36th Parliament, 1st Session

L015 - Tue 24 Oct 1995 / Mar 24 Oct 1995







































The House met at 1332.




Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): Today, I stand before this House with deep sadness to express, on behalf of the citizens of Metro Toronto and the province, our deepest sympathies to the family of Jimmy Trajceski, whose life was taken by a senseless and cowardly act at the Victoria Park subway station early yesterday morning. Mr Trajceski leaves behind his wife, Cvetanka, his son Elvis, his daughter, Marianna, and countless family and friends.

In 1966, Mr Trajceski immigrated from the republic of Macedonia to Canada with a dream of making a good life for his family. He was known by all as a loving husband and father who dedicated his life to his family and to serving the public.

Employed by the TTC since 1973, Mr Trajceski was a model employee, always available to help out in any way he could. Jimmy was one of the many TTC front-line workers who served to make our public transit system one of the best in the world. He will be dearly missed by all his co-workers and the thousands of people he helped through his everyday work.

This cruel twist of fate leaves us all wondering why: Why does this family have to suffer such a loss? Why did this have to happen? There are no answers and no words that can be spoken here today to ease the sorrow of the Trajceski family, for only time, hopefully, can heal their pain.

Once again, on behalf of everyone, I'd like to express condolences to the Trajceski family.


Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): This week, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment is meeting in Whitehorse to discuss a proposed tough new national policy on auto emission standards. This meeting couldn't be more timely.

On Friday, Pollution Probe alerted us to the increasing human health risk posed by dangerously high levels of smog. In fact, smog alerts are up 150% over last summer. More disturbingly, Pollution Probe, as well as health officials at the city of Toronto, believe these alerts are being triggered at a higher rate than they should be. We simply shouldn't be inhaling the amount of pollution that we currently are, as evidenced by increasing hospital admissions for respiratory disorders.

The adoption of tougher standards should also enjoy the unqualified support of the ministers of Health and Finance. Research prepared for the ministers' environment council -- their own figures -- shows that new, tougher standards could reduce health costs by $10 billion to $30 billion over the next 25 years and save 3,600 lives. The point is simply this: The quality of the air we breathe is getting worse and our health is being increasingly compromised.

A current Environics survey shows 78% of Canadians believe that environmental regulations should be strictly enforced. I'm sure that would be even higher where human health is at stake.


Mr E.J. Douglas Rollins (Quinte): I rise today to bring to the attention of members of the House a party that is going on tonight for a Liberal member who has retired after 20 years serving the Quinte riding, in the person of Mr Hugh O'Neil.

After 20 years of holding different offices in this House, we know the kind of work that he did. I know this is not a member of our party, but I certainly throw him all the bouquets I can throw him, because he was certainly a super individual, in taking over the offices that he had after the election.

The party tonight is at 6 o'clock in Trenton. Some of you people I know are going down to be with him and his family in his retirement time. Once again, I'd just like to congratulate Hugh on the work he's done for the riding and the province of Ontario.


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): I'm disappointed that the Minister of Health has not acknowledged Breast Cancer Awareness Week with a statement in this House. So today I speak on behalf of my constituents and the minister, I'm sure, as I rise in the House today to celebrate the official opening of the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre.

The opening was held last evening at Mount Sinai Hospital. The opening of this facility is a very special achievement. The $2.8-million facility was built without any capital resources from the government.

Marvelle Koffler is a breast cancer survivor. She has shown great courage and determination in battling this disease. The centre is a tribute to her courage and is a result of her leadership and the generosity of Marvelle and her husband, Murray, their friends and wonderful family.

Offering the latest outpatient treatment, surgical techniques for breast cancer, breast disease diagnosis, early detection, education and support, the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre sets a new standard for care of breast disease in North America. It combines surgical expertise and the latest in breast imaging services with integrated psychosocial support services. The integrated services provided at the centre make the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre unique in Canada and will provide patients with the nurturing, care and treatment that will help them deal with this dreaded disease.

My congratulations to Dr Pamela Goodwin, the advisory committee members, of which I'm proud to be a part, and the staff at Mount Sinai Hospital who provided support, expertise and encouragement. The centre is an innovative new bright light and a beacon of hope for all those fighting a dreaded disease, breast cancer.


Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): Last week, in response to a question from our leader, the Premier suggested that economist after economist agreed with this government's economic and fiscal plan. The Premier said, and I quote from the Hansard record of Wednesday, October 18, "I agree with the Canadian Labour Congress senior economist Kevin Hayes that, if we want jobs in the province...and that's what we were elected for, we must encourage consumer confidence."

I rise to correct the record of this House. With respect to this remark, it was made in direct response to a question to the Premier on the wisdom of the government's planned tax cut. The tax cut contemplated by this government would benefit only the wealthiest of this province. Mr Harris's tax cut would give someone with an income of $100,000 over 10 times as much as someone with an income of $25,000. In fact, two thirds of the total value of the tax cut would go to only the top 10% of income earners.

We've spoken to Mr Hayes about his comments that were reported, and I want to say that the Premier got it wrong. What he actually said was, "There's this theory floating around that you can somehow have an economic recovery without improving the income of workers.... But it's impossible."

He goes on to point out, "The federal and provincial governments are also contributing by both cutting jobs and rolling back wages" in many cases.

The Premier got it wrong. The Premier is also wrong in saying economist after economist is supporting him.

What the government needs to do is have a plan for jobs. The government seems to think people will spend money in the hope of creating jobs for themselves. It's not common sense; it's nonsense.



Mr Dan Newman (Scarborough Centre): I rise today to recognize Mr Norm Kelly, Metro councillor for the riding of Scarborough Wexford, who is seated in the members' gallery.

Councillor Norm Kelly has served the residents of Scarborough with dedication and commitment for many years. Councillor Kelly served three terms as alderman for the borough of Scarborough during the 1970s and 1980s. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1980 as member of Parliament for the riding of Scarborough Centre.

And now, after a number of years in the private sector, he has returned to serve the residents of Scarborough after his election to Metro council in last November's municipal elections.

Like the Premier, Councillor Kelly is dedicated to eliminating waste, mismanagement and duplication in government. And like the Premier, Councillor Kelly wants to provide efficient and cost-effective municipal services without higher taxes.

Please join my in welcoming Councillor Kelly here today.


Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): I'd like to speak about bologna today.

Some people in Mike Harris's Ontario are finding aspects of the Common Sense Revolution a little hard to stomach. So to assist the weak at heart in digesting the Tories' recipe for disaster, the Minister of Community and Social Services has served up a $90-a-month meal plan, which at less than $1 per meal consists primarily of a lot of wishful thinking.

Despite reports that there is little value in the Tsubouchi diet, either nutritionally or otherwise, the Premier himself has shown support for the plan by stating that he knows what it's like to live on a diet of baked beans and bologna. That's why he worked so hard to get ahead.

Well, flavourful tales of the Premier once living on a lemonade budget have turned sour by accounts of a younger Mike Harris's champagne lifestyle. It now appears that bologna was never a popular dish in the Harris household, which, according to some sources, resembled the Royal York at dinnertime. As a result, today the Premier's eating his words along with his fictional diet.

The Premier's right about one thing, however: He's full of baloney. We just wish he and his Minister of Community and Social Services would stop serving it up to the province of Ontario. We find the whole thing unpalatable.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): Today, we have yet another transfer from Brian Mulroney to the Mike Harris government, another individual who lived off the taxpayers of Canada courtesy of Brian Mulroney in Ottawa and who will now be living off the taxpayers of Ontario courtesy of Premier Harris.

I am referring to one Dan MacDonald, who two weeks ago was appointed to the Social Assistance Review Board, where he will receive in the neighbourhood of $65,000 a year, plus expenses, from Ontario taxpayers while children on social assistance in Ontario go to bed hungry.

What are Mr MacDonald's qualifications? What experience does he have that would prepare him to exercise judgement on an important quasi-judicial body?

In 1987, Mr MacDonald was the Mulroney candidate in a Hamilton Centre by-election. He came third, barely winning 15% of the vote. From there, Mr MacDonald was off to Ottawa to perform a variety of tasks for Brian Mulroney. His occupation, we are told, was that of an organizer for the Mulroney government. The Mulroney government then appointed Mr MacDonald to a position at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. Now Mr MacDonald comes here from Brian Mulroney to the Mike Harris government to live off Ontario.

The people of Ontario were told the Harris government was different. What we see are the worst excesses, the worst examples of the discredited Mulroney regime being repeated by this government.


Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): It gives me great pleasure to rise today in this House. I would like to recognize the presence in the Legislature of the family of page Jonathan Helmus, from Knox Christian Elementary School, located in my riding of Durham East.

On September 27, the throne speech signified newness: a new government, new MPPs, new cabinet and a very special group of new faces, those of the legislative pages.

The page program is a wonderful opportunity for students in grades 7 and 8 who achieve 80% or more in their marks to gain knowledge of government and to learn, first hand from the other pages, the geography of Ontario.

It provides the schools that send a page to Queen's Park exposure through name recognition and the opportunity to have the page share his or her experience with fellow students.

As this first group of pages are soon to end their term and return to their homes, I hope they will return to their communities with good stories about the activities and behaviour in this Legislature.

Please join with me in acknowledging the contribution they have made to this Legislature and to thank them.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): I would like to inform the members of the Legislative Assembly that we have in the Speaker's gallery today the Honourable John MacEachern, MLA, Minister of Education for the province of Nova Scotia. Please join me in welcoming our guest.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Yesterday, several members raised the issue of security. I would like to respond by reiterating that security of the legislative precinct is the responsibility of the Speaker. I share many of the concerns over security matters that have been raised and I understand the need to consult fully with the members of this House. It is for this reason that I am anxious to have the membership of the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly struck, and hopeful that when it is, it will make the consideration of this issue of security a priority.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Yesterday, the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr Cooke) rose on a point of order with respect to the committee membership motion.

This matter was raised on October 18, 1995, and I refer members to my ruling of that same date. Let me clarify by saying that the Speaker does not have any authority to compel this House to consider a certain item at orders of the day.

I again urge the acting government House leader to discuss this matter with the members opposite to come to a quick resolution of this problem.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Yesterday, the member for Mississauga South (Mrs Marland) rose on a point of privilege with respect to the television cameras in the gallery. I find that the member does not have a prima facie point of privilege; however, the member may wish to bring this matter to the attention of the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly for its consideration.



Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): In July, we announced that we would introduce comprehensive plans for road safety. Premier Harris requested plans from me and my colleagues the Solicitor General and Attorney General.

Starting immediately, we will improve driver behaviour by making enforcement more effective, getting drunk drivers off the road and making trucks safer. Bottom line, this plan is about getting tough on dangerous drivers and vehicles.

My priority is truck safety. To raise the profile of safety in the industry, I am pleased to announce that we will rate the safety performance of all truck operators and we will make these ratings available to the public and to anyone thinking of doing business with a particular trucking firm.

We will prepare for full enforcement of weight laws for gravel trucks. We are lifting the axle weight moratorium put in place by a previous government.

The most common safety defect is brakes out of adjustment. We will train commercial drivers to adjust their own brakes. This mandatory program will train drivers to adjust their own brakes rather than having to go to a mechanic.

We will set up a system of electronic monitoring to make trucking safe and efficient, and reward good drivers and operators with fewer inspection stops.

And, working with the trucking industry, the government will explore options for training and licensing truck wheel installers. We will also look closely at the recommendations of the inquest into truck wheel separation.

Within 12 months, my ministry will report back with the recommendations on increased penalties, including demerit points for drivers of unsafe trucks, better driver training for passenger and commercial vehicles, and a form of graduated licensing for truck and bus drivers.


My colleague the Attorney General will announce drinking and driving measures, and the Solicitor General will be announcing enhancement to enforcement.

Government's responsibility is to make sure everything we do in road safety is fair and that it works. These action plans meet the standard, they are fair, and they have the potential to save lives.

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): As the minister responsible for the drinking-driving countermeasures program, I am pleased to join with the Minister of Transportation and the Solicitor General to announce our new proposals which meet our commitment to improve road safety in Ontario.

Drinking and driving is the number one cause of criminal death and injury in our society, and alcohol is the greatest single factor contributing to automobile accidents in Ontario.

In 1993 alcohol was involved in 42% of Ontario's motor vehicle fatalities. During that year, 565 persons died in alcohol-related crashes and more than 26,000 drivers were charged with impaired driving. Of all impaired driving convictions, 63% were for a second, third or subsequent offence.

Every year drinking and driving costs Ontarians $1.3 billion in personal financial loss, medical expenses and property damage. But no amount of money can measure the tragedy and suffering imposed on the innocent victims of this crime. The deadly impact of drinking and driving on victims is unacceptable.

To stop the suffering, we have developed a strategy to further reduce impaired driving in our province. Shortly we will be introducing the administrative licence suspension, a measure that will get drunk drivers off the roads and ensure that this form of dangerous driving is dealt with swiftly and surely. Administrative licence suspension has a proven track record of reducing alcohol-related crashes, deaths and injuries by up to 50%. Forty US states, Manitoba and Nova Scotia have adopted it; British Columbia has introduced legislation and Quebec is considering the proposal.

Drunk drivers will have their licences suspended immediately for 90 days by the registrar of motor vehicles if their blood alcohol concentration is higher than the legal limit. The suspension will be an administrative procedure separate and apart from any criminal charges and will include an appeal provision. This process will ensure that the constitutional rights of drivers will be protected.

This is an issue that has been discussed previously in this House. Our administrative licence suspension plan is quite different from past initiatives. We have addressed previous concerns that were raised. This plan ensures due process for Ontarians. The suspension will be carried out by the motor vehicle registrar, and not the police. In addition, to further ensure the fairness of Ontarians, there is an appeal process built into the suspension plan.

We are also introducing increased yet flexible suspensions, a measure that will allow the courts to increase punishment to fit the crime. With this new proposal, the minimum suspension after conviction could be increased from the current 12 months to up to 18 months for more serious cases.

The measures I've outlined today will allow us to send a clear message to everyone that drinking and driving in Ontario will not be tolerated, and that this government is serious about road safety.

Hon Bob Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): It gives me great pleasure to join my colleagues the Minister of Transportation and the Attorney General in announcing government initiatives which will have an immediate and positive impact upon road safety in Ontario.

Providing police officers with the tools for effective traffic law enforcement is a key to road safety. I am pleased to inform you that three OPP traffic management teams, which have been operating on a temporary basis since July of this year, will be continued.

The OPP Road Rangers, as they have been dubbed, are doing an outstanding job. Each of the teams will continue to have nine OPP officers assigned to it and will operate in the greater Toronto and central regions. Within a year, two additional teams will be implemented, one in southeastern and one in southwestern Ontario. These units will continue to target unsafe driving practices, including speeding, impaired driving, tailgating, improper lane changes and any other driving behaviours by motorists that put themselves and other road users at risk.

These OPP officers will also continue to provide drivers with advice and counselling on entering and exiting highways, proper licensing for drivers and vehicles, and properly fitted seatbelts.

Also being implemented is a self-reporting process for motor vehicle collisions. Motorists involved in collisions in OPP jurisdictions, where no serious damage or personal injury has occurred, will be able to report the details to a collision reporting centre or OPP detachment. This will enable more efficient use of valuable police resources to areas where they are most needed.

The RIDE program has been effective in changing the public's attitude towards the criminal behaviour of drinking drivers. I'm pleased to announce that $1.2 million will continue to be made available to municipal police services to conduct RIDE spot checks. We are providing this support to the RIDE program in spite of considerable financial constraints faced by this government.

I am confident that these initiatives will bring significant positive change to the driving behaviours of motorists and will go a long way to improving overall safety on our roads.

Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): I find some of the announcement of the Minister of Transportation very contradictory, at best. Certainly we all concur that something dramatic has to be done to restore the public sense of safety on our highways, but I find this statement lacking, especially in terms of being comprehensive.

Does your idea of safety not include snow clearing, snowplowing, sanding and salting? How can you say you're taking safety seriously when you've eliminated the emergency patrol from the highways in the GTA? You didn't even make an announcement about that. I think your ministry, Minister, should be obliged to disclose any cutbacks you've made to safety since you've been there and not try to sneak those cutbacks by.

I hope you're not trying to put money into the initiatives in this announcement that you've taken out of the snowplowing, snow clearing, sanding and salting budget or the emergency patrol budget; that you took it out of there to put it into this announcement.

It is not comprehensive, because truck safety is only one part of it. We're looking at the condition of the roads, we're looking at the speed, we're looking at a whole variety of issues that deal with road safety. You can't say you're going to have safer roads when, with the cutbacks to GO Transit and public transit, you're pushing more cars on to the highways.

How can this be a comprehensive announcement? You're not getting tough with anything. And you say you're going to wait a year before you're going to start punishing the violators. Why wait a year? Why not do it now, if you're serious about it?

Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming): I look at the Solicitor General's announcement today with great interest: the increasing of the OPP Road Rangers throughout, now, southwestern Ontario and southeastern Ontario. I find it passing strange, as his boss the Premier would say, when he at the same time is eliminating 700 clerical jobs throughout the province in the OPP.

It would seem to us that this burden of paperwork is now going to fall upon the very highly trained and professional police force we have here in Ontario, and it's going to be very difficult for him to expand services like this while he's making these $17-million cuts in the OPP.

It also is contrary to what was stated during the election of last June in the Common Sense Revolution, that the Tory government, besides not cutting into health care and education, would also make sure that there were no cuts in police services in Ontario, yet we continue to see cuts.

So while it is good to make sure that we have the coverage on the roads with the OPP Road Rangers throughout the province, I tell the minister that he should use great caution in reducing the strength of our OPP, to make sure that public security and safety is maintained throughout this province.


Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): In response to the statement by the Attorney General, I must tell him how pleased I am that the work that has been done over a number of years by the countermeasures office in his ministry has finally come to fruition. I know that some of the staff are in the gallery, and this is indeed a happy day for them.

Last year, when the member for Mississauga South presented a private member's bill in this Legislature around suspension of licences, our government offered to the then House leader exactly this program of administrative licence suspension and offered to support that part of her bill. We were turned down. I am delighted to see that the Attorney General has managed to convince his colleagues that this is indeed a very important way to keep drunk drivers off the road, that it will stand up to constitutional challenge. I am very, very pleased to see it put into place. I think one of the things we know about Ontarians is that they will not tolerate drunk driving. This is indeed a positive measure, and I congratulate the minister.

To the Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services, this is good news and bad news. It's good news that you're continuing the RIDE funding that our government put in place, because you're right: It has been very effective, and it is something that municipalities identify as being very important in their efforts to control drunk driving and to provide safety on the roads.

However, I would say to the member that the cancellation of photo-radar, the control of speed through photo-radar, is one of the black marks on the government's record. Indeed, it would have provided the OPP and policing services with the kind of technology they need to meet the cuts that my colleague the member for Timiskaming was mentioning.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): It's one of those occasions when we're focused, each and every one of us, on what to do vis-à-vis truck safety. The member opposite, the honourable minister, has risen above party politics, and we fully support his endeavour vis-à-vis truck safety. He is very much aware that it's an ongoing, evolving process.

All three parties have had some concern. Truck traffic has more than doubled in the past seven years; people insist on necessity and convenience, door-to-door delivery, just-in-time delivery, which is more economical and makes good business sense.

Yet, on this day for celebration, I find myself in a somewhat uncomfortable position, for I have just received yet another leak from the ministry. This one says, "Patrol staff reduction: 76 men and women will lose their jobs." This is related to safety, so you have a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde. Which one is it, Minister, surfacing here?

When I was the minister, Ben Johnson had just set the world record as the fastest human being. There was the rumour of a leak in my ministry, and I beat his record after question period going back to my office.

Cuts of $6.5 million: That's the reality. Last week it was revealed that $6.5 million in terms of winter maintenance and programs was chopped off, which means you will scare the living daylights out of motorists. There are fewer people on patrol, not as many sanders, and patrol has been reduced by eight hours per day.

Then we hear -- and under other circumstances it would have been comical, to say the least, farcical -- the cellular phone issue: that if you're in trouble as a motorist, you just pick up a cellular. That's what the minister said. Well, I have one.


Hon Noble Villeneuve (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, minister responsible for francophone affairs): I thought you gave that up.

Mr Pouliot: Yes, I have a cellular phone. I was in my riding last week and it didn't ring, so it must have been Palladini calling.

We do encourage the minister in his endeavour, and if he needs to consult, should he do it by fax, I want to wish him well.



Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): My first question is for the Minister of Transportation. The minister today has addressed one issue of road safety which is of concern, but he has completely failed to address, over a series of days, another issue of safety which is of growing concern. That, of course, is the issue of winter road safety, an issue which members of our caucus have now raised on several occasions.

The minister has told this House that there will be no change to the services and to the level of safety that will be offered on Ontario roads this winter. In fact, Minister, your exact words were, "Our standards have not changed," yet yesterday you told this House that budget cuts for winter road maintenance will take effect on November 13, which just happens to be the date when road crews go on winter standby.

Minister, would you please explain to this Legislature what exactly these cuts to take effect on November 13 will be, and will you tell us how you plan to maintain the same standard of safety when you are making cuts?

Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): Again I would like to reassure this House and the honourable member that public safety is the number one priority for this government. And yes, madam, the standards have not changed; it's how we deliver the standards. We are going to get a bigger bang for our buck because we are going to do business in a smart way, contrary to the way it used to be done.

Mrs McLeod: This minister somewhat triumphantly told this House yesterday that any accidents that occur on roads in the north could not yet be blamed on cuts because the cuts hadn't taken effect, that they would not take effect till November 13. I want to know what cuts are going to take effect on November 13.

Last week, Minister, government documents were released which seemed to outline the cuts you were planning, and I would remind you of those: that the number of sand spreaders is being reduced, the number of snowplows is being cut, you're slashing the number of seasonal employees by 125, and you're reducing road patrols from three to just two, which means that staff won't be on the road 24 hours to monitor conditions.

Minister, these are not frivolous expenses or some kind of administrative extravagance. The sand spreaders are there, obviously, because sand adds traction and that cuts down on accidents. The snowplows are out to clear roads, and that prevents accidents and deaths. I suggest to you that the magnitude of the cuts you're planning is devastating and that they will jeopardize road safety if they are indeed implemented on November 13.

Minister, can you confirm that those are indeed the cuts that are coming on November 13, and if so, how can you say that cuts of this magnitude will not affect service and safety on our highways?

Hon Mr Palladini: This government is going to be spending $130 million to ensure that our roads are safe in the wintertime. I said earlier that this government is committed to doing more for less. We are going to hire for normal, average snowfall, and we have the flexibility to react if there is a major snowstorm. This government will have the flexibility to react and make sure that Ontarians do get the service they want.

Mrs McLeod: This minister is simply sticking to a script. He's sticking to a script that's been written for him which is absolutely meaningless, because he just can't have it both ways. Minister, you cannot take sanders off the road, you can't take snowplows off the road, you can't take the patrols off the highways and still maintain existing standards. In fact, the member for Port Arthur has been advised by municipal officials that they're very concerned that the ministry is going to go to maintaining many roads only in centre-bare condition over the course of this winter.

I want the minister to know, just so you understand, Minister, that in northern Ontario we don't have any four-lane highways, so if you go to centre-bare, that means one-lane highways in wintertime, and one-lane highways mean head-on collisions when we have accidents in the wintertime.

Then we heard the Minister of Education, who yesterday did not deny that he had suggested that the way to ensure the safety of northern Ontario school children in the wintertime was to make all your cuts out of southern Ontario road safety.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Put your question, please.

Mrs McLeod: I suggest to you that this will be completely unacceptable for people in southwestern Ontario who have to negotiate snowbelt conditions on the 401, or for motorists who drive Highway 400 near Barrie, or for people in eastern Ontario who often face very severe winter conditions.

The Speaker: Would you put your question, please.

Mrs McLeod: We cannot afford any reduction in service, Minister, and I ask you, will you revoke the cuts that are planned for November 13 in order to guarantee the same level of service and the same level of safety on Ontario's roads this winter?

Hon Mr Palladini: I would like to once again say that we are spending $130 million towards making sure that our roads are safe and we have the flexibility to react. We will monitor the snowbelt areas and the proper safety standards will be applicable.

I would like to inform the honourable member that this is a practice, as far as what she was saying earlier about cutting down the service hours, that's already in place, and including your home town.

Mrs McLeod: I sincerely hope that the minister's monitoring does not consist of monitoring the number of accidents in a snowstorm.


Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): I will place my second question to the minister responsible for women's issues. I want to return to the issue of your government's cuts to second-stage housing.

You have in the past insisted that the cuts to second-stage housing are not going to hurt women and that because the funding for emergency shelters remains, there's absolutely nothing for anyone to worry about. I really want to know if you and the Minister of Community and Social Services, who has said the same thing, really understand the difference between second-stage housing and emergency shelters.

Surely you know that an emergency shelter provides the accommodation, the protection, the shelter when women and children have had to flee an abusive home.

The second-stage housing is the accommodation that they go to when their time at the shelter has run out, and that's where they receive the help they need to establish independent lives, to get a job, to re-establish a home for themselves and their children. It's the second-stage housing that provides day care for the children so they can go out and get a job, it's second-stage housing that helps them get the job skills and it's second-stage housing that provides the security systems to ensure their personal safety. If you take away the counselling and the support --

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Put your question, please.

Mrs McLeod: -- and the security, all you're left with is an apartment building.

Does the minister understand that without counselling and security and other services, a second-stage housing building is just a building, it is not a route to independence?

Hon Dianne Cunningham (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, minister responsible for women's issues): To the honourable member, we of course understand the difference. I don't actually agree with your opening statement; they were not words that could have been attributed to us.

I think most people in Ontario right now are concerned about their families; this isn't new. What we're trying to do is to reassure them that the second-stage housing will be there. We will provide the support for administration and security. We've said that from the beginning, and we're working on some of the individual projects with those communities now.

Mrs McLeod: The minister makes my point exactly. When you take away the counselling and the support and the security, there is nothing left but an apartment building. The programs are being shut down. There will not be second-stage housing available for women and children in this province.

What's happening in the real world, in a world where this government says these programs are not being closed, is that at the Emily Murphy Centre in Stratford, the staff received their pink slips this morning. They've been told to do an inventory of their assets -- their furniture, the toys, the books -- and come up with a plan for selling them. That means that the 18 women and the 16 children living there will be on their own from now on.

So I ask you again, Minister, do you understand that without counselling and support services, this centre, the Emily Murphy Centre in Stratford, simply becomes a place to live and the women and children who are living there will not get any help as they struggle to rebuild their lives after escaping an abusive situation?

Hon Mrs Cunningham: We're very much aware of the Emily Murphy shelter in Stratford. We know that across the province there are situations like the Emily Murphy Centre in Stratford. We are also very much aware that we have not cut, the Ministry of Community and Social Services has not cut, the counselling programs. We still have $15.7 million to spend across this province.

Many communities -- and I'm not sure of Stratford -- are working very hard to save some counselling to support the second-stage housing. But I will repeat, the responsibility for the second-stage housing -- it's housing after the emergency housing, that is a place where women can go to feel secure and to work towards getting more independent -- they will have counselling from within their own community. There will be services available, and it's up to the local communities to work very hard to make it work, as we are attempting to do in our community in London and elsewhere across the province.

Mrs McLeod: Again, those are empty words. It sounds good, but it's not really happening in the real world; it's not happening in communities across this province. As the Ministry of Community and Social Services cuts out the funding, there is nothing left and there's nobody to step into the gap.

Let me ask you if you're aware of the situation with the South and Metcalfe Non-Profit Housing Corp in Simcoe. They received a letter from the Ministry of Community and Social Services and, despite all the protests to the contrary, this letter confirms that their second-stage housing funding has been eliminated: not protected, not cut, but eliminated.

The letter provides instructions for closing down the agency's services, how to lay off the staff, how to wind up the services, how to dispose of the assets. This letter also confirms that the only funding considered core is the funding that comes from the Ministry of Housing.

I'm astonished by the minister's insistence that an apartment building can still be considered second-stage housing when there are not the support services to help people re-establish their lives.

Will you at least acknowledge that the only thing that you consider to be core funding is money for bricks and mortar, and that bricks and mortar alone don't do much for these women and children, and will you admit that without funding for counselling and support services these women won't get the help they need?

Hon Mrs Cunningham: This government, in the last campaign, committed to providing core services. We, in fact, are providing the core services in both the shelters and the second-stage housing. We will admit -- if, in fact, you are listening --


The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mrs Cunningham: -- that administrative and security services are important.

The Leader of the Opposition is saying, "What counselling?" There are counselling services across this province. Every community will have to work to make certain that the women in second-stage housing receive the counselling services they need from within the budgets.

It is not gone across the province, and I will remind the members of this House that we are working on an individual basis -- for those who are listening -- within their own communities to provide the counselling services. There are some success stories, and we hope that there will be more, where communities are working together with $15.8 million left in counselling services for the women of this province in shelter housing and in second-stage housing.


Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): I've a couple of questions for the Premier in the absence, again, of the Minister of Community and Social Services. I'd like to quote again, from the October 3, 1995, Hansard of this year, the Minister of Community and Social Services:

"I had some research done to indicate how and whether or not someone who is a sole single on benefits or a single parent with a child -- " and he goes on to say: "we've actually provided a budget here.... I have it here in this binder. I'd be willing to share it with the leader of the third party."

Yesterday the Premier was asked this question, and I ask it again today: Is the Premier prepared -- because he said yesterday he would check with the minister's office -- is the Premier willing today to table both the budget for singles on social assistance, not the doctored document that was provided last week but the budget that he had in his binder that day, plus the budget for a single with a child?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): As I indicated yesterday, I'm prepared to share with the member everything that I have, and I've done so, that is there. The minister, as I indicated, is in eastern Ontario, and is meeting with front-line workers, was on an open-line radio show this morning in the Ottawa region and hearing from people across the province, and I believe will be back tomorrow.


But let me say this: What I hear the member saying is, "Shame on the minister for caring and trying to help." You know, Mr Speaker, we inherited a situation where for the last 10 years, his party and the party previous spent a total of $40 billion on welfare, never once in that time thinking: "How do we help people get off welfare? How do we get them a job? How do we give them the skills? How do we give them some advice and help in coping in a very difficult situation?" The one program that was in place that the NDP inherited that had been there for a long time to give counselling and advice on budget management you cancelled. You cancelled.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The question's been answered.

Hon Mr Harris: So all I hear from you is criticism for the minister for caring and trying to help when all you did was blow $40 billion on a failed system.

Mr Cooke: If I really thought the Premier or the minister cared about 400,000 children on social assistance in this province, I might be willing to accept what he just said. The reality is, there's only one thing that this government's trying to do, and that is to take away from the poorest people in this province and 400,000 children in order to give a tax break to their supporters who make more than $75,000 a year. That's what it's all about. Don't talk to us about expenditures. You're about to engage in the biggest expenditure in decades, and it's called a $5-billion tax decrease at the expense of the poor of this province.

My question to the Premier, my second question, is: He was quoted in the Toronto Star at the end of September as saying, and I quote:

"`I don't know,' Harris said when asked if Ontario's new welfare rates give parents enough money to feed their children." Continuing, he says, "Pressed by reporters about whether the new lower welfare rates give poor families enough money to feed their children, Harris said: `I hope so. I don't know. I'm sure it'll be enough.'"

If that's the case -- and this is a question of credibility for the Premier now, because it's his minister --

The Speaker: Put your question, please.

Mr Cooke: There was a promise made that a budget would be tabled in the House, which would I assume show that kids and families can survive on your new welfare rates. Table the budget. Will you table the budget?

Hon Mr Harris: I'm not exactly sure what budget the member is referring to. But what I can say is this, that I know we are paying on average 10% more than they get in the rest of the provinces; I know we are paying more than any of 50 states; I know we are paying more than most countries in the world; and I know in fact we're paying more than many working low-income people -- who are having great difficulty surviving and are very much looking forward to a tax cut so they can keep more of those hard-earned dollars for themselves.

Now I continue to say this, that to hear any member of this Legislature criticize anyone who is trying to offer help, trying to offer advice, trying to get their ministry to offer nutritional information -- I mean, example after example.

I know in Cambridge I've read an article here in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record. Here is a Cambridge group coming out with a booklet to help people, not just those on welfare but very hardworking, taxpaying people who in many cases are taking home even less dollars than people on welfare are getting to manage through difficult situations, and I would hope we'd all want to be good neighbours and do everything we could to assist and help.

Mr Cooke: If the Premier is so convinced that the minister is just simply trying to be helpful, then I think those of us on this side of the floor would like to facilitate that, and if he would table the budget that is supposed to be so helpful to the poor in this province and children in this province, why is the Premier stonewalling on behalf of his minister and destroying his own credibility by not tabling a document that his minister promised he would table in this House? Will you fulfil that commitment, or won't you?

Hon Mr Harris: I don't have a document. I have documents that have been provided others, other nutritional information. I have the Canada nutrition guide. Many nutritionists indicated, by the way, that the former document tabled was bang on, spot on, exactly the very minimum requirements, even though, I might add, the amount of money available to a single person is substantially more than the $75 that somebody did that budget for, or the $90-odd that the minister indicated.

Quite frankly, I come back to success stories. You know, in Hamilton we have people helping people, community kitchen programs. We have in Cambridge many people on welfare assisting saying, "Yes, this will be difficult, but yes, we can, like other Canadians all across this country, manage on this." Many saying, "We're delighted with the opportunity to be able to earn back the difference without clawback."

So there are great success stories happening. You know why they're happening? Because we're giving people an opportunity, because we're in there trying to help, instead of throwing $40 billion more down the drain --

The Speaker: Wind up your question.

Hon Mr Harris: -- and seeing more people on welfare, more dependence, more people condemned to this cycle of dependency. So there are a lot of success --

The Speaker: Order. New question.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): It is a bad film made by 18th-Century Fox.

The Speaker: The member for Lake Nipigon is out of order.

Mr Cooke: Mr Speaker, I guess the Premier was saying, "I haven't seen the document or I haven't heard of the document and I can't find the minister."


Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): My second question to the Premier is, can the Premier confirm to the House that the contract with the image consultants for the Minister of Community and Social Services is for up to $25,000 and that the contract was not put out to tender?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I don't have details of the contract. If somebody else has them -- I don't know if the Chair of Management Board -- so I'll take the question under advisement and would be pleased to provide the minister with any of those details.

I can say this, that when the question was asked yesterday, the member for Beaches-Woodbine continually interjected about the cost of minister's support staff. I think when she left office, she had 32 personal political staff and today her ministry has eight -- eight versus 32.

Mr Cooke: I remember in a pre-election debate the Premier, the then leader of the third party, said he wasn't very good with numbers and I think he confirms it every day in the House.

The fact is that the Premier said when they came to office they were going to do everything different; there weren't going to be any kind of these types of expenditures in ministers' offices. We now know that the first time a minister gets in trouble, instead of accepting the responsibility for that here in the House and looking to someone else to take over that ministry who doesn't need to be trained or retrained, the Premier's solution is to go to an image consultant and to spend taxpayers' money in order to beef up his government.


I'd like to ask the Premier again, when he is cutting social assistance, health services, children's mental health programs, children's aid societies, school boards, all of those fundamental services in this province, how can he justify an untendered contract for $25,000 for an image consultant for one of his ministers who is in deep trouble in this place?

Hon Mr Harris: I don't believe the consultant hired is an image consultant at all. So let me put that on the record.

Secondly, I know that when our ministers hired anywhere from 25% to 50% of the personal political staff the previous staff had, it was with the understanding that if they needed more help they would come back to us and let us know.

If they needed more advice, if they needed more political staff they would let us know. If they could do it on short-term contracts instead of full-time, $50,000-, $60,000-, $70,000-, $80,000-a-year jobs, as the previous government did, we encouraged them to do that, up to staffing levels.

I don't know how much the contract is for. I can tell you that all our ministers and staff in the bureaucracy have been told that we have rules for tendering and they must follow those rules. I would assume they've been followed in this case. If they've not, I will want to know why.

Mr Cooke: I just ask the Premier once again to put the $25,000 in context. Based on the budget or the food list or whatever it was that the minister tabled last week at $90 a month, the $25,000 for this image consultant is over 30 years of food for a single person on general welfare assistance.

I ask the Premier again, based on all of his cutbacks that he's imposing on needed social services, on battered women in this province, how can he justify $25,000? Wouldn't it be cheaper for the taxpayers of this province to fire your Minister of Community and Social Services and get somebody in who can do the job, rather than spending taxpayers' dollars to train this person?

Hon Mr Harris: I'll tell you what would be the absolute, most expensive thing for the taxpayers: That would be to have the NDP back in government. Nothing could be more expensive. Nothing would run up $10-billion deficits faster, nothing would spend money faster, unless it was the Liberals, who perhaps over their average period of time spent it faster than did the NDP. Nothing would add to ministers' total costs more than going back to the former minister from the NDP government that was there.

Nothing would save taxpayers more money than having the ministers and the cabinet and the party in power that are in power today.


Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): My question, in the absence of the Minister of Environment and Energy, is to the Chair of Management Board. Can the Chair of Management Board confirm that in the summer of 1995 several managers at Ontario Hydro did in fact receive pay raises up to 15%?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): The information that I have indeed confirms that about 90 managers associated with the nuclear division of Ontario Hydro have received increases of varying amounts, some as high as 15%, with the average in the 7% to 8% range.

The Ministry of Environment and Energy has already requested Ontario Hydro to provide a full explanation of those increases. I expect that information to be coming in the next short period of time.

Mr Conway: Minister, some three weeks ago the Minister of Energy stood in this House and announced that on behalf of your government there would be a five-year rate freeze at Ontario Hydro, showing that the Harris government was going to set a very clear direction for Hydro expenditure control.

In light of that ministerial statement of three weeks ago, in light of the Premier's clarion call to Tory restraint here this afternoon, much of it directed at some of the most disadvantaged people in this province, will you, on behalf of your government, give a clear undertaking today, consistent with the Premier's view and the Minister of Energy's statement of three weeks ago, that those 15% increases -- those increases generally -- will be rolled back to the freeze that everyone else has been expected to live with in recent months around here?

Hon David Johnson: Clearly, this government has concern for the increases. We have expressed that concern, through the Ministry of Environment and Energy, to Ontario Hydro. We have requested a full explanation of the increases.

We feel that we are living in an era of restraint. We have inherited, essentially, a $10.6-billion deficit from the previous government. We have inherited the spending patterns from the Liberal years leading to the deficits of the NDP years, and clearly we are living in an era of restraint.

As the member knows, Ontario Hydro is an arm's-length entity, and we have, through the Ministry of Environment and Energy, asked for details. We will be awaiting those details to see what action is possible.


Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): My question is to the Premier. Mr Premier, on a number of occasions you've attempted to switch the focus from the adequacy of the survival diet that's been put out there to the notion that people don't have to live like this. In fact, to quote you, you said, "I would advise people to try and work a few hours a week to be able to have more than just a survival diet." You went on to talk about your own period of time on baked beans and bologna, and that you didn't like it and that's why you worked so hard to try and get ahead.

Beyond the fact that this really is an outrageous insult to people who are struggling trying to bring up families when there's an unemployment rate of 9% and they're trying to find jobs, and that it punishes children who don't have choices, I want to talk about the jobs aspect.

I've taken a look at some of the actions of your government, and I total it between 60,000 and 80,000 jobs that you have cut since you've come to government: capital programs, about 8,400 jobs; non-profit housing, 12,000 jobs; Jobs Ontario Training, 30,000 jobs; JumpStart for youth, 10,000; operating dollars, another 8,000 in the OPS; and many more. It's 60,000 to 80,000.

You committed to the creation of 725,000 jobs.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Put your question, please.

Ms Lankin: If you were to do that, each year you would have to create twice as many jobs as on average over the last 20 years.

I want to ask you: These people you've cut supports to, all of the training programs, all the job creation programs, where do you expect them to find the jobs? How are you and your government going to help these people find the jobs you say they should go out and get in order to feed their kids?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I think the member's question is a good question, because it gets to the heart of the disaster of the lost decade or the last 10 years and the jobs that were destroyed, the investment that was driven out.

Bill 40 labour legislation sent a signal around the world: "Don't invest in Ontario. Your money's not secure here. Your investment's not secure here." And those are jobs that we lost: private sector jobs, good-paying jobs, high-paying jobs. We've lost even low-paying jobs through the tenure of your administration.

This is the challenge that we face. Clearly, and the Leader of the Opposition, and in fact on many occasions the former Treasurer of the province of Ontario, the leader of the New Democratic Party, after seeing the light, after blowing the budget for the first two years, said: "If we do not get our deficit under control" -- you know, when he showed you the film over and over from New Zealand of what happens when people won't lend you any more money -- "we won't have any jobs in Ontario." So one of the key areas is getting our expenditures under control.

A second key area is restoring a healthy climate for jobs and investment in the province of Ontario. Our whole agenda is jobs and growth and prosperity and investment, and all of those job creators, those who actually invest five cents of their own money, have told us: "Right on. That's what we need to get the incentive, to get encouragement, to get the stability to invest and create jobs back in Ontario" --

The Speaker: The question has been answered.

Hon Mr Harris: -- and that's what we're going to do.

Ms Lankin: I actually expected the mantra of the CSR to be repeated back in answer to that, and it's interesting, because a number of people are starting to look a little bit deeper at your economic plan and trying to examine it and understand whether or not in fact it will work.

Let me give you a couple of comments. Carl Sonnen, the president of Informetrica, is quoted as examining the growth rate in the economy that you've predicted and saying that it's quite a conservative estimate, small-c conservative, and even if you get that, it's not going to produce the kind of jobs that you are talking about in your plan. Let me go on to talk about Len Kubas, who's the president of Kubas Consultants, a Toronto retail and consumer research firm. He says that there is no indication of an increase in consumer spending or consumer confidence. In fact, there has been no sign of a psychological boost among either consumers or businesses since the new government came to power armed with pledges of tax cuts and a new economic climate. In fact, he's quoted as saying that --

The Speaker: Would you put your question, please.

Ms Lankin: -- if anything, things have gotten worse, and what makes it worse is this fear.


Sonnen goes on to say that the kind of economic drag from the money you're taking out --

The Speaker: Would you put your question.

Ms Lankin: -- of the economy is in fact not going to be made up by the stimulation of your tax cut. Where are the jobs going to come from?

My question, Mr Speaker: The Premier has no jobs plan; he has no workfare plan; he has no workable economic plan. There's no common sense over there. Tell us where the jobs are going to come from for the people you are punishing --

The Speaker: The question has been asked.

Ms Lankin: -- with a welfare diet and those kids who are going to go hungry?

The Speaker: The question has been asked. Premier.

Ms Lankin: Where are those jobs going to come from to feed those kids?

Hon Mr Harris: Economists seem to be like nutritionists: They never seem to agree 100%.

So let me quote CIBC Wood Gundy, "Growth prospects look dim without the aid of tax cuts." Canadian Manufacturers' Association chief economist Jayson Myers: "Incomes are falling. The tax bite has been increasing. Consumer and household debt is now more than 100% of personal incomes. In addition to lower interest rates, the cut in personal income taxes promised by the Mike Harris government should help," he said. A University of Toronto economics professor -- not widely known for conservative professors, but there are some, I suppose; maybe all are coming around -- "Businesses are going to go where taxes are lower over the long term. That's what the Harris government is trying to do."

Last week I quoted a Canadian Labour Congress economist saying the same thing. I've got pages of these. But let me --

Ms Lankin: Oh, did you not hear the correction on the record today? That's twice now, Mr Premier. You're wrong about that.

Hon Mr Harris: For every economist you can quote, I can quote three that say you're wrong. But what's most important is that your record of destroying jobs and moving them out of this province and the deficit proves that you're wrong.

Let me give you a good example: "County welfare rate dips." Eric Frye, director of Hastings county social services, says his staff have indicated that a drop of nearly 1.7% in one month's caseload is due to former social assistance recipients finding work rather than leaving the region or dropping from the rolls. They found work. The system is working and people are getting back to work.


Mr Ron Johnson (Brantford): I'd like to preface my question, if I may, by simply saying that the Canada that I know and the Canada that I love is a Canada that includes Quebec.

My question is for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. As of yesterday in my riding of Brantford, a new service opened which I understand is going to help entrepreneurs get established in this province. It is called the Ontario business registration access, or OBRA for short.

I understand, Minister, that Brantford's computer workstation is one of several being set up as a network across Ontario. Could the minister please explain to this Legislature exactly what that program is?

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): The member for Brantford is always looking out for the small businessmen of Brantford, and I appreciate his question.

Each year 90,000 new businesses start up in Ontario and have to deal with seven to 10 ministries. This particular program allows the businesses to go to one workstation and register in five different ministries. They can register their business name, their retail sales tax name and their employer health tax, their health tax on self-employed and workers' compensation.

It's one-stop shopping put there to help the small businessman. We think it's a great program and we'd like to give some minor, minor appreciation to the previous government on this.


Mr Ron Johnson: Could you also explain, Minister, what impact this new service is expected to have for small business in communities such as Brantford, and how it will help eliminate red tape, which, as you very well know, is a big part of our Common Sense Revolution?

Hon Mr Sterling: I appreciate the response I got on my answer to the opening question.

We have opened 17 new stations across the province.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Who opened them?

Hon Mr Sterling: The government. This government opened 17 new stations --

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The member for Cochrane South.

Hon Mr Sterling: -- since the election, and we hope to have 50 by spring.

This is of much greater importance to people outside the Toronto area, because they don't have the direct access to our business offices down on University Avenue.

Mr Bisson: That's right. That's why we opened it up last February in Timmins. Hey Norm, are you going to go and re-open it?

The Speaker: The member for Cochrane South is out of order.

Hon Mr Sterling: We have a commitment to make this particular program accessible to all of the small businesses across Ontario.

We made a commitment in the June 8 election that we would cut red tape and this is one example of how we're expanding programs in order to do that.


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): My concern today is that this government and the minister responsible do not understand the film industry and the economic impact it has on this province.

This year, the Ontario Film Development Corp has already lost 33% of its budget, and further cuts are pending. Independent television and film production, the portion of the industry assisted by the OFDC and the Ontario film investment program, represent $501 million. That's more than half a billion dollars in direct spending. The overall industry creates over 35,000 direct jobs, and many more jobs are created in allied industries such as hotels and catering.

To the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation: Your government's first action to the OFDC was to take back all uncommitted funds, a total of 33% of its budget. Minister, surely you are aware that due to the nature of the film industry, the commitment of funds must be made within the next few weeks to schedule production for the spring and summer. If this commitment is not made soon, next year's production and the thousands of jobs that go with it will be cut and lost on the cutting room floor.

Will you give your commitment today that the 1996 OFDC funding is firm?

Hon Marilyn Mushinski (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): I thank the honourable member for the question. I think, again, we have to reiterate that government spending has doubled in the last 10 years. This spending crisis left by the previous government required immediate action. If we had not moved to make these cuts immediately, we would be looking at a deficit of more than $10.9 billion and a further increase in the cost of servicing our debt.

Mr Bartolucci: If the member for Windsor-Sandwich was here today, she'd say you're dancing, Minister. Although that's one of the performing arts, it's not the performing art that we're talking about today.

I'm astounded at the minister's complete lack of understanding of this valuable industry. Governments throughout North America provide funding of film and television production all over the place. In Canada, competition comes from British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia, as well as south of the border.

Since the announcement of the cuts to the OFDC, six productions, with a production value of $8 million, have left the province or have been halted. Those, Madam Minister, are jobs, jobs that your government is allowing to leave.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Will you put your question.

Mr Bartolucci: This government continues to treat the support of our film industry as corporate welfare. Clearly, support of this industry, which employs 35,000 Ontarians and is a growing export industry, should be treated as economic development.

The Speaker: Put your question, please.

Mr Bartolucci: My supplementary is twofold: Has the minister bothered to look at the potential of the export market with respect to film and television production, and, Minister, what is your plan to promote the film industry in Ontario?

Hon Ms Mushinski: Perhaps I could respond by saying that Ontario's cultural agencies continue to thrive, attracting approximately four million visitors annually, and that, of course, significantly increases tourism and accommodation revenues.

And let me go on to say that the Ontario Arts Council still has $38 million to spend. We are still supporting 38 arts service organizations to the tune of $2.7 million. Over $2.9 million will be spent on cultural projects grants in this year. TVOntario is still on the air -- receives over $55 million in subsidies from the province -- and is broadcasting educational programs to the province. The province will still be spending --

The Speaker: Wrap up your answer, please.

Hon Ms Mushinski: -- $36 million on libraries, and we still provide heritage services and money across Ontario to 200 museums and 60 historical societies and organizations.



Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): My question is to the Minister of Labour. Minister, under the current Labour Relations Act it states as one of the purposes, "To provide for effective, fair and expeditious methods of dispute resolution." In your legislation, your anti-worker Bill 7, you remove the word "fair" and you say, "To promote the expeditious resolution of workplace disputes."

Minister, what's wrong with the word "fair"? Why have you removed "fair" as one of the purposes of the Labour Relations Act of this province?

Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Minister of Labour): In response to the member for Hamilton Centre, we are quite prepared to acknowledge the fact that labour relations need to be dealt with in a climate that includes the need for fairness, and that's exactly what we are proposing to do.

Mr Christopherson: Well, let's just pull the thread a little further. The current law says that after certification of a new bargaining unit and before a first contract is entered into, no employee can be fired without "just cause" -- the words are "just cause." Your legislation takes out the protection of "just cause."

And further, under the existing law, arbitrators are explicitly given the power to apply the Ontario Human Rights Code in dealing with grievances and says the Human Rights Code overrides any contrary terms of a collective agreement. You're taking that out.

Minister, is it because you can't defend these kinds of withdrawals of workers' rights, such as fairness and just cause and protecting and enforcing the Human Rights Code, that you're afraid to take this legislation out into the province and let the people of Ontario comment on it?

Hon Mrs Witmer: We are quite prepared to take the legislation out and we are going to have hearings on the legislation. There will be ample opportunity for individuals to make representation.

I would just like to indicate to you we are going beyond -- beyond -- fairness in that we are putting into legislation democracy measures which for the first time will guarantee that every worker in a workplace will know that certification is going on, which has never happened before, and they will have the opportunity to make the choice. We are being very fair.


Mrs Barbara Fisher (Bruce): My question is to the Minister of Education and Training. Minister, we like to think of our education system as offering a safe place for learning. However, many young female students have stated that they encounter sexual harassment in their own schools. What steps will the minister be taking to end this form of abuse in the education system?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): The honourable member has raised an issue that is indeed a serious problem in the classrooms, in the hallways, in the school buildings around the province of Ontario. In fact, a recent survey done with grade 9 students indicated that over 80% of female students have experienced some form of sexual harassment at school. That's indeed a very serious problem for the province.

Yesterday, I joined my colleague the minister responsible for women's issues, representatives from the Ontario women's directorate and representatives from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation at the Mayfield high school to launch this, which is a kit called The Joke's Over. It's designed to combat student-to-student sexual harassment in the schools of Ontario. It's not the total answer to ending this plague, but it is a first step, and an important first step.

Mrs Fisher: Minister, what is your response to those who say that this sort of activity is just a normal part of teenage behaviour?

Hon Mr Snobelen: Sexual harassment includes such things as degrading remarks, people being "rated" and other contact between students, often in the hallways of schools across the province of Ontario. These are not only serious, but they're also violations of the law, violations of the Ontario Human Rights Code and violations of the Ministry of Education and Training's violence-free school policy.

Sexual harassment is a form of violence that dramatically affects the school results of people who have been victims. It dramatically affects the lives of people who have been victims.


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): So why don't you make a minister's statement?

Hon Mr Snobelen: The members opposite might find this to be a much more serious problem if they had joined myself and my colleague yesterday at that high school and listened to the testimony of young girls there in that high school assembly who have experienced sexual assault in their schools. I think the members opposite would find this to be a much more serious problem.


Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): I have a question to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. In July, the Minister of Housing reneged on a contractual agreement made by the government. What they have done is cancelled over 390 construction projects that would have stimulated construction in the building industry. In that aftermath from these housing cuts, many businesses in the private sector engaged in these projects have been forced to fire staff and declare bankruptcy. Is the minister prepared to honour those contractual agreements that were signed?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): Yes, this government did cancel the boondoggle of non-profit housing, the one that was costing us hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and I'm very happy we did.

As far as the cancelled contracts are concerned, this ministry has told every sponsor group that it will live up to its obligations and ensure that any funds that were invested by those groups will be reimbursed, provided that they followed the guidelines of the ministry at the time, and we are going to do that.

Mr Curling: This government has cancelled those contractual agreements and thrown many, many businesses out of business and have put them into bankruptcy, and then you're saying you will honour -- what you have done is force the non-profit groups that they must sign off before you can pass money to them, and in the meantime held the other contractors to ransom. That's what you have done. Then you are saying you will honour it. You will not honour it.

Will you now, today, prepare to sit down with those contractors who in good faith signed those contracts with non-profit groups, and come to a reasonable agreement so they can get on with their lives and make sure they'll not be bankrupt and put their families and other people in that jeopardy?

Hon Mr Leach: Our arrangement with the non-housing profit groups is with the sponsor groups and we have committed to honour those groups and meet --

Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): "Non-housing" -- that's right.

Hon Mr Leach: Yes, "non-profit" is the biggest misnomer the world has ever heard. Tell me one person in non-profit who doesn't make a great deal of profit out of building houses. Millions of dollars have been squandered.

I'm also pleased to be able to tell the honourable member that a number of the non-profit organizations and sponsor groups have found ways of going on with their projects and putting them up without tens of thousands of dollars of annual subsidies from the government. We will deal with each one of the sponsor groups whose responsibility it is to deal with the contractors in question. We are living up to our obligations. We're dealing with the non-profit housing groups and we'll continue to do so.



Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): My question is for the minister responsible for native affairs. Last week, a first nation in northwestern Ontario had to resort to blockading a provincial highway to get the minister's attention.

Despite the fact that land claim negotiations were going on with the Big Grassy First Nation throughout 1993, 1994 and early 1995, the community has been waiting five months to talk with the minister responsible for native affairs and his officials, and they've heard nothing other than some agents for the government showing up at the community and announcing that the government is going to take unilateral action.

I want to ask the minister responsible for native affairs, is he or are his officials going to talk with the Big Grassy First Nation and resume settlement discussions with them regarding the bridge over the Big Grassy River?

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): The situation at Big Grassy is a serious situation which we are well aware of, and discussions, as I understand, have continued over a long period of time and are continuing. The problem we have with Big Grassy is that there is a highway bridge connecting the town of Morson, and the highway bridge has now been reduced by way of load capacity. The Ministry of Transportation wishes to repair that bridge so it can maintain a full capacity and so the town of Morson will not be cut off from the rest of the world.

At the same time, we have indicated to the first nation that we wish to continue discussions pertaining to the ownership of land, and in particular the river bed. Those discussions are taking place. We are attempting to resolve that problem. We appreciate any help the member himself can lend to the situation. But of prime importance is the safety of that bridge and the fact that the bridge should be repaired so that the town of Morson is not isolated. At the same time, we've made a commitment that we will continue to negotiate the land claim with the first nation.

Mr Hampton: I'm glad to hear that after five and a half months and after the first nation having to blockade the bridge, the minister has decided that discussions regarding settlement will begin again.

I want to ask the minister, by way of supplementary, another question. Most of northern Ontario's economy depends upon cooperation between native and non-native communities. Most of the paper mills, the pulp mills, the sawmills, the mines have to rely to some extent upon cooperative relationships with first nations to get resources to the mills, to get resources to the mines so people can work.

Your government is starting to create a pattern of confrontation rather than a pattern of cooperation and communication with first nations. In doing so, the risks to the northern Ontario economy are quite significant. What are you going to do to create better communication and better cooperation with first nations communities? Do they all have to stage blockades before they get your attention?

Hon Mr Harnick: I hope the member is not suggesting that we settle negotiations for land claims by blockading and by forcing negotiations to take place over blockades. That is not the way this government wishes to deal with land claims. We wish to deal with land claims on the basis of their merits, and that's the way we will continue to deal with them.

The member also indicates that there was a blockade and heightens this situation beyond the level to which it should be heightened. The native population did not blockade the bridge. They had a passive action there where they were informing motorists who were passing over the bridge what the state of negotiations was.

Quite frankly, negotiations have not been discontinued; they have been continuing. We are trying to deal --

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

Hon Mr Harnick: -- with the ownership of the land and of the river bed, but it is not right to suggest or to ask natives to create blockades and cut towns off. We have to strike a balance here.

The Speaker: The question has been answered.

Hon Mr Harnick: We have to strike a balance here, and we have to make sure that the town of Morson remains viable and that all other towns and mills remain viable and that we continue to deal with native land claims on the basis of their merits. And let me tell you that many, many of these claims --

The Speaker: Time.

New question; the member for Sarnia.

Mr Dave Boushy (Sarnia): My question is to the Attorney General. About 5,000 Sarnians woke up over the weekend to a lawsuit launched by the Chippewa band in Sarnia. It claims about 10% of urban Sarnia. The native lawsuit is set to cover about 2,101 homes, nine farms, 17 commercial properties, 80 industrial properties, five schools, five churches and two institutions. People in my riding are very confused and afraid of how this will affect them. We should vigorously defend this present ownership of the land, as far as I'm concerned. Do you agree?

Hon Mr Harnick: We have received a statement of claim, as the member for Sarnia has indicated. The Ministry of the Attorney General will be defending that claim as we would in the normal course, and we will defend that claim vigorously.

In so far as private property is concerned, it should be noted that any negotiations that have ever taken place in the course of a lawsuit or a land claim have not involved the exchange of private property. Those people in Sarnia can rest assured that there will be a vigorous defence of this claim and that if there are any discussions at any point, they will not involve the exchange of private property.

Now that the issue is before the courts, I cannot, of course, divulge or speak about anything to do with the actual lawsuit, but that has been and will continue to be the policy of the government of Ontario.

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): I would seek unanimous consent of the House to sit till 9 pm this evening in order to have more opportunity for people to speak on Bill 7, which will be called later today. I would ask for that unanimous consent.

The Speaker: Do we have unanimous consent? No.


Mr John C. Cleary (Cornwall): I have a petition signed by people who are concerned about the ethanol project in my riding. They write,

"We, the undersigned, petition the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to honour a $3-million commitment to assist the Seaway Valley Farmers' Energy Co-operative to construct a $40-million to $45-million facility to produce ethanol fuel and associated byproducts in the Cornwall area.

"This $3-million commitment was announced by the former government on April 5, 1995, and supported by MPPs from all three parties, including the current Agriculture minister, whom we hereby petition to" release the money to the Seaway Valley cooperative.

I have also signed this petition.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I move adjournment of the House.

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

All those in favour, say "aye."

All those opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the nays have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1509 to 1539.

The Speaker: Would the members take their seats, please.

The member for Fort York has moved the adjournment of the House.

All those in favour will please rise.

All those opposed will please rise.

Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 23, the nays 58.

The Speaker: I declare the motion lost.



Mr Tony Clement (Brampton South): It is my pleasure, on behalf of the member for Brampton North and myself, to indicate that we recently attended the Earnscliffe Senior Public School in my riding, where we were presented with a signed petition from over 800 students. The petition reads, in part:

"We, the undersigned, demand that the Ontario government pass laws to ban the logging practice of clear-cutting in Ontario forests. Clear-cutting devastates forests, leaving scars visible to astronauts orbiting in space. Clear-cutting is more destructive than natural disasters like fire and disease."

I would be happy to present this petition to the House, and in conclusion, I would move that this House do now proceed to the orders of the day.


Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): No, afraid not -- you can't make a speech and then a motion.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Further petitions? The member for Windsor-Riverside.

Mr Cooke: Mr Speaker, I move adjournment of the House.

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I believe that a member standing in his place and legally having the floor can put a dilatory motion at any point during his particular speech.

Mr Cooke: Mr Speaker, I think it's quite clear. I was recognized. The motion was in order. The rules say very clearly that it's not debatable. The motion has to be put.

The Speaker: My understanding is that the petition was not in order; therefore, it was not his right to have the floor at that time. The petition wasn't in order, and I will have to accept the motion moved by the member for Windsor-Riverside.

Interjection: He wasn't in order either.

The Speaker: My understanding is that there is nothing out of order. We've already had the motion to adjourn the House once; that has been voted on. My understanding now is that there's nothing out of order, so we can proceed with the next item of business.


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"We demand a public inquiry into the conduct of all crown and law enforcement officials/employees at all levels involved in the investigation of Karla Homolka and, in particular, the circumstances of the negotiation of the plea bargain arrangement. We also demand that all day passes and other privileges be revoked and her full 12-year sentence be served in its entirety."

I support this petition and will be adding my signature to it.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): Mr Speaker, I move adjournment of the House.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): All those in favour, please say "aye."

All those opposed, please say "nay."

In my opinion, the nays have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1545 to 1616.

The Speaker: Would the members take their seats, please.

The member for Rainy River moved the adjournment of the House.

All those in favour will please rise.

All those opposed will please rise.

Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 20; the nays 54.

The Speaker: I declare the motion lost.


Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): Mr Speaker, I do now move that the House move to orders of the day.

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

Those in favour say "aye."

Those opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1617 to 1646.

The Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the member for Dufferin-Peel's motion carry?

Those in favour will please rise. Take your seats, please.

Those opposed will please rise. Take your seats, please.

Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 51; the nays are 20.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 7, An Act to restore balance and stability to labour relations and to promote economic prosperity and to make consequential changes to statutes concerning labour relations / Projet de loi 7, Loi visant à rétablir l'équilibre et la stabilité dans les relations de travail et à promouvoir la prospérité économique et apportant des modifications corrélatives à des lois en ce qui concerne les relations de travail.

Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): Once again, as I have on many occasions, I call on the government, on behalf of our party, to hold province-wide public hearings. Day after day we have seen good reason why we ought to have such hearings.

First of all, that was the procedure that was followed by the previous government under Bill 40. We know there are questions about this bill that the minister cannot or will not answer adequately. We're hearing from not just the labour movement but also the business community, and now also some editorials are calling for the government to move cautiously, to be careful of what they're doing, and the best way to do that is to hold province-wide public hearings.

We also know from experience that certain laws are enacted by some ministers and have to be changed afterwards because they either didn't read it or didn't think it through or don't understand it, but there has to be a correction.

Given the fact that this 132-page bill, one of the largest bills we've seen, changes dramatically and fundamentally the rules for conducting labour relations in the province of Ontario, there is every good reason why there ought to be province-wide public hearings on this. We will continue to push and pressure this government, using every means available to us so that the people of Ontario can have the say that they rightfully deserve before you go dismantling rights that workers have had in this province for decades.

I want to pick up where I left off yesterday in moving to another area of concern, and this time I would like to talk about the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, commonly know as CECBA. What's interesting about this is that it's very much linked to the tax cut, the tax promise that this government has made. It's tied to the bottom-line-driven agenda of this government, where people don't matter and don't count. It very much points to the financial bind that this government is in, because we know that in order to give the rich the kind of tax break that they're talking, 30% -- and we know that for working people of this province, when Tories change tax laws, it benefits the most wealthy.

It doesn't take an accountant to understand that. Ask any working person in this province, when Tories change the tax laws, who does better, the very wealthy or the working people, and you'll get the experience that Ontarians have faced under both federal and provincial Tory governments. So that's part of what's driving this in a big way. That's why these cuts are so deep and so harsh and so difficult for ministers to defend daily in question period, as we see.

The only way that this government can afford the kind of tax cuts to its wealthy friends is to sell off major portions of the public service here in Ontario. Now, I will say quite forthrightly to the members in the government that there have to be changes in the way that government performs its functions on behalf of the people. We started a number of those measures. In fact, we made changes --

Mr John Hastings (Etobicoke-Rexdale): Like what?

Mr Christopherson: I hear the member off in the corner talking about "Like what?" Well, for instance, we were the first government that actually lowered the expenditures on program spending year over year. No Liberal government did that.


Mr Christopherson: You laugh, but if you understood what had gone on here the last five years, you would know that's the truth. The truth, of course, is the one thing you don't want to hear and that's why you won't have province-wide public hearings.

The fact of the matter is no Tory government in the history of this province was able to achieve what we did in terms of expenditure control. But we didn't do it in a way that puts the boot to working people, that goes after the poor, that victimizes even further innocent Ontarians. That's the reality and that's the kind of truth we want to get out in the public domain through province-wide public hearings, and that's why you're afraid to do it, because you can't face these kinds of realities.

I further say that in making the changes we did, we accepted the fact that things have to be done differently. Indeed, there may be parts of the public sector that need to be looked at in terms of who performs it and how it's performed. There is a whole host of things that no other government faced -- they really didn't have to or wouldn't -- but we did, and we faced it during the toughest recession this province has seen since the Depression. In fact, never before in the history of Ontario had revenue into the coffers of the Ontario government declined in real dollars two years in a row; never happened in the history of the province. We dealt with that and we dealt with it head-on.

What we didn't do, however, was go after the most vulnerable in our society and say, "We're going to put all of this on your backs and you're going to pay the price of all those years of mismanagement." We tried to find ways that would allow us to work with people, work with communities. I've talked about what your government has done in my own community in terms of capital projects that were devastated.

We understand what it is to govern. We understand the predicament you're in. You're not admitting to all of it, because if you did, you'd be telling the people of Ontario that the reason you're being so harsh is that your 30% tax cut is awfully hard to do when we're in the midst of the kind of financial difficulty that we're in. You're trying to make the case that there's a crisis, and if there was such a crisis, it doesn't even make common sense, let alone economic sense, that you'd give back revenue at a time when you've got a major fiscal crunch. It makes no sense. It's pure politics. But there it is, and you're married to your little book and you'll follow that and march right off into the darkness with it.

But what it means to the people who work for this province, who provide services, is that for you to reach those kinds of dollars, over $4 billion, to pay for that tax cut, you've got to sell off huge parts of the public service. We know, when we look at Mulroney's Tories, it was sold to their friends, and we know that you'll sell the most profitable parts, the most efficient parts, and you'll hold on to the parts that are more costly or that maybe don't return as big a profit because of the nature of the service.

For instance, you can't run a police service or a fire service based on a business balance sheet only. So you'll look at the parts that you can afford to sell off to your friends, but, oh, when the Tories look at this, they say to themselves, "We want to be able to maximize the profits." And where are those profits to be found? In public service, the biggest expenditure is wages and benefits, because in many cases it's a human service, a people service, that's being provided. It can't be done by a machine.

But you have a little problem, and the problem is that in the history of this province there's been an acknowledged right of workers who have their business sold to continue to benefit from the collective agreements they've negotiated. The interesting thing is that part of that is still preserved for some people. It's not as if you seem to have a problem with the philosophy, because you leave it intact for the largest portion of the private sector. No, you've gone directly in your anti-worker Bill 7 and said, if it's under CECBA, if it's under the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, the public sector workers, and if it's sold off, the law now says, under your new legislation: "You've got no rights. All the benefits that you've negotiated, all the protection that you've negotiated in fair collective bargaining over the years with your employer, and wages that are meant to reflect what you're entitled to for the work you perform, all have gone."

So what have we got? We've got a government that has to find billions of dollars to pay for a tax giveaway to their wealthy friends. The way to pay for it is to sell off part of the heritage of this province, which is the services we provide. You'll sell it to your pals. Mulroney did it; you will too. And you'll allow them to maximize their profit, not through efficiencies or introduction of technologies or other quite acceptable means, but by gutting the rights that the workers who perform that service have and just taking away that collective agreement. There isn't any collective agreement.


That's what's so insidious about this, that when you get up -- and I hear members of the government talk about workplace democracy and health and safety and, "We care." There's not one bit of evidence that proves the point, not one. But when you stand back and look at all of this, and it does take a while to take in 132 pages -- and by the way, this doesn't just amend the Ontario Labour Relations Act. Let's not forget, you threw away the old one. This is a whole new bill; everything changes. It's never been done like that ever in the history of the province of Ontario, and you're doing it. And when one has an opportunity to stand back and look at why --


Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): Mr Speaker, the zealots are breaking the flow of my colleague as he speaks.

Mr Christopherson: Thank you to my colleague from Nipigon, but it does prove the point that you either don't know -- and it's all back -- well, I see one minister here, two ministers, a half a minister. You either don't know what's going on or you don't care. Because you're hurting people and you're hurting them needlessly, and you're doing it to benefit your friends, your wealthy friends, and you're doing it at the expense of workers and the disabled and the poor and women and children and road safety, and you have the audacity to sit there and applaud when someone stands up and says, "Speaker, the emperor has no clothes."

It will come back to haunt you. It will come back to haunt you, because day after day Ontarians are watching in question period, which right or wrong is the focus of what happens in Parliament. People are seeing and listening to ministers who, yes, are getting through question period, by and large, but who are not answering legitimate questions being put to them.

And it's going to take a while. It's going to take a little while. But I can remember there was a big change in the 1960s, when there was something on TV day after day after day after day and over a period of time it changed the whole country as people began to ask themselves: "Does this need to be? Do people need to be hurt like this? Why are we doing this?"

That's what's going to happen to you, because we are going to continue to point out the damage and the harm and the hurt that you're doing to people under the auspices of worrying about the finances but it's really to take care of your political IOU, a 30% tax cut, and in the process make sure your wealthy pals get even more wealthy by virtue of selling off public sector services, eliminating contracts, and letting people make money on that. The needs of the people of Ontario are either second or third or they're not even on your list.

Again you hear the groans from the backbenchers. By now I gather you're understanding that you're not up to speed on the full agenda, so there's a certain amount of forgiveness for some of you here. But I'll tell you, the people who are driving this agenda, the Mike Harrises and the Longs and the others, know exactly what this is meant to do, and we're going to continue to stand up at every opportunity and point it out.

I say again, that's why, it's the only reason why this government's afraid to take Bill 7 across the province and into communities and let people comment on both what has and hasn't happened and what will or won't happen as a result of this change, because they can't handle the truth and it'll happen in community after community after community, and you know it and we know it, and that's why you're not doing it.

I say to you, Speaker, in closing my remarks on CECBA, that probably the greatest offence that we take on this side of the House is to suggest that if you work for the public sector, you must be overpaid and underworked. That's a subtext of everything this now government did in opposition and it's the subtext of everything they're doing as they enact their new laws.

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): And they've tabled closure -- without even telling us.

Mr Christopherson: Have they now tabled closure?

Mr Cooke: They have now tabled closure.

Mr Christopherson: Now I'm informed by my House leader that we've tabled closure. So we're not going to get province-wide public hearings, but now I'm advised that we're going to move closure on this.

Is there anything left at all that you can say that would possibly justify or cover the fact that you're just afraid to let people talk about what the reality is, because you can't defend it. You can't defend it, and that's why you're doing this.

It's unacceptable to us and will be every step of the way to allow the working people who provide services -- I'm probably looking at some who may be privatized, and there goes their collective agreement. There are others right in this building, people we see who work for us every day as members, and who you know very well are hardworking and dedicated and committed. If they end up out there on that limb as you cut off the branch, too bad. That's the approach. The government says to those people: "Too bad. We have to pay for that tax cut for our wealthy friends."

I want to now move to the issue of replacement workers.

Mr Pouliot: Scabs.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): Scabs.

Mr Christopherson: Some of my colleagues are calling out "scabs," and there's reason for that. It's a vile term. It's probably one of the greatest insults, worst insults, that you could ever hurl at another person. But it exists for a very good reason.

There's such a fundamental misunderstanding by this government of what working people are all about and about what strike action means and what labour unions are all about. Of course, as far as this government's concerned, unions are bad, unions are evil. They have absolutely no positive contribution to make, and the more this government can do to put the boot to them, the better they feel about it and the more they think they're contributing to a better Ontario.

The fact of the matter is that unions came about for a very good reason. We know what happened in decades past and the kind of exploitation that existed. We know that without proper legislation and protection, there are some employers -- not all, by any means, but there are some -- who will take advantage and they will take advantage to an extent where this province finally had to introduce health and safety legislation and the right to bargain collectively and to provide a legal framework that allowed those rights to be defended and protected, and there was an evolution to that.

I want to also dispel the idea that there are union bosses who call strikes. That's not the way it happens. I don't know how many of you have worked on a shop floor --


Mr Christopherson: Look at them laugh. They have no idea. I don't know how many of them have actually punched a clock or worked in a shop for any length of real time -- not summer jobs; I mean where you've been there and that's your life, that's your bread and butter. If you did, you would understand that it is quite frightening for workers to cast a ballot to go on strike, because what it means to that worker is that they're putting their ability to put food on the table and pay the rent and provide for their children's needs on the line. They're putting that on the line, because once they're out on strike, there's no way of predicting how long.

Labour leaders who are elected from among the workers -- they didn't come from some other planet, they come from the workforce themselves as they elect their own, as we've elected the Speaker. They elect their own leaders, and when those leaders recommend that they need a strike vote, they do it because they know they need that leverage in the bargaining process. So workers are very careful and very cautious and very thoughtful and very clear when they mark on a ballot to give their bargaining committee the authority to call a strike if necessary.

Usually, particularly in the last few years, there is no need for a strike. In the last few years, upwards of 95%, 97%, of all collective agreements were signed and resolved without the need of lockout or strike. That's the success, that's good leadership, that's what good union leaders are doing and I might add that's also what good human resource leaders, for their management, are doing when they sit down and work together, because that's the strength of Ontario.


But from time to time for varying reasons there are strikes or lockouts. When those workers walk out the door the day the strike is to take effect they're terrified of what the future may hold because they don't know when they're going to get another paycheque. But they know that this is what they have to do in order to achieve ultimately a fair collective agreement. So now we're in a situation where the workers I've described are outside on a picket line and they're using the pressure of withdrawing their services as a leverage against the company holding back a paycheque to try to get through the logjam to get to win-win, to get to success, and success is a collective agreement that everybody can live with.

Sometimes those things go on. Oftentimes they're a couple of days, a few weeks; sometimes they go on. If they go on long enough real workers, honest people, find themselves in very difficult situations. Because they don't have that paycheque, bills pile up. Kids still need shoes. They still have the same obligations they had before, but they're sticking together as a group and they're doing the best they can to find a solution.

In the past, before the current labour legislation existed, there would be times when the employer would decide to bring somebody across that picket line and take that worker's job. So now there's an imbalance. Now the workers are withholding their work and not getting the paycheques, but the work is now being done by someone else, and if that continues the workers can't win. How could the workers win if there's a strike outside a picket line and people are crossing the picket line and going in and doing the job? How do they win that strike?

The resentment and the bitterness that workers feel when someone takes away their job and their future and their ability to provide for their family, I dare say anybody in this place in that kind of circumstance would have those same feelings. I don't think you could be human and not feel that way if that was happening to you and you watched somebody come in every day and take your job, and in doing so eliminate your ability to get your job back. Why would the company negotiate? They don't need to. You're a nuisance, maybe it's not good press, but as long as they can function and carry on they don't need you.

We said in this province, as we have in other provinces: "That is illegal. That is illegal, to allow that work to be scabbed." That's why that term came to be, because the feelings that went on in those workers who were having everything in their life taken away from them had to be focused and it had to have meaning, and that's where it came from. What happened when we brought it out -- oh, I can remember back to the debates when the Tories were over on this side of the House there was going to be calamity and business was going to leave and it was going to be awful. There was going to be just such devastation wreaked across the land -- didn't happen. Didn't happen. In fact, what it gave us was an era of unprecedented labour peace, because that's where most violence comes from: that process of bringing someone in to take their job.

What else happened? We saw record levels of dollars invested -- over $8 billion in 1994 -- in a highly unionized manufacturing sector, a net gain of over 170,000 jobs, real jobs, and that was the benefit.

But this government hopped on its ideological horse and said: "You can't shackle business that way. You can't do this. Business won't be able to survive." You went on and on and on. It's been disproved -- didn't happen -- and I point out again that that's why you don't want province-wide public hearings, because you know the truth will come out, and we're seeing it daily in terms of information we're getting.

We believe fundamentally, and you may disagree fundamentally -- obviously you do -- that it's fair labour relations policy and labour law to say that to maintain the balance in the negotiating process of collective agreements between employers and employees this province will not tolerate scabs, period. Now you've said it's okay. Each of you has said and given your blessing to the fact that you support strikebreakers, that that's okay with you; that's okay.

What's going to happen? Well, what do you expect labour leaders like Gord Wilson, who's the president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, to do? What do you expect him to do when faced with the boot of this government? Major corporations are responding to this in joint letters with Buzz Hargrove, who's the president of the Canadian Auto Workers, and saying to this government: "Hold off. You're going to disrupt all that labour harmony we have, and it's going to hurt business."

But this government doesn't want common sense to get in the way of its revolution, and its revolution says, "Scabs are okay and strikebreaking is okay and everybody's just going to have to eat the consequences because that's what we believe in."

We do not accept, will never accept, that strikebreaking would be allowed in this province. It's wrong. Most of them should know it's wrong, and they ought not to be surprised by the reaction they're getting from labour. They ought not to be surprised at all. And you're causing it, because it didn't exist before. You're causing it.

Workplace democracy: If ever there were an Orwellian name for actions, it has to be "workplace democracy" coming from Tories. It just boggles the mind that they would have the absolute audacity to call what they're doing "workplace democracy."

First of all, the best example of workplace democracy this province has seen in a long time was the Workplace Health and Safety Agency, which was the agency set up to design and provide workplace health and safety for workers. The model was that half the board of directors will be employers and half will be employees, represented by their chosen individuals on both sides.

That made a lot of sense. In fact, there are reams of letters from people who have gone through the programs, some of them managers, talking about the improvement in their own workplace, the benefit to their employees, the decrease in the number of injuries. And God forbid you get hurt in this province in the future, with this government attacking WCB as well as everything else.

They worked together and they worked cooperatively, and it brought out the best in what Ontario can be in terms of productivity and quality of life and standard of living. We moved away from confrontation as much as possible and said: "Look, it is a global economy. Competitiveness matters to us, so we have a vested interest, both of us, employer and employees, in making sure that Ontario is strong."


It sounds like good workplace democracy to me, and it would seem to me that that's a model one would want to use as a pattern for other applications when dealing with labour relations. Is that what this government did? No. They killed it. They killed it because it gave employees too much power, in their mind. Half was too much, even though it's the workers who get hurt on the job; they're the ones affected by the need for health and safety legislation and training. They killed it. One of the first things they did: killed it. They're going to put it in the WCB. Hell, it was taken out of the WCB because there wasn't enough attention being paid to preventing accidents, and that's why the agency was set up.

So that's exactly what they're doing: killing it, moving it back. That's their goal, because they can't handle the idea of real workplace democracy. They can't handle the idea, because what it really means is that workers would have a greater say in the decisions that affect their lives. Not run the corporation on a day-to-day basis, not make the individual business decisions, but where there are significant decisions being made that affect their lives, like health and safety and like closures and transfer of business, they should have a say. This government doesn't believe that.

Personally, I find one of the most insulting things in this whole document to be an attempt by this government, by this Tory Harris government, to hijack the term "workplace democracy" and attach that label to the gutting and devastation of workers' rights that really is what Bill 7 is all about. I find that absolutely disgusting, and I'm going to do everything I can at every turn to point out the absolute hypocrisy and shamefulness of trying to use the term "workplace democracy" as a cover for the attack on workers, and that's what this bill is really all about.

Under this same rubric, we have changes to the certification. Let's understand, stand back for a minute and remember: This government hates unions. They hate unions. They want to do everything they can to weaken unions. If they could eliminate them with the stroke of a pen, they would. But they're attempting to do it bit by bit.

The certification process that existed in this province for almost 50 years provided for an automatic certification. If a certain level of membership cards were signed by the workforce, there was an automatic certification because it was accepted that the will of the majority of the workers had spoken. That concept was supported by Tory governments for decades, by the Liberal government when it was in power, and of course by our government when we were in power. So it's not an ideological thing between Tories, Liberals and New Democrats. This is a concept that's been there for decades. Bill Davis was quite satisfied that this process existed in this province.

The reason for it is very simple: It's not an equal fight in the workplace, if you're going to call a union drive or a membership drive a fight; it's not equal because there are people who are in that place who are subordinate to others, who can also be influenced -- in a small number of cases, I grant you, but they can be influenced -- with threats of job loss, personal recrimination, plant closures or even subtle things like being moved around on a shift. You get the impression that life's going to be awful difficult for you if you go along with this.

To balance that, Tory governments and Libs and New Democrats have accepted that if you reach a certain threshold of cards being signed, that offsets things and now the people who work there have spoken. That, all of a sudden, after decades, is being wiped out as this government Americanizes the way that labour law is practised in this province. That's what this is all about.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I think you hit it; you hit the nail on the head. They're howling.

Mr Christopherson: Well, sure they're howling. They should be howling.

Let's look at the other side of the coin: decertification. There have always been provisions in the province for decertification, for whatever reason, if a group of employees decided they no longer wished to be represented by either a union or that particular union; they may wish to go to a different one. There were decertification processes in place that allowed that. This government has lowered the threshold on the percentage vote that triggers the decert process. They've lowered that because they want to encourage employers to push for decertifications. It fits; it fits with all of their thinking. They want to inhibit the ability of unions to organize, because they don't like unions and they want them eradicated. They make it easier by changing the rules for decertification.

Mr Hastings: It's a conspiracy.

Mr Christopherson: Well, the member from the corner hollers out "conspiracy." I don't give you that much credit. It's not a conspiracy. It's right up front for everybody to see. It's all there. It's there in fact and it will be there, unfortunately, in law as we go through step by step of living under this regime.

You've now said that there can be votes. You can attempt to hold them within five days -- all of this is under that rubric of fairness -- but the board still will have the discretion to push that off if it deems it necessary. With the amount of work these processes add for the board and the fact that you'll probably slash its budget, the odds are that that time will be increased. That whole factor of recognizing the inherent unfairness without some opportunity to be compensated for it will be there in place, courtesy of the Mike Harris Tories.

This bill really is the opening shot in your war against unions. Workers who aren't in unions are just collateral damage, but they're getting hurt just the same.

I want to talk a bit about the construction sector, because here we have an example where again this government has not thought through what it is it is doing. If they took the time to talk to people like Jim Moffatt and others in the building trades and construction industry, they would realize that not only do the unions in this sector reject philosophically what you're doing, for the reasons I've outlined, but the procedures in your proposal can't work. In fact, I'm hearing rumblings that the Minister of Labour may or may not be considering some changes, because even she's recognizing that to pass a law that can't work because it doesn't make sense is unacceptable even for this crew.

I think it makes the point that not only have they made mistakes in passing regulations which almost had the effect of taking tens of thousands of disabled people off their benefits --

Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): It was a drafting error.

Mr Christopherson: That's what this government did: They said it was a drafting error. My friend the member for Hamilton East says, "It was a drafting error" was their excuse. That was your excuse.


Well, we suggest you've got another drafting problem, if indeed that's what it is, and we're ready to help you and so are a lot of other people in the province. Yes, they're going to speak out philosophically and yes, they're going to say they're opposed, and some are going to say they support it, but at the end of the day everybody will have had the benefit of commenting on this bill and pointing out what will work and what won't work and why.

I predict right now that this government will have to bring in amendments, at the very least in the area of the construction trades industry, because they are now aware, or are being made aware, of the fact that some of their rules around their workplace democracy won't work -- will not work. The time limits won't work. The construction industry is different. They're on a number of different work sites, and the ability to have ratification votes etc is very much different in the construction industry than it is in the industrial sector or in an office setting -- entirely different.

That just shows how little this government really understands workers and the labour movement and even what they're doing, because it's constantly making these kinds of mistakes. Yet today you table a motion that says you're going to bring closure. So you not only will prevent Ontarians from having their say on this, but the final nail will be to shut down all debate in this place. You will not only prevent workers and business and communities from having the input that they're entitled to, but now you're preventing the elected representatives from at least continuing that discussion on their behalf.

The boot from this government just seems to get bigger and uglier, and it all ties back into their 30% tax cut to their friends. Never lose sight of that, that it all fits in there when we talk about why this government is doing what it's doing.

They cut the wage protection program where you're no longer entitled to the severance and termination pay you're entitled to because they have to save money to pay for their tax cut for their friends. You no longer can collect any back wages or vacation pay that you're owed, money you've already worked for, if it's more than $2,000, when it used to be $5,000. "Save money." Save money to pay for the tax cut to take care of their friends.

Putting in place a law that takes away the rights of workers in the public sector as you sell off parts of the public service -- the profitable parts, of course -- to your friends, and we know that's what will happen. I say again we watched it with Mulroney. Everything he sold off was the profitable part and it went to pals of his who made even more money.

But you're making it even easier because you're taking away another right from workers. You're saying if you have a collective agreement and if you have vacation entitlements and seniority rights and health and safety protection -- and in many cases those are more important to workers than the actual wages, but the wages are included too -- all of that's gone by virtue of your anti-worker Bill 7. So the more you sell off, the happier you are and the happier your friends are and the easier it is for you to find the billions you need to pay for your 30% tax cut.

When all of these factors are put in front of the government and we say to them, "We want you to allow security guards across the province who are now going to be denied their right democratically to choose the union they want" -- you're taking away that right, the right of cleaning staff, often very low-paid people, as are security guards, mainly women, many of them here from other nations -- you're taking away their right, and what's interesting about that one in terms of the cleaning staff, in many cases when there's a new contract that comes in in terms of the business, the very people who were already there stay.

That's the way it used to be. Now if the workers stay there and the contract's gone, at least they maintain their benefits, and these are already people at minimum wage, which today I heard the Premier pontificating on as if he cared and saying that he did. Yet those are the folks he's going after in this bill also. Going after every vulnerable group --

Mr Bisson: How about the business group? Are they going after them?

Mr Christopherson: Every special interest, as they call it. It's interesting, you never hear them talk about the business special interest. Oh, no, business isn't a special interest. No, no, no. Banks wouldn't be special interests. That's different. No, no. People on social assistance, now those are special interests. The labour movement, that's special interests. That happens from time to time, and as soon as they can stick that label on, they go after them.

Oh, great. Here's the motion. So there we are. The time allocation motion says the whole bill will be done by November 2, next Thursday.

Interjection: Thursday?

Mr Christopherson: Next Thursday. All the issues that we've been raising, with no answers, no public input, no opportunity to talk about it, and one more week --

Interjection: Three days of public hearings.

Mr Christopherson: -- three days of public hearings in Toronto, though. Don't go out there. Three days, which means like a few hours.

I heard my friend from the Liberal Party the other day talking about the fact that you really believe that if you jam this through by what is now November 2, people will forget and get it off the agenda.

I can just imagine your caucus meetings, where you're being told: "Look, just stick it out, folks. I know it's tough, I know it's rough, but hang in there. We'll get through this, and in a couple of years people will have forgotten." That's what you're being told at your caucus meetings.

What you ought to be listening to are the labour leaders and the business leaders and the communities and the workers themselves, who are saying to you you're going to do incredible --


The Deputy Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): The member for Windsor-Walkerville will come to order.

Mr Christopherson: -- damage to the rights that workers have in this province. You're going to do so much damage they will not forget, and every step you're taking to shut this down, with time allocation and a refusal to go out there into the public, just adds one more level of resentment that an awful lot of people are feeling.

Don't think for a minute that if there are problems in the workplace as a result of this -- and I'm not encouraging or saying it's going to happen, but I am saying to you, if that happens -- your business friends are not going to be any happier with what you've done than the labour movement, because by and large in the last couple of years in this province it's been accepted that working together is how we build a stronger Ontario. Work together, build on each other's strengths, make sure there's fairness, a word that you've now removed from the law, because fairness is something your law doesn't provide.

So, as you do this, jobs that you say are going to be created will not be. There's no magic solution here. In fact, if anything -- not long ago I was invited, as I'm sure others were, to speak to some representatives at the US consulate. They just wanted some thoughts on what would happen in terms of the labour climate.


I thought it was very astute of them. Boy, they sure knew their stuff. I was very impressed. They knew exactly what was going down. They knew the bill, they knew about it. They were right on top of things. But their questioning in their discussions with me was focused on what is going to happen to the labour harmony that has existed. Because it does matter. It does matter. Again, it's part of our strength. Applied technology is a strength, but allowing workers to work with the employers as it's being introduced, particularly if it affects jobs, gives you the opportunity to build on something that other places in the world can't do.

The Workplace Health and Safety Agency saved money because there were fewer injuries and fewer WCB costs. That's how we lower WCB costs, not by marching into government and slashing benefits to the disabled. That's not how you build our future.

The infrastructure announcements that some of you now are going to so gleefully and all the ribbons that you're cutting, those are all things that we did. You know that. You're not doing anything that's investing in this province.

There won't be any celebrations or ribbon-cutting in the future for anything that you've done, because all you've done is hurt communities. You've killed capital works projects that were going to provide jobs, provide strength for our communities, provide infrastructure for our communities so that we can build, so that corporations can prosper and profit and workers and communities can also enjoy those profits because they were a part of it.

That's a vision of Ontario that can be, it's a vision of Ontario that ought to be and it's a vision that you cannot possibly see and certainly can never achieve with what you're doing.

You're making this a meaner place, a harsher place. You're going to lower the quality of life -- not just the standard of living but the quality of life -- and you're going to do it because you're so ideologically driven, because it says so in your book. That's it. The whole world exists in your book, your Common Sense Revolution. You're also doing it to pay for your 30% tax cut that I know some members of your own party didn't think was a very good idea for economic reasons, but you needed the politics to fit your little simple message in the campaign.

And it worked. You got elected and now, no matter who gets hurt or how much our futures are damaged, no matter how much it costs, you're going to go ahead with this 30% tax cut. You're going to go ahead and eliminate decades of positive labour legislation by going after the labour movement, by going after workers, by slashing benefits, by killing investment projects, by allowing workers to have their rights taken away and have huge chunks of the public sector sold off -- whether they should or shouldn't, you're just going to do it -- and deny the people who are performing those services the right to a fair wage and fair benefits.

All that is in here. All of that is in here and you hope people will forget. Let me tell you, they won't forget. Every one of you backbenchers who thinks that all the noise around your constituency offices and the protests and the letters and all that will eventually go away --

Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): Haven't had one. I'm not getting any problems.

Mr Christopherson: If you're not getting it, you soon will, because this cannot --

Mr Baird: Haven't heard a thing.

Mr Christopherson: You see, that's what you believe. I hear one of the Tory members saying, "Haven't heard a thing." That's what going to change, because you can't continue to dismantle everything that's positive about this province and everything that gives people hope and not expect at some point that the people of Ontario are going to say: "Stop. This is crazy. Why are you doing this?" The answer will be there for them because we're going to tell them: "This is being done to pay for their tax cut. It doesn't have to be this harsh, but they've got to pay off their friends."

In closing my comments on second reading, which is standing on third reading, since a week Thursday this whole matter is finished as far as this House is concerned, which is an absolute disgrace -- a disgrace that you would eliminate decades of gains for workers and rights for workers and labour laws that allow corporations to come here and prosper and make money, and you don't want to allow anyone to talk about it because you know it won't hold up. It's an absolute disgrace and you will not be able to shake that disgrace. It will stay with you and haunt you all the way through your term in office. We're going to be there hounding you every step of the way, because you're not going to get away with doing this to the working people of this province without one hell of a fight.

The Deputy Speaker: Comments or questions?

Mr Toby Barrett (Norfolk): I rise in the House again to discuss the importance of Bill 7 and how important it is to exempt all kinds of agriculture from the Ontario Labour Relations Act.

Mr Bisson: Mr Speaker, a point of order.

Mr Barrett: I was in the visitors' gallery a year and a half ago when Mike Harris --

The Deputy Speaker: Could I ask the member for Norfolk, are you commenting?

Mr Barrett: Commenting, sir. Again, with respect to Bill 91 --

Mr Bisson: Mr Speaker, on a point of order --

Mr Barrett: -- I was in the visitors' gallery about a year and half ago --

Mr Bisson: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Your job is to recognize the members in this chamber, please.

The Deputy Speaker: Will the member for Norfolk please take his seat.

Mr Bisson: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: We know that the rules in the House are very explicit when it comes to responding to a member's speech that has been given in debate at second reading. The member opposite has to confine his comments to what the member spoke about. He's reading from a speech. This is not a time for a statement. In regard to making a speech, he must confine his comments to what the member for Hamilton said in his speech.

Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): He is out of order.

Mr Bisson: He is out of order, Mr Speaker. He can't read a speech on statements.

The Deputy Speaker: I would like to hear what the member for Norfolk is saying to see if his comments are appropriate to the speech that was just made.

Mr Barrett: Again, Mr Speaker, with respect to Bill 91 -- and I'm surprised it has not been mentioned recently -- I referred to a year and a half ago when I was sitting in the visitors' gallery. At that time Mike Harris asked the then Minister of Labour to name one farmer who was in favour of Bill 91. At that time the minister was unable to name anyone other than his own brother.

In our riding we produce steel and auto parts, but agriculture remains --

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Norfolk, I'll ask you to keep your comments to respond to the speech that was just given.

Mr Barrett: Bill 7, again, will improve this situation, in contrast to what was considered an anti-farm, ideologically driven piece of legislation previously.

In my riding our tobacco, asparagus, other fruit and vegetable growers, are highly dependent on labour, both domestic labour and offshore labour. It has always been a concern in my riding that merely by the stroke of a pen, organizing rights could be made available for offshore and seasonal labour. Union members could be signed up merely for the course of the summer, providing additional members for union bosses.

Again, this is my concern and it was initiated by the lack of discussion of agriculture on the other side.


Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): In his remarks, the member for Hamilton Centre spoke of his distaste at this government's decision to not allow working people and others to speak about this most draconian cut, draconian change in labour laws that this province has ever seen.

You all ought to be ashamed of yourselves. The member for Hamilton Centre spoke. He spoke eloquently and passionately about the need for democracy, about the need to have a chance to respond, and I share his views, because no matter what your opinion of the bill is, you can shut debate down for a few days, but you'll be paying for it for much longer.

We in our party believe in a need for debate. We believe in the need to discuss a bill. We believe in the need to discuss a bill that's as broad and as vast as this. You have an omnibus bill here -- three bills -- that affect everything from the Labour Relations Act to CECBA, and yet you say, "No public hearings; no effective consultation."

All of you ought to be ashamed. All of you ought to think it through again clearly.

You talk about union democracy in your bill, and what do you do? You come into this House and you shut down debate. You won't allow the people of this province to respond to your bill. You won't allow working people a chance to stand up and speak, and speak with passion about the gains that have been made since just 50 years ago in my community -- my community, the Ford strike, where the Rand formula came into being, and you won't allow the working people of this province.

I've had management groups come to me and tell me about the need for some changes that don't affect the substance of the bill that you're not going to allow to happen now.

Shame on all of you. You'll regret it. We'll be back at this act very soon. You all ought to be ashamed. Allow public hearings, allow them to happen, let people have a say in this bill. Don't be so draconian.

Mr Pouliot: I too listened intently, at times hanging on every word of the sincere, passionate and eloquent presentation on behalf of a philosophy. I too came away impressed with the need to reach an equilibrium, the need to achieve reciprocity, that draconian -- and a reminder, not by way of threats nor ultimatum, but surely, and we know that Ontario since Confederation has benefited more than any other jurisdiction, and it has done this because it was in its quest and constant search for middle ground: the right to work in this case, the right to withdraw your labour, the right to refuse to work under hazardous conditions, and, yes, year after year, our rightful place at the workplace.

What is being asked here is for us -- and I understand that philosophically we're very much apart, and I respect because at least you have a philosophy and I respect that in people. We have a different philosophy.

Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): What's the Liberals'?

Mr Pouliot: Well, I'll have to flip a coin on that one. My friends here, I don't talk about philosophy, nor Greek mythology. I might talk about nuclear physics, but not about philosophies.

This will only work if you reach one more time a happy balance, but when you invite confrontation, perception is important. When people see themselves under a state of siege, will it make the goal of this bill, which is having Ontario as a great place to invest, any easier?

We just wish to remind the minister, with the highest of respect, reconsider, look again, water your wine and we'll have a bill we can all live with.

Mr Stockwell: I rise to comment on the speech made by the member opposite from Hamilton. It's not a surprising speech. It was predictable, much the same as we had in last session when we were in opposition occupying very similar situations with respect to Bill 40. I recall the tricks that we tried in opposition as far as ringing the bells and reading into the record streams and rivers and so on and so forth.

Philosophically, we're miles apart though we're feet away. I understand it. I understand the breadth and the depth and the concern that he brings to this issue, but we fundamentally disagree. We don't hate anybody. We never have hated anybody, contrary to your speech. We just don't agree. We don't believe it works and we fundamentally came to the conclusion last election. For 40 days we debated this issue, and the people agreed with us. That's the democratic process. And I still accept the fact that there is opposition across the floor.

What I have profound difficulty with --

Mr Bisson: There are more changes. There are changes in this bill that you guys have never even talked about.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The member for Cochrane South is out of order.

Mr Stockwell: -- are the members opposite in the Liberal Party who apparently stood side by side with us and debated the merits of our position in opposition to Bill 40. Now they come here today upon introduction of rescinding Bill 40, and you know what the Liberals are? They're opposed to that as well.

He speaks in this place of the passionate concern, his passionate belief and passionate opposition to our bill. The clearest thing the member from Windsor-Walkerville is saying today is that he could be passionate about anything. He could be passionate on either side of the issue. The member for Windsor-Walkerville agrees with everybody. No wonder -- he's a Liberal.

The Speaker: The member for Hamilton Centre has two minutes to respond.

Mr Christopherson: First, let me thank the member for Windsor-Walkerville for his comments. I have also pointed out some of the discrepancies in the Liberal positioning over this issue and a few others, but I have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration for the job that my colleague from Windsor-Walkerville is doing on behalf of his constituents and the way that I think he personally believes on this issue. I thank him for his contribution and support on this issue as we work together.

My colleague from Lake Nipigon has always been one of the most eloquent members of this House. I believe that he shares the same understanding and belief that I do on this issue and the damage that it'll do to real people and how it will hurt working people, and I thank him for his comments.

My colleague from Etobicoke West, a colleague from the past session, we've had many debates on many issues. I continue to have great respect for him as an individual and continue to disagree with him on just about every issue he and I debate. This is no different. But it's always enjoyable to listen to the member for Etobicoke West. I only wish that the politics of your party were such that we got to hear from you a little more often.

In closing, I want to say --

Mr Pouliot: He's underutilized.

Mr Christopherson: That's no slight against him. That's a mistake on the part of management.

I want to say in closing that at times I have become very emotional and been very loud and very passionate in my comments. That stems from my own background and my own beliefs and my sincere feeling that this is going to hurt people beyond your ideology and that you needn't hurt people this much to deal with the new situation we find ourselves in as a province.

The Speaker: Further debate, the member from Hamilton East.

Mr Agostino: There are a few minutes left today. I'll wrap up tomorrow. But first of all, I speak in opposition to the government's bill. Bill 7 goes much deeper than anything Bill 40 ever contained. I guess what is ironic and disturbing in all of this is that a bill of such magnitude, a bill of such depth and a bill that has potential for creating so much pain and hardship for working men and women across this province is going to be rammed through by this government by November 2.

Mr Stockwell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I think our member was actually standing in regular rotation and I believe that because he was in the back, maybe he wasn't seen. But I appeal to you, Mr Speaker.

The Speaker: I didn't recognize the member for London South and I didn't see him standing. If it's my mistake, I'm sorry about that, but I recognized the member for Hamilton East.

Mr Agostino: Thank you, Mr Speaker. As I was saying, it is ironic with such a bill that this government determines that they're going to close debate and put the bill through by November 2. This bill fundamentally will change the way business, unions and workers in this province deal with each other. This bill is going to have tremendous potential for violence on the picket line. This bill is going to have tremendous impact on the ability of working men and women to carry out their job, to be able to work on the shop floor without fear of harassment. They won't be able to do the things that over the years they worked hard for, the rights as members of unions in this province they've achieved.

This government has the nerve to sit here and say that it's not worthy of debate in this House. Yes, you had your 40 days during the campaign. Yes, you won the election. But this not a puppet democracy here. This is not some third-rate banana republic that you're running. This is the province of Ontario.

Debate in this House should be full and people should be given the opportunity to speak in this House and speak in committees. You don't have the right to rule. You're not God. You have the right to govern, you've got that right, but there's also responsibility with that, and that responsibility is to ensure that democracy is served properly. You don't serve democracy properly by ramming through a bill of such significance.

Are you afraid to hear from the working men and women of this province? Are you afraid to hear from people? Are you afraid of what they're going to tell you? Are you afraid that you don't like what you're going to see at the committees?

The Speaker: Order. It being 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 1801.