So these names come forward. Many members opposite have written me letters, “Would you recommend such-and-such a person for the board of such-and-such hospital. the board of this, that or the other thing?” That is the way they all come forward, in a big list. There is a committee that puts in the things that are appropriate, where their recommendations come from, and they come to a committee that looks at all of these things. Prior to appointment, we tend to discuss these things with the appropriate person.
If the member phoned me and recommended, say, somebody for the Social Assistance Review Board, we would send him to the chairman of the Social Assistance Review Board for an interview. If that person came back and said, “Gee, we do not think that person is appropriate or we would recommend him,” it goes in the mill. That is how appointments are made with police commissions and a wide variety of other things. They do not come to me with a final recommendation necessarily.
A variety of names will come forward with various recommendations from various people. judgements are made and finally I have to recommend them to the cabinet. Frequently we will go to the cabinet, it will come up and somebody at cabinet will say, “I disagree with” –
The Speaker: Thank you. It seems like a fairly reasonable answer.
Mr B. Rae: I did not hear an answer anywhere there to my question. I asked a question with respect to Elvio DelZotto. I do not need a political science lecture from the Premier, though I always appreciate knowing it.
I want to know who initiated Mr DelZotto’s name. I want to know who interviewed Mr DelZotto, I want to know whether Mr DelZotto’s name was presented to the Premier and I want to know whether the Premier presented Mr DelZotto’s name to the cabinet. Those are legitimate questions with respect to the appointment of Elvio DelZotto to the Ontario Police Commission, and that is the subject of my question.
Hon Mr Peterson: I know this is a supercharged situation. I realize there is an inquiry going on. I know a lot of allegations are being made, and we are going to track them all down. But this is the first time I have seen such a fuss about something that did not happen. I just wanted to make that point.
Number two, let me say it was never presented to cabinet, to answer the honourable member’s question. The Attorney General (Mr Scott), obviously, was not in favour of the situation and neither was I. The committee had been on a list at one point or other and it did not go forward.
Mr Sterling: I have a question of the Premier as well. About three months ago, the Ontario Liberal Party held a fund-raiser in the Ottawa-Carleton area. At that fund-raiser there were, I believe, a dozen trustees from the Ottawa Roman Catholic Separate School Board. Those particular trustees each paid, I think, $200 to $250 to attend the dinner. They went back to their school board, and I think nine of them were reimbursed by their school board for attending a Liberal fund-raiser.
Does the Premier believe the Liberal Party should be accepting funds indirectly from a school board which is financed at least 30 to 35 per cent, I believe, by the Ontario government?
Hon Mr Peterson: My colleague tells me that the Commission on Election Finances has ruled on that matter and said it is appropriate. That being said, we may want to sit down collectively in this House and come to the conclusion that we should change the law.
The honourable member could ask the question of, say, a hospital board, charities or any other kind of quasi-judicial body. Frankly, if he wants my own opinion, it is not appropriate and I do not think we should allow that.
I had heard about that situation. It appears to me that it was perhaps -- I hate to use the word -- a loophole or an ambiguity in the law. The commissioner ruled it was appropriate, but I think that as we look at the act, we should collectively in this House come to the conclusion that those kinds of contributions from transfer agencies are not appropriate.
Mr Sterling: I appreciate the Premier’s comments. I believe the Premier and political parties should look above and beyond the strict forms of the law. In that regard, has the Ontario Liberal Party then returned those funds to the Ottawa separate school board, in conjunction with his feeling?
Hon Mr Peterson: Very frankly, I cannot answer that particular question, whether we did or did not or what the resolution was. I remember reading about it in the paper at the time, because there was quite a fuss, as I recall, at the school board and there was a public discussion of the appropriateness of that situation. I frankly do not remember the resolution of that, but perhaps we as legislators have to change the law to remove all the ambiguities.
HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION AND SIGNAGE
Mr Neumann: My question is to the Minister of Transportation. Last week there was some concern expressed in our community about a decision of the regional office of the Ministry of Transportation to remove the name of Brantford from the overhead sign at the entrance to Highway 403 off the Queen Elizabeth Way. Considering the importance of economic revitalization in the community, there is quite a bit of concern within Brantford. I referred this matter informally to the minister and I would like to know if he has a response.
Mr Wildman: Don’t you write letters about this?
Mrs Marland: To use the time of the House for an answer like this is absurd.
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Fulton: I appreciate the member’s question and his persistence in representing the people of Brantford. I am able to tell the member that as a result of a meeting that followed the request from him, the signage to indicate the great city of Brantford will remain as is.
Mr Neumann: I have heard comments from the opposition that it is absurd to raise a question like this. I will stand up in this House and defend the economic revitalization of our community.
The Speaker: Do you have a supplementary?
Mr Neumann: In light of this economic revitalization of the community, which is so important to Brantford, I would like the minister to report as well on the linkage of Highway 403 between Ancaster and Brantford to enhance that revitalization.
Hon Mr Fulton: I would certainly echo the member’s comments with respect to the value of highway signage to a community, for economic development and economic betterment and certainly the generation of tourism, which is a growing area of economic development in the city of Brantford.
Highway 403, which members on both sides of this House have been actively participating to complete, is well under way and is on target.
PROPOSED POLICE COMMISSION APPOINTMENT
Mr B. Rae: I want to get to the bottom of this question of Mr DelZotto’s nonappointment to the Ontario Police Commission. Given the statements that were made about evidence provided to the Royal Commission on Certain Sectors of the Building Industry in the 1970s, I can tell the House and the Premier that I find it absolutely astonishing that Elvio DelZotto’s name would even be discussed seriously by members of the Ontario Liberal cabinet. It is absolutely astonishing.
I would like to ask the Premier: If he is saying that the name was rejected by the Attorney General (Mr Scott) and by himself, can he provide any explanation as to how it is that Mr DelZotto’s name got so far in the appointment process?
Hon Mr Peterson: It was not far up the process, so my honourable friend is digging, digging, digging, but he is not going to find anything.
Mr B. Rae: Is the Premier asking us to believe that when he has to veto a name, then that name has not gone far in the process? Is he asking us to take that seriously in terms of how the government operates?
Hon Mr Peterson: It is a very open system. Lots of names are brought forward --
Hon Mr Peterson: He may run a different kind of a system. but he is absolutely wrong and as a judge of candour in this House he is not particularly objective.
The Speaker: Order. It would be helpful if members would pay attention, and I will recognize the member for Nipissing.
Mr Harris: The question is for the Minister of Skills Development. He seems to be aware of published reports this past weekend that Mrs Patricia Starr arranged a fund-raising dinner for him when he was Minister of Housing. I know the minister will have checked his records, so he can supply us with the details of the fund-raising dinner. I wonder if the minister could tell us: How much did it raise, were developers invited, what role did Mrs Starr play, and was Tridel involved in any way in this event?
Hon Mr Curling: I presume that everyone can contribute, if he wants, to the fund-raising and I am quite sure that developers have contributed to my fund-raising. Mrs Starr and my riding organization were the ones that organized the fund-raising, so they were involved, of course.
In regard to how much was raised, if the member wants that, I know it is public knowledge that members can get the details on my fund-raising at any time.
Mr Harris: I guess the minister just missed “Was Tridel involved?” I leave that to him; perhaps he could respond with a supplementary.
The minister will recall that it was on his recommendation that Mrs Patti Starr was appointed to the board of the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority. The date of that appointment was 19 February 1986. The minister will also be aware that, to paraphrase the words of the Premier (Mr Peterson), this coincidence certainly looks bad.
Can the minister tell us on whose recommendation he appointed Mrs Starr, and did he receive any advice from the Premier’s office for that appointment?
Hon Mr Curling: I have been saying that I had no advice from the Premier in that regard. As in any appointment, when I was then the Minister of Housing, there were a number of names that came forward to be appointed to the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority. I have many, many other boards.
In regard to recommendations, I made recommendations to the cabinet that her name be put forward. The cabinet made that decision to approve her for the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority.
In regard to whether Tridel was involved in my fund-raising, if I heard the member correctly, I presume that it must have contributed to the fund-raising, of course, just like any other developer. It is quite possible.
The Speaker: I am sorry to interrupt; I was just listening carefully to the question and the response. It is up to the Speaker to recognize whether the subject matter pertains to the responsibility of the minister. I had a little difficulty with that; however, the minister agreed to answer.
Mr Owen: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. It seems that every month and every week the public becomes more and more concerned about waste management and what it is doing or not doing to our areas, and more and more interest is being shown in the recycling initiatives which this government has been introducing. In particular, the blue box program has been introduced. I learned recently that, every week, a new municipality in this province is starting a similar program.
I would ask the minister if could he update us. Exactly where is the program? Are any problems being experienced with the introduction of programs? Where we are going?
Hon Mr Bradley: The member is quite correct in assuming that a number of municipalities are coming on stream virtually every week and that they are coming from all parts of Ontario. We estimate at the present time that there are 1.5 million households on the blue box program. We are hopeful, and I think we can reasonably expect, that by 1995 we will have some three million households on the blue box program.
I think what is significant about it in the member’s area and other areas is that it need not simply be the basic components of the blue box program that dominate, but rather there are new and different materials which may be included as time goes on which will help to reduce the amount of waste that would normally go to either an incinerator or a landfill site.
I want to assure the member that we will expand, for instance, to multifamily dwellings in municipalities. We encourage them to do so. Indeed, we will look at even the more remote municipalities and some of the difficulties they have experienced, as we have in northern Ontario, to provide some special counsel and assistance in that regard. We certainly believe that is going to be beneficial to all the municipalities that take part.
Mr Owen: I appreciate that the answer to that question could be termed good news, but I want to go a little further, to an area which is probably more complex, more complicated and more difficult; that is, what we can or cannot do with regard to industry reducing the amount of waste entering our landfill sites. It appears that it is not quite as simple and as easily managed.
My question to the minister is: What is being proposed with regard to the same problem with industry as opposed to the households of this province?
Hon Mr Bradley: The member is quite correct in assuming that the amount of industrial and commercial garbage is a very significant contributor to the waste stream. That is particularly so in larger urban centres. One thinks of the Metropolitan Toronto area, for instance, where there are a lot of commercial businesses and industries. That is certainly the case.
We in Ontario have benefited, for instance, from the $20-million investment on the part of the soft drink industry and its support for recycling in this province. In addition to this, we expect there is going to be an expanded Ontario Multi-Material Recycling Inc type of circumstance in Ontario, where we have others who are involved in the process. The newspaper publishers, for instance, have had discussions with ministry officials, as have the plastics industry, those who are involved in food processing, those who are involved in food retailing. All recognize that they have a contribution to make.
We are also encouraging the development of programs within businesses where fine paper can be recycled. We have a 4R grants program which assists those who have some new and innovative ideas designed in the industrial and business sector to reduce the amount of wastes that we have going naturally into landfills or to incinerators.
I could recount some of those in detail but I know that many members of the House are aware of those. so I will not.
Mr Wildman: I have a question for the Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet.
In view of the statement made by the then Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, Mary Mogford, on 26 January 1987, that “I am committed to finding a solution for the current classification issue which will preserve this positive image” -- that is, of conservation officers -- and the subsequent statement made by the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr Kerrio) on 5 February 1987 in this House, can the chairman of Management Board explain why this grievance of 98 per cent of Ontario’s conservation officers is still not resolved?
Hon Mr Elston: I guess one of the reasons it is not resolved is that it has been referred back to the regular grievance procedures. There are certain things that have to be done. Hearings have been held. As I understand it, a recent decision by the board has just been delivered with respect to the jurisdiction that it has to set up an entirely new classification. I understand that matter is being reviewed now for the purposes of appeal and that is why it is not resolved.
Mr Wildman: Perhaps the Chairman of Management Board can explain why the union has been forced to go to the grievance board and now to an appeal. Why is there not a commitment on the part of the government to resolve this issue and to properly recognize the conservation officers’ enforcement role in the development of the class standard for the new resource technician for the conservation officer category? Why is the government not committed and willing and determined to resolve this issue now?
Hon Mr Elston: The parties to this, the employer and the employees, are in a process that has been established over the course of many years as being a legitimate process to be used. There is, I think, a willingness to talk to the issues, but once you are in the process, you must take the issues through the routes that are prescribed. Certain things have been done. The hearings have been held and decisions rendered, and now decisions will have to be made with respect to appeals of the decisions provided to us, the latest just on 14 June --
Mr Wildman: They are only appealing decisions because you guys argue against their petitions.
Hon Mr Elston: The member for Algoma wishes to participate in a debate. That is not the purpose of my answer. My purpose is to answer his question, which is that we are in the process of resolving a grievance in accordance with what is a procedure --
Mr Wildman: Four years now. It has gone on four years before the board.
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Elston: I can tell the honourable gentleman that we are in fact busy following those procedures. There is commitment, as expressed by the current member for Niagara Falls, the Minister of Natural Resources, and the previous deputy. That does not mean discussions can all of a sudden become unilateral. They are bipartisan and have to be resolved in accordance with agreement, but once you are in the process. you are in the process, and that is what we are doing, going through the process as required by legislation.
The Speaker: New question, the member for --
Hon Mr Kerrio: You didn’t want to hire them.
Mr Wildman: Four years. You are so ridiculous. That is why I didn’t ask you the question.
Hon Mr Kerrio: That’s right.
Mr Wildman: You couldn’t answer me.
The Speaker: Are the member for Algoma and the minister finished?
Hon Mr Kerrio: Thank you, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: Are you? Fine. Thank you. I will recognize the member for Mississauga South.
Mrs Marland: My question is to the Minister of Health. I rise today to tell her about the death of one of my constituents, a man by the name of A. 1. Kemp, who lived on Atwater Avenue in Mississauga South. Mr Kemp was another patient who, in his case, was waiting three months for an angiogram, simply a diagnostic tool, as the minister is well aware, to find out whether or not he could be a candidate for a procedure to deal with his cardiovascular problem.
The minister has been making a number of announcements. She has told us that the problems with cardiovascular surgery, and obviously the diagnostic equipment and appointments needed to make those decisions on a medical basis, were history. I wonder whether she can tell us today how she feels when she knows that another patient has died because the health care service in this province is not what it needs to be in 1989.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I would say to the member opposite that I am always saddened to hear of premature death by anyone in this province, of course, and certainly I would say to her that she does a disservice to the thousands and thousands of health care professionals, the over 200.000 health care professionals working in this province to provide what is considered exceptional care to the people of this province.
I would say to her that we have identified cardiovascular services as a provincial priority and that we have moved to develop a network within our system to encourage the nine hospitals in six centres, and the many physicians, nurses and others who work in those centres, to ensure that people who need the services have them provided in a timely manner and as close to home as possible. It is the physicians in this province who use their very best medical judgement to make those determinations, and I say she does a disservice to them to suggest we do not have in place a very fine system.
Mrs Marland: I do not think the minister heard what I was saying. I am not doing a disservice to the people who render health care service in this province. In fact, nobody has fought more than I have for the doctors and the health care professionals of this province. The fact of the matter is the disservice is to them because it is their patients who die because they do not have the diagnostic tools and appointments to save them.
My question to the minister is, since she is the one who is responsible for whether or not these appointments are available before three months, and since it is her ministry that gives the tools to these health care professionals, be they doctors or nurses, with whom we did have a world-class health care system in this province --
The Speaker: Can you get to the question?
Mrs Marland: -- and since it is her ministry
that allocates the funding, when those patients die waiting for those appointments. I want to --
The Speaker: Thank you. Order.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I would say to the member opposite that I think, by the very question she asks, she does not understand how this system works or how resources are allocated. I would say to her that if she is expecting political intervention in specific cases of medical judgement, then she is wrong. We do not tell the doctors of this province how to practise medicine, and I can say to her that they do their very best to ensure that people who are in need receive the care and treatment they need in order of priority.
I can tell her that the physicians, the nurses and the hospitals are working co-operatively with the ministry to make sure we have in place the kind of common definitions, standards and outcome data to make sure that what we provide to the people of this province is available in all communities and as close to home as possible.
She would know, however, that heart disease is the number one killer in this province and that there is much people can do to prevent heart disease. Much of our program is provided at prevention strategies. We have done much in the way of the healthy heart campaign. We have also done much in the area of treatment services and in the area of research.
The Speaker: That completes oral questions and responses.
Hon R. F. Nixon: Mr Speaker, during question period the honourable member for Nipissing (Mr Harris) put a question and a supplementary to the Minister of Skills Development (Mr Curling) asking for details of a fund-raiser when the Minister of Skills Development was Minister of Housing, three years ago. The minister gave an answer all of us heard, and at the end of that you said you had listened carefully and could not hear anything that pertained to the responsibilities of the Minister of Skills Development, but that he had not objected.
I agree with you in that connection. I think you would understand, however, that the minister would not want to object. He did answer and he did not want to appear unwilling to answer, but I agree with you that it was not in order. I would just suggest to you that you have a certain responsibility to rule in those matters, not to wait for an objection.
Mr Pope: Mr Speaker. I think the Deputy Premier indicated that you had ruled the questions were not in order. I do not think that was your ruling at all. I think you raised the question --
Hon Mr Nixon: Did not say that.
Mr Pope: Yes, he did. I am sorry, but he did say that.
Hon Mr Sorbara: Certainly, Alan has nothing to say. He is doing a guest appearance in the Legislature.
Mr Pope: I think the Minister of Labour (Mr Sorbara), speaking from some other. seat, is making some comments. I would say to the Minister of Labour, if he was spending more time on his job with respect to Bill 162 --
The Speaker: Thank you. Order.
Mr Pope: -- maybe all of us would not have to be here as much.
The Speaker: Order. Order. I have listened very carefully to the two members who have spoken. I drew it to the attention of the House and I will certainly consider it more thoroughly for any future questions.
Mr Faubert: I have a petition I wish to read into the record on behalf of the member for Scarborough East (Mr Fulton) from the members of the Scarborough-East York Superannuated Teachers of Ontario:
“To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
“To amend the Teachers’ Superannuation Act.”
The preamble is similar to all these petitions that have been presented. As per the standing orders, I have affixed my name thereto and I hereby present it for consideration.
Mr McGuinty: I have a petition addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario that calls upon the government to support the recommendations of the report of the Social Assistance Review Committee, Transitions.
This petition has been signed by 816 constituents along the way from Ottawa to Toronto, gathered by Mr Ayoub. who notwithstanding the fact that he has two artificial knees cycled from Ottawa to Toronto.
Mr Jackson: I have a petition:
“To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“Whereas the government of Ontario in its discussions with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation on amendments to the Teachers’ Superannuation Act has continually refused to permit an equal partnership between teachers and government in management of the pension fund, establishment of an acceptable contribution increase, benefit adjustments, an equitable treatment of future surpluses and a binding arbitration process,
“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly to insist that the Treasurer of Ontario enter into negotiations with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation which will lead to a settlement equitable to teachers.”
That is from 500 teachers from southwestern Ontario, and it has my signature and support.
Mr Miclash: I have a petition that reads:
“To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
“To amend the Teachers’ Superannuation Act, 1983, in order that all teachers who retired prior to 31 May 1982 have their pensions recalculated on the best five years rather than at the present seven or 10 years.
“The proposed amendment would make the five-year criteria applicable to all retired teachers and would eliminate the present inequitable treatment.”
This is signed by 59 Dryden teachers, and I have attached my signature to it as well.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
POWER CORPORATION AMENDMENT ACT, 1989 (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 19, An Act to amend the Power Corporation Act.
The Speaker: I believe the member for Durham East (Mr Cureatz) adjourned the debate. However, I guess he completed his remarks.
Mr Eves: I have spoken to the member for Durham East and he has completed his remarks.
The Speaker: Do any other members wish to participate in the debate? If not, the minister may wish to make some final comments.
Hon Mr Wong: Having listened to the considerable comments on the part of the critics representing the opposition party and the third party. I thank them again for their very constructive input. I seriously gave consideration to their comments and I would just like to summarize by making a few observations and points.
I would like to remind all members that the debt guarantee fee we are talking about is a measure that the Ontario Energy Board has supported. In the last few years, the board examined the question of a fee very closely. In its reports on Ontario Hydro’s proposals on electricity rates for both 1988 and 1989, the board recommended that Hydro be required to pay this fee.
The principal reason for introducing the fee is to charge Hydro for the benefit -- I underline the word benefit -- of a debt guarantee from the province. Quite clearly, Hydro would face a higher cost of borrowing if it had to do so on its own account.
I would also like to clarify that the fee is not a tax; it is a fee for service. In essence, it is a charge for services provided by Ontario to Ontario Hydro. The fee will be applied to Hydro’s total provincially guaranteed outstanding debt, as well as all other outstanding sums advanced to Hydro as of the previous 31 December. We estimate that the fee for 1990 will be about $138 million.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for third reading.
RETAIL SALES TAX AMENDMENT ACT, 1989 / LOI DE 1989 MODIFIANT LA LOI SUR LA TAXE DE VENTE AU DÉTAIL
Hon Mr Grandmaître moved second reading of Bill 22, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: As announced by the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) in his budget speech of 17 May of this year, this bill includes proposed tax measures to support the government’s commitment to finance environmental programs, as well as other administrative changes to clarify the Retail Sales Tax Act.
Effective 1 June of this year. a tax of $5 will be charged on the purchase of each new pneumatic tire consumed or used in Ontario. New tires acquired with the purchase of a vehicle, including spare tires, will be subject to the $5 tax. The tire tax will not apply on several classes of tires, such as tires for production machinery, farm equipment, firefighting vehicles, commercial aircraft, wheelchairs, bicycles or toys.
À compter du 1er juin 1989, une taxe de 5 $ sera imposée à l’achat de tout pneu neuf consommé ou utilisé en Ontario. Les pneus neufs acquis à l’achat d’un véhicule, y compris les pneus de rechange, seront soumis à cette taxe de 5 $.
La taxe sur les pneus ne touchera pas certaines catégories de pneus, tels que les pneus des machines servant à la production, des machines agricoles, des véhicules de lutte contre l’incendie, des avions commerciaux, des fauteuils roulants, des bicyclettes et des jouets.
Also, effective 1 July 1989, a graduated gas-guzzler tax will be payable on the purchase of new passenger cars which consume 9.5 or more litres of fuel per 100 kilometres of highway driving. The tax payable will range from $600 to $3,500 depending on the vehicle’s highway fuel consumption rating as published by the federal Department of Transport.
The purchaser of a new car may qualify for a refund of the guzzler tax and the eight per cent sales tax if the vehicle is converted to a single-use alternative fuel such as natural gas or propane.
Effective 1 June 1989, the general tax exemption for consumers of fertilizers, insecticides, weed and rodent killers will be available only to farmers.
This bill also includes an extension of the time periods to contract to and to convert a vehicle to operate on alternatively powered fuels.
Finally, this bill introduces a cap on the amount of sales tax that may be refunded on vehicles used to transport people with physical disabilities, in the amount of $1,600 for cars and $2,400 for vans.
It is my intention to propose two amendments to this bill. The first amendment pertains to the tire tax and will provide for a definition of the types of tires that will not be subject to the tire tax. The second amendment pertains to the gas-guzzler tax and will delete the reference to the vehicle manufacturer’s fuel-consumption rating as an acceptable rating for the purposes of this tax.
Le Vice-Président : Questions et commentaires au sujet de la déclaration du ministre ?
If not, do other members wish to participate in the debate?
Ms Bryden: With the provincial Treasurer moving second reading of Bill 22. An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act, we are starting consideration of the four tax bills arising out of the Treasurer’s second big tax-grab budget since his no-tax-increase budget just prior to the 1987 provincial election.
Before I discuss the details of the first of these four bills, I want to speak briefly about the overall effect of the tax increases, which totalled $1.3 billion in 1988 and a further $1.5 billion this year; I will then not have to repeat some of these general comments in the debate on each of the four bills before us in succession today.
We are concerned that all of the four tax bills before us provide for increases in regressive taxes. This means they impact more heavily on lower-income taxpayers. It means we are not taxing corporations more. There is no bill before us for a minimum corporation tax, yet millions of dollars of corporate profits are tax-free. We are not taxing wealth in this province, especially inherited wealth. We are not taxing the huge profits of land speculators and land developers.
Because we are not taxing these sources of wealth, most of the $1.5-billion tax increases fall on the low- and middle-income groups in this province. Moreover, the provincial Treasurer has hit residents of the greater Toronto area even harder. He is almost doubling their car registration fees from $54 to $90. He is adding to their licence fees. He is putting a new tax on residents of the greater Toronto area called the commercial concentration tax, which will be imposed on all commercial property and parking lots connected with them.
These taxes on the residents of the greater Toronto area are a new departure in taxation. They are taxation by geography. They could be considered discriminatory under the Charter of Rights, because they are based on the assumption that people who live in the greater Toronto area have more wealth than people who live elsewhere and that they can afford to pay much higher taxes.
In some cases, a great many of the people who live in the greater Toronto area are below the poverty line. A great many of them cannot afford to pay even the tax increases that are being applied across the province to all taxpayers in this budget, but it is assumed they benefit from living in the greater Toronto area.
This is something I think the provincial Treasurer should justify if he can, that there is a reason why people in that area should pay more taxes than people in the rest of the province. I think he will find it very hard to justify.
We must remember that the tax increases we are considering today are on top of a huge tax grab by the federal Minister of Finance in May, just a few weeks before the provincial Treasurer brought down his budget. The federal budget is a tax grab which also hits middle- and low-income groups the hardest. They are getting a double whammy this year. It is not surprising that there are signs of a tax revolt.
The new federal goods and services tax, which was also forecast in the federal budget, to start in 1991 at nine per cent, will also hit the lower-and middle-income groups, because it will be another regressive tax on top of all the regressive taxes we are looking at today. It is estimated that the federal budget will cost the average family $700 this year and a further $1 ,000 next year when the new goods and services tax comes in.
What are the taxpayers getting for this huge increase in taxes? Are low-and middle-income families and their children better off? Has poverty been eliminated? Is affordable housing a reality? Do we have a real plan to ease traffic congestion in Metropolitan Toronto or other parts of the province? The answer to each of these questions is no.
Instead, the provincial Treasurer is using almost a third of his new money to reduce the deficit. He is doing this at a time when many needs in this province are going unmet. People are crying out for action in the social and housing fields. They are crying out for more day care spaces. They are crying out for more progress in relieving transportation congestion. They are being starved of further implementation of the Thomson report, which was to have reformed and rationalized our welfare system so that people on welfare would have some prospect of getting off welfare and becoming contributing and independent members in society.
I ask, is it right that 10 years ago in Metro there was not a single food bank while, today, 84.000 people a month rely on food banks to survive?
Is it fair that first-time home buyers have been effectively denied the chance of owning their own home because of spiralling house prices? The increased land transfer tax will also hit all home buyers, and there will be no rebates for most home buyers in the Metro area because the ceilings are much too low. This will also apply in other major cities.
Is it right that a family of four with an income of $14,000 -- $10.000 below the poverty line -- will continue to pay Ontario income tax while thousands of Ontarians earning over $50,000 annually pay no income tax at all, thanks to tax loopholes?
The Treasurer does have options to these regressive, geographically selective taxes that he is imposing. The Treasurer can begin to redress the unfairness of the tax system if he so chooses. Here are some of our proposals.
He should, first of all, increase the Ontario property and retail tax credits. The Ontario system of property and sales tax credits is meant to provide tax relief to low- and moderate-income families and to senior citizens. Since the introduction of these credits, their purchasing power has fallen by over $300 million and should be restored to their original real values in order to keep pace with the cost of living. These tax credits have decreased in value by 40 per cent since they were first introduced.
Second, the Treasurer could be looking at a land speculation tax instead of the taxes he has before us. This would reduce the number of houses being flipped for a quick profit and would go a long way to making the housing market affordable again for working people.
Third, the Treasurer should be considering a minimum corporate income tax. In the past 30 years, what used to be a 50-50 split in the proportion of taxes paid by corporations and individuals has become a 75-25 split, with individuals paying the larger ratio. In fact, over 25.000 corporations with profits of over $7 billion continue to pay no tax.
Fourth, the Treasurer should be looking at a form of wealth and inheritance tax. The majority of Western democracies have these taxes; even the United States has an inheritance tax. The family home and farm would, of course, be exempt.
The Treasurer might even consider a tax on real estate developers who do not pay for the cost of increases in provincial and municipal infrastructure resulting from the urban sprawl they are creating. Servicing for million-dollar homes or condominiums is not something that should go untaxed. While such a tax may well be passed on to the home or condominium purchaser, at least it would not be paid by low-income groups.
Contrary to what the Liberals might think, there is nothing mysterious about establishing a fair tax system. Certainly no one can say that a tax system based on the things on which people spend their money, such as retail sales taxes, sin taxes, user fees and taxes on drivers, is equitable. With such taxes, rich and poor are taxed the same. A fair tax system is one based on what people earn or acquire through income, wealth, inheritance and speculation.
The budget was not a promising one from either a long-term or short-term perspective. It offered no creative or innovative solutions to effect a real change in our tax system. Why did the provincial Treasurer not put more of the new revenue into increasing child care spaces, reducing hospital bed waiting lists and helping workers who have been displaced by free trade and plant shutdowns to get retraining? This is clearly a government without the courage to set its own direction in taxation.
Instead, we have tax bills before us today which simply increase the regressivity of the overall tax system. This is not what we expected from the new Liberal government. If the word “liberal” has any meaning to them, they should be reforming our tax system to increase its fairness.
As I am also the critic for senior citizens’ affairs, I would like to point out that the four revenue bills before us today also adversely affect senior citizens in many ways. Many of them will be badly hurt by the new tax on tires, gasoline, vehicle registrations, licence fees and the pass-on of the payroll tax and the commercial concentration tax. The increased diesel fuel tax and the new payroll tax to replace Ontario health insurance plan premiums will also be passed on to them. The tax on parking lots will be passed on as well.
These added tax burdens seriously strain the resources of seniors, especially those on relatively fixed incomes, and do not forget that they come on top of a 7.6 per cent increase in auto insurance rates which is now allowed for this year. This is on top of increases of up to 20 to 40 per cent in the past three or four years.
The government’s concern for helping senior citizens to be independent and to stay in their own homes is much jeopardized in the light of these new tax burdens which are being loaded on to seniors. The tax credits in the budget are completely inadequate to compensate seniors and they are only 40 per cent of what they were when they were established, as I have mentioned. I think seniors would have particularly liked to have seen more consideration for the impact of these regressive taxes on them.
I now want to turn to Bill 22 and discuss what are its main changes. This is the act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act. The bill implements three major changes in the retail sales tax but adds a whole lot of extra charges on services and goods that have not been taxed before. It is basically a reversal of any trend towards a nonregressive tax system.
Let’s look at the main changes. Effective 1 June 1989. a new tax of $5 on each new pneumatic tire will be imposed. This will exclude bicycles, tricycles, commercial aeroplanes, farm equipment, wheelchairs, production machinery and firefighting vehicles, but it will produce a full-year’s revenue of $40 million.
Not all of these exemptions that I have mentioned were included in the original announcement by the Treasurer, but because they noticed that certain items like wheelbarrows were not covered, they are bringing in an amendment to give the minister full power to determine what kind of pneumatic-tired vehicles should be exempted.
But it is basically a regressive tax that will hit everybody who drives a car. It will hit everybody who needs to use his car for going to work. It will hit seniors who need their cars in order to get around, especially when they cannot always use public transit. It will hit people who get goods delivered by any kind of vehicle with a pneumatic tire on it, and this could be a great number of our deliveries.
It is by no means a neutral tax or a progressive tax; it is an attempt by the Treasurer to hit a new subject under the Retail Sales Tax Act and I think it is a very retrograde step. It will affect the cost of everything from bus services to school buses to all delivery and goods transport services. Of course, this is something that will certainly affect low-income groups particularly, but middle-income groups and seniors as well.
The second major tax that is imposed under this bill is a new tax on fuel-inefficient cars, ranging from $600 to $3,500 and effective 1 July 1989. This is estimated to bring in a full year’s revenue of $8 million. So members can see that it is not going to hit very many fuel-inefficient cars. It could hardly be called an addition to the progressivity of our tax system.
The amount of this tax is based on highway fuel consumption ratings. Because of concern that the rating provided by the manufacturer may be grossly inaccurate, the minister is proposing an amendment that will restrict the rating to that determined by the Department of Transport. if publicly available.
This will affect only a few gas guzzlers, but what we really need is an incentive for manufacturers of cars to concentrate on production of fuel-efficient cars and use of nonpolluting fuels. This kind of gesture is really just a token move by the provincial Treasurer to show that he has some concern about the environment, but he is really not very serious in cutting down the polluting effects of cars. We are still behind the United States in our control of the level of emissions from cars, and he has not really added much incentive to produce the kind of cars that will produce more efficient use of fuels.
Third, the Treasurer is extending the sales tax to certain items which have been exempt in the past. On 1 June 1989, fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and rodenticides will become subject to the eight per cent retail sales tax. Purchases by farmers will remain exempt.
There is considerable doubt growing about the use of these kinds of products by farmers, home owners, home gardeners and people who are using them in public parks or in school yards and things of that sort. There have been recent studies which have shown that these products are really highly polluting and there have been records or evidence of farmers being injured or having cancer problems from them. Let me quote about pesticide use in Ontario.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food surveys pesticide use every five years. It started in 1973. The amount of pesticides used in 1978 was 6.6 million kilograms. In 1983, five years later, it had gone up to 8.7 million kilograms. This total shows a 33 per cent increase in the amount of pesticides used from 1978 to 1983 in Ontario. Herbicides also account for about 70 per cent of pesticide sales. They are used both by farmers and by gardeners.
These figures are really quite worrying, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food pesticide reduction program, which is called Food Systems 2002, is completely inadequate and too young to show results yet in terms of volume of reduction of pesticides. The aim is to reduce pesticide use in agriculture by 50 per cent by the year 2002.
The program spelled out in the 1988 budget is really only one year old. It is almost at the research stage now. There is very little new money in the new budget for increasing this kind of research and analysis of how much pesticide is being used.
So our farmers are exempt, but they are also greatly at risk. While the people who use some of these products in their gardens pay eight per cent sales tax on them, they are still being exposed to the products. Most of them are still licensed in the province.
If we really believe in fighting pollution, the Treasurer should not have been trying the tax route to discourage use of all those products. He should have been trying the route of providing more money for more programs by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Natural Resources, in order to reduce and find alternatives to the use of these products.
Regarding the tires, there was some suggestion that this was a way of encouraging the recycling of old tires and that the money could be used for producing recycling methods. I am told that tires are being accumulated throughout our rural areas in great piles in fields. There are very few tire recycling projects in the province. As a matter of fact, the ministry has committed a total of only $1.1 million to three tire recycling projects in its entire budget for research into all forms of recycling of tires. For all forms of industrial recycling, it will be spending only $6.5 million in 1989-90.
This leads to the question: Where is the remaining $23.5 million from the tire tax going? Perhaps the government will hire people to pick up old tires which the Treasurer says are littering farmers’ fields. It seems to me that we need more than to pick them up and get them out of sight. We not only need to have a recycling program but to see that great piles are not being accumulated on prime agricultural land and that they are not being accumulated in piles that could be a fire hazard, because once they start to burn they are a very serious toxic pollutant.
I could comment on many of the other changes in the tax. There will be some additional tax on tax, where provincial tax is extended to federal communication taxes. Telephone taxes and cable charges will be taxed, as they have been to some extent in the past. Tax on tax does really seem unfair, and this is one of the reasons we think the whole question of the application of the retail sales tax should be reviewed very thoroughly and alternative forms of revenue found as much as possible.
I therefore urge the Treasurer to reconsider his extension of these taxes. Our party intends to vote against all four of these new tax bills because they are all regressive taxes and we had hoped that this government would be moving away from a regressive tax system to a progressive one. This is our way of telling them that there are other ways they could have taxed the people of this province, but they seem to be impervious to ideas that would suggest that we should be working towards a fairer tax system. So I am going to oppose this particular bill, as well as the other three bills.
Mr Cousens: I was wondering if the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms Bryden) would give me her feeling on how the tax is going to be levied for the tire tax.
What happens now if a person is renting a vehicle, and maybe this is something the minister can comment on as well, is that the tax on the tires is not effective immediately, when he rents the car. In fact, it goes into effect after he has had the vehicle for a certain number of days, probably seven days, before the tax is then claimable by the province.
I am wondering whether the member is concerned about the administration that is going into all car rental agencies that are in some way going to be impacted by this new tax. From whom do they collect the tax on the tires, the person who rents the car for just the first day or the person who has rented it for the seventh day, or how many days in between?
That is a problem, and I wish the minister would be helpful. Maybe this is one of the concerns the member has. I know she hates taxes, but maybe this is just another reason for her to hate them with more vengeance. I would be interested in her comments on that, and maybe those of the Minister of Revenue (Mr Grandmaître) as well. He is a specialist in loopholes, but maybe he would be able to help those who really want to be honest in paying their taxes as to just how they are going to handle this one.
If the member for Beaches-Woodbine has any thoughts on it, I would be most grateful. I know she is opposed to it, but maybe this is just going to fuel her fires even more.
Ms Bryden: I appreciate the question from the member for Markham (Mr Cousens). I think it is a very serious one as to how this tax will be administered. My first recommendation, of course, was just to drop it. Then we would have no administrative problem.
My second comment would be that it really is a very bad tax because it will encourage people to take risks and keep their tires longer. They will not want to pay that $5 per tire. It is a tax that will hit rich and poor alike.
Mr J. M. Johnson: It’s $5.40.
Ms Bryden: That is right. Many people who need their cars will be travelling in unsafe vehicles if they cannot find the money for that new set of tires, so that is another reason for getting rid of it. I hope the minister can clarify some of the problems that the member for Markham has raised, but I think they are not worth clarifying. I think he should just withdraw such a very unfair and dangerous tax.
M. Pope : Il me fait plaisir de participer à ce débat sur le projet de loi 22, qui traite des mesures fiscales prises par le ministre du Revenu (L’hon. M. Grandmaître).
Nous, du Parti progressiste-conservateur, sommes opposés à ces mesures fiscales, ainsi qu’au projet de loi 22 ; et non seulement à ce projet de loi, mais à tous les projets de loi qui prennent de telles mesures, parce que nous sommes opposés au budget que le trésorier de l’Ontario (L’hon. M. R. F. Nixon) a déposé il y a quelques semaines.
Le fait que le gouvernement a décidé d’augmenter encore cette année les impôts d’un montant de 1,3 milliards de dollars nous attriste. Ce sont nous, les travailleurs de l’Ontario, qui devons payer tous ces impôts que le gouvernement libéral a décidé d’introduire. Ce n’est pas nécessaire ; ce n’est pas juste ; et cela crée beaucoup de problèmes économiques pour les contribuables de la province.
As Revenue critic and Treasury critic, I am pleased with the support of my friend the member for Markham, who has raised a very important issue that we want the minister to answer in his reply. The members of my caucus have some comments to make as well. The member for Wellington (Mr J. M. Johnson) will have some comments to make on this bill, to indicate our opposition to this Bill 22, these changes to the Retail Sales Tax Act.
That opposition is not based on any disrespect for the Minister of Revenue, who is the unhappy messenger of the Treasurer, as is his annual lot in life, but as a token of our opposition to this budget that has been foisted upon the Legislature and the people of Ontario, for which we and our constituents must pay.
Mr Cousens: And pay and pay and pay.
Mr Pope: And pay and pay and pay, as the member for Markham quite rightly added.
These are interesting days in the Legislature of Ontario, with allegations of misconduct, of misuse of charitable funds, of favours bought and paid for, of involvement of special interests in the various ministries of government, and we see the response of the Premier (Mr Peterson), who I think has to be responsible for all of this. There is nothing short of a judicial shell game going on with investigations by the Ontario Provincial Police, investigations by the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, investigations by the Commission on Election Finances, and now an inquiry of sorts announced at the end of last week.
These are interesting days in which the Premier has abdicated his leadership role and responsibility for managing the ethical standards of the members of his cabinet. The fact that the Premier has exercised no leadership and no judgement in these matters has brought disrespect upon this government and upon this Legislature. It goes back to 1986, when the Premier indicated that he saw no role for himself in applying the Davis guidelines for ethical conduct by his ministers or judging the conflict-of-interest, apparent and real, standards of his ministers.
While this has taken the attention of this Legislature and prompted a reaction from the public of Ontario, very important economic and financial matters that affect the daily lives of Ontarians are proceeding apace. We have had a budget from this government that I think smacks of financial and economic irresponsibility.
For the second year in a row, we have tax increases whose full-year impact will be $1.3 billion. For the second year in a row, we have substantial increases in the rate of government expenditures. For the second year in a row, we have examples -- not the Minister of Revenue -- of waste, of unbelievable and staggering increases in administrative costs, with no evidence of discipline, no evidence of regret, no evidence of reform in these out-of-control administrative costs and no answer to any member of this Legislature when these issues are raised.
It is the taxpayers who are expected to pay for this Liberal largess with the revenue measures that have been introduced by this Minister of Revenue to implement what someone else has announced on behalf of the government. Not only do tax increases affect people in their daily lives, not only do they affect the ability of working men and women and families and communities in this province to plan for their future, but they impact on the entire economy of the province.
First, it is now clear in recent documentation issued by the Fraser Institute that this province has a dismal record in terms of taxation of the average family. It has a dismal record in terms of what we call tax freedom day.
The Fraser Institute in British Columbia issued a recent document, a press release dated 19 June 1989, which indicated that in Ontario, tax freedom day in 1989 falls on 7 July. That means working men and women will work this year until the end of next week to pay for the taxes that governments are imposing upon them.
Until the end of next week, every single dollar and every single penny that a miner or bush worker or factory worker or farmer makes is going to go to the governments of this province. It is only after the end of next week, from 7 July on, that people will start to earn, in 1989, for themselves and their families, to meet their own needs.
This tax freedom day in Ontario, I say to the Minister of Revenue, is the latest of any province of Canada. In fact, according to the Fraser Institute, I say to the parliamentary assistant --
Mr Faubert: I heard this debate.
Mr Pope: Good, because you are going to hear it again and again until this government takes seriously the tax plight of the working men and women of this province, because the average Ontario family is going to pay a total of $25,913 in taxes to all levels of government in 1989.
Ce n’est pas seulement 25 pour cent, 30 pour cent ou 40 pour cent dont il s’agit ; mais, en réalité, chaque famille en Ontario doit payer 51 pour cent de son revenu total à tous les paliers de gouvernement.
Imagine, we are now going to pay 51.3 per cent of our total family income in taxes this year in Ontario. That is why 7 July is tax freedom day. According to the Fraser Institute, which analyses provincial and federal budgets and their impact on average families, the average Ontario family’s total tax bill is greater than that paid by a family in any other province of this country.
The Treasurer’s counterargument is that if you remove the payments that are now being made and will no longer be made if this budget is implemented with respect to health care, Ontario is not the highest. It becomes the third highest, I think the argument is.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Fourth.
Mr Pope: I think third, but we will argue that later, minister.
The fact of the matter is that Ontarians are going to pay one way or the other for that decision by the government of Ontario. They are going to pay it in terms of benefits, which will mean forgone wage increases, or they are going to pay it in the price of goods and services provided by the companies which are on the payroll tax. That is why the small business community has indicated that the payroll tax for health care purposes is a tax against employment. The people of this province are either going to pay it in the cost of goods and services, or they are going to pay it in forgone fringe benefits of another nature or wage increases, or they are going to pay it in the loss of jobs and employment opportunities. That is the history of the payroll tax measure, I say to the Minister of Revenue, where it has been tried in other jurisdictions. That is why other jurisdictions have been looking at ways to abandon it.
I do not think anyone can indicate to me the fairness of a mining company paying a payroll tax with respect to health care for every single one of its workers, while at the same time a professional who is self-employed and not on a payroll will pay nothing for those same health care benefits. I do not see the fairness in that, I do not see the equality in that and I do not think the government can explain the reasons those decisions have been made.
I was talking about tax freedom day, the Fraser Institute, and the fact that the Fraser Institute feels the average Ontario family is paying a higher tax than any other family in any other province. I say to the Minister of Revenue, who may disagree with the Fraser Institute, as he was taking notes, that the comparative tax position of Ontario to other jurisdictions has been the subject of comment in the Quebec budget and the Saskatchewan budget this year. Both documents are proud to parade the fact that their tax position comparative to Ontario’s is improving while Ontario’s is getting worse. They point to that as an indicator of economic opportunity in those jurisdictions and as a lack of economic opportunity in Ontario.
That is the message these other competing jurisdictions are putting out there. That is what they are saying to prospective investors, to companies that may want to choose which jurisdiction they are going to locate a new plant or an expansion in. They are making the argument that this tax jurisdiction in Ontario is a disincentive for economic growth; a disincentive for capital investment; a disincentive for employment of new workers. The tax regime this Liberal government has brought in is being used as the excuse to lure other jobs and other industries to their provinces.
In 1985, tax freedom day was June 21. In 1984, it was June 18. We have seen that for every single year this Liberal government has been in office, tax freedom day has moved farther and farther into the summer months.
In Quebec. in fact, tax freedom day is coming earlier this year. In 1984, it was on July 6. In 1987, it moved to June 28. This year it is June 27.
The table produced by the Fraser Institute is a stinging indictment of this Liberal government’s attitude towards its taxpayers. While we have over 5,000 additional civil servants hired since this government came to power, while we have seen administrative expenses skyrocketing right here in Queen’s Park and in Toronto, at the same time we have seen a diminution of basic services offered to the people of Ontario.
The tax grab of this government continues to rise. While we see reductions in Ontario Provincial Police services, greater numbers of students in portables than ever before in our history, greater lineups for essential health care services in our hospitals than ever before, less reforestation than at any time in the last six years, while we have seen all of these deterioriations in the basic services our government of Ontario is responsible for, the only thing that has increased is not the level of service but the tax bill.
It is not fair to our working people. It is a disincentive to work. It is a disincentive to capital investment. It is a disincentive to economic activity, and it is not a proposition that we are prepared to support as an opposition party.
For that reason, of course, we are going to oppose Bill 22. I want to deal with Bill 22. I want to deal with Bill 22 and its implications for the tire industry and for our sinful habit of driving in this province. I say “sinful” because the Liberals have obviously decided it is a sinful habit, even if one needs to drive to get to work, even if one has to drive great distances in northern or eastern Ontario to go from community to community. We see a whole plethora of tax initiatives designed to discourage drivers in Ontario.
First, I want to remind the viewers and the people of Ontario exactly what these tax measures are: effective 1 June, a new tax of $5 on every new tire, whether or not included in the purchase of a vehicle; the imposition, effective 1 July 1989. of a gas-guzzler tax to range between $600 for cars that consume 9.5 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres to $3,500 for cars that consume more than 18 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.
In this case and in the case of the tire tax, the new level is added to the selling price for the purpose of calculating the sales tax liability. In other words, not content to rip us off with additional tax revenues, this government is going to make sure we pay tax on the tax. It is a rather innovative Liberal psychology. If you got used to paying taxes, how do you like paying taxes on taxes?
The Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley), in his friendly way, in discussing these measures over the last few weeks in the Legislature, indicated that if you did not support tax increases in this province, you were against the environment. I want to say to the Minister of the Environment, as he is here, that we are going to be moving an amendment to this bill and we expect him to support it. It says, “All taxes collected pursuant to subsection I shall be paid into a special recycling fund to be established in the Ministry of the Environment for use in supporting and financing recycling programs.” I say we are going to introduce this amendment, because I want to put the government to the test.
In the budget, they indicated quite clearly that the only reason for these increased tax measures was a concern for the environment. We all know it was a revenue grab. but they like to say otherwise. We all know they are greedy and want to spend it on their own administrations. They want to hire more staff in their ministerial offices. Some ministers have 30 per cent and 40 per cent increases in their administrative budgets, unbelievably, again this year. Some ministers have still not had the discipline to contain these kinds of administrative expenditure increases.
We want to put the government to the test. We think it is a revenue grab. We think it is just money for the sake of money so they can feed their own bloated bureaucracy here in Queen’s Park. If they are truly concerned about the environment, let them do what the Treasury officials denied they were going to do in the lockup. When we asked them, if this is truly, as the budget says, for reasons of the environment, to enhance environmental measures this government is going to put in place or has put in place. to put it into dedicated funding.
The Minister of the Environment and the Treasurer, in spite of what the budget said, in spite of the inferences in the budget that it was for environmental purposes, know full well, as does the Minister of Revenue, that those dollars are not going to a special fund for the Minister of the Environment. They are not being directly allocated to the Minister of the Environment. In fact. they are going into the consolidated revenue fund for the entire government.
Whatever the priorities of this government in its allocation process may be, and it can make the argument that its priority is the environment if it wants, let the people of Ontario not be fooled by the rhetoric. These revenue measures have nothing to do with specific funding for specific environmental programs. nothing whatsoever. It is a greedy, bloated government that is grabbing more money out of our pockets, and that is all it is.
I talked about the tire tax. I talked about the gas-guzzler tax. I think it is important for the people of this province to know that the bill we are now dealing with today and that we are being asked to approve in principle -- of course, the opposition parties will not support this bill in principle -- has a revenue impact in the year 1989-90 of $48 million and a full-year impact of $64 million.
For the benefit of the parliamentary assistant, in those numbers I include the retail sales tax increases and the alcoholic beverages. That is how I arrived at that number, just so there can be same comparison of our estimates.
I want to make clear that for the second year in a row this government has gone to the sales tax base for new revenues. Last year, please remember, I say to the people of Ontario, this government was the one that increased the sales tax rate from seven to eight per cent and expanded the sales tax base. The government already nailed the people of Ontario last year with a one per cent increase and an expanded base and it is going to nail them again this year, because it does not think they are paying enough. Over half of people’s income is going to governments now, but they do not think it is enough. They are going to nail people again. That is the legacy of free-wheeling, free-spending Liberal government in this province. I should say, when we talk about whether these tax measures are for environmental purposes, that the same arguments were used by the government last year in justifying the special high tax on leaded gasoline. I have to repeat, and we were informed by Treasury officials in the lockup on budget day, that there is no dedicated fund which those dollars went into last year and none for this year’s revenues. This bill changes the retail sales tax, the single largest sales tax impact in the budget and one which will impact most directly on the largest number of consumers. It has also attracted the most organized opposition. The province’s tire dealers -- and they are a significant group of small businessmen in every community across this province -- have expressed a number of concerns about the tax, which were outlined in a letter to the Treasurer by Paul Hyatt, president of Superior Tire Co in Toronto and past president of the Ontario Tire Dealers’ Association and president of the Canadian Tire Dealers’ Association.
Their arguments have been this: While they realize that the problem of waste tires is a serious one, they have in fact discussed with this government on a number of occasions possible solutions. They have serious doubts about the purpose of this tax, whether or not it is environmental. They feel that the tax will adversely affect government revenues and the public in two ways.
First, it will cause a loss of business to tire dealers in border areas and the government will in turn lose tax revenues as a result of those lost sales.
Second, the tax will lead drivers to keep their tires longer, wearing them to the point that performance and safety are diminished. That is a concern that has been shared with other organizations in this province and in this country.
The new tax is going to be imposed on top of the disposal fee which dealers are already charged on the sale of tires. Because scrap tires are not accepted at government-controlled dumps, the dealers have to use private disposal companies. To cover their costs, many dealers charge a disposal fee of about $1.50 on a passenger car tire and $7.50 on a truck tire. If the government goes ahead with the tax, the dealers would like to see their tax remittance adjusted to deduct their disposal costs.
If we were really concerned about the environment, the Minister of Revenue would have already taken note of these concerns and already amended this legislation in order for that to be accomplished. I want to point out to the Minister of Revenue that, as far as we can find out, no other Canadian province imposes a tire tax. It has been looked at by a number of other American states and only the state of Maryland currently has one in place. at the rate of 50 cents a tire. That is the information we have been able to find out.
Mr Faubert: Did you check Florida?
Mr Pope: As a matter of fact, we did.
We think this government has set itself up uniquely to impose this tax, and its consequences on the people of Ontario, on the tire dealers and on the car industry generally is going to be unique, adverse and negative to the people of Ontario. We think the government should have heeded its own Ontario Road Safety Annual Report of 1987 about the number of accidents, fatalities and injuries caused by tire failures.
The effect of this tax on the increased incidence of traffic accidents in this province caused by tire failures, the number of increased fatalities and injuries that could result from the effects of this tax, I am positive, is equally as important as the trumped-up environmental concerns of the Minister of the Environment vis-à-vis this budget, and more important, in additional revenues for Ontario, but it has been the last matter to be considered by this government in the imposition of this tax.
We have many other questions and comments to make with respect to this bill. I indicated to the Minister of Revenue that I would try to be brief. I have tried to be brief. Other members of my caucus, who have some specific concerns and questions they have very forthrightly put forward in this House and directly to the Minister of Revenue, now expect some answers to the comments they are about to make. We hope we would proceed now with fuller consideration of this matter and better answers from this government than we have been given in the past.
Mr J. M. Johnson: I would like, first, to go on record as totally supporting the comments made by my good friend and colleague the member for Cochrane South (Mr Pope).
The Progressive Conservative Party is totally opposed to this type of tax madness that has been initiated by this government that lusts for dollars. It is a sad commentary on our times that the average family has to spend half the year working for the governments of this province: the municipal, provincial and federal governments. Over half their working year is spent paying taxes and it is most discouraging to the people in this province to be one of the top taxpayers in this great country.
I would like to deal directly with Bill 22 and specifically the new tax on tires, and hope the parliamentary assistant will convey my message to the minister.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: I will be back.
Mr J. M. Johnson: He says he will be back. To the parliamentary assistant, through the Speaker, I would like to just reiterate a couple of comments made by my colleague the member for Cochrane South and to highlight the very serious concern I have about the sin tax on driving cars; trucks as well, but I want to be specific on cars.
In rural Ontario, we do not have the luxury of having much GO Transit. We have very few bus lines and hardly any train service. So the people living in rural Ontario, certainly in Wellington, my riding, depend very much on cars and small trucks. They depend on the cars to come into the communities if they live in the country. Seniors depend on the cars to travel to their nearby small cities for hospitals and necessary services. The students depend on cars to travel to the schools and universities that are not in all our small communities. It is extremely burdensome in the extra costs they have to pick up to satisfy this government’s need for money.
I would like to just emphasize the concern pertaining to the tax on tires. While it may seem very small, it is an extremely serious problem. especially in rural Ontario. There has been mention made by several of the speakers before about the safety factor. I cannot emphasize this too strongly because I feel it is a very serious problem.
Someone who can afford a new car is not going to get too excited about an extra $25 for the car; that is all it basically is, just an extra tax on the car. But on replacement tires there is a problem. Many people hesitate to pay the price of a tire now. We are certainly not encouraging them by adding an extra $5.
If the parliamentary assistant is interested, I would like to use an average-priced tire of $100. Add the tax of $5 on top of the $100, so the tire becomes $105, and then levy an eight per cent tax on top of that, so the tire is now $113.40. For his information, that comes out to 13.4 percent tax. That is tax on tax and it is certainly not acceptable, not by this party. If they want their tax money, they should levy it up front, but surely they are not that greedy that they have to tax on tax.
I might just mention that another concern for the safety factor has been that people will drive with unsafe tires. Certainly in rural Ontario they need snow tires. Many people will hesitate to put out the extra money to buy a set of snow tires that will very likely avoid having an accident in winter driving. There is no way this government can absolve itself of the responsibility of creating some accidents and the only question will be the number. The hospital bills we will have relating to those accidents will likely more than offset any of the money the government would pick up through this tax.
In the strongest possible language, on behalf of the people in rural Ontario and the people from the north who have to use their cars, their only means of transportation, I would ask the government to pause and give consideration to dropping the tax on tires, if nothing else.
Mr Villeneuve: I too am very concerned about Bill 22, particularly the implications of the $5-per-tire tax on tires. I come from a riding where effectively what we will see is all of our tire retailers go out of business. We are within a stone’s throw of New York state, with two international bridges going south, and we are also within that same stone’s throw of Quebec. Neither of these jurisdictions has a similar type of tax on tires.
I have had a lot of representations, particularly from retailers in the tire business, expressing their grave concern. As you know, Mr Speaker. it is pretty easy to cross that international bridge and come back the same day, a day later or whenever with four brand-new tires on your car and no one would ever know it; similarly, to Quebec.
These are situations I brought to the Treasurer. There are concerns the retail furniture and appliance businesses had expressed to me; a very similar situation. Many of the large kitchen appliances and indeed the furniture that is in our homes is retailed in Quebec without the sales tax.
However, here in Ontario, we have that eight per cent sales tax tacked on to everything, including those large-ticket items.
What we have is that Ontario retailers become the showplaces. People go and decide what they want, but do members know where they buy them? They go right across the border into Quebec, buy their furniture there and come back to Ontario. “Thank you very much, Mr Ontario retailer, you’ve got us decided on exactly what we want to buy, except we’re not buying from you.” Why? Because of the eight per cent sales tax that applies here in Ontario and does not apply in Quebec.
Again, for the tire retailers in those border areas, I say the government has effectively put them out of business and I am sure they will not forget what the government of Ontario has done in its most recent budget to that particular sector of the economy.
Mr South: I would like to rise in support of this bill. I think the main statement that can be made in its support is that it imposes upon all of us what is known as environmentally accountable economics. It is about time that all of us, including manufacturers, started to pay the full cost of the products we are either manufacturing or selling, and the full cost of a product is not just in the personal consumption and use of that product, but the full cost of that product includes its ultimate disposal.
I go past the Department of National Defence camp at Barriefield every day and there is a great big pile of used tires. Nobody knows what to do with them. I think this will help. It is a little thing. Some have said it is chintzy and irresponsible, but as I say, I think it will start to drive home to people that if we are going to use these things for our convenience, we have to start to pay for the ultimate cost of their disposal. Therefore, I think it is a very good tax. I think it is the kind of tax that should be put on more goods.
The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): Comments or questions?
Mr Pope: Yes. I just want to ask one question of the member for Frontenac-Addington. Will he therefore, in light of his words, support our amendment to this legislation, which says that all amounts collected for this tax shall be designated by the Ministry of the Environment to be used to fund programs to support recycling and environmentally sound disposal of used tires?
The Acting Speaker: Would the member for Frontenac-Addington care to respond?
Mr South: I have no trouble supporting it, but I will say it is not the basic philosophy of the Treasurer. I have heard him express his view on this quite strongly. It all goes into the consolidated revenue fund and we will just see that it is earmarked.
The Acting Speaker: No other speakers? Does the Minister of Revenue care to conclude the debate?
Hon Mr Grandmaître: First, I would like to address the remarks of my honourable friend the member for Beaches-Woodbine. I think the honourable member went through the budget instead of going through Bill 22. She talked about food banks in Toronto, the cost of homes, the land transfer tax, the commercial --
Mr D. S. Cooke: Is this not going into general revenue?
Hon Mr Grandmaître: No, this is Bill 22.
I just want to remind the honourable member that Bill 22 is imposing a tax on tires and also on more expensive, elaborate cars, the gas guzzlers. I would like to remind her that very few -- I do not know of any -- senior citizens are buying $50,000 or $60,000 cars. If they do, they can afford them; I am sure of that. If they can afford to buy a $40,000, $50,000 or $60,000 car, surely to God they can afford four or five tires and they can afford to pay the tax.
On the other hand, my friend the member for Cochrane South says we have not taken into consideration the long distances northern Ontarians have to drive to and from work. I would like to remind him that people in northern Ontario get other tax breaks that eastern or southern Ontarians do not get, so it is a compensation.
As my honourable friend the member for Frontenac-Addington pointed out, it is the responsibility of the tire manufacturers, that these manufacturers are responsible for the end product, let’s call it, the used tire. We have to find a more adequate way of disposing of these tires, especially in northern Ontario where you drive on a lot of rural roads and find used tires alongside the roads.
What we will do with this extra $5 is provide my friend the Minister of the Environment with more adequate funding for environmental programs. That is the intention of this extra tax. I am sure the Minister of the Environment will gladly accept this extra $5 and provide us with better programs.
My honourable friend the member for Beaches-Woodbine talked about a tax on fertilizers. I just want to remind the honourable member that 98 per cent of all these farmer products are being used by farmers and they are tax exempt. We did think about the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the farmers of Ontario. They are tax exempt.
Mr Villeneuve: And farmers in Vanier.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Yes. Even in Vanier these farmers are tax exempt. Maybe they should have a better tax break in Vanier than in Glengarry, but maybe we will talk about this at our next budget.
The member for Beaches-Woodbine talked about a land speculation tax and about a greater Toronto area tax, the concentration land sales tax or tax. I am sure those taxes will be addressed in another budget and I will be very pleased to address those matters at the time.
Also my friend the member for Markham raised a very interesting question about car rentals. I want to remind the member that we are negotiating with the Associated Canadian Car Rental Operators whereby we will devise a formula that could be prorated, but I must remind the member that if the first renter of a new car rents that car for more than seven days, he will have to pay the full tax, but if he rents the car for two days, three days, four days and so on, that tax will have to be paid within the first six months of the life of that car. A formula will be devised and everybody will pay his fair share of the tax.
Mr D. S. Cooke: It sounds easy to understand.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: It is very easy. All you have to do is figure it out. I am sure we will provide the member with the information and I am sure that our bulletins will enlighten him.
To my friend the member for Cochrane South, who seems to think that we are neglecting northern Ontario, again I want to remind him that I think the Treasurer’s budget is a very reasonable one. The member might complain about the increases in taxes, but after all, we had a lot of catching up to do. We had to build new schools. We had to build new roads. We had to provide better environmental programs. That is exactly what the Treasurer and the government of Ontario are doing. We had a lot of catching up to do and we will provide better services over the long run.
I think Bill 22 is a very reasonable bill. I can assure the honourable members that every tax dollar from this budget will be spent wisely and invested in Ontarians.
The Acting Speaker: That concludes the debate and I will therefore put the question. The Minister of Revenue has moved second reading of Bill 22, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the ayes have it.
Five members having risen, this will require a division.
Hon Mr Conway: I should just indicate that by agreement of the House leaders and whips. it has been decided that any divisions relating to the second reading of the revenue bills now before us and any committee work arising therefrom will be stacked at the end of the second reading of the various revenue bills now before us. We will take any divisions arising out of the second reading debates and then, by agreement. move into committee of the whole House and take any divisions that are required at that time
My friend the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr Charlton) has reminded me that there was to have been a division on Bill 19, so I am going to be asking that before we move into committee of the whole House we get consent to reopen second reading of Bill 19 so we can provide for a division. That was an agreement and we simply were not able to remember it earlier this afternoon.
Mr D. S. Cooke: Why don’t we just do that right now?
The Acting Speaker: Very well. Could we do that now? May I therefore ask whether there is consent to reopen Bill 19 so that we may determine a division to be necessary?
POWER CORPORATION AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): There is a division agreed to on Bill 19 and it will be stacked with the other divisions on the revenue bills.
LAND TRANSFER TAX AMENDMENT ACT, 1989 / LOI DE 1989 MODIFIANT LA LOI SUR LES DROITS DE CESSION IMMOBILIÈRE
Hon Mr Grandmaître moved second reading of Bill 23, An Act to amend the Land Transfer Tax Act.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Bill 23, An Act to amend the Land Transfer Tax Act, implements “ the budget policy of the government as announced by the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) in his budget address to this House on 17 May of this year. Bill 23 received first reading on 17 May of this year.
The bill has two main purposes. The first purpose is to implement the selective tax increases laid out in appendix A of the budget book. The second is to implement the refund provisions whereby most holders of an Ontario home ownership savings plan can benefit from a full or partial refund of land transfer tax paid on their first home purchase in Ontario.
There are two classes of property where the rate of tax is increased by 0.5 per cent. The rate of tax of 1.5 per cent on the value in excess of $250,000. which used to apply just to single-family residences, is proposed to be extended to all properties. For these properties this is an increase of 0.5 per cent on the amount in excess of $250,000. A new rate of tax of two per cent is proposed to apply to single-family residences on the amount in excess of $400,000. For these properties. this is a tax increase of 0.5 per cent on only the value in excess of $400,000.
These tax increases are selective and apply only to the more valuable properties in the province. The low rates of tax which apply to properties under $250,000 have not been increased. The first $55,000 of value is still taxed at the rate of 0.5 per cent and the amount between $55,000 and $250,000 continues to be taxed at a rate of one per cent.
The second main purpose of this bill is to implement a new tax benefit which will allow persons who are holding an Ontario home ownership savings plan, or OHOSP, to claim a full or partial refund on land transfer tax paid when they purchase their first home in Ontario.
En second lieu, ce projet de loi vise l’application d’un nouvel avantage fiscal, qui permettra aux personnes qui adhèrent au Régime d’épargne-logement de l’Ontario, au RÉLO, de demander un remboursement intégral ou partiel des droits de cession immobilière acquittés lorsqu’elles ont acheté leur premier logement en Ontario.
This is expected to be a significant benefit to our young people in setting up their first home, and it is also expected to increase the attractiveness of the Ontario home ownership savings plan program. In fact, we are already experiencing an increase in the number of OHOSPs being opened.
The rules governing the new refund are described more fully in budget appendix A and in the legislation itself, so I will not go into details now. However, the maximum refund will be $1,225, and it is expected that at least 10,000 home owners will benefit annually. The full amount of the land transfer tax will be refunded on a house up to $150,000 in value, and a partial amount based on a sliding scale will be refunded on a house up to $200,000. No refunds will be paid on a house over $200,000 in value.
Ms Bryden: This tax is the second one of the four that we have before the House today and I think we should recognize that it is another one of the four regressive taxes. That is all that we have before us today.
This increase in the land transfer tax will not do what the minister hopes it will do; that is, stop the housing speculation. It will not stop people in Toronto and in many areas being priced out of the housing market. In fact, the rebate system that is offered for first-time home buyers who are under OHOSP will be applicable to practically nobody in the city of Toronto or the major cities of Ottawa, Hamilton, Brampton and other major urban centres. It is strictly a fraud that is contained in this bill to say that people who qualify under the OHOSP program will get a rebate of tax. It is a highly discriminatory way of treating new home buyers. The government prices most of them out of eligibility for the rebate, and then it says it is helping people to acquire their first home.
I do not see why any tax rebate that is provided to compensate people for a tax that is not a socially good one should be allowed only in certain cities or certain nonurban areas or smaller urban areas. This is discriminatory taxation. The rebate should be available to any first-time home buyer. By putting the ceilings on, as the act does, the benefit is really wiped out for almost everybody in the city of Toronto and other major urban centres. That is my first quarrel with the bill, that it is discriminatory and of no help to the housing crisis.
What would have been far more effective would have been for the minister to spend the same amount of money as he is giving in the rebate on new nonprofit housing and to bring in an effective property speculation tax which would stop the turning over of property which is now going on in many major urban centres. That turning over is what is causing the new home buyers to be priced out of the market and therefore not to be eligible for the rebate that the minister is providing.
We really are opposing this bill because we think it is the wrong medicine for the current housing crisis, the current shortage of affordable housing.
The other part of the bill, which is to put a new two per cent tax rate on the value of residential property, replacing the 1.5 per cent that is now on residential property, is adding a slight progressivity to the land transfer tax because the new two per cent will apply to property exceeding $400,000. However, the way prices are going, there will be a lot of middle-income people also paying that higher rate, so it is a tax that will affect middle-income people if they have to pay more than $400,000 for housing.
There is another very significant change in the act, and that is that the land transfer tax is being extended to all commercial property as well as residential property and these rates will be effective for transactions registered after 31 May 1989. Together, they will raise an additional $40 million annually.
We know that extending this to commercial property sales will mean that it will be likely passed on to the consumer. Not only will ordinary people be paying higher prices for things that are produced or sold in the commercial world, but in most major cities they will also not qualify for the rebate of this tax.
A lot of people have said that instead of monkeying with the land transfer tax in order to raise $40 million, the province should have put in a land speculation tax, which could raise hundreds of millions, until such time as the turning over comes to a stop. When that happens, then the price of affordable housing will be stabilized.
We are opposing this bill on those grounds. We think the bill should be withdrawn and replaced with a proper land speculation tax. I would like to recommend that the minister consider that and stop considering that he is helping people when he limits his rebates to people under the Ontario home ownership savings plan.
I think when that plan came up in the House a year ago, we said that it was very ineffective and would really not do what the objective is -- that is, to encourage new home buyers to get into saving for their down payments -- because it is so limited by its ceilings and it will really not provide enough for a proper down payment, so that most people who do participate in it will not ultimately collect from it. it is simply a means of their setting aside so much money every month that they may need for other purposes and then finding that they cannot buy a house anyway. All they will do is get their money back, with some interest, but they will not achieve their dream of owning their own home.
It is time the minister started looking at proper incentives for home ownership as well as proper incentives for the utilization of land on a more sensible basis. This tax may hit people who build million-dollar houses on very large lots, but it still does not really provide a curb on the use of very large lots or the waste of resources going into these very large homes when we have such a housing crisis in this province and so many people are not even able to find any accommodation other than a hostel. It is an indictment of the housing policy of this province to go ahead with a picayune amendment to the land transfer tax and say that is all that needs to be done with regard to the taxation of land transfers.
Mr Jackson: I am pleased to be able to participate in this debate. At the outset, let me just say that this punitive tax, the raising of the land transfer tax, is something I raised an objection to both in this House and outside of this House when it first became apparent that this government was looking at yet another gouge at the whole issue of affordability and the fact that it continued to look upon the land transfer tax as an attractive and lucrative revenue producer for this government. They do not understand its implications to home buyers around this province.
Quite simply, this tax is essentially a sales tax on houses. We call it the land transfer tax because of its original intent. We realize that when land transfer taxes were brought into this province in 1921, they were brought in with the justification that this tax revenue was needed in order to implement a type of land registry system for this province, in recognition of the need to operate land registry offices and the conveyances of property to have proper deeds filed. That fee was modest and it was affordable and those moneys were in effect dedicated to that end.
However, we have seen this government in four short years increase this land transfer tax twice. We have seen a 300 per cent increase in revenue, yet we have not seen the resultant increase in services as they relate to the conveyance in transfer of real property in Ontario.
I know the Minister of Revenue is present in the House today to hear this bill but I am saddened that the Minister of Housing (Ms Hošek) is not here, because the Minister of Housing should be present to understand the implications of this bill on affordability. Quite frankly. the Minister of Housing to date has been unable to give us a definition of “affordability.” It strikes me that a government that does not understand what affordability means can in no way plan for home owners in this province to ensure that affordability is protected. It strikes me that until this government comes up with at least a basic understanding of the tenets of affordability, it cannot strike policies or develop policies or develop long-range plans to ensure that affordability is protected.
This budget violates the principles of affordability on several fronts, as does not only this bill but the bill to follow, with respect to the lot levies and the additional charges that will not be borne by developers or builders but passed on to home owners and added to their mortgage, which means they will end up spending for 20 or 25 years, the life of that mortgage, for the increase this government is about to put on it. I will reserve my comments on that bill when it comes up, if it comes up at all this afternoon.
Going back to the land transfer tax, this is now the eighth-largest and most lucrative source of revenue for this government. It has moved like a skyrocket through the Minister of Revenue’s available options to exact more and more tax dollars.
There is another minister we would hope would be able to participate in the debate, and that is the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr Wrye). He has an interest in the issue of conveyance of real property. We have a serious problem in this province with respect to registering condominiums. I have several developments in my riding and I know several government members have cases in their ridings where people have bought condominiums and they have waited a year and a half, two years for those condominiums to be properly registered.
Nowhere is the government saying that we could take some of this money, this $500 million it is already collecting, and hire some additional staff on a contract basis while we have this tremendous backlog. That would be good planning. Perhaps that is why nobody listens to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations in cabinet when good ideas like that are presented.
But we do have the Minister of Revenue saying, “Regardless of what your feelings are and regardless of the importance of streamlining the conveyance of real property in this province. it’s important that we have that tremendous increase in revenue to give over to the Treasurer to put into general revenues.”
The concept of dedicating revenues is being violated yet again by this government. We have seen it on the gas tax, we are seeing it with the land transfer tax and we are going to see it to a lesser degree with the other bill that affects housing, the lot levy bill.
What is also interesting is that there are only six provinces in Canada that even charge a land transfer tax. Half the provinces in this country do not even charge this type of tax, yet Ontarians are being asked not only to pay the tax but to pay the most excessive tax in this country. My office called the treasurers of each one of the provinces to get this information, so it is only about four months old.
We found out that Ontario will collect a whopping $560 million from this tax. That was the figure that the minister’s staff gave me. In Manitoba, they will collect $12 million; in British Columbia, they will collect $240 million, and in New Brunswick, they will collect $2 million. There are two provinces where the province sets the provincial rate for the land transfer tax but allows the municipalities to collect the land transfer tax. Those are Nova Scotia and Quebec, and they did not have accurate figures to share with us. Hopefully, at some point I will be able to get those, but it is interesting to note that only four provinces have a direct land transfer tax which they collect.
This piece of legislation did not happen by accident; it happened by design. The Treasurer is always in the habit of floating trial balloons to gauge some public reaction. Last year. he did it with his budget by suggesting that he might increase the sales tax by one per cent. This year, he floated two trial balloons. He floated the trial balloon of the payroll tax several weeks before the budget. But it was back, I believe, on February -- I will get the actual date. The Treasurer made a statement to a Toronto Star reporter when talking about rising prices for housing. I think it was 17 February that he made a statement. He suggested that he would consider cooling off the hot housing market by introducing an increase to the land transfer tax.
I took that as clear and fair warning that the government was seriously looking at increasing this tax, so when the standing committee on finance and economic affairs, an all-party committee, sat to look at prebudget consultation, we were very concerned about this land transfer tax increase trial balloon that the Treasurer had floated.
Fortunately, the Mississauga Real Estate Board, under the presidency of Fred Sheringa, took seriously the Treasurer’s warnings. They prepared an excellent brief to that committee. They were the only group to present a brief directly to the committee.
In it, they suggested that any increase in the land transfer tax at this time would have a critical implication to home affordability, because as members well know, the closing costs are very expensive when buying an average home of $300,000 to $400,000 in the Toronto area.
In communities like my own, in Burlington, the average sale price is around $240,000. So closing costs are extremely expensive, and the greater the amount of closing costs the less you are able to have for your down payment, which means the more you have to put on your mortgage.
So when the Minister of Revenue increases the land transfer tax as he has done, say, on a house that is worth $400,000, which is not uncommon in the Toronto area, that extra $700 or $800 his tax increase will cost that individual in cash is money that he cannot now put to reduce his mortgage. it is not the $800 increase in this tax; it is that it will turn into $1,400, $1,800 or $2,000 by the time he finishes paying all the interest on it.
That gets back to my point about this government not understanding the implications of its taxing. This taxation policy, albeit highly discriminatory, actually violates affordability. I, for one, and my party cannot accept that approach. That is why when we reported to the Treasurer as members of the standing committee on finance and economic affairs we in fact tabled a minority report specifically setting out how bad a tax increase of this nature would be and what an adverse effect it would have on housing affordability.
To be fair, the minority report suggested other revenue producers which this government should look at more seriously. But we all know that it was quite easy to adjust the rate, to increase it. There would be little anger, little outcry. This time it was a little different.
Thanks to the leadership of the Mississauga Real Estate Board and others, a campaign was undertaken around this province to help educate people so that they better understand the implications of this tax increase. The name of that campaign was titled with advertisements like this which appeared in most of the weekly papers in Ontario. I am sure the minister saw these ads; they are excellent ads.
It reads, “David Peterson, don’t even think of raising taxes again.” and goes on to explain to the citizens of this province that the Treasurer was contemplating this tax increase, that it would be the second time in four years the government has raised the tax, that revenues had increased by over 300 per cent and that the government saw this as a great opportunity to increase its coffers and punish people because they have equity in their homes.
Hon Mr Conway: Cam, you’re speaking like a real estate broker.
Mr Jackson: I am sure the government House leader, as he exits, wishes he were a home owner.
Hon Mr Conway: I am. I have, and a cottage to boot.
Mr Jackson: He is a home owner. Then he should hang his head in shame.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr Jackson: Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Where was I? Did I show the Minister of Revenue the poster? Did he get a good look at the poster?
Mr Faubert: Nice design, bad logic.
Ms Collins: Is that the one that says, “Garth Turner, you’ve gone too far”?
Mr Jackson: Do not encourage me.
The second concern that we have with respect to what has happened with this bill is that the government had no intentions of ever listening. That is a disturbing aspect of two points. One is the fact that an all-party committee of this House was struck in order to give advice to the Treasurer. Well-intended groups came forward to suggest the negative and or the positive impact of certain tax-revenue-producing measures. The government insisted on one point: that it was only a trial balloon, that nothing had been etched in stone, that no decision had been made.
Yet when I was a member of that committee, I put forward a motion that all three political parties could support. that we not consider an increase at this time. The Liberal members of that committee were under instructions from whoever was managing the committee for the government at that time that they should vote against such a recommendation. It is inappropriate, in my view, that the committee operated in such a fashion that it could not present its case in a nonpartisan way.
I can tell the members that this is the third year in a row that I have participated in the prebudget consultation and it represents a departure from two years ago when, I must admit, the openness and willingness of the Treasurer to look at the preconsultation process was exceptional. But that was missing this time around and it was clearly evident by the government’s stonewalling on the land transfer tax increase.
I had an opportunity to table over 30,000 petitions in this House from current and future home buyers all across this province. We had a press conference three days prior to the budget, when the government was still holding on to its line that it had made no firm decision. We had representations from the Metropolitan Hamilton Real Estate Board and the Real Estate Board of Ottawa-Carleton, right in the backyard of the Minister of Revenue, in his own constituency area. President Alan Gale from the Ottawa board took the time to come up here and to attend that press conference and to make known the serious implications of such an increase.
We received a barrage of letters, and I would like to read one for the record. It is a brief note which, in my view, really sums up the feelings of current and future home buyers with respect to the government’s plan to increase the land transfer tax and how inappropriate its so-called rebate plan will be. This letter is from Mrs Patricia King from Lively, Ontario. She addresses it to “David Peterson, Bob Nixon et al,” so I guess that includes the honourable Minister of Revenue.
“We are opposed to any increases in land transfer tax. We are not reaping the profits as rich land speculators. We are a one-income couple with two kids who have never owned a home. After II years of paying high rent and having to relocate to stay employed, we want to invest what little we have left into our first home.
“Your OHOSP plan is a joke; $2,000 saved towards a home worth several hundred thousand dollars. Increasing the land transfer tax wipes out any benefit our careful contributions may have had.
“Get out of your ivory towers and listen to the people that put you there. Owning a home is a luxury that is out of reach for most Canadians. Think of that while you sit and relax in yours or get your government to start doing something about it.”
Again, as I say, that was a letter from Patricia King from Lively, Ontario
Hon Mr Grandmaître: A lively letter.
Mr Jackson: It is a lively letter, is it not? I hope the minister is listening, because I will tell him what disturbs me as well about his land transfer tax increase. It is not only that his OHOSP rebate plan will not work. It may affect only a handful of people who had to preapply for the program and, second, the plan does not even overcome the built-in bias for first-time home buyers who may now find themselves out of their homes through the process of a separation and are forced to be non-home-owners.
His plan lacks basic sensitivity. Take a separated or divorced woman with two children who may have owned a home and in the separation agreement lost what little equity the couple had, which has gone to pay a whole bunch of legal fees. When those couples wish to re-establish themselves and to stabilize their home environment, this government is right there ready, willing and able to grab that land transfer tax increase. They could have at least shown some sensitivity to single parents who are forced to modify their living standards but who still aspire to stabilizing a life for their children through home ownership.
I am disturbed that this government has increased the threshold at which it increases the tax. They have done some pretty creative things with the way they have structured the tax increase. It goes to a two per cent flat tax on the value over $400,000. The minister knows as well as I do that, now that he has increased to the two per cent threshold for the first time in our history, he is able to move from $400,000 down to $300,000 down to $200,000.
We know that his plan is not simply to increase the revenues at the top end; in fact, by adjusting the grid, he is able to move that two per cent tax from the $400,000 level and drop it down to, say, $150,000 or $200,000. He will reap enormous financial benefit from that at the expense of those people who wish to find home ownership.
There is only one province in Canada that has a two per cent threshold, and that is New Brunswick. I am sorry, that is British Columbia. I have to correct the record. That was brought in particularly to slow down the housing market and curb foreign investment in home ownership in Vancouver, whose inflation rate was far greater than that occurring in Ontario. But by now moving to that two per cent threshold, the government will be able to increase its tax revenue just by moving the percentage point around. The government has not fooled anyone on our side of the House with what its long-term plan is to do with this increase.
I think it was rather deceptive that two years ago, when the government brought in its first tax increase, it indicated that it would punish home owners. They increased the formula just for home owners, but not for raw land or for industrial-commercial transactions, cottage properties, any of those other types of properties. Under this bill, they have increased the land transfer tax to an even greater extent for industrial and commercial properties, thus adding even further to the burden that business has to carry as a result of the budget.
Business is adversely affected by nine separate announcements that occurred within the budget and this is certainly one of them, because the government has not only increased it for the land transfer tax but also for the lot levy tax, in spite of its protestations that this was only going to be on residential property.
I guess members of the House are aware of how angry I am about this tax increase, how unfairly it punishes home owners, how cavalier this government has been with the whole notion of affordable housing. I, for one, will not be party to a bill that would specifically seek out home owners and punish them when in fact to aspire to home ownership is considered by most everyone globally as one of the greater goods, stabilizing communities and assisting them to develop. I think that any measure, especially this measure, which flies in the face of affordability and access to housing should be voted down and I urge all members to do likewise.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: I just made a very last note. The member for Burlington South was talking about a person buying a $400,000 home.
Mr Pope: No way.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Yes, he did.
Mr Jackson: I said $400,000 to $500,000.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: No, the member said $400,000. Check the record.
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. No interjections and the minister will address his remarks to the Speaker.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: The member should check the land transfer tax that his friend paid or would have paid previously and it would be the very same tax. It is everything over $400,000, just to remind him.
My honourable friend the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms Bryden) and also the member for Burlington South said a great deal about the Ontario home ownership savings plan and how ineffective OHOSP was. Especially, the member for Beaches-Woodbine said that OHOSP was not a program acceptable in Metropolitan Toronto. I want to remind the honourable member that 11,558 plans, in other words, 31 per cent of all OHOSPs, were sold in the Metro area; and in southwestern Ontario, 22 per cent or 8,415 plans were sold.
I think OHOSP speaks for itself. It is a great success. Now that we have improved the OHOSP program to one that will provide rebates to first-time home buyers, I think this is a great advantage, and I am sure OHOSP will realize all the success that was expected of this plan.
I think what we have introduced today is reasonable. I realize, as the member for Burlington South mentioned, that this tax originated back in 1921.
Mr Jackson: It was a Liberal government.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Yes, possibly a Liberal government in those days.
If you look at the tax increase, it did move a few percentage points. I think it is a reasonable tax. These dollars will be used, as I said previously, to build roads and schools, improve the environment and so on. I think these dollars will be wisely invested again in Ontario.
The Deputy Speaker: Hon Mr Grandmaître has moved second reading of Bill 23, An Act to amend the Land Transfer Tax Act. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Is there an agreement to stack it to 5:45 today?
Hon Mr Conway: Actually, we had an agreement to stack all the divisions relating to second reading until we complete this package of revenue matters.
Mr Jackson: And a fat package it is.
Hon Mr Conway: For the edification of my friend the member for Burlington South, the 14th order.
GASOLINE TAX AMENDMENT ACT, 1989 / LOI DE 1989 MODIFIANT LA LOI DE LA TAXE SUR L’ESSENCE
Hon MrGrandmaître moved second reading of Bill 24, An Act to amend the Gasoline Tax Act.
Le Vice-Président : Est-ce que le ministre a une déclaration préliminaire ?
L’hon. M. Grandmaître : La taxe sur l’essence sera majorée de un cent le litre pour toute categorie d’essence.
This bill. An Act to amend the Gasoline Tax Act, provides for an increase in the rate of tax on gasoline. The tax rates, as a result of this amendment bill, will be 10.3 cents per litre for unleaded gasoline and 13.3 cents per litre for leaded gasoline. The new rate of tax on aviation fuel will be 2.1 cents per litre, which represents an increase of 0.22 cents per litre on the old rate of 1.88 cents per litre. The increases are to be made effective as of 12:01 am, 18 May 1989.
À compter du 1er juillet 1989, une taxe de 2,3 cents le litre sera imposée sur le propane vendu en Ontario pour utilisation dans un véhicule immatriculé ou qui doit être immatriculé en vertu du code de la route.
A further increase to the tax rates effective 1 January 1990 is provided for in this bill. At this time, the tax rates will be 11 .3 cents per litre for unleaded gasoline and 14.3 cents per litre for leaded gasoline. The tax on propane will be increased to 4.3 cents per litre.
Further, I will be moving amendments to this bill for debate in committee.
The Deputy Speaker: Questions and comments on the minister’s statement? If not, do other members wish to participate in the debate?
Ms Bryden: This is another regressive tax along with the other three we are considering before the House today, so naturally we are opposing it, because it is moving the tax system away from a partly progressive system to a very regressive system. I think that is completely inconsistent with a small-I liberal philosophy that taxes should be based on ability to pay and that they should not hit people in ways that inhibit their opportunities to make a living. They should not hit certain categories of taxpayers harder than others. They should also not hit certain geographical areas harder than others. This tax fails on all of those tests.
The bill is to implement increases in the gasoline tax. These increases are on top of increases that were put into last year’s budget. At that time, we raised $170 million from the increases. This year an even greater amount will be taken in. This year it will be $260 million from the tax increases under this bill and last year it was $170 million.
The main increases include a one-cent-per-litre increase in the gas tax on leaded and unleaded gasoline effective 18 May 1989 and an additional one cent per litre effective 1 January 1990. The new rates will be 11.3 cents per litre unleaded and 14.3 cents per litre leaded. This is very heavy taxation for many people in this province who have to use their cars for a variety of reasons that require much more driving than other people who use their cars more perhaps for getting to work, for short distances or for vacations.
The people who are most hit are northerners who have to travel much longer distances and who have less public transit or other alternative methods, such as rail or air, for getting to places. It hits all northerners on every delivery that goes into the north by truck, bus or some vehicle that uses gasoline. We already know that northerners pay very high rates for supplies coming from outside the north.
This tax hits seniors and the disabled, because they need cars to get around more than other people. Some of them cannot use public transit at all. Many of them cannot afford the taxis which the Minister of Transportation (Mr Fulton) is saying he is going to see are available for them. He is not offering to subsidize those taxis. They hit seniors who receive goods and deliveries from vehicles using gasoline.
They also hit school boards that operate school buses and yet the minister has been cutting back on school funding from his original aim of 60 per cent, which the Conservative government had as its objective.
It hits people who operate transit systems using gasoline powered vehicles. This of course means that the costs of those transit systems will be increased and, again, the people who need those transit systems very badly will be the ones who pay the most. It is a very unfair tax and that is another reason why it should be opposed, that it is an unfair tax.
With regard to the leaded and unleaded gasoline having a differential rate, I would think the minister could have increased the differential if he really wanted to discourage the use of leaded gas. There are still many people using leaded gas when their vehicle would be better off with unleaded, although it may still operate on either. He should put a severe penalty on the use of leaded gas, because we know it is highly polluting, it is highly toxic and the atmosphere and the environment simply cannot carry that kind of pollution any more.
The tax on aviation fuel is very small, 0.22 cents per litre, but I wonder if the minister thinks it is a way of getting people to rely less on air travel and more on travel in nonpolluting vehicles like trains or vehicles that use nonpolluting fuels.
The removal of the exemption for propane is really imposing a new tax on another fuel used in licensed motor vehicles. I am highly sceptical of propane being allowed for any motor vehicles, I think it is much too volatile and much too dangerous to be allowed on the highways or in the service stations. We have had some very bad incidents in the city of Toronto, where there has been inadequate care in servicing cars that need propane and there have been some serious accidents. This is another tax grab the minister could have avoided in the interests of safety and tried to discourage the use of this fuel by more rigid regulations, rather than trying to do it by another 2.3 cents a litre in 1989 and another two cents in 1990.
With the exception of Quebec, Ontario has the highest gas taxes in Canada, and that is another reason why we are becoming a province without a fair tax system. It is another reason why northerners are being alienated from this government, and I think they should be, because they are being very badly hit by this. Many of my colleagues from the northern constituencies, such as the member for Nickel Belt (Mr Laughren), the member for Sudbury East (Miss Martel) and also the member for Algoma (Mr Wildman), spoke last year against the gasoline tax increase with very eloquent voices, because they know how much this gas tax affects the people in their area.
I know they would back up what I am saying, that we should really ask the minister to stop using this kind of regressive tax and make sure we start moving away and into more progressive taxes. They could easily raise the amount of money that is going to come from this by a tax on corporate income. They could raise it by a tax on the 25,000 corporations now escaping tax due to loopholes. The Treasurer is just not looking at his corporate friends as a possible source of additional revenue, but he is looking at most of the middle- and low-income groups, northerners and seniors.
I would also like to remind the minister -- he did not mention it, I think, in his opening statement -- that he is going to have to bring in an amendment to both this bill and Bill 21 to try to bring some sort of control over the sale of gasoline and fuel across the border. It came out in the last year that there had been a long-time leakage, shall we say, of tax revenues by the improper moving of these fuels across the border.
I understand that the minister is proposing an amendment to both these bills which will try to bring this situation under control, but it indicates that there has been a great laxity in the Ministry of Revenue that allowed these leakages to occur. It allowed these vehicles to move gasoline and fuel oil across the border more or less unchecked.
It is going to require very stringent rules and monitoring of those international movements of fuel. I think the minister should be censured, and probably his predecessors also, for not having paid enough attention to this loss of revenue that was going on for many years. I hope the amendments will be adequate to bring this situation under control and make sure we do not lose revenue that is legitimately ours.
With those comments, I would like to say that we will be voting against this tax and we will be hoping the minister will also decide he does not need any more regressive taxes. He should let people off further gasoline tax this year when he got such a big chunk of revenue out of them last year: another $170 million.
Mr Pope: I have a few brief comments. I am surprised that the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) would not claim that this is an environmental tax as well, that this is beneficial to the environment. When people drive their cars they pollute; therefore, keep them off the highways. That seems to be the rationale that is going through this Liberal government over here. It does not make any sense to anyone else but it makes sense to them in their own perverted way of thinking over there.
The fact of the matter is that this is another slam in the teeth of the taxpayers of this province. orchestrated by a Liberal government that does not care about the personal financial situations and circumstances of the taxpayers of this province. They nail people if they drive a car; they nail people if they want to buy a new tire; they nail people in the sales tax on their personal purchases; they have nailed people three times on personal income tax rates since they came to power; and now we have the example of a third one-cent-a-litre increase.
How did they do it? They started off by changing the ad valorem tax to a set base, and now in two successive budgets they have nailed the drivers of this province with staggering increases of over 35 per cent for unleaded gasoline and over 70 per cent for leaded gasoline since they came to office. It is a disgraceful record of taxation that is having a direct impact on virtually every Ontarian. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.
There is no way this party or any opposition would support these tax measures, no way at all. They are unnecessary. The money is not going to the environment in spite of what they claim. It is another tax grab in the order of $145 million of new revenues in fiscal year 1989-90 and $297 million in the full year.
We do not think these additional tax increases are required. We do not think they merit support in this house. We think they are going to have a dramatic impact on the competitiveness of Ontario’s economy. They are going to have a dramatic impact on drivers in every region of the province; it does not matter where they live. We think it is another negative incentive for people to live and work in Ontario.
It would be different if we were satisfied that this government was properly managing the tax dollars; we are not. There is ample evidence of that mismanagement in the hands of individual ministries that we have named on many occasions. The Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet (Mr Elston) has done nothing to bring this under control for two successive years. We see three ministers again this year with increases in administrative costs of over 30 per cent. We do not accept that at all. It is unconscionable. It is irresponsible. It is mismanagement at its Liberal worst and we will not in any way support any measures of this government to allow that to continue to happen.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: My friend the member for Cochrane South (Mr Pope) was referring to the ad valorem tax. I want to remind him that the former government, his own government. brought in the ad valorem tax back in 1981. In 1986, that tax was replaced with a fixed unit, a fixed stance of 8.3 per cent, and in 1989 we are talking about a two-cent increase.
So this tax, which started back in 1925, was again introduced by the former administration. If members look at the tax increases, I think they have been very reasonable. Better than that, I think this government is investing or using those gasoline tax dollars in a better way than the former government. At least we are using it to build new roads and bridges and to improve new transportation programs. At least we are not simply taxing people. We are using, we are investing those dollars in better roads and bridges and transportation programs. I think this will go a long way to improve these programs.
Also, in my opening remarks or statement I left out a very important factor that this bill will be doing. I think it was referred to by my friend the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms Bryden) in talking about the gasoline tax fraud. I am pleased to say that at this time the federal government has finally made up its mind and we will be working out a way or a program of tax collection at the border crossings. Finally, after three or four years of negotiations with the federal government we have reached a --
The Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Also, the amendments I will be moving in committee are designed to provide the legislative authority for such collection of taxes by the federal government at the time of importation of gasoline into Ontario.
Some years ago, back in 1984 or 1985, if I am not mistaken, Ontario worked out a program, a dyeing program, where you dyed the clear gasoline when it crossed the US border, and now we are working on a new program that will provide us not only with more tax dollars, but will certainly prevent gasoline fraud to which this province has been losing quite a number of dollars over the years.
The Deputy Speaker: Mr Grandmaître has moved second reading of Bill 24, An Act to amend the Gasoline Tax Act.
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the ayes have it.
FUEL TAX AMENDMENT ACT, 1989 / LOI DE 1989 MODIFIANT LA LOI DE 1981 DE LA TAXE SUR LES CARBURANTS
Hon Mr Grandmaître moved second reading of Bill 21, An Act to amend the Fuel Tax Act.
Le Vice-Président: Est-ce que le ministre a une déclaration préliminaire?
L’hon. M. Grandmaître: À compter du 18 janvier 1989, la taxe sur les carburants sans colorant pour moteur diesel sera augmentée de un cent le litre pour utilisation générale et de 0,3 cents le litre pour le carburant utilisé sur les chemins de fer.
This bill, An Act to amend the Fuel Tax Act, provides for an increase in the rate of tax on fuel. The tax rates as a result of this amendment bill will be 10.9 cents a litre for general use and 3.4 cents a litre for all grades of fuel used in railway equipment.
I will be moving an amendment to this bill for debate in committee. This amendment provides the necessary changes to legislation to give effect to tentative programs for collection of taxes by the federal government at the time of importation of clear middle-distillate fuels into Ontario. When completed. This proposed amendment will permit Ontario to monitor importation of fuel from the United States and eliminate noncompliance and tax evasion.
Ms Bryden: This is the fourth whammy that has been put on the middle- and low-income consumers of this province. It is another regressive tax. What the Fuel Tax Amendment Act does is increase the tax on diesel fuel by one cent per litre, raising it from 9.9 cents to 10.9 cents per litre. It also increases the tax on diesel fuel used by railway locomotives by 0.3 cents, up to 3.4 cents per litre.
Like all commodity taxes, this increase will be passed on to people who ride diesel buses and trains. It will be passed on to all the people in the province who buy goods that are transported and delivered to them by diesel-fuelled trucks and trains. This tax really adds to our regressive tax system. It shifts away from taxes based on ability to pay.
I do not see anything in the budget for a program to help diesel fuel users shift away from this highly polluting fuel to less polluting ones. It simply takes a little more money from them, and the cost will be passed on to the consumers who have to use the vehicles that are using this kind of fuel.
It would have been so much easier, though, for the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) to get an amount from the 25.000 corporations that are not paying any tax or from the personal income taxpayers, numbering 50,000 annually, who pay no income tax, but he still prefers this kind of tax that affects all consumers in the province and adds to the regressivity. Therefore, we are also opposing this tax, for those reasons.
Mr Pope: Very briefly, I just say that we are opposed to this tax measure.
Hon Mr Elston: You’re so negative.
Mr Pope: It has the same rationale the other tax increases have, and we do not accept that rationale. We do not accept that the money is being properly managed. and to the Liberal government spokesman who said we are so negative, we happen to think that a $1.3-billion tax grab for two consecutive years is the most destructive, negative thing an administration in this province can do to the people. We attempt to stand with the people and oppose this kind of tax grab, this kind of financial and fiscal irresponsibility that the Liberal government has been the author of.
Before the Minister of Revenue (Mr Grandmaitre) tries to get up and give anyone a lecture or a lesson in history, he should desist from rewriting history while he is giving the lesson. The fact of the matter is, as was put on the record by my party, when they changed the tax from the ad valorem to a set tax rate, we put on the record at that time that we thought that was at the same time an increase in the tax, and we put on the record on successive budgets that at the same time they were increasing the tax on unleaded and leaded gasoline and on fuels as part of their budgetary policies.
I do not think the minister should rewrite history by trying to claim that an increase -- even ignoring whether or not they added to the gasoline tax when they went from ad valorem to a set rate -- from 8.3 cents per litre to 11.3 cents a litre on unleaded gasoline and an increase from 8.3 to 14.3 cents a litre on leaded gasoline represents anything other than a 36. 1 per cent and a 72.3 per cent increase in the tax rate that this government is applying to gasoline products.
This tax and the fuel tax are having a dramatic and direct impact on the daily lives of the people of this province. Our industries are suffering. Our people are suffering. Tourism in eastern Ontario is suffering because of these measures, and the minister knows it. They have it now costing two times more in Ontario to fuel up. to fill your tank, than it does in adjoining jurisdictions. It is having a dramatic and direct impact on businesses, on garage businesses and gasoline sales businesses in the border areas of eastern Ontario.
We saw losses of over $9 million last year in the St Lawrence Parks Commission. There is no doubt that we are starting to see a dramatic and direct negative impact on tourism in eastern Ontario, let alone the rest of the province, and it is partially because of the tax policies of this government and their impact on the competitiveness of Ontario as a tourist haven, as a haven to invest capital in, as a haven to open up a new business and expand your existing business in.
Not only do we have a direct impact on the daily lives of the people of this province, we are starting to see a dramatic and direct impact on the economic opportunities of this province. That is why we do not support the direction this government is heading in.
The Acting Speaker: If there are no other speakers, the Minister of Revenue to conclude the debate with his reply.
Hon Mr Grandmaitre: As usual, my friend the member for Cochrane South seems to be winning every argument. But he will not deny that in 1981 the famous ad valorem tax was the responsibility of the former government, and in 1986 they enjoyed it by applying a fixed tax.
The honourable member also mentioned that this tax bill has the same rationale as the previous one and he is absolutely right because -- I want to repeat what I said previously -- we want to build better roads and better bridges and that is exactly what we are doing.
I know the honourable member understands the budget situation and the deficit of this province. He will not admit that these tax dollars have been steadily improving our deficit, and for the first time in 19 years we have lowered the deficit to its lowest figure.
Again, I think this is a good investment in the future and I hope that all members of this assembly will support second reading.
The Acting Speaker: The Minister of Revenue has moved second reading of Bill 21, An Act to amend the Fuel Tax Act.
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Five or more members having risen in their seats a division is necessary, and since this is the last in the series of bills --
Hon Mr Conway: Just to anticipate your comment, Mr Speaker, I was going to remind everybody that we have an agreement. The stacked votes, as I understand it, will be for the stacked second reading of Bill 20, the stacked second reading of Bill 19 and second reading of Bills 21, 22, 23 and 24.
The Acting Speaker: As agreed, therefore, there will be votes on six bills.
The Speaker: I would remind all members that we have six bills on which to vote.
DEVELOPMENT CHARGES ACT, 1989
The House divided on Hon Mr Eakins’s motion for second reading of Bill 20, An Act to provide for the Payment of Development Charges, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Beer, Bossy, Bradley, Brown, Callahan, Campbell. Carrothers, Chiarelli, Cleary, Collins, Conway, Cordiano. Curling. Dietsch, Elliot, Elston, Faubert, Fleet. Fulton. Grandmaître, Haggerty, Hart. Hošek, Keyes. Kozyra. Lupusella, Mahoney, Mancini, Matrundola, McGuigan. Miclash. Morin, Neumann. Nixon, J. B., Offer. O’Neil, H., O’Neill, Y., Owen, Patten, Pelissero, Phillips. G.. Polsinelli, Poole, Ray, M. C., Roberts, Smith. D. W., Smith, E. J., South, Stoner, Sullivan. Sweeney, Velshi, Wong.
Allen, Brandt, Breaugh, Bryden, Charlton. Cooke, D. S., Cousens, Eves, Grier, Hampton, Harris, Jackson, Johnson, J. M.. Marland, Martel, McLean, Philip. E., Pope. Reville, Villeneuve, Wildman.
Ayes 53; nays 21.
Bill ordered for standing committee on finance and economic affairs.
POWER CORPORATION AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
The House divided on Hon Mr Wong’s motion for second reading of Bill 19, An Act to amend the Power Corporation Act, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Beer, Bossy, Bradley, Brandt, Brown, Callahan, Campbell, Carrothers, Chiarelli, Cleary, Collins, Conway, Cordiano, Cousens, Curling, Dietsch. Elliot, Elston, Eves, Faubert, Fleet, Fulton, Grandmaître, Haggerty, Harris, Hart, Hošek, Jackson, Johnson, J. M., Keyes, Kozyra, Lupusella, Mahoney, Mancini, Marland, Matrundola, McGuigan, McLean, Miclash, Morin, Neumann, Nixon, J. B., Offer, O’Neil, H., O’Neill, Y., Owen, Patten, Pelissero, Phillips, G., Polsinelli, Poole, Pope, Ray, M. C., Roberts, Smith, D. W., Smith, E. J., South, Stoner, Sullivan, Sweeney, Velshi, Villeneuve, Wong.
Allen, Breaugh, Bryden, Charlton, Cooke, D. S., Grier, Hampton, Martel, Philip, E., Reville, Wildman.
Ayes 63; nays 11.
Bill ordered for third reading.
The Speaker: We now have Bill 21. I wonder if. in order to expedite business here, would there be agreement that we use the same vote as on Bill 20 for Bills 21, 22.23 and 24?
FUEL TAX AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
RETAIL SALES TAX AMENDMENT ACT. 1989
LAND TRANSFER TAX AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
GASOLINE TAX AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
The Speaker: Hon Mr Grandmaître has moved second reading of Bill 21, An Act to amend the Fuel Tax Act, 1981; Bill 22, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act; Bill 23, An Act to amend the Land Transfer Tax Act, and Bill 24, An Act to amend the Gasoline Tax Act.
The House divided on Hon Mr Grandmaître’s motions, which were agreed to on the following vote:
Beer, Bossy, Bradley, Brown, Callahan, Campbell, Carrothers, Chiarelli, Cleary, Collins, Conway, Cordiano, Curling, Dietsch, Elliot, Elston, Faubert, Fleet, Fulton, Grandmaître, Haggerty, Hart, Hošek, Keyes, Kozyra, Lupusella, Mahoney, Mancini, Matrundola, McGuigan, Miclash, Morn, Neumann, Nixon. i. B., Offer, O’Neil, H., O’Neill, Y., Owen, Patten, Pelissero, Phillips, G., Polsinelli, Poole, Ray, M. C., Roberts, Smith, D. W., Smith, E. J., South, Stoner, Sullivan, Sweeney, Velshi, Wong.
Allen, Brandt, Breaugh, Bryden, Charlton. Cooke, D. S., Cousens, Eves, Grier, Hampton. Harris, Jackson, Johnson, J. M., Marland. Martel, McLean, Philip, E., Pope, Reville, Villeneuve, Wildman.
Ayes 53; nays 21.
Bills ordered for committee of the whole House.
The House adjourned at 1810.