36th Parliament, 1st Session

L095a - Wed 26 Jun 1996 / Mer 26 Jun 1996






















































The House met at 1332.




Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): In the northern Ontario safe roads survey results issued earlier this year, the Centre for Natural Resources Research and Information found that statistics based on the report by the medical trauma unit for northeastern Ontario found that the two-lane highways and narrow rock cuts of northern Ontario result in death.

Dr Gary Bota, the head of the trauma unit, found that motor vehicle collisions account for one third of all trauma in northern Ontario. Highway 69 accounted for an alarmingly high percentage of these deaths and non-intersection accidents accounted for 77% of deaths. Head-on collisions accounted for 44.1% of these deaths in northern Ontario. One of the recommendations for prevention from the report stated, "Avoid northern Ontario highways."

Minister Palladini, you have received thousands of postcards. You were supposed to respond to me and the concerns of the people of the Sudbury region by now. Tell the people of the Sudbury region you will reinvest in the environmental assessment for Highway 69 between Sudbury and the French River. Tell the Glasby family, who lost their daughter on February 24, 1996, at 32 years of age because of dangerous road conditions that caused her death, that you care. Tell them that you care for the people of the region of Sudbury. Reinvest in the environmental assessment process.


Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): This past Sunday, the people of Greece, and indeed the world, lost one of their most beloved leaders, Andreas Papandreou.

The former Prime Minister was a charismatic, fiery orator who fought passionately for Greek independence and the right of the Greek people to control their own destiny. For that he paid a price. He spent many years in exile, the last five of which he spent in Toronto teaching at York University. A Toronto newspaper headline at the time, referring to his appointment, said, "York Nets a Big Fish."

During his time in Toronto, Greek Canadians and many others came to know and love him, as well as his then wife, Margarita, who was a constant partner with him in his fight for social justice.

Mr Papandreou was a committed social democrat and world-renowned Harvard-trained economist who believed passionately in social and economic equality for all men and women. Returning to become Prime Minister of Greece, he reformed almost every aspect of Greek domestic policy to ensure a better quality of life for all people. He brought in a medicare system, a modern labour code, enshrined the equality of women and much, much more.

Although he will be missed in the struggle for social justice in Canada, Greece and throughout the world, the legacy of Andreas Papandreou will live on.

On behalf of the New Democratic Party caucus, I extend our sincere sympathies to his family and his many, many colleagues and friends across the world.


Mr Bill Grimmett (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): It's my privilege this weekend to participate in a very special event in my riding marking the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the village of Port Carling.

Contrary to popular belief, Port Carling was not named after a beer. It was named after Sir John Carling, a visitor to the village in 1869. He was a friend from London visiting the postmaster, Benjamin Hardcastle Johnston.

In 1862, these two gentlemen became the first tourists to visit the centre that is now Port Carling. At that time, travellers pulled their canoe over the rapids and into the Indian River and continued on their journey.

These days, Port Carling has much more to offer, and instead of being just a portage on a longer journey, has become a major tourist destination.

The locks form only one part of Port Carling's rich marine heritage. Two other Port Carling traditions which cannot go unmentioned are the majestic steamships and the tradition of classic boat building.

Today, Port Carling and all of the Muskoka Lakes have become a year-round destination offering excellent accommodations, dining and shopping and recreation activities.

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of the Port 100 Planning Committee and the Muskoka Lakes Museum for organizing and promoting a variety of community events which celebrate our rich cultural roots and make this centennial year one to remember.

I'd like to extend an open invitation to all members to attend this weekend's parade and centennial festivities in Port Carling.


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): I'd like to direct my statement today to the Minister of Education, where I'd like to speak to the issue of none other than the portables at Sacred Heart/Sacré-Coeur in LaSalle in my riding.

The Minister of Education has had his treatment of this issue of portables in Ontario; it can be described as inept, at best. The minister's actions are causing boards across Ontario to needlessly spend hundreds of thousands of dollars forcing them to buy portables where they're required because of the moratorium he has placed on capital funding where it's required across Ontario.

In a letter that I addressed to the minister earlier this month, I have yet to receive a reply, but the letter specifically requests that he reconsider his decisions on the moratorium on capital funding. It's causing school boards to doublespend the very little taxpayers' money that they have now.

There are many examples of this across Ontario, but just typical: "Portables now occupy a playing field where the boys once played football. `The student population has more than doubled but we have less area than ever for them to practise the sports we think are essential to their growth.'"

We think that there are many examples across Ontario where education, because of the portables, is absolutely substandard. We would like the minister to reconsider his decision on the moratorium and specifically think of Sacred Heart/Sacré-Coeur in LaSalle.



Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): In July 1995, Mike Harris walked on to the stage at Queen's Park. His first act was to take 22% out of the income of the poorest and most vulnerable among us, like the bully walking into the school yard and picking on the weakest and the smallest and pummelling the hell out of him just to set the tone, to send a message. Ontario was shocked into the reality of what they had voted for on that day.

Today, 22 people in this place, foodservices workers, have got fired and so the melodrama continues, the play with the message. Anna, with 18 years' experience, who fed us all here so well and for so long asks now, "Who will feed me?" Tim, with two children and a pregnant wife, what's he to do? And why, you may ask, and we ask, why are we doing this? To send a message, to make a point, political grandstanding at its best on the backs of the poor, on the working class.

Is it going to save money? We don't know. Is it going to give better service? No. Does it send a message? You're damn right it does: If you're poor and a worker in this province, you're just so much grist for the mill. If you're rich and powerful, how can we help you? My condolences to those who have been fired today. We're going to miss you. You did a great job. Mike Harris, you ought to be ashamed of yourself, but we're not going to let you get away with it. The people of this province are not --

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


Mr Rob Sampson (Mississauga West): I rise today with mixed emotions to mention that today, June 26, is tax freedom day for Ontarians. The good news is that starting today until the end of the year, the average Ontarian will get to keep their hard-earned money. The bad news is that the average Ontarian has spent nearly the first half of this year working to pay their tax bill --

Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): Why don't you let the cafeteria workers keep their jobs? Why did you cut those of cafeteria workers?

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The member for Welland-Thorold, come to order.

Mr Sampson: Ontario, considered the nation's economic engine, has the ninth latest tax freedom day in the country. Only British Columbia's tax freedom day is later. By comparison, the earliest tax freedom day is in PEI and it falls on May 28.

I am happy to announce that there is relief in sight. Starting Monday, July 1, Ontarians will see the first instalment of their income tax cut. This cut will ensure that tax freedom day in future years occurs earlier and that hard-working, honest taxpayers in Ontario will get to keep more of what they earn.


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): Once again the Minister of Health has been caught with his foot in his mouth. His less-than-accurate rhetoric yesterday has alienated seniors and the associations that speak for them.

In response to a question I asked the minister about the Harris government's broken promises, his plan to bring in new user fees for the Ontario drug benefit program, the minister suggested that the leaders of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons and Jane Leitch, a leader of the Senior Citizens' Consumer Alliance, don't object to his new user fees. He went further to suggest that seniors "don't mind paying a few dollars to be generous to their fellow citizens."

Well, today the truth. The Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens' Organizations held a press conference voicing their concerns with this minister's new user fees. They said this morning that seniors are worried they will have to choose between buying food or the prescriptions they need because of the Harris-Wilson new user fee plan.

I told the minister yesterday, and it was restated this morning, that seniors are confused about the implementation process. Sick people in long-term care facilities are worried about how this is going to affect them. The disabled and those who care about people who suffer with mental illness are all very worried and they are scared about the effects of the new user fees for drugs.

Mr Speaker, will you ask the minister to admit that he was wrong, admit he made a mistake and scrap his user fee plan and apologize to --

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


Mr Floyd Laughren (Nickel Belt): This government during its ideological quest to privatize the province has now turned its attention towards the foodservices provided here in the Legislature. By privatizing the dining room, one of three things will happen: prices will go down, prices will remain the same or prices will go up.

If prices go down because of privatization, you have to ask yourself, why? To give the Tory MPPs a cheaper lunch? Is that what it's all about? It's happening because the workers' wages will go from $17 an hour down to $7.25 an hour so they can have cheaper lunches.

If the prices stay the same, why should the government make the workers take a pay cut of over 50% and lose benefits just to maintain the status quo? If the prices increase, then where are the savings this government says will happen?

This privatization plan was brought forward to reduce the deficit of the foodservices operation. Reducing the deficit is not bad. I wouldn't like to think it can't be done. However, the foodservices employees were willing to work with the assembly to find a more humane way to solve the deficit problem, not just slashing wages. But this government looked at the bottom line only, not at the people involved.

The Tories rejected any idea that things could change in a humane way. They only want privatization and to drive workers' wages down. That is why I stand today to condemn the Tory and the Liberal parties for voting and approving this privatization plan.


Mr Tim Hudak (Niagara South): I'd like to let the members know that tomorrow we will be presenting to the Minister of Finance the Ontario report on public consultations on the Canada pension plan.

Since April, my colleague Ed Doyle of Wentworth East and I have been seeking public input on how to ensure that the CPP is sustainable for our future and the futures of our children and our grandchildren.

Without a doubt the CPP is of great importance to Ontarians and that is why we encouraged the widest possible participation in the process. Ed and I held public consultations in my riding of Port Colborne, Ontario, London, Windsor, Sudbury, Barrie, Peterborough and Kingston. We also participated in the joint federal-provincial consultations in Toronto, in Ed's riding in Hamilton and in Thunder Bay. A toll-free line was also available for people to call in their views, and we invited submissions and e-mail messages as well.

Overall, participants agree that the CPP should be maintained, that contributions should remain affordable, that benefits should provide adequate financial security and should be better administered and that there should be fairness among generations. We'd like to see the CPP assets invested with a balanced approach, and in Canada, to maximize the rate of return with a moderate risk.

The government continues to listen to the views of Ontarians as we hold our discussions with the other provinces and the federal government on the future of the CPP.

I want to thank my colleague Ed Doyle of Wentworth East for his excellent work and for all those who --

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

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): Mr Speaker, I'm rising on a point of order because I know the members of the assembly would wish to welcome Dr Simon and Mrs Andrea Robarts in the gallery with their family, Jeffrey Adam and their newly chosen baby, Sachel, from China, and we welcome them very warmly.

The Speaker: The member does not have a point of order, but we certainly welcome them.



Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I'm asking on a point of order for direction from you of how our caucus and how members of the assembly can ask questions here with respect to a decision that was made that we believe is totally wrong. I refer to the matter of the privatization of foodservices, and in particular, the cafeteria and the dining room, what that has done to people in our province and individuals whom all of us have known very well.

Mr Speaker, you're the chair of the Board of Internal Economy. Therefore, you brought forward the proposal to privatize the foodservices in this place. But Mr Speaker, you also know of course that the members of the Conservative caucus, your caucus, pushed this proposal forward and voted in favour of it. There's not a cabinet minister we can ask a question of because you're the one who has to be held accountable for this decision. We think it was a dead wrong decision, a decision that is inhumane and has hurt individuals by cutting their wages by 50% in order to accommodate privatization.

The Board of Internal Economy meetings are private meetings, they're secret meetings, they're not public, yet the dollars that are involved and the decisions that are involved are public decisions and we think you should be held accountable for those decisions. So I want to know, Mr Speaker, how we hold you accountable, how we bring forward the cases of individual people who have been hurt by this decision, how we ask questions about the savings that you say are going to occur that we know could have occurred through other alternatives without privatization, without slashing wages by a quarter of a million dollars. How do we hold you accountable?

Mr Speaker, on a final point, I'd like to ask you whether you would appear this afternoon at the Legislative Assembly committee to answer questions, to be held accountable for this decision.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): I've heard the member's point of order and I will report back to him tomorrow in question period.

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

The Speaker: On the same point of order?

Mr Hampton: No, on a related point of order. The fact of the matter is that the government has chosen a policy direction. That policy direction is one of privatization. The privatization has as its goal the reduction of workers' wages. The minister responsible for Management Board has said that a number of government functions will be privatized, that he expects that when those functions are performed by the private sector, they will cost less, and we believe they will cost less because wages will be reduced.

In the case of this Legislature, I think we ought to be able to ask questions of the Chair of Management Board because this is an execution of government policy. This is an implementation of government policy and the government should be held accountable for it.

The Speaker: Order. You can ask a question in question period with regard to the government's policies. You're quite free to do that. I have heard your point of order and I said I will report back tomorrow.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): A point of order on a related point of order, Mr Speaker: If the Speaker's advice is that we should ask a question, perhaps the Speaker could give us direction as to which minister of the crown, which member of the treasury bench, this question might be addressed to so that we will not find ourselves ruled out of order by putting a question which is not in order.

The Speaker: I told the member for Windsor-Sandwich that I would report back to him tomorrow on his point of order.

Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): Speaker, I rise on a matter of privilege under sections 21(a) and (b) with regard to my right as a member of this Legislature representing the people of Hamilton Centre to put questions that relate to the implementation of this government's policy, particularly as it affects the dedicated men and women who work in this building down in the restaurant who provided honourable service and have been treated in a despicable fashion.

Speaker, I demand that you allow me my right and privilege to put questions to this government. There are only two days left in this session. Sir, I ask you to tell me now how I go about putting that question today so that I can hold this government accountable for the atrocities that are happening to these men and women right here in this building.

Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): Mr Speaker, on a related point of order, I think this is an issue that bears some immediate attention. The actions that have been taken as a result of the actions of the Board of Internal Economy to privatize the foodservices are impacting people now, not tomorrow and not the next day; they're impacting people now, as we speak.

I think, Mr Speaker, it would behoove you to give us some direction on how we can deal with this either in holding you accountable or in holding the government members accountable who were the majority that voted, as I understand together with the Liberal Party representative on this, to carry out this privatization that among other things is resulting in people I represent losing their jobs. So I need to know, as an individual member of this Assembly, how I can raise their concerns and where I can raise their concerns. That is a fundamental issue of privilege and it's also a fundamental question of order in terms of how this place operates.

I would urge you, Mr Speaker, to give us an answer on that, and if you're not able to give us an answer now, to recess the House for a period of time to consult with whoever you have to consult, and to bring us back an answer so that we know how to proceed from this moment on.

Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: Please, there's some urgency to this; 22 plus people's lives are being destroyed because of the economic violence of this government. You were the tool of a very partisan decision. You are accountable and you are not questionable. You have to permit us to question these government members about their sacrifice of 22 hardworking women and men in our foodservices whose lives are being destroyed, whose futures are being dashed and who are being dealt with in the most cruel and obscenely treacherous manner. This government has swinishly and despicably attacked hardworking women and men who deserve far better treatment.

This House deserves an opportunity to obtain some redress for those women and men in our foodservices. Damn it, Speaker, you'd better start responding, because we've got 22 people downstairs who depend on somebody doing something for them, and we're not going to tolerate this attack on them. These government members earning $80,000 a year are going to have a job on Monday. Those foodservices workers earning a pittance --


The Speaker: Order. I'll recess the House for 15 minutes and report back.

The House recessed from 1358 to 1413.

The Speaker: Matters that arise out of the administration of the Office of the Assembly and that are decided by the Board of Internal Economy are not matters that can be the subject of question period. The principal reason for this is that no member of the cabinet is responsible for these matters. These matters are the responsibility of the Board of Internal Economy, and members from all parties sit on that board. As Speaker Warner indicated in his ruling of December 12, 1991, all questions on such matters "should be raised with the board or with the Speaker, instead of in the House."

Therefore I would invite honourable members who have questions to come and see me or make representation to board members. However, according to the traditions of this House, I cannot allow such questions during question period.

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): Mr Speaker, a point of order.

The Speaker: A new point of order?

Ms Lankin: Yes. Mr Speaker, I realize I can't challenge your ruling. The very reason why we raised the questions of privilege and order today were in fact to seek direction on how this issue might be dealt with and might be resolved in a manner in which there is public attention that is shed on this issue -- these workers will be gone within two days -- and also an opportunity for all members of this Legislature, because the administration of this Legislature is done on behalf of the members of the Legislative Assembly.

We have no opportunity, as you have indicated, to question the government, even though we know this action is being taken directly as a result of government policy. We have no opportunity to question you in a public manner, you who are the officer of this Legislative Assembly responsible for the administration. We have a Board of Internal Economy in which the members of that internal economy board are dominated by members of the government, who were supported by members of the Liberal Party in terms of the membership of that board, voted against by the member for the New Democratic Party.

We know, however -- Mr Speaker, I have a question -- there are members of the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party who disagree with the position their representatives on the Board of Internal Economy took, as well as the members of our caucus. We want an opportunity to debate this issue on the floor of the Legislature and I ask for unanimous consent --

The Speaker: Order. I have made my ruling. The member has asked for unanimous consent. Do we have unanimous consent? I hear no.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): On a point of order, Mr Speaker, I am very concerned as a member of the assembly. It's obvious to each and every one, with the highest of respect to you and your office, that this is a matter of public concern. Someone is responsible for economic assassination -- nothing short of it. What we wish to know is not only who pulled the trigger, but what recourse, on behalf of the women and on behalf of the men, they have. Surely someone signs the cheque, someone has to be accountable and, Mr Speaker, in this case you have to carry the guilt.

The Speaker: Order. The next item of business is ministerial statements.


The Speaker: Yes, I've ruled.

Mr Cooke: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I have concerns. I understand your ruling and I understand that we can't challenge your ruling, but I don't think it's acceptable that you would come back to the House and say that the way of dealing with this is to come into your office and have a chat.

We're talking about public accountability. The Board of Internal Economy meets in private. You are accountable to the members of the Legislature and the Legislative Assembly as a whole. I am concerned that this is becoming a systemic problem. There's this, there's the issue of security around this place, and, Mr Speaker, I am very concerned that there is no way of holding you accountable because your view is that we deal with this in your office in another secret way, which is unacceptable to this caucus.

Mr Christopherson: On a point of order, Mr Speaker, I was part of an advisory committee that looked into security matters that are also under your purview. You have total responsibility there, yet you recognized that the security of this place is an important responsibility for all of us and you struck that committee. Parts of it were in camera, but much of it was done in public, and the report itself that was issued was brought to this floor so that we could debate. In fact, that particular report, Speaker, had the unanimous support of all three caucuses, yet you saw fit, because of the importance of that issue, to bring it here on the floor of this Legislature so there could be public discussion, public understanding of what was involved here.

We are asking for no less on this issue. This is government policy that's in question. I sat in on one of these meetings last month, and although I wasn't allowed to vote I had voice and I expressed concern that the Tory majority were implementing their agenda on other taxpayers and citizens of this province and that there was no real opportunity to look at alternatives.

There is much to be discussed here, Speaker. We think it's appropriate, as you did in the security matter, to allow us an opportunity, some method of discussing this issue in public, particularly where there are divisions even within caucuses, that this is a legislative matter. You, sir, have attempted to provide as much openness as you can, this government has said they care about openness, yet what we see here is closed-door deal-making, secret agreements, contracts being approved that take away the rights of workers who are here today watching, wondering, "Where are my rights?" All we seek from you, and what I seek from you, Speaker, as a member of this Legislature, is my right and privilege to debate that policy in public.

The Speaker: The member for Windsor-Riverside has asked if I would appear before the committee this afternoon and I would be very pleased to do that.

Mr Silipo: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I just want to ask you to appear before the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly this afternoon. I just want to be sure that in fact the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly is scheduled to meet and will indeed meet this afternoon, because otherwise your undertaking doesn't mean very much, sir.

The Speaker: I'd be happy to go if the committee invites me to attend. I've said that.


Mr Cooke: Mr Speaker, you've made that offer, and I think it's a good offer. May we have, to make sure it is carried off this afternoon, unanimous consent from the House that the Legislative Assembly committee will meet this afternoon and that this issue will be scheduled? That should be quite easy.

The Speaker: I will ask for unanimous consent. Do we have unanimous consent?


Ms Lankin: Oh, come on, so now you're muzzling the Speaker.

The Speaker: Order. We've dealt with the issue. Question period.


The Speaker: Order. I will withdraw my offer if that's what you want.

Mr Hampton: On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: We seem to be in a conundrum here. We have raised points of order and points of privilege dealing with legitimate matters that affect this House. You have volunteered to yourself be held accountable. Now the government -- I submit to you that this is the heart of the matter -- does not want to be held accountable. The government doesn't want anybody to know about this. The government doesn't want people to know that it is cutting the wages of workers who make $18 an hour now down to $7 --

Mr Pouliot: Shame on the lot of you. How would you like it?

The Speaker: Order, the member for Lake Nipigon.

Mr Pouliot: At least I can defend myself; they cannot.

The Speaker: I will not warn the member for Lake Nipigon again.

Mr Floyd Laughren (Nickel Belt): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: I wonder if you could help me with the ruling you made. You came back from the recess and said you would appear before the Legislative Assembly committee this afternoon. When my House leader asked for unanimous consent to have the Legislative Assembly committee meet, the Tory members said no. You then stood in your place and said, "Well, then, I'll withdraw my offer."

It's very clear to those of us in opposition that you sat there, got your direction from the Tory Party, not from the assembly as a whole, from the Tory Party which put you there, took direction from them, because until they said no, you had agreed to appear before the Legislative Assembly committee. You had agreed to it. As soon as they said no, you withdrew your offer. You tell me whose tune you're dancing to, Mr Speaker.

The Speaker: If the committee invites me, I will be there.


The Speaker: Order.

Mr Cooke: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Now that the government House leader is back in the House, perhaps it would now be appropriate to ask again if there is unanimous consent for the Legislative Assembly committee to meet this afternoon and invite the Speaker to appear on this issue.

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): On a point of order, Mr Speaker, and addressing the very comment the House leader for the third party has made: Committees structure and order their own business in this place. I certainly have no objection to the Legislative Assembly committee considering whatever it wants this afternoon, which is its regularly scheduled time to sit.

Mr Cooke: They are not meeting unless you say they can.

Hon Mr Eves: I hear the member for Windsor-Riverside. I find it passing strange that he who didn't want the Legislative Assembly committee to sit, and he's been telling me so for the last two months at every House leaders' meeting I've been to, now wants it to sit. You can't have it both ways.

I say to the members of the third party, they know very well that the Board of Internal Economy has representation from all three parties on it. As a matter of fact, the member for Windsor-Riverside happens to be the representative of their party on the board. They also know that the minutes of those meetings are made public. They also know that during the course of their government, when the member for Beaches-Woodbine, who was a member of the Board of Internal Economy -- I don't once recall her saying, I don't recall them saying once in the four years that they were the government: "Oh, gee, we don't think the majority of members of the Board of Internal Economy should decide anything. We think it should all go to Leg Assembly."

I say, Mr Speaker, through you to them --

Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East): Did we fire 22 people, Ernie? Did we?

Hon Mr Eves: No, but I will say to you, you spent $100 billion more than you had, just $100 billion, that's all.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): Mr Speaker, might I just make the following suggestion. It is the last week that we intend to sit. Pressures do tend to become a bit more evident at this time of the year. You, in good faith --


Mr Conway: Well, listen, I'm telling you I know the problems that we -- and there's a very legitimate concern on behalf of a lot of people who work in this place who are being prejudiced by actions taken by the Board of Internal Economy. In an effort to try to resolve this, because I'd rather get it resolved now and spend two or three hours getting it resolved this afternoon than spend three or five or eight painful days this week and next to get to the same result. So might I make this suggestion: You, Mr Speaker, in good faith made an offer to attend at the Legislative Assembly committee today. I would submit that it would be a very beneficial thing and I say on behalf of my colleagues that we would be quite happy to have a meeting of the Legislative Assembly committee scheduled this afternoon so you, sir, could make an appearance to address the issue that is of concern to many members of this assembly.

I would simply say on behalf of my colleagues that I would ask again, on behalf of my colleagues, the government House leader to think seriously about this offer. I would strongly suggest, given your good offer, Mr Speaker, and the willingness of many to have that hearing this afternoon, for the government House leader and his colleagues in the Progressive Conservative caucus to agree that the Legislative Assembly committee meet this afternoon so you, sir, can appear before it to answer questions on the matter at hand.

Mr Hampton: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: We really do need your help here. You have ruled that we cannot ask a member of the government a question about this issue, even though it has to do with the implementation of government policy. You have ruled that we can't ask a member of the government about that.

I will give you credit. You have offered to make yourself accountable before the committee, yet the government does not apparently want that mechanism of accountability to be exercised. Yet it seems to me, Speaker, at the end of the day this involves the implementation of government policy. It will, I would submit, affect the running of this House, and it seems to me that there ought to be a mechanism whereby there can be accountability on this measure. After all, Speaker, people do not have their wages cut from $17 an hour to $7 or $8 an hour every day of the year. People do not have their hours cut, people do not lose their jobs this precipitously. And this directly relates to the government. There ought to be some way that this question can be addressed and that they can be held accountable for this.

The Speaker: Order. It's time for oral question period.

Mr Christopherson: On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: I want to say to you in response to the ruling you've made, since I was one of the earlier ones requesting this of you, that I got a sense you were trying to help in offering yourself to appear before the committee. I don't know whether you knew or not the committee was meeting; that doesn't matter. I do, however, ask you, sir, that if indeed you are sincere, as I believe you are, in wanting justice to be done, then I think justice says that some time today or tomorrow we need to look at this issue in a public way because they're out of work on Friday, and this House rises tomorrow afternoon or tomorrow evening.


So I ask you, sir, to please, if you need to take another recess, find a way to do what you appear to want to do. Don't just give up, Speaker. You owe it to us as the minority in this place. We have rights. Without you we don't have those rights. We want to use those rights to speak on behalf of other people who have even fewer rights.

Right now, Speaker, it's all with you. The only way it can happen, sir, is if you find a way with the table officers to allow us merely the opportunity to discuss what we think is a grave injustice, a matter of government public policy in a public way. That's what I ask of you, sir. Please don't shrug your shoulders and say your hands are tied. You tried one option; it didn't work. Please, try another. I believe you're sincere, you want to help us, so I'm asking you to take a little time to do that.

This is an important issue, Speaker. One of those staff people is right there. There she is. That's whose job, that's whose life we're talking about. She has a right to have the policy that destroyed her life --

The Speaker: Order. It's time for oral question period.

Mr Kormos: A point of privilege.

The Speaker: I've heard your point of privilege and you do not have a point. You do not have a point.

Mr Kormos: You haven't heard this one, let me tell you. You tell Anna why she has no job.

The Speaker: Order. The member for Welland-Thorold, I will not warn him again to take his seat. The member take his seat. I won't warn you again.

Mr Kormos: You tell her why she has no job and where she's going to find work.

The Speaker: Sergeant -- I'll have to name the member for -- Mr Kormos. Take him out.

Mr Kormos was escorted from the chamber.


The Speaker: Order.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: It says in the standing orders --

The Speaker: The member for Cochrane South take his seat. I won't warn the member for Cochrane South again.


The Speaker: I will name the member for Cochrane South. Mr Bisson. Take him out.


The Speaker: No. The member has been named.


The Speaker: Order. The member for London North, come to order.


The Speaker: Order.

Mr Bisson: Speaker, I got up on a point of privilege, asking to be recognized on a point of privilege. I get up on that right. You must hear my point of privilege. It is a standing order, Speaker. You can't throw people out --


The Speaker: I named him. The member has been named.


The Speaker: Would the member for Cochrane South --

Mr Bisson: I want a point of privilege. You can't kick me out for that. You're a joke. You're here to recognize the opposition as well as the government, not do their bidding. My God, I've seen everything in this place.

Mr Bisson was escorted from the chamber.


The Speaker: The House will recess for 10 minutes due to grave disorder.

The House recessed from 1436 to 1446.

The Speaker: The member for Windsor-Riverside on a point of order.

Mr Cooke: Mr Speaker, we're prepared, even though we're very concerned and upset at what has happened this afternoon and, more importantly, what's happening to the workers in the foodservices, to move on to question period. We would like the consent of the government House leader to move the clock back to 60 minutes.

The Speaker: Is that agreed? Agreed.



Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): My question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Your consultation paper is nothing more, as we have observed, than a landlord protection paper. You have shocked tenants by breaking a promise of the Mike Harris government that rent control will continue. Your plan ends rent control. It will take rental apartments out of the market. It will mean higher rents to tenants, not lower rents like you promised. Rents will increase.

When a tenant moves, that unit will be off rent control, leaving the landlord free to hike the rent as much as he can get away with. What we'll see is the skyrocketing of rents. Tenants will be forced to pay through the roof just to keep a roof over their heads. You haven't represented at all the interests of tenants, only landlords.

Do you expect us to believe your plan will lower rents? Do you think tenants can be fooled? Can you tell me how this plan will lower rents?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): As you know, we're putting this paper out for consultation to give everybody and all the stakeholders an opportunity to have input into the process. I can assure you that the proposal we put forward to the people of Ontario and the tenants and the landlords is a fair and balanced system, a system that is far better than anything that was in place when the Liberals were in power.

One of the things I can't understand is, if my friend across the way was so anxious to have this present rent control system in place, why did you vote against it?

Mr Curling: What nonsense are you talking about? What did I vote against? I voted against your plan there.

I just want to tell the minister himself that without dealing with the question, I was extremely surprised, Minister, to hear you say that your plan will encourage 20,000 rental units in Ontario, and that will be an increased choice of accommodation for tenants. The tenants won't be able to move due to your plan where as soon as they move, rents will be jacked up.

I would like to know which hat the minister pulled that number out of. What this province needs is more affordable rental apartments. Your plan encourages landlords to take their apartment buildings off the rental market and convert them to condos or demolish them altogether. Units will be disappearing from the marketplace under your plan faster than any replacement could possibly be built. This is a very sneaky and a very vicious attack on tenants.

I understand that you looked at the British Columbia model of so-called tenant protection for guidance in developing your plan. The British Columbia government has a study that proves there is no correlation between rent control legislation being in place or not being in place and that of builders building. I don't know why you would ignore the study.

Even builders say that rent control is not the reason they are not building. Phil Dewan of the Fair Rental Policy Organization of Ontario, Laverne Brubacher of the Ontario Home Builders' Association and many others have told me personally and said publicly as recently as yesterday that builders will not build if rent controls are lifted, as you've done. Why are you, Minister, the only one saying that builders will build more apartments under your new system?

Hon Mr Leach: I think I made it very clear yesterday, when we put our proposal forward, that rent control is only one issue that has to be addressed to entice the industry back into building more units.

We have to address, for example, the property assessment issue, which is totally unfair for tenants at the present time. Tenants are paying four times in the city of Toronto what a single-family-dwelling resident would pay. That has to be addressed.

Tax on building materials: If you're building a rental building the tax is 7%; on a condo it's 4%. Many of these issues don't make any sense. Why they weren't addressed before I do not understand, but we are going to address them.

Mr Curling: What you've done is attacked the most vulnerable in our society first. You have made sure that those who can't afford rents are being hit harder at the initial stage.

Why didn't you bring out a comprehensive plan and tell us that this is only one way? If you want to bring out a plan, bring out a plan.

What should I say to students in colleges and universities who are facing record tuition hikes and user fees under your government? Now students who live away from home and even adult students will be seeing skyrocketing rents. You have struck another blow on those students. You plan to create a crisis in student accommodation. Explain to me and to the thousands and thousands of students out there who are now faced with another Mike Harris attack on the vulnerable how to deal with the skyrocketing rents you have put forward to them.

Hon Mr Leach: We haven't put rent increases before anybody -- not students, not seniors, not anybody. What we've said is that anybody who remains in their unit will come under the same legislation that's in effect at the present time.

We're going to continue to consult with all the stakeholders to make sure that everybody has input into the process. We put in a system that protects sitting tenants to ensure that seniors can get away from the fearmongering that's been fed to them over the past couple of months by the parties across. If they remain in their units they have absolutely nothing to worry about.


Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming): I have a question for the Solicitor General. I'd like to return to the Elgin-Middlesex affair. As you know, for weeks now we've been asking you when you knew about the alleged beatings and what you did about that situation. We've asked you why you didn't know when a mother had made repeated calls to your office about her concern for the safety of her child.

You said there was only one call to your office and you also said a secretary took that call and referred it to the appropriate officials in your ministry, but it's interesting to note that this call was mentioned in a briefing note to you about this situation. Now we know that the mother made over seven calls from March 4 to March 27 and talked to someone in your office for a total of 30 minutes over that time.

I'd like to quote to you some things the mother said she said to your people in your office: "I was begging for help. I told them the boys were beaten. I was trying to get them all moved out of there. I said, `Put them up north, put them anywhere, just get them out of there; they aren't safe.'"

Minister, I'd like to know who on your staff this mother talked to and why you're still telling us today that nobody on your staff told you about this for three months.

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): I have complete confidence in my ministerial staff, personal staff; this has been discussed with them on a number of occasions and they've assured me that no such call was received in our office.

Mr Ramsay: I have sent over to you a copy of a medical record of one young offender who was transferred from Bluewater to Elgin-Middlesex. I refer you to that medical record I've just sent over to you. You will note that the first entry where the YO was seen was five days after the transfer, and this notation states, "The young offender said he was assaulted when brought to the facility." It goes on, and the nurse describes the bruising around his eye.

I have raised with you repeatedly my concern about the possibility of tampering with evidence. We know you sent officials to Elgin-Middlesex the weekend after you officially found out in this House about the alleged incident. Since then we've had complaints that maybe shredding and the confiscation of evidence took place over that weekend of activity down at the institution.

Minister, can you assure me today that the original of this medical record exists and that it is accessible to the London police in their investigation?

Hon Mr Runciman: I'm not sure how the member would expect me to have that kind of detail surrounding a police investigation and an internal investigation. I'm not involved in those operational matters. I've indicated on numerous occasions that the police are investigating thoroughly the criminal allegations, and the internal investigation will look at all other matters surrounding this issue.

Mr Ramsay: I hope that tomorrow you can give me assurances -- I've given you that copy -- that you could match that up with the original and give us assurances that the police would be notified of it so that at least they could check. If you don't want to be directly involved, give it to them and ask them to verify what the original involves.

You told us that you also have initiated an internal investigation of this matter. A member of that team is the head of the operational review and audit branch of your ministry and is a member of the OPP. I have expressed concern before that it would be impossible for the internal investigation to be complete as it could lead to you and your office. I also questioned how you, the top cop of the province, could be investigated by your own internal investigation.

Minister, I believe you might be shuffled in three weeks' time to cover this up, but whether or not you're there, I ask you today, will you allow the OPP to question you and your staff should they feel it's necessary to complete their investigation?

Hon Mr Runciman: I've said on numerous occasions that all concerns surrounding this matter will be thoroughly investigated by the independent investigation team, and I have complete confidence in the integrity and independence of the OPP.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): My question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. We've just seen today the government's real agenda: It's to lower the wages of working people, and the vehicle is privatization.

There's another example, rent control, of how your government intends to take money from working families and give that money to those people who already have wealth and power.

Yesterday when we said rents will go up, you said that higher rents would get the industry to come back and build more buildings. In effect, you said you want to use higher rents to bribe the industry. But yesterday the main landlords' lobby group said your package will not "create a climate for private sector job creation, investment and economic renewal." They say they won't build; they say they want more incentives. That means tenants' rents will go up and we won't see any more apartment buildings.

Minister, will you admit that your attempt to bribe landlords into building more apartments has failed and that tenants will pay higher rents and get nothing in return?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): I think I should ask the leader of the third party to listen to the previous questions, because it's the same question the critic for the Liberal Party asked.

I said quite clearly that rent control is only one issue that's going to have to be addressed to entice people back into building rental accommodation. Last year in Metropolitan Toronto only 20 rental units were built, when we have need for thousands of rental units; 60,000 people a year move into Metropolitan Toronto and absolutely no accommodation is being provided for them. This situation has to be addressed and this proposal will address that situation.


Mr Hampton: I listen to the minister trot this kind of nonsense around and I want to quote for the minister somebody who really does know something about the commercial real estate market. I'm going to quote a March 10 comment from a Mr Swartz, who is an apartment specialist with the commercial broker J.J. Barnicke. This is what he had to say. He said this publicly:

"Apartment buildings have been one of the hottest real estate plays in the greater Toronto area during the past year. With a low down payment, apartment buyers can make a return of better than 15% on their equity."

He then went on to say: "Rent control hasn't been a problem. Landlords long ago learned to live with rent controls." That's somebody who really knows about the apartment situation.

When people in the private apartment business talk to each other, they acknowledge that there's a lot of money to be made in the business, even with rent controls. Landlords are already making enough money. They aren't going to build affordable housing because they can make more money building more expensive housing, so why do you want to raise tenants' rents? Why do you want to destroy rent control if it's not going to add any new affordable tenant housing?

Hon Mr Leach: I'll address the leader of the third party's comments, his lead-in comments about the letter from Mr Swartz. I got a three-page letter from Mr Swartz, apologizing for the way he had been misquoted and misunderstood in that article. He said in his letter to me that rent controls are a factor, but they are only one factor.

Again, what we put together to put before the people of Ontario is a package that's fair and reasonable, and the members of the opposition will have every opportunity this summer to have input into the process and help us perfect a very good proposal that we have before the people right now.

Mr Hampton: This is the real Common Sense Revolution. The minister stands up, and despite the fact that this appears on the business page of a Toronto newspaper, says it's really not true. It's a fact, Minister, sales last year of apartment buildings were up 60%. That's a historical fact. You can try to rewrite reality as much as you want. It is a fact, and it is a fact that people are buying into this market because they can make money.

I want to ask the minister a further question. The system is all about increasing rents. It's all about taking money from tenants, taking money from working families, taking money from seniors on fixed incomes and giving it to people who already have wealth and power. They already have money.

Minister, why don't you just come right out and say it? Why don't you admit to people this is not going to result in more apartment buildings being built? The people in the market are already telling you that. It's not going to do anything about that. This is about your government's agenda. It's about taking money from working families, taking money from seniors on fixed incomes and giving it to people who already have a lot of money. Just be honest and come right out and say it.

Hon Mr Leach: Again to the member opposite, let me just let the members know what is being said about our proposal. The Toronto Sun, June 26: "...these proposals seem like a reasonable compromise." The Ottawa Citizen: "The Harris government has taken a cautious and balanced approach." The Toronto Star: "The Tory government deserves credit...for...putting this proposal forward." I think that answers it all.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): My question is to the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation. Today we had a press conference here held by a number of senior citizens' organizations, and they raised a case. They came here and they said at their press conference that they are very concerned about the user fees which have been put into the health care system and which will affect senior citizens. They say they now see they're going to be paying more for rent, they're going to be paying more for medication, they're going to be paying more for transportation. They say that on the drug benefit issue alone, they're going to be paying in many cases up to $40 a month more to get prescription drug medication.

I want to ask the minister, where do you expect these senior citizens living on fixed incomes to cut? Do you expect them to cut on their food? Or maybe you expect them to cut on their rent, which is going to go up. Or do you expect them to cut on transportation, which is going to go up? Or do you expect them to cut on their medicine? Where do you expect them to cut?

Hon Marilyn Mushinski (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): Given that the Minister of Health is responsible for seniors' issues and he is not here today, I am going to hand that over to the Deputy Premier.

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): The honourable member for Rainy River points out --


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The member for Cochrane North will come to order.

Hon Mr Eves: The leader of the third party points out that the Minister of Health will be introducing a copayment fee effective July 15 of this year, and that's correct. What he doesn't point out in his question, however, is that in the same announcement the Minister of Health made, he will now be extending health care to 140,000 working, taxpaying, law-abiding Ontario citizens who didn't receive health care under your Trillium drug plan, who now, thanks to this Minister of Health, will be receiving it.

Mr Hampton: I asked where this senior citizen was supposed to cut now that she's going to be paying $40 more per month in user fees, whether she should cut back on food, whether she should cut back on rent -- I doubt she'll be able to cut back on rent; that's going to go up, the same as transit fees are going to go up. I got no answer, so let me try again.

Seniors say that your government won't meet with them, that you won't talk about seniors' issues. One of the seniors who was there was Shirley Watters, a senior citizen and cancer patient in remission. She said that your election campaign promise not to touch health care and not to implement user fees was a misrepresentation. That's what she said, that it was a misrepresentation by your government. She believes you are, and I quote her, "dividing the health care system into those who have and those who have not."

The seniors today said: "With the new user fees on drugs and the whittling away of many programs for all Ontarians, we are becoming a province that will be divided. We call on the Harris government to rethink their position of charging user fees on prescription drugs."

Why is your government insisting on dividing this province into a society if haves, who receive wealth and receive benefits, and a society of have-nots, who are receiving less and less all the time? Why are you doing that?

Hon Mr Eves: To the honourable member, we're not doing that. In fact, we're trying to do exactly the opposite. Believe me, it's a challenge, having followed the government he was a minister of, with the problems they left us.

The member is not correct. As a matter of fact, the Minister of Health indicated in the Legislature just yesterday, in response to a question from the member for Oriole, that he met last week with the Canadian Association of Retired Persons and he also met with the seniors' consumer association's Jane Leitch. He also pointed out in a response to a question yesterday in question period that neither of these groups even mentioned the copayment fee that he raises again today in question period.

Mr Hampton: I watched the Bill 26 hearings and I saw seniors' representatives appear and oppose the copayment fees and oppose the prescription drug fees. I guess maybe the Deputy Premier again wants to refute fact.

Deputy Premier, your hikes to public transit fees will affect senior citizens. Your destruction of rent controls will affect senior citizens; their rents will go up, but their incomes are not going up. Property taxes will go up because you have made cuts to municipalities, and these again will affect seniors who are on fixed incomes. Your cuts to social services will leave seniors vulnerable as well. Your hospital cutbacks are also affecting seniors.

We saw earlier how you intend to cut the wages of working people here and send out a symbolic message to employers across the province that it's okay, that the way to go is to cut workers' wages. Is this also your message to senior citizens, that they should get used to living on less, that they should do without, that they should do without food, that they should do without the other necessities because your government is going to continue to cut them? Is that the message you're trying to send them?

Hon Mr Eves: The member for Rainy River knows full well that is not the message we're trying to send. As a matter of fact, he probably also knows that due to actions taken by this government, 80,000 more seniors will be receiving home care in Ontario than were receiving home care under his government. I'm surprised he didn't point that out. He also knows that every other single province in Canada has some sort of copayment fee. Ontario is the last province to do that.

If he wants to talk about increases to municipal taxation, from 1990 to 1993, when his government was in power, 259 municipalities in the province had public education mill rate increases; 138 of those had mill rate increases of greater than 15%. I'm quite prepared to stack up our record against the record of your government any time.



Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): My question is to the government House leader and Minister of Finance. Last Thursday morning this assembly dealt with a private member's bill introduced by my colleague the Liberal member for Prescott and Russell, Mr Jean-Marc Lalonde. Mr Lalonde's bill concerns the very troubling issue of Quebec construction workers and Quebec construction businesses operating unfairly in the eastern and northeastern Ontario market. There was a good debate about Mr Lalonde's bill. It was unanimously agreed to. It was then referred to committee of the whole, which those of us who have been around here know is a Never-Never Land in terms of private member's legislation.

My question to the government House leader: Recognizing the fact that thousands of Ontario construction workers in places like Ottawa and Pembroke and Hawkesbury and Cornwall and Mattawa and North Bay and New Liskeard and Timmins are out of work, what is the intention of the Harris government with respect to bringing forward and moving expeditiously upon the contents of the Lalonde bill, Bill 60?

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): The government is indeed dialoguing with the province of Quebec on this very issue. It's my understanding, having talked to the Premier upon his return from the first ministers' meeting last week, that those discussions are ongoing between the province of Ontario and the province of Quebec.

I fully appreciate what he says about private member's bills, and I know it has been generally the tradition or practice in this place that most private member's bills (a) do not succeed -- I think we all know that -- and (b) when they're sent off to committee of the whole, he indicates it's a Never-Never Land. I would say to him, as I said to his House leader in the last House leaders' meeting, we are not saying that we will not proceed with that bill. But we would like to try to achieve the result that he wants to achieve by negotiation with the province of Quebec as opposed to legislation. I can say to him quite directly that if the negotiation route is not successful, then we're prepared to look at other alternatives.

Mr Conway: I appreciate the minister's response, and I understand that there is a dialogue between Premier Harris and Premier Bouchard. I'm well aware of work being done by the Minister of Labour, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and the minister of interprovincial trade, but the reality is that it is June 26. This is peak construction season along the Ottawa River frontier.

The numbers provided recently by the Ottawa-Carleton construction association report for the spring, April-May 1996, show current unemployment rates in the construction trades of anywhere between 30% and 70%. You, sir, represent the town of Mattawa. I represent the city of Pembroke and areas in the upper Ottawa Valley. My colleague Mr Lalonde represents Hawkesbury and Rockland; Mr Cleary, Cornwall; Mr Morin, Gloucester. We have to go home and explain to unemployed construction workers by the hundreds, by the thousands, that we are doing something and we're going to do something expeditiously to deal with this uneven, discriminatory Quebec construction practice.

You've got to go to Mattawa. What are you going to say to the unemployed construction workers of eastern and northeastern Ontario this summer that is going to be beyond dialogue and is going to give them some real hope that they are going to get into the marketplace, compete fairly with their Quebec colleagues and end this wretched discrimination that dialogue over the years has not been able to end?

Hon Mr Eves: The honourable member is quite right. I, along with other members, including those of his party, am going to have to go home this summer, as he puts it, and talk to our constituents in that area of the province. We have several of my colleagues on this side of this House who are in that situation as well.

I can tell you that, yes, we do want to see a level playing field, but I think the best way to achieve it, quite frankly, is to try and get agreement out of the province of Quebec, as opposed to threatening the province of Quebec. As I said, the Premier has raised this issue with the first minister in the province of Quebec. He has asked the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs to deal with this issue. If that does not work, we are quite prepared to take further action on the issue.


Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): I have a question to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. I have heard you speak in the last several months about the need to inject dollars into the private sector housing market in order to improve maintenance. My question is about what you're doing to the maintenance dollars in the co-op and non-profit housing sector.

I would like to ask you specifically how you can justify the massive cut in dollars for the rent-geared-to-income subsidies and the mortgage subsidy dollars and not understand that that will have a dramatic negative impact on maintenance in our housing stock that we have all invested in as taxpayers; namely, the non-profit and co-op housing sector.

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): Yes, we are looking at the co-op housing operating costs. We all know the co-op housing project was probably one of the biggest boondoggles ever undertaken in this province, and the costs of operating those facilities are all over the place. The operating costs of some projects are as much as 50% more than others.

What we have done is we've gone to all of the co-op units. We've asked them all to review their operating costs. We've asked them to explain why on like projects some costs are 30% or 40% more than the costs on other projects. The ones that are operating efficiently will have no reductions. Those that can't justify their exorbitant maintenance costs will be asked to reduce them to a reasonable amount.

Mr Cooke: The minister can talk in his generalities; I have a specific I'd like to ask him about. It's dealing with the Belle River co-op in Belle River near my riding. This one you have cut, and you seemed to indicate in your last answer that you were cutting only those that had exorbitant costs, unjustified costs. In this particular case they are left with an operating budget of $79,255. Out of that, their utilities are $12,974 -- they can't control that cost -- and property taxes of $41,500, for a total of $54,474. That leaves them $24,000 for waste removal, insurance, supplies and maintenance.

I'd like to ask the minister: You have given the death sentence to this particular co-op. It will deteriorate and it will not be able to be maintained. How can you justify that when you said you were interested in maintaining our housing stock?

Hon Mr Leach: I'll repeat: We're reviewing each and every project --

Mr Cooke: You've already cut them.

Hon Mr Leach: If the staff in the region are working with the people in the co-op, I'm sure they can address what is the adequate amount of maintenance money that's necessary, but we're looking at them all. We know that some operate very efficiently; some do not. We want to put them all on an even playing field.

I do not know the specifics of this particular one. I'll look into it, but I can tell you that what we're doing is trying to ensure they all operate as efficiently as possible.



The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): If I could just have a couple of seconds of the House's time, I'd like to inform the members that we have in the Legislative Assembly today, in the Speaker's gallery, a delegation from Turks and Caicos Islands. Please join me in welcoming our guests.


Mr Gary Fox (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings): My question is to the Minister of Transportation. Last December this House passed Bill 5, the Shortline Railways Act, whose purpose was to make it easier for small operators to buy abandoned rail lines and run them as short lines. I understand that this act has yet to come into force because of some coordination with the federal government that must take place first.

Would the minister advise the House when this act will come into force so that the small rail operators who are looking at investing here can do so?

Interjection: Good question.

Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): I would like to thank the member for Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings for the question. And yes, it is a very good question.

I am pleased to be able to inform the member and the House that this legislation will be coming through very shortly. I believe July 1 is the anticipated date. We are waiting for the federal government to proclaim its own Bill C-101, the Canada Transportation Act. This will assist the national railways in rationalizing their operations, particularly by selling property and rail lines they no longer require. Some of these lines could be profitable as short lines, which is why this government took the initiative to introduce the Shortline Railways Act.

Our legislation and changes to Ontario's labour laws will help small operators set up short lines, and I would like to assure the House that we are not setting up a large bureaucracy. The Ontario government is not hiring additional staff, but will use the expertise within the Ministry of Transportation to administer the act. We will also be using federal ministries to do safety inspections, and the cost of these inspections will be paid by the operators, not the government.

Mr Fox: Given the minister's commitment to transportation safety, can he tell the House how the government will ensure that such railways operate safely?

Hon Mr Palladini: I would like to reiterate that insurance has been a problem, and I believe we have addressed that concern. There is a minimum of $10 million in liability insurance to protect the public and the government, and the government will have the power to suspend or revoke a company's licence if it is not operating within a safe manner. There are also fines in the legislation. Violations of the act, regulations or licence will result in a fine up to $5,000 for individuals, up to $100,000 for corporations.

Rationalization of the national rail network is a fact of life, and I'm glad the federal government has recognized and dealt with it. I am pleased that the government of Ontario will make it possible for some of those jobs and local economic activity to continue to grow in the smaller communities of Ontario.


Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): My question is to the Solicitor General. It has to do with an issue that the New York Times today called, in a large headline, "Ontario Indian's Death is an Issue that Won't Die," and it has to do with the unfortunate incident at Ipperwash on September 6. It's now almost 10 months since the SIU, the special investigations unit, began its investigation. We are anxiously awaiting the results of that study, which we hope will answer questions and will allow us to ask some additional questions.

The question, though, that I think is paramount to us is, did the OPP conduct this operation without seeking advice from the government and without even informing the government of how it planned to do it? That will be the paramount question we will ask.

As the minister knows, there was a substantial buildup of OPP resources going on and the Premier said on May 29: "We knew nothing of any buildup. My staff heard nothing of any buildup. I was informed of no buildup." The question to you, Minister, is this: Were you, as Solicitor General, prior to this incident on September 6, informed of any buildup? Did your staff know of any buildup by the OPP at Ipperwash?

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): I have responded to this in the past and in terms of specific numbers we weren't advised. We do not get involved in the operational decisions of the OPP. But certainly we knew there was concern with respect to the potential for the Ipperwash situation to perhaps grow in terms of the possibility of additional problems, and I think that was based on some of the intelligence that the OPP had received with respect to people coming into the area. It was also based on the broader issue of some of the situations that were occurring at that time, specifically in British Columbia. So I think there were valid concerns, but in terms of the member's query about specifics with respect to the operational efforts of the OPP, we were not advised.

Mr Phillips: I look forward to a more detailed and more public inquiry where we can perhaps hear witnesses to perhaps elaborate on this. You said that you were briefed on a daily basis by the OPP. Your words were, "I was told on a daily basis that the OPP continued to monitor the Ipperwash situation." I take that to mean that the OPP daily reviewed the situation at Ipperwash with you, told you what they were doing at Ipperwash, I assume. You were their minister. You, I gather, regarded this as a very serious situation.

Can you explain to the people of Ontario, with these briefings taking place, the OPP knowing that you are the civilian authority responsible for their operations, the OPP knowing at the time they were dealing with this situation in a completely different manner than they had dealt with previous situations dealing with our native community, they knowing that they would be held ultimately accountable for the actions, why the OPP did not inform you of the size of the buildup and of the possible action they may take only mere hours after they were briefing you? Can you explain that?

Hon Mr Runciman: Those briefings were essentially dealing with the situation on the ground with respect to the activities of the occupiers of the park, with respect to the activities that we might take in terms of an injunction. Certainly we knew there were, in terms of resources that the OPP was putting in place, adequate resources with which in their view they would be able to cope with the situation. There's no point, I would think, in terms of the OPP advising me on specifics in terms of numbers or the kinds of people they may have surrounding the perimeter. These are the experts, they're the professionals in the field, and I rely on them, as have previous ministers of the crown, to conduct these operations in a most effective and efficient way.

I cannot and will not, and I would hope the member would encourage me not to, involve myself in any way, shape or form with operational decisions of the police in this province.



Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): My question is also to the Solicitor General and the minister responsible for corrections. I'm not surprised you gave that response because day after day here in this House you try to distance yourself and your office from any kind of responsibility to do with anything that happens under the auspices of your ministry.

I'd like to refer again to the alleged beatings of young offenders that apparently took place at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre. Yesterday, I raised with you in this House additional allegations with respect to at least three young people who were allegedly beaten on or around March 15. The child advocate today has confirmed that these additional incidents occurred, incidents after the first incidents, after the investigations which you are so proud of had already begun.

Minister, you responded on June 10 that your office had logged only one recorded call concerning the treatment of young offenders following the Bluewater incident and that that parent was satisfied with the response. Today we find through the media report that a mother called the minister's office seven times between March 4 and March 27 and spoke to your staff, your personal staff, for a total of more than 30 minutes.

Presumably these are the same political staff who received the calls and who would have received that briefing note from March 7 which we brought to your attention earlier this week. They didn't take the calls or the briefing notes seriously enough to even alert you, as minister, to personally intervene in the situation to find out what was going on to young people under your care.

Yesterday I asked you who was investigating your lack of knowledge and initiative into the whole affair, and today I'm asking you very directly, because these people work directly for you and no one else, what actions you have taken to investigate and deal with the inaction of your staff around these incidents. Who's investigating when your executive assistant, Kathryn Hunt, and Justin Brown, your legislative assistant, knew about these issues and did not tell you?

Hon Mr Runciman: My staff did not know of these allegations and I stand by the answers I've delivered on this issue earlier.

Mrs Boyd: It's passing strange that a mother could have spoken to the staff in the minister's office for more than 30 minutes and has the telephone bills to show that that was so, and she never spoke to his staff? This becomes more bizarre every day.

I find it really disturbing that the press and the critics in this House know more about what's going on in your ministry than you do. Every day we come in here and tell you more about what's happening in your own ministry concerning alleged abuse of young people, and all you do is request further investigations.

Even as late as yesterday you got all confused and you tried to tell us there were only two investigations: a police investigation and the internal investigation. We all know that's not so, because we've heard you say: "The OPP are investigating. The child advocate investigated. There is an internal investigation. The London police are investigating." Then you announce to the world you're calling in an independent third party to investigate your whole ministry.

Today we found out that the College of Physicians and Surgeons has received a complaint concerning the treatment -- or should I say lack of treatment -- of the young people in your care at Elgin-Middlesex. Minister, you don't know what's going on in your ministry. All the investigations you've called have probably already been compromised by your inaction.

If you can't tell us who's investigating you and your office -- you don't have the decency to resign until the investigations are concluded -- will you at the very least commit today to refer this whole affair to a parliamentary committee?

Hon Mr Runciman: With respect to the concerns of the mother in question, she's been encouraged to share those with Inspector Christopherson, the head of the internal investigation. I think this matter's being dealt with appropriately.


Mr Jim Brown (Scarborough West): My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. During second reading debate on Bill 75, the Alcohol, Gaming and Charity Funding Public Interest Act, you announced an amendment to the Liquor Licence Act that would limit applications for liquor sales licences for up to two years at problem premises that had ongoing infractions and illegal activities occurring.

Since that announcement, I have been contacted by a number of constituents with respect to the process that would be undertaken if such a strong measure was required. Will landlords have a fair opportunity to represent their interests before a revocation of a licence would take place?

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): It is strong measures and it is supported by many of the members of this caucus and by the community at large because of these very, very difficult premises where a number of illegal activities were taking place.

However, there is a due process which is necessary under our laws here in Ontario and in Canada which will take place. The landlord will be notified that the premises may in fact have this privilege withdrawn and that there will be an opportunity for a hearing. Second, the amendments also stipulate that such a process will only be undertaken if it is, in the opinion of the board, necessary to revoke this because of the public interest. The public will of course be involved in the hearing and will be called to prove their case.

However, I look forward to this as not only a sanction but a sanction which will bring into line a lot of people who are now flouting the laws of Ontario.

Mr Jim Brown: Minister, shortly after your statement there were some media reports that this amendment meant that instead of going after the shady characters who are causing the problems, the landlords would be the sole targets. Needless to say, a number of commercial landlords are concerned. Why would landlords be targeted instead of those people directly causing the problems?

Hon Mr Sterling: I really appreciate this opportunity to clarify this issue. First of all, the licensee, the person running that restaurant or bar where this illegal activity was taking place, would lose their licence. The part about salting the earth of the premises -- in other words, putting this sanction against the premises -- would only come after the revocation of the licence with regard to the operator. It would only be taking place in a situation where there was a continuing problem with the premises.

There also is no doubt that the police have in the past charged with criminal offences, and will continue to do so, those people undertaking such activities as dealing in drugs or prostitution or any other criminal behaviour occurring in these premises.

Therefore, the primary person who is responsible for the running of that particular premises will be dealt with first, but the landlord, under this new law, will also have to take some joint responsibility for ensuring that the premises are used for their proper purposes.


Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I have a question to the Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services. At 11:05 this morning you sent me this fax which says that after sympathetic consideration, you decided to open the Dellcrest custody facility for young offenders, who, by the way, have criminal records ranging from break and enter to serious violence, including sexual offences.

Even halfwitted bureaucrats know we're trying to rebuild what's left of our community, described as a hospital without walls. A Toronto Star reporter writes: "This district contains the highest concentration of former mental patients in the country. It is the enlightened state's dumping ground for crazy people, many of them doped to the eyes or in chemical straitjackets paid for by the enlightened state."

In addition to this, we have a number of drinking establishments charged with various liquor infractions and harbouring prostitutes and drug dealers. Will locating such an open-custody residence near these criminal activities not be counterproductive to what you are trying to achieve, namely, the rehabilitation of young offenders?

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): I appreciate the concerns of the member and his constituents with respect to this decision. I think Dellcrest found itself in a difficult position with respect to finding a new location. They had to go where properties were appropriately zoned and they required certain space as well, and this facility was appropriately zoned; it was about a mile and a half from the current location.

I understand the member's concerns with respect to the concentration of these kinds of facilities in that area, but for me to intervene in what is essentially a local zoning matter I felt wasn't appropriate and would set a precedent that would perhaps be best described as unfortunate with respect to these kinds of decisions being taken across the province. If you make that kind of decision to intervene in one situation, it opens a door which I don't think I would wish to open.


Mr Ruprecht: I'll get to the question of the zoning matter in a second, but let me remind the minister that not too long ago your ministry relocated a probation and parole centre which brings to the heart of Parkdale 1,400 ex-offenders. This probation office is less than 350 metres from the Dellcrest site and less than 100 metres from where persons routinely get arrested in prostitution sweeps. Before these ex-offenders arrive at the probation office, they will have to walk the gauntlet and meet drug pushers, pimps and prostitutes.

You surely must be aware that within a few short blocks there are 26 other care facilities: group homes, methadone clinics, crisis care facilities, including a mental health care centre that is sucking in anyone with a mental health problem from as far away as Brampton, Mississauga and Halton. To place this custody centre in the midst of this neighbourhood is in itself an insane act of incompetence, especially in the light of the fact that you have, with your full knowledge, all of Metro Toronto to choose from.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): What's your question?

Mr Ruprecht: My question is the following: The city of Toronto now has decided that by July 2 it will re-examine the whole question of zoning for the Dellcrest Centre. Will this minister give us the assurance that he will not fund this centre and will prevent it from opening until the city of Toronto has made that zoning decision on July 2?

Hon Mr Runciman: I've indicated to the member and I have made a number of efforts based on his request to expedite meetings with my officials and officials of Dellcrest to address the concerns of residents. We've made every effort, but I come back to the fact that we are essentially dealing with a municipal zoning and density question which should be referred to the city of Toronto and its planning and development department. I think it would be quite inappropriate for me to intervene. I would encourage the member to work with the board of Dellcrest to see if some kind of accommodation can be made with respect to the decision that may be forthcoming.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): My question is to the Minister of Labour. Minister, even though you've got a junior minister responsible for WCB reform, you have to accept ultimate responsibility for making the mess your government has of workers' compensation.

There has not been a meeting of the board of directors since last October, which is in direct violation of the Workers' Compensation Act -- Minister, where are you going?

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Please put the question.

Mr Christopherson: Well, it was for the minister who packed up her things and started to head out the door. You've been hanging around Cam too long, Minister.

The Speaker: Put your question.

Mr Christopherson: I will put the question again to the minister.

The Speaker: Please withdraw the unparliamentary remark, referring to another member as you did. Would you withdraw?

Mr Christopherson: Speaker, if I said anything unparliamentary, I do indeed withdraw it.

Minister, I stated earlier that even though you have a junior minister responsible for reform of the WCB, you have to accept ultimate responsibility for the mess that now exists in workers' compensation. I said there has not been a meeting of the board of directors since last October, which is in direct violation of the Workers' Compensation Act, which requires a meeting every two months. It also means that because there no longer is a bipartite board, any decision that's been made since October has had no worker representation at all -- no input. Because you have passed Bill 15, workers, as we stand today, have no say in what's going on in the Workers' Compensation Board.

Do you ever intend to reappoint a board, and, assuming you do, will you ensure that the workers in Ontario will continue to receive a 50% equal representation in decisions made at the board?

The Speaker: The question has been asked.

Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Minister of Labour): I'm very pleased that you asked the question, because I can indicate to you that we are actually at a point where we will soon be announcing the names of the new board members. I anticipate that will happen over the course of the summer. However, you also know that in appointing a new board, it will be a multistakeholder board. We will have a board of individuals who will be totally committed to ensuring that the board operates effectively on behalf of all employees, all injured workers and the employers.

Mr Christopherson: Minister, you know very well that having done away with the bipartite nature of the board, there will be no fair representation for workers there. You're going to load it up with your employer friends and make sure they carry out the anti-worker policies of this government. That's your agenda with regard to the board and everybody knows it. You have brought forward a discussion paper under the heading of Cam Jackson, having already scrapped the distinguished royal commission, and a year later we still don't know exactly what you're going to do.

The facts in Minister Jackson's report have been discredited and we've raised those issues here in the House. His proposal to give employers control of the first four to six weeks has been ridiculed across the province. He still has to deal with your promise to cut assessment rates by 5%, which will increase the unfunded liability in our calculation by $6 billion after seeing the unfunded liability drop two years in a row as a result of the NDP reforms, and he's on record as saying he's opposed to further cutting of indexation, so you can't save money there.

Minister, the whole reform matter is out of control. He can't get a policy through cabinet. We hear the rumours. It keeps getting rejected. When are you going to fire that minister, reinstate a bipartite board of directors and look at the issue that really matters in terms of reform, the rights and needs of injured workers? When are you going to do that?

Hon Mrs Witmer: First of all, I would just like to indicate to you that the minister with responsibility for workers' compensation reform has done an outstanding job in consulting with people throughout the province. He has consulted widely with all the stakeholders, and I know he is at a point where he has a report ready. I would indicate to you that report will be released very soon and you will have an opportunity to react further to the report that is presented.

I would also indicate to you that we have a new president at the helm and we are working actively to make sure that the case management for injured workers is dealt with in a much more expeditious manner. We are looking after the interests of the injured workers in a much more timely and effective manner. You had five years to deal with the problem and you did absolutely zilch.

The Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired. We will deal now with the two deferred votes. We'll be dealing with second reading of Bill 75 and third reading of Bill 59. Call in the members. There will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1549 to 1554.


Deferred vote on the motion for second reading of Bill 75, An Act to regulate alcohol and gaming in the public interest, to fund charities through the responsible management of video lotteries and to amend certain statutes related to liquor and gaming / Projet de loi 75, Loi réglementant les alcools et les jeux dans l'intérêt public, prévoyant le financement des organismes de bienfaisance grâce à la gestion responsable des loteries vidéo et modifiant des lois en ce qui a trait aux alcools et aux jeux.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): We're dealing with second reading of Bill 75 standing in the name of Mr Sterling. Those in favour will rise one at a time.


Baird, John R.

Harnick, Charles

Preston, Peter

Barrett, Toby

Hastings, John

Rollins, E.J. Douglas

Bassett, Isabel

Hudak, Tim

Runciman, Robert W.

Beaubien, Marcel

Jackson, Cameron

Sampson, Rob

Brown, Jim

Johnson, Bert

Saunderson, William

Chudleigh, Ted

Johnson, David

Skarica, Toni

Clement, Tony

Johnson, Ron

Smith, Bruce

Cunningham, Dianne

Jordan, W. Leo

Snobelen, John

Danford, Harry

Kells, Morley

Sterling, Norman W.

DeFaria, Carl

Klees, Frank

Stewart, R. Gary

Doyle, Ed

Leach, Al

Stockwell, Chris

Elliott, Brenda

Marland, Margaret

Tascona, Joseph N.

Eves, Ernie L.

Martiniuk, Gerry

Tilson, David

Fisher, Barbara

Munro, Julia

Tsubouchi, David H.

Ford, Douglas B.

Murdoch, Bill

Turnbull, David

Fox, Gary

Mushinski, Marilyn

Vankoughnet, Bill

Galt, Doug

Newman, Dan

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Gilchrist, Steve

North, Peter

Wood, Bob

Grimmett, Bill

Palladini, Al

Young, Terence H.

Guzzo, Garry J.

Parker, John L.


Hardeman, Ernie

Pettit, Trevor


The Speaker: All those opposed will please rise one at a time.


Bartolucci, Rick

Crozier, Bruce

Morin, Gilles E.

Boyd, Marion

Curling, Alvin

Phillips, Gerry

Bradley, James J.

Grandmaître, Bernard

Pouliot, Gilles

Caplan, Elinor

Hoy, Pat

Pupatello, Sandra

Castrilli, Annamarie

Kennedy, Gerard

Ramsay, David

Christopherson, David

Kwinter, Monte

Ruprecht, Tony

Churley, Marilyn

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Silipo, Tony

Cleary, John C.

Laughren, Floyd

Wildman, Bud

Colle, Mike

Marchese, Rosario

Wood, Len

Conway, Sean G.

Martel, Shelley


Cooke, David S.

McGuinty, Dalton


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 61; the nays are 31.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Shall the bill be ordered for third reading?

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): The justice committee.

The Speaker: The justice committee.


Deferred vote on the motion for third reading of Bill 59, An Act to provide Ontario drivers with fair, balanced and stable automobile insurance and to make other amendments related to insurance matters / Projet de loi 59, Loi visant à offrir une assurance-automobile équitable, équilibrée et stable aux conducteurs ontariens et à apporter d'autres modifications portant sur des questions d'assurance.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): We'll now deal with third reading of Bill 59, standing in the name of Mr Eves. Same vote? Agreed.

Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 61; the nays are 31.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

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



Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): Notwithstanding standing order 96(a), I move that the House will not consider private members' public business on Thursday, June 27, 1996, but that the House shall meet from 10 am to 12 noon on that day for consideration of government orders; and at 1:30 pm the House shall proceed to routine proceedings followed by orders of the day.

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


Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I move that the order of the House of June 19, 1996, referring Bill 36, An Act to amend certain acts administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources, to the committee of the whole House be discharged and the bill be ordered for third reading.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Is that carried? Carried.




Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): I have a petition with 59 signatures. Some of the signatories are here in the galleries today.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the mission statement of the Toronto Hospital says, `The Toronto Hospital will provide exemplary patient care';

"Whereas we, the registered nurses who work in the operating suite at the general division of the Toronto Hospital, located at 200 Elizabeth Street, Toronto, are gravely concerned about the erosion of patient care in the operating room;

"Whereas in order to cut costs, the CEO and director of surgical program and services have hired 16 registered practical nurses with the intention of replacing 16 registered nurses in the operating room by fall 1996;

"Whereas in the past, the policy had been that in order to apply to work in the operating room one must have a certificate in operating room nursing from a recognized course, none of the 16 meet this criterion, four of these registered practical nurses come with some operating room experience and the rest come with life skills, according to the director of surgical program and services. They will be trained with a hastily put together in-house operating room course which consists of one month of classroom and two months of practical training in the operating room. Furthermore, the instructor involved has never taught an operating room course curriculum before;

"Whereas after meeting with the director of surgical program and services, we came away with the unmistakable impression that this restructuring initiative is not based on a model that has proven effective elsewhere -- in fact, she and the rest of the administrative staff are flying by the seat of their pants;

"Whereas the Toronto Hospital operating room deals with patients who have multiple and complex health problems all the time, apart from major cardiac, thoracic, vascular, abdominal and ENT surgery on a daily basis, it also provides a 24-hour emergency service for transplant cases and to patients who arrive in emergency requiring timely lifesaving operations;

"Whereas the recent passage of Bill 26 gives the Minister of Health the power to order hospitals to maintain their high quality in patient care;

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

"We urge the Minister of Health to ensure that the Toronto Hospital lives up to its mission statement promise for the best interests of the public.

"We urge the Minister of Health to look into the issue and to ensure a high standard of patient care at the Toronto General operating room is preserved by disallowing the replacement of registered nurses with registered practical nurses."

I affix my signature to this important petition.


Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): My petition is equally important, but much shorter, you'll be happy to know.

I have in front of me hundreds of petitions from citizens all over Ontario urging the Legislative Assembly to stop the plans of the Attorney General to gut the family support plan, pointing out that the family support plan supports the most vulnerable people in our society and opposing in particular the closure of the eight regional offices which give local contact to people who are in receipt of family support and who are payors of family support.

I'm proud to support this petition.


Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey-Owen Sound): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly brought to me today by some of my constituents who are sitting up in the balcony. I want to recognize that. They also brought me 100 letters, which I delivered to the Minister of Education today.

"Whereas we are a group of concerned community members in Grey county where funding cuts to our board of education budget are forcing our children to walk up to 1.6 kilometres in rural areas and up to 4.8 kilometres in urban areas, this presents the real possibility of placing our children in dangerous situations such as gravel thrown from vehicle tires; speeding vehicles; snowplows operating; large snowbanks; no sidewalks and often no road shoulders; poor visibility due to hills and curves; poor weather conditions that include whiteouts, fog, darkness in winter, sudden storms, severe wind chill; no shelters; predictable walking times and isolation from some children offer opportunities to human predators, dogs, bears and rabid animals in an area that is rated one of the highest in the world for incidence of rabies;

"We, the undersigned, do hereby petition the Legislative Assembly and the Minister of Education to review the situation and ensure that adequate funding is provided so that the safety and wellbeing of our children are not compromised."


Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I keep getting petitions about the Dellcrest Children's Centre. This is signed by a number of residents and even people who are outside Parkdale. It reads:

"Whereas the Dellcrest Children's Centre is planning to open a 10-bed open custody residence; and

"Whereas the residence is an inappropriate site for the rehabilitation of troubled children because it is within walking distance to illicit drug and prostitution activities, a large number of unsupervised and supervised rooming houses that are home to ex-psychiatric patients, parolees and our society's most vulnerable and ostracized members, and a number of licensed establishments that have been charged with various liquor infractions; and

"Whereas the Ministry of Correctional Services has decided not to hold open discussions with our community prior to this purpose; and

"Whereas the decision to relocate also expresses a total lack of regard towards our community's consistent and well-documented wishes for the Ontario government to stop the creation or relocation of additional social service programs or offices in an area that is already oversaturated with health and social services for disadvantaged, troubled or disenfranchised people;

"Therefore we, the undersigned local residents and business owners, urge the Ministry of the Solicitor General to suspend plans to relocate this open custody residence until a full review of the Dellcrest Children's Centre's decision can be conducted, and explore with us other locations which are more appropriate."


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I have over 5,000 signatures to add to the thousands I've already presented from Canadian auto workers all across Ontario. It's addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and 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 therefore 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 continue to support these petitions, I will add my signature to theirs.


Mr Frank Klees (York-Mackenzie): I've been asked to submit this petition by a constituent, Louise Charlton, who's associated with Animal Alliance of Canada. It contains some 514 signatures, and I'd like to read the preamble.

"Whereas bears are hunted in the spring after they have come out of hibernation; and

"Whereas about 30% of the bears killed in the spring are female, some with cubs; and

"Whereas over 70% of the orphaned cubs do not survive the first year; and

"Whereas 95.3% of the bears killed by non-resident hunters and 54% killed by resident hunters are killed over bait; and

"Whereas Ontario still allows the limited use of dogs in bear hunting; and

"Whereas bears are the only large mammals hunted in the spring; and

"Whereas bears are the only mammals hunted over bait; and

"Whereas there are only six states in the United States which still allow a spring hunt;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Parliament of Ontario to amend the Game and Fish Act to prohibit the hunting of bears in the spring and to prohibit the use of baiting and dogs in all bear hunting activities."


Mr Gilles E. Morin (Carleton East): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the widening of the Queensway has caused the noise of highway traffic to constitute an inescapable nuisance, disturbing the rest and peace of Carleton Condominium Corp No. 11 residents and greatly diminishing the real estate value of their homes; and

"Whereas by a letter dated July 11, 1995, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation regional environmental unit planning and design section informed the Regional Group of Companies Inc agents for Carleton Condominium Corp No. 11 that Carleton Condominium Corp No. 11 does qualify as a candidate site on the ministry's province-wide noise barrier retrofit list as of 1988;

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

"To please give urgent priority for the construction of a noise barrier along the property of Carleton Condominium Corp No. 11, adjacent to the Ottawa Queensway in Gloucester."

I have signed this petition.



Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I have a petition here from the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1000A from Rexdale, Local 329 from Ottawa, Local 206 from Kitchener, Local 1977 from Cambridge, Locals 175 and 633 from Kitchener and Local 358 from Waterloo. The petition reads:

"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,

"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 attach my signature to this.


Mrs Julia Munro (Durham-York): Mr George Withy of Brechin has asked me to present another petition pertaining to the exorbitant price of gasoline in Ontario. This petition is signed by Mr Withy and approximately 266 concerned citizens of Beaverton, Woodville, Port Bolster, Sunderland, Ajax, Orillia, Sutton, Keswick, Jacksons Point, Cannington and Pefferlaw, to name but a few of the communities. The petition reads as follows:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned, do hereby protest the extremely high price for gasoline at the pumps and what looks like petroleum price fixing."

I agree with this petition, and I have affixed my name to it.


Mr Gerard Kennedy (York South): It's an important petition from hundreds of people from Lucknow, Petrolia, Emo, Mitchell, St Catharines, Fort Frances, Penetang, Kitchener, Sault Ste Marie, Ottawa, Seaforth and Timmins. It's a petition to the Ontario Legislature, to Premier Michael Harris, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Al Leach and members of the Ontario provincial Legislature.

"We, the undersigned, protest this government's actions 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 actions which 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 tenants and damaging to Ontario 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 the affordability and availability of these kinds of housing.

"This government has eliminated funding for the United Tenants of Ontario, five municipal tenant organizations 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 on government deliberations on tenants' rights and protection. A consultation process with tenants' organizations should be initiated immediately to develop a plan for sustainable funding for services to tenants."

I affix my name to this petition.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I have a petition here from Sault Ste Marie, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 545, who are really upset over what's happening to health and safety in the province. They say:

"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,

"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 have signed my signature.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): The time for petitions has now expired.

Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming): On a point of order, Madam Speaker: I would just like to ask the House if it would consider giving unanimous consent to extend the petitioning time by five minutes today, as today and tomorrow are the last opportunities members of this House have to present petitions until the opening of the fall session in late September.

The Acting Speaker: Agreed? Agreed.


Mr Monte Kwinter (Wilson Heights): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the final report of the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council hospital restructuring committee has recommended that North York Branson Hospital merge with York-Finch Hospital; and

"Whereas this recommendation will remove emergency and inpatient services currently provided by North York Branson Hospital, which will seriously jeopardize medical care and the quality of health for the growing population which the hospital serves, many being elderly people who in numerous cases require treatment for life-threatening medical conditions,

"We petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to reject the recommendation contained within the final report of the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council hospital restructuring committee as it pertains to North York Branson Hospital so that it retains, at minimum, emergency and inpatient services."

I've affixed my signature.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): In an attempt to be fair, I am now going to move to the member for Kitchener.


Mr Wayne Wettlaufer (Kitchener): I realize that was a significant departure. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

I have a petition here from my constituents in Kitchener to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas induced abortion is the intentional medical killing of a pre-born human being before birth, and evidence that pre-born human beings of 5-6 weeks' gestation have the ability to experience pain has been reported as long ago as 1941 and corroborated as recently as 1994; and

"Whereas a recent study reviewing all available research on the reasons for abortion in Canada concluded that, `As the procedure (abortion) is not therapeutic and as there is mounting evidence that it is harmful to women's health, funding by the government under health care cannot be justified'; and

"Whereas US studies have shown that where public funding for abortion has been removed, both the pregnancy rate and the abortion rate have dropped significantly; and

"Whereas the Canada Health Act does not require that `elective procedures' be funded, nor has any Canadian court ever found a constitutional right to publicly funded abortion; and

"Whereas it is the responsibility and the authority of the province exclusively to determine what services will be insured,

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

"That the Ontario government remove induced abortion from its medically insured services; and

"That the Ontario government, through the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community and Social Services, endeavour to encourage an alliance between all groups offering crisis pregnancy support across the province."

I affix my signature.


Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming): "Whereas reductions in funding afforded by Extendicare for health care aids has had a detrimental effect on the quality of care afforded residents of Extendicare in Haileybury; and

"Whereas the Extendicare facility in Haileybury has reduced the ability of front-line workers to maintain adequate personal care and consideration for its residents; and

"Whereas the goal of nursing home care should be to provide a safe, clean and healthy environment for those whose dignity we cherish,

"We, the undersigned, petition the Extendicare of Haileybury in Ontario to re-examine their cost-containment initiatives and to restore to adequate levels the front-line services residents of these facilities so richly deserve."


Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and it's from the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, CEP, Local 27 in Don Mills, Local 975 in Scarborough, Local 526 in Brockville, Local 1144 in Toronto, Local 599-0 in Peterborough, Local 25 in Toronto and Local 800 in Sarnia:

"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 the 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,

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to oppose any attempt to erode the structure, services and 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 to the occupational health clinics for Ontario workers."

I support this petition 100% and I affix my name to it.


Mr Dan Newman (Scarborough Centre): I have a petition to the Legislature of Ontario. It reads:

"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 signature to this worthwhile petition.



Mr Ron Johnson from the standing committee on administration of justice presented the committee's report as follows and moved its adoption:

Your committee begs to report the following bill as amended:

Bill 54, An Act to provide for the delegation of the administration of certain designated statutes to designated administrative authorities and to provide for certain limitation periods in those statutes / Projet de loi 54, Loi prévoyant la délégation de l'application de certaines lois désignées à des organismes d'application désignés et prévoyant certains délais de prescription dans ces lois.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Shall the report be received and adopted? Agreed.

Shall Bill 54 be ordered for third reading? Agreed.


Mr Martin from the standing committee on government agencies presented the committee's 14th report.

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


Mr Smith from the standing committee on regulations and private bills presented the following report and moved its adoption:

Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:

Bill Pr59, An Act respecting the City of Kingston.

Your committee begs to report the following bill with amendment:

Bill Pr62, An Act to revive Delzap Construction Ltd.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Shall the report be received and adopted? Agreed.



Ms Bassett moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr64, An Act respecting the National Ballet of Canada.

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

Report continues in volume B.