36th Parliament, 1st Session

L045 - Thu 21 Mar 1996 / Jeu 21 Mar 1996


















































The House met at 1332.




Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): I rise today to remind a few of my colleagues across the way of a very important commitment that is not being kept by the government. On January 22, I received notification that the ongoing planning stage of the four-laning of Highway 69 into Sudbury was to be cancelled. This vital link is fundamental to the economic wellbeing of Sudbury and the north. I would like to take this opportunity to remind the Minister of Transportation of a few previous statements made by our Premier regarding the expansion of highways to the north. I quote:

"I think it's crucial that four-laning proceed. I have said on many occasions that the four-laning project ought not to be considered only on the amount of vehicles, but that it should be looked at by the provincial government as an economic tool for the promotion of economic development, tourism and the way of life in northern Ontario."

Let me give you another quote from Mr Harris while on the campaign trail, regarding the four-laning of Highway 11, which goes into North Bay from Toronto: "My party has made a commitment that it should proceed as soon as possible and that work continue until that project can be completed."

What about Highway 69, Mr Premier? Lives continue to be lost at an alarming rate on this highway. To kill the inexpensive planning stage would be to put off construction for several years and to continue the carnage we see all too frequently on Highway 69.

The people of Sudbury have spoken loudly and clearly through a resolution of Sudbury regional council demanding a safe and viable link to the north that will ensure a vibrant economy.


Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): The members of OPSEU Local 639 are holding a solidarity march on Saturday, March 23, at 2 pm in Kapuskasing, in the riding of Cochrane North. OPSEU 639 has asked that I extend an invitation to all interested members of the Legislature to march with them through the streets of Kapuskasing to protest the direct attack by the Harris government on their union and all unions and unionized workers, and the Tory government's agenda of cutting health care, social and education services as well as trying to dismantle all the unions in this province.

The march will start and end at the rear parking lot of the Model City Mall in Kapuskasing. Come out and join me and the unionized citizens of Kapuskasing in a solidarity march. Everyone is welcome. I might point out, Mr Harris, please leave your Tory OPP goons at home. We don't need them up in Cochrane North.

Local 639 is pleased that we've had solidarity marches in Hearst, Cochrane, Timmins and all throughout the ridings of Cochrane North and Cochrane South. They're fed up with the Tory agenda of attacking people steadily, steadily, steadily. We want an end to it. They've given over 500 pink slips from Cochrane North that they think Mike Harris should be replaced, he should be fired, as he's doing with a lot of other workers in this province.


Ms Isabel Bassett (St Andrew-St Patrick): In these days of funding cutbacks and looking for innovative ways of delivering services, I'd like to share with you some exciting projects. The faculty of applied science and engineering at the University of Toronto, in my riding of St Andrew-St Patrick, has teamed up with the engineering departments of McMaster University and the University of Waterloo to develop a new electronic classroom networking system which allows teaching resources to be shared among the three faculties. Electronic links have also been made with other Canadian universities. In fact, just last week a PhD oral examination was conducted over the network between a student in Ottawa and a judge in Toronto.

The faculty of applied science and engineering has also introduced a new program called the professional experience year which allows undergraduate students at the University of Toronto to take a year's leave from their engineering studies to get some work and valued experience in industry. This program helps give students the practical work they need and makes them more competitive in a tight job market once they graduate. There are 170 students registered in this program already.

This is an excellent demonstration of how at least one university is becoming more innovative and entrepreneurial and how universities can work together to achieve greater results. Partnership and innovation are the cornerstones of our future.


Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): Recently the health care task force in Hamilton announced its recommendation to close St Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton. St Joseph's Hospital is a vital component of the Hamilton health care system that services thousands of sick and frail every day. Unfortunately, in 1996 the sick and the frail are perfect targets for Mike Harris and the Tories.

St Joseph's has been operated since 1890 by the Sisters of St Joseph. It is one of the top health care facilities in the region. Last year alone, it served 350,000 people. Sixty per cent of the St Joseph's Hospital site is less than six years old, with over $100 million in redevelopment in the building itself.

However, Hamilton is fighting back. Hamilton's not going to roll over and allow this government or the district health council to recommend a closure of St Joseph's. Our MPPs' offices are receiving hundreds of phone calls and letters every day. A town hall meeting organized by Hamilton Centre MPP David Christopherson attracted over 600 people, with a few days' notice, all expressing opposition to the cuts.

We urge the minister to join with the hundreds of thousands of Hamilton-Wentworth residents who are going to express and continue to express disgust at this recommendation. We urge the minister to commit to the House that he will recommend that any moves whatsoever by the district health council to close St Joseph's be denied and that he assure the people of Hamilton today that he will not accept those recommendations.

We'll keep fighting and we'll keep ensuring that St Joseph's remains open.



Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East): The Sudbury Star newspaper recently commissioned a public opinion survey in our community regarding the OPSEU strike. The question asked of respondents was, "Do you support the Ontario government or its striking public service employees in the current labour dispute?" The survey results showed 43% of those questioned support the workers, those delivering important public services in our community. Only 29% of those asked were prepared to back the Conservative government on this issue.

That strong support for OPSEU was also clearly demonstrated last Friday during a march and rally held in downtown Sudbury. Over 1,500 people came out to protest the Conservative government and to demand a just and fair settlement for Ontario public sector workers.

In our community, workers in the public and private sector understand the importance of key workplace issues like seniority, pensions and successor rights. Working men and working women in my community have fought long and hard to realize those gains. They know full well that once OPSEU workers are stripped of these fundamental rights, the Conservatives will move on to the next group of workers: health care workers next week, steelworkers the week after, teachers after that, and on and on.

The Mike Harris government doesn't care that it's discriminating against its own workers. It doesn't care that it's stripping away protections that other Tory governments have put in place. It doesn't care that once you lay off thousands and thousands of workers, you destroy important public services. The only thing Mike Harris cares about is to drag labour legislation and worker protection down --

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


Mr John L. Parker (York East): Last December, the borough of East York lost one of its leading citizens, and conservationists across Ontario lost one of their best friends when Charles Sauriol died at the age of 91.

Charles Sauriol dedicated the second half of his remarkable life to the cause of conservation. He was central to efforts which raised more than $20 million in support of this important cause. He spearheaded the protection of thousands of acres of heritage lands across Canada, including over 500 natural areas within this province.

He was also the author of several books on the subject of conservation and was at work on another one literally at the moment of his death.

His work earned him many awards, including the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Conservation Award and the Order of Canada.

Charles Sauriol devoted unparalleled energy to his passion for restoration and conservation of the natural environment. He focused particular efforts towards conservation in the Don River watershed, which includes much of Metropolitan Toronto and all of East York and which has been part of my life since my earliest days growing up in this community. To Charles, the Don River Valley was one of nature's corridors, deserving of respect and protection, the importance of which only increased as the concrete and asphalt of urban development grew around it.

I met Charles Sauriol at Todmorden Mills in East York when we both participated in marking the establishment of a man-made natural pond site in an area where runoff waters feed into the lower Don. Later this spring, I will be joining many others who will paddle the lower Don past this site into Lake Ontario. I will be thinking of Charles Sauriol with each paddle stroke. As I look at the valley about me, I know I will be witnessing both a monument to the life's work of Charles Sauriol and the challenge of the unfinished work that he left behind for the rest of us to continue.


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): In the absence of a minister's statement and with a simple press release only, I'd like to talk about the new Health Services Restructuring Commission which was created under the government's now infamous Bill 26, the omnibus bill.

In the absence of a ministerial statement on the appointment of the CEO, Mr Mark Rochon, I would like to say to the minister that his approach is unacceptable. He says, "The mandate of the restructuring commission is to make decisions on implementation of hospital restructuring and consider more generally restructuring of the health care system."

The commission will have the power to close or amalgamate hospitals. There's no requirement for consultation or participation of the district health councils or in fact with the communities they represent. Any individual member of this commission could have the power to go into any community and impose solutions.

The minister says in his press release that the commission "will function at arm's length from the government and will keep the minister...informed." Yet Mark Rochon, who is the CEO, was a former assistant deputy minister at the Ministry of Health and the press release also says, "...the Ministry of Health with which the commission will be working closely in the discharge of its mandate." I say to the minister, you can't have it both ways. You must take responsibility --

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


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): With the OPSEU strike nearing the end of its fourth week and with the events of Monday still fresh in our minds, I think it's important for us to reflect back on some of the events leading into and during the strike.

We saw back this fall the actions of this government through Bill 26 to take away pension rights of public servants in this province. We saw them, secondly, crank up threats of layoffs from the 13,000 that they promised during the election to up to 27,000 that was leaked out several weeks ago. We saw them next put out an offer just before the strike vote, trying to simply buy off those employees who would survive those layoffs, and we saw that that strategy didn't work and that the union indeed got a strong level of support for the strike vote they took.

During the strike the government's intimidation tactics continued. They tried to undermine the union by attempting to broaden the use of essential services workers. Again, this tactic and others they used didn't work. This Monday we saw the ultimate in intimidation, in a very sad day, not just in the strike but in the governance of this province.

I say to this government, if they are serious about arriving at any sense of peace in this province, to get to the bargaining table and to resolve the outstanding issues at the bargaining table where they should be.


Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): I rise today in the House to show appreciation for one of my constituents, Brian Garner, a resident of Pontypool. In a courageous act of heroism, Brian took control of a potentially dangerous situation involving others' lives.

Brian, a grade 12 student at I.E. Weldon Secondary School, was a passenger on a school bus when the driver was suddenly struck in the face with flying glass from a shattered windshield while driving on Highway 35. The driver was temporarily blinded from debris in her eye. Brian took charge of the incident by steering the school bus safely off the highway and then administering first aid to the injured driver's eye.

I would like to thank Brian Garner for his quick action in saving the lives of not only the driver but the many students riding on the school bus. It's a pleasure today to recognize Brian Garner.



Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): I am pleased to inform the members of the House that an agreement has been ratified between the government and the second-largest bargaining unit in the Ontario public service on the issue of job security. The agreement is with AMAPCEO, which is the Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario. The association represents about 5,000 public servants, including policy, financial and systems professionals.

Yesterday, the membership of AMAPCEO voted overwhelmingly in favour of the agreement with the government. AMAPCEO has indicated that the unofficial results are that more than 85% voted to ratify the agreement. The government also ratified the agreement yesterday.

The agreement includes an innovative job matching and job registry system to allow employees who wish to leave the public service to trade their job to an employee who is scheduled to be laid off. The agreement also provides for a variety of job security measures, including six months' notice or six months' pay in lieu of notice, an enhanced severance of two weeks' pay for each year of service, the right to bump a less senior employee and the right to pension bridging if eligible.

I am delighted that we have been able to reach an agreement with AMAPCEO on these important job security issues. I also want to congratulate the leadership of AMAPCEO for their hard work and their creativity in negotiating innovative solutions to the challenges facing the government and its workforce.

Finally, I hope that this agreement will help to pave the way to an agreement with OPSEU and to end the strike.



Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Minister of Labour): Today I would like to introduce significant reforms to the occupational health and safety system, with the goal of preventing workplace injuries and illness and embarking on a more cost-effective course to make workplaces in this province among the safest in the world.

As Minister of Labour, I am deeply committed to workplace health and safety and I am determined to eliminate the duplication, inefficiency and lack of measurable and positive results by developing an overall vision with strategic directions and performance objectives which will allow all workplace parties to understand their roles and work together to ensure that common goals are met.

The reforms today include immediate action on the recommendations of the review panel on workplace health and safety, which presented its report to me on December 20, 1995. As recommended, I am reaffirming that the internal responsibility system which was introduced in 1979 remain as the foundation of Ontario's approach to workplace health and safety. It is built on the self-reliance of the workplace parties and means that employers and employees must be responsible for eliminating hazards within their workplaces and for achieving optimum health and safety performance.

The ministry's role will be to set, communicate and enforce standards in health and safety while ensuring that the workplace parties become more self-reliant in the day-to-day achievement and maintenance of those standards. The ministry remains firmly committed to its enforcement role, and where there are violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, we will take action. Consistent with this, as I have previously announced, the current number of health and safety inspectors will be maintained.

We are implementing action in five areas. First, the functions of the Workplace Health and Safety Agency will be integrated into the Workers' Compensation Board. This is consistent with Bill 15, passed in December 1995, which changed the purpose clause of the WCB to include the prevention of injury and illness and the promotion of health and safety. A senior executive at the WCB will be given responsibility for health and safety.

Second, I have asked the Deputy Minister of Labour and the president of the Workers' Compensation Board to work with stakeholders to identify priorities for health and safety and to develop a performance measurement and monitoring system that will tell us whether we are achieving our goal of preventing injuries and illness.

Third, a task force will review the health and safety delivery organizations to determine their role, future and funding and make them more sector-specific. The task force will report by July 1, 1996. At the same time, an independent value-for-money audit of these organizations will be conducted, with an emphasis on their expenditure management and program evaluation practices.

Fourth, certification training will remain as an integral component of Ontario's health and safety system, as will the joint workplace health and safety committees. However, as part of its new mandate, the Workers' Compensation Board will set province-wide training standards and approve training programs and providers that meet these standards. This will allow for flexibility in achieving certification outcomes by making a variety of programs and delivery methods available to meet the needs of different workplaces.

Finally, in order to ensure progress in injury and illness prevention and reduce compensation costs, I am pleased to announce that we will be increasing our commitment to research in health and safety. We need our own research to focus practical, preventive efforts properly by understanding injury mechanisms correctly and to develop effective programs and strategies to gain a competitive advantage. Savings achieved through administrative streamlining will be reinvested in research. This initiative will involve new partnerships with the private sector, universities and research organizations.

These reforms support our objective of creating a coordinated strategy aimed at achieving progressive reductions in injury and illness occurrence and related costs and demonstrate our government's deep commitment to health and safety and our desire to make Ontario's workplaces among the safest in the world.


Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): Now that the minister has reached agreement with AMAPCEO, I think a question that should be put to the minister is, when will he reach agreement with OPSEU and treat OPSEU workers with the same kind of respect and the same kind of fairness? I would ask the minister if he would stop being a revolutionary zealot for just a moment and begin to reach agreement with OPSEU, which would bring us an agreement that would have fairness as the watchword and certainly would deal with the front-line workers.

Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): Dave Johnson a revolutionary zealot? What does that make the rest of us?

Mr Cordiano: All I would say to the member for Etobicoke West is that he's been acting as a great cheerleader the last couple of days, so maybe that will get him into cabinet. Keep up that cheerleading role, because that may get you places.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The member for Etobicoke West is not in his own seat.

Mr Cordiano: The minister would do well if he would put the interests of fairness ahead of his own, as I said, being an ideologue and the revolutionary zealot that he's been throughout this strike. I know that he looks like a fair man, but he hasn't been very fair throughout these proceedings with OPSEU. Let me just point out how he has not been fair.

The fact of the matter is that the front-line workers, the OPSEU workers, will be facing the brunt of any cuts that are made; 75% of the cuts will be made within the ranks of OPSEU and certainly not within the ranks of AMAPCEO. I think that's cause for concern. The fact that an agreement has been reached with middle managers is fine, but, as I say, bring that same level of fairness to the front-line workers who provide daily service to the public. Treat them in the same way.

It's not visible to us, it's not clear to us, that in fact the government will move to act with fairness because, quite frankly, 27,000 jobs will be lost. Those are the budgetary numbers that were indicated in the economic statement in November of last year. Let's make that clear: It is the brunt of the cuts that will be falling on the part of OPSEU members, and that's why they're acting in the way that they're acting. They're very concerned about who is going to lose their job, and I think the job losses will be up to 27,000, regardless of what the minister indicates here today. It behooves him to show that kind of fairness and that kind of concern, because the brunt will fall on those OPSEU workers.

I ask the minister to act with the same degree of diligence today on behalf of OPSEU and reach an agreement with those OPSEU workers; reach that settlement soon, not later on.


Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): I'm interested to see the Minister of Labour's statement about the health and safety agency and her artificial commitments to health and safety. She reiterated today the nine recommendations that were contained in her report, but she left out a very important aspect of it, and I quote from the report, "that it is vitally important that these recommendations are implemented in close consultation with workplace parties." The minister, I would submit, is not consulting.

There was a very interesting letter in today's Toronto Star from Mr Gord Wilson, the president of the Ontario Federation of Labour. "It is an outrageous distortion of the truth for Labour Minister Elizabeth Witmer to make the accusation that Ontario's labour movement `rejected her invitation to participate' in her review of workplace health and safety...." He goes on to say, "What is clear is that the invisible minister is using profoundly misleading statements to cover up her total lack of consultation...."

Southam reported two days ago that "An ashen-faced Labour minister had to run away from workers with a police escort on Monday." Imagine that: Ontario's Labour minister needing a police escort to be taken away from working people. I think that's an absolute shame.

This is the first Minister of Labour in memory who has needed that. This is the first Minister of Labour who wouldn't address the building trades council in Windsor. She sent the poor young fellow from Nepean there to be her lackey, and he got a warm Windsor welcome when he was there.

Successive Labour ministers have had heated differences with management and labour, and I would suggest that this government's policy towards working people is causing unrest which will harm investment, cost jobs and cost working people the security and safety they need in their --

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



Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I offer my congratulations to AMAPCEO on its first collective agreement. AMAPCEO is a small union negotiating its first collective agreement. It must have been particularly tough against this government, a government that is so keen on slashing at civil servants to pay for its $5-billion tax cut.

The settlement with AMAPCEO does not take away from the fact that this government is planning to lay off up to 27,000 civil servants to pay for its tax cut for the most affluent people in our society, and it doesn't take away from the fact that it has stripped civil servants of the right to keep their job and their union if their work is privatized, a right held by workers in the private sector. Moving away from your position on successor rights would not cost this government an extra penny, so the argument that it would is a false one, and it would go a long way to resolving this dispute.

The minister should also stop violating the media blackout on the OPSEU strike. His repeated comment on how long the talks will take is a serious obstacle to reaching a collective agreement.

This government's actions are bad for the men and women who work for it, but it's also bad for the broader public sector. The morale problems and the economic problems caused by this government, constantly holding the axe over people, will affect public services and communities in a very serious way.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): In response to the announcement by the Minister of Labour, we see once again another piece in the government's attack on the rights of working people. They continue to profess to care about workplace health and safety, and yet every statement, every action, every decision they've made is one of taking away rights of workers, taking away the very things that will make our workplaces safe.

For instance, in the training that she so proudly announced is going to be reformed, the training for both employers' and employees' representatives on the mandatory health and safety committees will go down. The training for workplace health and safety training will go down from 120 hours to 56 hours. They're cutting back on the most important part of workplace health and safety injury prevention, that is, training of employees and employers to recognize and deal with workplace situations that could cause injury.

We know from the evaluations of both managers and employees who attend these courses that they're virtually all saying there wasn't enough time to deal with all the content and they recommended that more time be given. That's the direction one ought to be going in if you truly cared about worker health and safety, but instead this government is cutting back on that training.

What goes out the window? Well, it looks like the second-level course on health and safety law is gone, and that's a neat trick, because if you don't teach workers what their rights are, you don't need to worry about them trying to enforce them, do you? You're also taking away a portion of this that talks about recognizing, assessing and controlling health hazards. Again, how could taking that away possibly make our workplaces safer? Chemical hazard training and biological hazard training are being removed and eliminated. How can removing and eliminating that kind of training make our workplaces safer? It can't. It doesn't take any kind of rocket scientist to realize that all these steps are hurting the ability of employers and employees to make their workplace a safer place.

What else has gone out the window? Musculoskeletal injury prevention. What is that all about? In part, it's about repetitive strain injury. Where have we heard this government talking about repetitive strain injury before? How about in the Jackson WCB takeaway plan? This all fits. If we don't teach the employees, the workers there to recognize repetitive strain injury, we don't need to worry about them complaining about the fact we took it away in WCB, which they're planning to do, because they don't know about it.

That's the way this government likes to operate: behind closed doors, no public meetings, do everything in secret, and now: "Let's keep the workers ignorant. Let's not tell the workers or teach the workers about workplace health and safety, because what we're planning to do with WCB is take away their ability to claim for these kinds of rightful injuries anyway."

We have seen nothing but a steady onslaught, attack, on workers in this province, from Bill 7 to Bill 15, the Jackson WCB takeaways, the closing of the workplace health and safety centre and the OPSEU strike. It all says this government has an agenda that's anti-worker and it's showing itself more and more every day.

Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): On a point of personal privilege, Mr Speaker: Yesterday, I believe that in response to a question regarding the expressway, the Minister of Transportation may have breached standing order 23, deliberately misinterpreting my position on the issue. The minister said, "Here's the same member who didn't want the expressway built. Not too long ago he didn't want it built."

I believe that is a deliberate misinterpretation and misleading of this House to suggest that is the case. I would be happy to submit evidence to you as Speaker as to my position on that and ask the minister to look back at his comments and withdraw the comments --

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Order. You don't have a point. You can ask that in question period. That's not a point of order. Would the member take his seat, please. I believe it would be appropriate to ask a question such as that in question period.


Hon Marilyn Mushinski (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): I seek unanimous consent of this House to recognize the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

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

Hon Ms Mushinski: First of all, let me tell you how honoured I feel to have this opportunity to recognize this most important day, the day marking the 36th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa. Observing this day allows us an opportunity to remember those whose lives were sacrificed in the struggle for racial equality and freedom.

As Ontario's Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, this also provides me with an opportunity to acknowledge the ongoing effort of dedicated people across this province, this nation and in the nations around the world. The hard work of those dedicated individuals reflects the principles and goals of this important day. Their commitment helps to bring our communities together in a spirit of mutual understanding, respect, equality and justice, all towards the end of eradicating racial discrimination.

Just this morning I had the opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of a few of those individuals who have committed themselves to promoting racial harmony in our province. I was honoured to meet the winners of this year's awards given by the Human Rights and Race Relations Centre. It was a privilege to honour their leadership and commitment in the area of race relations. They clearly understand the importance of getting involved and the need for seeking new and creative ways to achieve the common community goals of peace and understanding.

Those award winners demonstrated to me that individuals do make a difference when it comes to enhancing the quality of life in this province. The challenges are real, but the positive dividends of getting involved are equally real. In order for individuals to succeed in their efforts to eliminate discrimination, they must be supported by their elected officials and the institutions placed in their care. Discrimination, when it does occur, must be addressed promptly and thoroughly. There is no question about that.


This government is committed to ensuring that the protection of human rights in this province is given its due. We are adamant that reform of the Human Rights Commission must be carried to its conclusion as quickly and sensibly as is conceivable. There must be greater efficiency in case management and prompt and effective delivery of human rights decisions. The seriousness of this issue demands no less.

The province must do its part to help achieve an Ontario in which all residents are treated fairly, justly and equally. We must always keep in mind the commitment and leadership provided in this area by the people of this province. If we do, I am confident that together we can shape a strong and exciting future for our children, our communities and the province as a whole.

Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): I rise in the House today to commemorate this very special international day for the elimination of racial discrimination. This multicultural bow marks the day, March 21, which was declared by the United Nations in 1966 in response to the Sharpeville massacre that happened in South Africa. Also back in 1988, federal and provincial members and ministers in Canada agreed to mark this day. It was a very proud moment at the time and I hope we can continue to recognize this day and days beyond. I am pleased to see the celebration that accompanies this observation recognized in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as it is both important and necessary to all who make Ontario their home, regardless of our culture or our cultural diversity.

I continue, though, to have concerns that even in our own jurisdiction we see inequalities that continue to exist. We have seen where employment equity and pay equity legislation have been attacked with force, and surely while education of course is the most effective way to deal with discrimination, legislation is just as important to address this terrible disease.

The lack of recognition has put people of ethnic backgrounds who are not the majority in the most vulnerable position. We must continue to strive for more equality in our workplaces and promote the strengths of our differences instead of focusing on stereotypes and misconceptions that poison our homes, our schools, our workplaces and our communities.

Only with the commitment and cooperation of all people can we continue to strive towards the goal of ridding our neighbourhoods of conflicts due to racism. Each of us is entitled to the chance to work, to succeed on our own merit, regardless of birth or background. Each of us has the right to choose our own part in the world as long as we do no harm to our fellow citizens, the right to believe what we want to believe and to say so, the right to worship any god or no god at all, the right to feel safe in our own neighbourhood or any other neighbourhood. Each of us has the obligation to work if we can, to care for our children and for our parents when the time comes.

We all pay if people are unproductive. We all pay if people are denied their self-interests, their special interests. We cannot afford the cost of racism. Opportunity is lost through this disease that has taken root in our society. Throughout history there are grim reminders of discrimination in all facets of life and in all societies, and here in Ontario and across the world new challenges face us in fighting discrimination even in 1996 that our parents today and grandparents could even dream of happening. New technologies raise challenges in combating racism when we see the infiltration of hate literature through means such as the Internet and global communications. Nevertheless, we must stay strongly committed to fighting the festering of hate propaganda around us, no matter what the medium.

Fortunately, there are committed groups and individuals at work promoting our strengths together as Ontarians and as Canadians. I am honoured to highlight one very special group like this one for you today. The Urban Alliance on Race Relations is a non-profit charitable organization whose primary goal is to promote a stable and a healthy multiracial environment in the greater Toronto area. It was established 21 years ago by a group of conscientious and concerned Toronto citizens in response to the increasing frequency of verbal and physical attacks against minorities. You may recall, my colleagues, the late Dr Wilson Head, whose work is universally recognized in respect to the elimination of racism. Dr Head was an inspiration to this organization and his work stands as a pillar for us to emulate.

For the past two decades, the Urban Alliance has been instrumental in identifying and addressing issues of racism. Among the many accolades the Urban Alliance has received over the years, one of the most rewarding accomplishments has been the establishment of Colour of Freedom, an annual festival that utilizes music, forums, artistic presentation and cultural displays to commemorate the United Nations declared International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Every ethnic and racial community has specific days, as we know, throughout the year on which they celebrate their religious and cultural traditions. However, the Urban Alliance believes that a society free from racism, that embraces diversity and celebrates Toronto's ethnic and cultural mosaic, cannot be a reality unless these communities are brought together to share these traditions. In light of this belief, eight years ago the Urban Alliance decided that no better day existed for promoting diversity than March 21.

In a country like Canada, where one of the major cities has been deemed by the United Nations as the most culturally diverse city in the world, commemorating March 21 is a necessity. I had the honour of being the co-chair for this year's Colour of Freedom celebrations, which began with a festival at Harbourfront Centre on Sunday, March 17. In addition to the dynamic display of music and dance and dramatic performances, the festival included an award presentation to CITY-TV's president, Moses Znaimer, in recognition of his commitment to promoting a workforce that reflects Metro's and Toronto's ethnoracial diversity.

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations should be applauded for building bridges between individuals and groups of all backgrounds. On behalf of all members of the Legislature, I extend my sincere congratulations to Moses Znaimer and the hardworking individuals of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations.

Organizations like this cannot do it alone. We must have committed legislators, as we see in the House here, and stand beyond the partisan rhetoric that we oftentimes go into, because it is people's lives that we deal with, people's hopes and people's aspirations. Each day we can see it in the faces of people as they struggle to get work. We see it as they struggle to raise their children because they have been denied because of their place of birth or because of their name, an awkward name that maybe other people cannot pronounce, and they are being discriminated against.

If we are to eliminate racism, we must make that personal commitment to ourselves before we start making legislation. I feel that sometimes we haven't moved to that point of view yet. It takes a lot to do that, I know. Each of us, every one of us is not at all away from racism. We have within ourselves some views that are held that must be eliminated in order to accept us as a community. As we accept each of us in this community, we can be more productive and live in a better place, and then we can tell the United Nations that we are the best country in the world.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I have to say that this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is indeed a very important one for us all. Racism causes serious physical, psychological and economic damage for many people of colour, for individuals and communities alike, and as such we have a duty and obligation as legislators to commit ourselves to the elimination of racism.

It is wonderful, of course, for us all to be able to praise equality-seeking people as they do their work in their struggle for equality. To support them is another duty for all of us. But beyond what individuals do, it's what governments do that for me is equally important.

I have to tell you, I struggled to find something very positive to say about the government of Ontario as it relates to this field of anti-racism and anti-discrimination, and I have to tell you, I couldn't find any. It saddens me to say that I could not find too many instances where this government has made a strong commitment towards the elimination of discrimination and racism. I look at all of the programs that we had, and all I have is a catalogue of assaults on policies, programs and statutes. Let me go through them.

You have as a government eliminated the Anti-Racism Secretariat. It was not a nice little race relations program that we had where we all were talking about celebrating our differences. It was something more than that. It was an acknowledgement that racism exists in society and that we have to be proactive towards its elimination. What does this government do? It eliminates the Anti-Racism Secretariat. You tell me, how does that contribute towards an equal society? You tell me how you've done that by eliminating that secretariat.

Let me go through the catalogue of things that you have chopped in the last six or seven months: citizenship development; access to the professional trade demonstration fund; settlement and integration. You have eliminated the anti-racism project fund, the anti-racism operating fund and the anti-racism community placement fund. You're eliminating the Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and Citizenship. This is the catalogue of all of the good things that you were doing for all of the people of Ontario.

Many members will shake their heads. You may not like to hear what I'm saying, but this is what you're doing. Your actions will speak much louder than the shaking of your heads around this particular issue, and I tell you, it contributes very little towards the elimination of discrimination.

The anti-racism office was an acknowledgement that discrimination existed, and it did innovative anti-racism programs. That's what it was doing, because anti-racism isn't something that we can just wish away. It isn't something that we can magically say it's gone; we want it to go away because it hurts. It's something you've got to work at. It's something that I worked on for years. It doesn't come automatically that we are all anti-racists because we simply want it. You've got to work at it.

Let me go on with the list.

Welcome Houses: There were five Welcome Houses in Ontario; by this April, those five Welcome Houses are gone. They were in Hamilton, they were in Mississauga, they were in Scarborough, North York and Toronto. They served 63,000 people a year, immigrants who come to this country with great skills, many of them. Our Welcome Houses served them to give them information, to give them ESL programs and training, to refer them to places where their skills could be best utilized. And what have you done? You've eliminated them. How does eliminating Welcome Houses contribute towards the elimination of discrimination in the society? You tell me, you tell the public, how you've done that.

Provincial funding for ethnospecific agencies has been eliminated. They provided such services as employment training, language classes, housing help etc, to particular newcomer communities. You have done that. You have cut the funding for ethnospecific agencies and then you tell me that, as a government, you're committed towards the elimination of racism. Explain it through your actions. How are you doing that?

You have employment equity, which was our attempt as a government to bring about greater equality for women, for people with disabilities, for people of colour and aboriginal people. And what have you done? You have eliminated that program as well. You said that wasn't good that it contributes to discrimination -- interesting.

It's amazing how everything you're doing is solving the discrimination and racist problems we have in society, and yet all I can give you is a whole catalogue of programs that our government was committed to, that every government should be committed to, if you are genuinely interested in dealing with the issues of racism and discrimination. You can shake the head all you want, some of you; some of you can wave your hand, but the people who are listening will know that when you eliminate all of these programs, you are not helping our immigrant communities, you're not helping our people of colour. You are not a role model of the government towards the elimination of discrimination.

The Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation can come here today saying how wonderful it is to give awards to individuals who've done work in the field of anti-racism, but I can tell you that's not good enough. I'm concerned about what you as a government are doing. What are your policies? Tell me what your policies are. What are your programs, other than cutting the ones we have put into place? What are the statutes you've got?

Mr Premier, ministers and backbenchers, tell me the policies you're putting into place to eliminate discrimination and racism. You have none.

But I can tell you this, what the people have learned through all of the things we have done they cannot unlearn. As you continue to gut away at services that hurt, all in the most vulnerable, they will remember and they will get stronger. All I can hope is that you will learn that as you do this, you're not making a very important contribution towards the elimination of racism. I hope you'll learn from it as well, and that all of us can have some hope that this government can do something that can be very helpful in this regard.



Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): My first question is for the Premier and, Premier, it relates to the issue of the use of the OPP riot squad. I'm aware of and appreciate the fact that terms of reference are now being drawn up for a public inquiry into Monday's events and into the violence that took place on that day. My concern in addressing this question today is with the use and the behaviour of that particular squad during the weeks that this inquiry will take place.

I have to tell you, Premier, that I am particularly concerned because of some of the extremely provocative statements that have been made and continue to be made, particularly by Mr Jay Hope, the head of Monday's OPP unit. You'll be aware that on Tuesday he said, "Anyone who got hurt brought it upon themselves," and yesterday he said he was proud of what his men did, and said, "I would do it again tomorrow."

So I ask, Premier, what assurance you can give us and give the public that we will not see a repeat of the kind of violence that we saw Monday while this inquiry is taking place?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): There'll be a full public inquiry. I understand that independent investigations have been called by the OPP, the Police Complaints Board, and the Speaker is responsible for security here.

Mrs McLeod: Mr Speaker and Premier, you'll appreciate the fact that my concern is that the Deputy Premier has indicated this inquiry could take some time, and that over the course of the next weeks and the next months, perhaps, we can fully expect that we are going to see more demonstrations at Queen's Park. We can expect that the agenda of slash-and-burn cuts that your government is pursuing is going to mean that we're going to see demonstrations of nurses, health care workers, patients who are concerned about broken commitments on health care, and we can expect to see a lot of angry teachers who have been given pink slips and are worried about their jobs, and maybe angry parents who feel that you've broken your commitments not to cut classroom education.


All of these, Premier, are legitimate concerns and will lead to legitimate demonstrations on the part of the public, and I am asking you what assurance you can give as Premier that these people can come to this place of democracy, can come to Queen's Park and can exercise their legitimate right to protest your policies without fear for their personal safety. What assurance can you give that before this inquiry is completed those protesters will not be met by an OPP riot squad whose leader still seems to have the attitude that his role is to send his troops charging into crowds with their billy clubs?

Hon Mr Harris: The member raises concerns and I'm sure the Speaker has been listening. I would be happy to reiterate and refer them to the Speaker.

Mrs McLeod: I would expect that if there is a review taking place on the part of the Ontario Provincial Police separately from the public inquiry, if that's something which is available in short order it would be made not to the Speaker but indeed to the Solicitor General. I'm appreciative of the public inquiry, but my concern is with what will happen between now and then and with the need for an assurance that demonstrators are not going to be met with that potential violence or be intimidated by the threat of it. My concerns are increased by the fact that the Solicitor General, who is responsible for the OPP, has referred to what happened on Monday as being appropriate restraint, and because at this point not a single member of your government, including yourself, Premier, has dissociated themselves from Mr Hope's comments that people who got hurt on Monday brought it upon themselves.

I suggest, Premier, that what happened Monday will be the focus of a public inquiry but that it is not an isolated occurrence, that it is the result of a building sense of confrontation, and it's the result of a climate that has been made more tense by your government's readiness to meet demonstrators with concrete barriers and with police in full riot gear. Premier, I don't think anybody believes that we can continue to see the public intimidated or that we, as legislators, are comfortable continuing to work in an armed camp.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Question, please.

Mrs McLeod: I ask, Premier, what steps you are prepared to take to ensure that citizens of this province who come to this place to legitimately and peacefully express their views are not met with violence even when their views are in opposition to yours, and I ask whether at least you are prepared to ensure that the Solicitor General will review the use and the operating procedures of the OPP unit and make any necessary changes between now and the time of that public inquiry report.

Hon Mr Harris: It's the responsibility of the Speaker and I'm sure he'll do that.


Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): My question is to the Chair of Management Board of Cabinet. Last week a tender was let to Signature Building Maintenance Systems to take over the office cleaning function in the Queen's Park complex. Could you confirm for me today that as a result of this tender, half of the full-time staff and a third of the part-time staff will be laid off and that the remaining workers will be forced to accept a 37% pay cut and lose all their employment benefits? Are these the facts, Minister? Is this what other workers can expect from your government in the future? Why would you do this kind of thing?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): We have been looking at various options of downsizing the government, making the government more efficient and more effective, reducing costs for the taxpayer. We have gone through a tender process, as all governments do, I might say. This is a very common form of proposal through municipal, federal and provincial governments that put out a tender to seek on behalf of the taxpayer the best value and the most efficient way to provide a service.

I don't have the precise numbers of people who are involved. I do know, though, that even before this government took office, even under the previous government sitting over here, the NDP, and I'm quite certain under the Liberal government 1985 to 1990, many of the functions referred to, the maintenance functions in the buildings under the jurisdiction of the government, were performed by the private sector. This is one more initiative of the government to do better, to deliver services better at lower cost to the taxpayers.

Mr Duncan: The minister's answer is an insult to the people who are losing their jobs, many of whom have worked for the government for years. I'd like the Chair of Management Board to look up in the gallery and look at those ladies. Those are the ladies who have been cleaning our offices. Their average length of service is 14 years. Many of them have more than 20 years. Most of them will now, the ones that remain, be making less than $10, but the minister didn't mention two points, and I think some of those seals in the back who are clapping will want to know this.

It has been suggested to us that in fact the company that won the bid was not the low bidder, that it didn't have the lowest bid, that it wasn't the lowest bidder. It has also been suggested to us that the company that won the bid did not even meet the prequalification standards. So what do we have going on here?

You just told this House that you were acting in the best interests of the taxpayers. If that's the case, why was the winning company not the lowest bidder? And is this how you're going to continue to treat ladies like that who have more than 20 years of service to this province and the people in this province?

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): Look them in the face, David, they're right up there.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Order, order. The member for Windsor-Riverside is out of order.

Hon David Johnson: These are always difficult situations. There's no question about that. The problem we face is, as my colleague has indicated, that previous governments have put us in this sort of position: the spending of the Liberal government between 1985 and 1990, an increase of spending of $10 billion in three years, the deficits of the NDP government in five years, increasing the debt of the province of Ontario.

I will say one more thing, that while this is difficult, I still firmly believe that the human resource policies of the province of Ontario, in terms of severance provisions, in terms of benefits and salaries, is unequalled, frankly, in government services. Yes, there are situations that are difficult and have to be dealt with, but this government is attempting to rein in costs, to make government sustainable, and we're trying to do that to the best of our ability. And this is one of the difficult circumstances --


The Speaker: The member for Hamilton East is out of order, and he's not in his own seat.

Mr Duncan: The minister's answer rings really hollow. If in fact you're trying to act in the best interests of the taxpayers, would you now confirm that the company that won the bid was not in fact the low bidder? Would you confirm that for this House, because if you're acting to save money, why didn't you take the lowest bid?

Will you confirm to this House that when the tender was let this summer by your government -- it has nothing to do with your false statements about previous government; this has to do with you and your government -- there was no requirement for successor rights? That has been the case since this tender's been let for more than 20 years, and in this case, the work has been done by the private sector for the last 20 years. I hope you'll confirm that.

Finally, on the issue of severance, these workers, by your laws, were not entitled to severance. The union itself has negotiated, as I understand it, a deal to get these workers some severance, but there was no provision for severance.

I would suggest to you, Minister, that not only have you not acted in the best interests of these workers, you haven't acted in the best interests of the taxpayers. Will you come clean with this House and with the people of this province, that this agenda's about rewarding your friends and not dealing with working people?


Hon David Johnson: I'm puzzled about the reference of rewarding friends. I don't know what that particular allegation is. The member opposite asks what I can confirm about this particular tender. I will confirm that the policy of the province of Ontario is to accept the best tender, considering price and quality, and I will confirm that all tenders must meet the qualifications. I can assure the member that this is the policy of the province of Ontario. I don't have all the details of this particular tender before me here today, but those are the policies of the province of Ontario. We're looking for the best price and the best quality of service for the people of the province of Ontario, and I would reiterate that they're difficult situations that have to be dealt with. But the human resource policies of the province are very fair and as generous as possible, given the circumstance that we've been left with, a $100-billion debt from the previous government and deficits of $10 billion a year.

The Speaker: New question. Third party.

Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): My question is to the same minister. Minister, last night I met with the workers who belong to the union that is being attacked by your government. I listened to and looked at those workers and I saw the faces of people whose lives were being devastated. Many, in fact most of them, are Portuguese-Canadian women. Many of them have spouses who are in the construction industry who are also out of work. They're the primary income earner and they don't know what they're going to do in the future.

Mr Minister, many of those workers were crying as their union representative described to them the situation that your government has placed them in. As a result of your anti-worker Bill 7, these workers who have enjoyed rights for 20 years now face the prospect of unemployment. Of those few workers who do manage to stay employed, many will be part-time; they're going to have over 30% wage cuts, few benefits, no union security. In fact, a lot of these women are terrified at even being here today because the new employer won't recognize seniority, and if their face is on TV, there's a good chance that any possibility they had for a job is now gone.

The Speaker: Would you put your question, please.

Mr Christopherson: They are here today, Minister, because they realize they have to stand up and fight. This is the only chance they have.

Please stand on your feet, look at those people and tell them and the rest of Ontario why Bill 7 makes this a better Ontario, because they're being turfed out of work. Tell the people of Ontario how that makes --

The Speaker: The question has been asked. Minister.

Hon David Johnson: The member opposite asks about successor rights, and I think it's well known that the final offer we have given to the union, to OPSEU and indeed to AMAPCEO, before the blackout is that we would give reasonable efforts to attempt to transfer the jobs with the new employer. Yes, we have to make the government more effective and more efficient. We've certainly been put in that position by the spending and the taxing and the deficits of the previous governments, and we need to downsize and we need to restructure.

We have stated, through the offer that's on the table, before the blackout that we would give the efforts that we can to ensure that those employees will move with the new employer. I will stand on my feet here today and say that the very provision which we have put on the table for OPSEU we will observe with the people involved in this particular contract.

Mr Christopherson: There's no question that your anti-worker Bill 7 and the denial of successor rights are a key reason why we have an OPSEU strike in this province. It's also the only reason why these workers are facing unemployment.

Mr Garry J. Guzzo (Ottawa-Rideau): What about the debt?

Mr Christopherson: We hear the backbenchers of the Tory government talk about the deficit, and therein lies our problem. They don't want to talk about the people who are affected, the lives that are affected. It's only the dollars.

Minister, what we want to know from you is: How do you justify to these workers that because you're taking their jobs away, the wealthy in this province are going to get a tax cut? How do you tell them that destroying their lives is worth giving the wealthy in this province a 30% tax cut? How do you justify that to these workers?

Hon David Johnson: Again, I would reiterate that, first of all, what I would say to those workers and to the member opposite is that the government will pursue the offer that it has put on the table to the union and that we will make our efforts to help those employees --


The Speaker: Order. The member for Welland-Thorold is totally out of order and I won't warn him again in this Legislature.

Hon David Johnson: I will reiterate what I told the member opposite in the first part of his question. We had on the table, before the blackout, that we would give all reasonable efforts to assist the employees to go with the new employer. We will do that. We will give our best efforts.

I would also say that this government has to look in terms of the future and the position the government is in. We are looking to create jobs. We are looking to have jobs not only for the people who are here today but for hundreds of thousands of residents of Ontario. How do we do that? We do that by balancing the budget, we do that by eliminating the labour bill, we do that by many other techniques to remove barriers to business in the province of Ontario. That's precisely what we're doing, and I might say the income tax reduction that the member opposite is alluding to is a key component of that. By taking these measures, we will encourage investment and job growth in the province of Ontario. Hundreds of thousands of jobs will be created in Ontario.

Mr Christopherson: The easiest way to create jobs in this province is perhaps to keep the ones we've already got.

Let me ask the minister about comments that were made to Mr Alan Ferens, who is the business manager for the Service Employees International Union, which has represented these workers for over 20 years, by one of the principals of the corporation that won the bid, a Mr Hermes Iordanous. Apparently, Mr Iordanous told Mr Ferens that indeed he did not qualify to bid on the tender because he didn't meet the prequalification process. He told Mr Ferens that he then contacted his MPP to help him out. His MPP in this case happens to be you, sir. As has been pointed out, we understand that this was not the lowest tender. We also understand that this is the only company that did not talk to the union prior to the bidding process. So, Minister, what I would like to know from you is, did you or your office play any role at all in assisting this corporation and if they did, what was that role?

Hon David Johnson: I wish to assure the member opposite that all of those who are involved in tendering in this process went through the regular process. All the policies of the province of Ontario were followed in reaching a decision on this matter and the policies of the province of Ontario require that the tender be accepted in terms of price, in terms of quality and --


The Speaker: The member for Cochrane South is out of order and out of his seat.

Hon David Johnson: -- I wish to assure the member that all qualifications associated with this tender must be met and that's what happened in this case.

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

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): This is very disturbing and it's unfortunate that this side of the gallery is closed and that these women could not sit facing the minister when he was giving those kinds of answers.



Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services regarding his ruminations about his workfare program. On Tuesday, in response to a question from the member for Scarborough Centre, the minister described a project of the Oshawa Boy Scouts Camp Samac, which had received a $100,000 grant from General Motors.

At that time, the minister said, "This is a project that will improve the community, and these people who will work on this program will have received training and will receive the networking possible to receive real jobs." The minister went on to describe this project in various interviews with the media, the newspapers and various of the electronic media in which he described this project as sort of an example of how his workfare program might work and how it might benefit workers and people who are receiving social assistance.

Could the minister explain, has he finalized the agreement between his ministry and the Oshawa Boy Scouts camp on this project, and if he has, could he explain when that was finalized and when the project will proceed?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): To be correct and accurate, what I have been describing are suggestions that the community and organizations in the various communities across this province have been coming up with and indicating their interest both to me and members of our caucus.

Quite frankly, our workfare program, Ontario Works, is intended to do several things and I appreciate the opportunity to speak about it because we're intending to do several things: first of all, to give people an opportunity to improve some skills, give them the opportunity to network to perhaps lead to real jobs, give them an opportunity to improve their community and have a certain amount of community support.

That's what we're doing right now through our consultation process. We've been consulting with various organizations in various areas across the province and certainly, through our committee of MPPs, we will be further doing consultations to make sure that we truly look at the programs that are going to assist and improve communities. Once again, these are suggestions that are coming to me and we've made no final decisions on this at this time.

Mr Wildman: That's even more confusing because we consulted with Mr Al Freeman of the Oshawa District Council Boy Scouts of Canada and he indicated to us that it was not his proposal to you, that quite frankly, he said, "We have not agreed to anything." As a matter of fact, Mr Freeman said that after meeting with the minister in Oshawa, they had serious concerns about the workfare, how it would be managed, who would cover the costs of supervision, and Mr Freeman had said that neither the Boy Scouts nor the community clubs, the Kiwanis, that met with the minister are in any position to supervise the workfare project and aren't interested in it.

As a result of the minister's remarks in the House and outside of this place, Mr Freeman has been spending his time answering telephone calls from the contractors who have already bid on this project who want to know what's going on, and he's having to assure them that, no, their bids are in fact being processed in the normal way. He's also had calls from donors who don't intend their contributions to support workfare projects.

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

Mr Wildman: He's had to confirm to the Kiwanis Club and to General Motors that they are not involved in a workfare project.

The Speaker: Put your question, please. Put your question.

Mr Wildman: Is it the case that the minister inadvertently misled the House on Monday when he said that this was an example of one of the projects that he would be proceeding with as part of a workfare initiative?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I don't believe I said I was proceeding with this particular project. I indicated, of course, that there are a number of recommendations coming from the community.

Frankly, I went to Oshawa at the invitation of the group. I actually saw the camp; I was there. Afterwards, we met with a number of the service groups and organizations in Oshawa to have a two-way dialogue to get rid of some of the misconceptions that perhaps the leader of the third party right now is trying to get out, certainly, dealing with a number of issues including, of course, the fact that workfare was not going to be a make-work project, but there are going to be programs to improve the community, programs to help people on social assistance. Certainly, these are the messages that we needed to get out because of a lot of, I guess, the misconceptions that are being put forth by other people.

I've met with a number of organizations across the province, with the MPPs and without, and certainly at the ministry, and we've got a lot of support for this program right now from many of the organizations.

Mr Wildman: The minister has indicated that somehow I'm trying to put forward "misconceptions," I think the word was he used, about this project. He also said "other people." I don't know whether he's including Mr Freeman in that group, but he certainly has no axe to grind in this matter.

Why won't the minister come clean and say, admit, that in his interviews with the press and on the radio this morning and the electronic media generally, that he hasn't had anything concrete to say about workfare, he doesn't have any proposals, he doesn't have a plan, he doesn't know how it's going to work and he doesn't even know if it will work, and that he is consulting with people, certainly, but at this point he doesn't have any plan and he doesn't know where he's going on workfare.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: It really astounds me how the leader of the third party doesn't recognize the value that there is to assisting people to somehow get back to work. Certainly, it is.

We've indicated that we're doing a lot of consulting work right now. We will be making an announcement, as I said, in the spring. But frankly, we get criticized when we don't consult with people and we get criticized when we do consult with people, and I don't know if you really realize what you actually want over there.

Clearly, this program is going to be designed to assist people to get off welfare and get real jobs, and it's a program that's designed to be very productive. Quite frankly, when the people out there, Ontarians, are really supportive of a program to assist people, I don't understand what the criticism here is.

I'd just like to share a thought with you here, and this was actually from our estimates, when we were going through this. The quote is, "Your administration is not the first one that has mentioned that to pay people from the public dole from the taxpayers a salary, pay for really in many cases doing nothing, is not the smartest way of conducting affairs." This is of course a quote from Mr Pouliot who was indicating that his party of course wanted to get involved with this type of a program, but unfortunately they didn't have either the gumption or the means to actually produce a program to get people back to work.



Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): My question's to the Attorney General. All of us I think are increasingly concerned about the growing incidence of racism and distribution of hate literature. The B'Nai Brith, their League for Human Rights documented the growth in it.

That's why I think many of us were very shocked when your office decided to drop the charges against Ernst Zundel. I can recall -- and these are words that I would support -- you called him:

"A self-identified Nazi...a key figure in a network of Fascists and white supremacists...responsible for publishing and exporting a huge volume of hate propaganda....

"This self-identified Nazi" is responsible for distributing this "not only in Canada but to over 41 countries around the world. The government of Germany has asked that you take every action within your power to stop Ernst Zundel."

We know all of this and we know that all of us, yourself included, had indicated that there was a plan to proceed to prosecute Mr Zundel. The question is this: Why have you decided to drop the charges against Ernst Zundel?

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): I have been informed by the crown attorneys who are involved in prosecuting these cases and evaluating the evidence that upon screening of the charges -- which were not laid by the police; they were charges laid privately -- there was not enough evidence to proceed and successfully prosecute in this particular case.

Mr Phillips: I assume all of us here in the Legislature and certainly I think the community of Ontario are increasingly getting a sense of frustration, and I think rage is not too strong a word, at a feeling that somehow or other this is going on, that their politicians abhor it, but that nothing happens. Frankly, Minister, you, with all due respect, have contributed somewhat to this.

I can recall when you were in opposition, you were very clear. You said to the public -- this was when you were in opposition -- "Minister, you have it in your power to stop this man. When will you do it?" So I think you can appreciate the sense of frustration in the community when you yourself indicated that you had studied the matter and that it was your opinion that the laws did permit prosecution of Mr Zundel. I think you and all of us can appreciate, as I say, this enormous, growing sense of frustration by the community that they simply don't seem to be able to get forward with this matter.

Really the question to you is, where do we go from here? Will you tell the House how you plan to deal with it? Is it your opinion that the existing laws are sufficient and therefore you will proceed using the existing laws, or is it the ministry's opinion and your opinion that the laws need to be changed and that it is your plan therefore to proceed to ensure that the laws are changed?

Hon Mr Harnick: I share my good friend from Scarborough-Agincourt's concern about this issue, as he well knows. I remind members of the Legislature that the Ministry of the Attorney General does not lay charges.

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): That was then; this is now.

Hon Mr Harnick: The ministry doesn't lay the charges.

Mr Cooke: Why don't you apologize for the position you used to take when you were over here?

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Order. The member for Windsor-Riverside's out of order.

Hon Mr Harnick: I think it's very clear that when charges are laid and the proper, factual foundation is available to prosecute those charges, those charges will be prosecuted.

The issue becomes one of the police who lay the charges gathering the necessary evidence in this kind of case, as in any other kind of case, so that we can prosecute successfully and satisfy the community. But these are issues that really need a foundation of facts to prosecute upon, and those facts and the gathering of those facts are the responsibility of those who lay the charges, and those are the police officers.

The Speaker: The question has been answered.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I want to return to the Chair of Management Board on the same issue I raised with him earlier. Minister, on my final supplementary you did not answer the question that I asked you. I asked you very specifically whether or not you knew Mr Iordanous, given the fact that Mr Ferens states unequivocally that Mr Iordanous told him that he did not qualify to bid on the contract during the prequalification process, that he contacted his MPP, which is you, and that as a result of that contact, he suddenly did qualify and ultimately did win the tender, and he wasn't in fact the lowest tender.

I would ask you very directly and very simply, Minister, did you indeed assist Mr Iordanous, do you know Mr Iordanous, do you have any relationship at all and if so, what is that relationship?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): I have no relationship with Mr Iordanous. I don't know Mr Iordanous. It's possible I have spoken to Mr Iordanous; I speak to a great number of constituents. I can't recall any such discussion. I had no role to play whatsoever in the selection of -- apparently the winning company is Signature Building Maintenance Systems. I'm unaware of Signature Building Systems. I had no role to play whatsoever in selecting Signature Building Systems and I have no relationship whatsoever with Mr Iordanous.

I would like to also indicate that as a result of this questioning, information does come in and I will say that the contractor, apparently Signature Building Systems, which has been retained, will make all efforts to retain the existing staff. The contractor is proposing to negotiate job-sharing arrangements, to the member opposite, to retain as many of the existing staff as possible. Those staff whom they are unable to retain -- and they indicate that the majority of the staff they will be able to retain -- they have included in their price the cost of termination and severance for all staff who cannot be retained.

Mr Christopherson: Minister, if you think for one minute that suddenly, as a result of this issue being raised in the House, the few crumbs that may now be offered to these workers is sufficient compensation for the rights they've lost under Bill 7, you're dead wrong, and that applies to everyone else who's being offered less than the rights they had before you brought in your anti-worker Bill 7.

Let me ask you again, Minister, what your relationship was with Mr Iordanous, and by you, I also mean your staff, because basically what you're doing is calling someone a liar. Either Mr Ferens is lying or Mr Iordanous is lying or you are, but someone is, because the stories don't jibe.

I would ask you today, Minister, will you table all documents relevant to this bidding process so that we can all satisfy ourselves that this entire process was aboveboard? Will you table those documents today?

Hon David Johnson: I'll simply look into this matter as a result of the question, but I can assure the member opposite that I have no relationship with Mr Iordanous; I had no role to play whatsoever in the successful bidder, apparently a company called Signature Building Systems. In terms of the member's concern for the employees, I will say that apparently one of the reasons why the lowest bidder was not taken was that the lowest bidder intended to lay off all of the existing staff, but if that's what you want, we could have gone that route, whereas the successful bidder, Signature Building Systems, has indicated that it will retain the majority of the staff.

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


The Speaker: Order. The member for Sarnia has the floor.



Mr Dave Boushy (Sarnia): My question is to the Minister of Education and Training. Minister, I have a number of people in my riding who are the parents of special-needs children. What initiatives has the minister taken to recognize the value of innovative programs providing for special-needs children as they face the challenges of the education system?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I want to thank the honourable member for the question. It has been my privilege and really a pleasure over the past few months to visit different schools and to talk to educators across the province who are committed to providing exceptional programs and really innovative programs to help students who have very special needs.

My ministry recognizes the achievements of those schools and school boards through the Exemplary Practice in Integration Awards. These awards are given to schools and to school boards that use innovative practices in providing special education services across the province.

I'm pleased to inform the member and to inform other members in the chamber that some 353 nominations for these awards arrived last year, and that as a point of qualifying for the awards, the boards or schools agree to share those practices with other boards and schools across the province. I think that's an extraordinarily useful tool for those educators who are dedicating a tremendous amount of effort to meet the needs of these very special children. A hundred and five schools qualified for awards last year and I was pleased to present some of those personally.

Mr Boushy: Two of the learning disorders more recently diagnosed are attention deficit disorder, or ADD, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. What efforts has the minister made in recognizing the needs of these students?

Hon Mr Snobelen: I'm sure, as many people in this chamber know, the ADD and ADHD, the extent of the learning disabilities from those disorders are only beginning, I think, to be fully understood by educators. I'm pleased to say that there are some 15 places now in the province, at three of our demonstration schools, where people are receiving help for those disorders and where we're learning more about the extent of those disorders.

My ministry provides up to $20,000 per year per pupil to school boards that are working with students who have difficulties that come from ADHD, and I know that we look forward to working with educators in the future, discovering new ways of helping people who have these disorders and helping them in life and in their education process. So I thank the member for that question.


Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): My question is to the Minister of Transportation. Minister, yesterday you made an entirely inappropriate and unhelpful statement in the House blaming the OPSEU strike for less than adequate winter road maintenance during our most recent spring storm, certainly poor judgement and a shameless shifting of responsibility from where it belongs.

But, Minister, you've shown poor judgement in relation to this issue long before the strike began, initially by admitting to a $7-million cut in winter road maintenance, which only came to light after we in the opposition forced you to admit it, and then by continually denying that these cuts had any impact on those of us who drive the highways of Ontario. We now learn, Minister, that indeed your budgetary constraints were totally unrealistic. In fact, you were forced to spend millions more than you wanted to because of the severe winter we've all experienced in this province.

Minister, will you now admit your mistake? Will you apologize to the people of Ontario and will you commit to rescinding those cuts for the next fiscal year?

Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): I will admit to the people of Ontario that this government acted very responsibly, and very fiscally responsibly, because we managed to make sure that our roads were safe throughout a very, very difficult winter. It proves, even with the strike, under the conditions that we've had to work with, the tremendous job that the people have done, and the savings are there. Right from the beginning I said we would spend whatever it would take --


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The member for Essex South is out of order and out of his seat.


The Speaker: I won't warn him again.

Hon Mr Palladini: Right from the beginning we said this government was going to spend whatever it would need to make sure that our roads are safe, and I believe the people of Ontario know we have done just that.

Mr Gravelle: Don't be embarrassed to admit if you've made a mistake. You've now learned you can't legislate snowfall. You've had the opportunity to travel some of the roads in northern Ontario, I understand, to observe the types of conditions that are faced by northern drivers and all of us on a daily basis. You've received thousands of petitions, hundreds of letters from concerned people and groups, municipalities, resolutions are being passed by municipalities, letters from people like in the township of Schreiber who were concerned about a four-day highway closure that was absolutely unnecessary. Our highways have never been less well maintained than they were this past year. There's no question about that.

I ask you, for the sake of all Ontarians who have faced the insecurity of hazardous roads this winter and who have felt fear for the safety of their families, their neighbours, their children on school buses, will you commit to bringing back road maintenance to the level that everyone in this province deserves, demands and expects from this or any government?

Hon Mr Palladini: I will commit to two things: that the level of maintenance on our highways is going to be maintained in a safe way, and I will also commit to look for whatever saving we may arrive at from an administrative point, and just doing business in a smarter way. That's something the member across the road doesn't have a clue about.


Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): My question is to the Minister of Environment and Energy. Today I received a tip that you are about to announce a reversal of Ministry of Environment and Energy policy and give the go-ahead to the western beaches tunnel. While I disagree profoundly, I am not surprised. What does surprise me is that apparently the eight terms and conditions that you're placing on the go-ahead for that western beaches tunnel do not include the key environmental issue of coordination of master sewage planning between Metro and Toronto. As Minister of Environment, can you tell me how you justify the exclusion of the most important environmental condition?

Hon Brenda Elliott (Minister of Environment and Energy): I thank the honourable member across the way for the question. The member is quite right. Yesterday, in fact, we did make a decision to allow the sewage and stormwater tunnel project to go ahead. We are actually quite pleased with this decision because we think this is very good news for the people of Ontario. We think this is an opportunity to finally establish a method to clean up the beaches in the Toronto area. This is an issue that has been of concern to the people in this area for some time now. We believe we've made an excellent decision, and the approval process is one that we are confident in.

Ms Lankin: I'm sorry, and with all due respect, Minister, from day one you have never understood the issues at stake for the environment here in the Metro area. Once again you're completely incapable of answering the question with respect to coordination of master sewage planning between Metro and Toronto, the issue that has always been at stake. Your recommendations include -- excuse the pun -- some watered-down version of coordination of storm sewer planning, which has got nothing to do with the environmental concerns raised by sewage planning, the overall system.

This minister is not listening to people, because in fact the representations that have been made time and time again said, "Please don't proceed, but if you're going to proceed without a full environmental assessment, at least place conditions on Toronto and Metro that they must coordinate their master sewage planning."

Will you today give us this commitment, that you will add the condition to your announcement that you're about to make that before Toronto can proceed with this tank tunnel, it must coordinate master sewer planning with Metro so that we have some environmental approach that makes sense for our lakes, our rivers, our health and our environment, for all the people in Metro?

Hon Mrs Elliott: We are very confident that we've made an excellent decision because we are concerned about the quality of the water in this province. With the decision of going forward with the building of this tunnel, the water quality will be improved to such a degree that beaches that now are open only 25% of the time will be open, we anticipate, 75% of the time.

With regard to the sewage which you are so concerned about, in fact the sewage sludge that will finally be filtered out as it flows through this tunnel amounts to less than 0.5% of all that goes to the Ashbridges Bay facility.



Mrs Barbara Fisher (Bruce): My question today is for the Minister of Environment and Energy. As the minister is aware, last November there was an incident in my riding where abnormal amounts of tritium were released into Lake Huron. Can the minister tell the House today what action has been taken to address this occurrence?

Hon Brenda Elliott (Minister of Environment and Energy): To address the concerns that arose as a result of that incident last fall, a steering committee was formed. The steering committee looked at ways to improve the notification and follow-up procedures in such an event. I am pleased to report that as a result of that effort there is now a protocol in place which outlines a series of procedures to deal with such occurrences. It establishes the roles and the responsibilities that we believe will ensure improved responsibility and accountability if such an occurrence were to occur again.

Mrs Fisher: I am pleased to see that the steering committee has responded to the public concern about the safety of drinking water drawn from Lake Huron. Will that protocol be made public?

Hon Mrs Elliott: I would like to thank the members of the committee who acted so quickly and so decisively in this matter. Yes, in fact, the results of that are available to anyone interested in seeing them. I would like to add that the protocol was unanimously approved by representatives from Ontario Hydro, from Bruce township, the local medical officer of health, my ministry, Emergency Measures Ontario and the Ministry of Labour. We believe this will significantly improve the protection and the confidence of those citizens who rely on Lake Huron for their drinking water.


Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): My question is to the Attorney General. The government's bullying tactics seem to know no boundaries. In addition to a long list of people on the government hit list, which has included seniors and children, the government is now preparing to take on single mothers and their children through its expenditure reduction in the family support plan. First this government floated the idea of charging single parents $2 just to pick up the phone and dial family support numbers. We now know that the minister is contemplating severe staffing reductions.

My question is simple: Will the minister confirm to this House how many layoffs will result from this decision and what impact this reduction in staffing will have on the enforcement and recovery of delinquent payments?

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): On January 29 when the House was convened, I was asked a very similar question about the $2 fee for family support plan phone call inquiries. I said at that time and I say again that there is no truth to that and it will not happen.

I also said that we are looking at the family support plan so that we can develop a plan that does a better job collecting the almost $900 million of outstanding payments, mostly owing to women and children by delinquent spouses who have not complied with family support orders. We are being motivated to develop a system that works, that provides fast payment to those within the plan who are awaiting cheques, and that also provides proper collection procedures to collect the huge and escalating outstanding debt.

Mr Sergio: It does not take a genius to figure out that if you reduce the number of people enforcing the provisions under the Family Support Plan Act, the successful collection and recovery of family support payments will be severely affected. Having said this, I would state two important facts which seem to contradict what the minister has stated now and on previous occasions.

First, the real amount of money in arrears is closer to $551 million, not the $900 million the minister has suggested. Second, of the $551 million in arrears, 55% of these cases have funds flowing and the arrears are being paid down.

In light of these statistics, I would ask the minister again if he would reconsider his attack on single women and children and rethink his commitment to slashing the number of front-line office staff.

Hon Mr Harnick: Certainly if the number is $550 million, it's $550 million too much. If there are 45% of orders out there in which no funds are flowing, that's 45% too many, and we will be motivated by trying to develop the best system that we can to collect the arrears and to run the family support plan in the most efficient way to ensure that people receive their payments on time and that they are able to obtain the service of the plan when they need it. That's what's motivating any decision-making that we will enter into.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): Back to the same minister, the Chair of Management Board, on the issue we've been talking about here. Things seem to be getting curiouser and curiouser. I just spoke with Mr Ferens again, as a result of your answer to my last question, and there seems to be a serious discrepancy between what you say the way things went down and the way the union sees it, in terms of their discussions with the principal of this corporation.

Mr Ferens advises me, Minister, that he has spoken to all four of the other bidders and all four of them were prepared to recognize the union. This is the only one that wasn't going to recognize the union. Therefore, Minister, we seem to have a legitimate question in terms of the allegation by Mr Ferens that he was told by one of the principals of the corporation that he contacted your office -- that is how he qualified through the prequalification process and ultimately was awarded the tender. He was not the lowest. I understand he may not have even been the second lowest.

But given the fact that all of the other bidders, according to the union, were prepared to recognize the union, and there are these questions around the propriety of the process, are you prepared to state today categorically that neither you nor anyone else in your office, nor any involvement in your riding association had anything at all to do with this? Secondly, will you table all the pertinent documents around this so that we can clear it up once and for all?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): I can certainly assure you, as a result of the member's questions here today, that I'm going to look into this very thoroughly. I will pass along the information. I can only pass along to you the information that I know, the information that has been given to me by the staff of Management Board.

That information is that the tender that was selected involved the retention of the majority of the staff, and it also made a commitment to negotiate job-sharing arrangements to assure that as many of the staff would be retained as possible. I can only pass along the information. I assure you I'll look into it and I'll make a report. The information I have is, again, that the lowest bidder did not intend to retain the existing staff. That's the information I have. If that information is incorrect, I assure you that I will present the information to this House.


Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I'd like to move the weekly business statement for next week.

Pursuant to standing order 55, I wish to indicate the business of the House for the week of March 25, 1996.

Next week, as time permits, we will be dealing with the following legislation:

Third reading of Bill 19, the Advocacy Act; third reading of Bill 20, the Planning Act; second reading of Bill 31, the Ontario College of Teachers Act; second reading of Bill 30, the Education Quality and Accountability Office Act.

For Thursday morning, March 28, private members' business, we will consider ballot number 15, standing in the name of the member for Beaches-Woodbine, and ballot number 16, standing in the name of the member for Lambton.




Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I have a petition to the Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Ontario Progressive Conservative government has decided to replace our current child care system with one that lacks compassion and common sense and is fraught with many dangerous consequences; and

"Whereas the concept of affordable, accessible and quality child care is a basic, important and fundamental right for many members of our community who are either unemployed and enrolled into a training program or are working single parents or where both parents are working; and

"Whereas if our present provincial government is sincere in getting people back to work, they should recognize the value of the child care component of the Jobs Ontario program and acknowledge the validity of the wage subsidy to the child care workers;

"We therefore, the undersigned residents, business owners and child care workers of Metro community, urge the Progressive Conservative government of Ontario to immediately suspend plans to implement cuts to our present child care programs across our province and to restore funding to the previous levels."

I've signed my signature to this.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I have here a petition from numerous people from the city of Timmins, and the petition reads as follows:

"To the Honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Ontario government plans to sell off public services to corporations that will run them for profit; and

"Whereas after the corporate takeover, it will be strictly user-pay for the services we now depend on; and

"Whereas our clean air and water standards and workers' safety rules are being relaxed because corporations don't like rules that interfere with profit; and

"Whereas privatization is being sold as a way to save tax dollars even though large companies pay little or no taxes while individual Canadians pay most of the total tax bill; and

"Whereas Bill 7 was introduced in the interest of facilitating its privatization agenda by stripping public sector workers of the rights to retain fair working conditions when services are transferred or privatized;

"We, the following citizens of Ontario, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario to ban any selloff of Ontario public services and reinstate successor rights to public service employees."

I've signed this petition.


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): I present this petition on behalf of the member for Kenora, Mr Miclash:

"Whereas the members of the Ontario public service are earnestly attempting to negotiate an equitable and respectful collective agreement with the government of Ontario; and

"Whereas a fair collective agreement is evidence of this government's respect for Ontario's public services, the workers who provide them and those who need them; and

"Whereas by introducing Bill 7 and Bill 26 prior to commencing negotiations, the government removes significant rights from OPSEU members that other workers in Ontario retain; and

"Whereas reducing the size of the civil service can be achieved through attrition without attacking basic rights and dignities of hardworking people;

"We, the following undersigned citizens of Ontario, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario to negotiate responsibly and in good faith with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union towards a fair and respectful collective agreement."

Madam Speaker, there are thousands who have signed from the good area of Kenora, Ontario.


Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): I have the honour today of presenting a petition to the government of Ontario. It is signed by more than 150 concerned citizens in the great riding of Lake Nipigon.

"Whereas Bill 26 exempts the government as an employer from key legislation governing pensions in Ontario; and

"Whereas employees of the Ontario government have been stripped of their right to access pension security, a right that other workers in Ontario have; and

"Whereas this represents the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars in pension benefits from working people; and

"Whereas as a result thousands of workers who face being laid off in the coming months could be forced into poverty;

"We, the following undersigned citizens of Ontario, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario to reinstate the rights removed by schedule L of Bill 26."

Simply put, those fine people are asking for the right to be like other Ontarians, simply the right to stay alive.


Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly:

"Whereas we, the citizens of Ontario, are deeply concerned about Bill 26, the omnibus act to restructure Ontario, and believe that in a democracy government never has the right to use any means to do what it wants, particularly regarding actions which intrude upon every citizen's life, yet this is precisely what Bill 26 proposes; it authorizes the cabinet, with minimal debate, to make decisions for citizens at any time by amending over 40 laws in 16 areas of vital importance;

"Whereas while most citizens agree with the aim of reducing Ontario's debt, this should not be done behind their backs by undermining the normal and necessary democratic process of open debate and decision-making, and in a democracy the end does not justify the means;

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

"We urge the government to withdraw the undemocratic and dangerous omnibus Bill 26 and regroup its amendments into separate bills," which they didn't do, "which the public can understand and its elected representatives openly debate."

I'll affix my signature to it.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I have a petition from one of the Metro Housing buildings, Leonardo Court, addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

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

"Do not implement user fees and/or copayments to the Ontario drug benefit program. User fees are not the solution; they only deter the most vulnerable from getting the help they really need. These fees will further diminish universal health care in Ontario with the poor and seniors bearing the brunt of your proposed actions."

I sign my signature to this.


Mr Peter North (Elgin): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly:

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

"That a recommendation by the psychiatric hospitals restructuring committee to close the St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital be rejected.

"We believe the restructuring committee has not fully considered the case for retaining St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital.

"We believe the hospital and the community of St Thomas provide care and caring for psychiatric patients which is equal to, and better than, London.

"We believe closure of the St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital will have a devastating impact on the economy and the residents of St Thomas and Elgin county.

"We believe London can better absorb the impact of closure of the London Psychiatric Hospital.

"Finally, we believe it would be cheaper for government to retain the St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital in terms of capital improvements required to both facilities.

"Therefore, we request that the government refrain from endorsing and implementing the recommendation to close the St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital."


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Huron Line/Talbot Road is one of the busiest roads in the province; and

"Whereas over 1.5 million trucks use this portion of the highway each year; and

"Whereas this stretch of highway contains the first set of traffic signals for vehicles which have travelled on a freeway for many hours; and

"Whereas accidents have caused significant hardship to families that have needlessly lost loved ones in tragic accidents;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to urge the Minister of Transportation to recognize the need to make significant changes to reflect the hazards that exist Highway 3/Talbot Road by reducing the speed limit to 70 kilometres per hour and installing advance warning signals to reflect the concerns of the community."

On behalf of the many people from both Windsor and the town of La Salle, I hereby affix my signature.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I have here yet another petition where a number of people -- I would say probably somewhere around 400 or 500 people -- from the city of Timmins have sent a petition to this government. It reads as follows:

"Whereas the members of the Ontario public service are earnestly attempting to negotiate an equitable and respectful collective agreement with the government of Ontario; and

"Whereas a fair collective agreement is evidence of this government's respect for Ontario's public services, the workers who provide them and those who need them; and

"Whereas by introducing Bill 7 and Bill 26 prior to commencing negotiations, the government removed significant rights from OPSEU members that other workers in Ontario retain; and

"Whereas reducing the size of the civil service can be achieved through attrition without attacking basic rights and dignities of hardworking people;

"We, the following undersigned citizens of Ontario, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario to negotiate responsibly and in good faith with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union towards a fair and respectful collective agreement."

I have signed that petition and support their cause.


Mr Toby Barrett (Norfolk): I have a petition signed by approximately 100 people.

"To the Honourable Lieutenant Governor and Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the members of the Ontario public service are earnestly attempting to negotiate an equitable and respectful collective agreement with the government of Ontario; and

"Whereas a fair collective agreement is evidence of this government's respect for Ontario's public services, the workers who provide them and those who need them; and

"Whereas by introducing Bill 7 and Bill 26 prior to commencing negotiations the government removed significant rights from OPSEU members that other workers in Ontario retain; and

"Whereas reducing the size of the civil service can be achieved through attrition without attacking basic rights and dignities of hardworking people;

"We, the following undersigned citizens of Ontario, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario to negotiate responsibly and in good faith with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union towards a fair and respectful collective agreement."

I affix my name to this petition.


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): I have a petition here in support of junior kindergarten, as junior kindergarten has been axed all across the province by this government.

"Whereas the Conservative government's stated plan in the Common Sense Revolution is to improve the long-term economic prospects of Ontario; and

"Whereas research from all over the world shows early childhood education leads to lower dropout rates, improved reading, math and language skills, less chance of future unemployment, teen pregnancy or delinquency and higher enrolment in post-secondary education, thus resulting in a better-educated, highly skilled workforce; and

"Whereas this Conservative government states it is committed to ensuring a larger share of the education dollar goes to the classroom; and

"Whereas this Conservative government fully expects boards to meet transfer reductions by cutting costs outside the classroom; and

"Whereas this Conservative government has made junior kindergarten a matter of choice for local boards and has reduced the funding for junior kindergarten;

"Therefore, to ensure this Conservative government meets its stated commitments in regard to education and to Ontario, we, the undersigned, call on the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Education and Training to restore the funding for junior kindergarten to its previous level and require all school boards to offer junior kindergarten classes."

I affix my name to this important petition.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I have another petition from the Metro Housing company. This particular building is Westdon Apartments, 6250 Bathurst Street. It reads:

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

"Do not implement user fees and/or copayments to the Ontario drug benefit program. User fees are not the solution. They only deter the most vulnerable from getting the help they really need. These fees will further diminish universal health care in Ontario, with the poor and seniors bearing the brunt of your proposed actions."

I accompany a whole roll of hundreds of people who have signed with respect to these cuts, and I submit them to you as well.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I have a petition which has been presented to me with the request I present it to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads as follows:

"Whereas this Conservative government's stated plan in the Common Sense Revolution is to improve the long-term economic prospects for Ontario; and

"Whereas research from all over the world shows early childhood education leads to lower dropout rates, improved reading, math and language skills, less chance of future unemployment, teen pregnancy or delinquency and higher enrolment in post-secondary education, thus resulting in a better-educated, highly skilled workforce; and

"Whereas this Conservative government states it is committed to ensuring a larger share of the education dollar goes to the classroom; and

"Whereas this Conservative government fully expects boards to meet transfer reductions by cutting costs outside the classroom; and

"Whereas this Conservative government has made junior kindergarten a matter of choice for local school boards and has reduced the funding for junior kindergarten;

"Therefore, to ensure this Conservative government meets its stated commitments in regard to education and to Ontario, we, the undersigned, call on the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Education and Training to restore the funding for junior kindergarten to its previous level and require all school boards to offer junior kindergarten classes."

I present this to the assembly and affix my signature to it.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Time for one last petition. The member for Essex-Kent.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Whoa. Rotation. There is another party over here.

The Acting Speaker: I am so sorry, I see a member from the NDP caucus. The member for Hamilton Centre.

Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I'll have to take a look at the seating arrangements.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): "Whereas the Hamilton-Wentworth health action task force, as part of their report, has recommended the closure of St Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton; and

"Whereas it is recognized the health care system should be made as efficient as possible; and

"Whereas the quality of health care service in our community should not be sacrificed in the name of efficiency; and

"Whereas the Mike Harris government promised to protect the quality of health care in Ontario; and

"Whereas we, the undersigned, believe that maintaining the presence of St Joseph's Hospital in downtown Hamilton is a vital component of our health care system;

"Therefore, be it resolved that the Minister of Health and the Hamilton-Wentworth District Health Council ensure the continuance of St Joseph's Hospital at its present site."

I add my name to theirs.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Thank you very much, and please accept my apology again.


Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): I want to recognize an eminent Antiguan, Winston Derrick, and Dr Knolly Hill, in the audience, who are visiting us today.



Pursuant to the order of the House of November 16, 1995, Mr Curling presented a report from the standing committee on estimates.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Pursuant to standing order 60(b), the report of the committee is deemed to be received and the estimates of the ministries and offices named therein as not being selected for consideration by the committee are deemed to be concurred in.



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

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): I started on this debate yesterday, which is Bill 19, which is called the Advocacy, Consent and Substitute Decisions Statute Law Amendment Act. I did start my comments with respect to this bill and I'd like to perhaps summarize.

I might say at the outset, for the purposes of the members present and those listening, that my comments will be restricted with respect to the substitute decisions part of the bill. There will be other members of our caucus who will be speaking with respect to the repeal of the advocacy legislation and the consent-to-treatment part of it. So there will be other speakers to follow from our caucus.

With respect to the substitute decisions part of the bill, the amendments include the following:

They retain the basic principles of the legislation that was passed by the previous government: respect for personal choice and enhancement of the dignity of mentally incapable people.

It responds to intense public concerns about potential government interference with powers of attorney.

It clarifies that the private arrangements people make to plan for possible future incapacity will have first priority; in other words, arrangements with respect to members of an individual's family will have priority. If there is no one left, the government will intervene.

It provides for more opportunity and easier processes for a family to become a substitute decision-maker if an advanced planning has not occurred.

It streamlines procedures, reduces bureaucratic red tape and complexity and reflects this government's belief that the majority of family members, service providers and caregivers are acting in good faith and with good intentions.


It eliminates the involvement of the expensive, intrusive professional advocate in the procedures for appointing guardians. There's no question that topic generated the most debate during the committee hearings and during second reading debate and will during third reading debate, particularly from the third party, but we believe this is the route to go.

It clarifies that the public guardian and trustee will act as a guardian only as a last resort, when there is a critical need and there is no other suitable person available or willing to act.

Finally, it facilitates the involvement of local community volunteers in providing assistance with guardianship and services.

So the general intent of the issue with respect to the substitute decisions part of it is, to the government, as it is with other portions of the bill, that the province intervenes only as a last resort.

I did make some comments, and I'll try not to repeat too much of what I said yesterday. Perhaps I could start off to indicate why we are amending the Substitute Decisions Act. It was a belief, after hearing from individuals around this province, not only the hearings that took place by the previous government but our own consultations by members of this House of whatever political party, that the law was filled with gaps and inconsistencies. For example, we discovered that there was no easy way for families to get legal authority to make financial decisions for their mentally incapable loved ones who had not made powers of attorney. In those situations, families would always have to go to court.

Currently, there are procedures that exist in the Substitute Decisions Act that allow people who are affected to challenge or appeal the appointment of a guardian. The law at present requires that information about legal rights be given in a personal visit from an independent advocate acting on behalf of the Advocacy Commission. We believe that the current law goes too far and creates overly complicated rules and procedures that confuse many people. We discovered, in discussing this with caregivers, doctors, nurses, members of family, that they were terribly confused as to who they were to take instructions from and what they were to do when confronted with the requirement of assisting incapable people.

In some cases, government could interfere in people's private affairs even when they had made powers of attorney. We discovered later that when powers of attorney were made, when someone who was fully competent named an individual to act on their behalf, made that power of attorney, an advocate under the Advocacy Commission had priority over that person. We found that totally unacceptable.

In the last two years, thousands of Ontarians have expressed concern about the complexity of the rules and the potential for government interference in people's private affairs. Our government has listened to those concerns and we have made changes to simplify the rules. The changes to the Substitute Decisions Act we believe will reduce barriers to family members and friends who look after incapable loved ones. We believe that they will simplify and streamline procedures. They reflect our government's belief that most caregivers, service providers and family members have the best interests of the mentally incapable people they care for at heart.

These changes are about providing rules that will work for everyone, whose situations are all unique. I think that was the problem with respect to the previous legislation: It was assumed that many situations were the same. They're not the same. Each family has a different situation, each mentally incapable person had a different problem, and those service providers and family members are those who can best serve the needs of those people.

The rules will be less rigid. They will allow greater flexibility for dealing with situations in humane ways.

I would like to emphasize one issue, as I did yesterday, and that is, for all of those people who have signed powers of attorney -- and there were many. Thousands of powers of attorney were issued by the previous government across this province. Many people took advantage of that and have used those powers of attorney. Those existing powers of attorney that they signed privately and those that they signed in the presence of their lawyers, that were prepared by their lawyers, will not be invalidated by the amendments of this legislation. No one who has already made a valid power of attorney will need to make a new one as a result of the amendments.

Perhaps I could say a few words with respect to the topic of statutory guardianship, which is a concept that I think everyone in Ontario will be glad to see. Relatives of mentally incapable people will be able to become statutory guardians more easily. Previously, only immediate family, such as a spouse, a sibling or a child, could apply to be a statutory guardian. Under the new law, any relative will be eligible to apply. For example, many elderly people in this province do not have any immediate family, but they may have an extended family who are willing to become involved in making decisions for them, for example, in-laws, a daughter-in-law, a nephew, a niece, who would be quite prepared to assist, particularly elderly people. Those people, under the amendments, will now be able to assist elderly people who wish assistance with respect to their affairs.

In those cases, we believe it is inappropriate for the government or any agency of the government to become involved. We are making it easier for extended family members to take responsibility for their incapable relatives. Under the amendments of this legislation, anyone related by blood, marriage or adoption can apply to become statutory guardian of an incapable person. The posting of security will no longer be mandatory, as it was in the previous legislation. Powers of attorney will no longer be terminated if a person is assessed as being mentally incapable.

Finally, and this is the most important of our amendments we believe, the power of attorney will take precedence over the public guardian and trustee. So no longer, as it was in the previous legislation, will the public guardian and trustee or an advocate or anyone connected to the government be able to interfere with the decisions of a properly appointed power of attorney who is acting under the wishes of an individual who has named a person as his or her attorney.

With respect to personal care decision-making, unnecessary barriers to using powers of attorney for personal care are being removed. For example, the amendments of our government will eliminate the validation of process for these documents, an expensive, complicated and time-consuming process that required two capacity assessments, completion of a guardianship plan and a visit from a paid government advocate. An attorney for personal care will still only be able to use the power of attorney when the person who gave the power of attorney is mentally incapable of making personal care decisions.

More flexibility will be allowed in making powers of attorney for personal care. For example, a person will be able to make more than one power of attorney for personal care, naming different attorneys for different decision-making roles. There may, for example, be a different need for personal care decisions. You may have a daughter or a son who would look after the decisions with respect to personal hygiene. You may have another daughter or another son who would look after decision-making that's required for hospital care or for long-term care.


Protection of legal rights: The involvement of the expensive and intrusive professional advocate in procedures for appointing guardians will be eliminated. However, the law will require that information about legal rights be provided to people for whom a guardian is appointed. This information will be provided in a faster and less intrusive and bureaucratic manner by the person who is applying to be his or her guardian. The level of information provided to mentally incapable people about their legal rights will still be the highest level of rights information required by law anywhere in Canada for substitute decision-making.

With respect to court-appointed guardians, we are removing the ban on service providers as guardians of the person for personal care. The ban will continue with respect to guardianship of property with respect to service providers. This government believes that this ban is unnecessarily arbitrary and that the courts should have the discretion to appoint them where appropriate. We are confident that judges can decide what is best for the person in the circumstances and address any potential conflicts.

We are doing this to make the law more flexible for the people in Ontario. For example, in some limited circumstances where a person has no one else willing or available to act for them, a service provider who is familiar with the person and knows and understands his or her wishes and beliefs would be a more appropriate guardian than the official guardian and public trustee. An example might be a home care provider who had lived with a senior or other person for a number of years and knows that person's wishes. Normally, we discovered as a result of the hearings, most service providers would not want to take on that responsibility because of liability and other reasons, but it certainly provides the option where there is no one else available who might be the best person in exceptional circumstances.

The role of the public guardian and trustee: No question, this role has been minimized with respect to action in that the public guardian and trustee will only get involved if there is no family person or other person who's available to care for the incapable person.

One fear that was expressed by many people about the Substitute Decisions Act was that the public guardian and trustee would intervene in people's private lives unnecessarily. We have received many letters and telephone calls criticizing the law for not putting sufficient safeguards in place to ensure that the public guardian and trustee only became involved in situations of current urgent need. We are correcting this.

The new law emphasizes the last-resort role of the public guardian and trustee in several ways. It will ensure the court does not appoint the public guardian and trustee as guardian unless there is no other suitable person who is willing and able to be appointed. Private arrangements made through powers of attorney will override statutory guardianship.

The new law by our government will clarify what steps the public guardian and trustee will need to take with investigations of abuse or neglect. This will allow the public guardian and trustee to focus its efforts on the most serious cases of abuse and neglect. This will reduce unnecessary government intervention in the private lives of individuals and their families. The public guardian and trustee will be able to focus its efforts and resources on serving those people who have a critical need for assistance.

I spent some time yesterday talking about the public input with respect to this legislation and I won't repeat those comments other than to say that I would like to thank the more than 150 individuals and organizations that provided feedback on the amendments that came out of the public hearings and the consultations we had during the month of February. I would like also, on behalf of the government, to thank all members of the standing committee on administration of justice, including my friends in the opposition. All three political parties certainly provided a worthwhile contribution to the hearings.

The comments and suggestions that we heard from people around this province were most helpful in refining and improving Bill 19 to ensure that it serves the people of Ontario in the best way possible. For example, we heard over and over again that people were concerned that allowing the children of people granting powers of attorney to be witnesses might lead to abuses, that there might be conflicts of interest. We listened to these criticisms and therefore indicated amendments, which I think were approved unanimously by all three parties, that children of people given powers of attorney will not be allowed to witness their parents' powers of attorney.

We also heard comments about the need for guardians of property to take into account personal care needs. We therefore added a provision that will require guardians of property to take into account the effect their actions will have on the incapable person's health, safety, shelter, nutrition, clothing and hygiene when making decisions about the person's property. These are only a few examples of the changes that have been made as a result of the input from the public hearings that went on during the month of February. Our government has listened and has made changes to refine and improve the original provisions of Bill 19.

Those are my comments with respect to that portion of the bill which deals with the Substitute Decisions Act. As I indicated, other colleagues from the government will be talking on the other two parts of the bill. But I will say that we believe that the changes we have made with respect to the substitute decisions part of it, the powers of attorney part of it, protect the rights and interests of mentally incapable persons and of physically disabled persons; they support the important role family and friends and those who provide services to and people who volunteer with vulnerable people play in their lives. Changes to the Substitute Decisions Act promote respect for personal choice and enhancement of the dignity of mentally incapable persons. They limit the role of government to situations where there is an urgent need.

I thank you for allowing me to make these few comments, and I know that there will be further debate on this topic. I encourage all members of the House to support this legislation because I think it will enhance the requirements of the mentally incapable people around this province.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Questions and/or comments? You have up to two minutes.

Mr Bill Grimmett (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): I'm pleased to comment on the remarks of my colleague on this bill, which is actually a matter that's of some interest to me. In my other life, I am a small-town lawyer, and as such I've had an opportunity to deal with powers of attorney during my 12 years in practice. It is a matter of great interest to people in rural Ontario, and this legislation I'm sure is going to provide considerable relief to people who were very concerned about many of the things that my colleague has mentioned.

In particular, I want to applaud the thoroughness of the consultation process which I believe has taken place and which my colleague has alluded to. The matter of making sure that witnesses no longer need to know the capability of the donor, this is a very important practical matter. When you're dealing with powers of attorney in rural Ontario, it is sometimes difficult enough to find people who can sign as witnesses, let alone to indicate to them that they have to have some knowledge of the capability of the donor on a power of attorney.

I think it's also very important that the people of Ontario be assured that the power of attorney that they already have is going to continue to be in place without any need to amend it. Certainly in my practice, at the time that the legislation was passed by the previous government, I found that there was a considerable amount of hysteria on the part of the public, who were very concerned that Big Brother was going to take their property away. Many of them had already put in place powers of attorney, and I can say that they came flooding into my office. It was a time of considerable growth in my practice, and I would like to thank the previous government for that contribution.


Mr John L. Parker (York East): I'm pleased to rise this afternoon and give my concurrence to the remarks of my honourable friend on the subject of powers of attorney and the Substitute Decisions Act. In particular, I want to emphasize one very important reform that is carried in this legislation, and that is to do away with the formality and the provision of registering and validating powers of attorney.

As with my friend from Muskoka-Georgian Bay, I'm a lawyer in real life and it has been my experience that people are confused and frustrated by the provision in the current law that provides that at the very moment when your power of attorney is most important, at the time when a person is found to be mentally incapable, at the very moment when you want your power of attorney to take effect and to protect your rights, that is the very moment under the current regime when everything is thrown up for grabs and raised into question as you have to go through the process of determining whether the power of attorney has been appropriately validated, or whether it should be struck down and whether the official guardian should take over, or whether the original attorney can carry on carrying out the duties that the donor intended that attorney to carry out.

We've removed all that confusion, we've removed all that doubt under the current bill, which says that when you sign a power of attorney and appoint someone else as your attorney to take responsibility for your matters, you mean what you say, and that power of attorney will stay in effect despite and in light of any subsequent mental incapacity. That's the whole point of a power of attorney, to know that you've given your affairs over to someone else you trust and you will have confidence in them to carry out your decisions for you.

That's what the new act does and for that reason alone it merits the attention of this House.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you very much for your comments. Your time is up. Further questions or comments? Seeing none, would the member for Dufferin-Peel like to respond.

Mr Tilson: I'd like to thank the members from Muskoka-Georgian Bay and York East for their comments with respect to the introductory comments on this bill. I think the members have emphasized what we have tried to do with this legislation. We believe that there was too much governance, it was too costly, too much intrusion by the province of Ontario when matters should be left to members of one's family to process these matters.

There was also the emphasis that this part of the bill, the substitute decisions part of the bill, was actually supported by all parties in the last House. The need for signing a power of attorney is very important. In the past people said, "When you become a senior and you become on the verge of incompetence, it's wise to have a power of attorney," but I think we've seen throughout all the many hearings that have gone back through -- the hearings of the former government and the hearings we've had ourselves, our own hearings -- there is a need from all ages because anything can happen. It's a document everyone should consider entering into for the protection not only of the dealing with one's property but also of the dealing with respect to personal care.

The whole issue of witnesses that I think was raised by my friend from Muskoka-Georgian Bay created much confusion and concern because what the previous legislation essentially meant was that witnesses would have to warrant the capabilities of the person who was signing the attorney. It would get to the stage where no one would sign those documents, so we took that requirement away, and we believe that and other things make it much easier with respect to the processing of powers of attorney.

Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): It's good to have an opportunity to get up and speak on this bill, and I want to begin by complimenting my colleague from Dufferin-Peel on his thoughtful presentation to the House and members of the government committee who travelled the province to discuss this bill and the importance of the bill to all of us.

Let me begin by saying that I did not have the opportunity to travel the entire time with the committee, but I did spend one week, went to the great cities of Thunder Bay, Ottawa, London and, my favourite place in this entire province, the great city of Windsor. We heard delegations that represented a range of views, a range of thoughtful comments. I was most impressed at how the committee dealt with what I felt were the real issues in here, and moreover, it was refreshing to see issues where all of us could agree and work together.

For me, having the opportunity to participate in that committee, even though it was for a week, reaffirmed my own faith in our legislative process, because that had been terribly shaken by the arbitrary and, I felt, hurtful way in which the government proceeded with Bill 26. I was pleased that we were able to begin to do meaningful committee work and study issues.

I see my colleague the minister responsible for the WCB, who has undertaken to do consultations prior to legislation, has undertaken to do committee hearings once this legislation is brought in to reform the bill, and we will have a chance to deal with the substance of that, but we here in the opposition welcome the opportunity to have committee hearings and have the opportunity to discuss very important pieces of legislation in a meaningful and constructive way.

I don't want to spend a lot of time reviewing the act. I think my colleague opposite did a good job of that. But I do want to spend a few minutes talking about the broader sections in it.

First, the repeal of the Advocacy Act, which is the first part of this bill. Members of course are aware on all sides of the House that our party supported that view in the election and we continue to support that view. So we are pleased with that section of the act and we are pleased to have the opportunity to be able to discuss the other parts of the act, the second part, the Health Care Consent Act, 1995, which replaces and repeals the Consent to Treatment Act, 1992.

We are of the view that while we had problems with certain sections and presented a number of amendments and indeed supported a number of amendments that the government brought through, we overall were pleased to have the opportunity to discuss these issues.

I remember in 1992, when the original NDP bills were brought forward, there was tremendous confusion and fear and lack of understanding and there clearly had to be a response by whatever new government took power last year. The members opposite won the election and have begun to address these issues.

The Health Care Consent Act will provide a list of things that do not constitute treatment for the purpose of the act, and then it goes on to explain those things, and we have no problem with that. Of course, it provides definitional things which we too have no serious problem with. Interestingly, the act has updated the definition of health practitioner, and further, it also creates the presumption of capacity for all persons, which is I think a very significant and important presumption that all of us can respect.

When we met with delegations in the cities that I was in, we heard a lot of different views around a whole bunch of different things. I was struck by the thoughtful approach that the health care practitioners took in their presentations and the legal practitioners took in their presentations, which I felt brought very substantive comments to the bill. I must say, I was pleased that the government was receptive to those presentations and indeed acted on a number of the comments that they had.

We believe that should be the approach to government overall. We wish that the government had taken that approach from the beginning and didn't subject this province and the people of this province to the types of things they did earlier on in Bill 7 and Bill 26. We think that if public policy is conducted in that manner, the tenor of the times will be toned down. The unfortunate incidents we've witnessed here today, we think and believe very firmly are the direct results not just of what the government is doing, but how the government is doing it.


We think and believe very strongly that all of us can benefit from an approach to governance that is not deliberately provocative and that allows opportunity for people who are affected by legislation and regulation to have the opportunity for meaningful input. The input we heard in Thunder Bay came from a variety of groups: a number of groups which didn't agree with the bill, others that supported the thrust of the bill but that had certain amendments or comments they wanted to get on the record or urged the government to deal with. Those people came from all walks of life. Many were themselves advocates. Others were persons who suffer from disability. But all were people who had something in meaningful input to put into it.

The new act, you'll be aware, also removes all references to rights and advisers and eliminates all requirements that rights advice or notices respecting rights advice be provided to a person who is found by a health practitioner to be incapable with respect to a treatment. We had some difficulty with this issue. In fact, we had long and I felt fruitful discussions around the notion of the obligation of a practitioner and what he or she must tell his or her patient. So that part of the act we do have some difficulty with.

Under the new act, a health practitioner is entitled to presume that consent to a treatment includes consent to a variation or adjustment in the treatment or to continuation of the treatment in a different setting if the risks and benefits are not significantly different as a result of the variation, adjustment or change of setting. That, of course, is in section 11 of the act, and we don't see a particular problem with that either.

Again, I want to come back to this notion of how we govern ourselves. I felt that the whole process surrounding Bill 19 was well conducted. I think about it relative to some of the things that have gone on in education, for instance. The Minister of Education has talked a lot about the changes in his toolkit and the things that need to be done, and a number of members have had the opportunity to travel through schools in their ridings.

During the break, when the House wasn't sitting and we were working in our constituencies or serving on committees, I took the opportunity to visit a number of schools in my riding. There are a number of great schools in my riding. In fact, one of the things that I found most disconcerting in my travels was what I would call the level of fear and anxiety both in parents and teachers, and indeed in the students in those schools.

The teachers in our schools make a great contribution. Indeed, there were a number of teachers, I believe, who appeared before the committee on Bill 19, and their morale is very low right now with all the layoff notices that are going out across the province to cut classroom spending, spending which the government in the last election said they wouldn't cut. Thousands of notices have gone out. Teachers are concerned because there's an impression being granted that they don't earn their livings, that they don't go the extra mile.

I was pleased to meet with a number of different teachers. One of the schools I went to is named after the Honourable W.C. Kennedy, a former federal cabinet minister from our city. I had the chance to spend time with those teachers, who, like the rest of us, are very concerned about Bill 19. But it was good to have the opportunity to meet people like Mrs Hargreaves, who in addition to her regular teaching responsibilities is the cheerleading sponsor teacher, the fashion show sponsor teacher and the junior girls' volleyball sponsor teacher, an example of a teacher who goes well beyond the obligations in their contract. I met Mrs Weale, who's in the Kennedy Booster Club. That's the club that's been raising money in that school to provide computers.

I had the opportunity to watch and read President Clinton's State of the Union address in the United States.

Mr Tony Clement (Brampton South): The era of big government is over.

Mr Duncan: The era of big government is over. That's absolutely right. He laid out six challenges, Mr Clement, and one of them is that every school and library in the United States will have a computer and be on the Internet by the year 2000, a very progressive and moderate approach. I was struck when a couple of weeks later this government cut --

Mr Parker: What did he have to say about Bill 19?

Mr Duncan: The Americans With Disabilities Act he supports, it is an interesting statute, and frankly, I think the government did a good job in reflecting some of those realities into Bill 19.

But two weeks after that moderate President, who responds to the neo-conservative movement in his country, set the challenge to establish computers, our government cut all capital funding for schools. A government that brought in Bill 19, we think in good conscience, and did a good job with it -- we would like to see it look at economic development in the same way, to take that approach.

I note Mr Clement obviously read the president's State of the Union address and agreed with it. Perhaps he would agree that Mr Clinton's response to the neo-conservative movement in the United States is the type of response that all of us should have a careful look at, because there are ways to balance the budget; there are ways to deal with the problems that confront us without doing it on the backs of the poor.

Mr Clement is aware of that speech, so he'd also be aware that in the United States the public service has been cut by over 200,000 in the last three years, and not a day was lost to strikes -- no bloodshed, no walkouts, no work-to-rule. Why? I would submit that government treats its employees with respect and justice, something that this government knows very little about.

Under part II of the act, the eighth explanatory note, for instance, says that under this act, "...if a plan of treatment is developed for a person, one health practitioner may, on behalf of all the health practitioners involved in the plan, propose the plan to the person, determine the person's capacity with respect to the plan and ensure that consent is obtained to the plan."

That really isn't much of a change from the previous statute, but one that we feel comfortable with as well.

We talk about employment levels. I listened with great interest yesterday to government members talk about the various forms of investment and job creation that have happened in this province, and the 31,000 jobs that happened in February. We do hope that continues, because we think job creation ought to be the priority. No doubt the government members feel that their plan will help create jobs and in the long term will benefit all of us.

I'm reminded of Lord Keynes's famous statement, "In the long run, we're all dead." He said that in his A Treatise on Money, not in the general theory. That was an interesting comment, because it's our view that when you are dealing with public policy and you're dealing with important laws and regulations that deal with the lives of people, you must proceed cautiously, recognizing the impact of your decisions and trying to ensure that the consequences of your decisions are shared fairly and equitably. We are not convinced that the government recognizes that.

Under the existing Consent to Treatment Act, if an application is made to the board for review of a finding of incapacity or for appointment of a representative for an incapable person and the board renders a decision in the matter, the health practitioner is prohibited from administering the treatment during the seven-day period from commencing an appeal of the board's decision. Under the new act, the health practitioner is not prohibited from administering the treatment during this period unless one of the parties indicates to the health practitioner that he or she intends to appeal.

We heard about this clause in Ottawa. Ottawa is a very interesting city, because Ottawa is suffering right now from relatively high unemployment related to the downsizing of the federal government.


Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): Sixty thousand. Much worse than ours.

Mr Duncan: It's 45,000, as I understand it. Again, a very short strike and fair severance and fair treatment of the workers -- very fair treatment of the workers. The government of Ontario, in its plan, doesn't deal with cities like Ottawa and the impact that mass layoffs in the public service will have. They've ignored Ottawa, as a matter of fact. In Ottawa, of course, the high-tech sector is developing quite well. It has been developing and I believe there's a great future for the high-tech sector in Ottawa.

But this government isn't interested in the high-tech sector. This government is solely interested in a slash-and-burn approach to the economy that will cost jobs and, I submit, will cost investment in the long term. They will try to argue that investment is up and they will point to little examples here and there, but I think when all is said and done, in two years we will find that this province will be back into a major recession, that investment will be down and that that recession will cost people jobs. Their plan simply won't work.

We were so interested when Mr Stockwell was quoted as saying that a quarter of the Tory caucus doesn't support the tax cut. That was fascinating. I wonder who those 20 or 21 members are and if they will stand up and say, "We were wrong."

Mr Grimmett: Madam Speaker, I raise a point of order on rule 23 in the orders of this House, which reads, "In debate, a member shall be called to order by the Speaker if he or she directs his or her speech to matters other than the question under discussion." That's set out in section 23(b)(i). I say with respect, Madam Speaker, that the member is attempting to disguise his remarks as a thinly veiled comment on the legislation.

The Acting Speaker: No, you're incorrect. Would the member please sit down and I'll explain why. I believe the member is connecting the rule in this case that he's not sticking to the subject at hand. I'm listening very carefully and so far I have seen the connection that he is making. I will, however, continue to pay close attention, and if I should determine that he's off topic, he will be directed.

Would you continue, please.

Mr Duncan: Thank you. I've never had a problem speaking for 90 minutes, but standing in one place presents a real challenge.

I must say, everything is interrelated; it is. I mean, your plan --

The Acting Speaker: Would the member for Windsor-Walkerville direct his comments to the Chair, please.

Mr Duncan: I apologize. Madam Chair, the government's plan was, by its own words, a plan. It was a whole document, and the repeal of the Advocacy Act and the Consent to Treatment Act, and the new Health Care Consent Act were all part of that document.

On the other hand, point 10 of the explanatory notes -- I'll take a moment to talk about that -- says:

"With respect to the scheme for determining who is authorized to give or refuse consent to a treatment on an incapable person's behalf, the new act still provides a list of possible substitute decision-makers and ranks the persons on the list. However, parents and children are ranked equally and statements by family members are no longer required."

Again, we think that is a positive development in the bill and, unlike many other things that this government has done, we find that good public policy -- good public policy as contrasted to the damage that's been inflicted on the enforcement of health and safety in this province, for instance. This particular section, in our view, represents good public policy.

I also attended with the committee in the city of London, Ontario. We heard some very thoughtful presentations from health care practitioners in that community. London, of course, is a great centre of health care not only in this province, but indeed I would suggest around the world it's recognized. Those practitioners had interesting and important comments to make about all aspects of Bill 19. While I was there I was reminded of the protest that had happened in London in November. I was reminded what happens when you don't proceed with a bill the way we've proceeded with Bill 19. Bill 19 and the committee hearings were subsequent to Bill 26 and Bill 7, but we see that when a government holds public hearings and is prepared to listen to delegations and deal with their concerns, the nature of the response from those who don't support the government is entirely different.

After Bill 7, organized labour and working people in this province were threatened and have begun a series of walkouts in our major industrial centres, walkouts that in conjunction with the strikes that are going on in our public sector as well as the strikes that are going on in our private sector, we think ultimately will undermine the investment climate of the province.

I want to just turn my attention for a few moments to part III of the bill, the Substitute Decisions Act of 1992, and the amendments that are made to that particular statute. First I want to talk for a moment with regard to number one. With respect to the formalities of executing a power of attorney, the bill would remove the requirement that a witness have no reason to believe the grantor to be incapable of giving the power of attorney. Again, we supported that, continue to support it, and believe that it is a good piece of public policy and are prepared to support the government on that particular section.

The Substitute Decisions Act, again of 1992, we felt and what we heard -- and unlike my colleague opposite I did not have a lot of involvement with this particular act prior to coming to the Legislature; indeed the week I spent with the committee was very educating because in addition to what I had heard in the public press and from constituents about the various pieces of legislation that were adopted in 1992, one had a general sense that there was confusion, there was misunderstanding, that they were overly bureaucratic and cumbersome, to paraphrase what my colleague from Dufferin-Peel said. So one has to say that this government, had it been our party or the third party or indeed the governing party as it is today, had to deal, in our view, with these issues. We put forward a number of amendments, as I understand it, in committee of the whole and I believe a number of the government members supported those amendments and agreed in general with us.

I'm glad I've had the opportunity to speak to Bill 19 today because Bill 19 represents to me how government can work and how Parliament, and how members of provincial Parliament particularly, can be involved in the setting of public policy. Too often we hear members express their frustration. It was interesting yesterday; it was obvious that the government caucus had not been consulted about a public inquiry into the violence that had gone on here. Indeed the Premier and the Minister of Finance said that yesterday. We on this side of the House suspect that many of the members who aren't part of the cabinet, aren't part of the treasury bench, feel frustrated and not involved. Yesterday was but one example. So when government brings forward legislation --

Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): Bill 26.

Mr Duncan: Bill 26 we spoke about earlier, and is a very good example of how not to do public policy. Even if you can support everything that was in that bill, much of it was lost not only due to the substantive problems with the bill but to the process by which the bill was originally brought in and the way the hearings were conducted. But this bill, Bill 19, shows in my view unequivocally that members of provincial Parliament and the government can do public policy in a forthright and honest manner and effect what we believe to be overall positive change in areas that are of sweeping importance to many, many people in our province.


I conclude my remarks by saying I hope that the government in the future, as it deals with important issues -- and we will disagree, no doubt, substantively on many of them -- will conduct themselves the way they conducted themselves on Bill 19: have open public hearings across the province, public hearings that are agreed to without having to shut down the Legislature, public hearings that allow meaningful input, where corrections to the statute in question can be dealt with in a fair and honest way, where all parties can hopefully, where there is agreement, agree.

So I look forward to dealing with WCB reform in the same manner. The minister responsible has given me his assurance that the legislation he brings forward will be subject to public hearings across the province. We look forward to that and a range of other issues, because when government conducts its public policy properly, no matter what one says or believes about the substance of the issue, if people have an opportunity to be heard and if there is meaningful input, then at the end of the day the government, through its majority, can invoke its will but cannot be accused of not having adequate opportunity for people to have input.

Mr Parker: I think I recognized somewhere over the course of the preceding discussion -- somewhere in there were some remarks concerning Bill 19, interspersed randomly among remarks concerning school teachers, Bill Clinton, budget cuts within the province, budget cuts at the Ottawa level, WCB reforms and Bill 26. But when I was able to discern some remarks that were on topic, on the subject of Bill 19, I think I detected unqualified support for the government's innovations in Bill 19 and support for Bill 19 as a whole, for which I am grateful to the member, whose support is most welcome. I'll be looking forward to noting the honourable member's vote when this matter is called to a vote.

But I would want just to suggest to the Speaker and perhaps suggest to the members present that if we're subjected too often to the kind of rambling comments that we were just witness to on all these various subjects that had nothing to do with the matter at hand, I may be tempted to rise in my place and request that the Speaker invoke standing order 144, which is the standing order that says that when an honourable member speaks at length without getting to the point or without having the decency even to toss in any half-decent jokes in the middle of the commentary, then the governing party will no longer be obligated to maintain quorum in this House.

Mr Crozier: I want to thank the member for York East for repeating some of the very important subject matter that my colleague had brought up. What he doesn't understand, of course, because he hasn't been here as long as I have -- and I'm a veteran of only a few more days than he -- is that when you're dealing with a government like this, you never know when they're going to bring in a motion to limit debate. Therefore, we have to take every opportunity we can to speak out on behalf of the citizens of the province of Ontario, and it's for that reason that on occasion you have to touch on some of the other areas. But I do think that my colleague expressed himself well.

I congratulate you when you see that we do support this bill in its general thrust. I know in Essex South I have a number of senior citizens who were quite concerned when the consent bill was first brought in, and I think anything that can be said and done by this government which will simplify that, why, the members of my constituency, the residents in Essex South, will appreciate it very much.

Mr Tilson: I'd like to make a few comments on the member for Windsor-Walkerville's unusually very quiet remarks, but he did appear to generally support the bill, although he made one comment with respect to rights advice which I'd like to briefly speak to and perhaps have him clarify.

There was some time spent on this topic with respect to rights advice. We believe we should allow the colleges to develop guidelines. We didn't want to interfere in the professional practice of medical practitioners around this province, but we did respond as a result of the debate. I refer you to section 17, page 76 of the bill. We did respond to the question that you raise. I'll just briefly read it, because I don't have much time.

"A health practitioner shall, in the circumstances and manner specified in guidelines established by the governing body of the health practitioner's profession, provide to persons found by the health practitioner to be incapable with respect to treatment such information about the consequences of the findings as is specified in the guidelines."

I could spend a considerable amount of time, because we did debate this in the clause-by-clause and a number of delegations came and talked on this topic. In some situations one should be specific, but in other situations it may cause more harm. So you have to be very careful as to how the rights advice is to be given. But we did respond, with respect. In fact, I think it was an issue that was raised by your party, and this amendment was put forward and we feel that it's a compromise that will hopefully keep all parties happy with respect to that issue. But I thank you for raising it.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Questions and comments? Rebuttal?

Mr Duncan: To the member for Dufferin-Peel, I thank him for his response and clarification of that. I'm glad I've had the opportunity to speak today on this very important matter, a matter that's as important in my community as our health care reconfiguration project. The minister announced $48 million in capital there last week, the first such announcement. That's a very welcome announcement in our community. Unfortunately, it did not deal with the issue of reinvestment of savings into community-based services, so it's incomplete. While we're completing Bill 19 here today, we'll be speaking about that matter further.

But overall, we felt the bill was an honest attempt to deal with a very significant matter of public policy in a meaningful way with full input across the province, and we were satisfied that the concerns that were raised by delegations, indeed the concerns that were raised by our party in the course of discussions, were appropriately dealt with and there was a meaningful opportunity to debate them. I'm glad I've had the opportunity to participate in this debate today.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I'm very happy to be on the floor today to be speaking to Bill 19. As many of the viewers who watched during the committee work, I am one of the critics for this particular bill as it relates to the Advocacy Act. My colleague Marion Boyd from London Centre did a marvellous job and was very thorough, competent and very helpful overall. She dealt with much of the Consent to Treatment Act and the Substitute Decisions Act. I will be concentrating my comments as they relate to the Advocacy Act. My colleague and many others will focus around the other areas, but I suspect they will touch on the repeal of the Advocacy Act as well.

I have a suspicion that my colleague from London Centre might be a little more gracious, possibly charitable, as it relates to some of the things this government has done with respect to the Consent to Treatment Act and the Substitute Decisions Act, but I can't guarantee it. What I can tell you is that I will not at all be charitable to this government as it relates to the repeal of the Advocacy Act. I have nothing but profound distaste and profound disagreement with this government and their action to repeal the Advocacy Act. I'm not alone in this. Hundreds of people who came before that committee feel the same way, and they have good reasons to feel the same way. I want to say that I don't have one ounce of respect for the rationale that this government provides for abolishing the Advocacy Act -- not one ounce of respect, and I will show you why in a brief while.


But I want to give you a brief history before I do that to give you a sense of how the NDP government prior to this one came to establish the Advocacy Act and what was contained within it. I want to begin by sharing with you some of the thoughts that many of you will be familiar with, expressed by a former member of Parliament whose name is Father Sean O'Sullivan. He was a member of the Conservative Party in the mid-1980s and he put together a report that is a well-known report by many and by many members of this government. This report is called You've Got a Friend, and it's a review of advocacy in Ontario. Our government based much of the work that we did in this field on the work that Father Sean O'Sullivan had done in consulting many, many people in the field of advocacy.

This is what he said in his executive summary:

"Ontario needs advocacy.

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

"Most of us already are. We can do more," he says.

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

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

He said prior to this, and I missed this so I will read it for the record, "Primary responsibility for advocacy must remain with us as individual citizens, as families, as friends and as neighbours of Ontario's vulnerable population."

This is a quote often quoted by many of the members opposite in committee and I suspect they will do so in response to me and when they have their time. That is the quote that is often lifted from this report, but very little else, however, is lifted from this report.

The focus for this government is that advocacy is the responsibility of individual citizens, families and friends and neighbours and they skip over everything else that Father Sean O'Sullivan said. What he said I will repeat: "Primary responsibility for advocacy education, and the development and support of advocacy services is the proper role of government."

You won't hear them speak about this because they strongly disagree with what he said. But many of us, me in particular, and the communities that he consulted agree with him.

He goes on to say what the impetus was for the kinds of conclusions that he came to, and he says:

"The Attorney General of Ontario announced the initiation of a review of advocacy for vulnerable adults in Ontario to address `an unmet need for non-legal advocacy for vulnerable adults living in institutional care settings and in the community.'

"The impetus for the review came largely from the many organizations and agencies that represent and assist vulnerable adults, which have repeatedly and strongly expressed a need for better non-legal advocacy services in Ontario."

That's important because Father Sean O'Sullivan did not come to this conclusion, the one I will share with you in a moment, on his own. He consulted countless agencies and community organizations that were working in the field of advocacy.

"The general issue of advocacy was initially referred for consideration to the Advisory Committee on Substitute Decision Making for Mentally Incapable Persons, which had been established in 1995 by the ministries of Health...."

He goes on to talk about the terms of reference. The terms of reference are I think important, so I will read them for the record. They are as follows:

"(1) To consider the need for advocacy for adults in institutional care settings as well as those adults that may require such services and are living in the community.

"(2) To analyse thoroughly the concept of advocacy in relation to disadvantaged adult populations in Ontario, eg, frail elderly, physically handicapped, psychiatrically disabled, developmentally handicapped.

"(3) To develop options concerning the establishment of advocacy services, including organizational structure and accountability for each option.

"(4) The consideration of need will include a detailed review relating to the coordination of advocacy with:

"(a) existing case management and other delivery systems; and

"(b) existing legal and volunteer advocacy services."

Then we get to the major findings. He says in the major findings the following:

"The evidence presented to the review identified a clear need for a coordinated and effective advocacy system in Ontario."

What he was telling us and what many organizations that came before the committees that we held were telling us was that we needed "a coordinated and effective advocacy system in Ontario" because we didn't have one.

"Statistics indicate that there are potentially one million or more vulnerable adults, as defined by the terms of reference, living in Ontario at the present time who could have a need of advocacy. So long as individuals advocate for themselves and caring family, friends and volunteers do so on behalf of others, the actual needs for supplementary advocacy services will be significantly less....

"Ontario has a mixture of fragmented advocacy services which are only available to a limited number of vulnerable adults. These services are provided largely by internal advocates employed by service providers, families and volunteer groups. In the case of internal advocates there is the perception that they are limited by conflicts of interest which may undermine the confidence of the vulnerable adults in the service.

"The present system lacks a clear mandate to provide advocacy services as there are no uniform standards of service or training programs for advocates and those who advocate are hampered by the lack of a clear right of access to care facilities, clients and clients' records....

"Regrettably, the majority of our vulnerable adults and particularly those residing in smaller communities do not have access to any advocacy programs.

"Other shortcomings of a number of current advocacy services include: underfunding" -- which this government continues to aggravate -- "lack of resources; excessive workloads; lack of direction and support of advocates; lack of supervision of advocates; and limited accountability.

"There are alarming numbers of vulnerable adults who have been abandoned by family and friends in long-term-care facilities and in the community."

I will return to this because Mr Tilson, the member for Dufferin-Peel, has made mention of the fact that he wants to return to the families and individuals to take care of their own. Father Sean O'Sullivan says the following, to repeat it: "There are alarming numbers of vulnerable adults who have been abandoned by family and friends in long-term-care facilities and in the community."

What Mr Tilson and his government are doing is that they will continue to abandon those vulnerable people by eliminating and repealing the Advocacy Act, the Advocacy Commission, advocates and rights advisers. They will perpetuate the problems in ways that we cannot yet fathom, but they will do that. We knew that 10 years ago, and as we have more seniors and frail people coming along in the next 10 or 15 years, this will be further compounded by the lack of a system in place and lack of coordination, that they have just killed, and that they will kill once they pass this bill.


The lack of coordinated advocacy services accessible to all vulnerable adults requiring assistance is a profound injustice. This profound injustice is aggravated with this government's desire to repeal the Advocacy Act, to eliminate as a result the Advocacy Commission, to eliminate advocates and to eliminate rights advisers.

What Father Sean O'Sullivan said 10 years ago will be aggravated many times over in 10 years' time. Some of his major recommendations: that we need safeguards against unnecessary guardianship; independence from ministries affected, funding sources, providers; he encourages self-advocacy where possible; enhanced role of families and volunteers; educates; is flexible; special needs; geographic requirements; multilingual; promotes cooperation with providers and ministries; accessible; seeks improvement in programs; has clout; and is accountable. He refers to what we should be putting into place by way of an advocacy ombudsman, citizens' advocacy, Advocacy Ontario, a mixed advocacy model and shared advocacy.

Measuring the five models against these criteria, the review recommends the shared advocacy model as the most appropriate and effective method of delivering advocacy services to Ontario's vulnerable adults. He says of the shared advocacy model, "This model is based upon a sharing of responsibility for the delivery of advocacy services among government, volunteers and community groups."

We have no disagreement when the government says that we want to turn to volunteers to do the work. We have no disagreement with that; they've been doing it for years and they will continue to do it for years. We have no disagreement when the government says families should do it, no disagreement whatsoever with that, because on the whole, most families are doing it. But to turn the responsibility solely on individuals and volunteers and their families is wrong, and Father Sean O'Sullivan told us it was wrong, because he himself knew, from the consultations he had done and the studies he had done, that government needed to be involved.

What this government says is: "No, we shouldn't be. Governments have no role for advocacy." That's what they said in committee over and over again. "Governments have no place to do advocacy," and that's why they're getting rid of the Advocacy Act, that's why they're getting rid of the Advocacy Commission and that's why they're getting rid of advocates and rights advisers, contrary to the principles that were outlined by a Conservative member, no less, a Conservative member I presume of the old days, because what we have here today is not a Conservative Party. We have a Reform Party.


Mr Marchese: Mr Tilson, I know it doesn't harm you for me to say it because you quite willingly, probably, say, "I relate to a lot of their ideas," and in fact and in practice you're nothing short of the Reform Party.

Mr Tilson: That hurts.

Mr Marchese: It should hurt you, because we don't have much respect for the opinions of Reform Party members. As I see you all in action with respect to what you've done so far, I can tell you I have nothing but profound disagreement with most, if not all, of the things you've done so far. So, enter the Conservative government with their grand new ideas. When we came into power, we responded to what Father Sean O'Sullivan had to say; we responded by creating the Advocacy Act.

I was going to read some accounts so that people have a fairly good history of what we have done and what the components that we introduced mean, or meant at least, to the people of Ontario in so far as they were in place with us and about to be repealed by this government that can do no good for very few.

This report speaks about the commission's responsibilities. We established, under the Advocacy Act, an Advocacy Commission, and this is the role. The Advocacy Act says the commission must:

Make advocates available to help and represent vulnerable people who are able to tell an advocate what they want but have trouble finding out what their rights are, getting the information they need to make decisions or having others respect their wishes.

Help to protect vulnerable people whose health or safety may be at serious risk but who are not able to tell an advocate what they need or want.

Work to make changes that help not just one vulnerable person but many, which we refer to as systemic advocacy.

Make sure people get the information they need when they are in danger of losing their liberty or legal rights to make their own decisions, which we refer to as rights advice.

The act says the commission must also help vulnerable people form organizations and learn to advocate for themselves and each other. That's what the Advocacy Commission was put together to do, to help form organizations and learn to advocate for themselves and each other.

Make sure that advocates understand people's religious and cultural differences and provide help in a way that respects their beliefs and traditions.

Help aboriginal communities provide their own advocacy services.

Support and encourage families, friends and other people who are advocating for vulnerable people.

Educate the public about the commission's work and about the need to respect vulnerable people's rights.

Decide what skills and experience people need to be advocates and provide training programs for advocates.

Authorize community agencies and advocates to provide services.

On the role and responsibility of advocates, this is what it says: "Advocates who are authorized by the commission will provide four types of services: individual instructed advocacy...." What does that mean? Individual advocacy is meant to help people who have trouble understanding their rights, getting information they need to solve individual problems, telling others what they need or want, or having their rights and choices respected. Individual advocacy is mostly for people who are capable of instructing an advocate. Instructing an advocate means telling the advocate what you want him or her to do for you; not what you, the advocate, want for her or him, but what he or she wants you to do for them. That's hardly an intrusion, Mr Tilson.

You are capable of instructing an advocate if you can ask for an advocate's help, say what you want the help for and show in some way what kind of help you want.

There's really no limit to the kinds of help that advocates can provide, but the act says they cannot make decisions for vulnerable people or do anything that a vulnerable person who is capable of instructing them does not want them to do. It's quite clear; it was always clear. But enter this government and they say, "No, that's intrusive." How one comes to this conclusion is beyond me, but this government can achieve great marvels. They can. I can read one thing and they can tell you another. I can tell you what it says here is that advocates can't tell the person they're advising what to do. I can tell you that, and you say, "Oh no, that's intrusive." But the act does not permit that. The act says that the advocate acts on behalf of the wishes of the vulnerable person. It was always thus and it was always clear, but not for this government. This government has another agenda in mind. As far as they're concerned, these advocates are intrusive.

Working with families and friends: To continue, an advocate who is working with you should try to find out whether you have a family member or friends who might be able or willing to help you. If you do, your advocate should work with them to help you. But your advocate cannot do this if you do not want other people involved. The advocate always takes instructions from the vulnerable person, not the other way around.


Then there's more on taking instructions from substitutes, non-instructed advocacy, and it continues here with other matters: investigating and working to correct systemic problems. This clearly is what the government doesn't want. They don't want to deal with systemic barriers. If they did, they would have kept the Advocacy Act and the commission. But this government is not interested in solving systemic problems, which go beyond individual problems and in fact reveal systemic problems that Father Sean O'Sullivan revealed and understood 10 years ago. But not for this government. They don't want to solve systemic problems; they want to perpetuate them.

But let me tell you what it says. "Systemic advocacy" --


Mr Marchese: You're nodding your heads. I want to know what you're feeling, what you're hearing. Please let me hear you. You're moaning. Are you saying you really care about systemic advocacy? Nod your heads. Yes? Yes? Some of the nonplussed members on the other side agree that there should be systemic measures to deal with systemic problems, yet what have they done? They have eliminated the Advocacy Commission, which deals with systemic problems. The problem is that these members haven't read this document, and the problem with backbenchers is that they can never really fully read all of the documents, so they take orders, as parliamentary assistants do, from the ministers, who haven't read it either, and then they just put up their hands in committee and here in the House. That's what happens. But let me go on for those who were nodding their heads about how much they care about dealing with systemic problems.

"Systemic advocacy is meant to bring about changes that will help more than one vulnerable person. People who are doing systemic advocacy may help just a few people at a time, for example, by changing a rule that affects one person in one ward of a hospital. They may also help many people by working to improve a law that affects most vulnerable people in Ontario."

We were trying to deal with systemic problems, and we were doing it through the Advocacy Act and through the commission. This government is repealing the Advocacy Act and with it repealing investigating and working to correct systemic problems. Now, this government and its members can say what they like, but I can tell you this: When you eliminate this act you will not get at dealing with systemic problems.

"Providing Rights Advice: Rights advice is meant to give people the information they need when they are in danger of losing the legal right to make their own decisions. A rights adviser's job is to help people understand what losing the authority to make their own decisions means and that they can challenge a finding of incapacity."

This was a problem for the government. They said, "No, we don't need rights advisers, and we don't need rights advice." So what are we going to do? We're just going to get rid of them, we're going to get rid of it, and in doing so deal with all these people trying to give information to vulnerable individuals because, as they argue, it's too intrusive, and anything that is intrusive, we've got to get rid of. What they're doing is abandoning the vulnerable person. That's what they're doing when they're repealing the act, when they're eliminating the Advocacy Commission, when they get rid of advocates and when they get rid of rights advisers: They're abandoning vulnerable people. For me, that is a shame on this government.

I want to make reference to another matter of concern to me, and it's in this document. It has to do with right of entry. Right of entry is something that was built into the act, because what it allowed are individuals who, where they are in knowledge of information that an abuse was taking place, would under controlled circumstances have the authority to enter a premise and deal with the problem.

With this act and the repeal of this act, what this government is doing is eliminating the right of entry into an establishment where abuses are occurring or could be occurring. With all of these actions, this government is leaving, now more than ever, a whole number of vulnerable people, people with disabilities, people with psychiatric problems, frail seniors, abandoned and on their own.

Some of you will take comfort in thinking --

Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): Oh, Marcheesie.

Mr Marchese: -- that they're all good families out there who will take care of these vulnerable people.

Mr Speaker, I just heard an individual there refer to my name as "Marcheesie." It's abusive, it's insulting. I would like that member never to say that again. I don't like it. My name is Marchese. If you ever abuse that again, you'll find me very, very angry and unhappy.

Mr O'Toole: Good.

Mr Marchese: Mr Speaker, I would ask that the member who just said "good" in relation to my comments and who called me by a name that he clearly wants to abuse me by has offended me -- I want him to stand up and take it back and pronounce my name as it should be.

The Deputy Speaker: If the member said something that was offensive, would he like to apologize or withdraw the remark.

Mr O'Toole: Mr Speaker, I'm not sure -- Marchese? It was a mistake, Mr Speaker.

Mr Marchese: The whole time he was having fun with his colleagues beside him, he referred to me as "Marcheesie" as a way of slandering. I told him my name is Marchese. I want him to take it back. I want him never to say it in the way that I heard him say it, because if he does it again he'll find me terribly unhappy, as I am now.

The Deputy Speaker: Did the member for Durham East --

Mr O'Toole: Mr Speaker, I'm not certain how you pronounce it, and I mean that most sincerely. Is it Marchese? Is that the correct pronunciation?

The Deputy Speaker: I'm asking the member to just apologize or withdraw. Would that --

Mr O'Toole: I'm asking the member to clarify. I'm not of the same --

The Deputy Speaker: I don't care whether it was inadvertent or --

Mr O'Toole: When he was speaking, I'm not certain how he could have heard it so clearly.

Mr Marchese: I heard you very clearly.

Mr O'Toole: I will refer to you no longer.

Mr Marchese: I was offended by it.

Mr O'Toole: I'll make sure I never refer to you again.

The Deputy Speaker: Will the member for --

Mr Tilson: He didn't mean any harm, sir, he was mistaken.

The Deputy Speaker: Would the member for Fort York please take his seat. The member for Durham East, the member for Fort York took offence to the pronunciation. Would you just withdraw it or apologize.

Mr O'Toole: I withdraw, if there was a misunderstanding, yes.

Mr Peter L. Preston (Brant-Haldimand): Why don't you call yourself Smith? No problems.

Mr Marchese: We have another member whose intelligence shines forth so incredibly, who says to me why don't I change my name to Smith. The ignorance of those members is so profound that how one person like me could not be offended by it would transcend most humans. Mr Speaker, I look to you to address the other subhuman on the other side.


Mr Preston: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I do not have to accept that. I was being jocular with the man. There are people around here whose names I mispronounce all the time. They do not take offence, they're not as small-minded as that. If the gentleman wants to call me subhuman, we all know what their credibility is anyway. But because a name is mispronounced, to be so small-minded as to take that on and make a big thing of it in the House is beyond reason.

Mr Marchese: Mr Speaker, listen to what I have to tell you, because you were speaking to the Clerk at the time that I was making my remarks. You didn't hear what he said. I want to tell you what he said. He said --

The Deputy Speaker: Put that microphone off; I want mine on. I would like to speak to the member for Fort York. There's a member who took offence at your remarks, and I would ask you to either withdraw it or apologize.

Mr Marchese: Mr Speaker, quite clearly you weren't listening. As I was trying to indicate to you -- I will try it again with you -- as you were speaking to the Clerk, that gentlemen over there from Brant-Haldimand said, why don't I change my name to Smith? Did you hear that, Mr Speaker?


The Deputy Speaker: Thank you. I wanted to ask the member for Brant-Haldimand, did you take offence to the remark by the member from --

Mr Preston: There are a lot of remarks made around here in fun, and I just accepted it as that.

The Deputy Speaker: The Chair recognizes the member for Fort York.

Mr Marchese: Racism always begins in fun. That's why today, when I said that I have done a lot of learning in the field of anti-racism, I didn't mean that lightly. The field of anti-racism is vast, and to become an anti-racist takes a great deal of work. We often make a lot of jokes about other people, other people from ethnic groups and other cultures, and we say we don't mean much by them; we didn't mean it. There's a lot of learning that has to go on in society in general, but it begins with policymakers in particular.

I will try, having been sidetracked so badly, to continue with --

Mr Preston: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I do not accept being pointed out as a racist because of -- no, I won't mention it. I will not be called out as a racist. And if the gentleman would like to discuss the situation, I think he'll find that I am one person in this place that should not be pointed out as a racist.

The Deputy Speaker: I would like to point out to all the members that I guess I would prefer a little more temperate and I'm going to give the recognition to the member for Fort York, and I would ask him to address his comments to me.

Mr Marchese: I will continue my remarks on the Advocacy Act, Mr Speaker.

This government is repealing the Advocacy Act. It's repealing the Advocacy Commission, advocates and rights advisers, is something that I have said. They argue, and I will get back to that later, that it's intrusive, too costly -- I'm not sure whether they said draconian; if I'm incorrect with that, somebody will correct me -- and that we're not in the business of advocacy. That's what they said.

They said very much the same when we were dealing with employment equity, when they said it was a quota system, it was draconian and it was intrusive. It is interesting that when the Conservative government says that what the others have done, the NDP, is draconian and intrusive, "When we do it in the form of a bill, such as Bill 26, it's not draconian, it's not intrusive and it has no quotas." In fact, Bill 26 has all of those components. It is intrusive, it is draconian and it had quotas. But that's okay, because if the Conservative government introduces it, it's not a problem; it's not intrusive. If an NDP government has done it, it's all those things.

If you followed Bill 26, it had quotas on doctors. It said where doctors will go and in what geographic area. That's a quota, but that's okay because if the Conservatives dream it up, quotas are all right, but if the NDP brings something that is not even remotely closely connected to quota, we'll call it a quota and it's bad. It never ceases to amaze me what this government can do.

It has all those nasty elements of draconianism, where the government gives unto itself tremendous power, where ministers have tremendous power to close a hospital without any problem, as an example. But that's okay; that's not draconian.

On the other hand, I wanted to remind people, when they said, "We're going to get rid of this employment equity and we're going to have a plan later on" -- we've never seen this plan; we're never going to see this plan.

Mr Baird: He announced it next day.

Mr Marchese: Good God, you have a plan? There is no plan. The equity which we tried to achieve through employment equity for women, people with disabilities, aboriginal people and people of colour, they won't have it. That equity is gone.

We come to the Advocacy Act. The government says, with a familiar mantra, "It's intrusive, it's draconian, it's too costly and we're not in the business of advocacy." I want to tackle a few of those issues because, as I pointed out and as I referred to in Father Sean O'Sullivan's report, it was he who said governments have a role and in fact they need to be involved.

Then the government says that it's too costly, the commission is simply a too-costly thing for us as a government to have. It's all right for us to forgo the billions of dollars that the Provincial Auditor pointed out to us from the retail sector where they're not paying their fair share; it's all right to forgo that. It's all right to forgo some of the money that used to come from photo-radar, where not only did it get people who were breaking the law and save lives, but it also, yes indeed, brought in money to the government. That's all right to get rid of and it's all right not to bring in the extra billions of dollars from the realty sector that we are not collecting as a government, that it is not paying. That's okay. But the commission, which had $18 million to do its enormous job, was just too costly; we can't afford it. The government simply can't afford that.


It's all right when the government cuts the budget of the commission to $7 million and slowly erodes it to the point where they will proclaim this bill, it will disappear. It's still too costly, with $7 million, even, as I will try to deal with later, when they bring a modest proposal, when David Reville, the chair of that commission, brings a modest proposal of $3 million. It's not all right; it's still too much. But when we are dealing with people's lives, when we're dealing with vulnerable people, can this government truly say, "It's too costly"? How can they talk about caring for a vulnerable community of people with disabilities, frail, elderly people, and say, "I'm sorry, we can't afford to do that; we have better ways of doing it"?

What are their ways of doing it? They are going to help volunteers. We've always done that. Volunteers have existed as long as we can remember, and they will continue to exist. Are they going to put more effort into training more volunteers, to find more volunteers? It's wonderful, yes, I'm sure. There's a parliamentary assistant who's looking into a whole department of volunteerism; God bless. People are spending thousands of hours now, and millions of dollars are spent by volunteers themselves. Does this government genuinely believe that we're going to find thousands and thousands more volunteers to do the job that government should do through the commission and through advocates? I tell you no; I say to you no, you cannot supplant the role of the advocates and the commission. You can't do it. You could complement the role of what the commission was doing by having volunteers, as we were doing, as was the case in the past. But you cannot supplant, which is what this government is doing.

Let me tell you other problems connected to this. Volunteers come and go; volunteers get burnt out. We are all in the business of encouraging volunteers. We've done it in the past; we will continue to encourage it in the future, but they come and go because they get burnt out. Do you know something else? These volunteers need training, and training is costly and it's got to be coordinated by someone. Who will coordinate the volunteers? The commission was there to do it. The commission was there to do exactly that.

Where are we going to find these volunteers, and who's going to do the training? And does that not require resources, or do you think you can just do it because you've willed it? It can't be done. You are taking away something that was necessary and you are pretending to put something in its place that either is already there or it isn't working, and that is why we put our system into place. That's what Father Sean O'Sullivan, your colleague at the time and a Conservative member, said and we were guided by his report, because he had consulted hundreds of people who told him what we needed. They told him that government needs to be involved -- not to be out of the service of advocacy, but to be involved.

Is $18 million too much? What is too much when we're talking about helping seniors, frail seniors, and people with disabilities and people with psychiatric problems? What is too costly, I ask you? Is $18 million too costly? Was $7 million too costly? Was $3 million too costly? Where does it end? Where's the bottom line? For this government the bottom line is: "Get rid of it altogether. People will take care of themselves." As Mr Tilson said, "We're going to give families back their role, to take care of their own." That's what he said.

But they already are. What we know, however, is that there are thousands and thousands of people who are abused, who have no families, who are alone, and there are thousands of people who do have family and they're abused by their own. Mr Tilson says we're going to give back to the families their proper role, to take care of them. But if we do that, we go back before the 1980s, before Father Sean O'Sullivan and his study, which indicated that we needed to be involved as a government because there were abuses. We're going right back, and it's wrong. It's fundamentally wrong. You're abandoning those individuals who are abused -- being abused, will be abused -- to their own. I find that a sad and tragic day, tragic year, when this government can put asunder work that was fundamental, that was positive, that had grown out of the consultations of many people. They're putting all that away. I'm astounded by that.

It's not too costly to introduce a 30% income tax system that will go mostly to the wealthy. That's not unconscionable; this government thinks it's correct in doing so, but it's fundamentally wrong. Sixty per cent those dollars in your plan will go to 10% of the population. You can nod your head all you like, but you haven't done your reading.

Mr John Hastings (Etobicoke-Rexdale): You haven't done your homework either.

Mr Marchese: Sixty per cent of your cuts will go to 10% of the wealthiest individuals, who make over $100,000. You know something else? Those individuals are not going to go out and buy fridges. No, sir. They're not going to buy stoves. No, sir. They already have them. They're going to invest those dollars and they will not be invested in job-creating ideas. They will not. It will enrich them but it will not create one job. No, that would be excessive; it might create a few jobs.

Mr Derwyn Shea (High Park-Swansea): Where did you study economics?

Mr Marchese: It's wrong. It's too excessive, I admit. But I have to tell you, Mr Shea, that 60% of this cut is going to go to 10% of your wealthiest citizens, your interest group friends. But that's okay; that's all right for this Conservative government because it says this is going to create jobs. It's going to put us in the hole, a bigger abyss than we have ever seen, an economic abyss from which they will never be able to extricate themselves. It will be that profound. But let us see --

Mr Shea: Will you resign if it creates jobs?

Mr Marchese: I will resign when your Premier eats his hat on the many promises he has broken. When he eats his hat, as he said he would, I will eat mine.

Mr Hastings: You're already in a black hole.

Mr Marchese: Yes, I'm already in a black hole that you've put me in. That's absolutely true.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Order. Interjections are out of order. Address your remarks through the Chair, please.

Mr Marchese: The quagmire they have created, the quicksand, that cell, that hole that they're creating will bring us all in. But it's okay for the tax cut to be introduced and to harm us in economic ways which we don't understand. That's all right. That's not costly. That will not bring about a bigger recession than you would ever think about. That will not bring about a bigger deficit that you will have to worry about where you will have to make more cuts to health -- of course, you wouldn't touch health -- more cuts to education -- of course, you wouldn't touch education -- and more cuts to social services. It's inevitable. You will see it. All of you will be so profoundly disturbed by it, but we'll have to wait and see.

Mr Tilson: No, no, Rosario. You spent it all.

Mr Marchese: Yes, we spent all. And you can afford to waste $8 billion more on your income tax, which will not come back.

Mr Tilson: One hundred billion dollars, that's your problem.

The Speaker: Order. The member for Dufferin-Peel is out of order.

Mr Marchese: Better that the government would have spent the money in infrastructure programs, in building subways that we need or sewers that you all need. Let me tell you why that would have been more efficient as a government: Either way, you are spending it as a government. Either way, it's your money and it's our money. However, if you had spent --

Mr Tilson: Your problem is, money is no object to you.

Mr Marchese: No, no, Mr Tilson. You misunderstand. Let me make this clear. Money is an object to us, as it is to you, and I'm trying to tell you that you are wrong. I understand you think not, but you are. I'm saying to you, you as a government, however you spend it, it's our money, whether it's through an income tax cut or through spending it on infrastructure programs: sewers that I talked about, subways. These are things that we will need for the future. It's government spending one way or the other. But if you spend it as a government on infrastructure programs, you know where your money is going, but if you give it to your wealthy friends, it will not come back.


Mr Tilson: We don't have it to spend. You spent all the money. Don't you get it?

The Speaker: The member for Dufferin-Peel is out of order.

Mr Marchese: Those dollars will not come back to the economy. That's the problem. But it's okay, you have money to waste, to give away to your good friends, your interest-group, wealthy friends. That's okay. But you don't have enough money for an Advocacy Act, for an Advocacy Commission or rights advisers. It's just too much money for this government. Does that not embarrass you, because I can tell you, it will embarrass the public to know that you don't have $18 million, not $7 million and not $3 million to give away to help vulnerable people, seniors, people with disabilities. You don't have enough money to help them. It's too much, but you can waste billions of dollars on your tax cut. It's unbelievable. It is to me a remarkable thing.

The fourth reason they give is that government should not be in the business of advocacy; unbelievable. How can a government govern and say, "We're not in the business of advocacy"?

Mr Ron Johnson (Brantford): We're not saying that.

Mr Marchese: Oh yes, you are, Ron. If the government is not protecting the most vulnerable citizens of this society, who is? If you as a government are saying, "It's not our role to advocate," as you've said, all of you in committee, whose role is it?

Mr Ron Johnson: Educational support; you know that.

Mr Marchese: Their role is educational support. I don't understand that. You've taken that away. The commission was doing education, community development --

Mr Ron Johnson: We didn't ever do advocacy.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Brantford is out of order.

Mr Marchese: They know full well that the commission never had the time to complete its work. They never had the time to do that. They began with rights advisers, as they obviously saw fit to do, and that was the first work they've done. They never had enough time to do anything else. This government said: "We're not going to let them do any more, because we disagree with what they did. We're going to abolish advocacy, so it doesn't matter any more what they do."

On the one hand they say, "Oh, but they didn't do anything around advocacy and the advocates." How much do you expect them to do in a short period of time? I don't understand that.

Mr Hastings: They spent a lot of money.

Mr Ron Johnson: And only $18 million.

Mr Marchese: That $18 million, as some of you know but many of you don't, was not spent. That was a budget to do all of these things. You clearly understand that, surely? So they spent some money to do this work, to set up the commission, to set up the structure and to hire the rights advisers. It takes a great deal of time. Surely some of you understand that. Some of you say, "But they didn't do anything with respect to advocacy." I'm not sure what you can expect a commission to do all at once, in the space of five or six months.

Mr Hastings: A million a month, plus two million.

Mr Marchese: It's all right. You can justify it all you like. All I'm telling you is, you're wrong in abolishing --

Mr O'Toole: If we listen to you, we will end up like you, how you have. How did you make out?

Mr Marchese: It's interesting. Father Sean O'Sullivan was the person who guided us through all of this. How you can laugh -- because if you're laughing at my comments, you are laughing at his report.

Mr Clement: Give me two minutes and I'll respond.

Mr Marchese: I will give you plenty of time later on. You'll have your two minutes.

You were laughing, some of you hysterically perhaps, at this report. Father Sean O'Sullivan said all of the things that all of you are laughing at. I don't find that amusing at all.

We were guided by him. The commission was part of his work. Government's role of advocacy was part of his suggestion. That's what we did. You can talk and fudge all you want about: "Oh, they overspent their money. It was wasted." No, that money was done, introduced, spent, parts of it to do his work, and you can laugh all you want at that. That's all right with me because all I'm trying to do is to communicate to the public what you are doing. If the public is convinced that even the $3 million that was proposed as a suggestion, that even if that $3 million was too much, if they the public agree with you, then I just rest my case.

But in the meantime, I want to make the case for those who are watching that what you are doing is undermining the work of many, many people, particularly Father Sean O'Sullivan, who guided us and informed us on what to do -- your Conservative member.

We had countless deputations from the public. It was about, I would say, close to 200 deputations that we've had in the month of hearings. The vast majority of deputations that came before this committee were, some passively, but most radically, opposed to your government repealing the Advocacy Act. You might laugh at me when you disagree with me, but you --

Mr Ron Johnson: That's not true.

Mr Marchese: Oh, Ron, you know it's true. Oh, you know it's true, Ron.

Mr Ron Johnson: Not true. A lot of support over here.

Mr Marchese: Let me tell you. I will read a whole list of organizations. They don't lie. The reports are on the record. Most of them were opposed to your government repealing the Advocacy Act and thereby eliminating the commission, rights advisers and advocates. We had the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa-Carleton; Alzheimer Association of Ontario; AIDS Action Now; Alpha Court; Advocacy Centre for the Elderly; AIDS Committee of Thunder Bay; Association for Community Living; Alliance for Life Ontario; Ad Hoc Coalition on Consent, Substitute Decisions and Advocacy; Action League of Physically Handicapped Adults; Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped --

Mr Clement: You promised me two minutes.

Mr Marchese: Next week you'll have your two minutes.

A-WAY Express, Baycrest Centre for Geriatrics, Brockville Psychiatric Hospital Patient Council, Citizens' Advocates of Ottawa-Carleton, Citizen Advocacy of Windsor-Essex, Centretown Community Health Centre, Citizens' Commission on Human Rights, Carleton Disability Awareness Centre, Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities, Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario, Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian Mental Health Association, Metro -- the other one was London-Middlesex -- Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario division -- it's a long list, Speaker.

I wanted to continue reading it to get people the sense that when I speak about this issue, I'm not speaking for myself, who has a profound interest in this issue, but I am speaking for all those organizations, a tenth of which I mentioned, who came in front of this committee and said, "Don't get rid of the Advocacy Act," and I will read them for the record, some of them at least because I have them.

Let me return to section 1. David Reville says: "It doesn't take long to say the words, `The Advocacy Act, 1992, is repealed.'" He says, "By rights it should take longer. It should take more than six words to dash hopes and shatter dreams. Decades of hopes and dreams preceded the passing of the Advocacy Act in 1992. That there was an Advocacy Act at all was a minor miracle, and that the Advocacy Act took the shape it did, well, now, that was a major miracle. The good guys had finally won."

And then the forces of no good got into power and they got rid of the Advocacy Act. Six words. It doesn't take much to destroy something that so many people have built over the years.


Windsor Essex Community Advocacy Network for Persons with Physical Disabilities -- this is what they say:

"We feel that Bill 19 turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to the plight of vulnerable people in Ontario. The fact remains that it absolutely seems to sweep aside the Advocacy Act and the components of that act, because from the point of view of vulnerable people and in particular the physically disabled, we looked upon December 10, 1992, as a day of reckoning in that through the proclamation of the Advocacy Act, vulnerable people in Ontario were given equal status, were provided with a level playing field with the rest of society.

"For far too long, vulnerable persons have been marginalized, ignored and have been looking from the outside in and knocking at the door to become equal partners, have equal status within society at large. In our opinion, the Advocacy Act opened that door and allowed us in. Bill 19 throws us back to the dark ages with the repeal of the Advocacy Act."

That was the Windsor Essex Community Advocacy Network for Persons with Physical Disabilities. It's not me saying it, it's them.

This submission was presented by Judith Wahl from the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, and she said the following:

"The communiqué issued by the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General on November 15, 1995, describes the Advocacy Commission as an intrusive and bureaucratic government agency with broad powers. One might keep in mind that these powers of the Advocacy Commission are only to be exercised in providing advocacy services to help individual vulnerable persons to express and act on their wishes, ascertain and exercise their rights, speak on their behalf, engage in mutual aid and form organizations to advance their interests; to help individual vulnerable persons who are incapable of instructing an advocate if there are reasonable grounds to believe that there is a risk of serious harm to the health or safety of those persons; to help vulnerable persons to bring about systemic changes to governmental, legal and social economic institution levels; and to provide rights advice and other advocacy services presently required which are described in detail above.

"It is recommended that the Advocacy Act not be repealed, in the interest of protecting the most vulnerable citizens of the province of Ontario. If the act is repealed, it is strongly recommended that an alternative system of advocacy be developed to provide rights advice to persons who may be deprived of their right to make decisions through the operation of the SDA and the HCCA."

This other submission is by Eve Gillingham, the Family and Service Provider Advisory Committee, and she says:

"We sympathize with the government's struggle to rein in the deficit. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend that the government not repeal the Advocacy Act unless and until some other independent system of advocacy is in place throughout the province. We believe that it is the obligation of government, not just family, service providers and volunteers, to offer support for advocacy so that the rights of vulnerable people in Ontario are respected and vulnerable people are able to make their own life decisions. Over the past 15 years, it has been demonstrated again and again that there is a compelling need for a system of independent advocacy in Ontario. Please ensure that the work of the past decades will not have been wasted."

I didn't say that; the Family and Service Provider Advisory Committee says that.

I am guided by these opinions because they are in the field. They are the ones who work with the elderly and the disabled and people with mental illness, and if I am not informed by them, then by whom should I be informed? When this government fails to take the advice of these people, who is informing them?

I can tell you who they're informed by, and I'll make mention of this next week when I have an opportunity to finish my comments. They have been informed by the doctors and a few lawyers. Perhaps they felt guilty about Bill 26, where they had quotas for them, where they wouldn't get their billing numbers unless they were sent somewhere that the minister said they had to go, and so they said: "We can't do this again. So we'll have to listen to the doctors, otherwise, we're in real trouble again." Perhaps that was it. But this government has been informed, on the whole, by doctors who opposed the Advocacy Act, and a few lawyers. All the organizations that came in front of that committee, our committee, who said the contrary, you didn't listen to. You swept all that away.

So I ask the people of Ontario, is this government listening to you? Because I can tell you that all those groups of people who are rooted in their communities, working daily with vulnerable individuals, marginalized, abandoned and on their own, if you don't listen to them and if they haven't been listening to them, are they listening to you, the general public? I can tell you not. If they not once expressed an interest in supporting the close to -- over, I would say -- 150 organizations that said, "Please don't repeal the act," if they don't listen to them, we're in trouble. They're not going to be listening to you out there, and it's wrong, it's profoundly wrong.

Mr Speaker, I can see that the clock is running out, and I have much to say and I will continue this on Monday. So with that, Mr Speaker, I would move adjournment.

The Speaker: It being almost 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until next Monday at 1:30 of the clock.

The House adjourned at 1758.