36th Parliament, 1st Session

L036 - Wed 6 Dec 1995 / Mer 6 Déc 1995




























The House met at 1332.




Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): In July the Minister of Labour, without any consultation or any kind of formal process, cancelled the funding for Pay Equity Advocacy and Legal Services. PEALS, as it's popularly known, was the only organization that represented non-unionized women in their battles to achieve pay equity. The minister cancelled this funding and at the same time made gratuitous statements with respect to the importance of pay equity.

The absolute arrogance associated with this kind of announcement has only been superseded by the government's arrogance with respect to Bill 26. It's a pattern that's emerged since they were first sworn into office: no hearings, no consultation, no opportunity for anyone in the public to have any meaningful say in important matters that are before this province.

The way the government's conducted itself on this and on Bill 26 is an absolute shame. It's something that every one of you will be held accountable for. It is no way to govern this province; it is no way to conduct the business of this House. We in the opposition reject and do not accept the cavalier attitude the government of Ontario has shown, not only to its major partners in the province but to the people of this province, the people who have valuable and important pieces of information to share with us on any number of matters.

Bill 26 is an abomination; the repeal of funding for PEALS is. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. It's the wrong way to govern and we're going to fight you every step of the way.


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the chance to tell you and the other members of this House and the people of Ontario -- to remind them -- about the anger, the fear, the despair, the tragedy that's penetrating every household in this province because of the policies of a government that doesn't give a tinker's dam about the poor in this province, about the working women and men of this province, about our seniors, our parents and grandparents, and about our sick or about our students.

Well, I tell you, on Monday, December 11, hundreds of busloads of workers, trade unionists, advocates for the poor, the poor, seniors, retirees and others are going to be leaving Niagara region and travelling to London, Ontario, where they're going to be joined by thousands of other busloads of similarly angry people who are all going to be protesting in a solidarity and a unity that is unprecedented in this province.

It's a solidarity and unity that is nurtured by the tactics of this government, by its disdain for democracy, its disdain for process, its attack on workers, on the sick and the poor, all for the sake of a tax break for the rich buddies of a gang of Tory thugs that have taken over this Parliament with absolutely no respect or regard for process, no understanding of the role of parliamentarians; indeed, a government that in short order has become increasingly totalitarian, dictatorial. Many have phoned me who have experienced the tragedy of fascism in Europe and they identify it now among Mike Harris and his gang.


Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton): It is with great sadness and yet with great pride that I speak to the Legislature today about Mr Doug Redick, who passed away on November 25, 1995. His passing was a shock to all who knew him. Doug was a unique individual, always smiling, always willing to help someone with a personal, financial or any other kind of crisis.

Doug was the first mayor of the village of Alvinston and was also a volunteer firefighter who rose through the ranks and became fire chief. He served on Lambton county council, and in this elected position was instrumental and the driving force in implementing the county-wide municipal addressing system and the 911 system in Lambton. Doug also helped to implement the Lambton county central fire dispatch centre.

Doug passed away at the young age of 43. He was a leader and a pillar of strength in this community. On behalf of the province of Ontario, I would like to extend our sympathy to his family and friends. Big guy, as I would refer to him, you will be missed, but your legacy will live on.


Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming): I rise today to warn the public of what is contained in Bill 26, the government's omnibus bill. Some in this House call it an ominous bill; I'll call it a bully bill.

It gives the Minister of Health sweeping new powers: powers to close any hospital in the province at the stroke of a pen and unprecedented powers to take over the volunteer boards of Ontario's community hospitals and hand that responsibility over to a bureaucrat.

This bully bill allows drug companies to charge whatever they like for the medication doctors prescribe for their patients in this province. It allows for new hospital and drug user fees. It allows for a plethora of new municipal user fees, something the Premier used to call taxes.

This bully bill takes more than $225 million from the pensions of the 10,000 civil servants the government fires later this year. This bill gives the government special powers, powers no other employer in the province has: power to screw its employees, many of whom have worked here for 20 to 25 years, out of pension payments they are entitled to.

Finally, this bully bill closes the door to government. The Information and Privacy Commissioner has said himself that these changes to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act will violate the fundamental freedoms of the people of Ontario.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): It's snowing like crazy in Sault Ste Marie. Now, that means a lot of things to a lot of people.

For Mr Palladini, it's time to sweat. He has to keep the roads clear because in northern Ontario transportation is an important issue, fundamental to commerce and life in general.

But to some others, it means opportunity to recreate, play, enjoy the splendour and wonder that is winter in our wonderful part of the province. People have been skiing up our way for over two weeks now: wonderful snow, packed and powder.

In Sault Ste Marie, Searchmont Resort is open, "the mountains in the midwest": 18 trails, 700-foot verticals, snowboard park, night skiing. I urge the members of this House to attend the press gallery Christmas party tonight, where a two-day package will be auctioned courtesy of Searchmont and Algoma's Water Tower Inn. I urge the citizens of this province to come on up to the Sault, enjoy the snow, enjoy Searchmont, enjoy our hospitality.

I urge Mr Palladini to please keep the roads open. Plow the roads or else people won't be able to come; it won't be safe for them to travel.

Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): Palladini won't shovel snow; he'll only shovel crap.

Mr Martin: That's right.

We urge you all again, in the spirit of winter, in the spirit of this Christmas season, to please allow us in the Sault to show you the hospitality we're famous for. Come on up. We'd love to see you on our lifts, on our slopes, enjoying yourself and spending a few bucks in our community.



Mr Bert Johnson (Perth): I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Honourable Jim Wilson, Minister of Health, for the immunization initiative he announced in the House yesterday.

The plan to give more than two million elementary and secondary school students a second dose of the measles vaccine is more than the simple fulfilment of a promise made by our government in the throne speech. It's a necessary action that we are undertaking to eradicate a disease which kills nearly one million children each year.

This is a provision which effectively reduces future health care costs in Ontario through simple prevention. In addition, this two-step plan protects young people while creating jobs for Ontarians, as the vaccine to be used is manufactured right here in the province.

Immunization against childhood diseases is a priority for this government. Through this reinvestment we are demonstrating our commitment to front-line health care service in Ontario. Once again, Health Minister Jim Wilson has found yet another effective way to reinvest savings found in the present health care system. No wonder journalists like Tom Walkom appreciate Minister Wilson's efforts on behalf of all Ontarians. I applaud this initiative as a worthy investment in our children's future, something that really makes common sense.


Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): I rise today to bring to the attention of this House that we're once again faced with the tyranny of this majority Conservative government.

This morning I heard on the CBC and later read in the Toronto Sun that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations appears to have already decided the fate of the LCBO on his own, much like Bill 26.

This is after both he and his government promised that a commission to study the possibilities of privatization of the LCBO would be struck, thus allowing for public debate and a full discussion of a broad range of options.

Unfortunately, it appears now that this minister is more content to use both the management and the employees of the LCBO as scapegoats in order to sound the drums of privatization in this province, rather than to enter into a reasoned debate on the merits of privatization itself and ask what his ministry can do to facilitate the LCBO.

This government is content to simply chop up the LCBO, lay off its thousands of workers and watch prices go up for the consumer, as they have in all other jurisdictions where it's been tried. No thought, no debate on the social repercussions; just shoot first and ask questions later.

The minister has said that he feels privatizing the retail end of the LCBO is the answer. Well, the people of Ontario have not been given the question. The minister has made up his mind and --

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


Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): Last Saturday, I attended the official opening of Cochrane's first food bank. The food bank opened its doors on Tuesday, November 28, and in the first week assisted 22 families.

The organizer of this service is Mr Jean Raymond and I congratulate him on his efforts. The food bank is run by 45 volunteers plus a working committee of 13 volunteers and many organizations and businesses that have rolled up their sleeves to help in this effort. Fortier Beverages provided the building rent-free and maintenance-free for one year.

I'm delighted to see so many citizens of Cochrane rallying in this effort to provide those in need in the community with food. It's unfortunate, though, that this service is necessary. The economic conditions in the north are worsening and your government is not doing anything but offering shopping advice to those whose welfare cheques have been reduced, those who have lost their jobs or anyone currently living under unfortunate conditions.

Mr Tsubouchi's shopping list of $90 a month for food does not work in Cochrane North -- or anywhere else, for that matter. Transportation costs tend to drive the cost of food up in the north. Also, the cost of fruits and vegetables is higher during the winter months.

The Premier, when asked whether or not he could live on Mr Tsubouchi's diet, responded that he could not and said that he had worked hard all his life in order to provide for himself and his family, and others should do the same. Many of those who are currently not working have worked hard most of their lives too, but find that at this time in their lives they no longer have jobs and need --

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


Ms Isabel Bassett (St Andrew-St Patrick): I'm delighted to rise today in recognition of an act of great generosity made by one of Ontario's outstanding citizens. Joseph Rotman, president of the Art Gallery of Ontario's board of trustees, announced that Joey and Toby Tanenbaum have made a major donation of artworks to the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The gift comprises 16 European old master paintings from the Tanenbaums' internationally renowned collection and is the largest gift of European old master paintings ever received by the gallery. In fact, it ranks as one of the most generous gifts of art of all time in Canada.

The Art Gallery of Ontario's collection of European art is arguably the strongest among Canadian public institutions and ranges from early Renaissance Italian panels to impressionist paintings.

Chief Curator Matthew Teitelbaum said Joey and Toby Tanenbaum's generosity to the Art Gallery of Ontario sets a shining example for philanthropists everywhere and hopefully will encourage other citizens to make donations of their works to the gallery.



Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): Our government is committed to helping people break their dependency on welfare. Too many people have been let down by governments over the past decade. The NDP and Liberals spent $40 billion on social assistance, but failed to help people escape the welfare trap. We are changing that course and embarking upon a fundamental reform --


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

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: -- of the welfare system so that people will have the opportunity to become self-sufficient.

Today I would like to inform --


The Speaker: The member for Welland-Thorold is out of order.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: -- members of adjustments that will give people on welfare more incentives to return to the workforce.

Mr Speaker, as you know, our government reduced social assistance rates in Ontario to 10% above the average of the other nine provinces. We have always been committed to a system where social assistance recipients can earn back the difference between the old base rate and the new base rate.

Today I'm announcing that improvements will be made so that everyone will be able to earn back the difference between the old and new base rates without clawback.

These adjustments will be made by the end of this month and will be retroactive to October 1. It has taken some time for the ministry to make these changes because there are over 1.2 million people on welfare in this province. Every effort will be made to have those retroactive payments in the hands of recipients before Christmas.

These changes are consistent with our objective to help people return to work. We're also honouring our commitment to give everyone the chance to earn back the difference. We have made these improvements because we believe that even a part-time job is an important first step towards getting back to work and off the welfare system. Our government wants to give people every opportunity to become self-sufficient. The measures I'm introducing today will help more people to become independent.


Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): On Monday, I announced on behalf of the Premier and the government a reinvestment for people in northern and rural Ontario that will keep rural emergency rooms open.

Yesterday, I announced a reinvestment in children's health through a measles vaccination campaign to improve childhood immunization, as recommended by Ontario's chief medical officer of health.

Today, I'm announcing another important reinvestment for cardiac patients that will enhance Ontario's cardiac surgery capacity and shrink waiting lists.

The need for cardiac care is growing as Ontario's population increases and ages. Over the last year, the waiting time for cardiac surgery has grown. This government identified very early on the need to take action now to address today's situation and be ready for tomorrow's needs. This reinvestment is a priority area and it is made possible through savings that we have found in the health care system.


As a first step, we're increasing the number of cardiac surgeries by 19% over the next two years. That's 1,400 more people who will receive cardiac surgery. This increase means that in two years' time, 9,100 people in Ontario will be able to have heart surgery each year.

The Provincial Adult Cardiac Care Network, an expert advisory body, recommended just a few short weeks ago that we take this action over three years.

I have talked to front-line providers of cardiac surgery. I've decided to increase the capacity as recommended and to accelerate the pace of this increase from three years to two years in order to shorten waiting times.

Waiting for cardiac surgery is immensely stressful for patients and for their families and loved ones. The government is acting today to address this problem.

I've also asked the Provincial Adult Cardiac Care Network to develop a comprehensive plan that focuses on patient needs and encompasses the full range of cardiac services. I look forward to receiving the network's plan next year, in 1996.

And I look forward to making other announcements in the coming months based on the network's recommendations. One such area is cardiac catheterization.

I would like to acknowledge that Dr William Shragge, a cardiac surgeon from Hamilton, is in the gallery today. Dr Shragge is vice-chair of the Provincial Adult Cardiac Care Network.

On behalf of the government, I'm pleased to make this announcement and I hope that it goes a long way towards reducing the waiting lists for people who are anxiously on those lists today.

On behalf of the government, I thank the cardiologists, the nurses and the front-line providers who make the system work, and with today's dollars the system will work better.


Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): I was somewhat interested in the minister's announcement, and what I find interesting is that he has called this an improvement today rather than acknowledging that it was an error this government made and a screwup this government made when the announcements and the welfare cuts were implemented.

This government has acknowledged today that they didn't know what they were doing when they announced the welfare cuts. You didn't realize when you put the regulations in place that people could not earn back the cuts. The reason this has come about today is as a result of the fact that the opposition, three months ago in this House, raised the issue and pointed out to this government that you had broken your commitment, that people on welfare could not earn back the cuts because your regulations would not allow them to do so.

This is another example of the litany of errors that this minister and this government have committed since taking office in dealing with the needy in this province. You've cut seniors and disabled on welfare. Until today people could not earn back the money you've cut from them, and you attempted to change the definition of "disabled."

This government has realized since the fall that people could not earn back the cuts. The minister said in the House when asked that people on welfare had two years, as a result of the Common Sense Revolution being published two years ago, to find a job. I say to this government, to this minister, you had two years to ensure that the regulations you put into place when you made the welfare changes allowed people to earn back the money, and you failed to do so.

The arrogance of the Premier prohibited him from acknowledging the truth, which he knew well, and he continued to say in this House, time after time, that people could earn back the cuts, knowing well that that was not the case.

When will other errors that this minister and this government have made be corrected? When will the seniors and the disabled who are on welfare and have had their benefits cut be able to get their full benefits restored once again? There are over 16,000 still today, Minister. When is that going to happen, and when are you going to reverse the brutal, brutal decision that you have made, that your government has made, to impose user fees on seniors and disabled in this province?

That betrayal of that commitment you made, that betrayal to the seniors and disabled of this province, when are you going to change that decision and when are you going to correct the rest of the errors you have made?


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): I too would like to acknowledge the presence of Dr Shragge in the gallery today and to say to him and to the members of the Provincial Adult Cardiac Care Network that they have done an outstanding job in providing the minister with advice and a plan.

As the minister who established that network, I want to say it is working well. It is obvious to me and to others that it is time their mandate was expanded to include not only cardiac catheterization but also perhaps access to angioplasty and angiograms. I hope that that will be expedited in part of your recommendations. I see you nodding your head. People have been having difficulty accessing those services and we know that they are vital as part of the continuum of cardiac care.

I agree that it is immensely stressful for patients and their families to have to wait an unreasonable and unduly long period of time. In fact any wait is stressful. We all know that. We also know that this minister has had the recommendation not just for a few short weeks. This government has been in office for six months and this recommendation was made to the minister many, many weeks ago.

One of the things I want to say to the minister is that your strategy is now becoming obvious. Your statements of this week I think are a strategy to deflect, to do damage control and deflect the heat that is being raised by Bill 26. Your use of cardiac patients, children, people of this province who are waiting for needed services in emergencies in rural communities is shameful, and I say shame on you for using them, for waiting to make those announcements until after you tabled Bill 26. You are making these announcements to attempt to hide the realities of Bill 26, and, Mr Speaker, that is a shameful abuse of his powers.

To withhold those services from the people of this province until after he has tabled Bill 26 is wrong. As a former Minister of Health, I say to him that's wrong. I am ashamed of you and I am ashamed that you are in that office and that you have withheld these announcements until this period of time. The minister should be ashamed of himself, the Premier should be ashamed of himself and the members of that caucus should be saying to him, "No more."

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

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): What's this world coming to? I agree entirely with the member for Oriole.


Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): I would like to respond first to the Minister of Community and Social Services and I think it would be more appropriate to call this minister the minister of mistakes.

First of all, a few months ago he was the one who approved a regulation that would have cut thousands of disabled people off any kind of income support at all in this province. It wasn't discovered by him; he didn't read the regulation. It wasn't discovered by his political staff; they didn't read the regulation. It wasn't discovered by anyone in the ministry at all; they had been given instructions to prepare the regulation. It was discovered by the opposition and it was discovered by the media. Thank goodness there's a process of accountability in this place, if only the government would recognize it and accept it on every issue including items like Bill 26.

Social assistance recipients not too long ago couldn't earn all their money back. Yes, it was a campaign promise. The minister said he had already delivered on it, that they already were able to earn back the money they used to get before the 22% cut. You assured us of that. The Premier assured of us that. The fact was again that was a mistake that was discovered in this place and by the media, and you've been scrambling ever since to correct that major mistake as well.

I think it is incredibly cynical for the minister to come in here today, make this announcement proudly, say that the money is going to get in the pockets of welfare recipients before Christmas when he knows the misery that he has imposed on hundreds of thousands of people in this province -- and kids -- who can't even think about this being the holiday season. They're trying to think about how they're going to keep a roof over their heads as many of them are being kicked out of their apartments or houses because they can't afford the rent under the new rates and they have no opportunity.

I am sick and tired of hearing from this government the line of "a hand up." How can there be a hand up when programs like JobLink have been cancelled, Jobs Ontario Training, and the cutbacks to community colleges? Those were the avenues that were available for people to get training and to get back into the workplace.

You use all the right language; you have killed all of the opportunities for people to get the training that they require and get back into the workplace. This isn't reform; this is all in the name of cutbacks from the poorest people in this province in order to finance a tax cut to the richest people in this province. It is sad, it is sick and it's not worthy of any elected official, but it's being imposed on the people of this province by this heartless government we have in this province.



Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): I'd also like to respond to the Minister of Health. I obviously want to congratulate the minister for coming forward with this announcement and putting more dollars into cardiac care. This has been an issue that I've been interested in for a number of years, coming from the community of Windsor.

But I have to agree with the member for Oriole. This has been nothing but a public relations exercise. You study the issue, you save up the announcements, you know that there's going to be $1.5 billion cut out of the health care budget, and then you try to fool the people in this province by making these announcements in the House in the last week, giving people the impression that you're reinvesting all the money. The fact of the matter is, $1.5 billion has been cut from the health care system. Much of it has been cut from the hospital system in this province. There will be hospitals closed. There will be longer waiting lists for assistance and for medical help that is needed.

You have done the most cynical thing a politician can do, and that is to manipulate public opinion in such a horrible way when at the same time we're debating a piece of legislation in here, Bill 26, that will allow for American ownership of our health care system, that will close hospitals, that will destroy confidentiality, which will destroy confidence in our health care system.

You have declared war on the doctors of this province. You've declared war on the pharmacists of this province. You're trying to get this legislation through before Christmas so that you can hide the truth from the people of this province. It's sad, it's cynical and it's a shame.

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

Is there a unanimous consent? I believe somebody had asked for it.

Hon Dianne Cunningham (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, minister responsible for women's issues): Could we have unanimous consent, Mr Speaker, to remember the Montreal massacre on December 6, 1989?

The Speaker: Do we have unanimous consent? Agreed.


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): Today we remember the Montreal massacre. Today is the national Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, a day for ribbons, candles and tears for fallen sisters, daughters and mothers.

This day marks the sixth anniversary of the hate killings of 14 women at l'École polytechnique. Once again, 14 white roses will be laid in the snow at the foot of the memorial and the women's names read aloud in the hope that the victims, not just their killer, will be remembered.

The women who were murdered on this day six years ago are Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Barbara Maria Klucznik, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault and Annie Turcotte. I might say that they were mostly in their early 20s and cut down at a very young age.

Today is a day to reflect on the talent and the potential that was lost on that fateful day. We mourn because this horror is the extreme end of a disturbing phenomenon: that we live in a society where there is increasing violence against women, fed in part by the fear of their progress.

As Reverend Champlain Barrette, chaplain of the Montreal urban community police, said eloquently at the funeral of Constable Odette Pinard, who was shot on Monday night last week as she was sitting at her desk at a small community police office, "When a society no longer respects the lives of those whose mission it is to protect, you're forced to realize that there's a type of cancer that is called violence, hatred, intolerance."

It was a crime we did not think could happen in Canada, but it did. In recalling their innocence, it is a day to grieve. It is also a day to take stock of what we as a society have done to counter such violence.

The grim news is that crime against women is not levelling off; rather, police say that reported incidents of conjugal violence are still on the rise in Canada.

The statistics are devastating. A StatsCan study compiled two years ago still stands true today: 51% of women have experienced physical or sexual violence at least once in their adult lives; 29% of married or previously married women were assaulted by their husbands; almost 60% of women who were sexually assaulted were attacked more than once. Only 14% of victims surveyed reported the incidents to police, and only 9% of women who had experienced violence had turned to a social service agency.

We have a long way to go to make women safe in our society. Too many tragedies have increased awareness and the need for action, and people are taking action. Men and women are acting. They are getting together to take back the night, taking steps to make our neighbourhoods safer, acting to control access to guns and weapons of violence and to get tough on those who commit violent crimes.

We must be ready to take the necessary steps if we are truly committed to doing all we can to stop the senseless violence against women. We must do all we can to ensure that women can walk alone at night without fear, ensure that they're not vulnerable at home, at the workplace or at school.

The question we must ask today is this: Have we done enough for those 14 innocent young women who were deprived of their hopes and dreams? The answer is no, but that's no reason to give up hope.

Yesterday in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Bill C-68, An Act respecting firearms and other weapons, was given royal assent. Family members of the victims of the Montreal massacre spoke in favour of this bill, and today they are relieved that it has indeed become law.

Today also marks the anniversary of the election of Agnes Macphail, the first woman elected to the Ontario Legislature.

It is important for all Ontarians that women become a part of the decision-making process and to recognize that violence is not a women's issue. It is an issue that affects men, women and children, and it's the responsibility of us all to ensure that ending of violence stays at the top of the government's agenda.

Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): Today I stand with my colleagues in this House to remember one of the most tragic events in the history of Canada. It was six years ago today that a man walked into l'École polytechnique in Montreal and gunned down 14 bright young women.

Many of us will remember that at the time following the massacre a debate raged about whether this was a random act of terror on the part of one madman or whether it revealed something systemically wrong with the way our society works and with our collective attitudes towards women.

Clearly, I think we all agree that this was an action of a disturbed individual, and I know that very few individuals would be capable of so horrific a crime. But I think it's very important that we remember today and recall a little detail about what happened on that December night.

The killer separated the men from the women. Then he shot the women. And he acknowledged his motive: He shot the women because to him they represented objects of his rage. He saw them as feminists who were infringing on his territory. In daring to be studying engineering, traditionally a male profession, these women had gone too far, in his view. For taking a class -- for taking a class, Mr Speaker -- they were executed by an angry gunman.

In the months and years since that fateful night, we have continued to grapple with the question of whether, in a sense, what happened belonged to all of us. I think we began to collectively acknowledge that we all have a responsibility in ensuring that violence is rooted out of our society.

We all have a role to play. Women need to continue to organize, and we are. Men need to continue to talk to and confront each other. We need to teach our children, especially our boys, that harassment and violence, whether in their actions or language, are unacceptable.

Our government has a very important role to play. We have to ensure that help exists for women who are the victims of violence, whether that be shelter and counselling or other types of support services, and we need to continue to provide education and raise awareness of these issues through public education.


Today, although I want to concentrate on remembering the women who have been victims of violence, I really must say how much I regret that this government has cut not only services to abused women but also counselling and public awareness campaigns aimed at men.

Yesterday, the Centre for Research on Violence against Women and Children released a report on the costs -- that is, the financial costs -- of violence against women. This report details the costs in four principal areas: in social services and education; in the criminal justice system; on labour and employment; and on health and medical services. They say the economic costs of violence against women -- and these are the economic costs we're talking about -- are in excess of $4 billion a year. I think we can safely say that the government's decision to cut these support services and public education is certainly, among other things, a false economy.

I would plead with this government to step back and consider some of these devastating impacts. I'm pleased to note today that many of the men on the government side are wearing white ribbons, which represent men wanting to end violence against women, and I sincerely hope that this is a positive sign, a positive indication that the government is willing to reconsider some of its positions.

Today, in closing, I'd like to tell the House that, along with my colleague the minister responsible for women's issues and the member for Windsor-Sandwich, I attended a candlelight vigil to mark the sixth anniversary of the Montreal massacre. Every year I attend such a ceremony. It's always moving and it's always very painful, and I just came from there.

I want to say, though, that I want to remember. We must remember and we must never forget. I held a rose for Barbara Maria Klucznik. She became very real to me at that moment. When her name was called, I brought it forward to be placed in a vase with 13 other roses, each representing a murdered young woman.

Many of us in this House have daughters. My daughter is about the same age as the young women we are remembering today. We want our daughters to go forward in this society feeling that they are equal participants in our society, that they can walk down the street and be safe, and that they can be safe in the homes of their spouses and partners.

Hon Dianne Cunningham (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, minister responsible for women's issues): I rise with my colleagues today to recognize that December 6 is the provincial Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.

Today we remember the 14 bright young women, full of promise, whose lives were brutally cut short on December 6, 1989, whose lives were cut short because they were women and because they dared to walk a path that once had only been walked by men.

The female engineering students at l'École polytechnique represented hope for a profession that was opening its doors to women in greater numbers. They stood as proof that entering a professional college is a matter of ability, not gender. But to a bitter and ill young man who had tried and failed to be accepted into l'École polytechnique, who believed that women should stand behind men rather than alongside them, these young women represented a threat, and he lashed out in a savage, premeditated and cowardly act.

Today we remember the victims of the Montreal massacre. We mourn along with their families. Today we also commemorate the women who have died at the hands of their current or estranged partners. We remember the thousands of Canadian women who right now, as we sit in this Legislative Assembly, live under constant threat of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. They are our wives, our mothers, our grandmothers, our daughters, our aunts, our sisters, and we love them and we need to protect them as they nurture us.

More than half the women in this country have been physically or sexually assaulted as the Criminal Code defines these crimes. One in four of us is sexually assaulted during our lifetime, and more than half of women in the workplace have experienced sexual harassment or threats.

Today we remember the victims and the survivors of these crimes, and we renew our commitment to end all forms of violence against women.

In the six years since the Montreal massacre, too much attention has been paid to the killer. News reports tell us too much about what he did and not nearly enough about who the victims were and what was lost when they died. Let us put an end to it. Let us stop mentioning his name and stop printing his picture. Let us always, however, remember what his motives were.

On this provincial Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, let us resolve to focus on the 14 women who lost their lives on December 6, 1989. Let us remember their names, as their families are surely doing this day, and let them live on as symbols of hope for the future.

For every woman who graduates from a school of engineering, and there are many of them but not enough, let us say, "This one is for you, Michèle Richard." For every woman who breaks through the glass ceiling, let her say, "This one is for you, Annie Turcotte, or Geneviève Bergeron or Hélène Colgan." And for each small victory in our efforts to end violence against women, let us say, "Sonia Pelletier, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maryse Laganière, Annie St-Arneault, Maude Haviernick, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Barbara Maria Klucznik, this is for you."

On this provincial Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, let us recognize the right of every woman to be safe in her community, in her home, at school, on the street. All of us must state again our commitment. All of us in this House, because violence is not a partisan issue, must commit to provide supports to those women who continue to experience violence.

I ask that we take a moment of silence to remember those victims, and their names, of the Montreal massacre.

The House observed a moment's silence.




Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): My first question is for the Minister of Health. I return to a question we raised in this Legislature yesterday.

Minister, contrary to what you told this House yesterday, Bill 26 gives you sweeping new powers to access the most personal, the most intimate medical records of every person in this province. The bill gives you the power to appoint inspectors who will act only under your general manager and not under the Medical Review Committee, as you said they would do yesterday.

On page 109 of the bill it says that these inspectors appointed by you will have the power to go into doctors' offices to get information from health records, from doctors' notes, from doctors' charts. It goes on to say that the inspectors will have the power to remove any information from that doctor's office for the purposes of copying it.

Minister, you said yesterday that this is not an unprecedented power, but in fact no Minister of Health has ever had access to personal health records. I can hardly begin to imagine what this means, that you are giving your inspectors the power to snoop into the most intimate details of the lives of the citizens of this province --

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

Mrs McLeod: -- from their psychiatric records to information about very personal family problems, sexual problems, AIDS, anything that can be imagined, anything which is now the source of absolute confidentiality between a patient and a physician.

You are, Minister, conferring upon yourself and your inspectors a simply unbelievable amount of power, and I ask how you can possibly justify this kind of intrusion into the most personal and intimate details of the lives of every citizen of this province.

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): My answer to this question of yesterday to the honourable member stands. It was quite correct. Perhaps I could expand on it today by reading the following from the government's lawyers:

"These powers are very similar to the powers inspectors currently have under the Independent Health Facilities Act enacted in 1989 by the honourable member for Oriole, Mrs Elinor Caplan. Inspectors will of course be held to confidentiality requirements just as they are now, such as those in subsection 37(4) of the Independent Health Facilities Act and subsection 38(1) of the Health Insurance Act.

"Only health care practitioners will be appointed as ministry inspectors to inspect health care records. The inspectors will be able to inspect the records in an almost identical fashion to the ministry inspectors under the Independent Health Facilities Act."

In bold it says, "There is nothing in any of these amendments which changes the minister's authority to access or disclose any kind of personal information, including health records."

That's from the senior legal department at the Ministry of Health and it is concurred with by the Attorney General's office. It's the best legal advice we have, and if the honourable member has legal advice to the contrary, rather than her own opinion, I'd like to see that legal advice.

Mrs McLeod: If we could get this bill into committee and do clause-by-clause we could challenge very directly the kind of information this minister is providing to not only this House but every citizen in this province.

I read an act, and I read an act knowing that the only power the Minister of Health has now -- well, he has no power to access records. The only way an individual's health records can now be accessed is under the auspices of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, or through inspectors who work under the direction of the Medical Review Committee.

Indeed, there is a clause here that says you may appoint inspectors who will act under the direction of the Medical Review Committee, but the clause above that says, equally clearly, that you may appoint persons as inspectors who act only under the direction of the general manager of OHIP. Furthermore, it says very clearly in this act, on page 101, that this bill gives you and your general manager the power to disclose the information which has been gained from patients' private health care records.

You said yesterday in this House that nobody should worry about this provision of the act because, after all, there is a privacy act. We spoke to the Information and Privacy Commissioner this morning about this matter. He told us he had not been consulted about the bill. He told us, furthermore, that our fears were not unfounded, and he is the one you referred to yesterday as providing protection to the private citizens whose lives you are about to intrude on. He informed us that he would be sending you a letter in this regard.

Minister, this act says as clearly as we can read it --

The Speaker: Would you put your question, please.

Mrs McLeod: Not having access to a committee where we can go clause-by-clause, we have to try and decipher what it is you're doing to people in this province, and we read that should you disclose information for purposes you deem to be important, no action can be taken against you or the general manager, or any member of your staff or the general manager's staff, or indeed any other person or organization -- no action for disclosing information about the most personal and confidential health records of the people of this province.

As I said to you yesterday, not only is this an unprecedented power, but this is an issue on which a previous Minister of Health voluntarily resigned because she felt she had inadvertently disclosed confidential information. Tell the people of the province the truth of this matter. You are indeed giving yourself and your inspectors unprecedented power to obtain confidential medical records and there is no protection of the individuals whose most personal and intimate information can now be accessed.

Hon Mr Wilson: Those allegations are utterly ridiculous and untrue. The Minister of Health does not have access to patient records under any amendments or under any existing law now. The general manager of OHIP does have access to records currently.

I ask the honourable members, have you ever seen a physician's remittance statement, the thing that's attached to their paycheque every month? It has the name of the patient, the procedure and code, and the cost and the reimbursement to the physician. That provision in the act -- the general manager prepares those statements. They're sent to the physicians every week.

The disclosure provisions are the same we have, except that we're now extending them to hospital settings and other facilities because we know we have a number of hospitals like Queen's and Sick Kids on alternative payment programs.

The act had to be amended to make sure we can have disclosure through the general manager, for purposes of payments to physicians, of the patients' names. I have no access to patients' names on records. It would be foolish of me to ever even try, given that somebody inadvertently put a patient's name in one of the previous NDP ministers' briefing notes -- I blame the staff, not Evelyn Gigantes -- and she got that name in her head. It would be wrong for any patient's name to make its way up to the minister or the minister's office.

You have a former Minister of Health here. Those laws haven't changed, and the disclosure contained in the sections you mentioned simply allow the general manager to pay physicians.

With respect to inspectors, again we're clarifying. Inspectors currently can go in under the Independent Health Facilities Act. We do things now in hospitals we didn't do when that act was put together in 1988-89; we do things in physicians' offices differently now. We're modernizing the act. If an inspector goes in and finds information that perhaps a physician or a provider is acting in a fraudulent manner, they need the authority, not to disclose to the Minister of Health -- that's not what the act said -- but to disclose to the police the information they found so that due process can be followed and charges can be laid. That's how you nip fraud and health card fraud in the bud.

Mrs McLeod: On only one point do I agree with what the Minister of Health has just said: It was wrong when the name of a patient entered into the public record. It will still be wrong if the minister rams through this legislation making it permissible for information about patients' private health records to be disclosed and ensuring through this act that no action could be taken against the minister of his staff or any other individual or organization for disclosing information.

I test the words of the minister in this House today against the words in this act that they want to make law by Christmas of this year.

It doesn't talk about the physicians' billing records. It says, paragraph 6 of 40.1, "to inspect, at any reasonable time, all books of account, documents, correspondence and records, including payroll, employment, patient and drug records, regardless of the form or medium in which such records are kept." It says very clearly, "disclose the information for the more effective management of the health care system or the delivery of health care services" -- Minister, within your discretion and without action against you, it appears, if there is even inadvertent disclosure of that information.

I believe that what you are doing with this act --

The Speaker: What's the question? Put your question.

Mrs McLeod: I am, Mr Speaker. If you prefer me to put it as a point of order, I will. Otherwise, I will complete an important question in this House.

I believe that what this minister is doing just with this provision of this act is conjuring up images of the Watergate era at a time when Richard Nixon would send in his burglars to get the private psychiatric records of Dr Daniel Ellsberg. Only now we don't have to do it in the dark of night and we don't need burglars; the minister just sends in his inspectors in broad daylight and he can get any private information he wants.

Again I ask, how can you even consider giving yourself, your agents, your staff these kinds of powers, and how can you do nothing to protect the confidentiality of the private citizens of this province?

Hon Mr Wilson: Just a couple of responses here. One is that our director of legal services is chatting with the Information and Privacy Commissioner to bring to his attention that we've not changed the law with respect to the supremacy of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.


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


Hon Mr Wilson: There is no way that the scenario the honourable member has just placed in a fearmongering way before this House can occur. Your staff and your office have been pestering the freedom of information officer, and therefore apparently he feels obliged -- you're trying to find something that doesn't exist in the act, and therefore he feels obliged, apparently, to send me a letter and ask me to clarify, as I'm doing right now on my feet in the House.

Secondly, I need to read a section of the act that the honourable members failed to mention, and that has to do with secrecy of information that inspectors come across, employees of the general manager:

"...each person engaged in the administration of this act and the regulations shall preserve secrecy with respect to all matters that come to his or her knowledge in the course of his or her employment or duties pertaining to insured persons and any insured services rendered and the payments made therefor, and shall not communicate any such matters to any other person except as otherwise provided in this act."

I can assure you that's not the Minister of Health that's provided in this act. It is only where agreements are in place to convey that information to the general manager himself or herself for the purposes of payment and to police forces or otherwise that may have to take information dug up by inspectors to proceed with prosecutions.

That is simply what the act says, and to go beyond that, I'm afraid the honourable members are stretching things far too far.


Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): "No action shall be taken against any person for disclosing information." Let this act see the light of day, let this into committee, so that this minster can defend it in front of those who can challenge openly and publicly the statements that he makes.

Mr Speaker, our frustration, I think you will realize, is obvious, because that is one section of an act which contains so many issues that we need to make public, and I will turn to the Minister of Health on yet another issue, because buried -- I think it's actually schedule G; it's buried in the bowels of this omnibus bill -- there is a provision which I consider to be rather sinister. It's the provision that ends the regulation of drug prices, a regulation that ensures that prescription drugs are affordable to the average Ontarian and to the average company paying for a drug plan.

The implications of this particular change seem rather clear. Drug prices are expected to go up as much as 15%. Doctors have said so. Consumers have said so. Minister, even people in your own ministry have said that this will happen at least initially.

So, as usual, the ones who are going to be most affected by your policies are the elderly and the sick. Minister, I ask why you are betraying your promise to protect seniors by trying to ram through legislation that will increase the cost of prescription drugs.

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): I don't know where the member gets the 15%. If we quote from the Toronto Star of December 2, it says:

"Huge health insurance companies say new provincial rules will give them the power to push drug prices lower.

"Liberty Health, the former Ontario Blue Cross, expects the changes will let it pressure pharmaceutical companies to offer volume discounts, as they do in the United States, said spokesperson Joan Walters."

It goes on to quote Vic Ackermann, president and chief executive officer of Hoffmann-La Roche Canada Ltd, saying the same thing, that real competition in the system will drive prices lower.

That's the consensus that I'm receiving from the industry itself and from consumer groups. There are many articles that indicate consumers themselves understand competition.

But I will say to the honourable member, because we do have a responsibility as a government to monitor prices, that that's what we will do, and if cases are brought to our attention that we do not see a lowering of prices or that we do not see the competitive market working, we'd be prepared to act.

Mrs McLeod: Well, quote selectively. The minister can do that all he likes in the House, and because we can't get this bill into committee and we can't have public hearings, there'll be no opportunity for the different experts to challenge what the minister likes to quote, because in that same article there were two other experts who said that the deregulation will spark price increases of up to 15%, and a representative of his own ministry said, "We anticipate initially prices would increase." There is at least a debate here about what deregulation of drug prices will do to the price of drugs.

I must confess, when I read the quotations of the minister, I should probably congratulate him for having achieved a new first, because until I read this article, I thought that the dumbest thing I had ever heard was Mr Tsubouchi saying that people should go out and bargain for 69-cent tuna. But this Minister of Health has topped him when he talks in this same article about the consumer going out and bargaining to get the best deal on drugs with their pharmacists. In fact, he suggested that buying prescription drugs is rather like buying a used car.

I think we're beginning to get some sense, some understanding of how this government thinks the marketplace should work, because first you go to the front of the store and you bargain for your 69-cent tuna and then you go to the back of the store, to the pharmacy, and you haggle to get your half-price penicillin. I ask the minister most seriously -- most seriously, Minister -- do you really think that an 80-year-old woman with diabetes and osteoporosis, or maybe a young man with strep throat and a fever of 104 degrees, is really in a very good position to be running from pharmacy to pharmacy playing Let's Make a Deal?

Hon Mr Wilson: For a member who was in government at one time, she should very well know how archaic the system is for setting drug prices. We do not get the best price for drugs in this province now under current rules and regulations. You know that, honourable member. We have court cases to prove that we don't get the best price now for consumers. The practice of the laws, as we've lost court case after court case, is that we must accept today prices that large manufacturers of drugs, pharmaceutical manufacturers, put forward. We have very little discretion. We're going to free ourselves up and we're going to free up those large purchasers.

Given that 60% to 70% of the drugs purchased in Ontario are paid for by the private sector through their plans, they, like Liberty Health and others, want the ability --

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): Oh, there's the connection. There's the real connection.

Hon Mr Wilson: I only mention them because they're in an article. They and we want the opportunity, as large purchasers, to force prices down in a competitive market. We've been hindered by that.

The honourable member for York South and the honourable member for Beaches-Woodbine will know we just lost a court case on their 75-90 rule with respect to Apotex. We were unable to set prices lower than what Apotex demanded. It cost us $4.5 million to pay profits to Apotex at the time when we want to come in with lower prices.

The act has good points in it. In addition to competition, it reaffirms in a statutory way, rather than the regulatory way like the NDP government did it, our ability to fix lower prices for generics on the formulary. That's good news and it will make sure we don't lose any more lawsuits. I only ask honourable members to be fair and to read and understand the entire piece of legislation before them.

With respect to committee hearings, I think that's already been addressed by the Premier and the House leader. We're quite willing to have public hearings on these matters.

Mrs McLeod: As we attempt to relate the words with which the minister camouflages the destruction they are bringing to our health care system, the words he uses in this House, as we attempt to relate that to this act, we find that the reference the minister makes would be invalid given the changes that this act brings in.

I suggest that when you hear the minister's elaborate attempt to defend this new unilateral action, it at least deserves debate about what the deregulation of drug prices is going to do to the price of drugs and to the affordability of health care for every individual in this province, and in fact to the cost of paying for the drug plan for this government that keeps talking about the savings that it's going to make on the backs of welfare recipients and the elderly by making them pay part of the cost of their drugs.

We have seen this minister, two days in a row now, attempt to buffer the impact of what we are trying to raise, the concerns we're raising with this bill, with his good-news announcements. Yesterday, we saw him announce a program about inoculating children against measles. I truly believe that this government is orchestrating the introduction of a much more serious disease, a disease called dictatorship and arbitrary power and arrogance, which is a coup d'état by any other name.


Minister, you believe that this is somehow going to lead to lower drug prices, but a letter from the Ontario Pharmacists' Association, which I'm sure you're aware of, the very people that you now want to operate as dime-store hagglers, says, "The Ontario Pharmacists' Association has serious concerns that the changes to the Ontario Drug Benefit Act and the Prescription Drug Cost Regulation Act may both lower the quality of pharmaceutical care and raise total health care costs in Ontario."

Minister, they want you to have public hearings. They want debate. The Ontario pharmacists say that they need time to talk to seniors, they need time to talk to people who will be directly impacted. They are asking you to hold public hearings before this bill becomes law.

Surely, Minister, if you believe this is the right thing to do, if you believe this will actually lower drug costs, you have nothing to lose to allow public hearings to take place, to let seniors be heard from, to hear from those who will be affected. Will you not stop acting like a dictator, hold the public hearings, hold those hearings before you act to make this law?

Hon Mr Wilson: I don't know how often we have to communicate this, but I agree with the honourable member. We are offering public hearings and I'd be very happy to participate in those public hearings and continue to answer all of the questions that they ask in a forthright and truthful and honest --


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

Hon Mr Wilson: The pharmacists' association, in its communications to me, indicates it doesn't know whether drug prices will go up or down. I agree with the honourable member, that would be a very good point to bring before public hearings. We've offered public hearings and I hope the honourable members will take us up on that offer.


Mr Bob Rae (York South): My questions are also for the Minister of Health. I wanted to ask the minister on this question of confidentiality. I'm sure he will appreciate that if I'm going to the doctor on Friday, my concern of course is to get appropriate care. My concern, as well, is to have the absolute assurance that the information that I provide to the doctor and the doctor provides to me is confidential, that this information remains between the two of us. In fact, if the doctor has to tell me that I'm suffering from a life-threatening disease or that I require some form of intensive therapy, I would anticipate that the doctor would not share that information, that those charts would not be shared.

The amendments that the minister has presented, he's telling us, provide no significant change with respect to the current practice of the system, yet there are a number of people, including members of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, spokespeople for the Ontario Medical Association, as well as the freedom of information commissioner, who have expressed concerns about the protection of patient records and about the confidentiality of these records.

I wonder if the minister can tell me whether he sees the need for any amendments to the current legislation which would give patients some assurance that when they go and see the doctor and provide confidential information to that doctor and when the doctor provides treatment for them, those aspects of life are kept confidential between the patient and the doctor.

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): I appreciate the question from the honourable member for York South and I fully agree with him that we should not, must not, cannot and will not change the relationship and the confidentiality of patients' records with respect to any public disclosure of those records and that that information must be kept confidential between the physician and the patient. That is exactly what we are trying to ensure in the act.

We did talk to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, because I was most disturbed by their comments in that newspaper article. This morning we talked to them. Apparently one side's not talking to the other within the organization. Once we got hold of the people who had helped draft some of the legislation, they indicated that there is nothing in this act that would damage the relationship of confidentiality that the people of Ontario expect, but if the honourable members have other suggestions, I'm certainly open to amendments in this matter.

Mr Rae: None of us in this House, including the minister, are experts. Let's remind ourselves of that fact. We're legislators who are presented with advice from all sorts of people, including public servants, and even, Lord knows, public servants the odd time make human errors. They draft material that might not have taken something into account. Sometimes public servants accrue powers to themselves which the laypeople among us find a little excessive when they look at them carefully. There's a tendency to do that. It's a bureaucratic tendency and one that I think one would want to reflect on.

For example, when I'm told that I'm an insured person, and simply by being an insured person I have thereby deemed, authorized, my doctor, my hospital, my health facility, to give information about me to the general manager, including particulars of the services provided to me, I think that would come as a surprise to most patients. I think most patients would be surprised to discover that, under the act that's now in place, they are deemed to have given access to their records to all sorts of people, including making copies, including making photocopies. We now have the inspectors with the specific power to remove files and to make copies of them.

Just for a moment, Mr Speaker, imagine: You get my file, you get my name, you get my chart. You make a copy of that chart and you then have a photocopy of the chart, which as far as one can tell can go pretty wide and far in the ministry before someone says, "Oh, wait a minute, maybe we shouldn't have that information about Mr X."

I am looking at this as an ordinary patient, as I'm sure the minister would as well. I'd like the minister, because in addition to being a minister, he is also a patient -- we're all patients from time to time. We don't want our medical charts to be shared with a bunch of people who have no business looking at our charts, no business having access to our names, no business having access to our records, no business having access to the drugs that we take or to the illnesses from which we suffer. That information belongs to us. So when we see these powers in this bill, perhaps the minister will understand why people are concerned. It's a very legitimate, natural, human concern.

I'm asking the minister again whether he doesn't see the need for some amendments which will in fact deal with this particular problem.

Hon Mr Wilson: Again, I agree with the honourable member that we don't want to do anything to upset the delicate relationship with respect to confidentiality.

I think you're right. People will be shocked to know that the Health Insurance Act has for over 20 years contained a provision deeming that insured persons have consented to the disclosure of their personal information by health care practitioners to the ministry. This is necessary so that physicians and other fee-for-service practitioners can submit claims to OHIP without violating their rules of confidentiality. Without this provision we could not pay them for the services which they have performed. What this bill does is extend beyond just the fee-for-service physicians.

Your government did a good job of putting Sick Kids' physicians on alternative payment plans; Queen's; and we're working on CHEO, the children's hospital in Ottawa. Therefore, in order to pay those physicians for some services they may render in or outside of their alternative payment program, to ensure that we're not getting double-billed, that they're not also putting out a fee-for-service bill and getting their salary on the APP, we're simply extending it to those settings. That's all we're doing.

But if there's something else, I agree, I'm not an expert on this. I am taking advice from our legal department. We welcome the scrutiny and any suggestions to ensure that we are getting it right.

Mr Rae: Perhaps the minister will understand, therefore, my final question. The more the laypeople among us examine this legislation, which really goes a long way in a lot of different fields -- we are now, just today, exploring one part of one schedule, in one question period. You are admitting that it may be necessary, because the public's concerns will be raised, to bring in amendments. Imagine the number of areas in which the public will have concerns to which we have to respond.

A lot of what you're doing is not even particularly partisan. You want to create an inspectorate. You want to give the inspectors powers. You want to make sure they're able to deal with fraud. We all want to deal with fraud. Every Liberal wants to deal with fraud, every New Democrat, every Conservative. None of us wants to see patients or doctors defrauding the health care system. We all want to deal with the question. We don't want patients' confidentiality to become a pawn in that game.


Why would you not see the need for you to recommend to your colleagues in cabinet that this is something that needs to be studied and scrutinized -- it can't be left to the bureaucrats in the Ministry of Health; it can't be left to a government to do something in haste in terms of an overall package -- and say, "Let's accept the offer that's been made by my colleague the member for Windsor-Riverside and by the member for St Catharines," which is very clear? We were prepared to come back in January; we're prepared to deal with this legislation by means of public hearings and to deal with it in a very public, effective way, deal with the concerns the public is bound to have as a result of legislation that's as sweeping as the legislation you're bringing forward.

Hon Mr Wilson: I think we've offered public hearings and that offer stands. It is the intent of the ministry and myself. We've spent many hours going over this. We think we have it right. So far, other than questions in the House, nobody's offered me a specific amendment. I'm prepared to accept amendments if somebody comes along with a good legal argument suggesting that perhaps we don't have it right.

We think it's right. So far, it is passing the scrutiny of most of our partners out there that will live within this legislation. But I welcome public hearings and I hope that the honourable members will take our government House leader's offer for those public hearings and take us up on that offer.

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

Mr Rae: It's worth recalling, Mr Speaker, as I'm sure you will, that under Bill 7, where we had again no effective hearings at all, the government produced 65 amendments in five seconds. Imagine, that was one bill dealing with one subject; we have the equivalent of about 10 Bill 7s in this one bill. I can't wait to see the final moments in committee of the whole, when the government House leader, who is now shaking his head, is going to be bringing forward dozens and dozens of amendments to deal with the issues that have to be dealt with.


Mr Bob Rae (York South): This is my second question to the Minister of Health. We understand, from the radio this morning, and I don't know whether the minister can confirm this -- I'm looking at page 49 of the act which gives the minister the most powers that the Minister of Health has ever had in the province with respect to a single subject matter, and that is the question of the funding and closing of hospitals. No minister in the history of this province has ever had the powers which this minister is now taking upon himself.

I want to ask the minister this question: Is he now engaged in discussions with the Ontario Hospital Association about amendments to this section, part II, schedule F, which deal with his powers? Is he in discussions with them, since we're told from the Ontario Hospital Association that while they agree it's important for the government to have tools, the amendments to the act go far beyond what is required in terms of restructuring alone and undermine the principle of voluntary hospital governance in this province?

Those are the concerns that have been expressed by the hospital association. I wonder if the minister can tell us: Is he now engaged in discussions with them to consider amendments to this bill?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): Having consulted widely with the Ontario Hospital Association prior to the drafting of the bill, I was personally quite concerned to read that press release from them today.

Two things on the authority to close or merge hospitals: That was discussed with the Ontario Hospital Association. I have before me a document that they gave to the Finance minister and me when we had the round table discussion at the Finance minister's office.

It says, "Make appropriate changes to the Public Hospitals Act and advocacy and consent acts; affirm the government's commitment to hospital voluntary trustee governance," which we've done; "make clear its intentions regarding individual hospital restructuring reports" -- we're doing that through this act; "proceed with the long-term care act repeal or amendment to eliminate MSAs" -- we're moving on that front; "continue to implement" the road safety project. It goes on to talk more about giving hospitals flexibility to establish crown foundations.

Mr Speaker, I'll make this public: I have 23 of the 26 recommendations that the OHA asked for. They told us it is unprecedented that any government's responded as extensively as we have; 23 out of 26 recommendations in the pre-economic-announcement discussions, and we responded fully, so I was disappointed. I think there's a little bit of politics going on in the OHA. I went to school with some of the folks over there and I appreciate the fact.

Having said that, I will be meeting with the OHA tomorrow. We will be arranging a meeting. They know that. They know my door is always open. I'm disappointed they decided to do this through press release rather than give me a call, because in the discussions that we're having with them today at the staff level, my understanding is we're not quite sure what they're trying to get at here. We've done simply what they asked us to do and we've done what the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council, in a provision of its report, has asked us to do with respect to restructuring.

Mr Rae: The minister will learn, as we all have learned in office, that you don't always have the friends you think you have or have them for very long. You will find that when they ask you to do 25 things and you do 23, they will always ask you about the other two. So I'd make that observation.

But perhaps the public might be permitted some questions about what is their access to the minister. The hospital association now, you've just told us, had a closed meeting with you and the Minister of Finance --

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Behind closed doors.

Mr Rae: A closed-door meeting in which they asked for 25 things which directly affect the rights of the public in terms of long-term care, in terms of all sorts of things which the public is concerned about.

Mr Bradley: No public, no media.

Mr Rae: The public doesn't get a word in there. Now you're telling us that you're prepared to consider amendments which, we're told by the OHA from its press release, its bulletin -- they have said, "We're having a meeting with senior ministry officials to formulate amendments," because there's no appeal procedure for closure of hospitals, there's no way in which the minister's unilateral judgement can be questioned by anybody, not even the Premier, according to this. No one.

No one has the power to override the unilateral, single decision of the minister. The minister alone has the power to decide which hospitals will open and which hospitals will close. A budget of over $7 billion, over 200 public hospitals in the province, many of them with a history of over 150 years, and you're the only person in the province who can decide whether that institution will live or that institution will die.

The hospital association says, "Whoa, wait a minute; maybe that's a little bit too much power to give to one poor soul." They might be permitted to have that view. I wonder, would the minister tell us why he thinks he alone, of all the citizens of the province, should have that much singular power? Where are the limits to your power, sir? What are the limits to your discretion? There are none of any worth in the act.

Hon Mr Wilson: In the letter to the Finance minister from the Ontario Hospital Association dated October 26, it says, "Restructuring: the key to long-term savings.

"In order to continue to restructure at the local and regional level, hospitals will need a strong government commitment to adequate, long-term funding stability." We've lived up to that commitment. "We will also need the government to demonstrate the political will and provide funding necessary to permit restructuring."


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

Hon Mr Wilson: This bill signals both the political will and the recognition that dollars will need to be shifted from the operating side to the capital side to proceed.

"Restructuring is one of the key elements of health care reform in this province. It will lead to improvements in efficiencies and rationalizations as well as possible mergers, amalgamations and closures of institutions. In the long term, significant savings will be generated. However, restructuring must maintain principles of access and quality of care."

I don't think it could be clearer in what they asked us to do. We discussed how we would go about doing a massive restructuring of the hospital system as recommended by the local people through the district health council in Metro Toronto, by example.

With respect to public hearings, I've already said, and I'd be happy to reiterate, that we welcome the scrutiny of public hearings and I hope that your party and you as leader of your party will take up the offer and continue to discuss this with the House leader, because we certainly welcome public hearings on this matter.

Mr Rae: The minister has the power to cut anybody off who he disagrees with. He has the power to cut anybody down who criticizes him in public. He has the power to decide to go into a community and to say, "I like that hospital; I don't like that hospital," and close them. There is nothing in this act, under section 6 on page 49; there is no appeal procedure, there is no process procedure, there's no guarantee of a hearing, there's no access by the public.

The Attorney General should be concerned. This grants more power to a single minister of the crown with respect to the public health of this province than we have ever granted to an individual in the entire history of Ontario. It's preposterous.

Section 6, under page 49, gives you more powers. You have powers to do absolutely anything you want. You have more power than anyone. You become absolutely lord of the entire system. Technically speaking, you are the dictator of this system. You dictate what will happen, you dictate who will receive money, you dictate who will be cut, you dictate everything. You become the dictator.


Why would any Legislature in its right mind -- why would the public of Ontario want to give to one individual, whether he was a New Democrat or a Liberal or a Tory, the kind of powers that you're assuming in this act? It's ridiculous --

The Speaker: The question has been asked. Minister?


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

Hon Mr Wilson: A former Premier of this province should know that since 1931 the Minister of Health in this province has had the power to cut off funding to hospitals and hence put them out of business, close hospitals. That has always been a power in the Ontario Public Hospitals Act. We think that is the wrong way to go about bringing efficiencies and quality and to go about restructuring the hospital system.

Therefore, on the advice of our partners, on the advice of local communities, we are putting in place a system whereby a Health Services Restructuring Commission will be able to, at arms's length from government, use the authority in the act to work with local communities to implement -- not write, but implement -- their restructuring reports as recommended. That is exactly what the bill says. The bill says this authority will be delegated to a Health Services Restructuring Commission, if you read on a little further.

Starving hospitals to death is wrong. We needed a new approach that works in partnership with the communities to help them implement their studies and to take the politics out of health care, and that's why we're setting up a Health Services Restructuring Commission, to work on implementing the studies that are done by local communities.

The Speaker: New question, the member for Oriole.

Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): My question is also to the Minister of Health, and I want to continue to raise concerns about the extreme and absolute powers that he is giving to himself in regard to Ontario's hospitals.

On November 23, prior to the introduction of Bill 26, you told this House that any changes you were contemplating for the Public Hospitals Act were being made at the request of your partners, the Ontario Hospital Association. I quote the minister: "In meetings recently with the Ontario Hospital Association, they have asked us to consider a number of tools that they would like in place and would like this government to consider."

Well, here's what the OHA, the Ontario Hospital Association, has to say in a news release yesterday, "The amendments to the Public Hospitals Act go far beyond what is required in terms of restructuring alone and undermine the principle of voluntary hospital governance in this province." The minister is not listening. The Ontario Hospital Association goes on to say, "Our major concerns are with the scope of the power that the legislation confers on the minister to unilaterally intervene in the operation of a hospital not only to close and/or merge a hospital or hospitals but also to specifically define the services that a hospital will provide." The Ontario Hospital Association says that, "Public input is needed before Bill 26 is passed before Christmas," as is the intention of this government.

Minister, why are you and your colleagues, the Premier, the Minister of Finance, ramming this legislation through this Legislature? Why won't you take the advice of your partners, the Ontario Hospital Association, who say that this bill goes too far in conferring absolute powers on you? Why will you not hold full public hearings?

Hon Mr Wilson: To the honourable member for Oriole, yes, we are offering public hearings on this. We are talking today with the Ontario Hospital Association. Hopefully, I'll be meeting with David Martin tomorrow to see what he means, because it's not what he said to me personally, and I'll find out what he means. If they or the honourable member have any constructive suggestions in terms of amendments, I'd be very, very pleased to take those into consideration.

Mrs Caplan: The minister is prepared and this government is prepared to ram this bill through the Legislature by December 21, before Christmas, with very, very limited public hearings -- unacceptable to the people of this province and unacceptable to the Ontario Hospital Association.

On July 26, 1993, the Minister of Health, then the Health critic, spoke against the government of the day, the NDP's Bill 50, a piece of legislation which he knows and he believed gave that Minister of Health powers and was pushed through the Legislature in what I felt was an unfortunate manner.

But here is what Jim Wilson, Health critic, had to say at that time: "I think cabinet ministers should take...an oath to the people of this province,...such an oath that would require cabinet ministers...to go to the public when they want to make major changes..., when they want to make a draconian power grab unto themselves, to tell every patient in this province: what services he or she will be entitled to under medicare...."

That's what Jim Wilson had to say in this House. That's what he said when he was Health critic just two short years ago. Minister, you're a disgrace to the office. Minister, isn't that exactly what you are doing now in attempting to ram through changes to the Public Hospitals Act, changes that your partner, the Ontario Hospital Association, says go too far, powers that are absolute and allow you to dictate to every hospital in this province? Minister, how can you contradict yourself? How can you cross the floor and do exactly what you accused the government of doing when you were Health critic?

Hon Mr Wilson: When all three parties tell us they endorse restructuring, and when you then go to your partners and they tell you what tools they need and you put them in legislation, and now we get all kinds of concerns expressed -- I want to tell you what Murray MacKenzie, who's the chief executive officer of North York General Hospital, did on Saturday. He went to the Attorney General's constituency office. This is a gentleman who endorsed the Liberals' red book. He expressed his frustration and concern with the fact that opposition members in this House are stalling the government from getting on with setting up the Health Services Restructuring Commission, setting up the commission and getting on with hospital restructuring and bringing all those political games back into the process. That's someone who endorsed the Liberals' red book and their provisions on health care.


The Speaker: New question, the leader of the third party.

Mr Rae: We're now accused by the minister of stalling legislation that wasn't even called when the accusation was made. It's a little hard.

I'd like to ask the minister to get out his copy of the bill and have a good look at section 6 of schedule F, page 49. Have a good look at it.

Mr Bradley: All the other Tory members get yours out.

Mr Rae: If you have your copies, get them out as well. I want the minister to know that this is what the Ontario Hospital Association objects to, and this is what any rational person would object to, because it says,

"6.(1) The minister may direct the board of a hospital to cease operating as a public hospital on or before the date set out in the direction where the minister considers it in the public interest to do so."

It then goes on to say,

"(2) The minister may direct the board of a hospital to do any of the following on or before the date...:

"1. To provide specified services....

"2. To cease to provide specified services."

"3. To increase or decrease the extent or volume of specified services."

It then goes on to say:

"(5) The minister may make any other direction related to a hospital that the minister considers in the public interest."

This is not restructuring; this is not a community-based process. I have gone to bat for restructuring, I have been heckled for restructuring, I've been criticized by you, Minister, for restructuring, and now I want to say directly to you, sir, where do you get off with giving yourself this kind of power where it is not necessary? We don't need this to effect restructuring in the system. This is arbitrary power, arbitrary and capricious, under those definitions.

There is nothing in this act which restricts your power, other than your own personal definition of what you think is in the public interest to do. You don't even have to consult with the Premier, let alone your caucus colleagues.

As for Mr MacKenzie from the North York hospital, I'm glad he's happy. Maybe he's not on the list. Maybe if you talk to the folks at Branson, you wouldn't get quite the same response, because they know they're on the list. The people who are on the list are worried. They're worried about due process; they're worried about fair treatment; they're worried about their right to appeal; they're worried about what happens to their community facility. As Minister of Health, you have a responsibility for those people just as much as I do.

Hon Mr Wilson: The authority mentioned in the section quoted by the honourable member does not differ significantly from the authority currently bestowed upon the minister in the Public Hospitals Act through the appointment of supervisors. We know that in a couple of cases in the last 10 years -- and this authority in the past has been used rarely and the intention in the future is that it be used scarcely and rarely -- it was to send in supervisors to work with boards, at times to dismiss boards, to change the operations of a hospital. It is a very rarely used provision.

This new wording gives greater protections than the old act, because "in the public interest" is clearly defined earlier in the bill. "In the public interest" is the same safeguard and limitation that the Honourable Elinor Caplan, when she was Minister of Health, introduced into the Independent Health Facilities Act. We have simply taken that provision, which was good enough back in 1988-89 to limit the powers of the minister, and put it in this bill to ensure that we do limit the powers of the minister, that there is a high test, and the test is "in the public interest," and that these powers be used in a limited and rare way.

The indication I'm getting from even affected hospitals and their chief executive officers and chairs is that they will tell you, at least privately, that restructuring is long overdue: "Get on with it." They've been very cooperative, I say to the member for York South, they've presented their cases in round two now before the district health council, they are approaching this issue in a factual way and bringing their facts and cases to the district health council. It's clear to us in cases like Sudbury and otherwise that it's very unfair to ask the same people who wrote the district health council restructuring reports to also try and implement those reports, so this legislation is to be used to help local communities implement their reports.

Mr Rae: I would say with great respect to the minister, have a look at sections 5 and 6 of the Public Hospitals Act, which I knew he was going to refer to, so I went out and got it:

"The minister may pay provincial aid to hospitals in such amounts, in such manner and at such times as the regulations prescribe."

That was the section that prevented Frank Miller from closing the hospitals that he wanted to close in the 1970s. Everybody knows that; everybody in this House can take notice of that fact and take judicial notice of it.

If you're saying you're not going to exercise these powers, that in fact you don't even need them -- I mean, you don't want them and they're certainly not different from anything that's already in place -- then I might ask a simple question: What's the rush? What's the hurry? If you don't need this legislation to save the money -- the Minister of Finance is telling us: "I need this legislation tomorrow. The credit card has run out. It's $1 million a second, it's all the 10 lost years. Give me the bill." The Minister of Health says: "I don't need these powers. What do I do with these powers? I have enough power as it is. What would I do with these new powers in the bill?"

Give me a break. Make up your minds. You're taking on these powers because you intend to use them. Otherwise, what government in its right mind would give the minister the kind of powers you've got if you didn't intend to fully exercise them? It doesn't make any sense.

Hon Mr Wilson: The authority contained in the act is intended for use, if needed, by the Health Services Restructuring Commission -- if needed.


Hon Mr Wilson: No, I've said this all the way along. I have no indication from the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council, its study and the people affected and not affected indirectly or directly in that study, that there won't be a cooperative effort made over the next few months to move forward on that restructuring. To say we're going to use these powers on such and such a date is ridiculous at this point when there's no indication that they will have to be used.

However, they do signal very clearly, as the OHA and others have asked us to do, that the government is serious about moving forward with restructuring. The whole system has been recommended by the district health council itself, and I'm confident that the people on the committee --

The Speaker: The question has been answered.


Mrs Lillian Ross (Hamilton West): My question is to the Attorney General about the perceived rise in youth crime. Ontarians across this province are deeply concerned about the perceived rise in youth crime. Criminal habits developed by these young people may stay with them all their lives, with long-term cost to themselves and society.

I would ask the Attorney General if his ministry has had discussion with the federal government about strengthening the Young Offenders Act.

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): The member for Hamilton West asks a very important question, because the government is very concerned about youth crime. We had, prior to the election, consultations all over the province, and people told us that they don't have confidence in the way the Young Offenders Act works. They don't have confidence that the Young Offenders Act is a deterrence to youth crime, they don't have confidence that it rehabilitates young offenders, nor do they have confidence that young offenders are held responsible for their actions under the Young Offenders Act.

There's currently a federal-provincial-territorial task force that's reviewing the juvenile justice system, and it's expected that it will report in early 1996. We will support all recommendations that promote public safety and that promote deterrence and rehabilitation of young offenders.

We also will be taking part in the federal government's task force that will be reviewing the Young Offenders Act and further amendments to that act.



Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The member for Oriole on a point of order.

Mrs Caplan: I have two points of order, Mr Speaker. I refer to page 18, section 23(m), which allows a member on a point of order to introduce "any matter in debate that in the opinion of the Speaker offends the practices and precedents of the House." There are two matters I would like to bring to your attention.

Today, in response to a question from the leader of the third party, the Minister of Health suggested that Bill 26, the regulation and the requirement that would deregulate drug pricing in the province, was needed because of a court case that had made this requirement of deregulation necessary. He was very specific in his response and I'm waiting for Instant Hansard, to have those exact words.

I would refer you, when you're examining this, Mr Speaker, to page 90 of Bill 26, subsection 31(1), when we're talking about unprecedented legislation. I'm glad the Attorney General is here because I think he should be aware of what this bill does.

"31(1) An order by a court made in any of the following proceedings shall be deemed to be of no effect:

"1. The application for judicial review by Apotex, Inc in the Ontario Court (General Division), court file number 670/93" and

"2. The application for judicial review by Apotex, Inc in the Ontario Court (General Division), court file number 173/95."

The Minister of Health today said that the reason he was introducing drug pricing deregulation was because he was forced to do that because of this court case. What the minister has in fact done is that he has said to an individual who petitioned to the court because he believed the law was unjust and unfair, a corporation in this case, that the judgement of that court is deemed to be of no effect in regard to those two cases.

My point of order is that I believe the Minister of Health introduced a matter into the House which the Speaker should review because I think it offends the practices and the precedents of this House. If you examine this bill, Mr Speaker, I don't think you will find legal precedent anywhere where two court actions are specifically named and a court order is deemed to be of no effect. I ask you to review that and censure the Minister of Health if he has offended the precedents and practices of this House.

My second point of order also refers to statements the minister made. Mr Speaker, you know and I know that all members of this House are deemed -- that is the right word -- to be making factual and truthful statements. I would refer again to page 18 of the standing orders, section (m): "Introduces any matter in debate that in the opinion of the Speaker offends the practices and precedents of the House."

Yesterday, in response to questions from both me and my leader, the Minister of Health responded in the following way, and I refer you to Hansard, Mr Speaker, pages 1273, 1274 and 1278 for your consideration.

On page 1274 the Minister of Health, Mr Wilson, said: "Again the honourable member for Oriole is in error. This is not an unprecedented power."

He went on to say that very similar powers: "are now bestowing in the OHIP area to ensure that we stem both patient fraud and also any provider fraud that might be going on in the system. We want to make sure that where needed, the officials -- and it's not the Minister of Health, it's officials -- have the authority."

Further on, and I'm not going to quote the whole passage, it also says: "The people of Ontario should not get worried. This is not unprecedented and it is not new."

Further, on page 1278 of Hansard, in response to a question from my leader, the Honourable Mrs McLeod, Mr Wilson, the Minister of Health, said: "Second, with respect to the release of patient information, which I think the honourable member is implying, certainly that is not allowed under this act, because the override is the Freedom of Information and Protection" of personal privacy legislation. The minister goes on, once again, to say that Mrs McLeod is in error.

We know, following discussions with the Freedom and Privacy Commissioner of this province, that the Minister of Health never consulted the commissioner, who is the authority on the freedom of information legislation.

When he said to me and to the leader of our party, the Leader of the Opposition, Mrs McLeod, that he is not taking unprecedented powers, that there is nothing new and nothing for the people of Ontario to worry about, I believe that offends the practices and the procedures of this House. Clearly, when you have an opportunity to read this bill you will find that the truth is that the Minister of Health is taking new and unprecedented powers.

I would like to quote them for you so you can consider them when you are reviewing this, and I draw your attention first to page 91. These are new powers, unprecedented powers, which the minister says he is not taking unto himself. On page 91, schedule H, subsection (4.1): "The minister may enter into agreements to collect, use and disclose personal information concerning insured services provided by physicians, practitioners or health facilities." This is a new power. In the past, ministers were only permitted to get eligibility information in this regard.

Secondly, on page 101, section 21 says:

"Section 29 of the act is repealed and the following substituted:

"(1) Every insured person shall be deemed to have authorized his or her physician or practitioner, a hospital or health facility which provided a service to the insured person and any other prescribed person or organization to give the general manager particulars of services provided to the insured person."

I don't want to try the patience of the Speaker. I'm referring him to that section; I'm not going to read the whole thing. But what is new, very new, is clause (d). Clause (d) says "for such other purposes as may be prescribed." This gives to the minister not only broad-ranging, arbitrary and absolute new powers; it also gives him the broadest regulatory powers.

Further, it goes on, and this is new, "(2) The minister or the general manager may disclose information obtained under the act if the minister or the general manager, as the case requires, is of the opinion that the disclosure is necessary." You've heard the rest and I'll refer you to that section; it's subsection (2).

Never before in the history of Ontario has any Minister of Health -- and I've sat in that chair, so I know this for a fact -- never has any Minister of Health had the authority or the power to have patient information given to them. Only the general manager had that authority and he was bound by confidentiality. I would refer you to subsection (4), which says, "No action lies against the minister or general manager" -- could I just complete this? I'll be very brief.

As you review these sections of the legislation, there is one other section on page 107, subsection (6) under "Obligation" that I ask you to review. When the Minister of Health said to this House that I was in error in my interpretation of the legislation, that the legislation is overridden by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and he said that notwithstanding the fact that he did not consult with the freedom of information commissioner, and then went on to say not to worry, I ask you to see if in fact he had offended the present practices --

The Speaker: I've heard enough. Thank you. I think it's important that it's on the record and it'll be reviewed.

The member for St Catharines.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Mr Speaker, I could move adjournment of the House, but I want to wait and ask you first if you will give us a recess so we'll have an opportunity to discuss certain matters with the government House leader and the House leader of the third party to determine where we're going with this bill.

The Speaker: Do we have unanimous consent? No.

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): Point of order, Mr Speaker.

The Speaker: Point of order, member for Windsor-Riverside.

Mr Cooke: I move adjournment of the House.

The Speaker: I have to move to a procedure before there can be any further business done.



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


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): No, it's undebatable.

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

All those opposed say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. A 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1531 to 1601.

The Speaker: Members take their seats, please.

All those in favour of Mr Eves's motion will please rise one at a time and remain standing. All those opposed will please rise.


The Speaker: If members are in the chamber, they have to vote.

All those opposed?

Under standing order 28(c), "When the members have been called in, the Speaker shall again put the question and every member present at that time, subject to standing order 12, shall record his or her vote."

I'll ask once again that those who are opposed would rise. I have no alternative but to enforce the standing orders of this Legislature. If the members are not going to vote, then I will have to name the members. The rules of the House are very clear.


The Speaker: I'll start with Mr Grandmaître. If he's not going to vote, I have no alternative but to name him. I would ask the member if he would leave the chamber, please. Sergeant at Arms.

Mr Grandmaître was escorted from the chamber.

The Speaker: Mr Curling, if you are not voting, I have no alternative under the standing rules but to name you.


The Speaker: Mr Curling has been named.

The Sergeant at Arms (Mr Thomas Stelling): Speaker, I believe force is required.

The Speaker: Under standing order 15(d), "If any member who is suspended from the service of the House refuses to obey the direction of the Speaker when summoned under the Speaker's order by the Sergeant at Arms, the Speaker shall call to the attention of the House that force is necessary in order to compel obedience and any member named by the Speaker as having refused to obey his or her direction shall thereupon, without any further question being put, be suspended from the service of the House during the remainder of the session."

Interjections: Shame, shame, shame.

The Speaker: I will recess the House until the order is clear.

The House recessed at 1609 and had not resumed by 2400.

Mr Curling was escorted from the chamber at 1011 on Thursday 7 December 1995 and the House resumed at 1015.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): When I left the chamber last we were in the midst of a vote. We will proceed.

All those opposed to the motion will please rise.

Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 55, the nays are 30.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

It being past 12 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until 1:30 next Monday.

The House adjourned at 1019.