36th Parliament, 1st Session

L115 - Mon 28 Oct 1996 / Lun 28 Oct 1996

















































The House met at 1333.




Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): I rise today to pay tribute to a man who had an extraordinary influence on many of us in Thunder Bay, but who will always be remembered province-wide as the father of educational television in the province of Ontario; in fact, the visionary who created TVO some 30 years ago. Last week, Mr T.R. "Ran" Ide passed away at the age of 77.

Born Thomas Ranald Ide in 1919 in Ottawa, he attended high school in St John, New Brunswick, and went on to earn a degree in economics and serve in the air force during the Second World War. After the war, he became a high school teacher in Port Arthur and eventually became principal of Port Arthur Collegiate Institute which, to my good fortune, included my first year in high school.

But it was what he accomplished after that period in his life that had such a positive impact on almost everyone in Ontario. Responding to a call from then-education minister Bill Davis, he set about creating TVOntario, turning it into the internationally recognized symbol of educational and cultural excellence that it is today. By the time he retired from his position as head of the network in 1979, TVO was a truly province-wide network and the world's largest producer of educational television.

All of us in Ontario owe a great debt of gratitude to Mr Ide, but it would be remiss of me not to tell you of the personal qualities that defined this fine man. His charm, warmth and sense of optimism were treasured and will be remembered by all who came in touch with him. All of us in the Ontario Legislature today pay tribute to Ran Ide and pass our condolences on to his wife and family. He will not be forgotten.


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): It was one heck of a special interest group on the streets of Toronto on Saturday. Whether it was 100,000, 150,000 or 200,000, the fact is that it filled the streets of Toronto all the way from the Exhibition grounds through to here at Queen's Park.

I was proud to be among them, along with a whole lot of other folks from Welland-Thorold. Let me tell you, the Golden Horseshoe Social Action Committee, trade unionists, other workers, senior citizens, students, their children, their parents, a complete cross-section of communities across this province, and Welland-Thorold was as representative as any of them.

What was most notable -- the Tories had better take heed -- were the large numbers of teachers and health care workers, tens and tens of thousands of front-line teaching professionals, front-line health care workers, all of whom had a very single message, and that was that any claim by this government that there haven't been deep and serious cuts to both education and health care is nothing but absolute and utmost hogwash.

The fact is that this government simply cannot carry on as it has without expecting escalating actions like we saw here in the city of Toronto. The fact is that working people, people who receive their services, are simply not going to tolerate the Harris cutting and slashing, are not going to tolerate the cuts, which we know are all in the name of and for the sake of tax breaks for the richest in this province. There will be a province-wide general strike in this province, mark my words.


Mr John L. Parker (York East): I rise today to bring to the attention of all members of this House that today is a special day for the Canadian Greek community, a day to commemorate the heroism of Greek soldiers and to mourn those who lost their lives fighting for their native land.

In 1940, Greece was forced into the Second World War by an invasion by the armed forces of Mussolini's Italy. The Greek army was successful in holding off the invaders until April 1941 when the Nazis also invaded. The occupation lasted until October 1944 and was marked by great heroism on the part of the Greek people. The day on which freedom was regained is known as Oxi Day. Oxi means no, signifying that the Greek people said no to their fascist invaders.

We are thankful today for an independent and vital Greece, a proud member of the international community. We celebrate also the indelible contributions made to this province by Ontarians of Greek descent. On behalf of the government of Premier Mike Harris, I take this opportunity to join with all Greek Ontarians in paying tribute to those brave men and women who fought to protect their country's freedom.


Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): I stand today to speak to the Days of Action that took place last Friday and Saturday. The cynicism and the arrogance of the Premier and his government are quite astounding. He was quoted as saying this weekend, "If you took away all the government employees, the other four or five had a point to make." The Premier thinks that he can dismiss the tens of thousands of people who gathered at Queen's Park as special interest groups. I was there on Friday and Saturday, and I have a message for the Premier: You cannot dismiss them so easily. This was not just a labour rally; this was a people's rally.

The crowd was not made up of just union leaders and special interest group leaders; it was made up of people of all ages, of concerned people. It was made up of parents who had seen their youngsters lose professional teachers from their schools, children who had lost their opportunity to go to junior kindergarten, child care workers, high school students, college and university students, co-op groups, seniors worried about their housing and medical services, coalitions of food banks, the homeless, the disabled, nurses worried about the future of quality health care -- in short, the people who work and contribute to this province every day in attendance. These people came from all parts of the province, not just the immediate area. Some travelled for hours, some for a day, on their own time, at their own expense, to send a message of caution to this government.

Take note that the largest number of people at the rally were there because they were deeply concerned about the future of education under this government. To dismiss this rally out of hand is to dismiss the people you claim to represent.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): Last Tuesday, at 8 am, cyclists gathered for the fourth time in as many months at the site of yet another fatal cycling accident. The mourners gathered together to share their sorrow and to again draw attention to the lack of safety for cyclists on Ontario roads.

Nineteen ninety-six has seen the following cycling deaths in the city of Toronto: February 13, Keefe MacLaverty in a car collision; July 22, Erin Krauser crushed by a truck; July 31, Martha Kennedy crushed by a truck; August 15, Nick Scollozzi in a hit-and-run by an impaired driver; October 15, Karen McGibbon sideswiped into a lamppost by a van. All of these accidents were preventable.

I congratulate the efforts of Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists and the many others who have been requesting a coroner's inquest into these tragic deaths since July. The memorial events are making sure that these unnecessary deaths do not go unreported or unnoticed.

I ask you, and cyclists in the east gallery ask you, what possible excuse can there be for not proceeding with an inquest after so many unnecessary deaths?



Mrs Julia Munro (Durham-York): I welcome this opportunity to update my colleagues on the Premier's initiative aimed at promoting, encouraging, supporting and nurturing the spirit of voluntarism in Ontario.

As parliamentary assistant to the Premier, I have worked with a volunteer advisory board to create a multiphase investigative and consultative process. The first step involved a one-day session to help define some of the challenges and issues affecting the future of voluntary action. The second step was a three-day search conference to define a desirable future for voluntary action in Ontario.

The results of this conference were recently discussed by approximately 350 participants representing a cross-section of the public in 10 communities across the province. This consultation process on voluntary action in the province was guided by an expert facilitator, but the results were defined by the participants in a series of round table discussions and workshops covering the issues, challenges, strategies and recommendations from the earlier search conference.

I want to thank the staff of the voluntary sector projects, the volunteer members of the advisory board on the voluntary sector and the hundreds of people who participated in the recent consultation process on voluntary action. I look forward to receiving the final report and the recommendations on what various stakeholders and our government can do.


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): This weekend the province of Ontario witnessed an unprecedented protest. Saturday, tens of thousands of Ontarians gathered in front of this Legislature to protest the slash-and-burn policies of the Mike Harris government. One of the main reasons people gathered in Toronto was to protest the continued attack which Mike Harris and Jim Wilson have launched against Ontario's health care.

All Ontarians -- seniors, adults and children -- have begun to feel the effects of the Tory bulldozer as it plows through health services in Ontario. We have seen this government impose new user fees for drugs; slash over $1 billion from our hospitals, laying off 15,000 nurses; appoint an unelected hospital restructuring commission mandated to close hospitals in communities across this province. Unfortunately, these cuts are only the beginning as the government implements its harmful 30% income tax cut.

People came to protest and tell Mike Harris how his cuts are hurting people across this province. Although he does not want to hear how these cuts are hurting everyday people, the Premier cannot refuse to listen to his employers, the taxpayers of Ontario. I say to the Premier, you do not have all the answers. Listen to the people you represent. You cannot dismiss their concerns. Stop the harmful cuts to health care and make meaningful changes to create a real health care system.


Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): Child care is at stake in Ontario. Today I want to direct my statement to Community and Social Services Minister Janet Ecker. Since your government does not want to consult with the people who have the most at stake in quality child care, I would like to share with you concerns from child care workers and families in my riding concerning your government's child care review, which recommends lowering standards of child care in Ontario.

People in my riding are strongly against your gradual reductions in funding for non-profit child care. You plan to eliminate payments made to child care workers and reinvest part of this money in subsidized child care spaces. What does this really mean? It means that workers who earn on average less than $20,000 a year will have their wages cut by almost $5,000. Your government's reforms are nothing more than an attempt to drive down wages at the expense of children and child care workers.

I strongly support the initiative of the directors of the Centre de garde d'enfants de Hearst for their information campaign held last week to fully educate the public about the negative impacts of your child care review recommendations.

The Ontario New Democratic Party is holding hearings across the province on this issue because we recognize the hard work of child care workers, because we want to give parents a say and because we care about our children and their future.


Mrs Helen Johns (Huron): Imagine a 13-year-old boy who every day at precisely 8:30 pm puts his pajamas on, brushes his teeth at 8:45 and is in bed at 9 o'clock; not a minute before, not a minute after. This kind of routine or insistence on sameness is quite common in autism, and if the routine is changed slightly it can affect his life and make him upset.

October is Autism Awareness Month. Autism is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. Autism and its associated behaviours occur in 15 out of every 10,000 individuals and are more prevalent in boys than girls. It interferes with normal development of the brain in the area of reasoning, social interaction and communication skills. The disorder makes it hard for them to communicate with others and relate to the world outside.

Autism is a very complex disorder and the needs of individuals vary greatly. Traditional and contemporary approaches are enabling us to understand and treat these individuals. Parents and professionals are beginning to realize that the symptoms of autism are treatable. There are many interventions that can make a significant difference.

The logo for the national parent support group is a picture of a child embedded in a puzzle. Most of the pieces of the puzzle are on the table, but we are still trying to figure out how they all fit together.


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: I wonder if it really is a point of privilege, but I just wanted, on behalf of all members of the assembly, to congratulate you and the staff for the sense of equity that you demonstrated in dealing with the protesters and the people who participated in the Days of Action at this Legislature. We appreciate the effort that was made to accommodate everyone concerned.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I'll consider that a point of privilege today.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I would like to take this time to introduce and have you welcome the seventh group of pages to serve in the 36th Parliament of Ontario: Jacqueline Bucker, Durham East; Jennifer Bond, Frontenac-Addington; Matthew Campbell, Hamilton West; Dillon Charron, Fort York; Sarah De Bruyn, Etobicoke-Rexdale; Sarah Donnelly, Simcoe West; Kevin Dorgan, Scarborough-Ellesmere; Martin Fox, High Park-Swansea; David Homuth, Mississauga West; Sarah Hugh, Mississauga North; Karishma Kabani, Don Mills; Lauren Kennedy, St Catharines; Tara Lounsbury, Essex South; Jonathan Mar, York Centre; Andrew J.D. McGuire, Elgin; Joshua McNorton, Windsor-Walkerville; Aidan Morton, Lanark-Renfrew; Kathryn Mouriopoulos, Hamilton Mountain; Curtis Pinnegar, Muskoka-Georgian Bay; Salsabil Rabbani, Scarborough Centre; Sabrina Ramnarine, St George-St David; Daphne Townsend, Wellington; Michael Vanzandwyk, Hastings-Peterborough; and Mark Wilson, Niagara South.

We'd like to welcome you all and hope you enjoy your stay.




Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): In the absence of the Premier, I'll place my first question to the Minister of Health.

Minister, on Saturday some tens of thousands of Ontarians, and some would say as many as 200,000, marched on Queen's Park to send your government the message that you are on the wrong track. The Premier, when he isn't busy making jokes about people's legitimate right to protest, has said that no one should be upset because you are just doing what you promised you would do.

So I ask you, where in the Common Sense Revolution -- on which page, which paragraph, which line, which sentence; show me -- did it say that you would cut hospital funding by $1.3 billion? Where does it say that you would close up to 50 hospitals and take 13 million nursing hours of care a year away from patients? Where does it say any of these things?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): We made it clear, I say to the honourable member, certainly in anything I've said in the last six years, much of that time as Health critic and now as Minister of Health, that restructuring is long overdue. In fact, the Liberal Party has made those statements in this House and so have members of the NDP. The previous two governments launched 60 restructuring studies across the province and spent $26 million, and local communities have developed those plans. Now it's time to implement those plans, and that's what the Health Services Restructuring Commission is doing.

Mrs McLeod: Nice try, Minister, but the fact is we all remember the Premier very clearly saying, when asked if he was planning to close hospitals, "I have no plans to close hospitals." So he is now doing what he promised he would not do, because hospitals are closing across this province as a direct result of the cuts to the hospital budgets. We're seeing the true face of the Common Sense Revolution now.

People in Owen Sound saw the true face of the Common Sense Revolution when it comes to hospital closures late last week when they found out that they were, in Grey-Bruce Regional Health Centre, going to be losing yet another ward in their hospital. This time it is an entire medical-surgical ward. They found out that some 80 to 90 jobs are going to be taken out of their small community. The hospital does not say, contrary to all of your pronouncements, that they're taking this drastic measure to improve service or to streamline surgeries. They say they are doing it for one reason and one reason only, and it is because of your $4-million cut to their hospital.

So I ask you again, when did the people of Owen Sound and the Grey-Bruce region give you and your government a mandate to rip the heart out of their community hospital? When did they say: "Go ahead. Jeopardize our health so that you can have more money for your tax cuts"?

Hon Mr Wilson: I remind the honourable member of two facts that will face the test of time and be well known perhaps in the future, but will be well recorded in the annals of history in this country.

It's the federal Liberal government that is cutting health care, that has cut $2.1 billion and ripped the heart from health care funding in the province of Ontario. The Prime Minister was saying on the weekend, "Medicare `Squeeze' Needed," and admitting that he's cut several billion dollars out of the territories and provinces; $2.1 billion in the province of Ontario.

I remind the people of Ontario that the Liberals promised on five or six occasions in their red book a $17-billion health care budget. I'm proud that this government didn't cut the $400 million they campaigned on. We've increased the health care budget by $300 million so that today it's $17.7 billion.

Mrs McLeod: Nice try again, Minister, but there are a few things that you're missing in your historical accounting. One is the fact that the now Premier knew full well what the federal transfers would be when he made his commitments during the election campaign. In fact, he cheered them on and he still said, "I have no plans to close hospitals in the province of Ontario." Now we are seeing hospitals closed right across this province, and they are closing because of your $1.3-billion starvation budget cuts to our hospitals.

I think it comes back to what you're doing. We keep wanting to take you back to the reality of the impact of the cuts you're making and the closures of hospital beds, and in the case of Grey-Bruce the closure of a medical-surgical unit, because when you cut the surgical beds, which is what they are now forced to do, you cut the number of surgeries they can do in that hospital. That means the people of Owen Sound are going to have to wait longer for their surgery or they're going to have to drive someplace else while they are sick in order to go on a waiting list to get their surgery somewhere else.

It's also true that when you shut down 90 jobs in a town the size of Owen Sound, you have a devastating effect on the economy with some 40 cents more, for every dollar that you've taken out, coming from small businesses.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Question.

Mrs McLeod: I ask you again, when did the people of Owen Sound or of any community in the province of Ontario give you a mandate to rip $1.3 billion out of their hospitals and to jeopardize patient care by shutting down surgical beds at --

The Speaker: Order. The question has been asked.

Hon Mr Wilson: My understanding of what's happening in Owen Sound is that they're developing a three-to-four-year plan to deal with the federal Liberals' health care cuts. I can understand that it's incumbent upon that community to have a three-to-four-year plan to deal with your party's cuts to health care, because we've not cut health care.

Secondly, to ensure that somebody is watching and ensuring that quality will be maintained and that the fearmongering that the honourable member is suggesting about gaps in services and greater lineups for surgery -- to ensure all of that won't happen, we have to approve the operating plans. I've not seen an operating plan or a whisper of an operating plan from Owen Sound that would indicate such bad things are going to happen as the honourable member says. I know, because I live up there, that the people of Owen Sound are far more responsible. They won't create the gaps in services and they'll make sure that the people of Grey-Bruce have the services they need in spite of the federal Liberals' cuts.


Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): My second question is for the Minister of Education and Training, and again it has to do with this government not doing what it said it would do.

Minister, you promised not to cut classroom education. What we have seen when you broke that promise is cuts that have resulted in larger class sizes, in fewer teachers, in school closures, in librarians being laid off, and in some cases new user fees for students. Will you have the decency to do what neither the Premier nor the Minister of Health today have been prepared to do: Will you at least acknowledge the presence and the very real concerns of the tens of thousands of parents and students and teachers who have felt first hand your broken promise on classroom education and were out on Saturday to ask you to listen?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I think we have said on many, many occasions that we believe there needs to be more accountability in our school system in Ontario, that there needs to be a higher quality in terms of student achievement in the province of Ontario, and that it also must be a more affordable system.

Yes, in some cases we have been disappointed in the response of school boards in the province to a 1.8% reduction in funding last year. We have been disappointed in some of the responses by some of the boards. Not only have there been a few instances where classroom education may have been affected and should not have been, but there also have been tax increases at the local level that are not acceptable to this government. So we are now reviewing our funding model and our governance model to provide a better system for the people of Ontario. That is what this government is doing. It's what previous governments should have done.

Mrs McLeod: I'm trying to get the minister to address the very real concerns of thousands of parents, of students and of teachers. If the minister thinks that the crowd of thousands outside Queen's Park on Saturday was some kind of illusion or some vast special interest group, I want to tell him about some of the other people who are raising the same concerns in other communities across the province.

One of the groups that was out at a rally in Thunder Bay was a group called Mothers for Education. I think it's important to know that these are just ordinary parents who are concerned about their children, who have never been politically active before but who feel they must get a message to you. They had some very specific questions for you, Minister. They want to know how the so-called 1.8% budget cut that you've talked about again today actually became a 17.89% budget cut in Thunder Bay. They want to know why their children's class sizes are so large. They want to know why they are losing over 50% of their special education classes and why JK has been eliminated in so many areas. Can you tell the Mothers for Education why classroom education has been cut when you said it would not be?

Hon Mr Snobelen: I've had the pleasure of talking to parents right across this province, including in Thunder Bay, on a couple of different occasions and to talk about their concerns for making sure that we have an education system that meets the needs of students today and is affordable and responsible so that we can meet the needs of those students when they join the workforce. We are meeting those very critical areas.

In response to the question, we have made a reduction that province-wide is 1.8%. If the Leader of the Opposition wants to talk about why there may have been more or less reductions as a percentage basis in the funding available to school boards across the province, perhaps the Leader of the Opposition should look at the general legislative grant process, a process your government two governments ago had an opportunity to change, to make more fair, to provide a system where there aren't second-class students in the province. There are now because the funding mechanism is improper, and it was a funding mechanism you had under your government.


Mrs McLeod: I have here about 200 letters from others who share the concerns of the Mothers for Education group in Thunder Bay. I'm going to send them over to you, Minister, because these are real people. They have names and addresses and they would like a direct response from you to their questions about why their children are in classrooms that are larger, why they aren't getting the kind of education they believe their children should have. The Mothers for Education are concerned because, they say, "We feel our government is being less than honest," because you will not see the impact of your cuts.

Let me tell you about one more very specific, very real class. It's a grade 4 class in northeastern Ontario. It's a class that has 34 students and in that class of 34 there are 10 students with special needs, 10 students who have disabilities that range from spina bifida to cerebral palsy and others who have learning and behavioural difficulties, some of them with multiple disabilities. Surely you recognize this is too large a class even in Mike Harris's Ontario for either quality education or to meet the special needs of those 10 students. Minister, will you admit that you are not doing what you said you would do and that your cuts are affecting classroom education?

Hon Mr Snobelen: To the Leader of the Opposition, I will respond to letters, as we always do. I know how I'll respond. I'll respond with some pride in the initiatives that this government has taken in education, in improving education in Ontario, in having it be more accountable, be of higher quality and be more affordable. I make no apologies at all for our efforts in the past, over the past 15 months, or our efforts in the future; they will be focused on that. I hope the Leader of the Opposition when she responds to these mothers can explain why so much spending over the last decade has happened outside the classroom, can explain why you didn't change the structural system of education in the province so that students get a better deal and so that taxpayers get a better deal. Why didn't you make those changes? Because you didn't, we have to.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): In the absence of the Premier, I have a question for the Deputy Premier. I'm quite disappointed that in the wake of the Days of Action activities that took place this weekend, the Premier's not here today to account for his actions and his positions with respect to those days.

I want to say to you, Deputy Premier, that your government's refusal to listen as it cuts services to pay for its tax scheme has provoked one of the largest protests Canada and Ontario have ever seen, and yet the Premier categorized the weekend's events this way: He said, "If you took away all the government employees, the other four or five had a point to make." That kind of smugness and arrogance is what I want to ask you about. I want to ask you very clearly, is this attitude that we saw from the Premier over the weekend representative of the entire government, or is it just the Premier who is wallowing in his own smug contempt for the thousands of people who were out there on the weekend?

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): To the honourable member, I would just like to tell you, as the Premier and every member of this government has said on numerous occasions over the last several days, this government believes in the people's right to protest. People are permitted to do that, obviously, in our democratic society provided they do not do things unlawfully and do not interfere with the rights of others. We are constantly listening to what the people of the province have to say on many important issues in Ontario.

Mr Silipo: If the Premier felt, as the Deputy Premier is now telling us, that people have the democratic right to protest, that would have been helpful if that's what he had said, but what he said instead was to attack civil servants, to attack the people who were out there. He could have said it was an enormous protest, peaceful, imaginative, forceful, inventive. Instead he said, "...the banners going by from some of the Communist parties, as I saw, and I guess the Iraqi group (and) Iranian group." It's that kind of attitude that just continues to compound the problem, that paints everyone into narrow interest groups, when instead, what the Premier of this province should have been recognizing was that what we saw this weekend was the greatest interest group of all, and that is the people of the province speaking out.

You have divided Ontario between the haves and the have-nots and you are continuing to cause suffering upon suffering. What will it take, Minister, for your government to finally listen to the people who spoke so clearly this weekend?

Hon Mr Eves: There were many groups in society, some Ontarian, some not, represented in the protest over the weekend.


Hon Mr Eves: Well, that is a fact. However, what the honourable member didn't go on to say --


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order.

Hon Mr Eves: What the honourable member did not point out was that the Premier also went on to say in the course of the weekend and in the course of his remarks that the overwhelming majority of people present in the protest were representatives from the labour movement in the province of Ontario and that he respected their right to protest. I've already said that, as indeed have many members of this government, in the last few days.

Mr Silipo: Let me be very clear: The vast majority of people who were out there on the streets on Friday and Saturday were the people of the province from all walks of life.

I want to suggest to the Deputy Premier one very concrete step at least that he can take to show that he has listened to a small extent at least to what we heard on the weekend.

I want to salute, Mr Speaker, the comments that you made in response to the events this weekend. When you were asked if you would try to bill the demonstrators for the costs of the Queen's Park security, your response was: "It's the price of doing business, of running Queen's Park in a democracy. Frankly, anyone who would suggest that the tab should go to those people demonstrating is completely unfair." I want to applaud that attitude and I want to ask the Deputy Premier if he would take from that attitude and join me and join you in endorsing your words and join me in urging Alan Tonks and other Metro politicians to take exactly that kind of wise approach to supporting democracy, rather than to be looking at launching wild-goose chase lawsuits against the organizers of the Days of Action. Would you do that, Deputy Premier?

Hon Mr Eves: The individuals he is referring to are at a different level of government, they have their own responsibilities and they will make their own appropriate decisions on what they choose to do.


Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): My question is to the Minister of Transportation. Minister, there are many people who were out in the streets this weekend whom your Premier dismisses as special interest groups. One of those special interest groups, with a real special interest, are persons with disabilities. We heard a lot from your government about how you're going to stay the course and implement the Common Sense Revolution, but one of your promises was that aid to seniors and the disabled will not be cut.

Here with us today in the House is Mrs Pearl Miller. She's 79, she's got osteoporosis, she has collapsed vertebrae and serious asthma. She can't take regular transit. She has been using Wheel-Trans for over 10 years to go to necessary doctors' appointments and to get her groceries. As a result of your cuts, she has been informed that she is being cut off Wheel-Trans.

Minister, will you tell Mrs Miller directly today -- because she is here -- how you are keeping your promise to ensure that aid to seniors and persons with disabilities will not be cut?

Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): This government has been saying all along that we have to look for efficiencies and the municipalities are our partners in finding these efficiencies. But we also said we are very strongly committed towards Wheel-Trans. Wheel-Trans is something that this government did not cut, not one dollar. We basically said to the municipalities to go out and look for efficiencies in the conventional transit. I believe that we said right from the word "go" that we wouldn't cut Wheel-Trans. That was one of the reasons why this year we actually gave them the same budget they had last year. We didn't cut. The 1996 budget was not cut by one dollar. As for the people of the province of Ontario, they are looking for a government to deliver the services in the most cost-efficient way, and that is our commitment. I believe we are going to do that, and with a strong commitment to Wheel-Trans and disabled transit throughout the province of Ontario.


Ms Lankin: She's heard all of that before. She wrote to Mike Harris, and Mike Harris, just as you did then and have before, blamed it on the TTC. She wrote the TTC. They blamed it on Mike Harris. She's caught in the middle of political finger-pointing.

Mrs Miller took Wheel-Trans here today. This could be her last ride. She wants to know why you don't step in and make sure these moneys are restored to the Wheel-Trans budget, the $1.8 million you cut in the first place. As she put it this morning in her own words, and no one could say it better, "There's more to being the Minister of Transportation than fixing potholes."

You have a responsibility. You have a responsibility to seniors and persons with disabilities to live up to your promise. Will you step in and ensure that the TTC completely restores the Wheel-Trans budget?

Hon Mr Palladini: I'm somewhat disappointed that the member's attitude is always making references to the Harris government. The Harris government is doing what Ontarians want us to do: maintain the services that these people at Wheel-Trans require. The TTC, not the Harris government, runs Wheel-Trans. It's the TTC, from the initial go, that was spending money very foolishly, giving services that were well above what the cost should have been and not paying attention to operational costs. It's this government that's going to make sure that when we spend dollars we're going to spend them wisely so everybody in the province of Ontario who is disabled will get that service. We're going to keep protecting that.

Ms Lankin: You have an opportunity today to make sure that Mrs Miller gets her Wheel-Trans. What are you going to do about it? You just said you're going to make sure that happens. Your tax scheme, which is the reason why you have to make all these cuts, isn't helping her or the thousands of others who are being cut off; quite the opposite. Mrs Miller wants to talk to you. That's why she took Wheel-Trans down here today. Her Wheel-Trans is coming back for her at 3 o'clock, so she's going to leave the gallery here today at 2:30 and she's going to be waiting for you outside the west lobby doors because she wants to speak to you directly. Be prepared because she is angry, and rightly so. If she loses her Wheel-Trans, she will be completely housebound, and she thinks you and Mike Harris and your government are to blame. She wants you to take responsibility, just as you said, to ensure that this essential service for seniors and the disabled is maintained. Will you do that?

Hon Mr Palladini: Once again, I want to say that I'm very concerned that the mobility and accessibility needs of the people of Ontario are met. As far as Mrs Miller is concerned, I appreciate her concern and certainly I believe that this government has to make sure we are going to work with the municipalities to deliver the calibre of services people like Mrs Miller want. I have every intention of making sure people like Mrs Miller do get those services. But it was clearly the TTC, the Toronto Transit Commission, that chose to cut the funding on disabled transit, not the Harris government. It was the Harris government that made sure in the 1996 budget that the municipalities, like the TTC, were not going to be able to put the blame on the Harris government for something they did and created.


Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): My question is to the Minister of Energy. Can you explain how in recent weeks utilities like the Lincoln Hydro-Electric Commission down in the Niagara Peninsula have had to spend hundreds of thousands of ratepayers' dollars to fend off the incursions of Ontario Hydro into the mandate of the local utility? Lincoln Hydro, to name but one example, was given the authority by this Legislature a couple of years ago to fill out its municipal mandate. Now Ontario Hydro is contesting the very thing this Legislature said we should be approving in a good and competitive way in the interests of local ratepayers. Why is Ontario Hydro down in the peninsula causing so much difficulty to a local electrical utility trying to provide good, efficient retail service to its customers?

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Environment and Energy): I'm aware that there is some conflict between Hydro and the Lincoln local utility. I will do everything I can to endeavour to mediate between the two. Ontario Hydro, as you know, is an individual corporation which has its interests, and the local utility has its interests. I believe they will be resolved with regard to this particular conflict as time goes on.

Mr Conway: Whatever happened to that tough, "I'm in charge" Normie Sterling? Now he's just that diffident, wimpish Norm who has no --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): -- parliamentary language, and "wimpish" is not one of the words.

Mr Conway: I apologize, Mr Speaker. If "wimpish" is unparliamentary, let me be the first to withdraw it.

Ontario Hydro is around and about the province behaving in an obviously unfair and discriminatory way. It's not just Lincoln Hydro, but it's Pembroke Hydro, London Hydro and scores of others. Where does Ontario Hydro get this mandate to be so aggressive in expanding its retail mandate at the very time the government of Ontario has a major report telling it that Hydro should be retreating from, not expanding into, the area of retail and distribution of electricity?

Hon Mr Sterling: The member well knows that Ontario Hydro gets its mandate from this Legislature, from this government, which has not touched the Power Corporation Act; from the previous government, which made some minor amendments to the Power Corporation Act; and from your former government, which did nothing with regard to the Power Corporation Act or the control of Ontario Hydro, even though you talked a big storm before you got there.

The fact of the matter is that this government is going to restructure Hydro. We're going to do that in a relatively short period of time, when these kinds of issues will be addressed head on, unlike any previous government has ever ventured to do.


Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): My question is to the Minister of Health. Towards the end of last week, on Friday, you said with regard to the doctors' ratification process that you didn't have a lot to say, that the process should proceed and that if the doctors rejected the agreement you'd get back to the bargaining table. You were very conciliatory and took the appropriate approach. On the weekend, you decided to call in reporters. You threatened the doctors, you said you'd act unilaterally, and now what you have done is put the agreement at even more risk that the doctors will reject it. Can you explain this bizarre behaviour, which at the end is putting patients at risk in this province?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): The honourable member should know a lot more about negotiations than he's just demonstrated in his question. On Friday, I thought the question from the media during the scrum was, "If the vote is extremely close, what would you do?" We would have to meet with the OMA. If this agreement, which I remind all members is not the full-blown agreement with the government -- this is the first step in a process -- essentially doctors would be saying to negotiating teams, "Go back and talk about the other issues that are to be dealt with in the time frame set in the joint statement." I want to make it clear that if doctors in the province think there's a better deal from the government at this time, there isn't. This is a very fair and reasonable deal which is the gateway to future negotiations. I make that clear again to you today, Mr Cooke.


Mr Cooke: Maybe I don't know a lot about negotiations, but I know that when Chrysler or GM or any of the big corporations signs an agreement, a tentative deal, with their membership and their union they shut up and let the union, the membership, decide. You are interfering to the point where you have put this agreement at risk. It likely will be rejected and it'll be on your head, and patients will be put at risk because of your incompetence. Why are you doing this?

Hon Mr Wilson: Over the last two months this honourable member and other honourable members across the way have done more to frustrate doctors than anyone on this side of the House. Every time --

Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): He's not the minister. You are.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): He's blaming everybody else again.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): He wants us to be the government.

Hon Noble Villeneuve (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, minister responsible for francophone affairs): Heaven forbid.

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): You've botched this from day one.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Minister of Health.

Hon Mr Wilson: Every time the opposition does all the "what ifs" -- "What if this happens? What if that happens?" -- my phone rings off the wall because they send out confusing messages. I've clarified, during a period where clarification was obviously needed from the types of calls --


The Speaker: Order. Minister.

Mr Cooke: Let him answer. Just let him answer.


The Speaker: I'm waiting to be able to hear the minister. Minister of Health.

Hon Mr Wilson: I have clarified on behalf of the government what the intent is. It's not helpful of the honourable members who have done every "what if" there is to possibly do a "what if" about over the last two months. Stirring the pot doesn't help the patients in your ridings. That's all I can tell you, and the proof is in the pudding as the phones ring off the wall every time the opposition stirs the pot. Doctors and patients don't deserve this.


Mr Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa): My question is for the Solicitor General. Minister, last Wednesday's Toronto Star stated that the federal government has invented 107 new bureaucratic positions in the Canadian Firearms Centre. The article says that these new bureaucrats will be busy licensing gun owners and registering their legally owned guns.

I fail to see how a bunch of bureaucrats licensing law-abiding gun owners are going to stop crime in Ontario. Can the minister clarify for this House the status of the constitutional challenge that Ontario and Alberta have launched against the ridiculous registration provisions of Bill C-68?

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): The member makes an important point which needs to be addressed. It's the government's view that the imposition of universal registration of firearms in Bill C-68 is beyond the constitutional jurisdiction of the federal government. That's why we've joined with the province of Alberta in a constitutional challenge to the wrongheaded parts of this legislation.

This government supports real gun control. We support front-line police officers, not laws that force police officers off the front lines into pushing more paper. The announcement that was in the media last week indicated 107 additional bureaucrats -- millions of tax dollars to further interfere with law-abiding citizens. This is another bureaucratic boondoggle that Liberals are famous for instead of policing and putting additional dollars into police front lines where they will have a real impact.

Mr Ouellette: Hunters, sportsmen, legitimate gun owners, want to know what the government has done to make some progress in speeding up the FAC process and what we are doing to process FACs faster so that law-abiding gun owners and hunters aren't delayed any longer than necessary in obtaining an FAC.

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): Members will recall when we assumed office that we kept a promise made in opposition by the Honourable Chris Hodgson with respect to grandfathering. The grandfathering period, following completion, we had about 149,000 applications. The backlog has been a chronic problem. When we assumed office, we were processing approximately 100 FACs per day. We have now increased that to 650. The backlog has been cut substantially, and we will continue to do everything we can to alleviate the backlog.


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): My question is for the Minister of Health.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Member for Hamilton Centre, I'm finding it difficult to hear the question. I ask that you come to order.

Mrs Pupatello: Mr Minister, what if you finally received all of the documentation that you required to designate the Windsor and Essex county area underserviced? Would you finally make that designation?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): We're reviewing the matter in ongoing discussions, and if all the documentations are in -- there's a pretty good chance that they are in -- we will make the determination as fast as possible.

Mrs Pupatello: I'd like to remind the minister that in fact he did receive all of the documentation at least two weeks ago, and at that time he received a letter from our district health council, which read, "I trust you do now have sufficient information to make that designation."

Several months ago -- in fact, last fall -- we asked you if you would move that along quickly, because you are well aware of the dire need that we have, not just for obstetricians but family practitioners as well as other key specialty areas.

Mr Minister, with all of the chaos that you've created in the system, we would dearly love to have that designation now. You've been quoted in Hansard, as late as October 21, as saying that in fact the real savings will be in the area of the underserviced area program. Will you please confirm today that you will allow the underserviced program to continue and that it will in fact benefit our area?

Hon Mr Wilson: With respect to the application, it always takes more than two weeks, and we are working on it as quickly as possible.

But isn't that the case that was just made? A program that was designed years ago under a Conservative government for the extreme north and really underserviced area, now we have applications from across the 401 corridor right down to Windsor-Essex. Doesn't that tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that the status quo with respect to distribution in physician and doctor resources in this province can't hold up when a program that was made for northern Ontario is being requested through application by the people of Windsor-Essex at the extreme south of the province? The status quo is not an option, and this government, with the Ontario Medical Association, is trying to find more permanent solutions than the grant program called the underserviced area program.


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): To the Attorney General: The whole province has listened to the Attorney General's feckless defence of his mismanagement of the family support plan for day after day and week after week now, so we'd better be clear, and that is that women and their children who were receiving regular payments are no longer receiving them as a result of this Attorney General and this government closing regional offices and laying off almost 300 staff in FSP. The Attorney General hasn't fixed any of the old problems, but he has certainly created some new ones.

Let me tell you about Diane Ecker from Welland-Thorold. She received $19.20 on October 1, 1996 -- you see, she should have received $175 -- and two days before receiving that $19.20, she received a letter from FSP saying that there would be no interruption in payment.

Cut me some slack, Speaker. I don't get up to ask questions very often.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Question.

Mr Kormos: But there has been an interruption, because, you see, the payor, the father of the child, has been making his payments regularly to the FSP, and he's calling complaining that his paycheque isn't being forwarded on to his child. This woman's on family benefits and needs that money to buy groceries. What have you done with the money that Diane Ecker and her five-year-old child should be receiving?

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): I can tell you that the family support plan is issuing cheques as they come in. The cheques are being sent to those who are the recipients of the cheques. I can't comment and won't comment on the individual case that the member has brought to me, but if he wishes to discuss it with me and provide me with the details I am prepared to look into it.


Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): Minister, in fact that information is wrong. Let me tell you about a constituent in my riding, Deborah Matheson, and her child, who have been receiving regular payments for the last four years, $700 a month like clockwork, until you closed the regional offices and laid off 290 staff. Last month her September payment was two weeks late and she still hasn't received her October payment. In fact she was told by one of your staff she may not get her October payment until some time in November.

Her ex-husband has been making the payments and has kept the family support plan completely aware of all his employment information. There aren't enough staff there to process it and to pass the cheques on. She's had to borrow money from her family in order to get by. She's written postdated cheques that are dated according to when her money should be received from the family support plan, so she's going to incur financial penalties when those cheques are returned NSF.

Minister, how much longer are women and children in this province expected to do without money for food and for lodgings and for necessary living expenses because of the mismanagement and the precipitous cost-cutting measures you have taken?

Hon Mr Harnick: The measures we have taken are measures that have been taken to repair long-standing difficulties with this plan. This plan has not been working for 10 years. This plan has been grossly in arrears in paying women and children. It has been a plan without any enforcement tools, and we are correcting that. We are creating a plan where people can have access and get the information they need when they need it, and we are working towards that in the restructuring of the plan that we're doing.


Mr Tom Froese (St Catharines-Brock): My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I understand you recently attended a Wines of Ontario official launch. I know you are aware of the importance of the wine industry in my riding. I understand that Ontario wines sales are doing very well here in Canada. Do you have any statistics detailing the growth of the Ontario wine industry?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): I'd like to thank the member for St Catharines-Brock for the question. Yes, I was very pleased to join the LCBO, the Wine Council of Ontario and the Vintners Quality Alliance to officially launch the Wines of Ontario promotion.

As the members of the House already know, the 1995 Ontario vintage has been held by many as the best ever and there's every reason to believe this deserved reputation will continue to soar. Ontario's wine sales are soaring. Last year the LCBO sales of Ontario wines grew by 9%, and in the first six months of 1996 the sales increased by another 16%.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): This is a minister's statement.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I say to the members of the opposition, you may consider this a minister's statement. It matters not. The question's put. It needs to be answered, and I prefer to hear it. Minister.


The Speaker: The member for Lake Nipigon, if you have a point of order I ask you stand and raise it. Otherwise, I ask you allow the minister to answer the question.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I'm sure the wine industry of Ontario considers this important as well. The Ontario red wines were up a significant 27%. Ontario wines, I understand, are the top-selling wines in the LCBOs. This growth is led by the premium-quality products. The LCBO sales of Ontario VQA wines have jumped by more than 46% in the last six months compared to the same time last year. We hope and expect Ontario wines will continue to enjoy their success both here and abroad.

Mr Froese: That's certainly good news for Ontario wine sales, grape growers in particular, and for tourism in the Niagara Peninsula, and I'm sure the member for Welland-Thorold appreciates that. The Ontario wine industry and grape growers are strong in exporting their product. Can you elaborate on how export products of Ontario wines are faring so far?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: The member is absolutely correct in saying the growing reputation and popularity of Ontario wines are bringing more and more visitors to the Niagara region in particular. This has shown a lot of initiative for a lot of the wineries in the area. They are now trying to bring more tourism in by creating inns on their property, on the estate properties, and also restaurants. It's great. Not only that, but the wine industry provides additional employment for the bottling industry and transportation industry.

Ontario wines are exporting more, over $2 million, primarily to the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan. Frankly, we, the government of Ontario, recognize and applaud the hard work and the dedication of the Ontario winemakers for their skilled achievements and competitive spirit. They're an example to all Canadians that they can compete in the world market and succeed.


Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): My question is to the Minister of Health. This morning my office spoke to Miss Pat Morris of Burlington. Miss Morris's mother, 93-year-old Mrs Catherine Duffy, received a bill of $9,000 from Joe Brant hospital as the result of a stay as a result of a complication of pneumonia. Mrs Duffy was forced into Joe Brant as a result of a chronic shortage of nursing home beds in Halton. The choice had to be either a nursing home outside of the region, away from her daughter, or to be stuck with this $9,000 bill.

Minister, can you tell us how, as a result of your cuts and the decisions that your ministry has made, Mrs Duffy is going to have to pay this $9,000 bill that she's been handed by your ministry?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): My ministry didn't hand her the bill; the hospital did in accordance with the laws that were in place at the time the Liberal government was in office and at the time the NDP government was in office. I can't comment on the specifics of this case, obviously, but to say that people who are in chronic care beds past the time period provided by the law are offered placements in the community. If those placements are refused, they pay the copayment as per the law of all three politically striped governments in this province.

Mr Agostino: I appreciate the minister's lack of response. Frankly, it was not a Liberal policy at that point, but that is not the issue.

The issue, Minister, is this. Let me explain to you. If you're not sure what has happened or why, let me tell you what the hospital president has told us is the reason this has happened. Let me quote Mr Don Scott, president and CEO of Joe Brant: "Until we get more beds, it's not going to happen." The hospital decided to divest itself of nursing home patients as a result of provincial government funding cuts last spring.

It has reduced the number of nursing home patients to 40, and it was at 60 a few months ago, so very clearly it is as a result of your cuts. I'm not saying this. The CEO of Joe Brant hospital is telling us that as a result of your cuts they had to reduce nursing home beds. As a result of that, this 93-year-old woman is now stuck with a $9,000 bill.

Minister, can you commit today to reviewing the situation and look at waiving this bill? If the minister in charge of seniors maybe wants to stand up and answer it as one of his constituents, we'll ask the minister --


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order. Member for Hamilton East, come to order. Minister.

Hon Mr Wilson: It's at the discretion of the hospital to waive the bill. It's their bill. If they want to waive it, it's up to the public members of that hospital board and I wouldn't stand in their way of waiving that bill.

I will say, though, on behalf of the government that we are looking at the bed situation. There are three projects under way in the Halton area. We are well aware, and I'm personally well aware, that out in that area of the province it's considered an underbedded area. There have to be more long-term-care beds. We're in the process of completing the overall plan that will be implemented later this year, and as part of future reinvestments we'll be looking at the number of beds.

I will say, though, that beds are available. They are being offered to patients, and patients are to avail themselves of those beds as they're offered.



Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): My question is for the Minister of Environment and Energy. Has he left for the day?

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I don't know the whereabouts of the Minister of Environment and Energy. If you want to stand your question down, you can stand it down; otherwise, ask someone else. I can only assume that you knew you were going to ask the Minister of Environment and Energy before.

Here is the Minister of Environment and Energy.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): The wimp is back. Don't let him try to run out of the House.

The Speaker: The member for Lake Nipigon, I ask that you withdraw that. That's totally unparliamentary.

Mr Pouliot: -- government of wimps. Could I call one of them a Conservative? I'll withdraw, Mr Speaker.

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): Where are you getting this list?

The Speaker: The member for Windsor-Riverside, if you'd come to order too I'd appreciate it. Thank you.

Ms Churley: Minister, my question is to you on the environment. Today there is great concern about the dangerous chemicals found when the abandoned Canada Malting Co laboratory on Lakeshore Boulevard in the east end caught fire. I understand that the property has changed hands several times and there may be difficulties in forcing the current owners to undertake and pay for a proper cleanup.

After all the damage your government has done to the environment through deregulation and laying off of staff, here's an opportunity for the minister to show some leadership. Will the minister commit today that he will get these chemicals off the site within 48 hours and follow up by making sure the property owner responsible for these toxic substances is made to pay for the cleanup?

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Environment and Energy): We are not deregulating; we are reregulating. We are making better regulations. We are putting together regulations which grew topsy-turvy over 30 years into a more logical and reasonable pattern. We've had consultations for over a year with regard to these. We've put out a green paper which people have had an opportunity to respond to. We are now going along on further consultations to deal with those regulations. Therefore we are going to have better regulations -- not relaxed regulations but better regulations -- to deal with in the future. We have always had a policy of "polluter pays," and we will continue to have that policy.

Ms Churley: The minister spent the whole time saying that he's improving environmental regulation in Ontario, which is totally ridiculous, but he still hasn't answered my question about an immediate problem near my riding and, may I add, in the riding of his colleague from St George-St David, and I'm sure his constituents may have concerns about this.

I want a commitment today that those chemicals will be taken off-site within 48 hours so people can feel safe and that the minister will go after the polluters. We want that commitment today, because in Riverdale already you let Canada Metal off the hook and the taxpayers are paying the full costs of the cleanup of lead in Riverdale. You've already set that precedent. I want a commitment today from you that those chemicals will be taken off the site within 48 hours by you.

Hon Mr Sterling: My intent, of course, is to look into this particular situation, but I want to say this to you. Why should we, the government, representing the taxpayers, pay for the removal of these particular chemicals when we can have these people pay for those particular matters? I presume these problems with these chemicals did not happen yesterday or last year or the year before. They've been there for some period of time. Therefore, I am pleased to promise the member that I will look into this particular situation to find a resolution of it, a resolution which has not been found over a long period of time.


Mr Garry J. Guzzo (Ottawa-Rideau): My question is for the Attorney General and it concerns the SIU, the special investigations unit, which has been on the mind of a number of people in Ottawa-Carleton recently for a couple of reasons. The first, of course, is a positive one, the appointment of Mr Marin from the prosecuting attorney's office, but also as a result of a couple of decisions that have come down from the SIU recently concerning police officers in the Ottawa-Carleton area, decisions which have taken a considerable period of time.

I'm asking the Attorney General today if he would advise us with regard to the backlog that gave rise to the delays in those decisions and whether that backlog continues.

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): I'm pleased to report that the SIU no longer has a backlog of cases. As of September 1996, the total number of active cases in the unit was 28. From January 1996 to the end of September 1996, the SIU has taken on 117 new cases. Of these, only five are outside the 90-day goal set by the SIU as an administrative guide to complete a case. We're doing a lot better than we did in the days of the former government.

Mr Guzzo: My supplementary -- and let me just say I'm not surprised to learn such facts when you tap into the market in Ottawa-Carleton for the type of help that you're using, sir. With regard now to the process, is the 90-day administrative deadline still in effect?


Hon Mr Harnick: It's interesting to note by the reaction of the opposition that they obviously are not in favour of the SIU. But, Mr Speaker, I can tell you that both the public and the police deserve quick investigations and timely responses to incidents.

On October 24, 1996, the new director of the SIU, Mr Marin, announced a 30-day target project. All incoming investigations will be subject to a new 30-day turnaround. This will be achieved by streamlining the internal operations of the SIU, such as briefing and reporting processes. We have to recognize that there has to be some allowance for some issues pertaining to forensic testing, but Mr Marin assures us that the quality of investigations will not be compromised and that we will be doing the vast majority of them in 30 days.


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): In the absence of the Premier, I'd like to go to the Deputy Premier and the Minister of Finance. As you know, Minister, it seems that the Minister of Municipal Affairs, or Mr Crombie, the phantom minister, is about to dissolve the six local city governments in Metro. I wonder whether there is any reference to that dissolution in the Common Sense Revolution. Where does it say that local governments are going to be abolished? Second, what do you think of the comments made by a Toronto columnist, Colin Vaughan, who says:

"Whatever happened to the Conservative opposition to big, faceless government? Not only is there the threat of amalgamation, but a parallel rumour suggests the province is about to be divided into just nine regional school boards.

"All more akin to a centralized Soviet form of government where bureaucratic convenience and control are paramount...." In other words, does this --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I hear that, the member for Oakwood. The question's been put.


The Speaker: No, member for Oakwood, the question's been put.

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): Mr Speaker, I refer this question to the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): I thank the member for Oakwood for his question. He's certainly changed his position since he was on Metro council and since he was on York council, when he wanted to dissolve the municipalities.

The member asked whether this was in the Common Sense Revolution. It certainly was. We stated in that document that we wanted to get rid of waste and duplication and lower the cost of public administration to the taxpayer, and that's exactly what we intend to do.

Mr Colle: We all agree that there should be changes and there should be some adjustments, but this drastic eradication of local government for one centralized government with one bureaucracy controlled by Queen's Park -- how can this serve the local taxpayer? Is this not just basically a tax grab, to take $500 million out of Metro and spread it throughout the provincial treasury? Is this not just a smokescreen for a tax grab out of Metro?

Hon Mr Leach: Obviously there's absolutely no credibility to that question whatsoever. What we're looking at -- and by the way, Mr Speaker, no decisions have been made as yet. There are a number of options on that table that we're looking at. We're going to review them all. The one that the member mentioned is only one of them.

By the way, if he wants to quote a columnist on the merits of this proposal, I suggest that he look at David Lewis Stein's column in the Toronto Star today.




Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet and Government House Leader): I move that notwithstanding standing order 96(h), the requirement for notice be waived with respect to ballot item number 45.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Is the motion carried? Agreed.



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

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

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

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

I have affixed my signature.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I continue to receive petitions from workers outraged at this government's continuing attack on WCB and health and safety. Today I have further petitions from the United Food and Commercial Workers, Locals 175 and 63, forwarded to me by their president, Mike Fraser; their secretary-treasurer, Wayne Hanley; and their benefits coordinator, Herb MacDonald. The petition reads as follows:

"To save workers' compensation:

"We, the undersigned, oppose your government's plan to dismantle the workers' compensation system, including reducing benefits; excluding claims for repetitive strain injuries, muscle injuries, strains, sprains, stress, harassment and most occupational diseases; eliminating pension supplements; handing over control of our claims to our employers for the first four to six weeks after injury; privatizing WCB to large insurance companies; integrating sick benefits into WCB; eliminating or restricting the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal, WCAT; including eliminating worker representation on the board and eliminating the bipartite WCB board of directors.

"We therefore demand a safe workplace, compensation if we are injured, no reduction in benefits, improved re-employment and vocational rehabilitation, an independent appeal structure with worker representation, that the WCAT be left intact and that the WCB bipartite board of directors be reinstated."

On behalf of my caucus, I add my name to theirs.


Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): I have a petition sent to me by a group of students in my constituency of Nepean. It reads as follows:

"At St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Mrs Pentney's grade 4 class really would like a high school in Barrhaven. We are students who will be affected soon, so we are asking for your help now."

It's signed by Kyle Windle, Jeremy Walsh and a group of grade 4 students in my constituency, and I agree.


Mr Pat Hoy (Essex-Kent): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas motorists are not obeying the highway traffic law regarding stopping for school buses which are loading and unloading school children on the streets and highways of Ontario; and

"Whereas the children who ride the school buses of Ontario are at risk and their safety is in jeopardy; and

"Whereas the current school bus law is difficult to enforce since not only is a licence plate number required but positive identification of the driver and vehicle as well, which makes it extremely difficult to obtain a conviction;

"Therefore, be it resolved, that we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That private member's Bill 78, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act, which will be presented by Pat Hoy, MPP, Essex-Kent, as ballot item number 51 in the next legislative session, be passed at third reading.

"Bill 78 imposes liability on the owner of a vehicle that fails to stop for a school bus that has its overhead red signal lights flashing and increases the fines for drivers identified breaking the school bus law to a range from $500 to $1,000 on first conviction and $1,000 to $2,000 on a subsequent conviction. It establishes a fine for identified vehicles breaking the school bus law of $1,000 to $2,000 on first conviction, and $2,000 to $3,000 on a subsequent conviction.

"The petitioners ask for the support of all members of the Legislature."

I affix my name to this.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I have yet other petitions that were signed by the citizens of the community of Timmins when Mr Harris came visiting our fine community. The petition reads as follows:

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

"Whereas the Harris government had an election promise not to impose user fees; and

"Whereas the Harris government has imposed user fees in the name of copayments for medication; and

"Whereas we believe these user fees are to assist the government in funding its tax cut for the rich; and

"Whereas many seniors and disabled people cannot afford this user fee, resulting in non-compliance with prescriptions and the possibility of more serious illness as a result of non-compliance;

"We therefore demand that the Premier stop this attack on the elderly and the disabled by cancelling the copayment user fee charge to seniors."

I've affixed my signature to that petition.


Mr Tim Hudak (Niagara South): I've yet another petition concerning driver exams for seniors in Port Colborne signed by people like Betsy Davis and Jean Winters. It reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and to the Minister of Transportation:

"Whereas the driver examination centre in the city of Welland is slated to close later in October; and

"Whereas these changes represent an undue hardship in that they will require Port Colborne and Wainfleet senior citizens to drive up to an hour away to take their annual road test on the unfamiliar roads of St Catharines; and

"Whereas the fact that a very high proportion of seniors eventually pass their road test has led the Minister of Transportation to state that he will re-examine the requirements for issuing drivers' licences for seniors,

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the Minister of Transportation to develop a system of licensing that is less onerous on the senior citizens of Port Colborne and Wainfleet and that recognizes that when tests are required, familiar local roads are the fairest places to assess driver ability."

I affix my name to the petition.


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): I have another 2,626 signatures regarding the restructuring commission's report on Sudbury.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the Health Services Restructuring Commission has recommended the closure of two acute care hospitals in Sudbury; and

"Whereas the overall number of available beds will be reduced by approximately 35%; and

"Whereas the reduction in beds will affect Sudbury's ability to remain the referral centre for health care in northeastern Ontario; and

"Whereas there will be a large number of layoffs in the health profession, impacting the quality of local health care and our Sudbury economy; and

"Whereas the global annual budget for Sudbury health care will be reduced by approximately 25%;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to rescind the Health Services Restructuring Commission's recommendation to close two of Sudbury's hospitals."

I affix my name to the petition as I agree with the 10,304 people who have signed this petition.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I have a petition signed by many of the tenants at the apartment building at 179 George Street in Hamilton. It is headed "Petition Against Changes to Tenants' Rights."

"We, the tenants of rental apartment units, completely disagree with any proposed changes to the Landlord and Tenant Act, the Rent Control Act, the Residents' Rights Act, the Rental Housing Protection Act, the land lease act and the vital services act, and the introduction of any new legislation where tenants' rights could be denied or reduced and leave us open to potential landlord harassment or discrimination."

Since I'm in support of this position, I add my signature to theirs.



Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the Liberal government of Canada has passed C-68, An Act Respecting Firearms and Other Weapons; and

"Whereas we welcome real gun control, and support those portions of Bill C-68 which provide tougher penalties for the criminal use of firearms, new offences related to firearm smuggling and trafficking, and a ban on paramilitary weapons; and

"Whereas existing laws requiring the registration of handguns have done little to reduce the number of crimes committed with handguns or lower the volume of handguns smuggled into Canada; and

"Whereas the national gun registration provisions of Bill C-68 will result in a massive misallocation of the limited resources available to law enforcement agencies, with no practical effect on the traffic of illegal firearms or the use of guns by violent criminals; and

"Whereas the gun registration provisions of Bill C-68 will take police officers off the streets and involve them in bureaucracy rather than fighting crime and will make the task of real gun control more difficult and dangerous for police officers;

"We, the undersigned, respectfully petition the province of Ontario to continue to urge the government of Canada to repeal from Bill C-68 those provisions for a compulsory registration of all firearms."

I have signed this petition.


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): The following petition is to the Honourable Solicitor General and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the Progressive Conservative government of Ontario has decided to scrap mandatory inquests as a result of fatalities in the mining and construction industry; and

"Whereas this unprecedented and callous decision sets workplace safety back 20 years;

"We, the undersigned, request that Solicitor General Bob Runciman and the Legislative Assembly, on behalf of all workers in the mining and construction industry, reverse his decision to remove mandatory inquests from the Coroners Act of Ontario."

I affix my name to the petition as I am in full agreement with it.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I have here yet another petition from the people of Cochrane South expressing their concerns about the Mike Harris government. It goes on as follows:

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

"Whereas the government of Ontario has already cut substantial dollars and staff from the Ministry of Environment; and

"Whereas the cuts have already placed a burden on remaining staff, making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to do their jobs adequately and protect the safety of citizens of the province; and

"Whereas the likelihood of further cuts will leave us wondering if we are breathing clean air and drinking clean water; and

"Whereas the auditor's report confirms our fears;

"Therefore, be it resolved that the government of Ontario restore funding to this much-needed ministry to maintain safe levels of air and water."

It's signed by some 400 people in the community of Cochrane South.


Mr Tim Hudak (Niagara South): I have another petition concerning drivers' exams for seniors, this one from some seniors in Fort Erie, Ontario. I'll be visiting a group tomorrow so I'm pleased to present the petition in the House today. It reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and to the Minister of Transportation:

"Whereas the driver examination centre in the town of Fort Erie has been closed as of September 24 and the centre in Niagara Falls will close later in October; and

"Whereas these changes represent an undue hardship in that they will require Fort Erie senior citizens to drive up to an hour away to take their annual road test on the unfamiliar roads of St Catharines; and

"Whereas the fact that a very high proportion of seniors eventually pass their road test has led the Minister of Transportation to state that he will re-examine the requirements for issuing drivers' licences to seniors;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the Minister of Transportation to develop a system of licensing that is less onerous on the senior citizens of Fort Erie and that recognizes that when tests are required, familiar local roads are the fairest place to assess driver ability."

Since I'm in agreement with the petition, I will sign my name to it.


Mr Pat Hoy (Essex-Kent): I have a petition signed by a number of people from the Essex county area.

"Whereas motorists are not obeying the highway traffic law regarding stopping for school buses which are loading and unloading school children on the streets and highways of Ontario; and

"Whereas the children who ride the school buses of Ontario are at risk and their safety is in jeopardy; and

"Whereas the current school bus law is difficult to enforce since not only is a licence plate number required but positive identification of the driver and vehicle as well, which makes it extremely difficult to obtain a conviction;

"Therefore, be it resolved that we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That private member's Bill 78, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act, which will be presented by Pat Hoy, MPP, Essex-Kent, as ballot item number 51 in the next legislative session, be passed at third reading.

"Bill 78 imposes liability on the owner of a vehicle that fails to stop for a school bus that has its overhead red signal lights flashing and increases the fines for drivers identified breaking the school bus law to a range from $500 to $1,000 on first conviction and $1,000 to $2,000 on a subsequent conviction. It establishes a fine for identified vehicles breaking the school bus law of $1,000 to $2,000 on first conviction and $2,000 to $3,000 on a subsequent conviction.

"We ask for the support of all members of the Legislature."

I will sign my name to this.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I have a petition organized by Rita Gasslein on Erie Avenue in my riding of Hamilton Centre. It reads as follows:

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

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

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

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

I add my name to theirs.



Mr Carroll from the standing committee on general government presented the following report and moved its adoption:

Your committee begs to report the following bill as amended:

Bill 52, An Act to promote resource development, conservation and environmental protection through the streamlining of regulatory processes and the enhancement of compliance measures in the aggregate and petroleum industries / Projet de loi 52, Loi visant à promouvoir la mise en valeur des ressources, la conservation ainsi que la protection de l'environnement en simplifiant les processus de réglementation et en renforçant les mesures de conformité dans l'industrie pétrolière et l'industrie des agrégats.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Shall the report be received and adopted? Agreed.

Shall Bill 52 be ordered for third reading? Agreed.



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

Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): First of all, let me speak to the title of the bill. Oh, please. This has happened so often during the course of the last year and months. There's this weird, Orwellian kind of Newspeak, where there's a distortion -- and it goes beyond distortion -- to the point of dishonesty. To talk about this being designed to fund charities and to talk about it as an act to regulate alcohol and gaming in the public interest is not just naïve but outright dishonest.

It obscures the reality of what this bill is going to do to what used to be our Ontario. It's no longer ours. Ontario has been hijacked, it's under siege, it's being held to ransom by Harris and his gang and their rich Bay Street buddies. Let's make it clear: This bill is all about introducing hi-tech, very sophisticated slot machines, one-armed bandits, to every bar, every restaurant, every tavern in every corner of every neighbourhood of every community in this province.

I know the minister and the minister before him have been briefed and all pumped up with the little briefing notes and the clips and the sort of things they are supposed to say, or at least told to say, and I'm not sure they believe half of them, in response to the criticisms.

One of the things they like to point out is that there are fewer slots going to be here in Ontario per capita than any other province. Well, look, let's talk about Ontario. The fact is 20,000 slots. You want to know how many are going to be in your town, in your community? The calculation's not difficult at all; it's a ratio of one for every 550 population. That's what 20,000 slots here in Ontario amounts to.

Take the population of your community, divide it by 550, that's how many one-armed bandits are going to be proliferating throughout the city you live in. That means -- let me tell you, I did the simple calculation for the folks in the city of Welland. With a population of 48,000, we're talking about 87 slot machines: 87 slots in the city of Welland alone on the basis of the proposal by this government.

So this isn't an act to regulate alcohol and gaming in the public interest. "Public interest" -- please, give me a break. When have slot machines ever been in the public interest? Does the mob that runs them in any number of jurisdictions have the public interest at heart? Never have, never will. "To fund charities" -- give me a break. The slots are going to make it impossible for volunteer organizations in the communities where I come from, Welland and Thorold, and in similar communities. I'm insistent that Welland and Thorold are as representative of the real Ontario as any community is in this province.


Here we've got slot machines that are going to take away the opportunity for organizations like the ones that make my community a far better place to live in, and it becomes all that much more important when you see this government with its attack on supporting these types of agencies. Are Big Brothers and Big Sisters down in Welland-Thorold going to be impacted? You bet your boots. Yes, they're going to be badly hurt. Any number of organizations now that -- I understand the bingo phenomenon. Welland, some 20 miles from the Buffalo border, with its, and I'm proud, fair share of Catholic churches has been a bingo haven for a long time. I'm telling you 20,000 slots, 20,000 one-armed bandits are a far cry from the bingo games seniors are playing over in Slovak Hall on Hagar Street, where it's small stakes and you win small prizes and it is truly a social activity two or three hours in the afternoon when people get together.

A whole lot of charitable organizations and societies like Slovak Hall and the Casa Dante and the Hungarian Hall are going to be badly hurt. This isn't about funding those charities; it's about taking away from them the opportunity they've had through their hard work, through volunteer participation, to raise modest funds, sustain their own activities, all very important to the community, as often as not participation in other fund-raising events where they give of their money.

Before we get into the whole issue of slots, the one-armed bandits this government wants to see proliferating throughout every town in this province, please let me speak for just a minute about one aspect of this legislation that is certainly as insidious but has been so rarely spoken of during the course of the debate about Bill 75: the abolition of the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario, because that's what this bill does.

It abolishes the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario without there having been any meaningful consultation, notwithstanding the rather pathetic claims of the previous minister and, as far as I'm aware, the silence of the present minister, without any meaningful consultation with the Ontario Liquor Board Employees' Union, those hardworking people who work for the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario now, including the liquor inspectors who have served this province well, I tell you, for a long time with some pretty scarce resources. That's what Bill 75 is all about, the abolition of the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario and the abolition of the Gaming Control Commission.

What do we find in their stead? By God, an arm's-length, non-profit corporation that incorporates or purports to incorporate the two regulatory bodies, the so-called Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which will have no direct responsibility or accountability to any minister, as if any ministers of Mike Harris were accountable or responsible -- but one can hope -- and a scheme that's designed to lead ultimately towards the privatization of the regulation of, among other things, first the sale, distribution and marketing of alcohol. My God, the immorality -- think about it -- of abandoning, abdicating one's responsibility, as this government is doing, the regulation of the sale, distribution and advertising of alcohol, a highly addictive substance which continues to wreak havoc on individuals, families and communities across this province, a drug which carries with it a huge social and personal cost. This government is prepared to surrender its regulation and control to what at the end of the day are going to be private interests. It's the height of immorality and it betrays the real agenda of this government, which is to sell off everything that working people and their families have built and paid for in this province to private interests so you can maximize profits at the expense of people's lives.

The same is true in terms of the regulation of gaming itself, because the Gaming Control Commission, part of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, is now wiped off the map and is part and parcel of this arm's-length Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, a non-profit corporation with no direct accountability to any government. Indeed, amendments that were raised during the course of committee hearings -- and I hope I've got enough time to speak about those committee hearings, because they warrant being spoken about here in this chamber; a pathetic mockery of the committee process, as repressive and oppressive and undemocratic an exercise as has ever been engaged in here at Queen's Park, and one that doesn't bode well for the future.

Notwithstanding a whole lot of concerns raised about -- catch this one. All of the directors of this non-profit corporation are going to be appointed by the government with no guidelines, no criteria for their appointment to ensure there's some balance on this board of directors. Who's going to end up there? We know. We've looked at the people who have been appointed by this government over the course of the last year and a few months. We're talking about the most ideological political hacks who could ever be --

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): Hirelings.

Mr Kormos: Someone said "hirelings"; I say quislings -- appointed by this government to boards that have great responsibility but which have ultimately one goal, and that is to maximize profits for the private sector interests, the big corporate interests that are inevitably going to be involved. I'll talk about the mob later because we can't discuss this without talking about the inevitable involvement of the mob either -- organized crime.

We can't talk about this without talking about the invitation that Bill 75 is, a blank cheque for organized crime to walk into this province and involve itself in an activity that's not just been endorsed but is being sponsored by this government and that victimizes. It doesn't provide a service. Come on. I'm not talking about providing a service, though some have tried to characterize this as entertainment. That's like the heroin dealer trying to characterize the use of heroin by his or her clientele as mere entertainment.

Slot machines are certainly the crack cocaine of gambling, the most addictive form of gambling and one that has as its target market youngsters, young people, our children, Speaker, your children, and the children of the folks I know so well down in Welland-Thorold. Again, they're so alike, other hardworking folks, people who have hopes and aspirations for their children across this province.

The video slot machine industry hasn't been sitting idle over the course of the last 10, 15, 20 years. They certainly didn't sit idle when this government came into power because they saw an entry point. Gangs like that led by Marshall Pollock were at this government's doorstep quick as a boo, saying, "By God, here's our entry point."

I know the last government introduced casino gambling in specific venues. I recall the debate. I recall my concerns that I expressed, yes, about casino gambling. I recall how they were shared by Mike Harris, now the Premier, and Ernie Eves, now the Minister of Finance. I recall how Ernie Eves spoke out against slot machines, reminding this House and the public about the inherent dangers that accompany slot machines when they're imposed on a community. We're talking about something far greater here than a casino in Windsor, Niagara Falls or Orillia. We're talking about a proliferation of slot machines, the crack cocaine of gambling, slot machines that are far more sophisticated than any person in this province has ever seen before and slot machines that have as their target market our children, and not without design and not without intent.

Gangs led by the likes of Marshall Pollock have been eager to impose themselves on -- not impose themselves; they're merely getting the payback, the grease. They're collecting their debts. They're collecting the vigorish from this government. They're saying: "It's our turn. We helped you guys get elected." They did. "Now it's time to pay up, Mike Harris and gang. Some of our members may not be the most savoury types, some of our interests may certainly not be in the public interest, but it's time to pay up. Let us get our slot machines out there in small-town Ontario so we can pick the pocket" --


Mr Wayne Wettlaufer (Kitchener): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The member for Welland-Thorold questioned the integrity of some of the members when he said some of our members may be less than savoury.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): The member for Welland-Thorold.

Mr Kormos: Thank you, Speaker. So here we are. We've got gangs approaching this government saying: "It's our turn. We've waited too long. The New Democrats wouldn't let us put these slot machines in neighbourhoods of small-town Ontario, but we can count on you, Mike, because you're indebted to us. It's time for you to pay back corporate Ontario for having gotten you elected." By God, the payback's going to be one that comes out of the pockets of each and every member of each and every community in this province.

During the committee hearings, as we travelled about -- and I know that there were advocates of slots, of course there were, the people who make the things. With 20,000 slots, we're talking about a whole lot of profit to be made on the manufacture of them. We're talking about the spin doctors who accompany these. Do you know who got hoodwinked? Do you know who's been had here? Do you know who got the shaft? The Tory caucus did. I appreciate this may be uncomfortable to some of the people from the Tory caucus who spoke to me about it, but when this matter was presented to the Tory caucus, among other things, they were called video lottery terminals.

What a benign name, the image of somehow somebody sitting down and playing Pac-Man for a quarter a shot. We're not talking about Pac-Man machines here. We're not talking about pinball any more. The stakes have gone up considerably. We're talking about the crack cocaine of gambling, the most addictive form of gambling ever created and one that has as its target market the youngsters, children, youth, adolescents and young adults of this province. Tory backbenchers got hoodwinked, because the spin doctors came in with the flip-charts and the overhead projectors, the whole nine yards, telling this caucus about what an easy sell this was going to be.

One has to consider the government's motive here. Why does the government want this cash grab? Why would this government even consider it? From the data from other provinces, other jurisdictions that have been so foolish and naïve and corrupt as to permit slots in their jurisdictions, we know who the players are. They're not the high stakes gamblers. They're not the jokers who were over at Woodbine for the Breeders' Cup at the $1,000 window. They're little people who play a nickel, a quarter, a loonie at a time. They are. They're the unsophisticated gamblers, because the slots are an easy game. You don't have to know any rules. You don't have to handicap a racing form. You don't have to handicap a race. You don't have to worry about the rules of the game of blackjack or poker. You just empty your pocket and keep pumping them in. Let me tell you, these machines are designed, and going to be increasingly so, to take a loonie every second and a half, with bells and whistles you've never dreamed of.

We're talking here about stuff that's akin to virtual reality; we heard that during the course of committee hearings. We're talking about stuff here that's going to turn you on and get you going and get that wrist just a-pumping and get those loonies flowing to the point where it empties your pockets far faster than any other game of chance ever could.

You walk away at the end of the day pulling out your pockets like rabbit ears, saying: "By God, what happened? What happened to the paycheque? What happened to the baby bonus cheque? What happened to the mother's allowance cheque? What happened to the money I was supposed to take to the landlord? What happened to the food money that I was walking over to the IGA, the Dominion store or the Commissos down in Welland or the Friendly Food Mart?" You walk away saying, "I don't know what's just been done to me. I've been razzle-dazzled; I've been taken; I've been hoodwinked; I've been held up by the ankles and had every last nickel and dime shaken out of me," by these guys, by this government, with the collaborators in the slot machine industry who have no conscience.

This government knows it needs the money. It's talking about millions, I tell you, billions of dollars being sucked out of the pockets, out of the paycheques, out of the bank accounts of hardworking folks -- and some who wish they could be working; more than a few -- in this province, who deserve far better treatment from a government in these hard and desperate and tough times.

We're talking about people here who are going to be victimized by the government; not the wealthy, make no mistake about it. Conrad Black and Babs Amiel, it's not them that these machines are designed for. Connie Black and Babs, why, they've got their own places of recreation. I don't know if they were over at the Breeders' Cup or not, over at that $500 window. I don't know if there is a $1,000 window. This isn't who these slot machines are designed for.


The Deputy Speaker: Member for Fort York, if you want to speak to the member for Lake Nipigon, do so in a quiet way.

Mr Kormos: Thank you, Speaker. I appreciate your intervening on my behalf, because this is important stuff. I know there are some folks here who aren't particularly interested. By God, David Tsubouchi wasn't. We asked him to come to the committee hearings. He was a no-show. We said: "Please, you're the new minister. Perhaps you could tell us what in your sense of morality, of fairness, permits you to endorse this type of scheme. Perhaps you could respond to the plethora of research that's available from this province, from the United States, from Quebec, from the western provinces, from Great Britain."

The government members didn't want to hear about it, didn't want to read -- they didn't, Speaker -- the remarkable evidence that contrasts with what I understand has been a consistent level of gambling addiction in the general population of somewhere between 2% and 4%, although even I say that's serious enough to warrant this government paying some heed; the research that shows levels of gambling addiction in multiples of two and three times that among adolescents, especially with respect to electronic slot machines.

Mr Marchese: But they say it's a choice, Peter. That's what they say.

Mr Kormos: This government says, "Nobody forces you to put that loonie or that toonie into that machine." That's what the cigarette industry, those bastards of death, have to say. That's what they've got to say about cigarettes.

The Deputy Speaker: The language is left to be desired. It's the type of language which I don't like to hear in the House. I find it insulting. I would ask you to withdraw that remark.

Mr Kormos: I withdraw, but I tell you, it's hard to be kind to a tobacco industry that has preyed upon generations and generations of people, slaughtering hundreds of thousands and millions on this continent with the height of dishonesty, with the height of disdain, with the height of corruption, and who now, when there are enhanced levels of awareness of the intense addictiveness of tobacco, moves on to Third World countries to market their evil, deadly product there. "Bastards" may not have been appropriate, Speaker, and I acknowledge that.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Welland-Thorold, please withdraw that remark again, and don't use it again.


Mr Kormos: I withdraw it. It's the B word. I don't know how kindly the Speaker wants me to treat the tobacco industry, but I tell you this: I view them no more kindly than I view the slot machine industry, because they're similar industries that have the intent to prey, with a highly addictive phenomenon, on the most vulnerable people in our community, and this government is prepared to join arms with them. This government is prepared to write a blank cheque to the mob, to open the doors. It knows.

Police reports, which this government denied and then ignored, refused -- this government was Gethsemanic about police reports that were available in this province and elsewhere in the country -- indicate that, one, Mike Harris's legal electronic slots are not going to eliminate the illegal ones. We know that; the police know that. This government wants to argue that the slot machines are all about eliminating the illegals. Hogwash. BS, as they say down in Welland.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Welland-Thorold is too intelligent a man and will understand the procedures after all the years that he's spent here. I would ask you to refrain from using that type of language.

Mr Kormos: I withdraw. Down in Welland-Thorold they call it BF, bull feathers.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Welland-Thorold, let me not repeat it again.

Mr Kormos: They don't think highly of that down in Welland-Thorold. Let me tell you, the language that they're inclined to use to describe it is far more graphic than what the Speaker's letting me use now. Even "feathers." Feathers, Speaker; feathers of a bull. That's what they'd be inclined to say to those arguments, in far more graphic language than you're permitting me to use now.

It's hard to remain conservatively calm about this when we know this is being inflicted upon our communities and eventually our children. Why? Because this government promised a tax break to the richest people in this province, a tax break for the rich. And this government has every intention of fulfilling that promise, just like it has every intention of taking care of its rich corporate buddies, be they the slot machine industry, notwithstanding that the slot machine industry is inevitably infiltrated and corrupted in one way or another by organized crime and the mob, be it them or be it simply their rich friends, the Mercedes-Benz crowd, the Jaguar crowd. You know the kind, you know the ilk, with their six- and seven-digit incomes and for whom a 30% tax break is going to mean big money in the bank.

The 30% tax break -- you know what the folks, the hardworking people in Welland-Thorold, say about the tax break? You know what they say to Mike Harris about his tax break? Why, they tell him, "Mike Harris, you can put that tax break where the moon don't shine." Because at the end of the day, if you're going to put children out of their classrooms and sick people out of hospitals, and if you're going to have to introduce slot machines into our community and bring the spectre of organized crime into law-abiding, peaceful communities, we don't want it.

The stakes are much higher for the very rich. First of all, there's no conscience there. There's no conscience. Big corporations have never been moral. They've been quite accustomed and quite attuned to victimizing anything that the law permits them, and on occasion, from time to time, things that the law doesn't permit them. Tell me about the morality of the tobacco industry. Demonstrate to me one iota of morality in the tobacco industry. I tell you this: You'll find no more morality among the slot machine industry. There's no money-back guarantees. There's no assistance for the destitute and the devastated who have had every last nickel and dime sucked out of them. There's no quick fix for communities which have been corrupted by the crime that inevitably accompanies the introduction of slot machines.

The horse racing industry has been using it as an argument, as well as the prospect of employment, but what we learned is that the labour component of slots is minimal. That's why they're so darned -- may I, "darned"? -- profitable, because the labour component is minimal.

The province of Quebec, with its thousands and thousands of slot machines, ended up hiring a couple of hundred people at the end of the day across the whole province. It didn't create employment. It emptied a whole lot of people's pockets, though.

The horse racing industry said, "By God, we need slots," and they held as hostage horse breeders and the agricultural component of the horse racing industry. Let me tell you something, Speaker, and I know I haven't got a whole lot of time left. I dearly regret having breached the parliamentary rules because I know that forced you to your feet in your successful efforts to correct me. The horse racing industry has talked about slots being essential to the survival of this industry. We learned from Windsor Raceway management that they've got slot machines ready that will show you a tote board. You sit at your slot machine and it's picture in picture, just like on your RCA Victor television set at home, where you can watch the legislative channel in the lower right-hand corner and Laverne and Shirley on the main screen, as you do from time to time while you're waiting to see whether there's a call for the new Speaker. You can bet on your horse, switch from picture to picture, watch your horse run down in the lower right-hand corner and then play the slots, one every second and a half while that horse is running, then you switch it over and bet your horse again.

I'll tell you something I've talked to a lot of people about, including computer people. I predict that this slot machine industry and the virtual reality component of it will kill horse racing in this province because within our lifetimes there will be simulated horse racing. The Ontario Jockey Club has no interest in maintaining its range of tracks across the province. With this type of machinery they will be able to create lineages, horses, histories, jockeys, races and racetracks, which exist only in computer programmers' imaginations, that will generate as much, if not more, betting activity than the remaining racetracks in this province do now.

I warn the people in the agricultural industry and aficionados of horse breeding and horse racing that this slot machine proposal has nothing to do with saving the horse race industry; it has everything to do with eliminating the horse race industry and replacing it with a far more profitable component of gambling.

Needless to say I'm not going to be supporting this bill. It's an evil, insidious bill. It reflects evil intention on the part of the government that presents it to this House. The committee process lacked democracy in any sense of the word and showed nothing but disdain for presenters who dared to contradict government members who themselves were prepared with only the most meagre of propaganda and spin from a pathetic Premier's office.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions or comments?


Mr Tim Hudak (Niagara South): I had the pleasure of participating in the committee hearings on Bill 75. I spent a lot of time with the member for Welland-Thorold and continue to disagree on some areas of the bill. It could reflect the different views of our constituents. People in Welland-Thorold may differ from those of Niagara South. But in terms of the benefits to charities of Bill 75 and in terms of the benefits in job creation of Bill 75, I feel strongly that those people in Niagara South are behind the bill for these benefits.

For example, the benefits to charities from the permanent charity event sites, the VLTs at racetracks and VLTs in general, is up to $180 million more. That's money I hope will go to good community groups like Wainfleet minor hockey that I've talked about or the Port Colborne Optimists or the Head Injury Association of Fort Erie, good groups that stand to benefit from a permanent charity event site, instead of these roving casinos where part of the gamble is trying to figure out where the game is going to be on a particular night. Put them in a permanent place so that the money will be flowed to the charities and benefit associations like that.

The member for Welland-Thorold mentioned Big Sisters. I remember Eileen Moore of the Big Sisters of Peel region was very much in favour of firming up permanent charity event sites because they find it very difficult to gauge how things are going to be from one month to the next. They can't advertise effectively and the players don't know where they're going to be, so they lose a great opportunity. So let's go with Bill 75. Let's go with permanent event sites.

Certainly in the hearings in Fort Erie we heard very strongly from places like Joe's Place, which has blues music in the Niagara Peninsula, Sherkston Shores, the Dog House in Fort Erie. They all talk about the benefits of job creation from Bill 75.

Finally, on behalf of those 4,500 people from my riding, from Welland-Thorold, from throughout the Niagara Peninsula who work at the Fort Erie Race Track or are associated with it, they are strongly behind this bill because they've seen this kind of mixture, the VLTs at the racetrack, work in any number of jurisdictions: Delaware, Rhode Island, Manitoba, California. It's a proven benefit to charities, to the racing industry and a long-term job creator.

Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): It's my privilege to reply to the comments made by the member for Welland-Thorold. I think throughout the hearings too, as was referred to, we heard from various areas of interest, including the racetracks. We've commented on those many times, that they are controlled environments. They're environments in which it is understandable that the introduction of video lottery terminals may help the industry and at the same time may be well controlled within that industry.

The concern we've shown time and time again, along with those who have presented, is in the area of addiction and also that organized crime will be given the opportunity to infiltrate these machines. I ask the government if it will just consider this: that there is out there a reasonable amount of doubt surrounding the introduction of these machines, ie, in the area of their addictiveness and how these insidious little machines on occasion can just take your life away.

I just ask the government to consider: Where there's doubt, don't. If there are areas of this bill, like the proliferation of them across the province in every licensed establishment and bar, look at that very carefully, and if you have some doubt -- and I think there are members across who do, because I've talked to members of the government who have expressed some concern -- don't just look at the bucks. If there's some doubt, let's not. Let's put them only where they can be well controlled.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): One more time the House has had the privilege to listen to the member for Welland-Thorold in his unique and compassionate fashion issue a warning, an ultimatum to the government, telling them that they have become insatiable, that they're going too far. Oh, sure, they will start slowly, with the proliferation of 6,000 of those unarmed bandits, and then you watch them go quickly, step by step, to 20,000. Consequently you'll find one in every bar, one in every restaurant and, if they had their way, one in every school.

What is being done here with this proliferation is sapping the opportunity of charity casinos. We're not talking about, at night and evenings, an establishment where we could play a little baccarat. We're talking about the extreme, about the addiction, about the vile display of what is the crack cocaine of gambling -- nothing short of that. This is the worst kind of demon. It borders on the obscene and on the porcine. There's not one ounce of human dimension attached to it as long as the money keeps rolling in.

People of the cloth, churches, community organizations: We don't listen to them because they stand in the way. See, Speaker, they take time. There will be no consultation. Municipalities are saying, "We don't want your junk inside our boundaries." But they're saying, "We're going to force it down your throat because we wish to have the money."

The Deputy Speaker: Thank you. Your time has expired.

Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): I think for the member for Lac-Nipigon to suggest that somehow it's a provincial government priority, to suggest that there is any public policy motivation to put some sort of gambling activity in schools is absolutely obscene and he knows it. He knows that's not the case.

I indicate to the member for Welland-Thorold -- he was the only one opposite who was prepared to stand up and speak his mind when they voted on the social contract, voted to override collective agreements. He's the only one opposite who would vote against it. So I was interested to know what he --

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I wish it was only Peter.

Mr Baird: Well, I read Hansard and he was the only one. All the rest of you voted for it, voted to override collective agreements. So I wondered what the member for Welland-Thorold thought then. He thought casinos were an opportunity in gambling. Any downside to gambling was only a perception. In fact, the member for Riverdale, in Hansard, July 12, 1993, said VLTs would be allowed within the confines of the casino. VLTs obviously weren't that bad when the previous government was in power because that's what it says in Hansard.

What did they say in Welland-Thorold? I have a quote here from the Windsor Star, dated November 11, 1994:

"`Ontario should take its casino winnings and bet them on the red, the debt, that is,' MPP Peter Kormos says. The maverick New Democratic MPP for Welland-Thorold said that the NDP government is raking in the dough from the Windsor casino and thinking about building more. `It should seriously consider paying down the almost $90-billion provincial debt with its newfound cash'" -- the member for Welland-Thorold -- "`It's a missed opportunity,' he said. Kormos said it would be a good marketing tool for the government to put its casino windfall down towards the provincial debt. `If Ontarians had a sense that casino profits would be dedicated to its debt, it would be far easier to sell and would go a long way to offset the perceived down side of casinos.'"

When we know his Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations was saying at the same time VLTs would be allowed, that's what he was saying about what the proceeds should go to.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Welland-Thorold, you have two minutes.

Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, I've got to thank you. The member for Nepean has walked right in. I feel like the spider to the fly. The member for Nepean speaks where he should exercise caution. I wish he had the courage that some people do from time to time in every government to vote against those things that they think are wrong.

I voted against the casino legislation in the course of the last government and then remained critical of the manner in which the government was reaping profits without dedicating them to a particular goal. I'm proud of the position I took on casinos. I was in a minority. I lost the debate. I understand that. The fact is that his colleagues were agreeing with me, his leader and his Treasurer.

I accept having been on the losing side of the debate over casinos. My concern about casinos remains. But my concern about a proliferation of slot machines controlled by the mob in partnership with Bugsy Harris, the Premier -- I withdraw, Speaker. But I know that the Premier has seen that movie more than a few times. He couldn't be embarking on this sort of folly without having seen the movie or at least read the biography of Bugsy Siegel thoroughly. Those that some will emulate -- it beats me.

We're talking here about something that goes -- yes, notwithstanding my concern about casinos and my willingness to vote against them, even though it meant voting against my government, the proliferation of 20,000 slots in this province goes far beyond what Windsor and Niagara Falls and Casino Rama constitute. If there are problems in the casino, they are compounded a thousand times by the evil being done by the slots that your government proposes.

The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Garry J. Guzzo (Ottawa-Rideau): I'm pleased to rise on this bill today, primarily in response to the comments of my friend the member for St Catharines, when he suggested that members who had differences of opinion should have an opportunity from the back benches to address the issue. I am one who has some differences with this bill, one major one, and it's simply this. This bill does not go far enough. This bill does not go far enough to do what really needs to be done in this area.

No one knows that better than two members of the justice committee who served their governments as Attorney General and Solicitor General in the past. I don't necessarily think people should accept my solution to the problem. I've learned around here that my opinion on most things is somewhat irrelevant, but at least in identifying the problem I certainly feel strongly that the former Attorney General and the former Solicitor General on that justice committee would share that opinion.

Twenty-five years have gone by since the last thorough investigation of gambling in Canada took place and at that time it was suggested, and I think accepted, that about 95% of all the gambling in Canada at that time was illegal. The best estimates today would suggest that we've progressed. We've probably reduced that to about 75% or 80%; 75% or 80% of all the gambling being of the illegal variety.

Let me also set the record straight. If there is a crack cocaine of gambling, it is certainly not video lottery terminals and it's probably not even slot machines; it has to be the illegal bookmaking that goes on in our communities, every place the justice committee travelled, every newspaper, whether it's Thunder Bay, Kenora, certainly here in Toronto, carrying the lines in advertising, the betting possibilities, for the illegal bookmaking.


In Ottawa, where I come from, we've had one case in the last few years that I have been able to highlight: a charge of bookmaking which took place in 1993. The wiretap was in effect from 11 am to 12:55 pm on a Sunday -- admittedly a busy Sunday when the World Series was on, NFL football, CFL football. That little individual in this business had accepted $330,000 in bets in less than two hours. That particular afternoon at Rideau Carleton Raceway in our community, where the racetrack held an event of 11 races, the total handle exceeded $126,000. The interesting point in that particular case was that the wiretap had not been authorized for the purposes of gambling.

Here in Toronto and southern Ontario, I've been able to encounter four examples of that of which I speak. In September 1992, the Toronto Star reported that four men were charged with a $5-million business. In December 1992, a three-month investigation revealed a net profit of $750,000 in the issue of an illegal bookmaking operation in the northern part of Metro. In October 1993, a $100-million operation was broken; $6 million in assets seized. In July 1994, a $50-million-a-year operation operated from car cell phones.

In that particular case, a major fine of $50,000 was handed out to the most senior person, and that should tell you something. I also have been told by an individual involved in the crown's office -- he did not prosecute the case -- that a very interesting question was asked by the lawyer that day. He asked for time to pay the fine and when the judge said, "How long do you need?" the lawyer said, "We'll need two weeks."

As a former judge, I can tell you, you learn a lot from those questions. I remember holding court in Niagara, where I first encountered the member for Welland-Thorold. Let me tell you, I learned a tremendous respect for the member for Welland-Thorold as a practising attorney. That respect evaporates daily, not so much in the House, I must say, but certainly in the committee when he makes a mockery of the committee structure and how it operated on this particular bill. He has to take 95% of the responsibility for it.

But I remember sentencing a young lady who had been charged with prostitution and pleaded guilty. You're in a strange town, you're in a strange community, and I had to sentence her at that time. I imposed a fine of $500. I said to the young lady who was defending her, the defence attorney, "Does your client need time to pay?" The gal herself quickly looked up and said, "Could I get five nights?" When you get the situation of two weeks to raise $50,000, you know what you're dealing with.

In the bookmaking operations in these communities which we represent, many of the big operators never get charged; it's always the little one. They're very successful and they're successful for a number of reasons, but number one, they give people what they want. They'll let you bet the Tiger Cats and the Argos on Labour Day or the Monday Night Football game tonight. You don't have to bet a three-team or a four-team parlay, as Pro Line forces you to do. If you do, you get double the odds of Pro Line.

The other thing the bookmakers do that makes them closer to the crack cocaine of gambling, the amount of business they do, is one of the things that gives rise to some of the tragic situations and why the money that we are allotting for addiction -- and indeed, the former government, which took that first step the time they put the first slot machines, the only slot machines, the only one-armed bandits, yes, in the restricted area of the Windsor casino. Bookmakers give credit. That is how many of the people, many of the families I have seen in the court system devastated by this addiction as well as other addictions come into the situation which creates the havoc in their lives.

But you know, we're here dealing first of all with VLTs, not slot machines. There's a big difference. Now, the opposition in the committee hearings has tried to meld the two. If that serves their purpose, then who am I to argue? But let me explain something. It's a very, very dangerous gesture because there will be an argument made for slot machines in the charity casino halls, the permanent casino halls, and maybe even at the restaurant.

Studies that have been quoted ad nauseam have all been studies done on the slot machine. The VLT is somewhat different. I don't say it doesn't have problems.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): It's worse.

Mr Guzzo: The member for St Catharines, with his free advice again, worth exactly what we pay for it in this House, knows differently.

In this bill, what are we doing? Yes, we're attempting to support a racing industry that provides a tremendous amount of employment. Racetracks in every area of this province came forward. It's not the 700 jobs at Windsor, the 400 jobs at the Sudbury track or, in my own area, 650 at Rideau Carleton, 90% of which are part-time, and there's nothing wrong and I'm not suggesting that.

But the member for London North, in one of her two-minute comments the other day, really drilled home the issue, and I was pleased to hear her recognize it, when she talked about the jobs in the rural area, the jobs at the training centres and in the facilities that provide services for the industry. She said, and I think I am quoting her accurately, "These are the people who are not easily relocatable." Certainly the part-time employees, the students and even the 10% who are full-time at the track and in the industry, these are well trained and capable people who can move to another job in the city if need be. But in the rural areas where we have people dealing with the type of jobs that give care to the animals and assist in the training, they have no other prospects. That's the type of industry we're trying to protect by taking the unprecedented step that we took with this bill in assisting the racing industry.

Of course I guess it's apropos to say that it might be worthwhile to then allow the racing industry to put on the kind of world-class show that was put on in this city at Woodbine Racetrack this last weekend, a show that will enhance the tourist industry of this entire area as a result of that American broadcast, the US broadcast which was simulcast across the United States, Europe and the Orient.

The second thing this bill is designed to do is to support the charity gaming halls, the permanent gaming halls. If ever we heard anything of substance in the committee hearings, we heard time and time again how certain of the charities were not getting their fair share in some areas -- not all areas, but in some of the areas. The hearings demonstrated that. Also, in fairness, the hearings demonstrated that there were other problems and concerns that will have to be met when the implementation takes place and the travelling road shows are ended and we've moved to a permanent and controlled hall in which to service the charities of our communities.

The third thing, of course, is if and when support for the hospitality industry takes place and we end up replacing the thousands of illegal machines in our communities today with government-controlled legal machines. There was really very little opposition at the hearings with regard to replacing the illegal machines. There was much talk from one member, the member for Essex South, who in the early stages felt that they didn't exist. He argued on numerous occasions that they didn't exist. He'd never seen one.


By late September, after wasting a considerable amount of our time, as he's attempting to do at the present time, after wasting a considerable amount of the time of the committee, he did a reversal of form, and indeed when we were in Kenora and Thunder Bay and the local members appeared at the committee, supported by the chambers of commerce and motel operators, we saw another reversal up there. But my friend from Niagara has dealt with that type of behaviour during the committee hearings.

The individuals in the north and the individuals in the hospitality industry who appeared continually requested an opportunity to have these machines in their establishments, particularly since the people down the street were using the grey machines at the present time. It's interesting that one of the motels where the committee stayed, and that motel where we held hearings, actually had one of the grey machines in the cocktail lounge. Nobody on the other side of the House seemed to notice it, but take it from me that it was there.

A couple of days later the member for Essex South was heard to moan on about the illegal crime syndicates, as he did two minutes ago, using these machines to launder their illegal gains. It's almost laughable to think of a Mafia don sitting down at one of these VLTs attempting to launder his illegal gains from the drug trade and doing it 25 cents or 50 cents at a time. But that's the type of argument that occupied our time in the filibuster that saw that we did not finish.

In Ottawa-Carleton, Mr Speaker, as you know, we have many of these machines, and they multiplied. They multiplied precisely after Quebec legalized machines in that province. They needed a place to go and they found it in Ottawa-Carleton. I've guaranteed the committee that the member for Ottawa-Vanier, the illustrious former mayor of Eastview before he changed the name of the city, would have no difficulty in identifying a few of them in his riding if he were to assist the member for Essex South.

We had witnesses at the hearings from Kitchener, two motel owners, who told of offers to put these grey machines in their establishments, as these people had done down the road. When questioned, they couldn't remember the people's name, but they did recall that they had an address on Saint-Antoine St in Montreal.

In Toronto the machines apparently are all owned by Buffalo people, and all the money goes outside the country; in Ottawa-Carleton all the money goes outside the province. Not quite as bad, but listen, problems -- and there are problems -- all stay within the province. What we are attempting to do is to turn that around and secure the revenue from the machines; machines which already exist, not paying any revenue to our province, to be replaced with machines that will provide revenue to the treasury of Ontario.

It's for that reason we have made the commitment of 2%, or $9 million, towards problem-gaming research and the delivery of assistance programs. That's the very reason why the previous government made a commitment of $1 million at the time of the introduction of the slot machines in Ontario, the first and only legal slot machines in Ontario, by the NDP government.

I suggest to you, if you look at the comparison, the Windsor casino in comparison to this bill, in that casino in Windsor, the revenue all comes to Ontario. In Ottawa we have a casino in Hull now, just a seven-iron shot from the city hall in Ottawa and an eight-iron shot from the back door of the Prime Minister's residence. When that building was being constructed, 99% of the workers' plates were Quebec; at the same time, the Corel Centre was being constructed, and over 60% of the construction plates were from Quebec. But 80% of the operation, the people who go to the Hull casino, are from Ontario, so 80% of the associated problems are in Ontario. In Windsor you've got a 60-40 split, Ontario and outside, but all the revenue stays in the province. Here we have the problems and we don't have any of the revenue. So it is with the grey machines. So it is with the existing machines that are pumping money outside this province. We have the problems, we don't have the revenue, and if we move in that direction, that's the reason we will move in that direction.

These problems existed long before the Windsor Casino, the Hull casino or the grey machines. Before those we had the Montreal casino and the cheap trips to Atlantic City and Vegas, and of course we've always had bookmakers extending credit, giving people what they want. In my time on the bench I've experienced families ravaged by this type of addiction as well as other types of addiction, but that 1% to 2% was always there. They could always find satisfaction for what they craved in gaming halls on reserves or in gaming halls in speakeasies, the Vegas or Atlantic City trips or illegal bookmakers. Some of them could find it in legal gambling, maybe 20%, as much as 30% in lotteries, on racetracks and at church bingos.

I don't suggest by any stretch of the imagination that this is a simple issue. Everybody is aware that when liquor licensing and control came in, that didn't end bootlegging and it didn't end moonshine. But failure to take steps of any kind to exert control only favours those people who are constantly reaping large tax-free profits by breaking our laws.

Failure to move at this time -- I guess if a person were cynical he'd have to look and see who's going to benefit. Who are the people in Buffalo and Quebec who own these machines, and why would anybody, the member for Welland-Thorold, the member for Essex South, want to benefit and save what these people have? You say the police can move in and do something.

Let me tell you, as a defence attorney in my younger days who learned something about bookmaking, the only real chance to get a conviction on a bookmaking charge is with a wiretap, and wiretaps are tougher today than they were when I was doing criminal law. The only real chance to get a conviction with a grey machine is to have somebody, an undercover police officer, go in there, play that machine and win. Winning is a problem because you don't know those grey machines; you don't know how they're programmed. Are they giving back 50 cents on the dollar? Are they giving back 30 cents on the dollar? Then you have to have a winner who will be free and available to testify. Of course that type of work takes officers away from surveillance of serious crimes.

The province of Alberta taught us how to do it. They said: "Once we legalize the machines any grey machine, which doesn't have a stamp on it from the provincial government, is illegal, whether it's there for enjoyment, for play, or whether it's there for gambling. If you've got one in your establishment, that will cost you your liquor licence." It takes it out of policing and into the administrative arm.


If you're faced with legal machines, as Quebeckers are now, returning between 90 and 92 cents on the dollar, who in his right mind is going to play an illegal machine which provides no revenue to the province and may not be programmed to produce any more than 50 or 60 cents on the dollar? The answer is clear, and it's clear to me that this bill is a sorely needed step, not a first step, because prior governments have taken some very minor steps in the past to control what is really an avalanche of illegal gaming in this province. It doesn't go far enough, in this person's opinion, but certainly remains worth supporting in the step it does take.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions or comments?

Mr Crozier: The member for Ottawa-Rideau makes a couple of points. One is that when he talked at length about bookmaking he said that you don't get rid of bookmaking because they won't limit the bet like some legal forms of betting do; they will continue to give credit, probably far above and beyond what would normally be given. Another reason is about payoffs. Those arguments apply to the illegal video slot machines that will not be eliminated. We've been told by Sergeant Moodie of the OPP, for example, to name one, that legalizing these machines will not eliminate the illegal machines for those very reasons. The owners of those machines will be able to give credit. They'll make 50% on the machines rather than the 10% or 20% that the government might give.

Admittedly, I don't know very much about gambling. My friends always told me, "If you want to learn anything about gambling, it costs you money to learn," and I guess that's why I didn't. I don't apologize for not knowing anything about gambling. I guess those who are more experienced gained their experience in a different way than I. I haven't seen an illegal machine. I'd like the member to tell me, when you walk into an establishment, how do you tell a legal machine, how do you tell an illegal machine and, as the Premier said last week when the city of North Bay complained about them, how do you tell those from a simulated machine?

Mr Kormos: It's important for us to understand exactly who this government is prepared to do business with and from whom it has received support for this endeavour. Accompanying that concern is the question about why the CISO report was never made public to the committee.

You see, one of the letters of support advocating the introduction of slot machines came from one Lucio Sandrin, director and shareholder of Cadith Entertainments Ltd. He manages more than 45 bingo halls and 150 charity casinos. He urged the committee that urgent consideration be given to including VLTs in bingo halls. The Tories were quite prepared to use Mr Sandrin's endorsement of this project. Who is Lucio Sandrin? Lucio Sandrin is a prominent former member of an organized crime syndicate, specifically the Paul Volpe family. Volpe, of course, was found shot to death here in 1983. His co-director, one Frank Di Maria, currently faces numerous racketeering and grand theft charges in Florida over alleged skimming of funds from charity bingos.

These mobster links, Sandrin and Di Maria, were exposed by the CISO report, which the committee repeatedly asked for. Clearly this government is prepared to do business with mobsters and their ilk. Clearly they're prepared to use whatever devices are necessary --

Mr John Hastings (Etobicoke-Rexdale): Point of order, Mr Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Welland-Thorold, just a minute, please. Take your seat, please.

Mr Kormos: Well, they were. Sandrin and Di Maria were their partners.

The Deputy Speaker: No, the member for Welland-Thorold, I won't accept that. You won't accuse the government of dealing with the mobs, dealing with the Mafia. I don't accept that at all, not at all. It's a total lack of respect.

Mr Kormos: That's who they're dealing with. These are the names. These are the people. They are mobsters. Let them deny it.

The Deputy Speaker: Your point of order, please.

Mr Hastings: Thank you, Mr Speaker. My apologies for being out of order, but the member, just after you admonished him, repeated the phrase. If you want to talk about guilt by association, the member for Welland-Thorold ought well to know by now that this is a favourite tactic they often use, the other side of the scene, of the street back in the 1950s. I specifically bring up the mention of Senator McCarthy. This is a McCarthyite tactic.

The Deputy Speaker: That is not a point of order. Take your seat, please.

Mr Hastings: I would ask the member for Welland-Thorold to withdraw his remark. We're not associated with mobsters and he ought to know better.

The Deputy Speaker: Take your seat. Questions or comments?

Mr Wettlaufer: I'd like to provide some quotations justifying the VLTs. Rod Seiling, president of the Ontario Hotel and Motel Association, has stated: "We commend the government for taking this initiative. It will stimulate our industry without...government funding, it will...eliminate illegal machines and bring untaxed revenues into the mainstream economy and in the process help the government reduce the deficit."

We know it will provide jobs. I was out west this summer, in Montana and Alberta. I spoke with a number of waiters and waitresses in the restaurants there, where there are VLTs, and I asked a number of them what they thought of VLTs. To an individual, they all said, "Without them, half of us wouldn't have jobs."

In 1994 there was a study by Brandon University. The study indicated that the majority of people who play VLTs do so once or twice a week, about 30 minutes each time, and about $10 per occasion is spent. The players tend to be higher-income young men between the ages of 24 and 44, and they are fully employed. On the other hand, the tickets that the other two parties would like to see used more and more are the break-open-type tickets, and they are purchased by low-income and welfare groups.

In New Brunswick, which has a Liberal government, and Saskatchewan, which has an NDP government, they're not afraid --

The Deputy Speaker: Your time has expired. The member for St Catharines.

Mr Bradley: Frankly, I don't care what government's in what province; they're wrong if they're doing it. The principle is wrong. What gets me is watching some of these pious Tories, who on other issues are so moralistic, get up in this House and defend what this government is doing. I admire those who would be critical, or at least those who are silent. I don't want to say they're complaisant by being silent, but at least they're being silent in defending this nonsense that's taking place.

While I may not use the characterization of my friend from Welland-Thorold as he speaks in a colourful fashion, it's rather interesting who makes representations in favour of this. If you don't think that's who wants it: That's who wants it. They sure do. You have to understand that's what's happening with this issue.

Even the charity casinos have had a problem. I belong to a service club. No doubt we've run charity casinos without the VLTs. I don't like any of this stuff. I know it exists, but what we're really worried about is you're now going to have them in every bar and restaurant in this province and every neighbourhood. It's very expedient what you're doing. It's very easy, it's very opportunistic and it's preying upon the most vulnerable people in our society with the most addictive and alluring kind of gambling. That's what we're talking about.

I wish you'd forget that you're Tories or Liberals or New Democrats. I condemn a Liberal government that would do this, as I have in New Brunswick. I condemn all of that.

It's all to fund the tax cut that you are so much in favour of. You need the revenue. The member for Scarborough-Agincourt said you're going to have to borrow $13 billion to give a tax cut. So to avoid that borrowing, you're going to plunk these machines in every bar and restaurant in every neighbourhood in Ontario, and that's wrong.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Ottawa-Rideau, you have two minutes.

Interjection: Tell Frank McKenna that.

Mr Bradley: I agree. I'll tell Frank McKenna that. I'll write to him today and tell him that. You don't understand. This is beyond an issue of partisanship. You just take your orders from your Premier.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for St Catharines, order, please.


The Deputy Speaker: The member for Durham East, order.


Mr Guzzo: In reply to the member for Essex South, let me just explain that I have trouble with the issue that the people with the grey machines can give credit. I don't understand how a person operating a grey machine can give credit. You have to have the coin to put in them.

Mr Bradley: They do it in casinos.

Mr Guzzo: What are you telling me, that every bartender who serves a drink off the cuff to a regular customer is breaking the law? No. You see, to make the bet you have to have --

Mr Crozier: I'm proud of the fact that I don't know anything about it.

Mr Guzzo: I know, but try and understand. Look, I know it's difficult, but try and understand. It's like the casino. To play the machine, you have to have the coin. To bet with the bookie you don't. If it's two days before, three days before, payday, no problem -- he only wants to see you and collect once a week, you know? Nobody knows better than the crying filibusterer from Welland-Thorold, a man I learned to respect so much when he was a practising lawyer. I look forward to the day when he will go back to being a practising lawyer because --

Mr Kormos: Tell us about Di Maria. Tell us why the CISO report was kept secret.

Mr Guzzo: Let's also explain this. I'm not suggesting any motive, but why in life would anybody want to protect the owners of these grey machines now? Why would you want to protect them? I simply ask the question.

Mr Bradley: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I don't think the member had his full time when he rose. I think he was cut off some of his time. If he wanted, I would give our consent to reply, because I think something happened that he didn't -- is that right or not?

The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I'm pleased to join the debate on Bill 75 dealing mainly with what we call video lottery terminals or electronic slot machines, or whatever one wants to call them. Just to follow up on the previous member, the member for Ottawa-Rideau's argument, which I gather is one that the caucus supports, and that is that because there are a number of illegal machines out there we are going to legalize this, I would say several things about it. One is that the people I have the most confidence in in terms of understanding this issue, and that is our police organizations in this province, disagree with the government.

In fact there's a police organization specifically set up in this province to look at the matter. They studied it in depth and they say the government is wrong. To the member for Ottawa-Rideau, who says that this will get rid of illegal gambling, the police say no, it will not. The organization called CISO, which is the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario, made up of some of our senior police officers, couldn't have been clearer. They warned us about proceeding down the road to passing this bill legalizing electronic slot machines. Part of their report -- and this is in a briefing note that the government hid from the committee up until just two or three weeks ago when, under pressure, the government was forced to release the briefing note.

This is from our senior police officers: "Legalized gambling has never replaced illegal gambling, which has increased with interest shown in" legal gambling. In other words, what the police are saying is the point -- although I took from the member for Ottawa-Rideau's argument the opposite of his conclusion, and that is, that if you legalize electronic slot machines it will not eliminate the illegal ones. If you were really interested in eliminating the illegal ones right now, you would say, "Any bar or restaurant where there is one of these machines is operating illegally and we are going to go in and take it out." Why is that not happening? I have no idea why it's not happening.

The member for Ottawa-Rideau said, "They're focusing on more important matters," I think was the language he used. Well, I regard this as quite important. If, as you say, this is organized crime operating these illegal slot machines, I would have thought you would have been -- and you say you've seen them. How many times have you reported them when you see them? Have you ever phoned the police to say, "I've spotted one?" My colleague here has not seen them, but I gather you've seen them. The question for all the members here is, if you've seen them, you know they're operating illegally, I'm surprised you haven't blown the whistle.

The Metropolitan Toronto Police had a similar conclusion. This is a letter that they sent and this is what the staff inspector, who has, I gather, responsibility, said: "I believe those who predict the legalization of VLTs will lessen or eliminate illegal VLTs are incorrect. Illegal machines, which are not subject to taxation or return-percentage monitoring, are virtual cash collectors."

In other words, the Metropolitan Toronto Police, which perhaps in Ontario have the most resources of any single police organization to put in it, have raised a flag and have said to us: "If any of you believe that legalizing these machines will eliminate the illegal ones, you are wrong. All the experience proves you're wrong." Why? Because the government, by its own numbers, is going to take a large take on this; $500 million of the taxpayers' money you're going to take right off the top of these VLTs. I gather from what the police say that the illegal ones will take less. They will be a better betting operation than the legal ones. That's what the police say to us.

So for the members who have bought the argument that this will eliminate the illegal ones, you're wrong. The police say you're wrong. The major organizations set up to investigate this say you're wrong.

Now, I know how you got to this position. Before the last election, those who were interested in legalizing VLTs I think probably talked to everyone of the caucuses; certainly they talked to members on our caucus, and it was: "This is a cash cow. There is no doubt about that. It is $500 million of taxpayers' money that will flow in to the province. There is no doubt of that."

What happened? Without question, you got elected. Believe me, when Mike Harris and Ernie Eves were in opposition, they were totally against these electronic slot machines.

Mr Bradley: Completely against.

Mr Phillips: Completely against them, and said so on many occasions. Why? Because the experience in other jurisdictions is, yes, for the government they rake in a lot of money, but for the community they cause an enormous amount of pain.

Any of you who have experience with people who have been hurt by addictive gambling, if you've ever had experience with an individual -- well, the member for Ottawa-Rideau, I think in your previous experience as a judge you indicated that you'd had experience with the victims of addictive gambling -- it is a tragic situation. That's why Mike Harris and Ernie Eves, when they were in opposition, opposed these electronic slot machines.

But I have no doubt that, once elected, they looked at the plan, looked at the promise on the tax cut -- and I know you're going to go ahead with the tax cut. I'm sure that on the weekend there was a pep rally at the Conservative convention around it. I'm sure of that, and I'm convinced that you are totally committed to the tax cut, the 30% tax scheme where -- and this is indisputable -- the best-off in our province are going to benefit the most. How are you going to fund that? I've no doubt that Mr Eves, as he looked at the finances, said, "We've got a problem here." Suddenly a matter of principle becomes a matter of practical politics, and one sets aside the principle and says, "Maybe we'll approve these electronic slot machines." Because make no mistake, it is a cash cow.

This is not the only government, as we've discussed here. Right across North America governments are embracing gambling. If you look at our own provincial budget, you'll see that the gambling revenues in Ontario three years ago were $600 million; they're now $1.3 billion. They have substantially more than doubled in three years. It is the plan of the Ontario government to see that probably double in the next two years as you introduce more casinos and at least 20,000 electronic slot machines.


By the way, this will take as much money out of the Ontario economy as the tax cut is putting into it. It is ironic that at a time when you say what's needed is for the hardworking men and women of this province to have more resources to buy homes, to handle their families, to look after their families, at the same time as you are implementing the tax cut designed to do that, it is your plan to take as much money back out of their pockets in gambling. Frankly, the research I've seen suggests it will be a small percentage of the population that becomes addicted to gambling where you'll get a very large percentage of this take.

The second point I want to make is that there's no doubt that what has driven this is the Minister of Finance and the Premier looking at the tax cut promise, recognizing that it was -- on our side we say a mistake; you obviously don't agree with us -- recognizing that you have some real problems in implementing it and saying, "How are we going to find some more money?" and that's where the change of heart took place with the Premier.

I would say on the first point about this eliminating illegal gambling: It won't happen. The police say it won't happen. You are going to broaden the electronic slot machines. Right now, if you see an electronic slot machine, it's an illegal electronic slot machine, but you're going to have legal and illegal ones and if you had problems before, the problems are going to be multiplied.

I might add that the member for Ottawa-Rideau said that credit was part of the illegal operations. There's another form of credit: credit cards. If you go to a casino and watch people running to the card and running up their credit cards at 17.5% interest, that's real credit. Anyone who has the experience with compulsive gamblers will know that --


Mr Phillips: The members across are saying something I can't quite hear other than the Ottawa-Rideau member who mentioned credit. I say to him that if you have seen credit being taken at the betting offices, at the window -- Champions I think it is; I'm not sure of the name of it -- you will appreciate that legal credit is a significant problem for gamblers.

Where's all this heading? If you believe that the people of Ontario need to have more money in their pockets to get the economy going, and if that's what the tax cut was all about, how can you support implementing gambling taxes? These are huge taxes on gambling where you are looking at $1.3 billion this year in terms of taxes on gambling, and according to your plans you're going to double that. How can you justify taking it out of the pockets of Ontarians, presumably so you can fund your tax cut to the wealthy? How can you justify that? If that's what you believe, that the government of Ontario is taking more money than it should out of people's pockets, how can you justify putting these huge taxes on gambling? Where will it all lead? I guess we have to make our own judgement.

I think that three years from now you will look back on this decision with regret for this reason: There is a limit to how much money you can take out of people from gambling. In my opinion we're getting close to the limit. You are building a society on gambling revenue that I believe will dry up. It obviously won't be eliminated. The Ontario Lottery Corp has been around for a long while and has been very successful; casinos continue to be large revenue generators for Ontario. But there is a limit, and in my judgement the limit is reached when every jurisdiction in North America is aggressively opening casinos, expanding video lottery terminals and expanding gambling.

The member for Ottawa-Rideau indicated that the bill doesn't go far enough. He said there is illegal bookmaking, and I gather from his point of view -- he'll be able to respond in 15 minutes or so -- he'd like to expand the bill to include betting on sporting events in a much broader way than is currently permitted. That is an interesting proposition but it's part of an appetite that says there is no end to what we can take from people's gambling.

I would say the first problem we will run into is that revenue will begin to slow down and head down. The second problem is, make no mistake about it, that there are going to be some significant casualties in this. The member for Ottawa-Rideau made that point when he said many Ottawa citizens cross the river to gamble at the casino in Hull and Ottawa is left with the problems. I gather he's referring to problems of bankruptcy and individuals who lose far more money than they can afford to lose and the tragedy of that ending up in the family and with individuals. But make no mistake about it: Any research I've looked at suggests that 2% to 3% of the population has a serious gambling problem and up to 10% could be classified as problem gamblers. With the 2% to 3% you look at in every community dramatically increasing the gambling activity, I don't think there's any doubt that we are going to live with the fallout of that.

If you are supporting the bill because there are 20,000 illegal machines out there and this will eliminate them, the experts don't agree with that. Experts say it certainly doesn't eliminate it, it probably won't even decrease it, and the illegal ones look like they can operate more cheaply, more efficiently, and therefore may offer a better gambling alternative for gamblers than the legal ones. Logic tells me it's not going to do it; our major police organizations tell us it won't be eliminated.

If you support the bill because it will be helpful to some of our business community and certainly the restaurant community, and we've all got many friends in the restaurant and hospitality community who strongly support it, and they build their business on the basis of electronic slot machine revenue, I have two concerns: Their customers' money is being taken out of the economy and put into the government's coffers, and eventually many of them won't be their customers because they won't be able to afford it.

As I speculate, it is only a matter of time before gambling begins to head down. It'll never be eliminated, as we all know, but as more and more casinos across North America are built, as clearly we will have our third casino very shortly in Ontario and I suspect there'll be several more, as the 50 -- I think it's 50 -- mini-casinos will be built and take a fair bit of the revenue, as all of these people compete for a limited pie of gambling opportunity, I'm afraid we're going to end up inheriting the problems of the people who've built their businesses on that basis.


I go back to where all of this started, because I've been around here now since 1987 and I've heard Mr Harris and Mr Eves speak about the problems of gambling revenue and about why they didn't support it when they were in opposition. I also know how tempting this revenue is. Those who are anxious for the bill to be passed, the people in the industry, can say to the Minister of Finance: "Here is $500 million of revenue sitting there for you. Just approve these 20,000 video lottery terminals." So it's very seductive, and clearly the government has decided, in my opinion because of the revenue demands, to embrace it, but we're all going to be left with the fallout of it. It's not as if we haven't been warned. It's not as if all of this is going to come as a surprise. We have the experience in all these other jurisdictions that our major police organizations have looked at and they have warned us about the problems.

I don't know whether any of the government members found it curious that the Solicitor General had never read the report of the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario. Why, the person who works for the gaming organization in the province of Ontario has read it and actually commented publicly on it. But neither the Solicitor General nor, I gather, anyone on his staff has read what has to be perhaps the most important report that he would be dealing with on the matter of gambling.

I would have thought that this organization, heavily funded by the province, having conducted a fairly major study, the Solicitor General would have wanted to understand its concerns in detail and certainly would have briefed the cabinet on that. But I gather that didn't take place. We're being asked now to approve something where we have our major police organizations telling us that the fundamental reason many in the Conservative caucus are supporting this is not going to work out. The reason you're supporting it is to get rid of the illegal machines, and the police organizations are actually saying they think the opposite is going to happen, that in some respects there will be more illegal activity.

It's never very helpful in politics to say, "I told you so," because often it's too late then, but I think we've got so much evidence here from other jurisdictions, from police, from our charitable organizations -- charitable organizations are going to get a part of this revenue so some of them are perhaps satisfied: "I may not agree with video lottery terminals, but at least we're going to get a portion of the revenue."

I would say if you are looking at economic activity and what drives economic activity for Ontario, you implemented a tax cut effective July 1, and in this fiscal year it will have an impact of $1.1 billion. That's the tax break, the tax reduction. But at exactly the same time as you do that, you're implementing a bill that will take out of the taxpayers of Ontario at least $500 million of revenue, and the lottery corporation is moving quickly to expand its games, looking to extract as least as much money as the tax cut has put back into the pockets of people. That's unfortunate, because I think that the economic activity as a result of that will be at best a wash.

I am pleased to participate in the debate, to say I understand why the government's doing it. You get $500 million of taxes on gambling. I would say that the economic activity as a result of this will be minimal. I am afraid that three and four years down the road, the government will find that its revenue from this source has been a very temporary thing. The problems that will be created with problem gamblers, I don't think we have a clear appreciation of the depth of the problem that is.

I think the bill is a mistake. I wish the government would reconsider it. I wish the Conservative members would take a good, hard look at what our police organizations are saying about the bill and I wish that the government would appreciate -- perhaps they do, but I wish they would appreciate more -- that this is fundamentally driven by the Minister of Finance and Premier Harris wanting to find $500 million to help get them out of a financial commitment they made that I think was wrong at the start.

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

Mr Jim Flaherty (Durham Centre): I listened with interest to the comments of the member for Scarborough-Agincourt. He may not have attended the committee session when we had the video conferencing in the Macdonald Block with the lottery authority people from the maritime provinces and also with the people from Quebec and the people from Manitoba, a very efficient way of obtaining real information about what has happened on the ground with respect to illegal machines in the other eight Canadian provinces that have legal video lotteries.

What we learned that day -- and I'm not sure whether the member for Scarborough-Agincourt was present; if he was, he has forgotten -- is that with the introduction of video lotteries in the province of Quebec, 8,000 illegal machines were put out of business and are in storage in Quebec. This is the reality of the Canadian experience to date on this subject, not what theoretical experts may talk about, not what the member for Scarborough-Agincourt may imagine, but the reality is when those legal machines were brought into Quebec they forced out illegal operators, which of course makes sense because those persons in the hospitality industry who received the machines don't want to be competing with illegal machines and those who profit from the illegal machines.

We know that those who are profiting now from the illegal machines in Ontario are not friends of anyone in this chamber. They're illegal operators, they're persons in Buffalo and other places. We heard that at the committee hearings. I'm sure that no member of this House wants that situation to continue -- that is, that persons belonging to unsavoury sections of our society profit from this illegal operation, which we can reduce dramatically, as was done in reality in Quebec.

Mr Bradley: I enjoyed the speech of the member for Scarborough-Agincourt because it's always so calm and reasoned and so full of accuracies.

I always express a wish, as I know the member for Scarborough-Agincourt probably does and my friend from Essex South, and that is that somebody would put some people in the cabinet so they wouldn't just have to defend the government position time after time after time when it's an indefensible position.

Often what you find is once they get into the cabinet, you don't have to listen to those representations made and what the Premier wants to hear. I look across at my friend the member for London North whom I've sat with for a long time, and must believe that she must be beside herself over the fact that there's going to be in virtually every bar and restaurant and every neighbourhood in Ontario, a video lottery machine or an electronic slot machine, as they're called.

I know she would be very concerned about that, because what you're saying in effect as a government is, "Because something's illegal, we will make it legal and we will get the profits." So, presumably, if selling cocaine is illegal, and it is, if one followed that logic, one would see the government taking over cocaine sales to the people of this province. I don't hear anybody recommending that, and nor would I, but that's the same logic that you're using.


As the member for Scarborough-Agincourt said, if there's a problem out there, all you have to do is close them down, wherever they are. Find the people, put them in jail, do whatever you have to do to get rid of them, if that's the problem. But the real problem is that this government wants the revenue; that's what it's all about. The fight is over who is going to get the revenue. The Premier wants the revenue because he's losing so much by giving a tax break to his friends that he has to borrow money in order to give that tax break to rich friends in the province. Conrad Black may agree with this, but I'm going to tell you that not many other people are going to agree, upon reflection.

Mr Kormos: Again, the member for Scarborough-Agincourt, when he speaks, surely, for myself as he does for the member for Essex South, Mr Crozier, forces us to recall the sad course of events during the committee hearings, the input that was provided, the warning after warning after warning that was delivered to this government about the pain and the ill that will be imposed upon communities as a result of these slots, the impact on people, on families.

I recall when we first spoke about the addictiveness of this, the giggling and the tittering that erupted among the Tory ranks. There was this locker-room sort of response. In fact, when we speak about the sickness of addiction, we're talking about something that's incredibly serious and that's incredibly devastating for so many people and so many families in this province and in this country. They refused to listen to the warnings addressed to them.

We heard the report from Professor Alan Young that talked about the potential illegality of this whole scheme, that it's in contravention of the Criminal Code; one of the leading criminal law experts in this province and country; again, total indifference to what Alan Young has to say to them, total indifference to what the statistics and data and research have to say. Then they hide the CISO report, they hide the police report which tells us that mobsters, organized crime is already in the picture; that some of the very same supporters of this government are people actively involved in the mob who are going to make a whole lot of money in collaboration with them and at the expense of hardworking people and their families here in Ontario. What's sad is that this government has been unbending, totally unresponsive to the realities. One suspects their motives. Are they corrupt too?

Mr Guzzo: With regard to the comments of the member for Scarborough-Agincourt, I'd like to respond. I think there are certainly arguments to be made, and we've heard them. But there are other people in the enforcement business, in the police business, who disagree with the statements that he has suggested. Certain types of gambling of a legal nature will, I definitely concur, increase illegal gambling somewhat. But certainly in the question of a casino in Windsor, I am hard-pressed to accept that there has been an increase in illegal gambling.

With regard to the direct question as to whether or not I've ever reported it, have I ever blown the whistle, let me assure you, sir, that I have discussed it ad nauseam with many officers in my own home town and here in Toronto. You know the problem as well as I do. You know how difficult it is to get a conviction. You have to have someone who has played and who has won and who will testify in order to secure that. That is a difficulty. Don't think simply phoning or blowing the whistle is going to do anything.

We had a situation here a couple of weeks ago where a man spit in the face of another person in front of 30,000 witnesses, and they had a videotape of it, and now 100 million or 200 million people have seen the videotape. Any charges laid? You go home and spit in somebody's face and watch how fast something happens.

There are plays under the surface at work here, there's no question about it, but don't stand and simplify a very complicated issue. I have respect for the member for St Catharines. If it's a moral issue, if it's something that offends the --

Interjection: It's a qualified respect.

Mr Guzzo: Of course, qualified respect. But on the basis of the evidence before us, the evidence goes both ways and the preponderance of the evidence is in our favour.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Scarborough-Agincourt has two minutes to respond.

Mr Phillips: I'm curious. I gather that the member for Ottawa-Rideau has seen illegal machines but decided, because it might be too tough to get a conviction, he'd just keep quiet. It was curious. I would have thought you would have at least let the police make that judgement.

Mr Bradley: Is that an accessory before the fact?

Mr Phillips: An accessory. Just again to go back to the fundamental argument we are making, and that is that this will eliminate illegal machines, the police, the organization I respect, disagree with you.

Mr Bradley: The Metro police.

Mr Phillips: Here's what the Metro police said:

"As I alluded to...I am not completely satisfied that we Ontarians are fully aware of the impact that VLTs will have on our quality of life....

"I believe those who predict the legalization of VLTs will lessen or eliminate illegal VLTs are incorrect."

The police officers say you're wrong. The opposite is going to happen. There are going to be more of these illegal machines. Our major police organization designed to give us warning on this said, "We have prepared a comprehensive report entitled Gambling in Ontario: Current Enforcement Concerns, 1995." The police were crystal clear on it: legalized gambling has never replaced illegal gambling. "The analysis shows that illegal gambling flourishes in Ontario and there is potential for abuse in the legal gambling sector."

The point I'm making is that the police, the organization that looked at this, have a comprehensive study saying, "Listen, if you legalize them, you're going to make the problem worse." For the members who are worried about these gangsters from Buffalo, the police are saying it's going to be worse, not better, when we pass this bill.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Marchese: I'm pleased today to speak to Bill 75, An Act to regulate alcohol and gaming in the public interest. Like my colleague the member for Welland-Thorold, I want to talk about the title of this bill for three, four, five minutes. In my view, this government is very good at hiring American-type hirelings who come up with such titles. The way they talk about these titles suggests certain things so as to lead the public to believe that they're about to introduce something that's in the public interest, but it's far from it. If people only follow titles of bills, then they will be convinced that somehow they're doing something to control what they consider to be a particular problem. So most people don't go into the depth of bills as we do because that's our job. They don't, however, have the time, and sometimes the interest, to get involved in understanding the particular bills that we introduce. When they see a title such as this one, An Act to regulate alcohol and gaming in the public interest, they actually believe this government is doing something useful to control a very difficult problem connected to alcohol and gaming.

You see, again connected to the titles of their bills, I'm reminded of the other bill for which I'm a critic, the tenant protection package. That's the title of the other bill they introduced and debated. We had countless deputations. The fascinating thing about these hirelings they have brought together, I suspect with some good help from the Americans, is that they do a very good job of naming their bills. When you look at the tenant protection package, it suggests that there's something in that package --


Mr Marchese: Mr Speaker, I'm being nagged by a colleague of mine who is of Italian-Canadian extraction. You have to encourage him to stop because it's difficult to concentrate. Tell him he can't speak Italian in the assembly, all right, Mr Speaker? Do me a favour. Help me out, okay?


Mr Pouliot: What are you asking Bert to do?

Mr Marchese: I'm asking the Speaker to help me out.

To get back to the topic, because I know they don't want to listen to me -- I understand that -- they introduced a bill called the tenant protection package. Mr Speaker, you're an intelligent man. You look at that title and you say: "Tenant protection package. That seems to be designed for tenants, doesn't it?" As I look at it I say yes, it's a bill that was about to be introduced that speaks to rent control or something within it that is supposed to help tenants but doesn't. Everything connected in that package is an assault on tenants.


The Acting Speaker: I ask for your attention, and if you can't give that, at least give him your quiet, please.

Mr Marchese: Thank you kindly, Mr Speaker, for your assistance. If you look at that other bill, I'm using that example as a way of suggesting this bill has similarities that the public needs to understand. What does that tenant protection package say? It decontrols rents. What it effectively means is that when tenants move, they are going to be paying higher rents.

Mr Joseph Spina (Brampton North): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I thought we were discussing Bill 75 on gaming, not what he's talking about, rent controls.

The Acting Speaker: It is a point of order. I have listened to him and I think he is discussing the debate the way he wants to.

Mr Marchese: Mr Speaker, thank you for listening because it's important for someone in the House to make sure that when there are points of order, they are connected to what I was saying. You were listening when I said the reason I linked the tenant protection package to this bill was because the titles are very elusive. They suggest something that is not the case.

I was talking about how the tenant protection package doesn't speak the truth in its title and I said, "How does it do that?" When they decontrol rents, it doesn't help the tenants. They're going to get an increase in rent as soon as they move out of that apartment.

Second, the rent registry will disappear once the bill is introduced, as proposed, and that will hurt the tenants because it allowed them to know what the previous tenants were paying. Once you get rid of that rent registry, they won't know any more.

Third, the Rental Housing Protection Act will disappear, and what does that speak to? It speaks to the fact that now those who own those buildings will be able to tear those buildings down or convert them to condominiums, and the people who live in rental accommodation are going to have fewer places to live that will be affordable. I say this to suggest that the title doesn't speak the truth, as the title of the tenant protection package doesn't speak the truth, which does not protect tenants. Bill 75, An Act to regulate alcohol and gaming in the public interest, doesn't speak the truth. It is not in the public interest.

Mr Spina: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: That's misleading. That's unparliamentary.

Mr Marchese: He's interrupting again, Mr Speaker. Will you speak to this member?

Mr Spina: That's unparliamentary, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: It is a point of order, whether or not it's parliamentary. I don't see anything unparliamentary about the speaker's presentation.

Mr Marchese: Mr Speaker, I want to thank you again for listening. I've been interrupted twice on a point of order when there was order. I really would urge the member to listen carefully to what I'm saying.

The title of this bill speaks to something that is for the public interest that in fact is quite the contrary. It is not in the public interest to introduce these very sophisticated slot machines. You can say what you like, but the majority of the population understands that this is not in their interest. By and large, Conservative members of society, your supporters, liberal-minded people and social democrats do not believe that having sophisticated slot machines is something that should be at everybody's corner. Nobody believes that.

The sad thing that you are enraptured with and captured by is the whole issue of money. As one of your members said earlier on, it's a job creation scheme. Is this what you mean when you say Ontario is open for business? Is this what you meant? Is this what you had in mind? Because you fine Conservative members who talked about creating 120,000 jobs a year have understood that this too was not possible, that it wasn't real, so you thought, since unemployment went up from 8.6% to 9.3% --


Mr Marchese: Mr Speaker, there's crossfire here and it's very difficult to --

The Acting Speaker: I would ask those both in the debater's own party and those of the others to give him your attention, please.

Mr Marchese: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would urge the Conservative member to come and sit in front of me so the public can have a look at him and can hear what he has to say, or both of them perhaps.

Mr Wettlaufer: You're being heckled by your own party.

Mr Marchese: Thank you, Mr Conservative Member, and the other member. If he can come on this other side so the public can see who you are and what you have to say, I would appreciate that. I think the public deserves to know what they have to say, and in the two-minute rebuttal I want one or both of them to comment on this bill and what I have to say. I urge them to do so, other than the cheap heckling that goes behind me to distract me.

Is this what these fine Tories, this one in front of me, this one to the left of me, talk about when they say, "We, the Conservative Party, are open for business"? Do you realize how bankrupt this political party is and has become when the only idea they have to create jobs is to open Ontario for these sophisticated slot machines, the one-armed bandits, as my friend from Welland-Thorold refers to them? Is this the fine, innovative idea that they can bring to this province to create jobs?

Mr Speaker, I say to you and to the public that's listening, it's pitiful. It really is a pitiful thing when the only thing this poor government can come up with for job creation is slot machines. Don't you believe that's a pitiful thing? Don't you Conservative members of society who voted for these fine gentlemen and women think that it's a pitiful thing?

Interjection: We're not creating the jobs.

Mr Marchese: You see, this is not going to create jobs. This will not create jobs. In the short run it will create some jobs, and in the long run you're going to have tremendous societal pain. It will create a sick society, and if not created in full, it will help to create this sick society. That's what this will do.

Mr Wettlaufer: The unemployment that you guys created didn't cause any problems?

Mr Marchese: This fine gentlemen speaks about unemployment that we created. Unemployment went up under them. This party that speaks about a party that's open for business, we had higher and greater unemployment under them than we did with us. Unemployment goes up and they say, "We created jobs." You must, Speaker and the public, marvel at this fine Tory intelligence that can say, "We create jobs," and yet unemployment is going up.

Now, the public understands. University students who have been educated in our university system are unemployed, and not just university students. The parents of those students know that unemployment is high and getting higher and that their prospect for getting a job in this province is becoming more difficult. The prospect to get a job under this government is becoming more difficult because as they are forced to reduce wages in this province, there is very little left that's good by way of a job other than the McJobs or the jobettes that they're helping to create. Other than this, they have no other job creation scheme. It's the slot-machine job creation scheme. It's pitiful. That's why I'm saddened by this, because that's surely not what you meant when you said, "We're open for business."


I want to move on to another aspect of this bill, and my friend from Welland-Thorold touched on it. What this bill does is to abolish the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario and the Gaming Control Commission, with very little consultation, I would add. They're now creating an Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Now, what's the point around this in terms of how that's established that I believe is a particular problem? It is a commission that will have members appointed by the minister, who will be appointed at the whim of the minister to reflect, presumably, the ideology of the minister and the government.

You see, when you have an arm's-length agency or commission, it is removed from government. What it means is that there is less and less accountability in two ways: one, in our inability to scrutinize the appointments, in our inability to understand how they will appoint and what criteria they will use, and therefore it gives us and the general public in the communities out there who are very concerned very little to be able to say we disagree with those appointments. We think it's a problem. How do we get to them? How do we have a voice to make sure, once you've established it, as we know you will, that we can control who gets appointed, or at least have a say?

In that regard they are less accountable, and the fact that they become an arm's-length commission means, by its very nature, that they're less accountable to government because when they do something as an independent commission, government says, "Well, we don't have much of a say, you see, because we created this arm's-length distance with this commission, so they basically can run it as they wish," which is what this government wants. They want to create this arm's-length commission to be able to distance the politics of that commission and what it does from themselves so that if there is a problem, as I can tell you there will be, the government can say, "We had nothing to do with it; we just set it up."

The problem is that it will become, in itself, an unaccountable body by way of its appointments and by way of our inability to influence that particular body. In this regard I have some serious concerns, and so should the public.

The sad thing about all of this is, of course, the members have very little control of this because, as I've said earlier with another bill, once the Premier and his staff of hirelings have made up their minds, it is beyond their control. They can't control it any more, and the only time they learn about the error of their ways is when they make a full turn. When you make a full turn here, if you ever make it here at the next election, you will know the error of the ways in which you practise politics. We've all been there; it's not as if we don't know. We've all been there, so we know.

The question is, are you able to learn from those of us who've had these experiences to be able to say, "We don't think our Conservative friends in our communities like it"? I know your wealthy friends like it, but the regular person who voted for you in Etobicoke doesn't like this.

Mr Hastings: Did you do a survey to find out?

Mr Marchese: Well, I think you should. Listen, you are in power; you haven't done a survey.

Mr Hastings: You're going to hear from me.

Mr Marchese: Please. You're dreaming, you're blabbering away without any intelligence. Please do your survey. Do your survey, because you will find in your community of Etobicoke that they don't like this. They don't like these sophisticated slot machines on their corners, close to their schools, close to their communities, close to their churches. They don't want it; we know this. But you know this too. I want to hear your two-minute rebuttal, because I think the people of Etobicoke should hear what you have to say again. That was the second point I wanted to make.

The third point I want to talk about is how it is that when you're in opposition, oh, it's so wonderful when you're here. I recall the few of you who were here when we were the government, how you opposed so many things. How some of the cabinet ministers, for example, opposed the possibility of reducing the number of MPPs in this House. When in government, the Premier and his hirelings and the gunslingers decided, "We're going to get rid of 27 MPPs," and those poor ministers who, when here, spoke against it, were stuck, silenced. They were silenced because, what could they say to the Premier, "We disagree with you now that you've introduced it"? But they're on the record as having to maintain a voice for rural Ontario and northern Ontario. Lo and behold, they get elected, and they forget what they said when they were here.

I tell you, it's pitiful. When they were here they spoke against these things that they're about to introduce. But, you see, once they're in government they change, and it's sad. It's sad because this has become their job scheme. This is not a money-back guarantee. There is no conscience in gambling of this sort. You can't control these slot machines once they're in there. You won't be able to do that. Communities won't be able to do that except that once they discover that their children are affected by it, that one of the partners in their family is affected by it, they will fight this government as they're doing with so many other things. But the problem is, they have to be affected or inflicted with a problem to be able to then respond to it.

At the moment it's still at the stages of a legislative bill. Once they see its practice, once they see how it affects them individually and their families and their communities, they'll be back. They will come back and talk to you fine Tory members and say: "Where did you go wrong? Who gave you the licence to introduce these sophisticated slot machines in this province?"

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): It wasn't in the Common Sense Revolution.

Mr Marchese: Was it in the Common Sense Revolution? Did you read it?

Mr Martin: No, it wasn't.

Mr Marchese: We didn't see it? That fine revolutionary document with great ideological Conservative zeal, was it in there?

Mr Martin: No, it wasn't in there.

Mr Marchese: I didn't see it.

Mr Martin: It wasn't in there.

Mr Marchese: So how did it happen that somehow the Mike Harris hirelings made a U-turn and said: "Well if it wasn't in there, we'll just bring it right in. We'll just make a U-turn. It's all right for us. We're in power. You can do illegal turns when you're in power"? And they do. You can see all these illegal turns they're making.


Mr Marchese: Mr Speaker, I urge you to assist me once again. He's really becoming an irritant. He's irritating me and he's doing it in Italian. Mr Speaker, again, please. I don't mind in the two-minute rebuttal to listen to him in Italian, French, English, whatever language.

That's the third point I wanted to make, that it wasn't in their fine, zealous bill, the fine revolutionary bill. They made a U-turn and made it legal now. They're going to make all this stuff legal. It's a problem.

Then we get back to the whole point of who they are listening to as they introduce this bill. You see, we are all informed by someone in society when we introduce a bill. So the question is, who is informing this government about why this particular bill is a good bill?

Let me quote, and then we can check out to see whether or not they're listening to this particular group. The Ontario Provincial Police, the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario, say, "The government has presented organized crime groups with the vehicle for them to carry on with the job they know best."

I listen to this, I read this for the record, and then I wonder, are they being informed by this particular group, which has a great deal of expertise in this field? But they have not listened to them. They've ignored them. They have completely disregarded a body that has a great deal of expertise in the field.

They go on further to add this: "Legal gambling has never replaced illegal gambling; in fact, it complements it." Isn't that interesting? "Legal gambling has never replaced illegal gambling; in fact, it complements it." What it's saying is this, in simple language in case they missed it -- because you see, in their comments and everything they've said, they say, "No, that's not true," and so on. This group, which has expertise, has said, "Illegal gambling will remain." In fact, their attempt to legalize it will increase it. It complements it. That's what this group says.


I ask all of you here, who is informing you? Where are you getting your advice and your knowledge from? Frankly, when I do something, I like to be informed. I like to take advice from the people who are in the field, and if the people in the field are saying, "You've got a problem," and you don't listen, then you have to fabricate someone who can tell you why this is a good thing. You have to fabricate, you see. You have to create someone out there who says, "This is a good thing." You can talk, you can raise your eyebrows, you can say: "This is great. This is a job creation scheme. Don't worry, little kiddies won't be affected, families won't be affected, communities won't be affected." You can say that, but I know that if all of you were here -- all of you, without any exception -- you would be red like a red tomato, like the former Minister of Health is every time she stands up to speak on issues of health. All of you would be imploding at the thought of the introduction of such a bill -- all of you.

Mr Martin: You'd be enraged.

Mr Marchese: Enraged. Imploding. That means exploding internally. That's what they would do.

Mr Martin: You'd be beside yourselves.

Mr Marchese: Beside themselves indeed.

This is the point: It is a job creation scheme. Why? Because they need money. They're desperate for money. And why are they desperate for money? Because they need to give away a tax cut. To whom? To people who've got money. Over and over again I say this. Every time we ask questions, these fine ministers never answer them. They never answer the questions. When we talk about the tax cut and what it will do, they say, "It will create jobs," and that is all they tell you. But we know.

The federal Liberal government knows that a tax cut, especially in a recession, is the worst time to give people a break. The Liberals understand this because they know it's a problem. They can't give a tax cut.

Mr Baird: He changed his mind. He's going to do it.

Mr Marchese: Oh, I understand that, but in this they're right. They know that if you give a tax cut to the very wealthy, you've got to take it from somewhere else. That's why the cuts in health are real. You can say, with all the blabberings of all the ministers, that you've added to the health care budget, but you haven't. You've cut $1.3 billion out of your budget for health, and you're the only ones who don't know it.

My mother's in the hospital now, and I see it. I see it with all the patients there and all the people who are visiting there. They know that you've cut $1.3 billion. So it is a most laughable inanity to hear ministers saying, "Oh, health is important to everybody, including and especially the poor, and that's why we've added $300 million." It's laughable. It is the most pitiful inanity that I've ever heard.

These fine folk here take billions out of the economy -- health, social services and education -- and then they create a program that costs maybe $100 million or $200 million and they say, "We've added to the health budget." Mr Speaker, doesn't that make you laugh? But laugh with tragic tears. It isn't laughing with emotion, with fun; it is laughing with tragedy in our eyes. They're tragic tears.

I heard Mr Johnson the other day when he said this. He said, "Health is an important matter, especially to the poor, and that's why we've added $300 million." I almost broke up, and I tell you, the people of Ontario break up too, because they know by experiential fact that money has been taken out of the system.

They can talk about percentages. Have you noticed, Mr Speaker -- I don't know if you did, but I did -- that they talk about percentages when they speak about cuts? They don't talk about dollars and cents. They don't talk about people and how they're affected by that percentage. They say: "We're just cutting by 1.8% or by 2%. It's not a big deal for those poor seniors, for example, to pay a 2% fee. It's not so bad to take 2% away from them." But it is bad. It's bad because it affects people.

This scheme here, the slot machines, is your job creation scheme. Mr Attorney General, this is your job creation scheme. Come on, it's laughable. Tragic tears. You are soiling this province. You're making it sick with your schemes. If that is all you have to offer, you might as well creep under the carpets like slithering serpents and disappear, because that's what you all are.

Then they talk about prevention and how they're going to put up millions to make sure their fine Tory friends don't gamble. They talk about prevention; it's laughable. They talk about enforcement; it is laughable once again. Do you actually believe that with all this money that they're going to make they're going to hire people to do enforcement? I don't believe that.

Mr Kormos: It's for the tax break for the rich.

Mr Marchese: It's for the tax break. That money has to be diverted for the tax break. It can't be used to hire enforcement officers, because they're cutting away in every imaginable ministry you can think of.

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): Rosario, tell us how you voted for video lottery terminals and casinos.

Mr Marchese: They're cutting enforcement officers in the Ministry of Labour. Do you think they're going to put money there?

Hon Mr Harnick: Gambling and VLTs.

Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East): Remind him of FSP, since he's here today.

Mr Marchese: Yes, the family plan. Please, Mr Harnick. You corrupted that; the Frankenstein of that horrible system is what it was.

This bill is designed to take money, bring it into the coffers to give it away to bank presidents. I love saying this: Bank presidents earn approximately $1.6 million to $1.9 million and they're going to get $120,000 back, each one of them. This is where the tax credit is going to, this is where the tax break is going to, to support people like that. Are you a banker? Those of you who watch television, are you bankers?

The charities know this is not for them. They're going to take money away from charities and feed it to the government, the avaricious and voracious government that needs the money to give away the tax cut. It's for them. That's why they're introducing, in my view, not a very brilliant, not a very bright proposal here. This Bill 75 is a laughable, tragic bill. It's going to make this society sicker morally in this province. They'd better consult their friends, because I'm sure they don't support it.

The Acting Speaker: Comments and questions?

Mr Hastings: It's quite intriguing to listen to the member for Fort York ramble on about how the New Democrats are virtuosos of innocence or monopolists of morality when in fact it was the previous regime that brought in the Windsor casino. To note, I would just like to read into the record that the previous Premier of this province, Mr Rae, speaking on this whole thing back in 1993, had this to say: "The fact is, gambling is going on and much of it is" -- imagine this, Mr Speaker -- "illegal. The fact is as well that many charities are reliant now on a variety of bingos and other kinds of activities. Maybe we should be doing it in a different way." That's one thing that was said during the debate on the Windsor casino.

In reference to the whole item of the great McCarthyite mob allegation made by the member for Welland-Thorold, it is interesting to note, and I want to read into the record once again, this spoken by the previous Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations in August 1993. "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" -- bless the man's reputation -- "that he is about to become some undercover ringleader," Churley commented to committee members in August of that year. She said also, "The mob has been driven out of the large casino operations completely and I have full confidence in the OPP and the police community." Quite a different version from what we heard over there today.

Mr Bradley: I want to compliment the member on his very unbiased and balanced speech on this subject this afternoon. I want to ask him if he has access to any information about who wrote a letter to the legislative committee, and this is an individual whose company manages more than 45 bingo halls and 150 charity casinos in the province -- recommending that urgent consideration be given to including VLTs in bingo halls if they are approved by the province. That's somewhat worrisome to me and I'll be asking you if you know anything about that, because the member for Welland-Thorold was very helpful in providing that kind of information about a person who apparently had been illegally involved in making representations to the committee to legalize VLTs.


I also want to ask the member to comment on the fact that the placing of VLTs, or video slot machines, in every bar and every restaurant in every neighbourhood in Ontario -- if that represents an escalation of the gambling that already exists. We know some exists; no use fighting those battles right now. But this represents a widespread escalation. Does he believe that by making it easier for people to have access to these machines somehow we will see an increase in gambling because people will simply have to leave the house and go down to the corner restaurant or bar, instead of having to travel to a controlled environment such as a casino -- as much as everybody knows I don't like casinos, but at least they're a controlled environment. I'm wondering if the member would comment on that because I think he commented well on other issues, and on whether he thinks there is anything to do with the tax break associated with this, if perhaps the government needs this money because it's finding out with its tax break for the rich that somehow it needs more revenue to balance its budget?

Mr Kormos: I share, as you well know -- you heard me earlier today, you've heard what I've had to say over the course of weeks and months about this -- the concerns of Mr Bradley. Look, the fact is that this CISO report was kept under wraps. It was kept secret. The government refused to divulge its contents, even though it certainly could have, and now we know why: because the CISO report tells us, among other things, that parties to this campaign for video slots include one Lucio Sandrin, who is a director and shareholder of Cadith Entertainments Ltd. Another Cadith director, the same corporation, one Frank Di Maria -- who's he? Cadith, which runs bingo parlours and charity casinos, says, "Go, go, hell-bent for election," wants this government to implement the slots. Why, we know that Frank Di Maria currently faces numerous racketeering and grand theft charges in Florida over alleged skimming of funds from charity bingos. We know that Lucio Sandrin was a prominent former member of an organized crime syndicate, the Paul Volpe family.

So here we are: Mobsters, crooks, thieves, organized crime are parties with this government in the advancement of video slot machines; the CISO report, which discloses this, kept secret by the government. Mr Hastings talks about morality. He's got a lot of nerve as a member of this government talking about morality. This government clearly is prepared to make deals with the devil. This government clearly is prepared to get into bed with the mob, is prepared to enter that world of corruption, that sinister world of organized crime, so that it can pay off on its promise for a tax break for the very rich.

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): I just want to point out some of the contradictions which we're seeming to get from the members of the third party. First of all, there seems to be quite a memory lapse concerning the lack of consideration that they had when they brought in the casinos. They seem to have forgotten that they had grandfathered further suppliers. Frankly, here they've exempted about 20,000 suppliers. They say, "Well, that's okay. We're not going to check you out, but yes, we're going to be tough on this stuff." What they're saying today makes no sense whatsoever.

Also, I might point out that back on October 22, when our colleague across the way, the member for Cochrane South, was speaking, he indicated, and this is in Hansard, "At this point, and let's be clear about this, in our communities across Ontario there's gambling that happens in the charitable gaming industry. That's when the Nevada dealer comes to our community and sets up a casino night at the Senator Hotel or the Ramada or wherever it might be in our community, and people go and gamble. That is a regulated business. But what happens is that the dollars raised through that, the profit made through gambling, goes directly back to our local communities to support different charitable organizations."

That's what the problem is here. These roving casinos which were introduced by the Peterson government, are totally unregulated. The charities have been saying all along that they're not getting their fair share out of these roving casinos because they are not regulated.

I can refer you to Eileen Moore of the Big Sisters of Peel, who says: "Monte Carlos fluctuate drastically, because we're gypsies. We are only allowed three-day events in and out of various venues. It's very difficult to gauge how things are going to be from one month to the next. We can't advertise effectively. Our players don't know where we're going to be next."

Many times these charities don't get the benefit of anything. That's what the problem is: non-regulation. Now, to be perfectly fair, side by side, bringing in this grandfathering of all these suppliers who were not checked out by the previous government -- whose mess we're trying to clean up right now, by the way -- they did bring in the Gaming Control Commission, which did bring in some controls. I'm sure they would agree with me that is the intent they had, although you seem to forget that they were trying to do some good at the time, I think. But once again it goes to the gist of what we're trying to do right now. What we're trying to do right now --

Mr Kormos: You are in their back pocket.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Excuse me, Mr Speaker. I claim a point of privilege here with the comment that the member for Welland-Thorold just yelled over at me.

Mr Kormos: Why would you cover up their involvement?

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Mr Speaker, I don't believe that's parliamentary.

Mr Baird: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The honourable member for Welland-Thorold has indicated that a minister of the crown has been bought off by the mob. He's been called by the Speaker on more than five or six occasions. I'd ask you to once again ask him to withdraw and apologize for those unfounded remarks.

The Acting Speaker: That is a point of order. I would ask the member for Welland-Thorold to withdraw those remarks.

Mr Kormos: Withdraw. Why did they try to cover up the fact that the mob was involved in submissions to the hearings? They tried to cover it up. They wouldn't release the CISO --

Mr David Turnbull (York Mills): Throw him out. That is not a withdrawal.

Interjection: He withdrew.

Mr Turnbull: He did not. That is not a withdrawal.

The Acting Speaker: Order. The Chair accepts the unequivocal withdrawal of those remarks.

Mr Kormos: I withdraw it, but why did they cover up --

The Acting Speaker: There are two of us standing. One of us is out of order.

Mr Kormos: Why wouldn't you release the CISO report?

The Acting Speaker: When I'm standing, I'm supposed to be the only one that is. I'm sorry; that response is finished. I will give the member from High Park two minutes to respond.

Mr Marchese: I thank all the members who have spoken on this particular bill. First point: A number of speakers talked about the fact that we had introduced casinos. They say, as a result of that, why are we opposing this? There's a point here I want to make. If they believe, and I'm not sure they do, that having introduced a casino is a bad thing, why are they compounding the problem with these sophisticated slot machines? If they believe that is wrong, why add to the injustice and to the problem? But, you see, I don't believe they believe that. I believe they really accept what they're doing. I tell you, tragically, that it's going to be a problem.

I say this as well, in relation to what the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario said, that "The government has presented organized-crime groups with the vehicle for them to carry on with the job they know best." What does this tell you? I leave the audience to draw a conclusion with respect to what these experts have said and what the government has done with this information. You draw your conclusion about how the government informed itself about these comments, these experts who have commented on this particular issue and the problems that it causes. This is the problem that it causes: It will increase addiction, and we know that -- they can deny it, but it will do that. It will increase petty crime. They can deny it but it will do that. It will cause greater family breakups and greater family breakdowns in society. This is what it will do. This is hardly a moral issue that they're dealing with here; this is an issue that is literally, I would say, immoral in terms of the effects that this bill will have on individuals, on families, on society in general, and I hope the communities will fight back.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Further debate?

Mr E.J. Douglas Rollins (Quinte): I rise today to support Bill 75 and I also want to --


Mr Rollins: Surprise, surprise. I don't support the whole thing at the present time. I think if you people would take five minutes and do some listening instead of yelling you might learn something. I think it's about time to do a little listening. You heard something on the weekend. I think the thing is that we did say we would bring it into racetracks. We did say we would put it into gaming halls. I think that's the direction that we're going to put it in.

You people would like us to believe, or tell the public to believe, that we would put it in every bar, but we also said --

Mr Bradley: Has the position changed?

Mr Rollins: No, but we said there are 20,000 machines. If there are 6,000 or 7,000 go into the racetracks, if there are another 6,000 or 7,000 that go into the halls, how many machines do you think are left for all the other places?

Mr Kormos: One for every 550 population. Get the numbers.

Mr Rollins: You know what the numbers are. There are numbers --


The Speaker: Order. The member for Lake Nipigon, I'm having a great deal of difficulty hearing the member and I'm not having any difficulty hearing you. I think the member for member for Quinte has the floor.

Mr Bradley: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I'm wondering if you can help me out with this; perhaps you can. I have detected from the speech that is being made that the government apparently is withdrawing part of the bill.

The Speaker: Order. The member for St Catharines, that's not even a point of interest, actually. The member for Quinte.

Mr Rollins: Thank you, Mr Speaker. We know that there are some black-market machines out there. There are some 20,000, so we've been told. We know we inherited most of those machines when Quebec legalized the VLT machines in Quebec, and they moved quickly into Ontario. It's nice for you people to sit over there and say, yes, it's very easy for the police to go in --

Mr Pouliot: It's a cancer, like a Pac-Man.

Mr Rollins: If you'll be quiet for a minute you might learn something. It won't be a lot, but it might be a little bit, surely.

Mr Pouliot: From you?

Mr Rollins: Yes, maybe.

The big thing of it is that those illegal machines that are out there, for the police to be able to make that charge, we've heard from the judge that you've got to have proof that there's been a payout --

Mr Bradley: The judge.

Mr Rollins: Yes, and I think that he put some different light on to this subject. I think that you people realize how hard it is for the police to get convictions.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): If it's about gambling, I'm prepared to listen to Guzzo.

Mr Rollins: Yes, that's right, and I think he's not far wrong, but some of your colleagues aren't doing that. But the thing of it is, if those police have to go in and spend a lot of dollars to remove an illegal machine, why do we do that? By putting the gaming control together with the liquor licence control, those people then when they have that illegal machine, along with legal machines, they will be very easily removed.

Mr Kormos: How?

Mr Rollins: Because as long as it looks like a slot machine and does not have the Ontario stamp of approval on it, they'll not only lose their machine, they'll along with that --

Mr Kormos: That is the case now. The police have said they can't do it without resources. Why don't you read the reports from the police?

The Speaker: Order. The member for Welland-Thorold, I don't know if you've participated in this debate, but you will get your opportunity and I will ask for the same order when you speak that I ask now for the member for Quinte.

Mr Kormos: Where were you when I needed you?

The Speaker: Well, you did speak; then you must have gone on the record clearly. The member for Quinte.

Mr Martin: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: When my colleague here from Fort York was speaking, he was heckled to death; we could hardly hear him.

Mr Kormos: Well, not to death.

Mr Marchese: Not to death. An irritant. It was like an irritant on my back and nobody said anything.

The Speaker: Take your seats. That's not a point of order, for the member for Sault Ste Marie. I was not in the chair at the time. I'm sure the Chair did rule properly. I'm now ruling. Would you please come to order so the member for Quinte may continue his speech.

Mr Rollins: Thank you, Mr Speaker. One of the things this weekend, we had the pleasure of dialoguing with -- and my colleague from Lake Nipigon was there too and listened to people from Alberta with some ideas that they had. When you people talk about the number of people who were addicted to gambling, the people from Alberta told us at that convention that approximately 4% of people were addicted to some form of gambling. However, according --

Mr Kormos: And with slots it's three times that.

Mr Rollins: Four per cent is what they say. Now they're from Alberta and maybe we can believe Alberta. They said also 1.4% of that was actually attributed to VLT machines.

Mr Kormos: Read the research: Montreal, Windsor, western Canada, Harvard University.

Mr Rollins: That's fine, but that's the story the people from Alberta told us. In Alberta, they also do not have large casinos. However, they have the same problem in Alberta with people leaving the casino in Alberta to go and play the casino in Saskatchewan. I know that here in Ontario we have a lot of people who leave our province, and have for years, to go gambling in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and those dollars are leaving our communities. Those dollars that are spent in Atlantic City by people out of Ontario, we don't get them back.

You were the government that decided we should have casinos, we should have slot machines. We're trying to bring in a regulation that we can control them. If we can control them and make them work, make them available to, yes, the people who are of age to be able to play, they're not going to be made for minor places. They're not going in every bar. I can guarantee you we are not going to have enough machines to give every bar. I think those are the kinds of things this opposition over here would lead us to believe, that we would probably have 70,000 or 80,000 of these machines within weeks and that is not true. That's not the intent of this government.

We heard in the summer during the hearings that the people who had break-open tickets in Atlantic Canada were very worried in some of the areas that when the VLT machines would be put in, those things would take away from some of that break-open money. In Atlantic Canada that was not the case. It was not the case as found in Alberta where the break-open tickets did not take a big decline after the VLT machines were brought in. But I think that the break-open tickets are something that -- where does that money go to? To charities. Where does the money go out of the profits that are hopefully in the VLT machines that we have? It will go back into charities. Some $80 million more will go back into the charities. Is that not better than what they're getting now? I don't think charities are getting a penny out of those black-market machines that are out there, and they're out there in pretty good numbers.


Mr Rollins: Quebec? Yes, Quebec has just said one thing. The biggest thing that Quebec is in fear of is that we open up a casino in Ottawa, and if we opened up a casino in Ottawa, what will it do to the casino across in Hull? They know what it'll do, it'll hurt it in bad times and those are the kinds of things those people are very upset with. There's no question about it.

There are some areas where bingos have gone down, where the bingos have gone down because they are not offering a big enough prize for that certain area that they're offering it. They are going to put together a bingo that's province-wide so that hopefully they can increase the amount of the takes and give out a bigger prize so they can encourage a few more people to come.

When we hear what the opposition has said they aren't in favour of, that we're going to get addicted to these machines, I think as a government we've got to be very careful that we don't become addicted to the kind of dollars that are coming in out of the lottery machines. We've got to control them and make sure that we as a government run them. We cannot allow the black market or the underground, as they say, to have any influence on that machine whatsoever. We've got to control that ourselves.

Bob Rae, even as long ago as March 24, 1992, said that the fact that gambling is going on and as much of it is illegal, that we should be part of it. Maybe it's well time that the charities and the governments decided to change things and make this right.


Mr Baird: Your leader said this, Peter.

Mr Kormos: Do you agree with Bob or not?

Mr Rollins: Yes, we give it to Bob. Maybe we should do -- we did in 1992. We did what he said in 1992. We said we'd better do it a different way.


The Speaker: The members for Welland-Thorold and Nepean, please come to order.

Mr Rollins: Mr Speaker, I had the privilege of listening to the gentleman from Welland-Thorold one night here until midnight because he rambled on and on and on, and then he took a holiday. I was sure that after that holiday he would have come back with a different view, but believe me, he hasn't. He hasn't changed his mind one darned little bit. Well, he'll listen. He'll listen some time. Mr Crozier even agrees that gambling has been out of order for a long time. We've done it haphazardly. He even said in August, quoted in the paper, that yes, the three governments have been really ad hoc at this idea of gambling. However, we must tighten up the control, and hopefully Bill 75 will tighten that up.

Mr Crozier: Some parts of it.

Mr Rollins: That's only part of it. I know that's only part of it. But I think Mr Kennedy and his gaming halls, there again, the charity gaming halls are not something that he wants to stand up and support very large. However, he does quote it in here as it could be harmful to society. I take it that smoking is harmful to society. There are a lot of other things that are harmful to society. But I don't think we're going to do that. The people who want to reach in their pocket and put a dollar bill or a toonie in the machine, that's their choice.

I know there's a gentleman on the other side, and I don't know why we should worry too much about what he has to say other than he has used me awful good all summer and thought that he would like a few minutes to discuss a few things. I think the big thing of it is, we need to take it slow and easy and make sure these machines are put in the right place. Believe me, we can make it happen, but don't listen to all the pitfalls that there are. Thank you very much for your attention.

The Speaker: Questions or comments?

Mr Bradley: I thought I detected a change in government policy. What happens sometimes, people out there should know, is that when the government feels the heat, sometimes a note comes in from the Premier's office: "Perhaps somebody could float this idea that we're really not going to put them into bars and restaurants" -- as I always say, every bar and every restaurant in every neighbourhood in Ontario -- "but in fact now we're going to move slowly," and perhaps, the implication is, they'll never end up in any bars and restaurants.

Make no mistake about it: I respect the member's approach to this as being better than many of his colleagues, but I'm going to tell you, the Premier of this province wants that money. You see, he has given a tax cut that benefits the richest people in this province the most, and as a result now he has to borrow money to give the tax cut. He doesn't want to have to borrow that money, so he figures if you tax the most vulnerable people, the most desperate people, those who are addicted to gambling, the most alluring kind of gambling, that being video slot machines or video lottery terminals, somehow he'll get this money in the coffers and he won't have to borrow as much as we told him he was going to have to borrow.

So I think there's some hope. I want to say I think there's some hope in the member's approach, and at the House leaders' meeting tomorrow I will make some suggestions or I might speak to the House leader about how we might modify this bill to gain greater acceptance from all members of this House. I want to say the member is right when he starts to express doubts about certain aspects of this bill. It's good to see one of them. Obviously you're not looking for a seat in the cabinet, because the ones who are just say what the Premier wants to hear. When certain members get up, you know what the Premier's thinking. He's thinking this because they get up and say it. So I want to compliment the member. He's showing some hope to those of us in the opposition. Good job.

Mr Pouliot: They still don't get it. To have us believe that the money extracted from those insatiable machines will be channelled to charity -- before that takes place, I will be the emperor of China. This will not happen.

Listen to the truth. At committee, the opposition suggested that 10% of the proceeds, 10% of the take, go back to charity. They wanted to put it right in the bill. The Progressive Conservatives, the government, said: "Oh, no." Like plague, cholera, typhus: "Get away from me. We won't put it in the bill." When the opposition came back and said, "No proximity to schools," so the little ones would not be seduced by the crack cocaine of gambling; "get away from the neighbourhood, say no," they voted it down again.

When we said, "Put a certain percentage, a few dollars, back into rehab because some people get addicted to the crack cocaine of gambling and they need help," they said, "No, the money will go into the general fund." What happens when the money goes into a vortex, into that quagmire? The toxicity level gets so high that it's difficult to approach the vortex to extract back any money to filter through charitable organizations. They're not fooling anyone. They are conjurers of illusion who will stop at nothing. If they had their way I suspect there would be in the chamber one of those young pages who are serving us, with all the bells and whistles, to extract the $10 or $15 per day that they make.

Mr Baird: I listened very carefully to the speech by the member for Quinte and to the response by the member opposite. He didn't mention his Premier and the member for Welland-Thorold's Premier, their leader for many years, when he said: "The first one is that I don't see any gambling mania in this province," and I would agree with Bob Rae when he said that on April 28, 1994. "But there are a lot of people who enjoy gaming from time to time and who enjoy betting from time to time." He didn't mention his government's plan.

I think the member for Lake Nipigon served with great distinction in the cabinet of the New Democratic government and Mr Rae. What was the policy of that government? That's the policy not just of Bob Rae but of the entire government, the group of them, and it was as follows, articulated by the minister and spokesperson for the government. She said:

"When we announced that there would be a point project, a casino in Windsor, we said at that time that there would be VLTs in the casino itself in Windsor, and that is the policy of the government."

That's a policy that I know all members opposite supported when they got up and voted for the casino project in Windsor. The plan was to put VLTs in casinos and they supported that plan. Not one member, save the member for Welland-Thorold, got up and voted against that because they agreed with it at the time. I know they would never get up and vote for something they didn't agree with.

The member for Quinte didn't mention a quote from the general manager of the Fort Erie Race Track in the St Catharines Standard that the introduction of VLTs would keep the track open and save existing jobs as well as creating new employment, saying, "This is a window of opportunity we've never, never seen before"; he didn't mention the support of the Ontario Restaurant Association, which believes this is an important initiative towards combating the underground economy.

Mr Crozier: I welcome the opportunity to have a few comments on the remarks made by the member for Quinte. He was absolutely right, when he referred to my remarks, in saying that over three governments the introduction of gambling and various kinds of gambling, ending up now with these insidious little slot machines, has been done on an ad hoc basis. I agree with him. But when I've said it should be tightened up, very clearly the police said, "You give us the resources and we'll go after those illegal machines."

Right now we know that those machines out there are possibly illegal and you can identify them and go after them. Once these machines are spread across the province, and I asked the question earlier today, how could you tell the difference between an illegal machine, a legal machine or, as the Premier said, a simulated machine? I have absolutely no idea what a simulated VLT is. But once they're made legal you walk into a bar and there won't be any way to tell. Believe me, the illegal forces in this province will find a way to have them disguised as legal machines.

We have to look at Bill 75 as enabling legislation. Bill 75 doesn't say they're going into racetracks; it doesn't say they're going into a controlled environment. It enables us to put out VLTs anywhere. And that's our concern, is how many will go into restaurants and bars. Once they're out there, there will be a great deal of pressure, I suspect, from restaurant and bar owners to spread them across this province.

Anyway, in closing -- gee, I'm enjoying this debate so much that I'd be quite willing to ask for unanimous consent so that we could go by 6 o'clock and discuss this and give the member for High Park-Swansea an opportunity to give us his opinion on them.

The Speaker: Responses from the member for Quinte.

Mr Rollins: I think the big thing with these machines that we heard in our hearings this summer -- and I know that some of you gentlemen were on those hearings -- is that there is some support out there to go into some bars, there is some support to go into the racetrack, there's some support to go into some areas that are definitely restricted. I don't think we ever heard anything about going next to schools. I think that was absolutely wrong. I was there on those hearings and I did not hear that.

Ms Martel: Why did the government go against that amendment then?

Mr Rollins: Well, the thing of it is that there's also money spent in that -- 2% of that money is to go towards problem gambling. I think that this government has realized that.

Ms Martel: That amendment was brought into committee and you voted against it.

Mr Rollins: Well, it was brought in that there was to be an amount go --

The Speaker: Member for Quinte, address your remarks to the Chair.

Mr Rollins: I guess it's better talking to you because they don't want to listen. Thanks for you taking your time to listen.

The big thing of it is that I think time and time again on that committee we had a lot of people supporting the idea of bringing those machines in and to make sure that they were under a controlled environment.

Ms Martel: You forget what happened in committee. You guys voted that down.

The Speaker: The member for Sudbury East, please.

Mr Rollins: When those machines are brought in and when this law is legal, that will make other machines illegal. If they do not have the stamp of the approval of the province of Ontario, they will become illegal and they will be confiscated. When they're confiscated, their liquor licence at the same time will go with them. So those people have something more invested than just that. They probably have their income invested. Their selling of food and their selling of liquor will be removed. Those kind of people will not allow the illegal machines. It didn't happen in Alberta and it hasn't happened in other jurisdictions.

Mr Bradley: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The member for Essex South had a good suggestion. I'm prepared to give unanimous consent to sit till 6:45 so the member for High Park-Swansea, my good friend, can speak on this issue.

The Speaker: Do we have consent to sit until 6:45 so the member for High Park-Swansea can get on the record? I hear no.

It being past 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 1803.