34th Parliament, 2nd Session
















































The House met at 1330.



The Speaker: I beg to inform the House I have today laid upon the table the first annual report of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario for the year ending 31 December 1988.



Mrs Grier: Ten years ago, radioactive soil was found under the homes on McClure Crescent in Scarborough. This government has done nothing to solve this appalling environmental and public health problem. I know that the legal and jurisdictional issues involved are complex, but they should be no excuse for jeopardizing public health. The Ontario government long ago undertook to move the toxic soil and to find an interim storage site until the Atomic Energy Control Board finds a final disposal site.

Over a year ago, I wrote to the ministers of Housing, Health, Environment and Government Services pressing them to get on with removing the radioactive soil from McClure Crescent. I said that until that happens, the government must stop renting out the homes on the street and locate alternative housing for the tenants. But even now, not one square metre of soil has been moved and not a single house has been evacuated by order of this government. Assurances that negotiations with the federal government about soil removal are proceeding apace are hollow words indeed as long as residents may be suffering the effects of living in radioactive surroundings.

I am struck by the speed with which a different toxic soil removal problem is being solved somewhere else. Only a year ago, soil contaminated with lead was found in Pickering. The soil removal is expected to be completed by the end of July. With lead-tainted soil, it took only a year from discovery of the problem to its solution. With radioactive soil on McClure Crescent, it has taken a decade for essentially nothing to happen.

When is this government going to act to remove radioactive pollution in Scarborough?


Mrs Cunningham: Highway 401 between Woodstock and London has become, in the public’s opinion, a death trap. In the last five years, over 600 people have been injured and 18 people have died as a result of car accidents that have occurred on this stretch of highway. We all recognize that these statistics are horrendous and something must be done to avoid further tragedy.

On 22 June, the Minister of Transportation (Mr Fulton) met with the mayors of Woodstock and London to discuss this serious problem. The following proposals were presented, which I trust the minister will study and act upon immediately.

1. The New Jersey-style barriers are preferred and should be constructed to prevent traffic from crossing the median. Research has shown that this type of barrier has a low-impact absorption, which causes a rolling vehicle to roll up the side of the barrier, thus reducing injury rates significantly.

2. The ministry has set a construction schedule of these medians over a span of 10 years, but in 10 years the fatalities and injuries as a result of car accidents will increase even more. They have therefore proposed a three-year span.

They have also recommended that another lane be added to handle the increased truck traffic they anticipate as a result of Highway 402 and Highway 403.

We are all asking the minister to study the recommendations immediately.


Mr Adams: This spring I attended the official opening of the Peterborough Community Legal Centre. The centre provides free legal service to low-income Peterborough county and city residents. Two lawyers, Jack Fleming and Paul Rapsey, have already given advice to hundreds of people and are acting for upwards of 100 of them.

The centre offers assistance with landlord-tenant complaints, welfare programs, family benefits, Workers’ Compensation Board appeals, government pensions, unemployment insurance, human rights, employment standards, vocational rehabilitation and family allowances.

The Peterborough centre is one of 65 located across Ontario. It is funded through the Ontario legal aid plan. I was delighted to see this plan reinforced in the government’s recent budget.

Part of the centre’s mandate will be community education, and centre lawyers are available to speak to groups about areas of the law. This new legal centre will help people in the greater Peterborough area achieve a higher level of social justice.


Ms Bryden: The recent announcement of the Minister of Transportation (Mr Fulton) regarding extensions to GO Transit lines and new rolling stock are more recycled announcements of existing five-year plans. The extension of the GO service to Oshawa and enhanced service to Hamilton have not yet even been put through the environmental assessment process. New rolling stock will not likely be delivered for some years and depends on future budgetary allocations. Other announced projects are only in the feasibility stage or engineering and design studies stage.

Since 90 per cent of GO rail ridership is destined for Union Station, any new GO initiatives into that station will continue to be hampered by the lack of a master plan for Union Station. The GO officials appeared before the city’s land use committee and told it that this was essential.

We wonder if the Minister of Transportation’s credibility as a leader in the fight for better transportation in the Golden Horseshoe is wearing very thin with these recycled announcements and no new money for the essential additions that are needed.


Mr Villeneuve: A neighbour of mine, John Daniel Baxter, is a champion. He was born and raised in Roxborough township near Maxville. Big John Baxter moved to Sudbury after his school years, where he worked for Falconbridge nickel mines.

On 11 July 1974, 15 years ago, John was seriously injured in a premature mine blast and was rendered totally blind, along with suffering other injuries. Being courageous and determined, he concentrated on sports, and weight-lifting in particular.

Big John is a four-time Canadian champion super heavyweight in the blind division; a three-time Ontario champion in the able-bodied division over 40 years of age; a one-time Canadian master’s champion, able-bodied division over 40 years of age; and a five-time winner of the US national championship for the blind in the super heavyweight division.

Recently, he broke three US national and world records in winning the super heavyweight division of the US national championships for the blind held in St Louis, Missouri. Also, earlier this year, John won the Australian national super heavyweight division for the blind in Brisbane, Australia.

John Daniel Baxter is a most deserving blind athlete, bringing recognition not only to his native eastern Ontario but to Ontario and to all of Canada.

Congratulations, Big John. Keep up the great work, not only in the blind division but in the able-bodied division as well. I and all members of the Legislature are very proud of you as a very determined and deserving Ontarian.



Mr Tatham: “Good medicine tastes bitter,” says Kuratsu, director of Tokai University’s Institute of Research and Development. It is already obvious that the source of Japan’s trade surplus is superior technology. There is absolutely no hope for a political solution to a technological problem. A technological problem can be solved only by technology, and that requires the implementation of research and development in the production process.

Technological advantages are evident when one looks at the products. American car doors are made to a tolerance of 10 millimetres. In Japan, that tolerance is less than six millimetres and the doors cost less. This is an undeniable fact, however you care to interpret it. The only way America can rid itself of the twin deficits is by eliminating the technological deficit and becoming once again the most competitive industrial producer in the world. The only question is whether America’s managers have the will to make the effort.

I want to see America devote everything to strengthening its technology with manufacturing prowess. I am not the only one. There will be plenty of fans cheering for America from across the Pacific, “America was my teacher.”


Mr Hampton: It is of ongoing interest to watch what the government of Ontario demands of other jurisdictions in terms of environmental awareness and what the government of Ontario will attempt to get away with in terms of passing off on another province something it would not let other provinces or jurisdictions pass off on us.

Shoal Lake, on the Ontario-Manitoba border, is a lake which is very important to the province of Manitoba and specifically to the people of the city of Winnipeg. The 600,000 people who live in Winnipeg draw their drinking water from Shoal Lake. There is a gold mine being proposed for development on that lake and Manitoba is asking for complete environmental assessment. And well they should, if their drinking water is at stake. The province of Ontario says that complete environmental assessment is not necessary.

What is very interesting, though, is that under a memorandum of agreement between Ontario and Manitoba, signed in the early 1980s, Ontario commits itself to the safeguarding of water. Not only that, under the ministry’s own guidelines it says that the Ministry of Natural Resources will preserve the integrity of the lake and safeguard the water. Not only does Ontario ignore other provinces, it ignores its own guidelines.

Mr McLean: Mr Speaker, could I have unanimous consent to make a statement concerning National Burn Awareness Week?

The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?

Agreed to.


Mr McLean: My statement concerns a move by the Shrine Club of North America to educate the public about burn prevention and reduce the human suffering caused by fire. The Shriners have established a network of 19 orthopaedic and three burn hospitals that provide the most up-to-date care and treatment and have budgeted $238 million for this year.

For example, when young Joe Philion was critically injured in a fire at his home in the Orillia area, he was flown to the Shriners Burns Institute in Boston, even though there was little hope that he would recover from the severe burns to 95 per cent of his body. But today, thanks to the Shriners, he is back on the road to recovery at home.

The Shrine Club of North America is currently working with the federal government to establish the second week in February each year as National Burn Awareness Week in Canada to focus public attention on these tragic injuries.

Burn injuries in Canada rank among the highest in the world and are one of the leading causes of death in this country. Children, the elderly and the disabled are groups most likely to suffer from serious burns. Injuries and loss of life could be reduced by increasing the general public’s awareness of the need for smoke detectors and home fire-escape programs.

Like the Shriners -- in fact, I am one myself -- I sincerely believe there is an urgent need for a national education and prevention program to curb the loss of life and financial hardship caused by fires. I strongly urge the members of this Legislature to throw their support behind the Shrine Club’s effort to lobby the federal government to proclaim the second week in February each year as National Burn Awareness Week, because it is estimated that 75 per cent of all burns could be prevented by increased public awareness and proper education of children and adults about these tragic injuries.

I would like to take this opportunity to make my colleagues here in the Legislature aware of the upcoming invasion of Toronto which will see more than 90,000 Shriners converge on the capital of Ontario for the largest convention in North America’s history, from 2 July to 7 July. The Shrine has a serious side, as we all know. For example, since the Shrine opened the first hospital in 1922, Shriners have been active in helping those youngsters who because of birth defects or accident have not had the opportunity to enjoy the fullness of a child’s life.

The goals of the Shrine are simple. Those goals involve helping a crippled child to walk or a burned child to recover by providing the best possible treatment free of charge to all regardless of race, creed or relationship to a Shriner.

I have already mentioned the network of orthopaedic and burn hospitals that have been established in North America and I have already told you about the heartwarming story of Joe Philion. These facilities could not exist without the generous support of the people of this continent who have contributed through their paid attendance at Shrine circuses, by purchasing Shrine Christmas cakes, by taking part in the gala auction, through their paid attendance at Christmas fantasy shows -- the list of such events is endless.

The Shrine has provided substantial funds for specialized equipment and transportation of children for treatment at Shrine hospitals and local community health centres throughout North America. On 25 June just past, Toronto Shrine temple gave the Hospital for Sick Children $1 million for a new patient care centre to be known as the Rameses burn unit in recognition of the Shriners’ generosity.

The kettle is boiling and the lid is all ready to blow. More than 90,000 Shriners are coming to Toronto. We want the public to ask, “Who are the Shriners and what do they do?” I think they might want to be aware of some facts relating to the 115th imperial session, which will inject more than $80 million into the Toronto economy. More than 22,000 rooms will be rented. The Shrine convention is bigger than the Olympics. More than 1,000 pipers will be in attendance and Toronto Islands will host more than 400 Shrine boaters. The largest parade in history, spanning more than 14 hours, will wend its way through the streets of the city and more than 450,000 people are expected to attend.

I would like to take this opportunity to alert the public that the Shriners will be here. They are eager and willing to share. In conclusion, I would like to remind members of the Shriners’ motto, “No man stands as tall as when he stoops to help a child.”

Mr Keyes: I am pleased to rise in the House today and support, on behalf of the government, the concept of a National Burn Awareness Week. In so doing we must recognize the contributions of many agencies, groups, service clubs, of organized labour and particularly the Shiners. The Shriners are known throughout North America and the world as supporters of burn units for hospitals.

On 25 June it was my pleasure to represent this government at the dedication ceremony for the Rameses burn unit at Sick Children’s Hospital here in Toronto. The Shriners generously donated $1 million to this unit, which is due to be open in 1992. I would like to pay tribute to these fine gentlemen who over the past three years across this province have worked so hard to raise $1 million and contribute so much to such a worthy cause.

I would also like to take this opportunity to commend the courage of Joey Philion, the 15-year-old Orillia boy who was severely burned last year. Joey was on hand on Sunday at Sick Kids to participate in the dedication ceremony. It is truly inspiring to see the courage and determination of this young man. But it is also extremely important to pay tribute to all of the professionals, the doctors, nurses, therapists, counsellors and all those who render assistance and play so vital a role in assisting the healing of burn victims.

I feel it is essential, as has been referred to by the honourable member, when addressing the proposed burn awareness week to stress that many burns can be prevented. Awareness is the key. Therefore this government is pleased to support the concept of declaring a National Burn Awareness Week.


Mr Reville: On behalf of the New Democratic Party I am happy to associate our party with the sentiments so ably expressed by the member for Kingston and The Islands (Mr Keyes) and the member for Simcoe East (Mr McLean).

Had I been the speaker, Mr Speaker, I would have said yes to the hats. I have always been very fond of Shriners’ hats. In fact, I only know one Shiner joke. I am being advised strongly not to tell this joke, but it is not that kind of joke. Members will not be as excited as they think they will be.

But it will be advisable for them to pay attention, because there is going to be a humongous parade. If members find they have to get somewhere in the city and the parade is blocking their way, they should make a sign and write, “Past participle” on it, put it on the side of their car, get in the parade and off they go.

Since 1922, as other members have stated, the Shiners have been busy building hospitals all around -- 22 hospitals I understand, for crippled children, 19 orthopaedic units including a very famous orthopaedic unit in Montreal and three burn units, including a world-famous burn unit in the Boston Hospital, which I have visited. I understand Shriners raise an astounding $232 million each year to support the activities of their facilities.

On Sunday, the local Rameses temple announced a $1-million donation to the Hospital for Sick Children. That will be part of their capital fund to outfit the new burn unit, which will be called, after the local temple, the Rameses burn unit. That temple has raised over $3 million in the last two years for the Montreal hospital, its share of the Sick Children’s capital fund and medical care and transportation for Canadian kids and their families who need assistance going to a Shrine hospital in the United States.

Their convention director, Peter Rhodes, said, “There are no cash registers in a Shriners’ hospital.” Although for Canadians the importance of that fact may be somewhat obscure, it is not at all obscure in the United States where, in fact, sometimes there are hospitals with cash registers. We must say, “Welcome Shiners. Thank you for your good works. Enjoy our city.”

Mr McLean: A point of personal privilege, Mr Speaker: It is very brief. I would like to introduce two Shriners who are in the gallery today, Don Burnard, chairman of the Canadian burn awareness program, and Rae Gorman. Both are members of the Mocha temple in London.



Mr B. Rae: I would like to ask the Premier a question following up on some questions I asked him yesterday. He said he would try to refresh his memory and look at the record with respect to the progress of Elvio DelZotto’s name through the mill for appointment as a member to the Ontario Police Commission. The Premier said he could not tell me exactly when the decision was made not to appoint Mr DelZotto.

I want to specifically ask the Premier this question today. He will know there is a very specific allegation, or statement, in the Toronto Star that the Premier had a meeting with the deputy commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, Bill Lidstone, in the summer of 1986 to caution the Premier against the government appointing Mr DelZotto.

I want to ask the Premier, did he meet, at any time, either with Mr Lidstone or with any other officials from the Ontario police force or from the police commission. Did he have any meetings with respect to the possible appointment of Mr DelZotto?

Hon Mr Peterson: Just so we get the dates in perspective, I checked, and it was May 1986 that this matter went on. The answer to the member’s question is, absolutely not. The suggestion, the allegation, is 100 per cent false. There were no meetings by me with any member of the Ontario Police Commission or policemen with respect to this matter.

Mr B. Rae: Since that statement is incorrect, perhaps I could then ask the Premier whether he can tell us if any other members of his cabinet have had any such meetings with any members of the police, or if he has determined whether that took place.

Hon Mr Peterson: To the best of my knowledge, no. The Attorney General (Mr Scott) did not; I did not; I do not believe the former Solicitor General did. To the best of my knowledge then, from what I know now, the answer to that is no.

Mr B. Rae: Can the Premier then tell us precisely who recommended Mr DelZotto to the government? And can he confirm in fact that there is a letter where Mrs Starr referred Mr DelZotto’s name to the government?

Hon Mr Peterson: Yes, that is indeed the case. I believe it was dated 6 May 1986. It was a letter from Mrs Starr to the Attorney General at that point.

There was a suggestion as well that the Solicitor General at that time recommended Mr DelZotto to the police commission. That is not true. There was no recommendation from the member for Kingston and the Islands (Mr Keyes) at that particular point, nor was there any recommendation from the Attorney General on that matter.

So it was not a question of giving it great, long consideration and turning it down. It was like many other suggestions that come forward from people. Lots of people write me letters, either to propose names or to propose their own names. Sometimes we take the advice and sometimes we do not, but the only record we have of that is a letter from Mrs Starr to the Attorney General.


Mr B. Rae: I have a question to the Minister of Housing. She will know there are a number of buildings which have been built with government money under various government programs which were established even before the Liberals took power. I wonder if the minister can tell us what the criteria are under which her ministry would grant an exemption to the Rental Housing Protection Act, and allow for the registration of such buildings, built with public funds, as condominiums and not as rental apartments.

Hon Ms Hošek: The registration of new buildings as condominiums is done by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I do not fully understand. If there is an example the member wants to raise, I would be happier to answer that.

Mr B. Rae: I do happen to have such an example, the minister will be surprised to hear.

Hon Mr Scott: You don’t even know how to run a sandbag operation, Bob. Three years at law school, and he can’t set up a question yet.

The Speaker: Order.

Mr B. Rae: I appreciate the advice from the Attorney General, as always.

I wonder if the minister can explain why a property built with public money received an exemption. It was given money under the Canada-Ontario rental supply program in 1985. It produced 200 units at 295 Dufferin Street.

Hon Ms Hošek: I am afraid I am not going to be able to answer the part of the question having to do with the Canada-Ontario rental supply program, because that program was not in place when I was minister, but I can tell the member the criteria under which a building that is about to be registered as a condominium could be exempted from the Rental Housing Protection Act.

It has always been a policy of the ministry that, where evidence can be shown that the building was supposed to be registered as a condominium, and when it is already in the condominium registration process, that building would not be covered by the act. In fact, on 9 October 1986, a general provision was included in the regulations of the RHPA to exempt new buildings from the RHPA where an application for condo approval has been made.

Mr B. Rae: Perhaps the minister can explain this conundrum. On 24 July 1986, the government published its very first regulations under the Rental Housing Protection Act. The only unit that is mentioned in that regulation -- there is a special schedule for that property alone -- is the property at 295 Dufferin Street, which property is owned by 501606 Ontario Ltd, whose sole director is listed as Martin Applebaum and whose previous officer since the last notice, who has been but is no longer an officer, is Elvio DelZotto. Can the minister explain why there was a special regulation that was passed by her government in 1986 for a DelZotto company?

Hon Ms Hošek: Let me tell the member opposite the process at the time. There was an application to the Ministry of Housing. Proof was required, documentary evidence that the intent of the new building was for a condominium. The process was followed and an application was made.


Mr Reville: Who gave that evidence? Patti Starr?

Hon Ms Hošek: I know the member opposite is interested in the answer to this question and I am trying to answer him to the best of my ability.

The process was followed. An application, as I understand it, was made for condominium status before the building was ever completed. There was clear intent and there were documents to support this, and that is why it was exempted from the Rental Housing Protection Act. Let me remind the member that there was on 9 October 1986 an exemption for all new buildings in this situation. Let me also say to the member that no changes in this aspect of the Rental Housing Protection Act have been proposed in the current version in the act that is going to forward as Bill 211 in this House.


Mr Brandt: I have a question to the Premier. On Friday the Premier held a press conference to announce the fact that there would be a public inquiry on the part of his government. He made it very clear. In fact, I made the mistake of complimenting him that day with respect to the speed that his government was reacting. On Monday, the Attorney General (Mr Scott) came into this House and indicated that the public inquiry is going to be delayed as a result of certain elements of the Charter of Rights, as well as the Ontario Provincial Police investigation.

I would ask that this question not be referred again to the Attorney General, but I would like to ask the Premier whether he had any discussions with the Attorney General prior to his announcement in regard to the inquiry that he was going to call at the press conference on Friday.

Hon Mr Peterson: Indeed, I did.

Mr Brandt: Did the Attorney General then advise the Premier that there would be these delays? If so, in response to questions from the media, why did he not indicate that the OPP investigation would delay the inquiry or that there was a question in his mind about the Charter of Rights, if the Attorney General was giving that advice to him at that time?

There were very specific questions raised by the media at that particular session. His response was that: “This matter is going to get under way immediately. We want to get to the facts. We want to get to the root of the problem. We want to get everything on the table.” That is not what is happening. I ask the Premier what changed between Friday and Monday?

Hon Mr Peterson: I think my honourable friend’s question is based on incorrect information. Indeed, I did take advice from the Attorney General. He told me exactly what he told the member yesterday and before and after. I know there is some problem opposite understanding it, but I think he has laid it out very clearly. I discussed the same thing in the press conference. I was asked about this. I said that I would hope this would get under way immediately, but I also recognized there could be charter questions .and all of that kind of thing.

If my honourable friend is standing in this House and saying we should not have a public inquiry, he should go ahead and say it. That is fair enough, but we announced the public inquiry to move as quickly as the commissioner can move in the circumstances. He or she will make a determination based on independent judgement.

Surely that is what the Attorney General has said to the member and it is not that difficult to understand.

Mr Brandt: I really do not need a lecture from the Premier with respect to what I understand and what I do not understand. I can tell him that I listened carefully to his words on Friday and I listened very carefully to the words of the Attorney General on Monday. There was no indication of this lengthy delay that we now appear to be getting into as a result of the encumbrances that have now been identified by the Attorney General.

Why did he not clearly identify on Friday the fact that there were going to be delays? He should not put words into my mouth about whether I want an inquiry. I called for an inquiry a week before he acted on it.

The Speaker: Question?

Mr Brandt: The fact of the matter is we want an inquiry now. Why will he not hold one?

Hon Mr Peterson: My friend is trying to have it all three ways. My friend calls for an inquiry every day in this House. That is okay and I look forward to the inquiry. I think a number of his colleagues are going to look forward to testifying. We all should: anybody who has any information on this matter. I have no problem with that. Let me say to my honourable friend, we think there should be an inquiry into this matter. There is a police investigation under way. The commissioner will make judgement -- l said this in the press conference and the member may want to check it out -- subject to any charter challenge or any other things that may go on.

We could have taken his advice then and held back until all the police investigations were finished and then we could have had an inquiry, or we could have taken the police out of there, if that is possible, and had the inquiry without a police investigation. I am sure that if the member took legal advice from his very esteemed colleagues on the front bench he would understand how the process works, how we have to protect rights; but we are determined to get to the bottom of it. I think that is not a problem.


The Speaker: Order.

Mr Brandt: My question is to the Premier. Can the Premier confirm that, within the last 24 hours, with his knowledge and under his direction, three calls were placed from his office by his staff? One call went to Elvio DelZotto, suggesting that he resign from the Ontario Arts Council; one went to Marlene DelZotto, suggesting that she resign from TVOntario; and one went to Angelo DelZotto, suggesting that he resign from the board of Sunnybrook Medical Centre.

Hon Mr Peterson: I am not sure that those three calls were made, but certainly those suggestions were made in one call, if not in three.

Mr Brandt: It is interesting to note that in the case of at least two of the individuals --

Hon Mr Scott: Are you moonlighting on the switchboard, Andy?

Mr Brandt: We have our sources and the Attorney General (Mr Scott) has his.

Let me just say that when the Premier is asking for three resignations in this particular instance, it appears that he is labelling these people as guilty by association. Why would he be encouraging --


The Speaker: Order.

Mr Brandt: My supplementary is: What would move the Premier to ask for the resignation of Marlene DelZotto and Angelo DelZotto, since I do not believe, to the best of my knowledge, there have been any comments in this House or outside of this House with respect to those two individuals?

Hon Mr Peterson: It is because there is an investigation going on, and the sense was that it is appropriate for everybody to step aside until it is appropriately determined. My honourable friend, who is a master at making suggestions and allegations, is now coming to their defence.

He wants an inquiry; he does not want an inquiry. This time, he wants the people there, he does not want them there. It is like him and his spending remarks. He wants to spend it, but he does not want to raise the taxes. He cannot have it both ways all the time. Our position is very clear and his is just muddified all the time.

Mr Brandt: I can fully understand the Premier’s attempting to distance himself from certain individuals at this time, but he makes some very selective choices in the way in which he proceeds with respect to the call for certain resignations and for certain people to step aside.

It is interesting that he has members of his cabinet with very direct links to Mrs Starr whom he has not asked to step aside, and yet he has asked at least two out of the three individuals I have named for him today to step aside, I suppose out of a courtesy to him because there may be some blemish on him as a result of these people serving. What have these people done wrong? What does the Premier know of that they have done wrong that has moved him to the point now where he is asking them to resign from their particular posts? And I might answer, in one particular instance it happens to be a hospital appointment over which he has no control.

The Speaker: Order. The member has already asked two questions.


Hon Mr Peterson: The member is wrong on several counts, such as when he stood up in this House and made the charge about shredding taking place, which he has never substantiated.

Mr Brandt: Have you substantiated that it didn’t take place?

Hon Mr Peterson: The member should let me answer. The answer is, yes, we have checked into the matter at great length and we have no knowledge of anybody shredding any papers of Ontario Place. I say to my friend with his secret sources that he should stand up and tell us who said we are shredding.

As I said, I understand this supercharged atmosphere and I understand that someone like him can stand up and say anything he wants and think he can get away with it and make a lot of irresponsible statements. We try to be as tolerant as we can about that. If he has any suggestions or allegations, they will be tracked down by independent authorities, but I think that does not prevent him from exercising his responsibility in this matter as a legislator and as a man of honour. He has certain responsibilities too which, to this extent, he has not exercised.


The Speaker: Order. New question.

Mr B. Rae: The Premier has said the reason he has asked for these resignations is that the people are under investigation. If we waited for the room to clear while everybody who was under investigation had to leave, we would be waiting -- for quite a long time. --

The question I have for the Premier is this, and this is what really troubles me as I am sure it I troubles some other people, why is there a different standard? I asked this question yesterday when he said what he said about Elvio DelZotto. I will ask it again. He has members of his cabinet who are not simply under investigation, but who have themselves made admissions.

In the case of the Minister of Culture and Communications (Ms Oddie Munro), she has admitted frankly and clearly that she referred her own mother’s name to Mrs Starr, and a $5,000 payment was made to her mother. For what, we do not know because to this date we still have not seen this alleged survey that has been floating around for months now. We still have not seen one single copy of this survey.

I want to ask the Premier, why does he have a different standard for members of his own cabinet than he has for the DelZotto family? Why is the standard so different?

Hon Mr Peterson: I answered that question yesterday, and I will answer it again.

Mr D. S. Cooke: No, you didn’t.

Hon Mr Peterson: Yes, I did. The member might not like the answer, but I answered it very clearly, about the process that is going on, and I stand by that.

Mr B. Rae: There is a process of a public inquiry to which a judge has not yet been named, whose terms of reference have not yet been decided, and before it is even established the Premier has asked for the whole DelZotto family to be gone. He does not know them. He knew them before, but now he does not know them.

The Premier has members of his own cabinet. He should look around him and ask himself the question, are they not under investigation? Have there not been allegations with respect to their association with Mrs Starr? Why does he have a different standard for them than he has for the DelZotto family?

Hon Mr Peterson: My honourable friend, who on the one hand has stood in this House on many occasions and slandered that family --

Mr Wildman: Slandered?

Hon Mr Peterson: Outside of this House, he has referred to this party in Italian as the DelZotto Party. He goes outside in other languages and tries to inflame people. He should not stand on his moral rectitude here in this House now and start changing it. Let me tell the member that we have opened this up to a process for everybody to see.

My friend takes great umbrage when someone suggests he may be wrong in the circumstances, but he stands every day hurling charges the likes of which I have never seen before from him. He has decided to do that, and then he whines like a puppy when somebody says it back to him. Let me tell my friends that it is all there for everybody to see. They can see it and the public can see it. They will make their own judgements on it.

Mr Reville: Mr Speaker, on a point of order.

The Speaker: Do you have a point of order?

Mr Reville: Perhaps the Premier will think about it himself.

The Speaker: Order. I listened carefully to the Premier’s response. He did use the word and accused another member of slander. Would you withdraw?

Hon Mr Peterson: I withdraw.

The Speaker: Thank you. New question.

Mr Harris: I would like to put into perspective what the Premier has done. Because of questions surrounding Elvio DelZotto’s role in the Patti Starr affair, he instructed one of his staff to call Mr DelZotto’s wife, or Mr DelZotto to relay the message, and suggest to her that she may want to resign from her government-appointed position at TVOntario.

To use an analogy, I would suggest to the Premier that is like the opposition, concerned about the activities of the member for York Mills (Mr J. B. Nixon), suggesting the member’s wife resign from her position of executive assistant to the Minister of Skills Development (Mr Curling), something that I would say is totally inappropriate. I cannot imagine any of the opposition parties making this kind of association.

The Speaker: And the question?

Mr Harris: Can the Premier tell us when guilt by association became the mode of operation of his office?

Hon Mr Peterson: If anybody is a master of guilt by association, it is that member and my friends opposite. We go through this every day. The sense was: “This is just to save embarrassment. I am not going to prejudge this matter, but it might be better to step aside pending the resolution of this whole matter.” That was the reason it was done.

Mr Jackson: Quit embarrassing yourself. You’re holding the position of the Premier of this province. Straighten up your answers. Have you no pride, David, with these kinds of answers? You’re the bloody Premier, for Christ’s sake.

Hon Mr Scott: Okay, Cam, it’s your turn. Why don’t you be led bodily from the House?


The Speaker: Order. I think it is probably time for the Speaker to remind all members that this institution has many traditions. All members are considered honourable and I hope you would conduct yourself in the proper manner.

Mr Harris: Like all --

Hon Mr Scott: I did it yesterday. The Premier did it today. You haven’t got the guts or the manners to do it.

Mr Jackson: Outside.

The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Scott: Do it. Not outside. Do it here with the members. What a gutless performance that is.

The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Scott: Are you going to do it or are you not? You are not going to do it.

The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Scott: Even I do it. Even Rae does it. Even Peterson.

The Speaker: Order, the Attorney General.

Mr Harris: Like all members, I have watched this Patti Starr-Tridel affair unfold with interest, but with sadness as well. I want to tell the Premier that the villain, in my eyes, is not Mr DelZotto, not his wife and in fact not Patti Starr. It is the Premier of this province. It is the Premier who refuses to set any standard or conduct for his government or cabinet ministers, and now, with what we have heard he has done last night, we appear to see why.

It is how the Premier acts. It is guilt by association. It is a secret phone call from staff telling people to get out, and why? “Because you are embarrassing the Premier because of your name.”

The Speaker: Question.

Mr Harris: Can the Premier tell us or give us one moral or ethical reason that he believes the action he took with Mrs DelZotto was possibly justified?


Hon Mr Peterson: I think I answered that question. It is because of the allegations made in this House and in newspapers by people like the member and his colleagues regarding the entire family. The sense was that it would be most appropriate in the circumstances to do that. I do not think there is anything strange or weird about that. I am delighted to see my honourable friend change his view on this matter and cry crocodile tears, which is something new for him.


Mr Daigeler: My question is to the Minister of Community and Social Services. As the minister knows only too well, despite some very major advances in his ministry after the Social Assistance Review Committee reforms, which were applauded even by the opposition parties, many challenges remain, which certainly we on this side are prepared to meet in the future, even though the opposition does not want to raise them.

One of these needs is support for mentally handicapped adult people. Up to the age of 21, the school system and various community groups respond well to the training and recreational needs of the mentally handicapped, at least in the Ottawa-Carleton area. However, the situation changes quite significantly when the school years are finished. Can the minister advise this House what services are presently in place to ensure a smooth transition from school to community living and whether he has any plans for service improvements?

Hon Mr Sweeney: Two years ago, I brought to the attention of this House a multi-year plan for community sports for developmentally handicapped citizens of this province, whether they were living by themselves or with their families. During the past two years, my ministry has increased its funding for that initiative by $63 million, and during those two years we have put in place an additional 750 new residential spaces, for both people living in the community and those coming out of institutions. We have also put in place over 2,200 new units of support for families and individuals across the province.

In the member’s own area of Ottawa, we have identified 55 young people who will be graduating from school this year and funds will be put in place in the Ottawa office to provide day programming for them, which will include respite care for their families, transportation support for those families and a range of day programs for those 55 young people.

Mr Daigeler: The minister may know that there was a recent meeting of concerned parents in the Ottawa area. The suggestion was made thereto establish a special task force to look at the situation of adult mentally handicapped people. This task force would examine the problems in not only the Ottawa area but perhaps other parts of the province as well. Such a task force could take a look at what is being done already and suggest further steps ahead. Has the minister received this request, and is he prepared to act on it?

Hon Mr Sweeney: About three or four weeks ago, I received a letter from a parent of a developmentally handicapped young man in the Ottawa area suggesting what the honourable member has just described. I have since been in touch with my ministry officials in the Ottawa area and have been advised that they have already begun to work on long-term planning with some parents for those 21 years old and over.

As a matter of fact, it is my understanding the first meeting between a parents’ association and staff of my ministry will take place tonight in Ottawa. There will be two main agenda items. The first one will be, what should the membership of the task force be? and the second one, what should its terms of reference be? I am hopeful there will be agreement on those two items this evening and that the project can move forward.


The Speaker: Before I recognize the next questioner, I would like to inform all members that we have a guest in the Speaker’s gallery from the Bahamas, the Minister of Health, Dr Norman Gay. Please join me in welcoming our guest.


Mr Reville: My question is for the Premier. Yesterday, in response to a question from the member for Carleton (Mr Sterling), who wanted to know whether the Premier thought it was appropriate for taxpayers’ money to be used to reimburse officials who attended a Liberal fund-raising event, the Premier said, “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 opinion, it is not appropriate and I do not think we should allow that.” Why then did the party of which the Premier is the leader, during the period of 1985 through 1988. accept donations from 14 different hospitals?

Hon Mr Peterson: I do not deny that what my honourable friend was saying is correct. I am not aware of that and I think it is obviously a question we want to review. I think my honourable friend is not saying that is illegal. I do not believe my honourable friend is saying that. It is perhaps permissible under the law as it presently exists, but we want to review that law and perhaps change that. I think we should discuss it with our colleagues. But I do not sit there and supervise every donation.

Mr Reville: The Premier would be interested to know that some of the hospitals that made donations are those that have serious financial problems, including the Wellesley Hospital which donated $2,000 to the Liberal campaign in 1985, and the Victoria Hospital, which he will know, which donated $1,600 in 1987, There are 12 other hospitals. including the Hospital for Sick Children this year which donated $1,500.

I am not suggesting these contributions are illegal, but given the Premier’s views of yesterday that it would be inappropriate to accept them. what kind of standards does this Premier have?

Does he have to accept these donations or should he not send them back to hospitals that need them?

Hon Mr Peterson: According to my honourable friend’s facts, they were made when we were in opposition. Presumably they --

Mr Reville: In 1987?

Hon Mr Peterson: The member said 1985; that is what he said. I say to my friend that presumably, if that is the case, they might be in his records as well; they may be in the Conservatives. I have no idea about that. But I think it is one of those matters that collectively we should review. We should review all the questions about donations and that kind of thing.

If my honourable friend has advice on how to do it, that is fine. He can crawl through our fund-raising -- it is all public for everybody to see -- and see if it is appropriate. We could go through his and we could ask if it is appropriate of his party or anybody else. But as far as I know, the Commission on Election Finances has passed judgement on what is there and is not uncomfortable with it.


Mr Runciman: My question is for the Premier and deals with his relationship with a Mr Marco Muzzo, a man who testified before a royal commission that he was not opposed to the general practice of bribery. Given that this man, Muzzo, was involved in the 1987 purchase of the Peterson family business, is the Premier prepared to release all relevant financial details surrounding that transaction?

Hon Mr Peterson: I can tell my honourable friend that I was not involved in that, only because all my shares were in a blind trust in that matter. But let me say that I am not aware of anything untoward in that situation. If the commissioner wants to review it, I am very comfortable. Let him or her review it.

Mr Runciman: Given that the Premier has personally met with Mr Muzzo to advise him on political strategy and to achieve business goals, and given that Mr Muzzo and his associated companies donated at least $120,000 to the 1987 Liberal election campaign, will the Premier today agree to broaden the terms of reference of the Starr judicial inquiry to include an examination of the sale of his family business, and if not, why not?

Hon Mr Peterson: If his leader has ideas on how to broaden the terms of reference, he is having a meeting with the Attorney General (Mr Scott) to do so. I can tell my honourable friend that I have read about some of the things he has read about. I only read in the newspaper that he was somewhere remotely involved in one of the companies involved in the whole matter.

I say to my honourable friend that he stands up and makes these charges about bribery and all this kind of thing and he uses all those terms very loosely, but let me say to him that he is being quite promiscuous with his use of words in this matter and let me say that it is not right. If there are any allegations of anything wrong, I can tell him that my situation will bear up to any scrutiny.



Mr Adams: My question is for the Minister of Energy. There is great concern across North America at the present time about air quality. I know that the minister is considering ways of meeting the expected increase in demand for electricity for the 1990s, and it seems to me that it is extremely important to develop and use that electricity in as environmentally safe a way as possible. Can the minister tell the House what steps are being taken to develop our remaining water-based electricity potential?

Hon Mr Wong: Let me begin by saying that the honourable member is quite correct when he suggests that we have very little cost-effective water power potential in the province.

A few years ago, Ontario Hydro, with the support of the Ministry of Energy, announced that it would investigate the feasibility of developing hydroelectric generating stations at 17 sites, with the potential to produce a total of possibly 2,000 megawatts of peak power. Then in 1985, Ontario Hydro’s board of directors further approved the study of hydroelectric development on the Niagara River, Little Jackfish and Mattagami rivers.

The government believes that these cost-effective water power sites should be developed, provided that all affected groups are consulted, including the native communities, and it is our intention that these sites would be developed in an environmentally acceptable way.

Mr Adams: In my riding there is a great deal of interest in developing small hydro sites. A number of our institutions are interested in getting into that. Could the minister tell the House how he intends to encourage the generation of electricity, particularly hydroelectricity, from sources other than Ontario Hydro?

Hon Mr Wong: I hope that within the next few weeks, before the House rises, whenever that is, to be able to make public the government’s new parallel generation policy. One of its prime goals will be to reduce the barriers in order to encourage a viable and a healthy private generation sector.

I might add that today there is less than one per cent of the total generation in the province that comes from the private sector, otherwise known as parallel generation. It is our hope that the 1,000-megawatt target of Ontario Hydro could be met before the year 2000 and that an additional 1,000 megawatts could be achieved; 2,000 megawatts of parallel generation in this province would be equivalent to approximately eight per cent of the total.

In conclusion, let me say that the development of electricity from the private sector is good, because these projects involve lower capital outlays, shorter time frames and diversification to our electricity system. I might add that in some cases these projects are ones that can be better developed by the private sector --

The Speaker: Thank you.


Mr Breaugh: I have a question for the Minister of Housing. Could she explain to us how she allowed almost $3 million of government money to go to the Tridel Corp in the project at 295 Dufferin Street? How did she allow that money, which was specifically earmarked for affordable rental housing, earmarked and funded to the tune of almost $3 million?

Why did her government then turn around in 1986 and exempt it from the Rental Housing Protection Act, which would effectively make that affordable rental accommodation be turned into condominiums? Why did the minister thwart the previous efforts of a government to fund to the tune of $3 million a project which she subsequently made into condominiums?

Hon Ms Hošek: I would like to answer that question to the best of my ability, and I have to say, as I said to the member’s leader, that I do not know much at all about the Canada-Ontario rental supply program and the way it worked in that building. I undertake to find out for the member and let him know.

This is what I do know about. It has been the policy under the Ministry of Housing and under RHPA that where there has been evidence that there was clear intent to register a new building as a condominium and where it is already going through the process of being registered as a condominium, it will be exempted from the Rental Housing Protection Act. In fact, on 9 October 1986, that regulation actually was put into the Rental Housing Protection Act as a norm.

The member opposite will know also that the new legislation in front of the House right now has exactly that aspect of the RHPA in it as well, and there has been no proposal to change it. So if a building already is being registered as a condominium with the clear intent for it to be a condominium, then it is indeed exempted under the Rental Housing Protection Act. That is what I can tell the member about it.

Mr Breaugh: I think it is reasonable for the public at large to be confused when there is a Canada-Ontario rental supply program giving a company in the private sector almost $3 million to build affordable rental accommodation. We know that it can be registered as a condominium but in this particular instance, the company needed the ministry’s assistance to provide it with an exemption under the regulation.

There are many of us who do not like the idea of these hidden condos, but why in this instance would the minister take a deal with a company in the private sector which gave it $3 million, and then turn around and provide it with the first single exemption which would allow it to register the project, not as affordable rental accommodation but as condominiums?

Hon Ms Hošek: In my previous answer to the member I undertook already to look into the whole question of the Canada-Ontario rental supply program and the way it works in this case. I will be glad to do so.

But let me tell the member again, in regard to the Rental Housing Protection Act aspects of it, that a process was gone through including required documentary proof that the building was intended to be registered as a condo. That is the process that was followed. I will undertake to give the member the answer about the rental supply program as soon as I can.


Mr Harris: I have a question for the Minister of Housing. Could the minister tell us on whose recommendation John Sewell was fired?

Hon Ms Hošek: Let me tell the member opposite that the decision not to reappoint Mr Sewell was made after a great deal of consideration by a large number of people. It was a very careful decision and it was made because it was decided that for the future of the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority the best person to carry on was the member who is currently the chairman of MTHA, Jean Augustine.

Mr Harris: I wonder if the minister could confirm two things. One, her response seems to suggest that the reason Mr SeweIl was fired was that she had somebody else in mind who she thought was better.

Hon Mr Scott: He wasn’t fired. He served his full term.

Mr Breaugh: Ian, you should be not fired too.

Hon Mr Scott: If you serve your full term, you’re not fired.

The Speaker: Order.

Mr Harris: Maybe the Attorney General (Mr Scott) heard something different from what I heard. I would be glad to waive the rules and let him ask a question if he wants. He seems anxious to get into the fray today.


The Speaker: Probably you could place the second part of your supplementary.

Mr Harris: The way I heard her, the minister indicated that the reason Mr Sewell was fired was that she thought she had somebody better to replace him. I wonder if that is exactly what she said.

Second, can the minister confirm that those who appeared to be most unhappy with John Sewell were in fact those involved with the Tridel Corp and the controversies it had? Then Mrs Starr was appointed, then Sewell was fired. Is that not the sequence of events?

Hon Ms Hošek: First, let me make a very obvious point. Mr Sewell, who was the chairman of Metro Toronto Housing Authority, served his full three-year term as chairman of the MTHA.

That is clear and I am glad the member opposite is able to hear that.

The decision about whom to appoint as the new chairman of the MTHA was made after deliberate consideration of who the best candidate was, and that is why that appointment was made. The version of the story that the member would like to propose is not the case.

Mr Reville: How many years was it?

Hon Ms Hošek: Three.

Mr Reville: Wasn’t it two?

The Speaker: I did not ask for a supplementary.



Mr Neumann: My question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. On 18 May, the minister announced to the House the progress under his ministry with respect to the Social Assistance Review Committee recommendations. These reforms were met with wide support, both in the House and in the community as a whole. I have had some questions from constituents in my community about the timing of the implementation of his announcements. How is the implementation coming along and are we going to meet the target dates that have been set?

Hon Mr Sweeney: There were three main announcements. One had to deal with improving the salaries of community workers with whom many of our recipients work. The beginning of that program will be 5 September of this year. The second announcement had to deal with increases in children’s benefits and enhanced employment support benefits. Those initiatives will begin on 1 October. The third one had to deal with the shelter support increases and the rate increase, and those will take place on 1 January.

Mr Neumann: When the report was first released, it was stated that all of the recommendations needed to be seen as a whole. The province cannot implement all of the recommendations on its own, because several lie outside of its jurisdiction. I would like to ask the minister, when will we see action on subsequent phases which require co-operation of municipalities, other provinces and the federal government?

Hon Mr Sweeney: Before some of those initiatives can begin, there must be changes in legislation with respect to our Family Benefits Act and our General Welfare Assistance Act. That comprises phase 2 of the report and those changes have already begun, because we have appointed three full-time staff people to begin drafting the new legislation. So that is already under way. With respect to the next three stages dealing with children’s benefits, disability benefits and income subsidies of the working poor, the report clearly indicated that these had to be national initiatives and not provincial.

I have already met with my provincial colleagues from across Canada and have received their unanimous support for these. I have met once with the federal minister and have indicated that we would like to have a meeting to discuss these further. At the last meeting with my provincial colleagues, we did receive a letter from the federal minister saying that he was prepared to meet with us within the next few months.


Mr D. S. Cooke: I have a question to the Minister of Health. Since I raised the question with the minister about the chronic care hospital in Windsor last week and she has had the opportunity to talk to her bureaucrats and consult with her members, can she confirm what her ministry spokesman, a David Jensen, said to the Windsor Star, that the chronic care hospital that was promised by the Liberal Party in the 1985 election, announced by the former Minister of Health in 1986 and repromised in the 1987 election, is now on hold?

Hon Mrs Caplan: I want to be very clear in answering this question to the member for Windsor-Riverside. We are committed to meeting the needs of the people of Windsor, as we are to meeting ‘the needs of the people of this province.

Mr D. S. Cooke: That is an absolute attempt by the minister not to make anything clear, but to deliberately make the whole situation unclear.

The people of our community have raised $11 million locally towards this hospital. The government promised the hospital in 1985; it promised the hospital again in 1986, and it promised the hospital again in 1987. Is the minister going to build the new chronic care hospital, is she going to fund it, and if so, when? Why can the minister not just be clear and say yes and give a date?

Hon Mrs Caplan: I have answered the questions from the member for Windsor-Riverside before and I know he has some difficulty in understanding, so I will try again.

He knows that there are a number of projects across this province which are currently in the planning stage. He knows that those projects appropriately and rightly so are under review. He knows that our focus is on delivering the services that our communities need, not only for today, but into the future.

I want to assure him and all members of this House that when we are satisfied that our planning will result in meeting that commitment, I will make announcements.


Mrs Marland: My question is for the Minister of the Environment. I think the minister is aware of the resolution of the region of Peel council of last Thursday. They have asked for a meeting with both him as the Minister of the Environment and the Premier (Mr Peterson) to discuss the greater Toronto area garbage problem and the pending agreement. I would like to know today whether he has arranged that meeting and agreed that both of them will meet with the regional councillors of Peel.

Hon Mr Bradley: To this point in time a meeting has not been arranged, but I would be interested in seeing the actual correspondence. Was that sent to me? I would be happy to see that.

As the member will know, I have met with the chairman of the regional municipality of Peel in conjunction with the mayors of the three municipalities that make up that area. They have brought to my attention their views on this subject. The member will also know that previous to that I had met with representatives of the council who are interested in the subject.

I would be interested in seeing the correspondence on it and I thank the member for drawing it specifically to my attention. Certainly, as I say, on an ongoing basis I have felt that it has been useful to meet with the chairman of the region and with those mayors.

Mrs Marland: No, it is not a matter of correspondence. It is a matter of fact that the regional council has asked for a meeting with the minister and the Premier within the next two weeks. Now that the minister knows of that request, is he willing to fulfil it on behalf of the region of Peel in its serious garbage crisis?

Hon Mr Bradley: I will certainly discuss it with the people who have extended the wish to meet and determine what kind of meeting they would like and so on. As I say, the regional chairman, who has spoken in the past on behalf of the council, and the mayors, who have spoken on behalf of the area municipalities, have had an opportunity for input. I found those meetings and the discussions that we have had with them have been most useful.

The member will know, being one of the members from the area, that there is some considerable difference of opinion, depending on the regional councillors and those who have an interest on the council in this subject. I will certainly discuss that very matter with the offices of the heads of those municipalities and with the regional chairman.


Mr Callahan: My question is to the Minister of Transportation. The city of Brampton continues to grow and is some 190,000 people strong right now. The Georgetown GO service, which connects people from the Brampton and Bramalea area to Toronto, is one that has required additional service for some considerable period of time.

In fact, under the former Conservative administration, had the double tracking that was required for increased service been done, it probably could have been done for about $10 million. I have learned that that cost now would be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $100 million.

I have learned from the Bramalea station, which is the second stop outside my riding, that service could be increased without the necessity of double tracking that is required from Brampton through to Toronto. Would the minister look into the question of whether or not increased service might be provided from Bramalea to Toronto to service the people from that community?

Hon Mr Fulton: The member for Brampton South will be aware that in the last provincial budget the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) and the government recognized the needs of transportation across this province by allocating an additional $2 billion to the ministry. Contained in that


Hon Mr Fulton: I do not think the members of the opposition want to hear what this government is doing for the benefit of the population of this province.

Contained in that budget was some additional $400 million allocated to GO Transit. We recognize the needs of the growing areas, particularly in the northwest, as the member has indicated. We have made some additional changes and improvements up there. Only last January we, in effect, turned the sod for the first of the gateway programs across the greater Toronto area. We provided for the new Brampton Transit terminal.


He is correct on the difficulties he raises on doubletracking the line, because of the enormous cost. It also requires a couple of structures over Eglinton Avenue and Humber Creek. Certainly there are ongoing negotiations with CN and CP for accessibility to their trackage.

Mr Callahan: I wonder if I could ask the minister as well to look into the question of possibly providing for the people of my riding the introduction of some service to allow them to get to the SkyDome. Otherwise, the alternative is that they would be using highways that are used exceedingly at the moment. For people from my riding, one of the few ways of getting to the dome would be either by driving all the way or driving at least down as far as Mississauga.

Hon Mr Fulton: My friend from Brampton would be aware of the enormous improvements we have managed to make to municipal roads in the region of Peel and the town of Brampton and other locations across Ontario, both in the municipal roads and provincial highways programs as well as with GO Transit. I can assure the member that our ongoing reviews and further announcements will indicate our position with respect to addressing the needs he raises.


Mr Allen: The Minister of Community and Social Services will recall that last week when I asked him a question regarding the discrimination under section 8 of the regulation, deductions against visible minority women on family benefits, he referred to a study in all area offices across the province which he said showed there was no discrimination involved. The minister has not corrected the public record that in fact there was no such study and that the ministry consulted no evidence which would provide a firm conclusion one way or another regarding discriminatory practices.

Would the minister confirm this and tell us why, if Kathleen Lawrence could examine two case loads in Toronto and get firm figures showing discrimination, he cannot request a similar province-wide examination of case loads in order to determine whether there is or is not discrimination across the province against these women?

Hon Mr Sweeney: I think if the honourable member would check the record, I indicated that there was a review done of the four Metro offices. I do not recall that I said there was a review done of all the offices across the province. I think I made that clear.

The second point: Mrs Lawrence’s ability to use her own file of roughly 311 clients was based on the fact that she knew these clients personally. The difficulty with checking anybody else’s file is that there is no record kept in the file as to the racial or ethnic background of an individual. While we sometimes can get clues from other information in the file which we can take into consideration, there is no direct reference. Consequently, while we can check on the area of section 8 inadequacies and inequalities, we have no way of checking on the racial background to any accurate degree.

What I believe I told the member the last time he raised the question was that while they were checking the roughly 80 files across Metro, there was no evidence available to them, even with indirect clues, that would support the racial inequality that had been brought up by Mrs Lawrence.

The honourable member is correct that we have no way of accurately doing it one way or other --

The Speaker: Thank you. That seems like a fairly complete answer. The time for oral questions has expired.


The Speaker: Just before I recognize any members for petitions, I know all members would want to join me in welcoming the former member for Cambridge, the former member with a bowtie, Bill Barlow.



Mr Brandt: I have a petition for the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, signed by 3,500 persons from my riding, calling for increased financial commitment to Ontario’s health care system to reduce the needless deaths and suffering caused by government underfunding of Ontario hospitals.


Mr Brandt: I have a second petition for the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, signed by II persons from Hamilton and area, which reads in part as follows:

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly to insist that the Treasurer of Ontario negotiate with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation towards an equitable settlement.”


Mr Brandt: With your consideration, Mr Speaker, I have two other short petitions.

I have a petition for the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly, signed by 74 persons in the riding represented by the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr Kormos), which reads in part as follows:

“I believe that all residents of extended care facilities, whether it be a nursing home or a municipal home for the aged, are entitled to equal care and services according to the specific care requirements of each individual.

“Nursing home residents should benefit from the same amount of funding and kinds of services as residents of municipal homes for the aged.

“I urge the Ontario government to reform the extended care system so that it is uniform, fair and equitable with regard to funding and regulation, and so that seniors in all extended care facilities receive the quality of care that they deserve.”

Finally, I have a petition to the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly, signed by 297 persons in the riding represented by the member for Chatham-Kent (Mr Bossy). The petition reads as follows:

“I believe that all residents of extended care facilities Mr Speaker, I will just read into the record that this petition reads exactly like the one I have just completed from Welland-Thorold, to save the time of the House. With your permission, I will not read it.

The Speaker: No problem.


Mr Cousens: I have a petition signed by approximately 15 people from my riding in Thornhill.

“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:

“The Ontario government has taken steps to limit the measure of health care that can be provided by therapists, home care nurses, chiropractors, physicians and others in the province. The steps they have taken have proven to have been a failure in other provinces. Effectively, they limit the patient’s access to special health services and to health care services after office hours.

“We believe that we should be allowed our rights under the Canada Health Act to see our own health care professionals when we feel it is medically necessary.”

So signed by my constituents and by myself.


Mr Cousens: I have a second petition.

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

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

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

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

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

It is duly signed by me and over 400 people of Ontario.


Mr Campbell: I have a petition signed by 21,625 people from northern Ontario.

“We hereby petition the Legislative Assembly:

“(a) to amend the Assessment Act to permit the broader taxing of mining companies so as to guarantee fairer tax returns to this community from those establishments; and

“(b) to implement an immediate provincial emergency review of the municipal structure in operation in the Sudbury region to ascertain the soundness and cost-efficiency of such and to make recommendations for improvements, if found necessary.”

I support the petition and have affixed my signature.


Ms Bryden: I have the honour to present a petition on the subject of naturopathy. The petition is from many people throughout the province and has been signed by 98 persons. The petition is addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads as follows:

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

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

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

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

There are 11 petitions in this group. They all read the same and I have signed them and support them.

Mr Faubert: I also have a petition on naturopathy, and to save the time of the House, I would just indicate it is to the Honourable the ‘Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly. The petition I will sign, as I am obliged to do by the standing orders, to allow the petition to be entered into the record and for no other reason.


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

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

It has been signed by 41 people in my riding.


Mr Villeneuve: I have a petition from very concerned citizens about Bill 149, signed by 57 people from such communities as Finch, Newington, Iroquois, Morrisburg, Cardinal, Kemptville, Lunenburg, etc.

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

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

“We request that the Ministry of the Attorney General withdraw Bill 149, An Act to amend the Trespass to Property Act, which we believe is both unnecessary and without mandate.

“While we respect the rights of minorities and youth, whom Bill 149 alleges to protect, we oppose the way in which the proposed legislation will erode the ability of owners and occupiers to provide a safe and hospitable environment for their patrons or customers. We are further concerned about the legislation’s potential for increasing confrontation in the already difficult process of removing individuals who create disturbances on publicly used premises.”

I have signed this petition and fully endorse it.


Mr Jackson: I have 2,000 signatures from the Superannuated Teachers of Ontario.

“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 petition has my signature and support.

The Speaker: You said you had 2,000 petitions. Did you sign it 2,000 times?

Mr Jackson: I had 2,000 signatures.

Mrs Marland: “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.”

This petition is signed by over 500 signatures.



Hon Mr Conway moved that Mr Johnson (Wellington) and Mrs Grier exchange places in the order of precedence for private members’ public business.

Motion agreed to.



Mr Reycraft moved first reading of Bill Pr16, An Act respecting London Regional Art and Historical Museums.

Motion agreed to.


Mr Reycraft moved first reading of Bill Pr30, An Act respecting Regis College.

Motion agreed to.


Ms Collins moved first reading of Bill Pr 13, An Act respecting the City of Hamilton.

Motion agreed to.


House in committee of the whole.

L’hon. M. Grandmaître: Est-ce que j’ai la permission de la Chambre?

M. le Président: Oui. Si vous voulez vous installer à l’avant, il n’y a pas d’objections, j’espère? Venez vous installer.


Consideration of Bill 21, An Act to amend the Fuel Tax Act, 1981.

M. Harris: 0 -- sont les experts?

M. le Président: Ils s’en viennent. Have the officials come forward, please.

Mr Cousens: Any loopholes in it, Bern?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: We are going to try and find some. I am sure, with your assistance. we will find more.

The Chairman: At this moment, I would like to strictly list any proposed amendments and to which section. Monsieur le ministre, est-ce que vous avez des amendements?

Hon Mr Grandmaitre: Before we begin with the amendments, I would like to receive consent to introduce three amendments that I was told were out of order for the simple reason that they deal with regulations, if I am not mistaken. We did receive full consent from the House to proceed with the amendments.

Hon Mr Conway: I should just indicate, and my colleague House leaders will remember, that last week when we dealt with this matter, the table drew to my attention that the Minister of Revenue (Mr Grandmaitre) was able to report that certain consultations with the federal government had been achieved after this bill was introduced, in an effort to move forward on some matter at the border that has now been resolved.

He would like to introduce amendments that technically would be out of order, because -- as I understand it, and somebody will correct me if I am wrong -- the amendments that are being proposed would open a section of the act that is not dealt with in this bill. I chatted earlier today with members of the opposition parties and they were comfortable that that consent should be agreed to. I simply wanted to formalize that before we began the committee stage.

The Chairman: I think we should list them now and, one by one, when you move them, we can talk about that consent. Right now, I just want to list which sections which persons want to amend.


Mr Cousens: I think it is fair to say, certainly from our side, that where there has to be some movement, we are certainly pleased to help the government proceed. Although it is going to be painful for the taxpayers of Ontario, we would like to be showing more restraint than the government would; but in the spirit of its having the desire to proceed and be more repressive in its taxes, we just feel that we will honour the moment.

The Chairman: Could we entertain the debate on this and whether it is out of order or not at the time that we talk about it, please? For the third time, I would just like to list the amendments right now, if I may.

Minister, it is your turn. Which sections would you like to amend?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: I have three amendments in section 1, and one in section 2 of the Fuel Tax Act, 1981.

The Chairman: Thank you. Does anybody else have any sections he or she would like to amend? Is that it?

Section 1:

The Chairman: Mr Grandmaître moves that the bill be amended by renumbering section 1 as section 1a and by adding thereto the following section

“1 Clause 1(j) of the Fuel Tax Act 1981, being chapter 59, is repealed and the following substituted therefor:

“(j) ‘importer’ means a person who brings or causes to be brought into Ontario fuel in bulk.”

Section 1 of the said act, as amended by the Statutes of Ontario, 1985, chapter 23, section 1, is further amended by adding the following clause:

“(h) ‘fuel in bulk’ means fuel transported or transferred by any means other than in a fuel tank of a motor vehicle in which fuel for generating power in the motor vehicle is kept.”

As we were trying to say earlier, this is out of order. I guess, Minister, you now understand why; it has been explained to you. Obviously you are trying to amend a section that is not a part of the bill. As all members insisted upon telling me earlier, there seems to be unanimous consent to bring this forward anyway. Is that correct?

Agreed to.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: I think this is an administrative amendment. We simply wanted to define the word “importer” to make it very clear what importer means, especially with the new legislation being brought forward, and also “fuel in bulk.” They are really administrative amendments.

Ms Bryden: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: I do not think we have been supplied with these two amendments that were not in order. I have a group of other amendments from the government but I do not have a copy of those two that amend a section of the act that is not covered in the bill. Can we get copies of those before we proceed?

The Chairman: Does the critic for the third party have copies? Yes. Minister, will you provide copies to your official opposition critic.

Ms Bryden: Are there not two?

The Chairman: Actually, there are three amendments. Would you not have copies of all the amendments that you want to bring forward so that the critic may have a look at those?

Would you be ready now to make some comments on that first amendment -- or maybe we can proceed with the third-party critic and come back to you afterwards? Would that be okay? Would the member for Markham have some comments?

Mr Cousens: The minister is in the process of tightening up Bill 21 and the Fuel Tax Act as it applies to the province. I am wondering whether or not the minister has been pushed into this; if there is anything in the recent discussions in the paper about people importing fuels laden with polychlorinated biphenyls into the country. Does this give his ministry any way in which it can pursue those people who are illegally importing and bringing into this country products that otherwise should not be brought in the way they are?

I think the media brought out a very important case and it showed that his own Ministry of the Environment had really tried to hide the fact for some period of time that in fact there was a very serious problem going on where people were bringing back into the country polluted goods and selling them at a reduced rate and they were forms of fuel of different kinds. In fact, they were using them in greenhouses and some other places. I am wondering whether his giving this kind of identification just allows him to identify them any better.

While he is tightening it up, has he not considered some of the ways in which people might try to hide behind the existing definitions in this bill where it says, “‘fuel in bulk’ means fuel transported or transferred by any means other than in a fuel tank”?

I am wondering if there is anything about the quantity of the fuel that is involved in that, It does not say it. I know that sometimes people, if they are carrying a trailer, if they are tugging that along, will have a spare fuel tank of propane or an extra can of gasoline. Though it is not for the purpose of being in their own tanks and for the purpose of travelling, it is none the less not going in the way in which the bill describes it here. It says fuel that is powering the vehicle. I think there could be some misinterpretation of that. Some overzealous inspector at the border might come along and call for a certain action to be taken by this person because he might then unknowingly be in contravention of this amendment.

Those are two points that I had. I think the third one is that I want to know if there is any way in which the minister’s discussions with the federal government in coming up with these amendments involved anything to do with the free trade agreement between Canada and the United States and whether or not this has any impact on that.

My fourth point has to do with anyone who is importing fuel. Does it involve anyone from other countries as well, and if so, what kind of situations is the minister describing in that? I would like him to open up just what other imports of fuel he is looking at under this amendment.

Ms Bryden: I understand we are dealing just with the first amendment, the amendment to section 1, defining “importer” and stating that “‘fuel in bulk’ means fuel transported or transferred by any means other than in a fuel tank of a motor vehicle in which fuel for generating power in the motor vehicle is kept.”


What we are talking about is the movement of fuel across the border, mainly to or from the United States, and the question of how to apply the tax to that fuel or whether it should be disallowed that importation. As we know, this situation of a considerable amount of fuel being illegally moved across the border and sold in Canada without tax came to light a couple of years ago.

I would like the minister to give us a brief résumé of how long this practice had been going on before the ministry decided it should be curbed in some way; an estimate of how much revenue was lost during this period; how the system worked so that the customs people apparently let this fuel move across the border without exacting any fuel tax. Would the minister also give us a better picture as to why this particular addition to the act is needed and what is being done in the meantime, since this situation was discovered, until the introduction of this particular amendment to the act now, which will not go into effect until some date to be proclaimed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

I think we have to have a better picture of what we are dealing with before we can go ahead with these two amendments and understand whether the definitions are broad or precise enough to catch the people who were apparently importing gasoline or fuel in bulk and not paying tax on it. I would like the minister to give us that sort of background.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: The member for Beaches-Woodbine knows very, very well the history behind what we are trying to do today. For a number of years -- three, four or maybe five -- the Provincial Auditor has been warning -- if I can use that word -- the government that we were losing tax dollars at the border crossing for the simple reason that we did not have the mechanism in place to collect those tax dollars. This government and the former government have had negotiations with the federal government be-cause the customs people at these border crossings do collect federal tax but not provincial tax. We will finalize an agreement with the federal government that both taxes will be paid.

As far as the history is concerned, it goes back a long time. What we are trying to do is improve the present legislation. I think the definition of “importer” is a very precise one. I would like to know what the honourable member would like us to add to that definition of “importer.” If she has any suggestion, I would be pleased to listen to it.

The question of my honourable friend the member for Markham (Mr Cousens) was, “Is this related to the transportation into Ontario of fuel contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls?” I want to remind the honourable member that long before the PCB accusations were made, his government -- when it was in power -- and our government had been negotiating with the federal government to improve the law. Finally we will be signing an agreement with the federal government to close that loophole, as he mentioned a little while ago.

The member did talk about quantities. We are talking about large quantities. We are talking about tank trucks and even boats, if need be. We are talking about the large quantity.

Mr Cousens: I think I understand that. Are there regulations that go along with this bill for inspectors and other people who are involved with the bill to interpret it? I think the minister and I can interpret it. I do not see any problem, but I know there can often be ramifications that come out of this. Maybe the minister can describe what those regulations would be.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: There will be procedures written down very clearly so that everybody will understand.

Mr Cousens: Does the minister have those yet, so that we can get a view of what they are?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: No. As I said, that agreement has not been finalized. As soon as it is finalized, we will all get copies of the provisions.

Mr Cousens: Maybe the minister could continue then. I was concerned with some of the other possibilities of the kinds of fuel that he was thinking of where there could be problems, imported not only from the United States but other parts of the world that are affected by this. Maybe the minister can give me a better sense of what he is really thinking of.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Raw fuel or crude oil is not taxable; it is only after it has been processed. One can bring in crude oil from Great Britain without paying taxes.

Ms Bryden: I still want the answer to several other questions. I cannot judge whether the definitions of “importer” and “fuel in bulk” in the amendment to section I are sufficient until I know more about the situation. That is why I wanted the minister to review the circumstances which preceded the introduction of this amendment.

For instance, if the Provincial Auditor had been reporting for four or five years that there appeared to be a loss of revenue through a failure to collect the provincial tax at the border on fuel being moved across the border, can the minister give us an estimate of how much revenue was being lost in each of those five years, roughly over the four- or five-year period? That is my first question.

Second, can he explain to us why, after his government came to power, it took three and a half years to bring in an amendment to stop this practice and get the customs officers collecting both the federal and the provincial taxes? We would like to know how much revenue was being lost in that time by the failure to act as soon as the new government came to power.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: The member for Beaches-Woodbine was asking what the losses were. She knows very well that the Provincial Auditor did come out with a figure of $100 million. This figure was challenged by the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) saying that it was considerably less. I cannot give her a precise number of dollars, but we will know in the next 12, 18 or maybe 24 months. We will be able to make a comparison after 18 or 24 months between the dollars collected in 1990 or 1991 and 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988.

This is a new agreement, a new program, so it is difficult for me to give my honourable friend a precise answer.


The second question raised by the same member was, how come it took so long to negotiate an agreement? I think that answer should best be given by the federal government itself, because as members know, these border crossings are operated by federal customs people. We have been trying to negotiate some kind of agreement that both taxes would be collected, federal and provincial taxes. It did take us a long time to negotiate this agreement, but finally they have agreed to collect both taxes.

Mr Wildman: I think I understand what the minister is attempting to do with this amendment, but as he will know, in many border communities across Ontario and indeed across Canada, there is a very serious problem right now in that large numbers of consumers are going across the border to purchase gasoline and diesel fuel for their vehicles. While I would be in agreement that we should be attempting to deal with the importer who brings fuel from American sources across the border in bulk, what are we going to do to protect the retailer in border communities on the Canadian side who is facing very difficult competition from gas bars in adjacent American communities?

I understand that in Sault Ste Marie we have a situation where there is a small gas bar right at the end of the International Bridge in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, which does business hand over fist, particularly on weekends, with consumers from Sault, Ontario travelling across the bridge, paying the bridge toll and paying the exchange on Canadian funds and still ending up paying approximately one half of what they would pay in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, for a full tank of gas. The same goes for truckers who are purchasing diesel fuel.

This has had a tremendously adverse impact on the retailers in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. I am sure it is the same case in the northwest, in places like Fort Frances; in eastern Ontario in a place like Cornwall, those areas; Windsor in southwestern Ontario.

What really surprises me, and I have not been able to document this, is that I understand when the gasoline outlets in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan run out of gasoline in their underground tanks and there is not an immediate shipment coming in from their normal sources to replenish their tanks, they import gasoline from the tank farms in Sault, Ontario, across the bridge, and they do not pay our taxes. They are purchasing our gasoline, which would be sold at double the price to the consumer when it retails in Sault, Ontario, without paying the tax, putting it in their tanks in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, and then selling it to the consumer for half of what they would pay if they were buying it on the Canadian side, and they are still making a profit.

For the life of me, I do not understand how the oil company, whichever oil company is involved in this, which is selling fuel from its tank farm to the retailer in Sault, Michigan, can justify treating its own Canadian, Ontario consumers in such a despicable manner.

We all know that the retail price, within a certain range based on volume of sales and competition in the community, is set by the oil company; it is not set by the retailer. Within a few cents, they determine the markup within a certain range. We also know, whether it is politic of me to say it or not, that just by coincidence, all the companies seem to charge about the same amount. I would not suggest they are price-fixing, but it certainly would be nice if our combines legislation in this country were such that we could do something about this cartel, because that is what it is, which rips off the consumers. You cannot blame consumers in northern Ontario who are being ripped off by high gasoline prices for going across the border where they can buy gas for half.

My question is, does the minister, in this or any amendment, have any intention of doing something about this; at least about the situation where retailers in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan can buy gasoline, fuel oil and diesel fuel from tank farms in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario without paying our taxes, and once it gets across the border on the International Bridge can sell it to our consumers and help to make it so difficult for the retailers on our side of the border?

If this minister cannot do something about it, maybe he will tell me it is something the federal government should be doing something about. I understand the federal government, in conjunction with the provinces, is carrying out a study. That is what the federal government usually does when it does not know what to do, it carries out a study. They are doing a study of a number of border communities, some in British Columbia, Fort Frances, I think Sault Ste Marie may be involved, and a couple of communities perhaps in Quebec and the Maritimes, looking at the problem we are facing with competition from across the border in terms of the sale of gasoline.

As a matter of interest, I know they are also doing that with the price of milk. They are looking at cross-border sales and the price of milk. I realize the minister cannot do anything about the price of milk in this legislation.

I would like to find out what is being done and what the minister intends to be done to try not only to ensure that someone who brings fuel into Ontario in bulk pays taxes, but that someone who is taking the fuel out of Ontario in bulk pays the taxes.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: I would like to remind my friend that this bill does not deal with interprovincial trade or crossing. I face the same problem in my own constituency. All you have to do is cross the bridge and you are in the province of Quebec. It is very difficult to prevent these people from buying gasoline in the province of Quebec, yet the tax is not the same. Those are very difficult situations and I do not have an answer for the member today.

The member was talking about international trade. Really, I am in no position, again, to give him a reasonable answer, because that is a federal matter. I am sure the Treasurer and the Premier (Mr Peterson) of this province, whenever they get together with their colleagues in Ottawa or anywhere in Canada, do talk about these problems. Who knows, with the free trade movement right now, we could be affected in many ways. These are really federal situations, and what this government is trying to do is to try to resolve these existing situations.

I think this bill, by defining the word “importer,” will eliminate some of the people who do evade taxes. Let’s hope we will catch them all, but it is difficult for me to predict at this time.


We are trying to make the law stronger so that we will be able to monitor not only the crossing of this bulk fuel but the destination of this fuel as well.

Mr Wildman: I appreciate the comments of the minister; however, I was not, in any way, suggesting that we should be doing something about the consumers, since this amendment does not speak to that.

If a person wants to travel across the bridge to fill up his tank of gas --

Hon Mr Grandmaître: I was giving you that as an example.

Mr Wildman: Yes, right -- and I realize it is international trade; we are dealing with another country here. But my concern is specifically with the retailer on the American side who purchases gasoline in bulk. It is taken by tanker truck from the tank farm in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario across the bridge to Sault, Michigan to fill up his underground tanks, and he does not pay Ontario taxes on that Ontario fuel.

Then he sells to Ontario consumers as well as Michigan consumers at the Michigan rates. All I am saying is that if we are going to be trying to get someone who imports gasoline or fuel in bulk into Ontario to pay the taxes, let’s make sure that the ones who import Ontario fuel into other jurisdictions also pay the taxes.

Mr Cousens: I am not satisfied. Going back to something I said earlier, the definition in this bill of what fuel in bulk means is really such an open-ended definition that it does not begin to satisfy me that the regulations are going to be in place to define what it is.

Why then do the ministry and the drafters of this legislation not be more specific as to what fuel in bulk is? I know the minister is an intelligent man; I respect that. But I think he is missing something in his definition, especially when he says that fuel in bulk will be anything other than what is in the fuel tank of a motor vehicle in which the fuel for generating power in the vehicle is kept.

Therefore, “in bulk” could be even a gallon or a litre, by virtue of what fuel is going to be. So therefore, why does he not have a more meaningful definition within the bill? I would like to hear his answer.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: I know what the member is driving at. It could be a gallon. Would he cross the border in Cornwall or in Sault Ste Marie with a one-gallon can?

Mr Cousens: Well, that is the point.

Mr Wildman: Parsimonious as he is.

Mr Cousens: That is the point the member for Algoma (Mr Wildman) made.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Let’s be serious. I am telling my friend the member for Markham that we are talking about bulk and we are talking about large quantities. We are talking about truckloads and even boatloads. This is what we refer to as bulk.

To answer my friend the member for Algoma, ‘if the dealer from Michigan crosses the Canadian border and buys from a supplier in Ontario, this is called export, because it is going out again. There is no tax on it. It sounds ridiculous, but if that gas were consumed in Ontario, then tax would be paid on it. But due to the fact that it is taken again across the United States or Canadian borders, there is no tax. Maybe we should sit down with the federal government and also the states of Michigan, New York and so on and try to strengthen that law.

Mr Cousens: Maybe we should ask the ministry to go back and table this or refer it back to you, to come along with a definition that reflects what you and I both believe to be fuel in bulk. What is written here in this amendment is not the definition of what he is saying fuel in bulk is, so why is it that he says something which is so wise and intelligent and yet has such a dumb definition? All I am asking for is some consistency.

Then the other problem we have is that we in this Legislature have no control over what the regulations are going to look like. That goes back to someone in a back room with lots of smoke in it, or whatever else, and they will come out with what their definition is. So why can the minister not come back to us? Maybe what he should do is table this and then can come back to this House with something that is far more responsible and reflects truly what fuel in bulk is.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: I am not trying to be funny. I am not trying to be sarcastic, but bulk is bulk. We are talking about large quantities; a truckload, a boatload. Usually when you buy something in bulk, you cannot put it in your side pocket. That is what bulk is all about. We have given it a broad definition so that it will include just about everything except a one-gallon container.

Mr Cousens: The humour escapes me, I do not know. On the one hand, we both understand what the minister is trying to say, but on the other hand, it is typical of a bunch of lawyers sitting down and writing and drafting legislation, whether it is lawyers, former mayors or politicians who think one thing and say another. What he is saying here is not consistent with what we both believe. If this is the best the minister can do, and I think it is pretty shabby, then I am going to have to vote against it just by virtue of the fact that he has failed to give a definition of what “fuel in bulk” is. We both know that fuel in bulk is more than that.

What he has said in his definition -- maybe he has not read it. What he is really saying is that it is “any other fuel.” That does not say, “other than in a fuel tank of a motor vehicle in which there is fuel for generating power.” Therefore, it is any fuel other than that. Some person might have spare lighter fluid. I do not think it will be that ridiculous, but I am just saying that “fuel in bulk” should be better defined. He has not done it. I am critical of it. Why does he not clean it up? He has a chance to do it right, and here he is introducing something in the House that is just not so. He is capable of doing a better job.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: I appreciate the confidence of my friend the member for Markham, but I think the definition is broad enough. I am sure that his mind is broad enough that he would accept “bulk” meaning “large quantities.” I am sure of that. He is an intelligent man. He is not a lawyer, but a former minister.

Mr Faubert: Ordained.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Yes. I am sure that he will accept that definition. Also, I think that it is a very poor excuse for the member wanting to vote against this bill -- because of the definition of the word “bulk.” That is a very poor excuse. I think the member should realize that we are trying to be reasonable. This is a broad definition and he should support it. I am sure his leader would be very, very pleased if he supported our bill.

Ms Bryden: I still have not learned from the minister an estimate of how much revenue was lost during those long negotiations with the federal government to get them to start collecting the provincial tax at the same time as they collected the federal tax on imported fuel.

I would like to know what date the Ministry of Revenue first approached the federal government on this matter after the change of government. Can he or his officials give me that? What was the first request for co-operation in this? I still find it difficult to understand, if the request was made right after the government changed, why it took three years to get to this stage of having a potential agreement, I gather, with the federal government to collect the tax, which then leads to the necessity for this amendment to clarify the definitions of “importer” and “fuel in bulk.”

Certainly, it is very sad to know that a great deal of revenue was being lost in this period. I think perhaps we should have had more co-operation from the federal government in making this a high priority, but the provincial ministry seems to have had very poor bargaining powers with the federal government to get some action on this. I think the public wants to know how much we lost before we apportion blame.


Hon Mr Grandmaître: As I said previously in answer to a question asked by the honourable member, it is difficult for me to be precise. If I were to give her a number, she would argue it was wrong, so I will not give her a number. I am sure that in the next couple of years we will be able to make comparisons and she will be the judge.

I know the Auditor General came out with a figure. We do not like this figure. We disagree with the Auditor General, but I would like to remind the honourable member that the initiative of this government some years ago -- I cannot recall exactly what year it was -- was to start to dye the clear fuel at the border crossings. Was it two years?

An hon member: It was 1987.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: It was in 1987. This has been ongoing for some time.

We have been trying not only to collect our taxes at the border crossing, but also to find out the destination of these fuels. Were they used for farm equipment, off-the-road equipment, cars or trucks? Now we will be able to follow upon the destination of those fuels.

Again, I am sorry I cannot give the honourable member a precise figure, for the simple reason that we do not know.

Ms Bryden: Not even a ball-park figure?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: She is going to criticize my ball-park figure and I am going to strike out.

The Chairman: Does anybody else have any comments or questions? Does that mean we are ready to vote on this?

Ms Bryden: I want to comment also on the rate of tax that is provided. This bill puts an additional tax on diesel fuel, which is used mainly by buses and somewhat by trains, and is generally used in a great deal of vehicles that deliver goods to consumers. It is also used considerably in public transit.

I just cannot see why the minister is proposing another addition to this tax, because it is very regressive. It is passed on to the consumer in most cases, and it affects really all consumers who use goods that are delivered in diesel-fuelled vehicles. It particularly hits the north, where perhaps more goods are delivered by truck than by other means. It also hits people who use bus services, and it hits municipal public transit systems that use diesel fuels.

I think the Treasurer is simply using this fuel as another means of getting another bite out of the consumer. We know that since it hits so many people so widely, it is another regressive tax. That is why we voted against it yesterday. We still think the minister is wrong in relying on this kind of tax.

Second, I think the minister should have been looking at means of helping the users of diesel fuel to switch to less polluting fuel. We know that diesel fuel is very polluting and that there are alternatives. I think he should be assisting the users of diesel fuel to find a better alternative to that fuel and perhaps give incentives to them, rather than simply adding to the tax.

Third, the addition of a tax on locomotive fuel on those that are diesel-fuelled is also a suggestion that we do not need our trains, that we should not be encouraging train travel. I would prefer that trains operate on other fuels than diesel, but they still do and, even though the tax is very small, why discourage our rail services?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: The honourable member refers to the cost being passed on to consumers. I just want to remind her that this government subsidizes transportation commissions such as the Toronto Transit Commission, the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Transport Commission and so on and so forth; even in Sault Ste Marie; all over this province. So they are in fact being subsidized by --

Ms Bryden: Not all private transit.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: If it is a private enterprise? I am talking about a municipal service, a provincial service. These municipal services, like TTC or OC Transpo, are being subsidized.

Also, she mentioned that we should be introducing a program where cleaner fuels, less polluting fuels would be introduced. We did introduce a conversion program and more and more people are using this program and converting to propane or natural gas, and we encourage people to do so. With the new legislation being introduced, we are giving people a longer period to convert to natural gas or propane. So I think we are answering the situation or the problem very adequately.

Mr Wildman: I am always a little bit reticent about participating in debates on revenue bills because I sympathize with the minister. The minister here, as we all recognize, is really just the messenger and you do not like to shoot the messenger. We know the minister does not set the policy. That is set by that ogre who sits in a seat close to where the minister is now sitting, the Treasurer.

It is really unfair to this minister that the Treasurer would get up when he gives his budget address and say, “We’re going to whack the consumers again,” and then leave it to the Minister of Revenue to take the flak for that.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: He goes away.

Mr Wildman: Yes, he is not even here. The minister is then stuck with having to bring in legislation, much as I know he does not like it. I am sure that he himself is opposed to this legislation, that he would not ever want to bring in more taxes for the consumers. In fact, the Minister of Revenue is such a generous man that I am sure he would like to lower the taxes if he could do it. But he cannot; it is up to the Treasurer.

So this minister is stuck with having to bring in legislation and the Treasurer does not even have the guts, if I can be a little crude, to come in and say: “Look, it’s my idea. It’s my policy. I forced this through at the cabinet table over the objections of the Minister of Revenue, and now he is stuck with having to bring this legislation in, much as he is against it.” But since this minister is here and the Treasurer is not, despite the fact that I have so much respect for this Minister of Revenue that I do not like what I have to say, I have to.


Hon Mr Grandmaître: The devil made you do it.

Mr Wildman: No, the devil did not make me do it; the Treasurer did.

Mr Reycraft: That’s unparliamentary.

Mr Wildman: Well, I do not know. I was not suggesting that the Treasurer and the devil were synonymous, but since the member raises that --

Mr Reycraft: The devil is probably upset about that.

The Chairman: Please; one member at a time.

Mr Wildman: I do not mind, Mr Chairman.

The Chairman: I do.

Mr Wildman: Thank you. I note that this piece of legislation, Bill 21, that is now before us is going to increase the cost on clear fuel used by railway equipment by three percentage points a litre; in other words, about a cent a gallon.

I know this minister probably is opposed to the ill-advised policy of the federal government in that it is now trying to make it even more difficult for the isolated communities in northern Ontario to have communication and transportation to the outside world because it is destroying Via Rail. I know the minister is opposed to that, but why is he acting as an accomplice, not only to the Treasurer but to the federal government, in doing this by raising the cost of fuel?

Surely he knows that in raising the cost of fuel, not only does he make it more expensive and more difficult for passengers, but it also means the cost of goods in northern Ontario in isolated communities is going to go up. That is not acceptable to us. Why should the people in Oba, for instance, in the northern part of my constituency, be stuck with the kind of prices they are paying already and then have these taxes raise them even further?

I note also that it is raising the price on clear fuel for general use by four cents a gallon or a little more than that. I like to deal in gallons because we all know that when we switched to metric, it was an attempt to confuse people so they would not know how much they were actually paying.

We are paying here a little over four cents more a gallon while in northern Ontario we are already paying far too much for fuel. If the government increases the cost of the fuel for the trucks that carry most of the goods in northern Ontario, it means the consumer in northern. Ontario once more is being ripped off.

On top of that, the cost of doing business in the north goes higher as well. The cost for truckers who are transporting manufactured goods -- the few manufactured goods that we transport out of the north -- the cost of transporting logs and finished lumber products and paper will all go up.

Mr Reycraft: Not to speak of the local member’s driving around his riding.

Mr Wildman: I must admit that in my constituency I do a great deal of travelling and the taxpayers subsidize that by paying me so much a kilometre.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Not enough.

Mr Wildman: Oh, I think it is enough, but having said that, is it really sensible to give it to me with one hand and to take it away from the taxpayers with the other?

Mr Faubert: You get more than we do per kilometre.

Mr Wildman: Yes, we do, because gasoline costs more in northern Ontario. That is why we get more, and because we have longer distances and lousy roads and because we have poor weather, so we use more gasoline.

Having said that, I will conclude because I see my friend waving at me that we do not want to prolong this, and I do not want to prolong it. I recognize it is not the minister’s fault. I recognize that if the member for Ottawa East had his druthers, he would not be piloting this legislation through the House. I know he has been browbeaten by the Treasurer into bringing this kind of legislation before the House. Perhaps if the minister could have done it himself, then he would have done it in a different way. But we know he is the messenger, and because the architect of this ill-advised policy is not with us and has chosen not to be present, we have to whack this minister. I regret it, but it must be done.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: After hearing this sob story, I feel like the sacrificial lamb. I want to thank the honourable member for taking it easy on this minister. I can assure him that tomorrow morning at breakfast I will pass on his remarks to the Treasurer, because most of his remarks were directed at the Treasurer. But I want to remind the honourable member that this government has the responsibility of making sure that we have good roads even in northern Ontario.

Mr Wildman: You have the responsibility. I wish you would fulfil it.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Yes, and that is exactly what we have done since we have taken power. We have increased our budget by over 30 per cent, so I think we are now attacking the road problem in northern Ontario. When I hear people from northern Ontario criticizing or claiming that they are paying more for gasoline in northern Ontario, well, I travel to northern Ontario at least seven times a year. I will be there this weekend in fact.

I can tell the member that in North Bay, or even in Sudbury and New Liskeard, in those places, gas is very reasonable. The member might argue with me about what is reasonable. I am trying to tell the member that we pay as much in eastern Ontario as he does in northern Ontario, and sometimes more in eastern Ontario. We can go on and on and argue about these price differentials, but I think what this tax is doing is providing us with more dollars to build him more roads, not only in northern Ontario but right across this province.

Mr Wildman: I was going to sit down, but the minister has provoked me. First off, I will not say very much about what he has had to say about gasoline prices in northern Ontario being reasonable. I just want to take that out of Hansard and spread it all across northern Ontario, that the position of this government is that the price of gasoline in northern Ontario is reasonable. because he is going to have a hard time defending that to the consumers of the north, and frankly, to the retailers.

But having said that, I just want to comment about the roads. There is no question that this government has a responsibility to increase the budget for improvements to roads in northern Ontario, just as it does across the rest of the province. Could he tell me that the money from these bills we are voting for today will mean there will be a significant increase in the budget for roads in northern Ontario?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Highway 69?

Mr Wildman: There is no question that Highway 69 needs to be improved. But every time there is an announcement about increases in the roads budget, the vast majority, 10 times as much, is going to what is now called the greater Toronto area. I recognize there is a lot of traffic down here, but 10 times as much is spent down here. We do not have as many people, cars and trucks but we have 10 times the area. It is not being spent in northern Ontario and we are not driving on decent roads.

There are so-called secondary highways in my constituency that this government has the gall to refer to as highways. It would be a compliment to call them minefields. So the minister should not tell me that by raising the tax on fuel we are going to have better roads in northern Ontario. The member for Port Arthur (Mr Kozyra) will testify to the condition of roads in northern Ontario.

We must have a commitment from this government. If the minister can tell me how much he expects to collect from this new tax this year and how much of that is going to be spent on roads in northern Ontario, then I might be satisfied, if he can show that it is a commensurate amount; I doubt he can.


Mr Pouliot: I cannot believe what I am hearing. Elie Martel, the former member for Sudbury East --


Mr Pouliot: I look at the minister, and he just lies there and does nothing about the price of fuel in the north. This is no laughing matter, with respect.

I just spent the last three days travelling 1,500 kilometres in the great riding of Lake Nipigon. I was in Nakina yesterday and returned to Thunder Bay at one o’clock in the morning. The reason why I point this out is that I and other people who live up north can experience at first hand the discrepancy between gas prices.

I represent communities, and I have heard the minister very clearly. I do not know if huge majorities do that, refuse to listen as well as to speak, but he said that the prices of gasoline up north are the same as in southern Ontario and then he sort of corrected himself and said “reasonable.” Reasonable what? I represent the community of Fort Severn, the northernmost community in Ontario. The price is $5 a gallon. I call that unreasonable. The minister has said that this is reasonable, but the jury is still out.

The highest price in North America is being paid by the people who live in those remote communities. I repeat, I feel that it is totally unfair, totally unreasonable, and the minister has said that it is reasonable. I hope he comes into our riding and explains that to the great people of northwestern Ontario.

The gall and the audacity have no bounds. The minister tries to make us believe that the money will be taken and put into roads and the revenues will be there to put into the road system in northern Ontario.

I cannot help but compare it to when they are talking about the greater Toronto area. They are concerned about paving the soft shoulders. They are that far. They have lines, indications, good roads, first-class transportation for the GTA, and up north we are concerned about the sections between the soft shoulders. That is our problem. We are not on the soft shoulders yet. If you want to see potholes, if you want to see a picture of desolation, if you want to see a deterrent to tourism, you should look at the road network and the maintenance of those roads in the north.

The minister is talking about $30 million. It is not so long ago that this accomplice, by way of the measures of his colleague and the Provincial Auditor, whose good work, good deeds and integrity can never be questioned, mentioned that that minister was short some $3 million because of sloppiness. In other words, $3 million was not collected because the minister was not at his post doing his job.

Instead of looking at $3 million, what the minister says is, “You, the people of the north, will keep on paying anywhere from 10 to 15 cents a litre more, on the average.” That is the difference. If members drive some 30,000 kilometres per year, north and south, they are looking at a difference of about $400 in their pockets.

It has already been acquiesced to that Ontario is the highest-taxed province -- this is a rich land -- in the whole of the Dominion of Canada. When all is said and done, if a person starts working in the month of January, it will be some time in July -- in other words, if a person makes whatever paycheque, he give his entire paycheque in taxes to that man there, and he will have to carry the guilt.

There is a saturation. The middle class, with the likes of Bill 21, is literally under a state of siege. You give all your paycheques, January, February, until July, and some time in July, you have a little bit of money to make ends meet and money to make the economy grow. There is indeed a saturation.

The Minister of Revenue would have been better advised to at least impose a minimum tax on the many thousands of companies in the province of Ontario that are making a profit -- and we want to wish them well -- and are not paying one penny.

How do you think the middle class feels, Mr Chairman, when it sees the erosion of its wages almost daily in a combination of a scheme engineered by the feds with the acquiescence of the province of Ontario? Indeed, one could say that the vultures are gathering. It is nothing short of that, and the words are not too strong.

I see the minister shaking his head and saying the odd words of wisdom, as if humour was becoming to him. People are driving to go to work, people are warming up their cars because it is colder up there, and his next line will probably advise people to put on another sweater. Yet we cannot grow, we can hardly survive, because the price of gasoline is not nearly at a level where it should be.

Enough criticism. Let’s talk about positive alternatives that would work so that the north could finally join the economic mainstream of Ontario. We have already talked about a difference of between 10 and IS cents between the south and the north. The north pays more: 12 to 15 cents a litre. Twelve cents is made up of provincial taxes.

If the minister means what he says when he talks about vision -- vision without the proper mechanism will never be vision; the minister lacks planning; he is not taken seriously -- as an incentive, why does he not take two cents off the provincial tax?

He could say, “Okay, the good people of the north are the less fortunate of Ontarians, so to bridge the gap between 12 to IS cents a litre, we will take two cents off in taxes.” The dealer will not suffer; the supplier, the oil company, will not be penalized; but more important, the consumer will begin to benefit. Just as important, the consumer will see that the minister means what he says and that he can look to tomorrow with better confidence.

If the minister did it for five years -- and it would not cost the province a great deal of money in revenues -- after five years, the prices would be pretty well even. Sure, there would be a two- to three-cent-a-litre difference. He could say, “My friends, one and a half cents is due to transportation cost, the difference between supplying the north and the south.”

I think that is constructive. Time and time again, people who represent a constituency in northern Ontario have mentioned to the minister the error of his ways and have come to their feet in this House to say, “Why don’t you take this package?” I do not mind going into the minister’s office with my idea and then reading a month or two months or six months down the line that I am out of his office with his idea. I do not mind this, because the collective effort has been served.

I see that many of the minister’s colleagues, on this warm day, have adopted the dress code of shirtsleeves. I want to point this out. If they had been in the minister’s office this afternoon at a meeting, I would really be more serious in talking about the dress code. They are privileged to still have their shirts on.

The minister is nothing short of an insult to the people of the north. The people of the north know what my distinguished colleague the member for Algoma and my colleague the member for Sudbury East (Miss Martel) are talking about when they say the difference in the price of gasoline is nothing short of a disgrace.

It is a deterrent to consumers, a deterrent to workers, a deterrent to growth, a deterrent to tourism and it speaks very badly, it represents his ministry at its worst. What the minister has done with his mandate is pick the pockets of people.

Like other members, I will welcome the apology from the minister and will look forward to a little more social justice, because we have had just about enough of our pockets being fleeced; there is not much left.


The Deputy Chairman: Is there any other discussion?

Mr Wildman: He said it all.

The Deputy Chairman: I can therefore put the question. Is it the pleasure of the committee 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.

Motion agreed to.

The Deputy Chairman: Mr Grandmaître moves that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following section:

“1b. Subsections 11(5) and 11(6) of the said act are repealed and the following substituted therefor:

“(5) Every importer shall, at the times and in the manner prescribed, collect from any wholesaler. retail dealer or purchaser to whom the importer sells fuel, the tax collectable and payable under this act, and for that purpose, every importer is an agent of the minister for the collection of the tax imposed by this act.

“(6) Every importer who is a collector shall remit to the Treasurer, at the times and in the manner prescribed, the tax collectable and payable by the importer in respect of the fuel imported by that person.

“(7) At the time of entry into Ontario from outside Canada of clear fuel, every importer who is not a collector shall remit to the Treasurer,

“(a) an amount as security equal to the tax under subsection (5) that the importer would be obliged to collect on such clear fuel upon resale of the fuel in Ontario; and

“(b) the tax payable by the importer under subsection 4(1).

“(8) The remittance required by subsection (7) shall be made to a person authorized by the minister for forwarding to the Treasurer by certified cheque or money order, payable to the Treasurer.

“(9) Every importer shall, at the time and in the manner prescribed, deliver to the minister or to a person authorized by the minister a return with respect to the fuel imported by the importer.”

I must advise you that this motion is out of order for the reason that it seeks to amend a section of the act which is not part of the bill before us.

Mr Wildman: You’re absolutely right.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Mr Chairman, you are absolutely right, but I thought I was given an all-party agreement when we first started. But I think you are right. The chairman did say, “We will deal with every section.” You are absolutely right, Mr Chairman. I did consult my honourable friends my critics.

Mr Pouliot: Sorry. You’re on your own.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: My critics are gone, the Tories are gone. I did receive royal --

Mr Wildman: Royal assent?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Royal assent. Not royal assent but consent.

The Deputy Chairman: Order, please. Can I confirm that the minister has sought and received unanimous consent from the other parties?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Yes, Mr Chairman.

Mr Wildman: It is agreed, as long as we do not give him carte blanche.

The Deputy Chairman: Thank you

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Again we are addressing the loss of tax dollars to this province, and this amendment will certainly rectify this loss. Ontario lost several million dollars yearly on undeclared and untaxed sales of imported clear fuels. Under the existing provisions an importer may withhold reporting or remitting tax on any or all shipments of clear fuel into Ontario with little risk of detection. The proposed amendment will enable the collection of tax from importers who are not collectors at the entry point by customs and excise officials of the Department of National Revenue.

Ms Bryden: We are equally concerned with regard to the illegal importers who are bringing gas into Canada and selling it without tax. Therefore, we are prepared to support this amendment in the hope that it will stop this activity and enable tax to be collected by the customs officers at the border on any illegally imported fuel as well as gasoline.

Motion agreed to.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Mr Chairman, I am told the same consent is needed for the reading of the amendment to add section 1c, and I did receive that agreement.

The Deputy Chairman: For the sake of the record then, the proposed amendment is out of order, but the minister is indicating that he has sought and received unanimous consent of all parties for the introduction of this motion.

Mr Grandmaître moves that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following section:

“1c. Subsections 19(1) and 19(2) of the said act are repealed and the following substituted therefor:

“19(1) Every person carrying fuel in bulk, and the operator of every motor vehicle carrying fuel in bulk, shall, when requested by the minister or any person authorized by the minister, give written evidence to the requester of any or all of the following information,

“(a) the name and address of any person from whom the fuel was obtained and the name and address of any person to whom the fuel so obtained was delivered or is to be delivered;

“(b) the quantity of fuel delivered or to be delivered to any person;

“(c) the use or intended use, if known, to be made of any fuel delivered or to be delivered from such motor vehicle.


“(2) The minister or a person authorized by the minister may detain a motor vehicle carrying fuel in bulk where,

“(a) written evidence requested under subsection I is not given;

“(b) the information in the written evidence that is given is false; or

“(c) the importer fails to comply with subsection 11(7) or fails to deliver any return in accordance with subsection 11(9).

“(2a) The minister or a person authorized by the minister may detain a motor vehicle under subsection 2 until the written evidence is given, the true information is given, the remittance required by subsection 11(7) is delivered or the return in accordance with subsection 11(9) is delivered, as the case requires.

“(2b) During any detention under subsection 2, the crown, or any person acting in the administration and enforcement of this act, is not liable for any damage to the motor vehicle, ‘its contents, cargo or freight, or to its owner or driver or otherwise that may occur or be alleged to occur by reason of the detention of the motor vehicle pending compliance with subsection I and subsections 11(7) and 11(9).”

For the sake of technical accuracy, I will now rule the motion out of order and confirm that the minister has sought and received a waiver for its introduction from both other parties.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Again, we have talked about fuel taxes and we have talked about tax fraud, tax evasion and so on. I think this is a very well known subject in this House. This will permit us, along with the federal government, to collect these taxes at a border crossing.

As I mentioned previously, we have finally concluded an agreement with the federal government that will permit us to collect our taxes and also to follow up on the destination and the use of gasoline and fuel. Basically, we are protecting our interests and we intend to collect every tax dollar that is redeemable to this government.

Ms Bryden: We are willing to support this amendment, also, as part of the process of bringing the fuel that comes in illegally under tax and making sure that we do not lose the revenue that we have been losing in the past. I understand that the federal government will collect it or that an agreement will be made for the federal government to collect it along with the federal tax at the border. So we support this amendment, as well.

Motion agreed to.

The Deputy Chairman: Is that the end of the amendments for section 1?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Yes, we will now move to section 2 of the bill.

The Deputy Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the House that section 1, as amended, be part of the bill?

Section 1, as amended, agreed to.

Section 2:

The Deputy Chairman: Mr Grandmaître moves that section 2 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:

“2(1) Subject to subsection 2, this act shall be deemed to have come into force on 18 May 1989.

“(2) Sections 1a, 1b. 1c and 1d shall come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.”

Ms Bryden: This is one of the operative sections of the original bill and we will vote against both section 1, except for the amendment, and this section because we are opposed to the bill and we would like to see the bill withdrawn. It is imposing an additional tax on fuel which we think is unnecessary. The revenue could be raised in more progressive ways. So we are voting against this section and against the bill.

The Deputy Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the committee 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.

Motion agreed to.

Section 2, as amended, agreed to.

Section 3 agreed to.

Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.


Consideration of Bill 22, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act.

The Deputy Chairman: Would members please indicate the sections to which they seek to make amendments or on which they have any questions or comments?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Section 3 of the bill, clause 2b(2)(c), and section 4 of the bill, clauses 2c(4)(a) and 2c(4)(b), will be amended.

The Deputy Chairman: Those are government motions. Are there any opposition motions, amendments, comments or questions on any sections?

Mrs Marland: I have an amendment to subsection 3(2b) of the act. I have just the one amendment.


On section 3:

The Deputy Chairman: Mr Grandmaître moves that clause 2b(2)(c) of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted therefor:

“(c) the tire is attached to or is designed for use on any class or classes of tangible personal property prescribed by the minister.”

Does the minister have any introductory comments?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: As the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) pointed out in this House, tires such as those for bicycles, tricycles, wheelbarrows and lawnmowers are not intended to bear the tax on pneumatic tires. This was promised by the Treasurer, and we are introducing an amendment today to clarify the taxes on tires.

Mr Pouliot: I have a question for the minister regarding the definition. I ask the minister to please correct me if I am wrong. I am seeking some guidance and clarity on his amendment. For instance, should I buy a new car in Ontario, the sales tax at the present time is eight per cent. I would pay on top of the eight per cent another $5 per tire. Is this for four tires? Does it include the spare?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Yes.

Mr Pouliot: Okay. So if I were to buy a new car, I would pay $25 more, besides the sales tax, on top. Is that right?

Hon Mr Grandmaitre: Just to make sure that it is very clear in the honourable member’s mind, if it is a new car, the $25 tax is payable up front on the price, and the eight per cent is on the gross price, the total price, of the car. Is that understood?

Mr Pouliot: Thank you.

Mrs Marland: It is in order at this point to comment on this amendment. First of all, I have a question to the minister based on the fact that it says in the bill that this bill would come into force on 1 June 1989.

My question to the minister is. what happens to all those people who have bought these kinds of tires since I? May, the infamous day of the bad-news announcement of the Treasurer’s budget? If people have been buying these tires which are now exempt as of 1 June and they have already paid their tax on those tires, could the minister please answer for me, on behalf of those people, what their expectation can now be from the Treasurer of Ontario?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: If people have already paid taxes since the budget, and we are saying this tax is now coming into force on 1 June, the dealer will gladly reimburse the tax paid or the ministry will reimburse or refund the tax that was paid previous to 1 June.

Mrs Marland: Can I be very clear? What about the people who have bought those new tires that are now in this exempt category since 17 May and have not retained their sales slips, which is a very common thing? It is okay for the minister to sigh with frustration at my question, but I want to tell him that there are thousands of people sighing with frustration at this tax in Ontario today. If he now is changing the rules of the game, then I suppose what begs the question is why any of the tax came into full force before the bills were approved by this House.

In my opinion and in the opinion of the Progressive Conservatives, I think if this government knew how to go about its business, then it would not have enforced this new sales tax on tires at all. But enforcing it before the budget bill approving that tax went through the House now has put the government in a position where, whoopee, after six or seven weeks it is going to change the rules and is having exemptions. We are in favour of those exemptions. In fact, we are in favour of exempting all new tires from any sales tax.

But the fact of the matter is that the rules have changed for these people who have bought certain tires in that period, and the government now is saying that they will be refunded their tax. The question is a very serious one. I appreciate the minister’s saying that if the dealer cannot refund the tax, then the ministry will. Will the minister tell me how he will do that for those people who no longer have their sales slips or proof of purchase of those tires? Are we going to go out to inspect the tread and decide whether or not that is a new tire from the last six or seven weeks? I mean, I will be very interested in his answer and I will await that.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: I am sure that if a person were to buy two or three tires at his or her friendly tire retailer’s, I am sure that this person could go back to the retailer to obtain a receipt. We will accept that receipt and the person will be refunded. We trust that he or she has bought two or three tires. But all he has to do is go back to the retailer and get a slip and we will accept it.

Mrs Marland: If I may continue. I do not think there is a retailer in Ontario today selling tires and who is not friendly. But I recognize also that retailers in Ontario are business people, and as business people on behalf of this Liberal government they have been directed to collect a certain tax on tires. Now, six weeks later, the government has changed its mind and said that tax on certain tires no longer is necessary.

The minister is saying that people who have bought those tires can go back to the tire dealer now and ask in a friendly way for a receipt. Well, in the real world of business -- and I want to say, having spoken to a number of Canadian Tire dealers who I would suggest are perhaps among the many prominent tire dealers in terms of volume in this province -- and there are obviously other companies similar to theirs -- they simply cannot deal with the volumes of people who will be coming back without sales slips and asking for a refund of that tax.

I would hope that by conferring with his staff, the minister would come up with a better, more simple way of dealing with a problem which he himself has created. lam glad that the minister is smiling and that he thinks it is amusing, but it is a very serious question. It is not fair to these people who have bought these tires and who no longer have their sales slips, for the minister to say, “Go ahead and ask the person from whom you bought the tires for another sales slip receipt.” He is putting the onus on the tire dealer, whereas the onus lies with the government which imposed that tax ahead of time. How is it, with all the ability there is supposed to be in the Liberal government, that it would have this mess anyway? How is it that it would introduce a sales tax and not even clue in to the fact that maybe it was unjust to have a sales tax on bicycle tires, tricycle tires or lawn mowers? That is a really tough question.



Mrs Marland: Even wheelbarrows.

How is it that the minister can indeed have the same sales tax on a tire this size as on a huge earth-moving truck and tractor tire? It is really interesting that when we are talking about the overall subject of tire tax, as my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr Pouliot) has asked the minister, is it not rather amazing that when he has a new tire tax, that tax comes even on the new car with its new tires? It is not new tires to replace old tires any more, which is what the public thought at first. We were horrified at first that this tax on tires was in our opinion a regressive tax. It is a deterrent tax, because it is a deterrent to safety.

Quite frankly, I would like to read into the record, for the minister’s benefit, some of the figures pertaining to safety and accidents with regard to tires. I quote from the Ontario Road Safety Annual Report, 1987, which, interestingly enough, is published by the government’s own Ministry of Transportation, not the minister’s in particular, but the government’s.

In this report, it says that with regard to the safety aspects, there is a lot riding on our tires. In fact, there were 621 accidents in which insufficient tire tread was identified as the cause. Some 32 of those accidents were fatal, 323 of those accidents involved personal injury and 266 caused property damage. In addition, there were another 969 accidents, four of which were fatal, caused by tire puncture or blow out; 323 accidents, one fatal, caused by defective wheels or suspension, and 289 caused by defective steering.

It is very true, and it does not take very much common sense to recognize, that all of those factors are related to tires; yet the Liberal government has seen fit to add a $5-per-tire tax, which in itself has to be a very serious deterrent to people buying new tires; people who, because of this tax, now think about delaying the purchase of those tires.

The minister has two examples, one of buying five tires when you buy a new car. Usually, people buy five tires when they buy a new car. I do not think most people would buy a new car without tires. The fact of the matter is that, immediately, the Liberal government has added $25 to the cost of that car as a tax.

Then on top of that, we have the eight per cent tax. Let’s not be misled, because I want to make sure the public understands what the Liberal policy is. The $5-per-tire tax goes on the price of the car first, and then the eight per cent is on top of that, the total price. So, it is a tax on tax. It is double taxation.

It is rather ironic, as I say, that in this brilliant concept of a $5-per-tire tax, it does not matter what size of tire it is. It does not matter if it is the smallest automobile tire or the largest piece of roadbuilding equipment tire, the fact is that everybody pays $5.

There are some exemptions in terms of the aviation tires, which are huge, enormous tires, of course, that aircraft use; there are some exemptions, I understand, in construction; but there are a lot of huge tires for which the tax is $5, the same as for the person who is driving the smallest car with the smallest tires. Frankly, we think that is irresponsible taxation.

The other thing the Liberal government has lost sight of here is that every time it adds an expense to drivers, it adds a tremendous tax burden to people who do their business in automobiles and trucks. It is rather sad that when we look at driving in a province the size of Ontario, we do not consider the fact that driving in Ontario is a necessity, not a luxury. The fact of the matter is that everything that affects a person who does business in his car or has to use his car or motor vehicle to get to his business has to be added in as an additional cost.

When you are dealing with transportation costs, you are talking about the cost of getting goods to market, so the cost of those goods escalates because the cost of doing business escalates. You contribute to the whole spiral of inflation, because the goods are bought by the consumer, who in turn has to pay the increased cost.

What the minister is doing here, in effect, is taxing what appears to be a very simple commodity, an automobile or motor vehicle tire, but it has broad and far-reaching ramifications. In fact, this sales tax on tires is the single largest sales tax measure in the budget and the one which will impact most directly on the largest number of consumers.

In spite of the fact that the minister may not be aware of it, it is also the measure that has attracted the most organized opposition. The province’s tire dealers 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, the past president of the Ontario Tire Dealers’ Association and president of the Canadian Tire Dealers’ Association. The tire dealers have argued that while they recognize that the problem of waste tires is a serious one and have in fact discussed a number of possible solutions with the government in the past, they have serious doubts about the purpose of this tax.

In fact, the tax will adversely affect government revenues and the public in two ways. 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, and the tax will lead drivers to keep their tires longer, wearing them to the point that performance and safety are diminished.


It is rather interesting when this is a government that says it promotes business in Ontario and then imposes a tax which in fact will drive business away from Ontario. It is for sure that any of our border communities and areas close to our borders will simply go over to the United States to buy their tires.

It may seem a small amount to those Liberal members who think that $5 on a tire is not worth discussing, but in fact it is. All of these taxes which have been imposed on the people of this province are worth discussing, because again, it is the second year in a row that the Ontario Liberal government has taken the largest single tax increase across the board in the history of this province.

I would like the minister to clarify for the people of Ontario again that if they are not able to secure a copy of their sales slip receipt for tires they have bought in the period between the announcement in the budget and now, with his new amendment on certain tire categories with this bill, does that mean they forfeit that tax they have already paid?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: As I pointed out previously, this is an amendment to clarify the classes of tires that are taxable and tax-exempt. I think it is very clear that tires such as those on bicycles, tricycles, wheelbarrows and lawn mowers are not intended to be taxed. I think it is a good move on the part of the Treasurer and the government and I am very surprised that the member for Mississauga South (Mrs Marland) who is, after all, the critic of the Ministry of the Environment, would not support such a move, because I am sure she wants a safer and a cleaner atmosphere and an environmentally cleaner province. I have heard her say on a number of occasions in this House how concerned she is about the environment.

That is exactly what we are doing by taxing tires and exempting others. We are taxing users, for the simple reason that we have to get rid of these tires because we want a cleaner and safer environment. That is exactly what this bill is all about. These dollars will be used to build better environmental programs. With better environmental initiatives, I am sure the environmental critic will support this amendment.

Mrs Marland: Oh. no, the minister cannot get away with that. I am sorry, he cannot get away with that, because, as he knows, I have a motion for the Progressive Conservative caucus this afternoon, and for his benefit, I will read what my motion is, because this motion will recall to him whether what he has just said is in fact what he believes. This motion says, “For all amounts collected under subsection 2b(l)” -- which is the tire tax -- “an equal amount 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.”

To follow what the minister has just said when he says he would think that the member for Mississauga South would support this because I am the environmental critic, he is darned right I will because it is worded in my motion to ensure that.

The truth of the matter is that this government will take this tax the way it takes every other tax and it will put it in their general revenue fund and nobody will know, God knows, where it is spent. That is what we are dealing with this afternoon.

The minister can stand in his seat and very piously say: “We are only charging this sales tax because we want to protect the environment.” He is going to have his opportunity to protect the environment and literally put his money where his wishes are by supporting my motion. So he should not throw back at me that aspect, because we have the motion coming up right after his motion where he will be able to say: “Yes, the member for Mississauga South is absolutely right. She is so committed to the environment that I want to make sure that this $5 per tire sales tax does not go into the Liberal general revenue fund coffers so they can drop money all over the province on vote-getting projects. I want this money to go into the environment.”

I will say something else. Before that, in preparing a bill to give to the Treasurer when the Treasurer gave his budget speech less than seven weeks ago, I would have thought that the staff, either in the Ministry of Revenue or in the Treasury office, would have had enough foresight to recognize what kinds of tires needed to be exempt.

I think it is almost ludicrous that we are here this afternoon, saying, “Well, we had better exempt tricycles, bicycles, wheelbarrows and lawn mowers.” How come the minister knows that only on 27 June? How come he did not know that when he gave the message to his Treasurer to announce that he was going to tax tires? How is it that none of the staff could have thought of that before they put the Treasurer in an embarrassing position of announcing a tire tax and now, after --

Mr Wiseman: And the minister knows that.

The Chairman: Order.

Mrs Marland: Or how is it then that when the tire tax was announced, the government did not wait to enforce it until the budget bill went through? How is it that it would not have said to the public of Ontario: “We are going to impose a $5 tire tax in Ontario, we will let you know what tires they will be, we will let tire dealers know what tires they will be and after we have made that decision, we will then tax tires”? No, the government did not do that. It let the tire dealers go out in this province and charge the consumers $5, no matter what kind of tire it was. It is really a beautiful example of closing the barn door after the horse is gone.

Mr Daigeler: What about the environment?

Mrs Marland: The minister should not throw it back at me that he would think that I would have agreed with this exemption for bicycles, tricycles and wheelbarrows. The truth of the matter is that we happen to think there should not be a tax on tires of any kind in this province, and we are opposed to this bill. As a matter of fact, we have proposed other methods of tire disposal that do in fact protect the environment. The issue here is the fact that the government jumped at some way of gaining another form of taxation on the people of this province, and did not give enough thought as to what kinds of tires people buy.

Now, as I say, these people have bought these tires, paid the tax and good luck to the people of Ontario if they do not still have their sales receipt. The minister is not answering the question, if they cannot get their sales receipt from their tire dealer, then is the answer that they will not get their refund of their sales tax already paid?

The Chairman: Before you respond, Minister, may I remind all members of the House, including the two members currently having an interesting dialogue, that they should address their remarks through the chair, of course, and not directly to each other.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: I will guarantee to my honourable friend the member for Mississauga South that if her friends, or anybody, for that matter, cannot find their sales slips, to write to me personally.

As usual, I will certainly look after them. We are a generous government. We have a generous ministry and we will look after her friends. I am sure that not only --


Mr Wildman: Don’t worry. We’re in charge.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Yes.

I think we must address ourselves to the amendment. I know the honourable member will want to introduce an amendment from the member for Cochrane South (Mr Pope). This was given to me yesterday afternoon. It is not really her amendment. It is from the member for Cochrane South who could not make it today. But we will certainly deal with her amendment.

The Chairman: Would you like to deal with this amendment right now?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Exactly. We will deal with her amendment at a later date.

Mr Daigeler: I must say that I find rather astonishing the suddenly found interest of the Progressive Conservative Party in this particular amendment, since the actual question was raised in the House by myself and I was the one who brought this concern to the attention of the Treasurer. He was, I think, open and flexible enough to realize that there is some area that was not intended to be covered by the tax and he is prepared to correct it.

I would like to point out also to the member for Mississauga South that bicycle and tricycle tires were in fact exempted beforehand. What we are looking at in this amendment is garden equipment and similar types of tires.

I would also like to say I find that what the member for Mississauga South is trying to do rather strains my logic. What the member for Mississauga South is trying to do is that she is trying to say, “Well, there are lots of people who have run-down tires and they are not going to buy any tires, because the tires are too expensive, and thereby endanger the safety of our people.” If we follow that kind of logic, next time perhaps we should give the tires out for free.

Mr Wildman: That’s a good idea.

Mr Daigeler: Obviously, the New Democratic Party always wants to put everything for free. If it wants to go in that direction, perhaps it can put that to the electorate the next time, but I do not think that is a direction in which a responsible government wants to move. I, for one, am very pleased to see that amendment by the Treasurer, which may be called the Daigeler exemption.

Ms Bryden: I am also very concerned about this particular tax because what it really amounts to is making a 13 per cent tax on every $100 tire that is bought. That is another tax grab by the Treasurer. He is always looking for new things to tax, so what does he pick? Tires. And who uses tires? Almost all of us.

It is basically another regressive tax. It will hit everybody who drives a car. It will hit everybody who needs to use his car to go 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. It could affect 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 just extend the retail sales tax as much as he can, even though he took $1 billion out of the consumers of this province last year and is planning to take about $1.5 billion this year. It will affect the cost of everything from bus services to school buses to all goods transport services and to public transit that runs on tires. It is not an insignificant tax and I think we should vote against this tax if we want to tell the Treasurer that we think it is a bad tax.

But I want to say that I think the amendment before us is an indication to us of very sloppy drafting by the ministry, because the Treasurer had announced on 17 May that he thought it should not apply to bicycles, tricycles, commercial airplanes, farm equipment, wheelchairs, production machinery and firefighting vehicles. He had recognized that those items should be exempt, but the drafters of the bill, which was tabled that same day -- they must have been somewhat conscious of what the Treasurer was proposing -- drafted a bill that really exempted only “a bicycle, a tricycle or a toy, as defined by the minister.” He had no other authority to define anything that was exempt, so we have to have this amendment.

While it has merit in correcting the error of not putting in what the Treasurer intended to put in, the amendment has the demerit of giving additional power to the minister to do things by regulation and according to his own decision as to what should be exempt, because the amendment in effect gives him the power to say, in defining the exemptions, that “the tire is attached to or is designated for use on any class or classes of tangible personal property prescribed by the minister.” He has carte blanche in this case to decide what sort of tired vehicle shall be exempt.

I think that is giving the minister too much power. What is exempt should be spelled out in the legislation so that the taxpayers know exactly what the tax is being imposed on. Therefore, I intend to vote against the amendment, as well as against section 2b.

Mr Wildman: I am opposed to this, both to the section of the bill and the amendment. I will explain why.

We heard the minister make the environmental argument that if we want to get waste tires and waste rubber recycled and removed from the countryside and from the dumps across Ontario, then we have to pay a higher tax on tires to do it. Mr Chairman, you will know, I am sure, coming from the kind of riding you represent, that there are many derelict automobiles, not just tires -- automobiles, as opposed to derelicts in general -- in the countryside. I will refer to the minister through the chair; that is, the chair incarnate as opposed to the chair inanimate. I will refer to you, Mr Chairman, but obviously I am directing my remarks to the minister.

What next? Obviously, we would all like to clean up the environment and the government has a responsibility to lead the way in cleaning up the environment, but what is he going to tax next? Is he going to tax windshield wipers? Is he going to put an extra tax on the motors, the crankshafts or the chassis? There are derelict autos -- the options are almost innumerable.

The Treasurer and the gnomes within the Treasury ministry are going to be able to come up with all kinds of possibilities. They could tax every component in an automobile and use the argument, “We have to tax them because we want to clean up derelict automobiles and derelict auto parts across Ontario.” If the minister can make this kind of argument and people believe he is going to increase the cost of a tire by $5 because he wants to clean up the environment, it is just going to give this government the excuse to tax every component of an automobile.

We have all kinds of scrapyards that are not being properly administered in this province. There are derelict automobiles and pieces of cars and trucks on farm land across this province. I do not like it. I think we should be cleaning it up, but I do not think the minister should be imposing a tax on new purchases in order to do it

I am also a little bit concerned about the exemptions that were originally in this section. It says, “the tire is attached to or is designed for use on a bicycle, tricycle or toy, as defined by the minister.” That was the first step in giving too much discretion to the minister.


Mrs Marland: No, the first step was 10 September 1987.

Mr Wildman: As things continue, I sometimes have some sympathy with that comment.

The Chairman: Through the Speaker.

Mr Wildman: Through the Speaker, the chair incarnate.

Why does it say “as defined by the minister”? What is wrong with the drafters of this legislation that they could not put the definition in the act?

How is he going to define toy? Does it just mean a child’s toy or does it mean adult toys? Are RVs going to be included as toys? Are these bicycles, four-wheelers, that people use as toys going to be exempt, or are those three-wheeled, all-terrain vehicles going to be exempt?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Are they pneumatic? That is what it is.

Mr Wildman: Yes, they are pneumatic tires, so that would be exempt; it is a toy.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Some of them are used for working, but very few.

Mr Wildman: Yes, Some of them are used for working, but very few. They are called RVs, they are recreational vehicles, for recreation; they are RVs.

If the minister says, “No, we do not want to include adult toys,” if they do include them, they could include trailers, mobile homes, four-wheel-drive vehicles that are used for recreation. They are all toys in the widest sense of the term, but if they do not mean adult toys, then how are they going to determine what is a toy and what is not? How old a person does the particular vehicle have to be designed for, what age group, in order to qualify as a toy?

Obviously, they did not know. They could not come up with a definition because they could not put it in here. They have to leave it to the minister. In other words, they are going to have some unnamed, faceless bureaucrat, sitting off by himself in some little cubby hole of an office --

Mr Pelissero: Playing with his toys.

Mr Wildman: Perhaps playing with his toys. Or it may even be one of those very, very impressive offices in one of the towers here in this complex, the corner office, with big windows looking out over the horizon, looking out over the whole of downtown Toronto, and there is someone there pontificating about what is a toy and what qualifies and how one defines a bicycle --

Mr Pelissero: Two wheels.

Mr Wildman: -- and how one defines a tricycle --

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Three wheels.

Mr Wildman: Well, obviously they were not sure because they had to say, “as defined by the minister” -- a bicycle as defined by the minister, a tricycle as defined by the minister, and a toy as --

Mr Reville: Unicycle.

Mr Wildman: They do not mention unicycles.

The Chairman: One member and one toy at a time, please.

Mr Reville: What if you had one that the wheels fell off?

The Chairman: Order.

Mr Wildman: We have one amendment presented to us now, by the minister, which responds to the comments from the member for Nepean (Mr Daigeler) when he rose in the House, I think with legitimate concerns about this terrible ripoff his government is bringing about. He said to the Treasurer in the House, through the chair incarnate, that he thought we should be exempting more than just tricycles and bicycles and toys, as defined by the minister. He thought perhaps farm vehicles and garden vehicles like wheelbarrows and lawn mowers and those kinds of things that have pneumatic tires should also be exempt from this tax that is going to rip off the public.

The Treasurer agreed in response. I congratulate the member for Nepean in getting the government to understand that at least it should not be ripping everybody off, that it should at least be exempting some of our population from this ripoff.

So they bring in an amendment, but instead of bringing in an amendment that defines what kinds of vehicles and tires will be exempt, how do they word this amendment? It is just as bad as the original piece of legislation. They say it is up to the minister by regulation to decide what will be exempt. They do not list what is going to be exempt. They leave it again to the minister, which means that faceless gnome, that bureaucrat, that functionary who is sitting somewhere in the ministry will maybe get a chance to try these out. Maybe he will be able to test all these vehicles and look at all the tires and come up with a list.

Why could the Treasury and the Ministry of Revenue, in all the time they were preparing for the budget, not come up with a list? Why could they not come up with a wording that defines what these vehicles and tires are? My friend the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms Bryden) said this was sloppy drafting. She is absolutely right. Any time the government puts something in there about “as defined by the minister.” it means either we could not come up with a definition and a wording for the act or we did not bother. Whichever is the case, it is not acceptable.

I have always maintained that as members of this chamber we have a responsibility to pass legislation that is clear and understandable to the general public. When the government brings in an amendment that says we are going to do it by regulation, that means it either does not know how to word it so it is clear or it has not bothered. It gives fax too much discretion to the minister. What is he going to exempt? Maybe he will exempt tires on limousines. Who knows? It does not say “tractors.” It does not say “garden vehicles.” It just says we are going to do it by regulation and that is not acceptable.

It is our responsibility as members of the chamber, as I said, to pass legislation that is clear and understandable to the public. It is the responsibility of the government, and of those people within the government and the public service who are responsible for drafting legislation, to come up with definitions and wording that is acceptable and understandable to implement the policy of the government.

The government has not done that this time. It is often. There is far too great a tendency for the government to come up with, “We will do it by regulation.” We all know that it is also one of our responsibilities as members of this assembly to review regulations, the setting of regulations and what the regulations say. But in reality we all recognize that we almost never review most of the regulations. There is a myriad of regulations that are passed to implement legislation that is passed in this House and they are almost never reviewed by the members of the Legislature.

Oh sure, we have a committee that looks at regulations --

Mr Fleet: Regulations reform report; a very good report.

Mr Wildman: I agree with that. We have a very difficult situation. As government gets bigger and more pieces of legislation are passed, and as this tendency to leave things to regulation expands, more and more regulations are made. In fact, regulation is really invisible law. It is administrative law. It is law that is passed without proper debate and discussion in the House. It is not the way we should be doing things if we believe in democratic debate on things such as the imposition of tax. That is the most basic democratic right members of this Legislature and the public of Ontario have.

Our whole parliamentary tradition developed from the demand by the populace to have a say about the imposts that were placed upon them by the crown, the right to debate what kinds of taxes and what level of taxes should be raised in order to administer the government of the country. It is our responsibility as legislators and as parliamentarians to oversee the purse-strings of the government, how the government raises revenue and how the government expends that revenue. If we do it by regulation, then in my view we are not meeting our obligation as members of this House on behalf of our constituents to oversee the raising of revenue in this case, because we are leaving it to some functionary to decide what is going to be exempt and what is not.

For those reasons I reject the original purpose described, because I believe it to be an excuse. This is, in fact, an attempt to raise more money from the public. The excuse that “We are going to use this money to clean up the environment” is just that: an excuse. I reject it for that reason. I also reject the amendment because it is poorly drafted and it leaves to regulation what should be done in debate and by voting in this Legislature.


Mr Wiseman: I was not going to enter into this debate, but as I was doing my correspondence here I came across a letter from a constituent of mine who went out to buy a wheelbarrow for Father’s Day and was charged the tax. She wanted to save her husband, who is retired now, from probably hurting himself and she still wanted him to do the gardening and one thing and another. Maybe the minister from the Ottawa area does not get a chance to work in the garden, but he can come up to Lanark and see how it is done.

He goes onto say -- it is the husband writing the letter -- that he was not going to run up and down Highway 401 and wear out the rubber or whatever on the wheelbarrow. Knowing him as I do, the wheelbarrow would have a good home. Anyway. to rub salt on the wound, he was not only charged --

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Is the 401 in Lanark?

Mr Wiseman: No, but he thought maybe the minister might think he had it out on the 401.

To make matters worse, they added the $5 to the price of the wheelbarrow, which was $49.99, bringing it to $54.99, and then they added the eight per cent tax, or $4.40, bringing the total to $59.39. This man has saved his sales slip and he will go back to collect from the Canadian Tire dealer, but over the 18 or 19 years I have been here, usually a tax of this sort is brought in, things are thought out a little more carefully, as some of my colleagues who have gone ahead of me have said. You would think that things like bicycle tires, wheelbarrows and other things that are used around the garden, probably a cultivator or something like that, would have been exempt right from day one.

It is all right for the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr Faubert) and others here who are shareholders in Canadian Tire, I understand, to throw it all back on the retailer and say, “The retailer will refund that.” But when the person has not got a sales slip and they are so busy in some of the retail stores that they cannot remember if they sold it to Mrs Jones for Father’s Day or whatever, they are out the money. The retailer takes it in the neck.

The government says the retailer can refund that. Then he has another transaction to make because of the government’s inability to look at it and correct it in the first place. If he gives a refund, his clerk is tied up in giving the refund; then he has to deduct it off his daily sales and all those things that he gets peanuts for. If he happens to be over the deadline for sending in his tax, the government jumps on him and charges him 10 per cent of the total tax for that month plus taking away anything it would have given him for collecting the tax. The poor retailer is the one who suffers in this case.

The member for Mississauga South said the people will go across the border and buy their tires. That is true. Whether the government likes it or not, $20 for four tires plus the tax -- it is quite close down where I live or where the member for Leeds-Grenville (Mr Runciman) lives, or any of the ridings along the border there, to slip across and pick up the tires in the United States.

Then they do not get their $20, or $5 a tire, and they do not get their eight per cent tax on that, but they do not help the manufacturers that are creating jobs in Ontario. I am sure the new tire company that is going down to Napanee would be concerned, because a lot of tires will be bought in other jurisdictions.

I never dreamt of the government taxing tires. When you take your car in for a checkup to make sure it is roadworthy, you have to have all the tires checked. If someone knows he has a bit of a problem with a tire or two, he may put off for a short time replacing those tires. Goodness knows, we have enough accidents on our highways these days that we do not need to encourage them.

Again, farm tractor tires, wagon tires and things of that sort, when farmers are having a hard enough time -- I do not think the minister exempted those. If he did, I did not hear about it.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Yes, they are exempt.

Mr Wiseman: Farm tractor tires are exempt in this regulation.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: No, in the original.

Mr Wiseman: All right.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: You see, we’re not all that bad.

Mr Wiseman: All I am saying is that the government jumped at this. It was a way of collecting some more tax dollars. They went into it too fast, without thinking it out. As my colleague the member for Mississauga South said, and the minister smiled after she said it, he knows and I know that when the Treasurer gets his hands on the money he collects for that, it is not going to filter over to the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley). We could go back to the fishing licences. That has gone into the Treasury; everything he gets his hands on. He will not earmark it to any particular ministry. No Treasurer has ever done that and this Treasurer is not about to do it either.

The minister cannot get the people of Ontario to believe him on that unless he supports my colleague’s motion when she brings it up. Then it will show that at least he believes that is going to take place.

Mr Fleet: The exercise of watching and listening to the opposition debate this bill is rather akin to watching somebody huffing and puffing and peddling furiously on a stationary bicycle. The wheel goes round and round and they never get anywhere. I suppose in a way that some of my comments will be kind of putting a stick in their spokes, but the reality of the matter is that this is a good bill. It is a bill I support.

I want to point out to my friends in the opposition that I stood in this House in mid-February and put a question to the Treasurer in anticipation of budgetary considerations and urged that there be an environmental protection tax. I had the courage to say that if we are going to have a philosophical basis upon which we are going to impose taxes, it ought to relate to putting a tax on products that are either difficult to dispose of or that cause other environmental problems.

In fact, I believe that the people of Ontario are prepared to address these issues in a far more responsible way than I am hearing from the opposition, with all due respect to their concerns.

I was pleased to hear the member for Algoma (Mr Wildman) with his comments about regulations, but I am wondering where his party support has been. How many letters have they written to the Attorney General (Mr Scott), for instance, to move on the regulatory reform report? If that is the concern, then perhaps they ought to be addressing that issue. The member will know well my concerns in that area.

I do believe that the regulation system can be improved, but the reality is that this is a tax bill. It is designed to improve environmental conditions in Ontario. There are millions and millions and millions of discarded tires in Ontario. They are very difficult to dispose of. You cannot safely burn them; you cannot bury them. They are not just going to go away. There are millions more being added, year after year after year, and it is a major problem.


There is a great deal of cynicism on the part of the opposition members. They do not believe any money is going to be spent on the environment. Of course, the environmental budget has gone up year after year under this government.

In addition, I would like to quote very briefly from the budget, which announced this particular measure. It says, ‘The tire tax will help fund efforts to support recycling and environmentally sound disposal.” That is, in a nutshell, the reason for doing it. This government is responding loan urging that I had to have an environmental protection tax, at least in respect of this product and I hope in respect of other products. The reality with respect to the protection of the environment is that we are concerned, but it is going to cost money.

I am being given a signal. I would like to speak longer because I care very deeply about the issue of the environment and protection, but I recognize that there is a lot to be covered today in the House and a lot of business to be transacted. But I really want to encourage the members of the opposition to take heart and to have more faith in the system as it is operating here. In fact, this is a positive step. It is going to improve the environment and it is the kind of responsible measure that I think all members should be proud to support.

Mr Wiseman: Boy, is he ever looking for cabinet, eh?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: He’s welcome to it.

Mr J. M. Johnson: If the minister will listen, I will be very brief. I mentioned this to the minister yesterday and he did not answer; he paid very little attention. I mentioned that he is charging lax on tax. For example, on a $100 tire, he adds on $5, so the total price of the $100 tire then becomes $113.40. So his tax is really 13.4 per cent. That is tax on tax, and I find that repulsive.

The other point was mentioned by my colleague the member for Mississauga South, but I had the matter brought to my attention by a Canadian Tire owner who sold a lot of lawn mowers, wheelbarrows, tricycles and bicycles since 1 June, who has many customers who paid the taxes. Now, under this proposed amendment, the tax is not applicable. The minister is then going respond to these people, I understand, if they wish to write him and request a refund of the dollars paid for this inadvertently drafted piece of legislation.

Is the minister going to notify the retail stores in this province that they have been collecting tax illegally for the last month or so? If he does, I think he should come up with a scheme of being able to repay them, other than having them write him. Many of the people do not keep receipts, so one cannot hang one’s hat on that. The minister had better think of some policy he can put in place to reimburse those people who have paid this tax and really were not obligated to do so. Hopefully, in the future, when he considers tax increases, he should have some idea of what he is doing before he does it.

Ms Bryden: The minister had said that he would accept receipts for refunds or arrange to look after, in quotes, his friends, who had paid the tax but had not kept their receipts. I hope he did not mean just members of the Liberal Party or supporters of the Liberal Party.

Mr Villeneuve: I have just a few comments. I speak now for some tire retailers in the riding I represent. They are close to the Quebec border. There are two international bridges, one at Johnstown and one at Cornwall. It is very easy to get across to have a new set of tires put on.

I have had occasion to speak to a number of retailers. Without mentioning the names and the number of people who have contacted me, we have towns such as Glen Robertson, Lancaster, Green Valley, Bainsville, Apple Hill -- the minister would know that Apple Hill has a big retail tire dealership -- Cornwall, Kemptville and Morrisburg.

Those are all within a half-hour’s driving, and less than a half-hour’s driving from either New York state or the province of Quebec and, in many instances, within a half-hour of either one of those. The minister is presiding over the demise of these dealers. They are telling me the way he has priced taxes, and what does he tell them? I want him to tell me what to tell them. What is he going to do for them? He is presiding over their total demise.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Mr Chairman, I am the minister of national defence, today. Everybody is attacking this bill. I will not try to respond to every argument, because we have had quite a bit of doubling today from the member for Wellington (Mr J. M. Johnson), the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr Fleet) -- where is he? He has gone. After a great speech he left -- the member for Lanark-Renfrew (Mr Wiseman), the member for Algoma and the member for Mississauga South. Nobody likes to pay taxes, but they must remember that this government needs tax dollars to provide for their programs and our programs, and the tax dollar that has been imposed on those tires will go to provide a cleaner environment.

I want to remind the member for Mississauga South that is where most of the dollars will go. If they do not go to recycling these tires, then they will go back to the Minister of the Environment for other programs. I do not have to enumerate them. The member knows them better than I do. I am sure that she will approve when the Minister of the Environment introduces a new program in this House and will be assisted by these tax dollars.

The member for Lanark-Renfrew has gone, too. What a bunch. I think we should have a tax on hit and run here, because everybody is hitting me and then running away.

Mr Wildman: He has gone out to buy some tires before this passes.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: I see. I know that the member for Algoma was asking us if we included the tax on -- what was it?

Mr Wildman: RVs.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: Recreational vehicles. They tell me the only difference between a man and a kid is the price of his toys.

Mrs Marland: That was the point.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: That is not a toy. One has to pay taxes. Anyway, I want to conclude by thanking the honourable members for supporting this great bill and this amendment.

Mr Villeneuve: Then what will I tell my retailers? I am here.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: No, I think I have addressed this. The member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry was not in the House and I already answered his question.

I hope that every member will support this amendment because I think we can improve the environment in this province with more tax dollars. People have to pay for cleaner air.

The Deputy Chairman: I will now put the question.

Is it the pleasure of the committee 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.

Motion agreed to.


The Deputy Chairman: Mrs Marland moves that section 2b of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be amended by adding thereto the following subsection: “2b(4) For all amounts collected under subsection 2b( I) an equal amount 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 Deputy Chairman: Order, please. I am attempting to make reference to the standing orders.

Standing order 15 reads, “Any bill, resolution, motion or address, the passage of which would impose a tax or specifically direct the allocation of public funds, shall not be passed by the House unless recommended by a message from the Lieutenant Governor, and shall be proposed only by a minister of the crown.

By reason of standing order 15, I rule that this motion is out of order.

Mr Wildman: On a point of order, Mr Chairman: l am in no way debating your ruling. I just would ask if, since the minister made the argument in the last debate that this was the reason for the piece of legislation, perhaps the minister would consider this a friendly amendment and might even reintroduce such an amendment himself at this time.

The Deputy Chairman: Just a moment. Rather than indicate that that is not a point of order, you are free to ask the minister a question if you so desire.

Mr Wildman: I would in that regard then ask the minister, since he has indicated, as my friend the member for Mississauga South would know, that the purpose of the imposition of this $5 tax on tires was to enable the government to collect revenue that would be then used to clean up the environment and to remove tires and recycle, would he not now be prepared to move an amendment in the debate that would in fact put right into the legislation that the moneys raised from the tax on tires will be expended on cleaning up the environment?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: I know the member for Algoma is sincere about this. I am sincere and I think this government is sincere. The Treasurer was sincere, when he thought about this tax, that these dollars will be going towards environmental programs. I have great confidence in the Treasurer and I am sure that all of these dollars will be directed to improve the environment of this province.

The Deputy Chairman: Therefore, in the absence of a government motion, this motion is out of order.

Mrs Marland: Mr Chairman, may I ask a question of the minister?

The Deputy Chairman: Yes, you may.

Mrs Marland: I think I heard from the minister within the last hour that the intent of this taxation was for environmental purposes, and he just read with me a copy of my motion, which would specifically designate those funds for environmental purposes, and I heard his response to my colleague in the New Democratic Party that he has complete faith in the Treasurer.

I think, since he is the mover of Bill 22. that he would like to amend his own bill so that the intent and the integrity of that bill is held under his flagship, as it may well be. I do not think he would be taking away from the Treasurer the faith in his process, but I would like to ask the minister if he would, with my pleasure, as a matter of fact, take exactly my own words of this motion and place it as his own amendment to Bill 22.

Otherwise, I think the comments that the minister made earlier this afternoon, I say with respect, would not have any meat or substance, because it is a matter of dealing in blind faith with a process that does not exist. I am sure he would want to confirm his intent about the taxation which he is introducing on tires for the purchasers of new tire products. Therefore, I respectfully ask him to take my amendment and place it in his own words, under his own name, to amend his own bill, an amendment which in fact confirms, in his words, the spirit of his bill.

If indeed the spirit of his bill is that a taxation on tires will be an amount of money solely for the purposes of programs dealing with recycling of tires and some other forms of tire disposal which are environmentally sound, I would say that the minister would have no difficulty confirming that by moving this amendment and I so ask him.

Mr J. M. Johnson: I might just ask the minister to consider the precedent that was set by the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr Kerrio) when he levied the $10 licence fee on sport fishermen to enhance the sport fishing in this province. That money was earmarked directly to his ministry. Why could he not do the same thing as the member from the member for Mississauga South is requesting and have it earmarked for the Ministry of the Environment?

Hon Mr Grandmaître: I will not repeat my previous answer to the member for Algoma. Again, to the member for Mississauga South and the member for Wellington, I have great confidence in the Treasurer of this province. We have done it in the past. These dollars will be directed to clean the environment and I am sure that every dollar, if not applicable to the disposal of used tires, will be used to clean up the environment.

The Deputy Chairman: Shall section 3, as amended, stand as part of the bill?

All those in favour will please say “aye.”

All those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the ayes have it.

Section 3, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.

Section 4:

The Deputy Chairman: Mr Grandmaître moves that subsection 2c(4) of the act, as set out in section 4 of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted therefor:

“(4) For the purposes of this section, the highway fuel consumption rating of a passenger car shall be deemed to be the lesser of,

“(a) the highway fuel consumption rating most recently published by the Department of Transport (Canada) of cars matching the description of the passenger car, if such a publication is available publicly at the date of sale of the passenger car; or

“(b) 18.1 litres per 100 kilometres.”

Mrs Marland: As will be noted, this tax, commonly known as the gas-guzzler tax, on certain large automobiles --

Hon Mr Grandmaître: For a cleaner environment.

Mrs Marland: I am not arguing against it, if the minister could just wait until I have the question for him, which I know he will want to answer. The fact of the matter is that this tax becomes effective, according to the bill, on 1 July. A further fact of the matter is that this tax has been imposed on purchasers of those automobiles for some time now, and I would give as an example probably five or six weeks.

Is it the intention of the minister to give rebates to the people of this province who have already bought these cars and have been taxed for them when it becomes effective only on 1 July?

I see that perhaps the minister is being advised by his staff that it was not effective prior to 1 July. Then I guess what begs the question is, as Minister of Revenue is he going to have his staff check all the automobile dealers who may have inadvertently been charging this tax since the announcement in the budget? Quite frankly, I must tell him it is the case that the tax has been charged on those cars over that certain size.

Hon Mr Grandmaître: It is very difficult. We are only in June and this --

The Deputy Chairman: Please, in view of the hour, the government whip, the member for Middlesex.

Mr Reycraft: I know the minister wants to respond to the question, but having heard all of the question, I know that the answer will be a lengthy one. Given the fact that we are already past the hour of automatic adjournment, I wonder if it might not be appropriate for the committee to rise and report now.

On motion by Mr Reycraft, the committee of the whole reported progress on one bill and reported one bill with certain amendments.


Hon Mr Sweeney: On behalf of the government House leader, I would like to serve notice that a motion of nonconfidence under standing order 78, standing in the name of the member for Sarnia (Mr Brandt), will be debated tomorrow under the orders of the day.

The House adjourned at 1803.