The House met at 1330.
LANDLORDS’ RESTRICTIONS ON PETS
Mr Philip: In January, I raised the issue in the Legislature concerning how responsible tenants, including many disabled people and seniors, were being threatened with eviction due to the inclusion of “no pets” clauses in their leases by their corporate landlords.
The Attorney General (Mr Scott) showed complete insensitivity when he replied, “Those people must decide sooner or later whether they wish to keep pets or not.” Now one couple has lost its rental accommodation as a result of a Supreme Court of Ontario decision. According to the Toronto Humane Society, tenants in 26 rental buildings have been threatened with losing their accommodation unless they dispose of their pets.
Spokespersons for the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations claim that hundreds of thousands of tenants now face the possibility of losing their rental homes, thanks to the minister’s failure to act.
Bill 214 and Bill 38, which I introduced, provide a solution. On 17 January, the Attorney General wrote to the Toronto Humane Society promising to consider legislation to deal with the situation. Today, exactly seven months later, the minister has failed to keep his promise. He has failed to introduce legislation and amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act to protect the tenants.
I ask the Liberal government where it has been for seven months. Why are the Tridels of this world so much more important than the tenants of Ontario?
FARM TAX REBATE
Mr Runciman: Ontario’s farm organizations and farmers are only now beginning to show their anger at this government’s cutbacks to the farm property tax rebate program. Members will know that in this government’s desire to cut agrictultural spending, the farm property tax rebate program will lose $23 million this year.
This reduction comes with absolutely no prior discussion with farmers or farm groups. While that in itself is inexcusable, the government has failed to take into account two groups of farmers that will be particularly hard hit. The smallest group is that of single-parent farmers with off-farm income. These single parents have no bookkeeping tricks that they can resort to in order to avoid having their tax rebate reduced.
Individuals with jobs in teaching, for example, will be affected by the $40,000 off-farm income trigger. The larger group consists of newer farmers and those who are considerably in debt and who require substantial off-farm income to build up their equity in the farm.
It is certainly ironic that the same government which two years ago was advertising its Ontario Farm Start program for new farmers is now taking steps to make it harder for farmers to gain full ownership of their farms. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has asked the Premier to continue the program unchanged this year while entering into a dialogue on the objectives of the program. We suggest that the government accept that proposal.
METROPOLITAN TORONTO POLICE FORCE
Mr Polsinelli: We all know the important role that police officers have in maintaining law and order in our communities and the challenges they face on a daily basis. But how often have we asked ourselves what it would be like to do their job?
Last Friday night, I had the opportunity to experience at first hand what it is like to be a cop on the beat. My eight hours in a patrol car with Staff Inspector Julian Fantino increased my awareness of the problems in my riding and also my appreciation of the excellent police force we have in Metropolitan Toronto.
At 11:37 pm, we intercepted a call from dispatch. Thieves who had broken into the caller’s apartment three days prior had gone back and were arguing with her. In the middle of her call to police. the phone line went dead. We were the closest police car so we headed immediately for the apartment. Not knowing whether the intruders were armed or dangerous, our only concern was to get there as quickly as possible to render assistance.
For me, this was a new experience. For police officers, it is an everyday occurrence. Every call they respond to is potentially lie-threatening and they must be on their guard. We were the first cruiser on the scene and as it turned out it was another false alarm, but the emotions I experienced were none the less real.
I compliment Staff Inspector Julian Fantino, 31 Division and the officers of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force as the unsung heroes of our community.
The Speaker: Order.
RAILWAY PIGGYBACK OPERATION
Mr Kormos: I want to tell the members of this House a little about what is happening down in Dain city. Dain city is the southernmost part of Welland-Thorold riding and it is a unique residential community that has a strong sense of neighbourhood. It has lifelong residents and young families with little children. It should be just about the best place anywhere to live and raise your kids; and it would be, if it were not for the railway piggyback operation, the intermodal operation located in the heart of Dain city.
For 16 years the people of Dain city have lived with continuous shunting of rail cars, locomotives idling, lengthy road blockages and heavy transport truck traffic. Sixteen years ago, Norfolk-Southern, an American company, moved its operation there. Many in Dain city say that they were told then that it was only going to be temporary. It is has been temporary for 16 years.
People complained, city hall passed resolutions and now, notwithstanding that, Norfolk-Southern has announced an expansion that will increase the volume: the noise, the vibration, the road blockages and the dangers. Every once in a while an executive comes up from Atlanta, Georgia, to tell the people of Dain city that frankly Norfolk-Southern does not give a damn. Well, the people of Dain city do.
Their patient complaints have turned into a community organization called Concerned Citizens against the Piggyback. It has the competent and articulate leadership of Ann Woods. It has 100 per cent support of myself and their city councillors, John Trufal and Sue Noyes.
I know that all members of this House will join me in complimenting the concerned citizens, not just for their courage and perseverance but because what they are doing is what is right.
Mr McCague: Today, there are reports of an expansion of a privately owned landfill in south Simcoe, the Innisfil landfill. This particular site has a history of having accepted contaminated industrial waste, of causing chemical contamination of the local water supply and of being charged by the Ministry of the Environment with 22 breaches of the provincial environmental laws.
In 1987, when local residents found chemicals seeping from the ground, the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley) ordered the owners to prepare a plan to clean up contamination and eventually close the dump. Now, rather than a plan for closure, we see the owner wants to expand: an expansion that would allow the Innisfil landfill to accept up to 2,000 tonnes of municipal waste every day from anywhere in southern Ontario.
It is obvious that the owner of this dump wants to get a piece of the greater Toronto area action. Metropolitan Toronto will soon have nowhere to put its garbage and a privately owned dump could be part of the solution, especially if the minister decides to bypass the environmental assessment process.
The owner of the site may say that this is just a renewal of the certificate that he presently has. But it is not just a renewal; it is a significant expansion. The ministry must recognize this now and must apply its own law. Where the service area is enlarged significantly, a hearing is mandatory. This privately owned dump should not receive any favours from the Liberal government and should not be excused from the Environmental Assessment Act.
LANDLORDS’ RESTRICTIONS ON PETS
Mr Kanter: A number of tenants in my riding are afraid they will be evicted from their apartments simply because they own pets. Until recently, judges generally looked at evidence of the behaviour of pets before deciding whether to issue a writ of possession or not. However, in the case of Cassandra v Ryll, a district court judge asked primarily at the terms of a standard form lease, rather than the behaviour of the pet in question. As the judge said in that case, “Admittedly, Fluffy was not a troublesome cat.”
As a result of that decision, some landlords are threatening to evict all tenants with pets. Some tenants have told me they would seek legal advice and fight eviction attempts; others would attempt to negotiate with their landlords. I believe that one way to resolve this problem is to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act. The act should protect tenants with well-behaved pets from eviction. Judges should be encouraged to examine the nature of a tenant’s conduct or that of his pets.
I have written to the Attorney General (Mr Scott) asking for a meeting on this subject. I will be proposing an amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act to restore the balance of rights between tenants with pets, tenants without pets and landlords.
NORTHERN HEALTH SERVICES
Mr Reville: On Thursday last, the member for Wentworth East (Ms Collins) presented a resolution to this House which was ostensibly in aid of people with mental health problems who require treatment. Her solution was that the Mental Health Act required amendments so that people who are not now getting treatment could be forced to have treatment. I think her solution is both wrong-headed and contrary to the policy of the government. But what worries me is that the government has carriage over all the provincial psychiatric hospitals. The Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital is short eight psychiatrists and 22 nurses, so that the people whom the member for Wentworth East would like to get into the hospital will have no one there to treat them. It is a sad fact that, across the northwest and the northeast, there is a great shortage of health professionals generally, and mental health professionals in particular, for both adults and children. When is this government going to wake up to its responsibility?
MEMBER FOR MISSISSAUGA WEST
The Speaker: Before I call the next order of business, I would like to respond to the point of privilege raised the other day by the member for Mississauga West (Mr Mahoney).
Last Wednesday, the honourable member for Mississauga West raised a question of privilege with respect to allegations that had been made by the honourable Leader of the Opposition (Mr B. Rae) in question period the day before. I listened carefully to the honourable member the other day, as well as to the honourable Leader of the Opposition, and I have read over attentively the notes used by the honourable member for Mississauga West when he was speaking on this point last week.
After examining the words of the Leader of the Opposition in question period last Tuesday, when he was asking a supplementary question of the Premier (Mr Peterson) on the activities of the member for Mississauga West, I find that, at most, there exists a disagreement between the two honourable members as to the facts.
As for the main part of the presentation of the member for Mississauga West, which deals with a press release issued by the Leader of the Opposition, I must find that this pertains to statements made outside the House and therefore cannot form the basis of privilege inside the House. I am certain that the honourable member knows what his rights are in relation to statements made outside the House.
In support of these two reasons, I quote Beauchesne’s 6th edition, page 13, numbers 31 (1) and (3), which read as follows:
‘‘(1) A dispute arising between two members, as to allegations of facts, does not fulfil the conditions of parliamentary privilege.”
“(3) Statements made outside the House by a member may not be used as the basis for a question of privilege.”
In conclusion, therefore, I cannot find a prima facie case of privilege.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
LAND USE PLANNING FOR HOUSING / TERRAINS DESTINÉS AU DÉVELOPPEMENT RÉSIDENTIEL
Hon Mr Eakins: I am pleased today to release, with my colleague the Minister of Housing (Ms Hošek), the policy statement on land use planning for housing.
The concept of policy statements was included in the Planning Act at the suggestion of municipalities which wanted clearer guidelines on provincial government goals. The policy statement, which my colleague will describe in detail, will steer the land use approvals process towards providing a full range of housing choices for all Ontario residents.
Certainly the creation of a sufficient supply of affordable housing is an important goal. Many are working to help meet this need, including many in municipal government. In several municipalities, we have seen exemplary efforts to deal with the housing shortage. But the housing problem is not one that can be solved by a positive decision here or a progressive stand there. The need for housing does not suddenly stop at any municipal boundary, and that is why the province must ensure that the provisions of the policy statement are carried out to make it work.
All municipalities share in the benefits that flow from regional economic growth; all municipalities must help solve the problems that stem from this growth. We must all work together. Each municipality must allow its fair share of housing to be built to meet the needs of the broader community.
That is why we are putting the policy statement into effect. It will ensure that housing goals are part of the planning process in Ontario. This policy will guide land use planning by municipalities as well as decisions made by the Ontario Municipal Board and government ministries.
Before I discuss a couple of the steps we are taking to ensure full implementation of the policy, I would like to thank the many groups and individuals who responded to the draft statement we issued last year. We received more than 230 submissions, including more than 140 from municipal governments. Officials of the ministries of Municipal Affairs and Housing conducted 16 public meetings across the province and met with representatives of many groups to discuss the proposed statement and to listen to comments and suggestions.
All points of view were carefully considered. As a result of the feedback we received, a number of changes were introduced, such as more appropriate implementation requirements for most townships and villages with a population of less than 5,000.
Now that the policy statement is in place, we are determined to do everything necessary to ensure that it accomplishes its goals firmly but fairly. The province will provide assistance to municipalities to implement the statement.
l am pleased to point out that funds are already available under the municipal housing statement and community planning grant programs to undertake the work leading to the development of local land use planning policies relating to housing. We intend to encourage municipalities to take advantage of this.
As the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) indicated in the budget, $2 billion will be provided for transportation, including roads, highways and municipal transit.
The government, working together with municipalities, will use the tools at our disposal to find the best ways to make this policy a success. We are confident that municipalities will implement this policy in a co-operative spirit.
Hon Ms Hošek: I am pleased to join my colleague in issuing a policy statement of land use planning for housing. All members are aware of the housing needs in this province. Too many people are unable to afford a decent place to live and too few families are able to purchase a modest starter home.
The government has taken several measures to create housing, including the funding of 55,000 nonprofit units as well as making government lands available for housing as a first priority. But this problem is one that must be attacked on several fronts by different levels of government and the private and nonprofit sectors.
The land use planning process is one of the most important fronts. The planning process must be turned into an engine to drive the creation of housing rather than a hand brake to slow it down. The policy statement can give new momentum to the creation of affordable housing. Even in draft form, it has already triggered new housing strategies and policies in several municipalities. It already has had an impact on a number of Ontario Municipal Board decisions.
In its finalized form, the policy statement pursues its goal in the following ways:
D’abord, les municipalités sont tenues en tout temps de désigner, dans leurs plans officiels, une réserve de terrains destines au développement résidentiel d’au moins dix ans. Ces plans officiels, des régions ainsi que des municipalités, préciseront également comment offrir les services essentiels pour une croissance à long terme. Les municipalités disposeront aussi, en tout temps, d’un stock de trois ans, de lotissements approuvés à l’étape de l'ébauche ou à l’étape enregistrée.
Deuxièmement, les plans officiels et le zonage seront révisés pour fournir une grande variété de genre et de type de logements intégrés dans la communauté. Ces logements doivent représenter la gamme entière des besoins de tout le monde.
First, municipalities are required to designate in their official plans a 10-year supply of land for residential development at all times. Official plans of regions as well as municipalities will identify how services essential to long-term growth can be provided. Municipalities also will have at all times a three-year supply of lots at the draft-approved or registered stage.
Second, official plans and zoning will be revised to provide for a wide range of housing forms and types integrated throughout the community. This housing must address the full spectrum of the needs of all people. Of the new housing that is created, an overall component of 25 per cent is to be geared to moderate- and to low-income families and individuals at appropriate densities and sizes.
Third, the land use planning process will be streamlined. Municipalities will be required to process applications for the development of housing as quickly as possible and target approval times will be incorporated into the official plans.
Fourth, better use will be made of existing buildings and established areas to create additional units. Official plans and zoning bylaws will permit self-contained units in single-family homes as well as other forms of residential intensification in areas with physical potential, essential services and prospective demand.
This policy statement will have immediate impact on planning decisions in the province. However, the need for housing is obviously not identical in every part of Ontario. In order to address the most pressing needs, all of this policy statement’s provisions will be fully implemented as soon as possible in areas where growth pressures are greatest and housing shortages most acute. Those areas are the regional municipalities of Metropolitan Toronto, Durham. York, Peel, Halton, Hamilton-Wentworth, Ottawa-Carleton, Niagara and Waterloo, the municipalities within these regions and all municipalities within the census metropolitan areas of London, Toronto and Windsor.
These regions and municipalities will approve a work program to implement the full intent of the policy statement by November of this year and will conduct a public meeting to consider necessary official plan revisions by 1 August of next year. In the meantime, they will adopt official plan and zoning bylaw provisions to fully implement this policy statement by 1 August 1991.
In most other municipalities, the policy statement will be fully implemented over the course of the next five years as official plans are routinely updated. Townships and villages with populations of fewer than 5,000 may use alternative approaches to reflect the principles and fulfil the objectives of the policy statement, unless those townships or villages are bounded by a township with more than 5,000 people or if they are in one of the priority areas.
I want to add just one final comment. Some have asked us how firm will the province be in ensuring that the provisions of this policy statement are carried out. We will be as firm as we have to be to make it work. Today we are taking essential actions. This policy statement sets the stage for governments to remove obstacles and replace them with opportunities.
LAND USE PLANNING FOR HOUSING
Mr Reville: I am pleased to respond on behalf of the New Democratic caucus at Queen’s Park to the statements made today by the Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr Eakins) and the Minister of Housing (Ms Hošek). In her final statement, the Minister of Housing said she was taking essential actions. It is hard to know whether these are actions and it is difficult to know whether in fact they would amount to essential actions.
David Thomley, of the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto, who at one time was enlisted by this government to support its policy, has already denounced this policy by indicating that it makes a presumption that is almost pathetic. What it says is that this government is prepared to accept the fact that 75 per cent of all the new housing built or all that housing created through intensification will be beyond the means of most of the people who live in this province. Of course, knowing as we do how social housing works, only half of that 25 per cent which is the target that the minister and this government think is adequate, in fact 12.5 per cent, of all new construction or intensification will be truly affordable.
That is not good enough. The Affordable Housing Action Group recommended to this government that 60 per cent of housing should be affordable to households with an income of less than $50,000 a year. That is a modest enough goal, but it is a goal under which the government has fallen by far too much.
For those who have tried over the years to actually get affordable housing in place, there is some scepticism about trying to create housing through the official plan mechanism. The city of Toronto, as some people may know, for a number of years had a 25 per cent goal of affordable housing in the official plan. Of course, as the winds blew and the provincial government of the day and then the federal governments of the day got bored with social housing, the municipal council was approached by developers who said, “Yes, we will build the 25 per cent affordable housing if we can get a program that will subsidize it.” Of course, those programs did not exist, and clearly we have not seen any indication from this government that those programs will exist in the future.
What then happens is that a developer assembles a plot of land, the official plan amendment goes through indicating that 25 per cent of that development will be affordable, an application is made to the level of government that is at that time interested in affordable housing and the application is turned down. What happens is that the developer comes back to the council tugging his or her forelock and says, “I can’t do it.” The council says: “Oh dear, that’s terrible. I guess it will all have to be what we call nonaffordable housing.”
In fact, we have seen that happen within a stone’s throw of this building in buildings in which members of this Legislature actually live. They were designated as part of the commitment to affordable housing and, of course, have been turned into hotel or condominium suites and in fact did not create even a single unit of affordable housing.
Likewise, the time line that the minister contemplates is unrealistic. It is not going to be possible for Metropolitan Toronto council to meet the kind of time line that the minister envisages, and it makes one wonder whether there has been any consultation there.
As everybody knows, Metro council is all tangled up trying to imagine what to do about property tax. In terms of its coming to grips with a housing policy this major, it is difficult to imagine.
Some of the requirements in the minister’s policy statement are obviously absurd. Is the city of Toronto going to designate its 10-year supply of residential development in Ignace or is it perhaps going to take industrial or commercial lands that are needed to create assessment, particularly as a government such as this keeps dumping more and more of the burdens on property tax? This is far too little far too late, and whether it all comes off is very speculative.
Mr McCague: That was an interesting statement today from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and the Minister of Housing. I am sure the ministers will realize that this statement and its implementation should get them through until the next election. I am sure they also realize that dumping this whole problem on to the municipalities is just one way of getting out of the responsibilities they really have. It is really an admission that they cannot handle the desire for affordable housing themselves. I believe it is just unworkable.
The Minister of Housing says in her statement that the municipalities are required to designate a 10-year supply of land for residential development in their official plans. Surely the Minister of Housing knows that there are many municipalities in this province which do not have a 10-year supply of land within their boundaries and that the Minister of Municipal Affairs has great problems solving those annexation problems or local study problems that are facing many municipalities in this province. The minister has been well informed by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario as to their comments surrounding this whole policy, be it his ministry or the Ministry of Housing.
They are not very happy that there is not an attempt to deal with the housing shortage by controlling the municipal options and land use planning. As was the case with Sunday shopping, the government has passed the responsibility for affordable housing on to the municipalities without committing itself to the requisite funding for all this. It does require a 10-year capital plan for servicing new residential development, but there is no longer a provincial commitment to infrastructure for this. Intensification will create an additional burden on municipal infrastructure.
The policy statement applies to all municipalities, regardless of whether an affordable housing shortage exists in the region. Rural municipalities require large lots to accommodate septic tanks, thus they will not be able to build affordable housing units without infrastructure funding to build new sewers. AMO feels that the ministers’ policy statement could significantly alter the relationship between the two levels of government by eroding the traditional autonomous role played by municipalities in municipal land use planning.
I hope the two ministers can skid along and slide along until the next election. I do not believe they can; they have not done anything.
Mr Brandt: The tag team announcement by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and the Minister of Housing that we have heard this afternoon is an interesting one. I have to say that if I were either the Minister of Housing or the Minister of Municipal Affairs, I would want to share the blame with someone else, as well, in connection with housing policy in this province. There is not one single thing in this statement which assists with respect to the overall problem we face here in Ontario with regard to housing, and that is affordability.
There is nothing in this statement that is going to assist people to purchase their own homes; there is nothing in this statement which indicates any concern or any commitment on the part of the government with respect to servicing of lots, which is one of the most effective ways of bringing housing on stream more quickly. It is interesting to note that there is some passing comment made about the approval process for housing in this province and for subdivision plans. One of the things this government can use virtually immediately in order to bring down the cost of housing without any contribution, without any additional money on the part of the government, is to streamline and speed up the approval process for subdivisions.
The bureaucracy that is in place now is absolutely unacceptable to us on this side of the House. It is adding very substantially to the cost of housing, virtually on a daily basis. You know, it is absolutely ridiculous when you realize that in the Metropolitan Toronto area you literally cannot buy a home at this particular point for much less than some $300,000. The vast majority of people in this area simply cannot afford that kind of housing, and a lot if it has to do with the bureaucratic red tape that is in existence on that side of the House.
Mr B. Rae: I have a question for the Premier. Several times since the Premier’s session outlining the greater Toronto area process in March, we have heard from several different companies that are apparently interested in bidding on this contract once it is proposed. I wonder if the Premier can tell us what steps his government has taken to encourage the launch of a public sector bid for the disposal of garbage within the greater Toronto area.
Hon Mr Peterson: I will explain the process to my honourable friend. As he knows, it is new. It is not creating a new level of government, but it is an attempt by the provincial government to assist the regions in co-ordinating their own individual problems. As my honourable friend knows, each of the regions has problems, in varying degrees, with landfill and waste disposal.
I met with the regional chairmen some months ago. They agreed to look at some common approaches. We agreed to assist, if possible, and co-ordinate, recognizing that the authority was theirs. It is not the province’s; it is the regions’. There have been a variety of discussions, as the member knows. A number of people and corporations feel they have something to add to the whole discussion. So at some point in the future there may be a request for some kind of--not even proposals at this stage--an expression of interest from various different groups, including the regions, on what they feel they should do in the private sector and in the public sector.
No decision has been made to necessarily involve the private sector. If so, how? It may be involved in consortia; it may not. It may be a completely public sector venture. They may come to the provincial government and request us to set up a central authority in their name. At this point, one cannot make any judgement about how the regional chairmen and their councils, which are currently engaged in a very broad discussion--
The Speaker: Order. Thank you. It seems like a fairly lengthy response.
Mr B. Rae: The process is further under way than the Premier has indicated. He will know full well that in the plan that was announced by him at the press conference, which he chaired and at which he spoke back in March, a process was set up whereby a contract would be offered, whereby bids would be forthcoming and whereby expressions of interest would be asked for.
Specifically, the Premier will know, from looking at the North American experience, the importance of getting this thing right and of what happens when you get it wrong. When a private sector monopoly takes over, there are all kinds of problems with respect to cost and a number of other things.
What steps, what encouragement has the government of Ontario given, not to a particular company like Envacc or anybody else, but to a public sector group that would be able to make an effective bid to deal with southern Ontario’s garbage?
Hon Mr Peterson: I can tell my honourable friend that the regions are all involved in this. They all have various services at the present time, as he knows. Most of them have their own landfills and they can easily come back and say, “We think we should do an amalgam of all these resources.” Those decisions have not been made.
I think where my honourable friend is a trifle mistaken is that he tries to give the impression that some decision has already been made on this matter. That is a very long way from the truth. No decision has been made. There are wide consultations going on. He has heard, and has quoted, regional chairmen saying different things. He has heard regional councillors taking different approaches to this matter. That is the way it should be.
There is wide discussion now going on in all of the regions. If there is any unanimity or if there is any common will, some time in the future they will come back and discuss that and share that with their colleagues. Surely this is the most democratic of procedures, and I think my honourable friend, at another time, might want to stand up and say it himself.
Mr B. Rae: I would not hold my breath for that. But what I would like to just confirm with the Premier is that what, in effect, he is saying is that there will be bids or expressions of interest coming from whoever wants to express an interest, but that the government of Ontario is taking no practical steps itself to ensure that there will be a public sector proposal that will be put before the GTA group when it comes to dealing with garbage. Is that not in fact what the Premier is saying?
Hon Mr Peterson: I think it is far too premature to judge these matters. If the member is suggesting that the government of the province of Ontario go in and take over the whole question, he should stand up and say so. That is not at the moment being contemplated. The regions will come forward with their views on this matter. As I said before, they are looking for expressions of interest. There is a very wide range of groups and individuals who possibly have some expertise to lend to this very broad discussion.
We are not deviating in any way from the principles and the leadership this government has shown with respect to recycling. I remind my honourable friend that Ontario, thanks to the Minister of the Environment (Mr Bradley), is the leading jurisdiction in recycling in North America today. I do not expect the Leader of the Opposition (Mr B. Rae) to stand up and admit it, but I tell him that is the fact.
In terms of the extent and the announced very ambitious targets, we are going to continue with separation at source, we are going to continue with the leadership that has been demonstrated. It is a program that has come a very long way in a very short space of time.
I do not expect the Leader of the Opposition, being sometimes a little parsimonious of spirit, to stand up in this House and give the government credit, but I can tell him we are going to continue with that because we believe it is the way to go in the future.
Mr B. Rae: The Premier is simply whistling in the wind.
NATIVE LAND CLAIM
Mr B. Rae: The question that I have for the Premier is this: It is my understanding from discussions that members of my staff have had with Chief Potts of the Teme-Augama Anishnabai band that Chief Potts made a proposal with respect to the Bear Island situation to the cabinet back in June. He made a very practical six-point proposal for settling the land claim dispute between his band and the government of Ontario.
The Premier will know that his counterpart, Mr Getty, the Premier of Alberta, has intervened in the Lubicon dispute. He will know that other deals are being negotiated, treaties are being negotiated, land claims are being negotiated by heads of governments and various bands.
The Speaker: The question?
Mr B. Rae: I wonder if the Premier can tell us what was his response and the response of the government of Ontario to the particular proposal put forward by Chief Potts.
Hon Mr Peterson: The Attorney General (Mr Scott), the minister responsible for native affairs, who has really put forward the first proposal, is not here, so I think the Minister of Natural Resources could help my honourable friend out.
Hon Mr Kerrio: I feel very pleased that this government has set up a cabinet committee on native affairs under the able leadership of the Attorney General.
The member knows as well as I do that there have been very meaningful negotiations made and very meaningful offers made to the natives in that area. I am disappointed, as many people are, that they did not see fit to accept what we felt was a very exemplary offer of a land base for their reservation, of moneys to do with what they would. The member must be aware of those kinds of negotiations that have been long ongoing. Even after there was some settlement in the courts, we were still prepared to go on and make what I thought was a very reasonable offer on behalf of the government and the people of Ontario.
Mr B. Rae: It is my understanding from Chief Potts that the band made a six-point proposal that involved six months of exploratory discussions on a framework for negotiations, funding for the same, a framework for fully meaningful settlement discussions, no prejudice of the Supreme Court process, approval by the band membership and a moratorium on the Goulard and Red Squirrel roads for six months as a gesture of good faith.
I further understand that this was discussed by the cabinet committee on 12 June; the cabinet looked at it on 14 June; the cabinet committee met again on 15 June, and the cabinet turned it down on 21 June, a decision that reported to the Teme-Augama Anishnabai band administrator on 23 June 1989.
This is a historic decision by the government of Ontario to turn down a framework of discussion put forward by the band, the first time the band has come forward with a comprehensive proposal for a framework for settlement, and this cabinet turned it down. Now, is the minister telling me that Chief Potts is right or wrong when he says what he said on Friday?
Hon Mr Kerrio: I think there are many things that have not been said in this whole discussion. One of them is what happens if you put a moratorium on the very important work that needs to be done after we have gone through all the hurdles of many involvements with courts and injunctions and all of those things--because, remember, the natives decided to go that route and we have no problem with that if they want to discuss and settle some of these issues in court. That is precisely what happened.
Subsequent to that, we made them an offer when we set up the whole process of a group under Dr Daniel to study that situation, and they were not prepared to sit on that advisory committee. So we have reached out to the natives many, many times. I do everything I can in my Ministry of Natural Resources to accommodate them: third party involvement with lumbering and doing all of those things.
But to decide that you should have a moratorium while you speak is making a very important decision. We were not prepared to do that. We still are very much prepared to talk to our first citizens on important issues and do the things that need to be done to manage our forests and our wildlife. We are still very ready to do that at any time.
Mr B. Rae: I take it then that the minister is admitting that the facts as set out by Chief Potts are correct: that he made a proposal for a comprehensive framework for settlement and that this was rejected by the cabinet and communicated to the band on 23 June.
By way of final supplementary to the minister: Can he explain why his government is so out of step? This government is out of step not only with what is going on across Canada in terms of native land settlements, but out of step even with the communiqué issued by the leaders of the G-7 just this morning in Paris, where they talked in particular about the dangers to our environment of cutting down forests, particularly old forests which are particularly valuable across the country.
As well, this government is out of step with all the proposals made by environmental groups to the government of Canada in terms of protecting our old forests. Why is the government so far out of step with these developments?
Hon Mr Kerrio: As I have already described, it is very plain that if you demand a moratorium before you can sit down and discuss an issue, you have made a very important decision that you should not have to make until after the discussions. I find it hard to believe that--
Mr B. Rae: There will be nothing left to negotiate if you do not stop cutting down the trees.
Hon Mr Kerrio: Is the member going to keep yapping or listen to the answer? I am suggesting that if you have a moratorium you are making a decision before you are allowed to sit down and talk about the facts of the matter. I said right along that we are very much prepared to do that, and we have made an offer to Chief Potts to sit on our advisory committee in the area and he refused to do that.
But I am suggesting to the member that, in view of all these facts, of going to the courts and doing all those things in that fashion, this government is very much prepared to sit down with Chief Potts to see how management can be carried out, subsequent to a class environmental assessment, where this government has made a bigger commitment to managing our forests than any in the history of this province.
We are prepared to sit down and deal with all of the people who are going to be impacted by our forestry practices. I feel pretty proud that that is the direction we are going and I hope Potts will co-operate.
PREMIER’S OFFICE LEGAL COUNSEL
Mr Brandt: My question is for the Premier and it relates to the staffing of certain government positions. Last week, we did in fact discuss a $60,000 man who could not be found and who did not have an office or even a desk in this building, to the best of our knowledge, up until about a week ago. We are also advised now that the Premier has hired his own exclusive legal counsel in the person of Stephen Goudge to handle the internal aspects of the inquiry on his behalf.
But the Attorney General (Mr Scott) also advised in his response to me last week that Mr Goudge will in fact have an assistant who will work along with him in this respect. So not only do we have a legal counsel; we have an assistant to the legal counsel. I wonder if the Premier could tell us who that is and what that individual’s responsibility will be.
Hon Mr Peterson: As the member knows, when the allegations were made, the office retained legal counsel to advise the office, particularly with respect to documents and things of that nature. I cannot tell the member all the details of that contract, but we can certainly find that out for my honourable friend.
Mr Brandt: I want to be helpful to the Premier. Is he indicating that be does not know the name of the individual who is going to be working with Mr Goudge, who will be working out of the Premier’s office? If in fact that information is not available to him, then I would appreciate receiving it at some early point in time, if possible.
But I wonder if the Premier could indicate what he estimates the cost of this legal counsel is going to be. I anticipate it will be paid for by the taxpayers of Ontario so, rightfully, that information should be shared with the citizens of Ontario.
Would the Premier also indicate who these two individuals will report to directly?
Hon Mr Peterson: They are retained by the office. Ultimately they will report to me, because I assume the ultimate responsibility for these matters. Mr Goudge was retained, and I do not think that precludes him from drawing on any other support services he needs inside his own law firm.
Mr Brandt: Our point is simply this: We are involved in some rather extensive costs relative to the inquiry. The Premier has chosen, which is his prerogative, to have his representation on the part of Stephen Goudge carried out from his office. We now find out that there is an assistant to Mr Goudge who will also be paid by the Premier’s office.
The point that I want to make with the Premier is simply this: We would like to have some indication of who these people report to--he has indicated to himself, that that will be their responsibility--but also some indication of what the cost is going to be for the legal assistance that the Premier will be receiving in his office from these individuals. Can he give us any kind of an estimate whatsoever?
Hon Mr Peterson: I wish I could assist my honourable friend in that regard, but certainly when the bills are in I would be very happy to share them with him. It will all be a matter of public knowledge and indeed will be in the estimates of my office.
Mr Brands: We will look forward to getting that.
Mr Brands: I want to raise another question with the Premier and it also relates to costs. I think we in this House have to be somewhat concerned about some of the latest Statistics Canada figures that have come out, indicating that the Metropolitan Toronto area is fully one per cent above the national average in terms of the rate of inflation; some 6.4 per cent, as opposed to 5.4 per cent across the province.
In spite of that, the Treasurer, that benevolent individual who sits next to the Premier, in fact brought in extensive new taxes on Metro, some of which involved the automotive registration fees as well as the commercial concentration tax.
Does the Premier not concern himself with the fact that Toronto and the Metro Toronto area now lead the entire country in terms of inflation, and in all probability that gap is going to widen as a direct result of these additional taxes?
Hon Mr Peterson: I think the Treasurer can help my honourable friend.
Hon R. F. Nixon: I think the honourable leader of the third party, having perused the budget carefully, would know, as all thinking citizens know, that this most recent budget returns $1 billion to the people of the province by way of the removal of Ontario health insurance plan premiums.
For individuals who pay their own for their family, that is $715 they do not have to pay. For the rest of us, like myself and the honourable leader of the third party, whose employers pay it for us, this is no longer a taxable benefit and he will pay about $300 to $350 less in income tax when he gets around to paying his income tax next year.
As a matter of fact, this really means that in spite of the indication that the honourable member has made that somehow or other this budget is a ripoff on the taxpayers, it is not. In fact, on a net basis, there are over $400 million put back into the pockets of the taxpayers. On that basis, it is not inflationary, other than the fact that it puts more money in the pockets of the consumers and gives them a good deal more flexibility.
Mr Brandt: On a number of occasions the Treasurer has talked about the fact that this budget puts some $1 billion back into the consumer’s pocketbook. He fails to mention, even by way of passing reference, that his budget takes an additional $500 million in a payroll tax out of the Ontario economy and that it is in fact absolutely correct to state that the most serious inflationary in our economy today is government spending.
The government that is spending the most of any government in the entire country is this government. How can the Treasurer possibly stand up and say he is putting more money into the taxpayer’s pocket, when he is taking more money out with every tax bill that he passes?
Hon R. F. Nixon: It is difficult for me to understand the way the leader of the Conservative Party gets exercised about this matter, which I agree is important, because it is the Progressive Conservative government of Canada that has increased its deficit to beyond $30 billion this year, while our deficit is at a record low.
As a matter of fact, the honourable member would know that our deficit could be paid off in five days of our revenue. In this instance, we are in fact contributing mightily not only to the fiscal stability of this province but to the stability of the country.
Mr Brandt: Let me tell the Treasurer about his fiscal stability. The Fraser Institute now indicates that the period of time required to pay the taxes in Ontario, when we compare all provinces, is the longest in Canada. It takes longer to pay the taxes here than anywhere else.
I would like the Treasurer to indicate to me any other provincial government that is spending at anywhere near the increased rate at which this government is spending. No one compares.
Hon R. F. Nixon: I think the honourable member should be aware that the policy of this government is to pay our bills as we go. As far as this government is concerned, we are reducing our deficit. Some of the other governments have decided to simply put it on the bottom line, as the federal government is doing, rather than take the tough decisions in order to see that the people who benefit from the programs get the opportunity to pay for them.
Nobody likes to pay for these programs, but the sensible people in the province realize that there is a fair and equitable balance distributed among all of us as taxpayers that provides for our excellent medical services, our good educational program, our new roads initiatives and our programs designed to clean up the environment.
Mr Philip: In the absence of the Attorney General (Mr Scott), who is responsible for the Landlord and Tenant Act, I have a question of the Minister of Housing. In January, I raised the issue in the Legislature concerning how responsible tenants, including many disabled people and seniors, were being threatened with eviction due to the inclusion of “no pets” clauses in their leases.
Now that we have a Supreme Court decision that in fact has deprived one family of its leased rental accommodation and now that the Toronto Humane Society claims that there are tenants in 26 buildings in the city who have been threatened with either disposing of their pets or being evicted, what is the position of the Minister of Housing on “no pets” clauses in leases?
Hon Ms Hošek: The member has indeed raised this question before, and also during estimates. He also knows that decisions of this sort are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Attorney General. I will be very glad to pass his concerns on to the Attorney General when he comes back. I understand some of the concerns that he is raising.
Mr Philip: This is the Minister of Housing. She promised to pass on my views months ago when I raised the issue during her estimates. One has to ask, as the Minister of Housing, what is her position? Does she agree with the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations that now is claiming that hundreds of thousands of tenants are going to be facing eviction as a result of this government failing to act?
Does the minister not understand that seven months ago to this day, her colleague the Attorney General promised the Toronto Humane Society to consider legislation? Why has it taken the government seven months to act on this serious cause that tenants are complaining about?
Hon Ms Hošek: As a landlord itself, the province is very aware of this situation. The policy decision that we have made is to have the Ontario Housing Corp allow local authorities to make the decision in different housing authorities in the province I am pleased to say that the Metropolitan Toronto, Housing Authority, in this area, has indeed agreed to allow people who live in MTHA housing to keep pets. That is the decision that has been made in Metropolitan Toronto, and local housing authorities have the jurisdiction or authority to make their own decisions on this topic.
I have passed on the member’s concerns to the Attorney General. I will pass them on again.
Mr Jackson: I have a question to the Minister of Health. Today marks the third week I have been raising with the minister questions about the crisis in delivery of service to the neonatal intensive care units at Chedoke McMaster Hospitals.
I have in my possession a letter that was just recently sent by that hospital to the 18 other hospitals within the central west region. The feller says: “We have determined that in order to stay within the allocated budget for the neonatal intensive care unit, we will be forced to reduce our neonatal admissions even more. Priority will be given to high-risk infants born in the tertiary care unit at Chedoke McMaster.” It concludes by saying, “We very much deplore the additional risk and suffering imposed on your patients and their parents.”
The suffering is being imposed here on high-risk, premature, low-birth-weight, new-born babies.
The Speaker: The question?
Mr Jackson: My question to the minister is: Has her ministry staff advised her of these additional risks and have they advised her that Chedoke McMaster Hospitals have sent this letter out to the 18 area hospitals within their region?
Hon Mrs Caplan: As the member would know, and I have given him information over the course of the last few weeks, we have not yet received the budget from Chedoke McMaster Hospitals. I am informed by them, however, that there is one, that there will not be a reduction in their level 3 perinatal care and that, in fact, they are operating at full-funded capacity.
Mr Jackson: I doubt seriously if the minister is getting all the facts from within her own ministry. The situation is, in fact, getting worse. Her ministry was given a budget for the neonatal intensive care unit, upon her ministry’s request, over a month ago. In fact, her ministry was advised back on 27 January that the hospital was considering these drastic actions. Her assistant deputy minister attended a meeting back in February to discuss the situation in detail. He suggested and requested that they provide a strategy involving immediate solutions out of respect for the increased risk that these children were being subjected to.
My question to the minister is: Given the documentation, and I have copies of the minutes of that meeting, why is it that her ministry staff have accepted the need to reinstate the neonatal intensive care unit beds at Chedoke McMaster, and yet she continues to state in this House that she has relied on her own--
The Speaker: Thank you. The member has asked the question.
Hon Mrs Caplan: As the member has stated, the ministry is working very closely with not only Chedoke McMaster but with all the partners delivering perinatal services across the province. They are reviewed on an ongoing basis.
I would offer him a full briefing, as I have tried time and time again to explain to him how the system works. Since he seems to have some difficulty, I know the ministry officials would be prepared to spend as much time as necessary so that even he will fully understand how the system works.
Mr Talham: My question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. The county consultation committee report has been out for several months. What kind of response has he had to it?
Hon Mr Eakins: I am very enthused with the response to the county government report, which the honourable member is very familiar with. At the time the report was released I offered to meet with any of the counties that would extend an invitation. To date, I have visited many of the counties. I must say about 10 counties have already requested a review of their particular county and to look at ways they might strengthen their county form of government. We have other invitations and others who are interested in taking a look at their particular county.
One of the very interesting outcomes of this report is to read a report from the Sarnia bureau of the London Free Press today that some seven area wardens have met together to take a look at not only how they can strengthen their own form of county government but how they can work together and strengthen the counties in a united sense.
I feel that there is tremendous excitement out there to strengthen our county form of government.
Mr Tatham: What action is taking place on the future of this report?
Hon Mr Eakins: We will be reviewing the reports and the responses to reports as they come in. Many are coming in. I might say that those municipalities that need a few extra days are not going to be penalized if their report comes in late. We will put together a consensus on the report and then I hope we will be able to give some direction which out ministry and this government would like to take with regard to the strengthening of county government in Ontario.
Mr Reville: My question is to the Minister of Health. My colleague in the Conservative Party and I have been worried about the five high-risk babies born in less than ideal circumstances in the Hamilton area. To each of our questions the Minister of Health has responded that we do not understand how the system works.
I am advised by Dr Watts at Chedoke McMaster Hospitals that in 1987 that unit was on no-care status for 17 per cent of the time, in 1988 it was on no-care status for 38 per cent of the time and since May of this year the situation has gotten even worse than that.
Would the minister explain the functioning of a system that cannot admit a patient for more than a third of the time?
Hon Mrs Caplan: As the member knows, we are talking about very highly specialized care which is available at 13 hospitals across the province for perinatal care. Level 3 designation means that a hospital is able to care for seriously compromised infants and premature babies. At any given time, a particular level 3 hospital may be better able to handle a complex case, or in the case of multiple births--l mean quintuplets, which as everyone knows is a very rare occurrence--it may for reasons of equipment, staffing or personnel be able to better handle it than another area across the province.
Ideally, it would be preferred if that mother and patient and the babies she is about to give birth to could be cared for at the geographically closest centre. But because of our desire to have centres geographically located across the province so that everyone will have access to them, not just those close to the health science centres, I would say to him that we can find strains and stresses on the system at any one point al any given time. I know he understands that.
Mr Reville: What I understand is that the minister is a few cue cards short of a full deck. That was good, was it not? It just came to me, Mr Speaker.
But I have a question.
The Speaker: Order. I do think it would be best, rather than starting off with an editorial comment, just to place the supplementary.
Mr Reville: Will the minister tell the House whether she believes it is good health practice to transport, either by air or by land, a mother who is either high-risk herself or whose about-to-be-born babies are high-risk?
Hon Mrs Caplan: The member is dealing with a complex and difficult question that is somewhat illogical in its presentation and attempts to resort to personal attack. I do not interfere with medical judgements. As a mother of four children, I know how important it is that the very best medical decision be made to ensure that the very best possible care is available to high-risk mothers or those who are in high-risk situations. I rely on physicians to use their very best judgement to determine where a mother should be directed to make sure she receives the very best possible care in this province.
Mr Cureatz: Mr Speaker, I assure you that you will never see me making editorial comments.
The Speaker: Time will tell.
PROPOSED ELECTRICAL GENERATING STATIONS
Mr Cureatz: I do have a question. My question is to the Minister of Energy. I notice from Ontario Hydro’s newsletter that back in August 1988 Ontario Hydro “has commenced a proposed environmental examination on the possibilities of construction of”--l say to the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr Kerrio) -- “Sir Adam Beck 3.”
Hon Mr Kerrio: Hear, hear.
Mr Cureatz: The minister is already clapping and his government has yet to decide whether the station should be built or not.
I say to the minister that I can only presume this is his quiet method of instituting environmental banking. As the minister has approved this method of environmental banking, of Ontario Hydro doing environmental studies which, it has said in the background, will take up to four years for the Sir Adam Beck 3 site, why will he not commence environmental banking for sites such as the North Channel and Darlington 2?
Hon Mr Wong: I would like to thank the honourable member for his thought-provoking question, but I must say, with due respect to the honourable member, that I do not agree with his premise with respect to the preferred plan from Ontario Hydro, which will be public this fall, in September or October. At present, we do not know what will be in this plan, what type of demand-management or supply-side projects will actually be outlined.
Second, no decision has been made yet on the part of the government as to what decision-making process will be used, whether it is a board, a panel, a committee or a tribunal, to evaluate the energy considerations and the economic, social and environmental factors. One thing I do know for sure is that after the preferred plan has been made public there will be provision for public input.
Mr Cureatz: The minister has not answered the question, namely: Is this not Ontario Hydro’s method of environmental banking? I would like the minister to answer. Did Ontario Hydro approach him about the proposal for Sir Adam Beck 3 in terms of its four-year plan of investigation for environmental studies? Did Ontario Hydro approach him and did he give the approval? If he did give the approval, why does he not start giving approvals for the North Channel or Darlington 2?
Hon Mr Wong: Let me answer the question by saying that Ontario Hydro has announced that it is proceeding on this renewable resource, the Sir Adam Beck 3 plan. It is not one of those situations where the utility has said, “Let us wait and see whether we get an environmental approval before we decide whether we’re going to do it or not.” In other words, the banking argument the member makes is invalid here. Ontario Hydro has made the announcement. It is doing what it would logically do, and that is to seek all of the normal and regular government approvals.
Mr Callahan: My question is to the Minister of Agriculture and Food. In June of this year we celebrated the Strawberry Festival in Huttonville, which is one of the finest apple-growing regions in Ontario. It is located in the riding of Brampton South.
On 17 June, we had some rather unusual weather which resulted in a large downfall of ice pellets, which had a significant impact on the apple crop. Because of the high premium for crop insurance, some of the residents of my riding who are apple growers did not have insurance. Could the minister tell me whether there is any avenue available to them to secure some compensation for the losses they sustained’?
Hon Mr Riddell: In answer to the question from the member for Brampton South, I was aware of the hailstorm and the damage it did to the apple crop on, I believe, 16 June. The growers in this province are also aware that there has been a program in place now for over 20 years and this program gives them the kind of protection they need with such perils as frost damage.
Those apple growers who participate in the crop insurance program will have their claims paid when the harvest is completed. Those who do not have crop insurance will get no benefits. My advice is that all growers should be taking out crop insurance I might say that this is the second year we have had a hail spot loss rider for apple producers.
We have incorporated a number of changes recommended by the task force headed by the member for Lincoln (Mr Pelissero) into crop insurance. We hope the federal minister will amend the Crop Insurance Act to bring in some of the other changes that are needed.
Mr Callahan: I would ask the minister if there is any program, either provincially funded or a combination of provincial and federal funding, that would assist apple growers or for that matter farmers of whatever nature in perhaps buffering the high cost of these premiums.
Hon Mr Riddell: As I indicated, other than the crop insurance program, there is no additional assistance for those growers who chose not to participate in this program which gives them protection against damages due to hail, drought or whatever it may be. As a matter of fact, our sales have increased by about 50 per cent since the drought of last year, so growers are becoming more aware of the importance of having crop insurance.
It is not that we cannot improve the crop insurance program, but we are asking the federal minister to amend the act to allow coverage. Over 80 per cent of the farmers choose to go that option. We are asking the federal government to make amendments to the act to allow for a different way of establishing yields. I think we can improve the crop insurance program, but it has been improved tremendously over the past few years and this is what the farmers should rely on for the kind of protection they need against the weather.
Mr D. S. Cooke: I have a question to the Minister of Health. I am sure she is aware that at this point the people in my home community have completely lost confidence in our health care system; specifically, they have lost confidence in their ability to access cardiac care services in London.
On Friday, the minister’s colleague the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr Wrye) announced a task force for which I have no idea what the terms of reference are or who is going to serve on this task force. Specifically, can the minister indicate whether one aspect of the investigation of that task force will be the viability of a cardiology surgical unit in the Windsor-Essex area to help alleviate the problem of hundreds of people who are going on waiting lists for cardiac surgery in London?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I think it is very important for the member and all members of this House to know that we are committed to the kind of equity in access to effective qualify services for everyone right across the province. Very occasionally and in extreme cases, the most appropriate decision based on the judgement of the doctor, particularly in the Windsor area, has resulted in patients being referred to Detroit.
The member should know that we have a network of cardiovascular services in six centres in the province and that physicians can refer to any one of those centres, even if it is not the one which is closest to home.
I believe the people of Windsor have access to the very finest care. But to reassure itself and also make sure that the people of Windsor have this information, the ministry is sending a team of officials to meet with senior health care providers to clarify the procedures for accessing these services, to make sure that the senior health care providers in the Windsor area have the information they need so that they can assure the people of Windsor that they do have access and appropriate access to the most appropriate services and as close to home as possible.
Mr D. S. Cooke: I think there is no way to describe what the minister has just said other than that they have set up a task force to cover the political butt of the member for Windsor- Walkerville (Mr M. C. Ray) and the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr Wrye). It has absolutely nothing to do with improving access to health care for the many people in our community who are waiting for cardiac care surgery.
I would like to ask the minister how she would respond to a heart specialist who called me this morning--and I have referred the case to her office--and said: “Access to London means not one phone call but having to call each individual surgeon separately and finding out whether he has room to be able to do emergency surgery. In itself it takes a couple of hours or more to contact each doctor, since he may be in surgery or elsewhere.”
How does that guarantee surgery for people who are critically ill and need access to a health care system in Ontario which they pay for? They need access today--not tomorrow, next week or the week after.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I would say to the member opposite that unfortunately when we talk about these highly specialized, very complex kinds of systems, procedures and networks within the province, sometimes the truth gets lost in the emotionalism of the issue. He knows full well that sometimes, notwithstanding access to the very best possible care, patients do not survive. That does not mean the entire system should be condemned.
The ministry is going to ensure that the health care providers in the Windsor area have the information they need so they can make sure their patients have access to those services as expeditiously as possible. He knows that we announced an expansion of the registry system which is now coming into place in Metropolitan Toronto to make sure that the entire province ultimately will have one phone number and a central registry.
However, he knows as well that the central working committee which we are establishing will make sure that we have a common definition for urgent, elective and emergency, so that we have the kinds of standards to make sure there is equity in the system. I know that in cooler moments, when he is not playing partisan politics with what is a very serious issue, he would agree that our approach is the right one.
TRAINING MATERIALS INVESTMENT FUND
Mr Jackson: I have a question for the Minister of Skills Development. On 28 March 1988, the minister advised this House of the development of the Ontario Training Corp. Within that he made as his banner announcement the training materials investment fund, which I am sure he is familiar with.
Could the minister please advise this House now, after almost a year and a halt, how many contracts this Ontario Training Corp has let under this joint private sector venture under the training materials investment fund? How many projects has he let?
Hon Mr Curling: As the member for Burlington South knows, when the Ontario Training Corp was established it was applauded by all members of the House. Some were quite reluctant, not understanding it fully, but having come to understand the Ontario Training Corp and how effective it has been--of course, it took some time to set the infrastructure in place. They have reviewed a number of programs and are working. Just recently, I attended the one-year anniversary of the Ontario Training Corp. They have presented to me a number of programs that are under consideration and they are very near to approving a couple of those programs.
Mr Pope: In other words, mine.
Mr Jackson: We can interpret that as none, but I think I can help enlighten the minister about his own ministry. In fact, he did attend their annual meeting on 20 June. A statement issued by his ministry said: “The first year of any business is always one of incredible growth and Ontario Training Corporation has been no exception. There has been tremendous growth in that corporation.”
There has been? I understand that the budget expenditure to date for this program is in excess of $8.5 million, but up until about three weeks ago the ministry had not signed up one private sector contract. In fact, the program is not really working. So the purpose of my questioning is to ask the minister, in fairness, at what point will he be doing an evaluation on this program? Given the fact that if it is not as effective as it could be and is not working, when will he make the judgement to shut down the program?
Hon Mr Curling: The honourable member got up and he asked a question and then he proceeded to tell me how he could tell me what is happening in the Ontario Training Corp. Then he proceeded to ask, am I ready to shut it down after a year?
We do not intend to approve programs at random, but to assess it properly to make sure it reaches the target and the purpose of what this government had intended the Ontario Training Corp to do. We have been doing that very diligently and I am very impressed with the board and its approach. I think the member for Burlington South will be one of the main members here who will be standing up in a few months to applaud the efforts of the Ontario Training Corp.
Mr D. W. Smith: My question is to the Minister of the Environment. The province’s 1989 budget includes a tax of $5 which will be charged on the purchase of each new tire. This tax is apparently designed to support the government’s tire and waste reduction programs. Can the minister let us know what is being done to reduce tire and other waste, utilizing the government’s funds.
Han Mr Bradley: It would probably take me about eight and a half minutes to do so thoroughly but I do not have that kind of time, so I will share with the member and his constituents who are interested some of these initiatives.
My ministry is initiating several programs, he would be happy to know, to encourage recycling of a wide range of materials used by both the individual consumers and industry.
Tires are receiving special attention, and the Treasurer (Mr R. F. Nixon) asks that they receive that kind of special attention for a number of reasons, principally that they are bulky and that currently disposal space must he found for about seven million fires in an entire year. Increasingly, tires are being banned at many landfill sites for this reason, and our goal is to promote the development of new markets for recycled tires and those products.
Tire crumbs, for instance, have potential application in road materials, running tracks, vibration control products and acoustical materials, and many other products can be punched from rubber tire material, including bumpers for industrial application and blasting pads.
Through the industrial 4R program, the Ministry of the Environment has committed funding to promote the reclamation of tire castings for retreading in a program which will handle--listen to this--up to 150,000 tires a year in that program alone.
We are also providing funding to a program which will shred tires--
The Speaker: Thank you. I would remind the minister that under standing order 29 it is possible, if it takes a lengthy answer, to ask that the question be put in Orders and Notices.
Mr D. W. Smith: The reason I asked that question is that some of the landfill sites in Lambton county have been charging $5 for used tires. I wanted to hear the minister’s response, because now they will have to charge $5 to get rid of the tires and the $5 tax on new fires.
There are many types of common bulky industrial materials currently taking up space in landfill sites. Are programs being initiated by his ministry to promote the reuse and recycling of tires or wood used in construction or even cardboard?
Hon Mr Bradley: I think people would recognize that in business, wastes in fact reflect inefficiencies in the operation of businesses and in the conduct of enterprise. For that reason, we are encouraging the elimination of waste; and they see the value of eliminating that kind of waste.
Businesses can reduce waste simply by reviewing their operations at every step of the process: identifying practices that generate the waste and changing those practices to ways that generate less waste. These practices range from simple administrative procedures that the member for Nickel Belt (Mr Laughren) would be aware of, to manufacturing process changes such as recycling raw materials internally, and changes in product design aimed at minimizing both raw material usage and the eventual quantities.
My ministry is providing to municipalities and the private sector a 4R advisory staff and hotline for technical advice. We are also providing research and development assistance for the 4R technology markets through our research advisory committee. These programs are supporting the private sector initiatives to recycle materials such as waste wood. Cardboard is already being accepted by a number of municipal curbside recycling programs. With all these things happening in the province--
The Speaker: Order. I appreciate the help of many of the members; however, I know sometimes 70 or 80 seconds seems like a long time if one is not using that time.
NORTHERN HEALTH SERVICES
Mr Reville: My question is for the Minister of Health. I know the minister was out in the northwest at the tail end of last week, so l want to ask her a “quality care as close to home as possible” kind of question.
The Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital has had real problems attracting a full complement of mental health professionals. The normal staffing level would be 11 psychiatrists. It now has three.
One of those psychiatrists is leaving in August, another is leaving in six months and the acting chief is going to lose his licence to practise in one year. Whatever is the minister going to do to solve that problem?
Hon Mrs Caplan: In fact, I am concerned about the ability to attract specialty staff and physicians as well as allied health professionals throughout northern Ontario. That is the reason we announced this week the northern health manpower committee, which has representatives from across the north, to help. I know they will be acknowledging that the attraction of psychiatrists to the north is a significant priority.
Dr Copeman has declared his ability to work with the ministry to attract psychiatrists particularly for Lakehead, and I believe it is through working together to attract psychiatrists on a sessional basis by working with the northern health manpower committee that we will be able to resolve many of the significant issues facing health professionals right across northern Ontario.
Mr Reville: The consequences of the understanding at Lakehead are that people are overmedicated in the hospital, people who should be discharged to the community are not and people who should be admitted to the hospital cannot be because the beds are blocked.
When will the minister realize that she has the stewardship of a system that cannot solve this problem; that she could do one of two things, or both: set up a medical school in the north so that the people who train there would practise there, or provide salaries to attract psychiatrists and other health professionals to remote areas, because the fee-for-service system leaves them all working on St Clair Avenue? What about that?
Hon Mrs Caplan: The member knows full well we have five excellent medical schools in the province. All of them are working with us to determine how training programs can be modified and improved so that young students will have opportunities to train and practise in the north. We are working on those at the very moment, even as we speak.
I can tell him as well that we are actively pursuing alternative payment mechanisms, offering those to physicians to encourage them to the north. The northern health manpower committee, which will, as well as having the central committee, have two subcommittees, one for the northeast and one for the northwest, will be charged with finding ways that will attract physicians, not only in areas of psychiatry where we are working with the underserviced area program but also in other areas and allied health professionals.
One of the challenges of human resource and manpower planning is to acknowledge the special challenges of northern Ontario. We are doing that. I am proud of the efforts we are making.
Mr Cureatz: Probably not having the opportunity for a supplementary, I will direct this question to the Minister of Skills Development and, if he wants to defer it to the Minister ofLabour, that will be fine, if those two can sort out what the problem is and who can answer.
An hon member: I thought you didn’t editorialize.
Hon Mr Sweeney: Time’s up, Mr Speaker.
Mr Cureatz: The Liberal back bench is cackling like a flock of sheep again. It is unbelievable.
Presently, there is under construction a new plant for Atlantic Packaging Products Ltd. The National Association of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters union is staging an on-the-spot strike and protest at being replaced by the International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers. It is my understanding that there is concern under the apprenticeship and tradesmen’s qualification act as to whether safety standards are being met with the ironworkers doing the pipefitters’ job.
Would the Minister of Skills Development please investigate the problem as to which worker should indeed be doing that particular trade work?
Hon Mr Curling: Mr Speaker, although I have not heard you recognize me, I think I will ask the Minister of Labour to respond to the honourable member’s question.
Hon Mr Sorbara: It is very kind of my colleague the Minister of Skills Development to refer it to me.
There is a very long answer to the member’s question, but inasmuch as we are at the end of question period, I will do two things. First, I will tell the member that where there is a jurisdictional dispute, that matter can and probably should be referred to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Otherwise, the inquiries that he asked my colleague the Minister of Skills Development to make will be made and we certainly will report back to him in due course.
The Speaker: Before I call on petitions, it would be in order, I believe, at this time to place a ruling before the House.
On Thursday last, the opposition House leader, the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr D. S. Cooke), raised a point of order with respect to government notice of motion number 6 which had been moved by the government House leader, the member for Renfrew North (Mr Conway). The motion in question is one for the allocation of time and sets out in detail the provisions which are to be made for further proceedings on Bill 162, An Act to amend the Workers’ Compensation Act.
The member for Windsor-Riverside cited four reasons her the motion being out of order. First, there is no provision in the standing orders for such a motion; second, the deeming provisions of the motion affecting amendments are unprecedented and amount to an abuse of the minority; third, the time allocated to the committee of the whole House stage is inadequate and does not allow the opposition to adequately perform its role of holding government accountable; and fourth, it prejudges the members of the Legislature and their role in dealing with legislation.
The House leader for the Progressive Conservative Party, the member for Nipissing (Mr Harris), maintained that the deeming provisions of the motion affecting amendments prejudicially affect the ability of the opposition to put forward its arguments on particular amendments and would have the effect of deeming each amendment to be in order. The members for Scarborough West (Mr R. F. Johnston), Hamilton Mountain (Mr Charlton) and the government House leader also offered advice on matters I should consider in determining if the motion is in order.
As I stated in my ruling on 23 January 1989, it has been settled that a motion for the allocation of time, although it forms no part of the general procedure of the House, is a substantive motion and may be moved and debated upon proper notice being given. In this case, proper notice was given and I find the motion to be in order on this ground.
I have considered carefully the arguments of members concerning the deeming provisions of the motion which would treat amendments tabled before 6 pm on the first sessional day in committee of the whole House and not yet moved by 5:45 pm on the second sessional day in committee of the whole House as if they had been moved. I have looked at the precedents and practices of this House and other jurisdictions to assist me in determining if such a provision is in order.
Since 1985, in dealing with the estimates, it has been a common practice of the House to deem that the estimates not yet passed by the committees and reported to the House to be passed and all estimates not yet concurred in to be concurred in. At the House of Commons at Westminster, provision has been made in time allocation motions to deem parts of a bill to stand as part of the bill without question put and it is a recognized technique in legislative drafting that a bill may be deemed to have come into force on a day prior to passage through the House and royal assent.
Also, at the House of Commons in Ottawa, at that stage of the legislative process which they call the report stage, which is an equivalent to our committee of the whole stage, it is often the case that time allocation will affect this stage in the very same way as is proposed here. In that case, sometimes a very large number of amendments will be put to the House seriatim without having been debated.
If the Chairman of the committee of the whole House determines that an amendment which is deemed to be moved by the provisions of the time allocation order is out of order, it is the duty of the Chairman to rule accordingly before the question is put on the amendment. The effect of the time allocation order is not to deem any amendment affected by its provisions to be in order.
I therefore find this provision in the motion to be in order. By its very nature, an allocation of time order is a means by which debate on a matter is curtailed by allocating a specified number of days to the various stages of a bill. Such a procedure is, as stated in Erskine May’s Treatise on the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament, 20th edition, at pages 454 to 455, “the extreme limit to which procedure goes in affirming the rights of the majority at the expense of the minorities of the House” and is “capable of being used in such a way as to upset the balance, generally so carefully preserved, between the claims of business and the rights of debate.”
In my opinion, the allocation of time order moved by the government House leader does not infringe the rights of the minority, Therefore. as I stated earlier, I find the motion to be in order.
Mr D. S. Cooke: Mr Speaker, I understand we are not able to debate your ruling. I must challenge your ruling.
The Speaker: I have been challenged by the member for Windsor-Riverside on the ruling. The question I must put to the House is, shall the ruling be sustained?
The House divided on the Speaker’s ruling, which was sustained on the following vote:
Beer, Black, Bradley, Brandt, Brown, Callahan, Caplan, Carrothers, Chiarelli, Collins, Conway, Cooke, D. R., Cordiano, Cureatz, Daigeler, Dietsch, Eakins, Elliot, Elston, Epp, Faubert, Fleet, Fontaine, Furlong, Grandmaître, Harris, Hošek, Kanter, Kerrio, Keyes, LeBourdais, Leone, Mahoney, Matrundola, McCague, McClelland, McGuinty, McLean, Miller, Morin, Nixon, J. B., Offer, O’Neil, H., Owen, Pelissero, Phillips, Polsinelli, Poole, Reycraft, Ridden, Roberts, Smith, D. W., Smith, E. J., Sorbara, South, Stoner, Sullivan, Sweeney, Tatham, Wilson, Wong.
Charlton, Cooke, D. S., Kormos, Laughren, Mackenzie, Philip, Rae, B., Reville.
Ayes 61; nays 8.
The House adjourned at 1801.