36th Parliament, 1st Session

L106 - Wed 9 Oct 1996 / Mer 9 Oct 1996

















































The House met at 1332.




Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Anyone who is wondering why last Wednesday in the Legislature I demanded that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations release a secret government report entitled Gambling in Ontario: Current Enforcement Concerns, 1995, would be well aware today that this report is dynamite for the Premier and his cabinet.

My colleague Liberal MPP Bruce Crozier has requested that the minister release this very revealing report to the justice committee that is dealing with a government bill that would permit up to 20,000 VLTs or video slot machines to be placed in bars and restaurants in every neighbourhood in Ontario.

The contention by the Premier, the Solicitor General and the consumer minister that they have not read the report is simply not believable.

Now that several elements of the secret report have come to light and the TV program W Five has confirmed many of the warnings that we in the Liberal caucus have been issuing, namely, that illegal activities and the involvement of criminal elements are prevalent in government-sanctioned gambling in Ontario, surely the Premier will release the entire report to the public.

To proceed with the Premier's bill allowing 20,000 video slot machines across Ontario would be madness in view of the latest revelations. I call upon the Premier to come to his senses and withdraw this ill-advised legislation.

It appears that nothing less than a full public inquiry into gambling activities in Ontario will clear the air and reassure the people of the province of Ontario.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): Yesterday, in answer to questions from my new leader, the Minister of Labour said that we had not made any improvements at all to the plight of garment workers, particularly those who are working in the home, and went on to talk about the improvements they have made.

First of all, let me set the record straight. Our government, in July 1994, made improvements to the Employment Standards Act that removed the current exclusions for home workers under the Employment Standards Act with regard to hours of work, overtime and holiday pay. We also created a special 10% premium on the general minimum wage to cover such overhead costs as heating and electricity and the purchase cost of machinery normally borne by the employer. We also required employers to provide home workers with a written summary of their conditions of employment, including piece or hourly rates, the nature and amount of work and the completion deadline.

Further to that, the minister had the audacity to say that she's made great strides in the last year. Well, I guess from one perspective she has: She's made things a lot worse for workers in this province and made things a lot better for her corporate friends. I'll stack up our agenda on labour legislation and fighting for workers, particularly the most vulnerable, such as home workers, any day of the week against the ongoing attack that this government has launched against workers, particularly women, in this province. I'll have that debate and that comparison any day of the week.


Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): As the members of this House know full well, the 1996 Paralympic Games were held in Atlanta in August 1996. It is my privilege to stand and recognize the important accomplishments of one of my constituents. Mr Jim Shaw, a 23-year-old from Newcastle, Ontario, is a world champion who also suffers from cerebral palsy. Jim Shaw has been competing since 1992 and in Atlanta won two golds and a bronze medal in the world's largest competition for athletes with disabilities. Jim won a bronze in javelin, a gold medal in shot-put and a world record gold medal toss of 41.6 metres in the discus.

The Canadian team placed seventh in a field of 120 countries. Jim Shaw is now recognized not only as a local hero but indeed a world champion. I have met Jim and am proud of his humble and friendly manner, a great role model for any young person. Jim speaks of his disability rather matter-of-factly. He says, "It is probably what most people tend to look at, but I seldom consider it."

I would ask all members to recognize the accomplishments of Jim Shaw and all our disabled athletes. I know we are all proud of them, their accomplishments and courage both on and off the field.


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): Today I address my remarks to the Minister of Health. Yesterday, following my question regarding obstetrical care in my community, the minister left the chamber and went into a reporters' scrum to announce a clinic of some sort that's going to magically appear in my community. He did this assuming as well that the hospitals were fully onside and prepared to do this within 30 to 60 days.

The reality is that the meeting he was involved in with hospitals from my community involved an integrated delivery system for maternal health care, a fully rounded program which is a far longer-term solution and does nothing to address the immediate concerns of women in my community who are still on a list and still do not have prenatal care or obstetrical care and do not know who will be delivering their babies.

I find it absolutely irresponsible that a minister of this crown could possibly go to reporters and make an announcement without having an official amount of money it will cost to implement such a system. One group is talking about a long-term solution, while the minister is saying he is going to find redress for an immediate solution to the problem our women have in my community. I insist that the minister come to the table and say he is prepared to provide the funding for such a long-term solution, yes; and he must also be prepared to address the immediate concerns of women in my community who need care today. Thank you, Mr Minister -- Mr Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): The member for Cochrane South.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Heaven knows he'd like to be called Mr Minister, but at this point it's Mr Speaker.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Mr Speaker, as you know, the minister responsible, the Attorney General, has been saying in this House for the past number of months that nothing he has done within the family support plan has caused the system to come into disarray. To put it into perspective, the government has moved on an initiative to privatize the family support plan and in the interim has really put the system into jeopardy.


We have a number of cases we have raised in this House on behalf of constituents who have come to our offices and said, "I have a situation where my ex-husband has paid the support to the family support plan," and the ex-wife has not received the money coming back. The minister keeps on denying that such cases exist. Time after time we have come into this House, we have presented cases to the minister and the minister at each opportunity has turned around and said, "No, there's nothing wrong."

I have here yet another five cases of that nature that have come to my constituency office over the last number of weeks. These are just the tip of the iceberg. I want to present these to the minister on behalf of the constituents of Cochrane South and say to him that if there isn't a problem with this system, these people sure don't know it because they certainly have a problem with the system. I call on the minister to put the system back the way it was so that people in the family support plan get the money they're entitled to.


Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East): There's no doubt that over the term of this government there'll be many occasions to celebrate the accomplishments of volunteers in our community and to praise them for the extraordinary way in which their deeds make this a better society in which we live.

It's unlikely, though, that I will ever again meet an Ontarian with the record of community service as exceptional as the one recognized in my riding last week. Among 34 volunteers recognized by the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 258, one volunteer stood out. Mr George McLeod was recognized for 76 years of continuous service to the legion and its predecessors, the British Empire Service League and the Great War Veterans.

Mr McLeod joined the army at age 14 and after two years of active service overseas returned to Canada and joined the Northwest Mounted Police at age 16. He was one of 180 police sent to put down the Winnipeg riots in 1919. Returning to Toronto, he joined the Toronto fire department where he served for 42 years and retired as a captain. Mr McLeod lost two of his sons in the Second World War. During his 76 years of legion service he has served in most of the executive roles.

I was truly humbled to meet such an incredible link with our country's past and I'm sure all members join me in saluting Mr George McLeod for his work in the Legion and in the firefighters' association, and extending our thanks for his service to his community and to his country as both a volunteer and a patriot.


Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): There was a press conference today by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, which released a survey of 7,723 adult high school students. It's a fascinating piece of work, an excellent piece of work, and something I'm sure the Minister of Education will want to take a second look at because of the implications.

The survey was conducted in 117 schools during May and revealed some very interesting statistics. It first of all revealed that the adult students had a higher degree of representation among women, visible minorities and people with disabilities. Yet when you look at the success story of this program, 83% graduate; 36% move on to colleges and universities and 47% move right into the workplace. Not only that; a full 50% are completely off welfare after they've completed their program.

I would challenge the government to find a program that is more effective, more efficient than the existing program, which is now being hampered and cut. If they read this particular report and if they want to make a decision based on information and not just on politics and economics, they must support adult education.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): I want to comment today on the announcement by the Minister of Citizenship last Friday around the new strategy for amateur sport. What becomes really clear, having attended the conference and talked to people who are affected by these cuts, is that what she announced is not a strategy. What she announced is simply another cut to kids and programs for children. Cutting funding to sports programs means fewer kids will have the chance to take part.

It seems that this minister and this government are forgetting that sports and recreation programs play a major role in the development of our young people. They learn cooperation, they learn leadership skills, they get some exercise and they have some fun. Our kids are richer for that experience.

In tying her criteria for funding to the Olympic sports as the only ones that will be funded from now on, what the minister is forgetting is that this keeps out of the funding scheme sports like the Ontario Ball Hockey Association, a program which involves some 17,000 young people across the province and which, as they themselves indicated to us, is in the top 20% in terms of provincial participation. Their seeming preoccupation with cutting administration costs seems to forget that it's those administrators who coordinate the many hundreds of volunteers throughout the province who end up providing these programs. So what we're seeing here again is not a strategy but another series of cuts.


Mrs Helen Johns (Huron): I would like to recognize October as National Flu Prevention Awareness Month. It's flu season and we all know the symptoms and the consequences. But for some 2,000 to 5,000 people, the flu can be life-threatening. People at risk of the flu and pneumococcal disease are seniors and anyone with deficient immune systems, chronic heart, lung, kidney or liver diseases, and those with HIV infections.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): The member for Windsor-Sandwich, come to order, please.

Mrs Johns: Health Minister Jim Wilson recently announced a new $20-million program to protect Ontarians at risk with pneumococcal disease and influenza over the next three years. The pneumococcal vaccine is now being distributed to physicians' offices and long-term-care facilities. The most vulnerable citizens in nursing homes and homes for the aged, as well as those at risk, will be the first to be offered the vaccine free of charge through their family physicians over the next two years. Healthy seniors will be offered the vaccine in the program's third year. After that, the vaccine will be offered to people as they turn 65.

This government, through its immunization programs -- $4.5 million to eradicate measles, $11 million to protect students from hepatitis B and $20 million to protect seniors from pneumococcal disease -- is again meeting the commitment we made in the Common Sense Revolution. We will reinvest dollars in preventive care which can help people avoid becoming ill in the first place.



Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): Our government has made a strong commitment to raise the standards of education in Ontario --


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order, the member for Hamilton East.

Hon Mr Snobelen: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I haven't been in a situation where there was catcalling recently -- and to create a system that offers students a quality education while improving accountability and affordability to parents and taxpayers.

Under the leadership of Premier Mike Harris, this government has made major strides to improve quality and to make sure the public receives full value for its education tax dollar.

I have already announced a number of steps to achieve this goal, including the establishment of an Ontario College of Teachers, the introduction of province-wide testing by the Education Quality and Accountability Office and the release of the secondary school reform paper, which will be the basis for extensive consultations across the province in November. Later this year I will also introduce a more specific curriculum that will set high standards for our students in grades 1 to 9.

In tandem with these initiatives, I am pleased to release a standard report card that will better inform parents about their children's progress. Too many parents have been dissatisfied by the ambiguity of the different report cards used across the province. A standard report card will ensure consistency across the province and will give parents specific information about how their child is doing and what needs to be improved.

Right now 900 schools are field-testing a series of models that we have developed. We will make adjustments based on the feedback we receive from teachers and parents, and by September of next year each school in the province will use a provincial report card.

Surely even the members opposite will realize that having an improved system of reporting to parents, a system designed with the help of parents, will help improve the quality of our education system. I am pleased to announce this initiative today.


Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): Related to the degree of standardized testing, we agree that the initiative should be well done. But I have a few comments to make in relation to that.

First of all, the minister will know that the Toronto Board of Education went through a year and a half of developing a standard report card and field-tested this thoroughly. To my knowledge, they have not been consulted in terms of your particular initiative. It seems to me that's a very large sampling you might want to take into consideration in terms of the experience they've gained and what they've learned after they've introduced a standard report card.

There was an element in their report card which I thought was a fascinating feature. It had an opportunity for students to comment and engage with their teachers in terms of the marks they received. As the minister will well know, if a student is involved in a degree of self-evaluation and assessment, it heightens the sense of social accountability for the student, the interest of the student and the sense of feeling that, "This isn't just someone else judging me in a totally objective manner."

Minister, what is the role of the Education Quality and Accountability Office? It seems to me that this office was set up to manage this kind of testing. Are they playing a role in that? With all the wisdom and corporate memory that they've accumulated to date, is that being offered to the process?

The other point would be the flexibility. We have a big province. As you know, we have many regions of Ontario where the lifestyle varies. It's quite different to live in a small northern town or a small town in eastern Ontario or southwestern Ontario than it might be to live in downtown Metro Toronto. What kind of accommodations are there? There should be a core test and report card, but there should also be some flexibility to allow for lifestyle in the various regions throughout Ontario.

You made one statement in here, that "Under the leadership of Premier Mike Harris, this government has made major strides to improve quality and to make sure the public receives full value for its education tax dollar." If we took a report card on you, and my colleague will speak on this in a moment, one of the areas will be the area of the capital freeze, the freeze on renovations for schools. We have a youngster with us today all the way from Carleton Place, he and his mom, who have come here to talk with you to let you know what his school is like, the deteriorated situation his school is in, Carleton Place High School. I hope you relate this to your own situation when you look at standardized testing.

Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): I have a report card here in my hand, A First Year Report Card on the Ontario Government. It goes on to talk about excellence in education, and just let me quote from that report card.

"A larger share of the education dollar is going directly to `learning,' where it matters most!" Well, I've suggested to this minister that he doesn't know where it matters the most. I challenged him the other day to call a teacher. I don't believe he's done that yet. That's where it matters the most, Minister: in the classroom.

Minister, you have a letter from the Dryden Board of Education, Ignace school. They have actually given you an invitation because they want you to come into their classroom to find out what's going on in those classrooms. You talk about the education dollar going back into the classroom. Well, it's not happening. They've issued you a challenge to come and learn with them in their classroom.

This is the way the letter ends, because I don't think you've responded to it yet and maybe have not even read it:

"I do not think you can have any idea what a teacher does or what happens in schools today unless you are there. You can sit and talk to bureaucrats as long as you want, but until you walk in someone else's shoes, you do not have the whole picture."

I encourage you to get involved. Get involved in what's going on in the classroom on the front line. Tell those teachers they're doing something that's going to help us in the future with our future generation. I ask you to take up the challenge that's been given to you by the principal of Ignace public school, where she's actually asked you to come in and find out what's going on in the classroom. I ask you to follow up on the challenge I gave you the other day to talk to a teacher, a teacher who goes into that classroom every day.

Minister, I don't think your heart is really where it should be: in the classroom with those students, where it means the most.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I want to respond to the Minister of Education and Training's comments regarding a standard report card. As all members of the House are aware, the pilot projects for implementation of a standard report card were initiated by the previous government and by my colleague the member for Windsor-Riverside as Minister of Education and Training. For that reason, obviously, we are in support of the fact that the minister is proceeding with this initiative to make it easier for parents to understand in a standardized way what progress their children are making in education. I think it's perhaps time that the minister received a report card himself.

One of the things we might look at with regard to the standard report card is the fact that there is apparently no place on it listing physical or health education as a subject area. I wonder why the minister and the ministry are not including physical and health education as part of the standard report card requirements since, as we all know, physical and health education is very important for the overall education of a student.

Having said that, let's judge the minister on his own commitment. This was a party that was elected with a commitment that it would not hurt the classroom, that classroom education would not suffer at all. Yet we've seen this government take $400 million out of public education last year, somewhere between 5% and 8% of the grants to school boards removed from education funding and as a result of that we've seen junior kindergarten programs terminated, some of them changed substantially or combined with senior kindergarten programs, again adversely affecting the classroom education of the students involved in those junior kindergarten programs.

We've seen changes in the funding for adult education in the province, so that students who are 21 years of age or over are being told they only can get their courses through continuing education programs, which are funded at half of the amount of day school education programs. As a result, many adult students are not able to graduate and are stuck on the welfare rolls.

With regard to the Education Quality and Accountability Office that is supposed to be central to this whole process, we passed the legislation setting up that office, but for some reason --


The Speaker: Order, please.

Mr Wildman: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. The Education Quality and Accountability Office -- for some reason, the appointment of the chair of that organization has been apparently revoked by the cabinet. I'd like to know what is going on over there. The minister says he is committed, and his government and the Premier are committed, to improving the quality of education and to making sure the public receives full value for its education tax dollar. After taking $400 million out of education last year, which on an annualized basis is about $800 million to $1 billion, the minister is now musing about taking another $600 million out of education this year.

The minister says he's taking these measures to ensure that every Ontario student receives the highest quality of education possible. Let's be frank. When a decision is based on whether or not to improve quality or whether or not to take money out, the fact is that everything that is being done by this minister and his government in education is fiscally driven. The question is not whether quality will be improved, but how much money can be saved by cutting programs, and if it hurts education and it hurts classroom education, that doesn't matter.

The standardized report card that this minister should get from every student in this province, from every teacher in this province, from every trustee in this province, from every parent in this province is an F for destroying classroom education because he wants to get as much money as possible out of public education in Ontario.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order dealing with procedures in a committee, particularly the government agencies committee and standing order 106. It's something I would like to set out for you briefly and ask that you take a look at, because I think there has been a breach of the standing orders and I believe it's the kind of thing that you as Speaker need to take a look at.

As you know, we in that committee, among other things, review intended government appointees. I know you're familiar with that process because you sat as a member of that committee in the past.

This morning the committee was scheduled to review three intended appointees. One of those three intended appointees had been chosen by the government caucus: Richard Johnston, who had been designated by the cabinet as the intended appointee to the position of chair of the Education Quality and Accountability Office, in fact to be reappointed to that position, which he's held for the last couple of years.


We discovered at the committee that he had been called yesterday some time and told not to appear because, as we understand it, he was told that his appointment had been withdrawn.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order, please. I'm having difficulty hearing.

Mr Silipo: The point I want to raise with you is that the communication we had in front of the committee this morning in my view is not consistent with the standing orders. I'm not standing here on a point of order questioning the wisdom the government may or may not have shown in reappointing or not reappointing Mr Johnston; I appreciate that's an issue that has to do with other concerns, political and otherwise. But I'm not raising that issue with you as part of this point of order. I want to be very clear about that.

As you may recall, the intended appointments process comes to us in this way: The Premier, upon a decision of the cabinet, sends to members of the standing committee on government agencies a list of intended appointees, with the words, "I am attaching information on intended order-in-council appointments to agencies, boards and commissions which received cabinet approval on" whatever the date is.

There's very clearly a cabinet decision made to appoint these people subject to the process set out in standing order 106. That process allows government members as well as opposition members the ability to review some of those intended appointees. That process was followed to that extent and, as I said, resulted in Mr Richard Johnston having been chosen by the government caucus to be questioned this morning, his appointment to be reviewed this morning.

We then discovered, upon arriving at the committee this morning, that there was a letter from Marilyn Sharma, who is the general manager of the Public Appointments Secretariat, informing the committee that one item included in that memorandum from the Premier has been withdrawn and should therefore not be considered.

My point in raising this with you, Mr Speaker, is that I believe that is not following the standing order. I would argue that I don't think there is a process in the standing order that allows for those intended appointments to be pulled back once the committee is on the verge of that process. But even if that were the case, if that were allowed, I suggest to you that we have had no communication; that the cabinet, which made that initial decision and which kickstarts the process -- according to standing order 106 it very clearly kickstarts the process. It says, "A minister of the crown shall lay on the table a certificate stating that the Lieutenant Governor in Council or the Premier, as the case may be, intends to appoint a person to an agency, board or commission." It doesn't say an employee or anybody else; it says "a minister or the Premier."

In this case, the notification we received was not proper because it was not from the Premier, was not from a minister of the crown, and did not specifically indicate that the cabinet had changed its mind.

I ask you to take a look at that because I think it's a serious breach of the process, a very detailed process that's set out under standing order 106 as it relates to the review process for intended appointees.

The Speaker: I thank the member for Dovercourt for his point of order and, obviously, the thought that went into it. There are a couple of points I would make previous to my ruling. First and foremost, it's not up to the Speaker to begin second-guessing rulings by the chairs of committees. The chairs of committees would rule this in or out of order, and that's their role, and propriety would dictate that those rules are made.

The only way that the Speaker may begin to second-guess or suggest that the rulings be overturned or changed would be if a majority of the committee members voted or the committee came to the Legislature seeking a ruling from the Speaker.


The Speaker: -- or not, obviously. That is the only possible way the Speaker may become involved in committee hearings, rulings or decisions made by the Chair. The only alternative you may take at this time, if you would like the Speaker to review the ruling made by the Chair at the time, is if the committee decided en masse and in vote to bring the ruling before the House and in fact before the Speaker.

I have no rights or privileges to begin second-guessing rulings of chairs of committees. That would leave me in the awkward and tenuous position of having to hear points of order on all decisions potentially made at committee level.

Finally, I guess, if it is a position and a bone of contention that you want to see this, you have every right and obligation on behalf of your constituents to go back to the committee and seek majority consensus on the committee to appeal to the Speaker.

Mr Silipo: Mr Speaker, if I may just briefly --

The Speaker: Briefly.

Mr Silipo: Very briefly. I would have under normal circumstances done exactly what you had suggested because I believe, as you do, that that process is the normal process. I specifically raised this with you because standing order 106 is a different order, I believe, than the others as they apply to the processes of a committee. In fulfilling its obligations under standing order 106, the standing committee on government agencies is acting for the entire Legislature, and I think there is a difference in that. I would ask you to just take a look at that, because I believe there is a distinction between the application of this particular order and any other disagreement that I or any other member of the committee might have on any other issue. I would just ask you to take a look at that.

The Speaker: The member for Dovercourt, I will give you my undertaking to review it, if that's what you're asking of me. I will review it in fairness and in light -- you will probably find, from my last statement I made, I will be predisposed to making the decision I'm making. But if you're asking me to review it, I'll be more than happy to review it and report back.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Further on yesterday's exchange between the member for Hamilton Centre and the Speaker with respect to withdrawal and what constitutes withdrawing a comment, I want to be very clear with the House today that many Speakers have different interpretations on what is considered withdrawn and what isn't. I tried to get on the record yesterday exactly how I felt. Maybe I was not clear enough and maybe yesterday was a good time to allow the member to set the parameters.

In essence, in future, you have two options when you're asked to withdraw: You may withdraw the comment, no caveats, unequivocally withdraw, or you don't. Obviously ultimately if you don't, then you will be named and asked to be escorted out. But I don't want there to be any unknown quantities involved when you've been asked to withdraw. There are simply no ifs, ands or buts, as I said yesterday; it's simply withdraw or not. Many Speakers work different ways. I think this is the most appropriate way to pursue that issue and you're given your choice in that matter.

Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): On a point of privilege with regard to the comment that you just made, Mr Speaker: I just want to be very clear, since I was the focus of your comments, that yesterday might or might not be the best example of that, and I think we managed to work our way through that and I think both of us used a fair amount of discretion and got through the moment.

I would like to ask you what happens to any member in this House where they sincerely are not sure or not clear, or in their opinion did not and you're asking an admission of guilt; I find it hard to understand why one has to stand and say, "I'm automatically guilty," even if I disagree or don't know why, when --


The Speaker: Order. I appreciate what you're saying, to the member for Hamilton Centre. I think what I'm trying to point out is, I would not ask a member to withdraw unless I'm very clear that that is in fact out of order. What I'm trying to point out is that you're asked to withdraw by the Speaker and the Speaker is clear -- I was very clear yesterday that what you said was completely out of order, I felt, and I didn't want to push the envelope yesterday. Because it's a new Speaker, I want to give you the parameters and the guidelines.

What I'm trying to point out is, if I'm asking someone to withdraw, I think it's completely out of order, and it's just that simple. Really, if you don't have a Speaker being able to make those kinds of decisions, then we fall into chaos. I thank the member for Hamilton Centre.




Ms Annamarie Castrilli (Downsview): My question is for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Last week, Liberal House leader Mr Jim Bradley asked the minister for a secret police report entitled Gambling In Ontario: Current Enforcement Concerns, 1995. The member for Essex South repeated the request earlier at justice committee. Both times they were refused.

We now know why the minister is deliberately keeping the report from the opposition and from government benchers, because we are concerned about the proliferation of video slot machines: This secret police report points to a web of organized crime throughout Ontario's gaming industry.

My question to the minister is, will he release the secret report so that we can do our job as legislators and assess the real impact of video slot machines and the threat of organized crime in this province?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): I refer this question to my colleague the Solicitor General.

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): In response to the member's question related to the press reports and the so-called, as she described it, "secret report," this was a report commissioned through the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario. It is their report. It is not the government's report. I would respectfully suggest that she approach the chair, Chief Julian Fantino of London Police Services, to see if it will be released.

Ms Castrilli: This is really unbelievable. This morning the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations said he hasn't read the report, the Solicitor General said he hasn't read the report, the Premier has said he hasn't read the report, yet the government plans to ram down this video slot machine bill. They're playing a game of "See no evil, hear no evil." They are ignoring serious police concerns about a widespread criminal element thriving in Ontario.

The minister has a secret report that uncovers a growing criminal element in Ontario's gaming industry. Will the government withdraw this video slot machine bill, a bill which will see the proliferation of some 20,000 video slot machines in bars and restaurants, until the people of Ontario have had the chance to see what the police have had to say about the new crimes that these slot machines will bring into their communities?

Hon Mr Runciman: It's a little awkward. Since the supplementary essentially deals with the VLT legislation, I'm going to refer it to the minister responsible.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: First of all I'm going to give some credit where credit is due in this particular matter. The Gaming Control Commission, which was established in 1994 by the NDP government, gave the government, finally, some tools to deal with a previously unregulated area. In 1993, prior to the establishment of the Gaming Control Commission, there were only three charges laid in this field. In the last 12 months there have been over 300 charges laid due to the establishment of the Gaming Control Commission. Prior to its establishment as well, there were no restrictions on who could supply supplies or services to the casino. This was done in connection with the casino and the establishment of the casino.

There were some tools given, and certainly credit where credit is due, but I strongly believe that we have to provide tighter and more provisions to supervise and monitor this area, and that's exactly where we're heading with the establishment of the charity gaming halls.

Ms Castrilli: This is a lot of gobbledegook. This minister is saying to us, and he hasn't read the report, that he is going ahead with video slot machines regardless of the consequences. He's already said that 300 charges have been laid, yet he is proceeding. They're going to push forward with this because they are so starved for cash that they don't care about the consequences on people and on communities.

I ask the minister again, how can he possibly allow the largest proliferation of gambling in Ontario's history when he has a police report in his hand saying that criminals will profit? These aren't nice people. These are criminals. How can the minister go forward with video slot machines? How can you ignore this report?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I might start by reminding the member that it was the Peterson government that brought in these three-day roving Monte Carlos. These are the unregulated types of casinos that have been causing the problem in this province. As the member knows full well, the complaint of the charities has been that at the end of a three-day casino, they have very little, if anything, left out of the proceeds of these particular types of roving casinos. The idea here is to bring in proper regulations to monitor these things closely, to make sure that charities do get the benefit of these particular casinos.

Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): It's the video slot machine that caused the problem, and you know it.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): The member for Essex South, come to order.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: This is clearly why we're bringing in the charity gaming halls, to make sure they are regulated.

In addition, as the newspaper clipping has said, "Most of these problems could be dealt with if the provincial government would devote resources to supervision." This is clearly what we're trying to get: better and more means to supervise and to take care of this problem. In fact it was really predicated by the Liberal government.

The Speaker: New question, the member for Downsview.

Ms Castrilli: I wonder how the minister knows what the problem is when he hasn't read the report.

The Speaker: Who is your question to?

Ms Castrilli: My question is to the Solicitor General, since he was so kind as to stand up before, and it's on the same subject. The minister is, as we know, the chief law officer of the province. This morning he told reporters he hadn't read the report, a report by the OPP which concluded that criminal elements are thriving in Ontario's gaming industry.

I really have to ask the minister, where has he been? The report is over a year old, a report that deals with criminal elements in our gaming industry, yet this government is proceeding with the largest proliferation of gaming in Ontario's history and he hasn't bothered to read the report.

The Speaker: Question, please.

Ms Castrilli: Where has he been?

Hon Mr Runciman: I indicated in the earlier question that this was not a government report and was not a report to government. This was a report commissioned by the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario and circulated to the membership of CISO, not a government report. It wasn't made available to me; it wasn't a report to government; it was an internal report within CISO.

Ms Castrilli: This is an OPP report. The OPP is part of the minister's ministry and responsibility. I find it unbelievable that he would not know what's going on in his own ministry. If half of what we have seen in the media is true, the report is damning. It says that organized crime is flourishing in Ontario, and the Solicitor General is doing nothing. He has not even read the report.

According to media reports, the secret report calls for more money, manpower and tougher enforcement. Otherwise, it concludes, legal gambling will continue operating under a façade of honesty and integrity. This is very serious indeed.

I ask the minister, will he, as the chief law officer in the province, demand that cabinet put their plans for video slot machines on hold until the people of Ontario have a chance to see what the police have said about these crimes and these new slot machines and what the effect will be in their own communities?

Hon Mr Runciman: The report, as I said, was commissioned by CISO itself, and they do indeed have differing points of view within the policing community as well. I was given today a quote from Jim Szarka, who is the former deputy commissioner of the OPP. This is a quote from September 7, 1994, in the Kingston Whig-Standard. The former deputy commissioner of the OPP expressed this view: "You legalize this activity and you drum out that criminal element."

This was a report commissioned internally. There was a seconded police officer commissioned to carry this out for CISO. It was circulated, but if CISO indeed gave credence to this report, they haven't brought it forward to me to express grave concern related to the findings of the report.


Ms Castrilli: I really have to ask whose side this minister is on and does he really know what's going on in his own ministry. He is supposed to be the person in government concerned about law and order. Here we have a police report that talks about organized crime in a growing sector, and he hasn't bothered to read it. The Premier hasn't read it; the Minister of Community and Social Services hasn't read it. This is a conspiracy of silence. I wonder if the minister is prepared to do his job. Will he do his job as the chief law enforcement officer of the province? Will he stop the government's plan with respect to video slot machines and will he call for an inquiry in this very serious matter? That's what we need at the moment, a public inquiry into organized crime and the gaming industry.

Hon Mr Runciman: I indicated to you earlier that this was not a government report, so I'm not going to apologize for not reading a report that was not made to me or to the government.

I will certainly be contacting the chair of Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario, Mr Fantino, whom I speak with on a regular basis and meet with on a regular basis, and if indeed they give a great deal of merit to this report, it hasn't been brought to my attention by Mr Fantino or other members of CISO. Certainly, I will be pursuing it with him, and if he feels that these are matters that should be given consideration, we're quite prepared to do that. But this report has been apparently available for some period of time and Chief Fantino has not brought it to my attention.

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

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): My question is also for the Minister of Community and Social Services -- sorry, Consumer and Commercial Relations, since he shuffled from ministries from now and then.

I want to ask the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations -- because this is really quite unbelievable. You're going to bring 25,000 slot machines, video lottery terminals, into Ontario. You're going to bring them into neighbourhoods, next door to high schools and they're going to be widely available to the public. Yet there is a report by Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario which raises the issues of organized crime involvement with VLTs and you haven't read the report.

Let me ask you, Minister: Don't you think it's a good idea, as the minister responsible, that you should get hold of this report and read it and that other members of this Legislature should have a chance to read it before you proceed with bringing over 25,000 video lottery terminals into Ontario?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I do believe it is important to make sure that we listen and read what's out there and available. I'm not disagreeing with the leader of the third party. I disagree, however, before I get to that, with his characterization in terms of what the plan for video lottery terminals will be. Certainly, nowhere has anyone said they'll be proliferated through neighbourhoods. In fact, our implementation plan is quite different than how he's characterizing things. Not only have I tried to listen to a number of our caucus members in terms of the particular situation here with enforcement; I think it's very important --

The Speaker: Answer, please.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I say right now that the reason why we are moving towards the charity gaming halls is to make sure that there is better enforcement, that there is better monitoring. We are looking to make better enforcement as well and to add on to what's currently there.

Mr Hampton: The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations can quibble about how many video lottery terminals; he can quibble about that. The point is that we're talking about organized crime here. We're talking about people who get involved in gaming and gambling activities like video lottery terminals for the purpose of laundering their money from the drug trade or from other illegal activities. That's why this is so lucrative for them.

Are you telling me that this report is irrelevant to video lottery terminals, that this report is irrelevant to organized crime and organized crime involvement with video lottery terminals? Is that what you're telling the people of Ontario, that this is all irrelevant?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I certainly didn't say that. If I could once again refer to the Globe and Mail article, it says, "Most of these problems could be dealt with if the provincial government would devote resources to supervision." It goes on to say, "`There must be an increase in [the] complement of dedicated investigators to ensure charitable gaming operations are conducted honestly,'" and that's a quote, apparently.

I agree that we should devote more resources to make sure that the grey machines are combated. It's very important to us, it's very important to members of my caucus and it's also very important for us to, once again, monitor and closely regulate the industry. This all speaks to this.

Mr Hampton: The minister stands here and says he's going to enforce and regulate, and he hasn't read the report, nor have they made the report available so that people would be able to know where the enforcement and regulations should be centred. This is absolutely unbelievable. We've got a minister of the crown here. He's got, available to the government, a very important report that has been organized and developed by Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario, he hasn't bothered to read it and he won't make it available to others.

I've got a question for the minister again. On page 615 of the government phone book, under the Ministry of Solicitor General and Correctional Services it says, "Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario, 9th fl 25 Grosvenor St," government telephone number 314-3050. Why don't you call them up and say that because you're interested in the impact of video lottery terminals because you care about organized crime and video lottery terminals, you want a copy of this report? Why don't you do that? Other members have tried to do that. We've been denied. As minister, why don't you do that?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: The leader of the third party has already had this question answered by the Solicitor General, certainly if he was listening to the question asked by the opposition. But he did ask a very good question in there, "How would I know what areas to enforce?"

Mr Hampton: Page 615, 314-3050.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I will point out one of the areas that we should enforce.

The Speaker: The leader of the third party, come to order, please.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Thank you for the reading lesson. I was just indicating that there is an area which we should enforce, and that was a question that was asked by the leader of the third party.

The leader of the third party will remember that when they introduced the Gaming Control Act they had grandfathered through all the registrants without making the proper type of investigation.


The Speaker: Order. I'm having a great deal of difficulty hearing the minister. I would ask that all members come --


The Speaker: Thank you. Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I know you're having difficulty hearing that.

If the leader of the third party wants to know what areas we should enforce, one is the fact that their government grandfathered through all the registrants without making security checks on them. That has required our government to go back and make sure all the people they let go through as registrants are properly checked out. We believe it's important to have these people screened. Obviously they did not.

The Speaker: New question.

Mr Hampton: Page, do you want to take this over to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, so that he'll have it. It's a phone book to call the number in the government.



Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): My next question is for the Minister of Education. Today the Premier is quoted in the press as saying, and I can paraphrase him, "It's not our intention to ever endorse somebody breaking the law or taking away services to people."

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation released survey results this morning. It shows that hundreds of adult Ontarians are being denied their rights to a high school education, rights that are set out in the Education Act. Cutbacks by your government in the grant for adult students has forced boards of education to eliminate adult education programs. So as a result, adult students can't get the education they need to get back into the workforce.

I ask the minister, who is enforcing the Education Act in this province? Who is policing your ministry to ensure that you obey the Education Act and you provide the services that you are supposed to?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I want to thank the leader of the third party for the question. His allegations are simply wrong. This government has done more to support adult education over the last year than the previous government did in five years. Finally, for the first time in this province, we have expanded the general educational development testing program which allows adults to get high school certification when they have prior learning that equals that level of accreditation.

I doubt that there's any single person in the province of Ontario who would not understand, and surely the leader of the third party would be included in that group, that there is a difference between adult education and adolescent education and surely we should have our programs designed for the specific needs of adult education and that is what we have done. We are certainly in compliance with the Education Act.

Mr Hampton: I'm talking about the act. The act happens to be the law in Ontario. I'm not talking about what the minister's spin doctors may be telling him for the day. I'm talking about the law and the law says that people are entitled to a high school education and this minister has made cuts so that there are all kinds of adults in the province who can no longer get that high school education as they want to get back into the workforce.

The OSSTF found that of almost 8,000 adult students surveyed last spring, 2,800 had been told that their required course would no longer be available this fall and almost two thirds of them were not offered any alternative to complete their course of study. So I want to say to the minister, your government is taking away from people in need. You're taking away from people who want to get back into the education system, who want to get high school credits so they can get a job. You're taking that away from them.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Question.

Mr Hampton: You can't blame the situation at the doors of the boards of education. You cut the grants for adult students.

What are you going to do to ensure that adults are receiving the education to which they are entitled by Ontario law? What are you going to do to make sure that the law is observed?

Hon Mr Snobelen: I want to assure the member opposite, as I just have, that the law is not being violated or broken in the province of Ontario. I can tell him this, that there is a significant difference in delivering adult education and adolescent education. There are some people who would like to have the same programs that were designed for adolescents be applied to adults. I don't think that's logical, I don't think that makes sense and I don't think that meets the needs of adults.

I'm proud of this government's record and I'm proud of the fact that unlike the member opposite's government, we have allowed adults across this province the opportunity to get GED approval like everyone else in every other province and every state in North America. Finally we've joined the group.

Mr Hampton: Once again we've got the Conservative spin doctors. Let me tell the minister, we know what's happened. You cut adult education so you could fund a tax break for your wealthy friends. That's what's happened.

Let me tell you who you're leaving behind. Of the adult students who have been eliminated, 63% are women trying to get back into the workforce. Many are people with physical disabilities who want to get adult education so they can get a job. Those are the people you're cutting in order that you can give your wealthy friends a tax break.

Of the students surveyed, 48% are either on unemployment insurance or have been forced on to social assistance. They want to get off. What you're doing is making sure they stay unemployed. You're making sure they're forced on to social assistance. What are you going to do to observe the law? What are you going to do to ensure that people who want to get a job, who want to get back into the workforce, get the education they're entitled to by the Education Act?

Hon Mr Snobelen: Let me assure the leader of the third party one more time that the law is being met in the province of Ontario. Let me also assure him that this government will not try to supply adult education in one model designed for adolescents. We are going to provide, and we are providing, adults with many opportunities tailored to their needs.

As to the question that the honourable member has suggested about the cost of education, about the affordability of education, the honourable member's party was willing to pass the bill for education on to the children of this province. This government will not.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): My question is to the Solicitor General. Clearly the Harris government has made a very significant error in proceeding with 20,000 video lottery terminals in Ontario without looking at an extremely important report. I know from being in this House that the present Treasurer and the Premier and so on were very much opposed to an expansion of gambling in this province. They had good reason to be opposed to that. One of the reasons could be what is contained in this report. As the chief law officer of the crown, as the chief police officer in the province of Ontario, can you tell us why, when you knew this report existed, you would not apprise yourself of the contents of this report so that you could share with members of the cabinet any concerns you might have about gambling activities in this province and caution them against proceeding with the implementation of 20,000 VLTs in bars and restaurants in every neighbourhood in Ontario?

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): I indicated earlier that this is an operational intelligence document. It contains very sensitive intelligence information. These reports can identify very specific targets and individuals, and they are traditionally not circulated outside the law enforcement community. That is standard practice. It was standard practice when the Liberals were in power. It was standard practice when the NDP were in government. This hasn't changed. They were not released under previous governments. That's the standard practice. But I'm certainly prepared to talk to Chief Fantino. It is a CISO report.

Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): You can get a briefing. What are you doing out there?

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): The member for Hamilton Centre, come to order.

Hon Mr Runciman: It is not a government report. If Chief Fantino and the board of CISO are prepared to release this publicly, given the fact that apparently there is a copy in the hands of the media, I will be supportive of that. But it is not my report to release

Mr Bradley: I find it difficult to believe that an individual who pursued issues of policing and justice so vigorously -- and I commend you -- when you were in opposition and demanded extremely high standards of others in this House would stand before this House today and wash your hands of this particular problem and say that report isn't yours. I'm surprised as well that you would not report to the House that Clare Lewis, the chair of the Gaming Control Commission of Ontario, wouldn't have this report available to him.


Minister, with the revelations that have come forward, do you not believe now that you should ask the Premier to call for a full public inquiry into gambling activities in Ontario and that you should ask the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations to withdraw his bill allowing video slot machines in virtually every neighbourhood in this province until such time as you're satisfied that the air has been cleared in all allegations related to gambling in this province?

Hon Mr Runciman: I've certainly taken strong positions on justice issues in the past and I continue to do that. With respect to this particular matter, as I indicated, I've met with Chief Fantino and other members of the CISO board on a number of occasions since taking over this office. If this was such a strong concern, we have not spoken about specific concerns about VLT legislation.

This member indicates to me that they put in roving Monte Carlos. We are moving to institute much stricter regulations of that kind of gambling in this province. The Treasurer has indicated that we're going to put the necessary resources into this area to ensure that appropriate policing is carried out. We are moving on these issues.

I can't speak to the specifics of this report. It's a CISO report. I have not read it, but I've indicated to the member today that I'm quite prepared to talk to Chief Fantino about releasing it. He may be quite prepared, his colleagues in CISO may be quite prepared --

The Speaker: Answer, please.

Hon Mr Runciman: One of the things that I think CISO is very proud of is its arm's length from government, its independence.

Again, we hear on a regular basis, if there's any question about this government or this minister interfering in operational matters of police, they're very quick to condemn me or condemn this government, and now they're encouraging me to be involved in operational matters.

The Speaker: The question has been answered.


Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): I have a question to the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism. Your colleague the member for Durham East was quoted yesterday in his statements endorsing the General Motors position of outsourcing and pay reductions as saying the following: "I realize GM has to outsource. Is it better to have 100 jobs at $24 an hour or 200 jobs at $12 an hour? Full employment is the ideal state." Do you agree with that industrial strategy and position taken by your colleague?

Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): Naturally, like all members in the House today I'm very concerned about the situation in Oshawa with the strike. That is a very important employer for Ontario labour. As a matter of fact, the automotive industry is our most important job creator, and also from a dollars point of view our biggest export. So we're very concerned about what's going on down there and I hope there's going to be a very timely resolution of the situation. We're watching it very closely and we're very concerned.

Mr Cooke: I'd like to ask the minister again, is he prepared here today in the House to say that he will not endorse the statement by his colleague from Oshawa, from Durham East?

Secondly, would he not agree with this caucus that when you have a corporation like General Motors that made $1.4 billion last year, the largest profit rate of any corporation in the history of this country, a corporation that already has many more of its parts outsourced than its parent corporation in the United States, would the minister not play a more constructive role in here today and say to General Motors that it's time to be a good corporate citizen and settle the strike at the bargaining table and be fair to the workers that have made that $1.4 billion in profit?

Hon Mr Saunderson: Mr Speaker, before answering the question I want to congratulate you -- I did not have a chance to do it earlier -- on your appointment as Speaker. I'm sure you'll bring honour to the job, and I'm looking forward to working with you.

I want the member to be aware that what we're creating in this province is a province of opportunity.

Mr Cooke: Low-wage.

Hon Mr Saunderson: No, we're not. We have very good economic programs. Since we have taken office there have been 150,000 jobs created in this province, and we're very proud of that.

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): Tell me what he can prove. You have a tax cut for the wealthy.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Member for Beaches-Woodbine, come to order, please.

Hon Mr Saunderson: I'm quite convinced that our policies are making this happen in this province.

As for interfering with the situation in Oshawa, we have no intention of doing that. We're quite confident that there will be a peaceful resolution to this and that Ontario will go on being the engine of growth in this country it has now become.


Mr Ed Doyle (Wentworth East): Mr Speaker, my congratulations to you. I've noticed that my seat up here is a little cooler than the one you're sitting in today.

I would like to put this question to the Minister responsible for seniors, a question I find quite important actually. In Ontario today, between 80,000 and 100,000 people have Alzheimer disease or related dementia. Currently 90% of the care in the community for people with this disease is provided by the family caregivers in their homes.

However, such care of course, as you know, comes very high. It's a high cost for providers. There's the extra burden of paying for respite, and for medical and legal services as well. There's the ongoing physical, mental and emotional stress of providing around-the-clock care to a loved one who at times cannot even recognize the member of the family. I would like to know what reassurance you can give seniors that the government will help support families in these straits.

Hon Cameron Jackson (Minister without Portfolio [Seniors Issues]): I'd like to thank my colleague the member for Wentworth East for his question. I want to indicate to him that the province of Ontario will be providing leadership in this important area. My colleague the Minister of Health attended a meeting in Fredericton of provincial, federal and territorial ministers of health responsible for seniors. They discussed the issue of Alzheimer's research and coordination, and it was found that we lack an integrated framework and a structure for this disease in terms of public policy. I'm pleased that Ontario stepped forward to show leadership in this important area. We've begun partnerships with the Alzheimer Association of Ontario and are working cooperatively with support families, caregivers, professionals and people afflicted by this terrible disease.

The work has begun. My colleague Helen Johns, who's the Minister of Health's parliamentary assistant, has already begun discussions and consultations. A report will be ready within a couple of weeks. But this government is very much committed to a coordinated, integrated program for Alzheimer's.

Mr Doyle: Much has been said in recent days about restructuring health care, shifting money away from bricks and mortar and directing it to front-line health service. The opposition parties have expressed concern that more funds are being taken out of the system than are being put back into community health services. How do we know that this government will provide the resources to build the kind of services that you've described for families and people with Alzheimer's?

Hon Mr Jackson: This government is very committed to cost-effective, innovative health care reform for Ontarians, especially as it relates to senior citizens, and that's why we are working so cooperatively with the Alzheimer Association of Ontario with this integrated strategy. I had a recent meeting with John Ellis, its executive director, and he was expressing genuine appreciation for the renewed efforts that this government is making in terms of pilot projects, as well as actual projects that were being announced. He referred to a front-line service that our government announced this week, an investment of $3.2 million in capital to build a supportive housing complex in Elliot Lake. This will provide the housing for 38 frail elderly and onsite services for many more seniors to lead independent lives. It will also have a specialized program for 12 Alzheimer residents.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Answer, please.

Hon Mr Jackson: This is cost-effective and is community-driven health care for seniors, something this government and this Minister of Health are committed to and that the seniors in this province deserve.



Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): I have a question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Since you've become responsible for video slot machines in this province, the Legislature and the standing committee on administration of justice have not heard how you feel. I know you to be an honourable and honest person. I'd like to know today, do you favour the introduction of video slot machines in the province of Ontario?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): I've said before that I guess I have policies and not personal opinions any more. The people over there have a lot of personal opinions.

We're reacting right now to a request and a demand by charities and certainly by the hospitality trade and racetracks to have an opportunity to bolster the hospitality trade, to assist charities as well. It's clear that there is a request from the community out there to participate.

Mr Crozier: There's an equal if not greater request that you not introduce slot machines in the province of Ontario. We've heard today and yesterday of a report that exists that will tell you that if you legalize these machines -- the criminal element in the province of Ontario is simply waiting patiently for you to do it because it's going to be of benefit to them.

We've heard you stand there and say, "If I see no evil or hear no evil, I don't have to speak any evil." Will you please get together with the Solicitor General and ask that at the very least cabinet be given a briefing, and then, from what you hear in that report --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Question, please.

Mr Crozier: -- if it's appropriate, will you consider withdrawing or delaying the introduction of your bill till an inquiry can be held into criminal elements in gambling in the province?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I find it a little peculiar that this particular member is asking what he's asking right now. If I might refer to the Windsor Star on May 24, 1996, it indicates: "Crozier says he supports redevelopment for Boblo, including a casino." In reaction to Mr Maris, who was the NDP candidate and who said that the Liberals opposed the gaming house, Mr Crozier said, "This is totally untrue."


The Speaker: Order. Continue, Minister.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Because I was drowned out, I just want to finish this. In reaction to a campaign flyer back in the election with Mr Maris, Mr Crozier denied the fact that the Liberals opposed gaming houses. He said that was untrue. Which is it? It's kind of like another flip-flop again.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): You can't be allowed to misrepresent opinions. You're putting them in every bar and restaurant --

The Speaker: Point of privilege? Order, the member for St Catharines. If you want a point of privilege, I'll take it up after question period. That's the most appropriate time.

Next question, please; leader of the third party.

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): I have another question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, because what's happening here today is unbelievable. The minister would know that last night on a nationally televised news program, W Five, the CTV television network raised the issue, their concern over the involvement of organized crime in video lottery terminals.

The Treasurer, the Minister of Finance -- March 24, 1996, Toronto Sun -- said, "Lots of other provinces have introduced VLTs and lots of other provinces have problems with VLTs."

University of Ottawa criminologist Ross Hastings says, "The upper echelons of organized crime are not losing any sleep over the government's decision to legalize the video lottery terminals." He goes on to say, "Legal gambling could be a way for illegal gamblers to launder their money." Everybody else around you is raising Caution signs. They're saying this is not the way to go.

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

Mr Hampton: Don't you think you should ask for a copy of this report and read it and make it available?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Clearly I've said before that it's very important for us to bring in the proper regulatory means to monitor and control this industry. I've also said that it's very important for us to make sure we have better resources to deal with this particular problem.

I remind the members over there, because they're saying that we are somehow proliferating gambling, that when they introduced the casino, in connection to questioning their motivations at that time, the minister then was Marilyn Churley, who said: "Pick up the phone and call Premier Filmon of Manitoba. Tell him the three casinos his government owns are fronts for the mob. Tell Premier Bourassa that he is about to become some undercover ringleader." This is what Ms Churley indicated in connection with and in response to people who opposed Bill 8.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): This guy's a joke. He's a joke.

The Speaker: Order. The member for Algoma, come to order. Supplementary, the leader of the third party.

Mr Hampton: We know the conundrum the government has got. They've given a big tax break to their wealthy friends and now they've got to find a way to get that money. They don't care if it involves organized crime. They don't care about organized crime in VLTs.

Let me try again. I want to quote from the report of the Fredericton criminal intelligence unit, the Fredericton Police Force. This is what they say: "The issue of slot machine, one-armed bandit and poker machine gambling has long been known to be associated with organized crime. In recent years confirmed intelligence reports have linked video lottery gambling and the purchasing of the devices to organized crime."

Minister, how many criminologists, how many police forces have to speak up? Why won't you get a copy of this report? Why won't you hold off introducing third reading of the bill until you've done the responsible thing, got a copy of the report and read it?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Certainly part of what we have to do in our implementation strategy is address this particular problem.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): If you don't read your report --

Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): What's he got, a crystal ball?

The Speaker: The members for Cochrane South and Hamilton Centre, come to order, please.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: For example, by combining in Bill 75 the functions of the LLBO and the GCC into one regulatory function, we bring on more inspectors to direct towards this problem.

Clearly we have a commitment to tighten up the regulations and try to enforce this a lot better than has been done over the last 10 years.



Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton North): My question is for the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The Grow Ontario program was announced as part of the budget in 1996. This $15-million initiative focuses on market development, research and technology transfer, rural economic development and investment attraction. Minister, how many proposals have you received and how are you selecting which proposals to fund?

Hon Noble Villeneuve (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, minister responsible for francophone affairs): Mr Speaker, congratulations on your ascension to this very famous throne.

To the honourable member for Halton North, I know his concerns regarding the agricultural community and I appreciate that. I'm very pleased to report that this $15-million Grow Ontario program has been very well received by the rural agrifood community of the province of Ontario.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): the VLTs are obviously well received by the mob.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I'm going to warn the member for Algoma to come to order; it's just that simple. I'm having a very difficult time hearing the minister.

Hon Mr Villeneuve: The farming community now has over 50 applications. We now have a panel of six independent agrifood sector people involved in assessing the applications that are in place and we anticipate that by the middle of next month we will have a number of contracts which will have been issued and we will be proceeding with this very positive, new money to the agrifood producers of the province of Ontario.

Mr Chudleigh: Minister, thank you very much for the update. Until when can applications be submitted and what are the primary requirements for the applicants?

Hon Mr Villeneuve: The next deadline for the Grow Ontario program will be November 1 and the following one will be on January 1. We certainly encourage investment in agriculture because presently we export $4.8 billion from Ontario in the agrifood sector. This program will assist us in going close to doubling that amount of exports of agrifood products to the world within the next five years. I want to simply add that the $20 million that's been eartagged towards the provincial sales tax rebate on capital improvements has been oversubscribed. That's how well received $35 million of new money to agriculture has happened. So I am very proud to bring good news to my colleagues.


Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): My question is to the Minister of Education and Training. Today Ian Ricci, who is a 17-year-old student from Carleton Place High School, came all the way into town and held a press conference to talk about his concern about education at his particular school. For Ian and his classmates, portable classrooms in need of repair, inadequate space for technical studies, a building that's inaccessible to the disabled, a library that does not meet the space requirements of the ministry, inadequate guidance and office space, inadequate cafeteria facilities requiring students to start their lunch at 10:10 in the morning --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Question, please.

Mr Patten: Minister, you've taken hundreds of millions of dollars out of the education system. Can you now see that your decision to take this money out is impacting in a negative manner on schools like Carleton Place High School?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I want to thank the member for Ottawa Centre for the question. I had the pleasure of meeting the student he just referred to a little while before question period and I can certainly assure the member opposite that it was a very nice experience for me; certainly an articulate young man.

As to the question from the member, I'm glad that he shares my concern and our government's concern for the condition of some of the capital structure of the schools in Ontario. During the previous Liberal government, during the last government's tenure, over that course of 10 years, the number of portables, and I know the member mentioned this, in Ontario grew by almost 8,000, almost 8,000 additional portables --

The Speaker: Answer, please.

Hon Mr Snobelen: -- in our school system in that time of your government being in power and your government being in power.

What was the answer of the previous governments? To drive up the debt they load on our students and to announce projects for which there was no funding. That was the response. We have taken the approach of having a new look at capital construction so we can meet the past demand designed by your government and your government, sir.

Mr Patten: I would like to pass over a videotape that was filmed and created by Ian and some other students at his school. You'll see for yourself, not just hear about it at second hand, the condition of this particular school. One of the reasons they've not been able to bring it up to standard as required by the Ministry of Education is because of the freeze, and you keep saying that you are not touching the classroom. This young man is saying you are touching the classroom, his education and his colleagues in that particular school, and I venture to say it's not the only one.

Will you agree today that the freeze will only be for this year or will be taken off immediately, and will you make sure that the schools that are in the same kind of situation will have the opportunity to come up to the standards of your ministry?

Hon Mr Snobelen: I want to assure the member opposite that we are currently, as we have said to the people of Ontario and as we promised them, doing a very senior consulting project with the ECS on what are the alternatives for capital construction of schools in the province of Ontario, looking at what other jurisdictions are doing, so that when we exit the moratorium, and I can assure the member opposite that we will, we will do so with a plan to help erase the backlog of capital neglect that has been visited upon our students and our schools over the last 10 years. It's a monumental task, but we will address it and we will solve it.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I'd just like to take this quick opportunity to introduce the guests, to inform the members of the Legislative Assembly that we have in the Speaker's gallery today a Cuban delegation accompanied by His Excellency Bienvenido Garcia Negrin, ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Canada, and Mr José Garcia, consul general. Welcome.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): I have a question for the Minister of Environment and Energy. I know he was here earlier and the schedule says that he's supposed to be here.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): You've got the choice of asking the question of other ones or standing it down.

Mr Silipo: I will put it to him if he's here. If not, I will put it to someone else.

The Speaker: I don't see him.

Mr Silipo: What do you wish me to do?

The Speaker: You have the choice of either referring it to another minister or standing it down. I doubt we'll get to it today if you stand it down, so I suggest --


The Speaker: That's right, and as I suggest not standing it down, the minister walks in.

Mr Silipo: Minister, as you may know, the Sierra Club of Eastern Canada this morning held a press conference in which they stated that proposals in a document that was released by your predecessor, Responsive Environmental Protection, would allow acid rain emissions in Metro Toronto to double. That's because you are in the process of getting rid of a regulation that goes back to the time of Bill Davis, regulation 361, which now limits the sulphur content of the most widely used heating and industrial boiler oil and fuel oil used in Metro by, I gather, among others, some 75,000 to 100,000 homes. This will double, quite simply, the amount of acid rain emissions.

I just want to ask you very briefly, why would your government proceed and why would you, as somebody who calls himself a minister in favour of the environment, proceed with such a regulation that would allow twice the amount of acid rain in Metropolitan Toronto?

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Environment and Energy): I'm glad the question was asked and I truly thank the member for asking it because I want to clarify the situation. The report that was written talked about these two particular regulations. It's a very complex situation, but I want to give the member my word, and members of the Legislature this word, that this minister will not increase any of the standards which are located in either of those regulations. So the net effect with regard to these two regulations will, at the very least, be as good as the combination of the two or better.


Mr Silipo: I want to be really clear and I want the minister to be clear that what he's saying is that he's going to review the situation to ensure that, in effect, this regulation does not proceed. If it does, and if you change it to the other regulation that applies for the province, it's our understanding that in fact that does increase the amount of sulphur dioxide that's allowed to be emitted, and that is the basic problem, Minister. What we need from you and what people out there need from you is to hear that you're going to review the situation and leave in place this regulation which right now controls at least to some reasonable level the amount of acid-rain-causing sulphur dioxide emissions.

Hon Mr Sterling: I want to make it clear to the member that part of the confusion was caused by the way this particular document was written. Therefore I want to make it clear to you and to the Sierra Club, who I will be glad to meet with -- they asked to meet with me, and I will be happy to meet with them and talk about this issue -- that there are two regulations with regard to sulphur dioxide emissions, one covering the greater Toronto area and one covering the rest of Ontario. It's my intention to have the same sulphur dioxide emission tests or standards for all of Ontario but that they be to the lowest common denominator.

The misunderstanding by the Sierra Club and by several writers with regard to this issue is well understood by me because the document written by the ministry was misleading and misrepresented the issue. As I've said to you before --

The Speaker: Answer, please.

Hon Mr Sterling: -- the bottom line is that none of the sulphur dioxide allowances will be increased.


Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 34(a), I wish to advise you I'm not satisfied with the response to my oral question from the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and it's my intention to raise the subject matter of the question at the adjournment of the House tomorrow night.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): If you file the proper papers, it will happen.



Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet and Government House Leader): This is a motion pursuant to discussions we've had with regard to the Deputy Speaker's position and agreed upon by all parties.

That notwithstanding the order of the House dated October 3, 1995, Mr Morin, member for the electoral district of Carleton East, be appointed Deputy Speaker and Chair of the committee of the whole House; that Ms Churley, member for the electoral district of Riverdale, be appointed First Deputy Chair of the committee of the whole House; and that Mr Johnson, member for the electoral district of Perth, be appointed Second Deputy Chair of the committee of the whole House.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Any debate?

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): With regard to the motion, the government House leader is correct and we are in full agreement with the motion. I just wanted to make the point that while the motion does not talk about dates, our understanding is that this will remain in effect for one year and that subsequently there will be a further rotation and Ms Churley, the member for the electoral district of Riverdale, will be moved to Deputy Speaker.

Hon David Johnson: Just to respond to that, that is also my understanding, to put that in the record, that in fact this would be for a period of one year and Ms Churley would then assume the Deputy Speaker's position, or whoever was representative from the third party.

The Speaker: Shall the motion carry? Carried.



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.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I have a petition from the Union of Veterans Affairs Employees in Ottawa; Hotel Employees Restaurant Employees Union, Local 75, Don Mills; Humber College employees, and SEIU, Local 528, Mississauga:

"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, therefore 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 continue to support those workers, and I add my name to theirs.


Mr Jack Carroll (Chatham-Kent): I have with me a petition signed by several members from my riding:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Ontario Progressive Conservative government has passed a resolution urging the government of Canada to repeal section 745 of the Criminal Code of Canada to ensure that convicted murderers serve their entire sentences; and

"Whereas convicted first-degree murderers are allowed to apply to the court for a reduction of the parole ineligibility period; and

"Whereas victims' families must relive the horrors of the original crime through a jury hearing for this early parole and relive this every time the killer is given hearings for early parole; and

"Whereas the provincial government must bear a large degree of the costs involved with a jury hearing;

"We, the undersigned, ask the Attorney General of Ontario to request the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to reconsider his decision under Bill C-45 and to repeal section 745 of the Criminal Code of Canada."

I affix my signature.


Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which I wish to read:

"Whereas the government is intent on cutting educational funding so that children are denied their basic right to quality education; and

"Whereas the government cuts to day care facilities restrict parents' access to affordable and decent child care programs within the province; and

"Whereas the Harris government is intent on abolishing rent control and the rent-geared-to-income program, which provide decent housing for low- and middle-income tenants consisting of 40% seniors, 42% families and 18% special needs and disabled tenants; and

"Whereas the government has introduced user fees on basic necessities such as prescription medication for seniors, textbooks for school children and essential services like firefighting and policing; and

"Whereas the cuts to services will impact upon everything from public transit to borrowing library books; and

"Whereas the government has seen fit to abandon job training programs and failed to create a formal job strategy for the province despite continually high unemployment;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the Mike Harris government to live up to their promises of protecting rent control, not introducing user fees, and creating the over 725,000 jobs which he promised."


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): This is a petition to the government of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned citizens of Atikokan and surrounding areas, petition the government of Ontario as follows:

"To reopen and keep open the MNR fire base at Nym Lake;

"Whereas the town of Atikokan is surrounded by forested lands and is dependent upon a quick response by Ministry of Natural Resources fire crews at the outbreak of forest fires in order to ensure the safety of our community and other dwellings and vested interests in the area, as well as to maintain our livelihoods made largely possible by our forest resources."

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



Mr Morley Kells (Etobicoke-Lakeshore): Today I wish to present a petition to the Legislature. It's on a subject that's dear to your heart and mine, Mr Speaker. The petition is against the closure of Queensway General Hospital. The preamble reads:

"As a community member who depends on Queensway General Hospital for health care services, I am very concerned about the rumour of possible closure published in the August 13, 1996 edition of the Toronto Star.

"I need my community hospital. I am very opposed to having it closed."

The point that I'd like to make here is that this is not a political group; this is a group that very quietly went about collecting these signatures. They realize it's a rumour, but they're very concerned nevertheless. They took the petition to the mayor of Etobicoke and I was able to retrieve it from him. The interesting point is there are 20,541 signatures and I think that's very significant. I'd like to affix my signature to it in support.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): The member for Scarborough North.

Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I've been standing up here from the very beginning today, Mr Speaker. I'm very much afraid the clock will run out, and my residents are waiting for this petition.

The Speaker: Although, the member for Parkdale, you may be the only one who considers that a point of order, it just isn't a point of order and I'm just going in rotation. The member for Scarborough North next, please.


Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): Thank you for your fairness and your consistency, Mr Speaker.

I have a petition from Sault Ste Marie, a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Rent Control Act protects Ontario's 3.3 million tenants and allows for security and stability in their homes and communities; and

"Whereas lifting rent control in Ontario would leave tenants with uncontrollable rent increases and financial instability; and

"Whereas the Progressive Conservative government is considering changes to the Landlord and Tenant Act favouring easier and faster eviction by landlords;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to save rent control."

Hundreds have signed their names to this petition and I will affix mine in agreement.


Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East): I have a petition addressed to the Parliament of Ontario which reads as follows:

"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 bears do not survive the first year; and

"Whereas 95% 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 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 bait and dogs in all bear-hunting activities."

This petition is signed by 339 people who live in North Bay and Sudbury, and I have affixed my signature to it.

Mr Wayne Wettlaufer (Kitchener): I have a petition here to the Parliament of Ontario:

"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 80% 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 mammals hunted in the spring; and

"Whereas bears are the only mammals that are 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."

This is signed by 466 people and I affix my signature.


Mr David Ramsay (Timiskaming): I have a petition to the government of Ontario:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I have thousands of petitions, further petitions actually, from members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1008 submitted to me by their president Dan Gilbert and their union representative Pearl MacKay. It reads as follows:

"We, the undersigned, are opposed to the proposed changes to workers' compensation in Ontario, including the elimination of the current bipartite board of directors, the reduction of temporary benefits from 90% to 85%, the introduction of an unpaid waiting period for compensation benefits, legislated limits on entitlement, including repetitive strain, chronic pain and stress claims, reduced permanent pensions and pension supplements. Workers' compensation is not a handout. It is a legal obligation that the employers of this province have to workers in Ontario.

"We, therefore, demand no reduction in existing benefits, improved vocational rehabilitation, tightened enforcement of health and safety to prevent accidents, no reduction in current staff levels at the WCB, and continued support for the bipartite board structure."

I add my name to theirs in support.


Mrs Helen Johns (Huron): I have a petition here to reinstate the repeating of the Lord's Prayer in our elementary and secondary schools:

"Canada was founded on Christian-Judaeo principles. While the multicultural mosaic of our nation is clearly recognized and celebrated, we, the undersigned citizens concerned about the lack of religious content within the public education system, implore the government of Ontario to give serious consideration to the return of the Lord's Prayer in the classrooms of our schools. Since the content of the prayer should not be offensive to any religious tradition or nationality, the intent is not to impose one particular belief but rather to maintain the foundations upon which our country was founded."

In my community we now have 700 signatures on this.


Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): This petition is addressed to the government of Ontario:

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have signed that petition.



Mr Patten from the standing committee on social development presented the following report and moved its adoption.

Your committee begs to report the following bill, as amended:

Bill 76, An Act to improve environmental protection, increase accountability and enshrine public consultation in the Environmental Assessment Act / Projet de loi 76, Loi visant à améliorer la protection de l'environnement, à accroître l'obligation de rendre des comptes et à intégrer la consultation publique à la Loi sur les évaluations environnementales.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Shall the report be received and adopted? Agreed.

Shall Bill 76 be ordered for third reading? Agreed.



Mr Laughren from the standing committee on government agencies presented the committee's 20th report.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Does the Chair wish to make a brief statement?

Mr Floyd Laughren (Nickel Belt): It's simply a report of the committee meeting on government agencies that was held this morning, Mr Speaker.

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



Mr Crozier moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill 83, An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act / Projet de loi 83, Loi de 1996 modifiant la Loi sur la protection du consommateur.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Do you have any statements, member for Essex South?

Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): Just a brief one. The purpose of this bill is to extend the scope of protection provided to consumers under the Consumer Protection Act to include protection from the practice of negative billing with respect to the provision of services.



Mr David Johnson moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 81, An Act to reduce the number of members of the Legislative Assembly by making the number and boundaries of provincial electoral districts identical to those of their federal counterparts and to make consequential amendments to statutes concerning electoral representation / Projet de loi 81, Loi visant à réduire le nombre des députés à l'Assemblée législative en rendant identiques le nombre et les limites des circonscriptions électorales provinciales et fédérales et à apporter des modifications corrélatives à des lois concernant la représentation électorale.

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet and Government House Leader): It's a pleasure for me to say a few words about Bill 81 this afternoon. Bill 81, I guess, as one can infer from the title, the Fewer Politicians Act, is one that will reduce the number of ridings in the province of Ontario from 130 down to 103. I hope that over the course of this discussion we can demonstrate, number one, that this was a commitment that was made in the last election, even before the last election -- the party now forming the government made a commitment to the people of Ontario to pursue this course of action; secondly, that we hope to accomplish in passing this bill that the electoral situation, that the riding situation will be more understandable, that there will be a higher level of accountability in government; thirdly, that to us this is a form of leadership, because we are asking the civil service to do better with less, many in Ontario in the private sector have had to do better with less, and we feel, as members of the government, that the government should also do better with less and that this will lead to not only a cost reduction but a more efficient and effective government.

The roots of this suggestion, I might say, came almost three years ago, and that was before the party which now forms the government released the Common Sense Revolution. During that period of time there was a great deal of consultation with people all across the province of Ontario about what in general was needed to restore hope and opportunity and prosperity to Ontario. The comments that were received at that time from residents all across Ontario have guided this government since the election on June 8 of last year and will continue to guide us in the future.

The people of Ontario, I might say, I'm sure are telling people on both sides of this House, hardworking people of the province of Ontario, that they wanted a government which would provide that leadership, that leadership in having a better government, a government that displays a commitment to its goals and its plans. On too many occasions in the past, governments have laid out goals and plans before an election but then they have not pursued them; they have let them go. People don't want to see that. They want a government that shows fiscal responsibility in achieving their goals. Ontarians also want a government that is understandable and approachable and which works.

These were the kind of attributes that we heard from the people of the province of Ontario. They also told us that governments lacked accountability, that taxes were too high, that spending was too high and indeed was out of control. Government was too big and government was too costly. Many people, I might say, were tired of footing the bill for governments that would not listen or respond to the needs and concerns of the average people, the grass-roots people of the province of Ontario.

Now, how to address this? Will adding more politicians address this? Will adding more programs, will spending more money address these concerns of the people of the province of Ontario? I'm sure that unanimously in this House we would say no, that adding more politicians, adding more costs will not address the concerns that people have expressed.

Two years ago this party now forming the government promised a smaller province from an elected point of view, a more efficient and a more affordable government at all levels, a better and more open government. That's what we are trying to deliver. That's what I feel we can deliver as part of our program through the Fewer Politicians Act. We're making good on that promise. We're living up to our commitment.

I would say that this is another step to reducing the size and the cost of the government, to do better with less. I think the people of the province of Ontario have heard the motto of this government -- to do better with less -- and that's what this is all about. We will reduce the size of the government for the first time since 1933, and it has been done before. It was done in 1933, when at that time the Legislature was reduced from 112 seats down to 90. If one works that out, as I'm sure the opposition parties are doing mentally, that's about a 20% reduction in the number of seats, which is almost precisely what we're proposing through this bill today, about a 20% reduction.

In 1933 the politicians were concerned about the reduction from 112 to 90 seats. Some of them said it would not work. Some of them said that 90 politicians were not enough to run the province of Ontario, that Ontario couldn't possibly succeed. But nevertheless, the Legislature at that time had the foresight to go ahead, put that into effect. What happened since 1933? What happened in the years after 1933?

Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): The population grew.

Hon David Johnson: The population grew, but in addition to that, we went through the most prosperous times for many years in the province of Ontario. I think we would all agree that the prosperity enjoyed and the standard of living in the province of Ontario was second to none. This was done with a base of 90 members. Fewer MPPs, I might say, also means fewer salaries, fewer staff members. We estimate that through this process over $11 million will be directly saved, and added savings, I will say, over the next several years will also be saved in regard to adjustments to other factors, factors such as, of course, office space, telephone and computer systems etc.

Now to be fair, we're not cutting --

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): He's cutting my job. There'll be no one to represent the people of Lake Nipigon.

Hon David Johnson: We're not cutting anybody's job, to the member opposite, in the sense that no members will lose their seat before the next election. That would not be fair, because the people did vote them in. These changes, of course, will take effect after the next election is called.


However, we're not introducing this legislation primarily to save money. The important part here is that by harmonizing our boundaries with the federal government we will reduce the complexity of the existing political system and make the system more transparent, more accountable and more understandable to the people of the province of Ontario.

For example, in the south end of my riding, in a portion of East York, some of the residents live in one federal riding, Don Valley East, and some live in another riding, Beaches-Woodbine. There is always confusion, because the same people who live in one provincial riding, and right across the street from one another, live in two federal ridings. This involves confusion. There are allegiances etc which develop, and they're broken by this confusion. Clarity, simplicity and a more understandable and more workable system for the people of Ontario, whom we are elected to serve, are important to us, the most important part of this bill.

I might also say that aligning the provincial boundaries with the new federal ridings will help eliminate not only the overlap but the duplication in areas of staffing associated with the elections -- one set of staff at the federal level and another set of staff at the provincial level. Hopefully, in working with the federal government -- and I understand that the federal government is very sincere and interested in working with the provincial government in this respect -- we will be able to combine and have one less bureaucracy. Perhaps the federal government would administer the elections and we would contract. Perhaps the provincial government would look after the elections and we would be able to contract services to the federal government. This could be a further saving of some $2 million.

Reducing the number of provincial politicians sends a strong signal to the voters, the people of Ontario, the taxpayers, that this government is prepared to establish leadership, to start from the top. We are not asking the people to foot the burden or the civil service to foot the burden; we are showing leadership in saying that we are prepared to reduce our own ranks, to do better with less, to become more efficient. I believe we can be more effective. This step, together with others we've taken since we took office over a year ago, means that the restraint will be shouldered from the highest level here at Queen's Park right on down. It proves that this government is not afraid of taking the tough decisions.

Mr Pouliot: How much did you pay to rent that trailer?

Hon David Johnson: Referring to that trailer, Premier Harris has indicated that there is no such thing as "my riding." Each of us in this House should not look on a riding as our riding; the ridings belong to the people of Ontario, not to the politicians. I believe that at the end of this debate we will all say that the ridings belong to the people. The concern should not necessarily be for the future of the politicians. I may lose my riding, but it isn't my riding; it belongs to the people. I'm privileged to represent the people during this term.

Mr Pouliot: And very lucky.

Hon David Johnson: Very lucky and very privileged and very honoured. But if people have a different view next time, then so be it. We will all run in the next election, whether we're from the governing party, the official opposition or the third party. Many independent candidates run. It will be a challenge with only 103 ridings as opposed to 130, but that's not what this is about. This whole issue is about accountability, establishing the leadership and making the situation clear and more understandable to the people of Ontario. Reducing the number of MPPs by 20% will set the example of cost cutting for other levels of government, the agencies and the ministries, because we know we need the cooperation of all the ministries and the agencies to achieve a government that is sustainable and affordable.

All regions across the province will benefit from this new plan. We recognize, however, that northern Ontario is unique. Representation is based on population and the northern Ontario ridings will have smaller populations than the ridings in southern Ontario. We recognize that situation.

I just want to say in summation, because I don't intend to take much time today, that I'm interested in the comments of members from all parties, all sides of the House. I believe the independent member will also be speaking on this issue, is most interested in this issue. I'm anxious to hear the views all the way around.

I will point out that in doing better for less this is another aspect of our program. We eliminated the hidden tax-free allowances of the MPPs. We scrapped the gold-plated pension plans of the MPPs. The Premier has appointed the smallest cabinet in over 30 years in this House. We've cut the administrative costs of government by some $200 million to this point. Another $80 million has been taken out of the agencies, boards and commissions to make them run more efficiently. Of course, we are downsizing the civil service to have a more efficient and effective government. This bill furthers that particular overall program of this government.

We are living up to our commitments through this bill. We're showing leadership. Most importantly, we are establishing riding boundaries which I believe will lead to clearer, more effective, more efficient, more understandable and more workable government for the average people in the province of Ontario.

I encourage all members of the House to support this legislation and I anxiously await the rest of the debate.

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

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I listened very carefully to the government House leader's remarks with regard to this legislation. I want to make a couple of comments. He said that he was concerned about the people, that they are the people's ridings. Obviously all of us agree with that, but if he is so concerned about the people, why is the government so unwilling to ask the people what they think about the boundaries? Why are we not doing what has been done in every other redistribution in this province since the 1960s?

The government House leader said that there was confusion about boundaries of ridings people live in. In my area just about everybody in Algoma district knows they're in Algoma riding. Where they get confused is what federal riding they're in. They're not confused about what provincial riding they're in.

In northern Ontario just relying on the federal boundaries is basically accepting a breaking of a promise by the federal Liberals to northern Ontario where they said there would be a minimum of 11 seats in northern Ontario. You are compounding that by doing the same provincially.

The federal Liberals broke a promise to northern Ontario that there would be a minimum of 11 seats in that part of the province and are lowering it with this redistribution, and this government provincially is moving from 15 to 10. You are going to reduce the amount of representation in northern Ontario, and in so doing are going to expand the ridings so that one riding, Kenora-Rainy River, will cover one third of the land mass of this province. Every other redistribution has taken into account rep by pop, one person, one vote, but also distances and geography. You are depending on the feds to make that decision, the federal government hasn't done it in northern Ontario, and you're just copying them.


Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): This is probably, colleague to colleague in this chamber, one of the most difficult pieces of legislation we will deal with. When we come to this place it's perfectly true that we all stand here and talk about "my riding." I talk about my riding of Mississauga South, and every one of us in this place naturally is parochial about their ridings.

The other thing that is very difficult about this legislation is that we know we have 130 members in this place today, we have until the next election and then we are going to have 103. We're very sensitive. I'm sensitive about the fact that in my own caucus there will be members seeking nominations in one riding whereas presently they may represent two adjacent ridings. None of this is easy in terms of our colleagues, and I am very sensitive to that fact.

What I am completely supportive of is the reduction in size of the administration of government in all aspects, so overall I am very supportive of this bill, and there isn't one member in this place who did not campaign last year for the Conservative Party on the basis of reducing the number of seats in the Legislature. The members who are speaking are concerned, and I will listen the rest of today to your comments, and because of the time I hope to be able to make a further comment on this important subject.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I know that this legislation at first glance is going to be popular. You can tell by the smirks on the faces of those who make the announcements. I'll call it a smile on my friend who is across the floor. The Toronto Star backing it, as the member for Burlington South suggested, must make the Conservatives think twice.

A couple of things have to be looked at with legislation of this kind.

First of all it is popular, but the name of the bill panders to it. I think this affects all elected representatives, and some people should be insulted by this. It panders to the feeling that all politicians, all political representatives are evil. Having been in this House as long as I have, I have seen excellent members from all parties of this House, from the Conservatives, from the Liberals, from the New Democrats, and others who have served as independents. To suggest that these are evil people whom we must get rid of is a bit of a slap in the face of many people who have served and who serve today in this assembly. I think the government has been just a little too smart with that particular title, regardless of the contents of the bill.

Second, I'm concerned that if you have fewer elected representatives, the executive branch -- the advisers to the Premier, who are all very clever people and good people but they advise the Premier -- are accountable to no one. Each one of us in this House is accountable to our electorate. If they don't like us they can get rid of us. They can't easily get rid of the senior civil service or political advisers to ministers and to the Premier, good as those people might be.

Third, if I can be parochial for a moment, the Niagara Peninsula essentially loses two seats in this and some clout with the very significant issues that face the people of our area in this assembly. I simply note that as some of the concerns that I have about the legislation.

Mr Pouliot: With respect, the chief bean counter could resist no longer. We're talking about representation. With 26% of the overall land mass in the great riding I'm so honoured to represent, more than a quarter of the province, you will make it larger. Representation is what it's all about. The province has 11 million people. The north goes from 15 to 10 members, yet we have to cover more than 90% of the land mass.

We feel that what is being done here is wrong. With less representation, members will go back to their role of 35 years past, of being the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral. They'll know the eulogy by heart.

That's not what representation is about. We have to keep in mind that the role of our provincial members -- we know that; it's readily acquiesced -- is entirely different from that of our federal counterparts. In terms of jurisdiction, look at the two territories, but more relevant, perhaps, the sister provinces, and look at their populations. In most cases, it's just about right.

Ironically, the federal government is increasing its representation, going from 99 to 103. Ours is not a reasonable facsimile. Copying the feds doesn't apply here. We're reducing by 27 members. If you were to ask some of the population, "Do you feel that you have too many, just enough or not enough politicians?" -- well, obviously you've asked that question. The people will be victimized by lack of representation, made possible courtesy of the opportunists across the floor.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Don Mills has two minutes to respond.

Hon David Johnson: I appreciate the comments from the members for Algoma, Mississauga South, St Catharines and Nipigon. I'm not standing here saying that all politicians are evil. Having been in politics for over 20 years, almost 25 years now, I certainly wouldn't say that. I would point out, having been a member of Metro Toronto council when there were 43 members, that that council was able to reduce to 34 members and provide the same level of government -- some might argue better. To say that the only reason we're doing this is because politicians are evil is missing the point. We're doing this to provide clearer and more understandable government to the people of the province.

I would also say that there is an important concept which has been raised by the members opposite: one person, one vote, equal representation. In some entities, I think particularly in the province of Saskatchewan, they abide by that ruling very closely. In that case, by and large, they're looking for no deviation outside of about 5% of the norm. We have not gone to that extreme, but we've attempted by following the federal boundaries to go back to the concept of one person, one vote, equal representation -- recognizing that yes, there is a difference in the north, and I think the members opposite would recognize that the number of people represented in the northern boundaries are fewer than those in southern Ontario. And Metropolitan Toronto loses eight ridings, if you will. But at least this is a fairer solution and a more understandable and accountable one.


Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): I'm very pleased to lead off on behalf of the Liberal Party in consideration of second reading of Bill 81, An Act to reduce the number of members of the Legislative Assembly. I want to serve some notice at the outset that I have a fair bit to say and I will be some time in saying it.

I want to congratulate the government House leader for his presentation of the government's case. My, he's good, Mr Johnson from East York. He is so antiseptic, so tranquillizing, so eminently fair and easygoing and evenhanded that one would not associate him with any kind of revolutionary movement. Every government has one: I sat here, I listened to him and I thought, "My, he's a thin Jim Bradley, a tall, thin" --


Mr Conway: Or to be tripartisan about it, remember the days, for those of you who were here, of the NDP government, Tony Silipo? You'd ask Tony a question, he'd get up and he'd drone on like one of those cardinals from the Roman Curia that he so reminds me of.

Mr Pouliot: How do you spell vendetta?

Mr Conway: It's not a vendetta at all. I've spent a lot of my adult life trying to understanding how it is that one can be so mellow and evenhanded, and I always fail the test, so I want to say to the government House leader, who is almost blushing, that I marvel at the equanimity with which he makes the government's case.

I want to speak to this bill because it speaks to some of the fundamental values in our liberal representative democracy. It is a subject that over the course of many years in many places, not just the Legislative Assembly of Ontario but in the Parliament of Canada and the Congress of the United States and Westminster, has always excited very fierce debate because, as I say again, it touches on some of the fundamental issues and some of the fundamental values of our democracy.

Before I go any further, I want to thank in a special way today Mary Dickerson and her wonderful staff up at the legislative library. Over the last few days, in preparation for this afternoon's remarks, I've had to rely upon their excellent assistance more often than usual and I fear that I've been sort of terrorizing them. To Mary and to her staff, particularly to Toni Ariganello -- this young person went over to U of T to get me a book yesterday on very short notice. I've got to tell you, that is service well beyond what I deserve.

I have listened carefully to the government House leader. I was not surprised to hear him make reference to the fact that we have been down this route before. The government House leader referred to the fact that once in the post-Confederation period of Ontario has there been a redistribution that actually reduced the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly. That occurred in the spring of 1933. My grandfather was here. He remembered it well. I remember him telling me about how in fact he got through the whole business with virtually no change.

Lest there be someone at the Toronto Star who is of a mind to say, as they did in an editorial just the other day -- the Toronto Star editorialized the other day. The editorial was "Harris Tories right to reduce ridings." This is October 7, 1996. The editorial says, "The opposition attack should be seen for what it is: self-serving bleats from politicians who stand to lose their own seats." I just want to disabuse the Toronto Star that I'm not a politician who is about to lose the seat that he now represents.

Why do I sometimes think that that bumptious and very successful Progressive Conservative Premier of Ontario, Howard Ferguson, was right when he said, "The Toronto Daily Star: never was there a paper with more circulation and less influence"? I read Christina Blizzard's book about the right turn, the great Harris campaign victory of June 1995, and I remember Ms Blizzard, in her very insightful and evenhanded way, saying in those pages that every time the Toronto Star condemned Mike Harris and the Tories, the Tory campaign central office knew that it was evermore on the right track. How we have changed, at least today, the Tory party, as represented by some of the remarks in here in terms of invoking the support of the Toronto Star.

I simply want to say that back in 1933, it is true that Premier George S. Henry introduced legislation to reduce, as an economy measure in the pit of the Depression, the size of the Legislature from 112 seats to 90. It was one part of a two-part announcement. The second part of the commitment was to reduce the executive branch of government by the corresponding 20%. That part of the commitment of Mr Henry is not part of this government announcement in Bill 81.

I'm probably going to have to go through some basic political science this afternoon, because my friend the government House leader was quick, throughout the remarks he made, to ever and always associate the Legislative Assembly with government. Students and citizens understand that the legislative branch is but one branch in our system of government. The cabinet, the executive council, is the most powerful and the most substantial decision-making body in our system today. I simply want to observe that in reducing the Legislature by 20%, the government is not committing in any way, shape or form to reduce the size of cabinet by 20%.

Mr W. Leo Jordan (Lanark-Renfrew): It went from 28 to 18.

Mr Conway: I was waiting for somebody to mention that. I noticed the other week in the Toronto Sun, that very neutral observer of Ontario politics, an article to the effect that the Premier's office has in fact been growing -- that doesn't surprise me -- and it will continue to grow. I want to say to the people watching this program, don't be misled by the bromides offered by the government House leader. According to the Toronto Sun, March 31, 1996. "Harris' Staff Just Keeps On Growing," Jamie Wallace. "Premier Mike Harris has fattened his own staff while ordering the government to slash tens of thousands of workers." And the article goes on.

My friend from Lanark intones, "But we have done these things in reducing the public service." You have. I want to look very carefully, as I have the numbers today, at the printed estimates for the Office of the Premier, the leader of the executive branch of our government, this Premier who tells us in his press release, touting this bill -- I'm reading from the Premier's press release of October 1, 1996:

"Fewer Politicians Will Do Better For Less: Harris."

"By reducing the number of MPPs, we will save $11 million annually in salaries for politicians and staff."

I notice that a number of journalists who've done the arithmetic say that is at best new math and not entirely reliable.

Harris goes on in his announcement to talk about how he and his revolutionary commitment have said that we have too much government: it's too big, it's too cumbersome, it's too costly. I don't doubt that that is, to some extent, how many people feel, but, you see, the government is not just the Legislative Assembly. I want to take this afternoon to draw to the attention of the viewing public and the Legislature itself that early in the mandate of the Harris government, we now have press reports from, I say again, no more neutral and balanced and fair-minded a journal than the Toronto Sun that Premier Harris's prime ministerial staff continues to grow.

I notice the printed estimates for the Office of the Premier. What do they say? In 1994-95, the estimates for the Office of the Premier -- this is now in the Rae administration -- $2.193 million. The 1995-96 estimates call for a reduction to $1.887 million. For 1996-97, the printed estimates for the Office of the Premier, Premier Michael D. Harris, call for an expenditure of $2.716 million. I don't doubt there will be some reconciliations, but this is what I have before me. We have the Office of the Premier growing, according to these printed estimates. I've been in government and I know how you can move some of these spending items in the executive branch from the Office of the Premier to the Cabinet Office, to the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, to Management Board, to a number of other places.


I simply say again at the outset that we have a bill before us today that leads people to believe that by reducing the number of members of the Legislature we are reducing evenly the apparatus of government. I submit to you that I would be much more supportive of this initiative if I could be shown that the Premier's office and the Cabinet Office and related operations were going to be reduced by a corresponding percentage. I do not believe the evidence exists to support that contention. I hear nothing and see nothing from Michael Harris and Ernie Eves and others that leads me to believe that is going to happen.

I should say to my friends opposite, just to complete the story about 1933, that George Henry introduced the bill; the bill passed. Because the government House leader made a point of saying some people are going to be affected more than others, it is important to note that of that then assembly in the 1933 redistribution -- and it was a Conservative majority government -- 19 Conservatives, two Progressives and one Liberal technically lost their seats.

It is interesting if you look at that. I say to my friend from St Thomas, I don't want to be too historical on this, but there are a couple of lessons on this, not the least of which is this: There's no doubt that Premier Henry did it for not just economy reasons but for what he thought was good politics. Thirteen months after the bill passed, his government was obliterated at the polls. They faced the worst rout that a provincial Conservative Party in government had faced in the history of the province.

It was interesting what they did down in Elgin in that 1933 redistribution. They put East and West Elgin together, but they took a couple of townships out of Elgin and tucked them into Kent, I think it was. Why? According to Premier Henry, writing his old friend former Premier Ferguson, they thought they would hive the Grits and fix Mitch Hepburn, the Liberal leader who was expected to run in the Elgin seat in 1934. Just a little reminder that even so saintly a person as George S. Henry didn't ever lose sight of the fact that redistributions provide an opportunity for some political calculation. But in 1933 the economy measure was offered not just for the Legislature but for the cabinet as well, and the politics of it didn't work out because a year later the government was soundly defeated.

We have before us a bill to reduce the size of the assembly. The government House leader is quite right when he says that the members of the Progressive Conservative Party who signed on to the Harris campaign in 1995 did so with this as one of the commitments. Who among us can forget that sunny day in the spring of 1995 when Mike Harris arranged that flatbed out in front of Queen's Park with the 27 chairs that were going to be taken away? I don't doubt that it had some effect, although I don't sense that it made a major impact, but it has to be said by me that it was certainly part of the Tory manifesto.

I also want to say this afternoon that we have had since Confederation, following the decennial census, an adjustment of electoral boundaries. Over the years, with the exception of 1933, those boundaries have been adjusted in a way that has almost always added more seats to this assembly. In every case where this issue came before this assembly, and when it came before the Parliament of Canada, it was dealt with in a way that was anticipated when John A. Macdonald dealt with the representation question at Confederation.

Macdonald observed in this matter that electoral representation, not just for the province of Ontario but for the new Dominion, would have to take into account two fundamental realities. One was population and one was geography. On every occasion since Confederation, it was not just a matter, as the Globe and Mail piece of yesterday would have you believe -- though, to be fair to the Globe and Mail, they are as consistent today in their view that there should be a pure rep by pop as was their progenitor George Brown 135 years ago. But Macdonald was, I believe, right when he said that there had to ever and always be in these matters a consideration of population and geography.

It is interesting, if you look back to how we began in 1867, we began as a province of 1.5 million people with 82 seats, and the 82 seats we got in 1867 were then, as they will be after the passage of this bill, precisely the number of seats in the Dominion Parliament. The number 82 was decided because the fundamental determinant in the whole piece was the representation for the province of Quebec. The Dominion Parliament was going to have 65 members for Quebec because that was the assignment after the Rebellion and the Union Parliament; 65 members for Canada East. It would be 65 members in the lower house of the new Dominion Parliament. If you took the rep-by-pop formula, Ontario would then get, because of its greater population than Quebec, 82 Dominion members for the province and 82 members for the provincial or local Legislature, as Queen's Park was to be called. In 1867, Ontario had what Macdonald imagined to be nothing more than a municipal government: 1.5 million people represented by 82 members, a total provincial budget of $1.3 million and a total civil service provincially of fewer than 200 people. That's what the Ontario government was in 1867.

When you move through the various redistributions, in every case save and except in 1933, legislatures, governments of the province of Ontario almost always, responding to the geographic imperative of Canada and of Ontario, added seats to the provincial Legislature. As we went through the process -- and I'm not going to bore members today. One of the reasons I'm interested in this subject is that it gives rise to some of the most fascinating activities that one can imagine a group of politicians engaged in.

Macdonald's gerrymander of 1882 left the Ontario Liberals mad for over a generation. The Christian statesman Oliver Mowat here in Ontario was just a lot more careful doing a lower-intensity version of the same thing. J.R. Mallory's book The Structure of Canadian Government is worth reading on the subject, about how various prime ministers, various party leaders, various -- as they called them, God forbid, in the 19th century -- wire pullers tried to figure out a way to hive one side or another. It was very interesting. Until really the 1950s and 1960s, after which we got independent commissions usually headed by some judge, this whole redistribution matter was left to the politicians, and the politicians worked their magic, oftentimes being disappointed in the result, and certainly the 1933 example in Ontario is a good example.

What's been the Ontario experience? The Ontario experience is probably best summarized in the fifth report of the Camp commission, tabled in this Legislature the month I arrived here, in September 1975. Just so you know who was involved in this, there were three commissioners appointed by the Davis government: Dalton Kingsley Camp; Douglas Fisher, former CCF member of Parliament for Port Arthur, the giant-killer of the 1957 federal campaign, defeating C.D. Howe, a man who had spent eight years in the Parliament of Canada -- didn't run again in 1965, if I'm not mistaken, because he found the pressures of trying to be an effective member of Parliament and represent a big northwestern Ontario federal constituency quite frankly more than he wanted to continue to manage with the pay he was receiving and the family that he was responsible for; and the third commissioner was Farquhar Oliver, for 42 years the UFO/Progressive/Liberal MLA for South Grey in this province. I don't need to tell you what Dalton Camp's political experience was. Camp, Fisher and Farquhar Oliver were the three people who authored this report, and I recommend it to you on this subject.


I'm going to refer en passant, as we say in Pembroke, to that section of the report which deals with the question of representation. These commissioners point out in that chapter of their report -- let me just read it: "Before Confederation...its leading architect, Sir John A. Macdonald, said representation in Ontario would be based on numbers and territory -- ie, population and square miles."

They are the ones who reminded me that in 1867 we had an Ontario legislature of 82 members, we had one and a half million people, we had an average constituency size of 18,000, we had an Ontario government with annual expenditures of $1.3 million, we had a cabinet of five people, including the Premier, we had public servants of fewer than 200. They go on to tell us that in 1974 the government of Ontario had grown from $1.3 million to a total expenditure in excess of $10 billion then -- it's $50 billion now -- a public service, direct and indirect, of 140,000, and a provincial population of eight million. They talk about the whole question of redistributions over the years. They talk very appropriately about one of the fundamental questions, which is not just equal representation but effective representation at the local level to compensate "for immense urban concentration and to provide some elasticity for regions with wide population scatter."

The fifth report of the Camp commission goes on to say:

"Our scan through the past record of debate" on redistribution concerning the size of membership in the Ontario assembly "underlines that there has always been a dominant concern over local and regional representation. That is, the population growth in the province as a whole, and the demographic transfers to the cities, required any redistribution to retain a semblance of the principle of representation by population. But this was always" -- always, always -- "tempered by a broad determination to retain representation for those areas which the application of strict mathematics would have deprived."

Listen to this, September 1975, Messrs Camp, Oliver and Fisher: "We can foresee the outcry about more drones" -- because one of their recommendations was to increase the size of the assembly by something like 50 new members. It was not accepted, but they recommended a substantial increase in the number of members of the Legislature. With that recommendation in mind they say, "We can foresee the outcry about more drones to draw on the honey-pot of the taxpayers' moneys, and reiterations that we have already got too many politicians and too much politics -- what we really need is more efficiency and less politics." That's Dalton Camp, Doug Fisher and Farquhar Oliver talking 21 years ago.

They go on to say, and I hope my friends in the NDP are listening to this: "We have regretted the apotheosis for the constituency function and the gigantic growth in the constituency `caseload' of an MPP at the expense of his role as a legislator and partisan at Queen's Park. The general point we are making" from all of this, they go on to say, is that there has been an explosion in the growth of the Ontario government, "in revenue raising, spending, employees, and in agencies with delegated powers. This growth is huge and should have significance for the responsibilities of the Legislature."

I just want to stop for a moment and use this time to recall to all honourable members what are the functions of Parliament. We're not talking about the assembly. Another great book -- if you haven't read it I highly recommend it -- C.E.S. Franks, the Parliament of Canada, published by the University of Toronto Press, 1987. A very good, up-to-date account of the state of parliamentary government in Canada.

Ned Franks from Queen's University says, I think quite aptly, "Parliament has four basic functions: to make a government, to make a government work, to make a government behave and to create an alternate government." Franks goes on to say there are couple of other important functions that Parliament in our society has to meet. One of those functions is public education around complex and important issues, and he says, "Also, it ought to be a training ground for political leaders."

Those are the functions of Parliament. They're not the functions of cabinet; they're not the functions of the civil service. Let me repeat them. The functions of Parliament -- that's us, as members of this assembly -- "to make a government, to make a government work, to make a government behave and to create an alternate government."

What does it mean in our system to say, "To make a government"? People forget that under the system of British responsible government the public elects a Parliament and we, the Parliament, choose the government. Many people would say it is axiomatic that if you elect a Parliament it's a given, in the day and age of party government, the day and age of strong political parties, that you're going to automatically know what the government is. That's generally true, but in the spring of 1985 we had a reminder that it is not always the case, as it was not the case in 1919, when the farmers and the independents and the labour gang just ended up with more seats than the Tories or the Liberals and Mr Drury formed a government.

We have, under the British system from which we derive, as an assembly, as a self-respecting Parliament with very real powers, the first requirement: to create a government. Then we've got to make that government work because we vote supply. We, as a Parliament, are the people who give the Miller government, the Davis government, the Peterson government, the Harris government the lifeblood without which it cannot function.

We also have a duty to make it behave. As a minister, when I was over there and people like Mike Harris and Ernie Eves were over here as the loyal opposition, it was their solemn duty to make the government behave by pointing out our several deficiencies. In the exercise of that responsibility Harris and Eves were engaged in another very important function: creating not just for the Legislature but for the province beyond not just the impression but hopefully the reality that there was an alternate government, should they succeed in the other duty of pointing out the several deficiencies of the then government.

Those are important responsibilities, and that's why who comes here, how we get here, all of which arise in discussion around a redistribution bill, are so fundamentally important, often taken for granted.

Again just looking at one of the other aspects of the Camp commission report that I found interesting, and I want to refer to it today because I was doing some of the calculation -- I think this is probably going to surprise some people, but let me just continue with the Camp report.


Camp, in this report, makes very plain what people like Professor Franks and Professor J.R. Mallory and anyone else who has studied the Canadian parliamentary system know, that the most outstanding characteristic of the Canadian Parliament and all of the provincial Legislatures is how dominated they are by cabinet; a very strong pattern from almost the beginning of executive dominance, very strong cabinets, enormously strong Prime Ministers, Premiers, much more so than, interestingly, the British culture from which this system emanates.

With that in mind, just let me go back. Camp talks in this fifth report about the cabinet having made its adjustment to the requirements of modern government, about the very substantial growth in cabinet, in its numbers, in its power, in its staff, in its reach. Again quoting from Camp: "The original cabinet of 1867 had five members, that of 1975 has had 27 ministers. Premier Robarts cut back to 19 ministers from Premier Frost's high" in the 1950s, early 1960s, "of 22. But, I say to the government House leader, the Robarts cutback in cabinet size, according to these data, "did not last long." This was the point I wanted to make. Camp observes that in 1975 in the 29th Legislative Assembly of Ontario, that's 1971-75, "over half of the government caucus was either in the ministry or bearing a direct responsibility to it."

I asked my staff to find out today -- and I don't mean this as a partisan comment, because quite frankly I'm sure it's equally true of the Peterson and Rae governments. But today, under the leadership of Mike Harris, we have 20 people in the cabinet, we have 20 parliamentary assistants, we have eight Conservative members serving as whips, other positions, seven as committee chairs. That means that in a caucus of 82, fully 67 of those positions are either of or directly tied to the ministry. That is not a criticism of the Harris government, because I could probably produce the same numbers about Peterson and Rae.

Hon Cameron Jackson (Minister without Portfolio [Seniors Issues]): They were bigger numbers. They were higher, I know they were.

Mr Conway: My point is simply that we have in the government caucus today maybe 15 members who are unattached.

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): One of them's the Speaker now.

Mr Conway: I think the election last week of the Speaker is an indication of certain ferment around the place that I might want to talk about a little bit later. But the point I want to make is that three quarters, 80% of the government caucus is either in the ministry or of the ministry. Again, if you think about what the functions are that we are supposed to discharge as members of the assembly, what the assembly's responsibility is -- because I ask the viewing audience and I ask the assembly not to fall into the easy trap laid for it and us by Harris and Johnson. They want you to believe that the assembly is the government. No, no. The assembly is Parliament. The cabinet is the government, the executive council; that is the executive authority.

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey-Owen Sound): Are you in favour of this bill? I haven't figured that one out yet.

Mr Conway: No, I want to be clear that I think there are aspects of the map that are clearly out of whack. The fact that in 1995 it took eight or nine times the number of people to elect a member for Markham as it did for Rainy River is clearly not acceptable.

I will say that the new boundaries as proposed for the area that I now represent are very sensible and are ones that because they represent a good community of interest, because they bring the county of Renfrew together in one seat, are sensible and ones I would support.

But I want to be clear that I will oppose this bill because it offends, it violates one of the most fundamental values that a good representation act must take into account nationally and in Ontario, and that is regionalism. That is the value of regionalism, and I say this very seriously.

I want to say this as seriously as I can without becoming unduly provocative. There are aspects of Canada and Ontario that are so obvious that a lot of bright people working in cabinet offices and in political party headquarters just don't seem to understand. I once had a teacher who said: "Take a look at the map of Canada and if you remember nothing else, you remember this: This is a huge country, an empty country and a country that's damned cold for six months of the year. This is not the United Kingdom, this is not Scandinavia and this is not southern California." The politician, Liberal, Tory, Reform, New Democrat, who forgets the fundamental value and issue of regionalism, not just in the Dominion of Canada but in the dominion of Ontario, misjudges and does not serve the broad public interest.

I'm not here, by the way, saying that we couldn't reduce seats. No, I'd be willing. I understand the economy argument. I am not here saying that you've just got to keep adding. I agreed with Mr Davis or would have agreed with Mr Davis in 1975 when he got that recommendation. They had, I think, 117 seats, and Camp was recommending another 50, going up to something like 180. Davis rightly said, "Come on, that's far too much. We'll go to 125," and we went to 130 in 1986. I think Mr Davis made a good decision. They make an interesting argument, but I don't think it was a compelling argument and I wouldn't want to meet the people of Pembroke, Beachburg or Barry's Bay and have to explain and defend that.

Let me say again, lest anybody thinks this is just the whining of somebody whose ox is being gored, what this map proposes for the county of Renfrew I think is a good idea and it's one I would support, but I'm not going to support this overall policy for a number of reasons.

But the fundamental reason I object is that it violates something fundamental in the Ontario and Canadian political culture. It's one of the reasons -- and God, I shouldn't say this with some of my urban friends around here -- why I become so angry with something, dare I say it, like the federal gun bill. It's not because I don't understand what the justice minister for Canada is trying to do and if it were just me, God, you could do a lot of things because I don't hunt. But I'll tell you, when I see every New Democrat in Saskatchewan arrayed against that bill, I know one thing. I know that Allan Rock and his friends in the federal government and the justice department have concocted a piece of legislation that, like this bill, offends that value of regionalism.

It is enormously powerful in this province and country and we've all made the mistake of not recognizing it for the tiger that it is, but I don't want anybody -- and God forbid, they might already be out there printing the pamphlets saying, "Conway's against the bill because he's going to lose his seat and he thinks there should be 200 members." Not at all.

Now I want to come to perhaps a more detailed analysis of the case. I know when I talk to people in my county they're going to say, and it's such a good argument, that Bradley was right a moment ago when he said: "Oh, boy, this is so good. This is very cute. They're going to like this," the talk show crowd and the headline writers at the Toronto Star and at the Globe and Mail.

Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Community and Social Services): The Toronto Star doesn't like anything.

Mr Conway: Well, they do. I don't know whether the member for Durham West has yet read today's Ottawa Citizen, but she might want to read the editorial pages of the Ottawa Citizen. Don't let your head swell, but there's a glowing article about the putative first female Premier of Ontario I read today.

Now the argument that's being advanced so cleverly --

Mr Garry J. Guzzo (Ottawa-Rideau): She doesn't want to read the rest of it. Trust me.

Mr Conway: Judge Guzzo says don't read the largest English-language daily.


Mrs Boyd: He probably doesn't agree with the editorial writer either.

Mr Conway: But I want to cut to the quick. I want to come to the basic argument that the government is going to be advancing, that this is an economy measure. Baloney. It is going to save less than advertised and in the overall scheme of things it will be not a significant saving. When one remembers what the solemn obligations and duties of Parliament are, I tell you, you are going to have to think twice about justifying those savings.

I can be as tightfisted as anybody in here. I'll tell you, one thing I have not been doing for 20 years is billing my constituency association for golf memberships and for a lot of other things. I want to say that the overwhelming majority of people I have known in the Progressive Conservative Party in 21 years haven't been doing it either.

The economy measure is a red herring. Let's talk about the basic argument that it's going to be just like the federal map. I want to talk about how the federal map that is the basis for this was developed. I want members to listen carefully to this because, again, my concern is how this offends principally the regional imperative.

In 1985 the Parliament of Canada passed a Representation Act. What they did in the federal act of 1985 was amend downwards the provisions of the federal Representation Act of 1974 that looked, on the census date of 1981, as though they were going to create a federal House of 369 MPs after the census of 2001. Clearly the government at the time, I think wisely, decided that was too many and it had to put the brakes on it. So they amended some of the fundamentals of the 1974 Representation Act, which essentially gives us the federal map we have today.

I want you to listen to how they did that. How do we get 103 federal seats? Here is the formula that led to that. Their formula was that you start with the 282 seats the House of Commons had in 1985 and the first thing you do is assign two seats to the Northwest Territories and one to Yukon Territory. Did you hear that? The first thing you do in the formula is give three seats to two territories that have a total population of less than 96,000. The population of Yukon Territory is 30,000, approximately. The population of the Northwest Territories is 66,000. The first thing you do is you assign to those large land masses with relatively few people three seats, two to the Northwest Territories and one to Yukon.

Mr Murdoch: So what are you saying? That rep by population goes out right at the start?

Mr Conway: No, it is amended. It has always been amended. The government's argument is, "The feds have done it," so I want to look at the feds' formula. That's the first part of it. Oh, it gets better.

Then you take the total population of the 10 provinces and you divide it into the remaining 279 seats to get what they call the electoral quotient. But then they make a couple of other adjustments. Listen to this: Adjustments are made to those provincial numbers as required by the application of the senatorial clause -- namely, that no province can have fewer MPs than senators -- and the grandfather clause -- namely, that no province will have fewer seats than it had in the Parliament which lasted between 1984 and 1988. What's the senatorial clause? Very simple; territory again. Prince Edward, with a population of 130,000, is guaranteed four seats; Newfoundland and Labrador has a guarantee of seven under that formula. That's how Ontario got 103.

What I find interesting about all of this is, oh, the argument is so facile; it sucks you in. It's designed for the talk show crowd. It's designed for the tabloid crowd. They'll like it. But if you think about this, if you just accept the logic that this is based on the federal formula, what have we got here with the application of the senatorial clause and the not below the 1984-88 Parliament? You've got a recognition that in the Dominion of Canada Macdonald's advice holds -- that there must be rep by pop and an appreciation and an adjustment for territory.

In Bill 81 the Harris government did not do what the federal people did, Tories and Liberals and New Democrats -- and Reformers, I presume -- in the federal model on which ours is now going to be based. There is nowhere in Bill 81 a recognition that in the territorial region of the dominion of Ontario there are similar geographic pressures and territorial imperatives that need to be recognized. It is because this bill and this policy so wantonly, so premeditatedly ignore that advice and that requirement that I cannot support it.

It's interesting when I look at the numbers. What have we got if I look at the new federal numbers? We've got 103 in Ontario. We've got 26 in Alberta. Do you know what I find fascinating? Not even the most right-wing Tory I know in Alberta is arguing that the new Alberta Legislature should have 26 seats. Have you heard anybody in Prince Edward Island saying that the new Prince Edward Island Legislature should have four seats? Back to my favourite example, Alberta: Has Ralph Klein, has even the most fire-breathing right-winger in Pincher Creek or Taber said, "What we really need in the democratic interest is an Alberta Legislature with 26 seats"?

Mr Guzzo: There's a guy in High River.

Mr Conway: Maybe. They've just passed, interestingly, a new redistribution bill in the province of Alberta. What have they got? For a population of approximately 2.7 million, they've got 83 members.

Mr Gerry Martiniuk (Cambridge): That's a disgrace.

Mr Conway: The member for Cambridge says it's a disgrace. You might want to go to the government caucus in Alberta and tell them that.

My friends, this policy sounds oh so very inviting, but when one thinks about it and when one looks at the factors that gave us 103 seats in Ontario, I ask, why did you not accept all of the principles that informed that federal redistribution?

I want to say, in perhaps too direct and partisan a way to Mike Harris and Ernie Eves, but let me say it in their absence: You have, in a way that I would never have though possible, betrayed the people of your region, in a way that is just scandalous. That somebody from Toronto or Ottawa might concoct this policy and bring it to this House I might more easily understand, but that Ernie Eves from Parry Sound and Mike Harris from Nipissing, both proud representatives of mid-northern Ontario, should advance this policy in this assembly, with its consequences for their region, is one of the most scandalous acts we have before us.

This gives me an opportunity to recall the words of Ernie Eves, MPP, Parry Sound, from that day, October 15, 1985, when we were debating the last redistribution bill, a bill that brought the number of members from 125 to 130. Here is what Mr Eves said on that day:

"The commission" -- meaning the redistribution commission -- "has clearly recognized, as a result of the resolution, that we should also consider such factors" -- other than rep by pop -- "as community and diversity of interests, means of communication, varying conditions of representation between urban and rural ridings, special geographic considerations and traditional riding boundaries. In outlining its plans for the riding of Parry Sound, both in the first and second draft proposals, I" -- Ernie Eves -- "would submit the commission has somewhat neglected these equally valid considerations, choosing instead to focus almost entirely on the issue of population." Continuing on that day, Mr Eves said to this assembly, "In many other respects, the new proposal falls short of the guidelines offered in the resolution establishing" this redistribution commission. "As was the case in the commission's first proposal, for example, the idea of Parry Sound-Nipissing-Renfrew riding failed to take into account the enormous problems associated with providing effective representation to such a large geographical area. In fact, a round trip from the town of Parry Sound to the town of Deep River is an eight-hour undertaking. It goes without saying that this travel time alone would render effective representation by one MPP difficult, if not virtually impossible.

"There are many other issues I could raise in discussing -- " He goes on, Ernie Eves, MPP for Parry Sound. It gets better. Mike Harris goes on in that debate to talk about his concern about what the proposal's draft and final are going to do to the community of interest in west Nipissing.


Noble Villeneuve -- you'll like this. Villeneuve, the then member for Glengarry, says on October 17 on this matter of redistribution, "As many of the previous speakers addressing this" redistribution question "have mentioned, we do not want to see the rural part of Ontario further underrepresented. I," Noble Villeneuve, "personally feel, because of the location of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and the structure and makeup of rural areas, we must retain the status quo intact. It is a situation that was addressed by a number of my colleagues and I certainly agree with them." I, Noble Villeneuve, say that "Rural Ontario must have more, not less, representation."

Bob Runciman goes on to make an equally compelling argument about some of the problems he faces in Leeds-Grenville, and Ms Marland also goes on to talk about the difference between equal and effective representation. I won't bore you with more of that. But like John A. Macdonald in the 1860s, Villeneuve and Eves and Marland and Runciman were right; they were right. That's not to say there can't be change. There must be change, and there might even be a reduction. But my friends, what we have is something quite to the contrary.

What do we have? What we have I think is something quite other than redrawing the boundaries. What we have in Bill 81 is something that has much more to do with the right-wing agenda of the Premier's advisors. I say to my friends on the government bench, I've got great admiration for you. You are the ones who said to your families and to your businesses and to your other associations: "I am prepared to sacrifice all that I'm told is to be sacrificed for parliamentary representation. I will put my name on the ballot and I will go and do my duty."

I don't mean this as just a criticism of today, because as a member of a former government, it was substantially true of mine as well. It is these wire pullers, these unelected people in the back rooms, who read the New York Times and the Washington Post and the National Review, who are more attuned to the suburbs of New Jersey and rural Iowa than -- they probably have never been to Batchawana Bay and don't know where the hell Moose Creek is and don't much care. They haven't been to rural Grey. Proton? That must be something from a chemistry lab. They don't know and they don't much care. They've read David Frum, they listen to Firing Line, they know Bill Buckley's latest utterance. Their neck and their name, they're not on the line, yours are. Yes, some of us, you're going to lose your job; of course. Anybody who runs for public office in Canada today knows that. The average length of stay in this assembly is four and a half years. The average length of stay in the Parliament of Canada is not much more. You would have to be a blithering idiot to volunteer for this job thinking that you have any real chance of a long-term life. I know everybody imagines, "Oh Lord, shall it be I?"

Hon Mr Jackson: That's a little too demonstrative.

Mr Conway: Well, maybe it is too demonstrative. God forbid that given my several evident failings I've survived, remarkably, seven general elections.

But back to my main point: It is your name, it is your commitment, it is your family that is on the line. These wire pullers, these backroom types, whether they serve Harris or Rae or Peterson, oh, they're not going to run. No, you bloody can count on it, they're not going to run, but have they got an easy cure for what the public thinks is the trouble with government: too damn many politicians.

I'll say this about honourable members, elected officials: At least you know who we are and you can bloody well do something about us if you don't like us. To the great credit of Canadian electorates, they have not shown a great unwillingness to kick our posteriors. I mean, David Peterson -- King Peterson one day, out on his rear end the next day. The elegant Bob Rae -- hero today, bum tomorrow. Mike Harris -- well, we will see.

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): Have you read Rae's book yet?

Mr Conway: This is serious, I say to my friends, because this is about the role of Parliament and the integrity of members of Parliament. Much of this we have to blame on ourselves. I don't disagree with some of the Premier's assessment of the public mood. Of course, they think, "Too much government, too damn many of these politicians and they've all got gold-plated pensions and they've all gone to Hawaii recently at public expense." Any one of us who's been out there understands that is much of the public mood. But just because people believe it viscerally is no reason to believe that it is ever and always true.

Ms Lankin: Or pander to it.

Mr Conway: Or, as the member from Beaches says, that any one of us ought to pander to it. Yes, it will give you a short-term gain, but as George Henry found out, the economy measure of 1933 didn't count for a tinker's dam 12 months later.

I simply say to my friends in the assembly that yes, there are problems; I don't deny that. We are a very overgoverned country and province. I would be quite happy and anxious to work with people to reduce that burden, and to be fair to the current government, it has done some things that should be supported, painful though they may be, to reduce some of that burden.

But I come back to my central point: If it can be shown to me that cabinet is going to be reduced correspondingly to the Legislature, then I might find this a lot more easily accepted.

I want to take a moment. I'm just going to read because I think this is a good time to. What did Professor Franks find when he looked at the Canadian, the British and the American political parliamentary world? I'm going to cite a couple of things. This is quite recent and therefore relatively recent -- 1987 -- so it's not too out of date:

"The reality of this" -- the Canadian -- "power structure can be best illustrated by using a measure of experience in office of prime ministers and members of Parliament," and he looks now at Canada and Britain. "It can be seen that there is a marked difference between Canada and Britain. Canada is characterized by long-term prime ministers and short-term members of Parliament, while Britain has the opposite: long-term members of Parliament," who are very independent in the main, "and short-term prime ministers. Four Canadian prime ministers have governed Canada for 60% of our" post-Confederation "history.... No British Prime Minister has ever held office" -- this is before Margaret Thatcher's tenure ended -- "even as long as the fourth most durable of our prime ministers, Sir Wilfrid Laurier....

"The contrast between parliamentary experience of" British and Canadian "MPs is equally remarkable. More than half of Canadian MPs have had fewer than five years in Parliament; only 23% of British" are there so short a period of time. "More than half of British MPs have more than 10 years' experience; only 23% of Canadian" MPs have such a length of stay.

"The average Canadian member of Parliament is a newcomer who is likely to leave before he or she has served 10 years, and is most unlikely to serve for 15 years. The average British member has been in the House for at least 10 years, and is very likely to serve for at least 15....

"This comparison of parliamentary experience of MPs and of time in office of Prime Ministers shows there is a very different relationship of power" between the two parliaments in Canada and Britain. Here's the central point: "In Canada a strong, solidly entrenched Prime Minister faces an insecure and transient House of Commons; in Britain an insecure and transient Prime Minister faces a strong and solidly entrenched House. Power is more centralized within the political executive, particularly the Prime Minister," much more so in Canada than in Britain.


That's one of the central problems, apparently, with the system we're trying to fix. There's nothing in this policy that talks about what the Harris government wants to do with that reality. I have an idea.

You know, if the executive dominance is so much a problem, as people like Professor Franks and Professor Mallory have pointed out, then maybe we ought to be looking at our electoral system.

Let me give you an example that I think Tories might like. If you're really concerned about the power of government in Canada and in Ontario, according to all of the political science you've got to first and foremost look at cabinet and the offices of the Premier and Prime Minister. Then you might ask yourself the question, "How do they get there under our system of first past the post?"

You know what you get? You get a situation like 1990. You get a situation where with a voter turnout of about 60%, a party, in this case the New Democratic Party, with less than 38% of the vote forms a majority government. Then you get, under this system of strong, centralized control in cabinet and in a Premier's office, an imperial premiership and strong cabinet based on 38% of the popular vote with a 60% turnout. For the whiz kids in the Premier's office and for the right-wing crowd at Saturday Night and at the Globe and Mail, maybe they should start proposing means to deal with that. You won't hear anything about that. I haven't heard neither jot nor tittle about dealing with an electoral system that gives us these majority governments that are so strongly centralized in the Premier's office. Have you?

If we're trying to fix the problem of too much government and government that is sometimes thought to be unrepresentative, maybe it's time to look at some change to the electoral system. But you know why you won't hear that? Because the people who under our system have to propose that would of course be goring their own ox, and that would require a self-denying ordinance of a superhuman kind. But I say to my friend the wonderfully antiseptic government House leader that maybe he might want to bring back a companion piece to match Bill 81. Maybe he might want to think up some changes that put some real constraints on what professors like Mallory and Franks say is the real problem. Remember what Franks said. The problem's not in Parliament. You've got a bunch of short-term amateurs who come and go, who have very little security, and they're expected, as I recall the functions of Parliament, to make governments behave.

I've been here 21 years and it's only in the last few years, and partly because of my experience in government, that I now feel I've got the backbone and the guts to stand up and say some things that I would never have said 15 years ago. Part of that is my growing experience here, not just in the assembly but in government. It's quite clear from what Franks says that one of the really interesting things about the British system that gives what most of us want -- how many times have you heard your constituents say, "God, we'd like you to speak out, be a little more independent"? We've got a system in Canada that really penalizes people who are independent, and that's what I was getting at earlier about our election for Speaker last week.

We've got a new Speaker who is certainly one of the brightest, one of the quickest and, I think by all accounts, one of the most independent members not just of this assembly but of any of the seven of which I've been a member. He's Speaker today because, I would submit, his evident independence was incompatible with the political and parliamentary culture we've got in Canada that militates against his advancement because he's independent. If Chris Stockwell were at Westminster, I'm going to tell you, he'd be a lot happier and he would have been a lot more accepted.

Interesting it is that people like Professor Franks say that one of the reasons you get the kind of independence in Britain, and it's particularly so with the British Conservative Party -- I ask you to think about something that's happened in Britain at least twice in this century. A government caucus dumped its own leader as Prime Minister. Think about it. Can you imagine a bunch of Canadian parliamentarians doing that? You think back to Dick Hatfield in New Brunswick and his apparent excesses. You know there was a whimper now and then, but he took them right down the drain to a complete wipeout in the election of 1987. Vander Zalm did virtually the same, although he left. He was forced out of office before the election whenever it was, in the late 1980s. And Maggie Thatcher was no shrinking violet. Her own caucus brought her down. How is it they could bring her down? Because there are a lot of independent-minded people in British Conservative parliamentary caucuses.

I remember being at Westminster one week when Harold Macmillan, a former Conservative Prime Minister, was in the House of Lords delivering a denunciation of his parliamentary leader and Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher, the famous speech of Macmillan, "Where is it written in the canons of British Conservatism that one must sell the family silverware?" Could you imagine somebody doing that here? Not on your life. It's a criticism applied to all of us.

We're asked in Bill 81 to believe that it is the members who are the problem. Well, there are some problems, absolutely. There has been some discreditable conduct over the years, over the decades. Bill Kilbourn once said eloquently, "You know, politics is at one and the same time the noblest of the arts and the most soiled of professions." Yes, there is soiled linen. I'm sorry that there is, but there is. We're all people and we have an obligation, as individuals and as members of this institution, to do our best to deal with it.

My Liberal friends in Ottawa have the Jag problem. The Jag problem was no big surprise. The big surprise I guess was that they thought: "Oh God, we can count on one thing. The electors of Markham-Whitchurch-Stouffville will never elect a Liberal MP, so that will be the solution to the Jag problem." But I've got to believe they knew. The electors of Markham-Whitchurch-Stouffville voted Jag in. Electors, you know, do have some responsibilities in this society. You have to ask yourself the question, as an elector: "Who is Murdoch? What is he all about? What about his character? I don't need to know everything about him, but what's he about? Is he some kind of bankrupt? Or Conway, is he some kind of bankrupt or worse?" There have been many cases where the knowledge of that did not deter people from electing somebody.

There's a marvellous case a friend of mine at Queen's has written about, the famous Schuyler Shibley, who got elected federally in Frontenac in the 1870s -- an unbelievable character, the things he did that were known about in the Prime Minister's own backyard. He unseated a Conservative to get the nomination. He not only won, he won two or three times, and a terrible character in the innocent days of the 1870s. It's safer for me to talk about those days than perhaps some recent examples.

There are problems, I don't doubt that, but let me say to the government that Macdonald spoke well when he said, 100 and some years ago, that any redistribution nationally must take into account issues of not just population but geography. Macdonald said something else -- oh, and I like this. Macdonald said, "Given a government with a big surplus and a big majority and a weak opposition, and you could debauch a committee of archangels." I think he knew something of what he spoke.


Hon Mr Jackson: You really like that.

Mr Conway: I do like that, because I say to my friend from Burlington that now he's a minister, his interests are not the interests of this assembly. We are members of Parliament. He's a member of the executive council, an important job but a different job.

It wasn't until 1931 federally and I think 1940 provincially that, if Cam Jackson was summoned to cabinet after an election, the first thing he had to do was resign his seat and go back to the electors of Burlington South and get a new and different sanction to serve in cabinet. That was done away with, but that's a reality, and it's a reality that recognizes the different functions of Parliament and cabinet. We have this very interesting system, that most people don't understand, that's called responsible government.

I just want to move on to a couple of other things. What's this really all about? It's all about, I think, other agendas. I think it's really about this right-wing attitude that is anti-government, anti-politician, anti-public service, because some of these right-wing ideologues, many of them, have figured out people are mad, and they're absolutely right. There is a frustration and there is an anger that we can all feel. I don't disagree that there is a problem. I disagree profoundly that this kind of response is what is in the public interest.

I was thinking the other day of my friends Harris and Eves, who are not here today. One of the great speeches ever given about representation was given a long time ago by Edmund Burke. The one part of the story that most people don't know -- it's great political science -- the part about this that I want to just mention -- you talk about guts. You know, the older I get in this job, boy, the people I admire now are the people like J.S. Woodsworth and René Lévesque. They took a principled stand and they walked out when all of the popularity was the other way.

Could you imagine Woodsworth standing up in Parliament in the early days of the war and saying no? I can't imagine having that kind of courage. I think of Lévesque walking out on his future in 19-whenever-it- was over a fundamental -- that's guts, that's real guts. That has nothing to do with pandering to the talk show crowd. You want guts, you want political testosterone, it's that kind of stuff. It's David Lewis standing up in Parliament in 1970 and saying to Pierre Trudeau, "You are wrong about this policy, this War Measures Act." That's guts, that's real guts.

Edmund Burke made a great speech. Most people know about the speech, but the thing that people forget about that speech, given to the electors of Bristol in November 1774, was that Burke was relatively young -- 45 years of age -- on his way up, and he had just won a seat that was a real prize. He had just won something that was really in his political self-interest. Almost immediately upon his election he stood up before those electors and he said some things they did not want to hear. They were absolutely upset about it. He put his neck on the line and, you know, he didn't remain for long the member for Bristol.

I'm just going to take a moment, because as we talk about guts and the people -- you know, David Lewis, J.S. Woodsworth, René Lévesque -- they didn't do the easy thing when they stood up and bit into the strong wind of public opinion. Anybody can be a fair-weather friend.

Let me just read a little bit of Burke's famous speech. His electors are already mad; he has come out in favour of freer trade with Ireland and Catholic emancipation, which I can tell you in the late 18th century in Bristol were not popular things for his constituents. They were mad and they were wreaking some vengeance upon him. Here's what he said in justifying his position:

"Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a parliamentary representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion high respect; their business unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his duties to theirs; and above all, ever and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgement, his enlightened conscience he ought" to sacrifice to no one, not "to any man, not to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure;" no, these are a trust from God, "for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative" in Parliament "owes you not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion."

He goes on to say:

"Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain as an agent and advocate against agents and advocates from other areas; but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole, where not local purposes, not local prejudice ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed, but when you have chosen him he is not the member of Bristol, but he is a member of Parliament. If the local constituent should have an interest or should form a hasty opinion evidently opposite to the real good of the rest of the community, the member" of Parliament "for that place ought to be as far as any other from any endeavour to give it effect."

I don't happen to agree with all -- and that was a much more élitist world. But my point is, he made that speech just days after he had won a big prize, and he put it all on the line. That's guts; that's real guts.

I just simply say to my friends here, and more importantly to the authors of this policy, the Fewer Politicians Act -- I can hear them giggling, I can hear these little people, the ones I see, these little blue-shirted types, I see them running around the place grunting at public servants. Oh, they're a precious bunch, some of these young Tories. I tell you, I say to my friend, most of the people I know are pretty civilized, but some of these people, boy, they just have a contempt for public service and many of the people who work around here. I see them up in the -- I can just see them.

I'm sorry, John, but I've seen it, and not always, but I've seen more of it recently than I've seen in 20 years, and I've seen a lot of good Conservative administrations around here. I might disagree with Bill Davis and I might disagree with Frank Miller, but I'm going to tell you, the people around Bill Davis I haven't seen behaving with some of this "spit in your face" attitude. But it's part of the piece. You're in government, you're in politics, it's dirt, it's just --


Mr Conway: Well, I'm telling you. And it's all of a piece, and it's your piece, it's your honour, it's your name, it's your integrity.

The Fewer Politicians Act. You know, we've been there before. I was chuckling reading something else the other day. In 1875, in response to the federal government giving more federal aid to the province of Manitoba, the government of Canada extracted from that fledgling provincial government out there on the banks of the Assiniboine, the Red River: "Get rid of your upper house. Make government cheaper and more efficient." So they did. They got a bigger handout from Ottawa and the government of Manitoba responded and they introduced a bill -- I like the title of it -- a bill introduced and passed in the Manitoba Legislature 1875, "An Act to diminish the expenses of the Legislative Assembly for the province of Manitoba." Have we been there before? Of course we have. And there's more, I'm sure. I didn't look very hard.

But Bradley is right. It reminds me -- dare I say it -- of this government and this party in government. Remember those old days of the Red Chinese, as we used to call them, Chairman Mao, suggesting to his followers that some self-criticism, some self-abuse, some self-flagellation was a good thing?


Mr Conway: Well, my friends, what are you doing here?

Mr Wildman: They're a bunch of Maoists.

Mr Conway: It's the same exercise. Beat up on yourselves, debase your currency, and then wonder why it wasn't enough, wonder why you can't get any respect.

I say again, yes, there is soiled linen and there ought to be changes in representation, but is this kind of policy the solution to the problem that I think we all fail? It's not just about parliamentary representation, it's about the integrity of Parliament; it's about the role of politics and politicians in our society.


There's a companion piece out there these days. It's Your Ontario, Your Choice. Remember I said a moment ago, "What's the real agenda here?" It's all about this neo-conservative attitude around: "We've got to get around these special interests. These politicians, you know, they're just a bunch of special interests. They're more worried about gold-plated pensions and foreign travel. We've got to get fewer of them, notwithstanding the fact that they're elected."

Oh, I elect Chris Hodgson. This guy John Piper that I read about in the paper today, or this guy Gordon Ashworth or that character brought over from Mulroney's office to work -- is it Scott Money? He was being referred to here. No voter ever saw them. No voter will ever see them. No voter will ever get a chance to exact an accountability from them. Not on your word. So what have we got? But they're going to get at Chris Hodgson, oh, you betcha, and Harry Danford and Bud Wildman and Sean Conway. If they don't like what we're about, boy, then they can have at us.

Mr Wildman: And they should.

Mr Conway: Wildman is right, they should. That's a fundamental part of the accountability process. But we've got this referendum legislation. Mike Harris wants to give you more of a direct say. He's going to get rid of the politicians. Let's have some referenda. Harris says this initiative is going to save $11 million. You won't be able to run one referendum in the province for less than $11 million.

What are we going to have them on? We're going to have them on casino gambling. We're going to have them on taxation. We're going to have them on constitutional reform. I can tell you what we're not going to have them on. I'll tell you the people of Sudbury are not going to be able to have one on hospital restructuring. I can assure you they're not going to be given a referendum on the size and power of executive government in modern Ontario. No, no.

But I want to take a last moment in response to that, since I think that's a big part of the real agenda, to read a little from John Ralston Saul's The Doubter's Companion. He talks a little about this new fad that the neo-conservative right seems to like. Under the category of "Direct Democracy," Ralston Saul writes the following:

"An appealing idea which has been unworkable for more than 2,000 years. This makes it a favourite with political groups whose basic instincts are anti-democratic.

"Twenty-five hundred years ago in" Athens "every citizen could speak and vote on every question." Athenian democracy 2,500 years ago did work, and it worked because in the main "there were only 40,000 voters, 5,000 to 6,000 of whom took part regularly.

"The Athenian model could still work -- in smaller towns, for example, or in specific areas such as school boards -- if people were willing to commit the equivalent time and energy. This kind of participation would mean making politics as important in their lives as family and careers and far more important than private pleasures.

"Those who promote direct democracy talk a lot about small towns, but are not really interested in them. What they are fascinated by is the mythological theme of the small town. They like the big picture, where the undercurrent of discontent includes millions of people. They like big themes -- race, language, freedom, security, debt, efficiency, individualism. These emotion-laden abstractions are almost impervious to sensible public discussion. They can be activated through the exploitation of pain. History, after all, inflicts emotional wounds on us all. The proponents of direct democracy scratch away at these in order to increase the sense that a personal wrong has been done. If these wounds can be made to bleed profusely enough, the sensible, practical nature of the population will be destabilized.

"Over the last half-century the direct democracy argument has come from an increasingly strange right wing which somehow manages to combine a romanticized version of local nationalism with practical support for neo-conservative economic policies....

"The new Right claims the citizen is being excluded from public affairs. They are right. However, instead of coming to terms with the real causes of this exclusion, they exploit it through false populism. They condemn the slow mechanisms of public debate in large complex societies. The process of serious deliberation can't help but be awkward and filled with doubt, lost time and errors. Yet this inefficiency can transform itself into an expression of the public interest.

"The false populists will seize upon any moment of failure as if it were a breakdown of representative democracy. They seek to hijack it through more direct mechanisms which, because they eliminate consideration and indirection, are fundamentally judgemental and authoritarian. What they seek are more easily controllable structures.

"The referendum," John Ralston Saul goes on to say, "has always been one of their favourite tools. The complexities of the real world, long-term practical evolutions and working relationships are transformed abruptly into the abstract clarity involving a yes or a no. Technology has since added dozens of new techniques." Dare I say the talk show crowd. "New technology makes direct votes on endless subjects possible. We are at the beginning of a sustained push by authoritarian movements of the systems. As with referenda, they make real debate almost impossible but facilitate large, emotional swings of the sort that demagogues are best at creating.

"The old-fashioned demagogues have been given a new lease on life by their marriage to technology. What they share with this communications technology is a devotion to the linear. Questions are asked, then answered. Problems are posed, then solved. And when they are not answered or solved, the conclusion is that the system has failed.

"Direct democracy seems to push the citizen forward by emphasizing the importance of casting a ballot. Of course the vote is essential to the democratic process, but it is not the purpose. Consideration, reflection, doubt and debate were the primary purpose" of that Athenian democracy 2,500 years ago. "These four processes" -- consideration, reflection, doubt and debate -- "are the body of the democratic sentence."

I think John Ralston Saul says it better than I could say it. The real agenda here is not about saving money, though some money will be saved. The real agenda is not about curtailing the power of government, because if that were the real agenda we would have corresponding legislation dealing with the electoral system that produces these majority governments with very minority electoral mandates made possible by the first-past-the-post system.

No, the real agenda here is about this right-wing instinct to continue to debase much of the currency that we have inherited from our British forebears. I say again, there are problems, and I agree with Premier Harris when he talks about the mood out there. That is clearly a problem and any honourable member -- Liberal, Tory, New Democrat or Independent -- would have to privately, if not publicly, agree. But is this the solution? I believe it is not the solution, nor is it offered for the good and best reasons -- in the public interest, as Edmund Burke talked about the public interest.

I am not unduly affected. The recommendation for Renfrew is a good recommendation. Could we have fewer seats than 130? I would be quite prepared to do so. But I will vote against this bill, understanding the short-term unpopularity of that position, because this bill and this policy are offered with the wrong motivation, for the wrong reasons. It offends some of the fundamental values that have long been a characteristic of good electoral representation and redistribution, and it is particularly offensive to rural and northern Ontario.


The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): I just want to very briefly comment on the speech made by the member for Renfrew North. I've heard this member speak on a number of occasions, and I would have to say that today he was probably at his most eloquent because he spoke very directly about an issue that should concern all of us as parliamentarians. You see, I believe, as he does, that the problem that is being fixed here, if you want to use that approach, in this piece of legislation is the wrong problem.

The problem that we have in this Parliament is not the number of politicians. We could readily agree to a reduced number of politicians. The problem that we have in this Parliament is really the growing concentration there has been in the executive branch of government, particularly in the Premier's office, and I say this not just with respect to this government. It's something that was there within our government, something that was there with the Liberals when they were government.

The fear I have is that the courage that the member for Renfrew North spoke about, that he has discovered and that I quite frankly am only beginning to discover, having sat in government and sitting now in the opposition benches -- I fear that it will take many members across the way who now are in government the time that they will need to return to the opposition benches before they realize too that what we should be doing through this process and through the time that we have is looking significantly at changing the electoral system we have in this province and not debasing that little power which each of us has, whether we're backbench government members or backbench opposition members, by giving in to the simple notion that just reducing the number of MPPs is going to fix the problem. It's not going to fix anything.

Mr Murdoch: I certainly appreciate having a bit of time to talk about this long talk that we just had. I appreciate a lot of what you had to say. I think a lot of the criticism could fit all three parties. I know you meant it that way and I'll take it that way.

One of the things about this bill that I have problems with is that, again, it was drawn up in Ottawa. I don't know who -- you called them wire pluggers or wire pullers or something; I'd call them worse than that, I think, if I could in here, but I might not last. They had no idea of the different areas -- you talked about that -- or different regions.

I can only look to my own. I'm not saying again about my own riding; my seat is there and I don't have to move or things like that, but you take the county of Grey. It now will have three MPPs and three MPs in it. It's not needed. I think it will cost us more money. When the county of Grey wants to talk to someone, they're going to have to bring in three people rather than one now.

So I think there are some problems with this bill and I have problems with that. I disagree a bit with you on saying it isn't to save money, because I believe it is to save money. I can see where you're saying the public is angry with politicians and it's easy to cut ourselves up and things like that and try to get away with it. I believe actually and honestly that when the Common Sense Revolution was designed, it was there to save money. I think we will save money on it. But then I have great problems with the way it's being set up. I would hope that we will be able to take this out to a committee or at least that people will be able to come here and talk about it. If you look at the list of people who talked about it, and you mentioned some, the last time it was changed, there are a number of people who want to have their say on this.

So I do appreciate a lot of the things you said, but this bill, I don't know. I have problems supporting it the way it is because of the ridings and the way they've been drawn up. It doesn't take the consideration of our northern people and a lot of our areas down here.

Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): Just following up on the comments made by the member for Grey-Owen Sound, he truly has indicated that this is not a bill that was drawn up by people here in Ontario, in essence following the federal ridings.

It's always a pleasure to follow on the eloquent and well-researched comments of the member for Renfrew North. I think the point he makes in terms of this piece of legislation offending and violating one of the fundamental values of representation, that being regionalism, is something that we're all going to have to take a look at as we get further into this bill.

The member for Grey-Owen Sound also indicated that yes, we should be out there listening to find out what the people have to say about this particular piece of legislation. When the government House leader introduced it earlier on today, I questioned him, I asked him if he knew the distance from Rainy River to Fort Severn. That's the distance that's going to be from one corner to the other corner of one third of the area of this province: over 370,000 square kilometres. I asked him if he knew that distance. I don't think he does, and I don't think he realizes that there are 50 first nation communities in that particular area. When we talk about the province of Ontario we have to take a look at those differences.

We have to look as well at what the economics behind this bill will actually be. In terms of the economic measures, as the member so well put it, it's baloney when you start talking about the saving of dollars and you start talking about regionalization and what this is going to do.

Take a look at the federal example and how they had adjusted their representation for areas such as the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. I think we as a province will have to do that as well. Again, I look forward to further debate on this bill.

Mr Wildman: I want to take this opportunity to compliment my friend from Renfrew North on his presentation. I wasn't able to be present in the House for the whole of it, but I was in my office and I listened and watched on television.

It was obviously a well-researched and well-thought-out presentation, and I do congratulate the member for putting forward a very important issue; that is, whether or not we, all of us as members of this assembly, who value the role of public service and the importance that politicians play in representative democracy, want to pander to that view that is too widely held, that somehow politicians are some sort of special interest group, not to be trusted, not to be valued in our system, a system of democracy. Their titling this bill the Fewer Politicians Act is so petty and small.

What is also important in this presentation is the need for the public to be able to have a say, for there to be hearings so people can understand what this means and what it will mean for northern and rural Ontario, what it means in terms of the communities of interest, the geographic size of ridings that will result from this. The argument is made that if the federal members can do it, so can the provincial members.

That assumes something. It assumes that the federal boundaries commission made good decisions. I submit to you, for those of us who represent northern and rural Ontario, that is a heroic assumption.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Renfrew North has two minutes to respond.

Mr Conway: I want to thank my colleagues on all sides for their too kind words. Adlai Stevenson once said, "Flattery is fine, so long one does not inhale," so, like Bill Clinton, I'll try not to inhale.

I want to make one point that obviously I didn't make clearly enough. I really would like your attention, because some people seem to have misunderstood this. What the federal people did in their plan for the Dominion of Canada was that they applied certain principles, taking into account the particular geographic concerns of the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Prince Edward Island. They did that first, before they got to the big populous regions like Ontario.

My concern and complaint about the Ontario plan is that going into the dominion of Ontario there was no similar allowance. We have our own Yukon. It's Kenora-Rainy River. We have our own Prince Edward Island, ably represented by people like Harry Danford, Noble Villeneuve and others, Pat Hoy. The federal plan -- you may not like what you get in Ontario, but the Ontario part of it is to be considered of a piece. And remember what I said. They started their calculation giving two seats to the Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory got one, three seats for 90,000 people. And then they moved, with the senatorial clause, four seats to PEI -- you couldn't change it -- though there's only 133,000 people.


Our plan does none of that. If you wanted to accept the federal proposal, I think you had to apply to the dominion of Ontario the same adjustment for the values of northern and rural Ontario that, like it or not, were at least applied in the federal plan that forms the basis of their country-wide redistribution.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I stand this afternoon in full compliance with the arguments made by the member for Renfrew North and congratulate him on a compelling argument about why we should defeat this piece of legislation in this House when it comes to a vote.

When I arrived here in 1990, I never in my wildest dreams, in a million years, imagined that I would be standing here in this House defending the integrity of the Legislature of Ontario. As a matter of fact, I find it passing strange as a New Democrat that I would be standing in this House making argument for the people before me, most of them Conservatives in this province, who made decisions about how many people would serve and how democracy would evolve in this province; to be standing here defending the traditions of this place when it is my understanding that to be Conservative is to be in defence of traditions and stability and to be concerned about change, particularly radical change. Certainly this piece of legislation, as presented and as it unfolds, will be a radical departure from the way we've done things in this province and in the way we've tried to improve on and make democracy better and more meaningful for the people of Ontario.

I will try, in the time I have, to make argument that will be very similar to the argument made by the member for Renfrew North, that will point out that this piece of legislation, this initiative by the government, is an attack on democracy. It's an attack on democracy and it's an attack on politicians, most particularly politicians in Ontario. It is also, in doing that, a veiled attempt -- however, I believe it will be exposed in the comments that I will make, that the member for Renfrew North made and that others will make in this House, particularly on this side -- to move as quickly as possible with the neo-conservative, right-wing agenda of this government, to put it in place and, with this piece of legislation, to enshrine it in stone.

I will speak more, probably tomorrow because I don't have much time today, about the integrity of politicians and members who serve in this Legislature, both past and present, and why this attack is so offensive, why the approach of this government and this initiative is so offensive and should be so offensive to all of us who today carry the mantle that so many before us, with great honour and in a distinguished fashion, carried in the past.

In its most obvious manifestation, what this government wants to do with this place is close it down, diminish it and turn the decision-making process over to a series of referendums.

I'd like to share with the House the opinion of my own community, Sault Ste Marie, on that particular issue. I think they make the point as succinctly and clearly as I would or could in this House.

Mayor Steve Butland, speaking on behalf of the councillors of Sault Ste Marie, says that in coming to Toronto to speak to the committee that was looking at the introduction of referendums, he was to crash the party in Toronto to try to deliver a message about referendums. The gist of the message is, "Northern Ontario's sparse population means its voice will be lost when the people speak in province-wide referendums," and that's the fear that all of us have on this side of the House as we see the diminishing of the activity of this place, the diminishing of the participation by members duly elected in this place and the democratic process and the introduction of simpler and more direct forms of democracy which in the end will end up ignoring the voice of different regions of this province, different minority groups in this province, voices that we've always felt very clearly as politicians were an enriching series of advice to those of us who make law and govern on behalf of all of the people in the province.

We've heard over the last year and some months this government speak of this House as nothing more than a board of directors which comes here on occasion, as boards of directors do, to rubber-stamp the decisions made by the executive council of government or of the corporation. I did a little research in preparing for today and found just a few thoughts that I thought might be interesting to people out there who are trying to get their heads around why it is that we on this side of the House might have such grave concern about this piece of legislation.

If we're going to turn this place into a board of directors, this is what a board of directors is about. A board of directors is responsible to only one person -- the corporation -- and concerned always about the best interests of the corporation, not about the stakeholder or the shareholder, not about the consumer or their customers out there or the people who deliver product to the corporation to make and sell whatever it is they happen to be in the business of doing. Sure, they do consider the shareholder or the consumer from time to time, but they're not the primary focus of the board of directors; they're secondary.

If a director on a board of directors concerns himself about the stakeholder or the shareholder and the consumer, it's usually a matter of strategy to find a way around that concern and to do as little as possible. If a director wrongfully interferes and does something to make a corporation break its contract, as for example in the case of this government, which has broken so many of the promises it made to the people of this province over the last year and some few months, they can be sued. In this place, if we break a promise, if we do a bad job, if after a period of three or four years it is seen that we're not operating in the best interests of the people of the province and the wellbeing of the province and its future, we go to the polls and the people speak and many of us are replaced and governments are changed.

Members of the Legislature are expected to be prudent, but more important than that are expected to be visionary, to be people who can dream of a better place, of a better time, of a way of doing things better so that all of the people of the jurisdiction over which they govern can have a better life, whereas a person with vision is not necessarily what a corporation is looking for in a director. You know, this sounds kind of familiar, because wasn't it the Premier of this province who not so long ago said, in appointing his cabinet and speaking about the fact that perhaps some members of that cabinet weren't as qualified perhaps as others, that too much knowledge can be a bad thing?

This is a Legislature built on democratic principles. This is a Legislature that has at its core the best democratic principles that have been developed and thought of and have evolved over the years. I would just for your information and to put it on the record like to read to you from An Encyclopaedia of Parliament by Wilding, a definition of a Legislature. "A legislature is that body of persons in a country or state invested with power to make, alter and repeal laws. It may consist of one or two chambers with similar or differing powers. In the monarchies of the British Commonwealth the Legislature is incomplete without the sovereign, whose assent is constitutionally required before any measure can become law."


A legislature, in the context of a democracy -- and I'll read for you from Funk and Wagnall's Standard Collegiate Dictionary a definition of democracy, in case some of the members across the way don't understand what a democracy is or is about: "Democracy is a form of government in which political power resides in all the people and is exercised by them directly or is given to elected representatives, with each citizen sharing equally in political privilege and duty and with his right to do so protected by free elections and other guarantees."

That's a far cry from a board of directors, a far cry from the reduction in responsibility and power and the possibility to make real change in a jurisdiction that a board of directors would be able to achieve if Mike Harris has his way.

Just to go a little further to describe to you and share with you what others thought democracy or electoral responsibility is, this is John Diefenbaker, one of your own, although perhaps in this day and age you're wanting to distance yourself from people like Mr Diefenbaker. Mr Diefenbaker says, on April 9, 1962, "We believe that the will of the people should not be thwarted or diminished by crude efforts in some cases or the redrawing of maps of peculiar shape and form in order to remove those whose presence in this chamber would be regarded by a government with a large majority as inimical to the quietude of the soul of that government."

In another book that I picked up over the last few days in preparing for this discussion today, because I think it's a very important discussion we're having here, very fundamental to the future of this province and where we're going as a people collectively together, it says: "An electoral system is complex. Canada's is the result of many decades of experimentation and testing and is still being improved. An electoral system must permit the widest possible participation by citizens in the democratic process while at the same time preventing abuses by those who would take unfair advantage of it."

I suggest, with Bill 81 that's being introduced today, that in fact is what is happening. The Conservative government of the day in Ontario is going to diminish the ability of this House to challenge the agenda that it is wanting to impose on the people of this jurisdiction. This government is intent on very quickly and viciously, without any thought or plans that they're willing to share with anybody, introducing a right-wing approach to the affairs of Ontario that's going to damage all of us, every one of us, and most particularly those who are most vulnerable among us. And they're going to do it in a most insidious way: by diminishing the democracy that we've all come to appreciate and to see as an institution that defended against the kind of radical change and action this government is wanting to introduce.

I suggest that they will not get away with it. There are people on this side of the House who will speak clearly and elegantly about why we shouldn't be doing this, and there are people out there who will listen and understand, because they care about Ontario. They've participated in some small or large way in the past in their own jurisdiction and will understand what it means to have somebody at the table representing their view. They'll know that when you have one less person there, your voice is less heard and the chance of your fingerprints being put on the laws and regulations that are made in that particular place are diminished, and so your rights are diminished and the community in which you live becomes less viable for you and for your friends and neighbours and for your family.

I suggest that this initiative of the government will be fought most strongly in that part of Ontario I come from and speak proudly of so often here in this Legislature, because we feel in northern Ontario that we have a lot to offer and that our circumstance and situation up there is different and unique. We need a strong voice down here to make sure that's understood. When our voice is heard and we can participate fully in the decision-making that is done that affects us directly, we think the province of Ontario is enhanced and made better.

Even though down here over the last week or two many of the articles and editorials in the newspapers have been supportive of this initiative by this government, that is not the case in the north. I share with you -- and it will probably be the last little piece that I will share with you today, but I will be back tomorrow to speak some more about this -- an editorial from the daily Sault Star printed September 30 of this year:

"Northern Ontario residents have every right to be concerned about legislation introduced last week by the Ontario government that will cut the province's electoral ridings to 103 from 130. The boundaries of the new ridings will be the same boundaries that applied to federal ridings in Ontario. "While it is commendable that Premier Mike Harris should want to downsize and thereby reduce the cost of government, there is much to criticize in this new makeup of provincial ridings from a northern perspective.

"The obvious concern is that it has been difficult enough for the north to be heard in Queen's Park when northern Ontario has only 16 of the 130 seats in the Legislature, but it will be an even worse situation with only 11 seats out of 103. Further, while the Sault is fortunate that its MPP, Tony Martin, will have much the same riding even after configuration, Algoma MPP Bud Wildman will see his riding double in size.

"It is unfair for an MPP to have to be responsible for a constituency that stretches the distances of the new Algoma riding. How can that MPP familiarize himself with the people and problems of a vast riding like that?

"It is particularly irritating that Mike Harris, who is from North Bay, did not appreciate the special circumstances of the north and work out a formula that would preserve a certain number of northern Ontario seats, the better to ensure this region's MPPs are not so overwhelmed by the voice of southern Ontario members of the Legislature.

"At first glance, it might seem fair for the Ontario government to base its ridings on the federal pattern. But only at first glance.

"For one thing, being a federal member of Parliament involves different responsibilities than those entailed by a member of a provincial Legislature. The responsibilities and matters of concern for an MP are more general and more national in nature, so the MP isn't as involved in the day-to-day lives of his constituents. So having larger, less intimate ridings isn't as bad an idea. But that's not the case with the provincial ridings, with the MPPs far more involved in their constituents' lives.

"For another, the province of Ontario should more correctly base its electoral boundaries on systems used by other provinces, not the one used by Ottawa. Using this arrangement, it would find that provinces whose population is about equal to that of northern Ontario have many more representatives, even though the geographical area might be much smaller.

"With more insight, imagination and courage, the Mike Harris government could have come up with riding reductions that would have been far kinder and fairer to northern Ontario," and I suggest to you, to the whole of Ontario.

The Acting Speaker: Your time will continue tomorrow.

It being 6 o'clock, this House stands adjourned until 11 o'clock tomorrow morning.

The House adjourned at 1800.