The House met at 1100.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ PUBLIC BUSINESS
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AMENDMENT ACT, 1990
Mr Allen moved second reading of Bill 165, An Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act.
Mr Allen: This morning we are addressing what by all accounts has to be one of the major crises afflicting Ontario and virtually every municipality within it. I want to state at the outset that I will be initiating the discussion of this bill and my colleague, our distinguished critic on environmental matters, the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, will be following through with the second portion of the discussion as we get into the second round.
The problem is certainly one of enormous proportions. As I say, there is hardly a municipality that is not afflicted with a major crisis of disposable waste. As Canadians, we produce 1.8 kilograms of solid waste per day. If one looks at that in cumulative terms, in the hour that we are addressing this bill in this Legislature, there will be in Ontario 1,140 more tonnes of garbage municipally added to the crisis and to the challenge.
I presume that, since we are the heaviest energy users in North America and in the world, we are also probably, by the same scale, industrially, municipally and personally on a per capita basis the equal of the Americans, at least in the production annually of garbage. If one takes all the emissions into the atmosphere, into the rivers and waters, into the soils, and handled through our municipal waste systems and so on totally on a global scale, it is estimated that each American produces 60,000 pounds of garbage per year, or 20 tonnes per person. At 9.5 million Ontarians, that runs to 190 million tonnes of waste per year. Municipally, we produce 10 million tonnes of waste per year.
This bill of mine would love to address the total problem. However, what it does address are the specifics of a municipal problem in the order of 10 million tonnes of garbage per year.
Given the scale of the problem, it is astonishing that the government appears to be committed principally to a voluntary approach to this question. Yes, there are a few regulations, but it is surprising how few they are and how limited they are in their impact and extent.
It is astonishing that, when my colleague the environmental critic for our party in December introduced a resolution to this House to sample the opinion of the Legislature on this question and proposed a series of recommendations, the response of the minister essentially was, “There go the New Democrats again wanting to regulate everybody.”
I have to submit to you, Mr Speaker, that the regulatory regimes that exist are so feeble at this point in time and the dynamos that produce consumption and produce the enormous amounts of packaging to make consumption more attractive are so overwhelming that it is inconceivable to think that a policy that relies principally upon voluntarism would ever work.
For example, broadly speaking, municipalities still function under a regime in which they may dispose of what they want, where they want and when they want with remarkably few restrictions. Private waste disposal companies have so few controls on them that the minister does not even know in any detail what it is they dispose of or the overall total quantities.
The government itself has no mechanism for even understanding the scale in detail of the waste stream, as it is called, that flows from each one of us, from every industrial corporation, from every office operation and from every sector of our economy.
In the light of all that, the minister’s playing down or making light of proposals of regulation is cavalier, to say the least, and irresponsible, to say what is perhaps more appropriate. We only have to look around us to see how the engines of consumption drive us on into greater and greater individual consumption.
It is calculated that, even with the blue box program operating at its greatest effect as a voluntary domestic method of getting some reduction and certainly some recycling of some elements of the waste stream, the actual pace of consumption is such and growing at such a pace that the total of consumption and packaging and product disposal will overtake the effects of the blue box program and we will be no further ahead in problems of disposability or of waste management at the end of this decade.
This bill that I am producing is based on a rejection of certain propositions and an assertion of certain others. It rejects the proposition, for example, that waste management is essentially a local responsibility. At the moment, that is where most of the action lies. Municipalities have historically disposed of garbage. They understand that that has been their responsibility, and some of them are moving into recycling regimes and what have you.
But at the same time they have none of the jurisdictional or legislative powers to cope with the scale of the problem when one begins to address it in its real character, namely, the need to reduce the production of waste at its source or to embark upon major reusing initiatives, let alone to massively entertain recycling. Those regulations have to be provincial and federal, and each of these senior governments has a specific role in that regard and should be exercising it.
The second proposal that this legislation rejects is the proposition that all we have to do is work together to improve disposal methods. Disposability and incineration are the standard forms of disposal at this point in time in waste management. We reject them. There will always be some element of that in waste management, but overwhelmingly we have to address the problems of reducing waste at its source and then reusing where possible and recycling where necessary.
In this bill we also reject the principle that all individuals and corporations are free to produce and package materials without having regard to their ultimate fate. The producer of the problem in the first instance must be made responsible for its ultimate fate in terms of disposability and bear those costs. Those costs must not be loaded on to the environment, on to the municipality, on to the provincial government and on to the taxpayer’s back. There have to be taxation schemes, penalties, tax incentives and rebate mechanisms for dealing with that problem.
In terms of positive proposals, this bill endorses the proposal that reduction of waste at source is the first priority, to be followed by reuse and recycle. Second, waste options should minimize environmental impacts. We should not use one technique of reduction, reuse or recycling that will generate another problem in its wake. When there is an alternative product available, a disposable or non-recyclable product should not be permitted in the market.
We also propose that this whole process has to be institutionalized in order to make it function. I read from a major study done by the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto on this subject:
“Reduction options will be resilient only if responsibility for development, implementation, monitoring and enforcement is given to an institution with the mandate and resources to sustain commitments to waste reduction. Their longevity can also be assured by giving them legislative or regulatory expression which can offer some insulation from the political exigencies of the day.”
Wiser words were never spoken. One has to have in place structures that can deal on a systematic and ongoing basis with the problem of reduction at source, which means tackling the questions of the durability of products, the way in which they are produced and the incidental impact on the environment of production methods, the ways in which they are packaged and the forms, whether that packaging is recyclable or not, whether there are alternative methods of using, for example, containers that enable one to reuse and reuse the container in question and so on.
Those are the essential principles and those are the guidelines that lie behind the proposals that are in this piece of legislation. I will sit and await with interest the comments of the members in this House.
The Speaker: The following time will be divided among all parties, 15 minutes each, and then there will be two minutes for the sponsor to wind up.
Mr Jackson: It is my pleasure to rise in support of this private member’s bill, Bill 165, An Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act. I am always pleased to commend my colleague the member for Hamilton West for his initiative and his leadership in this regard. As we all know, matters affecting our environment are very much a non-partisan issue and very much an issue worthy of support.
I am delighted to inform the House that today in the Legislature in the visitors’ gallery we have students from Aldershot High School in Burlington to bear witness to today’s debate. They are the proud inheritors of a struggle within our own community to have the Aldershot landfill site redesignated so that that waste disposal site was not supported and they succeeded in the fact that its proximity to Lake Ontario was rejected.
Certainly the students at Aldershot High School were an integral part of the public awareness and the appeals before the Ontario Municipal Board and the joint commission in terms of having that site changed. So we are delighted to welcome them here today to the Legislature and we are very proud that they are here.
Crisis is a term that most often applies to the issues of waste and waste management in Ontario today. Provincial landfill sites serving half the population of Ontario will run out of capacity, it is predicted, in the next 10 years, which is a very short time. To make matters worse, garbage production rates are on the increase. Each year Canadians produce an average of more than a tonne of garbage, both residential and industrial, which is double that produced just 25 years ago.
In Metro Toronto over the past four years alone, the works department has registered an annual increase in waste volumes of more than 15% while other large urban centres report similar trends. Environmental pressures forced the closing in 1988 of Toronto’s aging incinerator and the abandonment of a new landfill. The process of searching for another landfill will take a minimum of five years to complete, which puts its resolution of this crisis to the year 1994. While Metro’s two landfills are scheduled to be closed in 1990 and 1992, over 160 existing landfill sites through Ontario will reach capacity within the next two years and more than 300 will be filled up within five years.
In the case of Halton region, which I have the privilege of representing here in the Legislature, the site selection process has been going on for 15 years. It has cost our taxpayers in Halton over $30 million, and we still have not found and completed our site. This includes $80,000 a month which is spent to export our garbage to New York state, and we are still being bogged down in the process of appeals as we speak.
This is the crisis. An increasing volume of waste, rapidly decreasing capacity in existing waste management facilities and new facilities not coming on stream fast enough are formidable barriers to speeding up the process and the resolution of this crisis. We ask ourselves how this crisis could have arisen in the first place. The answer lies in its root cause, namely, our social attitudes, our throwaway lifestyle which is mostly to blame here.
Waste is something we no longer want or something we no longer have a use for. We ourselves therefore define what is waste and what is not. In the last 30 years, Canadians not only began consuming more resources per capita but also began substituting goods: plastics for woods, detergents for soap, synthetics for natural fibres, and so on. These trends created new kinds of waste that were far more difficult to dispose of and developed wasteful attitudes and behaviours that endure until today. Fully half of all garbage by volume consists of packaging, which consumers have come to expect.
Slowly an awareness of a contradiction is finding its way to the surface. Economic growth in the form it now takes and human lifestyle patterns exceed the capacity of the natural environment to assimilate the waste they generate. Environment ministries can no longer contain it. Our lifestyle depends on many kinds of goods being disposable, on consumer wasting rather than conserving and on getting rid of the waste.
Therefore, Mr Speaker, I can only suggest to you that given this crisis, given our understanding of the problems, we can do nothing more at this point than support the member for Hamilton West. He has put considerable time, as both his caucus and our caucus have, into addressing this issue. I would like to commend the city council of Burlington which has passed, as many councils in Ontario have, resolutions which speak directly to reducing the amount of packaging.
We want to suggest to the Minister of the Environment as well that the processes which are leading to the landfill selection have to be more streamlined and there has to be more effort on the part of the government in terms of reducing the amount of garbage and disposables that are going into our landfill sites.
I want to thank the member for his bill and pledge to him the continuing and ongoing support of the Conservative caucus and the members towards the resolution of his Bill 165.
Mr Adams: The motion of the member for Hamilton West and his private member’s bill address the place of reduction in waste management. I think the member, and certainly the member for Burlington South in what he said, and probably everyone who speaks this morning is very interested in a problem which is now facing us all, and that is whether the current interest in the environment, this enormous interest in environmental matters, is going to last, whether in fact there is going to be a change in our society which is going to be permanent and which is going to effect permanent changes in the way we operate as individuals and in the way that businesses, industry and governments operate.
Of course, if these changes do not become permanent -- do not become institutionalized, I believe is the expression one of the previous speakers used -- then all that we are doing now will be for nothing. There has to be a real change.
Part of that change, I think perhaps the most important part, is a change of attitude or a change in lifestyle. I think if this change is to come about, it has to come about in an informed populace. It cannot come about simply despite ignorance in the population in general or among legislators or business people or whatever. People have to know why they should change their lifestyles and their attitudes. I think only then will the change be permanent.
I think one of the contributions of this Ministry of the Environment, and in particular of the current Minister of the Environment, towards this change in attitude has been a raising of awareness of the meaning of the expression “the three Rs.”
A very short time ago, it seems to me, if you went into a school and said, “What are the three Rs?” almost everyone would have said, “Oh, it’s reading, writing and arithmetic.” And if you had come into this House and you had said. “What are three Rs?” people would have said, “Reading, writing and rhetoric.” But today, if you go into a school or you go into the street and you say to someone, “What are the three Rs?” they say immediately and with no hesitation at all, “The three Rs are reduce, reuse and recycle.”
People are thinking about those three Rs and the Ministry of the Environment can take some credit for that, and I think it is important. As the member’s private bill indicates, thought is already being given not only in this Legislature by the member for Hamilton West but also in the schools to those words, “reduce, reuse and recycle.”
As the member has pointed out and as we all know, there is a certain logic to them. In the ideal world, first, you reduce unnecessary consumption as much as possible. Then, ideally, if you do use something, you reuse it and you reuse it again. Then and only then, in the ideal world, do you recycle. You take that product -- let’s say it is a bottle -- you make it back into glass and you make it into another glass, consumable item. That is very important. Again, that order, that logic is known now among the general public and particularly I think among students, including those here in the gallery.
That logic is real, but we live in a world which, in some ways sadly and in some ways happily, is not an ideal world, and I am sure that the member, in putting forward this bill which stresses reduction, does not want us to give up in the area of recycling, give up in the area of reuse. He knows that we, all of us, have to somehow keep all three of these things going, even though in the very ideal case we would perhaps reduce first.
This, of course, is what the government has been striving to do, and it is not easy. It would be much simpler if we could reduce the thing to a formula and say, “Look, this year, next year and the year after we will reduce, the years after that we will reuse, the years after that we will recycle.” We have to somehow keep all of the three Rs going at once.
Let’s look at some of the government’s achievements in the area of the three Rs. The blue box has already been mentioned this morning. I believe it was a week Friday that the two-millionth household received its blue box in Ontario, and the number is growing daily. The blue box alone is now diverting over 250,000 tonnes of waste from the waste stream to some productive use, and each month more materials are being collected through the blue box in different parts of the province. The blue box is the most obvious phase of our recycling effort, one of the three Rs. It is the collection phase, and it is a very important phase because, through it, each household each day or each week makes a commitment to recycling by putting out its own blue box.
But the other phases are equally important. There has to be a technology phase for each of the materials; that is to say, a way of taking those materials and recycling them into a useful product. For example, in terms of newsprint, there has to be a way of safely bleaching the newsprint, and the government has been thinking of and working on that.
Once we have new materials, there has to be a marketing phase, and there has to be a way of selling the recycled products. If not, we end up with mountains of recycled material. Again, that is being addressed very seriously by the Ministry of the Environment. As members know, the major newspapers in the province are on side at last, and when the Sun, the Star, the Globe and Mail and so on place their next orders for newsprint, they will require recycled content. That is one example of the government’s encouraging and stimulating the market phase of recycling, and if we have a collecting phase -- the blue box -- a technology phase for each material, a way of reprocessing the material and then a marketing phase, a way to sell those products, we have sustainable recycling.
If recycling is to stick, it has to be sustainable in that way, and the government has to keep all those aspects of recycling going. The goals of our activity in the three Rs are 25% diversion from landfill by 1992 and 50% diversion by the year 2000. This is exactly the same target as the member for Hamilton West has in his private member’s bill.
In terms of reduction, the packaging standards developed by the province have been submitted and received by all the ministers of environment in Canada and will become the national standards, and I was pleased to see a number of the items in the member’s bill echoing this government’s proposed standards for packaging. Packaging certainly has to be one of the targets of any three Rs program.
I could mention, similarly, the government’s efforts in the area of composting. I know composting is both recycling and reduction, as the member for Hamilton West realizes, but composting does reduce the volume of waste as well as creating a useful material. The Ministry of the Environment has assisted dozens of municipalities with home composting. In my own riding of Peterborough, every township now sells for between $12 and $25 a large home composter which citizens can use. By the way, these are being bought very rapidly and people are going into home composting.
The ministry is also supporting municipal, large-scale composting, and I look forward to the day when the pilot project which is now going on in Guelph will be used as a model for the whole province and when Peterborough will be into large-scale communal composting.
I intend to vote in favour of this private member’s bill. I will leave the time that we have remaining for my colleague the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere, who will be discussing other examples of the government’s efforts in the area of reduction and the three Rs.
Mrs Grier: I am very pleased to have the opportunity to have this debate in the House today and of course to support the bill that has been brought forward by the member for Hamilton West. As the member has said, this bill moves to implement the resolution that I put before this House last December and which called on the government to introduce before March 1990 some guidelines, some targets, some plans by which it would achieve the targets of waste reduction which it had announced and which the member for Peterborough reiterates today that it supports and which we all support.
The difference that we have with the member for Peterborough and with the members of this government is that we do not think those targets can be reached by voluntary effort. I find it really disappointing to hear the member for Peterborough explain how he sees the three Rs working, that he says it would be nice if for a period we could say, “We will for this length of time reduce and then we will reuse and then we will recycle.” The three Rs are not in sequence, they are a hierarchy of importance, and the first importance is to reduce waste.
If you cannot reduce waste, then you recycle items, but you do not wait until you have decided whether or not you can reduce before you get into reusing and recycling. You have to look at every item in the waste stream and say: “How can that item be reduced? Can we stop using that? Can we somehow avoid having that particular product, that particular item, in the waste stream?” If we cannot do that, then, “Can we find a way of reusing it?” and only if we cannot reuse it, “Can we find a way of recycling it?” We do not wait until we have looked at every item in the waste stream before we look as to whether or not we can reduce them before we begin to look at how we can reuse them. We have to always keep in mind with every single item that is disposed of, could this be reduced; could this be reused; if it cannot, could it be recycled?
Our problem with the approach of the government is that it is focusing completely on recycling, and that, in itself, is not enough. By focusing on reduction, we are not saying we do not support recycling; we merely regard it as the last way to go, and only to go that way if we cannot approach the issue from the perspective of reduction and reuse.
When I put my motion before this House last December it was supported on all sides, but nothing has happened from the government since then. There have been no initiatives to implement that resolution, which it said it supported in principle. In fact, when we look at the actions that it has taken, they have been steps backward in reducing the requirement for refillable containers on the market. So in the absence of any action from this government, my colleague the member for Hamilton West has brought forward Bill 165, because what that bill will do is put in place the kinds of programs that would allow us to reach the target of 25% diversion of waste by the year 1992.
The reversal of this government’s policies with respect to refillable containers was, I think, a very clear indication of its abdication of responsibility for showing leadership in the field of waste reduction. People have said all across the province that they want to do something about our environmental crisis. They want to participate in trying to solve the problems and they have shown by their actions in using the blue box system how willing they are to do that.
The pop containers ought not to be in the blue box system. The blue boxes should be only for those things, as I have said, that you cannot reduce or reuse, and you can reuse pop containers. It is very basic; it is very simple. Every child who buys pop knows that if he buys it in a bottle for which there is a deposit, he will probably take that bottle back and that bottle will be reused. Why can this government not understand that this is what has to happen? If the government cannot understand that this has to happen with pop containers, we on this side have no hope that it will begin to understand that this has to happen with a whole lot of other items that now have ended up in the waste stream.
When I raised in the House the cave-in of the government to the soft drink industry by the reduction of the targets for refillable containers and the decision to no longer prosecute soft drink companies that do not meet the regulations, the Minister of the Environment accused me of not supporting the blue box system. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am very glad that two million people across the province are participating in the blue box system.
Mr Adams: Two million households.
Mrs Grier: The member for Peterborough corrects me and he is right.
My problem is that it too is a voluntary program. It is only available, by and large, to single-family households. It is only available in municipalities that choose to participate in it. It does not cover the commercial sector. It does not, by and large, cover multifamily units, apartment buildings and the like. It can only go so far.
Think how much further we could go in reducing garbage if we were prepared to say, “It is mandatory that you have blue boxes everywhere.” But the government does not want to do that. It does not want to pass that kind of regulation.
Think how much further we could go if we said, “It is mandatory that you not landfill or dispose of items for which there could be another use,” but this government does not want to do that. It does not want to interfere with the market. It does not want to regulate. It is prepared to put all the onus and all the responsibility on individuals.
We find, in fact, that many municipalities that entered with enthusiasm into the blue box program are now finding that it perhaps is not as great as it is cracked up to be and that it is going to be costing them a lot more money than they had originally envisaged. What municipalities are concerned about, given the record of this government, is that they are going to be left holding the bag for a blue box system that no longer pays its way because the government has done nothing to create the markets or to create the regulations that require people to reuse materials.
Let me quote from some comments that were made in the region of Durham, one of the first municipalities to get into recycling and to look at reducing garbage because of the problems it has with landfill. “The blue box recycling program.” said representatives of Durham region, “has become a financial monster that eats up 10 times as much revenue as it generates and may eventually bankrupt some Ontario municipalities.”
This government is putting all its emphasis on recycling in the blue box system. What action does it plan to take if in fact municipalities say that they can no longer participate?
From the North Bay Nugget, on 1 May 1990, “North Bay city council may have to rethink its planned blue box recycling program because of problems finding a market for recycled items.” As one of the councillors said, “Our frustration is that municipalities spend a lot of money sorting and collecting recyclable products, and the province and the federal government have not moved fast enough to restrict certain kinds of packaging.” I think that says it all.
This government has done nothing to reduce packaging, one of the major contributors to the garbage problem. Sure, they support the packaging protocol that came from the Canadian Council of Resource and Environment Ministers last March, but I want to remind the members, and particularly the member for Peterborough, who referred to that packaging protocol, that one of the targets in the protocol is that all provinces must have in place a nationally co-ordinated data collection program to make possible the monitoring of the targets by 31 December 1990.
We are now well into May 1990 and we have seen no indication from this government that it has in place a co-ordinated data collection program to make possible the monitoring of the targets for reduction of packaging that this government says it supports.
I think it is worth reminding the members of what the packaging protocol says. It says that all packaging should have minimal effects on the environment. It says that priority will be given to the management of packaging through source reduction, reuse and recycling. It says there will be a continuing campaign of information and education to make Canadians aware of the function and environmental impacts of packaging. It calls for policies to apply to all packaging used in Canada, including imports. It calls for regulations to be implemented as necessary to achieve compliance with these policies.
This government has signed a national packaging protocol which calls for regulations, yet it consistently refuses to put in place in this province regulations that will help the people of this province meet those targets and reduce the packaging that is filling up our landfills all across the province. Every family in Canada produces one tonne of packaging per year and 80% of that packaging is disposed of. It is not reduced, reused or recycled, and we have no indication from this government that it is prepared to do that.
There is amazing public support for action to reduce garbage. There is amazing public support for the kinds of policies that are contained in Bill 165. There is amazing public support for some leadership from this government in moving proactively and aggressively to do its part to reduce garbage in the province. People want to do their part, but they cannot do it alone. By putting all the onus and all the responsibility on individuals, by relying entirely on a voluntary program, by saying that recycling is the first priority, this government is abdicating its responsibilities. Until they get serious and until they put in place some regulations that will assist people who want to help to do their part, we are not going to move meaningfully to reduce the garbage that is generated in this province.
I am very pleased that our party is showing that leadership, is providing constructive suggestions in the vacuum that exists on the other side, and I am pleased to have the support of private members. I hope that will soon be translated into support by the minister and by the cabinet.
Mr J. M. Johnson: I would like to start by thanking the member for Hamilton West for bringing forth Bill 165 and express my support. I support all aspects of the bill, but in the short time I have to speak I would like to concentrate on clause l(la)(a), “establishing programs to assist municipalities, to achieve...a 50% reduction in the amount of waste being deposited at waste disposal sites.”
I would like to concentrate on a problem in my riding. The county of Wellington has been trying to establish a dump or a landfill site, whatever you want to call it, for the past few years. They have spent over $1 million and they are not much closer today than they were two years ago. The rural people just do not want the city’s garbage and they are sick of being forced to accept it.
One problem that we have is used tires. It is my understanding that seven million used tires are placed in landfill sites every single year. I think it works out to something like 11 tires being discarded each minute. In making reference to the problem with tires, I would refer to the Hagersville tire fire a few months ago. There is a front-page story in the Toronto Star today, “Tire Dump Ablaze in Quebec,” which states, “Millions of flaming tires were turned into a ‘monstrous furnace’ as they burned out of control at Quebec’s largest tire dump last night.” It goes on to say. “It’s just like the Hagersville fire.”
How long must we wait for the government to take action? How many more fires? In the few minutes, I would just like to emphasize that we should be dealing with the problem of discarded tires and what to do with them. The traditional disposal method of landfilling is not adequate as the tires eventually float to the top. In addition, landfill space is at a premium and very little more is going to be available in the future.
In Europe and the United States tires are used as fuel replacement for cement kilns. That is what I would like to propose, that the government give consideration to using tires in a controlled test burn and allow St Marys and other tire companies that have promoted this for several years the opportunity to prove they are environmentally safe. If they are not environmentally safe, then forget about it. But if they are environmentally safe, they will replace some of the coal that is being burned at the present time, which is imported into the country. They will help to get rid of the surplus tires; it is my understanding that they can use 1.5 million tires per year.
It is a technology that has been in existence in Europe: Germany, Sweden, several of the European countries have used it. It was designed in Canada, I think about 15 years ago, by St Lawrence Cement. They call it the “Canadian technology,” but we do not use it in Canada. There is possibly a reason that we should not use it, and it may prove that would be the result of a test, but surely anyone should be agreeable to trying out an experiment with it; have a controlled test and see how it works.
In Germany, when they first introduced it, it took approximately a year’s test for every site that they burned tires at, and every single one proved successful and is in operation now. So the technology is available. It apparently is safe or it would not be used in these countries; many of them are as environmentally concerned as we are. So I suggest that it is time that the minister took a look at the issue and tried to deal with it, with one aspect, as I mentioned, of the tire problem.
As the member for Hamilton West has brought forward, there are many other issues that are dealt with in the bill. I support the whole concept of the bill and I hope that the government would give consideration to doing something about the used tires, unless we want to continue to read in the press every two or three months of another tire deposit site that goes up in flames.
Mr Faubert: It is my privilege today to rise in support of Bill 165, which has been brought forward by the member for Hamilton West. On 10 March 1989, the Ministry of the Environment announced that Ontario would divert to constructive purposes 25 per cent of its household and commercial and industrial waste in 1992 and 50 per cent by the year 2000. That is the objective of the Ministry of the Environment. Let me take the opportunity today to describe initiatives supported by this government to help achieve the goal. I would point out that this, indeed, is leading by example.
On 10 October last, the Minister of Government Services and the Minister of the Environment announced the $1.6-million first phase of a comprehensive program to apply the three Rs -- reduce, reuse and recycle -- to the Ontario government workplace. I agree with the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore that this is a hierarchy of priorities and I think the emphasis should be on reduction.
The government’s goal is to divert more than 3,000 tons of waste per year away from landfill and incineration, and we are now in the process of implementing that program. This government is the first provincial government in Canada to undertake a comprehensive internal waste management program. We hope to serve as an example for other provinces, and indeed for the private sector, to follow.
The primary focus in the first phase is on the recycling of fine paper, newspaper, glass and plastic bottles, and metal cans. The program is currently being implemented in Queen’s Park and also within this Legislature, and it will soon be expanded to cover 45,000 Ontario public servants in more than 120 buildings across Metropolitan Toronto. We plan to expand this program across the province to cover all government buildings in communities which have a blue box program presently in operation.
Perhaps one simple but effective way that will work to reduce waste is by doublesided photocopying. We estimate the government will save 29 tonnes of photocopy paper simply by replacing all of the high-volume copiers with machines that copy on both sides. That is bad news for Xerox paper suppliers but it is good news for the environment. This is an effective reduction of a product use.
Perhaps the biggest environmental problem our society faces is that many products we use have been designed to be used once and be thrown away. The increased awareness of the need to protect our waste diversion programs provides funding and technical assistance to industrial, commercial and institutional sectors to encourage recycling activities. These activities include the recycling of a wide range of materials, such as plastics, corrugated cardboard, wood wastes, paints and solvents, liquid industrial wastes and other hazardous wastes. To date, over 150 projects have been approved for funding. This program had a budget of $6.5 million in the 1989-90 fiscal year and has been in place since June 1987.
I would like to point out to the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore that perhaps among the government members themselves there is a great deal of support for the position brought forward by this private member’s bill. We have not gone far enough -- we will admit that -- in this area to encourage recycled products and markets or to encourage the source reduction, but I would like to point out that I too, like my colleague the member for Peterborough, intend to vote in support of Bill 165.
Mr Pollock: I want to compliment the member for Hamilton West for bringing forth this bill and I certainly am going to support it. I am going to support it maybe with a little reluctance on one particular issue.
He mentioned in his bill, Bill 165, that he hoped to see a reduction of the garbage going into landfill sites by the year 2000. I have a reeve in my municipality who has actually stated that they have reduced garbage going into a landfill site by 70 per cent right now, and by the year 2000 they ought to be able to do a bit better. I know the member is trying to set up a guideline for the whole province, and that is fine. As I say, I compliment him on bringing forth this bill and I am certainly going to support it.
I am not really a supporter of landfill sites. I firmly believe there is no proof that, over the next 50 or 100 years, landfill sites will not cause every bit as much of a problem to the environment as incinerating garbage. I have a clipping here from the Toronto Star, dated 14 May, and this newspaper clipping states that Metro Toronto has offered to buy the landfill site in Petrolia for $30 million. I am a believer in the old cliché that you get what you pay for, or vice versa. If Metro is going to pay $30 million for that particular landfill site, you can rest assured that Metro has every intention of dumping $30-million worth of garbage into that landfill site.
One of the things that always concerns people in the rural areas is the polluting of their water systems. Some of these major landfill sites certainly do that. There is leachate coming out of these landfill sites and they are polluting the underground water system. One of the worst things is a battery. I know a little battery like this does not mean much, but if I were to break this battery and put it in that glass of water I am sure nobody here would offer to drink it; plus the fact that if I broke it and got a little of it on my suit, it would be “Goodbye, suit.” That is what is going into our underground water supply. and it is of real concern to me.
I want to mention the fact that in my neighbouring municipality of Seymour there is a landfill site. It started up about six years ago. In two and a half years it has been leaching. Apparently they went into the county plan and now they have got to take Cobourg’s garbage. That will just add to the problem, and apparently Cobourg has not got a waste management plan in place, nor has it got a blue box program in place. That is of real concern to the people from the Seymour area.
I would want to mention also that on 19 May -- that is, this Saturday -- they are having a walkathon in Marmora. I invite everybody in that whole area to come to that walkathon. This is being sponsored by TNT. It is actually promoting awareness of the proposed dumping of Metro’s garbage in the old iron ore site at Marmora. They are starting their walk at the curling club. They are going from there out to the site. The people of Marmora and area are working hard to resist the dumping of garbage in there. Back in 1984, the Ministry of the Environment people wrote a report that stated that this was not a safe place to dump garbage. There is over two billion gallons of water in that particular mine site. It is fresh water, there are fish in there and I do not believe Metro should be dumping garbage in that particular site. I want to support and compliment TNT -- TNT, I might say, stands for Take No Trash -- on its efforts to oppose dumping Metro’s garbage in that mine site.
The Acting Speaker (Mr Cureatz): I note there is almost a minute left on the government side. I would suggest to the honourable member we will allow three minutes for his concluding remarks.
Mr Allen: I want to thank the members on all sides of the House for supporting Bill 165, legislation to move towards a regulatory regime to deal with the reduction of solid municipal waste in Ontario.
I appreciate the support of the member for Wellington and I certainly concur with his central comment that there is no reason why rural municipalities should he forced to deal with the problem of urban garbage. The member for Hastings-Peterborough can take back our compliments to his reeve. Any reeve who can reduce what is going into landfill by 70% is accomplishing these objectives in advance and ought to go on tour across Ontario to help other people do the same thing.
Likewise, I want to thank the members of the government side who spoke, the member for Peterborough and the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere. I would only say to the very useful comments of the member for Peterborough that yes, indeed, it is very critical that a population understands the issue that we are grappling with and that government move in sync with an understanding and an intelligent population. I have no problem with that. I was a little concerned with his sense of what “reduce” means, in terms of the reduction of consumption by individuals. That is not the technical meaning that normally we give to it in this debate. The reduction of waste at source, in the productive process, in the packaging requirements and so on is what we refer to in that respect.
Certainly no one would deny that harnessing the voluntary interests and wills of individual people across Ontario, as they themselves have increasingly become sensitive to the environmental crisis, is a tremendous engine for changing the problems of waste disposal that we have at hand, indeed with respect to all environmental problems. But as the member himself did say, one does have to worry that perhaps that is a passing commitment, that perhaps it will not be an enduring, functioning motivation.
The purpose of public policy in general, I think, is to provide those means and mechanisms collectively whereby we can give force to our individual intentions, and to give them a structure, a direction, a meaning and a result that we all want. That is why I have proposed the sequence of proposals in this bill for dealing with the matter of waste reduction.
I hope that the member is an advance guard of his government in persuading it to move even more thoroughly and completely into a regulatory regime that can deal with this question, and to deal with it in the following terms, namely, to provide regulations, through the amendments to the Environmental Protection Act, which will:
establish programs to assist municipalities to achieve the objective, by January 2000, of a 50% reduction in the amount of waste being deposited in waste disposal sites;
establish reduction plans for the reduction of designated wastes within prescribed time periods;
designate types of waste that shall be covered by waste reduction plans and prescribe time periods;
designate materials that should be subject to source separation;
govern the phasing out of the use of containers and packaging for which there are waste reduction alternatives;
designate containers and packages that are required to be phased out and prescribe time periods for phasing out such containers and packaging;
designate disposable products for which non-disposable substitutes are available and prohibit the use of such products;
prescribe, for example, durability standards for consumer products so that they will not have to be disposed of at an early date in their life;
govern the sale and distribution of consumer products that do not meet the prescribed durability standards;
govern the reuse and recycling of containers and packaging;
require manufacturers of designated products to use such proportion of recoverable materials as prescribed;
prescribe the proportion of recoverable materials to be used in designated products;
set out a regulatory regime that enables municipalities to respond at the level of reduction, reuse and recycling;
authorize municipalities to refuse to collect waste for disposal if the waste has not been properly separated and to refuse to accept waste at disposal sites if waste can be reused and recycled.
In all those respects, it is necessary for this government to move in the direction of a regulatory regime but also in the direction of an information-collecting regime which will make all of that possible on a systematic and effective basis. In that respect, I hope that the support of all members in this House will help move the government in that direction.
Motion agreed to.
The Acting Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 94(k), the bill is referred to the committee of the whole House.
Mr Allen: I propose that this bill be referred to the standing committee on resources development.
Hon Mr Mancini: Mr Speaker, I propose that your first suggestion be carried forward.
The Acting Speaker: We have to determine if the majority is in favour of the bill going to the standing committee. It would appear that they are not and that they want to refer it to the committee of the whole House.
Mr Breaugh: You have got to test and see.
The Acting Speaker: We’ve got to vote on it?
Mr Breaugh: It’s just Remo off by himself. Maybe the rest have seen the light.
The House divided on whether the bill should be referred to the standing committee on resources development, which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 10; nays 26.
Bill ordered for committee of the whole House.
The House recessed at 1204.
The House resumed at 1330.
CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Mr Farnan: Right now there are over 10,000 children in Ontario on the waiting lists of the province’s 85 children’s mental health centres. Just last month, the Minister of Correctional Services admitted that 18% of the inmates in Ontario’s correctional system have psychiatric mental health problems.
It is time this government got its priorities straight and realized that spending money on children’s mental health, rather than on their future incarceration, is the only approach that makes sense.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services allocates $116 million a year to the 85 centres, an average of $3,400 per child. Compare this to the $47,000 a year it costs to incarcerate an adult prisoner.
As a society we are abhorred by the waiting lists for cancer therapy and heart bypasses. Should our outrage not be even more vehement when we find children who are victims of sexual abuse, the witnesses of family violence, prone to deliberately injure themselves, depressed, violent and all without treatment? What price do we put on these children? We pay the dedicated professionals in the field so poorly and the pressure of their work is so great that burnout rates among front-line social workers are running at between 60 and 80 per cent.
It is often said that we judge a society by the manner in which it treats the weakest and the most vulnerable of its members. By this criterion, the plight of the 10,000 children on mental health services’ waiting lists is an indictment of our society.
Mr Pollock: With the holiday weekend approaching, I would like to bring the problem of zebra mussels to the attention of the public. The mussels have already caused problems in the Great Lakes. These problems include damaging spawning beds and clogging intake pipes and they have sunk navigation buoys, to mention just a few aspects of the multimillion-dollar problem.
People seem to feel helpless when it comes to stopping the zebra mussels; so please, when you are out this weekend, do not spread the zebra mussels to our inland lakes. Do not transport live bait or any type of container from our Great Lakes to other bodies of water. Do not take water from one lake to another. Scrape your boat hull and trailer clean when taking them from the Great Lakes. If the surface feels grainy, it is probably mussel larvae.
Mussels can survive a minimum of four days out of water and, if the humidity is high, even longer. Empty your bilge, ballast water and live well on land. Scuba divers should take extra care with their gear when moving from one lake to another.
Have a mussel-free holiday weekend.
THREE FOR A TREE PROGRAM
Mr Reycraft: A short time ago I reported to the assembly about an activity going on in my riding of Middlesex that is truly a unique way of raising awareness and money for the environment. I would like to update members on the Three for a Tree campaign sponsored by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, TV London and McDonald’s.
The campaign encouraged people to help with reforestation by purchasing lapel pins, like the one I am wearing, for $3 each. For every pin sold, enough money was raised to plant at least one tree. Like trees themselves, the idea was planted, it grew and it blossomed. Some 8,500 lapel pins were sold, raising enough money to plant more than 13,000 hardwood trees.
Armed with this success, the program will continue to sell more pins, raise more money and plant more trees. Distribution of the pins has been expanded beyond McDonald’s. For example, students from Strathroy District Collegiate Institute sold the pins to mark Earth Day. It is that type of community involvement that makes this project so fulfilling and so worth while.
The Middlesex-London area has a reputation for its beautiful trees, parks and forests. I am proud of the people who took the initiative to enhance this reputation and of all the people who bought pins to support this campaign. I am sure all members of the assembly join me in applauding the Three for a Tree program and wishing its organizers continued success.
ALCOHOL AND DRUG TREATMENT
Mr Kormos: Welland-Thorold, sadly, is as much in need of treatment beds for victims of alcohol and drug abuse as any other area in the province of Ontario. In fact, we have been fortunate to have programs like Homes for Reflection in Welland, which for the last five years was operated under the very skilful and competent leadership of Irene Bissonnette, and for the last year equally skilfully by Pauline Raby. This is a program that provides drug and alcohol treatment for women on an in-house basis over a 28-day period. It has been outstandingly successful and has serviced not only women from the Niagara region, but women from all other parts of Ontario and indeed other parts of the country.
Sadly, this government and this Ministry of Health have deemed that the 10 beds operating at Homes for Reflection will now be reduced to six, not that the demand is not there; there are waiting lists lengthier than any of us would ever wish.
Simultaneously with that, this government lets scavengers like Phoenix operate. Phoenix is a so-called alcohol and drug consultant service that scavenges the streets of Toronto and Ontario looking for patients for a New Orleans-based hospital and drug and alcohol treatment program. Why will this government and this ministry not invest money in their own treatment programs right here in the province of Ontario instead of the United States of America?
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
Mr Runciman: Later this afternoon, the Chair of the standing committee on general government will be presenting a report regarding events that took place this morning in committee. Mr Speaker. I have some very serious concerns about this report and will be raising them with you on a point of order after the report is tabled.
Last week, under standing order 123, I requested that the subcommittee of the general government committee designate 12 hours to consider a matter that involved the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Premier’s office. This motion was perfectly in order. However, this morning the member for Yorkview attempted to stall this motion, thereby stripping the opposition of its rights under standing order 123.
This is a travesty. It is one more attempt by the Peterson Liberal government to ride roughshod over the rights of the minority and to further diminish our parliamentary democracy.
Mr Speaker, I would urge you to rule on this matter this afternoon before the committee reconvenes.
CONSUL GENERAL OF JAPAN
Mr D. W. Smith: On 10 May 1990 I had the pleasure of attending a reception in honour of Tadashi Masui, the consul general of Japan. The consul general was the honoured guest of the Economic Development Commission and this reception was held at the close of his day-long visit to the Sarnia-Lambton area. The event was hosted by the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Development Commission and was held at the Polysar building in Sarnia. There were many business people and elected officials in attendance.
Mr Masui was invited to visit the Sarnia-Lambton area in an effort to provide an opportunity for community leaders to discuss potential investment and cultural opportunities between Japan and Sarnia-Lambton.
I am pleased to say Mr Masui received an enthusiastic welcome to the Sarnia-Lambton area. Upon completion of his tour of the region, he indicated that he was impressed with the greenness of Lambton, which I presume would be a contrast to his own country, and the beautiful blue-green St Clair River.
During the reception in his honour, there was a great deal of discussion on promoting Canadian-Japanese business co-operation. He indicated his desire and his country’s desire to become a good corporate friend of Lambton. Japan has invested a great deal in our country, and he hopes that this excellent business partnership can continue in the years to come.
The consul general as well as others who attended the reception were impressed to learn from local business people that approximately $7 billion worth of products are sold by the petrochemical industry in the Sarnia-Lambton area each year.
I would like to say that it was a pleasure to have the consul general of Japan, Tadashi Masui, show an interest in visiting Lambton county and in discovering the many investment opportunities available in this area.
CAPITAL FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS
Miss Martel: On 23 April I advised this House of the longstanding capital needs of both the Sudbury Board of Education and the Sudbury District Roman Catholic Separate School Board. I encouraged this government to respond positively to the needs to demonstrate support for quality education in northern Ontario.
Capital grant allocations were announced on 4 May. A look at what happened in Sudbury proves the government did not listen to what I had to say. For example, the Sudbury board was advised it received $930,000. The schedule, however, shows that this allocation is spread out over a three-year period, from 1991 to 1993. The actual allocation for 1991 is $130,000, even though the amount previously approved for 1991 was $305,000. Somewhere, $175,000 has been reclaimed by the Ministry of Education, and no one is quite sure where it has gone.
The separate school board was allocated $1.2 million to cover renovations at one school and to purchase the land for a new secondary school. However, this allocation was not granted for 1991. The money is to be provided to the board in 1992, which means the new school, so desperately needed, has been put on hold yet again. I can only hope that the money promised will not be reduced by the ministry in future, as was the case with the public board this year.
A lot of fanfare accompanied these allocations, but when you get right down to it, there is not much substance behind the fluff.
Mr Jackson: In light of the pending provincial election, I would like to remind the Liberal members that during the 1985 election campaign the leader of the Liberal Party promised to raise the provincial share of education funding to 60%. Despite the slogan “I did what I said I would do,” this Premier has let the provincial share in each of the last five years. It now stands at a mere 40%.
Provincially mandated programs have been offloaded on to the property tax base, forcing boards to pass on double-digit mill rate increases. The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association reports that property taxes went up by $1 billion in 1989. They estimate that an additional $800 million will have to be raised from property taxes this year.
Given that there is an election in the air, I would like to remind the Liberal backbenchers of the property tax increases their constituents face because of the Premier’s education policy: Hamilton public and Hamilton-Wentworth separate boards, 18.1%; Lanark county, 17.5%; Durham board, 14.8%; Halton board, 14.6%; Essex county, 13.5%; Wentworth county, 12.5%; Lakehead district separate, 12.3%; Waterloo county, 12.1%; Brant county, 12%; Grey county, 10.7%, and Sault Ste Marie, 10.5%.
Mr Speaker, be assured that at every opportunity we will be reminding taxpayers of the real reason that their property taxes have gone through the roof this year.
Mr Adams: The Peterborough YWCA sponsored its 11th annual Woman of the Year Award on 10 May. This is an award to recognize, honour and celebrate achievements of women in Peterborough and area who have contributed to the advancement of women. Nominees for this prestigious award have enriched the lives of others, have acted as role models and have demonstrated commitment to the advancement of women.
This year’s nominees, all distinguished citizens, were honoured at a dinner at which the award winner was announced. The nominees were Maureen Barrett Roe, Cathy Beach, Marsh Cobden, Fern Doyle, Gail Hancock, Lois Harte-Maxwell, Carola Lane and Kathleen Taylor.
This event is an important opportunity to honour women in the area served by our YWCA. The YW is a leader in providing opportunities for the development of women and children, as well as providing shelter for women and children fleeing family violence. The YW also provides a wide range of educational, social and recreational programs for women.
My riding is fortunate to have such an organization acting on behalf of women. Past women of the year have included Kim Naish, Marilyn Huels, Rosemary Ganley, Erika Cherney and Sharon Murphy. This year’s winner was Kaye Taylor, who was recently admitted to the Order of Ontario, and about whom I spoke in this House on 8 May.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
EDUCATION IN NORTHERN ONTARIO
Hon Mr Conway: The Contact North distance education network is an electronic success story.
Hon Mr Conway: For the edification of my friend the Leader of the Opposition, who would know that, since this pilot project began three years ago, in 1987. Contact North has provided a wide range of secondary and post-secondary educational opportunities to northern Ontarians, many of whom live in isolated communities.
Using innovative information technology, Contact North creates an electronic classroom that serves more than 75 northern communities and is available to more than 90% of all northerners. Students in different communities are linked to colleagues and teachers in other areas by means of telephone conferencing. Lessons are exchanged electronically by means of facsimile machines and by computer conferencing. The network even provides an electronic blackboard using computer screens and telephone lines.
Today I am pleased to announce that the government of Ontario will provide $7.6 million to continue and to expand upon this vital initiative. No longer a pilot project, Contact North will build on its success and will expand into additional northern secondary schools.
Funding this year for Contact North and northern distance education will include up to $4 million for the operation of the Contact North network and related services, up to $1.5 million to help northern colleges and universities develop additional distance educational instructional material and $2.1 million of one-time capital equipment funding from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines to help northern secondary schools purchase equipment needed to participate in the network.
Contact North has proven to be an electronic highway allowing all northerners to participate more fully in this province’s educational system.
I am pleased to report to this Legislature that 75% of Contact North students are female, 15% are francophone and 12% are aboriginal Canadians. In addition, 85% of the students are from outside the five main urban centres in northern Ontario.
To remain competitive in the emerging global economy, we must ensure that all Ontarians have equal access to a quality educational experience, and Contact North is a vital link in helping us meet that challenge.
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF OTTAWA-CARLETON
Hon Mr Sweeney: This afternoon, I intend to introduce legislation to give voters of Ottawa-Carleton a direct say in the running of their regional government. The legislation will, for the first time, allow voters in new regional wards to directly elect someone whose only job will be to represent their interests at regional council.
The regional chairman, who now is not directly accountable to voters, will be chosen by regional council from among its directly elected members.
Mayors of the 11 municipalities within the region will remain on regional council as representatives of their municipalities and to provide a link between the two levels of government.
The changes I am announcing today are the result of a long and thorough process of study and consultation, a process that started nearly three years ago when the provincial government, at the request of the regional council, appointed former Rideau township mayor David Bartlett to review its system of regional government.
Something that became very clear during the consultation process is that the people of Ottawa-Carleton are concerned about the overall size of municipal government in their region. Very soon, I intend to appoint a commissioner, whose job will be to start a consultation process leading to the creation of between 14 and 18 new regional wards. But, part of the commissioner’s job will be to ensure, by reducing the size of the existing area councils, that the total number of elected positions in Ottawa-Carleton will not increase as a result of this change.
The new regional wards will not necessarily follow municipal boundaries. In the interests of representation by population, some regional wards may cross municipal boundaries. This is entirely consistent with the idea that these new councillors will have a broader regional perspective. They will represent not the municipalities they come from, but the people who elect them.
I am introducing the legislation this spring so that this new structure can be in place in time for the 1991 municipal election year.
This change is an important step forward for the people of Ottawa-Carleton. Regional issues today are too important to be dealt with by councillors whose first responsibility is to their local lower-tier council. Now, for the first time, the people of Ottawa-Carleton will really know who is responsible for regional issues.
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF OTTAWA-CARLETON
Mr Breaugh: I would like to respond briefly to the statement by the Minister of Municipal Affairs. It is very true that in the Ottawa-Carleton region there has been an ongoing argument about the nature of regional government. We are pleased to see that the government has done something. I am not quite convinced what it has done here.
There is some form of quasi-democracy headed towards the Ottawa-Carleton region. It is somewhat ironic that in the nation’s capital we cannot quite figure out the democratic process yet. There will be something close to an elected chairman of the region, but not quite. It will always be fascinating to watch that unfold.
I have read with interest the proposal that the minister is going to make in legislative form later on this afternoon about boundaries, that we will consult yet again and establish some new hybrid form of representation where they will cross municipal boundaries.
I wish the minister luck, but there is only one thing in his whole statement that I would like to challenge. That is the last line: “Now, for the first time, the people of Ottawa-Carleton will really know who is responsible for regional issues.” I really doubt that a lot.
EDUCATION IN NORTHERN ONTARIO
Mr R. F. Johnston: I would like to respond to the Minister of Colleges and Universities’ announcement of the expansion of the Contact North distance education network. Everyone is quite pleased with the way that has operated.
One would want a very thorough evaluation to be undergone, and I am surprised that there is no major announcement of funds to do that kind of evaluation of the program and some of the problems and failings as well as successes that we have seen with that program. One of the problems often in provincial initiatives is that no evaluation component is built into funding, and it would be a wise thing for us to do.
Some of the figures that were announced are startling. That 75% of the students are women raises a number of questions. Some very positive responses can obviously be seen, but there are also some serious questions on the other side that should be asked in terms of male representation and need for some of the programs, which I participated in personally.
I must say, as I congratulate the minister on this, that I am surprised that again today he has come out with what is in the realm of things a small announcement, at the same time as he should have been coming out with a statement on education which is of much more significance. That is that today is the 120th day since the report of the select committee on education came down recommending major changes around financing of education in Ontario, and that report has not been tabled in this House.
The minister has not made a statement on that report in this House today, in spite of the fact that this province is suffering from enormous inequities in education, which are not just northern problems, but problems of real financing concerns. He should have been talking about what he is going to do about the fact that in Metropolitan Toronto, for instance, $7,409 a student is being spent on the education of individuals at the secondary level, when in other parts of the province we are talking about $5,600 being spent, a difference of virtually $1,800 in the amount of money that one municipality can put into education versus another.
At the same time as we are saying that, even those municipalities with a lower level of expenditure are putting in over $1,400 more than the provincial ceilings allow for. That is how out of touch our education system has become in terms of the financing realities. But today we do not get an announcement about that; we get an announcement about the northern network, a very small, little part of the overall program. To me, that is unthinkable.
I look at the figures, even from neighbouring Buffalo, and compare the fact that in 1987 they were spending much more money in Buffalo for education than we are spending here in Metro Toronto, the place where we are spending the most money on education.
Mr R. F. Johnston: Yes, I will give the member the statistics -- I was thinking he would want them -- US$5,567 was spent in Buffalo on education, and in Metro Toronto it was C$5,078. If we compare that with other regions in this province, we can see that the deficit is even more enormous than that. So we are not even keeping up with our neighbours to the south, who one would have thought are not as committed as we are in terms of education.
Why has the minister not come out with that response today? Why has he not taken that report as seriously as he should have when the questions of equity around financing of education and the incredible cost that property taxpayers are having to pay for education in this province have not been addressed by his government as they should have been? That would have been a much more welcome announcement today and would have shown a little more respect for the select committee process than the response we have had from him.
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF OTTAWA-CARLETON
Mr Sterling: I would like to respond to the Minister of Municipal Affairs on the direct election of Ottawa-Carleton regional council. Dave Bartlett, who is the mayor of the township in which I reside and a man who I know and respect, I think has done an excellent job in trying to reach compromises, in trying to reach some meaningful reforms in both the reports that he has presented to the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
There are a number of things which perhaps concern me about the process, and I have not had the opportunity to look at the legislation so I do not know all the details. But I understand from the minister’s announcement and some of the brief discussions I have had with some of the politicians in the local area that the commissioner, whoever that should be -- and Mr Bartlett himself might be a good consideration, because I think he achieved a degree of credibility with the politicians in the area -- is given, according to the statement, considerable powers in what he will do under this act.
For instance, the commissioner will be deciding where the boundaries lie for these different elected positions. Not only that, but the commissioner will be making some decisions which are very near and dear to the hearts of many municipal politicians across the Ottawa-Carleton area regarding the composition and the form of their future municipal councils. We are not talking about regional councils at this time; we are talking about the municipal councils themselves.
I am not clear from the announcement, as I have not read the legislation, who will have the final say both in terms of boundaries and in terms of the size of the municipal councils. The minister is pointing to himself and saying, “I will have that say.”
That leads me to my third and final point. I believe that legislation like this, which has more of an impact on the Ottawa-Carleton area, should be referred to a committee, and that committee should travel to the Ottawa-Carleton area. You know, Mr Speaker, that under our standing orders that can only be done during a period of time when the Legislature itself is not sitting.
I would, therefore, implore the minister to have this bill referred to a committee of the Legislature, and during the summer break we would be able to go to the Ottawa-Carleton area and have input from not only the local municipal politicians but also the people in the area as to his plans for the structure of the government.
That will essentially be the last time that a public forum will be available to the people before he, the minister, as appointed by himself today, will make the final decision on these very, very important matters.
Then I would anticipate that when we return, according to our calendar in the third week in September, we could consider this bill for third and final reading after the appropriate amendments had been made. I am assuming that the minister will see the sensitivity of this issue and the urgent need for this issue to be resolved before 1 November. That of course would work against this government calling a needless election in September of this year.
I look forward to the reforms and I think the people in the area look forward to the reforms, but proper consultation is an absolute necessity. I would urge the minister to take the response which I have indicated today as a serious response with regard to the consultative necessity of having everybody in the Ottawa-Carleton area have their say in an open forum on this issue.
EDUCATION IN NORTHERN ONTARIO
Mr Eves: Very briefly, in response to the statement by the Minister of Colleges and Universities, we are pleased to see that this pilot project has now become a permanent fixture in his ministry, although it is basically just a regurgitation or reiteration of a 1987 election campaign promise. I do not know whether the minister is trying to give us a message over there or not.
On a more serious note, I am pleased to see that the Minister of Northern Development is also participating in this process.
Mr R. F. Johnston: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I would like to raise a concern under standing order 36(d), which says: “Within 120 calendar days of the presentation of a committee report as provided in clauses (b) and (c), the government shall, upon the request of the committee, table a comprehensive response.”
The Minister of Education has complied with this recommendation on our first two reports. So far today, he has not chosen to do so on the third report, on financing. I am quite concerned about this and would like to have the matter raised through you to the minister.
Hon Mr Conway: I want my honourable friend to know that it is my intention to respond very, very shortly. I do not believe the 120 days at this moment have been realized, but I can assure him that I will do everything I possibly can to meet his expectations in this and, of course, in all other respects.
Mr R. F. Johnston: Is this the 120th day? I am glad he went out to see his staff.
The Speaker: Order. The member tried to make a point of order, and if the 120 days are not up yet, maybe it is not a point of order.
Mr R. F. Johnston: It says “within 120 days.”
The Speaker: Oh, “within.” We are close to it then.
Mr Farnan: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Today I requested permission to bring a selection of replica guns into question period, and both the Sergeant at Arms and yourself, as Speaker, ruled against my request.
My private member’s bill, Bill 145, recommends that such guns be banned in Ontario. May I request the rationale for your decision not to allow these replica guns to be brought into the House today? After all, if these are just harmless toys, easily accessible across the province in toy and department stores at prices of $3 to $5, why would you be worried about their presence in the assembly?
I would suggest, Mr Speaker, that your decision speaks eloquently to the issue. If it is unsafe to have these weapons exposed in this House, surely we should provide the same safeguards across the province for children and for police officers.
The Speaker: I appreciate the member’s point of order and, in a way, his suggestion that he does not agree with what the Speaker and the Sergeant at Arms suggested. However, I am sure all members are aware that we have tried for quite a long time to discourage any props being brought into the chamber.
The Speaker: Order. I appreciate the member’s accepting the suggestion of the Speaker, but I would inform all members that quite a number of days ago, because of the activities and props used in this House, I wrote directly to the chairman of the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly asking him to reconsider a previous report.
Mr B. Rae: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment, who is not here, but I hope he will be here. I also have a question for the Minister of Housing, and since he is here certainly in body, I will ask him a question.
My colleague the House leader, the member for Windsor-Riverside, asked the minister certain questions about buildings on Jameson Avenue and tenants who have been faced with increases of some 100% proposed by the landlord. The judge who heard their request for a temporary injunction agreed to that request, but he told them that they would need to raise some $50,000 as a security bond if they wanted to even apply for a permanent injunction.
I want to ask the minister: Where are tenants on Jameson Avenue in south Parkdale supposed to come up with $50,000 in order to fight their landlord?
Hon Mr Sweeney: As I indicated to the leader’s colleague yesterday, it is one thing for landlords to ask for large increases; it is another thing, in fact, for them to get them. I read off to the honourable member a number of situations -- and I have a fairly lengthy list -- of places where the actual amount awarded was considerably less than what had been asked for.
The second point I would make is that the ongoing rent review process is in fact ongoing; no decision had yet been made.
Third, I would say to the member that there is currently a title search on that property to determine whether or not there had been an arm’s-length transaction. So I believe the system as it is currently in place was a valid one and could have brought relief to the tenants.
Mr B. Rae: I heard an interesting homily on the defence of the indefensible in terms of the minister’s rent review system. I did not hear an answer to my particular question. My very particular question raised the conditions imposed by the judge in question, who said that tenants who were seeking a longer injunction against repairs and renovations that they felt were unnecessary had to come up with a security bond.
I can see the lips of the Attorney General moving quietly as he seeks to give the minister his legal instructions, but I would like to ask, before the Minister of Housing turns for advice to the Hamilton Burger of the Legislature, I wonder if he could give us the answer to this question: Where are the tenants of Ontario supposed to come up with $50,000?
These are people living in south Parkdale. They do not have a lot of money; they are facing rent increases of 103%; they are trying to stop their landlord from ripping them off. Where are they supposed to get the $50,000?
Hon Mr Sweeney: The intent of my first answer was to describe to the honourable leader that in fact there is a mechanism in place to assist tenants to deal with the kind of situation that they have. There is no mechanism in place in this province to provide the sums of money that the honourable leader speaks of.
Mr B. Rae: If the tenants felt that anything that was in the current law was good enough for them, they would not have felt the need to go to court to get a temporary injunction. The judge felt their case was sufficiently strong that he granted that temporary injunction. His only warning to them was, “If you want a permanent injunction, you’re going to have to come up with a $50,000 security bond.”
The minister has left the tenants out in the street to fight in the courts. It is an expensive, difficult process. I want to ask him again: Where are the tenants supposed to come up with the $50,000 in order to fight their landlord in court, which they have to do?
Hon Mr Sweeney: One of the rights of any citizen in this province, in this country, is to take a case to court if he chooses to do so. The responsibility of the government is to have a mechanism in place to deal with the particular situation. We have that mechanism in place. It has proved time and time again that it can deal with these situations. If citizens choose to take the court route, that is their right to do so. The government does not have the resources to back that up, however.
The Speaker: New question?
Mr B. Rae: I will stand down my second question on the understanding and assurance that the Minister of the Environment is attempting to get here.
The Speaker: I cannot assure the member of any member’s attendance, but you wish to stand it down.
Mr Runciman: We, as well, have a bit of a problem. I had a question for the Minister of Financial Institutions, who is not here. The Premier is not here, the Deputy Premier is not here. The government House leader indicated that he would deal with the question, and now he has somehow mysteriously disappeared. I am going to have to stand down --
Hon Mr Scott: Where is Mike Harris?
Hon Mr Wrye: Seven members out of 17 is a little much.
Mr Sterling: We don’t have the limousines to get us here.
The Speaker: Order. I gather you are asking to stand down the two questions.
Mr Runciman: One.
The Speaker: Stand down one question.
Mrs Cunningham: My question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services.
Hon Mr Scott: Here’s the Tory who is in favour of rent control. Here’s the Tory in favour of pay equity. Here’s the Tory against user fees. She is alone in her caucus. Let her speak.
The Speaker: The member for London North has a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services, once the Attorney General stops.
Mrs Cunningham: In February 1989 a review of more than 1,600 child care inspection reports revealed that nearly 40% of licensed child care centres did not meet provincial regulations on safety, cleanliness and quality. In November, nine months later, the Provincial Auditor also concluded that the ministry has not adequately monitored the operations of problem child care centres.
The minister’s predecessor promised to table a report of the enforcement practices review last spring. It has now been more than a year. How much longer do we have to wait for this report?
Hon Mr Scott: I thought this question would be on pay equity or user fees or something like that.
Hon Mr Beer: As the honourable member knows, I did report to the House on interim measures that we had taken to respond to the concerns over the child care centres and I can tell her that the final report will be available before the House rises; indeed, I hope very shortly.
Mrs Cunningham: In listening to the minister, I suppose this is the same response we had over a year ago: “You will get it before the House rises in the spring.” That was the same one. So I would just like to remind the minister that, really, it does not matter how much money he puts into services if he does not support those services with adequate licensing reviews and enforcement. Then quality will suffer.
There are a lot of parents out there today who are remembering some of the tragedies that have taken place in child care centres over the last two or three years in Ontario. They are looking for those kinds of enforcement standards and they are certainly looking to see centres closed down when the standards are not met. So my question now is, what guarantee will you give us that parents in the next few weeks and months, before we get that review, can be assured of the quality of child care in the province?
Hon Mr Beer: I think I can make a very clear assurance to parents. As the honourable member knows, a number of steps were taken which have been implemented, for example, the poster which appears in all of the child care centres and shows clearly when the latest inspection was done and what the results of that inspection were. They are also, in terms of the ongoing inspections that my ministry carries out, clearly identified, and as a result of a number of the issues which arose over the last 18 months, we took specific steps to improve those procedures.
Indeed, with respect to licensing, we have been very firm. One of the issues was around the provisional licences that were granted. We have been reviewing those in a much more direct and immediate way to ensure that those centres that are operating will in fact be able to ensure to the parents who walk in the front door that their premises are safe and that their children are in good hands.
Mrs Cunningham: In response to the poster, we did appreciate the poster, but that came into effect last spring. The report of the auditor is some six months subsequent to the poster and we still have problems. They talk about monitoring the operations of chronic problem day care centres, not being adequately monitored. That is a problem.
On 23 November we were most interested to know that the minister is also revising child care accountability and management systems that I feel will be necessary as part of this enforcement, his own staffing. Could we expect in the report to be released in the next few weeks that the accountability and management systems will be part of the minister’s report with regard to the staffing of his own ministry, and the accountability of the work that it does as part of this enforcement?
Hon Mr Beer: I can certainly assure the honourable member that the report will set out clearly the steps we are taking in all of the areas so that parents will know that the child care centres are safe, how they are licensed, the various procedures, and the support that we provide to ensure to parents that they know these centres are places where they can safely place their children.
I would say to the honourable member that it has been our approach not to wait for the final report but indeed to act on a number of the recommendations, both that came out of the auditor’s report as well as things that we discovered ourselves. I think at this point, even without the report, that I can say we have moved expeditiously to ensure that we have improved protections. I do tell the honourable member that the report will be out shortly and I believe it will contain the information and guidelines that she requests.
Mr Runciman: My question was originally intended for the Minister of Financial Institutions. In his absence, I will be directing it to the government House leader.
The Minister of Financial Institutions has told us on many occasions that under no-fault insurance, motorists living in Metropolitan Toronto and the Hamilton-Wentworth areas will face an average 8% premium increase, and for those living outside those areas, on average, there will be no increase in premiums. I wonder if the minister today could assure us that those with good driving records living outside Metro Toronto and Hamilton-Wentworth will not face substantial increases.
An hon member: Is this a little boost for your nomination meeting?
Hon Mr Ward: I am very much tempted to do some advertising, but I will resist that temptation and respond.
Hon Mr Ward: The member for Welland-Thorold helped me out greatly over the course of the past few weeks and I want to express my appreciation.
To the member for Leeds-Grenville, I want to say that the government believes that average increases in the Metropolitan Toronto and the Hamilton-Wentworth area will in fact be 8% and in rural areas the average increase is expected to be 0%.
But I want to stress that those are indeed averages, that some differences of course will exist. Some people will get reductions, some people will get increases. Those are indeed averages, so if the member for Leeds-Grenville, for instance, happens to drive an Alfa Romeo or his Porsche to the Legislature, he may in fact find a higher increase than the 8%. But the numbers used are indeed averages.
Mr Runciman: Unlike many of the Liberal members of this assembly, I do not drive a foreign car.
The minister’s assurance that those living outside Metro Toronto and Hamilton-Wentworth will not face premium increases on average is not correct. I have been given the proposed premium increases under no-fault that Commercial Union Assurance Co of Canada plans to implement in London. For a six-star driver -- that is, a driver with no claims, convictions or accidents in the last six years -- who drives less than 10 miles a day to work, the proposed increase under no-fault is 17.4%.
Will the minister reconcile the suggested 0% premium increase with the figures from Commercial Union Assurance?
Hon Mr Ward: As the member will know, I am advised that the commission has as yet not approved any rate structures or tables at this time. That is indeed covered by the legislation and the government stands by its commitment that, on average, in the urban areas of this province there will be an 8% increase and in rural areas there will be 0% increase.
I want to stress that the member knows full well that without this legislation it is conceded by everyone that the increases for automobile insurance rates in this province would have been well in excess of 30%, on average, throughout Ontario. I believe the legislation that is before us now provides an excellent balance in terms of benefits and rates and that, on the whole, all drivers in this province benefit.
Mr Runciman: We are talking about a good driver who is going to pay 17.4% more under no-fault, and that driver will be covered for only half the benefits he is now entitled to under the current system. The Minister of Financial Institutions told us on more than one occasion that safe drivers would not pay more under no-fault. The minister’s statement is clearly at variance with the facts and figures I have presented here today. It is time for the government to come clean with the motorists of Ontario, tell them the truth and tell them that its pie-in-the-sky forecast of no premium increases in rural Ontario is completely incorrect.
Is the minister prepared to acknowledge that today and indicate that good drivers living outside Toronto and Hamilton-Wentworth will face significant premium increases for less coverage?
Hon Mr Ward: The government stands by its commitment that indeed the average increases will be as we have indicated. The member has already been told in previous responses that those rate structures he is referring to are indeed proposed and not approved.
Mr Wildman: When is an increase a decrease? You must be mistaken. The Premier said he was going to lower them, not increase them.
Hon Mr Ward: I would say to my friend the member for Algoma. who continues to interject, I got a lovely letter from his constituent today in Hilton Beach who, although an NDP supporter, thinks his position on this is terribly misguided. There is a lot of support for this legislation. It does in fact benefit all the drivers in this province.
The Chair: Order. Are you finished? Once again, we will just wait.
Mr R. F. Johnston: The Attorney General will be glad to know I do have a question on pay equity for the Minister without Portfolio responsible for women’s issues in the province. I would like to quote the Attorney General. I remember, in 1986, when the first legislation was brought in, he said, “Child care workers in the municipalities will have male comparison groups, but those in small, non-profit child care centres may be working in all-female establishments. This bill does not deal with this. I will ask the commission to come up with solutions to deal this and to make sure those women are not left out.”
Yesterday, a coalition of people met with the ministry and were told, unfortunately, that even though they are only earning $16,000 to $17,000 a year, on average, this bill will not meet their needs either; it is not the appropriate bill. Why is she leaving them in the lurch after the promise made in 1986 by the Attorney General, so strong on pay equity that he heckles the honourable member for London North?
Hon Mrs Wilson: I am pleased to answer this question from the member opposite on pay equity, and indeed, this government is very proud of our pay equity legislation, which will be the most responsive on this issue in North America.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with members of the coalition for -- what is the name of the group? -- the coalition on pay equity, the group that is interested in this issue.
An hon member: Whoever they were.
Mr Breaugh: She does not remember much.
Hon Mrs Wilson: It is a coalition of women’s groups who are bringing forward their viewpoints on pay equity and who are committed to working with this government to help our legislation cover more women. The Minister of Labour has already moved to bring in proportional value. He has promised draft legislation which will make our legislation cover more women. We are proud of this legislation. We need to work further so that more women will have the opportunity to be covered by it.
As an advocate for women’s issues, I am committed to working with those women’s groups to be certain this legislation is indeed the finest in North America.
Mr R. F. Johnston: In spite of the final record, I can see why the minister has trouble spitting out the term “pay equity,” given this government’s commitment to it, or failure to it. Why is it that she is not doing what the former minister responsible for women’s issues said? Why is she leaving these women who receive 73% of the income that other women earn in the province, 47% of what men earn in the province and only 57% of the average industrial wage unprotected when the commission showed her how she could protect them?
Hon Mrs Wilson: The member opposite will know that this government is committed to providing appropriate wages in the child care sector. Will we accomplish it all at once? No, we will not, but we have made important steps in doing so.
Last year, we provided some $88.8 million in wage enhancements, which went, in particular, to women who are working in areas where their wages are not high. We have gone particularly to work with our federal counterparts, who have initiated caps on the Canada assistance plan funding. I am particularly worried that those decisions made by the federal government will make it --
Mr R. F. Johnston: CAP has nothing to do with this.
The Speaker: Order. Please take your seat.
Mr D. W. Smith: You don’t want to hear the answer.
Mr Mackenzie: Pathetic answer.
Mr Speaker: What a waste of time. We will just wait.
CAPITAL FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS
Mr Jackson: My question is for the Minister of Education. Each year school boards across Ontario are sent a memorandum from the minister’s office to complete a capital expenditure multi-year forecast that sets out the priorities for capital construction in each of the boards in Ontario. In November, the memorandum he sent stated as follows, “Decisions on the allocation of funds depend upon information received from school boards and the priority given to each project.”
I have been receiving an awful lot of calls from irate constituents in Liberal ridings, in particular the ridings of Kitchener, Waterloo North and Kitchener-Wilmot, who are very concerned because of the minister’s 4 May capital announcements, which completely ignored the Waterloo county board’s first two priorities. I am also getting a lot of irate calls from constituents in the Liberal ridings of Durham Centre, Durham York and Durham West complaining that the Durham board was not allocated any funds for the 10 priorities it outlined in 1991.
My question is simply this: These constituents in these Liberal ridings would like the minister to give them a straight answer today and tell them why their boards’ priority ratings were ignored by him and his government.
Hon Mr Conway: The government is quite prepared to defend, here or anywhere else, its record in support of capital projects, both for growth and for non-growth purposes right across the province.
I repeat, thanks to the budget read by the Treasurer here a few weeks ago, the current administration has added yet another year of $300-million worth of provincial grants, which brings over a period of some few years $1.5 billion worth of provincial grants in support of elementary and secondary school construction.
Is the process generous? Yes. Is it fair? Yes. Is it rigorous? Yes. Is there more to be done? Of course, and we intend to carry on to meet the needs of all the regions across the province, in an evenhanded way, I might add.
Mr Jackson: Is it arbitrary? Yes. Is it dictatorial? Yes. Is it inadequate? Yes. Is it the minister’s pipedream? Yes.
The fact is that trustees all across Ontario are telling this minister, who refuses to listen -- trustees like Father Kennedy, a close friend of the minister’s from the Hamilton-Wentworth separate board, who says, in a sense, this government seems to be taking away the local school board’s responsibility to determine local needs. The reason for electing trustees is to have local people make decisions about what needs are most important. Indeed, in the Durham board, the trustees have said they were shocked. They expected that they would get --
The Speaker: Order. Is this question period? Yes.
Hon Mr Conway: The invitation is so great, but I will restrain myself as usual. I would only want to observe, for the edification of the member for Burlington South, that between 1987 and 1990 this Liberal government allocated over $90 million to the school boards in Hamilton-Wentworth, which was well over what the entire allocation was in the last year of the old Miller Tory regime, 1984-85. I repeat, in the period between 1987 and 1990 this government committed over $90 million to the school boards in Hamilton-Wentworth, and that is well above anything that the Tory government committed in any year in the last four or five years, when it had the responsibility, a responsibility that it abjectly failed to meet in this important area.
The Speaker: The Minister of the Environment is here, so I will recognize the Leader of the Opposition for a leadoff question.
MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT INVESTIGATIONS
Mr B. Rae: The Minister of the Environment will no doubt know that at 8:30 this morning some 20 Ministry of the Environment investigators arrived at Varnicolor Chemical in Elmira equipped with protective rubber suits and a mobile laboratory van.
The only problem with this so-called surprise raid is that these investigators were also met by a scrum of reporters who were aware of the raid. Members of the local environment community were aware of the raid days in advance. I want to ask the minister how it could possibly be that this Eliot Ness operation on the part of the MOE would have been so advertised that they were met by the media and indeed was no kind of surprise at all?
Hon Mr Bradley: The member himself and his colleague the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore have directed questions to me on this, as have others. I think it is no secret at all that the Ministry of the Environment has been investigating this company for some period of time. They went to the site about six times in 1989. They have conducted an ongoing investigation as a result of information which has been provided by an employee of the company and as a result of other complaints and will continue their investigations, whether it is in regard to the activities taking place today or future activities. They have in fact been in and around the site previous to that and will continue to do so. It is a potentially extensive problem. We want to look at all of the angles as a ministry and I am sure that further visits will take place to this company and others.
Mr B. Rae: I cannot believe that the minister is serious in saying that the purpose of a visit by 20 people from the ministry, in which they are taking samples, in which they are doing testing, is to warn everybody in advance, to tell everybody in advance that this is what is going to be done on a Thursday at 8:30: “You’d better be ready, because we’re going to be there.”
How can we take seriously the minister’s enforcement? The statements he has made in this House about how he is going to get the kingpins, how he is going to surprise people, how he is going to be there -- how can we take those seriously, when everybody knows about it and when in fact there is advance warning of it and there is no element of surprise whatsoever?
Hon Mr Bradley: It must bother the Leader of the Opposition to know, for instance, that the conviction rate of the Ministry of the Environment is in fact over 90%. I know it would annoy him to hear that, because it does not fit into his plans when he comes into the Ontario Legislature. I understand that, having sat in opposition for some eight years.
In addition to that, both the prosecutions and the convictions of this ministry have increased dramatically since the beginning of the investigations and enforcement branch. On a daily basis, we as a ministry have people going out to various plants to conduct investigations, and will continue to do so, including this particular plant. People from the Ministry of Environment have already visited the plant and have already interviewed people who have had accusations against this company. I indicated that in the House to the member when he asked a question some time ago, and to his colleague the member Etobicoke-Lakeshore when she asked a question. Those kinds of investigations will continue for some period to come.
Mr B. Rae: We have fought for years with respect to nursing home inspections. The minister says he was in opposition for eight years; God willing, he will be in opposition again. These things can happen, I say to the minister. But the minister knows full well that the whole nursing home inspection scene was seen as being a farce for years because the nursing homes were told in advance, and staff knew in advance, when there was going to be a so-called surprise visit. That is exactly what is happening in this instance. What the minister has here is a set of advanced warnings being given to everybody, being given to the media, being given to the entire world. The company must have known about this so-called surprise visit and this so-called surprise raid. The minister had 20 people turning up in plastic suits. He expects this kind of testing to be taken seriously when the company has had days of warning in advance before the ministry turns up? Why should the company --
The Speaker: Order.
Hon Mr Bradley: I can only say to the member once again, because perhaps he did not hear it on the first two responses, that the Ministry of the Environment officials, whether it is the investigations and enforcement branch or others, had been investigating this matter for some period of time. I have said that on a number of occasions, not only in answers to his questions, and to the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, but to other inquiries which have been. They will continue to conduct investigations of this site and any other site, some of the information being provided by their own initiative, some of it being provided by residents and employees of the company who have been very helpful.
In terms of the material that will be collected on this occasion or any other evidence which has been collected, all of it will in fact be used in any prosecutions. While the member wants to attack the people who are employed by the government of Ontario, I wonder how the Ontario Public Service Employees Union would feel about this. But he wants to do that. I think that he will find that they will do a very good job and that if there is evidence which is found as --
The Speaker: Order. There seemed to be a fair amount of material in that answer; I did not say what kind.
Mr Neumann: My question is for the Minister of Transportation about transportation linkages for our community. The Highway 403 completion to Ancaster is an important priority for our community, and work was to have begun this summer. Recent stories in the news media, however, about delays because of the habitat of the West Virginia butterfly, an endangered species, have caused concern in our community despite the fact that many citizens are concerned about nature and the environment. The citizens of the community are wondering, will this delay the start of the project and is the 1996 completion date still an achievable commitment?
Hon Mr Wrye: One of the things that I have learned in my short tenure as Minister of Transportation is that almost anything that can go wrong usually does as one goes through the planning process on these highways. The honourable member is correct in pointing out that just as we were to finalize the tender documents for the first stage of Highway 403. a very important linkage between Ancaster and Brantford, there was a halt called to the process because of the presence of a habitat of what is known as the West Virginia white butterfly. We have now searched high and low in the area for the West Virginia white butterfly and have been unable to find this particular species of insect, which is protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The good news for the member and for his colleagues the Treasurer and the House leader, who are equally concerned, is that work will go ahead this summer. We expect to advertise for the first project of this very important linkage in early August and then I expect tenders will be opened right after Labour Day.
Mr Neumann: My supplementary is again about transportation linkages. As the minister knows, the community was hard hit by the Via Rail cutbacks earlier this year. We were very pleased to note the recent budget announcement that the extension of GO Transit to Brantford is under review. What can community leaders and citizens in Brantford do to demonstrate the need and feasibility of extending GO service to Brantford, to assist in the study under way?
Hon Mr Wrye: I want to congratulate the member for Brantford and indicate and acknowledge the outstanding leadership provided by him on the GO Transit issue and to point out that the review the Treasurer called for in his budget earlier this month of the potential of bringing GO rail service to Brantford, and indeed to Peterborough, is about to get under way.
Certainly, because of some of the growth and the changing patterns of employment in the area, any information that can be provided in terms of potential use of GO rail service would he very, very useful. In that regard, I know that the member, working with the mayor of Brantford, has put together in the past a petition and garnered a very large number of names. We would be very interested in hearing from those individuals on the potential for their own use of GO rail service. That would help us as the study goes forward, and I commend that to the honourable member.
WINDSOR AREA ECONOMY
Mr D. S. Cooke: In the absence of the Premier and the Minister of Industry. Trade and Technology, I will settle for the Minister of Labour.
Perhaps the Minister of Labour will be aware that another plant closure has been announced in the city of Windsor yesterday, Stanley Home Automation, which employed 68 individuals. This is now becoming very clearly an epidemic of plant closures in my home community.
Mr D. S. Cooke: Maybe the Attorney General could shut up for a couple of minutes.
The Speaker: Order. Perhaps the member had better take his seat. I would ask all members once again to obey standing order 20(b).
Mr D. S. Cooke: As I was saying, another plant closure in my community was announced yesterday, Stanley Home Automation. It is clear that there is now an epidemic of plant closures in my community. As of the beginning of December until yesterday, according to figures supplied to us by the Ministry of Industry. Trade and Technology, there have now been 2,271 people put on notice that their plants will be closing -- either have already closed or will be in the next few months. If that happened in the city of Toronto, it would be equivalent to nearly 25,000 jobs. The impact on our economy and on our community is very substantial. What are the minister and his government prepared to do to make sure that my community does not lapse into the same kind of depression that we had in the late 1970s and the early 1980s in the auto sector?
Hon Mr Phillips: I appreciate very much the concern of the member for Windsor-Riverside, as other members from Windsor have raised the same concerns.
We were very pleased to see about a week ago that the Ford company announced some major investments in Windsor. We were very pleased to hear that apparently the president of Ford announced at the annual meeting some additional investments, albeit in Oakville, but none the less a commitment to the automotive industry in Ontario.
I think both the Premier and others have indicated that we are committed, as the Treasurer noted in his budget, to ensuring that provincial jobs are spread around the province. Quite clearly, obviously, Windsor is one of the areas, among others, that the government has been looking at. I would say that I am very pleased to see Ford, with support from the provincial government, making an investment. I am very pleased to see some other new jobs created in Windsor, recognizing the difficult times. I think the Premier and others in this House have indicated that the government is looking very seriously at a variety of communities where jobs might be located by the provincial government.
Mr D. S. Cooke: No matter how hard this government attempts to promote the Ford announcement, there were 138 jobs created in that $9-million announcement, and the jobs will not even be created for three years. I am talking about job losses of 2,200 people in my community now. We need direct intervention by this government. There have been 13 plant closures announced in the last few months, four more are on the very weak list of potential plant closures in the next few months and last fall there were six more plant closures. We have had more plant closures so far this year than in all of 1989 and 1988 added together.
I am asking the minister again: It is his responsibility and that of his government to put together a package of aid to my community which should involve decentralization of public service jobs in our community. Is the minister prepared to go to bat for our community --
The Speaker: The question has been asked.
Mr D. S. Cooke: -- because obviously the local Liberal members have had absolutely no impact in delivering that promise.
Hon Mr Phillips: If the member realized how often the local members on this side of the House are beating on me, beating on the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology and beating on the Treasurer and the Premier for jobs, he would not be saying that.
I would say again that I recognize the needs of Windsor. I would just, however, remind ourselves, because I look at these numbers frequently, that during the first half of the 1980s there were about 220,000 jobs created in the province; that is, the first five years of the decade. In the second five years of the decade -- which coincide, I might say, with a change in government -- there were well over 730,000 new jobs created in the province. That does not, however, negate the concerns of Windsor.
As I said before, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Technology has been working very closely with the automotive sector. We are very pleased to see the Ford company making their announcement recently. The Premier and others in the House have indicated their concern for the Windsor area and how we are looking at Windsor, among other communities, about the possibility of additional public service jobs. We are very concerned about the Windsor area. I would say that all of the members on this side of the House from Windsor are very concerned and are looking for solutions.
TEACHERS’ LABOUR DISPUTE
Mr Sterling: I am sorry that the member for Ottawa West is not here because the day before yesterday I asked a question in the Legislature at the very end. The Minister of Education indicated that the member for Ottawa West had asked the same question as I had. That is not exactly the way I have read Hansard. In fact, the member for Ottawa West made some outrageous and slanderous statements about Ottawa Board of Education trustees. He grouped them all together by saying that there were several trustees and then failed to identify those trustees even when demanded so by the Ottawa Board of Education trustees. This has driven a further wedge in between the teachers and the Ottawa Board of Education, and I would ask the Minister of Education if he would apologize on behalf of the member for Ottawa West, who is not here today.
Hon Mr Conway: Any Minister of Education has a responsibility in the course of a strike or a lockout to do all that he or she can to ensure that these kinds of difficulties are resolved at the earliest opportunity and in the best interests of the students involved. I would say to my friend the member for Carleton that like all members I am anxious to see the parties to the dispute accept their responsibilities under the collective bargaining process, and I would encourage all members to work toward a resolution of this under the existing provincial statute, Bill 100, which provides, I think, in the main a very effective process by means of which to resolve these kinds of difficulties.
Mr Sterling: The day before yesterday the member for Ottawa West said, “I am concerned about an apparent lack of good faith on the part of some of the trustees at the Ottawa Board of Education” and “Some of these trustees are now privately urging MPPs to prevail upon the Education Relations Commission not to deal with the question of jeopardy before the summer.”
Does the minister believe that the member for Ottawa West is helping in this process of reconciliation and ending the strike?
Hon Mr Conway: There is no question that there is in this dispute, as in all others of my acquaintance, abundant concern on all sides that the interests of students not be lost sight of. As I have indicated to the House, in this case and in others, the Education Relations Commission has a very clear responsibility to monitor and to assist. That they are doing, as is their role and responsibility under Bill 100.
Once again, I would encourage all in the community, but most especially both parties to the dispute, to return to the table at the earliest opportunity and to resolve this expeditiously in the best interests of those students.
Ms Oddie Munro: My question is to the Minister of the Environment. I have received correspondence from the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, as he no doubt has, regarding the use of ethanol as a transportation fuel. In their brief they detail the environmental and sustainable developmental problems associated with the use of gasoline. Among the benefits of fuel ethanol would be improved urban air quality. Can the minister provide this House with some information on the environmental significance of renewable fuels such as ethanol?
Hon Mr Bradley: Interestingly enough, I attended a conference where there were some experts who were dealing with the whole issue of, I guess you would say, energy conservation in the context of what is best for the environment as well in terms of fuels. It was interesting to see that it was a rather mixed result in terms of what the experts had to say. In fact, one of the individuals was from an institute in Washington that is involved with a university and quite independent on this and gave quite a balanced point of view.
There are a number of considerations that have to be taken into account with alternative fuels. Sometimes we jump quickly to an alternative fuel only to find that in terms of the environmental balance it is something which is good for society as a whole and the government.
Hon Mr Bradley: There seems to be some alternative fuel coming from the leader of the official opposition at the present time over there.
Anyway, I think what we have to look at in terms of total energy savings is, are there actually energy savings when you look at how that fuel is produced? In the case of methanol, as opposed to ethanol, for instance, it is produced from natural gas, which is by definition a fossil fuel. In a case of that which is produced from agricultural products, one has to look at the amount of energy that was used for those purposes. The Ministry of Energy is analysing that carefully.
Ms Oddie Munro: I would certainly appreciate a copy of any report which comes out on alternative fuels between the minister and the Ministry of Energy.
I am interested in urban air quality and I am wondering if the minister can tell me what his current initiatives are with regards to reducing vehicle emissions in Ontario.
Hon Mr Bradley: The member may recall that last summer we used in the province of Ontario low-smog gas, an initiative that was taken very quickly, the Leader of the Opposition will want to know. It was something we jumped at very quickly in terms of putting low-smog gas in the province of Ontario. He will be interested to know, as well as the member for Hamilton Centre, that no other province did that last year. I expect that some of the provinces are going to do so.
This year what is going to happen is that the use of low-smog gas will be for even a longer period of time in the summer months, when there is an evaporation, and there are certain compounds which go into the air that cause smog, which forms the lower level smog. I think we will see that improvement again this summer.
In addition to that, at the national environment ministers meeting in October or November of last year in Prince Edward Island, Ontario and Quebec led the way in persuading the ministers present to adopt the California standards for emissions on vehicles. That will certainly make some substantial differences. We are going to do it within the timetable of California, as well, so that we will be moving in synchronization with the state that is considered to be the most progressive in terms of those vehicle emissions and the vehicle emission equipment put on.
SOLID WASTE REDUCTION
Mrs Grier: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment about solid waste, not gas this time. I am sure the minister will recall that last December members from all parties in this House supported a resolution of mine that called for action to reduce municipal solid waste and asked the government to introduce legislation to do just that by March 1990. The government, needless to remark, took no action. So this morning the member for Hamilton West initiated a debate on legislation which had been drafted on behalf of this caucus to do what the government had failed to do and to provide for regulations to reduce solid waste. Again, it was supported on all sides.
In view of this strong support for reduction of garbage, will the minister acknowledge that his emphasis on voluntary recycling is not sufficient by itself to solve the garbage problems of this province or to meet his diversion targets, and will he move to regulate for the reduction of solid waste?
Hon Mr Bradley: Certainly there have been occasions when regulation has been by far the best route. In this specific instance I have seen among various communities, among individual groups within those communities, among some municipal leaders and others, the kind of enthusiasm for dealing with the diversion of waste from either landfill or incinerators that I have not seen before. There is an increased co-operation with all sectors of society in this regard.
I find it a little difficult when there is that kind of enthusiasm, when there is that kind of voluntary action, to come in with a sledgehammer and hit those people over the head and say, “Now you have to do this,” or “You have to do that.” I think some of the suggestions the member for Hamilton West made are good suggestions and I am prepared to look at those, as we are always prepared to. I do not think all the wisdom in this world resides in any particular individual party or individual member. We are prepared to assess all of those. I commend the member for Hamilton West, who I know has been concerned for some period of time about these issues, on his initiative. We will take them all into consideration.
Mrs Grier: The minister consistently, I suppose naturally, misinterprets the thrust of the question. Nobody is denying that recycling is supported, recycling is desirable, that people want to use their blue box system. The point we and municipalities and environmentalists keep trying to make to the minister is that that of itself is not enough to meet the targets of waste diversion that he himself has set. We have, just as an example, a headline in the Toronto Star that says, “Recycling is a Financial Monster,” from the Durham works committee, and from the North Bay Nugget, “Council in North Bay May Have to Rethink the Blue Box Recycling Program.”
Why will the minister not recognize that voluntary effort of itself, worthwhile though it may be, is not sufficient to solve the problem and that voluntary effort will only be enhanced if he will move to assume some responsibilities and to show some leadership in waste reduction? That is what is required.
Hon Mr Bradley: The member is ignoring -- I am sure not intentionally; she may have just forgotten -- the fact, for instance, that another way of diverting waste is that of composting, which is now becoming exceedingly popular in the province of Ontario as a result of the kind of financial assistance that the province of Ontario is providing for composting purposes.
She would recognize the amount of waste that could really be diverted if all -- like she and I -- would have our composters working, if we would utilize those not only on an individual basis but on a community basis in some cases. She would also know that at the last meeting of environment ministers there was a national protocol which was agreed to which in fact had packaging in it and dealt with the fact that on a national basis -- where it is important to do so because of interprovincial boundaries and different circumstances existing -- there was agreement, which I think was pretty widely hailed as a good program for diverting waste.
I remind her as well that we now have over two million houses on blue box programs in the province of Ontario. We have funded 130,000 home composters already --
The Speaker: Thank you.
The Speaker: I appreciate that. However, some other time. New question, the member for Wellington.
TRAVEL INDUSTRY COMPENSATION FUND
Mr J. M. Johnson: I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Many of my constituents have been affected by the financial collapse of Thomson Vacations. Is there enough money in the Ontario travel industry compensation fund to reimburse all the victims of this business failure?
Hon Mr Sorbara: The answer to the question is that probably there will be. The fact is, though, that we must leave the period available for making claims under the compensation fund open for a period of six months. So we will not know the total value of all of the claims in the aggregate until well into the latter part of the year. At that time we will be able to say definitively that the compensation fund is sufficiently buoyant to handle all the claims.
A couple of weeks ago we made amendments to the regulations to increase the size of the liability of the fund in the event of a failure such as this. We are fully confident that all of the claimants will be satisfied and we will know that within a six-month period.
Mr J. M. Johnson: As the minister knows, on 18 December 1989 in his news release he announced: “‘With the Ontario travel industry compensation fund’s reserves in excess of $3.5 million, premium payments will not be required from the travel industry,’ said Mr Sorbara. ‘This waiver continues the premium holiday that started 31 December 1987 and marks the fifth consecutive six-month period that payment has not been necessary.’”
If the minister had kept up with inflation and kept the fund in proper reserve, would there not be lots of money now to cover the compensation and also to ensure that if anything of a similar nature happens, there will be funding available?
Hon Mr Sorbara: I guess my friend does not quite understand how the fund operates and who makes the decisions as to whether or not there are going to be levies against the travel industry which, after all, is the funder of the compensation fund. It is not the taxpayers, the people of the province, who are putting money into the fund; it is the industry itself that, under regulations, under a statute passed by this Parliament, contributes to the fund to ensure that in the event of a failure or in the event of a trip that was not delivered in the way in which it was advertised, the traveller will be appropriately compensated.
The industry itself sits on the board that regulates that fund and it determines, along with other members of the board, consumer representatives and government representatives, when the levies shall be increased or decreased or waived.
The fund had plenty of cash in it to handle claims that were anticipated. The fact that we have had a larger-than-anticipated claim with Thomson Vacations simply means that, although payments did not have to be made last year, they will have to be made this year. But the fund itself is solvent. It has the capacity, with the new regulations, to deal with the incidents and the claims that result from Thomson.
Mr Wildman: In view of the absence of the Minister of Natural Resources, I would like to --
The Speaker: Order. I missed the member for Peterborough. I am sorry.
SALE OF DISCOUNTED BEER
Mr Adams: I am glad to get my question in. It is also for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I guess from the clock that I will not have time for a supplementary.
In Peterborough there is great concern, especially in the labour community, about the sale of cheap US beer in the liquor stores. I am told the Liquor Control Board of Ontario has even been running special promotions on this cheap beer.
It seems to me there is a great unfairness here for both labour and business. In addition to this beer being cheap, discounted beer, I understand that it also avoids some of our environmental regulations.
I wonder if the minister would care to comment on this important matter.
Hon Mr Sorbara: It is interesting that my friend the member for Peterborough raises this matter today. Some of us in this House may have read reports in the paper that the fifth largest brewer in the United States has launched a 301 action against Canada because of what it considers to be unfair trade practices.
As of now, the cost of US beer is almost identical to the cost of Canadian beer sold through the Brewers’ Warehousing facilities around the province. So I would not suspect that there would be an unfair competitive advantage for American beer in our LCBO stores this summer.
Last summer there was somewhat of a price differential. Notwithstanding that, it seemed that the board had ordered and had in stock more beer than it could actually sell. I think that is a phenomenon of the marketplace. But it is interesting that some would say the price of American beer is too low and the company itself is saying it is too high. I think when you put those two things together, you see that the price is a fair market price.
As far as the environmental issue is concerned, there is a specific five cents per can charged on American beer sold in the LCBO. That simply is because those cans cannot be recycled as the Canadian beer cans can be recycled, through Brewers’ Retail stores.
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ PUBLIC BUSINESS
Mr Ward moved that notwithstanding any previous order of the House Mr South and Mr Daigeler exchange places in the order of precedence for private members’ business.
Motion agreed to.
ONTARIO PUBLIC SERVICE EMPLOYEES
Mr South: I have a petition from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Local 431, Kingston Psychiatric Hospital.
“To the Honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
“Whereas the government of Ontario as represented by Management Board of Cabinet, continues to refuse to take the matter of bargaining, the working conditions and employee benefits for some 60,000 public civil servants seriously, and
“Whereas this cavalier approach, as evidenced by the government’s revolving-door approach to the assignment of their numerous negotiators does little for the morale of the employees or the confidence of the citizens of Ontario with regard to essential services;
“Therefore, be it resolved that the Honourable Murray Elston be directed to deal with these matters in a sober-minded, businesslike and expeditious manner.”
It is signed by a number of my constituents.
POLICE TREATMENT OF VISIBLE MINORITIES
Mr B. Rae: I have a petition to be presented to the Solicitor General, the Premier and the Ontario Legislature through the Lieutenant Governor.
The Women’s Coalition Against Racism and Police Violence has collected over 4,600 signatures since November 1989 for its petition to end police violence, which calls for the immediate establishment of a provincial independent civilian investigative body.
“Whereas the women’s coalition is a broad-based coalition of over 40 women’s groups in Toronto concerned over the alarming pattern of police violence and racism --
The Speaker: Order. I must remind our visitors they are welcome if they do not demonstrate or applaud. If they demonstrate, they must remove themselves from the gallery.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr B. Rae: The petition reads:
“In the last 15 months, we have witnessed the shooting of three black people by Metro police officers; two of them killed. The most recent, Sophia Cook, now lies in a hospital paralysed from the waist down. She was unarmed, sitting with her seatbelt buckled, when she was shot by Constable Cameron Durham.
“While the black community has been most visibly affected by police violence in the past year, this is just part of the pattern of racist and police violence in Toronto and across the country against native peoples, blacks, people of colour, women, gays and lesbians and working peoples. The recently proposed reforms made by the Solicitor General in no way meet the demands for an independent civilian investigative body called for by black and other communities affected by police violence.
“We demand that the province of Ontario set a precedent for its counterparts across the country by immediately establishing an independent civilian investigative body with broad representation, selected by and from the communities affected by racist and other forms of police violence.
“This body must have the power to investigate, to demand that charges be laid and to recommend that disciplinary actions be taken against the officers involved.”
I have assigned my signature to the first of these petitions and would respectfully submit it you.
The Speaker: Are there any further petitions?
The Speaker: I had better not make any comment.
REPORT BY COMMITTEE
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
Mr Pelissero: Mr Speaker, pursuant to the standing order 118(d), I beg leave to present a report with respect to an appeal from a decision of the Chair of the standing committee on general government by a majority of the members of the standing committee.
The Speaker: I shall review the report of the general government committee Chairman and will advise the House at the earliest opportunity of my decision to confirm or vary the decision of the Chair of the standing committee.
Mr Runciman: Point of order, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: Order. I am not finished yet. In case all members are not aware, just thinking back, I believe this is the first time a matter such as this has come to the Chair’s attention. This is a matter that was directed and discussed in committee. It is a request to the Chair from the committee. I believe the members have had an opportunity to discuss and make the decision in the House.
I may be anticipating something here. However, I listened very carefully to the member for Leeds-Grenville in his statement and I must say I am not able to listen to any debate on this. I will read exactly what was said in the committee and the decision that was made.
Mr Runciman: Point of order, Mr Speaker. I do not wish to engage in a debate. It is a point of order. I am rising on a point of order under standing order 123. You have now received the report from the Chair of the general government committee advising you of an appeal of the Chair’s ruling by the majority of the members of that committee.
The motion of the member for Yorkview to defer the matter before the committee was ruled out of order by the Chairman. After hearing arguments from members from all three parties, I would urge you to uphold that decision.
The Speaker: Thank you. With respect, I listened carefully as the member is starting. He is again informing the Chair of what has happened in the committee. The committee decided on a report. That report has been placed before me. I will review it and return with my decision whether to agree with or vary that.
Mr D. S. Cooke: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: This is the first time this matter has come before the House, and I think the concern of the opposition parties is that the decision by the majority in the committee to appeal to you has two aspects to it.
One is that their interpretation of your decision of a couple of weeks ago with regard to the Supreme Court decision does not allow them to proceed, and there is a political aspect to that. That is, quite frankly, that the general government committee would have proceeded this afternoon. In effect, by appealing the ruling of the Chair of this committee to you, they are delaying the action on this referral by the opposition parties in exactly the same way as they wanted to by putting the motion that was ruled out of order.
The Speaker: Thank you. Order.
Mr D. S. Cooke: That is exactly what the member for Yorkview is doing. He is trying to bury this matter.
The Speaker: Order, with respect. If the members wish a decision, I will have to say that I really will not allow any further discussion because I want to look at it, if the members are interested in my making a decision.
Mr Runciman: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: On the same point, no.
Mr Runciman: No, it is not on the same point directly.
The Speaker: What is your point of order?
Mr Runciman: My point is that there is some urgency to this, and the fact that this initiative was undertaken by the Liberal majority in the committee is further delaying it.
Mr Polsinelli: You are abusing the standing orders.
Mr D. S. Cooke: You are abusing the standing orders. You don’t want to talk about the Liberal Party. Keep it behind closed doors.
Mr Speaker: Order. I wish the member for Leeds-Grenville had heard what I said. I wanted to make a response to the House as quickly as I could, so I am asking that there be no further discussion.
Mr D. S. Cooke: Why don’t you just be honest about this relationship?
Mr Speaker: Order, the member for Windsor-Riverside.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
TOWNSHIP OF GUILFORD ACT, 1990
Mr Eakins moved first reading of Bill Pr79, An Act respecting the Township of Guilford.
Motion agreed to.
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF OTTAWA-CARLETON AMENDMENT ACT, 1990
Mr Sweeney moved first reading of Bill 168, An Act to amend the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker: Does the minister have an explanation?
Hon Mr Sweeney: I gave a fairly detailed explanation in my opening remarks. Basically, this bill provides for direct election of regional councillors.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon Mr Ward: Pursuant to standing order 53, I would like to indicate the business of the House for the upcoming weeks.
For the week of 21 May, pursuant to standing order 6(a)(i), the House shall not meet next week.
On Monday 28 May, we will proceed with third reading of Bill 68, with a vote at 5:45, according to a previous resolution.
On Tuesday 29 May, we will have second reading debate of Bill 114.
On Wednesday 30 May, there will be continuation of the second reading debate on Bill 114, if not previously concluded. Subsequent to that will be committee of the whole House if necessary. Following that, time permitting, we will resume the adjourned debate on the motion for adoption of the report of the standing committee on resources development on Bill 208.
On Thursday 31 May, in the morning sitting, will be private members’ ballot item 51 in the name of Mrs Cunningham and ballot item 52 in the name of Mr Miclash. In the afternoon sitting, we will continue with any previously unfinished business from the week.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
POLICE SERVICES ACT, 1989
Mr Ward, on behalf of Mr Offer, moved second reading of Bill 107, An Act to revise the Police Act and amend the Law relating to Police Services.
Mr Kanter: I am pleased to rise to speak in support of second reading of Bill 107. I am doing it in the place of the Solicitor General, who unfortunately --
Hon Mr Ward: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I forgot to indicate in moving second reading that, by previous agreement, I would seek unanimous consent that the time be divided among the parties this afternoon.
Mr Kanter: I am pleased to rise on second reading of Bill 107, An Act to revise the Police Act and amend the Law relating to Police Services. I am speaking in the absence of the Solicitor General, who is detained on police-related business, and also in the absence of his parliamentary assistant, who unfortunately had some health problems. I do have some familiarity with the issues in the bill as a former Metro councillor in the Toronto area, and also as former parliamentary assistant to the Solicitor General.
It certainly came to my attention as a Metro councillor and as parliamentary assistant that policing has changed, that the population has changed. But in many cases, the legal framework that set out the rules for policing, the formal legislation, has not changed to reflect the changes in practice. I was very pleased to see, pleased to be aware of and to some extent a part of very extensive consultations that went on with the various interest groups and parties that were involved in the Police Act.
In the fall of 1988, the Ministry of the Solicitor General held very extensive consultations with representatives of all the interest groups involved, the municipal police authorities, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, the Police Association of Ontario, ministry staff and staff from other ministries such as the Attorney General.
Subsequent to that, there was the report of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force, headed by Clare Lewis, which held extensive public consultations, had many, many public submissions and made a number of recommendations. I believe, Mr Speaker, if I may have your attention, there were approximately 57 recommendations that the Lewis task force made on this very important subject.
One point that I would like to emphasize -- and I say this as a member of this Legislature who happens to be on the standing committee on administration of justice -- is that I believe it is important to have further consultation and discussion on this bill. I know the ministry intends to have further public consultation. In fact, this morning the justice committee held a special organizational meeting in anticipation that this debate would be held this afternoon.
In preparation, if second reading is approved this afternoon, we have agreed to very widespread advertising in all the daily newspapers, in many of the weekly newspapers and in the ethnocultural press in this province, because of the important nature of the subject matter before us. We want to make sure that the population at large is well aware of the important reforms that are being proposed in this legislation.
The committee also suggested that letters be sent to a number of interested parties and groups, including those who made submissions to the Lewis task force, again because of the importance of this subject.
One of the very important aspects of this bill, I believe, is the declaration of principles found at the beginning of the bill. The proposed new act sets forward a philosophy, a basis for policing with six very important principles that, I think, should guide the thinking of policing as we move into the l990s. I would just like to mention the six principles. I think they are appropriate to bear in mind at second reading stage, before we get into more of the detailed consideration of the technical aspects of the bill.
The first is the need to ensure the safety and security of all persons and property in Ontario. I believe, and certainly it has been my experience, this is a principle that is found throughout the population. This is not unique or limited to one group in the population, one class, one ethnic group or one multiracial group. Every citizen of Ontario wants and deserves safety and security of their person and of their property.
Second is the importance of safeguarding the fundamental rights of all residents of Ontario as guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code. I note that my colleague the Solicitor Genera! has now arrived and I am sure he will have further comments on the bill later in the debate this afternoon.
The third principle is the need for co-operation between those who provide police services and the communities they serve. Again, I think that is only common sense. The most effective way to provide security of person and property is by having close co-operation between those who provide police services and the communities they serve. I think there is much better co-operation through consultation with communities rather than having a force which is unfamiliar with or alien to the community it serves.
A fourth principle is the importance of respect for victims of crime. I think this is an area where there has been developing concern in Ontario and other jurisdictions, and this bill recognizes that concern. The fifth principle is the need for sensitivity to the pluralistic, multiracial and multicultural character of Ontario’s society and the sixth is the need to ensure that police forces are representative of the communities they serve.
I think there are changes in society that we all recognize. It is particularly important that the police reflect and are sensitive to these changes. They do have, in many cases, an immediate impact on people’s lives, a life-or-death impact on people’s lives. I think it is particularly important that police are sensitive to these changes, but I certainly do not think these changes are limited to the police.
There are many other agencies and institutions, public sector and private sector, that also face the same task that the police face of reflecting and being sensitive to these changes. Perhaps the police have a more difficult task in that they are in forefront of having to respond to these changes, but these are not changes that are limited to the police force by any means.
I just want to refer briefly to several other aspects and initiatives contained in this new legislation. One of them that I certainly do not think we should lose sight of in the broad policy considerations and principles is the fact that this new act will help the individual officer on the beat perform his or her duty better. The changes in policing have to come both at the top level and also on the beat by giving the individual officers a better idea of their duties, allowing them more latitude in terms of their service role in addition to their enforcement responsibilities and ensuring that they receive the necessary training for that responsibility. Those provisions are contained in the act in section 42 and other sections of the act.
I want to say a very brief word on the special investigations aspect of the legislation. I know that is a contentious one. I know there are views -- and we have indeed seen in this chamber this afternoon people who feel very strongly -- some that special investigations should be carried out entirely by civilians, others that special investigations should be carried out entirely by police officers.
In my view, the bill provides a very judicious balance whereby special investigations will be carried out, led by a civilian who will direct a team of trained investigators who are not currently members of police forces but who have experience, knowledge and expertise in things like the rules of evidence. They will have the authority to investigate incidents involving serious injury or death, including police pursuits, that may have resulted from criminal offences committed by police officers.
This is a very difficult area. I believe the bill establishes a very careful, judicious and appropriate balance, and I would note that in some ways it goes further than the Lewis task force in terms of the civilian-police ratio and balance. I think it is an appropriate balance in a very, very difficult area.
I want to conclude by saying that I think all members of this Legislature -- certainly all members of the justice committee, but really all members of this Legislature -- have a very important role to play in dealing with this bill in the next four weeks or so. Clearly, there have been great concerns raised in the community. There is an expectation that members of this body will respond in a sensitive manner.
I think it is important that we are all aware of the extensive consultations that have preceded this day so that there is a firm base for these reforms, which I believe there is.
I think it is also important that we remain open to any further suggestions or improvements that may be made that build on this firm base. I, for one, am looking forward to my role in further consideration of this legislation in committee and back in this House. I certainly urge my colleagues on all sides to support it for second reading, and look forward to a particularly careful examination of this legislation in the committee stage.
The Acting Speaker (Mr Cureatz): I apologize that during the parliamentary assistant’s opening remarks I was having difficulty hearing him. It was much better with the earphone, because we are quite a distance away from each other.
Mr Kormos: Let me start off by pointing out to the Solicitor General and to his parliamentary assistant how pleased I am to see the Solicitor General here to participate in this, albeit brief, second reading debate. It is a refreshing change from what we in the opposition were afraid was becoming a pattern on behalf of this government, and that is to say that ministers responsible for legislation were going to hide away while parliamentary assistants and others were being forced to carry the ball. It is the ministers who, during the committee process, are called upon to respond to concerns and questions, and if they are not present for second reading debate, if they are not present for submissions during the course of committee hearings, if they are not present during committee of the whole, then the effectiveness of the debate is seriously diminished. So I congratulate the Solicitor General for being here during the course of second reading of this bill this afternoon. That is number one.
Number two is to indicate that we in the New Democratic Party will not oppose this bill at second reading. We endorse very strongly the need for significant and drastic reform to our approach to policing here in Ontario, from the point of view of communities that rely upon their police officers and their police forces, from the point of view of the citizenry who interact with police officers on a daily basis in a variety of relationships, and from the point of view of police officers, those hardworking men and women in municipalities across this province and throughout this province by way of the Ontario Provincial Police force who perform a job that has indeed become more and more complex.
It is trite to say that policing has never been so complex. It is a job that has become, because of its complexity, more and more difficult, and policing performed in a community which has become more and more demanding of its police officers -- I would say that the expectation level of police officers by the citizenry has never been higher than it is right now in 1990, and there is every indication that the high expectation level of the citizenry for the police is going to remain at that intense, demanding level.
We do have some concerns. There were concerns voiced on the instance of first reading back in December 1989. One of the concerns is that it had taken a number of years to get a bill which constituted a reform of policing here in the province.
Once again, credit to this Solicitor General. He promised a new Police Act upon his appointment. Well, he kept that promise, unlike his two predecessors in the government, who similarly promised and promised new police acts and amendments to the existing Police Act to deal with a variety of situations but simply did not deliver. So I feel no hesitation in commending this Solicitor General for at least delivering us the bill.
But as we indicated after first reading in December of last year, we were concerned and remain concerned that so much of this bill is not contained in the bill. Let me explain that. So much of what is going to occur as a result of Bill 107, the Police Services Act, is going to occur not as a result of legislation that is passed in this assembly and is the result of debate and discussion, but from regulation. Regulations occur at the whim of the government and they are generated in secret and, as often as not, they are generated without consultation because of that very secret nature in which they can be developed and nurtured.
So while the statute, the Police Services Act, in itself has a great deal of potential, that potential can be realized only if in fact the regulations that have to accompany it to give it any effect are sound and meaningful. We have some real concerns about even addressing this at second reading, when the proposed regulations, the draft regulations, are not presented with it, because really, without the regulations, Bill 107, even if it were to pass third reading and obtain royal assent, would have minimal impact. It would not do much at all. Indeed, it would not be inappropriate to say it would do effectively nothing, because the regulations that have to accompany it are what will constitute the substance or the meat of it. That is what is lacking right now and that is what makes it so difficult to participate in a constructive debate about Bill 107 at this point.
We were critical and remain critical that so much of Bill 107 relies upon the regulatory powers of the government, and so much of what Bill 107 will or will not be depends upon the whim of this government without consultation with the public, least of all with the opposition.
Another concern is the seeming urgency of Bill 107 at this particular point in time. This was presented for first reading on 20 December 1989. Let’s not forget something: The government controls what bills are presented for discussion and debate, does it not? The opposition has no control over that. The third party has no control over it. The government controls that. The simple fact and reality are that this government, these Liberals, have not presented Bill 107, the Police Services Act, the new Police Act for Ontario, to this Assembly for second reading until today, 17 May.
Members do not have to look far or hard to understand why, and why there is this sense of urgency on the part of the government, because the government found itself in very much of a crisis during the course of this week when there was yet another shooting of another citizen by another police officer here in the city of Toronto. This time it was a 16-year-old kid who was shot and wounded by a police officer, and once again it was a black who was shot and wounded by a Metro police officer.
We in the opposition had called upon this government month after month to use its regulatory powers under the existing Police Act to start to address some of the issues, some of the problems which may well have saved young Marion Neal from being the victim of a police bullet.
The government, the Solicitor General, the Premier did not need Bill 107, the bill before us today for second reading, to effect those regulatory changes, to effect some policy on use of firearms, to effect some policy on training of police officers when it comes to racial relations, to effect some policy about firearms and ammunition.
How long has the issue of hollow-point bullets been very much before the eyes and in the mind of this Legislature and in the mind of the public? How long have we been calling out for inquiry and study into that? We recognize that there are two sides to that issue. In fact, there are police officers in our police forces in Ontario who very much believe that the weapons and ammunition that they are currently authorized to use are inadequate for their protection -- I am prepared to listen to those police officers -- just as there are those who would feel that there ought to be stricter, more stringent and more rigid guidelines as to when a firearm is to be used or drawn by a police officer. I am prepared to listen to those people too, as we all are in the New Democratic Party. We have been calling out for study and consultation in that very regard, for policy and regulations being submitted by this Solicitor General and by this government to give effect to the decisions that might be made.
We have expressed concern about police commission appointments, and you know that, Mr Speaker. We have expressed some very specific concerns about police commission appointments. Back in September 1988 Dr Philip Stenning, who is a criminologist at the University of Toronto, released a study, and this study clearly showed that police commission appointments are really political appointments, rather than based on any serious discussion of merit. As he put it: “If you are interested in a seat on Niagara’s Police Commission it helps to know a provincial cabinet minister...there is almost no formal investigation done into a potential appointee’s background other than a criminal record check...no systematic monitoring of appointees is undertaken by provincial authorities following their appointment.”
Do we have to look much further than some of the discussion in this Legislature, again, over this past week, to see how faulty the system is when it comes to appointees, either to regional police commissions or to the Ontario Police Commission? When we see that were it not for the intervention of a newspaper reporter, James Dubro, who revealed to this government that indeed there was police concern about the appointment of one DelZotto to the Ontario Police Commission -- and do not forget that recommendation was alive three months --
Mrs E. J. Smith: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: That is a complete misrepresentation of the facts, as the member well knows. It has been constantly pointed out there was no appointment made.
The Acting Speaker: It is not a point of order. However, we have had the opportunity of hearing the member for London South.
Mr Kormos: If people would listen. They do not want to listen about the DelZotto recommendation, do they? It remains that three months after the DelZotto recommendation was made it was alive and well in the Solicitor General’s office and was only interrupted after James Dubro made a call to that same office and revealed that police forces in New York state had expressed concern about the possibility of DelZotto -- leading Liberal here in Ontario, recommended by none other than Patricia Starr to the Attorney General and then recommended by the Attorney General in due course to the Solicitor General. It was only three months after that, after a telephone call by Dubro --
Mrs E. J. Smith: Point of order, Mr Speaker.
Mr Kormos: They do not want to hear it, do they, Mr Speaker?
Mrs E. J. Smith: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The member constantly implies by his reference that there is some police record. There is absolutely no such thing. Mr DelZotto has never been convicted of any crime. I do not mind his making suggestions about police appointments, but to stand up in a public place and use his privilege to imply things that are not true, I object to that.
The Acting Speaker: You have put the Speaker in a difficult position because, of course, I have no information for evaluation. I recognized you on a point of order.
Mr Kormos: Elvio DelZotto was well known to Judge Waisberg, who conducted the 1974 commission of inquiry here in Ontario into violence in the construction industry and, according to Dubro, he was well known to the New York police, who tipped off Dubro that DelZotto was in the running for an Ontario Police Commission appointment.
It was fortunately the intervention of that reporter who blew the whistle that, within a matter of days, caused the DelZotto recommendation to be reversed.
Mr D. R. Cooke: It was not.
Mr Kormos: That is exactly in line with what Dr Philip Stenning, criminologist at the University of Toronto, says about appointments to regional police commissions. Hear what happened, Mr Speaker.
According to the study by Stenning: “If you are interested in a seat on Niagara’s police commission it helps to know a provincial cabinet minister...there is almost no formal investigation done into a potential appointee’s background. Other than a criminal record check, no systematic monitoring of appointees is undertaken by provincial authorities following their appointment.”
As I say, that was illustrated in real life back in 1986 when Elvio DelZotto, prominent Liberal, head of the provincial wing of the federal Liberal Party, recommended by Patti Starr, referred to by the Attorney General as “our Patti” at that particular fund-raising dinner -- their Patti recommended Elvio DelZotto, who was one of the major subjects of the Waisberg investigation into crime in the construction industry. As I say, we are thankful to the press for tipping off the Solicitor General’s office to the fact that the New York police were interested in the fact that DelZotto was close to an appointment.
So we find it remarkable that Bill 107 all of a sudden acquires some urgency, when we have been pushing this government for years now to take some action with respect to policing here in Ontario.
We have called upon this government to establish standards when it comes to burglar alarms and the impact that has on police forces that have to rush to burglar alarms and other intrusion alarms, which results in wasted police resources -- the fact that these alarm systems are installed willy-nilly, without supervision, without licensing, without checking. It not only wastes police resources in response to false alarms, but, quite frankly, it creates a dangerous scenario for those police officers who are forced into that type of action.
Communication systems: Since the 1985 special committee report made a point of pointing out the lack of compatibility between OPP radio communication and that of municipal forces, we have pointed out to this government and called upon it to establish police communication systems wherein there is some compatibility between the OPP system and the systems used by municipal police forces.
But this bill has all of a sudden acquired urgency because the government is trying to backpedal its way out of a politically difficult situation. Indeed, there was yet another shooting of another black youth right here in the city of Toronto by a police officer, when in fact had the government taken action when it was urged to take action, not depended upon Bill 107 but utilized the very powers that this government has to make policy and to make regulations under the existing Police Act --
This government’s reluctance, this government’s failure -- talk about negligence. If there was negligence, it has been this government’s negligence to respond to the persistent pleas of the opposition to take action before another life is lost, before another body is maimed. What happened? Yes, another shot was fired and another kid’s body was maimed before this government is confronted with a sufficiently politically volatile situation that it is prompted into some action.
What does it do? Why, it cries out for speed and urgency. It cries out with insistence that Bill 107 be dealt with now, that there be but three weeks of committee hearings for persons who would want to make submissions about policing in Ontario, about race relations here in the city of Toronto between ethnic communities and the police force, about the hiring of ethnics by this and other police forces in the province. There is a plethora of other questions that have to be asked and have to be answered and that simply will not be in the short period of time allotted by this government to a discussion of Bill 107.
There is the whole concern that all of us ought to have about policing in the north. The fact is that more and more communities are being told more and more often that their police stations are going to be shut down at midnight or at 5 in the afternoon, or that they are going to be shut down completely. In fact, more and more OPP officers are being taken from the north where they perform significant policing roles -- they are the sole policing source in large, large parts of the north -- being transferred into southern Ontario and not being replaced.
There is the whole concern about policing in native communities and the injustices that have been created by the failure of this government to provide meaningful input into policing in native communities.
We will support Bill 107 at second reading because we are anxious to see it go into committee, but we are also dismayed and in fact somewhat saddened by the fact that this government thinks so little of consultation with the public, not just in Toronto but from all over Ontario, that this government thinks so little of consultation with police officers, not just with their chiefs and not just with the heads of their associations. Real consultation about a new Police Act with police officers would mean going to communities across Ontario, big and small, in the north and in the remote parts of this province as well as in the industrialized and densely populated south, and talking not just to the chiefs of police detachments and police departments but talking to the constables, the men and women who put their lives on the line every single day of the year to try to make their communities safe.
They would want to talk with those communities and those communities’ representatives about the dismal lack of funding by this province to communities across Ontario, which is forcing communities to effectively underpolice their cities, towns and villages. The fact is this government has transferred so much fiscal responsibility on to communities that can ill afford it. Through Bill 187, the responsibility for courtroom security was passed on to communities without any effective remuneration, creating financial burdens that those communities simply cannot bear. It is the police forces and the effectiveness of those police forces in those communities that suffer.
So yes, we will support Bill 107, but not without some serious reservations and not without some serious concerns about the ineffectiveness of the consultative process that this government says it is going to embark on, one that is prompted more by political expediency than any real interest in seeing effective consultation across Ontario on Bill 107.
The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments?
Mr D. R. Cooke: I listened very carefully to the member for Welland-Thorold. I think he spoke for about 20 minutes. I heard no commentary whatsoever on any of the 148 sections in this bill. I listened carefully because I thought perhaps there might be some sense of criticism of the bill, but I have not heard any criticism whatsoever of the bill.
There was some attempt to slander the appointments to certain police commissions, but perhaps he can, in his reply, indicate one solid example of one member of one police commission, of the dozens and dozens of police commissions across this province, who was not a suitable appointment. I have not heard that example.
This bill represents the culmination of Judge Lewis’s interrogation and listening to submissions from all over the province. There are 57 recommendations in it. As the member for St Andrew-St Patrick pointed out, 56 of them are included in this bill, and to some extent some of them are improved in this bill.
I am on the verge of suggesting to the House, in view of the fact that the only criticism we are hearing is that it has taken a long time this spring to get this bill into the House, that the New Democratic Party in the riding of Welland-Thorold should have been a little more careful in its research before it chose its candidate in the last election.
Mr Kormos: I am flattered at the fact that a member who usually does not speak out much in this assembly -- as a matter of fact, we rarely here from him. That is not our Mr Cooke. I want people to know that. Our Mr Cooke is from Windsor. This David Cooke is from Kitchener.
For a person who so rarely participates in debates and who can do the very best he can when he comes up spouting mere platitudes, what a pathetic commentary from the member for Kitchener. Here is a government that has been shamed by its intimacy with Patti Starr, that has been shamed by its intimacy with the DelZottos and the Marco Muzzos, that has been tainted by a corruption that has permeated, not just its backbenchers but its cabinet -- and that is what resulted in all of the departures from cabinet in the last cabinet shuffle -- a party that is so tainted because some of its leading members are having their nominations contested.
Can you believe it, Mr Speaker. the House leader for the Liberal party having his nomination contested, the member for Sudbury having his nomination contested, the member for Hamilton Centre having her nomination contested, the member for Brampton North having his nomination contested? Here are Liberals who are not even liked by their own party. Can you believe it, Mr Speaker, their own party wants to dump them? Mississauga West is perhaps another one.
Do you know what, Mr Speaker? The memberships in their ridings, the ones who are contesting those same members’ nominations, know them far better than any of us will get to know them. Their judgement is probably the best under the circumstances.
Mr Eves: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I wonder if you could clarify for us. I understand that questions, comments and rebuttals are in the standing orders. However, it is very unusual when parties have agreed to allocate the time among the three parties. We are going to run past 6 o’clock or somebody is going to run out of time here sooner or later. I wonder if we could not have agreement to dispense with the same if we are dividing the time up evenly among the three parties.
The Acting Speaker: That is a good point.
The Acting Speaker: Order. I will listen to the honourable member for Nipigon.
Mr Pouliot: On the same point of order raised by the distinguished House leader of the third party, I would like to point out that yes, indeed, the time will be shared and I am informed by the table that we do have 30 minutes of time left.
The Acting Speaker: Order. I am getting advice from the table. I am sorry, I missed your point.
Mr Pouliot: We are informed that in terms of division we still have half an hour, 30 minutes of time, left.
The Acting Speaker: I brought this to the table’s attention when we started, whether we still had questions and comments. They advised me that there was not a discussion between the House leaders, or any understanding, and that I would have to continue with questions and comments. That is why I have been doing that. You are absolutely right, it will take us past six of the clock. I can only seek direction from the House and suggest we have unanimous consent that we dispense with questions and comments so that our time allocation will get us directly to six o’clock.
Hon Mr Offer: Just on a point of clarification or order, when the two-minute allocation for questions and what not is taken, is that taken off any particular person’s time?
The Acting Speaker: No. So in an attempt to reach the 6 o’clock hour, shall we have unanimous consent to do away with questions and comments and stick with the time allocation?
Mr Harris: I am surprised that the Liberal members are challenging anybody in this House to point out appointments made by the Premier of this province which have not been good appointments. When I look at the cabinet and the parliamentary assistants, I find it very difficult to resist that challenge. However, knowing how little substance the Premier has to work with, perhaps he is doing the best he can. Who knows? I will resist that, though.
Mr Villeneuve: It’s not easy.
Mr Harris: It is not easy.
I do want to say a few words on second reading of this bill. I want to talk as well about the process that has led to this debate today. This situation is another example of a lack of leadership. This is government by headline. It is a government that reacts instead of acts. It is headlines setting government priorities.
When we review the series of events, when we had many opportunities to act instead of waiting for more and more headlines, it really is very disconcerting to me as a parliamentarian that it has taken this long. It is very disconcerting to me as a parliamentarian that it took the initiatives of our House leader to even lead us to this debate today.
In April 1986, four years ago, the Solicitor General, the member for Kingston and The Islands, first promised to introduce a new Police Act by June of that year. About four years ago, there was a commitment from the Liberal Solicitor General to introduce a new Police Act.
In August 1988, Lester Donaldson was shot and killed by the police. At that time the member for Parry Sound, now our House leader, called upon the Premier to review the issue of race relations within the justice system and to send that to the standing committee on administration of justice for public hearings, for study and for recommendations. At that time our party, our Justice critic and the member for Parry Sound received no response.
In October, the member for Parry Sound again introduced a resolution in the House calling for a review of race relations and the criminal justice system by the standing committee on administration of justice. There was no action on the part of the Premier or on the part of this government.
Three weeks later, Michael Wade Lawson was shot and killed. In response, then, to outcries from the black community, the then Solicitor General, the member for London South, announced the establishment of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force.
The task force submitted its report over a year ago, in April 1989. No further action; just the report was submitted. That was in April 1989. In November of that year Sophia Cook was shot, some six months after the report was tabled. On 20 December 1989, the last day of the fall session, the new Solicitor General, the one in the House today, introduced Bill 107, the Police Services Act.
I congratulate the Solicitor General as two previous Solicitors General over that four-year period were unable to get an act even introduced. I congratulate him on getting the ear of the Premier and at least getting a bill introduced, albeit on the last day the House sat before Christmas.
It has remained on the order paper, sitting there dormant ever since, until yesterday when our caucus and our House leader forced the government to bring it forward to be dealt with on second reading today. In the meantime, in the absence of any leadership by the government, surely all of us would share my concern that tensions have increased within the black community, tensions have increased within the community at large of Ontario and police morale has deteriorated to an all-time low. Today’s actions may help. I sincerely hope they do. The question before us is, can we repair the damage? The fundamental question is, are we responding to community needs?
Any shooting is tragic. Police shootings involving young people or members of visible minorities are especially sensitive because they raise questions about our changing society. They raise questions about the changing role of police in society and about the relationship between police and those they serve.
My sense is that reactionary statements by the Premier when incidents happen, statements like being “disturbed” and hoping for “speedy justice,” do not help. In fact, they only serve to inflame the situation. Of course these situations are disturbing. Of course we must have speedy justice. I hope that subject is not open to debate. But this is no time to inflame or elevate tensions. Now is the time for leadership, for tolerance, for responding to community and police concerns that arise when these kinds of situations develop; not just ensuring that there is no racism, but also ensuring that there is no perception of racism, that there is no question of racism.
How do we do that? We deal with these matters fairly, openly, in public. We work co-operatively and responsibly with those members of the community who have ideas and who have solutions. We strive to redress systemic problems by consulting with the public, with the police and with community leaders as to what must be done. Then we act. That is why my party called for public hearings, why we called for a review of race relations by the standing committee on administration of justice some two years ago, not just today after the headlines. That is why we have called for dialogue; that is why we have called for leadership, and it must come from this government; why we have demanded public hearings on this bill and why we are appalled by the lack of them; and that is why we forced the government’s hand yesterday.
To underline our party’s commitment to being a full partner and a player in the resolution of this important matter, I am pleased to indicate that I have asked my colleague, our party’s former leader, the member for Sarnia, to serve as our representative on this committee. He will be playing a lead role in our efforts -- collective efforts from all parties in this House -- to restore confidence, to ease tensions and to ensure that whenever incidents such as these arise there is no question of racial motivations and there is no suggestion that anything but fairness and justice are being served.
My real regret today is that because of inaction, because of circumstances, because we have not come to grips with the whole question of the relationship between the police and visible minorities and with the question of race relations in the justice system, there are real people, there are real families, there are real individuals now in the headlines at a time of tragedy. We are dealing with a child, 16 years old. We are dealing with a family.
Could we have prevented the shooting? I do not know. I doubt we can answer that question. Could we have prevented the additional strife? Could we have prevented the additional turmoil? Could we have prevented the rise in tensions? I think we could have. I believe we can, and I believe we must, by working together and by working co-operatively, prevent it in the future.
PATRICIA STARR INQUIRY
Mr Eves: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I wonder if you could, on behalf of the members of the Legislative Assembly, inquire into whether or not the Speaker is going to rule on the member for Leeds-Grenvilhe’s point of order and respond to the chairman of the standing committee on general government this afternoon. I have spoken to the chairman of the committee, the member for Lincoln, and he feels -- and I believe rightly so -- that the committee cannot reconvene until he gets some direction from the Speaker.
For the Speaker to withhold his ruling on this very important matter beyond this afternoon’s sitting of the Legislature in effect stops the committee from operating, stops the committee from planning its business when we return after our week’s break on 28 May, and in fact would end up having the same effect as the motion that the member for Yorkview moved in the committee here this morning. So I would urge upon you, on behalf of the members of the House and on behalf of the committee, to try to get some response for the members of the Legislature this afternoon.
The Acting Speaker: Like the honourable House header for the third party, I had the opportunity -- not being in the chair but monitoring the proceedings in my office -- of hearing what was taking place between the Speaker and the honourable member for Leeds-Grenville. I can advise the honourable House leader that I have had the opportunity of speaking with the Speaker just for a brief moment. He is deliberating on that matter at this very moment. I anticipate leaving the chair myself in approximately 15 minutes, so that either one of us will have the opportunity of answering your request before 6 of the clock.
POLICE SERVICES ACT, 1989 (CONTINUED)
Mr Curling: Bill 107, the Police Services Act, was introduced into the House as far back as 20 December 1989 for first reading. This act is to revise the Police Act, as we all know, and to amend the law relating to police services in full recognition that the present act was inadequate to serve a society that has become more complex and at the same time more diverse in its cultural makeup. It has been five full months since the introduction and I must say that I am extremely disappointed that progress on this bill has been extremely show.
This is not a time for one to take a political opportunity to get one’s shots in, as we have seen, but to rise above this political partisan approach to realize that this is a very serious bill, a bill that is intended to go as far as to protect lives and to serve our citizens.
I have listened very carefully and many of the members of the opposition have stated that it took very long to come about. I think 1949 was the last time this act was amended. That was 40 years ago. In that time, our community has grown in the diversity of its cultural manner, its linguistic manner, so therefore a sensitivity that is new, a new kind of training should be done for our police who are enforcing the law.
We have a problem in the way that we police our communities. Saying that is no news to the police force. It is no news to the various communities. It is no news to the various governments, those that have governed and those that are governing now, that we do have a problem. As a matter of fact, those organizations and those individuals have been saying to governments for years, for decades, that there is a problem in the way we police and conduct our enforcement of law in this province.
This government has been in power for the last five years. It has made progress, of course, in the way it has treated visible minorities. It is sad that certain incidents have occurred to sort of waken up the approach and the attitudes of politicians or individuals. However, we can speak of the past for years, but right now we have this opportunity in which to do something.
One of the most important things we have to do when we have a problem is to recognize that we do have a problem. I am not fully convinced that the entire community is convinced that we do have a problem. It is incumbent upon us as politicians, as legislators who are in touch with almost nine million people, to take the opportunity that democracy has allowed us to do that. The 130 members here go out to their communities each week, I am sure, and they have an opportunity to meet those communities, to say that our society has grown different and diverse and that we are enriched by it and that we must be sensitive to it.
We have seen many things happen in the past that make one wonder whether or not we understand the diversity of our community. The way that laws have been enforced and the problems we have had have indicated that we do have a problem. It has cost certain lives and we hope, as some people have indicated, it is not because of these lives that we have moved the bill forward.
I can recall when the member for Kingston and The Islands was first appointed Solicitor General that he addressed that issue at the time. I recall very much and how actively the next Solicitor General, the member for London South, worked very closely with the visible minorities in consultation; there was a sense of feeling that before implementing any bill or bringing forward anything to the House, it was properly researched. She did that meticulously and with great sensitivity.
When my colleague the honourable member for Mississauga North was appointed, he carried that hard, sensitive, caring, considerate work into a process where today we have Bill 107, and where we have seen for five months somehow by other strategies it is arriving at second reading now. I hope that my colleagues here stand above it all and stop playing partisan politics and stop getting cheap shots in, because people’s lives are at stake.
Mr Speaker, I do not know how many children you have -- four children, maybe; three, I gather. I have three children. I am concerned that if my children go out into the community, while we have other things that we have to be completely concerned about -- the amount of rape cases I am hearing about -- I am concerned when my two daughters are out late. I am concerned about the muggings. I do not want to be concerned that they are being stopped by police and then, because of some misunderstanding, they are shot; or to believe, and I do not want to believe that, that it is because of their colour or because of misunderstanding of their culture that some misunderstanding happened and they got shot.
I am one of those who strongly believe that we have a very good police force. Of course in all organizations or institutions there are bad eggs, and sometimes we have to do the weeding out of those. I am not so naïve as to think that when we legislate these acts we can feel that all things are solved. As a matter of fact that is just the beginning, because we cannot legislate attitudes. That is why I was pleased when the police forces started to implement employment equity, a recognition that they do have a problem and we should not wait on the act, we should proceed to get visible minorities and also women in the police force. Their record in regard to women is much better than attracting visible minorities.
I was at a function yesterday out in St Lawrence Heights and two very prominent and very capable police officers were there speaking about careers. The question that came to one police officer when she was expressing what a wonderful career she has chosen, to be a police officer in this wonderful city, was, “Why would you come here to recruit people to a force or to an organization that kills our people?” I was very proud of the way she handled that. She talked about her country, Canada; she spoke about her city, Toronto; she spoke about the organization, the police force, that she is now a member of and how much she believes in it. “Of course,” she said, “incidents like these have caused a great struggle and a greater challenge to attract people.” The people were pleased with the way she answered.
I want to say that I too believe personally in this country and its laws. I think many of these laws are inadequate today because, as I said, the diverse multicultural society that we have needs careful nurturing, careful understanding from all levels. We must be sensitive to the message that we give from this very august assembly here, the type of message that we give outside, because we are leaders in the community and the community is watching us and wanting to know where it should go and how it should go. We should not be taking petty shots at things, not immediately getting your shots in, but making sure that we build that society which will be an example to the world, because it is important.
They call this multicultural society an experiment. I do not call it an experiment. I think it is real as it develops; we are all Canadians; we make laws. Many of the immigrants who have come here recently have brought the best from their countries. They want to survive economically, they want to enjoy the social privileges of this country which they pay their taxes for, and they want to be policed properly.
I want to commend Chief McCormack. Ever since he was appointed chief of the police force I have seen the type of leadership that was never there before; a leadership that gets to the community; a type of leadership that wants to learn more about the community; a leadership that tells the police force that we have, in the manner of policing, to be sensitive to all people; a leadership that is very efficient. I want to commend him. It is a difficult role.
I want to commend the leaders outside, the people like Charlie Roach, who for years and decades have said to governments and have said to politicians that we have a problem, the Dudley Laws who have said that we have a problem. Dr Ralph Agard, who spoke so well yesterday about accepting the fact that we have a problem so that we can deal with it, who has run his institution and his organization so effectively.
It is these people who make up a society. Many times I feel that the people are ahead of the politicians because when they speak we may feel that they do not know what they are saying, but if we listen carefully they are saying the things that are happening to them each day, they are saying to us we must be sensitive. We are the lawmakers, we are the persons to put it in those legal terms, we are the people who can employ the legal minds so that we have a law to protect all of us. We should listen more. Democracy, we said, is an expensive process. But this democracy, if we listen, is far less expensive than we think it should be, because those answers lie right within the type of things they are saying. We are representatives of the people, we must bring those words and that advice that they give us so well.
I will be supporting very strongly Bill 107 and I am sure that with the co-operation of all of us here we will have a quick transition of this bill, of course, with the public having some greater input. Last, I want to give thanks to Clare Lewis and the report of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force, which I felt was very extensive and has brought us to this level where we can debate this bill in a much more intelligent manner.
Mr Farnan: In addressing this act, I want to stress first of all that the Police Services Act must represent not just the needs of the community, but the needs of police officers also.
I am reminded of the wife of an officer I know who spoke to me of her fear as her husband left for work each morning, fear for her husband’s safety. There is no doubt in my mind that the men and women who do this job on our behalf also suffer fear on a daily basis.
Policing is a tough job and the job of policing is becoming increasingly more complex. There are more and more community demands. Violence, drugs, arson, gangs, disrespect for the law: this is what is out there and this is the work that we ask our police officers to undertake.
At the same time, we have to look at a government that has failed in its funding responsibility, which has resulted in under-policing. The resources of our police force are being stretched and, as you stretch, you increase the anxiety, you increase the fear and you increase the possibility of tragic accident.
The effectiveness of our force suffers as a result of the delay that has taken place. Bill 107 has been around for a considerable amount of time. The government cannot claim that it was powerless. It had the responsibility to act but it did not act. Now, in the shadow of crisis -- this is too sad -- we are acting in response to crisis.
I say to the government it is vitally important -- as the representative of police officers in my community, knowing the kind of work they do, knowing their professionalism, knowing their commitment, I want a guarantee that in the three weeks of hearings that take place, it will be the police officers who are front-lined, the police officers who are doing the day-to-day contact with those elements in society where risk and danger is involved.
I want those officers involved in the hearing. I do not simply want representatives of police commissions or representatives of the upper echelons of the police forces. I want the police officers on the beat, those who are critically involved, to be part of the process.
I am going to conclude my remarks. I think I have about three minutes, according to what is left to me by my caucus. I just want to say that the police officers out there have to be looking at this government and saying to themselves: “Why has it taken so long? Why is it, when this government had the opportunity to do something to protect us, it refused to do it?”
I just want to give a very simple example. I introduced a bill, Bill 145, that would ban replica guns. These guns have resulted in fatalities. They have resulted this week in 12 police cars and a SWAT team being called out at 12 o’clock at night because of a toy rifle bought for a four-year-old’s birthday. Police officers are faced with these weapons and they do not have the time to go through the mental gymnastics as to whether this is a real gun. Their very life is at stake if indeed they happen to be facing a real gun.
The government had the opportunity. Over 60 police commissions across this province, over 20 police brotherhoods across this province, all urged the government to introduce the legislation. It went through first and second reading. It went through the justice committee with the support of 10 of the 11 members, with even the majority of the government supporting the bill. Police commissions and police brotherhoods have continued to report, to request the Solicitor General to bring this bill forward to give them protection, but there is no action.
That is the kind of thing I want to know. Are we simply here looking at the community or are we looking at the community in the context of police forces? I want to make absolutely sure that we are looking at the community in the context of the police force, because I believe the protection of our police officers who do this most critical job is absolutely fundamental to any Police Act that transpires from the committee hearings and that is ultimately implemented in Bill 107.
That is where I stand. I stand with the men and women who protect us. I want this act to reflect their protection and safety.
Mrs Cunningham: This is an opportunity for all of us to respond to a very real need in this province, and that is the need for safety in our communities and the need for a piece of legislation to support that kind of protection we require in these times, as in the past, through the introduction of this bill which is long overdue.
Most of us who have looked at the serious needs in Ontario in the last decade, as changes have taken place with regard to statistics around increased crime rates, fear in homes on behalf of young people and parents for safety in the streets, as we take a look at unrest in communities and the changing role of the police force and police persons as they try to protect our communities, it is with some degree of dissatisfaction that many people across the province of Ontario expected that we would be looking at a new Police Act by June 1986 when the Solicitor General of the time promised such.
It has been a long time, some five years, since we looked at the promises of the Liberal government with regard to appropriate legislation to reflect the needs of these changing times and to reflect the sincerity on behalf of the public as we try to support the police forces across the province as they try to implement and work towards an increasingly tough job of policing in our time.
It is with some degree of sadness that in April 1989 we looked at the promises of the former Solicitor General for a new Police Act by May. We had hoped, I know, a year ago to be standing in this very House in May in support of a bill that could have been passed at that time.
However, some things have happened in the last year that have caused all of us great concern. It is with a great deal of confidence that the public of Ontario looked upon the demands of a member of our caucus as he asked for the Police Act, and not only that, as he asked to take a look at a report on race relations and the recommendations of that report.
All of these concerns have been brought to the attention of the House today, certainly over the last few weeks and months, and I am happy to see that we finally have the opportunity to speak to second reading of this bill.
To be specific about the changing role of the police in Ontario, I think all of us know this is a new era of policing, which is bringing the police and the community into a new partnership. Many years ago, many of us just looked at the policeman walking down the street as someone we could talk to and bring our complaints to -- life is not that simple any more -- as the police officer’s role was strictly one of enforcement. Enforcing the law was the order of the day in the past. Times have changed, our society has changed. and so have the police. We demand so much more of them.
My concern around the process is directly related to the increased rate of violent crime in Ontario. I had hoped we would be dealing some time ago with all kinds of ways of looking at the real reasons for increased crime. Of course, I believe it has to do with the changing family lifestyles in our province, and certainly the degree to which we are not addressing the needs of families as they relate to property and support services, both in counselling families and providing them with the housing, with the salaries, with the money, with the opportunities for job retraining, with the opportunities for work that we had hoped, so that we do not see this increase in violent crimes.
I think it is shocking to see that between 1985 and 1989 the actual number of offences of violent crimes in Metropolitan Toronto increased from 18,765 to 27,764, an increase of some 47.9%. As we take a look at the changing role of the police and the increasing crime rate, we have to then say to the government that it will be most important during the committee hearings that we listen to the front-line workers, both in families and in neighbourhoods, as they represent municipalities, as they represent school boards and as they represent the police forces themselves as they come before the committee.
Those of the public who know me well know I have not had a lot of confidence in the committee process in the past, but I believe the time has come when the government will have to listen very carefully to the front-line workers as we take a look at safety in our communities and their very serious recommendations as to how this Police Act in fact can be improved.
I will speak specifically. Some of the police commissions over the last few years have been most concerned about the government’s recommending and establishing the level of service in communities -- not to the extent that they do not want the direction; they do. But, at the same time, it is not fair for members of this Legislative Assembly, and especially members of the government, to stand up and talk about the level of services that communities can expect and should expect, without giving them the finances to support those levels of services.
Now I am talking about numbers of policemen on police forces. I am also talking about the kinds of security across our province in municipalities, shopping malls and courtrooms. I think a very good example of the lack of support was when the government of Ontario, just over a year ago, said to municipalities, “We believe that courtroom security is extremely important. We’re no longer paying for it,” without consultation, and then asked the municipalities to raise the local mill rates to pay for that.
I would hope that during the public hearings, as we look at increased levels of service that will be required -- there is no doubt -- we will also look at supporting them with real taxpayers’ dollars. If it is a provincial level of services required, therefore we should be paying for it at the provincial level.
At the same time I will take this opportunity to talk about a concern that was raised, I think, certainly in some of the municipalities that I have had the opportunity to visit. It has to do with the level of direct work out there protecting our citizens, community work, and the amount of paperwork that can go on in large bureaucracies.
I will be specific and talk about the use of police weapons. When the Solicitor General said that his ministry is planning on introducing regulations with the Police Act which will make it mandatory for police officers to file a report every time they draw their weapon, that may be realistic. It may be the thing to do. But I hope that will be an item of discussion before the committee, because there are mixed feelings about that. As the Solicitor General stated that he believes it should be part of a new Police Services Act, at the same time the Metropolitan Toronto Police already have to file a use-of-force report whenever they fire their guns on duty, but not when they merely pull them from their holsters.
This is just an example of increased bureaucracy that may not be necessary. A report on how often Metro officers draw their guns was sought by police commissioners last November after the shooting of Sophia Cook by Constable Cameron Durham. Police commission chairman June Rowlands said they decided to shelve the request after determining that it would be nearly impossible to collect the information. At the time, Metro police chief McCormack said that being forced to file a report could make officers apprehensive and reluctant to draw a gun when necessary.
I raise this as an example of where we should be looking for the best input we can get. We all have our own opinions, but the front-line workers will advise us as to how they can best spend their time, the most efficient way they can spend their time with the kind of resources we have in the province. Let’s make their information important and let’s deal with it. I hope, as we go before this committee, it will be different from the workings of that committee, certainly on some of the bills I have dealt with in the past.
There is some concern that police officers are being required to fulfil a great number of administrative tasks which reduce the number of hours they can spend on patrol. Thus, any call for additional paperwork on the part of officers must also consider how police time is best spent -- on patrol or filling out forms.
I raise this as just one example of where we should be asking the public and the front-line workers, the policemen themselves, for their best advice. I think in this Legislative Assembly we have a wonderful opportunity to get the best advice without having to pay top buck for it.
We should be taking a look at the level of bureaucracy and the level of response to public input in that committee as we take a look at the Police Act and any recommendations for change through amendments to that act that may be produced by the government itself or members of the opposition parties. I speak very clearly as to my concern around process here.
I would also like to say just a little bit about police morale at this time. As everyone knows, all of us have had opportunities to talk to people who are working in the front lines, and they in fact have drawn to our attention their concern about their own work and how the public perceives them. All I can say right now is that with the requirements, as we ask them to deal with drug offences and cocaine deaths, as we take a look at the controversy around police weapon use, we should also look to them for their guidance.
We know that a recent study of police morale made a number of findings, one of which is that 85.6% of police officers feel that they do not have the same individual rights that the average citizen has. The study also found that most police officers polled were concerned about lower standards due to political interference in hiring and promotional processes. I think the members of the committee will be asking questions and I am sure the Conservative representatives on that committee will be asking very specific questions.
I will close on this note: This act is long overdue. It is something that the public has been looking for, and specifically members of police commissions across the province of Ontario. I think there are significant changes for which there will be a great deal of support. For those members of municipal councils, police commissions, our front-line workers, people who are concerned about the quality of community life and the safety of our communities, I am sure we will be getting excellent public input.
I would say in closing that everyone knows that the requirements of the people who are serving the public and protecting our communities are of utmost importance to the quality of life in Ontario. It has changed rather significantly over the last few years. We probably should have been taking a look at this particular piece of legislation a decade ago. We did not, but we have a wonderful opportunity to listen and, I think, make the changes that will best suit the needs of the public whom we all represent and the police who protect them.
I thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to speak to this legislation at this time.
Mrs Sullivan: I am very pleased to participate in the debate on Bill 107, An Act to revise the Police Act and amend the Law relating to Police Services.
I think it is useful to review once again the statement of principles that is included in the first section of the bill. This restatement of principles indicates a change in direction; it heralds a change in the philosophy of policing, and I think it really is worth while to underline. The principles say:
“1. The need to ensure the safety and security of all persons and property in Ontario.
“2. The importance of safeguarding the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code.
“3. The need for co-operation between the providers of police services and the communities they serve.
“4. The importance of respect for victims of crime and understanding of their needs.
“5. The need for sensitivity to the pluralistic, multiracial and multicultural character of Ontario society.
“6. The need to ensure that police forces are representative of the communities they serve.”
I wanted to put that statement into the record again because, for myself, particularly as a non-lawyer, it seems to me that it is very useful that the statement is made in plain English, not in legalistic gobbledegook; in words that are understandable to all and that can supported by all. It seems to me that statement of principle reflects a change in our society away from the kind of frontier approach to policing, to policing that is based on an international cultural and social base. It reflects a need for service provision in addition to the use of force in law enforcement circumstances.
It says to us that our police forces must be representative of the communities that they serve in sex, in culture, in language and in race. There are mandatory employment equity requirements included in the bill to ensure that representation. That means that police duties, whether enforcement or community policing or public education or crime prevention, will be carried out with particular sensitivity to the needs, the aspirations and the makeup of the community that is served.
For women, I believe that is a matter of particular importance. Victims of sexual assault, spousal assault, domestic disputes or incest will welcome knowing that more women will be involved as police officers, not only in law enforcement but in providing assistance to victims at the time the crime was reported or investigated. For women, those kinds of crimes are particularly devastating. As a society, we have made some progress in recognizing them as crimes and not simply as private humiliations or rights of ownership that come with marriage.
Through initiatives in our education system, in counselling, in agency availability, in our judiciary, in policing, in many communities we have seen some progress in that area. None the less, this bill places greater emphasis and impetus on the police to deal with care with victims of crime. In fact, in the job description of the police, which includes clause 42(l)(c), we see that one of the primary jobs is, in fact, assisting victims of crime. That means that in getting the pertinent facts required to apprehend a criminal, the police must reduce the burden on the victim of the crime. They must treat them kindly. They must provide emotional support. They must introduce the victim to the legal system as a place which is protective for the victim and not as a place where the victim is made to feel a criminal.
When we consider that about a quarter of a million people in Ontario are victims of crime each year, the duty prescribed to the police in this bill is a matter of some importance to the entire province. In sum, the direction is to offer service at a standard that is clearly mandated and desired by the community.
I am quite taken with the approach to police servicing that this bill puts forward. I wanted to tell the House about some experiences in my own community, Halton, where many of the approaches that are taken by this bill have in fact been put into effect as a result of a police commission with a really expansive community orientation and a police hierarchy that is committed to community service. Under Chief James Harding and Deputy Chief John Barrett, the concept of policing in Halton has changed over the last period of time. It is rooted in the community. People of the community are involved with policing.
If you are a young person living in the River Oaks community in Oakville, you might see a police officer riding a bike through the community in the course of his or her duty. That officer may speak Italian, may be a woman, may be a black, may be short. But that police officer will be seen and will be known in the community. In return, he will also know the community. Halton, you see, has moved to a community-based policing system. It has identified small communities rather than patrol zones as a base of operation. The same officers are on duty in each community on a daily basis. They are recognizable as part of the neighbourhood and they are known in the neighbourhood. Halton has maintained, as well, a village approach to areas with particular problems and emerging issues.
As well, in each of our policing communities the community policing officers, along with elected representatives and people who live and work in the community, hold regular meetings. They form a consultative committee and they discuss the issues and identify new problems and how to counteract those problems. They are dealing with issues as and before they are emerging. Their approach is a consultative, co-operative one and their decision-making is joint after the discussions.
As well, there are several futures teams, where police and residents look at the future demographic change and the social impact of that change in Halton. They plan ahead for them. They are ready to lead in changed circumstances and they are not willing to continue to play catch-up ball, as happens in many communities.
Last summer there was a particularly enterprising operation in Halton called PEACE, the police ethnic and cultural education program, which in fact did receive some funding from the Ministry of the Solicitor General. That project involved students from every high school in Halton. I met with that group of people. They were a mix of a United Nations of young people of sex, of race and of religion. Those people worked for the summer daily with the police, doing work that the police did, as junior policemen, if you like. As they were learning about the work of the police in Halton, the police were learning in turn about the attitudes, ethnic and cultural heritages of the young people who were involved in that program. The PEACE program will continue in Halton this summer, and I believe it has been a major step in a co-understanding and an exchange of values and of information.
Other members have spoken this afternoon about police morale. In our Halton force there is a continuing internal analysis of the view of its own professionalism, of the community support that it sees, and of the conduct of the force that is its co-workers. That self-identification, self-analysis project is designed to ensure that problems are identified and solutions brought forward before they become problems in the community.
We heard the member for Scarborough North speak eloquently earlier today about demographic change in his community. In mine, the cultural mix has proceeded much more slowly than it has in several other areas of Metropolitan Toronto and areas around it. My area is not characterized by unrest that has been brought forward with intolerance as its base. We do, however, have dynamic black, East Asian, West Indian, Chinese and other ethnic communities. They are involved now, as organizations that are working within the community, with the police and other organizations to avoid the buildup of racial tensions, and particularly those tensions of public versus police.
They insist, and rightly so, that the tall white man in the blue uniform with the shiny buttons cannot be the only type of person wearing the police officer’s shoes, and our police force agrees. Now the Police Services Act, 1989, agrees too, and section 48 of that act requires an employment equity plan which will eliminate systemic discrimination within the police forces.
That kind of police work which is in effect now in Halton reflects what will be required in police servicing throughout the province, as characterized by consultation, by dialogue, by cooperation, and not characterized by confrontation.
I believe that Bill 107 provides a refreshing, welcome change. It is a clear new direction. There will be wonderful opportunities for discussion in committee of additional improvements which might be made to the bill. In my view, it is a superb start. I will be supporting this bill.
Mr Pouliot: I too take pleasure and pride in addressing for only a few brief minutes, for time allocation does not allow me to dwell justly on it, this long-awaited piece of legislation, although it is somewhat flawed. Mr Speaker, I would like to draw to your attention and to the attention of my distinguished colleague section 1, which sets forth the following policy:
“1. Police services shall be provided throughout Ontario in accordance with the following principles: 1. The need to ensure the safety and security of all persons and property in Ontario.”
I guess for 18% of the population in the riding of Lake Nipigon, this simply does not apply. The right of communities to have the importance to have access to safeguarding, to security, is something that Ontarians take for granted, and yet the pervasive inequalities between the native population, the first Canadians and therefore first Ontarians, and the rest of Ontario is one of the shortcomings that appal society.
Since 1985, I have brought forth on several occasions, both in committee and in the assembly, the need to address the problem of native constables. On 18 October 1988, the then Solicitor General, the member for London South, answered the question related to 29 communities, not one or two, in the riding of Lake Nipigon alone, where there was no enforcement, no police officers whatsoever. They are appalling, shocking statistics.
I say with respect that if this kind of situation were to take place anywhere else in Ontario -- and I am talking here about populations, settlements of 300, 400, 500 or 600 people, with no one walking the beat; not one police force on the reserve.
Mr Speaker, again with respect, I put this to you: When policing, in this case, and colour converge, I really wonder if communities are not left having to carry the guilt.
This is a letter. I am not inventing anything. I do not want to dramatize, but this is a letter dated 1 November 1989: “At the present time there are 132 special constables deployed on 67 reserves across the province.”
It is the kind of arrangement whereby the federal government pays 52%, and the provincial responsibility therefore is 48%. So they take that money and they fund the need for special constables. In this case, the feds are telling the Attorney General that there will be a cutback and, yes, you have guessed it, our first Canadians, our first Ontarians, are left holding the bag, for the cutback resulted in fewer constables.
This is what the Attorney General of Ontario tells me: “In order to maintain the 52% federal and 48% provincial funding formula, spending cutbacks were implemented.” The morale of the reserve was put in jeopardy simply because the feds and the province were playing ping-pong, and the focus, the reason for being, which is providing that essential service, was not addressed.
The Solicitor General makes no mention in his bill -- in fact, he deletes. This is on page 4 of this act: “‘police officer’ means a chief of police or any other police officer, but does not include a special constable, a first nations constable, a bylaw enforcement officer” etc. which means that people in northern Ontario who have band status, native communities entirely made up of natives, communities of 200, 300, 400, 500 people that have made application to get reserve status but are now presently operating under band status -- in other words, on provincial land, on crown land -- are omitted from this bill, and I know that the Solicitor General will wish to introduce an amendment at the committee to make sure that no Ontarians are left without representation and that the spirit and the intent of this legislation are respected.
Mr Runciman: I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this very important debate, a debate that we, certainly in the Progressive Conservative Party, had been anticipating would occur some months earlier, if not years earlier, than it has occurred. We know for a variety of reasons the amendments to the Police Act were delayed, although promised a number of years ago. Some of the disruptions within the Ministry of the Solicitor General in respect to the changes of ministers perhaps may be one of the significant reasons behind the delay.
I suspect there were other reasons in terms of drafting and consultation, but when you look at the significant time period in respect to when the initial promises were made, I believe by the member for Kingston and The Islands, the then Solicitor General, it is difficult to understand why it has taken this period of time; and of course, a very high-profile shooting, I guess, in respect to what happened recently in Metropolitan Toronto and the actions of our House leader in respect to twisting the government’s arm to amend its agenda so that we could deal with this very important bill today in second reading, with agreement of all three parties to deal with it quickly in second reading and get it into the standing committee on administration of justice so that we can proceed with what we hope will be meaningful public hearings. I use the word “hope” because, based on the actions of this government in respect to other important pieces of legislation that we have dealt with, we cannot be overly optimistic that the government is indeed going to listen carefully to the people who appear before the justice committee with a variety of views in respect to this act.
We simply have to look to Bill 68. The automobile insurance changes with respect to no-fault auto insurance and Sunday shopping legislation are just two examples that come to mind very quickly in respect to how the government members on justice and other government committees reacted in respect to listening to the steady stream of witnesses who had very valid concerns. But when the reports were finally tabled in this House from those committees, passage was assured by the majority of the government members on those committees, and those ultimate, final reports did not reflect in any way, shape or form the input we received during hearings on both of those bills. So I am not overly optimistic.
This is a very sensitive issue, especially in the Metropolitan Toronto area, and I guess we all appreciate that. I am sure there are some valid concerns out there among the minorities, I think especially in the Metro area, that perhaps the police forces are not dealing with them in an appropriate way. An argument can be made on the other side of that, but I think that certainly there are many very sincere people, members of the visible minority community, who genuinely believe that in many instances they are not being treated fairly and in a just manner by the police forces in this province. I am not going to say that is inaccurate. I am sure there are instances where that is indeed the case, but I do not think it is appropriate for us as legislators, or perhaps those in the media, to tar all police men and women in this province with the same brush.
I think one element of this that we have to very carefully consider when we are dealing with this act and how it is going to impact on police men and women across this province is the growing concern, especially in the Metropolitan Toronto area, in respect to increases in crime, especially violent crime, in this province. I think we have to be very careful, move very cautiously in respect to how we are going to perhaps have an impact on the ability of our police forces to adequately combat this increase in crime and violence in the streets and neighbourhoods of communities across this province.
There could be a tendency, and we have seen it in the headlines recently and we have seen it in the actions of some politicians and some media types, to perhaps overreact. I think an argument can be made that perhaps over the past number of months there has been an overreaction in respect to some of the incidents. I think we are too often prepared to condemn without having the evidence before us.
In respect to what happened in the Peel region shootings, that is still before the courts. Charges have been laid in respect to the Donaldson shooting and what happened the other evening with the teenager being shot by a police officer. Perhaps the Solicitor General is privy to the details, but we in this assembly are not. Certainly the media are not, as far as I know, privy to the specific details surrounding those shootings. So for us to simply jump to the conclusion that the police were at fault here, that they were exhibiting racist tendencies in their dealings with visible minorities, I think is inappropriate and only inflames tensions between the various communities in this city and across the province. I want to urge everyone to exercise caution and restraint in terms of the rhetoric used in dealing with this situation.
I understand, as I am sure we all do, indeed how sensitive this issue can be and how easily sensibilities can be offended. But during the brief time I have to have input on this legislation, I want to essentially deal with what I consider an increasing concern, and that is the crime problem, the increased significance of violent crime in our society, and the problem especially in the Metropolitan Toronto area in respect to police morale.
I put some statistics on the record earlier this week and I want to quickly run over some of those again. We talked about the recent poll where there was an indication that the majority of women are now afraid to go out into the streets in the evenings. We have looked at increases in violent crime in Metropolitan Toronto. On the Toronto Transit Commission we have seen an increase of 17% in violent crimes in the past number of years. Between 1985 and 1989, just in Metropolitan Toronto alone, we have seen an increase of 47.9% in offences of violent crimes, and in Ontario province-wide, close to a 37% increase in violent crime. These figures include the crimes of murder, infanticide, sexual assault both with and without a weapon, assault with and without a weapon, abduction and robbery.
We know that a lot of this is related to the increased use of illicit drugs and the increased availability of illicit drugs in our society. Between 1985 and 1989 the actual number of drug offences under federal statutes in Metro Toronto again increased, from 5,083 to 9,150. That is an increase of 80% from 1985 to 1989. That is the actual number of drug offences under federal statutes. In Ontario as a whole we have seen an increase in drug offences of 36%. We can talk about cocaine deaths as well, the significant numbers of cocaine deaths, increasing between 1985 and 1988.
We have talked about the comments of the Solicitor General in respect to regulations associated with the Police Act which will make it mandatory for officers to file a report every time they draw their weapons. I want to relate that kind of regulation the Solicitor General is talking about to the increase in violent crime and the challenges that the police man and woman face every day in this society, but especially in the large urban areas of the province.
At some point in the next couple months, I am going up to a training centre in northern Toronto, and I hope the Solicitor General can accompany me on that trip. It is a firing range which takes officers in training and indicates some of the kinds of instantaneous decisions that police officers have to make when they are out on the street in a situation where they can be faced with a perpetrator of a crime perhaps drawing a weapon -- or not having a weapon -- but that officer has to make a decision just like that.
What the Solicitor General is talking about in respect to regulations is not only saying that every time that officer removes a weapon from his holster he has to file a report; we are also talking about even more serious restrictions in respect to when that officer can remove a revolver from a holster and especially on firing that weapon. We certainly have concerns and there have to be restrictions in respect to that, but my concern about all of this is that we do not go overboard, that we do not further handicap the police men and women in this province who are simply, the vast majority of them, out there trying to do a job for all of us, very conscientious people.
Chief McCormack of Metro Toronto was quoted in the papers today as saying that morale is very how in respect to the charge laid in the past couple of days. We are seeing an increasing turnover in respect to police officers, especially in the Metropolitan Toronto area. I had sent to my office a recent study of police morale and I would like to put some of those findings on the record as well. It indicated that 85.6% of police officers feel that they do not have the same individual rights that the average citizen has; 70.4% of police officers polled felt segregated from the general population; close to 50% felt that the general public does not care about them as a person; 90.8% believe that politicians appease pressure groups without considering the effect it has on policing -- that is, close to 100% of the police officers polled feel that politicians are appeasing pressure groups without considering the effect it has on policing -- 43.7% strongly agreed with the statement that police officers are frustrated with a number of individuals who use their status to intimidate.
The study found that most police officers polled were concerned about lowered standards due to political interference in hiring and promotional processes; 78% of officers agreed that police officers want wrongdoers punished, even if it is a fellow police officer; 91.9% of the respondents feel that the news media tend to portray police activities inaccurately; 91% of the officers believe that habitual lawbreakers do not receive appropriate sentences.
I could go on at length in respect to this study, and I may spend some more time at it as we go along, but I am trying to make my point in terms of the turnover impact that a number of things have created and certainly the increasing crime statistics in respect to violent crime in this city. The challenges faced by the police men and women on a day-by-day basis are contributing in a significant way to the morale problems, especially in the Metro force, and of course the initiatives of the government and the initiatives of this chamber, I think, have to be weighed very carefully in respect to how they are going to perhaps once more have a negative impact on police morale.
There was a column in the Toronto Sun today which I thought was, in many respects, quite relevant. That was the Christie Blatchford column, briefly going into some of the details that she has experienced in respect to policing problems in the city of Toronto. I think her view is probably reflective of a great many people.
There are an increasing number of individuals in society, it seems, who have little or no value for human life. Mr Speaker, you and I over our lifetimes have seen a significant change in Ontario society. Certainly it is not heading in a promising direction. We have seen a deterioration just in the past 10 years in Metropolitan Toronto, and I certainly think that most police officers and residents of this municipality will agree. The statistics bear that out when we see such a significant increase in violent crime.
These officers are facing those kinds of individuals on the street on a daily basis, people who have little if any value for human life, who are prepared to take another life just like that. What we are doing -- and we have to be very cautious, as I said earlier -- is perhaps handicapping officers, or we could be handicapping officers, in effect, in how they are going to be able to deal with this situation that they have to live with on a daily basis.
I cited the case of Constable Douglas Tribbling. I forget the municipality in the Metro area, but he went into a warehouse. There was a reported break and entry a couple of years ago and Constable Tribbling entered that building without his weapon drawn. He was shot. He did not have enough time to react, remove the revolver from his holster and deal with the perpetrator of the crime. He died as a result of that shooting.
We can go on at length in respect to the kinds of additional restrictions the Solicitor General is contemplating. Once again, I want to reinforce my concern that we do not in any way place police in this province in a situation where they are simply going to have an even more difficult time dealing with the ever-increasing problems they have to face.
I want to talk briefly about another element of this, and that is the question that much of this legislation seems to stem from problems in Metro Toronto, although its impact is certainly going to be felt province-wide.
One of the aspects of this legislation is the Police Complaints Board, which I believe under Bill 4 was going to be done on a voluntary basis where the municipality had the option. Under this legislation, it is going to be imposed upon the municipalities, and I believe there is a 50-50 funding formula. I am a little concerned about that, and I hope that perhaps the Solicitor General can respond when he comments during this debate, but I know that certainly a significant number of smaller communities are concerned. We have seen this government in respect to slapping new responsibilities on municipalities without adequate funding also being applied, and again that is a very serious concern.
I also wonder about some of the smaller communities with some of the smaller forces. For example, Cardinal in the riding of the member for Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry has a police force of two officers. I suspect there are a number of other very small forces of two, three or five officers around the province. Are they going to be compelled under this act to also establish police complaints commissions? Again, how is the funding formula going to apply? Of course, as we know, many of these smaller communities have extremely limited tax bases and are going to have difficulty in assuming any additional responsibilities placed upon them by the provincial government.
I talked about police morale and I want to talk briefly about some of the things that this government has done, not only through public statements but also through some of its actions. I mentioned in this House a couple of years ago that two Metro Toronto police officers were very critical of a judge who allowed a couple of drug pushers out on to the streets. I think they had very brief sentences, a few days in the slammer, and they were out on the streets.
The two officers, who were very concerned about what was happening, made some statements to the press which were critical of the judge, critical of the justice system and how it was dealing with drug pushers in this very serious problem of illicit drugs on our streets. What was the government’s response to that? The Attorney General publicly chastised those two police officers for having the temerity to criticize a judge for letting drug pushers out on to the street. He criticized those two police officers for having the guts to say: “Listen, this is wrong. This is wrong for society. This is wrong for the people of this city.” What happened? They got dumped on by the Attorney General of the province.
What impact does that have on the morale of police officers in Metropolitan Toronto? Certainly not a positive impact. That is the kind of attitude we have seen personified by this government and many of its members. When we take a look at the problems in this Police Act and its delay in being brought into this House for several years, what happened? The reality is that we had the former Solicitor General, the member for Kingston and The Islands, charged by the police with improper use of a police boat and drinking on that police boat. Most of us may have considered that a minor offence, and indeed it was, but I think the reality of it was that we had the top cop in the province breaking the law and then getting up in this House shortly thereafter and making a statement advising against drinking on the waterways of this province. He had to leave office, so we had that disruption.
Then what happened? We have his successor, the member for London South, and what does she do as the top cop in this province? She appears at a police station in the middle of the night, asking about a family friend and why he is in jail. You can imagine the impact of that, Mr Speaker. You can imagine how the police force in that area felt and how the police across the province felt when it became public knowledge that the Solicitor General, the top cop in the province, was showing up and there was implied pressure placed upon that police force in respect to how they should deal with that particular individual.
We know what happened in respect to that. The Solicitor General, after significant pressure being applied by both opposition parties, had to give up her role in the cabinet of the province. There we had two successive solicitors general having to leave office for improper conduct. We cannot explain or describe it in any other way -- improper conduct, the member for Kingston and The Islands breaking the law and the member for London South doing something totally inappropriate in going to a police station in the middle of the evening to inquire about an individual who had been charged. I suspect that those disruptions have been a significant reason behind why we have seen this legislation delayed for such a significant period of time.
I have talked about the Attorney General chastising police officers for just speaking the truth. I have talked about two solicitors general having to resign their posts in cabinet. Also, we want to talk -- and we have had some criticism about this, but I think it is a valid point that has to be brought forward because it raised the hackles of police officers right across this province, especially significant members of the Ontario Police Commission and a host of others in this community -- about the recommendation for the appointment of Elvio DelZotto to be vice-chairman of the Ontario Police Commission.
Mr Faubert: He wasn’t appointed.
Mr Runciman: We hear interjections that he was not appointed. That is true, but the recommendation was there from a gal by the name of Patti Starr, who is a friend of a lot of Liberals here, who is now being charged and who is very cosy with the Liberal government. We had that recommendation there. We have the Attorney General offering a letter of support, which he no longer has a copy of in his files. Nobody has copies of those letters in the files any more. Is that not mysterious indeed?
We have members of the police commission saying they are going to resign if that appointment goes through. There was significant pressure on the government. That is why the appointment was not made. Let’s not hear this baloney in defence, “The appointment wasn’t made, so we don’t have to talk about it.” The only reason that appointment was not made was because there was significant pressure behind the scenes on the government from some very key players in policing in this province.
So let’s not have this baloney that the appointment did not go through. The reality was that key players in this government, and Patti Starr, were pushing Elvio DelZotto to be the vice-chairman of the Ontario Police Commission. That is the reality. Police officers know it. The message got out, and again it is another kick in the pants. It is another reflection of how this Liberal government looks upon law and order in this province and how it looks upon the treatment of police officials and policemen and policewomen across this province.
So I am extremely concerned about where we are going with this legislation and I hope, when we have the public hearing process take place, we are not simply going to shove this through. I know we are talking about trying to get this through before the House adjourns at the end of June. I hope my party will not agree to that kind of speedy passage if we do not see the submissions by witnesses being listened to and being adhered to with respect to the final form this legislation takes.
I have talked to a number of police officers across the province with respect to the bill and I do not think there are a significant number of concerns, but there certainly are a number of concerns and they have to be addressed in an adequate way. If we are going to try to go through this usual rubber-stamping effort it is going to be difficult indeed. When we hear these witnesses, we want to pay attention to them, we want to pay heed to them and we want to act upon the testimony they deliver before the justice committee of this Legislature.
Again, we talked about the situation in Metropolitan Toronto. I think there is no question that we have to reach out to the visible minorities, especially in this particular community. We have to reach out to them, we have to get them more actively involved in policing matters, we have to encourage recruitment of visible minorities and ensure that they are playing an important key role in the communities across this province with respect to policing. I say that, at the same time again offering the cautionary note that we must not overreact to these incidents that come along and get great media attention and banner headlines. If we overreact to those, we could be not only harming minorities in this province but harming all of us with respect to handicapping policemen and policewomen from doing an effective job in policing right across the province in terms of providing safety in the neighbourhoods and streets of this city and many other communities.
I think we have to start sending out some messages so that the policeman and policewoman, especially the cops on the beat, know there is someone there who understands the problems they are facing, know there is some empathy with respect to politicians and how they deal with legislation that is going to affect the working lives of policemen and policewomen. We have not seen those messages too clearly up to this point. We hope when this legislation comes back to the House, the actions of this government now and in the future will show much more empathy for the significant challenges facing policemen and policewomen, not only in Ontario but throughout Canada.
The Acting Speaker: The third party still had a minute remaining. Will the third party be using its minute? No.
Mr Kormos: Dibs on the minute.
The Acting Speaker: We will work that in as it goes in rotation. How long does the government have, may I ask? Seventeen minutes? It is my understanding they would like to divide the time equally, more or less. So we will hear from the Solicitor General.
Mr B. Rae: How much time have we got? That is 36 minutes; we have only got 19 left.
The Acting Speaker: That is right, but we had questions and comments and then there was unanimous agreement that we do away with questions and comments, so we are going to run over time.
Mr B. Rae: We agreed to that.
The Acting Speaker: We agreed to that, yes, we did.
Hon Mr Offer: It is my pleasure to partake in this debate on this very important piece of legislation. I had the pleasure this afternoon of listening to a number of speakers and I think in many of their particular speeches they spoke to the increasing complexity for police service in this province.
Police service is not just involved in law enforcement. Yes, that will always be important, but we are at a crossroads in policing. More and more of our police officers are involved not only in the law enforcement aspect of policing, but in a proactive type of policing, reaching out to the community, being very much a part of the community, discussing the problems of communities and solutions to those problems before they necessarily become calls for assistance.
I think this afternoon we have heard, through speeches and examples given, that police officers in this province -- municipal, regional, OPP alike -- have, on their own initiative, grasped that challenge and looked upon the challenge as an opportunity. In fact, one of the key components of the legislation we are dealing with embraces that whole direction in policing, that policing will not only be involved in law enforcement as a reactive type of mode, but also in a proactive force, in a reaching out to the community, in discussing matters of concern with community representatives and members.
Members of this Legislature will recall that in last fall’s session this government brought forward a number of very important initiatives having to do with policing in this province. These included complex and difficult issues such as mandatory police retraining, employment equity programs, restrictions, yes, on the use of firearms, a special investigative unit, a province-wide system for a police public complaint system and a revised policy on police pursuits.
To touch on one particular aspect, one initiative, we recognize that the special investigative unit was as a result of concerns heard by persons across this province, not only the city of Toronto, but across the province, representations made to the Race Relations and Policing Task Force report stating that, yes, we have a concern that if there is a police incident where there has been a death or serious injury, police should not be investigating themselves. We listened to that particular concern and that particular recommendation and acted upon that. That particular aspect is found within this new Police Services Act.
What does it do? It addresses the concern, heard by the general public, of police investigating police. I think the important point to make here is that police representatives across this province are in support of such a unit, are in support of addressing that type of public concern. By any measure, these initiatives represent a substantial policy and legislative agenda on policing issues of an order not witnessed in Ontario in many decades. They also symbolize a dramatic evolution in the philosophical basis for policing in the province. This is reflected in the legislative framework of Bill 107, which gives these initiatives and others force and effect.
The simple fact, as I alluded to earlier, is that policing is in a period of transition. While law enforcement will always remain essential, will always be crucially important, activities which advance a new ethic of community service have moved to occupy a centre stage in policing. Increasingly the men and women of our police force are actively engaged in areas of public service such as crime prevention, education, community relations. They are involved in issues such as drug awareness, drinking and driving, driver safety, multicultural relations, sexual assault, domestic violence and victim assistance. These are the functions of the police officers of this province, those men and women who have chosen policing as a profession. These activities give shape and meaning to the contemporary concept of community policing, in which the strength of service is valued as highly as the strength of force.
It was in recognition and support of this vision of the changing role of policing that I introduced the new Police Services Act. This bill does represent the first comprehensive review of policing legislation in this province in over 40 years. I have said it before: the last Police Act was passed in 1949, I introduced this police act in 1989, we are in 1990, and I believe there not to be anyone in this Legislature or outside who would deny that the province of 1990 is much different from that of 1949, much stronger, but we do need a Police Services Act which reflects the strength of this province. This legislation reflects this government’s commitment to the development of a modern legislative framework for changes which now characterize policing and police community relations.
It has been prepared to serve as a cornerstone for policing not only in the l990s but indeed into the 21st century, and in its development a lengthy and productive process of consultation was undertaken. Let me, as an aside, state that it was the culmination of consultation which was started by the member for Kingston and The Islands and the member for London South. It was their commitment, their dedication and their effort which very much allowed me to introduce that particular piece of legislation that we speak of, last December 1989.
That process represents a very important part of how this bill was created. It talks about the importance of consultation because in the fall of 1988 representatives from municipal police authorities, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, the Police Association of Ontario and the Ministry of the Attorney General assisted my ministry in the formulation of this legislation. So this particular legislation is very much everyone’s legislation. It is very much the consultative efforts put forward by the police association, by the municipal police authorities, by the Ministry of the Attorney General and by many others throughout this province.
We must also not forget to indicate that vital public input was put forward in this legislation. It was brought forward through the task force report on race relations and policing. It is my hope that the presentations, of course, that were heard through that task force report and found their way into this legislation, again a product of consultation, that this type and this level of consultation will continue as this bill, I trust, passes second reading and moves to the standing committee on administration of justice.
Given the scope of the proposed legislation and its importance to every community in this province, my ministry welcomes and encourages input and advice on this bill from all interested parties. We wish to build upon this legislation in partnership so that it can best serve Ontario’s needs and expectations. In order to assist in this process, I want to briefly highlight a number of significant aspects of Bill 107 and in particular the principles upon which it is founded.
This legislation must serve many and sometimes competing interests. It must aim to meet the objectives of both the public and the police, and it must encourage and promote their mutual partnership. Clearly, such a successful partnership will require a careful balance; on the one hand, the need to properly equip and support our police forces to enable our police officers to do the job, to meet the responsibilities which we, not only as legislators but as members of the public, put upon them, and also the need to advance a modern social agenda which safeguards civil liberties.
Without doubt, this is a sensitive and difficult task. In support of this public and police partnership, the proposed Police Services Act sets out precise and explicit principles which will now guide the delivery of police services in Ontario. These principles include the responsibility of the police to ensure the safety and security of persons and property and the need to safeguard fundamental human rights, including those of victims of crime.
In addition, the proposed act is guided by the principle of an enhanced level of interaction between the police and the public through the promotion of community-based policing concepts and techniques. We have already, even prior to this second reading, embarked on a series of forums across this province where representatives from police communities, where representatives of community organizations sit together under one roof discussing matters of concern, discussing how those particular concerns can be addressed. I believe that to be crucially important in enhancing interaction, co-operation and understanding.
This principle will be put into place through measures such as a province-wide public complaints system, the Ontario civilian commission on police services, and civilian participation in the special investigative unit.
All of these aspects are designed to promote co-operation, understanding, and yes, increased confidence between the police and the community they serve. This government is committed to the principle of police services which are truly reflective of and responsive to Ontario’s multiracial, multicultural society.
We have in this legislation for the first time mandatory employment equity, designed to make certain that our police forces represent the communities they serve.
The principle of fair and consistent application of rights, rules and responsibilities is also carried forward in this bill. This has been done through measures such as a province-wide establishment of municipal police services boards, as well as the regulation of standards and procedures for police conduct and discipline.
Members will be aware that there is the possibility under the current Police Act that there need not necessarily be a municipal police commission. Under this particular act, it will be mandatory for every area that has a municipal and regional force to have such a municipal police services board. I believe that that will promote a community-police enhancement and interaction which will create greater understanding, co-operation, and yes, confidence.
I look forward to receiving comment on the provisions of Bill 107. I look forward to discussing the principles of this legislation, the principles upon which this legislation is founded, and in fact some of the very important aspects of this bill, those aspects dealing with employment equity, the special investigative unit, the province-wide police complaint system, disciplinary procedures not part of regulation but now part of legislation.
This government views the Police Services Act as legislation introduced at a historic crossroads in the evolution of policing in Ontario. There are but 148 sections in this legislation, 148 important sections which speak not only to just a piece of legislation, but are in effect a constitution for policing in the l990s and the 21st century which does meet the realities and the strengths of this province.
I look forward to the full participation of members of this Legislature as we deal with this bill and see this bill enacted into law.
Ms Bryden: I am pleased to support Bill 107 because it is a long, long overdue revision of our Police Act. At least a decade under both the previous Conservative government and under the Liberal government has intervened since we were promised a new Police Act and it is unconscionable that we are waiting until this moment to deal with looking at a possible revision. In fact, I was shocked that it took another shooting of an unarmed black person to jolt the government into bringing forth this legislation.
We still do not have under our present Police Act any guidelines on the use of police chases, on the use of weapons; there is no provision for a province-wide system of handling complaints by the police through an independent body, no reform of the ways of appointing police commissions and no policies or programs to help seniors and women overcome their fears of going out after dark.
I have supported the idea of a quick passage of second reading because we feel that we must get on with looking at the things that are needed in this bill. Our House leader agreed to the acceleration of the second reading only on two conditions, and I hope the House will be aware of that.
The first condition is that the bill must be referred out to the standing committee on administration of justice for more than one or two days of public hearings, because only in that way can we find out what the public really thinks of this bill and only in that way can we really consult all people in the public, all groups and all interests, including the police and the different groups that are served by them and the whole population, as to what should be in that bill.
The second thing is that the same referral must deal with the Clare Lewis report of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force. That task force has many recommendations that should be implemented, but we have to look at them, and therefore that should be the subject also of the referral.
On those conditions I will support second reading.
Mr Callahan: For a few minutes there I thought I was not going to even have an opportunity. I would like to say at the outset of the very brief period of time that I have that I feel passionately about the system of justice. Justice of course protects our liberties, and when we deal with issues such as the police bill in this House, it should be done on a totally non-partisan basis.
In 1949 the rules for becoming a police officer were: You had to be six foot two and white Anglo-Saxon Protestant. The world has changed since 1949, but what we have to do now is to forge a bill that is going to demonstrate to the police that they are going to be dealt with fairly as well as the public.
I urge every member of this House to recognize the multicultural changes in our community. Many of these people come from countries where the police are not their friends. Therefore, the bill that we put through this House should be free of partisanship. We should not hear some of the comments that are made in a partisan way. We should be dealing with it, trying to forge a partnership that is fair to the police officer and fair to the public.
There is a comment in justice that says, “Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.” I think one of the steps that have been taken in this regard with reference to police officers is the fact that the onus has been changed in terms of their own prosecution within the police force. They looked out and saw accuseds being dealt with on a reasonable-doubt basis, and they were being dealt with on a civil basis. I think that is one great step.
There are many more that I would relate to members, but I urge all members of the House in dealing with the question of the police bill to please get rid of the political rhetoric and address the bill, both here and in the justice committee when they are dealing with it, in terms of coming up with a bill that will provide an element and an appearance of fairness, not just to the citizenry of this province but also the police. If members do that, if they achieve that end, I can assure them that law and order will be maintained; liberty will be maintained.
The police force has a difficult job. We can never hire enough police officers to oversee all of us in Ontario, some nine million or ten million people, unless in fact there is fairness and a partnership arrangement between citizens and the police and both of them see it as being fair.
Mr B. Rae: I would beg the indulgence of the House to say a few words, if I may, in conclusion of the debate. I can see that my fan club down there wants me to make it as few as possible, and I can quite understand that.
It was Sir Robert Peel who, in introducing the modern police force in England 150 years ago, stated the aphorism which has been often repeated, and which is worth repeating today, that, “The police is the public and the public is the police.”
Modern policing in an industrial, urban, cosmopolitan society depends for its existence on public trust. We rely on the proposition that when we leave this place we will be able to get home safely, that we will not be stopped by a police officer for no reason, that we will not be beaten up, that evidence will not suddenly be planted on us or that we will not be living in a society where there is no confidence or trust between the police and the public.
There are laws that we can put in place, and the act which is being discussed today is only the latest in those efforts to create the kind of fairness and assurance of due process that we expect. But as many people have said on all sides of the spectrum, there are limits on what the law can do. If we do not have a fundamental trust, a fundamental social bond between what the police do and the task and the challenge that they face and the nature of the society that they are policing, then frankly all the acts in the world will not make that much difference.
I think it is fair to say, and as I listen to the remarks from the member for Leeds-Grenville and the comments that have been made by the header of the Conservative Party, I think all of us can agree that violent crime is on the increase and that the use of hard drugs has increased. The evidence from the United States is that when these drugs become more widely used, violent crime increases. This is an epidemic and a virus to which our society will be subject, as other societies have been.
We live in a society which is more violent, in which there has been an increase and an atmosphere of fear. The police are human and they are as subject to this atmosphere as are the rest of us. I know that in my riding, not too far from where I live, there are a group of apartment blocks in which the tenants complain about the use of drugs and the increasing problem with prostitution. The parents complain about it in the neighbourhood; the kids take note of it and comment on it in the schoolyard. It is fair to say that this is a world which is very different from the one which was true 20 or 30 or 40 years ago. It is the world in which we now live.
I think it is important to say that policing is not easy and the judgement calls which have to be made by police officers in moments of great strain are never easy. I think it is also important for us to emphasize that none of us wants to live in a society in which the police alone make the rules and in which the police alone enforce those rules without themselves being subject to the rule of law and without, I might add, the protection of the rule of law.
The structure of policing, the culture of policing in some societies is that of a paramilitary organization. I want to suggest to members that that is not appropriate for the kind of society in which we now live. At the same time, we understand there are circumstances and times when police officers are going to have to use force and in which the use of force will be part of the job they do.
All I am saying is known to members and it is understood by everybody. I just think this community has to come together at a time when there is increased tension in our midst and when there is increased distrust and mistrust between many people and the police. If we do not face up to that problem and try to do something about it and try to address it, we are neglecting our responsibilities.
The member for Brampton South has said that we should approach this without partisanship. I am afraid part of the political reality of the parliamentary system is that partisanship is one of the ways in which we have to express ourselves. If I started avoiding my responsibilities as Leader of the Opposition in terms of pointing out what is inadequate in this legislation, what is wrong with the legislation and what needs to be improved, I would not be doing my job.
I have been around long enough, 12 years in politics now, to realize that in majority parliaments it has not been my experience that governments have a very good habit of listening to what it is that leaders of the opposition have to suggest by means of constructive change. Somehow, when we are in minority parliaments, as I have been both federally and provincially, it is possible to make some changes happen, and it would have been far more possible for us to make changes happen if this bill had been introduced in an earlier parliament.
The Speaker: I am sorry to interrupt the member’s speech; however, it is 6 o’clock. I know there was agreement to give equal time. I would have to ask the House, is it your desire that we continue for another six minutes?
Some hon members: Agreed.
Mr Dietsch: No.
The Speaker: No?
Some hon members: Agreed.
Mr B. Rae: It is all right, Mr Speaker. I appreciate the change of heart on the part of the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere in that regard. I am sure he will not regret his decision to change his mind.
Mr Faubert: It wasn’t me.
Mr Farnan: It was Dietsch.
Mr B. Rae: It was the member for St Catharines-Brock. I apologize. He obviously did not get his instructions straight.
There are aspects of this legislation that I want to deal with very directly to the minister. The first has already been stated by my colleague the member for Welland-Thorold. It is very difficult for us to take the government as seriously as it would like us to when there are some 30 areas in which we are told that the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the cabinet, can make regulations and we have not seen these regulations.
It is a continuing problem for us to know exactly what it is that the government really intends to do with respect to issues like the use of force, like questions involving the codes of offences for officers, like the procedures for the investigation of complaints -- one can go on and on -- to know that the areas in which the government is asking us to simply give them carte blanche are vast and are ever-growing. Mr Speaker, you can rest assured that our continued co-operation with respect to the movement towards passage of this bill depends, to some degree at least, on the government’s willingness to produce clearly and categorically the regulations which it is going to be presenting.
I also want to say that I have already indicated to the government and to the minister on other occasions that we are still not satisfied with the independence of the special investigations unit that the government is establishing. While we take a certain pride in the fact that we were espousing the notion of an independent investigation of the unit, when I suggested that two years ago, the Attorney General said it was impossible, it was unparliamentary, it had never been done anywhere inside the British Commonwealth, it was unheard-of within our system of justice. The government has now accepted the principle. The question that we now have to work on is how it will in fact work in practice.
I also want to comment as a former labour lawyer and say that one of the aspects in which the paramilitary nature of the police has to be changed has to do with the rights of police officers with respect to their guarantees of due process and fairness, with respect to internal disciplinary hearings and with respect to how they are treated as employees.
I have heard what the member for Brampton South has had to say with regard to that. I think it is extraordinarily important that the police force, that members of the police as employees, because they have given up the right to strike and because, to some extent, their right to bargain with their employer is affected, obviously, by the Arbitrations Act and by the fact that they are performing work which is of such essential importance to our society -- that puts an even higher burden on us as lawmakers to ensure that their rights are protected and that their protection as individuals and as employees is ensured in the way in which the law works.
I think it is fair to say that the police unions or police associations have expressed concern for some time about how they respond as individuals and as employees and about their rights in response to complaints, whether those complaints are generated from the public or whether those complaints come from some internal disciplinary process. Mr Speaker, I think you will find that the powers of the chief of police are still extensive, that they are still extremely significant in so far as the management of the force is concerned and, of course, there will be some comment, I am sure, from police associations with regard to their protection.
I want to say something about the complaints process very briefly and the fact that it is now being extended across the province. This is something that we in our party have been urging for over a decade. I would tell the minister -- I am sure he is aware of it -- that going back to the Solicitor Generalship of Roy McMurtry and long before that, the question of the complaints process, how that needed to be extended and how we had to ensure that the public has confidence, as well as members of the force, obviously, in the fairness of the process -- that is something that has to be extended. It has to include the OPP; it has to include everyone involved in policing in the province of Ontario. The public have to have a sense that there is a place they can go. The police have to have a sense that when the public make their complaints, their concerns will be heard equally, and the protection of employees and the protection of the public has somehow to be reconciled.
That is the task the committee now faces. We wish it well in its deliberations. I tell the minister, things will go far more smoothly the more quickly he is prepared to tell us what his intentions are with regard to the regulations. I can tell him I take very seriously the fact that he is giving to the cabinet extraordinary power to make regulations and, up to this point, we still do not know exactly where he intends to go. In our view, the government could have moved far more quickly on regulations, even now, than it has, and I say to the minister we need to have that information as soon as possible so that we can have a serious discussion of exactly how it is the government intends the police forces across this province to operate.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for the standing committee on administration of justice.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
The Speaker: Earlier today, I was asked to make a ruling on a matter that came up in the standing committee. I have had occasion to review the report of the standing committee on general government and I have satisfied myself that the Chair of the committee was correct in his decision. I therefore confirm that decision.
Mr Allen: On this point and with respect to your judgement, Mr Speaker, might I just simply suggest that --
The Speaker: Order. No, I am sorry.
Ms Bryden: Mr Speaker, on a point of order --
The Speaker: What is your point?
Ms Bryden: The point is that we will not be meeting again until 28 May --
The Speaker: Order. Please take your seat. I was asked to make a decision as soon as possible. That decision has been made. It is up to the committee, and I believe you remember the committee. Please make your decisions there. Anything further?
Hon Mr Offer: I seek consent of the House to revert to motions.
The Speaker: There has been a request that the House revert to motions. Is it agreed?
REFERRAL TO COMMITTEE
Mr Offer moved that the report of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force be referred to the standing committee on administration of justice for review concurrently with Bill 107, An Act to revise the Police Act and amend the Law relating to Police Services, and report; that during its review of the said report of Bill 107 the committee be authorized to meet concurrently with the House or during any adjournment of the House, subject to the agreement of the House leader and chief whip of each recognized party; and that the committee shall report Bill 107, An Act to revise the Police Act and amend the Law relating to Police Services, and, if the committee wishes, its comments or recommendations with respect to the report of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force to the House on or before Wednesday 20 June 1990.
Motion agreed to.
Mr Kormos: Another group of pages leaves us today. They have served their term well and they can be proud of themselves, and their parents and families and communities can be proud of them as well.
Hon Mr Offer: I rise on the same point with respect to extending our appreciation to the pages. They have now completed five weeks. I think all members of the Legislature will say that the functions which they provide to us cannot be stated too often, the importance of what they provide to us and their service. We wish them well. We know that these last five weeks have been a very good learning experience and they have met some very good friends that they will carry with them throughout their lives. I congratulate them and wish them well.
The House adjourned at 1814.