The House met at 1334.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Before proceeding with the business of the House, I would like to inform members that we have a power difficulty which has affected the clocks. The table will do the best it can to provide the accurate time to me. I would simply ask members to understand that and to cooperate as best they can. As soon as the power can be fixed, of course, then we'll be back on to using the clocks.
DEATH OF MEMBER FOR DON MILLS
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): I beg to inform the House that a vacancy did occur in the membership of the House by reason of the death of Margery Ward, member for the electoral district of Don Mills. Accordingly, my warrant was issued to the chief election officer for the issue of a writ for a by-election.
INTRODUCTION OF MEMBER FOR ST GEORGE-ST DAVID
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): I also beg to inform the House that the Clerk has received from the chief election officer and laid upon the table a certificate of a by-election in the electoral district of St George-St David.
Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers):
"Mr Claude L. DesRosiers
"Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
"Room 104, Legislative Building
"This is to certify that, in view of a writ of election dated the 22nd day of February 1993, issued by the Honourable Lieutenant Governor of the province of Ontario, and addressed to Betty Quantrill, returning officer for the electoral district of St George-St David, for the election of a member to represent the said electoral district of St George-St David in the Legislative Assembly of this province in the room of Ian Scott, who, since his election as representative of the said electoral district of St George-St David, has resigned his seat, Tim Murphy has been returned as duly elected as appears by the return of the said writ of election dated the 9th day of April 1993, which is now lodged of record in my office.
"(Signed) Warren R. Bailie, chief election officer; Toronto, April 13, 1993."
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, I have the honour to present to you and to the House Tim Murphy, the member-elect for the electoral district of St George-St David, who has taken the oath and signed the roll and who now claims the right to take his seat.
The Speaker: Let the honourable member take his seat.
INTRODUCTION OF MEMBER FOR DON MILLS
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): I beg to inform the House that the Clerk has received from the chief election officer and laid upon the table a certificate of a by-election in the electoral district of Don Mills.
Clerk of the House:
"Mr Claude L. DesRosiers
"Clerk of the Legislative Assembly
"Room 104, Legislative Building
"This is to certify that, in view of a writ of election dated the 22nd day of February 1993, issued by the Honourable Lieutenant Governor of the province of Ontario and addressed to Marlene Streek, returning officer for the electoral district of Don Mills, for the election of a member to represent the said electoral district of Don Mills in the Legislative Assembly of this province in the room of Margery Ward, who, since her election as representative of the said electoral district of Don Mills, hath departed this life, Dave Johnson has been returned as duly elected as appears by the return of the said writ of election dated the 9th day of April 1993, which is now lodged of record in my office.
"(Signed) Warren R. Bailie, chief election officer; Toronto, April 13, 1993."
Mr Michael D. Harris (Nipissing): Mr Speaker, I have the honour to present to you and the House Dave Johnson, member-elect for the electoral district of Don Mills, who has taken the oath and signed the roll and now claims the right to take his seat.
The Speaker: Let the honourable member take his seat.
REPORT OF COMMISSION ON ELECTION FINANCES
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): I beg to inform the House that on Wednesday, February 10, the 16th report of the Commission on Election Finances containing recommendations concerning the indemnities and allowances of the members of the Legislative Assembly was tabled with the Clerk's office.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): I would ask all members to join me in welcoming the 12th group of pages to serve in the third session of the 35th Parliament:
Letetia Bryan, Riverdale; Mark Cairns, Victoria-Haliburton; Cheryl Lynne Desson, Carleton East; Andrew Emmott, Brant-Haldimand; Kim Fairley, Downsview; Tomasso Ferrera, Sarnia; Suzanne Field, Wentworth North; Heather Graham, Algoma-Manitoulin; Grant Holly, Chatham-Kent; Martin Hrobsky, Mississauga West; Alycia Hudson, Lanark-Renfrew; Christianne James, Brampton South;
Patrick Keating, Middlesex; Shasta Koval, Kenora; Jennifer Lewis, Mississauga South; Timothy Madokoro, Markham; Julia Marshall, Quinte; John Milne, Kitchener-Wilmot; James Nicholas Mouskis, Algoma; Miranda Phelan, Hastings-Peterborough; Allison Sparrey, York East; Dawn Tannous, Essex South; David Vaillancourt, Sault Ste Marie; Francesco Vella, Windsor-Walkerville.
Will you please welcome our pages.
Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): I find it incredible that I am standing in the House once again lobbying an NDP Minister of Health not to allow changes to the underserviced area program.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Order.
Mr Miclash: Last year clinics for visiting specialists were cancelled because the NDP government would not approve funding for the program after June 30.
Mr Miclash: And I remind the minister that he might be interested in this.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Miclash: Once again, the shadow of cuts hovers over this most important program, and everyone is asking us what is going on. As of March 31, all underserviced area program agreements expired and the Ministry of Health is only approving applications for visits by specialists on an interim, month-to-month basis.
For smaller communities whose doctors are taking vacation and who rely on the local program, the problem is much more startling. Can you believe that instead of sending a replacement doctor to these communities, these communities have been told by the Ministry of Health officials to get an answering machine?
Minister, I must encourage you to examine not only the delivery of the services to the patients in small northern communities, but also the cost of many patients having to travel versus the cost of one specialist travelling into their community. Minister, I plead with you to examine and weigh the alternatives in such a manner that keeps this program on the track providing services to small northern communities.
PALLADIUM SPORTS FACILITY
Mr Norman W. Sterling (Carleton): On July 29, 1992, I attended a ground-breaking ceremony together with a number of other members of this Legislature for the $193-million Palladium in my riding of Carleton. The Palladium at Kanata is to be the new home of the Ottawa Senators NHL hockey club and a 18,500-seat, multipurpose sports and entertainment facility serving all of eastern Ontario.
Unfortunately, the Palladium is presently experiencing construction delay because the Ontario government and the Palladium Corp have been slow to agree on the terms of a provincial government loan guarantee for the $35 million required for public infrastructure, including a highway interchange.
I wish to remind the government that the construction of the Palladium will directly provide 1,100 person-years of employment for a 22-month construction period, and indirectly another 1,600 person-year jobs. Revenue to the province of Ontario during construction will amount to approximately $12 million and, following construction, annual tax revenues to the province from the operations will amount to about $9 million.
I wish to further remind the government that this will be the largest union construction project in Canada in 1993-94.
I urge the Premier and his government to show good faith and immediately conclude their negotiations with the Ottawa Senators so that the Palladium project can get under way and 2,800 person-years of employment will be realized. Eighteen trade unions and tens of thousands of hockey fans are anxiously awaiting your approval.
Mr Drummond White (Durham Centre): It is with both pleasure and sadness that I rise to pay tribute to my friend Stu Drew, founder of the Neurofibromatosis Society of Ontario -- pleasure that his is a spirit and a determination that live on and sadness that his physical existence is no longer and that he is no longer a part of our immediate community.
Neurofibromatosis, or NF for short, is the tragic genetic disorder that was brought to public attention in the play and movie, The Elephant Man. Ironically, Stu has told me that John Merrick, the Elephant Man, did not suffer from neurofibromatosis.
NF is most commonly characterized by the growth of tumours beneath or on the surface of the skin and manifested in brown spots, known as café-au-lait marks, over the body. Usually there's a tremendous amount of mental anguish as well as the physical disfigurement.
Stu worked tirelessly to help beat neurofibromatosis. He reached out to provide support for others afflicted with NF and aid physicians in their search for a cure. Stu counselled NF sufferers from all over Canada, making himself an invaluable support to the thousands who are afflicted with this disorder.
A glimmer of hope for a cure came when researchers isolated the gene that causes NF in 1990, but research has been slow due to lack of funding. Stu has lobbied for both research and a neurofibromatosis clinic to address the concerns of those who've been grievously afflicted by this disorder.
Sadly, no cure came in time for Mr Drew, who passed away in January of another affliction.
Mrs Yvonne O'Neill (Ottawa-Rideau): To quote from yesterday's speech from the throne, "The social assistance system is not working, and no amount of tinkering will fix it."
Social assistance, as we all know it, is hopelessly wasteful and is often less than helpful to its recipients, and yet this government presents as its one solution a white paper, a discussion paper -- another delay tactic, a stalling mechanism, another excuse for real action, a disappointing inability to deal with real problems.
Social assistance reform has been studied for over a decade in this province. The most significant reports now gather dust. Transitions, with its close to 300 recommendations, was unanimously supported by all parties as the blueprint we wished to follow for social assistance in Ontario.
More recently, in May 1992, a document built upon Transitions, Time for Action, with 52 directions for implementation, was fully embraced by this NDP government. Indeed, the minister at the time, the Honourable Marion Boyd, stated, "Social assistance reform is my most crucial priority." She promised legislation within the year, and yet yesterday this NDP government promised a discussion paper.
This government promises no plans for efficiencies, no meaningful reforms to better help the vulnerable in our communities. The long-awaited social assistance reform is once again being put on the shelf. Ontario deserves and demands better.
BURLINGTON FAMILY NIGHT
Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington South): There are many signs that indicate the coming of spring, and for Ontario and Canadian baseball fans the most important one of all was the return of the world champion Toronto Blue Jays to the SkyDome last Friday.
I am pleased to announce that tonight at the SkyDome will mark the third annual Burlington Family Night at the Dome, which will see the Toronto Blue Jays up against the Seattle Mariners at 7:30. As the MPP for Burlington South, it is my privilege to sponsor this community event each year, proceeds from which will go to the Burlington Association for Community Living, which does excellent work with intellectually challenged adults and children in our community of Burlington.
Among the special guests who will be participating in the onfield presentation will be three-time Special Olympics gold medal winner Jodi Kaczur, who is also the honorary chairperson for this year's annual BACL bike-a-thon which will be held on May 2.
BJ Bird will help to hatch a special dinosaur egg and publicly welcome, for the first time, our bike-a-thon mascot, Bike-a-saurus. The pre-game ceremony will be an exciting way to start the evening, where Jay fans will be joined by several thousand enthusiastic Burlington boosters in cheering the Jays to another victory.
I invite all to come out and participate in what will be a fun-filled way of going up to bat for the Burlington Association for Community Living to help it keep its funding bases covered. By the way, there are still a few tickets left for tonight's game, and they're available by calling my constituency office at 639-7924.
BUSINESS IN TORONTO
Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): A few months back, when Bill 40 was being debated in this House, both opposition parties went nuts. They said that in the morning, all the business in Ontario would be located in the United States. To date, Mr Speaker, they spent millions on the campaign to spread doom and gloom all across Ontario --
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Order.
Mr Mills: -- to put fear in the heads of the workers. The billboard campaign waged by Bay Street was a disgusting effort.
Today I want to speak about Mr Ron Foxcraft, the owner of Foxton International Inc, whose mouthguard division is expected to sell to $5 million this year in Ontario.
This company went to New York as an emotional reaction to Bill 40 and has since returned to Ontario. The company president says, "It's cheaper to produce in Ontario, we have a more reliable workforce and there is a better team effort here."
So as you're gearing up for another term of doom and gloom and negativity, I say to you, shame on the lot of you. This is an example of what we can do in the province of Ontario, and you just listen and remember that.
The Speaker: I did inform members that the clocks weren't working. I didn't say that the sound system wasn't working. The member for Ottawa West.
Mr Robert Chiarelli (Ottawa West): Mr Speaker, that is a tough act to follow.
The NDP's new auto insurance legislation represents another government shot at innocent seniors across Ontario. Since the introduction of this ill-planned and unnecessary legislation, MPPs' offices have been inundated with calls and letters from concerned seniors who will suffer because of the NDP's unfair and inequitable rate increases soon to hit seniors.
The government knows that it is exerting a painful grab on the pocketbooks of seniors. The United Senior Citizens of Ontario Association told the government this:
"When looking at cost projections presented to us by various organizations, including the government of Ontario...it has become apparent that largely due to Bill 164 our members will see automobile rates increase between 4% and 20% next year.
"Regardless of who is right or what the final outcome will be, rate increases of 4% are totally out of the question. If in fact we have rate increases as high as 20%, we are sure that we will go...to a point where this is the number one complaint from our members."
The government must come to its senses and correct this ill-advised and unnecessary legislation. In these tough economic times, seniors can't stand to take another hit. Seniors have been a key target of this government, through OHIP cutbacks, drug benefit reductions and increased property taxes, and now they will have to carry the freight for high-risk drivers.
Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey): The Georgian Triangle Literacy and Basic Skills Coalition is very concerned that the Ministry of Labour plans to cut all labour adjustment program funds from the Ministry of Education and Training's literacy branch.
The program, which was initiated by this government, allows laid-off workers to be fast-tracked to higher education and jobs by having them go through a cost-effective and efficient retraining process. It is in place across Ontario and serves a multitude who rely on it, those unemployed men and women who must learn to read and write before they can find a job.
The Ministry of Labour encouraged workers who had lost their jobs to enter these retraining programs and improve their skills. The workers saw this as a commitment by the government to help them through the necessary process. They were told that if factories or businesses shut down, this avenue would be open to them. Now they are faced with the prospect of being let down once again.
The program has proven to be very successful and has garnered a great deal of support across the province. In the past year, thousands of displaced workers have been trained by community colleges, school boards and local initiatives through labour adjustment training.
The minister knows that, for the time being, our unemployment rate is not dropping. My office has learned that he has $6 million which his officials have earmarked for apprenticeship programs. The money should go to LAI. Literacy is the most fundamental and basic skill we can have, and this government has promised to provide it. There are waiting lists to get into these programs, and those who are on the lists ask you to keep your word.
Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): Mr Speaker, it's good to see you back for another session. One of my pet peeves, and it's also a pet peeve of a lot of people in Ontario, is junk mail. Let me show you some of my junk mail. It's called The Leader's Report from Lyn McLeod. That's a good piece of junk mail that I've been getting.
What it says is that the solution for creating jobs for the long term lies in common sense. What's common about sense when you're looking at Liberals? Not much. It's the same old rhetoric we've been getting for many years from the Liberals. The people of Ontario are saying, "Forget this, we don't need it." You also get a 1-800 number. If you phone it, you get an answering machine that says, "Sorry, we don't have any policies, but you can trust us." We're not ready for that.
In fact when you look across the floor, the member for Renfrew North was crying so much last term you couldn't make any sense out of what he was saying. The member for Oriole was chirping away all the time; couldn't hear a thing that was going on. The Leader of the Opposition is a marshmallow; a lot of puff, that's all it is.
The people had the Liberals for five years, and they realized that they couldn't govern. That's why they've turned away from what they were doing.
Let's look at it: At least when this government has a deficit, we call it a deficit, not a surplus. At least we're not out there telling people one thing when it isn't actually true. So what we have to look at is exactly the rhetoric of the left and the right. I'm coming to you guys later, but not right now; I'm hitting this side.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): The member's time has expired.
MEMBER FOR DON MILLS AND MEMBER FOR ST GEORGE-ST DAVID
Hon Bob Rae (Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I wonder if I might have unanimous consent of the House. This is both a sad and a happy occasion for members of the Legislature, because while we are here of course to welcome two new members, it also is a day on which we mark the passing of one of our colleagues and another former colleague who is known to many of us.
I wonder if I might have this opportunity to say a few words in recognition of the new members and then sit down and ask if there are members of other parties who would like to indulge themselves for a few moments. I'm sure we'd permit that, and then if I might have unanimous consent to say a few words about our late colleagues.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Do we have unanimous consent for both items? Agreed? Agreed.
Hon Mr Rae: Quite simply, as someone who no doubt made their entrance into this place altogether much easier and indeed possible, I wonder if I might say a few words to welcome the new members, Tim Murphy and David Johnson. Speaking personally, having won two by-elections and been admitted into two Legislatures, I know, I think, a bit of the sense of pride and anticipation that they bring to these new responsibilities.
While both of them are seasoned politicians and indeed politicians who have won the support of their constituents in this most recent by-election, I think it's also fair to say that they come into this place, I noted today, with the support and love of their family and friends and with a great sense of pride in them which is quite appropriate.
I know that Mr Murphy served as an assistant and an adviser to the member from Renfrew, as well as for his predecessor in St George-St David. He is a distinguished counsel and comes to us with a strong commitment to serving the people of his constituency, and on behalf of the New Democratic Party I want to welcome him to this place.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to welcome my friend David Johnson, the former mayor of East York. The mayor and I have known each other for many years. My federal constituency used to have a great many East York constituents in it, and we had occasion to meet a number of times. He's somebody whose dedication to the citizens of East York and to the people of Metropolitan Toronto is well known. He is a very effective advocate on behalf of the causes that he feels deeply about, and he is a talented administrator. I might also note the presence in the gallery of Mayor Willis Blair, who was for many years the mayor of East York. No doubt he takes great pride in the achievements of Mr Johnson, since I understand they share a certain political persuasion. I've always surmised that, but now my suspicions are confirmed.
Let me welcome them both and say that these moments of civility come only too rarely in our political lives. I would dearly love to extend them for a longer period of time, but I do want to welcome them most sincerely. We are all here representing our constituents as best we can and to the best of our abilities, and I very much want to welcome both of them to the joys of the parliamentary life.
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): Needless to say, I am delighted to be able to join the Premier in welcoming the new members to the Legislature this afternoon. It is certainly with a great deal of pleasure and a great deal of pride that we welcome Tim Murphy as the newest member of the Liberal caucus.
I am absolutely confident that the new member for St George-St David will serve his constituents and will serve in his contribution to this House equally to the contribution of the past member for St George-St David. Clearly that provides a formidable reputation, which he is clearly equal to matching.
The Premier speaks of the support of family, which all of us know is absolutely essential for us to be able to make the contribution that we make to public service. I would like to, as I'm sure the new member for St George-St David will, express the support of our caucus to Tim's family, particularly to his wife, Jane, for a somewhat extra effort and extra commitment of support during this past by-election campaign. The Premier, of course, would have absolutely no way of knowing that, the day after the writ was issued for the by-election campaign, Tim's wife would be delivered of their first baby daughter, but he will appreciate the extra commitment and the extra effort that it took for Tim to carry out that campaign when he would clearly have liked to have been spending time with his wife and his new daughter.
May I also join the Premier in extending our congratulations to the new member for Don Mills, to welcome him to the Legislature and to say we look forward to serving with him in this House.
Mr Michael D. Harris (Nipissing): I too am delighted to have the opportunity to welcome both new members to the chamber. I think, as the Premier has indicated, he can remember his two by-elections, coming into the House of Commons, I guess, and to the Legislature of Ontario. All of us must remember our first day in the Legislature, the apprehension, the can you even find your way around, can you come in the right door, do you bow at the right time, and so we can empathize with our two new members.
We celebrated 100 years of the opening of this building. We had a chance yesterday to chat about the thousands of members who have served Ontario, who have spoken words in this House. I indicated at that time there were many memorable speeches given, and then there were a few that some, myself included, from time to time, would wish to withdraw. It's an exciting place.
The Premier talked about the civility. We were reminded yesterday in the civility and the ceremony of just how lucky we are to have parliamentary democracy, this form of government. Some mornings we wake up, we're not so sure. Yesterday we reaffirmed our commitment to that, our commitment to parliamentary democracy, and of course these two by-elections are a key part of that. So these are very special days for Tim Murphy, the new member for St George-St David, very special days for Dave Johnson, the new member for Don Mills, and for their families.
I know you'll permit me to say that in my historical observations as well, since 1962, the formation of Don Mills riding, whoever has won that riding has also formed a government, whether it was Progressive Conservatives or Liberals or New Democrats. I mean, I say that in a very non-partisan way. I obviously, as does the former mayor for East York and my caucus, believe that that trend will continue. As many things change, some don't.
I truly welcome both members. Whether in government or whether in opposition in the Legislature, the privilege to serve your constituents, to represent them, to fight on their behalf, to represent all Ontarians, is a privilege and an honour that I would not cash in, that I would not trade for anything else that I've done in my life or anything else that I plan to do, because I do plan to have a life after politics, in 10 or 15 or 20 years, as well.
So I cherish these days. I say to both Tim and to David, when the going gets a little tough, reflect upon those who have gone before you, reflect on the history, reflect on the significance of what happened and what brought you here and the importance of why you are here in shaping a better future for Ontario.
Mr Tim Murphy (St George-St David): If I may respond to those kind remarks, Mr Premier, I agree that civility is a tone that should be continued in this chamber. Unfortunately, when the news that the by-election was called was given to my wife during labour, civility was not the tone that she used in response to that. But I hope to carry that forward, and I want to thank you, Mr Premier, for the kind remarks, and of course my leader, the leader of the official opposition, and the leader of the third party, and I do want to pay a brief tribute to the previous member for the riding, Mr Ian Scott, who I think served the people of St George-St David and in fact the province very well in his time as member, and I pay tribute to him.
It is with both pride and humility that I stand here as the member for St George-St David. I'm very much looking forward to representing those constituents. As a final note I want to say thank you to my family, and my mother and father in the gallery, and my wife and my little girl, Emma, whom I hope I'll get to see occasionally.
Mr Dave Johnson (Don Mills): I wish to thank the Premier, Mike Harris and Lyn McLeod for their kind words of introduction into this House. I look forward to representing the people of Don Mills. I've had many years of public service in the municipal sphere but this is a new experience for me. I know it's going to be an exciting one. I look forward to it very much. I would like to note the presence of my family in the gallery, if I could. My wife, Joyce, my daughter, Lesley Ann, my mother and my father and many of my campaign workers are here to note my presence in this House. I will be making comments in a few minutes about the previous member for Don Mills.
Hon Bob Rae (Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I'd just like to say some words. We've spoken on many occasions, those of us on this side, and indeed I know on a number of occasions in the last while we've been joined by members from the other parties as well, in remembering Margery Ward, the late member for Don Mills who passed away so tragically after a valiant struggle with cancer.
Margery was a great friend to all of us, I know, on this side, and certainly to me personally and to my family, and I know that she was warmly regarded by members of the opposition in her role in committees as well.
She was a truly remarkable person. She was born in New Brunswick, a member of a large family, many of whom, her brothers and sisters, we were able to meet when she died. She came to Ontario, came to Toronto, as a young woman, went to work as a cashier in a grocery store, became actively involved in her union, had a lifelong interest in education, went to York University as an adult student, got her BA in computer science and went on to work for a large insurance company.
She was active in the CCF-New Democratic Party from the time of her arrival here as a young woman. She truly believed in the community. She cared for it a great deal. Like many people on this side of the House and indeed some on the other side of the House, she ran a number of times unsuccessfully. We used to joke about the nomination meetings early on when it would basically be a question of drawing straws in someone's basement, and the person with the short straw would be the candidate. It's very true.
Margery ran unsuccessfully in 1987 and she ran successfully in 1990. She took great pride in being a member of this Legislature. She took great pride in her family and in her friends and she believed intensely in what she was doing, but she had a wonderful sense of humour and a wonderful sense of perspective about this place, about the topsy-turvy world in which we all live and about the vagaries of fortune, both political and personal.
She took the news of her illness with courage and with a quiet determination. She ennobled all of us by her constant sense of fun and humour, even in the midst of great pain and her own suffering.
I can recall very vividly a number of conversations that I had with her, but particularly the last conversation I had with her, when she spent most of the time asking me about my family, about how I was doing, about my schedule, about how I had to take it a little bit easier and she was inquiring after me, which I thought was quite remarkable since she was at that point very ill indeed.
I am truly sorry, and I hope members will understand, and the new member for Don Mills will understand, when I say this and not take it in any political way at all: This young woman of 50 was not able to complete her term and her time. We are all ennobled by having known her and having had an opportunity to work closely with her, and I take this opportunity once again to celebrate her memory.
Ms Dianne Poole (Eglinton): On behalf of the Liberal caucus, I would like to join in the tribute to our colleague Margery Ward. There will be many people who will talk of her commitment and her determination during her life, but I would like to share with you some stories of her courage in dying.
The first story I'd like to share with you occurred during the referendum campaign last fall. It was an unlikely coalition of Liberals, Conservatives and the NDP, all working together for the Yes side, and a difficult campaign at times. In Don Valley West, which is the federal riding I shared with Margery, we were going to have a celebration of our campaign office opening. We had contacted her staff and they said Margery's health was very poor and they really doubted she would be there.
That night, there was Margery at the campaign opening. We announced to the people there that the next morning at 7:30, at Yonge and Eglinton, we would be at the subway stop campaigning for the Yes side. Margery's assistant whispered, "I really don't think Margery will be there." At 7:30, in the rain, Margery was there, and she stayed for two hours. Such was her love and her commitment to our country.
The second story I'd like to relate occurred in this Legislature during the midnight sessions. I think all members will remember those midnight sessions with some sense of horror; certainly we didn't relish doing House duty. My executive assistant had just talked to Margery's office a couple of days before to inquire about her health and learned that things did not look very good and that Margery was deteriorating rapidly. So the last thing I expected one night near midnight was to look across and see Margery Ward doing her House duty, but such was her commitment to this Legislature and what we stand for.
We have been joined today by a new member for Don Mills, and I can say that he has a worthy role model to follow with Margery's commitment to her constituents, to her country and to this Legislature.
I would like to conclude by reading a poem which was on the funeral service of Margery:
In tears we saw you sinking
We watched you fade away
You suffered much in silence
You fought so hard to stay
You faced your task with courage
But still you kept fighting until the very end.
God saw you getting tired
When a cure not to be
So he put his arms around you
And whispered, "Come with me."
So when we saw you sleeping
So peaceful, free from pain
We could not wish you back
To suffer that again.
Mr Dave Johnson (Don Mills): I'm honoured to join my colleagues on both sides of the House today in taking a few moments to pay tribute to the memory of my predecessor as the member for Don Mills, the late Margery Ward.
Margery has been remembered by many as an absolutely tireless worker, and I'm certainly among those who remember her that way. I was the mayor of East York during her time as an MPP, and in those capacities we encountered each other on many occasions.
The last time I saw Margery was actually at a graduation ceremony at the Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, and that was just this past December, actually the month before she lost her fight with cancer. It must have taken tremendous effort for her to be there that night. I'm sure that many people feeling as poorly as she must have would have decided that a ceremony at a high school was really not that important and that staying home would be a much better idea, but not Margery. She had a tremendous sense of duty and she was always prepared to put her work ahead of herself.
I was always impressed with how sincere, honest and dedicated she was, especially when it came to acting on behalf of the little people, the ordinary, average constituents who counted on her to be their voice at Queen's Park. I think there's a great lesson in that. I've only just arrived here, but I've found that it's pretty easy to feel important at Queen's Park. But we must remember there are those whom we represent who don't feel so important, the people who don't get their faces on TV or their names in the paper. That was always job one with Margery Ward.
It's a lesson I will keep firmly in mind as I take over for her in representing the people of Don Mills. I think it's a lesson we should all bear in mind, and it's a legacy of which Margery Ward and her family can be very, very proud.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): I would like to thank the Premier, the member for Eglinton and the member for Don Mills for their very kind and thoughtful remarks. Those remarks will be sent to the family of Margery Ward.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): The Premier.
Hon Bob Rae (Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): Two weeks ago, we all heard the sad news about the passing of Patrick Lawlor, who was a member in this place between 1967 and 1981.
Patrick was truly one of a kind. Many of the members in this place will not have served with him or would not know him. I didn't serve with him, but I certainly came to know him and love him a great deal. He was a truly remarkable person.
How can I describe Patrick to those who did not know him or who had not met him? He had a merry, impish grin, eloquent, an extraordinary personality. He was a poet. He was a philosopher keenly interested in all aspects of philosophy, political and otherwise. He was a marvellous talker and raconteur. He was a great friend to his constituents. He was also a lawyer who served his constituents and his clients for almost half a century. He was a world traveller. He loved the joy of retirement and the ability to travel. He was a counsellor to many of us, both personal and political.
He was truly one of a kind. They don't make two Patrick Lawlors. I say that unfortunately, because he was a great presence and a great spirit.
Pat was a graduate of St Michael's College, the University of Toronto. He practised law in the west end of Metropolitan Toronto, in Etobicoke. He developed an extraordinary relationship with the people around him. He married his wife Leslie and together they raised four children who themselves are a remarkable tribute to that union, and he was elected to this place in 1967.
At the memorial service, which many of us attended, my colleague the Minister of Health and her spouse both spoke movingly of Patrick, a political comrade and dear friend to both Ruth and Terry. That occasion was one where we were able to hear and listen to some of Patrick's extraordinary eloquence and his dedication to the people of the province.
I just want to say that my life was enriched by my friendship with Patrick. I enjoyed every encounter I had with him, every meal, even the odd glass of wine or some other spirit occasionally imbibed as we would look to the past and look to the future and talk about all aspects of our lives. He was a great friend to everyone. He also, I think it's fair to say, at a time between 1967 and 1981 when he served in this place, developed really good friendships and relationships with people on all sides of the House. Those were the days when night sittings were the order of the day and when friendships seemed to be fuelled by that common experience and by that sense of camaraderie which Patrick was very much a part of.
He died very suddenly and unexpectedly. He'd just returned from yet another trip and was talking eagerly about all the things he had done and all the things he wanted to do. He wrote a book which many of us have -- he gave a copy of it to me -- called the Psychotic Personality of Our Time, which I think, if you know Patrick, describes certainly an important part of this wonderful personality. I simply wanted to pay tribute to him and to take this occasion to do so publicly.
Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): On behalf of my Liberal colleagues, I want to join the Premier and others in the Legislature in expressing our condolences to the Lawlor family on Patrick's death a few weeks ago.
I knew Pat Lawlor well, and the Premier's right, there was no one quite like Pat. Lest there be any confusion, among other things Patrick liked a good drink, and I think myself, if I want to celebrate Pat Lawlor, I'll have a drink to remember the good times we had together.
The first time I met Pat Lawlor he was laughing and talking to himself in the Legislative library. It was a place where I met him on many subsequent occasions. He liked to talk, he liked to read, he liked to write, he liked a drink, though he once made a wonderful speech in here about how he had achieved at age 50 the ecstasy of sobriety and how he had needed very few drinks to achieve that plateau.
I don't suspect that there has ever been another member who has come to this place, certainly in the modern period, who began his inaugural speech to the assembly with the words, "Ecce somniator venit" -- Behold, the dreamer cometh. I was thinking that as Pat makes his way up to that other place, the discussion between Patrick and higher authorities, which I'm sure will be ongoing, will be in Latin and will be about a very wide range of interesting and arcane subject matter.
He had a very distinguished career in this place, largely as justice critic, but there was a brief time when, if you can believe it, Pat Lawlor was assigned, I think by Stephen Lewis, to be the New Democratic Party critic for finance. Now, a more laughable prospect I cannot imagine. It's like Benjamin Disraeli talking about the time he was briefly Chancellor of the Exchequer -- a very unhappy experience -- and I think Patrick would certainly agree with that assessment.
I suspect, though I don't know, that Patrick Lawlor was probably one of John Robarts's best friends, because few know that one of Patrick's great accomplishments was in his election in 1967, when he dispensed with Alan Eagleson from this place. I see the Minister of Health cheers. I don't think anyone in the NDP could have cheered as loudly as Premier John Robarts did that night in October 1967.
As the Premier has rightly observed, he wrote a famous book of poetry, and he once told a story -- Peter Mosher, whom many of you know, wrote some wonderful articles in the Globe and Mail about 15 years ago about Patrick Lawlor. They're in the library and they make for very good reading. I'm sure Peter would share the copyright with you. He'd have to, because I'm using some of his material as I speak this afternoon. But Patrick was a very serious fellow when he needed to be. I see the Minister of Housing smiling. Patrick had a smile that -- I think the Premier used the word "impish." He was always smiling, often talking to himself, as I indicated, always interested to share his latest observations.
I remember, and I think Peter in one of his articles pointed out, that Patrick once said he had an idolatrous respect for Stephen Lewis until he, Patrick Lawlor, grew up. He liked Bette Stephenson. He liked Darcy McKeough. I mean, the more outrageous the Tory was, it appealed to Patrick's Celtic self.
Finally, and I just simply want to end with this, Patrick was also a very deeply religious and moral person. He was the only one I knew around the place who dined with theologians and who read the latest tract from the Vatican and other places. But he once said, and I submit this as really my memory of his great testament to this place, quoting Patrick from one of his speeches years ago: "We are all of us vehicles of a power higher than ourselves. We are the earthly spokesmen of a better social system which strives to wipe out ignorance, poverty and disease."
In his own wonderful, colourful, romantic, impish way, he did much to espouse and to support that great cause, and he will be well remembered by all of us who were fortunate enough to serve with him.
Mr Norman W. Sterling (Carleton): So much has been said about Pat, and I cannot but agree with everything that both the Premier and Mr Conway have said about Pat Lawlor.
I served in the Legislature from 1977 to 1981 with Pat, and during that period of time it was regular that on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings we would have evening sittings. I think Pat sat in this Legislature about where I am standing. We would listen for hours and hours as Pat Lawlor would philosophize about whatever the topic might be.
I think one of the things that Pat Lawlor brought to the Legislature was a warmth and kindness that I have rarely seen in this Legislature exhibited by any member on any side. He certainly was a kind person. I don't think I ever heard him utter a word of personal vendetta against a member on the opposition, no matter how much he might have disagreed with what that member might or might not have been saying.
As a lawyer, as I listened to him talk about the law and the justice system, I always had the feeling that Pat Lawlor not only understood what the present state of the law in our jurisdiction was but also understood how that law became pieced together. He understood the philosophy and the reasoning behind how the laws in our province over a long period of history had come to be. I never saw him allow his political feeling about a particular issue muddy his water in terms of his respect for the institution, of the legal system or of this Legislature, and I admired him greatly for that.
My friend the member for Etobicoke West, who knew Pat Lawlor, tells me that during the period of time that he knew him, he described Pat Lawlor as a member who could not more accurately mirror the people he represented and that he was a friend and an ear for all the people he represented and an example, perhaps, that we hope we will have in this Legislature some time in the future.
His mastery of the English language was unequalled in this Legislature. He was able to explain and reason by drawing upon authors and ancient history to back whatever position he might take.
He was truly a joy to serve with. I will always consider Pat Lawlor as I saw him walking in the halls of this Legislature long after he was elected but always would make an effort to come up and say hello to former members he knew in this Legislature. I will always consider him a friend. I know that every member of this Legislature who had the pleasure to serve with him will always consider him a friend. I express our sincere condolences to his family and his friends on behalf of my caucus.
The Speaker: I would like to thank the Premier, the member for Renfrew North and the member for Carleton for their very kind words about Patrick Lawlor, who was a friend of Parliament, and those kind words will be sent to his family.
It is now time for oral questions.
The Speaker: Order. I had called earlier for statements by ministers, but that may have been lost on both sides. Are there statements by ministers? It is time for oral questions.
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): The throne speech that we heard in this House yesterday was simply a rehash of old programs. The real message that the people of this province were looking for was a message about jobs. People need jobs.
The Premier spoke in his throne speech yesterday about an economic recovery. Last month the unemployment in this province went up. For every job that this Premier says we have gained, we have lost two more. The Premier doesn't seem to understand that the only way we're going to get jobs back in this province is if we get business back in this province, and the only message to business in this throne speech was a message about new taxes, which is certainly not going to get business back.
I ask the Premier, when is he going to bring forth a real plan that will make Ontario competitive, will bring business back to this province and will get people back working again?
Hon Bob Rae (Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I'm sure the honourable member will not be surprised to hear me say that I disagree quite profoundly with her very negative characterization of the current situation in the province. I think it would be wise for the honourable member perhaps to at least mention to her constituents and to those who are listening that in fact this marks the seventh month in a row in which job creation in this province has grown, in which employment is up: 110,000 jobs in the last seven months.
I can say to the honourable member that when we look at the investment decisions that are being made, in terms of what's happening in terms of the public record, companies that are investing, expansion plans that are being made, the decisions that are being made by large corporations as well as by small, there are very clear signs that a recovery is under way.
I want to say to the honourable member that while she may dismiss, disagree with, have views about the 10-point plan, if I may say so, at least it's a plan. I haven't heard a single thing from the honourable member since her election as Leader of the Opposition which would indicate that she has any positive suggestions to make with respect to job creation. We are doing things that are positive. We're working in partnership with the private sector, we're working in partnership with our own employees.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Would the Premier conclude his remarks, please.
Hon Mr Rae: We are creating jobs in this province and we are helping to foster a recovery that is going to stand us in good stead in the years to come.
Mrs McLeod: May I just remind the Premier that he has been responsible for the government of this province now for some two and a half years. I would suggest to this Premier that he is clearly so consumed with putting a good face on his recycled agenda that he simply forgets about the needs of the people of this province.
The only program that this government has offered to people is the Jobs Ontario Training program, and it is not working. I would like to share with the Premier the story of a man, George Shepherd of Toronto, who represents the experiences of so many.
Mr Shepherd is an electrical designer. Two years ago the construction boom ended and he lost his job. He is 54 years old. Since then, he has been on unemployment insurance, he's used up his entire savings and he is now on social assistance. At the beginning of the Jobs Ontario program, Mr Shepherd enrolled. Since then, he has followed the whole Jobs Ontario process. Mr Shepherd has been to Jobs Ontario lectures. He's filled out Jobs Ontario forms. He's followed all the rules.
But after six months of being enrolled in the Jobs Ontario Training program, he still has no job. Nothing has happened, and the future for Mr Shepherd continues to look very bleak. I ask the Premier, why, after six months of having been enrolled in the Jobs Ontario Training program, Mr Shepherd still has no job.
Hon Mr Rae: I'm not for a moment denying -- I mean, we all live in the province, we all work in our constituency offices, we all come into contact with people who are still looking for work. But let me also say to the honourable member -- she mentions the Jobs Ontario Training program -- that there are many, many indications from people that this is the approach and this is the direction in which people think we should be going, that the emphasis needs to be on training, that the emphasis needs to be on working in partnership with the private sector.
If I could quote from somebody who owns a company in the constituency, not of the member sitting next to her but of the member who's usually sitting next to her, Mr Ted Weishar, the president of Hyndman Transport, said, in describing the Jobs Ontario program: "The program is working beyond your expectations. It's a win-win deal."
Mr Bob Schnar, who was in inventory control, now at New Tech Energy Systems: "This represents a new turn in my career. I'd never worked on computers before, and through Jobs Ontario I have a lot more career potential."
Lynn Briggs, who's a new employee at Byron Secretarial: "My comments about Jobs Ontario are absolutely positive."
The point I'm making to the member is that it seems to me the honourable member has a choice to make: She can either choose to run everything down and to say how negative things are and how bad they are, or she can choose to take what I think would be a much more positive and constructive approach, and that is to recognize the reality that we share with every other jurisdiction around, with all the other people of Canada: that we're coming out of a recession, that we're into a recovery, and that we are investing more as a government, certainly more than her government ever did, in terms of capital investment, that we're putting more into construction and more into the work that's going on than her government ever did, and that we're doing everything we possibly can to encourage private investment in construction as well.
That's what the capital corporations are all about, that's what Jobs Ontario Training is all about, that's what the capital budgets of the province are all about, and they are beginning to show signs of growth and recovery. Those facts are undeniable.
Mrs McLeod: The Premier's words about recovery simply do not speak to the realities that are being faced by the thousands and thousands of people who are without work in this province. I am asking this Premier to understand those realities. I'm asking this Premier to understand that his Jobs Ontario Training program is not working. It is, once again, the major plank in his throne speech. He is asking people again to believe that this program is working. They were willing to believe that last year, that this program could offer them some hope. That's exactly why Mr Shepherd enrolled in the program.
When Mr Shepherd enrolled in the program, he was told by one of the government's own officials that only one in four who apply to the Jobs Ontario Training program would be helped; that is the track record of the program that this government continues to put its confidence and its money into. I ask the Premier how he can possibly be satisfied and willing to accept a program with a 75% failure rate. Why won't he scrap it and set in place a program that will get people working again?
Hon Mr Rae: I can say with some confidence that the member's numbers are completely wrong. The facts, as I have been advised of them today, obviously by people in anticipation of such a negative question from the honourable member, are that there are over 19,000 people who are now registered and enrolled in the Jobs Ontario Training program, that this program is seen widely in the private sector, seen widely by business people themselves, as being the better approach to take: a long-term approach.
Yes, it takes time because of the training component. Yes, it takes time because of the retooling that has to take place. Yes, it takes time because we're looking at a major structural adjustment in the economy. But let me say once again, at least this government has a program. There was no program in place when we took office and when the honourable member was in government, and we are countering this recession with programs that are positive. We're taking the human footsteps, which is more than we can say for the Liberal opposition.
The Speaker: New question.
Mrs McLeod: On subsequent occasions in this House during this session of the Legislature, I'm sure we will spend a great deal of time about numbers and whose numbers can be believed.
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): I want to repeat the fact that yesterday's speech from the throne was nothing but a rehash of failed promises from previous throne speeches. There was one ingredient from earlier throne speeches that was noticeably absent, and I would ask the Premier, why is it that your government's throne speech yesterday had absolutely nothing to say about integrity?
Hon Bob Rae (Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I think that is an assumption and a given that we all share and would say to the honourable member that the focus of the throne speech was on the economy, which is where I think the province wants us to be, which is the focus the province wants us to have, and I think the throne speech reflected that very clearly.
Mrs McLeod: I thought it was an assumption we all shared, and that is precisely why I raise it, because if I didn't raise it, there might be some thought that I didn't think it mattered and in fact I think it matters a great deal, and I would suggest in fact that the question of integrity is even an economic issue, because people are not prepared to do business with a government that they cannot trust.
On June 28, 1989, the Premier said:
"Integrity is a foundation of everything else a government does. If a government cannot pass that test, it cannot pass any other test. If a government cannot meet that standard, it cannot meet any standard."
I will be in Kitchener this weekend, and people in Kitchener and many other people across the province wonder how the conduct of the member for Kitchener meets the standard for conduct of this Premier. I ask the Premier, how does he respond?
Hon Mr Rae: First of all, let me say that I think the comments I made in June 1989 are good ones and are sound ones, and I guess the thing I am troubled by in terms of the approach that's been taken by the Leader of the Opposition is the assumption that if there are differences of opinion or if there are things that have been done with which you disagree, that necessarily leads to the conclusion that the member seems to be so quick to draw, that those who have acted, those who have made judgements, as I have made judgements, if they disagree with the ones that I've exercised, are necessarily acting without integrity. I expect that kind of comment from the Leader of the Opposition. I don't think it's a view that's shared by others.
I would say with respect to the conduct that she's referred to that the member for Kitchener has apologized to me, and I think to people in question, with respect to what has taken place, and I think that is clearly on the record.
Mrs McLeod: We have at no point made any judgements, nor have we made any effort to draw any conclusions. Since the so-called Piper-Ferguson affair broke last November, all we have been trying to do is to get to the bottom of it. All we have wanted to know from the very beginning until this day was the truth about what happened and about who was involved, and all we have been met with is roadblocks and stonewalling and evasion, this from a Premier who in 1990 held that integrity and conduct of government officials was his number one priority in government.
Premier, you said that if a government cannot pass the test of integrity, it cannot pass any test. Why do you not live up to your own standards and permit an all-party, investigative inquiry into the Piper-Ferguson affair? What, Premier, are you trying to hide?
Hon Mr Rae: I would say to the honourable member that she's making allegations about this government and about this cabinet which have no foundation in fact. She's making statements which have no foundation, and I say to the honourable member that I believe we have acted in accordance with the clearest possible standards in terms of acting when information was available, in terms of calling for a police inquiry when that was deemed necessary and in terms of waiting for a police inquiry to be concluded before making any other public comment.
I've answered any other questions which have been put to me with respect to what has taken place, and for the honourable member to suggest otherwise is truly unworthy of her.
Mr Michael D. Harris (Nipissing): My question is to the Premier. Yesterday in your throne speech you gave Ontario's jobless the disastrous news that you intend to hike taxes. During the pre-budget hearings, everyone told you the same thing: If you increase taxes, you will slow down the recovery, you will kill private sector investment and you will kill even more private sector jobs.
What I'd like to know from you today is, after what we heard in your throne speech yesterday, what is it that you seem to know that no one else knows? What study are you referring to, what economic theory are you following that would convince you that the way to stimulate the private sector this year is to hike taxes?
Hon Bob Rae (Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): First of all, I say to the honourable member that I'm not moved by any abstract theory; I'm moved by what I think is a commonsense approach to the economy as we now see it. I think it is a commonsense approach. There are variations and there are different ways of doing it, but if you look at the experiences of other governments, I think we are all moved by a similar problem, as is the government of the United States, with respect to the current situation.
I know the honourable member won't admit to it any more than the Leader of the Opposition will, but I think most people regard 1993 as a year of recovery, in which recovery is clearly under way, in which jobs are being created, in which we now have, as I said before, over 110,000 new jobs being created.
I say to the honourable member that it's in that context that we need to take a balanced approach to increasing investment, which we are doing; to continuing to encourage increased capital investment, which we are doing; and to dealing with the question of the deficit and the debt, which again we are doing.
I say to the honourable member that there isn't a government in North America that hasn't had to face up to the fact that in order to deal effectively with the issue of the deficit and the debt there has to be a combination of serious review and reduction of expenditures, which this government is undertaking.
We are undertaking it in terms of programs, we're undertaking it in terms of direct discussions with our own employees, what's been called "the social contract", and also in terms of measures to increase revenues. There isn't a government in the country which hasn't had to undertake some combination of those in order to deal with the deficit issue.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Could the Premier conclude his response, please.
Hon Mr Rae: That's exactly what we're faced with. I'd like to know what particular theories the honourable member is thinking of as he goes around talking about the deficit.
Mr Harris: We acknowledge the deficit is a problem. Mr Premier, the theories I'm following are what everybody told you in your pre-budget hearings. Scotiabank said tax hikes will be self-defeating to reduce the deficit. The Bank of Montreal said it will make matters worse. The chamber of commerce said the provincial government has not just reached but has passed the effective limit of taxation, the limit where further increases in tax rates and new taxes result in less, not more, taxation revenue. I agree. The well is dry. I agree with all of the experts that came before the committee.
For the past eight years, we've endured a total of 55 tax increases. With every single one, we've become more uncompetitive. With every single one, we've lost jobs. I agree with your own Treasurer when he said in the Toronto Star on February 23, "You can only increase taxes so much when you're struggling to come out of a recession or else you cause more problems than you solve." That's who I'm listening to: your Treasurer.
I ask you, Premier, if you are truly interested in helping Ontario recover, why are you talking about hiking taxes when that is contrary to all the advice you have received and is contrary as well to what your own Treasurer said on February 23?
Hon Mr Rae: With due respect to the honourable member, what I'm saying is directly in sync with, in link with, in contact with the comments that have been made by my colleague the Minister of Finance. The fact of the matter is that of course there are limits, there's a balance that has to be struck and of course we have to be extremely sensitive to not do anything that will have a negative impact on the recovery.
But let me give you one example. If you take the comments of chairman of the Bank of Montreal, Mr Barrett said, "Look, if you keep your expenditure increases to around the rate of inflation and you hold the line on taxes, that will solve the deficit problem." The main thrust of his speech was, the real problem is to deal with the deficit in order to create long-term confidence in the economy.
Mr Harris: We've all been telling you that. We all agree with that.
Hon Mr Rae: We've all heard that. We're listening to you very carefully. Every word you say we listen to carefully.
I say, with due respect to my friend the chairman of the Bank of Montreal, that when you look hard at the suggestion that he is making, as the Treasurer has indicated publicly very clearly and has shown very clearly -- and we can show you the charts and we can show you the direction -- it doesn't work that way. That won't get us into the kind of deficit position that we all feel we need to be in.
So we are saying to the people of the province -- and you say, why are we saying it in the throne speech? Because we believe in being straight with people and in being candid with people with respect to the challenge that we face. I am not going to go around and say, "We're going to freeze taxes and you're never going to have a tax increase," when I know as a matter of fact that to take that position will simply lead us down the path to the same kind of debt quagmire, the same kind of debt swamp that bedevilled Brian Mulroney and bedevilled Pierre Trudeau before him. We want to avoid the Liberal trap, we want avoid the Tory trap, and that's why we're being straight with the people of Ontario. That's exactly what we're doing.
Mr Harris: Premier, you'll be a long time ever climbing out to get on the level where you'll fall into the traps that we might fall into.
We acknowledge the deficit is a problem. You continue to insist that the deficit is as a result of a revenue problem that you need to tackle by hiking taxes. All your cooked-up charts that the Treasurer has say that. Let's look at the facts -- your facts, your figures.
Last year your revenues in the province increased 2.6%, more than double the rate of inflation. Your revenues increased. You don't have a revenue problem. You've got a spending problem because your spending last year went up three times the rate of inflation. You continued the high-spending ways of the Liberals. You continued to spend well in excess of the increases in the rate of inflation. This year, according to your Treasurer's cooked-up charts, you intend to spend at a rate of increase of 9% over last year. That's what that silly chart says. Inflation is going to be 2%.
Premier, will you admit you don't have a revenue problem? You have record high revenues in this province, thanks to the 55 tax increases that you have. You have, as your predecessors had before you, a major spending problem.
I would ask you this, Premier: Will you take the advice of Matthew Barrett of the Bank of Nova Scotia? Will you take the advice of all the economists? Will you begin to deal once and for all with your major problem? You've got a spending problem. If you control that, we could begin to get the deficit under control.
Hon Mr Rae: I was about to say -- and I wouldn't want to be facetious on a subject as serious as this -- first of all, on the very face of the question we are dealing with the expenditure problem and we are going to deal with the expenditure problem. I would say to the honourable member that we're going to deal with the expenditure problem in a way more directly and I think more clearly than any government in recent memory, because we have a major challenge to face and we are going to face up to it.
The difficult news -- and the member may want to deny it. He may want to say that it's all made up. He may want to say the numbers don't add up. He can use whatever rhetoric he wants. I will say to the honourable member that for the past three years the revenues of this province have been completely stagnating and in some cases have gone down, in many instances have dropped.
I would say to the honourable member that this is not a problem unique to Ontario. It's a problem shared by every other jurisdiction in the country. All of us are having to face up to it. It would be very nice if we could suddenly adopt a theory that said, "Well, if you cut taxes, that in fact will increase your revenues." Those are theories which led President Reagan to do what he did in the early 1980s, and he's left the American economy with a multi-trillion-dollar debt problem which the new American administration is having to deal with.
Look at the experience internationally. Let's talk realistically about the challenge that we face. We do not look forward to having to do what has to be done, but we will do it and we will face up to it. We're facing up to the spending problem. I wonder if the honourable member is prepared to face up to the revenue problem, because it's very real.
Mr Harris: Mr Premier, the last eight years we've had the highest-spending government in the whole of the western world. That is not facing up to the spending problem.
Mr Michael D. Harris (Nipissing): My second question as well is to the Premier. We've heard much talk about your proposed social contract over this past week, and I want to talk about that. We've heard little in the way of specifics. You will know that I applauded the initial announcement that you were going to talk with public sector employees and with representatives of a million of them.
Hon Bob Rae (Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): You got into trouble for that.
Mr Harris: No, I didn't get into any trouble for that, Premier. You let me down in the discussions.
What we do know is this, Premier: that the public service costs of their wages -- just their wage costs -- have ballooned over the past two years in the face of massive job losses in the private sector and the taxpayers that have been trying to pay these salaries. Yet last week we heard your union friends, the leaders, and then yesterday we heard you and your union friends say they won't talk wage concessions until you soak the private sector even more. Yesterday we heard you planned to soak the private sector even more.
I guess, Premier, I want to ask you this: When you're talking tax hikes this year, as you did yesterday, is that the real price, that the union leaders are telling you they need to come to the table, of your social contract?
Hon Mr Rae: The short answer is, absolutely not. The assumption behind the member's question is simply false.
Mr Steven W. Mahoney (Mississauga West): You can't do that, Bob.
Hon Mr Rae: The member for Mississauga is encouraging me to give the long answer, and our relationship goes back long enough that I know he's being sincere in that encouragement. But I would simply say to the honourable member, I appreciated very much the comments that he made the week before. I hope very much that they did not cause him too much pain in the subsequent caucus meetings and would say to him, in all sincerity, that we are engaged, and will be engaged in the next period of time, in some very intense discussions and negotiations with the members not only of the public service of Ontario but people working in the broader public sector representing over 900,000 employees and many thousands of employers.
It's probably the most difficult and complex set of discussions that have been held in this place for some time. We enter into them in sincerity, with no preconditions, except that there must be complete candour in recognizing the economic and social problems faced by the province and recognizing the need for the public sector to be part of the solution to the economic recovery in the province.
We really do believe that the public sector wants to be part of the solution, that it wants to be constructive, and we enter into these discussions in a very constructive and positive mood.
Mr Harris: Premier, when your government came to office we were in the middle of a recession. The private sector was being decimated at that time. I repeatedly, at that time, you will recall, called on you to hold all wages in the public sector to 2% that first year. I was laughed at. You laughed at me, the public sector workers laughed at me, they all laughed, you all laughed at me. It reminded me a little of Pierre Trudeau laughing at Stanfield when he said, "I think we're going to need wage and price controls to get a handle on this." That's what it reminded me of.
Premier, today the wages of the full public sector that I said we should limit to 2% that year, when we were in the recession, cost us $43 billion annually. That's what they cost taxpayers. Those are your figures: $43 billion, all taxpayers. Premier, instead of the 2% that I called for in that first year, the total wage bill in the public sector that year, while you were laughing at me, went up 12%. It went up 12%. If you had followed my advice that year, taxpayers would have saved about $3.5 billion in that one year alone: $3.5 billion. They would have saved even more last year if you had kept the total wage costs to the rate of inflation.
I'm asking you today, Premier, will you not admit that as a result of your mismanagement, as a result of trying to spend your way out of the recession -- you told everybody in that first year when you laughed at those of us and all of the other provinces that said, "It's time for restraint." Will you not admit today that as a result of your mismanagement, the public sector will have to give back some of that money that you gave them in that first year?
Hon Mr Rae: Well, I can understand the desire of the leader of the third party to insist that he's been right all along, or whatever theory he's trying to put forward. I want to say to the honourable member that I don't laugh at any suggestion that he makes. I listen very carefully when he speaks, and I think that the work that his caucus has done has, if I may make a distinction, been notably quite constructive. I don't agree with all the ideas that are in there, but at least there are ideas that one can recognize as such, which is more than one can say for some others.
I want to say to the honourable member, having said that, whatever is past is past. The key for us as a government is to look to the future and to look to what needs to be done. I think it's clear that what needs to be done is for us to sit down with the workers in the broader public sector to create the tables that need to be created and to sit down and really talk seriously about what the future is going to look like and to try to get a stronger buy-in, as I said before, from all the employees working in the broader public sector as to the existence of a problem and as to the need for us, together, to come together to find solutions. That's the approach that we're taking now, and I think we're going to be taking it in a very decisive way.
Mr Harris: Premier, I think you would agree with me that if public sector wage costs had gone up the rate of inflation, the deficit would be on the way down today, and that, yes, the past is past and it's unfortunate, but we can ask the public sector to at least agree to that, that the election of Bob Rae should not have resulted in more compensation than at least the rate of inflation while the rest of us have been in recession.
Premier, the union leaders, and then you this past week -- you have said that taxes must go up. The union leaders said that the private sector must share the pain.
Premier, I want to talk about the social contract, because we haven't had any details on it. There wasn't much yesterday. I guess, if the goal of the social contract is to share the pain, to share misery, then I guess you're right and the union leaders are right. But, Premier, if the goal of the social contract, as I applauded when I first heard you wanted to enter into it, is to share in the opportunities, if that goal is to have all Ontarians share in the tremendous new job creation opportunities that are happening as a result of the North American and the global restructuring, if that's the true goal, why will you then not look at policies that instead of taking the last nickel out of the private sector so, yes, they will fail and they will share the misery, why don't you make sure that the private sector has the dollars they need to invest in this economy, to invest in this province, to create the jobs, so that through a social contract we can all share in opportunities and growth instead of sharing in the misery, the direction you're going today?
Hon Mr Rae: I would just say to the honourable member that I share his sense of optimism about the need for us to share an opportunity. That's very much the approach that we're taking to the social contract discussions, and I want to assure him of that.
I would say to the honourable member that obviously we're looking hard at every item of government expenditure, we're looking hard at every aspect of what governments do, and I wouldn't suggest for a moment that we enter into any discussions with respect to tax increases with any sense of joy with respect to that, obviously not, but in order to be straight with the people of the province and to be clear with the people of the province and to be candid with the people of the province I think it's very important that we at least put forward the view we have reached, on the basis of all the facts that are before us, that in order to deal effectively with the deficit problem there has to be an element of a tax increase. Now, how big that's going to be is a matter that the Treasurer will have to determine as the budget formation continues. The test is fairness and the test is opportunity.
I want to say to the honourable member I share his view very strongly that what we do in the budget has to be done in a way that will foster and encourage the recovery. We believe that a large overhanging debt does not encourage recovery. We believe that the deficit and the debt at this point are going to hurt the recovery. That's why we're determined to deal with it.
We've also reached the conclusion -- and I'm happy to listen to the honourable member. If he, on the basis of his studies of the estimates and other things, has some positive suggestions to make, I will say to him very sincerely that we will look very carefully at suggestions that are made by any honourable member with respect to how else we can organize the expenditures and taxes of the province in a way that will deal with the deficit issue effectively and at the same time provide for opportunity. We are ready to have that discussion with members of the opposition in question period or indeed at any other time. I know my colleagues would share that view.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Would the Premier conclude his response, please.
Hon Mr Rae: The job that has to be done is not an easy one, but we do feel a need to be completely candid with the people about the task ahead of us.
PALLADIUM SPORTS FACILITY
Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): My question is also for the Premier. Yesterday the Premier spoke about the need for job creation and for infrastructure investment. He also spoke about the Jobs Ontario Capital program as one way in which to create jobs. He has also spoken about the importance of private sector partnerships. So today I want to ask the Premier about the status of a very specific project that has the potential to create thousands of jobs.
The Premier will be aware that the Palladium Corp has arranged for nearly $200 million in private financing for the construction of the Palladium complex in Kanata. The financing is conditional upon the government providing not capital but a loan guarantee so that the infrastructure needed for the complex can be completed.
The application for the loan guarantee was made a year ago, and we still do not know its status. If the government approves the guarantee, the construction project could get under way literally within weeks, providing employment of over 2,800 person-years and millions in revenues to the government coffers -- just the suggestion the Premier says he's looking for. Further delay could put the project in jeopardy, and I would ask the Premier, will he today confirm his support for this project and will he tell us how soon we can expect to hear the outcome of the approval process?
Hon Bob Rae (Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): I've had inquiries made by a number of individuals with respect to this particular project, a project in which I take a great deal of interest, and since I've discussed it just today with the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, I think I'll let her answer the question.
Hon Frances Lankin (Minister of Economic Development and Trade): I want to assure the leader of the official opposition that we actually share her enthusiasm for the project and what it would do in terms of eastern Ontario. It would be a major boom to construction jobs and an economic development initiative and I think there's a lot of potential there.
In fact, since the first approach that was made about 12 months ago, there's been a considerable amount of work that's gone on. There have been a number of meetings, the most recent of which was on April 1. Due diligence has been carried out on all of the information that has been received to date. There is still some outstanding information we're expecting to receive from the stadium corporation, and we have indicated that we would try and get a final response to them from the working level in the ministry within five working days of getting that information. At that point in time the ministry officials would be indicating whether or not they're prepared to recommend the terms of the project as arrived at in the negotiations to ministers for consideration. We think there's a lot of exciting development that can happen here and we're working with the corporation to achieve that.
Mrs McLeod: I am reassured that the minister is taking an active interest in this project. I trust that the interest she has expressed reflects both the interest and the support of the Premier, which I think would go a long way to ensure this particular project is expedited, and it would come as very welcome news to the people of the Ottawa area.
I am concerned that this application is already a full year old and that in the past it seems not to have had the attention and the priority a project which would create 2,100 jobs should really be receiving from the government. The minister quite appropriately references the fact that there is community economic development benefit in this particular project. It is exactly the kind of community project that this entire community has come behind.
I would ask the minister to provide us with the assurance that she and the Premier both understand how important this particular project is, and that they assure the people of the Ottawa area that this project has their full support and that they are actively working as quickly as possible to resolve any outstanding concerns so that this project can get under way in a matter of weeks.
Hon Ms Lankin: Again, I do want to assure the member that the Premier has full interest in this project. In fact, upon appointing me to this portfolio, it was one of the areas he stressed with me it was important for us to be involved in, and to continue and support. I think his concern reflects the concern of this government with respect to economic development opportunities for eastern Ontario. We understand the critical importance in that respect.
I say to the member, however, that it's also important she understand that a series of discussions has been taking place with respect to this project. In fact, over the period of the last 12 months, the nature of the proposal and the requests from the stadium corporation have changed to a certain degree. Some of that is in response to information that's been provided from the ministry in terms of the kind of assistance we might be able to provide in keeping with the Ontario Municipal Board ruling with respect to where public investment should or should not be in this project, in terms of looking at due diligence and ensuring that taxpayers' dollars are protected, and in terms of any way in which we may assist with this project.
I also think she knows there is a major set of discussions taking place, on behalf of the stadium corporation, with the major private sector supporters or financers of this, that they require to have the main project undertaken.
I assure her that I am aware of and on top of the file. The Premier and I discuss this on a regular basis, and when we receive the full information we require, in order to do due diligence on behalf of the taxpayers, from the stadium corporation, we will respond in a very timely fashion.
COMMERCIAL CONCENTRATION TAX
Mr Dave Johnson (Don Mills): My question is to the Premier. One of the most devastating of the 33 tax increases introduced by the Liberal government was the commercial concentration tax. At the recent Metropolitan Toronto economic summit, you will recall, Mr Premier, that the municipalities were unanimous -- this is somewhat of an infrequent state of affairs -- that the commercial concentration tax is driving out jobs and investment from the greater Toronto area. That is certainly contrary to the thrust of your throne speech, to work with business and to get Ontario back to work.
In light of your statement at the economic summit that you had heard the message about the commercial concentration tax, will you commit today to repeal this Liberal tax in the upcoming budget?
Hon Bob Rae (Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): First of all, let me recall the very first question I asked in a Parliament. It was to the Minister of Finance of the day, who is now the leader of the official opposition in Ottawa, and the subject was high interest rates. So I'm keenly interested in the question he asks, and I was sitting in about the equivalent seat.
The Minister of Finance isn't here and I'm not about to make the budget on the fly in the House, though that might appeal to some. Let me say to the House and to you, Mr Speaker, what I've said on a number of occasions and in a number of gatherings. I am no advocate or fan of the commercial concentration tax. The government has to deal with any taxation issue on the basis of all the fiscal information in front of it, but I can assure the honourable member that the commercial concentration tax, together with a number of other tax questions, is being very actively discussed and will be actively discussed leading up to the budget, but a final decision will have to await the Minister of Finance's budget, which will be some time in May, I would think.
Mr Dave Johnson: That's somewhat reassuring, but do I recall that when the Liberals brought in this tax as part of the agenda, that did cost jobs and investment and anguish throughout the GTA and the NDP were opposed to it. And yet, Premier, we've gone through two budgets and each year we've taken about $120 million from the economy of the GTA for this tax and you have not repealed it yet. Today, will you commit, and I ask again, will you commit to repeal this Liberal tax and right the wrong that has been done through the GTA?
Hon Mr Rae: I just say to the honourable member that I'm listening very carefully to his representations, as I do to those that are made by all members, and would say to him that I at least hope he would recognize that in the steps this government has taken since forming the government, we have invested far more than the revenue from the commercial concentration tax back into the infrastructure of Metropolitan Toronto. We're building rapid transit again in Metropolitan Toronto, in cooperation with the government of Metropolitan Toronto, of which the member was a former councillor. We are putting money into the infrastructure in Metropolitan Toronto in a way that hasn't been done since Leslie Frost and John Robarts and Bill Davis were the premiers of the province.
So I would say to the honourable member that we have used the revenues from the CCT, but I would repeat the comment I made before: I'm no particular fan of the CCT and I would say to the honourable member that obviously, together with a number of other tax issues, it's being looked at and reviewed very carefully by the government of the day.
Mr Jim Wiseman (Durham West): My question is to the Minister of Natural Resources. As the minister --
Mr Wiseman: No, sorry, it's changed. It's back there now.
Hon Bud Wildman (Minister of Environment and Energy and Minister Responsible for Native Affairs): That's why I was applauding.
Mr Wiseman: That's good.
As the minister well knows, the beginning of this year saw a tremendous start when your colleague the now Minister of the Environment, the then Minister of Natural Resources, announced the creation of the largest urban park in North America, the Rouge park. The excitement that this announcement created among my constituents was and is unparalleled, and you experienced some of that when you came out to the Rouge to announce the consultation process.
Throughout the planning that led up to this historic and unprecedented announcement, there have been continued promises from the federal government that it was going to support the park by contributing $10 million. This money, which has been promised time and time again -- I have not heard it has reached your office. Can the minister please advise this House when the government of Ontario can expect to receive this much-awaited funding?
Hon Howard Hampton (Minister of Natural Resources): I thank the member for this very important question. The government of Ontario has not received any indication at this point in time from the federal government as to its intention to come forward with the $10-million contribution to the Rouge River park that has been mentioned on many occasions in the past. We have, on a number of occasions, repeated our invitation to the federal government to come forward with the $10 million and we continue to make that invitation and hope that we will see something forthcoming from the federal government very soon.
I note in yesterday's paper that the member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre, who is a member of the federal government, indicates that she thinks the park is a wonderful idea. I am hopeful that this is finally an indication that the federal government is going to come forward with the $10 million.
Mr Wiseman: Also, the federal government is the owner of large acreages in the north end of my riding; it was expropriated in 1972. They are currently selling off approximately 5,000 acres of what are called the Pickering airport lands. The minister is aware that much of this land is either in the Rouge or the Duffin watershed. Can the minister please tell me, has this ministry received any indication from the federal government that it plans to contribute some of this land as part of a down payment and proof of its commitment to the Rouge park?
Hon Mr Hampton: I'm happy to tell the member that municipal governments, that regional governments, that many community organizations and environmental conservation organizations are working very hard with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to bring the Rouge River park into reality. We would very much appreciate at this point in time an indication from the federal government that it is prepared to come forward with the many thousand acres of federal land to make this park the very best urban park in North America.
Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): My question is to the Premier. Premier, given that yesterday's throne speech had no plans or ideas for restoring jobs and hope to the people of Ontario, we're forced to assume that your entire agenda is the creation of your so-called social contract. But let's look at what you're really creating with this last minute, desperate move. You've created mass confusion, mass misunderstanding, fear and anxiety among both the millions who work in the public sector and those who use their services.
One day you announced you were suspending collective bargaining, and the next you confessed that you didn't have the power to do that. One day you were laying off 18,000 people, and the next you were rolling back wages of 900,000. Then you said you wanted to sit down and talk about cooperative solutions.
Premier, isn't the truth behind your social contract the fact that you have ignored all the warnings, our warnings and others, for two years about the province's financial record and problems, and isn't it the truth that one month before your budget is due you panicked, and you're desperately trying to spin your lack of a plan into a social contract that nobody understands?
Hon Bob Rae (Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): The honourable member will not be surprised to hear my response, that I take a far more positive construction on recent events than she does. I can understand that she's got a role to play, and I understand that only too well, but I would say to her that what we're doing has never been done before in the province, and the reason for that, quite simply, is because the situation we face has no real direct parallel.
The only comment I would make to the honourable member -- and it might strike a slightly partisan tone, but nevertheless I feel a need to say it to the honourable member -- is that I listen carefully to what she says, I read with great interest the comments of my friend from Scarborough, the Dr Bandolo of numbers, and would say to the honourable member: This, from a political party whose entire campaign in the last election was based on the misinformation that the province was headed to a balanced budget? I find it hard to take.
Mrs Caplan: Both the Provincial Auditor and the Treasurer have confirmed what everyone knows, and that is that the comments the Premier has just made are not only unbecoming but not factually correct.
Mr Premier, I would say to you that despite your rhetoric, many of your own ministers, your own colleagues, do not know what you mean by this "social contract," and many have expressed doubts of your ability to be able to deliver it. You have started a process without definition, without time lines and without any details. Premier, the 900,000 public sector workers and the rest of the people in the province of Ontario have a right to know what your agenda is and what your real plans are. What will happen if your negotiated social contract turns out to be only that, and that's words?
Mr Premier, your own House leader has put us on standby to expect legislation if your social contract doesn't work. Will you confirm today that if your social contract fails, you plan to introduce legislation that will suspend collective bargaining and impose your will?
Hon Mr Rae: I'm reminded, when I listen to the questions of the honourable member, about all the doubting and all the negativity during the last election campaign. Every day I would have to answer questions from the media: "Bob, what are you going to do when you lose? What are you going to do when you lose your seat? What are you going to do when the sky falls in? What are you going to do when disaster strikes?"
I'd say to the honourable member, I much prefer to take a positive view of things. I've found that it's allowed me to get through some difficult moments in life and it's an attitude that I would commend to people as we struggle with a very difficult situation.
I would say to the honourable member, we enter into these discussions in good faith. I'm not going to bargain across the floor of the House. I'm not going to bargain in front of the media. We're going to sit down and negotiate with our own employees on a broad basis to deal with the most difficult fiscal and financial situation the province has faced since the 1930s, and we're going to do it in a spirit that's positive, a spirit that's optimistic and a spirit that's respectful of all the people around the table, and that's exactly the approach we're taking.
Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): My question is to the Premier. Like women across Ontario, I am gravely concerned about his government's management of sexual harassment cases following the incredible mishandling of the Carlton Masters case.
On the one hand, the government presumed that Mr Masters was innocent before the Premier received the report on the investigation. Last November, the Premier offered Mr Masters another senior public service job. The Premier's parliamentary assistant and the Ontario NDP president even suggested to friends that Mr Masters would be found innocent. On the other hand, last week the Premier released the report which concluded that Mr Masters sexually harassed at least six women.
Mr Premier, why would you offer another senior job and a golden handshake to somebody who is accused of sexual harassment before you had received the report on the investigation?
Hon Bob Rae (Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs): Perhaps the most direct thing I can say to the member is that she has her chronology wrong with respect to what took place. I hope she would appreciate that there are few issues as difficult -- that I think all of us have to deal with and certainly as Premier that I've had to deal with -- as this question. It's one in which, now that the report has been made public, I've noticed a wide variety of views and on which many statements are made about what might or might not have been done.
Upon reflection and upon the advice that I received from a number of senior public officials in the province, I made the determination and the government made the determination that it would be reasonable to ask Mr Masters to apologize, that it would be in the interests, I think, of everyone to allow there to be some process of reconciliation, of recognition and of rehabilitation. That's a judgement that I made.
I would say to the honourable member that if she follows the chronology carefully, she will have to recognize that as soon as the secretary of cabinet was advised of a possible problem he advised me and he then acted as he was required to do under the policies of the government. A thorough investigation took place that was quite independent of the government, and the government waited, before taking any action, until receiving the report.
Those are the facts which I think the honourable member has an obligation to know in terms of asking her question. I would say to the honourable member that these issues are never easy; they're always difficult. But I can assure the honourable member -- and I hope, even in her moments of intense partisanship, she might recognize -- that sometimes people do act in good faith and do try to reach decisions which are not easy. Sometimes they don't work out, and we all have to live and work through that, which is what we are all doing and what I'm certainly doing. But I would say to the honourable member that I always --
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Could the Premier conclude his response, please.
Hon Mr Rae: -- try to act in this manner in complete good faith, and I hope she would accept that at face value, at least on this occasion.
Mrs Marland: The Premier is right about one thing. This is a very difficult, very serious issue, and that's why I'm on my feet asking this question.
There are no winners in this case, only losers.
Mr Masters is a loser. The report concluded that the allegations against him are valid, yet a dissenting legal opinion says the process never gave him a chance to respond to certain allegations.
The women who made the allegations are also losers. Their credibility was damaged by the NDP's presumptuous suggestions that Mr Masters was innocent.
The people of Ontario are losers. This travesty of justice suggests that if a person accused of sexual harassment is in a high position, he will get a golden handshake or a new job regardless of his innocence or guilt. It suggests that women who make sexual harassment charges will suffer even if their allegations are valid.
Mr Premier, my question is this. This is a crisis. The whole handling of the Masters case -- your involvement, your staff's involvement, the investigation and the settlement -- must be reviewed by an independent body. Premier, will you take this step to restore confidence in the provincial government's management of sexual harassment cases?
Hon Mr Rae: Let me say to the honourable member, I have a lot of respect for her and for her approach to things, which is ordinarily, I find, a very commonsense approach to these things. I understand that the question period requires a certain degree of partisanship. I would say to her that with respect to the last question which she raised about the ongoing review of sexual harassment or the cases involving sexual harassment, that's something obviously which the government is doing, because of the sensitivity of these questions and because of the difficulties involved in terms of the issues. She says that there needs now to be another full public inquiry. I would say to the honourable member, there was a thorough investigation by an independent body that looked at the questions involved. The government acted, I think, in fairness, in good faith.
Mrs Marland: You made a decision before the report.
Hon Mr Rae: The honourable member says the decision was made before the report. That's quite false.
Hon Mr Rae: She's now saying it again. It's not in congruity with the facts. I would say to the honourable member that she is certainly free to criticize what's happened. I fully expect opposition members to do that.
Mrs Marland: I feel sorry for both sides in this issue.
Hon Mr Rae: The member says she feels sorry for both sides. I think all of us share that perspective and I don't think any of us could take a different perspective.
The Speaker: Could the Premier conclude his response, please.
Hon Mr Rae: The issue therefore is, has the government acted according to its policies? Has there been a determination the way through to try in the circumstances, as difficult as they are, to be fair? I think the facts will bear me out on that.
The Speaker: We have time for one question but no supplementary. I'll recognize the member for Cochrane South.
Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): My question is to the Minister of Natural Resources. We would know that in 1992-93 the province of Ontario planted some 157 million seedlings within the forests of Ontario. We also know that number is down from previous years. We know that in this year, 1993-94, we're expecting the Ministry of Natural Resources to plant somewhere in the neighbourhood of 134 million seedlings.
In discussions I've had with people both within the seedling industry and within the forestry industry, there's a recognition of the fiscal reality out there, that government is faced with the situation of choosing where you're going to make cuts in a time of fiscal restraint.
The other part they also recognize is that the whole question of forestry is not simply a question of just planting trees, but also a question --
Mr Gregory S. Sorbara (York Centre): Order. He is giving a speech.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): I'll call order. Does the member have a question?
Mr Bisson: Yes, Mr Speaker. It's also a question of the total policy on forest management. My question to you, Mr Minister, and the question that people ask is, what does the Ministry of Natural Resources plan on doing in regard to the whole question of forestry and sustainable development in our forests here in Ontario?
Hon Howard Hampton (Minister of Natural Resources): I thank the member again for a very important question. I think we need to recognize that in very difficult economic times we need to focus whatever funding we have available, whether it be in health care or housing or education or forest regeneration, to use it as effectively and as efficiently as we possibly can and to maximize our forest regeneration effort.
There's been a fallacy in the past that somehow you can measure forest regeneration by the number of seedlings you stick in the ground each year. No farmer would walk away from a newly seeded field and say: "There goes a successful job. Everything is fine, everything is complete." We know that when we plant something or when we seed something we must look after it.
What we need to do in Ontario -- and I think the member is aware of this, coming from northeastern Ontario -- is focus on, how can we most effectively use all of the methods of regenerating our forests so that we can take our available funding and do the most with it across Ontario?
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BUSINESS
Hon Brian A. Charlton (Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet and Government House Leader): I move that notwithstanding standing order 96, private members' public business not be considered until Thursday, April 22, 1993, and that the requirement for notice be waived with respect to ballot items 1 to 4, inclusive.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.
Hon Brian A. Charlton (Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet and Government House Leader): I move that notwithstanding standing order 8(a), the House shall meet at 1:30 pm on Thursday, April 15, 1993.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.
Mr Leo Jordan (Lanark-Renfrew): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
"Whereas the closing of the Horton public school will result in Horton being the only township in the area without a school, as residents paying taxes in Horton, we feel it is our right to have access to a school in our township;
"Whereas the closing would result in the disruption of our children's educational stability as well as the close community ties that have developed in their educational development, the relocation of students to different schools would cause undue emotional upset and tear apart the fabric of the community which the children and parents have worked hard to build up, especially the close friendships the children now have;
"Whereas the Renfrew County Board of Education has submitted this proposal that could result in the closing of Horton public school, as concerned taxpayers, we are in strong disagreement with this proposal. We would like this legislative body to intervene to strike down this proposal so that this fine educational establishment will remain a vital part of our community in Horton township."
That has been signed by 1,400 residents, and I affix my signature to it.
Mr Derek Fletcher (Guelph): "To the Parliament of Ontario:
"Whereas in 1990, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation demonstrated its good intentions by proposing a system of graduated licensing that would require newly licensed drivers to adhere to certain conditions and restrictions which would be removed as the driver gains driving experience;
"We, the undersigned, petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:
"To take immediate action to revise the laws, specifically the Highway Traffic Act, to include a graduated licensing program for novice drivers. As concerned parents and citizens of Ontario, we believe now is the time to take action to protect our young and novice drivers and, in effect, our very future."
There are about 870 names on this petition, and I affix my name also.
Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): I have a petition here to the Legislature of Ontario:
"Whereas the Ontario Waste Management Corp is proposing to build and operate a huge centralized toxic waste incinerator and landfill site in the heart of Ontario's farm land;
"Whereas toxic waste must be treated at the source because transportation of such huge volumes of toxic waste on our highways is suicidal;
"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislature of Ontario to change the mandate and directions being promoted by this crown corporation."
I affix my signature to this petition.
Mr Dennis Drainville (Victoria-Haliburton): It gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to present a petition from the people of Windsor.
Mr Drainville: Windsor, yes; 3,000 citizens from Windsor who say that they do not want a casino in their jurisdiction. They say that they do not support the concept of a provincially staffed and operated casino as being in the best interests of Windsor, nor do they want one in Ontario, and I'm glad to affix my signature to this very important document.
Mrs Irene Mathyssen (Middlesex): I have a petition for the government of Ontario signed by 810 members of the Middlesex community. My constituents respectfully ask the Ministry of Health to allow Search, a community service organization, to be extended to include much-needed counselling for the people of West Middlesex. I have signed my name to this petition.
REPORTS BY COMMITTEES
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
Mr Brown from the standing committee on general government presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill as amended:
Bill 61, An Act respecting Algonquin and Ward's Islands and respecting the Stewardship of the Residential Community on the Toronto Islands/Loi concernant les îles Algonquin et Ward's et concernant l'administration de la zone résidentielle des îles de Toronto.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Shall the report be received and adopted? Agreed? Agreed. Shall Bill 61 be ordered for third reading? Agreed? Agreed. So ordered.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
Mr Stockwell, on behalf of Mr Runciman, from the standing committee on government agencies presented the committee's 20th through 25th reports, inclusive, and moved their adoption.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Pursuant to standing order 106(g)(11), the reports are deemed to be adopted by the House.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Mr Hansen from the standing committee on finance and economic affairs presented the committee's report on pre-budget consultations 1993 and moved the adoption of its recommendations.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Mr Hansen presents the committee's report and moves the adoption of its recommendations. Does the member wish to make a brief statement?
Mr Ron Hansen (Lincoln): Yes. I would like to say that this year there was a consensus based upon the consultations by all three parties of the House.
The Speaker: Does the member move adjournment of the debate?
Mr Hansen: Yes, I do.
The Speaker: Good. Mr Hansen has moved adjournment of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE OMBUDSMAN
Mr Morrow from the standing committee on the Ombudsman presented the committee's report on the review of the Office of the Ombudsman and moved its adoption.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Mr Morrow presents the committee's report and moves its adoption. Does the member wish to make a brief statement?
Mr Mark Morrow (Wentworth East): Yes, I do. I just basically want to say that this was a unanimous agreement with support from all three parties in the House. I want to thank all the members who took part. I want to thank the clerk Franco, and I also want to thank Paul Murray, legal counsel.
The Speaker: Does the member wish to move adjournment of the debate?
Mr Morrow: Yes, I do.
The Speaker: Mr Morrow moves the adjournment of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Mr Cooper from the standing committee on administration of justice presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bills as amended:
Bill 102, An Act to amend the Pay Equity Act/Loi modifiant la Loi sur l'équité salariale
Bill 169, An Act to amend the Public Service Act and the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act/Loi modifiant la Loi sur la fonction publique et la Loi sur la négociation collective des employés de la Couronne.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Shall the report be received and adopted? Agreed? Agreed.
Shall Bill 102 be ordered for third reading? Agreed? Agreed. The bill therefore is ordered for third reading.
Shall Bill 169 be ordered for third reading? Agreed? Agreed. So ordered.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr Beer from the standing committee on social development presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill as amended:
Bill 101, An Act to amend certain Acts concerning Long-Term Care / Loi modifiant certaines lois en ce qui concerne les soins de longue durée.
The Speaker (Hon David Warner): Shall the report be received and adopted? Agreed? Agreed.
Shall Bill 101 be ordered for third reading? Agreed? Agreed. So ordered.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
MARANATHA CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH OF WOODBRIDGE ACT, 1993
On motion by Mr Sorbara, the following bill was given first reading:
Bill Pr84, An Act to revive Maranatha Christian Reformed Church of Woodbridge.
ONTARIO ASSOCIATION OF VETERINARY TECHNICIANS ACT, 1993
On motion by Mr Lessard, the following bill was given first reading:
Bill Pr3, An Act respecting the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians.
WOMEN'S COUNSELLING REFERRAL CENTRE ACT, 1993
On motion by Ms Akande, the following bill was given first reading:
Bill Pr2, An Act to revive the Women's Counselling Referral Centre.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE / DÉBAT SUR LE DISCOURS DU TRÔNE
Consideration of the speech of His Honour the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.
Mr Marchese moved, seconded by Ms Murdock, that an humble address be presented to His Honour the Lieutenant Governor as follows:
To the Honourable Henry Newton Rowell Jackman, a Member of the Order of Canada, Knight in the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, doctor of laws, bachelor of laws, bachelor of arts, honorary colonel of the Governor General's Horse Guards, honorary colonel of 429 Squadron at Canadian Forces Base, Trenton, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario:
We, Her Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario, now assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious speech Your Honour has addressed to us.
Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): It's my pleasure to move the adoption of the speech from the throne. This throne speech captures the essence of Ontario envisioned by our government, led by Bob Rae and the New Democratic Party.
Although we're governing in tough times, indeed the toughest our province has ever seen since the 1930s, we have a plan to rebuild and revitalize the province and to improve the ability of Ontarians to benefit from the economic recovery.
C'est avec plaisir que je propose l'adoption du discours du trône. Ce discours du trône capte l'essence de la vision de l'Ontario qu'a notre gouvernement, dirigé par Bob Rae et le Nouveau Parti démocratique.
Bien que nous traversions une période économique difficile, en fait la plus grande difficulté qu'ait connue notre province depuis les années 30, nous avons un plan de reconstruction et de revitalisation pour notre province qui permettra aux Ontariennes et Ontariens de mieux profiter de la reprise économique.
It's a fair plan, Mr Speaker. It's balanced plan, an innovative plan, a plan that reflects who we are and who we must become. It's a plan that we can be proud of, but it will take hard work by everyone to achieve these goals. This is not business as usual. This is a time of profound change.
I want to share with you two opposing visions of change which we are faced with as a society and as a government at this critical time in our history.
The first is a vision of a societal change dictated by global market forces; in short, dictated by forces over which we ultimately have very little control. Free trade policies are being driven by large corporations who wish to maximize profits by changing the priorities of society.
As the parliamentary assistant to the Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, I had the opportunity a short time ago to represent Ontario in Washington at the United States congressional briefings on NAFTA, which is the proposed free trade agreement between the governments of Canada, the US and Mexico. At that meeting, I was able to share with other concerned citizens from the US and Mexico our firsthand experience of the devastating impact of the Canada-US free trade agreement on Ontario's economy and people.
It is not that we're against trade or investment. The US is by far Ontario's largest trading partner. But the test of a good trade policy is that it improves the quality of life for all people. Trade is not just an end in itself. The destruction of Ontario's manufacturing sector by free trade and the recession has resulted in the loss of 184,000 manufacturing jobs. Many of the people who lost their jobs were already the most vulnerable: the working poor, women, recent immigrants and older Canadians. In Ontario, we have 551,000 people unemployed and over 1.2 million people who must rely on social assistance.
Given the major impact free trade has had on all of us, I want to ask you: How many of us were consulted by those who implemented these important decisions? I'm sure the answer is very few.
NAFTA, which is essentially a bill of rights for companies which restricts the power of people and their elected governments, has already passed second reading in the House of Commons. Yet, I say, where were the public consultations? Where was the public debate? Where was representative government when we needed it most?
The vision of societal change embodied in these free trade agreements has shown itself to be profoundly undemocratic. It is a vision which my government opposes. It is symptomatic of a politics that takes place over our heads.
While free trade and the global recession are things over which we have little control as a provincial government, nevertheless we must respond to these realities, which brings me to the vision of change that my government offers.
In responding to change, we must involve our citizens, we must consult before acting and we must look before we leap, and this is our commitment to Ontarians. We are committed to meaningful dialogue, to full consultations, and we have shown flexibility in modifying our policies thanks to public input.
This vision of government as an active partner in society is part of what defines the social democrat. As Premier Bob Rae has said, "The message of social democracy is to be fairer, better, not making sure that the weather will always be sunny, because no government can assure that, but that when it's cold, at least everybody will have a coat and the people will be able to be cared for. I and my colleagues strongly believe in this message. We've come from all walks of life and backgrounds, yet we share this common vision.
I myself immigrated to Canada from Italy, and my riding of Fort York, in which I've lived my life, is home to many races, to many cultures and languages. Historically, it has been the first step of successive waves of immigration from many different countries. While my family, upon arriving in Canada, believed in the potential and promise of our new land, we were faced with the inequities which exist here and around the world. So our government is committed to empowering members of our society who have been left out of the development of public policy and who have suffered from discrimination.
As a social democrat, I believe we must rework the fabric of our Canadian identity by replacing the strands of racism and intolerance with the stronger threads of fairness and equity. That is why I applaud our government's acknowledgement that racism exists. We applaud its anti-racism strategy and the introduction of employment equity legislation. Today we salute the actions our government has taken to build a better Ontario and we announce an ambitious program to continue these efforts over the next year. It's a fair package that asks a fair contribution from everyone. It's a plan for the future that's based on fiscal responsibility and social responsibility.
There are five key parts to the fiscal plan:
Le premier est d'investir dans les emplois et les citoyens et citoyennes de la province.
Le second est de réduire les coûts du gouvernement en le rendant plus efficace, comme nous avons commencé à le faire dans le domaine de la santé.
Le troisième est de négocier un contrat social qui détermine la juste contribution du secteur public.
Le quatrième est d'augmenter les revenus gouvernementaux en demandant à chacun de payer sa part équitable.
Le dernier est de s'assurer que le développement économique respecte l'intégrité de notre environnement naturel.
[Remarks in Italian]
If we look beyond the individual components of the plan itself, we will find that it's based on a vision of government and of society that is drawn historically from social movements, from people who are seeking a better society.
On this occasion, I would like to quote one such advocate of social justice to whom I and many others look for inspiration. Twenty-five years ago this month, Dr Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee. As if he were with us at the crossroads today, I believe his words still ring true when he said:
"We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to humanity.
"I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the way our world is made. No individual or nation can stand out boasting of being independent. We are interdependent.
"Everyone must decide whether they will walk in the light of creative altruism, or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgement. Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?"'
Chacun doit décider s'il veut avancer dans la lumière de l'altruisme créatif ou dans l'obscurité de l'égoïsme destructif. C'est un jugement. La question la plus insistante et la plus pressante de la vie est celle-ci : <Que faites-vous pour les autres ?>
This is a message to be delivered not only by our social movements but by our governments as well, for our governments are trustees of our community interest and their policies and programs should embody the vision that governments can foster social justice as well as economic prosperity and that in fact the two go hand in hand.
While jobs and the economy are high on the government's agenda, as indicated in the speech from the throne, social justice continues to be a trademark of this government. Clearly there's much more that needs to be done, but I must stress that much has already been accomplished on both fronts despite the difficulties in which we find ourselves.
Let me share with you some of the key initiatives.
A strong economy can best be constructed by harnessing the energy of all Ontarians, particularly those who've been marginalized by the operation of the free market.
One area in which I've been proud to play a part is developing a partnership with citizens of this province who feel they have been neglected, the native people of Ontario. We have recognized the inherent right to self-government of aboriginal peoples. We were the first government to do so. We have signed a statement of political relationship with the aboriginal peoples of Ontario and are using this as the basis for conducting negotiations to resolve long-standing grievances, and we're the first government to have invested money in the capital infrastructure on reserves in this province.
We've focused on the issue of unpaid family support payments. Fathers of over 120,000 Ontario children owe more than half a billion dollars in support, and we say that's wrong. Our government has introduced automatic deduction of support payments from the paycheques of all those ordered by the court to pay support. Already this plan has collected and distributed $212 million. This has helped to ensure the financial security of some of the most vulnerable people, women and children.
We began building a partnership with the workers of the province whose companies were going bankrupt, largely because of the federal policies. We foot the bill, the insurance for their lost wages and a higher degree of insurance for their severance payments than is available in any other province.
Our social assistance payments have gone up from $2.6 billion in 1989-90 to $6.2 billion in 1992-93. This increase is more onerous for Ontario because the federal cap on the Canada assistance plan has resulted in a cumulative shortfall of $3.3 billion since 1991 in the federal share of social assistance expenditures. Many will argue we could do more and that social assistance is not working as well as it should, and I agree with them. Social assistance reform is high on our agenda this year.
As a government, we decided we were going to put our new dollars into early childhood education, where we have increased the budget by 50%, and in training, where we've increased the budget by 40%, to ensure a workforce that is equipped for new technologies and specialized new jobs. We've advanced the training budget in this province to the point where it is nearly $1 billion, a huge, significant advance, and again, we've done it in a time when the federal government has cut back. When they reduced their commitment to training, we have increased ours. Our approach must be to emphasize jobs which are high-wage and high-tech. It is self-defeating to try to create low-wage, low-skill jobs in competition with other countries. Education and training will help us to succeed.
We also have to improve the infrastructure of the province through ongoing capital investment. When we took office, we found that during the most productive six years in terms of economic growth, in the late 1980s, public infrastructure had been overlooked. For example, where were all the new subway lines that all of this economic activity should have generated? Instead, the investments during that time were based, much of them, on real estate speculation, on paper profits, on money shifting hands.
We have embarked on an ambitious program of productive investment, investment in public infrastructural renewal. A new Transportation Capital Corp will build and improve roads and bridges and charge tolls to repay the borrowed money. A new Ontario Clean Water Agency will refurbish $2 billion worth of sewer systems, creating jobs and improving water quality. This is crucial here in Metro, where 25% of our sewage goes straight into the lake untreated. The situation is worse in many parts of the province.
A new Ontario Realty Corp will use the value of government lands as leverage for job creation and other joint ventures.
In terms of affordable housing, we've done more than any government in Canada, and during very difficult times. The construction of non-profit homes, which has increased under our government, will create over 33,000 person-years of employment this year alone and will create housing that is permanently affordable.
We have to do more to assist smaller companies, smaller industries and smaller businesses. I met with small businesses in my riding last week to discuss how we do this, both locally and provincially. The consensus is becoming clear. If we are to meet our community needs, I strongly believe that small business is where our efforts need to be strengthened. Here in Metro Toronto, in 1990-91, we lost 50,000 jobs from companies with more than 50 employees, but we gained 20,000 jobs in companies with less than 10.
We have to improve the structure for community economic development, which will be essential for communities, regions and whole areas that have been seriously affected by the recession, and small business is where these new jobs will come from.
The first part of our plan is, quite simply, to focus all our efforts on improving the strength of the economy and the productivity of our people, and in doing so, to build a viable economy for the long term.
Now that the recovery is under way -- nearly 111,000 jobs created in the last seven months; unemployment that's come down from a high of 11.3% last August to 10.3% today; not fast enough, not as much as we would like -- we have to ask ourselves, how do we get on to a financial and fiscal course as well as a social and economic course that is truly sustainable for our future?
With falling revenues and increased costs from greater demands on our social services, our deficit has increased. We have had to borrow more and pay a larger share of our tax dollars to interest on the debt. We would rather use public resources to invest in services benefiting the whole community rather than becoming slaves to bond holders who primarily come from the most privileged segments of society.
Therefore, we must reduce the debt and the deficit, and the first step is to get our province back to work so that our tax base can once again support the services we rely on.
The second step is to reduce the cost of government by improving its efficiency and the effectiveness of our programs.
In terms of the softer social services, we've made important reforms and plan to make more this year. Welfare reform is crucial. The current system of social assistance does not work very well and we admit that. It eats up an enormous portion of our budget and there's no indication that the numbers will come down unless we take action. The number of people on social assistance, including children, is up into the 15% range. This is intolerable.
We're the first government to create a council of consumers made up entirely of experts who know the system inside out -- welfare recipients -- to recommend how we can improve the delivery and administration of social assistance.
We will proceed with welfare reform this year, the most wide-ranging reform since the Canada assistance plan was introduced in the 1960s.
As a New Democrat, looking back at the history of our party, the purpose of our party isn't to make sure that everybody in the province gets a welfare cheque; the purpose of our party is to make sure that everybody in the province gets a chance to work.
Another key area of reform lies in the health care system. Health is the largest item in the provincial budget at $17 billion. We have learned that you don't advance the cause of health care by simply adding more doctors or giving more money to hospital administrators. We have to bring the system under community control and make it more responsive to our needs. This is the only way we can preserve universal health care.
Cost control is not just an issue in health care. We must control costs on the operating side of government in a way which reflects the deflationary economy we have been living in for the last few years, and we are committed to doing that, not by a slash-and-burn approach to government cost cutting, where we tell our public sector to take it or leave it, but rather through a negotiated social contract with our public sector employees and their bargaining agents.
While this will not be an easy process, I applaud the government for taking this partnership approach. We have to continue to give workers more of a voice and more of a stake. Everything we have done as a government has been based on this premise: wage protection, worker ownership, the rights to organize in Bill 40, the creation of the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board, the kind of empowerment and advocacy which we have represented. All of this is based on a common philosophy and common point of view that we gain as a province and that we gain as a people by advancing the ability of people to become better trained and to participate.
In the public sector, our public servants do an enormously valuable job in this province. They take care of people in their moments of greatest vulnerability. None of us should ever forget that. These are the people who work on behalf of the public in Ontario.
Despite the devastating recession, we have continued to ensure the integrity of our public services, which we all rely on. Public servants who are providing social services and administering our programs have direct knowledge of how this is being done and ideas on how it could be done better. We must harness their knowledge and pride.
It appears that in order to meet our fiscal objectives we will have to reduce our public sector wage package. As a social democratic government, we are committed to doing everything in our power to arrive at a negotiated result, and I am confident that with the goodwill of everyone involved we can reach such a result.
The fourth part of our plan, after we've invested in jobs and in our people while improving the value we get for our tax dollars, is to raise taxes more fairly. As we are prepared to demonstrate that tax dollars will be used more effectively for the public good, we must also have the courage to ensure that those who have benefited most from our society, those with greater income and wealth, should contribute a fair portion of their resources to assist those who are less fortunate, for we have to insist that at the end of the day, the New Democratic Party stands for the common good. We stand for the common wealth. We stand for what all of us owe each other and what we can provide for each other.
Finally, the foundation upon which our social and economic objectives are built and from which they are derived is our natural environment. Environmental sustainability is crucial and will be the basis of a renewed and renewable economy, in which we must encourage the emergence and creation of green industries, of government institutions which respond sensitively to the environment, of increased citizen rights to protect and preserve our environment. These are the long-term interests of our community, and of our economy as well.
We believe governments must be judged on the balance they strike between social justice, economic productivity, environmental sustainability and fiscal responsibility. This is how we determine the maturity and effectiveness of our governments.
It will be Ontarians, under the leadership of our government, who will turn these plans into reality. We have come through a difficult time together, but the clouds, in my view, are breaking, and as a government we have sown the seeds of social, economic and environmental renewal in our province over the last two years. We invested in our people, we have maintained our essential public services and we have advanced social justice where other governments are retreating. If we continue to work together, a season of renewal will take hold in Ontario.
Si nous continuons à travailler ensemble, l'Ontario connaîtra un véritable renouveau.
Ms Sharon Murdock (Sudbury): I am very pleased to second the motion moved by my colleague the member for Fort York.
It is a momentous time, this session, not only because we are moving slowly out of a protracted recession but also because all of us here and throughout the province have come to realize that momentous change must occur.
Momentous change is the order of the day if the emerging economic recovery is to mean jobs, investments, training and provision of necessary services for people, while at the same time an increasing quality of life for all Ontarians.
Perhaps the most momentous challenge we face in the months ahead is the challenge of the costs of government in this period of recovery. Simply put, we have to find ways -- creative, humane ways -- of maintaining services for people in effective and cost-efficient methods in a period of unprecedented fiscal challenges. The costs of government have to be reduced, recognizing at the same time that publicly provided quality services are basic to the quality of life of Ontario's citizens and that compensation costs, broadly defined, are a very large proportion of the costs of the broader public sector.
The necessity of addressing this crucial challenge is the necessity of reversing a troubling trend, where more and more working people are coming to believe that the future is not their friend.
Des changements, nous devons en apporter dans ce que nous faisons, dans notre façon de faire les choses, dans les objectifs que nous espérons atteindre. Le discours du trône d'hier donne les grandes lignes de ces changements et met l'accent sur les emplois pour les Ontariennes et Ontariens et sur l'amélioration de notre économie.
One hundred thousand new jobs have been created in Ontario over the last six months or so, and that covers roughly one third of the jobs lost through this recession and that is encouraging. However, we have much to do to get our people back to work. It's the number one priority: jobs, meaningful jobs. With unemployment at unacceptably high levels, new economic opportunities for people increasing depend on new and renewed skills for Ontarians in a changing and highly competitive world. Our responsibility as a Legislature is to ensure that our people get the training they need.
That's one reason why the passage of the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board legislation is so important. It exemplifies the concept of new partnerships that are going to be required in the future. Business, labour, educators, trainers and community representatives all working together will determine the training needs for the province.
Under that bill, local labour, local business and local community representatives will determine what is needed in terms of training and retraining at a local level. Who better knows what is needed in their own area than the people who live and work in that particular community?
Speaking as a northern member, I believe that what is significant in the LTAB formation is the fact that allocation of dollars will be determined by local people concerned about their own local needs, and it won't be some person or some committee in a Toronto office making decisions for us.
Representation on these boards is also very important. The tripartite nature, of course, includes business people and labour people. However, it will also include the voices of women, aboriginal peoples, the disabled and visible minorities. For far too long they have been forgotten, and yet they form a majority of our population. Now they will have a say.
Half a billion dollars -- just think of it -- $500 million each and every year is to be spent through OTAB on training Ontario workers. Overall, Ontario spends, now, more than $900 million a year on worker training and adjustment, more than any government in this province has ever spent in these particular areas.
No longer will training be overseen by numerous ministries, often with excessive duplication. One board, OTAB, will take over the direct organization and the management of government-sponsored training. It will prove to be a much more efficient and cost-effective method of administering program delivery.
Something I'm very proud of and that I carried in committee is for the women in this province who are still not being paid equally for work of equal value. The pay equity amendments have been through committee now and the two new methods of comparing women's wages, proportional and proxy values, are included in those amendments.
Public sector employees, another 400,000 of them, will be affected. The cost of $1 billion over the government's mandate is indeed high, but higher yet is the cost to those women in this province who work long and hard hours without the recognition that their work has value and that what they do is not only respected but also valued.
That $1 billion towards recognition of women's work will reap benefits for everyone in this province, with more income, disposable income increases, and this results in not only greater spending but more tax revenue. Everyone benefits with pay equity.
This session will also see final passage of long-term care reform. Last year the ministers of Health, Community and Social Services and seniors announced the need to streamline services for the disabled and elderly. It makes sense to have multiservices, social and medical, provided by a single agency in each region. The one-stop-shopping concept has been hailed by those whom it will serve, for it will provide a continuum of care, from providing home care as it is needed, to institutionalization if necessary.
Une meilleure coordination des services dans les régions permettra aux personnes âgées et handicapées d'avoir accès plus facilement aux services dont elles ont besoin. Le système sera plus efficace et plus rentable.
As our population ages, the pressures put upon our health care system increase. Our long-term care reform will address some of the structural problems in the existing system: for example, support for families who care for sick relatives; palliative care services for those who wish to spend their last days in their own home; a relief system for care givers; looking at whether or not to pay families directly to care for ailing relatives at home; giving disabled adults control over buying their own attendant care services; expansion of homemaker programs and community support services.
This bill has been a long time coming and while additional funding will be required to set the reforms on their feet, the long-term costs to health will be significantly affected and reduced, while at the same time enriching the lives of Ontario residents.
Spring is a time of renewal and new beginnings. We've already emphasized that job creation is our number one priority. A major bill will be introduced this session towards that goal -- it will have first reading -- the creation of three new crown corporations: Transportation Capital Corp, Ontario Clean Water Agency and the Ontario Realty Corp. Each corporation will focus on job creation projects within the context of new partnerships with the private sector.
In February, our government committed itself to an aggressive $6-billion capital investment program. I heard on the news that yesterday's throne speech, in particular in this area, was just a rehash and a repetition of what has already been announced. It is true that we did announce this in February, but it is a new beginning, together with municipalities and private sector investors: $6 billion will be invested over the next decade, 60,000 jobs will be created by 1996 and more than 100,000 by the end of the program.
La construction et la réfection des routes permettront de maintenir l'infrastructure de l'Ontario. Dans le cas d'une nouvelle route, et à condition qu'il existe d'autres routes menant au même endroit, un système de péage sera instauré jusqu'à ce que les coûts de construction de la route aient été payés. Des emplois seront créés dans l'industrie de la construction et dans les entreprises connexes.
Des réseaux et d'adduction d'eau un peu partout en province ont besoin d'être rénovés et entretenus. Encore là, on créera plus d'emploi.
La Société foncière de l'Ontario se servira de la valeur des terrains du gouvernement comme levier financier pour emprunter et créer des emplois grâce à des partenariats.
This is a new concept, a new beginning. The boards which will direct operations will involve representatives from all the sectors with people who have some expertise in the specific area. New partnerships will be forged and no longer will it be government representatives making all the decisions. Instead, it will be Ontarians working for themselves.
As you can see, this session will be a busy one. I have addressed only some of the initiatives presented in the throne speech, but each bill coming forth this session addresses an aspect of job creation or of improv ing Ontario's economy without diminishing those social values which we hold dear. Ontario must get back to work. Our residents deserve the dignity of a good day's pay for a good day's work. Our agenda this session works towards that goal and I am sure that everyone in this House will strive to that end.
I am proud to second the motion in passing the throne speech and I thank you for your attention.
The Deputy Speaker: The member for Mississauga West.
Mr Steven W. Mahoney (Mississauga West): I would love to, but I will adjourn the debate.
The Deputy Speaker: Mr Mahoney moves the adjournment of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.
Hon Marion Boyd (Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Women's Issues): I move adjournment of the House.
The Deputy Speaker: The acting House leader moves the adjournment of the House. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried. This House stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock tomorrow afternoon.
The House adjourned at 1631.