36th Parliament, 1st Session

L040 - Thu 14 Dec 1995 / Jeu 14 Déc 1995


















































































The House met at 1002.




Mr Boushy moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 25, An Act to provide for the Observance of Remembrance Day / Projet de loi 25, Loi prévoyant la célébration du jour du Souvenir.

Mr Dave Boushy (Sarnia): I'll try to be very brief so that other speakers can contribute to this important debate. I'd like to point out too that this is the first time I speak at length.

I think the bill is clear enough to this House and to the people of Ontario. It would establish November 11, Remembrance Day, as a provincial holiday.

The reason I brought this bill forward is simple: to give deserved recognition to those who fought, died and were wounded to protect our country and defend democracy.

Ontario and Quebec are the only provinces that haven't made Remembrance Day a statutory holiday. It is time that we recognize the debt of gratitude we owe to the tremendous bravery and sacrifice of those who served for our sake.

I hope that, together, we can honour the memory of the past and keep it alive. Remember, if not for the brave veterans who served the cause of freedom, none of us, ladies and gentlemen -- none of us -- would be able to sit here this morning and go on with the business of our democratic government.

Remembrance Day is becoming just another day of the year to many people in our communities, even though it should be one of the most important days to Canadians.

My fellow colleagues, we cannot allow those who paid the supreme sacrifice to be forgotten, nor should we forget the atrocities of war faced by veterans so that we could live in a free, democratic society.

As I said, only Ontario and Quebec do not recognize Remembrance Day as a provincial holiday, and it's about time we changed that. It would be appropriate for us to move ahead with recognizing it this year, the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

Some people may argue that we can't afford to take another day off, but recognizing Remembrance Day would only bring the number of statutory holidays up to nine. I think the closure of business for one more day is a very small price to pay compared to the high price the veterans paid in order to protect our future. We owe them this respect. They paid for our future with their struggles and their lives. How can we even put a price on their sacrifice? Remembrance Day should be more than one minute of silence that's quickly forgotten as we get on with the business of the day. We owe so much to those who served and died. I don't think it's too much to ask that we give up the convenience of keeping stores and schools open on November 11.

If you give this bill your support, you will be telling those who fought for us, "We will never forget you, we will never forget what you did, and we are forever grateful."

This is a bill that should have been enacted a long time ago. I have seen tremendous support for making Remembrance Day a provincial holiday.

Up beside me in the members' gallery is Wilma McNeill. She is so aware of the importance of Remembrance Day that she has spent six years fighting to get it recognized. Last year she collected 15,000 cards of support, one of which was signed by our Premier, Mike Harris.

Today I'm not just asking you to support my bill. I'm asking you to support the memory of over 100,000 Canadians who died for us.

Allow me to read you part of some of the many letters of support Mrs McNeill and I have collected. I have the letters here, copies. I'll be glad to send them over to anyone who would like to see them. This is one from Vic Dudek, a respected vice-principal in Sarnia. He says the bill has his full support: "This is a very worthwhile endeavour."

John Stewart, vice-president of the Air Force Association of Canada, says: "That this province, one of the cornerstones of Canada, should have eliminated the recognition in the first place is a slap to those who...gave of themselves to keep this country a cornerstone of democracy. To recognize days of lesser significance by declaring them holidays makes it even more shameful."

Here's a resolution from Sarnia city council: "That Sarnia city council support the Royal Canadian Legion...and request the provincial government to declare Remembrance Day a statutory holiday."

Here's one of interest to this side of the House. Jean Charest, leader of the federal PC Party, wrote this to Mrs McNeill: "When I last visited Sarnia, I signed my name supporting your cause. I still support your cause now and wish you the best of luck."


To the other side of the House, I'd like to point out, if you're listening, from Lyn McLeod, Leader of the Opposition: "I believe that it is of utmost importance to our honour and our privilege and our history to honour and remember those courageous men and women who bravely fought to preserve our liberty." I have Mrs McLeod's letter here. If you'd like to have a copy of it, I'll be glad to send it over to you.

From the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs when she was deputy leader of the PC caucus: "This day is, without a doubt, vital to the history of our country and the world. It would be a tragedy to allow the efforts and accomplishments of our veterans, indeed, all veterans, to ever be forgotten."

The list of supporters goes on and on.

To me, and to thousands of other people, the issue is what importance and relevance we as a society give to Remembrance Day, and in particular to those men and women who risked everything for our country.

In our democratic society, cooperation is very essential, and I'm reaching out my hand and asking for the support of everyone from this side and from the other side of the House. I hope everyone here will carefully consider that before you decide how to vote.

Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): I'm quite pleased, as a matter of fact, to rise and speak in support, although briefly, of the proposed bill. I think this is a very small act that we can do in remembrance of our heroes. I'm sure we wouldn't be here in this wonderful democratic place if it wouldn't have been for the efforts, the sacrifices and the lives of those people.

Just let me tell the House how important it is and why it is so important. Almost on a daily basis, members receive delegations or groups or students from the various parts of our province here from our ridings, and it was just on Monday of this week that I had one of the groups from my own riding, from the riding of Yorkview. While we were entertaining the youngsters, going through the hallways of the House here, a young girl said: "Who are these people? What do they represent?" It was one of the pictures of a particular battle in which Canadians were involved.

We got into a little bit of discussion with the group, and I said to the teacher, "It is wonderful to see the kids here today so they can see, they can learn, they can find out," but I said, "That is not enough," and they all agreed very attentively. They said: "Yes, it is indeed not enough and we have to learn. We have to learn our history, our people, our past." We have to start as of now to say thank you to those people who have made it possible that even our own kids can go around to school, learn in a free and democratic society.

Without further ado, as I've said, there would be many, many reasons to say yes, why we should be in support of this bill. I think it is a good thing to do it, to have a particular day to remember our heroes and those who fought for us so that we could enjoy our country free and strong. Therefore, I'm very pleased and proud to support the bill as it is presented.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): I would remind those in the gallery that our rules prohibit any demonstrations, and that includes applauding.

Mr Wayne Wettlaufer (Kitchener): I rise today in support of Bill 25, entitled An Act to provide for the Observance of Remembrance Day. I stand before you and I am one with you in one of the truly great centres of democracy, our Legislature.

All too often we forget this simple fact. As members of the government or as members of the opposition, we tend to get tied up in the processes of our day-to-day functions. We tend to view the processes of this House in terms of how successful we are or were in obtaining our objectives and, in doing so, we sometimes forget that as members of the House we are all involved in democracy in action. We are involved in the processes of democracy.

I feel a great joy in being a member of this House. I have tremendous pride in being a member of the party that forms the government of Ontario. I want to say that I believe that the men and women in opposition work very hard at representing their constituents and it is their obvious hard work at putting forward their views in what they perceive as being in the best interests of their constituents that has earned them my begrudging respect.

I am raising this point because despite how much I or any other member of the government may disagree with the views of the opposition, or however they may disagree with our views, should the need ever arise, I would be among the first to defend their right to be here and to make their views known.

It is only a few short months ago that a truly momentous event occurred in the province, an election, a democratic election. The fact that our party won the election is secondary in importance to the fact that an election was held, that the people of this great province had the opportunity to cast their vote for the candidate of the party of their choice. It is this simple act of casting a vote in a multi-party duly constituted election and all that this act signifies which separates the democratic countries from the totalitarian countries throughout the world.

In this country and, in particular, in the province of Ontario, voting is such a simple process that we take it for granted. Voting in a free election without fear is a legacy which has been passed on to us from our parents, our grandparents and previous generations.

The simple act of voting is our right as members of a free democratic society. It is a right which has been given to us only by the blood, sweat and tears of hundreds of thousands of Canadians, and it is a right, a legacy which has been left to us by the tens of thousands of Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice, the men and women who fought and died, who gave their lives to defend the principle of democracy, who gave up their lives in order that we may take part in the simple process of casting a vote, who gave up their lives in order that we could be here today in one of the true centres of democracy.

My election campaign had the theme, "for the love of our children." I am proud to say that teaching our children about the importance of democracy was also a major component of the campaign. I truly believe it is absolutely essential that our children be taught the harsh realities of the sacrifices of the history that paid for their right to be members of a democratic society.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. I am proud to say that my father, Ken Wettlaufer, served overseas during the war and, like so many of his generation, my father proved through his actions that he was willing to sacrifice his life to defend democracy. I thank God he didn't have to, but he was willing to in order to defend our freedom of choice, to defend our right to elect our government and for this I am truly thankful.

Like my colleague the member for Sarnia, I believe that the time has come to increase the level of understanding among our children and among those people who are new to our shores about the history of the sacrifice in blood that has paid for our democratic right. I agree with my colleague that Remembrance Day should be more than one minute of silence and that it should also be a day of thanks to those men and women who put their lives on the line in order that we can be here today.

While it is important that we look back at our history, I would like to point out that it is equally important that we recognize the contribution of the men and women who currently serve in the Canadian armed forces. It is these men and women who not only stand to defend this country, but who have made Canada the most respected peacekeeping force throughout the world. We must be vigilant in teaching our children the valuable service of these men and women.

I don't suggest that we should add to the burden of the costs of small business by adding one more paid holiday. What I do suggest is that we reconsider some of the statutory holidays that we have and perhaps replace one of the less important ones with a statutory Remembrance Day.


Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): First, let me congratulate the member for Sarnia, Mr Boushy, who introduced Bill 25, An Act to provide for the Observance of Remembrance Day.

As far as I'm concerned, there cannot be a more significant act as to remember those who have fought for our way of life so that we today can have a semblance of freedom and democracy. All of us would agree that the torch of freedom must be and should be passed on from one generation to the next. What better way to do this than to observe a special day?

Of course, there will be those, as the member for Kitchener and the member for Sarnia have indicated, who will say that this special observance day which, as Mr Boushy pointed out, is not recognized only in Ontario and Quebec, will be somewhat costly. I think that objection may be overcome by various ways and means.

The other objection, of course, that may be raised would be that even if we declare this a statutory holiday, what guarantees do we have that the memory of those who fought for our way of life will be enhanced and preserved and that it will not, as in many other holidays, be just another indication of something that was happening in the past and will be quickly forgotten?

It seems to me that what we must do today is not only to remember those who have given their lives and who have fought without question so that our way can be maintained -- democratic principles and a life of freedom -- but it seems to me that there must be an infusion, if this day is to be observed, of a number of programs that are tightly knit and sponsored either by private organizations or by a government agency so that indeed the memory of those who have lost their lives and fought for our way of life can be maintained. Simply to declare and observe a statutory holiday is not good enough.

I know that the member for Sarnia and all of us who are here today will be in favour of this observance. However, there is nothing in this bill that speaks to a program, a sense of action, a sense that there will be a memory maintained as opposed to simply another holiday that the family can take off and go to the cottage.

Look at any other statutory holidays. Without a mission statement, without a direct way to prod the memory of all of us to remember those who fought and died, without this kind of a program, another holiday is not all that appropriate. We therefore must ensure that along with this Bill 25, An Act to provide for the Observance of Remembrance Day, there comes a way of action from this government that we will remember this special day.

I am in favour, I'm sure most of us here are in favour, and the member for Sarnia does not have to quote members of the opposition to get support. He, as we all know sitting here, has only to convince his own party, which has a vast majority of members here and who can pass this act, who can pass this bill in a split second without any of us voting in favour.

I appreciate that the member for Sarnia has quoted our leader and other members across the province on the importance of this day, but I remind him that all he has to do is to speak to a few members of cabinet, maybe just one person who is already committed to this act, and it will be done.

Our worry of course has been, as I've indicated before, that along with this special observance and along with the passage of this act comes a special program so that all of us, children, homemakers, politicians, business people, will be drawn into remembering those who have fought without question and who have died in the trenches, whether that be the conflict of the First World War, the Second World War -- whether those are conflicts within those countries that we fought against, because there too we have members who have given their lives for freedom, to destroy tyranny and dictatorship. That's why, I might add, we on this side of the House are so sensitive about your passing Bill 26.

Having said this, I know there will be certain questions, but I'm saying to you again, it is of utmost importance that everyone should remember what has taken place.

We can quote those who fell in the Korean conflict. There were 350 Canadians who gave their lives so that our men and women in arms would be supported and so that our way of life across the globe would be maintained.

There are conflicts today in Bosnia where Canadians have suffered and given their lives. There are conflicts right around the globe, and I'm sure that anyone who is only somewhat familiar with this bill on observance of Remembrance Day will certainly agree that it needs to be done.

Whether some people would like to remember solely those who fell in one war or another will be insignificant, because we know that all those who fought for freedom and lost their lives need remembrance so that our generation and the next generation and those who come after the next generation will maintain a sense that, yes, we have to give thanks to those who've given their lives for our freedom, for our democracy and so that we can speak freely in this Legislature.

So I talk to all my friends in Ontario when I say we will support this, certainly I will support this, but remember, in addition, it must be more than one minute of silence at noon when the guns salute those who have fallen. There must be a program. There must be a program in our schools so that the children will know that their way of life can be threatened at any time and so that our rights are being protected.

That is the essence of this legislation and that is the essence of what we stand for when we vote for this legislation.

Mr Gary L. Leadston (Kitchener-Wilmot): As we pass the 50th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War, the younger generation of Canadians are certainly forgetting the many soldiers who died for our country of Canada. In fact, I'm going to remind the members of the House and the people of Ontario that 68,300 Canadians died in the First World War, 46,542 died in the Second World War, and 314 died in the Korean war.

Over 115,000 soldiers died for Canada and democracy. The number of Canadians who died in the three wars is equivalent to the population of the city of Guelph and the town of Fergus combined. Think of that statistic.

I am speaking strongly in favour of the act proposed by the honourable member David Boushy, which will provide for the observance of Remembrance Day, because I believe that we need a permanent reminder to the people of Ontario to show respect for the veterans who fought and died in past wars.

Already government offices, banks, financial institutions are closed on Remembrance Day. I also believe that other businesses and non-essential institutions should also close. The closure of a business for one day is a very small price to pay compared to the ultimate sacrifice that our veterans paid in order that each one of us can live in a free and democratic society.

I would urge the members of this House to support this bill so that Remembrance Day can become more than one minute of silence.


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): I rise in support of this bill as well. I think it is a very significant act, and I would like to congratulate the member for Sarnia for bringing this forward. But as my colleague has said earlier, we need much more than this. We need the commitment from the government to actually make it happen.

I'm a newcomer like you to this particular House, and I'm not quite sure as to what the status of private members' bills are once they're passed, whether in effect it becomes a fait accompli, but we need much more than this, and we need a government that is willing to look at not only the economic issues that we face here in Ontario -- and I don't want to be partisan about this, but I find it somewhat ironic that this kind of a motion should come from a government that seems to equate everything to what's going on with the economics in this province.

But having said all that, I can't think of a better country than Canada. I know there are many members in this House who, like myself, were not born in this country, and I can't think of too many other places in this world where it would be possible for somebody who comes from another country, whether they're youngsters or in their teens or even older than that, to get the opportunity to serve at either the local level or at the provincial or the federal level.

I think we have an open society. People in this country are willing to accept people, for the most part, very quickly, and I think that one of the reasons why we have that country is for what the veterans have done from us.

I come from a community which has a strong military background. They have a strong military college, the Royal Military College, and also CFB Kingston, and I know that one of the extra special days for me, as both a local politician formerly and now as a provincial politician, is Remembrance Day, because not only do we get an opportunity to truly remember those people who fought for this country and fought for democracy, but it also gives me an opportunity to meet with many of the veterans at the various legion and air force and naval association events on that day.

As some of you may know, I was born in the Netherlands, and I think all of us remember the CBC programming that took place this May when literally for three or four days solid, for six hours a day, we were given sights of Holland and the festivities that took place there and the veterans and the manner in which they were being hailed by particularly the young people of that country.

What it indicated to me more than anything else was that all of the young people who were involved in those celebrations, even though they were in most cases two generations removed from people who have actually been involved in the war, knew about the war, knew about the contributions that the Canadian soldiers had made in the liberation of Holland, and so I think that's very important.

Why do they know that? Because they're taught that on a continuous basis in school, of the tremendous contributions that Canada made in the liberation of that part of Europe at the end of the Second World War.

I think that whatever we do, and I hope we do get this proclaimed as a national holiday and as a holiday here in Ontario officially, let us make sure that the educational programs as well in our schools continually remind our young people of the sacrifice that the soldiers have made for us, not only in the Second World War but in all the other conflicts throughout the world over the last 100 years.

I fully support the efforts of the member for Sarnia and I wish him well as undoubtedly this matter will be deliberated by cabinet as well.

Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): I'm pleased to be able to rise and speak briefly on Bill 25 and, as others have said, to congratulate Mr Boushy, the member for Sarnia, for bringing this bill before us. I will support this bill, as I hope others will as well, although I do have some concerns that I want to put before the Legislature. They're not dissimilar from the concerns that I've heard from other members who've spoken so far on this.

I think it's more than appropriate, as I believe is the intent of the bill and Mr Boushy in bringing this forward, that we continue to enhance the ways in which we commemorate Remembrance Day. I certainly take the intent of this bill in making, were this bill to become law, Remembrance Day a school holiday for the purposes of the Education Act and a public holiday for the purposes of the Employment Standards Act, to mean that we would want to add to the sense of understanding that there is already now about Remembrance Day and the sense of remembering the sacrifices that many people have made for this country and throughout the world to fight for the basic principles of freedom and democracy that we now today hold so dearly.

For all of those reasons that I know members have talked about and many people across this province feel strongly about, as do I, it is incumbent upon us that we continue to remember, particularly as we seem to be getting in time further and further away from the great conflicts that led to the establishment initially of Remembrance Day, but knowing that in fact there is still a lot of conflict across the world and that it is important therefore for us to remember, in all ways that we can, the contribution that the many men and women who have died in the many wars have made towards the pursuit of freedom and the pursuit of democratic principles.

I think for those reasons it is incumbent upon us to continue to support initiatives that allow us to focus, at least on that one day of the year, on remembering that and ensuring that we dedicate ourselves and rededicate ourselves to not pursuing solutions through war.

It is in that same context that I have one concern that I want to put before the Legislature, and it will not deter me from supporting this bill, because I think the issues, as I say, are important, but if this bill passes, before it becomes law there are ways of addressing that and I would be looking certainly to the Minister of Education and Training to provide some discussion and some leadership on this issue, and that is the part that relates to schools and the school holidays.

I'm sure, as members might know, that the change that I believe reversed, if I'm remembering correctly, and that made Remembrance Day not to be a school holiday was done purposefully to ensure that there was a focus in our schools, not just on Remembrance Day but around that time of the year, so that our young people would appreciate and understand the importance of Remembrance Day. I think it would be quite important that that not only not be lost but particularly if Remembrance Day were to now be a school holiday, that somehow that also continued to be a focus. It is one thing when schools are open on that day and children and students can participate, as they do now, in various events in the schools as well as in the community at large that aim to remember. It would be a little bit more difficult for that to be done within the school context, certainly on Remembrance Day, were it to be a school holiday, but it is not impossible, and I think that it is yet an issue that has to be addressed and should be looked at.

On the spirit of it, certainly I would support this bill, and I think it's timely, but with that one strong urging if this is going to go anywhere beyond the expression of this House in giving its support, that that is a concern I believe needs to be addressed. I see the member for Sarnia nodding and I appreciate his understanding for that notion and that concept to have to be looked at as well.


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): I too am quite frankly proud and pleased to stand and speak in support of this private member's bill. The member for Sarnia does credit to his constituents and to the people of not only his community but across the province in bringing forward this issue.

This November 11 past fell on a Saturday, on a weekend date, but the fact is that more often than not, November 11 is during a weekday. What that means is that legions in the largest part but other groups as well in our community who take on to themselves the responsibility for organizing the special event of remembrance and celebration of courage are forced to do it on a day other than November 11 itself. These are entirely appropriate but, quite frankly, it loses some of the poignancy, to think of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

I think this is a most fitting bit of legislation. I've been honoured, as you have in your own community and as Mr Boushy undoubtedly has in his, to have been able to participate in these very important days of remembrance and also days of celebration. These are days of celebration of the courage and commitment of women and men who have served this country, who have served humankind in the best tradition of concern about the state of humanity.

Don't forget that inevitably the people who gave their lives, the people who paid the supreme sacrifice in these wars and conflicts were never the old; it was the young, the youngest of our community, just as it's the youngest now who serve the world in their role, a very noble role and one that's increasingly recognized, as members of our armed forces in various peacekeeping activities, who will be called upon as we know, as they're being called upon now, to engage in policing activities in Europe, and as I say, still with the very real risk of paying that ultimate price.

I can't help but reflect, having read this short but important bill, on the fact, and I mention this every occasion on Remembrance Day in Welland-Thorold and in Port Robinson and on Decoration Day when similar ceremonies are conducted, that as the veterans of these two great world wars and the Korean War and, yes, veterans of the war in Vietnam -- Canadians served there and gave their lives. As these veterans get older and older, there are fewer legionnaires in attendance at these ceremonies.

It's with pride in my communities, and I'm sure that's not unique to Welland-Thorold but across the province, that it's young people, young women and men who are active members of the various cadet movements, young women and men who are participants in the scouting and girl guide movements who very much participate as fresh young blood in these ceremonies of remembrance and celebrations of courage. I've been pleased to be able to commend them year after year as the number of aging veterans is reduced.

I reflected today on a good comrade of the Welland branch of the legion, Jules Beauchamp, who died just a short time ago. As Jules got older and older, he found it more and more difficult to participate in the actual parading, but he would always be there with his wife at his side, helping a little bit as he hobbled along with his cane.

To his very final days, Jules, as a very important member of our community, a veteran of the Second World War, active in some of the most incredible and dangerous and tragic conflicts during the invasion of Europe, never forgot. Jules remembered. He remembered the sacrifice of his young comrades during that war and he never lost the gratitude for the fact that he was able to come back.

I knew Jules Beauchamp, knew him well and loved him, as his family did and as other members of the community did. I knew him as a mature man and then as he got older as an old man, but let's not forget that Jules Beauchamp, like his comrades when they were in Europe, liberating Europe, were but young men. They were teenagers. Most of them had no need for their shaving kits.

Let's not forget that in 1945 the population of this country was but 10 million people. The whole country of Canada had a smaller population than the province of Ontario alone today. From that 10 million came young women and men who were the best, the bravest and the most capable, and yes, far too many of them didn't return to their farms, to their parents' homes, to the workplaces that they left.

I'm pleased to see this legislation. I think it's important that we mark Remembrance Day with something that is significant by way of a statutory holiday, with the hope that this won't be regarded as an opportunity, oh, for a long weekend or an opportunity to spend another day wherever it is one might spend it at the beginning of November, but to spend that day in one's community and hopefully at the cenotaph that is there in every community in this province, the monuments to the courage and sacrifice of those young women and men from the world wars and from the conflicts, and from the peacekeeping endeavours that Canada has participated in through the United Nations, that people will take advantage of this respite from their labours, yes, to remember, yes, to mourn, and yes, to celebrate that incredible Canadian spirit that was developed during the bloodiest, most treacherous and inhuman of exercises, and not only to reflect on that but to make their appreciation, to make their cognizance of this great sacrifice known by their presence in those parades of aging legionnaires, and of young and healthy members of the current armed forces and of the cadet movements and of the girl guide and scouting movements, to march with those people and by their presence at those cenotaphs to make the comment that we will never forget, but also because of course it's important that the reason for not forgetting is so that history won't repeat itself.

As well as celebrating the courage and mourning the sacrifice, we have to reconfirm our commitment to avoiding the incredible tragedy, the beyond tragic, the inhuman phenomenon of the Holocaust, the inhuman phenomenon of the terror of fascism through Europe and through the Far East and the toll that took on not just the generation that suffered under the jackboots of those totalitarian forces, but the toll it's taken on their children, their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren, because the inhumanity of those fascist exercises wasn't eliminated at the time of liberation either in Europe or in the Far East; the inhumanity persists with us today.

To remember, to mourn, to celebrate, but to make a commitment to maintaining peace, to avoiding the bloodshed and the barbarism of war, to ensuring that we talk about things, to reconfirming our commitment to a United Nations, albeit imperfect, far superior to any of the alternatives; to be able to negotiate and talk and to understand that peace doesn't just mean an absence of war, that peace means equality and peace means economic justice, because the tragedy of hunger and starvation, the tragedy of deprivation, is surely as great as the tragedy of bombs and flames.


Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): It's a pleasure to rise today and respond to the private member's bill from the member for Sarnia. We each, I'm sure, in this House would pause with the greatest respect for those who have given indeed the ultimate gift; more specifically, on the special occasion of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Europe. It's also a reminder at this time as our troops from Canada move to Bosnia in the new role of peacekeeper and police. Canadians have been held in high esteem for their work in providing peace around the world, starting with Lester B. Pearson.

I'm also proud to make the contribution as my son is a member of the Canadian armed services.

There's another side to this issue which I need to address: Do we need another holiday? I'd like to remind members when they cast their vote, is it not more appropriate to stop, to think and to remember those who gave the greatest gift?

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey-Owen Sound): It's my pleasure to stand here and, first of all, congratulate the member for Sarnia on introducing this bill. It certainly is an important bill. I'd also like to congratulate the members in the House for, in most ways, agreeing with this bill.

I am a bit appalled and dismayed that some of the members, especially from Parkdale and Kingston and The Islands, would take this opportunity to criticize the government on other bills. There is time for that at different times in this House. I am a little appalled that they would do this on such an important issue as this. I guess they don't have confidence in themselves to be able to do this at other times, so they chose this time in the House to do this.

I'm also honoured to tell the House that I am a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 6 in Owen Sound, and this year when we paraded on November 11, probably one of the worst days we've had that I've ever paraded in weatherwise, we had more people out this year than we've ever had; one of the best parades we've ever had. I can remember that I was soaked right to the skin, as most of the other people were, but nevertheless the parade took place and people remembered, the people who showed up, and a lot of people showed up this year, and that's great. But does that go far enough? I'm not sure. Most people who work for government now have the day off, so it wouldn't be that big a thing to go on and make it a public holiday.

I'm going to support this bill and again I want to congratulate the member for Sarnia on bringing it to the House.

Mr Frank Klees (York-Mackenzie): I'm pleased to rise in support of this bill. I'm an immigrant to this country. Some years ago my parents decided that we would come to this country, and the reason for that choice, I suggest, through discussions with my parents, was that fundamentally this country was seen as a place where there would be freedom, where there would be peace and where people would be able to live knowing that the democratic rights that the men and women of this country fought for over the years would be preserved.

I'm indebted to my parents for having made that decision. I'm honoured to serve in this House as someone who wasn't born in this country, and perhaps the reason I feel such passion for the democratic process is because it was a choice my family made to be here.

I will speak very strongly in favour of supporting this bill, but I'd also like to go one step farther. I would like to suggest that what's at stake here is not that we have another holiday, but that we would take the time throughout the course of that day and truly remember why we're setting aside the time we've chosen to set aside, and that it wouldn't just simply become another day, as many other holidays become, to forget the spirit and the intent of that day.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to suggest that in this country, and in this province specifically, we urge our Minister of Education and Training to put some thought into ensuring that our young people, as they come through our educational system, are made aware of the heritage of our country and of this province, and that the young people in our province, particularly on Remembrance Day, know why we've taken the time to celebrate, to observe, and that the young people in this province have a true and sincere understanding of the importance of democracy, of what democracy has cost and the lives that have been laid down to preserve it.

Mr E.J. Douglas Rollins (Quinte): It gives me great honour to rise in support of this private member's bill. I'm fortunate to have in Trenton one of the largest armed forces positions there is, not just in Ontario but in Canada. Since I'm new to government, this year was one of the first times I have taken the time to go to that monument, to lay that wreath. We had some 1,500 people stand out in the pouring rain with no umbrellas, because those people of Trenton don't believe in umbrellas. We all got wet.

We've got to make sure that the people who now are growing old tell those stories, put them in records, so that two or three generations from now our people who are away from the ability to have touched people who have been touched by that war and that disaster -- we need to have those stories in the records to make sure our future generations understand and still remember the great sacrifice those men and women made.

Mr Boushy: I'm the type of person who believes, as I indicated earlier, that cooperation is essential in our democratic society. I want to thank my fellow colleagues from both sides of the House for their support. It is very important to me and my riding that this be a unanimous vote in the House.

In regard to some concerns, I'd like to point out to my fellow colleagues that this is going to a committee to go over the concerns. I'll be very happy to bring up all the concerns they have regarding a definite program for the schools in our communities as well as the need for another holiday. Perhaps we can come up with a plan for replacing another holiday. I'm very pleased with the support, and thank you very much.



Mr Agostino moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 22, An Act to provide for an Oath of Allegiance for the Members of the Legislative Assembly / Projet de loi 22, Loi prévoyant le serment d'allégeance pour les députés à l'Assemblée législative.

Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): First of all, I'd like to thank the members on all sides of the House for the interest and the number of calls from people who have taken the opportunity to speak to me about this bill and to clearly understand what the bill is today and what the intent of this bill is, and I appreciate that.

If this bill is approved today by my colleagues in the Legislature, it would require elected members of the House to swear allegiance to both the Queen and to our country, Canada. We'd become the first Legislature in Canada to have such an oath of allegiance to Canada.

I would like to give some background about the oath and the historic significance to this House and to this country. The first mention of an oath in Canada dates back to 1774 in the Quebec Act. As some members may be aware, there was no legislature in British North America at that time. All legislation pertaining to what is currently Ontario was passed in Westminster.

However, public officials took an oath at that time which read as follows:

"I do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King George, and him will defend to the utmost of my power against all traitorous conspiracies and attempts whatsoever which shall be made against his person...and I will do my most to endeavour."

In 1791 the first Legislature was created in Upper Canada and Lower Canada. At that time, the members of the House took an oath which was identical to the oath of allegiance that members of the British Parliament still take today. It reads:

"Do you swear by Almighty God that you will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors according to law?"

In 1867, with the passing of the British North America Act, the oath of office which we take today came into effect. In the 128 years since, this oath has not changed. Even in 1982, when the Constitution was patriated, the oath remained the same.

That it has not changed in 128 years is a very powerful message. This original oath has deep-rooted meaning and tradition to me. And I want to reassure members of this House that the passing of this additional oath today will not in any way, shape or form alter the original oath to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II which has been prescribed in the Constitution and which this Parliament does not have the power to change whatsoever. What we have the power to do is add a second oath to it which would be the oath to Canada.

What I'm proposing today, in my view, will make a change for the better. We can build on this very powerful tradition, heritage of this country with a stronger oath that not only captures our history, our roots in this country, our traditions, but also reflects the realities of today.

A couple of days ago, the Solicitor General announced in this House a bill that would allow police officers now the option to swear allegiance both to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and to Canada.

What we are doing today is basically making the same requirement to members of this Legislature. That oath will allow members of this House to swear the original constitutionally prescribed oath and make it mandatory that we also take a second oath to Canada.

I'll read what this new oath combined that we will all take would read:

"I, (member's name), do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors according to law. So help me God."

We would then add a second part:

"I, (full name of member), do swear (or solemnly affirm) that I will be loyal and bear true allegiance to Canada and that I will perform the duties of a member honestly and justly, in conformity with the Constitution of Canada."

As you can see, Bill 22 will not eliminate the oath of allegiance to the Queen. The oath as prescribed by the Constitution, as I've said earlier, we do not have the power or authority or, I believe, the right to change. However, we have the right and the power and the authority to add a second oath to it.

I came to Canada when I was nine years old. My parents, fortunately, chose Canada as a country where they were going to raise their family and try to make a better life for themselves. I'm very proud of this country. I'm very proud of the opportunity that Canada has given myself and millions of other immigrants over the years, people who came to Canada simply with a hope for a better life and came to a country that gave them that hope, that with hard work, with commitment, with dedication, we can succeed and you can make a better life for yourself.

I'm very proud to be living in the best country in the world, and it is a country where people line up daily to try to get into, and it is a country I know we're all very proud of.

I think it is important for us as Canadians to start speaking out more proudly, more openly, about our country. We shouldn't be afraid to use the word "Canada." We shouldn't be afraid to tell the world how proud we are of this country of ours, how proud we are of living in the best country in the world.

It is time for us as Canadians to start waving the flag a little higher and say "Canada" a little louder so people around the world continue to hear our message and hear our message about this great country of ours.

I remember my frustration last June when I could not take an oath of allegiance to Canada. It's bizarre that if a member today in this Legislature chooses on top of the original oath to swear allegiance to Canada, he cannot take his seat in the Legislature. I can tell you that in most other countries around the world, elected officials would be barred from holding office if they did not swear allegiance to the country which they're serving in.

In Ontario, if you choose to swear allegiance to Canada you cannot sit in the Legislature of this province.

When I was in Montreal with the unity rally I was amazed, and with great pride, at the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who had taken the time to speak out for Canada, and at the people of my riding who boarded buses at 3 o'clock in the morning to be in Montreal, along with people from every riding across this province and across this country. I was amazed at the people who stood beside me who had travelled from the Yukon to be in Montreal that day, to do their part to keep Canada together. It was amazing to see thousands of Canadians who spent sleepless nights and dozens of hours to be there and to say to Quebec, to Canada and to the world how proud we are of our country and that, yes, Canadians are willing to make a personal sacrifice on behalf of this wonderful country of ours. It is a very powerful message and a message that should not be lost on us.

In our country's history, it was never more important than today that as leaders in our communities we stand up and speak about our patriotism, our allegiance and our love for Canada. I feel that as leaders in our communities, when taking the oath of office we should state how proud we are to live and serve in this country.

The Premier is on record in June of last year of supporting a change that would include Canada in the oath of allegiance. Yesterday morning the Solicitor General -- on radio 640, Roy Green -- stated he would support this bill and the change that would add the oath of allegiance to Canada to the current oath which we now have. We can make history. We can be the first legislative body in Canada whose members take an oath of allegiance not only to Her Majesty the Queen but also to our country, Canada.

I have been extremely encouraged by the phone calls, the letters, the emotions that Ontarians and Canadians have expressed to me over this issue. I received letters from people right across this province. I received calls from right across this country.

My friend the member for Sarnia, in the previous motion, moved a very important bill in regard to the recognition of our war veterans in this country. Some of the most moving calls that I received over this issue and in June over the oath issue were from veterans, people who fought on behalf of this country. A gentleman, 80 years old, who called me from Saskatoon in tears, emotional about Canada, told me how important it was to him that we as Canadians start reflecting more proudly, speaking about our country, and that our institutions must start to reflect that.

I do not want to take anything away from tradition and heritage of this country, a tradition and heritage that made us the country we are today. The role of the Queen, the heritage, is extremely important to us. It is important to me because, as someone who came from another country and was allowed to maintain his heritage, his background, his culture, I very much appreciate the heritage, the culture and the history of this wonderful country of ours, and I want to maintain that. But I also want to strengthen it with the realities of Canada in 1995 and to the year 2000. That reality is that we have a different country and that the oath should reflect the changing of Canada. I urge my colleagues in the House today from a basis a unity, of goodwill, of what I believe is a move that is positive for all of us to support this bill and ensure that the next Legislature of this province not only swears allegiance to the Queen but also swears allegiance to Canada.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): I am pleased to rise today and indicate my support for this bill presented to us today by the member for Hamilton East. I want to stress a couple of things in indicating my support and in urging members of the assembly to support this bill, and those are points that certainly the member for Hamilton East has already made but I think bear underscoring.

The first is that this bill, in proposing that members of the assembly swear an oath to Canada and to the Constitution of Canada, does not replace the existing oath; in fact, it is added to the existing oath. That's important because I think the discussion around whether the existing oath should be replaced is really another discussion.

I think again -- and this is the second point -- as the member himself pointed out, it really is not even within the purview of this Parliament to change the existing oath, but it is certainly within the purview of this Parliament to add the oath that is being proposed today.

But the essential point there is that we, therefore, can do something which I think is quite significant, which is to indicate as members of the Legislative Assembly our allegiance and our loyalty to Canada as a country and to the Constitution of Canada without in any way taking away from the whole other debate that comes around the issue of allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Whatever my views may be on that score in terms of the oath of allegiance that exists now to the Queen, I have to say that I understand and am quite respectful of the traditions that have been built up over the years that go back to the roots of this country and I actually am appreciative of the fact that we don't have to get, in dealing with this bill, into a debate about whether the existing oath should continue. It does continue and in fact it will continue until the Parliament of Canada decides otherwise.

So my only admonition, if you will, is that I certainly know the member for Hamilton East as someone who is quite colourful in the way in which he brings issues to the Legislature and I think we all recall when he brought this issue to the fore at the time that he went to take the oath, and I have no problems whatsoever with that. I think that it is within the realm of creativity of every member of this Legislature to bring issues that they believe are important to the public's attention, and so I took that, and take that even today, upon reflection, as the approach that the member for Hamilton East chose to bring this issue to the public's attention.

I was a little bit perplexed, I have to say, however, at the actions of another parliamentarian, not of this House but of the Parliament of Canada, indeed someone who holds one of the highest offices in this land, that of Deputy Prime Minister, being involved in that demonstration, because she of all people, as someone who has taken that oath by virtue of being a member of the House of Commons many a time, should have realized that it was in fact the Parliament of Canada that has jurisdiction to deal with the existing oath. So I found it a bit perplexing that she would choose the Parliament of Ontario as the place to make a statement about the appropriateness or not of the existing oath rather than the Parliament of Canada.

But coming back to this point, I do appreciate, the theatrics aside, the member for Hamilton East bringing this issue before the House. I hope that it will meet with the support of this Legislature. I know that there may be some members who may have some concerns about, does this take away from the existing oath, and I think it's quite important to continue to stress that it does not. If this were to become law, we would be continuing to take and to swear the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and, in addition to that, we would be swearing an oath or an affirmation of loyalty and allegiance to Canada and to the Constitution of Canada.

I just want to conclude by stressing those two latter points. Again as the member for Hamilton East has indicated, we tend, as Canadians, to be somewhat hesitant to use the term "Canada" to voice our allegiance to Canada as a country, and I think we should try to shed some of that hesitation, some of that quietness sometimes that seems to be prevalent. I think that it's important also in this small way for members of this Legislative Assembly to be able to swear allegiance to Canada and to the Constitution of Canada.

Certainly, at this time in the history of this country, when the future of the country continues to be under some doubt, I think this is but another small way for us as parliamentarians to say that we think Canada is not only worth maintaining as a country but is something we would have no hesitation in making part of the oath of office we would take. It's in that spirit that I see the bill that's in front of us from the member for Hamilton East. I certainly am appreciative of the fact that he's brought this issue forward, and I intend to support it and urge members to do likewise.

Mrs Julia Munro (Durham-York): I rise to join the debate on An Act to provide for an Oath of Allegiance for the Members of the Legislative Assembly by the member for Hamilton East.

In his letter to me of November 17, the member explained he had tabled this bill "not to discount the importance of an oath to the monarchy, but simply to ensure that members who serve the province of Ontario also pledge allegiance to Canada. There has never been a more important time in our history when our nation's leaders should stand up and pledge their patriotism and allegiance to Canada."

But the present oath required by the Constitution already provides that members of legislative assemblies take an oath to the legal embodiment of our country, which, as the Constitution defines, is in fact Her Majesty the Queen.

It is the office of the Queen to be the embodiment of the Canadian state and also the embodiment of the province of Ontario, and therefore to be the focus of allegiance. This office, being a part of the Constitution of Canada, cannot unilaterally be changed by a province. Therefore, this bill by the member for Hamilton East would be a defiance of our Constitution since it would deny the Queen her office.

The bill also quite wrongly assumes that taking an oath to the Queen of Canada is not at the same time taking an oath to our country. It is the Canadian law and tradition to personify the country through our Queen, who is a living person. This reaffirms that in this country and province, government is about relationships between people, not abstractions.

As the Canadian philosopher John Farthing once noted, there is a danger in depersonalizing our country. He said: "How seldom we now hear our leaders speak of the Canadian people -- the term has almost lapsed into disuse -- but only and always of Canada, which is every day shedding more of its essentially human qualities to become the ever more pure abstraction of a physical environment."

The problem with taking an oath directly to one's country is knowing exactly what one is swearing to. What constitutes one's country? Is it the rocks and trees? Is it the land itself? Is it the people? Or is it the government or someone else's vision, which we may or may not believe in?

When we swear to the Queen of Canada we know exactly who we are swearing to: the person in our Constitution who is the source of legal authority in Canada. If we swear to "Canada" undefined, we are most likely swearing to some idea in our own minds.

Oaths, however, have to be legally enforceable. They cannot be enforceable if they are made to vague and undefined abstractions or, even worse, in such a situation their enforcement would restrict legitimate freedom. For example, new Canadians coming from less democratic countries are likely to interpret an oath to an undefined Canada as an oath to the government of the day.

Furthermore, almost no country in the world has oaths to the country directly. Republics for the most part require an oath be made to the Constitution, because the Constitution is at least definable in law. Monarchies like Spain and Thailand have oaths to the King. Some countries require no oath or declaration at all from prospective citizens. Since the time of the French Revolution, France has had two kingdoms, two empires and five republics. Presumably, there is not sufficient agreement about what should be in such an oath for it to have had an oath of any kind.

Oaths are legally binding commitments, with punishments for failure to live up to them. They should therefore be precise and limited. Our current oath of office for members meets this test. Loyalty is to the personification of the state, to the Queen, who has herself previously taken an oath to govern the people properly.

Oaths to the country or to presumed social values are in fact attempts to impose ideological uniformity on Canadians and a real threat to human rights and freedoms, as such oaths have turned out to be in other countries around the globe. Canadian oaths of loyalty, however, are reciprocal. We take an oath to the Queen because she has taken an oath to us.

Under the terms of this bill, a foreign, one-way oath would be imposed on members of this Legislature. Except through the Queen, Canada is not a living person who can take an oath to us in return.

The question must be asked whether this bill by the member for Hamilton East is the beginning of an introduction of a republican-style national ideology. People who want such an ideology for Canada do not like the Queen, because she gets in the way by always bringing back to us the realization that Canada is not a collective entity but just millions of individual people with a history of living together in communities.

Official national ideologies are foreign to the Canadian experience, and they are indeed undesirable. Whenever they have prevailed in this century, it has been at a terrible cost, because such ideologies do not tolerate minority views. Such national ideologies are insatiable. They require an enemy, such as an imagined foreign, ethnic or racial threat to feed their fires.

Canadians do love their country and are proud of the many diverse cultural groups that go to make up our unique mosaic. It is the crown that binds us together as a nation, personifies our values and country, and protects our cultural, religious and political rights. Under a national ideology, such tolerance and the development of multiculturalism, as it has in Canada, would have been impossible.

How is Canadian unity served by this bill? Does the member for Hamilton East honestly believe that Canada will be inspired not to separate through an additional oath to Canada? Will leading Quebeckers ever take an oath to Canada? They will not, since "Canada" for them means English Canada. But they will take and have taken an oath to the Queen of Canada.

René Lévesque often remarked that the crown is the one institution in Canada that has protected French language, culture and legal institutions from assimilation by English Canada, and that that was why, as long as Quebec remained a part of Canada, he would continue to swear allegiance to the Queen.

It is clear that Canadians must build on the unity they have already from the basis of the Queen, which we often tend to overlook as our best guarantor not only of our laws and freedoms but also of our unity as a nation. The Queen is not only the personification of the Dominion of Canada but also the personification of the province of Ontario. As the great Liberal Senator Eugene Forsey explained, in Canada there is only one authority, the Queen, manifested through 11 governments.

This is distinctive to Canadian federalism. In the United States, the President is only head of the central government, the governors are heads of the states, and there is no uniting authority. When we take an oath to the Queen, we are taking an oath to Her Majesty in her federal and provincial realms and reaffirming the essential unity of the two.

If we were to separate the Queen and Canada, as this proposed bill would do, we would also be separating Canada and Ontario, and Canada and Quebec, for the Queen is the only institution who is both federal and provincial at the same time. If there were an oath to Canada, would we not also need a separate oath to Ontario, as this is a provincial Parliament? These divisions would certainly give comfort to separatists.

Perhaps if the member for Hamilton East had read the recent study by a Canadian political scientist entitled The Invisible Crown, he would not be bringing forward this bill today.

This proposed additional oath would also be open to legal challenges. The Constitution establishes the conditions under which a person may sit as a member of this House. Can this House unilaterally establish additional conditions? Could a person who took the required constitutional oath be refused his or her seat? I think not.

By imposing two oaths, the member for Hamilton East is certainly calling the oath to the Queen into doubt as an oath to the country. If that is so, he and other members of his party should consider this: This bill proposes to sacrifice Canadian traditions and political culture, the Canadian Constitution, Canadian unity and Canadian freedoms to a public relations proclamation. This is unacceptable and I cannot support it.

This bill does highlight a problem, but it is not the one the member for Hamilton East suggests. The current oath is not the problem, nor are our Canadian institutions. Our problem is that successive governments have not explained our existing institutions that serve us so well.

The solution is to ensure that all Ontarians understand that the current oath to the Queen is also, through Her Majesty's coronation oath, an oath to the people of Ontario on behalf of the Queen. I therefore propose a possible preamble to be read in public by the Clerk of the Assembly to members of the Legislative Assembly before they take the constitutional oath required of them, as follows:

"Her Majesty the Queen is the embodiment of the sovereign authority of Canada and Ontario. At her coronation Her Majesty took an oath to govern the people of Canada according to their laws and customs and to cause law and justice, in mercy, to be executed in all her judgements. You are now asked to take the oath of allegiance by which you will be binding yourself to Her Majesty's oath to the Canadian people and, through Her Majesty, committing yourself to serve the people of Ontario."

Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): I rise in support of my colleague from Hamilton East --

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey-Owen Sound): Surprise, surprise.

Mr Duncan: -- and I rise in a non-partisan fashion.

Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): As you always do.

Mr Duncan: Listen, some of us take this very seriously.

I recognize the significance of his bill. When I took my oath, I swore allegiance to the Queen, and I was proud to do so and I have no qualms about doing so. But I would like to swear an allegiance to my country. My country is very well defined for me. I understand my country. The wording that's been proposed in the bill simply allows us as members of a Legislature, upon taking office, to further our obligation and further our commitment to this country.

Nous sommes ici dans cette Chambre et nous comprenons que le pays du Canada est un grand pays et nous voulons faire une obligation à notre pays et à nos citoyens. Moi, je suis fier de soutenir mon collègue de Hamilton East and say that I am prepared to honour our traditional oath and our constitutional and political heritage, as well as recognize our country.

We should approach this not in a partisan fashion but as one small step in furthering our country at what is obviously a difficult crossroads in her history, standing up as elected members in this House, representatives of our home communities, and saying that this bill deserves to be passed, deserves to be recognized. Our oath of office, while reflecting our traditions, should reflect our country.

I'm proud of the way my colleague has raised this issue. Like him, I come from immigrant stock, although I'm not a first-generation Canadian, and I'm proud and would be proud to be able to swear the additional allegiance to our country.


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): It's interesting that this bill is juxtaposed to the one we debated earlier this morning, because of course we talked earlier about veterans, the young women and men who fought so bravely in the two world wars, in the Korean war and in other conflicts, and they of course were part of Her Majesty's or His Majesty's forces, had no qualms and were proud to be.

I've got to tell you, Speaker, I'm troubled by this bill. I truly am. I listened carefully to Ms Munro from Durham-York. I think I understand her analysis and, quite frankly, believing that, I tend to concur. We have tended to personalize the monarchy, and not that the monarchy is impersonal, but by the process of -- I suppose it's the phenomenon of postwar, post-1950s certainly, media intervention and exposure to the individuals and again the sort of bent that's developed in England and in North America.

But there's a failure here to understand, in my view, that the Queen is the head of state, as distinct from the head of government. I think that's a very important part of our democratic political life and institutions. It certainly distinguishes us from republican communities, where the two are merged. And to maintain that distinction, I submit, is very, very important.

I hope this doesn't surprise you and I hope it doesn't offend those people when I mention it, but I was very honoured -- as a matter of fact, it was along with Bill Vankoughnet from Frontenac-Addington -- that I received an honorary membership in the Monarchist League of Canada. I accepted that gratefully and I value that very much.

I think this bill is not particularly well thought out. Comment has been made already on what it means to bear allegiance to Canada as distinct from, for instance, to commit oneself to a unified and maintaining a united Canada.

Canada is growing. It's a very young country, but we've seen in the course of its 125-plus years that Canada has changed dramatically in terms of what territories constitute Canada. We certainly don't want to see the country diminished in any way. We certainly don't want to see it lose any of its parts, any of that mosaic that makes a strong, united country.

I want to tell you clearly that when I swear allegiance to the Queen -- and I'm pleased at the Solicitor General's announcement this week about returning that oath of allegiance for police officers -- I understand that the Queen is the head of state of Canada and that it's inherent in doing that that I'm swearing allegiance to the Constitution of my country, to the unity of Canada, in my mind. At the same time, unfortunately and sadly, there are a whole lot of -- yes -- Canadians who do not understand the role of the monarch in our constitutional monarchy and the important role that the monarch, she or he -- she at present -- plays in the workings of democratic institutions.

So I'm going to say this, and I know that I'm liable to be criticized, but that's nothing new: I'll be more than pleased to hear from members of the Monarchist League, because I feel at this point on second reading to support in principle this bill, having made clear that I regard it to be redundant. I know that this government would want this bill to go into committee, this government would want this bill to be discussed by all members of the community, and Mr Agostino should be given the opportunity to justify the need for an oath to Canada and why in fact that would be needed when there's already an oath to the Queen.

As a monarchist, as somebody who I believe understands the role of the monarchy, I think the oath to the Queen is important in our lives. Similarly, this warrants debate. Although not overly comfortable with it, I will support it because I would very much like to see that debate continue.

Mr Baird: I am pleased to rise today to speak to my colleague from Hamilton East's private member's bill. I would like to raise a number of concerns with the bill that Ontarians have shared with me, especially members of loyal societies such as the Monarchist League of Canada who are dedicated to promoting public awareness about the contemporary role of the crown and constitutional monarchy in our society. One such concern is that the proposed bill before us this morning is an attempt to bring in republicanism by the back door.

It is important to note that the current oath of office for members of the Legislative Assembly is already an oath to Canada, as legally defined and provided for in the Constitution of Canada, where the Queen is defined as the only legal embodiment of Canada, as our country's head of state.

Although my friend from Hamilton East states that his proposed bill is not a challenge to the role of the Queen in our society, in pith and substance it does represent such a challenge. The only justification for taking an additional oath is to ensure that the second oath deals with matters that are not touched on by the first one. It is clear that the intent of this proposed bill is to call into question that an oath to the Queen of Canada is at the same time an oath to the people and country of Canada.

But it has also been the historic Canadian practice to personify the country and province through the Queen to emphasize that government is about people and the relationships between people. To alter this long-standing aspect of Canadian life would be to undermine the distinct Canadian identity in North America.

In addition, another important concern is that an oath of office is a legally binding oath for members of the Legislative Assembly. The focus of our allegiance must therefore be definable under the law. This is why the republican oaths of allegiance are directed to their constitutions or another symbol which mediates the concept of national loyalty in a concrete fashion. The Liberal private member's bill represents a subtle form of republicanism.

It comes as no surprise given the current situation with the federal Liberal government and proposed changes to the Canadian Citizenship Act which cause a number of us great concern. This new republican declaration proposed by the Liberal minister Sergio Marchi in fact contains no reference to the Queen, and although the Chrétien government has not officially sanctioned any new citizenship oath, it will soon announce a decision. We sincerely hope that decision will include maintaining the monarchy in that oath.

Recently, the federal Liberal government announced a new coat of arms, changing it without even any consultation to both the Parliament and the people of Canada, and that caused great concern to many of my constituency.

Changing the oath of allegiance to downplay the monarchy will not change the political course of Quebec separatism, which is, I suppose, an honourable goal.

I speak for many Ontarians when I say that I will not support this proposed bill which goes counter to the best established traditions of this House, of the province, and of this Dominion. God save the Queen.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): I will be supporting this bill.

Je crois qu'il est grandement temps de parler des pommes lorsque c'est le temps de parler des pommes, et de parler des oranges quand c'est le temps de parler des oranges.

Je crois que la confusion qui existe dans cette Chambre ce matin démontre très clairement comment certains Canadiens ne sont pas vraiment fiers de leur appartenance. Je crois que ce projet de loi ne met pas de côté la reine du Canada. On célèbre la reine du Canada, mais par contre, l'allégeance ou le «Je serai loyal envers le Canada» inclut la reine.

Je félicite mon collègue de Hamilton-Est qui, encore une fois, nous rappelle qu'il faut être fier comme Canadiens et d'employer le mot «Canada» à tous les instants.

Moi, personnellement, je n'ai jamais pensé que la reine n'était pas ma reine ; j'ai toujours pensé qu'elle l'était. Par contre, je crois qu'il est grandement temps, avec toutes les choses qui se passent dans notre Canada, avec les résultats d'un référendum qui a été très près, de se dire fiers Canadiens et de démontrer à toute instance que nous voulons être de fiers Canadiens.

Alors, j'appuierai ce projet de loi et je demande à ceux qui l'opposent de penser très sérieusement aux conséquences. Je rappelle que nous sommes Canadiens, de fiers Canadiens, et qu'on mette de côté nos petites différences, que nous soyons unis et que nous soyons fiers d'être Canadiens. C'est pourquoi je vais appuyer le projet de loi 22.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I just want to make two points here and put them on the record. First of all, there's the whole question of what this motion speaks to. I guess on the surface I don't have a problem in where the member is going with this and certainly wouldn't have a problem supporting it.

I believe that to swear allegiance to not only Her Majesty the Queen but our Constitution makes ample sense. Unfortunately, this is not a matter that can be dealt with legally through this Legislature; there has to be an act of the Parliament of Canada, as I understand it, in order to be able to change our particular allegiance, our particular oath. I would just point that out.

I just want to speak to something I've heard the Conservatives talking about on this motion, and that is their view that somehow or other the member for Hamilton East is trying to sneak republicanism through the back door. I have an extreme amount of difficulty when I hear Conservatives railing against republicanism, because they are the party, quite frankly, that is moving closest to republicanism in the United States in the history of this province.

We see the government of Ontario time and time and time again doing away with the social programs that I think identify us as Ontarians and as Canadians. If we're seeing one thing through the entire national debate that we've had on national unity over the past number of years, it's that up until about 10 years ago, Canadians identified themselves through their social programs and through the national institutions of this country. People identified themselves as Canadians through the CBC, through the national energy program, through Petrocan, through our health care system, through our welfare system, and they said, "Canada is truly a country that is different than the United States because we believe, since the inception of our nation, that we need to work hard at making sure we have programs and we have a system of government that binds us Canadians together from east to west and not north to south."

If Canadians today in Quebec, and I think Canadians across this country, are worrying about what's going to happen to the future of Canada, I would say greatly it's because Canadians don't see themselves any more when they look at their governments and they look into our country. Because when they're looking at more and more our governments both in Ottawa and within the provinces, and especially now here in Ontario, where the governments are taking away the very underpinning of what our society is all about, they wonder: Will we have a health care system down the road? Will we have a social welfare system to take care of our poor and our needy? Will we have the CBC? Will we have all of those things that we need in order to be able to identity ourselves as a country?

I think, justifiably so, Canadians and Ontarians are somewhat worried and somewhat preoccupied about where their governments are taking them.

So I would just say to my friends from the Conservative Party, to try to wrap this thing up in voting against it on the basis of you seeing this approaching us to republicanism, you certainly don't have ground to stand on there. In fact, the Tories, if I remember correctly, are the ones who went to the Republican Party of the United States and got some of their campaign organizers to come into Canada, into Ontario, last year to help them develop their election platform. I see that as more of an attempt to move us closer to republicanism than I would ever see this particular motion trying to do.

I would say to the member for Hamilton East that I have no difficulty in supporting the motion. I think it makes ample sense. I think that as a Canadian, as an Ontarian, I should be swearing allegiance not only to Her Majesty the Queen and her heirs but also to the Constitution that we, as legislators, both at the provincial and federal levels, are sworn to protect and to uphold.

I would certainly urge the member to talk to his federal counterparts in Ottawa in order to get them to move our oath of allegiance closer to what you're trying to do within this motion, but on principle, I don't have a problem.

On that, I would like to thank the member for bringing forward this motion, and certainly I have no difficulty supporting it.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): Let me first of all say that every day here brings a new series of surprises to me as a new member. I honestly could not believe some of the comments that I heard earlier, particularly from the member for Durham East, as to why we should not be swearing allegiance to Canada as well as to the Queen.

Let me first of all say that the Queen is a symbol not only for Canada, as the head of state for Canada, but for the entire Commonwealth, as a matter of fact, and no one is suggesting that symbol ought to be removed. Besides, she is a very charming individual who has worked very hard for the people in the Commonwealth in her capacity over the last number of years, and I'm sure we all wish her well, because she is a very dedicated individual and somebody that we in Canada ought to be extremely proud of.

But we live in a changing society, and just because something is a tradition, that doesn't necessarily mean that something should remain static and the same. Over 40% of the people who live in Canada now do not have their roots in this country and they find it extremely difficult to relate to the Queen as the head of state. In my capacity, both present and formerly, I constantly reminded people of the positive aspects of having the Queen as our head of state, and I think that people, once it is explained to them, do realize that and do accept her as that. She's certainly held in extremely high regard throughout Canada.

This whole debate reminds me a little bit of the flag and anthem debate that took place in Ottawa some time ago, that merely because we are adding a new symbol to our nationalism, we are thereby somehow detracting from other symbols that we hold dear in this country, and I totally reject that.

To suggest that by swearing allegiance to Canada, we don't know what we're swearing it to -- as the member for Durham East said, "Are we swearing it to the lakes, the rivers, the countryside" or whatever -- is no different than, who are we really singing to when we sing O Canada? What are we singing to? It's a song that we are extremely proud of, and it doesn't take away for a moment the regard that many people, including myself, still have for God Save the Queen. I know many of the organizations that I belong to make a habit of singing both anthems, one usually at the beginning of a meeting and the other at the end of a meeting. I think that shows solidity and it shows an understanding of the traditions in this country.

Let's go back to what happened in Montreal just before the referendum in Quebec. When we think of the tremendous outpouring of patriotism, emotionalism for this country, how was that best expressed by people? It was expressed by people coming to Montreal and showing that by waving flags, by singing O Canada. Now, can we go back to the situation the way it was before the early 1960s, when we didn't have a flag and we didn't have our own anthem? I don't think that same emotionalism, that same feeling for the country, could have been exhibited in those people if we did not have those other two symbols of national unity.

Finally -- and I will be yielding some of my time to one of the Conservative members -- I just want to say this: To suggest that swearing allegiance to Canada is somehow detracting from swearing allegiance to the Queen I think is nonsense. I must admit that I was surprised when I was sworn in as a member of the provincial Legislature how short the actual swearing-in not only ceremony but statement is. I had anticipated a much longer statement, the way it is, for example, when one gets elected at the municipal or at the school board level. The mere fact of swearing allegiance to the Queen and that's all there was to it surprised me, and I think it probably surprised a lot of other members as well.

I would urge all members of this Legislature to vote in favour of this and to give us another opportunity to look further into this.

There is a real connection between the last bill that we talked about and this bill, because in the last bill every comment that was made by people in this assembly was that these people fought for Canada, the people who fought in the various wars. Who did they fight for? They fought for Canada.

I think that all we're doing by adding this to our oath of allegiance is adding the reality of the situation that currently exists in Canada to the oath, and that is that we are proud to swear allegiance, not only to the Queen of Canada but also to Canada itself.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): I will recognize the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay if there is unanimous consent to do so. Agreed? Agreed.

Mr Bill Grimmett (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): I'm pleased to speak in support of this bill today, and I want to make it clear to all members that when I speak in this House, I feel a solemn duty to represent the people of my riding. These are not just my own views.

I feel that it's important for me to indicate that I come from a family that is strong in the traditions of the English monarchy. My parents came from England as immigrants and I am a first-generation Canadian. I came from a household where whenever I questioned my mother as to why I should be cleaning up my room, she always reminded me that the Queen might pay a visit. So I'm certainly mindful of the importance of the Queen, and I certainly respect, as do people in my riding, the traditions of sharing and adopting British institutions.

I am certain that the original oath to the Queen will continue to bear currency in Ontario and that we will continue to use that, and I certainly respect that oath, but like the member for Kingston and The Islands, I was surprised when I took my oath for this Parliament that it was simply the oath to the Queen, because as a member of a school board, there were additional oaths which referred to Canada.

I see no great concern on behalf of the people that I represent in having an additional oath to Canada, because I feel it recognizes the realities of Canada in 1995. I think it would be wrong for us to ignore the fact that Canada has through its history matured and developed its own institutions, politically and socially, and I will take a moment to quote from Dawson's The Government of Canada, which I think is likely the most common reference tool on matters of government. There is a very helpful chapter, chapter 9, called The Monarchy and the Governor General. In that chapter it states:

"There is much about the monarchy that is obscure and even mystifying to many Canadians....

"What are the real functions of any head of state if there is a Prime Minister and cabinet to look after all the real executive work? The answers to these questions cannot be found in the written Constitution, which assigns the executive power to the Queen without defining what it is."

In listening to my colleagues, I heard from the member for Welland-Thorold that there is uncertainty among Canadians on exactly what the role of the monarch is in regard to politics and political power in Canada. I want to say that although I have been a student of Canadian history, I have been a law student and practised law in this country, I am among those Canadians for whom there is some mystery in how the monarchy relates to political events in Canada. So I feel it is important that members recognize not only the de jure power and authority of the Queen, but also the de facto power of Canadian political institutions and the right of a member to swear an oath, not only to the Queen but also to Canada.

Mr Agostino: I want to thank all the members of the House who have spoken on this issue today. I'm a little amazed at some of the comments, such as we're taking an oath to an undefined Canada. I can tell you, my Canada's very well defined. My Canada's very, very well defined, and I know what country I'm in, I know what this country stands for, and I take great offence at the suggestion that by taking an oath to Canada we are taking an oath to an undefined Canada or taking a foreign, one-way oath. Taking an oath to my country is not taking a foreign oath. It is taking an oath to the country that I live in, that I work in and the country that I'm proud of, and that is the best country in the world. I'm proud to be part of this wonderful country and to take an oath to Canada, and I clearly know and can define what Canada is all about.

I just want to assure members of the House, the Conservative members, the Solicitor General the other day tabled a bill in this House that in effect gave police officers the option to take one or both. That was the Conservative government. Premier Harris in June is on record as supporting a change that would add Canada to an oath. The Solicitor General yesterday is on record as supporting this change. I certainly don't believe that those two honourable gentlemen want to bring in back-door republicanism. I don't believe that the Premier or the Solicitor General of this province wants to take away from Her Majesty the Queen and the tradition of this country.

I can tell you, I understand fully the role of the monarchy, I appreciate it, and it may surprise some members, but if you walk into my office, I have a picture on the wall of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. I understand and respect the tradition of the monarchy.

What I'm asking members to do today, in a non-partisan way, is, let's add to this tradition. Let's recognize the reality of a new Canada that includes the tradition, the history, but also what Canada is all about today. Let's, in a non-partisan way, support this and let's move on with it and let's be the first province in this country to be able to swear allegiance to Canada as well.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): We'll deal first with ballot item number 13. Is there any member opposed to a vote? Second reading of Bill 25 then, An Act to provide for the Observance of Remembrance Day, standing in the name of Mr Boushy. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

The bill is ordered for committee of the whole?

Mr Dave Boushy (Sarnia): I would like this bill to be referred to the standing committee on administration of justice.

The Deputy Speaker: Carried? Agreed that it will be referred to the standing committee on administration of justice.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Ballot item number 14: Is there any member who is opposed to taking a vote at this time? Second reading of Bill 22, An Act to provide for an Oath of Allegiance for the Members of the Legislative Assembly, standing in the name of Mr Agostino. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All in favour will say "aye."

All those opposed will say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1159 to 1204.

The Deputy Speaker: Will the members take their seats. Are we ready?

Senior Clerk Assistant and Clerk of Journals (Mr Alex D. McFedries): We're just waiting for a member.

The Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the motion, please rise and remain standing.


Agostino, Dominic

Duncan, Dwight

Leadston, Gary L.

Bartolucci, Rick

Fisher, Barbara

McLeod, Lyn

Bisson, Gilles

Gerretsen, John

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Boushy, Dave

Grandmaître, Bernard

Phillips, Gerry

Brown, Jim

Gravelle, Michael

Rollins, E.J. Douglas

Brown, Michael A.

Grimmett, Bill

Ross, Lillian

Caplan, Elinor

Guzzo, Garry J.

Ruprecht, Tony

Christopherson, David

Hastings, John

Sergio, Mario

Chudleigh, Ted

Klees, Frank

Silipo, Tony

Crozier, Bruce

Kormos, Peter

Stewart, R. Gary

DeFaria, Carl

Kwinter, Monte

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Doyle, Ed

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Wood, Bob

The Deputy Speaker: Those opposed, please rise and remain standing.


Arnott, Ted

Martiniuk, Gerry

Shea, Derwyn

Baird, John R.

Munro, Julia

Sheehan, Frank

Barrett, Toby

Murdoch, Bill

Skarica, Toni

Ford, Douglas B.

O'Toole, John

Snobelen, John

Galt, Doug

Parker, John L.


Kells, Morley

Preston, Peter


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 36; the nays 16.

The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Will the bill be sent to committee of the whole?

Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): Mr Chair, I'd like to ask that it go to the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly.

The Deputy Speaker: Is there a majority in favour?

All those in agreement, please rise.

Please sit down.

The majority is in favour. The bill is ordered referred to the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly.

It being past 12 of the clock, this assembly stands adjourned until 1:30 o'clock.

The House recessed from 1209 to 1330.



Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): The government's economic statement was a recipe for recession. This government made an election promise to create 725,000 jobs. However, in its economic statement the government made no reference or commitment of any kind to a job creation strategy for the people of Ontario. The current unemployment rate is forecast to stay much the same in the next two years, only demonstrating that the Tories are going to fall far short of their goal of creating 725,000 jobs.

Equally disturbing was the all-out assault on hospitals, seniors and children. In contrast to your election promises, you cut over $1.5 billion in the health care budget, over $400 million for elementary and secondary schools, and of course there was your vicious attack on seniors through new user fees under the Ontario drug benefit plan.

Almost lost in this were the draconian cuts to municipalities, over $552 million in municipal transfer cuts, which will impact on everything from local property taxes to essential services such as policing, fire and ambulance services. As a result, people are going to shell out more for garbage collection and transit.

The government's mini-budget was the product of mini brains and mini thinking. It is, at best, a recipe for a prolonged recession and, at its worst, an attack on the people who can least afford it.


Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East): The cuts to Science North announced in the economic statement will have a serious impact on this northern agency. It puts science education at risk in Sudbury and it negatively impacts all of northern Ontario, given the agency's mandate to deliver programming in the north.

The fact is that the operating grant Science North receives from the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation is lower than all four other southern Ontario cultural attractions. The grant is 30% lower than the Ontario Science Centre on a per-visitor basis.

In recognition of its special needs, our government, through the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, provided Science North with a three-year, $300,000-a-year operating grant. This supplements the base operating grant and permits Science North to deliver outreach services across the north.

In 1995 alone, science discovery camps occurred in nine communities, 59,000 people in 24 communities experienced the van programs, science teacher training took place in five centres, and the science toolboxes were on loan to seven different areas. No other organization is available to deliver this kind of science education to northern communities.

The 7% funding cut from MCCR represents a significant challenge to Science North, but it's the loss of the MNDM grant which we understand is in the works that, in the words of executive director, Mr Jim Marchbank, "would be devastating. It will require massive program cuts, especially to the outreach services."

As the government slashes and burns to finance the tax cut, I hope it will consider the enormous loss northerners will face if Science North is crippled to the point where it can no longer provide the educational science programming it is mandated to deliver.


Mr Tim Hudak (Niagara South): I just returned from my riding this morning and I was once again reminded that the people of Niagara South and throughout the province of Ontario elected us to change the status quo. They elected us to bring hope and opportunity back to Ontario again.

The taxpayers of Fort Erie, Port Colborne and Wainfleet have told me they were frustrated with staggering welfare roll increases under the NDP and Liberal governments. They wanted to see the new government take the steps to reduce these rolls.

I'd like to share with members some good news about social assistance in the Niagara region. The number of people on welfare has declined steadily for the past five months. Since the end of June, over 4,600 people have stopped receiving social assistance in the Niagara Peninsula.

The decline follows the provincial trend. Over 103,000 people have left Ontario's welfare system over that same period. That's very encouraging after years of staggering welfare increases with $40 billion put down the hole.

In one month alone, from September to October, the number of people relying on social assistance dropped by over 36,000 -- the largest monthly decline in at least 25 years.

I'd like to think that the 15 new jobs coming to Port Colborne with Trench Manufacturing and new jobs with Great Lakes Bureau and Ronal Manufacturing in Stevensville are paving the way to new jobs in Ontario and a rapid decrease in the welfare rolls.


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): Today this legislative session ends. During this session, we saw a government that failed to keep its word. We witnessed a government so arrogant it actually tried to lock out elected officials from the democratic process.

We also watched as cabinet ministers lurched from one mistake to the next. First there were the drafting errors. Then there were the infamous 69-cent cans of tuna. Then came the invented crisis -- Palladini's dogsleds and cell phones. Now we have a minister who is forcing municipalities to slap user fees on everything from fire services to kids' library books.

At times during this session, the government became a comedy of errors. Unfortunately for too many in this province, the actions of this government just weren't funny.

For the poor, who are facing one of the meanest, ugliest winters in memory, it wasn't funny. They have been punished by this government.

For the seniors and the disabled, who trusted Mike Harris, they were betrayed by this government.

For the sick, who were promised that not one cent of health care would be cut, they could only watch in shock as this government slashed more than one $1.5 billion from health care and slapped user fees on seniors' medicines.

This session will go down in history as the beginning of the commonsense dictatorship.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): In rising this afternoon, I want to state to the people of Sault Ste Marie and the people of my community my concern, and the concern of many of my colleagues here in the House who have come and spoken to me this morning, for those who have been affected by the cave-in of the roof at the Station Mall plaza and our wishes that anybody who's been hurt by that will be okay, hurt in any way, either physically or whose job is affected etc, all the ways they will be affected by this. They need to know that we're thinking of them here and that we're wishing them well.

I also want to say just briefly to the House that I met in Sault Ste Marie and North Bay over the last few days with a number of people concerning the financial statement of this government and Bill 26. Frankly, they're very concerned in the north about the impact it will have on health care and on jobs.

On the health care front, we spoke to a number of health care professionals and people, and they're concerned about how we're going to keep and attract professionals, given that you're going to take a whole ton of money away from them re the question of the malpractice insurance initiative you've taken on. They're very concerned about the fact that they will now lose even more jobs as the cuts take place that will --

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


Mr Carl DeFaria (Mississauga East): It is my privilege to rise and extend warm congratulations to the Mississauga News on its 30th anniversary.

One cannot envision what the Mississauga News was like 30 years ago without also thinking about what the community of Mississauga was like 30 years ago. Mississauga has become the pride of the fledgling cities to the west of Toronto. It is a masterpiece of urban development which has been showcased to architects of similar communities throughout the world.

As a newspaper, the Mississauga News has served its readers in a most exemplary manner, increasing its range and depth of influence in tandem with the city's phenomenal growth. It has been an acknowledged leader within the newspaper industry and is in fact also regarded as a model for other developing newspapers.

However, it is important to remember that the Mississauga News began as a community newspaper and, despite the rapid expansion surrounding it, has remained true to its original mission.

I think I would be remiss if I did not mention the mayor of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion, who has been, to say the least, an integral part of the development of the community in Mississauga. Her views and contributions have been evidenced in the columns of this journal for almost 30 years.

It is therefore difficult to speak about the Mississauga News without realizing the trinity involved: the city of Mississauga, the mayor of Mississauga and, of course, the focus of this tribute, the Mississauga News, whose publisher, Mr Ron Lenyk, and staff, Mr Fred Loek, are here with us today in the members' gallery.

Congratulations on a job well done.



Mr Gilles E. Morin (Carleton East): I wish to comment on the report released this week by the Ottawa-Carleton Regional District Health Council. This is an issue of great importance to my Liberal colleagues in the Ottawa-Carleton area, and I presume that my Conservative colleagues also feel the same way I do.

The council proposes three scenarios for reconfiguring health services in the area. These involve the closure of the Riverside, Grace or Civic hospitals or a combination of these three sites. Members of the public have only until tomorrow to react and express their views.

One of the most controversial proposals is to close the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, CHEO, and move its operations to the Ottawa General Hospital. If you move CHEO, you will lose its focus. CHEO is a full paediatric care facility which responds to the unique health care needs of children. It is different in every way from a major adult hospital. In 1994-95, CHEO had approximately 9,000 inpatients, 150,000 outpatients and 48,000 through the emergency department.

If CHEO is merged, as suggested, children's priorities will lose out over time. It has been shown that paediatrics quickly become diluted by stronger and louder adult interests when placed within an adult facility.

CHEO is a world-class care facility for children and the only one of its kind in all of eastern Ontario. It must be preserved.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): Hundreds of cultural workers who live or work in my riding are losing their jobs or the funding which allows them to function as artists. Now the government is adding some insult to injury. As a result of the cuts announced by the Harris government, more than 20 workers will be laid off from the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum before the end of January. But in the Christmas spirit the Ministry of Finance has decided that laying off staff is not enough. The ministry's now trying to take back their retraining money.

This is a very simple matter. There is a binding agreement to provide money to retrain workers laid off from the art gallery and the museum. The Ministry of Finance is refusing to provide the money provided for under the agreement. I don't think it's right to kick someone when they're down and I hope the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation will agree with me and speak up on behalf of those workers.


Mr Jack Carroll (Chatham-Kent): Something great has happened in my riding of Chatham-Kent and I'm pleased to be able to share the good news with other members of this Legislature.

Two agencies providing child care services, the Family YMCA and Operation Our Kids, were each experiencing a decline in enrolment and, as a result, serious financial challenges.

A couple of months ago, Operation Our Kids, which also assists adolescent parents continuing their education, reluctantly announced it would be closing. Parents of the children using the centre were understandably concerned.

However, in a spirit of cooperation, the boards of directors of both agencies worked together to develop a solution. The two agencies are amalgamating their services, not only to economize but to ensure there will be continued, caring service for the children involved.

The initiatives taken by these two groups, with, I might add, the assistance of staff from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, typifies the strong spirit of community that is evident throughout Chatham-Kent. The work of those involved, and the result obtained, underscores what this government is committed to: the efficient delivery of services, with government, when needed, as a partner in change.

I am equally sure that this is just the first of many cooperative ventures by community groups in my riding and across the province as we all work together to meet our future needs and current realities.



Hon Marilyn Mushinski (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): Bill 8 received third reading yesterday, and as this government promised, job quota laws in Ontario will be replaced with a sensible and practical equal opportunity plan to promote workplace fairness for all Ontarians.

The equal opportunity plan that I am outlining today will support employers' efforts to address one of the most important challenges they currently face: their ability to adapt to a changing labour force by restoring the merit principle to Ontario's workplaces.

Our approach to equal opportunity recognizes that discrimination is already against the law in Ontario under the Human Rights Code. It promotes equal access through the removal of barriers but doesn't legislate equality of outcome. It restores merit as the basis of equal opportunity, not quotas. It is voluntary, not mandatory. It is based on cooperation rather than creating division. Our approach promotes equal opportunity for all Ontarians.

In response to the input we obtained from a range of discussion groups within the private and broader public sectors, a number of services will be developed. All will have a component dealing with the particular employment barriers faced by persons with disabilities. These services include a "one-window" information and referral service, a resource clearing house, demonstration projects and training and education.

The equal opportunity plan also includes a fund to support access and accommodation for persons with disabilities to participate in the paid workforce and in the volunteer sector. In addition, my ministry, together with the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Health, will be reviewing existing employment-related programs for persons with disabilities. We will examine, in particular, accommodation strategies to enable persons with disabilities to enter and stay in the workforce.

One of the most significant barriers to equal opportunity prevents skilled people who were trained and educated outside of Canada from having their academic credentials recognized. The government will establish a self-financing service for assessing academic credentials.

The Ministry of Education and Training will work with my ministry to develop this service in consultation with organizations providing similar services in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, and with other relevant partners.

This government recognizes that it has a leadership role to play in promoting equal opportunity and in addressing workplace discrimination and harassment. That is why an equal opportunity plan for the Ontario public service is being developed.

Also, when Bill 8 receives royal assent, the Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services will be issuing an equal opportunity guideline for police services in Ontario. That guideline will be consistent with the provisions of the Police Services Act.

In the new year, the Ministry of Education and Training will issue policy statements on workplace equal opportunity and anti-discrimination education for school boards, colleges of applied arts and technology and universities.

This government recognizes that discrimination, when it does occur, must be addressed promptly and thoroughly. The Ontario Human Rights Commission has recently completed the first phase of a major restructuring process and will be entering the next phase in the new year.

While this process continues, my ministry will be developing regulations under the Human Rights Code to streamline case management as well as longer-term reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the commission.

It is in the best interests of us all to work together as partners on this very important issue, for now, perhaps more than ever before, we have to bring down the barriers that prevent us from making the best use of the creative, talented and diverse workforce that exists in Ontario. The benefits we will gain from achieving this objective, as individuals and as a province, are immeasurable.



Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): I'm pleased to announce major improvements to one of the most important front-line services for residents of this province, and that's emergency health care.

The government will reinvest health care savings to introduce the advanced life support skill of defibrillation to more communities across Ontario. Specially trained ambulance attendants operate defibrillators to restart the hearts of people who have suffered cardiac arrest. Base hospitals, which direct the actions of ambulance crews in medical emergencies through a radio link, will buy defibrillators and upgrade ambulance attendant training in the counties of Renfrew, Elgin, Perth, Huron, Middlesex, Wellington, Dufferin, Brant, Leeds and Grenville, Lanark, Prescott and Russell, Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, the districts of Cochrane, Rainy River and Thunder Bay, and the regional municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk.

In response to a successful pilot project carried out by the Ministry of Health, we will provide ambulance services in Ontario with lifesaving, symptom-relief medications. These medications treat people suffering from bad allergic reactions, diabetic emergencies, and asthma and angina attacks.

We're very proud of this new government program. During our pilot project, at least five lives were saved because ambulance attendants had these medications on hand for immediate treatment. The successful pilot project was conducted over the past year in the town of Tecumseh in Essex county, Halton and Peel regions, Simcoe county and the district of Muskoka.

Other data from this project indicate that this new program will result in significantly reduced hospital stays in many cases. In fact, some diabetic patients recovered so quickly that they were reluctant to go to hospital with the ambulance crew or did not require admission to hospital at all.

By either eliminating or reducing the length of hospital stays, this valuable new service will save the health care system money. We will pay for both these initiatives with taxpayers' money that was saved by getting rid of waste, duplication and administrative inefficiencies in other parts of the health care system.

This announcement is part of our continuing commitment to reinvest and drive health care dollars to front-line services that most benefit the people of this province. Lives will be saved by these two important initiatives, and more Ontario communities will have access to more critical, lifesaving services.


Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): I really can't understand why this government remains so absolutely determined to avoid any kind of public scrutiny of its plans, even of plans that might seem, on the surface of it at least, to be good plans.

We have spent days of hearings on the issue of employment equity and this government's intent to scrap employment equity legislation. We had days when presenter after presenter expressed their concerns at the absence of anything to take the place of employment equity legislation. The government said their plan would be coming, their plan would be coming, and their plan would address everyone's concerns, but they refused to say what was in the plan, they refused to bring the plan forward when people who were presenting to that committee could actually comment on it.

Today, just little more than a day after they passed the legislation repealing any commitment to employment equity by this government, we get the first bits and pieces of the government's intention -- still no real plan, but some bits and pieces. I wonder why they were not prepared to give at least the parts of the plan they had decided on to the committee so that people who were coming forward could comment on it. I wonder if they thought their proposals might actually be criticized or they might be faulted for not having a real employment equity plan. Or do they just simply want to dribble out their intentions in bits and pieces so that they can get regular pats on the back, as the Minister of Health likes to do, and never ever hear the concern that this is simply not enough?

Both parts, significant parts, of this announcement address some very real concerns, very real barriers, one being access for the disabled to our workplaces and the other being access to trades and professions.

It is difficult to know how much progress will be made in terms of access for the disabled, because it will depend on dollars and financial commitment from this government -- we see no indication of what dollars will be in the plan -- and it will depend on the commitment of employers.

We don't know how the recertification, another important issue, will work because we have no indication of how the licensing bodies in trades and professions will be involved, and without their involvement this means absolutely nothing.

I comment only on those two issues, because to comment on guidelines for employment equity in police services or guidelines for school boards, it's really bizarre that this is here, when this government has just successfully removed all reference to those from both the Police Services Act and the Education Act.

Lastly, these are only two steps. We need so much more. One of the things we need, if there's to be real employment equity for women in the workplace, is more child care. This government had an immediate opportunity given to them by the federal government yesterday to address the issue of child care. Where is the announcement from the Minister of Community and Social Services on child care?

Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): I want to respond to the aspects of the bill that affect the disabled. I find that the statement today smacks of hypocrisy and patronizes the disabled people across this province.

This government has penalized, punished and betrayed disabled people across Ontario. This government now wants to talk about access and accommodation. They talk about voluntary. This government and the minister in her statement believe that accessibility for the disabled to the workplace should be voluntary. It should be left up to the goodwill of employers.

I do not believe that a wheelchair ramp or an adaptation of a workstation should be voluntary and should be up to the goodwill of the employer. People who are disabled in this province are unemployed in excessively high numbers, and that is because of the accessibility factor.

You took away the employment equity aspects that affected and helped disabled people, and now you dare come back with this feel-good statement that doesn't make it mandatory to have access to employment services for the disabled. You should be ashamed of yourself. You owe disabled people in this province an apology. You've betrayed them again today, as you have for the last six months since you've taken office.


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): In the few minutes remaining, I would say to the House that this is the fourth statement from the Minister of Health on emergency services. He talks about getting rid of waste, duplication, administrative inefficiencies, but he's not talking about the $1.5-billion cut to health expenditure in this province, he's not talking about the fact that with the new legislation he will be able to close hospitals at his whim, wipe out hospital voluntary boards, governance, control doctors absolutely, deregulate drug prices, give himself access to sensitive health records and disclose them without penalty. That is appalling.

The only good thing about this announcement is that at least the Minister of Health did not have the temerity to suggest that this was yet another Christmas present. The people in every part of this province need access to emergency services. They need access to those services that are going to give them the kind of life-saving care that we know is available; and for the minister to dress this up as yet another new announcement is a disgrace. He's a disgrace to the office, and we'll hear more that in committee hearings in the intersession.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): What has offered today by the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation is an affront to everyone, but most especially to people with disabilities. It is arrogant because it has no substance whatsoever.

What you presented today is nothing more than what we've been doing for years. We have been offering the assistive devices program in the Ministry of Health; the vocational rehab services in MCSS; the job accommodation fund for the Ontario public service, which provides funds to accommodate staff, and the access fund for the voluntary sector. This includes funds for physical accommodation ie, ramps, elevators, and also included are hearing devices. We have been doing that.

What you're doing today is nothing different than what has been done. You can't fool the community, but especially the people who are here today to listen to your announcement. You recycled an old program. It's like repackaging yesterday's leftovers for today's soup du jour. These devices, although they're helpful and we've been doing it, will not deal with systemic discrimination, and that's what our bill, Bill 79, was all about. You are doing absolutely nothing for people with disabilities.

In response to many other things you said, you said that you've been discussing this with other groups. You've had a consultant gather some people together but you offer no plan. They didn't know what the plan was all about. Your consultant asked them to talk about, "What would you like to see in an opportunity plan?" That was your consultation. It was a sham. It was a phoney discussion that your consultant had with a few people that you gathered together.


On the whole issue of voluntary programs, this is what Judge Abella said many years ago, and it still applies today:

"It is difficult to see how a voluntary approach, an approach that does not include an effective enforcement component, will substantially improve employment opportunities for women, native people, disabled people or visible minorities. Given the seriousness and apparent intractability of employment discrimination, it's unrealistic and somewhat ingenuous to rely on there being sufficient public goodwill to field a voluntary program."

On the issue of human rights, she said:

"The traditional Human Rights Commission model is increasingly under attack for its statutory inadequacy to respond to the magnitude of the problem. Human rights is increasingly bureaucratic. It only provides remedies; it does not provide rights. It does not deal with systemic discrimination."

That's what you don't understand on the other side. You are doing absolutely nothing for our groups that have been discriminated against for years.

On the whole issue of measuring what you're doing, this whole program that you're providing today has been done for 30 years. It has failed. Your voluntary plan, your equal opportunity plan, has been in place for 30 years. Human rights has been in place for 30 years. It has not dealt with the discrimination that is systemic discrimination in particular, so you're reproducing systemic discrimination with your plan. That's what you're doing. Your plan today is so insignificant that you are absolutely right: We can't measure it.


Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): I'd like to respond very briefly to the Minister of Health's announcement, and again I'm sure that everybody in here knows and members of the gallery know and people watching know that this is not a new announcement. This is another attempt by the Minister of Health to try to deflect the problems that he's created with his Bill 26 and what he's trying to do to hospitals in this province, what he's trying to do to doctors and pharmacists and seniors in this province.

It's also an attempt to try to convince people that there hasn't been $1.5 billion worth of cuts, that it's all being reinvested. We all know that's not the truth. The people in this province are going to see very quickly more and more cuts without consultation at the local level, hospitals closed in the province, dictated by the Minister of Health and by the provincial government. That's the strategy of this provincial government, and they've got this sophisticated communication strategy to try to fool the people of the province. It simply won't work.

I want to also say, again, when the minister talks about the accomplishments of his ministry and of his government, he uses lines like, "Our successful pilot project was conducted over the past year in the town of Tecumseh in Essex county, Halton and Peel regions, Simcoe county and the district of Muskoka." At least he could, on occasion, say that this is not a new idea. There has been progress made in emergency care over the last number of years. It wasn't initiated by him; it's been initiated by others.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Could I have your attention, please.

On November 22, and again on December 5, the member for Timiskaming, Mr Ramsay, rose on a question of privilege. According to the member, a ministry plan to monitor the activities of civil servants near members' offices and to monitor their complaints to members impinged on his privilege to freely associate with his constituents.

On December 12, the member for Hamilton East, Mr Agostino, rose on a question of privilege to say that a ministry was requiring a constituent's written consent before it would allow a member to make inquiries to the ministry on behalf of that constituent. According to the member, such an administrative requirement prevents members from properly and effectively representing their constituents.

Since the concerns of both members are related, I will deal with them together. Let me begin by making a few remarks on the nature of privilege.

As Speaker Edighoffer stated on page 147 of our Journals for December 10, 1985, "It is only in very extreme circumstances that there can come to the House a legitimate case of privilege on the basis of the real and accepted and traditional definition of parliamentary privilege."

In a similar vein, citation 24 of the 6th edition of Beauchesne states, "The privileges of Parliament are rights which are `absolutely necessary for the due execution of its powers.'"

There are many precedents dealing with the extent to which parliamentary privilege applies to members' activities outside this House. For example, in a February 20, 1975, ruling, Speaker Jerome of the House of Commons at Ottawa stated the following (at page 308 of the Journals for that day):

"The consequences of extending the definition of privilege to innumerable areas outside this chamber into which the work of a member of Parliament might carry him, and particularly to the greater number of grievances he might encounter in the course of that work would, in terms of that definition, run contrary to the basic concept of privilege."

In our own assembly, a ruling (at page 8339 of our Hansard for December 7, 1994) states that "the parameters of parliamentary privilege are very narrow and were only intended to protect the activities of members while carrying out their legislative duties in the chamber and in its committees."

Let me also say that previous Speakers of this assembly have ruled that a member's complaint that a ministry's administrative procedure was impeding members' ability to assist their constituents was not a matter of privilege. In this regard, I refer to the ruling at page 256 of our Hansard for March 27, 1991, and page 6479 of our Hansard for May 30, 1994.

Based on these authorities and precedents, I find that a prima facie case of privilege has not been established with respect to the concerns raised by the member for Timiskaming and by the member for Hamilton East. Nevertheless, I thank those members for raising their concerns.

On a separate but related matter, on December 12 the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr Patten) rose on a question of privilege to express his disagreement with part of a reply that a minister had made in a previous question period. The member also requested that the minister correct the record.

In response, let me say that my review of the parliamentary authorities and our precedents indicates that a difference of opinion or a disagreement as to the facts is not a matter of privilege. In this regard, rulings on page 115 of our Journals for July 17, 1989, and page 227 of our Journals for June 9, 1988, approved the following statement in citation 31 of Beauchesne:

"A dispute arising between two members, as to allegations of facts, does not fulfil the conditions of parliamentary privilege."

To this, let me add that a member is entitled to rise on a point of personal explanation in order to correct his or her own record. In this regard, I refer members to rulings at page 716 of our Hansard for December 1, 1987, and page 1964 of our Hansard for February 10, 1988. It is not for the Speaker or a member to require another member to correct his or her record.

In closing, I find that the concerns of the member for Ottawa Centre amount to an expression of disagreement rather than a matter of privilege. Nevertheless, I thank him for his interest.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I have a point of order which you can rule on, I think, rather quickly, Mr Speaker: I don't know if it has been transmitted to you yet, and to members of the House, that the press gallery auction raised over $6,000 last week for the United Way, and we'd like, as members, to extend to the press gallery our thanks for that.



Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): My first question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Minister, over the last few days, we have been raising with you the part of Bill 26 that relates to municipal interest in raising direct taxes such as gas taxes.

I have in my hand a motion from the municipal council of the township of Ernestown, a community of over 11,000 people in eastern Ontario. The motion is dated from last summer and it requests the authority to implement a municipal gas tax. The council of Ernestown wants to implement this new tax because, as they state in their motion, the government of Ontario is cutting back on the grants to municipalities to maintain their roads. The council wants to implement a tax in order to pay for municipal road maintenance. This would clearly be a user fee for motorists in the nature of a direct tax for the purpose of raising revenue for road services provided by a municipality, exactly as described in Bill 26. Minister, how will Bill 26 prohibit this kind of new municipal gas tax?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): The legal staff who prepared the legislation maintain and continue to maintain, and I agree with them, that this legislation allows fees and charges to be applied only to services provided by or on behalf of a municipality. This legislation does not give the municipalities the tools to impose a gasoline tax. It does not do that. It doesn't do it.


Mrs McLeod: Well, Minister, it is absolutely clear, I think you will agree, that municipalities are being forced by your government's cuts to find new revenue solutions. You keep telling us that's why you want to give them new tools: so they can find new revenues.

You have told us that we shouldn't worry about Bill 26 and the scope it gives to municipalities because you don't know why any municipality would even want to implement a gas tax. But I wanted to give you a very clear example of at least one municipality that does. I draw to your attention the wording of the Ernestown proposal passed last summer, before they had ever seen Bill 26, but it matches the language in Bill 26. You'd almost think your staff had it in mind when they drafted Bill 26. The motion states that revenue from a tax on motorists be used specifically for road maintenance. It matches every argument you've given us that the new municipal taxes in the nature of a direct tax must be linked to services and activities provided by a municipality.

So I ask you, Minister, to simply find the words in Bill 26 -- because the words giving scope are clear -- tell me what words in Bill 26 prohibit this type of municipal gas tax user fee for road maintenance.

Hon Mr Leach: I'll even give you a couple more examples of where municipalities have asked for gas taxes. The city of Ottawa asked for one. Metropolitan Toronto asked for the right for a gas tax. That doesn't mean they're going to get it, and there's nothing in this legislation that gives municipalities the tools to impose a gas tax.

I reviewed this yesterday, I reviewed it last night and I reviewed it this morning with all of the legal people involved in drafting this. It is just not there. The advice you're getting is not correct.

Mrs McLeod: We clearly have a difference of opinion as to what your law provides for and, Minister, I think you have a problem because we have heard you say in the House repeatedly that you want to give municipalities access to new fees in order to allow them to increase their revenues. Now, we agree you are clearly doing that with Bill 26 and we have Ernestown council that wants to implement a user fee on drivers to pay for road maintenance. The fee would take the form of a direct tax. It would be in the nature of a direct tax called a gas tax. Like a user fee, just so we're clear about this, the more you use the service the more you would pay. It's a user fee in the nature of a direct tax, and tax experts across this province are saying this would indeed be allowed under Bill 26.

The problem is that the Premier has said that he doesn't want municipalities to bring in gas taxes or sales taxes or even poll taxes, which you say would be allowed under this. But the legislation does allow for them as long as they're linked to municipal services such as road maintenance or recreation. So, Minister, you've got a problem and I want to know how you're going to fix your legislation to make sure that municipalities do not implement gas taxes or sales taxes or indeed head taxes.

Hon Mr Leach: Your information is wrong. I don't know how many times I have to tell you this. It states "for services provided by a municipality." That does not give the municipalities the tools. The gasoline is not provided by the municipalities. Smarten up.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The member for Kingston and The Islands is out of order.

Hon Mr Leach: It does not give the municipalities the tools to impose a gas tax.

The Speaker: Final supplementary.

Mrs McLeod: That was the final supplementary. I'd be happy to ask another, Mr Speaker, but it was my --

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The minister made reference to a legal opinion that he has. I believe the rules of the House say that if you make reference to this, you must table it. Is that not correct, sir? I think the rules say that. I read them.

The Speaker: New question.

Mrs McLeod: Mr Speaker, your nod suggests that the minister will be asked to table his legal opinion?

Well, in that case, I'll direct my second question to the Minister of Health.


Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): As every day passes, the absolutely enormous implications of Bill 26 become clearer and clearer. So we return to what this Bill 26 does to our health care system, and we find that Bill 26 removes the right of doctors to determine what health care is medically necessary, and therefore what will be paid for. Bill 26 puts that power, the power to decide what is medically necessary for the patients of this province, what health care can be provided to patients of this province, very directly into the hands of the state, into the hands of this government and this cabinet.

Minister, I want to ask you, if you were ill -- let's suppose you had a gall-bladder problem -- and you had to go to a doctor for treatment, who would you want to make the decisions as to whether your gall-bladder should be removed? Would you want that decision to be made by your doctor, or would you want it to be made by your cabinet colleagues, Mr Palladini and Mr Leach and Mr Tsubouchi and Mr Eves and Mr Harris? Who do you want deciding what health care you need?


Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): When we are dealing with the health care system and the services that physicians provide to the people of Ontario as medically necessary, I don't think it's a laughing matter at all or a subject of jest in this House.

There can be nothing further from the truth than what the honourable member is inferring. I gather she must have met with the Ontario Medical Association. What they are inferring, they are wrong. They know they are wrong.

There are two provisions in Bill 26; one is inappropriate referrals. There are now forensic flags in the accounting computer system at the Ministry of Health if there are inappropriate referrals for medical services. The Minister of Health does not make the decision whether the referral is inappropriate; it is sent to the Medical Review Committee. A group of doctors, their peers, make that decision.

The only other provision that would deal with medically necessary treatments is with respect to inappropriate billings. Again, there is an appeal procedure.

The honourable member must admit with the electronic system now in place, we receive billings very, very quickly, and when inspectors find something that's perhaps inappropriate, as forensic flags come up in the computer system -- some physician, a specialist, for example, might be billing more than another specialist in the same field and it looks excessive -- an inspector will look at that. Again, there is an appeal process in there for physicians. So what you're saying isn't true at all, and I wish you guys would be a little more positive about the management tools we're trying to bring into the health care system.

Mrs McLeod: We've only had one answer from this government for 10 days now and its answer is: Everybody else is wrong, every other lawyer in the province is wrong. The only people who are right are the infallible people who wrote this legislation and who back up what this government wants to do. The minister in this case is wrong, because this Bill 26 makes it very clear that decisions about what health care will be provided and paid for by the public system will not have to be made by the professionals, by the doctors, by the Medical Review Committee. It will be made by cabinet in regulation.

Furthermore, this government can second-guess decisions that are made by doctors in giving care to their individual patients. It can make those decisions retroactively and say, "The care you provided was not medically necessary and we won't pay for it." It furthermore says that you, Minister, can decide that the fee for any insured service can be set at zero and you will not pay for it.


Minister, this bill clearly takes the decision about patient care out of the hands of physicians and it puts it into the hands of politicians and bureaucrats. That's the power you've given yourself in this bill and I ask whether you really believe that you're in a position that you should be second-guessing doctors. What makes you think you are better able to decide what's best for patients than their doctors?

Hon Mr Wilson: The honourable member fully knows that it is the medical community in this province that decides what is medically necessary. They do not need, under existing legislation or under Bill 26, any medical advice from a layperson such as myself, the Minister of Health. I would never pretend to give such advice on medically necessary services. It would be inappropriate for me, and there is no legal authority in Bill 26 to allow the Minister of Health to do that. I would caution any members who are not physicians registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons from giving any medical advice in this province; it would be highly inappropriate.

With respect to one point that the honourable member does make about retroactivity -- and I'd be happy to cite the sections -- if there is what the general manager of health insurance might deem to be an inappropriate billing -- because as I said, these things happen very, very quickly -- they go back retroactively and they will say that perhaps is an inappropriate billing for a particular procedure. It's the general manager of OHIP. Again, the physician has the right to appeal that, and we would have to pay back any fees that the general manager recommended be recovered retroactively. There is due process in those sections of the bill.

Mrs McLeod: We are trying to caution the people of this province against giving this Minister of Health and this government the power to make decisions about what is medically necessary. I say to a minister who keeps saying, "We would never use these powers," why then are you giving yourself the powers? This entire bill as it relates to our health care is an unprecedented power grab.

You are giving yourself the power to decide how our health care system will operate, to dictate how our health care system will operate. You're giving yourself the power to dictate how our hospitals are going to operate. You're giving yourself the power to go in and snoop into people's medical records, into doctors' charts and notes. You're giving yourself the power to decide what care patients will get and what health care will be paid for.

This bill squarely puts you and your government between patients and their doctors. I ask you, Minister, why you will not come clean if you believe this is the right thing to do and this bill is right. Come clean and admit that what you are doing with Bill 26 is giving yourself the most arbitrary, dictatorial powers ever held or sought by any Minister of Health in this province.

Hon Mr Wilson: I'm not quite sure what the honourable member's driving at. She's not specific. Does she have a legal opinion?

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Just ask the Ontario Medical Association.

Hon Mr Wilson: I've talked to the Ontario Medical Association and I've heard them, and I tell you categorically that they are wrong. They know they are wrong. They are misleading the public with respect to asking MPPs to give prior approval to medically necessary procedures. Again, most sensible doctors aren't going to do that. They know that the decision for determining medical necessity is why they go to medical school. We're not interfering in that process at all.

The honourable member is talking about some modernization of billing procedures which have already occurred. I will give the NDP full credit; almost all of the 22,000 physicians in the province are either online -- directly computerized billing -- or they're sending us their cassettes. Therefore, you need some retroactivity to be able to check. We pay up front, and when flags -- and the forensic flags were put in the system by the previous NDP Health minister, something the Liberals should have done a long, long time ago -- come up -- and it's very, very rare; there are very few cases a year -- inspectors try and verify this, and due process is provided to the physicians. The OMA knows that.

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


Mr Bob Rae (York South): I always found the OMA was hugely appreciative of our efforts as a government, enormously appreciative.

Again to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Minister, would you agree with me, reading the act as we've been doing -- "A municipality and a local board may pass bylaws imposing fees or charges on any class of persons...for services or activities provided or done by or on behalf of it" -- that road maintenance would be a service or activity provided by a municipality? Would you agree with that commonsense position?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): I can tell you that the legislation allows for fees and charges to be applied only to services provided on behalf of municipalities. I don't know how the municipality could charge itself for road maintenance.

Mr Rae: No, no, no. The municipality carries out road maintenance as an activity. The legislation --


Mr Rae: The member for Carleton is upset, and I'm just trying to -- look, I'm from Missouri; I'm just trying to understand this legislation, that's all. I'm not --


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

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): What do you know about road maintenance?

Mr Rae: I'm a Rhodes Scholar. I know about road maintenance.


The Speaker: Order.

Mr Rae: All right. The law says, as I read it, "A municipality may impose a fee or a charge on any class of persons for services or activities provided by or done by or on behalf of it." So the fee or charge can be imposed on any class of person. It goes on to say that "the fees and charges that are in the nature of a direct tax for the purpose of raising revenue." In other words, it defines what as fee or a charge would be.

What would prevent a municipality from levying a charge on drivers for road maintenance? What would prevent them from doing that in the legislation that you are proposing? I honestly can't see it. I can't see what stops a municipality from doing that.

Hon Mr Leach: What I can see causes it not to happen is this legislation because I've been advised, and I accept the advice that I have been given, that this legislation does not allow for that to happen. It just doesn't allow it to happen.

Mr Rae: The Premier has said that it is not the intention of the government to allow this to happen. At the same time, you said yesterday that you did not want to restrict the freedom of the municipalities and the autonomy of the municipalities to run their business as they see fit.

I'm saying, looking at it from the perspective of Ernestown -- to give the example that was given by the Leader of the Opposition -- what would stop them from saying: "A class of persons is drivers. A service we provide, an activity we carry out, is road maintenance"? What stops the municipality from saying, "We are going to charge drivers, whether we charge them at the pump, we charge them when they buy a car, we charge them when they take out a licence, however we decide to charge them"? There's nothing -- as I read it -- in this legislation that would stop a municipality from charging drivers for the simple possession of a car. There's nothing in the legislation that stops it. As I hear you saying, as I hear you responding, you don't want to limit the autonomy of municipalities from charging and levying those extra taxes. Is that not the purpose of the legislation?

Hon Mr Leach: We can do this all afternoon, but I'm telling you that the advice we're giving -- by the way, if you're that good with roads, I'll get Palladini to give you a job in road maintenance.

As the member opposite mentioned, we know what we intended to do with this legislation and it was drafted to cover those intents. To charge a gasoline tax is just not allowed under this legislation. It just will not happen.



Mr Bob Rae (York South): I think we'll come back to this subject, but I have a question to the Minister of Education and Training.

I wonder if the minister can tell us, is it the intention of the ministry to redefine core curriculum and core programming when it discusses with school boards what education in the classroom is all about and what funding will, in fact, be provided by the ministry?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): As the Minister of Finance announced in his November 29 statement, we are going to be working with, and in fact have been working with school boards across the province over the past few months, looking with them for ways they can deliver a better quality of education to the children of Ontario, ways they can do that more affordably on behalf of the taxpayers of Ontario.

Certainly, that's the kind of conversation we've been having with school boards over the past few months. We've asked school boards and others of our partners in education to submit their ideas on how we might make a better education system by the end of this month so that we can respond with a toolkit for education some time in the new year.

Mr Rae: A document has come to my attention described as a proposal for defining the core program for funding purposes, dated November 3, 1995, in which the following programs, which are now funded by the ministry, are now defined as being outside the core program. They include junior kindergarten; full-day kindergarten -- the report says some parents may have to pay for full-day kindergarten -- core French, grades 1 to 3; anglais, grades 1 to 4; international languages elementary; French immersion; extended French; as well as secondary school summer courses and coinstructional activities.

Let me ask the minister one particular question: Why, at this particular point in the history of our country, Canada, would it be the wisdom of the Ministry of Education that core French for young children, French immersion and anglais would now be considered less than defined, less than core, and unfunded programs? What particular sensitivity about national unity would bring the ministry to this stroke of genius?

Hon Mr Snobelen: The leader of the third party has just elevated allegations without foundation to a new height, I believe, in this House. He did not identify the document he has with him. If he'd like to send it over, I'd be more than interested in reading it.

I can speak to the first two issues that he brought up, which are junior kindergarten and kindergarten. Our government has not announced any intention of reducing the kindergarten program across Ontario. As to junior kindergarten, we have very specifically committed to fulfilling all our obligations, the ones we spoke about, to the people of Ontario and that is to review junior kindergarten, to make it optional for school boards across the province and to fund it at the normal rate of grant while we're doing that review. I think our position is very clear on this.

Mr Rae: I'm happy to share this document with the minister if he hasn't seen it. It's a document that, as I understand it, has come to us from the Ministry of Education. The document has an executive summary which identifies the essential mandate of school boards as providing publicly funded education to children and youth. It proposes inclusion of some programs. It then goes on to say programs not included in the core are the courses that I read out: JK; full-day kindergarten; core French, grades 1 to 3; anglais, grades 1 to 4; international languages.

I'd like to ask the minister, what is this document? Why would a document of this kind be considered by the government of Ontario? Why would you be redefining the core program in such a way as to eliminate classroom funding for services and for education that are is crucial for our young people? That's clearly the direction in which the ministry is headed.

You want to redefine "disability," you want to redefine what classroom education is, you want to redefine what a user fee is, and that's the way you keep your promises. I think it's wrong.

Hon Mr Snobelen: The only one examining that document is the leader of the third party. I've asked him to send it over. I don't know what document he's talking about.


Mr Dalton McGuinty (Ottawa South): My question is to the Minister of Environment and Energy. I want to return to the matter I raised here yesterday. The minister will recall that I was concerned about Metro's application for a certificate of approval, which was originally rejected and then there had been some contact by the Premier's office with ministry officials and then the ministry officials granted the certificate of approval. I am particularly concerned here about appearances, because the company which stands to lose or gain in this matter has as its president Valerie Snobelen, who is the wife of the Minister of Education and Training.

There are a couple of letters in particular that I want to speak about. There is the original letter of denial, dated October 25, when Metro's application was denied. It says: "We cannot approve your proposal since it is likely that the operation of the waste transfer station would result in an adverse effect. Therefore, we request that you revise your proposal to ensure compliance." It goes on to say: "In accordance with subsection 9(2) of the act, please provide us with all of the required information by November 10, 1995. Otherwise, we will close your file."

If I look at the letter of December 1, 1995, which is the letter of approval, with signatures by the approvals branch --

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Would you put your question, please.

Mr McGuinty: -- it says, "Further to your letter dated November 29, 1995, I am confirming that we would be in a position to issue a certificate of approval for the above transfer station based on all of the information available to us, including our technical assessment of the application."

This letter says the file will be closed on November 10, and it says, "Thank you for the information we received on November 29, and pursuant to that, we're now going to grant you a certificate of approval."

The Speaker: Would you put your question.

Mr McGuinty: Why did your officials agree to extend a firm deadline in order to admit new information?

Hon Brenda Elliott (Minister of Environment and Energy): The issue here is one of trying to come to a way of solving a problem that was raised with regard to the operation of this facility. The original certificate of approval was granted to this operation on September 28, 1992, permitting the transfer of up to 200,000 tons of non-hazardous solid waste per year to the Commissioners Street transfer station.

On April 25, 1995, under section 9 -- my colleague is correct -- under the Environmental Protection Act, there was an application submitted for three rooftop ventilators, which was different than the original application for operation. There has been ongoing concern that there was an odour problem emanating from this facility, and this is the discussion that's been ongoing between my ministry and this facility, to come to a conclusion as to the safe and best-operating mechanism under which this facility should conduct its business.

Mr McGuinty: Earlier today, I spoke with David Estrin, who is a senior partner with Gowling, Strathy and Henderson. He's considered by many to be the dean of environmental law in this country. He's a very careful man, and he keeps very careful notes. On November 15, which is a date after the denial of the certificate of application, after the contact by the Premier's office and before the grant of the certificate of approval, Mr Estrin had a telephone conversation with a senior ministry official in the approvals branch who said: "We are under the gun. We are under a lot of pressure to get the application approved very quickly." Minister, I'm asking myself, who would have put this official under the gun?

Hon Mrs Elliott: I would like to clearly acknowledge that my ministry did receive a request for information with regard to this from the Premier's office. It was a normal request for a briefing note and further information with regard to the article that appeared in the paper. It was part of a request for several items of briefing note material, which is a very common procedure, as my honourable colleague knows, on a regular basis.

I would like to indicate that on November 8 we did receive a call from David Estrin, the lawyer mentioned by my colleague, who was acting on behalf of the city of Toronto, requesting that a review be stopped until the city of Toronto had an opportunity to provide a submission.

Metro has a concern in this. The city of Toronto has a concern in this. The ministry is trying to provide the best solution for the residents who live near this property so this facility operates in the best possible way it can. That is why the deadline was extended: so we could receive submissions from all those who had concerns. It has nothing to do with the request from the Premier's office for information on this issue.



Mr Bob Rae (York South): I have a question for the Deputy Premier. I see him in the precinct but he's not in his seat. I'd like to ask him a question about his comments yesterday.

I want to ask the Deputy Premier exactly what he meant when he said -- and I'm quoting from his remarks yesterday that were quoted in the Toronto Star today -- "And maybe what we should be talking about having is a set of national principles and objectives as opposed to federal standards imposed by the federal government."

I wonder if the Deputy Premier can tell me, when he made those remarks, was he referring to the Canada Health Act, to the Canada assistance plan, to either or both, or which pieces of federal legislation was he talking about?

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I was referring in general to all legislation dealing with social transfers to provinces. The leader of the third party may be interested to know that I believe virtually every province at the table yesterday agreed that as the federal government continues -- it seems to be a process we're going through -- to cut back on transfers to provinces, there has to be more autonomy given to individual provinces to determine their priorities, how they are going to spend a block or a pool of money that's given to them by the federal government.

Having said that, we do understand and appreciate, of course, that there have to be some national objectives and parameters, principles if you will, put in place, because I think part of being a Canadian is that you can go from one province to another and not lose your health care, not lose assistance etc. I think all provinces at the table were in agreement with that, and quite frankly I think the federal Minister of Finance said he would take that under advisement.

Mr Rae: This is an interesting shift in the government's position, because the Minister of Health has been telling us all the way through -- in fact, within your Bill 26 legislation there's explicit reference to compliance with the Canada Health Act. The Minister of Health has said what a strong supporter he is of the Canada Health Act. As I understand it from the Deputy Premier, what he's saying is that he is now leading the charge in seeking amendments to the Canada Health Act.

Could the minister confirm that what he is talking about is that he wants the Canada Health Act to be changed, in his own words, to grant "more autonomy" to the province of Ontario? Is that what he's saying?

Hon Mr Eves: No, that's not what I'm saying. I was asked this question in a scrum after the meeting yesterday. It was pointed out to me, when the questioner was asking the question, that other provinces have found themselves in difficulty, one in particular being the province of Alberta with respect to certain provisions in the Canada Health Act, and the province of British Columbia with respect to provision of social assistance. I said the province of Ontario hadn't found itself in that position yet.

I was not saying this, requesting a specific change to any specific act on behalf of Ontario, but merely indicating that all provinces share a concern that as social transfers are reduced by the federal government, as provinces are required to pick up more and more of the share, the federal government has to be flexible in terms of the principles and objectives of all those social programs.


Mr Toby Barrett (Norfolk): My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I have received inquiries from constituents, including our local citizens against drinking and driving, regarding the privatization of alcohol sales in Ontario. As a former consultant of the Addiction Research Foundation, I'm concerned about both misuse and abuse of alcohol. However, I must stress my concern is not an endorsement of the status quo. I do not believe that government is required to be in the business of selling alcohol as a means of controlling consumption and promoting public safety.

Many people believe that private sales mean corner store sales. They believe that young people can buy cigarettes there under age and will also buy alcohol. Minister, can you assure me that any review of the future of the LCBO and privatization properly addresses the control, regulation and enforcement of our liquor laws, concerns that are being raised by my constituents?

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): I know of the member for Norfolk's work at the Addiction Research Foundation before he was a member here, and his continuing interest in this issue.

I want to remind the House that when our party talked about the privatization of the LCBO, we set forth very clearly a specific requirement that the social concerns and the responsibility issues be addressed in any move towards privatization of the LCBO. I believe, as the member does, that social responsibility and public safety issues can be addressed outside of the historic rationale that we must be involved in the actual retailing of this product.

To the member for Norfolk's question of whether private sales or privatization means corner store sales: not necessarily. That may be one of the options the government considers, but that option has not been dealt with; it will be dealt with as we progress down the road. Obviously, there are concerns with regard to that kind of distribution as to the control over the product.

Can I assure you that any review of the LCBO will address these social issues? The answer to that question is yes.

Mr Barrett: Recently I had the pleasure of speaking in Simcoe to kick off Drug Awareness Week. The immediate concern of many who attended the event was the prospect of longer hours for alcohol sales and potential for Sunday LCBO openings. Many constituents in Norfolk, in particular the anti-drinking-and-driving movement, believe that greater accessibility leads to greater abuse. While this fact is debated, we all recognize the potential dangers of alcohol.

Minister, I know you share my concerns about addiction, underage drinking, and drinking and driving. Can you confirm for me and my constituents that these issues are being addressed by your ministry, and will municipalities and other stakeholders have a say with respect to any new extended hours of operation or possible regular Sunday openings?

Hon Mr Sterling: I say to the member for Norfolk, all of the stakeholders will have an opportunity to have their point of input. I want to say to the member that we are consulting and will consult with groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Addiction Research Foundation.

The Attorney General, as you know, has made a significant legislative promise with regard to dealing with drunk driving in this province, probably a more significant step than any other government has done in the last 20 years. We also are considering, however, the modernization of some of our liquor control laws.

We are the only jurisdiction in North America which has closing hours at 1 am. Consequently, in many of our border towns, we have a situation where young people who are at a bar go to another jurisdiction, for instance, the province of Quebec. This is very important in eastern Ontario. So we are considering those particular issues to ensure that we have the social responsibility but that we have laws which marry with other jurisdictions and make sense in this province.

We also are very cognizant of the tourist potential of this province and having reasonable consumption hours and opening hours for our establishments so we can attract our proper and fair share of the tourism business which is so important to our province.



Mr Dalton McGuinty (Ottawa South): My question is to the Minister of Environment and Energy again. It's on the same matter.

On December 4, there was a public meeting of Metro's environment and public space committee. At that time, Mr Thorne, Metro's deputy commissioner of works, advised the people there that your officials told him it would be okay, it would be permissible, to open up the waste transfer station even though air pollution equipment which had been approved under the certificate of approval had not yet been installed. Apparently there was some need to hurry this matter along.

The problem is that under subsection 9(7) of the Environmental Protection Act it's illegal for anyone to use or operate the waste transfer station unless the required certificate of approval has been issued and complied with. Again, I'm concerned here with appearances.

Minister, why are you giving Metro special permission to break our environmental laws in this case?

Hon Brenda Elliott (Minister of Environment and Energy): My ministry has been working with Metro since May of this year with regard to obtaining approval for the air emissions from this particular waste transfer station.

My honourable colleague is correct. On December 1 the ministry did forward letters to the Metro officials -- that's December 1 -- advising Metro that the revised proposal would meet the ministry requirements based on all the information available.

Clearly we have been negotiating with Metro for some time to find a solution to meet the emissions -- it is a concern of ours. We want this facility to operate as best we can to meet the needs and the concerns of the neighbours. We have clearly told them that they have found the solutions we've been looking for.

Mr McGuinty: The minister didn't answer my question. I'll provide her with a few more facts which might provide some explanation as to why the need for haste in this matter.

Apparently, installation of the air pollution control equipment will take six months. That will take us to about June of this coming year. However, the waste haulage contract for Mrs Snobelen's company provides that the waste is to be hauled away effective February 1996.

Minister, in light of this new information and all the other information I've related to date in this House, do you not agree that this at least gives rise to the appearance of the exercise by someone in some way of undue influence which resulted in a certificate of approval being provided when it otherwise would not have been?

Hon Mrs Elliott: The ministry is not concerned with who hauls away the waste from any facility, with the exception of this: They must be certified haulers. It makes no difference to us which hauler it is as long as the hauler has the proper certification to operate in the appropriate way in the province of Ontario. What we are concerned with in this issue -- and clearly we have been working hard. Clearly we want to hurry along with this facility because we realize waste management in Metro right now is in a difficult circumstance and we are trying to help them. In our view, they have found a solution. We are encouraging them to get this project up and running as quickly as we can, and we've made that very clear in our letter.


Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East): I have a question to the Minister of Natural Resources, Northern Development and Mines. I want to follow up on a question that was raised by my colleague the member for Cochrane North yesterday, specifically the secret negotiations that your ministry is involved in right now to give the large forest companies in this province access to all of the timber in the crown management units.

Yesterday the minister told the House that he was not aware of any formal negotiation process. Minister, we know that right now your ministry is negotiating with Stone Consolidated and Avenor for the crown management unit at Red Lake. We know you're negotiating with Stone as well for the crown management unit at Fort Frances. We also know that you're negotiating with E.B. Eddy, with Yaeger and with St Marys Paper on the crown management units in Sault Ste Marie and in Wawa.

I want to ask the minister again: Why is your government now involved in secret, backroom negotiations which will lead to the single biggest giveaway of timber in the history of the province of Ontario?

Hon Chris Hodgson (Minister of Natural Resources, Northern Development and Mines): Yesterday the question was from the member for Cochrane North, and he tried to portray a secret set of negotiations giving away control on crown land. There is no process that's secret or giving away crown land.

What there is, and as you would be fully aware, and the parliamentary assistant to the minister in the previous government would be fully aware -- under Bill 171 there is a process that's set up to transfer from crown management units to sustainable forest licences. These are not secret negotiations. There's a process that's open. I announced two of them this August or September. They were negotiated under the last government and came to fruition this fall. The process is outlined under Bill 171 and we are following that process.

I would like to mention that we have no intention to give away control of crown land, but we do intend to ask those who profit from our common resources to assume a greater responsibility and increased costs to ensure the sustainability of our crown lands for future generations.

Ms Martel: It's obvious from the answer that the minister does not understand the difference between sustainable forestry licences and crown management units. We all know that some of Ontario's crown forests are directly licensed to and operated by the big forestry companies. We're talking today about the crown management units, the units which are administered and operated by Natural Resources staff and are used by small forestry companies and independent loggers to access wood for their livelihood, the same units that the crown looks after on behalf of the people of Ontario.

You are now in the process of trying to give away over eight million hectares of crown timber to the large pulp and paper and forestry companies in Ontario. I ask you today, will you stand in your place now and assume the responsibility you have for all of the people who are interested in the crown management units, stop the secret negotiations that are going on and ensure that the public will have open, free access to all of the negotiations that are going on now?

Hon Mr Hodgson: If the member would wish to consult with the former Minister of Natural Resources or the former parliamentary assistant, I can tell her that we're in full compliance with the sustainability act as was passed under Bill 171. I can also tell her that crown management units are talked about in Bill 171. The process that's being developed here will be according to that act. It calls for full public open houses.

The interests of small logging companies -- and you do not have a monopoly on compassion. Last year, during the hearings, our party consistently brought this up as a concern with this new act. I can assure you that we are going to be concerned about small loggers that are a major force in rural communities and northern communities. The interests of these small logging companies are important to the government and open discussions will be held with them. When the terms and conditions of the sustainable forest licence are developed, a series of open houses will invite public comment from aboriginals, tourist outfitters and independent forestry people.

I want to make this clear, because I think this is important: This government is going to continue to negotiate sustainable forest licences with companies that are interested in taking increased responsibility for these licences. The companies that receive these licences will be required to follow strict environmental rules in sustainability regulations.


Mr Gary Fox (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings): My question is for the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. We all know that business people in our province, including farmers, are operating in a challenging and competitive time. What's being done to help farmers adapt to today's tough international business climate?

Hon Noble Villeneuve (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, minister responsible for francophone affairs): I want to thank my colleague the member for Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings. He is concerned about farmers and businesses. Business people and indeed farmers are working in a very tough environment, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has set up a new program which will be known as Financing Your Future.

Throughout the months of January, February and March of this coming year, some classes and workshops will be held throughout rural Ontario for farmers to test the possibilities of expanding their businesses, becoming more efficient and indeed produce food for the masses at a more economical rate. So I think it's very important that the rural people of Ontario know, that indeed our farmers know that they will have the opportunity of attending programs that will provide them with some good advice into the future.


Mr Fox: Could the minister elaborate on the kinds of programs that are being developed and what knowledge and tools will be provided?

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): Tell him no.

Hon Mr Villeneuve: I'm amazed that the opposition really doesn't want this information to get out to rural Ontario. I'm amazed at this.

Financing Your Future workshops are interactive and they will be provided with guidance from financial institutions, OMAFRA staff and indeed some professional advice on expansion of businesses and the pitfalls that sometimes occur when you're expanding. They'll be covering everything from computerized business analysis to budgeting and how lenders evaluate the credit applications.

I'd also like to remind the members that there are close ties between economic wellbeing of the province and of the farming community, and I want to advise the opposition that when things go well in rural Ontario, the province prospers.


Mr Peter North (Elgin): My question is to the Deputy Premier. Minister, a couple of years ago, your Premier and the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs came to Elgin county, to a place called Sparta, and they talked a lot about your commitment to rural Ontario. In light of the idea that in Elgin county we're now faced with court closures and psychiatric hospital closures, can you reiterate your commitment to rural Ontario to me today?

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): Yes, but I'd refer this question to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, to whom the member opposite referred in his question.

Hon Noble Villeneuve (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, minister responsible for francophone affairs): I want to remind the honourable member for Elgin that indeed the farm tax rebate stays at 75%. The doom-and-gloom-sayers were saying we would have lost that. The safety nets are staying in place. Indeed, the ministry wants to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Yes, we have looked at some reductions in the ministry's budget, but we are serving and continue to serve rural Ontario as best we can and have good value for the dollar.

Mr North: We appreciate those kind words, but the fact of the matter is: ethanol commitment gone. The GRIP question, 85%; where is it? The idea of better policing in rural Ontario; I don't know. We talked about better services; we lose courts, we lose psychiatric hospitals, we lose conservation authorities. I don't know about better services.

But I do have a question, and since the Deputy Premier flipped it to you, I guess I'll give it to you. I want to know how it is that a member of your caucus knows about the decision about the psychiatric hospital coming out of St Thomas and going into London 10 days before it's announced by an independent body in the city of London.

Hon Mr Villeneuve: I'm afraid I'm a little bit out of my field in psychiatric hospitals. However, I can advise the honourable member that in half an hour I'll be meeting with our fact-finder on the ethanol program, which is not dead yet.

Interjection: What about the methane?

Hon Mr Villeneuve: It's not methane, sir; it's ethanol. I would suggest to you that you keep your ear to the ground on it.


Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): My question is to the Minister of Health. Minister, you've repeatedly told this House that your government would make no cuts to health care. In the words of the Common Sense Revolution, "not one cent."

Yesterday, it was disclosed that close to 600 people in my community could lose their jobs at Windsor's two remaining hospitals. Both hospital administrations indicated that these job losses will be required to meet your ministry's proposed 18% budget reductions. Both hospitals have indicated that they will need to cut $18 million from their respective budgets over the next two years to accommodate the cuts your government has made. These cuts, Minister, are in addition to the savings that would have been found otherwise in the reconfiguration.

Will the minister tell this House what you say to the 600 families who could lose their livelihood as a result of your cuts, cuts that you promised wouldn't happen, and what will you do to ensure that quality health care continues to remain available to the people of my community?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): On the latter part of the honourable member's question, his district health council has taken the lead in this province to ensure that quality health care remains in Windsor-Essex.

You kind of have your own question answered in terms of your district health council's at me for tens of millions of dollars on the capital side, they know that money has to flip out of the operating side from around the province, and the figures that you suggest for your hospitals are speculation at this point, given that the final formula is not done.

For the first time in this province, in the Finance minister's announcement, we have said the cuts will not be across the board; they will be tied to restructuring and they will be targeted. That's the agreement we have with the Ontario Hospital Association. We're working to make sure that the budget reductions on the transfer side the Finance minister has announced are tied very much to the restructurings, and your district health council has very much been a leader in restructuring in this province.

Mr Duncan: The minister obviously doesn't understand what's happening here. This is in addition to the reconfiguration. The hospital administrators were quoted yesterday as saying these cuts are a direct result of your budget cutbacks.

You, yourself, in this House have said repeatedly that you will not guarantee the reinvestment of the savings found in the reconfiguration in our community. Our community is deficient; it's deficient in community-based services.

Minister, will you admit now that as a result of your government's budget cutbacks, 600 families in my community will be without jobs and quality health care is threatened? Will you acknowledge too, sir, that the other 25 communities -- and those 25 communities ought to be listening. They ought to know that they can't trust this minister. They can't believe what you're saying in your budget documents. Will you acknowledge that you're cutting health care over and above reconfiguration? You are, sir. Our hospital administrators say it. What do you say in response to our community?

Hon Mr Wilson: It is clear we have sealed the health care budget at $17.4 billion. As of today we've not taken a penny out of hospitals. Those cuts in transfer payments start next year.


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

Hon Mr Wilson: We're working on putting the formula together with our partners to tie it to restructuring where we can. I'm working very hard to try and find your community the capital dollars it needs to move four hospitals into --

Mr Duncan: Thirty-six million dollars.

The Speaker: Order, order. The member for Windsor-Walkerville is completely out of order. I won't warn him again. That's it. Minister?

Hon Mr Wilson: The budget's been sealed at $17.4 billion, as was our commitment. Your party said $17 billion in the red book, so you would have been cutting another $400 million. We've not cut health care. We are moving money from the operating side to the capital side. Your community has asked for millions of dollars in community-based care, and that's where the jobs are going to come from.


The Speaker: Order. I have warned the member once before. He continued. I'll have to name the honourable member. Would he please leave the Legislature.

Mr Duncan left the chamber.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): I guess I have the dubious honour of bringing question period to a close today with a question to the Minister of Economic Development and Trade. I want to talk to him in the few seconds that are left about jobs, which is another one of the broken promises that we see from this government.

The Common Sense Revolution and the economic statement are ripe with promises about job creation, and yet the government's own figures in the economic statement indicate that over the next three years fewer than 200,000 new jobs will be created. So I think we can ask, first of all, where the other 500,000 jobs are going to come from. But in addition to that, what this government is doing is actually cutting jobs, not only through the cuts in services that we've seen, but now we know specifically in the private sector. I want to bring to the minister's attention, very briefly, one specific instance, and it's one of a number.

A company called Seragen Biopharmaceutical Ltd, which was going to locate in Ontario -- it's a biotechnological firm developing drugs that are used in the treatment of cancer and skin diseases -- has been denied a $3-million investment through Innovation Ontario Corp, which would have created an investment in Ontario of some $30 million and created some 100 jobs in Ontario in research, development and manufacturing, some well-paid jobs. So for a pure investment of $3 million, the government is denying this province 100 jobs and $30 million worth of investment.

Where is the common sense in taking that approach that is cutting jobs in addition to not creating --

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

Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): I want to assure the member for Dovercourt that we are committed to creating 725,000 jobs in our first mandate. I can tell you that we've been using cautious and careful economic assumptions to make that. Employment is projected to grow by 253,000 new jobs in the 1995-97 time frame, and thereafter we will reach the 725,000 new jobs.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Could I have the attention of the House just for a minute, please. I would like for you to thank all the pages who have served in this last session.




Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): My petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It joins the many thousands of petitions I've presented to the Legislature and it reads:

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

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

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

I affix my name to this petition as well.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I have a petition here addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from the people of Schumacher.

"Whereas provincial government cutbacks are forcing the library system with severe financial restraints that will result in a threat to our public library system;

"Whereas we are opposed to any closure of our library system;

"Therefore, be it resolved:

"We, the people who have affixed our signatures on this petition, are opposed to the provincial government cutbacks and demand that the Mike Harris government reconsider its decision to cut municipal transfers that will in turn put in jeopardy our public library system."

I affix my signature to this petition.


Mr Derwyn Shea (High Park-Swansea): In the past I've had the honour to rise and speak in this House on behalf of Runnymede hospital and Our Lady of Mercy. Today, I present a petition to the Legislative Assembly on behalf of thousands and thousands of residents of High Park and Parkdale, and the petition reads as follows:

"To the Legislature of Ontario:

"Whereas the Metro Toronto District Health Council has proposed to close services at a number of Toronto hospitals, particularly affecting seniors, women and services for low-income people; and

"Whereas the Metro Toronto District Health Council has proposed to close Our Lady of Mercy wing of St Joseph's Health Centre and cut in-service programs for chronic care patients; and

"Whereas the Metro Toronto District Health Council has proposed to transfer inpatient paediatric services out of St Joseph's Health Centre's community;

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

"We oppose the closure of any beds or services at St Joseph's Health Centre and at Metro hospitals generally and we oppose any reduction in funding to Ontario hospitals."


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): I have a petition that's signed by 50 residents of my riding, and it reads as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas acknowledging the serious situation in Ontario with regard to the size of the present deficit; and

"Whereas being conversant with the fact that transfer payments from the federal government are being drastically cut and resulting in an acute need for the overhaul and streamlining of Ontario government expenditures; and

"Whereas due to changing world trade patterns, the economy of Ontario is in a state of transition and not performing at top capacity, thus creating a situation where numbers of Ontarians are unemployed and many families including their children are suffering great hardship;

"We, the undersigned residents of Ontario, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to take into account the suffering of the underprivileged residents of Ontario, particularly the children, and to consider the recent 20% cut to their incomes. Further, to postpone indefinitely, in the name of compassion, the tax rebate of 30% promised in the recent election, thus enabling the largest possible number of Ontarians to be properly fed, clothed and sheltered."

I have attached my name to it.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I have a petition signed by over 100 Ontarians from the community of Bracebridge and Orillia organized by Henrietta Elliott and including seniors at the Legion Crest apartment building in Orillia.

"Whereas Mike Harris said on May 30, 1995, `If I don't live up to anything that I have promised to do and committed to do, I will resign';

"And whereas Mike Harris promised on May 3, 1995, `No cuts to health care spending,' but in his November 29 economic statement we see $1.3 billion or 18% in cuts to hospital spending over the next three years and a further $225 million cuts from the health care budget;

"And whereas Mike Harris has clearly broken his promise to defend health care cuts in funding;

"And whereas Mike Harris promised in the Common Sense Revolution that, `This plan will create more than 725,000 new jobs,' but in his November 29 economic statement we see a prediction of only 253,000 jobs created over the next three years and an unemployment rate of 8.6% in two years, which is the same as it is today;

"And whereas Mike Harris has clearly broken his promise to create significant jobs in this province;

"And whereas Mike Harris promised in the Common Sense Revolution that, `Aid for seniors and the disabled will not be cut,' but in his November 29 economic statement Mike Harris is cutting the Ontario drug benefit plan and making seniors and the vulnerable pay for their drugs;

"And whereas Mike Harris has clearly broken his promise to seniors and the disabled;

"We, the undersigned, demand that Mike Harris keep his word and resign immediately."

I agree and proudly affix my signature to this petition.


Mr Ernie Hardeman (Oxford): To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

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

It's signed by 105 residents of Oxford county.


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): I have a petition from hundreds of residents in the Orangeville area and it says:

"We petition the Legislative Assembly.

"We are a group of concerned family physicians and obstetricians of Orangeville who wish to express our alarm at the potential crisis which will likely result from the Ontario government's decision to withdraw funding support for malpractice insurance. We wish that the government and the public be made aware of the real and immediate risk that obstetricians will be unable to economically practise in Orangeville. The consequences of a lack of obstetrical support to family physicians doing deliveries may result in the loss of obstetrics in Orangeville. The facts: malpractice insurance premiums have recently reached $24,000 per year for obstetricians."

They want to deliver additional facts, and I will not labour the time in this House. I use the word "labour" advisedly.

"Insurance premiums should not compromise patient care. There is a serious risk that the Orangeville obstetricians will no longer be able to afford to provide obstetrical services and that the public will be unable to receive any local obstetrical care after January 1, 1996, if the government's proposal is passed."

I table the petition by the citizens of Orangeville on behalf of the petition of their doctors.

"The Ontario government needs to know the concerns.

"We, the undersigned, disagree with the government's proposal to discontinue financial support for physicians' malpractice premiums."

I table this for consideration and I add my support to this petition.



Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I have a petition signed by approximately 2,000 people and it reads:

"Whereas the Metro Toronto district health centre has proposed to close services at a number of Toronto hospitals, particularly affecting seniors, women and services for low-income people; and

"Whereas the Metro Toronto DHC has proposed to close Our Lady of Mercy wing of St Joseph's Health Centre and cut in-service programs for chronic care patients; and

"Whereas the Metro Toronto DHC has proposed to transfer inpatient paediatric services out of St Joseph's Health Centre's community;

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

"We oppose the closure of any beds and services at St Joseph's Health Centre and at Metro hospitals generally, and we oppose any reduction in funding to Ontario hospitals."

I sign my signature to that.


Mr Bill Grimmett (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): I present a petition on behalf of the member for Simcoe East. This petition has been signed by the members of the Orillia Canadian Club and in accordance with the standing orders, I'll summarize the petition as requesting that proceedings be brought to have Roch Theriault declared a dangerous offender.


Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): I have a petition that I'm particularly pleased to be presenting this afternoon. I'm presenting this on behalf of Alvin Curling, the member for Scarborough North.

"We, the undersigned, are opposed to the proposed cuts to the funding of daytime adult education credit courses. We believe they would be counterproductive and detrimental and will decrease the quality of education available to adults in need of a second chance.

"We need the dedication, stability and quality of staff input that is provided by the community environment at Monsignor Fraser College that allows us to become productive members of society. If you deny us the second chance at quality daytime education, you are discriminating against us on the basis of age.

"We are urging you to maintain the current level of funding allocated to MSSB Fraser College, where students are real, not phantom."

I've affixed my signature and this petition is supported also by the member for Scarborough North.


Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): On behalf of my colleague, the member for Beaches-Woodbine, I'd like to present the following petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

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

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

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

This is signed by 296 constituents of Beaches-Woodbine and it joins the hundreds of other signatures that have come before this Legislative Assembly on this matter.


Mr Jean-Marc Lalonde (Prescott and Russell): I am presenting this petition on behalf of John Cleary, my colleague from Cornwall, and it comes from the Association of Teachers of Cornwall and Area.

"To the Parliament of Ontario:

"Whereas the teachers of Ontario are already accountable to the province of Ontario through the Ontario Teachers' Federation; and

"Whereas the proposed College of Teachers would create a new, unneeded and costly bureaucracy;

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

"To refrain from enacting legislation with respect to the College of Teachers."

I also add my signature to this petition.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I will quickly go through this petition because I know there's a member from the Liberal Party who wants to go here.

I have another petition addressing the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and basically it is about the proposed closure of the Schumacher Public Library as a result of the cuts of the provincial government, and I affix my signature to that petition.


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): A petition to the Legislature of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned citizens of Ontario, do not want the rent-control-geared-to-income program to be eliminated. This program provides decent housing for low- and middle-income tenants, consisting of 40% seniors, 42% families and 18% special needs and disabled tenants.

"We believe a change to the US-style voucher system proposed by this government will destroy our communities and change the fabric of life in Ontario."

I affix my name to this petition.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario signed by some 40 citizens from the province.

"Whereas Mike Harris said on May 30, 1995, `If I don't live up to anything that I've promised to do and committed to do, I will resign'; and

"Whereas Mike Harris promised on May 3, 1995, `No cuts to health care spending,' but in his November 29 economic statement we see $1.3 billion or 18% in cuts to hospital spending over the next three years and a further $225-million cut from the health care budget; and

"Whereas Mike Harris has clearly broken his promise to defend health care cuts in funding; and

"Whereas Mike Harris promised in the Common Sense Revolution that, `This plan will create more than 725,000 new jobs,' but in his November 29 economic statement we see a prediction of only 253,000 jobs created over the next three years and an unemployment rate of 8.6% in two years, which is the same as it is today; and

"Whereas Mike Harris has clearly broken his promise to create significant jobs in this province; and

"Whereas Mike Harris promised in the Common Sense Revolution that, `Aid for seniors and the disabled will not be cut,' but in his November 29 economic statement Mike Harris is cutting the Ontario drug benefits plan and making seniors and the vulnerable pay for their drugs; and

"Whereas Mike Harris has clearly broken his promise to seniors and the disabled;

"We, the undersigned, demand that Mike Harris keep his word and resign immediately."

I affix my signature to this as well.


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): I have a petition to the Legislation Assembly of Ontario and it states:

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

"To rescind changes to the family benefits and general welfare acts which refer to living arrangements of adults of the opposite sex. We consider these changes to be gender biased and in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 6, paragraph b, because they inflict an unreasonable residency requirement for the receipt of publicly provided social services."

I've signed my name to it.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I have another petition here from the people of Matheson addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

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

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

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

"We, the undersigned, petition the government of Ontario to eliminate any rumoured or actual intentions to privatize the provincial correction facilities and therefore ensuring that the people of this province's peace of mind can be kept, knowing that the government of Ontario is still responsible for the safety and security of the province."

I affix my name to that petition.



Mr Arnott from the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly presented the committee's report and moved its adoption.

Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): Under standing order 108(b), it's the responsibility of the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly to issue a report to the assembly to assign to the standing committees of the House the various ministries and government offices, and this is what this report accomplishes.

The Speaker: Mr Arnott moves adjournment of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.



Mr Snobelen moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 30, An Act to establish the Education Quality and Accountability Office and to amend the Education Act with respect to the Assessment of Academic Achievement / Loi créant l'Office de la qualité et de la responsabilité en éducation et modifiant la Loi sur l'éducation en ce qui concerne l'évaluation du rendement scolaire.

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

Is there a short statement?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): Inasmuch as there was a minister's statement on this, I have no further statement at this time.


Mr Snobelen moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 31, An Act to establish the Ontario College of Teachers and to make related amendments to certain statutes / Loi créant l'Ordre des enseignantes et des enseignants de l'Ontario et apportant des modifications connexes à certaines lois.

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

Does the minister have a short statement?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): Inasmuch as I have made a minister's statement to this House in the past, I have no further statement at this time.


Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, I believe there is unanimous consent to revert to motions to deal with committees during the break.

The Speaker: Do we have unanimous consent? Agreed.



Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I move that the standing committee on finance and economic affairs review and report on the matter of automobile insurance as set out in the Ministry of Finance documentation and draft legislation to be filed with the clerk of the committee.

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


Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I move that the following committees be authorized to meet during the winter adjournment in accordance with the schedule of meeting dates agreed to by the three party whips and tabled with the Clerk of the assembly to examine and inquire into the following matters:

Standing committee on administration of justice to consider Bill 19, An Act to repeal the Advocacy Act, 1992, revise the Consent to Treatment Act, 1992, amend the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992 and amend other acts in respect of related matters;

Standing committee on estimates to consider estimates of the ministries and offices selected in accordance with the standing orders and the order of the House dated November 2, 1995;

Standing committee on finance and economic affairs to consider matters related to pre-budget consultation and to consider the matter of automobile insurance pursuant to the order of the House dated December 14, 1995;

Standing committee on government agencies to consider the operation of certain agencies, boards and commissions of the government of Ontario and to review intended appointments in the public sector;

Standing committee on the Legislative Assembly to consider matters related to the security of the legislative precincts and matters related to order and decorum and the conduct of members and the disciplinary powers of the Speaker;

Standing committee on the Ombudsman to consider the report entitled Review of the Office of the Ombudsman dated April 1993 and other matters relating to its permanent order of reference as set out in standing order 106(h);

Standing committee on public accounts to consider the annual report of the Provincial Auditor;

Standing committee on resources development to consider Bill 20, An Act to promote economic growth and protect the environment by streamlining land use planning and development system through amendments related to planning, development, municipal and heritage matters;

Standing committee on social development to consider a matter designated pursuant to standing order 125 relating to the effect of funding cuts on children and children's services in the province of Ontario.

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


Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I move that the committees be authorized to release their reports during the winter adjournment by depositing a copy of any report with the Clerk of the assembly, and upon the resumption of the meetings of the House the Chairs of such committees shall bring any such reports before the House in accordance with the standing orders.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Agreed? Carried.



Mr Harnick moved third reading of Bill 23, An Act respecting Victims of Crime / Projet de loi 23, Loi concernant les victimes d'actes criminels.

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

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.


Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 20, An Act to promote economic growth and protect the environment by streamlining the land use planning and development system through amendments related to planning, development, municipal and heritage matters / Projet de loi 20, Loi visant à promouvoir la croissance économique et à protéger l'environnement en rationalisant le système d'aménagement et de mise en valeur du territoire au moyen de modifications touchant des questions relatives à l'aménagement, la mise en valeur, les municipalités et le patrimoine.

Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): I am delighted to have an opportunity this afternoon to make a few brief comments on the bill. Obviously the first comment that any member would want to make about this bill is that it has an extraordinary title of extraordinary length.

Having said that, one of the problems that we all see when we're talking about planning matters is essentially that we see planning matters from the perspective of our own communities. Very often those planning matters are not presented in an effective way, for whatever reason, representing the needs of rural northern Ontario.

For example, if you look at the riding of Algoma-Manitoulin, much of our riding is served by various planning boards, but there are areas in unorganized territories, there are areas that are organized without planning boards and, to them, this chatter that we're having about particular bills is not terribly relevant.

We talk about streamlining, but one of the greatest problems in streamlining for those communities who are not served by direct planning boards is that, for example, in the community of Rutherford and George, better known as Killarney to most of the members, you would find that severances and those kind of planning activities are done directly by the ministry itself.

If you've ever had the frustration of dealing with the ministry, which operates out of Toronto, and are trying to describe to them what it is exactly you wish to do and trying to describe to them what the property in fact looks like and trying to describe to them exactly how in your community this is appropriate, you'd find that there is a gap in perception that is quite incredible. I've had some opportunities to try to expedite decisions from the ministry and one of the difficulties is, they have no opportunity to go and actually have a look at the property.

I think members presume that if you're asking for a severance or are concerned about a zoning matter or whatever, that somebody, who's making the decision, will actually look at the piece of property. I know in the planning areas where we do have planning boards, that, of course, is done as a matter of course. But the fact is that the people who are making these decisions in Toronto never have the opportunity to actually go out and look at the property that is the subject of an application.

As you can imagine, this makes for huge delays as they wait for various ministries to send them reports. They are often confused because they don't quite understand the report of a particular ministry. There are constant letters going back and forth, most of which could be resolved if someone who is granting the authority could actually go out and look at the piece of property. It's not rocket science. One of the things that disappoints me about this act is there's nothing in that to address that particular concern that you find in both organized and unorganized townships in my part of the world.

I think that as we sit here, we have to consider that the appropriate development of all Ontario should be our reason for considering planning matters. Certainly this inhibits many of my smaller villages and hamlets and indeed rural areas from progressing, as they have very great difficulty even communicating their particular concerns to a ministry that's located down here in the largest metropolitan area in the province, and most people have absolutely no conception of what it is to develop some land in, for example, Killarney. They also have some difficulties in other unorganized townships, but we won't get into that.


I'm quite amazed that, if we look through this act, there is really nothing in it to address the particular concerns of my constituents, who have great difficulty dealing with the ministry. It's almost a "Beam me up, Scotty." There is just too much distance between Toronto and the people in the communities who are trying to develop and trying to do it in an appropriate manner.

I've had consent applications drag on literally for years. To my mind, it was just a simple matter of someone from the ministry being able to go out, have a look at that particular piece of property and say yes, this is either appropriate or inappropriate, and make a decision. The fact is, the decisions just almost take an interminable amount of time, and therefore, many people don't even bother, because they don't believe the process will work for them or at least work for them in a timely manner.

I would wonder why a minister who is trying to streamline an act is not trying to address those very real issues to the constituents whom I serve and many other rural members serve. I'm not as familiar with the situation in southern Ontario, but across northern Ontario this is a real problem. It's a real problem that's not being addressed.

I say to the minister, you should be putting forward some streamlining or at least bureaucratic procedures that ensure that there are timely answers to those communities in the rural areas of this province, particularly the rural areas in northern Ontario, that aren't directly served by planning boards. One of those might be that they could be included in a local planning board that does exist.

The example I used of Killarney is a good one, I think, in that the Manitoulin planning board, which has functioned well over the period of its existence and which is a combination of all the organized and unorganized areas of the district of Manitoulin with the exception of Killarney, could in fact probably make appropriate decisions for Killarney. I shouldn't say probably -- I know it would. The ministry should look at providing the funding to the Manitoulin planning board and in particular to the township so they can prepare the secondary plan under the official plan of the district of Manitoulin so that Killarney could be serviced in an expeditious and relevant way.

The other thing I think members should know is that there are official plans across this province that in most cases have time lines on them. They are supposed to be reviewed and updated at various terms, but I think the most common one is in 10 years. If you look at particularly in my area, those updates are long overdue. They've actually passed the point that the plan needs to be looked at again.

This is not an inexpensive exercise. It is an exercise that requires large amounts of public dollars to be spent in order to update official plans. We all know that we want these done appropriately and that it is an expensive proposition and that the tax base of places like the township of Spanish River or the township of Shedden just will not support the kind of expenditure that would be needed to update official plans, particularly in light of what the Minister of Finance is saying regarding transfers to municipalities.

I wanted to have an opportunity to say this: The transfers to municipalities that are to go down, as I understand it, by some 44% to 47%, depending on who did the math, has a particular effect on these very small townships that I'm talking about. The township of Spanish River, for example, extends from just about the edge of Espanola all the way to the Algoma district line, a considerable distance. The people live in a narrow band, relatively speaking, along Highway 17. In that area, their total operating budget in this township is about $1 million a year. A million dollars a year is what it takes to operate that township.

It is not a township that has large layers of administration, obviously. It does not have a large number of people working on its road crews, but do you know what? In that very small township, in terms of population, in terms of assessment, they receive about $675,000 of their $1 million from the province of Ontario.

If you say to that township, "We are going to cut the amount of revenue you receive from the province of Ontario by half," they have lost fully one third of the money available to them to provide services, and the services they provide are adequate but certainly no one would say they're luxurious and no one would say that they are being delivered in a manner that is expensive.

They will not have the opportunity, I would suggest to the government members, of finding the kind of cost savings that somehow Mr Eves believes are out there. It can't happen. It won't happen. They really provide just the basic services the way they are.

So if you take virtually half the provincial support from this community, you can be guaranteed that the property tax increase to maintain the most basic of services in that township will be large. It will be a tax increase dictated not by the councillors that are doing their best to find the most effective way to deliver those services, but dictated by the government of Ontario, by Mike Harris and by Mr Eves, the Minister of Finance.

I think that is the strategy that appears to be coming, the downloading of responsibilities to the local municipality will become extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary, and will give local councillors no option at all but to dramatically increase in those small areas where the provincial support is a huge part of their budget and the services that they provide not much more than basic services. There will be no alternative.

Mr Harris wants the finger to be pointed at those local reeves, the local council and say, "It's your fault." He wants to blame the tax increases that are coming on the local council.

I would suggest to you that that is at the very most a very, very cynical, political way to operate. And that is what the message to municipalities contained in both the financial statement and in Bill 26 is, that you are going to have to tax your people for things that used to be equalized across the province of Ontario.

I see no reason that my constituents, the constituents in the rural north, should not have a level of service that is adequate, why they should not be able to live in this province and enjoy the same kind of benefits in this province that everybody else in Ontario deserves at a property tax basis that is similar to what other Ontarians pay for those services.

I would suggest, if the minister and the government continue along this route, not only will the Planning Act become virtually useless, there will not be any development in any of these areas because no one will develop anything at the kind of property tax rates that are going to be imposed upon those people in those townships.

For me, I represent I believe it's somewhere between 20 and 25 small communities that are in that category. I've told my constituents, "I think you should frame your municipal property tax bill for 1995, because you're never going to see another one like it." There will never be any one that is this low.


I have never heard anyone in my constituency say property taxes are too low right now. It just doesn't happen. My people in my constituency, the fine constituency of Algoma-Manitoulin, believe they're paying too much in property taxes and I bet every member in this place has constituents who believe, probably the majority of his constituents or her constituents believe, that they're paying too much in property tax.

I can't understand how the government believes this Planning Act is going to do anything to increase the amount of opportunities for development, for the development of housing, for the development of business in this province, when it is clearly the government's agenda on the other hand to increase property taxes across the entire province.

More particularly, in the rural areas, where -- user fees. What are we going to put user fees on? In the township of Billings, where I live, I guess we could pay a user fee to have the snowplow come around, or I guess when I take my garbage to the local dump on Sunday afternoon I could pay per bag as I went in to see my favourite person who operates the Billings township dump. But that's about it. I can't really think of what other services that township provides. We have a library. I suppose my children and the senior citizens, who are the ones who use that library the most, would be happy to pay a user fee, but frankly I don't expect so, and my reeve, Aus Hunt, tells me there isn't much potential for user fees, so the property tax base is going to be the one it hits on.

You've come with this Planning Act. How does it affect my people? Will we get more severances more easily? I think we would be happy with that. Do I believe it will happen? Not a chance. The government is committed to reviewing the seven policy papers and changing them. I think that's a good idea, but that isn't going to happen tomorrow. It's going to take government spending. It's going to take some time. It won't happen overnight. There needs to be some public discussion of that to make sure the policy papers are appropriate. You think that's going to happen overnight? No, but our property tax increase is going to happen overnight. You've got it.

I'm from a business background; I know about business. When I go out and talk to my friends in the business community, they say, "I just don't like the payroll taxes; gosh, they're awful," and, "I don't like the corporate income tax; yuck, that's awful." But when I talk to businesses about what they really dislike more than anything, it's fixed costs, costs you can do nothing about. If the economy goes up or the economy goes down, those costs are the same and I can do nothing about it. What a difference a large increase in property tax at the local level will mean. That is a fixed cost that they can do absolutely nothing about.

Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): More taxes.

Mr Michael Brown: Yes, it's more taxes, huge taxes.

Mr Sergio: For less services.

Mr Michael Brown: Yes. My colleague from Yorkview says, "And less services." So now the businessman is going to be reaching into his pocket to pay for all kinds of things that some municipality somewhere might decide he should pay.

In terms of competitiveness, I think the business community will find increases in property taxes hugely distasteful and hugely harmful to the way people do business in this province. I think it will make us less competitive, not more competitive.

This government is a government of contradictions. They say one thing and then contradict it almost immediately. "We're going to make planning easier. We're going to streamline it." Boy, you can get your approvals quicker, but nobody's going to be asking for them. I don't know whether anybody over on the other side gets that.

As we go through the act itself -- and, to be clear, there is a need for a new act. Our party opposed the previous government's attempt. We have no problem with changes. We believe there are changes that are necessary. But we also believe there has to be a mechanism for doing this.

We get this kind of Metro Toronto area where they have big planning staffs on the region. They've got lots of expertise. If you go out to Billings township, you're not going to find a lot of expertise on planning matters. They don't exist. So what will we do? In our area, we'll hire consultants. Oh, isn't that lovely? That will cost the people in our area considerably more dollars to get the same kind of expertise that they're actually already getting from the ministry, but now they're going to have to go out and pay some consultant to do it, pay more property taxes. I think what you're trying to do is spell the end of rural Ontario, and particularly northern rural Ontario, in terms of creating jobs. I think that's exactly the opposite to what the government says it wants to accomplish.

Good intentions don't do it. I appreciate your intentions, but you're going in exactly the wrong direction in terms of creating a business climate that will create housing, that will create small business, because the steps you are taking are almost totally based on increasing the costs at a fixed level.

This Planning Act, make no mistake, is another revenue bill. This is another one where you'll end up spending more money than ever to go through this process, because I can tell you, the municipalities under Bill 26 are going to be getting more ability to charge fees. When they charge fees, guess what? It's going to be you who pays. I think it's going to be more than cost recovery. I think they're going to look at these kinds of fees provided in this kind of legislation that will make the process not more timely, but more expensive.

We saw the former NDP government go through this process, and it got it exactly wrong. I would urge the government to step back from this one just for a little bit, to have a look at the changes they're presenting to us and say, "Is this really going to do what we want it to do?"

Yes, I've had people in my constituency office. As a matter of fact, I had a gentleman come to me and visit me on a Saturday afternoon at my home unannounced as I was trying to build a little garden. I came in and washed up a little bit and we talked about it and he had a problem with MNR. He was trying to sever some land and actually had it severed, but what he was looking for was a minor variance.

It said that on Lake Kagawong, one of the most beautiful lakes in Ontario, you must be above the 700-foot elevation to build. It makes sense. That set any building on his property 600 or 700 feet back from the lake, quite a distance back. It pretty much made the place unsaleable. If it was 699 feet, 10 1/2 inches, he could move up to within 200 feet of the lake. Most of us would think a local authority should be able to say, "Well, for an inch, I think that's okay." You know what happened? Not a hope. You think there was a hope in going to talk to the Ministry of Natural Resources about this? Not a hope, because the procedures aren't there. There is no way to look at what the Ministry of Natural Resources could do.


I don't blame the Ministry of Natural Resources people. They have absolutely no discussion in the matter. They are told it has to be at the 700-feet level, the elevation has to be that. The gentleman -- actually, he's a tradesman; he builds cottages and homes and does renovations; he's very good at it -- is trying to do something in our local economy and he's stopped right dead in his tracks because the ministry has no flexibility to say: "I think it would be all right if it was 699 feet 10 1/2 inches instead of 700 feet."

I think that would make sense to everybody in this room. I don't see anybody who would object to that. Hold up your hands if you think that's a nutty idea.

Mr Sergio: They all agree.

Mr Michael Brown: Everybody agrees. Norm, even.

I think what we're looking at, this document, addresses that not in the least.

It might work. I think there's something in this act that I like, but it doesn't affect us. Minor variances aren't going to be subject to the OMB. Good idea. I'll give it to you on that one. But why don't you address the real issues that are in my riding? This is a minor variance at best, which would make a lot of work for my folks as they build those cottages. These cottages will never be built because nobody wants to be 600 or 700 feet back from a lake if they think they've got a lakefront lot. It's crazy.

I spoke to the ministry on that issue: "Well, is there a problem with the ecology? You're worried about fish habitat or something?" "No, no, no." "Oh, fine. No problem. Are you worried about it flooding?" "Well, it never floods there, Mr Brown. You know, you've got to be a little bit crazy to think that would happen. There's a dam there that controls the water level. So we know where the water levels are. It would never get to there." So for an inch and a half, nothing happens.

Those are the kinds of decisions that have to be addressed in the province of Ontario. They're the kinds of things that never get talked about seriously around here. Sure, I talk about it, and some other rural northern members, but to get the government's attention so that they would do something in an act like this one, so that they would address the Ontario that I live in and the people I represent live in, is totally impossible. I suggest to the minister, Mr Leach, that when he has an opportunity, when he wants to make amendments to this act, he consider some of those things.

I want to talk a little bit about some of the policies. The wetlands policy of the previous government was --

Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): All wet.

Mr Michael Brown: The member says, "All wet." I guess that's probably true. Good idea, there's nothing basically wrong with the idea, but it became so restrictive, in certain parts of Ontario, it made no sense. One fellow would be building a shopping centre here on exactly the same land as the person next door was being told was a wetland of provincial significance.

Mr Sergio: Inconsistency.

Mr Michael Brown: There was no consistency in the way it was applied. There was not only a real hardship to the person who wished to develop the area but also a real problem with providing an economic incentive in the area to do things and to make things happen. At the same time, curiously enough, it was not benefiting the environment whatever. So I think the government better think about this one a little bit. There are some problems in it.

Mr Stockwell: Okay. I'll look after it.

Mr Michael Brown: I understand the member for Etobicoke West is going to look after that for me.

Mr Stockwell: Consider it done.

Mr Michael Brown: I might trust him, although I don't trust his colleagues, and if he could find himself a way into a position of slightly more influence, I would be much more comfortable on this side with our opportunity to --


Mr Michael Brown: I'm always nice to him. Anyway, as we talk about this Planning Act, and I'm sure there will be much more debate, probably going on into the evening, I'm happy I've had the opportunity to put some of the views of the constituents of Algoma-Manitoulin on the record in terms of the nitty-gritty of planning in a large northern rural area and that the members and particularly the minister will consider what I've said here in terms of providing some realistic home-grown solutions to the kind of problems I've just expressed.

I believe it is in the interests of all Ontarians to see a prosperous north, a prosperous rural north, and a prosperous rural Ontario and Ontario in general. I'm not certain that increased property taxes, increased taxes on services, fees, perhaps even gasoline taxes by municipalities, perhaps even municipal income taxes, perhaps taxes to go to our skating rinks, taxes on virtually everything that moves, is the way to make Ontario competitive and to create opportunities for our children.

Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I'm pleased to offer up a few thoughts on this legislation. Given the context of the activities that have happened here in this place over the last couple of weeks, and of course the economic statement of November 29, I don't imagine that this particular bill, which has the effect of amending many of the important progressive changes that we made in Bill 163 -- they will be revoked -- will get a lot of the attention that quite frankly it deserves, because it's not headline-grabbing in the nature of what it does and how it does it and the kinds of processes that are used to achieve planning objectives.

But I know from my own experience as an alderman in my home town of Hamilton and a regional councillor on the Hamilton-Wentworth regional council that in the long run there really is nothing as important as how we plan and execute the guidelines and policies of creating our communities, because in effect, when we create and plan our communities, we are very much deciding what our society will be and we're also determining what the quality of life will be.

At the end of the day, when we've had all our debates about the economy and how to make that work in the best interests of all Ontarians, not just the very wealthy, which is of course the singular objective of this government, after we've had those debates and discussions, there has to be a purpose to it all.

More and more in the 1990s and as the 1990s begin to lead us into the new millennium, my sense is more and more people are accepting that things like community and quality of life and quality time and leisure time will mean, and are meaning, more and more to the average Ontarian. Our Bill 163, I believe, went a long way to allowing us to achieve the objectives of good communities, healthy communities.

Not that long ago -- it's now sort of a distant dream because I don't imagine there's any money for it -- there was a movement across Canada called Healthy Communities, and there were a number of communities, like Metropolitan Toronto and I believe Edmonton and my own home town of Hamilton, that took that idea of healthy communities and the policies around that initiative very seriously. Unfortunately, I believe a lot of that has gotten lost in the cuts and slashing and burning and focus on the bottom line that's happened with the provincial government in the last few months and the federal government in the last few years. We're losing in the process our ability to control and shape our own lives.

It's ironic that as much as this government talks about wanting to give individuals choices, by not providing the leadership and the vision that a provincial government has the obligation and the responsibility to provide to municipalities -- bear in mind, municipalities are the creatures of the provinces; they're not a constitutional entity unto themselves -- then I think the average person, as a result of that kind of thinking by this government, is losing their ability to choose, because the framework for the decision-making and development and planning of their community has been narrowed only to the economics of a community. I'm the first -- again, having sat there where you don't have options of running deficits; in municipal councils, you've got to be able to balance that budget each and every time -- I'm not going to say that the economics of a community is not important; in fact, it's extremely important. But it's not the only consideration. In fact, we can show clearly -- in my own home town I've got great examples that if you don't pay attention to those other things, then in the long run it will cost you more money. For those who think the economics are the top priority, it becomes self-defeating.


For example, Hamilton harbour, one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world, one of the most successful ports in the world in terms of tonnage and profitability and enhancement to our local community, played a huge role in the fact that we became the steelmaking centre of this nation and in large part this continent. Yet in the early days, when the steel industry was taking hold and other manufacturers saw a future in Hamilton, we had very little regard for the environment and its impact on citizens.

I'm not faulting the decision-makers. We always have to look at decisions that leaders and communities and citizens make in the context of their time. There's the rub, because we do know the difference. We have that lesson to learn from; they didn't. But what is that lesson? That lesson is that when you do not pay any attention at all to the environment and make it totally subordinate to the needs of local economics, you do a great disservice to a local community, to the citizens and to your economy, because the cost now to the municipalities and the Canadian provinces and American states that circle the Great Lakes, the cost to those governments to clean up waters like Hamilton harbour is enormous. It runs in the billions of dollars.

If we're not paying close attention -- and I believe the government is not with this legislation; I think it's very shortsighted -- then we run the risk of repeating the mistakes of the past. In the long run, in not balancing and protecting the needs of the environment when we're looking at planning and development issues in local communities, we are putting a tab -- as this government likes to talk about -- on future generations of Ontarians, because they're going to have to pay the price to clean it up. We're rapidly filling up this world. We don't have the luxury of ignoring polluted areas. We are now in the business of cleaning up from past mistakes.

Bill 163, when we brought it in, was meant to provide a framework and a set of guidelines and policies that would allow us to develop but develop in a sustainable fashion, sustainable development.

I know that my colleague the member for Hamilton West's husband, who was a former colleague of mine on regional council, is the leading advocate and one of the best-known experts in this field. I really believe that this legislation flies in the face of many of the things that Don and others on regional council believe in. Now Don, being a good Tory, I'm sure will be prepared to deny that, and that's his right. But I believe that it does, because sustainable development really is the only option for the future.

We have to have development. We have to have an economy that provides jobs and provides the ability for the working women and men of this province to make a living, provide for their families, build for the future and, as always, hope that our children can have a better life than the one that we had. We do a lot to try to give them that. So that balance between protecting the environment and preserving it for the future but also allowing us to have an economy in local communities that works to the benefit of the citizens is the obvious priority.

We believe that we addressed many of the imbalances that existed with our Bill 163, and certainly almost all the leading environmentalists of the time, just a few short years ago, believed that also. But it's interesting, there were other people who endorsed that, and it's important that we have that on the record.

Malcolm Hunt, director of planning and economic development in the city of Peterborough, said: "There's nothing wrong with the direction that the new Planning Act" -- that was ours -- "is taking us. The principles that are spoken to in the act are in my opinion sound planning principles."

Also, there was an Environics poll reported in the Globe and Mail on October 24. It said: "Conducted last month, the survey found most Canadians believe environmental protection does not have to be traded off for economic development. Seventy-eight per cent of respondents said environmental regulations should be strictly enforced in times of recession...." I suspect that the reason for the last part of that, "in times of recession," is exactly what we're seeing now, and that is, when we get into that economic crunch, then we're more likely to make hasty decisions that look good in the short term but in the medium and long term are not good for our communities, not good for our citizens and not smart economically.

I guess that's what we find most frustrating on this side of the House, at least in our party, because again we see the Liberals trying to put a foot in both camps. They want to oppose what you did, oppose what we did. I'm not sure where they are on this particular issue, as I'm not sure on most issues where they are unless I check day to day. But we in the New Democratic Party believe that the 78% of Canadians who believe that you should not trade off the environment holus-bolus for economic development are correct. It does not make any common sense.

This is another example of the government being very good at labelling things, like they do special interests. They can label them and they can ignore them or make them the enemy. They can talk about wanting real protection for tenants when there's nobody out there who believes for a minute that you're going to do anything other than take away the rights that tenants have. Nobody believes that, and we'll see it when it lands. You said that Bill 7, the anti-worker Bill 7, was merely repealing Bill 40. Again, that wasn't the case, but you're very good at getting that label on things. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I give you your due. Unfortunately, your success is a loss for the people of Ontario when you are able to do that.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): They're catching on.

Mr Christopherson: My colleague from Lake Nipigon says that the people are catching on. I believe that to be true. If you ever made a huge mistake in the last few weeks, it was what you did around Bill 26 and your reaction to what we had to do. In the long run we should be thanking you as much as we thank Alvin Curling, because you really did focus people's minds on not accepting just the 20-second clip from the minister, but actually taking a look a little bit further past the name of the bill, a little bit further than the minister's statement in the House, and seeing what's in there.

As I opened my comments, I can only regret that this bill will not get the kind of attention that it rightly deserves, although we will certainly do everything we can to raise its profile and its awareness because of the impact that it will have.


When I talk about Bill 163 and what we're losing, there are a number of things that are achieved. One of the most significant -- and it sounds like a technicality but unfortunately a lot of things in law that really matter appear at first blush to be just mere technicalities but can have monumental impacts for average Ontarians. One of the things that you're going to change is that local practices, meaning local councils, be consistent -- we had "be consistent with provincial policy," and you're going to change "consistent with" back to what it was before, because, of course, that's what you like to do: try to take us back to what you consider the good old days, the way the world ought to be. You're the greatest social engineers that anybody ever met and you always throw that accusation on anybody who really tries to be progressive. But you are. You're trying to social engineer almost in a time machine to take us back.

That's what you're doing here. You're taking us back, in this legislation, to "have regard to." Anyone who's either a lawyer or even performed negotiations or done arbitration will know that the difference between "consistent with" and "have regard to" is huge. There's a huge difference between that, because it's not nearly as strong. It means a weakening of the province's ability to have an overarching say that would be consistent across all communities and that all municipal governments must adhere to, and you're going to water that down.

Some of you, as I see, will be nodding your heads saying, "Well, that's a good thing," and yet we hear, in response to our Bill 163 in August 1994, AMO, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, of which I used to be a member when I was a local alderman, said, "We accept the province's constitutional and legitimate role in setting the legislative and policy framework within which municipalities in Ontario must operate." So this is not some raving idea out of the blue. The idea that the province would provide strong, consistent leadership in the area of parameters in which local governments would make the critical decisions that they do is supported by AMO and I think has a great deal of validity, and indeed has over the decades assisted in providing Ontario with the quality of life that we've had -- that very quality of life that this government seems so determined to destroy by the vicious cuts and attacks on the most vulnerable in our society, and it's all in aid of giving a tax cut to your very wealthy friends.

I have said consistently in every speech I've made that when members of the Ontario public -- and, as my colleague from Lake Nipigon has pointed out, they are beginning to -- look at all the individual things that this government is doing and then stand back and ask themselves, "What does this picture paint?" they will see that the picture there is one of a meaner, harsher, polarized, dog-eat-dog, Newt Gingrich kind of province where the very wealthy will do quite well, thank you very much, because nothing you've done so far has hurt the wealthy.


Mr Christopherson: But if you're not someone who already has access to incredible amounts of money, then you're just a loser when this Tory government rolls the dice. You just lose.

They get all wild and wound-up when you mention Newt Gingrich. It makes them nervous, because they also see what's happening to his popularity. People are starting to clue in to what he's doing and what it means to the future of Americans, and what it means for the average American. They're beginning to see what that means.

As their numbers and as Newt Gingrich's popularity numbers begin to fall, I predict with great confidence -- and we already have seen some of it, but that's the beginning; there's more to come -- we will see this government's popularity begin to fall even further, because all they've been living on so far is that exhaustible resource called the after-election honeymoon. But you're running out of that commodity quicker than most governments have in the past, and there's good reason for that: because the quality of life in Ontario for the average working person is going to drop, and it doesn't have to. That's the point. It doesn't have to be this way. If you weren't so committed to providing your wealthy friends with that huge, unaffordable 30% tax cut, then you wouldn't have to be cutting the kinds of infrastructure and services and benefits to the poor and to seniors and women and children that you are, because we, like most Ontarians, do agree that the debt and deficit must be dealt with.

The difference is, you believe that it has to be done in a way that gets us to the balanced budget as fast as possible without regard to what it does for the average person in this province, and why not? None of it has hurt any of your friends so far. If you're making $200,000 or $250,000 a year in Ontario, you haven't been hurt by this government, not one bit.

And that same person gets the benefit of the lion's share of that tax cut. That's the vision you have, and we say, from this side of the House, and in the New Democratic Party, it doesn't have to be that way. We can't afford the tax cut right now. It makes no sense. It doesn't take long for people to realize that if they believe your argument that the debt and deficit are such a crisis that it justifies the kind of cutting and hurting that you're doing, then why on earth would you give back money at the same time? Why wouldn't you at least put that same money towards that debt and deficit? No, you're not. You're taking that money and giving it to the very well-to-do. And people are beginning to catch on.

Mr Stockwell: No, they are not.

Mr Christopherson: One of my colleagues across the way is saying, "No, they're not." Well, yes, they are. Stay tuned. We'll see you back in March and we'll see where we are then and where the people of Ontario are at that point.

When we talk about what this government is doing and why it's doing it, and the first question that comes up, and they say, "Well, it has to be; we have to accept this kind of pain." Well, no we don't. Yes, we do have to accept a certain amount, a lot of change, and there probably will be some pain in there. We started that process, don't forget. We were the first government, not a Tory government, that reduced the cost of programs of the Ontario government year over year for two years. No other government did that in the history of Ontario.

I grant you in the election there weren't a lot of people listening to our message, obviously. I can see the configuration of the House like anyone else, but I do want to say to you that when people do reflect on our record, they will see that we were dealing with the debt and deficit but in a different way.

First of all, we didn't offer up the political carrot of a tax cut, and we didn't say it has to be done tomorrow. It was done in a way that was much more gradual, allowed our society to adjust to the changes, we provided support for them -- all of those things. And I raise those in the context of this bill, Bill 20, because it's all part of the same argument.

You're still saying that there is such a crisis that we have to give up on the poor, give up on the disabled, give up on children, give up on all the things that make this a great place to live, and now with this bill, you also say we have to give up on the environment, and it doesn't work.

It doesn't work from a planning point of view, it doesn't work from a quality-of-life point of view for the average working person, and I've pointed out earlier it doesn't make economic sense. You're abandoning the inner cities with your willingness to look at cutting development charges. You're going to put so much pressure on regional municipalities like my own that have a large urban centre as well as expanding rural areas where there is development.


You've slashed the budgets of municipal councils in a phenomenal way, by almost half over two years, the money that you provide them to give the services that they are required, according to our legislation, provincial legislation, to provide. You're doing that. Now you're inhibiting their ability to pay for the creation of schools and libraries and recreation centres in those new developing areas by denying development charges that say to those who are going to live in those areas: "Yes, it's going to cost a little more to buy a new home, but it is you and your family that will benefit from that recreation centre and from that new school and that new library. You will benefit from that, so you ought to be helping to pay for that, not the people who have been living in downtown Hamilton for all those years."

That's why regional councils and municipal councils went along with it and brought in development charges, not because they wanted to. They didn't want to do that, but it was the only way they could pay for those new services in a way that wasn't unfair to people who had been paying taxes their entire life, property taxes, in the inner cities and the currently developed areas.

What you're saying is, and my opinion is, that you don't really care too much about the inner cities; you don't believe in any kind of intensification, again very shortsighted vision. It sounds good short-term. It's going to do nothing for the long term. You're going to cause more urban sprawl and then you're denying regions the ability to pay for that in a fair way.

You'll run around the province and say, "See, we got off your back," as if that was the only answer to everything. If it were, why not dissolve the Legislature? In fact, watching the --

Mr Pouliot: Don't.

Mr Christopherson: Yes, I almost get nervous suggesting it. Watching the way you've acted, that's probably one of your ideas, because you clearly have no respect for this Legislature or we wouldn't have had to do what we did last week with Alvin Curling.

You have no respect for the public, because you don't want to let them comment on important pieces of legislation like the anti-worker Bill 7 and Bill 26. We had to force you into doing that in a way that gave meaning to public input. All summer you made pronouncements from on high without the Legislature sitting. At the end of the day, as a cost-cutting measure -- I say to my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon, I do worry they may see that as a way, but in some ways nothing would change. You're governing as if this Legislature and democracy didn't exist anyway, you truly are.

I close my remarks in the way that I opened them. It is a shame that Bill 20 will not get the same attention as other matters now before this House because of its critical importance to the quality of life of the average working women and men.


Mr Christopherson: One of the Tory backbenchers hollered out "Hamilton." You're damn right, Hamilton, because I'm here to represent my community. I don't know who you're here to represent in Hamilton.

We don't have as many wealthy people as you seem to think exist in this province. The majority of people in this province are hardworking, decent women and men, and you know what? Some of them get hurt on the job and you don't seem to care about that; some of them are unemployed and you seem to think it's their fault, and with this you're saying to the inner cities: "Goodbye, because we're not concerned about you. We're more concerned about our short-term economic needs."

This is another example of the kind of vision that this government has for Ontario and unfortunately it's a vision that paints a dismal future for the average working person and their families in this province, and they're going to see that over and over. When we come back here in March, after a lot of this has sunk in and people have seen it, you're going to be singing a very different tune. I assure you that.

Mr Stockwell: I do enjoy the interesting observations offered up by the member from Hamilton.

Mr Pouliot: You enjoy it?

Mr Stockwell: Sure I enjoy it. It's the give and take and the cut and thrust of this place. It's of interest. Although I don't agree with a lot of what he says, it certainly has a flavour, and hyperbole is, as I said, very interesting.

I want to just discuss one quick fact, though, about the development charges. When we talk about the development charges, you're suggesting that there's some kind of unfairness about our approach to development charges with respect to hard services. You have to remember development charges were instituted just for that -- hard services. They weren't intended for any other use.

You talk about inner-city development and how these people can't afford to pay for hard services in suburban areas. Well, who developed those hard services for the inner-city core? The same process was used. Existing development was taxed, development charges were levied, and we raised money for hard services through the development process.

Where it all got out of whack was when councils began to levy development charges as charges for soft services. Development charges started escalating, thereby, with the escalation of those development charges, the cost of housing increased. What does that mean, I say to the member from Hamilton. Well, when the cost of housing increases, the very people you're trying to serve and the very people you would want to see get into housing get forced out of the market because the cost continues to go up.

The other fact that remains is, developers determine they can't build for a reasonable return and they can't build at a reasonable cost, so they don't build. And what happens? All those good union members whom you purport to represent don't gain employment from the development industry because it collapsed under the weight of the bureaucratic maze instituted by the two previous administrations.

So before you go slamming the development charge approach we took, review history. When development charges were paid for for hard services, we had a lot of building. Lately, we've had very little.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): The time has expired. Further questions or comments? The member for Hamilton Centre, you have two minutes.

Mr Christopherson: I want to thank the member for Etobicoke West for his comments. We do tend to disagree on a number of issues, but we also have a great deal of respect for each other. I always enjoy his thinking but I do completely disagree.

Let me say to you that the difference between us is that you used the phrase, "It got all out of whack when it was used for soft services." We don't think that it's all out of whack when you start talking about a quality of life that ensures that there are accessible, usable libraries for people of modest means; or that there be recreation centres where parentsHe said children who don't have their own gymnasiums in their basement, who maybe live in an apartment building, have somewhere to take their kids; or that there be parks available for children to enjoy who may not have that opportunity. Fire and police are also sometimes considered soft services.


Mr Christopherson: The member is now heckling, which disappoints me because I didn't heckle him. He's heckling that there's no building. What he wants to do though is confine that argument to something like Bill 163. What he doesn't want to talk about is what his Tory cousins did federally in terms of the free trade agreement and what that's done to manufacturing centres.

There his hands go, in the air. I think he just surrendered.

Look what you did in terms of the message you sent to people with the GST. Look at the high-interest-rate, low-inflation-rate policy of the former government. That took away jobs. That took away investment. You can have all these things if people have decent paying jobs. See, that's the difference.

Mr Stockwell: That's off topic.


Mr Christopherson: No, it's not off topic. The fact is if there are real jobs, meaningful jobs that pay a decent wage, then the average person can afford to contribute towards a quality of life that's worth living, not the dismal, bleak Ontario you want to give them.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate.

Mr E.J. Douglas Rollins (Quinte): This is my first opportunity to stand up and speak in this House. I know that I don't share the same kind of enthusiasm in my speech as the last two speakers in this House, and I probably don't share anywhere near the quality of time that this hour of the night brings, because I'm sure the Young and the Restless will outcover me as far as coverage is concerned.

I would like to congratulate the previous member we had representing us in the person of Hugh O'Neil, for Quinte. He was an extremely good member for 20 years and worked very tirelessly for us in our constituency.

The riding of Quinte was established in 1966 from Hastings West, and there will only be three members from Quinte representing that riding for the rest of history, because as the boundaries change, it'll be no more, and those three ridings were -- some of you people might remember Dr Richard Potter, Hugh O'Neil and myself.

From 1867 till 1966, the riding which was South Hastings was only served seven years other than by Conservatives, and Mr O'Neil wrested it away from that tradition of Conservatism down there and kept it for 20 years, and it was no easy feat.

I've been given the honour and the privilege to speak in this House for the citizens of Quinte and I certainly appreciate that. The riding of Quinte was named after the beautiful Bay of Quinte.


Mr Rollins: Oh yes, and it's a clean bay too, and there are lot of good things there.

The bay has played a significant role over the period of history. It was a transport link for logging operations going back a long, long way.

The marinas in both cities of Belleville and Trenton attract boaters from all over the province of Ontario and northern New York, and the Trent-Severn waterway, which many of you people have running up through your ridings, dumps out into the bay at the town of Trenton. If you want to go up there, you've got to start out from that beautiful place of Trenton. Also, the Bay of Quinte is quite capably known as the pickerel capital of Ontario because, whether it's winter or summer, there are certainly lots of things to be fished out of that wonderful Bay of Quinte.

On the second weekend in July, the city of Belleville hosts the annual Waterfront Festival and Folklorama, where some 100,000 people crowd into Zwicks Island, Meyers Pier and Victoria Park for the three-day event, something that was established through some grants that some of you other people saw fit to give to us to establish that kind of start, and since then we haven't taken those grants and we've run on our own, with our own steam and our own power, and it's been darn nice to have it started.

The festival is just one more way of showing you people that many, many people put in volunteer hours to make this a very good event for our community and raise the money that they do.

Belleville is the home of some small industries and some large ones. One of the largest industries we have in Belleville at the present time was a state-of-the-art warehouse facility that was opened by Sears, where 1,400 people take part and work. It's only a small size; it's just three times the size of the SkyDome down here, where I think they play some hockey or football or something like that. They quit playing baseball last year.

Recently in Trenton, Quaker Oats decided to enlarge their little plant down there; they've had some bad times and hired 45 more people and put in a rice-cake line. Now it's supplying rice cakes for all over the North American market and that just comes out of a little place in our riding.

Quinte is also the home for CFB Trenton; it's the largest transport base in Canada and it currently has about 3,000 military people. There are going to be an additional 116 people moving down to Trenton when the parachute division that's is presently at Edmonton will be established there in a year or in the next year to come.

For those of you who are not residents of Quinte, CFB Trenton does help out once in a while, because I know you fellows up in the north get lost periodically, and that's when that squadron goes up with a helicopter and picks you out of the lake or the river or -- I don't know whether they pick you off the roads with Mr Palladini's roads or not, but they might have to do that if it's real bad. That all comes from Trenton, so even that little riding of Quinte down there still is touching many, many people in this whole province.

I want to speak about the dramatic change that occurred in this great province of ours in the last 10 years. Few people spoke about the dangers of uncontrollable spending. Many citizens of this province of ours viewed government as a tool in eliminating the unpleasantries of a free enterprise economy. Federally, there was talk about the danger of the national debt. Nobody believed that. It was something nobody would believe. The idea that governments could run out of money was believed to be an apocrypha.

Consequently, during the past 10 years, successive governments dramatically escalated spending on programs in a futile attempt to create an egalitarian society. It boosted spending on welfare in an ineffectual effort to eliminate poverty. Of course, it had no means at its disposal to create wealth so it did the next best thing: it raised taxes by taxing everything that anybody earned or spent, or wherever they could.

Their efforts were fruitless and only succeeded in creating a ravenous, insatiable bureaucracy that continued to absorb our resources at a fast rate. No matter how fast the government spent money, the need in society always grew faster.

In the last 10 years, we have seen politicians and entire political parties realize the error of their ways. They have shifted grudgingly, half-heartedly away from the socialistic policies. They do this not because they believe in conservatism but by financial necessity. Their attempts are therefore half-hearted and doomed to fail.

Our current Prime Minister spent the better part of the 1970s as a cabinet minister in the Trudeau government, holding portfolios in Justice and Finance. He played a key role in promoting the just society. The cost of the just society was ever-expanding government demanding more and more of its citizens. As the leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition, he became a master of hyperbole. Every reduction in the funding of a provincial transfer payment or the CBC was a nail in the coffin of Confederation. Today the man who spent the entire part of his career overseeing the expansion of government now eagerly wants to dismantle it.

Before the New Democratic Party came to form the 35th Parliament in Ontario it promised the citizens of this province grandiose schemes to create an egalitarian society.

During the past 10 years there was one politician who believed in the dangers of debt, compound interest and socialist economic planning. There is only one party that has always held fast to the new idea adopted by everyone in the political spectrum. There was one leader who was undaunting in his ideas, one party that was consistent with its beliefs. That party was the Conservative Party and the leader, Mike Harris.

The opposition, whether it originates in this chamber or from the streets, has lost its way, with its ideals discredited by its leaders and dazed and confused. Unable to present workable alternatives, it was forced to hurl mud and anything else at us that it can do to discredit us.

There are fewer and fewer people today who believe that government should grow larger, that it can solve all the problems, that debt doesn't matter and that prosperity can be borrowed. There is nothing denying the revolutionary change that has swept this province.

The people of Quinte have chosen me to represent them in this Legislature because I stand for small-c conservatism --

Mr Pouliot: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Would the member for Quinte please take his seat for a minute.

Mr Pouliot: In a broadly summarized form, and I welcome the member --

The Deputy Speaker: Your point of order?

Mr Pouliot: Yes, I have a point of order. Will you please let me explain. I've listened intently to what the member has said. The member has started to talk about his riding; rightly so. Welcome on board. We've very pleased. And then did not move from his riding to Bill 20, and used, with the highest of respect, an opportunity, a forum, to tell us that we are socialist, to tell the Liberals and to talk about anything but his riding, which we welcome, or Bill 20 --

The Deputy Speaker: Is your point of order that he's not speaking on the subject?

Mr Pouliot: I think he should stick to Bill 20 or go back to his riding, since it's his first time up, but not use the forum to make an attack on the Liberals and --

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Quinte.


Mr Rollins: For the last, I believe, 62 or 64 minutes I sat here and heard things that had nothing to do with Bill 20 either. I heard them mention Bill 7 and Bill 26, and I don't believe that's the discussion we're on either, so bear with me for a few more minutes, sir.

There are fewer and fewer people today who believe that government should grow larger, that it can solve all the problems, that the debt doesn't matter and that prosperity can be borrowed. There is no denying the revolutionary change that has swept this province.

The people of Quinte have chosen me -- I've missed my place in here. You've confused me so badly I've buggered up where I was, but that's okay.

I'm still a small-c conservative, the biggest guy in the government sitting in the back row. I outweigh everybody else by a few pounds.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Clarke Rollins was bigger.

Mr Rollins: No, he wasn't. He never did weigh as much as I do. Your memory is bad.

But the people of Quinte and I believe that the Mike Harris team and the people of the Conservative Party can put this province back on what is supposed to be due.

My honourable colleagues and I have chosen to follow this platform not because it's an easy one, but because it's a financial necessity; if we don't we do not solve the problems of this province and put us back on the way to recovery.

During the past 10 years, in good times and in bad, in economic boom and bust, the growth in welfare continued uninterrupted. Corresponding with the growth in dependency has been growth in taxes and in benefits. We have been taxing hard-working people and continue to tax the people who are successful and achieve nothing for the people who fail; just let them go on.

The path we were on was leading this province into financial ruin. Even our own sovereignty was threatened with this untamed monster. If we continued down the path, bond traders in New York and all around the world would leave us in a terrible situation if our bond rating wasn't looked after.

Currently, the province is spending about $9 billion on interest, as you people have heard at different times, but this is one of the reasons we need to support Bill 20: so that we can put those kinds of things back into the hands of the people of their own municipalities to make those kinds of decisions, to make the changes that we need to make to improve the ability of our own local people to keep on doing things better for themselves.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The standing orders of this House are quite clear. When a bill is called before the House for debate, we're supposed to debate the bill. Either the member hasn't read this bill, like most of his Tory cabinet ministers, or he's trying to utilize this in order to do his maiden speech, and I think the Speaker should enforce the rules of the House and keep him speaking on Bill 20.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Quinte will address his remarks towards Bill 20.

Mr Stockwell: I would like to speak to the point of order.

The Deputy Speaker: I'm sorry, a point of order is not debatable.

Mr Stockwell: Then I have a point of order, Mr Speaker: I think the member is in fact speaking to Bill 20. I heard him mention it on a couple of occasions. Furthermore, I appreciate the fact that it was brought forward by the member opposite, but he's been here all of two minutes. I don't know how he could possibly know whether the member was speaking to the bill or not.

The Deputy Speaker: I don't plan to debate that point of order. I recognize the member for Quinte.

Mr Rollins: I've mentioned Bill 20 a couple of more times. I can stand here and mention it a whole bunch more times if that's what you so desire.

Mr Bradley: I always liked Clarke Rollins.

Mr Rollins: That's all right. You'll get to like me too some time if you live long enough.

Bill 20, An Act to promote economic growth and protect the environment by streamlining the land use planning and development system through amendments related to planning, development, municipal and heritage matters.

One of the increasing problems we have had with the bill that was in there previously was that through the OMB these people went to complain about things and hold things up a long time, increasing problems even in a little place like Belleville, where a Wal-Mart in a neighbouring area was allowed to hold up a whole development for over a year because the law wasn't changed, as in Bill 20, to give us the protection to make those things that we have to deal with in order that we deal with them in a shorter period of time than 405 days, going through all these kinds of things, which is absolutely wrong. Bill 20 will change that to make those people get back and let them have that kind of a decision and to make them at their own municipal boards.

In the greater Toronto area, according to the Urban Development Institute, the claim is that $15,000 to $20,000 is being assessed on every building lot. We cannot sustain that kind of charge and expect houses to be built and this society to get back in tune.

In a recent meeting in Sidney township, also pertaining to what Bill 20 will do, there was a proposal to build a road. The road should have been built straight through, but no, because of some of these environment problems that we have, the road was going to be about as crooked as the road that my cows walk out of the woods with. You can't drive cars on that. The common sense of the thing is, the same as Bill 20, build the road straight, put some culverts under the road and make it work. Those are the kinds of things that the past government hasn't seen fit to do. They wanted to muddy up the waters, hold things up. This government wants to keep on going and keep on going darn well. Don't let us slow down.

In closing, I will be only too proud to stand up and support Bill 20. I know the next time that some of those fellows get up over there, if I don't go across the hall, there'll be another sit-in here, but they'll be sat on, no sitting in.

Mr Bradley: Mr Speaker, that last statement was a threat that the opposition will take into account, I assure you very much, because that certainly would be a deterrent to any further action.

I want to comment on the member's last statement in particular about moving things along quickly in the province. Sometimes there is a need to do that, and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing last night gave a good example of how he was trying for a one-stop shopping centre in terms of dealing with government. He and I got into a bit of a debate over that, but I think he made a good point when he said what he was really looking for was trying to get the various ministries at least in a timely fashion all at the same time to suggest what their comments would be in any development.

But I do want to point out one of the problems that arises when you move too quickly and when you start to look the other way on some of the environmental implications. One of the worst examples I saw of this -- and my friend the Premier, who is sitting across from me, will remember this, because he was part of the government that was involved in it -- was Smithville and the PCBs which were allowed to accumulate there.

One of the former ministers here, Mr Kells from Etobicoke-Lakeshore, would tell you that probably the largest single collection of PCBs could be found in Smithville at the time that the Progressive Conservative government left office. That was a good example of how, when you rush things through too quickly, when you give approvals too quickly without giving all the consideration to it, you end up with an environmental difficulty that will cost millions upon millions of dollars.

I want to congratulate the member, however, on his first speech in the Legislative Assembly. We are always pleased to hear from him and the representations that he made on behalf of his constituents, even though I might not agree entirely with his comments on the Common Sense Revolution.

Mr Pouliot: I find the member one more time most committed. He extended the courtesy to have all of us here visit his riding, and not all of us in this vast and magnificent land know every special part of Ontario. So I did welcome that opportunity.

The point that we made could have been a subtle one, that you do not adhere to the standing orders -- and why should you? You allow that flexibility in a constitutional monarchy in our kind of forum. But to use the forum, whether you intend to or not -- you see, the opposition at times is quite touchy, quite sensitive. It was a tempest in a teacup. Much more important, of course, is the fact that the member has agreed to be on his feet and to adhere to the philosophy of democracy of this great forum. We will look forward to his wisdom not only on Bill 40 but certainly on the legislation that will be tabled by the government in the future.


Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): Bill 20. Speak to the right bill.

Mr Pouliot: We'll have more than one opportunity.

Mr Stockwell: Not only did the good member for Quinte express the views and points of interest about his riding and his good constituents, but for a maiden speech, not only was that clearly enunciated by him, but I think he also gave a very stirring and practical response to Bill 20 itself. I think if you listened long enough and carefully, you would hear that there was discussion and debate and healthy, germane thought brought forward by the member for Quinte. I think he should be very proud of himself for his initial entering into debate in this Legislature.

I would say to the member opposite, we weren't discussing Bill 40; we were discussing Bill 20. I see even veteran members such as yourself can get confused. Clearly, when standing on a point of order to reprimand a member for not speaking to the proper bill, I always found it was very important to know exactly what bill you were talking about. Having seen that Bill 40, the labour legislation -- you were living in a time warp there for a very short period of time. You thought again that you were the minister talking about the labour legislation and you didn't recognize the member for Quinte because we had an election.

So I would say, considering the new member's maiden speech would probably be memorable, but not more so than your interjections on his behalf, thank you so much. You've made our day.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Just quickly, I wanted the member to understand, I want to certainly allow him the opportunity to have his maiden speech in the House, but I don't think it was appropriate to utilize the debate on Bill 20, an important bill that's before this House, as a mechanism to do that. There are budget bills; there are other opportunities by which to be able to speak on a broad range of issues. That's what the tradition of this Parliament has shown us: that when you're speaking on broader issues, you can do that on budget bills, but not on specific bills such as this.

I won't take the full two minutes because I see my whip really wants to get this one moving along. I just want to say one thing: The comment he did make in regard to Bill 20 is that he was saying the government wants to do this because they really, truly believe they need to be able to give the developers a larger hand and an important role when it comes to development, so we just can move them projects right along.

I would say, partly desirable, but I think quite frankly in this day and age, in the 1990s, that we do have to have concern for how development affects our communities and how it affects the environment. For the member to say he had a project and if it wasn't for all the environmental regulations along the way -- the road was nothing but a crooked arch all over the place. I think it's really erroneous and quite frankly not really how planning is done. So I would say to the member, welcome to this House. I look forward to a short association with you in your time in government. We'll have an opportunity to debate at other times.

Mr Rollins: With all this wisdom we've had, had we had and practised all the things that were grandiose and all those kinds of things that you'd have done, we'd have had so much building going on and so many people working and so much taxes coming in, darn it, we wouldn't have been able to spend all the money.

We've had to cut that money back and we've had to reallocate because you people have taken away the ability and the desire for those people to walk out there and build houses, to make development, make jobs and do one other thing -- pay taxes and let us pay your bills.

Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): I just want to make some comments about Bill 20. I want to congratulate the member for Quinte on his maiden speech. He was eloquent, succinct and very, very interesting.

There are a couple of specific items I want to refer to in this bill. The first thing is that this bill tends to do essentially what Bill 26 is doing, and that is giving more power to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and one ministry. I'll give you an example of that.

Under present legislation, if another ministry has a concern about something under the Planning Act and they want to appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board, that ministry -- it could be the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs or one of those other ministries -- could make an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. But Bill 20 allows for only appeals made by one minister and one ministry. If the Ministry of Environment and Energy or the Ministry of Agriculture has serious concerns about a development, neither can appeal even though the development may have a severe impact on agricultural land or may have a severe impact on environmental concerns. So Bill 20 takes away that right from all the other ministries, the right to basically appeal a decision to the Ontario Municipal Board, so again, more power in one minister over planning.

Another thing that concerns me in terms of this act is that right now a local citizen, an ordinary citizen who essentially finds that the decision of the local council is not to his or her liking, right now that ordinary citizen can appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. As a result of Bill 20, that citizen with a minor variance cannot have the right to appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. I know it sometimes becomes cumbersome or becomes something that will delay an approval, but taking that right from that ordinary citizen to make that appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board is denying the right of ordinary citizens who, through their taxes, build up government agencies and government programs, to make that appeal where right now ordinary citizens make these appeals in a regular fashion to the Ontario Municipal Board. So this act takes away that right of appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board for ordinary citizens.

Another very interesting part of this bill is what I call the Mississauga amendment where over the last number of years, I guess with the last government, they legalized accessory units in homes. What this bill is doing is saying that new future accessory units essentially have to have special approval, whereas the previous legislation gave it as a provincial right to have accessory units in homes.

The interesting aspect is that this government is proposing to institute a registry. Every municipality in Ontario will have this registry of every home that has a second unit. That means a government that claims to have less government intrusion is now going to register every home and housing unit that has a second unit.

I ask, for what purpose is this registry needed? Who's going to monitor this registry, and is this registry going to include, for instance, all the home businesses that are going to be cropping up and that are cropping up all across Ontario? Will this registry also include all those bookkeeping offices; and, in some cases, lawyers' offices? Are these going to have to be registered with the municipality to have more red tape, more government intrusion with this new registry for any home that has a second unit?


Someone mentioned earlier in terms of the impact this might have on open space and environmental impacts. One of the interesting appendages to this is found in Bill 26, where environmental protection authorities, conservation authorities, are going to obviously have less power to protect open space, because one of the nuances here is that if members of local councils want to do away with a conservation authority, they can do so by a vote.

It's interesting to note, which is connected with this restriction of conservation boards, that part of this is woven into Bill 26 where, interesting enough, there's a new part which says, "entitlement to vote." This decision to do away with conservation authorities is only going to be made by the newly appointed members of these authorities. So in other words, the government-appointed members will have a say in whether the conservation authority stays or not. Those who were appointed by previous governments will have no say.

I think this is part of where Bill 20 is going, that there's going to be obviously less power in conservation authorities because, as you know, one of the so-called rationales for Bill 20 is to allow for more building. This is supposed to create jobs etc. That is a lot of the Tory motive.

We all want to see jobs, but you wonder, at what expense, because if you look at the recent analysis of urban sprawl, suburban sprawl, you'll see that if you don't cap the urban envelope and you allow housing to go from here to Lake Simcoe and from here to the Quebec border, the cost of the infrastructure, that is, putting in the roads, putting in the sewers, putting in the schools, all these facilities, is going to be astronomical. Those services are going to have to be put in. It's much more cost-effective if you close the urban envelope and you don't allow sprawl from here to kingdom come, as they've done in Phoenix, as they do in Houston, because that's what this is.

Essentially, Bill 20, along with parts of Bill 26, is the beginning of Houston North, all in the name of job creation. But what it will do is it'll pave over green space, it'll pave over farmland, and as the member for Quinte, who knows a lot about agricultural land and its importance, knows, once you pave it over, there's no turning back.

So this Bill 20 looks like it may have some innocuous streamlining intent, but it is the beginning of the paving over of most of the farmland in southern Ontario and throughout Ontario. This is what it really begins to do. It gives the Minister of Municipal Affairs the ability to pave over farmland, agricultural land and all our wetlands and agricultural space, because the conservation authorities are going to have less power, the Ministry of Environment's going to have less power, the Ministry of Agriculture's going have less power, and what you're going to have is more power in the hands of developers.

I know the member from Long Branch there, Etobicoke West, was saying that in essence they're not building homes because of the lot levies and the development charges, and that's why home prices rose etc. So we want cheaper home prices. We forget that one of the reasons home prices, especially in southern Ontario, went through the roof was that there was rampant speculation.

We had people on medium incomes who were buying 10 homes in Ajax because they could put $5,000 down on each of the 10 homes and flip them in three or four months. That's what caused the rampant rise in home prices: speculation that was uncontrolled. That is not to say that this government was at fault for that, but that's one of the underlying causes of the high home prices, because for a number of years people were speculating on homes as they would speculate on the stock market today. That's what causes expensive housing.

On the other hand, this government is going to eliminate a lot of affordable housing potential in the future, because one of the best ways of getting affordable housing is by utilizing existing housing stock the best you can. This is going to make it much more difficult, because we've taken the Mississauga approach and that is the long, ranch-style bungalows, the huge lots, the cul-de-sacs which are expensive to maintain for public transit, for providing of sewers, not to mention all the other facilities.

That's the cost of sprawl. You lose agricultural land and you lose a lot of money because when you spread out and you sprawl, you're going to have to pay the price, and you'll be paying the price in billions of dollars in extra services that this government will have to pay for, because wherever you allow sprawl, you have to put in roads and sewers and schools and gymnasiums and arenas. Those cost money and usually it's taxpayers' dollars, because you're going to have a hard time asking the private sector to pay for sewers and schools and roads when the private sector is basically going to be given free rein to build wherever they want because you've told them that their costs are going to come down and they're not going to be hindered in their paving over of Ontario.

Another thing that's very interesting about this bill is that there are a number of concerns related to small municipalities or urban municipalities that have a smaller nature in the GTA that sometimes are not in tune with ordinary citizens. Most of the time local councils, because they want to be elected, certainly will reflect the majority will. But once in a while there are people who have a forward-looking perspective and they say, "Listen to us before you go ahead." Sure, I'll agree that there have been all kinds of unnecessary delays and very frustrating delays in the planning process. We all can concur with that. But I think we all have to be concerned that this bill doesn't have enough safeguards so that we can protect our agricultural lands and our urban green spaces. In my municipality of York, we have very little open green space. In fact, we have more people per square kilometre than any other place in the GTA. So every square inch of grass, every square inch of open space is critically important.

The direction of this bill basically says that we want to fast-track development at any cost. This is what I fear will happen: As developers are getting this green light to go full steam ahead, there will be enormous pressures on local councils to essentially fast-track and then what'll happen is that those green spaces, those open spaces which are precious -- maybe in Quinte there's a lot of open spaces and you're fortunate to have that open space, but we do not have that luxury in downtown Metro. We want to maintain every square inch of open space we can and this act does nothing to protect that, as it does nothing to protect our conservation authority.

Most people in my riding cannot afford a cottage or a summer home. They spend their weekends in the local parks and the local conservation areas like the Black Creek. They go down to the Toronto islands, and that's where they can go with their families and have a picnic. What I'm concerned about with this bill is that it's going to put enormous pressures to restrict and confine those open spaces so they won't be available and usable to ordinary people who don't own cottages and places outside the city. That's why, not only within our community but throughout Ontario, there is the threat to our enjoyment of that open space, because whether it's in the Niagara Escarpment, or it's in Quinte, or it's out your way by Stratford, Mr Speaker, if that open space is gobbled up by these developers, our residents in downtown areas of Ontario will not have the ability to go to public open spaces. Once you take that away, you never get it back. That is something that you have no revisiting of. So that's why I ask that when you look at this bill you look at the long-term ramifications. I know that everybody is looking at today's economy and today's environment, but I say to you, you've got to look 50, 100, 300 years down the road to see where you will go.


I say that this bill is shortsighted. It doesn't appreciate the fragile nature of our open spaces and our farm land, and this Bill 20, coupled with Bill 26, gives almost unilateral power to one minister to do what he or she pleases to the point where other ministries won't even have an opportunity to express concerns, never mind individual citizens who are concerned about their particular view of the future of Ontario.

I would just conclude by saying that I hope the people of Ontario remember that they should pause before they support such initiatives, because there is no second chance. If bills like this go through unamended, we're going to be in an irreversible situation which our great-grandchildren will never be able to enjoy. My main message is, just stop and make sure that you realize the long-term ramifications of this type of legislation.

The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Leach has moved second reading of Bill 20. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, say "aye."

All those opposed, say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1722 to 1742.

The Speaker: We're voting on second reading of Bill 20, in the name of Mr Leach. All those in favour will please rise one at a time.


Baird, John R.

Harris, Michael D.

Ross, Lillian

Barrett, Toby

Hastings, John

Sampson, Rob

Bassett, Isabel

Hudak, Tim

Shea, Derwyn

Chudleigh, Ted

Johnson, Bert

Sheehan, Frank

DeFaria, Carl

Johnson, Ron

Skarica, Toni

Doyle, Ed

Kells, Morley

Smith, Bruce

Elliott, Brenda

Leadston, Gary L.

Sterling, Norman W.

Eves, Ernie L.

Maves, Bart

Tsubouchi, David H.

Ford, Douglas B.

Munro, Julia

Turnbull, David

Fox, Gary

Mushinski, Marilyn

Vankoughnet, Bill

Gilchrist, Steve

Newman, Dan

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Grimmett, Bill

O'Toole, John

Young, Terence H.

Hardeman, Ernie

Parker, John L.


Harnick, Charles

Rollins, E.J. Douglas


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


Bisson, Gilles

Cooke, David S.

McLeod, Lyn

Boyd, Marion

Gerretsen, John

Phillips, Gerry

Bradley, James J.

Grandmaître, Bernard

Pouliot, Gilles

Brown, Michael A.

Kormos, Peter

Silipo, Tony

Caplan, Elinor

Lankin, Frances

Wood, Len

Christopherson, David

Marchese, Rosario


Colle, Mike

Martel, Shelley


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 40, the nays 19.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

The bill has been referred to the resources development committee.

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I wonder, Mr Speaker -- it's not under orders of the day -- if I might say about 45 seconds' worth, as I can't stay until the very end today.

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): He always filibusters on the last day.

Hon Mr Harris: Now I've got the floor -- I have filibustered on last days before, as has been pointed out by the House leader for the New Democratic Party -- I thank the opposition parties for their assistance and support during our first six months of office. As we were a long time from government and were rookies when we took over, they have, as is their duty and challenge, pointed out errors in our ways, flaws and corrections and better ways to do things.

Might I say on behalf of all members to members' families how much we appreciate the sacrifice and the time and effort that go into the job throughout the year and wish everybody season's greetings and some time, I hope -- carrying out responsibilities I know as well -- but some time for yourselves and for your families. Thank you very much.

The Speaker: The leader of the loyal opposition for 45 seconds.

Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): I also would like to rise in recognition that we are on the last day before we break, as an assembly, for the holiday season. Although I have some concerns, I won't respond to the Premier's casting aspersions on our capabilities as an opposition by suggesting we've been helpful to his government during their first few months in office.

I'll let that pass, and in the spirit of the approaching season join him in hoping that everyone in the assembly is able to find some time for a peaceful, happy period with their family, and say as well to you, Mr Speaker, and to the staff, our thanks for your patience with us in what has sometimes been a long and not always easy session. I hope everybody has a happy holiday season.

The Speaker: The House leader of the third party.

Mr Cooke: Mr Speaker, do I have 90 minutes? No.

If I might, on behalf of the New Democratic Party caucus, first of all say to the Premier that we appreciate his expression and recognition of the cooperation that the opposition parties have shown to the government in the first six months. I can assure him we will try to do better in 1996.

Mr Baird: You got the drift.

Mr Cooke: Yeah, right. You got the drift.

I also want to, on behalf of our caucus, wish everyone Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and happy holidays. It's been a tough session, and I hope everybody here understands that when we're at the tough political debates there's nothing personal about it. We all recognize the contribution that everybody in this place makes and the sacrifices the Premier said that everybody makes when they're involved as we are in public life.

I also want to say to the staff that we all very much appreciate how you keep this place working. There are only a few times that it doesn't work, and when it doesn't work it's not your fault; it's the government's fault. I know I speak on behalf of all members of the Legislature when we thank you, but wish you the very best for the holidays and for the new year. So Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, could I have unanimous consent to revert to motions for a brief period of time?

The Speaker: Do we have unanimous consent? Agreed.



Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I move that during the winter adjournment the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly be authorized to adjourn to Quebec City to review security provisions at the National Assembly.

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

Mr Bob Rae (York South): Mr Speaker, I apologize for being late and I'll have a note for you.

I want to add my best Christmas wishes to the Premier and to the Deputy Premier and to my colleague the Leader of the Opposition, with whom I've served on many occasions. I just want to wish the very best to all the members of the House and of course to my own loyal team as well for this term and for Christmas and the new year, and say how much I know we're all looking forward to seeing you all back again for yet another joyous occasion. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and good holidays to everyone.

The Speaker: Now can we get to orders of the day?

Hon Mr Eves: Yes, we may, Mr Speaker. May I call the order for private bills? Okay.




Mr Clement moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr9, An Act respecting the City of Brampton.

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

Mr Clement moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr9, An Act respecting the City of Brampton.

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

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.


Mr Leadston moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr10, An Act respecting the Waterloo County Board of Education.

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

Mr Leadston moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr11, An Act respecting the Waterloo County Board of Education.

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

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.


Mr Hudak moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr12, An Act respecting Canadian Niagara Power Company, Limited.

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

Mr Hudak moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr12, An Act respecting Canadian Niagara Power Company, Limited.

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

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.


Mr Baird moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr13, An Act respecting the City of Nepean.

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

Mr Baird moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr13, An Act respecting the City of Nepean.

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

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.


Mr Baird moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr14, An Act respecting the City of Nepean.

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

Mr Baird moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr14, An Act respecting the City of Nepean.

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

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.


Mr Sampson moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr37, An Act respecting the City of Mississauga.

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

Mr Sampson moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr37, An Act respecting the City of Mississauga.

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

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.


Mr Leadston moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr38, An Act respecting the Waterloo-Guelph Regional Airport.

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

Mr Leadston moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr38, An Act respecting the Waterloo-Guelph Regional Airport.

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

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.


Mr Colle moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr44, An Act respecting the City of York.

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

Mr Colle moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr44, An Act respecting the City of York.

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

Resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, it is my understanding His Honour awaits to give royal assent to some bills.

His Honour the Lieutenant Governor entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took his seat upon the throne.


Hon Henry N.R. Jackman (Lieutenant Governor): Pray be seated.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present meeting thereof, passed certain bills to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's assent.

Clerk Assistant and Clerk of Committees (Ms Deborah Deller): The following are the titles of the bills to which Your Honour's assent is prayed:

Bill 5, An Act respecting Shortline Railways / Projet de loi 5, Loi concernant les chemins de fer d'intérêt local

Bill 6, An Act to amend the Corporations Information Act / Projet de loi 6, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les renseignements exigés des personnes morales

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

Bill 15, An Act to amend the Workers' Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act / Projet de loi 15, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les accidents du travail et la Loi sur la santé et la sécurité au travail

Bill 23, An Act respecting Victims of Crime / Projet de loi 23, Loi concernant les victimes d'actes criminels

Bill Pr9, An Act respecting the City of Brampton

Bill Pr11, An Act respecting the Waterloo County Board of Education

Bill Pr12, An Act respecting Canadian Niagara Power Company, Limited

Bill Pr13, An Act respecting the City of Nepean

Bill Pr14, An Act respecting the City of Nepean

Bill Pr37, An Act respecting the City of Mississauga

Bill Pr38, An Act respecting the Waterloo-Guelph Regional Airport

Bill Pr44, An Act respecting the City of York.

Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): In Her Majesty's name, His Honour the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to these bills. Au nom de Sa Majesté, Son Honneur le lieutenant-gouverneur sanctionne ces projets de loi.

His Honour was then pleased to retire.

The Speaker: The House will be aware that on December 7, 1995, the member for Scarborough North had been excluded from the service of this House and its committees according to standing order 15(d) because force had to be used to make him withdraw from the chamber after I had named him for disregarding the authority of the Chair.

Since that time I have received a written apology from the member as well as a request signed by all three House leaders indicating that all three parties would have no objections if I agreed to lift the suspension affecting the member for Scarborough North.

Seeing this, I agree to the suspension at the conclusion of today's sitting.

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, I'd like to move adjournment of the House.

The Speaker: This House stands adjourned until 10 of the clock -- well, does everybody agree? I took that for granted.

This House stands adjourned until 10 of the clock, January 29, 1996.

The House adjourned at 1803.