36th Parliament, 1st Session

L017 - Thu 26 Oct 1995 / Jeu 26 Oct 1995



































The House met at 1004.



The Acting Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Before we start with orders of the day, I would like to inform the members of the Legislative Assembly that we have in the Speaker's gallery today a delegation from the region of Abruzzo, Italy, headed by Mr Giovanni Mellila, president of the council of the region of Abruzzo. Please join me in welcoming our guests.

Orders of the day.

Senior Clerk Assistant and Clerk of Journals (Mr Alex D. McFedries): There's no order of the day.

The Acting Speaker: We have no ballot item number 1, so we will have to recess until 11 o'clock so that Mr. Bradley, the member for St Catharines, can introduce ballot item number 2.

Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): Mr Speaker, on a point of order: We understood that there was to be unanimous consent this morning for Mr DeFaria's bill to be introduced. Because of activities that have happened in the House this week, that has not happened, and we are quite prepared to give unanimous consent for that bill to go forward.

The Acting Speaker: There was no question. If there is a question, of course, I will --

Mr David Turnbull (York Mills): Mr Speaker, we had indeed requested that such unanimous consent be granted and we were informed in advance that it would not be given. Therefore, Mr DeFaria is not here today.

Mr Michael Brown: There seems to be some confusion. It was certainly our view that there was unanimous consent, at least it was granted certainly by the official opposition, for that to have happened.

The Acting Speaker: He's not here. I have no other choice than to recess the House until 11 o'clock.

The House recessed from 1006 to 1100.



Mr Bradley moved private member's notice of motion number 1:

That, in the opinion of this House, since the Niagara Escarpment has been designated as a biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and since increased pressure is being applied on the government to weaken or dismantle the Niagara Escarpment Commission established by the former Progressive Conservative government of Premier William Davis to protect the integrity and character of these lands, this House fully supports the continued existence and present mandate of the commission to protect this unique and beautiful natural asset which will enable it to be preserved for this and future generations in Ontario.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Mr Bradley has moved the resolution. You have 10 minutes.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Thank you for the opportunity to begin, and to continue some remarks later on, on a resolution which I think is very timely and certainly most necessary at this time.

If members of the Legislature are wondering why a resolution of this kind would be brought forward at a time when we have the Niagara Escarpment Commission established and when it has its mandate and has created a plan, the reason is quite simple.

There are many forces out there who, whenever a new government is elected, wish to change the mandate of various agencies, boards and commissions as they exist in this province.

Representatives of the development industry have always been eager to develop on the Niagara Escarpment Commission lands; there are members of the aggregate industry who, because they are obviously interested in that industry and the profits that can be derived from aggregate use of the Niagara Escarpment area, are most prepared to see changes in the policy which has been established; and there are members of the professional leisure organizations and industry who are interested in having such things as ski hills, golf courses and other very active recreational uses of the Niagara Escarpment lands.

So this pressure is building, along with the pressure which would be exerted by some members of this Legislature who have long been opponents of the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the mandate that it has.

It's interesting that, first of all, I'd mention this was established by the government of Premier William Davis, a Progressive Conservative government, and implemented largely by the individual who is now the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, the member for Carleton, Mr Norm Sterling. At the time, I believe his title was Provincial Secretary for Resources Development.

One of the pet projects of Mr Sterling, because of his very strong concern about the environment and about the natural beauty of our province, was to ensure that this gem that we have, this natural gem in this province, would be preserved for all time. He was given the mandate by Premier Davis to ensure that the Niagara Escarpment Commission was established, that there was a plan to be developed, and indeed that it would be implemented in such a way as it would be protection for the lifetime not only of those of us who exist now, but of future generations.

I want to commend Premier Davis on that initiative and I want to commend Norm Sterling on his strong support not only at the time it was initiated but since that time, where he has been supportive when governments have made changes to strengthen the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

This is an issue which I suspect crosses political lines. There are ideological lines that you have seen in this House on various issues, and I appreciate that they are divisive, I appreciate that they bring out polarization in this House. I suspect, however, that among members of all three caucuses there is very strong support for the protection of the Niagara Escarpment.

As you drive along, anywhere from Niagara Falls right along into the Grey-Bruce area, particularly people from outside of Ontario are intrigued by the fact that we've largely protected it from the kind of development that you see south of the border. They tend to be very commercial in the United States. This is a pretty large generalization to say that, but they tend to be more commercial.

You'll notice, for instance, one difference is you have huge signs right adjacent to the highway advertising commercial ventures. You don't see as many of those here because when our Ministry of Transportation was established, we set certain criteria to ensure that we didn't make a visual mess out of our highways, and all three political parties that have ruled in Ontario have tried to maintain that particular policy.

I suspect in the Progressive Conservative caucus and your various riding organizations, and among your supporters, as there are among Liberals and New Democrats, there are many people who believe that this is indeed a natural gem which should be protected and who applauded the initiative of Premier Davis and Minister Norm Sterling in the establishment and the ongoing support for the Niagara Escarpment and the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

It is a gem. It contains some rather interesting items that perhaps we don't consider. First of all, the area for which the commission is responsible is governed by Canada's largest environmentally based land use plan. It has been designated a biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, known to most of us as UNESCO.

About seven million people live within a hour's drive of it, and it is one of Canada's most beautiful physical features. It has more than 60 spectacular waterfalls, including Niagara Falls, by the way; more than 300 species of birds; 53 species of mammals; 36 species of reptiles and amphibians; 90 species of fish; 50 types of ferns; 37 types of wild orchids; 1,000-year-old white cedars, which are the slowest-growing trees in the world; the longest continuous footpath in Canada at 775 kilometres -- that's the Bruce Trail -- and 4,400 hectares of parks.

So you can see that perhaps something we take for granted as we drive along our highways or railways, if that is the case, or as we fly over the province, is a genuine asset and, in my view, has to be protected for future generations.

It is, I think, a justifiable source of pride for members of the Progressive Conservative Party that you are the party that established the commission, that you are the party that played a significant part in the development of the plan.

It's not often that in the House you find members of the opposition complimenting the government, and I believe that there are occasions where we should do that. I can assure you that there will be plenty of occasions when I will call into question some of the policies past, present and future of Progressive Conservatives, but this is not one area. This is one area where I have always been very supportive, and I hope that you will continue as members of the governing side, as all members of the House will, to support that very wise initiative on the part of Premier Davis and subsequently Premier Miller, and of course the NDP and Liberal premiers of this province.

It is, in my view, a difference between the United States and Canada. We often wonder what are the differences, and I think one of them that we see -- and it's a generalization -- is our general thrust towards the conserving of our natural assets. If you think of the terminology we use for your party across the floor, for instance, the Progressive Conservative Party, one of the aspects has always been to conserve that which is worth conserving. That's been an attraction, I think, to many of the people who have been in your party and an attraction which has, over the years, raised considerable support; 42 years of governing in the province and re-election this time.

I'm not suggesting that you're re-elected for this specific purpose, but I noticed in the Common Sense Revolution, your political document for election, that nowhere did it mention that you intended to weaken or dismantle the Niagara Escarpment Commission or to significantly alter the plan. I think that was very good on your part, I think that was very wise on your part, and I think it attracted some additional support from those who might not even normally have stayed with the Progressive Conservative Party. It clearly indicates that it crosses political lines.


It is a natural beauty. It is a tourist attraction. We think of some of the things that are tourist attractions and some that are not. The member for Niagara Falls and previous members for Niagara Falls will always tell you that they wanted to see more than simply the wax museums, than simply some of the honky-tonk stuff in Niagara Falls.

So we have the Niagara Parks Commission, which has done an excellent job of maintaining the natural beauty. Take a look at the difference between Niagara Falls, Canada, and Niagara Falls in the United States and the way that they have dealt with the assets that are there. The Niagara Parks Commission -- again established, I believe, by the Progressive Conservative government in Ontario -- has done a good job of protecting those lands, has enhanced the natural beauty that is there, has prevented the kind of commercial intrusions in specific areas along the river which would not be an asset. Such is the case with the Niagara Escarpment Commission; such is the case with the Niagara Escarpment plan.

I believe it's important for us in this House today to be able to reaffirm our faith in this marvellous initiative on the part of Premier Davis, an initiative which has been subsequently enhanced by representatives of the Liberal government and the NDP government. So I look for widespread support among all members of all caucuses for this initiative this morning.

Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): I'm pleased to rise in support of this resolution this morning, and I would certainly concur with the member for St Catharines in urging all members of this House to support this important resolution. I could not let this occasion pass without making a comment on the nature of the exercise that we're involved in this morning, because this is the first private member's resolution that we are dealing with in this Parliament and I think it's important that we reflect a little bit on that in addition to the important issue that the member for St Catharines has placed before us with respect to support for the Niagara Escarpment Commission continuing.

Private members' session is a time when, certainly those of us who have been around for a little bit or a long time know and I'm sure as the new members are learning, we as members, regardless of party affiliation, have an opportunity to debate resolutions and/or bills that are brought forward, putting aside our partisanship and putting aside our own caucus's views. I think that it's, for me as one, a very important part of the process of this Parliament, something which I as an individual would actually want to see expanded if at all possible.

I think it's in that spirit that I hope all members of this Legislature come to resolutions and to this time on Thursday mornings, when we have an occasion to set aside the daily partisanship that we have lots of opportunities to display throughout the rest of the debates and the proceedings of this House and to look at issues on their merit as they are presented, regardless of whom they come from, regardless of what particular political bent there may be and to just endorse or not endorse something on its merits.

On its merits, certainly this resolution warrants our full support. As the member for St Catharines has outlined, the Niagara Escarpment Commission has been in existence for some time, established at the time that William Davis was Premier of the province, and has continued to provide, as we know, a very useful role in the appropriate development and maintenance of the Niagara Escarpment.

It is, again as has been noted by the member for St Catharines, an area which few other areas surpass in their beauty and I think one of the things that sets us as a province apart from other provinces, even within Canada, and certainly one of the things that has been noticed, as indicated by the recognition by UNESCO, across the world. It is an area that we should be proud of. It is also something that through the Niagara Escarpment Commission we need to continue to be able to ensure its future in a sustainable and in a very ecologically minded manner, in a way that balances the different needs that exist in the region, in a way that perpetuates the use of that region in those balanced ways for the future, for our children to come.

I know that the pressures that the member for St Catharines has outlined from the development industries and others are there and are going to continue to be there. I think it's particularly incumbent at this time, when certainly we know that the government of the day is under pressure; we can argue to what extent those are real pressures or created pressures, but we leave that aside for a moment. We know that they will be under continued pressures to possibly look at dismantling this commission and we would certainly want to see them go very, very slowly in that respect because we know that the commission has been doing a very useful job. We would hope that they would see the wisdom in continuing that.

But I hope that today this House takes this opportunity presented to us by the member for St Catharines to exercise both a basic and very important right that we as individual members of this Legislature have, which is to look at something, as in this case, on its merits and to say, "That is a good idea; it should be supported by this House," and to then use that as a way to urge all of us, and certainly the government, to look carefully at issues such as this. So it's in that spirit that I rise to support, with appreciation to the member for St Catharines for raising this issue, his resolution.

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): I would like to congratulate the member for St Catharines in bringing forward this resolution. I would agree with the two previous speakers that this is a subject that crosses all three party lines. I have heard criticism, I have heard support from members from all three parties, and it's something that certainly is appropriate to be debated at this particular time.

I quite agree with the member for St Catharines that this type of subject does surface at the beginning of all new governments, because there are certainly groups of people who wish all kinds of combinations. Some people want to do away with the entire plan, some people want to do away with the commission, others support the commission and others support the plan. I certainly support the resolution, although I assume that the member would have no objection, as do many other supporters of the commission in support of the plan, with respect to the cutbacks that are being proposed by the government.

I think that all people who support this type of resolution would agree that everything can be improved, everything needs to be streamlined. There may be some waste in the Niagara Escarpment Commission or the bureaucracy of the Niagara Escarpment Commission that could be improved. In fact, speaking to some of the staff who work there and some of the members who are on the commission, they would agree with that proposal. But I do wholeheartedly congratulate the member for bringing it forward at this time. It certainly is an opportune time.

There have been different people who have spoken to me, both for and against it, and I'm sure the member for Grey-Owen Sound will have a few words in opposition. He and I have had a debate on this topic for a number of years and we're in the same party, and I respect everything that he says; we certainly disagree on this particular subject. I know there are members on all three sides who will feel the same way as I feel and feel the same way as the member for Grey-Owen Sound.

I received a letter -- certainly, this rumour has been flying around recently and I think, as I say, it's an opportune time that this subject be raised -- from the Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment, which is a well-known group of people who support the Niagara Escarpment. It came from the president, Mr Baker, whom many of us have spoken to with respect to the issues in the Niagara Escarpment. He has written me a letter which perhaps may summarize some of the concerns of many people in the province of Ontario towards the continuance of the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the Niagara Escarpment plan.


He says: "It is sometimes said that the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC), the body charged with administering the act, infringes on proprietary rights and expropriates lands. This is simply not so. Also, considering the fact that more than 90% of all development applications are approved, one is hard put to understand the view, hotly proclaimed by some, that the NEC is an impediment to development.

"In our view the NEC is the most cost-effective instrument for the administration of the act. Transferral of development permit responsibility to municipalities will not only destroy any possibility of uniform policy and program application for the Niagara Escarpment as a whole, appropriate to its designation as a United Nations biosphere reserve, but it will also place heavy burdens on municipal staff and financial resources which they currently could not meet. It would require the costly hiring of suitably qualified planning expertise with probable increases of municipal taxes."

I think that this indeed gets to the crunch of the debate as to whether or not the commission should cease to exist or whether the jurisdiction of the administration of this plan should be passed to the municipalities.

I, for one, am certainly not in favour of it. If we look at the cost to administer the commission, I can tell you that if this transfer of jurisdiction is handed to the municipality, the cost to the property taxpayer will increase unbelievably.

In my riding, in the county of Dufferin specifically, notwithstanding Bill 163, there hasn't been a development of a planning department. And I can assure you, whether you're a regional municipality or whether you're a county, they are all going to be asking for more money with respect to the administration of this plan, and it ain't there. There is no more money. And either you support the plan or you don't support the plan.

More importantly, this particular area is a provincial plan. It's not a municipal plan. I know, and I speak to my friend from Grey, that the people in Grey feel quite differently -- some of the people from Grey; I don't think he's got the entire support of the people from Grey, but some of the people from Grey certainly will disagree with some of the people in my riding. I can tell you that very fact: The philosophy of municipalities change, and I believe that the whole philosophy of the interpretation of the Niagara Escarpment plan will be balkanized, and whether you're talking up in Tobermory or whether you're talking down in Niagara, you would conceivably have a whole slew of different plans. So I support the member specifically when he refers to the mandate.

I think that there are a number of things that could be done to the operation of the commission. For example, the Niagara Escarpment has suggested a number of non-controversial amendments to the plan that would go a long way to streamlining the approval process, and there's no question that the streamlining of the process needs to be improved. This would decrease staff workload; it would improve upon the customer process. For example, there are two or three branch offices. I don't know whether you need all those. So all of those things need to be looked at, and it may well be that certain cutbacks will have to be taken.

I can tell you that there are other things, when you make applications for development permits, whether you're talking specifically with the various river authorities -- all of those river authorities are able to charge a fee -- and thereby cut back on the costs that go to the overall taxpayer. The Niagara Escarpment Commission can't do that because of some quirk in the act that precludes it from doing that. There are all kinds of things that could be done, and I assume the member would have no problem with a government or ministry looking into those specific issues.

I think when you look at the overall issue of this debate, it's all going to boil down to the fact, do you support municipalities running it or do you support an agency such as the Niagara Escarpment Commission? I can only emphasize that there are certain things that a council cannot do. A council cannot make a decision on a ministry undertaking -- for example, a wayside pit, a quarry, a government structure or its own development proposals -- and it's things like that as to why you have a commission.

I would encourage all members to support the resolution, because I think, as the member said, this is a natural gem that needs to be protected in the province of Ontario.

The Deputy Speaker: The Chair recognizes the member for Kenora.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): No, I'm not from Kenora, but I wish I were. Actually, I'm from Algoma.

The Deputy Speaker: Sorry. Algoma, and I apologize.

Mr Wildman: No problem. It's the first one in the alphabet.

I rise to participate in this debate, and I want to congratulate the MPP for St Catharines, my friend, for introducing this very timely resolution into this House. I want to also say that while in the past my friend the member for Dufferin-Peel and I have had some differences, we both have been very much in favour of protection of the environment and have worked on a number of issues together. I must say that I agree almost completely with his remarks, which were very cogent and to the point.

The fact is that this is not a partisan issue. This is an issue that should unite all members of the House, if not all people in Ontario, in that we have an international treasure in the Niagara Escarpment, something that has been recognized by the United Nations as a biosphere reserve, something that we have the obligation, not just for the people of Ontario and for environmental protection in this jurisdiction but for the people of this whole world, to preserve. That's a very heavy and important responsibility.

I must say that I agree with my friend from Dufferin-Peel when he says you're either for or against the commission, you're either for or against protection of the biosphere reserve; you can't have it both ways.

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey-Owen Sound): Come on. You got it all wrong.

Mr Wildman: I didn't say that. Your friend from Dufferin-Peel said that, and I agree with him.

All three parties in this Legislature, in government, have supported the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the act. It was first introduced by my good friend the MPP for Carleton, who is now a member of the executive council of this government and sits on the government benches. I want to congratulate him not only for introducing the act in the first place and giving the responsibility directly to the commission reporting directly to the minister, but also for his continued support over the years for the commission and for the protection of the Niagara Escarpment.

I had the pleasure, when I was Minister of Environment and Energy for the previous government, to have the opportunity to complete the revisions of the Niagara Escarpment Plan to in fact strengthen the protection of the biosphere reserve. I'm pleased to say that the revised plan gained widespread support right across Ontario and had the support of all three political parties in this Legislature.

At the announcement I was joined by the former MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, Ruth Grier, who had been the minister immediately previous to me; by Ron Eddy, the then member for Brant-Haldimand, who represented the Liberal Party; and by the MPP for Carleton, to show that all three political parties were in support of the revised plan and strengthening the protection for the Niagara Escarpment.

As the member for Dufferin-Peel pointed out, there was a tremendous amount of pressure during the last stages of the revision of the plan to have controls for the protection of the environment, and for the protection of the escarpment specifically, given to municipalities. There was a letter-writing campaign initiated by certain groups, and supported by a number of municipal politicians in the area affected, asking me to give control, give the right to make decisions on severances, for instance, to municipalities.

I did meet with representatives of Grey county and their representative on the escarpment commission, and we talked about ways that would help to streamline the operation of the commission, but I made clear on behalf of our government that we had absolutely no intention of balkanizing, to use the member for Dufferin-Peel's word, the operation of the Niagara Escarpment Commission.


It is imperative that this be looked at on a province-wide basis. It cannot be properly protected if you have each municipality along the escarpment making varying decisions about protection. Some municipalities may in fact be stronger in their protection than others, so that you would have situations where property owners in one municipality might be able to gain a severance, for instance, or to have new development on their property, and a property owner in an adjacent municipality would not have the same opportunity. That would not be appropriate, in our view.

It is the responsibility of this government to protect the mandate of the Niagara Escarpment Commission and to maintain it. As a matter of fact, when the act was brought in by the Conservative government under the premiership of Bill Davis, when it was brought in by the MPP for Carleton, who was at that time the minister responsible, he made it quite clear in the drafting of the original act that the minister was responsible. The minister, a member of the cabinet, had direct responsibility for maintaining the mandate of the Niagara Escarpment Commission and ensuring that the commission properly protected this international environmental treasure.

I congratulate the MPP for Carleton for taking that very difficult position as a member of the Bill Davis administration. Again, as I said, I congratulate him for his continuing support for the commission and for the protection of the Niagara Escarpment.

My friend from St Catharines in his opening remarks talked about some of the unique environmental aspects of the escarpment, things in terms of the flora and fauna that must be protected; not just the unique geological landform that is the escarpment but also the whole ecosystem of the Niagara Escarpment that must be protected.

I think we have made significant progress in that protection, recognizing that the land owners in the area must have the right to live and enjoy their property. As the member for Dufferin-Peel pointed out in one of the comments he read into the record, over 90% of the applications for development along the escarpment are approved by the commission, so 10% are denied.

Those aren't my figures. They were read into the record by the Conservative member, and I appreciate that he has made that clear to the members of the Legislative Assembly.

The fact is that if we are to protect this international environmental treasure, we must have a body that has the responsibility for dealing with it from one end to the other, and that body must have the power and the responsibility for weighing proposals for development in the region in a way that is fair but that has uppermost for consideration the protection of the environment and the escarpment.

So I agree with those who supported our government's decision not to transfer the controls to municipal councils, and I would hope that all members of the House, as the member for Dufferin-Peel suggested, would support this resolution introduced by the member for St Catharines.

I've heard that there may be one or two members in the Legislature who are not as enthusiastic as the rest of us about the protection of the escarpment. It has even been suggested that the MPP for Grey-Owen Sound has proposed that we should get rid of the commission -- not only change the mandate but that we should eliminate the commission. Now, I'm sure that's apocryphal. I'm certain that no responsible member of this Legislature representing his constituents would say that we should not have a commission to protect the escarpment.

I look forward to the further debate, and I'm sure we will hear from the member for Grey-Owen Sound in his strong and vibrant support for the protection of the escarpment and for the maintenance of the mandate of the commission as proposed in this resolution by my friend from St Catharines. I urge all members to support this resolution.

Mr Murdoch: I should start off by thanking the honourable member for St Catharines for bringing this issue to the floor, because I've been one of the main reasons for a very long time and I'm pleased to be afforded the opportunity to debate it today.

However -- this may come as a surprise to the honourable member -- I will not be throwing my support behind his motion. In light of the widespread dissent surrounding the operations of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, it is completely absurd for this House to support "the continued existence and present mandate of the commission."

First, I think I should set the record straight. Contrary to popular belief, I have no desire to promote the development of strip malls along the 725-kilometre stretch of escarpment land from Niagara Falls to Tobermory. The Niagara Escarpment is one of Ontario's most important natural features. It provides beauty, a place of rest, relaxation and recreation. Protecting it is a legitimate goal of our society.

However, private ownership of property is also a fundamental part of Ontario's social contract. The rights associated with property ownership form one of the basic foundations of democracy. Therefore, what we as political leaders must do is locate and maintain that delicate balance between the protection of important natural assets and the rights of property owners.

To avoid confusion, discussion of the Niagara Escarpment must be broken down into three parts.

First is the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, established in 1973 with the primary objective to maintain the Niagara Escarpment as a continuous natural environment. I don't think anyone here, myself included, will dispute the intention of the act or its basic components -- no problem.

Second is the Niagara Escarpment Plan, developed in accordance with the act over a 12-year period. The plan was originally passed in 1985 and serves as a framework of objectives and land use policies to oversee the development and preservation of the escarpment. The plan is continually subject to amendments and change, and I have many opinions in this regard. However, due to time constraints, I cannot get into this today. Therefore, today, the plan -- no problem.

However, the third element, the Niagara Escarpment Commission: I have big problems with this. I have long believed that while we must preserve the escarpment land, the Niagara Escarpment Commission is biased. It is an undemocratic body which has no even standards when rendering decisions.

On what do I base this opinion? Some 35%, or 100,000 acres, of escarpment area lies in Grey county. That's a lot of land in my riding under the control of the Niagara Escarpment Commission. Having been involved in politics at the municipal and provincial levels for over 16 years, I have had direct contact with the commission and have witnessed first hand its haphazard, inconsistent decision-making process. In my opinion, the Niagara Escarpment Commission should be scrapped in its entirety.

This opinion is based on three main things: First, it costs the taxpayers of Ontario millions of dollars unnecessarily; second, it is an undemocratic body in both makeup and making decisions; and third, it has not fulfilled its original mandate.

First, costs: The NEC costs the taxpayers of Ontario between $2 million and $3 million annually in direct operating and administrative costs. This says nothing of secondary or spillover costs to local planning and development requirements imposed by the commission, which have been estimated to increase the annual costs of operations to approximately $5 million per year.

We must ask ourselves, in light of the financial reality facing this province and our initiatives to review all government operations in an effort to weed out inefficiency, duplication and waste, if continuing in this manner is a wise expenditure of Ontario taxpayers' dollars.


Second, the commission is undemocratic. The members of the commission are appointed by the province, not elected by the people they govern. The commission is comprised of 17 members: nine public-at-large representatives, few of whom actually live on or near the escarpment, and one representative from each of the eight counties and regions, who have supposedly been chosen by each municipality. This in itself is a crock.

I remember an instance when I sat on county council. We submitted a name to the province, but the government of the day would not accept it, suggesting we try again with someone of a more appropriate political stripe. I think the member who presented this motion will understand this.

The commission has become bureaucratic and isolated, often rendering inconsistent decisions. I need only look at the list of examples in Grey county -- which, incidentally, is as long as my arm -- to illustrate the lack of consistency in the commission's decision-making process. Some of the things that have happened: One of the chairs of the commission decided his property should be split into two 50 acres -- no problem. When someone else in Keppel township decided to do the same thing, he made the deciding vote: no. There's one thing right there.

Mr Wildman: Come on, Bill. Say that outside.

Mr Murdoch: I'll say that anywhere.

Let's talk about some soccer fields. A bunch of kids in Owen Sound wanted to have soccer fields near the escarpment, green fields with a few posts. No, no; the commission said this was inconsistent with the plan. A few green fields and some soccer posts and maybe a place to park -- no, they turned that down.

Let's talk about Stairland, a business. The building was already there, and they wanted to make stairs inside a building. No, it was a change of use -- couldn't do that. Many things like that have happened in our area, and I could go on.

Further to this, in 1993, two hearing officers and members of Ontario's Environmental Assessment Board produced a report, the Niagara Escarpment Plan, which confirmed many of its own views and verified much of what residents in my riding have been saying for years. The result of eight months of public hearings, their comments were both fair and objective. Perhaps this is why they were ignored by the government of the day. Also included in this report was a recommendation that planning controls should be given over to local governments. Local governments should be able to make the decisions, not a commission which is biased in its decisions.

When we first started this commission it was a mandate that it should be given up within two years. That's what the Conservative government put in there. What happened is, two governments over here, both the Liberals and the NDP, decided to ignore that and build a commission which was out of control, a commission that should be scrapped, a commission that --

Mr Wildman: How come your colleague supports it?

Mr Murdoch: Well, why didn't you support it? You should have taken the original mandate, which the member has put in here, and scrapped the commission within two years, giving authority over to the local politicians.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for St Catharines.

Mr Bradley: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to conclude with some more remarks about the resolution I put before the House. I've appreciated the remarks of all members of the Legislature on this, including the member for Grey-Owen Sound, despite the fact that I am diametrically opposed to his views on this. I think it's important that his views be put forward and I am pleased he was able to be with us today to express those views.

I find myself more in agreement, naturally, with the member for Dufferin-Peel, who was the Environment critic for the Progressive Conservative Party in the last Parliament and was one who was interested in environmental issues and one who knows the issues, I think, which relate to the Niagara Escarpment. I appreciate his thoughts on that and some of the information he's provided, which I think is valuable to all members of the House before we make our judgement this morning.

I appreciate as well the comments of the member for Dovercourt, who indicated his support for the resolution and the reasons he would support it; and the member for Algoma, who is a former Minister of Environment and Energy, and an individual, by the way, who has had others in Ontario make judgements about assets and land within his riding.

You see, I think we get to an issue where we look at who owns what, who has jurisdiction over what. It seems to me, when we have assets of this kind, that all the people of Ontario have an interest in it. I used to listen to people say, for instance, that we in Ontario had no business talking about the oil industry out west. I thought the oil in western Canada was as much a part of Canada as the auto industry in Ontario, the forests of Quebec, or the fish we catch inland or offshore on our west and east coasts.

I believe that to be the case in Ontario as well, that all of us have an interest, regardless of where we happen to reside in Ontario, in the various natural assets we have. I know from time to time it has annoyed local people when those from outside that jurisdiction have passed some judgements, but very often they have been judgements which have enhanced the natural position of this province over the years.

I do not believe, as the member for Dufferin-Peel does, that it is practical to turn jurisdiction over to the local municipalities. I have a couple of additional reasons to the ones mentioned by the member for Dufferin-Peel and the member for Algoma. The first, of course, is that some of these municipalities do not want to take over this jurisdiction, and there's good reason for it. There is a cost, there is staff involved, and there is controversy. Many of those at the local level even prefer to have a provincial authority with jurisdiction. The reason for that is that locally it is much easier to put pressure on individual politicians.

I sat on a municipal council for some seven and a half years before coming to this House, and I know many others in this House and previous parliaments who have sat on municipal councils, and I assure you that the pressure that can be placed by local developers and others on local politicians is far greater than that which can be placed on those at the provincial level. I think there is far more objectivity in cases of this kind.

Mr Murdoch: Are you saying they can't handle this? Is that what you're saying? Local politicians can't look after things. Is that what you're saying?

Mr Bradley: The member for Grey-Owen Sound has a different point of view. I will not get into the many severances which were granted in Grey county when he was in a position to be influencing those severances, because that does not really affect us today in this resolution. But I want to say in a general sense that there is that concern, that friends of people can be granted favours at a local level in a much easier way than they can when there's a detached authority for decisions of this kind.

I think there are those in local municipalities who want to make decisions of a local nature who would still hold this position with such things as the Niagara Parks Commission or the Niagara Escarpment Commission or perhaps the St Lawrence Parks Commission.

So I believe that is an important component. I agree with the member for Dufferin-Peel that it is very difficult to have the various interpretations that individual municipalities can place on a plan. He referred to the term "balkanization." I think most of us recognize what that means when we look at various approaches, conflicting approaches that are taken, as opposed to having one authority in charge of it.

One of the reasons I was worried and brought forward this resolution was that in the Owen Sound Times --

Mr Murdoch: Sun Times. Get it right.

Mr Bradley: -- Sun Times; the member will correct me. Mr Murdoch wants the Niagara Escarpment Commission scrapped -- and we all know that; he's said that today -- but he recently told his local newspaper, the Owen Sound Sun Times, that Ontario's Environment minister, Brenda Elliott, had said to him, "I think you'll like what we're going to do with the commission."

Mr Murdoch: Well, what's wrong with that?

Mr Bradley: Listen, cabinet ministers can say various things to various people and can be interpreted in any way you wish, and I'm not being critical of the minister in this case. I am simply concerned when I hear the speech which has been made today by the member for Grey-Owen Sound and then I read that the minister is going to do something he likes with the Niagara Escarpment Commission. I think even he would agree with me that there would be reason for concern for somebody who has taken the position I have.

I think what you have to watch for is not only the major developments but the individual severances which are granted, because severances are often the death by a thousand cuts that we see happening.

Mr Murdoch: Maybe we could talk to your ex-minister about the same things. Talk to Ben there. Ben did something very nice for us. Why don't you talk to Ben about this?

Mr Bradley: I've certainly concerned the member for Grey-Owen Sound, who is heckling, and I appreciate his strong feelings.

I also know that it's easy to bash Toronto or to bash the provincial government. It's good local politics to do it, as a matter of fact, when you live outside of Toronto.

Mr Murdoch: Jean-Marc, don't vote for this.

The Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr Bradley: My friend the member for Grey-Owen Sound has played this card on many occasions, where he said, "Those people in Toronto never listen to us." Even in the Niagara Peninsula I've heard people say that from time to time. It may be good local politics. I don't know whether it develops good province-wide policy simply to provide those kinds of arguments.


What we all have to recognize is that once we destroy, once we develop in an expansive way, natural lands, we cannot restore them. Once you tear up the trees, once you tear up the farm land and replace it with a development, it can no longer be retained for future purposes. In some cases, we will have development in some places in Ontario. That's part of the process. There are areas, however, that we wish to maintain in their present state, in their natural beauty.

Most people in Ontario, I would suggest the majority of people, would not want to see uncontrolled quarrying, uncontrolled ski hills and golf courses or just uncontrolled, perhaps even subdivision, development in areas of natural beauty. There are many places in Ontario where we can have that kind of development and it makes sense to have that development. It does not in this specific instance.

I also am supportive of the fact that the Niagara Escarpment Commission comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment and Energy. Originally it was placed under the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. It seems much more sensible to have it under a ministry which has concern and responsibility for protecting the environment.

So I would encourage Premier Harris and members of the government to resist any pressure to take it out of that ministry and place it under the jurisdiction of another ministry.

The other thing that I think we have to look at, because the member for Grey-Owen Sound made this case, is the kind of people you appoint to the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

If you have a certain mandate, if you have a commission established, if you have a plan accepted, and then you turn around and appoint people who are diametrically opposed to it, it seems to me that you have made the wrong judgement. You want people who have balance on these commissions. I don't think you want people who are extremist on either side, because you want the kind of balance that will bring forth good decisions, thoughtful decisions.

And if there is a bending to the pressure to have a majority of people who wish to pave the Niagara Escarpment as opposed to retaining it, then I think despite the mandate and despite the legislation and despite the plan that is established, you would defeat it by having those kinds of appointments made.

I would hope the government, as it has in years gone by, would make those kinds of appointments where there is balance and where there is a commitment to the preservation of the escarpment among those who are appointed. The new government will have that opportunity to make many of these appointments. I'll be watching with great interest as they do, and I hope I can indicate in committee, when it comes before the committee, my strong support for the appointments that the government will be making.

I think we cannot underestimate the designation of this property as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. There are not many properties in this world that have that designation. That is an international designation. That is something which was developed by people from the scientific community, and others, making a judgement. They assess it very carefully before they make such a declaration, and then it is declared a biosphere reserve. I know there are some people in the province who would like to see that designation removed, because then it makes it easier to develop the lands which are contained within the escarpment.

Again, I say, compare to many other jurisdictions that have not been as progressive and as conservative -- I say that in terms of conservation -- as we have in Ontario under Premier Davis, Mr Sterling and two subsequent governments, that have not made that choice to preserve a natural asset, and you see the kind of hodgepodge of development that takes place when that happens. That is why I think it's so important that we have this preserved not only for the present generation but for future generations.

I emphasize the fact with a good deal of passion, if I may, that once you develop it, you cannot restore it to its original character and state. That's why I consider it important that when we make decisions of the kind that we do in this House this morning, we send a message to the people of this province that we want, as the Conservative Party has always said over the years, to conserve that which is best in our history and in our natural resources.

I certainly hope that members of the governing party and the two opposition parties will be unanimous, though I suspect that may not be entirely possible with my friend from Grey-Owen Sound sitting in the House and from some of the cheering that has been provided for him. I always respect, of course, the viewpoints of others, even when I disagree vehemently with them.

I believe this is a fairly momentous occasion for us. Let me share with members very briefly some of my observations of development that is taking place.

There are some people who believe that paving natural assets -- farm land, for instance -- from Toronto to Fort Erie, and having one megalopolis, would be something that everybody should like, because it would be good for the economy. I would suggest it would be bad for tourism. One of the attractions of the Niagara Peninsula is the largely rural nature of it. A lot of people enjoy the Niagara Peninsula for that reason.

I lament very much my drive, either by train or by car, between St Catharines and Toronto over 18 years in this Legislature, because I have seen the development of prime agricultural land. The other day -- I will annoy some people in Grimsby by saying it -- I drove into Grimsby, just to see what was happening, just beneath the escarpment, the beautiful agricultural land, the lovely natural setting, and it was being bulldozed for subdivisions.

I understand there have to be subdivisions in Ontario and that there is land that should be developed for subdivision purposes, but if you could only have seen the original state of it, that which would attract people, and then watched the bulldozers knocking down the trees and removing the natural state. In some cases, that's quite appropriate, we should have subdivision development, but in this case, I thought, there we are, right below the escarpment, natural beauty, and here's what we're doing. There must be other places more appropriate for development in Ontario.

So I encourage all members of this House to think not only of the present, to think not only of the profits that can be made from the development of this land, but of the genuine asset that it is to us in terms of tourism and in terms of simply the aesthetic beauty that all of us could enjoy.

Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): You have two minutes.

Mr Bradley: I have a final opportunity to wrap up in two minutes, you'll be pleased to know, and probably another opportunity to commend my colleague from Dufferin-Peel and others.

People often believe that members of the Legislature don't have individual power and don't have individual responsibility, and there's much truth to that. Let me assure members of this House, as the member for Dovercourt did earlier today, this is the one opportunity that you have ordinarily -- and I presume there's no government whip on this or opposition whip on this -- this is the opportunity that you have to make an individual judgement. That is what the private members' hour is for.

The private members' hour is not for government intimidation. You are outside the jurisdiction of the cabinet or the chief government whip when you are making these judgements, and in opposition the same is true. That's why I've always enjoyed the Thursday morning sessions, where we have that opportunity to render an individual judgement on a policy issue of the day.

At long last, those who have been, for whatever reason, excluded from the cabinet, very often because of geography or other considerations -- they may be very talented people but they have not been included as a member of the cabinet -- you have the opportunity to pass that judgement. You have the opportunity to make a decision, not only for yourselves and those who are here today, but for your children, your grandchildren, for generations to come, for the people of this province and for the people who wish to visit this province to enjoy a national asset and a provincial asset, the Niagara Escarpment.

The Deputy Speaker: We will now deal with ballot item number 1 standing in the name of Mr Bradley.

Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): Number 2.

The Deputy Speaker: If any members are opposed to a vote on this ballot item, they will please rise.

Mr Bradley has moved private member's resolution number 1.

Interjections: It's 2.

Mr Murdoch: Number 1 was stopped this morning by the guys on the other side.

The Deputy Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour of the motion will please say "aye."

Those opposed to the motion will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. There will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1202 to 1207.

The Deputy Speaker: Would you please take your seats.

All those in favour of Mr Bradley's motion will please rise and stay standing until the Clerk has recorded your names.


Agostino, Dominic

Crozier, Bruce

Munro, Julia

Bartolucci, Rick

Curling, Alvin

O'Toole, John

Boyd, Marion

Duncan, Dwight

Pouliot, Gilles

Bradley, James J.

Grandmaître, Bernard

Ramsay, David

Brown, Michael A.

Gravelle, Michael

Sergio, Mario

Castrilli, Annamarie

Hoy, Pat

Silipo, Tony

Churley, Marilyn

Jordan, Leo

Tilson, David

Cleary, John C.

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Colle, Mike

Marland, Margaret

Wildman, Bud

Cordiano, Joseph

Miclash, Frank

Wood, Len

The Deputy Speaker: Those opposed to the motion will please rise and stay standing until the Clerk has recorded your names.


Arnott, Ted

Froese, Tom

Murdoch, Bill

Baird, John R.

Grimmett, Bill

Pettit, Trevor

Barrett, Toby

Hastings, John

Wood, Bob

Chudleigh, Ted

Hudak, Tim

Young, Terence H.

Clement, Tony

Martiniuk, Gerry


Fisher, Barbara

Maves, Bart


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 30; the nays 16.

The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

All matters relating to private members' public business have been completed, and I do now leave the chair. The House will resume at 1:30.

The House recessed from 1210 to 1330.



Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): This is a heart-wrenching time for this country. People from all walks of life, young or old, are banding together, marching, rallying, talking, praying and pleading with Quebeckers to keep this country, the country ranked number one in the world, unified. As we all know, there will be a huge country-wide rally in Montreal tomorrow. Everyone is doing their part. Bus companies are offering free transportation; Canadian, Air Canada and Via Rail have slashed their fares to Montreal. Canadians from coast to coast will be there waving the flag we are so proud of to show Quebeckers how much this country and this province mean to all of us.

Those people unable to attend the rally in Montreal will show support in other ways. Tomorrow the university youth of this province will be rallying together to send a message to the youth of Quebec. This rally is being organized by Ontario Youth for Canada, a non-partisan coalition of Ontario university students. The group was formed with the sole purpose of letting Quebeckers know that we want them to remain part of Canada.

The rally will be held in front of Queen's Park, on the front lawn, at 11:30. Hundreds of passionate university students from campuses across Canada will participate. From Queen's Park, the rally will head to Quebec, where they will deliver their message personally to Quebeckers.

I encourage everyone passing by Queen's Park at 11:30, or anyone who has the time to make it, to join these students and show the support that we all have for a strong and united Canada.

M. Gilles Pouliot (Lac-Nipigon) : J'ai un message pour mes collègues de l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario. Ce message concerne, bien sûr, l'unité nationale, l'unité du pays.

Tomorrow, tens of thousands of Canadians from coast to coast to coast will be in la province de Québec forming a caravan pour l'unité nationale, the magnitude and the sincerity of which has seldom been experienced.

Of course, it's sponsored by Ontario Youth for Canada, our future, one of the many groups that comes from all over this vast and magnificent land to say aux gens du Québec, «Rappelle-toi que lundi, en ce jour historique, le 30 octobre 1995, nous, on te tend la main. Avec toute la sincérité et l'émotion que l'on puisse commander, on te dit : "Gens du Québec, on vous chérit. Québécois, on t'aime. Québécois, ne me quitte pas."»

Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton) : I'd like to share the following statement.

The possibility of Quebec separating from the rest of Canada is the most significant and challenging event for our entire country in recent memory.

La culture et la langue du Québec sont d'une importance majeure à la caractéristique du Canada. Le Canada souffrirait sans lui. À cet égard, le Québec est unique, et sa richesse et sa force ajoutent à la diversification du Canada. En plus, les ressources et les richesses économiques du Québec contribuent à la prospérité et l'unité canadiennes.

I strongly believe that the majority of Canadians recognize these facts and want Quebec to remain a part of Canada. Many in Quebec may feel isolated by past political attempts to resolve some of the differences diversity brings. However, it is important to remember that the history of the bipartisan stage and day-to-day political wrangling have a way of hiding the true sentiments of the common citizen. In fact, it could be argued that dissatisfactions separating people are often aggravated and accentuated by one force or another for the purpose of achieving benefits for the few.

Vous devez tous réaliser que les intérêts de certaines gens ne représentent pas l'entièreté de la population, entraînés souvent par besoin politique et pour leur propre bien. Ce genre de comportement peut être toléré lorsqu'une rivalité politique s'ensuit, mais surtout pas lorsque l'enjeu de notre pays est sur le point d'être divisé en permanence.


Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): My comments today are directed to some comments that were made recently in the press by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, who said, regarding the privatization of the question of the LCBO: "To get this issue on to the table at this point in time is more difficult than I first anticipated. I'm hopeful that we can get on with it in the not-too-distant future."

I want to say to the government and to the minister that we think this is a sensible approach, given the fact that the jury is still out on the benefits of privatization in many jurisdictions. We hope that, should the government decide to engage a commission to study privatization, they would consider all options and not simply only privatization.

We would ask the minister in the meantime to consider, with input from the LCBO, making regulatory and operational changes that would serve to modernize retail sales of alcohol in Ontario. I know there is much consensus around these issues on both sides of the House and among the general public.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I rise to bring to the attention of this House a tragedy which is occurring in Fort York because of the reckless, mulish way this government is making decisions.

Yesterday you informed Paul Dufresne, the director of Galbraith Bail Residence, that you intend to proceed with closing that facility as announced on October 5, even though Paul has since made you personally aware that Galbraith house is not a halfway house, that your actions would send innocent men to jail, and that sending them to jail not only infringes on their rights but it's not cost-effective.

But there's more. Not only will our community lose this residence, but because the rent it pays to St Matthias Church is 40% of the parish income, closing Galbraith house may also close an Anglican church that has been part of our community for 122 years. Galbraith Bail Residence provides a supervised setting for men who have been released by the courts on bail pending trial. Of no fixed address, without family support, technically innocent, these alleged offenders would otherwise languish in jail waiting for as much as two years for trial.

These men are often acquitted or receive suspended sentences when they come to trial. The counselling and support they receive during their pre-trial period at Galbraith allows these men to start or continue treatment for addiction, to work or to go to school. At Galbraith lives are reconstructed; in jail lives are destroyed.

The church services your cuts are threatening include pastoral support for Galbraith residents, a drop-in for psychiatric patients, a food bank and so on. The decision makes no sense. Would you rather destroy lives and a church than admit that in your hurry you made a mistake?


Mr Dave Boushy (Sarnia): I rise to introduce 47 people sitting in the gallery who are my guests today. I'm grateful for the support they have given me and the interest they have shown in politics. Among this group is my assistant, Rose Hodgson, who served our community under my good friend the Honourable Andy Brandt, who's sitting on my right in the members' gallery. Back to Rose Hodgson: She's the chairperson of the Canada Day committee in Sarnia that contributes to Canadian unity.

I was born in Lebanon. Canada is my country of choice. I was born the son of a Baptist minister and I was taught to love my neighbour. Where there is a will, there is a way. There is a will among all of us to stay together in this country. We have 10 provinces and I want to continue to live in a country with 10 provinces. We have been friends for a long, long time and we should continue to be friends. We should continue to work for a better future. Where there's a will, there's a way. I applaud the spirit of unity that has made this country the best in the world.


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): At 4 o'clock Friday morning, hundreds of buses will be leaving Metropolitan Toronto, going to Montreal, saying that they care for this country, they care for Quebec. I wish those people well and I wish this country well, because I think it is the most critical time in our history and that we should show that we do care and we want to keep this country together.

I hope that those of us who cannot make it to Montreal will fly the Canadian flag this weekend or fly the fleur-de-lis on the porches, on the barns, on the verandas, on the storefronts, on the gas stations right across this great province to show Quebec that we do care and to show Canadians that we have the best country in the world.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): The government has now decided that they are not going to hold any public hearings at all into their anti-worker Bill 7 and are attempting to spin it out that somehow this is the responsibility or the fault of the opposition. The reality is that this government has a majority in this House. They have arbitrarily set a deadline of the end of this year, which is of their own making. There's no requirement for this to be done by the end of the year or any other time.

They have decided that that's their personal deadline, and therefore they offered up the people of Ontario a pittance, a sham, a shell of a process: a mere four days here in Toronto only, no opportunity to go across the province as we did with much of the controversial legislation that we had and, I might add, done so at the behest, the request and the demand of the then third party in opposition. We acquiesced and took it out into the field, knowing that we would be taking some heat. But we felt the democratic process was important.

This government has said: "No. Nothing's more important than our own personal agenda, and therefore, if we have to ram it through, this 132-page document, without any public input, that's too bad. We have to do it to meet our own political deadline."

This is the most anti-democratic process and therefore the most anti-democratic government this House has ever seen, and it's a shame.


M. Ed Doyle (Wentworth-Est) : Je suis né au Québec, où j'ai vécu les 23 premières années de ma vie. Au cours de ma carrière, j'ai travaillé dans de diverses régions de notre grand pays : en Alberta, au Québec ainsi qu'ici en Ontario.

Everywhere that I've worked I've felt I've been accepted. We are Canadians. That is the beauty of this country. I was born in Quebec, and now I have the privilege of serving in the Ontario Legislature. Had I been born here in Ontario, then I too would have had the right to serve à l'Assemblée nationale du Québec. If we had been two countries, then I would not have been afforded such an opportunity. It is this freedom of mobility that we ought to cherish and to support.

Mon espoir est que nous demeurons ensemble, un pays uni et fort. Quand je pense au Canada, je vois les Rocheuses et les beaux lacs du Bouclier canadien, en même temps que le fleuve St-Laurent et les Laurentides.

For the last 128 years, we have shared friendship, pride and determination. We have forged a country in which everything we have today was achieved together, at times with laughter and at times with sorrow. Nevertheless, it was accomplished together.

En ce moment, mes parents font leurs tâches quotidiennes dans deux petits villages québécois et, comme moi, mon père y est né. Au cours des derniers mois et des derniers ans, lors des conversations avec mon père, qui a 92 ans, il m'a dit, «Mon fils, je suis né un Canadien, et j'ai l'intention de mourir un Canadien.»

I think I speak for all members of this House when I say that Ontarians share my dream of a united nation, one that includes Quebec.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Is there a unity statement today, Premier?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): Mr Speaker, I think that you will find there is unanimous consent to move a motion at this time and for the three leaders to speak to that motion.

The Speaker: I would ask for unanimous consent at this time. Is that agreed? Agreed.


Mr Harris moved, seconded by Mrs McLeod and Mr Rae, that this House resolves that the Legislature and the people of Ontario affirm that we value and cherish Canada and Quebec's distinctive character within our country. In partnership, Canadians have built a country that many people regard as the very best in the world. We have social, cultural and economic strengths that are the envy of virtually all nations.

Ontarians seek change in the federal system. We have demonstrated this commitment to change in the past and we continue to do so. The status quo is not acceptable. Ontario will be a strong ally for change within the Canadian federation. We agree that we need a more functional, harmonious country and a more flexible and decentralized federation.

This Legislature and the people of Ontario appeal to the people of Quebec with an open heart and with a generosity of spirit to remain a part of this country and to work together for change and progress within Canada.

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I want to open with a thank you to all members, all 130 of this Legislature, particularly a thank you to Mrs McLeod and a thank you to Mr Rae for their advice and for their assistance in developing and expressing Ontario's position with regard to the Quebec referendum.

It is a demonstration of our commitment to Canada, and that our deep and at times divisive differences over policy or direction, divisive differences on some issues, do not preclude us from being united on issues that are important not just to Ontarians but to all Canadians. The love that we all share for Canada extends, then, in this context to each other in this legislative chamber, and our love in this context extends to Canadians in Quebec.

As Premier of Ontario and as a proud citizen of Canada, it is my privilege to introduce this resolution which I do believe expresses the feelings of all parties and all 130 members of the Legislature and, I believe, of the people of the province of Ontario. We are now only days away from a referendum that will have a profound impact on Quebec and a profound impact on all of Canada.

On October 30, Quebeckers will be called upon to make a choice: to remain in Canada or to separate from our nation. Today, in this Legislature, we are setting aside our partisan differences to join together with one voice to say we love Canada and we want it to stay together.

Ontario and Quebec are the two largest provinces in Canada. Canadians elsewhere call our two provinces, collectively, central Canada. We are central Canada.


Together, as neighbours and as friends, we helped build this nation that now stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The goodwill between Ontario and Quebec, the myriad links, personal links, professional links, business and political, are links that we have built up over almost two centuries, and they are among the most important intangibles that are within our Confederation.

We have worked together. We have nurtured friendships. We have shared each other's trials and tragedies. And yes, we've argued with each other. There have been moments of shared accomplishment, small and large, and yes, there have been moments of hurt feelings and there have been moments of disagreement. But in the difficult times, as well as in the good times, we have always held fast to a very, very deep faith that what we share is a source of strength and a source of creativity.

In the words of one Canadian, Robert L. Perry: "To agree to disagree, to harness diversity, to respect dissent -- perhaps this is the real essence of Canada."

The consequences of breaking up Canada are profound for every region of this country.

My friends, this is not posturing. This is a statement of reality. A decision to unravel this country, Canada, will be irreversible, and no one should underestimate the cost of that unravelling.

The challenges we face are very real, but we're better off facing them together than apart. We have proved this time and time again over this past century. We've come too far together to break faith now.

A fair reading of our shared history in this federation shows that the political structures of this country have changed; they have changed to meet new challenges, and they will continue to change. It is precisely this flexibility that is our strength. And it is my conviction that as a country, a whole country that includes Quebec, we can embark on a new and an exciting period of change -- change for the better, change for new growth, change for new prosperity.

The government and the people of Ontario want to undertake this task, and we want to undertake it in partnership with our fellow citizens and our friends in Quebec.

To them I say with a very open heart, we need your creativity, we need your energy, we need your intellectual rigour, we need the distinct qualities and the leadership that you have always brought to the Canadian family. We do not want you, our neighbours and our friends, to become citizens of a foreign country. Our common history is rich in accomplishments. We are convinced of the potential of our common future together.

As many Ontarians know, my wife, Janet, and I and our two sons make our home in North Bay. We are near-neighbours with the people of Timiskaming, Quebec, just across the Ottawa River. A river separates us but it does not divide us.

I shared recently at the Canadian Club the sense of Quebeckers and Ontarians, fathers and sons, daughters, mothers, fishing together in the Ottawa River.

I can recall growing up curling in the arena in Timiskaming. I can remember interchanges with our golf club, the North Bay Golf Club, and the Timiskaming Golf Club. Many of my neighbours work in Timiskaming at the mill just across the river.

I remember playing hockey, as most of us did as kids, in northeastern Ontario and in northwestern Quebec. I very vividly remember, in my Juvenile days -- that was a division in hockey, not something else; I think it was the 16-to-18 age group at that time, so I was at the end of my hockey career -- as part of the northern Ontario championship, the second division one had to embark upon. We lost in the final game, in overtime, the northern Ontario championship in a cold arena in Timiskaming, Quebec. They were part of northern Ontario, for hockey purposes. They were our friends.

We live and we work and we play together. We are Canadians together. I want our children and I want their children to continue to experience the richness this brings, that it brought to me, that it brought to our family and that I believe it will bring to them.

It is my sincere hope that we will be able to look back on October 30, 1995, as the day the people of Quebec said no to separation and said yes to Canada.

Nous aimons le Canada. Nous aimons le Québec. Merci.

Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): I am very pleased to rise and join Mr Harris and Mr Rae in speaking to this all-party resolution in this Legislature. The word "historic" tends to be somewhat overused in our society, but I think we would all agree that, by any definition, Monday will be a historic day for the people of Quebec, the people of Ontario and the people of Canada.

There is probably no resolution that could come before this House that I want to support more than this one, and I know that is true for every member of my caucus. There are few issues we care about more than the future of our country. And yet we have all felt somewhat helpless to influence the outcome of something that affects us so deeply and matters to us so much. So I welcome today the opportunity to speak on behalf of my caucus and party and, as each leader will do, on behalf of all Ontarians, who share our concern. It is a welcome opportunity to speak from our hearts to the people of Quebec.

Over the past weeks there has been a voice slowly building strength across Ontario. It is a voice that was heard Tuesday in downtown Toronto, where thousands of people gathered as one to wave the maple leaf and the fleur-de-lis; a voice that will be heard tomorrow when tens of thousands of Ontarians from across the province board buses and cars to Montreal to deliver a personal message.

It is a voice that is being heard today in the Legislature. It is a voice that is reaching out to the people of Quebec, saying loudly and clearly: Together we have done so many great things in the past. Let us continue to link arms and to do even greater things in the future. Let us embrace the future with all its joys and sorrows, its challenges and rewards, and let us do it together. Let us not fill the future with regrets and recriminations for what might have been. Let us continue to build.

Throughout the pre-referendum debate and during the campaign, we have all respected the fact that this was a vote of Quebeckers, a decision the people of Quebec had to make. We still recognize and respect that.


But how can we not be concerned when a consequence of their choice could be the breakup of our country? And how could we not be frustrated and concerned when the people of Quebec are told by separatist leaders that the consequences are something else than that? A key adviser to the Bloc québécois said this week that a Yes vote was not about breaking up a country, it was about creating a new country. Well, what does that mean to the future of Canada?

Negotiating an economic union is not creating a new country. Economic unions are between countries, countries which have already established unique national identifies, and economic union between an entity such as the rest of Canada and Quebec would not be a unified Canada, so Canada as we know it would be divided.

Mr Bouchard and Mr Parizeau are most certainly talking about the breaking up of Canada, and there can be no glossing over that reality. The question Quebeckers will vote on has been made deliberately ambiguous in order to gloss over that consequence. The question seems to suggest that separation would occur only if negotiations fail, so many Quebeckers, nearly one third of those who intend to vote Yes, believe a Yes vote will give the Quebec government a stronger hand to renew federalism.

Recently Mr Bouchard and Mr Parizeau have been much more open and direct in stating that a Yes vote is a vote for sovereignty. With the leaders on one side committed to separation, negotiations to renew the Canadian federation would have little chance of success. In any event, Mr Bouchard and Mr Parizeau would make it clear that negotiations would be premised on a recognition of sovereignty.

So a Yes vote is not really a mandate to negotiate, even if it is subtly portrayed that way in order to gain the votes of people who would want to support a process of negotiation but not the breakup of their country. That is why we see Monday approach with a mixture of frustration and fear, and wonder how we can convey to the people of Quebec just how much we care.

There are tough realities that the breakup of the country would bring, not just to Quebec but to all of us, and those realities have been spelled out during the course of this campaign, not as threat but as unavoidable fact. We've seen some of the potential made real this week with the collapse of the dollar, although it appears to have been quietly shored up by the Quebec government to prevent the panic that a sense of reality would bring.

I do urge the people of Quebec to look closely to what Mr Bouchard and Mr Parizeau say a Yes vote means. They say it means sovereignty, but what does "sovereignty" mean to Mr Bouchard and Mr Parizeau? It doesn't mean renewed federalism; it doesn't mean administrative arrangements that will eliminate duplication and overlap of services in jurisdictions; it doesn't mean tearing down interprovincial trade barriers and a smoother flow of trade. It isn't code for anything to Mr Bouchard and Mr Parizeau. Sovereignty means sovereignty; separation means separation. There are no subliminal or hidden meanings. Sovereignty and separation mean exactly what they seem to mean.

I hope the people of Quebec will reflect long and hard on what it will mean if they are led down that road. It does mean saying goodbye to the Canadian passport and Canadian citizenship and the Canadian dollar, saying goodbye to the solid reputation for fairness and tolerance that Canadians enjoy around the world. It means saying goodbye to jobs, saying goodbye to both an Atlantic and Pacific nation, saying goodbye to a special economic relationship they enjoy today with the other Canadian provinces.

But the "hard reality" message is not the one I want to send today. The message I most want to convey is what this country means to me and why I don't want it to break up. I am proudly Canadian, and I can't speak those words today without being heartsick at the thought that the day would ever come when I couldn't say, "I am Canadian," with all that means to me.

Les Québécois et Québécoises vont bientôt prendre une décision qui aura des effets sur chacun de nous. Je ne me suis jamais sentie aussi impuissante à influencer les résultats de quelque chose qui me tient aussi profondément à coeur. Le Québec est une partie essentielle et intégrale de notre pays. La lutte continuelle des Canadiens et Canadiennes pour apprendre à vivre ensemble tout en respectant leurs différences et en célébrant notre diversité a contribué à nous donner notre force. C'est aussi ce qui nous rend typiquement Canadiens.

Canada, as I know and love it, would not be Canada without Quebec. It is not just the thought of the physical loss of Quebec, the creation of a geographically divided country, that I find distressing; it's the idea of the loss of what Quebec means to me as a vital, integral part of this country. It's the reality of what Quebeckers have contributed, from the time of Cartier and Champlain as discoverers and founders. It is Quebec as a fundamental, inextricable part of our history.

I represent the riding of Fort William, which is some 1,400 kilometres from the Quebec border, and yet it too is closely tied to Quebec by history. Fort William was originally a fur-trading post of the North West Company of Montreal. It was the place of rendezvous, the place where the partners came from Montreal and met with the partners from the west to do the business of the day.

So the history of Quebec and Montreal is the history not only of my country but of my community. Quebec is not separate from what I, a Canadian from northwestern Ontario, am all about. Quebec is part of what I am.

And Quebec is part of what has shaped my beliefs as a Canadian. Our country is unique because for over 200 years we have struggled to deal with our realities in a way which is uniquely Canadian. We have committed ourselves to living side by side, respecting our differences and celebrating our diversity as a source of our strength.

We are constantly learning how to do this better. We will constantly have to keep learning and keep trying, but the effort itself, the commitment to find the ways to live together in mutual respect and admiration, not just as cordial neighbours and friends but as members of a family, each of us unique, committed to one another because we are family -- that effort, that struggle, that commitment has made us what we are: a nation of tolerance, respected internationally as a peacekeeper, a nation where people care about equality and equal opportunity and a shared quality of life, a nation that has indeed become the greatest country in the world in which to live.

It is appropriate and I believe timely that we speak to this resolution in the Ontario Legislature today, because the relationship between Ontario and Quebec runs so deeply and is so interwoven that it almost defies description.

In part it's a historical relationship, because together we have worked to build a nation and together we have shed blood to preserve freedom and liberty for our own and other nations, and we are still doing so today.

It is an economic relationship. So many jobs and the financial stability of so many families depend on the trade we do with each other and the products and services we produce together and sell to the world.

It is a relationship that has been built person by person, family by family, because Quebec, as the Premier has said, is not some remote place that we have visited only on a map or via television and in which we have only a detached academic interest. To many of us here, Quebec is a place where we go to visit friends, to fish or to curl or to play hockey or to ski, to do business. It is a place where we seek out a sense of the roots we share and enjoy the culture that Quebeckers have always shared so freely with us. It is, quite simply, part of our home.

Above all else, the relationship between Ontario and Quebec is really an affair of the heart. There is love and there is passion. There is a bond that is greater than the sum total of all the little things on which the relationship has been built.

And let's be honest. As the Premier has acknowledged, as in any affair of the heart, there is occasional friction, there are disagreements. We have not, we do not, we probably never will see eye to eye on everything, and that's part of the beauty of diversity, part of the beauty of tolerance and part of the respect and understanding that is synonymous with the word "Canada."

And as in any relationship that is worth something, I believe that when you push through the rhetoric and the anger, when you see beyond the smoke that is sometimes put in front of us to cloud our eyes and our minds, there is something so good, so special and so filled with potential that it must be preserved.

I asked my daughters, one of whom is in the gallery today, what they would want me to say today to the people of Quebec, and they said, tell them that Canada would be a poorer place without Quebec, tell them that we can work together for positive change in a climate of optimism, tell them that a Yes vote would destroy the optimism and ask them to vote No.

A No vote will not be seen as saying no to anything except sovereignty, except to breaking up Canada. We will not take it as a sign that Quebeckers accept the status quo, because very few Canadians are happy with the status quo. We will not take it as a sign that Quebeckers are happy with our economy. There are not enough jobs yet, there is not yet enough opportunity, and no one is happy with the status quo of Canada's economy.

A No vote will mean that we will continue to look for new ways of making Canada work better, because that has been our history and it will continue to be our history.


I believe that Ontarians overwhelmingly want our friends and our neighbours in Quebec to work with us in building an even stronger, more prosperous and more united Canada, and I am very optimistic and hopeful that our friends and neighbours in the distinct society of Quebec will vote No to separation.

I said earlier that there was a voice calling out, and I say now to the people of Quebec that there are many voices calling out.

The voice of history is calling out, saying, "Let us not tear asunder that which so many generations have worked so hard to build and that which continues to be the envy of the world."

The voice of ordinary working Ontarians, farmers in the Niagara Peninsula, auto workers in Windsor, pulp and paper workers in my home town of Thunder Bay, people in every field across this province, that voice is calling out, saying, "Work with us to build a stronger economy and create jobs."

The voice of Ontarians who have been here for generations and the voice of new Ontarians who have come from every part of the world because of what Canada has to offer is calling out and saying, "Help us continue to build a country on a foundation of tolerance and understanding."

The voices are calling, and I hope and pray that the people of Quebec will listen to our voices. I hope they will continue with us on the grand adventure that is a model to the world.

On Tuesday morning, and for months and years to come, the people of Ontario and Quebec and across Canada will get up and say, "Je me souviens; I remember." I hope what they will remember is a bold decision to continue to build, to continue to understand, to continue to make better, to continue in a strong and united Canada.

Lundi prochain, j'espère que les Québécois et les Québécoises choisiront le Canada.

Mr Bob Rae (York South): As my colleagues have already said, it's not every day that the three of us agree not only to speak together in the House but to actually work on a resolution together and to share as much as we have shared over the last few days and weeks our concern about what we can do together.

I want to pay tribute to both of my colleagues for their willingness to continue to work together and to share in this important area. As the Premier said in his speech at the Canadian Club, this is a tradition in this House. It's really quite remarkable that while we have seen splits and divisions on almost every public question in the province, the one issue upon which we have always committed to working together as long as I can remember, and indeed going well back into the history of this province, is in the area of national unity.

My colleagues have spoken very, very well and eloquently. Perhaps the House will understand if I choose to give a bit of my remarks in English, but to give most of my remarks in the French language.

I say to my colleagues that one of the things we've heard from those who are advocating on behalf of the Yes is that it has proven to be impossible to change our Constitution in a way that is satisfactory to them and satisfactory to the people of Quebec. I would just say to them that, yes, it is difficult to change a constitution, and certainly when I look back on my recent political career, the first half of it at any rate, I think I can vouchsafe to say that it is indeed difficult to change a constitution, but it is far, far more difficult and far more dangerous to break up an entire country called Canada.

Much of what our colleagues in Quebec on the Yes side have said is that the history of our country is a history of misunderstanding, of betrayal, of treason of various kinds and of people letting each other down. I must say I have a very different sense of the history of our country. From my perspective, that does not really reflect the nature of the true partnership that we've created in Canada.

Nous avons un pays qui s'appelle le Canada aujourd'hui. Pourquoi ? Ce n'est pas à cause de l'Empire britannique ; ah, non. Ce n'est pas à cause du rapport du lord Durham ; absolument pas. C'est parce que les gens du Québec et de l'Ontario et des autres provinces ont décidé, entre les années 1840 et 1867, de créer des gouvernements responsables, et parce qu'ils ont reconnu qu'il était nécessaire de créer un pays qui serait le Canada uni mais qui reconnaîtrait nécessairement les droits, les pouvoirs, les capacités des provinces et des peuples qui sont dans ces provinces.

Le Canada n'est pas un État unitaire. Nous sommes une fédération où les provinces ont des droits importants, des droits que nous reconnaissons tous et toutes, et où nous reconnaissons aussi la nécessité de créer un gouvernement national, fédéral, qui aura certains pouvoirs, mais des pouvoirs qui seront limités par la loi et par la constitution. C'est ce que nous avons.

Puis, quelle histoire, quel beau pays que nous avons. Quelle histoire de sacrifices des gens qui sont venus au Québec, en Ontario : les hivers longs et difficiles, les tempêtes ; des gens qui ont tout sacrifié pour leur vie, pour leur communauté, qui ensemble ont créé des communautés, qui ont travaillé dans les fermes, dans les usines ; qui, dans deux guerres mondiales, ont sacrifié ensemble les jeunes de l'Ontario d'une génération qui sont maintenant enterrés en France à cause de la défense de la démocratie, de ce que nous croyons important ici, et les jeunes du Québec aussi, à leurs côtés.

Est-ce que l'on a demandé, pendant la guerre, si on était Français ou Anglais en faisant le sacrifice nécessaire pour la démocratie ? Absolument pas ; aucune importance. Puis, quelle histoire que nous avons créée ensemble, même dans les années récentes, un pays où nous avons bâti ensemble une économie qui, naturellement, a ses problèmes, mais toujours une économie forte, des vies, des communautés qui sont fortes à travers le pays ; le Québec que nous voyons fort.

Quand j'entends M. Bouchard, il donne l'impression que c'est un Québec qui est, dans un sens, à genoux. Eh bien, ce n'est pas le Québec que je connais. Ce ne sont pas les Québécois que je connais. Nous voyons des communautés fortes, des gens d'entreprise qui ont donné du leadership, non seulement au Québec mais pour tout le pays. Nous voyons des gens qui travaillent dans tous les domaines avec confiance, avec fierté, et ce sont nos partenaires.

On n'est pas exactement, ici en Ontario, des conquérants. Nous sommes les fils des mêmes pionniers qui sont allés au Québec. Nous sommes des concitoyens dans un pays qui reconnaît et qui doit continuer de reconnaître le caractère distinct et spécifique du Québec.

Vous vous souvenez, Monsieur le Président, il y a deux fois dans les années récentes où cette Assemblée, cette législature, et même dans le référendum de Charlottetown, une majorité de la province, nous avons dit que oui, nous reconnaissons la société distincte au Québec ; pas de problème. Nous reconnaissons que oui, la langue française, la culture, les institutions légales, ce sont des choses qui donnent un caractère distinct et spécifique au Québec. Et j'attends le jour où la constitution canadienne reconnaîtra spécifiquement et clairement cette réalité.


Mais enfin, est-ce qu'il y a des doutes dans l'esprit de n'importe quelle personne dans cette Assemblée ou partout dans la province que nous ne reconnaîtrions pas cette réalité ? Je ne pense pas. Nous le voyons chaque jour.

Il est vrai, comme je l'ai dit en anglais, qu'il est difficile de changer une constitution. Moi, j'en sais quelque chose. Ce n'est pas facile. Mais il est même beaucoup plus difficile et beaucoup plus dangereux de briser un pays. Comme l'a dit si clairement et avec tant d'esprit et tant d'émotion Mme McLeod, elle a absolument raison que c'est ça le but des gens qui veulent encourager le Oui.

M. Bouchard et M. Parizeau, ils veulent créer un pays qui sera séparé du reste du Canada, spécifiquement lorsque nous parlons d'une autre province qui sera séparée de l'Ontario. Nous ne serons plus membres ensemble du même pays. Pour moi, il n'y a pas de façon facile, il n'y a pas de façon logique de le faire et je ne veux pas le faire. Je ne veux pas créer de problèmes, des difficultés que je vois clairement avec un Oui. Et puis on dit, «Eh ben, qu'est-ce que vous offrez pour qu'on vote Non ?» Eh bien, nous disons : «Nous offrons le Canada. C'est ce que nous offrons.» C'est ça, l'offre essentielle.

Nous offrons le Canada, ce qui veut dire un partenariat réel et concret, pas quelque chose proposé mais quelque chose qui existe. On n'a pas de douane et pas de frontière entre nous et la province de Québec, et nous pouvons assurer que ça va continuer seulement avec un Non. Seulement avec un Non lundi pouvons-nous compter sur l'avenir.

Nous savons qu'il y aura des problèmes ; oui. On ne peut pas avoir une vie sans problèmes. On ne peut pas promettre que les changements viendront sans beaucoup de débats, sans beaucoup de discussions. C'est important de continuer à travailler d'une façon réaliste dans l'administration, dans le travail qui doit se faire, dans des questions spécifiques, sur des problèmes réels, concrets et pratiques. En même temps, nous savons très bien que nous avons toujours un rendez-vous avec notre constitution et avec notre identité et avec notre avenir.

Je crois que nous sommes encore prêts à dire à tous le monde, «Oui nous voulons travailler pour que la constitution reflète qui nous sommes.» Tout le monde veut voir, dans la constitution du Canada, sa réflexion. C'est naturel. On veut savoir que l'identité québécoise est reconnue et respectée. C'est naturel et c'est ce que nous voulons tous ensemble. C'est naturel mais tout ça peut se faire seulement avec un Non.

Avec le Oui, personne ne sait ce qui va se passer. Personne ne peut offrir des garanties et des assurances sur ce qui va se passer, et c'est ça qui me trouble. Parce que, quand vous lisez l'histoire, tout le monde sait très bien que des choses peuvent arriver par accident.

Est-ce que vous pensez vraiment que toutes les choses qui sont arrivées dans l'histoire du monde étaient les conséquences des intentions claires et nettes de tout le monde qui avait voté dans une élection ou dans un référendum ? Je ne pense pas. Quand nous voyons l'histoire du XXe siècle, nous voyons beaucoup d'exemples très spécifiques, très difficiles, tragiques même, où la grande majorité des gens n'ont pas voulu les difficultés, les problèmes, même les catastrophes, qui sont arrivés après des décisions prises par hasard et par accident.

J'ai entendu hier même à la télévision un jeune Québécois qui a dit, «Bien, je vais voter Oui parce que je veux créer encore un rapport de force pour les négociations.» «Est-ce que vous voulez briser le Canada, monsieur ?» «Ah, non, non, non, ça ne va pas se passer. Ce n'est pas notre intention.» Eh bien, soyons clairs : vous jouez avec le feu, monsieur, et c'est pourquoi nous voulons dire, pensez, réfléchissez, regardez l'exemple de l'histoire.

Oui, nous avons des défis. Oui, nous avons des problèmes. Oui, nous admettons que toutes les choses qui se sont passées depuis 1880 ne sont pas parfaites. On a commis des erreurs. C'est naturel ; on n'est pas parfaits. Mais le Canada est beaucoup mieux, comme l'a dit Winston Churchill en parlant de la démocratie elle-même, que toutes les autres alternatives. C'est ça, le Canada.

So here we are once again at a very difficult moment in the life of a country. Again, in 1980, with the failure of the Meech Lake accord and all the events that we saw unfolding, with the efforts to amend the Constitution over Charlottetown, we've seen and felt great emotion, great feeling in our communities, great frustration.

But you know, above all I think in Quebec not simply is it important for Quebeckers to know that we care and that we love Canada, which is very true and very important for them to know, but it is very important for them to know something even more profound -- and it was stated very eloquently by my colleague the member for Fort William, Mrs McLeod -- I cannot imagine Canada without Quebec. I cannot imagine the country being still the country without Quebec.

Perhaps Quebeckers themselves are not well enough aware of how much we associate with them and associate with their history and see it as part of our own. Champlain and Cartier are part of our history. The successes that we've experienced, the tragedies that we've been through as a country, even the sporting events that we watch and see, whether it's the Olympics or the events that we all watch together, we celebrate.

We don't consider whether the last name is French or English or Italian or any other last name; if it's Canada, we celebrate together because this is a life and a history that we share.

So it is that once again we say to the people of Quebec that we seek change; we've demonstrated that. We want change that will accommodate all of us, including Quebec. We seek a Canada that remains united and that yet recognizes the need for deep and profound changes and adjustments.

But above all, we seek the understanding, the friendship and the common citizenship with the people of Quebec whose lives, whose communities, whose history is so much part of our own lives and our own communities and our own history.

We are left now in these last few days respecting the fact that Quebeckers will make a decision in this referendum, but I think it's quite right and fitting that we should express in the strongest possible terms our common desire to live and work together and to make Canada the great and peaceful place we know it can be.



The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Moved by Mr Harris, seconded by Mrs McLeod and Mr Rae:

This House resolves that the Legislature and the people of Ontario affirm that we value and cherish Canada and Quebec's distinctive character within our country. In partnership, Canadians have built a country that many people regard as the very best in the world. We have social, cultural and economic strengths that are the envy of virtually all nations.

Ontarians seek change in the federal system. We have demonstrated this commitment to change in the past and we continue to do so. The status quo is not acceptable. Ontario will be a strong ally for change within the Canadian federation. We agree that we need a more functional, harmonious country and a more flexible and decentralized federation.

This Legislature and the people of Ontario appeal to the people of Quebec with an open heart and with a generosity of spirit to remain a part of this country and to work together for change and progress within Canada.

All in favour of that resolution, say "aye."

Honourable members: Aye.

Mr Rae: I wonder if I could suggest we all stand and sing O Canada. I think it would make us all feel better if we did that.

The Speaker: I would certainly agree to that.

The members sang O Canada.

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, may I ask that the record show unanimous support of this resolution by the members of this assembly.

The Speaker: The record shall show unanimous support.

Hon Mr Eves: Mr Speaker, may I have unanimous consent to make a personal statement to the House?

The Speaker: Agreed? Agreed.


Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I was not able to do so yesterday, but it would be very remiss of me if I didn't, on behalf of Vicki, Natalie and myself, thank not only the members of this assembly but literally the thousands of people across this province who have given their sincere expression of support to our family over this very difficult period of time.

I must say to you that the support we have received has been overwhelming -- members from all sides of this Legislature, pages and House officers, security staff, letters from people across this province whom we have never met but who have experienced similar tragedies in their lives and know the excruciating sorrow and pain that we have been through this last little while. I just want to say that without your support we could not have persevered.

Thanks to you, and thanks to Justin, his trust fund to help learning disabled and disadvantaged young people will give them the same opportunity that he had to contribute to society and to make a difference. Thanks to you, his kind and caring spirit will live on and will help others. God bless Justin and God bless all of you.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Any ministerial statements? There are none. It's time for oral question period. The member for Windsor-Walkerville.

Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): First, I'd like to say that, moi, je suis fier d'être député dans cette Assemblée, et je dis merci au premier ministre, à ma chef et au chef du troisième parti pour vos mots et pour votre inspiration. Dans ma ville de Windsor, nous espérons que le Québec votera Non. Nous voulons un pays uni. Nous aimons le Québec. Merci.



Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): My question's for the Minister of Labour. Minister, over the last five years Ontario workers have seen an appalling increase in the number of critical accidents and occupational disease. Critical accidents have skyrocketed over 80% while the incidence of occupational disease has more than doubled.

During this time, field visits, inspections, orders issued and prosecutions have declined dramatically, with a 55% drop in inspections and a 38% reduction in field visits. Against this backdrop, could you please outline for this House today how you intend to ensure the health and safety of Ontario's workplaces?

Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Minister of Labour): I share the concern for workers' health and safety that has been expressed by the member opposite. That was one of the reasons why shortly after our government took office and I was appointed to the position of Minister of Labour, we set up in this province a Workplace Health and Safety Review Team.

What we want to do is review how workplace health and safety is delivered in the province, what organizations are providing the training and how we can indeed ensure that we have in this province the safest workplaces possible. As you well know, that review panel is scheduled to report on December 20, and at that time we would hope to share with you and with all of the other people the recommendations of that committee.

Mr Duncan: Estimates released yesterday show that the previous government slashed the budget of the health and safety operations division of your ministry by more than 10%. A leaked document this summer suggested that you could possibly cut the health and safety inspectorate a further 20%. Will you please outline for this House today all of the alternatives, all of the options that your committee is considering in preparation for reporting to you on December 20?

Hon Mrs Witmer: Yes, approximately a week and a half ago I did refer to the fact that contrary to the direction that had been taken by the previous government, the NDP government, we were not going to further eliminate or decrease the number of health and safety inspectors in this province. In fact, we are freezing the number of health and safety inspectors because of our concern for workplace health and safety. Also, the results of the panel review will not be made public and I am not personally participating in the discussion.

As you know, we have an external body that has been appointed from across the province. So obviously the results of that review will not be known until December 20. But again I say to people in this House, contrary to what the NDP did for the last five years, we will not be decreasing the number of workplace health and safety inspectors.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): What garbage. You're kicking the hell out of the workers. My God, put a bag over your face. Nobody believes that kind of nonsense. Give me a break.

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

Mr Duncan: My final supplementary to the minister is along the same lines. One of the options that we've heard is being considered is the downloading or removal of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the safety inspectorate from your ministry into the Workers' Compensation Board.

If you pursue this option or if you choose to act on that kind of a recommendation, it's our view that you would be saddling Ontario's employers unfairly with the cost of health and safety enforcement and you would be giving up responsibility for this very important function to an organization that is proven not capable of handling the responsibilities it has now.

We believe that the whole health and safety enforcement unit is too important to treat in this manner. Will you agree with me today that the responsibility for ensuring compliance with Ontario's health and safety law should rest with the government, and will you put workers' minds at ease by stating unequivocally today that you will not undermine, through budget cuts or organizational reforms, the proper enforcement of workplace health and safety in Ontario?

Hon Mrs Witmer: Again, I share the same commitment to workplace health and safety as the member opposite, and I can certainly give you my personal assurance that any changes that we make will enhance and protect the rights of the individual worker in the workplace. In fact, we very shortly plan to make some additional announcements regarding personal initiatives that we are taking to promote workplace health and safety in the workplace.

Yes, we are considering focusing the need to put the prevention of workplace accidents under the WCB, and as you know, we are doing a medium-term review under the auspices of Mr Jackson, the minister responsible for the WCB. So I would indicate to you that is one of the areas that we're looking at, but we would do so and still protect the rights of the workers, and we would certainly have the additional government jurisdiction to do so.

The Speaker: New question, the member for Downsview.

Mme Annamarie Castrilli (Downsview) : Moi aussi je veux dire aux gens du Québec que nous avons une histoire commune et nous pouvons continuer à bâtir ce grand pays, le Canada.


Ms Annamarie Castrilli (Downsview): My question is to the Attorney General, who is not here.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): He's on his way. Proceed with your question, please.

Ms Castrilli: Minister, your government campaigned during the last election on a promise to cut legal aid by some $130 million. On September 13 of this year, you indicated that you were committed to the memorandum of understanding that had been signed by your predecessor government and the law society with respect to legal aid. You will remember that the memorandum indicated that the funding levels would be $194 million in 1994-95, to be decreased to $167 million in 1998-99.

Today's Toronto Star, Minister, reports that you are considering lending legal aid some $60 million, but that $60 million, however, is to be taken from the allocation to be given to the law society for the next year. I wonder if you might confirm the details of that story.

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): I thank the member very much for the question, because I wanted the opportunity to clarify the situation.

I can tell you that I have had discussions about many aspects of legal aid with the treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada. No request has been made for a loan, let alone any discussions of the amount of the loan. This was conveyed to the Toronto Star yesterday. They chose not to print that aspect of the article.

Ms Castrilli: Perhaps, Attorney General, you can give us an indication of what precisely your plans are with respect to legal aid. There seems to be some confusion as to whether the plan is going to be taken over, whether the plan is going to get a loan, whether there's in fact going to be a commitment to the memorandum of understanding. I think there is an issue here of accessibility to justice that the people of Ontario would like some information about.

Hon Mr Harnick: Again, I appreciate that question. As I've indicated, I have had discussions with the treasurer of the law society and the chairman of the legal aid committee and I have indicated to them, and they fully understand, that there will be no more money available to the legal aid plan than the moneys committed by the previous government in the memorandum of understanding.

I have had very frank and I hope productive discussions with the treasurer in that we understand, both of us, the necessity to work together to make sure that the plan, as it exists, fits the envelope of money that is available to it. As you were aware, the law society meets in convocation. They will be meeting in convocation, I understand, in November to discuss a package of reforms to ensure that the plan fits the amount of money available for legal aid funding.

Ms Castrilli: Minister, if I might just turn to another matter with respect to legal aid, I'm not sure that we're much further ahead. You know there's a crisis. The plan is underfunded. I think sitting on the sidelines in fact only adds to the crisis that's already there. You have indicated that you were going to have this matter looked into. I'm wondering if you could tell us about the status of the advisory committee that has been announced. Has it been set up? Have they met? Are they going to report? What are your plans?

Hon Mr Harnick: As discussions have been going on to determine the best method for the plan to be adjusted to fit the envelope, Mr Stan Beck, the former dean of the Osgoode Hall Law School, has been looking at the plan to try and constructively propose ways to make sure that the plan fits the envelope. Mr Beck has been working with officials of the law society and auditors who have been dealing with the legal aid plan, and Mr Beck, I hope, will be in a position to report to the government some time early in December.

We have to remember, and I appreciate your comment that you don't believe that this plan is funded enough, we can only fund the plan to the extent of moneys available and that the taxpayers can afford. The challenge for all of us, as the treasurer and I both recognize, is to ensure that quality legal services and access to justice are available to those who need the plan, and that is, quite simply, what we have been working to produce.



Mr Bob Rae (York South): A question to the Minister of Community and Social Services: I'd like to ask the minister, following some of the questions I asked him and the Premier the other day, about his making good on the commitment he made to me on October 3 with respect to his suggested diet for people who are on social assistance.

You said on October 3: "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 "we've actually provided a budget here," and: "I have it here in this binder. I'd be willing to share" it. I wonder if the minister can tell us why he has yet to produce a budget and a diet for a single parent with children, because I think the issue of children is most important.

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): I believe the documentation that was sent to the leader of the third party speaks for itself.

Let's look at the real issue here. The issue is not a shopping list that was compiled for my own information, which was never intended for distribution or advice. The fact remains that we are in the process of producing a meaningful tool for our front-line workers to help people who are on social assistance.

It's very easy to stand up and say, "Why aren't you doing this or that?" but the fact remains that for the last 10 years people have had the opportunity to address the real problem. The Premier indicated before, and I understand this is the case, that over $40 billion was spent in the social assistance area over the last 10 years, and the caseloads have gone up 300%. Isn't this the problem we're looking at? This is why we are in the middle of transforming this system from one of a cycle of dependency into one of self-sufficiency.

Mr Rae: I can quite understand why the minister would like to change the subject and change the topic. It's understandable. But he asks, "Isn't this the subject?" No, actually the subject is the question I put to you -- for today, at any rate -- and that is, is the list which you released the same list which you had in your binder on October 3?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: The difficulty here is that we've already provided a shopping list, and that's all it was, a shopping list. Frankly, a shopping list is not intended to give advice. I've already answered the question with respect to what it was worth.

Mr Rae: I've asked a very simple question. The minister perhaps doesn't understand the significance of his inability to answer the simplest question, but there is a very real issue as to the minister's credibility and how any member can rely effectively on what the minister has to say. These are very important questions that are, in my view, as much matters of substance as the ones which the minister would rather we turn our attention to.

If you look back at your answer on October 3, you said you had two budgets in your binder on that day. You said you had a budget for a single parent and you had a budget for a single parent with children. You then took 17 days to put out a proposed shopping list and budget for a single person.

I'm asking you now, is this list the same one you had in your binder on October 3, or did you have it changed? Second, where is the proposal for children? Where's your proposed diet for kids?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I'll answer a simple question very simply: The leader of the third party has gotten what he's going to get.

Unfortunately, this type of grandstanding doesn't speak to the real problem. The real problem in the province of Ontario is that we have been overspending. If the answer were to throw money at the problem, we'd have nobody on welfare today.

We're dealing with details now of something that really is insignificant. Let's deal with the real problem. The real problem is that unless we fix this system, there will be no future for our children in this province. It's about time for the leader of the third party to stand up and take responsibility for the fact that we're in this mess because he has created it.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): New question, the leader of the third party.

Mr Rae: As I say, I can understand the minister's desire to change the subject. I certainly know something about having to answer questions for a period of time; certainly I'm aware of that. But I say to the minister, as I prepare for my second round of supplementary questions, it's not my list, it's not my diet, it's not my budget -- it's yours, and you still haven't come clean with what you told me on October 3. And that's something that will not go away.


Mr Bob Rae (York South): There's another issue I would like the minister to clarify for me. In answer to questions from various people, we now have a variety of different answers as to the nature of the contract which the ministry has apparently signed with the co-chairman of the 1993 federal Conservative Party campaign, Jan Dymond.

The minister went to some pains the other day, in response to questions to my colleague the leader of the official opposition, in saying that this person was not an adviser to him, that she was an adviser to the ministry. This is a difference which I'm sure all of us would like to try to understand.

Perhaps the minister could tell us, what is the nature of the contract with Jan Dymond, what is the amount of the contract for Jan Dymond, and what were the circumstances under which this contract was let?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): What I will answer is the same answer I gave the last day, and that was the fact that the company of this individual has been retained to help us deal with long-range plans and programs for this ministry. This is clearly intended to allow for consultation and to allow for input and two-way dialogue with people who are going to be affected by such programs as workfare -- we are fully committed to a mandatory workfare program, and thank you for the opportunity to let me say that -- and that's the extent of it.

Mr Rae: This is a communications company, as I understand it, and Jan Dymond is, I'm advised, an expert on communications. I take it that if it's dealing with the long-range plans of the ministry, this is a long-range contract. Therefore, perhaps the minister would like to answer the parts of my question which he hasn't answered yet. How much is this contract for and for how long is it intended to last, if we're talking about the long-range plans of the ministry? I think we're entitled to some answers on that score.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: What this company has been retained for is to assist us with our long-range programs.

Mr Rae: The minister might think he's being cute. I don't know whether this is the advice he's been getting from Jan Dymond, whether this is the new style of answering questions, but I can suggest to the minister that it ain't gonna work, from my experience and what I've seen over the last 17 years.

I'd like to ask the minister, therefore, once again, what is the daily rate of the contract, how many days is the contract intended to last, and precisely what is it that she is doing on behalf of the minister?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Since the leader of the third party is so willing to draw upon his own experience, let's compare apples to apples here. The other day, in response to a question from the Leader of the Opposition -- a question was raised in terms of cost. Well, let's talk about cost for a second here.

Back when Mr Cooke was Minister of Education and Training in the last government, since we're talking about experience, Mr Cooke had 19 personal staff, and in comparative cost savings, my predecessor in the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Mr Silipo, had 15 people. That's a wonderful cost saving. Let's compare apples to apples: On my staff, we have nine staff members. I will finish. As we're talking about consultants, let's understand this: When Mr Cooke was the Minister of Education between 1993 and 1995, he paid 52 consultants a total of $1.76 million.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): New question; the member for Ottawa Centre.


The Speaker: Order. The member for Etobicoke West is out of order.


Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): As you know, Mr Minister, the district health council in Ottawa is undertaking a task of reconfiguration of hospitals and health care services. The Mike Harris campaign document entitled Mike Harris: Five Commitments to Health Care, issued May 3, 1995, during the campaign, states:

"Building the right incentives into our health care system will be essential. Health care professionals will have a Mike Harris guarantee that savings they generate through their own initiative will not be siphoned off into other non-health-care-related programs."


It goes on to say in that same document, "Local health care communities will share in any savings identified locally for re-investment in community priorities."

In the spirit of this promise, the district health council has incorporated, as one of its guiding principles for its review, "Savings that will result from reconfiguration should be reinvested locally to enhance affected services and infrastructure."

Mr Minister, I ask you, will you confirm today that the dollars saved locally through reconfiguration will not leave the Ottawa area and that they will be available for emerging local needs in health care?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): It is a good question from the honourable member for Ottawa Centre. I would respond that, yes, where local communities identify needs, where those dollars saved through restructuring projects need to be put in the local community, we will respect that and work with the district health council restructuring recommendations in those areas. However, when we address those needs, we'll also be looking at other needs throughout the province.

A couple of weeks ago, we opened a $28-million cancer centre, a brand-new centre, in Ottawa. That centre was paid for from dollars throughout the provincial health care system. You could not have afforded to put that centre up without dollars from other areas of the province.

Therefore, yes, we will see some redistribution of dollars. However, it is important to note that, as with all the restructuring studies I've seen to date, most of the DHCs identify needs in their local areas, particularly in the areas of long-term care, home care and community-based services. We'll respect those needs and there will be reinvestments in those communities.

Mr Patten: Let me ask again. I think the minister is attempting to say "yes" and "perhaps" at the same time; yes, that there will be some.

If I might remind him of his campaign document, he said, "It's vital and essential that incentives are perceived to be beneficial to the local area," otherwise why would groups, in good faith, go through trying to identify savings in order to see money leave their area when they know they have emerging needs or growing needs in health care in other areas?

So let me ask you again, Mr Minister, if you would be prepared to make a specific commitment. What constitutes that there is an incentive for them to really make the saving? I take it this is not another Harris-ment: "This was said, but in fact we meant that. We wanted something over here, but now we want something over here." So they're redefinitions.

My question is, will you commit to telling the people in the Ottawa area that the savings they identify will stay there and that their budget level will be the same after they have gone through the review?

Hon Mr Wilson: Consistent with what the honourable member read to this House, the commitments we made during the campaign and prior to the campaign with respect to health care, is what I'm telling the House today and what I've told the House consistently since being appointed Minister of Health; that is, these hospital restructuring studies will identify local needs and we will respect those needs. There is no sense paring down the institutional side in a local community without beefing up community-based services. Will that be a dollar-for-dollar exchange? The answer is simply no. No government committed to that. If they did, they weren't honest.

How would we pay for CHEO, the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa? How would we pay for the cancer centre? How would we pay for bone marrow? How would we pay for the cardiac centre, which I visited a couple of weeks ago?

If we allow the province to begin to bundle itself up as separate little health care pockets, that's no way to run a health care system in this province, and nobody else in the world encourages that. Yes, dollars are redistributed in priority areas, and all the people of eastern Ontario benefit from the cancer centre, they benefit from the heart institute and they benefit from CHEO, as all the people in this House benefit from Sick Kids and Toronto Hospital and the work that's done down at the Robarts institute, world-famous research.

Therefore, we have to recognize that yes, reinvestments will be made in local communities based on the priorities of those local communities, but also, dollars are needed so we can all benefit in these great things that all Ontarians have access to because we're willing to share our resources and actually create a true health care system in the province of Ontario.


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I have a question for the Minister of Education and Training with regard to his comment in answer to a question from my colleague the member for London Centre earlier this week, in which he said, "This government has a concern for the wellbeing and the safety of school children across the province."

Is the minister aware that as a result of the cuts announced by this government with regard to highway maintenance, where each highway patrol has been increased in length to 190 kilometres from 115, the number of hours has been cut from 24 to 16, the number of plows on the road has been cut by 11%, and the number of staff has been cut by 125 seasonal staff, an official of the Ministry of Transportation yesterday stated on CBC Radio that in rural Ontario school buses will be late this winter because plows will not be on the road as early each morning?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): In answer to the question, unfortunately I haven't got a prediction of the weather pattern for Ontario, either rural or urban, this year. However, I can assure the honourable member that I have spoken with the Minister of Transportation and he has assured me that we will ensure that the roads will be cleared this winter in the province of Ontario. Of course, everyone is concerned about the safety and wellbeing of school children, and I'm sure the boards responsible for the scheduling of transportation keep that in mind.

Mr Wildman: This is not speculation on my part. This is a statement by an official of the Ministry of Transportation, Mr Bob van Veen, who is the district engineer covering the area from Marathon, on the shore of Lake Superior, to Elliot Lake, about 2,000 kilometres of highways. He stated yesterday on CBC Radio that based on his projections, which he has to do in preparation for winter, plows that in the past would have been on the road at 6 am will now not get on the rural highways of Ontario until 7 am or 8 am, meaning that unless school bus drivers are prepared to risk the safety of students, they will have to be late; they will not be able to get to school for 9 am.

If the minister is aware of that, is he prepared now to repudiate the nonsensical cuts that are putting students at risk that his colleague, my pal Al, has introduced to this province?

Hon Mr Snobelen: The honourable member, on reflection, has probably spoken -- I'm sure the honourable member has -- to people from school boards across the province of Ontario in the course of his duties in this chamber and this House. I have met people from those school boards over the course of the last few months and I can assure you that they are and we are aware of and very deeply concerned about the safety of school children, and no school child will be put at risk in the province of Ontario. I am confident of that.

You should also know -- the honourable member also probably does know this -- that school bus drivers in this province are professional people and I'm sure they will not put a single child at risk.



Mrs Janet Ecker (Durham West): To the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism: Yesterday in the House the member for Parry Sound made reference to the difficult financial situation that our government inherited from the previous administration. I would like to ask the minister about one contribution to that financial problem: the last-minute deal that the previous government did over the Ontario Bus Industries situation. It was done basically on the eve of the election, an unprecedented act for which the taxpayers are going to have to now pay a burden.

Can the minister please inform the House what has happened to the audit that he ordered into this situation and what he will plan to do with the audit report?

Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): I'd like to thank the member for Durham West for another very good question. I'd like to report that the audit itself has been completed and the report from KPMG is being studied at the present time. After a thorough review of its options, a final decision will be made by this government, but as yet that review has not yet been completed.

Mrs Ecker: Can the minister please inform the House when he expects that to take place?

Hon Mr Saunderson: The previous government spent over $100 million of taxpayers' money to prop up OBI. One of their last actions was to sign a deal of questionable merit on the day before the most recent provincial election -- the day before the provincial election.

It is essential in reviewing that deal that this government is careful and thorough in our consideration of the options; therefore, we have set no specific deadline for ourselves. But I can assure the member that this government is aiming for a timely resolution of this matter.


Mr John C. Cleary (Cornwall): I have a question also for the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism. Veteran members of the House will know that I've stood in my place many times to ask the former government to take action that would see a number of campgrounds in my area reopened to tourists and visitors alike. These parks have always been popular with local residents, tourists and many from beyond the boundaries, namely, Quebec and the United States.

After years of lobbying, the NDP government finally made a decision last December to offer a lease agreement to the private sector bidders who would operate the parks and pay a percentage back to the province. Unfortunately, the St Lawrence Parks Commission rejected the more than dozen submissions that were sent in, meaning the parks were still closed in the past summer.

Can the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism tell me what his government is doing to promote tourism partnerships and private sector enterprise so that the people who want to operate those parks may do so this coming summer?

Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): I appreciate the question raised by my honourable friend. Frankly, I would like to investigate a bit further into this situation and I will report back to him at a later date.

Mr Cleary: From dealing with the parks commission, I know officials are waiting for specific direction from this government. The previous administration used to say that the stumbling block was successor rights; however, that's no longer the case. In addition to the revenue that the government will collect from a lease deal, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and other small businesses in eastern Ontario will benefit if these parks are open. It's a win-win situation.

I'll just read from the Common Sense Revolution. It says:

"Many of the things that government does can be done cheaper, faster and better if the private sector is involved.... Bids are welcome from anyone who thinks they can do the same service better and cheaper."

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey-Owen Sound): What edition is that, John?

Mr Cleary: That's number 6. The sixth one.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Order.

Mr Cleary: Anyway, these parks have been closed much too long. Residents of eastern Ontario are not going to take no for an answer. I would like to ask the minister exactly when the private sector will be invited to bid for operating of the Raisin River and Charlottenburgh parks, and when does the minister foresee these parks being open to boost the local economy and job opportunities?

Hon Mr Saunderson: I'd like to respond to the honourable member's supplementary question as follows: This government believes that the best way to help businesses in Ontario is by restoring a healthy and friendly business climate, and we're going to do that by cutting the provincial personal income tax rates, we will balance the budget by reducing government spending and we will remove barriers to job creation, investment and economic growth.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): My question today is for the Minister of Housing. He knows of what I speak, because I've had conversation with him over the last number of weeks. It's not about your decision to cancel the non-profit housing program that our government had in place, but it's around the process and trying to bring some common sense to how we deal with the challenges that now face many of the boards of directors of these non-profit organizations and indeed some of the professionals in communities that are now left blowing in the wind with major costs.

I raise one in particular today. In Sault Ste Marie we have a complex that is half out of the ground. Winter is coming and the builder is trying to get some of the money back out of this that he has invested. He has now laid suit to the Neech-Ke-Wehn non-profit housing corporation to the tune of $1.6 million.

I spoke to the builder, I've talked to the corporation and everybody involved in this. They're willing to sit down with your officials and try to come up with some reasonable commonsense resolution to this that doesn't leave us as government and them paying out millions of dollars, literally, to rectify something that could in fact cost less and provide a resource of --

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

Mr Martin: -- another at least eight units of family homes to the people of Sault Ste Marie.

I'll send over a copy of the pictures of this project to the minister so he can have a look at it. If you look really closely, you'll see that in the one picture you have children playing on one of the projects. It's also becoming a safety hazard to the neighbourhood.


The Speaker: Order. Do you have a question? Please put it.

Mr Martin: Will you have your officials meet with the officials of this project so they can come up with some resolution that will be helpful to everybody concerned?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): Yes.

Mr Martin: To the Minister of Housing: I certainly hope that he does. I'm happy to hear that he has agreed to a yes on this one. That was the first time we've gotten that from him in the conversations we've had to date. I will certainly be bringing that message back to this group and your officials will be hearing from them in the not-too-distant future.

Hon Mr Leach: As I've informed the honourable member before, our ministry is working with all the non-profit sponsors and we're going to resolve all of those situations. I informed the honourable member of that many days ago.


Mr Bill Vankoughnet (Frontenac-Addington): My question is for the Solicitor General. The Minister of Natural Resources recently announced that responsible Ontario firearms owners who currently have a firearms acquisition certificate, an FAC, will be able to renew them without taking a new test. Application must be made before December 31, 1995, after which time the federal law will require all firearms owners to apply to take an exam.

However, the federal authorities have not supplied the necessary forms required for people to acquire a new FAC. Could the Solicitor General explain what steps his ministry has taken to address this problem?

Hon Bob Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): I want to take this opportunity as well to congratulate the Minister of Natural Resources for his initiative on recognizing responsible firearms owners in this province. He brought this forward as an opposition member, a resolution endorsed by this assembly but rejected by the former government, and in government he's brought this forward. I think he deserves that recognition today.


This is a legitimate concern the member brings forward. I know the shortage of application forms has caused some inconvenience for our responsible firearms owners and I want to clarify that it is the responsibility of the federal government to supply FAC application forms, not the provincial government. I'm told that many gun owners have been referred to provincial members of Parliament to complain about the shortage, but they should be referred to their federal members.

I would like to advise the member that the office of the chief provincial firearms officer has been communicating with the RCMP to get more application forms into OPP detachments across the province. Initially we received an additional 15,000 forms and we are expecting another 15,000 applications by the end of next week.

Also, we have asked the RCMP to provide us with as many as 70,000 more forms in anticipation of requests from responsible gun owners and we're hopeful those extra forms will be available by the end of November. Furthermore, we have contacted other provinces to see if they might provide application forms to us.

Mr Vankoughnet: I appreciate the Solicitor General has taken action to address this serious shortage of application forms, but there is still a very serious problem for gun owners who may wish to fill out their applications now. I'm wondering whether the minister has considered the problem that will still exist between now and when the FAC applications do arrive. Is there some type of remedial step that could be taken to accommodate gun owners until the FAC applications do arrive?

Hon Mr Runciman: The member is correct. It's because of the delay in receiving the extra forms that we've taken action to accommodate gun owners. My ministry issued a directive this week to all OPP detachments outlining that as long as the application process --

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): Time. This is a ministerial statement.

Hon Mr Runciman: -- begins prior to December 31, the application would be eligible for the grandparenting provisions. In light of that fact, gun owners can fill out a photocopy of page 1 of the FAC applications.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: There is a time and place for ministerial stuff and he's abusing our ability to be able to put questions in this House by doing ministerial statements through question period.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): There's nothing out of order. New question. Wrap up your response quickly.

Hon Mr Runciman: Very quickly, they have to photocopy page 1 of the application process, and that will commence the process in terms of working in recognition of an application. Once the forms arrive from the federal government, OPP personnel will contact the gun owners who filled out the photocopy and they can fill out the applications from that point.


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): My question is to the Minister of Community and Social Services: Having visited the Sudbury Action Centre for Youth, I'm a bit perplexed about the elimination of funding to this facility, because it is my understanding that the services of this centre fit into the philosophy of the government in assisting people to get off the welfare system and into productive paid employment.

The success rate for this centre is phenomenal: 12,000 workers have filled 9,000 casual labour jobs, over 600 workers have received full-time employment and 160 workers have been placed in part-time jobs and 372 individuals have been returned to schools.

Mr Minister, my question to you is: Were or are you aware of the uniqueness of this centre as a job placement agency for troubled youth, and did you weigh this factor in deciding to eliminate funding to this centre?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): I'm afraid I missed the first part of the member's statement. I wasn't quite sure what the facility was called. Sorry, there was too much noise.

Mr Bartolucci: Sudbury Action Centre for Youth.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I would like if the member could possibly even meet with me to discuss this matter, because frankly I don't have the details out in front of me and I certainly would like to see if it's a workable plan.

Certainly, right now, I have to tell you that we are looking at various programs to create the mandatory workfare program and we are looking for any good programs. Frankly, we have a committee of MPPs right now, and there are a number of them, who are actually looking at various programs to see exactly what does fit within our philosophy really of getting people off the cycle of dependency and into self-sufficiency. So if the member would like to meet with me, certainly I would be pleased to do that.

Mr Bartolucci: Again to the minister, I'd be more than happy to meet with you, and at the same time maybe I can give you a petition that I'll be presenting in the House later, signed by several very, very prominent and caring Sudburians from the Liberals, from the New Democratic Party and also from the president of the Sudbury riding of the Progressive Conservative Party; also from a former Tory member from Nickel Belt. Can we get a firm commitment, then, Mr Minister, that you will reconsider your decision on this funding?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: The commitment I will give to the member is to meet with him so we can discuss the facts. We're trying to approach this in a reasonable manner because we're looking for made-in-Ontario solutions for workfare.

Clearly, the real difficulty here is that, once again, we're looking at transforming the old system. The old system did not work. That means that we have to concentrate on getting Ontarians back to work, and clearly this is what the mandatory workfare program is about.

If I have an opportunity right now, Mr Speaker, clearly as part of this perhaps the member could speak to Mr Agostino, in terms of his musings in the papers these days, that certainly it doesn't benefit anybody right now, when we're trying to work together to find a solution for Ontario, when he is out there spreading rumours and fearmongering as usual.

Well, that's basically it. I just want to say it's unfortunate that Mr Agostino is not here today because I think that his hit of the day would be Twist and Shout: twist the facts and shout and hope people miss the facts.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): My question is to the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation. Minister, I was intrigued by the question the member for Scarborough East asked you on October 17, 1995, and, to be frank, I was more intrigued by your answer.

The member asks, "...will the minister please inform the House the ways that her ministry will continue to support cultural diversity in Ontario?"

Your answer was: "We will work with cultural groups in this province to continue our support of their diversity" -- their diversity. "For example, we'll support those groups that are in the best position to help new residents of this province, community-based organizations which are best suited to help newcomers fully participate in the province's society."

I don't believe the member for Scarborough East can print the answer in his householder as it is. Can you, Minister, expound with a little more clarity how it is that you think you would help them to maintain their diversity?

Hon Marilyn Mushinski (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): I think probably the honourable member's question pertains to the fact that we recently, through the in-house restraint program, dealt with the closing of the Ontario welcome houses.

I said last week, and I'll repeat it again today, that since Ontario welcome houses opened about 22 years ago, there has indeed been significant growth in both the number and the maturity of organizations providing settlement services and language training programs to immigrants and refugees, and that was the reason that we felt we could close down those welcome houses. With this kind of infrastructure in place, the province can, I believe, responsibly and reasonably withdraw from this area of different service.


Mr Marchese: I'm amazed that she can read minds. The answer that she gave is to my supplementary, not to the previous one, but none the less --

Interjection: After the supplementary, she'll answer the first question.

Mr Marchese: Maybe she'll answer my first question now. If the cuts to the community agencies and if the $34-million cuts to this ministry are any indication of how she intends to help them to maintain their diversity, for lack of a better word, we are in deep doo-doo.

I want to remind her and the leader that you chopped millions of dollars in programs that support the following: citizenship development, access to professional trade demonstration fund, settlement and integration. You have eliminated the anti-racism project fund, the anti-racism operating fund and the anti-racism community placement program. You are eliminating the Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and Citizenship. With a single stroke of the pen -- Madam Minister, please pay attention, because I know you're having a difficult time with this -- she eliminated five welcome houses in Hamilton, Mississauga, Scarborough, North York and Toronto. With a single stroke of the pen she did this, and I want to say the agency served 63,000 people.

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

Mr Marchese: These agencies ease the settlement process and help to make sure that the energy, skills and knowledge of new Canadians are captured, channelled into productive lives.

The question is the following, because I know --

The Speaker: Put the question.

Mr Marchese: -- in their fantasy world of equality and inconsistencies, everything works well. But how can she explain how she can support them and gut services at the same time? How can she do that?

Hon Ms Mushinski: In response to the --

Mr Marchese: How do you support them and gut them at the same time?

The Speaker: Order.

Hon Ms Mushinski: If he'll let me answer the question, I will attempt to make it as comprehensive as possible. Let me say that this province still provides $5.7 million to 69 community organizations that are providing effective settlement services and language training programs to immigrant communities. We will negotiate an immigration agreement with the federal government; we're committed to that. Settlement services will indeed be a very important component of that agreement.

We will still provide programs and services to over 500 native organizations and communities, for a service population of 160,000 individuals. The province has economic development programs that provide economic and development opportunities --

The Speaker: Would you wrap up your answer, please.

Hon Ms Mushinski: -- for 126,000 aboriginal people. Operating funds that provide services to disabled persons have not been constrained. Citizens expressing their issues and concerns as individuals --

The Speaker: Order. The question has been answered.


Mr Bruce Smith (Middlesex): My question is to the Minister of Environment and Energy. Minister, in the Common Sense Revolution we committed ourselves to a 0% increase in Hydro rates. We've also committed ourselves to reforming and possibly privatizing some aspects of Ontario Hydro. Can the minister give any assurances that local utility companies within this province will be consulted or that a task force will be created with representation from local utilities as we discuss the future role of Ontario Hydro?

Hon Brenda Elliott (Minister of Environment and Energy): I'd like to thank my colleague across the way for the question. I would like him to know and all members of the House to know that our government is guided in its deliberations with regard to the future of Ontario Hydro by the need to have competitive electricity rates and safe, reliable power.

I have met with many representatives from the electricity sector, including members from the municipal electricity --


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): What about the enforcement branch of the ministry?

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Order.

Hon Mrs Elliott: I would like to assure my colleague that when I have been meeting with them and with others, we have been discussing their ideas about the reformation of electricity in Ontario. We will be meeting again and their views are most welcome.

Mr Smith: My supplemental question is to the same minister. Minister, what assurances can you offer the public that restructuring of Ontario Hydro will not mean an offloading of debt to local utilities and ultimately the consumer?

Hon Mrs Elliott: It's important to note that this government considers the restructuring of electricity in Ontario a very important issue. We consider it to be serious, and our deliberations will be thoughtful and very considerate. Utilities are evolving, as the municipalities know. It is important that what happens to Ontario electricity allows municipalities and municipal electricities to be competitive. At this point it is too early to say how that restructuring will evolve, but I can assure the member that at this point in time there are no plans to transfer their debt to the municipal electricity utilities.


Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): My question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Just the other day I stood up before this House and asked the Minister of Municipal Affairs concerning the 20% cut in transfer payments to municipalities and the subsequent repercussions from these severe cuts. His response was, and I quote:

"The decision whether to raise taxes or not raise...taxes rests with the municipality." And I repeat for the minister his own words, "rests with the municipality."

It therefore comes as a surprise to us when the next day the Toronto Star reported that the minister stated, and I quote:

"Big spending cuts are coming in November and the province will not allow municipalities to raise taxes to make up the difference." And I'll repeat once more for the minister, "the province will not allow municipalities to raise taxes to make up the difference." My question is simple: Does the minister know what he's talking about or is this just standard Mulroney doubletalk or Harris baloney? Either way, can the minister explain his statement, please?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): I can assure you, honourable member, I know exactly what I'm talking about. The reporter from the Toronto Star didn't know what he was talking about. The responsibility for raising property taxes rests with the municipality; nobody else.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): I see somebody in the east gallery, the Honourable Tom Wells, an ex-member here.



Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I move that the House do now proceed to orders of the day.

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

All those opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1538 to 1608.

The Speaker: Mr Eves has moved that we proceed to orders of the day.

All those in favour will please rise.

All those opposed will please rise.

Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 65, the nays 29.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.



Resuming the adjourned debate on 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.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Call in the members for a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1611 to 1616.

The Speaker: Order. Members take their seats, please.

Mrs Witmer has moved second reading of Bill 7. All those in favour, please rise one at a time.


Arnott, Ted

Guzzo, Garry J.

Parker, John L.

Baird, John R.

Hardeman, Ernie

Pettit, Trevor

Barrett, Toby

Harnick, Charles

Ross, Lillian

Bassett, Isabel

Hastings, John

Runciman, Bob

Beaubien, Marcel

Hodgson, Chris

Sampson, Rob

Boushy, Dave

Hudak, Tim

Saunderson, William

Brown, Jim

Jackson, Cameron

Shea, Derwyn

Carr, Gary

Johns, Helen

Sheehan, Frank

Chudleigh, Ted

Johnson, Bert

Skarica, Toni

Clement, Tony

Johnson, David

Smith, Bruce

Danford, Harry

Jordan, Leo

Snobelen, John

DeFaria, Carl

Kells, Morley

Spina, Joseph

Doyle, Ed

Klees, Frank

Stewart, R. Gary

Ecker, Janet

Leach, Al

Stockwell, Chris

Elliott, Brenda

Leadston, Gary L.

Tsubouchi, David H.

Eves, Ernie L.

Marland, Margaret

Turnbull, David

Fisher, Barbara

Maves, Bart

Vankoughnet, Bill

Flaherty, Jim

Munro, Julia

Villeneuve, Noble

Ford, Douglas B.

Murdoch, Bill

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Fox, Gary

Mushinski, Marilyn

Wilson, Jim

Froese, Tom

Newman, Dan

Witmer, Elizabeth

Gilchrist, Steve

O'Toole, John

Wood, Bob

Grimmett, Bill

Ouellette, Jerry J.


The Speaker: All those opposed will please rise one at a time.


Bartolucci, Rick

Curling, Alvin

Martel, Shelley

Bisson, Gilles

Duncan, Dwight

Martin, Tony

Boyd, Marion

Grandmaître, Bernard

Miclash, Frank

Bradley, James J.

Gravelle, Michael

North, Peter

Castrilli, Annamarie

Hampton, Howard

Sergio, Mario

Christopherson, David

Hoy, Pat

Silipo, Tony

Churley, Marilyn

Kormos, Peter

Wildman, Bud

Colle, Mike

Lankin, Frances

Wood, Len

Conway, Sean G.

Laughren, Floyd


Cooke, David S.

Marchese, Rosario


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 68, the nays 28.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.


Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, before we proceed to the next order of the day, I'd like to indicate the business of the House for next week, the week of October 30.

On Monday, October 30, we will continue with the second reading of Bill 8.

On Tuesday, October 31, pursuant to the government notice of motion passed, we will be proceeding with the committee of the whole and third reading stages of Bill 7.

On Wednesday, November 1, and Thursday, November 2, we'll be continuing with the debate on second reading of Bill 8. Should Bill 8 second reading be completed, we would then proceed to Bill 5, the Shortline Railways Act, and Bill 6, the Corporations Information Amendment Act.

On Thursday morning, November 2, private members' business, we will consider ballot item number 3, standing in the name of the member for Hamilton Centre, and ballot item number 4, standing in the name of the member for Norfolk.


Ms Mushinski moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 8, An Act to repeal job quotas and to restore merit-based employment practices in Ontario / Projet de loi 8, Loi abrogeant le contingentement en matière d'emploi et rétablissant en Ontario les pratiques d'emploi fondées sur le mérite.

Hon Marilyn Mushinski (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): Today we begin second reading of Bill 8. This bill, when passed by the Legislature, will repeal job quotas and will restore merit-based employment practices in this province. It will also restore hope to all people who want to compete for job opportunities based on their qualifications, based on their ability, based on merit.

Let me be clear about why this government believes the repeal of legislated hiring and promotion quotas is vitally important. There are four simple reasons: (1) They are unnecessary; (2) they are unfair; (3) they are ineffective; and (4) they are costly.

Let me expand on these four points.

Job quotas are unnecessary because discrimination is already against the law under the Human Rights Code. The code guarantees all Ontarians the right to equality and freedom from discrimination. We know that significant improvements to the Ontario Human Rights Commission have to be made to ensure that it helps victims of discrimination more effectively and more efficiently, and this we have committed to do. We firmly believe the commission is the appropriate vehicle for dealing with complaints of discrimination.

Job quotas are unfair because they obstruct an employer's ability to hire on the merit principal, which is the hallmark of fair workplace policies and practices. Employers know that if they are going to gain a competitive edge in today's global marketplace, they have to maximize the use of all available resources, especially their human resources.

That's not only common sense, it's good business sense. Employers know that it's in their best interest to attract qualified people from the widest labour pool possible. They don't need legislation to force them to seek out diversity.

Time and time again, employers have told us that legislated quotas are not the way to go. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Business Consortium on Employment Equity, which represents 10 large employers, and the Canadian Manufacturers' Association are only a few of the groups that have emphasized that this legislation puts the province at a competitive disadvantage.

Job quotas are ineffective because they fail to address the root causes of the very issue they purport to address: discrimination. In fact, job quotas are not only ineffective in this regard, they are counterproductive. They exacerbate the problem because they create division in the workplace. By segregating people into groups, quotas put aside individual achievement and excellence. By restoring the merit principle, we recognize people for their accomplishments as individuals, not by the group to which they belong.

Last, but by no means least, job quotas are costly. In order to prepare to comply with job quota legislation, employers have spent thousands of dollars on a variety of complicated and time-consuming measures. In fact, it's likely that there are employers in this province who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the government, in order to administer the cumbersome bureaucratic structure the legislation creates, has also had to spend millions of all-too-scarce taxpayers' dollars. These expenditures are all the more indefensible when you consider that they are unnecessary and could have been used to create jobs. Unnecessary administration is a cost that none of us can afford.

These four reasons make it obvious why this government is committed to repealing job quotas and to putting the merit principle back to work in Ontario.

Let me also be equally clear that discrimination has no place in this province. It is precisely because we are opposed to discrimination that we are opposed to job quotas, which remove fairness from human resource practices.

As an employer, the government has made a commitment to zero tolerance in our own workplaces and to leading by example, and we fully intend to keep these commitments. It is our intention, and we believe our resolve is fully supported by most Ontarians, to build a province in which individuals are assessed on their qualifications and in which employers make employment decisions based on merit. In other words, we believe in equal opportunity for all Ontarians.

Our approach to equal opportunity is to help employers and employees implement fair workplace policies and practices through partnership and collaboration, not to hinder them from doing so through legislated intrusion and coercion. That is why we are committed to developing a workplace equal opportunity plan that is non-legislated, non-intrusive, cost-effective and built on partnerships. It will have three key components.

As I said earlier, many employers already recognize the importance of tapping into the diverse human resources that are available to them. Our plan will thus support employer and employee efforts to remove and prevent barriers that may obstruct them from doing so.

The workplace equal opportunity plan will also actively encourage initiatives that provide education and training on equal opportunity, and it will facilitate the sharing of equal opportunity experience and expertise that already exists in Ontario.

In addition, our workplace equal opportunity plan will be cost-effective. Just as one of our reasons for doing away with job quotas was the considerable costs they incurred, one of the tenets of our plan will be that it must be based on economic reality.

Repeal of job quotas will save employers significant compliance costs. It will save the government millions of dollars by winding down the bureaucracy that would have administered the quota law, and I can assure this Legislature that our plan will not entail the creation of yet another large bureaucracy.

While this government acknowledges the need to protect Ontarians from discrimination, discrimination will not end until we all recognize the dignity and worth of others. In the workplace, employers and employees all have a responsibility to build an environment in which the merit principle drives hiring and promotion decisions, in which there is zero tolerance for discrimination and in which equal opportunity is a reality.

But job quotas are not the vehicle to achieve this goal; in fact, they impede its realization. That is why, as we promised the people of this province, this government is determined that job quotas will be eliminated in Ontario.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Comments or questions?

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Under comments or questions, do I have two minutes for this purpose? I'm just watching the clock up there.

One of the things I know the minister will want to ensure is that we don't have what is alleged to have existed in many circumstances, particularly in the public sector -- I guess we have to make this case -- as opposed to the private sector, and that is the nepotism which has taken place. There are many examples; the member knows as well as I do. She's served in municipal government and she's aware of what happens out there. There was always a feeling that a number of people were excluded from the opportunity of serving with certain public sector employers because they didn't know somebody who worked in that establishment.

I heard you mention, Minister, that you were going to the system of merit. If people could be convinced genuinely that we would see merit as the only consideration when hiring and when promoting, I think there would be considerable support for that. Certainly, I have always felt that merit should be the overwhelming consideration when we're looking at whether a person is to be employed or whether a person is to be promoted or, for that matter, demoted or made unemployed by an employer. It should be based on performance and merit.

My concern at the present time is that over the years in the previous system many people were excluded on a quota basis because there seemed to be an unwritten quota of friends and relatives and cronies who seemed to get all the good jobs. I would be interested, if you get a chance to respond, in how you intend to overcome that particular problem, which has existed for so many years and excluded so many people, particularly those who are new or aren't part of the establishment in our province.

Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): I'm glad to have the chance to respond to the minister's opening speech on this important bill. I want to pick up, actually, on a comment the member for St Catharines just made. I too would be very interested in hearing from the minister what her plans are to deal with the questions she raised herself, I think, when she introduced this legislation a week or so ago, in saying that in addition to repealing, as they are doing through this bill, the legislation we passed as an NDP government, they would take certain steps to enhance the merit principle. I haven't seen anything. I may have missed it, but I haven't seen any of that happen.

This government certainly has made this piece of legislation, at least, quite clear. We can't say, as we did on the labour legislation, that they've thrown into it a number of other measures beyond repealing the legislation. This particular piece of legislation is at least clear in the sense that it repeals the law, what has been up until now the law, that had been passed by the previous government, which sought to balance some historical inequities in this province and sought to deal with those inequities, not by establishing quotas, as the minister would like to lead us to believe, but by providing a number of mechanisms, all of which were there to provide opportunities, to create a more level playing field for the categories of individuals, including women, including people with disabilities, including people from visible minorities, to be able to, in effect, be treated more fairly and more equally.

I fail to see how the simple repeal of this legislation achieves the kind of merit approach that the minister claims is being done.

Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): I rise today to comment on Bill 8. As a member of this government, during the election I heard very distinctly from people throughout my riding of Durham East that they were fed up with the systematic discrimination which was a result of the quota system of the previous legislation.

I support wholeheartedly the minister's recommendations to bring in fairness and hiring on the basis of merit and ability. It's a fundamental, reliable method. It gives business the freedom of choice for the reason of creating opportunity for both young and old. Regardless of disability or exceptionality, people will be given a fair opportunity and that's what this government's all about.

Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): I wasn't going to speak on this particular bill, but I would like to caution the government side with respect to the proposed bills and hopefully some amendments that they will do as we move along.

It is not as simple as it looks, to bring in the equity and fairness in this very important piece of legislation. It is my hope that when the final say is pronounced in the final decision of this particular bill, serious consideration is given to the actual fairness of the bill. I am sure that, given the proper time and input from the various members of the House, the government side will actually listen as this will affect the entire community of our province.

It is a very important piece of legislation. It's not as simple as saying, "Let's eliminate the quota and let's make it fair." It is very often said and done that while we are trying to right some wrongs, we will make more wrong than right again.

I would hope that in proceeding with this particular piece of legislation the government will keep in mind the people who will be affected along the way and that fairness can really be brought in in such a way that it will not cause any disruption among our people and among the workforce. I hope that will be taken into consideration by the government.

Hon Ms Mushinski: While I appreciate the very thoughtful feedback I have received from the member for St Catharines, the member for Dovercourt, the member for Yorkview and the member for Durham East, I want to assure them that I take the issue of restoring fairness back into the workplace very seriously. I'm confident that we can indeed address their concerns as we go through the committee process.

I again want to reiterate that we are doing what we said we were going to do. We made a commitment to the people of Ontario that we would restore that fairness, and I make that commitment and repeat that based upon the feedback I have received from the honourable members today.


The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): I didn't know that I would be speaking on this bill so early with this government which had, in its early time in the election and before, said it was going to amend the bill that was presented by the previous government. They say they are doing what they said they were going to do, and I should immediately tell you, Mr Speaker, before I start really speaking, that they're not doing what they said they were going to do.

As you know, today they brought in a two-page little thing called -- I don't even call it an act -- An Act to repeal job quotas and to restore merit-based employment practices in Ontario. That's the bill itself, a slash-and-burn and rip-up kind of bill, while they had said all along that they were going to amend the part that said "merit," and that they liked our aspects of the bill. So let's start from that. That is not what this is about. This is all search and burn and rip out and throw out everything that exists.

Let me say this: This is a very important bill and an important aspect of things that we're moving in Ontario in regard to what we call employment equity. Let me also say that I have not come across anyone who is not in agreement, for employment and for equity. Everybody wants employment, if it pays well, and also equity in the system. So we're all for employment equity. It's how we go about it.

The fact is that the previous government was so bureaucratic -- my colleague from Oakwood said that it's bureaucratic overkill, the last legislation that was in place, and I fully agree with that. I felt that this was really almost becoming a nightmare in the sense of the kind of bureaucratic legislation that was there. Again, I went along somehow with some aspects of it, but I couldn't support it, because somehow when we start cutting deals with other people within the society, it then breaks down the real legitimacy of equity.

What is employment equity? I'm not here to give you a lecture, or anyone, but just to remind myself and remind everyone else. It's about identifying systemic barriers in the workplace and, having identified them, going about eliminating them.

The problem with this government and its bill is that they hasn't even reached that stage yet. You must recognize the fact that exists in our society that there is discrimination that is systemic, especially in the workplace. You have not yet recognized that. You have completely ignored that there is systemic discrimination in our society.

The fact is, studies upon studies -- I have them all here and many more to come -- show in our society that there is systemic discrimination in regard to jobs and how we get promoted and how we are trained. Reports have shown there are five groups that are consistently and systemically discriminated against, and we know those groups. We have the women, the disabled community, the francophones, visible minorities -- I'm missing out one again -- five groups that have consistently been discriminated against in our society.

So how do we go about getting them back into the system? First, sometimes we use the carrot and the stick that we talk about, but what we are talking about is education and our legislation. I believe that both concepts will work, not only one.

There are people in our society who have been waiting for years upon years and decades upon decades hoping that those people would be educated in order to have access to jobs and opportunities in our society. They find that even with the education system, which even in itself discriminates about who gets into what profession, the fact is that people were systemically discriminating. We found that big bureaucracies and institutions did not have access to the disabled, and therefore there's no way they could have come in. So we have to have legislation for them to come in. They can't wait any more.

This government itself, in this bill, completely ignores the fact, to recognize that there is systemic discrimination in our society. There was one specific study that was done. We pleaded with the previous government, but again they ignored it completely. It's rather interesting, when you are in opposition, how supportive you are of those who are being banned from or not having access to some of the opportunities in our society, how supportive we are.

I can remember when the NDP was in opposition how much they supported a study done called Access to Trades and Professions in Ontario. They thought that this was one of the main answers, that people who were qualified were being shut out, systemically discriminated against in coming into their profession, and they felt that this was one of the main answers.

Lo and behold, they arrive as government, and what did they do? They completely ignored it. They again concentrated on their interest group, the unions, and cut many deals with the unions for seniority rights in order for promotion and seniority rights in order for layoffs, ignoring the fact that others in our society were consistently being shut out.

Those who had the merit and qualifications were a step back, because the fact is that if they were members of a union and had seniority in a job, that comes before qualification, that comes before merit. They would never listen, because we then started to ignore what the principle of fairness was all about: people who were shut out. Of course it really bugs them to know that here they are, they spent those four years and couldn't even address that.

But my motion will be directed to this government, which lays upon us that "We want to go back to merit." Let me tell you, Madam Minister, that many of the people who are systemically discriminated against have merit and they have the qualifications but are constantly shut out. Now you come here and you talk about all you have is a quota system and that's what we're going to deal with, ignoring the fact that what exists in our society today is a systemic discrimination shutting those five groups out of the workplace.

Now I just want to address another aspect of it. The minister talks about the bureaucracy and the cost that is being put to this previous bill, and so they went about with their slash-and-burn approach in taking away all that was put in place in order to identify even within the public service and the police services that there is systemic discrimination happening. When they put that structure in place, they came and put it away and said that no, it's not needed. It is some sort of coaxing and a carrot and stick that is going to encourage the police and all those who have systemically discriminated in allowing people within that system.

We have set up bureaucracy, Madam Minister, I agree. We have more bureaucracy in this province than we could ever dream of at times that deals with people's human rights. Look at, one, the Human Rights Commission, a big, huge bureaucracy with a huge lineup. People wait three, four years just to address concerns that are close to them, just to address the concern that they are being discriminated against in getting in because of whether they're disabled, whether they are women or whether they are visible minorities or francophones -- three, four years' wait. The backlog was enormous, because governments have starved those bureaucracies of both the money and the support that should be given.

We have the Ombudsman. To be honest with you, Mr Speaker, I'm not even quite sure what they do over there, because of the fact they criticize other bureaucracy for the long lineups and delays and they themselves have a hell of a backlog. Therefore, if someone goes to the Ombudsman to address the concern, they themselves have to wait three and four years because of the huge backlog.

Then they try the courts. Even there, the backlog and the delay that happens there denies people their human rights to address the fact that all they need in this society is to partake within and to contribute, as they would like.

So here we go again. We had one bill that came in. It went to such an extreme, the first bill from the NDP government, that at one stage we had advertisements coming out, saying, "White males may not apply." Whether that was a mistake or not, it distracted from the real issue of people who were shut out.


Madam Minister, there are people in our society in Canada who are well educated. If we are concerned about the immigrant population that is coming here who people feel are taking away the jobs and they're not qualified, they are much more qualified on the basis of those who were born in Canada, have a higher education because that is the basis on which they could enter into Canada. So don't you worry about the merit itself and their qualifications. They will compete.

What are people asking for? People are asking to be treated fairly. So show me the rules that are given to any person -- white, able, disabled -- show me those rules and let me play by those rules too, but don't discriminate against me.

But there are some systemic things in place that cause us not to have that access, and one of those peoples we must look at very carefully is the disabled community. They themselves who are quite qualified and face a simple thing like this: You get your education, you get your profession, you arrive at this huge building and you can't even manoeuvre the access, the steps, the doors, to go in. They can't go in.

Then there are still companies within this country, in the province of Ontario -- I understand that some don't even have a women's washroom. Now tell me, if you were a woman, Mr Speaker, would you apply for a job there? And if you feel that the individual would want to go on to apply for that job, they would just turn away and go somewhere else where they are welcome. But then that is limiting. It limits their opportunity for work. This limits the opportunity to produce in their society. They're second-class citizens themselves.

When we reduce this to two pages of saying that all that employment equity means to this government is to repeal it, repeal everything that was done, to dismantle everything that's done, it's telling me then they don't understand what it's all about, what the discrimination has been all about, the pain and suffering, the people whom you have said must go out and work, those who have found themselves on welfare. Why? Because they have been shut out of the system, not because they don't want to work but because they've been discriminated against, because systematically they have been discriminated against.

We want a government, we want parliamentarians who sit here to recognize that and move forward on that kind of issue, but it's not being done. It's not done at all. The previous government failed in doing that because they got tied up in their own nightmare of bureaucracy, and now this government has decided that they will not -- all they have concentrated on is the merit principle. There is more to it, Mr Speaker, lots more.

I recall when I sat on many committees and the now Minister of Labour was then the critic for employment equity. She herself said that she embraced some of the things that the NDP legislation was all about. Now, when she arrived, when this government arrived, what they have done is destroy that, really destroy the hopes and aspirations of people.

When people see government, they understand when they have to change policies and they understand when they have to have layoffs and they understand when they have to address deficits. But when a government goes about destroying the hopes and aspirations of people, then I tell you it's all over.

There are people out there who feel that their hopes and aspirations are being destroyed because there is no more hope for them, no more aspirations in the sense that some government will understand and recognize the fact that they are being discriminated against and they themselves would like to have this opportunity to participate.

It's a very sad thing to know that this government is going to rush it through because they feel within the two or three days that they deal with this they'll put it behind them and not have it any more. There are thousands and thousands of people who feel excluded out of the process. That's what liberalism is all about. We believe it's an inclusiveness, that everyone can participate; regardless of who they are and what they are, they can participate. And governments must address that issue to bring people onside, the business and the private individuals, in order to participate in our economy. And they feel very left out.

The concern that I have about this government too is there's a slash-and-burn approach to things. There's a section in here -- I think it's subsection (5) -- that says:

"Every person in possession of information collected from employees exclusively for the purpose of complying with part III of the Employment Equity Act, 1993 shall destroy the information as soon as reasonably possible after this act comes into force."

What this tells me is that there are companies that have been requested and directed by the government to follow and adhere to a certain form in gathering data and statistics, and now this government comes along telling them, almost by force, that "You must destroy them." I don't know if you violate any part of the Constitution, of those persons' rights to have those documents. You almost sound like you have the Big Brother and the police are coming to tell you, "I'm going to check you out and see if you have those forms and then you should destroy them."

Many companies that felt that, yes, they will continue to do that, I hope you don't drive the living fear in them to say that they cannot use those forms. I'm sure they will continue to use those forms. Many of the companies, Madam Minister, are saying: "We will continue to do that because employment equity makes sense. It makes a lot of economic sense. It makes good business sense itself." And the fact is that if they feel that this government doesn't care and they can go about themselves to do anything they want, some companies may decide to throw that out and go about on their willy way and not finding that they have been discriminating against some of the people in not using an approach that has been laid down which could help.

You have put nothing in place, Madam Minister. This legislation laid no foundation, no direction, no guide, no structure whatsoever. It tells you that the status quo is all right. It tells you what is happening is wonderful. It tells you again that in this Canada, this Ontario, there is no discrimination; it's a wonderful place. If you don't survive it's because you're lazy, it's because you don't go on with the status quo.

We are saying the status quo of discrimination and systemic discrimination is not good enough for my Canada and my Ontario, or for the government. And if you go back to this, this is the status quo stuff; it says nothing. And what are all those hopes and aspirations? Where are they today? Where are my kids who feel that they can participate and feel because they are minorities they may not get access because they feel the status quo -- who are telling you that they go to school, and I'm telling you and many other people that they are quite educated and they can't get in because maybe of the colour of their skin, or they can't access a building because some companies have not found it feasible to make access in a way in which they can manoeuvre up on those stairs to get jobs. Where are they?

The women who have fought all along even to be a person -- as you know, they had to fight for that -- and now arrive to say that this government did not see any urgency in order to have employment equity as a legislation and talking about a carrot to educate people. They have been educating those people for years -- hundreds of years -- and still we have discrimination. We have bureaucracies and all that kind of stuff.

You come along here and give this kind of stuff and call it your employment equity act. You should be ashamed of yourself over there to realize that you have no sensitivity to what's happening in our community. They're crying out to you and telling you, and: "We're just going to destroy those bureaucracies. We're going to destroy all of that."

It's a very bleak day for me to know that this is the approach that you are going to take. It's a bleak day to tell me that you, yourself, Madam Minister, who is supposed to be extremely sensitive -- you have come from a community, you have come from a city, where that diversity is celebrated. That diversity is celebrated in the course of the contribution that the diversity of that community is giving to Canada, to Ontario. And some of them are complaining each day that they are shut out of the system in hope that the government will recognize that -- and to find, as I said, to see that the status quo was okay.


It's not okay. It's not okay at all, and I hope that when we get to second reading, or when you go out, I hope you will go to that community and speak to that community, because it seems to me many of the hearings the previous governments have done -- and they have done a lot and they heard a lot and we were educated a lot, all of us, about some of the systemic discrimination that is happening in our community, in our country, in our province, and then those acts, those laws started to reflect what is happening out there and address some of the concerns that are out there.

This does not address any of that. It tells you, "We have a mandate and we are big and bad and we will do what we can and the status quo is okay."

The status quo is not okay, because our country needs all of our people. One of the realities of Ontario and Canada is how much we are underpopulated. And we live a very high standard of living, and we want to make sure that everyone is carrying their weight and everyone is contributing. But when you continue to systematically discriminate and even the government itself ignores that, it really becomes a very sad moment for us; a very, very sad moment.

My main point is that they should start from the beginning to recognize the fact that there is systemic discrimination in our province, in our workplaces, and we must address that systemic discrimination.

My only other point I'd like to address before I sit down is that the professional organizations -- and I know I'm going to come right in the heart of many of you who have been joining many professional organizations -- have systemically discriminated against individuals from joining those organizations so they can practise their skills.

I would like to see you in this, Madam Minister, address those concerns. Stop shutting women out, stop shutting minorities out, stop shutting the disabled group out. Speak to those professional organizations. Then I would say to you, you are then not accepting the status quo. Go back and redraft this messy old stuff that has not addressed any part of systemic discrimination.

Our first aboriginal people have been discriminated against consistently for hundreds of years. I say to you, Mr Speaker, maybe you have more influence than I do in telling the minister, go back and do a proper employment equity legislation.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I want to comment on what the member has spoken to in the last half-hour or so, and I want to say that I was the Chair of the justice committee and we dealt with employment equity for quite a long time. We heard a lot of deputations and we had an opportunity to listen to the opposition members. I must say that the position of the Liberal members then in that committee was confusing at the time, and it still, in my view, continues to be confusing now. I want to say several things.

The member speaks about seniority and how awful that was. Mr Bradley's here, and I apologize for this, Mr Bradley. I recognize the enemy's over there on the other side, but from time to time we have differences with our colleagues in opposition, so it behooves me to speak to some of those matters.

The member speaks on the issue of seniority and speaks about how terribly that matter was dealt with and how we were catering to a special interest group and that that matter should have been dealt with because it's fundamentally wrong or it's a problem.

I have to tell you that a number of the people who came in front of the committee said that seniority is good. In relation to employment equity, seniority is good. Why? Because it treats people equally and fairly. There is no discrimination at all. So if you as a black person had been there for 15 years and you were ahead of a line, you get ahead of that line.

It's fair, it is equal, it treats people without discrimination. So for them to argue that somehow that was a bad principle that is fundamentally wrong is a mistake. I think some of them recognize it was a mistake, but I'm not quite sure.

I want to say as well that the entire Liberal caucus voted against Bill 79, the entire caucus voted against it then, and they will now vote against this bill. It's confusing.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions and comments? The Chair recognizes the member for Etobicoke West.


Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): Thank you. Now, I only get two minutes.

I listened to my friend the member for Fort York. As always, he was enlightening and certainly --


Mr Stockwell: I know, but I just thought I'd give him a tip. But since you're not going to let me, I won't. I'll go directly to the Speaker.

Mr Speaker, I thought the speech was a little curious and certainly somewhat ambiguous. I say that very briefly and I want the member to answer very clearly the question that I have. You spoke for half an hour. Upon speaking, you touched on all the highlights of this particular piece of legislation, I suppose, in your mind, and then obviously the previous one that we are withdrawing, but not once in that period of time could I recall you telling us on this side of the Legislature or the people on your side, or the great unwashed, the general public, how it is you're going to vote.

I would think that if you've got half an hour's worth of speech in you to talk about a bill, and half an hour's worth of interesting thoughts and provoking items to bring to this Legislature, you could spend maybe 10 or 11 seconds by saying, "I am going to support the bill," or, "Gee, I'm not going to support the bill." That's the beauty of democracy, you see: We get to vote at the end of the day. I'd like to know, directly to the member, are you supporting this one or are you going to vote against this one?

I guess the one point I'd like to make is that if you're true to form, sir, being the Liberal you are, you would have voted against the NDP bill, would probably vote against our bill, vote against Bill 40, vote against Bill 7, probably vote against everything because you're with the people, right?

Mr Bradley: I want to first of all compliment the member for Etobicoke West on his observations and on his tie, which was purchased by his daughter for him, so I cannot be critical of that.

I thought the member was very clear. I wondered why he said that. The Liberal Party has always been known as a party which believes in balance. On one extreme we have the New Democratic Party which, at least when it's not in government, is extreme; when it's in government it tends to be much more moderate, as we have seen. On the other extreme, we have the Conservatives. So we Liberals try to find what's best for everyone; we try to encompass what is best for the community at large.

We see problems with the legislation which has been presented. We saw some problems with the legislation that the previous administration had presented. If we had the opportunity to present legislation, you would notice that there would be a better balance struck than we find in this piece of legislation that's before us or the legislation which was brought in by the NDP government.

We have pointed out that the system which was in existence previous to the NDP legislation was not necessarily a fair one, that those who were in a position of power and influence were often able to get jobs that others were not able to. Many people were excluded because they were not friends of the people who were giving out the jobs or the people who were in key positions to influence who would get either the jobs or the recommendations for promotion.

On the other hand, we believe that quotas are not the answer, that in fact the true merit principle should be what we have in a bill. That I think is clearly what the member for Scarborough North had to say, and I found it very clear.


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I must say that I found the member for Scarborough North's comments interesting, as he muddled through, and I would also say that I find myself in agreement with the member for Etobicoke West. This is a very, very odd situation for both myself and my friend from Etobicoke West.

I listened very carefully to the member for Scarborough North and to my friend from St Catharines, who tried to clarify the position. This is a very important piece of legislation. It's one that I think does draw some lines in this assembly. I think all of us recognize that.

This is a piece of legislation that purports to eliminate quotas. From our standpoint, and if one reads very carefully the legislation that is essentially being repealed, there were no quotas and never were quotas established. It was an attempt to deal with systemic discrimination against people who are disadvantaged in our society, and have been historically. The suggestion is made that we could bring in some sort of voluntary approach which will not be legislated but will recognize that there are people who have been left out and have not been included and that there's some better way to do it.

The minister, in her remarks, did not make clear how that is going to be done, which I think is unfortunate, because she is asking us, on second reading, to support the legislation in principle. But at least she did make clear that she is withdrawing and repealing the legislation that was in effect from the previous administration. I'm afraid I did not get that from the member for Scarborough North or his colleague from St Catharines, and for that reason, and only that reason, I'm in agreement with my friend from Etobicoke West.

Mr Curling: I'm just delighted to respond to my colleagues and thank them for the support in which they saw the consistency in my speech. Also, I understand the confusion with the Conservatives and also with the NDP. I don't know if they're different. Anyhow, they look the same, because actually the Conservatives seem to think that if you're not on the side of business you're not on the side of anything, and the NDP feel if you're not on the side of unions you're not on the side of anything.

What we're saying is that the Liberals believe that businesses, unions and all the people -- in other words, it's so confusing that when Liberals are shown to be very inclusive, that all people must participate, not interest groups only, they're saying, "We're not quite sure what the Liberals are saying." It's simple: We believe in the people of Ontario, regardless of businesses, unions, people who are not working, people who are working, people who have to go on welfare, who are disabled, the aboriginal people, women.

The real fact is that that's what government is all about. Beyond that, that is what employment equity is all about, to include all people so they can participate fully in society, not to be discriminated against in any systemic or endemic way. That's what we are, as legislators, to do.

They become confused, because they narrow themselves down that only business will do this and only business will deliver. The NDP narrow themselves down to say that only unions can deliver: "Give it to the unions and they will deliver." We are saying that they all have a role to play. I will say that while we of course are assessing, analysing and discussing this legislation, we will indicate at the appropriate time how we shall vote.

Mr Bradley: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I would like to seek the unanimous agreement of the House for the Liberal Party to use its 90 minutes on Monday rather than today. There were discussions that took place with the government and with the NDP on this.

The Deputy Speaker: Do we have consent? Agreed.

Mr Marchese: It is a pleasure for me to speak on Bill 8 and to be part of this debate. I think many of the people watching will learn something from this particular bill, as indeed they will have learned much about Bill 79, which they're repealing.

I'll try not to focus my remarks on the government members because I know they are infallible and probably will not listen much to what the opposition members might say. They might learn something, but I don't think they will listen to what we have to say. So I will try to speak directly to the people of Ontario.

I was the Chair of the standing committee on administration of justice, dealing with employment equity. We talked to a lot of people in Ontario. We had a lot of representations from many, many groups who talked to us about this bill, and I must say I learned a great deal and I think the members of that committee learned a great deal.

What we have learned is that Bill 8, which is called An Act to repeal job quotas and to restore merit-based employment practices in Ontario, is not true. We learned that what this bill is saying and the way it is titled are not true.

It is difficult, when we get into the area of truth and what is truth, how it's defined and what it means to different people. But what I want to talk about briefly is how this government has handled the truth on this very issue.

I want to get back to the campaign to talk about how they handled the truth on the issue of quotas, because when they spoke about employment equity during the election campaign they said this was a quota bill. They said it was unfair. They said, "We need to bring back the merit principle." That's about all they said. That's all they needed to say, because when you say employment equity is a quota bill, it alarms people. I understand that. It frightens people, because nobody wants an employment equity bill that brings quotas into the system. Nobody wants that. We certainly didn't want it. It's not in Bill 79.

But they knew better, and they were brilliant. This government was brilliant during the campaign because, rather than speaking to the truth of the matter -- Mr Speaker, we can't speak about whether we have been misled or the people have been misled or that these things are lies. We can't say those things in the House; it's unparliamentary. So we can't talk about what they said. We have to talk about how they dealt with the truth, how they handle the truth, how they manipulate the truth. This is why I speak of this matter in the way they have dealt with this issue.

So they called it quotas then and they call it quotas now. It's brilliant. You have to respect that. I respect that. When politicians are able to manipulate the truth in the way they have, it's worthy of my respect.

The Deputy Speaker: Excuse me. A point of order?

Mr O'Toole: Yes, Mr Speaker. Listening to the comments being made by my fellow member, I think I hear him suggesting a mistruth, and I'm wondering if that's an acceptable suggestion.

Mr Wildman: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I also listened very closely to my friend from Fort York, and I understand that he said it would be unparliamentary to say that the members opposite had misled or had not told the truth and therefore he would not say that. That's what I understood he said.

Mr Marchese: You're quite right.

The Deputy Speaker: I didn't hear anything that was unparliamentary.

Mr Marchese: I thank my colleague for coming to my defence and thank the Speaker for making a wise judgement on that. I was quite clear. In fact, the reason I'm speaking this way is to avoid that very problem, because we can't say those things. That is why we have to paraphrase elegantly to say what we can't say in this House.

So I have to praise them. They've done a good job during the campaign and by introducing the bill in the way they have. You see, they hope as we go through this bill and as we discuss it that the people of Ontario will not have the time to actually take a good look at Bill 79, to actually study what it says, that they won't ask any questions of us or people in the field who know.

They're relying on the community simply to listen to this title, the title that says, An Act to repeal job quotas and to restore merit-based employment practices in Ontario. It's brilliant. They are relying on the public to be tired, not to have the time to look at the details, not to probe and ask questions. That's why they present it this way.


I have to say, as much as I think they've done a good job of presenting it in this fashion, that they are not dealing with the truth in the way I would like them to, for reasons of honesty, for reasons of doing some serious education of the public. In fact, rather than the education that I would expect them to do, they're doing the opposite; people, rather than learning something about why we introduced employment equity, are not going to learn a thing about it.

The emotional response of the people will be to say: "Good God, we don't want quotas. It's wrong, because what it means is that I, as a white male, will not get the job. What it means is that a person of colour, a person with a disability, an aboriginal person or a woman will get the job instead of me." That's not what it was about, but that's the way it was presented, and it's still being presented to the public in a way that confuses everyone. On the issue of quotas, it isn't true.

It did not guarantee a job -- it does not guarantee a job -- to the people we designated. It does not say: "Because you are black you will have a job. Because you're a woman you will have a job. Because you're disabled you will have a job. Because you're an aboriginal person you will have a job." It doesn't say that; it never did. I've heard the leader of the Liberal Party say that, and I disagree with her remarks because I think they're wrong, they are not correct. They're not handling the truth in the way it should be dealt with. Nowhere in that bill does it say that because of those characteristics those people will have the jobs. But that's what people believe, and the people I talk to in my riding and people I talk to outside of my riding believe that's the case. We've had a lot of discussion on it.

That's because they've been effective. They've been effective in sending the message to many people who are not part of these designated groups that they're not getting the jobs because they're not black. They've never for a moment said, "We have an unemployment problem; there are no jobs."

In fact, because of the restructuring that's going on, thousands and thousands of people across Canada are being laid off. They're being laid off and they're not being taken back. In my view, and I worry about this, we're going to have permanent unemployment for a long, long time, and it's going to be higher than 3%, it's going to be higher than 4% and 5%; in fact, people are going to adjust their thoughts to 7% or 8% or 9% being all right as an unemployment figure.

It frightens me, but I believe that to be true. I believe that to be a very scary thing for me and my children, and I believe most of these members believe it will be a frightening thing for their children as well. But they never said, "We have an unemployment problem." They said: "Oh no, it's not an unemployment problem at all. Just vote for us; we'll create jobs."

I'm waiting for those jobs. I'm waiting with anticipation and a lot of glee to see those jobs rolling in, because now that the Tories are in power we're going to see a climate of investment, and all those people who didn't want to invest will all of a sudden, and all our children will have jobs, God bless. Thank you very much and God bless, but I don't think that's the case.

They never talked about unemployment. They said, "The reason you don't have a job is because of this employment equity bill and it's because it's a quota bill." That's what they said. Employment equity did not guarantee a job, it did not have fixed numbers, it's not imposed by the government; it was not a mandatory goals-and-timetables initiative by this government.

Numerical goals were set by the employers and the employees. It respects the amount of qualified people in the employer geographic area, it leaves the employer to make reasonable efforts and it makes it necessary, in having those numerical goals, to be able to measure progress. That's what that was about; it's not about quotas at all.

But you see, I know that they know that. They know that too, because it's --

Mr Wildman: Maybe they haven't read it.

Mr Marchese: Oh, no, they read it. It's part of a political plan. It's part of how you package it politically. They know that.

Mr Stockwell: No, a political plan in here? Come on.

Mr Marchese: Oh, it's a good plan.

Mr Stockwell: This place is full of politics. Come on.

Mr Marchese: It was a good plan, Mr Stockwell, and it worked. It worked for you. You did well. They read it, they understood it and they presented it in a way that had the maximum effect in the community, and it did; it worked.

To continue on what we were trying to do with employment equity, it urges employers to develop plans, to review employment policies and practices. The commission that we had set up helps, would have helped, to develop tools to remove systemic barriers; helps to remove barriers, not just physical but attitudinal. That's what the bill was intended to do.

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey-Owen Sound): Hey, Stockwell, come on down here where we can heckle. You can't heckle from up there.

The Deputy Speaker: Would the member for Grey-Owen Sound come to order.

Mr Murdoch: All right. Now I can go, see. I got on the record. Thank you very much.

Mr Marchese: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for that additional kind of piece of humour here.

We were trying to deal with systemic barriers. That was the point of the bill. It wasn't intended to deal with individual problems that individuals had, because we have the Human Rights Commission for that. The Human Rights Commission has been there for the last 20 or 30 years to deal with individual problems they have experienced in the workplace with discrimination.

We said, as the groups argued when they came in front of the committee, what we need is a bill that deals with systemic discrimination, because what we have in place does not deal with physical barriers, does not deal with attitudinal barriers that are in organizations and workplaces. That's why we introduced the bill.

We didn't do this from thin air. We didn't come to this conclusion on our own. There have been a number of studies to speak to this. Systemic discrimination has been verified in many ways, from Judge Rosalie Abella's 1984 royal commission reports; community and academic studies, Who Gets the Job?, Economic Council of Canada, and its effects include "a persistent and significant underrepresentation of equity-seeking groups in the workplace, independent of merit or readiness for the job." That was a wonderful report.

Women, people of colour, people with disabilities and aboriginal people use that study to be able to say there is an underrepresentation of these designated groups in the workplace. We know that. We didn't invent systemic discrimination. We are not saying without using any studies that this is happening. We have recourse to such studies to inform us and to teach us of the problems that are going on in workplaces.

I tell the minister, who's smiling very nicely, that she should refer to that report. It's Judge Rosalie Abella's 1984 royal commission report. It's a good report. I urge all the members to read it, because these reports speak to unfair practices in the workplace. These reports tell us there is an underrepresentation of people. These reports tell us that people's skills and knowledge are not being used. These reports help us to identify that we have problems in the workplace and to begin to deal with systemic barriers through Bill 79. These reports speak about aboriginal people. Some 80% unemployment exists among aboriginal people. This is a high number.


Some people could say, "Well, they don't have the abilities," and some people probably do say that. Reasonable people, on the other hand, argue that is not the case, that there's something fundamentally wrong in the workplace that you should have such a high unemployment rate among aboriginal people, that you should have such high rates of people of colour not being taken in at the reception level or indeed in senior positions. This applies to women. This applies to people with disabilities. We know that. It's a fact, and I refer the members opposite to these studies that have been done so that they can be better informed about these statistics.

On the issue of merit, they've done a brilliant job, again, on confusing the public about the issue of merit. It makes it appear as if these designated groups don't have the ability. It says to women, to people of colour, to people with disabilities and aboriginal people: "You're not able. That's why we're going to scrap Bill 79 and introduce Bill 8 that brings back the merit principle." The merit principle, if it were properly put into place or properly applied, would have seen better representation of these designated groups, entire representation of these designated groups in those positions of responsibilities in the workplace.

If merit indeed was the principle or the tool that was used for hiring practices, women, people of colour and people with disabilities have said in the committee, "We would have been hired a long time ago." They said we should use the merit principle. None of the people who came in front of the committee said we shouldn't use the merit principle. They all agreed, because they say and said that, "If it was properly applied, we would be in those jobs, and the reason we're not in those jobs is because they are not applying the merit principle." It's because something else is going on in the workplace and in the hiring and promotion practices. Something else is going on.

I've been a trustee for eight years with the Toronto Board of Education, with my colleague Tony Silipo who was there, and we have seen, as people in positions of power and responsibility, how people get hired and how people get promoted. We have seen the barriers that stand in the way of certain people getting those jobs. We were there. We were part of those hiring practices. We have experienced it. We know what it means, and what we say is that we need to look very carefully at our attitudes and the policies and procedures that we have in place that move some people into positions of responsibility and keep some people out. We need to look at that very carefully.

I urge the members opposite, when they talk about becoming a model for good employment practices, to look at the people they've hired. I challenge them to show me the lists of the people they've hired. I challenge them to show me the names of the people they've hired in the ministries, to see how many of these people that we have that we were trying to help as the designated groups are in those positions.

My guess is that there aren't too many people. My guess is that we won't see too many of these designated groups in those positions. Prove me wrong, please. I want to be proven wrong. Show me the lists of the people you've hired. Bring them forth while we're having these discussions so that I could take that back, so that I could say: "This is wonderful. The government is proving me wrong. This is government. This is wonderful. The government is leading, because they are showing in their ranks, both in the MPP offices and in the ministerial offices, that we have a great many of these people who are people of colour, disabled, aboriginal people and women." Please show me those lists, I challenge you, before the debate is over.

We're dealing here, Mr Speaker, and to the public, with a systemic problem. We're dealing here with the issue of bias. We're asking people to look at systemic bias. We're saying that we need to have objective standards governing hiring. If we had such objective standards governing hiring, there would be no need for employment equity legislation. There would be no need because bias will have been dealt with by having objective standards. The problem is of course that all standards that we have, prior to Bill 79 at least, are very, very subjective. Because these standards are subjective, we have an underrepresentation of designated groups in the workplace.

The lack of individuals from designated groups can be explained, at least especially in the high end of the workplace, in two ways: that it's a result of barriers to employment or that it is the result of group-based differences in abilities or merit.

We argue that most reasonable people reject the supremacist notion that some groups of people have more abilities or merit than other groups based on race, colour or gender. So we see that barriers to employment, both intentional and unintentional, must be addressed, and we argue, contrary to what the minister has said earlier, that employment equity is the efficient and effective vehicle to solve or at least to begin to deal with this problem.

In the plan that the minister speaks about, it talks, in number 4 of their six-point plan, about "helping victims of discrimination faster and more efficiently by reforming the Ontario Human Rights Commission.... Discrimination in employment is illegal," they say. "We will step up efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Human Rights Commission by reducing the commission's enormous backlog and focusing on the efforts of their work. Specifically," they say, "a portion of the money saved by winding down the commission set up to enforce the quotas" -- again the word "quotas" -- "will be redirected to the Human Rights Commission. We will introduce reforms to the commission to make it a more effective vehicle for the promotion and development of equity in Ontario."

We have a problem. The Human Rights Commission has had many problems over the years. In fact, during some of the committee hearings, we have learned and discovered that there is a big, long backlog in what they're doing. This government says, "We're going to fix that." They say, "We will put a portion of money saved by winding down the commission and redirect that to the Human Rights Commission." I think it's good. Oh, it's good. I think that if they do that, it's good. They say winding down the Employment Equity Commission is $9.3 million and they said they will redirect some. It's good.

The question for us, for people listening, for people who have a case with the Human Rights Commission is, how much money will you redirect to the Human Rights Commission? Is it $200,000? Is it $1 million? Is it $2 million? How much, Minister? I challenge you, in this debate or at any other appropriate time that you have, to tell us, now or later -- or perhaps never, is my view -- how much of that money you will redirect to the Human Rights Commission. There are many groups that would urge you to redirect all of the money, but I am not convinced that this government wants to do that or will do that.


But beyond the money problem, beyond the money issue, we have other problems. The Human Rights Commission needs to be looked at in terms of addressing other problems that it has. Many lawyers came in front of the committee on government agencies when we dealt with this, making many, many suggestions of what more needs to be done. So we hope this government, in its desire to bring about equal opportunity and its desire to send matters of discrimination to the Human Rights Commission, will look at that.

Because, you see, I don't believe that putting more money is sufficient to deal with the human rights problems we have. I believe we need to deal with systemic discrimination, and that's why Bill 79 was in place. But the six-point plan doesn't deal with it. The human rights plan that you've got under number 4 doesn't deal with it either. So you've got to look at systemic problems that we have, you've got to look at how human rights are being dealt with, because I have to say to you and to the people watching, the Ombudsman herself is not taking complaints from the Human Rights Commission. That's how bad it is. It tells you of the enormity of the task and the problems that we are facing. That's why we introduced Bill 79, in part, but to a great degree to deal with systemic discrimination.

I want to use some examples of systemic barriers, just to show you, because I think it's useful for the members and the public to listen to some examples that have helped to bring us to where we were with Bill 79.

In 1990, the Bank of Montreal conducted a survey among about 2,000 of its employees across North America to determine, among other things, if there were attitudinal barriers to women's advancement at the bank. This deals with perceptions and reality at the Bank of Montreal.

The Bank of Montreal study found a significant difference between perception and reality concerning women at the bank. Perceptions -- listen carefully to the perceptions:

"Women are less committed to their careers because they have babies and leave the bank while their children are young." This was the perception.

"More women need to be better educated to compete in significant numbers with men."

Let me go back to the reality with the first point: "Women are less committed to their careers because they have babies." The reality: "Women have longer service records than men at all levels except senior management."

The other point of the perception: "More women need to be better educated to compete in significant numbers with men." The reality: "At the non-management and junior management level, the prime feeder routes to more senior jobs, more women than men have degrees."

Another perception: "Women don't have the right stuff to compete with men for more senior positions." The reality: "A higher percentage of women are rated in Bank of Montreal's top two tiers of performance at all levels."

Perception: "Time will take care of the advancement of women at the bank." It's a good one, because it's true, many people opposite argue it should be volunteer and we should let people deal with this in an incremental sort of way, but don't impose anything on them. Eventually and in time, all things will come to a great deal of good. The reality around this issue, that time will take care of the advancement of women at the bank: "In the past six years, the number of senior managers has grown by 33% overall, while the number of female managers has grown by 1%."

Do you see the point that we are making here? This study is but one example, and we're happy to have this study, because it teaches the members opposite, I hope, some of the listeners, that we have indeed barriers in the workplace, that there are attitudinal changes that need to take place.

Mr Wildman: Is the bank an old boy's club?

Mr Marchese: It's an old boy's club; you can bet your life on that. What you've got to do in order to redress the inequities is that you need a bill like Bill 79, like the one we introduced. By eliminating this bill, Madam Minister, you're throwing us back. You can talk nicely about all the nice things you're going to do with employers to help them here and there; you're not going to do one single thing that will be helpful. Nothing that you speak of makes me reassured that whatever you're going to do is going to help to deal with the inequity in the workplace.

I want to be proven wrong by you, Madam Minister, I really do, and you have four long years, possibly longer, to prove to me that what you're doing with your six-point plan is going to correct the injustice, the unfairness in employment practices, the underemployment of certain groups or the unemployment of certain groups.

Mr Wildman: She doesn't believe that stuff is true.

Mr Marchese: It's quite true. My colleague Mr Wildman says that some of them probably don't believe this stuff is true, that if they've gotten here, they've gotten here on their own merit; and in the way that they got here through merit, all these other women can do it too. Well, the study proves that's not the case. The study of the Bank of Montreal shows that's not the case, that if you have the degrees, if you have the ability, that's not the case, that there are barriers in the workplace that need to be dealt with, and they need to be dealt with by governments getting involved, not by getting governments out of the way, not by stepping down and saying: "No, we can't do it. We don't want to do it."

You need to involve the government to solve problems where problems exist, where we know they will not be dealt with on their own, where we know that we need intervention to make things happen; and what we introduced was a bill, not a quota bill, but a bill that begins to redress the inequity in the workplace.

Section 33 of the Human Rights Code prohibits impeding investigation; it's an offence to impede investigation. I am worried for this government that if an employer faced a human rights complaint and if the data were to be destroyed, as they speak of, and it was relevant to the complaint, they would have a problem. I'm not a lawyer, but as I read it, if they destroy this data and there is a complaint before the Human Rights Commission and the data is relevant to that complaint, after they say, "Destroy that data," they have a problem. They could be taken to court, it seems to me.

I would urge this minister to look carefully at that, because I think they're making a serious mistake. In this bill, what they're saying is that they have to destroy the data. They're saying in subsection 1(5), "Every person in possession of information collected from employees exclusively for the purpose of complying with part III of the Employment Equity Act, 1993 shall destroy the information as soon as reasonably possible after this act comes into force."


I think that's a mistake; I think it's wrong. I hope that they will be convinced that it's wrong, but I'm not sure. What they are in effect saying is that prior to September 1, 1994, you can keep data, it's all right, but from September 1 on you can't keep data; that's a problem. We think the inconsistency of the two is wrong; it's a problem.

We believe that if employers have the data, have done so in good conscience, in good faith, to be able to put into practice employment practices that will redress the inequities in their workplaces, they should be allowed to continue; that if the figures are kept in confidence for the purposes of an employment equity plan, not to use the Employment Equity Act but for an employment equity plan, then it's a good thing; that we should not oblige employers to destroy that data that, yes indeed, costs money to gather. They should not be allowed to destroy it but to use it, and if it's used consistent with what we had or even consistent with human rights clauses that make it possible for people to do this, then it's a good thing.

I urge this government not to be mulish in their presentation of bills, to look carefully at what it is that they're doing, because this very example shows that they're doing the wrong thing and that this should be reviewed.

I know I heard the minister say that there will be hearings or that it will be referred to committee. I take delight in that. Obviously they didn't feel the same way towards Bill 7, but they feel this way towards Bill 8. It shouldn't surprise me.

Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East): You don't know that.

Mr Marchese: Well, that's what the minister said. She would not have said it had not her leader agreed to it or Mr Eves agreed to it. I'm assuming that these are things that they discussed and that they have agreed to have committee hearings. That's why she said it in the House today. So I'm delighted.

I wish they had the courage to do the same thing with Bill 7, but they don't, and the reason why they don't have the courage to do the same with Bill 7 is because they're afraid to go out and listen to the people. They're afraid to have people tell them that what they're doing is wrong. What they're hoping, however, with Bill 8 is that they're doing the right thing, so gleefully they say: "Let's go out with Bill 8. It's good for us because remember, this act is good. It says, `An Act to repeal job quotas.' That's what got us elected, so let's take this bill out so we can sell it again."

I think it's brilliant. That's why I think they're doing it. For those who are listening, they should understand that this is political strategy. This is hardball we're talking about. "Bill 7 is bad and wrong, no hearings. Bill 8 is good because Bill 79 was bad, and we want to go out and listen to the people of Ontario because we want to hear from them what they say about Bill 8." They anticipate that what they will say about Bill 8 will support them; that's what they anticipate.

I think it's wrong. Mr Speaker, I tell you this again: The reason why I'm speaking to the people of Ontario is not just because they think they're infallible, but they don't listen. They don't listen in the House.

Mr Speaker, do me a favour: Turn to your right, turn your eyes to the right and just look at what the members are doing. They're having a committee meeting of 20. Mr Speaker, you're not looking. You're not doing me that favour. It's not nice.

Mr Derwyn Shea (High Park-Swansea): I'm making notes. Come on, I'm making notes here.


Mr Marchese: Oh, they're paying attention. Thank you very much. You see, I don't expect you to agree with the things that I'm saying, nor do I anticipate that what I have said will convince you to moderate Bill 8. I don't expect that, but I do expect you to listen.

Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): You've got their attention now; they're listening.

Mr Marchese: I want to thank you, Mr Speaker, because I think you attracted their attention to my remarks.

Mr Stockwell: Yes, yes, yes. Just keep going. You don't want us to listen.

Mr Marchese: Mr Stockwell, now be polite because you're not in your seat. All right?

This bill does something that goes beyond Bill 79. It goes beyond it and it introduces other elements of the Education Act and the Police Services Act that I believe go beyond the scope of Bill 79 but do something more which I thought was very helpful.

The Police Services Act was one of the first efforts of employment equity in the province and is an integral component of community policing. They think it's a good thing. Perhaps they made a mistake -- I'm not quite sure -- but that was the intent of doing that. But the repealing of that particular part of the Police Services Act makes it difficult for that organization to be able to do equity in the workplace, because it is an integral part and component of community policing.

"Enough time has passed to assess the results. While efforts must continue to ensure that police forces fully reflect the communities, those forces and the communities they serve agree that a more diverse force means better police service: easier access to communities, a greater willingness to share information with law enforcers etc. Because police forces have come to realize that their employment equity helps them to do their job better, the Harris government's assertion that the merit principle is at odds with employment equity is completely unwarranted."

I have a quote from a friend who spoke to somebody in the police services who said, in their own words, "We have never compromised standards or lowered the bar to meet equity goals." They said that, and they said this while responding, while dealing with and obeying the Police Services Act. The person said, "We have never compromised standards or lowered the bar to meet equity goals."

It's proof. It's proof that what was introduced -- and I believe it was introduced by the Liberals, to give them some credit -- works. They, in complete disregard of what we have put into place, are repealing everything that's worked and everything about Bill 79 that could have worked.

In the Education Act, in a similar way, the education sector loses the legislative mandate to oversee employment equity planning for all boards of education. "Like police officers, teachers are powerful role models for children, and by changing the direction of policy in these sectors, the Tories have determined that the children of Ontario may not see themselves fully reflected in the larger picture." That's what they're doing.

By adding these two additional measures in this bill, by going as far as they have done, they are undoing things that even people in the field believe is good.

Why would you want to do this in the education sector? Surely in the education sector you would want to make sure it works. Ontario is very diverse. We have 101 languages spoken in Metropolitan Toronto, the GTA -- 101 languages. That means there are 101 different cultural groups in the GTA. That's important. So we want to make sure that in the education sector in particular, although in the police services as well, and in so many other organizations, we are reflecting our population: that we have role models as teachers, that we have role models as vice-principals, that we have role models as principals and superintendents and directors and assistant directors of education.

Mr Stockwell: Caretakers.

Mr Marchese: Caretakers too. In fact, it's probably correct to say that these groups are overrepresented as caretakers, Mr Stockwell. It's probably true, probably overrepresented.

Mr Stockwell: No.

Mr Marchese: Oh, I can guarantee it. You say no, but I can guarantee it. I have been a teacher in the past, I have been a trustee for eight years, and I have seen it. In janitors, in caretakers, in those fields you likely see it. You're likely to see them as educational assistants as well. You'll probably get an employment equity group of people as assistant teachers.

Mr Wildman: And secretaries.

Mr Marchese: And secretaries, my colleague reminds me. Quite true. If you look at certain positions, they are not underrepresented there at all. In fact, they're overrepresented.

But we need to move beyond that particular field into other levels of responsibilities in the educational field, as an example, where we need to make sure that employment hiring practices address the needs of the designated groups that were included in employment equity. We don't have that now.

I know that in the Toronto Board of Education they have made tremendous strides in achieving employment equity.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): It being past 6 of the clock, I adjourn the House until Monday at 1:30 of the clock.

The House adjourned at 1800.