The House met at 1330.
TEMAGAMI DISTRICT RESOURCES
Mr Wildman: The Ministry of Natural Resources let a contract for construction of the Red Squirrel Road extension late last month. There were five bidders and the contract went to Carmen Construction of Sudbury. The total cost of the contract was $3,464,614. This is a 15-kilometre road. That works out to $230,974 per kilometre.
The original estimate of the Ministry of Natural Resources environmental assessment document was $1,267,800 plus $660,000 estimated for 11 crossings, for a total of $1,927,800. Some rights of way had already been cleared, as members are aware. They cost $317,000, which should be subtracted.
The highest cost I am aware of for a primary access road in a forest management agreement is $660,000 per kilometre. At the EA hearings in Thunder Bay, it has been argued that some companies should get more than that, but even when that is taken into account, it appears that the ministry is determined to have road building and forestry in the Temagami area at any cost: two and a half times the original estimate.
How can the ministry justify the expenditure of $231,000 per kilometre for the construction of the Red Squirrel Road extension? Is the ministry prepared to proceed with logging in the area at any cost?
BURLINGTON TEEN TOUR BAND
Mr Jackson: I am pleased to advise members of the House that Canada’s outstanding marching band, the Burlington Teen Tour Band, will be representing our country, our province and the city of Burlington at a series of international events this January.
The band, with its 225 members between the ages of 13 and 18, will first travel to Tokyo where it will lead the Disneyland parade. Then on to the city of Itabashi, a suburb of Tokyo, for a series of performances marking the twinning ceremony of this city with Burlington, Ontario. In addition to several more performances for the citizens of Itabashi, the band will also perform during a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, a very high honour in and of itself as well as an outstanding event of cultural appreciation and exchange. These events will be viewed by millions of people on the opposite side of the globe.
The band will travel to Hawaii to perform at the solemn flag-raising ceremony commemorating the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, a privilege afforded few American bands and rarely ever a foreign band.
The teen tour band will be featured on the half-time and post-game shows of the annual Hula Bowl where the pride of Ontario’s youth will be featured for over 30 million North American TV viewers. Canada, Ontario and the city of Burlington are justifiably proud of this international display of young Canadian talent. The members of the Burlington Teen Tour Band go forth as true ambassadors on behalf of all of us to remind peoples everywhere of Ontario’s unique presence in today’s world. They are indeed most deserving of our admiration and our earnest support.
CENTENARY OF FARM
Mr D. W. Smith: It is with pleasure that I stand today to inform my colleagues of a celebration I attended in my riding of Lambton. On 8 July 1989, the Thompson family, which has owned and operated a farm on lot 33, concession 5 of Dawn township, celebrated 100 years of operation.
In 1889, George Henry and William Thompson began working the land in their efforts to establish a viable farming operation. With the passing of George Henry Thompson in 1925, William and George’s wile, Lenora, continued operating the farm until 1933 when Andy, the son of Lenora Thompson and the late George Henry, joined the family business. Andy and his wife Ella-Marie Thompson have assumed responsibility for this family tradition since that time. Andy told me his ancestors came from northern England near the Scottish border.
Approximately 100 people joined with the family of Andy and Ella-Marie Thompson to celebrate the occasion last Saturday. In attendance were Andy Thompson’s three sisters, the Thompsons’ daughter Georgene Versattle, four nephews raised by this couple, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I was pleased to deliver a plaque from the Premier and certificates from the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr Riddell) and myself.
I want to extend congratulations to the Thompson family for its contribution to farming life in Lambton county.
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Mrs Crier: Yesterday I asked the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) about his lack of support for the Environmental Assessment Advisory Committee and his attitude to the Environmental Assessment Act in general.
In response, I got several minutes of self-congratulatory bafflegab and not much reassurance. I would therefore like to put on the record concerns about Ontario’s environmental assessment process that have been expressed, not just by me but by the Environmental Assessment Advisory Committee itself.
Six areas of concern were identified in the committee’s 1987 annual report. In their 1988 report, they point out that these concerns have still not been addressed and that the ministry needs to develop policies and procedures in three specific areas.
The areas are, first, private sector designations and the fact that environmental problems do not distinguish between private and public projects; second, the timing of decisions and the continuing problems caused by the ministry’s glacial pace of decision-making; third, the need for the ministry to develop policies to deal with the special problems of environmental assessment in northern Ontario.
These are crucial issues that must be resolved if the Environmental Assessment Act is to mean more than the paper it is written on. Why does the minister continue to avoid dealing with them? His lack of action is undermining the very legislation he is supposed to uphold.
Mrs Cunningham: It has been almost five years since the Juvenile Delinquents Act was replaced by the Young Offenders Act, leaving Ontario without a meaningful truancy law. As a result, truancy levels have increased substantially and today an average of 20,000 students are declared truant every year. Studies have shown that students are very likely to be suffering from emotional difficulties and that if they continue to skip school, stand a higher risk of getting into more serious trouble with the law.
Without an amended Young Offenders Act or the Ministry of Education making a decision about compulsory attendance, this problem is expected to escalate. When it comes to dealing with truants there is absolute confusion. Some jurisdictions will not hear truancy cases at all. They say the legislation is not valid any more. Some boards feel the law is now so difficult to deal with that the outcome of every court case depends entirely on the attitude and mood of the judge.
A major research project on habitual attendance, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, has been completed for over a year but has yet to be acted upon by the ministry. Principals, teachers, parents and students are frustrated. The Minister of Education (Mr Ward) has promised some action. We have seen none to date. What is important? Our children ought to be number one.
HALTON REGION TRANSPORTATION
Mr Elliot: Last Tuesday, 4 July, the Minister of Transportation (Mr Fulton) visited Halton region to announce the five-year projection of road and transit construction for the Halton region.
The announcement for an additional $165 million over and above plans already under way will greatly assist the Halton region and its municipalities meet the challenges of the ever-expanding traffic and passenger flow.
Two additional interchanges along the Queen Elizabeth Way, expanded GO train service along the Lakeshore, into Milton and into Georgetown, a connecting link in Milton on Highway 25 and the beginning of six-laning Highway 401 from Milton to Cambridge are parts of this important package of announcements.
For the past two years, the region of Halton and the councils of Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills have been conducting meetings with officials from the Ministry of Transportation to identify needs in our area. According to our regional chairman, “This is the most significant road announcement in our region” since he entered politics some year ago.
The ministry personnel and the Minister of Transportation are to be commended for their long-range planning that so accurately reflects the perceived needs in the Halton region.
The Speaker: The member for Cambridge for about one minute.
Mr Farnan: I want to draw the attention of the House, particularly the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr O’Neil), to a matter brought up by a resident of Cambridge, W. R. Rickard. He notes that in the Leisure Ontario magazine, which is distributed free to all Canadian Automobile Association members, there is an advertisement that states, “Celebrating Canada’s Capital, Ottawa-Hull.”
Mr Rickard questions: “Who has the authority to change our capital, Ottawa, Ontario? A blatant misrepresentation.” He suggests this planner be withdrawn from all outlets over which the government has control. Basically, the ad suggests it is a co-operative program of the private sector tourism industry and governments in Canada’s capital. He sincerely hopes that the government of Ontario is not involved and that it will make its concerns known to the federal government.
MEMBER FOR MISSISSAUGA WEST
Mr Mahoney: I rise on a point of personal privilege, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: Do I understand this to be a point of privilege?
Mr Mahoney: That is correct, with regard to allegations that were made regarding myself and my family yesterday in the Legislature by the member for York South (Mr B. Rae), the honourable Leader of the Opposition.
In my short time in this House, I have come to respect the traditions of the House and regard the members of this Legislature as being honourable men and women. I understand that there must be scope for legitimate debate and vigorous but responsible opposition. I realize and respect the fact that differences of opinion on issues or procedures are bound to occur.
It would appear, however, that the honourable member for York South has stepped outside the bounds of legitimate opposition by making insinuations, allegations and inferences that are totally at odds with the facts. These statements mislead the media, the public and the members of this Legislature into thinking that I have received some benefit with respect --
The Speaker: Order. With respect, under standing order 19(d)10, I believe, the member cannot charge another member with uttering a deliberate falsehood. Would you withdraw that?
Mr Mahoney: I will withdraw the deliberate falsehood charge.
What is particularly irresponsible and unacceptable, however, about the allegations is that the facts are a matter of public record and are readily available and any good faith investigation would have revealed these allegations to be false.
The honourable Leader of the Opposition has made these allegations both in this Legislature, in a question to the Premier (Mr Peterson), and in a written press release issued on New Democratic Party letterhead, dated 11 July 1989, under the name of Bob Rae, Leader of the Opposition.
The member’s press release states that the purchase of my home was financed by two mortgages given to my wife by Elyrin Holdings Ltd in the amounts of $80,000 and $35,000 in September 1984.
This statement is false.
In point of fact, the first mortgage was with the Toronto-Dominion Bank, not Elyrin Holdings. The second mortgage of $35,000 was the standard vendor take-back mortgage generally available, and at least 25 other purchasers in the same subdivision received similar mortgages from the builder.
The member’s press release also states that the first mortgage of $80,000 was discharged in November 1984, only two months after the home was purchased.
This statement is also false.
In point of fact, the first mortgage was not discharged in November 1984. The mortgage ran the full term of three years and was discharged from a refinancing with the Toronto-Dominion Bank in 1987, three years later.
No mortgage of any kind was discharged in November 1984. Indeed, this fact is confirmed by the supporting documents which the member has issued.
It seems the member has confused the discharge of a mortgage with the discharge of a standard vendor’s lien when the builder was paid by the bank in November 1984.
The member’s press release also states that the second mortgage was discharged on 15 February 1988, the day before I wrote to the Premier’s office requesting a meeting regarding the Envacc group.
This statement is misleading.
There is no particular significance to the date the discharge of the second mortgage was formally registered. The second mortgage was actually discharged in January 1988 from a new mortgage for $220,000 with the Royal Bank. The registration was not formally received until February 1988, and in the result, I had a larger mortgage on the property following the discharge than previously.
The Speaker: Order. I have listened very carefully and I wonder if, before the member would continue, he would advise me what the breach of privilege is.
Mr Mahoney: I am coming to it very quickly. Mr Speaker.
The allegations that the honourable Leader of the Opposition has made are not only false and scurrilous; they have damaged my reputation and that of my family; they have potentially damaged my career in this Legislature and they have falsely impugned my integrity.
Further, in question period yesterday, without even doing me the courtesy of informing me of an impending question so that I might be here to respond to the allegations and correct the record, the member for York South asked the Premier a question with regard to the discharge of the second mortgage. I quote from Instant Hansard:
“Mr B. Rae: My final question to the Premier is this: I wonder how the Premier feels about the fact that it was only the day before the member for Mississauga West wrote a letter to Hershell Ezrin, dated 16 February 1988, that he discharged the second mortgage on his home, which in fact he owed to a company owned by Mr Muzzo. He discharges the mortgage on 15 February 1988 and he writes the Premier on 16 February 1988 asking for a meeting with regard to Envacc Resources.”
The Speaker: Order. With respect, I would like to ask the member once again what the breach of privilege is.
Mr Mahoney: I am very close to the end. The point of personal privilege will be clear and I will be asking you for a ruling on it, Mr Speaker.
While the member for York South knows that he lives with the privilege and protection of this Legislature, he should also know that he does not enjoy that protection outside this House.
In the press release dated 11 July 1989, the member has reiterated the statement that he asked the Premier with regard to the discharge of my second mortgage. This is a clear attempt at personal character assassination. This is a clear attempt to impugn my integrity and reputation. Not only does the member have his facts wrong; he has, in my view, embarrassed the Legislature by stooping so low that he does damage to all of us in this House.
I have been in this Legislature since September 1987, but I never thought that I would see the day when an honourable member opposite spoke about another member in such a false, misleading and irresponsible fashion.
We all appreciate that the role of the Leader of the Opposition is to responsibly criticize and challenge government activity, but the member goes too far and does a great disservice to himself, to his constituents and to all members of this Legislature when in his zeal to score political points he loses touch with the facts, fairness and common decency.
Finally, I have met with my lawyers and I have instructed them to issue a libel and slander action against the member for York South for the statements he has made outside this Legislature in his press release and in press interviews.
I deeply regret being placed in a position where I have no alternative but to commence legal action against another member of this House. The damage to my reputation is such that my ability to carry out the responsibilities I have as a member of this House has been seriously impaired, and this represents a breach of my privileges as a member of this assembly.
I would ask, Mr Speaker, that you rule that there is a prima facie case that my privileges have been breached, In the event that you so rule, I intend to ask that this matter be referred to the appropriate standing committee of this Legislature.
The Speaker: I have listened very carefully to the honourable member. Are there any other members wishing to make any comments?
Mr B. Rae: I do have some things to say with respect to what the honourable member has said, and I will say them as carefully and as clearly as I possibly can.
First, with respect to the text of the press release, I stated that the discharge of the other mortgage was registered 15 February 1988. That is correct; it is a fact. I referred to the fact that it was officially registered on that day, and as far as I can tell from the comments made by the member for Mississauga West, that fact is not in dispute.
On the question of the $80,000 interest held by Elyrin Holdings, the member has asserted that I am incorrect with respect to its being a mortgage as opposed to a vendor’s lien. I am prepared to accept the member’s assertion that there was no first mortgage held by Elyrin Holdings, but I am not prepared to accept the premise that there was no interest held by Elyrin Holdings. I would refer to –
Mr B. Rae: If I may, I allowed the member to speak, and I would hope I get a chance to respond.
I simply refer the member to the documents, which show that with respect to this particular interest, it was discharged on 1 November 1984, according to the documents we have.
I want to make one other point. There is no difference between us with respect to the most basic material facts. The most basic material fact, I would assert to the member -- and I would say it here as I have said it outside -- is that it was inappropriate for him, having had a financial relationship with Elyrin Holdings, to be pressing the case as he has been, for several months after his election as a member, on behalf of a company, Envacc Resources, a particular company which, as he well knows, is partially owned by Mr Muzzo, who also is involved with Elyrin Holdings. That is the difference of standards between the member and myself.
No, I am sorry. I allowed the member to make his point and I wish he would allow me to make mine. Mr Speaker, I hope you will let me respond, in all fairness. I will let the member come back if he wants to come back.
The Speaker: Order. We are not into a debate. You are rising on what?
Mr Mahoney: I am rising on a point of order, but if the member opposite is prepared to allow me to respond to his statements when he is finished, I am prepared to agree to that.
The Speaker: Your point of order is what?
Mr Mahoney: My point of order is that the honourable member has implied that I had a financial relationship with the company, when in fact I simply bought a house in a normal process and I paid for the house in a normal process. He is impugning --
The Speaker: Order. I listened very carefully to the member for Mississauga West. I asked the Leader of the Opposition to respond, because the member for Mississauga West said he had risen on a point of privilege. Therefore, I have to allow other members to respond to give me information to make a decision. I just hope we do not get into too many points of order during this discussion. That would be helpful to the Speaker.
I ask the Leader of the Opposition to continue.
Mr B. Rae: The member has said that I have by innuendo and implication and inference said or implied a number of things. Let me be very clear for the member’s benefit. What I have said in this House I have also said outside this House, as the member is well aware. I stand by what I have said outside this House with respect to my judgement as to the appropriateness of his conduct.
We may differ as to that. These are tough questions; they are not easy. But I have implied nothing by innuendo. What I have said, I have said on the record and I will say it again. It is inappropriate, in my judgement, for a politician who has had a financial relationship, a debt, which is a matter of public record, to be turning around as soon as that debt is discharged and that discharge is registered, and then proceed to make the case on behalf of that company while he is a member of the Liberal Party caucus.
That is a difference between me and the member with respect to standards. I accept the fact that we have this difference of opinion with respect to standards. I would suggest to the member that --
The Speaker: Order. I allowed members to speak to the member’s supposed point of privilege to help me decide whether it was or was not a point of privilege. Do any other members wish to make any comments?
On matters of privilege, it is common practice that the member allow the Speaker to have a copy of the comments before the point of privilege is made. I have not received that. I would appreciate very much if the member would send me a copy. I would be very glad to look at it and report back to the House.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon Mrs Caplan: I am pleased to announce today the awarding of grants totalling $10 million to live Ontario research teams. The grants of $2 million each over five years will bring researchers and the people involved in the delivery of health care closer together in the common goal of providing effective quality health care services to the people of Ontario.
This is a new Ministry of Health initiative which steers researchers in the health field towards relevant problems and then puts applicable findings into practice even as the research proceeds.
Quite simply, the goal of this new funding program is to promote health services research in Ontario. It is a goal that is shared by the Premier’s Council on Health Strategy. In its recent report entitled From Vision to Action, the council called for increased provincial funding for just such research.
The program is designed to make the most effective use of our research dollars by ensuring that the findings are applied as soon as possible to the challenges facing health care providers.
An innovative feature of this program is the requirement that the research teams of each unit be linked to a partner agency in the health care system. The partner may be a clinical or community health service agency, Ministry of Health program, or a voluntary organization representing providers or consumers of health services.
The live grants awarded resulted from a competition last December which attracted 19 proposals. The grants will go to:
A multidisciplinary team from the University of Toronto’s department of health administration in partnership with the Sunnybrook Medical Centre. They will evaluate the increased role of nurses and other management innovations at the hospital;
A neurological developmental clinical research team which will enable McMaster University investigators to link with the Association of Treatment Centres of Ontario to study the care being given to disabled children and their families;
A hearing health-care services delivery research team which will study the treatment and diagnosis of hearing loss and the effective use of hearing aids. This unit pairs the University of Western Ontario’s department of communicative disorders with the otologic function unit of Mount Sinai Hospital and Toronto General Hospital;
The community health research team and a partnership of investigators from the University of Ottawa and the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Health Unit, which will evaluate the region’s public health services;
The Thames Valley family practice research team, which will examine ways for family doctors to improve health care to single parent families and the elderly. This unit is a partnership between the University of Western Ontario and the London chapter of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
We in the Ministry of Health are enthusiastic about this new program and we are confident that this research will lead to improvements in the health care services and the enhancement of health for our many citizens.
Finally, and this is extremely important, the submission deadline for the next competition under the health system’s linked research program is 1 December 1989.
Hon Mr Kerrio: Today my ministry begins an innovative process of developing a comprehensive wildlife strategy for Ontario.
In recent years, we have made progress in wildlife habitat protection, wetlands conservation, rabies research, public education and in enhancing the health and numbers of our wildlife populations.
The strategy will build upon that firm foundation and will lead our provincial wildlife program into the 21st century.
To assist in developing a wildlife strategy, I have appointed a Wildlife Working Group which will report to me on wildlife management issues and strategic options. Through the Wildlife Working Group, the public will be able to be involved in discussions on wildlife management policy and planning in Ontario.
The working group represents a broad cross-section of expertise, opinion and interest in our wildlife resources throughout this province. The group will be chaired by Dr David Fowle, professor emeritus of biology and environmental studies at York University.
I anticipate that the working group will address several key issues, including the increased pressure on wildlife populations from habitat loss and the growing and, at times, conflicting demands of our wildlife resources.
In formulating its recommended strategy, the group is expected to convene a series of workshops. These will make it possible for a wide range of wildlife interests from around the province to participate.
The working group’s role in developing strategic management options is unique for wildlife management in Ontario and reflects my ministry’s commitment to public involvement.
I urge all members of the House and all Ontario residents to support the Wildlife Working Group in these efforts. I am pleased to recognize Dr Fowle, who is with us in the east members’ gallery today. We are convening our very first meeting right after question period, and I am looking forward to getting on with this very important initiative.
Hon Mr Wrye: I want to inform the House that the government has decided to take action to control the establishment of new commercial places where bingo is played. Effective 1 August 1989, a moratorium will be placed on the licensing of bingo at new commercial facilities or halls which have not been used for this purpose in the past.
The moratorium will remain in force until such time as the legislation regulating the commercial sector is in place. In this connection, the interim measure we are taking now will be eventually superseded by gaming services legislation that I will be introducing later this year.
We are taking this immediate step in response to the unprecedented growth of commercial bingo halls in Ontario. In the last year alone the growth rate has exceeded 50 per cent. In March 1987, there were 118 bingo halls in Ontario. Currently, we estimate this has grown to approximately 240 bingo halls, more than the combined number of bingo halls in the rest of Canada.
Charitable gaming has significantly evolved from the basic church basement entertainment of the past to today’s multimillion-dollar business. As an example, gross wagering for bingo was estimated at about $80 million in 1975. This has grown to approximately $500 million annually today.
With this explosive growth has come concern by the government over a number of emerging problems, such as increasing owner concentration, potential threats to the integrity of the charitable gaming market and pressure being placed on charities to transgress the requirements of their licences. Of particular concern are recent indications that charities are no longer receiving the 20 per cent profit which has been so long established as the appropriate level of return to the charities for these types of activities.
It is for these reasons that we are putting a moratorium in place which will allow us sufficient time to develop comprehensive safeguards governing this new commercial sector in the charitable gaming industry.
At the same time, we will be undertaking a number of operational measures to provide better administration of the charitable gaming sector. Specifically, we will be revising the existing orders in council which govern this area so that they more accurately reflect the current marketplace. We will also be rewriting the terms and conditions which apply to all licences to ensure their relevance and effectiveness for today’s gaming market.
These actions which I have announced today show this government’s clear commitment to an honest and equitable marketplace for all participants in charitable gaming.
Mr Wildman: On behalf of my caucus, I wish Dr Fowle and the working group well, particularly in dealing with the Ministry of Natural Resources and a provincial government that is not really committed to wetlands policies implementation.
We recognize that consultation is a good thing, but I should be forgiven if I were to suspect that this is one more example of the ministry and the Liberal government failing to deal with difficult resource management issues and trying to deflect pressure from competing resource groups away to another consultative committee.
Why does the minister not finally implement proper protection for Ontario’s quickly disappearing wetlands and ANSI, areas of natural and scientific interest? When is the Ministry of Natural Resources going to review the northern wetlands so we have a better picture of what the exact situation is in the north? Finally, when is the minister going to provide the needed staff and resources to properly manage the nongame wildlife species and resources of this province? For too long we have concentrated on wild game species to the detriment of other species in Ontario. We have threatened species that are not properly being managed, and I am afraid the working group may be playing catch-up to try to deal with this, particularly with a minister who does not want to act.
Mr Farnan: In response to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr Wrye) and his announcement with regard to gambling and the control of licensing of bingos at new commercial facilities. I agree with the minister that there is an extraordinary and unprecedented growth in gambling in Ontario. The minister makes mention of some 50 per cent growth last year in this particular area, and in bingo, gross wagering of $500 million annually.
This is not just a matter of administration and control. I would suggest to the minister and to the government that gambling is not simply wagering and having a flutter. Gambling in Ontario, for a significant number of people, is a disease. I would suggest further to the minister that there is no mention in this statement that the government has any real concern about the spread of this disease, especially as it affects the poor in our society, who spend a higher percentage of their earnings on gambling or wagering than does the average family.
There are conflicting messages coming from this government. On the one hand, we have one arm of the government trying to promote gambling. We have situations where, in the area of lottery tickets, the government is investing huge amounts of money to get people to spend more, to gamble more and, indeed, causing untold damage to many families who are stricken by this particular disease.
We have the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) and, in the recent budget, we have an announcement, for example, that there will be an additional attempt, Cleantario, which will be a fund to use in terms of keeping the environment clean. There used to be a policy in Ontario of let the user pay and let the abuser pay; in terms of those who abuse the environment, let them pay. Why should we be going to those people, many of whom, as I have suggested, suffer from a disease that does cause untold damage to family members?
I would suggest that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations get together with the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr O’Neil) and the Minister of the Environment and sit down with the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan). Gambling is a disease. It is time that the government seriously looked at it.
It is time that this government took a percentage of all funds generated from gambling, from lottery tickets, from bingos, whether it is three per cent or five per cent, and directed that fund to gambling rehabilitation centres within Ontario, to alleviate the damage that is being done to innumerable families within our province.
It is time for action on this. We are not just simply a gambling province. We care about our people. We should be doing something to protect, particularly the weakest and most vulnerable.
Mr Brandt: I want to respond briefly to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations in respect to the proposed study that he is going to be undertaking on the bingo legislation. Let me compliment the minister, which I do not do all that frequently, on the moratorium, because I believe it is well in order.
I say that because I have personally gone to the minister on a number of occasions with problems, which he has been kind enough to assist with, which I appreciate. At the same time, I recognize that it is a very complicated industry, one that is growing very rapidly, as has been mentioned in this House, to some $550 million annually.
The number of outlets where bingos are being allowed has doubled over the past few years and the problem is one of control, but it is also one, I want to suggest to the minister, of arriving at a fair and equitable balance between those charitable organizations which require the funding generated by bingos in order to survive and, on the other side, those operators who are in the business, who are providing facilities which are also needed.
That, in fact, is the challenge before the minister, as he is well aware, to determine how the industry can remain healthy so that it can provide those additional dollars that are so vitally needed by the groups and organizations that are now totally dependent on that source of funding to maintain their charitable work in a broad spectrum of community activities.
I would be happy to provide the minister with any advice that I might have in this matter and to work along with him and the government in the hope that we can bring forward legislation that will serve the people of this province well.
I would also like to mention that this is a very major industry which employs a great number of people, particularly in those border communities where our American friends are kind enough to participate in this kind of activity and leave part of their premium capital in our province, to be shared by the people of this province. I think that is also a very attractive undertaking that we should encourage, as long as it is kept under control with proper legislation and in balance.
Mr Eves: I just want to respond briefly to the statement made by the Minister of Health (Mrs Caplan) in the House this afternoon. I guess it does not surprise me that here we are spending another $10 million of the taxpayers’ money to research particular situations that have been researched to death, quite frankly, by the ministry. What we really need is some political will and some action. She would be far better off to spend her $10 million and try to solve one or two of these problems.
I presume the district health council in the Ottawa-Carleton region must know what the problems are with respect to health care in the region. The minister knows full well what the hearing aid needs are in the province. What she does not have is the money from the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) to implement a policy that they campaigned on many, many months ago. She still has not implemented that. She should spend the $10 million, buy some hearing aids for people who need them and she will be doing something for the people of Ontario.
On the increased role of nurses, this is almost unbelievable. We are having another study. We have four studies that come to 15 conclusions which are almost all identical. The minister has implemented one out of 15 that did not cost her a dime out of her ministry pocket and now she is going to have another study and spend $2 million more of taxpayers’ money to find out what the increased role of nurses should be in the Ontario hospital system, or in this case, at Sunnybrook Medical Centre.
I find this almost unbelievable. Why does she not do something? She should make a decision, spend the $10 million, buy $10 million worth of hearing aids for the people of the province and she will have done something.
Mr Jackson: With respect to the comments of the Minister of Health, if the minister is going to talk about research dollars, it is important that she look at past research. In the area of the clinical research team at McMaster University and neonatal services for those children, the minister will be aware of a report that was submitted to her which clearly demonstrates that there is a 50 per cent reduction in the number of newborn, low-weight children in the Hamilton area. They are spared neurological damage and physical impairment so that they do not need to receive services from the Ministry of Community and Social Services when they become five-, six-and 10-year-olds.
Clearly, it has been demonstrated that we can save those children. That is where the money should now be spent and that is what we have been trying to raise in this House for the last two weeks. I know that the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr Sweeney) has demonstrated eloquently within cabinet the concern for those premature babies, that they be given the best life chances to avoid the neurological damage and the physical impairment which comes from those dramatic, low-weight births.
Quite frankly, the minister has stood on her feet in this House and talked about prevention. This is a repair approach for those children. Please do something about prevention and fund those neonatal clinics.
Mr B. Rae: I have a question for the Premier. While I address the question to him, I would like to present him with a number of letters, in fact, 70,000 letters written by the workers of this province in opposition to Bill 162 on workers’ compensation.
The first question that I have for the Premier is simply this. I wonder if he can explain how it is possible that when he was asked specifically by Mr Wilson, who is the president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, for a meeting at which the federation wanted to present its case against Bill 162 to the Premier personally, no meeting could be arranged by the Premier until the end of August, which as the Premier well knows is well after the government intends to put this legislation through, and --
Mr Speaker: Thank you. I think the question has been well asked.
Hon Mr Peterson: Mr Wilson is sitting in the gallery today. I want to welcome the esteemed president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, someone for whom I have a great deal of respect and someone who shares in building a strong province. I meet with him on regular occasions, as my honourable friend knows. I have great respect for him. There are many occasions when he disagrees with me and there are, in fairness, a number of occasions when I disagree with him. That is the nature of democracy. I think he understands that. It is not like the Leader of the Opposition (Mr B. Rae), who does whatever he is told to by him, and he understands that as well.
I say to my friend that I welcome him here in the House. We have had a public debate for what, a year now? It is a wonderful debate. It is salutary. I think all the views have been expressed. Ultimately, people have to make judgements. We have made a judgement as a government and we are prepared to stand behind that. I say again to my good friend the president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, welcome to Queen’s Park and keep an eye on these guys. They need it.
Mr B. Rae: If one has to choose between developers and the Ontario Federation of Labour, I will take the Ontario Federation of Labour.
The Premier will know that in 1915, when this legislation was brought forward, workers gave up some basic civil rights in this province. The Premier will remember that the basic civil right the workers gave up was their right to sue their employers for negligence, for having put their lives at risk or for having caused them injury. In exchange for giving up that civil right, the workers achieved something else. It was a social contract, workers compensation, which was agreed by all the partners in the social contract in this province.
The Speaker: And the question?
Mr B. Rae: My question to the Premier is this: Can he explain why, for the first time since 1915, legislation on workers’ compensation has been passed and is being passed and imposed on the labour movement and on working people in this province against their will -- the first time in our history that this social contract has been broken?
Hon Mr Peterson: I want to say that I understand my honourable friend’s point. It is quite right that the Ontario Federation of Labour disagrees with this government on a number of its decisions, as do many other groups. A government has to serve all the people of the province. Obviously, it does not go out of its way just to alienate people for the fun of it, but it has to look at all the interests now and in the future and make the best judgements it possibly can, in consultation with as many groups as possible. Government cannot be all things to all people, nor should it try.
We have debated this question of workers’ compensation since I came into this House in 1975. I can tell you, Mr Speaker, I have listened to endless debates about this matter from you and other people, from us when we were in opposition and from the government of the day. We inherited what? -- l will ask the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) -- a $6-billion unfunded liability from our former friends, the great managers of the province. We are persuaded that we must put a system in place that is fair to the workers and is going to be long-term, and this government is not afraid to make some of the tough decisions that have to be made.
The Leader of the Opposition can criticize me because a particular group that he is responsible to does not agree with us, and I understand that. I understand a difference of opinion in a fair democracy. We have had a thorough debate, we have had it in this House, we have had it in committee, we have had it across the province and I think it has been subjected to the finest test of democracy. I think my honourable friend is wrong to stand up in this House and advocate that we have to agree with one particular interest group just because it happens to be his friend.
Mr B. Rae: I cannot think of any issue which has troubled me more. In fact, the issue that got me into politics 15 years ago was workers’ compensation.
I simply say to the Premier that he must surely understand that the people who are affected by workers’ compensation, the people whose pensions depend on workers’ compensation, whose livelihoods depend on workers’ compensation, are the working people of this province. The president of Stelco does not have to go down to the board and ask for a pension. It is the working people of that company who go down and need a pension if they get injured.
Again I want to ask the Premier: Why is he the first Premier since 1915 to impose changes in workers’ compensation unacceptable to one of the critical partners in our social partnership in this province when it comes to compensation? It is the first time since 1915 that such a reactionary step has been taken by the government of Ontario.
Hon Mr Peterson: I understand my honour-able friend’s point of view, but I can tell him I do not share his analysis at all.
I can tell the member that I have perhaps spent as much time working with people on workers’ compensation over my years in politics as he has and I understand some feeling about the human problems that are involved therein. I see it in my own constituency of London Centre, and I think every member of this House understands that as well.
It is our intention to strengthen the system and to assist people, not just now but in the long term as well. I think, frankly, that the characterizations of my friend opposite of this bill, and I have watched it for the last year, have been misleading -- I cannot use that word -- have been unfair and do not represent what we would call --
Mr B. Rae: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.
Hon Mr Peterson: I just withdrew that, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: Order. I understand your point of order. Will the Premier withdraw?
Hon Mr Peterson: I already did.
I certainly do not want to say anything that you find offensive, Mr Speaker, but I have listened to this debate for over a year in this House. Everybody has participated and given their best views. It has been thoroughly heard, I can tell my friend I have heard from my friends opposite many, many predictions of gloom in this province.
I remember some of the great debates. I remember my friend opposite only yesterday saying it takes a long time to bring down a government. What he has proven is it takes one day to take down a Leader of the Opposition.
Mr B. Rae: It is possible to disagree with the Premier and not be called a liar. I want to remind him of that and remind everyone of that. It should be possible to do that. Every day, the Premier is at it.
Mr B. Rae: I have a question for the Premier in relation to a meeting that was held between Gardner Church, who is the deputy minister for the greater Toronto area, and R. J. Ritchie of CP Rail. I referred last week to this particular memorandum, the minute that Mr Ritchie made of the conversation that he had with Mr Church, in questions that I put to the Deputy Premier (Mr R. F. Nixon). I would like to follow upon those questions to the Premier.
Mr Church, who is the deputy minister of the GTA and, I gather from my conversations with the various chairmen, in fact the point man with respect to garbage disposal, stated, “This consortium” -- he is referring to the Envacc consortium – “was the most advanced in the recycling technology.” He felt that “the meeting with the Premier on January 7, 1989, will be very positive and the capability of the consortium to develop an alternative to the present dump sites will be enhanced if properly carried out.”
Does the Premier think it appropriate that his deputy for the greater Toronto area would be giving that kind of signal to one of the bidders in this process?
Hon Mr Peterson: From what the member has read me, I do not see anything untoward at this particular moment. Mr Church is meeting with all of the groups. I read in the newspaper that a lot of the groups that are involved in this whole thing and looking at the situation have had regular meetings with the government.
Yes, the member is right. Mr Church is leading the entire matter from the provincial government’s point of view and, at some point or other, will give recommendations in consultation with the regions. I can tell my honourable friend that the rest of the people involved are not concerned. He is the only one who is getting all exercised about this.
Mr B. Rae: If the Premier does not find that inappropriate, perhaps he would comment on this statement by Mr Church and tell us whether this is in fact the official position of his government. Mr Church is quoted in this document as saying, “The best way to accomplish alternative solutions to present landfills is for the consortium to allow the public pressure to build. Landfills and dump sites are determined by the public.” He indicated that the public will be willing to pay more for recycling alternatives if pressure is allowed to build.
I want to ask the Premier if this kind of cynical manipulation of the public is in fact the official policy of the Liberal government.
Hon Mr Peterson: What does the member mean, official manipulation of the public? My honourable friend gets up there so sensitive when he is challenged and is the first one to sling things around this House. I have never seen a situation like this. He gets so pious.
I remember Bill Davis used to say from this side of the House, “If you can’t take it, don’t start throwing it out.” Well, I will tell my friend, he cannot take it. He can give it to my colleague in the House any day, but I can tell my friend, his charges are completely and thoroughly unfair. Mr Church is talking to everybody. There are no secrets about the situation. Nobody else feels that there is some kind of unfair advantage. At the appropriate time, when decisions are made by the government and the regions, we will share them all with this House.
Mr B. Rae: I do not think I heard an answer to my question, but perhaps I could ask another question.
I have had conversations with various regional chairmen, including Frank Bean, with whom my staff and I spoke today. Mr Bean has expressed real frustration with the current process. He said that the leadership from the provincial government was simply not there in terms of giving a direction as to where to go, making one important point where he said that in fact the GTA has no legal authority. Therefore, if there is a potential bidder who is unhappy with the fairness of the bidding process or expressing unhappiness with any process along the way, there is no legal authority that bidder can sue or no legal authority that bidder can in fact contract with.
Can the Premier tell us why we have had this legal vacuum for over a year with respect to the GTA and its handling of the garbage crisis?
Hon Mr Peterson: I have not spoken with Mr Bean this morning, but I can tell the member that when I met with Mr Bean, to the best of my knowledge he was happy to see the regions get together, discuss all these matters together and recognize it was their responsibility.
The member is quite right; the GTA does not have any, shall we say, legal authority. It is a group of civil servants created by this government to bring the regions together to work co-operatively on certain projects, be they transit, waste disposal or a variety of others.
They have not been empowered with any new powers because they do not exist, as the member says, as a legal unit. If and when contracts are signed with anybody, they will be signed with the regions, which do have the power to sign these things. It may require new and special legislation in this House. We do not know the answer to that question yet.
Mr B. Rae: Oh, I see; this is after the contract is signed.
Hon Mr Peterson: What does the member mean, “after the contract is signed”? It is very, very difficult to deal with my friend opposite, who keeps saying things that do not conform with the facts yet gets so sensitive when he is challenged.
I can tell you, Mr Speaker, I am trying to explain the situation. Either he does not understand or he does not want to understand, but if my friend would like a briefing on the entire matter of the GTA, I will ask Mr Church and all of his officials to sit down and tell him everything they are doing, who they are talking to and the regions’ role, and they will bring him up to speed on this new way of organizing some of the problems the government faces. I think my honourable friend will be very impressed by their leadership.
Mr Brandt: My question is for the Premier. Since he is in such a co-operative mood today, could he perhaps provide the House with some information as to what one Tony lanno does with the government of Ontario, what his pay level is and his job description?
Hon Mr Peterson: He works with the caucus office. I cannot tell you for sure what his pay level is. He works in community liaison with a variety of the members.
Mr Brandt: Even Mr Ianno has difficulty answering that question. He advised a news reporter who contacted him with respect to the responsibilities that he carried out on behalf of your government that he was in fact a special assistant to the Premier, which is considerably different from being connected with the Liberal caucus in some kind of a role of a functionary.
Can the Premier perhaps help us in advising why this individual did not even have an office in this building up until a week ago, when the reporter made some contacts in connection with this issue?
I might also add, while the House leader is advising the Premier as to his specific responsibilities, I wonder if he might be able to help us by indicating why for a period of two days Mr lanno was unable to respond to any telephone calls. He was not known in your office. The reporter was not advised that he worked for the caucus office. Finally, after two days he was able to locate this $60,000-a-year man, who was at home, and his answering service indicated he was not available at the moment. That was the phone number the reporter was given.
The Speaker: Thank you. There are several questions there.
Hon Mr Peterson: He was out doing his job, presumably liasing with the community. I cannot account for him day by day, but I can provide whatever information the member wants. Maybe he was out working with some of the leader of the third party’s staff. I have no idea.
Hon R. F. Nixon: You’ve got a crowd when you get to his staff. It’s bigger than the caucus.
Hon Mr Peterson: Maybe he did not have room for an office because all the room has gone over to the third party to accommodate its housing needs. Who knows? We try to be accommodating in that regard.
I say to the member that, as I understand it, he is financed out of the caucus budget. The leader of the third party has a caucus budget to spend as he sees fit.
Hon R. F. Nixon: Boy, does he have a caucus budget.
Hon Mr Peterson: As I recall, it was very substantially increased to give them the research capacity that they have. Frankly, they do not even need it. All they need is a quarter to buy the Globe and Mail and they could do just as well. But I say to my friend that we do not mind funding that research or that caucus staff for his party, because that makes his party the very effective and thoughtful opposition it is today in this House.
Mr Brandt: The people of Ontario may not smile when they know that in four years the Premier’s office has gone up 43 per cent, an increase of some $2.4 million, in expenditures. I do not think that is a laughing matter. I think that is a considerable sum of money.
Now we have an individual who is making a very substantial sum of money and who we now find, as a result of some media contacts to an office that did not exist up until a week or two weeks ago, was unavailable. Phone calls could not be redirected to the caucus office because he was not there and the reporter was not advised that he even worked in this building. How can the Premier justify this?
I do not want to hear about my caucus expenditures.
The Speaker: Order. I would like to hear the supplementary now.
Mr Brandt: If the Premier wants me to answer questions with respect to my caucus budget, I will be very happy to do so and I will be very happy to change places with him when I do that.
My question to the Premier is simply this: How can he justify paying $60,000 for an individual who cannot be found?
Hon Mr Peterson: Because the member cannot find him, he should put his detective on him and then maybe he could find him. I remember a time when the member or his predecessor hired a detective on his caucus budget, a gumshoe who was following everybody around and trying to find people. Now here is a real job for his detective: He can go out and find Mr lanno somewhere.
But he is doing what he should be doing. He is liaising and working with the people of this province so we can better serve all of the people of this province. That is what he is doing.
Mr Eves: I have a question for the Premier. Earlier this week, in responding to my colleague the member for Carleton (Mr Sterling) with regard to the public trustee’s finding that the $5,000 payment to the mother of the Minister of Culture and Communications (Ms Oddie Munro) was “an inappropriate disbursement,” the Premier indicated that he would be dealing with the minister. Does the Premier intend to remove the minister from cabinet?
Hon Mr Peterson: If there are any changes made, he will be the first to know. We will phone him in Parry Sound.
Mr Eves: I will bear that in mind. I am sure the Minister of Culture and Communications will be happy to know that I will be the first to know. The Premier has apparently lost confidence in the minister. He said he would deal with her, yet he continues to allow her to sit in cabinet. Why will the Premier not stop promising some sort of future action and tell the House today whether he plans on having the Minister of Culture and Communications as part of the Peterson team, yes or no?
Hon Mr Peterson: The member does not really expect me to answer that question, so I will not.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Strike two.
Mr Eves: These guys are really humorous. Wait until the next cabinet shuffle. Some of them will be laughing all the way to the unemployment lines in Ontario.
The Premier has said he is going to deal with the Minister of Culture and Communications. We cannot have a set of standards last week, another set today and another set after the House adjourns and the Premier wants to make a cabinet shuffle when it is convenient to him. What we are talking about here are the standards of conduct that the Premier sets for his cabinet ministers. What are his standards when dealing with the Minister of Culture and Communications and what are his standards when dealing with cabinet ministers, period, in his government?
Hon Mr Peterson: My honourable friend is rethreshing old straw. He is talking about things we have talked about in this House for several weeks now and I have shared my views with him.
Mr Eves: We have no answers.
Hon Mr Peterson: Of course the member has had an answer. He may not like the answer and he may still be bitter about being over there, but I cannot help my honourable friend with that. I can tell him that we will be very happy to share all those things when decisions are made.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Hampton: My question is for the Minister of Labour, who is also the minister responsible for women’s issues, and it concerns the Barbara Dodd case.
The minister will be aware that in the last 10 days a great deal of controversy has been created by the decision of Mr Justice O’Driscoll, because what Mr Justice O’Driscoll’s decision in effect said was that while women have the freedom under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to choose with respect to whether they will undergo an abortion or not, if they try to exercise that freedom they can be hauled before a court and have to justify their private decision in a very public way, justify their private decision in a very public way in the press and be subjected to what can be a very intimidating process.
The Speaker: Your question?
Mr Hampton: In view of the confusion that has been created, what is he, as the minister responsible for women’ s issues, prepared to do to clarify the law and to clarify the rights and the freedoms of women in this province in view of this decision?
Hon Mr Sorbara: The member for Rainy River raises a very, very serious issue. I want to tell him, in as clear a way as I can, that I was terribly, terribly troubled by that decision and I do not think I want to expand on that very much during this question period.
What I do want to say to him is simply to remind him that the whole issue of whether an abortion will or will not be a criminal offence in any way whatsoever in this country is a matter that is obviously, as he knows, not within the jurisdiction of this Legislature or this province. The federal government is grappling with that question at this point.
As far as what I should or ought to do in light of the O’Driscoll decision is concerned, I can simply say to him what the Attorney General (Mr Scott) said publicly when questioned on the matter several days ago. I think he expressed some concern, but neither he as Attorney General nor any member of the Legislature, nor the Premier (Mr Peterson), ought to interfere with a judicial decision. There was judicial recourse. That has happened. I think the stance the Attorney General took at that time was the appropriate one and I want to tell the member I support it wholeheartedly.
Mr Hampton: The decision of Mr Justice O’Driscoll has nothing to do with the criminal law, nothing whatsoever to do with the criminal law, and is not in that sense federal jurisdiction. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the law of the land in Canada now say that a woman has the freedom to choose whether or not she wants an abortion. What has happened in Ontario is that if a woman chooses to exercise that freedom she can be subjected to all kinds of intimidation which effectively remove that freedom or make that freedom very difficult to exercise.
Will the minister responsible for women’s issues undertake to meet with the federal government and clarify what the private rights of women are in this province?
The Speaker: Minister.
Mr Hampton: Will he undertake to discuss this with the federal government to clarify it?
The Speaker: That is the second time you have asked the question. Minister.
Hon Mr Sorbara: I want to tell my friend the member for Rainy River that he has no monopoly of concern on this issue.
Mr Wildman: He didn’t say he did.
Mr Hampton: No one said anything about a monopoly.
Hon Mr Sorbara: I think I am responding more to the tone in his voice than the words in his question.
I think it should be made perfectly clear that the O’Driscoll decision has not changed the law in this province and a court determined that rather conclusively within a few days of the decision. So let him not use this Parliament or this question period to suggest otherwise.
If he is suggesting that I meet with my federal counterparts on matters relating to this and other matters of very significant concern to the women not only of this province, but right across Canada, I want to tell him that has already happened on a number of occasions and will continue to happen in the future.
Mr Jackson: I have a question to the Minister of Health with respect to neonatal care services in this province. Yesterday the minister stated in Hansard that the only difference between the 13 hospitals providing perinatal care is the fact that some of them are considered modified units, and that is because they are not affiliated with health science centres and do not have research and educational components.
I cite the case of Karen Nielson to the minister. She lives three miles away from the General Hospital of Port Arthur, one of the 13 hospitals the minister mentioned yesterday. Yet she was flown to Chedoke McMaster Hospitals prior to giving birth on 2 May to quintuplets.
Does the minister still say there is no difference between the General Hospital of Port Arthur and McMaster Medical Centre when the mother had to be sent to Hamilton to receive a differential and higher level of care?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I think it is important for the member and all members of this House to have some appreciation and understanding of the network of services for perinatal and neonatal care.
It was not so many years ago that, in fact, only women who lived very near to university teaching centres in this province had immediate access to the highest level of care when they were in a situation of high-risk pregnancy.
We decided that all women of this province should have access, no matter where they live in the province and, therefore, we established a network of services linked by land and air ambulance.
The modified level 3 units provide the third level, the highest level, of perinatal services. They do not have the research and the educational component of the health science centre. It is a question of medical judgement as to where patients are referred in this province, but we have a network of 13 hospitals providing the highest level of perinatal care in this province.
Mr Jackson: The minister is putting a very brave face on a very critical issue here. She knows of the inconsistencies between the level 3 and level 4 care. This morning I spent some time at Chedoke McMaster Hospitals and met with Karen Nielson. I also met her son Mitchell and her daughter Regan, who have been on life-support systems in the neonatal intensive care unit.
I was unable to see the three other remaining quintuplets because they are back in Thunder Bay. Mrs Nielson is commuting at her own expense regularly to be with her family, which is divided. Yesterday, Chedoke McMaster was responding to the fact that for a greater period of time this month its beds will be closed and not open to access. They needed those beds.
They called Port Arthur and asked the doctors. “Will you take Mitchell and Regan?” In fact, what the doctor in Thunder Bay said was that the babies are not stable enough to be looked after in the Thunder Bay unit.
Will the minister now retract the notion that the level of care in these 13 hospitals is not similar -- it is not similar by the method it is funded in and it is not similar by the level of risk that it can deal with? Please assure Mrs Nielson, who requested that I ask you that question.
The Speaker: Thank you. The question has been asked.
Hon Mrs Caplan: What is apparent to me, and to anyone who really understands the system, is that the member opposite simply does not know what he is talking about or else -- and I would hasten to say that I do not believe he is in any way attempting to mislead -- he is simply either uninformed or does not really understand.
He referred to the fourth level of care. I have been very specific in saying that the 13 hospitals all provide level 3 perinatal care. There is yet a fourth level, referred to now as quaternary care, particularly in some multiple-birth situations based on medical judgement, in some of the health science centres. That is a different level of care.
The member should know that the 13 hospitals all provide level 3 perinatal care. He is, in fact, not only not giving the facts, he truly does not understand the system, even though I have tried to give him that information. He is not interested in the facts. He is not interested in the truth.
He does a disservice to the physicians who use their best medical judgement and to the nurses who work with those families, to suggest that they should not have confidence in a system which is considered one of the finest in North America.
Mr Jackson: There wasn’t one respirator at St Joseph’s.
Hon Mrs Caplan: You do not know what you are talking about.
The Speaker: Order. Perhaps the Minister of Health --
Mr Jackson: I spent time in the clinic. Have you ever visited the clinic?
Hon Mrs Caplan: You haven’t got the faintest desire to make sure the truth gets out. You should be ashamed of yourself.
The Speaker: Would the Minister of Health --
Hon Mrs Caplan: You deliberately don’t want people to have the facts.
Mr Jackson: The facts are on your desk.
The Speaker: Order. I think it is time -- has the Minister of Health calmed down? Have you calmed down?
Hon Mrs Caplan: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am very angry when people do not want to get the facts out.
The Speaker: Could she sit down? Sit down.
Mr Cleary: My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. It is with respect to proposed bereavement legislation. A number of local monument builders have stated their displeasure with the Cemeteries Act, 1989. I believe the act will be of importance to the consumers in terms of protecting the public from telephone and door-to-door solicitation of cemetery lots, services and supplies. However, I am worried about cemetery owners unreasonably prohibiting and discouraging a consumer from obtaining a monument from an outside source, including monument builders. Can the minister comment on what his ministry is doing to protect this from happening?
Hon Mr Wrye: This is an issue that the monument dealers have raised with all members of the Legislature over a long period of time. Very specifically, we have written provisions into the bill that will prohibit discriminatory practices involving cemeteries and monument dealers.
I can tell the honourable member that a number of sections make it quite specific that cemeteries must develop and must have bylaws pertaining to the running of those cemeteries and that those bylaws must receive the approval of the registrar of the Cemeteries Act. Within that, we have gone even further. We have specifically given the registrar not only authority, but have required the registrar to refuse any bylaw that allows the cemetery to take any unfair, unreasonable advantage of any monument dealer. So it is a matter we have been greatly concerned with and we believe that in bringing forward the legislation we have addressed it appropriately.
Mr Cleary: My supplementary relates to my previous question. Can the minister tell me if his ministry is concerned that cemetery owners will use attractive package deals to compete unfairly with monument dealers?
Hon Mr Wrye: There is a concern that cemetery owners could put together packages, and there certainly are provisions in both the Cemeteries Act and its companion piece, the Funeral Establishments Act, which prohibit any unfair charges, such as handling charges, from being put in place to give cemetery owners or funeral establishments unfair advantages.
But beyond prohibiting those kinds of charges, obviously, in terms of protecting consumers, the legislation allows those funeral establishments, cemeteries and monument dealers to put together the most competitive packages possible, which is entirely right and proper in terms of affording the greatest consumer choice and indeed the greatest price competition in the market.
NIAGARA ESCARPMENT COMMISSION
Mrs Grier: My question is for the Premier. The Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment has been monitoring the meetings of the Niagara Escarpment Commission and has today released a voting record of the members of the commission which shows that eight of the 15 citizens on that commission consistently vote in opposition to preservation of the Niagara Escarpment.
These are all members appointed by the Premier’s government, without any public scrutiny or examination of their support for the escarpment or their positions on this issue. Will the Premier agree to release the names of the people who recommended his appointees for appointment to the commission and the curricula vitae of these people?
Hon Mr Peterson: I have no problem at all releasing the curricula vitae. I would not want to embarrass people with respect to some of these other things. But let me respond to this. As I understand it, it is the CONE group that has put that press release out today and I was told about that. I understand their point of view, and they have some very strong views. As the member will be aware, they have many representatives, many like-minded people, who are on the Niagara Escarpment Commission.
What we strive to do as a government is to build as balanced and fairminded a system as we possibly can in a situation like that. They are not all of one, shall we say, ideological, philosophical bent. We are trying to be as representative as we can.
Let me say something else. They are government appointments and the minister could help the member out more specifically than I can, but to the best of my knowledge, we canvass extremely widely from the north end to the south end. We talk to the New Democratic members, if they are involved. I remember that the former member for Welland-Thorold, who was very highly respected in this House, was regularly talked to about the kinds of people who should be on it to get the kind of balance and to get names coming forward.
I am happy to give the member their CVs and she can draw her own judgement, as she can on any other board, about the quality of their decisions. Most people think the chairman is a fairminded individual who looks at the situations as best he can.
Mrs Grier: The chairman doesn’t vote.
Hon Mr Peterson: Well, the person who brings this group together. I just say that to my friend and I am happy to provide some of this information.
Mrs Grier: The purpose of the Niagara Escarpment Commission is to protect and preserve the escarpment. I am not quite sure what range of balance the Premier feels is necessary on that kind of body.
There has been a vacancy on the commission for four months now. Both CONE and the Federation of Ontario Naturalists have recommended two names to the Premier’s office, John Cooper of Welland and Susan Gibson of Meaford. Will the Premier undertake to examine the CVs of those individuals to acknowledge that they support preservation of the escarpment and to appoint one of them to this vacancy in order to redress the balance of these people he has appointed, for whatever reason, in the past?
Hon Mr Peterson: I have just been told by the minister that nine, I believe, of those appointments the member is referring to are municipal appointments.
Hon Mr Peterson: Was it seven? Let’s be fairminded about this. The member would give the impression that we appointed them all. They are municipal appointments and they come through order in council, so they are not our appointments. We try to be as fairminded as we possibly can. As I said, there were people like Lyn MacMillan who have brought real intellectual leadership to the group.
Let me say that there are lots of people who are widely consulted. We would love to have the views of the group the member is referring to and the member’s views as well. I am sure my honourable friend would say that on this board or any other board, we are not looking for ideologues, shall we say. We are looking for thoughtful people who care about our province, who want to build it now and in the future and who can make practical decisions, because they have an enormous amount of power over ordinary people’s lives. That is surely what we want.
The member has some strong views. I am delighted to hear them. I will take them very seriously. What I will do -- I do not know the names she has mentioned, those people -- is that we will consult very widely with all the people involved. If the member has any other views, as many of her colleagues do on appointments from time to time, please share them with us and we will give them every serious consideration.
If the member looks at that board -- I cannot recall off the top of my head any particular names there except Ms MacMillan and the chairman -- I think she will find that there is not a political component in that by any stretch of the imagination. People are not there because they are Liberals, New Democrats or Conservatives, but hopefully because they can make a contribution to their province. If the member has any evidence to the contrary of that, we would be delighted to hear it. I welcome the member’s views on this appointment or any other one she has along the way.
Mrs Grier: I look forward to receiving the CVs.
Hon Mr Elston: Oh, you have a mandate to review, do you? You’ll take it upon yourself?
Mrs Grier: In the absence of anybody else taking it upon themselves.
Mr Runciman: My question is for the Minister of the Environment. He is having difficulty hearing me because of his seatmate’s interjections.
This is an issue of significant concern to the residents of eastern Ontario. A 1988 report by the Ministry of the Environment concluded that some sewage plants in eastern Ontario were the most ineffective in the province and ordered the municipalities to bring those plants up to standard, as I am sure the minister will recall.
Many municipalities, in response to that, have initiated plans for development and were expecting ministry funding to assist with those projects. However, it now appears that the ministry has changed its priorities. Upon applying for ministry funding, municipalities such as Smiths Falls, Brockville and Kemptville have been turned down. Can the minister explain why the priorities of his ministry have changed and how he expects these areas to develop and improve their projects without any ministry funding?
Hon Mr Bradley: The member may be aware that in this particular year the Ministry of the Environment is spending close to $200 million of transfer payments on such things as waterworks and sewage works in Ontario. I think the member’s colleagues would know that there is a fair system that is used. There may be an argument over how much money. I guess there has always got to be more money, even though many of his colleagues from time to time tell us we should not spend as much money. There is always the argument over how much.
What we have is a committee of the Ministry of the Environment called the PPEC, the project priority evaluation committee. They assess each of these. I remember the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr Pouliot) was standing in the House asking a question and other members have raised similar questions. The committee tries to look at the priorities based on what are the greatest environmental problems that might exist. Then they allocate funding for a specific year.
One of the things we run into is that some of the projects are extremely expensive. An example in eastern Ontario, for instance, is the sewage treatment plant for Ottawa. I think it probably takes in more than Ottawa as well. The upgrading of that from primary to secondary is a $400-million project, for instance.
What we have done is enhance the funding for municipalities by providing the larger municipalities, for instance, with up to 33 per cent instead of the old 15 --
The Speaker: Thank you. Perhaps the minister would want to save some of that information to respond to the supplementary.
Mr Runciman: I think our concerns centre more on allocation than the total dollars. It appears, anyway to many communities in eastern Ontario, that the minister simply does not care about smaller municipalities. The ministry spokesman, a fellow by the name of Charles Letman, said, “The municipalities will have to delay development or find some other way of paying.” Meanwhile, half of the ministry funding is being gobbled up by megaprojects in larger urban areas of the province.
Can the minister explain why he is shutting out eastern Ontario? I do not include Ottawa. I think he has to take a look at the other, smaller urban areas in eastern Ontario. Why is he shutting out those smaller municipalities in favour of larger urban areas?
Hon Mr Bradley: Sometimes we have these materials and this is where I wish I had in front of me a list of the letters I have just signed, gee, in the last two or three weeks to various people --
Mr Wiseman: Was St Catharines on the list?
Hon Mr Bradley: No, as a matter of fact, my own area is quite unhappy with the allocation that has come to the Niagara Peninsula and so are many other areas because they would all like more.
If the member were to examine that, I think he would find that a heck of a lot of money goes into eastern Ontario. All I know is from the signing of the letters, and actually, interestingly enough, many of them are in opposition ridings and I do not think anybody has ever suggested that.
Through the priorities committee of the ministry, and these are engineers and other people who look at it strictly from an environmental point of view, we try as well as we can to determine where the greatest needs are and then we put the funds there. We have had members from individual communities make suggestions and I think they should. The member for Parry Sound (Mr Eves) gave me one the other day. The member for Renfrew North (Mr Conway) and the member for Lanark-Renfrew (Mr Wiseman), for instance, have suggested some to me. I think everybody has these projects and I welcome their putting them forward. On a political basis, they have to support their community and I appreciate that, but really, we have to do it based on the greatest environmental priorities.
I will keep working on the Treasurer --
The Speaker: Thank you.
HALTON REGION TRANSPORTATION
Mr Elliot: I have a question for the Minister of Transportation. As I indicated in a statement made a little earlier today, his comprehensive announcement made in Halton region last Tuesday was greatly appreciated. A sound transportation system is most important if we are to maintain the strong economy in our region, which is now considered to be part of the greater Toronto area. The additional $165 million announced will assist greatly in putting needed highways and GO train service in place more quickly.
My question is, is it the minister’s intention to accelerate the level of funding for the missing link of Highway 403 in the Halton region as money becomes available?
Hon Mr Fulton: First of all, I appreciate the member’s statement and his comments earlier here today and I particularly appreciate his role and the role of his colleagues in bringing about the events of last Tuesday in Oakville. We announced the start in 1990 of the first link between the Queen Elizabeth Way and Highway 5. I stated then and I state here again that we certainly consider that missing link a very high priority in finishing off to Trafalgar Road, I think it is, and as funds become available, the member has my assurance that it will be considered on a very high priority basis.
Mr Elliot: Part of the announcement referred to in my original question was a $43-million allotment to begin six-laning Highway 401 from Milton to Cambridge. As the minister knows, Highway 401 passes through the beautiful Niagara Escarpment in my riding of Halton North. Is this the time for the town of Milton and the region of Halton to make representation to have additional exits from Highway 401 to serve what is a first-rate recreational area? It includes the Kelso Conservation Area, Rattlesnake Point, Crawford Lake, Hilton Falls, the Halton Region museum, and most important, the Ontario Agricultural Museum.
Hon Mr Fulton: The member would be aware that we very much consider the economic development and tourism component of any road or highway that we either build or expand in this province. Certainly we will, as we normally would do, invite public participation. As the member has indicated some very specific requests or needs along the way to promote economic development and tourism, we would welcome his input, along with that of the interested parties as we proceed in the design work of the expanded Highway 401.
Mr Wildman: I have a question to the Minister of Natural Resources related to the scandalous destruction of three- and four-year-old tree seedlings by the Ministry of Natural Resources in the northwest over the past two years, which was brought to the attention of the House yesterday by my colleague the member for Rainy River (Mr Hampton). How does the minister justify the freezing of spending on replanting and the capping of its seedling replanting program for two years, which has led to the ministry’s destruction of between five million and eight million healthy trees?
Hon Mr Kerrio: It is very surprising for a member to come from northern Ontario and know so little about the forests. The fact of the matter is that if we have to have 163 million trees to plant, we must have a four percent or five per cent cushion. The fact of the matter is that we have deformed trees and we have trees that do not meet the requirements. They have to have that much of a cushion. It costs considerably more to plant the tree, tend it and see it through to maturity than it does to grow that seedling.
The member really is way off the mark because he really does not understand the issue. When we had some problems growing seedlings, this government saw fit to help those people who were growing seedlings in those bad years. Now, if they provide surplus seedlings, they cannot expect us to take just what they choose to grow. We planted 163 million --
Mr Wildman: These are your seedlings we’re talking about.
Hon Mr Kerrio: Just be quiet, will you?
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Kerrio: I listened to your question.
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Kerrio: Just be quiet for a minute and I will prove you do not know what you are talking about. The fact of the matter is --
The Speaker: Order. Really, I think the minister would be best just to sit quietly for a moment.
Mr Wildman: For the minister’s benefit, it is not the private sector nurseries I am talking about; it is the ministry’s own seedlings. It was not because they were deformed. In fact, the ministry decided to keep the deformed trees and plant them rather than the healthy ones.
Why is it that during this two-year period, the area regenerated by the ministry is down while the harvest area is up, at the very time when companies such as Canadian Pacific and Abitibi-Price have stated that they need an additional 20 million trees or they are going to face wood shortages in the northwest?
Hon Mr Kerrio: I do not know where the member gets his numbers, but the fact of the matter is, when he talks about harvesting and planting, we have done more in the last four years than had been done in considerably more years in the past.
We lost more trees to fire than we did to harvesting last year. We lost some 391,000 hectares of trees that were burned. We are doing a job in replanting also, where our total renewal activities in 1987 were 312,000 hectares of trees that were planted and tended as opposed to some 225,000 hectares in 1984. We are doing more than has ever been done before, and I am sure the member is fully aware of that but makes every attempt to make it appear as though that is not the case. I want to share with the members of this House that the forests have never been better tended than they are this very day.
Mr Eves: I have a question of the Minister of Health. As I am sure the minister is aware, the Red Cross homemaker program has a projected deficit this year of some $3.8 million. The director of Red Cross homemaker services, Barbra Trahand, has indicated that the Ministry of Health, which funds approximately two thirds of this program, is not acknowledging that it has a role to play in helping the Red Cross solve its deficit problem. Why is the Ministry of Health refusing to help this program with its deficit when she constantly tells us about the need for improved community-based health care?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I would refer the member opposite to discuss this matter with his own colleague, who quite rightly placed a question to my colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr Sweeney) on the basis of the homemaker program, which is different from delivering the professional services of the home care program. The distinction between the two programs is that the homemaker program to which he refers is the ultimate responsibility of the Minister of Community and Social Services, although the Ministry of Health, on a purchase of service, participates in some of the funding of that program.
Mr Eves: “Some of the funding” is probably an understatement. I have asked the minister a very simple question. Does her ministry have a role to play in the funding of these necessary services or not? If they do, what is she doing about this deficit? She will recall that we were talking about this in December 1988 in the Legislature, and in January of this year she did take steps --
The Speaker: Thank you. Actually, you asked a supplementary. Order.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I refer the member opposite to the very excellent question asked of my colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services, which he answered in very full detail, about how this and other structural challenges facing us are being addressed by co-operation between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community and Social Services as they look at long-term care in a comprehensive manner. In the short term, while the two ministries are co-operating to look at the medium and longer term, the Minister of Community and Social Services has frequent contact and discussions with a number of the agencies that are providing those kinds of services in the community.
Mr Miclash: My question is to the Minister of Transportation. In a response to the question from the member for Oxford (Mr Tatham) on Monday, the minister mentioned that the speed limit on secondary highways in the north, which is presently 80 kilometres per hour, is being reviewed. Might I request that the minister expand on this?
Hon Mr Fulton: On Monday the member for Oxford raised the question, which I think really flowed from some time ago, when the member for Kenora (Mr Miclash) had a private member’s bill here before the House. I can tell him that my staff, along with the enforcement agencies and other interested parties and groups, which will involve some of the municipal people along the way, are indeed looking at a number of opportunities in various areas of northern Ontario -- northwestern Ontario as well as northeast -- to see whether, from a safety point of view and an economic point of view, we can raise some of the limits in selected areas from the current 80 kilometres to a proposed 90 kilometres per hour.
Mr Miclash: The minister did mention the resolution I presented to the House over a year ago. I wonder if the minister would be willing to meet with some of these groups during his upcoming visit to Kenora with regard to this subject.
Hon Mr Fulton: We are planning a trip to Kenora very soon to deal with the matter of the Kenora bypass, but we are more than anxious to get local input from elected officials and others, chambers of commerce and so on. We would be more than happy to arrange our schedule to accommodate the wishes of the member for Kenora to meet with a variety of groups at his disposal when we are up there.
CHAIRMAN OF ONTARIO SECURITIES COMMISSION
Mr Hampton: In the absence of the Attorney General (Mr Scott), my question is for the Deputy Premier. Last week, a detailed investigation and report by the Law Society of Upper Canada recommended that complaints of professional misconduct be brought against a Toronto lawyer whom the government has recently appointed as chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission.
In view of the important work and the expanding financial regulatory work that is done by the Ontario Securities Commission and in view of the confidence the province must have in whomever is the chairman, is the Treasurer not concerned by the recommendations of the law society’s disciplinary panel and the law society’s special counsel in this matter that charges of professional misconduct should be brought against the person the government has appointed as the chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission?
Hon R. F. Nixon: I read the news reports to which the honourable member refers quite carefully. As I understand it, the law society specifically decided not to pursue that investigation. I think that decision was criticized by one of the newspapers, but the law society is completely independent and it makes those decisions with the powers given it under an act of the Legislature.
Mr Hampton: It is a fact that the staff who work at the disciplinary panel of the law society recommended that charges of professional misconduct be brought. The law society brought in a special counsel, one David Scott of Ottawa, who looked at the matter, prepared a special report and also recommended that a complaint of professional misconduct be brought. The chairman of the disciplinary committee unilaterally and by himself overruled those recommendations.
My question is again to the Deputy Premier. Is he not concerned that two bodies, in effect -- the special counsel and the disciplinary panel itself -- have both recommended that charges of professional misconduct be brought and the only thing that has stopped them is a unilateral decision --
The Speaker: Thank you.
Hon R. F. Nixon: The procedures of the law society are established by its own bylaws. They give powers to their executives to, I suppose, get legal opinions whenever they choose and pay for them. Then it is up to the law society to act on those opinions as it sees fit. In this instance, I simply say again that the law society is an independent and highly respected organization. They have not made any indication that they are proceeding in the way that the honourable member presumably thinks they should.
The Speaker: That completes the allotted time for oral questions and responses.
Mr Harris: Let’s extend it. We’ve got some good questions here.
The Speaker: There will be another day.
Mr Kormos: I have a petition that is intended for the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It is addressed in addition to the Minister of Transportation (Mr Fulton). It reads:
“Welland’s attempt to diversify its economy with a tourism industry will be seriously hampered by the lack of navigational clearance of the proposed Highway 406 bridge at Kottmeir Road, crossing the recreational canal in Welland, Ontario. Minimal clearance must be 5.5 metres.
“The potential for new businesses, job creation and a revitalized downtown have been realized by this community and we are struggling to implement new and exciting programs. A free-flowing, accessible waterway is absolutely necessary.
“We, the undersigned, urge you to consider the full consequences of your refusal to raise the bridge.”
It is signed by Belva Palmer of Welland and over 2,000 other signators, most of them from the Welland-Port Colborne-Niagara region area.
The Speaker: Did the member say that was addressed to the Minister of Transportation?
Mr Kormos: It was intended for the Lieutenant Governor, but addressed to the honourable minister.
Mr Beer: I have a petition to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
“Why do adoptive parents have to carry the burden of the costs involved in any adoptions?
“Why are all the fees involved based solely on the adoptive parents’ income, which we believe is totally discriminatory?
“Whereas we believe that adoptions are revolving into nothing but the ‘black market,’
“Therefore, we totally disagree with the format of the Ministry of Community and Social Services regarding adoption.”
This is signed by some 20 persons from the Peterborough-Ennismore area.
Miss Martel: I have a petition addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and the petitioners request that the Legislative Assembly or this government in fact refrain from further implementation of the French Language Services Act.
While I disagree with the intent of the petitioners and the petition, I have, at their request, presented this as is their right to petition this House.
Mr Speaker: And you have signed it as well?
Miss Martel: Yes, I have.
Mr Epp: I have a petition here addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and it says:
“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.”
Mr Mackenzie: I have a petition to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“Each year in Ontario hundreds of workers are killed on the job and about half a million injured. The Workers’ Compensation Board decides if these workers are entitled to any compensation and what these deaths and disabilities are worth.
“There is a crisis in workers’ compensation in Ontario that is not going to be resolved by the proposed new legislation. The Workers’ Compensation Board has always operated in an arbitrary and inhumane manner and it will not change now.
“We, the injured workers and concerned citizens of Ontario, petition you for respect, dignity and justice. We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario to pass laws without hidden clauses that:
“1. Guarantee the rights of injured workers and are easily understood by workers, employers and decision-makers;
“2. Remove arbitrary decision-making and ensure that decisions, particularly regarding entitlement, are quickly made;
“3. Provide effective and humane vocational, social and medical rehabilitation programs to compensate injured workers for their pain and disabilities and assist them in returning to meaningful work;
“4. Provide jobs to injured workers or full compensation to those who cannot return to work;
“5. Ensure that the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal, rather than the Workers’ Compensation Board, is the final and binding decision-maker;
“6. Provide existing injured workers with the choice to opt into new legislation.”
There are six pages. I have signed them and it covers 59 people from the city of Hamilton.
Mr Leone: I have a petition to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“Whereas the government of Ontario in its discussions with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation on amendments to the Teachers’ Superannuation Act has continually refused to permit an equal partnership between teachers and government in management of the pension fund, establishment of an acceptable contribution increase, benefit adjustments, an equitable treatment of future surpluses and a binding arbitration process,
“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly to insist that the Treasurer of Ontario enter into negotiations with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation which will lead to a settlement equitable to teachers.”
It is signed by 35 people and I have also signed my signature.
Mr Reycraft: I have two petitions. Both are addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. The first is signed by 13 constituents of the riding of Hamilton Centre and it calls on the government to scrap Bill 162.
Mr Reycraft: The second is signed by five constituents of the riding of Quinte and it calls on the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) to enter into negotiations with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation relative to the Teachers’ Superannuation Act.
Mr Kormos: I have a petition addressed to the Lieutenant Governor and Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads:
“We care about injured workers. We protest the Minister of Labour’s proposal to change the law that would take away injured workers’ rights to permanent disability pensions when they are permanently disabled; that would do almost nothing about the miserable compensation of existing injured workers and their widows, and that would leave the injured workers of the future worse off. Workers who are killed or injured in their work deserve much better treatment than this.”
It is signed by Marcel Dumont of Welland and 19 others, as well as by myself.
The Speaker: The usual custom is just to list the number.
REPORT BY COMMITTEE
STANDING COMMITTEE ON REGULATIONS AND PRIVATE BILLS
Mr Furlong from the standing committee on regulations and private bills presented the committee’s report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bills without amendment:
Bill Pr20, An Act to revive Bolsward Investments Limited;
Bill Pr21, An Act respecting South Simcoe Railway Heritage Corporation.
Your committee begs to report the following bill as amended:
Bill Pr6, An Act respecting the Centre culturel d’Orléans/Projet de loi concernant le Centre culturel d’Orléans.
Your committee further recommends that the fees and the actual cost of printing at all stages and in the annual statutes be remitted on Bill Pr6, An Act respecting the Centre culturel d’Orléans/Projet de loi Pr6, Loi concernant le Centre culturel d’Orléans.
Motion agreed to.
STANDING COMMITREE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
Mr Conway moved that the standing committee on general government be authorized to report to the House on its review of the final progress reports to the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) of Inco, Falconbridge, Algoma Steel and Ontario Hydro on acid rain abatement programs.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
SARNIA-LAMBTON ACT, 1989
Mr Eakins moved second reading of Bill 35, An Act respecting the amalgamation of the City of Sarnia and the Town of Clearwater and the addition of the amalgamated City to the County of Lambton.
Hon Mr Eakins: Members will recall that this bill implements a local solution to a longstanding and contentious dispute. It is the result of an extensive negotiation process involving the city of Sarnia, the town of Clearwater and the county of Lambton.
Immediately after this bill received first reading on 20 June, I presented copies of it to the local representatives in Sarnia-Lambton. They have reviewed the legislation and have requested amendments to the act which will clarify certain sections. I am therefore introducing today a number of minor technical amendments to this bill. While I apologize for the number of amendments, I am sure the members will appreciate my desire to ensure that this bill continues to reflect the consensus we have achieved. Therefore, I would ask for their co-operation and understanding when we go into committee of the whole House today.
While the government assisted the local representatives in achieving the agreement to end this long-standing dispute, it will be the local representatives who will have to use this act to make their agreement work. The minor changes they have requested will make them feel more comfortable about proceeding to the next steps. I am therefore happy to amend the legislation accordingly. Because these amendments have the support of all who were party to the original agreement, I believe they should not stand in the way of passage of this bill.
Passage in this session is important because the work will not end when this bill is passed. A local implementation committee will then have to deal with administrative, operational and staffing issues which will arise as a result of this local solution. I have asked them to submit a final report to me on or before 1 May 1990 so that all necessary changes can be in place in time for the next municipal elections in November 1991.
As I told my colleagues on 20 June when this legislation received first reading, this bill implements a historic agreement. I applaud the success of the local negotiators and I look forward to the passage of this legislation, which does nothing more than put into law the agreement they reached among themselves.
Mr D. S. Cooke: I will be extremely brief. I appreciate the comments that the minister has made this afternoon, and I certainly appreciate the difficulty that municipalities have in dealing with this type of issue and the fact that more than a year of work has gone into negotiating a compromise, a settlement and then the request to this Legislature to approve the legislation.
I certainly do not think we can stand in the way of its being passed. Eventually there will be local accountability, and hopefully the ratepayers and the vast majority of local politicians will be satisfied with the process and with the proposed legislation.
We certainly also appreciate the fact that this afternoon, when we expressed some concerns to the minister about one of the proposed amendments dealing with the firefighters in the area, the intervention of the member for Sarnia (Mr Brandt) and the ministry was able to resolve that; so we will have no problems with proceeding this afternoon and granting the wish of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and, I assume, the member for Lambton (Mr D. W. Smith) as well.
The Acting Speaker (Mr M. C. Ray): The next speaker, the member for Sarnia.
Mr Brandt: It is all too infrequently that I get applause from the government benches, but I am pleased to participate in saying a few words in regard to Bill 35.
Hon Mr Conway: Some of us remember former Liberals with great affection.
Mr Eves: Former mayors.
Mr Brandt: Let me say without any equivocation whatever that I support Bill 35 and I appreciate the co-operation of the minister in the difficulties that he has been able to navigate in bringing the bill to this point, where a historical moment has been reached in this House in that the last boundary settlement in the Sarnia-Lambton area was back in 1951, some 38 years ago, and there have been periodic problems that have arisen.
Many complicated and difficult negotiations have taken place between the county and the city to try to arrive at some kind of amicable compromise that would satisfy the interests of all of the various municipalities in that particular area.
I think it is fair to say at this particular time that the minister should be complimented, along with his very capable staff; but in addition to that, let me say that the local committee that worked so long and hard at putting this particular document together should be applauded as well. They came to a local settlement after many years, frankly, of long and complicated discussions in connection with the bill.
The bill has not only achieved the support of the county of Lambton and the town of Clearwater as well as the city of Sarnia; the village of Point Edward supports this bill as well because it is excluded from it. They are pleased that they will continue as a progressively independent municipality of 2,500 happy individuals who will continue to be a part of the county but not part of the complex of the new urban municipality that is now being created as a result of this bill.
I do not want to go on at length, even though some of the members of this House are encouraging me so to do, but I do want to say that there is some degree of urgency in the fast passage of this bill, as the minister is well aware. There are areas of this bill which must be triggered before the end of this year, there are very substantive measures that have to be in place before 1 January 1991, and those particular changes require us to work with some degree of expediency in this House.
I would only ask any other participating members who may wish to join in this debate that we work together co-operatively to try to find a solution to a long-standing problem that looks like it is at the point of finally being solved.
Mr D. W. Smith: It is a pleasure for me today to stand and make comments on Bill 35, which will amalgamate the city of Sarnia into the county of Lambton and, of course, take Clearwater into the city in the first place. This is something that I have not had the opportunity to do before in the House. Certainly it is likely going to be a challenge for me, but I am looking forward to that.
I want to say that all my life I have lived in the county of Lambton. I am very proud of the county of Lambton. I think they have done a commendable job over the years in governing themselves as an umbrella group as well as each and every individual municipality within the county of Lambton, but I guess as time rolls on change has to occur or it does occur. I do not say that a lot of people are against this change, but they seem to want to know more of the answers before this change takes place.
We have already heard the minister say today that he would like a report back from this committee by 1 May 1990, I think, but in the meantime some of this bill is going to be put into place before that even happens.
In the comments I am going to make, I am going to try to question the legislation as it may pertain to what the committee felt it had drafted up. I know they spent many hours on this bill. I have talked to the warden and the county group many times. In fact, I would say the warden has likely had the busiest year of possibly any warden of the county of Lambton. I can speak with some experience there because I was the warden in 1983. I know it is a very busy job; you are expected to go to everything, and that is entirely impossible.
The people who have spoken with me want to know, or feel they should know or have the right to know, what some of the financial impact is going to be. I think they have that right. This is a major bill. This is going to be a major impact on the Sarnia-Lambton area. In fact, I will go so far as to say that this bill may be a precedent-setting bill for some of the other counties in Lambton riding. If members wanted to pick up on some of those appropriate names, they could well be Chatham-Kent, St Thomas-Elgin and Owen Sound-Grey. Who knows, it could even be Pembroke-Renfrew. We just do not know where this bill may lead to. That is why I think that if we are going to do it in this House here today, we should do it well and make sure that things are in order to work well for the people of Sarnia-Lambton in the future.
I think, as one who grew up in the farming community, I am about as well aware of change as possibly any one of any of the professions. We have seen farming change so dramatically and so quickly in the last few years that yes, we are pretty near prepared for anything. But I think the people of Lambton in these small communities are saying:
“We feel our taxes are pretty high now. We seem to be sharing a goodly amount of the load in a lot of areas. Is this bill going to mean that our taxes are going to go higher, whether it be on the roads portion or on welfare, since the county of Lambton will take over the combined welfare services?”
These are the questions that are being asked of me. I do not have those answers. I have not seen these numbers come into place yet and so this is why I want to make a few comments. I will start and go through a few of them here. I do not want to take all afternoon or anything like that. I do not think I can stand on my feet that long, because I was up all night, but we will try to make a few comments and see if the minister is satisfied.
For instance, if we go to part I, subsection 2(3), “The city shall not apply for the annexation or amalgamation of any land before 1 January 2016, unless” -- and “unless” is very important -- “the county council and the council of every local municipality the lands of which are part of the proposed annexation or amalgamation agree, by resolution.”
As the member for Sarnia said, Point Edward was quite happy. I guess he was likely also referring to Moore being quite happy.
The way I would interpret that piece of legislation is that there could be a proposal rather quickly. They do not have to wait until the year 2016. In fact, if we go over to section 7, it seems to make it all the clearer that they could change portions of this legislation by 1 December 1994, which I presume would be a new council. That is a question I feel is deserving of an answer.
In section 3, they are going to put a vote to the people in the 1991 regular election. The question will be, “Do you want the new city to be named Sarnia?” I guess I am asking the question, what happens if the electors say, “No, we don’t want Sarnia”? What is the alternative? As I read further into the bill, I wonder if the minister is going to be the one who makes that decision or is he going to make it in consultation with the new city, as I will refer to it?
Those are three areas where I wonder if the committee members who drafted the interim report are satisfied in their minds that they have achieved everything they were asking for, and in fact that they may be able to change these boundaries again much before 2016.
It goes on, in subsection 7(4), “Where the minister is inquiring into the structure, organization and methods of operation of a local municipality or the county.” Does this mean that the county can change drastically as well? I believe, following on that subsection, the Ontario Municipal Board could make a decision along those lines. That is another question we wanted to ask.
There are a number of places throughout this bill that say “without compensation.” I know I heard from some of the committee members that this amalgamation would not take place if there was no compensation. The compensation they were referring to, I felt, was from the province of Ontario. When I see that in there I wonder if these costs are going to increase because of this bill, are they going to be picked up by the county as it exists today, or is the share that has been decided upon fair in everyone’s mind? That is another question that sticks out at us throughout this bill now and again.
When we read section 13, it almost conflicts with section 8 in some ways. Not being a legislative counsel, I hope that is clear to everyone in that area.
Another part of this bill that will change the riding of Lambton is that the police villages of Inwood and Florence will be dissolved as of 1 January 1991. Being a member of the county government committee, when we were travelling around the 26 counties a year ago, that was one of the questions that was brought up often enough. That would make me believe it is time to dissolve the police villages. I think the people likely will accept that quite easily because most of the police villages now only have trustees and they really have no function regarding money; they are just more or less advisers to the municipality that surrounds them. I think that is likely an area that is quite acceptable to the people of Lambton.
As we move through the bill, it talks about the different voting structure. I believe it will change somewhat in the year 1990. Then once in 1991 it will change again and the county council will be smaller. I presume the committee has arrived at that decision and it is quite happy with it.
I come back again to when the minister made the comment that the joint committee would submit its recommendations to the minister on or before 1 May 1990. I am really asking what all those recommendations could be. If some of the bill has been in place already, I wonder if it is a total must that everything has to be in place by 1 December 1990. Or can it wait until after I May when the minister will hear more recommendations from this joint committee that will be set up?
As we move on to part IV which talks about Sarnia Hydro, the people there are asking, “Because Ontario Hydro looked after and maintained the town of Clearwater, what costs are going to be involved when the total municipality becomes part of the new city of Sarnia or whatever the name may be in the future?” I think that is likely quite a large answer, but I am sure that it can be arrived at because when it does actually go in place, the taxes will say very emphatically what the rise or increase was because of this action. Also, it possibly could affect us out in the riding of Lambton.
From what I am being told by some of the Ontario Hydro workers, if Clearwater goes with Sarnia Hydro, the Wyoming regional office of Ontario Hydro will possibly no longer exist. I am sure whether that will have some effect on the community of Wyoming and surroundings. So there is an area that I certainly want to ask a question on.
The two police forces will be joined as of 1 January 1990. I am sure there will be costs associated with that move. I am sure the people would be asking, “Well, what may that cost us in our taxes?” In talking with some of these people who are behind this amalgamation, I get the feeling that they do not want their taxes to rise, but because of this bill, I ask myself how it possibly cannot rise, unless somebody else is picking up the increase.
Section 36 says, “The committee shall establish guidelines for considering boundary applications in consultation with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.” Because of the county government report, I guess I will just ask the minister whether this means the municipalities in Lambton that do not have 4,000 in population may have to join or if there is going to be an exception to that county government report within this bill. I would leave that question there, as well.
I move over to section 44. The county council is going to assume new duties. There will be more roads come under the county jurisdiction, a city home will come in under county jurisdiction and the welfare will be taken over by the county.
The other big issue is waste management. It is going to be a big concern to the county of Lambton. We certainly have got discussions going on there now out in the township of Warwick. I understand that there are a number of municipalities that do not have a waste site now that will last very much longer; in fact, it may be full right at this moment.
I wonder if the county, in assuming some of those duties, is going to be, shall we say, the banker. What debt would this put on to the county? Right at this time the county has been very successful over the years. In fact, they owe very little money, but because of this bill, I wonder how much the county may be expected to assume in the near future as it pertains to roads, welfare, the home in Sarnia, which is Marshall Gowland Manor Home for the Aged, as well as waste management. I think maybe of any of the concerns, waste management might be the largest.
The other area that people had talked about when we were going over these discussions when the committee was meeting a few years ago -- I guess it is over four years ago that I sat on that original boundary committee. They talk about efficiencies. Where are these efficiencies going to take place? I believe it says in this bill that jobs will be protected.
I bring these issues out because these are the questions that are coming from the people I have to deal with or my constituency office has to deal with. I believe we have to put this on the record so that these people can understand a little bit more of what may be expected of them in the near future as well as in the longer term.
I am going to ask another question here, it is in the waste disposal section, part VIII, and it is because of the discussions on the Warwick landfill site. It is subsection 50(3):
“If the county council refuses its consent under subsection (1) or the applicant and the county council fail to agree on the terms related to the consent, the applicant may appeal to the municipal board which shall hear and determine the matter and may impose such conditions as the board considers appropriate.”
Because of a resolution passed by Lambton county council, I would hope that it is in full agreement with that subsection.
Under the county road system, part IX, the people want to know, or feel they should know, what roads will come under the county system. The suburban roads commission that used to exist will no longer be there as of 31 December 1990. I feel that is likely the best way to handle it.
Since the old city is coming into the county, I think likely this will work out rather well, but we would like to know how many roads and what roads are coming in under the new county government and what costs there may be.
We go over to section 59, which says, “The minister may by order prescribe the roads within the city which are county roads.”
We move over to section 75. I had better read subsection 75(1):
“(1) In 1991, the council of the city shall, in the manner prescribed by the minister, levy on the whole of the assessment for real property and business assessment according to the last returned assessment roll pertaining to the merged area of the town of Clearwater rates of taxation for general purposes which shall not be increased over the 1990 rates by more than the lesser of, (a) 3.5 per cent of the rates of taxation for general purposes,” and (b) the consumer price index, whichever is the lesser.
I told myself that if they felt that was realistic to protect the people of Clearwater, then that was why I brought that amendment forward: To say that if Clearwater felt it had to be protected from rate increases, I felt that the county of Lambton should have protection as well. That is why I was tabling the two amendments that would somewhat protect the county.
I think that inflation today is higher than 3.5 per cent and I am trying to figure out if this is a realistic thing to do or a good thing to do for the new city. If they are having trouble with dollars now, they are going to be lacking dollars just a few years down the road.
So those are the questions that I am asking right there and that is why I am moving the amendment when we move into the committee of the whole House: to give some protection, unless there is an answer here that I am not aware of, for the municipalities within the riding of Lambton.
Then there is subsection 76(2): “The minister may by order before 1 January 2000, on such conditions as the minister considers appropriate, make grants or loans to the county and the local municipalities to achieve the purposes of this act.”
Certainly I am only the member there for the time being, but the year 2000 is 11 years away and when the minister says “may,” I wonder if this is good enough. Do the people of Lambton really know how much money might come from the provincial coffers? If this could be answered, I am sure a lot of people would appreciate that answer. That to me has a very large bearing on the impact of this transition of the city coming into the county. They have not been there in a good many years, and these are some of the questions that my constituents are asking of me.
There are other areas within this bill that I am sure we could ask questions on, but I realize this committee was set up. They were elected locally. There is a difference of opinion, certainly, among the people as to whether they had the right to do all the things they are doing, but that is democracy. I buy that, I can accept that, but the interim report mentions two acts and this bill, I believe, mentions about 27 acts.
I am just saying to the minister that I hope all the parties have been satisfied that they have covered their ratepayers in the best way they can and I hope that no one will be affected adversely in the short term or the long term. If the minister saw fit that some of these answers were not in place, I am sure that it would not take anything away from the area down there if it had to be delayed until the date of 1 May 1990, because that is mentioned in this bill.
Sometimes, as members, I suppose we get frustrated and this is another comment that is made by the people. We have had an east Lambton water line in the ground for almost two years and we cannot get the legislation through, and this is between the ministries of Environment and Municipal Affairs, to let people hook up to this line and let them pay for it. I have people coming to my office and the municipalities have people coming to their offices saying, “We have the money; we want the water. Why can’t we have that?”
Here is a bill that is going through inside of six months and people say. “How come this is going so fast?” If we can answer these questions, I believe the people of Lambton will be receptive. I think that they have the right to these answers and I hope they will be forthcoming in the very near future.
Hon Mr Eakins: I want to express my appreciation to those who have participated in the debate today. To the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr D. S. Cooke), I want to say that I appreciate the very accommodating comments which he has made, indicating the full support of his party for this bill.
Also, to the member for Sarnia, the leader of his party. I want to express my appreciation. If anyone in this Legislature knows the history and the background of the very difficult time leading up to this legislation, he does. I appreciate very much the high road that he has taken all through these long and difficult discussions.
I must say that when I assumed the portfolio of the Minister of Municipal Affairs, I wondered if a solution was in sight, but circumstances developed that were able to bring about this bill here today. I simply say to the member, who served as a mayor of that community, he knows very well the very difficult path to the solution that we have here today. I thank him for the high road that he has taken.
My colleague the member for Lambton has raised some concerns, and rightfully so. He represents a large area that is involved in this bill here today. I appreciate his comments. Many of the concerns which he has raised have been addressed by the committee. They have been raised with our ministry.
We have gone over all the various items which he has raised, and I am satisfied that the decisions reached here today through this bill are those which the local committee representing the city of Sarnia, the town of Clearwater and the county of Lambton has gone over, has addressed and has had open house for the citizens to come and express their opinions on. Indeed, I have had many letters from a number of citizens saying, “Just get on with it and do something,” because they are looking forward to a resolution.
I believe the bill which we have here today, with the amendments, recognizes the local decision. It is to the credit of the elected people of the three municipalities that we have this very excellent bill here, and I am sure it is going to serve the people in Sarnia, Clearwater and Lambton very well indeed.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for committee of the whole House.
Hon Mr Conway: I would suggest, if it is agreeable, that we move now to committee of the whole to consider this bill.
House in committee of the whole.
SARNIA-LAMBTON ACT, 1989
Consideration of Bill 35, An Act respecting the amalgamation of the City of Sarnia and the Town of Clearwater and the addition of the amalgamated City to the County of Lambton.
The Deputy Chairman: Could members please first indicate the sections which they seek to amend, wish to make comment upon or ask questions on? We will allow a moment for the staff to get in order here.
Mr Brandt: Could I seek some guidance from the chairman with respect to expediting the procedure that we normally follow? There is a series of amendments that all of those who are here who are following this particular bill have had an opportunity to read and digest.
Unless I am mistaken, and I stand ready to hear from any of my colleagues in connection with the comment I am about to make, I understand that there is agreement from all parties in connection with these particular amendments and that the only amendment that was of some controversy has in fact been withdrawn. Is that not correct? So I wonder if we cannot deal with these in total and get the agreement as a package. That is my question.
The Deputy Chairman: Could I first ask the minister to list the sections for which there are government amendments?
Hon Mr Eakins: I do have 10 amendments, and for those 10 amendments I would certainly be in agreement to take them in one package.
The Deputy Chairman: The table advises me that we do not have any copies here. Could we have a set of copies of the amendments?
I do not know how we can avoid going through them one by one. If there is agreement among the three parties, it may be quite easy to proceed with them in order rather quickly. If the minister will make the motions, I will put them to the House. Is that agreed?
Mr Wildman: That is acceptable to us. I would expect, though, that the minister would want to answer the questions raised by my friend the member for Lambton as we go through as quickly as possible.
The Deputy Chairman: Can we proceed with the amendments in order, then?
First, let me put this other question. Shall sections 1 to 5, inclusive, stand as part of this bill?
Sections 1 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Eakins moves that section 6 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(3) Despite section 37 of the Municipal Act, a person is qualified to be elected or hold office under paragraph 1 of subsection (1), if in addition to be being qualified under section 37 of the Municipal Act, that person at any time during the period commencing on the Tuesday following the first Monday in September in an election year and ending on the Monday in October that precedes polling day by 28 days is a resident in or is the owner or tenant of land in or is the spouse of such an owner or tenant in the ward in which that person is seeking to be elected or to hold office.”
Hon Mr Eakins: The town wants to ensure that the ward system in the city will require the representative elected in the ward to be an eligible elector in the ward rather than the city as a whole. This precedent was set in Thunder Bay and is implemented here.
The Deputy Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the committee that the motion carry?
Motion agreed to.
Mr D. W. Smith: Just to clarify these amendments, I received an amendment on 30 June and I thought it came from the honourable member for Sarnia. I want to know whether it is part of this package you are talking about. The amendment I received was to subsection 49(5).
Mr Brandt: No.
The Deputy Chairman: Let me ask again for the minister to list the sections he seeks to amend. We had section 6. Are there any other amendments to section 6?
Hon Mr Eakins: The amendments are one in part I; part II, subsection 18(4), section 19 and section 20; parts III, IV, V and VI, no amendments; part VII, subsection 43(1) --
The Deputy Chairman: Excuse me. I am trying to write these down. Would you start again?
Hon Mr Eakins: I thought you took shorthand.
The Deputy Chairman: Tell me the sections you wish to amend.
Hon Mr Eakins: In part II, subsection 18(4), section 19, section 20; in part VII, subsections 43(1) and (2); part VIII, section 51; part XI, subsection 65(2); part XIII, section 81 and subsection 82(1).
The Deputy Chairman: I understand the member for Lambton has two amendments to section 75. Is that correct?
Mr D. W. Smith: That is true.
The Deputy Chairman: The opposition parties say they do not have copies. Can they be supplied with copies, please?
Mr D. W. Smith: I put them on their leaders’ desks before lunch. I have other copies here if you want them.
Section 6, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 7 to 17, inclusive, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Eakins moves that subsection 18(4) of the bill be amended by adding at the end thereof "and for such election, each member of county council shall have one vote.”
Hon Mr Eakins: This amendment ensures that the election of the county warden during the pre-election period of 1 January 1991 to 30 November 1991 will require one vote per member and a majority vote of county councillors, at least 19 of the 37 members, rather than based on the weighted voting structure
Motion agreed to.
Section 18, as amended, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Eakins moves that section 19 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(4) Despite subsections 18(2) and 19(2), upon the recommendation of the minister, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may by order provide for the manner in which the county council votes of the mayors of municipalities being amalgamated should be distributed to the local municipalities, other than the city, that would exist after such amalgamation.”
Mr D. W. Smith: l just want to ask a question here. If the village of Point Edward were to decide to become part of the new city, does it mean the vote of Point Edward would come out into the county or does it become part of the new city? I just want this clarified here.
Hon Mr Eakins: The agreement says that the city should not have more than a 40 per cent vote on county council. If any amalgamations of local municipalities occur, the member would no longer sit but the vote would be redistributed to a municipality, other than the city, in order to ensure that the city’s 40 per cent vote on county council will be maintained.
For example, should the village of Arkona amalgamate with the township of Bosanquet, the mayor of Arkona would no longer sit on county council. However, the vote that had been assigned to Arkona would be reassigned to another local municipality in the county, except the city.
Mr D. W. Smith: I appreciate that explanation because when we say it is a percentage, it still could roll back to the city if there were two municipalities joined together. Anyway, I got the clarification.
Motion agreed to.
Section 19, as amended, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Eakins moves that section 20 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“(1) Despite subsection 19(2), for the purposes of electing the warden of county council, each member shall have one vote.
“(2) The warden of the county council shall bear the title of county warden.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 20, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 21 to 42, inclusive, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Eakins moves that subsection 43(1) of the bill be amended by inserting after “by” in the fourth line “and entitled to the benefit of.”
Motion agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Eakins moves that subsection 43(2) of the bill be amended by striking out “at their joint expense and for their joint benefit” in the third and fourth lines.
Motion agreed to.
Section 43, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 44 to 50, inclusive, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Eakins moves that section 51 of the bill be amended by striking out “at their joint expense and for their joint benefit” in the third and fourth lines.
Motion agreed to.
Section 51, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 52 to 64, inclusive, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Eakins moves that subsection 65(2) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“(2) Subsection 9(6) of the Public Libraries Act, 1984 does not apply in the county.”
“(2a) All local municipalities shall be deemed to be participating municipalities for the purposes of subsection 26(1) of the Public Libraries Act, 1984.”
Mr D. W. Smith: Just another point of clarification here: The minister referred to subsection 65(2). I have subsection 9(5) of the Public Libraries Act, but he has 9(6). Is that the way it is supposed to be? I just was not sure. I did not know whether that was an error or not.
The Deputy Chairman: The reference to the Public Libraries Act is subsection 9(6) on my copy of the amendment. Is that what was intended?
Hon Mr Eakins: That is right.
The Deputy Chairman: Subsection 9(6) is correct.
Motion agreed to.
Section 65, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 66 to 74, inclusive, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr D. W. Smith moves that section 75 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(6) In 1991, the council of the county shall levy on the whole of the assessment for real property and business assessment according to the last returned assessment roll pertaining to the municipalities of the riding of Lambton, rates of taxation for county levy purposes which shall not be increased over the 1990 rates by more than the lesser of,
“(a) 3.5 per cent of the rates of taxation for county levy purposes in all of the area municipalities in the riding of Lambton; and
“(b) the rate of inflation for the calendar year of 1990, as determined by the consumer price index published by Statistics Canada.”
Mr D. W. Smith: The reason I brought this amendment forward is because of clauses 75(1)(a) and (b) and because the bill refers then on to section 76, where the minister “may” give grants. I feel I owe some protection to the municipalities in the county and that is why I am forwarding that amendment to read that way.
Hon Mr Eakins: I can appreciate that my colleague has expressed some concerns, but unfortunately I cannot accept that amendment. The acceptance would certainly favour a parochial approach in that area. What has brought the bill together is the spirit of co-operation among all of the participants and it is the same spirit that will ensure its success. To accept this amendment would not be in the spirit of the federation that has brought this bill together.
Mr D. S. Cooke: I wonder if the member might be able to answer a question first, and that is that if he would like a recorded vote on this, we might want to help him out and divide so that he can get on record all his Liberal caucus members who are going to vote against this.
I also wonder on this particular amendment how he could refer in a piece of legislation like this to the riding of Lambton. What does the riding of Lambton mean in terms of this piece of legislation? Why would it just refer to his provincial riding?
Mr D. W. Smith: it would appear that the municipalities in the riding of Lambton are going to bear the increased costs from this bill, I am being told back in the riding. If someone in the committee saw fit to protect the town of Clearwater going into the new city, I do not see anything wrong with me, as the member for Lambton, giving some protection to my own municipalities. I have been told that the expected increases in some municipalities on the county levy could go as high as 50 per cent.
I say that is a little high, and when you read on to subsection 76(2), where the minister may give a grant or a loan by the year 2000, a lot can happen within that time frame. As the member, I feel I owe some responsibility to the municipalities within my riding.
Mr D. S. Cooke: I understand the point the member is trying to make. I just want to get an understanding of what legal status the phrase “the riding of Lambton” would have in this particular piece of legislation.
Mr D. W. Smith: Maybe we should have used the words “the municipalities of the old Lambton county.”
Mr Wildman: That would have made more sense.
Mr Brandt: I am not going to be able to support the amendment, and I say that with regret because I would like to find some area where I could find some common ground with my colleague with respect to this matter, but obviously he is aware that any preferential and/or, to use the minister’s words, parochial treatment of a part of the municipality that would be impacted by this bill will quite obviously shift the burden to someone else.
I want to make it very clear to my colleague that of 50 local votes consisting of the county of Lambton and the various other municipalities that are involved and outlined in this bill, 48 of them concurred with the bill, which has been structured and devised by the member’s government as a sensitive balance looking after the interests of all the people who will be impacted by the bill.
I have to take strong exception to any alteration of that very sensitive balance. With the introduction of that kind of amendment, quite frankly, the entire agreement would collapse.
Mr D. W. Smith: If I appear to be somewhat parochial, why does the member believe that the town of Clearwater, which will become part of the city of Sarnia, has taken a parochial attitude and said, “Our taxation rates for general purposes there cannot go up by more than three and a half per cent or the consumer price index, whichever is the lesser”? If I am taking a parochial attitude, I am sure the residents or the ratepayers of Clearwater and their representatives have taken a parochial attitude against the new city.
Mr Wildman: In the spirit of compromise, to try to work out this difference between the minister and his backbencher, why does the minister not treat this as a friendly amendment? We would be happy to give him unanimous consent to have this expanded so that this amendment would apply to all municipalities in Ontario.
The Deputy Chairman: May I now put the question? The member for Lambton.
Mr D. W. Smith: It would take something away from this amendment if the minister could then say in section 76 that he could make sure that our taxes will not increase drastically. From what I am hearing from the people, and they are the clerks of municipalities, if he could say that these levies are not going to go up by horrendous amounts -- and to me, 50 per cent is quite an amount -- then I would say that, sure, I would withdraw the amendment. But as the member for Lambton, I think I have a duty to speak on behalf of the riding of Lambton.
Clearwater is partly in my riding and partly in the riding of Sarnia. In fact, I have the larger area. The member for Sarnia has the larger population and the larger assessment. But I think we have every right to speak up on behalf of our people on this amendment.
The Deputy Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the committee that the motion carry?
The Deputy Chairman: The next amendment is by the member for Lambton as well, subsection 75(7).
Mr D. W. Smith moves that section 75 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(7) Based on the assessment values as determined in subsection (6), the 1992 rates and the next nine consecutive years shall be the lesser of,
“(a) 3.5 per cent of the rates of taxation for county levy purposes in all of the area municipalities in the riding of Lambton and
“(b) the rate of inflation for the calendar year of 1990, as determined by the consumer price index published by Statistics Canada.”
Mr D. W. Smith: This is drafted in much the same way as subsection 75(6). I still believe that if one community is being parochial with the new city, as it is being amalgamated, it is my duty as the member for Lambton to see that the member municipalities have some protection so that the increases do not get out of hand and the people become alarmed, shall we say, two or three years down the road. I just want to make it known that this is what I am hearing. I feel I should make these comments and offer these amendments to this bill.
Hon Mr Eakins: My comments will be the same as for the previous amendment: I could not accept this amendment. I might say that the decision with regard to this bill was made after careful thought by the appointed people from the city of Sarnia, the town of Clearwater and the county of Lambton. They have all agreed unanimously on this particular bill and, therefore, I respect local autonomy and their wishes in this regard.
Mr Brandt: Just by way of clarification, if I might, the treatment clearly and specifically identified in this bill relative to Clearwater is as it has been represented in the bill with respect to certain limitations on tax increases as a direct result of Clearwater becoming part of the new city, which then ultimately becomes a minority part of the new county with a 40 per cent voting structure. That is not the same as is the case with the remaining part of the county which is not adjusted in terms of the geography or the boundaries.
So I think there is a very clear distinction between the way Clearwater is treated within this bill, because it is a focal point of the adjustments that are being made, as opposed to other parts of the county which are not in any way adjusted and simply remain part of the county structure as it is now, with of course the changes implied in the bill.
Mr D. W. Smith: I cannot totally agree with that statement made by the honourable member for Sarnia. We are definitely going to be affected. If I can give an explanation here, these are approximate percentages. The town of Clearwater has been levying into the county at approximately 32 per cent for this current year. The town of Clearwater is a third the size of the old city under the assessed values today. So when the whole city comes in, when the new city comes in, they are only going to increase the county levy by 21 per cent. Until we know how many roads, what welfare may cost and what the Marshall Gowland Manor Home for the Aged may cost, I will ask these questions. If somebody can give me the answers as to what the increases are going to be, I certainly will be more at ease.
I raise these questions now because of the things I am hearing, not necessarily from the elected people, but from the clerks. They have raised it with me and they certainly do have a lot to do with running the municipalities. That is why I am bringing this forward. There is some comparison between the town of Clearwater and its general levy to the new city and the county of Lambton as the new city comes in as a local municipality.
I want to put those comments on the record. I do not want to appear obstructionist, but I have found in my municipal experiences that if you do not ask the questions before, it is too late after the fact.
Mr Brandt: Very briefly, I would like to say that the member for Lambton asks the unanswerable question, “What are taxes going to be in the future?” There are 50 elected local municipal leaders who have every bit as much responsibility as any member of this assembly in connection with the setting of the assessment rate and the taxation for future years.
For any one of us to stand here and attempt in some way to predict what those taxes are going to be in 1991 or 1992 I really think is an impossible task. No one can answer the question the member has raised because no one in this assembly is going to have the responsibility for establishing those tax rates.
I would only say to the member that those people, the 50 or more of them who are elected there to represent their particular constituents, have a responsibility to provide adequately for the people who elected them, to raise those taxes they need. They are answerable to those people in quite the same way as the member and I are here in this assembly. I think it is extremely difficult to answer a question when there is no answer available for it.
Mr D. W. Smith: I believe the answer is not as difficult as it appears. By 1991 they will be taxing every municipality here and they will know exactly what the figures are. Under this total bill, you have to go with county-wide assessment whether you wish or not. Under the normal procedure, you might have the option to back out at a certain point when you see what the assessments may he to any particular municipality.
I am not being parochial there, because there will be a difference between townships, towns and villages. I think by 1991 they will know exactly what that number is on their taxes and I do not think that answer is as difficult as it may appear to be here today.
The Deputy Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the committee that the amendment by the member for Lambton carry?
Section 75 agreed to.
Sections 76 to 80, inclusive, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Eakins moves that section 81 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“81. Paragraph 50 of section 210 of the Municipal Act applies with necessary modifications to the county.”
Mr D. W. Smith: I am just going to make another comment here. If after this discussion we have had here the minister still feels the questions have all been addressed, then that is fine. If he has some hesitation and he would like to get some more answers from the committee back in the Sarnia-Lambton-Clearwater group and he feels he should wait before he gives it final third reading, I think that would be appreciated by many, even the ones the member for Sarnia has mentioned have all voted for this. They themselves would like to know a few more answers. I just put that last comment there and we will carry on.
Motion agreed to.
Section 81, as amended, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Eakins moves that subsection 82(1) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“82(1) If there is a conflict between a bylaw passed by county council under subclause 209(b)(ii) or (iii) of the Municipal Act and a bylaw passed by the council of a local municipality under those subclauses, the bylaw of county council prevails to the extent of the conflict.”
Hon Mr Eakins: The county requested this amendment to ensure that it is co-ordinating emergency planning, rather than taking it away from the local municipalities. The act gives them the power to pass emergency planning bylaws and this amendment requires that local emergency planning bylaws comply with the county bylaw.
Motion agreed to.
Section 82, as amended, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Are there any other amendments?
Mr D. W. Smith: Is it appropriate to make a comment here? I do not have an amendment. I just want to say at this time that this is the first time I have ever participated in a debate such as this. I may have sounded somewhat parochial in that I was speaking up for Lambton. If that is what I sounded like, that is fully what I intended.
I want to thank the minister for what he has done to this bill and I want to thank the committee down in Sarnia, I say once again, if members feel that all the answers are there, fine, that is the way it should be. But if there is any hesitation or a thought in the back of their minds that it should be considered a little bit further down and maybe some more answers can work out, I certainly would appreciate that. I have enjoyed this debate today.
Sections 83 to 89, inclusive, agreed to.
Schedule agreed to.
Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.
LAND TRANSFER TAX AMENDMENT ACT, 1989 (CONTINUED)
Consideration of Bill 23, An Act to amend the Land Transfer Tax Act.
The Deputy Chairman: When last we met, we had concluded section 1 and were discussing section 2.
Mr Charlton: I just have one last comment on section 2, because it would appear from the minister’s interjections at the end of our last discussion on section 2 that he did not fully understand the intent of my questions and comments. He seemed to indicate that I was advocating a tax increase when, in fact, I was advocating precisely the opposite: a tax decrease.
I just wanted it clearly on the record that I had been asking the minister whether he had had a look at the high end of average prices for average homes in Ontario and whether the $250,000 point at which the tax steps up to the next level of 1.5 per cent adequately reflected the minister’s comments that the $250,000 roughly represented the average sale price in Metropolitan Toronto.
My point was simply to ask the minister whether he had considered raising the $250,000 point at which the tax increases to perhaps a rate higher, at $300,000 or $310,000 or whatever, so that the one per cent rate of land transfer tax would be the rate that applied to all average bungalow-type homes in Ontario and that none of those average homes, regardless of their value, were discriminated against by a higher tax rate.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: I did have a chance to talk to the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr Charlton) the very next day and I did have a chance to speak to the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) about it. The answer is no, it was not considered.
The member also brought up a very interesting point: Why do we not consider abolishing the land transfer tax up to $150,000 to permit first-time home buyers a relief in the land transfer tax? I appreciate his comments and I will certainly take this up with the Treasurer. Who knows? Maybe in the next budget, or an amendment could be brought into the House to reflect what the member has brought to my attention.
Mr Wiseman: When the Treasurer announced in his budget that the land transfer tax was going up for the second time since this government took power, I could hardly believe it, on top of the many other things in his budget that would go into hindering young people from getting a new home, things like the tax levy on lots in order to go to pay for a cutback in the amount of payment that the government will pay through the Ministry of Education towards the capital cost of a new school.
When you add up the land transfer tax, the fact is this government will increase its coffers by some $30 million. As I said, some estimate the lot levy tax is going to be from $5,000 to $7,000 on that. The minister, I am sure, is aware that each time they do this, they are killing the chances of young people of owning a home. I am sure the Treasurer would be concerned because of the eight per cent he loses on many of the things that go into these new homes. If people cannot buy the homes, they will not buy the furniture and therefore he will lose the eight per cent on that.
I am really disappointed that the Treasurer, and now the Minister of Revenue, is bringing this increase through. As I said before, it will, along with the high interest rates and the other things I mentioned, really kill home ownership for young people in this province.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: I think the Treasurer and this government have thought of the first-time home buyers, because if a person or a couple buys a home under the Ontario home ownership savings plan, a full refund is available if the home is less than 150,000. If the home is between $150,000 and $200,000, then it graduates for a partial tax rebate.
The member for Lanark-Renfrew did bring up some very interesting points, talking about the increase in retail sales tax to eight per cent, lot levies being increased and also permitting the schools to introduce a school lot levy, if I can call it that. All of these new taxes were needed for a number of reasons.
I think the member will agree with me that more and more people are looking for better services and more services. There is a limit to what the provincial government can do, I realize there is also a limit to what the federal government can do. This is why we are now looking at ways to share these costs with the municipal governments right across this province.
A lot of these taxes will return to very specific programs, such as transportation and environment programs. We did not simply increase taxes for the sake of increasing taxes. These dollars will be spent in very specific programs to answer the need of not only the municipal governments but also of all taxpayers in this province.
Mr Wiseman: I would just like to ask a similar question to that which one of my colleagues asked the other day when the minister was talking about the tax on tires going to the Ministry of the Environment. We asked him if the Treasurer at that time had set aside a special fund for that to make sure that being earmarked would not only be talked about but actually would be earmarked.
I wonder if the minister could give his assurance that the Treasurer has set aside something that no other Treasurer in the almost 19 years I have been here has ever done, and that is have it out of the general fund and into a particular fund, whether it be transportation or whatever. I understand that in a few minutes we are going to increase the tax on gasoline, and I wondered if the minister is going to tell us if that is going to go to roads.
Could the minister just explain to the House whether he has talked to the Treasurer and whether the Treasurer has agreed to put that additional $30 million into a particular program?
Hon Mr Grandmaître: I have spoken to the Treasurer about these extra taxes. It says right in the budget that these dollars will be spent on very specific programs. The member knows very well and he has been around long enough to realize that this has never been done. At budget time, the Treasurer is not too specific about where these dollars will be spent, but at a later date, let’s say weeks alter, the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Health or whichever minister introduces very specific programs.
Even if it is a tire tax or a gasoline tax, these dollars will be spent where the Treasurer said they would be spent. It was very clear in the budget that this is where they will be spent. The member can rest assured. I trust my Treasurer.
Section 2 agreed to.
Sections 3 to 8, inclusive, agreed to.
Bill ordered to be reported.
GASOLINE TAX AMENDMENT ACT, 1989
Consideration of Bill 24, An Act to amend the Gasoline Tax Act.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Grandmaître moves that section 1 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(1a) Clause 1(e) of the said act is repealed and the following substituted therefor:
“(e) ‘importer’ means a person who brings or causes to be brought into Ontario gasoline in bulk, aviation fuel in bulk or propane in bulk.”
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Again this is more or less administrative. It is a definition to clarify “importer.” It is really administrative.
Mr Wildman: On behalf of the member for Markham (Mr Cousens), in his absence, I was wondering if the minister has a definition for “bulk.”
Hon Mr Grandmaître: I am sorry that my friend the member for Markham is not here today. I did try to answer my friend the member for Markham, and today I will try to answer my friend the member for Algoma (Mr Wildman). The definition of bulk is “large quantities.”
Motion agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Grandmaître moves that section 1 of the act, as amended by subsection 1(2) of the bill, be further amended by adding thereto the following clauses:
“(ba) ‘aviation fuel in bulk’ means aviation fuel stored, transported or transferred by any means other than in a fuel tank of an aircraft or a motor vehicle in which aviation fuel for generating power in an aircraft or the motor vehicle is kept;
“(da) ‘gasoline in bulk’ means gasoline stored, transported or transferred by any means other than in a fuel tank of a motor vehicle in which gasoline for generating power in the motor vehicle is kept;
(gb) ‘propane in bulk’ means propane stored, transported or transferred by any means other than in a fuel tank of a motor vehicle in which propane for generating power in the motor vehicle is kept.”
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Again, they are administrative amendments. They are better definitions.
Motion agreed to.
Section 1, as amended, agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Grandmaître moves that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following section:
“2a. Section 4 of the said act is repealed and the following substituted therefor:
“4(1) Every importer shall, at the times and in the manner prescribed, collect from every wholesaler, retailer or purchaser to whom the importer sells aviation fuel, gasoline or propane, 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.
“(2) Every importer who is a collector shall remit to the Treasurer, at the time and in the manner prescribed, the tax collectable and payable with respect to the aviation fuel, gasoline or propane imported by that person.
“(3) At the time of the entry into Ontario from outside Canada of aviation fuel, gasoline or propane, every importer who is not a collector shall remit to the Treasurer,
“(a) an amount as security equal to the tax that the importer would be obliged to collect under subsection (1) on the resale in Ontario of the aviation fuel, gasoline or propane; and
“(b) the tax payable by the importer under subsection 2(1).
“(4) The remittance required by subsection (3) 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.
“(5) Every importer shall, at the times and in the manner prescribed, deliver to the minister or to a person authorized by the minister a return with respect to the aviation fuel, gasoline and propane imported by the importer.”
Motion agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Grandmaître moves that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following section:
“2b. The said act is amended by adding thereto the following section:
“16a(1) Every person carrying aviation fuel in bulk, gasoline in bulk or propane in bulk and the operator of every motor vehicle carrying such products, 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 aviation fuel, gasoline or propane was obtained and the name and address of any person to whom the aviation fuel, gasoline or propane so obtained was delivered or is to be delivered;
“(b) the quantity of aviation fuel, gasoline or propane delivered or to be delivered to any person;
“(c) the use or intended use, if known, to be made of any aviation fuel, gasoline or propane 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 aviation fuel in bulk, gasoline in bulk or propane in bulk where,
“(a) written evidence requested under subsection (1) is not given;
“(b) the information in the written evidence that is given is false; or
“(c) the importer fails to comply with section 4 or fails to deliver any return in accordance with section 4.
“(3)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 under section 4 is delivered or the return in accordance with section 4 is delivered, as the case requires.
“(4) During any detention under subsection (2), the crown, or any person acting in the administration and enforcement of the act, is not liable for any damages 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 section 4 and subsection (1).
Hon Mr Grandmaître: These are really the procedures to be followed at the border crossing if the transporter is not a collecting agent or does not provide the agent or the minister with the proper identification and the delivery of the fuel.
Mr Harris: I am not an expert on this particular piece of legislation. I do want to ask, though, about the liability section, subsection 4. Perhaps the minister can help me, that this bill and the liability section as proposed by the minister with this amendment, as I understand it, is to limit the liability or in fact indicates that there shall be no liability on the part of the crown or any person acting on behalf of the crown, but then it says, “pending compliance with section 4 and subsection (1).” I assume those are the sections in the original bill.
I wonder if the minister could explain to me exactly what limitations there are. I would assume that without those limitations, the crown or somebody acting on behalf of the crown would not need to take due caution and care. I am not sure I would support giving carte blanche to the government to just blow the truck up and say, “Tough bananas, the law says I can do that.”
I think the minister will know that for the employee to act on his own is the most common complaint we have of his employees. As they are tax collectors, I appreciate there is a certain susceptibility to this complaint; that is, that the tax collector is not fair and is very often obnoxious and very often acts as though he is God or has a little more power than the one having to pay the tax thinks he should have.
I appreciate that the situation is such that more often than not those allegations or charges or feelings are unfounded. None the less, the minister’s employees are in that position just by the very nature of the job, as politicians by the nature of their job are not always seen -- in the most recent polls, I am told -- to be of the most trusted of professions. I do not understand that, quite frankly, myself.
Having said that, without knowing what limitations there are in the “compliance with section 4 and subsection (1),” I am sure the minister would not want, and I would not want, to be party to giving more power, particularly to abuse somebody’s property. I wonder if the minister could clarify some of that for me.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: In section 2a, the amendment I have just brought forward on the collection of tax, we go through the procedure of tax collection. No, it is not the intention of the agents at the border crossings to impede transporters of aviation fuel, gasoline, diesel or whatever. As long as they comply with subsection 4(1), it is not the intention of our agents to detain these transporters for ever. As long as they can comply and meet the requirements of subsection 4(1), then they can be on their way.
Mr Harris: “Pending compliance with section 4 and subsection (1)” means pending providing the documentation requested. Does it not concern the minister a little bit? That is not the way I read it. I assumed there was some limitation on this. I appreciate that the vehicle can be detained until the law is complied with. Perhaps some lawyer can help me. I assume there are some limitations on what the ministry can do.
Let’s say I bring a truck across the border and I do not have my documentation. The ministry then legally detains me and detains my vehicle until I can get the documentation. The possibility exists that the vehicle is detained for a day or two, or a week, and very likely the driver is not, obviously, the owner of the fuel and in some cases is not necessarily the one who is even concerned as much, or is responsible for not having the documentation.
If I read this section correctly, what it says is that once the vehicle is detained, regardless of whether the crown is negligent, regardless of whether the employee who detains it then decides to take it for a joy ride and knocks it over or does not take the proper precautions to protect that piece of property, the minister is saying, “Notwithstanding any of that, once it is under detention we’re not liable.”
I am not a lawyer. I am sure there must be something the minister can give me in law that says: “Yes, you are liable. You have detained that property. It is now in your possession and you then have a responsibility when you detain it to take normal precautions to make sure that property is not damaged.”
Perhaps there is something that covers that and I just do not know what it is. Otherwise, I do not know why this section is necessary in the bill. I would want the government employees and the crown to take some responsibility once they take a truck into their possession. I guess that is what they are doing when they detain that vehicle. I wonder if the minister could elaborate more on that and help me with that.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: I am not a lawyer, but I will try. I am sure the member has crossed these border lines on a number of occasions and knows the security being taken by these agents. We will not detain the driver himself. We will detain only the cargo. At these border crossings, not only gasoline but any other products are under security. If he wants to give me an example, if he wants to be a little more specific, then maybe I could find him a better answer.
Mr Harris: Let me try this one: A truck comes along with a truckload of fuel and does not have the proper documentation. The ministry detains the vehicle. The driver goes back to Missouri, picks up the documentation, comes back three days later and his truck is not there, his truck is burned, all the fuel is gone, the tires are fiat or his radio has been stolen out of it.
He says: “Hey, I had $80,000 worth of fuel in here. This truck’s now empty.” The minister says, “Tough bananas, section 4 says we’ve got no liability, either as an employee or as the crown.” That is what I am asking. In fact, is he saying to me that once the minister takes possession of that truck and detains it, he does not have any obligation to try to protect that vehicle? If that is the case, I am not going to support this. In fact, I am going to seek quite a few more answers on this.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Again, if, for instance, the vehicle disappeared. I am sure there would be a reason. If the vehicle were to burn, I am sure there would be a reason for it. Let’s face it, we say we are not responsible. If it is malicious, then it is another story. I am sure there would be a kind of investigation done because a truck would not disappear on its own or burn on its own. I am sure there must be a reason, even if it is damaged. I am sure the investigation would point out whether it was malicious or an act of God. So I think we are trying to split hairs. I am trying to accommodate the member and that is the best explanation I can give him.
Mr Charlton: Perhaps I can try putting the question of the member for Nipissing in a slightly different way. Perhaps the minister could give us an example of the kind of liability the crown is trying to protect itself from in this wording that is here. What is it that the minister will not take responsibility for?
Hon Mr Grandmaître: A breach of contract, for instance, I am being told, if the vehicle were due on such and such a day to deliver its contents. If there is a breach of contract, if the truck or the vehicle is delayed, then we would not be liable for the detention of the vehicle if the gasoline or aviation fuel were not delivered on time. That is the kind of liability we are talking about.
Mr Harris: I would move an amendment, and I will draft it if I have to, to indicate, “During the detention under subsection (2), the crown, or any person acting in the administration and enforcement of the act, is not liable for any failure of contract compliance on behalf of the carrier, etc, etc, etc.”, through there. Rather than having me sit here trying to draft something, I suggest to the minister that would be acceptable to me.
I understand what the minister is saying there. It is not the crown’s fault or it would not be the agent of the crown’s fault that the contract was not able to be fulfilled or the product delivered if right in fact the documents were not there. But I suggest to him this is pretty far-reaching.
If the minister takes the crown out, I might have a little more sympathy for what he is saying. I think the crown is indeed liable. I have some sympathy for the employee trying to carry out the myriad of confusing laws he has to carry out, but that employee is employed by the crown. If the crown acts negligently in its detention of the truck -- and let’s face it, it says here “not liable for any damages to the 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.”
Clearly, there is nothing here about contract compliance or a problem they may have there with not being able to deliver the product on time. This says: “We’re taking your vehicle. We’re taking your cargo. We’re going to hold it here. You go back and come back in three days or two days or four days with the documentation and you can pick it up.”
The minister is saying we are not responsible for it. I just do not accept that. I think he is. I do not know how many more examples I can give, but even if an alleged criminal is charged and $200,000 in cash is seized by the police and then subsequently, six months later, that person is found innocent, or is found guilty, but the money really belongs to him, the crown owes him the $200,000 and it is liable to give it back to him.
I am not a lawyer, but I do understand this. I think if you seize the guy’s truck and his cargo, he is entitled to get it back in the same shape he gave it to you. I do not think the minister can absolve himself of all liability, I think that the crown can absolve the employee of the crown and assume the responsibility and I would expect that the crown would do that anyway, as most good employers would do. In fact, if something happens and the employee is at fault, then the employer has ways to deal with that.
I am not an expert in this type of legislation, but I suggest to you that this goes a lot farther than anything I can imagine the minister would want to go.
Hon Mr Grandmaître: If the driver or the owner of the vehicle has read what the liability clause says and he does not agree with it, then all he has to do is turn around and take the truck back. It is as easy as that. I do not agree that we should amend the liability clause.
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.
Mr Charlton: I just had one question that I wanted to raise with the minister on the section before we pass the new amendments.
The Deputy Chairman: On section 2? Very well.
Mr Charlton: Perhaps the minister could explain the rationale that the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) used in determining that the exemption on alternative fuels would be changed, that a tax would be imposed on propane while maintaining the exemption on the other alternative fuels for motor vehicles. What was the rationale to take propane out of the exemption at this point?
Hon Mr Grandmaître: I am being told it was increased for the reason that the federal tax had been increased and that was to maintain the difference between the provincial and the federal tax.
Mr Chariton: Was there not a total exemption on propane in terms of the gasoline tax until this amendment before us here?
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Yes, the member is right.
Mr Charlton: What the minister is saying is that he is imposing this tax on propane but still exempting ethanol, methanol and natural gas because of an action taken by the federal government?
Hon Mr Grandmaître: Yes.
Mr Charlton: What tax was imposed by the federal government on propane?
Hon Mr Grandmaître: The tax on gasoline at the federal level was increased.
Mr Charlton: What does that have to do with removing the exemption on propane here in this bill, though? We had an exemption that covered ethanol, methanol, natural gas and propane. The minister has taken propane out of that exemption and left ethanol, methanol and natural gas still exempt from this tax. What is the difference between the two and what was the rationale for taking propane out of the exemption and leaving the others in?
Hon Mr Grandmaître: I do not have that answer, so I am not going to try to invent one. It was increased and it was announced in the budget and what I am trying to do today is pass Bill 24, but I do not have a real answer for the member.
Mr Charlton: That is a fair comment on the part of the minister, since the decision was a decision of the Treasurer, not of the Minister of Revenue, but perhaps the minister could undertake to get for us some rationale from the Treasurer, because in the context of what I understood the exemption to be about originally, the exemption was to promote the use of alternative fuels. I just wanted to understand his rationale for withdrawing part of that at this stage.
Mr Harris: I too would be interested in knowing the answer and appreciate that it was not the minister’s decision to make what appears to be an arbitrary decision to favour natural gas, ethanol, methanol over propane.
Hon Mr Kerrio: Isn’t that what all taxes are, an arbitrary decision to pay for hospitals and everything?
Mr Harris: The Minister of Natural Resources seems to have all the answers. If he knows why it was done, I would yield the floor and he could give us that answer.
Hon Mr Kerrio: I just told you.
Mr Harris: It was an arbitrary decision.
Hon Mr Kerrio: That’s what taxes are.
Mr Harris: Yes, but in this case, there were four alternative fuel products exempted from tax and now somebody has made a decision, presumably the Treasurer. Obviously, he did not consult cabinet because one, at least, has the honesty and integrity to say he does not know, and the other just blabbers on as if he does not care.
What we are dealing with here is a decision where one of the products has been selected now to be taxed, that being propane, while the other three apparently are still going to be exempt. I suggest to the minister that it appears as though somebody has made a decision. Maybe it is because propane is being used so much more and we can gobble up so much more money by taxing it. They could say: “Very few are using natural gas yet; that is, ethanol-methanol. When they start to use it, we’ll tax it too,” but still it is a decision that had to be taken on the basis of some knowledge of what is happening out there in the whole environmental field of alternative fuels.
Also, before we pass this section which includes the most contentious liability amendment that was brought in and which I saw only today, I suggest to the committee that the only opinion I have been able to determine in a very short period of time is that if a person is negligent, liable and it is his or her fault, this bill is not worth the paper it is written on anyway.
If I can determine before third reading that is the case, I might be prepared to let this thing pass before we adjourn for the summer. If I cannot, I will not, because no one can tell me that one can write something in law to override everything else, exempt the crown from any liability once you take possession and seize and detain that property. There is something wrong here.
Perhaps a lawyer will be able to explain to me that is the standard thing they put in and that it does not mean anything anyway, because it really is not worth the paper it is written on. If that is the case, I would say, why put it in? I will try to determine that.
That is relatively contentious and we do not have the answer on propane. Maybe it was an oversight by the Treasurer and now he will want to tax everything else too: I do not know. We will see what he has to say. Maybe it would make some sense to adjourn discussion on this one and move on to the next one so that we can get some of those answers.
The Deputy Chairman: If there is no further discussion, shall section 2, as amended, stand as part of the bill?
Mr Harris: Mr Chairman, it is your prerogative to ignore me, as it is everybody else’s. I appreciate that and will live with that. The member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr Charlton) raised the question first. I think the committee is now going to pass this section which in effect is going to tax propane, although I guess -- where are we, on section 1 ? -- maybe we can pick it up again on sections 2 or 3. So that is fine. Committee members should go ahead and pass this one.
The Deputy Chairman: I will now therefore put the question. Shall section 2 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 2 agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Shall sections 2a and 2b stand as part of the bill? Carried as amendments to section 2; additions to section 2.
Mr Harris: Is it section 2 of the bill?
The Deputy Chairman: The original section 2 of the bill stands as it appears in the bill with two additions, 2a and 2b, both of which have been passed now by the committee.
Mr Charlton: And voted upon?
The Deputy Chairman: And voted upon, yes.
Mr Harris: What is 2a?
Mrs Cunningham: We did not vote on 2b.
Mr Harris: When did we vote on 2a?
Hon Mr Grandmaître: A few minutes ago.
The Deputy Chairman: We voted on 2a and 2b.
Mr Harris: Maybe I am on the wrong part. I thought we were on subsection 1(2).
The Deputy Chairman: We have voted upon the amendments to section 1, subsection 1(1a) and subsection 1(2), and thereafter we voted upon two additions to section 2 and I was merely confirming that they stand as part of the bill. I need not have done that and now I am sorry that I have.
Mr Harris: Why do I not just get to the point? I am opposed to -- if you look at the top of page 2, I assume that is not being amended, 10.3 cents per litre. Is that not 2(1)(a)?
The Deputy Chairman: That is section 2 of the bill we just confirmed will stand as part of the bill, unamended, in its original form.
Mr Harris: Oh. I thought we were voting on the amendments. I did not recall that vote.
The Deputy Chairman: Therefore, just to finally confirm that, the two additions to the bill are 2a and 2b. Shall they stand as part of the bill? Agreed? Agreed.
Section 3 agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr Grandmaître moves that subsection 4(1) of the bill be amended by striking out “subsection (2)” in the first line and substituting therefor “subsections (2) and (3),” and that section 4 be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(3) Subsections 1(1a) and 1(2) and sections 2a and 2b come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 4, as amended, agreed to.
Section 5 agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: Shall the bill, as amended, be reported? Agreed?
Mr Harris: No, I did not agree to report it. Perhaps now is a more appropriate time for me to make the request that the bill not be reported until we get the answers to some of the questions while we are still in committee of the whole.
Quite frankly, I am not the critic for this ministry and came in to carry this. I am astounded now that I find out the amendments were tabled today. The budget is about three months old. The Legislature was planned to adjourn three weeks ago and the amendments to this piece of legislation were tabled today. Had I realized that before, I would have been even angrier that I did not know the answers. I assumed it was because I do not normally carrying this piece of legislation and was not right up to speed on it. I was prepared to accept it as my own fault.
But we have amendments here, some of them quite substantial, that were not given to the critics of the parties, that were not tabled before and that we had no chance to have a look at. I believe we are entitled to some of the answers to the questions we have asked before this moves out of committee.
Hon Mr Conway: I would like to help my friend the member for Nipissing. I do not know what has transpired in so far as the amendments are concerned, although the minister assures me they were circulated some time ago. But I recognize the situation in which he finds himself. I am quite pleased to facilitate his concern at this point.
I think we might want to have the committee report progress, the progress that has been made on this bill at this point and return to it in committee of the whole at a later date, because quite frankly I would like to use the remaining time this afternoon to get on with a couple of other items, if that is agreeable.
On motion by Mr Conway, the committee of the whole House reported progress on one bill, and reported one bill with certain amendments and one bill without amendment.
ONTARIO MINERAL EXPLORATION PROGRAM ACT, 1989
Mr Conway moved second reading of Bill 33, An Act to revise the Ontario Mineral Exploration Program Act.
Hon Mr Conway: I have very brief opening remarks. I know the government whip behind me was observing that I might have some interest, perhaps even a conflict of interest, in the last matter. To some extent, he is almost accurate, inasmuch as I have been very anxious to get on with the passage of this bill. It is very important to the mining community.
Essentially, as my friends the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr Pouliot) and the member for Nipissing (Mr Harris) know, the purport of Bill 33 is simply this: We are repealing the old Ontario Mineral Exploration Program Act that over a period of nine years has been the source of very considerable stimulus to exploration and development in Ontario. In its place, we are establishing a new legislative format that will allow me, for example, as Minister of Mines, through this legislation to give effect to the two very excellent budgetary programs that were announced earlier this spring in the budget of my colleague the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon).
I am sure that my friends in the House generally, and particularly the member for Lake Nipigon and the member for Nipissing, will be very anxious to facilitate what I think is a very important step forward as we in the Legislature and in the community seek to ensure that there are relevant and practical incentive programs that will encourage this very important sector of our economy.
Specifically, the two new programs that were announced in the budget are aimed at prospectors to get out and to continue the very important work that they do. The second program seeks to provide stimulus to junior mining companies for the very important work they do in that area.
With those brief remarks, I want to put this important new initiative before my colleagues in the assembly and t hope it will be favoured by their positive response.
The Speaker: Are there any comments or questions? Is there any further discussion? I asked for comments or questions first.
Mr Harris: I saw the member for Lake Nipigon on his feet and assumed he had some. If he does not, I do.
Mr Pouliot: I find it kind of ironic that the Minister of Mines (Mr Conway) -- we are so used to saying “government House leader” -- would have some query or mild concern regarding conflict of interest. I have read the criteria that are necessary to get some compensation, some encouragement, some incentive, some money, and I can assure the Minister of Mines, knowing some of his background, that he should not be in the least concerned; he does not even begin to fill the criteria when it comes to the incentives that are being proposed.
We have some difficulty philosophically when it comes to encouraging a sector of the economy that has done very well indeed. In fact, it has done so well that last year, as budget figures will attest, some $13 million was received from the mining industry in provincial taxes. Astoundingly, you have to multiply that by more than 10-fold to get the projected figure for this fiscal year: some $150 million.
There is really little reciprocity in what the minister is doing. The chief tax collector of Ontario’s arm is a lot longer than the minister’s; what he does on the eve of la prise de la Bastille is leave the mining industry with the crumbs. Nevertheless, the intent is well taken. There is very little of substance.
The Speaker: The member’s time has expired.
Mr Harris: This is what I guess I would call enabling legislation. Normally, enabling legislation of this type means: “We really don’t know what the heck we are going to do for these guys yet. This will give us the power to do it once we make up our mind; ie, whatever is going to be put into place and how it is going to work will be done by regulation.”
Maybe the minister could comment. Not that I am necessarily opposed, but I would appreciate hearing the reason from the minister, because I think this particular piece of legislation gives quite a bit more power to the regulations than most pieces of legislation are wont to do.
Perhaps the minister has some reasons why he believes that is necessary. I could understand one reason being the shortage of legislative time, the way the Legislature works, and if he wants to change the program, if he has to come back to the Legislature, particularly as House leader, putting his own piece of legislation up front all the time is not the best way to keep peace in the family. I appreciate that concern as well. I see some ministers nodding their heads.
Really, this does give a lot of flexibility, and until we can see the regulations, and as the minister knows, with his government’s method of dealing with regulations, which is, “It’s really none of the opposition’s business; we will do whatever we want, when we want, and tell them about after it’s all done,” the minister will understand my concern, which is exactly what it is he is going to do.
The Speaker: The member’s time has expired. Are there any other comments or questions on the minister’s opening remarks? Are there any other members wishing to make any comments?
So the members know where we are: We had opening comments by the minister. I called for comments or questions on the comments by the minister. Are there any other members wishing to comment? Would the minister wish to reply to those responses?
Hon Mr Conway: I would be very happy to reply. To take the comments of the member for Nipissing first, he is quite right that the bill is, as he describes it, essentially enabling legislation. It enables me, in my capacity as Minister of Mines, to give effect to the two programs that were announced in the spring budget by the Treasurer.
The specifics of those two programs have been announced, the assistance to prospectors and the assistance to junior mining companies; they are out there for the community to see. What this legislation does is to give legal status to the programs that will underscore those. I should not admit this, but I stole a little bit here; in 1977, when the Tories were in office, I remember when the Minister of Northern Affairs brought in his legislation, it was something in that mode.
Mr Jackson: You were against it then.
Hon Mr Conway: No, t do not think I was, as a matter of fact. I simply want to confirm the observation of the honourable member for Nipissing, because it is quite accurate, although I do want to make clear that the two specific programs that were announced in the budget are out there, and we want to get on with those.
To my friend the member for Lake Nipigon, I simply want to observe it is true that in 1989-90 it is estimated that the mining tax revenues will be something in the order of $150 million; the levels are quite high. But he would want me to say, for example, that just two years ago the revenues were about 10 per cent of that, some $13 million. Those who are familiar with the mining industry, and I know my friend the member for Sudbury East (Miss Martel) is, know that it is very cyclical; often when times are good they are very good; when times are bad they tend to be often very bad.
This program seeks to do two things: to stimulate exploration and development by providing direct incentives to prospectors so they can get out there and do the important work of continuing the exploration, and secondly, to provide specific assistance to junior mining companies --
The Speaker: The minister’s time has expired. Any other members wishing to participate in the debate?
Mr Pouliot: As one of my role models, the former member for Grey-Bruce, would say, rules and regulations for too long have not allowed small people, if you wish -- people with moderate means -- in the mining industry to have access and to look to the future with confidence.
Take flow-through shares, for instance. I was one of the few members of our caucus who had a view that was universally shared. I really strongly believe that it worked well. It worked well, perhaps, by ricochet or by accident as opposed to design. It cost the taxpayers very little. It allowed people to go into the field to do some work and in some cases to find mines; so it was a win-win situation. Unfortunately, it happened at a time when metal prices were at or near record highs, so it did not generate the kind of incentive at a time when it was so much needed.
The tragedy of flow-through, by virtue of its criteria, was that again the small people did not have access to it. What the minister is humbly offering, and the point is well taken, will allow people some $10,000, if, for instance, you are a prospector; then you will have the opportunity, should you find an interesting situation, to stay. The $10,000 will encourage you to do so. A few more dollars will give you the opportunity to work your claim, so you can keep your claim. Inevitably, we will be able to stall or stave off the big players, the people in Commerce Court with shirts and ties and three-piece suits -- not people who find mines but people who buy them.
In conclusion -- I realize it is close to six of the clock, and some of us on this side of the House had a very taxing and long day, albeit a rewarding one -- I was a little amused by the compendium submitted by the minister. There is one line:
“The provision dealing with inspections to ensure compliance with the act or regulations has been drafted to conform with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and with the standards of the Ministry of the Attorney General.”
Notwithstanding this contribution, we certainly intend to support Bill 33, which is really an update.
The minister could have done a lot more. If he were to look at our situation up north, as in farming, the land does not yield easily. We are resource-based and depend on imaginative and well-meaning incentives. He has begun by taking a step in the right direction, and he is to be encouraged, but he certainly has not been bold nor forward. He could have done a lot more.
It being six of the clock, I would move adjournment of the debate.
Hon. Mr Conway: Mr Speaker, my preference is to continue if possible; I think we should finish this item of business.
The Speaker: There has been a motion.
The usual procedure to sit past six of the clock, I believe we are all aware, is on government motion. However, if there would be unanimous consent and the members could give me the length of time?
Mr Harris: Mr Speaker, if we moved really quickly and you did not look up, we still might be pretty close to six of the clock by the time you adjourn the House.
The Speaker: Sometimes the Speaker has to adjust his hearing also. Did the member for Lake Nipigon want to withdraw his motion then?
Mr Pouliot: Of course.
Mr Harris: We will not oppose the legislation. I agree with the member for Lake Nipigon that this is a very small measure to assist an industry and those employees, particularly in northern Ontario, who are facing difficulty in a number of areas. Members will know that the forest industry is under severe stress with prices, availability of timber and, more particularly, in dealing with the government. Without getting into that debate, the two primary industries and those secondary industries of geology and manufacturing related to mining are very important to us, particularly in northern Ontario and indeed in my riding of Nipissing.
We do not think the bill does nearly enough or that the budget that prompted this bill does nearly enough. I will not hold up the legislation, but I do repeat my concern to the minister that it is very permissive. While I understand that this bill will enable him to enact the measures announced in the budget, just to give me a feeling, I would be interested if the minister, in summing up, perhaps would confirm my suspicion that it also lets him bring in a whole bunch of other things if he wishes and to change the program or the criteria in a fairly substantial way without ever having to come back to the Legislature.
Sometimes I am a little reluctant to give that degree of flexibility and power to the crown. When one leaves everything in the hands of regulation, one does tend to bypass the Legislature. According to my reading of the bill, some very substantive changes in program direction could be undertaken without amendment to the legislation and in fact could all be done by regulation.
I guess the only other thing I could do is ask the minister to confirm my suspicions, and if they are true, to get an undertaking from the minister binding on his heirs and successors, including those from other parties, that indeed he would want to move very cautiously and with a great deal of consultation on changing the regulations to make any kind of substantial change in the direction a government may want to go in the future. On behalf of my party, after 1991, when we are in that position, I make that undertaking to the Legislature now as well.
The Speaker: Is it agreed that the minister will wind up? Agreed.
Hon Mr Conway: I want to just thank my friends for their quite constructive criticism, and it is an understandable criticism. Both members know the field very well.
I say with some pride that these two budgetary programs reflect the very extensive consultation that I and the government had with prospectors and developers. My friend the member for Lake Nipigon makes the fair criticism that it is only $5 million or $8 million and that there ought to be more. Certainly those of us who are line ministers are always trying to receive additional financial support from the Treasurer for these kinds of initiatives, and he always quite rightly reminds us, saying. “What do you think the tax burden ought to be?”
It is important for me to say that these two initiatives very much reflect not just the very positive consultation with prospectors and developers but also what is very important for exploration and development. I am particularly proud of the initiatives that the member for Lake Nipigon referred to about making sure that the ordinary prospector got some consideration. A lot of the flow-through money in fact missed in its first or direct application the unincorporated juniors or prospectors. These two programs are targeted at those two particular groups and. I might add, we believe they complement the federal Canada exploration and development incentive program, or CEDIP, which is the son or daughter of flow-through, as my friends opposite know.
I will say to my colleagues the member for Lake Nipigon and the member for Nipissing that certainly the principle of the bill is contained in section 2, where essentially it says that the cabinet “may make regulations to establish incentive programs.” Then, going up to section I of the bill, the definition says, “‘incentive program’ means a program prescribed under this act to encourage exploration or development.”
I think the intent of the legislation is quite clear. I cannot imagine that any Minister of Northern Development and Mines or any Treasurer would undertake an exploration or incentive program of this kind and not want to (a) consult and (b) make it very plain in this Legislature, so that the good works of the government of whatever political stripe might be well known and widely advertised.
My friend the member for Nipissing raises a very legitimate caution, and I certainly will be guided by his very wise counsel in that connection.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for third reading.
The House adjourned at 1807.