36th Parliament, 1st Session

L165 - Wed 19 Feb 1997 / Mer 19 Fév 1997




































The House met at 1331.




Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): I rise today to inform the House of the enormously successful meeting on the megacity held in the great, thriving city of Scarborough last evening. Over 1,000 concerned citizens, businesses and ratepayers jammed the council chambers and overflowing areas to send a clear message to this conceited and pompous government, outlining their fears and concerns on this mega-assault on their democratic rights.

My leader, Dalton McGuinty, forcefully highlighted the dangers and pitfalls of this demonic downloading on to the local taxpayers and the irreparable harm this action will cause.

It was unfortunate that the Premier was unable to make time in his busy schedule to address the very real concerns and fears of the citizens, thus delegating the propaganda peddling to the member for Scarborough East, Steve Gilchrist.

This costly initiative and forced action without proper process and debate has been greeted with all the joy and euphoria of a root canal operation. This entire exercise is typical of the arrogance of this out-of-touch government. The more Mike Harris forces the downloading exercise the more organized the people of the greater Toronto area become to preserve their individual communities.

I want to thank all those for coming out and further encourage them to continue their fight. It is the galvanizing of that participation that will make the Premier understand that democracy will indeed rule the day in Scarborough.


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): Thousands of people in Niagara, including folks from Welland and Thorold, have expressed their opposition and continue to do so against Bill 84, this government's attack on professional firefighting services in each and every one of our communities in this province.

People recognize that this is part of an overall plan on the part of this government to privatize valued and important public services including professional firefighting. This government has an agenda which is very much to Americanize the province of Ontario, and part of that Americanization of public services is going to be the prospect of privatization of firefighting services. Bill 84 opens the door to privatization -- make no mistake about it -- and the lives and safety of communities, residents of those communities, their children, workers, seniors and firefighters' are very much at stake.

The fact is that Bill 84, as proposed by this government, is going to let big American companies come into Ontario and take over our local fire departments, just as American companies have been coming in and taking over ambulance services. Just as this government has been paying big bucks, megabucks, to American firms, be they consulting firms or highway construction firms, to come in here and take away Ontarians' jobs, Bill 84 is going to permit and invite American companies to come in and take over local firefighting services.

In the United States there has been nothing but problems and tragedy as the result of for-profit firefighting. We don't need those problems here. We in this caucus are opposed to Bill 84. We're insisting that this government take its hearings across the province so it can learn what real Ontarians think about its savage attack on firefighting services.


Mrs Lillian Ross (Hamilton West): I rise today to draw the attention of members to the generosity of Mr and Mrs Jim and Merle Byrnes of Hamilton, who recently donated $25,000 to the Hamilton regional firefighters. This remarkable gift will make possible the purchase of a state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera for use in fire rescue work in the Hamilton area. The equipment allows firefighters to scan smoke-filled areas and douse small fires before they become major blazes. It also allows firefighters to locate victims who might otherwise be lost, allowing them to save lives and reduce the number of deaths.

Mr and Mrs Byrnes are not wealthy by any means. They are ordinary taxpaying individuals who wanted to contribute to their community. They are a retired couple who saw a need in the community, a community they love, and they came forward with eagerness to do their part and help out. I know I speak for all Hamiltonians when I say thank you to Mr and Mrs Byrnes for their contribution. It is very much appreciated by the Hamilton firefighters and all the community people in Hamilton-Wentworth.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): The people of Ontario are becoming increasingly concerned, and justifiably so, at the unsafe conditions confronting them on our provincial highways. Unplowed, unsalted and unsanded roads, flying tires and wheels, broken pavement and slippery surfaces face motorists who dare to venture out on to Ontario's highways in these days of senseless provincial government funding cuts. The unease and uncertainty in the minds of Ontario drivers is understandable when they read about and witness tragic accidents, some of them fatal and some of them resulting in serious injury.

It is essential that the Harris government stop leaving motorists vulnerable to damage, death and injury when they use Ontario highways in winter. When snow and sleet make our highways dangerous for motorists, the transportation ministry should ensure that plowing, salting and sanding operations begin immediately.

It's time that the Minister of Transportation converted his tough talk into tough action when it comes to dealing with flying tires and wheels. Drastically increased fines, revoked licences, vehicles removed from the roads and jail sentences for the worst offenders are needed now. Mindless funding cuts that jeopardize public safety and place lives in danger should not be sacrificed to give a tax cut to the wealthiest people in our society.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I want to take the opportunity today to bring back to the Legislature the concerns from the citizens of the city of Timmins that I've been getting on a very regular basis now, I would say over the last couple of months. I've received at my constituency office literally hundreds of letters, and I'll be bringing them to the House here later in debate, about Bill 84, about this government's attack on firefighters in this province and the government's attempt to move to open the door of privatization to firefighters, legislation that I think will turn the clock back in many ways, to the professional firefighters that we see today in Ontario.

Citizens are concerned. Why? Because it's an issue of public safety. People understand that firefighters offer a very, very important service to our communities in making sure that if the fire happens, they are there at our beck and call and they are there to protect us. The citizens who have been contacting me have been saying they very much wonder what's going to happen after Bill 84. The citizens of this province are very wise, as they are in Cochrane South, because they read the legislation, Bill 84, and take the time to inform themselves.

I've had a number of inquiries at my office wanting to get details on Bill 84 and all I've done is to give people copies of the legislation. People are very concerned about the direction the government is taking us vis-à-vis fire protection. So on behalf of the citizens, I ask the government to think seriously about this move that it's making on this attack against firefighters in the province.



Mr John Hastings (Etobicoke-Rexdale): On behalf of all Ontarians, I want to salute and thank the thousands of volunteers from Toronto and my home town of Collingwood for making this year's Special Olympics a truly memorable event for the athletes and their families.

With a population of 12,000 people, Collingwood, like its founder, Admiral Collingwood, provided nearly 2,000 volunteers who spent hundreds of thousands of hours of their time planning and implementing every aspect of the games at Collingwood. Throughout the eight days of competition and evening social events, Collingwood lived up to its reputation as a world-renowned town excelling in tourism and hospitality.

I had the pleasure to participate by presenting some of the medals to very worthy athletes. I would like to commend all those athletes who participated in the games and the many organizers and volunteers who made the Special Olympics a success for Collingwood and Canada. My sincerest congratulations go out to everyone involved in a job well done. I am truly proud to call Collingwood my home town.


Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): I rise today to bring to the attention of the House a letter to a local newspaper entitled "MPP Town Hall Meeting an Insult." It's an open letter to David Turnbull, MPP, York Mills, which says:

"You invited us, the residents of York Mills riding, to attend a town hall meeting on the amalgamation of Metro Toronto.

"`Come and voice your opinion -- speak with your MPP,' stated the flyer.

"At the meeting you and your guest (assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs Al Leach) Steve Gilchrist, talked at us.

"You only allowed written questions, which you carefully screened.

"You emphatically stated, `This is my meeting,' when attendees asked to verbalize and express their thoughts.

"You did not allow us to converse with you, nor voice our views.

"This evening, as I reflect on this town hall meeting of yours, I feel very unrepresented by my MPP.

"I do not believe that you are working to represent the people of York Mills when you do not allow them to speak with you.

"You and Gilchrist insulted my intelligence and made me regret that I attended your meeting."

This is a huge statement on the government's listening to the people of Ontario.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I rise today to share with you my growing concern about the moving force of this whole phenomenon of privatization that's taken hold across this province. It's becoming the panacea for everything. I don't think people fully understand the impact it will have on communities and on families and on workers across this province. No matter how you look at it, it is a diminishing of the ability of hardworking, highly trained and very committed individuals who have spent years of their working lives training and learning how to do their job. They will in some instances not have their job any more, and in other instances, when they do have their job, by way of competing for it in the private sector, it will not pay as much, and by that demean the contribution that person can and will and continues to make to the very fabric of life, the quality of life in our community.

When I look at the areas that are being targeted -- firefighters, ambulance workers, school support staff, and the list goes on -- I become very concerned. But in my community particularly the privatization of the lottery corporation is of particular concern. We're trying to diversify the economy. The lottery corporation is an important part of the industrial base of Sault Ste Marie and it will be gone if this happens.


Mr Dan Newman (Scarborough Centre): I rise today to comment on the ongoing opposition attacks to our government's Who Does What proposals. Recently the Liberal Party began its caucus tour of the province in order to hold public hearings on our government's proposed changes. It seems rather strange to me that an opposition party that held up debate on Bill 103 through political games, which simply meant a delay in holding public hearings, has suddenly become the party of the people. What nonsense.

Our government is also proposing changes to the province's education and property tax system which will benefit taxpayers in Ontario. We are proposing to take $5.4 billion in education costs off the residential property tax base. We are working to bring greater accountability by moving local services to local government. Our proposals will improve classroom education, reduce waste and duplication, and provide better government at less cost.

But the opposition parties would like Ontarians to believe that any change would be wrong. They want the status quo. I guess I would expect no less from the NDP, but I had expected better things from the leader of the Liberals. I can remember the leader of the official opposition during the Liberal leadership race saying that the opposition cannot simply oppose everything and propose nothing.

Mr McGuinty, where are your proposals? Are you following in the flip-flop footsteps of the last Liberal leader?

Mr Allan K. McLean (Simcoe East): On a point of personal privilege, Mr Speaker: Yesterday in the Legislature the member for York South was asking the Minister of Health a question. The member for York South said, and I quote, "Today we learned that one of your members, the member for Simcoe East, has called his hospital and said: `We have made mistakes. We're going to give the money back.'" I just wanted to say that is an incorrect quote.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): That's a point of interest possibly, but not a point of privilege.


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I neglected on Monday to mention one of the pages who is here and I want to correct the record now. I don't see him, but Colin Imrie from Peterborough was neglected to be mentioned. I want to apologize to Colin and apologize to his family. I hope he enjoys his stay.



Mr Gerard Kennedy (York South): In the absence of the Minister of Health, I'd like to direct this question to the Premier. Premier, I'd like to talk to you about the conditions that have been created in this province by the Harris hospital cuts. I'd particularly like to bring to your attention the conditions at Peterborough Civic Hospital.

On February 5 a resident of Peterborough, Susan Kellar, and her doctor went to visit Susan Kellar's father in Peterborough Civic Hospital. They found him alone, lying on a stretcher in the bright lights of the hallway of the emergency ward where he had been for the last 24 hours. All up and down the hallway of the emergency ward are stretchers full of patients, and what they heard Ms Kellar say was, "How long has my father been lying here dead?"

Premier, Ed Whitehill was 82 years old, a member of the Sports Hall of Fame, a few months shy of his 60th wedding anniversary and deserving of the dignity of proper hospital care. This morning your minister said people could expect to get the care they need and the care they deserve. Premier, did Mr Whitehill get the care he deserved?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I know the Minister of Health is coming, but I'm sure he's not going to comment on any individual case in any event.

Any time somebody is hospitalized it's very traumatic for the family. When somebody dies it's very traumatic for the family and all those who are involved. If the member would like us to look into the individual case, I'm sure I can pass that to the Minister of Health and he'd be glad to do so.

If he's talking of generic policies, the very reason the NDP started hospital restructuring was to make sure we could focus resources properly. That's why we've carried on with the initiative Mr Rae started, along the way of course guaranteeing that we'd preserve the dollars for health care.


The member will also know that we don't run hospitals and we don't deliver the services, but we do fund them. We will continue to fund health care as our predominant expenditure, continue to protect the integrity of the $17.4 million --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you. Supplementary.

Mr Kennedy: Mr Premier, we need an answer from you that is better than that. We need you to deal with the reasons you and your minister ignored the warnings you got, beginning last October, from Peterborough doctors and nurses that said drastic measures had to be taken to deal with your cuts, the Harris hospital cuts; 32 beds were closed, programs were cancelled and 97 health care workers, 56 of them nurses, were laid off. You were warned that there would be noticeable differences in the care that would be available.

In this hospital, now an average of 20 to 30 persons per night lie in emergency, many on stretchers like Mr Whitehill did. These patients are often elderly, extremely ill and stay several days in a hallway where the lights remain on, where there's no privacy, where there's constant noise, which leads to further problems of confusion or weakness that can prolong their hospital stay.

We were told by the chief of staff that you knew about this. Why have you and your minister ignored the warnings --

The Speaker: Thank you. Premier.

Hon Mr Harris: Of course, as I've indicated, we do not deliver health care services. Hospitals do, and other professionals do as well. On September 22, 1996, Dalton McGuinty, now leader of your party, said: "I am convinced that there is enough money in the health care system. I don't think we're spending it as effectively as we can." We are convinced there is enough money in the system, but we don't think it's being spent as effectively as it can be. We're trying to make those changes.

I wonder if Mr McGuinty or you, as the health critic, have any suggestions on how we could do that. We'd be pleased to hear that within the budget that Mr McGuinty says is more than ample for health care.

Mr Kennedy: There must be a way to extend the due dignity to the legacy -- unfortunately only available to us -- of Mr Whitehill dying alone in an emergency hallway where he'd been for 24 hours. This Premier and this minister knew ahead of time that there were problems in their hospital cuts. They were told, and so were members of this caucus, on January 20 by the head of the OHA that their cuts were untenable, that their cuts were causing serious problems in the delivery of health care, that the third-year cut could not be done, and yet this minister persisted. The finance committee heard again today that these cuts cannot be achieved without reducing health care.

Mr Whitehill died in the conditions he died in partly because of your cuts. You were warned by the people in the Peterborough hospital, the front-line health workers, last October that this situation would emerge. Will you stand today and give an assurance that you will stop these cuts until you know at least what effect they're having on patients? Because that is your responsibility and you can't get away from it.

Hon Mr Harris: I'd be happy to ask the Minister of Health to look into the individual case. The member will know that his government and the NDP government closed 8,000 beds but left all that bureaucracy and infrastructure in place. We have of course been looking at and following up the NDP initiative to restructure hospitals.

The member's leader, on September 21, 1996, said, "I think clearly there's going to have to be some savings found, some efficiencies in our health care system." Could you tell us where you plan to make those savings and efficiencies so we could live within the budget that your leader said is ample there?

The Speaker: New question.

Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): I'm going to give the Premier another chance at this because it's truly important. What happened to Mr Whitehill in the Peterborough Civic Hospital is very shocking indeed. Today we heard about a man who died in a hospital hallway, a hallway filled with 20 to 30 other patients because of your hospital cuts. Yesterday we heard of patients tied to chairs because there aren't enough nurses to care for them. Last week we heard the shocking story from Sault Ste Marie where a man was not being fed. We heard how he suffered from a severe bed rash because of a lack of nurses.

No one in this province, as rich as ours is, should have to be treated this way. Your government should be ashamed. How do you answer to the families of these patients for all their pain and suffering?

Hon Mr Harris: I know the Minister of Health would be pleased to respond to that.

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Minister of Health, Government House Leader): The Liberal Party, when it ran in the last election, said $17 billion was enough for health care. The Progressive Conservative Party said that wasn't enough, that we would guarantee at least $17.4 billion in health care. In actual fact, we have exceeded that; we have put $17.7 billion into health care. Do there need to be improvements? Of course there need to be improvements.

The member opposite has indicated that some $1.3 billion has been taken out of the health care system. Not so, incorrect, totally false. To date, there have been some administrative savings, but there have been reinvestments announced exceeding that amount of money taken out in administrative savings. At the end of the day, we will have a better health care system to serve all the people of Ontario.

Mr Cordiano: These are people we're talking about. I want everyone in this House to try to imagine for a second the voice of Susan Kellar screaming, "How long has my father been lying here dead?" Imagine walking into a hospital room and seeing your 89-year-old uncle naked, tied to a chair, like Mr Zukowski did. Imagine having to listen to your father scream in pain as his bed sores are wiped, as Paul Kaihla did. You have to admit these people deserve some dignity. How much pain and suffering is it going to take before you stop your reckless hospital cuts?

Hon David Johnson: I feel a great deal of concern for individual cases which come up and recognize, on behalf of the government, that there need to be improvements in our health care system, there need to be improvements in the hospitals. We are reinvesting as a government. We've announced some $600 million of reinvestments to improve hospitals for cardiac care, for all aspects of kidney dialysis, every aspect of care within our hospitals.

I find it interesting that the member opposite represents a party which, when it was in government between 1988 and 1989, removed some 1,300 beds from our hospital system, removed those beds which today they are saying we desperately need. Yet they removed those beds when they were in government. What we are trying to do is make sense out of the system, make sure that our moneys are spent wisely, that our moneys are reinvested where the patients need the money to be spent.

Mr Cordiano: I represent the party that puts people first, a party that cares about people. That's what I represent. You were elected on a promise to protect health care. That's what Mike Harris said in the last election campaign.

Hon Cameron Jackson (Minister without Portfolio [Seniors Issues]): People like Patti Starr. People like Hershell Ezrin.

The Speaker: Order, the member for Burlington South.

Mr Cordiano: This is a serious matter. People are dying in hallways, people are being tied to chairs, dirty diapers left on floors, people are not receiving the basics in nursing care. That's what we're talking about in Ontario in 1997. Could it be possible? You've only just begun. What it took decades to build up, our health care system, you're destroying in just 18 months.


I ask you, Minister, what's going to happen to families when your cuts reach the $1.3-billion mark? What is their suffering going to be like then, Minister? What's it going to be like in Ontario when your cuts reach the $1.3-billion mark?

Hon David Johnson: I think it's unfortunate that we play politics with individual cases when the member opposite, the member for Lawrence, represents a party which closed over 1,200 hospital beds in the province of Ontario. The member for Lawrence --


The Speaker: Order. Member for Kingston and The Islands, come to order. Members for York South and Lawrence, come to order.

Mr Cordiano: We never left people out in the hallway to die.

The Speaker: Member for Lawrence, I'm warning you to come to order.

Mr Cordiano: It's shameful what you're doing.

The Speaker: Member for Lawrence, I'm warning you to come to order.


The Speaker: Government members, Minister of Culture, please come to order. Thank you.

Hon David Johnson: It's embarrassing, but the member opposite represents a party that took over $2 billion out of health care and social services in the province of Ontario and then had the nerve yesterday to put $20 million back in.

Mr Cordiano: You said we were spending too much.

The Speaker: I'm not going to warn you again, member for Lawrence.

Hon David Johnson: The member opposite represents a party that took $2 billion out of the system and put $20 million in.

The government has indicated the spending on health care will be at least $17.4 billion. I can guarantee you it will be beyond that and I can guarantee you at the end of the day that money will be spent wisely; that money --

The Speaker: Answer, please.

Hon David Johnson: -- will be spent in terms of putting the patient first, to the services that the patients in the province of Ontario need.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): My question is for the minister responsible for municipal affairs. I have in front of me a request for proposals that was put out on January 24. It invites private firms to do the property tax reassessment you announced last spring. On page 5 it says that the training of property tax assessors will be "approximately one day in duration." People are going to get one day of training to go out and do property tax assessment.

Ordinarily, property tax assessors take at least two years to train, but you're going to send them out there with one day's training. Minister, how can property taxpayers possibly have confidence that property assessment will be done properly when the assessors have only one day of training?

Hon Al Leach (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing): As the assessment falls under the Treasurer, I'll refer the question to him.

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): To the honourable leader of the third party, he knows full well that the province of Ontario is spending some $61 million to do a reassessment of the entire province and he knows full well that this function started last summer. There have been additional people hired by the Ministry of Finance, the former Ministry of Revenue, to do the reassessment project, and there will be many local people at a local level who will be used from the private sector to assist us in this endeavour.

I believe what he's referring to is an RFP that was put out to see if there was anybody in the province who was capable of doing the entire project, and the answer to that is no. The ministry is proceeding on its own, has been proceeding since last summer, and will continue to reassess the entire province. That will be done in due course by this fall.

Mr Hampton: This is a request for proposals dated January 24, 1997, this is a request for proposals that is still active, and this asks for several suppliers. It says they will get one day's training to do property tax assessment. I'd say to the Minister of Finance, nice try.

The experts who've gone through assessment say it will take three years to do property tax assessment properly. University of British Columbia Professor Stanley Hamilton says the following: "I have a great fear that if the Harris government tries to do it too quickly, they're going to mess it up, and if they mess it up, they're going to mess it up for the next decade or so."

You're going to hire a bunch of assessors and give them one day's training. It's going to be Al Leach's drive-by assessment system. Minister, will you reschedule your assessment scheme so it can be done properly and taxpayers across the province can have some confidence of fairness?

Hon Mr Eves: I believe this question was raised before; it may even have been by the honourable member himself for his own party.

Let me explain to you the difference between British Columbia and Ontario. We happen to be in Ontario today. The year is 1997, not 1982, when BC did its reassessment scheme. The BC system -- we are not adopting it as they did there. We are going to be doing a reassessment of every property and a revaluation on an annualized basis. We're going to have a three-year rolling average, which will be much fairer than the British Columbia system, which goes up and down every year in accordance with real estate property values.

Getting back to the heart of his question, the reality is that in the overwhelming majority of Ontario they are currently on either 1984, 1988 or 1992 values. The effort required to bring those up to date is not like going back to day one, as it perhaps was in British Columbia --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary.

Mr Hampton: I will give the Minister of Finance credit for trying to speak volumes about British Columbia. The fact is, it's your government that's out there hiring tax assessors and you're going to give them one day's training. That's what your request for proposal says -- not mine, not British Columbia's, yours. You're going to give them one day's training.

We already know your reassessment scheme is behind and it's a mess. The experts who have gone through a reassessment say very clearly that what you're doing is creating a recipe for chaos: You're rushing through a province-wide reassessment with people who are inadequately trained; you're downloading close to $2 billion in social services costs on to property taxpayers; and you're trying to shove a megacity down the throats of the people of the largest municipality in the province. It is indeed a recipe for disaster.

I ask you again, will you slow this down so people across Ontario can have a reassessment system they can have some confidence in --

The Speaker: Thank you. Minister of Finance.

Hon Mr Eves: First of all, the reassessment of the province is already more than 50% complete. The majority of the province is already done. We are asking for assistance, in certain localized areas, from local people. They won't be doing the entire reassessment, as much as you'd like the people of Ontario to believe that. They won't be. They'll be guided by Ministry of Finance staff in this function. They will be performing functions they are capable of performing, and if they're not, they won't be asked to do them.

I say to the honourable member that what we will have at the end of the day, and the people of Ontario can rest assured of this, is that for the first time in Ontario's history there will be a fair and equitable property tax system in the province where everybody will be treated the same -- unlike under your government, which got to the brink of making this decision and backed off for political reasons in the city of Toronto.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): My next question is for the Minister of Agriculture, and I hope he has a better explanation. You will know that a new farm coalition has come together. It's called the Farmers of Ontario. It represents 36 agricultural groups, and this coalition is speaking out with a unified voice to demand no more cuts to the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. They say your ministry budget has almost been cut in half; it has been reduced to $250 million under the Harris government and farmers believe you're planning even deeper cuts. Minister, can you promise Ontario farmers today that there will be no more cuts to the ministry's budget and no more cuts to farm programs?

Hon Noble Villeneuve (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, minister responsible for francophone affairs): Yes, I had the honour of meeting the group representing 36 farm groups and we listened very carefully. Of course, they thanked us for the $15-million Grow Ontario new money last year plus the $20-plus-million rebate on the provincial sales tax. That's new money. Yes, there have been transfers to the University of Guelph. There has been considerable rearranging within the ministry to make it more efficient and to reduce duplication. It's a very worthwhile group. They represent the second-most important economic sector of our province, and yes, we certainly are listening.


Mr Hampton: Minister, the farmers of Ontario were so impressed with your meeting that they issued this press release demanding no more cuts, so obviously they had a bit of a problem coming out of your meeting. They also have a bit of a problem with your election promises. This is what your government said in the 1995 election campaign: "Under a Mike Harris government, agriculture will regain its fair share of government support. That is why there are no cuts to agricultural programs in our policy plan, the Common Sense Revolution."

Farmers know that agriculture and farming has been slashed in order to provide the money to finance your tax scheme for your wealthy friends. What they want to know now, and they want to hear it from you today, is will you guarantee that there will be no further cuts to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and no further cuts to farm programs?

Hon Mr Villeneuve: It's a very interesting question. The farm tax rebate: Farmers are optimistic about tax reform. Farmers feel good about the Harris tax changes. You know, those are things we promised. Those are things you promised and you could not deliver. We have delivered on the farm tax rebate. We have delivered what we promised and there are no programs that are cut in agriculture.

Mr Hampton: I meet with farm leaders fairly regularly and their impression of your doing away with the farm tax rebate is that you have essentially put farmers all across this province in a position where they are being set up for tax increases. That's what you've done.

I want to go back to your promise. You said in the election campaign, "No cuts to the Ministry of Agriculture, no cuts to farm programs." You've lost nearly one half of the ministry's budget; one half of the ministry's budget has disappeared. I know what cuts are all about. I know that in fact your government has taken money from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and you're going to give it to your wealthiest friends by means of your tax scheme.

Farmers have had enough of the promises of the past. They want a guarantee from you: no further cuts to farm programs or to the ministry. They want that guarantee: no more rearranging. Will you give them that guarantee?

Hon Mr Villeneuve: It's difficult to accept from this party -- a 25% cut to agriculture in the last two years they were in power. What did they do? They shut down two of our five agricultural colleges, and they have the audacity to stand in this House and trying to preach to us. Farmers are telling us they're very happy with what's happening and I will go with the farmers every time.


Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): My question is to the Minister of Finance. Yesterday the Harris government took the next giant step towards putting video slot machines in every neighbourhood in this province. The government's own study by Coopers and Lybrand on the Ontario charity gaming clubs project states that the win potential in Ontario is $977 million.

Minister, we know charities will be capped at $180 million. Where's the rest of the money going and how much is going into the pockets of the Harris government?

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance): I'm not familiar with the study. I'd refer the question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations): I know my honourable friend has --


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Minister of Agriculture, if you had any more to add, I suggest you would have done it during the answer. It would have been more helpful.

Hon Mr Eves: You cut him off.

The Speaker: I didn't cut him off. He sat down. Minister.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I don't suppose it would be appropriate for me to refer my time to him.

I'm sure my friend across the way has in his hands the Coopers and Lybrand study, because that's what he's referring to. I might point out that this was based on replacing the current roving Monte Carlo situation with up to 50 permanent gaming clubs. It goes on to say as well in the summaries and results and recommendations that the province has an estimated total charitable gaming win potential, and that's clearly what this is. It is clearly a potential, clearly an estimation.

I might point out as well that the particular program we are coming forward with right now indicates that we'll have 36 full-time charity gaming clubs and eight part-time charity gaming clubs, and I would assume that we shouldn't lose sight of what actually is happening here today and that the take of the charities out of this will now expand from $10 million to $12 million up to about $180 million, along with a certain amount, $9 million, going to problem gambling as well, which the communities out there are really look forward to.

Mr Crozier: The minister is referring to one report that was December 1, 1996. The request for proposal is dated February 18. I would have thought if you had this under control, you would have changed the figure of the win potential. I don't know how anybody then could base a proposal on this.

But, Minister, as you have said, we know for a fact that the charities are going to be capped at $180 million, we know that the potential is $977 million, and you're telling us that these casinos are for charity, but it looks like your government is the biggest charity case of them all.

If introducing 44 permanent casinos and 20,000 video slot machines in the province is to benefit charities, why don't you become more charitable, and rather than taking 90% of the pie, why don't you give charities the biggest slice of the pie?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: First of all, my honourable friend made reference to the Coopers and Lybrand report and is suggesting that we change somehow a number that's in this report. It would be highly inappropriate for us to do that.

Mr Crozier: I said change the request for proposal.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I would like to suggest --

Mr Crozier: Answer the question.

The Speaker: Member for Essex South, I appreciate that you want an answer to your question, but you've got to listen if you're going to get an answer.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I know my honourable friend is usually pretty good at listening, so I would compliment him on it.

But let's take a look and see what exactly we're doing here today. We're replacing a system that came in under the Peterson Liberals, the three-day roving casinos that had absolutely no accountability whatsoever. The problem has been, and we've heard and every member in this House has heard, that the charities at the end of these three-day roving casinos benefit sometimes not one cent -- sometimes they're in the hole -- and that is totally unacceptable. Now we're looking at increasing the charities' share from about $10 million to $12 million up to $180 million. Certainly this government has done more for charities in this initiative than they have done before in the past with these three-day roving casinos.

The Speaker: New question.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): My question is to the same minister on the same subject. Yesterday, Minister, in your announcement, you foisted permanent charity casinos on communities across Ontario. You've said over and over that you would let communities vote on whether they want to have more casinos, yet here you go again imposing without consultation.


Mel Lastman has said no to these casinos in North York, Mayor Barbara Hall said bylaws forbid them in Toronto, yet your announcement includes several permanent casinos in both of these cities. So instead of referendum and thoughtful planning, we have imposition. Why will you persist in your hypocrisy and arrogance by imposing gambling on communities? When will you let communities have input, as you promised? Will you let them have a say?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: I would like to point out to my honourable friend that what we are doing is replacing a system that did not work -- the three-day roving casinos -- with a system that will work; a system that was totally unaccountable and totally irresponsible with a system that has a high level of accountability; a system that only sometimes provided revenue to charities with a system that will now provide around $180 million to charity.

These mayors should certainly know that we are replacing a system with a new system. Without that vehicle, how will charities in their areas benefit? I would like to point out that last year Toronto held 619 events, approximately 1,600 days. That's almost five of these going per day. Clearly, this is simply a replacement of these vehicles that did not work.

Mr Martin: That's a red herring. My community of Sault Ste Marie has had a referendum on this issue and they want a casino, but not this kind of casino. Your announcement yesterday shows, to quote from a recent editorial in the Sault Star, "unbelievable hypocrisy and inconsistency on the party of the government" and it shows "an irritating and disturbing lack of concern for the economic wellbeing of Sault Ste Marie."

This is not the strategic, measured, controlled process we need for developing full-fledged casinos to ensure that they are viable and safe additions to our communities. The spread of many casinos opens the door to organized crime. You are ignoring the concerns raised about VLTs. You are exposing our communities to crime.

The CISO report shows that illegal gambling flourishes in Ontario and there is potential for abuse in the legal gaming sector. You have ignored these reports. You are ignoring these communities that want input into these decisions. Why aren't you listening? This is not what they want.

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: If I might be allowed to answer that sequence of questions somehow, this is really a question coming from a party which introduced the casino concept within Ontario without providing a lot of the supports it was really necessary to have.

I look at some of the concerns the member has, but I think he forgets that when his government brought in the Ontario gaming commission, they brought in a certain number of safeguards to crack down on a lot of the illegal crime and concerns the member has. I guess he's forgotten these things. We have followed through and continued on and tried to put in more supports to fight these types of illegal activities. In fact, we're allocating around $7 million to assist. We're bringing the number of officers involved with this up to 35 from six; we're bringing in special prosecutors just to prosecute illegal gambling, forensic experts and assistants to do that, because we believe we should crack down and make sure we protect the community.


Mr Allan K. McLean (Simcoe East): My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. As part of our government's commitment to bringing fairness back to the tax system in Ontario, the Minister of Finance announced the removal of education from the municipal tax base, thereby freeing billions of dollars for municipalities to spend on programs of local importance. Private property owners in my riding are very interested in changes to the tax system concerning woodlots and conservation lands. Could the minister comment on the proposed changes to the managed forest tax rebate program and the conservation land tax rebate program?

Hon Chris Hodgson (Minister of Natural Resources, Northern Development and Mines): I'd like to thank the honourable member for the question. It's a very important issue to all those in Ontario who care about the environment. This government has announced that for eligible managed forest lands there will be a 25% tax rate, a special class, and for conservation lands that have provincial significance there will be no property taxes. This is to recognize, as Ontarians have recognized for almost a quarter of a century, that there was an inherent unfairness in the property tax system that has treated property that was owned and had trees on it unfairly related to other properties, and made it unsustainable or unaffordable to keep that land with forests on it.

This government has made these changes to reduce the red tape of issuing rebates and the uncertainty that the private property owners would have to go and beg the Ontario government each year to maintain their forested lands or their provincially significant conservation lands.

Mr McLean: The NDP claimed to be concerned about the environment, yet they cancelled these programs when they were in government. How will the changes in our government policy have an effect on the environment?

Hon Mr Hodgson: As most people in Ontario know, the managed forest tax rebate was introduced in 1975, and although the NDP claimed in all their party propaganda that they cared about the environment, they chose to cancel this program because they had other spending priorities. The minister at the time is the present leader of the third party and they cancelled this for other spending priorities.

Our Premier, Mike Harris, recognized the unfairness in the property tax system and the importance to the environment of maintaining and managing our managed forests on private lands. That's why we made a campaign commitment in the Mike Harris Task Force on Rural Economic Development. I'm pleased to say to the member who asked the question and to all those people in Ontario that we've lived up to another campaign promise, and that is very beneficial to the environment and to the future of Ontario.


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): My question is for the Premier. I would like you to help me understand how you could launch health ads at a public expense of $650,000 at the same time as hearing the most disturbing stories of terrible health care in Ontario.

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): You call an ad agency, you explain to them what you are trying to do and they come back with a program to help explain to the public how much better their health care system will be after we make the changes than it was before.

Mrs Pupatello: Premier, I cannot believe your answer --


The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Order. Government members, I can't hear the question. And opposition members as well. It's awfully noisy today. If you'd come to order, I'd appreciate it.


The Speaker: Member for Cochrane South, come to order means we stop heckling. Member for Windsor-Sandwich.

Mrs Pupatello: Premier, I cannot believe your answer in this House today. On February 6 we asked the Deputy Minister of Health what plans she knew of for health care ads and she said: "I don't know what you're talking about. I don't know what you're referring to in terms of ads." Premier, this lands on your desk. How dare you spend taxpayers' money, $650,000, while Mr Whitehill dies in the hallway. Make me understand this, Premier.

Hon Mr Harris: This is a question from the party that right before an election spent $1.5 million advertising a flawed card plan that had to be cancelled after the election.

Mrs Pupatello: You're responsible for --

The Speaker: Member for Windsor-Sandwich, I'm warning you to come to order. Please. Member for Brantford, it would be helpful if you were in your seat. Premier.

Hon Mr Harris: This party and this government do not need to get a lecture from a party that spent three times more than we are spending on government advertising, wasted money on a government card that was totally unacceptable, and spent more money advertising things they didn't do than things they did.

Yes, even though we have slashed the advertising budget in half from the NDP, even though we've slashed the budget by two thirds from what the Liberals spent on government advertising, we are informing Ontarians with a minimal amount of money of a new vision for a comprehensive health care plan and we're inviting them to share, and their participation, in how we can correct the disaster of the last 10 years.


The Speaker: I appreciate the fact that members are somewhat more lively today, it happens on Wednesdays, but the fact remains that I understand it's upsetting when you're being heckled from either side, but no side is perfect. When this side's up, that side's heckling, and vice versa. It would be helpful if you would --


The Speaker: Yes, I'm beginning to think that's happening more and more. I would ask you to come to order.



Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): My question is to the Minister of Labour. My question today relates to whether or not a worker's right to refuse unsafe work is going to be protected under this government. At CAMI Automotive in Ingersoll, a worker exercised his right to refuse to continue working with a piece of equipment he believed to be dangerous. Amazingly, and in violation of the law, he was suspended by the company. Ministry of Labour officials rightly filed charges against the company under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Although in the first round in front of a justice of the peace they lost, your officials did assure the Canadian Auto Workers union that they would pursue this case under appeal.

The deadline is tomorrow. The union is extremely concerned that you're going to abandon this worker and his right to refuse unsafe work. Minister, will you stand in your place today and give assurances that you will not abandon this worker's right and that you will pursue this case under appeal and file the proper charges before the deadline expires?

Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Minister of Labour): To the member opposite, I think I've made it abundantly clear that we are presently reviewing the Occupational Health and Safety Act. I have stood in this place on many occasions and have indicated to you that we are prepared and will continue to allow within the act the right to refuse unsafe work. I would also indicate to you that if you take a look at our record of enforcement, if you take a look at our inspections in the workplace, our endeavours to make the workplaces safe, we have actually increased our inspections in 1995-96 by 35%. We have a very, very strong commitment to ensure the workplaces are safe.

Mr Christopherson: In response to those hollow words that you've given time after time, I've accused you of not backing up those words with any action. When we look at your track record of how you've attacked the rights of workers, particularly the area of health and safety, I believe our arguments on this side are the ones that are correct.

Today you've got a chance to put some action and some truth behind what you claim is a sincere concern for workers in the workplace. I'm asking you a very specific question: Will you assure us that you will not abandon this worker's right to refuse unsafe work and that you will indeed file the papers to ensure that we continue with the appeal? Put action behind your words, Minister.

Hon Mrs Witmer: To the member opposite, I am well aware of the situation about which you speak. I understand the worker has indeed sought a remedy under the grievance procedure of his collective agreement, but you also know, since this is the subject of a grievance proceeding, that I am not in a position to make any further comment on this specific issue other than to give you my assurance that the right to refuse unsafe work will remain a very basic part of the legislation.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): New question.

Mrs Lillian Ross (Hamilton West): My question is also to the Minister of Labour, following on the question from the member for Hamilton Centre on your commitment to occupational health and safety.

I know that you recently announced a review of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In my riding of Hamilton West, I've received several calls and letters from constituents asking how they might add their voice to that review and comment on what's in that review. Can you please tell this House and all members of this House, clarify how their constituents can also provide comment on that act?

Hon Mrs Witmer: To the member for Hamilton West, yes, as the member has indicated, approximately two weeks ago we initiated a review of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. As you probably know, the act had not been totally reviewed for the past 19 years, so we are going to take a look at how the act can better respond to the changing needs of the workplace. We're going to be taking a look at the issue of whether or not sexual harassment should be included within the legislation; we're going to take a look at the issue of the right to refuse unsafe work, to make sure that the right is appropriately handled and that it is appropriately administered. We'll take a look at the hours of work. We have identified within our paper 31 issues, but certainly we would invite the stakeholders to contribute any information and any response they would deem appropriate.

Mrs Ross: Could the minister please tell this House what the reaction has been so far to the release of this paper?

Hon Mrs Witmer: I am pleased to indicate to the House that we've had a very positive response. I had an opportunity yesterday to meet with some people from unions in eastern Ontario and we had a very good discussion on some of the issues we are addressing. I was also pleased to read today in the editorial of the Sudbury Star that it indicates this planned review of the act is long overdue. They mention that the act has been refined, but has never been the subject of this type of comprehensive review. They indicate it's clearly needed because of the workplace changes.

We're taking a look to ensure that at the end of the day the workplaces in Ontario are among the safest in the world. That's our objective and with the cooperation of all stakeholders I know we can achieve that goal.


Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): I have a question for the Minister of Transportation. Minister, I wonder if you could take a moment today in the House and elaborate on what initiatives you plan to undertake with respect to the enforcement of safer trucks on Ontario highways.

Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I know he's as concerned as this government is concerned and as I am concerned on how we can make our highways safer. I believe since October 1995 a lot has happened as far as changes in our highways, as far as trucks are concerned. I believe we have implemented some very positive things, from higher fines to legislating wheel installers and allowing drivers to adjust their own air brakes, and hiring additional enforcement officers.

One of the things I believe our ministry has done an excellent job of is pulling over a lot more vehicles over the course of our fiscal year, nearly twice as many as any other government has done in the past. We are presently in the mode of putting additional enforcement in place for our spring --


Hon Mr Palladini: I can certainly tell the honourable member that we are going to continue to make sure we get things done.

Mr Duncan: Enforcement is the problem. The OPP are saying that, the Canadian Automobile Association is saying that, most other groups that have taken an interest in these issues are saying that. In fact you have provided an additional $200,000 on a budget of $22 million for enforcement.

The OPP are saying that the best method of enforcement is roving inspection stations; that is, where trucks don't know where inspection stations are going to be from day to day, that they make a lot more sense than the stationary stations you have on Ontario highways. Will you commit today to providing additional mobile inspection stations throughout this province, and will you commit today to spending the kind of money it's going to take to give Ontario motorists the reassurance they need that their highways are indeed safe and that Ontario's roads will be safer? You've had more incidents with truck wheels than ever before.

Hon Mr Palladini: I know the honourable member means well, but I made that commitment on June 26, 1995, when I was sworn in as Minister of Transportation. One of the things that has happened throughout this short time is that a lot of input has been given by concerned parties, including OPP officers, including CAA, including shippers and all people who have an interest in making sure our highways are safe.

I want to say to the honourable member that as far as the mobile stations you're referring to are concerned, you're absolutely right and that's something we've already looked at before the honourable member even talked about it. We have a lot of things in place that I am sure the honourable member will agree will make Ontario's roads safe.



Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): My question is to the Minister of Health. In July 1994, our NDP government approved funding of $12 million to replace the 70-year-old south wing at St Peter's chronic care hospital in Hamilton. Your government agreed with our decision and gave approval on February 28, 1996, to excavate the site. In fact, you've already paid your half of that cost. Unbelievably, on January 28 of this year, your government halted construction at St Peter's Hospital.

This is not expansion. These are not new beds. They're replacing 80 beds in a building that is in absolutely deplorable physical condition. For this reason, people at St Peter's Hospital and people across Hamilton are concerned that what you're really going to do is cut the number of chronic care beds in our community. Is that what's really going on here?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Minister of Health, Government House Leader): I will assure the member for Hamilton Centre that what is going on is a concern for the best interests of the patients in Hamilton. I have discussed this matter with Mr Carruthers, the CEO, and intend to have a site visit in the near future.

What I will say is that the restructuring commission, as we all know, will be going into Hamilton in the very near future. The restructuring commission wants the opportunity to look at all of the hospital services needed in Hamilton and to make sure it has the best fit for that particular community. I'm not able to prejudge what the commission may come up with. Indeed, the commission may say we need more than 80 beds, we need 100 beds, we need some different configuration which will best serve the community. My intent is to encourage the commission to get on with the job, to speed it up and to come forward with a resolution to make everybody happy.

Mr Christopherson: I'm afraid that doesn't wash because, first of all, this is the only total chronic care hospital not only in Hamilton but in the entire catchment area of over two million people. Secondly, your approval to begin the excavation was given after you had legislative approval for your commission restructuring. So either you're guilty of planning to cut back the number of chronic care beds in Hamilton or you're guilty of incompetent planning.

In either event, we've now got a 20-foot hole the size of a football field in Hamilton, and I've got a picture to show you, that is leaving the children in that neighbourhood -- we've got three schools in the immediate residential neighbourhood -- vulnerable to accident. You had the audacity in a letter to them to say to the hospital, "By the way, make sure that you take care of the safety problems." None of this is good enough. None of your answer adequately explains what's going on.

Minister, will you announce today that you're going to continue the funding so we can get rid of this danger: this danger to patients, danger to staff and danger to neighbourhood children?

Hon David Johnson: I think the members on this side of the House find it humorous to be accused by the third party of incompetent planning. This is the party, this is the government, that built a waiting list of over $2 billion worth of capital improvements and yet allocated less than $200 million a year. No funding: built up a huge waiting list of health capital projects and then didn't fund them. That was the NDP.

What this government is doing, and I have a great deal of sympathy for St Peter's Hospital, is planning this in an organized fashion. The restructuring commission will go in shortly, have a look, determine what is the best configuration, which may indeed be more beds -- there may be more chronic beds; there is certainly no plan to reduce the number of chronic beds -- come forward with those recommendations and deliver the best possible hospital services to the people of Hamilton.


Mr Jim Brown (Scarborough West): My question is directed to the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation. Minister, your ministry helped fund the highly successful Special Olympics. The Special Olympics saw 2,000 athletes from 80 countries come to Ontario. Also attending to watch and support the athletes were over 700 coaches, 6,000 volunteers and thousands of supporters and family members.

John Scott, the chairman of the games, spoke to me and recognized your ministry's contributions to the games. Would you please tell the House about your ministry's involvement and assure us that your ministry will remain supportive of and committed to the needs of special athletes?

Hon Marilyn Mushinski (Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation): I'd like to thank the honourable member for Scarborough West for his question and also for his own personal commitment to the recently completed Special Olympics. In fact, as the member has already indicated, this government is very proud of its participation in this very successful event. Indeed, it was the best games ever.

Although the games have concluded, I want to assure the member that our commitment to the disabled athlete has not. For example, in the upcoming Ontario games, as well as the 2001 Canada Summer Games that will be held in this province, there will be competitions in swimming and track and field for athletes with disabilities.

Mr Jim Brown: The provincial government made a great financial contribution to the games. Could you please inform the House what other groups were involved in making the games the great success they were?

Hon Ms Mushinski: A major highlight, of course, of these games was the contributions made by the volunteers, the sponsors and the communities of Collingwood, Duntroon and Metro Toronto. Indeed, one of three people in Collingwood participated in making these games a huge success. They should be congratulated for that. To all those who volunteered their time, their efforts and their resources, including the members in this House, the government thanks you, but more important, the athletes thank you.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I have a question for the Minister of Tourism, and it relates to the Niagara Parks Commission, which has been an outstanding success for so many years.

The Niagara Parks Commission has ensured that we've had very careful development in the area of Niagara Falls. It has ensured that there's a lot of green space, a lot of greenery, trees. It is something that has been hailed by many people, and it has controlled the kind of development that would make an area simply a honky-tonk area or a tourist trap; in other words, it has made it more attractive than many other potential tourist areas.

I'm asking the minister, when we have such a successful operation, established by a previous Conservative government, why would you now want to privatize and turn over to the private sector the Niagara Parks Commission and allow for the potential of the kind of development that would be detrimental to Niagara Falls and the surrounding area rather than beneficial?

Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): I'd like to say that what we are proposing is to study all agencies, boards and commissions for which we are responsible and to make sure that what is being done with those agencies, boards and commissions is being done in the most favourable way for the taxpayers of Ontario. If there's a way that any aspect of these agencies, boards and commissions can be done better by having more private sector involvement, I think that is very good for the taxpayers.

I agree with the member that the Niagara Parks Commission is one of our treasures, and we have many great facilities there, such as the new butterfly conservatory that was just opened.

What we're trying to do, though, is that if there's a chance for the private sector to be more involved, which would save the taxpayers of Ontario, we think that's the way to look at these agencies, boards and commissions.

Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: I would ask you for a ruling if you could. Today in question period I quoted the Deputy Minister of Health, who pointed, on February 6, being totally unaware of health ads. Given that the preparation for those ads happened some time before, I've got to ask the Speaker to rule on the appropriateness of the political arm of the Premier's office absconding with ministry funds that the deputy would not be aware of. If there is another place --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): No.

Mr Bradley: I think it's a good question.

The Speaker: The member for St Catharines thinks it's a good point of privilege, and I'm not surprised about that. Frankly speaking, I'm willing to hear you out on that, but I'm not really sure how that is a point of privilege or point of order with respect to the "absconding" of funds.


Mrs Pupatello: Mr Speaker, it's clear by the Premier's answer today that he was well aware of the process in developing the television ads. In the question put today it was specifically related to something other than that; it was rationalizing the expense of taxpayers' money. But the point of --

The Speaker: Let me be clear, though. You're very close yourself right now, in the suggestion you've made with respect to the absconding of funds and so on, to being out of order. Now, there isn't a point of order; it doesn't come under any privilege.

I'll ask you, if you'd like, to raise it tomorrow and come back to me and give me the heading on privilege that you want to file this under, but let me stop first and say, be very careful about the words you've chosen to use. They're very powerful words.



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

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

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

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

I have affixed my signature.


Mr Dan Newman (Scarborough Centre): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the city of Scarborough is requiring individuals who want to participate in the mail-in referendum to provide their name, address and signature on the ballot; and

"Whereas this requirement is blatantly undemocratic and threatens the legitimacy of the democratic process; and

"Whereas the city of Scarborough makes no mention as to whether or not it will accept ballots from residents who wish to vote in confidence; and

"Whereas the question on the ballot itself is slanted towards the position of the city and cannot be viewed as a neutral question; and

"Whereas this uncertainty and undemocratic procedure makes the entire process a great misuse of taxpayers' dollars and tarnishes any results that will come out of the vote;

"Therefore, be it resolved that we, the undersigned, petition the Legislature of Ontario to

"(1) Speak out against this undemocratic vote;

"(2) Disregard the results of the vote; and

"(3) Continue with the proposed unification of municipalities into one unified city of Toronto."


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas Ontarians are gravely concerned with the historic $1.3-billion cuts to base funding of hospitals; and

"Whereas Ontarians feel that health services are suffering; and

"Whereas the government is reducing hospital funding and not reinvesting millions of dollars into the communities that they are being taken away from;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly to call on the Conservative government to stop the cuts to base funding for hospitals across Ontario and to ensure that community services are in place before the removal of hospital services. The Conservative government must fund hospitals with a funding formula that reflects demographic and regional needs. The Conservative government must ensure that health services are available, including emergency and urgent care, to all Ontarians."

I add my signature.


Mr John L. Parker (York East): I have a petition addressed to the Legislature of Ontario. It reads as follows:

"Whereas `bigger government is not better' and the Mike Harris government has no right to dictate a megacity upon the citizens of Metro Toronto;

"Whereas the megacity is being imposed on 2.3 million citizens in Metro Toronto without giving people a voice in the future of their cities and neighbourhoods;

"Whereas a megacity could lead to mega property tax increases, mega user fees and mega cuts in services;

"Whereas the Tories never proposed abolishing local government in favour of bigger government during the election campaign;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislature of Ontario as follows:

"To give the 2.3 million people in Metro Toronto a say in the future of their cities and stop the imposition of a megacity."

Ms Annamarie Castrilli (Downsview): A petition to the Legislature of Ontario:

"Whereas `bigger government is not better' and the Mike Harris government has no right to dictate a megacity upon the citizens of Metro Toronto;

"Whereas the megacity is being imposed on 2.3 million citizens in Metro Toronto without giving people a voice in the future of their cities and neighbourhoods;

"Whereas a megacity could lead to mega property tax increases, mega user fees and mega cuts in services;

"Whereas the Tories never proposed abolishing local government in favour of bigger government during the election campaign;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislature of Ontario as follows:

"To give the 2.3 million people in Metro Toronto a say in the future of their cities and stop the imposition of a megacity."

I'm happy to sign my name.


Mrs Barbara Fisher (Bruce): I'd like to present a petition this afternoon on behalf of my riding constituents. It relates to dignity, rights and respect.

"We, the undersigned, protest that quality of care for the residents in nursing homes and homes for the aged is being sacrificed in order to pay for the increases in WCB premiums. Workers in these facilities are being laid off and their hours have been reduced to pay for these increases.

"We demand that the Harris government find immediate funds to ensure that quality of care is not further compromised and that no worker is either laid off or has their hours reduced in order to pay for an increase in WCB premiums."

I'll attach my name to the front.


Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

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

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

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

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

This is signed by a number of my constituents at 8575 Riverside Drive East in Windsor, Shoreline Towers, and I'm pleased to affix my signature to this petition.


Mr Ted Chudleigh (Halton North): In spite of the reinvestment in health care that this government has made, I have a petition here.

"Whereas Ontario is gravely concerned with our historic $1.3-billion cuts to the base funding of hospitals; and

"Whereas Ontarians feel that health services are suffering; and

"Whereas the government is reducing hospital funding and not reinvesting millions of dollars into the communities that they are being taken away from;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly to call on the Conservative government to stop the cuts to base funding to hospitals across Ontario and to ensure that community services are in place before the removal of hospital services. The Conservative government must fund hospitals with a funding formula that reflects demographic and regional needs. The Conservative government must ensure that health services are available, including emergency and urgent care for all Ontarians."


Mr Mario Sergio (Yorkview): This petition is addressed to the Legislature and comes from residents of Ontario.

"Whereas `bigger government is not better' and the Mike Harris government has no right to dictate a megacity upon the citizens of Metro Toronto;

"Whereas the megacity is being imposed on 2.3 million citizens in Metro Toronto without giving people a voice in the future of their cities and neighbourhoods;

"Whereas a megacity could lead to mega property tax increases, mega user fees and mega cuts in services;

"Whereas the Tories never proposed abolishing local government in favour of bigger government during the election campaign;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislature of Ontario as follows:

"To give the 2.3 million people in Metro Toronto a say in the future of their cities and stop the imposition of a megacity."

I agree with the content of the petition and I will affix my signature to it.

Mr John L. Parker (York East): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads as follows:

"Whereas the borough of East York is requiring voters in the current mail-in referendum to return their ballots in envelopes bearing their names and addresses; and

"Whereas the ballots are to be forwarded to the borough of East York at the East York Civic Centre and not to an independent elections commission; and

"Whereas the East York council has declared itself in favour of a particular result in the referendum; and

"Whereas the question itself is prejudicial in its wording and clearly slanted towards the result favoured by council; and

"Whereas all of the above factors violate well-established and universally acknowledged principles of a free democratic referendum process;

"Therefore, be it resolved that we, the undersigned, petition the Ontario Legislature to:

"(1) Speak out against the current flawed, undemocratic referendum in East York;

"(2) Disregard the results of the vote; and

"(3) Proceed with the government's program to provide for Toronto's future through the creation of one Toronto for all of us."


Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the PACE 2000 Foundation, a non-profit organization, is planning to build a residential community for seniors and mature students on the undeveloped lands directly north of Montfort Hospital; and

"Whereas the objectives of the PACE 2000 Foundation are to help seniors live longer in their homes and to help students acquire professional expertise and social support, and that it will be achieved with the support of the intergenerational network which promotes the interaction between seniors and students in a complementary approach; and

"Whereas Les Filles de la Sagesse, l'Hôpital Montfort and PACE 2000 Foundation have submitted a joint application for the rezoning of this 21-acre site (from the actual institutional P to residential R5) on January 26, 1996, and whereas by January 28, 1997, the rezoning has still not been granted by the city of Ottawa; and

"Whereas since May 1996, 510 signatories are asking that the PACE 2000 project be implemented as soon as possible on these lands;

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

"To grant highest priority to the municipal and provincial agreements which are required for the development of the PACE 2000 intergenerational community project on the lands directly north of Montfort Hospital, before the implementation of the city's new zoning bylaw."

I have affixed my signature.




Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 105, An Act to renew the partnership between the province, municipalities and the police and to enhance community safety / Projet de loi 105, Loi visant à renouveler le partenariat entre la province, les municipalités et la police et visant à accroître la sécurité de la collectivité.

Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): I would like to add a few words to the bill as it proceeds and goes to committee.

For those who do not know this bill, it deals with the financing of policing and it deals with the governance issue. Before we get going I'd like to take a quick minute to thank all the members of the ministry for their fine work in putting together this bill. I'm looking forward to the opportunity of taking it out on committee and hearing from some people across the province. It will mean some of the most major changes that have happened in policing in this province in some time.

It has been a while since we've reviewed the issue of policing in the province. I had the opportunity, as parliamentary assistant to the Solicitor General, of spending some time in early summer dealing with the various groups looking at this bill.

We had an opportunity to meet with the various groups across the province involved in policing: the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, the Police Association of Ontario, the Ontario Senior Officers Association, as well as the Association of Municipalities. During that process, the summit as we called it, we had an opportunity to hear from all sides on the major issues we'll be dealing with, which of course are financing, governance and oversight of policing in this province.

I must say, there were some exchanges that were very forthright on all sides. Everybody knew where everybody was coming from. Regardless of what happened in the end and how people feel about the bill, I think it was a good process to be able to hear from people on this particular subject.

On the issue of financing I would like to say that this is probably going to be a difficult area. As you know, there are municipalities right now that are not paying for policing. All governments of all political stripes have dealt with this issue, and for the first time we are dealing with that.

As we said back in June, the whole issue of municipal governance came up. It isn't surprising that as a result of that the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, AMO, was in favour of more control over policing, and it's no secret that some of the other groups were not. But during that process we heard from various groups and we put together what we think is a bill which will be to the benefit of the people of this province.

On the issue of governance the municipalities will maintain options for local choice and delivery of police services in their community. They will be given the authority to set police budgets, and Mr Speaker, having a background as a member of the police services board, you will know that had been some area of contention with the municipalities. Policing had been a big part of the budget, a very big part of most of their budgets, and they did not control them. As a result of these changes, municipalities will have greater accountability and control over policing in their areas.

I know this is something many people have talked about. Municipalities have said that when it's a big part of their budget, they should have some say, and I agree to some extent with what came out in some of the hearings from some of the municipal people. We had people from Toronto. We had people from northern Ontario. It was a pretty good cross-section of people.

There were some concerns voiced that somehow the province would need to maintain a lot of control, although I'm one of those who -- and the Premier has said this on many occasions, relating to the whole issue of municipal politicians making the decision, and it's no secret that the Premier has said this: "Why would the people in their community care any less about what is happening in their community than people at Queen's Park?" To some extent, that was the thrust that came out from the people in AMO. They were saying very clearly: "We are in that area. We live in that area. We have as much concern about policing in that area as the people at Queen's Park or the MPPs." I can understand where the debate was coming from.

In a lot of areas, the policing community was worried that municipal control will create some problems. What we've attempted to do is put together a bill that would take all this into consideration. I hope we've done a good job.

On the issue of financing as part of this, when we did our whole issue of policing at the summit we didn't have an opportunity of knowing what some of the changes coming forward from, as it's known, the Who Does What would be. When the financing issue came up about municipalities paying, it wasn't within the whole structure of having municipalities now pay a bigger portion of welfare and long-term-care costs. Some of the concerns at the time about financing have obviously been heightened with some of the changes that have happened recently.

I think everybody in this province believes it should be fair and equitable, that everybody should pay for policing in the province. Having said that, it is a lot easier said than done, because as you know, in some areas that haven't paid for policing, the cost of policing will be very difficult in areas that have not had the opportunity of paying for it.

The nicest part about this job was having the opportunity to meet with some of these people. The exchanges were forthright -- I will say this very clearly -- and all the members spoke very strongly on behalf of their own people, and we've come up with a bill that we believe will be for the betterment of the people of this province. Having said that, I'm looking forward to the public hearing process and I'm looking forward to hearing from the various critics from the parties opposite.

I will say this: In the past bills I've been involved with in fire services, and I said this to the member for London Centre when she was speaking on it, we really appreciated the input coming forward. No matter how hard you work on bills, no matter how much time you spend with the various people involved in this, there are things that do come up, and that's why the process of listening to the opposition and having public hearings is a good one.

The one issue that I think was fairly easy was that of oversight. I know that what we ended up coming up with may have been fairly contentious to a lot of people, but the amendments were probably one of the few things agreed upon by all people at the summit. The amendments will cut the number of discipline/oversight agencies in half. This will allow for a simpler, more accountable new system. Meanwhile, of course the special investigations unit will remain as it is, to ensure the independence and impartial investigation of cases involving serious injury or death.

It wasn't the fault of any government or any political party. What happened was that the oversight had been built up through years of regulations and through a lot of changes, and what we have attempted to do is to help modernize and streamline and simplify an oversight system that is more responsible and accountable to the public. We believe the amendments are a result of many of the reviews and of the hard work that has been done by the policing community, by the public and by municipalities.


Just for those members who aren't familiar, in December 1995 the Solicitor General announced a comprehensive review and the provisions he asked be looked for in that review were providing more efficient and cost-effective delivery, ensuring all municipalities contribute to the cost of policing in their communities, and providing greater fiscal accountability at the local level, as well as providing police services with greater flexibility in deploying resources.

We also wanted to reduce the administrative and operational overlap and duplication, and we wanted -- obviously as all members would want -- to ensure adequate levels of policing throughout all parts of the province.

The whole issue of the review of policing had been tackled by various governments of all political stripes. We also set up a working committee of ministry officials and representatives from the associations I mentioned who participated in the summit we established as a result and began at the end of August 1996, and the input from these stakeholders was very important. I will tell you that at those ministry level discussions everybody put everything on the table with respect to their own particular views.

We also, since that time, have had a look at the Who Does What panel established by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in 1996 and we were able to take a look at some of the review that came from the outside as part of that process.

Finally, in October 1996 the Solicitor General, along with the Attorney General, announced the independent review of the civilian oversight of policing. This review has since been released and has provided the ministry with recommendations on how to achieve a simpler, more efficient and more effective civilian oversight.

The proposed amendments are, I believe, of enormous benefit to the people of Ontario. I believe it will make our policing more effective. I believe it will make it more cost-efficient and will really improve police service delivery in Ontario. That is not going to be an easy task in these times because in all areas we're asking to do more with less, and that is a difficult challenge for all people. But I must say that the cooperation I've seen among all the players at the summit, and through the meetings with the committee at the level of the ministry, has been a tremendous credit to the people involved.

I don't have a lot of time but I want to talk a little bit about the financing issue. It is very clear that this bill will ensure that all municipalities contribute to the cost of policing their community according to their needs. This will mean fairness to all the people of the province. For those members who don't know, approximately 15% of the province's population is policed now by the OPP without any direct cost to municipalities. Meanwhile, the other 85% are paying for police services through their property taxes.

We recognize that the Police Services Act must be amended to treat all taxpayers fairly. Under this proposed legislation all municipalities will be required to pay for their own policing as of January 1998. This will require amendments to the Police Services Act, as well as to the Regional Municipalities Act and the District Municipality of Muskoka Act.

Under these changes the 576 municipalities currently not paying for OPP policing services will now have to pay for the police services their communities use. This will be determined at the local detachments and will relate directly to the actual workload generated in each municipality. To ensure fairness and consistency, the method of determining the actual amounts owed by municipalities for police services, as well as the time and manner in which payments are to be made, will be prescribed in regulations.

The ministry is also amending the Police Services Act to allow for the recovery of investigation and support services provided by the OPP, such as underwater searches, rescue, tactical teams and technical traffic collision investigations. The cost associated with these investigative services will be considered on a case-by-case basis and recovery of those costs will be at the discretion of the Solicitor General.

I must also add that these changes are consistent with the Who Does What panel recommendations that the province should introduce full cost recovery for policing services provided by the OPP to those municipalities currently not paying.

The issue of governance is again one that I believe is very important to the people of the province. This bill means municipalities will now have the options of choosing the delivery of police services in their community with a governance model which we believe will respond to the local needs of the people in those areas. Under the Police Services Act, municipalities are provided with the options to give them more flexibility in how they will meet their obligations to provide police services.

Under the act, a municipality can have its own police service, amalgamate its police services with one or more other services, contract with the OPP or another police service to provide police services, or adopt a different method of police services with the approval of the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services.

In the short time I have here, I also would like to talk very briefly about the police services boards. Under the new legislation, police services boards will remain as the civilian governing authority of police services in Ontario. There was tremendous debate about how that should happen and who should have the ultimate majority control or whether there should be police services.

Police services boards will still be made up of the same number of members, depending upon the community. Again, that will be based on size. For example, a municipal population of less than 25,000 will have three members, populations of over 25,000 will have five, and populations of over 300,000 will have seven board members.

However, the appointment authority for police services boards will change. Under the changes, municipalities will now appoint the majority of the members. In addition to the existing municipal council representatives, a municipality will now appoint a community representative who is not an elected official or an employee of the municipality and the province will retain a minority number of appointments.

Municipalities will have the authority to set police budgets. Therefore, municipalities that pay for police services from their municipal property tax will have the ultimate say in financial matters. I fully understand that this did create some concerns for some of the members, but I believe the new amendments will mean police services boards will be responsible for allocating funds and administering police service budgets in a fair manner.

To help municipalities with this change in structure, the Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services will develop regulations for police services board members, including a code of conduct, conflict-of-interest policy, training requirements, and length-of-appointment and remuneration guidelines. For those who were maybe concerned that the province was not going to have as much control in policing, those things I talked about -- the regulations for code of conduct, the conflict-of-interest policy, training requirements and length-of-appointment as well as remuneration guidelines -- will play a key role in ensuring that the province has a say in what happens with members of the police services boards. When you look at the things I just mentioned, this is one of the areas I think all of the members of this House can agree on.

In the meantime, to make it easier to coordinate police services across municipal boundaries, the legislation allows for the creation of joint police services boards. The composition of these joint boards will be the same as those of other police services boards. However, the participating municipalities will have to agree among themselves which members of the respective municipal councils will represent all of them at the joint board, as well as who the community representatives will be. I firmly believe the municipal councils will do as we hope the province attempted to do through all governments of all political stripes over the past few years and appoint people they feel represent the community and the best interests of the people of the community as they have their deliberations.

In my association as parliamentary assistant as well as my time here in the Legislature, I can say that the vast majority of people in the police services boards have served with honour and with dignity. They have worked hard. I think the level of cooperation has been excellent. I also believe that this will not change, that those same people who are from those communities will be able to continue to participate if they're selected by the people from the municipal councils. I believe the tradition we have of having fine people represent us on the police service board will continue.

Municipalities that receive police services from the OPP other than by contract may have community policing advisory committees. These committees will advise the OPP detachment commander of the community's objectives and priorities for local service.

I believe I was allotted approximately 10 minutes or so, and I think I've gone over that time. Obviously there is never enough time to get into some of the details.


Mr Michael A. Brown (Algoma-Manitoulin): Take another 11 minutes.

Mr Carr: As my colleague from the Liberal Party says to take a little bit longer, we'll remember that there were times in this House where we used to have occasion to speak for a couple of hours on bills.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): The good old days.

Mr Carr: The good old days, as the member for St Catharines is saying.

During that process, it has been my opportunity to get to know the process a little bit better. I believe that while we may not have an opportunity to hear from as many members, I will be sitting through these particular hearings and hopefully we'll get a chance to go across the province. I will also be taking the time to listen to all the members from all three sides as they deal with this issue. I sat through the member for Welland-Thorold's comments the last time we gathered here and thoroughly enjoyed some of the points he made.

I will sum up in saying that I have had the opportunity of being involved intimately with this piece of legislation, and while we still are not done with it, and hopefully we'll have an opportunity to make some amendments that will improve the bill, I believe we have moved a great step forward in helping improve the whole issue of policing in this province.

I will say that it has been an honour and a pleasure to work with the members and the ministry on this and to work with all of the people who have been involved. Again, the people who I think deserve a great deal of the credit are some of the people who put in all of the time and effort, the people who were there from the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, the people who were from the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police as well as the Police Associations of Ontario, the Ontario Senior Officers Association and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, as well as the ministry staff who spent countless hours going through this.

Our job on this particular piece of legislation, though, as they say, is just beginning, and we're going to have an opportunity to hear from some of the members. I look forward to that, and I hope that as we go forward we're going to be able to continue to work to improve policing in Ontario. I know all members sincerely and honestly want to ensure that we maintain what I believe we have right now, which is one of the finest police services anywhere in the world. This whole process I think will be an excellent one.

I hope my comments have been helpful to some of the members in letting them know what is happening, and I hope that as we go forward we will have an opportunity to hear from other members and to work to improve this bill.

In summing up, I have enjoyed the process. I look forward to continuing as we move forward, and to all members, I wish them success as we go through this process.

The Acting Speaker (Ms Marilyn Churley): Questions or comments?

Mr Bradley: I want to let the parliamentary assistant know that there's going to be a need for a lot of police resources as this government permits video lottery terminals or electronic slot machines in every bar and every restaurant on every street in every neighbourhood in every community in Ontario.

Today, or yesterday, we had an announcement by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations that they're going to set up another large number of casinos across the province where there are going to be video lottery terminals: new access, a new escalation in gambling opportunities from a government that in opposition was so opposed to gambling and which is now addicted itself to gambling revenues because they now have their hands in the pockets of the charities, taking the lion's share of the money from each of these casinos. So I can tell the parliamentary assistant they're going to need a lot of police to police these activities.

I don't know where they're going to get the money, because the government seems to be spending so much of its money on advertising, self-serving advertising with the Premier's face on the television screen, and when you phone up the number and ask for something, they send you something from the Progressive Conservative Party, which is a clear abuse of taxpayers' funds. I hope the police departments have some money left over when the advertising campaign in health, education and municipal affairs is over with, fully paid for by the taxpayers of Ontario, the majority of whom disagree with this government, and they still have to pay for these ads.

Lastly, I hope there is some money left for the police after the tax cut is fully in effect, because this government has to borrow $5 billion a year in order to finance the tax cut. I would suspect the member for Oakville South, in his heart of hearts, because he can be on many occasions a sensible person, probably opposes this advertising campaign and probably opposes this bizarre tax scheme which is going to be of most benefit to the richest people in our province.

Mr Floyd Laughren (Nickel Belt): I must say I enjoyed the remarks from the member for Oakville South. Of all the members in this assembly, I think his demeanour changed the most when he became a government member and a front-bencher, because I can recall in opposition he was a virtual mad dog in this place, second only to Bob Runciman. But since he's taken on these responsibilities of government, he's very measured in his speeches and his actions. I must say it's been a complete transformation. I don't know whether to congratulate him or not. I hope he hasn't lost a lot of the old spunk he used to have.

I must say, getting to Bill 105, that he does make his case on equity in policing. I think he does a good case in making that argument. I can remember in government we struggled with that issue as well, as other governments have. But I must say that what clouds a bill such as this, which may have some good aspects to it, is what's underlying all this downloading on to the municipalities. It takes away from some of the things that are going on that perhaps we would have a more balanced response to, because it's very obvious what's going on, whether it's amalgamation to make larger units to make downloading easier for this government or whether it's the simple act of downloading itself. I spent some time yesterday detailing what's happened in my community, where they're going to have to absorb $105 million in downloaded costs; that's after the educational component has been removed from the property taxes. So that's clouding some of the issues that would get a much cleaner debate, if I could put it that way, if it wasn't for the regressive downloading that's occurring.

Mr Gary L. Leadston (Kitchener-Wilmot): I'd like to speak in reference to Bill 105 regarding the amendments to the Police Services Act. When I was a police officer in the 1960s, we had a lot less crime and we had a lot fewer social problems than we have today. People in Kitchener, and in fact all of the province of Ontario, left their doors unlocked. Parents could be assured that their children were safe on the streets. During that period I enjoyed being a police officer. Later on, when I was chairman and a board member of the Waterloo Police Services Board, I also enjoyed that experience. Today we live in a much different society. There's a great mistrust for other people. People feel uncomfortable walking down a darkened street. Unfortunately, the Police Services Act has not really changed to reflect the changes in society. It is in dire need, great need, of an overhaul.

The Solicitor General has recognized that need and initiated a long-overdue review of police services in December 1995. The government had to find ways of improving front-line police services while eliminating waste and duplication. This was accomplished by consulting both police and municipal stakeholders.

One of the areas that is a great burden to police officers is the oversight of their positions. Most professions have a supervisory level to make sure that he or she is doing a good job. In most cases there is only one level of supervision for an employee in both the private and public sectors. However, police officers --

The Acting Speaker: I'm sorry, your time is up. This was a two-minute response. If you're the next up to speak, you'll have that opportunity in a few minutes.

Further questions or comments? The member for Algoma-Manitoulin.


Mr Michael Brown: I was very interested in the parliamentary assistant's comments also, and I would like to share with the member for Nickel Belt the more reasoned demeanour we now see in the parliamentary assistant. Having sat very close to him, it's a little easier on our ears but not necessarily as wonderful.

I want to bring to his attention, though, what this bill in my area -- in our area police are well respected. We appreciate what they do. Whether they're in the Elliot Lake municipal department, in the Espanola department, whether they serve at Wikwemikong or with the UCCM on first nations, they are well-respected people within our communities and people who do a good job for our communities.

What he doesn't speak to, however, is the downloading on to the rural municipality. I know that the mayor of Little Current, the mayor of Massey, the reeve of the township of the Spanish River, the reeve of Billings, my friend Aus Hunt, are very concerned about having to pay what will be a very large amount on their property tax assessment for policing services. This is a very, very large amount to the people.

What are they going to get in return? What will they get for their money? He says, "Well, we'll have an advisory committee." I tell you, Parliamentary Assistant, those advisory committees already exist. They're already there. But I think there will be a substantial difference: When these taxpayers are paying, they'll want to call the shots, and you're not going to permit that.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Oakville South.

Mr Carr: I want to thank the member for St Catharines for his comments. I also want to thank the member for Nickel Belt for his comments. I didn't realize that I had been as aggressive in my opposition days, but when I saw the Speaker smiling, I knew she probably agreed. I know she's a very balanced and very thoughtful person, and when I saw her smiling, I thought, well, he may be right, because she seemed to be agreeing with him while still trying to maintain the neutrality of the Chair. We'll have an opportunity to speak with the Speaker later, but she may be right. We all bring our passions as we come to this place and our youthful enthusiasm as we get into this debate, and hopefully we'll have an opportunity to continue that. But I thank the member for Nickel Belt as well as my colleague from Kitchener-Wilmot.

I also want to especially thank the member for Algoma-Manitoulin for the points he makes. I had the opportunity to be in his riding with the member a couple of summers ago, dealing with some of the timber bills. We had an opportunity of seeing his community. In fact we had probably one of the best dinners at a local restaurant there when we were staying over; Chinese food at the Golden Dragon in his riding. Coming from Oakville, I appreciate more what the member is saying and how vast his riding is. It was a great opportunity.

I take what he is saying about the community and the cost of policing seriously. I understand there are many communities that feel the same way. Approximately 15% of the total population of the province, the land mass, isn't paying for policing, and that is going to be difficult. As I said in my earlier statements and as the member for Nickel Belt said, it's difficult on top of all the other changes that we made, with respect. Hopefully we'll get an opportunity to address some of those and deal with them.

I thank the honourable member for his comments on this bill.

Mr Bradley: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: I would just like to give permission to the member for Kitchener-Wilmot, when he makes his speech, to use much of the same material as he did the last time. We all go through this particular process and none of us will tell if there's any repetition. We promise.

The Acting Speaker: Member for St Catharines, that's not a point of order. Further debate?

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): I'd like at the outset to seek the unanimous consent of the House to share the opening response, which I will give together with my colleague the member for Scarborough-Agincourt, who will return from a committee at some point.

The Acting Speaker: Is that agreed? Agreed.

Mr Conway: I want to just say at the outset that I enjoyed that byplay between the dean of the House, Mr Laughren, and Mr Carr, and I want to simply weigh in in support of the dean because I too have noticed, to quote a phrase, Floyd, "a protest movement becalmed."

I suppose that for a vigorous, red-blooded Conservative like our friend Carr to encounter the Grits and the godless New Democrats in 1990 was enough to inspire his enthusiasm, but I hear now he has come to terms with those realities and it is his new challenge of dealing with the hot breath of one Terry Young which is becoming ever more felt on his neck over the implications of Bill 81. It may be before the end of the season that the godless New Democrats and the spendthrift Grits look rather tame when compared to the very energetic Mr Young, now of Halton Centre, and we are told a man of some considerable interest in Oakville South.

I want to begin my remarks this afternoon by saying that there are certainly aspects of the policy that our friend from Oakville has developed, together with the minister responsible for police, that I think any reasonable person would want to support, and there are aspects of Bill 105 that I certainly would be willing to support. There are some key elements that give me very deep pause and I'm going to deal with those in the coming moments.

Let me say at the outset that the relationship between civilian government and the police and/or the military is one of the most central and one of the most complex in a free and democratic society. Governments of all stripes at all levels, municipal, provincial, state or national, have wrestled with this relationship for a long, long time.

I was interested in the comments of Mr Leadston from Kitchener, whose comments I'm going to be interested to hear in full later on, because he has served in a police force; I have not. As someone who spends a lot of time on the King's highways of Ontario, I understand some of the difficulties that any highway patrol and certainly any police force has.

I also want to observe at the outset that we have a Conservative government that is dedicated to rigorous right-wing conservatism in the late 1990s, so we should not be surprised that Bill 105 contains core values that one would expect from a rigorous right-wing, right-of-centre Conservative Party. One of the key determinants of the political continuum these days is where politicians and political organizations stand in relation to crime and punishment, and therefore with police forces.

I think any fairminded oppositionist has to say in looking at Bill 105 that we see clearly the stamp of Mike Harris and Bob Runciman, people who ran on a commitment to deal with what they felt were the excesses of the Liberal and New Democratic governments before them, and I might add, probably the excesses of the lukewarm red Toryism of Roy McMurtry and Bill Davis.

I want to be fair. I see before me a Bill 105 which clearly betrays the deep-seated commitments and feelings and orientation of modern Conservatism in Ontario. This is not a bill I would have expected from Robarts or from Davis, but we've got it from Harris and friends and this is the kind of bill I would have expected; not the bill I would have offered, but that is as it should be. Let it be stated again: Harris won the election; I lost it.

I come back to the central point. The relationship between civilian government and police forces is an extremely important and very difficult one.


Let me use one very contemporary example. Before I do, I have a lot of sympathy for what I expect our friend Leadston is going to tell us later in the debate about some of the problems that men and women who walk the beat, who drive the highways, face and have faced in these later years, where quite frankly our society has become more multifaceted, more multicultural and more complex than I believe it was when I was growing up in rural Ontario 35 years ago.

All members, I think, will have some currency with the so-called Airbus affair. I don't stand here today as any advocate for Martin Brian Mulroney, QC. I don't want to unduly engage that debate, but I want members of this assembly and anyone watching this debate to for a moment reflect on what was done to a citizen of this country by, it appears, our national police force, with or without the involvement of the national Department of Justice. It appears from the out-of-court settlement that was arrived at some weeks ago that our national police force now admits that it did some things to a citizen of Canada, who in this case just happens to have been a former Prime Minister, that were, to say the very least, not very well supported by the facts or any facts, and for which now the national police force and I understand the national government have some very deep regret. Mr Mulroney, because of his determination, because of his financial resources, was able to take the national police force and the national government to task for that.

But when we talk about civilian oversight of police forces, let's just remember a few things, because I will agree with my friend Leadston that certain things have happened in the intervening years of 1965 to 1995 that will give chiefs of police and men and women of the Kitchener-Waterloo police force or the OPP or the RCMP some pause and some concern. But I want all members to reflect on why it is that we require a civilian oversight that is real and effective.

One of the people I'd like to call before this committee dealing with Bill 105 is Brian Mulroney to see if today he has a view on that subject, because I'll tell you, he is owed more than I think he will ever be able to -- and as I say, I hold no brief for Brian Mulroney. Think of what was done to him.

I see the member for Kitchener-Wilmot here. I was just thinking about some of the characters we've had, and I'm getting a little ahead of myself, but you know, Gary, you'll remember the Sid Brown case. Can you imagine a situation under the provisions of Bill 105, where you've got Sid Brown loose as an unhappy chief of police down in Waterloo region? Wouldn't that be a happy state of affairs under the provisions of Bill 105?

You will think, as you probably should think, "Oh, that's just an isolated case." Maybe. For those of us in the national capital area, we've had the opportunity to watch the Loranger case unfold over the last two or three years. The endlessly enthusiastic and peripatetic member for Nepean, who seems to have a particular interest in matters of crime and punishment, I don't think in my presence has engaged the Loranger case, and I may do him an injustice. He talks about a lot of other issues of law and order, but I haven't heard him say a word about the Loranger case. I'm sure he has; I just haven't heard him. But if you're a citizen of Ontario living in eastern Ontario with Ottawa as your media centre and you've been following the Loranger case, I'm going to tell you, you will have some very legitimate concerns about what happened or didn't happen there.

I've got in my hand the report of Mr Justice Archie Campbell on the Bernardo investigation. I know Archie Campbell. He's a very fine fellow and a hell of a good judge and he was a great deputy minister of justice. Have you read this? Has anybody bothered? Have you read this? It's worth reading. It is really worth reading. It's not the first inquiry or review of the Niagara Regional Police, I say to the member for St Catharines-Brock. I know my friend Bradley would have gas from me saying this, but let him have some gas. How many times, I say, do I have to sit in this place and get another report about the Niagara Regional Police that tells me they are apparently not up to the job? This is a scandalous indictment of that bloody police force, as far as I'm concerned, and it's not the first one.

So we've got Bill 105. What are we going to do? I see the mayor of Montague is smiling, and he might smile because he'll say, "Conway's just off on one of his little tirades." Well, I am a little bit upset, and some of us who've been here for 22 years have been down this road before. I'll tell you, if I were a family member with a direct involvement in the Loranger case, you wouldn't be able to find my pulse, I say to my friend from Lanark.

That is not to say that all police forces all the time are up to those kinds of activities, because I don't believe that to be true. My experience tells me that the overwhelming majority of men and women in the police are good, hardworking people, with a very difficult job, not one I would want. But they're in a very sensitive situation in which all kinds of conflicts, real and imaginary, are possible. We've got to have a policy framework that properly balances the public interest against the police interest.

I watched one night recently -- I think it was an A&E Biography of J. Edgar Hoover. It is absolutely astonishing that in the greatest democracy, apparently, of the civilized world we've got a chief of police who had the book on them all and was quite willing to use it. Whether it was Lyndon Johnson, Jack Kennedy, you name it, he had it and he was quite willing to apply it. I look at Bill 105 and I say to myself, "Well now, what would J. Edgar Hoover say about this?" I think he'd like Bill 105 a lot more than he would have liked Roy McMurtry and his police complaints commission.

I just ask honourable members to give some thought to some of this, this question of the relationship of civilian government to police and military. We are being treated this very season to the Somalia inquiry and I think I can say this because now it appears to be a truly bipartisan mess. You're a citizen of Canada today and you're looking at that. Boy, you must feel good. Doesn't it really? And what do you know? The poor stiff on the front line, he's already in jail, convicted by some kind of a process. But have you noticed, as you move up the accountability ladder, oh boy, none of the big fish have yet fried and are not likely going to fry. Maybe they shouldn't. Maybe that's unfavourable phraseology.

But I think one of the reasons that people are a little fed up out there is the sense that there isn't very much accountability at the top, that if you're the chief of police, you're the minister, you're the deputy, you're never responsible for anything. No matter how egregious the misconduct, no matter how regular the truancy, no matter how serious the transgression, somebody else is responsible. "Not on my watch, sir." I think Mr and Mrs Ontario, Mr and Mrs Canada, have seen through that. And you know, as I watched some of the Somalia inquiry, it just reminds me of a lot of other things, that it's just --


Mr Conway: You might be right. Listen, I quite accept my friend from Grimsby's view of the world.


Mr Conway: Oh no, it's your Grimsby connections that I hear most about, I say to the member for Brant-Haldimand. They're the ones that I hear are most richly embroidered. Your later days in Brant-Haldimand are of less interest to me than your Grimsby days. But I say he may very well be right. I think he is right in the sense that --


Mr Conway: Oh, I say to my friend, he's probably right about June 1995, but my point is we have before us Bill 105 and we're asked to approve his policy.


Mr Conway: The member from Oakville -- Gary, you must be the parliamentary assistant, right? Right. The man in charge of Bill 105 and bootie camps. I say to the member for Nickel Belt, you think he's becalmed. I heard him on the radio the other day talking about bootie camps. I'll tell you, it is as though he and Runciman have gone to some NDP behaviour modification course.


We have Bill 105 and it asks us to set aside a fair bit of the history. Again, it's too bad Roy McMurtry's not here. I'd like to have the former Attorney General, the now Chief Justice, tell us about why it was he felt in the early 1980s that the time had come for a more independent, more antiseptic police complaints process. It did not happen by accident. Some of the very things I think you are going to open the door to are the very things that occasioned the previous Conservative government to create a structure that in Bill 105 you are substantially amending and in fact removing.

At the outset I just want to observe this relationship and ask members to think about some of the people, some of the circumstances. I didn't know I was going to be speaking this afternoon so I've just pulled some of this together rather quickly, but I'm sure that with a little more time I could have come up with quite a longer list of some very interesting cases of chiefs of police. Too bad my colleague from Cornwall's not here. The former big-time police officer is now the mayor. It's like Zanibbi up in Sudbury. Some of these chiefs of police are some of the most colourful and creative characters I've ever met. We're now, under Bill 105, going to empower these people to decide on what's going to proceed. On the basis of my knowledge of human nature, that is a roll of the dice and we shall see what we shall see.

Mr Garry J. Guzzo (Ottawa-Rideau): What about the former mayor of Eastview?

Mr Conway: Which one?

Mr Guzzo: The one who sits beside you.

Mr Conway: Ah, the former mayor of Eastview? Yes, I --

Mr Guzzo: He's an expert on things like that.

Mr Conway: I thought you were going to maybe talk about the former mayor of Hawkesbury. Remember him?

We could have a lot of talk. The former mayor of Windsor -- I can think of a lot of --


Mr Conway: I ask members, just think -- you might want to make light of this -- about what you're asking approval of here, because in terms of the police complaints situation, the chief of police is now going to play a central role. In a perfect world, with all interests being pure and even, it shouldn't be a problem but if I look to the Loranger case, if I look to the Mulroney case, if I look to a number of other cases, boy, I really have to agree with Alan Borovoy who said of the new complaints procedures contained in Bill 105, "You really have given the police an enhanced role of umpiring that may not be in the public interest."

Let me talk more directly to some of the specifics of the bill and start by observing what many have observed. The parliamentary assistant indicated this in his remarks. There's been a real grievance around Ontario for as long as I've been here that some municipalities, actually the majority of municipalities representing at least the majority of people in Ontario, have long paid for their police. About 15% of Ontario representing about 1.4 million people have, to use the parlance of this debate, gotten a free ride, and that's been a real irritant with which governments of all stripes have had to contend.

It's too bad that the sainted Frank S. Miller, PEng, of sainted memory, former Premier, is not here, because one of the obvious exceptions to the rule was the regional municipality of Muskoka. I don't mean to malign the member from Muskoka. I saw Mr Grimmett out one day here recently sitting rather disconsolately on the stairs reading a bill. I thought to myself, "I bet you that's Bill 105," because poor Grimmett is now going to have to go back to Muskoka and undo what many felt for decades was Frank Miller's great achievement: "We got regional status" -- whenever that was, in the early 1970s -- "without paying for policing."

Many a time I was in Port Carling and Bracebridge and Minett and places of that kind, saying: "That Frank Miller had clout at Queen's Park. We're a region and we don't pay for policing." Thanks to Runciman and Carr, they're now going to be given the opportunity to pay for policing.

Mr David Turnbull (York Mills): It's the right thing to do.

Mr Conway: The member from Old Post Road, with constituents like Conrad Black, the illustrious member for York Mills, says, "That's the right thing to do." If you live on Old Post Road I don't doubt that there is a lot of greater Ontario that appears a bit idiosyncratic and irregular.

Mr Grimmett will go home and he will explain to people how he's right and Frank Miller was wrong.

Mr Guzzo: Grimmett will declare interest when he goes home.

Mr Conway: Listen, I'm not going to take on the judge; I know better.

Mr Guzzo: Mr Grimmett's wife is a police officer.

Mr Conway: More importantly, her parents are constituents of mine with whom I had breakfast in the county just this past weekend, so I have to be even more careful.

We've got Cumberland -- I don't know how up to date I am on these lists; I've got a list here someplace -- township in Ottawa. Carleton was another one that we always liked to cite because they had several thousands of people, I say to the judge, and they were apparently getting free policing; places like Wiarton and Tweed were paying. That's all going to end.

In the interests of equity, who could be opposed to this? I think there are some people who have a right to a very real opposition and those are the people my friend Brown from Kagawong spoke of just a few moments ago.

There is no doubt that there have to be changes. I can think of, in my constituency, in my county, so ably represented by my -- I share. The able representation is my colleague from Montague. He's got the town of Arnprior which pays over $1 million to the OPP for policing, and McNab township which is a suburban periphery and in the main gets free OPP policing. In my part of Renfrew county, the taxpayers in Pembroke where I live pay some $1 million for policing, and Petawawa gets free policing though their population is growing to be nearly as large. Those inequities are obvious matters that have to be dealt with. I suspect those are going to be difficult but manageable.

There are whole sections of Ontario, however, that are going to be a real issue, because, you see, if I'm in McNab township or in Petawawa, if I impose a charge I can at least imagine -- or in Cumberland -- organizing some kind of a visible police service. Come with me to rural southwest Renfrew, come to where I have a summer residence up in Brudenell and Sebastopol and Raglan and greater Denbigh; now I say --

Mr Guzzo: They don't need police up there.


Mr Conway: That's not the panhandle, I say to my friend.

How are we going to do this? How are we going to organize some kind of a police service in the very purely rural parts of southern and northern Ontario?

Mr Peter L. Preston (Brant-Haldimand): Start with the chief and work down.

Mr Conway: My friend from Grimsby, now of Brant-Haldimand, says, "Start with the chief and work down." That's exactly what the rural burghers will think you're up to: "You'll find a chief and you'll start and we'll never see" -- the chief will be busy. The chief will be over in Plum Hollow at a meeting with the local MLA. He won't have any time, she won't have any time to go and talk to real people out on the fourth concession. Jordan's cows are loose and somebody's called and said, "The highway is blocked because Jordan's cows are loose." Well, no, no, no. The chief, who's got an empire of some several hundred square whatever, is down at Plum Hollow having a meeting, and the parliamentary secretary from Old Post Road in Toronto has come to give the inherited wisdom of Her Majesty's government, and these important people are all at a meeting. We've got no time and no resources to get somebody out on the fourth concession to deal with the problem.


You see, we're not talking about Brantford, we're not talking about Grimsby, we're not talking about Pembroke. We're talking about very rural areas. These people are going to get a bill. Every year they're going to get a bill. The line on the tax bill is going to say something like -- let me be generous, charitable. It might be as little as $125; it might be something like $300. Who knows? Yet to be decided.

The parliamentary assistant looks quizzical, and well he might. It is undecided. But I'm in Brudenell township, Renfrew county, a long way from any urban centre, and I'm getting this bill. And for what am I getting this bill? Police services that aren't and can't be organized in any real way to provide service in those rural communities. They're just rural townships.

People know that. They know that if you're in a hamlet or a village, they can imagine a service being organized -- not, obviously, as sophisticated as it might be in Hamilton or in Ottawa. But if you're in St George or if you're in all kinds of smaller places, you can at least run the car around the streets for a few times a day and people know you've been there. What do you do in Brudenell township? You could be running all week with no guarantee that any more than 10% of the constituents would see you, and it wouldn't necessarily be a good use of your resources.

The other aspect of this in these rural communities -- and I can use some of my own. I've got townships where, by and large, most of the population lives along the Highway 17 corridor. My friend Carr represents the OPP. We've made a deal. We've contracted with Carr and the OPP to provide police service. But you see, knowing what I know about government and police bureaucracies of any kind -- I'm assuming, by the way, in this policy that Her Majesty's provincial government is still going to accept some responsibility for what my American friends would call the highway patrol. I suspect that will be their public position.

But I'm going to tell you, in a lot of these rural areas along King's highways it will be very interesting dynamic and dialectic as to what's highway patrol and what's local policing. But I have a feeling that since Her Majesty's provincial government will essentially be player and umpire in this game, those local ratepayers are going to have to be very vigilant and very careful and very resourceful to keep Carr and the OPP from pushing much of the highway patrol costs on to the local property taxpayers in those areas. Now, it may not be a justified concern, but I'm telling you, I would really like to see the formula that is going to be developed by these various organizations, local and central, to prevent that from being the case.

I want to say very strongly, on behalf of rural constituents in the very rural parts of particularly southwest Renfrew, south-central Renfrew, North Hastings, ably represented by our friend from Rodden, and North Addington, much of Haliburton, it is going to be extremely difficult to provide any kind of meaningful police service, yet we are apparently going to tithe people on their property for that service. I'm going to be very interested to see what the reaction is going to be.

Since my friend from Hastings has returned, let me just run another one of my favourite local saws in this revolutionary new world. There is a part of southeastern Ontario, south of Algonquin Park, east of Lakefield, west of the village of Eganville and north of Highway 7. In geography class we used to call it the Frontenac axis, a great swath of shield, all of it divided into townships, most of it populated to one degree or another for over 100 years. What makes it interesting is that the largest property owner, by a long shot, is Her Majesty the Queen in right of the Ontario government.

Since it is the new policy that property taxes should to the greatest extent possible shoulder the cost of hard services: roads, particularly their maintenance, police, fire and such like -- and quite frankly that is an argument that is credible and often persuasive; it is to me. That's part of the argument that's led us to take the big soft service, education, off the property tax. But I don't think there are very many people who do challenge the notion that property taxes should pay for those hard services: fire, police, road, water, sewer, if they're applicable.

Accepting that as a policy, my question to the junior minister of police and all his friends on the treasury bench is this: What about making Her Majesty pay, as the ratepayer to that great swath of southeastern Ontario, for her share of the rates based on the property she owns? She will no longer, through her loyal ministers here at Queen's Park, be paying a grant in lieu -- not a grant in lieu but an unconditional grant -- to these municipalities. As long as we were paying an unconditional grant or some kind of municipal support grant to our friend the warden of Hastings and the reeve of Rodden on behalf of Her Majesty, we had at least a leg on which to stand. Now it's all gone. So back to police charges.

I want to know, I say to the junior minister of police, are you going to submit to Her Majesty a bill as the biggest property owner through my part of southeastern Ontario? I don't expect an answer now. There aren't very many people in government today who even know what we're talking about, because this is a very unusual land tenure for southern Ontario. The squire of Montague thinks I'm just caviling like some nitpicking oppositionist. I think it's a real issue. I think it's a very real issue, and not just on police but on fire and a variety of other things. If you want this policy, then the Ontario government is the biggest game in town.

Let me just tell you, in my county, in Renfrew county, 50% of the land base is crown land. I've got several townships with populations scattered all through them that are over 100 years old; 140 years in some cases. The land base in those townships is up to 70% crown land. If you're in Brant-Haldimand or in the Niagara Peninsula or, God forbid, in south Halton, you can't conceive of such a scheme. It's hard to conceive of it in south Lanark, but that's the reality for three or four of us. So what's the policy going to be? Where does that bill go?

If I live in Denbigh, represented by the member for Frontenac-Addington -- and perhaps outer space because I don't see him around here any more; I'm sure he's busy working for his constituents -- these people are going to want to know. And somebody better have an answer to that question, because I think the people living in the most rural parts of Ontario are going to be potentially the most disadvantaged by this policy.

I understand the theoretical construct for the policy, the equity argument, but I repeat, I own property and live in a community of 15,000. I pay, through my property taxes, for a police service that I see all the time in my community. When I go out into the hinterland of my county where I have a summer recreational property, my expectation around policing is fundamentally different, and I will be, like I think most of my constituents in rural Ontario, very annoyed to see a line item on my tax bill of $150 to $275, whatever, for a service that I know is not going to be there.


I see eyebrows raised, and most of the people out there understand why it can't be there. They hope that the OPP detachment at Killaloe or at Bancroft is going to be sufficiently well staffed to meet the provincial policing responsibilities, but to start imposing a land tax on property owners in those areas for policing I think is a very serious matter, and I want to join with my colleague the member for Algoma-Manitoulin in underlining that concern.

I've got to leave some time for the member for Scarborough-Agincourt, so I will get on to some other things here and then leave the recently returned member from Scarborough to a few words of his own. One of the aspects of this bill I found very interesting. I see that when we come to police commissions -- and boy, this will make a lot of people at the municipal level happy, because now those top-down, Queen's-Park-imposed police boards will be no more. There will at least be a majority of local folks on the police commission, and that will certainly, I agree with my friend from Lanark who nods approvingly, lower the blood pressure of a lot of municipal politicians.

I was just struck by a couple of things in the bill. Looking at people who cannot serve on local police commissions, you can't be on the police services board if you're a police officer or a defence lawyer. That's interesting, and quite frankly very understandable. Has anybody over there noticed that it's rather different criteria than the government used on the education bill? You can't be on a school board, according to bill whatever it is, if you're a teacher or the spouse of a teacher.

I just ask, why would we not apply, why would Her Majesty's current provincial government not apply the self-same standard to Bill 105? I think I know why. Because this is a government that wants to say to the police, as Bill Clinton would say it: "I feel your pain. I'm with you." The teachers, oh, now that's a different kettle of fish, but anybody with a brain would read this and notice a double standard, and it certainly begs the question, why would police spouses be eligible for public service in a way that teachers' spouses are not? I'm sure that somebody will have an answer to that question, though, as I say, I think it's a matter of politics and one that I would understand, though not share, from this government.

I wanted to say something about the role of the provincial government in setting the rules. The mayor of Wallaceburg is someone I have known for some time. Wallaceburg is in Kent county. It's a town of some 11,000 people. It seems like a very typical Ontario community. The mayor and council at Wallaceburg have had an incredible experience with the Ontario Police Commission over the last four or five years, an unbelievable experience if the mayor of Wallaceburg and his colleagues are to be believed. The nub of that issue is that the provincial commission is hell-bent for leather that they are going to tell the local community in chapter and verse what they're going to do and not do about some pretty detailed personnel policy, incurring all kinds of expenses, and other management issues. I look at Bill 105 and I see a very limited retreat by the Ontario government from that tendency. It is going to be, I think, a very real issue for a lot of municipalities.

I have before me the brief of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, AMO, in response to this police bill. Standards, they say, will not be specified in the legislation, and they're right. All of it is to be set out in regulation: all kinds of opportunities for the government to exercise, in its role as player and referee, all kinds of advantage to the centre, to the disadvantage and to the additional cost of the community or the region.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Wallaceburg example, it is your worst nightmare. It didn't occur on your watch and you don't need to worry. I don't know whether it's a partisan issue with the previous government, I say to the current Speaker, but the mindset of yet another commission that is going to tell in this case a community of 11,000 what they can and cannot do and the treatment afforded and accorded the mayor and the community were extraordinary.

So as I look at Bill 105, I see all kinds of opportunities for the agents of our friend from Oakville and the member from Brockville, the Solicitor General -- the provincial government -- to say on the one hand we're going to devolve the management and certainly all of the costs or most of the costs, but we are going to set standards and we are going to determine key ingredients of that cost structure.

It's going to be very interesting too, for example -- I guess the assumption is going to be, and it would be quite reasonable, that for all or many of those communities that now don't have policing, particularly the smaller ones, they are simply going to contract with the OPP. You can see already the problem. You are a community, you're a potential client, but the trouble is that your service provider is also your regulator. Now, that's a happy state of affairs.

We've got some of that with Hydro. As Hydro starts to get more into the delivery of services, you get people out in the country saying: "How does this work again? They're now in my backyard competing with me as the local utility or as a private entrepreneur, but gee whiz, they just happen to be my supplier and my regulator." That's a happy state of affairs.

You don't have to be Einstein to see the potential conflicts. So I say to the junior minister --

Mr W. Leo Jordan (Lanark-Renfrew): It's not potential; it's there.

Mr Conway: Absolutely. The potential, whether it's acted upon is an entirely different matter, but I suspect there are going to be a lot of people sitting around municipal councils saying, "Hmm, now what do I do here?"

Mr Guzzo: I thought you were making an argument to privatize.

Mr Conway: No, because I agree with the minister. The minister has said that there can be only three choices: You start your own municipal force, you contract with the OPP or you contract with an existing municipal force. That is, to me, a very sensible policy, and I support him in it entirely.

But I try to imagine myself again in a situation of shopping around. Think about the personnel issues that are at play here. Just think about it. I'm sitting here thinking, "Well, shall I buy the service from the Renfrew town police or shall I get it from the OPP?" One of these service providers is more than a service provider; they are regulator, they are umpire, and boy, they're operating in a very delicate, sensitive business. It's kind of like water polo: Most of the real sport goes on underneath the water line, away from the cameras.

I just think it affords a lot of opportunity for creative people. With my friend the judge from Rideau here, I want to make an observation, because another part of this bill turns upon the role of the special investigations unit. I hope my friend Leadston gets into some of the cases because he knows them better than I. I think there have been examples in recent time which make the case that some of the oversight and some of the investigation has been irksome and perhaps even political. That's the sense I get from some people in certain of the police community.


On the other hand, I'm very familiar with examples that would take your breath away on the other side, where the behaviour of the police force -- again, I don't want to use extreme examples, but people saw the famous Watergate scandal. Who would have believed it? Who would believe that people would have done those things and done them quite actively? Lawbreaking.

Many of you are old enough to remember Mr Justice McDonald's inquiry into the activities of the RCMP in the 1970s. Remember that? Remember what Mr Justice McDonald found out about some of the practices? The member for Nepean was otherwise engaged, and we can understand why, but for those of us who see ourselves as typical Canadians who support the police, it's pretty bloody hard to fathom that people would do that, for whatever good cause, for whatever good end -- but the barn burning and the lawbreaking to support some counterespionage, whatever. I didn't have time to go back into that, but the McDonald royal commission into the activities of the RCMP in the 1970s made for some very interesting reading.

I want to repeat, Mr Justice Campbell's 400-plus page report into the behaviour of the Metro police force and the Niagara Regional Police Force on the Bernardo matter -- to read this is to weep and to rage. I can't imagine what it must be like to read this and have some direct personal involvement, and that's not because I expect that there's going to be perfection. There's a great story by Kirk Makin in this latest edition of Toronto Life about fabulous police work by the Metro police on the High Park rapist, so there's an example on the other side of where there is exceptional policing. But I'm telling you, you ought to read this, and then you imagine that you're a parent.

This is not the first inquiry into the Niagara Regional Police Force. For those of us who want to be as supportive as possible of the police forces --

Mr Tom Froese (St Catharines-Brock): It's all cleaned up now. Come on; quit ranting.

Mr Conway: I hope you're right. I hope and I pray you're right, because 10 years ago we were told the same thing. I'll just end the discourse there and I will bank on your assessment because you live there and I don't.

But I want to come back to my friend the judge because we have an issue in here about --


Mr Conway: You think I'm colourful. You ought to have heard the judge when he was on the bench.

About the special investigations unit: This gives me an opportunity just to raise a caution. I notice that Her Majesty's new Ontario government appointed some months ago André Marin as the new director of the SIU, a 31-year-old assistant crown attorney whose father, I must say, was famous. I don't know the son, I do know the father.

A 31-year-old assistant crown attorney is now the head of the special investigations unit. I am the last person to declaim youth and to discount youth, but I just want to make an observation that this is a very sensitive and delicate job. A 31-year-old assistant crown attorney. I don't care how able one is at 31; this is a job where, quite frankly, I would have wanted a greater life experience than the relative youth of --

Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): How old were you when you were Minister of Education?

Mr Conway: I was 34. But I tell you, I would not hire me and I would not have appointed me at 31 to be director of the SIU. I don't mean that as critically as it's got to sound, because surely that's a job of enormous sensitivity and judgement, and those are qualities that I believe in these matters are developed --

Mr Froese: I wouldn't hire Baird either; he's only 25.

Mr Conway: I say this seriously, and I'm sure the advisers to whomsoever made the appointment had good reason, but many, or some, and some in the public domain, have raised very legitimate concerns about that appointment. Mr Marin may be very able. I don't doubt he was a very good crown attorney. At 31 he would have had lots of years to build the dossier. But I really do think that if we want to have a credible SIU and one that's seen to be credible, certainly you have raised some very real doubts in my mind with that appointment to that position.

As I turn to my colleague from Agincourt to finish this, I want to summarize that my principal objections to this bill are around the impacts on the very rural parts of my county, Renfrew, and the rest of rural and northern Ontario because we are going to be imposing a real and significant cost on those people for a police service that cannot be reasonably delivered to them.

Secondly, I think the bill and the policy are seriously deficient around the oversight provisions, that while there have been some problems with some of the recent structures, you have returned, in my view, to pre-1980, to a situation where you're putting chiefs of police in positions of near impossibility. I think you're going to lose considerable support in the community when they understand what's been done here. You have, I think, to a real extent thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

I end my observation with the point at which I began: The relationship between civilian government and police is enormously important, very complex, and surely turns in a free and democratic society on the principle that at the end of the day there is going to be clear responsibility, there's going to be a clear policy that turns on the concept that the civilian government is going to be, at the end of the day, responsible and seen to be responsible.

Now to my friend from Agincourt.

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I'm pleased to join the debate on Bill 105. I think by now the public probably appreciates that we're dealing with a package of bills, each of them in and of itself quite significant. Taken as a total package, they are clearly going to redefine Ontario. There's no question about that, and the government would be the first to acknowledge that.

I think the first thing that the public and all of us need to be aware of is that the government has embarked on a very serious offloading of costs on to municipalities. We will have a debate in the Legislature over the next few weeks around the significance and the size of that offloading.

Today, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario was before our standing committee on finance and economic affairs saying that even though the government announced its intent several weeks ago, they, the major partner with the government, have been unable to get clarification on the total size of the offload. But this is part of it, and make no mistake about it. For municipalities that are going to be required now to pick up the cost of policing, if it were simply a wash, I think they would be saying: "Listen, I understand it completely. You're taking education off our property tax and we're picking up the police costs. We can understand that." But it looks very much like what the government is doing is adding about $1 billion of extra costs to the property taxpayers of Ontario.


I have been travelling around the province talking to municipal leaders. Without exception they have been saying that as they look at the numbers, including the funds the government said it was going to provide, we're looking across the province at the possibility of a 10% increase in property tax. I challenge the government to produce the numbers. Our caucus, working with municipalities, has gone through all of the costs and we've said the government is eliminating from the property tax education, children's aid and women's shelters, and then it is adding this list to the property tax. At the top of it is community policing.

The government has already acknowledged -- these are government-acknowledged numbers -- they are adding $6.3 billion, taking $5.4 billion off. But they have chosen to ignore what the municipalities tell us are very substantial costs for provincial highways, sewer and water, social housing, municipal transit and GO, and ambulance service costs. As the public listens to this debate about municipalities that currently don't pay for policing picking up the policing costs, I think many people in Ontario would say that sounds reasonable. If 85% of Ontario is paying off their property tax for policing, why shouldn't those other communities pay off property tax? If it were that simple, I think the government would have no difficulty in selling the bill. But this is part of a package that is going to add over $1 billion of costs to property taxes in Ontario, and that, by the way, is after taking into account what they call the community reinvestment fund.

As this unfolds and for those of us who have municipalities that right now have policing provided by the province, I think you should expect that when everything clears, this exercise is first and foremost part of a grand plan to offload substantial extra costs from the province. We all know why. The government has said it has to cut another $4 billion of costs. The Minister of Finance a couple of weeks ago said revenues are a little bit better than we thought and then acknowledged it wasn't because revenues this year are better than they thought; it's because they were better a year ago and they've now taken that into account.

So that's the first thing. When municipalities find that they have to pick up social assistance, long-term care -- and who would ever have thought that long-term care, care for our seniors, was going to be moved from the province, where all of us were paying for long-term care, and put on to property tax? Child care: There are a half a million children in this province, 500,000 children, who rely every day for their food, their clothing, their shelter on social assistance. That's all going on to property tax now, as is all of the social housing, 100% of the social housing going on property taxes. The seniors in my area can't believe it. They can't believe the government is planning at this stage in their lives to shift their long-term future, their future in terms of adequate care, on to property taxes. So I think we have to view this bill within that context of the government looking to find another $1 billion of its cuts through this move.

Those are our numbers. We're in the opposition, so the government is certainly free to produce its own numbers. You may recall that here in the Legislature we asked the government to do that, to issue its estimate of the costs, and we were voted down on that. Actually, the government back bench voted against it, which surprised us.

AMO, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, has been begging the government to come forward with their cost estimates. I think it's fair to say, without any question, that we are looking at -- and this is part of the package -- a dramatic offload of costs on to municipalities.

What AMO said in their brief -- actually, within the last hour or so -- was that never did they expect in their wildest imagination that the government would offload these income redistribution programs, these essential programs for people in need, off of provincial responsibility and on to property tax. This is part of an enormous dumping of costs on to municipalities.

I can tell you that in Metropolitan Toronto, in the debate around the amalgamated city, it's having an enormous impact. People see this as part of a package and see this offloading of costs on to property tax as part of a package and see through this as a way, yes, to allow the government to cut provincial income tax, but what it's going to cost is that people will have their property taxes escalate dramatically.

Mr Michael Brown: New Jersey.

Mr Phillips: My colleague says New Jersey. As we travel around the province -- I'm not sure if the members have talked to their mayors, have talked to their councils about what has happened with this offload. The term that many of the regional chairs and mayors have used for it is "Americanization." That is their word. They have a terrific fear --

Mr Froese: That is Bradley's word.

Mr Phillips: You may not have confidence in the regional chair of Hamilton-Wentworth, I say to one of the members heckling across the way, but I do. He's a very respected leader in the municipalities, someone handpicked by the Premier to sit on the Who Does What committee. The public should be aware, and I expect by now they are, that the government said these bills we are debating came out of the Who Does What committee's work. Mr Crombie and the rest of his committee said unanimously that this is wrong, that you are doing the wrong thing. Crombie and his 12 members are right. They said they are totally opposed to what you're doing and they unanimously reject what you're doing.

The members may choose to heckle, but I have a lot of confidence, as I said earlier, in the regional chair of Hamilton-Wentworth, who said: "This is a serious, serious mistake you're making. You need to back up here." This is part of the serious mistake, not looking at a way to fund policing differently but putting it in a package that, without question, will drive property taxes up. If you ignore the opposition, that's your right, but the board of trade says you're wrong, the United Way says you're wrong and David Crombie and the Who Does What committee, which you picked -- no one else picked them; Mike Harris went out and handpicked them -- are telling you: "Don't do this. You are making a huge mistake. Stop it."

I gather the back bench, for whatever reason, is going to stand up and simply vote with the government. I actually couldn't believe it, a couple of weeks ago when we said to the Legislature, "Let's see the studies. Show us the information the cabinet used to make its decision" -- the cabinet has information on which they made their decision. They have studied this. They know what the community-by-community impact is. That should have been released. The municipalities, the councillors, but most important, the public have a right to know.

Here we are debating these bills. You want them all through in a big rush. You've imposed time limits on the debate on many of these bills. They have to be passed. But only the cabinet knows what the impact is.


I guarantee you this: You are going to find in many municipalities this will drive property taxes up dramatically. Surely we are owed that information. Surely we are owed the analysis on which the cabinet made its decision that it is a good idea and that the property taxpayers will not be burdened to put child care on to the property taxpayers; it's a good idea to put social assistance on to the property taxpayers; it's a good idea to put well over $1 billion of new, long-term care for seniors on to the property taxpayers; it's a good idea to put ambulance services on to property taxpayers; it's a good idea to put public health -- surely when we talk in the Legislature about a comprehensive plan to look at health care, we look at trying to get an integrated approach to health care. The Ontario Hospital Association was at our committee this morning advocating, urging us to look at dealing with this as a package. At the very time they're urging that, part of this package is to take public health off provincial responsibility and put it squarely on the property taxpayers.

The reason I go through this is to indicate to the public: Don't look at this bill in isolation. Look at it in its total package and understand that what you are being asked to do, what we're being asked to do, is to approve it as part of a package that is going to transfer dramatic costs on to the property taxpayer.

Why? The government is determined to implement its tax cut. There is no doubt of that. The government is going to implement a 30% cut in personal income tax that clearly benefits the most well-off in this province. People who are making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year are going to get a $500-million tax break. It is incredible. The hospitals right now, April 1, have got to cut $500 million, and we heard today about the problems in the Peterborough hospital, we heard earlier about problems in other hospitals. Some $500 million of those health care cuts are going to fund a tax break for people making more than a quarter of a million dollars a year. We understand all of that. The strange thing --

Interjection: What's happened to the revenue?

Mr Phillips: One of the cabinet ministers said, "What's happened to the revenue?" What's happened to the revenue is that personal income tax revenue is down $600 million this year over last year.

Part of the concern about the bill is that it is part of a package to download. If this plan the government has to cut and slash expenditures to fund the tax cut was working, one could feel more supportive of their plan. But I was surprised to get in my mail -- not surprised, but I got in my mail the latest job report from the government.

Mr Bradley: A disaster.

Mr Phillips: It is a disaster. "Ontario loses 7,000 jobs in January." Do you realize that in the last five months in Ontario we have lost 37,000 jobs? It is unbelievable; 37,000 fewer jobs in Ontario in the last five months.

Mr Baird: That is not what Paul Martin said.

The Acting Speaker: Order please, member for Nepean.

Mr Phillips: I find it so distressing that the government can simply say: "Thirty-seven thousand jobs? We're doing fine." Ontario has lost 37,000 jobs; the rest of Canada has gained 72,000 jobs in the last five months. So there it is. These aren't my numbers. Get it out. The Minister of Finance -- it's dated February 14 but just arrived on February 18, and you can see: "37,000 fewer jobs." Right on the front page it shows it. September, minus 39,000; October, gained 18,000; November, 3,000; December, minus 12,000; January, minus 7,000; 37,000 fewer jobs. It is the worst job performance since 1993. What is happening? The rest of Canada is up 72,000 jobs. This great job-creating engine, the tax cut, is going to just throw off thousands and thousands of jobs. We are having the worst job performance we've had since 1993. That's not me; that's the Minister of Finance.

Perhaps the most disturbing number on the page is that in January 1997 -- that is this document -- the Ontario youth unemployment rate was 18.6%, up 2.3 percentage points from January 1996. Over a year: 16.3% a year ago, 18.6% this year. I don't know what Ernie Eves says --

Mr Froese: On a point of order, Madam Speaker: The member's talking about everything except Bill 105, which we're here to debate. I thought that's what he was supposed to be talking about.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you. Member for Scarborough-Agincourt, would you please come back to the debate on Bill 105.

Mr Phillips: I appreciate that, Madam Speaker. Bill 105, as the government is fond of saying, is part of the package. We're dealing with the Who Does What package. The public should be aware that sitting on people's desks are the Who Does What books, and they've got Who Does What pep rallies and they produced their posters and all that. It's all part of the package. They are all woven together. There's no question of that.

Mr Bradley: And the TV ads.

Mr Phillips: The TV ads are all part of the same package, as my colleague points out.

The government itself is the one that sets the agenda here, to say: "Listen. We're going to deal with this as a package. We have to deal with all of these bills as a package." This is the government's own table of the impact, community police financing. It's all part of the package, and what's it designed to do? According to the government, this is part of the whole job-creating package. I'm saying to the government members, you may not like to hear it, but these are your numbers and these are ones you produced. This is dated February 14 -- as I say, it got to my office February 18 -- 37,000 fewer jobs in Ontario. It is a disaster. Do you remember you all ran on a platform of 145,000 jobs a year? Remember that? You have not come even in the same ballpark as that.


Mr Phillips: Actually, I looked at the numbers. By now you should have 228,000 jobs; there are 97,000 jobs. I call them the missing jobs: You're 131,000 jobs behind target right now.

I know what got a lot of votes in my area was Mike Harris saying: "This plan will create 145,000 jobs a year. You people on social assistance, don't worry, because there are going to be jobs for you." Now we see 528,000 people out of work in 1996. How many were there the year before? There were 501,000; 27,000 more people out of work in 1996 than 1995. It is a failure. You are failing the unemployed in Ontario and there's no question of that. These are your numbers: 37,000 fewer jobs -- unbelievable. The most tragic one is the youth unemployment at 18.6%, a tragedy and a failure of the government on its major promise, which was jobs.

I tell you that 145,000 jobs was the thing that my opposition used daily with me: "Our plan will create -- in fact we've got the stamp of approval from Mark Mullins right on this thing. It's going to be 145,000 jobs." You have not even got halfway to that target in terms of your annual numbers.

Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): Now Mullins is having reservations.

Mr Phillips: My colleague says, "Now Mullins is having reservations," and I gather he is.

We say to the government that as you want us to pass this bill, and as each of us is going to have to answer to communities that, come January 1, 1998, are going to get a bill and they're going to get a tax bill for policing, surely the government, the cabinet, owe the Legislature the same information they had when they made that decision.

I don't know how any of us can go back to our constituents. They say: "I see you're voting on a bill there. What's it going to mean?" "Well, we don't know. The government won't tell us." "I see you're voting on a bill that will be part of a package that's transferring the most massive" -- no one can deny it; it is the most massive -- "shift in responsibility in the history of the province, and yet you don't have, we don't have, a single study that shows what it's going to mean to each of our municipalities across Ontario."

As I say, AMO, which was before our committee as recently as an hour and a half or so ago, was saying it desperately needs that information to make a decision.


Also, I think the public should be aware it's going to be accompanied by Bill 106, which is property tax reform. You say, "Why mention property tax reform?" It's all part of the package. The government said the day it announced property tax reform: "We are eliminating something called the business occupancy tax. We're getting rid of it. It is $1.6 billion" Many in the province thought, "My, the provincial government is being good to municipalities; they've decided to eliminate the business occupancy tax" -- without being perhaps as clear to the public that that is property tax money that goes to municipalities right now. It is 11% of the tax revenue for municipalities. It's $1.6 billion.

That's gone. The municipalities can no longer charge that. It's gone. They have to make it up. How are they going to make up? The government says, "You make it up whatever way you want," but municipalities have really only one source of revenue. That's the property tax. So the government has gotten rid of $1.6 billion of their revenue --

Mr Crozier: Which they didn't supply even in the first place.

Mr Phillips: Which, as my colleague said, the province didn't supply. It was property taxes paid by businesses directly to municipalities. It's gone. It's got to be made up at the same time as the province has added another $1 billion of costs.

The reason I raise these is that if we choose to deal with any of these bills in isolation without recognizing the total impact, the public is going to say to us in six months or a year: "Were you asleep at the switch? Why did you not give us an opportunity to look at this thing in total?"

Do any of you not believe that with the business occupancy tax the municipalities are going to have to load it back on to the remaining property taxpayers? It's the only way they can find the revenue. You couple that with the addition of dramatic extra cost and you can see the problem we will run into. As the province attempts to reform property tax, you've added these two huge burdens. You've put another $1 billion of cost on them, and then you've taken the $1.6 billion of occupancy tax off. You've told them that over time they have to decrease taxes on businesses. I understand that, but recognize that it is the residential property taxpayer in this province who will increasingly recognize that they are paying for the cut in personal income tax with increased property taxes.

I want to talk about a couple of other aspects of the bill as well and to talk a little bit about the civilian oversight or complaints process. One of the most difficult issues for a community to face is where there is tension between a segment of the community and the police force.

In this proposal, as I read it, the police chief is going to be put in a very difficult position in the future. The police chief, by the way, has without question one of the most difficult jobs in our society: making sure that the men and women of the police force have confidence in the police chief and making sure that the men and women of the police organizations enforce the law but enforce it fairly and evenly. The police chief needs to have the confidence of the police organization. The police chief also has to have the confidence of the community, and it is one of the most difficult jobs imaginable. I can almost assure us that there will be in the future conflict where part of our community feels it has a legitimate grievance against the police force and where the police force may very well feel it handled it fairly and equitably. The chief, under this process, I don't think has any alternative but to try and be the one in the centre to make the decision.

I can understand the intent of the bill, which is to eliminate frivolous complaints, to not make our police officers subject to frivolous and unfounded accusations, not make them feel so apprehensive of taking almost any step that they take no steps, but at the same time the community needs to feel it has a fair access to some form of complaint resolution. My reading of the bill, as I say, is that if you have a complaint, you have only one choice of where you go with that, and that's to the police chief. The police chief then deals with it. If you don't like the dealing, you can then appeal it.

I have a suspicion that this process will initially probably meet with the police chiefs' support. It's going to put them in an untenable position almost and I wonder if we have examined enough alternatives here. One of the problems in this process is, we may remember, that the individual who had responsibility for studying this was given, as I recall it, a very short time frame for some reason. Many of the community leaders felt that they were given virtually no time to prepare their presentations, so they declined to participate rather than participate in what they regarded as a sham. They said, "This is extremely important to us and you want us to deal with it" -- as a matter of fact, the initial phone call I got was that they were told on a Friday they had their presentation on a Monday or Tuesday. That was extended a couple of weeks.

In any event, this is a process where there's been little community involvement, where the community organizations that are most knowledgeable about this have not participated in it. Whenever you do that I think we are setting ourselves and our police organizations up for perhaps something that will be administratively more simple but which creates the potential for a future explosive situation.


As I say, in all the things I've observed over the years in terms of difficult, tension-filled, divisive issues, it's when there is a major conflict between some community and our police organizations that, believe me, sides dig in very quickly and very deeply and you get, rather than a resolution that attempts to find the truth of the matter, sides dividing up very quickly.

I'm saying that on that particular issue the government may have made a mistake in not giving the community sufficient time to participate in it. On the police boards, I know the municipal leadership is quite pleased with the fact that they now will have a majority on the police services. In that particular case, what one has to watch for is our police organizations. They now will be subject to all of the same budget constraints as everybody else. People may say, "That's just fine and good," but I think we should recognize that for many in the community the police have a special role in their minds and it will be interesting to see how this works out over time.

The big issue is that this bill is part of a total package, and it's a total package designed to help the government achieve its agenda, which is to cut, as they have said from day one -- they've never deviated from this -- $8 billion of spending. Roughly 25% of all the spending has to be cut, and it will be cut from everywhere except health care: everywhere else 25%. So it comes as no surprise to us that when you look at the impact on our municipalities, the cut to them, they're going to have to take on roughly another $1 billion of costs. The government hasn't made the cuts itself. They have turned it over to the municipalities and said, "You make the cuts."

Where this all will lead is, without doubt, to two things: One, that many of our most sensitive services -- as I say, I can't think of many things more sensitive in my mind than long-term care for our seniors and programs for our young people: children who need financial assistance for food and clothing and shelter, parents who need financial assistance for child care, families who need support for housing -- suddenly all of those things that historically, from the work of Frost, Robarts, Davis and others, who have built a province that had that social infrastructure, were handled and managed and funded by the province now are on to the municipal taxpayers.

You can guarantee that as we head into another downturn -- and there will be a downturn. Everybody in this chamber would accept there will be a downturn at some stage. You can imagine the tension in those council chambers as seniors, people with disabilities, children, are there fighting for services, and the property taxpayer, who at the same time will be feeling the same economic pressures, is saying, "I just don't think I can afford more money on my property taxes."

We look forward to further debate on the bill. We look forward to this whole package. We look forward to the government at some stage finally releasing for all of Ontario the information the cabinet is holding in secrecy so we can see the impact of all of this, because in our opinion the impact is quite clear: The government will proceed with its 30% tax cut; it will benefit the best-off; the ones who are the most privileged in the province will simply become more privileged; and those who are most vulnerable and most susceptible will find they are now in a battle with property taxpayers for their very survival.

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


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): If only they knew what the heckles are back home sometimes, they would understand why we're laughing.

I want to comment on the combined dissertation or speech on the part of the member for Renfrew North and the member for Scarborough-Agincourt. I want to pick up on the one particular part because I think it's a question that needs to be asked. They both alluded to -- in the case of the member for Renfrew North -- Conservative members, especially the backbenchers, now having to go back home and say to their constituents, "You will now have to pay for OPP services where you never had to before," and the member for Scarborough-Agincourt I think quite eloquently pointed out that there are a number of services, everything from long-term care to a number of other services, that are being downloaded on to the municipalities, for which taxpayers are going to have to pay.

I guess the question that has to be asked is, what is the role of the Tory back bench? Is it the role of the Tory back bench, as it is the role of every member in this House, to come to the Legislature, to advocate for their constituents in order to make --


Mr Bisson: I wish I could explain what this is all about. I'll bring the photo, and he'll understand. I'm going to try to compose myself. We were on TVOntario last night, the member from across the way and myself, and we got our photo taken with Polkaroo and the member was making some comment.

But the point that I'm getting at, to the member opposite, the member for Nepean, I say the role of the Tory back bench, as it is every other member of this House, is to make sure that they come and advocate for their community. In this case, are they going back to their communities and saying that they agree with all of this downloading, that somehow they think the citizens in their communities are going to be further ahead having to pay more for all of these services?

The Acting Speaker: The member's time has expired. Comments and questions?

Mr Baird: I listened with great interest to my colleagues opposite. As usual, the member for Renfrew North kept the interest of the entire House during his remarks and had some thoughtful remarks. Having said that, the member for Scarborough-Agincourt spent most of the discussion on job creation, an issue I believe is the top priority for government. That's the issue the folks in Nepean certainly tell me on a regular basis is the top priority.

This government is certainly pursuing a broad-based approach, a broad-based number of policies to create jobs: cutting taxes to create jobs; cutting WCB premiums to create jobs; balancing labour laws to create jobs; cutting the employer health tax for small business to create jobs; cutting the deficit to create jobs; cutting red tape to create jobs. The member for Scarborough-Agincourt mentioned the 725,000 jobs. Obviously, as you pick up steam -- we had to get the ship turned around, it was going in the wrong direction, and get it going in the right direction. I think it probably is best summed up in an article I read in the Toronto Star today: "Canadians, particularly the unemployed, will soon reap the benefits of 40 months of tough financial management." Do you know who said that? Paul Martin.

I was reading the documents from the Liberal member. We see real GDP up; CPI inflation index marginally down; employment growth up; interest rates on the way down again. I read again from Mr Martin's speech in the House of Commons yesterday, "There is a consensus both domestically and internationally that none of the seven major industrialized countries will do better than Canada in 1997," and the honourable member certainly didn't bring that up.

What is important to put on the record is that in Ontario we're creating half the number of jobs in the country. We're leading the way on job creation, so we've got to work harder, we've got to do a better job, but the good news is that since 1995 our province, our ship, is going in the right direction: more jobs, more hope and more opportunity.


Mr Crozier: I would like too to reply to the comments of my colleagues from Renfrew North and Scarborough-Agincourt. One thing they mentioned that I'm particularly interested in, because I served on a police services board for some five years, is that Bill 105 requires that five core services be provided by every municipality, those being crime prevention, law enforcement, assistance to victims of crime, public order maintenance and emergency response. Two of those are critical: crime prevention and law enforcement.

My concern there is that with the recent announcements of the government, where they're going to introduce 6,000 video slot machines, the most insidious, addictive little devices that you could ever have, what's going to happen then with crime prevention and law enforcement, with reduced resources because of the downloading of the recent Who Does What initiatives?

I'm concerned that police services in Ontario aren't going to have the opportunity or the resources to prevent crime when what the government is doing is putting out devices that only increase crime. In fact, they're putting them into communities that don't even want them. Toronto and North York, they don't want these gaming clubs; Kitchener-Waterloo, they don't want the gaming clubs; Downtown, Beaches, they don't want the gaming clubs. They know what it's going to cost in the way of community services and what it's going to do to their community. But what does the government say? "Hey, we know what's best for you. We need the revenue to pay for that borrowed $20 billion for a tax cut, and you're going to have one of these clubs in your municipality whether you like it or not."

The Acting Speaker: The member's time has expired. The Chair recognizes the member for Nickel Belt.

Mr Laughren: I was able to hear virtually all of the remarks of the member for Renfrew North and some of the remarks of the member for Scarborough-Agincourt. They are both members to whom the government should listen.

It is going to be a sight to behold in the next year to two years as some of these Tory backbenchers go back home and get an earful from their constituents, because it's one thing to announce that there's a tradeoff between education taxes and other services and it's another thing to have those impact on the property taxes themselves. Of course at this time it's almost like an intellectual discussion, because people are not dipping into their pockets at this point. But I can see, when that all shakes down and when the contingency fund -- and I'm including police services here in this regard. As a matter of fact, with police services it's almost like double jeopardy, because there are some communities that have not been paying for their police services. They will be. On top of that, you'll have all the other downloading taking place as well, so it's going to be a fascinating time.

I think some of the Tory backbenchers might want to adopt an opposition member for visits back to their ridings, just to have somebody there to witness this and perhaps have some sympathy for what they will have to be going through in the next couple of years. It's going to get tough, and in my view, from time to time it's going to get ugly, because people will not tolerate that. They will not tolerate some of the tax increases that are being anticipated with this downloading. It's simply not going to --

Mr Baird: You speak from experience.

Mr Laughren: Well, I'm talking about the property taxes now. There's going to be a big difference and I think a lot of people in this province are going to be very unhappy.

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

Mr Phillips: I'd like to pick up on the comments of the member for Nepean. He is right, I did talk about jobs a fair bit. All these things we are doing on all of these bills, we've been promised that the government's agenda is to create jobs. I say to all of us, we throw numbers around and what not, but the job situation is serious in Ontario. To look at the numbers, I actually was extremely surprised, as I think the government was and as I think every economist has been, at the lack of job creation in the last few months in Ontario. Something strange is going on, because the economy was quite buoyant at the end of 1996.

Mr Baird: That's not what you said then.

Mr Phillips: No, in any document, as recently as three or four weeks ago, I said the Canadian economy in 1997 will also be very good and the Ontario economy should be good. But jobs are not being created.

Mr Guzzo: We're better than the rest of Canada.

Mr Phillips: I hear the judge barking over there. I didn't mean to get angry about this, but this is terrible: 37,000 jobs lost in the last five months in the province of Ontario while the rest of Canada has gone up 72,000 jobs. Youth unemployment is a disaster, an absolute tragedy and a disaster. If we ignore this, if we all just get into a numbers game, "I've got better numbers than you've got," and do not recognize -- I've never seen a reported youth unemployment rate in Ontario at 18.6%. I've never seen it. Even in the most difficult part of the early 1990s recession, it was never that high. There's something wrong, and if we just choose to barrack and argue back and forth, we're going to miss a major problem.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate? The member for Cochrane South.

Mr Bisson: It's with pleasure that I have an opportunity today to make some comments with regard to Bill 105. Where I would like to start is to talk a little bit about what the relationship of the police is and the history -- not so much the history, but how, over a period of years within our parliamentary system here in Canada and in Ontario, we have built the relationship of the police, the courts, the lawmakers and the citizens in such a way as to make sure that in the end all of those particular parts work, but more importantly are accountable to the people, and that we know in the end that it is a true system of justice.

As an example, we've long understood in our system that we believe the police are there primarily to do a couple of things. The first thing is that the police are there to enforce the laws, to make sure that they protect us, the citizens of the communities of our province, from situations of danger, to make sure as much as possible that they're able to stay on top of what's going on in our communities, to make sure we have a safe place to live. In doing that work that police officers do, I would say it is not a job that is easy. It is a job that over the years has become much more difficult because our society has changed, and it has been more difficult for the police.

I see a note coming over, and I'm not looking at it.

What has happened is that over the years --


Mr Bisson: We do have some fun sometimes. Anyway, the point I want to make here is that we have in Ontario, as we have across Canada, a police system that is free from political interference. We've understood that the police must operate independently from the Legislature and the Legislature independently from the police, and vice versa with the courts, so that we have some accountability in the system. We have painstakingly made sure over the years, through successive pieces of legislation, that the police become as accountable as possible, because we understand that if we have a police system or police departments that are sometimes not as accountable as they should be, awful bad things can happen with regard to the public and the people they serve.

So I'm a little bit -- not a little bit; I'm quite concerned about where the government is going with Bill 105, because the government is in a way turning the clock back with regard to the relationship of the police and the citizens beyond the point that I think our society should be trying to turn ourselves back to. I understand where the Tories are coming from. The Conservatives that come here by and large are Reformers. They represent a --


Mr Bisson: It's true: by and large Reformers. They represent a view that I think is wrong in our society, that doesn't recognize that our province has changed, as our communities have changed, and that the police, along with that change, have had to keep up with it. Over a period of years, through successive governments, we have made sure the police have kept up with the changes within our communities and made sure our police are accountable, and I'd say the police forces across this province have done a good job.

It has not always been spot on. Nobody can make the claim of always being spot on, but the police, if you take a look at the Metropolitan police and if you take a look at the police of the city of Timmins or Sudbury, have done a fairly good job of keeping up with new technologies and, more important, keeping up with what happens in our communities, to make sure they don't do as they did a long time ago with regard to how they sometimes deal with particular citizens within our communities. We've made sure that the public, if they feel there is a complaint that needs to be raised against the police, can do so without any form of reprisals.

There used to be a time in this province where the police had a lot of power, and if I as a citizen wanted to make a complaint against the police because the police had done something wrong, it would be basically up to the police chief to determine if I was to get a fair hearing. If the chief of police, as every chief of police would normally, I would expect, gave a certain understanding to his police officers, it was fairly difficult for citizens to bring forward those complaints and have them heard.

So the province over a period of years, as they've done across the country, put in place a police complaints commission. That police complaints commission was there to make sure that if the citizen had a complaint, the person's complaint could be heard both by the chief of police, because often that's where it should be dealt with, but at times, where necessary, outside of the police to make sure there was a fair hearing.


That was done for good reason. That was done I think both for the protection of the police and the protection of the citizens. By and large that system has worked. It had been very resisted at first within police departments across the province when that first was introduced. A lot of police chiefs and a lot of police didn't appreciate that move on the part of the government that put that in place. I understand that, because it challenged them to be even more accountable than they were. That's difficult even for me, and it's difficult I'm sure for other members. We always think we're doing a good job. Any time somebody comes in and puts some sort of check in place to make sure we do our job better and there's some accountability, we take a bit of resentment to that. I understand the police for that, but that was put in place for good reason. It was put in place, as I said, to protect both sides on that particular argument.

What the government is doing in Bill 105 is taking away and dismantling the police complaints commission and returning us to a time where the police chiefs are the ones who are going to basically hear the complaint on the part of the citizen and then decide if there are any actions that need to be taken against the police officer. In some cases that might work, but there are many cases, which I'm sure my good friend from Renfrew alluded to, where quite frankly there have been some tragedies where people have not been treated fairly, to the detriment of our entire community.

I give you but one example. I don't say this to be provocative, but we look at things differently today in the 1990s, as a society, than we did in the 1950s or the 1960s. For example, I read with horror this morning, as you all did, in the Toronto Star the case at Maple Leaf Gardens, where a number of young boys were being sexually assaulted by workers at Maple Leaf Gardens. I raise that for a reason: that 20 or 30 years ago it would have been a lot more difficult for that now young man to come forward and to bring that complaint forward. It would have been very difficult, because it was the kind of thing that we didn't deal with in our society. But because times have changed and because our awareness as a community of citizens has changed, and because we've grown to understand that certain actions are not desirable in our society, that young man today has come forward and there's a process to deal with what has happened and there will be an investigation.

I guess what I'm saying is that we look at the police complaints commission -- I don't want to equate it to the situation at Maple Leaf Gardens, but I just say we have an independent system for a reason. It's to make sure that complaints of citizens are taken seriously and are dealt with. I want to say, and I don't mean to belittle police officers, because I think they work hard, they do a good job in their communities, and nine times out of 10 they get it right, but that one time they get it wrong, just as we get it wrong sometimes, it can have a very disastrous effect.

So I'm really leery of the government doing away with the police complaints commission, because I think that's really dangerous. There are I think certain sensitivities that we have to be aware of in our community today that may not be taken on the part of the police force if it's left to them to decide what's acceptable or not acceptable behaviour on the part of the police.

The other thing I would say I'm concerned with is the move the government is taking when it comes to the police services boards. In the city of Timmins, as in the city of Toronto or in Renfrew or Ottawa or wherever it might be where we have municipal police forces, there is the governing body of that police force that's called the police services board. A police services board is made up of appointees from both municipal governments in the province, but by majority the municipality does not control that board. Although the municipal ratepayers through their municipal council pay for the operation of the police department, it is the responsibility of the services board to determine what services need to be provided in that community based on the existing legislation. They are the ones who strike the budgets; they're the ones who decide how the police services are to operate.

Again, we did that for a reason, and that's what bothers me with this government. This government forgets the history of this province. They forget the experiences that we have seen. We put the police services under the control of the police services board for a good reason: because there used to be a time that there was municipal political interference within the police departments, and if you wanted to get off on something or you didn't want a particular investigation to happen or you wanted to make sure that something was swept under the carpet, there was a time when you went to the municipal politician, and if he or she -- normally he, because back then there were not many women in politics -- managed to sweep some of that stuff under the carpet or make things not happen.

I can stand in the House, as the member for Renfrew did earlier, and raise a number of different cases, but we learn from that experience that the police forces must be independent from the political process. We, as provincial legislators, as municipal politicians, should not have any kind of say within the police forces when it comes to what they investigate and why they investigate it. If there's a complaint that comes forward to the police because of something that happened in the municipality that is illegal, it is up to the police to do the investigation, and if there is basis, it is up to the police to lay charges.

I, for one, as I think most other members of the Legislature would agree, don't want to go back to a day where their job could be hampered by political interference of some politician at the municipal level, or the provincial level, for that matter. That is why we said, when we set up the police services boards, that municipal politicians would not control by majority that board. Yes, a municipality has a right to appoint people to the board, but they should not be controlled by a majority for a number of good reasons, because the police must remain independent from the municipality.

In this bill we are turning the clock back. That is a theme, I'm afraid, that is far more prevalent within this government than I'm comfortable with, where we're turning back to a day where the municipalities are going to have a lot more say about what happens within their police forces. I know the members from the government side could raise some logical arguments, saying that after all it's the municipalities that pay for the police, therefore municipalities should have the direction of what the budgets are. I understand, and I guess to a certain point I agree. Not entirely, but to a certain point that makes some sense.

I say again, as you are doing with the police complaints commission, that by changing the composition of the police services board, you are putting the police force in a very awkward position. I think police services boards have done a good job in this province. We've had some very dedicated people who have worked on those boards. They have tried to make sure that our municipalities are well protected and that we have good policies by which the police operate, and we have kept political interference out of those boards.

I'm very much afraid that by making it so the municipalities will now appoint, basically they'll control, the police services boards, we're going back into a situation where the police can be put in a very awkward position. It's part of the theme in this bill that really bothers me. We're really turning the clock back. We're going back to a day that the public has less and less say about what the police do and we're going back to a day where there could be potential for abuse that I think we should not tolerate in our society.

Those are two of the major points I have when it comes to how the police services are going to be operated in this province as a result of this particular bill: turning the clock back when it comes to the accountability of police services.

The other thing this bill does which I think is quite interesting -- I don't say it's quite interesting; I think it's pretty nervy on the part of the government because every government has had to deal with this before. Our government had to deal with it. The Liberals prior to us had to deal with it. How do you deal with municipalities that don't have municipal forces, that are being policed by the Ontario Provincial Police?

There have been recommendations by different committees over the years that we as a province should charge back to those municipalities that don't have their own municipal forces the services of the OPP. For example, in the town of Iroquois Falls or Matheson, where there isn't a municipal police force, there has long been a recommendation that the OPP charge back to the municipality those services and then back on to municipal ratepayers.

But the NDP government of Bob Rae decided not to do that, the same as the government of David Peterson, and for good reason. The government will stand and say, "Oh, it's because you didn't have the courage to make the decision." No. It's because we weren't stupid enough to make it, because we recognized that if you do that, it is not dealing with every citizen in the same way.

I get really tired of listening to the government argue equity on these issues, a government that really doesn't understand what equity is, I wonder sometimes. I just use this as an example. If I have a house in Iroquois Falls and the value of that house is, let's say, equal to one in Timmins -- Timmins has the Timmins police; they have their own municipal police force -- the taxes on that are probably, depending on the value of the house, let's say $1,800 a year paid to the municipality. I have the same house, of equal value, out in Iroquois Falls. My municipal tax bill is about the same, it's about $1,800, and the government says it's going to be fair if the citizens of Iroquois Falls have to pay for their police services just as the people in Timmins have to.


The reality is that this is not what you're doing. You're going to end up pushing up the tax rate within the municipality of Iroquois Falls for those people in that community above what they're paying in Timmins to get a service they're already paying for. Police services in Ontario, in the case of Iroquois Falls and Matheson, are paid through their income tax and their provincial sales tax.

You're trying to go back by way of municipal property taxes to charge them for something they're already paying for. That's why we as a government said, "No, we're not going to do that." Backbenchers like Len Wood and I in that government and a whole bunch of others said, "There's no way we're going to allow our government to go back and charge police services to the communities that have the OPP policing them now."

Do you know what? The cabinet listened because they understood that backbenchers have a role to play, something I'm not sure this particular government understands. The member for Scarborough-Agincourt alluded to that a little while ago when he said, "Where are these Tory backbenchers?" I agree. While he was giving his speech, I don't remember which member it was, but someone across the way was going on about how this was good and how this was fair and how he was proud to go back to his community and tell them that he was doing these fine, wonderful things.

Wait till the tax bills come by. How are the citizens of Brant-Haldimand or whatever other riding going to feel when they have to pay more for community policing, something that they're already paying for through their retail sales tax and their provincial income tax? How are they going to feel? Are they going to be happy? I say no. I think they're going to be upset. How are they going to feel when their municipal taxes go up because the provincial government has downloaded through the Who Does What process, or who does what to whom process, an entire level of services that come from the province on to the municipality?

I can tell you what those citizens are going to say. They're going to be mighty upset when the tax bill comes in the door by way of the mail slot. They're going to be really upset when they get their municipal tax bill two years down the road, because it won't take effect in this particular year; it's going to take effect in 1998. They will look at it and say, "All I know is that I used to pay $1,800 a year in taxes and now I'm paying -- what? -- $2,700." I can tell you they're not going to be too happy.

In the case of the city of Timmins it would be higher than that. If Timmins were to pass on to municipal taxpayers all the downloading the province has thrown on to Timmins, do you know how much of a tax increase I would get as a citizen, as a ratepayer? Forty-four per cent. I am now paying I think $2,300 a year for my municipal taxes on my home, the home of my wife and me. Figure it out: 42% or 43% on $2,300 is more money than most of us want to pay.

On top of that, we're having to pay user fees for absolutely everything, which is another issue that we get into. But I raise the point from this perspective. It seems to me that in a parliamentary democracy the responsibility of elected members is to make sure they are there as the voice of that community, to speak out as members of our community within this Legislature and to the government and by any other means available to us to advocate for our community, to make sure our community is heard and that our community is treated fairly.

I don't see this happening with this government. I see a back bench with the Tory caucus who by and large either believe this stuff ideologically and they're a gang of zealots or they're being whipped pretty well. They're being told, "You'll never get a chance at cabinet unless you say the lines we tell you to say, or you won't get the parliamentary assistant's job, or you won't get the trip we give out whenever there's a travelling committee to go on if you don't do what we as a government say you have to do."

I say there has to be, in a parliamentary democracy, a certain amount of freedom on the part of the members to advocate for their communities. I notice one thing in this particular Parliament. As I travel around this province from north to south, east to west, there are more citizens out there from all three political parties who say they're very uneasy about the way this government is conducting its affairs. They're really uneasy about the high-handedness, about how the government is making its decisions, about how it is not listening to the people, about how it's acting on its own, about how it's saying, "We're not going to listen whatever happens" -- for example, in the city of Toronto with the referendum -- "It doesn't matter what the people of Toronto or York or Etobicoke or Scarborough say." The government is going to do what it wants because, "We have a parliamentary majority."

Excuse me. That majority is not to be abused. One of the issues we should be talking about in this Legislature is how we reform Parliament to make sure that people have confidence in our system of Parliament, to make sure that backbenchers on both sides of the House have some say, have some power to bring the views of our constituents to this assembly, to make sure we're accountable as elected officials.

I'm not talking about right to recall -- I've never been a big fan of that -- but I think we can reform Parliament and we can reform how this place works to restore confidence to the people of this province. That's one thing I've noticed: There's cynicism about politicians. We have done it to ourselves by actions such as we've seen with this government.

I say to the government across the way, I really have a hard time understanding the Conservative Party of Ontario, which for years has prided itself on having the support of rural Ontario. You've got ridings in rural Ontario where you can run absolutely anybody and they will get elected as a Tory. You can take the cow down the street, tie a bell around its neck, say it's a Tory and people would vote for it.

I don't mean that in a bad way. Understand what I'm saying. I'm just saying there are very traditional Tory ridings out there. I cannot understand for the life of me where those rural Tory backbench members are when they come into this Legislature and say, "Bill 105's a great thing for rural Ontario."

Mr Preston: Sure it is.

Mr Bisson: There they go: They say, "Sure it is." You go and tell your citizens when they've got to pay an extra $300 to $500 a year to cover the costs of the OPP on the basis of what you're doing in this bill. You go face those people at the election box. I'll tell you, they're going to be mighty upset with you. Go tell those people in rural Ontario when they find out that the property --

Mr Preston: That's NDP inflation.


Mr Bisson: They're proud about what they're doing so they've got to be zealots. I guess they're answering the question for me. I can't believe it. The Tories I think would want to hold on to their political base. That's one of the things we do as political parties, but it seems to me they're turning their backs on rural Ontario. They're looking at rural Ontario and they're turning their backs and saying, "We're going to do what the Premier says even if it's no good for rural Ontario, because we're Tories and we've been told to do that."

Come on. Your job is to come in here and represent the citizens. I can't believe that people in rural Ontario are going to say: "We're happy about paying another $500 for municipal policing on the part of the OPP. We're so ecstatic we're going to run to the polls and support our Tory candidate."

I can't believe that rural Ontarians are going to run to the polls the next time and say: "I'm so excited about having to pay more for municipal services because the province has offloaded all this stuff on to our municipality. I'm running to the polls to support the Tories. I love paying more for municipal policing. I love paying more for housing that used to be a provincial responsibility. I'm thrilled about paying more for health care, because now my municipality's got to pay 50% of the costs for health care and long-term-care facilities. Long-term-care services in the municipality -- I can't tell you how pleased we are," says rural Ontario, "about how we now have to pay 50% for something that used to be paid by the province." They're really going to be excited.

Mr Preston: The same taxpayer.

Mr Bisson: The same taxpayer, exactly. I wish the Tories would read the Common Sense Revolution. They would recognize, when they talk about one taxpayer, that's exactly the point. These people, as all other Ontarians, are really going to get it because as you download all these services, they're both going to lose the services and in the end they're going to have to pay more. I don't believe for one second that if I were a rural member, especially a rural member in the Tory caucus, I'd be supporting this kind of legislation, because in the end it is the kind of stuff that will make rural Ontario go nuts.

I was at a committee this morning and I couldn't believe my ears. I never thought I'd see the day when the Canadian Taxpayers Federation would come into the Legislature, make a presentation to the legislative committee and say to this committee that they were mad at the Tories. I almost fell off my seat, because I know the Canadian Taxpayers Federation say it's an independent body and doesn't ally itself to any political party. I understand that, but the reality is that they've been pretty supportive of the Tories in Ontario; maybe not out west, but in Ontario they've been pretty supportive of the Tories over the years.


I asked a particular deputant who came this morning to present on the megacity. I thought it was a very interesting presentation, because the Canadian Taxpayers Federation laid out in a way that was very clear how they understood that what this government was doing was going to lead to us having to pay more taxes in the province of Ontario. I thought they did a brilliant job.

I asked a question at the end of the presentation. I said: "I understand that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation had sent the Premier, the then leader of the third party, a questionnaire about how he felt about a number of issues. Can you tell me how the Premier answered?" The interesting thing was that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said, "The Premier broke his promise on two particular issues around Metro Toronto." I said, "Well, how do you feel about that?" He said: "I feel terrible. These guys ran and told me they were going to make smaller governments; they're building larger governments. This government ran and said they were going to bring government closer to the people; they're making bigger bureaucracies."

We've got school boards that are going to be huge. The school board in my area is going to go from Muskoka all the way up to Hearst -- one huge bureaucracy. It's unbelievable. And these guys talk about smaller government.

Then the government said in the Common Sense Revolution: "We're not going to download. Oh, no, we're not going to download, we're going to work with our municipal partners." And the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said, "They broke their promise on that one too."

I am saying to the members across the way, you should start reading the writing on the wall. When I start seeing the Canadian Taxpayers Federation come into this Legislature mad at the Conservatives, I think you're starting to have some problems. I think the writing is on the wall and we're soon going to start seeing the polls go down in a way that is not going to be very favourable to the Tories.

I have here a particular article on the part of an individual from Cochrane. I'm not going to read it word for word, but it's a particular individual who writes a letter to the editor in Timmins from Cochrane, who talks about how his community was devastated because of the Conservatives and their agenda and how it's affected the people of Cochrane. What I thought was interesting is, I would expect to see this signed by a member of OPSEU, as the Tories would say, or a teacher, as they like to make fun of teachers all the time, but it's signed by who? Clarke Shanks, president of the Cochrane Board of Trade.

When I talk to people on chambers of commerce all over northern Ontario, like in Hearst, they're mad at the government. I never thought I'd see the day. Chambers of commerce opposed to the Conservatives? But I'm telling you, it says something.

I think the Tory backbenchers need to start waking up. I hope you do for the sake of the province but I hope you don't for the fortunes of my political party. You have to come into this Legislature and you have to speak out for the people you represent, and you're not doing that. You're turning your backs on them.

The government, I think, is really sending this province down a road that we as a people are starting to feel uncomfortable with. It's something that is really a short-term political strategy that is really going to hurt us over the longer term.

I say to the government members and especially to those in the back bench and ministers without portfolio, because they couldn't quite get into cabinet, I say to the members across the way, go back to your cabinet caucus meetings, sit down with your Premier and your cabinet and tell them: "Listen, put the brakes on some of this stuff. This is going to hurt my community. I was elected to represent my community and my community ain't exactly happy with what the government is doing."

I understand you've got the right to make decisions, that's why you've got a parliamentary majority, but you should make those decisions based with some amount of common sense -- something you seem to have lost, especially after the election of 1995 -- but more importantly, with a bit of balance. You cannot govern this province from the perspective that you guys are, because quite frankly it's going to be disastrous.

I say to the government members across the way, Bill 105 is, as I say, a turning back of the clock on a number of very important issues and on a very important lesson that we have learned in this province when it comes to policing. It is going to put power in the hands of police chiefs that quite frankly I think a lot of police chiefs are going to be pretty uncomfortable with. You're going to be putting municipal councils and police forces in very difficult situations when it comes to potential political abuse on the part of municipalities.

I say all of this is not necessary. We've learned from the past there are ways of dealing with that and that's why we have the current legislation. So I say to the government across the way, rethink what you're doing.

In closing, I say this whole notion of somehow it's fairer for everybody to pay for policing across the province really needs to be debunked. People in Iroquois Falls, in Matheson and Cochrane, in Hearst and other communities like Kapuskasing, are paying for policing as it is. They pay it through their provincial sales taxes and their provincial income tax. When you check out the balance sheet when it comes to how much taxes they pay to municipalities, they're pretty equal on the same assessment.

I say to the government across the way, please rethink what you're doing because this bill is just another example of how the government is offloading a whole bunch of responsibility on to the municipalities and making them pay for services that should be services that are paid for by the province.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Question or comments?

Mr Guzzo: Let me just say it's a pleasure to respond to the member for Cochrane South. It's a pleasure at all times to listen to him because he brings a local flavour each and every time he speaks, and I commend him for that.

But I want to explain one of the major differences between this party and the role of the backbencher and that of the Rae government. What we are dealing with today and what we deal with in legislation on a day-to-day basis is not new to us. This is the material that we told the leader of this party, in the years leading up to the election in 1995, we wanted to see. This is not handed down to us from Mike Harris. This is what came out of community meetings in church basements in every small town across the province. This is what we said we wanted. This is a response to the request to the people of our party and indeed our province, and that's why they responded to us in June 1995.

There's quite a difference from what happened in 1990. I don't have to talk about insurance, do I? If the honourable member for Welland-Thorold was here, he could explain to us the position of the party with regard to the insurance program and how it changed. It was not what the people requested, not what the government had suggested and not what the government had promised. In the first two years in government the Treasurer, the member for Nickel Belt, told us, "We'll spend our way out of this recession," and not to worry about the deficit, the deficit was no problem. It's $100 billion later, a $100-billion debt, and you harangue us and lecture us as to where we're going.

The taxpayers federation may have some disagreements, but everything's relative in this world. Don't ever forget it. We are sticking to our program and implementing it. It's our choice.

Mr Michael Brown: I'm most interested in the speech from the member from Timmins. I think he's made a large number of good points, particularly as it relates to rural Ontario and the increased costs that will be borne by every small municipal taxpayer in providing OPP services.

I've been around for a while and there certainly was and is an unfair problem with policing in terms of who pays. In the town of Espanola they have their own police force; they were paying and nobody else was. The argument was never that the others should pay; the argument was the provincial government should supply a fair amount of support to the town of Espanola or the city of Elliot Lake so that their property ratepayers did not have to bear that burden. That was the argument. It was about reasonable financing, about what is proper in terms of who pays for policing services.

The province has, as we know, quite a variety of ways of raising funds: income tax, sales taxes, a myriad of other ways, and increasingly we're seeing that gambling is what we want to raise revenues by. What will affect those people in the township of Spanish River, in the town of Webbwood, in the town of Massey, in Shedden, better known as Spanish to many of the people in this room, is that those property taxpayers cannot afford the burden of paying the OPP charges. It just will not work. He makes a good point.


Mr Carr: I'm pleased to add a few comments to the member for Cochrane South. I must say, I know this is a difficult issue for those who have rural areas that haven't paid, but I will remind the member from the NDP of what the New Democrat Solicitor General said in December 1993: "It is our intention to implement equitable police financing, which means all Ontarians pay their fair share of policing, and right now we don't have that. We'd like to obviously do it as quickly as possible because we'd like to institute fairness."

The problem, as you know, is that unfortunately that government didn't last. But I will say to the member who sits next to the member who said that, during this period of time all solicitors general have felt this way. I know it's very easy in opposition to talk about some of the concerns, how you wouldn't have done it this way, but make no mistake about it -- and I'm not even talking about whether you had the political courage to do it. You probably ran out of time in your mandate and so on, in spite of the fact it went five years, as long as any government had during that period of time. You ran out of time, but your colleague next door recognized that it had to be done.

I recognize it's not easy for those communities, of which yours probably has a great deal that are not, but make no mistake about it, had you, for whatever reason, continued on in government, your Solicitor General, your neighbour, your colleague in the next seat, would have continued on with the same process. The reason this was being done is because all governments recognize that it wasn't easy politically to do it but that in the interest of fairness across the province it had to be done. I understand where the member is coming from, but make no mistake about it, the quotes from his own government make it very clear that this would have happened in Ontario regardless of which government was in power.

Mr Conway: I want to just make a couple of observations. I should really start with the member from Cochrane, but I have to advert to the colourful intervention of my friend the judge. I just want to say, I was in Kingston the other day and I was talking to the people of the islands, and they were at the community meetings. They were there with Holy Mike and Sainted Sally and they had the dialogue and they remembered what was said and what was committed, rather like the people who were at Fergus a couple of years ago and they heard Holy Mike say, "We wouldn't do this," and, "We will go forward and we will incorporate the views of the islanders and the views of the good people in Wellington," and, "We were not into this kind of amalgamation business," and, "There will not be NDP-like tolls for you, the good people of Wolfe and Amherst islands."

I say to my friend the judge, there is no tool that can properly measure the incredulity of those people on the islands today, who ask now of Holy Mike and Sainted Sally: "Was there a hearing problem? Was there a learning disability?" What pray tell could explain a policy that was supposed to bubble up in precisely the way that his honour has referred to that has produced just the very reverse of what Holy Mike and Sainted Sally promised the good people of the islands in the area of Kingston city? I won't get into what was said at that meeting in Fergus a couple of years ago.

We are all sinners in this business, and I perhaps more than most, but I want to say to my friend the judge, I think he doth protest too much in pointing an accusatory finger at our friend from Timmins.

The Speaker: The member for Cochrane South.

Mr Bisson: To the members for Algoma-Manitoulin and Renfrew North, I thank you very much for your comments. I want to pick up on the comment from the member for Ottawa-Rideau. As the member for Renfrew North pointed out, I remember too those meetings in the church basements across northern Ontario, where the then third party made a number of promises to the people in northern Ontario, as they did across the province. They promised they were not going to download services on to municipalities. What have they done? They have broken that promise. They promised that they were not going to take one cent from education. They're doing quite the contrary; they're taking $1 billion out, not one cent. They promised that they were going to create 175,000 jobs per year; they haven't done that one either. They promised a whole bunch of things within this Common Sense Revolution that they're not keeping to. So I say to the member across the way, to the good judge, the member for Ottawa-Rideau, don't came here and talk about keeping promises. The reality is, you guys have done an about-face on promises like I've never seen.

I remember Mike Harris and the third party promising that they would not introduce any casinos in the province without the municipality having a referendum. I guess they held that promise. They're not introducing one casino, they're introducing 44 casinos, not without referendums. So I would say that is a broken promise.

To the member for Oakville South --

Mr Michael Brown: Six thousand slot machines.

Mr Bisson: Six thousand slot machines, exactly. The member for Oakville South talks about the former Solicitor General, Mr Christopherson, making a speech where he said that he was going to move to charge citizens in towns like Iroquois Falls the cost of police servicing. I say to the member across the way, it was the NDP back bench, myself and other NDPers, who said to the minister and who said to the rest of the cabinet at caucus, "You do that, you're going to have a war on," and the government didn't do it. We said we recognized that it was a problem for our communities and we spoke up for our communities, something that I wish the Tory backbenchers would do for their communities. I stand on --

The Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Leadston: Unlike my honourable colleagues opposite who very eloquently this afternoon, and rather disjointedly, have spoken about every topic under the sun other than Bill 105, I'm going to focus on Bill 105 and conclude.

The police officers, the men and women who serve our community, who serve our cities and our province, who serve to protect the citizens of Ontario, currently have four levels of supervision from the provincial government and one or more from the individual police departments. The province has a special investigations unit, the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services, the office of the police complaints commissioner and the board of inquiry.

The police officers who serve us in our province have a very difficult job, an extremely difficult job. They have to react rather quickly to life-threatening situations. They can't refer things to a committee like we do in the House. They can't sit down with a subcommittee and study it for a month and then decide to act. They have to act within split seconds. They also should be well informed of their boundaries and the boundaries given to them so that they cannot delay in making that correct decision that would affect their lives and the lives of others.

For that reason, this government is proposing in the legislation to combine the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services, the office of the police complaints commissioner and the board of inquiry into one singular body, which will be called the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services.

This new commission will be under the jurisdiction of the Solicitor General and will have a broad range of responsibilities, including the current mandate of the existing same-name commission, as well as the following additional oversight abilities:

It will have an appellate function from the disposition of local oversight matters. They will review the role of all public complaints that are dealt with locally and not resolved to the satisfaction of the public complaints. On its own motion, they will conduct inquiries respecting these complaints. We will merge the current complaint and discipline systems into one, streamlining and simplifying the system.

There are transitional provisions to deal with disciplinary proceedings and public complaints which are not resolved by the time these amendments come into effect.

The special investigations unit will continue as a separate oversight agency with responsibilities for overseeing police conduct resulting in serious injury or death. This agency will continue to be under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Attorney General.

This legislation provides a simplified and accessible means of filing a complaint. Very simply, the complainant only needs to write a letter. There are no prescribed forms, no red tape. They can deliver that via the mail, fax or in person or by an agent to either a police station, a detachment of the relevant police service or to the new Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services. The system will be more accountable. They will have a 30-day initial response time for public complaints: no more six months, no more two years.

The police service amendments have been developed to achieve more important goals while not losing sight of our firm commitment to Ontario's safety in our province.

I sat as a police services member for over five years. I was a police officer for over eight. I was chairman of our Waterloo Regional Police Services Board. There were many occasions where when we asked the agencies with the previous governments to act on various complaints and difficulties that the police services board at that time was encountering, some of them are unresolved. I believe the member from -- is it Holt Renfrew or Renfrew North? No. I'm sorry -- Renfrew North.


The Speaker: On that high note, it being past 6 of the clock, this House stands adjourned until 10 o'clock tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 1801.