36th Parliament, 1st Session

L027 - Tue 21 Nov 1995 / Mar 21 Nov 1995


















































The House met at 1332.




Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): Treacherous: That's how officers of the Ontario Provincial Police described a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway between Vermilion Bay and Kenora.

I have to ask, what action has the Solicitor General taken to protect the health and safety of the province's police officers in the face of devastating and dangerous cutbacks to road repair and winter maintenance by his colleague the Minister of Transportation?

The men and women of the OPP in the field are concerned and frustrated with this government's lack of concern for their safety and the safety of all who travel our highways.

Let me quote an officer of the OPP Kenora detachment who said:

"Any of the officers will tell you that on the easterly drive to Vermilion Bay none of us feels safe, and we drive there on a regular basis.... Officers are nervous driving that section...it's a treacherous piece of highway no matter how you look at it."

OPP officers tell me that statistics prove that this section of Highway 17 is one of the worst sections of highway in the country. The fact is that for more than two years citizens, politicians and police officers have been demanding improvement to this stretch of Highway 17, the Trans-Canada Highway.

The Ministry of Transportation upgrading plans are complete and sitting on the minister's desk, yet the death and accident toll continues to mount. My constituents and the men and women of the OPP would like the Solicitor General to explain why his government refuses to invest in their safety.


Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): Mr Speaker, I am sending to you a copy of a letter which I sent today to the province's Integrity Commissioner. I have asked the commissioner for his opinion on whether the MPP for London North, in her role as minister responsible for women's issues, has contravened the Members' Integrity Act.

I have no choice but to take this action. The member has only replied that an investigation to claims that have been made about her would be a waste of taxpayers' money. The Premier has abdicated his responsibility by refusing to answer questions put to him yesterday by my leader.

The integrity and the credibility of this government is in question. As long as the member's comments go uninvestigated, the public, with good reason, will have to ask whether government actions are being taken in retaliation for political activity or lobbying by government-funded organizations. The air must be cleared on this matter.


Mr Jim Flaherty (Durham Centre): It is with great sorrow that we have learned of the passing of Gary Herrema, the chair of the regional municipality of Durham, at his home on Monday, November 20, 1995, following a valiant battle against cancer.

Mr Herrema, age 57, had held the regional chair's position since December 1980. He was widely acclaimed and respected in government circles for his visionary leadership and forthrightness on issues. He had previously held a succession of public offices, among them mayor of the township of Uxbridge and, prior to regional government, deputy reeve of Scott township and a member of the council of the county of Ontario.

In addition to his numerous regional responsibilities, he was active in many other organizations, having served on the board of GO Transit and on the board of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. He was a serving member of the Durham Region Police Services Board and was past president of the Association of Counties and Regions of Ontario.

Our deepest sympathies go to his wife, Helen; son Ron and wife Mary Anne; daughter Beth and husband Robin; son Howie and wife Liz; and his five grandchildren.

Gary Herrema was tireless in his lifelong efforts to serve his community, often at great personal cost. He will be sadly missed by his friends and colleagues on regional government, by his many associates in municipal, provincial and federal governments and by the staff of his regional administration.


Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): Would you sign a contract with the Premier of this province after learning how he and his government have treated small business in this province?

In July the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Mr Leach, cancelled 385 construction projects that would have stimulated construction and the building industry and which has effectively put countless small firms out of business. The number of cut housing projects is now even higher. The people who expected to have decent accommodation in these developments include seniors, the disabled and special-needs residents. The minister has provided no alternative to these people.

In the aftermath from these housing cuts, the many businesses in the private sector engaged in these projects have been forced to fire staff and declare bankruptcy. What message does this send to the business people in Ontario? It tells them that the government in Ontario doesn't honour its contracts.

Would you sign a contract with Mike Harris?

His Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Al Leach, has reneged on more than 391 signed contracts. He refuses to negotiate compensation to small businesses affected. He refuses to release undisputed fees earned prior to the cancellations. He refuses to discuss offers to settle. He orders contracted partners to give up right to legal action.

He orders contracted partners to volunteer time to help break contracts and stiff subcontractors. He promises on July 25 in writing to honour contract, reneges on September 15. He displays the attitude, "Sue me. I can afford better lawyers than you can," paid by the taxpayer. He interferes with small business carrying on by confiscating earned fees.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The member's time has expired.


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): This government is hell-bent on making Ontario the Mississippi of the north. It's going to pay for tax breaks for its rich friends come hell or high water, and once again, who do they pick on? Why, among others, the children of our province, with this government's bizarre, wacko proposition that junior kindergarten be made optional across the province of Ontario.

The fact is these people just aren't listening, and they have no intention of listening. They won't listen to people like Joanne van Veen from Welland, who expresses in a letter her outrage about the direction in which Ontario has been heading under this Tory tax-breaks-for-the-rich-friends government since the provincial election -- in particular right now, she says, "the government's plans to make junior kindergarten optional for school boards."

Why, that really has Ms van Veen worried. She indicates that this is going to be disastrous for the future of our province and the welfare of our children, knowing full well the advantages that youngsters have who are involved in junior kindergarten programs. Those statistical data are available to any member of this government who would be so inclined to want to read them.

Joanne Di Vizio of Thorold writes to the Premier -- and we know he doesn't read these letters; he doesn't want to -- "I can't believe the contradictory messages. You want the citizens of Ontario to be harder-working, more self-reliant and more productive. At the same time you indicate your intention to make junior kindergarten programs optional. How shortsighted can you get?"

We ain't seen nothing yet. The worst is yet to come.



Mr Tom Froese (St Catharines-Brock): I would like to honour the memory of Mr Abraham Regier, better known as Ed, for his lifetime of service to the Niagara region. Ed Regier died recently, on Sunday, November 12, 1995. He was 100 years of age at the time of his death.

Ed emigrated to Canada from Russia when he was 23 years of age. As a young man, he fought for the rights of farmers in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. He eventually settled in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area.

Fifty years ago, the farmers in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area did not feel that their economic investment needs were served by traditional financial institutions, so together Ed and a group of farmers started a cooperative. This cooperative, which initially ran out of Ed's basement, became the Niagara Credit Union. As many in this House know, the Niagara Credit Union now has a network of 14 branches and 63,000 members.

As a former manager of the Virgil branch of the Niagara Credit Union, I got to know at first hand of Ed Regier's tremendous contribution to his community. It is individuals like him we want to honour, people who give of themselves for their communities, people who leave a legacy for all of us.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Ed Regier's family and friends for his life and his spirit of entrepreneurship and the service he has left with us.


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): Mike Harris has declared war on our children. On Friday, we launched a postcard campaign encouraging parents across Ontario to speak to us so we can deliver a message to Mike Harris to leave child care alone. I've been overwhelmed by the number of people who have contacted my office over the past few days to obtain postcards so they can send a message to the Premier that they want to save regulated, licensed child care in this province.

Since taking office the government has launched an attack on families across the province that rely on regulated child care. They rely on licensed child care to work. They rely on child care to go to school. They rely on child care to give the child advantages they never had. If this government thinks that child care is not related to employment and jobs, they're sadly mistaken. Child care is as critical to jobs and employment as roads and cars to get themselves to work.

But the assault doesn't stop there. Now he's thrown a grenade at the child care industry by threatening to deregulate the child care industry.

Regulations protect our children, protect them from being placed at risk. Regulations ensure that children are cared for by trained staff, ensure that children are not just plunked down in front of a television set. Regulations ensure that child care centres meet fire codes. Regulations guarantee parents that their children are safe and protected from harm.

We've all heard the horror stories of children left in unregulated care. I hope the Premier and his caucus will look --

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Time has expired.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I have here 100 letters from young people and 10 letters from employers urging the government not to cut Jobs Ontario Youth and Futures. Most of these letters are addressed to Premier Harris, but copies were also sent to me. I was deeply moved by these letters, which tell of a chance to acquire real employment skills, not the make-work associated with Tory workfare programs, a real job and a real future instead of a bleak deadend job or welfare.

I understand that the Minister of Education and Training is currently reviewing funding for Ontario Training and Adjustment Board youth employment programs. Before any decision is made, I believe that ministers of cabinet should all have the opportunity to read these letters. I will be sending them to the Minister of Education and I ask that he share them with his cabinet colleagues. Before I do so, however, I would like to quote from two of the letters.

From a young woman who got a permanent job in the music industry after her Futures placement:

"I honestly feel that without Futures, I would not be as far along in my career as I am now."

Here's what an employer said in a letter to the Youth Employment Service:

"The Futures program is the only decent thing for a small independent business that the government has to offer. Everyone wins.... I can understand if something is not working, you get rid of it, but when it's working and to such a successful extent for so many people, why would you stop?"

Indeed, we ask, why indeed would you stop?


Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): I would like to inform the members of the House that today is the national launch of MADD's Red Ribbon Campaign. I was proud this morning to represent the government at the official launch of this year's campaign.

Now in its seventh year, the Red Ribbon Campaign has spread throughout the country. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has done an exceptional job in bringing together community and corporate partners. Wherever we go, we will see red ribbons flying on our cars, trucks and even snowmobiles. The simple act of tying a red ribbon on to your car aerial says drinking and driving won't be condoned by our community.

The Ministry of the Attorney General has had a long-standing relationship with MADD Canada. We respect and appreciate the work these volunteers do for the victims of drunk drivers. Together we have achieved significant progress in reducing impaired driving since the mid-1980s, but we still have more work to do. Every year, drinking and driving costs Ontarians $1.3 billion in personal financial loss, medical expenses and property damage, but no amount of money can measure the tragedy and suffering imposed on the innocent victims of this crime.

We are committed to implementing new measures that will further reduce impaired driving in our province. For example, we have recently announced an administrative licence suspension program that will be introduced in Ontario within the next six to 12 months. These measures send a clear message that drinking and driving in Ontario will not be tolerated.

I'd like to thank all of those involved in this year's Red Ribbon Campaign: the MADD Canada organizers, community action groups, the police, corporate sponsors, and of course all of the people who choose to fly a red ribbon.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Yesterday, the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr Cooke) rose on a point of order about our practice respecting the referral of supplementary questions. The point of order arose out of some confusion that occurred during question period. In the first instance, the member for Riverdale (Ms Churley) asked a question of the Premier, who gave an answer. When the supplementary was asked, the Premier chose to redirect it to the Minister of Community and Social Services. Members will recall that I allowed the referral at the time and subsequently agreed to check our practice.

In doing so, I noted that on February 9, 1987, Speaker Edighoffer delivered a clear ruling on this very matter. Speaker Edighoffer indicated at that time that he had examined the past practices of this House and went on to say:

"Having done so, it appears to me very clear that redirecting a supplementary question is an accepted practice in this chamber and it seems to me to be well within the bounds of logic which guides our question period. The right to redirect belongs to the minister and not to the questioner. This has been borne out in reviewing Speaker Turner's rulings of 1981 to 1984."

I want to emphasize this last point because I believe it may be the source of yesterday's confusion. Our practice and indeed, as Speaker Edighoffer noted, "the logic which guides our question period" support the principle that the minister has the right to redirect a supplementary question; however, our practice is equally clear that the member asking the question does not have the same prerogative.




Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): Today I'm very pleased to announce another reform to our education system that speaks to the public's request for professional accountability and quality in our public service. This important initiative will ensure that the teaching profession will be fully accountable to the public it serves.

Our government will be introducing legislation which will enable us to proceed with the development of an Ontario College of Teachers. Teaching is a public trust. This initiative is designed for teachers, but it is also for our taxpayers and students. All partners in our system must have the knowledge that there are supports in place so that educators can continue to be as current as possible in classrooms and in leadership roles in education.

The concept of an independent, self-funding and professional college of teachers for both English- and French-language teachers was one of the fundamental recommendations of the Hall-Dennis report two decades ago and the Royal Commission on Learning earlier this year. The former government indicated its recognition of the importance of the college by setting up the Ontario College of Teachers implementation committee.

An independent college of teachers will ensure excellence in teaching and improve accountability, as well as confidence, in the public education system.

This initiative is part of our strategy to provide Ontario's students with the most professional, accountable, effective, high-quality education system in Canada. It's part of our vision that includes secondary school reform and other measures which I intend to announce shortly.

The proposed structure and mandate of the college is consistent with other professional, self-regulating bodies, such as those for nurses, doctors, lawyers and chartered accountants. The college will set out clear standards of practice and a framework of career-long professional learning for teachers. It will create and monitor standards for teachers and improve teacher education.

An Ontario College of Teachers will enable teachers to govern their own profession. It will give teachers more say in defining and controlling their professional conduct and practice.

Through the college, parents, students and taxpayers will know what standards of performance to expect from teachers and how teachers pursue their own professional development.

Accountability will also be enhanced by the requirement for public representation on the college's governing council and all committees, as well as by regular reporting to the minister and college members.

In addition, the Ontario College of Teachers will provide leadership and quality control in the development of teacher training programs to meet the changing needs of our society and the high demands of the profession.

Excellence in teaching is key to excellence in education. Today, we're taking another positive step forward towards that excellence and towards a better future for the teachers, taxpayers and students of Ontario.

Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): I'm pleased to respond to the Minister of Education and Training's announcement today on the College of Teachers implementation task force report. I'm pleased that the minister is finally responding officially to this report, since I had previously asked him about his priorities, whereupon he stated that he felt the quality of education was indeed his priority.

I too feel that we should focus on the quality of education and that the best way we can ensure that students are receiving the highest standard is to help prepare our teachers as well as possible and to provide them support with significant in-service training throughout their careers. That, to my mind, is the raison d'être of a college for teachers.

This college should be designated to provide the support structure teachers need and deserve. The college should also be responsible for maintaining a universal standard of teaching in every region of the province and across every school board.

I'm aware that all three parties had supported the creation of a College of Teachers. In addition, I've been meeting with a variety of teachers' organizations and federations about the concept of an Ontario College of Teachers, and my understanding is that a number of concerns have been raised, including the cost, the need for the creation of yet another bureaucracy at this time, the composition of the membership and, in particular, the representation of the publicly appointed members to the college's governing council.

But I was pleased to see that the minister said in his statement that this will enable teachers "to govern their own profession. It will give teachers more say in defining and controlling their professional conduct and practice." This is a concern of many of the teachers' federations I have spoken to.

There should be an opportunity, therefore, for those who have concerns about how this college is to be set up to be able to make their representations to the government when legislation comes forward.

Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): I would like to bring to the attention of the minister once again, as I did a number of months ago when we came to the implementation committee in terms of the College of Teachers, that there was no representation from the north, and I've heard that from a good number of teachers, who are very interested not only in the education of northern students but in the education of students across the province. I would like to bring that concern again to the attention of the minister.

This announcement today has a number of very catchy phrases: "excellence in teaching" -- where have we heard that before? -- "career-long professional learning," "improve accountability," "create and monitor standards for teachers," "improve teachers' education," and the one I like, "govern their own profession." That's a good number of catchy phrases, Mr Minister, but they too want representation when it comes to building a committee, when it comes to representation on such a committee.

But I do think the bottom line in terms of any College of Teachers, in terms of anything to regulate teaching, is the students in the classroom. Minister, I have to ask you to pay particular attention to what this is going to do for the quality of education for those people to whom it means most: the students in the classroom.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I want to echo the words of my two colleagues who have cautioned the Minister of Education to move with a good deal of care in this regard, taking into account the representations that have been made to the ministry.

Both the member for Ottawa Centre and the member for Kenora have appropriately pointed out how best a policy can be implemented with a good deal of consultation with others. We don't want to make any mistakes in the implementation of this policy. We don't want to see the government moving forward only to have to step back from it after some time, either because of the cost of the implementation of this policy or because of the makeup, eventually, of the college.

I think the minister would be extremely wise to listen with a good deal of care to the cautions that have been expressed by the member for Ottawa Centre and the member for Kenora. While the minister is doing that, I would also ask that he speak to the Minister of Health about an MRI for St Catharines.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I'd like to join my colleagues in responding to the statement of the Minister of Education and Training. As the minister indicated, the Hall-Dennis report over two decades ago already had recommended such a college, and the Royal Commission on Learning that was established by the previous government also recommended such a college to give teachers control over their own profession.

I'd like to commend the former minister, the member for Windsor-Riverside, for taking the initiative to establish an implementation committee to look at how the recommendations of the royal commission might be proceeded with. I'm happy now that the minister is responding to the report of the implementation committee.

What is particularly interesting and important to recognize is that the proposal of the implementation committee is that the College of Teachers should have control over the curriculum and training provided at and for faculties of education in Ontario. I think that's a very important step in terms of ensuring that teachers have control over the training of their profession.

The college also will have control over in-service training and ongoing professional development of teachers so they can keep up with new developments in pedagogy and with the technologies and needs of students and our society, and how to ensure that in the classroom and outside it students are receiving the best possible education. It will also ensure that there is proper accountability and that teachers have a significant say in the board of governors.

I'm pleased to see that the implementation committee did not recommend formal recertification every five years, and I'm happy that the minister is not responding in a way that would have emphasized that.

I would also say clearly, though, that our caucus will request that the legislation, if it passes second reading in this House, will then be referred to committee to ensure that all the affiliates of the Ontario Teachers' Federation, along with other interested parties, will be able to bring to the committee their concerns, concerns related to the cost, the composition of the governing council, the numbers of teachers involved, the geographic representation on the council, and the working of the college with regard to ongoing professional development and what that will mean for individual teachers and for education in Ontario.

With that in mind, we look forward to the debate on the legislation.


Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): I'm very pleased to join my colleague in congratulating the minister in bringing forward this policy statement from the government.

I think what's most important today is that, as the minister and the critics have said, we have had public consultation. The Hall-Dennis report recommended this. I believe it was also recommended in the 1970s. It was proposed by a previous Minister of Education, Bette Stephenson, although the proposal she put forward was destined for destruction because of interference with the labour representation of teachers at that time. Then we had the Royal Commission on Learning, and now we've had the implementation team that has also consulted.

So I'm not quite as concerned as perhaps the Liberals, who now seem to be expressing their concern about more consultation. I think what the public is looking for now and what parents are looking for now is that there actually be concrete steps and that there be action taken.

I want to encourage the minister to get the legislation into the House and to encourage his House leader to schedule the legislation for second reading so we can get that legislation out to committee so this actually happens and becomes law for next spring. There's a lot of misinformation being passed around about a potential college, and a lot of that misinformation will be corrected once the legislation is in the House.

I want to finish by making one point. There will continue to be lots of controversy around the makeup of the council. I think we've got lots of experience and precedents in this place, with councils, with health disciplines legislation, and it's absolutely essential that the public interest be protected on the makeup of that council. That means there has to be significant public representation, and I think the proposal from the implementation team is a proper proposal that protects the teachers --

The Speaker: Time has expired.



Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Minister of Finance. I understand that during the recent Ontario Hospital Association's annual convention, the colleague of the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Health, said publicly that he favours stable funding, which I would interpret to mean a freeze in transfer payments to our hospitals. Minister, do you agree with the Minister of Health that transfer payments to hospitals should be frozen at current levels?

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I think that question is more appropriately referred to the Minister of Health.

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): What I said to the Ontario Hospital Association is that we understand its request to government for stable funding, and I said we would try and respect that request for stable funding. We didn't say anything about the level of transfers. They wanted stable and predictable funding, which I believe is the policy that we should try and provide.

The honourable member should be aware that to prime the pump for these restructurings, millions of dollars are needed up front in new capital in order to move forward with these restructurings. We have been talking very seriously with the hospital association and there are no illusions on their side. They fully understand that we have to find some dollars in order to reinvest that money to prime the pump and get moving on some of these restructurings, which I think all three provincial parties agree are long overdue in this province.

Mrs McLeod: It's apparent, due to the fact that the Minister of Finance was not prepared to respond to the question and referred it back to the Minister of Health, that the Minister of Health unfortunately does not have the support of his very significant colleagues in his apparent interest in stable funding for our health care system and in particular for our hospitals.

I'm further confused about this government's commitment when I hear the Minister of Health himself say that stable funding has absolutely nothing to do, in his understanding, with transfer payments to hospitals. Minister, what on earth do you mean by "stable funding" if it has nothing to do with the level of funding you will provide to our hospitals next week?

Hon Mr Wilson: I think the honourable member will want to take a read of my first response. Clearly, the hospital association asked all three parties prior to the election and during the election, and now that we're the government they're asking the government, for stable and predictable funding. Their request is that when the level of transfers is set, we let them know for as long a period of time as possible what the funding levels will be. That's what they mean by stable and predictable funding. They prefer us to tell them two and three years at a time.

That is something we are trying to do as a government, to ensure that that sector can restructure properly and with some security; that there won't be surprises, because it has been a number of years since a Finance Minister in this province has actually hit the targets he told the transfer payment partners he would hit. We don't want to be like other governments; we want to truly live up to stable and predictable funding and not miss our targets. We're trying to put this all together in a responsible way so there won't be surprises in years two and three.

Mrs McLeod: There were questions asked before the election about stable funding, and we certainly committed as a party to stable funding, as the party opposite did. We were very clear on what stable funding meant when it came to hospitals. It meant there would be a freeze in transfer payments in each of the next four years.

Subsequently, in the election campaign, the party opposite that now forms the government made a very clear, very simple, very straightforward commitment to the people of Ontario when they said there would be no cuts to health care. I think we have to establish the fact very clearly that for people who need health care services a cut next week to hospitals is a cut to the health care they need.

I am concerned because we hear the media reports that transfer payments to hospitals are indeed going to be reduced when we see the expenditure statement next week. We're concerned about the fact that the Minister of Health, the Minister of Finance and the Premier himself have refused to sign a very simple pledge reaffirming their commitment that there would be no health care cuts.

I want this minister today to clear the air, to reassure the public that they are committed to no cuts to health care, which means, surely, no cuts to our hospital budgets. Minister, will you make that clear and simple commitment today and end the confusion?

Hon Mr Wilson: I find the honourable member's comments passing strange, because I've read through the red book, the Liberals' campaign document. Our party today is spending $17.4 billion on health care --


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

Hon Mr Wilson: I've already answered the "stable and predictable funding" part. What the people of Ontario want to do and what the Ontario Hospital Association wants to do is read pages 30 and 38 of your red book, which said that you are only committing to a $17-billion funding envelope for health care in this province. Perhaps your "stable funding" meant you were going to take $400 million out of mental health, $400 million out of hospitals, $400 million out of dialysis and long-term community services.

Our commitment to health care, on a dollar-per-dollar basis, is far more significant than you committed to the people of this province.


The Speaker: Order. The question has been answered.

Mrs McLeod: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: If the government would like to use others' commitments as a reference point in this House, I would ask him not to misrepresent those commitments. The commitment made by our party during that election campaign was very clear that --

The Speaker: That is not a point of order.


The Speaker: Order. I'd appreciate a little bit of decorum in this Legislature. Thank you. The leader of the official opposition has the floor.

Mrs McLeod: In any event, I'm only asking the government about its commitments. The question was quite simple.



Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): I will then make my second question to the Minister of Education and Training.

Minister, your government has rather clearly signalled, unlike the Ministry of Health, that when it brings down its economic statement next week, it intends to make very significant cuts to post-secondary education. I think it's fair to say that students across this province are increasingly concerned about what these cuts are going to mean to them and whether, as a result of your cuts to universities and colleges next week, they're going to be facing massive increases in tuition.

I think it's important that we understand what this government is proposing to do. They're talking about slashing funds for education, for colleges and universities, in order to provide that tax cut next spring for the most well-to-do in this province and it is going to be paid for by students and by their families. It seems that this government is prepared to actually wash its hands of any responsibility for the impact of its tax cut and the cuts to colleges and universities on tuition fees for students.

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

Mrs McLeod: They are going to do that by something called deregulation or partial deregulation. So my question is a very simple one to the minister: Could you please explain to us and to students across this province what you mean by "partial deregulation" and what impact that will have on tuition fees for students?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): To the Leader of the Opposition, I'd like to assure the member that this government is committed to ensuring two things: one, that we have the highest quality of post-secondary education in the province of Ontario of anyplace in the world, and secondly, that we have the opportunity for all people who qualify to go to those institutions in the future. That's why we're exploring support systems for students in the province and that's why we're working with our partners in the colleges and the universities across Ontario to make sure that those institutions are both viable and of the best possible quality.

Mrs McLeod: I didn't hear any response to a question about partial deregulation or the effect it will have on tuition for students. The question that I'm asking the minister today is about who pays. It's quite a simple question and I'm going to ask it as simply and in as straightforward a manner as I can.

There is another document besides the campaign document of the party that now forms the government and that's a document that was published in October 1992, a document called New Directions, Volume Two: A Blueprint for Learning. In that document, it says very clearly that tuition fees should pay for approximately 25% of the cost of a college or university education.

I ask you, Minister, is that the benchmark that you currently are using? Is it still your party's position that 25% is a reasonable share for students to pay for the cost of their education? Could you also tell me, if that is your benchmark, if you do go ahead with deregulation or partial deregulation and leave the decision about tuition up to colleges and universities, how you intend to ensure that students' tuitions aren't going to go up much higher and they'll be paying much more than that 25% benchmark?

Hon Mr Snobelen: Let me assure the Leader of the Opposition that this party is very committed to ensuring that the support systems for students in this province allow for those who are qualified to go to a college or university and that those university or college programs are of the highest quality possible. Of course we'll work with those institutions on the proper regulatory system for tuitions across the province that meets the needs of the institutions, the needs of the students and the broader needs of the taxpayers and people of Ontario.

I should say that that'll be consistent with, if I remember correctly, page 46 of the red book, wherein the leader's party said, and I quote --


Hon Mr Snobelen: If I can quote from this document, it says, "Students should pay a fair and appropriate share of the costs of their post-secondary education." We certainly concur with that.

Mrs McLeod: There is nothing I would like better than to be able to fulfil my commitments to the people of this province, but unfortunately it's the government's commitments that are at issue today, and the government's commitment to that "fair and reasonable share" that the minister has just suggested we all believe in.

The government's commitment supposedly was that a fair and reasonable share for students was 25% of the cost of a college or university education. That's the bottom line. The bottom line is, who pays, how much and who's responsible for deciding who should pay? The bottom line for students and their families, Minister, is whether or not a university or college education is going to be within their financial reach in the province of Ontario. The bottom line is that if you make drastic cuts to colleges and universities' funding and you deregulate and let the universities and colleges decide whether or not they're going to cover the cost of those cuts with tuition increases, students are going to pay the price of your cuts; students and their families are going to pay for the tax cut that you want to give to the most well-to-do people in this province. That's the bottom line.

You said 25% was a fair and reasonable share -- at least, in 1992 you said it was. Stats Canada says that students in Ontario now are paying 26.2% of the cost of their college and university education. That's more than what you once considered to be a fair and reasonable share of 25%. So if students are already paying more than what you consider to be a fair and reasonable share, how can you justify making students and their families pay for your income tax cut?

Hon Mr Snobelen: I believe I've taken a fair try at answering that question. I believe it's important that we work as a government with the institutions that are directly affected in the province: the colleges and the universities. The people across this province know that a substantial amount of post-secondary education costs are borne by taxpayers. That's certainly been a long tradition in Ontario, and the question is, what ratio should it be?

I also want to point out to the member opposite that this government has the responsibility for preparing young people for the future. It also has the responsibility for preparing that future for our young people, of directing investment to this province, of creating the vitality in our economy that's necessary so that those students, when they get out of college or university, have a job and a career and a place to build a family, and that's part of our responsibility as a government.


Mr Bob Rae (York South): We all know for a fact that the Minister of Education and Training is the only Conservative minister who's in favour of stable funding. But that's because he's in the business of training horses.

My question is to the minister responsible for francophone affairs. I was somewhat surprised yesterday when I read my weekly copy of L'Express, the weekly newspaper in the French community in Toronto, which features an exclusive interview with the minister responsible for francophone affairs.

At the end of the interview he is quoted as saying, and it's a direct quotation -- I'll read it in French and than translate it: «Il y même des collèges et des universités qui devront fermer. Mais la fermeture d'universités ne nous (les francophones) touchera pas, on n'en a pas !»

The translation of that would be, and it's directly in quotation marks; it's not attributed or anything: "There are even colleges and universities which will have to close, but the shutdown of universities will not touch the francophone community because we don't have any universities."

Now, I'd like to ask the minister of francophone affairs -- it's a rather extraordinary quotation -- can he tell us why he would have made such a statement?

Hon Noble Villeneuve (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, minister responsible for francophone affairs): I will refer this to the honourable Minister of Education as it does not touch my ministry.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Order. The question has been referred.



The Speaker: Order. I don't know whether you're interested in hearing the answer or not, but if you are, I wish you would listen. Minister.

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I must say that although there were lots of groans in this House I enjoyed that ray of humour. But enough of the horsing around.

I want to assure the honourable member that this government has absolutely no plans at this point in time to close any universities. Certainly that would be a responsibility of the universities, not this government.

Mr Rae: To sacrifice your colleagues for your own life is truly noble indeed.

I wonder if I might ask the minister -- this is one of his colleagues, the minister responsible for francophone affairs. I'm not making up this quotation; it's contained directly in an interview. I presume the person who made the interview has the tape of what the minister said, and your cabinet colleague says very directly, "There are even colleges and universities which will have to close." That's directly what he said.

Why would a minister of the crown, who's participated in a series of cabinet discussions --

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): He's been around here for a few years.

Mr Rae: -- who's been around and is a person of great experience, why would he have made such a comment if it were not true?

Hon Mr Snobelen: In response to the question from the member, again I have no knowledge of any colleges or universities that intend to close in the province of Ontario. Of course those are autonomous organizations, but I have received no information that they would have.

Mr Rae: Mr Speaker, we're in a somewhat difficult situation, in that the minister who made the comment has refused to answer the question. But I can assure him there will come other opportunities for him to answer, and I suggest he enjoy the next 40 minutes of peace in this chamber.

But what I would ask his colleague is, can you therefore provide no explanation as to why one of your colleagues would have made such a comment?

Hon Mr Snobelen: In answer to the honourable member's question, having recently been new to this chamber I have only recently had the experience of reading some of my own comments in the media and I'm not sure that I've been able to explain those quite well. So I will not answer as to whether those comments are accurately reflected or in fact what speculation might have been going on.


Mr Bob Rae (York South): My question is to the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, who made a statement the other day in the House where he said that government had no role in the creation of jobs. The University of Toronto has a computer-simulated model of the economy called the Focus model, which I'm sure the minister is familiar with. Every $1 million worth of tax cuts creates about 14 jobs, while about $1 million in capital spending by the government creates about 21 jobs. Those numbers are backed up by independent analysts, by bank computers and others that I'm sure your ministry is familiar with since all people in the government use them.

In light of that, I'd like to ask the minister why he would make such a statement as to suggest that the government, in its capital investment, in its research investment, in its support for the social and economic capital of the province does not in fact have a constructive role in creating jobs, and why he's placing all his emphasis on tax cuts?

Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): I'm very happy to respond to the leader of the third party. I happen to believe, and my party believes, that government does not create jobs; the private sector creates the jobs. I would just like to read a quotation from the leader of the third party who said, back on September 24 -- now that he is making quotes up for me, I'll just quote on him.


Hon Mr Saunderson: Well, that's fair. The quotation is this: "I know that there are some difficult things to be done, so there's no point in my going into the House and pretending there aren't difficult things to be done." Well, Mr Speaker, let me tell you, there are --


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

Hon Mr Saunderson: It's taking quite a long time to get this answer done. What we want to do is create the climate for good jobs. But I might say that I don't believe that handouts to businesses make much sense. I'd like to name just a few of the wonderful handouts that were given by the previous government. Can you believe they gave $1 million to Mövenpick Restaurants of Switzerland? To Kaufman Footwear, $1.5 million? But now we have more unemployment than we've had in the last five years. I'm happy to say it's changing.

Mr Rae: I'm wounded but I'll rise again. What I might ask the minister to do is to try to answer the question, and that is this: I put to him a very simple proposition, and that is that the overwhelming evidence of economic analysts is that capital investment by government does in fact create jobs; just ask the construction workers who used to work on the subway and who are laid off. They know that it creates jobs. The question --


The Speaker: Order.

Mr Rae: It's very hard in this very turbulent atmosphere to be heard. But I wonder, if I might just say to the minister, the evidence is that an income tax cut in and of itself creates fewer jobs than the jobs that you are losing by all the cuts you're bringing in. That's the overwhelming evidence of what's taking place. That's the evidence; that's the view of the professional economists out there.

I'm simply asking the minister, why is he putting so much faith in the income tax cuts when the overall effect of all the other cuts that they're making is going to displace jobs rather than create jobs?

Hon Mr Saunderson: We're not only putting faith in the income tax cuts, but we're putting faith in a lot of other things, such as a reduction of the Workers' Compensation Board premium. I'd like to add as well that the Canadian Labour Congress's senior economist --


The Speaker: Order. Would the House come to order, please. I can hear my phone ringing already.


Hon Mr Saunderson: I can well imagine why the noise is coming from the other side of the House, because our message is so good.

I would just like to quote from the Canadian Labour Congress senior economist Kevin Hayes, who says in the Globe and Mail on October 18 that the declining purchasing power is undermining the ability of consumers to help spend the economy out of its lethargy. There's this theory floating around that you can somehow have an economic recovery without improving the incomes of workers, he said, but it's impossible. That's why the tax cut.

Mr Rae: There are tax cuts and there are tax cuts. Ordinary people making less than $40,000 will be getting a very minimal tax cut on a net basis, and those making more than $40,000 will be getting the lion's share. So Mr Jackson is not going to be of any help to you.

You've cancelled JumpStart; that's 10,000 jobs. You've cancelled the subway; that's 2,300 new jobs. You've cancelled all those projects which you announced two weeks ago. I'd like to ask you, now that you've had two weeks since you made your announcement with respect to the cancellation of all the projects that were cancelled two weeks ago, can you now tell us how many jobs this will cost the province of Ontario?

Hon Mr Saunderson: I'd just like to tell the leader of the third party that in September and October, 27,000 new jobs had been created. I think that speaks for itself.


Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): My question is for the Minister of Education and Training. Earlier today the Federation of Women Teachers' Associations of Ontario and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association held a joint news conference to voice their concerns over the Conservative government's throne speech commitment to revert junior kindergarten to an optional basis. This announcement has caused considerable worry and considerable anguish among many educators and the parents of over 100,000 children who attended JK, junior kindergarten, last year.

Can the minister outline for the members of the Legislature here today what savings his government intends to save as a result of reverting junior kindergarten to an optional basis, and how does he intend to redirect those savings to improve early childhood learning?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): As I'm sure the honourable member opposite knows, in the Common Sense Revolution this government made a very, very clear promise to the people of Ontario. In regard to junior kindergarten, that promise is explicit. We said that we would make junior kindergarten optional for school boards across the province and we said we would review the application of junior kindergarten to come up with the best options for Ontario.

Mr Patten: If the minister thinks that he can cut a bit at the top end and a bit at the bottom end in order to find savings without impacting on the quality of education, I think he's mistaken. The minister continues to talk about value for dollar and affordability. The only issue of affordability is whether Ontario can afford the types of drastic cuts to education that it appears this government is planning.

As the minister knows, early childhood learning gives children a head start and improves the rate of success throughout their education, and indeed into the workplace. Students stay in school longer, have improved reading, math and language skills and a greater chance for further employment, but most significant is the positive impact it has on disadvantaged children.

There is no question that improvements can be and should be made in Ontario's education system. However, my question is, when will the minister start treating educational reforms as educational reforms and not as economic reforms?

Hon Mr Snobelen: I believe that by inference the honourable member opposite is suggesting that the boards of education, that the members of the boards of education across the province of Ontario, that the directors of education, that educators across the province and parents, local area parents and local taxpayers, are not able to make choices around junior kindergarten themselves, that they need Queen's Park to dictate this policy to them.

I believe that the boards of education understand the needs of the young people in those communities, and this government trusts them to make the right decisions. That's why we're making it a local option.


Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services.


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

Mr Cooke: Minister, when social assistance benefits were cut by your government, there was no provision to protect families with disabled children. If a family is in receipt of social assistance and there is a disabled adult, the benefits are not cut. If, however, the family has a disabled child, the benefits are cut 22%, despite your government's election commitment that the disabled would not be affected.

When this question has been asked in the House before, you've talked about such programs as the handicapped children's benefits and special services at home, but the minister knows that those programs are specific for the needs of those children and their physical disabilities that they need that support for. There is a difference in your approach. If you're a disabled adult, your social assistance rates aren't cut. If you're in a family and you're a disabled child, the rates are cut. Can the minister explain why there's this discrepancy and why he has broken their election promise?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): It's very clear that there's a real lack of understanding of what got us into this problem in the first place, and unfortunately people don't want to recognize the dirty laundry that's delivered back to their own doorsteps here.

I will deal with this question in a second, but I want to start with this: It's pretty evident right now from the third party itself that they believe that the welfare system wasn't working at the time they were in government and they had huge problems to begin with. My predecessor, Mr Silipo, has indicated that the welfare system in Ontario simply doesn't work any more. It's an expensive, inefficient system that hasn't kept pace with the changing needs of the people of Ontario.

I'm not denying that there are some difficulties out there right now, but on the other hand, we only have an opportunity right now, as a government, as a province, to save this province from this huge problem we have.

I thank the member for certainly mentioning a couple of programs that really are of benefit to disabled children: special services at home and handicapped benefits as well.

Mr Cooke: The minister can get up now that he's constantly getting his coaching from a $1,200-a-day consultant. The fact is, it's not just the members of the opposition parties who have this concern for disabled children. You have letters, and I've got two of them from your own caucus members.

The last one that we've got is a copy of a letter that was sent on October 24 from Lillian Ross, Hamilton West. In that letter she wrote, "I would like your officials to examine the issues raised in Wendy's letter and ensure that we are living up to our election commitment and not cutting assistance to the disabled and their families." Obviously, your own caucus understands that you're breaking an election commitment.

Mrs Johns, also a member of your caucus, wrote a letter that states, "The cuts in family benefits and general welfare are not supposed to affect the disabled or the elderly, but they are going to affect disabled children," and refers to a case in her constituency.

I'll send these two letters over to the minister, but I'd like to ask the minister, instead of standing up and giving these smart-aleck answers, what is he prepared to do for the disabled children whom he's cut and who are suffering as a result of his actions?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: These are not what the member opposite would categorize as smart-aleck answers. Unfortunately, the member opposite is failing to recognize the fact that they've caused a huge problem -- your government particularly. You cannot deny the problems we've been left with.


The Speaker: Order. The member for Oriole is out of order again.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I can only say one thing to you: On welfare over the last 10 years, $40 billion. If you guys hadn't been wasting the money in the province, we'd have money to deal with all kinds of problems that we have and --

The Speaker: The question has been answered.



Mr Douglas B. Ford (Etobicoke-Humber): My question is for the Minister of Labour. Recently, concerns have been expressed that the government is planning to move the responsibility for the enforcement of the Occupational Health and Safety Act to the Workers' Compensation Board. From the Ministry of Labour, can you clarify today what is the intention of the government with respect to the enforcement of occupational health and safety?

Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Minister of Labour): I'd like to assure the member and anyone else in the House, or anyone else in the province, who has concerns about the enforcement of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that this responsibility will remain with the Ministry of Labour. The only shift will be the responsibility for the prevention of workplace accidents, and that will shift to the Workers' Compensation Board.

Mr Ford: Currently, a review is being conducted of the system of health and safety in this province. How can we assure workers that health and safety is of great concern to this government and is, as you have stated on numerous occasions, your number one priority?

Hon Mrs Witmer: I would just like to give my personal assurance and the assurance of our government: We are extremely concerned, and certainly health and safety is a number one priority for our government. It's as a result of this that we set up the review of workplace health and safety. We hope that, when the report is presented on December 20, we will have recommendations that will provide us with the safest workplaces in the province. We are also moving forward in order to ensure that we continue to raise public awareness.

I am presently involved with members of the community in the introduction of programs which can ensure that we continue to raise public awareness and educate the public about the need to prevent accidents, injuries and illnesses in the workplace.


Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming): Today I have a question to the Solicitor General. It concerns the right of government workers to freely organize and to work politically, and also my privilege as a member of this Legislature.

Minister, I have a memo from your ministry and it comes from Neil McKerrell, the assistant deputy minister of the correctional services division. It's addressed to all superintendents of jails and the area managers throughout the province. It's regarding job actions and information pickets.

It says to these people, "In the event of any job action and information picket from divisional employees which appears to stem from the government's or ministry's constraint proposals and initiatives, the attached job action information picket form should be completed immediately and sent up to head office."

I can understand why you might want to know what's happening in the workplace, but the memo goes on, "A report should be submitted even if an action in or adjacent to the workplace or to a local MPP's office is only suspected of being related to the constraint proposals of this government."

I'd like to ask the minister straightforwardly, why is it necessary for ministry officials to be spying on government workers and reporting their political activity to head office?

Hon Bob Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): I'll take the question as notice and get back to the member at an early date.

Mr Ramsay: I think the answer to this might come further down in the memo, because it says here, "This report and follow-up reports, as circumstances change, will enable the ministry to monitor any job actions and information pickets and to convey this information to the minister."

As a member -- and especially I have a jail that's under threat. Many of those workers come to my office and meet with me and have other information pickets in my area. I think that's an impingement upon my right to freely associate with my constituents and government workers' rights to speak up for how they see it. Minister, why are you condoning this action?

Hon Mr Runciman: I don't know how the member can conclude that I am condoning it. It wasn't signed by me. I'm not aware of the memo. I've indicated I will pursue it and get back to him at an early date.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I have a question to the Minister of Health. I know he's around. He just went around the corner. Is he available for the question? There he is. Now that we've got the minister back in his seat, I will endeavour to do the question.

Minister, you would know that in the community of Timmins a recent decision has been made by the Timmins and District Hospital to close down the South Porcupine Continuing Care centre. The board and past boards in the city of Timmins, through this hospital, have done an extreme amount of work in order to make sure that they make this hospital, the Timmins and District Hospital, the most efficient hospital possible.

In fact, speaking to board officials and speaking to the district health councils and your own ministry officials, they are recognizing that the Timmins and District Hospital is one of the most well-run hospitals in our hospital system in the province of Ontario, and I think that attests to the hard work of the people of the hospital and the community, and the former government as well, who worked with them in order to attain that level. We've done all of this, this hospital has done all of this at the same time as being able to maintain a high degree of confidence on the part of the citizens of Timmins in that hospital.

My question to the minister is simply this: Given that the hospital has no other choice, given your government's position to increase the Timmins and District Hospital, will you commit to the people of Timmins and our hospital that you will at the very least protect the present budget of the Timmins and District Hospital and not reduce it in any way, in order not to jeopardize the services that the hospital provides not only to Timmins but to the people of the district of Cochrane?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): On behalf of the ministry and the government, we appreciate the efforts that your constituents are making to try and find efficiencies and maintain quality care.

Not to avoid your question in any way, but I guess I'm a little unclear as to what exactly you're asking. The ministry, as you know, back into your government's day, has been working very closely with the people you represent, your local people. I understand the level of cooperation has been exceptional.

I was reading through the clippings the other day and I saw comments like "Closing Centre Makes Sense," "East End Hospital Might Be Closed," but then it goes on and talks about this being a local decision and says that most people in your area seem to understand very well that it's not bricks and mortar that provide the treatments and services, that it's very much the people and the services that count and the outcomes we get with respect to better population health.

So in your supplementary perhaps you could give me greater guidance as to what you require.

Mr Bisson: This particular hospital has done everything in their power to make sure that they're as efficient as possible. In fact, they balanced their budget last year, they're going to be doing so again this year and they're doing that by making the decisions. They have no other choice to make because they know your government is not prepared to increase the budget of the hospital, so they're closing down the South Porcupine Continuing Care centre and moving that facility and the beds into the new Timmins and District Hospital.

What I want to get assurance on from you is simply this: Our hospital and our community, with a lot of difficulty, have made this decision. There are people in my community still to this day, as well as myself, who are having an extremely difficult time accepting that we have to close down the facility in South Porcupine. Nobody wants to do this.

We want an assurance in our community that you as the Minister of Health will commit to what you've said in the Common Sense Revolution and not push the budget of the Timmins and District Hospital downwards, so that in the future they're going to be able to provide the services. If you cut that budget they're not going to, so will you commit to freezing at least the Timmins and District Hospital budget to what it is today and not reducing it in future budgets?

Hon Mr Wilson: It's my understanding that your local community and the hospital, which is eight kilometres away, I believe, agreed that since they had a vacant third floor and they were providing most of the acute care services at the hospital, it only made sense to move the chronic care beds and the dialysis services that are currently at the South Porcupine site on to one site.

Mr Bisson: That's not the question.

Hon Mr Wilson: It is the question, because you're implying that your people are doing this because it's somehow a money thing. Your people agreed to this through the district health council and they're to be highly commended for it because they realized that having a vacant third floor was serving no one very well, and consolidating the services gave better services to your constituents.

With respect to the money aspect, we'll certainly take your comments under consideration, and your hospital will be fully credited for the cost savings it's found to date. We should be celebrating this local agreement that wasn't driven by politicians here at Queen's Park but a realization by your local people that they can deliver services in a more efficient way and in a way that --

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



Mr Joseph N. Tascona (Simcoe Centre): My question is for the Minister of Correctional Services. Yesterday, you announced the appointment of a task force of community leaders and MPPs to develop a strict discipline program for Ontario young offenders. Could you tell the House whether the public will have an opportunity to provide input to the process?

Hon Bob Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): Yes, there will be opportunities for the public and members of the Legislature to have input into the task force deliberations. Since the election of the government, I've certainly received a great deal of mail about this issue, as I know other members have. A number of members of the assembly have indicated an interest, because of their backgrounds, with respect to this issue as well.

The co-chairs, who are members of the assembly, will be developing a framework to provide opportunities for consultation both from within the assembly and from the public, and they will be announcing that framework, I would hope, within the next few weeks.

Mr Tascona: Yesterday, the honourable member for Timiskaming talked about studies that have been done which do not portray boot camps in a favourable light. Will the task force be looking at these studies when assessing the strict discipline concept?

Hon Mr Runciman: Yes, we will. Certainly it's our intention to develop a program or programs that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of this province. A number of the studies mentioned yesterday have negative things to say about strict discipline, and we're going to be taking a careful look at those as well as the positive experiences that some jurisdictions have experienced. We want to make sure we don't fall into those traps in terms of shortcomings, but at the same time that we adopt the positive results that have occurred in a number of areas.

What we're hoping to achieve, obviously, is a positive impact on young offenders so they in turn can make a positive contribution to society. The majority of Ontario taxpayers are counting on this government to do just that.


Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. It's my understanding, according to some September 21, 1995, minutes I have here that a proposal has been made by the Charitable Gaming Advisory Committee of the Gaming Control Commission to conduct what is called a provincial bingo. Apparently this is a satellite bingo game with a prize range between $25,000 and $45,000, and as the minister knows, it will be run by commercial bingo establishments. Could the minister tell me and tell the House what effect this will have on charitable bingos?

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): I'm aware that this application has been made to the gaming commission and that it's considering this matter. There is no doubt that this kind of province-wide network bingo would affect charitable bingos to a very great degree. That is one concern I have, and I'm sure the gaming commission will take it into consideration in terms of whether or not it gives this particular kind of gaming the green light.

Mr Crozier: The minister will know that it's been quoted by the promoters of this scheme that it will likely kill any small charitable bingo, within range of a commercial establishment. The Charity Watch Bulletin, a paper put out by concerned small service clubs, churches and non-profit organizations, is concerned about it as well. The minister will know this is scheduled to start on January 1, according to these minutes.

I ask the minister if you will commit to us now that this will not start, in fact will never start, if it affects charitable bingos.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The question has been asked.

Mr Crozier: The government wants these service organizations to help with social assistance, and you just can't pull the rug out from under them. So will you stop this --

The Speaker: Minister.

Hon Mr Sterling: The member well knows that the gaming commission is charged with making these kinds of decisions, as to the kind of gaming that should be undertaken or allowed in the province of Ontario. I will convey the member's concern to the gaming commission and will report to him any response I get from them.

I do want to add, however, that I share his concern with regard to the continuing competition which charities are facing as the other part of the gaming pie enlarges. It is certainly my intent and our government's intent to assist charities in maintaining this source of revenue as we understand that it is very important for local concerns and local causes.


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I have a question for the Minister of Education and Training flowing from the press conference by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association and the Federation of Women Teachers' Associations of Ontario at St Luigi school this morning, at which press conference the representatives of the federations and boards who were there indicated that for every dollar spent now on early childhood education, society saves approximately $7 in the future because of the improved socialization, language skills, number skills, which lead to a better academic performance and to fewer dropouts, fewer unwanted pregnancies, greater self-esteem and fewer instances of delinquency and better access to good jobs.

If that is the case, does the minister agree with those assertions, and if he does, could he explain why his government is not making the continuation of junior kindergarten across Ontario a higher priority?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): To the honourable member opposite, as I've said before this afternoon in the House, this government made a very clear commitment to the people of Ontario during the last election and in the Common Sense Revolution that we would do two things relating to junior kindergarten. One of those things is that we would make it optional across the province, and we've said that from the speech from the throne earlier this year. Secondly, we've said that junior kindergarten, as a program, needs to have a serious review to see, what are the options to meet those needs across the province? We are engaged in that review now.

Mr Wildman: Isn't it a bit phoney for the government to say that it intends to have it optional for boards across the province but at the same time to be contemplating major cuts in funding for that program for the boards? If the minister really believes it should be a local decision, can he now give a commitment that the provincial government will continue the current level of funding and that there will not be any provincial funding cuts for junior kindergarten programs across Ontario?

Hon Mr Snobelen: It's interesting. Today we've heard comments about "stable" and "horse" and now "pony." I don't know what --

Mr Wildman: Phoney.

Hon Mr Snobelen: Oh, phoney. Oh, I see. I thought you said "pony."

I can assure the member opposite that we will keep our promises to the people of Ontario. This government will do with junior kindergarten exactly what it said it would do: It'll make it optional next year and it will give it a serious review to see what are the options that the children of Ontario need.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): New question, the member for Lambton.


The Speaker: Order. The member for Grey-Owen Sound is out of order. The member for Lambton.



Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton): My question is for the minister responsible for workers' compensation reform. Farming operations in my constituency, like other small businesses in Ontario, are concerned about the financial situation at the WCB. More importantly, they are concerned about the impact the unfunded liability will have on their assessment rates. In 1993-94, the agricultural community paid approximately $38 million into the workers' compensation system, while claims were approximately $6 million. The agricultural sector is putting a significant amount of money into the system.

During the debate on Bill 15, the Liberal Party in this House condemned the fact that the rates were frozen. Yet in this red book, which has got a little dust on it, on page 11 it states that a Liberal government would freeze the WCB rates. Could the minister indicate to the House just how this rate freeze has assisted in maintaining the competitive edge for our agricultural community?

Hon Cameron Jackson (Minister without Portfolio [Workers' Compensation Board]): I appreciate the question from the member for Lambton. He does raise some very interesting points on behalf of the agricultural community in this province. I must admit I too was rather confused listening to the debate on Bill 15, the fact that the Liberals now don't even support their position of a rate freeze.

We took the position of a rate freeze in this province because of listening to groups like the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, groups that have indicated that they are sitting poised to receive, on average, a 15% rate increase for workers' compensation costs.

I want to remind members of all political parties in every corner of this chamber -- my colleague over there from Essex South has raised concerns on behalf of tobacco farmers in his riding; my colleague from Norfolk, the same. These are very, very expensive workers' compensation rates.

Finally, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture has a government that's prepared to consult with it and look at what the contemporary challenges for agriculture are in this province and how that'll be reflected by a more sensitive approach to workers' compensation reform.

Mr Beaubien: Farmers in my constituency and indeed farm workers want to ensure that they are able to contain their costs. Unlike other sectors of the economy, they are unable to pass along their costs to consumers, or it is somewhat difficult at times. Can the minister indicate whether he will take the matter under consideration as he begins to develop his reform proposals?

Hon Mr Jackson: The fact is that when I was first given this assignment, my colleague the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Honourable Noble Villeneuve, approached me to make sure we had a very clear idea of the kinds of concerns being expressed by the farm community and farm workers in the province.

I'm pleased to report not only this government's decision to freeze rates in response to their concerns but also to look very carefully at the current success of the Farm Safety Association's ongoing work to improve farm safety for workers in this province. I'm very pleased that that kind of input is having an impact on our reforms and I look forward to sharing that with this House after the consultations are completed.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I'd like to file a motion of dissatisfaction with the answer from the minister.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Fill out the necessary form and we'll accept it.



Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I have a petition here, and I keep getting petitions against the proposed jail at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre.

"Whereas the PC government is going to open a 20-bed forensic facility for the criminally insane at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre; and

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

"Whereas there are existing facilities that could be expanded to assess and treat the criminally insane; and

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

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

I have attached my name to this petition.


Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): "Whereas six women present at a meeting held by the minister responsible for women's issues, Dianne Cunningham, at her constituency office on October 25, 1995, agree that they heard the minister state, `Within the context of this government, you need to understand that groups or agencies that are seen not to be working with this government, providing an oppositional voice...will be audited and their funding eliminated'; and

"Whereas the minister responsible for women's issues denies having made this statement;

"We, the undersigned, request that the government establish a legislative committee to determine whether the minister responsible for women's issues abused her authority as a minister of the crown by making threatening and intimidating remarks at the meeting described above."

I will affix my signature to this petition.


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): I've got a petition in regard to Northwestern General Hospital, one of the finest hospitals in this country.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council hospital restructuring committee has wrongly recommended to close Northwestern General Hospital and asked it to merge all programs and services with Humber Memorial Hospital on Humber's site;

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

"That the recommendation of the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council to close Northwestern General Hospital be rejected outright by the government of Ontario and that it keep Northwestern General Hospital open forever."


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I have a petition signed by 300 or 400 people that reads as follows:

"We, the undersigned, are firmly opposed to the erosion of the child care system. We are most particularly concerned about the unregulated child care sector, which represents the choice of most Ontario families, many living in rural areas. We urge this government to make its budget reduction in areas where children and families will not once again be the target of cuts. Family resource programs support the informal sector of child care, which includes parents caring for their own children and care provided by grandparents, home child care providers and nannies."

I attach my name to that petition.


Mr John C. Cleary (Cornwall): I have a petition signed by 9,469 constituents of eastern Ontario who support Cornwall Police Constable Perry Dunlop's action when he reported information on a child abuse case to the children's aid society. The petition reads as follows:

"To the Legislature of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislature of Ontario as follows:

"We fully support Constable Perry Dunlop in his decision to protect children first. Further, that no action or penalty be brought against him."

The petition is signed by all citizens and children in Cornwall. I also have affixed my signature to the petition.


Mr Monte Kwinter (Wilson Heights): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the report of the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council hospital restructuring committee has recommended that North York Branson Hospital merge with York-Finch General Hospital;

"Whereas this recommendation will remove emergency and inpatient services currently provided by North York Branson Hospital, which will seriously jeopardize medical care and the quality of health for the growing population which the hospital serves, many being elderly people who in numerous cases require treatment for life-threatening medical conditions;

"We petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to reject the recommendation contained within the report of the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council hospital restructuring committee as it pertains to North York Branson Hospital so that it retains, at minimum, emergency and inpatient services."

I have affixed my signature.


Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): I have a petition from several constituents, who are expressing their concerns about the directions the present government is taking in regard to child care; also the potential for the government to replace the present subsidy system with a voucher system. "A voucher system," they say, "as proposed by the Conservative government would take the subsidies away from our working parents and give vouchers to single workfare/learnfare parents only. This would destroy the present child care system."

This petition has been signed by 28 parents of my riding.



Mr Ed Doyle (Wentworth East): I have a petition to present to the Legislature of the province of Ontario.

"We, the undersigned, request that the Legislature of Ontario not approve any tax cuts until the causes of poverty and unemployment in Ontario are dealt with effectively and until the province's debt and deficit are paid down."


Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): I have a petition signed by teachers at Holy Cross School in Halton Hills; St Vincent's in Oakville; St Joseph's in Acton; Holy Rosary, Milton; St Luke in Oakville. The petition is as follows:

"Dear members of provincial Parliament:

"We, the undersigned, are writing to you as constituents in your riding to inform you that we are opposed to the proposed College of Teachers which your government is intending to legislate. As some of the 130,000 members of the Ontario Teachers' Federation we feel that the College of Teachers is the creation of another level of bureaucracy, the last thing the teachers of the province need from the government.

"The government could be spending its time more productively on the real issues of education such as providing funding for junior kindergarten, a thorough investigation of the amalgamation of school boards and better vocational and technical programs for secondary school students.

"The proposed College of Teachers does not provide for a fair representation of teachers on its governing council. The proposed college of teachers does not provide for a fair representation of francophone teachers on its governing council.

"The teachers of Ontario have never asked for a College of Teachers. The Ontario Teachers' Federation, with certain enhancements, could fulfil the powers of the proposed College of Teachers.

"The proposed College of Teachers would impose an annual fee on teachers as well as certain user fees. Most teachers already follow professional development programs and do not need additional bureaucracy to mandate such a program.

"We urge you to oppose the proposed College of Teachers and make sure that all members of the Legislature are aware of our position."


Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): I have a petition signed by a number of concerned parents and child care providers in Thunder Bay, and the petition reads:

"Whereas the Ministry of Community and Social Services is apparently intent on replacing child care subsidies with a voucher system; and

"Whereas this voucher system will discriminate against families presently utilizing subsidies and child care centres across the province;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to disallow these cuts to this critical economic investment in our communities across the province and to guarantee the current child care subsidy system remains funded and supported."

I'm proud to sign my signature to that.


Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and it reads:

"Whereas the Ministry of Transportation is intent on reducing northern winter road maintenance services; and

"Whereas such downgrading places the lives of northern residents at undue and unnecessary risk;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to disallow these reductions in service and to guarantee that winter roads across the northern regions of the province receive the necessary maintenance to ensure the safe passage of drivers."

That's signed by constituents of mine from Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Oxdrift, Red Lake and Ignace, and I too attach my name to that petition.


Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the Minister of Labour has introduced legislation, Bill 7, to drastically amend the Labour Relations Act, the Employment Standards Act, and other labour legislation which has been brought forward by successive Progressive Conservative, Liberal and New Democratic governments in the recognition of the legitimate rights of employees in Ontario; and

"Whereas the implementation of Bill 7 will undermine the fundamental democratic rights of employees to organize and to have access to collective bargaining; and

"Whereas employers have raised concerns that Bill 7 will result in an increased number of strikes; and

"Whereas the Minister of Labour is proceeding with Bill 7 without consultation with employee groups and without conducting public hearings;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to urge the Minister of Labour to withdraw Bill 7."

I affix my signature to this.


Mr Jean-Marc Lalonde (Prescott and Russell): I have a petition signed by people in my riding and the riding of Glengarry-Stormont-Dundas.

"During the 1970s, the government of the day developed measures that curbed the growth of government by involving local communities in the provision of legal services. The criminal justice field began to recognize the benefit of community-based justice options. Privatization was considered more cost-effective while strengthening government ministries through community participation in the justice system.

"Since this time, non-profit agencies across Ontario have developed effective programs and present a strong local face to the justice system while supporting partnerships with an ever-widening community base. Community programs have proven to be effective in comparison to directly operated government services. Community-based options reduce the cost of incarceration while promoting public safety.

"Whereas community-based justice programs such as community service orders, diversion, alternative measures, bail supervision etc have proven value; the screening and supervision of accused and offenders within well-defined programs contribute to public safety; for over 20 years community-based options have made a positive contribution to the welfare of the community of Ontario;

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

"We believe these programs must not be viewed as dispensable. As with many recent cuts, short-term fiscal expediency holds no long-term value. Credible links with the community and quality programs for the citizens of Ontario must be maintained."


Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming): To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Ministry of Transportation is intent on reducing northern winter road maintenance services; and

"Whereas such downgrading places the lives of northern residents at undue risk and unnecessary risk;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to disallow these reductions in service and to guarantee that winter roads across the northern regions of the province receive the necessary maintenance to ensure safe passage of drivers."

I affix my signature to this.


Mr John C. Cleary (Cornwall): To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

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

"This $3-million commitment was announced by the former government on April 5, 1995, and was supported by MPPs from all three parties, including the current Minister of Agriculture, whom we hereby petition to immediately provide the money promised to the Seaway Co-operative."

It's signed by many constituents of my riding, and I also signed the petition.


Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): I have a petition signed by residents of Terrace Bay, Schreiber, Nipigon and Thunder Bay.

"Whereas the Ministry of Transportation is intent on reducing northern winter road maintenance services; and

"Whereas such downgrading places the lives of northern residents at undue and unnecessary risk;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to disallow these reductions in service and to guarantee that winter roads across the northern regions of the province receive the necessary maintenance to ensure the safe passage of drivers."

I'm proud to sign my name.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Pursuant to standing order 34(a), the member for Cochrane South has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Minister of Health concerning the operating budget of the Timmins and District Hospital. This matter will be debated today at 6 pm.




Mr Rae moved opposition day motion number 3:

Whereas the Common Sense Revolution commits the Mike Harris government to creating 725,000 new jobs; and

Whereas the Common Sense Revolution states that "Ontario needs jobs today and jobs tomorrow"; and

Whereas the government has cut public investments and programs eliminating tens of thousands of jobs in Ontario; and

Whereas unemployment currently stands at 8.5% in Ontario and the current instability in employment in Ontario is of concern to all members of this House; and

Whereas the Mike Harris government has condemned children and their parents relying on social assistance to a less than survival existence; and

Whereas the Harris government has told families who rely on welfare "to work and to get jobs to supplement their income"; and

Whereas the Harris government has done nothing to promote job creation in Ontario; and

Whereas the Mike Harris government has ended an era where partnerships between business, labour and government promoted economic development; and

Whereas the Mike Harris government is following a fiscal plan aimed at further cuts, increasing economic drag and a tax handout to the wealthy; and

Whereas the Mike Harris government's fiscal plan will do nothing to create jobs today or tomorrow;

Therefore, this House calls on the Mike Harris government to take the unemployment situation in this province seriously by restoring job creation programs and job support programs and to follow a balanced and responsible approach to economic development and deficit reduction, rather than pursue a policy of irresponsible cuts to program funding and economic investment in order to pay for tax breaks for the rich.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): We will be dividing the time equally among the three parties.

Mr Bob Rae (York South): Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak in the House and to simply say a few words on the subject of the motion which, I think, is extremely clear and speaks for itself.

I don't think there's any question that the one issue that preoccupies most of the citizens of this province is not a revolution or a red book or some government's program or other. The issue that concerns people more than any other in this province has been, for a very consistent period of time, the issue of jobs, of steady work for our citizens, steady work that has eluded us for a very substantial period of time.

I know that members opposite will choose to put forward their own statistics and their own perspective. All I can say to members is this: In the 1989-90-91 recession, this province took a very hard blow. We can all argue about the causes of that, and no doubt members opposite will in their speeches today speak about how it was our government and, indeed, me personally who was responsible for the loss of some 300,000 manufacturing jobs. I can say to members that my shoulders are broad enough and my skin is thick enough to absorb these continuing comments.

I think the facts of the matter are that following 1991, the job situation in the province improved, beginning in 1992-93, and in 1994 we had in effect a very positive year for a period of time ending in December to the point that, just before Christmas of 1994, this province had 5,254,000 people employed. We had our unemployment rate down around 8%. But, unfortunately, since that time, the employment situation has been flat. It's levelled off to the point where today, as I speak, the latest statistics which the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism referred to in his answer to my question, showed that we have 5,240,000 people employed, which is, as he correctly pointed out, is a 27,000 increase over the last two months, but as I would point out to him -- I'm sure he's looking at the same statistics as I am -- is a 9,000 decrease since last year at this time. This effectively means that the issue of employment and of jobs and of the availability of work remains a critical issue for us.

I have said on many occasions and I will say again, there is no question that in order for us to deal with the problems that the province has faced, if we had been re-elected in June 1995, we would not only have had to make difficult decisions, which I have stated before, but let me boldly give the minister another hostage to fortune and say we would have had to make cuts. Everybody understands that. In fact, what was unique about the last election was that all three parties agreed that we would have to make cuts. There were some differences. The red book was -- what shall I say? -- ambiguous on the subject --

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): That's polite.

Mr Rae: Well, my cup, for some reason, runneth over today and I don't feel like engaging in unnecessary partisanship.

But I would say to members opposite that we all recognize that. Where do we part company with the government? I think the essential parting of the ways is not on the question of whether cuts have to be made. The essential parting of the ways is, first of all, how that is being done and also the extent to which it is being done because of the income tax cuts.

This is where we part company with the government. As my colleague from Scarborough, the Liberal Finance critic, said, in what I thought was a very effective question the other day, "Why is it wrong to borrow to pay for capital investment, but right to borrow to pay for an income tax cut?" To which I would add, we know, on the basis of every computer simulation and every study that's been done, studies that have been done for the Bank of Montreal, studies that have been done for other organizations, we know as a matter of fact -- not as a matter of theory, not as a matter of ideology, not as a matter of faith -- that the way the income tax cuts have been structured by this government, they will have less of a stimulative effect than the cuts that they are making with respect to investment.

What we are going to find, as a result of all of this Sturm und Drang, all of the struggle, all of the sacrifice which is going to start next week, is that the number of people who are unemployed will go up, the number of people who are looking for work will go up, and the impact of the income tax cuts -- which will be coming, we hope, in 1996; we're told in 1997; we're not quite sure; they may be deferred; it seems to depend on the day in terms of the position of the Minister of Finance -- will not make up for the cuts that have been brought in.

I once said, when I was the Finance critic in the House of Commons, that it would appear that there are three kinds of economics. There's Keynesian economics; then there's pre-Keynesian economics; and then there's pre-Cambrian economics, and it is the latter of which we speak today: pre-Cambrian because it's based, not on fact, but on an ideology and because it fails to recognize the pain and the suffering which is going to be caused by the policies they are bringing in and because it will not have the impact that we all want it to have on jobs.

With great respect to the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, when he says, as a matter of philosophy, it is the government's view that government assistance does not create jobs, I can only say to him: That is an expression of faith, but it is in fact categorically wrong.

There are lots of examples where government investment, where government-encouraged investment, where government-leveraged investment, does create jobs. I would say to him that, as a result of this ideology which he is expressing, we are going to lose jobs in this province. The biotech industry indicates that they're going to move to Quebec. Why? Because the government of Quebec has a sectoral strategy. It has a strategy for that particular cluster of industries and they are prepared to support it, support it in very concrete, specific, visible and practical ways.

I would say directly to the minister, we wouldn't have de Havilland Aircraft alive and the largest single industrial employer in Metropolitan Toronto if we had taken the attitude that he did. We wouldn't have Algoma Steel working at top capacity and at good profitability if we'd taken his attitude. We wouldn't have been able to save the thousands of jobs that we saved because -- and I make no bones about it -- there are times and there are places where government assistance, where government investment is needed, necessary and a positive step that needs to be taken.


To put all your faith in the market, when we know full well that the market alone will not necessarily create full employment, is the best example that I can think of of faith triumphing over experience. The simple fact of the matter is that unemployment among our young people remains a critical problem. The rate of unemployment among young people is higher today than it was a year ago. There are more unemployed youth today -- 136,000 -- than there were a year ago -- 133,000 -- and I don't see anything practical emerging from the government which is going to change that.

We had in place some practical measures -- the JumpStart program, the Jobs Ontario program -- and I know full well the opposition that was expressed by the Conservative Party to those programs, but I can tell you they provide a lot more hope going into this winter and a lot more sense that we're going to be addressing these problems on a practical basis than all the theology which we hear on the other side. That to me remains the critical question: whether or not a government is prepared to be practical.

I put it to the minister, if Michigan and New York state and Quebec and Ontario are competing for the same investment, and Michigan, Quebec and New York state are prepared to take the kinds of measures in terms of training, in terms of all the steps that have been put in place, that the former Davis government understood full well -- how do you think we got the Toyota investment back in the early 1980s, when we were trying to attract Japanese car investment? How do you think we expanded the Ford investment, which we managed to do in 1991-92?

I well remember Mr Ken Harrigan from the Ford Motor Co coming in to see me at the depth of the recession in 1992. He called me on a Friday afternoon at 4 o'clock and said, "I've got to see you right away." I assumed it was bad news, and it wasn't. He came to see me to say, "We want to be able to compete with Ohio and Michigan to attract new investment in Windsor." Do you think if I'd simply sat down and said to him, "There's nothing for you. We have no programs in place, nothing on training, nothing on transition, nothing on new investment, nothing at all" -- if I'd taken that ideological position, we wouldn't have those jobs. They would not have come here.

The problem the minister is going to have, as he confronts the way the world really works, is that other governments are offering, other governments are in the game, and if the government of Ontario is saying, "We don't like that game," then I would say to him, "Before you stop playing the game, you better make sure that others aren't playing it as well."

That's the problem I have with the approach that this government has taken. The blanket statement that government assistance does not create jobs is false; it is a false statement. It is fascinating to me that a Minister of Economic Development and Trade would make that statement when, as my colleague the member for Wilson Heights has said, "If that's your view, then what do you see your job as?" I think that's a very legitimate question to be asked.

Together with the question of the impact of cuts, how they are introduced and the overall effect that they will have on people, as well as the question of how the cuts overall will act as a significant drag on the economy, I want to suggest to you that this question of jobs, of job opportunity, of the focus and the creation of jobs, is going to be the issue that is going to determine the success or the failure of this government.

I would say, in all sincerity, that I hope the government is successful in creating new jobs. I really do, because I don't believe that any one of us can sit back with satisfaction and say, "I hope you fail and I hope the number of people unemployed goes up." I don't hope that at all. We've all been at this business for far too long to take that short-range point of view.

I would try to give the government the benefit of some advice. Sure, there were improvements that could have been made in Jobs Ontario. Yes, a narrower focus with respect to the mission of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, fine. No one disputes that. We all were moving in that direction. That was the advice of the Premier's Council, that was the advice that we were getting from the private sector.

But the advice that we were not getting, and the advice that I don't believe is there, is one that says, "Cut wilfully, cut right across the board." I disagree profoundly with the decision to cancel infrastructure investment. I think that's going to prove to be one of the most shortsighted decisions that the government has made with respect to Metropolitan Toronto.

If you want to talk about 10 lost years, we had 15 lost years in infrastructure investment in Metropolitan Toronto rapid transit as it relates to GO Transit, as it relates to the TTC. We had a period of time during the boom years of the 1970s and 1980s when there was scarcely any new investment in the system. When we took office there were plans in place to proceed and we said, "We're going to proceed with these plans and we're going to move ahead."

I regret that Metropolitan Toronto's government itself was not willing to be bolder and firmer in its own commitment to this infrastructure investment, and I believe that the uncertainty of the commitment of Metro Toronto made it easier for this current government to cancel the plans which it has cancelled. But that is all water under the bridge.

What we are now facing is a substantial reduction in capital and infrastructure investment, a complete misunderstanding or a refusal to understand the problem of social capital, and simple mantras back and forth, back and forth, on the subject of the deficit, without the Conservative government having the decency to admit that if they were really concerned about the deficit, they would take what is surely the common sense point of view, which is no tax cut till we've resolved the deficit issue, which is the position that I took in the last election, for which I was of course amply rewarded by the electorate.

I happen to believe that's the practical approach. I happen to believe that we were committed to a balanced budget as strongly as the Liberal Party was and as the Conservative Party was. The difference between us was how we would get there and what we would sacrifice in order to get there, and that I think is the critical difference of opinion.

What this government is doing is going to increase uncertainty in the job market. It's going to increase a sense of unfairness in the workforce, unfairness because of the way in which this government has introduced its cuts and because the lion's share of the income tax cuts will not go to lower- and middle-income people; the lion's share of the income tax cuts will go to wealthier people who are already fully employed and who in all likelihood will use this cash (a) to reduce their consumer and household debt and (b) to increase their RRSP savings or possibly some other forms of spending offshore. That is not a sensible way to move.

In closing, I would say to the minister that if you were to cut taxes, that is to say, if you felt that cutting taxes was necessary and was part of a necessary stimulative package to the economy, I would suggest to you that a far better approach to take would be to do the following: raise the threshold relating to the income tax so that lower-income people get to keep more and are taxed less. They will spend money far more quickly than your $150,000-a-year young stockbroker with his wide suspenders; far more quickly, far more rapidly, to their much greater benefit.

Second, take the step which we took in the 1994 budget, and that was to move on the employer health tax and use the employer health tax reduction, or indeed elimination for certain classes of business, or indeed for all businesses for a year, which is what we did, if you hired someone, as a direct reward for hiring.

On this I close: The government has got to learn that theology is not going to solve our problems and that simply repeating the mantras about what government cannot do is not going to solve our problems.

You create jobs most effectively by government itself being prepared to invest in those things which will produce a long-term social and economic benefit to the community and, second of all, by government being prepared to work with business to ensure that in fact businesses will create jobs.

We did it through a whole range of programs, through direct partnerships in Jobs Ontario Training, the JumpStart program, which was going to be directed at young people, and through the reduction of the health tax and reduction of the payroll taxes, which are related to the creation of jobs. That makes far more sense.

Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): Tax cuts.

Mr Rae: And if you're going to cut the taxes, which my colleague the member for Nepean is urging us to do, then I would say look at where you're going to get the greatest stimulus. I would suggest that an income tax cut, which gives the greater benefit to wealthy people, is not the way to go and that it makes far more sense to do it in a way which ensures that lower-income people get the lion's share rather than the other way around.


It's obvious and clear, I think, from question period and from other debates that we've held, and certainly all the leadership debates that took place before the election and during the election campaign, that we differ very profoundly from our friends in the Conservative Party on the approach that they are taking. I hope, in a curious way, they are right and I am wrong but I suspect that the facts simply don't point in that direction. The facts point in a different direction.

They point in a way of saying that the kind of economic zealotry which we're seeing on the other side will certainly enrich some and it will benefit some and it will come to the advantage of some. But I do not believe that it will have the positive impact on jobs, which has got to be the critical test of this government, because we're not in a big recession, we're not going through some worldwide depression, we're into a period when we are supposed to be steadily improving and steadily creating new jobs and new opportunities.

If this government fails that test, fails to move to give some hope and inspiration to young people and some sense of real confidence to our working population, then this government will be judged and found wanting.

Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): I note that the challenge today was that "this House calls on the Mike Harris government to take the unemployment situation in this province seriously." I want to assure all members of the House that we do take the situation very seriously. I'd like to outline our philosophy and what we are doing to correct the situation.

This is the first time, by the way, that I've had a chance to speak as the member for Eglinton riding. I have answered questions and spoken as the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, and I'd like to say how honoured I am to be the member for Eglinton at Queen's Park. I was elected on June 8 for the first time and I'd like to thank the electors for doing that, for electing me. I feel very honoured.

Eglinton riding is a very typical urban riding in Toronto that has all income groups within it. It has homeowners, it has renters, it has families, single people, newly married young people and many retired couples as well. I have lived there for 34 years and I've come to know what those people think, and I'd like to tell you something today about what I found during the election campaign.

I did a lot of door-knocking, at over 30,000 doors, and I found that people wanted change. They wanted an end to the waste and abuse and the mismanagement and an end to high taxes and overspending. They wanted us to balance the budget, and that's what we're going to do in our first term. They wanted a sensible social policy, and I believe we're going to do that, but most of all, I think they wanted job creation for their family members and they wanted a hope for their future.

Since the election I have been doing more door-knocking just to keep in touch with my constituents.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): Always wise.

Hon Mr Saunderson: It is a wise thing to do, and I also have been meeting people in my constituency office. I've been getting letters and sending letters, as we all do, talking to people on the street, people of all backgrounds, and I have found that they are saying to us: "Do the right thing. Keep on doing what you're doing. Don't blink, because this is what has to be done if we're going to bring this province back from the very bad financial crisis that the previous governments had put us into." As much as I respect the leader of the third party and the fact that he was the Premier of this province, we should all have three jobs because of the money that they spent trying to create jobs.

Now, the people of Eglinton understand what we are trying to do, and I think the people of Ontario understand as well. They just will not stand or tolerate the status quo of overspending, high taxes and corporate handouts. All of these things must end.

Obviously the Liberals don't understand because of the questions I've been asked and obviously the NDP don't understand, and I was very disappointed the other day with the member for Wilson Heights, who I've known for many years and respect a great deal. He has risen in the House three times, and every time he's basically defended the NDP and Liberal corporate handouts and almost asked me to make sure that these handouts were continued, as did the leader of the third party, just today in his speech.

Thousands of businesses in Ontario survive every day without ever receiving a nickel of government money, and that's a lesson for all businesses. I think it's unfair to tax these businesses, these successful businesses who've asked for nothing, to tax them and their workers in order to give money to a select few businesses. I think it's unfair and I think the Liberals support this unfairness, and by the motion today it's clear that the member for York South and the NDP also support this unfairness. They have zero confidence in the ability of the entrepreneurial spirit, which I think is very sad.

I admire the self-reliance and common sense of Ontario's citizens, and government cannot create wealth and it cannot create prosperity, but what our governments can do, and what this government will do, is to restore confidence in Ontario as a place to live, to work and to do business. Those are excellent aims. We are creating an environment that encourages and enables the private sector to invest and create jobs. We will get our fiscal house in order in Ontario.

How are we going to do all this? Well, we're going to lower the personal income taxes to reward initiative, and we will work with businesses to bridge the gaps that deny Ontario businesses access to opportunities.

So far, we have scrapped Bill 40 and replaced it with Bill 7, and that has met with great approval from the business community. We have scrapped the corporate filing fee of $50 and the cumbersome corporate information return and we will combine it with the tax return to show just how easily this can be done without a lot of expenses by business.

We've begun the much-needed overhaul of the Workers' Compensation Board and we have frozen the average hydro rates. That is very good, because now businesses can operate in a predictable environment. They don't like to have unnecessary and unwanted surprises. We've also scrapped the NDP job quota program, and once again we've been applauded by the business community.

We are committed to eliminating the employer health tax on the first $400,000 of all payrolls. We have tabled pro-growth changes to the Planning Act and we've begun a red-tape review which will eliminate all unnecessary regulation. These barriers undermine our ability to attract investment and jobs.

We have seen some effect of our actions. Recently, Ontario welfare rolls took their biggest single-month drop since 1969, 27,000 new jobs have been created in the last two months, and we will meet our commitment of 725,000 new jobs, I am certain.

What we are going to do is market Ontario to key domestic and foreign decision-makers to tell them we have the right job climate in Ontario. We are going to market Ontario's business image and trade, tourism and investment potential. We're going to work with businesses to remove barriers to investment, growth and job creation, and we are going to help businesses develop capabilities in locating financing, penetrating new markets and adopting new technologies. We will work with Ontario's business sectors to promote networking that encourages sensible practices and fosters research and development and innovation.

We cannot continue to tax and spend and regulate and expect consumers to spend, businesses to grow and Ontario to compete. Job creators have told me that many times. The people of Eglinton have told me that. The people of Ontario sent that message to this government. We are listening and doing what the people of Eglinton and Ontario want us to do.

While I appreciate the input from the member for York South and his party, with this motion today they clearly demonstrate why they are the last people who should be lecturing anybody on how to run an economy, create jobs and foster hope in the province of Ontario. Government cannot create jobs, but government can create the economic climate to create jobs. This is what Ontario will do. Once again, it will become a place in which to stand and a place to grow.


Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I really appreciate the opportunity to debate this issue because, frankly, of all the issues we'll debate in this Legislature, I happen to think this is perhaps the most important. I think the problem is acute. It is a problem we all share, and I hope we all have a vested interest in finding the solutions.

I really worry most about our young people. There is no doubt that they face right now a very desperate job situation. If you look at the numbers on youth unemployment, it is reported at 16% or 17%. But if you look deeper at it, the fact is that an enormous number of young people have simply dropped out of the labour market, and I would suggest that the real unemployment rate among our young people is at least 25% and perhaps approaching 30%. I despair about that and I think all of us need to turn our attention to helping to find solutions.

If the members in the back bench of the government are looking for somewhere to put your attention over the next few months and few years, I'd recommend this area, because the solutions are not going to be easy to find, and I accept that.

We face an unemployment problem generally as well; it isn't just with our young people. The minister just quoted the number of jobs created in October. Frankly, I've been reluctant to blame the new government for things at this stage. It's early in your mandate, it's early to take blame, but it's also a little early to take credit. I would be mildly cautious on that.

The fact is that if you look at the employment numbers in Ontario, they are very disturbing. In 1994, actually, we saw some pretty good growth in employment. I'm sure the former Premier was probably feeling not bad in the middle of 1994; employment growth was coming along very nicely. I'm sure they thought, "We're heading out of the woods now." Then, at the end of 1994, employment growth stopped in Ontario. For whatever reason, it just stopped. Even with the growth we've seen -- and we have seen job growth in September and October in Ontario -- even with that job growth, the number of people working in Ontario in October was the same as it was in December.

We've gone 10 months with no job growth in the province of Ontario. That's very disturbing. Clearly, I don't blame the Conservatives for that, nor do I give you credit for the numbers in October and September; it's too early. But the fact is that we all share in this reality that, for whatever reason, job growth in Ontario has essentially ground to a halt.

The new government got elected on a mandate, and the minister keeps repeating it, of 725,000 jobs, 145,000 jobs a year. That's what you committed yourselves to, and gosh, I hope you deliver on that. But if you look beyond the numbers, it is going to be very difficult. You've assumed growth of around 3%, but you've assumed job growth of 3%. An economist would tell you that if you're going to see job growth at 3% and real growth at 3%, you see no improvement in productivity in the economy.

As most of us believe, and you'd certainly think the Conservatives would believe, you don't want an economy that shows no improvement in productivity, so your job promise of 145,000 jobs a year is a fairly high bar to get over. The minister keeps repeating it as their commitment, and we will hold you to that, I assure you we will. Over the months ahead, as you take on more of the responsibility for this, the heat gets turned up.

You have a plan that I know you're committed to. It is, with many of you, a religion, and I think that's why many of you ran. Many of the Conservative members ran because they fervently believed in this thing called the Common Sense Revolution; you believe it's going to work. I have real reservations about it. I tell you, I fundamentally disagree with the province being able to afford a 30% cut in personal income tax.

In the next four years it is going to cost -- and these are your own numbers; they're not my numbers, they're straight out of the Common Sense Revolution document -- about $20 billion of lost revenue to fund the tax break. That's what your numbers say. We are going to have to borrow 100% of that money, because you don't balance the budget, as you know, until the year 2001. So every penny of that tax break is borrowed money.

Everyone loves the idea of a tax break, but can we afford to give what amounts to an annual $5-billion-a-year tax break? As we've often said, if you're making good money in this province, you'll love it. Many of the supporters of your party will thank you very much for it. If you're making $150,000 a year, it's $5,000 more a year that you will get in take-home pay. But what is it going to cost us?

If this were just a fight about the deficit, I think you would have far more support. But you say to people that you have got to cut $8 billion in spending and that we all have to sacrifice for that, but then you take $5 billion of that $8-billion cut and give it in a tax break. I agree, by the way, that governments don't create jobs. We can't spend our way out of this problem, I understand that, but we can make the problem worse. I suggest to you that trying to cut spending so far so you can fund this tax break, rather than help the situation, is going to make it worse.

Even your own numbers would suggest that the cuts you're going to implement in the next two weeks will represent about 70,000 fewer jobs. Those aren't numbers that I make up; those are numbers that I think your caucus would support. You've said you're going to cut 13,000 people out of the civil service, you're planning to cut dramatically on capital expenditures, you are planning to cut dramatically in a variety of areas, and I understand that, but it's about 70,000 jobs. So your first moves, because you want to cut expenditures, result inevitably in fewer jobs.

I wish there was more time. There are many members in our caucus who want to speak, but I want to make two points. One is that regardless of your political stripe, in my opinion the employment problem is probably our most difficult problem and our youth employment problem is probably our most serious problem. I despair of the opportunities for our young people. I clearly don't blame you -- I can blame part of it on the NDP -- but it is simply a huge problem that we need to turn our attention to.

While you believe you are on the right track, and the Common Sense Revolution to you is a religion, in my opinion it will make for a society where -- if I were an investor, the kind of environment I would want to invest in goes beyond just who cuts taxes the most. If I'm an investor and I'm looking where I want to grow my business -- and I used to be a businessperson. I had three businesses. I started two up from scratch. I did all the usual stuff. I had 300 employees, the old thing about putting my house on the line. I did all those things. But where I invested and where I grew was much more than just, where is the best possible bottom line?


It had to do with where I want my home, where I want my family, the people who work with me, the neighbourhoods, the health care system and how I treat my neighbours. So this is not just about a bottom line for a company; this is about the vision we have for a caring, compassionate society.

You have your vision; I have a different vision. You've been elected. You are determined to implement your vision. I say that it's not right for Ontario and I will do what I can to point that out. I can't stop you, but I can, I think, help to maybe convince some and mobilize some public opinion that maybe the Ontario you visualize is not the Ontario of Bill Davis and it's not the Ontario of the former Progressive Conservative Party and it's not the Ontario that I believe in. This issue is perhaps the most important one, but it's symptomatic of some bigger discussions we're going to have in this Legislature around our shared vision of the future of Ontario.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I rise today to support the motion that was introduced by our leader from York South. I support much of what he said because I think what he says is quite true. Of course the members opposite don't accept that, but we believe that what they're doing is wrong and we believe that what's driving their agenda is the income tax cut.

They're saying we need those income tax cuts to reward initiative. We argue that that's not what they're doing. They're rewarding those who are well off. They're rewarding those who are much more closely connected to them politically, philosophically and ideologically, and that's the reward they are getting for having elected this government. But it will not help our economy.

I'm going to talk to the people directly, because I know that the members opposite in this government believe they are infallible. You can't talk to people when they believe they're infallible, so I'm going to talk to the people directly.

What they're doing they are doing shamelessly and with incredible arrogance. A number of them have made the point that they will not blink as they do this. Now picture a bunch of people who say that. When they say, "We will not blink as we do that," what do you picture? I picture an army of automatons, an army of unthinking individuals who will simply do what they need to do because they've been told to do it. That's the kind of robot I picture when he or she says, "We will not blink as we do this." That's the kind of person that I see, that I think the public will begin to see in a very short while.

What they're doing is inflicting a great deal of pain on most Ontarians, and they do this with incredible smugness. The public can't see this on the other side, but we see this on a daily basis: the smugness, the arrogance and the shamelessness with which they do this. The mulish haste with which they do these things is incredible.

They want to give away $4 billion or $5 billion worth of income tax cuts to the well-to-do. When you do this, you've got to take $4 billion or $5 billion from somewhere else. It's not a magical thing. These dollars don't simply come from somewhere; they come from taking it from those who are most vulnerable. That's what you're doing and this is where you're taking it from. It's simple alchemy, you see. If you've got to put $5 billion somewhere, you've got to take the $4 billion or $5 billion from some other place, or you need to borrow to make up that difference. This government obviously doesn't want to borrow, so in order to make up the $4 billion or $5 billion they want to give away, they've got to take from the programs they're gutting. They've got to hurt the most vulnerable citizens in order to do that.

That's what's frightening. That's what's hurtful. That's what the public will begin to understand. They're quite happy on the other side, the majority of people supporting this government, because they think they're attacking welfare and many of them believe that's the right thing, that it's about time. People out there still support this government because they believe that this government is still committed to attacking welfare recipients as the biggest problem facing Ontario and our economy. So at the moment they're enjoying good popularity with most Ontarians. Once they see the real picture of what this government is doing, they won't feel like this any longer, but until then, this government is going to continue to enjoy popularity for a few more months yet.

The minister from Eglinton talks about a number of things this government is doing in addition to rewarding initiative through the income tax cuts. He talks about creating a climate for the private sector to create jobs. He talks about scrapping the corporate fee as an incentive to create jobs. It's incredible. Their plan for creating jobs is giving people back $4 billion or $5 billion, the well-to-do. They will not go out and spend on fridges, because they already have them. They're not going to go out and buy stoves, because they already have them. If they're making $100,000, they're not going to spend it on essentials. The people who really need it would spend it, but they're not getting any. It's the well-to-do who are going to get all that money.

So the three things this minister talked about and that these government members talk about and that my fan club over here on the left talk about -- income tax cuts, scrapping the $50 corporate fee and creating a climate for investment -- is how they're going to create jobs. I ask the people of Ontario, do you believe that plan? Do you believe the $50 corporate fee is going to get the private sector to create jobs?

My colleague Marilyn Churley agrees with me, and I with her, that this fee should not be subsidized by the general public. This fee's something the corporations should be paying, because it's a service that benefits them. Why should we pick up that fee? But no, this government says, "That isn't right, so we're going to take away that fee because we think it's unfair for business to pay it," and in so doing, they're going to help to create jobs. It's astounding. Their arguments for creating jobs are the strange alchemy of the 16th century. It is not appropriate for our century because it offers nothing. It will not offer jobs.

What it's going to do, in my view, is destabilize our economy. It will destabilize it in ways they do not yet comprehend. When you take $4 billion or $5 billion from all the services that even members across enjoy, you're going to send thousands of people on the unemployment rolls. They will not have jobs, they will not be working. When they're not working, they're out on unemployment insurance, and later out on welfare.

When you force thousands and thousands of civil servants out of the workforce, what happens is this: You create a climate where people do not spend. The confidence that people have in the economy is diminished, and without that confidence, people will not spend. What you're doing is destabilizing the economy. You're forcing people to lose confidence, whereby they do not spend. We know that 60% of our economy is driven by expenditures by the general public, and when they do not spend, we're in trouble.

This government is ruining us. This government will not create jobs. In fact, it will create permanent unemployment. It will bring the middle classes down even further. It will increase disparity between the rich and the poor. The people of Ontario will realize that, and it won't be long. The next announcement, on the 29th, will teach them that lesson.

Mr Bill Grimmett (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): It's a great privilege today to speak in regard to this resolution. This is my first opportunity to speak at length in the House, and I'd like to take a few minutes to speak about my riding and some of my predecessors.

I've had the privilege to live, work and raise a family in one of the most naturally beautiful areas of Ontario, the riding of Muskoka-Georgian Bay. The riding which I represent stretches from Midland Bay in Georgian Bay all the way to Algonquin Park and is one of the province's leading tourism destinations.


In the recent election, I had the honour to contest the election against two previous members in this House: Mr Dan Waters, the immediately preceding member, representative of the New Democratic Party; and Mr Ken Black, who was in the previous government and for a short time in cabinet. I'm happy to say that both of those gentlemen served their riding with rigour and both were worthy advocates for the tourism industry, which is of critical importance in my part of Ontario.

I would also like to say a word about another predecessor of mine, Frank Miller, who for 15 years served in the Legislature with distinction, reaching the highest public office in this province.

I'm pleased today to have the opportunity to speak in opposition to the resolution moved by the leader of the third party, and I'd like to thank the leader of the third party for providing the government with this opportunity to refresh our memories on our job creation strategy.

I'd also like to indicate that while I'm disappointed he's not present, I'm hopeful that he's watching this on a television at the University of Toronto. I want to thank him for his practical suggestions today, and I'm sure our government will take them into consideration.

I believe that the reason the government enjoyed such widespread support during the recent election was a direct result of the Common Sense Revolution and its three-pronged job creation strategy, which includes debt reduction, tax reduction and a reduction in the size of government.

We campaigned on a commitment to make the long-overdue decisions required to steer the province clear of a looming debt crisis. Just as private sector and family budgets have been cut back for the past number of years, the provincial budget is past due for the same treatment. This government's plan to reduce non-priority spending will, in my opinion, enable us to preserve our most valued and essential services.

The member opposite has suggested that we have a more balanced and responsible approach to economic development and the restoration of job creation and job support programs. Is the leader of the third party calling for a return to his former government's strategy, the Jobs Ontario program? This is a program which failed to deliver the 100,000 jobs that it was predicted to deliver, and it's a program which the Provincial Auditor himself has criticized.

The leader of the third party asserts that our government doesn't take the unemployment situation in this province seriously. Our government is departing from what has been, in my opinion, for my whole adult life, the conventional political wisdom. It was a kind of Keynesian nightmare where individual members scramble and badger for endless spending by governments.

The minister, previous to me, has spoken about our plan for job growth, and it really was clearly outlined during the election. I believe that our government is directed by common sense and not by so-called experts. The experts that have preached deficit financing for years have, in my opinion, been proven wrong. They have created a monster: a monster of debt in this province. No one would run their household budget like governments have for the last 20 or 30 years. It just doesn't make sense. If you plan your budget carefully, you don't spend more than you take in.

The concept of deficit financing makes no sense to the average person in my riding, but it makes sense to economists. Well, I prefer the logic of the average person, of the small businessman, to that of the academic. I believe that people in my riding have grown tired of the endless debt cycle and that they're ready for bold gestures by government to bring an end to deficits.

The honourable leader of the third party is a proponent of the myth that the government's planned tax cuts are simply a handout to the wealthy. He claims that our plans are only supported by big business.

I'd like to relate to the House the experience that I had during the election going door-to-door. It was a great educational experience knocking on doors in my riding. I can tell you, without fabrication, that the most difficult parts of the riding to go through and sell this message were the wealthy parts of the riding; it was in those parts of the riding that our plan was questioned the most rigorously. But in the working-class neighbourhoods in my riding I was actually surprised by how receptive the people were, especially to the tax cut suggestions. It's my belief that after years and years of diminishing amounts of money from their paycheques the working people in this province saw our plan as an opportunity, a little ray of hope that they might actually take home more money for a change in their pocket.

The recent election was about resentment, I believe. I believe that our plan tapped into the resentment of a lot of working people. They resented the kind of plans that your government had, the kind of plans where taxes always go up and where the amount of money they have in their pocket always goes down. They work all day, they come home, they have to pay for a car payment, they have to pay for a mortgage payment. They have nothing left over. Those are the people who supported us. That's certainly the case in my riding. I can't speak for other members.

I've heard the leader of the third party say recently that he congratulated us on the simplicity of our faith. I agree with the leader of the third party that there is a certain amount of faith involved in the support that we received from a lot of Ontarians.

I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce my parents, who are present in the gallery today. My parents were immigrants to Canada.

Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): Hardworking Ontarians.

Mr Grimmett: They are hardworking Ontarians, and in their usual frugal fashion, they're sitting in the cheap seats. They were immigrants to Canada. They came to this country with plenty of dreams and very little money. But with a combination of hard work and frugality they achieved a level of comfort and a number of their goals. They taught me a way of life based upon hard work and a sense of self-sufficiency. That frugality is ingrained in me.

This is an outlook that I believe is shared also by the people of Muskoka-Georgian Bay, who sent a clear message last June that the province was headed in the wrong direction. The people of my riding indicated their support for the Common Sense Revolution as the solution and the need for drastic and fundamental change in the way government operates. I strongly believe that these changes will encourage investment in the province and create jobs.

As I said before, I believe that the reason we were successful was that we recognized the frustration of the average working person. I think the average working person resents the unbridled growth of government ministries and well-meaning but wasteful programs, and they resent a spiralling debt that has jeopardized their children's future.

Today I noticed that the member for Scarborough-Agincourt indicated in his comments that his main concerns were about the young people in this province. I share his concern, because I have two sons of my own, and I worry about their future and about the future of their classmates. But I honestly believe that we have to rid this province of the kind of debt that we have in order to create some future for those young people.

Now, we've been warned that we're going to be stunned by how deeply into the muscle things will have to be cut in Ontario. With all due respect, I would like to say, and I think many of my colleagues will support me on this, that I will insist and ensure that those long-overdue cuts are made. My constituents have too long waited for a government that would have the courage to deal with the business of government in a way that everyday people would. I think by keeping things as simple as practically possible, by operating sensibly and, for goodness' sake, by not spending more money than we bring in we will create jobs in this province and we will turn the economy around.

Some of the members opposite have drawn attention to the fact that my colleagues and I campaigned and govern on a clearly presented set of principles which they dismiss as ideology. They speak as though there's something inherently wrong or evil about living, acting and committing oneself upon a set of principles. I'm here in this seat to carry out a clearly defined plan, a plan that most of my constituents and I have long awaited.


Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): Let me first of all congratulate the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay. Indeed, his parents must be very proud of his accomplishments. I know that your parents and your constituents probably wish you all the best. So to your parents we say, congratulations; you have a very successful son and I'm sure he'll make a great contribution to this House.

I'd like to talk just for a few moments, again, about the radical centre and about the difference in approaches that we can take. I listened with great interest to the leader of the third party, the former Premier, as I always do. He is indeed a successful and great person who has made a great contribution to public life in this province and indeed in this country. I listened also to the members of the government who have spoken with the same kind of passion and eloquence that they spoke with during the election.

But I'd like to begin by talking about the state of our economy today and about where we think it's going to go and where we think job creation should fit in with that motto. First of all, members will remember that a couple of months ago the Finance minister released a document that indicated that indeed Ontario had fallen into a recession in the first two quarters of this year. Just this week, in St Catharines, Foster Wheeler announced 180 layoffs in that community. In my own home of Windsor, Everfresh beverages -- I'm sure many of you purchase a jar of Everfresh juice -- 130 layoffs in this province. This is just this week. Yet the minister tells us that the government has no place in job creation.

We disagree with that. We believe that there is a place for job creation. We believe that the government has a very important role to play in that, not only vis-à-vis tax policy but through fiscal policy and through proper spending initiatives.

I'd like to talk about that, because we believe that specifically targeted initiatives -- a good one that comes to mind is when the Liberal government bailed out Chrysler Corp in the early 1980s. Herb Gray, the federal member for Windsor West, was instrumental in negotiating loan agreements. Many people who share the view of this government said: "Let them fall. Let them die." You know what? That government had the foresight to ensure that the company did not fall at that time.

I am reminded of the Davis government and the Ford Motor Co in Windsor where, through proper investment and a proper approach to the issue, we were able to bring an entire new engine plant to our community that today employs thousands and thousands of people. We don't agree that government has no role to play in job creation.

I would be remiss, however, because it's good to have our friends in the third party back on this side of the House, so I think we ought to remember a few things as they talk about the importance of job creation. While they were in office, an average of 1,000 people lost their jobs every week they were in power. Translated across the province, that's an immense cost. Between the day that party came to power and they were thrown out of office, the number of people without work increased by more than 200,000. Over 540,000 people were out of work when they left office. An average of 12,000 people every month went on to welfare. Nearly 1.4 million people were on welfare when they left office.

That's not a record of job creation; that's a record of failure. They'll talk about the recession and they'll talk about their broad shoulders and their thick skins and how they had to make the tough decisions. But the recession that we experienced was longer and deeper than it had to be as a result of the policies that government pursued.

Our party is committed to job creation. We believe government has a role to play in it through properly thought out and executed job creation plans that create meaningful work in combination with fiscal initiatives and taxation initiatives that will serve as an inducement to get businesses either to stay or to locate in this province. We intend to challenge the minister over time with ideas for how government can play a constructive role in that job creation and focus on the needs of people in this province who desperately want to work and desperately want the dignity of a job.

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): I want to deal with a couple of aspects of the motion that's before us today.

The eighth "whereas" clause, "Whereas the Mike Harris government has ended an era where partnerships between business, labour and government promoted economic development": I want to get beyond some of the rhetoric that we just heard, certainly some of the rhetoric that was espoused by the Liberal member from Windsor, and deal with some of the actual facts about partnerships between government, communities and business.

Some folks in the Legislature want to pretend that a very deep worldwide recession didn't happen in 1989. They want to somehow ignore that fact and ignore the fact that literally hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost across Canada, that hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost in the United States, that the Japanese economy even went into a tailspin. They want to ignore that reality, and somehow every unfortunate economic event that happened between 1990 and 1995 rests at the door of the New Democratic government of the day.

But the reality is that the world did go through a very deep recession and there are a number of jurisdictions in the world that have still not completely recovered from that. In addition, here in Ontario we suffered some of the negative impacts of the free trade agreement as smaller branch-plant factories across especially southern Ontario packed up and expanded their production at their larger sister factories in the United States or elsewhere. There are all kinds of examples of that: Gillette, Bendix, Caterpillar and so on. Those are all part of the historical record. Many of them happened in 1989; some of them happened in the spring of 1990; some happened in the fall of 1990, 1991 and so on. But that's part of the historical record.

The other part of the historical record is that one of the realities our government had to deal with was a federal government at the time in Ottawa, headed by Mr Mulroney, who as you know is still making headlines for the remarkable record he left behind. Mr Mulroney's government's position was that anything that might help Ontario's economy or help Ontario's economy recover was something he was not going to assist with.

That record is very clear in terms of the amount of money that the federal government would make available, say, to the province of Quebec for manpower retraining and adjustment and the lesser amounts of money it would make available to Ontario. It was evident in terms of the amount of money they would make available for health care for other provinces and lesser amounts for Ontario, and in a number of other areas.

That's just a bit of the historical background that, again, especially members of the opposition, and some of the Liberal members as well, want to ignore.

I think it bears some study, looking at what our government did in terms of trying to come to terms with those very difficult economic realities, and I'm going to use some northern Ontario examples, because I worked on them and I know them best.

When we became the government of this province, virtually all of the pulp and paper industry was on its backside, and at one point in 1990 we were in danger of losing no less than five pulp and paper mills in the province. That would have represented probably about 10,000 jobs across northern Ontario and it probably would have represented a number of jobs here in Toronto as well, since the history of the pulp and paper movement is that the difficult jobs are located in northern Ontario and the administrative, engineering, executive, finance jobs --

Mr Baird: Went to New York and borrowed some more money.


Mr Hampton: I acknowledge one of my Conservative colleagues over here to the left, oddly, who actually worked in financing some of the activities in the pulp and paper sector. But the reality was, we were in danger of losing literally thousands of jobs and a number of mills.

If we had followed the economic precepts of this government that's here now, all of those mills would have gone down the drain, because what saved them, what helped them restructure themselves and what has allowed them to be profitable mills today, was the willingness of our government to sit down with the industry, to sit down with the trade unions involved, to sit down with the communities and the banks and put together partnerships that allowed them to restructure themselves.

Let me give you some examples: Spruce Falls in Kapuskasing, St Marys Paper in Sault Ste Marie, Provincial Papers in Thunder Bay, all of these mills to some extent now are employee owned and to some extent the government of Ontario also has a stake in their operations. But it was and is very much a partnership between private industry, the government of Ontario, communities and unions to assist what are very valuable economic assets to the province to continue to produce, and to produce on a world market and to produce at a profit.

It doesn't end there, and the Conservative members might really receive an education in doing this. Last April, just before the election was called, the Report on Business of the Globe and Mail ran a front-page article on Algoma Steel, and it was interesting. They described Algoma Steel as one of the most productive steel mills in North America -- "has lower accident rates, lower rates of absenteeism...employee productivity is very, very high" -- and pointed out the reality of that partnership between the government, the financial institutions, the company that formerly owned it, trade unions and the community, to produce a brand-new, whole new company that is very productive and is doing a lot for the economy of northern Ontario.

Those are partnerships, and if you followed the economic precepts of this government, all of those jobs would be down the drain and all of those very creative partnerships that are allowing so many thousands of people to continue to work today and to continue to be productive members of society would have been down the drain.

They follow these economic precepts for no other reason than ideology. They believe, without any jot of proof, that only the private sector creates wealth and creates jobs. But if they'd only examine the historical record they would see that is very false and that there are all kinds of examples across this province and across this country that show that it's false.

I hope the government, before it makes some decisions that we'll all regret down the road, and kills jobs and kills industries like Algoma and Provincial Papers and Spruce Falls, will rethink its so-called economic strategy.

Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton North): It is my pleasure to rise in this House as the newly elected member for Halton North. There are certain events that are used as watersheds to segment one's life. These events hold a defining quality about them. They allow individuals to make a difference, seize the opportunity and take on the challenge. On the occasion of my maiden speech, this is one of those times.

I was disappointed at some of the statements made by the leader of the third party in his motion, and further by his criticism of this government, that we're moving too fast to rectify the economic disaster created by the former government, a government that time and time again lacked the vision to make the difficult choices needed to preserve the economic viability and the financial integrity of this province.

Let me remind this House of the legacy left by the previous government: a crippling debt of almost $100 billion in spite of over 33 tax increases; a net loss of jobs over the last five years that still stands at 80,000 fewer jobs than in 1990; promoting the cycle of dependence that saw the welfare budget bloat to $6.8 billion; a massive unfunded liability at the Workers' Compensation Board that stands at a staggering $11.4 billion today. This is the legacy left by the previous government, a legacy that all will remember as the lost decade, turning Ontario, the economic engine of Canada, into the caboose.

I let my name stand for election for one reason: to be part of a government that would create an environment which would encourage jobs and investment, to eliminate red tape and to stimulate the economy by bringing welcome relief to all the taxpayers in Halton North and Ontario.

Through the Common Sense Revolution, I believe that the vision of hope and prosperity could be realized for all of my constituents. The introductions of Bills 7, 8 and 15 are the start of that realization of this vision.

With this in mind, I would like to tell the House a bit about my riding of Halton North and some of the special things that have happened since the election of June 8.

Halton North encompasses the three towns of Acton, Georgetown and Milton, with Esquesing and Nassagaweya townships and the villages of Campbellville, Moffat, Brookville, Speyside, Limehouse, Norval, Hornby, Glen Williams and Ballinafad -- or at least half of Ballinafad; Mr Arnott, who is not in the House today, shares the other half -- a community facing the challenges of balancing these resources and creating jobs for the year 2000 and beyond.

As someone who grew up on a farm, I learned a work ethic that helped create a pathway for jobs. I know the importance of agriculture and food in Ontario. To the residents of Halton North, agriculture plays a significant role in our community, a community which is home to the Ontario Agricultural Museum and hosts three major agricultural fairs yearly in Acton, Georgetown and Milton. From apples to zucchini, Halton North is a proud producer of agricultural products and livestock whose genetic material ranks among the finest in the world, creating jobs, opportunity and investment.

Halton North is also the proud home of a number of varied ecosystems. These ecosystems include the Niagara Escarpment, which encompasses approximately 30% of the land mass of Halton North and gives residents a keen sense of appreciation for nature. The famed Rattlesnake Point on the escarpment has a lookout point from which it is possible to see Toronto and, on a clear day, the mist rising from Niagara Falls.

As mentioned at the outset, Halton North brings many concerns together, not the least of which is industry. No fewer than five limestone quarries are included in Halton North, including the largest in Canada. These five employ over 1,000 people, as well as many more involved in the spinoff industries, including trucking.

With its close proximity to Highway 401 and undeveloped lands at its doorstep, Halton North is well positioned to take advantage of development opportunities as the time for growth has arrived. It is with great pleasure that I announce in the House today that as a direct result of this government's election, new investment and growth in Halton North is already taking place.

Since June 8, the following companies have made growth announcements:

Systems Xcellence, a total solution provider in the field of electronic transaction processing, which hires skilled information technology professionals: In a letter of October 5, 1995, they made me aware that in the coming months they plan to expand their workforce from 110 to 260 employees, over 100% growth, and break ground to increase their building capacity to accommodate this growth, with the expectation that export sales will top $10 million, the majority in US dollars.

Further, a food distribution company announced in July 1995 a new industrial expansion and will make a capital investment totalling $10.7 million.

SKD, an auto parts manufacturer, announced in June the investment of $403,000 for new industrial construction.

Further, a summary of business registry activities provided by Halton region from June 1995 to the present, as compared to the first five months of 1995, reveals the following positive indications: Business registrations in Milton are up 14%, business registrations in Georgetown are up a whopping 68% and business registrations in Halton North generally are up 11%.

These announcements and indicators for the residents of Halton North and the people of Ontario mean jobs, jobs and more jobs. The list goes on.


The business community in Halton North and indeed across this province has received the message loud and clear: The Conservative government in Ontario under the leadership of Premier Mike Harris, guided by the mandate given to our Common Sense Revolution, will promote an environment where the private sector can do what it does best: create jobs, real jobs, in the province of Ontario. The bottom line is that this kind of job creation is the best solution for the financial crisis we find ourselves in today.

I am honoured, and at the same time humbled, to sit on this side of the chamber once graced by my grandfather, the Honourable Thomas Laird Kennedy. His public service of over 50 years in Ontario included being the reeve of Toronto township, the Minister of Agriculture of Ontario and the Premier of Ontario while serving the riding of Peel. While my grandfather might not have pictured any of his grandchildren in politics, I know he'd be pleased with my decision to run for public office and be part of what I see as a historic change in the way government conducts itself.

Times and people may change, but the essence of core human values rarely differs from generation to generation. That is why I do not find it the least bit ironic that the core values in the Common Sense Revolution echo the core values found in the age of my grandfather: values of thrift, living within the scope of one's economic reality, a deep sense of community and a fierce independence that avoided government assistance or intervention at any cost.

The people of Ontario won't be fooled any more by the little boy who cries wolf. Ontarians do not believe it is irresponsible to cut spending in this province. These measures will help re-establish our credit rating and encourage growth and investment and create jobs.

After 33 tax increases delivered in the last five years, all Ontarians want and need the welcome relief a tax cut will provide. Our tax cut will stimulate consumer spending, spur investment and spark job creation. The leader of the third party continues to brand our politics as tax breaks for the rich but conveniently forgets to mention that those earning more than $50,000 a year will be subject to the fair share health levy tax.

The elimination of barriers to growth and investment are also part and parcel of our program. We have eliminated the corporate filing fee, frozen Ontario Hydro rates and are committed to eliminating the employer health tax for small businesses, all of which stimulate growth and investment and create jobs.

Stating it as mildly as I can, Ontario is at a crossroads, close to the fiscal point of no return. That is why it is necessary to initiate the kind of remedy needed to fix that which ails the province. This government has the right medicine that I believe will lead us to a cure.

The Common Sense Revolution was the lightning rod that convinced me and many others across the province to become a part of the process that follows the path towards positive change. Together, we all share a responsibility for helping create that positive change. Jobs, growth and investment are part of that change.

We in this province have been up the mountain of debt and deficits. We have looked over the edge into the abyss and we have seen the future of despair provided by the previous government. On June 8, Ontario chose hope. We chose to accept those values my grandfather embraced and the values that we want to establish in our children: values of reward for hard work, of individual choice, of incentives to succeed, of growth opportunity, but most of all of hope -- hope for the future, hope for our children and hope for our province.

This government and the Common Sense Revolution will deliver that hope as we approach the dawning of the 21st century.

Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): I am pleased to rise this afternoon and share in the debate concerning the unemployment situation in this province, which is rather serious. I would like to prelude my comments by a couple of statements that have been made heretofore, especially that government cannot create jobs.

While I would agree with the spirit of that statement, I obviously would not agree that government cannot create jobs. I think of the job governments do in terms of developing infrastructure. I think of, in my own area in eastern Ontario, the efforts to complete Highway 416, which has been on the books for decades, and the number of jobs that creates and the spinoff effects that has in terms of job creation and in terms of the infrastructure and the enhancement of opportunities for transportation, for access to the capital of our particular region and our nation, all of the spinoff effects that take place, yet it would not happen if government were not to take some initiative in order to see that this infrastructure was in place.

I would like to address another issue, and I would address this remark to our Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, the minister responsible for those things that stimulate economic development. I was disappointed to see the elimination of the Ontario Development Corp, which has some spinoff in terms of northern development. My colleagues from the north will certainly know of the good work that takes place there, and I of course know more specifically about the activities of the Eastern Ontario Development Corp, where no one else would venture. The banks wouldn't venture into supporting things because it was risky and the government said, "We will have people do an analysis, we will use people from business and their expertise and people from the development area of economic development, universities, whatever, and we will stimulate activities."

The Ontario Development Corp, of course, has assets. It will be interesting to see what's going to happen to those assets or whether in fact you will retool that particular corporation. Maybe there is some need for some activity there.

But to me, there's no question that the Eastern Ontario Development Corp's stimulus in producing exports, software from the high-tech industries in particular, means billions of dollars for the economy of Ontario.

More specifically, I want to address one area that often gets left out, the youth unemployment area. The official statistics for youth unemployment are in the range of 16% to 17%. Everyone knows that it's hard to calculate those who have dropped out, those who have decided they no longer have any hope of finding employment and just leave. You may see them on the streets; you may see them at home doing nothing because they've given up. A more realistic figure is probably in the 25% range for young people 16 to 25 years of age.

There's been a long tradition of governments tending to work with the voluntary sector in terms of support programs for people because, as everyone in this House knows, it is more expensive to have people on welfare than it is to invest in people who gain new hope, develop the skills and in fact are able to employ themselves or find a job. It's always a crucial area in times of high unemployment, and we're in one, but those most crucially affected are really our young people.

It seems to me we have to talk about the initiatives in our schools. The Minister of Education and Training talked about strengthening our co-op programs, strengthening our apprenticeship programs in our schools, and those are vital. These programs are not just for those who are having difficulty in school; they are providing the opportunity for young people of all educational and academic capacities to gain some experience in the workplace, whether it is a business or a college or a voluntary organization or indeed maybe even in some government offices, to learn what it means to work in a different area -- very, very important, developing the experience and developing the awareness of what is required of you when you leave.

There's nothing worse than feeling you've gone through a system in which you're expected to have learned a certain curriculum, and that this will be good enough and that there are people waiting to hire you, when we know that is not the case. We have to do much better than that.


When I have the opportunity to talk to high school students and they say, "What can we expect when we graduate?" one of the things I tell them is that one area they should be paying attention to, in my opinion, is to start developing their own entrepreneurial skills. The attitude that because you're in the educational system and at the end there will be a job waiting for you -- my assumption is, don't expect that there's a job waiting for you. See what you can do yourself. Begin to increase the experiences that you have available to you. Take an aggressive, proactive stance and attitude and learn what it means to develop skills, ideas for a business or for a service or some kind of opportunity. If indeed at the end of your academic experience others see the strengths you have and would like to hire you, at least you have a choice. But you're not beginning with the assumption that, "If I go through this experience, by gosh there will be a job automatically for me to have at the other end."

I see that my time is pretty well up. I would like to make just one last statement to encourage the government. When they have some of these programs working with young people, and it applies to whoever -- I've spent some time in this particular sector, as some of you would know, working with some of the organizations, the youth centres, the YMCA and YWCA, the Red Cross, the boys' and girls' clubs, whatever they are. These are organizations that care about young people. That's why they're in the business of working with youth. They care about them. They have a lot of expertise.

Time after time, I see government making the assumption that somehow all the knowledge is in government. It is not in government. It is in the community, it's in the private sector and often in the voluntary sector. These people care about those young people, and those are your real partners. Those are the people who want to work with government, want to see young people get ahead, want to make sure they get off the welfare rolls and make sure they don't get on the welfare rolls to begin with.

My time is up and I will end there.

Mr Pouliot: There's so much to say when I look at the resolution presented by the leader of the third party, my leader, and yet so little time.

The member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay has captured, seized the moment, always an exciting time when we address colleagues and Ontarians -- and more exciting when our parents pay the compliment of their visit. It's a point that will stay with you. I certainly wish you well.

The dean of the House, 25 years next October, the former Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance: We all had a caucus meeting and we're au courant. We want to wish Floyd, our friend, our colleague, a person who knows no enemy in this House, I'm convinced of that, we want to wish him well.


Mr Pouliot: Thank you kindly.

The resolution implies that it's quite simple reading. It reminds the government that there have been previous governments, and regardless of political stripe, regardless of ideologies -- not that they're all the same; you keep reminding us and we reciprocate -- there are times where events supersede, become more important, are speaking louder than ideology.

Over the years I've cautioned myself about words such as "always" or "never." In the political sense, they may come back to haunt you. In the real world, there are times and situations where it becomes money that is well spent. Bad examples, unfortunately, murk the picture. Good examples give us a chance for equilibrium and balance.

We know that it's more difficult now because you have this restructuring revolution. There's little database to draw from. It's not the same; it's not written at the library. The other day it was mentioned that we are beginning a new era. Some people thought that it had to do with the new government. Well, maybe that too, but more than that, you have on the one hand the traditional cycle: the good times; the ceiling; the bad times; heaven forbid, a recession. Then you have the excitement of a big, bold move forward. And you have to reconcile your commitment when you do that.

When Chrysler comes calling to have a third shift and they wish you to have a $30-million forgivable loan -- and the former Premier is right: You have to look at what is being done elsewhere. Could we not negotiate some? You have from time to time an invitation to partake, and they will up the ante and you will have to have the confidence to say no but yet not to shut the door, because you said that we would do this and we would do that.

You have some challenges, and I sense a certain perverse pleasure or, if not pleasure, at least determination to say, "If we said we would do it, we shall do it come hell or high water." I recall -- it's not that long ago, yet far too long -- where I was sitting beside the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, the person under whose auspices is the future of the province to a large extent. He is preceded by a flawless reputation. I'm convinced that meetings in the boardroom, with respect, Mr Minister, had a different style attached to them, that you didn't, as a result of a provocation, draw the same reaction. It is not said in those chambers but it is done in this chamber.

You've promised a 30% tax cut. Well, maybe at 15% you would have had the same "political mileage." I'm not aware of too much of a database, but 30% is a round figure and it sells well. We've been overtaxed; there's no denying it. You've proposed a balanced budget in about four and a half years. You keep reminding us that the budget shortfall, to say nothing of the debt, is in the neighbourhood of $10 billion. Even the Republicans are asking a compromise between seven and 10 years. What I'm suggesting humbly is, show the same determination, but take a little more time.

The electorate will be forever forgiving. They will see their way as a party that is doing what they said they would do. But there comes a time, as you look to the demographics, as you look to the deficit, as you look to the $3-billion shortfall in the next two fiscal years starting next April 1, where you will have to decide whether a mild case, a condition, must or must not be overradiated. It's not a matter of forgiveness; people will understand. There comes a time, because you're talking about $3.5 billion -- I mean, you embark. I don't get too many calls from the less fortunate; it's not in their style. I am now getting more calls from service providers.


The anxiety has become palpable and concrete. A cynic would say that you've moved up the food chain, and those people have voices. Don't dislocate. Don't say, "Because I must protect my halo of sanctity, I will cut to the bone, and I will do it," because the public wishes to take a hit. They're a little hesitant when they see that if you make $150,000, you're going to get $5,000 in tax breaks. Of course, you already pay more and you should be getting your fair share, but when you flash the $5,000, or $30,000, $35,000, $36,000 at $250,000, they become a little more hesitant, because we cannot relate to this.

I'm going to wish you well. I will be supporting the resolution because for me it strikes of equilibrium, it strikes of balance, and that too the resolution should be part of your Common Sense Revolution, because it does exactly that; it is indeed filled with common sense.

Mr Tim Hudak (Niagara South): It is my pleasure to rise today to speak to the opposition day motion, a motion that asks this government to pull away from the edge of fundamental change in this province and restore the status quo. In my opinion, this motion asks me to step back from this change and to step back into the mire of debt financing and joblessness, lost hope and forfeited dreams.

I oppose this motion because of my own experiences in the last five years, experiences that I have shared with the hardworking women and men of Niagara South riding. In my relatively short life, I have had the opportunity to live in and visit for extended periods various cities across this great country. However, I always find myself returning to the beautiful, quiet land nestled between Lake Erie and the Niagara River. This riding I'm most proud to represent, Niagara South, is comprised of a handful of small communities, cities and towns which share the rural traditions of friendliness and generosity, civic duty and civic pride, and each is unique in its own right.

In my first opportunity to speak at length in this assembly, I would like a moment to talk about my riding. I was born and raised in Fort Erie, Ontario, the home of the Peace Bridge, a focal point of international trade, and the Fort Erie Race Track, the second jewel in Canada's triple crown. Fort Erie consists of several smaller communities, including Stevensville, where I now reside, Ridgeway, where my parents taught for 25 years, and Crystal Beach, home of some of the Niagara Peninsula's richer history.

The city of Port Colborne marks the opening of the Welland Canal. It has a proud history as a shipping and manufacturing centre. With a determined new city council, Port Colborne is diversifying its economic base and is well placed to prosper once more from the changes this government will help bring about.

Wainfleet, the home of the Marshville Festival, is a small, closely knit, hardworking community that earns most of its money the hard way, through agriculture. What Wainfleet lacks in numbers, it more than makes up in community spirit and service. Wainfleet recently hosted the Niagara South ploughing match, in which I participated, as did the member for Niagara Falls, Bart Maves. I am pleased to say that I was awarded the esteemed prize in this contest of "almost won."

I am also most proud to represent the southernmost portion of Niagara Falls. The rural and young families south of McLeod Road have placed their trust in me, and I will do my best to advance their interests and deliver on the promises I have made.

There is one thing that I firmly do not believe is in the interests of the hardworking women and men of Niagara South, and that is to abandon change and to fall back upon the failed policies of the previous government, as this motion before us today asks me to do.

I remember 1990 very clearly. I graduated from the University of Western Ontario and was sent out into the workforce at the same time as the NDP set about implementing their economic plan. It didn't quite work out that way. I found work, but I count myself fortunate. Many graduates of the early 1990s went jobless or seized whatever McJob they could find.

Many of my friends, the daughters and sons of people in my riding, fled this province to the west coast, to the United States, overseas, or wherever possible, but too many fled from Bob Rae's Ontario in search of hope and opportunity somewhere else. They were bad days for Niagara South. I will not abandon change now and let another group of young people, the sons and daughters of the working people in Niagara South, experience that fate, as this opposition motion prods me to do.

I remember working down at the border, at the Peace Bridge, and seeing with my own eyes companies packing up, closing up shop, laying off their workforce, heading east or west, or across the border to the USA. UPS and half the jobs at Robin Hood in Port Colborne come immediately to mind.

The people of Port Colborne and Fort Erie remember the flight of jobs from Ontario. They remember the days of 65 successive tax hikes, job-killing labour legislation and an explosion of government debt. Those were bad days for Niagara South. I will not abandon real change now and let another group of hardworking women and men experience that fate, as this opposition motion prods me to do.

I'd like to talk about change. Today we have a government committed, not to raising taxes, but to lowering taxes, a government committed to balancing the budget and creating a positive environment for economic growth and job creation. With that change comes more change.

There is a new company coming to town. Great Lakes Bureau, the third-largest receivables management firm in the United States, will be coming to Fort Erie, Ontario, in the new year. Beginning with 50 new, well-paying jobs, they expect to expand to over 100 personnel by the end of the year -- jobs coming this way across the border without government assistance, jobs coming from the States into Ontario. Now, that's change.

I would like to tell you about Frontier Distributing, a growing small company, about 60 full-time staff, that had seriously considered moving its base to Buffalo, New York, from Fort Erie under the previous government. Thankfully, they held off until the election. The president of the company, John Hamilton, recently wrote me. He said, "As we watch the Harris government take a necessary hard line on change, including the repeal of Bill 40, we decided...to go ahead with a half-million-dollar capital expansion (without government financial assistance) in the attempt to anchor us in Fort Erie as a growing small business."

That may not be a large dollar figure to previous governments accustomed to running up $10-billion deficits, but to the families of those people who work at Frontier, and those who will in the future, that figure is vital.

About two weeks ago I rose in this assembly to announce a $10-million capital expansion project which included 120 new jobs -- a 100% increase in employment -- at Ronal Canada in Stevensville, home of the Tim Hudak Action Centre. According to the plant manager, Rick Visser, Ronal Canada was chosen because of management-union cooperation without Bill 40 and the new political climate in the province of Ontario.

Trench Manufacturing -- high-quality textiles -- will be expanding in Port Colborne, Ontario, with a $250,000 capital expansion project and up to 20 new jobs.

When I attended Our Lady of Victory school, an elementary school, a teacher of mine, Cathy Dennahoer, taught me this important message: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." When I see this motion coming across the floor, I cannot help but think that it was thrown by a party that has committed some rather egregious economic sins: nearly 80,000 fewer jobs today than at the beginning of the NDP mandate; unemployment jumped from 6.3% to 9.3%; nearly four consecutive $10-billion deficits, creating a $100-billion debt load; a credit rating downgraded four times.


The people of Wainfleet and the people of Ridgeway remember those irresponsible spending years. They were bad days for Niagara South, and I will not abandon real change now. I will not abandon businesses like Frontier and Great Lakes who have made investments trusting in us to help restore a positive economic climate to Ontario and condemn them to higher taxes, larger deficits and runaway debt, as this motion prompts me to do.

I'd also like to take a moment to address the clauses in this resolution related to social assistance reductions. The minister in the former government, the member for Dovercourt himself, said: "The welfare system in Ontario simply doesn't work any more. It is an expensive, inefficient system." He went on, "Taxpayers demand and deserve a more sound and accountable system."

The changes we have made in social assistance reflect what the majority of people in Niagara South tell me they wanted to see. The previous governments, by raising social assistance rates well beyond those of the other provinces, turned the safety net into a web which held recipients down, paying them only enough to keep them poor and financially penalizing any attempts to get back on their feet.

We have made the necessary changes to restore the incentive to work again, and already we have seen results: a steady decline in the social assistance rolls since July; 24,000 fewer recipients in August-September; 36,000 fewer recipients in September-October, the greatest drop since 1969. In the Niagara Peninsula, we also had the largest percentage drop in recipients since 1969, an 8% drop in one month alone.

Interestingly too, an additional point in the peninsula, the Niagara region used Jobs Ontario to help the recipients find work through its employment programs unit. This month, without that Jobs Ontario funding, job placements are up 20%.

I know that many individuals and families are facing difficult challenges today, tough choices, the uncertainty of re-entering the job market, but these numbers show the most significant drops in the welfare rolls in two generations. We are making the change to restore hope and prosperity and jobs in this province once more, and I will not abandon real change now and condemn those struggling to pull themselves out of poverty to a lifetime on assistance, as this resolution prods me to do.

On behalf of the people of Niagara South, who have placed their faith in me to make change and restore hope and opportunity, I strongly, very strongly, oppose this motion before the assembly today.

Mr Curling: I appreciate the opportunity to comment on this resolution put forward by the third party leader. To my colleagues and the people in Ontario, Scarborough North is one of the hardest-working communities in our province and it reflects very well people of the working class, the people who struggle, people who send their kids to school, people who have very much tried their best to make their contribution in our society.

People believe that the government role in our society is one of the most important institutions in a democratic society. It is the institution that should protect the most vulnerable in our society. That's what it's all about. We know that those who are capable and able with regard to money and status are able to provide for themselves, but a government that collects the taxes is able to distribute that and protect those who are so vulnerable in our society. When I come to this place of legislation, of governing, it is my role to see that this is done.

Of course, this government has taken a new mandate which it calls the commonsense approach. I am searching very hard to find any kind of sense in what they're doing. The kind of assault that this government has put on those who need day care, those who need affordable housing, those who need some assistance in order to be more profitable and productive in our society has made me have great concern about the role of government and who government serves. This concerns me a lot.

We talk about a job. They call him Mike the Knife, cutting all these jobs away from many people who have earned them and worked so hard, and he has defined that these people should not be working. In the meantime, we know what a job is all about. A job brings more than just money to pay for rent, it brings more than the mortgages, it brings more than the tuition fees that must be paid, it brings more than the day care subsidy that they must give in order to get out to work; it brings a sense of dignity for the individual who has status in the family, to say that they can contribute and they're making their contribution to society and to their family. It's a sense of importance. That's what a job is all about: a sense of importance, of feeling that as an individual one can make this place a better place for all of us to live and to work.

What this government has done -- and I hope that they will see very clearly the most important resources that we have in our society, who need a chance -- is block those opportunities coming about. Some of the laws that are in place in the system and bridging that gap to eliminate barriers so that the disabled can contribute in a very productive way, that is all gone.

I'm going to urge you all to look at the individual aspects of it: to look where women were denied for years proper pay for work of equal value, which people have struggled for, legislators have come in here to fight for; to make sure that those barriers are not put back up again and the status quo is not here, where the dominant males will provide and persevere to make sure that they are the power; hoping that all people can contribute, such as the disabled who just need access to come into a place and were being systemically denied those opportunities. That's what government is all about: to break those barriers down.

When we look at jobs and those people who are denied jobs, these are the most vulnerable people, and the statistics have shown this. We have shown too that our young people must be given hope, given hope upon graduation that hard work, in the sense of where they would have liked to have an education -- many of us have told our children that education is the key to it all -- after the high cost of education that we see today and having graduated, they are unable to get a job because of the economic situation.

What bothers me, Madam Speaker, as you must have seen too, and many of my Conservative fellows, who of course will tell you they read the Financial Post every day, is the fact that the banks are making an enormous amount of money in a great recession, a time when we feel that the recession is here and the poor have not been able to work, do not have jobs. Yet we are in a recession, a recession where people have no money to buy the basic needs to bring dignity and respect to themselves.

The job of a government, the job of the Legislature, even the job of the opposition is to remind you all that these people are the most vulnerable in our society, and by cutting off these jobs and making sure they don't get the hand-up situation, the support, what you are doing is creating a situation that when the chicken comes home to roost, we all shall be paying for it.


Of course, I don't want to preach doom and gloom in this province or in this country. This country is a wonderful country and this province is a wonderful place. I think the only problem we have is that the resources are not being distributed in an equitable manner. That's the responsibility of government, to make sure that the infrastructure -- and the minister of economics and trade touts every day that government cannot create jobs. Let me tell him, they can. That's their job, to create jobs, to make sure that the environment is there, to make sure that those systemic barriers and things that are in place for those people who would like to produce in our society are able to do so.

So don't stand back each day and have the same kind of speech -- and I hear it on the lips of many of the ministers. The Minister of Housing, for instance, has said that we must come out of the building of housing. First, we were never in the building of housing, and I would ask him too if many of those houses that were being built, affordable housing that was being built with the assistance and support of all the levels of government, from the municipality which provided the land, from the provincial government that supported the mortgages and the federal government that assisted in the mortgages -- where would these people live?

The stimulation that happens in the economy in regard to the building of those homes and the buying of the furniture and the place to put someone that they can live decently -- I say to you it is your job to make sure that we all share in the wealth of this province, in the wealth of this country. When you tout the fact that "Let's give it to big business because they in turn will hand it back down to all those small people, because they in turn" -- they cannot wait -- "will prosper," that's not prosperity. That's aligning one end of the world or category with some money in the sense of waiting on the trickle-down theory. That's the Reagan economics, the voodoo kind of economics that does not work.

So I say to you as I appeal to you, you have an opportunity to show leadership and support this resolution. I want to thank you very much for the opportunity to let me speak.

Mr Rob Sampson (Mississauga West): As I start off, I apologize to the House if my voice sounds a little strained. I'm struggling with a bit of the flu today but I didn't want --


Mr Sampson: Somebody else is struggling with the flu too.

Mr Hampton: Stay in your own seat when you've got the flu.

Mr Sampson: I hope to pass some of that to my colleagues to the right.

I didn't want to be kept, though, from speaking to this particular subject today, for a number of reasons. I suppose one of the more important ones is that I happen to represent one of the many ridings in the great city of Mississauga. As you may know, the city of Mississauga happens to be a debt-free city and has developed this business focus, and that's why the taxpayers were receptive to the approach we laid out and I laid out to them throughout the campaign, an approach to be fiscally responsible and to spend the money properly and, frankly, to spend the money that we have and not to spend the money that we don't have.

But in the very short minutes that I have, I'd like to reply to a couple of the points that have been raised already today. The member for Fort York indicated to us that it was his belief that the well-to-do will get all the money. He's of course referring to that particular party's view of where the 30% provincial income tax cuts will go. The leader of the third party indicated that in his view the lion's share of the tax cuts will go to the wealthy people.

I found that a rather interesting statement to make, so I decided to do a bit of research into how the various income levels are spread in the province of Ontario, and I also have that information for my particular riding but the numbers are relatively the same: 88% of the working population of this province, and that's people 15 years of age and older, earn less than $50,000. So I guess that means, from the third party here, that their view is that 88% of the people are wealthy. How can that possibly be, someone earning $50,000 wealthy?

Let's take a look where the 50% number fits. The lion's share of the people who will get the tax cuts earn less than $50,000. These are wealthy people, according to the third party. I think I would like to hear the leader of the third party take that comment to a rather interesting meeting that is happening in this particular city and tell the leaders of the union movement that they happen to represent the wealthy workers of this province.

There was also a point made by the leader of the third party that our particular efforts on reducing the personal income tax will not, I believe he said, have an impact on jobs. Then he went on and said that he created the jobs; their particular government created jobs. He also indicated that there would be a greater stimulus to the economy by providing, I believe, the lion's share of the tax decreases to the lower-income group.

In preparing for my particular address today, I happened to refer to a rather interesting document. It's entitled Ontario Fiscal and Economic Issues and it's a review of the financial situation of this province prepared by a company called Dun and Bradstreet. These are the people who are charged with the responsibility of determining the credit-worthiness of the debt instruments that colleagues here in both of the opposition parties rapidly issued during their heyday period, the lost 10 years.

I want to refer you to a statement made on page 2, under the employment section. It says, and this is not something from the Conservative Party; this is Dun and Bradstreet: "Employment is still nearly 100,000 jobs below the pre-recession peak in 1989."

Well, wait a minute. Didn't the leader just tell me that he created jobs? Didn't the leader just tell me that his approach of spending over $40 billion of the money we didn't have and putting it in the hands of the less wealthy, as I think he would have said, didn't he tell us that that was creating jobs? It didn't. It produced 100,000 less jobs than we had.

I only have a few more minutes and I'll save some of these rather interesting comments for perhaps another debate item. But I want to touch on a comment that was made by the member for Scarborough-Agincourt, who I believe was referring to his time in the private sector before he became a member of this House, and he said that he believed it was appropriate to, I think he said the words, "put his house on the line" to invest in the creation of jobs. But this is the same member who tells us we shouldn't invest in lowering the tax base of this province, the provincial income tax of this province, to create jobs. Those are two completely inconsistent views, and that is not appropriate.

We are investing in the people of this province by providing the businesses of this world with an opportunity to grow. That's why we're lowering the tax base. That's why we're giving the opportunity of workers to get jobs, long-term jobs, jobs created by the private sector -- not the public sector, the private sector, because public sector jobs are there only when the public sector money is there. As soon as the public sector money is gone, the jobs are gone. We want permanent jobs, we want jobs that are there for my children, my children's children.

We want to return this province to economic prosperity, and the only way we're going to do that is the balanced approach we laid out to the people of this province on June 8 and they accepted, the balanced approach of lowering government expenditure, getting the government out of their pockets and giving them tax breaks to help us pay for that reduction in expenditure. That's how we are going to get Ontario working again.

As I have only 40 seconds left, the other comment I want to make is that many of my colleagues over on the opposition side have been talking about the trickle-down theory and that they don't believe the trickle-down theory works. Well, for the last 10 years the trickle-up theory has been a failure. They've tried to trickle up money. It's not worked and it's been borrowed money. We can't afford it. We've got to stop that now. That's what we are doing for this government. We are going to return economic prosperity to the province of Ontario, and that means jobs.


Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): I am very pleased to rise and add my voice on this particular resolution and, yes, I'd like to speak in support of it. How can we not support any particular piece of legislation that is hopefully going to go through the House here when it speaks about creating jobs and getting our people back to work?

"The agenda is already clear, and it might suffice to say simply, `Your government is doing what it said it would do, and it will continue.'" I'm reading from the speech from the throne, which is nothing more than the speech prepared by the government as to what they are proposing to do. I am reading from the front page of that particular speech from the throne and it says, first line of the Common Sense Revolution, which is incorporated in the speech from the throne: "People want jobs -- for this generation and the next."

The resolution as presented by the leader of the third party says, when are we going to start creating these 720,000 proposed jobs? If we don't start today, the jobs are not going to be there for the people of tomorrow.

We hear a lot about common sense and fairness in every proposal coming from the government side. For example, on page 6 of the so-called Common Sense Revolution, it speaks of "Fair Share." That is indeed the health care system. Well, my goodness, we have seen how much fairness has been coming from the other side with respect to health care for the needy people in our province.

Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): Not much.

Mr Sergio: Not a heck of a lot.

On the second page of this particular document, again prepared for and on behalf of the government, it says, "We want every Ontarian to have a fair chance at a productive, independent life." I am sure that they didn't mean to put people out of work, to lose their houses, to lose whatever assistance they had in assisting their kids so they can go to work, if they still had a job.

To every member of the House, how are we going to give our people a chance to be productive when they are on the brink of losing their respective jobs? Indeed, to be fair to the government, they are creating a lot of jobs, but not in Ontario. They are creating a lot of jobs south of the border. They are creating a lot of jobs in the Pacific Rim. They are creating jobs even in European countries. They are creating jobs even in Argentina, in Brazil and in many other parts of the world, including in Alberta.

If the atmosphere in which this government portrays the economic situation here in Ontario to employers is so good, so attractive, how come companies that are relocating from one part of the country to another, none of them comes to settle in Ontario?

Mr Pouliot: You got to market the right stuff.

Mr Sergio: Absolutely, and marketing it means giving the people, giving the workers exactly what produces jobs, and that is long-term jobs. We may say, why not in Ontario? It is because employers -- and we see it on a daily basis, on a recurring basis. For every job that is being created -- and I should say that this trickles down from the effects of programs that are coming from the federal government -- it runs one to four or four to one; it depends which way they like to see it.

So the fact is that -- and I have to say this -- the previous government didn't listen to the good advice of the Liberal side when we were saying, "You can't spend your way out of this particular situation" -- depression, oppression, whatever we call it.

This government, unfortunately, is not listening either. They are saying, "We had one side that was spending their way out and we're going to cut our way out." But the unfortunate situation is that while we are making it so good, with a totally attractive proposal for the employers, big companies, this is what's happening in our market today: We are seeing, on a continuous basis, amalgamation, which means less employees and more money. We are seeing diversification, which means people are not staying here in Ontario and diversifying but are going to other parts of the country where they make it very attractive and perhaps even less competitive than the way it is here today.

This is the reason we do not see the job creation that we were supposed to get here in Ontario. When our Premier says, "We're going to put people back to work," where are the jobs? Certainly not for the people in my riding, because on a daily basis I get lineups of people saying, "I want to work." You know what the sad thing is, members of the House? The very sad thing is that out there are a lot of people with a big heart and a big will who do want to work, who do want a job, and when I'm sitting across my desk in my office and people cry and say, "Just find me any job; I'll take anything."

Mr Ruprecht: Right, they say that.

Mr Sergio: Yes, they do say that. I have women and I have men -- and I don't mean the 18-year-olds; they're 25, 54, there's a big mix out there. They say: "I don't want to be on the line of the unemployed people. I don't want to collect welfare. I'm ashamed. I feel good. I'm strong. I want a job. So I beg of you, find me a job."

This is how we are treating our people? Is this what we're giving back our people? My goodness, since June 8 I haven't heard one line from the Premier saying how we are going to put our people back to work.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): No job creation.

Mr Sergio: No job creation. The only thing we have seen is cuts, cuts, cuts of programs, and no incentive whatsoever to open up the market.

It's very sad, because we have one excellent example. The minister providing social assistance to housing has said, "The program in existence doesn't work, so let the private people, let the builders provide affordable housing." How much affordable housing did the private sector provide? Not even one. They are doing exactly the same thing with jobs in Ontario.

I can see that my time has run out. I would like to go on, but I'll give my colleague here a chance.


Mr Ruprecht: I want to congratulate my friend, but at the same time I'm somewhat surprised at our friends from the NDP when I look at this resolution. That they of all people should introduce a resolution of this kind is almost unfathomable. Why? Let's look at the statistics.

An average of 1,000 people lost their jobs for every week the NDP was in power. Second, an average of 12,000 people went on welfare every month during the NDP's term of office. Over 450,000 people were out of work when Bob Rae left office, and guess what? Nearly 1.4 million people were on welfare when Bob Rae left office. And here we've got opposition day with this resolution. It takes some gall.

There's Mr Rae, who's just walked in. I'm very happy he's here today. But let's look at the situation, how it really is.

I want to congratulate them, to some degree. At least they've seen the light at the end of the tunnel, seen that their way of deficit spending and creating government jobs only has come to an end. Now they say, "We have not succeeded, after four and a half or five years, but now let's at least make sure that the Conservative Party is on the right track and that at least they will maintain and keep the promise."

What promise is that? We all remember throughout the election, which took a number of days, that Mike Harris indicated what he stood for. If you ask any Ontarian, they will tell you he stood for "jobs, jobs and more jobs."

My friends, let's look at the reality of the situation today. Is Mike Harris's government going to create the jobs? The way it looks right now, the tax benefits Mike Harris is going to propose and that everyone has to suffer for are going to come on the backs of those who need the government the most, namely, the poor.

To look at the reality of job creation, I can provide you with at least one example where the Conservatives have gone back to the old program and provide government jobs for security agents and security personnel. Why is that? Let's provide just one example in my riding of Parkdale.

We've got the mental health centre there, right in the middle of Parkdale, and we've asked the government why it would want to create a forensic centre in the middle of a community that --

Mr Gerretsen: We'll take it. I've told you that before.

Mr Ruprecht: I'm happy that you want to take it, but why would you want to do that when everyone is totally opposed to it, when there is no good reason for it, when, furthermore, the whole community and the local members, including the NDP -- we're together on this one -- have said, "This forensic centre is of no use to us"? My colleague the member for Fort York -- you might have already forgotten him, but he is still sitting in the back there -- has said his own government did not even inform him when they decided to put the centre there. What is it really? It's a jail for the criminally insane.

What's going to happen here? If the forensic centre goes into the community, you've really displaced a lot of people who need ex-psychiatric treatment. You've displaced them, and now you're bringing in people from all over Ontario. It's true, because the catchment area of that centre goes into Peel. In other words, the catchment area will bring people to the centre, sucking them in from as far away as Peel, and will churn out the residents, churn out the patients and spew them out into the Parkdale community.

Is that a fair situation? Is that the way we want to hold office? Is this the way we want to create employment? Is that a new employment creation program?

I suggest to you no. It is not fair, it isn't right, and there's no justice to it. You can't take people from Peel and spit them into the streets of Parkdale, because we already have a ward without walls. That is not fair.

I'm standing here today and I'm saying to you and to the psychiatric community that you've got to find new models for this, because what you're doing is denigrating a whole area, destroying a whole community by doing it. There are other models for it. Come up with them. Don't ask the residents and us, as legislators, to come up with new models of how to treat psychiatric patients. My friends, I'm saying to you and in fact to all of Ontario that this is not the way to go about treating ex-psychiatric patients, because we know that the rate at which people go back into the centre is over 70%. Is that the way to run a business?

We've talked to the Minister of Health. What is his reply? "Well, let's look at it again." I'm saying to you today, since we're talking about job creation and since we're talking about job development, is this what the Conservative government wants to say, that the only way we're going to create jobs here is to create them for security agents and those who have to watch the criminally insane? How many jobs would that create? It's true, it will create about 15 jobs. Those are the jobs we do not seek.

We know, when we look today at how jobs are being created, that we simply cannot create the jobs on the backs of the poor. I'm delighted that the Minister of Community and Social Services is right across here, attending today. I know he must take this somewhat seriously, that you cannot just cut into the bone. When you start cutting into the bone, you get to the point where the person is no longer able to develop skills in terms of aftercare services. For anyone looking for a job -- we heard from our friend today that we've got people who are just coming out of high school, we've got them from universities, we've got some who have just lost their jobs, and they are saying to us today: "Find us any kind of job. Please, give me any job. I don't care what you do, but try to find me a job."

My NDP friends are smirking and laughing because they were indeed the ones who got us into this mess in the first place. That's true.


Mr Ruprecht: Thank you very much; I appreciate that.

But you should understand that while we have seen the excesses of the ideologues of the left, we certainly cannot now buy into the excesses of the ideologues of the right, which they represent.


Mr Ruprecht: It surely hits home because you know the situation.

As to what is being proposed today, we say yes, the Bob Rae crowd is on to something very interesting. They've identified, finally, that their ways are not working and they will push the Conservatives into a job-creating program. At least it will make you people understand that the way you are going about it now is not going to create the jobs. That is not the way. It cannot work and it will not work. When we are looking at it in detail, I think we would thank the NDP, actually, for bringing this forth, because it isn't going to work.

On the other hand, let's look at the Liberal perspective, because it creates the middle ground. It is realistic. It is not ideological. That is why I am delighted today to participate in this motion. We have made some proposals for a number of years, and I'm very happy indeed to see that the way we're going to propose job creation for Ontario certainly is going to be better, no doubt about it, much better than those of the far left and those of the far right. I know Ontarians today will look at the proposals of the NDP --

The Speaker: The member's time has expired.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): I'm glad to have the chance to conclude debate today on this important motion that we've placed before the House.

We've done it because we think it's important that from time to time we bring some focus in this Legislature on one of the areas that we believe ought to be a primary responsibility of this government, which is to create jobs. It's something they certainly set out as one of the primary promises they made in the election and it's something we intend to continue to remind them of and to hold them to that responsibility.

We've heard a lot this afternoon. I just want to highlight a couple of points, starting with what is in fact this government's attitude and approach towards creating jobs. When you strip it all away, it's pretty clear to us that underlying the approach taken by this Conservative government really is their 30% tax cut. They seem to fundamentally believe that through the tax cuts they will create jobs, and we take great issue with that.

We take great issue because by virtue of having to get to the tax cuts, they are going to have to cut billions of dollars in spending -- $4 billion in their calculation; we think closer to $6 billion, but we will see -- and dismantle service after service in this province, and that will wreak havoc on the social fabric of this province. But more than that, it will not create the jobs. As has been found in jurisdiction after jurisdiction, you cannot create jobs through the trickle-down economic theory that this government has adopted, simply providing tax cuts to the wealthiest among our citizens and hoping or praying or thinking that that, in and of itself, is going to create the jobs.

This government couples that attitude with an approach that says they believe that basically they need to get out of the business of governing. They're doing that by proceeding to privatize service after service, by deregulating service after service, by basically trying to get us to a survival-of-the-fittest mode. But it is equally dangerous to abandon that historical role of government.

Not that the government should try to do everything. They try to create through their continuing crisis myths that there is a crisis here and a crisis there and that we on this side of the House say that the government has to do everything. It's convenient for them to create that atmosphere and then say: "No, we're moving away from that. We have to cut here and cut there." What they are forgetting is the kind of Ontario we have built up, not just through the time that we as New Democrats were in government, or indeed during the time that the Liberals were in government, but through decade after decade. The kind of Ontario we've built in this province is exactly the kind of Ontario I heard the Minister of Economic Development and Trade describe when he spoke publicly a couple of weeks ago.

He talked about Ontario as a good place to live in and a good place to invest in. That didn't happen by accident. That happened because government after government, including and particularly the Conservative governments of Bill Davis and his predecessors, recognized that government has a role to play in creating an atmosphere for business to invest, but also in taking the steps, when necessary, to invest directly, whether that's in training programs that put people back to work or in the infrastructure programs that create the services we need, create the infrastructure we need in this province and also create the jobs.

That is what is under threat by this government, because when all is said and done with respect to the tax cut, which I remind people is continuing to drive the agenda of this government, what we will have left in this province is an Ontario that is much meaner than the one we know today, an Ontario in which the disparity between those who are better off and those who are not as well off is going to be greater than it is today. We know, in looking at jurisdiction after jurisdiction, that when that happens you break down the fabric of a good society, you break down the fabric of a healthy society and, directly and indirectly, you make Ontario not such a good place to invest in. It all keeps coming back to this issue of jobs, to this issue of quality of life, to the question of the kind of Ontario that we want to see for ourselves today and for our children tomorrow.

We have put this resolution in front of this Legislature today because we believe very fundamentally in restoring job creation programs as being a legitimate role of government. We believe in a balanced and responsible approach to economic development and deficit reduction, one that says, yes, there is a deficit problem -- there isn't a crisis, there is a problem -- that has to be dealt with. It can be dealt with over time.

We call upon this government to come to its senses, to undo the irresponsible cuts that it has begun and to stop while it still has time. We will continue to do our job of reminding this government and reminding the people of this province about the kind of Ontario that we live in today and the kind of Ontario that we want to protect for our children tomorrow.

The Speaker: Mr Rae has moved opposition day motion number 3. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

Those in favour, say "aye."

Those opposed, say "nay."

In my opinion, the nays have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1756 to 1801.

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

All those in favour of Mr Rae's motion will please rise one at a time.


Bartolucci, Rick

Gravelle, Michael

Phillips, Gerry

Bisson, Gilles

Hampton, Howard

Pouliot, Gilles

Boyd, Marion

Kwinter, Monte

Rae, Bob

Bradley, James J.

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Ruprecht, Tony

Churley, Marilyn

Marchese, Rosario

Sergio, Mario

Cooke, David S.

Martel, Shelley

Silipo, Tony

Curling, Alvin

Martin, Tony

Wildman, Bud

Duncan, Dwight

Miclash, Frank

Wood, Len

Gerretsen, John

Morin, Gilles E.


Grandmaître, Bernard

Patten, Richard


The Speaker: All those opposed will please rise.


Baird, John R.

Hodgson, Chris

Runciman, Bob

Bassett, Isabel

Hudak, Tim

Sampson, Rob

Beaubien, Marcel

Johnson, Bert

Saunderson, William

Boushy, Dave

Johnson, David

Shea, Derwyn

Brown, Jim

Kells, Morley

Sheehan, Frank

Carroll, Jack

Klees, Frank

Smith, Bruce

Chudleigh, Ted

Leach, Al

Snobelen, John

Clement, Tony

Leadston, Gary L.

Spina, Joseph

Eves, Ernie L.

Marland, Margaret

Sterling, Norman W.

Flaherty, Jim

Maves, Bart

Stewart, R. Gary

Ford, Douglas B.

Munro, Julia

Tascona, Joseph N.

Galt, Doug

Mushinski, Marilyn

Tsubouchi, David H.

Gilchrist, Steve

Newman, Dan

Turnbull, David

Grimmett, Bill

O'Toole, John

Vankoughnet, Bill

Guzzo, Garry J.

Palladini, Al

Wood, Bob

Hardeman, Ernie

Parker, John L.

Young, Terence H.

Harnick, Charles

Preston, Peter


Hastings, John

Rollins, E.J. Douglas


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 28; the nays, 52.

The Speaker: I declare the motion lost.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Pursuant to standing order 34, the question that this House do now adjourn is deemed to have been made.

The member for Cochrane South has given notice of dissatisfaction with an answer to a question given today by the Minister of Health. The member has up to five minutes to debate the matter, and the minister or the parliamentary assistant may reply for up to five minutes.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): By way of explanation of the question to the parliamentary assistant, as I'm sure he's not as up to snuff on this issue as he should be, I just want to give you a little bit of the history of what's happening here. Back in the mid-1980s, the Porcupine General Hospital and the Timmins and District Hospital agreed to merge together into one organization now called the Timmins and District Hospital. The basis of the agreement was that at the end of the day we would maintain a site out in South Porcupine where now we have the continuing care centre.

Over a period of time, as all hospitals across this province have had to do, the Timmins and District Hospital has had to make sure that it balanced its operating budget from year to year and to operate its hospital within the given existing budget that it has within the Timmins and District Hospital. So what has happened over the past few years, quite frankly, is that the Timmins and District Hospital has been doing its job. It has made sure, by working with its employees, by working with the Ministry of Health, by working with its staff and all people involved, that it finds every possible way to be able to create efficiencies within the Timmins and District Hospital in order to maintain the services that the people of Cochrane need within their hospital system.

We are now brought to this particular year, and what's happening is that the Timmins and District Hospital finds that next year they may be in a position of having to lose up to about $800,000 as to where they find themselves in the budget next year. So the question is simply this: As I'm saying, there are a couple of options that the ministry can follow. We had agreed as a government to say to the hospital, "If you operate yourself as efficiently as possible and keep your operating budget balanced, we would be prepared to take a look at one of three things or a combination of three things to be able to make sure that we provide the services to the people of Timmins."

The first one is, ensure that all people in the district of Cochrane within the hospital systems utilize the Timmins and District Hospital as the referral hospital. That would allow some money to go to the hospital to be able to balance its budget over a longer period of time.

The second issue we had looked at was a possibility of going to what's called the system-wide review, to take a look at the nine hospitals within the district of Cochrane in order to see how they work together as a hospital system and ensure that the money is evenly spread through the entirety of the hospitals so that no one hospital is in a deficit situation, because the issue is, there's enough money in the envelope to fund the nine hospitals; the problem is, the money is not evenly spread within those hospital systems.

That's where we find ourselves, and what has now happened is that the hospital board, through work that they've been doing over the past little while, along with the district health council and the work that they've done, have come to the conclusion that your ministry and this government are not prepared to look at various options of making sure that the people within the Cochrane district are utilizing the TDH when it comes to referrals from other hospitals and, secondly, to take a look at a system-wide review, and it is forcing the hand of the Timmins and District Hospital to close down the site of the South Porcupine area in regard to the continuing care centre and to transfer those beds into the Timmins and District Hospital.

I don't need to say to you, Parliamentary Assistant, that the closure of any institution in the community is a very, very difficult situation for people to deal with, because you're talking about people who have fund-raised over periods of years and patterns have been set about how they access their hospital.

People in my community, particularly in South Porcupine, are angry as heck at being put in the position of being told at the ninth hour: "Boom, this is it. Your hospital's closing down and we're having to transfer those services up to TDH."

So my question is twofold: I'm asking, first of all, that the ministry commit today to giving the amount of time that is necessary for the local people in the community of Timmins, with their hospital boards, to see if there are other opportunities.

One of the things that can be done -- they could take a look at the possibility of extending the social contract in a way that would preserve the continuing care centre. That's something that I understand some of the employees are prepared to do. If that is not an option, if they're not able to come up with the savings on this, we're asking at the very least to do the following things. You said in the Common Sense Revolution, and I quote out of page 7:

"We will not cut health care spending. It's far too important. And frankly, as we all get older, we are going to need it more and more.

"Under this plan, health care spending will be guaranteed."

We ask, if you're not going to give the people of the community of Timmins the opportunity to go through to find other ways, short of closing the continuing care centre, that you at least maintain your commitment in the Common Sense Revolution and guarantee us that you're not going to cut funding of the Timmins and District Hospital next year, in light of the decisions they've had to make this year, because quite frankly you would be penalizing a board in the community for having done its job responsibly. So the question is, will you give them the time necessary in order to be able to come to an arrangement other than what is being proposed, or at the very least commit to the funding next year so they're not forced to close down that facility altogether or reduce services?

The Speaker: Thank you very much. Is there any response? Seeing none, and there being no further matter to debate, I deem the motion to adjourn to be carried. This House stands adjourned till 1:30 of the clock tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 1809.