36th Parliament, 1st Session

L030 - Mon 27 Nov 1995 / Lun 27 Nov 1995



















































The House met at 1332.




Mr Gilles E. Morin (Carleton East): According to a recent Environics Research Group poll, a majority of Ontarians believe that health care should be a high priority for government spending. Nearly three quarters of Ontarians do not support health care cuts.

When will Mike Harris realize that Ontarians deeply value their health care system and wish it improved, not destroyed by his government's senseless Common Sense Revolution? For how long will he continue to assume that he knows what's best for us?

This government is making it a point to antagonize as many people as it possibly can, with the exception of course of its special supporters who eagerly await their 30% tax cut. Now it has targeted the medical community in its own arbitrary and unilateral way.

Mike Harris rejects traditional government thinking. However, traditional and democratic values such as consultation and respect for different views have been, up until recently, an integral part of Ontario politics.

It is high time that this government took its ideological blinders off. Its narrow views and ill-conceived policies are threatening to destroy one of Ontario's most cherished treasures: a health care system that is considered one of the best in the world. Ontarians are talking. Is anyone in this government listening?


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): Today, I rise in the House to express my party's support for the White Ribbon Campaign which began Saturday, November 25, and runs until December 2.

The White Ribbon Campaign is the largest effort in the world of men and boys working to end violence against women. The campaign began in 1991 here in Canada and has spread to Australia, the United States and Norway.

The white ribbon is a symbol of our deep concern with violence against women. Wearing a white ribbon is a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

I think it is particularly important for us to be recognizing this campaign at a time when this government is imposing cuts and endangering essential services to survivors of violence and anti-violence education programs, and I hope the government reconsiders some of its positions to date on this score.

While in government, the NDP recognized the importance of programs in its effort to end violence against women. To this effect, the NDP doubled spending on violence against women and maintained the commitment in the face of very tough fiscal circumstances. We established core funding for women's centres, increased funding for women's shelters, expanded funding for rape crisis centres and created new sexual assault treatment centres.

The main focus of this year's White Ribbon week will be in schools across the country. It is important to discuss the problem of violence in our society and to invite young people to talk about ways to build healthy relationships.

Men must speak out and challenge other men who use violence in their relationship with women. The problem does not stop with physical violence. There are other forms of violence that also need to be dealt with. I would like to remind the members of the House and the public that violence against women is a year-round problem and needs to go beyond this week.


Mr Dave Boushy (Sarnia): I rise today to pay tribute to people like George Shaw of Sarnia and the Lambton Seniors Association. They are behind the Downtown Friendship Circle which is sponsored by eight different churches. It brings a full-course meal and entertainment twice a week, for a small fee and without any government subsidy, to Sarnia seniors who live alone.

I am proud to live in a community that has produced such caring volunteers. I am making this statement because these people deserve to be recognized. They have brought laughter and health to countless seniors. They are true heroes. By reaching out their hands they have helped to build a community of friends. It's my hope that more people become aware of this group, that more people come forward to help, that more seniors take advantage of it.

Sarnia is a big city, but it has never lost its small-town atmosphere because of charitable groups like the friendship circle. It's that spirit of generosity and volunteerism that unites our community, a great community, and that needs to be promoted across the province: people helping people.


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): Ontario seniors will find themselves on the receiving end of another Harris Conservative broken promise when the government brings in its economic statement.

As the Minister of Health finalizes plans to charge seniors a new user fee, called a copayment, for medically necessary drugs, drugs prescribed by their doctors, not just one but two key Conservative election promises are being broken.

Remember the promise contained on page 6 of the Common Sense Revolution? "No new user fees." This is a vow Mike Harris repeated at every campaign stop; and the second promise, the one on page 10, "Aid for seniors will not be cut."

These two promises, along with the already broken promise not to cut health care, were key to the Conservative election victory. These promises were used time and again to reassure Ontarians that Conservatives weren't the cold-hearted, mean-spirited, American-worshipping right-wingers that everyone was worried they were.

Obviously, these promises were not worth the paper they were written on and Ontarians are now seeing the Mike Harris real Conservative Party, a party that can only relate to the concerns of big business, a party that demands that children, the disabled and ailing seniors are the ones who must bear the brunt of the Conservative ideological stupidity.

How can the Conservatives expect anyone to trust them when they so quickly betray their commitments made to senior citizens --

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


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I rise today to speak about a growing concern in our province that I am seeing first hand in my own community every weekend.

It is the concern being raised by those in the field of caring for the poor, who are increasingly seeing their resources diminish while demand grows. I, like you, realize how important it is that communities respond as they always have to crisis when it occurs, and we encourage that, but when the crisis is being imposed in a systematic way by decisions made by government, it worries me to no end.

The numbers of people attending the local soup kitchen is up by 10%. The list of families applying to the Christmas Cheer Depot has doubled. A local blue box recycling collection firm this past weekend collected over six tons of food in preparation for what is anticipated to be a tough winter for a lot of people.

These are all very troubling signs and doubly troubling when we know this situation does not have to be as difficult as it is.

We have a government now at Queen's Park that actually thinks the poor have too much and the rich do not have enough and are bound and determined to fix that situation even if it means creating a crisis.

I urge the government to do the right thing, to do the moral thing, to do the just thing and make every effort to ensure that the poor and the marginalized have what they need of the basics for life without having to go begging for them. Will they do that, please?



Mr R. Gary Stewart (Peterborough): I rise in this House today to pay tribute to two very remarkable people in my riding. Isadore and Belle Black have been pillars of the community in the area of volunteerism.

The Blacks have also been strong supporters of one of the world's leading centres for the study of Torah, the Jewish religious text. The centre is known as Ponevez Yeshiva. On November 19, 1995, Isadore and Belle Black were honoured with the prestigious Distinguished Founders' Award at the 55th anniversary rededication dinner of Ponevez in New York City. This marks only the second time Canadians have been honoured with this award.

Isadore has been involved with many groups and organizations over the years. He was president of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, founding member of Trent University's board of governors, president of the Eastern Canadian Council of B'nai Brith, involved with the Peterborough Senior Citizens Council, the Prince of Wales Public School breakfast club, the Rotary Club, the YMCA and was named Peterborough Citizen of the Year in 1990.

Isadore and Belle Black possess the qualities that make a community strong and vibrant. It is my pleasure to stand here and congratulate them for their prestigious award. They are a tribute to their faith and a tribute to their community.

On behalf of the riding of Peterborough, I wish to extend my deep and sincere congratulations for receiving what is truly a very special award.


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): Last week, I presented a petition, signed by over 4,000 individuals, against the repeal of the Public Libraries Act. Today, I have in this box over 2,000 individual petition cards, signed, that I would like to present to the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation on behalf of my constituents. Each one of them reads as follows:

"I support free public libraries as the foundation of a literate, informed and prosperous population. I am therefore opposed to the repeal of the Public Libraries Act, the elimination of provincial, conditional grants to public libraries, the eradication of library boards and the imposition of fees for the use of public libraries."

My constituents are very alarmed with statements made by the Premier of Ontario, the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, as well as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing that suggest the provincial government intends to repeal the Public Libraries Act in order to impose fees for the use of public libraries.

They believe that taxation is the fairest means of charging Ontarians for library services and that an annual user fee for services will stop those in the community who need access to library programs and services most: preschool and school-aged children, job seekers and those needing information to retrain for a changing world.

This is another attack on the most vulnerable in our society, much like the cuts in social services, cuts to the disabled and cuts to services for senior citizens. Public libraries make an important contribution to the ongoing strength and quality of life in Ontario.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Last Friday, I had the opportunity to sit on the standing committee on general government, where we heard deputations from a number of people in regard to Bill 8.

What I'd like to inform the House today, through this statement, is of one of the comments made by the presentation of the Union of Injured Workers of Ontario, specifically Carol McGregor and John McKinnon, who had related through the committee that they had been trying to get in to meet with the minister responsible for reforms to the WCB, Mr Jackson, in order to be able to share with him their views in regard to some of the changes that might be needed at the WCB, and at the same time share some of their opinions overall on how the WCB operates.

What those deputation people said was shocking. They said that the minister would not meet with them, would not physically meet with them until after the interim report on WCB, that he's about to issue, had been issued. That sounds to me like inverted consultation. The whole idea of a government is to listen to people before the actual change is made.

This government is acting out its revolution, a revolution supposedly of common sense. First of all, there's no common sense to being so ideologically driven that you refuse the advice and help from people who may know something about something that you need to do. This action is not only undemocratic; it doesn't make any sense.

Secondly, history has taught us something: that without exception people get hurt in revolutions. This revolution in common sense is no different. People will get hurt, as people in every revolution have been hurt over the years.


Mr Tom Froese (St Catharines-Brock): Ontario is definitely open for business. On Tuesday evening, November 21, 1995, I took part in the grand opening of the expansion and redevelopment of St Catharines's Pen Centre.

The remodelling and transformation of Pen Centre mall has been an enormous undertaking. Originally built in 1957 as a single plaza, it has grown and changed over the years, and its motto, "The Evolution of a Tradition," certainly fits.

I spoke at the ceremony on behalf of the province. I congratulated the many small businesses, both new and old to the mall. The expansion and redevelopment has meant over 1,000 new retail jobs. In fact, there is now an employment base in the mall of 3,000 jobs. That is the kind of news this government wants to hear and to encourage.

The Ontario Pension Board, which invested $40 million in this project, and 20 Vic Management had a vision and confidence in Ontario. The results of that vision and confidence are what I saw on Tuesday evening at the opening. The mall was packed with dignitaries, well-wishers, shoppers and all those hundreds of men and women who are employed in many stores and services.

The opening of the transformed Pen Centre sends a message that Ontario is open for business. Our revolution has definitely begun.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): I would like to inform the members of the Legislative Assembly that we have in the Speaker's gallery today Ms Marianne Cerilli, MLA, from the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, and Ms Lois Moorcroft, MLA from the Yukon Legislative Assembly. Welcome.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): On Thursday, the member for Dovercourt (Mr Silipo) raised a point of order with respect to a question which sought additional information to a previously asked question.

I would say to the member for Dovercourt that while the minister may certainly have used another proceeding by which to deliver additional information, there is nothing in our rules or practice which prevents any member from asking a question that seeks to follow up on information provided in previous answers. Indeed, in reviewing Hansard, I find that this is a very common occurrence.

In response to the additional point raised by the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr Cooke) I would like to quote from Speaker Warner's ruling of June 3, 1992, in which he said:

"Members will appreciate that our rules have changed since 1970 and one of the effects of these many changes is that the Speaker must now give more latitude to members in the subject matter of their questions for the very simple reason that he has no occasion to vet these questions in advance. I must say that this applies to both sides of the House, and therefore I can only repeat that while I try to be vigilant, I cannot apply standards of questioning to the government members that I do not apply to the opposition members...."




Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): It is my pleasure today, as Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, to announce the launch of an initiative in the Ontario public service that will reduce our internal administrative costs by 33% over the next two years.

At a time when the government is asking its transfer partners and other organizations that receive public funding to reduce spending, it is imperative that we show leadership by creating a smaller public service that is more effective, efficient, less costly and focused on providing services that are essential to the public.

This initiative demonstrates that we are taking our leadership role seriously.

The measures I am announcing today take in the entire Ontario public service.

This program also illustrates our commitment to cost-effectiveness within our own organization. Efficiency begins at home.

The level of savings we are targeting is achievable. We have looked at the experiences of major corporations which have undergone substantial restructuring. We are confident that our goal of cutting the cost of running the government by 33% is consistent with similar reviews of their business practices.

To achieve these savings, we will reassess a wide range of internal services such as purchasing, accounting, payroll and information technology. We will do this through a process that includes determining what core internal administrative services the government needs to support its business; eliminating those services that do not support our core responsibilities; looking at a range of options for service delivery, including partnerships with the private sector; making services and processes simpler and more effective through streamlining and eliminating duplication; introducing common standards for most government-wide services and information technology systems; and measuring the performance of services and the people who deliver them.

For example, the government expects to find immediate savings over the next few months by streamlining the process for purchasing and paying for low-cost items so that the processing volume will be reduced by up to 50%. In the area of information technology, $12 million will be saved by April 1998 through the consolidation of existing leases for some hardware and software products.

We currently have an administrative budget of $900 million for a $54-billion organization. By reducing the costs of our internal administration, we will cut our budget by $300 million over the next two years. By reducing internal administrative costs, we will ensure that tax dollars are going where they will give the most value to the public: by providing important public services.

In the spring I will update the House on our progress and provide details about the savings we have achieved.

Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): I am convinced that the Chair of Management Board has a dictionary of buzzwords, because that's what this statement reads like: nothing but buzzwords about how to make things more efficient. All the correct phrasing is there.

I'm sure there isn't anyone who would oppose making things more efficient in the workings of government. I'm sure everyone in this House would agree that that's the appropriate thing to do. Certainly, over the course of time he speaks to, this is achievable.

The question is, what are the specifics? No mention of cuts to the civil service; no mention of the number of job losses; no mention of what the impacts will be for those people in the civil service who face the prospect of being laid off. But certainly that is uppermost in the minds of a great many people. How do you achieve greater efficiencies without cutting to the bone, as the minister is wont to say?

When all is said and done, he's tinkering with the administrative workings of the bureaucracy. I say again that we all agree that the efficiencies are necessary. But what is he really going to do? He has not described that here today. What are the details around the cuts to the civil service?

Furthermore, yes, this is an internal administrative initiative, but the real heart of the matter lies with the quasi-public transfer partners, the recipients of those funds. I ask the minister, why hasn't his government moved to make the amendments necessary to the public Audit Act so the auditor could go in and audit some of these transfer recipients to determine some real savings? After all, his Finance minister will be making a statement next week with regard to the big cuts that are coming, and no one seems to really know how effective or efficient the streamlining of those quasi-public institutions will be. I think the big savings to come might be in those areas.

However, we have no roadmap here to guide us. When the minister talks about the administrative initiatives he's undertaking, that's tinkering at the edges. The real stuff is yet to happen, and when it happens we want to know what this government is going to do, what model they'll be following in terms of streamlining those quasi-public institutions: municipalities, universities, hospitals. They are going to be very much affected by what this government does with respect to the economic statement on November 29.

I wonder if there's a real roadmap there, or is it just cuts right across the board without any consideration of the impacts? How do you really get those sectors working more efficiently? How do you restructure the government to make it actually work? How do you restructure those quasi-public institutions to actually deliver greater services with fewer dollars?

That's the real question, and that's what I want to see from the minister: some initiative with respect to cuts and a restructuring and reorganization to make those sectors work more efficiently. After all, 70% of the dollars that flow into the provincial government go out in transfer payments, so we're talking about a huge amount of money, as everyone knows in this House. But the minister has not detailed a roadmap or a guide or a model to be followed with respect to those cuts.

I say this is a bit of camouflage, if you would. We're talking about internal initiatives here, which I think everyone agrees with, but they're small by comparison to what's about to happen with the next economic statement. That's where the big stuff will happen. People out there want to know, Minister, what the impact of those cuts will be, and no one on your side is standing up to tell them. We'll find out in a few days, I'm sure, but the real effects of those cuts will be felt over the coming months, and that is something that concerns a great many people.

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I don't think there's much doubt that we're seeing absolutely fundamental change with this government. You do have a majority and you can push it through, but I will just say to you that the people of Ontario will demand that there's a debate around these fundamental issues: changing core service, privatizing, reducing the public service by a dramatic amount. All these things you have the mandate to proceed with, but we should have the opportunity for debate.

No budget, for the first time in the history of the province -- we have a one and a half page document talking about fundamental change. We demand a legitimate debate around issues like this.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): We on this side of the House and in this party have no difficulty with the government finding efficiencies. As a matter of fact, we did a fair amount of it ourselves when we were government. However, some of the premise upon which we based what we did in the name of balancing our situation was to save jobs, protect services and make sure that those who are least able to defend themselves were looked after.

What concerns me today about the statement made by the Chair of Management Board and this government are the underlying assumptions behind all of what they do as government these days.

They are saying, by the things they're doing and by what they're announcing here today, that government is not important, that the services government delivers are not important and, even more troubling, that the people who deliver those services are not valuable, do not contribute in some important way to the fabric of this province and the communities in which they live.

They say to us that government has no real role to play in modern society and that government does not play a part in the ongoing economic viability of our province or our jurisdiction; that somehow, if government gets out of the way, the private sector is just waiting to take advantage of all this excess resource once government has backed away. We know on this side of the House what that means. We know who that helps out and who begins to participate.

On this side of the House we believe that government is important, that government has an important role to play in the life of this province and that services are important to people, and that they get them on time and in a first-class fashion is really important. We know on this side of the House that the people who deliver those services are valuable players in the life of this province and in the economy of the province and are invaluable in the communities we all live in, particularly the smaller communities.

In a modern society, government is an important partner or player in every aspect of communities, particularly as a fundamental determinant of economic activity. When you cut expenditures you cut revenue, and when you cut revenue you have job loss, so government is an important part of any economy.

My question for the minister today, and it's a question that many people across this province and in my community are asking, is, at what point does all this become counterproductive? At what point does it become impossible, given even the brightest economic forecast, for the private sector to replace these jobs and services? Do you know or do you have benchmarks to tell you when your ideologically driven agenda of cuts to jobs and services begins to do irretrievable damage to both the social and economic fabric of this province?

When you put together what you're doing by way of downsizing in the public service, what you're not doing out there by way of stimulation to the economy and creating jobs, and what you're doing to the organized labour movement of this province that has contributed so significantly over the last four or five years to the economic health and wellbeing of this province and the ever-so-fragile recovery that was happening, I have to say to the Chair of Management Board that I am really concerned. I speak today with all sincerity on behalf of all those people I represent in Sault Ste Marie and whom we in this party represent in every community across this province.

I'm sure if you talk off the record with some of your own members, they'll tell you that they're concerned as well, because what you're doing here is hurting people. You're hurting the people who deliver services for this government, who have worked so hard over so many years to develop their talent and their ability, you're hurting the people they deliver the services to, and, even more importantly, from the stuff we've seen so far that indicates the direction of this government, you're hurting those who are least able to accept the hurt: the vulnerable and the marginalized and the children of this province.

I ask you today to stop, to take a second sober look, to be open to the contribution we might make in this discussion you're having, and to listen to the people of this province before you do any more damage.




Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): My first question again is for the Minister of Health. Minister, last Tuesday I asked you to define the term "stable funding." You said you define stable funding for the transfer partners, in your case being hospitals, as being predictable, and you added, "We didn't say anything about the level of transfers."

I want to take you back, Minister, to the Toronto Star's debate on the greater Toronto area last April 5. On that occasion your leader, now the Premier, Michael Harris, was happy to talk about the level of transfers. He defined stable funding for the transfer partners by saying: "That means flat-line for the next four years. I hope we can do better than that."

I see a significant difference between those two statements. It's clear that before the election Mike Harris said stable funding means freezing transfer payments to hospitals and maybe even increasing them a little bit, doing a little bit better than that. Now that the election is over, you appear to be saying something totally different. Minister, does this mean you are going to contradict your leader's statements, and does that mean you are planning to reduce hospital transfers in this week's economic and fiscal statement?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): The honourable member is correct in some of her research. I recall talking to the Ontario Hospital Association perhaps 18 months or two years ago before then leader Mike Harris, now the Premier, and advising him that perhaps we could have flat-line hospital budgets. I knew nothing of the detail and the levels of dollars that would be required for the 30 restructuring projects which will be in in the next few weeks.

It is clear within the envelope of hospitals that we're going to have to look at some dollars on the operating side and reinvest them into priming the pump to get going on these restructurings. You know we have Windsor on hold as a result of trying to find the capital dollars to move ahead with that restructuring; Sudbury needs money; and of course Metro Toronto is going to need money.

Our commitment with respect to the overall health care envelope remains firm. However, we did say in opposition, and we've said again since coming to government, that within the health care envelope there will be some moving around of dollars, and you may or may not see that in the economic statement coming up with respect to hospitals.

Mrs McLeod: The Premier, when he was speaking last April 5, said that stable funding would mean flat-line funding to hospitals for the next four years. Minister, we've been told that you are planning to reduce hospital transfers by the following amounts: 2% in the coming fiscal year, 5% the next year and 10% the year after that, a total of more than 17% over three years. That amounts to more than $1 billion in cuts to hospitals over the course of the next three years. I want to remind you that these are cuts to hospitals, one of the primary providers of health care to the people of this province.

I believe that cuts of this magnitude to hospitals would mean more hospital bed closings, not because of duplication but in order to pay for that income tax cut that benefits the wealthiest people in this province. I believe cuts of this magnitude would mean fewer nurses, longer waiting lists for surgery, reduced emergency room services, reduced services for people in smaller communities across the province.

Is this indeed your plan? Is your definition of "stable funding" this 2%, 5% and 10% cut to hospitals? Is your plan to violate every promise made by you and your leader during the election campaign?

Hon Mr Wilson: I'm perplexed by the question, given that I've spent a great deal of time talking with officials in the Ontario Hospital Association. This morning, we had some 40 officials in my office, and every single one of them understands what has to be done in the hospital sector. If we move ahead on restructuring, dollars are going to come out of the hospital side of the ledger. We've already said we will move ahead on restructuring, and any figures that may be contained in the financial statement will mirror what we intend to do on the restructuring side. Hospital administrators have very clearly said to me that they're prepared to allow some movement of dollars so we can get started on the capital side with respect to these restructuring projects. They're eager to get moving with restructurings and other investments.

Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): Oh, yeah.

Hon Mr Wilson: No, I want to say to the honourable members, their attitudes are far more positive than yours. They live in the real world, they understand our debt and deficit problems and they understand that we need to get moving with one of the largest restructurings of a hospital system that's ever been attempted in North America. That requires dollars up front, and everybody across the way needs dollars in their communities on the capital side to go ahead with the restructuring. We're having those discussions with our hospital partners, and they fully understand what might have to be done.

Mrs McLeod: I would be very surprised if a single one of the people with whom the minister is consulting believed the hospitals across this province could cope with that level of cuts, with the minister taking those dollars, any amount of those dollars, to pay for that income tax cut his government is planning to bring in next spring.

I bring you back, Minister, to the commitments that were made by your leader, by your party and I believe by you personally that there would be no cuts to health care and no cuts to hospitals, not one single penny, not this year, not next year, not the year after that and not the year after that. Now you are looking at immediate cuts to health care, to hospitals, in order to help pay for that income tax cut. That kind of cut will fly directly in the face of the commitments you have made and directly in the face of what the people of this province expect from your government.

You will be aware of the survey that was conducted by the Ontario Hospital Association that indicates that eight out of 10 people in this province would be willing to forgo the income tax cut in order to protect their health care services from being cut. In Alberta, even your mentor Ralph Klein has realized that cuts to hospital services are not acceptable.

I just ask you again, will you keep that very clear election commitment? Will you freeze transfer payments to hospitals, as your leader said you would?

Hon Mr Wilson: I appreciate the question from the honourable member. I would ask the honourable member what advice she would give this government, given that we're just a few months away from the first billion-dollar cut from the federal Liberal government. A responsible government in Ontario would do what we are doing, and that is getting our own books in order and preparing our programs, including hospitals, for a $1-billion cut coming in the name of a health and social transfer from the federal government. And that's only the first billion-dollar cut. A few months after that, there'll be another billion-dollar cut.


I and my colleagues in cabinet and the members of our government have been very responsible in saying all the way along that there's only one taxpayer. We're going to bite the bullet here in Ontario, get our programs so that they're sustainable and affordable, and not point fingers at the federal government.

We recognize, which the honourable member seems to forget, that there are some huge cuts coming on our shoulders, and we have to prepare our programs, including hospitals, so that we can have quality and accessible health care across this province, now and in the future, and that's what we intend to do.

Mrs McLeod: Since the minister asked my advice, it's very simple. It is to do what the Premier said he was going to do when it comes to health care.


Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): My second question is to the Minister of Community and Social Services. According to the Canadian Press, the Minister of Community and Social Services has admitted to yet another mistake. He has admitted, apparently, that his cuts to women's shelters were not the best way to go. We have been pointing this out to the minister for some time now. We understand why this was a mistake and we understand what those cuts have meant for battered women and their children.

Minister, we are interested in hearing today why you now think it was a mistake. Would you please outline for this House what specifically in your view was wrong with the cuts and exactly what it is you now think should be fixed?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): I appreciate the question from the Leader of the Opposition. First of all, what I did say was that cuts across the board aren't necessarily the best way to go, and I recognize that. But I also said at the time that the reason why we had to do these types of very dramatic cuts in July -- this was a result of the extra $1.9 billion deficit we inherited from the previous government. I made that very clear when I said that. That's what I was saying.

In fact, what we are doing now, in my ministry particularly, is we're looking at more of a consultative process, so we can make sure that people who are the care providers, the families that are affected by any of these areas, do have some direct input into government decisions.

Mrs McLeod: I guess it was just convenient for the minister to say that across-the-board cuts are the wrong way to go, right after emerging from a meeting with the interval and transition house representatives, who would have had some reason then to believe that what the minister was going to review was the specific cuts to their program. Perhaps the minister is saying that was not what he intended to convey at all, that he is committed to the cuts to women's shelters and to second-stage housing, and that those cuts are not going to be reviewed.

I wonder if he would then be able to help us understand what this advisory committee is going to do that he has apparently set up to look at the damage that his cuts have done and hopefully to undo the damage that those cuts have done, because, Minister, our concern is that you didn't do any consultation first. You cut first, you talked to people like the interval and transition house people later and you didn't seem to care about the impact of your cuts.

That impact is now being felt by women in shelters across this province who have no idea where they're going to go next. It's being felt by children who don't feel they have a secure home and by families who need a secure place where they can go to start rebuilding their lives.

Minister, I was hoping that you had finally seen the light and finally understood, after your meeting on Thursday, what your cuts are doing to women and children in this province.

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

Mrs McLeod: I would like to know: If that is the case, since you made your statement right after meeting with them, what action are you going to take specifically on cuts to women's shelters and second-stage housing in this province?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Evidently the Leader of the Opposition is also providing me with the answer, because she started off her question with exactly what we're doing.

We have struck some committees to look in terms of how we're going to define our services and our structure. I've clearly said this before in the House. This is no surprise to anybody else. In fact, it is almost like a friendly question, because I get a chance to actually answer it again.

One of the things we are looking at though -- and we're looking not just in this particular area; I think this is unique, certainly in this province -- is we're looking to make sure that various ministries do not work in silos, that we don't have duplication of programs between various ministries. We're trying to become more efficient. It's about time the government started looking at ways to make government more efficient for a change, rather than just looking out in the community, which is what we're doing.

Mrs McLeod: I would love to be able to give the minister an answer on what I think he should do about cuts to services for battered women in this province. I would love to think that this minister would stop making mistakes when it comes to the impact of his cuts on the people who are affected.

Minister, we all know that you know how to make mistakes. We so clearly remember the regulation which you said was just a drafting error, and we know that you fixed that one. We've known that you're prepared to admit to some mistakes. I was hoping this was a mistake that you were prepared to admit to and that you would fix. We know you admitted that you broke the promise to let people earn back their welfare cut, and you said you were going to fix that. We're still waiting for that.

Surely, that is the next step: to recognize the mistake and then to fix it. What I really want to know today is what you're going to do to fix this problem, because it's not a theoretical problem. Those cuts have had an impact that endangers the lives of women and children in this province. You have said that across-the-board cuts were not the way to go. Will you look at this specific cut? Will you take steps to undo the damage of this cut and how long will it be before you take action?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I have a position most of the time. At least I have a position, as opposed to several positions that the Leader of the Opposition has had over a period of time. At least we know where government stands on ideas because, quite frankly, we still can't figure out where you're standing over there across the House.

I've said this before: Clearly, we're entering into a consultative process. I think that's a good way to go. I've also indicated that we're going to look at ministries, making sure that we're more efficient across the board, and we're also looking at ways to make the bureaucracy more efficient as well. These are steps that clearly the other governments should have done in the previous 10 years, which they failed to do and of course which made the problem we've inherited from them far greater than it should have been.


Mr Bob Rae (York South): In the absence of the Minister of Finance and in the absence of the Premier, my question will have to go to the Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

We've been doing some work, as has the Dominion Bond Rating Service and as have a number of other commentators and advisers, on the full impact of the cost of the proposed 30% tax cut to which the Premier has recently recommitted the government. Most observers think that by the time the tax cut is fully implemented in 1998-99, the full impact will be close to $7 billion, and by the end of the decade the full impact will be well over $7 billion annually in lost revenue to the province.

I wonder why the minister would think that this was such a good idea, since the government has stated so categorically it's a bad idea for the government to be borrowing to pay for job creation. If it's a bad idea to pay for job creation by borrowing, why is it such a good idea to pay for a $7-billion tax cut by borrowing?

Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): I'm pleased to say that I really support the 30% tax cut. It was a commitment we made during the campaign. It is a 30% cut in personal tax rates. It puts money into circulation, which is what needs to happen in this province. People in this province have not had a pay increase for about five years, about the same turn that this government was in office. It's the first time that they are going to have a break and they will put money into circulation. It will create jobs, and we're quite confident that at the end of our five-year period we will have created 725,000 new jobs.


Mr Rae: There are 20,000 tax filers who make over $250,000 a year. The Minister of Economic Development and Trade is quite right if he's saying that those people have received significant increases in their salaries and wages in the last five years. They have; ordinary working people have not. The average taxpayer with an income of over $250,000, by the time this 30% tax break is fully implemented, would get a tax break of $26,600 each year. The typical Ontario millionaire will get a tax break of over $50,000, and someone who, as a CEO, earns an income of $2 million or more would get an annual tax break of over $100,000.

I would like to ask the minister why the government is choosing the least progressive means of dealing with the problem of low pay, of people who have had to suffer because of the recession? Why would you be targeting the people who have the greatest incomes for the greatest tax cut rather than looking at the people who have the least money?

Hon Mr Saunderson: I think the leader of the third party did not read his copy of the Common Sense Revolution very carefully. In the Common Sense Revolution, there's something he forgot, and that is the fair share health tax levy, which will be attached to everybody's income over $50,000, at the rate of about, I think, 2%.

All I can say is that I think the figures he has quoted today would be very much adjusted downwards as far as benefits are concerned for people in that category. I invite him to go back and do his homework again.

Mr Rae: I can assure the honourable member that, together with many other people, I've read this particular monstrosity of a fiscal bible with great care and read it over very carefully. We've tried to add up the numbers; we've also relied on the commentary by the Dominion Bond Rating Service. Obviously, a number of economists and a number of people are now starting to look much harder at the numbers which you're presenting.

But again, I want to ask the minister to come back to this. Perhaps the question is too direct, but it's a simple one. If it's wrong, which the government says, to borrow to build a subway, if it's wrong to borrow to build a hospital, if it's wrong to borrow to provide good health care, if it's wrong to borrow to do all those things -- because ever since you got here, we've heard nothing but how terrible it is to borrow to do those things -- I'm asking you a very simple question: If it's wrong to borrow to do those things, why is it right to borrow to give rich people a tax cut? Why is that right?

Hon Mr Saunderson: If the honourable member spent more than he earned, he'd be declared a bankrupt. If a company spends more than it earns, it ultimately goes bankrupt. These two parties over here spent us into a desperate situation so that our accumulated debt is now almost $100 billion. Technically speaking, they have made this province a bankrupt province. In five years we will no longer be a bankrupt company; we will be in a balanced budget position. I think that is what the people wanted and that's why they elected us.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): New question.

Mr Rae: I say to the same minister, we now have a declaration by the minister that the province is bankrupt and that's why they're declaring a $7-billion dividend to the wealthiest shareholders of the province. What a preposterous statement; what a hypocritical statement; what a statement that doesn't add up to a hill of beans.

The Speaker: I wonder if the honourable member would rephrase his choice of words.

Mr Rae: If I've said anything unparliamentary, I withdraw it, but I still feel the same sentiments. I would say to the --

Mr David Turnbull (York Mills): Is this a question?

Mr Rae: It is a question. My question again to the minister is this: If you're saying now, as the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, that the province is bankrupt, why are you declaring a dividend for the wealthiest shareholders in the province, a dividend which is going to be worth $7 billion in three years' time? Why would you do that? Why would you do such a thing?

Hon Mr Saunderson: The Dominion Bond Rating Service I think has said it all by downgrading our credit at least two times in this government's time period. So I think we can just leave it at that. We appear, I say, to have been driven into a bankruptcy situation, which we're going to correct, and we will do it in five years' time.

Mr Rae: In case you wanted to know what it's equivalent to, $7 billion is equivalent to almost the total annual transfers to our hospitals; it's worth 823,000 training spaces to help get people back to work; it's the total provincial transfers for public schools, universities and colleges combined. That's what $7 billion is. The weakness in the entire Tory plan is that what they are doing is giving a $7-billion gift to the wealthiest citizens of the province at a time when we still have significant unemployment --


The Speaker: Order.

Mr Rae: Would the minister please answer the question, once again, why is it good to borrow to give people a $7-billion tax cut when we know the impact that's going to have on the services in this province?

Hon Mr Saunderson: To get a good, long-term recovery, we need to have a tax reduction. Government spending that we went through in the last 10 years has been very good for creating short-term jobs, but if we want to create good, long-term jobs, a tax cut and an encouragement to business is what will create those jobs.

Mr Rae: This is a personal income tax cut. Whoever gets the income tax cut, the person making $1 million a year, the CEO who gets that is going to get a $50,000 tax break, and that person can do whatever he wants with it. He can, say, go down to Florida, he can buy a condo, he can sell it offshore, he can put it anywhere he wants.

Building a subway is not a short-term job. Creating good health care is not a short-term job. These are long-term jobs for the benefit of the people of the province. My question, once again -- perhaps I can rephrase it -- is this: How will a tax cut help us to build a single hospital or a single subway line for the future of this province? How will it possibly do that?

Hon Mr Saunderson: Over the last 10 years we have had 65 tax increases in this province, 33 from the previous government and 32 from the Liberal administration. We have now got about 50,000 fewer jobs in Ontario than when they started back in 1990. I could tell you, it is quite obvious that tax increases reduce jobs. We are going to give a tax cut and we will create jobs.

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): How?

Hon Mr Saunderson: Because there will be money in people's hands. They will spend it on goods and services, and that will create the jobs. I know they don't like to hear all this news, but it is good news for Ontario. We will create the jobs.


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): My question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Mr Minister, both inside this House and outside you have stated over the last two or three months that you will be cutting the grants and subsidies to municipalities severely, but on the other hand you'll be giving them a lot more autonomy than they currently have. I wonder if you could explain to this House, then, why it is that in the proposed changes to the Development Charges Act you are severely limiting municipalities as to what they can charge for in the future. Could you explain that, Minister?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): To the best of my knowledge, we haven't put anything on the table on development charges as of yet. We have indicated that we're going to review the act, that we're going to develop a new act in conjunction with consultations with AMO and the development industry. When we have that work done, we'll table it in the House.

Mr Gerretsen: In the media kit that you have provided everyone, it clearly states that Premier Harris stated, "The act must be returned to its original purpose of funding hard services," and he committed himself to work closely with municipalities to find cost savings.

How can you possibly say that you are not going to cut the services when the Premier, in his pre-election campaign, stated that he was only going to allow the Development Charges Act to charge for hard services? You know that right now other services are being charged for as well, which in effect will be downloaded on to municipalities in further municipal taxes. How do you explain that inconsistency, Minister?

Hon Mr Leach: That's quite a stretch to reach that conclusion, that we're downsizing because we're considering going back to having development charges apply to what they should apply to, and that's hard services.


Hon Mr Leach: Sure it does. If you want to create development -- if you're interested in adding $15,000 or $20,000 to the cost of a single-family home, then you go that way. I think there are other ways, but we are going to review it with AMO and we are going to review it with the builders and developers in this province. There have been no decisions made as of yet, but you're absolutely right: I personally feel that development charges should be on hard services.



Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): My question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. Minister, today marks the start of the White Ribbon Campaign, which you may know is the campaign by men to end violence against women.

You might be interested to know that you have eliminated funding for programs to help men who want to end their violent behaviour. These are people who are desperately seeking assistance to end their violent behaviour. Some of these men in fact are in the programs by court order, yet your government doesn't pay for these men to attend these programs, so already these agencies are picking up some of the slack.

How do you rationalize eliminating the funding for these programs when we know that violence against women is a big problem in our society and these men are trying to do something about it?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): Prior to our making some of the adjustments certainly in the transfer payments, we received some input back from some of the actual providers in these areas who really are questioning the effectiveness of the various programs. But what we do is we still continue to fund over $60 million in these areas. This is also part of the challenge which we are sending to the committees that are going to be dealing with this particular area of the government.

Ms Churley: I'm aware from looking across the floor over there that I don't see one of the men, of whom there are many in your caucus, wearing a white ribbon today. I wonder if you are even aware that this is the beginning of the White Ribbon Campaign.

Associations such as the Family Services Association of Metropolitan Toronto and the Catholic Family Services of Peel-Dufferin are going to do their best to continue the male batterers programs, but these programs will suffer, we know that, and your cuts are going to increase costs in other ways. More women will be in shelters and hospitals, more men in jail, more children witnessing abuse and running the risk of become abusers or abused themselves.

Minister, forget the moral imperative for a minute, just for now. Do you think that, just economically, cutting these programs at this time is worth the new costs that you are going to be creating? Is this common sense?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: It is no surprise to anybody in the House that part of the challenge of what this government was left with is making some very difficult decisions, and I emphasize the part that they are difficult decisions. However, someone has to address the fiscal problem that we have. Clearly if we don't address this and clearly across the province people recognize that unless we address the fiscal problems we have right now in this province, there in fact will be no province any more.

With respect to the first remark, I have to say that as I look around the House there are various members from all the different parties who either wear symbols on their lapels or not. Certainly many of us, even looking back at Remembrance Day, were wearing poppies. But certainly this is not an indication of whether or not there's support for programs. Clearly the government does have this area as a priority of ours and we do think it's important, but we have to look at the overall picture as well, and that's clearly what we've been doing.


Mr Bart Maves (Niagara Falls): My question is for the ever-popular Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism. I know the minister supports my constituents' desire to bring the tourism sector up to date in the field of global telecommunications. Could the minister inform the House if there has been any movement in the ministry's negotiations on a province-wide tourism reservation and information network agreement?

Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): I'm very glad to have that question from the member for Niagara Falls, and I'd like to inform the House just what the status is on the province-wide tourism reservation network agreement.

The province-wide network would link tourism products with consumers through the 1-800 Ontario phone line with the capability of placing reservations for events, attractions and accommodations. The industry would pay for the network on an as-used basis. It would be owned, operated and financed by the private sector.

A tourism reservation and information network is very important because it will increase the competitiveness of the tourism sector. A number of competing jurisdictions have similar types of networks. This Bell-led consortium was the successful proponent from the ministry's requests for proposal competition, and the tourism division negotiating team has been negotiating throughout the summer and fall, and continues to negotiate with Bell in anticipation that an agreement can be reached.

Mr Maves: It's a very important subject to the people of my riding and I thank you for your answer. Could you inform us, though, when negotiations may be completed.

Hon Mr Saunderson: I'd like to respond to the supplementary by the member for Niagara Falls. Negotiations are proceeding as expeditiously as possible. The issues are complex, I might add, both for the government and for Bell Canada. It is anticipated by all parties that an agreement can be in place for the new service prior to the coming spring tourism season in 1996.


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): I have a question for the Minister of Transportation. Minister, before you rush ahead with deregulation of the bus industry across Ontario, I wonder if you've considered one of the impacts that this rush to deregulation is going to bring about. That is that neighbouring provinces like Quebec have not deregulated, probably won't deregulate till 1999.

If you deregulate here in Ontario, what's to stop Quebec bus operators or Manitoba bus operators from coming into Ontario and taking business away from Ontario operators? What will you do to protect this type of unrestricted activity from happening here in Ontario?

Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): I would like to assure the honourable member that my staff and the ministry staff right now are consulting with the busing industry to ensure that an orderly deregulation is going to be taking place. The question that the honourable member has just asked me is exactly one of the reasons that we are going to take this thing slow, because we want to do the right thing. Before deregulation happens, we want to make sure that the province of Ontario business bus operators are protected.

Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): The people of northern Ontario, both bus operators and passengers, look at this deregulation as scary. They refer to it as scary. I have a bus owner-operator in the town of Kenora. She said she had "very serious consequences for our business," that this deregulation will have very serious consequences.

Minister, she's put a number of concerns to me, and let me put them to you. The markets are already saturated with bus companies. Safety will be compromised as fly-by-night operators use out-of-date and unsafe coaches. By their own admission, MTO inspectors are already unable to carry out all safety inspections. Most scheduled runs, such as the Excel daily to Red Lake and Fort Frances, will be discontinued, and with lower government-mandated costs just across the border -- and my colleague mentioned Manitoba -- northwestern Ontario is sure to be overrun by Manitoba-based bus companies.

Minister, have you given any consideration to these issues? How do you respond to Mrs Plaunte's concern? Would you please explain your plan to protect bus services to small, rural and northern communities?

Hon Mr Palladini: I appreciate my honourable colleague's concern about deregulation, but with regulation, small towns and communities across this great province of ours, over 400 towns, have lost busing services. The people who are saying that this is going to hurt or lose every bus service in small towns in Ontario do not know what they're saying, because that is not the case.

As far as safety standards are concerned, I think the honourable member also knows my commitment on safety with the safety plan that was just implemented. We have absolutely the fullest commitment to make sure that safety is not going to be compromised.



Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): I have a question to the acting Premier. I'd like to ask the acting Premier whether he would commit the government to public hearings on legislation that will be coming out of this Wednesday's budget from the government, since the minister will understand that the omnibus bill that is going to the legislation and regulations committee of cabinet this evening for approval will be a major piece of legislation. Deregulation of the public sector will change fundamentally the way public business is done in this province. Would he not commit himself to public hearings on that legislation?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): To the member opposite, I think the appropriate response is, let's wait and see what the statement contains, let's wait and see what actions are required at that point. We don't have long to wait. The minister has indicated that on Wednesday afternoon at 4 o'clock the statement will be presented to the people of the province of Ontario. At that point I think it'll be apparent what action is required in terms of consultation.

Mr Cooke: We know that there is a major omnibus bill that is going to leg and regs tonight. We know from your Minister of Municipal Affairs and from other ministers that there are major deregulation sections to that bill that will fundamentally change the way the public sector is run. Whether it's school boards, whether it's municipalities, whether it's hospitals, it will change thing dramatically.

There was no discussion about this approach during the election. This is not something that was covered to any extent in the so-called Common Sense Revolution. If we're going to have major, dramatic changes in the way that the province functions, does the minister not believe that it's appropriate to have public hearings? Or are you going to do what seems to be communicated to us already by the House leader, and that is ram this bill through in two weeks, with no public hearings and no standing committee at all?

Hon David Johnson: The member for Windsor-Riverside is perhaps presuming what is going to be in the statement. I realize that there are various items that have been contained in the press. The Minister of Finance has indicated that yes, there will be implications, there's no question there will be implications, but I would remind the member for Windsor-Riverside that we did go through an election earlier this year and all of the parties did have platforms that were laid out.

I will say to the member that what will be contained in the minister's statement is highly consistent with the approach that this party has taken during the election period. That, I might say, is the greatest opportunity to meet with the people and to consult with the people. I think we've had an excellent consultation. The people have given us a mandate to proceed and, for once, a government is taking action on its promises.


Mr R. Gary Stewart (Peterborough): It appears today is bus deregulation day in the House, because my question is also to the Minister of Transportation. Ontario bus operators are indeed preparing for deregulation of their industry, and I would like to indicate that many I have talked to intend to continue the service to areas where they now are, and indeed many of them will expand those services.

However, out-of-province operators have access to Ontario markets while Ontario operators are restricted in their markets, especially since deregulation in Quebec will not happen until 1999. Possibly the same question, or much the same, will cement in the minds of the bus operators what will happen in the next couple of months or the next couple of years.

Minister, can you assure us that after deregulation occurs in Ontario, Ontario operators will be given equal opportunity to compete in the marketplace and that out-of-province and out-of-country operators will not have an unfair advantage?

Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): I would like to thank my honourable colleague. As all members know, removing barriers and red tape is this government's commitment in the Common Sense Revolution. We believe that unnecessary regulation and red tape are significant barriers to growth and investment. I would like to assure my colleague that as far as foreign competition is concerned, my ministry staff and personal staff are right now consulting with the busing industry to ensure that an orderly transition will develop.

Mr Stewart: We're all very concerned about safety. I would ask the minister how he intends to ensure the safety of the travelling public after deregulation.

Hon Mr Palladini: I would like to add, this deregulation is an economic deregulation only. I have no intention of allowing unsafe buses on Ontario roads. We are committed to road safety and will ensure that bus companies operate safely. A bill that I presented on shortline rail is tough on safety. I will do the same on busing.


Mr Jean-Marc Lalonde (Prescott and Russell): My question is for the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Minister, there are many rumours circulating in my riding that your government is planning to shut down the agricultural college in Alfred. As the minister knows, the Alfred College of Agriculture and Food Technology offers the only French-language diploma programs in agriculture in the province. It is not only an agricultural college, it is also a major agricultural research centre. I would like to know what your government's plans are for the future of the Alfred agricultural college.

Hon Noble Villeneuve (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, minister responsible for francophone affairs): I want to thank my colleague and neighbour for that question. I can assure him and all of the people who use le Collège d'Alfred that it is very much going to remain le Collège d'Alfred.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): My question is to the minister without portfolio responsible for workers' compensation reform. Minister, I've been talking to workers across the province and they are extremely concerned and angry over the litany of cuts in benefits that you're going to make the WCB. One of the areas of course is the three-day waiting period.

As I understand what you're proposing, a firefighter in the province of Ontario who falls from a ladder while at home and breaks a leg would be entitled to sick pay coverage from that moment forward, but that same firefighter performing one of the most important public safety services in this province who is hurt in the line of duty would be penalized up to three days' pay because of your waiting period.

Minister, what possible justification can you have for punishing firefighters and other workers who become injured and disabled on the job through no fault of their own?

Hon Cameron Jackson (Minister without Portfolio [Workers' Compensation Board]): I'd like to thank the member opposite for the question and I want to assure him that although there have been discussions about the concept of a three-day, five-day, one-day waiting period, that is not a firm decision that has been made; in fact, quite the contrary.

My colleague the Minister of Labour sought consultations, and I reviewed much of that literature, a lot of that response, and even though this has been considered or implemented in several other provinces in Canada, at this point I'm pleased to report to the House that it is not the case that this is something our government has already made a decision about and is prepared to proceed on. Quite the contrary -- it's something I'm looking at, but I'm aware of the kinds of concerns you've raised. The firefighters in this province have made them known to me as well.


Mr Christopherson: The evidence and the track record so far is that your government is not concerned about listening, given what you did with the anti-worker Bill 7, the way you rammed it through. If indeed you're so interested in listening to workers, will you today commit to take whatever work it is you're doing -- which no one knows, as you've gone underground with it; when you killed the royal commission, you also killed the public input process -- to a province-wide public hearing process that allows everybody, not just your pals in the back room, to have a say in this most important legislation that affects working people and their ability to survive day by day? Will you commit to that public process here today?

Hon Mr Jackson: I'm surprised at the member opposite's suggestion. There can't be any issue that has been more consulted upon in the last eight years in this province. The previous Liberal government did some consultations; the leader of the third party undertook consultations. We have a body of information a mile wide for us to consider.

The real issue is, are we prepared to move in the direction that your government was prepared to move in with the royal commission, to look at models like they have in New Zealand, where we are going to transfer the liability from the workers' compensation on to the general public at large? Clearly, the Mike Harris government has said we're not moving in that direction.

We have an $11.4-billion unfunded liability, thanks to your government and the last decade of mismanagement of the Workers' Compensation Board. The bottom line is that we're prepared to make the difficult and tough decisions to turn this situation around, to return it to an income replacement program as it was designed to be 80 years ago in this province, and to make sure those reforms are done with balance and consultation with workers who are looking for future jobs in this province. That's the focus of the Mike Harris government, and you'd better be ready for it.


Mr Bert Johnson (Perth): My question is for the Solicitor General. Minister, last week you indicated that you would advise the House of whether there will be a review of the police investigation of the OPP officer who was recently found not guilty for failing to remain at the scene of an accident in connection with the death of a 16-year-old Nepean youth. Would you please advise the House today on whether there will be such a review of the police investigation.

Hon Bob Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): I appreciate the question, especially since the member for Ottawa South is in the assembly today and he raised this issue earlier. I'm afraid I can't comment on the specifics of it because charges are outstanding against the police officer under the disciplines section of the Police Services Act. A date for a hearing will be set next week, December 5.

Also, complaints have been made to the Ontario police complaints commission in respect of the incident, so I'm not able to comment further upon those complaints and the charges against the officer until those matters are resolved.

Mr Bert Johnson: I appreciate that the minister cannot comment at this time because of the outstanding charges against the officer and of the complaints to the complaints commissioner. However, could he indicate whether a review will follow the resolution of these charges and complaints?

Hon Mr Runciman: I can give the member assurance, as I indicated, that once the matter has been dealt with by the police complaints commission and the discipline process as well, then I'll be in a position to review the circumstances and make a decision.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): My question is for the Minister of Health. On the weekend, I met with representatives of the Lincoln County Academy of Medicine in the city of St Catharines.

Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): You were on the picket line.

Mr Bradley: I was not on a picket line. This group is expressing grave concerns about the policies of the government. One of the concerns they expressed was that in St Catharines, in their view, we now are an underserviced area in terms of the fact that we do not have sufficient family doctors. When people are retiring or moving out of the area, it is very difficult to have new doctors coming in, one of the reasons being that you will not give a billing number to people coming in from outside the province and I understand you can control billing numbers for new doctors coming out of university.

The question to the minister is this: In Ontario -- and I'm taking a long enough time so you can have a briefing note come to you from your assistant over there --

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

Mr Bradley: Are you not concerned that communities such as St Catharines will not have the appropriate service in terms of general practitioners if you continue your policies in this direction?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): No, not at all -- quite the opposite, I say to the honourable member. First of all, with respect to his comments that we don't allow physicians in from other provinces, I have signed dozens of Bill 50 exemptions since coming to office, bringing the total number up to close to 150 between the previous NDP government and our government, so it is false to say we are not bringing in doctors from other areas. It's a patchwork approach, and we're looking for a more permanent solution to this problem in our discussions with the Ontario Medical Association.

What we have on the table is the most generous incentive program for areas like St Catharines, the rural areas around it, 76 communities in the province that don't have enough or any physician resources right now; the most generous incentive package on the table in our discussions with the Ontario Medical Association in the history of this province. I'm told by the Ontario Medical Association and by the Association of Internes and Residents of Ontario that incentives should work, so I've put new money on the table to attract doctors to those areas. I'm waiting for a positive response from the OMA in that regard.

Mr Bradley: I'll pass along to the Academy of Medicine your concerns about what you consider to be their false statements.

The second question I would ask is related to compulsory retirement. There has been some discussion that your government may be forcing doctors to retire at the age of 65. One of the ways in which you can allow an area to continue to be appropriately serviced is by not having a firm rule that says doctors must retire at age 65. Would you assure the members of the Academy of Medicine in my part of the province that it is not your intention to enforce a compulsory age-65 retirement on them, that you could leave that flexibility for communities such as mine?

Hon Mr Wilson: Those are very reasonable comments from the member for St Catharines. Yes, we're trying to do as much as we have to do to correct the problems and bring in long-term solutions. We're trying to do that through incentives. I can confirm for the member today -- now, this is an area on which we do have agreement with the OMA -- that we are trying to use an incentive package for retirement for physicians in this province. It's a very generous incentive package.

We have some oversupplied areas in the province. Members should know that for every new doctor over the last eight years who went into an underserviced area, seven went into an overserviced area like Metropolitan Toronto. We can't allow that to continue. It's strangling the incomes of doctors in the system now, given that there's a cap on the $3.8-billion pool, and it's not serving the people of Ontario in these communities that don't have enough doctors or have no doctors at all.

The people of Ontario own the health care system, not the politicians and not the doctors. We're doing everything we can, through financial incentives and other incentives, to ensure that things like early retirements do occur and that we bring in long-term solutions to the problems that have been in existence for many years in this province.



Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): I have another question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. I was pleased to read in the Toronto Star last Friday that you appear to be reconsidering some of your cuts to shelters for battered women. I can only assume that you are finally admitting that in your haste to make room for a tax cut for the rich you cut too much too soon without considering the serious consequences.

Minister, in August you stated, "I think it's government by let's-see-what-happens." Is this what you meant? Is this the way you're going to be governing and deciding who gets cut where?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): I suppose the real difficulty here is that there's not much sense of humour around anywhere.

Frankly, I answered this question earlier on in the House. What I said is that we have to look at ways to make government more affordable. I already spoke about the problem we had consistently over the last 10 years, where various ministries have acted as silos, where there has been no communication between them and there's been duplication of costs. We're looking at ways to make things more efficient. We have to look at how we can consolidate things, just general things that are common sense.

Ms Churley: I'm glad the minister has given me the opportunity to tell this House that I am a feminist with a sense of humour, as most people in this House are probably very well aware. But I do want to say to the minister that when it comes to violence against women and kids, I don't have a sense of humour. I never find it funny. I am really, really shocked to hear the minister respond in that way when we're talking about a subject like this.

Having said that, I was even more pleased to read in the same article your statement that your across-the-board cut "doesn't recognize the relative importance of different programs." Does this mean that you are planning to review all the cuts made to the programs funded by your ministry, or does the program have to get a major headline or have its picture taken with the Premier to be reconsidered by you and your ministry?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I certainly do recognize that the member does have a very good sense of humour. You're quite right that it doesn't apply to this area. My comment was intended to indicate that when you take statements out of context and try to apply them and translate them to another area, certainly it's not right, aside from the fact that it doesn't make any sense.

With respect to what the honourable member is talking about, yes, one of the things we're looking at is certainly the consultative process. This is what we must do and this is what I am doing.

I don't know where people are today in the House. This is exactly the same question that I fielded earlier on today. I could have stood up, I suppose, and said the same thing.

Clearly, what we're trying to do is find a sensible way to deal with this, and the way we're doing that is by consulting people in the area.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): I'd like to draw the members' attention to the fact that today we have a visitor in the gallery, the Honourable Jack Riddell, the former Minister of Agriculture.



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 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 Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I have a petition here from a number of people from junior kindergarten from the community of Timmins. They've taken the time to cut out the imprints of their little feet on to these pieces of cardboard, and the petition reads that they don't want to stamp out junior kindergarten. This is a unique petition, I think, from people in my riding who will end up becoming the future voters and future leaders. I know they don't want to see junior kindergarten stamped out, and Jason and Priscilla and Amanda would like me to present this petition on their behalf to the assembly of Ontario.


Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): I have a petition to the Premier and Legislative Assembly of Ontario and it reads as follows:

"We, the parents, friends and staff of child care centres of Wellington county in the province of Ontario, do humbly petition the Premier and Legislature of Ontario that the government of Ontario consult fully with the parties to be affected before implementing the changes to child care policy to be announced in the November 29 economic statement."

This is signed by quite a number of my constituents from Fergus and Elora, and I've affixed my signature to this petition as well.


Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): I have a petition that reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the interim report of the Ontario School Board Reduction Task Force recommends the amalgamation of the Kenora Board of Education with the Dryden Board of Education and the Red Lake Board of Education; and

"Whereas the amalgamation of school boards in northwestern Ontario is not practical for operational and financial reasons because of the large distances between communities;

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

"To ensure the continuation of the present number of school boards in northwestern Ontario, except where local school boards and their communities, having evaluated the cost and benefits of amalgamation, request an amalgamation of their respective boards."

I've attached my name to that as well.


Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): I have hundreds of signatures here, and this is only the beginning of petitions to the Legislature that read:

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to abandon, reduce or delay the provincial government's proposed 30% tax reduction in order to maintain needed funding and services for the two million people of Metro Toronto."

I affix my signature to this petition.


Mr Tim Hudak (Niagara South): I was presented with this petition on Friday, and I'd like to read it into the record. It reads:

"Dear Tim Hudak, MPP, and the provincial government:

"We, as parents, board members and early childhood educators in the Fort Erie area feel recent cuts and impending cuts to the child care sector are putting Ontario's children at risk. By forcing parents to place their children in unlicensed, unregulated care, Ontario's children will suffer. Child care funds make up only one tenth of 1% of the total provincial budget. In the 15 weeks that Mr Harris has been Premier, $60 million has been slashed from this minuscule amount.

"We demand you look at the other 99.99% of the budget to cut your costs. Stop taking money from little children. Besides just being rude, it is not preventive and does not look to the future or the wellbeing of our children."


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

"Whereas the Ministry of Transportation is intent on reducing northern winter road maintenance and 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 region of the province receive the necessary maintenance to ensure the safe passage of all travellers."

Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East): To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the Committee for a Safer 401, and the undersigned taxpaying citizens of Ontario demand that the government take a serious look at installing a safety median to separate the east and west traffic on the 401 Highway. This median should extend from the Highway 115/35 exit to at least Cobourg. This stretch of highway has been identified as one of the deadliest in Ontario."

I'm pleased to add my signature to this petition.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): This petition is to members of the Legislative Assembly. It reads as follows:

"The governments at provincial and regional levels are threatening cuts to child care programs. We see child care as an essential service to the community. A reduction in subsidized child care programs would result in unaffordable and unavailable child care, causing higher levels of unemployment and welfare dependency."

I affix my signature to this petition as I'm in agreement with its contents.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Yet another petition from Cochrane South, this time on the safety of our jails. The petition reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the government of Ontario has indicated a need to privatize crown assets and programs;

"Whereas the provincial government plans to remove successor rights via Bill 7 and therefore enabling widespread privatization;

"Whereas the Common Sense Revolution did not address the topic of privatization in prisons;

"Whereas the Common Sense Revolution did, however, discuss issues relating to public safety:

"Be it resolved that we, the undersigned, petition the government of Ontario to eliminate this policy of actual intentions to privatize the provincial correction facilities and therefore ensuring the people of this province's peace of mind, knowing that the government of Ontario is still responsible for the safety and security of the province."

I signed the petition.


Mr Derwyn Shea (High Park-Swansea): I present a petition to the Legislative Assembly signed by constituents in Parkdale and High Park who are so concerned by the fiscal mess this government has inherited and the poverty and unemployment the Liberal and NDP fiscal mismanagement have caused in Ontario that they ask this government to make the elimination of the provincial deficit and debt the highest priority of the Mike Harris government. I so present this.



Mr Pat Hoy (Essex-Kent): "To the Legislature of Ontario:

"Whereas all students in Ontario deserve equal educational opportunities; and

"Whereas we understand the importance of controlling costs; and

"Whereas reductions to core grants severely impact assessment-poor boards;

"Therefore, be it resolved that we, the undersigned, petition the Legislature to effect reasonable reductions in the education system and to ensure that the reductions are shared in a fair and equitable manner."

I've affixed my signature to this.


Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): I have a petition that reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Minister of Transportation is intent on reducing northern winter road maintenance and 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 have attached my name to that as well.


Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): Last week I had the privilege of taking part in an extraordinary rally in Thunder Bay attended by hundreds of parents, children and early childhood educators. At that rally and a protest the next day this petition was presented to me.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Ministry of Community and Social Services, under the direction of the provincial government, is intent on replacing child care subsidies with a voucher system; and

"Whereas this voucher system will discriminate against families presently utilizing subsidies;

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

It is signed by 1,400 people, and I'm proud to add my name.


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): This is a petition signed by many supporters of Northwestern General Hospital. The petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council hospital restructuring committee has recommended to close Northwestern General Hospital and merge all programs and services with Humber Memorial Hospital;

"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 by the government of Ontario and that it keep Northwestern Hospital open" forever.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Yet another petition from the riding of Cochrane South, this time from the parents of those children who sent their imprints of feet in regard to how they feel about the cancellation of junior kindergarten. Now from their parents:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Please do not stop funding school boards for junior kindergarten programs. Early education helps children stay in school longer and improves their reading, math and language skills. It saves society millions of dollars that would later be spent on remedial social programs. Our children's future is worth it."

I have somewhere about 1,000 or 1,500 of those cards signed from a number of people throughout the area of Cochrane South, including Iroquois Falls, Matheson and Timmins.


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): I too have a petition which is addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and signed by people from all over Ontario. It states:

"Whereas the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council hospital restructuring committee has recommended to close Northwestern General Hospital and 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 by this government of Ontario and that it keep Northwestern Hospital open."


Mr Pat Hoy (Essex-Kent): "We, the undersigned, are asking the Ministry of Transportation to re-evaluate their position in regard to putting a vehicle licensing office back into the town of Ridgetown. By signing this petition we are saying that the licensing office is badly needed here."

It's signed by a number of residents in and around the Ridgetown area.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 19, An Act to repeal the Advocacy Act, 1992, revise the Consent to Treatment Act, 1992, amend the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992 and amend other Acts in respect of related matters / Projet de loi 19, Loi abrogeant la Loi de 1992 sur l'intervention, révisant la Loi de 1992 sur le consentement au traitement, modifiant la Loi de 1992 sur la prise de décisions au nom d'autrui et modifiant d'autres lois en ce qui concerne des questions connexes.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Debate? Mrs Caplan had the floor at the last. I recognize the member for Downsview.

Ms Annamarie Castrilli (Downsview): It gives me great pleasure to continue the opening discussion on Bill 19, the Advocacy, Consent and Substitute Decisions Statute Law Amendment Act. We in the Liberal Party have for some time recognized the need for change in the area of advocacy, consent and substitute decision-making, believing as we do that the current system is ill-conceived, intrusive, onerous and unfair for all affected by the system -- individuals, their families, practitioners, attorneys and the public trustee.

Just at the time that people are at their most vulnerable, we have seen a cumbersome set of provisions that have added to their vulnerability. Add to that the confusion generated by such provisions and you have a veritable recipe for chaos. We have therefore been proactive and innovative in seeking and offering solutions to the many problems created by the system at hand.

And there are many problems. The bureaucratic web that has been woven by the legislation put in place by the previous government has had the effect of confusing and trapping unsuspecting Ontarians who cannot be faulted for believing that they and their families have primary control over their own affairs.

This three-pronged legislative pyramid has generated a nightmarish network of paperwork, obstruction, delays and frustration. As a lawyer, I can tell you that my office and so many others have had to deal almost daily with clients who were uncertain and at a loss to find their way through the maze that has been created. There is a critical need to simplify the current legislative measures and to streamline the processes so as to create a user-friendly, cost-effective system of real citizen protection and support.

But this debate, as you will no doubt appreciate, provides us with much more than an opportunity to bring about changes to legislation that is desperately in need of reform. This debate, like no other thus far in the legislative session, gives us all the opportunity, the forum and indeed the motivation to delve into the critical issue of what is and should be the essential role of government in society.

This is an issue that requires our utmost attention and that must be clearly understood. As members of society, as members of the Legislature, as representatives of the people of Ontario, we all have a positive obligation to continuously define and assess government's role. One's vision of government fundamentally influences one's political perspective, ideology and affiliation.

There are those individuals who expound the need for large government characterized by social and economic interjections. Such a government believes, at its most basic, that government is the only tool by which meaningful change occurs. It promotes continual government involvement in the daily lives and daily affairs of citizens to achieve ends designated by it. It is convinced that it is entirely justifiable for a government to act intrusively if the end goal is the achievement of its notion of equity.

This is the political approach the former government brought to Ontario, and it is the philosophy behind the NDP's Advocacy Act, Consent to Treatment Act and Substitute Decisions Act. Because this legislation has been draped in this philosophy, these acts have had a very difficult existence and have failed to achieve public acceptability.


Now we have a new government in power that goes beyond even old-style Tory politics and that is demonstrating how enthusiastically it will attack the social fabric of Ontario from the other extreme of the political spectrum. This philosophy promotes a mass government exodus from society with few regards to the repercussions. Its prime objective is stated to be spending reduction and it appears to be willing to achieve that at all social costs. There appears to be little government concern that the result of its arbitrary and across-the-board spending cuts is a rapid movement towards a much less equitable social structure. Whereas the NDP policies hit the middle and upper classes exceptionally hard, the Tories are attacking the less fortunate groups to promote the benefits of those least in need.

Although from a different end of the spectrum, this government seems content on continuing an ideological war that has bogged down Ontario for the past five years. Let me tell you, Mr Speaker, that Ontarians will not suffer being the victims of such political extremes much longer.

What Ontarians do want, however, is a debate on the issues and a debate on the policies according to merit, according to quality and according to the needs of Ontarians, and what Ontario needs is not total government control or total lack of government involvement; we need to find a clear middle ground that provides for government involvement only when necessary, but to a level that achieves the objectives required to govern fairly and justly. A government that fails to act or fails to control its zealousness fails to live up to the expectations and needs of the public.

The debate surrounding Bill 19 and the acts it intends to repeal and amend is a good example of the problems that can be generated when government operates with blinders on while ignoring fundamental considerations. As is evident from the bill's title, three existing pieces of legislation are at the core of Bill 19: the Advocacy Act, the Consent to Treatment Act and the Substitute Decisions Act.

Let me begin with the Advocacy Act. The term "advocacy" is a relatively recent concept and is representative of the changing nature of society and its growing complexity and expansion in terms of our laws, policies, procedures and indeed our human service programs. Society's increased consciousness of advocacy can be derived from a global trend that is placing a higher premium on the virtues of legal and human rights.

Bill 74 was introduced by the former government and proclaimed law on April 3, 1995. Its intent was to provide advocates for people who have trouble getting their rights and wishes respected due to temporary or permanent physical or mental disability, illness or frailty. It also established an Advocacy Commission to coordinate this process.

The act's objective -- to empower vulnerable citizens -- foundered because it focused too much emphasis on augmenting the power of advocates rather than improving the rights and capabilities of vulnerable people themselves. I believe few individuals would object to the argument that the long-term, lasting solution should be the promotion of self-advocacy by which vulnerable persons learn the skills and knowledge that provide them the independence to solve problems on their own. Instead, the Advocacy Act broadened the scope of government by creating an excessively bureaucratic and expensive structure that worked against the independence of individuals.

This new system worked towards undermining the role of families by enhancing the power and rights of potentially untrained advocates. Advocates were granted vast rights of access to records, as well as entry to institutions and premises, including private homes, for the purposes of providing advocacy services. Furthermore, advocates could obtain warrants for entry when they had been prevented from meeting with a vulnerable person.

It is a fact that terrified Ontarians, seniors in particular, flocked to lawyers' offices to seek advice, fearing that they and their families would have a diminished role in their own affairs.

This far-reaching legislation opened the door not only to enormous implementation and operating costs, estimated to be as high as $30 million to $50 million annually, but also to the very real potential for abuse.

The Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, here with us today, stated in July that the government would repeal the Advocacy Act and "develop an alternative approach to delivering advocacy services." She went on to say that the "measures that we intend to develop will help to ensure that the interests of vulnerable people are protected and that they can participate in decisions that affect their lives."

Part I of Bill 19 does indeed repeal the Advocacy Act, including the abolition of the Advocacy Commission, which I support. Taxpayers spent almost $18 million setting up the commission and hiring rights advisers. The new government acknowledges that the commission has not even begun to delve into its mandate of advocacy, but rather has thus far focused on community education and outreach.

However, I ask, where is the real plan to establish a long-term, lasting solution to the advocacy problem? How is the government going to assist vulnerable citizens to develop self-advocacy skills?

This is exactly the type of problem to which I made reference earlier. The former government went so far as to create an overly bureaucratic, unworkable situation that empowered the wrong people, while the current government is so eager to reduce spending that it fails to deal with the critical issue. Surely it is the role of government to lead and to seek balance. We believe that the spotlight must be focused on those who matter most in this issue: the vulnerable.

I will not devote a great amount of time to part II, the Health Care Consent Act, as my colleague from Oriole has already spent a considerable amount of time on this portion of the bill. I would, however, like to make a few comments from a legal perspective.

Firstly, I believe that the bill incorporates some necessary changes that will streamline the process by removing many of the bureaucratic barriers currently in place that create very lengthy and complicated procedures, particularly in terms of the rights advisers.

However, I have a concern that with the removal of rights advisers, a void will be created that leaves patients in limbo. The reforms now being considered are intended to clarify the many rights and obligations involved in these areas. It would be unreasonable to leave this very crucial aspect of the act unclear, thereby failing to fully guard patients against abuses while jeopardizing the integrity of the act itself. We must ensure that a process is in place that outlines treatment rights of patients and ensures that those rights are easily communicated to the patients. A patient unfamiliar with his or her rights is a patient without any rights.

Let me now turn to part III, the proposed amendments to the Substitute Decisions Act. The law is intended to provide individuals with more control over the direction of their lives in the event they become incapable of making their own decisions. This includes respecting people's choices made before they became mentally incapable, as well as their current wishes.

The legislation has been further designed to recognize the importance of the role of family members during these stressful and difficult times. Finally, one of the other main objectives of the act is to limit public guardianship and other government intrusions into private family matters. The Substitute Decisions Act also outlines the procedures by which decision-makers may be appointed for mentally incapable persons.

Many of these broad objectives were incorporated into the original act and are further enhanced in the current legislation. I believe all members of this House would agree that these are honourable objectives, as demonstrated by the legislation's original support by all three parties.


I will acknowledge that this new amending legislation does take steps to improve the current act, particularly in terms of simplification and ease of understanding and reduced bureaucratization. The role of the public guardian and trustee has been clearly defined as one of last resort, actually being prohibited from being appointed guardian unless no other suitable individual is available. This is something I support. Furthermore, the requirements involved in appointing and activating a power of attorney will be made simpler. These are all steps forward.

Let me now remind the House of some of the difficulties the last government experienced with the original legislation. As I'm sure you remember, there was an enormous controversy surrounding the passage and implementation of that legislation. Vulnerable people, their families and citizens at large began experiencing considerable anxiety and indeed fear from the legislation that was intended to assist and protect them.

This environment of insecurity developed from the confusion generated by the legislation's own complexity and lack of clarity and was very damaging to the act's objectives and public acceptability. The problems were preventable. The legislation should have been designed more concisely, with public interpretation in mind.

The government of the time also failed to undertake at the initial stages a communications strategy that would have adequately explained to the public, particularly the vulnerable citizens and their families, the real intentions of the legislation and individuals' related obligations.

Instead, misinformation and public confusion ran rampant. The public, including a large proportion of the senior population, understood the act to suggest that if one did not appoint a power of attorney, the public guardian would automatically step in in times of incapacity. The chaos that developed forced the government to attempt damage control by preparing and distributing a detailed information package.

Let this be a lesson to the new government. We are dealing with an extremely sensitive issue and it is imperative not only that this new legislation protect the most vulnerable citizens in society against hardship and fear but that the public also understand and accept these as the legislation's objectives. Do not make the same mistake as your predecessors; take steps to communicate these changes clearly and in a timely fashion to the public.

Because of the sensitivity and importance of this matter, I would like to think that the government has already undertaken a process of widespread consultation to solicit input from the community, particularly those individuals who have experienced the system from within. Those who have firsthand knowledge of the power of attorney and guardianship processes would provide invaluable insight into the problems and difficulties, highlighting those areas needing the most attention.

My concern is that the government has not conducted such consultation, has not reached out to the people who must live with these changes. Now that the legislation has been prepared, there must be an opportunity for the public, involved families and advocacy groups to review the clauses, assess their impacts and provide feedback to the government.

Public consultation should not be viewed by any government as an obstacle or diversion or hindrance to the legislative process. We must always remember that we are working here on behalf of all citizens and must never allow the direct lines of communication to be broken.

I must point out that public reaction to legislation, whether in committee or public meetings, is never as effective or as acceptable as true consultation prior to tabling a bill. We, as public representatives, must come to accept the citizen's right to active involvement in the policy development process.

I will be supporting this legislation on second reading. We will be submitting, however, amendments that I firmly believe will strengthen this legislation. While I have already touched on most of the areas I believe need amending, I will now reinforce the legislation's shortcomings and outline specific recommended changes. I also look forward to discussing them further in committee and hope the government will consider our amendments seriously.

The elimination of rights advisers, for instance, may create a situation in which vulnerable citizens are left without an adequate safeguard of their rights. It would be truly remarkable, truly ironic in Ontario, if our society, which is increasingly influenced by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the most powerful rights protection legislation in the country, failed to ensure the protection of rights of this province's most defenceless citizens. There is a real and obvious need to ensure the existence of a rights process which these people can manoeuvre within, and easily.

This is consistent with the principle of natural justice, that an individual has the right to know. This means that there is a right to know one's individual rights and the right to know the procedures involved in exercising those rights. We will look to enhance the legislation to include such a right to know. This requires a positive obligation on professionals to inform people of their rights.

As my colleague from Oriole has already pointed out, this could be achieved through agreement by the various colleges regulating the professions to establish clinical guidelines that clearly and explicitly outline the obligation of members of the professional community to inform people of their rights.

We will also propose that the professional colleges be subject to a legislative requirement to develop clinical guidelines with regard to consent to treatment. This builds effectively upon the notion of an individual's right to know. It is also consistent with the widely accepted principle that an individual has a right to make informed decisions based on all the facts.

I know all members of this House would agree that it is essential, that it should be a fundamental precept within the legal and health care fields, for there to exist a broad understanding and a broad acceptance of the undeniable right of individuals called upon to make important decisions to have in their possession all of the relevant facts and information. Any decision that is not an informed decision will likely be a bad decision and potentially even a dangerous one.

I am also concerned with the legislation's apparent lack of guidelines respecting the definition of "capacity." The bill leaves such determination to clinical practice. While mental and physical capacity are extremely difficult concepts to manage, I believe there should be a framework in place that provides some direction, some basic criteria, rather than leave these important determinations to the discretion of individual practitioners, with the discrepancies that may result. I fear that this could open the door to the possibility of an increased level of litigation, thereby complicating and lengthening the process unreasonably.

However, there must also be a broadly accepted understanding of the notion of consent itself. It is not enough simply to enforce a right to know and an obligation to inform. The granting of consent involves more than the simple disclosure of all pertinent information. The individual must be mentally competent to grant that consent and must be doing so voluntarily. There must be safeguards in place to protect against abuse. There must also be a clear process to follow in the event of incompetency. These are areas that still require to be refined under the legislation.

Therefore, we must ensure not only that the concept of consent to treatment be understood by health care professionals, but that it be applied to all sectors of the health care field. Furthermore, the solution of ridding the system of rights advisers and placing more responsibilities on the shoulders of the family is not as simple as the government may think.

These amendments would work hand in hand towards establishing a framework that would guarantee basic individual rights in this sector. They would reinforce a unique relationship between patient and health care practitioner in which the practitioner has an obligation to inform and the patient has a right to know and therefore a right to grant an informed, voluntary consent.

We are of the view that the proposed legislation ought to be strong legislation, setting out a series of general principles with wide application in a broad number of settings, rather than relying on current various legislative mechanisms that only serve further to confuse Ontarians.

We feel that the discussion of this legislation is timely, and I hope the government will consider seriously our amendments which are designed solely to give the people of Ontario the strong and clear legislation they deserve.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Questions or comments?

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): I'd like to congratulate the members for Oriole and Downsview for their presentation on the bill and their indication that they are prepared to support the bill in principle.

I would like to make a couple of comments with respect to particularly the member for Downsview's remarks. I think I'd like to clarify one issue that she came out with, and that was with respect to the sole purpose of this bill being to get rid of the Advocacy Commission. Certainly that's a consideration, the consideration of the $18 million that you mentioned to set it up, but that's not the sole purpose.

The sole purpose is to do a number of other things: increase accessibility; reduce complexity, the confusion in the health field in particular -- people have no idea what to do with the existing legislation, and we intend to fix that; reinforce the positive role of service providers and family -- as the member for Oriole mentioned, we intend with this legislation to go further than that, to go further than what the current bill is, to make it easier for more family members to be guardians of property without having to go to court; restore the balance between the individual's right to control his or her life and the need for protection of mentally incapable people.

With respect to the consultation issue, I'd like to remind the member for Downsview in particular that we have gone through in this House, with the previous New Democratic government, at least two sets of hearings. Every member who ran for office, certainly re-elected members for office, went around -- I held individual hearings in my riding and I know other members of this House did the same thing -- to try to explain to people the purposes of the existing bill.

In doing that, we found out ourselves, in our own consultations, the problems with this bill. The government's going to get out of the face of the electorate in this province.

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): I think the singular effort of the Ministry of the Attorney General in bringing Bill 19 to this House so quickly is something I would have hoped my esteemed colleague the member for Downsview might have referred to, because of her own professional background, which is very creditable. She has obviously achieved a great deal already in her young life.

I thought that in speaking to this bill she might have commended Charles Harnick, our Attorney General, for the fact that he has cleared up some of the outstanding questions about the legislation in terms of the Advocacy Act and the Consent to Treatment Act that the previous government passed.

I say to the member for Downsview that I chaired the government agencies committee which approved some of the appointments of the members to the Advocacy Commission. I suggest, with respect, that had you been in that committee hearing at the time those interviews of those appointments were taking place, you would indeed share some of the concern that all of us had about how the Advocacy Commission could function with such biased people sitting who were appointed to that commission.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): Whoops. That's not entirely fair.

Mrs Marland: I'm sorry to upset the member for Lake Nipigon by saying that, but it was indeed a fact. I'm glad that this legislation will remedy --

The Acting Speaker: Thank you. Your time has expired. Any further questions or comments?

Mrs Helen Johns (Huron): I just want to make a couple of comments that relate specifically to the health part of the act. Basically, I'd like to say that I want to draw to your attention, as I think the other two members have, that we believe consultation has happened. There were over 200 consumers heard in 1992. We all feel that there was consultation when we rapped at doors during the election. We had two years of intensive consultations. We believe that we know the views of many of the people on the street who are dealing with this on a day-to-day basis.

The thing I wanted to talk about was the rights advice. You suggested that there was a need for rights advisers. I want to comment on our position with respect to rights advisers. We believe that there's no need for outside third parties and regimented requirements about how to provide rights advisers. We believe that these matters can be discussed between the health practitioner and the family and/or people who are dealing with the concerns of an individual.

We believe that we have to encourage health practitioners to provide information about the review process and the policies that a person can take if they don't like the decision. I know that we can always look at it and say the health practitioner isn't going to act in the best interests of a person who needs help or is incapable, but we believe that, through the colleges and all of the advisory boards we have, in effect the health practitioner will act in the best interests of the people, and we believe that the families are the best people to talk to with respect to that.

That's the one thing we have that we feel differently on than you, that the rights of an individual will be taken into effect and that they will get the information they need to make the best decision about their health care.

The Acting Speaker: Any further questions or comments? If not, the member for Downsview has two minutes to reply.

Ms Castrilli: First, I'd like to address the comments made by the member for Dufferin-Peel. I think he misunderstood what I may have said. I did not suggest, nor was it my intention to suggest, that the only aim of the bill was to scrap the Advocacy Commission, although if that's all that it did, we probably would agree with it in any event, because the Advocacy Commission did not function extremely well, as in fact I've indicated. I'm sorry if I was misunderstood; that wasn't my intent.

We are in agreement that there needs to be a streamlining of bureaucracy and there needs to be accessibility. I don't think that's the issue. Our amendments were to try and strengthen the process.

I want to thank the member for Mississauga South for her very generous comments with regard to my person. I'm not so sure I'm quite as young as she thinks I am, but thank you, nevertheless. I share her concerns, as I've indicated in my previous comments, with regard to the Advocacy Commission.

As for the member for Huron, I think the consultations with respect to this current legislation have not taken place. I don't think that door-to-door polling that we've all done during the election is quite sufficient. I think we need to talk to the professionals in the various fields and I hope you will do that.

I have some concern about your leaving everything to the practitioner and the families to negotiate between them. I think practitioners would be very much in favour of standards to follow. It is unfair to ask them to make decisions without those kinds of standards, so we'll be looking to put some amendments forward at committee to give a kind of code of conduct to be of assistance to practitioners and their families, because in those very critical times it's incumbent on everyone to know exactly what the guidelines are and how to apply them.

The Acting Speaker: Any further debate?

Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): I believe there is unanimous consent so I can complete the leadoff for the official opposition.

The Acting Speaker: Is there unanimous consent? Agreed.


Mrs Caplan: I'm going to begin my remarks today by trying to pick up the train of thought I had when I last discussed this very complex piece of legislation. At the time I was debating it last week, I was discussing alternative advocacy models or alternative models that would include some form of advocacy. I thought that before I went on to get technical about proposing ideas and solutions, I would put on the record, for members who are new to this House, what has been said about the need for advocacy. This is not new. I mentioned the reports by O'Sullivan and Manson in my last presentation. The report by Sean O'Sullivan says this -- very brief -- in the executive summary:

"Ontario needs advocacy.

"More particularly we, as Ontarians, need to be advocates.

"Most of us already are. We can do more.

"If we are to improve our society, we must.

"Primary responsibility for advocacy must remain with us as individual citizens, as families, as friends and as neighbours of Ontario's vulnerable population.

"Primary responsibility for advocacy education, and the development and support of advocacy services, is the proper role of government.

"Therefore, this review of advocacy, having considered Ontario's needs and options, recommends a shared advocacy model for this province.

"While recognizing the need for equally dedicated, professionally trained, and suitably paid advocates, this review has concluded that the heart and soul of advocacy services will depend upon caring volunteers."

That report was commissioned by a previous Conservative government; they reported in 1987. For those people who perhaps, after they listen to this debate, ask a question like, "What is `advocacy'; what are you talking about when you talk about `advocacy'?" I thought I would share Sean O'Sullivan's view, the late Father O'Sullivan, when he said:

"`Advocacy' means `non-legal' or `social' advocacy, as opposed to `legal' advocacy.

"`Social' advocacy entails speaking or pleading on behalf of others with vigour, vehemence and commitment by using non-legalistic resources: A social advocate, unlike a legal advocate, does not directly invoke or participate in the legal process to obtain the desired result....

"Social advocacy includes the following four basic principles:

"Advocacy must be client-directed or `instruction based';

"Advocacy must be administratively and fiscally independent of the human service delivery system;

"Advocacy must be accessible;

"Advocacy is not necessarily adversarial."

The evidence presented in this report "identified a clear need for a coordinated and effective advocacy system in Ontario."

There were also in this report 12 items identified as components of advocacy. They're simple, they're clear, and I'm not going to spend a lot of time.

(1) "Safeguards against unnecessary guardianship." That means protection of the individual.

(2) That any advocacy system must be independent.

(3) That we encourage self-advocacy wherever possible. We want self-sufficiency and we want self-determination.

(4) That advocacy enhances the role of families and volunteers.

(5) That we educate family, volunteers and communities, that we de-label and destigmatize and identify gaps in service and promote awareness that advocacy is everybody's business.

(6) Flexibility, and that we recognize that there are special needs and geographic requirements in this very multilingual society.

(7) That it be responsive: That it relay our personal concern, that it carries forward complaints and endeavours to resolve them. So you're looking for alternative dispute resolution, not a legalistic mechanism.

(8) Advocacy should promote cooperation between providers and ministries.

(9) Advocacy should be accessible.

(10) That it seeks improvement in programs; in other words, that advocacy is reformative as opposed to destructive.

(11) That whatever advocate you have has some clout.

(12) That advocates be accountable.

Then it says, "Measuring the five models against these criteria, the review recommends the shared advocacy model as the most appropriate and effective method of delivering advocacy services to Ontario's vulnerable adults."

I don't think there's anyone in this House today who would disagree with the objectives and the desires of the O'Sullivan report that was tabled in 1987. There's all kinds of evidence that there is a need to advocate on behalf of vulnerable adults who are unable to advocate and express their own wishes for a host of reasons.

That doesn't mean you have to bring forward, as the former government did, an anti-professional bias in your legislation. That certainly was never the intent. It should not be adversarial and confrontational. You can have an advocacy model without those features. That was where I think the former government made a huge mistake.

We saw that in the way the Advocacy Commission was established. We were all very critical of that. It was never a place where people could come together. The very appointment process was flawed and it created an environment which, frankly, self-destructed. No one could have respect for what was produced, because you could see that they couldn't find a way to work together to meet those objectives of advocacy, so in my party and in the Conservative doctrine, we all supported the abolition of the Advocacy Commission as it was constituted by the NDP. But we also both said we would find alternatives to that badly flawed model.

In the time remaining, I'd like to put forward some suggestions and also say to the government that you committed in your Common Sense Revolution document to come forward with a model that would provide support services to the most vulnerable in our society. You never said you were going to scrap all advocacy services in the province of Ontario.

I'd ask during the time that we're having this discussion and this debate in a very thoughtful way that you consider some alternative models for advocacy, which can be accomplished in a very inexpensive way. I support the use of volunteer advocates, I think a shared advocacy model is good, and I also think we can build on the foundation of what was.

Along those principles, I would go back now to my remarks where I had suggested that you don't need a new Advocacy Act. I believe that advocacy can be accomplished within the Consent to Treatment Act. I've always believed the Ministry of Health should have the lead on this, and I can tell you that I had wonderful discussions with my colleague Ian Scott, when he was the Attorney General, as to where the carriage of advocacy should be. I still believe you could incorporate it in the Consent to Treatment Act and that that's the appropriate place, that if you don't want it to be legalistic and bureaucratic, it shouldn't be with the Ministry of the Attorney General, which tends to legalize everything.

I also believe it should be independent. Therefore, if you enhance the responsibilities, the mandate, of the Consent and Capacity Board in your new legislation, I think you can effectively provide appropriate and inexpensive advocacy services.

I don't think anyone is expecting you, in these times of fiscal restraint -- and we suspect we know what's coming next week -- to spend a lot of money on this. But $18 million was spent on the NDP model, and if you took $1 million of that -- or if you didn't want to take that $1 million, under the old legislation the office of the public guardian and trustee was enhanced dramatically, and I think you could take some money from that and find the resources within the present advocacy dollars. I'm telling you where to find the money; I'm not calling for any new money to accomplish this. The money is there and I think it could be provided reasonably and efficiently and inexpensively.

I talked before about an office of advocacy within the purview of the independent Consent and Capacity Board, and I also think you need to have an office of provider advice. If you change the mandate of the Consent and Capacity Board to also include education, I think that would be a very important new mandate. I also think there should be an opportunity for a coordination of existing advocacy services and the provision of advice.


If the mandate were not only review of appeals but those other components, you would come much closer to, and I would advise you to look at, the Australian model for advocacy services, consent and capacity. I think it would fit very well into your budget and also the needs of the province of Ontario.

There's one other thing I want to mention when we talk about the foundation of advocacy, and that is the role of the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office, the PPAO, as it is talked about. It has always been located in the Ministry of Health. The previous government's intention was to move it into the Advocacy Commission. I didn't object to that except for the view that if the commission was such a disaster and everybody was going to appeal it, if it was going to hurt the services of the PPAO, then I objected. I believe it would have harmed the services provided by PPAO and, because of our desire to see the Advocacy Commission eliminated, I felt that the PPAO should remain as is.

The PPAO right now only has mandate responsibility for the patients in provincial psychiatric hospitals. One of the major flaws in this bill is that it doesn't say how it's going to address the needs of patients in general hospitals. That's left silent. That is a very important and serious issue, because you leave in place the need for rights advice and advocacy services in the Mental Health Act, but not all mental health services are provided in provincial psychiatric hospitals.

The PPAO has been very effective in meeting the needs of the patients in provincial hospitals. I was very impressed with the lobbying campaign from those patients during the previous government's bill; they let us know just how good the PPAO was. Because it's that good, I hope not that much damage has been done to it that can't be restored and repaired. But I believe you should give them the mandate for providing service to patients in general hospitals. They have the expertise, they have the knowhow, and I would be very comfortable if you wanted to move the operation of the PPAO into this other sphere, with the Consent and Capacity Review Board an advocate office as well as an office of provider assistance.

I would say to the member for Huron, who speaks very eloquently, that the history in Ontario suggests that not only does father not know best, but not all service providers know best. They need help and advice from time to time on how to make sure that individuals have informed consent.

One of the things that's missing from this legislation -- I hope the government brings forward amendments to address it; we certainly will be and hope they would accept them -- would be changes to the Regulated Health Professions Act that would give the mandate to the colleges of the regulated professions to establish the guidelines and the protocols and procedures that are so important in order to make sure that providers have the confidence to know they're doing it the right way and also that they can then be held accountable against those standards as professionals.

As the member for Downsview so excellently and eloquently made that argument, it is very important that we have the comfort of those kinds of guidelines being legislatively in place, and the place to put those, I believe, is noting it in this act. As you have noted in this act that there would be changes to the Regulated Health Professions Act that would update the profession of health practitioner, I think you could also note in this act the obligation under the Regulated Health Professions Act and the amendment to that act to require the colleges to establish right-to-know guidelines. That would be a right-to-know provision in the legislation.

I'm proposing that you look very seriously at the Australian model. I think it is doable, it is possible, it is affordable and, after my conversations with someone from Australia, it's working very well, and I would recommend that to you.

I would recommend that the PPAO, the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office, also have responsibility for support of mental health patients in the general hospitals.

There's one other thing I would like you to take a look at. The old act that you have amended, under "Consent," had an outright ban on electric shock aversion therapy, said it was illegal. It has been the policy at the Ministry of Community and Social Services and in Comsoc facilities for quite some time to have an absolute ban on the use of that. For people who are watching, I'm not talking about electric shock therapy for mental health patients. This is what has been referred to in this House as the "cattle prod." There are those who will say, "Oh, it's not very painful and we should be able to use it," but it has been judged as inhumane when used against disabled persons in facilities because of incapacity, primarily in Comsoc facilities and others. This legislation removes that ban.

I'd like to suggest an alternative. This is not under normal circumstances considered a medically necessary procedure. I will admit that. But it is not a banned procedure by the College of Physicians and Surgeons. I can't think of very many other procedures that the Ontario government bans outright or that are deserving of bans. But because of the highlighting of this type of therapy, I think the other alternative would be to allow an appeal to a board such as the Consent and Capacity Review Board. They're there already. They do reviews of competency. They have the expertise.

I was approached, as a matter of fact, by one of the parents who are in the process now of suing the government for the right to have that therapy for their son, who suffers from a self-destructive disorder. My heart was touched that she had no place to go except into the court system.

Now, I don't believe this therapy should be able to be used frivolously or capriciously or easily. Frankly, I'm not prepared to leave it up to clinical judgements, because there are no clinical guidelines for the use of this therapy. I would be much more comfortable with leaving a ban, provided that you could get an exemption from the Consent and Capacity Review Board, non-legalistic, quick, where they could look at the information and say, "Under the following guidelines, we are going to permit the use in this case."

There are many precedents in this House where you ban "except when." You could leave the ban in place except when the Consent and Capacity Review Board has approved the use of the procedure. I don't think you would have more than two or three cases that would apply for this on an annual basis -- maybe five, but certainly not a huge number. My concern is that if you remove the ban, the number may become more than five, and even though we have heard that Comsoc would keep this ban in place, once these kinds of things become acceptable and there's no law but that it's a policy, my worry is that there may be abuse. I'd ask you to think about that. That was one of the things I wanted to mention.

The issue of acting in someone's best interests: I wanted to raise that in the closing minutes of this debate. There's a presumption that family will always act in your best interests. They don't. I cited the case of the families who can't wait to put Aunt Nellie in the institution, have her declared incapable and get their hands on her money. We hear constantly cases of elder abuse and abuse of disabled persons. Unfortunately, they are abused by their families and they are abused by their service providers. So to make a blanket statement that families and service providers are always going to have the best interests of their clients, patients, wards, charges, is just not true.

I wish it were. I wish I could stand here and say that they always had the best interests and that there were never cases of elder abuse and that there were never cases of abuse of disabled persons. That's not the reality. It's not the reality today; it never has been the reality. I hope some day it will be, but it will require education and vigilance and the ability for someone to intervene when there are cases of abuse. That's what advocacy is about and that's what this legislation is about.


I'm going to give you an example. Competent persons have the right to refuse treatment. Competent persons have the right to consent to treatment before it is given to them or done to them. Now, we sometimes assume that if you refuse treatment, that means you're automatically incompetent, but there are many cases where that is not true. For example, we know that there are individuals who refuse blood transfusions. They are competent and, because of their religious conviction, they are consenting adults and they say, "We refuse." They have the right to refuse.

But the question is, do they have the right to refuse treatment on behalf of minors, their children? The courts have said no, they don't have the right to refuse, that the children are not capable of making the decision for themselves. The courts have intervened in those cases to decide what is in the right and best interests of that individual.

I could stand here and take lots of time with lots of examples of what different people will decide is in their best interests or in the best interests of their children, but it is important when we discuss substitute decision legislation, which gives an individual, an adult, the right to decide who will decide when they are unable -- and I tell everybody, this legislation is not for seniors. Substitute decision legislation is for anyone, I think, over the age of 16 who is able and capable to have views about what they want to happen to them should they be in an accident, be unconscious, develop a disease such as Alzheimer's. That's what the substitute decision legislation is about. I support that and I believe that it is good and I think we have to tell everybody: "This is not legislation for senior citizens. You should all be aware and concerned that that's the way that you entrench your rights."

I had a call recently from a constituent who had read the consent form when they went into hospital and realized that they were waiving all of their rights when they signed that consent form, that unless they were very specific about what they wanted to have happen in case of a cardiac arrest, for example, the hospital would do what it thought was in the best interests of the patient but not necessarily what the patient wanted.

So as this debate winds up, I say to the government I am very supportive of the principles of this legislation. I believe that the changes to the substitute decision legislation by and large are good. I think that the changes to the consent legislation are needed and many of them I have no difficulty with at all. There are a few things missing and I hope that you will amend the legislation to address those. I've put them on the record and I hope that I've made my case here. I will be making the case further at committee.

More than that, I'd like you to think about advocacy, because I think you make a mistake if you just remove yourselves and you say that government has no role in the coordination and the education, the identification of volunteer advocates and the identification of advocates who are in many agencies across the province. If your role were nothing more than education and coordination and advice, then I think that would be a really good beginning and you would have met the test of O'Sullivan at least in first steps.

But if you're not going to bring in an advocacy act, please consider amending the Consent to Treatment Act, because there is an opportunity within that act to achieve those stated goals in an inexpensive and effective way. The people of Ontario are depending on you. Not all of the people on the street who are waiting for their tax cuts, not all of the people on the street who are worried about, "Am I going to have child care tomorrow or am I going to be able to feed my family after the welfare cuts?" -- advocacy services may not be at the top of their mind -- but there are vulnerable people who perhaps don't know that they are going to need advocacy services, and those people depend on all of us in this Legislature to speak out on their behalf.

You have an opportunity that I hope you will not miss to amend the consent legislation to provide the beginning of an advocacy network and some policy development and some advice to providers, advice to families so that people can find the services that they need, because right now they don't even know who to call. I get phone calls from people who say, "Who do I call?" and it is not easy to advise them where to get the best advice.

I hope that this will be a thoughtful and informed debate, not one that's filled with all kinds of rhetoric, because these issues have been around for a long time and this government made commitments during the election to do something other than just scrapping the Advocacy Act. It's with those thoughts that I conclude this debate. I look forward to the committee hearings and I look forward to the government's approach to many of the issues that I have raised.

I also want to congratulate the member for Downsview for a very thoughtful presentation. I think that as a lawyer she brought a very important perspective to the legalities of this piece of legislation. We don't want laws such as this to be too legalistic and bureaucratic and cumbersome. We want people to be able to access them in a way where they understand the language, they know what is in their best interest, they can make their wishes known and they know there is somebody there to help them.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mrs Johns: I'd like to thank the member for Oriole for her thoughts. As usual, she has a vast range of experience that she brings to the comments on health. It helps us to hear what she says and to understand where we're going.

I just want to make a few comments about what she said. The first one I'd like to talk about is this act and how it presumes that a person has capacity. I think this is something that I missed in what you were saying today. I think that we have a presumption, first off, that a person is capable --

The Acting Speaker: The member for Huron, there are no questions and comments, because we already had one. Further debate?

Mrs Johns: Sorry; I apologize.

The Acting Speaker: We had questions and comments after the member for Downsview spoke, and this is the reason why I didn't ask for questions and comments. So it's now further debate.

Mr Pouliot: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Would you kindly check if a quorum is present, please?

The Acting Speaker: Would you please check if there is quorum.

Clerk Assistant and Clerk of Committees (Ms Deborah Deller): Speaker, quorum is present.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): Mr Speaker, we beg your indulgence. Our critic is just on his way in from committee, the member for Fort York, who will be next in the rotation.

The Acting Speaker: I'm sorry; I didn't hear you.

Mr Pouliot: Our speaker is just about, as we speak, making his way up here in the chamber. I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I would like to request the members' consent for us to be able to use our 90 minutes with various members who would like to speak on this.

The Acting Speaker: How many speakers would there be?

Mr Marchese: Mr Speaker, do you need to know whether there are two or one? Is that the case? There are only two, Mr Speaker.


It's a pleasure for me to speak on this issue, for a variety of reasons. We were just discussing employment equity, which has some similar kind of nuances as we discuss this particular bill. Employment equity was an attempt to deal with systemic discrimination, and their elimination of that, the repeal of that act, leads us to something we've had in the past, which was an equal opportunity plan where everyone was on their own and if they succeeded it was great and if they didn't succeed we didn't worry about discrimination for those particular target groups that we felt have traditionally been discriminated on.

I want to speak in particular around the whole issue of advocacy and as well around the Consent to Treatment Act, and my other colleagues will make references to a similar section and other sections of this act.

I'd like to touch on some brief history of why the need for an Advocacy Act, which this government is repealing. For the last 17 years, consumers and advocacy groups have all recognized that adults with disabilities and frail seniors, because of their disability, are often treated less than equal and are particularly vulnerable to neglect, abuse and exploitation.

The former Conservative and Liberal governments have commissioned extensive studies on the situation of vulnerable adults. The most notable of these were the Fram report, released in 1985, and the O'Sullivan report in 1987. Both documented the plight of vulnerable adults, especially in institutions, and unequivocally called for an independent advocacy system in Ontario.

I want to make some references to what Father O'Sullivan had said, and I'm sure he's very familiar to the members opposite. In the report, which is a landmark report called You've Got a Friend, he highlighted the following:

"That an alarming number of vulnerable adults living in the community had been abandoned, neglected or abused by families and friends;

"That existing advocacy services were fragmented, underfunded and available only to a limited number of vulnerable adults;" and

"That they were mainly provided by employees of service agencies, who frequently found themselves in conflict-of-interest situations when trying to advocate for vulnerable clients."

He also said that advocates had "excessive workloads, little direction, minimal supervision or training and limited accountability."

He said in another quote, and I think the members who are listening will find this interesting:

"The determination of whether or not to establish a provincial system to provide advocacy services can only be fairly and properly made when the cost of providing services is compared with the cost of not doing so.

"It is not possible to measure the cost to our society of failing to make available effective advocacy services to all our vulnerable citizens who have been abandoned, neglected or abused. The loss of their human dignity and self-respect, the denial and infringement of their legal rights and the diminution the community experiences when one of its members is neglected and unable to participate and contribute to the life of the community to the fullest possible extent cannot be measured.

"While responsible government officials must consider the cost of providing effective advocacy services, we believe that when proper account is taken of the human costs of failing to provide these services, the interests of vulnerable adults will prevail."

These are important words by someone who devoted a great deal of time to the caring of the people he was speaking to here. What he is saying: that the costs of not having an advocacy system are immeasurable; that the costs are high not to do so, and the costs are high at the human level and at the economic level.

What this government is doing by abolishing the Advocacy Act is, in a great measure, undoing much of what Father O'Sullivan was saying. I'm not sure this is the intent of what the government is doing or wanted to do with respect to the repeal of the Advocacy Act, but the effect of it is to undo most of what Father O'Sullivan said on this issue.

The need for advocacy is greater than ever. What is more, the need must be met in a climate of increasing economic restraint. There is a role for all those involved in disability issues -- consumers, family members, service providers and government -- to work towards the elimination of abuse and marginalization, both systemically and individually.

We need to look at the abuse. I want to make reference to some of the abuse because, by eliminating the Advocacy Commission and the Advocacy Act, we will be left with those cases to which all of those advocates have spoken in the past, and I made reference to Father O'Sullivan.

From the Toronto Star: "Miss P was put in a Metro area hospital by her family because the confused elderly woman often wandered away from home. The hospital tied her into a wheelchair by day and bed at night. She was kept in restraints almost continuously for the month before she strangled on her restraint. Miss P was the second patient in five years to asphyxiate on a restraint in this hospital."

Another example: "Miss S burned to death after setting her restraint on fire in an attempt to get free in a Windsor hospital. Miss S, who spoke only Cantonese, was put in restraint after she started pestering patients and nurses, urgently trying to communicate something that no one else could understand. A package of matches was left in her pocket. The nurses discovered her flaming body only after a heat detector sounded an alarm."

We say that if the Advocacy Commission had been in place at those times, in those particular situations, advocates could've helped, could've come across these people during their visits to institutions, taken instructions from it or expressed their concerns about the patients' risk of serious harm, and reviewed hospital policies and practices about the use of those restraints. For incapable patients, advocates could've contacted family members and brought their concerns to the hospital administration and the public guardian and trustee if necessary.

Another example: "Joseph Kendall" -- most of you have heard of this case -- "an ex-psychiatric patient from Queen Street Mental Health Centre who was discharged to Cedar Glen Boarding Home on May 1, 1985, was admitted to a hospital on November 1, 1987, after an altercation with another resident of the home resulting in a fall. Mr Kendall was admitted dirty, malnourished, overmedicated, disoriented due to drug reaction and developing pneumonia. If advocates had access to private boarding homes, Joseph Kendall could've asked an advocate for help. Even if advocates were refused entry, they could've obtained a warrant and asked police to admit their entry."


When you eliminate the Advocacy Act, you abolish the Advocacy Commission, the advocacy rights' activists, what you're doing is saying, Mr Spina, that we're not going to uncover some of those problems, we're not going to be able to get through the problems that some of the seniors suffer in these institutions. We won't have the resources to do so, and so the abuses that were identified a long time ago, for your information, will now remain, will not be dealt with, will be hidden under the carpet. It might make us feel better to think that somehow all of these things will have gone away and the elimination of the Advocacy Act was unnecessary, and that things will turn out for the better because the Conservatives say so, because they're infallible, but it will not do. This issue will not go away.

Those who are vulnerable will be more vulnerable than ever before. A Ryerson study said this about elder abuse: "The problem of elder abuse in Canada is of significant magnitude to warrant increased attention by policymakers, social services and legal system representatives and researchers." The Ryerson study found that about 40 persons per thousand in private dwellings in Ontario experienced some serious form of maltreatment in their own home at the hands of a partner, relative or close contact. That means about 100,000 elderly people in Canada may have recently suffered from one or more forms of abuse or neglect.


An advocate could enter the private dwelling and meet with the vulnerable person in private and ask them if they wanted assistance, including contacting other family or friends to assist the vulnerable person. We just eliminated all of that with the repeal of the Advocacy Act because the minister says it is not necessary, because the minister says that we want to reduce government interference into private affairs, because the minister says that the Advocacy Act is intrusive, because the minister says that the Advocacy Commission is too costly.

There are a few other things -- and a Tory backbencher is nodding, saying yes, that's correct, that's what he said, and he obviously agrees with those comments. I think it's sad that he should agree with those comments, because the member who was nodding his head is not too far from being a senior, not too far from becoming vulnerable and frail and not too far from having this government say: "We don't want any interference. He'll be all right. His family will take care of him. As a last resort this government will." I doubt very much this government will help you in the end, Mr MPP at the back.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): And he may need help too.

Mr Marchese: Oh, he will indeed.

Why do we support advocacy on this side and why is it that this government, all of its members unanimously, homogeneously, in harmony, oppose advocacy? I'm not quite sure. We'll have to ask the public to ask these fine gentlemen and women on the other side that very question. Why is it that they oppose advocacy? Why is it that they oppose this commission? You might be saying, some of you, "But we're not doing that." There are some advocates out there --

Mr Tilson: We're opposed to the Advocacy Commission.

Mr Marchese: I understand that. You're repealing the Advocacy Act. You are repealing that and, with it, the commission.

Mr Tilson: It didn't work and it cost $15 million.

Mr Marchese: Mr Speaker, remember this: I'm speaking through you to the members because, as I've often pointed out in the past, they're infallible, they will not listen. So I often speak through you to the public, because the people we want to influence are not these members but the public.

The Ontario Advocacy Commission chose what follows as the clearest and most comprehensive definition of advocacy. They say:

"It is an activity which involves taking up the cause of an individual or group of individuals and speaking on their behalf to ensure that their rights are respected and their needs are met."

That's the point of advocacy, that's the point of the commission.

We have a problem in terms of how we think about seniors, and part of the problem is fear of the unknown and fear of differences. We live in a society that sees the elderly and people of all ages with disabilities as sometimes strange, partly because they've long been hidden away in special institutions and programs.

Added to that is a cultural obsession with wholeness and perfection that cannot accommodate the changes that come with natural aging or mental or physical disability. Even more damaging is the presumption that vulnerable people are either too old, too senile or too weak to exercise personal choice, to make decisions related to their own wellbeing or to have any control over access to valued resources. That presumption has always been a source of power over vulnerable people.

Worse still, that power is sometimes misused by the very people in whom vulnerable people put their trust: family and friends. This is not to say that most family members don't care about their loved ones, because we believe most of them do. We were trying to get at abuse. We're trying to deal with those cases where abuse is there, is persistent, is likely never to leave us, and the Advocacy Act, through the Advocacy Commission and what it was doing, was an attempt to get to that. As important as family and friends are to the wellbeing of vulnerable people, they can also be a particularly painful source of abuse and neglect. That's why I read two or three examples of abuses that go on in society that need to be addressed.

Advocacy then is about breaking down or eradicating attitudinal barriers, promoting respect for the rights, freedoms, autonomy and dignity of vulnerable persons and redressing the balance so the power can be shared. Advocacy efforts vary from one community to the other as one issue to the other. Because that is so, you need advocacy and you need the commission to be able to coordinate these efforts, to be able to work with all of the different groups working in this field. Without that commission, without that act, we're abandoning them. That's what I think this government is doing. They're abandoning them.

The other government members will say of course, "That's not the case. We're getting government out of the hair of individuals and their families," and we say that's not a good response: That's not the proper response. It's relegating frail people, people with serious disabilities, to the dark recesses of some corner where we cannot see. It's saying: "We do not respect your abilities. We do not respect your concerns about what you would like. You do not need rights advocates to tell you what you need. We do not respect your autonomy." That's what it's saying: "We do not respect your autonomy."

In my view, a government that advocates about autonomy, individual autonomy, and rails against dependency is doing the opposite with this particular bill. How can you say, "We promote autonomy because it's good for individuals" -- Tories and Conservative thinking are big on individual responsibilities -- how can you say on the one hand, "We respect autonomy," and in this case you say: "They don't need it. It's government interference"?

What the Advocacy Act and Advocacy Commission were attempting to do in effect -- probably with no intention of your own -- is to agree with you that what we want is to be able to prepare people to deal with their own life and life situation, to prepare seniors in an autonomous way to deal with their own situation. We think that's a good thing. One would think the Tories would think so as well, but some of you couch it on the basis of saying it's government intervention.

If some of you great thinkers on the other side are going to speak after this, I'd like to hear a response from you, because I'd like to know how on the one hand you promote autonomy and on the other hand you take it away. It's an interesting oxymoron, suited for Tories, I suspect, but I'd like to hear from you on this very issue.

I'd like to refer to a document, Provincial Snapshot: Issues and Gaps in Advocacy Services across Ontario, where they speak about why existing advocacy services are not enough. Some of you, and the minister spoke to this, said that those services out there are enough. He might want to correct that if he didn't say that, or some of you might want to correct that if you think you haven't said this. But existing services are not sufficient. They're not enough.


They say:

"Disability and cross-disability movements in Ontario have historically been undermined by a lack of resources, lack of coordination, fragmentation and marginalization." For the record, review Hansard once I've said this and please speak to these issues. "Not only does awareness of issues vary radically from group to group, but consumer representation and participation is inconsistent across a wide range of advocacy organizations, particularly in urban centres."

They go on to say:

"Discriminatory attitudes in mainstream society and within the disability and seniors communities prevent many vulnerable people from making the most of whatever advocacy resources do exist. These attitudes -- as examples, racism, sexism, agism, homophobia -- prevent people from working together to solve common problems, thereby preserving the status quo.

"In addition to a widespread lack of well-trained volunteers to run effective advocacy programs, those programs are often compromised by short-term or project funding rather than the kind of core funding that builds stability. Now, more than ever," they say, and I agree with them, "economic constraints make it crucial that communities learn to pool resources and be creative with the little they have.

"The Advocacy Commission was never intended to be a primary provider of advocacy services but rather a catalyst in the enhancement of existing services and the development of new ones. Two of the most important tools in meeting that goal are consumer advocates with a strong background in self-advocacy and peer support."

This is what they say about existing services. Some of you might think, and you've been convinced by the minister, that these services are there and they're adequate. The Advocacy Commission, through its work and historical understanding of what is there, says that's not the case. We have a problem and it needs to be dealt with. It needs to be dealt with because we've got a lot of vulnerable people out there who need the Advocacy Commission and advocacy rights, individuals who work on their behalf.

We have a lot of people we're dealing with. We're dealing here with seniors; we're dealing with persons with HIV and AIDS; we're dealing with persons with a physical disability; we're dealing with persons labelled with a developmental disability; persons labelled with a psychiatric disability; ethnoracial cultural groups with disabilities; persons who are institutionalized; aboriginal persons with disabilities; persons who are deaf, deafened or hard-of-hearing; persons who are blind and deaf; blind women with disabilities.

This is a long list of people who oftentimes are victims of abuse, sometimes intentional, sometimes unintentional, but they are victims of abuse. If we want to move people away from institutions so they can become autonomous, as you want, by eliminating the Advocacy Commission you're not doing that. You are in fact -- perhaps you didn't mean it, but this is the effect of it -- creating dependency. You are institutionalizing those individuals. You are not taking them out. You're not empowering them. You are not empowering them to get out of a situation they may not want to be in, they do not want to be in and should not be in.

Mr Tilson: What about the advocate?

Mr Marchese: The member asks me from across -- and I forget his riding so I can't refer to the riding he's from -- what is the advocate or the Advocacy Commission going to do for them? These are the people who advise them of their rights.

Mr Tilson: I know that. You don't even know what an advocate is.

Mr Marchese: That's interesting.

Mr Tilson: You don't know what the definition of an advocate is.

Mr Marchese: I see. The member says he knows the definition and I don't. He knows the definition of advocacy or advocates and that's why, as a trained lawyer, he's going to repeal the Advocacy Commission. This member, who is a fine lawyer, says he knows what the definition is and that's why they're getting rid of it. Interesting logic, and I'm sure he'll stand up in his two-minute rebuttal and inform this member what the definition of advocacy is, so that I can be enlightened by his remarks on the topic.

Advocates help individuals to be autonomous, to understand their rights, to empower them about what their rights are. We think that's good. What you have done is not very good, in my view, and I think that many of the people who have worked on this for many, many years, for 20 years, when they come in front of this committee -- because I understand we're going to have three weeks of hearings -- I believe are going to tell you as much. They will tell you that what you have done is not very useful, not very good for them.

There are three specific types of advocacy, they say: instructed advocacy, working with or on behalf of individual vulnerable persons on individual cases when instructed to do so by the vulnerable persons; non-instructed advocacy, working on behalf of individual vulnerable persons who are incapable of instructing an advocate, yet there are reasonable grounds to believe there is a risk of serious harm to the health or the safety of those persons; and systemic advocacy, working on an individual basis or with groups to bring about systemic changes at the governmental level, economic and institutional levels.

These are the types of advocacy the commission was involved in. We think it was important and we think that in terms of empowerment advocacy is critical. Empowerment is usually defined as a social action process that promotes participation of people, organizations and communities towards the goal of increased individual and community control, political efficacy, an improved quality of community life and social justice. In other words, empowerment enables an individual to be an active participant in his or her own life.

That's the definition of empowerment. We think it's a good definition. We think it speaks to what we were trying to do with advocacy in the Advocacy Commission. We think it's good for individual members of society to be empowered to be active participants and not to be disempowered by taking the Advocacy Commission away that would help them to understand what their rights are.

Vulnerable people often do not know what their rights are. Vulnerable people do not know where to go for that help.

Mr Tilson: Do their families?

Mr Marchese: The member for Dufferin-Peel asks me, do the families know about these rights? I tell you, families do not often know. If you ask your own caucus members and caucus members on this side if we know the particulars of some of these bills, I can tell you that 90% or 95% would not know, and we're here dealing with this issue on an active basis. Most people do not know, most families do not know, not because they don't want to know but because understanding particulars of law and rights as they relate to these issues are complicated. No one in society --

Mr Tilson: That's the problem. The bill is too complicated, and that's why we're going to fix it.

Mr Marchese: Yes, I appreciate that. The member for Dufferin-Peel says this bill is too complicated. The Advocacy Commission was not complicated. I'm speaking at the moment on that particular issue.

I am telling you that what you have done is not helping the elderly to become independent. You're not helping them to empower themselves. You're doing the opposite. It's wrongheaded, and you should look at that again, because it contradicts your basic Conservative philosophy around individual empowerment. I would urge you to do that.


You keep on saying, "Families know and they will act in the best interests of their family members," but we know from the abuses that have been recorded and reported by many that that's not the case. You've based it on the false assumption that families in all instances will always be there to take care of them. It's a false assumption.

Mr Tilson: The government will be.

Mr Marchese: The member for Dufferin-Peel says, "The government will be." You remember, in your own documentation you say government will be there as a last resort to help them out, so it's not as if you left yourself out. You're still there.

The member for Dufferin-Peel thinks he's made it easier all of a sudden, that it's less bureaucratic. What you are doing is quite the opposite. You are leaving the same bureaucracy in place. You say you're getting rid of the bureaucracy, but you're getting back to the bureaucracy that you often attack. In fact, we'll have only the auditor to come back every now and then, every five years, to tell us where the abuses are.

Your bill leaves us with that as the answer. Your bill leaves us to the auditor to come identify the abuses when asked, and when he comes back we then realize we have a problem. Then you're left as a government to try to deal with it. You have no services in place, no advocates in place, to deal with systemic problems, so in the end, you'll have the auditor come in to tell you, as he did a couple of weeks ago, that we have a problem. It's detailed in the auditor's report that we have a problem in some of our institutions with respect to abuses. Is this what we're left with? We're left with a bureaucracy of the past to deal with the abuses of the present.

We think it's a problem. It's not going to be helpful. You say, "We are easing the intrusion." I say we're doing so without the balance of the protection that vulnerable people need. I urge the members to review what they have done, because my view is that they have left a whole lot of people unprotected.

It speaks philosophically to what they're doing as a government. They don't want any advocacy. They do not. This government doesn't want advocates. That's what you are saying by repealing the entire section, that you don't care about advocacy, that the problem will take care of itself.

It won't work. Your false assumptions about all family members taking care of you some day, taking care of their old ones or those with disabilities, is a false assumption. It says that in all cases we are all great people, good people, caring people, and we will take care of them. But the Ryerson study showed that there are 40 persons per 1,000 in private dwellings in Ontario who experience some serious form of maltreatment in their own home at the hands of a partner, relative or close contact. That's what you're speaking to. You're saying the families are there.

We think you're moving in the wrong direction. The good folks who are listening to this debate will understand this more than the members opposite. They will know that by repealing the entire section, this government politically and philosophically is saying: "We don't need advocacy. The problem will take care of itself." The problem will not take care of itself.

Mr Tilson: Better read the bill.

Mr Marchese: Member for Dufferin-Peel, please. You have repealed the whole Advocacy Act. The commission has gone with that repeal.

Mr Tilson: That's right.

Mr Marchese: All right. Member for Dufferin-Peel, I'm waiting for your two-minute rebuttal to speak on this matter, to tell me that you have read it and that everything I say you'll make references to. Don't just point to the document and say it's there. No, no. Tell the good public who are listening, make direct references to the amendments you've made and the repeal that speak directly to what I'm saying, that advocacy is still there. Do that, member for Dufferin-Peel. I urge your members and your colleagues to do the same, because it's not there -- not there. There's a whole lot of subterfuge, but there is no clarity in that particular bill.

I have dealt with the whole issue of advocacy. I know that the members opposite do not agree with me, but I hope the people who are listening will agree with us. I hope they will get themselves on the list to speak to this bill when it gets into committee, and when they come forward, I want the good general public to tell me that I'm wrong, to tell me that as a critic I'm wrong, or to support the member for Dufferin-Peel and all the other members across that advocacy is still there and that in spite of what I said, in spite of what the commission has said with respect to existing services around advocacy, that they're wrong too.

I urge all of you to speak to this issue, those kind, good people who will come in front of the committee to speak to how wonderful the existing advocacy out there is. If it were good, if it were a good thing, we would not have this bill and we would not have an Advocacy Act. That's why we included it, because people like Father O'Sullivan, a friend of yours, said we needed it. You're saying: "He's wrong. Don't worry about it. Everything is taken care of. You don't need to worry about what this government is doing, because they just made it easier. They made this complicated document much easier to understand." I'm looking forward to their comments with great interest.

I want to review some of the basic principles underlying advocacy. I spoke about empowerment, where we say it's "creating the conditions in which disenfranchised people can begin to assume ownership of their lives." We think it's right; Conservatives obviously do not, but they have a position on it, and I will hear it, I'm sure, perhaps today or another day.

Autonomy, we say, "begins to rebuild the faith and confidence of people who are alienated and powerless by dealing directly with the issues they believe are important and the beliefs and feelings they have about their own needs." I think it's a good principle. It is an interesting principle that coincides with political Conservative thought, but obviously they don't agree on this one.

Respect: "promoting the concept that vulnerable persons have the right to expect that they will be treated the same as any other member of our society."

We agree. That's why the Advocacy Act and the Advocacy Commission were put into place: to give them that respect that they deserve, that they need, that they are entitled to. Without the advocacy rights, they will be shut away as they have been in the past because we don't want to see them. But don't worry, you the good public; the families are there, they care, they have the time to be able to support you. Let us not worry. Respect will be there.

Confidentiality: "ensuring that information about vulnerable persons which is obtained by advocates in the course of their work is not revealed to others except as authorized."

We think it's a good thing. That's why advocates were there: to make sure that people knew their rights. If those individuals did not want to share that information with others, some distant relative who's there to help, they didn't have to. All of that is gone now. All of that confidentiality is gone now.

Independence: "ensuring that advocates and the Advocacy Commission are free from conflicts of interest and independent of government and service providers."

We think it's a good thing. This kind of independence is a good thing, ensuring that advocates are free from conflict of interest and independent of government and service providers. You've just eliminated that with the repeal. But I know some good members on the other side will have an answer to that. I'm waiting impatiently with interest to see what the answer is to that.


Another principle of advocacy, equity: "helping to make vulnerable persons aware of their rights and entitlements and ensuring that they have real options and the power and resources to exercise them."

We agree. We think it's an important principle. You, on the other hand, with a single stroke of the pen have decided we don't need advocacy any more. All that issue of equity, making sure they know what their rights and entitlements are, is gone. But don't worry, some members say, their families are there to tell them what their rights and their entitlements are. The member for Dufferin-Peel makes me feel better to think and to know that that will be the case.

Issues of access: "ensuring that advocates, as agents of vulnerable persons, have access to places where vulnerable persons live or are being treated, and to any information or records which are relevant to resolving their concerns." Important issue.

Accommodation: "ensuring that provision is made for the special needs of disabled vulnerable persons. Examples: sign language interpreters, materials in Braille or large print."

"But don't worry," say the Conservative members. "That will happen automatically," by the same strange alchemy that this Conservative government works on many other issues. It will just happen. The magic is there. This government has willed it. So when there is a problem with accommodation with a person with a disability, it will just happen.

The Advocacy Act is repealed. The commission is not there. These people will not get that help. Those individuals suffering from this kind of disability will not get that help. But I know the members have an answer to that. They just passed a bill that's clear, that's less intrusive, less costly, easier to understand, and because it's that way, their bill solves all the questions I've raised, eliminates all the questions.

I tell the good people who are listening that that's not the case. They should follow these discussions with interest. They should come to the committee hearings. They should speak to this issue. They should call their members opposite and say: "Please give me this information about advocacy. What does it mean? What have you done? Assure me that my rights and entitlements are there. Assure me that something in your bill still allows me to do that even though the commission is not there." I urge the public listening who may indeed be connected to this particular issue to call those members and to call us so we can help them to sort through this now very comprehensible act they have passed, this Bill 19.

I'm going to move on briefly to a comparison of Bill 19 to the NDP Consent to Treatment Act and make some comments around that.

Rights advice: Under the NDP consent-to-treatment legislation, persons who were found incapable of consenting to treatment were entitled to be advised of the right to challenge that finding. They were also provided with assistance in applying for a review of the finding and in contacting a lawyer if such assistance was required. Under Bill 19, this fine Conservative bill, all rights to this advice and assistance have been eliminated. The Conservatives have a good explanation of this, no doubt, but I want to hear from them.

Aversive conditioning: Under the NDP consent-to-treatment legislation, a substitute decision-maker could not provide consent on an incapable person's behalf. Under Bill 19, this wonderful Conservative piece of legislation, a substitute decision-maker is no longer prohibited from consenting on the incapable person's behalf to a treatment involving the use, let us say, of electric shock. I'd like some Conservative members to speak to that. I'm sure the public that's listening would like to hear that.

Definition of "treatment": Under the NDP consent-to-treatment legislation, some of the treatments that are now included in Bill 19 were in our regulations. Under Bill 19, more activities, procedures are excluded from the definition of "treatment." It sounds reasonable.

They argue that this is to ensure that the act does not apply to routine diagnostics and minor treatments. What this does is to leave it up to the practitioners to determine what is of little or no risk. The members opposite say: "What's wrong with that? Surely they're capable of making such decisions. Why shouldn't they do it?"

We think that leaves a lot of leeway to the practitioners to decide on what is a minor treatment. We don't think that it's necessarily the case that in every case the health practitioners will act reasonably and on behalf of those individuals. This is not to say that in most cases people do not do this, because they care, because they're doing their job dutifully, and because they seem to feel that is what should happen. I don't argue that. The problem is it leaves too much flexibility in the hands of health practitioners to determine this on their own as to what is of little or no risk.

Authority to health practitioners under Bill 19: All decision-making authority is invested to the health practitioners and substitute decision-makers on findings of incapacity to make treatment decisions, while removing the rights of patients to be informed of the availability of a remedy and the opportunity for assistance.

It allows doctors considerable latitude in making decisions without consultation. We say the rights of patients may be lost in this shift of power from patients to practitioners. There are no measures to ensure that communication between doctor and patient will be promoted. You're quite right, to the member for Dufferin-Peel, only the advocates would be in a position to help under these kinds of conditions.

What this does is give doctors considerable latitude in making decisions without consultation. Some of you might argue that's not a bad thing. Doctors would never operate or act contrary to the needs of that individual. It's a safe assumption to make.

Mr Gerretsen: Doctors are good people.

Mr Marchese: Doctors are good people. Doctors are decent people. Doctors would never do anything to hurt their patients. Isn't that correct?

Mr Gerretsen: I would hope so.

Mr Marchese: Generally speaking, that's correct, but often we have abuses, and that's why --

Mr Tilson: How often?

Hon Marilyn Mushinski (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): How often?

Mr Marchese: Well, if you then argue, some of you members from the back, that because it doesn't happen all too often then we don't need advocacy, I say to you you're wrong. Even if you have one case or two cases, even if it were as small as that, it would be sufficient to have advocacy and to have advocates go out into those institutions to uncover what the problems are, to advocate on their behalf and to advocate for systemic change in those institutions.


Mr Marchese: I have a big fan club, Mr Speaker. I'm glad. Thank you, Mr Dufferin-Peel.

The consent and capacity board: Under the NDP consent-to-treatment legislation, there was a requirement for the board to sit in a panel of three to five for the review of every application. A member of the board must not take part in the hearing of a matter that concerns a person who was at any time the board member's patient or client. A member of the board who is an officer or employee of a hospital facility who has a direct financial interest in such a facility cannot take part in the hearing of a matter that concerns a person who was at any time a patient or a resident of that facility.

Under Bill 19, there is no longer a requirement for a panel of five to meet. One member can be assigned to a matter. A member of the board can take part in a hearing of a person who was their patient or client, except within the last five years.


The prohibition of board members who have a direct financial interest in a hospital or facility applies only if the person is currently a patient or resident of the facility, and the board won't provide written responses unless requested. We think that's a problem. We think it's a problem to have one individual adjudicate on matters of this kind. That's why we said there should be a requirement for a panel of five to meet so as to avoid individual abuses, individual potential for conflict of interest.

You're making the assumption that in order to cut through the bureaucracy, the red tape, the paper, some of you have said one person will do. But you see, you're not dealing with the potential for abuse. You're not dealing with abuse. You're saying: "Don't worry, abuses do not happen; it's all right. Health care practitioners are good people. They wouldn't do anything wrong to those individuals. Doctors wouldn't do anything wrong against those individuals. One board member is sufficient to adjudicate on the matter. We don't need five."

You see, all of your premises are based on false assumptions. The fact of the matter is that abuses exist, they have always existed and they will continue to exist.

Mr Gerretsen: They would under your act too.

Mr Marchese: Under our act, the Liberal member said, they would exist too. It would be, on my part, a bit presumptuous to think that somehow because we had passed our bill, all abuses would have ended.

Mr Gerretsen: No, no. Nothing personal.

Mr Marchese: I appreciate that; I'm responding to that. Our bill does not automatically, by the very nature of what we passed, eliminate all abuses, but I can tell you this: The Advocacy Commission and the advocacy rights individuals were there to deal with systemic problems, were there to uncover problems in institutions, were there to deinstitutionalize where necessary, were there to provide rights to those individuals, to let them know they have entitlements, to let them know that their autonomy and their dignity mattered.


Mr Marchese: To the member at the back, I am sorry I don't know where you are from, but seniors don't have the right. That's why we introduced the bill that we did. If they had these rights, there would not have been a need for an Advocacy Commission or advocacy rights individuals. If these seniors had all of these wonderful rights that are obviously clearly stated in your bill, we would not have needed them in the past. But you show me, sir, where in your document, in Bill 19, you give these seniors these rights, where you give these people with disabilities these rights.

Mr Peter Preston (Brant-Haldimand): You don't provide them with rights; they have the rights already.

Mr Marchese: The member says the following, "We don't give them rights; they have them." Magically, they have it. This is the faultiness of his logic. Let's say we have these rights.

Mr Preston: You're giving rights to a bureaucrat.

Mr Marchese: I see; okay. He says we have these rights; they know these rights. The member for Dufferin-Peel says the families know these rights, so everything's okay. The fact of the matter is, even where there are rights that people are entitled to, because they are frail, mentally or physically, they often do not know their rights. Even those of us who are capable often do not know our rights.

The member opposite should know that as well. Because we are not aware of our rights, we need advocates to help those individual members, wherever they may be and whatever institutions they're in, to have an understanding of what their rights are, to be able to make decisions based on that understanding of those rights about what they want for themselves.

That's what we had in place. That's what this government is destroying. They're abandoning frail people, people with disabilities. They are abandoning them to themselves and to those good doctors and to those good families who are, on the whole, good people. But I tell you, the abuses are there and they will continue to exist.

Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to speak on this matter. My other colleagues will fill in on these and other matters. I hope that the members opposite will enlighten me with their good and clear thinking on some of the matters that I've raised.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I just wanted to take this opportunity to put a couple of things on the record in regard to the bill that's before us, Bill 19, an act to repeal the Advocacy Act, 1992, revise the Consent to Treatment Act, 1992, and amend the Substitute Decisions Act.

I just want to speak really on a couple of things very quickly, the first being I guess the easiest one, which is the power of attorney issue. One of the things that opposition members who are now on the government side of the House said while this particular legislation was coming forward was that somehow or other the power of attorney was an onerous regulation to put on the citizens of Ontario because what it would do, they said at the time, was it would force people to get a power of attorney, number one -- that the only way you'd be able to protect your rights is through a power of attorney.

The second thing is that if they didn't get it, the government would step in -- bad old Bob Rae and all of the people in the NDP government -- and they would seize the assets of individuals who happened to be incapacitated because they couldn't make a decision and had gone into a coma or whatever and were not able to make a decision for themselves and the spouse couldn't make that decision for them legally -- the government would make it for them. That was the biggest untruth, I would say, that was set around this legislation.

I remember literally -- and I would say bully-bully to the PC party. They really succeeded in scaring the bejesus out of the people of Ontario on that particular issue. They organized a good campaign; they got their friends who all had fax machines to go out and set up fax trees across the province of Ontario by which everybody was informed how all of a sudden, because of this new draconian NDP piece of legislation, as they said at the time, people would have to have a power of attorney, and if they didn't and they should enter into a coma, somehow or other the government would seize all their assets and the spouse who happens to be surviving would not be able to control the assets of the loved one who happened to be in that coma.

I remember the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people who called my office, who sent me letters, who came to meet with me personally. I also remember the groups of up to 300 in Iroquois Falls, the groups of a couple hundred in Matheson at one particular area, I would say the 10s and 20s of groups that I met with in the community of Timmins at the time where there were 100 and 200 seniors there who had been scared to their wits' end because of what the Tories had said that legislation would do.

We stand here in this House today in order to supposedly repeal what had been done under the power of attorney and I just want for the record to clarify the -- I can't say the word "lying" here, so I won't use it, but the travesty of truth, I guess would be a polite way of putting it, that had been done at the time when the Tories had done that.

The reality is that the power of attorney, as set out under the current legislation -- basically all it says is very simply this: If you choose, as an individual, to have a power of attorney, you don't have to go to your lawyer to get one. That's basically all the legislation did.

Because we believed then, as we believe now, as social democrats, that being able to protect yourself in regard to your property, should your loved one be incapacitated in making a decision -- you should not necessarily have to run to your lawyer to write a document to do that. In some cases, people already have wills that are drawn up taking care of their estate and for whatever reason there was an omission that a power of attorney wasn't done, or because their financial situation changes, they want a power of attorney done, or sometimes the individual might have been single and remarried -- whatever the situation is, that they be able to do that power of attorney simply by filling out a form.

Because it is really not a complex document. All that document says, the same as a power of attorney said at the time when you had to go see a lawyer for it, is that, "I, in sound mind" --

Mr Gerretsen: You didn't need it before.

Mr Bisson: My friend here says you didn't need it before. No, you never did need it before. That's the point. The point is, under the old legislation, prior to what the NDP had introduced, if you decided to have a power of attorney, you had to go to a lawyer and only a lawyer would be able to fill out a power of attorney for you in order to be in a position to control your assets and income in case you're incapacitated.

When we changed the legislation in 1993-94, we basically said you don't need to go to a lawyer. A lot of that can be done strictly by filling out a power of attorney form and making sure that it's properly registered through a number of different mechanisms that we have put forward in the legislation.


I would just say to the Conservative government and the members sitting on the other side, I think this is yet another example of why people are cynical about politicians.

When politicians in this assembly, being in the last assembly, would go out, for political reasons, trying to scare the heck out of people in order to make a political point, I wonder why people look at politicians generally and say, "We don't have a lot of confidence in you."

I think we all have a responsibility in this assembly to oppose or to support legislation as we see fit --

Mr Pouliot: And to tell the truth.

Mr Bisson: -- but the other thing, as my friend from Nipigon says, we must be charged with telling the truth.

One of the things that greatly offended me over 1993-94, as we went through the changes of power of attorney, is the amount of time that I had to go back and sit down with seniors, especially seniors, who were truly scared because of what some people from the Conservative Party had done in this assembly in order to scare the seniors of this province into trying to support them and not support the New Democratic Party.

I did a lot of work in my riding, and I think the test is that I'm back here again, where I took a lot of time over a period of a couple of years to meet with seniors' groups at every occasion. I sent out flyers throughout the seniors' communities throughout my riding that I was prepared to meet with them. I went into their homes, I went into the community centres, I went to the senior citizens' apartment buildings, I went wherever and anywhere that people wanted to talk on this issue in order to clarify the record.

The point is, it took a lot of time on the part of myself and my staff to be able to go out there and to do that when we could have been doing other things in our community, such as creating jobs, such as being able to help deal with a number of different issues that are raised in our community.

I just say, as this legislation is coming forward, we're going back to that day where you're going to have to go see a lawyer in order to get a power of attorney. I think all that we're going to do in this particular case is just reward a few friends of the Conservative Party.

L'autre affaire que j'aimerais dire, c'est comment certaines provisions qui sont dans la loi qui font affaire avec toute la question d'une personne qui n'est pas capable de faire une décision elle-même parce qu'elle a une condition mentale ou physique qui l'empêche de faire une décision vont être changées dans cette législation.

My own sister is schizophrenic. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia some 15 years ago, and because of a lot of work done by the Canadian Mental Health Association, she is living well and coping fairly well within our community of Timmins through the work and support services that are put in place in order to be able to help her, as a person within our society, within our community of Timmins, to be able to deal and to be able to interact with people of our community.

One of the things that I took some pride in, but I took a lot of difficulty in being able to deal with on a personal level, was the whole idea of how we change the law in this province to be able to give my sister Louise the dignity that she deserves and being able herself to be able to choose somebody to make decisions for her in the event that she's unable, for a period of time, to cope with life because of her illness.

Luckily, in my family, I still have a mother and father who are living, who care deeply about Louise, as they do about the rest of their children and the rest of their family. My sister is truly lucky because she has my parents, Aurèle and Madeleine, who are there, able to make decisions for her in those cases where she's not able to herself, and to properly care for her.

The legislation that we had brought forward when we were in government allowed for people like my sister, who may for whatever reason no longer have parents who are able to take care of them, or in some cases where families have just given up on them, because schizophrenia, among other diseases, is a disease that's very hard for families to cope with, because it's such an up-and-down process when it comes to how the individual relates to the family and relates to the rest of the people around them.

What our legislation had basically done, it had said: "Listen, we respect people like Louise. We respect that they have the ability, as every other person in this society, to make their own decisions. We respect that, like everybody else, they should be allowed to make their own mistakes."

One of the things that I think has been very harmful is that we've had a very paternalistic approach to how we deal with people with disabilities and how we deal with people in situations like Louise's. We're returning, I'm afraid, with what we're doing under this bill, to a time -- I hope the government's intention is not to do this; I think maybe they're caught in their zeal for change -- we're returning to a time where the state becomes paternalistic towards people like Louise.

That troubles me greatly, because I love my sister dearly, as every brother loves his sister, and I know that Louise, like myself, will make good decisions in time, as she will make bad ones. But in the end, everybody respects me for my good decisions and bad decisions mixed in, and I would hope that my sister Louise still has that opportunity should a time come when my parents are unable to make decisions and help her in time of need or, for whatever reason, I or my brother are not around to help her. I don't want to return to a time where Louise has to deal with somebody she feels is not dealing with things in her best interest.

It's frustrating for the family. My mother was quite, quite active in Ontario Friends of Schizophrenics, in fact was the founding member of the Friends of Schizophrenics chapter in the city of Timmins. If my mother is watching today, she would say, "Gilles, you'd be remiss not to tell this side of the story."

Mr Pouliot: She's watching.

Mr Gerretsen: I'm sure she's watching.

Mr Bisson: She doesn't always watch, to tell you the truth, my mother. She gets a chance to see me at home on weekends.

Mr Pouliot: I know your mom. Hi, Mom.

Mr Bisson: Hi, Ma. I want to say something in fairness and in truth. When we made the changes --

Mr Gerretsen: Surely she voted for you.

Mr Bisson: My mother always votes for me, I must say. She's the last person I have problems convincing.

But I want to say something in fairness. My mother, as a caregiver, in cases where Louise is unable to make her decisions, was really worried when this government, my government, the government that I was a member of, moved forward with the legislation that respected Louise in regard to matters dealing with her own personal decisions.

I can tell you, my mother, like other people in Friends of Schizophrenics, lobbied me at every opportunity, because they were concerned, because most of the people involved in Friends of Schizophrenics, we need to understand, are people who are involved with their loved ones.

They're involved with their daughter or their son, in caring and making sure that they get the care that's needed when they need it and allowing them to do what they need to do, like everybody else and every other child does in normal circumstances. They were really concerned that what would happen was that they would be put in a position, because of the legislation that the NDP government brought in, where they would not be able to make decisions in the event that their son or daughter chose somebody else to make decisions for them.

But I want to point something out that I pointed out to my mother as we were going through this debate. Like every child, as we grow we come to a point where we don't want our parents to make decisions for us. All of us go through that process to where finally a child decides to leave and grows up and becomes an adult. They say: "Hey, Ma. Hey, Dad. I want to make my own decisions. I'll make good ones and I'll make bad ones, but I'm an adult and I need the respect that's afforded with being an adult. Leave me alone to make my own decisions."

That was the crux of what really disturbed my mother as we moved forward in the legislation. She was worried that somehow or other she was losing Louise and that she would not be able to take part in her life and making decisions when she needed some help. But my mother, like other Ontarians, learned over a period of time that the move in direction that we made in legislation on this issue quite frankly gave the respect and gave the freedom that Louise needed, like other people in this province who are in a situation such as Louise, and respected that Louise is an individual and Louise is a human being like all of us and Louise will make good decisions and Louise will make bad decisions. In the end, that's what makes us people and that's what makes us human.

In the time that this legislation has been in place, I can tell you, because I have a good relationship with many people in the schizophrenic community of Timmins and others within the community of Kirkland Lake and other places where I've had the opportunity to work with people who are within the CMHA, there has not been an instance that I know of where somebody's rights were not properly protected because of the legislation this government brought through.

Mr Tilson: Yes, but their association was against it.

Mr Bisson: I'll come to that. What I heard was that the patients, as they're termed within the system, people who are schizophrenic or manic-depressives or whatever, finally started to realize what the legislation was about. It was about respecting them as individuals and not allowing the parents or the institutions to make decisions for them when really they didn't need to be made.

I just want to say on that particular point that I see where we're going with Bill 19 and I'm very saddened because I recognize that what we're doing under Bill 19 is returning to a time where in certain circumstances -- and not all, because I don't want to be alarmist and I don't want to scare people unnecessarily. Bill 19 is not revolutionary, but what it will do is it will bring us back to a time when decisions, when times are difficult for people with schizophrenia -- we'll be in a position where institutions will have much more control, where agencies like the Canadian Mental Health Association will have much more control and certain family members will have much more control, where at times that may not be the best approach.


I know it's difficult for people to deal with this issue because it is an issue of such complexity, but I just ask that we think this through before we go finally to third reading and we try to find a way to strike the balance so that in the end people like Louise are given the opportunity that we're all given in our society, and that is the freedom of choice, the freedom to choose what we do with one's life.

Clearly, in those cases where you're incapacitated because of your illness and you're not able to make a rational decision, at least that person should be allowed ahead of time to be able to name who they feel would be best in a position to be able to protect their rights in cases where they can't make decisions.

I would just on that point look to the rest of my caucus colleagues. I realize that we have some 18 minutes left on the clock that's divided. I hope that other members will participate in this debate, and I would just again urge the members of the government to try to respect the rights of individuals when it comes to the whole question of schizophrenia and recognize that they're human beings like everybody else and they need to have the ability under legislation to choose for themselves who they feel the advocate should be, and not have the state force who the advocate will be on them instead.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Comments and questions? My information is that we recognized two speakers.

Hon Ms Mushinski: That's right.

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): If that's the way you want to do it --

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): This is nuts. On every bill, our leadoff has been divided, and no problem.


Mr Cooke: That's fine. We just won't finish the bill.

Mr Bisson: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: On that particular point, it was under the understanding that the time would be divided equally within our caucus, and I purposely left 17 minutes on the clock so that other members of the caucus can participate.

The Deputy Speaker: The information I have is that the agreement was for two speakers, but we can always ask for consent.

Mr Bisson: I would ask for unanimous consent to allow our caucus to finish this 60 minutes.

The Deputy Speaker: Is there unanimous consent to let the debate continue? Agreed.

Mr Cooke: I appreciate the obvious cooperation from the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation. That sense of partnership was very obvious.

I just want to make a couple of comments about this legislation. I think one of the things that bothers me the most about some of the things this government is doing is the sense of what we have learned over the last 25 or 30 years not even being recognized by this government.

We didn't come into office and dream up the idea of advocacy and substitute decision-making and the consent-to-treatment legislation. The concepts of this were developed over 20 years and beyond, and it came out of a lot of very horrible tragedies that occurred in institutions across the province to individuals.

Many of those cases were raised in the Legislature. Many of those cases were subject to public inquiries, coroners' inquests, that all resulted in recommendations that said we need to have individual rights respected and that for individuals who cannot exercise those rights for whatever reason, there has to be a structure put in place to advise people of their rights and to exercise those rights if an individual is not capable of exercising those rights on their own behalf. That's how this all came about.

I don't pretend to be an expert in the field, but I know that over the years, when I had the honour of serving as Health critic for our party, there were many incidents of seniors in nursing homes where the treatment was less than adequate, where there were deaths, where there were diseases, outbreaks of disease that resulted in death, where there was infraction after infraction of the Nursing Homes Act. It doesn't matter how many inspectors you have in place -- there weren't enough of them -- you cannot take care of all the situations.

You cannot have inspectors from the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Community and Social Services in every public institution every day of the week to make sure that the law is being followed, that individual rights are being recognized. There's a need to empower people, and the only way you can empower people is to partly do that through legislation and then have a structure in place that people can rely on to advise people of their rights and to exercise those rights on their behalf if they're incapable of doing that.

As other speakers have probably told you, this legislation was developed over a number of years. The Conservative government, led by Premier Bill Davis, recognized some of the difficulties. I think Keith Norton was Minister of Community and Social Services when some of the problems were discovered and the need for this legislation was recognized. Bette Stephenson and Dennis Timbrell were ministers of Health when there were a lot of problems in the nursing homes of this province and it was very clear that the elderly needed to be empowered and that they needed to have a system of advocacy put in place.

When the Liberals formed a government in 1985, part of the accord or agreement that was negotiated between the two parties called for this whole issue to be looked at. I remember going over to the Attorney General's office the day the announcement was made for short-term amendments to the Nursing Homes Act that ultimately resulted in a bill of rights being put into the Nursing Homes Act.

I think you will know that a bill of rights in a piece of legislation is absolutely meaningless if there's not a mechanism to exercise those rights that have been granted, so we have a bill of rights. We had major and significant amendments put into the Nursing Homes Act, and coupled with that was a study to take place by Father Sean O'Sullivan, whose mandate was to take a look at advocacy services and a model for advocacy in our province.

Mr Speaker, I'm attempting to quit smoking. Today is the first day and I'm coughing more than I did when I smoked.

I was re-examining this report today, and I think it's significant to know that progress was made under the Conservative government moving towards its implementation -- commitments were made -- and then there was support and movement towards implementation by the Peterson Liberal government with the establishment of this commission.

All three companion pieces of legislation are important, but I must say, as an individual who's followed this issue fairly closely over the years, I was most enthused about and proud of the advocacy bill because I really believe, as I said before, that you can have all the legal structures you want in place, but if you don't have an advocacy model that works, that's approachable, that's accessible, then rights mean nothing.

I remember drafting the nursing homes bill of rights because it wasn't in the legislation proposed by the Liberals. It was a proposal that as Health critic I developed with concerned friends. We negotiated with the Liberals, we actually negotiated with the Tories, who were in opposition at the same time, and we came to a consensus on this bill of rights. That was a major step, but now I know that that amendment is absolutely meaningless. With the legislation we're discussing today there will be no advocacy, and a bill of rights is meaningless if you don't have a mechanism and support to exercise those rights.


I look at this report, on page 99, the Advocacy Ontario model. It goes into great detail: the membership, the board of directors, what a central office would do, the fact that we need regional offices to make sure that the office is accessible, make sure there's also a role for volunteers in the system.

All of these issues were explored in detail by Father O'Sullivan, and in the end, this model is basically what was accepted and was put into legislation. By and large, that's the principle.

If the model in its entirety is not acceptable to the House, that's one issue. It can be changed, and we've said that. There can be amendments to the model. But you don't throw out the whole concept of advocacy, trash the entire piece of legislation and the entire model and say, because there's a bureaucracy involved -- and that's now the word in this place, that if there's anybody who works for anything in government, the solution now is, scrap it.

While the Liberals may not be entirely supportive of every part of the model we put in place in the legislation, I don't believe the solution is to scrap advocacy in this province. This is going to set us back, as will so many things we're doing in this Legislature under the leadership of this government, not three or four years but back to the 1960s.

All I would ask the Conservative members of the assembly is, take a look at the history of this legislation. We talked about this when we dealt with the children's debate a few weeks ago. Take a look at the history of how we came to develop an advocacy model in the province. Why did this happen?

It wasn't an ideological drive on behalf of our government. I would certainly say it wasn't ideological on the part of the Liberal caucus; nothing is ideological if it comes out of the Liberal caucus. There was a pragmatic need in the province. The elderly were not being properly protected. There wasn't a system in place.

It's fine for Conservatives to say, "We're going to rely on family; we're going to go back to self-reliance," but that model doesn't work. It didn't work in the 1950s; it didn't work in the 1960s; it didn't work in the 1970s. It certainly doesn't work in the 1990s.

You've visited nursing homes, I'm sure, and homes for the aged. I've visited all of them in my riding. I've seen that, yes, there are committed volunteers, there are committed family members.

Many families in this province, thanks to improvements that have taken place over the last 20 years in community services, have an opportunity to stay at home and have those services as well. But you know as well as I do that there are many individuals in this province who do not have family supports, and they need some assistance to exercise those rights, to have one speak on their behalf.

Even when family members of mine are in hospital, it's very difficult for family members to ask direct questions of doctors or of nurses. They're very busy people and it's hard to get that kind of medical information, and family members don't always want to do that. You need help, you need support, you need advice in order to make major decisions. We're not talking about minor decisions in one's life. We're talking about medical decisions, financial decisions that have to be made and are going to have significant implications for the individuals involved.

All I and our caucus are saying is, don't throw out the whole package. Take a look at the history of how this was developed, why it was developed. It was developed in order to protect the disabled, the elderly, those who are vulnerable in our society. It's been studied to death. The reason for the commission, the reason for the services, has been documented time and time again.

Before we make the horrible mistake of rolling back these services -- and I guarantee you that it won't be long until there are documented cases, again and again and again, of why these services need to be put in place. It may not be next year, but I bet you 10 years from now, the members who are sitting in this assembly will think they've dreamed up a brand-new, great idea -- advocacy services for Ontario -- because the elderly and the vulnerable need to be protected.

I hope someone will say at that point that it had already been done, that the casualties between 1995 and the year 2005 are the responsibility of a government driven by ideology, that says it has to do these things because they can't be afforded, even though we know that most of these cuts are taking place because of ideology and because of a drive to free up dollars at the expense of the most vulnerable people in the province.

Now, with this legislation, we can add to the list of people who are paying for the tax decrease in this province the disabled, the elderly, those in nursing homes and those in long-term care facilities. Those people are now being added to the casualties created by this government all in the name of a tax break to the most wealthy in this province. We're going to come back to this theme time and time and time again, because this is what's driving this government more than anything else.

Of all the things this government has done so far, this one makes me the saddest, because I know what has gone into this. People like Dennis Timbrell -- although I think he's got other things on his mind right now -- even Bette Stephenson, who was Minister of Health, Tom Wells, who was Minister of Health, Keith Norton, who was Minister of Community and Social Services, the Premier of the day, all these people began to understand in the mid- to late 1970s and throughout the 1980s.

Then the Peterson government and then our government, that this was absolutely essential, given the nature of our society and the need to protect people who were vulnerable.

I dare say that of the 82 Conservative members, probably fewer than half a dozen have even read this report, who even know what went into the development of this policy that's now being destroyed, the deaths of people in this province. There have been public inquiries and a coroner's inquest examining deaths of seniors in this province.

This bill is going to go out to committee. There will be public hearings across the province. All I ask is that the Conservative members of that committee listen very carefully to the presentations being made. During the time we have between now and next spring to take a look at the reports -- the O'Sullivan report and the other reports that were done as well, the Fram report -- take a look at the coroner's inquest and other public inquiries and examine why this policy that's being debated here today is wrong.

The vulnerable people of this province need protection, need assistance, need advocacy. I just hope that between now and next spring the evidence will become clearer to this government and to the Conservative members of its caucus; that they will understand why this policy was developed and change their minds, come to their senses and understand that the elderly and the disabled and the fragile people of our society deserve better than what the Conservative government is presenting them with today.

The Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mrs Caplan: I'm going to comment very briefly on the remarks from the member for Windsor-Riverside. While I agree with the history and so forth, I have to tell him that I disagreed fundamentally with the NDP government's solution and its model, the wildly expensive, complex, bureaucratic and intrusive advocacy model they put in place. Eighteen million dollars was an outrageous sum of money, and I have to tell him that I believe the reason we have seen the Harris Conservative government take the actions they have is because it is an unfortunate backlash response.


I agree with him that I hope there is some middle ground. I guess that's classic Liberalism. We see the extreme of the NDP on one side and the Conservatives on the other. Let's find the middle ground.

We support the principles and the need for advocacy. We think it can be done effectively, cost-effectively, responsibly. We think there is a need, but unfortunately the adversarial model, and more than that, the unfortunate experience of the Advocacy Commission -- the infighting, the tensions, the way that was all set up -- was very, very destructive to the needs of vulnerable adults.


Mrs Caplan: While members are engaging in some levity here, this is a very serious issue. I think the member from Riverside addressed this in an appropriate way, and I don't disagree with what he said; I disagree with what they did. And I do think they have to accept some of the responsibility for the backlash, because I think if they had put in a model that could've been built on, that was inexpensive, that encouraged volunteers, that included families, that was not adversarial and bureaucratic, it would have survived the new government.

Mr Pouliot: Briefly, I want to commend both our latest spokespersons, the member for Cochrane South and also the member for Windsor, telling us about real stories, what impacts people in the real world.

Sometimes I think I have heard everything, but now I have. I just listened to the member for Oriole trying to have it in so many ways. She was about to issue a policy statement, and this is what she did. She flipped a coin, and she said, "Well, I might try to have it both ways," and other people were heckling across saying that she was sitting on the fence. Well, she wasn't doing this. She is the fence.

The Liberals have a policy du jour. Each and every day they go and see the menu.

Mrs Caplan: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Standing orders prohibit imputing motive, and especially since my daughter-in-law is in the gallery today, in a very delicate and pregnant condition, I know Mr Speaker would want to tell the member that he was out of order.

The Speaker: Order. The member for Lake Nipigon.

Mr Pouliot: Those are indeed crocodile tears. It doesn't apply here, the kind of semblant that they become appalled and shocked because it suits their purpose for a minute, and then they just discard it as soon as they're out of here. It's cheap theatre. Thank heaven it's free, much more importantly than the volte-face, than the inconsistencies of the Liberals who are salivating. They've been doing so for the last two elections.

It's the kind of eloquence, the kind of real story and commonsensical approach by not one but two members of our caucus. I thank you for the time, Mr Speaker.

The Speaker: Further questions and statements? There being no further questions or statements, the member for Windsor-Riverside has two minutes.

Mr Cooke: I'd also like to add that we appreciate the participation of Mr Marchese, and I know Gilles said that, but he was shouted down and you didn't hear him, so that should be on the record.

Just one point with respect to the member for Oriole: I appreciate the member for Oriole's support in the last part of her comments, and I know that if I want to use part of her speech in one of my Queen's Park reports, I can do that. As my colleague for Lake Nipigon has said, that's what Liberals do. You can take their speeches and you can send half of it out to half of the people and the other half to the other and they make perfectly fine speeches to --

Mr Gerretsen: Why are you talking about us? It's their legislation.

Mr Cooke: I come from Windsor, and in Windsor there are only Liberals and New Democrats. I like to attack Liberals.

I want to make one point, though, about the Liberal policy on this.

This report was originally commissioned in 1985, I believe. The report came in in 1987. My recollection is that you were in government until 1990 and nothing was done on the implementation of this report. It had been promised as part of the accord; it had been promised by Liberals when they were in opposition before they became government in 1985. So if it wasn't done perfectly the way the member for Oriole wanted it done, she was the Minister of Health, she was one of the major players in this. It should have been done in your term in office. It was a major mistake. You didn't rewrite the Nursing Homes Act either, other than the interim amendments.

So we can all take some responsibility. The problem is, today they're eliminating the entire package, and it's a shame.

The Speaker: Is there any further debate?

There being none, Mr Harnick has moved second reading of Bill 19. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour say "aye."

All those opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

I declare the motion carried.

Shall the bill be ordered for third reading?

Hon Ms Mushinski: No, Mr Speaker, the standing committee on administration of justice.

The Speaker: The bill shall be referred to the administration of justice committee.

It now being almost 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 1757.