36th Parliament, 1st Session

L145 - Wed 15 Jan 1997 / Mer 15 Jan 1997

















































The House met at 1330.




Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): I'm angry and upset at the announcement made today by the Minister of Transportation in which he says that municipalities should assume full responsibility for operating and financing of ferry services that link local or county roads. He states, as a matter of fact, that the ferries that will no longer receive provincial funding include the two serving Howe Island and those serving Amherst, Wolfe and Pelee islands.

In my case, that means that on Amherst Island, which collects $168,000 of taxes per year, taxes would have to increase fivefold. Wolfe Island, which collects $370,000 per year, would have to increase eightfold, and the same thing with Howe Island, which only collects $80,000 per year. It would have to raise its taxes by eightfold as well. These are communities that have anywhere from 250 to 1,200 full-time residents who operate farms and small businesses and ferries are the sole transportation and lifelines to the mainland.

As the township of Amherst Island has stated, a decision to eliminate subsidies to ferries that connect local or county roads would signal the death of the island community that was incorporated in 1860 and has existed for over 200 years as have all the three communities. As a matter of fact, during the last election campaign Mike Harris campaigned on a promise that he would never, never impose ferry fees on Wolfe Island. He stated so on a billboard. Not only has he broken that promise but he has in effect been saying that it's no longer the province's responsibility. This is callous, reprehensible and violates the trust that he has with the people --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you very much.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): On Friday, January 10, over 200,000 Muslims in Ontario started observing the holy month of Ramadan. During this month, which falls in the year 1417 of the Muslim calendar, Muslim Canadians will be fasting from dawn to dusk, abstaining from all food and drink. On behalf of the NDP, I wish the Muslim community a happy Ramadan and hope that this exercise in physical and spiritual self-discipline and self-restraint bears fruit.

One of the reasons our Muslim community goes through this exercise of restraint and sacrifice is to empathize with the hunger and poverty of hundreds of millions of people around the world who barely exist on one square meal a day. This poverty and hunger is now creeping into Canada and Ontario. With an increasing number of children going hungry to school and the rise of homeless people this winter, all Ontarians should join the Muslim community in bringing the issue of hunger and poverty to the forefront.

Prophet Muhammad of Islam told a gathering of Muslims in the city of Medina a day before the advent of the holy month, "Ramadan is a month of showing patience and sharing the pain and grief of fellow human beings." These words are relevant to this day. We all need to join our fellow Muslim Canadians in sharing and building a society where hunger and poverty would be eliminated. Again, to all Muslim Canadians, on behalf of the NDP, I wish you happy Ramadan and look forward to a joyous Eed Ul Fitar next month.


Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): I rise this afternoon to recognize the three hospitals in Wellington as they actively work to reduce their costs while maintaining important primary care services in their communities.

The Louise Marshall Hospital in Mount Forest and the Palmerston and District Hospital have formed a strategic alliance to bring together their administration services. By April 1, when these services have been merged, they anticipate savings of $300,000. Groves Memorial Community Hospital in Fergus recently announced a restructuring committee studying the future role of the hospital. The committee plans to consult with the community it serves to determine which hospital services are necessary priorities for the future. The completion date for this project is set for June 1997.

I want to commend the boards and the staffs of the hospitals in Wellington. They deserve a great deal of credit for working towards solutions.

In its efforts to deliver quality health care at the most reasonable cost, the provincial government must consider the different needs of urban and rural areas. Rural hospitals are often the only health care facilities locally available to people in small communities, often some considerable distance from larger urban centres. People in Wellington need access to primary care within reasonable driving distance. This is especially true in winter, when blizzards in our area as recently as last year isolated some communities for two whole days.

While models of community-based care are well-suited to urban areas, in rural areas, because of large distances, it's often more cost-efficient to deliver services in local hospitals. I support the Minister of Health as he proceeds with the reform of the health care system, and I encourage him to take into account the vital importance of Wellington's three hospitals to the health care needs of the people --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you very much.


Mr Michael Gravelle (Port Arthur): To say that this has been a frightening week for the people of Ontario is a massive understatement. Yesterday the Minister of Community and Social Services dumped on our municipalities responsibilities to fund welfare, long-term care, public health, child care and even ground ambulance service. Many of our northern communities are also now being told they must pay for their policing.

When one matches this with the removal of education from our property taxes, the Minister of Municipal Affairs says it will be revenue-neutral or a wash. It's hogwash. He knows it and the government knows it.

Even a preliminary estimate in my community of Thunder Bay shows that these announcements only as of yesterday constitute a massive dumping or downloading to our municipalities which will leave our city with a huge budget shortfall. God knows what it will mean for many other smaller northern communities.

What will we hear today? The Minister of Culture will tell the Legislature that all provincial funding for the operation of our libraries is gone, another dump on the municipalities. She'll mention library boards, which sounds good and protective, but to what end? All our municipalities are going to be forced into a position where they will have to set priorities: either massively increase property taxes or decrease or completely drop services. Libraries will now be competing with a variety of other incredibly important services.

Today I have in the gallery the executive of the Ontario Library Association: the executive director, the president and the past president. I call on the Minister of Culture today to meet with that executive of the Ontario Library Association this afternoon, after she makes her statement, after question period. Minister, will you meet with the Ontario Library Association?


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): This government continues to cut and slash without restraint and with a viciousness and a violence that's unprecedented and with no regard for the damage that it leaves in its wake.

Today we learn that this government doesn't care about public transit here in the province of Ontario, either in Toronto or in communities like Welland and so many others across Ontario. Let me tell you that the people of Welland, over the course of years, have built a public transit system because they recognize that's important for young people to get around within their community, it's important for seniors because it gives mobility to seniors who use public transit in Welland, and I tell you it's important to the poor.

It's also significant for those who recognize that public transit is environmentally and economically superior when you're travelling about your city. This government is intent on destroying Welland Transit, as it's intent on destroying public transportation in every community across this province.

Let me tell you something: The people of Welland-Thorold won't tolerate these attacks of today, of yesterday or of the day before. The people of Welland-Thorold, and I'm convinced the people across this province, are going to put an end to the violence because they're going to resist with as much effort and as much strength as this government has been attacking them and their institutions with.

Public transit is important to the people of Ontario; it's important to the people of Welland. This government has no regard for public transit and is intent on destroying --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you.



Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): On Saturday, January 11, the Minister of Education and Training and I had the honour of attending a centennial celebration at the Dr M.S. Hawkins Senior Public School in Port Hope, which was chaired by the principal, Ms M. Cameron.

The school honoured the occasion with an excellent dramatic production conceived and directed by special education teacher John Hayden. The production was supported by the community with donations of time, talent and materials. It was a fitting tribute to the school's longevity and to the school's graduates. These include Port Hope's current mayor, Ron Smith; CBC reporter Susan Reisler; and Durham region medical officer of health Dr Robert Kyle.

Indeed, when the first flickering lamp of learning began shining at Dr Hawkins exactly 100 years ago, it could scarcely have been imagined what a success the school and many of its graduates would be. That flame has only grown brighter over the years. It is my sincere hope that the beacon of learning that is Dr M.S. Hawkins school will continue to illuminate the lives of Port Hope students for generations to come.


Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): I have one question to the government: When is a tax cut not a tax cut? Even your friends in the Canadian Taxpayers Federation today said that you're dumping on to residential property taxpayers in this province a burden of services that the property tax base cannot afford. Ambulance services: Dump it. Public health: Dump it. Assistance to the poor: Dump it. Child care: Dump it. Public transit: Dump it. Health care for seniors: Dump it.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, your friends, are upset with your government because they know you're playing a shell game with property taxpayers. They know, as Duncan Sinclair, the head of the restructuring commission, says, that your dumping plan is stupid. Those are his words.

The Harris dump on residential property taxpayers right across Ontario will come back to haunt you, because what you're doing is passing costs on to the people of this province and on to residential property taxes that the property tax base can't pay for. You're raising taxes. A government that said it would cut taxes is shifting the burden. You will not cut property taxes; you'll raise them. Property taxpayers in every community in this province are going to get a big bill, and you're going to get a big rejection in 1999.


Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): It's actually with some sadness, and some anger as well, that I rise today to inform the House about a decision of the federal Liberal government which compounds a mistake made by this provincial Tory government with respect to a project in the city of Toronto which is commonly called the western beaches tunnel.

Although there's been no public announcement yet -- and I'm sure at some point there will be a sign and a sod-turning and all sorts of celebratory goings-on by members of the provincial and federal governments -- I have been informed by sources within the federal government that the federal Liberals have now approved this western beaches tunnel to proceed under the Canada-Ontario infrastructure works program despite overwhelming and clear community opposition.

The first phase of this tunnel, which is going to be a waste of $60 million of taxpayers' money, is going to take combined sewer overflow and sludge and bring it to as far as Strachan Avenue and dump it out into Ontario Place, jeopardizing that whole area.

I have said from day one that I support absolutely the need to clean up the western beaches, and there are environmentally friendly and less costly ways to do that.

But the eventuality of this project to bring all of that sludge to Ashbridges Bay sewage treatment plant absolutely jeopardizes the environmental assessment in which we say no to incineration. I only wish the provincial and federal governments agreed.


Mr Jim Brown (Scarborough West): It is with pleasure that I rise in the House today on behalf of the government of Ontario to call to the attention of all members that Friday, January 10, marked the beginning of the annual Muslim fasting period of Ramadan.

Lasting for several weeks, Ramadan is a very spiritual time for the world's more than 500 million Muslims. Together with the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, Muslims take the opportunity during Ramadan to retreat to the desert to struggle against sin and experience the calming, transforming power of prayer and fasting. Muslims fast until sundown, pray five times a day facing Mecca and drink to the fullest possible measure from the spiritual fountain of the Koran.

What I have always found most inspiring about the Muslim religion is its use of the prayer beads, something which we Irish also do. The Muslim tasbee contains 99 names of God. At the end, it is said that the 100th name is unknown to all but Allah, but Allah will reveal it to His servant.

I wish all Muslims, especially members of the Muslim community of Ontario, the kind of rich spiritual experience during this holy month of Ramadan so as to, at the end of it, hear that 100th name in their minds and hearts, just as the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, did centuries ago. Salaam Alekum.



Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): It will be my pleasure later today to introduce in the Legislature a bill to amend the Provincial Offences Act which will eliminate waste and duplication and will consolidate the administration of provincial offences, primarily ticketing offences, at one level of government.

As my colleague the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing said on Monday, one of the goals of this government is to ensure the best service delivery by reducing waste, duplication and the overall cost to the same taxpayer, who pays the bill.

We know from the province's experience three years ago in transferring parking tickets to municipalities that there are a number of benefits to be gained by involving local communities more directly in the justice system. Ninety-five per cent of parking tickets are now being handled by municipalities. This has resulted in a more efficient and cost-effective system. We are expanding on this proven initiative by transferring to the municipal sector administrative and limited prosecutorial responsibilities for minor regulatory offences and the associated revenue.

As David Crombie noted in his letter of endorsement for this initiative, we have worked closely with the municipal sector on the transferring of responsibilities and have been pleased by their keen participation in this project to date. We look forward to building on this mutually beneficial relationship as we create the provincial-municipal partnerships necessary to provide a smooth transition over the next two years.


Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Environment and Energy): Later today I will introduce for first reading the Water and Sewage Services Improvement Act. Through this legislation we will be transferring ownership of provincially owned water and sewage treatment plants to municipalities. Municipalities already own 75% of water and sewage works in this province. We are turning over the remaining 25% in full confidence that they are best qualified to provide first-class service to their communities.

The amended legislation will also formalize municipal responsibility for septic system inspections and approval as of October 1, 1997. Direct service will be designated to the municipalities, as they have the ability to provide one-stop approvals for service to their taxpayers. We are restructuring these services to improve the way they are delivered so that the taxpayer receives value: the best possible service with optimal efficiency and least cost.

The quality of our water is not negotiable. When we turn on taps, we expect clear, drinkable and safe water. As Minister of Environment and Energy, I am committed to ensuring that Ontario's high standards of environmental protection are maintained and, wherever possible, improved upon.

Clarifying the roles of provincial and municipal governments in water and sewage services will result in increased accountability and a better deal for the taxpayer.



Hon Marilyn Mushinski (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): I am pleased to announce this afternoon that I will be introducing the Local Control of Public Libraries Act, 1997. Ontario's libraries have served the province very well over the last 100 years. The new library framework, comprised of changes to the Public Libraries Act and new regulation under the Municipal Act, guarantees free access to libraries, free use of materials in libraries, free borrowing of printed materials by residents and free borrowing of special-format materials for residents with disabilities.

As my colleague Minister Leach stated on Monday, our goal is to eliminate duplication of municipal-provincial services, to reduce costs and to remove barriers. These were also the goals of the Who Does What panel which Mr Crombie chaired. I am very pleased that the Local Control of Public Libraries Act achieves these goals. Under the new act, municipalities will have full authority to provide and effectively manage library services. This will both improve the delivery of library services to the people of Ontario and lower the cost of this service, because local officials know what is best for their communities.

The province will continue to support the library system through partnerships, policy and funding of the province-wide network of shared resources, cooperative services and telecommunications links that connect Ontario's public libraries to each other and to global information networks.

We want to ensure that our libraries continue to evolve and to maintain their position at the forefront of the information revolution. Our libraries play an indispensable role in the education of people of all ages and abilities, and they make a significant contribution to the well-educated workforce, which is one of Ontario's greatest economic strengths. This act will strengthen and safeguard our library system and will help ensure that Ontario's libraries continue to play a central role in the lives of Ontarians.

Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): It's going to cripple them, Marilyn. Get with it. Smarten up. What a dumb and stupid thing to say.

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I would ask you to ask the member for Welland-Thorold to withdraw his comment about the minister's statement and the minister.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Member for Mississauga South, I need to know what it is you're asking the member to withdraw. Since I didn't hear it -- it's got to be on the record.

Mrs Marland: I don't believe the derogatory term "dumb" is parliamentary language.

The Speaker: I didn't hear how he used it or the context etc. I will give the member for Welland-Thorold an opportunity, if he wants to withdraw "dumb."

Mr Kormos: I withdraw, and I maintain "stupid."

The Speaker: Ministry statements?


Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): I rise today to tell the House how the government is eliminating duplication --

Interjection: I like the suit, Al -- a three-piece suit.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Okay, the wardrobe jokes are finished. Minister of Transportation.

Hon Mr Palladini: I rise today to tell the House how the government is eliminating duplication in the delivery of local transportation services. As a result, taxpayers will get better services at lower costs.

By this time next year, municipalities will fully fund municipal transit and municipal airports. They will also be responsible for GO Transit and those highways and ferries that clearly serve a local need. These changes will give municipalities more freedom to manage, fund and coordinate local transportation services. From now on, municipalities will be able to deliver local transportation services without the interference of the province and without having to seek our permission.

I want to assure the people who use these services that these changes will take place in an orderly fashion. We are giving municipalities ample time to prepare for these changes, and the province will continue to fund our current commitments, such as the TTC five-year capital plan and the Sheppard subway.

The province will maintain the provincial highway network, highways in sparsely populated areas and remote airports in northern Ontario. We have also asked Milt Farrow to include GO Transit as part of his broader review of a Greater Toronto Services Board. In his review he will give full consideration to the importance of cross-town boundary GO service. This change in responsibility is part of our plan to take education off the property tax. This in turn will provide better services at a lower cost to taxpayers.

We are confident that this will make it easier for local governments to serve the needs of their community. Finally the citizens of Ontario will know who moves what.

The Speaker: Responses? Leader of the official opposition.

Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, I'm sure you've had the opportunity -- we all have -- to observe a skilled magician at work. You'll notice that with one hand he'll make broad, sweeping, grandiose gestures. The purpose of that, of course, is to divert our attention from what the other hand is doing, and we all know how important it is to keep our eye on that other hand.

Let me tell you about Mike the Magician. With one hand he's making sweeping change in terms of who's going to pay for things now in Ontario. He's making a grand switch.


The Speaker: I appreciate the fact that the ministry statements are over, but it's now time for responses, and the government side, if you would come to order, it makes it easier to hear. Leader of the official opposition.

Mr McGuinty: Mike the Magician is making a grand switch. He's going to trade education; the province of Ontario is now going to assume complete responsibility for funding education. On the other hand, he's going to deliver to municipalities the responsibility for health care and ambulances, welfare, public housing, day care, public transit and a host of other responsibilities.

The hand that's doing the switching is moving very quickly. In fact we are here today, in an unprecedented fashion at this time of the year, to deal with these matters and we cannot possibly do them justice, given the breadth of the change that's being imposed upon the people of this province by the bills that are being introduced this week.

To divert us further from what's really going on, we've got some background music. We've got close to $3 million in an advertising campaign to lull us. The purpose of that propaganda is to lull us into believing that all is well in Ontario and that things are only going to get better.

We've all seen Mike Harris on TV beckoning us to come with him into the future. I know where he's going, I don't want to go there with him and I don't believe the people of this province want to go there either.

Let's take a look at the other hand, because Ontarians know about the other hand, and that's the one we've got to watch. Do you know what that hand is doing? It's quietly hiking our property taxes. It's not cutting them, it's hiking them. Mike the Taxfighter has become Mike the Taxhider. He's hiding the fact that during the last recession welfare costs skyrocketed. They went up in this province by close to $1 billion. He's hiding the fact that property taxpayers are now going to have to pick up that tab when the next recession comes, and it surely will.


He's also hiding the fact that the number of seniors in Ontario is growing dramatically and their special health needs are going to mean, in the future, more taxes for property taxpayers. He's trying to hide the fact that the huge pent-up demand for day care, a demand that has gone unsatisfied to date, is going to mean more taxes for property taxpayers.

But we're not losing sight of what Mike the Magician is up to: He's hiking our property taxes, and of course he's telling us it's just a simple swap. That's kind of like you and I, Mr Speaker, saying we'll switch cars: You've got a 1997 model, I've got a 1982 model, and we'll call it quits. Well, guess who's saddled with the higher costs down the road?

Mike the Magician is trying to trick us into believing that what he's doing this week and what he started to do a number of weeks ago with Metro Toronto is a good thing for us and is going to make life better for all of us, but we can see through the smoke and the mirrors and the advertising campaign. Mike is dumping on us. That's what this is really all about. He's dumping on us. He's dumping long-term care, he's dumping libraries, he's dumping public housing, he's dumping public transit, he's dumping welfare, he's dumping day care, he's dumping public health on to our cities and our towns. He's dumping high-risk responsibilities on to our cities and towns. That's what this is all about. He's dumping property taxes on Ontarians. He's dumping all over this province, and that's not a pretty sight.

Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): This is about property tax increases, the death of public transit in Ontario, and it's about the death of a province that we've come to know and love.

Property taxpayers in this province, get ready. You're going to be faced with mega increases in your property taxes. Seniors who are on fixed incomes and paying their property taxes, those taxes are going up. Your services in schools are being cut. This is a smokescreen. Instead of declaring war on illiteracy, they declare war on students. That's wrong, it's bad public policy, and the people of this province can see through it.

Today the Minister of Transportation has signalled the death of public transit. Those of you in this province, in Metro particularly and other urban areas, if you still have a transit system in a year's time your fares are going to increase dramatically, because there's not a system in this province that's made money. The reason we've subsidized is because --

The Speaker: Thank you, member for Windsor-Walkerville. Responses for the third party? Leader of the third party.

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): People in Ontario are being subjected to an incredible propaganda campaign. Every night they turn on the television and they hear the Premier of the province using taxpayers' money to tell them, "Don't worry, be happy." It's a very cheap imitation of Ronald Reagan. We all remember Ronald Reagan saying to Americans: "Don't worry, be happy. Don't worry as your cities crumble around you. Don't worry as I cut health care. Don't worry as I cut libraries. Don't worry as I cut the most important social supports in your community." We see it again today.

There used to be some recognition on the part of Conservatives in this province that in order to have a productive society it was important to have good transportation infrastructure. There was a recognition that you needed to have good transportation infrastructure for goods and for people if you were going to be a productive society and a productive economy. The message we're getting today is that transportation infrastructure isn't important. What the government is saying is that there is no money for transportation; that's really what the government is saying.

There used to be a recognition by the Conservative Party in this province that it was important to have a literate population. It was important to encourage people to read. It was important that even small municipalities have a library where people could go and pick up good-quality books and people would be encouraged to read.

What is the message here today from this government? That it's not important to have a literate society any more; it's not important to encourage literacy; it's not important to provide money so that even the smallest communities can have a public library.

There used to be a recognition on the part even of Conservatives in this province that there was a very important provincial interest in having safe, clean drinking water. There used to be a recognition on the part of Conservatives in this province that it was very important to have good-quality sewage treatment systems so that we would not pollute our drinking water and we would not pollute our environment.

The message from this government today is that there is no money to ensure safe, clean drinking water. There is no money to ensure that we have good sewage systems and good sewage treatment systems, so that we don't pollute our drinking water and we don't pollute our environment.

Speaker, I will say it again: Put yourself in the position of municipal councils. Here they are, they've been handed some of the most expensive parts of the health care system now. We know the cost of long-term care is going to go up, the cost of home care is going to go up, especially as this government goes about closing 40 hospitals. We know the cost of ambulance services is going to go up. We know the cost of public health is going to go up, especially if there's not any money to ensure safe, clean drinking water any more and there's not any money to ensure proper sewage disposal any more.

Then, on top of that, municipalities are being told, "You take over the cost of policing." It's as if policing is not a provincial responsibility any more. You simply throw policing out there and if you're a wealthy community you get good policing; if you're not a wealthy community you do without policing.

Now municipalities are being told there's no money for transportation, for moving goods and people to where we need them in order to have a productive economy; there is no money for safe, clean drinking water; there is no money for sewage treatment; and there is no money for literacy. There's not even money to ensure public libraries, where kids can go and learn and read and exercise their reading skills.

This government knows it is putting municipalities in impossible situations, but this government doesn't care. This government believes that all of these things -- transportation, libraries, safe, clean drinking water, health care -- don't matter. The only thing that matters to this government is finding $6 billion to give their wealthy friends a tax break.

They don't care if they butcher health care in doing it, they don't care if they butcher public transit in doing it, they don't care if they butcher libraries, if they do away with safe, clean drinking water. This government is prepared to do all that in order to give their wealthy friends that $6-billion tax break. Take a billion from community services like libraries and safe, clean drinking water, all so you can give your friends this --

The Speaker: Thank you.


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): Mr Speaker, on a point of privilege: With the introduction of Bill 103, the very day the bill was introduced in this House on December 17 the Minister of Municipal Affairs issued through his ministry a pamphlet worth hundreds of thousands of dollars door to door in the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.

He basically used this pamphlet as a propaganda piece for his legislation. It is not an attempt to instruct or advise the citizens; it's pure, blatant propaganda, if you look at it. Even the picture in the pamphlet is a contrived picture -- it is not a true picture -- of a city street in Toronto. It's a blatant attempt to support their legislation without any attempt to give the other side an objective viewpoint.

I'm wondering if you would rule whether the minister and this government are in contempt of this Legislature, because it is my understanding that there is due process in this Legislature, where bills are debated, changed and may be rejected. I'm asking you to rule whether the unprecedented expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars on this propaganda, before a bill is even debated for one minute, is proper, and if it is not, whether it is in contempt of the Legislature.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): Mr Speaker, on a point of privilege: I will not prolong this except to say that this is certainly an extension of and relates to the point of privilege I raised yesterday in which I suggested that you look very carefully at the government's attempt to advertise, using public funds, in advance of the passage of legislation that is before the House, and whether or not, considering the precedents in the House of Commons and here in this Legislative Assembly, this may in fact harm the privileges of all members of the assembly and perhaps even constitute a contempt of Parliament.


I ask that in consideration of the point I raised yesterday with regard to government advertising, paid for with taxpayers' money -- whether the matter raised by the honourable member with regard to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing's pamphlet, which apparently was funded by his ministry, is part of a similar campaign which in fact shows contempt for the democratic process in this assembly.

As was indicated yesterday, we are not an executive democracy. We are not an administrative democracy. If we are indeed a democracy where debate about legislation matters, where hearings by the Legislative Assembly matter, where the public can come forward with views and have their views listened to, which may then lead to change in legislation, where perhaps even if the public has the opportunity to exercise their rights to vote --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Member for Algoma, thank you. Just to the point of privilege I believe the member for Oakwood raised, I'm assuming that this is not a householder, and I think I'm assuming correctly --

Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): It's not a householder.

The Speaker: Okay. Then I will take this also under advisement and put it with the two points of privilege that were raised yesterday from St Catharines and Algoma and I will report back as soon as I can.


Mr Gerard Kennedy (York South): Point of order.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I've got one behind you, actually. Member for Dovercourt.

Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): Mine is on a different point. I don't know if --

Mr Kennedy: Mine is as well.

Mr Silipo: Mr Speaker, I'd like to raise a point of order on the events that transpired yesterday afternoon. I went back and looked at Hansard. I didn't go back to review the tape, but I did look at Hansard. I believe that for what seems to me to be, I assume, simple error or simple inadvertence, in what you did yesterday there was a breach of the process.

You will recall that it was my contention yesterday that in fact I did not stand up at the point in time to be recognized because I thought you were still dealing with the member for Oakwood, who was introducing a bill. We were in introduction of bills at the time. In looking back at Hansard, it's clear to me that you at no time ruled his attempt to introduce a bill out of order, and therefore, by not doing that, you were not able to proceed beyond that.

Hansard I think proves that in saying that all you simply stated at the time was, "You've got to bring the bill down and then you get a chance -- this is very unusual, actually." Then you go on to say, "Introduction of bills. Orders of the day," and on and on from there. Then follows after that the exchange that you and I had in my attempts to understand your ruling on this. So at no time, Speaker, did you rule the attempt by the member for Oakwood to introduce a bill to be out of order.

It's my contention to you, Speaker, that given that you did not rule his attempt to do that out of order, in fact the actions that followed that particular point in time, which as you recall have a particular importance in terms of the government then having been able to proceed and to call orders of the day and to introduce for second reading Bill 103 -- it's my contention and my request to you, Speaker, that you take a look at this situation, pause the proceedings of the day, if you need to, to do that. Because obviously, given that if you let things stand, we will now be, having had one day's session on second reading -- I feel the events that transpired are such that, given that you did not rule out of order the member who was recognized to introduce a bill, if there was something that needed to be worked out in terms of the process, I think that is something that could have been straightened out.

I know I had seen the bill. From my understanding, the bill was in proper format. I appreciate that when the member stood up to introduce the bill, he did not say, as I guess is the practice, "I move that leave be given to introduce bill such-and-such," but that again, Speaker, is something we have traditionally corrected by the member simply being told what it is he is supposed to say on introducing a bill.

But my essential point is this: You did not rule the member for Oakwood out of order at that point and therefore I think it was improper for you to go from that point on to the following items. Given that, if you agree with me upon reflection that in fact what happened yesterday was in contravention of the rules, then I think your only recourse would be to rule all of the subsequent events to that point in time out of order. I would make that request of you, Speaker, and I would ask that you take some time to reflect on that, if necessary.

The Speaker: To the member for Dovercourt: I thought this may come up today so I took the time to review the Hansard and the videotape of what transpired yesterday. You're correct. At no time did I say to the member for Oakwood, "Your bill is out of order," and I think I mentioned in there I wasn't sure if I had or I hadn't. But the fact remains that is not unusual either. It's not unusual, if a member has brought a bill to this House that isn't in order, for the Speaker to in fact say: "Your bill is out of order. We're moving on." That's not an unusual circumstance at all. It's happened in the past. Again those are the situations that we can bring to your attention and show you.

Having reviewed the video, and I think if you review Hansard it's very clear in Hansard that I, the Speaker, said "Introduction of bills," and then it goes to "Orders of the day." It's not nearly as formal, as you could see in the video. The video I reviewed carefully and I said, "Introduction of bills," and I looked about the House, not just once but looked a couple of times, seeking anybody to stand in their place and introduce a bill.

The member for Cochrane South, I see you questioning with a tape in your hand. I'm not sure what the tape is, but I reviewed the tape of yesterday's events and that's in fact what I did. I looked around and I looked down to the table to see if in fact there was somebody I was missing here.

I appreciate your point of order and I understand that in your mind there was some confusion about what was taking place, but with due respect to what you believe transpired, in viewing it again, I couldn't have been any clearer when I said, "Introduction of bills," and I paused for what I consider to be a considerable length of time for anyone to have the opportunity to stand, because with due respect I understood what was taking place yesterday. I wasn't trying to usurp the process and I tried to give the opportunity for someone to stand. When they didn't, I went to orders of the day.

So I appreciate your point of order. I don't believe it's in order. I believe what took place yesterday was in fact in order.

Mr Kennedy: Mr Speaker, just to correct the record for yesterday, to make sure the House wasn't inadvertently misled, there was a statement I made about long-term care and the funding mechanism for it in terms of pooling taxes, and the minister responded saying it wasn't a pooling of taxes, but in fact we've learned this morning that it is and the minister may wish to correct that.

The Speaker: With due respect to the member for York South, you can correct your record; you can't correct someone else's record.


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): Mr Speaker, on a point of privilege: At 12 noon today the member for Sault Ste Marie and I attended and participated in a service of commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr in front of the Legislative Assembly. Among the people there were people who have identified themselves for some time now as members of the interfaith community, who, as you undoubtedly know have been here regularly on Wednesdays conducting vigils.

I should tell you that as we left the north door to travel to the front of the building, we observed what I colloquially call the police paddy wagon parked there, along with other police vehicles, along with mounted police officers and numerous uniformed and, of course, armed Metro police officers; I'm not quarrelling with the fact that the police officers are armed.

I was concerned there would be that police presence for what was an interfaith service in celebration of pacifist and human rights leader Martin Luther King. However, I was advised that two of the participants in that service were Reverend Brian Burch and Matthew Behrens. Both of these people advised me, as they advised the community that were participating in that service in celebration of faith, that they were two of the people who were charged some time ago now with mischief as a result of attempting to sow some seeds on the earth adjacent to the building. They advised as well that the release orders that were imposed on them prohibited them from attending near Queen's Park; I believe not to attend within 500 metres.

This may have explained the police presence, although if two people were there in even alleged violation of a release order, one questions why so many police officers and why a paddy wagon and a van and so many other vehicles were required.


I say this to you, Speaker, and I'm trying to be concise: I was frustrated because I very much wanted to speak with Reverend Burch and Matthew Behrens in my office. I wanted to discuss with them -- and I believe it's my responsibility as well as my right to do so with them, as it would be with any other member of the Ontario community. To have invited them into my office, into this building, into Queen's Park, a very public building, the seat of democracy in this province, would have been effectively to aid and abet in the contravention of a judicial release order.

I submit to you, Speaker, that you speak for this Parliament. It is within your power to advise the prosecution in this instance that this sort of restraint order for somebody who has not been convicted and somebody who is charged, not with an offence of violence but with a most modest offence of mischief, where clearly the intention was to exercise the democratic right of expression -- of disapproval of this government, so be it. But I submit that it's a breach of my privilege for there to have been imposed upon two Ontarians a legal requirement that suggests that they risk arrest and incarceration should they come to attend at either their own MPP's office or the office of any other member of this Legislative Assembly.

Reverend Burch and Matthew Behrens spoke with the police and it was indicated that they were going to be charged for having participated in an interfaith service here at Queen's Park. Speaker, I submit that it's within your capacity, within your jurisdiction to express clearly that you as Speaker, speaking for this Parliament, do not consider it appropriate that an Ontarian should be barred from attending at or near this very public place and this seat of democracy. I submit to you that that warrants your consideration and quite frankly your action in terms of responding in a positive way and making it clear. I agree you can't control the judiciary, but you can express your view as to the fact that this must remain a very public place if we are to maintain a democracy here.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker, on the same matter: I was out there today as well and I have to tell you that as a member of this assembly taking the responsibility that was given me when I was elected to this place and recognizing what was going on there and the statement that these folks who took time out of their schedules on this very cold day to come and make the statement that they did and recognizing some of the risk that some of the folks who were there were taking to make that statement, I think calls for you and all of us to revisit the question of what this place is about.

I think you, on a couple of occasions over the last six months to a year, handled situations with some level of understanding and concern and sensitivity, and I would ask of you that you continue down that road, that you continue that approach to upholding the importance of Queen's Park and this place in the public life of Ontario and indicate to those who are in a position to make decisions and have responsibility that everybody is welcome to come and be present and visit with their members and make a statement, regardless of what process they're involved in judicially.

In light of the very great damage that is being done across this province by the government to the poor and the marginalized and those who can't speak for themselves, it's inherent that all of us here do everything within our power to make sure that those who speak for those folks have a chance to --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I appreciate that. I appreciate what you're saying. I'm trying to grasp the privilege that you're addressing here. The two people you're speaking of, were they arrested out front of the Legislature? I don't want to prolong it, so a yes or no would be very helpful.

Mr Kormos: I tell you, Speaker, that the police directed them -- and I was present when this conversation took place -- to attend at the police station tomorrow morning to be arrested as a result of their attendance here.

The Speaker: Okay. That's what I needed to know. Thank you very much.

Now, I want to just quickly address the issue. I dealt with this issue, and I dealt with it yesterday. The police within the precinct came to my office and said that this was going to happen. What previously happened was four people, I believe, came to the building -- this is before my time -- and were planting out front. They were arrested, taken away, and they were told they couldn't come within a certain distance of the precinct.

I was addressed yesterday by the security people within Queen's Park. They came and said to me that there are plans to have this interfaith group come and pray at Queen's Park and they would be part of this.

My directions to the security people in the building were very simple: "If they are coming here to pray at Queen's Park, leave them alone. I don't think there are going to be any problems; I doubt there are going to be problems. Don't bother them. If there are any problems at all caused by the same four, then obviously the police are going to have to act properly."

Those were the directions that I gave. Those were the directions that I hope were carried out. I will take it under advisement. I am telling you this forthright: At the time, that's what I told them. If those directions weren't carried out, I am upset and offended. I will investigate. But I've got to believe at this point in time the directions I gave yesterday were carried out today, and those were, "If they're coming here to pray, leave them alone."

It's time for oral questions.

Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, may I --

The Speaker: Member for Welland-Thorold, can you just sit down for a minute. I am prepared to meet with you afterwards if you have any more information that you'd like to give me. I'd like to move on now.



Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My question is for the Minister of Finance. I promise to go easy because I understand he was dealt a very severe blow this morning. I understand that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation told you what we in the Liberal caucus have been saying all along. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation this morning said that your dumping of billions of dollars in new costs on to the backs of municipal property taxpayers is nothing but a shell game, a shell game which is going to force municipalities to raise property taxes.

Minister, everybody in Ontario now knows that what you're doing is going to result in people paying higher property taxes. Why don't you admit it?

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): To the leader of the official opposition: Because it simply is not true. We have removed $5.4 billion in today's dollars from the property tax backs of taxpayers in Ontario. We have also committed this government to providing another $1 billion a year on an annualized basis to community reinvestment. The municipalities in this province will be getting from this government $1 billion. They'll have access to, directly, $5.4 billion a year in today's dollars.

I might remind the leader of the official opposition that with respect to the education component and property taxes, student enrolment between 1985 and 1995 went up 16%; education costs went up 84%, and the property taxpayer --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): The Minister of Finance, thank you. Supplementary?

Mr McGuinty: The finance minister would have us believe that this is going to be a fair swap. Well, no, it's not. You know it, I know it and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation knows it. I am sure the Minister of Finance wouldn't just pull numbers out of the air. The Minister of Finance wouldn't just make up a number like 10% if he didn't have the studies to prove it. He tells us the property tax is going to drop somewhere in the neighbourhood of 10%. I know you wouldn't make that up so, Minister, I want you to produce any studies you've got that conclusively show that property taxes are going to go down. If you don't have those, will you quit trying to fool the people of Ontario with your misinformation? Every expert, including --

The Speaker: Order. You can't accuse the Minister of Finance of disseminating misinformation. We went over that a little while ago. You must withdraw.

Mr McGuinty: I withdraw that, Mr Speaker.

Will you quit trying to fool the people of Ontario? Every expert, including the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, tells us that property taxes are going up.


Hon Mr Eves: It is not inaccurate information. It's fairly easily accessible information. The numbers for what the province is spending this year in every one of those areas for which municipalities are being asked to assume responsibility are there in black and white in this year's budget figures for everybody to read and understand. When you add those up and when you see the tax room we have left municipalities, they will in today's dollars at worst be a wash and by the year 2000 should have room available to reduce property taxes in this province by as much as 10%; in fact, in some municipalities starting in 1998 they'll have more room than that.

Mr McGuinty: What that means is that there are no studies, so at best it's hopeful speculation. That's all we've got here.

I want to talk to you about property tax increases to businesses. That's something we haven't talked about much lately. Businesses, in particular small businesses, are going to be forced to pay as a result of your dumping of billions of dollars on the property taxes.

The minister will know that business is still going to be paying property taxes for education. That hasn't changed. But now, on top of that, business will also be forced to pay through property tax for welfare, seniors health care, child care, social housing. That adds up to a big property tax increase for small business. Can you tell us how many jobs will be lost as a result of your new property tax increase and exactly how much commercial property taxes are going to have to increase to pay for your dumping?

Hon Mr Eves: The leader of the official opposition will have to wait until tomorrow, when he knows I will be making a statement in this House with respect to property tax assessment in the province of Ontario. He will see tomorrow afternoon that we will take care of the small business commercial community in the province because of exactly the problems that their government and his government created for small business owners across the province.

The Speaker: New question.

Mr McGuinty: More good news to come, Mr Speaker. We can hardly wait.

My second question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. I've got to hand it to you. Your government's decision to spend $2 million on the advertising campaign to fool the people with your smokescreen of chaos almost worked, but not quite. People are now starting to understand that all your announcements this week add up to is higher property taxes and more cuts.

Nowhere is this more clear than in Metropolitan Toronto. After this morning's announcement, the property taxpayers in Metro now have $600 million in new costs dumped on them. That's a net increase of $600 million. This is hardly a 50-50 swap.

Minister, can you tell me how much you expect property taxes to increase in Metro Toronto as a result of your decision to dump 600 million new tax dollars in costs on to them?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): To the Leader of the Opposition, as my colleague the Treasurer just pointed out, we're relieving the municipalities of $5.4 billion in education costs. In exchange for that, we're transferring responsibilities for programs that the municipalities are best equipped to deliver: transit, roads, and sharing welfare, with its declining rolls. Rather than taxes increasing in Metropolitan Toronto, I'm quite confident --


The Speaker: The member for Sudbury and the member for Algoma, please come to order. Minister.

Hon Mr Leach: I'm quite confident, as is my colleague the Treasurer, that property taxes in municipalities throughout Ontario will have the ability to go down, not up.

Mr McGuinty: The minister doesn't get it. As of today, Metro Toronto property taxpayers are burdened with an additional $600 million in new costs. Minister, the announcements this week add up to an attack on Toronto. The dumping of welfare hits Toronto the hardest. This morning, the Minister of Transportation couldn't guarantee that the TTC wouldn't be forced to increase their fares, and the finance minister revealed that half of Toronto's property taxpayers could expect their property taxes to increase as a result of tomorrow's announcement. Half of the property taxpayers in Toronto are going to experience increases.

Minister, when you add this on top of your own contempt for the democratic wishes of the people of Metro Toronto with your heavy-handed approach to the megacity, you get a recipe for disaster.

What have you got against the people of Metropolitan Toronto?

Hon Mr Leach: I have the greatest of respect for everybody who lives in Metropolitan Toronto. It's probably the greatest city in the world and we have an opportunity now to make it even greater by eliminating the duplication and the waste, eliminating six planning departments and creating one; eliminating six fire departments and creating one. We have an opportunity to take the greatest city in the world and make it even greater, and the plans we are bringing forward will ensure that happens.

Mr McGuinty: Over the past year I have had the opportunity to travel the province extensively, and I can tell you that people across the province may like to poke a little fun at Toronto from time to time, but believe me, they'd put Toronto up against any other big city anywhere else on this planet. People from Ottawa to Kenora to Cornwall to Kincardine understand how important it is that Toronto does well, yet nobody got hit harder with this week's announcement than the people in Toronto. Your decision to dump hundreds of millions of dollars on the property taxpayers in Metro threatens to create American-style ghettos in our largest city. Metro won't be able to cope, Minister. I don't think you understand that.

Is finding the money to pay for your irresponsible tax cut really worth risking what the world has come to know as the largest successful urban environment in the world?

Hon Mr Leach: The Leader of the Opposition has mentioned $600 million on several occasions, and I have no idea where that number comes from. But what I do know is that we're taking a program, education, $5.4 billion, off the property tax, and most of it comes from Metropolitan Toronto. Welfare, where we're sharing the cost with municipalities, has been declining over the last several years and everyone agrees that it will probably continue to decline. If you're taking a program off that is increasing and giving them one that's declining, I fail to see how they're going to have additional costs.


The Speaker: New question. Leader of the third party.

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): I want to address a question to the minister responsible for municipal affairs as well, because when we contacted the government of Metropolitan Toronto they had real problems with your message of, "Don't worry, be happy." When we contacted Metropolitan Toronto and asked them for their numbers, they said that when you add up the costs of home care, when you add up the costs of ambulance services, when you add up the costs of public health, when you add up the costs of long-term care, when you add up the costs of child care, child welfare, family benefits, hostels, social and non-profit housing, when you add all those up, they said that at the very least it will amount to a $220-million increase for them.

That's without factoring in what you just did today to highways and transportation and what you've done to libraries. They say that the $220 million additional on the property tax means an 18% increase in property taxes. Minister, I put it to you: Will you now admit that your Toronto megacity amounts to mega-taxes?

Hon Mr Leach: I like the NDP's numbers at least better than the Liberal's; we saved $400 million there in about 30 seconds.

By introducing a single city in Metropolitan Toronto, there will be substantial savings just in the elimination of duplication and waste that's there at the present time.

Mr Hampton: Minister, tomorrow we'll add in the costs of transportation and we'll add in the other costs you've dumped on to municipalities and the number will grow. But it's not just Metro Toronto; we also talked to Thunder Bay. In Thunder Bay they calculate the additional cost of your downloading as a result of yesterday to be more than $500,000, and that's without counting in provincial roads, without counting in ambulance services, without counting in public transit or non-profit housing. They know they can expect a big hit in Thunder Bay.

In Haliburton county the deputy reeve there said that as a result of the costs of policing, property taxes will likely go up by 20%. Many municipalities elsewhere are making the same tally.

Minister, will you now admit that if municipalities are going to cover the cost of health care, policing, child care, social assistance, roads and transportation, non-profit housing, libraries, and sewer and water, their property taxes are going to go up? Will you now admit that?

Hon Mr Leach: We totally disagree with the premise being put forward by the leader of the third party. We're taking about $6 billion worth of services away from municipalities and we're transferring back about $6 billion worth of responsibilities.

Will every municipality come out equally? No doubt they will not. That's why we've set up a $1-billion restructuring fund to ensure that any municipality that needs assistance during the transition period will be able to draw on that fund.

Is it going to be a complete, total wash for every municipality in the province? Nobody ever said it was. We recognize that. But we also recognize that we've set up the mechanism to assist municipalities through that transition period over the next three or four years. At the end of that three or four years, we're quite confident the municipalities will have the ability to lower property taxes.

Mr Hampton: They heard your message. They hear the Premier on television, thanks to your $2-million ad campaign, saying to everyone, "Don't worry, be happy," but they know that the costs of long-term care are rising as the population gets older. They know, as you close hospitals and people can't go to the hospital to get their health care services any longer, that the cost of home care will go up. They know that the cost of ambulance services is going up. They know that the cost of public health is going up. They know there's no money for sewer and water, there's no money for roads and transportation, there's no money for policing. They know these are all going to go up as costs.

These municipalities -- Metro Toronto, Thunder Bay -- have made available their numbers. Since you're telling everyone, "Don't worry, be happy," will you make available today your numbers that show what the impact will be in terms of taxes for Metro Toronto, your numbers for Thunder Bay, your numbers for other municipalities around the province? Give us the numbers. You're spending $2 million telling people, "Don't worry, be happy." Give us the numbers.

Hon Mr Leach: It doesn't take a whole lot of thought, if you're going to take between 60% and 70% off the municipal property tax by the province absorbing the cost of education, that there's a wide window there for municipalities to assume the cost of services that are best delivered by the municipalities. The municipalities want it. Your government went through this same exercise of disentanglement. The disentanglement exercise was actually started by the NDP, and I give them credit for that. They were on the right track; they just didn't have the ability to pull it off.

Municipalities are looking forward to being responsible for delivering the number of programs they're going to be asked to deliver. They'll have total control over the delivery of roads, and there will be efficiencies in doing that. There will be total control over the delivery of a lot of services, and they'll be far better off in the long term.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): My next question is for the Chair of Management Board and Minister of Health. I just want to say to the municipal affairs minister: I asked you a simple question. You're spending $2 million telling people to be happy. If they're going to be happy, give them the numbers. So let's ask the Minister of Health for some numbers.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order. I appreciate the fact that some of the members on the government side -- he's addressed his question. How he spends his time asking it is the decision of the leader.

Mr Hampton: Let's ask the Minister of Health for some numbers. Minister, you keep saying that $17.4 million is what you're spending on health --

Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Community and Social Services): Billion.

Mr Hampton: -- $17.4 billion is what you're spending on health and what you're going to continue to spend on health. When we add up the numbers from yesterday in terms of long-term care, home care, ambulance services, public health, we find you've cut $1.5 billion from the Ministry of Health budget and you've pushed it down on to municipalities. I want to ask you, what does $17.4 billion mean now? Are you still committed to $17.4 billion or are you spending $1.5 billion less on health care? Which is it?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Minister of Health, Government House Leader): Just to correct two small points, this year, as has already been corrected, it's billions of dollars we're talking about. Second, it's $17.7 billion that the province of Ontario will be spending this year.

This government, before the election, during the election and after the election, made a commitment to a funding level of at least $17.4 billion. This government will live up to that commitment this fiscal year and on into the future.

Mr Hampton: This is important because the Minister of Community and Social Services used the $17.4-billion figure yesterday. Then you proceeded yesterday to push $1.5 billion in health care costs down on to municipalities, health care costs that municipalities know are going to grow. As you close hospitals, as the population gets older, those health care costs are going to grow astronomically.


I want to ask the minister, does that $17.4 billion that's going to be spent on health care include the $1.5 billion that you're forcing down on to municipalities? Is that $17.4 billion in provincial dollars alone, or does the $17.4 billion include the $1.5 billion that you've forced down on to municipalities and are going to take from them?

Hon David Johnson: What the leader of the third party is missing, I think, in this issue is the fact that this government has been reinvesting in health care in the province. This government has made commitments to reinvest $170 million in long-term care and home care in Ontario. This government is reinvesting in mental health, in breast cancer, in cardiac services and dialysis. This government has made a commitment to reinvest in hospital restructuring, and there will be a good deal of money involved in reinvesting in hospital restructuring in the province.

I would ask the member opposite to watch the estimates as they unfold in the province over the next several months, over the next several years. You will see at least $17.4 billion in health care spending in Ontario.

Mr Hampton: The only thing I'm missing around here is an answer. That's the only thing I'm missing.

I'll tell you what municipalities are concerned about. You brag about spending $17.4 billion on health care, but the fact is that you've pushed at least $1.5 billion of that down on to municipalities. Either it's a $1.5-billion health care cut or what you're in effect doing is taking $1.5 billion away from municipal taxpayers and trying to engage in a phoney game of double counting.

I put it to you again. I want an answer. When you list the $17.4 billion in spending on health care, are you including the $1.5 billion that you're forcing down on to municipalities? Are you including it, yes or no?

Hon David Johnson: The leader of the third party can't take yes for an answer. The budget of the province of Ontario will continue to be at least $17.4 billion. We made that commitment before the election; that is a commitment we'll continue to live with and that we are proud of, because we have put health care services first, the number one priority. Watch the budget of the province in future years; there will be at least $17.4 billion. That's our number one priority.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): My question is to the Minister of Finance. You were a key member of a vigilant Conservative opposition that severely criticized the previous NDP government for what you said was the spending of tax dollars on partisan government advertising. You're now a member of a government which claims to pinch pennies, to be extremely frugal in its practices and determined to eliminate all unnecessary government expenditures. When you have the same access to the news media as those opposed to your policies and dozens of public relations people in your government to help you craft your message, how can you justify spending over $2 million on self-serving, obviously partisan Conservative propaganda totally at the expense of the taxpayers of Ontario?

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): This government has spent less money on advertising than the previous two administrations and we will continue to spend less money than our predecessors on advertising campaigns. I would like to point out to the member for St Catharines that the previous administration from April 1995 to July 1995 spent over $8 million in direct ad campaigns in three months' time, and by the end of this fiscal year he will see that we will not exceed the number for an entire year that they spent in three months on advertising.

Mr Bradley: There's another interesting aspect to this, and that is the fact that you appear to have to tried to cloud the issue for the public of Ontario by announcing that the Conservative Party was paying for some ads, as though the public would believe that all the ads out there now are going to be paid for by the Conservative Party.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health are all going to spend $650,000 on self-serving government propaganda. Many of these are with a company called Gingko. Could it be that the Conservative Party got a better deal on the ads that it put forward to the public of Ontario in the knowledge that there would be a lot more business coming from the government of Ontario through the taxpayers, fully paid for by the taxpayers?

Hon Mr Eves: I would like to give the member a very direct answer to that question: It is my understanding that the ads that were paid for by the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario total approximately $800,000. That was done, I might say, by a company called Hogtown Creative Ltd. It is also my understanding that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has an advertising campaign, paid for by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, whose total buy is approximately $650,000, done by a company named Gingko. I want to be totally direct with him. They are affiliated companies, but they are two separate advertising campaigns, two separate productions and two separate bills. I know that the opposition will find it difficult that they get a straight and direct answer to a question that's asked.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I'd like to take the opportunity to introduce, in the opposition members' gallery, the ex-member for Sarnia, Mr Bob Huget. Welcome.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): My question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. For a government that likes to pride itself on keeping your promises, I heard some interesting points last night by one of your fellow travellers, Joyce Trimmer, about how your megacity scheme is a complete contradiction of a promise you made. She reminded us, a group of some 350 citizens of North York at a meeting last night, about how, together with you and Mr Shea, and supported by Mr Johnson, now Minister of Health, you coauthored a report in 1995 which talked about the elimination of Metro and the maintenance of the local municipalities.

She clearly categorized your position from 1995 to now as a "complete flip-flop." Those were her words.


I just want to ask you this, Minister: How do you as a member of this government, particularly as a member of a government that prides itself in keeping its promises, justify doing the complete opposite here, with the establishment of the megacity, to what you promised before the election?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): That's quite the contrary. I was on that study team and I can tell you that there were eight points made by that study team. One of them was to eliminate a layer of government, and we're doing that. Another one was to create local government; we're doing that.

Interjection: Let me see, who's that committee? Derwyn Shea, Morley Kells --

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): Derwyn wants to hear the answer.

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): Where did Morley go?

Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): Morley just left.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): If we could just get a little order, the member for High Park would have the opportunity to hear the answer. Minister.

Hon Mr Leach: As I mentioned, there were eight points made in that study, and I can tell the members of the opposition that this government has addressed each and every one of those points in a positive manner.

Mr Silipo: You addressed those points by simply doing the opposite. You can say you addressed the points. You promise you're were going to keep the local municipalities and then you do the opposite in Metropolitan Toronto. You say you're going to eliminate a layer of government; you add another layer of government on top of the existing ones in terms of the GTA, and one could argue even in terms of Metropolitan Toronto.

But, Minister, your friends are abandoning you all over the place. Last night we even saw your friend Mel Lastman finally come on board and support the need for a referendum. You've today got your friend Al Tonks who says he feels betrayed by what you're doing and maybe over the next few days he'll come to his senses and see the benefits of a referendum.

Minister, I want to ask you this, because again your friend Joyce Trimmer says that if the government has the gall to ignore the people and to proceed to implement the megacity against the express wishes of the people through a referendum to the opposite, you won't last long. Those were her words.

Minister, will you at least slow down your megacity legislation long enough to ensure that the referendum takes --

The Speaker: Thank you. Minister of Municipal Affairs.

Hon Mr Leach: I addressed that question yesterday. We've advised everyone, including the mayors, that the referendum would not be accepted by this government, so whether the legislation is introduced before or after is irrelevant.

I'd like to return to the Trimmer report. Here are the eight findings: (1) "There is too much government" -- we agree with that; (2) "The current two-level system of government is too expensive, too bureaucratic and too unaccountable" -- we agree with that; (3) "The government closest to the people is considered the most responsive, efficient and accountable government" -- we agree with that; (4) "Political boundaries often act as impediments to effective, efficient service delivery" -- we're dealing with that; (5) "Broader regional coordination for transportation is essential" -- we're doing that; (6) "Unfairness in the property tax system is broadly acknowledged and in need of immediate attention" -- we're doing that; (7) "In order to achieve greater efficiencies, local government should encourage more private-public partnerships" -- we agree with that --

The Speaker: Thank you.

Ms Lankin: No, we want to hear number 8.


The Speaker: All right. I hear 8 is the number. Is there unanimous consent to hear number 8?


The Speaker: Let's hear 8.

Hon Mr Leach: "There is a high value placed on local communities in the sense of belonging which a strong community engenders. Policies must be designed to protect and preserve the uniqueness of neighbourhoods," and by creating the community councils --


The Speaker: Order. Thank God there's not a number 9.

Mr Marchese: There was, but I lost.


Mr Bruce Smith (Middlesex): My question is to the minister responsible for women's issues. Recent reports in the media and public statements by several groups have included the assertion that the government-commissioned report on violence against women includes a plan to force women from emergency shelters after a stay of only 24 to 48 hours. Yesterday's London Free Press also contained an article referring to the Harris government's planned funding cuts for rape crisis centres.

Is it true that women will be prematurely removed from shelters, and is funding for rape crisis centres being cut?

Hon Dianne Cunningham (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, minister responsible for women's issues): In answer, it's absolutely and unequivocally not true that this government will ever force women out of transition houses in 24 to 48 hours. I think it's a kind of fearmongering and it's irresponsible and a blatant misconception of what is contained in the consultants' report. It's a blatant misrepresentation of what is contained in the report on violence against women and indeed of this government's position.

In answer to the second part of the question, furthermore, there's no truth whatsoever to claims that this government has planned funding cuts to rape crisis centres. There are currently 34 rape crisis centres in our province which receive over $9 million in provincial funding, and not one penny of this funding has been cut since this government came into office.

Mr Smith: Critics of the consultants' report on violence against women have called on you to throw away the report because it simply has no value. Minister, is there no value in analysing this report and its recommendations?

Hon Mrs Cunningham: Again, I think it's critical that the report be given due consideration. It's just one part of our ongoing process to address violence against women and come up with more positive solutions. I think also the government will only consider recommendations -- and everyone knows this; the Premier stated it as well -- that will help improve the safety of women and their children.

I would ask the question myself: Do critics, including the members opposite, disagree with the report's recommendations that Ontario's anti-violence strategy should include, and I'd like to read them, "focusing on the safety of women and children" as a top priority; "making the perpetrator accountable"; "ensuring that children who witness abuse or who have been abused do not grow up to become victims or perpetrators" -- this is out of the report -- "helping children learn non-violent methods for solving problems"; "developing comprehensive, accessible and appropriate services"? This is page 38 of the Framework for Action report, and I think it's extremely important that these fundamental principles --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you.


Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): My question is for the Minister of Economic Development. It's now clear that what you've dumped on to municipalities -- welfare, child care, social housing and care for the elderly -- will force residential and business property taxes to go through the roof. Small businesses in particular will see a huge increase in their business taxes and they'll be crippled by it.

As Minister of Economic Development, small business people will look to you for some answers. Are you not concerned about the devastating impact this will have on small businesses and their ability to create new jobs? How do you answer that?

Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): I'm very pleased to speak about small business in Ontario and in this particular region. We have been doing so much for small business over the last 18 months that we see a tremendous expansion of small business in Ontario. I can tell you that what we have done for small business, such as reducing the personal income tax rate and reducing the employee health tax on the first $400,000 of payroll, are the things that generate jobs in the small business community. I challenge you over there to tell me how you think small business is going to suffer because of what we're doing.


Mr Cordiano: It's obvious they're suffering. They're suffering, first of all, because they have a minister of do-nothing. This is a minister who's done nothing for small business.

Minister, your government's entire plan --


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order.

Mr Cordiano: Minister, your government's sole plan for job creation was based on your 30% income tax cut. In reality, we now know there is no income tax cut. You've just dumped huge costs on to municipalities and you've guaranteed huge increases in residential and business property tax.

Even Paul Pagnuelo of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has said: "The government of Ontario is playing a shell game with taxpayers. The 30% tax cut will be eaten up by the property tax increases as a result of the offloading on to municipalities."

Why don't you just admit that there is in reality no tax cut and in fact small businesses will be hurt and their ability to create jobs will be severely restricted? Why don't you stand up and tell us all about that?

Hon Mr Saunderson: I'm very glad to stand up and tell him about this. First of all, the Minister of Finance said that when you hear tomorrow what he has to say, things will become a lot more clear, and I hope you start to listen for a change.

Secondly, when the member over there talks about --


The Speaker: The member for Wellington, come to order.

Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): Pardon me?

The Speaker: Was it you? I thought I heard you yelling. I'm sorry; I thought it was the member for Wellington. I could have been wrong. I apologize.

Okay. Minister of -- Minister.

Hon Mr Saunderson: I realize it's a long title with heavy responsibilities.

What I would like to say to the member is that, yes, our personal income tax rate has meant a great deal to small business, but I can tell you that it has been eaten away by your friends in Ottawa with their payroll taxes.


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): To the minister responsible for women's issues: Ever since the disclosure of the contents of her consultants' report, she's been scrambling to do damage control. Part of that damage control has been her meeting yesterday with representatives of women's organizations who serve survivors of violence and abuse. During that meeting, you, Minister, told those representatives that funding levels of violence-against-women initiatives will remain the same in the next fiscal year. That follows the announcement of the Minister of Community and Social Services that the funding will include picking up the 20% per diem that municipalities currently pay.

There's a contradiction there, because if the funding is going to remain the same yet you're going to pick up the 20% per diem, where are the cuts going to be made to pay for that 20% per diem that you're picking up from municipalities?

Hon Dianne Cunningham (Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, minister responsible for women's issues): I forward that to the Minister of Community and Social Services.

Hon Janet Ecker (Minister of Community and Social Services): The reason we are saying we are assuming 20% is because we are assuming the additional 20%. That is the money that is being put forward for the violence-against-women shelters.

Mr Kormos: She doesn't get it. She doesn't understand the math involved. The budget for violence against women last year was $48 million. This minister now tells us that the ministry is going to be paying that 20% per diem out of the $48 million. What that means is there is going to be a reduction in support for other facets of programs in violence against women.

Minister, the obfuscation has got to stop, and stop now. You've got to come clean. You've got to tell us, are you going to maintain the funding at $48 million or are you going to increase the funding to allow for the assumption of the 20% per diems? Which one is it? Are you going to cut or are you going to maintain the current funding plus the 20% that you're picking up on per diem payments for residents in shelters, for victims of violence against women?

Hon Mrs Ecker: Just to remind the honourable member, in April of this year we announced $11 million in additional funding for the renovation and expansion of women's shelters. Perhaps he's forgetting about that. As you know, we have taken the education costs off the property tax as part of a complete transfer and shift of responsibilities and funding.

Mr Kormos: Ecker, you can't have it both ways.

Hon Mrs Ecker: So as we are lifting expenses, including women's shelters, we are assuming the responsibility --


Hon Mrs Ecker: Mr Speaker, I'm sorry. I'm trying to answer his question but it's a little difficult with the yelling he's doing.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Do your best.

Hon Mrs Ecker: Thank you, sir. We are assuming those costs as part of our responsibility in the cost transfers that are occurring with this week's announcements.


Mr Wayne Wettlaufer (Kitchener): My question is for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. People in my riding of Kitchener have been complaining to me about fraudulent scratch-and-win cards, the ones that you have to call 1-900 for. There is this 1-900 number that you have to call to claim a prize. We've all seen them. They get circulated in the newspapers and we get them in the third-class mail, the mail distribution systems that are dropped into your mailboxes on Sundays. They purport to give away $10,000 instant cash prizes, 52-inch colour televisions worth $3,000, Honolulu prizes etc.

In order to supposedly claim these prizes, the people in my riding are going to have to pay up to $25 for this 1-900 phone number. What advice do you have for the people in my riding so that they can protect themselves?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): I thank the member for Kitchener for the question. Yes, this fraudulent telemarketing is a problem all across the province and really for everyone's riding in this room, and I think we need to do more. Certainly we have sent out consumer alerts to the consumers to warn them about these things. If a consumer receives a scratch ticket in the mail, which they have been doing quite a lot lately, they should be wary because if they've been notified they have won a contest when they haven't entered one, obviously there's something wrong with this picture.

We certainly have to point out that a lot of the costs haven't been described properly. If anything, the operators try to keep these people on the phone. Sometimes they warn them, sometimes they don't, that there's a cost for being on the phone. Consequently, many of these people, many of them elderly people and disabled, do receive huge costs back --


Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Mr Speaker, this is important for everyone, certainly for the elderly who are at home and receive these things, where they get huge bills that they have to pay. Certainly this is something that is important for them to know and be educated about.

Mr Wettlaufer: In answer to some of the heckling that was going on over here, I want to assure you that the number that they have to call is not 1-900-NDP-SCAM.


Mr Wettlaufer: Minister, what is our government doing to protect the consumers in my riding? What is being done to fight telemarketing fraud and the unethical use of these 1-900 --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Member for Kitchener, it probably isn't out of order directly but it certainly isn't within keeping in this place and I would ask that you withdraw that comment. I would ask that you withdraw.

Mr Wettlaufer: I withdraw it.

The Speaker: Thank you.


The Speaker: This is a government member's question.

Mr Wettlaufer: Minister, what is our government doing --


The Speaker: Order, please. Minister.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I don't believe that was a question.

The Speaker: The member for Kitchener.


Mr Wettlaufer: Minister, what are we doing to protect the consumers in my riding? What are we doing to fight these telemarketing scams and the unethical use of these 1-900 numbers in Ontario?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Now there's a question for you, Mr Speaker.

Certainly, for anyone who is concerned about these telemarketing fraudulent companies that are preying upon the elderly and the disabled, this should be of interest to them. We have been working with Phonebusters, an initiative that combines the efforts of our ministry, Industry Canada, the RCMP and the OPP, and now we have been joined by certain members of the private sector, and certainly the Canadian Bankers Association and the Canadian Courier Association have all combined their efforts to fight this type of fraud.

It has been very effective. We have seen over the last year a reduction in this type of fraud of about 40% in the province of Ontario, which is significant in terms of protecting the elderly and the vulnerable in this province.


Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): My question is to the Minister of Finance and it has to do with property taxes. The government is going to ask the Legislature to approve the most sweeping changes in the history of the province perhaps. We've now looked at what you are transferring to the municipalities. In our judgement, you are taking about $5.4 billion off the property tax and you are adding $6.5 billion to the property tax. You are adding $1.1 billion as a responsibility of the municipalities of this province. That means property taxes will go up almost 10%. That's what you're asking the association of municipalities to do. At the same time, yesterday in the media you announced that property tax will drop by 10%.

The question is this: I can only assume when you said that that you have a study that is ready to be presented to the Legislature that will prove the property taxes in Ontario will drop by 10%. Are you prepared to table that study today so we can resolve the conflict between what we believe to be a 7% to 10% increase in property tax and what you're now saying is a 10% decrease?

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): With the announcements that have taken place over the last three days what we have asked the municipalities in Ontario to assume as their responsibility is approximately $6.4 billion in programs, and what we have announced in terms of tax room is $5.4 billion from the education portion of property tax and a $1-billion-a-year community reinvestment fund, so the net effect is that at the end of the day, in this year's dollars, it will be a wash, so to speak, in terms of --

Mr Phillips: So to speak.

Hon Mr Eves: No, it will be, it will be exactly that. It will be $6.4 billion equals $6.4 billion. That's not difficult to understand.

Given that, in a lot of the areas municipalities are being asked to assume responsibility for, such as social assistance, that is a declining expense.

Education, on the other hand, has increased. The education portion of taxes has increased in Ontario between 1985 and 1995 by 120%. We are assuming that.

Mr Phillips: Your assumption is causing Ontario to make a fundamental change, and I don't think you've done your work, Minister. Yesterday you said in the paper you had, and I challenge you today: Table the study that supports your conclusion yesterday that property taxes will drop by 10%. Are you prepared to table today, as you ask us to approve this sweeping legislation, the evidence that you said publicly yesterday supports that property taxes will drop by 10%? Yes or no, will you table that study today?

Hon Mr Eves: First of all, what I said yesterday was that there should be the ability between now and the year 2000 for municipalities --


Hon Mr Eves: That's what I said; that's exactly what I said -- for municipalities to take advantage of some of the programs they are assuming responsibility for to find efficiencies in the system, and on average they should be able to reduce property taxes by as much as 10%. That is exactly what I said yesterday -- if you'd like a tape of the interview, you may have it -- and that's exactly what I'm saying again today. I reiterate what I said earlier in question period today: In some municipalities, taxes will drop in excess of 10%.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): My question is for the Minister of Health. Even before the debacle of this week and the damage that it's going to incur on communities and people, we have had some major health problems in northern Ontario. One of them in particular is a growing waiting list for heart surgery in Sudbury.

In November 1995 there were 60 people on that waiting list. In November 1996 there were over 230, and that list is growing. Minister, do you know that we have that problem? What are you going to do about this terrible situation?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Minister of Health, Government House Leader): The Ministry of Health has in the past invested some $16 million, I guess it is, to fund 1,500 more heart surgeries across the province -- this is over the past year -- yet I understand what the member opposite is saying. The waiting lists are still certainly not satisfactory to me and to the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry of Health is working with the cardiac care network. The cardiac care network is a special subcommittee to undertake an investigation, and we'll be looking forward to the recommendations from this particular committee as to what further actions the government might take.

Mr Martin: It's not solving the problem, Minister. Anybody you talk to -- the doctors, the patients and the families, anybody involved in this issue -- will tell you that there's a major problem, and the waiting list itself is causing other complications. The doctors tell me your government has put a quota on. I had a family in my office on Friday; they had lost their father and their husband because of this waiting list and some of the complications that are being caused.

Will you today, as minister, personally commit to looking into this and making sure that the waiting list in Sudbury is reduced significantly before more people die in our part of Ontario?

Hon David Johnson: I'd be more than happy to indicate to the member opposite that I personally am taking a very active interest and am very concerned about this situation in Sudbury and right across Ontario. For example, the government has reinvested some $2 million in cardiac stents, which are devices which lead to decreased need for heart surgery. We've invested some $16 million over the past year or so and the number of cardiac surgeries has increased by almost 9%, and yet, as I indicated to the member opposite, I am not satisfied and the Ministry of Health is not satisfied.

We have been working with the cardiac care network, a special subcommittee. I am anxiously awaiting the results of that committee. I expect it not long into the future and I wish to reassure the member opposite that I'll certainly take their recommendations seriously. We do need to address this problem.




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

"To the Premier, Michael Harris, the 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 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 tenants and damaging to Ontario's 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 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 tenant 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 tenant rights and protection. A consultation process with tenant organizations should be initiated immediately to develop a plan for sustainable funding for services to tenants."

I affix my signature to this.


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from about 50 residents of Blind River and Elliot Lake. It says:

"Whereas TVOntario has been providing Ontarians of all ages with high-quality educational programs and services delivered through television and other media for 25 years;

"Whereas TVOntario provides universal access to educational broadcasting in the most effective way possible;

"Whereas TVOntario provides essential broadcast services to communities in northern Ontario;

"Whereas TVOntario has an extensive community-based advisory network spanning the province;

"Whereas TVOntario is committed to increasing net self-generated revenues by 15% every year;

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

"To formally commit to the province's continued support of TVOntario as a publicly owned educational network."

I support the petition and I affix my name to it.


Mr W. Leo Jordan (Lanark-Renfrew): I have a petition that was forwarded to me by the Arnprior Public Library and it reads as follows:

"Whereas we believe that a continuing provincial interest in public libraries in Ontario is fundamental to the rights of all Ontarians;

"We, the undersigned, hereby respectfully petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to maintain the provincial interest in public libraries by ensuring the continuance of the following:

"(1) grants to ensure that all Ontarians have equalized access to library materials and services;

"(2) coordination of resource-sharing programs such as interlibrary loan and Internet access;

"(3) policy to ensure the future of the network of Ontario public libraries;

"(4) provincial assistance directly to libraries at the service level, for example, through Southern Ontario Library Service and Ontario Library Service-North;

"(5) legislation that maintains the autonomy of public library boards."

I submit this petition with 134 signatures of individuals who use the Arnprior library.


Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I have a petition to the Legislature and to the Honourable Robert Runciman which reads:

"We, the undersigned, believe that helping reduce crime and abuse in our communities is our responsibility, as employees of the Ministry of Correctional Services, as professionals in related fields and as concerned citizens;

"That closing institutions which provide specialized services to women and treatment to men does not achieve that goal;

"That physical, emotional and sexual abuse is often transmitted from one generation to the next, with tremendous costs to society;

"That treatment aimed at breaking that cycle must include the abuser so that another generation of children is not raised with the same destructive lessons;

"`That,' as Mr Ross Virgo has stated, `the Ontario Correctional Institute is a therapeutic community known around the world for their techniques';

"That research statistics support anecdotal evidence that we are effective in changing abusive behaviour;

"That a therapeutic community cannot exist in a superprison;

"Save victims and money by keeping what works open."

I have attached my signature to this document because I agree with it.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): I've got a petition from the Etobicoke Public Housing Fight Back Campaign, where they say tenants in the Etobicoke community are coming together to join the fight against what is happening around public housing and the weakening of the tenant laws. It's a petition to the Ontario assembly addressed to the Premier, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and members of the provincial Legislature.

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

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

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

"This government also plans to get rid of public housing, has halted the creation of basement apartments and the 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/Locataires unis de l'Ontario, five municipal tenant federations and other important tenant services at a time when they are attacking all tenant rights. Funding for these groups must be reinstated so that Ontario's tenants and not just their landlords are able to bring their views to bear in government deliberations on tenant rights and protections. A consultation process with tenant organizations should be initiated immediately to develop a plan for sustainable funding for services to tenants."

I affix my signature to this very good petition.


Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): I'm pleased to present some petitions from Rocco Dinardo, the chairperson of the parent communication committee of the Carleton Roman Catholic School Board, submitted to myself and the member for Carleton.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the right of Catholic ratepayers to govern Catholic education in Ontario is constitutionally protected in the British North America Act and the Constitution Act; and

"Whereas the Minister of Education and Training is reviewing and considering a number of reforms to the education system in Ontario; and

"Whereas a number of these proposed reforms would have a serious negative impact on Catholic education;

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

"We strongly urge that the Minister of Education and Training be requested to reaffirm the government's commitment to the maintenance of Roman Catholic denominational rights ensuring that any reforms will not lessen or abrogate any such rights;

"And further, that the minister enter into realistic and meaningful consultation with all education stakeholders that will lead to positive changes for students."


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

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

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

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

I have affixed my signature.


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

"Whereas the Mike Harris government is attacking workers' compensation benefits and the rights of injured workers; and

"Whereas Tory plans include taking $15 billion from injured workers and giving $6 billion to employers, including the government's rich corporate friends; and

"Whereas Cam Jackson, the former Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for gutting the WCB, refused to hold public hearings, choosing to meet secretly with business and insurance industry representatives" -- including the secret meeting in Sudbury -- "and

"Whereas the WCB has about $7.6 billion in assets and its unfunded liability has been steadily shrinking; and

"Whereas the Jackson report and WCB legislation are just part of a coordinated attack on occupational health and safety protections for working families in Ontario; and

"Whereas the Tory plan also includes abolition of the internationally respected Occupational Disease Panel; and

"Whereas the government needs to hear the message that taking money from injured workers and lowering incentives for employers to make workplaces safer is not the way to make Ontario a better place to live;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to hold full, province-wide public hearings on WCB reform; to listen to the voice of the people calling for improved occupational health and safety protection; and to tell the Tory government to call off its attack on the dignity and standard of living of injured workers and their families."

This is signed by about 100 residents who live in the riding of Sudbury East. I have signed it as well and I agree with them entirely.


Mr John L. Parker (York East): I have a petition here to present on behalf of my friend and colleague the honourable member for Don Mills. In accordance with the rules, I will summarize it by reading the salient parts. It reads, in part, as follows:

"To the Parliament of Ontario:

"I petition that I be confirmed in the right to make and act upon my own choices with respect to medical and health therapies;

"I request that the Legislature enact a choice in health care act to ensure that consumers and taxpayers will have a meaningful choice and access to safe, effective and cost-effective health care that meets their needs and that the government of Ontario take immediate action to terminate the patterns of abusive actions of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, which, contrary to their mandate and the public interest, attack and punish doctors simply because they employ complementary medical therapies."


Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): This is a petition in response to Bill 84, and it's to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the firefighters of Sudbury and Ontario are very concerned about Bill 84;

"Whereas we feel Bill 84 is unfair;

"Whereas we feel Bill 84 is discriminatory;

"Whereas we feel Bill 84 endangers the wellbeing of the people of Ontario;

"Whereas we feel Bill 84 requires extensive changes; and

"Whereas we feel Bill 84 needs broad provincial public hearings before implementation;

"We, the undersigned, therefore petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to demand the Solicitor General to rewrite Bill 84 before being enacted into law and only after extensive public hearings across Ontario."

I affix my signature to this petition, as I'm in agreement with it.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Further petitions? The Chair recognizes the member for Dovercourt.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): Mr Speaker, I move adjournment of the House.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Mr Silipo has moved adjournment of the House. Is it the wish of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, say "aye."

All those opposed, say "nay."

In my opinion, the nays have it.

Call in the members; it will be a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1543 to 1613.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Mr Silipo has moved adjournment of the House.

All those in favour, please rise and remain standing.

Those opposed, rise and remain standing.

Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 25; the nays are 55.

The Speaker: I declare the motion lost.



M. John R. Baird (Nepean) : J'ai une pétition adressée à l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario :

«Attendu que le gouvernement de l'Ontario se penche présentement sur la reforme du système de l'éducation et que l'implantation d'écoles à charte représente une option à considérer ;

«Attendu que le gouvernement ne possède pas de politique en matière de création d'écoles à charte et que le ministère de l'Éducation et de la Formation étudie actuellement le fonctionnement d'écoles à charte existantes ;

«Attendu que le Collège catholique Samuel-Genest est maintenant voué à perdre sa mission, son caractère particulier et sa réputation suite aux récentes décisions du Conseil des écoles catholiques de langue française de la région d'Ottawa-Carleton ;

«Attendu que la création d'un projet pilote d'écoles à charte à titre expérimental dans le contexte ontarien pourrait accélérer le processus d'élaboration d'une politique en matière d'écoles à charte,

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

«Nous, parents et élèves, et élèves du Collège catholique Samuel-Genest d'Ottawa, demandons que le gouvernement de l'Ontario accorde à notre collège le statut d'école à charte à titre de projet pilote pour implantation dès septembre 1997.»

J'ai écrit mon nom sur cette pétition.


Mr Floyd Laughren (Nickel Belt): Mr Speaker, I move adjournment of the House.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): The member for Nickel Belt has moved adjournment of the House.

All those in favour, please say "aye."

All those opposed, please say "nay."

In my opinion, the nays have it.

Call in the members; it will be a 30-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1618 to 1648.

The Speaker: The member for Nickel Belt has moved adjournment of the House.

All those in favour, please rise and remain standing and be recognized by the Clerk.

All those opposed, please rise and remain standing and be recognized by the Clerk.

Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 22; the nays are 51.

The Speaker: I declare the motion lost.

Reports by committees. The member for Wellington.


Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): I move that we now move to orders of the day.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): The member for Wellington has moved that we move to orders of the day. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, please say "aye."

All those opposed, please say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 103, An Act to replace the seven existing municipal governments of Metropolitan Toronto by incorporating a new municipality to be known as the City of Toronto / Projet de loi 103, Loi visant à remplacer les sept administrations municipales existantes de la communauté urbaine de Toronto en constituant une nouvelle municipalité appelée la cité de Toronto.

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): In my remarks yesterday, I outlined the role of the trustees and encouraged municipalities to cooperate with them in the best interests of the taxpayer. I also pointed out why a referendum would be inappropriate and would be inconsistent and inconclusive.

We've also heard criticism that amalgamation means local government will be less accessible to the average citizen. Again, I say the opposite is true. Local government will be more accessible.

Under the provisions of the City of Toronto Act, neighbourhood committees will be created. These committees will give citizens the chance to be directly involved in municipal government. People will be able to tell their elected representatives what's important to them and what the local priorities really are. How can anyone deny that a single, unified system of government in Toronto will be more accessible than the present system, and how can anyone say that the present system, with so many levels of government, so much duplication and overlap and so many confusing mandates and conflicting priorities, makes government more accessible?

What's the point of having an accessible municipal government just around the corner if you don't have the foggiest idea what it's responsible for? Making local government more accountable and accessible in Metro Toronto does not mean that we should give up on an even more essential task, and that is making sure that the key services, infrastructure and planning can be coordinated right across the entire GTA.

The greater Toronto area is one big, interdependent economic region. Only by working together will the region prosper, along with every one of its individual communities.

We're already moving ahead on creating the Greater Toronto Services Board. There is consensus that we need to coordinate the big-ticket services right across the GTA, such as sewer and water, garbage disposal, major roads and transit and economic development. We've already appointed a long-time civil servant, Milt Farrow, to develop the foundation for the services board, and we expect his report to be finished by March 31. If legislation is necessary to establish the services board, it will be introduced this year.

Finally, I think by now we've all heard the comment that there was no mention in the Common Sense Revolution about amalgamating Metro Toronto. What exactly did we promise in the Common Sense Revolution? We said that Ontario would have less government. We said that there should be fewer politicians, there should be less bureaucracy and there should be less overlap and duplication. This legislation will help us reach those goals.

After January 1, 1998, local government in Metro Toronto will be more streamlined, more accountable and more efficient. Everyone will benefit from a single, strong, unified city of Toronto -- residents, taxpayers and businesses, not just in the greater Toronto area but right across Ontario. The transition will be carefully planned and well executed.

To make sure that happens, a transition team will be appointed to look carefully at all the municipal facilities and services within Metro. The team will consult with the public, they'll talk to local politicians, they'll talk to municipal staff members and, working together, they'll find the best way to eliminate duplication and deliver services locally. Together, they'll find the best way to prepare for the new city government.

Amalgamation will reduce the size of government; it will reduce the number of politicians from 106 to 45, and services will be delivered at a price that we can afford. A unified Toronto will have a better chance of bringing investment into the GTA and it will give us greater clout in the international arena.

A strong, unified Toronto will give us the best of both worlds. Local communities will have more influence over local decisions and local services, and the new city of Toronto council will be able to make better and more effective decisions about the matters that affect everyone in this city.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Comments and questions?

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): This is indeed a radical bill, a blockbuster in terms of a bill, a bulldozing bill, that has been introduced by what has been referred to by many as the bully government.

The idea of a megacity, of course, was not contained in the document called the Common Sense Revolution, so many people I think had anticipated that while there would be some restructuring taking place -- I think it's fair to say they anticipated that -- I know of no one who anticipated that the government would go against every report that's been out there, except the one report that it did in three weeks, including the Golden report, and turn around to have one big, huge city which will be larger than many provinces.

There are people outside Metropolitan Toronto who are quite concerned that what you are creating is another province. It's going to be so powerful that the rest of the province of Ontario is going to be in its shadow, and I think many of your rural members and small-town members harbour that concern in their minds.

There is a suggestion that this is going to be more efficient. I suggest that people need access to their local politicians to deal with local items. Although we all like to think we're close enough to the people we represent, the local alderman, who is now called councillor in many areas, is probably closest and deals with problems which are of direct concern to people.

This all goes back to the tax scheme you have. You have to borrow some $5 billion a year to pay for a tax scheme which will give the richest people in our province the most money. The radical changes you are making to feed this foolish tax scheme you've come forward with I'm sure were not even contemplated by your members, and I believe that just as hospitals are closing to feed that tax cut in the background, this bill is part of that tax scheme.

Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): We know that what this bill does is mark the end of the democratic process as it applies to municipal government in Metropolitan Toronto. We know that what this government is bent on doing is ignoring the democratic rights of citizens across this great metropolis. They are hell-bent on imposing their will, even if that means that they are going completely 180 degrees opposite to what they said in the election and prior to the election they would do, completely opposite to what the same minister who is introducing this bill, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, said together with other members of this government, the member for High Park-Swansea being one, with support from the now Chair of Management Board, in a report that they put together for the now Premier of the province, Mike Harris, which said, among other things, that they would not eliminate local municipalities in Metropolitan Toronto. Now they are doing the opposite, and they are insisting on doing that in a cavalier fashion, in a way that ignores every democratic process of this institution of this province.

As bad as that is, we know that's only part of the game they are playing, because we also know, and we are seeing in spades this week, that this bill is simply one in a number of steps aimed at downloading on to the property tax base not just millions of dollars but billions of dollars from the provincial tax base, so that they can find the $3 billion they have to find to pay for their phoney tax scheme. That's what this is about. It's about asking the average family to pay more taxes through increases in property taxes, and what's worrying this minister is that people across this province and in Metropolitan Toronto are beginning to understand that this is the game they are into.


Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East): I'm pleased to give some brief comments in response to the minister. When you cut through all the rhetoric, this really is the next step in an evolution that started 44 years ago with the first creation of Metro Toronto. It was then made even more concise and more accountable in 1967, when it was reduced from 13 municipalities down to six.

Now, having looked at all of the numbers from those six cities, having had the opportunity over the last 18 months to look at the 60 different studies that have taken place in the last few years on what should be happening here in Metro Toronto, having had a chance to talk to our constituents, to talk to the stakeholders that are most affected, this move reflects the most realistic and the most accountable mechanism of moving forward to a city that's combined and coordinated in its service delivery, that offers the best services for the lowest possible cost, and that offers us the opportunity to market Toronto as one city across the world, meaning we won't compete with each other when it comes to getting those new jobs, the investment in factories and new service bureaus here in Ontario. The fact of the matter remains: This is the first time in many years that the various parts of Metro will be able to work together in cooperation and not in competition.

We've heard a lot of other rhetoric, some of it already here today, that this move makes it less democratic, that there's less accountability at the municipal level. Well, the fact remains that in some parts of Scarborough, the wards will become smaller. If anyone suggests that a councillor can't do the job of representing 50,000 people, there are at least three councillors in Scarborough who would take great offence because they've been representing 60,000 people for the last nine years and they've been re-elected twice, so presumably they're doing a good job.

What's really at stake here is the fact that the status quo is no longer an option. We must move forward. We must create a more viable city, and this bill does just that.

Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I actually have a question for the minister and hope he will address himself to it when his time comes. But I heard him say distinctly that there will be better decision-making on the local level and there will be better services. Now, I cannot for the life of me and from our side figure out how you're going to have better decision-making on the local level. On the local level, you've got the municipalities set up as they are right now. You had other options. You didn't have to destroy all of them; you had other options. It isn't just a question of reducing the politicians and saying to the people of Ontario: "Look, we've got 106 people now, 106 municipal councillors. We're going to reduce them down to 45."

Of course, you will not find that we will be totally critical of your reducing the politicians, but that is not the real issue. The real issue is this: As it stands right now, we are living right here in the best livable city in the world. That's an agreement that all of us who have been looking at this city have come to conclude.

And yet, okay, you're saying, "If this is not broken, then why fix it?" At the same time, of course, we understand that there are indeed some municipal and monetary restraints that we have to look at -- no doubt about that -- and you will have our support in terms of reducing the numbers, no question about that. But the way you are going about it dictatorially and, secondly, the way you are going about it to destroy the very municipalities where the decision-making is the best, where the services are the best, is something that's objectionable.

I submit, when all of us would agree as it stands right now that we're living in the best livable city in the world and you're tinkering with it, that in the end the arrow will fly right back to you because you're going to be accused of destroying the very city that you are proud to live in.

The Acting Speaker: The minister has two minutes to respond.

Hon Mr Leach: First, for my friend from St Catharines, he says the new council won't be as close to the people as the existing councils are. Right now, people in this area don't know what council to go to. If they have a problem with the road, do they call Metro? Do they call the local council? What do they do? There's a lot of confusion out there. By having one unified city of Toronto council, people will know who to call when they have a problem.

My friend from the third party says we are not consistent. He says that we did not campaign on creating a single city. He's not correct. As I pointed out earlier, we're doing exactly what we said we would do. We said we would eliminate levels of government; we're doing that. We said we would eliminate duplication; we're doing that. We said we would eliminate waste and we're doing that. We said we would bring better government to the citizens of Metropolitan Toronto and we're doing that. What we're doing is making the best city in the world even better.

The mayors have all agreed that the status quo is not an option. The mayors came up and said that by making changes they could save hundreds of millions of dollars a year. We agree. Change is necessary, and the changes we're proposing are going to be in the best interests of every citizen in the Metropolitan Toronto area, the greater Toronto area and right across Ontario.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): It's wonderful to get an opportunity to speak to this critical issue. I guess one of the critical things people have been saying right across Metro, which is their city, which is their community, is that they want to be heard on this. Up until now that has been most difficult, so I think a lot of people welcome, as I do, an opportunity to try to give the other side of the story. As you know, it's been very popular in the big press to cheerlead on the megacity and to give that side of the story, but I think it's about time there's an opportunity for people's feelings about their city to be heard.

This is not just about numbers. That's what's missing here. This is about people who for years or decades, in some cases their whole lives, have lived in East York or Toronto or York. They've raised their children there; they've joined community associations, school associations; they've set up a small business; they've renovated homes.

They went into neighbourhoods. I don't know if any of you around here know what Cabbagetown looked like 20 or 30 years ago or what the Annex looked like 20 or 30 years ago. These people went into rundown areas that many others abandoned in the suburban flight -- they went to Oakville; they went to Oshawa; they left. But other people came into the city and with their own blood, sweat and tears they rebuilt their own homes that everybody else wrote off. One by one, these homes became neighbourhoods because people came back. They came back and they went to the local schools. They set up ratepayers' associations. They set up community groups. This is what they did. They didn't do it just for six months; they did it in some cases, as I said, for decades. Some people renovated two or three of their own homes in an area just to try to improve an area. Out of that, neighbourhoods grew that became very vibrant and trendy and yuppified, whatever you call them.

It didn't come with any government help. Governments of the past, like this government, didn't recognize the work of people. In fact, what they did and what this government continues to do is that if you renovate or improve your home in Parkdale, they'll come along and increase your assessment. They punish you because you've invested your blood, sweat and tears -- and dollars -- into a home and made that home better, made the neighbourhood better. Then the government says, "We're going to increase your assessment." That's the only role government played in the past.

Big government didn't help people; it was local government that supported community organizations, and from the grass roots these communities became vibrant again. Whether it be, as I said, a community like Parkdale, the Annex or Lawrence Park, these communities were revitalized.

In my own city of York the same thing happened. People would say, "Never move north of St Clair; it's a rundown area," but a lot of us moved north of St Clair and we formed the Humewood Ratepayers' Association. These were young people with young families who put their blood, sweat and tears into the community, and they did it on their own. They got involved with local government and made it better.

Now all of a sudden big government comes along and says, "Listen, I know what's best for you; we are going to create this monster that's going to be better for you," and basically they're saying, "We don't appreciate the blood, sweat and tears that went into building the cities of Metropolitan Toronto." It didn't happen by accident.


Who knows best about the neighbourhoods of Toronto? Is it Big Brother here at Queen's Park? I don't think so. It's not just this government, as I said. Other governments have refused to recognize the work that went into keeping Toronto and making Toronto -- and I believe it, without being a pure booster -- the best city in the world to live in. I challenge anyone to show me a city that has more neighbourhoods that have vibrant people, that have interesting people, that have good schools. I know this government likes to criticize the quality of our schools, but our schools, for a downtown area, are some of the best in the world. They're good because people stayed downtown and went to the public schools, and the public school system helped to make better neighbourhoods. Now this government is going to destroy the public school system and destroy local government.

The people in these communities are not trying to say, "We will not be progressive." They are more progressive than this government ever was. They're saying: "Don't you dare try to impose it on us. We have a right to decide our future." That's all they're telling this government, and this government is saying, "No, we know what's best for you." That is what is so infuriating to the people. They say they want a right to self-determination in their community and neighbourhoods, that despite the warts and despite some of the problems, they have a right of ownership in their neighbourhoods and their city, and no government, federal or provincial, has the right to impose its will on local government.

It is certainly not right in any way for this government to do the most incredible thing that's probably been done to local government, and that is to impose a dictatorship -- not a dictatorship, a trusteeship. That was sort of a slip of the tongue. When they announced this law on December 17, proclaimed it as a bill, they imposed trusteeship over duly elected councillors and they said that these trustees were in essence above the law, that they could not be questioned. This is right here in the legislation. The decisions of these trustees imposed by the minister are final, no judicial review; the decisions of the board of trustees are final and shall not even be reviewed or questioned by a court.

Here's a duly elected local government, supported by grass-roots organizations and neighbourhoods, essentially dictated to by an imposed trusteeship that under law has no jurisdiction, but this minister somehow tried to intimate that these people had power when the bill hadn't even gone to second reading. This is unprecedented; it is not right. It is not the Ontario way; it is not the Canadian way. This is what people get most angry about: They want change, they want progressive change in government; they don't want it dictated to them, because they are as intelligent as the government. They are innovative. They want an opportunity.

In terms of the process that preceded this most recently, we've had the Crombie panel set up by the minister. It's most interesting that the Crombie panel members had to swear an oath of secrecy. There were no public meetings with the Crombie panel, they met behind closed doors, so that panel to advise the minister was never open to the public. Second, even the Golden commission; there were no public meetings in the Golden process.

The other thing that really burns people in East York and Toronto and all across Metro is this double standard. The 905 area -- there are no amalgamations dictated or ordered -- has been given another two to 10 years to get their house in order, and they're saying, "If amalgamation is such a good thing for Metro, why is it not good for the 905?" Why are the people of Metro told, "You have no choice; this bill will become law and there are no other alternatives; we've decided," whereas across the border in Mississauga it's a different approach. They're given time, they're given negotiators, they're given facilitators, they're given the ability to decide their own fate.

That is what is really at the heart of this, this indifference to the essential democracy that grows out of cities. People living in Toronto or living in East York want to say that. And I should mention about East York. There's a community of 100,000 people, the borough of East York. For years they have said they want to be on their own, and they are one of the most efficient cities you can go to. You ask people in East York about their services. Ask them about their fire services. Ask them about the cleanliness of their neighbourhoods. Ask them about their sense of community. So when a government comes along and says, "You have no choice; we are going to eliminate you" -- that was the dictate to East York, as it was to all others. The usual democratic process is to negotiate and to give people due process. They've done this in Hamilton, they're doing it in the 905, they're doing it in Ottawa, but in Toronto, for 2.5 million people, it's dictated: "You must amalgamate. No choice."

There are people in Toronto, in East York, in York, who may want to go for this megacity, but they say, "Listen, I may want the megacity, but I don't like the imposition of Big Brother at Queen's Park telling me that I have to do what I'm told and I don't have a voice in it."

That brings me to the referendum. A lot of people have not supported the referendum approach in the past because of our traditions of representative democracy. But this government, by shutting down democracy in this process, has given people no other alternative. All that's left to the 2.5 million people to have a say, even to have a debate on the future of their neighbourhoods and their cities, is a referendum. So that's what they're forced to go to. This government, a government that wanted referendums for casinos, a government that is passing referendum legislation in the next month or so -- in this case, again, the double standard between Toronto and the 905 and everywhere else -- on this issue says: "No, you shouldn't have a referendum. We're going to block it. We're not going to listen to you. We don't care if you have it or not. It's irrelevant." You can imagine the reaction of people when they're told that. They say: "Wait a minute, Mr Harris. You were the referendum party. You're going to be bringing this resolution in about more referenda and you tell us in Toronto when we're deciding the future of our city that we can't have one?"

That, as I said, really gets to the heart of the matter, this dictatorial approach to the people of Toronto who have paid taxes, who have invested in this community and paid big taxes to the provincial government, and now the provincial government says: "We don't care what you say. The referendum is just a ploy." This is the answer of this government in respecting the basic democratic right of the people to be heard on the future of their city and their neighbourhoods and their streets.

It's interesting that someone mentioned the Trimmer report, because as you know, this government talks about a mandate, that they have a mandate for change. Well, there was a document and a task force that was set up by the then opposition leader, Mike Harris, now Premier Harris. It was called the Mike Harris Metro task force. The chair was the then mayor of Scarborough, Joyce Trimmer, a long-time Conservative, a 20-year veteran of local politics in Scarborough. She was the chair. Her co-chairs were the now minister, the Honourable Al Leach, and the member for High Park-Swansea, Derwyn Shea, and Morley Kells was on it and consulted with Dave Johnson, the former mayor of East York.


The Trimmer report, you try to get a copy of this report, and I ask you to read it. The basic principle of the Trimmer report and the conclusion that Al Leach came to was, and this was the election document the Tories went around Metro with, "If we're elected in Metro, what we're going to do, plain and simple, is eliminate regional government and strengthen the six city governments." They went door to door saying: "We don't like Metro. We don't like big government. We are going to strengthen local government." Fundamentally that's what the Trimmer report said. As I said, Al Leach was the co-chair of this.

Where's the mandate, then? If you look in the Common Sense Revolution, there's no reference to massive amalgamation. Where in the Common Sense Revolution would you have this trend towards massive governments in Hamilton and Ottawa? Look at the small communities throughout Ontario. I ask you to show me where that is in the Common Sense Revolution. It's not there. I ask you to show me in the Trimmer report. It's not there.

In fact, the Trimmer report said in its opening paragraph, "Based on our consultation process in the six area municipalities of York, North York, Scarborough, Etobicoke, Toronto and East York, the task force recommends the elimination of the Metro level of government as the cornerstone of the reform process"; in other words, that you keep the six cities and get rid of Metro. That was the cornerstone of the Mike Harris-Al Leach election platform on Metro governance.

I'm trying to bring it to the mandate. There is no mandate for a megacity in the Common Sense Revolution, nor in the pre-election campaign. If Al Leach or any member who got elected would have gone door to door in June 1995 saying they were going to abolish local government, there wouldn't be one member from Metro sitting here. Now that they're elected here, all of a sudden it's, "Abolish six governments and make a giant government." That was not the mandate; that was not what they went into the election with.

I would like to quote the former mayor of Scarborough. This is the chair of the task force, former Mayor Joyce Trimmer. This is the Toronto Star, December 20.

"Trimmer called the legislation" -- that is this bill, the megacity bill -- "`appalling' and `dishonest,' while also accusing the government of `playing games' that threaten to leave Metro neighbourhoods `whipped to death.'"

Joyce Trimmer goes on to say, "`I have always been a Conservative supporter, but I am questioning it right now,' said the head of the Trimmer task force on GTA reform, appointed by Premier Harris six months before the 1995 provincial election."

I talked to Joyce Trimmer last night. She was at a ratepayer meeting in North York, where she firmly reaffirmed her disgust and sense of betrayal on this very relevant issue. If you talk to Joyce Trimmer, she'll tell you this was not the Tory promise, that this totally contradicts what they promised the people of Metro, that they said they were going to abolish Metro and keep the six governments.

It's not just the left wing or the right wing; these are strong, lifelong Tories who are questioning the legitimacy of this megacity madness, as they call it, that is being thrust upon the 2.5 million people of Toronto without a say in the future and its impact.

In terms of the other comments I'd like to make, this government has really put a lot of emphasis on the KPMG report. I don't know if you saw the KPMG report, but the interesting highlight of it seemed to be that you could save $90 million if you streamlined the already amalgamated police department of Metro.

By the way, this report was commissioned after the minister announced he was in favour of the megacity. The report obviously reaffirmed the minister's assumption.

Here are some of the things KPMG says will save money for Metro: Civilianization of police services. This is what's going to save money? Further outsourcing of certain police functions. They're going to have this fraud and white-collar crime service. They're going to basically privatize this white-collar crime unit.

They're going to also call for storefront police services run by volunteers to save $90 million. If you look at the KPMG report, two thirds of the savings do not come from amalgamation; they come from efficiencies that can be done without amalgamation. I think that report has been totally put in disrepute because of the inaccuracies in it.

What are the other costs of this amalgamation? KPMG and the minister will never talk about how many millions of dollars it will cost in severance and buyouts for all the officials they're going to have to get rid of in the six cities in Metro. How many hundreds of millions of dollars will it cost to buy out all the top-level bureaucrats in Metropolitan Toronto? We know in Halifax the buyouts were extremely expensive when they went from multiple cities into one city. KPMG doesn't delineate the cost of the buyouts, the cost of transition. What is the cost of that and how much will it cost the new taxpayer of this so-called megacity? That has not been put forward.

Other things that we should look at are in terms of what other experts say about amalgamation. Amalgamation in itself at a certain level may not be that harmful, but if you get to the size of this megacity it hinders or stops competition, innovation, and it drives up costs. Once you get over about a million inhabitants, amalgamation becomes more expensive.

I heard the member for Scarborough East talk about competition between municipalities. He doesn't like that. I'm really surprised he said that, because one of the things the experts have found about local government is that when it's more competitive, it tends to be more cost-efficient. So what's wrong with having the city of North York competing with the city of Mississauga in delivery of service? In other words, North York has an excellent system of clearing snow on a per capita basis. Why can't you compare that and maybe improve the snow removal service in Mississauga? These are the types of things you can get.

This original exercise about reshaping government in Metro and the 905 area was about a level playing field, because what was happening in Metro is that Metro was being essentially gutted by a flight to the suburbs of industry and commerce. The 905 area's tax situation was much more positive, and there are a number of reasons for that, so the 905 and the 416 were seen to be needing some kind of cohesion. This exercise started as a way of creating a cohesive network throughout the GTA, and that was recommended by Golden very specifically. It was even recommended by Crombie.

But what happens is that when you create, as Mayor McCallion calls it, this monster in the middle of the GTA, you create an imbalance in the GTA, because you've got this city of two and a half million people in the middle and you've got cities in the rest of the GTA that are 500,000, 100,000, 600,000, 200,000. How is that going to be a balanced partnership? It's going to put the GTA out of balance. It's not going to make it work as it should, and I think two of the experts say that quite unequivocally from a practical sense. You've got Hazel McCallion in Mississauga saying this megacity is a mega-mistake; you've got Anne Golden who says you can't make the GTA work with this huge mega-metropolis in the middle.


This is why we had to reshape government in Metro to improve it for the future, but this is the wrong way to do it because it's going to have this imbalance within the GTA. It's not going to work. It's going to be an artificial creation.

The Golden report says, I think quite correctly, that what you have to do -- and she said the same thing, by the way, as Mayor Trimmer and Mike Harris were saying before the election -- is strengthen local governments, make them more competitive, make them more innovative. If you've got more competitive equal partners, you're going to have better government, more representative government and more efficient government.

I know the Premier and the minister constantly say one of the reasons we're going to have this megacity is that we're going to win the Olympics this way, that we lost the Olympics because we had all these cities. Obviously the minister and the Premier are not aware of a city in Australia called Sydney. I don't know if you're aware of Sydney, Australia, but it's a city of about four million people. It's got 40 municipalities that work together, and it got the Olympics, by the way. So this kind of hogwash about, "If we have a megacity, we're going to win the Olympics," doesn't hold water.

In fact, when KPMG was asked, "What's another model of an amalgamated city that worked?" the $100,000 consultant said, "Melbourne, Australia is an example." It so happens KPMG was wrong again, because Melbourne, Australia has 70 independent municipalities. Then they asked KPMG, "What other cities would we sort of copy ourselves after?" and they said, "Cairo, Egypt," and then "Paris, France." Those were the two major ones they gave -- oh, they said New York City too. So we're supposed to model ourselves after New York City, which is on the verge of bankruptcy every two years; Cairo, which is one of the most difficult cities in the world to live in -- comparing that to Toronto is an insult because of the substandard living conditions in Cairo; and then the third city is Paris, which is a ward of the federal government and gets most of its funding from the federal government. This is what the minister's consultant said: We're supposed to be like those three cities, or we're supposed to be like Melbourne, which isn't amalgamated.

So when people make generalizations about these quick fixes and these comparisons, I say compare Toronto street by street to any city in the world in terms of our quality of housing, in terms of our cultural ambience, our economic activity, big and small, from our theatre district to our recreational facilities. I say compare Toronto to Cairo on that. Street for street, compare Toronto to any city in western Europe, in the United States, and see how it works. You'll see that Toronto, despite all its problems, has worked quite well.

The people of Toronto or East York I think are saying: "Before you make a change, we want to be part of the change. We don't mind going for change, but we want the same rights that you're giving the people of Mississauga, the same rights that you're giving the people of Hamilton about having a say in the kind of change." They might want four cities or three cities, maybe they'd want to do that, but they certainly don't want to do it when the government is saying, "It's my way or the highway." That is what is getting people's backs up.

Since this announcement was made on December 17, there has never been such an arousal of public sentiment. In the last 30 years, I don't think the people of Metro have been so concerned about what's going to happen. In the city of Toronto there's a group called Citizens for Local Democracy. It started with a meeting of 20 people. It's grown to 700 people who met in Holy Trinity Church last Monday night, 700 people who basically said, "What we want is a say in the future of our community." People from all walks of life -- professors, carpenters, homemakers, school teachers, the unemployed -- were all there together in that church, and it was as if they were praying and crying out to say: "How can they do this to us? How can this government have the gall and the nerve to impose their will on my city?"

The people of East York have put yellow ribbons around their homes, they're so appalled by a government that's going to tell them that their community is not a worthwhile community. That's what this legislation is telling them. In North York, the same thing is happening. I ask you members who are not from Toronto, please visit the streets of North York, visit the streets of East York, and you will see vibrant communities, some of the cleanest streets you'll find anywhere, the best-kept streets, the best-kept homes and gardens, the aquatic centres. Go to North York if you want to look at quality of services, hard and soft services, in the city of North York.

What you're not appreciating in this legislation too is that almost 50% of all the immigrants who come to Canada pass through Metro, and these immigrants come to Metro looking for a new haven. In the city of York, my own city, the city of East York, they have welcomed the new immigrants with open arms, and they have blended into the communities and made the communities more prosperous, more vibrant, more culturally and economically active. That's not easy, because you have to have English as a second language. You have to have translation services. There are many people who are poor who come into these areas, and our schools and our community associations have been working very hard to absorb that.

I know a lot of you take that for granted, because maybe in your community you don't have that kind of challenge, but we in Toronto don't take that for granted. The people of East York don't take the work they've done to welcome immigrants to their city for granted. This legislation basically denies that, because it has been a successful welcoming of the Portuguese who came to Toronto, the Italians who came to Toronto, the Sri Lankans who are coming, the Guatemalans who are coming, the Greeks who are coming. It has been an unbelievable success story.

Why would you mess with this success story? This is what is so appalling. Where is the sanity in this? Is there any other city in the world that has such a diversity of people that has worked so successfully? There is no other that is as diverse as Metro and has successfully educated and given social assistance, given housing, given culture, and they have given back to us. Now you say this thing does not matter, that we are going to have this new government that no expert says works. Amalgamations of this magnitude do not improve government.

Ask your own Paul Pagnuelo. By "your own," I mean if you're looking at it from the neo-conservative perspective, the conservative fiscal perspective, he will tell you this is pure, utter nonsense. Paul Pagnuelo of the Ontario Taxpayers Federation says this is too expensive, it drives costs up, it's not efficient, it's not economically viable.

If you talk to Professor Andy Sancton, who is the expert in Canada on reinventing government, making it more efficient, he says this will do nothing but drive costs up, because amalgamation itself saves only 1.8% of the budgets of Metropolitan Toronto. Amalgamation only saves 1.8% of the total budget. So you're going to uproot neighbourhoods, you're going to tear down city halls, you're going to dump welfare and social housing and transit on to these cities for 1.8%? Is that what the people of East York, the people of Leaside, the people of Scarborough are worth? I say they're worth a heck of a lot more than being used for an experiment in neo-conservative governance. The neo-conservatives don't even agree with you.


I'll talk about another so-called Tory thinker, and that is Wendell Cox. I know you won't find Wendell Cox quoted in some of the major dailies in Toronto, as you won't find Andrew Sancton quoted in the major dailies. Wendell Cox is a professional government consultant. Again, he's an expert in reinventing government. He will tell you that this exercise in megacity madness will drive up costs in Metro from 20% to 100%. I'll repeat that: This exercise will drive up costs in Metro from 20% to 100%. That's Wendell Cox, a neo-conservative, Tory-type thinker who condemns this legislation as being not only inefficient; he says it's also anti-democratic.

Because you know what happens when you make governments this big? I've said that what you'll need to see the mega-mayor, whoever he or she will be, is either a limo, a lawyer or a lobbyist, because this new megacity is going to be the size of the province of Alberta in terms of budget and in terms of bureaucrats.

You know how busy that person is going to be. Is he or she going to have time to see the person who's got a problem on their street, in their playground? Is that mega-mayor going to have that time? You know who will be dealing with those problems: faceless bureaucrats. For sure, for every so-called politician they eliminate or so-called bureaucrat they eliminate at the local level, you're going to have a high-paid bureaucrat, faceless, with all kinds of power, working in a centralized office in this new mega-city hall, wherever it's going to be.

I noticed that one of the newspapers was already speculating about how maybe we needed a new mega-city hall, that Toronto city hall won't do because: "We don't want to have anything to do with city of Toronto politicians. We don't want anything to do with Metro Hall; it's not the right place. We don't want to go to North York." So they're already talking about building a new mega-hall for the mega-mayor and the mega-council and the mega-bureaucrats.

I ask the minister and the Premier: How much will the mega-city hall cost that you're going to build? Will you build one, or will the city halls be not good enough for the mega-mayor? You'll need sort of a splendid palace for this new mega-powerful person. And how much will his salary be?

The minister talks about how there's going to be savings, according to KPMG, of hundreds of millions of dollars. The assumption is that the new mega-councillors, when they run for election next year -- hopefully it never happens -- are going to go door to door and say: "Elect me as mega-councillor. I am going to follow the dictation of Premier Harris and I'm going to cut $850 million over three years out of Metro." If I'm running for mega-mayor -- you can imagine them saying this -- "Elect me as mega-mayor and I'm going to cut $850 million out of Metro over three years."

On top of that, the news this week: "I'm also going to somehow, as a mega-mayor, be able to take care of housing." As you know, the minister yesterday mentioned 100,000 social housing units in Metro are going to be dumped on the property taxpayer. Public transit: hundreds of millions of dollars dumped on the property taxpayer. Welfare in Metro: dumped on the property taxpayer. Homes for the aged: dumped on the taxpayer. So this mega-mayor is going to go around and the mega-councillors are going to go around and say: "Oh, listen, elect me to Premier Harris's new megacity because I'm going to cut $850 million. I'm also going to be able to absorb welfare. I'm going to be able to absorb social housing."

Mr Silipo: Long-term care.

Mr Colle: Long-term care. How is this mega-mayor ever going to be elected?

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): Ambulance services.

Mr Colle: Oh, yes. He's also going to have ambulance services.

It would be interesting to see the election platform of the councillors or the mega-mayor who says he's going to do Mike Harris's bidding in the city. I want to see that mega-councillor or mega-mayor go to the doors in East York and say: "Vote for me. I'm going to follow Mike Harris's agenda in this mega-city and cut $850 million." I want to see him go to the doors in the Annex, go to the doors in Parkdale and say, "I'm the one who wants welfare dumped on to your taxpayers, on to the property taxpayer."

I want to see him go to the barbershop on St Clair Avenue and say, "I'm the one who supports this dumping of transit on to your taxes at the barbershop, this dumping of welfare on to the small shopkeeper." The assumption this legislation makes is that the next council will do the mega-bidding. I wonder how they're ever going to have these so-called savings KPMG says they're going to achieve and who's going to do it for them.

Also, you can imagine, how much will it cost to run for mega-mayor? You may need, some say maybe $1 million, some say maybe $2 million, some say maybe they'll do the American-style campaign and they'll spend $3 million to be elected. People talk about this is not a question of democracy. Who's going to be able to run for this position of mega-mayor? Most certainly it will be someone with a heck of a lot of money. It certainly will be someone who basically will be financed by the wealthiest Bay Street types or developer types. Who will the mega-mayor therefore be answerable to? To the little barbershop, to the little barber who gave him five bucks?

Mr Gerretsen: The mega-Premier.

Mr Colle: More than likely; certainly to the mega-Premier who will have his mega-slate running in the constituencies.

As to the cost of running for this thing, even for a councillor, what will the cost be? Some of you who may have been elected at the local level know -- when I first got elected we spent $3,000 or $4,000, and got elected. Now, to run in Toronto, you will need $50,000 minimum to run as a councillor. Who will be able to afford that? It won't be your little ratepayer person or your community activist. It'll be someone who either runs on a party slate or is independently wealthy. Ordinary people will not be able to afford it unless they get huge support from developers and special interests.

That is another problem with this type of city: The special interest groups -- I'm talking about people with lobbyists -- will have the most influence on this government, of a mega-nature. The little person who goes to East York city hall -- if you go to East York, if you go down there right now, you'll see Mayor Michael Prue sitting there with one secretary. You'll probably be able to get your pothole fixed tomorrow. If you go to the city of York, the mayor's probably there right now.

If you go to North York, Mel Lastman is always lurking around North York and Mel Lastman is always available. Mel Lastman will phone you back himself and he'll go to the darn home himself sometimes and make sure your snow is cleared. I want to see the mega-mayor do this. I want to see the mega-mayor go out and fix the pothole. You know what he'll say or she'll say? Well, you'll be on voice-mail. You'll never get through to them anyway, so forget it.

That is why people are so concerned. They're saying: "We will work with change. We will sit down and negotiate. Our elected officials should be part of it. The ratepayers should be part of it. Do what you did in Hamilton. Do what you're doing in Ottawa. We will work with you."

What is most upsetting is when they say that this government in Toronto has not worked. It has by no means been perfect and there have been a lot of problems. I've been at the municipal level, at the local, the regional, and we fought a lot of battles, but somehow with all the battles and all the warts we've had and all the problems, we've overcome -- Mr Speaker, you come from a small community and you'll agree with me, I'm sure. I think your community is Listowel, if I'm not mistaken. You come to Toronto. I know a lot of members have said this is a beautiful city. It's been made beautiful because of councils which have cared. That's not to say every council is perfect. There are some awful councils, but there are some good ones. There are some good councillors and some bad ones, the same with bureaucrats.


One of the lines in the propaganda is: "Well, Swansea and Parkdale and the Annex and Lorne Park have survived despite Toronto being made bigger" -- because we had 13 municipalities once -- "and the neighbourhoods are going to survive." They don't appreciate that the reason these neighbourhoods are so successful is because the city of East York and the city of Toronto took attention to detail.

My colleague from Parkdale was a city of Toronto councillor. He will tell you that if five people from Parkdale showed up at a committee meeting or a council meeting at city hall in Toronto, as big as Toronto is, they would pay attention to that. Those little things were taken care of. No matter how big or small your issue, when a ratepayers' group came to the city of Toronto or East York or North York, they knew they were going to get their councillor, a commissioner, maybe even the mayor to work on their problems. That is why the neighbourhoods of North York, the neighbourhoods of Toronto, the neighbourhoods of Scarborough and the neighbourhoods of York have survived, not because of big government, not because of Queen's Park or the federal government; they've survived because the cities paid attention to the little people.

This big mega-government is not going to be able to do that, because if you look at the track record of mega-governments, they don't work. Los Angeles is one example of a mega-government. I ask you, do you want to live in Los Angeles? New York City is another mega-government. I say to those who are trying to shove mega-government down our throats, why don't you go live in New York City, go live in Los Angeles? In fact, somebody said to me that maybe the best thing they should do is: "Move the capital to North Bay and leave us alone here in Toronto. Don't mess with our city."

This is what people are saying: "Why do you have to make us into a Los Angeles?" We do not want to be like Los Angeles here. We've learned from the American experience. We are close to Detroit, we are close to Buffalo, we know the mistakes our American cousins have made. We've learned from those mistakes. In fact, Toronto is always modelled as the way to do it and Los Angeles as not the way to do it.

What we've got here is a government that's saying, "We've studied this thing thoroughly and we've decided we want to make you like Los Angeles." How can this make economic sense? From a municipal governance sense, it is not substantiated. All the reports the minister alludes to, even his own Burnham-Shea report, go through that. See how many people recommended a megacity in his own Burnham-Shea report. Not one recommended a megacity. If you go through Golden, Minister Leach's own Trimmer report, no one ever said, "Go to this megacity."

If you look at the academic research, they all concur with one thing: When you amalgamate on this scale, you drive costs up. What happens is that bigger government becomes more inefficient, it becomes more bureaucratic and it becomes distanced from the people. That's what happens. Government is more effective and efficient when the people have a say, when the people can knock on the door of the councillors, the bureaucrats. What this will do, undoubtedly, is dramatically change the nature of our political atmosphere, our political heritage here in Toronto.

It was interesting the other night at Holy Trinity Church. There was an actor who came. He was dressed as William Lyon Mackenzie. I think his words were quite prophetic. He said: "In 1837 we stood up to the family compact. This family compact tried to dictate and dominate the people of Toronto back in 1837." That's what we're back to. We've got a small little clique in the Premier's office that somehow invented this megacity monster.

In the Globe yesterday, Michael Valpy was searching for the Machiavelli who concocted this madness. They're trying to find out who would be mad enough to concoct this megacity because no matter where you look, as I said, in all the research there is nobody who advocates megacity as an answer to the problems of Toronto.

There have been advocates of varying degrees of amalgamation. There have been advocates of a greater Toronto area. There have been advocates of changing the size and shape. But there has been nobody who has quantified or recommended this kind of nonsense. It is a sham. Essentially, it's a fraud being perpetrated on the people of Toronto who've paid millions of dollars in taxes, who've invested in their schools, in their neighbourhoods, in their parks, in their community centres. For a government to come along and say that this Los Angeles solution to Toronto is going to solve the problem is an insult to the commitment of the taxpayers, to their dedication to their neighbourhoods, their dedication to their city.

These people in Metro, whether it be in East York or in North York, feel that they have had some pretty decent success here in Toronto, that they've come a long way from a city that maybe 20 or 30 years ago was going to go the American way. They saved it from the brink and you've got this fantastic place. Now you've got Mike Harris and Al Leach saying, "We're going to ruin that." That's what they're saying.

With this megacity stuff on top of the dumping of welfare, the dumping of social housing, the dumping of transit, they're going to make this into -- talk about the hole in a doughnut -- the mega black hole if they go with this megacity nonsense and this dumping of all these provincial responsibilities on the city that is the heart of Canada in terms of the economy and culture.

Why would you be so mad as to tamper with and risk the success story with this thing that doesn't even have substantiation from the right or the left? It comes, as I said, right out of the Middle Ages, right from Machiavelli. I think that's where this comes from. Pure machiavellian deception. That's the root of this legislation. That's where it comes from.

I can continue the next day, I guess. I forgot to mention, Mr Speaker, that perhaps I could share some of my time the next day with my esteemed colleague from Parkdale, and excuse me for not mentioning it at the beginning, if I could have unanimous consent for that.

The Acting Speaker: We'll do that tomorrow. We're going to adjourn. It being 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.

The House adjourned at 1759.