36th Parliament, 1st Session

L087 - Wed 12 Jun 1996 / Mer 12 Jun 1996















































The House met at 1333.




Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I rise on behalf of the Liberal Party to congratulate the Filipino community on their 98th anniversary of Philippine independence.

This morning at 8 am more than 1,000 Filipino Canadians helped to raise the stars and sun framed on the blue, red and white Philippine flag. This flag is a living symbol of the ideals and aspirations of the Filipino, of the gallantry and heroism of Filipinos in their valiant quest for liberty. It tells the bloody saga of a people who proved undaunted in the face of hardships and untold difficulties. It tells of the unshakable spirit of Filipinos amidst adversities. It tells of the thousands of Filipino heroes who died in the night so that others might live to see the dawn.

Though many of us take our democratic system of government for granted, the celebration of the 98th anniversary of the establishment of a democratic Republic of the Philippines serves as a useful reminder to all of us that in order to maintain the traditions of freedom and preserve democratic values, we must be vigilant and guard it well.

In commemorating this historical event, we are also recognizing the important contributions that Canadians of Filipino heritage have made to economic development and the cultural enrichment of our province and country. As we raise the blue, red and white flag of independent Philippines, we are mindful that these Philippine colours have become an international symbol of the indomitable spirit of democracy and serve as an inspiration to us all to strengthen the bonds of friendship --

The Speaker: The member's time has expired.


Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East): Earlier this week, this House was made aware of the fact that one of the Ministry of Environment and Energy's employees who recently received a pink slip from the Conservative government was also an Amethyst Award winner last fall, in recognition of outstanding achievement in the public service. Bill Keller of Sudbury received this prestigious award from none other than Premier Mike Harris himself.

This water quality scientist was one of a handful of scientists who during the 1970s worked to determine what it was that was killing thousands of lakes in northern Ontario. His research on acid rain prompted the then Conservative government to finally deal with excessive sulphur dioxide emissions at organizations like Inco and Falconbridge through the Countdown Acid Rain program.

Since that time, Bill Keller has been monitoring the slow recovery of the lakes' ecosystems and his research work has been published internationally. He is a world leader in an emerging international discipline and his reward from this Conservative government is to be laid off.

I raise the matter of Bill Keller not merely because of his own impressive record of service to the people of Ontario, but because he represents the ridiculous situation the government finds itself in as it lays off over 10,000 people. There are many, many Bill Kellers across the public service. They deliver important public services to the people of Ontario in a caring and conscientious way. They should be allowed to continue to do that.


Mr Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa): It is with great pleasure that I rise today to formally announce the 35th anniversary of Fiesta Week in the city of Oshawa.

Fiesta Week is organized and operated by the Oshawa Folk Arts Council and its cultural member groups. Fiesta Week has become a part of Oshawa's cultural heritage. It has provided the Oshawa residents the opportunity to examine the different cultures which come together and form our community. The Oshawa Folk Arts Council has proudly presented Fiesta Week since 1961. Each year since then the third week in June in Oshawa is Fiesta Week and this year the tradition continues.

On June 16, there will be a parade in which all the different cultural clubs in Oshawa display their traditional ethnic costumes and wares. On June 17 through to June 22 the different ethnic communities of Oshawa open the doors of their pavilions to all to participate in the different foods, dances and many other aspects of each particular culture.

Fiesta Week certainly raises cultural awareness in Oshawa. It also allows individuals the enjoyment of participation, as the events are open to all age groups and all cultural backgrounds. I commend the Oshawa Folk Arts Council in its tireless contribution to Oshawa and our province, and invite all members and all Ontarians to participate in Oshawa's cultural makeup.


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): I appreciate the opportunity to give my brief commentary on the dilemma that's facing Windsor and Essex county, and in fact many areas around Ontario, in the area of obstetrics care for pregnant women in Ontario.

Where I come from, women are in danger of not having the kind of care they need to deliver their children. Pregnant women won't get the care and they're not getting the care because of the false bravado shown by the Minister of Health in attacking and slamming the doctors, instead of trying to address the situation and come up with some kind of real solution.

I'm aware that many of the doctors have taken the time to meet with MPPs from all sides and even the MPPs of the government side of the House are starting to recognize that the minister is not being completely upfront in telling them all the issues the doctors are facing today.

In fact, one of his solutions to deal with pregnant women was: "It's okay. We'll send them to the US and they can have their babies there." How ridiculous. I thought we were broke. The cost of having a baby at Detroit Hutzel Hospital, for example, is $6,900 compared to $1,500 in Ontario.

That is no solution. It is absolutely ludicrous for a minister to be so irresponsible as to suggest that babies would go and be born in America. Mind you, that's not such a bad thing, seeing as we have our American guests here.

In any event, I must say that we expect real solutions from the Minister of Health when we're dealing with pregnant women in Ontario.



Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I direct my comments to you as Speaker of this assembly today. There are concerns within the staff you are responsible for here in the Legislature, specifically the Ontario Government Protective Service and the interparliamentary and public relations branch. I understand that some layoff notices have gone out, although your office is endeavouring to provide me with further details, and I appreciate that.

I raise the matter today, taking note that there was a letter sent to you on May 20 by the member for Scarborough East wherein, as part of his thanking you for an opportunity to represent you at an event, he raises concerns he had about staff performance that day. In part, in the letter he states, "I, for one, am now completely convinced that we need to move quickly and decisively to replace 100% of the existing staff with new, motivated, capable and friendly security and guide staff."

I found this to be one of the most outrageous things a member of this place could possibly say and I think everyone here will appreciate how our staff feel, knowing that something like this has been sent to you.

I ask you, Speaker, as the person responsible for overseeing this place, to put at ease the minds of these staff in that you will deal fairly and evenly and give everyone involved an even opportunity to be heard and that you won't act unilaterally in response to this letter, and I'd like that in writing, sir.


Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton North): It gives me great pleasure to announce to this House more good economic news for the people of Ontario and particularly the people in my riding of Halton North. Johnson Controls Inc announced it would build a $14-million plant in Milton to make seats for Toyota Canada. When completed in 15 months, the new plant will supply 120,000 seats a year to Toyota's Cambridge plant, which makes the popular Corolla model.

This announcement will create construction and trade jobs for the area and result in 120 good-paying, full-time jobs when the project is completed. The economic benefits and spinoffs for the local economy are welcome news and will contribute to an already vibrant and growing community. This announcement reflects the confidence this industry and others have in Ontario and the current economic environment as a place to grow, a place to invest, a place to compete in the global marketplace.

I welcome Johnson Controls to Halton North.


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): I rise to highlight the lack of leadership the minister responsible for women's issues has displayed towards the serious issue of violence against women. In the document entitled Request for Proposal for the Development of a Strategy and Operational Framework for the Ontario Government's Violence Against Women Prevention Initiatives, the office responsible for women's issues outlines a request for consultants to bid on a proposal to review government initiatives for preventing violence against women.

This minister has done absolutely nothing. In fact, services for women have been slashed at an incredible rate by her own government. Now, after the services have been slashed and cut, she's asking for a proposal to review government initiatives for preventing violence against women. Women's shelter association representatives are outraged that this government would have the nerve to spend further dollars to conduct yet another review of violence prevention initiatives, and I share their outrage.

The minister should know that women need services to prevent violence. Supports are essential to women who find themselves in violent situations, and further reviews and studies do nothing to help these women in very serious situations. Unfortunately, the minister does not seem to understand, as she stands mute while important services are being cut. The minister is all talk and no action.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): Recently, a constituent who is a senior citizen and has enjoyed camping at provincial parks in Ontario for many years went to camp at the French Lake site in Quetico park. As of June 3 of this year, no new fee increases or reservation rules for provincial parks were posted and no notices advising of the changes in fees appeared in any local newspapers. But when this senior citizen arrived at Quetico park he was told that the regular day rate for a campsite with electricity for seniors had gone up from $9.25 a day to $11.50 a day, an increase of 25% in one year.

This senior citizen lives on a fixed income. He does not have, and he will not benefit from, any tax cut. He simply doesn't have an income high enough to benefit from any tax cut. Yet his fees for using a resource which belongs to the citizens of the province have gone up by 25%.

This is another example of the Conservative government hitting senior citizens who are on fixed incomes by increasing fees, by hidden taxes. This government says it is on the side of senior citizens; the only side it's on is taking money out of their pockets.


Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey-Owen Sound): It is with great pleasure that I stand today to share a good news story about a business on the brink of expansion in my riding.

Chapman's Ice Cream in Markdale is licking the competition. Recently, Chapman's Ice Cream, located in the heart of Grey county, announced that it had been awarded a province-wide contract to be the sole supplier of Loblaws President's Choice and No Name brands of ice cream.

Chapman's is currently the third-largest ice cream maker in Ontario, and the new contract will boost its overall production by 50%. To meet this increase, Chapman's will create 50 new jobs for the local economy, raising the total to 160 workers at the Markdale plant.

According to the president of Loblaw Brands Ltd, the key to Chapman's success is its efficient production method and the innovative spirit required to fulfil the President's Choice special ice cream formulations.

In addition, a recent $2-million expansion to the ice cream plant and construction of a large trucking and storage facility will help accommodate the new lines.

I would like to extend my congratulations and thanks to local entrepreneurs Penny and David Chapman for their continuing hard work and willingness to invest in our local economy. This truly is a double scoop for the town of Markdale.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): I would like to inform the members of the Legislative Assembly that we have in the Speaker's gallery today a midwestern parliamentary delegation comprised of Senator Paul Burke, Senator LeRoy Stumpf and Representative John Jamian. Please join me in welcoming our guests.

Mr Dave Boushy (Sarnia): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: It's my privilege to welcome 21 students and their teacher from Sarnia. They're up in the gallery.

The Speaker: Order. The member was out of order.



Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): I am pleased to announce today the launch of Ontario Works, the government's work-for-welfare program. Two years ago, we made a commitment to the people of the province of Ontario for a work-for-welfare program in this province. A year ago, we were elected to keep that promise. Today we are delivering on that promise and that commitment.

Starting this summer, welfare recipients in Ontario will be required to work for their welfare cheques.

Earlier today, I announced that Ontario Works will be phased in. It will start in 20 municipalities. Building on our experience, we will announce the second phase of Ontario Works later this fall. By 1998, we expect Ontario Works to be fully implemented across the province.

As you know, we have already developed and implemented significant changes to the welfare system. Ontario Works is the most important because it represents a major shift in philosophy. It demonstrates how we are truly moving social assistance in this province from a handout to a hand up.


Ontario Works will continue to introduce common sense to the welfare system. Today's announcement does not provide the solution to all the problems, but it is a starting point. It is an important first step in helping people break the cycle of dependency.

Let me say a few words about why we're doing this. Work for welfare will benefit people on welfare by helping them acquire some skills, self-confidence and contacts that will assist them in finding a job. Ontario Works will also give them the opportunity to give something back to their community. Towns and cities will be able to undertake worthwhile community projects that otherwise might not happen.

This is a ground-breaking initiative, but we have done our homework. We are moving ahead responsibly by phasing in the program. A lot of work has gone into ensuring that the program can be implemented effectively across the province, and a lot of work will continue to go into it, not only from my ministry staff but also from the municipalities, communities and individuals who will participate.

Let me point out that this program will be tailored to meet the needs of the people and communities of Ontario. People receiving welfare who are able to work will be required to train or work on community projects in return for their welfare cheques for up to an average of 17 hours a week. They will devote the rest of the work week to job searching. Seniors and people with disabilities will be exempt. As the program expands, we will then require single parents to participate. Only single parents with young children will be exempt.

Let me stress that Ontario Works will not take a paid job away from anyone. That is a very prime principle to this. People working for welfare cheques will be involved in community projects.

The private sector does, however, have an important role to play in Ontario Works. We will appeal to businesses, both large and small, to contribute to community work-for-welfare projects. Their contributions could include offering expertise or supplying materials or donations to community projects.

This government has realized $1.3 billion in social assistance savings as a result of earlier welfare reforms. Over the next three years we will reinvest $450 million in Ontario Works.

The 20 communities which volunteered for this first phase all share the readiness and enthusiasm to proceed. They are the Algoma District Social Services Board, Brant county, the city of Brockville, the city of Cornwall, the county of Dufferin, the regional municipality of Durham, the regional municipality of Halton, the regional municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth, Huron county, Kent county, the district of Muskoka, the regional municipality of Niagara, the Nipissing District Social Services Board, the city of North Bay, Northumberland county, Oxford county, the regional municipality of Peel, the city of Timmins, the regional municipality of Waterloo and the united counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.

These 20 communities that make up phase 1 are now moving to develop specific projects. We will provide more information on the individual municipal initiatives later this summer and fall.

Today's announcement signals the beginning of Ontario Works. More importantly, it marks the beginning of the end of the cycle of dependency for many people on welfare. I want to emphasize that Ontario Works is not a cure-all for every problem of the welfare system and society, but it does offer opportunities to both recipients and communities.

Working on community projects will be good for the participants because it will give them the opportunity to develop the routines and some skills, the self-confidence and contacts that will assist them in finding employment. Ontario Works will also be good for the quality of life in our communities because of the worthwhile projects it will make possible.

Two years ago we made a commitment to introduce a work-for-welfare program in this province. Today we are delivering on that commitment.

Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): What has been released today is a program called "wastefare" rather than "workfare." This government and this minister have released a plan that is regressive, that is punitive and that fails to address the real problems of the welfare crisis. This plan will not create one single new job in Ontario. This plan will not move one single person off the welfare rolls.

It is wastefare. It is a waste of money. It is a waste of jobs. It is a waste of human potential. It is a waste of the public trust. It is a waste of opportunity for volunteers who have been there for years in this province.

There is no plan here; it is simply a continuation of smoke and mirrors, of the ongoing, relentless attack you have launched on the needy in Ontario. You feel it is a crime to be poor and to be unemployed in Ontario and you feel it is acceptable to punish people because they're poor and they're unemployed.

Today in your speech in Niagara Falls you gave us examples of what these individuals could do: Swing sets could use a coat of paint, the stone fireplace needs some work, park benches could be built and the pavilion needs to be painted. That is this government's answer to the welfare problem: Paint swings, fix fireplaces in parks and build new benches. That is the answer to the crisis, the lack of jobs we're facing in Ontario. At the end of the day this province will have more painted swing sets and more benches, but it will not have any more individuals employed who are on welfare today than before you announced this program.

I know the minister realizes we have a need for more park benches, because that is to accommodate the people he has thrown off the welfare rolls in the past year as a result of his changes. Welcome to the new Ontario. Welcome to the home of the thousands of Tsubouchi slaves they'll be running across this province. Welcome to the home of the most park benches in the province.

This is an attack on the poor. You compare yourself when you talk about Michigan and you talk about New York and how well it has worked. If this government's philosophy is to bring us to the level of Detroit, Michigan, or of New York City, let us know because I can tell you we have no lessons to take from New York City on how to run social programs and we have no lessons to take from Detroit, Michigan, on how to run social programs, and that is the level this government wants to bring us to.

How much are you going to spend on recipients? You haven't answered that question. How much cost will there be for clothing, for transportation, for personal grooming? What criteria have you used to give municipalities some guidelines to ensure that jobs are not lost, that summer jobs are not misplaced? How will the program be phased in? How are you going to accommodate the 12,000 to 14,000 individuals who will be eligible in Niagara with the dozens of volunteer projects that you outlined this morning? How are you going to fill the 12,000 to 14,000 spots of those positions out there right now waiting to be filled? What labour standards will you apply to the municipalities? Do you have any studies to show us how this is going to work? Do you have any studies that show us how this is not going to replace real jobs?

The solution to high welfare rolls is job training and job creation, real opportunities for people. Welfare-to-work programs will work when you put people in positions they want to be in, when you look at the skills, look at the needs and match them. You don't create jobs in Ontario by forcing welfare recipients to paint swings or build park benches. You don't understand that. You don't have an answer. What we see today is a broken commitment. Today's announcement is not going to give recipients a hand up; it's going to give them a punishing kick to the head.

Many people on welfare voted for you during the election. They voted for you because they felt you were going to give them an opportunity; they felt you were going to give them a job; they felt you were going to give them a chance for a job, not a paintbrush and a hammer and tell them to go play in a park. I don't know how you look in the mirror in the morning. I don't know how you look at yourself in the mirror and not understand the betrayal to the tens of thousands of welfare recipients, the misleading of the tens of thousands who looked to you for hope, for dignity and all they received was the back of the hand. You have betrayed, you have misled and you have lied to thousands of welfare recipients across Ontario.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Order. Would the member withdraw the unparliamentary word that he used.

Mr Agostino: Mr Speaker, I don't believe I said anything unparliamentary.

The Speaker: The member did. Will the member withdraw? Yes? No.

I have no alternative but to name the honourable member. He will not withdraw. Sergeant at Arms.

Mr Agostino was escorted from the chamber.

The Speaker: Further response, the member for Windsor-Riverside.

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): That spontaneous outrage is a hard act to follow.

On behalf of our caucus, I'd like to respond to the minister's statement. It's a sad day in Ontario that a government that is supposed to show leadership in this province would play politics with the poorest people. You and I know and everybody in this province knows that workfare has nothing to do with helping people become independent and get off welfare. It has everything to do with politics. That's what it was all about in last year's election and that's what it's about today.


It will be successful politically because it will score points and deliver votes. That's unfortunate in the province, but their polling and their focus groups and everything else showed them that. That's why they're doing this.

Politicians and governments are supposed to be somewhat above that. We're supposed to try, on occasion, to help people, especially help the most vulnerable people in this province. There's one description of this announcement today that is absolutely clear: The minister can't make it work and the minister can't make it fair. That's absolutely clear from the announcement today.

Where are the jobs? That's the bottom line. If we're to get people off social assistance and into the workplace, then there have to be jobs. Of course this is going to make people feel good, because the difficult situation that middle-income people are in and the feeling that everybody is overtaxed mean that people want to get at what they see is the problem.

The reality is that the goal for a government that cares and wants to see a solution has to be to provide training and education and job opportunities in the province. If this government really cared, it would be creating jobs. What we've seen in this province instead is an increase in the number of people unemployed that will continue to rise, because what we have seen very clearly are more jobs being cut by this government than jobs being created.

We know this is not a new concept. I am tired of hearing from the Premier and the minister that somehow this is something brand-new that has come upon this government. It has been tried in this province in the 1950s and before. It's been studied for over 100 years, and every study is absolutely conclusive: It doesn't work, it doesn't decrease dependency; it actually increases dependency.

Our view is that if there's a job in the public sector worth doing -- the minister tries in his package to outline some of those jobs -- if there's an environmental job worth doing, if there's a public service worth doing, then let's pay people the appropriate wage and create the job and get people truly independent.

If this government were serious about trying to break dependency and get people in the workplace, they wouldn't be putting forward $450 million over five years for this program. They'd be putting literally hundreds of millions of dollars into training and education programs every year. That would see a decrease in the number of people on social assistance.

Instead, we've seen massive cuts to our elementary school system, our secondary school system, our college system, our university system. For the first time we had a training strategy in this province that came out of the Premier's Council from the days that the Liberals were in power, the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board, and what has this government done? They've dismantled it.

Now we have massive cutbacks in training, massive cutbacks at the college, university and secondary levels, so there are now fewer opportunities for people to gain the skills they require to get into the workplace.

What makes this sad, and I come back to it again, sadder than anything, is that this is all about politics. We have seen this government cut back the most vulnerable people in this province -- whether it's the welfare rates in this province by 22%, whether it's children's services in this province, whether it's co-op and non-profit housing in this province. This government wants to score political points at the expense of the poorest people in this province. It's a shame.



Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): My question is to the Minister of Education and it has to do with jobs for our young people. The minister will know how disappointing were the employment numbers released on Friday. Ontario, to all our disappointment, lost 17,000 jobs in May over April. But the really disappointing news was in the employment outlook for young people. There's no question that our young people face the most bleak employment outlook in over a decade. Those numbers were put out in stark reality on Friday. I'm sure the minister now has been briefed by his staff on the reasons for that. I wonder if the minister could explain to the people of Ontario why, one year into this new government, the employment situation for our young people actually is continuing to get worse.

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I want to thank the honourable member opposite for the very good question. I can explain it quite easily: 10 years of mismanagement in the province by the government of Ontario.

Mr Phillips: That is an insult to the young people of Ontario. It's time you people woke up over there and realized you're dealing with a crisis here. A snippy answer like that is unacceptable to young people. That's an unacceptable, smart-alecky answer.

The employment situation in 1996 is worse than it was last year, worse than it was the year before and worse than it was three years ago. I repeat the question to you, and the people of Ontario, particularly the young people, don't want a smart-alecky answer. Why is the situation for young people getting worse under your administration, not better, as you promised?

Hon Mr Snobelen: I want to thank the honourable member for his response to my answer. I don't think there's anyone who doubts that it's going to take some time to turn the corner on the mismanagement over the last decade. I don't take that very lightly. It's quite an onerous task by this government to reverse some of the damage that's been done to this province and to the opportunities for young people in this province by previous administrations. The litany of bad management and bad government in this chamber over the last 10 years is well known and that point's been well made.

I'd make a direct answer to the honourable member opposite, though, because I believe that opportunities for young people is an important issue. It's certainly an important issue for this government, and that's why I was proud to rise in this House not very long ago and announce the fact that we would expand our summer employment programs for young people in the province, actually expand them by 5,000 jobs this year so that we can assist young people get a start in the employment and job communities in Ontario.

I believe we are turning the corner economically in the province. I believe we are creating the baseline, the foundation, for opportunity and job growth in the province. I'm proud to be part of that.


Mr Phillips: As usual, the facts belie that sort of rhetoric. You're going to have to stop blaming everybody else and take on some responsibility over there. We are now five months into 1996 and we have never seen, in at least the last 10 years, a worse situation for employment among our young people. All your government has done is attack the young people; there is no question of that.

I will ask you directly about something you have responsibility for. The one thing that our young people face very shortly is a 20% increase in tuition fees as a result of your government deciding to cut spending on post-secondary education dramatically -- a 20% increase. Clearly, you must have done some studies that indicate our young people can handle that 20%.

I want an answer to this question, Minister: What is the impact on our young people, who are desperate, and they are desperate out there, of that 20% and will you table the studies that you must have had done that will show the impact of a 20% increase on tuition for our young people?

Hon Mr Snobelen: I want to thank the honourable member for a question that directly affects my portfolio. I recognize the fact that employment in this province, the prospects for the future for our young people in this province, certainly have a lot to do with my portfolio and I take responsibility for that.

The tuition fees paid by students in the province of Ontario have been rising over the course of the last decade. Tuition now, as of next year, represents about the average of tuition paid by students across the province, and I believe we need to make sure that's very clear to the people of Ontario. It may have been misrepresented in the past.

We have provided strategies to help mitigate the effect of tuition. One of those we're very proud of is the student trust fund, this government's commitment of about $100 million to a trust fund to be matched by the private sector, private donors, that will help students most in need. It's going to be directed at those students who are most in financial need. We have also issued a tax credit in the budget for those businesses that help, co-op for students in colleges and universities. We believe that will be of assistance to students across the province. And we have asked the institutions in the tuition raise to pull back 10% of that rise in tuitions for student aid.

So I can assure the honourable member opposite that students are first and foremost in our minds, that we have provided the mechanisms for student aid and we continue to improve the student aid mechanisms in this province, and we will in the future years.


Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): My question is to the minister responsible for the greater Toronto area, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Minister, on Monday of this week your colleague the Minister of Transportation said in this Legislative Assembly that the Toronto Transit Commission was "the worst transit system across the country," and furthermore that the Toronto Transit Commission was "one of the least effective agencies across the continent."

I'd like to know what you think about your colleague's assessment of the TTC, given that you ran the Toronto Transit Commission for the past 10 years.

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): My honourable colleague and very good friend Mr Palladini is responsible for transportation. I'll refer the question to him.

Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): As I have said several times now, my comments were more harsh than I intended and in no way was I referring to the TTC front-line workers. But this government is trying to be fiscally responsible and my approach with the TTC has been in that format. I want to encourage them to look for possible savings that can be derived from within the organization. This was the intent, and it is our only intent, to make sure that the TTC, like every other institution across the province, does become fiscally responsible.

Mr Conway: A moment ago, we had the Minister of Education and Training talking about the mismanagement of the last 10 years. On Monday in this House, we had the Minister of Transportation stand in his place and say clearly and categorically that the TTC, which has been managed for most of the last 10 years by his colleague from Rosedale, the Minister of Municipal Affairs -- you said that Al Leach's administration of the TTC gave us the worst public transit system in the country and that the Al Leach administration of the TTC produced one of the least efficient agencies across North America -- not my words, Minister, your words.

I want you to explain today what you meant on Monday when you said that Al Leach gave us the worst public transit system in Canada.

Hon Mr Palladini: I would like to say to my honourable colleague that the TTC seems to be hiding behind the Minister of Transportation, behind its general manager, and I want to basically remind the honourable member that one of his colleagues was in fact the chairman of the TTC. So if there was a problem within the Toronto Transit Commission, I think you should look right three rows up and take a look at one of your colleagues.

However, this government is committed to transportation. This government is committed to making sure that Ontarians have a balanced transportation system. This government is also very much committed to public transit to the tune of $390 million to address all safety items in public transit from across the province. We also committed to building the Sheppard subway, another $500 million. All we want is for the TTC and its commissioners to do the job that the people of Metro elected them to do and that is operate within fiscal responsibility and come up with the savings that are within that organization.

Mr Conway: On the weekend, the Toronto press gave the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing a C and a D, but on Monday in this House, you gave your colleague Mr Leach an F- for his administration of the TTC. I say to the Minister of Transportation, these are your words, uttered in this House on Monday. You said two days ago that Al Leach has given Ontario the worst public transit system in the country and Al Leach gave Ontario one of the least effective public agencies across Ontario.

If you misspoke yourself on Monday, will you now do this, to at least the men and women who work for the TTC and everyone in Ontario who respects the importance of public transit, not just in Metropolitan Toronto but across the province: Will you stand in your place and apologize for what you said on Monday of this week?

Hon Mr Palladini: I'm going to reiterate my comments that I have said. I might have been somewhat too harsh --


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

Hon Mr Palladini: -- and certainly my comments were not directed at the front-line workers. There was a phone survey done today by CITY-TV --


Hon Mr Palladini: If the honourable members would like to listen to the answer, there was a phone survey done by CITY-TV today and there was one question asked: "Do you get your money's worth from the Toronto Transit Commission?" Some 494 people said yes; 4,144 said no. I stand by that poll.

The Speaker: New question.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I guess, Al, you should take that as an apology from your colleague --

The Speaker: Who is your question to?


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. We've been waiting since June 8, 1995, for this minister to make clear how the proposed workfare program would work in Ontario, whether it was going to be the mandatory opportunity proposed by the Liberal Party in the election campaign or something else. But what we've seen is the proverbial elephant labouring long and producing nothing but a mouse in this announcement. We don't know anything more today than we did yesterday about how this program is going to work. We don't know how it's going to help welfare recipients get jobs they want and need.


The minister doesn't refer to the fact that in 1995 a study was done by his own ministry which found that only 5% of all employable social assistance recipients were not involved in either working full- or part-time, going to school, taking job training, doing volunteer work or searching for work; 41% of single parents were searching for jobs, while 15% report they were also doing volunteer work.

The Speaker: Put your question.

Mr Wildman: What is the workfare program -- the minister has not yet announced how it's going to work -- going to do for these people that they're not already doing for themselves?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): I'm grateful for the question from the interim leader of the NDP. Obviously he's saying he doesn't know how this will work. Obviously you didn't know how it worked back in 1993 either. The turning point was your particular --

Mr Wildman: We didn't propose it in 1993.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: You had a piece here in 1993, and clearly the philosophy of the NDP was set out here. I was just taking a chance to read a little bit from it: "In short, welfare has moved far from its original purpose. In fact, welfare caseloads have reached their highest-ever levels since the inception of the program. In 1992-93, more than 1.2 million Ontarians, or one in nine persons in the province, received social assistance." They were in for a little bit of a surprise after that because it went up to 1.3 million, so it wasn't the highest level yet. "For many thousands of families and individuals, social assistance now acts as the primary source of income. It is no longer just a final safety net to be used when all other sources of support have been exhausted."

Clearly the NDP didn't understand it in 1993. They don't understand it in 1996. Certainly they didn't understand it in 1995 during the election. Because we're doing a fundamental reform here, obviously they don't understand it as well. The document speaks for itself. You've got the information.

Mr Wildman: We don't need vacuous answers like that in this House. We want to know how this program's going to work. Since June 1995 you've been saying you're going to bring in a new program and you're going to tell us how it's going to work. You've postponed and postponed telling us and you still, in this announcement, don't tell us. Instead you give us a list of possible things that participants might make and a list of communities that are going to be involved.

Will the minister please explain how this is going to work. How is having somebody from Brant county, for instance, clean logs out of a river going to produce skills that are going to make it possible for that individual to get full-time work after the program has finished? How is going to clear snowmobile trails, important as that is in Muskoka, going to employ someone permanently when the program is finished? How is planting trees that are already being planted by students, in student work for the Ministry of Natural Resources, going to produce skills that are going to produce full-time work?

What skills and jobs are the people going to have after they participate in your proposals here that are going to mean they'll have full-time work when the program is finished?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Clearly there's a bit of misunderstanding on behalf of the leader of the third party; he hasn't taken the time to listen to what we've actually been saying for some time.

There are two parts to this program. We announced the first major part today, which was the community work aspect of the program, and this is to assist people to learn some skills, to get that connection back to work again. These are things we've learned from a lot of the jurisdictions we've studied. But also there are the employment programs. The member for Windsor-Riverside alluded to a number of things during the response to my statement in the House, one of which indicated that he wasn't sure about the training aspect.

What we're going to do, and certainly announcing it next week as well, is indicate that the employment programs or the training aspect of this program will be accountable, that we're looking for success, not just training for the sake of training.

I point out to the leader of the third party that I can't believe he would indicate that the programs they had for training were huge successes. Obviously, they were not. There was no accountability.

This is all part and parcel of the same program. Yes, there will be opportunities, but I think it's necessary for us to provide the opportunity for people to get that connection back to work again. This is a fundamental change that we're looking at.

Mr Wildman: I'm going to try again to find out a little bit about how this is going to work. If the minister considers it at a rate of $150 million a year, he's talking about spending about $2,500 per participant for the 20 so-called pilot projects. In Alberta, the jobs corps program they have there spent $10,000 per participant. Everybody knows it costs money to put people to work. Why will the minister not commit to adequate funding to give people on social assistance a hand up, a chance to get a real job and the skills they need and want? Why aren't you providing the funding that's required if you're going to go this route, keeping in mind what it has cost in other jurisdictions?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I'm trying to get some sense out of what was just asked, whether or not it was an indication that perhaps there's too much money or not enough money. It seemed to be kind of muddied on that question. Under the third party's programs it cost a heck of a lot more money with no results. If you want to compare records, you spent a huge amount of money for your programs and the welfare caseloads continued to balloon. It was just unbelievable.

He was talking about the funding. The funding we've indicated for the first year is over a year; it's not just for 20 communities. We'll be looking for our second phase as well, which was indicated in what we gave out. We will have training programs, we will have employment programs, but they will be accountable. We have an obligation to the taxpayer of this province to make sure our programs are accountable and are effective, and that's what we're going to produce.

The Speaker: New question.

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): My question is to the same minister. We are trying to get some detail from you here. I have been listening to you very carefully. Your announcement today was incredibly short on detail. What you did was you told us once again why you're doing workfare but not how you're doing workfare, and that's what I'd like to get to.

You've had a year and the only plan you've come up with is to pass this off to 20 municipalities and give them two months to solve your problem for you. We've called your ministry and we've called the 1-888 number, and no one can give us any details or answer our questions, so maybe you can here today.

My colleague just referred to the relatively small investment that you're making per workfare participant. I would like to know how much of that money will go to the community groups you are asking to sponsor your workfare projects, for screening, monitoring, supervising and reporting on the participants.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: First of all, in response to the fact that you were calling and trying to get details of the program in advance of the announcement, the reason you didn't get them was that you were not supposed to get them before we made the announcement. No one had them. You're not supposed to have them.

I have to tell you that part of what is here is that there's a lot of --


The Speaker: Order. Minister.


Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I think they're a little surprised there weren't a lot of leaks this time around.

The difference between what we're trying to do right now and what a lot of other jurisdictions have tried -- we've looked at a number of different jurisdictions. We've looked at Alberta and we've looked at, for the example that was given, Quebec and New Brunswick. We've looked at a number of jurisdictions in the United States -- Michigan, Wisconsin. We've looked at the experience in California, New York and New Jersey.

The one thing we have found is that the programs that will work are the ones that are community-based, that recognize the resources they have in their communities, that recognize the needs they have in those communities. That's what's different about this program. We're not sitting here at Queen's Park in Toronto trying to put a solution made in Toronto on everyone across this province.

We're recognizing there are differences. There's a heck of a difference between Tillsonburg and the city of Toronto. We've got to look at the agricultural areas etc. We are looking and saying, "The difference here is it's community-based planning." We're working with the communities to recognize their needs. That's what's different. We're not imposing a solution on somebody else.

Ms Lankin: I find your answers arrogant and patronizing. The calls to your ministry were made in the last hour. You didn't even attempt to answer my question. My question was, how much money is going to go to the community groups? There are other details we would like to know the answers to. Would you try to answer some of the questions directly?

You've said in your announcement that this program will not take away a paid job from anyone. Yet some of the examples you use, like planting seedlings in reforestation, are already paid jobs, like grooming snowmobile trails, which are often using section 25s under unemployment insurance. You don't deal with the fact that the cuts that you have made to community agencies have already caused them to lay off many people. Are you saying that they will be able to resist the temptation to use the workfare participant to provide those services they have had to cut back on as a result of your funding cuts? How can you assure us that this will not take away jobs that were otherwise paid in this province?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: This sounds amazingly like a conversation I just had Monday where we had a meeting with Mr Ryan --

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): Were you talking to yourself?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Yes, I was talking to myself; I had Mr Ryan with me. In our conversation we gave Mr Ryan the same assurances that the Premier had given him when they had met several weeks before, that this program is not to take paid work away from people. We sat down and we gave that clear assurance to him. We also gave him a further assurance. We said, "If you would like your staff to meet with the ministerial staff to see exactly how we're going to do this and work with us" -- we gave him that opportunity as well.

Aside from giving those assurances to Mr Ryan which I also give to the member, we'll be looking at this and giving directives from the government to make sure this does not happen. Unfortunately, she is assuming that somehow the municipalities will not follow the guidelines that are being provided by the government.

Ms Lankin: What guidelines? What directives? Where is the detail? You've had a year. Please stop trying to push this off on comparison to previous governments, on taking a look at the 10 lost years, all of your standard arguments. You've had a year. You are the government. You are the minister. You've been promising us this for months and months, and what we get today is an empty trial balloon that passes it off to municipalities and says, "You figure it out, because we can't do it."

In your announcement today you say that under your workfare program the ministry "may," and that's the operative word, "help cover the costs of taking part in the program" and you give the example of "work clothes or equipment." Why the word "may"? I'm concerned about this.

Tell me what this means. How is that decision going to be made? Where is that decision going to be made? When will that decision be made? Will it differ from municipality to municipality? Will someone participating in workfare in Brant get their expenses covered, but someone in Hamilton won't?

What happens to an individual workfare participant if the necessary expenses aren't covered? Does that money come out of their pockets? What are the guidelines around how that decision will be made? Where is the detail of that?

Show us how your program is going to work. Stop telling us about why you're doing it. We know why you're doing it. We have differences of opinion about why you're doing it, but we know what you say on that. Tell us how you're doing to do it.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: If a project requires assistance such as work boots or work gloves or that sort of thing -- I believe that's what the member is asking -- we will provide assistance for that. The projects that don't require it obviously won't have them. That's why "may" is there.

The transportation cost, as well, is something I believe the member is interested in asking about. One of the things we recognize throughout this program is that people don't always have the opportunity to hop on the TTC and get a bus to work.

But on the other hand, if you look at the rural areas, we are going to have to provide some assistance for people in rural areas for transportation. Clearly, this is part of our program and we are looking to assist the municipalities on this.


Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I will be filing a paper indicating dissatisfaction with that answer and requesting an opportunity to debate this issue with the minister.


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): I have a question for the Minister of Transportation. I'm very disappointed, as I'm sure a lot of the men and women who work for the TTC --


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Order, please. I can't hear the member's question.


The Speaker: The member for Etobicoke West, come to order.

Mr Colle: I'm very disappointed, as I'm sure a lot of the men and women who work for the TTC are disappointed, that the chief general manager of the TTC for 10 years did not have the guts to stand up and set the record straight.

Minister, since you've become Minister of Transportation, you have basically unleashed an unprecedented assault on public transit. First, you cut transit for the disabled with Wheel-Trans cuts. You wasted millions by cutting the Eglinton subway. You then proceeded to gut GO Transit. Then last Thursday you basically reduced funding to transit across Ontario by 33%. In your effort to hide that 33% cut, you maliciously and unfoundedly attacked the men and women who work on the TTC and the millions of people in Metro who use that fine system.

Will you not have the guts to stand up on your feet and say that you made a mistake and apologize to the transit users and the transit workers who spill their guts in that system every day to make it one of the best systems in Canada, if not one of the best systems --

The Speaker: Minister of Transportation.

Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): I believe this has been addressed many times. I believe it's time we go on. I believe it's time the TTC commissioners go on. Just like any multimillion-dollar organization, there is a management team in place that should be finding ways to become more cost-efficient. Clearly, it is not happening.

This government is fiscally responsible and it wants all its partners to do the same. The honourable member is saying the Harris government cut Wheel-Trans. Wrong. The people who are on Wheel-Trans know it was the TTC that chose to cut Wheel-Trans.

I would like to address all the TTC commissioners right now, and I hope they're listening: You must look for efficiencies within your organization. Like I said, it is a multimillion-dollar organization and we are looking for them to come up anywhere from 4% to 8%. The honourable member knows; he was in that chair. What did he do when he was in that chair? Because this is not a problem inherited just now.


Mr Colle: I asked the minister not to talk to the commissioners or to talk to other politicians; I said to make it clear to the men and women who work on that TTC every day, making it safe, carrying people to work, to doctors' appointments, 24 hours a day, to apologize to them, apologize to the taxpayers of Toronto and the users of the transit system who have made it one of the best systems in the world, and I ask you to apologize to them.

If you're talking about cost-effectiveness, in your own report that you referred to you forgot to mention that in terms of cost-effectiveness the TTC relies less on government handouts than any other system in Canada; 78% of what the TTC makes comes out of the fare box, out of user fares, whereas in Vancouver it's only about 50%; in Montreal it's 40%. It's the least subsidized system in North America and you have the gall to say that these men and women who have made it one of the best are not doing their jobs. Will you not apologize to them for not giving the whole facts on this issue?

Hon Mr Palladini: Again I want to reiterate that I have said all along that the problem is not the front-line workers, whom I do respect. I've commended the TTC front-line workers. I've said it for the past three days. I even said it when your honourable colleague asked me the question earlier. The problem here is not the front-line workers. The problem here is clearly not the front-line workers.

Mr Colle: You're the problem, and the guy next to you is the other problem.

The Speaker: The member for Oakwood will come to order.

Hon Mr Palladini: I believe we want to get on and get the job done. We are committed to public transit --

Mr Colle: Apologize to those men and women.

The Speaker: The member for Oakwood, would you come to order.


Hon Mr Palladini: Mr Speaker, if there is an apology that I would like to give, it would be to the people of Ontario, to the people of Metro, for the moneys that the management that runs the TTC is not doing what it's supposed to do and I blame --


Hon Mr Palladini: He was the commissioner, Mr Speaker. He was the commissioner in charge.

In any case, we are committed to public transit. There is a firm commitment from the Harris government. As far as the numbers that he's raising, that 78% of the TTC operational funding comes out of the fare box, I would suggest to the honourable member to readdress that situation and find out actually what those numbers really are.

The Speaker: New question.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): A carryover again to the sieged Minister of Transportation who said in this House as recently as Monday, and I quote -- he was referring to the Toronto Transit Commission -- "the worst transit system across the country." Well, the response has been quick and direct. This is what Mr Joe Pantalone, who's a TTC commissioner, has to say: "Either he's as dumb as a doornail or he's out to destroy public transit." The circle that you tread, the pal across the aisle, Mr Leach, his buddy, says, "Al tends to get excited every once in a while."

Let me give you an example of the legacy of TTC, the relationship and the recognition. The TTC has won the top annual award of the American Public Transit Association in the category of major transit 24 times and it's been awarded 31 times.

The Speaker: Put your question.

Mr Pouliot: The association created the international continuing excellence award -- that's the highest award --

The Speaker: Put your question.

Mr Pouliot: -- four years ago. They've won it four consecutive years. The minister should really pause and think before he speaks. Sometimes it's better to do nothing. The morale at the TTC is very low. His pal is trying to reconcile. You have a crisis in cabinet. The second row -- look at them -- is beginning to resemble the death row in political science.

The question is as follows: Will the minister, while he has an ounce of dignity left, do the honourable thing and quickly, expediently and sincerely apologize to the users of the TTC, to the managers of the TTC and to the employees of the TTC?

The Speaker: The question has been asked.

Hon Mr Palladini: Once again I want to say that this government is looking for efficiencies. We're looking to our operating partners to look for those efficiencies. All the honourable member's rhetoric is fine. I'm here to do a job for the people of Ontario and to help my colleagues restore fiscal hope for this province.

To address transit as far as the TTC is concerned, there was a poll conducted today by CITY-TV. The people of Metropolitan Toronto were asked, "Do you get your money's worth from TTC?" Mr Speaker, 4,144 people said no and only 494 said yes. I rest.

Mr Pouliot: Minister, you could well be on your political deathbed, so repentance should come a little easier. Not only do you depreciate the essential service all around you, that of our public transportation system, the most democratic of transportation systems in the province, you strike not only with passion, but you add to passion a sense of vengeance.

Rolling stock: When the Liberals were the government, when we were the government, we fully supplied, allocated 75% of the total cost of rolling stock. You've taken your chainsaw and you've slashed the transfer payments to TTC to 50%. On the one hand you claim that it's the worst system and on the other hand you refuse to give them the funding to justify your approach to and your description of the TTC. Which is it? Come clean, otherwise it will deteriorate and you will be the one to be pushed off the cliff.

Hon Mr Palladini: Sometimes I have a little difficulty understanding the honourable member, but he is very colourful, I must admit. Basically I think he wanted to ask me if we are cutting the support funding to 50%.

We are altering our support methods with all the transit municipalities, but we are doing it in a very orderly and responsible fashion. We are telling the municipalities that as of January 1, 1997, the support funding is going to be 50%. However, this government is committed to public transit, to making sure that public transit is safe, therefore we are investing $390 million to make sure public transit across the province is safe. On top of that, we are telling the municipalities and the transit system that whatever safety items have not been identified as of today, as long as they're identified by December 31, we will still support the funding to the tune of 75%.

We are in support of public transit and we want to make sure that public transit is safe and viable in this province.



Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): My question is to the Minister of Education and Training. Over the last several months I have met and talked with teachers, students and parents, both personally and in town hall meetings, in my riding of Durham East. Parents and students want to know how they measure up and they tell me they support your establishment of the Education Quality and Accountability Office. Furthermore, they also want to be entitled to compare their progress with other students from across the country. I am proud and confident that the students of Durham East, indeed of Ontario, are up to that challenge.

Minister, what steps have you taken to allow Ontario students to directly compare their achievements with those of other students from across the country?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I thank the member for Durham East for the question. I too have heard from people across the province who share the concerns of parents who were talking to the honourable member about student achievement, about measuring student achievement, about standards of student achievement both across Ontario and how we compare to students across Canada.

It's essential, for improvements in our school system, to know how students are doing on a local basis, on a provincial basis and on a national basis. That's why we support the school achievement indicators program, which is a program offered by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. This is a program that in alternate years tests student achievement in mathematics, reading and writing and science. This year's assessment will be conducted in the science area, and the indicators will be at five different levels for students who are about 13 and 16 years old. The results of this will be completed later on this spring.

Mr O'Toole: I am pleased to hear that the school achievement indicators program is well in place and that there will be direct comparisons made. An even better measure would be the establishment of standards of excellence for the whole country. What sort of plan is there for a national achievement standard?

Hon Mr Snobelen: The CMEC will be establishing standards to evaluate student performance in the science programs that are going on this year. Those will be made public in December.

I believe the member is pointing to a very critical issue of high standards of student achievement here in Ontario. I'm convinced that the EQAO will help us in this regard and I'm looking forward to having those standards across the province by an independent testing agency.

Student achievement is the only quality measure that matters in our schools, and unfortunately we do not have a past record to compare student performance with. As I'm sure you'll appreciate and as the parents appreciate across the province, this makes it very difficult to assess whether changes in curriculum or changes in our school system actually help students achieve higher grades of performance. I'm looking forward to a body of test results for students across the province so that we can make fair comparisons of our different programs.

It's unfortunate that some people in the education community have resisted standards of testing over the past decade. We might have had that body of work already done so that we might be able to compare our student achievement now to previous years. Unfortunately, perhaps it was the status quo that had the previous government resist this initiative initially.


Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): My question is for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I have a ministry document that says in the backgrounder:

"The ministry is proposing to create a new agency, the Liquor and Gaming Authority of Ontario. This agency will be a schedule 1, atypical regulatory body appointing its employees under its own empowering legislation, not the Public Service Act. The LGAO would replace both the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario and the Gaming Control Commission of Ontario."

Minister, are you not just firing 161 employees who will have no idea what their future holds?

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): No, not really. I think this is part of our business plan to amalgamate two agencies into one to obtain more efficiencies. We'll be talking about that in the very near future, as I indicated to the member yesterday in this Legislature.

We have sat down with the unions that represent all employees from all these areas to try to negotiate a reasonable transition from their employment setting now to their new employment setting, so they are not in the dark; we have consulted with those unions as to their rights in the hope that they would have come to some solution with regard to their future employment problems.

Mr Crozier: Minister, yesterday you did tell me this would be an amalgamation, but this is not an amalgamation. You're eliminating two areas and creating a brand-new one. You're firing the employees.

I have representatives of those employees in the members' gallery today who will say there hasn't been any dialogue. This document simply outlines what you're going to do and, if they don't go along with it, it's a done deal. As an example, it says:

"However, the employer is looking for agreement from all bargaining agents that those affected employees who are transferred to the new agency will defer termination or severance obligations and that there will be no payouts of any kind at the time the offers are made."

These employees will have no guarantee of employment. You've said that in another paragraph, where it says:

"There will be no guarantee of employment made to any employees. The employees will have no representation. The employees of the LGAO would determine representation issues themselves. These discussions do not preclude any surplusing or downsizing from occurring once employees agree to move from the current agency."

You're going to downsize. We've got a problem now in licensed establishments where booze that is smuggled across the border is being used. We need inspectors. You're going to put VLTs out there in 18,000 establishments. You're going to downsize in inspectors.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Do you have a question?

Mr Crozier: Minister, you're just firing them. Won't you admit that today?

Hon Mr Sterling: Actually, what we hope to achieve is a strengthening of the authorities dealing with both gaming and alcohol consumption in this province.

I want to deal with a number of the issues. Number one is that all of the unions have had the opportunity to deal with my ministry with regard to this matter.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): No, no.

Hon Mr Sterling: Well, you should talk to the member of the union; I believe Mr Coones, who is over here, has been party to those meetings, as a matter of fact.

We asked them if they could decide among themselves on one bargaining unit. They could not decide on one bargaining unit, so they left us with no option with regard to that because we prefer to have one bargaining unit to deal with.

We hope that the severance benefits would transpose on to the new authority so that employees --

Mr Bradley: He is no longer a "U."

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): He is no longer a "U."

Hon Mr Sterling: Mr Speaker, I'm having difficulty. Many members don't understand "U" stands for unbelievable. But anyway.

Our attempt with regard to this is to take the existing employees and utilize them in this new combined organization, which will be a much stronger organization, much more regionally decentralized, because of the increase in the employees and adding the two together.

I suggest the member wait till tomorrow when he'll find out all of the details with regard to this.


Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): My question is to the Solicitor General. Minister, this has been a pretty sad and sorry week for you in this House. First of all, you had to admit to us that you didn't know about the Elgin-Middlesex incident for three months, even though your acting deputy knew.

You didn't know about allegations that managers were at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre and at the Bluewater centre at the last weekend and that there were allegations documents had been shredded.

You told us here that the managers who were at Elgin-Middlesex were part of the investigation team. Then you told the press outside that the managers weren't part of the investigation team.

You said you called in the London police on May 31, but we found out yesterday that in fact the London police only assigned officers to begin that investigation on June 10, after that weekend.

Frankly, Minister, you're not in control of your ministry, and every day there's a new issue and every day you make a new movement.

Yesterday, you said you had to call in a person from the Ministry of the Attorney General to help you with these multiple investigations that are going on.

This morning, on your way into cabinet, you told reporters you were going to bring in an outside consultant to investigate your entire ministry, that you were very unhappy. Yet another investigation. Your own ministry officials didn't even know about that until after the scrum. So this is your idea.

Frankly, you are making crisis-driven decisions. You are flying by the seat of your pants. Why did it take these very serious allegations and questions from us and from the media for you to decide to call in an outside consultant to investigate your ministry when you claim there have been problems for 12 years, 15 years, or even longer?

Hon Bob Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): I think the history of that particular ministry bears out the fact that there have been difficulties with respect to reporting relationships, questions about management styles and structures, and certainly problems occurred during the NDP administration and occurred during the Liberal administration. I think you can draw a straight line.

There has never been this kind of review by an outside agency of the management structures, the reporting mechanisms, and I think it's long overdue. The Liberal government was in office five years; this situation clearly was not corrected. The NDP was in office five years; this situation clearly was not corrected. We've been in office close to a year and I'm going to do my utmost to make sure it's corrected.


Mrs Boyd: It's quite amazing, because when you were in opposition you had all the answers and you had all the criticism of everybody else, and you knew what the problems were because they'd been discussed thoroughly, as you say, in this House on a number of different occasions. The fact is you just don't know what's going on in your ministry. You keep trying to blame your employees in that ministry, but you don't know. But the buck stops here. You're the minister. It's your responsibility to know and it's your responsibility to accept responsibility for what happens in your ministry.

Every day new concerns are raised. Every day you set up yet another investigation. Quite frankly, you're setting up all these investigations so you can avoid your responsibility and be accountable here in this House for what has gone on in your ministry. How can the public have any kind of confidence in you? You've been the minister for a year now. This is not a new area for you; it's one in which you've been the critic for many years. Minister, who's going to be reviewing your conduct and your competence in handling these very serious issues?

Hon Mr Runciman: I think any objective observer simply has to review the record of the NDP government during its five years in office -- and to have this member stand on her feet and make the kinds of accusations she's making here today.

I'm accepting the responsibilities I have as a minister of the crown and I'm going to be accepting them in a much more responsible and effective way than my predecessors.


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): My question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. You know that currently there are about 35 restructuring proposals being carried out throughout the province of Ontario affecting some 200 municipalities. You know what's driving this thing, your notion that bigger is better is cheaper.

You and I attended a meeting in Napanee some six weeks ago in which you made a statement in front of myself and in front of about 200 local politicians to the effect that you know that there are going to be some winners and some losers in this process.

In light of the fact that you're trying to save money and that's why you're doing the restructuring, if as a result of restructuring, the taxes in the municipality are going to go up, will you make a commitment right here, today, on behalf of the government to see that the taxes will not go up by providing the necessary funding?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): I thank the honourable member for his question. We did attend a meeting in Kingston which was very fruitful, and at least all of the politicians in Kingston know what they want to do even if the honourable member across doesn't.

What we're doing is ensuring that municipalities in Ontario deliver services to the taxpayers in the most effective and efficient way possible, and through restructuring they're going to be able to do that. The Kingston area is a fine example. People recognize in Ontario that there's duplication and waste of effort, and through restructuring that can be corrected.

Mr Gerretsen: I totally agree with you that the politicians in Napanee -- we were actually in Napanee, not in Kingston -- but in the Napanee and Kingston area they certainly know what's best for their people. But they also know they don't want to be part of a loser municipality, where in effect their taxes within a municipality are going to be more after restructuring than they are today.

You know that these discussions have been going on for a long time in that area. How can you possibly expect municipalities to come up with an adequate restructuring proposal and program when they don't know whether or not they're going to have to start paying for policing -- I'm talking about the smaller municipalities now -- when they don't know whether or not they're going to have to take over all the highways within their system and be paid for locally, when they don't whether or not welfare costs and other social service costs are going to be paid for totally by the province or by municipalities?

How can you expect the municipalities to come up with meaningful restructuring proposals that are in the best interests of those municipalities and their taxpayers if they don't know what kind of services are going to be expected to be delivered by municipalities? Would you explain that to me?

Hon Mr Leach: The municipalities I've been dealing with certainly understand how to do it. They recognize that in their own county system there is overlap and duplication. They're working to reduce that, and they can reduce that by restructuring. All they want to do is to deliver the services in the most cost-effective way possible, and they intend to do that.



Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): On behalf of those who receive benefits in Windsor from the local family support offices to the Legislature of Ontario, we submit this petition:

"All concerned parties will suffer if the Ontario government goes ahead with its proposal to centralize services for collection of support payments from eight regional offices to one central office based in Toronto.

"Communications will be even more difficult, less accessible than they are now. All-new staff will have to be hired. They'll be unfamiliar with the cases. No one worker will have charge of one case. A $2 fee may be charged to people calling in with inquiries by means of a 1-900 number.

"We strongly disagree with the Harris government proposal to centralize these services in Toronto."

I affix my signature to the legions of signatures that are included with this petition.


Mr Toni Skarica (Wentworth North): I have a petition from the residents of Courtcliffe Park in the town of Flamborough, which is in the riding of Wentworth North. The petition reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

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

"We demand a public inquiry into the financial management of Courtcliffe Park in the town of Flamborough by court-appointed receiver Deloitte and Touche from May 1992 to November 1995, in particular money collected from the residents of Courtcliffe Park that should have paid taxes to the town of Flamborough, which has led to the possible eviction of more than 200 residents."


Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): I have a petition to the Ontario Legislature, Premier Mike Harris, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Al Leach and members of the Ontario provincial Legislature.

"We, the undersigned, protest the government's action against tenants described below:

"The Rent Control Act protects Ontario's 3.3 million tenants. Rent control allows for security and stability in their homes and communities. Uncontrolled rent increases leave tenants, their families and Ontario communities open to eviction, personal distress and contribute directly to social instability. We want this government to stop any action that will allow uncontrolled rents.

"Further, this government is considering changes to the Landlord and Tenant Act favourable to landlords for easier and faster evictions. This is unacceptable to Ontario's tenants and damaging to Ontario's communities.

"This government also plans to get rid of public housing, has halted the creation of basement apartments and a new supply of affordable, non-profit housing. These types of housing are necessary for low- and moderate-income tenants to obtain accommodation they can afford. The government must cease all actions that reduce affordability and availability of these kinds of housing.

"This government has eliminated funding for United Tenants of Ontario, Locataires unis de l'Ontario, five municipal tenant federations and other important tenant services at a time when they are attacking all tenants' rights. Funding for these groups must be reinstated so that Ontario's tenants, and not just their landlords, are able to bring their views to bear in government's deliberations on tenants' rights and protection. A consultation process with tenant organizations should be initiated immediately to develop a plan for sustainable funding for services to tenants."



Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): I've got a petition that's signed by 1,064 people, most of them residents of Thorold. It reads:

"We, the residents of Ontario, demand that Thorold Magazine be allowed to sell lottery tickets in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Ontario Lottery Corp and not to be discriminated against because of large corporations having a monopoly and control of the lottery operations."

Mr Speaker, you know I've been talking about this several times here in the House.

"We, the residents of Ontario, understand that this petition is to be presented to the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ontario Lottery Corp and the House of Commons, Legislative Assembly of Ontario by MPP Peter Kormos, who has been given no response to his request in the denial of lottery tickets to Thorold Magazine."

That's signed by, as I said, 1,064 people, including Blair Doyle and Mike Doyle of Thorold, Wendy Smith of Thorold, Susan Knox of Thorold and Dave Cichocki of Thorold.


Mr Dan Newman (Scarborough Centre): I have a petition signed by a number of residents of my riding of Scarborough Centre. The petition reads as follows:

"To the Legislature of Ontario:

"Whereas the recommendations of the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council to close inpatient paediatric beds, the special care nursery and the burn unit at Scarborough General Hospital, resulting in significantly reduced access to paediatric, newborn and burn care for a large geographic area of Scarborough; and

"Whereas the paediatric unit, special care nursery and burn unit at Scarborough General Hospital provide very cost-efficient quality care;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislature of Ontario to (1) continue paediatric services including inpatient paediatric beds, (2) continue special care nursery services, (3) continue and combine Metropolitan Toronto's burn care at Scarborough General Hospital."

I have affixed my name to this worthwhile petition.


Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): All the residents of public and non-profit housing in this province are very concerned by the government's threats to privatize their housing units, certainly leaving them in a very insecure state and they will not allow this to happen without a fight.

I have a petition here today from the tenants of the St Paul's United Church Non-Profit Housing Corp in Thunder Bay, signed by all the tenants. It reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned tenants of St Paul's United Church Non-Profit Housing Corp, a community of seniors, are concerned that (1) our homes will be lost because of the government's cuts to non-profit housing projects, which will undermine their financial viability, and (2) low-income families and the most vulnerable in our communities will suffer devastating hardship because of cuts to the numbers of needy people receiving rent-geared-to-income assistance and the increased rents for those currently receiving such assistance.

"We call upon you to stop these government actions that seriously jeopardize our future and the ongoing viability of our non-profit housing communities."

I am proud to add my name to that petition.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I continue to receive thousands of signatures from workers all across Ontario opposed to this government's anti-labour agenda, particularly as it relates to workplace health and safety.

I have more today from the Canadian Auto Workers over the signature of their president, Buzz Hargrove. The petition is to the Ontario Legislature to save the Workers' Health and Safety Centre and the occupational health clinics for Ontario workers.

"To Premier Harris:

"We, the undersigned, oppose any attempt to erode the structure, services or funding of the Workers' Health and Safety Centre and the occupational health clinics for Ontario workers.

"We demand that education and training of Ontario workers continue in its present form through the Workers' Health and Safety Centre and that professional and technical expertise and advice continue to be provided through the occupational health clinics for Ontario workers."

As I agree with this petition, I add my signature also.


Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): I have a petition, on behalf of the member for Burlington South as well, which says:

"We, the undersigned, do petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to restore stability and balance to the child care system by (1) ensuring that all licensed child care providers are treated equally, with all sectors having both the same benefits and responsibilities; (2) ensuring that all lincensed child care centre staff receive the same benefits from the government, specifically the wage enhancement grants, regardless of the status of their employer; (3) ensuring that all funding goes directly to the provision of care for children and families in need."

That is presented on behalf of the independent child care centres in Burlington.


Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): I have a petition addressed to the Ontario Legislature.

"We, the undersigned, protest the government's action against tenants described below:

The Rent Control Act protects Ontario's 3.3 million tenants. Rent control allows for security and stability in their homes and communities. Uncontrolled rent increases leave tenants, their families and Ontario communities open to eviction, personal distress and contribute directly to social instability. We want this government to stop any action that would allow uncontrolled rents.

"Further, this government is considering changes to the Landlord and Tenant Act favourable to landlords for easier and faster evictions. This is unacceptable to Ontario's tenants and damaging to Ontario's communities.

"This government also plans to get rid of public housing, has halted the creation of basement apartments and a new supply of affordable, non-profit housing. These types of housing are necessary for low- and moderate-income tenants to attain accommodation they can afford. The government must cease all actions that reduce the affordability and availability of these kinds of housing.

"This government has eliminated funding for United Tenants of Ontario, Locataires unis de l'Ontario, five municipal tenant federations and other important tenant services at a time when they are attacking all tenants' rights. Funding for these groups must be reinstated so that Ontario's tenants, and not just their landlords, are able to bring their views to bear in government deliberations on tenants' rights and protection. A consultation process with tenant organizations should be initiated immediately to develop a plan for sustainable funding for services to tenants."


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I'm proud to present a petition from Local 42 of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada based in my home town of Hamilton.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas it is vital that occupational health and safety services provided to workers be conducted by organizations in which workers have faith; and

"Whereas the Workers' Health and Safety Centre and the occupational health clinics for Ontario workers have provided such services on behalf of workers for many years; and

"Whereas the centre and clinics have made a significant contribution to improvements in workplace health and safety and the reduction of injuries, illnesses and death caused by work;

"Therefore, we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to oppose any attempt to erode the structure, services or funding of the Workers' Health and Safety Centre and the occupational health clinics for Ontario workers.

"Further, we, the undersigned, demand that education and training of Ontario workers continue in its present form through the Workers' Health and Safety Centre and that professional and technical expertise and advice continue to be provided through the occupational health clinics for Ontario workers."

I sign my name in support.


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): I have a petition signed here by numerous people which states 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 dollars 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 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 of junior kindergarten to its previous level and require all school boards to offer junior kindergarten classes."

I affix my signature to it.



Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I have a petition from a large number of people in Ontario that reads as follows -- hundreds of people are expressing concern about this:

"Since video lottery terminals will contribute to gambling addiction in Ontario and the resulting breakup of families, spousal and child abuse and crimes, such as embezzlement and robbery; and

"Since the introduction of video lottery terminals across Ontario will provide those addicted to gambling with widespread temptation and will attract young people to a vice which will adversely affect their lives for many years to come; and

"Since the introduction of these gambling machines across our province is designed to gain revenue for the government at the expense of the poor, the vulnerable and the desperate in order that the government can cut income taxes, to the greatest benefit of those with the highest income; and

"Since the placement of video lottery terminals in bars in Ontario and in permanent casinos in various locations across the province represents an escalation of gambling opportunities; and

"Since Premier Harris and Finance Minister Eves were so critical of the provincial government becoming involved in further gambling ventures and making the government more dependent on gambling revenues to maintain government operations;

"We, the undersigned, call upon Premier Harris and the government of Ontario to reconsider its announced decision to introduce the most insidious form of gambling, video lottery terminals, to restaurants and bars in this province."

I affix my signature to this petition as I'm in complete agreement with all the provisions contained within this petition.



Mr Martin from the standing committee on government agencies presented the committee's 12th report.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Pursuant to standing order 106(g)(11), this report is deemed to be adopted by the House.



Mr Grandmaître moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 74, An Act to amend the Audit Act / Projet de loi 74, Loi modifiant la Loi sur la vérification des comptes publics.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.



Mr Hodgson moved government notice of motion number 8:

That, pursuant to standing order 6(b)(i), the House shall continue to meet from 6 pm to 12 midnight on June 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 and 27, 1996, at which time the Speaker shall adjourn the House without motion until the next sessional day.

Hon Chris Hodgson (Minister of Natural Resources, Northern Development and Mines): This is a traditional motion, as set out in the standing orders, that during the last two weeks before the House adjourns in June, sitting hours are extended until midnight to allow business to be cleared up before the end of the sitting. It's my understanding that the House leaders have been meeting to negotiate the legislative agenda to the end of June and I'm confident they will have an agreement in place that will be acceptable to all three parties.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): This is, as some people would say, a routine motion, but one that we in the opposition consider to be a very significant motion. That doesn't mean I'm about to embark upon a 90-minute speech this afternoon on its merits, which have drawn applause from the Conservative benches, but it does mean that there is an opportunity perhaps just to discuss a few items that we might be discussing during that period.

If the government were to order its business correctly, it would bring in bills at the appropriate time and not bring in bills and major legislation and major initiatives at the very end of a session so there is little time to deal with them and so that we are forced into nightly sessions, where I have found them, while interesting, not always to be as productive as the daily sessions.

There was a time when the two opposition House leaders asked the government House leader for further business, and they could not tell us what the business would be two days ahead of time mainly because many initiatives seemed to be buried somewhere or were being withheld by the government so that they could rush them through at the end of the session. That is not necessarily unique to this government, but certainly something I observe is happening at this time.

This resolution will enable us to sit each evening, right through, by the way, from 1:30 to 12 o'clock midnight, and will allow the government to put through a good deal of its legislation. Some of the more rabid backbench members of the Conservative caucus, the true believers, as I refer to them, who are concerned about cooperation of the opposition in terms of legislation going through the House should note that the House leaders and whips and those who attend that meeting are able to come to some amicable conclusions. Even though we do not necessarily believe that the legislation merits the support of the opposition or passage, we in opposition recognize that an election is the time at which people make a choice of government and that the government has an opportunity, and should have that opportunity, to present its legislation to have it dealt with appropriately.

Rather than these motions that get made in the Legislative Assembly committee by the true believers, by those who wish to punish the opposition for daring to challenge the government in an aggressive way on any legislation, the members of that committee, and particularly the authors of the specific motions, should know that these matters are resolved to the satisfaction of the three parties. The relationship between the people who attend that meeting is a good relationship. We are adversaries politically, and I notice that the deputy House leader of the government is here and she would probably be able to confirm that the meetings, while at times there can be some heated discussions, are generally amicable, and there's a determination to come to some conclusion which is acceptable to all. That exercise has taken place over the past couple of weeks despite the constant threat from the extreme right, which launched its salvos against the opposition in committee from time to time.

I would like to have time during the evening sessions in the last two weeks to discuss the 120 layoffs at the St Catharines General Hospital that have been announced in addition to a previous 100 layoffs. What is very interesting for those of us who sit in opposition is to look at the reaction of the government to this. I think the government has been successful in doing one thing, and that is intimidating a lot of people in this province.

I can well recall -- I was discussing this with an NDP member -- showing a clipping from a newspaper which talked about "Hospital Slashing Workforce" and the next day saying "`Future Bright Despite Layoffs,' they say. `I think in many ways you'll get better care.'" There isn't anybody who believes that to be the case, but the threat is there that if you don't comply with the government's dictums, if you don't easily accept from the government the cuts that are coming in the health care field, your hospital could be closed, "So keep your mouth shut and comply with what the government wishes and you might be all right."

I remember one NDP member saying that they always said if they didn't get a 10% increase, the world would fall apart in terms of their budgets, and now we see this happening. I won't get into the detailing of all of them, but what's interesting to watch is that happening, the government able to intimidate people so they will not question what the government is doing, the threat being closure or further punishment from the government, and it works. It has been working; I see it working right there.

I'm sure the people who work in St Catharines General Hospital are not amused and I'm sure that patients who will be going to the hospital for hospital care will notice a substantial difference. But the government has been successful in intimidating them, just as in education, in some cases, some of the boards of education are accepting something they would never accept from any other government because the threat is there that there will be further punishment.


The Minister of Education and Training is here this afternoon to listen to this very important debate. He has been successful in getting the message out to them that, "If you don't comply with what we want, there could be further punishment." Some people agree with that. I'm sure that gets applause when you go to the Canadian Manufacturers' Association or -- I won't say the John Birch Society; that would be a little too far right. I don't think we have that in Canada. But some very right-wing group, whatever it would happen to be, would applaud that.

I would like further time in the House. I would love to sit in the month of July -- I enjoy sitting in July in this Legislature -- so we could have further questions, so we could talk about and try to resolve -- because I'm a person who wants to help resolve -- problems. I'm trying to resolve a conflict between Al Leach, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, and Al Palladini, the Minister of Transportation. They are fighting publicly. They're out in the scrum. A scrum is, of course, where the reporters ask some questions. One was the head of the TTC. He got the medals; I saw them presented. I applauded at the time that we would have a person in Ontario getting a medal of this kind. Then I heard from the Minister of Transportation that they were doing a terrible job all this time and that this has to be rectified, that this was the worst in the country. I would like to resolve that conflict, the insults that are being cast at Al Leach, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, by the Minister of Transportation. I'd like to help out in accommodating these two people. If we sat in July and perhaps had a few more question periods, rather than sitting to midnight, we might be able to solve that problem.

I would like to be able to deal with the problem of nuclear safety, for instance. The Minister of Environment and Energy is here. She's hiding a report on the safety of our generating stations. The member for Bruce is here. The people in Bruce want to be assured that all of these generating stations are safe. If we release these reports publicly and if there's nothing to worry about in the reports, all of us will be saying, "Hurray." I will be applauding that; my friend the member for Bruce will be. The members who surround Pickering will be very happy to see these reports. If there's nothing to hide, why wouldn't you release the reports on the safety of our nuclear generating stations? We want to assure the people who are around there of this. The minister seems to be confident that these reports will make everybody feel good and that we won't have to worry about anything.

That's why, rather than going into the sessions to midnight, I would like to see carrying on into the month of July. We already have the MRI for St Catharines, so I wouldn't have to deal with that particular matter that I've dealt with many times in this House.

I would like to ask more ministers than the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism what they think -- maybe the Minister of Natural Resources, because he's involved with the companies that make paper. I would like to find out what he thinks of Conrad Black taking over 58 out of 104 newspapers in Canada, and now we read nothing about it.

I asked a question in this House. I faxed it to every one of those newspapers that are Southam newspapers and Hollinger newspapers. Do you know how many people covered that? Do you know how many of those newspapers covered that salvo at Conrad Black? I haven't found any yet. I know members of the House will be surprised. I have seen some puff pieces on Southam and Hollinger appearing in these various newspapers. I didn't see anything about it. It makes me suspicious that perhaps Conrad Black's group is using the same kind of intimidation this government is using, that it's being effective, that perhaps that's the way of the future, that people are going to intimidate.

I would like to have more time because I would like to be able to ask more questions about VLTs. My suspicion is that video lottery terminals -- and members of the government are worried we won't get through all of our legislation this afternoon. I want to tell you that it is my estimation we'll get through all that legislation this afternoon.

Mr Wayne Wettlaufer (Kitchener): Not if you keep going.

Mr Bradley: I want to alleviate those concerns.

VLTs: I can't believe that some of the good members of this government, the backbenchers particularly, aren't beside themselves over the thought that the VLTs are going to be introduced, that the most insidious form of gambling, as the member for Welland-Thorold referred to it, "the crack cocaine of gambling," will be introduced in bars across this province and that it will be preying upon the most vulnerable people, the most desperate people and often those with the least resources in our society.

That's why I'd like to sit into July, maybe even August, to be able to discuss those matters, because I think those issues have to be canvassed. I think the member for Ottawa-Rideau would like to be here in July to talk about that. No doubt he's worried what will happen with the VLTs. Yes, the coffers will be full. Yes, the government --

Mr Garry J. Guzzo (Ottawa-Rideau): Around the clock, just like Bob Rae did.

Mr Bradley: He interjects to say, "Just like Bob Rae did." That isn't true, because last year the House sat -- the government House leader of the day will correct me if I'm wrong -- only 20 days under Mr Rae.

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): It was 20 days too many.

Mr Bradley: He said, "Twenty days too many."

This whole issue deals with the rules of the day. I said at one time -- and I'm not attacking the NDP; I want to say to the NDP I'm not attacking them today because --

Hon Mr Hodgson: Your friends.

Mr Bradley: No, because the enemy is on the other side at this time. But when they changed the rules, I'm sure the government House leader, now the House leader of the NDP, was not responsible. I'm sure someone else made him do it, probably the Premier. He's gone; it's safe to say that. I know that the new members would like to have seen the rules previous to the previous government, the NDP government, changing them. They really restricted the role of all members of this Legislature.

Today you should be thanking and applauding the NDP for those changes in rules. I'm not doing so. I think that probably if they had to do it again they wouldn't do it. But when you want to talk about further rule changes, I'm telling you the changes they made really restricted the opposition. The member for Grey-Owen Sound, who is walking through the House now, was beside himself over those changes in the rules.

I would like to talk about the privatization of the LCBO if I had a chance in the subsequent question periods, because I think it's ill-advised that the LCBO be privatized. It operates extremely well at this time and it's simply a major error to turn that over to individual establishments in the private sector. They do an excellent job today. That's a creation of the government of Progressive Conservatives, the LCBO, and I'm complimenting you on that. They help to promote Ontario wine, and that's why that's important as well.

I would like to have additional question periods instead of sitting to midnight to talk about the increase in tuition that we're seeing for students around this province, because what's going to happen is that we're going to go back to the days -- there are students who are sitting in the gallery today. They are probably senior elementary school students sitting in the gallery. Some day they are going to want to go to college or university. I want to ensure that when they do, it's not just the rich students who will be able to go, not just those in the most privileges classes who are able to go, but people of all backgrounds who will have the affordability factor that will permit them to attend college and university in the future.

I see our system moving today back to where the rich kids get to go to university. In fairness, those who are extremely competent and are able to win the various scholarships would still be able to go as well. But the students who perhaps aren't the very top but are good students will not be able to go because they will not be able to afford it, and certainly there aren't the summer jobs with the adequate pay to be able to meet the new expenses. That's why I would like to see us not sit till 12 o'clock midnight, but rather have a sitting into July.

I would like to be able to deal with gas prices that continue to rise and that are defended by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and the Minister of Economic Development, both of whom decided they would defend the oil companies instead of the consumers of this province. I'd like to have more time. Even some of the government members might want to have a chance to ask some questions of the ministers in that regard, or the Planning Act and the ramifications of the changes, or the complete gutting of the Ministry of Environment.

I'm sympathetic to the Minister of Environment. I feel badly when I have to rise in the House, or others do, to attack the Minister of Environment, because no doubt she would like to have the resources to do her job properly. She's not sitting there wanting to see her ministry dismembered, gutted, torn apart, the reduction in the funding. She doesn't want to see that.



Mr Bradley: If she does -- the member for Chudleigh Farms says yes, she does. I can't believe that because in her previous incarnation she owned an environmental store, I think, in Guelph. We had some great expectations that she would be leading us into a new era in the field of the environment. Instead the government has taken away all the resources she has to do her job. I have suggested, not out of malice towards her, that an appropriate gesture would be to say to the Premier, "Why don't you take this job and keep it," or something like that, as a protest. That hasn't happened. It might happen. But I certainly express sympathy for the minister for having her ministry gutted by the rest of the government.

There's a workfare program announced today, and I was happy to see that workfare's already taking place in Ontario in the government agencies committee, where defeated Progressive Conservative candidates and campaign managers and other hangers-on are able to get jobs from the government and be paid very handsomely for that. So we know those people will not be out of jobs.

There are a lot of things I'd like to discuss but we don't have that opportunity. It appears that the consensus will be in this House that we will be sitting to midnight in the weeks coming up. The NDP has a convention coming up. I want to express to them the hope that they choose the candidate that we believe will be the best for the NDP, and I won't suggest who that might be. But of course we will want to try to accommodate the NDP in terms of holding its convention in the near future.

So I point out, and I think the NDP House leader would agree with me, because he missed the first part of the remarks --

Mr Cooke: I was watching on TV.

Mr Bradley: -- that the matters of this House can be best dealt with by the House leaders, the whips and others who gather together, and not by right-wing zealots firing rockets into the Legislative Assembly committee, trying to penalize members of the opposition who are aggressive in their determination to draw to the attention of the public the difficulties the government is bringing upon this province.

I am prepared to sit till midnight, I guess, even though I would prefer to sit into July and August with question periods, to deal with this legislation, and I know that the people of Ontario will be very interested in the debates that take place. I just hope that before they do so they will reconsider some of the legislation they're advancing such as video lottery terminals, and that they will withdraw that legislation. I'm not hopeful, but I hope that will be the case.

I look forward to working with the government House leader, the House leader of the NDP and others in ensuring that appropriate debate takes place on all policy and all legislation coming before this House.

Mr Cooke: I'll be very brief. I should point out to the new members of the assembly that the reason we're debating this motion today is because of rule changes that were brought in when the Liberals were in power and that they imposed on the opposition parties which were unwilling to accept them at the time --

Mr Bradley: The good old days. Wouldn't you like to have those rules now.

Mr Cooke: I don't know. Anyway, we will be supporting the motion. There are a couple of reasons why I think we should support the motion. Obviously, we want the House to break for the summer because it's important that committees get out across the province and consult with the public on a number of matters, and we'll be negotiating that with the government House leader. I think it's important that we not insulate ourselves in this place all the time. We've got to get out and listen to constituents.

But more important than that, as important as that is, I think we've got to adjourn because there's going to be a cabinet shuffle, and there won't be a cabinet shuffle until the House adjourns for the summer. Therefore, it's in the public interest that this place sit in the next couple of weeks to midnight in order to get the government's business done and we can pass judgement, so that a number of cabinet ministers who have demonstrated they are completely and totally incompetent can be shuffled out of their cabinet positions and therefore the people of this province will be better off.

I'm not going to go over all of those ministers, but I think there were two excellent examples today in the Legislature, the Minister of Transportation and the way that he responded to the member for Renfrew North, and the way he responded to my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon. Quite frankly -- I've been here 19 years now -- I don't remember a government being as arrogant as this government was. Even between 1981 and 1985 when the Davis government got back their majority and there was a fair amount of arrogance that was widely reported and observed, that government was never as arrogant as the Minister of Transportation was today in the way he has dealt with the TTC, the people who provide transportation in this community and the people who run that transportation organization.

I must also say that the Minister of Community and Social Services today, in response to questions from my leader and from the member for Beaches-Woodbine, demonstrated a level of arrogance and incompetence towards the members of this place, but more importantly, to the poorer people of this province, in the way he responded to legitimate questions on workfare. I think if only those two ministers were moved out that would be in the public interest, but believe me, there are many others. The Minister of Education has got to go. But the point being that there won't be a shuffle until the House adjourns for the summer. There's never a shuffle when the Legislature is sitting, so the sooner we can accommodate that, the better it is.

It's also a little frustrating for us over here when you see the amount of legislation that has been introduced into the Legislature in the last couple of weeks, and now all of a sudden the government wants to deal with all that legislation. It's only a few weeks ago that there was only Bill 30, 31 and 34, three education bills, on the order paper. That was it. Nothing else had been prepared; nothing else had been introduced. In fact, there was one week where we almost completely ran out of legislation. The only way it continued was that the government House leader had the Tory backbenchers up stringing out the debate. There was nothing else on the order paper to deal with.

I think the government House leader has to take a look at how he organizes the Legislature. It's not really a sane way of proceeding with late-night sittings till 12 midnight. A better way of dealing with it would be to introduce the legislation earlier on in the session, allow for the public to digest the legislation, allow for the members to analyse it and consult with those who are affected, have a debate at second reading and get the items out for public hearings, but instead, a little bit of incompetence in terms of when the legislation is being introduced and the long period of time that it's taking to prepare it, the Legislature almost shutting down a few weeks ago because there was nothing to deal with.

We'll support the motion because we believe it's the government's right to deal with their legislation, but I look forward to the day that this place is better organized, that legislation is introduced in an appropriate time and that we're not rushing. I look forward to good-faith negotiations with the government House leader so that there is thorough and complete consultation during the break on things like rent control, which is of great interest to hundreds of thousands of families across this province.

We would also like to see -- and with the Minister of Energy here -- a follow-through on the commitment that she gave in the House the other day that the Macdonald report needed public consultation. Therefore, it's our belief that how that should happen is with the standing committee of the Legislature. That report should be sent out and the public should be consulted on how this government wants to sell off its most important asset, namely, 35% of Ontario Hydro which is currently owned by all of the people of this province.

That is something the public would want to participate in, would want to give their views on, and I think the government is pulling back from that commitment the minister gave in the House the other day because they know that privatization of Ontario Hydro is something that would enjoy very little or virtually no public support in this province if there were public consultations.

We look forward to the next couple of weeks in dealing with government legislation and then we look forward to consulting the public throughout the summer, and we will be supporting this motion to accommodate that.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Mr Hodgson has moved that, pursuant to standing order 6(b)(i), the House shall continue to meet from 6 pm to 12 midnight on June 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 and 27, 1996, at which time the Speaker shall adjourn the House without motion until the next sessional day.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.



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

Mr Toni Skarica (Wentworth North): I have a few brief comments, but before I commence I'd like to address the remarks made by the leader of the third party regarding Tory backbenchers stringing matters out. I assure you that I have been requested by the House leader to be short and sweet in my remarks, and given my height, I can assure you that only the second part of that request represents any challenge.

The Education Quality and Accountability Office will operate at arm's length from the government. It will evaluate the quality of elementary and secondary education in Ontario and, based on this evaluation, will provide strategies for improvement.

There's a long history of discussion and attempts by previous governments of this House to carry out similar initiatives. To be fair, and the government is always fair, I would like to acknowledge the initiatives of the House leader for the third party with reference to forwarding this act and I would like to commend and congratulate him for his initiatives in that regard.

Bill 30 is good public policy. It is truly non-partisan. I'm proud that the Mike Harris government has succeeded in bringing this bill forward and seeing it through. As Bill 30 moved through the standing committee process, we listened carefully to each presentation at the public hearings -- all members, from all parties.

We heard from representatives of teachers' federations, school boards, supervisory officers, parents, the aboriginal community and other groups. These consultations made Bill 30 a better piece of legislation. For example, it was amended to ensure that the only personal information that the EQAO could disclose would be that expressly permitted under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Of course, the EQAO will liaise with the information and privacy office, using that office's knowledge to ensure the confidentiality of personal information. It is an example, contrary to claims made by the opposition, that this government does listen, does consult and is not afraid to act accordingly.

I would like to express appreciation to all those involved in the hearings for their suggestions. I'm confident that the best possible legislation has come out of this process. To be truly accountable, our education system must provide relevant information on how well schools are teaching and how well students are learning. With this initiative, teachers, parents and students will know what standards of performance to expect and whether Ontario students actually meet these standards.

In establishing the Education Quality and Accountability Office, our government is making a commitment to quality assessment and a long-term investment that will lead to ongoing improvement of student performance and of the entire education system. I hope I've complied with the House leader's request and accordingly thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): I am pleased to speak at third reading on Bill 30, An Act to establish the Education Quality and Accountability Office and to amend the Education Act with respect to the Assessment of Academic Achievement.

I am pleased that we have the opportunity to speak once again about the issue of academic achievement because I believe, as I'm sure most believe, that this is a critical issue. I'm very pleased to see some young people in the galleries today who will hear this debate and how it might affect their future in the classroom and education standards throughout Ontario. We're very pleased to see you. Welcome.

Over the past year there has been really a very frenzied trend in education that has continued, and unfortunately the issue of academic assessment has been overshadowed by the funding crisis brought on by this government's policies and cuts and the debate over the establishment of a college of teachers. That certainly was the case during the limited combined committee hearings for both Bill 30 and Bill 31. I personally find it regrettable that Bill 30 did not receive the attention I think it warranted and should have had. However, I look forward to moving ahead with this new Education Quality and Accountability Office, and I think it will play an important role in our educational system and help to keep quality of learning on track.

Last Sunday I came across an article in my home community of Ottawa. The article was in the Ottawa Sun and it was with regard to the upcoming tests of grade 3 students. I was pleased by the comments made by Joan Green, who is the CEO of the office. She is with us today in the gallery and I am delighted to see her present here, as she was almost every day of the hearings to listen to the suggestions and the ideas that were made by a variety of witnesses that paid testimony to their concerns and thoughts.

Although there still seem to be some wrinkles which the ministry needs to work out in terms of the common curriculum, I know that the standards will be addressed by this particular office. There is certainly a keen understanding, a sense of enthusiasm.

I had the good fortune of meeting with a board member and Ms Green earlier on and received a very thorough and comprehensive briefing on the plans that were there. Frankly, it was a personal education for me and a pleasant one in that I was very impressed with the comprehensive nature of the approach to testing, that this isn't simply multiple choice that will be passed along to students, that the assessment was not only of students but had a relationship to the curriculum and a relationship to the program. Rather, it's an assessment process that is interactive -- it's not just a passive one -- and one in which we know as much about what goes in as about what comes out and how the two relate.

While we can talk about how the public and parents want to know how students are doing, I quite frankly think that they are second to what the students want to know about themselves and how they are doing in relation to other students. I know that students want to achieve, that they do want to learn and that the best thing we can do is provide them with a healthy learning environment that nurtures this desire to learn.

We have to ensure that we involve students as active partners in the learning process and in this manner we can build an education system which truly meets their needs.

Our educational system is not simply about dollars and cents and it's not simply about value for money. It is about quality and it's about accessibility. Accessibility is becoming a more important value as time goes on, when we see some of the educational policies that are being proposed by this government.

In terms of assessment, in short, it's about the achievements of students, ensuring that what we teach and how it is taught are both relevant and effective to future success in life.


I am concerned that the office plans to delay the literacy tests for grade 11 students due to the reforms of the proposed secondary school program, which has yet to surface in its final form. Based on what we have seen so far, such a measure at this time would be highly relevant so that we can assess the impact of the changes to the secondary program which this government plans to bring forward. After all, the work of the office not only will be to measure the achievements of students, but will also encompass the programs and teaching methods themselves. Is this not its true function?

It seems to me that our education system is somewhat under seige from a number of quarters and it's my concern that quality may be the victim in this battle. The changes to junior kindergarten, to adult education, to the funding, to the freeze on capital spending, especially for high-growth areas of the province, place tremendous pressures that increase the very size of our classrooms and therefore make it much more difficult to sustain the quality of program that teachers are attempting to support.

I recently attended a town hall where the impact of the capital freeze was examined. It happened to be in the minister's riding. At the time there were, as you can imagine, some fairly irate parents who were there, some school teachers, a number of principals and trustees. We heard about the stress that this, let alone the shortage of classrooms, is putting on students and on teachers. I believe in that particular area there was a need for 27 new schools. That board doesn't know where these schools will come from, so in the interim of course there will be many portables. Portables are not the ideal situation and they're supposed to be temporary. They certainly do not add to the quality of things.

We know the physical environment impacts on learning, and later on down the road we hope we will get some reaction from the office in terms of its statements as to even the very physical environment in which our students find themselves and how that impacts on their capacity to learn.

It has also been said by some that this government is prepared to use misinformation to undermine confidence in our education system to further its economic agenda. It's bad enough that the Minister of Education uses faulty figures in terms of spending, but I was shocked last week when the minister took aim at students and said that grade 9 students only read at a grade 4 level. I thought: "My gosh, I have missed something here. I have missed some important survey, study or exam." We called the ministry to ask what the reference point was. We are still waiting for what the reference point was and I think we will perhaps wait a long time because I don't think there is a reference point for that.

This is of course completely out of whack with the 1994-95 grade 9 reading and writing tests that most of us in this House concerned about education will have seen. Hopefully, once the office is up and running, it will help to provide some accurate information in a forthright manner for all of us to see, to digest and debate, and hopefully will be the basis on which further policies and resource allocations are made.

In a roundabout way, it is only appropriate that we now have this office to assess quality at a time when this government's action threatens the quality and accessibility of education in Ontario. I don't use those words lightly. Quality is obviously the basis of the whole educational system, but I will remind some of my colleagues on the government side that you will note that the Minister of Education uses the term "accessibility" less and less frequently at this particular stage, because indeed accessibility is more and more a concern. But I am certain that this office will join the Working Group on Education Finance Reform and the long list of studies which recognize, for example, the academic value of junior kindergarten. I look forward to that.

I was very impressed, as I had mentioned already, with the dedication and the commitment of Joan Green and the board members I met and the staff she is assembling. I am confident that they will do a very fine job that will be worthy of the confidence we are bestowing upon them through this office.

Those are my comments on this bill and I shall be pleased to be adding my vote to its passage along with wishing the staff and the board of the new office my sincerest best wishes for their and our students' success.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Questions or comments?

Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): I'm very happy to stand and speak to the comments of the member for Ottawa Centre and particularly to the part of his discussion where he was talking about the quality of work that has gone into devising the system of evaluation. He mentioned Joan Green's name, and those of us who have had the opportunity to work with her and to know her work in the city of Toronto over a number of years, know her sensitivity to the changing and the multicultural needs of children and how those kinds of needs relate to the whole issue of evaluation, have a sense of comfort that someone of her knowledge and experience has been heading up this project.

The member for Ottawa Centre was also very right to point out that a great deal of expertise has gone into the process of looking at evaluation, finding ways in which that evaluation can have a meaningful result in telling those who are teaching children, those who are parents of children and, as he pointed out, children and youth themselves where the areas of weakness are in their learning process, where concentrated effort needs to be put to ensure that the very best opportunity to excel happens for every student.

That was not always the case with evaluation. When the great rage for evaluation and testing first came in, it was basically, as the member described, an issue that was fraught with discriminatory difficulties in terms of gender, race, culture and language. It is very important that only by steadfastly working as we have done in this province over the last six years to devise an appropriate scheme of evaluation can we have confidence that all children will have an equal opportunity.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I want to commend the member on an excellent speech this afternoon on Bill 30. He noted at the beginning, as has the member for London Centre, that some of the original thoughts that were brought forward on testing were not, let's say, as non-political as one might have hoped. It has always been popular to attack the education system and to say that there is no quality in it and that we don't evaluate it. That's why I think it was important to move cautiously and with a good deal of care in bringing forward the legislation. The opposition slowed down the process considerably so that this could happen. There was some committee work that was done on it, which I think was valuable, some addresses that were made to this assembly that probably clarified some of the contents of this legislation.

I also want to commend the member on reminding members of the House of some of the problems that are arising outside of this, with the government making significant cuts to junior kindergarten across the province; eliminating grade 13 for students; tampering with the curriculum once again, involving the teachers in even more paperwork and less teaching, which I've always thought was not of great benefit; a capital freeze that's taking place, which forces students into substandard accommodation in the learning atmosphere that they deal with; and of course the significant cuts to adult education at a time when we're trying to retrain and re-educate and re-equip people to get back into the workforce.

I think the member addressed all those issues, and as he does so often in this House, he expressed himself well on them and contributed significantly to this debate.


The Acting Speaker: Further questions or comments?

Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): It's nice to see you in the chair once again. I'm pleased to respond, to comment. It's trite to think that there's anyone in this Legislature, in the community, who wouldn't want to see an evaluative process, a means whereby we can test the effectiveness.

I know Tony Skarica, parliamentary assistant and the member for Wentworth North, to have a very strong personal commitment to education. I've witnessed that first hand and I've appreciated the work I've seen him do at a very personal level. However, to talk about this process, to talk about Bill 30 in the context of what is the most savage and barbaric of attacks on public education here in Ontario goes well beyond ironic.

In Niagara region alone hundreds of pink slips issued to skilled, competent, committed, qualified teachers, junior kindergarten slashed, and you don't need Bill 30 to tell you what the abolition of junior kindergarten is going to cost our communities and our families and our young people in terms of their futures. We don't need this process to tell us that the slashing of junior kindergarten in virtually every school board and every region of this province is going to carry with it a human cost and an economic cost, that these Tories choose to ignore with disdain, for our young people and their futures and the future of our province and the future of our country.

Here's a government that has no understanding and no appreciation of what quality education means. Here's a Conservative government that is going to trash education for the single, sole purpose of a 30% tax break for their rich friends, people who can afford the private schools. This is privatization. This government's policy on education is privatization.

Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): We're very concerned about what's happening to the quality of education in this province, and certainly accountability. One concern that many people in my area of Oakwood have is that a lot of young and willing teachers, for instance, have been laid off; they've been given their pink slips. I think it's most disgusting that there are young, qualified teachers who are now having to go to Japan to find work as teachers.

Here's a young country like Canada with willing, educated young people who want to make education better in this province. What are we telling them? The government is telling them: "There are no jobs here in education. We're cutting back. We're giving everybody pink slips. We're increasing class size. If you want to be a teacher, you go to Japan and work." They go to Japan and they basically make minimum wage. Is this the kind of Ontario and the kind of education system we want to build, where our most qualified young people, who want to dedicate their lives to giving quality education to children, are forced by this government to go to Japan and other countries?

This is an indictment against what this government has been doing. Our schools will be much better if we give more opportunities to these eager teachers to be part of a new educational system, a new rebirth. Instead, the door is being shut in their faces and they're being kicked out of Ontario, kicked out of Canada and told by this minister, "Go to Japan if you want to be a teacher." This is not what education should be all about in Ontario. We should be bringing in young people and we should be giving them the opportunity to help young children and adult learners be better suited for the workplace.

I support the desire for better quality, and we certainly need to do something about young people being turned away.

The Acting Speaker: The member's time has expired. The member for Ottawa Centre, you may sum up.

Mr Patten: I appreciate the comments the other members have made. The reference to young teachers seems to be an important issue. In relation to this office, I look forward to an independent point of view based on professionalism, based on research, based on the gathering of information that will hold us in good stead in terms of the basis on which we can move forward with our curriculum in the future.

I'm confident, based on what I've seen, that the staff and board members I have met have impressed me most strongly in terms of quality of commitment, their enthusiasm, their attentiveness, as I have observed at the hearings, daily attendance and their willingness to visit and talk to anyone who has a point of view on this particular subject.

I look forward to further opportunities to talk and learn and address some of the areas and especially to see if we can deal with an evaluation of grade 11 at the earliest possible time. I think that would hold us in good stead. I thank the other members for some of their comments as well.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): Thank you, Madam Speaker. It's a pleasure to participate in this debate under your competent direction of the House.

I want to say at the outset that our caucus, the Democratic Party, is in favour of the legislation, that we voted for it at second reading. As has been said by my friend the member for Wentworth North, when we were in government we initiated the work that led to the legislation being introduced and passed in this House. My colleague from Windsor-Riverside was central to that process, and I congratulate him and Ms Green and her staff for the work that has been done to bring us to this point, where we can now see the office coming into effect. I look forward to their work.

All of us recognize the importance of evaluation, the importance for students, for parents, for teachers and for the community to know where we are doing well, where there could be improvement and to determine how we might be able to work together to achieve improvement, what changes might be made, what innovations might be considered, to ensure that we are able to provide our students with every opportunity to achieve and meet their greatest potential as individuals and members of society.

We support this legislation, so you might expect there would be little for us to say unless we want to get into a mutual admiration society, which is not usually the case in this House, but I must say I have a lot of concerns, not about the office or the legislation that is before us, but concerns that have been expressed by myself earlier on a number of occasions.

What really raises them in my mind again today is the question that was raised in question period today, I suspect at the behest of the minister, when the member for Durham East got up and asked what perhaps was a spontaneous question, although it was a little odd that his prepared supplementary question included part of the minister's answer; it sounded to me like they might have colluded in the process. I'm sure that wasn't the case but I'll explain what makes me concerned about that question.

I don't have the verbatim words because the member, who obviously got the written question from the minister, didn't share it with me. I'll have to wait for Hansard to see exactly what he said. As I recall it, he indicated that he wanted to know where we were at with the establishment of the office for evaluation and accountability, because many parents, I think he said, in his constituency wanted to be able to compare how things were going in their school with other schools. This harks back to a very important issue that I've raised and other members have raised during the debate and the discussion around the establishment of this office.


Surely our intent is not to put ourselves into the box of comparing one school to another within a system, or one school in one board to a school in another board. That is not what this is about. What it is about is being able to evaluate how the Ontario public education system is doing in preparing students for life. Surely it is about evaluating how successful the education system is in developing skills that can be tested and determining how those skills should be tested and then being able to evaluate our success.

That is what this is about. It's not about comparing one classroom to another, one school to another, one board to another across Ontario. That is what the press likes to do with these reports. Frankly, in the true sense of the word, without any additional connotations, that is an abuse of a true evaluation and accountability system. It is not the proper use of the information that we should be getting when we test students.

I think there's always a temptation to do that, but what really concerns me is that we would have a member of the party that supports the government in this House get up and ask what was obviously a question prepared for him by somebody in the minister's office or in the ministry which demonstrates a misunderstanding of what we're doing here. I have no problem with the minister wanting a backbencher to ask him a question. That's fine. I have no problem with that. But surely such a question should demonstrate what the government really is about. If this question demonstrates what the government is about in establishing this office, then Ms Green and her staff have got a lot of problems ahead of them.

If the question -- and I perhaps shouldn't impute motives; I know that's against the rules -- was truly a spontaneous question from the member for Durham East, then surely the member for Durham East does misunderstand what is happening and what is proposed. If that's the case, then surely in his response the minister should have clarified the purpose of the legislation, but the minister didn't. So I'm worried, because when we in this caucus support this legislation it's not to enable somebody in Durham East to compare one school to another. That's not what this is about. So I hope that at some point during this debate we can have that clarified.

I also want to raise some concerns about the context in which we are passing this legislation. I am particularly concerned that the previous government established a number of levels during a student's school career when the student would be tested. This government has cut back on that for financial reasons. To save funds, the government is saying they won't be testing as often as the previous government intended.

I'm not necessarily wedded just to one number of tests or period of general tests across the system. But if there is a reason for changing, either decreasing or increasing, the number of times when we test, surely the reason should be pedagogical, it should be based on the proper ways to evaluate and theory about evaluation, not just fiscal considerations, not simply saving money.

It's a cliché, I suppose, to say that our youth is too important for us to be making decisions simply on the basis of saving money, but I really do believe it. So if I'm accused of believing in a cliché, I guess I do.

Then there's the wider context of what is happening in education today. It is truly ironic, and other members have commented on this, that we are passing this legislation at the time when we have a government in place that is exerting the most serious attack on public education in Ontario that we have ever experienced in the post-war period. Under previous Conservative regimes, education was the most important -- going back to the Leslie Frost period when I think the Ministry of Highways was the largest portion of the budget at that time. Subsequent to that, under Robarts and Davis, education was the top level of expenditure of the provincial government. It exceeded health care. Of course, when we brought in the health care system, the medicare system, that changed. But under Bill Davis and then subsequent governments, Liberal and NDP, education has remained one of the largest portions of the budget that any government has had.

I know you don't necessarily measure importance simply on the size of expenditure, but this is a government, the first government in 40 years, that has decided it is going to take, holus-bolus, across the board, millions of dollars out of the education system and the chips can fall where they may. The party that was elected on June 8 said they were going to make savings in education, they were going to make cuts in education, so I'm not arguing that they shouldn't be doing this. They got elected on the basis they were going to make cuts.

But the second thing they said in their promise about education in the election campaign was that the cuts would not affect the classroom. They said in their so-called Common Sense Revolution document that the classroom would be exempt from cuts, and yet the minister has announced $400 million to come out of education in one year. Annualized, he admits that means $800 million towards $1 billion in one year. Everybody involved in education, with an interest in education in Ontario, understands that nobody can take that kind of money out of education in one year and not affect the classroom. It is impossible.

We get these silly, silly comments about 2%, that $400 million is 2% of the total amount spent by the provincial government and boards. It's true. It is 2% to 3%, but it is over 16% of the general legislative grants, and anybody who represents a rural riding in this province or a northern Ontario riding in particular, or separate school boards, will understand that assessment-poor boards are dependent on those general legislative grants in order to be able to provide any kind of equity in education in this province.

The problem we have is that we have an argument -- and the minister and his parliamentary assistant have both agreed that this is the problem -- in this province among boards, between boards and the provincial government, the ministry and within this assembly about how we define what is classroom expenditure and what is administrative expenditure. I agree with my friend the member for Wentworth North, we do need some basic figures that everybody agrees upon so we can have a legitimate discussion about this issue. But unfortunately, at this point, we don't. Perhaps, when we go through education finance reform, we may come up with one; I hope at least we achieve that.


The problem we've got is that we have a government that is dependent on its report by John Sweeney which said that 47% of boards' expenditures take place outside the classroom. And the government says, "Well, 47% is outside the classroom and we're only taking a total of 2% to 3% out of the total expenditure, so surely any board should be able to make those kinds of savings outside of the classroom." It's such a silly argument because John Sweeney included prep time, he included vice-principals, principals, special-ed teachers, special assistants. All those things are outside the classroom, as if giving a student extra help who needs extra help is outside the classroom.

If you want to put everything, including the kitchen sink, into it and say that's outside the classroom, well, sure, you can come up with a big figure, but what does it mean for the value and equity in education? What does it mean for the value of the education of our kids? I'm worried.

Other members have pointed out what is happening. We're seeing, as a result of this, that boards are laying off unprecedented numbers of teachers. That usually means that the youngest teachers go because we don't as yet have any kind of agreement on an early retirement plan. What does that mean for the quality of education? We need a mix in our education system of experienced teachers and newer teachers who have enthusiasm and new ideas to benefit the system. If we have all of the younger teachers shut out, that hurts the system.

With more teachers being laid off, we're going to see attempts by boards to negotiate or to establish larger class sizes. More kids in the classroom doesn't necessarily mean poorer quality education, I agree, but if it also means that you're having more students in a classroom at the same time you're trying to integrate kids who have special needs and you don't provide the special-needs assistance, it's going to be very difficult for the teacher to meet the needs of the individual kids. I hope this office will be able to start to evaluate that kind of an effect on education.

We've seen at least 26 boards eliminate junior kindergarten even though the minister himself admits that all of the studies indicate that a good early childhood education program will benefit every student, not just students in disadvantaged backgrounds, but it certainly will benefit them. It will benefit every student throughout her or his educational career and even later on in life. More graduate, fewer drop out, more get into post-secondary education programs, more graduate from them, more get good jobs, fewer have unwanted pregnancies, fewer get involved with crime, fewer drop out. The studies all indicate that.

So what do we have? We have a government that when it was in opposition ran on making junior kindergarten optional and said, "Okay, we're going to make it an option," but at the same time they make it an option, they take $400 million out and they change the formula for funding junior kindergarten. So it's not really an option for a lot of boards. For those few boards in isolate communities in northern Ontario that might be able to continue the program without increasing taxes, because most isolate boards get most of their money from the provincial government, the Ministry of Education tells them, "Well, if you're going to continue junior kindergarten, you've got to increase your taxes by 5%." This is a government that says it's interested in the quality of education and puts this bill before the House.

We've seen the decimation of adult education programs forcing adults into continuing education programs despite all of the evidence that the legislative committee had from teachers and students that good-quality adult education programs were helping adults who had dropped out of school to get back into the education system, to go on to post-secondary education or on to the workplace and be productive.

This is also being brought before the House in the context of future plans that this government has for education. Not only are they taking money out and predicting they're going to take more money out next year; they're talking about charter schools and privatization.

Some people would say: "Why not charter schools? It's been tried in the United States; it's being tried in Alberta. Maybe that's a good idea as a way of improving the quality of education for some students." Well, most charter school programs that have been proposed are simply a way of providing private education at public expense, a way of keeping disadvantaged kids out of a school and avoiding people from other neighbourhoods coming into a school. We have seen these kinds of things in the United States, and they are not healthy for education and for society.

We have also seen the experiments in the United States on privatization, and they're abject failures. There, where testing was done, the test results had to be fudged because the students did so poorly. When that was discovered and when it was also discovered that it was actually costing the taxpayers more money, not less, with poorer-quality education, the experiments were discontinued.

Hopefully, this office will be able to guard against that kind of thing as this government goes on hell-bent with its changes, its so-called reforms in education, and through testing and proper evaluation can provide us with some warnings when we aren't going in the right direction and give us some signals as to which directions we should be headed in. I hope so.

But I do find it ironic that we would be bringing this legislation before the House at a time when the government is decimating education programs in this province.

I do admit I have some bias here. I'm a former educator. My wife is a teacher.

Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton): It's a conflict.

Mr Wildman: You will argue that it's a conflict. I suppose most of us have a conflict because we are parents; I'm a parent. But I think all of us are elected because we care about our communities and to deal with matters on education because we care about kids and the future of our society.

Whether we are former trustees or former teachers or people who haven't been involved in the education system at all, most of us are parents and most of us have come into contact with the education system through that process as well as our own academic careers.

All of us have concerns about the need for reform in education. Some of those may lead to more efficiencies and greater savings. Hopefully, they will also make the system more accountable to the people, to the students and to the community. I hope that in passing this legislation we're not setting up an office that will not be able to do what it was intended to do when it was first conceived.

I call on the government to increase the funding that is required for the proper evaluation and testing, to meet the commitments that were originally proposed by the previous government and most of all I urge the members of the Conservative Party in this House not to just take the numbers that have been thrown out there and repeat them over and over again about 2% to 3%, administrative expenditures, out-of-classroom expenditures, exempting the classroom, without actually testing them themselves.

Go into the schools, find out what's happening in your own communities in your schools, find out if class sizes are being increased, find out if kids with special needs are going to have more difficulty getting those needs met. Find out before you vote on some of the bills that are before us.


The Acting Speaker: Questions or comments?

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): I want to make a couple of comments on what the member was saying as to why these tests are taking place.

Quite frankly, I believe that parents, teachers and educators all want to make sure that we have an equal quality of education around this province, that the education in Sault Ste Marie is going to be the same as the education in Kingston; pick any number of cities, any number of schools within a jurisdiction.

Over the last number of years there's been a fear that perhaps there isn't an equal quality of education around this province. That's why, generally speaking, most of us in this House -- I hope all of us in this House -- will support the philosophy of this bill, which will determine whether the education in one area or one school is different from another. One school may have a higher quality for whatever reason. Both schools may be of high quality, but one may be higher than another.

Quite frankly, I was concerned with some of the comments that were being made by the member as to the reason why this testing is being promoted. Certainly I hope it will help us understand the quality of education in this province and, to use the minister's words in answering a question this afternoon, how students measure up.

I think it's very important for us to know, as parents, as taxpayers, as citizens, as legislators, how students do measure up. One way, and there may be others, is to test our students to determine how they're doing from school to school. I hope the member clarifies that in his two-minute response as to what he meant in his comments.

Mr Patten: I don't disagree with anything the member for Algoma said. I know he has a strong background in this area and a great interest and has participated in this throughout the committee hearings as well. There was a wide-ranging variety of points he did make; I'd like to touch on two.

I concur of course with the context in which this bill is put in, but I would like to address the issue of the cutback of the program from what was originally proposed, and that would be the testing for grade 9.

Any of you who are young enough to hear the Barenaked Ladies, it's me here in grade 9 and what that means. Grade 9 is a very interesting period of time for young people. It is usually a time of maturity and teenagers going through puberty, engaging with the opposite sex. In terms of their relationships, they're learning how to cope with new visions, new feelings etc.

It seems to me that especially that period of tumultuous late adolescence and early teenage years is a special time that needs to not be forgotten. When we go from grade 6 to grade 11, there are a lot of important years in there, a lot of things happening, and I know that given the quality of the people in the office, they will find a way to strengthen the capacity. While it may simply be sample testing at the beginning, the evaluation of the whole measurement system will hopefully confirm that and that that will be strengthened as time goes on.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I stand to support the comments made by my colleague the member for Algoma and make some remarks around the particular bill, briefly, and around other things the member for Algoma has said.

We support the bill with respect to the establishment of the Education Quality and Accountability Office, in particular as it relates to the evaluation of the effectiveness of elementary and secondary school education and assessing the academic achievement of elementary and secondary school pupils. Nobody has disputed that, but the member for Algoma has touched on many other important things as well.

We're happy that at least this government has decided not to dismantle Bill 30 in its entirety or to touch it whatsoever. We think that's an achievement they can allude to in the future by saying, "We have done something." We at least give them credit for keeping that. But as they have done that, and we look at everything else, much of what they are doing is to destroy, in my view, much of what we value in education.

When you take approximately $1 billion away from education, it's going to hurt. It hurts because what boards need to do to deal with the cuts is fire teachers, and firing teachers of course adds to the unemployment crisis we've got. It increases class sizes, which makes it more difficult for the teacher to teach the student. Eliminating JK -- and believe it or not, you have done that, not boards of education, because when you don't give them the money to do it, it means the boards will not be able to afford that. You're dealing with a problem here. You have said to the teachers and to those students that you're not interested in establishing equity and equality for all students, because we know they don't come equal into the educational system. JK would have helped with that.

When you say that 47% of those costs are non-educational, you need to understand what you're talking about, because I don't think you know what you're talking about.

Mrs Julia Munro (Durham-York): It is a pleasure to speak to this bill. Other members have recognized the importance of this bill. We're talking about accountability and equity as well as mobility. Being able to move from one place in the province to another and expect to have the same kind of program in place is something I think all Ontario parents and their children deserve.

I'd also like to comment on the fact that in this province we have thousands of excellent teachers who have provided programs for the children. One of the opportunities that this provides is to use the resources and programs teachers have, to take advantage of their expertise in providing this program and the kind of testing we have here today.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Algoma, would you like to sum up?

Mr Wildman: I want to thank members for their comments and their attention. I'll quickly try to respond. I think the member from Dufferin-Peel essentially raised the issue again that I was trying to respond to in response to the member for Durham East's question at the beginning of my remarks. We want to know how students measure up, but we've got to ensure that when we are comparing we are not comparing apples with oranges. We have to ensure that when we are saying that Ontario students are doing this well as compared to students from other provinces, we are comparing the same kinds of students. We're not doing as is sometimes done in other jurisdictions, foreign jurisdictions, where they don't include all of the students, they only include some. We want to ensure that we're properly measuring. That's what I was referring to. I don't think it's very helpful if we are looking at just one school as opposed to another because we may be dealing with different kinds of students. It's better to perhaps look at the overall picture and say: "All right. Are we serving students from this background well across the province or are we not?" That's what I was referring to.


The member for Ottawa Centre talked about the period of raging hormones and the need to have proper evaluation of students at the grade 9 level considering all of the pressures that they are facing. I agree with that. I don't think we should be jumping from grade 6 to grade 11 without proper testing, and we certainly shouldn't be doing that simply for fiscal reasons.

I again emphasize to the member for Durham-York that we can only use teachers' expertise if those teachers are actually teaching, and it's unfortunate that so many of them are being laid off. We can only use the expertise of special education teachers if they're teaching rather than being laid off and the special needs of students are not being met.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Bradley: I will make a couple of remarks on this bill. I had a chance to do it for two minutes, but I'll take a few more minutes. I won't take half an hour on this.

Mr Tilson: Take 30.

Mr Bradley: I was invited by the member for Dufferin-Peel to take 30, so I'll try not to do that.

I simply want to touch on what the preoccupation is with this bill. There's obviously going to be a consensus that the bill is going to pass this afternoon, as are a number of other bills. The government whip nods as I say that.

Some issues that I thought would be addressed in this bill were not addressed, and those issues include the loss of classroom teachers. While some kind of reference to accountability and so on and an appropriate kind of testing for diagnostic purposes for the system and to assist students was probably in the platform of the government, as it was in the platform of the previous government and probably in the platform of the Liberal Party, there were a number of other components I thought would have appeared in this bill.

One of the concerns I have has been expressed this afternoon -- the number of classroom teachers we are losing, the number of front-line workers, because I remember hearing during the campaign that there would be no effect on the classroom of any cuts that were made. Yet I see hundreds of teachers, teachers' assistants and others in the education system across the province who are being turfed out the door as the result of drastic cutbacks in the funding of education by the provincial government. Most of them would say to you that they would understand that there has to be some trimming to be done and efficiencies to be brought about. That's fine; most people would agree with that, even some of those who are affected.

They're concerned about how quickly the government is moving, how drastically the government is moving and the fact that it's moving to meet the tax cut: In other words, the tax cut is --

Mr Beaubien: Did you get yours, Jim?

Mr Bradley: I was asked if I had mine. I don't know if I have a tax cut yet. I would prefer to not have had it. I would prefer to have people who are in the classroom teaching our children and I would prefer to have health care services in the province, to give the opportunity for everyone to participate in that way.

Mr Garry J. Guzzo (Ottawa-Rideau): Give it back, Jim.

Mr Bradley: I hadn't heard that the president of the bank was giving back his multi-thousand-dollar tax break that would be forthcoming, or that others in that high income bracket who will benefit the most, the people who attend your fund-raisers over there --

Mr Beaubien: I thought you were talking about education, Jim.

Mr Bradley: I was trying to talk about education. The member for Lambton asked if I was talking about education. I was interrupted by the member for Ottawa-Rideau and I felt that I could not let his remarks get on the record without making some response to them.

I would prefer that you not hand this tax cut back until such time as you have the budget balanced so that you don't have to borrow some additional $13 billion to give me and others in the province money back. I would prefer that you keep the money, address the deficit problems, keep the quality of services we have in this province until such time as the budget is balanced, and then if you wish to proceed with a tax cut at that time that would be an initiative you could look at.

I look around and I know, particularly with the difficulties that many students face in the social milieu in which we live today, those students face different circumstances and the teachers who must deal with the problems in the classroom, deal with them in new circumstances. Far more social problems have to be addressed today than when most members of this Legislature went to school. Unfortunately, many of our vintage think of school as it was when we were in school, as opposed to the reality we face today.

There are more students who require the assistance of special education. I wish it were not so; it is so. We have integrated into the regular classroom now students who are challenged mentally and physically, students who were segregated in years gone by, some institutionalized in years gone by, who are now part of the regular classroom. But that requires some additional assistance by teacher assistants in that classroom and when the government cuts its funding, that disappears and the teacher then has to contend with students who have far more problems than the teacher can deal with, while dealing with the rest of the classroom.

I look at the disappearance of grade 13. I've always thought that our students in our province -- and I was proud of this -- I think it was the Robarts plan, then the Davis plan, that we had a grade 13 because our students seemed to be better prepared going into university than those in other provinces. The opportunity's still there, the option is still there even today for those students who are able to do so or who wish to do so to proceed through in four years. For others, the five-year requirement was certainly realistic -- the OACs, as they called them, the academic credits. I think many of those people will miss that opportunity.

I lament the freeze on capital; for people who watch this, that means on the building programs that take place. I'm not saying we have to build all kinds of new schools, though Heaven knows some of the developments that you're allowing, particularly under your changes to the planning legislation, are going to bring about a need for far more schools. I have got my letter again from the people in Beamsville who now need an expanded school. Why do they need an expanded school? Because we're allowing subdivisions in Beamsville, which is a little, rural town, for people who live in Toronto so they can have cheaper housing and simply use Beamsville as a bedroom community.

That has happened and every time you change your legislation to allow for more urban sprawl, the pressure is going to be on the Minister of Education to provide more capital for more schools. In some cases it's justified; in other cases there are other solutions that could be found.

We have adult education. I have been in those adult education classes. I know the people who are there are often at a disadvantage from others. They are older people, they're not the young people coming through the system. Some of them have been able to get back into the workforce -- a good many of them, in fact -- because of the upgrading of their skills, upgrading of their education or the re-education or reskilling that takes place within that milieu.

I see cutbacks in that area and I know that means more people are going to be left out of that workforce, or at least unable to compete as others might. There's a game as a child we all remember called Pin the Tail on the Donkey. The donkey in this case is at Queen's Park, as opposed to the individuals within the school system.

What you've succeeded in doing -- and again, it gets back to the theme I mentioned earlier of intimidation -- is you've got the people in favour of junior kindergarten fighting with the people in favour of secondary education or adult education, you've got the teachers fighting with the boards of education, you've got the boards of education fighting with the boards of education, you've got the parents fighting with the trustees, all over the level of funding and the services that could be provided when in fact the blame lies here at Queen's Park in Toronto with the Minister of Education and the government of Ontario. Instead, we have dissent and argumentative discussion taking place at the local level and the blame is placed on the trustees when they cannot provide those services.

I was disappointed this bill didn't deal with that, but it didn't deal with it. It dealt instead with another matter related to testing and, as I mentioned previously in a two-minute remark period, I think the advantage we have now is that we have taken more time to deal with this legislation and though it may not be to the liking of everyone, it is a better piece of legislation as a result of the committee work, as a result of the debate, as a result of the consultation, than it might otherwise have been.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Derwyn Shea): Questions or comments?

Mr Colle: Hearing the member for St Catharines brought to mind this weekend the importance of teachers, and sometimes we forget because we're looking at the bottom line and the contributions they make. This Sunday -- the member for St Andrew-St Patrick was there -- was the 75th anniversary of Holy Rosary school. There was a very interesting former principal, Sister Enid Selke. She's the daughter of the famous Frank Selke, the founder of the modern Montreal Canadiens hockey team. Sister Enid, the former principal, is in her mature years and is still contributing to the youth of this province. She is now, as a senior citizen, working out of Kapuskasing in northern Ontario, reaching out to youth and young people. There is that dedication of these teachers we shouldn't forget.

In terms of what the member said about our schools needing some support, they're not perfect, but they prepare a lot of students well for university. In my own case this weekend, I was fortunate enough to have my son graduate from McGill. He's a product of the Ontario school system and he matched up, despite his father's line, with students from right across North America. Also, in terms of our high schools, I was very lucky to have my daughter accepted to the Ontario College of Art just yesterday. The high school system in Metropolitan Toronto prepared her well for that.

The point is that the school systems we have here in Ontario are certainly in need of support and of improvement, and perhaps this bill will help to do that, but we can't forget that we still have a pretty decent school system, whether it be at the elementary, the secondary or the university level. Let's not lose sight of that as we go through this exercise.

Mr Marchese: I know that the member for St Catharines supports Bill 30 and has spoken in support of its intent, but he has raised other concerns that I support as well. Part of that is to articulate to some members on the other side that there aren't 47% of costs that are non-educational. There is no such thing.

In the Toronto board, where I was a trustee for eight years, 78% of our budget is for teachers' salaries, which clearly leaves 22% for so many other things we do that very much connect to the classroom. I am convinced that when the other members hear that educational assistants are part of that budget, they will say we need them because they support the special-education teacher and so many other teachers in the classroom where they assist teachers in doing their jobs more effectively. I am convinced that they wouldn't say: "It's tough luck. We simply have to fire more educational assistants." I am convinced that they wouldn't argue that social workers are there, yes, but they are not teachers and they are not important, that once you tell them the social workers contribute to the education of those children and make it possible for teachers and students to have a better understanding of how we're solving those problems, they would say, "Surely we can't cut there."

That's what we're talking about. We're talking about cutting in areas where educational assistants, social workers, inner-city programs that we provide are there to help the regular classroom teacher and that they make an important contribution towards the education of that student. They can't go on for too long saying that the system in Ontario is fat and we need to continue to cut, because you're cutting in those areas where they make an important contribution towards the classroom teacher and that student.

Mr Tilson: Just a few comments with respect to what the member for St Catharines has said as to cuts, and the debate here has gone a long way from where we originally started off, which had to do with the Education Quality and Accountability Office and what it intends to do to improve education in this province.

Whatever we're doing in this province, this government, the past government, the Liberal government, there have been some problems in the past, and the public is clearly concerned as to the direction we're going in: many of the initiatives of the Minister of Education that I hope you will support. You're supporting this one; at least you say you are.

With respect to the cuts that are being made by school boards -- some have announced the pink slips and then withdrawn them -- in most school boards across this province, at least in my riding, the cuts are 2%, and under 2% in the north part of my riding. I cannot understand why a school board can't reduce its administration by under 2%. We're talking about delivering a service. The Peel board actually was going to get rid of busing. People in Caledon got all up in arms, and fortunately they changed their mind; people really had no way of getting their children to schools, and they were going to do away with busing. They said: "Oh, let the municipality look after busing. We're not going to look after it any more."

Some decisions that are being made by the school boards certainly give us in government a lot of concern. We're concerned about the quality of education in the classroom, and the promises we made during the last election have not changed one iota. We intend to protect education in the classroom and reduce, in fact eliminate, the waste that's going on around the outside.

Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): It's my pleasure to comment on the speech given by the member for St Catharines. I support all the comments he made.

I have to comment, though, on the priority level that's set by this government, where education is concerned, and I'd like the minister to pay particular attention to Sacred Heart school in LaSalle. This is a school that I tend to mention often because it's a predicament of most schools across Ontario that are seeing an increased level of portables. Where exactly is the minister's priority? He spends much time bringing forward bills, and some of them certainly good things, but very basic necessity is being neglected. It's like Maslow's hierarchy. You have to meet very basic needs in education before you can even think of moving yourself up the hierarchy.

I've got to tell the minister, while I've written to him, while I await his response, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr Joe Carty, the principal of Sacred Heart, over the weekend, and I was pleased to have an opportunity to take some photos, which I will send over to the minister, to show him the holes in the floor, the holes in the wall, the water damage in this particular portable, the ceiling stains from water leaking through the trailer. To think that children are being educated in this kind of environment. Frankly, the director of the Essex county Catholic board, Mr Ron Reddam, is doing the very best he can to serve the needs of children, but ultimately a moratorium on capital expense in some high-growth areas is simply unacceptable. I need to drive the point home with the minister.

I would appreciate that he take a look, revisit the priorities he sets in education. Very basic needs for children, and their school needs, across Ontario are simply not being met by this overuse of portables and in many cases the poor condition of portables.

Mr Bradley: I appreciate the input from each of the members. I was a bit surprised that none of them mentioned what is happening to those schools that serve the disabled individuals in our province. These are schools such as the Niagara Peninsula Children's Centre. At this time the Niagara Peninsula Children's Centre is under the threat of losing its present state of governance.

Its present state of governance allows it to have a special board of education for these children, many of whom have multiple disabilities and are educated in a school called the Niagara Peninsula Children's Centre. They are brought from all around the Niagara Peninsula to this school to be appropriately served.

I know that regardless of what recommendations will be brought forward by anyone, since this government ultimately has the decision-making within its own hands, it will resist any temptation to change the governance of those schools because ultimately it's the children themselves and how they're served that is most important. While this bill does not deal with that, I hope that among the items to be dealt with in this House is an assurance coming from the Minister of Education that the Niagara Peninsula Children's Centre and other schools -- there are a few of that kind in the province -- would not have their governance changed, because what is in place now is serving those children so very well.

I know that the word "conservative" suggests that one would preserve that which is best for the future, that which has served us well in the past, and I implore the government, through these few words, to maintain the present governance at the Niagara Peninsula Children's Centre.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion. Agreed? Agreed.



Mr Snobelen moved third reading of the following bill:

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

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I rise today to speak on Bill 31, an Act to establish the Ontario College of Teachers. Bill 31, now in front of us for third reading, speaks to the public's request for professional accountability and quality in our education system. It is part of this government's strategy to provide Ontario students with a professional, accountable, effective and high-quality education system. The Ontario College of Teachers will allow the teaching profession to become self-governing and self-regulating, with significant public accountability.

With this legislation, teachers will finally be able to join their contemporaries in 31 other professions with a professional college that recognizes that teaching is an important public trust. There's a long history of discussion and attempts by previous governments of this House to establish --

Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): He doesn't recognize that teachers are important.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Derwyn Shea): The member for Welland-Thorold, I would ask you to be a little more in order.

Hon Mr Snobelen: It's fine, Mr Speaker. Thank you for the interruption, but empty vessels make a lot of noise and I'm somewhat used to that, having sat here for this time now.

There's a long history of discussion and attempts by previous governments of this House to establish similar bodies. I note the Liberal red book endorsement of a college of teachers and I acknowledge --


Hon Mr Snobelen: The member opposite might want to be quiet just for a moment while I say this, perhaps. I'd like to acknowledge the member for Windsor-Riverside for his initiation of the college. I'm sure he'll be glad that his colleagues spoke out during the time of his acknowledgement here in the House.

During the hearings on the Ontario College of Teachers Act, the committee heard from several groups about the positive results of similar colleges in British Columbia and Scotland, in particular the improvements that were generated in teacher education programs. We heard strong support from parents, trustees and other groups for the public representation and accountability measure in the bill. A number of amendments to Bill 31 which improve the legislation were approved in the standing committee.

There will now be a fitness to practice committee, separate from the discipline committee, to deal with members suffering from a physical or mental condition or disorder which may cause incapacity to practice. We recognize that it's fairer to individual teachers if we separate the disciplinary function which applies to professional misconduct and incompetence from situations where a teacher suffers from a physical or mental condition.

It is now clear in the bill that elected members of the college will form the majority on the executive committee --

Mr Kormos: What does he say to teachers in Niagara? He has seen their pink slips. No classrooms.

Hon Mr Snobelen: -- registration committee, investigation committee, discipline committee and fitness to practice committee. Although the college will be permitted --

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The member for Welland-Thorold is completely out of control.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): That's his job, not yours. Sit down.

Mr Tilson: I'm saying I'm sitting two seats over and I can't hear because of the comments, his shouting continuously throughout his speech. I quite frankly feel that he should be warned.

Mr Kormos: This government isn't fighting for better education.

Mr Tilson: He won't even allow me to continue on my point of order.

The Acting Speaker: I thank the member for his intervention. I have asked the member for Welland-Thorold to exercise more personal discipline in the House. I think he is attempting to, and I'll allow the debate to continue.

Mr Terence H. Young (Halton Centre): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I'm using my earphone, and I still can't hear the minister speak, due to the ruckus from the member for Welland-Thorold.

The Acting Speaker: Minister, please continue.

Hon Mr Snobelen: If I can be permitted a bit of an aside, a moment or two ago the member for Welland-Thorold quit for just a moment blathering on, and the silence distracted me. I will go forward now.

Although the college will be permitted to collect the information it requires to fulfil its mandate, privacy considerations will be respected. The legislation includes penalty for breach of confidentiality.

I would like to express appreciation to all involved for their suggestions. In particular, I'd like to thank my parliamentary assistant Toni Skarica and all other members of the House who participated in the standing committee on social development hearings. I am confident that the best possible legislation has come out of this process.

With this initiative, teachers, parents and students will know what standards of performance to expect and whether they are being met. At last Ontario's teachers will have a professional, self-regulatory governing body. It's a milestone for --

Mr Kormos: You are gutting education in this province.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Order. The member for Welland-Thorold will come to order. There will be an opportunity for him to speak when all will listen, I would hope. Minister.

Hon Mr Snobelen: I'm sure that all the people of Ontario will look forward to hearing the member for Welland-Thorold speak.

This is a milestone --

Mr Kormos: No one wants this guy.

Hon Mr Snobelen: Mr Speaker, it's difficult to include these remarks with the member for Welland-Thorold being so out of order.

The Speaker: The member for Welland-Thorold will not be warned again to keep order. Minister.

Hon Mr Snobelen: Thank you again, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kormos: How am I going to explain this to --

The Speaker: Order. I will ask the member for Welland-Thorold -- I will have to name the member -- if he would please leave the chamber. Sergeant at Arms.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): The minister creates a crisis --


Mr Marchese: The crisis is over there.

The Speaker: The member for Fort York will come to order.

Mr Kormos was escorted from the chamber.

Hon Mr Snobelen: I hope that the theatrics we've just witnessed in this House don't diminish in any way the milestone that has been reached with this bill in accepting teachers as a professional body in the province of Ontario. I think it's important to people in the teaching profession, it's important to parents and most particularly it's important to students. It is my pleasure to bring this to third reading today.

The Speaker: Any comments or questions? Further debate.

Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this bill, the revised version, which the House is of course now considering. I would like to say at the outset that I believe the representations we had at the hearings, although the hearings were limited in time and mobility to a degree, I honestly think we were able to receive a substantial amount of valuable advice on the makeup of this College of Teachers.

I regret, on a personal basis, that the revised bill which we have before us fails to measure up to the many excellent and honest recommendations put forward by those who appeared before the committee. Unfortunately, Bill 31 still reflects, in my opinion, the adversarial approach which this government's grand planners have towards the teaching profession. It continues in the spirit of us versus them, and I regret that. There's a certain mentality that's at work in resisting certain recommendations, so it makes little room for consensus building, or what I would call the opportunity for good partnership building.


I continue to support the principle and the concept of a College of Teachers, a college which in its fullest sense would be a self-regulating body that will enhance the teaching profession and the quality of education for our children through partnerships, cooperation and trust. I do not support a model which moves from an adversarial basis and is built somewhat on a lack of trust, and that is what this bill offers us.

I recognize that it is inevitable that Ontario will have a College of Teachers. In fact, that has been widely accepted. Many of the teachers' federations and affiliates presented to the committee with that as an underlying reality, choosing to offer recommendations on how to improve upon the final model. However, it is unfortunate that as a result of its large majority, the government will pass whatever version of a College of Teachers that it wishes. It has the voting power to do that, without any regard to the tone that it is establishing in this fledgling college proposal.

My comments today will not be long. I have made my views known during both second reading and the committee. I simply want to comment on what I believe to be the failure that is exemplified in this proposal and the failure of the government side to use the committee hearing as a vehicle to make significant progress in establishing a College of Teachers that had the support of all interested parties, and I refer specifically to the teachers, but I would like to make reference to three issues: (1) the representation on the governing council; (2) the aboriginal representation; and (3) the protection of privacy.

One of the overriding concerns of teachers with regard to this particular model, and I share that view, is the composition of the governing council of the college itself, for it seems to me that if the college is truly to be a self-regulating body for the profession of teaching -- and we are talking about the teaching of elementary and secondary school students here -- it should go without saying that teachers who are practising in the classroom or teaching in the classroom should have a majority of the seats around the table at the council.

It seems simple enough, and of course we should have other interested parties represented. Representation, I agree, should not be exclusive to the teachers themselves, but I must share with you that I was disappointed by the adversarial approach taken by some -- and I will say not all of the government members -- in terms of a number of members from the government side who made representation on the committee in terms of the issue of representation, and I come at this from the vantage point of trust.

I would, however, like to point out that I thought that there was an excellent intervention by the member for Etobicoke West. I frankly admired his courage and his strength of conviction in coming to the committee to share his views on the representation issue. I'd like to read part of what he had to say, and I direct this in particular to the members on the government side. The member was speaking to an amendment before the committee which I had made which would have ensured that classroom teachers had a clear majority on the council. The member for Etobicoke West said:

"We will be showing that we will trust their judgement and will vest with them that judgement. We always have the opportunity to say: `Listen, you screwed up. You messed up. You didn't handle this responsibility well and we're going to take it back.' But until they prove that, I'm not prepared to say you're not competent enough to govern your profession in the same way that other professionals govern theirs."

The similar point was made by the member for Wellington, whom I also appreciated for his insights and his forethought. He spoke in the House on that issue at second reading and he also came to the committee and presented his views. Unfortunately, their views fell on deaf ears among the government representatives on the committee; at least, they did not indicate a willingness to seriously consider these views, even though they came from all sides of the House.

An additional question of worry, I suppose, related to the representation on the council, which was enunciated several times. One of the arguments was that the federations would hijack the work of the college if practising teachers were in a majority. I think that was unfortunate. It was pointed out that this was a big concern. We had a teleconference arrangement with a couple of board members and the executive director of the BC teachers' federation, and we asked them that question. They said unequivocally that, yes, that was a concern at the beginning, and the representation is far more generous in terms of practising teachers on their council. They said it has not been an issue at all at this particular stage. So it was an unfounded concern and one that is not based on evidence from any other experience that we were able to determine.

The comments from the member for Etobicoke West, I think, put that in context, as he pointed out that the minister had the opportunity, and would still have the opportunity, to pull back something, redirect, or indeed instruct the council if something goes awry, and if it is not working out in terms of the intents or the objects of the college, then that option would always be there. But I truly believe that if you give a professional body a self-regulating opportunity, they will respond responsibly and that they would not want to be seen as just being manipulated by the federations per se. This is a completely different set of responsibilities and I believe the teachers would respond accordingly and take this very seriously. That can be said about most things that are created, of course; that there is a degree of trust that you must have.

I refer back to a comment made by the former Premier of Ontario, Premier Davis, when he said, "No model should go forward without the enthusiastic support of the teaching profession." I know that has been cited many times.

While you know there is some resistance throughout the federations and the OTF, there is, as I said earlier, some acknowledgement that, "All right, if this is going ahead, then at least let's get it right" -- the sentiments I believe of many of the federations. They had done a lot of homework; they had made numerous presentations, and they were prepared to work with us as a committee to arrive at a solution, to see even a minor amount of movement made.

If you believe in what Premier Davis said, and I do, I think it's important that we're talking about a self-regulating body of practising teachers. It's not there right now; it is not there in this bill. The NDP, which put forward the idea, and the formulation of the implementation committee, in my opinion had the wisdom -- after having heard and listened to some of the representations, they even changed their minds and demonstrated a degree of flexibility on trying to accommodate and provide for a truly self-regulating body of practising teachers. They could have stuck to it and said, "Well, they are our recommendations; therefore, we won't make any changes," but they did, and I applaud them for that. They showed flexibility and they showed I think a capacity to listen, to hear and respond accordingly.

This was not supported by the government side, nor was an amendment which recognized and acknowledged that the overall number of 31, the size of the council, be acknowledged and that 17 are elected. Fine, but it recommended a movement of two people. In the grand scheme of things, this is in my opinion a symbol of the issue of the college -- two people; that those two people are from the practising profession. In other words, they're engaged by a school board as teachers, which can still accommodate the recommendations, of course, if we so choose.

We could still accommodate the supervisory staff who were part of that 17. Someone from a faculty of education can be the appointed person, as part of the council -- fair enough, makes sense -- someone who is proposed and appointed, and it would honour the overall balance. But it clearly sends a message and, believe me, would be welcomed -- somewhat reluctantly -- by a good portion of teachers. I'm hesitant to give percentages as to whether that would be half the teachers or 60%, but I know from discussions I have had with both individual teachers and federations that a good portion would truly welcome that movement as at least in the right direction. It does not go as far as the BC model, but indeed it does acknowledge and provide a person of one as a majority on the council and a symbol of respect for the profession.


The amendment acknowledged the private school system and recognized that there needs to be included a teacher who represents the private school area as well, but a practising teacher. In terms of classroom teachers in the faculty of education, it's not quite the same; they're not really teaching in the elementary or secondary school system. Regardless of that, the power of course resides on the government side. They can do what they want. They can listen to it, they can respond to it or they can ignore it. I suggest to you that the government has chosen heretofore to ignore it.

An overwhelming majority of teachers are not supportive. It flies in the face of, "No model should go forward without the enthusiastic support of the teaching profession," as Premier Davis had said. I think most members would want to propose something to a profession that would be welcomed and be embraced and that we should start off in establishing a college with teachers being highly enthusiastic rather than feeling that somehow they've been placed in a corner.

The negative assumptions about this relate to a small number of people, as there might be in any profession, but I believe the message of respecting the profession and therefore acknowledging a truly representative self-regulating body in terms of governance would send a most positive message.

I truly wish the government would have entertained that amendment, for it was an attempt to start a true consensus, a building process which must be the foundation of the college's work. Contrary to the member for Durham West, based on the conversations I've had with teachers, I believe this was a seminal point that remained to gain the support of a good number of those in the teaching profession.

I believe this particular issue will affect how teachers perceive the college. As it was stated during one presentation to the committee, it is important that we have the right motives to want to establish a College of Teachers. If we're trying to be vindictive, those are the wrong motives. I'm not suggesting that, but that's what some people perceive. As I've stated earlier, I feel that we are making the early years of the college much more difficult than they should be, due to this sense of apparent mistrust.

During the hearings we heard from the Aboriginal Education Council, the Aboriginal Education Network and the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres. They put forth a very strong case in terms of the need to recognize their particular groups and organizations in the process. They indicated that all aboriginal teachers have to have Ontario teaching certificates to teach within their system. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, this is within a system that is on reserves and funded by the federal government. These are not school teachers in the provincial system as such, but the federal government has required that they receive certification from the provinces.

I believe their presentations made a significant impact on the hearts and minds of the members on the committee, but I failed to see any movement when we looked at the revised amendments to the bill, which disappoints me deeply. I believe we missed an excellent opportunity to make a statement through the college about the importance of aboriginal culture to the teaching practices of aboriginal peoples. This is something I think the member for Brant-Haldimand recognized as well but unfortunately was unable to influence the outcome of the vote on a series of amendments we put forward on this issue.

Their total aboriginal system is quite different from ours. We have a lot to learn from them, it seems to me. I think they have a rationale. Rationally and intellectually and compassionately, they put forward a request in a highly reasonable manner. We are not simply dealing with numbers here, because they're not really of our particular provincial system. They have a completely different cultural context, methodologies, historical and traditional ways of coming at education that I think we should be respectful of. In this one way we might demonstrate that we show and appreciate and respect the aboriginal cultural background.

I believe we have a responsibility to try to address their truly justifiable and eminently valid concerns. I do not see that in this bill. The aboriginal people indeed are caught between a rock and a hard place. As I mentioned, they are funded primarily by the federal government, except the federal government requires that they be recognized under the teaching certificates by the provinces and so they are obliged to come to the province to deal with certification. I was quite surprised when the parliamentary assistant said at committee that the government agreed that there should be an aboriginal advisory committee. I agreed with that as well and I felt that a number of the members of the committee did, but it was something that did not happen. It was voted down in the final analysis.

I thought the rationale was rather weak at the time when it was voted down. However, it comes as no surprise to me now, as we see that the ministry itself has disbanded even the Aboriginal Education Council. Instead of embracing the special needs of the aboriginal community, which I had wanted to see happen in Bill 31, it is clear that this government is moving away from them -- and moving away from them, in my opinion, in a most insensitive manner. I'm quite disappointed and I think you'll see that the aboriginal community will be highly disappointed in this one as well.

I want to touch on the issue of protection of privacy. I was pleased that we had the opportunity to have the views of the privacy commissioner, Mr Tom Wright, who during the committee proceedings also helped us by playing an advisory role to the committee in proceeding to sort out some of the privacy issues at play in this legislation.

I am still, however, hesitant at the lack of movement by the government to set in place firm safeguards for the gathering and the use of personal information. I still contend that the information that is kept in the public registry of the college should be limited to name, certificates of qualifications, current place of employment and any disciplinary action that might have taken place. While the government accepted part of the amendment, limiting the information, they have still left it open for other information to be recorded. This I feel is unfortunate.

With respect to hearings of the discipline committee, public hearings will now not be required. Highlighting a member of the college who has been accused of professional misconduct or incompetence in public will not further the goal of enforcing professional and ethical standards by the college on its membership. I am confident that disciplinary action can be properly administered by the committee within the confines of closed hearings. To meet the goal of promoting the profession and communicating with the public, the public will be sufficiently served by public notification of the actions undertaken by the college after a finding of professional misconduct or incompetence, which is standard procedure in a number of college professions.

It is, I might add parenthetically, rather odd still that hearings of the discipline committee are open under certain considerations when the fitness to practise committee, which is a new addition to the bill, will hold closed hearings. Why the government in this case accepts that hearings are closed, but will not adhere to the same principle for the discipline committee, is passing strange.


I'll sum up my comments here. As I said at the outset, I believe the committee that has reviewed this legislation had the benefit of some excellent advice, very thoughtful presentations and, I thought, some solid recommendations. But as far as I'm concerned, every one of the presenters who appeared before the committee came with one goal in mind: the improvement of education in Ontario through quality teaching standards. There was a sense of optimism, there was a sense of cooperation, there was a sense and room certainly for consensus building, but unfortunately the opportunity was not seized.

I can only hope that short of a reversal by the government that the College of Teachers will flow from this legislation, the government will take heed of the comments and suggestions passed over by the government to build the college with a solid foundation in cooperation and partnership. I truly wish it well. However, I truly regret that because of the fundamental flaws in this revised bill, I feel that in good conscience I cannot support its passage in this form.

The Speaker: Statements and responses?

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I'm going to use the two minutes for a response, instead of making a speech on this, to indicate my support for what the member has said. He won't have to respond to me because he knows that I agree with much of what he had to say.

This is an initiative which I think in its present form does not have to proceed. The government did have an opportunity, as Mr Patten has pointed out, on a number of occasions to modify the bill so that it would have been acceptable to a much wider portion of the community, particularly those involved in education.

I see this as one more intrusion into the classroom, an intrusion which is not necessary because we already have within boards of education, within the Ministry of Education, within the federations, the opportunity to undertake many of the activities that are contemplated for the College of Teachers. This is an opportunity to victimize, in my view, those who are in the classroom.

The practical sense of what it is, the practical aspect of it -- there are those who will not have received the marks they wanted to receive. There are those perhaps who have people in the family who believe they have not received the marks they're supposed to have received. The opportunity to get back at the teacher is to utilize the provisions contained within this legislation. Similarly for discipline being exercised against some students, this is an opportunity again.

All it does is discourage those who still have the intestinal fortitude to be involved in disciplining students to just stay away from disciplining those students. That's my concern about it. I don't think the government's being malicious with the legislation. It's going to pass this afternoon. I'm very concerned about that aspect.

I think Bill Davis, who was Minister of Education and former Premier, would have been prepared to accommodate the concerns which were expressed at the committee. Unfortunately, the government has not done so and I concur with our critic, Mr Patten, that we should vote against the legislation.

Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): I want to take these two minutes to comment. Education and the quality of education manifest themselves in many ways, and I just want to point out that in Essex county we've had good teachers over the years and this month the Leamington District Secondary School will be celebrating it's 100th anniversary and a continuance of quality education in the county of Essex.

The Speaker: There being no further members or comments, the member has two minutes. If he's not using his time, we have further debate.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I appreciate my colleagues from the Liberal Party and others in the House cutting short their opportunity to comment on the member for Ottawa Centre's remarks because of the need to deal with this legislation late in the afternoon.

As the member for Ottawa Centre indicated in his remarks, it is inevitable that the College of Teachers will be passed into law. This is a concept that has been supported by many members of the House, by all parties for many years and this is a matter that has been of some controversy.

I want to indicate to you, as I did at second reading, that our party initiated the consultation around the establishment of a College of Teachers and developed the parameters within which the legislation was prepared by this government. That didn't mean we didn't believe the bill could not have been improved. For that reason we put forward a number of amendments, a couple of which were substantive amendments. We had hoped that through the debate in the committee, the presentations made by interested groups, whether they be members of the Ontario Teachers' Federation or others, the government would consider very seriously substantive changes.

There was one change which was beneficial. Previously, the bill did not differentiate between incapacity to teach and discipline. The same committee would deal with a teacher who might become incapacitated through illness, emotional difficulties or whatever as would deal with discipline in cases of alleged misconduct.

That didn't seem appropriate to us or to any of the members of the committee, and for that reason we put forward a proposal that it be changed.

I'm happy to say the government came forward with a change, an amendment that did separate the two processes to ensure that someone who might be considered incapacitated would be dealt with by a different committee of the college than someone who had been subject to an allegation of misconduct. For that reason, we were pleased.

However, we also put forward amendments with regard to the makeup of the board that were not accepted and we also put amendments that would have followed the process of the British Columbia College of Teachers to ensure there is not double jeopardy for teachers; that is, that the normal employer-employee relationship -- the processes of arbitration, grievance and so on -- would be exhausted prior to the college stepping in to consider the lifting of a certificate, keeping in mind that the board would have been required to keep the college informed at every stage.

I regret that was not accepted and I hope that as the college begins its work and develops models for approaches it would consider very carefully that approach; that is, not taking action, except with some very limited number of major exceptions, until the process between employer and employee is exhausted.

On second reading, we supported the legislation. The New Democratic Party did not change its mind. We said we wanted to have amendments. We still regret that amendments were not accepted. We support the concept of the college, and for that reason we will be supporting the bill on third reading.


The Speaker: Further questions or comments?

All those in favour, say "aye."

All those opposed, say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Consent to defer?

Mr Wayne Wettlaufer (Kitchener): Mr Speaker, I believe we have unanimous consent to defer the vote until Monday, June 17, just prior to orders of the day.

The Speaker: Agreed? Agreed.


Mr Shea, on behalf of Mr Leach, moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 38, An Act to amend the Toronto Islands Residential Community Stewardship Act, 1993 / Projet de loi 38, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1993 sur l'administration de la zone résidentielle des îles de Toronto.

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

All those in favour say "aye."

All those opposed say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Member for Kitchener, is this also deferred?

Mr Wayne Wettlaufer (Kitchener): Mr Speaker, I believe we have unanimous consent to defer the vote until Monday, June 17, just prior to orders of the day.

The Speaker: Agreed? Agreed.


Mr Young, on behalf of Mr Snobelen, moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 45, An Act to repeal the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Act and transfer assets to the University of Toronto / Projet de loi 45, Loi abrogeant la Loi sur l'Institut d'études pédagogiques de l'Ontario et transférant l'actif de l'Institut à l'Université de Toronto.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I appreciate my colleagues giving me the opportunity to lead off very briefly on this legislation. The legislation finalizes and implements an agreement which was dated December 16, 1994, to integrate OISE, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, with the faculty of education at the University of Toronto.

Discussions between OISE and the University of Toronto on integration of the two institutions began some time ago. The intended outcome of these discussions was to maintain and preserve the academic integrity of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education while finding administrative and financial savings. The agreement to achieve full integration was to be achieved by July 1, 1996.

This bill is supportable. It does indeed implement this. It transfers all property rights and powers of OISE and its board of governors to the University of Toronto and ensures that any gifts to and trusts held by OISE will be transferred to the University of Toronto. For that reason, we are in support of the legislation.

I won't reiterate the comments that were made earlier in debate on other legislation today because of the time, but I indicate that while we're in support of this legislation, we have serious problems with the approach of the government towards not just elementary and secondary education, as has been made clear in the previous debate, but to post-secondary education in this province.

We've seen $400 million being removed from post-secondary education programs in this province in one year; university budgets have seen an enormous cut, almost $300 million have been eliminated; we've seen tuition fees increase by at least 10% and in some programs as much as 20%. So while we support the integration to save money and to ensure the integrity of OISE and its contribution to the education system in the province as part of the University of Toronto, we are very concerned that this is happening at the same time the government is attacking education at the post-secondary level as well as the elementary and secondary levels.

I urge members of the House to support the legislation, but keep in mind that we do not support the overall approach of this government to post-secondary education and the rights of students in this province.

Ms Annamarie Castrilli (Downsview): I will support this bill, as I believe it represents what should be the underlying principles and objective of the post-secondary sector. I'd like to say, however, in the very little time we have at our disposal, that this is an outstanding example of how you can achieve consensus on something which is important when you have open consultation, when you have full participation and when you apply your imagination and your skills to achieve a solution in a sector as important as this.

I wish the minister would apply more of this, that we could see more examples of this in the area of post-secondary education. In fact, we have not seen much of that. We've not seen any planning. We've only seen some slashing and some cutting without any thought to the consequences.

In the short amount of time available to me, let me congratulate the University of Toronto and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. I wish them, their staff and their students every success in this endeavour. I hope that we can look for imaginative solutions from here on in that will benefit the system and take us towards the 21st century with a strengthened educational system which has at its core quality, excellence and accessibility.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Any questions or comments? Further debate?

Mr Young has moved second reading of Bill 45. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Shall the bill be ordered for third reading? Agreed.

It being close to 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

The House adjourned at 1756.