36th Parliament, 1st Session

L003 - Thu 28 Sep 1995 / Jeu 28 Sep 1995











































The House met at 1331.



The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Please join me in welcoming the first group of pages to serve the 36th Parliament of Ontario:

Brandi Allingham, Leeds-Grenville; Lisa Bevilacqua, York Centre; Robert Bickford, Fort William; Allan Boynton, Dufferin-Peel; Taryn Burns, Etobicoke West; Andrew Carricato, Sault Ste Marie; Elizabeth Clare, Cambridge; Mary Carl Guiao, Mississauga North; Jonathan Helmus, Durham East; Bradley Hickey, Huron; Brian Johnson, Kenora; Jeremy Karn, Elgin; Rebecca Lockridge, Frontenac-Addington; Erika Manata, Fort York; Maud Martinsen, Mississauga East; Anna Montemurro, Niagara Falls; Jeffrey Moran, Brampton North; Carolyn Murnaghan, Willowdale; Shanna O'Dwyer, Wellington; Sarah-Jane Renaud, Windsor-Walkerville; Omar Shariff, Don Mills; Charity Smith, Durham-York; Matthew Strang, Simcoe East; Stephen Vetsis, Scarborough East.

Would you welcome our new pages.



Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all those people who worked tirelessly to put on Sudbury's fifth annual Cinefest. This film festival has become Canada's fourth-largest one, after Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The economic impact to the region of Sudbury is $2 million.

Despite this great success, a cloud continues to hang over the film industry in Ontario, pending further cuts to the Ontario Film Development Corp. Recently I was appalled to learn that the government has cut funding to this proven job-creator.

The government's own figures claim that for every dollar the Ontario film investment program spends, it supports $8.30 in domestic television and film production in Ontario. More importantly, this program actually brings the province much-needed revenue.

The current slash-and-burn tactics of the government will soon damage an industry that generates over $400 million per year in economic development and employs over 30,000 people.

Support for the film industry must not be seen as corporate welfare but as a necessary policy of economic development. This province can ill afford to lose production and jobs to competitors elsewhere.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I'd like to take this occasion to point out a trend that has been developing under this new government that is quite contrary to what they've been promising during the last election.

Specifically, you'll remember that Mr Harris and his candidates were out there in the last election telling people his biggest goal in life was to get the government out of people's faces. But a trend is developing that is quite disturbing and in fact is contrary to what Mr Harris promised during the last election. We've had a number of ministerial statements as of late that indicate that Mr Harris's government is in fact changing public policy that in the end will put government directly into people's lives. Let me explain by way of example.

If this government is removing government from people's lives, why then are suggestions being made to parents of welfare children to have the state, through the children's aid society, take over the responsibility of feeding these children? Not only do I find this repulsive as a suggestion, but it is also a new public policy. If it is, shame on you; shame on you all.

Another example of this contradiction: The Minister of Community and Social Services recently suggested to people how they should shop and what they should buy when they go to do their family groceries as a result of the Harris cuts to welfare. Mr Tsubouchi suggested that people buy dented cans of tuna. Mr Minister, telling people what you want them to buy when they go to the grocery store is not a power that you gained when you enter cabinet.

I say to you, if you're serious about getting government out of people's lives, you're being pretty darn selective about whose lives you want government out of.


Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): I'm very pleased to announce to this House that the city of Nepean has been recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its excellence in governmental budgeting. This association presented Nepean with its distinguished Budget Presentation Award.

In accordance with the principles of The Common Sense Revolution, Nepean has balanced its budget this year and for the last 15 years has kept tax increases below the rate of inflation, all with virtually no debt.

Families in Nepean balance their budgets. The city of Nepean balances its budget year after year, and the people of Nepean have elected this government to ensure that Ontario does the same.

Balancing budgets and cutting taxes will secure hope, opportunity, prosperity and jobs for the people of this province. As elected representatives we should follow the lead set by our people in Nepean and families and communities across Ontario to commit ourselves to live within our means and genuinely change the way government works in this province.



M. Jean-Marc Lalonde (Prescott et Russell) : Le 8 juin dernier, les gens de Prescott et Russell m'ont accordé l'honneur d'être élu pour représenter leurs intérêts ici à Queen's Park. Je les remercie de m'avoir confié cette énorme responsabilité.

October 1995 was supposed to be a time of celebration in the city of Niagara Falls. After four years of preparation, the residents of Niagara Falls were looking forward to welcoming the Ministry of Tourism to their city. What better place for the Ministry of Tourism than the site of one of the seven wonders of the world, a site that boasts over 12 million visitors a year?

Unfortunately, the Premier and his new government rained on Niagara Falls' parade. Just one short month before the ministry was scheduled to move, the government announced that it had cancelled the relocation project. This relocation project had been in the works for over four years. A new $23-million building had been built to house the ministry in Niagara Falls. Twenty families had already moved to Niagara Falls and had begun a new life there.

The residents of Niagara Falls are angry and upset over the cancellation. They were looking forward to the economic shot in the arm that the Ministry of Tourism would have provided to their city. Millions of dollars were spent by the city and business community in preparation for the move. Now the new building sits empty. It is no wonder Niagara Falls feels betrayed.

I urge the Premier and the Minister of Tourism to reverse their decision and allow the relocation of the Ministry of Tourism to Niagara Falls.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): Yesterday's speech from the throne leaves me very disappointed. Where I expected there would be a plan to create jobs and to assist people and their communities who will be affected by the massive layoffs planned by the new Conservative government, there was none.

There was no mention of where these newly laid off people would find jobs, especially in an era where unemployment numbers are already very high.

I assume the plan is to let the private sector take over. Well, we already know how that works: more profits and fewer jobs, and the few jobs will be mostly part-time with no benefits.

In Sault Ste Marie, we already have a workplace on strike over just these issues. Local 582 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union represents the employees of Pino's IGA on Trunk Road in the Sault. This is a very profitable operation. These workers have been on strike since May of this year in an attempt to protect the few full-time positions that are left as well as trying to protect the rights of the part-time workers. This is a story we will hear repeated across the province as the new "commonsense" Ontario unfolds.

I stand today to say thank you to these workers, and I encourage the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store workers at the IGA to continue their fight for their rights. I would also say to these workers, your fight is not only for yourselves, but for all of Ontario against the plan that will see more and more people forced into part-time work with lower wages and no benefits.

To Mike Harris I say: Thank you, Mike Harris. Thank you for nothing.


Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): I rise today to offer my congratulations to retiring chief of police Ray Holden of the Orangeville Police Services Board. Chief Holden holds the distinction of being the longest serving police chief in all of Ontario. I would like to personally thank him for the 40 years he has put into police work and add my congratulations to a long list of admirers for the hard work and dedication he has given the people of Ontario, to serve and protect.

Chief Holden began his police career in Thunder Bay, then known as Fort William and Port Arthur. He moved on to serve the communities of Marathon, Hagersville and Walkerton, finally moving to Orangeville in July 1975.

Chief Holden's respect in the community does not only come from serving as a very capable and hands-on chief of police for 28 years, but also as an active member of the Orangeville community, having been involved with the Lions Club of Orangeville as both member and president, and as a coach and fan of local sports clubs.

The province of Ontario owes Ray Holden a debt of gratitude. My wish for Ray and his wife, Sonia, is that their next 40 years are as rewarding as his past 40 have been.

Orangeville is lucky to have had the benefit of his wisdom and experience and will miss his friendly face behind the chief's desk.


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Ottawa South): I rise today because I am concerned that this government lacks a positive environmental agenda of any kind.

My party and the people of Ontario are interested in learning about what plans, if any, this government has regarding the environment.

What will this government do concerning global warming or the protection of our green space? What will it do about water pollution and air quality? What measures will it take to clean up contaminated soil or protect our forestry resources? What will the Mike Harris government do to preserve our farm land for agriculture and our wildlife habitat?

It is with grave concern that I report to you, Mr Speaker, that neither The Common Sense Revolution nor yesterday's throne speech shed any light on these questions. In fact, there is not a single reference to the need to protect, preserve and enhance our natural environment found within the government's agenda as outlined in these two documents.

We all recognize that a healthy environment is essential to the wellbeing of individuals and communities, and crucial for sound economic growth.

Government has a vital role to play in developing policies and in setting and enforcing standards for the protection of human health and the environment. The people of Ontario have come to expect this from their governments.

What they want to know now is whether the Mike Harris government will protect our natural environment and, better still, whether it will leave our environment in a state better than the one in which they found it.


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): In the throne speech the provincial government indicated that it intended to implement a demanding core curriculum for education.

One of those new courses that is required is Snobelen as a second language; that is, "language" as a noun.

Curriculum experts in the ministry and in boards across the province are working with teachers as we speak -- or should we say, "as we language"? -- to develop this new course. One of the most difficult parts of this course will be the new vocabulary, that is, definitions -- nouns like "client," "consumer," "service provider" and even "crisis." Especially confusing for the student will be the use and meaning of verbs like "invent" and "language."

Certain nouns, like "student," "parent," "taxpayer," "teacher" and, particularly, "reveal" will become obsolete as people become more familiar with language Snobelen.

Only when we truly grasp this language will we understand what the Minister of Education and Training actually means when he says he must invent a crisis in education. We will realize that he did not really mean what we all thought he said. Perhaps we will recognize that he almost never means what he says except perhaps when he talks about business people dodging taxes.

Throughout the process, we'll all understand that nouns like "credibility" are not part of language Snobelen. They can dispense with that word from now on.


Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East): In recent weeks our government, under the leadership of the Premier and the Finance minister, has begun the course of returning Ontario to sound fiscal health.

We've begun the downsizing of government, the dismantling of unnecessary regulation and the balancing of a provincial budget which had bloated to over $57 billion.

It should concern all the taxpayers in this province that over the past few weeks certain municipal politicians and the boards of a number of municipal agencies have failed to understand that the citizens of Ontario are overtaxed and overregulated, and want change.

When the TTC cannot even manage a 1% reduction in its operating grant and instead chooses to inflict a fare increase on its customers and, even worse, cause inconvenience and suffering to its Wheel-Trans clients, it's clear that all of our partners do not share our respect for the wishes of the electorate.

What is needed now is a genuine commitment from all levels of government to follow the example we're setting and redesign their operations to strive for efficiency, to demand productivity and creativity from their employees, to look at new and innovative means of service delivery and, more than anything else, to heed the clarion call of the voters and do all these things with fewer tax dollars.

We call upon municipal and federal politicians to resist the urge to criticize our actions and instead to join us in making government more efficient and earning the respect of the long-suffering taxpayers.




Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): I am happy to announce that the regulations for Bill 124, the bicycle helmet legislation, are complete.

The law will apply to cyclists under the age of 18. We want to protect our children and young people from cycling-related head injuries, and cyclists who are in the habit of wearing approved helmets as kids will be more likely to use them as adults. We have also noted that most other jurisdictions that have introduced bicycle helmet legislation have done so to protect the minors.

I certainly encourage Ontario cyclists of all ages to wear helmets. However, adults can make a responsible safety choice for themselves.

Wearing a helmet is important. Each year, some 12 people under 18 years are killed in cycling mishaps in Ontario and some 1,500 are injured. Seventy five per cent of cycling deaths result from head injuries, injuries that helmet use can reduce by 85%.

This new law goes a long way towards preparing young people for many enjoyable and safe years on their bikes.


Hon Dave Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): Today I'm reporting back on the July 21 spending reductions announced by my colleague the Minister of Finance. In his statement, Minister Eves outlined a number of major cost-cutting initiatives necessary because of the fiscal mess we inherited after the election on June 8. Mr Eves announced we would cut $1.9 billion from this year's spending plans.

The real issue behind these reductions is simply this: Can we continue to spend beyond our means today and expect future taxpayers to pay for the services we use today? How will we be judged five, 10 or 20 years from now by Ontario residents who must not only pay for their own health care, education and social services but will also pay for the debt we pile on today?

Government spending has doubled over the past 10 years and our debt has almost tripled, to a total of nearly $100 billion. When we took office in June, we found the real deficit was $10.6 billion. Clearly, this is not sustainable.

This year alone, the province will spend nearly $9 billion on interest costs. This means the equivalent of almost $800 coming out of the pocket of each and every person in Ontario to pay interest on past government deficits. If debt costs were to continue to grow at the rate they have since 1990, they would cost every Ontarian about $1,700 each year by the end of the decade.

Our mandate is clear. Ontario residents expect this government to take the action necessary to a balanced budget and ensure that necessary services will be available and affordable -- not only today but in future years as well. And most importantly, balanced books will restore confidence in Ontario and will bring a willingness to invest and to create jobs.

On July 21, the Minister of Finance announced $850 million of operating expenditure reductions and $307 million of capital reductions. He also assigned ministries targets for cutting their spending by a total of $500 million in operating costs and $187 million in capital costs and asked them to return to Management Board on September 1 with their plans to meet these targets.

Today I am announcing that the ministries have met the reduction targets for operating and capital spending and that these savings will continue next year. In fact, the savings total $771.9 million, thereby exceeding the target of $687 million set by the Minister of Finance by nearly $85 million.

These cuts will mean that we are eliminating almost 1,400 positions from the civil service over the next two years.

The savings I am announcing today will result in some cuts to services, and over the coming days my cabinet colleagues will be communicating with their stakeholders to discuss exactly how today's cuts will affect their programs.

I would note, however, that while the direct operating expenditures -- the money the government spends to run itself -- account for only 10% of total expenditures, this year they represent fully 28% of the operating savings I am announcing today.

These are tough decisions. However, these measures are a necessary step to achieve our goal of renewed prosperity, reduced taxes, a balanced budget and more jobs.

Cutting government spending is crucial to future economic and employment growth in Ontario. Less than a month after being elected, we moved to get the province's spending under control by reducing expenditures for this year. Today's announcement shows that we are doing just that.

But we can't just tinker or cope. We must rethink how we use taxpayers' dollars to deliver public services. And just as we are rethinking the way we do business, provincially funded organizations must take a hard look at how they operate, at the kinds of services they provide and at the way they are providing them.

We will now be working with our ministries and with the organizations we fund to find and implement ways to bring permanent change to the public sector: to make government smaller and more efficient and to bring quality services to Ontarians who really need them. For this to happen, we must be certain we are spending every dollar we have as wisely as possible.

After all, we will all benefit most from a province which wisely manages its finances and provides services where they are truly needed.


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): When I was told there was a ministerial statement today, I thought the minister was going to recognize the thousands of people who are left without rides to work and to hospitals by Wheels-Trans in Metro Toronto, that possibly he would have seen the light to help those people who need that Wheel-Trans ride, but obviously that's going to be delayed -- until when, I don't know.

But his statement today is maybe the most classic case of backpedalling we've ever seen so far -- anyway, in this government. For the last month there's been an eerie silence anticipating the October 1 implementation of the helmet law. We have seen why there's been a silence, because in essence they've caved in to ideological pressure and have restricted the use of helmets just to people under the age of 18. Basically, what they have done is they've said some people in society are more disposable than others.


In fact, being new here, I suspect this is a complete contradiction of Bill 124. Bill 124 says that no persons shall be exempt, so who is a person and who isn't? This law is really half a law. It's a cave-in, it's a flip-flop, especially when the Premier of the province, on August 9, was asked specifically, "Would you enforce the helmet law as proposed by the member for London North?" and he said --

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): What did he say?

Mr Colle: I'll put my glasses on. "`That was the will of the people, it was passed by the Legislature, and we'll honour that,' he said."

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): What's the date on that?

Mr Colle: August 9.

"`The bill itself will not be changed.'"

There's been a dramatic change of this bill. It is not the intent of it, and I think it will result in a number of people in Ontario suffering accidents as a result of this caving in to these ideological pressures. It's got nothing to do with safety. so safety has been given a back seat to ideology. If this is the way the Minister of Transportation is going to begin his ministry, I can imagine what we have in store.


Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): I think the minister has a case of bad speechwriting over there. I think he needs to hire another speechwriter, because the statement essentially says nothing. The Minister of Finance made his statement some time ago, and the minister for Management Board stands up and says, "I'm going to cheerlead him today and tell you how wonderful all these cuts are going to be for the province of Ontario."

Minister, let me ask you something. When you're sitting in that cabinet room having your ideological feeding frenzy, trying to figure out whose young you're going to devour next, do you ever think about the impact these cuts will really have on Ontario? Really, do you think about the devastating economic impact?

Sure, we agree with making government more efficient, we agree with streamlining, we agree with the kinds of efficiencies and cost savings that have to come in the future, but you haven't told us what the impact of these cuts will be on the people of the province of Ontario. There is nothing laid before this House, no details to specify those cuts. There is no budget, which we understand is forthcoming, but that's not good enough. People are beginning to suffer out there. This Parliament has a right to know what in fact is being cut, the kinds of devastating impacts that will be felt in each of those sectors and the kinds of impacts that will be felt by people out there. We saw yesterday an example of the kind of anger that will be demonstrated in this province because of the cuts you're bringing about.

Yes, you were elected, yes, you have a majority, but you need to be aware -- we'll make you aware -- of the real suffering and sacrifice that will ensue as a result of your harebrained cuts, which are going to cut right across the spectrum without any due regard for the kind of suffering that will take place. You need to measure the impacts of these cuts, and if you had any courage, you would bring some details before this House for us to examine and to start a real debate in this House, which I think everyone's waiting to have. Let's bring on that debate. Bring on those details. That's what we're waiting for.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): The statement by the Chair of Management Board today obviously begs the question, where's the beef? You've made a statement today that gives us very little by way of detail. On one hand, you've been telling us all the way through the election and then on July 21 that this massive hit of 13,000 jobs is coming. Yesterday we heard that you were going to cut $9 billion out of the provincial budget, and today we're talking about less than $1 billion and 1,400 positions.

We know more is coming. The people of Ontario out there are anxious and nervous about this, particularly those whose jobs depend on it. A community like Sault Ste Marie, that depends so highly on the services this government provides, is wondering what to do in face of what it is expecting.

It is, in my mind, short of being truthful and forthright with people, not to give us the details and talk with us about what it is that you're going to do in a forthright, honest fashion, so that places like Hamilton and Niagara Falls, which have been working for the last five years putting together community economic development plans that contain the impact and effect and contribution that jobs the provincial government provides to those communities will have -- and here we're going to take away a lot of that. There's no information here that will help us as we try to come to terms with all of that and provide the employment we have to provide to our citizens. I ask you for more detail, Chair of Management Board, so we can respond to this statement today.

Mr Bob Rae (York South): In responding to the statement made by the Chairman of Management Board, I think the government, in making the statements it is making with respect to its cuts, ought in every statement to at least give us the honour of telling the whole story with respect to why the cuts are as severe and as harsh as they are. The reason is because of the promise you have made with respect to cuts in income taxes, which cuts will benefit most substantially the people who have the most money. This is the escalator, this is the treadmill that you have put the people of this province on.

There is a general acceptance in this House and across the province with respect to the need to restrain spending and the need to keep deficits under control. You'll have no argument with anybody about that issue. Where we part company, and we part company most firmly, with members of the Conservative Party is that additional cuts in health care, in social services, in Wheel-Trans, in education, services for the most vulnerable, services that we were promised during the election would not be cut, are being cut and are being effected today because of the promises you made with respect to income tax and because you're so determined to give a handout to the rich.

If we're facing such a serious problem with respect to the deficit, if that's the problem we're facing, if that's the difficulty we're facing, if that's the challenge we're facing with respect to the deficit, I would say to the member for York East, and I would say to him very directly, and to the Premier as well, that everybody in this House knows that the pace and the force that are being directed to these cuts have everything to do with your promises on income tax cuts which will go principally to the wealthy and have nothing at all to do with the fact that we're all agreed on the need to control spending and the need to deal with deficits. There is consensus on that. We don't need your ritualistic expressions of financial piety to tell us what to do.

We paid the price for two and a half years in this caucus, knowing full well what had to be done. We paid the political price for that, and now I'm telling you, sir, come clean and remind people that it's because of the absurdity of your giveaways to middle- and upper-income people that the province, the entire province, the health care, the education and the services, are being put at risk because of your financial voodoo. That's what's happening.


Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): I too listened intently to what amounts to, on this first session, nothing short of betrayal. I'm trying to place myself in the shoes of one Dianne Cunningham, for I recall vividly her lobby, timid at first and yet more aggressive as the days went on, "Gilles, give us bike helmets," and we did acquiesce. Today Dianne Cunningham has been betrayed and betrayed again.



Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: I think it would be a surprise if we didn't have some response from you and some discussion of where we're going in terms of a comment on what happened here yesterday at the Ontario Legislature. We had a bit of a discussion this morning among the three House leaders, and I want to say that anything I might say does not indicate any prejudgments that have been made about what happened yesterday and how it came about. But I have a great concern that in the last couple of months there have been changes in the way that the security operations in this building are operating.

It has always been my understanding that members of the Legislature, obviously with the Speaker providing the leadership, are the ones who make decisions around this place about security. Decisions were made yesterday that, I believe very sincerely, contributed to the very serious situation that was experienced around the Legislature and in the Legislature.

I think it's clear that there will continue to be security challenges around this place and that all of us, as members from all three political parties, have an obligation and have a right to be part of those discussions so that we're all setting the security policy around the Legislature.

I want to suggest, Mr Speaker, that in developing that security policy, the best way for that to happen would be to make a referral from this place to the Legislative Assembly committee to review what happened yesterday, to review what's happened in the last couple of months and then to make recommendations to you about what changes need to take place with respect to security.

I can't emphasize enough the concerns that my caucus has, and I think all of us in all three political parties, about what happened yesterday: members being locked out; others being locked out of the facility; people being injured out front; decisions that were made, with my understanding being that no elected member was part of the decision about who could have access to the front steps, who could use the PA system. I sincerely believe that if that normal access had been provided, that actually would have helped prevent the mayhem that occurred out in front of this place. What happened yesterday does not serve the province well; it does not serve the institution of Parliament well.

Mr Speaker, I think we need a report from you as quickly as possible, but even more, I believe we should agree today that there will be, over the next couple of days, an all-party resolution passed in Parliament making a referral to the Legislative Assembly committee so that what happened yesterday never happens again around this place.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Mr Speaker, there may be members who have comments other than mine on this, but it was certainly a matter of great concern at the House leaders' meeting this morning. I thought there was a fair consensus that what was most important was to have the input of the three parties rather than having the government impose on the opposition, the opposition on the government or the Speaker alone, that we should have that kind of input, because the vision that people had of the province yesterday was not a pretty one on the front steps, needless to say.

It's a very difficult job to be a security person in a time when there are people who have very strong feelings about what's happening in the province. I appreciate the fact that the people who are on the front line often have to make instant decisions when they're dealing with situations that arise in and around the building.

I was deeply disappointed that members of the Legislative Assembly were denied access to the building. Something very fundamental to this House is the access that all of us have as elected members to this chamber and to the building as a whole, and the building is open 24 hours a day for that very purpose.

The image that we saw at the front, again, is one that will be shown across North America, unfortunately. It was what you call in the business, probably, good TV. In other words, it is something that is interesting, I suppose, because it's different; it's out of the ordinary. As a result we look at newscasts even beyond our own borders and see that this was a featured item. That's what I think gets concern in the minds of the members of the Legislature.

There have been some additional restrictions placed on us as members coming in in certain parts of the building, and I understand -- again, it's no one trying to be mean; it's no one trying to deliberately obstruct the opposition in this case; in my view it's simply a case of caution -- the Sergeant at Arms convened a committee some time ago that discussed some aspects of security in this House. I think it would be beneficial to get some input from the deliberations of that committee.

Ultimately, I understand you are responsible for the precinct which is known as the House and the parliamentary building, but I think we want to try as much as we can to avoid what we saw yesterday with people being injured, with a melee taking place on the front steps of the Legislature and around the building.

On the other hand, I appreciate very much that it's important to have adequate security in this building. If something had happened in the other direction, if there had been people who had had access to the House and perhaps wanted to take things to the extreme, I understand that there's going to be a caution about that as well.

I think what we want is a balance. I think a legislative committee can be very helpful in that regard, of members who have had some experience and some observations on this. Your input will be valuable. The input of staff and perhaps the input of some of the officials of the Ministry of the Solicitor General would be helpful because they had people who were here acting as well.

So all of this I think will be very helpful, and I would certainly be supportive of that and I would hope the government would respond favourably to this because I know they are as concerned about the matter as we are.

Mr Monte Kwinter (Wilson Heights): On the same point of order, Mr Speaker: I think that somewhere along the line the climate in this institution has changed, and it's changed quite dramatically.

Yesterday was unfortunate, and I think all of us realize that, but today there is a situation that sent chills up my spine. As we speak, there are at least five OPP vans parked in the courtyard outside the west wing loaded with guard dogs. When you see that, someone had to give that order; someone had to anticipate that there was going to be a problem. I would suggest, with respect, that sometimes the anticipation and the preparation creates the problem. I think that whoever it was who gave that order -- and as I say, when I went out to my car this morning and saw all these vans and heard the dogs yapping, it really was a chilling experience.

I think it is important that the security and the safety of everybody in this precinct be taken into consideration, but I think it's important that we look at what the response is, and does the response match the danger? I would suggest to you that there has been an over-response.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): I don't wish to belabour the point, but I do want to add a couple of observations about my own experiences yesterday which have specifically to do with the denial of entry for members of this assembly.

I indicated to the House at the end of proceedings yesterday that I, my colleague from Sudbury and, for a while, the minister without portfolio, the member for Burlington South, were systematically denied entry to this building by people who knew us to be duly elected members of the Legislature.

I should say, and I want to say publicly and thankfully, that there were staff in the suite of the Lieutenant Governor who, when I approached them up those carpeted steps in the northwest part of the building, said: "Oh, Mr Conway, good to see you. Of course you might enter." So I want to thank them for their generosity of spirit.

But let me say very seriously that there is no more fundamental matter of parliamentary privilege than the right of duly elected members of this Parliament, or any other Parliament, to access this chamber and obviously this building, and that has to be understood by all of us. Can you imagine, for example, a government about to face a very critical vote where it knows by virtue of an electoral result it has the members to carry the vote, and where the fate of the government lies in the balance and in fact the government itself might be defeated because someone decided that members of Parliament associated with the government were barred at the door and denied access? It's just absolutely unthinkable that there could be such a policy.

I have over the last few moments been reading the 21st edition of Erskine May's Parliamentary Practice, and he makes very plain, in his deliberations around the question of parliamentary privilege, that the right of access is fundamental and it's medieval in its origins.


I don't want to -- and I asked you, Mr Speaker, and I'm sure you will -- inquire as to why that denial of access was allowed, or why those of us, myself and the member for Sudbury and the member for Burlington South, were told that we could not come into this building. As I say, one of the most frustrating parts of my efforts yesterday was in the back of the building, some of the basement entrances, looking at people I've worked with here for 15 or 20 years, who know me to be a member -- and there wasn't very much of a crowd around -- and security guards just waving, saying, "Sorry, you can't come in here today," or, "You can't come here now." That is, I repeat, one of the most fundamental breaches of parliamentary privilege that I can imagine.

I want to know, Mr Speaker, in your report who gave the order. Who was it who instructed good security people -- and I know them to be good people -- who gave the order that members duly elected on June 8 could not come here yesterday to hear Her Majesty's representative read the throne speech? Clearly, they did not act without instruction. Who gave the order and what are we going to do to make people who give orders like that understand that parliamentary privilege means something?

I agree with the members who've spoken before, and I was outside with some others of the precinct. I see my friend Mr Walkom from the Toronto Star. He and I happened to be at one door together, equally rejected.

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): It's the company you keep, Sean.

Mr Conway: As the member for Rainy River says, it's perhaps the company I keep.

But I want to say it is a very important company we keep, because our electors have sent us here to represent their views and their concerns.

So, Mr Speaker, I say, again, a more fundamental breach of parliamentary privilege I cannot imagine. I want to know, and as soon as possible, who gave the order to deny us access and what steps are being taken to educate a few people around here as to what Parliament's all about and, more importantly, assurances that this kind of policy and practice is never going to recur.

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, if I might, on behalf of the government, both the member for St Catharines and the member for Windsor-Riverside have quite properly stated that we had this discussion in House leaders this morning. As a matter of fact, I was able to contact you, as you know, by phone just before 1:30 this afternoon to tell you that it was our intention that we do refer this matter to the Legislative Assembly committee. I apologize to the two other House leaders that I did not get back to you, but it did happen right at 1:30 today.

I think that this matter should be referred to the Legislative Assembly committee to provide some advice to yourself. I understand that under both statute and the standing orders you are charged with the responsibility of security in the legislative precinct, and I understand that there is a very difficult balance that has to be struck on some occasions between security and the rights of members and also, I might point out, just as importantly if not more importantly, the rights of the public to access to the Legislative Assembly building.

So I would, from our side, certainly indicate to all members and to you, Mr Speaker, and the public as well, that we certainly have no problem with referring the matter of security in the legislative precinct to the Legislative Assembly committee as advice to yourself in your duties as the Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): I want to thank those honourable members raising the issue that they have. It's a very major concern of mine and I want to say that I hope I have the review or the report that I'm looking for before it's referred to that committee. I'm looking forward to having that next week.


Hon Noble Villeneuve (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, with responsibility for Francophone Affairs): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I'd like all members to be aware that the fresh Ontario apples on all members' desks today are compliments of the Ontario apple growers through the Ontario Apple Marketing Commission.

As all members know, we are just into the apple season in this province, and these top-quality apples will be enjoyed by people throughout this province and indeed across the world. The apple crop in Ontario is almost two thirds of our fruit crop, and it is good news that today it reminds us that good things do grow on Ontario farms.



Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): My first question is to the Premier. In The Common Sense Revolution you state and state clearly, "We will not cut health care." In a campaign backgrounder you stated: "There will be no cuts to health care funding by a Harris government. This is our first and most important commitment." Those are your words, Premier. You repeated them over and over again during the campaign last spring, yet less than a month after being sworn in, you reneged on that commitment by cutting $132 million from the budget of the Ministry of Health. I notice that this commitment, your first and most important, was not actually important enough to make it into your first throne speech.

Premier, you have broken your promise, the promise that you called your first and most important commitment --

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): Let's have an election.

Mrs McLeod: -- I ask you, how can you justify breaking a promise that was so central to your campaign? If that commitment was so important to you, Premier -- laugh as you may about promises which you may have made -- if that promise was so important to you, how could you allow it to be one of the first promises you broke?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): Mr Speaker, let me too, in my first opportunity, congratulate you. Obviously, it's going to be a very difficult challenge in administering the affairs of the Legislature faced yesterday, and of course administering us is a big enough challenge at all, 130 members, and I offer my congratulations.

Mr Cooke: And then you are going to get rid of the seats.

Hon Mr Harris: I offer as well my congratulations to the leader of the official opposition on her personal re-election and on her position in this chamber. The member for Windsor-Riverside interjected. I think he's ready for an election. I don't know if he has consulted with the leader of his party on that, but let me get directly to the leader of the official opposition.

We made a commitment on May 3, 1994, to the people of this province to protect the $17.4-billion health care budget. That was in The Common Sense Revolution when we launched it. We said, and Ontarians had told us through our consultations, that the number one funding priority was indeed health care. On May 3, a year later, in London, 1995, we reiterated that commitment, and I quote from the announcement during the campaign: "Protected health care funding, coupled with smarter management and reinvested savings, will make Ontario's health care system once again the best in the world."

We have sealed the envelope, but we have said time and time and time again in The Common Sense Revolution, in the campaign, that we have to spend smarter, that we have to find savings if we're going to meet the new funding pressures, some announcements that the Minister of Health has already made today. I can tell the honourable member and I can tell all honourable members that four or five years from now, when we head back to the polls, that envelope will have been sealed and it will be a tremendous challenge for us to maintain health care funding at $17.4 billion. We see our commitment as, can we keep it there, as opposed to cutting the health care envelope. That was our commitment in The Common Sense Revolution, it was our commitment in the campaign and it is our commitment today.

Mrs McLeod: Every time we raise the issue of a fundamental broken promise, $132 million cut from the budget of the Ministry of Health in this government's very first financial statement, the Premier talks about reallocating the resources. In fact, the Finance minister that very day said, "We've cut it but we're going to reallocate it."


There's a basic fact about budgeting, I say to the Premier and the Finance minister: You cannot reallocate that money and still use it to cut the deficit. The Finance minister presented a financial statement where he cut $132 million from the Ministry of Health budget and he used it to reduce his deficit. It was off the bottom line. You cannot tell me that you're going to reallocate that same money to other parts of the health care budget and still use it to cut the deficit. You can't have it both ways. Why don't you stop today -- stop -- playing games with the electorate and stop trying to pretend that a cut is not a cut?

Hon Mr Harris: Unlike the former governments over the last 10 years, we are not going to go ahead and spend money, make new spending commitments and then say, "Oh, maybe we can find the savings later"; "Oh, maybe we'll just borrow the money for now"; "Oh, we'll hike taxes." That's been the record of the last 10 years. If we are going to be able to reinvest savings to stay anywhere close to the $17.4-billion budget, we are going to have to find savings in some areas for reinvestment in others.

Now, already the Minister of Health has made announcements of reinvestment in the area of $25 million -- reinvested, new spending this year, this budget -- into dialysis. Expanded ambulance services into London have already been announced. The difference between us and the former government is we are going to find the savings first, unlike the Liberals, unlike the New Democrats, before we reinvest the savings. That, we believe, is responsible.

Mrs McLeod: Surely this Premier, on the first question of the first day, is not already going to start talking about previous governments. Surely he is ready, on this first day in the first question, to accept the responsibility to speak to the commitments he made and which he is now responsible for as he assumes the government of this province.

We know those commitments and I say to the Premier, it is simply not good enough, on this first and most important commitment you made to the people of this province, to say that at the end of five years the health care budget is going to be $17.4 billion, because we are concerned and people in this province are concerned about the cuts in health care today.

The promise was, I say to the Minister of Health and to the Premier, not to cut health care funding, period, full stop. We have already had one financial statement from this government. Already there's been a cut to the budget. Now hospitals are threatened with huge cuts, and that would mean a loss of health care now, a cut to health care now.

Premier, if the cut in July was not really a cut, I am going to assume that the $132 million will be back in the Health budget in the next financial statement, and I ask you today to assure me and the people in this Legislature and the people in this province that the Ministry of Health budget will be $17.4 billion in the next financial statement, in your first budget, in the budget after that and in every budget after that.

Will you ensure that hospitals will be exempt from cuts so that the communities across this province will not lose their health care? Will you guarantee that the Ministry of Health care budget will stand at $17.4 billion today, tomorrow and every day after that until the next election? Because that was your promise.

Hon Mr Harris: The leader of the official opposition, I tell you that this new government needs no lesson in breaking promises from the record of the Liberal Party when they've been in government; promise after promise after promise after promise after promise, if you want me to read out the list of the broken promises.

The leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition committed, I believe, in her election campaign to stable funding. I believe she indicated that meant no increase, no decrease: stable funding. We called it a sealed envelope. The leader of the third party, the government of the day, I think indicated stable funding. In fact they were proud to have been the only government to have cut health care spending in real-dollar terms, and they did.

We committed to the $17.4-billion envelope for health care. What we are saying is that rather than have new funding that's going to be there -- and in the throne speech we talked about cardiac care, cancer care, public health vaccination programs for school children -- we want to find the savings first or at the same time, not the other way around, because the experience of the last 10 years has been, "Fund this and we'll find the savings later," and the savings never came.

That's why we're $10 billion in deficit five years in a row, that's why the interest costs have gone up $5 billion, chewing into our health care programs, chewing into our programs for the most needy. We are determined to stop this cycle. We are determined to be responsible in how we meet our commitments, something the leader of the official opposition did not do when she was in government.

Mrs McLeod: I would just note clearly that making the savings first means cuts to health care now. That stands as a broken promise which this Premier has not addressed.


Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): But I will turn to the second question, which is also to the Premier. Premier, as you are well aware and people across this province are aware, some 938,000 people across the province will see a 21.6% cut in their welfare benefits this weekend.

You and your Minister of Community and Social Services have said that people can make up the difference if they just go out and get a job by the weekend; they've had enough time. Premier, the reality is that there are 515,000 unemployed people in the province of Ontario. They have been looking for jobs. Some of them have been looking for jobs for years and they cannot find work. Now you're suggesting that people who are on welfare simply go out and find themselves a job.

My question is a very straightforward one, Premier: Where are those jobs? How do you expect people on welfare to go out and find jobs when there are no jobs out there?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): Let me say this to the honourable member. We are dealing now with an area of the greatest concern to this government. We're dealing with 500,000 people who are unemployed. We are dealing with those who have lost hope, who have been trapped and caught in this cycle of dependency on welfare.

I want to say this to the member; I want to say it to all members: This government takes no comfort, no joy in having to cut back billions of dollars that we don't have, none whatsoever. I want the people at home, the job creators, those in communities, the neighbours of people who are down on their luck to know that we take no comfort in that.

But the fact of the matter is this: We have tried throwing more money into a system that is not working, that has failed. Ten years ago the average payment for those on welfare was about 10% above the rest of Canada, about right for Ontario's cost of living. In the last 10 years we've seen welfare rates go up to 30%, 40% in excess of the rate of inflation and the problems have got worse: more people on welfare, three times more today than 10 years ago when my party last governed this province. This is a sad state of affairs.

I want to say this through you, Mr Speaker, to the honourable member, to all honourable members: We are committed to breaking this cycle of dependency. We are committed to having a system that is fair, that provides enough money to help people on a temporary basis but is not a lifetime dependence, and we're only going to do this if we have the cooperation of all members of society, of all members of the House, of all employers, profit and non-profit. We are appealing to them to help people with jobs, full-time and part-time, in this province.

Mrs McLeod: My question to the Premier clearly was about jobs. Where are the jobs for people who want to work? Where are the jobs for the people who you say you want to get to work?

This Premier comes in today and talks of concern about people who have lost hope. These are the very people whom he and his minister have addressed for the last weeks by telling them that they can solve their problems, deal with their concerns by going out buying cans of dented spaghetti or buying tuna in bulk. The Premier said yesterday, "Well, if you're struggling a bit, just get your family and your friends to help." And then they say: "You've had lots of time to get a job. Just go out there and get a job if you really want to make your situation better." That's why the question today, Premier, is, where are the jobs?

There is a reality that in August there were 4,000 fewer people working in this province than there were in July. There is a reality that this government's initiatives for the first three months have jeopardized about 80,000 jobs. The way things are going, there are going to be more people unemployed, not more people working in the province of Ontario under this government.


Premier, I say to you again that jobs aren't there. How can you and your minister just blithely tell people on welfare to go out and get a job by this weekend when hundreds of thousands of people in this province have been unemployed for long periods of time and are likely to be unemployed for even longer periods of time?

Hon Mr Harris: Let me deal with your suggestion. There's no question that there are not enough jobs in Ontario, but why is this? We have among the highest tax rates in North America. We have labour legislation that the job creators say: "We're not coming to Ontario. Thank you, but no thank you. You've put up the barriers. We will go to other provinces. We will go to other states."

It is exactly because of the free-spending record of the past 10 years, of the legislative barriers, of the regulatory barriers, things like Bill 40 labour legislation, things like red-tape rules. This is what we campaigned on. This is what we said in the throne speech. We must create more jobs. We are confident that we will have more jobs. In fact --

Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): Where are the jobs?

Hon Mr Harris: Well, you ask where they are. There are 89,000 more private sector jobs in the economy today than there were nine months ago. Are there enough to go around? No. Why aren't there enough to go around? Because of the mismanagement, the overspending, the deficits, the barriers that have been erected in the last 10 years.

I would like to say to all those looking for a job that in one day or in 90 days or in one year -- we can undo the damage of 10 years, but we cannot do it that fast. But we will do it absolutely as fast as we can to create jobs in this province.

Mrs McLeod: It's not a question of whether the Premier would like to say it. He did say it. He said very clearly, people who are on welfare have had enough time since they knew their welfare payments were going to be cut to go out and get a job. His minister said there's still time -- two days left -- to get a job by this weekend.

The Premier, I take from his last answer, has at least acknowledged that the jobs are not there. So I take the Premier back to another commitment he made during the election campaign, a commitment which he has talked about again in refusing to answer the question about where the jobs are, and that is his commitment to bring in a plan to get those people off welfare and back into the workplace.

You talked about it during the campaign. You mentioned it in yesterday's throne speech. You call it workfare, but nobody knows what you mean. Nobody knows what your plan is, and there is certainly a lot of confusion between you and your minister as to exactly what you mean.

So, Premier, I give you that opportunity today. How do you define "workfare," and tell us what jobs will actually be there for people. When will those jobs be there, and perhaps most importantly, will they all be paying jobs?

Hon Mr Harris: Right now, we inherited a situation where we're paying a significant number of people, over a million, by the way, of families, 300,000 to 400,000, to sit home and do nothing. That's the legacy that we have right now.

It is our goal, through workfare, if the member is asking about that, as quickly as we can to find programs where we can pay people to do something. Workfare, educationfare, trainingfare: These were the commitments that we've made over the last year. These were the commitments that the member made in the campaign. I remember the red book very well. In the red book the member committed that she was going to implement workfare.

This is breaking new ground. This is not easy. This is something that is a different philosophy. There is a philosophy, create a cycle of dependency, pay people more money to stay home and do nothing versus give people an opportunity, give them training, give them work experience, give them jobs.

This is what you committed to in your red book. If you have ideas, share them with us. We clearly say we're looking --

Mrs McLeod: You're looking for help? It is only the first day.

Hon Mr Harris: Of course. We accept help from everybody.

There is no question about this: There will not be 725,000 new jobs in the province tomorrow --

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Would the Premier wrap up his answer, please.

Hon Mr Harris: -- but there will be five years from now, after we reduce the barriers: scrap Bill 40, reduce the regulation, get our tax climate under control, send out the signal to the private sector job creators that, unlike the last 10 years, we're open for business. That's what we plan to do.


Mr Bob Rae (York South): I would like to ask a question to the Premier. I would like to take the Premier back to the date in May when he took the pledge. He said, and I'm quoting -- at least the remarks are in quotes -- "If I don't live up to anything that I have promised to do and committed to do, I will resign." I wonder if the Premier still stands by those words.

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): Let me congratulate the member on his re-election. It's not easy these days in 130 -- or, in the future, 99 or so -- ridings, to be re-elected. I also understand exactly the seat from which he is speaking and asking the question, realizing that it is not first-choice, but it is the first day and the first opportunity for us in these seats in the Legislature.

Clearly, I think one of the things that was clear in the lead-up to the campaign and in the last election campaign was a sense of frustration among the voters that politicians would say one thing at election time and do another after. I guess this has been built up by broken promises, lack of commitments and changes of direction that were there. Clearly we wanted, and continue to -- and yesterday sent out a very strong signal that we had commitments that we made in the campaign, both on the tax sense, on a budgetary sense, on legislation that we would deal with, and it is my intention, to the best of my ability, to live up to those commitments.

Mr Rae: I can't honestly tell whether, in answer to a short question, that was a yes or a no. But perhaps I could help the Premier and ask him to turn, if he would, to his copy of The Common Sense Revolution, which I'm sure he has with him since it's been available -- 1-800-96 blah, blah, blah. The number is now Cuts Are Us.

But at the bottom of page 6 of The Common Sense Revolution, my copy, which is the fifth edition, the fifth printing, post-Martin budget, it says in the description on the subject of whether or not there would be user fees for health services, in bold print at the bottom, "Under this plan, there will be" -- and then there's a large capitalized word -- "NO new user fees." That's the commitment.

I was surprised to hear the Premier on the news the other night, in musing on the subject of charging seniors for drugs, saying, in his words, that there are no sacred cows and that in fact the government is considering changes to the Ontario drug plan which would require senior citizens to pay a user fee for drugs.

The Premier received a lot of votes from seniors. I wonder how he feels now about the pledge that's contained at the bottom of page 6 on user fees.

Hon Mr Harris: I have page 6. Very clearly, we're referring to the fair share health care levy; that's the category. We talk at the bottom:

"We believe the new fair share health care levy, based on the ability to pay, meets the test of fairness and the requirements of the Canada Health Act while protecting the fundamental integrity of our health care system.

"Under this plan" -- the fair share health care plan and the Canada Health Act -- "there will be NO new user fees." And we stand behind that. The Canada Health Act is very specific that medically necessary services are to be delivered without additional charges or copayments.


This government plans, unlike the former government, to live up to the Canada Health Act and to respect the requirements of the Canada Health Act. This is why we restored out-of-province coverage, not just for seniors but for all those covered, because the Canada Health Act specifically required it. This was a violation of the Canada Health Act by the previous government, and we indicated that we would respect it. We respect it with the fair share health care levy, we respect it in the context of the Canada Health Act. When it comes to medically necessary services, those defined in the Canada Health Act -- let me also quote from the CSR: "Under this plan, there will NO new user fees."

Mr Rae: I think we've heard more weasel words in the last five minutes than we heard during the entire two years from the leader of the third party, as he then was, and as the Premier, as he now is. There was no mention during the election campaign, in any of the meetings I had with seniors, the debates we had, there was no discussion, there was no admission that the drug plan was on the table. He went in to every talk show host in the province and said during the election campaign: "I'm different from everybody else. I'm a new kind of politician. I make a promise and I keep it." He spent five minutes in this House, the Premier did, waffling in and out on whether or not a promise was a promise or a commitment was a commitment.

So I have a very simple question for the Premier today. What is he saying to the seniors of this province with respect to their drug benefits, something which has been guaranteed to them -- guaranteed to them -- by a Conservative government, by a Liberal government, by a New Democratic government? Are you going to break that pledge and are you going to tear up page 6 of The Common Sense Revolution on the backs of the senior citizens of this province?

Hon Mr Harris: I have a very clear message, not only for the honourable member, but for members of the House and for the senior citizens, that no, in fact this government has been unequivocal in fighting for the principles of the Canada Health Act that are there and we continue to do that.

I'd like to say this: Unlike the former government, that without consultation brought in 100% user fees, delisted drugs, didn't tell senior citizens, denied them access to drugs that were there, we do not intend to proceed that way. We will not proceed that way.

We rather would prefer to proceed along the lines of the government of Saskatchewan, where Premier Romanow and the NDP government consulted with seniors, looked at those programs that were not covered under the Canada Health Act, consulted with Ontarians and brought in a plan that provided the greatest access they could to drugs.

The Trillium drug plan, which the former government brought in, was income-tested, so that principle's not new in Ontario, if you're looking at "new." Delisting has been brought in by both the previous governments; that principle is not new. What's new is that we plan to respect the Canada Health Act and we plan to consult with those who are going to be affected.


Mr Bob Rae (York South): I'd like to now ask a question to the Minister of Community and Social Services. First of all, in doing so, I'd like to congratulate him on his election for the constituency of Markham and say that all of us wish him well in this very challenging portfolio. Having said that, now let's get down to work.

Minister, I've been struck by the number of comments that you appear to have made in response to questions from reporters and others, and this is the first opportunity you and I have had to discuss some of these issues.

This week, thousands of people who are on social assistance are going to be receiving their cheques, which are going to be reduced by close to 22%. I wonder if the minister can tell us what studies and analysis he and his staff have done and who he thinks is going to be primarily affected by these cuts.

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): First of all, I'd like to reconfirm our commitment as a government that we must and we will take action right now to ensure the system will continue for people who are truly in need. I want to also point out that during the last 10 years, expenditures in welfare have soared 310%, giving Ontario an average of 35% above the national average of the other provinces.

This is very relevant. The rate reduction that we're looking at and to which we are committed will maintain welfare benefits at 10% above the average of the other provinces. This is important for us to see. We will also protect the benefits for the disabled and aged.

With respect, we had to fix this system. This system was broken. No great study was necessary to realize this. When you have soaring welfare costs that are being paid by the taxpayers of this province, it's very clear to anyone in this province. You don't need to spend a million dollars on a study to realize this.

Mr Rae: A great conservative philosopher, Edmund Burke, 200 years ago warned people of the danger of destroying institutions in the name of a theory. What this government is doing is hurting people very badly in the name of a theory, and I think it's highly destructive.

The minister has just admitted something which, I'm afraid to say, doesn't surprise me; I think at the end of his answer he admitted that there has been no study done, no analysis of the impact of the 22% cut. Perhaps I would say to the minister that I have a copy of briefing notes prepared for the Metro social services department in which it states very clearly that in terms of basic needs -- and I'm quoting from this very brief report:

"The greatest impact is on children. Poor nutrition leads to impact on learning ability...more use of overtaxed food banks. School breakfast and lunch programs do not service preschool children. Government-run food programs undermine the family value of self-sufficiency."

The minister also has responsibility for children as well as having responsibility for welfare. I wonder if he would care to explain to the House, because I was somewhat taken aback by his comments -- at least there are quotation marks around some comments he made recently with respect to these cuts, where he says: "If it's a situation where the child is in danger, then the CAS should come in and see what they can do. On the other hand, if the person is responsible, they should try to get some work."

I'm asking the minister, who is responsible for the welfare of children, can he assure us categorically today, on the basis of the best advice he has from the ministry, that children will not be put in danger and will not be negatively affected by the cuts which are being proposed and being put in place by the government of which he's a member? Can he give us that assurance today?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: The honourable member has mentioned several points, so I'm going to have to respond at it. It wasn't quite the one-sentence question he addressed to the Premier.

First of all, with respect, we have, as part of our platform and part of our regulations, agreed to allow people the opportunity to earn back the effect of any cut to their welfare payments. We might also add at this point in time that the reason we made the announcement in July was to give people the opportunity to get their affairs in order, in order to find a part-time job.


In fact, you might argue that people had two years' notice to get their affairs in order, because that's in The Common Sense Revolution, which all of you seem to have. Therefore, this government has allowed people the time to get their affairs in order. We've given ample warning.

With respect to the specific question the member has asked, I must say that I was responding to a question with respect to the definition of an irresponsible parent; that if that child was in danger, if that child was needing protection, would that be a case for the CAS? I'll tell you, the CAS is responsible for the safety of children. This was a question of safety and not a question of poverty.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Would the minister wrap up his answer, please.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I might reiterate one more time that the welfare cut brought the province of Ontario to 10% above the average of the other provinces, and I must add again and reiterate that we have given them the opportunity to earn back what the cut has taken away.

Mr Rae: I think it's worth pointing out that in this same report -- I would be surprised if you didn't have a copy of it, and if you don't, I'll certainly be happy to send it over to you, because it's not something you shouldn't know -- rental costs in Ontario are between 30% and 40% higher than in the rest of Canada; food costs in Ontario are 4% higher than in the rest of Canada. "On closer scrutiny," and I'm just quoting from the report, "it appears that the difference between Ontario benefits and other provinces is primarily the result of higher accommodation costs." They give as an example that in Ontario a single adult can receive as much as $165.20 more in assistance but they pay on average $180 more in rent, so their net is $17 less.

I just would come back again to the minister on this question of kids. You're looking at a reduction for a mother and two children of somewhere in the neighbourhood of $250 to $270 a month. You have a rent which is not going to go down. You have a clear statement which is expressed in this report that the greatest impact is on children.

You talk, in all your statements, about your concern for the next generation and what kind of world they're going to inherit. There are hundreds of thousands of kids next week who are going to have less food, who are going to have crummier clothes and who are going to be living in more insecure situations, whose parents, whose mothers and fathers, are going to be leaving themselves open to being evicted and put out on the street.

I'd like to ask the minister, did he in cabinet at any time advocate or express a single factual thought that said, "This ideology in The Common Sense Revolution might sound good, but on closer analysis it doesn't make common sense"? Did you have the courage to do that in cabinet or not?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I might point out that the safety and the wellbeing of children is a concern of this government. I want to point out as well that we have to undergo a different way of thinking out there. People have got to learn again to start to take responsibility for themselves and their families and not leave it to everyone else to do.

I might point out to the member that in 1993 a study was done with respect to the cost of living in the city of Toronto, which is the example the member is speaking about. That study indicated that the cost of living in Toronto as compared to the other major cities across the country was 110% of the cost. This is just a coincidence but, gee whiz, we reduced the welfare rate to 10% above the cost of the other provinces. As the member has asked, what about clothing and going back to school, I might also point out one more time that there is a back-to-school clothing allowance which is part of the social assistance program.

The Speaker: Would the minister wrap up his answer, please.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I'll wrap up by just saying once again that we've only reduced the welfare rates to 10% above the average of the other provinces, and we have allowed people to earn back, in that provision, what we've taken away. But I think people have got to learn to take responsibility for themselves and their families once again.

The Speaker: I must remind honourable members that we've used 40 minutes for the first four questions. The honourable member for Oriole has the floor.


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): I'd like to ask a question of the Minister of Health about a situation that's upsetting people all over the province. While the Premier acknowledges that you are considering real cuts to existing services, and district health councils across the province are conducting reviews on restructuring the delivery of health services in their communities -- in fact, as we know, tomorrow the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council will be releasing a report recommending that some of our hospitals close as a cost-cutting measure. We know, Minister, that hospitals had been struggling to provide better care for patients with less government dollars. We also know that the recently departed president of the Ontario Hospital Association, one Dennis Timbrell, gave himself a bonus of taxpayers' money valued at $583,000.

Minister, your government constantly talks of house cleaning, of finding savings, cost-cutting and setting a good example for your transfer partners. But a former Progressive Conservative Minister of Health has taken Ontario taxpayers to the cleaners. Minister, how could you let this happen?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): Mr Speaker, may I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your election as Speaker. You certainly have my confidence and obviously the confidence of the majority of the members of this House, and I wish you well.

I say to the honourable member for Oriole that the deal between Liberty and Blue Cross was a deal that was conducted under the previous NDP government. I don't say that in any political or malicious way, because the NDP government at that time took the proper position, that this was a private contractual deal between the Ontario Hospital Association and its Blue Cross insurance agency. The Ontario government has no jurisdiction in this matter. The only government agency that had to review that particular deal was the federal competition bureau. At this point we are taking no opinion on what is a very serious contractual and legal matter between Mr Timbrell and the Ontario Hospital Association.

Mrs Caplan: Minister, let me remind you that the Ontario Hospital Association is funded by hospitals, which receive their money in the form of transfers from your government. You, the Premier and the Finance minister are all telling Ontarians that we must tighten our belts. Allowing Mr Timbrell to take hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money does not set a very good example to your transfer partners. Minister, you know how many health services could be provided by $583,000. Money that could be much better used in health services is being funnelled into Mr Timbrell's bank account. Will you ask the Premier's good friend, your former colleague Mr Timbrell, to repay the money to the Ontario Hospital Association and to the taxpayers of this province?

Hon Mr Wilson: I want to remind, very politely, the honourable member that this is a very serious matter between the Ontario Hospital Association and one of its employees. This matter, from what I read and hear and see through the media, could very well end up before the courts at some point. I agree that we have to be very diligent in the spending of public money. The Ontario Hospital Association receives its money, you are correct, from Ontario hospitals. At this point, under current legislation, it is the members of the hospital association that must deal with this matter. I would caution the honourable member against making further comment on this lest she finds herself before the courts.



Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): As is the tradition, through you I would like to congratulate the member for Waterloo North on her re-election personally, and also to her elevation to cabinet, and wish her the very best personally in that regard.

One of the very first casualties of the Common Sense Revolution has clearly been any hope that workers have rights in this province that will be protected. There are plans, we know, to gut the Ministry of Labour by cutting it in half. WCB benefits have already been announced with regard to cuts for men and women who are disabled on the job. Protection for older workers and workers in companies that go bankrupt are being wiped out. Women will not get all the money they are entitled to under the pay equity law. The successful Workplace Health and Safety Agency is being dismantled. This government is not going to be satisfied with just rolling back Bill 40; you obviously want to take away gains that workers have made for decades in this province under the jurisdiction of different kinds of governments.

My question to you is: How can you possibly justify abandoning the rights and needs and safety of workers in this province at this time?

Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Minister of Labour): I would just like to remind you that what we are attempting to do is to protect the rights of workers. Through the changes that we are going to make to the Labour Relations Act we are going to introduce democracy into the workplace. We are going to give individuals the opportunity to exercise a secret ballot for certification, for strike votes. Also, what we are doing, we are taking a look at workplace health and safety in this province. We are doing a review, and at the end of the 100 days I hope to be presented with a model for workplace health and safety that will indeed reduce and eliminate as much as possible accidents, injuries and illness in this province.

We do care about workers and that's why we are taking the action that we are today and taking it so quickly and so decisively.

Mr Christopherson: There is not a chance that anyone involved with and knowledgeable about the agenda of this government and the labour legislation that exists believes for one second that you stand for anything other than dismantling the rights of workers in this province, and words aren't going to change that.

We know that in addition to The Common Sense Revolution, which talked about making a priority of community safety and a promise to protect funding for law enforcement, in the throne speech yesterday you had the audacity to say that ensuring safety in the workplace is a key priority of your government, and yet we know from a secret government document leaked out of your ministry late last week that there are plans right now to eliminate 20% of the health and safety inspectors in that ministry.

My question to you is: Since everything this government has done and announced has been a virtual attack on the rights of workers, will you at the very least today commit to protecting those health and safety inspectors from the extreme anti-worker, cost-cutting people who are in the Premier's office? Will you commit today to protect those health and safety inspectors or not?

Hon Mrs Witmer: I understand your concerns about workplace health and safety. That's why I have put in place the review panel to ensure that we do have the best system possible in this jurisdiction or any other jurisdiction. I also commit to you that we will take a look at how we can deliver and ensure that we have safety in the workplace.


Mr Bill Grimmett (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): My question is to the Minister of Health. There are quite a number of patients in my riding of Muskoka-Georgian Bay who depend on lifesaving dialysis treatment. These patients must travel a considerable distance to receive dialysis services in sometimes hazardous weather conditions. I am concerned that the difficulty in accessing dialysis services is a problem province-wide. What is the minister doing to ensure that these needs will be met close to home when patients need them?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): I thank the honourable member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay for a very serious question, because we heard some heckles as my colleague asked that question. I want you to know that in the time I was Health critic -- and I worked on this issue for some two and a half years when the NDP government was in power -- I personally lost seven friends in Collingwood and Alliston because of the inability of the previous government to do anything but study the dialysis issue in this province. We saw the previous government spend over $100,000 on three studies, including one round of hearings down at the social development committee in this building.

The fact of the matter is, I was very proud on behalf of our government on August 17 to be able to take some of the administrative savings we had found in the health care budget to reinvest $25 million into dialysis services and for the first time in the history of this province to make that announcement in a way that will drive those services closer to where the patients live and work and bring dignity back to their lives.

Mr Grimmett: Studies indicate that the demand for renal dialysis services continues to climb yearly. How will your strategy cope with this expanding demand?

Hon Mr Wilson: It is important, I think, for all members to note that this is one of the fastest-growing diseases. End-stage kidney failure is one of the fastest-growing diseases among us today. It grows at at least a rate of 10% per year. We've known that for a few years now. The population's getting older. It tends to be a disease that hits people a little later in life, and our announcement to create 580 new dialysis spaces in this province is a 15% increase in the capacity to serve those people. That should put us ahead of the growth in this disease, and I'm proud that for the first time in this particular issue area, the government of Ontario is trying to get ahead and anticipate the needs of the population.

The member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay and all members will want to be aware that we've put out the request for proposal, and each and every member in this Legislature is encouraged to go back to their riding to find out whether you have haemodialysis or other dialysis patients and to put in proposals so that we can put dialysis clinics and satellites closer to where people live and work. That's what we're committed to doing, and I'm proud that we've built some extra capacity into the system --

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Would the minister wrap up his question, please.

Hon Mr Wilson: -- so that we're not always playing catch-up when people's lives are at stake.



Ms Annamarie Castrilli (Downsview): Mr Speaker, let me first of all add my voice to the congratulations which have already been offered to you, sir. I think the challenges ahead for you are enormous. Speaking as a new member, I'm daunted by the task that you have to face.

On behalf of a very large segment of the Ontario population that has been rocked by the gruesome and shocking evidence brought forth in the Bernardo trial, I would like to address my question to the Attorney General.

Sir, one of the hallmarks of a fair society is an equitable justice system. Safety in our homes and communities is of paramount concern to Ontario residents and thus requires the Legislature's utmost attention. In fact, the minister's own party booklet, entitled A Blueprint for Justice and Community Safety in Ontario, acknowledges a growing perception that sentencing in our courts is no longer providing either a deterrent or rehabilitation. This, in turn, is undermining public confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice system.

Therefore, I would like to ask the honourable minister to explain to this House the actions he intends to take with respect to a review of the Karla Homolka plea bargaining agreement.

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, with responsibility for Native Affairs): There is no question that the facts of this particular case that are now before the public demand us to express the deepest sorrow for the victims and for their families and certainly for me to express, as the Attorney General, how aware I am personally of how this tragedy has affected every community in the province.

What is a very difficult aspect of this is the fact that I must tell everyone in this Legislature that this case is not completed; it is not yet finished; it is still before the courts. We are only up to the sentencing aspect; the trial is not finished. As a result of that, I will also advise everyone in this Legislature that this very agreement the member talks about is a piece of evidence before that court and anything I say about that can prejudice or jeopardize the completion of this trial. Everyone in this Legislature must be aware of that.

At the appropriate time, I have indicated that I want and will be accountable to the people in this province so that they understand very clearly what happened and what all of these aspects of this case are all about. I intend to comply with that obligation of being accountable. The problem that I have now --

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Could you wind up your answer, please.

Hon Mr Harnick: -- is that I don't want to jeopardize, nor does any other member of this Legislature, the completion of this trial.

Ms Castrilli: With respect, the minister is stalling. All I've asked is a commitment on the part of this government to review the facts in this case at the appropriate time, yes, indeed. But we feel quite strongly that there is evidence in the Criminal Code that would allow the Attorney General to deal with this case. Do we have such a commitment from the minister?

Hon Mr Harnick: I have indicated that I intend to be accountable, and if a review is what should be done, it will be done. That will be considered when the case is completed. To do anything now, to make any commitments now, would jeopardize the fair trial and it would jeopardize the result that everyone in this Legislature so dearly wants. The member should understand that.


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): I've got a question and it's been a long time coming. Bear with me, because I've got a feeling I may not get a supplementary.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Who's the question to?

Mr Kormos: To the Premier. You know, in June of this year, Niagara region, during the course of the election, got itself four Tory MPPs. That's the decision of the electorate. But then it just as promptly got the shaft. It got skewered by a government that appears not to give a tinker's dam about Niagara region.

First, they dismantle the Niagara tender fruit lands program, pulling the rug out from underneath farmers in Niagara region who are hanging on and had the most modest of hope that the Niagara tender fruit lands program was going to carry them through some very difficult times.

Then they cancel the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation relocation to Niagara Falls, which held some modest hope for all of Niagara region for the 400 jobs that it would provide there, a region that is among the highest-hit in the province in terms of unemployment.

The Speaker: Premier.

Mr Kormos: As I said, bear with me, please, Speaker; I know I'm not going to get a supplementary.

The Speaker: Ask your question.

Mr Kormos: Then the Premier dithers and flip-flops on the issue of a casino location in Niagara Falls. It's not to suggest that everybody in Niagara thinks that a casino is going to be the panacea for all of Niagara region's ills, but we know it will create 2,000 jobs in short order, all funded by the private sector.

Please, will the Premier explain why he's so unconcerned about the high levels of unemployment in Niagara region, why he's abandoned Niagara region and the unemployed women and men there, and why truly he doesn't give a tinker's dam about the economic future of that very important part of the province?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): First, let me congratulate the honourable member on his re-election.

As I was thinking earlier of the broken promises of his government, I was going to refer them to the member for Welland-Thorold. He has a longer list than I have when he talks about employee moves -- to Chatham, to Brantford, to Haileybury, to Kingston, to Windsor, to Elliot Lake -- that were cancelled by the former government.

This was sort of a three-ministry, tripartite question, I guess, to complete the end of the day. Let me say that in the fullness of time we are happy to answer the details of all three. The ministry employee move previously announced by the government, if I could take that part of it, started out, I think, with over 400 employees. Then, by the time we took office and took a look at it, it was down to 68 employees, for whom the government had a building for 400 employees. Let me say that this was a difficult decision, but I think the people of Niagara understood that if ever there was a ridiculous decision that was made by the former government, this huge, monstrous building with no people to go in it was one. We responsibly had to look at it.

I want to say -- I think the question was the people of Niagara region -- that I believe the number of representatives elected in this caucus and on this side of the House is reflective of the fact that the people of Niagara region felt for the last 10 years, and the last five years particularly, that they were not well served by the government of the day, that in fact they needed a change of direction, they needed job creation, they needed a government that said it was open for business, they needed a government that would live within its means.

The Speaker: Would the Premier wind up, please.

Hon Mr Harris: I want to say directly to all the people in Niagara Peninsula that we will honour that commitment for which they sent us a number of representatives. I believe four to five years from now, when we go back to the people, they will say: "We did the right thing. Here's a government that cares about us and all of Ontario, and we're going to send them back there for another five years."


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): I'd like to inform the House that there is a special guest in the Speaker's gallery today. It's my wife, Marjorie.



Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I move that, notwithstanding standing order 96(a), the House will not meet to consider private members' public business on Thursday morning, October 5, 1995, or Thursday morning, October 12, 1995, but will meet at 1:30 pm on those days.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): All in favour? Agreed.




Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): I have a petition from the good people of Kenora and it reads:

"The government has stated it plans on selling off 84,000 units which are owned by Ontario Housing Corp. We are in favour of keeping Ontario Housing Corp, which assists people on limited incomes to have decent, affordable housing."

Again, Mr Speaker, that's signed by a good number of my constituents from the town of Kenora.


Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which reads:

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

"Whereas the Progressive Conservative government is presently considering funding a 20-bed forensic facility for the criminally insane at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre; and

"Whereas the nearby community is already home to the highest number of ex-psychiatric patients and social service organizations in hundreds of licensed and unlicensed rooming houses, group homes and crisis care facilities in all of Canada; and

"Whereas there are other neighbourhoods where the criminally insane could be assessed and treated; and

"Whereas no one was consulted -- not the local residents and business community, not leaders of community organizations, not education and child care providers and not even local members of provincial Parliament;

"We, the undersigned residents and business owners of our community, urge the PC government of Ontario to immediately stop all plans to accommodate the criminally insane in an expanded Queen Street Mental Health Centre until a public consultation process is completed."

I have signed my name to this petition.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I have a petition from a large number of people residing in the Niagara Peninsula concerning a matter that was discussed this afternoon in the House. It reads as follows:

"We, the undersigned, demand that Karla Homolka's plea bargain be revoked by the Attorney General of Ontario, the Honourable Charles Harnick."

As I say, it is signed by a large number of people here, and I affix my signature to this petition.



Mr McGuinty moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 2, An Act to amend the Election Act / Projet de loi 2, Loi modifiant la Loi électorale.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Is the House in favour of that? Carried.

Mr Dalton McGuinty (Ottawa South): My bill quite simply would eliminate the requirement that voters' lists in cities be publicly posted during an election. My bill addresses privacy concerns and requires merely that voters' lists be posted for inspection in the returning office.

The Speaker: No further introduction of bills?

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, I think you will find that there is unanimous consent to move a motion with respect to the Integrity Commissioner.

The Speaker: Agreed? Agreed.


Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I move that a humble address be presented to the Lieutenant Governor in Council as follows:

"To the Lieutenant Governor in Council:

"We, Her Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario, now assembled, request the appointment of the Honourable Gregory Evans, current Conflict of Interest Commissioner, as Integrity Commissioner for the province of Ontario, as provided in section 23 of the Members' Integrity Act, 1994, SO 1994, chapter 38, to hold office under the terms and conditions of the said act;

"And that the address be engrossed and presented to the Lieutenant Governor in Council by the Speaker."

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Agreed? Agreed.

Would the government House leader like to make some short remarks?

Hon Mr Eves: Yes. I believe, Mr Speaker, you will find that there is agreement that each of the three parties will have some brief remarks to make about the Integrity Commissioner.

I am pleased to rise today to speak to the appointment of the Integrity Commissioner, the Honourable Gregory Evans. In addition to his distinguished career as both lawyer and Chief Justice of the Ontario Supreme Court, Judge Evans brings with him to his position over seven years' experience as an officer of the Legislative Assembly in the role of Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

Since 1988, Judge Evans has served the Legislature and indeed the entire province with tremendous distinction, providing guidance and advice to all members of the House. His extraordinary contribution is perhaps most clearly exemplified by the leadership role he played in the development of the Members' Integrity Act.

Bill 209 of the previous Parliament, which recognizes the importance of public service and promotes confidence in the integrity of members of this House, is the result of constructive dialogue and cooperation between all parties.

Judge Evans's knowledge and guidance throughout that process was integral to the development of the act. I believe the Members' Integrity Act will serve both the people of Ontario and the members of this and future parliaments very well and I am confident that Judge Evans will continue to act with great distinction in his role as Integrity Commissioner.

On behalf of the Premier and our caucus, I welcome the appointment of Judge Evans to the position of Integrity Commissioner and offer our cooperation to him as he performs his duties set out in the bill and conferred upon him by this House.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): We in the official opposition are certainly in agreement with this motion, and we were in agreement, as the government House leader has appropriately pointed out, with the development of the Members' Integrity Act.

It cannot be emphasized too much the significant role that Justice Evans played in the development of that act, in the advice that he provided. I might add that his experience as the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, as it was known then, is one which I think is respected by all members of the Legislature because we saw that he carried out his duties and responsibilities in a very fair and even-minded way.

Justice Evans and his office, by the way, are also very helpful in terms of the advice that is provided to members of the Legislature when inquiries are made, when representations are made, because there are many difficult circumstances that we face as individual members today in terms of knowing what, in 1995, a conflict of interest is, or perhaps the demands that are put on members of the Legislature by constituents place them in a rather vulnerable position in terms of violation of laws.


Justice Evans and his office have both been very helpful in terms of providing the necessary guidance to members. His own background lends itself to this. He's a distinguished individual, highly respected within the legal community, highly respected by members of this Legislature.

The integrity act to which reference is made is one which is most suitable to those of us who govern in the 1990s. It is specific enough that it prevents some of the problems that can arise when conflicts of interest are brought forward. On the other hand, it has a little bit of flexibility in that it allows the commissioner, if I may use the term, to exercise some common sense in the application of the act; and certainly that will be pleasing to members of the governing side.

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): In the true meaning of the word.

Mr Bradley: As the member for Riverside indicates: In the true meaning of the word.

We are certainly supportive of this. I think that Justice Evans will continue to do an outstanding job in this position, though the name is now changed to the Integrity Commissioner, and I think our political process in this province will be even improved with the implementation of the Members' Integrity Act, 1994.

Mr Cooke: I want to join with my colleagues, on behalf of the New Democratic Party caucus, in enthusiastically endorsing the appointment of Justice Evans.

The government House leader made reference to the process by which the current legislation was developed, and I want to echo his comments that the leadership that Mr Evans provided, the consensus that he developed with all three political parties to make sure that the legislation was introduced and passed with all-party support, his own experience that he used as our Conflict of Interest Commissioner to see where the weaknesses of the existing legislation were and other experiences in other jurisdictions, I think was very helpful. In fact, it was the fundamental step that was necessary in order to develop this legislation and see it go through in the last Parliament and now be enacted here.

I'm also always amazed when we go see Judge Evans every year because, you know, quite often in public life and in public offices the size of those offices begin to increase over time; and all of us now, I think, have seen Mr Evans this year and see that the size of the office is the same now as it was seven years ago. All of us are dealt with in a very efficient way, the operation is very efficient and it provides an incredibly important public service.

I also know that Judge Evans offered advice to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the municipal sector when they were developing the municipal conflict-of-interest legislation as well, and as far back as when it started with Mr Sweeney when he was the minister.

So there's a lot of expertise that exists over in that operation. I think the province and the Legislature is very fortunate indeed to have somebody like Judge Evans to perform that role. This legislation is a model and it's a model because of the contribution he's made and the leadership he's provided in developing the legislation. So we, as I say, enthusiastically support this resolution and his appointment.



Consideration of the speech of His Honour the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.

Ms Fisher moved, seconded by Mr Maves, that a 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, Honorary Captain of the Fifth Canadian Maritime Operations Group at Halifax, Nova Scotia, 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.

Ms Barb Fisher (Bruce): On behalf of the people I represent in the riding of Bruce, it is my privilege and honour to move today the adoption of the first speech from the throne from our new government led by the Honourable Mike Harris.

This speech from the throne is a beginning. It is a beginning of matching our deeds with our words. Our words are outlined in The Common Sense Revolution, the policy platform that we campaigned on in the last election. This is the policy platform that has been mandated by the people of Ontario in electing our new government with a majority of seats in this assembly.

This Common Sense Revolution was heard throughout my entire Bruce riding, from Tobermory to Mildmay and from Tara to Huron township. The people of my riding in the agricultural community, in the tourism industry, at the Bruce nuclear power development site, in small business and in communities throughout our area heard this platform and gave me the mandate to support this platform and to represent them in a government dedicated to its implementation.

Throughout Ontario our new government's mandate from the people was for the major change that this province requires if we and our children are to have the kinds of jobs, hope, growth and opportunities that are necessary to build a rewarding and successful life in this province.

It is the beginning of turnaround management and changing the way in which government works. It is bringing about this major change through implementing our plan to cut spending, cut taxes, eliminate barriers to job creation, cut the size of government and balance the provincial budget during the first term of a Mike Harris government.

First and foremost, we must get government spending under control after 10 years of overspending. If we are to continue providing the services that people need, we must ensure the province's financial stability and balance the provincial budget.

To do this, we must make decisions about the core responsibilities of government, so we are assessing those things that government must do and those that are better left to individuals, communities, the private sector and the volunteer sector.

This government is committed to maintaining the excellence of our health care system. We will preserve the health care budget at current levels. There are opportunities for savings in the current system, and those savings will be reinvested into health services that our people need.

We are equally committed to classroom education and policing as the other priority areas for this government. The government will establish a school nutrition program to ensure that children who may not be receiving proper nutrition in their homes, our young people, will be properly nourished before they start their school day.


Other specific education and training steps that we are actively implementing are: ensuring that school boards reduce overall costs while maintaining high-quality classroom education for our students. We want to give the local community flexibility to make choices and improve efficiency in the local school system, including restoring junior kindergarten as a local community option starting in the 1996-97 school year. And we are ensuring that we have a demanding core curriculum, that there is regular testing for our students and that parents and students receive standardized report cards.

The people of my Bruce riding, not unlike the people in the rest of Ontario, have been hurt by the last 10 years of tax-and-spend governments. My riding has natural beauty, reflected by the Bruce Peninsula National Park, it makes a major agricultural contribution to our province, and it has produced one third of our province's electricity from the Bruce nuclear power development site.

All of our valuable assets and the people associated with them have been struggling and are asking for leadership with vision and the chance to restore our pride and honour to ourselves and our province.

This throne speech is about change in the way government works, to make it work for the people again and not just for the special interests. To do this, we must once again make decisions about the core responsibilities of government, so we are assessing those things that government must do and those that are better left to individuals, communities and the private sector.

To achieve the savings required to maintain a sound fiscal footing, we need the help of our transfer partners. Two thirds of the provincial budget funds services provided by the municipalities, hospitals, universities and colleges and other agencies. Our transfer partners too must bring their own spending under control and seek more efficient and cost-effective ways of providing services.

Through this throne speech, we are putting back in place what the people have told us they want: to restore the traditional beliefs that we, our families and our communities share and cherish, from my riding of Bruce and all across the regions, towns and cities of this great province. This throne speech reflects the people's belief in hard work. It also reflects the belief that people should be rewarded fairly for their hard work, to save or spend that reward as they see fit, not how government sees fit to spend it for them. It is an expression of the mandate we were given by the people, that in order for our citizens, their families and communities to enjoy a safe and prosperous society, each of us as individuals must first take responsibility for our own personal lives and the security and future of our families.

This government is committed to ending the cycle of welfare dependency and despair by getting able-bodied welfare recipients back into the workforce. To create a welfare system that is a hand up, not a handout, we are committed to mandatory workfare. Under this program, if welfare recipients do not participate, they will lose their benefits.

To break this cycle of dependency and to give all Ontarians a fair chance the following steps are required: to begin requiring able-bodied welfare recipients, except single parents with young children, to perform community service or enrol in work or training programs in exchange for their benefits. We are continuing with our plans to adjust social assistance rates so that on average they are 10% higher than the average of the other nine provinces. Welfare benefits for seniors, persons with disabilities and their families will not be reduced. We are taking steps to end waste and fraud by introducing control measures, including tighter requirements for eligibility. Welfare for 16- and 17-year-olds has been curtailed and it will be phased out.

This throne speech is also about the belief that people deserve and must have accountability from those whom they elect and trust with their power. To achieve this accountability, we are preparing legislation to reduce the number of politicians in Ontario, as we campaigned on and stated in the Common Sense Revolution. This new legislation will mean that in the next general election in Ontario, voters will elect a smaller Legislature. Our goal is to reduce the number of seats from 130 to 99, the same as Ontario's representation in the House of Commons.

Also, we will be introducing, as stated in The Common Sense Revolution, legislation that will be based on the recommendations of the recently announced commission on MPP compensation. This reform will scrap the gold-plated MPP pension plan, eliminate tax-free allowances and take responsibility for setting pay away from the elected representatives. This is good news for ordinary Ontarians, who want us to reflect back to them that we will be guided by the same guidelines as average working Ontarians.

Those are the core guiding principles that have directed this first throne speech. This is the core of the mandate which this government received from the people of this province on June 8. It was the core of our campaign policy platform during the election campaign.

Our province now has the leader and a Premier, Mike Harris, who believes in our people and who is proud of their traditional values. We finally have a Premier and a government which will summon from each of us the best of our character and who will call on us as a province to our full potential. This is what we have been asked to do, and we will. The election last June was about listening to the people, being accountable to them and, as a government, doing the same kind of things that my family and yours have had to do in our lives in order to get by for the last 10 years.

This new government accepts and respects the trust the people of this province have loaned to us, and we are working very hard on their behalf to make sure that our deeds match our words, that our deeds match the words of The Common Sense Revolution. It isn't always easy matching one's deeds to one's words. Every parent has had experience of that in their family lives. It isn't easy, but it has to be done, and this government will see it done.

The people of this province clearly told us in the last election that Ontario was on the wrong track and they mandated this government and its program to set a new course in the proper direction. The people told us, and this document reflects what they said to us, that if we are to fix the problems in this province, then our new government must be prepared to make the tough decisions. This first speech from the throne begins that process of making the tough decisions. We are getting on with repairing the last 10 years of governments that have overspent and overtaxed the people of this province.

This throne speech is about changing the status quo. It's about bringing hope and opportunity back to the people of this province. It is about government that must work to stimulate job creation and new investment in our future. We will accomplish that by cutting tax rates, which will provide the consumers of this province with more money to spend and invest as individuals, families and communities.

The immediate steps that we will take as part of making this province a more prosperous place to live are as follows:

We will cut the provincial income tax rates, starting with our first full budget in 1996-97.

We are eliminating the employer health tax on the first $400,000 of payroll.

We will reduce Workers' Compensation Board premiums by 5%.

We will abolish the annual corporate filing fee.

We will freeze the average rates charged by Ontario Hydro for five years.

We will cut the red tape that is a barrier to growth and new jobs for our business community.

These steps are all reflective of what we said we would do during the election. This government asked for that job. The people of this province gave us that job and that trust in us, and this government accepts that trust and the responsibility and accountability that go with it.

Once again, the major changes that are outlined in this speech from the throne are dedicated to accomplishing the government's goals of giving the taxpayers of Ontario a provincial income tax rate cut of 30% over three years, beginning in 1996-97. This is what ordinary Ontarians mean when they speak of reward for hard work. The people of this province will, through tax reduction, keep more of their money to spend, save and use as they see fit -- not as government sees fit to spend it for them, as they have done for the last 10 years. The changes outlined here will contribute to this extra money going to the pocketbooks of Ontarians, not going to the pocketbooks of government.


None of these changes, as outlined in the speech from the throne, are easy. Families have had to bring their budgets into line due to changing circumstances. So too must this new government. One knows that when you make these decisions, they are hard but necessary. You know you have to organize yourself and your family to deal with today's problems in order to take advantage of tomorrow's opportunities.

This is the challenge facing this new government, and meeting that challenge won't be easy. If it were, these decisions would already have been made by the previous two governments over the last 10 years. But working together, receiving the encouragement and support of the people, drawing on our traditional strengths, together this government can and will ensure Ontario's future. We can and will bring hope, new jobs and economic growth back to the people of this province.

You can be sure that the tough measures outlined in the throne speech will not be welcomed by the forces of the status quo, the single-issue and special-interest groups. But these tough measures will be understood and accepted by the middle-class taxpayers of this province, the people who carry the load and who pay the freight.

As a wise statesman, Thomas Jefferson, once said: "Equal rights for everyone, special privileges for no one." That simple statement is the core guiding principle of the document which I am moving for adoption.

I believe that the people in my Bruce riding should have equal rights to succeed, as should people throughout Ontario. I believe that small and medium-sized businesses, organizations like the tourism committees, and the individuals in agriculture, in my riding and throughout Ontario, should have the freedom and a framework of government policy that allows them to succeed.

Getting our provincial finances back in order is the first step along our new road. This speech from the throne is not a step that is an end in itself. It is only the beginning, a new beginning for all of us together.

Ontarians joined in this journey with us. They did so on June 8. Ontarians know that we must share in the difficult things if we are to share in the rewards. It will not be easy, but it is the right thing to do.

This throne speech reflects the commitment of this government to adopt the measures necessary to secure a future for ourselves and for our children. I trust that the people of my Bruce riding and the people throughout Ontario will not only support the difficult decisions this government must make but also share my enthusiasm for the future we can share together.

I move the adoption of the speech from the throne.

Mr Bart Maves (Niagara Falls): It is with great pride that I stand before the Assembly today as the newly elected representative for the riding of Niagara Falls. As a new member of the Mike Harris turnaround management team, I second the motion to adopt the first speech from the throne of this new government.

I would tell you that yesterday I met with the Honourable Robert D. Nicholson, a former member of Parliament for Niagara Falls. I told him about the privilege today of seconding the speech from the throne, and his advice to me was, "Make the most of it." So I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to the members assembled if you're here a lot longer than you expected.

I would like to take this opportunity not only to discuss the throne speech and to tell the members assembled about Niagara Falls but also to extend sincere congratulations and good wishes.

I would like to congratulate the honourable member for Simcoe East on his election to the Speaker's chair. He is a very worthy member and his ascension readily reflects the high regard in which other members hold him.

I would also like to congratulate all members for their electoral success on June 8. I am particularly happy to be joined by friends and fellow Niagara region representatives Tim Hudak, Tom Froese and Frank Sheehan. At the same time, I congratulate members of cabinet and wish them well in their future endeavours. I look forward to working with all members over the coming years towards the common goal of making Ontario a better and more prosperous place in which to live.

I congratulate the Premier upon his election victory. I thank him for his excellent leadership and offer my continued support as he goes forward to face the task of righting the Ontario ship, which over the past decade has been steered so badly off course.

I would like to acknowledge my Niagara Falls predecessors, House member Margaret Harrington, the Honourable Vincent Kerrio and the Honourable John Clement, for their service to the community. Mr Kerrio served the community as its representative for 15 years and is now enjoying retirement in the Falls. I know that Mr Kerrio is currently experiencing some ill health, and I would like to wish him a speedy recovery. Mr Clement was a minister in Premier Davis's government of 1971-75.

As the first Conservative elected in Niagara Falls since Mr Clement, it was a great thrill to have Mr Clement at Queen's Park for my official swearing-in ceremony. Many of my constituents who came to Toronto for the occasion were just as pleased to see and visit with one of our riding's most distinguished citizens, Mr John T. Clement.

Lastly, I would like to thank the residents of Niagara Falls for bestowing upon me the honour of acting as their representative. It is a position which I have educated myself for and worked towards for some time now, and I thank Niagara citizens for their support. I intend to make my community as proud of its representative as I am of Niagara Falls.

It is a special honour and privilege for me, on behalf of my constituents, to stand today and second a throne speech. It is a great opportunity to talk about the goals of the people of Niagara Falls. As the gateway to Ontario and Canada, Niagara Falls and its 75,000 citizens are proud to be the hosts of the tourist capital of Canada. Over 12 million visitors a year come to Niagara to witness the natural wonder which is the mighty falls itself. These visitors bring tens of millions of dollars into Ontario and support hundreds of businesses in the hospitality industry throughout our province.

The tourist sector is now, more than ever, vital to Niagara Falls. Why? Because over the past decade Niagara has seen its industrial base chased away by government red tape, onerous labour legislation, high utility rates and crushing tax rates. The tourist industry in Niagara Falls must find some way to induce tourists to stay beyond their average four-hour stay in our fair city. It is no secret that the people of Niagara Falls would like to have a casino operation within their midst. We recently had a municipal referendum on this issue, and an overwhelming majority supported such a development. It would be an important tourist attraction for a vital tourist centre. It would add night-time and off-season entertainment which would help to keep people in town for four days instead of four hours.

However, this government clearly has other priorities which will come first in its mandate. But in the meantime it is essential that the people of Niagara Falls join this government in embracing the traditional Ontario value of self-responsibility.

We in Niagara can begin to find new and better ways to package ourselves as a tourist destination for the rest of the world. From a Niagara Falls base, a visitor can tour the beautiful wine region of Niagara and Niagara-on-the-Lake; take in shows and performances in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Toronto and Buffalo; golf at over 30 competitive golf courses, all within a 20-minute drive of the falls itself; attend many sporting events; tour the incredibly beautiful Niagara Parks Commission parkway system and attractions and take in historical sites unlike any other in Canada.

It is incumbent upon the people of Niagara to continue to cooperate with one another in their marketing programs and to attract new investment and attractions into the riding, which will benefit the tourist industry, the community and the province as a whole.

Like many Ontario communities, Niagara Falls has experienced difficult times over the last decade; in fact, maybe one should refer to it as "the lost decade." But on June 8 the voters in Niagara Falls sent a strong signal through their choice of a provincial representative. By doing so, they endorsed a clear mandate. On that day, they said they wanted a change, a major change. My constituents, like many Ontarians, voted for the changes embodied in the Common Sense Revolution. Since my election, the phrase that my constituents have most often repeated to me has been, "Just do what you said you would do." That sentiment is prevalent throughout my riding and the province as a whole.


Why is it so important to the people of Niagara Falls and Ontario? It is important because past governments in this province and throughout this country have campaigned on one set of promises and, once elected, have implemented something totally different. This has led to an unprecedented level of scepticism and cynicism in our society, and for good reason.

But soon that will all be behind us. Yesterday, my ears and those of my constituents were delighted to hear that this government fully intends to continue to live up to its election promises, and I believe that doing so is essential not only to restoring good government in Ontario but to restoring credibility in government in the eyes of our citizens.

As a younger member of this House, I feel that I represent a growing desire among a new generation to do politics differently. We yearn for a return to the use of common sense in government and for an end to indulgent spending. A symbol of this is our ardent desire to see perks such as the gold-plated pension plan of members of this House dismantled.


Mr Maves: I, obviously along with the other members, applaud the Premier for maintaining his commitment to this reform in the throne speech. This action will go a long way to restoring the people's faith in our political system.

This restoration of credibility and faith in government is at the crux of the Common Sense Revolution. But as the throne speech indicated, another achievement that this government will realize is the wrestling down of an out-of-control, bloated public sector, an oversized public sector which has been encumbering the private sector instead of freeing it, which has been challenging development instead of embracing it, hindering change instead of helping it and stunting economic growth instead of fostering it.

That will come to an end with this new government. Hope and prosperity will once again be restored in Niagara Falls and across this great province of ours.

This throne speech reconfirms the government's commitment to reducing out-of-control government spending, to reducing the size of government, to cutting taxes, to balancing the budget in the first term of a Mike Harris government and to eliminating barriers to economic growth and job creation.

I might point out that in May 1993 the Niagara region released the results of a study of 110 manufacturing firms which at that time remained in the Niagara region. The study showed that several disadvantages were choking businesses in Niagara and causing them to close or move from our uncompetitive economic environment.

What were these disadvantages that were killing jobs and growth in my community? The disadvantages that our manufacturers specified were high taxes, high utility rates, high Workers' Compensation Board premiums and an out-of-control Workers' Compensation Board system, onerous labour legislation and excessive payroll taxes.

Well, Mr Speaker, both the Common Sense Revolution and yesterday's throne speech specifically addressed each and every one of these disadvantages. The government yesterday confirmed its commitment to reducing job-killing payroll taxes, to making our labour relations system fairer and more democratic, to reforming the Workers' Compensation Board system and reducing Workers' Compensation Board premiums. The government yesterday confirmed its commitment to freezing hydro rates for five years and to reducing income tax rates, which are currently among the highest in the world.

This is wonderful news to those manufacturers and small business people in Niagara. It is wonderful news to the people in the Niagara region who have been without jobs for the last five years. It is wonderful news to taxpayers who have seen their personal disposable income fall every year for the past five years due to continuing and massive tax increases by the previous two governments, tax increases which were introduced to satisfy the insatiable thirst of the past governments for more and more revenue to pay for their lack of prudence and strong management.

Those spending binges of the previous government and the one before it have taken their toll. All citizens of Ontario know that you cannot continue to spend more than you bring in, but the past two governments have lacked that common sense of ordinary people. As a result, this province now has a public debt of $97 billion. This debt continues to grow and without this government's July 21 expenditure reductions, our province would have had its fifth consecutive $10-billion-plus deficit. As it stands today, the citizens of this province have the highest per capita deficit in Canada.

Ontario, which has always been this country's greatest economic engine, has become one of this country's biggest economic basket cases, with no thanks to previous governments' overspending during the last 10 years.

Tough measures are called for and this government has the wherewithal to undertake these measures. All of our ridings will lose government dollars in the very near future. Many unaffordable programs that no longer have a sensible purpose will be phased out. If we don't take these critical steps today, all of our programs may be in jeopardy tomorrow.

It won't be easy. Believe me, I know. As you've heard today, my riding has had a ministry relocation plan for some time now. Recently, it was revealed that this move was ill-conceived. How ill-conceived? The member for Prescott and Russell stood up earlier and mentioned that it was the Ministry of Tourism that was to move to Niagara Falls. Once we were in government, we learned that only 25 positions from the Ministry of Tourism were scheduled to move to Niagara Falls. It was a cruel hoax from the start, and this, coupled with the continual piecemeal dismantling of the relocation by the previous government, has made the entire move economically unfeasible.

I'd like to add that I was also upset by the member for Welland-Thorold, who had the audacity to blame this government for the end of the relocation manoeuvre. It was his leader who was the architect of the demise of this relocation. I might also point out to that and other members that the Premier's attendance today for my remarks is proof positive of his support for Niagara region.

I brought the concerns of the residents of Niagara Falls to this government about the decision and they were heard. However, I do realize that this government has a commitment to reduce and save where possible. With the aid of the Ontario Realty Corp, the Chair of Management Board and many Niagara Falls citizens, I have focused my attention on attracting a company or institution to occupy that building so that in the long run we will be further ahead than if the relocation had gone forward. We will be concentrating on creating new wealth rather than redistributing existing wealth. I join with the citizens of Niagara Falls in accepting the challenge, as I know many other ridings and members will be called upon to do the same in the near future.

The new government has strong faith in the enterprising nature of its citizens. This government has faith in the free enterprise system. We have faith in the traditional Ontario values which say hard work pays. That is why we are embarking on this path of major change which the people of Niagara Falls and Ontario have given us a clear mandate to do. We are embracing the private sector and embracing the work ethic. Like the people of my riding and all across this great province, we feel a new hope rising from the ashes of the last 10 years.

I would like to tell my colleagues in this House that this new hope and new direction has already paid dividends in the Niagara region. "Where are the jobs?" asked the members opposite earlier today. I'll tell them, in mentioning the honourable member for Niagara South, that in Stevensville, just outside Niagara Falls, a wheel rim manufacturing firm called Ronal has just announced that they will be expanding their operations in Stevensville and will be adding 120 new full-time jobs to their payroll. Very relevant is the fact that they had been considering moving to Tennessee, but they chose to stay in Ontario and to expand in Ontario because of the change of government, because they believe Ontario is now again open for business.

In Niagara Falls itself, a city whose manufacturing industry was based on easy access to inexpensive and abundant hydro, an abrasives company called Washington Mills was contemplating expanding operations in New York state. Given our commitment to freeze hydro rates for the next five years and knowing the changes that will improve the business climate in Ontario, this company has selected the best option, deciding to expand operations in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

These good-news job creation stories will find many willing applicants for the new positions. To this end, I have to applaud the Minister of Community and Social Services for his initiatives to date and his throne speech commitments to reforming the welfare system of this province. For years, the people of this province have been several steps ahead of their government in demanding changes to a social system that did not work. They didn't need a study, as the members opposite requested today. Unlike the members opposite, they didn't go through the last 10 years with eyes closed. It is abundantly clear that if we do not address the problems with this system, it will very soon be lost entirely.

Since the July 21 announcement, many people have been motivated to again seek work. In Niagara Falls, Mr Mark Brickell from the St Ann's Adult Learning Centre recently informed me that in the last two months over 100 people have come in to sign up for courses. Many of these people have been on social assistance for the last four or five years. These new clients told Mr Brickell that the recent announcements motivated them to come to the school to enhance their skills and to get back into the workforce. When the abovementioned jobs become available, these people will be ready, willing and qualified to fill them.

The minister should be congratulated for his efforts to improve the system, allowing people to regain the dignity that comes with a job, thus promoting independence rather than sponsoring dependence. These examples are proof positive that this government is on the right track, a new direction that will see the private sector, freed from too much government and too much red tape, lead the way back to economic prosperity in this province. It will re-create the enterprising culture which once made Ontario the economic engine of this country.

I am intensely proud of my roots and of my community. My father comes from a well-known Niagara Falls family of 16 children. This family has served the community in many diverse ways: through the Rotary Club, the JCs, the hospital board of governors, the transit commission, the curling club and the hospital ladies' auxiliary, to name only a few. I found myself thinking of them and their wonderful impact on Niagara Falls over the last 60 years when I heard in the throne speech of the Premier's upcoming volunteerism initiatives. Volunteers are indeed the backbone of my community and represent the very essence of what Ontario used to be and what it can be again.

Niagara Falls is a strong and dynamic community, like so many communities across Ontario. It is blessed with people willing to work hard for their living and it reflects the traditional Ontario belief that we all deserve and can have the opportunity for a prosperous future for ourselves and our children.

The future and prosperity of this province will need the strong leadership of Mike Harris while this government turns around this province. These upcoming and necessary decisions will be difficult and I offer my continued support to our leader during the challenging times ahead. To reach the end of that road will not be easy, but if we are to share in the rewards together, we will have to share in the tough decisions together. We should ask no less of ourselves if we are to make this province the kind of place where my children and yours will have the kind of future they and we all deserve.

For these reasons, I move to second the adoption of the speech from the throne.

Mr Jean-Marc Lalonde (Prescott and Russell): I move the adjournment of the debate.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Agreed.


Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I would like to give the weekly business statement. Pursuant to standing order 55, I wish to indicate the business of the House for the week of October 2, 1995.

On Monday, October 2, the leader of the official opposition will respond to the speech from the throne, after which the House will adjourn.

On Tuesday, October 3, the leader of the third party will respond to the speech from the throne, after which we will start into the normal rotation of speakers. I believe that there is unanimous consent among the three parties to split the time remaining for throne speech debate equally among the three parties. I will move that appropriate motion at that time.

On Wednesday, October 4, and Thursday, October 5, we will continue with the response to the speech from the throne. As per motion passed in the House today, private members' business on Thursday, October 5, has been cancelled.

I would now like to move adjournment of the House.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Mr Eves has moved 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 on Monday.

The House adjourned at 1625.