36th Parliament, 1st Session

L117 - Wed 30 Oct 1996 / Mer 30 Oct 1996








































The House met at 1332.




Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): Once again we have an example of Mike Harris promoting his policies of intolerance and divisiveness. In responding to media questions about groups participating in last weekend's days of protest, the Premier said, "If you saw the banners going by from some of the Communist parties, as I saw, and I guess the Iraqi group (and) Iranian group."

It is incomprehensible that the Premier of this province would have the audacity to make racist remarks when speaking about groups and organizations protesting against his government's policies. The Premier has shown that he does not understand this great country.

Every single person in this room, every person in this province and this entire country is from a family whose ancestors were immigrants to this land. As Canadian citizens we celebrate our heritage but we are proud Canadians. For the Premier to utter racist views towards people who are building new lives in this province is a slap in the face, an insult to all of us. We came to this country to make better lives for our families, yet the leader of the largest province in Canada believes, through his remarks, that it is acceptable to promote racist views.

My constituents in the riding of Oriole and people right across this province are outraged. The Premier owes an apology to everyone in this province. I demand that the Premier stand in his place today and offer an apology to the people of Ontario and specifically to my constituents in the riding of Oriole who are offended by his remarks.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): The member for Oriole, I listened to your statement and I think there were some parts in it that I found offensive and unparliamentary.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Well, we found his comments pretty offensive.

The Speaker: The member for Cochrane South, come to order.

I appreciate that I allowed you to finish, but I would ask that you withdraw the remarks about the Premier making racist remarks.

Mrs Caplan: Mr Speaker, the concern I have is I don't know what other word to use to describe --

The Speaker: The member for Oriole, I'm not here to debate -- the member for Oriole, take your seat, please. I'm not here to debate the issue with you. The fact of the matter remains that you said the Premier was making racist remarks.

Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): They were racist comments.

The Speaker: I'll have to deal with the member for Welland-Thorold later. The fact of the matter remains it's unparliamentary. You cannot suggest someone in here is a racist or makes racist racist remarks.

Mr Kormos: What would you call a racist then? What kind of language would you --

Mrs Caplan: With due respect, I did not call the Premier a racist. I did say that his remarks were racist.

The Speaker: That's splitting hairs, in my opinion.

Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): It is not. There is a very substantial difference

The Speaker: No, it is not very substantive at all. The fact of the matter is you cannot claim that a member of this Legislature is making racist remarks. The fact remains it's unparliamentary. I ask the member for Oriole to withdraw.

Mrs Caplan: Mr Speaker, I would suggest to you that it is unparliamentary for the leader of this government to make racist remarks.

The Speaker: The member for Oriole, this is your last chance. You have the opportunity to withdraw or I will name the member for Oriole.

Mr Silipo: On a point of order --

The Speaker: Not right now. Your decision is --

Mrs Caplan: Mr Speaker, I believe the Premier's statements were racist.

The Speaker: That's fine. I will name the member for Oriole, Elinor Caplan, then. Would the member please leave the chamber.


The Speaker: I'm asking you to leave the chamber, the member for Oriole. You've been named.

Mrs Caplan: No, I won't.

Mrs Caplan was escorted from the chamber.

The Speaker: I'm not finished. The member for Welland-Thorold, I ask you to withdraw those comments that you made.

Mr Kormos: I concur with the member from Oriole.


The Speaker: Please take your seat.

Mr Kormos: That's racist where I come from.

The Speaker: The member for Welland-Thorold, please take your seat.


The Speaker: The member for Welland-Thorold, the last opportunity to take your seat. I'm not going to listen to a speech. The suggestion is very clear from the Chair: I consider the remarks unparliamentary. You can withdraw them or not withdraw; that's your choice. I suggest that you make it right now. Are you going to withdraw?

Mr Kormos: You're making a climate where people can engage in racist comments --

The Speaker: I ask the member for Welland-Thorold to leave the chamber. I name the member for Welland-Thorold, Mr Kormos.

Mr Kormos was escorted from the chamber.

Mr Silipo: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: It seems to me that probably without intentions on anybody's part we have come upon a pretty substantive issue here today in the actions that have just taken place. I have to tell you, sir, that I am troubled by the approach you are taking. I'm obviously not in a position to question your ruling and I'm not doing that.

The Speaker: Can I hear your point of order?

Mr Silipo: My point of order is that I think it's important, sir, that you clarify for this House the parameters that you are going to use to determine what is parliamentary and what isn't parliamentary. If I can just go --

The Speaker: The member for Dovercourt, I heard your point of order. I'd appreciate it if you could take your seat. I will address your point of order.

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): Let him finish.

The Speaker: Order. The member for Windsor-Riverside, I heard his point of order. I will give you --

Mr Cooke: You get allowed to finish in this place.

The Speaker: The member for Windsor-Riverside, the point of order is not in order at this point in time. What I will say to the member for Dovercourt is, I appreciate the fact that every Speaker has different terms and acceptable levels of debate in this place, and each Speaker must let those levels find their own course. What I am suggesting to the members of this Legislature on both sides, charging another member of this House with being a racist in my opinion is unparliamentary.

I understand that you may disagree with that ruling. I understand that you may not appreciate that ruling. But the fact remains, the member for Dovercourt, I find it unparliamentary. I gave the member for Oriole a number of opportunities to withdraw. She chose not to. Now, you may not find it unparliamentary, but the important fact here is that I do. Those are my parameters and I have to stick with them.


Mr Silipo: On a separate point of order, a different point of order, Mr Speaker: I would like to ask you then, if a member of this Legislature were to stand up and say that a certain person outside the Legislature attributed comments to the Premier or to another person of this Legislature which they deemed to be racist, and so what the member is doing in standing in their place is relating comments that were made by someone else, would you, in your ruling, consider that to be parliamentary or unparliamentary?

Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): That's not a point of order. That's a hypothetical question.

The Speaker: First off, with all due respect to the member for Dovercourt, the question you're putting to me is exactly that, a hypothetical question at this point in time. The fact remains that as of today it wasn't a question of someone else making the charge; it was a direct charge made by the member about the Premier. Member for Dovercourt, if you want to put hypothetical questions we could be here all day looking and searching for rulings, but the direct response put by the member for Oriole was that the Premier was a racist. All I'm saying is, that's just not parliamentary, and that's my position.

Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: With all due respect, and I don't want to get bounced for this, I think it's a pretty substantive point of order. When you questioned the member for Oriole, she said she wasn't accusing the member of being a racist.

The Speaker: Order. I say to the member for Sudbury -- please take your seat -- we can go over this ground a number of times. From my seat and what I heard, it was very clear -- the accusation, including the heckling that took place -- that the member was specifically saying that. You may have heard something different, and I'm not going to tell you what you heard and didn't hear. What I heard was that direct accusation.

With all due respect to the members in this place, in my opinion, if I allow that, the decorum in this House would reduce to such a level that debate would be impossible. You must accept that fact. If that charge can be levelled against any one of you in this place and I don't step in and protect that individual, this place would be in a shambles within 10 minutes, so you must protect the right. That is a very vile word and it must be very well documented that the Speaker stand and protect those who accuse others of being racists. It's a dangerous word. I will not have it.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: The difference in this case is that she said the remarks were racist; she did not say the Premier was a racist. There is a difference --

The Speaker: Order. I say to the member for St Catharines that I appreciate that's your point of view. In my opinion, and as I said to the member for Oriole, that's splitting hairs. It's splitting hairs. You have a point of privilege. I can take it up now or at the end of question period, if you'd like.

Mr Bisson: Mr Speaker, on the point of privilege specifically: It is incumbent upon us to follow the standing orders of this Legislature, and I understand the point you're trying to make here, but we are also charged as legislators to set the example about how citizens of this province should be treated. In this particular case it appeared in the paper on Saturday that the Premier had made what was termed to be by others --

The Speaker: Member for Cochrane South, if you would make a concise point of order, I would greatly appreciate it. If you would directly get to the point and cite the order you're concerned with, I'd very much appreciate that.

Mr Bisson: I'm up on a point of privilege, and the point of privilege I'm trying to make is not a point of order. The privilege is that we, as members here, have to be respected by you, the Speaker. I don't want to quarrel with you but the point is that what the member for Oriole said was that it was alleged that there are certain people in our society who feel that the comments the Premier made were racist comments, and that's what she was alluding to. She did not call the Premier a racist. What she was alluding to was a view of others within this province who --

The Speaker: Take your seat, member for Cochrane South. Again, I don't want to get into a long debate about this, but I sat here, I heard the phrase, I heard the heckles and I heard the process as it came about. I heard it very directly, to the member for Cochrane South. I understand I think as well as anyone in this place the fairness and evenhandedness of a Speaker, and I feel that I'm fair and evenhanded, but I can't stand for those words in this place.

Mr Bisson: Let me get to the point.

The Speaker: No, I believe you've made your point.

Mr Bisson: No, I --

The Speaker: Then finally, if you could make your point directly.

Mr Bisson: My point of privilege is that it is the responsibility of the Speaker to protect the members of this Legislature in regard to the minority, but it is also the responsibility of the Legislature to protect the minority within the province and that is what's going out the window today with that comment.

The Speaker: That's fine. Statements.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: You're going to have to give us some leeway here to make some remarks, because on the issue of privilege we are affected by what we can and cannot say. You argue, and I appreciate you argue as a Speaker, that what you heard are two different things; a number of other members are saying there's a difference between saying you, Speaker, are a racist versus what you say is racist, or you, Speaker, are stupid versus your remarks being stupid.


The Speaker: Member for Fort York, just take your seat. Member for Fort York, would you take your seat for a moment. At this point in time, and whether you agree or not, this entire occupation of points of order and privilege is debating a ruling. I made the ruling. If the member for Fort York has some very real concerns about my ruling, you can come and talk to me about it at any time. I will always talk to any member with respect to a ruling, clarification etc. But at this time in this place at this hour, I cannot continue to have members debate my ruling. The fact of the matter remains I made my ruling. I appreciate that some members may not agree with it.

Mr Marchese: You're limiting everything we can say, completely.

The Speaker: I would hardly suggest, to the member for Fort York, that by suggesting you can't use the word "racist" is limiting your ability to debate, so I will go --

Mr Marchese: There is a difference between --

The Speaker: Member for Fort York. I will go on. If you'd like to discuss this with me at a later date, I'm more than happy to talk to you about it, but right now I will not have any more challenges to my ruling.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): People across the province are becoming more and more vocal in their opposition to what Mike Harris is doing. I can tell you that in my own riding of Dovercourt, just in the last week alone, I've been at two meetings -- one last night and one the week before -- focusing on education, on issues around prescription user fees for seniors, on rent control, on child care, on Hydro.

In each of these meetings the discussion that was going on was by people who were seeing through the Mike Harris agenda, people who were seeing that in effect the outrage that was expressed this weekend comes as a result of a government that is uncaring, of a government that is continuing to attack the most vulnerable, of a government that doesn't care about reducing the deficit, but cares more about putting more and more money and more and more power into the hands of the wealthy citizens and the most powerful citizens in this province.

And yes, Speaker, it's also become clear to me as I've been listening to people that one of the things people have been saying very clearly is that the attitude Mr Harris has been portraying, and particularly the comments he has been portraying, they believe are racist.


Mr Derwyn Shea (High Park-Swansea): November 1, 1996, is an historic day. It marks the 50th anniversary of Wally Crouter as host of CFRB's morning show, making him the longest-running morning show host in North America. Recently voted the favourite morning man in Toronto, he's also been Toronto's number one rated radio morning host for 50 years.

Wally Crouter is the ultimate broadcaster and I'd like to add that he's been the one constant factor in Toronto's history since the end of the Second World War.

He shepherded the baby-boomers of this great province through infancy and has seen them become parents and grandparents. He's seen governments and political parties rise and fall. He's interviewed and socialized with more Ontario premiers than anybody, from Leslie Frost to Mike Harris. He's put his considerable talents to the task of raising funds for many charities, including the CFRB Children's Fund, the Variety Club, diabetes research, MS, Easter Seals, the Tim Horton Camp for youngsters and outfitting hockey teams in the Northwest Territories.

I know members of this Parliament join the people of Ontario in appreciation of the job Wally Crouter has done during this past half-century, and on behalf of this House and the people of Ontario I would like to take this opportunity to recognize an outstanding talent and consummate professional: Wally Crouter, a true and caring human being and a very rare and unrivalled broadcaster.

I call upon all members of this House to join me in saluting the signal contribution of Wally Crouter, a living treasure of Ontario.



M. Jean-Marc Lalonde (Prescott et Russell) : Je désire exprimer la fierté que je partage avec tous les commettants et commettantes de la circonscription de Prescott et Russell suite à la nomination de l'ancien député de Prescott et Russell, Jean Poirier, au rang de chevalier de l'ordre national du Mérite de France.

Au fil des ans, notamment durant les 10 années qu'il a représenté la circonscription de Prescott et Russell ici même à Queen's Park, Jean Poirier s'est dévoué au nom de la francophonie. Il est juste de dire qu'une telle récompense pour les efforts qu'il a déployés est un honneur digne de ses convictions. Notons qu'au cours des dernières années, M. Poirier a été, entre autres, décoré du grade de commandeur de l'ordre de la Pléiade.

Je me joins donc aux citoyens de Prescott et Russell et à tous les francophones de l'Ontario pour offrir mes plus sincères félicitations à M. Poirier pour l'obtention de cette élogieuse distinction.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I want to bring to the attention of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing a document that was, in the last election, up front on the part of the Tories. It is the Common Sense Revolution, if you would remember.

In that Common Sense Revolution, you made a promise, Minister. You say: "Historically, municipalities have responded to provincial funding limits by simply increasing local property taxes. There may be numerous levels of government in this province, but there is only one level of taxpayer." You went on to promise that you would work closely with municipalities to ensure that any actions taken by your government would not result in local property taxes going up.

Well, Mr Minister, in the township of Matheson, because of the cuts in funding that you have done to their transfer payments, they are now moving to annex a number of townships in and around Black River-Matheson. It means that people living outside of the municipal boundaries that are affected, that are going to be annexed, are going to have their municipal taxes go up by 100% and 200%. It's not that Black River-Matheson wants to do this because they just feel good about it; it's because you leave them no choice. They're in a position because of your municipal cuts to transfer payments coming from the province that they have no room to move if they're going to maintain services in the community of Matheson. It means to say local cottagers will have increased taxes. The two local mines in my area will have their taxes go up.

Minister, you have broken one of the promises in the Common Sense Revolution. To boot, the tax cut that people have got has just gone out the door in the township of Black River-Matheson. I say, shame on you.


Mrs Brenda Elliott (Guelph) : I am wearing flowers in the House today to celebrate the city of Guelph's success as the 1996 champion for the Community in Bloom competition. This award has been announced by the Ontario Parks Association. Competitors from across Ontario were judged on community involvement and participation in planting, on neighbourhood beautification, on industrial landscape improvements and donations to city beautification. Turf appearance, park and street trees, downtown planters, hanging baskets and even neighbourhood diversity in landscaping were all judged.

The judges found Guelph to be a beautifully clean and well-maintained city. As well, our city was commended for its excellent waste recycling management operations, for which we're a world leader in the new wet-dry facility.

Perhaps the most outstanding feature that was significant in our success was the beautiful floral clock in Riverside Park that has been a must-see for visitors to Guelph for years.

It's my pleasure to congratulate all of those businesses, groups and community members who worked hard to make Guelph the 1996 winner of the Community in Bloom competition. From time to time, all of us in this House here think that our cities are the most beautiful. This time, Guelph's beauty has been duly recognized.


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): When opposition MPPs receive feedback from their constituents that the Harris government is bad for Ontario, it galvanizes us even more to get our message through to the Harris government. But when a Tory MPP admits to his local paper that "the public is not being supportive enough of the Common Sense Revolution," I say, "Kudos to the people of Durham East."

The weekend Port Perry Star reported "O'Toole...hints he's already had enough," that "virtually all the feedback coming into his constituency office is negative and that he receives little encouragement from the people of Durham East," that "he receives constant complaints and zero encouragement." O'Toole finishes with, "I don't know why anyone would want the job." To that I say, "Bye, bye, O'Toole." It might serve the Tory MPP well to reconsider that his job is to represent the people of Durham East. The people of Durham East are saying that the Harris government is all wet. I also say we expect the member for Durham East to stand up for the people of Durham East. To the Premier I say, let's call a by-election.


Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): Never has Ontario's health care system been in such chaos. Let me just explain some of the ingredients that have contributed to this chaos. We've had $1.3 billion in cuts to hospitals. We've had layoffs of thousands of nurses in the province. We've had layoffs of thousands of support staff. We've had an absolute decrease in the quality of care for Ontarians. We've got a restructuring process under way for our hospitals which is completely unrelated to the $1.3 billion in cuts. There's little community input. There are no human resource plans. There's no commitment from the province that there will be provincial capital. There are incredible demands on local communities to raise millions and millions of dollars which, to the three communities of Thunder Bay, Sudbury and Windsor, amounts so far to about $500 or $600 per household.

With respect to the doctors, we've got a minister who was provocative in the spring, threatened the doctors in the spring, made a tax on the doctors of the province. Doctors began withdrawing services. Then the minister said he would sit down and negotiate. He took several weeks to set up a negotiating committee. Then he got a deal, and then the minister himself interfered with the ratification process. Now the doctors will turn down the agreement and again our system will be in further chaos.

The minister is incompetent, and he has presided over the --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order.


Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): It is my pleasure to rise in the House today to acknowledge a law firm in my riding of Dufferin-Peel that is celebrating 100 years of practice. The firm was formed in 1896 by John Island, a farmer's son whose family immigrated from Ireland and settled in Mono township in the county of Dufferin. John Island practised in Orangeville for 32 years until his death, after which time the practice was sold to Norman Wardlaw for $1,600.

Norman was born in Chinguacousy township, within the town of Caledon. He struggled through the tough years of the Depression and at one point shared office space with another lawyer in town, H.B. Church. Norman served his country in the Second World War and returned to his practice in 1945. Norman's son James joined the practice in 1956 and became a partner immediately after being called to the bar.

James Wardlaw QC has been very active in the Canadian Bar Association, was elected a bencher of the law society in 1979 and became a life bencher in 1995. He was awarded a law society medal for services to the profession in 1994.

Geoffrey Mullin QC joined the firm in 1969, with the two partners being assisted by different lawyers over the years.

Terry Carter and David Thwaites joined the firm as partners, now known as Wardlaw, Mullin, Carter and Thwaites. This firm is the largest in Dufferin-Peel. Congratulations to the partners and associates Jim Wardlaw, Geoff Mullin, Terrance Carter, David Thwaites, Patricia Sproule Ward and Mervyn White.

Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: In regard to the previous ruling, I'd like to add to the record so we understand the comments that were made by the member for Oriole.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order. Take your seat, please. First and foremost, I've made my ruling. Secondly, I caution the members, after a series of points of order, that any more points of order would be challenging the Chair. At this point in time, it would not be appropriate for me to hear what your comments are or put them on the record with respect to my ruling, because at this point in time I've made it. We're going to move on.

Mr Agostino: Can I ask you to review the comments that were made --

The Speaker: Order. Take your seat, please. I would make the same offer to the member for Fort York as I make to the member for Hamilton East: If you want to discuss any of these concerns or your concerns with the ruling with me after, I'd be more than happy to meet with you. At this time, it's out of order for you to stand in your place and speak to those. I have no problem at all if you would like to discuss this in my office at a later date; I'll be happy to talk to you about it. But right now it's not even close to being appropriate or in order.




Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): My first question is for the Premier, who I understand is expected in question period. If my understanding is not correct, I'll have to stand down my first question. I appreciate the moment to wait for the Premier to arrive. As you will realize, my first question is for the Premier.

Premier, this morning some two million people woke up to news that you are likely going to eliminate their local level of government in order to create a huge new bureaucracy to govern Metropolitan Toronto. Many were rather shocked that Mike Harris, the man who likes to talk about bringing government to the people, now believes that bigger and more remote government is better government.

Premier, your plans for this mega-Metro, a huge, nameless, faceless bureaucracy, run counter to everything you promised during the election. I want you to remember what your task force on Metro Toronto said about the existing cities within Metro, the very cities you're now planning to cut. I quote from the task force when it says, "The government closest to the people is considered the most responsive, efficient and accountable." Premier, what would make you disagree today with your own task force? What new information do you have that would make you want to throw out the Golden report and throw out your own task force report in favour of a mega-Metro, a giant new bureaucracy?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I don't know what you're talking about, but maybe the Minister of Municipal Affairs knows something.

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): I first want to state that no decision has been made as of yet. However, having said that, I can say that if that decision were to be made, it would be totally consistent with the Common Sense Revolution, as it would eliminate duplication and waste and provide better government for the people of this area.

Mrs McLeod: This is getting increasingly bizarre. This minister has made it very clear what it is he wants to do, whether he says a decision has technically been made or not. It's very clear what the Premier has decided he wants to do. We are being told this is a done deal, so let's talk about the done deal and why you're doing it.

The very municipalities, Minister, that your Premier, when he was campaigning, said were the most responsive, the most efficient, the most accountable are about to be demolished in favour of a giant new bureaucracy. Mr Speaker, I think you know the risks of this kind of scheme. I think you know that not only will this huge new bureaucracy be removed from the people, but this is also a back door to market value and market value assessment. This isn't just about restructuring; it is also about taxes.

Minister, as you prepare to bulldoze your way through the very governments that your Premier once called the most responsive, the most efficient and the most accountable, can you tell me why you want to centralize power and take the voice away from local communities?

Hon Mr Leach: What this government wants to do and what I certainly want to do for my communities, the communities I live in, is to make sure that the delivery of services is done in the most cost-effective way possible and that government is provided as close to the people as possible, as long as it's effective, cost-effective and something that the individual communities want. But again, I stress, none of those decisions have been made as of yet. They will be in the not-too-distant future, I'm sure, but they haven't as of yet.

Mrs McLeod: We all have memories of previous Tory governments forcing regional governments across this province and saying they were going to be so much more efficient and we'd save so much money. In fact, that has not proven to be the case at all.

Yes, there have been studies, Minister. You've had a year and a half to study this. What have you done with the studies? It appears you're ready to throw them all into the trash can and now you're telling us that you want to ram the whole thing through by Christmas. You have studies of the issue. You want to impose an arbitrary direction and yet you're going to try to ram this through. This is Bill 26 before Christmas all over again, the Tory bulldozer on the move. It doesn't matter what people think; you're going to shut them right out of the decision.

In August, the Premier released a report that stated, and again I quote, "Ontarians must once again feel like citizens with a stake in the public life of their government rather than spectators who pay the bills but have little say in deciding what government does." Minister, as you prepare to radically change the government of the people of Metro Toronto, their taxes, their representation, will you allow the people of Metro to vote through referendum before you impose a huge new bureaucracy on them?

Hon Mr Leach: I think the people did have a referendum. It took place in June 1995.

I'd also like to state that when they're talking about ramming things through and doing things without consultation, there have been at least -- at least -- a dozen studies undertaken on governance in the GTA. All we're doing is taking all the information that has been developed to date, we're analysing it and we're getting advice from a number of different sources. When we have an opportunity to consolidate all that advice, we'll make a decision and we'll implement it, but until that decision is made, nothing's happening.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): New question, official opposition.

Mrs McLeod: Mr Speaker, if I may, just for the record, the quote that I read into the record was a quote from a report on the Premier calling for a referendum.

The Speaker: I appreciate that, but you've got to tell me who the question's to.

Mrs McLeod: I was just making a statement for the record, Mr Speaker.

The Speaker: That's out of order.


Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): I am placing my second question to the Minister of Correctional Services. Yesterday we heard some extremely shocking allegations about the conduct of ministry staff and officials at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre facilities last winter. We heard about youth being beaten, stripped, thrown naked into cells and denied medical attention, all of this in an adult detention facility. We all know about the tragic death of James Lonnee, also in an adult detention facility.

You said in relationship to the incidents that took place at the time that you were going to review it, that you were going to take the problems in hand, that we should be assured the problems would be dealt with. Yet today we see in the Hamilton Spectator that the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre has been called a powder keg, one that is ready to blow due to overcrowding. They're sleeping three to a cell there with dozens of people on the floor, and a lot of that is due to the fact that they have a surplus of young offenders, which is squeezing the adult inmates.

One teenager in your care has already died, Minister. We're worried about what's happening to these young people today. It is unbelievable that young people are being kept in another adult facility, one that has been called an overcrowded powder keg. Can you guarantee the safety of these young people?

Hon Robert W. Runciman (Solicitor General and Minister of Correctional Services): This is -- I'm not sure how to term it -- the big, misleading line from the opposition.


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

I appreciate the fact that you may not know how to term it, but that's definitely not one way to term it. Would you please withdraw.

Hon Mr Runciman: I withdraw, Mr Speaker. The point I'm making is that overcrowding and the use of adult facilities with youth wings, if you will, is not something new. It has been in existence for some time. Certainly we've had problems with respect to the corrections facilities themselves in terms of aging, in terms of the whole nature of the system.

We are the first government that has committed to undertaking major structural change within the corrections system in terms of closing some of our facilities that are over 100 years of age, a whole range of initiatives, building brand-new facilities in Ontario. I think we have much to be proud of. With respect to young offenders, we are the first government that is moving in the direction of looking at a dedicated youth facility in the Metro area.

Mrs McLeod: Minister, you are the first government in the history of Ontario to have a child die in an adult detention facility, and it happened on your watch. Surely you don't think it is in some way misleading to want to raise the concern about other young people today in adult detention facilities and potentially at risk.

We've been advised that there are currently 53 young people in the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre. Many of these are overflowing from the Metro West Detention Centre in Toronto. The Hamilton centre is virtually at capacity. They can sleep maybe a few more kids in an overflow unit if they open that, and that is not the only potential danger spot. We have been advised that there are currently about 140 young people being kept at the Metro West Detention Centre, which is another adult facility. Their youth wing has capacity for only 125 kids, so they are already overcrowded at 140.


You have admitted that young people should not be held in adult detention facilities. Why are there still so many young people in adult detention facilities when it is clearly inappropriate and clearly dangerous?

Hon Mr Runciman: This is an issue that has been raised on a number of occasions, even going back to 1987 when the member for Timiskaming was the Minister of Correctional Services, with respect to a crisis in terms of accommodation for young offenders aged 16 to 18, a real crisis, as it was described at that time.

We are indeed moving to address this situation in a much more effective and wide-ranging way than any government in recent memory. In fact the child advocate has been involved with this process every step of the way. We received a letter from Judy Finlay, the child advocate, with respect to our ministry's response to the report and recommendations on the management of youth. She indicated in her letter, dated September 13:

"I have reviewed the ministry response. I am pleased the response offers both immediate and long-term strategies to address recommendations outlined in the report of the office of child and family service advocacy."

The child advocate is very much involved, and we're very optimistic about the changes we are undertaking.

Mrs McLeod: A child has died on your watch. Young people in adult detention facilities have been mistreated on your watch. You have said it is not appropriate for young people to be housed in adult detention facilities. The question we're asking is, why is it continuing? Why is it still happening?

It isn't just Hamilton-Wentworth, it isn't just Metro West. There are currently 22 young people at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre. There are 13 young people at the Windsor Detention Centre. In Kenora there are 22 kids in their unit. On the basis of just those institutions, there are at least 250 young people in Ontario today who are being housed in adult detention centres.

We know and you know, Minister, that the culture of these institutions is unsuitable for young offenders. You know that the staff isn't always trained to deal properly with youth. We know that the kids aren't being properly supervised. You have surely had enough evidence of how dangerous, how inappropriate this is. You've said that overcrowding itself is a recipe for violence.

I believe that the lives of these 250 children, and others that we don't know about and can't include in our count, are in your hands today and that you have a responsibility to ensure that we do not face another tragedy like the death of James Lonnee. Will you undertake today to guarantee the safety of these young people by removing them from adult detention facilities?

Hon Mr Runciman: Overcrowding in Ontario's jails is not a new phenomenon. This is a legacy left to us by previous governments. We don't control the number of inmates sent to the system by the courts every day. We have wide-ranging fluctuations in population. We are addressing this in a very effective way, supported by the child advocate. We're making the tough decisions that were not made --


The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Runciman: I should point as well, during the time the Liberals were in power from 1985 to 1990, they almost doubled provincial spending in this province from $26 billion to $50 billion. What did they spend on the corrections system? In very difficult financial times, this government is moving to correct the situation left to us by them.

The Speaker: New question.

Mrs McLeod: Give those kids a break.

Hon Mr Runciman: You don't have any credibility.

Hon Noble Villeneuve (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, minister responsible for francophone affairs): Patti Starr is in charge.

The Speaker: Order. Government members come to order, please. Minister of Agriculture, come to order, please.


The Speaker: Order. There's a level of debate that we get into, but some of the comments are completely sickening, and I would ask the member for Hamilton East to withdraw that one.

Mr Agostino: I withdraw that remark.

The Speaker: Thank you.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): My question is for the Premier and it concerns the conduct of the Chair of Management Board.

The Toronto Sun report that Dave Johnson "was disturbed by the Ontario Labour Relations Board's decision" on the TTC and said there will be a "reassessment" of the board. This is the same Dave Johnson, Chair of Management Board, who is actually before the labour relations board as a party. In fact, the Labour Relations Board ruled against Dave Johnson on October 22. Then, just three days later, the Chair of Management Board, Dave Johnson, threatens the independence of the labour relations board. He says they will be reassessed.

Premier, the labour relations board is just like a judge. It is supposed to be free from political interference. Recently, a federal minister, David Collenette, had to resign because he interfered with an independent board. Now the Chair of Management Board has committed a far more serious transgression. He has threatened retaliation against the labour relations board because he doesn't like its decision.

Premier, when are you going to ask for the resignation of the Chair of Management Board?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I think it would be in order to hear from the Chair of Management Board himself.

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet and Government House Leader): I would be happy to address this particular issue. I was approached by a member of the press with regard to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. I did indicate that my concern was for the riders of the Toronto Transit Commission. If you will note in the article, if you have a copy of the article, I expressed concern for the riders of the Toronto Transit Commission. Indeed, I would assume that's a sentiment shared --

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): So you're going to fire the labour relations board.

Hon David Johnson: I made no reference to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. The issue is that I expressed concern with regard to the riders of the Toronto Transit Commission; that the riders of the Toronto Transit Commission deserve to be able to use the system that they were paying for.

The Speaker (Mr Chris Stockwell): The answer, please.

Hon David Johnson: I also referred to a report that I indeed have received in a draft form from the Management Board with regard to the overall activities and as they relate to the strike. If you look at the quotes, I made no reference in terms of the Ontario --

The Speaker: The question has been answered. Thank you.

Mr Hampton: This was a question to the Premier and it was directed to the Premier for a specific reason. It concerns the Premier's standards for cabinet ministers.

Jean Charest -- the Premier might know of Jean Charest, the leader of the federal Conservative Party -- had to resign because he telephoned a judge on a particular case. This is far more serious. This is a case where the Chair of Management Board, in the context of what has happened, is threatening the members of the labour relations board because he doesn't like its decision. That's what's happening here. It's not a matter as to whether the Chair of Management Board meant well or didn't mean well. The fact of the matter is, he has made public comments that threaten the independence of the labour relations board.

Is the Premier saying that it would be all right for the Chair of Management Board to make threatening comments about a judge if a judge made a decision the Chair of Management Board didn't like? Is the Premier saying that's okay in his government?

Hon David Johnson: The only difficulty is that I did not make any comments with regard to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Indeed, I have the article before me. I indicated, "A number of people have suffered." This is with regard to the Toronto Transit Commission. "It is an extremely unfortunate and very bad precedent to have the TTC shutdown." I suspect we all agree with that. That says nothing about the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

I indicated, "I'm...terribly distressed that a...number of people have been greatly inconvenienced by the shutdown of the TTC," simply. I indicated that I would be getting a report from Management Board with regard to the activities of Management Board.


Interjection: Read the whole thing.

Hon David Johnson: Read the whole thing? I'm more than happy to read the whole thing. Nowhere in this article do I mention the labour relations board. Indeed, nowhere in the interview did I threaten or indicate anything to do with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

The Speaker: Final supplementary.

Mr Hampton: Well, Speaker, I've got the article too, and what's important here is the context that members of the labour relations board would read this article in.


The Speaker: Order, order. Government members, please come to order. I'd like to hear the leader of the third party. Go ahead.

Mr Hampton: What's important here is the context that members of the labour relations board would read this comment in. They have just made a decision against the Chair of Management Board. Three days later the Chair of Management Board is in the press. The Chair of Management Board may not like it, but he is responsible for the comments he makes. He is responsible for the stories that result, and this is the story:

"The Ontario Labour Relations Board will undergo a reassessment after allowing a shutdown of the TTC, Management Board Chairman Dave Johnson says.

"Johnson was disturbed by the labour relations board's decision that saw the Toronto Transit Commission, which services one million" people, shut down. And then -- this is not just in the Toronto Sun, it's also in the Toronto Star, and it says:

"Management Board Chair David Johnson, too, referred to the TTC shutdown....

"And he promised a review of the labour board."

My question, Speaker --

The Speaker: No, it's been put, thank you. The leader of the third party, come to order, please. Management Board Chair.

Hon David Johnson: Well, Mr Speaker, I guess the question is, is it okay for the leader of the third party to stand up and read what is obviously not my quote in the paper, which has no quotation marks --

Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): It's in quotation marks.

Hon David Johnson: It does not have quotation marks around it. Show the article to the member behind. My quotes in this article are clear. My quotes deal with concern with the riders of the transit commission and my quotes indicate the fact that I will be receiving reports and those reports are from Management Board with regard to the overall context of the strike. Not anywhere am I attributed a quote with regard to the Ontario Labour Relations Board, and surely that should be evident even to the leader of the third party.

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

Mr Hampton: Mr Speaker, a question to the Premier again because this concerns his standards for his government. I've already cited where the federal Minister of National Defence, David Collenette, had to step down because he wrote a letter to an independent board about a particular case, and I have already cited where the now leader of the federal Conservative Party had to step down because he contacted a judge about a particular case. Here we have the Chair of Management Board, who is currently a party before the labour relations board in an unfair labour practice charge, and he has a decision made against him by the board and three days later he is in the press, and it's true, you said a number of people suffered as a result of the TTC shutdown. And then -- and it's very clear who the attribution is to: "Johnson said, noting the actions of the board will be reviewed."

So I say to the Premier, it's very clear that even in Brian Mulroney's government, someone who merely contacts a judge or an independent board has to step down. Here we have a member of your cabinet threatening a board. When are you going to call for the Chair of Management Board's resignation? He has interfered with an independent tribunal.

Hon Mr Harris: No, he hasn't. The allegations are false and that's been clarified to you.

The Speaker: Supplementary.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): Is that what he says? There's not going to be any review?

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Unbelievable. You're in denial, a total state of denial.

Mr Hampton: I go back to the context in which this is made. The government has already fired four chairs of the labour relations board. Just in the past month, this government has fired four of the co-chairs of the labour relations board. The labour relations board reaches a decision which the Chair of Management Board disagrees with, so three days later we see in the press, and it's a very clear attribution, it's very clear what the Chair of Management Board is referring to, "`A number of people suffered as a result of the TTC shutdown,' Johnson said, noting the board's actions will be reviewed." Not Management Board's actions; the labour relations board's actions will be reviewed.

I say to the Premier and ask the question again: It's very clear what is being attributed and it's very clear what the comments are. Is it okay in your government for a cabinet minister to threaten an independent tribunal? Is it okay in your government for a cabinet minister to threaten a judge?

Hon Mr Harris: Other than some silly allegations, completely erroneous, completely false, denied by the minister, which I have asked him about, you've not brought me any little piece of evidence that indicates any impropriety has been done. Perhaps you have problems in your own mind understanding that, but I do not.

Mr Hampton: The Premier usually agrees with the Toronto Sun. It would seem that today he disagrees with the Toronto Sun. But the Toronto Sun wasn't the only newspaper to hear the comments of the Chair of Management Board. The Toronto Sun was joined by the Toronto Star. This is what the Toronto Star says, "Management Board Chair Dave Johnson, too, referred to the TTC shutdown as an `unfortunate aspect.'" Then it says that "he promised a review of the labour board." You have two reputable newspapers in Toronto that heard it very clearly, so Premier --


The Speaker: Order. Leader of the third party.

Mr Hampton: I'll try again, as I was rudely interrupted by the Conservative side. It's very clear that the Toronto Sun and the Toronto Star heard the same thing. They heard the Chair of Management Board say in the context of the TTC decision that he was going to order a review of the labour relations board.

I put it to the Premier again. I'm not confused. The Toronto Sun isn't confused. The Toronto Star isn't confused. When are you going to ask for the resignation of the Chair of Management Board, who has clearly threatened the independence of the labour relations board? When are you going to ask for his resignation?

Hon Mr Harris: I think the answer to the direct question is very obvious. I might indicate, you know, that I have asked about this and to the best of my knowledge, other than reading the Toronto Sun, the Toronto Star has not talked to anybody or heard anything else.


Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): My question is to the Premier and it has to do with actions of government members as well. It has to do with the incident at Ipperwash on September 6, where for the first time ever one of our native people was killed during a dispute about land.

We have been told that on three separate occasions the Conservative member for Lambton, Mr Beaubien, was at the command post of the OPP. We've also been informed that on three separate occasions apparently he was in touch with your office, either yourself or your staff, including on one occasion written communication. That is right up until the shooting took place on September 6.


Premier, can you confirm that Mr Beaubien talked to either yourself or a member of your staff during those three days leading up to the shooting of the native at Ipperwash?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): Not to the best of my knowledge. If the Attorney General knows more, I'm happy to refer it to him.

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): As everyone knows, there are currently criminal charges pending in connection with the events surrounding the occupation of Ipperwash Provincial Park, and in the circumstances it would not be appropriate to comment on these issues.

Mr Phillips: Last week the crown decided not to proceed with charges. We have at Ipperwash an extremely serious matter. I return to my question to you, Premier, because it was to your office -- in fact, our information, it was to you, Premier -- that the call was placed by the member for Lambton on three separate occasions including four hours before the shooting took place, to you, Premier, including written communications.

The question to you, Premier, is this: Did Mr Beaubien speak to you or anyone on your staff in those hours leading up to that shooting?

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Premier? Oh, I'm sorry. Attorney General.

Hon Mr Harnick: Again, this is the subject of a very serious criminal --


The Speaker: Order. That was my fault. I said "Premier" when the question had been passed the previous time to the Attorney General. It is appropriate now that the Attorney General's on the floor. Attorney General?

Hon Mr Harnick: As you're aware, there are very serious criminal charges pending, and anything that could be the subject of evidence at those criminal charges, it would be most appropriate not to discuss. In addition, there are civil suits pending against the crown arising out of these matters and we have to be very careful not to interfere with the rights of private litigants. So it would not be appropriate to discuss this.


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I have a question of the Premier. On the anniversary of the referendum in Quebec and the most unfortunate comments made by the then Premier of that province, subsequent to the outcome of the vote being made public, with regard to various groups within that province, would the Premier of Ontario clarify for this House the meaning of the remarks attributed to him regarding participants in the major demonstration in this city over the weekend and in relation particularly to the expressed concern by the Arab community and the Iranian community about the impact and import of comments attributed to the Premier of Ontario?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I'm happy to respond. I can't imagine what it possibly has to do with statements that were made by the former Premier of Quebec. But, quite frankly, there was a letter written to me by the Canadian Arab Federation, who seemed to imply, because I acknowledged they were in a parade which I said was very successful -- I congratulated the organizers of the parade, I congratulated the parade, I congratulated all those who participated -- that somehow or other they read into that some denigration of Arabs or Iranians and Iraqis. I have written back and assured them that is not the case; that I complimented those involved in Saturday's protest parade and I further indicated -- and I thank the member for the question, to clarify any misrepresentations -- that if my remarks or indeed the interpretation of my remarks caused offence, I've asked them to please accept my apologies.

Mr Wildman: I appreciate that final remark by the Premier, but could the Premier indicate to the members of the assembly whether he believes it contributes to social harmony and to the respect in which all members of various ethnic groups must be held within this province for the head of the government to single out particular groups for mention in this way?

I do believe that there is an analogy, unfortunately, between the impact of these statements and the unfortunate impact of the statements of M. Parizeau on referendum night in Montreal.

Hon Mr Harris: Mr Speaker, let me assure you and members of the House, and indeed the Arab federation. If they've taken offence I apologize. Let me assure they were not singled out. I had acknowledged a very large presence in the parade; a lot of teachers -- I am a former teacher -- they were parading with. I mentioned a number of union members. I mentioned a number of associations. If some chose out of that to mention one or two or three or four or five as opposed to all who were there, I think that is regrettable and indeed I have apologized. If there is any offence that has been taken, I assure people that was not my intention.

Furthermore, I want it clear that I've been very complimentary on all those who took part in Saturday's parade and the cause and the concerns that they expressed.


Mr Tony Clement (Brampton South): My question is to the Minister of Education and Training.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Whisper in his ear.

Mr Clement: I wanted to put it for the public record, actually.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order. Government members are allowed to ask questions. I ask that you maintain order.

Mr Clement: Minister, there was an interesting article in the Toronto Star today entitled "Ontario's Untutored Minds," in which 22 professors offered what they called a "bleak report card" on today's first-year university students. One of those professors in fact taught me a course called Politics and Morality, but we won't hold that against him. I did want to put on the record that this is a stunning indictment on the quality of some of the students who have been educated and tutored by our educational system. I wanted to know from the Minister of Education, for the record, on behalf of my constituents, what his views are on the quality of education in our system and some of the criticisms that have been offered by these 22 professors of educational institutions in the province of Ontario.

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I want to thank the member for the excellent question. I share his concern and the concern that was expressed in the article for the quality of the education that graduates of our secondary school programs are receiving. I note, and I've noted over the course of the last year, that there are a variety of remedial programs available in colleges and universities to first-year students to bring them up to an acceptable entrance level, and of course that's not acceptable to anyone, as was indicated in that article.

This government is committed, and we have been committed from the time we formed the government, to examine the curriculum in our secondary school program to make sure it's up to the demanding standards of our colleges and our universities. We're going to ensure that our curriculum in fact meets the highest standards in the world. We're reviewing math, reading, writing, science, history, geography and technology, among other areas, to make sure that we have those high graduation standards.

In addition to that, we have initiated the Education Quality and Accountability Office, which will be in charge of testing students across the province, therefore ensuring that colleges and universities can take the level of accreditation that a high school diploma should represent.

Mr Clement: Minister, one of the penultimate paragraphs of this particular article says, and I quote, "Get the bureaucrats, whether union or government, off the backs of principals and teachers." It seems to me to be a very fair point. I'd like to know what our government's position is. How are we going to address this situation?

Hon Mr Snobelen: I candidly agree with the professors, although apparently --


The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Snobelen: Although obviously some of the members opposite don't agree that we need to take some of the bureaucrats off the shoulders of teachers and principals across the province, I quite candidly agree with that observation and with the one made by my counterpart in New Brunswick when they said the current layers of administration and decision-making, together with the competing forces of many interest groups, are formidable barriers to improving the system. I think that reifies that observation.


I don't believe it's the fault of the teachers, the students or the parents in Ontario that some graduation standards aren't up to par. I believe we need to examine, as we are, our system of funding and our system of governance to make sure our teachers and students have the opportunity to perform with excellence, and that's what we intend to do.


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): My question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. You were asked a question regarding municipal restructuring that involved the city of Kingston and the counties of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington yesterday.

From the self-congratulatory tone of the question and response one would gather that the restructuring has gone on without a hitch and that everyone is quite happy. You know that's not the case, Mr Minister. Local politicians are feeling betrayed by you because of your failure to live up to a commitment you made to over 200 politicians and individuals at the county courthouse in Napanee on May 9. At that time you stated that unless there was one restructuring deal brought forward by the two counties and the city, you would appoint a commission.

Minister, you know that hasn't happened. You were questioned about this at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in August by politicians of the city of Kingston and Frontenac county. You reiterated your comment that you would appoint a restructuring commission to look at the western urban boundary sooner rather than later. Now you've backed away from this commitment. Minister, won't you verify today that you made this commitment not once but twice at two different meetings?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): I repeat that the Lennox and Addington county restructuring was extremely successful and that every community in Lennox and Addington is extremely happy with the way things are going. Frontenac and Kingston townships are very happy with the way they've restructured their county. There's no doubt that another issue may have to be addressed, and I've reserved judgement to appoint a commission at some time in the future. Both counties have to do a tremendous amount of work to implement the decisions they've made to date. My recommendation to them was to get on with that restructuring.

Mr Gerretsen: Let me just show you, Mr Minister, the lead editorial in the Kingston Whig-Standard today which reads, "Minister Leach Betrays Kingston."

The very last paragraph reads: "For a government that has pledged to make decisions based on common sense, Minister Leach's abdication of responsibility over the Ernestown boundary issue represents a breakdown in both philosophy and action. He has betrayed this community."

How can you expect other municipalities to restructure when they can't trust you to live up to the commitments you've made to them?

Hon Mr Leach: If we're going to be quoting newspaper articles, let's finish the quote: "The minister says that he may consider the issue again further down the road, but in the meantime Ernestown township will proceed to amalgamate with Lennox and Addington," which was the choice of the local community to do. All townships and communities within Lennox and Addington and the upper tier supported having that type of restructuring. We support that restructuring. However, we will revisit the issue in the future if there's a need to do so.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): My question is also to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. You continue to pretend in this Legislature that you have not yet made a decision on the question of amalgamating the six area municipalities in Metropolitan Toronto, yet you have no problem and no hesitation, in talking to the media, to state that clearly is your preferred option. When you say, for example, "`If you can run a city with one police department...why do you need six economic development departments...six fire departments,'" you're clearly stating your preferred position.

I ask you: Will you have the decency to show some respect for the Parliament of this province and state here in this House that while you may not have passed the final cabinet minute, for all intents and purposes you've really made up your mind and that the recommendation you have taken or are taking to cabinet is to amalgamate the six area municipalities into one upper-tier municipality in Metropolitan Toronto? Will you at least have the decency to confirm that today, Minister?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): I think anyone with a little common sense could understand that that's the type of question that must be asked, and we're looking for answers to that question. Does it make any sense to have that duplication? Does it make any sense to have seven garbage collection agencies? Does it make any sense to have six planning --

Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): Bring Crombie to the Legislature, for God's sake.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I hear Mel Lastman is coming to the Legislature.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order. The member for Cochrane South, could you take your own seat. Heckling is difficult.

Hon Mr Leach: There are a number of options that are still on the table. If somebody asked what's my preferred option, yes, I have a preferred option, but that doesn't make it a decision of the government. When the government has an opportunity to review all of the options and all of the input that goes into that, this government will make the decision.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): On this question, Minister, I want to tell you this. The people of Ontario can feel you slithering hither and thither on this question, as I feel it every day. The people across Ontario may think they're safe because we're only talking about Metro restructuring, but how are the people going to know about whether or not some people in Hamilton are likely to be joined to Brantford or Guelph, or Halton, for that matter? People are very concerned.

Can you give the people of Ontario any assurances that you're not going to determine their unique future without any consultation whatsoever and that you will not decide by fiat or simply the iron fist of Mike Harris on these very questions?

Hon Mr Leach: I'll refer back to the previous question on Kingston and Lennox and Addington, where we said repeatedly that we wanted local decisions on local issues and they made those local decisions on local issues.

Every region within Ontario is not the same, and we'll deal with each individual region on its own merits and make decisions that we feel are appropriate for those regions.

Mr Joseph Spina (Brampton North): You are being an idiot, Mike.

The Speaker: The member for Brampton North, I would ask you to withdraw that comment.

Mr Spina: I withdraw, sir.


Mr Tim Hudak (Niagara South): My question is to the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation. Last week I had the opportunity to proclaim the opening of Ontario Library Week at the Fort Erie Public Library, and a couple of days later I had the pleasure of attending a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Wainfleet Township Public Library. Also, the Port Colborne Public Library has recently undergone extensive renovations to improve the high-quality services it offers to the good people of Port Colborne.

I believe these libraries play an essential intellectual, cultural and social role in these small communities in my riding. I would ask the Minister if her ministry will continue to support libraries in small communities like those in Niagara South.

Hon Marilyn Mushinski (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): As the honourable member knows, we are currently examining what the provincial interest should be in a province-wide library system. I want to assure the honourable member that we remain committed to a very strong province-wide library network.

As the member is aware, libraries are a part of the Who Does What initiative and I have spent the last nine months in consultation with the library community -- that's municipalities, library workers and users and the private sector -- to discuss what we should be doing with respect to the whole issue of user fees and board governance and the role of government. I hope to be sharing my findings with the Who Does What committee in the next few weeks.

Mr Hudak: As you will recall, my office surveyed library patrons in Niagara South on library services reform, and I thank you for taking the time to read my survey as part of your extensive consultations. I understand that as part of your consultations you have met with many members of the library community, including Mary Padolyak, the CEO of the Wainfleet Township Public Library.


Madam Minister, from your extensive consultations and deliberations on library issues, what conclusions can you draw and share with the House about user fees as a potential source of revenue?

Hon Ms Mushinski: Thank you again for the question. I believe it's a well-known fact that most municipalities pay 85%, sometimes as much as 90%, of the costs to operate their local libraries. Given this fact, I think we have to ask ourselves how we as a province can then argue against giving them the tools by which to help themselves. When we provide an average of only 10% of the funding, I don't believe we should then be in a position of dictating to municipalities how they should be raising the additional revenues.


Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): My question is to the Premier. Premier, this relates to an issue in your own riding so I hope you will answer me directly. As the Premier will know, hospitals in northern Ontario are hurting because of the government's cuts to the health budget. Again, I go back to your own riding, Mr Premier, where the Civic Hospital which, through no fault of its own, had to close down the operating room on various occasions because of your cuts to health care.

Premier, let's go back to your commitment in a document that you sold to the people in northern Ontario, called A Voice for the North. You indicated that if elected you would recognize the special needs of people in the north, you would give northerners a direct say in change in the Ministry of Health's planning and resource allocations so that it includes more consideration for northern priorities and conditions. Again, Mr Premier, this was from your document, A Voice for the North.

Premier, why haven't you kept your commitment to provide northern hospitals with a say in changing the Ministry of Health planning and resource allocation? Again, Mr Premier, this was your commitment. This is your hospital.

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I know the minister met with him two weeks ago and I think he could --

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): The Premier is quite correct. I met with the leaders of the hospitals in North Bay and frankly, they told me a couple of things that I thought were quite innovative and quite exciting and were signs of very good planning that's going on.

As you know, North Bay and the hospitals around North Bay have been very much leaders over the past few years in terms of restructuring the system. Most recently, they've gotten together to ensure that they are working together to get rid of the waste and duplication and overlap in services there. They are in the process of going back to the district health council and presenting us with a specific plan to restructure the system. Do you know what they said, ladies and gentlemen? They want to do it without the commission having to go into that area because they think the commission will take too long and restructuring's long overdue. That attitude should be applauded and not discouraged, as in your question.

Mr Miclash: I go back to the Premier because, Premier, this was your commitment to the people of northern Ontario. As I indicated, this is a hospital in your riding, the North Bay Civic Hospital. They've had to close down their operating room on a number of occasions this year because of your cuts. No operations were performed at the Civic for three weeks this past summer and one week in October.

I am also told the OR will be closed one week in November, two weeks in December and possibly three to four weeks next March. Again, Mr Premier, this is a hospital in your riding. You continue to state that your cuts are not having an effect on patient care. I want to know what you have to say to the patients of North Bay, who are concerned about their health care and about the deterioration of that health care when their operating room is going to be closed for a total of 10 weeks come this year.

Hon Mr Wilson: First of all, the honourable member is fearmongering. There's no evidence that there's anything wrong with access to the General Hospital or St Joe's. There aren't the waiting lists that the honourable member is implying in his question, and the reason the question's brought up is that there is a --


Mr Miclash: Why can't the Premier answer for his own riding?

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Under standing order 23(i) it says, "Imputes faults or unavowed motives to another member." Yesterday "wimp" was not acceptable. How is what he said acceptable today if "wimp" was unacceptable yesterday?

The Speaker: I understand what the member for St Catharines is suggesting. In fact, in previous days in this House when I was Speaker, "fearmongering" has been used by both sides and I've allowed --


The Speaker: The clock's running. I think it's important I address the point of order brought forward by the member for St Catharines. I will say to the member for St Catharines that it's difficult to understand because the Speaker has to make rulings every day on different words that fly around this place. "Fearmongering" in fact was used by the opposition in the first instance. I allowed it. As far as "wimp" is concerned, I didn't allow it. I think they are two different words with two different, clear connotations.

I now would ask the Minister of Health to summarize his answer, please.

Hon Mr Wilson: The basis of the honourable member's question I think is a media report out of North Bay very recently. It doesn't talk about there's a problem in terms of access to care or quality care. The people of North Bay and Nipissing and the health professionals there are providing top-quality care. This government has invested tremendously in northern Ontario. The first MRI announcements were in northern Ontario. The first reinvestment announcements for this government in terms of health care, some 16 months ago, were all for northern Ontario, most of them in your ridings, ridings of the opposition, because we're doing what's right for health care.

The article the member refers to talks about operating rooms being closed at 3 o'clock because nurses have to be paid overtime, according to the collective agreement, after 3 o'clock. It implies that people aren't getting access. In no way does it provide evidence that people aren't getting access. Indeed, in the meeting I had two weeks ago with hospital officials, they're doing an excellent job of providing top-quality service to the people of the north and the people of Nipissing and North Bay.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): My question is for the Attorney General and it concerns the family support plan. My constituent's name is Rose Landry. She has a seven-year-old daughter. Before you closed the regional family support plan offices and laid off 290 staff, she used to receive her family support payments five days after the payor's payroll deduction happened.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): Regularly.

Mr Hampton: Regularly she received her payments. But since August, that's changed. Since you closed the family support plan office in Thunder Bay and laid off the staff, that has changed. She has received no payment for October despite the fact that the support payor's cheque was garnished on October 11 for $215, and on October 25. She has received no money despite the fact these garnishments have happened. She's going to lose her hydro tomorrow and her gas service after that. I want to ask you, how much longer do women and children in this province have to pay for your destruction of the family support plan? How much longer does she have to pay?


Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): Bill 82 has received first reading in this Legislature. It does two things: It cracks down on parents who don't pay their support and it allows payors who meet their obligations to opt out of the system, which in turn allows the government to put all our resources into the problem cases. These problems, and problems with the family support plan, have existed interminably, and what I say to the member opposite is that the faster this piece of legislation comes before this House for second and third readings, the faster we can begin the real repair to the family support plan --


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order.


Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Section 33(f) of the standing orders indicates that a minister may choose to refer a question directed towards the minister to a minister who is responsible for the subject matter to which the question relates. I take you back to the question that was raised by the member for Scarborough-Agincourt. It was a question to the Premier and it related specifically to whether the member for Lambton had been in direct communication with the Premier immediately prior to the events at Ipperwash.

Although the Premier referred the question to the Attorney General, there's clearly no way the Attorney General could know whether the member for Lambton had been in direct communication with the Premier. It's an important piece of information. For the public understanding, I believe the Premier has an obligation to respond. I understand he can decline, but I don't believe a referral is appropriate.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): To the leader of the official opposition, the difficulty you're faced with as Speaker is, I do not know the conversations and discussions that take place between ministers and premiers and members. In the Premier's opinion, it may well be appropriate for the Attorney General to respond to that for any number of reasons.

You can't ask me to get inside the heads of all the members of this place and have conversations and so on. I can't ask government members to start referring or not referring and start measuring whether they can or cannot be referred, because there are far too many meetings that take place that too many people are involved in. When an honourable member refers a question, you have to understand, and I believe, that that is properly what is before this House and they have made a proper and honourable decision.

Mrs McLeod: Mr Speaker, I have a concern about what information is properly given to the public in answer to a direct question. I understand there were three very legitimate options for the Premier. One was to say yes, there was a direct communication, one was to say no, there wasn't, the third was to decline to answer the question. But only he is able to answer the question directed to him by the member for Scarborough-Agincourt. It doesn't matter what conversations --

The Speaker: Order. In your opinion: only the Premier is capable of responding, in your opinion. The fact of the matter is, there's the Premier's opinion and the minister's opinion and the caucus's opinion. We all hold opinions on how best we may answer or ask questions. It's not up to the Speaker to determine.

Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): Speaker, you're skating here.

The Speaker: The member for Essex South, I'm not skating one bit. If you want to look at precedents on this issue, you can check the precedents all you want. I suggest to the member for Essex South that he take his time and look into it. The fact is that there's no Speaker who's going to start determining when and who a minister can start referring their ministerial questions to, and I can't get involved in that discussion. I would be here endlessly determining whether or not a question can be passed. Thank you for your point of order.



Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): I have a petition to the Ontario Legislature.

"To Premier Michael Harris, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Al Leach and members of the Ontario provincial Legislature:

"We, the undersigned, protest this government's actions against tenants described below.

"The Rent Control Act protects Ontario's 3.3 million tenants. Rent control allows for security and stability in their homes and communities. Uncontrolled rent increases leave tenants, their families and other communities open to eviction, personal distress, and contribute directly" --

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Order. There's too much noise. Order.

Mr Curling: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. As I said, this petition is to the Ontario Legislature and also to the Premier Mike Harris, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Al Leach, and also members of the Ontario provincial Legislature, and it states:

"We, the undersigned, protest this government's actions against tenants described below.

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

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

"This government also plans to get rid of public housing and has halted the creation of basement apartments and a new supply of affordable non-profit housing. These types of housing are necessary for low- and moderate-income tenants --

The Deputy Speaker: Order. There's way too much noise. There's too much noise in the House. The members for Cochrane South and Dovercourt.

Mr Curling: Thank you, Mr Speaker. This is extremely important to 3.3 million tenants in this province and I would like the government to listen. They are the ones who are going to change this. I will not start all over, but again in the middle, just for time's sake. I hope they're listening this time.

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

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

I will affix my signature to the thousands who are concerned.


Mr Tim Hudak (Niagara South): Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting with seniors in the Lions centre in Fort Erie, Ontario. They are concerned about the senior driver exam, and I'm proud to present a petition on their behalf. 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."

I affix my signature to this petition.


M. Jean-Marc Lalonde (Prescott et Russell) : Monsieur le Président, aujourd'hui je vous présente quatre des 32 pétitions provenant de différentes paroisses de ma circonscription s'opposant au projet de loi 75. Ces pétitions proviennent de l'abbé Côme Chenier de la paroisse Sainte-Trinité de Rockland, de la paroisse de Lefebvre, de la paroisse d'Alfred et de l'abbé André Bouchard de la paroisse de Plantagenet.

«À l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario :

«Attendu que le projet de loi 75 aura un effet négatif sur les organismes de charité ;

«Attendu que le projet de loi 75 provoquera une augmentation des cas de dépendance au jeu et causera des dommages irréparables à des familles de toutes les régions de la province ;

«Attendu que le gouvernement n'a pas spécifié quelles organisations de charité bénéficieront des revenus des loteries vidéo,

«Nous, soussignés, adressons à l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario la pétition suivante :

«Nous demandons à tous les partis représentés à l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario de s'opposer au projet de loi 75.»

J'ajoute ma signature à cette pétition qui contient plus de 500 noms.



Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I have a petition from about 100 residents of St Andrew-St Patrick in buildings at 7, 10 and 35 Walmer Road who are very concerned about this government's intention to destroy the current Rent Control Act. It reads as follows:

"Whereas the government of Ontario is proposing to take away the protections of the Rent Control Act; and

"Whereas the government is proposing to allow a landlord to charge a tenant who moves into an apartment whatever the landlord can get away with; and

"Whereas the government of Ontario is proposing to raise the limit of how high rents can increase for all tenants; and

"Whereas the government of Ontario is proposing to make it easier to demolish or convert existing affordable rental housing; and

"Whereas the government is proposing to take away the rent freeze which has been successful in forcing some landlords to repair their buildings;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to keep the existing rent laws which provide true protection for tenants in place."

I support this petition wholeheartedly.


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

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

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

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

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

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

I agree with this petition and have so signed it.


Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I have a petition that reads as follows:

"Whereas the Ministry of Health has started to charge senior citizens and social assistance recipients a $2 user fee for each prescription filled since July 15; and

"Whereas seniors on a fixed income do not significantly benefit from the income tax savings created by this user fee copayment or from other non-health user fees; and

"Whereas the perceived savings to health care from the $2 user fee will not compensate for the suffering and misery caused by this user fee or the painstaking task involved to fill out the application forms; and

"Whereas the current Minister of Health, Jim Wilson, promised as an opposition MPP in a July letter to Ontario pharmacists that his party would not endorse legislation that will punish patients to the detriment of health care in Ontario;

"Therefore we, the undersigned residents, strongly urge the government of Ontario to repeal this user fee because the tax-saving user fee concept is not fair, it is not sensitive, it is not accessible to low-income or fixed-income seniors, and lest we forget, our province's seniors have paid their dues by collectively contributing to the social, economic, moral and political fabric of Canada."

I've affixed my signature to this document because I agree with it.


Mr Tim Hudak (Niagara South): It's a pleasure to present yet another petition on behalf of seniors at Port Colborne and Wainfleet about drivers' exams for senior citizens. The petition 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 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 Port Colborne and Wainfleet and that recognizes that when road tests are required, familiar local roads are the fairest places to assess driver ability."

Beneath the signatures of Edna Hannigan and Betty Hardman I affix my signature.


Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): I have a petition signed here by 3,968 residents of Ontario, in two binders, addressed to the Honourable Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

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

"Whereas the Minister of Community and Social Services has announced the closure of Prince Edward Heights, a first-rate community-based facility for developmentally disabled adults; and

"Whereas Prince Edward Heights is not an institution in the traditional sense and is a community in and of itself for those who reside there; and

"Whereas the care provided at Prince Edward Heights is of a specialized nature requiring highly trained, skilled and dedicated staff; and

"Whereas alternate services and supports that would meet the needs of the clients of Prince Edward Heights are not in place in the community; and

"Whereas these clients have lived at Prince Edward Heights for up to 25 years and have developed many important friendships and relationships; and

"Whereas the clients of Prince Edward Heights have no desire to leave their home community to be repatriated to a community that they have no relationship with; and

"Whereas the economy of Prince Edward county will be devastated by the planned closure of Prince Edward Heights;

"Therefore, be it resolved that we, the undersigned residents of Ontario, demand that the decision to close Prince Edward Heights be revoked and that the clients of Prince Edward Heights be allowed to continue living with dignity, stability and without threat in the community that they call their home."

I have affixed my signature to it.


Mr Toni Skarica (Wentworth North): I have a petition here signed by over 300 people, addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and it reads as follows:

"We, the undersigned, respectfully request a public inquiry into all aspects of the alleged physical and mental excesses and abuses which reportedly took place in the Centre for Behavioural Rehabilitation under the direction of a physical education teacher educator named Ahmos Rolider, PhD, teacher ed phys ed, during the years 1989 to 1993;

"We, the undersigned, wish there to be a public inquiry into the role of the administration of the brain injury program at Chedoke during those years with regard to the aforementioned abuses, as well as the administrator's subsequent action/inaction with regard to the victims of such abuse."


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): I have approximately another 1,000 names with regard to the restructuring commission's report in Sudbury. That puts it at approximately 11,000, and it reads:

"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 25%;

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

I sign my name, as I agree with the petition.


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

"Whereas the Liberal government of Canada has passed Bill 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 firearms smuggling and trafficking and the 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 in 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 endorse this petition and have so signed it.



Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): I beg leave to present the 23rd report of the standing committee on government agencies.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Do you wish to make a brief statement, Mr Crozier? No.

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




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

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I had begun my intervention in this debate by quoting a resolution passed by the members of the Algoma District Municipal Association in opposition to changing the boundaries that would produce a situation in the constituency of Algoma where the distance from one end to the other of the proposed new constituency, if it were superimposed on southern Ontario, would run from Windsor to Quebec City.

They pointed out in the resolution that they felt this would make it very difficult for constituents to be able to have proper input to their representative, would be difficult for the area to be properly represented at Queen's Park, and they also raised the concern of the loss of five ridings out of the total of 15 from northern Ontario and the problem that would mean for northern Ontario having a voice in the assembly at Queen's Park.

Since that time I've received a number of resolutions passed by municipalities within the constituency such as the township of Johnson, the township of Dubreuilville, the township of Prince and the township of Michipicoten, all in support of the position taken by the Algoma District Municipal Association.

I just wonder whether members in southern Ontario constituencies really have any concept of what it would be like to represent a riding that would run from Windsor to Quebec City. The constituency I represent now already, if superimposed on southern Ontario, would go from about Windsor to Kingston. It's true that there is not a large population in the constituency and, as I said the last time, I am certainly not opposed to redistribution. I've represented the people of Algoma, and I'm proud to have represented the people of Algoma, for over 21 years in this assembly and I've seen redistributions.

There's no question that certain areas of the province are growing in population and need to have additional representation for it to be fair. But in the past there has been an agreement, because of a geographic situation, the factor of just the very size of northern Ontario, that there would be a minimum of 15 seats in northern Ontario. In this proposed redistribution that commitment has been broken and we are losing five seats in northern Ontario, and as a result the new constituencies are going to be enormous in most cases -- not in all, but in most.

It's been suggested by the government that they made a commitment in the election campaign, that people voted for them, and therefore they should proceed. Their commitment was that they would mirror the federal boundaries. I remind you that the federal redistribution is increasing the number of seats in Ontario in the House of Commons from 99 to 103, recognizing that certain areas of Ontario are growing and need representation.

They are also breaking their commitment to northern Ontario where there used to be a minimum of 11 federal constituencies in the north and they are dropping it by one. But there are factors involved in the federal redistribution that do not have any relevance to Ontario, and that is the fallacy of the government's arguments in this regard.

Before I get to that, I want to respond to one comment that was made by the Chair of Management Board, the government House leader. In introducing this legislation in the House, he pointed out that Saskatchewan has just recently gone through a redistribution and that there they significantly changed the boundaries based on one person, one vote, and increased the number of urban ridings and decreased the number of rural ridings. What he did not mention was that in that particular redistribution, the government of Saskatchewan and the other parties in Saskatchewan agreed that the two northern ridings in Saskatchewan, which are enormous, would be maintained and would not be subject to the one person, one vote regulation or aim or goal that all the other constituencies were.

I wonder why the Chair of Management Board didn't mention that when he made reference to Saskatchewan. I suspect it's because this government isn't prepared to make a similar commitment to northern Ontario. I wonder why.

As I said in my opening remarks, the member for Mississauga South indicated in a debate in 1985 that the question is not just equal representation but effective representation. I made reference to the Camp commission, which reported the month I arrived in this place in 1975, in which a non-partisan or tripartisan, I suppose, commission recommended a redistribution and recognized the need to look at not only population and rep by pop, but also other factors in determining boundaries, one of those factors being geography. Those recommendations of the Camp commission have stood in good stead over the years.

I make clear once again that we in this political party do not oppose redistribution, but we are opposed to a redistribution which would produce a situation where rural and northern Ontario are not adequately represented effectively in this House. When I say "effectively," I mean that if you have a constituency or a number of constituencies which are so large as to cover from Windsor to Quebec City, I don't believe very many people in this place, including myself, can effectively represent those people in that kind of constituency in this House, and I call on the government to take that into consideration.

It's been suggested, "Well, the federal MPs are going to represent these kinds of riding, so if they can do it, surely the provincial members can do it." I suggest that the federal MPs have certain concerns that they expressed in the debates around their redistribution that relate exactly to that matter.

As I said, Camp said: "There should be some elasticity for regions where wide populations are scattered. Rep by pop should be tempered by broad determinations. We should retain representation from those areas without application of strict mathematics, because with the application of strict mathematics those areas would be deprived."

In the federal redistribution some of the factors that came into effect that affected that redistribution don't have any relevance to Ontario. For one thing, at one end of the spectrum, Prince Edward Island is supposed to have four members constitutionally, and there are also provisions for New Brunswick and Newfoundland to have certain numbers of MPs in the House of Commons. At the other end of the spectrum, the government, I think quite wisely, said, "There has got to be a minimum number of representatives for the 90,000 people in Yukon and the Northwest Territories," so they said, "There will be three members: one in Yukon and two in the Northwest Territories." So when you look at the overall total allowed for in their redistribution, that affected the number of constituencies that could then be drawn in the more populous areas of the country, particularly Ontario.


Why is it that as a provincial Legislature we should be taking into account provisions made for Prince Edward Island, the Yukon and Northwest Territories in determining the number of seats we believe should be established to represent the people in this their provincial assembly? It doesn't make sense. Would anyone suggest that because the Yukon is entitled to only one MP in the House of Commons as a result of the provisions of the redistribution at the federal level, it should only have one member in its Legislative Assembly? Of course not. That's what is being done, though, in Ontario. Because 103 ridings will be established federally in Ontario, therefore we should have 103 ridings in this assembly. It doesn't make any more sense than saying, "Because there's only one MP in the Yukon, there should only be one person in its Legislative Assembly."

I have yet to hear any argument presented by the members of the government party that deals with that. Are you suggesting that there should only be two members in the Northwest Territories assembly because it has only two MPs? It doesn't make any sense. I wouldn't argue this, but it might be argued that PEI should not be a separate province, since it has only 120,000 or so people. It might be argued, but as long as it is a province would anyone argue that it should only have four members in its Legislative Assembly because it only has four MPs? The government members take this rather frivolously.

I want to tell you that this is not a partisan issue in northern Ontario. Members of all political parties in the north are very concerned about the size of the ridings. As I said, when the debate about redistribution was carried out in the House of Commons, certain members of the Liberal Party, MPs for ridings in the north, raised concerns. I have the Hansard from the committee hearings in the House of Commons. Mr Réginald Bélair, the member for Cochrane-Superior, objected to the redistribution affecting the size of that riding and the combination of that riding with another riding in the north.

"The commission failed to consider the special geographic considerations in Cochrane-Superior and particularly the problems of size, the distance between communities, the remoteness and isolation of communities, and the limited access constituents have to their member of Parliament. The commission failed to give adequate consideration to the demographics of the riding of Cochrane-Superior and erred in using an electoral quota as the sole factor for determining electoral districts."

Peter Thalheimer, the MP for Timmins-Chapleau, also raised concerns in the committee and said:

"The commission failed to respect the criterion that a proposed electoral district be of manageable size for sparsely populated northern regions of the province of Ontario. The commission failed to consider factors other than population figures when proposing rural and northern ridings, including historical, cultural, economic, transportation and communication patterns."

Mr Thalheimer was supporting Mr Belair's description of the special difficulties in servicing a northern riding, and he emphasized how isolated northern communities feel and how physically difficult it is to try to maintain personal contact between the MP and his or her constituents.

The fact that the federal government and the federal commission did not listen to these federal MPs who represent northern Ontario constituencies does not mean therefore that this assembly should ignore these very same concerns with regard to the size of provincial constituencies in northern Ontario. Why should we compound the error of the federal government and the federal electoral boundaries commission? Why is it that the members of the Conservative Party and the Conservative government seem hell-bent on ignoring these concerns? I don't understand it.

I believe the area of the 905 area code deserves more representation in this assembly. There are ridings with far too high populations for those people to have effective representation in this assembly. But to say that because we need to give them additional and more adequate representation we should therefore deny adequate representation to the north and establish ridings which will make it very difficult for those areas to have effective representation in this assembly is completely wrong.

I note that leading members of this government, when they were in opposition, have made these very same arguments in debates about possible reorganization of riding boundaries in the past. In October 1985 the now Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier, the member for Parry Sound, stated: "Beyond population sizes, equally valid considerations should be taken into account. That is geography. We shouldn't just focus entirely on population." Mr Eves said in that debate in this assembly.

The member for S-D-G & East Grenville, the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, in a previous debate in this House in November 1992, debating a resolution that he had brought forward in the House representing rural Ontario, said, "We don't want to see rural Ontario underrepresented in this assembly." As a matter of fact, he said, "We should be increasing the number of rural ridings, not lowering them."

The Minister of Health, who I note is present in this assembly this afternoon, in November 1992, during that same debate, talked about the size of ridings and the problems of rural Ontario, and said, "We need more rural representation." He said that was paramount. I want to know what's changed.

Why is it that the Minister of Health now is supporting a legislative proposal that will do exactly what he said should not be done in 1992?

Why is that the Minister of Rural Affairs is abandoning the people of rural Ontario and saying: "No, we don't have to worry about adequate representation for rural Ontario any more in this House. We needed to back in 1992 but not in 1996"?

Why would the Deputy Premier say in 1985 that we should be looking at other issues beyond population and now do exactly the opposite as a member of the government? Where is the integrity on this issue?

The government has argued that there has to be change because it has to save money.

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): It's $11 million.

Mr Wildman: They've indicated that this might save $11 million. Well, why did you campaign on it when you said the opposite in 1992?

Hon Mr Wilson: Because we can work as hard as --

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Order, the Minister of Health.

Mr Wildman: Why are you ignoring what these MPs said in northern Ontario about the federal redistribution, just the way the federal government did?

Hon Mr Wilson: Life is --

The Deputy Speaker: The Minister of Health, order, please. The member for Simcoe West, order, please.

Mr Wildman: I'm wondering if the member has grown in his views or whether he's practising situational ethics. I just wondered.

The members of the government have said we will save $11 million because we'll have fewer MPPs in the House, and yet this is part of a piece. The other part of that piece is the referendum legislation that has been discussed by the Premier in the paper that he has put forward to the public, which has been debated in the committee of this House and which we've heard representations about. The argument is that you don't need as many representatives if you have the opportunity for direct democracy, so that the people themselves can vote and make decisions. But in terms of the cost, we were told in the committee by Mr Warren Bailie, the chief electoral officer of the province, that a referendum would cost about $40 million -- one referendum. He said the cost could be lowered to about $23 million because of new electronic technologies, so we could lower the cost to $23 million, so we'll have one referendum, which will cost double your saving by cutting the number of MPPs. You've said $11 million would be saved; one referendum will cost you $23 million at the minimum. Where's the saving?


The Minister of Health said we can work as hard as MPs. I think any of us can work as hard as MPs. I think the MPs generally work very hard. But the fact is that we have two MPs, Mr Bélair and Mr Thalheimer, representing the area of the province I come from who say they don't believe they can effectively represent their constituents with these boundaries. They don't think they can. They weren't listened to by their federal colleagues; they weren't listened to by the federal government. But why should we ignore that here to say, "The federal Liberals didn't listen, so the provincial Tories won't listen"?

It wasn't just these members of the cabinet who have made these arguments. In October 1985 the leader of the then third party, the now Premier of the province, stated that we have to look at communities of interest, that these must be mitigated. He argued that we shouldn't be mirroring federal boundaries at that time which would not take into account communities of interest. He talked particularly about a francophone community in his constituency of Nipissing. Why has the Premier now changed his view? Why is he no longer worried about community of interest? Why does he not care about the francophone constituents he cared about in 1985?

I close by pointing out that on September 30, 1996, the Sault Star, a newspaper that is not known for supporting many of my positions, stated that it's unfair for an MPP to have to be responsible for a constituency that stretches the distances of the new Algoma riding.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions or comments?

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I want to go on record as saying to this House that it would do well to listen to the member for Algoma. He has served in this place for 20 years on behalf of a riding that to drive from one end to the other takes approximately eight hours. The riding as it now exists, as he suggested by the article he just finished reading and as pointed out in the Sault Star, is probably as big as, and in most cases bigger than, many countries in the world today.

He has served it with great distinction but he won't say this because he's a humble man. I will because I've known him for 20 years. He spends literally every weekend that he's away from this place, particularly when the House is sitting, away from his home and family, in places like Hornepayne, White River, Dubreuilville, Wawa, Blind River and Spragge serving his constituents, listening to what they have to say about the laws within which we all live, working for them to make sure that government is working on their behalf.

In the interest of simply the bottom line, to extend his riding so that it now becomes twice the size belies any logic. So I would respectfully suggest and ask all of you on the opposite side, because you ultimately will determine the course of events on this issue, to please pay attention and listen carefully to the comments of the member for Algoma, who knows from whence he speaks.

Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): I am pleased to respond to the member for Algoma's comments on the Fewer Politicians Act. I'd like to draw to his attention that he made some very good points and pleaded with a great deal of compassion for the people of northern Ontario and in some respects I agree with him.

But I look back to the long study and debate that has gone into coming up with the numbers by the federal electoral group in recommending 103 seats. To understand this, what I see from the people of Ontario is that when they call the constituency office today where I am in Durham East, they are often confused between provincial issues and federal issues. We're there to help them whether they're federal or provincial issues. We help them to solve the problems.

I really think they could address the areas and travelling distances in northern Ontario by making it up with the allowances that are given to members and members' staff to help them solve constituents' problems.

It's very clear the people of Ontario feel, whether it's correct or not, that they're overrepresented, that they're overgoverned and that there are far too many public politicians. In that respect this government made a commitment and that what's totally new. We didn't invent the 103 number but we're going to go along with the federal boundaries, which by the way are Liberal. We're not making it political; we're just going to implement that because we feel our members, as I'm sure members on the other side, are there to represent the people. We don't need more politicians.

I was reading an article recently that there are seven school boards in the Metropolitan Toronto area, and with those seven school boards there are 114 school trustees. Can you imagine it?

The people of Ontario are going to be very satisfied with this. I think we can address the difficulty and the duties of a member in the northern part of the province by allowing additional staff resources.

Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): I'm pleased to offer some comments on the speech from the member for Algoma. One of the things people are missing is that when we hear the government side speak they seem to believe that this is rep by pop; it isn't. This is a number arrived at by the federal government, not in the context of Ontario but in the context of Canada. Surely members can understand that when Prince Edward Island can have four members of Parliament with a population not bigger than most ridings in Ontario, where we can have I think 32 members of the Legislature in Prince Edward Island, we're not talking sensibly when we just talk about rep by pop. The context of the federal Parliament prescribes how these boundaries are drawn.

I want to talk a little bit about exactly what's happening in northern Ontario. We are losing 50% of our rural representation. The city of Sault Ste Marie will have the same number of representatives. The city of Thunder Bay has the same number of representatives -- Timmins, North Bay, Sudbury. But those people who live on 90% of the land mass of Ontario will now be represented by five MPPs. Think about it: five members of the Legislature, some of them representing an area a third of the province. I ask you in the name of democracy to rethink this. It might have been a good election slogan, it might have been easy to sell, but the reality is quite different. I think you should reconsider.


Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): I want to take a moment to congratulate the member for Algoma in representing the area for the past 21 years. He did an excellent job of representing that area. I can recall back in 1988 doing door-to-door campaigning in the federal election and I can vouch for the fact that his riding is big provincially. It's also very big --


Mr Len Wood: I can hear the member for Durham East commenting. He was saying earlier that there's a lot of confusion in the heads of constituents; there seems to be a lot of confusion in the Conservative back benches on what they represent and who they represent.

The mayors and reeves in all of northern Ontario have taken the position that this Conservative government is basically slapping them across the face. They have no interest in listening to the representation from northern Ontario, and as a result the word "democracy" doesn't mean anything any more. Everything is going to be centred in the Premier's office. The decisions are going to be made by the member for Nipissing. He's going to make the final rulings, him and probably the finance minister and maybe a couple of other ministers. A handful of people are going to make the decision. Democracy is being destroyed.

As I heard the member for Algoma say, when you have a decision that is made by Canada on representation right across Canada, it doesn't necessarily apply to Ontario. They've decided that they're going to increase the members in Ontario from 99 to 103. Yet they're taking one member out of northern Ontario and they're adding it to southern Ontario because of a loss of population over the years. But it's going to be physically impossible and we're not going to have any democracy whatsoever by reducing northern Ontario by five members. I can say the same thing is probably happening in rural and southern Ontario.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Algoma, you have two minutes.

Mr Wildman: I thank the member for Durham East, the member for Algoma-Manitoulin, the member for Sault Ste Marie and the member for Cochrane North in making comments.

I don't think anybody here is particularly concerned about how difficult it may or may not be for MPPs in northern Ontario to properly represent their constituents because of the geographic size. I recognize that's not their concern, and frankly I don't think it really should be. What should be their concern is whether or not the people living, as my friend said, on 90% of the province's land mass are going to be able to have themselves heard in this assembly.

Just as we should be concerned about whether or not the people who live in ridings in Markham or the belt around the greater Toronto area will be properly represented because of the very large population sizes, we should be concerned in the same way about people who live in widely scattered communities over an enormous land mass. Don't just think about population; think about geography as well. Don't just follow the federal lead. I know you made a commitment in the election campaign. Sometimes your commitments have to be modified when you look at the actual impacts, and I think the members should do that.

Without being too dramatic about it, I was thinking the other day in making this presentation about the prayer that is repeated by the Speaker on behalf of all members of the assembly before deliberation begins each day, written by my good friend, Fred Young, the member for Yorkview for many years in this assembly, where he said: "Give to each member of this assembly a strong and abiding sense of the great responsibilities laid upon us. Guide us here in our deliberations. Give us a deep and thorough understanding of the needs of the people we serve" --

The Deputy Speaker: Thank you. Your time has expired. Further debate?

Mr Bill Grimmett (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): It's my pleasure today to speak on Bill 81, known to some people as the Fewer Politicians Act. Before I begin my comments, I would like to make some remarks on the nickname for the act, the Fewer Politicians Act, which some members of the opposition have taken great offence to.

I want to say on behalf of the people I represent that when I speak to them in passing in my office and on the streets in my riding of Muskoka-Georgian Bay, I think there is some humour in the name of the act. I have been singled out as a member who is particularly affected by this act. I don't take offence at the name Fewer Politicians Act and I don't think my constituents do either. However, I can see that some politicians would take offence, but perhaps after years of being the butt of lawyers' jokes, I've become used to that kind of humour. Those are my comments on the name of the act.

Anyone who expresses surprise at this legislation or claims there hasn't been sufficient consultation certainly wasn't listening during the election campaign. The Common Sense Revolution was quite clear in its commitment to reduce the number of MPPs and to use the same boundaries used to elect federal MPs. As with many members, this legislation will have a direct impact on the riding I currently serve, but I believe, as I did during the campaign, that this is a change for the better and a change the people of Muskoka-Georgian Bay want to see.

This move will save money. After the next election there will be 27 fewer MPPs. That means taxpayers won't have to pay their salaries, expenses and staff. There could also be substantial saving in the area of election staffing, enumeration, mapping and administration. Indeed, many of my constituents, while consoling me at the apparent loss of a riding, have indicated that this makes so much common sense it could not have been designed by politicians.

Perhaps even more encouraging for the public is the fact that this system will eliminate much of the confusion which currently exists among constituents over federal and provincial jurisdiction and representation. By realigning provincial ridings to match federal boundaries, we're making it easier for voters to know who represents them at each level of government.

It has been suggested that the demands justify a higher number of provincial members than federal members. I've discussed this issue with my federal counterparts and I simply do not accept the notion that federal members are more removed from their constituents. Federal MPs do not regularly spend their days sitting in Ottawa pondering changes to the Constitution, as some would suggest. In fact they routinely deal with constituency-level matters, which include pension, immigration and passport issues. They attend the same local events that I attend. The demands of the job are, in my opinion, roughly equal.

I'm certain that the people of Ontario can be effectively served by 103 members. Quite frankly, in our case, we consider quality to be more important than quantity.

During debate on this legislation, we've witnessed a number of members filing into the chamber with stacks of reference material in tow. I want to thank the members opposite who've provided me with arguments concerning the democratic process. However, I will remind them that two and a half years back, before the Common Sense Revolution was written, we consulted with the people of Ontario and asked them what changes were required to restore hope and prosperity to this province. People said government was too large, too costly. They asked for government that was smaller, more efficient and more affordable. They asked for fundamental change. These sentiments were confirmed during the election campaign and by the vote count.

This legislation is part of the fulfilment of a commitment to reduce the size of government at all levels. By realigning the provincial ridings to match the federal boundaries, we're making it easier for voters to know who represents them at each level of government. That offers potential for even greater saving by reducing duplication and overlap. It will also save Ontario the cost of holding its own redistribution commission.

Reducing the number of provincial politicians sends a strong signal that saving will start at the top and that everyone, including politicians, will share in the drive to become more efficient. Simply put, we are a government that believes in leading by example. This step, together with others we've taken since forming the government, means that restraint will be shouldered from the highest levels of Queen's Park on down. It proves once again that this government is not afraid to make tough decisions, even those that impact directly on the members themselves.

Reducing the number of MPPs by 20% will set an example of cost-cutting for other levels of government, including agencies and ministries, to follow. After all, we can't expect government bureaucrats to do better with less if we politicians aren't willing to do the same.

While every region across the province will benefit from this new plan, we also recognize that northern Ontario is unique. So although representation is based on population, northern Ontario ridings will have a smaller population. Under this plan, northern Ontario has been allotted two more ridings than it would have under a pure representation by population system. If my Liberal colleagues in opposition have concerns about this, perhaps they should talk to their Liberal cousins in Ottawa, the ones who set the boundaries.

I've enjoyed the debate on Bill 81. I had the opportunity to review Hansard and I saw that the member for Algoma had asserted in an interjection, "You didn't win any seats in the north." This is a shocking untruth. I suppose I should check first with the resident historian, the member for the Barry's Bay historical society, on this point, but I doubt that there ever was an Ontario government with both the Premier and Deputy Premier from northern Ontario.


I want to say a few things about large ridings. I currently represent a large riding. It's not as large as the member for Algoma's riding, but it is a large riding. It stretches all the way from Algonquin Park down to the bottom of Georgian Bay, where Midland is. It stretches from MacTier all the way down to Gravenhurst.

It is a challenge to represent a large riding, as the member for Algoma and many other members present know. However, I am confident that the boundaries that were designed by the federal government, and that we will follow, can be handled by provincial members, and I personally believe that this step is one that will be strongly supported throughout the province.

Now we have heard quite a history lesson from the member for Renfrew North. From my review of Hansard, we've heard about Premier Henry, Premier Ferguson, John A. Macdonald, Dalton Camp, John Ralston Saul, Professor Franks. The people in my riding are not preoccupied with the views of these figures, and neither am I. We've been told we shouldn't pander to the public mood, even if the public believes in those views viscerally. But I want to tell you, I have my dictionary with me today because in reviewing Hansard it was required so that I could understand some of the language which is not common in my riding.

One of the reasons I decided to get involved in politics, first at the school board level and now at this level, very much has to do with the idea of the public mood. I had grown sick and tired of elected officials who paid no respect to the commonly held views of the common people, and I believe the idea that we are pursuing in this legislation is one that is supported by the common people I represent.

The member for Renfrew North has talked about guts and how real politicians with guts don't pander to the talk show crowd. He used a lovely phrase, which I don't mind repeating: "They didn't do the easy thing when they stood up and bit into the strong wind of public opinion." He commented on Edmund Burke, who won a seat and then told his constituents that he took a different view from them, indicating that that was an example of courage.

Well, I take a different view. I take the view that the courage that is to be shown by a politician is shown before the election. You stand up, you state the position that you hold and you see where your constituents stand on that issue. If they elect you based on that policy, you should have the courage to carry it out. It is for that reason that I am supporting this legislation on behalf of the people I represent and in what I believe is the best interests of the people of Ontario.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions or comments?

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): To the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay, I listened to his speech very carefully and again this member, just like any other member on the other side, is blaming the federal government. I thought when Mike Harris introduced his Common Sense Revolution he said that he didn't care what Ottawa was doing, he had his own agenda. This is what people in Ontario expected, especially from the boundary issue: They wanted to be consulted.

I realize it was in the Common Sense Revolution, but why choose a model that is not representative of Ontario? I thought that the Common Sense Revolution and Mr Harris would come back to us and say, "Look, after consultation -- " or "I'll send out my people and we'll come back to this House with a model that is made in Ontario, maybe 115 or 120 seats." I realize that we need to scale back, we need to save dollars, but I don't think we should be saving dollars and putting aside people.

The member did mention that he wants to represent the common people in his riding. I want to tell you that by increasing the number of people in your riding -- I don't know, maybe you're more efficient than just about everybody else in this House and you will do a better job. I don't know how you will do a better job with more people to serve. Also, when you refer to northern Ontario and you appreciate that they have larger ridings, I think northern Ontario needs the kind of representation we have at the present time and more.

Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): I am very pleased to rise and congratulate and commend my colleague the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay for the fine presentation he gave this afternoon speaking on behalf of his constituents, as he always does in this House.

I am pleased to provide my comments on this bill. I haven't had a chance to speak at length, but I've got two minutes now to indicate my views as the member for Wellington. I'll certainly be supporting this bill in principle this afternoon when we have our vote, for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I believe that as we go through this process we are now undertaking as a government, trying to reduce our expenditures to a sustainable level, such that we can stop borrowing money as a government, hopefully getting to the point where we can start running surpluses eventually in the year 2000 and start paying down some of the debt, we're asking a great many people in Ontario to sacrifice a great deal and certainly we have to provide leadership. By reducing our own numbers, to a great extent I think we're doing that. We have to apply those same standards of sacrifice to ourselves.

I have a number of reservations, though, about the bill and I'd be remiss if I didn't put some of those on the record. In the six years that I have represented the people of Wellington, I've known some very good people from all parties who sit in this House and do a very effective job of representing their constituents. I know that, as a result of this bill, some of those people will not be back representing their constituents in the future and I am saddened about that.

But I think the government has made a good point, that this idea was in the Common Sense Revolution. To some extent we have legitimacy for moving forward in this regard. We have a mandate to do it. I think we need further discussion, though, so I am very pleased that the government is going to be sending this bill to a standing committee.

I also look at this bill as to the effect it has on the existing electoral district of Wellington. It splits our riding three ways and certainly, looking at it from the perspective of the member, I find some sadness about that because I've generated some pretty close bonds with all of the communities in my riding and I am sorry that apparently is going to be coming to an end. But on balance, I think this bill is necessary, required and I look forward to all members supporting it this afternoon.

Mr Michael Brown: I appreciated the comments of the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay. I am perplexed, however. I am perplexed in understanding a member who represents a constituency as large as he does. I recognize it's large -- tiny by comparison to the northern constituencies, but still a very large land mass with a lot of very important communities and a lot of differences between those communities. I think he would be the first to tell us that various communities within his constituency don't see the world quite the same way. That's because of geographical differences, differences in employment, differences in the economy, differences all across a large riding like he represents.

What we're suggesting over here is that this Conservative government consider what happens following this redistribution. There's a huge shift in power, in seats and influence to the urban areas, a huge shift out of not just the north, but the rural parts of southwestern Ontario and the rural parts of eastern Ontario. This isn't compensated as it is within the federal Parliament by provinces like Saskatchewan or even Alberta, which have large numbers of rural seats which in the national context balance it. It doesn't happen here because this is an Ottawa solution, based on the Canadian context.

What we are seeing is a small piece of the puzzle of electoral redistribution at the federal level just laid on Ontarians, saying: "It'll work here." Well, it's not going to work for my constituents and it's not going to work for most of the rural constituents in Ontario.

Mr Len Wood: I listened very attentively to the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay in his comments, saying that he supports the piece of legislation that everybody thinks is a big joke across Ontario, the Fewer Politicians Act.

If you're talking to the people who live in 85% of the land mass in the province of Ontario, who are losing large representation in what should be a democracy system, they feel that it's very unfair. They live in four fifths of the geographic area of the province and their representation is being reduced down to 10 from 15.


Some of them asked the question: "There are 15 members there now. How many are Conservative?" The answer is, there's only one and he's in Nipissing. The other 14 are split between the Liberals and the NDP. They're saying, "Why would a government not send this out to the election commission and let them have public hearings and come up with a system that is based on Ontario?" rather than just saying the federal government under Brian Mulroney recommended redistribution and this is what they did. The Liberals came into government and they increased it from 99 to 103 but took representation out of northern Ontario because of the population that is shrinking; in southern Ontario it's growing.

The federal government is increasing the amount of members, and yet here in Ontario we see them using what was considered to be a solution for Canada, to increase the amount of members at Ottawa, and here in Ontario they're saying we're going to reduce it in Ontario and we're only going to give a voice to the large urban areas in this province. The other people are not going to have a voice. Democracy is dead in Ontario if this bill goes through.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay, you have two minutes.

Mr Grimmett: I want to thank the members for Cochrane North, Ottawa East, Wellington and Algoma ridings for their comments. I'll just respond to them in the order that they spoke.

With respect to the comments of the member for Ottawa East, I think he's missing the point with respect to the potential saving that flows from this bill, particularly in the use of the same boundaries that the federal government has. It makes a great deal of sense to all the people I've spoken to in my riding to use the same boundaries. We can save with respect to election staffing, enumeration; no need to go through the process twice every time there are provincial and federal elections.

I understand the comments of the member for Wellington with respect to the potential loss of some members, but as has been said by the Chair of the Management Board in his opening remarks at the introduction of the bill, ridings don't belong to the members, they belong to the public, and it is up to the public to determine through the election of a government how they're going to proceed with policy. I am eager to follow the bill through committee and see what comments come from the public.

With respect to the comments of the member for Algoma-Manitoulin, I agree with his remarks that there is a great diversity of views in a large riding and I would say that the only area you would find a wider diversity of viewpoints and possibly cultural differences than in a large rural riding would be in a small, densely populated urban riding, which in many cases has even greater diversity of views and cultural perspectives.

With respect to the member for Cochrane North, the points have been very well made with respect to northern Ontario and how there are concerns about representation. However, I don't believe it would be practical to move to a system where all the ridings were the same size, which seems to be the ultimate viewpoint expressed by some of the members opposite.

The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): I'm pleased to take part in this debate this afternoon as well, when we take a look at what we are doing in essence in terms of representation in the province of Ontario. I don't think this is a debate about our riding or which MPP will challenge the other MPP in the next provincial election. I think this has got to be a debate based around fair representation.

I would just like to take a look at fairness and what we should be looking at in terms of ensuring that we don't have 90% of the entire land mass of the province represented by only five MPPs. The former speaker spoke of the history and going back into history to see what other people thought of representation in Ontario. I went back and took a look at what the present government, the present cabinet, had to say. This was in a commission on the boundary changes that was put forth in 1985.

If we take a look at what the present Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs had to say at that time, we see that he said: "We do not want to see the rural part of Ontario further underrepresented.... We must retain the status quo intact.... Rural Ontario must have more, not less, representation." Again, this is a cabinet minister in the present government talking back in 1985, where he actually said we must see that rural Ontario have more and not less representation.

Of course, it's been brought to the attention of the House a good number of times that 90% of the provincial land mass, rural Ontario, will be reduced to five MPPs under this plan. I have to agree with what the now Minister of Agriculture had to say back then, that the people of rural Ontario deserve that fairness I speak about.

Let's go on to take a look at what the present Solicitor General had to say back then in terms of boundary changes to the commission at that time.

Mr Michael Brown: Mr Runciman.

Mr Miclash: Mr Runciman, of course, the present Solicitor General. He started off by saying:

"In terms of the criteria outlined for the commission when it was arriving at the boundary changes -- perhaps it is the fault of the Legislature -- I do not think it took a close look at rural ridings in respect of the number of municipalities a member representing a rural riding is responsible for. I have 15 municipalities in my riding, and the changes will add another four municipalities. I think the workload perhaps is not adequately recognized by the commission."

Well, 15 and four is 19 municipalities. When I take a look at what we will do in terms of combining the current Rainy River riding, which I'll speak about later, we're taking into account 50 first nation communities alone, not 19 municipalities but 25 municipalities, 15 major communities. So we go back to his statements there.

When I take a look at what will happen in terms of the riding farthest away from Queen's Park, and of course that riding borders on the boundary of Manitoba, what will become of the Kenora riding when it becomes the Kenora-Rainy River riding and takes on a part of Lake Nipigon, I don't think there are a lot of members in the House -- I asked the government House leader, when he introduced the bill, how far it is from Rainy River to Fort Severn. It is farther from Rainy River to Fort Severn than it is for the majority of these members to go home from here. We're talking 700 kilometres from one corner of that riding to the other. I don't think a lot of MPPs here today, MPPs who campaigned on what they say is their Common Sense Revolution, the plan that said this would happen, actually realized that and realized the impact that would have in northern Ontario.

We heard from the member for Mississauga South, now the PC caucus chair, the other day. I had to think back to what she represented, an area that she could walk around, an area with one municipality in it, one local government. I go back to take a look at some of the things she said in 1985 when this was debated. She said, "If the people of Ontario are serviced to the maximum ability of the elected representatives because the boundaries of their ridings facilitate the service of those people and the equity of distribution of population as far as possible, then those are the aspects the electoral boundaries commission should consider." I go back: "Those are the aspects that the boundaries should consider." She went on to talk about effective representation and how effective representation could be provided but not to overdo it in terms of actual territory.

The last thing I want to say is that it's not possible. It will certainly be a challenge. I for one, if this government does not change its mind, would look forward to that challenge. Again, we have to go back to the key point: It's how fair we are to the folks throughout that region in terms of representation here in Parliament and what will happen at that point.


Let me just take a look at what the Premier was saying in northern Ontario during the last campaign. As we all know, he came out with a document, A Voice for the North. I'm sure -- as a matter of fact, I'm more than sure -- that a good number of members in this House never saw that document. It was a document directed to the north. He states right in there, "As a northerner, I know how important it is that we hear directly from you" -- the constituents. The Premier indicated that. Then he went on to say:

"The people of northern Ontario have given us a clear message: Their needs and concerns are not being met by the provincial government. They feel left out of the decision-making process. Inappropriate and unnecessary laws and regulations, designed to meet the concerns of the urban south, are being imposed on them.

"Mike Harris and the Progressive Conservative Party are prepared to act."

In essence what he has done is he has acted. He's lessened that voice, lessened that representation which he suggested we needed in the north. That was the Premier speaking in his own document. I know for a fact that I can't suggest that the Premier was misleading the people of northern Ontario, but what I can say is that he seems to have had a different message up there than he had here in southern Ontario, and as has been indicated, he has possibly moved to southern Ontario even though he still represents a riding in northern Ontario.

Earlier on in question period today we found out he couldn't answer a very specific question I had that pertained to his own riding in northern Ontario. I would like to see the entourage he travels with that he has to refer a specific question regarding a hospital in his riding to the Minister of Health. I'm sure the Minister of Health would possibly be beside the Premier at all times when he's in his riding because obviously the Premier does not know what's going on in that northern riding, as he's neglected the rest of the north after indicating in A Voice for the North that he would be prepared to act in terms of hearing the concerns of northerners and in terms of effective representation there.

We heard in the Common Sense Revolution -- and we go back to this document of documents -- that representation would be changed. It was a very convenient way of doing it, just to conform to the federal riding boundaries; very simple in the minds of the electorate out there. Some say people get confused. I can say that I can go to my riding any time and people will know whether I represent them or whether the member from the next riding represents them, and they will know who their federal member is. It's very seldom that you'll find a person who doesn't know that. They may get mixed up in terms of certain issues and who to go to, but that's normally not the case. I think we in the north find that our constituents rely on a lot of our office help because they can't go down the street to a minister's office, a ministry office, to find out the answers. They look to us for what we're doing in the north and what we're all about in terms of representation.

I often like to go back to what the people in the north were actually hearing during the campaign. This is from an article in the Fort Frances Times. This is what the PC candidate was telling her constituents. I must make this very clear: She was the candidate running against Mr Hampton, who is now the leader of the NDP. "PC candidate Lynn Beyak certainly pooh-poohed that scenario in the final days of the campaign" -- we're talking about redistribution -- "claiming any talk of the ultimate demise of the Rainy River riding was `fearmongering by desperate politicians.'"

This is what your candidate was telling the folks of Rainy River. This is what she was saying during the campaign. Yes, she was looking at the document A Voice for the North. Yes, she knew that the Premier had indicated to the people of the north that they were prepared to act on things that weren't happening for northerners, but then she goes on to say, "In fact, Lynn told voters at an all-candidates meeting here that she'd fight such a suggestion tooth and nail." Where is that candidate today? I don't hear from her today, fighting such a suggestion that the Rainy River riding would be combined with the Kenora riding "tooth and nail." I ask Lynn Beyak, where is she today when the Premier has actually instituted this?

One good thing about what we're doing here, and I have to give credit to the House leaders of both opposition parties, is that we've finally got the government to agree to allow this to go out, to hear people such as Lynn Beyak. The hearings will travel to Dryden, and I am certainly going to be one to encourage the former PC candidate in the Rainy River riding to come out and fight this suggestion tooth and nail, because she promised the people of that particular riding that this would not happen.

She goes on to say that the Common Sense Revolution clearly stated that new boundaries in the province will be discussed "in direct partnership with all Ontarians." So at one time she says, "No, no, this will not happen," she will fight it tooth and nail, and then she goes on to say that it will be discussed "in direct partnership with all Ontarians."

I must say that when I listen to the members from the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce, they tell me this is truly going in the direction of less representation not only in northern Ontario, as I say, but in rural Ontario as well. I hope that when the committee actually travels to Dryden, these folks will be there, that Lynn Beyak will be there to fight, as she said, tooth and nail the demise of the Rainy River riding, as she indicated.

We talk about the responsibilities. Yes, our federal members work very hard. Yes, they do attend a good number of the events that we're at. We're there together quite often. They do quite often say that these ridings are extremely large, extremely hard to cover. I've heard that from a number of northern federal politicians. I can't believe for one moment that when the federal government decided on their boundaries, they had northern Ontario in mind, because the area we're talking about in northern Ontario is extremely large.

I was speaking to a reporter the other day. They were asking about the responsibility aspect of, "What do you, as a provincial member, do in terms of what a federal member will do acting on behalf of the constituents in that particular riding?" I said to him, "All you have to do is refer to the phone book." So that's what we did. We went and took a look in the Kenora phone book. Do you know what we found? We found that there were six pages of different provincial ministries, provincial ministries that would reflect on the provincial member. If there were problems with that ministry, problems with the people who were in those offices, they would come back to me. When we took a look at the federal end of it, we found there were two pages in the phone book. He said: "That's a good way of looking at it. You certainly are closer to the people within the riding." I agreed with him, saying, "Yes, we are." I've always said that the local town council, the local mayor or reeve, are the closest to the people, but I've also said I think we are the second closest.

Again, just by that little example, he took a look at the responsibilities that we as MPPs have in terms of education, health care, roads. We hear about our roads all the time, our local schools, our municipalities, our natural resources, environment, WCB -- I can go on and on. We, as provincial members, are not dealing with helicopters and submarines; we're dealing with meat-and-potato issues that people face every single day. It's not really an impossible challenge, but it certainly is a challenge. I've been known to rise to challenges before and I certainly look forward to rising to such a challenge. But again, it all goes back to fairness. Is this truly, truly fair to the people of rural and northern Ontario?

A map was brought to my attention just the other day. It's a map that indicates the province of Ontario and it has the regions of the province indicated on it. I took a look at this map and I couldn't believe it. This is the province of Ontario, a map used by many ministries. This happened to come from the Ministry of the Attorney General when they were taking a look at the areas.

I took a look at what they indicated as the Kenora district on this map. I followed it around, around James Bay, Hudson Bay and back down to Rainy River. Then I took a look at Lake Superior. Folks, on a normal map, Lake Superior would be five or six times the size of the area as indicated on this provincial map. Here they have it indicated as the entire region being twice the size of Lake Superior. So right there we're giving the people the wrong view in terms of anybody looking at this map: "Oh, well, the Kenora region, that's very small. Look at Lake Superior; it's maybe twice the size." It's not the case. This is just one example of how people in southern Ontario do not understand the geography and the needs of northern Ontario.


When we take a look at what we're talking about here, we're taking a look at the province as a whole, the provincial land mass. In essence, what the Premier has decided to do is to give one member out of 103 members in the Legislature one third of the provincial land mass. That doesn't make any sense to me: one third of the entire provincial land mass to one member. Again, I go back to the figure of 337,000 square kilometres, twice the size of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia put together.

I think Mike Harris is going to have to take a look at this and I sincerely hope when the committee reports back from being in Dryden, being in Sault St Marie, being in Timmins, if that's where they choose to go -- but we certainly look forward to them being in Dryden -- they take a look at whether this Mike Harris plan really parallels what the federal government did. The federal government made allowances for places such as the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, and they made those allowances when they took a look at their redistribution.

But again I go back to the actual size, the geography that we talk about. A lot of people here in the House, a lot of people in Ontario, do not realize it takes two days for a person to leave Queen's Park here and get to my riding, two full days of travelling. You can be in Florida quicker. Then when you get there, you have a land mass which this Premier plans on giving to one member out of 103, one third of the entire province. The population and the geography just do not add up to what the Premier wants to do.

I was interested in what the government House leader had to say during his opening remarks. This is of course Mr Johnson. The House leader indicated, "All regions across the province will benefit from the new plan. We recognize, however, that northern Ontario is unique. Representation is based on population and the northern Ontario ridings will have smaller populations than the ridings in southern Ontario. We recognize that situation." "We recognize the uniqueness of that situation," is what he's saying.

I just want to say in summation, because I don't intend to take much time today, that I'm interested in the comments of members from all parties on all sides of the House. So I hope the House leader was giving us a commitment when he said that he was interested in the comments of not only myself but all the members in the House.

We've heard a good number of government members themselves, some of them present here today, say they understand that there is a difference, there is a uniqueness between the large land masses and the highly populated areas, the large land masses of northern Ontario and the highly populated areas of the Golden Horseshoe. With all sincerity, I hope they pay attention to what the committee hears and think back to what I've indicated in terms of what we were hearing in the north during what Mike Harris was saying in his Common Sense Revolution. I don't think they understand that Mike Harris was giving his views to northern Ontario in a different document, in a document that I'm more than sure a good majority of the members in this House did not know anything about, a document entitled A Voice for the North.

If the members of the House would only listen not only to the MPPs who represent the north, who represent rural regions in the province, but also to what the chambers of commerce are saying and to what the mayor of Kenora and the mayor of Sioux Lookout are saying. I'm sure when they travel to Dryden, they will be hearing from these folks. It's one thing to hear them, but it's another thing to be sure to listen to them and to bring back those views to Mr Harris, who went around the north saying that we needed proper representation in the north and that previous governments weren't acting on behalf of northern Ontario and that with a Mike Harris government this would change. Unfortunately, I think if he continues on with this plan, it will certainly be a change, but a change for the worse.

In summing up, I would just like to read a letter. This is a letter written by the mayor of Sioux Lookout, Mr Hubert Morrison. I think this sums up the views of a good number of folk in the northwest, whether they be elected, part of a chamber or a constituent, the people I initially started talking about in terms of fairness. It's a letter directed to Premier Mike Harris and he says:

"Dear Mr Harris:

"As the mayor of Sioux Lookout, a small municipality in northwestern Ontario, I was appalled and dismayed to learn that your government proposes to combine the Kenora and Rainy River ridings. With a combined riding, there would be one elected representative from an area encompassing one third of Ontario's land mass. If this legislation becomes law it will effectively reduce northern Ontario's representation in the Legislature."

This is not what the mayor heard in A Voice for the North from the Premier. It's all right here, folks. This is not what the mayor was hearing when Lynn Beyak was out there saying she would fight this tooth and nail and that the other candidates were just fearmongering. That's not what the mayor heard. It goes on to say:

"During your election campaign northern Ontario was promised a greater say. Instead, we are facing a much-reduced voice in the Legislature. The suggestion that an area larger than Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick combined can be adequately represented by one individual is an insult to the residents in the north."

"An insult to the residents of the north": The mayor is feeling a little bit misled because that's not what he was hearing during the campaign, during his review of A Voice for the North.

"While there may be few people living in northern Ontario, this area does contribute a substantial amount to the coffers of the province through its natural resources. The residents of this area deserve the respect and recognition of this contribution. This can best be demonstrated by retaining or increasing the number of ridings presently in place in this area."

The mayor goes on to say that yes, there are few people living in the north, but the rest of the province has to understand the contribution, whether it be mining resources, forest resources or tourism, that this area in the north makes to the province.

I have to say, Mr Speaker -- and you may have heard it -- that I was on a local radio show here a couple of weeks ago and I was just totally disgusted when one of the callers suggested that "trees don't vote." There was one caller who just did not understand the economic spinoff that we give the province in terms of our natural resources. The mayor goes on to say:

"On behalf of the council and the residents of Sioux Lookout, I strongly recommend that both the Kenora district and the Rainy River district remain as individual ridings. This would support your promise that northern residents would have a greater say than in the past."

The mayor at the time was reading from the same document that your candidates were defending, A Voice for the North. He goes back and he asks the Premier in this letter to support that very important promise that he made to the citizens of northern Ontario that their voice would not be taken away.

I think that is a letter that reflects all of the mayors' views in northern Ontario. I hear it as I go from municipality to municipality, because they know, as the local government -- as the government, as I said, that is closer to the constituents than we are because they're the ones who sit in the coffee shop every morning to listen to the local concerns -- they know how important it is to have effective representation of areas throughout rural and northern Ontario. That is just one letter from the mayor of Sioux Lookout.

I'd just like to wrap up and say that I'm encouraged a little bit, and I go back to the fact that our government House leader and the House leader of the third party have negotiated a deal with the government House leader who, as I indicated earlier, I really don't think has an idea of what this particular piece of legislation will do. I'm encouraged by the fact that, given his comments from Hansard that I indicated during my remarks, he is looking forward to hearing with much interest the comments of all members of the House.


I'm encouraged to know that after second reading this legislation will go to committee and that the committee will travel throughout northern Ontario. My main point there is that when they go to northern Ontario I hope they are able to listen carefully to the concerns of the people in northern Ontario; listen to, as I indicated earlier, the PC candidate from Rainy River, who said she would fight this tooth and nail based on what the Premier had told her in his document A Voice for the North.

I hope they will listen carefully and bring back to people such as the Premier, the Deputy Premier, who's also a northerner, and the government House leader those very specific views they will hear not only from municipal representatives but from citizens, whether they be chamber citizens, private individuals or individuals we help through our offices on a regular basis, that they will listen to the message they are given in Dryden and ensure that what they bring back to the Premier, the Deputy Premier and the House leader is clear. I know they are looking for this information and I hope they will recognize that this was a plan that sounded very good: "fewer politicians." Even the title of the act indicating fewer politicians sounded good, in a time of restraint, to the folks of Ontario. It was something that could easily sell and it obviously sold well here in southern Ontario.

Folks, if you haven't yet read the document, A Voice for the North, I hope you would at least give us the consideration, the decency to go back and find out what your Premier told the folks in northern Ontario who were going to elect a representative, and I can't stress this enough: "As a northerner, I know how important it is that we hear directly from you." He went on to say, "Mike Harris and the Progressive Conservative Party are prepared to act" on decisions that would be made in an appropriate fashion by northerners for northerners.

I challenge all the members who have not yet seen that document to get hold of it. I've got extra copies here. If they wish, they can take a look at copies I have. Take a look at what Mike Harris, a northerner himself, was saying in terms of representation in both rural and northern Ontario and I think you'll walk away from here with a different perspective of the bill of goods we were sold in northern Ontario compared to what people in southern Ontario heard.

Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to partake in the debate here today. I just hope the government members are listening very carefully.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions or comments?

Mr Len Wood: Given the huge riding the member for Kenora has now and the fact that it's going to double in size, I recognize his concern about how democracy will be eliminated in large parts of the geographic area of Ontario when you reduce the amount of representation there. Their voice will not be heard at Queen's Park because it's physically impossible to represent some of those areas.

I don't think any Conservative, Liberal or NDP members are concerned about their own political future, but what they are speaking out about, especially the opposition party and the third party, is that democracy is being eroded by suggesting that fewer politicians can do a better job of representing their particular areas. It was never true in the past and it can never be true in the future that if you have to travel by road an initial five or six hours because your riding is being expanded, you are going to be able to do a better job of representing your area.

As I said earlier when I commented on the member for Algoma, there is a lot of anger and frustration. We've seen some of the anger and frustration and feeling last Friday and Saturday when 200,000 or 300,000 people marched down University Avenue and assembled here in front of Queen's Park to give loud voice that democracy is being eroded. When we're looking at the fewer politicians bill, it's a joke to think you're going to save a few dollars by having fewer politicians at Queen's Park but democracy is going to be lost right across the province. I'd like to congratulate the member for Kenora in standing up and demanding public hearings across the province.

Mr Tim Hudak (Niagara South): It's with some pleasure that I join the debate. I thought I would add what I am hearing in the Niagara Peninsula, in particular in the riding of Niagara South, about this issue. The previous comments from the member for Muskoka-Georgian Bay rang very true and resonate in my riding, in that the government is leading by example. If we're asking the bureaucracies and our transfer partners to do better with less, it only stands to reason that we as politicians, as the leaders at the provincial level, should likewise do better with fewer numbers.

I remember the member for Welland-Thorold commented in the Welland Tribune that Niagara would somehow be losing representation, a similar argument as that being used by my northern colleagues. It would be four and a half members, down from six, in the next election, but if you divide that four and a half into the number of new members, 103 as opposed to 130, the percentage representation is pretty well the same.

What I expect to see, if there are some showdowns in the peninsula, is a higher quality representation. To give some credit to John Maloney, the federal member in Erie riding -- it covers a larger land area than I do and perhaps the same area in the next election -- I think John does an excellent job and I disagree strongly with some of the statements across the floor because he is very close to the people and does a good job attending the same events I do. I am confident that if I am re-elected, if I choose to run again, I will try to represent that large area equally well.

Another observation, and this is for Niagara and no disrespect to the northern members because it may be a different situation up there: The people who tend to talk the most about this issue are politicians because they get excited and like to talk about what the big showdowns are going to be next time. Is it going to be Brown against Wildman or what is going to happen? And the journalists like to talk about this.

Outside of that, the majority of people knew we were going to do this. It was in the Common Sense Revolution. I believe the majority of people in Niagara South at least know why the government is doing this and fully support this leadership from the top.

Mr Michael Brown: H.L. Mencken once said, "For every complex problem, there's a simple but wrong solution." I think that is what's being pointed out here today in the Legislature by my good friend from Kenora. It was a thoughtful speech, a significant speech and a speech by a member who is held by his colleagues in the highest of esteem, a member who is known for his constituency work, a member who works as hard or harder than anybody I know, and who brings those very interests of the Kenora riding as it presently exists into the Liberal caucus and into the Legislature in a most effective way.

What Mr Miclash is saying to you is not that he's worried about Mr Miclash; he's worried that the people of a geographic area one third of the province will not be able to have their democratic rights exercised in this place on the basis of just sheer geography. It was true, I heard a member over on the other side say: "Maybe metropolitan area ridings are as difficult to represent. They have a huge diversity of views in some very small areas." The difference of course is that you can move between meetings in five minutes. Seven hundred kilometres from one end to the other: That's amazing. People are going to be denied their democratic right to be heard in an effective fashion by the legislation that's being put forward. Our argument is not that there should not be fewer politicians; our argument is that redistribution, the way it is defined in Ontario by this bill, precludes democracy.


The Deputy Speaker: Further questions or comments? If not, the member for Kenora, you have two minutes.

Mr Miclash: Let me thank the members for Cochrane North, Niagara South and Algoma-Manitoulin for their comments. I would just like to pick up on some of the things they have said.

The member for Cochrane North -- we of course are both from northern Ontario and we certainly share the same views when it comes to redistribution. When he talks about doing more for less, I think he makes a very, very good point. When you hear about the distances, you hear about the 700 kilometres from one end of the riding to the other, you can almost see this is a case where it's not going to be fair to those for whom we are trying to do more for less, to the folks we represent. Again, it sort of revolves around a matter of fairness.

I hope the member for Niagara South has read the document A Voice for the North, one that was put out particularly for northern Ontario. If he hasn't, I suggest he does, because in that document Mr Harris, the now Premier of this province, indicated that we were not getting fair representation in the north and that his government was prepared to act. As I indicated earlier, how they decided to act was to take representation out of the north, out of northern Ontario. That is not what your candidates were saying, that's not what they were selling in the last campaign. I have to emphasize that.

In wrapping up, I would just like to thank my friend from Algoma-Manitoulin for his very kind remarks. He too stated very clearly about how this is the erosion of the democratic rights of those folks who are going to be located in some of those very large land masses. I would just like to wrap up by thanking all the members for commenting on my delivery to the House.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Ed Doyle): Further debate?

Mr Len Wood: I want to add my comments today to the legislation that's before the House, Bill 81, which is the Fewer Politicians Act. I would just like to say in starting off that this is a bill that is an attack on democracy in Ontario. It's an attack on the fundamentals of democracy right across Ontario.

We've heard the previous speaker say that when the Premier, who was leader of the third party at that time, was touring northern Ontario before the election he was going to make sure there was a voice for the north, and now quite clearly he's decided it's time to remove that voice from the north. There is a lot of anger and frustration from not only the mayors and reeves but the general population out there, saying, why would a political party try to change the boundaries and make them look like the new federal boundaries are going to be without going through the Ontario election commission and have public hearings and have a good debate on how the boundaries should look and how the representation should be right across Ontario?

Because I was born and raised in southern Ontario, I know the large masses of rural southern Ontario that are going to be very difficult to represent compared to some of the areas in the high urban areas where you can basically ride a bicycle around the riding in half an hour or 20 minutes; whereas in my particular riding of Cochrane North -- and I have the good fortune of living almost within the riding. If I was to live in Hearst I'd be right in the centre of Ontario, but in Kapuskasing I have communities on both sides of that, and it takes a large amount of time. Whether it was René Piché, who was the Conservative before, or René Brunelle, who was the Conservative representing the area, I'm sure they will get the views from them, or René Fontaine, who was a Liberal, that the area was a huge area before and now by going by the new boundaries, which from what I can gather were initiated by Brian Mulroney before he left as Prime Minister and turned it over to Kim Campbell, were being discussed at that time. Then the Liberal government in Ottawa decided they would juggle around a little bit, but not that much, and ended up increasing the members' representation in Ottawa from 99 to 103. At the same time they removed one MP from northern Ontario.

In this particular legislation we see that a total of five MPPs are going to be removed from northern Ontario. That means you're going to have two representatives covering the area from North Bay to Longlac and all the way up to Hudson Bay and the James Bay coast. You're taking three huge ridings and making them into two huger ridings, and I'm only talking about that particular area.

I said earlier in my two-minute response that I don't get the feeling from talking to provincial MPPs or federal MPs throughout northern Ontario that they are concerned about their personal jobs being at stake but about the eroding of democracy. I'm glad to see that the Premier is here to listen to some of the comments when democracy is being eroded, eliminated in Ontario and you see hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets and march to try to return to democracy. The legislation we're dealing with here is an example of how much further democracy is being eliminated in Ontario, or made into a joke, where representation is going to be completely eroded and taken away.

I could go into all kinds of quotations that have shown up in all the newspapers in northern Ontario. I could start off with the town of Hearst. Jean-Marie Blier, the mayor of Hearst, is very disappointed that from one end of the new riding to the other it will be a return drive by car of about seven hours if you follow the speed limit. That's without having any meetings with either your provincial or federal member of parliament.

The two federal members, Bélair and Thalheimer, who represent that particular area now, say it's going to be physically impossible to continue to represent those large areas as they're being made larger. Imagine that from Smooth Rock Falls to North Bay is going to be called one riding, Cochrane-Timiskaming. That's an enormous amount of time spent behind the wheel and travelling.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): The riding of northeastern Ontario.

Mr Len Wood: Northeastern Ontario, exactly. Then you have from Smooth Rock Falls to Longlac. It's going to become another riding. In addition to that you're going to have Moosonee, Moose Factory, Attawapiskat, Fort Albany, Kashechewan, Peawanuck and Ogoki as well as Conscious Lake and Newpost, all in this trying to represent remote areas as well as the large land masses. Just because there is less population in northern Ontario, that does not mean we shouldn't have some type of democracy. What we're leading to is a detrimental situation.

You hear people campaigning and saying, "The previous government over the last 10 years, whether it was NDP or Liberal, was not speaking for the north and not representing the north; we're going to have a voice for the north." Now you find out that you have more potholes and it's hard to travel on the roads -- the roads are not plowed properly in the wintertime, so you're stranded for two or three days at a time. At the same time we're going to have fewer MPPs representing the particular area.

It's kind of ironic that if we go back to 1991 and 1992, when some of these discussions were taking place, Noble Villeneuve, Mike Harris, Margaret Marland and a number of these people, the now health minister, were saying there should be more representation in Ontario. Now, as a result of a silly document that was brought forward -- I call it the NonSense Revolution -- based on the American style of doing things, they're going to reduce the amount of it. It's sad and it's very frustrating for the people all across the province, especially in rural Ontario and northern Ontario.


The mayor in the town of Cochrane, Mayor Hughes -- and I'm sure Premier Mike Harris is well aware of the name --

Mr Miclash: He paid $150 for a fund-raiser?

Mr Len Wood: Yes. From the mayor of Cochrane, and it's a quote in the Timmins press: "It's a slap in the face for northern Ontario to think that the Premier would even do that. Representation based on population is not realistic for the north, which, despite having a small population, represents four fifths of the geographical land mass of Ontario." Yet we're seeing that the present Tory government is going to continue to ram ahead with their legislation and it's a joke, the title that they call it, "fewer politicians."

I attended a meeting in Cochrane last Saturday, the OMA meeting, and this topic came up. There wasn't a single person in the room, representing all of the areas from Timmins, Cochrane, Smooth Rock Falls, Moonbeam, Kapuskasing, Hearst, Opasatika -- all of these communities were very much opposed to that. They're saying, "If this happens, does that mean we're going to have large geographic areas amalgamated and democracy is going to disappear within municipal politics?" I said, "That's exactly the way we're heading." This government at Queen's Park does not believe in government. It believes in eliminating most of the government administration that we have out there. One way of doing it is to eliminate the democracy that we see out there.

There have been a fair number of other speakers who have gone on the record prior to me, making comments very similar to the comments we're hearing out there, and many northerners have expressed a concern about the treatment that the region has received from the new Tory regime. Now this government is supposed to be doing something about it, the government is going to make sure that there will be five fewer ridings at Queen's Park.

This is not what was promised during the election campaign. In the election campaign, we saw all kinds of pamphlets being passed around. As a matter of fact, I can recall the now Premier Mike Harris was in Kapuskasing twice. "Not one penny is going to be taken out of health care," and yet now we find out they're going to close 30 beds in the hospital in Kapuskasing, they're going to close 18 in Hearst, they're going to close 10 in Smooth Rock Falls, and probably another 15 or 20 in Cochrane. So you're talking about 100 beds that are being taken out of there. That's in addition to the five politicians that they're going to take out of northern Ontario.

There's no guarantee that any of this money is going to come back or stay within the riding. There are going to be thousands of nurses thrown out of work throughout the province and probably a few hundred of them are going to be within Cochrane North and Cochrane South and the new riding that will be Timmins-James Bay or the other riding that is going to be Cochrane-Timiskaming. All of the health care system is under attack. But in the spring of 1995 when the election campaign was on: "Not a penny is going to come out of it. Not a penny is going to come out of health care."

When we're talking about the present Bill 81 being here, that's only part of the broken promises that people are aware of that is happening out there. They probably never would have ended up with a majority government in Ontario had they known they were going to destroy education in Ontario, destroy the health care system and reduce the amount of representation there is at Queen's Park, because the saving is very little.

By reducing 27 politicians, you're going to save, from their figures, about $11 million. The member for Algoma earlier talked about a referendum. If you were to go out and see what the people in the province of Ontario want, a referendum in Ontario costs about $40 million. With the technology they have now, you could probably do it for, according to his figures, about $23 million. But still, a referendum is double the cost of what you're saving in eliminating the democracy system in Ontario.

I'll go back quite clearly to the frustration and the anger that is building up throughout all of Ontario, as we've seen from the march. There are different arguments over the numbers of people who were there, but any time that there are 100,000 or 150,000 or 200,000 or whatever it is marching with their feet and showing that they want democracy to come back in Ontario, they want democracy there. They do not want the attitude that they've seen over the last 16 months. We've never seen those types of demonstrations in Ontario and still the government in power not listen.

The Premier makes all kinds of jokes about various ethnic groups out there, because I know the discussion took place in question period today that he doesn't take it seriously.

Back in 1992 -- and I was sitting here in government -- the Harris Conservatives introduced a resolution asking for a limit to the geographic area of ridings in Ontario. They had argued that it was necessary to reflect the special circumstances and requirements of representation between rural and urban electoral districts. This is 1992 when they brought a resolution to the floor. There were 16 members in the third party at that time. What they were arguing for then is completely contrary to what they are saying they're going to do now. The thanks that they give for being elected as a majority government is saying: "Don't pay any attention. What we said in 1991 or 1992 or 1993 doesn't hold any water. It doesn't count, because now we have a majority government and we can do whatever we want. We don't have to consult with anybody, and we'll just ram through the legislation" -- the same as they did with Bill 26, the bully bill. From what they're saying now in 1996, it's quite obvious that they are creating constituencies that are larger than over 60 countries and 45 of the 50 US states. Cochrane North is being basically doubled in size, and the other one, Timiskaming, is going to be basically doubled in size.

People in the north right now, and I'm sure they're saying the same thing in rural and southern Ontario, are saying: "Just because they have a majority government, do they have to penalize all of the people to fulfil their political agenda? Isn't there any heart or aren't there any feelings in this government at all?" My argument is that quite clearly, until such time that there is a province-wide strike and the complete province is shut down and people show more anger than what they've shown so far, this government is not going to listen.

We know that in Alberta, Ralph Klein had no choice. He had to blink.

They blinked when the doctors took them on. They offered them a 7.5% increase and now that's been rejected.

Mr Bisson: What about the lawyers?

Mr Len Wood: They blinked when the lawyers took them on, when the lawyers wanted more money. But the ordinary working people and the people I represent in Cochrane North are not being listened to, as most of the people throughout the province of Ontario aren't.

How can you say that you're going to have a good health care system and you're not going to cut one penny out of health care and yet, throughout my riding, we see that there is going to be 100 hospital beds closed? There are going to be nurses laid off. There are going to be lab technicians laid off.

We already see that MTO is contracting out. They've moved the OPP headquarters to Burk's Falls, close to North Bay. Why? Why move a nice modern office out of northern Ontario and into very close to the Premier's own riding? It doesn't make any sense to a lot of the people up in the north.


The northern constituents, the northern families up there depend on the members speaking up in the Legislature and presenting their concerns, and they know how the Legislature can affect their daily lives, whether it be health care or education. If I look at my mother-in-law, who's 81 years old, never did she expect that she was going to be attacked by Mike Harris and his Conservatives as far as prescription drugs were concerned. She's been receiving that since 1965. Now they're saying: "We need this money. You're going to have to contribute. Even though you're only getting old age pension, you're going to have to contribute your share so that we can give this 30% tax break to the wealthy people in the province of Ontario, the upper-income people." That's what this is all about.

Sure, everybody agrees that somewhere along the line the deficit has to be brought down to zero and the debt has to be paid off and the books have to be balanced, but at the same time there's a promise of $6 billion per year going back to the wealthiest people in Ontario. To do that, they're cutting deeper. Maybe if they hadn't made that silly campaign promise to give a tax break of 30% to the wealthiest people in this province, to the bank managers and the bank executives and the corporation executives who are making big money, they wouldn't have had to cut 27 politicians. Maybe they would have only had to redistribute to the point where there was going to be fair representation and democracy was going to be respected in Ontario.

But right now, because of all of the silly promises that have been made -- and I might point out that my constituents are saying to me, "That's not what they promised during the election campaign," whether it be health care cuts or education cuts or making ridings larger, because at that time we didn't know what the final result of the federal redistribution of the boundaries was going to be. It's making it very difficult for people to represent their areas.

I pointed out before that I personally was working in Spruce Falls, in the paper mill. I was happy there and could have gone back to work in there, but with representation being reduced now and democracy under attack by the present government over the last 16 months, I felt that it's very important that we stick around and fight for what is right for the people of the province, making sure that they get proper representation at Queen's Park and that we are able to represent that area.

I go back to the fact that the two members who represent my particular area and the area of Cochrane South, both Peter Thalheimer and Réginald Bélair, are saying that it's going to be very difficult or almost impossible to represent their area in Ottawa. So you can imagine, with all of the issues provincial members of Parliament have to deal with, how difficult it's going to be.

For example, when you look at our ridings -- and I'll talk about the hundreds of miles from North Bay to Longlac and all the way up the Hudson Bay coast and James Bay coast and representing all of the native communities -- one of these two ridings is larger than countries like Italy, Spain and Germany. There doesn't seem to be any understanding whatsoever that it's physically impossible to represent these particular areas. It can't be done at the federal level, and democracy will be eliminated at the provincial level when the provincial member of Parliament is not going to be able to get around.

Sure, people say, "Well, you have a toll-free number going into your riding," but it's not the same as seeing people face to face. I have four different languages in the riding: Ojibway, Cree, French and English. People do want to see the member or at least one of his staff to speak face to face. As far as I'm concerned, the name of the legislation, less politicians, is an insult to rural southern Ontario and also to northern Ontario and the large rural areas. It's going to be very difficult to do this.

I point out that this was not what the people heard during the election campaign. Mike Harris was going through northern Ontario saying, "I'll be the voice for the north." Now we find out that not only education and health care are under attack, but the road systems are under attack.

They've asked for a little bit of pavement between Fauquier and Smooth Rock Falls to pave the shoulders of the road so that when a transport is pushing you from behind and wanting to get by, you can pull over on to the side and let the transports pass if they don't want to follow the speed limit. There are a lot of people who want to follow the speed limit. The word back from MTO is: "We know the NDP promised they were going to do this in 1995 and we were going to do it in 1995. We've put a freeze on all spending in 1996. We only let the contracts go in July." Now we find out that neither the Minister of Northern Development and Mines nor the Minister of Transportation is going to spend the money in 1997 that was committed to that particular road in 1995. So we've seen very little spent in 1995, very little spent in 1996, and now all of the passing lanes are being cancelled in that particular area. Why? We don't know. I believe in safety on the roads, and they're saying, "Why does Mike Harris not believe in safety on the roads?"

If this was the plan over the last 10 or 15 years, to put passing lanes in there, why now all of a sudden, for the sake of saving a few dollars to give back to the wealthiest people in Ontario, would they disregard safety? Why would they continue to cut health care? Why would they continue to cut education and increase the classrooms? Why would they take the transfer payments away from the municipalities in northern Ontario?

Every politician who's ever come from northern Ontario has been able to convince Queen's Park that northern Ontario is different. The winters are longer. There are extreme conditions up there. The water and sewer systems don't last as long; the roads don't last as long. They are different and it costs more money to maintain these communities with less resources.

Now all of a sudden we find out that there is no voice at Queen's Park as far as the Conservative government is concerned. They're saying, "We were elected in 1995. We've got 82 members at Queen's Park and we're not going to listen to anybody else in Ontario," even if there are 200,000 or 300,000 people who are marching and asking Mike to please bring back democracy in Ontario. We had democracy for 100 years. In the last 16 months, where has democracy disappeared to? They're speaking loud and clear, and I'm sure in the next march you'll see a million or a million and a half people out there in opposition, because people are fed up when democracy is being taken away from them, and that's exactly what the feeling is in this province.


The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr Len Wood: I know that some of the members across the way don't like to hear that we might have a government here that is not listening to the people in Ontario. They're going on their own contrary way and saying, "Sure, during the election campaign we promised there would be a voice for the people of Ontario and there would be a special voice for northern Ontario." But when the results of the election came in, of 15 seats in northern Ontario, eight went to the NDP, six went to the Liberals and -- guess what? -- one went to Mike Harris: Nipissing. He's got one seat out of 15.

A lot of the people in the area are saying, "Is this retaliation?" I say I don't believe that Mike Harris would retaliate in that manner by eliminating the 15 people who are representing northern Ontario and reducing them, but people are saying that. People are speaking loud and clear and they're very upset with what is happening. There is anger.


To some of the comments that people have said, I've said, "Look, don't make those comments because there might be a policeman around," and this and that, but there is anger and frustration and it's serious as far as I'm concerned. I don't like to hear those comments being made, because we know things do happen, but there is anger and frustration. We saw it demonstrated last Friday and Saturday in Toronto, we've seen it in four other cities right across the province, and it's going to happen in other cities as the Conservative government, as we see, is not listening to us.

With that, I've basically said what I wanted to put on the record. I'm hoping that when the general government committee or whichever committee is going to deal with this piece of legislation travels through northern Ontario, when the presentations are being made and there are suggestions and ideas of how this bill is silly and there should be a reworking of the boundaries -- maybe we need less politicians, nobody's arguing that, but the way it is being done is very unfair to the people of northern Ontario, and I might point out, to rural Ontario.

I understand public hearings are going to take place. I hope it's not like Bill 26. I hope that they listen and that they listen to any amendments that might come forward from the third party. My good leader, Howard Hampton, I'm sure is going to be participating in those hearings and making sure that democracy is brought back to Ontario, either now or when he becomes Premier after the next election.

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I want to respond briefly, if I might, to the member's statements, and to complete and perhaps correct the record on some of the things the member has put on the record. I'm sure he'll be embarrassed when he understands the facts of the case.

I heard the member talk at great length that here was a government that is doing something different than what it campaigned on. Very precisely in the Common Sense Revolution it indicated that we would be paralleling the federal boundaries and reducing the number of provincial members. So we are doing exactly what we said we were going to do. Let's be clear about that.

Second, I heard the member talk about A Voice for the North. A Voice for the North didn't refer to more members. We clearly said there'd be fewer elected members, but there'd be fewer need for them actually because what we said was less decision-making by Queen's Park, less decision-making by the bureaucracy at Queen's Park, more decision-making in the hands of the locally elected people, the people who live and work in the north. We are delivering on that commitment, and for that reason we probably need less representation. We need far less of the calibre you're providing, I can tell you that.

You have sat down here and you would merrily go along with 151 members. That's what the election commission said, "Oh, 10 years later, now we'll go from 130 to 151." You are shameless in your pursuit of more politicians and big government and more money in your own pocket and less for the people.

We campaigned on A Voice for the North; we're delivering on A Voice for the North. We campaigned on paralleling the federal boundaries, fewer politicians, and we are delivering exactly on that.

I could not believe that not one of you, not you, not a member of your caucus, not a member of the provincial Liberal caucus, showed up for our northern caucus meeting. The federal Liberal members, God bless them, were there. We worked on a number of initiatives cooperatively together in a non-partisan way. You are an embarrassment to your constituents and the people of northern Ontario.

Mr Michael Brown: I'm pleased to rise and comment at least briefly on the exuberant speech by the member for Cochrane North. I also believe the Premier doth protest too loud.

It seems to me that if the Premier is serious about fewer politicians -- his idea of fewer politicians is probably one, but that's beside the point -- I think if he's looking for more cost-saving measures, and I think everyone in the province would agree with this, what you should do is also have the provincial election at the same time we have the federal election. That is the American way, and I think the people of Ontario --

Hon Mr Harris: Bring in an amendment; we'll consider it. I am ready to go to the people today. Are you ready?

Mr Michael Brown: I hope you do. Yes, we are. I think that it would be just an absolute saving of money if we could go on exactly the same day as the federal Parliament. But that is a ridiculous suggestion. I think everybody in the House would recognize that I've made that at least a little facetiously.


Mr Michael Brown: Mr Speaker?

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr Michael Brown: But I think it speaks to the fact that democracy in this province, under this government -- that made-in-Ontario solutions to Ontario problems is something they just are not interested in.

The Premier should understand as a fellow northerner that having five members represent the constituencies of the rural north is an absurdity. It is an absurdity, and the Premier should go to those hearings across the north and hear personally what those people have to say.

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): I want to congratulate the member for Cochrane North on getting to the point on a number of these issues. I would say that the member for Nipissing has succeeded yet again in missing the point.

The reality behind this bill is this: What the government is really about is about centralizing more decision-making in Toronto. It's about centralizing more decision-making in Toronto than ever before and it's about removing representation from people. It's about removing the representation that can be used to hold nameless, faceless bureaucrats accountable.

If you look at what the government is doing in terms of removing school board representation, removing municipal representation and centralizing more and more of the decision-making in Toronto, this government is creating more nameless, faceless bureaucrats than ever before. This government pretends that all the decisions can be made by those nameless, faceless bureaucrats in Toronto and that you don't need anyone here to hold those bureaucrats accountable.

The fact of the matter is, this Legislature is not about the government. This Legislature is about giving people representation. This Legislature is about holding arrogant governments accountable and it's about holding nameless, faceless bureaucrats accountable for the decisions they make. What this government is doing is taking away that representation from people in different parts of the province and adding more nameless and faceless bureaucrats than ever before. It is putting those nameless and faceless bureaucrats in a position where it will be harder to hold them accountable. That is what the Conservative government is really doing, and the member for Cochrane North is quite right to point that out.

Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Environment and Energy): I just want to speak briefly to this particular piece of legislation, because I think back to a speech which I made in 1986 in this place, prior to the last distribution. I made the suggestion: Wouldn't it be wise for the Legislature to go to the federal boundaries for 94 ridings from about 120 or 115 ridings at that time?

But you know what we did at that time? Instead of going and confining the number of ridings, making the tremendous saving in terms of having the same electoral lists, in terms of having the same riding boundaries -- I think one of the greatest advantages in this piece of legislation, quite frankly, is that it will be less confusing in the minds of the public as to which riding they are in.


I want to say that I made that suggestion back in 1986 and I am proud that this government made this a significant part of the last election platform. That was on the advertisements; that was in the Common Sense Revolution. If there is anything we can say, it is that we told everyone in Ontario we were going to do this and we're going to do it, and we're going to do it with good reason.

I represent about 107,000 people at the present time, so the new riding will not be any greater. But I want to tell the members from the north and from the other parts of the province that although I represent a large number of people, I also represent a riding which is 200 kilometres long and is not easy to cover as well, so their problems with regard to distance are not peculiar to them. They are the same as in eastern Ontario. However, you can represent 100,000 people efficiently if you're willing to work hard, and that's what you've got to do, Mister.

The Acting Speaker: Further comment or questions? Response, please.

Mr Bisson: Well, thank you very much, Speaker. It's his speech.

The Acting Speaker: No, I believe it --


The Acting Speaker: The member for Cochrane North.

Mr Len Wood: Thank you. Just to wrap up, I want to thank the member for Carleton, our NDP leader, Howard Hampton, and the member for Algoma, Mr Brown.

When I come back to the member for Nipissing, what are you going to do, Mr Premier, with the $11 million? Are you going to add further staff to your office so that you and the minister sitting behind you, the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, can make all the decisions here in Toronto? There's $11 million that you say you're going to save, but if you add on an extra 50 or 60 staff so that you can run everything from Queen's Park, it doesn't make any sense.

These are the comments. There's no doubt about it that democracy is being destroyed in this province by the Fewer Politicians Act. I am pleased that the Premier is here to listen to some of the comments. The only comment that I would make when wrapping up is that when the public hearings are taking place throughout this province, I hope you will direct your staff to listen to some of the amendments that are there and not do like the bully Bill 26 and ram everything through and say: "I have the right to dictate in this province whatever I want because I have 82 members of the Conservative caucus. This is what the people in the province of Ontario say they want done. I don't care if I didn't get any representation from northern Ontario; this is what we're going to do." I think it's very unfair if this is the attitude of the Premier in this province. With that, I would just like to wrap up.

The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?

Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): I am pleased to address three significant areas which I feel are critical in the introduction and debate of Bill 81.

Those three include that in fact Bill 81, the Fewer Politicians Act, is about a transfer of power from the balance of Ontario to Toronto, and specifically to the Premier's office. The second point is that this absolutely will mean a lesser voice for northern ridings, northern parts of Ontario and rural Ontario. The third is that it's really surprising to see that a government that should be responsible to the people of Ontario and to the future of governments, frankly, in Ontario would dare to call this bill an act regarding fewer politicians, as though that were actually a positive thing, the view of politicians and a government responsibility to change public attitude, because that in fact is the government's job. Those are the three areas that I would like to address.

First, the transfer of power: Members across the way have dared to suggest that they are leading by example in the introduction of this bill and doing what they said they were going to do. That is a farce. In fact, that is the greatest hypocrisy of the members of this House to stand and suggest that you're doing what you said you were going to do.


Mrs Pupatello: Speaker, I'd like to speak of what may be perceived by the public as hypocrisy. Is that acceptable?

The Deputy Speaker: Let's not play games. Withdraw it and that's it.

Mrs Pupatello: It's a deal, Mr Speaker.

There have been several examples of the government to date, and I always liken it to the Star Wars movies, and any young people out there in who follow the various Star -- Star Trekkie over there -- Wars movies, there was always that one character that they called Jabba the Hutt, that great big blob with that centre mouth -- the young pages know what I'm talking about -- that big mouth that just draws everything into its vortex and just keeps pulling everything from outside in. That in fact is the best image of the Harris government, because that is what they've done on innumerable occasions, so they have passed legislation so far that does exactly that.

Let me give you other examples of ministers and their policies to date, like the family support plan: closing eight regional offices across Ontario; of course, one in Windsor as well closed, one of our regional offices. And what has the Attorney General done about that? He hired more people into Toronto and in the Toronto offices. He fires the experienced people in Windsor and he hires clerks in Toronto, just drawing more of that power into the Toronto offices and away from the balance of Ontario where it would be closer to the people of Ontario.

The Premier responded to comments from the member speaking earlier from the NDP caucus and he dared to say that there would be less of a need for representation. He also dared to say that you would actually have more of a local voice. That in fact is not the case. Bill 26 greatly took away from the voice of local people.

I remember speaking to councillors in townships in Essex county regarding Bill 26 when it was being introduced and we told them then: "If the government is talking about amalgamation, you will not have a voice, you will not have a choice. If you do not want to amalgamate, you will not have an area for appeal." Don't shake your head on the other side. That is absolutely the case. Now the politicians are recognizing that they're being forced to amalgamate and there is no right of appeal for communities that do not want to be amalgamated. My town of LaSalle is one of those. They by themselves in the county of Essex would not make up the majority and if the majority should vote in favour of amalgamation, LaSalle, like it or not, will be drawn into an amalgamation process with no right of appeal. That is what this Premier speaks about. When he talks about more of a local voice, that is a joke.

Let me carry on. I'd like to specifically mention the Premier's office. We talk about leading by example. The member from Niagara speaks about how we're doing what we said we were going to do, we're leading by example. Let me show you what leading by example has meant so far. These are numbers from the Office of the Premier on estimates. The 1995-96 estimates out of the Premier's office list those expenses at $1.88 million. Let me tell you about the estimates for the 1996-97 budget. The Office of the Premier has increased its budget to $2.716 million. That, member from Niagara, is the kind of leading by example that your government is doing, not doing what you said you were going to do, but in fact increasing the staff.

I met a new driver today for the Premier. You have a new driver. This is the kind of job creation that the Harris government is about. I encourage all Ontarians who are out there looking for work today, send your résumé to the Premier's office because he's doing the hiring in Ontario. If you look at the kind of increase in the budget of the Office of the Premier, you've increased close to $800,000, and telling the rest of Ontario that you're going to cut back and lead by example is farcical. I hope that that word is acceptable.

Let me tell you too --

Mr Gerry Martiniuk (Cambridge): Can you spell it?

Mrs Pupatello: Absolutely. In fact, the reality is that you're cutting the number of MPPs and cutting the effectiveness of having representation across Ontario, only to base your centre of power in the Premier's office.

I had an opportunity to debate the minister, Dave Johnson, on this in London a couple of weeks ago and we had another of the Tory members -- Bruce Smith was there from the London area. We had a very good debate on this Bill 81. What was most striking was that Dave Johnson said at that time, "We are moving closer to one man, one voice."

Let me tell you, Ontario, nay Canada, has never been close to one man, one voice in how they choose representation, because governments have always recognized how significant a need there is for regional differences and regional representations, which is why the territories get the kind of representation they do and PEI as a province, so to liken the kind of numbers we have in Ontario with the federal numbers simply doesn't make sense. The base they use is that the dividing number is different from the number you would use in Ontario. In fact, the federal members will be increasing their number from 99 to 103, because they recognize the need for more.


I'd like to respond to the comments of our dear Minister of Agriculture, Noble Villeneuve, because he makes the point far better and more eloquently than I ever could. Minister Villeneuve said in 1985, "We do not want to see the rural part of Ontario further underrepresented." I think that's a flip-flop. The Minister of Agriculture said that in 1985. He goes on and he says, "I certainly agree with them. Rural Ontario must have more, not less, representation." Mr Minister, how could you change your mind? My, how times have changed.

Let me carry on, and I hope the people of Ontario will take me seriously. I would like nothing better than to see a litany of résumés faxed over to that Premier's office, because that's where the job creation is, that's where the power base is moving to and the Premier's office is hiring -- not to say that driver wouldn't be any good, by the way. He's a good Windsor guy who got that job as yet another driver for the Premier. Nevertheless, that's where the hiring is going on in Ontario.

Interjection: You've got Tories in Windsor?

Mrs Pupatello: Hard to believe that we've got a couple of Tories in Ontario.

Let me carry on. Let's talk about this debate I had the opportunity to have with the member Bruce Smith and the minister, the Management Board Chair, Dave Johnson. He said that members don't have to worry about the kind of representation they're going to have with fewer MPPs, and he said that was because MPPs in his government have easy access to ministers. They have a voice, they have a strong voice in their government and they have a strong link to their cabinet members and they get to influence those decisions. I have only one word to say about that. Ha. That is simply not the case.

I'd like to give you some more examples of that. Let's look at the cuts in agriculture. The Premier himself said, "No cuts to agriculture, not a single nickel." The Minister of Agriculture didn't live up to those promises, certainly not doing what you said you were going to do. Let's look at what you did do to agriculture: Every farmer in Ontario should take note that you in fact have cut $83 million from agriculture since the moment you took office. That, Minister, is a flip-flop.

Let me carry on. Eight regional offices of the Ministry of Agriculture have been closed, and you are moving to close even more. You're moving to new user fees. The deputy minister has made it clear that he's following Management Board guidelines for cost recovery. What will that mean to farmers across Ontario? It will include cost recovery for pamphlets, research papers, consultations, inspections and many other services which were previously free. You are nickel and diming them to death is what you're doing, certainly not what the Premier used to say -- not a nickel cut from agriculture. That was a joke as well.

Let me carry on. I'd like to know, if we have further or less representation in rural areas, what will the member for Chatham-Kent do? Is he going to support this bill? He's already seen what kind of influence he could possibly have had on his Minister of Agriculture. Has he been in support of the kind of changes the ministry has made in agriculture? How about our good friend from Lambton? Will he be voting in support of the bill? Surely he didn't have access to the minister. Surely he didn't tell the minister to cut $83 million from agriculture when they said they weren't going to touch agriculture. Clearly they don't have the kind of access they profess to have.

We all read about Bill Murdoch, the member for Grey-Owen Sound. He didn't know they were even closing a jail in his riding, and this member, Bruce Smith, tells me easy access to the minister, "We talk to them all the time." They closed the jail and he didn't know it. And the other day our member for Brampton South, Tony Clement, didn't realize they had let go people at the Attorney General, the courts, in his own riding of Brampton South. He was surprised. What kind of access has he had to the ministry? Big surprise to him as well. What does that mean? The members of the House currently do not have access to the ministers, do not have access to the Premier's office, do not have any influence whatsoever on the kinds of decisions that are being made, because if they are truly representing their ridings, surely they would never be in support of that, and in fact they couldn't be.

Let me carry on. The North Bay council passed a resolution against VLTs and against the VLT bill. They passed a resolution in the town of North Bay. That is the Premier's own riding. We have to be concerned that even as the representation stands today, the people of Ontario are not getting representation that is good and of high quality. Here the Premier sits at Queen's Park making decisions that his own towns in the north couldn't possibly support. Our good member for Kenora, Frank Miclash, already gave evidence of mayors who have asked him specifically not to go forward with this bill, but the mayor from Sioux Lookout sees that he cannot access information or influence the Premier's office.

Of course in this case, with this bill, the biggest hits will be in the north; there's no question about that. Why would people in the south or the east or central Ontario be all that concerned? Those of us who sit in the House with our colleagues from the north begin to understand the significant differences of living in the north and what kind of relationship clearly exists between those two, that the north does feed the balance of Ontario and that there are significant relationships there.

Let me tell you about some of those changes and differences of living in the north: Winter control costs are 23% higher in the north than in other parts of Ontario. Storm sewer costs are 46% higher. Those are the kinds of climate changes that mean higher costs for those who live in the north. Health services cost 57% more in the north. Of what relevance is this to Bill 81? Let me tell you that the representatives from the north must have clear and greater access and representation to the Minister of Health, because just as that bulldozer went roaring through Sudbury, closing hospitals, closing beds, with no regional beds set aside for the northern areas that feed into Sudbury, where are those members going to go and be represented when you're clearly cutting their numbers? Just as those of us in the south are learning how important the north is to the balance of Ontario, this government, led by a Premier who is from the north, is cutting the representation of the north.

I find it strange that they could even discuss this today when Ernie Eves himself is quoted as saying, "It goes without saying that this travel time alone would render effective representation by one MPP very difficult, if not virtually impossible." This man is the Minister of Finance. Where has he been in the interim? This wasn't all that long ago, and I'll tell you, the north hasn't changed all that dramatically since 1985. But he's certainly changed his position now. There's only one reason that's happening, and that is a transfer of power from the outer regions of Ontario to the centre, that great vortex right here at Queen's Park, so that you'll have more staff in the Premier's office, a larger executive branch of the people who actually are running the show, because the members in this House do not have influence, do not have access, cannot help the government make good decisions for the ridings they represent.

Let's talk about more health cuts. I would particularly like to have the ear of the health minister on these kinds of points. When we attended estimates on health specifically, what was most intriguing to me were the Tory MPPs who participated at the estimates committee. This was relevant because clearly it shows that the members of the government of the day themselves cannot access or influence decisions that are affecting their ridings.

Why would Wayne Wettlaufer, the member for Kitchener, come to that committee to talk about St Mary's? Why would he be public in his own area about having to save St Mary's General Hospital? He's a member of the government. He should be able to get that kind of information to a minister who would listen. In fact, the case may be that the minister himself cannot influence the decisions about what is happening in health care cuts. They said they wouldn't cut health care; they have cut health care, and they continue to cut health care because there are more cuts on the way.


In my community alone day after day there are more nurses out on the street with the argument put forward by this government that they'll simply change jobs, that they'll go work in some private firm at lesser pay. Who knows when? Because to do that the minister is on the hook to reinvest that health care money back in our community and you haven't --

Hon Mr Wilson: Jean Chrétien's the only one. Why don't you say it? Jean Chrétien. Once and for all tell you constituents what's going on.

The Deputy Speaker: The Minister of Health, order, please. The Minister of Health, there is a period that we call questions and comments, if you want to be patient and wait for that.

Mrs Pupatello: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I'm glad to see there is some kind of lively debate over this issue after all, because the reality is that when you see policy changes that negatively affect our ridings at home, we want to have a say. The people who should be the decision-makers are the MPPs themselves who were duly elected to be here, not the Premier's office, not the executive branch, not more staff people who spin the story of the day. The people who are getting jobs in Ontario are more drivers for the Premier, more people writing press releases, more communications folks, more people developing this machiavellian strategy of government, not the members themselves. In fact, we've got example after example of Tory MPPs who were ineffective in making that kind of an influence on government.

Let's look at the paper today. We spoke about this earlier. "O'Toole hints he's already had enough." What has he found in the riding of Durham East? He's found that the people of Durham East are not in keeping with his thinking. He's not enjoying this very much. He thought he was going to have a great time in government, I'm sure, being a member of the government party, being able to influence and make decisions, participate in policy-making. Ha. He hasn't got anything to do with that. The reality is he's not very happy.

He told the press in the weekend Port Perry Star. "The MPP said that virtually all the feedback coming into his Bowmanville constituency office is negative." He also said he gets "little encouragement from the people of Durham East." Did it ever occur to the member for Durham East that maybe he ought to change his tune, that maybe he should truly be coming into Queen's Park and representing the voice of the people who sent him here in the first place?

He goes on to say, "I don't know why anyone would want this job." I've got a really quick answer for the Premier. I don't know why anybody would want this job: A great way to get rid of some of the politicians you'd like to get rid of is maybe get rid of some of the ones who don't want to be here any more, and most of those are in your caucus, Mr Premier.

The final point I'd like to make concerns the very title of the bill: Fewer Politicians Act. As a new member of the House, I take great personal offence at this kind of bill and its title. To have a government -- ministers, the Premier -- dare to suggest that fewer politicians is a good thing, you are implying that those you currently have are no good.

I will put my record against the Premier's and in any other kind of occupation. It's about time that people themselves who are politicians dare to stand up and say they do work for a living, that they take pride in the work they do and they effect good representation for the ridings that sent them here. But that is not what the Premier is doing and not what the Chair of Management Board is doing either. To stand up and suggest that you're going to buy into the populist theme that politicians are no good is totally irresponsible and it behooves the minister to come forward with better legislation than that. It is totally unacceptable.

When we look at the pages who are here in the House today, young people who are active in all our riding associations across Ontario, how could you ever convince young people to go into the business of politics when you get these kinds of people, the government itself, saying that politicians are no good?


The Deputy Speaker: Order, the Minister of Agriculture.

Mrs Pupatello: I don't accept that and everywhere I go I will encourage young people to take part in this kind of career, because the job we're doing is important and I will not buy into the theory that this Premier wants to put forward, that fewer would be better, because the ones who are here who truly want to be here are doing a good job, and the rest is simply unacceptable, buying into populist themes is simply unacceptable. It doesn't behoove the Premier at all to behave in this way.

I must say, finally, that if we look at the kinds of comments that were made by now ministers, like our good Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, how you can sit here in the House today and be part of a bill that cuts agriculture, that cuts representation to rural areas when the minister himself is on record as saying that less representation is the worst thing that could happen to rural areas, is simply unforgivable. I hope the people of your riding who sent you here remember how you vote on the bill. I say that to the rest of the Conservative members: The people who sent you here expect good representation; that's exactly what you owe them and no less.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions or comments?

Mr Bisson: I get a bare two minutes to comment on a bill that is virtually going to change not only the political landscape but the relationship northerners have in regard to Queen's Park and how they interrelate as northerners with Queen's Park. Because the government wants to push this bill forward, not every member of the Legislature has an opportunity to respond.

But I want to say this: The member for Nipissing, the Premier, whom the member alluded to in her speech, has said he's doing this because he believes the best way to give representation to northern Ontario is to get rid of the politicians. I say to the Premier, why not privatize the whole thing? It seems to me that what the Premier is trying to say is that we don't need politicians, we don't need elected representatives to come to Queen's Park and represent the views of the people of the constituencies. Where do you stop? The whole purpose of a Legislature and the whole purpose of an elected member is to make sure that in the end you're able to (a) keep the government accountable --

Hon Noble Villeneuve (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, minister responsible for francophone affairs): Keep growing, yes; more and more.

Mr Bisson: Listen to the member across the way. I think the comments and the heckling on the part of the members -- Mr Speaker, it's pretty darned clear that the members of the government here have no concept of what government is about and what elected representation is all about. They sit here, have no sense of what happens in regard to --

Hon Mr Villeneuve: As a percentage we are gaining.

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. We are about to end.

Mr Bisson: Forget it. They're not going to listen. This government is prepared not to listen on this particular issue. I ain't going to waste my breath talking to a Premier and a government that don't give a damn about the people of this province and don't give a damn about the people of northern Ontario. You're a darned disgrace to the people of the north and you should be ashamed as a person out of Nipissing. What a joke.

Hon Mr Harris: I want to say that I listened to most of the remarks from the member for Windsor-Sandwich and I really am shocked at a couple of things.

Mr Bisson: Why don't you go and make disparaging comments? You're very good at that.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Cochrane South, order, please.

Hon Mr Harris: I do not know why the member for Windsor-Sandwich is so violently opposed to the boundaries the federal Liberal Party brought in and implemented and wants us to run on in the next election.

The Liberal Party of Canada -- in fact all federal parties -- has decided -- and I don't think they gerrymandered; I don't believe so. They have set 103 ridings for the province of Ontario. They have made a decision that they can work hard enough as members to represent their constituents. For some reason or other the member for Windsor-Sandwich, totally opposed to Jean Chrétien and the Liberal Party of Canada, seems to think they're wrong, that they made a huge mistake; seems to think that she can't work as hard as the federal members can. I've heard this from other members, that for some reason or other they don't think they're as good as federal members of Parliament.

Mr Bisson: Oh, Mike, you're such a joke. What an asshole. You're smug. Why don't you sit down?

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The member for Cochrane South, your conduct in this House is not acceptable. Premier.

Hon Mr Harris: I don't know whether it's some kind of inferiority complex, but I want to tell you that I believe that we as provincial legislators can do as much work as federal members of Parliament. I ask the member to go to her constituents and explain why it takes a board of directors of 130, as opposed to a board of directors of 103, to run the affairs of this province.


Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): I want to congratulate my colleague from Windsor-Sandwich for her lively and spirited speech in respect of Bill 81.

I'm pleased to have the intervention of the member for Nipissing because there are a couple of things that the member's speech, I think, touched on that I'd like to simply reiterate in the presence of the first minister.

Never before in the history of Ontario has this sovereign Legislature surrendered to the Dominion Parliament the right of this Legislature to determine the representation in this place.

Hon Mr Wilson: That's a stretch.

Mr Conway: Well, it's no stretch at all. In fact, Ontario has by this policy decided, for whatever good reason or for whatever reason, to give --

Hon Mr Wilson: You were not listening. It's a constitutional amendment.

Mr Conway: Mr Speaker, will you please restrain the Minister of Health, who may need the hospital services if he doesn't slow down.?

My point is that the Ontario government with this initiative is surrendering to the Dominion Parliament and the federal government the right for Ottawa to establish the representation in this the largest of the Canadian provinces.

Second, on the efficiency argument I might ask the first minister, the member for Nipissing, who, like the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Agriculture, had very different views when the last representation bill was before this assembly 10 years ago, but since efficiency seems to be the principal concern and less government activity and less spending on representation, my question to the member for Nipissing is this: Having accepted the federal boundaries and the Dominion Parliament's right to establish the representation in this assembly, are you prepared to let Elections Canada run our elections? Are you prepared to abolish the $3 million or $4 million a year we spend on the Ontario elections office and let federal returning officers, for example, run our elections?

Mr Wildman: I'd like to congratulate the member for Windsor-Sandwich on her presentation. I see that there are a number of members who have come into the House because we're going to have a vote and a division on this. I really do not understand how it is there can be members on the treasury bench, particularly the Premier, who are taking such a different position with regard to the protection of rural and northern representation in this particular case now in 1996 as compared to the positions they took in 1992 and 1986.

I recall that the member for Nipissing in 1992 made a speech in this House, standing in about the same place I am now, in which he said that besides population, the community of interest -- that was the term he used -- in west Nipissing should be taken into account and that it would not be a good idea simply on the basis of population to move the francophone community from west Nipissing out of that riding. He said that besides population, community of interest should be taken into account. It's interesting now that he has decided to abdicate the protection of that community of interest to his federal colleagues, and they have not properly protected it.

For that matter, the member for S-D-G & East Grenville in 1986 and then in 1992 -- in 1992 he brought forward a resolution in which he said not only should we maintain the representation of rural Ontario, we should increase the number of representatives from rural Ontario. We should increase it. How on earth can the member who now has the opportunity to do something for rural Ontario change the position he took then? Why is it he is abandoning rural Ontario? Is he going to stand up for rural Ontario? Is the Premier from northern Ontario going to stand up for the people of the north and vote against this legislation? To assume that the federal Liberals have done the right thing --

The Deputy Speaker: Time has expired. The member for Windsor-Sandwich, you have two minutes.

Mrs Pupatello: I'm so pleased that my comments today would elicit this kind of lively debate. I appreciate the member for Cochrane South, the Premier himself, the member for Renfrew North and the member for Algoma for their kind comments. In particular, I must say that of all of the things that I said today regarding Bill 81 and fewer politicians, the Premier had two minutes to respond. Did he defend cuts to agriculture? No. Did he defend cuts to health? Absolutely not. Did he defend rural representation? No. Of all the things he could choose to talk about today, based on my half-hour discussion, he couldn't defend any of the cuts, because they are true. The people of Ontario will see that. Let's give them a little bit of time.

Let's also talk about local voice. The Premier had two minutes to respond and he said, "We're going to offer more voice at a local level for the people of Ontario." Why is the government getting rid of two thirds of the local voice in Ontario? That, I'll tell you, is absolute hypocrisy and unacceptable to the people of Ontario.

Cuts to health, cuts to agriculture, cuts to representation from rural areas. I will be watching where the member for Lambton votes, where the member for Chatham-Kent votes. We'll be watching where Wayne Wettlaufer votes when he talks about having a voice for St Mary's hospital in Kitchener, because that is the reality in Ontario today. This bill should not go forward, because it's offensive.

The Deputy Speaker: Mr Johnson has moved second reading of Bill 81. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1807 to 1812.

The Deputy Speaker: Please take your seats. All those in favour of the motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.


Arnott, Ted

Gilchrist, Steve

Preston, Peter

Baird, John R.

Grimmett, Bill

Rollins, E.J. Douglas

Barrett, Toby

Hardeman, Ernie

Ross, Lillian

Beaubien, Marcel

Harnick, Charles

Runciman, Robert W.

Boushy, Dave

Harris, Michael D.

Sampson, Rob

Brown, Jim

Hastings, John

Saunderson, William

Carr, Gary

Hodgson, Chris

Shea, Derwyn

Carroll, Jack

Hudak, Tim

Sheehan, Frank

Chudleigh, Ted

Jackson, Cameron

Skarica, Toni

Clement, Tony

Johnson, David

Smith, Bruce

Cunningham, Dianne

Johnson, Ron

Snobelen, John

Danford, Harry

Jordan, W. Leo

Spina, Joseph

DeFaria, Carl

Kells, Morley

Sterling, Norman W.

Doyle, Ed

Leadston, Gary L.

Tascona, Joseph N.

Ecker, Janet

Martiniuk, Gerry

Tilson, David

Elliott, Brenda

Maves, Bart

Turnbull, David

Eves, Ernie L.

Munro, Julia

Villeneuve, Noble

Fisher, Barbara

Mushinski, Marilyn

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Flaherty, Jim

Newman, Dan

Wilson, Jim

Ford, Douglas B.

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Witmer, Elizabeth

Fox, Gary

Palladini, Al

Wood, Bob

Froese, Tom

Parker, John L.

Young, Terence H.

Galt, DougPettit, Trevor

The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.


Agostino, Dominic

Curling, Alvin

McGuinty, Dalton

Bartolucci, Rick

Duncan, Dwight

McLeod, Lyn

Bisson, Gilles

Gerretsen, John

Miclash, Frank

Bradley, James J.

Grandmaître, Bernard

Phillips, Gerry

Brown, Michael A.

Gravelle, Michael

Pupatello, Sandra

Churley, Marilyn

Hampton, Howard

Ruprecht, Tony

Cleary, John C.

Kennedy, Gerard

Sergio, Mario

Colle, Mike

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Silipo, Tony

Conway, Sean G.

Marchese, Rosario

Wildman, Bud

Crozier, Bruce

Martin, Tony

Wood, Len

Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 68, the nays are 30.

The Deputy Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Shall the bill be ordered for third reading?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet and Government House Leader): By unanimous consent, the bill should be referred to the standing committee on general government.

The Deputy Speaker: It being past 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

The House adjourned at 1817.