36th Parliament, 1st Session

L174 - Thu 6 Mar 1997 / Jeu 6 Mar 1997














































The House met at 1003.




Mr Grandmaître moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 74, An Act to amend the Audit Act / Projet de loi 74, Loi modifiant la Loi sur la vérification des comptes publics.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Pursuant to standing order 96(c), the honourable member has 10 minutes for his presentation.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): My amendment to the Audit Act is a very simple one and I think will certainly help the government of Ontario to be more open with the public and bring about a better understanding of what this government is trying to do.

My bill simply amends the Audit Act to allow the Provincial Auditor to present the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly with up to three reports per year in addition to his or her annual report. The auditor retains the power to submit special reports to the Speaker when he or she believes that a matter is urgent.

My bill was first introduced on June 12, 1996, and the reason, as I said, was a very simple one: People are asking our governments at all levels -- municipal, provincial, federal -- to be more accountable. Every day, every minister who stands in this House promoting his or her business plans also uses the word "accountability." They want people to better understand what this government is doing.

This government, since taking power in 1995, has brought about some major changes, such as Bill 26, which gives the government more powers, and also creating partnerships. I agree with partnerships; I think these partnerships should be open. In other words, is the government really responding to the needs of the people when they create these partnerships? A partnership, as far as I'm concerned, is 50-50, not 80-20.

My bill will give the Provindial Auditor the possibility to look at these new programs, look at these partnerships and make sure that these services promised by the government are good services, good-quality services. As I said, major changes have been brought about -- fewer school boards and transfer of responsibilities and sharing of these responsibilities.

As you know, a group of my colleagues went out soliciting people's thoughts on the changes announced in mega-week, and mayor after mayor, citizen after citizen is questioning why the government is doing this. I think this is a golden opportunity for the government to approve this bill this morning and to provide the Provincial Auditor with more leeway so he can look at these programs and offer quality services -- and is the government keeping its promise? What is the response of these agencies that have to share the services?

What my bill does is amend the Audit Act. The present Audit Act, or subsection 12(1), reads this way: "The Auditor shall report annually to the Speaker of the Assembly after each fiscal year is closed and the public accounts are laid before the assembly, but not later than the 31st day of December in each year unless the public accounts are not laid before the assembly by that day, and may make a special report to the Speaker at any time on any matter that in the opinion of the auditor should not be deferred until the annual report, and the Speaker shall lay each such report before the assembly forthwith if it is in session or, if not, not later than the 10th day of the next session."

My amendment simply says that subsection 12(1) will now read as follows: "12.1(1) The auditor may, in addition to any special report made under subsection 12.2, make a maximum of three additional reports in any year to the Speaker."

I had the opportunity to discuss this amendment with the Provincial Auditor and he agrees with me that he would like to have the opportunity to table more reports. At the present time he can table more reports if he wishes to, but with this amendment at least three reports per year. Being Chair of public accounts -- when ministry after ministry appears before our committee, the auditor is questioning the dollars and cents that are being spent by these ministries. The auditor wants more clarity on whether the people of Ontario are getting a fair return for their tax dollars.

I think what's happening in Ontario, especially in health care -- I can recall that the Ministry of Health had a difficult time answering some of the questions, but as usual the ministries, the deputy ministers, want to cooperate with the government, with the auditor, and bring about a better understanding of the delivery of quality services.


Only last week we were looking at psychiatric hospitals and the services provided by psychiatric hospitals in Ontario. We had before us very special people who deliver these services who at the same time gave the government a very special message, "We need dollars; we need the expertise," and they're asking the government to respond.

I think the government is serious when it says it wants to make some major changes not only to our school boards but to our municipal governments and health care, and it's a golden opportunity for the members of the government to support my bill and give the auditor the opportunity to look at these services.

This bill was copied, I must admit, from a federal bill which was introduced by the today sénateur Jean-Robert Gauthier seven or eight years ago, and it was passed in the House. I am told that the Auditor General at the federal level has no qualms about it, that it's working out well and he's tabling at least three reports per year. I'm asking the members of this House to support my bill and give the Provincial Auditor that power.

Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): I'm happy to stand in the House today and support my honourable colleague's private member's bill for second reading. I listened carefully to his remarks today. I think, given the kinds of changes that are happening so rapidly in our province as this government downsizes, closes hospitals, amalgamates -- which are changing the very face of our society very rapidly without that much public consultation, in fact I would say minimum public consultation -- that it's all the more important that we have an opportunity to hear from the auditor more frequently. The auditor plays an extremely important role in making public and scrutinizing very carefully how the government is spending taxpayers' dollars and making public what he or she -- in this case he -- finds.

I've had occasion in the past year or so to examine the auditor's reports very carefully, and when I was in government as well. I agree, having been a cabinet minister in government, there are times when the auditor's report comes out and every department quakes a little bit: "What are they going to say about me? What are they going to say about my ministry?" Despite that, I believe that the auditor's report is extremely important in making ministers and their departments, their ADMs, their deputy ministers, everybody accountable to the public because that's the role they play.

The partisan politics that goes on within this place is well expected, but the auditor, I like to think, is always above and beyond that partisan politics and tells it like it is. I would say that some of the comments that, for instance, the auditor has made over the last year or so about what's going on within the Ministry of Environment have been very important. I think the public will pay more attention sometimes to what a neutral body, a neutral person has to say about the expenditures and controls and how the taxpayers' money is being spent than they might sometimes to the partisan opposition.

When I read the auditor's report the last time and saw some of the cautions this auditor was making in terms of what's going on within the Ministry of Environment -- I'm dwelling on that, of course, because I'm a critic in that area and have great concerns about the downsizing and the cutting and the deregulation that's going on within that ministry. The auditor has pointed out some very, very important gaps within the existing mandate of that ministry; for instance air quality, the fact that many, many people are being laid off and there are gaps there.

The amalgamation that's going on within Metro right now, the closing of hospitals, the very, very drastic changes that are being made, the government says, is all being done to deal with the deficit, when we and many, many people are aware that a lot of this cutting and chopping and slicing and dicing and taking a meat cleaver instead of a scalpel, as I heard somebody, I believe in your caucus, say -- as I lay on my sick bed at home yesterday, Mr Speaker, I couldn't resist but to turn on the TV and watch the goings and comings of this place, and I listened carefully.


Ms Churley: It's true. I'm sure that every other member in this House does the same thing: Sick as you may be, you can't resist shuffling over to the couch and turning on the TV. I expect I watched more debate at home yesterday than I do when I'm here in this place, because of course we're all really busy doing other things. I must confess I watched from question period pretty much right up to the end of 6 o'clock with little naps in between in some of the more boring speeches. I won't say who they were. But I did pay careful attention and I liked that expression. I forget who said it. It might have been the Speaker himself, in fact, the member from Ottawa-Carleton, I believe.

At any rate, it is extremely important that a neutral body, somebody who is put in that position to pay attention to what governments of all stripes are doing with taxpayers' money, that that person be given more opportunities to report independently to the House so we can look at what's really going on, what's happening with taxpayers' money in these times. Of course, many of us see very clearly what's going on here. This government is having to do this kind of chopping and cutting not for the reason they say, and that is to deal with the deficit, but to contribute to their 30% tax cut, which we all know mainly benefits the wealthy.

We know that is what's going on here, and when we see in reports that the finance minister, who hasn't been in this House now for a bit, but I'm sure when he comes back we'll question him on this -- I'm sorry. I know I'm not supposed to comment on that, and I withdraw that if necessary. But I would say that we have a lot of questions to ask the finance minister about his spending of taxpayers' money on lavish dinners in expensive restaurants and the fact that, according to a report in the newspapers, that minister was not forthcoming when asked by the press and indicated that he spent less money than our previous finance minister, Mr Laughren. As it turns out, that appears to be not quite correct. There have been receipts that don't quite tell --


The Deputy Speaker: Member for Nepean, you're not in your seat.

Ms Churley: Things crossed out, blacked out. We don't know what that minister has been doing, but I can tell you, at a time when this government is trying to chop in every area, in every department, is chopping like crazy and really hurting people -- we see it in the family support plan; we see it in rape crisis centres; we see it in hospitals; we see it in the environment; we see it in labour; we see it right across the spectrum, what this government is doing, and we know that it's to finance this tax cut. They're borrowing money to finance this tax cut. We know that, and at the same time we read reports that the finance minister is out spending money like crazy.

I believe this government, when they ran on the Common Sense Revolution, talked about the need for -- you know, they've gotten rid of some ministers and they've talked about the need to spend taxpayers' money more wisely. I'm shocked to find out that the finance minister is not doing that. It's setting a very bad example for all politicians at this time.


I believe it's important that we support this bill today, that we give the auditor every opportunity to report to this House and to the people of Ontario what is really going on with their money, and I expect that all of the members today would support this bill for that reason. I can't see any reason whatsoever why government members would not want to give the auditor an opportunity to report more frequently, give the taxpayers more information about what is going on with their money. I urge all members to support this bill today.

Ms Isabel Bassett (St Andrew-St Patrick): It's my pleasure today to respond to the private member's bill of my colleague from Ottawa East, Bill 74, An Act to amend the Audit Act.

At present, Ontario's Provincial Auditor issues only one annual report on government spending, and there is also a process for the auditor to report quickly to the Legislature on important and urgent matters. Under Bill 74, the auditor would also be able to issue reports up to three times a year in addition to any special reports.

We support this bill because it would give the auditor more latitude to report on a timely basis, and this would help ensure that public money is used efficiently and for its intended purpose. It would increase the government's accountability to taxpayers. Ontario taxpayers want to know and are entitled to know that they're getting good value for their hard-earned dollars. When they are not getting value for money, we want to take action. This government was elected on a mandate to increase accountability, control spending, and eliminate waste. We want taxpayers to know exactly what we are spending on and why. We want them to know that we understand that when government spends tax dollars, it is taxpayers' money, not government money. And we have delivered.

We scrapped the MPPs' gold-plated pension plan, we got rid of tax-free allowances to politicians, and we have cut our own pay by 5%. We are reducing the number of politicians in Ontario by 20% and we have introduced a sunshine law that discloses the salaries of all public servants earning $100,000 a year or more. Each ministry has also developed a business plan to explore the most cost-effective ways to carry out their role. As in the private sector, these plans set performance standards, and this enables the government and the public to judge just how effectively ministries are doing their jobs. We're also reducing administration costs by 33%.

We have promised to fix a broken welfare system, and we are doing that. Programs are focused on taking care of people in need of permanent help and giving a hand up to people who need temporary assistance. Today there are fewer people on welfare since we took office, and most left the welfare system for the workforce.

Our Who Does What initiative will reduce the cost of sorting out, once and for all, the rules and responsibilities of the many overlapping, duplicated layers of government. Our government is clearly about better services to the public at the least cost. It's about finding the best way to deliver services so that we and other levels of government can save taxpayers' money.

We are eliminating job-killing red tape, unneeded and outdated rules that discourage investment and job creation. We will reduce regulatory costs on business and reduce government costs of enforcing unneeded rules. We have taken a wide range of actions to eliminate waste and increase accountability, and we are not finished yet. Our government is staying the course. It is absolutely committed to reducing the cost of government so that we can balance the budget, create jobs and create more growth. In addition, we want to restore hope and opportunity for this generation and for generations to come.

Bill 74's objective, to allow the auditor to report more frequently, would help us to achieve this goal. We want the auditor's input on ways to save the taxpayers' money. This can only benefit Ontarians in lower taxes, better services and smaller and more efficient government.

I want to thank the member for Ottawa East for his efforts, and I want to offer my support as the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Finance for this bill's desire to improve accountability and prompt reporting. I recommend that the bill be referred to the public accounts committee for review between its second and third readings, and I also recommend that we request the Provincial Auditor's opinion as part of the public accounts review.

Mrs Lyn McLeod (Fort William): I'm pleased to rise in support of the bill presented by my colleague the member for Ottawa East. Clearly, as he has said, this bill is permissive. It is not a requirement that the auditor present a given number of audits during the course of the year, but it leaves that decision to the judgement of the auditor as to what he believes is necessary in the public interest.

As my colleague has said, this is a bill which will be welcomed by the auditor, and it will provide the auditor with an opportunity to examine the many changes and the many new partnerships which this government is undertaking.

This bill is a necessary check and balance on the government, provides the opportunity for the auditor to provide that check and balance, and this is absolutely essential when we have a government that is determined to make so many changes that it's not prepared to take the time to get things right.

There is no question in my mind that we need more scope for value-for-money audits to be done by our auditor so that we can have a knowledgeable and an objective examination of the impact of the government's actions, not on people, which is beyond the auditor's scope, but at least the financial impact of the changes this government is bringing to bear.

We have already seen, in some instances, in the government's haste to make its changes, to bring about its so-called restructuring, which is really nothing more than a slash-and-burn downsizing, the economic folly of some of these changes.

I give you one example: In the last round of cuts, the government advertised the fact that it was going to stop one of these terribly excessive expenditures of government of sending OPP cars to Thunder Bay to be retrofitted and to be repaired. The fact is that was not what was happening. The government didn't understand itself what was going on. They shut down the OPP garage in Thunder Bay so that the OPP cars that are used in northwestern Ontario could not be fitted out in northwestern Ontario. Those same cars have to be fitted out now in Orillia, put on a flatbed train or truck and shipped up to Thunder Bay. The net annual increase in cost to the government of that supposedly efficient move will be $20,000. It's not a lot, but it exemplifies the kind of banner advertising the government wants to do, saying how great these moves are, how they're going to save the taxpayers' money, when in fact in this instance -- and it was one of the ones the government chose to highlight in its ads -- it not only was not going to save the government money, it didn't reflect what was actually happening and it's going to end up costing the government money on an annual basis.

We've also seen the public dangers that are inherent in what the government is now doing. The auditor has commented on some of these areas before, and I just want to again use one example from last year's auditor's report, in which he expressed particular concern about the need to monitor groundwater quality. The auditor took time to go over a number of incidences in which there were major concerns affecting public health because of the lack of what he felt were adequate standards and adequate monitoring of groundwater quality.

The auditor's recommendation was that "The ministry should monitor groundwater quality on a systematic basis to provide assurance of its safety for the environment and human health as well as to enable the ministry to take prompt remedial action when necessary."

What has the government done in response to that specific and important recommendation of our auditor?


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Nothing.

Mrs McLeod: They did actually do something, I say to the member for St Catharines. Unfortunately, it was all regressive, because the first thing they did was to shut down all the regional testing labs of the Ministry of Environment. Those are exactly the same labs that were testing all the water quality for the municipalities.

There was nothing to take the place of those regional labs in the private sector at that point, and as the private sector labs have scrambled to at least be able to do some of the basic water testing, we have found -- surprise -- that the cost of those private sector tests is going to be as much as double to three times and, in two cases, five times as much as what the government was paying to do the same testing.

And what have we lost as well? It's not only not cost-efficient, but what have we lost? We've lost exactly what the auditor said was important, which was that the government itself had the capacity to monitor and enforce its own standards.

The government decided maybe it couldn't meet that recommendation, maybe the cutbacks alone were not going to be sufficient to get it out of the need to respond to the auditor's recommendation, so now it has decided that it will simply abandon water and sewage to the municipality. Then they can wash their hands of the whole responsibility, with no concern for cost-effectiveness, because that hasn't been examined in the mega-dumping that we're looking at, but certainly without any concern as well for the impact on individuals.

I will stop at this point simply by saying that I hope the auditor is able to take a proactive role in looking at some of the plans the government has for change, like the amalgamation of school boards, so that they can look at the concern raised by other auditors that this could cost more, not less, and have that examined before it's too late.

I'm glad the government will support this. It wants to talk about cost-effectiveness. It needs to have this objective examination. I will look with interest to see whether it ever actually becomes law.

Mr Wayne Wettlaufer (Kitchener): I am pleased to participate in the debate on Bill 74, An Act to amend the Audit Act. When I first saw the bill, I was wondering why it was being introduced. I have to admit that I was a little cynical. I wondered what the member for Ottawa East was trying to accomplish -- I see him laughing there -- but I realized that he wasn't trying to embarrass our government, because I figured he's a gentleman. I respect him as a gentleman.

Then of course I looked at it and I said to myself, why not? Why not have this bill? It is common practice in business to have an internal audit. It's common practice to have it performed as often as necessary: processing methods, safety, environment, profit and loss etc.

The CEO and the board of directors welcome these audits as a method to improve their company and aid in their accountability to their shareholders. Likewise, in government, we should welcome these audits. Our shareholders, the taxpayers of the province, want a streamlined government. If the auditor deems it necessary to present more than one audit per year to achieve this end, then this bill provides him with the necessary authority to do so.

It improves government's accountability to the taxpayer. Experience shows us that such audits would have been beneficial to the previous government. With the benefit of the Provincial Auditor's experience and insight -- who knows? -- that government might not have continued the lavish spending of drunken sailors begun by the Liberal government under David Peterson.

When I meet with my constituents, all are concerned about where their tax money is going. They want more than an annual report. Once a year isn't good enough for them. They like the accountability that we have restored to the provincial government, but passage of this bill would give them the added assurance that we are spending their money wisely.

This is what too many governments have never fully understood: Tax money is not ours. Tax money is not the government's money. Tax money is the taxpayers' money. We in government, we in this chamber, are merely the taxpayers' trustees. We are entrusted with the responsibility of spending only the amount needed to provide the services that they can't provide themselves. They don't want and they don't need to be looked after from the cradle to the grave. They only want essential services.

Our government promised the taxpayers that we would control spending. All right, let the auditor report on our progress. We promised the taxpayers that we would eliminate waste. Let the auditor report on our progress. We promised the taxpayers that we would streamline government and reduce bureaucratic red tape. Let the auditor report on our progress. We promised the taxpayers that we would cut personal income tax, that this action would help in the creation of jobs and contribute to an increase in overall tax revenues to the government. Let the auditor report on our progress. We promised to eliminate duplication by the many layers of government. Let the auditor report on our progress. We promised the taxpayers more for less, better services, less government interference and less cost. Let the auditor report on our progress. We promised the taxpayers not to reduce spending on health care but to allocate the funding to better prepare for our future needs. Let the auditor report on our progress. We promised the taxpayers that we would balance the budget by the end of our first term. Let the auditor report on our progress.

Bill 74 will amend the Audit Act to allow the Provincial Auditor to present up to three reports per year in addition to his annual report. This should be viewed as a positive step. It will allow, even encourage, government to respond or react quickly to recommendations. This can only benefit the taxpayers of the province.

I was very interested in the member for Fort William's comments on advertising. I wonder how she justifies the $22-million advertising budget of the last year of the David Peterson government, the Liberal government. That was purely political. Our advertising budget will be one third of that $22 million.

I view this bill as an aid to increasing government accountability to the taxpayers. I applaud the member for Ottawa East for his efforts in this regard. I will be supporting the bill and I encourage all members to support it.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): I cannot let the last comment of the last speaker go by without saying that when you talk about advertising, certainly the people of Ontario are under the impression that a lot of the advertising dollars being spent right now, with the Premier sitting either in a hockey rink or elsewhere, is just totally wasted money, particularly when hospitals are being closed throughout the province and when there's been so much cutting already in the social services in this province. The money would be much better spent, rather than on advertising, on the actual programs themselves.

I'm sure there are some people who are watching out there and saying, "Isn't the auditor in effect a government employee?" I think that people should clearly understand that the auditor reports to the Legislative Assembly and does not report to the government as such. The report that is presented annually is a rather thick report, and if we look at the code of conduct or the purpose of the report, we should all be reminded of what that is exactly. As he states in his report, "Better accounting for the government's revenues, expenditures and financial affairs, plus the better accountability for the government's performance in achieving legislative objectives, equals better value for the taxpayers' money."

It should be clearly understood by the people of Ontario that the auditing that is being done nowadays is not the way it used to be done when it was purely a financial exercise, without any kind of value-for-money kind of auditing that is currently being done, in which the auditor actually makes suggestions as to how programs can be improved, how money is being wasted in particular departments and how the taxpayers' money -- and I totally agree it's not the government's money; it is the taxpayers' money -- can be better safeguarded.

The Provincial Auditor is also a completely non-partisan individual who does not get involved in the day-to-day politics of this place. I think the taxpayers would benefit from this kind of legislation. The Provincial Auditor is there. Why limit him to one particular report per year? Give that department scope and latitude to look into the various departments the government operates. We all know that government nowadays is really big business. It is very difficult for a competent government -- which I'm not saying the current government is by any stretch of the imagination -- or a competent minister to have a clear idea as to what exactly all the financial expenditures are within his particular department. Certainly the independent view from the outside, looking into a department in a non-partisan way, I think we can all benefit from.


Of course, one of the programs we are looking forward to the Provincial Auditor taking a look at is the program of the downloading that's currently taking place, because I think the people of Ontario should understand that although $5.4 billion is being taken off the property tax roll in educational services, $6.3 billion is being added on to the property tax roll, for a net effect of $1 billion, an average $540 increase in property taxes for each and every household in this province. That is a lot of money.

I think we will see that once he takes a look at what happens when some of these downloading exercises are completed -- I hope the government will change its mind and do the right thing by taking off the social services, health care services and ambulance services that they're presently dumping on to local municipalities, but if they pass that bill, I would certainly hope the Provincial Auditor will take a look at some of these downloading exercises. I am sure he will come to the same conclusion we came to, and that is that the Mike Harris plan is fundamentally flawed. Our task force came up with this as a result of talking to over 150 citizens and individuals throughout Ontario. His plan is flawed and I am sure the Provincial Auditor will back us up on that in the years to come.

Mr Gary Fox (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings): I am pleased to speak on Bill 74, An Act to amend the Audit Act. On a personal note, when I decided to run as a Tory candidate in the 1995 provincial election, I was attracted to the platform of the Common Sense Revolution because for me it signified a style of politics. The CSR promised more accountability to the taxpayer and a more open style of politics. I support Bill 74 because it enhances this new political style.

Over the years, changes and amendments to the way in which public reports are delivered to the public are necessary. This is particularly relevant in the Office of the Provincial Auditor, who deals with such important issues as the financial impact of the annual report, significance to the Legislature, public safety and past audit reports.

Changing the way the audit report is released is an example of sound fiscal management. Under the proposed changes, the Provincial Auditor would be able to issue a maximum of three special reports when warranted, instead of waiting until year end, when the annual report is released. I believe this will make it possible for people to gain greater access to the reports issued by the auditor. This will also make the Provincial Auditor more accountable to the taxpayer. This bill allows the auditor to retain the power to submit special reports to the Speaker on any matter of pressing importance or urgency that the auditor feels is too important to be deferred until the presentation of the next session.

Opponents to this change may suggest that the office of the auditor may become buried in paperwork and unable to do the job at hand. They may argue that the size and complexity of the provincial operations make it impossible to issue more reports. However, I cannot see that this is an argument that has merit. In my view, these changes will allow the auditor the flexibility and the autonomy to report to the Legislature when he or she deems it is necessary, and at the same time require the auditor to advise the public where their money is being spent.

To the average citizen, these changes may seem insignificant. But the important issue here today is that in a small way, the proposed changes that Bill 74 introduces fulfil the election promise of paving the way to providing better services at less cost to the taxpayer. I'd like to say that one set of books for any business is enough, and that's whether you're in business for yourself in the private sector or in the government.

I would like to thank the member for Ottawa East for his hard work in preparing this bill, and I support it wholeheartedly.

Mr Bradley: I will be supporting this bill this morning because I think it makes some good sense and allows more flexibility for the auditor, and indeed we need the auditor looking into a number of matters of concern.

I would like to see the auditor look into government advertising and try to determine, as a totally independent person, whether the nature of the advertising that we see on the air at the present time with the Premier reading a teleprompter in a classroom, or the Premier reading a teleprompter apparently in a hospital, or the Premier reading a teleprompter, to do with municipal affairs, at a hockey rink or something of that nature -- you see, the auditor now must look at value for money, which is different from the Audit Act when it started out. I would like the auditor, as an independent person, just as we have the Speaker as an independent person, to look at government advertising. I'd like the auditor to look at it in terms of value for money. In other words, is this simply political advertising? Is it the worst kind of government propaganda?

If the auditor had more flexibility, he would be able to look at that, the fact that Premier Harris is costing the people of this province millions of dollars with his government advertising. He has a picture of him in a hospital, and of course in the Niagara region we would be very interested in that because we're going to have his picture in front of a lot of hospitals that are closed if he follows through with his plans.

The auditor might even look at the statement that the Premier made and compare it to what's happening, because he can do that, as you know, Mr Speaker. He can look at a statement by the Premier on May 18, 1995, during the leaders' debate in the election campaign. When asked by Robert Fisher of Global TV about his plans for the health care system, he said, "Certainly, Robert, I can guarantee you I have no plans to close hospitals."

While I'm speaking at this time, Mike Harris is closing hospitals in Toronto, and of course those hospitals will have an effect on the rest of the province. There are many people from all of our ridings who come to Metropolitan Toronto to receive the excellent services that have been available. I know the Premier said that it's just like hula hoops, because the Premier lives in the 1950s, in the days of hula hoops, and he says: "Well, the nurses, they're like hula hoop makers. They went out of style and so the company had to change." And so the nurses, I guess, have gone out of style. I guess nobody needs health care any more. That must be what's happening.

I know my friends the member for Ottawa East and the member for Carleton East, who are both here today, are very concerned about the Montfort Hospital, the Riverside Hospital and the Ottawa Grace hospital, all of which are going to be closing in the riding.

The Deputy Speaker: You've got to speak to the bill.

Mr Bradley: This is what I want the auditor to look at when he does this. I want the auditor to be able to look at the closing of hospitals to see if indeed that is value for money, because that's going to be important. People are going to say: There is a government expenditure out there. Is it valuable in Kitchener, for instance; is it going to be valuable to close the hospitals in the Kitchener area, or the London area, or St Catharines, the Hotel Dieu Hospital in St Catharines, the Douglas Memorial Hospital in Fort Erie, the Niagara-on-the-Lake hospital, the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital, the Port Colborne hospital, taking $44 million out of hospital funding in the Niagara region?

He could look at that through this, and that's why I like the flexibility. That's why this is timely, to have the auditor look at these matters and look at whether the money that the Premier is spending on self-serving government propaganda, over $750,000 for education ads and now for health care ads, would be better spent in the classrooms in the case of education and in maintaining our hospital services in the province. I would suggest that that is probably the case, and that's why the member has a very timely resolution, because under his provision they can now look at it throughout the year. The government can move more quickly when the auditor identifies these problems.

I know the auditor is going to look at the problem of hospital closings right across this province, because he's going to look at them remembering that Premier Harris did make that famous statement: "Certainly, Robert, I can guarantee you I have no plans to close hospitals."

So I think this is a timely resolution today. I think the people who are worried about the only French-language hospital, for instance, in all of Ontario closing, the Montfort Hospital, perhaps they'll go to the Provincial Auditor now and say, "Is this true value for the money being expended?"


Mr Allan K. McLean (Simcoe East): I have a minute and I'd like to commend the member for Ottawa East on bringing this resolution before this Legislature.

Auditing is an important factor in society today and I just wish there was more auditing done with regard to expenses and what takes place within government. I think in the ministries we have there are many expenditures that are made that do not appear to be accounted for. If this will allow the auditor to go in and investigate further, that is important.

I'm also concerned with regard to the amount of staff the auditor has. I know he has been cut back, as has every ministry. What are we going to do to make sure he has the staff to allow him to do what we're asking him to do?

I commend the member. I hope with the auditor being given some further authority, he will be looking into some of the expenses that go on around this Legislative Building.

Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): Mr Speaker, I thought I might ask for unanimous consent. Since there are a few minutes left of time in the House, I believe there is unanimous consent from the other two parties to speak.

The Deputy Speaker: Is there consent? Agreed.

Mr Baird: I just wanted to speak very briefly to this bill and to commend my colleague the member for Ottawa East on bringing forward this important piece of legislation.

Private members' hour is a time when traditionally all parties and all members of this House put aside partisan politics and try to bring forward important issues of public policy to debate in this place. I do commend the member for Ottawa East for bringing forward a piece of legislation of this scope. I think it speaks volumes on his integrity and character that it is receiving what appears to be unanimous agreement from all parties in this House.

I think the Audit Act is a very important piece of legislation. The role of the Provincial Auditor has been very important over the last 25 years in Ontario. As the size and scope of government have grown, the auditor has been a key player, working directly for this assembly and not for the government; working for every member of this House and for the people of Ontario to ensure that every tax dollar the hardworking taxpayers of the province submit to the government is spent wisely and well.

The scope of that act and the function of audit have expanded dramatically as the size of government has grown over the last 25 to 50 years. The ability of the auditor to report simply once a year probably is hampered by that issue. The fact that the member for Ottawa East is proposing that he be allowed to do so more often I think would be a very beneficial aspect to the taxpayers, because the taxpayers expect every dollar they send to Queen's Park to be spent wisely and well. They want accountability. They want a more accountable process.

Some of the innovations we've seen with respect to the Audit Act and the Provincial Auditor in recent years, ensuring that there's one set of books kept -- the Provincial Auditor spoke very strongly about that issue. To the credit of the Minister of Finance, the Honourable Ernie Eves, he accepted most of the Provincial Auditor's recommendations going back a good number of years and has implemented those changes into the accounting practices of the province of Ontario. The public has a right to expect, when they look at the books of the province, to get an accurate portrayal of the finances of Ontario, and that's very important.

Value-for-money audits are something that's very important. What we've seen at the federal level, with the federal Auditor General and the last three Auditors General in the federal government, is an expanded mandate to look into value for money. They can look into programs and say, "Are the taxpayers getting value for money?" They've found some horror stories over the last number of years from governments of all three political parties. What they've been able to do is hold the government accountable for the way those decisions are made, and I think that's very important.

Taxpayers work very hard for their money. People in my constituency of Nepean want their elected representatives to be able to look them in the eye and say that every single tax dollar we're spending we're spending wisely and well. That's something that's very important for people in Nepean.

We in Ontario are very well served by our current Provincial Auditor, Erik Peters, who is probably one of the best friends the taxpayers have had in the province over the last five years. We're very fortunate to have someone of his skill.

Mr Gerretsen: You only got half the time.

Mr Baird: I know the member for Kingston and The Islands is a big fan of the Provincial Auditor. The Provincial Auditor has done an exemplary job in very difficult circumstances in recent years and we should all congratulate him for those efforts.

The Deputy Speaker: Further debate? The member for Ottawa East, two minutes.

Mr Grandmaître: I can't respond to every member, but I would like to thank them for their support. I would like to respond specifically to the member for Simcoe East, who talked about staff. I can assure the member for Simcoe East and the members of this House that this was brought up when I spoke to the auditor, and I was advised that no additional staff will be needed. He does have the proper staff in place to provide these special reports whenever they're needed.

Also, as the member for St Catharines pointed out, this is value for money. We've said a number of times this morning that the auditor's view is an independent view. I see deputy ministers and ADMs before the standing committee on public accounts trying to -- not fight with the Provincial Auditor but at the same time trying to sell their programs. So I'm glad the auditor is pleased with this amendment and he will bring about changes and provide us with more opportunities to discuss and debate those programs, those great changes.

Again, I'd like to thank all the members who participated this morning. Hopefully every one of them will support this.

I still have two minutes, Mr Speaker. Is there an extra two minutes or one?

Interjection: You can't hold your own time over.

Mr Grandmaître: So I only have one second and that's it? Thank you very much for supporting my bill.

The Deputy Speaker: The time allotted for ballot item number 69 has expired.


Mr Leadston moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 123, An Act to establish the Legislative Assembly of Ontario Foundation / Projet de loi 123, Loi créant la Fondation de l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Pursuant to standing order 96(c)(i), the honourable member has 10 minutes for his presentation.

Mr Gary L. Leadston (Kitchener-Wilmot): I rise this morning to speak regarding the Legislative Assembly of Ontario Foundation and hope for your support for the establishment of such a foundation.

Each year more than 250,000 individuals, Canadians, foreign visitors and heads of state, visit Queen's Park. Its rooms serve as the legislative chamber, committee rooms, the residence of the Lieutenant Governor, a reception centre for dignitaries and a museum of Ontario art and antiquities.

As you know, the Management Board appropriates funds for the annual operation and maintenance of the Legislative Assembly and the Whitney Block. Refurbishing projects and acquisitions, however, have always been financed from public funds. I believe it is time to attract corporations and individuals to assist financially with the ongoing restoration projects within the legislative buildings. For that reason, I'm introducing the Legislative Assembly of Ontario Foundation Act.

The objects of the foundation are to solicit, receive and manage money for the purposes of maintaining and restoring the historic legislative buildings in Queen's Park. This act will establish a board of directors of 12 to manage this foundation. There will be one member from each recognized party in the assembly and the remainder will be appointed by order in council by the Lieutenant Governor. The board members should be composed of prominent citizens who have a strong interest in historical restoration. Members of the board will not receive any remuneration, with the exception of reasonable expenses.


On April 4, 1893, these Parliament Buildings were officially opened. The Legislative Building introduced a new style of architecture to Toronto, the Romanesque revival, which became one of the most important influences in both public and private design throughout the province. Over 100 years later, these Parliament Buildings still represent an expression of the symbolic and monumental aspirations of their era and are the tangible symbol of the seat of government for Ontario and our democratic heritage.

It is essential to understand and appreciate Ontario's history and common purpose. As such it is worthy of the highest standards of care and conservation, and we are not conserving the buildings as well as we should be.

These grand old buildings are showing their age. In June 1991 a report was presented to Speaker Warner from the special committee on the parliamentary precinct. This report stated that the original richness of the Parliament Building's design and crafting has been obscured by time and a long history of necessary but often haphazard and very insensitive changes.

These insensitive changes can be seen throughout the building, from the visible electric wiring to the whitewashing of the magnificent frescoes on the roof of this Legislative Assembly. In my office, contractors had used their hammer to break a hole in the plaster walls just to run wires through them. The original architect and the craftsmen who built these buildings would absolutely shudder to see what has happened to their work of art.

Unfortunately, the necessary budget cuts have slowed down or halted the projects identified in the parliamentary precinct report. We need to find, yes, we must find alternate ways of funding these buildings, and I believe that this bill is the only real choice.

The New Jersey, New York and Texas legislatures all have less government funding than before and now are successfully obtaining private funds to repair and restore their public buildings. The White House has also had a private endowment fund since 1990 and is currently raising over $20 million a year for restoration in that facility.

The bill I am proposing is very similar to the endowment funds in my aforementioned statement. I am not proposing that we overcommercialize the Legislative Buildings. There will be no Ontario Hydro wing or Casino Rama library. There should be a tasteful plaque to recognize the major contributions to this foundation.

Both the Management Board and the Board of Internal Economy will determine the financial needs for renovation projects at the Legislative Building and the Whitney Block. This financial information would be given to the foundation so that they would be able to set their own fund-raising goals for the following year. It should be noted that all donations to this foundation will be tax-deductible, with no limit on how much they can give. In fact the tax deduction will average around 50% of the amount deducted.

We must find ways of funding historic buildings. I believe that this bill will help in guaranteeing the future of Queen's Park and the Whitney Block. These old buildings of Queen's Park have to last longer than 100 years or even 200 years. They should last forever. To ensure that future generations will enjoy the majestic splendour of their architecture and their symbol of democracy, I would urge all members of the House to support this bill to bring restoration of this beautiful building back to its original glory.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): Coming from a community which has more designated buildings than I believe were at one time designated throughout Ontario -- I'm speaking of the city of Kingston -- I know how important historic preservation is. I come from a community that for a very short period of time, back in the 1840s, was the capital of Canada. It was during that period of time that many of the limestone buildings, both public and private, that we have in our community were first built. When the Ontario Heritage Act was proclaimed, and that was proclaimed in Kingston in our historic city hall, it set a landmark for historic preservation and is something I totally believe in.

I will be supporting this bill, and I know there are some people in my own caucus and perhaps some people in the NDP caucus who will not be supporting it. I have some major concerns. I am concerned when the member raises the examples of American experiences. I'm concerned about privatization. Are we going to have a McDonald's library? We've seen it with lots of events that are taking place throughout the province now. They've all got an advertising tag attached to them, and I certainly wouldn't want that to happen here. There have to be very strict guidelines imposed on the foundation.

However, I totally understand that some people out there may be willing to donate to the historic preservation of this building who wouldn't just give money to the government of Ontario to put into the general pot, as it were, and then be spent on the renovation of this building. People and organizations may be much more inclined to contribute in situations where the money is actually going to a specific purpose, such as the renovation of this building. It's with that in mind that I support the bill; I realize that's a reality, that we may be able to get money into this foundation that people wouldn't donate otherwise. It's on that basis that I'm supporting it.

I have concerns about some of the individual clauses in the bill. If it is going to be a true foundation, then for example the representation which is suggested as coming from the three parties, or from however many parties there may be in the Legislature at any one time, ought to be equal representation; the representation should not be stacked in favour of the governing party. If the money truly comes into the foundation as contributions from the people of Ontario, then there should be equal say by all parties as to how that foundation money is actually to be spent in this Legislature. The bill is silent on that. It talks about it in generalities, and that's certainly something we have to take a look at.

All you have to do is just look at the small portion of the ceiling here that has been uncovered and see the paintings or the frescos -- I'm not sure what that is, maybe even wallpaper -- to see the significance of what this hall must have looked like at one time when the entire room had those floral kinds of designs and those figures looking down on us from the ceilings and from the walls. I suppose a lot of the walls were made into the white or yellow colour to help the television lights. I'm sure that with today's technology we could bring the historic aspects of this room back and still be able to accommodate television lights. I think that ought to be supported.

It's the privatization aspect, the Americanization aspect that I as a person certainly worry about, but I think we ought to give people a choice of whether or not they want to contribute to this particular building. Over the years when I was not in this Legislature, I can remember reading from time to time reports on how much money was actually spent on this building over the last 10 or 15 years. As a layperson I must admit I was shocked that it would cost that much money to maintain it.

Perhaps if it's a foundation, with not only representation from the political parties here but also representation on the board of directors from people on the outside, that will change. Maybe a more businesslike approach will be used in making sure that in the restoration of this building we are really getting value for money. It gets back to the motion we dealt with earlier, as far as the auditor's report is concerned.

There are a number of other aspects of the bill that I have some concerns about. There ought to be very strict guidelines that there will not be any advertising at all, even in name recognition or otherwise. This, after all, is the seat of democracy in Ontario, for Ontario. It is the place that people should always be able to look at and be part of without feeling part of a commercialization aspect.

I would like to congratulate the member for bringing this forward. I know there are many concerns people may have and I can well understand that some people would take the attitude, why should we need to put up a foundation? Why should we have a foundation? Why should the government not pay for the renovations itself?

My main concern again is that I think there are people out there who will contribute to a particular cost such as the restoration of this building who otherwise wouldn't do so, so I will be supporting this bill when it comes for a vote later on.


Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): I'm going to be very brief. I'm a little bit concerned if we're going to turn this building and the other building they're talking about, the Whitney Block, into the American style where private companies and individuals feel they have more involvement in the restoration and maintaining of a building than what the taxpayers have been doing over the last 100 years. I believe all three governments, over the last number of years, have done an excellent job of repairing this particular building, the Legislative Assembly, and the buildings around it.

Over the last 10 years there have been large amounts of taxpayers' money put into restoring the stone on the outside and doing repairs that were needed around the outside of the building to make sure the building will be here for hundreds of years for the thousands of visitors who visit this place, not only from Ontario but right across Canada and from around the world. Every day I'm in the Legislature I see visitors in both galleries, and also the visitors we get from other governments.

I would be opposed to seeing private companies or individuals bringing in dollars to this, to see it privatized like we see happening in some of the American states. The intention might be good, because we're all concerned that we don't want to see the present building and the Whitney Block deteriorate, but I know, as I said before, that all three parties that have been in government over the last 10 to 15 years have been concerned with that and have set aside budgets and all-party committees working with the Speaker to make sure the building is restored.

There's still some work that should be done on the upper floors of the Whitney Block and the upper floors of this particular building as far as the inside is concerned, but it was nice to see that a new roof was put on and that the copper that had been deteriorating was replaced. As far as the outside is concerned, the building is protected against the elements of weather for the next large number of years. I'm sure the taxpayers across this province would be quite willing to continue to see the government spend that money on an annual basis to make sure that it does exist.

We know there are concerns as far as some of the government members are concerned, that they'd like to see cutbacks and privatization and restructuring and less money spent right across the province, and privatization is the way they feel things should go.

We just heard major announcements on 13 hospitals that are going to be shut down in the Toronto area. They're saying it's an effort to save money, but thousands of people are going to be thrown out of work as a result of this announcement that was made just in the last 10 minutes. We don't know where all those people are going to be working in the future and what the state of health care in the Toronto and greater Toronto area is going to be. It's a concern not only with the restructuring of all the school boards, with the municipal restructuring, and now with the hospital downsizing and closing of hospitals; it's a concern right across this province.

But one of the things I'm sure we can convince all three parties in this Legislature to do is to spend a few dollars to maintain this particular building and the Whitney Block across the street under the supervision of the Speaker and deputy Speakers of this House. It can be done in an efficient manner without having to revert to privatizing and getting private donations to do the repairs. With that, I'll listen to the comments from other speakers who want to participate in the debate.

Mr Allan K. McLean (Simcoe East): I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to stand here this morning and to speak with regard to private member's Bill 123, put forward by my colleague Gary Leadston, the member for Kitchener-Wilmot. From these desks in the Legislative Assembly, members such as ourselves have moulded the shape of this great province of Ontario. The history of this province and its parliamentary process surrounds us in the hallways and the offices in this building.

For over 100 years the people of Ontario, along with visitors and dignitaries, have walked through the handmade front doors of this magnificent sandstone building. They have come to this historic Victorian building to celebrate, to demonstrate, to parade, to admire, and to rest.

This solidly built, stately building is a landmark in Toronto, the capital city of Ontario. It is home to the Lieutenant Governor and it is a place where decisions are made affecting the lives of all Ontarians. The walls of this building display portraits of parliamentarians, landscapes and early Canadian works of art, along with historic photographs. Some of this country's finest carvings and sculptures of the 19th century decorate the building's interior and exterior.

I consider it a privilege to work in this beautiful building and have admired its significant history every day of the 16 years I have served as a member of this Legislature. The preservation of this building is very important to us as members and to the people of Ontario whose lives are affected by the decisions made in this chamber.

At present we know there has been a study completed on the history of the building and a restoration plan has been drawn up and approved by the Board of Internal Economy. Much work has been done in completion and restructuring of the north wing. Some work has been completed, such as the roof replacement, and the cleaning and restoring of the sandstone blocks and carvings on the exterior. This work has cost the people of Ontario millions of dollars, money which needed to be spent since the work was done to preserve the structure. However, like any historic building, much more work is needed on the interior to restore the building to its original splendour.

Over the years, different governments have had different needs for the interior space, and unfortunately in many areas the original architecture was altered and in some cases destroyed accommodating these needs. I feel there must be a control mechanism in place to prevent any further damage to this structure and I recognize the cost involved in maintaining this building, especially if we are preserving its historic value at the same time.

In these times of government spending restraint, I feel Bill 123 provides the tools for the funding, preserving and restoring of this building.

Under the current system, employees of the Legislative Assembly control the restoration and maintenance of this building with approval from the Board of Internal Economy from a sum of money which has been allotted for that. Then the staff may proceed on their own, and from then on we do not see the approvals as step by step the restoration takes place.

This system allows taxpayers to foot the bill with few questions asked. The downside of the current system is it does not give the taxpayer the opportunity for input or control. The board of directors of the foundation outlined in Bill 123 is composed of 12 members and includes an elected member representing each of the political parties. The Lieutenant Governor in council shall appoint the remaining members of the board.

I feel this is a more open and controlled system. It clearly represents the people of this province, the Legislative Assembly here at Queen's Park that belongs to the people of the province. Bill 123 allows the people of Ontario to voluntarily support the preservation of their parliamentary building, and Bill 123 allows the people of Ontario to protect the integrity of their parliamentary building. Bill 123 allows the people of Ontario to protect their history and the building where their history and future is protected.


I gladly support Bill 123. The essence is: "The objects of the foundation are to solicit, receive and manage money" and other property "for the purposes of maintaining" in good repair "and restoring the Legislative Building." and the building that is situated directly to the east of the Legislative Building known as the Whitney Block.

Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): I'm pleased to speak on this bill today. I wish to express some concerns about it because I believe that preserving our heritage is a responsibility of government.

I don't know if many people are aware, given all the downloading that's happening right throughout the government, of the concerns that various heritage groups across the province have around the restructuring of the whole heritage part of the government. The government is downloading a lot of the responsibility for heritage preservation to small, volunteer groups who for many years in our communities across Ontario have been out there, have been the ones who have been preserving, making sure that documentation is available. All of that stuff is now being downloaded.

Let me read you something I received from -- I have to look and see exactly what this organization is called, but it's one of the heritage organizations in Ontario. What they're concerned about is this:

"Many of Ontario's local heritage groups and/or institutions will soon face an impossible decision: to refuse or accept the original paper land registry office records dating to the period 1868 to 1955, essential to their work concerning the preservation of Ontario's past. If they accept, these groups and institutions may be subjected to an avalanche of land registry office records they clearly cannot handle. If these groups do not take these materials, a truly significant portion of Ontario's documentary heritage will be irretrievably lost.

"In short, this is a snow job on local heritage groups and institutions by this government and its agency, the Archives of Ontario, determined to download yet another one of its fundamental responsibilities on to local groups and institutions, a great many of which are helped by dedicated volunteers and who are also, needless to say, taxpayers."

They go on to say:

"The retention of these documents and registry and copy books has always been a provincial responsibility, paid for by generations of taxpayers.

"Local heritage groups are usually made up of volunteers concerned with...history, genealogy and the preservation of architecture. The only support for these groups has been the heritage organization development grant program of around $300,000, for which each group is allowed to apply for to a maximum of $3,000. Since the spring of 1996 this funding support has been cut back twice by 25% and 26.3% respectively, by the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation.

"Local land registrars are expected to handle the applications. Their instructions are to remove everything (including inventory, registry and copy books) that is pre-1955. Moreover, the institution or heritage group that is selected by the local registrar must accept all the records of a given local registry office.

"In many cases the local registrar is not even aware of what is in their office, or what has been filmed. Often items such as marriage records, wills, ships' mortgages and business partnerships are given registration numbers and filed with LRO records. Clearly the local registrars are too busy taking care of the demands of the present to worry about the past."

They go on to talk about the material, the big volume, and what they're concerned about, I'm sure, is pretty obvious. I'm not surprised that this resolution is before us today, because the government has been quietly, in the midst of everything else that has been going on, downloading responsibilities to small local volunteer groups to continue the preservation of our heritage in this province, and it's shocking.

These volunteer groups work for nothing already, and they're the backbone of the preservation of our history in this province. Now we are in great danger of losing such an important part of who we are, our identity, and that is preserving not only buildings but the records, our very history, because these groups are saying quite clearly that they can't do it without government support, and the government is pulling out those supports and we will lose our ability to preserve our heritage.

It sounds innocuous and it sounds like a good idea. "Just why would anybody vote against it?" you would say. "It's setting up yet again another body to raise funds to help preserve buildings such as this." That's all fine and good, but what it's really trying to do is replace what I believe to be a fundamental, important aspect of what our government does, that is, help to preserve our history.

It's all tied in with this government's removal of any sense of caring about community, present, tearing our communities apart in so many ways. Notwithstanding Bill 103, which I know we're not talking about now, we're talking more about preserving our past. That is going to disappear, and this private member's resolution today gives me an opportunity to talk about it, because most people aren't even aware of it. There's too much else going on.

But there are all kinds of groups out there who have been working very, very hard with small grants from the government, working for free. I know some of these people, and their dedication and their hard work, for free, to help preserve our heritage is going to disappear.

I can tell you that a legislative group getting together to try to raise funds to preserve this building, and maybe a building here and there, is not going to take the place of the badly needed community structures that have been around for decades in this province, but that because of the actions of this government are going to disappear.

We can't look at this bill in isolation. It occurs to me that it's part and more of the same of this government moving more and more in the direction of the United States. There are states now that have done this, that have pulled out all heritage structures and grants and supports and are relying on the private sector to preserve our heritage. At best it's arbitrary, it's not done in one holistic way, it's not working with local communities. It's having an élite group of people get together to try to determine which buildings warrant being preserved, and it's not the right direction to go.

There are out there already, particularly given the cuts and the downloading from the federal government to the provincial government and now the federal government to the municipalities, all that is going on, more and more charitable organizations trying to raise money for very good causes, in some cases life-and-death situations: shelters for battered women, hungry children, breakfast clubs, you name it; the arts. It's going on out there, and the charitable dollar is getting scarcer all the time.

Now, you tell me in the whole scheme of things, when there is such a demand for the charitable dollar this day, the demand that is getting greater and greater, yes, for health care too, there's no end to it now -- I talk to people who are out there trying to raise money for very important causes, and they tell me, and this is no secret to anybody, how hard it is to raise the funds, for two reasons: (1) they have been cut back so much, those who relied on some government funding, that they have to make up even more of that percentage; and (2) because there are so many more charitable institutions out there trying to raise money from the same pockets they're unable to get the amounts of money they need to exist.


I have great doubts about this. I could support this if at the same time this government were committing itself to heritage preservation across the province, instead of which it's gutting the Ontario Heritage Act, the Cemeteries Act, all those acts that support the community groups out there which are trying to preserve our heritage for all of Ontario. That's all being gutted; it's all going to disappear. I'm afraid that a nice little charitable legislative organization is not going to fill that gap. It's wrongheaded, the wrong direction to go, and I would ask that this government go back to the drawing-board and look at what's happening to those heritage groups out there.

The Deputy Speaker: Your time is expired. Further debate?

Mr Bob Wood (London South): On behalf of the Management Board, I'd like to commend the member for Kitchener-Wilmot for bringing forward this idea. It will add to the heritage of every Ontarian and every Canadian. The Management Board would like to suggest an alternate way of proceeding which could get the project started even faster: a special-purpose account under the Financial Administration Act. It would give all of the tax benefits that crown foundations have and would give the opportunity of proceeding even more quickly. This may be worth the consideration of all interested in this proposal. Whatever the method, however, this proposal is an excellent one, which will give our citizens a direct chance to participate in enhancing our provincial heritage. I hope all members of the House will support it.

Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): It is my pleasure to rise today to support the member for Kitchener-Wilmot, Mr Leadston. In his private member's Bill 123, Mr Leadston, a well-known and well-respected member of this Legislature, has put forward a reminder to each one of us of the importance of history and its symbols.

Imagine the beautiful Pink Palace we're privileged to work in. It opened over 100 years ago. History and tradition are important to all people. All the people of Ontario cherish history and our symbols and we embrace history itself. After all, if we fail to learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.

I personally feel a certain pride and privilege in having an office and a place to work in this historic building. I fondly remember my first day sitting in this very Legislature. I imagined the history and the pride in the people of Drew, Frost, Robarts and Davis. Perhaps I'm sitting in one of the very seats they may have occupied.

In my community in the riding of Durham East, Clarington, while serving as a local councillor I was privileged to serve on the LACAC, the local architectural conservation advisory committee, with members like Tom Barrie, Phyllis Dewell, Janie Dodd, Lynn Lovekin, Bill Patterson, Dianna Granfield and many other volunteer board members. They were the custodians of the history in architecture in their community.

Newcastle town hall was built by the Massey family and served as a very important historic monument.

We have a duty and obligation to maintain this provincial palace of democracy.

March 6 also marks a very important day in history for each one of us. First, for me personally, my page, Melissa Semplonius from Knox Christian School in Bowmanville, is serving her last day in this term. Second, Alex McFedries, the senior Clerk of the Legislature, is serving his last day of duty prior to his retirement.

It is a privilege to return to the original intent of Mr Leadston's bill, a bill entitled the Legislative Assembly of Ontario Foundation Act. He's challenging each Ontario citizen to share in the pride and the heritage of this very building. By contributing to or serving in this foundation, they're able to feel a rightful sense of belonging, a sense of purpose and a sense of inclusion.

I conclude by saying that the member has brought forward a very important moment of history and crystallized it in his bill. I am certain that every member of this Legislature will look to the sentiment and support it and leave politics out of this debate.

Mr Frank Miclash (Kenora): I rise to actually share some agreement and some disagreement with the private member's bill, Bill 123. In some aspects, you can see that we're surrounded by history, this being our provincial capital, the home of our Legislature, and you can see that there is some great need to ensure the preservation of this very historic building.

As some of the speakers have alluded to, this is a place where we bring not only our citizens from across the province but citizens from around the world. We bring them into our provincial capital here and into the Legislature and we show our visiting dignitaries that we run a fairly good government for the people of Ontario, it being a democratic government; not always a government that will go out and agree with the people of Ontario or a government that is doing the right things, but it is a democracy, and a place like this shows that we are in a home which values that democracy and a place where the work of the province is done.

Again, I agree with the principle behind the private member's bill, but when I take a look at the development of yet another foundation in the province, when I take a look on such a day as today when the city of Toronto is looking at losing a good number of its hospitals, and I think of my own hospital back in Kenora, the one on which I served on the board, and about the establishment of that foundation and when people are asked -- and we know, it's like the Premier has said many times, there's only one taxpayer out there, but we also know there are only so many foundation dollars out there as well.

When I take a look at what the foundation for my local health care does and take a look at what foundations here in the city of Toronto will have to do as this government closes down their hospitals, I think of the competition for those particular dollars. When a person is faced with giving the dollar to the foundation which is going to provide very much needed health care in the provincial capital or across the province or giving that money to a foundation that's going to preserve history, I think it's going to be very difficult for them to decide. Again, there being only so many dollars out there, I think we have to take a very close look at that.

That brings me to my next point. We take a look at the system here in Ontario and take a look at what the present government is doing in terms of the Americanization of our system; this is yet another facet of that. I go back to that very, very stringent competition for those dollars that are out there.

As well, when we talk about foundations, especially foundations that will provide money to such a government structure, I worry that when people give to such a foundation they may be expecting something back. We have today a government that leans towards big business, leans towards corporations, leans towards those who seem to be at the upper end of the echelon when it comes to dollars here in the province. It really concerns me that the foundation may be an avenue for people to contribute, thinking that they will actually benefit from some aspect of this government.

When I take a look at the actual bill, Bill 123, as introduced, I take a look at the definitions involved in the act here and it talks about the use of money, section 5: "The foundation shall use money and other property that it receives in accordance with this act for the purpose of carrying out its objects." Again, I understand that we are certainly in need of such dollars, dollars that will contribute, but again it comes at the competition with other foundations. I go back to the hospital foundations where this money is needed as well.

With that, I would just like to say that there are certainly some opposing views in terms of the establishment of this foundation, yet some needs that are considered as being the need of today.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I think this particular matter before us is worthy of support, and it's for a few reasons that I think so.

First of all, when we look at spending priorities now, I know that the highest priorities when I talk to people would not include changes to this building, yet it is still an important historic building. I don't think that if you were weighing it against -- for instance, if you said, "Shall we spend $44 million on this building or shall we restore $44 million in hospital funding to the hospitals in the Niagara region?" people would say: "Spend it on the hospitals in the Niagara region. Restore that funding and add $25 million more, rather than spending it on this building."

That doesn't mean this building doesn't need some work. Structural changes from time to time have to be made for health and safety reasons. In addition to this, this is an important building to the people of this province, so by establishing the foundation, it allows people who are specifically interested in this building and its restoration and its upkeep to make that contribution.

However, as the member for Kenora pointed out as I was listening carefully to him, we have a lot of competition out there for the volunteer dollar. Because the government is withdrawing from so many areas, because the government, for instance, in our area is cutting funding to Bethlehem Place and to a number of other important endeavours, the private sector, as the member would know, and the volunteer sector are now being called upon to do more and more, so there's an increasing competition for those dollars out there. Indeed, those who want to save the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the Niagara Escarpment may well, in addition to this, have to put money into that kind of foundation, because the Minister of Environment no longer has jurisdiction over the Niagara Escarpment Commission. He's been removed from that. He's had his legs cut off at the knees, so there may be a need for a foundation in that regard.

The member has observed, however, some of the changes that are taking place to the building. He knows that this is indeed a tourist attraction. The building itself as well as what goes on inside the building is an attraction for tourist visiting, so if there were such a foundation, for instance, there may be many people who would contribute to that.

I'm wondering what's going to happen to the money in hospital foundations. In the Hotel Dieu in St Catharines, where people have made thousands upon thousands and perhaps in the millions of dollars of donations to that specific hospital for those specific services, one wonders what will happen with that money if they close the Hotel Dieu Hospital in St Catharines, which of course this government should not do.

I believed Premier Mike Harris when he said during the election debate -- you will recall this, Mr Speaker, yourself -- "Certainly, Robert, I can guarantee you I have no plans to close hospitals." On that basis I'm taking the Premier at his word and I think the money should then be safe in the foundation for the Hotel Dieu Hospital.

I think these kinds of foundations have benefit. I'm worried that there's not going to be as much of that money around, because with so many volunteer organizations now having had the financial rug pulled out from underneath them by Mike Harris and the provincial Conservative/Reform party and government, that money is not going to be available to restore this building.

So I want to tell my friend, with the resolution he has, I will be supporting this resolution, and if I feel so inclined some day, I might even make a contribution to the foundation that will be established as a result of this initiative.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Further debate?

Mr Leadston: In summation, I would like to say very simply that the purpose of the bill is very clear. This is not a political bill. If you've taken the opportunity to read it very carefully, it's a very simplified document, similar in wording to other bills with respect to foundations for other purposes. There would be clear representation from all three parties.

I'd also like to say thank you for the very strong support from my colleagues Mr Allan McLean, the member for Simcoe East; Mr John O'Toole, the member for Durham East; and also the comments from the members opposite. I do appreciate their support, even though there was wavering into areas unrelated to the purpose of the foundation.

I believe this bill is essential for the future and the integrity of these stately buildings. I can appreciate the comments by the honourable member for London South, Mr Wood. However, I strongly feel that this foundation, this bill, needs the backing of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Unlike other class 3 agencies, this foundation will raise funds privately. It will not be spending public funds.

I would like again to thank all the individuals in the House who spoke this morning, who have written me letters, who have spoken to me privately in support of this bill to create the foundation. We will maintain the integrity of this building. As I indicated in my opening remarks, it will not be a commercialization utilizing -- various members had mentioned companies that would be using it to display their products. That is not the intent, nor is it the purpose of this bill. The integrity of this Legislative Assembly and these historic buildings will be honoured and will be maintained. I thank all members of the House for your support.

The Acting Speaker: Under standing order 96(f), "When the time allotted for the consideration of private members' public business has expired or 12 noon, whichever is later, the Speaker shall put the question to the House." Is there unanimous consent to proceed with the vote at this time? It is agreed.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): We will deal first with ballot item number 69, second reading of Bill 74, An Act to amend the Audit Act, in the name of Mr Grandmaître. Is there anyone opposed to taking a vote on this at this time? No?

Is it the wish of the House that the motion carry? It is carried.

Shall the bill be referred to committee of the whole?

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): Mr Speaker, I had wished for my bill to go to the finance committee, but just to please the government members who will be supporting my bill, I recommend that my bill go to public accounts.

The Acting Speaker: The member has moved that this be referred to the standing committee on public accounts. Is it the wish of the House? It is agreed.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): We will now deal with ballot item number 70 standing in the name of Mr Leadston. Is there anyone opposed to taking a vote at this time?

Mr Leadston has moved second reading of Bill 123, An Act to establish the Legislative Assembly of Ontario Foundation. Is it the wish of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour say "aye."

All those opposed say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it. I declare the motion carried.

Shall the bill be referred to the committee of the whole House? It is agreed.

The business of this House being complete, it stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock this afternoon.

The House recessed from 1151 to 1333.



Ms Annamarie Castrilli (Downsview): I rise in the House today to recognize International Women's Day. We have the opportunity today to reflect on the impressive accomplishment of women in our society. Not long ago, women did not dream of taking a full part in all facets of our community. Now we see them in all the trades and professions, in medicine, law, teaching and, yes, even politics.

I'm proud that the honourable member for Fort William, the former leader of the Liberal Party, has been a trailblazer for women in politics, a trend that we hope will continue.

Despite being more than half the population, women have not had the full support of this government, however, a government that is supposed to represent them as well.

I will remind you that $3.5 million was cut from the women's issues portfolio and another $1.4 million will be cut in 1997. Twenty women's centres will be closed next year. The Premier has refused to take responsibility for his welfare cuts creating more hungry kids, blaming the mothers -- a classic case of blaming the victim. The Minister of Community and Social Services had the audacity to claim that the debt was the greatest enemy of abused women.

Today is a day to reflect on our accomplishments with pride, but also to remember that there is still a great deal to go and that the road to full integration for women is a journey which is far from complete.


Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): This government's downloading policies mean nothing short of drastic changes in the way small communities in my riding operate. Marathon, Terrace Bay, Manitouwadge all face huge tax increases because of this government's downloading.

The community of Schreiber, with a population of approximately 1,900 residents, located on the north shore of Lake Superior, faces a potential increase at the property tax level of some 84%. The reason is simple: It has been decreed by this government, without consultation, that Schreiber will now pick up library costs, along with costs associated with health, supplementary costs associated with transportation, seniors, and drug programs for those who are less fortunate. The people of Schreiber will pay, pay and pay again.

What they're asking is: What about consultation? What about a fair tradeoff as opposed to downloading? Forty people are above the age of 80 in the community of Schreiber and you're taking every last penny, every last dime out of their purse, out of their wallet. You should carry the guilt. Shame on you.


Mrs Helen Johns (Huron): March is national Nutrition Month, and the theme of this year's campaign is "All Foods Can Fit." The goal of this campaign is to raise awareness that all foods can be part of a healthy diet. They wish to dispel the myth that some foods are good for you and some foods are bad for you. Through information materials, media coverage and local activities across Ontario, Ontarians will be made more aware that healthy eating includes all foods, and this is the key to a healthy lifestyle.

In the May budget, this government allocated $5 million to children's nutrition. This investment reaffirms the government commitment to nutrition, especially with children. In June, the Premier announced the partnership between the Ontario government, the Canadian Living Foundation and the Grocery Industry Foundation that will be working together in the development of an elementary school children's nutrition program.

This partnership is committed to assisting 400 breakfast programs across Ontario. These programs are estimated to feed 70,000 children. These programs ensure our children eat well and eat healthy food. They also assist children to learn about good nutrition and to lead healthy, productive lives.

The Ministry of Health, through the health promotion branch, is proud to be a partner in this year's Nutrition Month. The health promotion branch promotes nutritional health as well as being there for all Ontarians to help them with nutrition.


Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I want to talk about what I regard as the height of arrogance. The people of Ontario will be aware that earlier this week in Metropolitan Toronto there was an overwhelming rejection of the government's mega-bill, the bill to amalgamate the cities within Metropolitan Toronto -- overwhelming.

What do we find today? Hula Hoop Harris has decided to ram through this bill. Today in committee, the public should be aware, this bill is being rammed through without one single amendment -- rammed through. Hula Hoop Harris has said, "We are going to force this bill through on exactly the same timetable as the government always intended." This bill is going to be rammed through on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd of April. Hula Hoop Harris has decided to ram it through.

Furthermore, the government has said, "We will propose some amendments." This is the height of arrogance. We have not seen the amendments. They will be introduced and there will be one hour of debate on the amendments. If any municipality tried to put this over on their public, they would be hauled into court. This is arrogance: ramming the bill through, allowing one hour for any debate on the amendments, ramming it through on exactly the same timetable as before. Hula Hoop Harris cannot get away with this. The public will rise up.



Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): Our Premier has taken responsibility for the Niagara Escarpment, a world-famous heritage site, away from the Minister of Environment and tossed it into the lap of the Ministry of Natural Resources, a ministry with a terrible record on the Niagara Escarpment. Talk about having the fox guard the henhouse.

I remind the Premier that the entire reason the then Tory government brought in the Niagara Escarpment plan in the first place was to deal with the public outcry about gravel pits pockmarking the escarpment. It was arrived at after much consultation and compromise. Finally, there was to be some balance between those pushing for resource extraction and the need to protect the escarpment. Gone. Gone because this government seems constitutionally incapable of taking a moderate, thoughtful approach to anything.

The escarpment is the last remaining ribbon of green space across southwestern Ontario. Well, we can't have that, can we? The new minister crows that this is an internal administrative decision. What hogwash.

The Premier knew he had a problem having Norm Sterling presiding over the escarpment's demise because, for those who don't know, he was largely responsible for bringing the escarpment plan in, back in the days when the Conservatives actually did some conserving. Now that Norm's out of the way, the Premier and his gravel pit buddies are just drooling at the prospect of divvying it up and digging it up. Fire up the backhoes. Let's dig it up and cart it away.


Mr Derwyn Shea (High Park-Swansea): On March 21 we will be marking the 37th anniversary of the tragic Sharpeville massacre in South Africa, an event that was condemned by peace-loving nations around the entire world.

Three decades ago, the United Nations declared March 21 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. But despite the progress we have made, the shadow of racism and racial discrimination remains. That's why the principles and goals of equal rights and equal opportunity that March 21 stands for are so very important.

As an Ontarian and as an MPP and as the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation in Ontario, I am proud of our government's commitment to build a society that protects human rights, eliminates discrimination and promotes equal opportunity for all its residents.

Discrimination is against the law in Ontario, and this government is committed to helping victims of discrimination. I am proud to report that this year, for the first time in a decade, the Ontario Human Rights Commission expects to close as many cases as it opens. The average length of a caseload has decreased from 22 months in 1992 to 18 months, and further improvements will provide more timely and better-quality service.

On March 21 I encourage my colleagues and their communities to participate in activities commemorating those whose lives were sacrificed in the struggle for racial equality.


Mr Gilles E. Morin (Carleton East): I was scheduled to ask the minister responsible for francophone affairs a question today concerning his disturbing statements regarding the Montfort Hospital. But he is not here to answer for the comments he has made, so I will pose the question to all of you. The answer is of interest to all francophones in Ontario and everyone who is interested in the protection of minority rights across this country.

On Tuesday night Mr Villeneuve, the minister responsible for francophone affairs, told a reporter that there was no reason for him to protest against the closing of the Montfort Hospital because it is not in his riding. Then he added that Minister Runciman spoke against the closing of the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital because that hospital was in his riding.

Mr Villeneuve's comments are not to be believed. His comments beg the question: What is the role of the minister responsible for francophone affairs? Is it not to speak for the needs and interests of the francophones of Ontario, the historical minority of this province?

It needs to be understood. The closing of the Montfort is not just about the closing of a hospital, but the beginning of the end of francophone rights in Ontario. Mr Villeneuve's comments are a clear message that we are moving towards complete assimilation of francophones and that we will not hear a word from him about it.

Sauvons Montfort. Sauvons Montfort.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I was pleased to be joined this morning in my riding of Hamilton Centre by Howard Hampton, my leader, who was there to launch the leaflet that is going across our riding that members of the government had raised and assisted in publicizing because they didn't like it. The reason they don't like it is the fact that it speaks to the damage their downloading is doing to communities like mine in Hamilton and communities across the province.

This leaflet is one of 130,000 we're putting into businesses and households across the community of Hamilton and part of the 1.5 million we're putting out across Ontario. It's very modest, given the fact that this government has access to millions and millions of dollars of advertising that it's using to send out its message that everything is okay.

Well, Mayor Morrow was there today to say it's not okay, and Councillor Dave Wilson and Wayne Marston, president of the labour council, and Gwen Lee, representing seniors, and Andrea Horwath, co-chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth Coalition for Social Justice, were there to say that this is not in the best interests of Hamilton. Dr Marilyn James was in attendance, the regional medical officer of health, to express her concerns about the downloading of public health.

You're going to put $121 million more on the backs of the property taxpayers and rent payers in Hamilton, and that's unacceptable.


Mr Toby Barrett (Norfolk): I wish to inform the House that I have met with community hospital boards in and around my riding of Norfolk. A common theme emerged in these discussions of rural health and hospital services, that of accessibility to care.

Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital, Norfolk General Hospital, West Haldimand General Hospital in Hagersville and Dunnville War Memorial Hospital have stressed the importance of getting people to the hospital from their homes.

Accessibility, one of the three criteria of the Health Services Restructuring Commission, is key to any analysis of the geographic inequities that exist in providing any service to the far-flung communities in my riding or any rural or northern area. For example, issues of distance and weather must be considered by district health councils and the Health Services Restructuring Commission as they make recommendations to improve and modernize health care in rural areas. An urban model does not necessarily apply to rural health care institutions, especially when people need rapid access to emergency services and when people, especially seniors, want to convalesce near family and friends.

A rural policy, as stated by the Minister of Health last week, is the type of initiative that people in rural areas of this province did not see from previous governments. It's very gratifying that this minister recognizes these special circumstances.



The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): I know the members are for the most part aware, but I want to formally announce to them today that Alex McFedries, Senior Clerk Assistant and Clerk of Journals, is retiring April 1, 1997, and today is his last day in the House.


Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): I think it might be in order for Alex to give a speech, but I do believe we have unanimous consent that we recognize Alex's contribution.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Do we have consent to speak on the retiring of the clerk? Agreed.

Hon David Johnson: After applause like that, I think it would be most appropriate if Alex, as they do in baseball, stood up and tipped his hat. Certainly you can see, Alex, the sincere and heartfelt view of your contribution and the way people feel about you in this House today.

It was a few years ago that Alex was born in Ayr, Scotland, and came to Ontario in 1957, and at that time, I believe, worked in the Supreme Court of Ontario until about 1961, and started work in this government in 1965, which, Alex, I point out is about five years before the member for Nepean was born, so that was a few years ago.

That is some 31 or 32 years of service here in this House. Through that period of time Alex has outlasted nine Speakers and he's working on his tenth Speaker, but I think Mr Stockwell might outlast you in this particular instance. Actually, Alex has outlasted governments of all political stripes during that period as well.

Of course, he's gone through many highlights during that period of time. I think the abolishing of the midnight sittings was one that's high on Alex's list. Apparently, there was one time during that period where there was actually a leadership candidate -- I guess we shouldn't say from which party -- who rushed on to the floor and grabbed the mace and declared himself to be a candidate for an upcoming leadership race. Those are the kinds of things that used to happen.

Alex has always been a person who believes in order and decorum and worked diligently for the people of Ontario in that regard. I think he's had a few battles with some of the members over "whereas" clauses, if I can recall, insisting that the proper protocol be followed on all the resolutions and insisting that all the "whereas" clauses be exactly precise.

Alex had the opportunity recently to give some of his experience to the Parliament in Johannesburg, South Africa, as they embark upon a new form of government.

Of course with his 31 years of service in Ontario -- 25 of which I might say, as I understand, and this is interesting, were as the Senior Clerk Assistant, which is a record for Canada, not only today, but dating all the way back to Confederation for all the provinces and for the federal government -- Alex is that sort of cool, calm, unassuming kind of guy, confident, never gets excited -- does he? -- but always knowledgeable and always most trustworthy.

You'll note that it's the clerks who sit in the middle, with the politicians on either side, the Speaker at one end, but the clerks are right in the middle of the activity, and Alex is there in the middle of the activity. Well, that's because they think they run the place -- and they probably do.

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): They do.

Hon David Johnson: The Premier says they do. In Alex's case, it's because of his knowledge, his experience, the trust that the members have in his ability to give good advice and to contribute to the smooth and efficient running of this Legislature. Alex is the kind of person who will give you advice, not only on whether your approach is in order but procedurally how to go about accomplishing what you want to accomplish. I've appreciated that in Alex. I consider Alex not only to be a person I respect to give good advice but, Alex, I consider you to be a friend as well.

On behalf of the government and on behalf of all the members of the House, I wish you the best, not only to yourself but to your wife, Carolyn, and daughter, Meaghan, who's at university. I know you'll be spending more time on the golf course. You may not know that at one point Alex had a six handicap --

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Six?

Hon David Johnson: Six. I think that's over all 18 holes, as I understand. It may have slipped a little bit in recent years, but Alex tells me it's going to get back to six. He's looking forward to that, to either get his professional card in golf or run the marathon. Isn't that what it is? One or the other. You may find the 18 holes a little bit easier than the 26 miles.

But whatever it is, Alex, all of us wish you the best. We've appreciated your advice and counsel and your presence in this House. We wish the best to you and your wife and daughter in your retirement. All the best.

Mr Gilles E. Morin (Carleton East): I'd be remiss if I didn't say a few words about my good friend Alex, as I can be the only one in the House who has spent close to 10 years where you are. I remember so vividly in 1985 when Bob Nixon sent me a little note. He said, "You've just been appointed Deputy Chairman of the committee of the whole House." I wrote him back and said, "What is that?" He came to my seat somewhere over there and he said, "Gilles, you'll sit in that big chair."

I didn't know if he was serious or not. Of course he was serious. I said, "Look, I don't know the procedures." He said, "Don't worry, you'll learn them quickly." So I took the chair and I recall I was so timid I thought all eyes were looking at me, but after a while I noticed they didn't pay attention to what I was doing. Alex came to me and said: "I know you're concerned. Don't worry, I'm going to help you. All that table in front of you are there to help you out." And help they did.

I recall not too long ago, Mr Speaker, you had to face a vote where there was a tie. I remember you telling me, "I feel alone." That's exactly what happened. I went through the experience twice. Alex came to me and gave me all the reasons why as to what ruling I should take. I said, "Alex, tell me the one I should use." Alex said, "Speaker, you're on your own," and that was it. It was good advice and I did render the right decision.

Working with him, I thought Alex was extremely discreet, was friendly but distant in a way, of course knew I was in politics. Also, another thing was that whenever I would talk about politics he would listen but never answer, never say anything. I soon found out that he was totally apolitical, a quality which is so necessary for the clerks.

To him the procedures were like a Bible; he stuck to it. He made me think of when I was in the army, that military law was something you simply did not derogate from; you had to abide by it strictly. Of course we had arguments, we tried to defend our point of view, as you went through yourself, Mr Speaker, but Alex was always there to give us at least the help we required to pass a judgement in the chair.

Alex, I want to wish you the best of luck. You're a young man. I know when I first met you you were a bit taller, but I presume that the weight of responsibilities has helped you not to lose your wisdom but perhaps your height. I want you to make sure that I will keep an excellent souvenir, a long souvenir from you. So best of luck, Alex.

Mr Bradley: I too would like to pay tribute, in my capacity as the House leader of the official opposition and as a person who has been in the Legislature almost 20 years, to Alex McFedries, who has provided timely and helpful advice to all of us, regardless of what side of the House we were located on, and has ensured on many occasions the smooth running of the Legislative Assembly.

He's a person who has been occupied greatly with decorum in this House and he has made a valiant effort to advise members on the advisability of having decorum in this House. He has helped us with very tricky and complicated matters related to procedures in the assembly and he has served with distinction the people of this province as well as the people of this assembly in so many ways.


One area where he has been particularly vociferous in recent years has been the area of resolutions. If I may be so bold as to do so, I have a little resolution to read to the House in a short while. One of the attributes someone at the table must have, and Alex certainly has this, is the ability to throw his voice. It is often alleged in parliamentary practice and in the milieu of Parliament, whether it's provincial or federal, that one person is Edgar Bergen and the other is Charlie McCarthy. Since I will characterize Alex McFedries as Edgar Bergen, Mr Speaker, you may draw any conclusion you wish after that.

I would like, on behalf of all members of the assembly, to read a resolution which I plan to introduce the next time I have an opportunity in private members' hour to do so, and it reads as follows:

"Whereas Alex McFedries has served the Legislative Assembly of Ontario with dedication and distinction at the table since March 8, 1971;

"Whereas Alex McFedries has served under nine Speakers of the Legislative Assembly with sincere commitment to his duties and responsibilities as the Clerk Assistant and the Clerk of Journals and since June 1993 as Senior Clerk Assistant;

"Whereas Alex McFedries has provided timely and helpful advice to members of the Legislative Assembly over the length of his career;

"Whereas Alex McFedries has represented Ontario in an excellent fashion as a member of the Canadian Association of Clerks-at-the-Table and as honorary member of the American Society of Legislative Clerks and Secretaries;

"Whereas Alex McFedries has ensured the production of House documents in an accurate and timely manner as the manager of the Journals branch; and

"Whereas Alex McFedries has worked untiringly, if not entirely successfully, to maintain appropriate decorum in the House;

"Be it resolved that Alex McFedries, after April 1, 1997, be permitted to be released to the custody of his wife, Carolyn, and his daughter, Meaghan; and

"Further, be it resolved that Alex McFedries be permitted to spend as much time as he desires on the golf courses and soccer pitches in Ontario."

I know that I will receive unanimous consent at the appropriate time in private members' hour, a special day to do this, and that you, Mr Speaker, will look favourably upon all the "whereases" contained in this resolution.

To Alex McFedries, we wish him the very best in his retirement. We thank him. We are very appreciative of the service he provides to us. I must say I think all members would agree to the wonderful sense of humour he brings at appropriate times to the House. Thank you, Alex, for your service to this House and to the people of Ontario, and very best wishes to you in your retirement.

Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): I shall certainly commit to supporting that resolution.

I just want to say a few words to Alex, before our whip stands up, on behalf of our whole caucus. Unlike my colleague the Deputy Speaker, I have not been around that long but I too remember what it felt like when my leader came to me and said, "You've just been appointed one of the Deputy Speakers," and I had the same reaction, "Oh God, not one of them" -- no offence to you, Speaker -- "What do I do?"

I have to tell you it is extremely frightening and intimidating when you first step into that chair with your little uniform on that people laugh a little bit about and tell you from time to time that you look like a cocktail waitress or this or that. It is a frightening experience, and I would like to say that Alex very quickly, along with Debbie and the others, took me aside and gave me some tips. I think the most important tip that Alex gave me -- and I still remember it, Alex; you said this to me I believe on my first or second day in the chair -- is that you have to know the rules. I have to tell you all that they gave me photographs of every one of you to take home, and some of them were very funny photographs that got rejected, I believe, for your official documents. Anyway I got to study you all at home, and thank you for doing that.

Alex advised me to use my common sense, sitting in the chair, and I thought that was very good advice in this case, to not be afraid to speak my mind and to react in a natural way to what's going on. I followed that advice. I should tell you as well that Alex -- how shall I put this delicately? -- always noticed when I came in, and if my collar was turned up or my little tabs askew or anything like that, he would discreetly look up and say, "Speaker, your collar," or he would discreetly reach up and fix it. I don't know if he offers the present Speaker that kind of service. He's nodding yes. That too is very much appreciated.

Interjection: A full-time job.

Ms Churley: It's a full-time job with our present Speaker. He never has to tell me to sit up straight, Speaker.

Alex, I want to say that it has been a real pleasure working with you. I've learned a lot from you. We have had our arguments, not very many, but from time to time. You may not know, but the Speakers and the clerks meet weekly to talk about how the week went and what went right and what went wrong. We didn't always agree, we had some disagreements, but always in a friendly fashion, and we remain friends. I want to thank Alex very much for his support and his help and say how very much and how sincerely I will miss him here. I think my whole caucus shares that sentiment. Thank you very much.

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): It is indeed my pleasure to join with my colleagues on all sides of the House in paying a well-earned tribute to Alex today on his last day here with us.

It is hard to imagine that someone could be 32 years with the government and some 25 years here in the Legislative Assembly. He has probably been here longer than the age of the member for Nepean -- a lot you have seen, a lot of experience, a lot of stories. I wish the rules of the House -- and I know you would be the first one to insist that we follow the rules of the House -- would actually allow you to stand and tell some stories, because I think all of us could learn from, be instructed by and quite enjoy some of the tales you would have to tell.

Many people already have said today that they have learned from you. I want the members of this assembly to know that I have learned everything I know about how to facilitate the smooth operation and the dignity and decorum of this place from Alex McFedries.

Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): The lunch-hour seminars.

Ms Lankin: I'm not sure what that response was.

Alex, let me say, however, it has not been easy to learn this from you. You have to learn how to put these little clues together. For example, when you go to Alex with a suggestion about the rules of the House and what the response of the Speaker might be if such-and-such took place, you have to look first of all at the set of his mouth. Then there's this glint in the eye. Then you take into consideration which questions he refuses to answer, and those questions that he does answer, the length of delay it takes before you get the response.

If it's a five-second delay, let me tell you, whatever idea you have or shenanigan you were going to pull, you don't have a hope in Beauchesne's of making it work. If it's a 10-second delay, you know Alex is trying to come up with how he can advise the Speaker to get around whatever it is you're trying to do. If it's a 15-second delay, you've got a gem of an idea, and just go with it quickly before he gets to do any more research on it.

Many people have talked about Alex and his singleminded -- I was going to say "obsession" -- dedication to decorum in the Legislature. In the time that I have been a member, there has been no individual who has worked harder to maintain the dignity and the decorum in this chamber than Alex McFedries. In his advice to the Chair, in his gentle but firm admonition to individual members of the assembly, he has worked tirelessly, and I think we all agree with this, to make sure this chamber functions the way it should without any outrageous theatrics or ceaseless heckling or circus-like antics that describe so many other parliaments in this country and are so unlike our own chamber. Your success is to be acknowledged.

Alex's single most significant contribution to dignity and decorum of this chamber is, until today, a well-guarded secret, and I am going to share this with you. When Alex sees a threat to the dignity of Parliament, he knows he must do whatever it takes to remove that unruly, disruptive member from active service. That's why he served as campaign manager for our current Speaker.


I want to close by wishing you a very, very happy retirement and hoping that your time with your wife and daughter, which is well deserved, will be enjoyed and that there will be many joyous times for you all.

The hard line you have taken with respect to demonstrations in this Legislature has made it very difficult for us to determine how best to mark your going. Many of us actually really wanted to know why you were leaving. Some people thought that it would be normal for you to see out the end of the term, and we've been told by some people that you thought, with this government, this term may never end, so you decided you had to pick a time.

But I actually have it on very good advice, that of our former Sergeant at Arms, Tom Stelling, who I note is here today in the public gallery, and I say hello to him -- you will remember that after Bill 26 and a certain event, Tom just decided that was it and he packed it in -- that Tom has advised you that with the mega-week, votes coming up on Bill 103 and Bill 104, you're best to get out now. So we figure that's the reason you're going at this point in time.

However, we want to just pay a final tribute to you to show our appreciation and our respect for all that you have done to maintain decorum in this House, to serve members of all parties, to serve governments of all political stripes.

Speaker, you may want to seek guidance from Alex about the appropriateness of our signs, but we just want to say thank you, Alex.


The Speaker: That's not a precedent, to the Minister of Environment, although it is somewhat unusual.

Mr Bert Johnson (Perth): Mr Speaker --

The Speaker: I'm sorry. The member for Perth.

Mr Bert Johnson: I'd like to take this opportunity, if I could, and I'll not belabour it, but I consider it a privilege to be able to get up and just say a few words, not only to Alex -- but especially to you, Alex -- but as well to your colleagues at the table. It's a privilege for me to be able to sit in that chair, and I want you to know that I appreciate the help that you give.

I admire a workman who goes about his job and does it well. It doesn't matter that it's a very difficult job or an easy job, you do it well, Alex, and I admire and have a great deal of respect for that.

I think that if I had something humorous to say -- and I don't -- but if I did, I would mention to you and to everybody in the House that it would be particularly appropriate if we were getting a gift for Alex that it would be a watch. That will go past a whole lot of people except maybe Alex.

I did want to thank Alex. It's been a great deal of pleasure to be able to enjoy you and to admire the way you go about your work. I'm sure it's quite parliamentary -- I'm going to do it whether it is or not -- but I am going to drink a toast to Alex.

Interjections: To Alex.

The Speaker: Well, Alex, they were all way out of order.

It's probably unusual for a Speaker to enter into this opportunity to speak about a clerk of the table, and I'm sure Alex would have probably advised me not to do it, but what's the point of listening to you now?

I got elected Speaker, and Alex came up to me and he said, "Okay, you're Speaker. You're Speaker." He stood there and he said that for about five minutes, and it finally sunk in that yes, I'm the Speaker. It was interesting, because he came to the office the next day and he started explaining the rules. I listened intently, and I said: "Okay, I know that rule; I tried to break that one. Yes, I know that rule; I tried to break that one."

So then I started asking him some questions. Naturally, as Speaker, I wanted to know where the parameters were, and I learned very quickly that Alex's comments are short, to the point, very direct and consist generally of two letters: N-O. Alex would sit there and I would say, "Well, can a Speaker go about his business and -- " "No." "Could a Speaker, say, speak at this -- " "No." "Could a Speaker wear his hat backwards?" "No."

Alex knew what the Speaker's job was and what his role was to fill, and that was good, because he'd been here 27 years at that table. When he got here, the Premier was Mr Davis and John Robarts sat where the Minister of Environment is sitting today. He was taking the chair for the first time and he walked in in the parade and on the seat was a phone book. That phone book was put there so he could see above the desk. Today, on his last day, you know the job's taken its toll because there are two phone books on his chair, and he still couldn't see above the desk.

Alex is an interesting guy. The Clerk's office obviously has worked very closely with Alex for a long, long time and they have great warmth for Alex and the way he went about doing his business. Alex considers himself to be somewhat of a poker aficionado. I have been told by the Clerk's department they've gathered together and, for the past number of years, every other Thursday you went in for the paycheques. They were letting you win, and you owe them $5,336.

His temper was interesting. I'll tell you, you don't know Alex until you go to a presiding officers' meeting and then you really don't know him until the other presiding officers have left, because then Alex tells you what he thinks, and he does so in a very direct fashion. You sit there and he tells you point blank and he goes through exactly what the rules and program are and how the rulings should go about. He would sit with me for a couple of hours on end sometimes going over important rulings, and then he'd look me in the eye and he'd say, "I don't know why I'm telling you this, because you're going to do whatever the heck you want anyway," pack up his books and head out.

But I learned to appreciate him, and why I learned to appreciate him is simply this: We come here as elected officials and we come here with the idea of providing parliamentary democracy for the people of the province of Ontario. I'm fairly certain most people would come here with the same background in history and knowledge of this place that I had, which was somewhat limited. So it's left to those at the table to provide us with the history and the passion that we care about for the people of this province to protect democracy.

Alex is one of those who has protected the democratic process in Ontario through a great number of Speakers and a great many parliaments and a great many members. He was someone you could go to when in opposition or in government and get a direct answer to a very direct question. He wasn't political by nature, but he was honourable by nature and he believed in what he was doing.

The people of the province rarely know this because they see us standing in our places speaking about the issues of the day, but they don't know about the people who sit at this table, not about the issues, but protecting the institution. That's the institution this man had dedicated his life to protecting. He's a fellow Etobicokian -- and I won't be able to say that very much longer, I guess, if that goes on, but with due respect to my friends, it's a pride we have in Etobicoke and a pride that we can point to people like Alex and the levels he's reached that makes us proud to say that he has represented not just the people there, but the people of this great province.

They say around the Speaker's chamber that Alex is truly apolitical, and he is. He doesn't like any of us. I went back quickly to the library and ripped off a few -- you know, for a guy who's been here as long as he has, you go get his press clippings and it's a sparse package, because clearly he's been doing his job. His job is to ensure this place works and operates, but he's never at the front.

But the best I had -- and this may typify Alex to some degree and his very, very, very short arms and his very deep pockets -- but he went on a tour with the Legislative Assembly to Denmark and Sweden.

Alex is never quoted in the paper; five stories in 20-odd years. They were talking about the expense of this trip and the concern it was that the taxpayers were picking up the bill. I was reading through this story and there wasn't much there, and then I got down to the bottom where it said "despite Mr McFedries, the committee clerk, who said yesterday he spent more than 30 bucks for an ordinary meal in Stockholm." I think, Alex, that said it all. His claim to fame was blowing 30 bucks on a piece of veal in Stockholm and he was outraged at the cost.

Alex, I've enjoyed my time with you. It wasn't long enough. I know the Speakers, and I can speak for them directly, I'm certain. Your wisdom has been unsurpassed, your humour has been very helpful, and at the times when this job is the most difficult it's great knowing that you're sitting over there, and regardless of what's going to take place, you'll let me stand up here and make a complete fool of myself.

Enjoy your retirement. We wish you all the best.



The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Sitting in the opposition's gallery is the leader of the federal New Democratic Party, Ms Alexa McDonough. Welcome.

Mr Toni Skarica (Wentworth North): On a point of privilege, Mr Speaker: A man named T. Harry Thompson once outlined a basic principle of aging as follows: "Age improves wine, compound interest, and nothing else I can think of." The reason I point out that principle is there's an exception I would like to add to that list, and that's the Speaker himself, who is now the youngest Speaker in the House and will be so when he turns 40 this Sunday.

The Speaker: Thanks a lot. That's not even close to a point of privilege, but thank you.



Mr Dalton McGuinty (Leader of the Opposition): My first question is for the Premier. My first question in fact is to the man who with the utmost sincerity and conviction stared into the television lens during the course of the leadership debate that was aired province-wide on TV and said, "Certainly, I can guarantee I have no plans to close hospitals." Today the Premier closed 11 hospitals in Metropolitan Toronto and 14 emergency departments.

There is much confusion out there, but I think it's important for us to keep our eyes on the ball. In particular, there are three things we know for sure: We are losing 11 hospitals and 14 emergency departments, we are losing thousands of doctors and nurses, but at the same time there are going to be no fewer patients.

Premier, I'm from Missouri so you're going to have to show me. How is it that with the loss of thousands of health care workers, patient care is not going to be compromised?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I assume the member is responding to the restructuring commission's announcement today, the proposal of a relocation of a number of hospitals into other locations and into other buildings.

I think, from Liberals to New Democrats, all have applauded the need for restructuring. You, yourself, former ministers, Liberal ministers, the leader of the New Democratic Party and former members of the New Democratic Party have indicated that after 10 years or so of reducing all these beds and closing wings, it ought to be time we get a lot more maximum and beneficial use out of the existing facilities.

I would say that the proposal is out there now for 30 days. We all have an opportunity to respond to it --

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

Mr McGuinty: Premier, I understand this legal fiction that somehow there's a commission out there over which you have no control, but the people of this province understand that when it comes to any locked door of any hospital in this province, it will be your fingerprints on that door, nobody else's.

Let's consider one of the victims of today's cuts, Women's College Hospital. That is an internationally recognized centre of excellence when it comes to high-risk pregnancies. It's a world leader in breast cancer research and treatment. That's where our mothers, our wives, our sisters and our daughters go for hope, and tragically that's where some of them have to go to die in dignity. Women's College is so distinctive that the World Health Organization has designated it as the only collaborating centre in the western hemisphere.

Premier, how can you possibly deny the people of this region this world-class resource?

Hon Mr Harris: I know the current member and many members of his party have suggested a rationalization of hospital services within Toronto. We now have a proposal by an independent commissioner to do some of that. I would suggest that if you have alternatives, if there were other hospitals you had in mind or your leader had in mind during the campaign, or if there's a hospital you suggest, I'd be happy to pass that on for you or you could directly pass your comments to the commissioner.

Mr McGuinty: You promised us, you assured us, you personally offered your guarantee that no hospitals would close on your watch. Hospitals are falling around us like flies.

What about the people who happen to be working there? You compare fired nurses to hula hoop workers. Let me tell you, hula hoop workers don't administer medication, they don't alleviate pain and they don't try to care for 13 people at a time by themselves; and by the way, Premier, health care is not a passing fad.

I want to come back to the first question again and allow you the opportunity to properly answer it. We know three things for sure today in Metropolitan Toronto: We're losing 11 hospitals and 14 emergency departments and we're going to lose thousands of health care workers, but we're going to have the exact same number of patients. Tell me again, Premier, how is it that patient care is not going to be compromised as a result of your hospital closures?

Hon Mr Harris: I think if you watched the announcement today, the opinion of most health care experts was that patient care in fact would be enhanced, provided something took place, they said. They said these restructurings and mergings of bricks and mortar could lead to better health care, provided any savings that accrued from that were reinvested back into the community, into modern health care, into modern services, into nurses working in the community, and other areas.

We intend to live up to that commitment. That's the commitment we made in the campaign. We said, "Whatever changes take place, whatever savings accrue in any part of the health care system will be reinvested in the health care system," and we will honour that commitment.

The Speaker: New question.

Mr Gerard Kennedy (York South): I address my question to the Minister of Health. I would encourage him to be more forthcoming than his boss, who refers to health care as a fad, who dismisses the concerns of workers no longer having jobs in those important professions, and who is responsible for this hospital closing commission that hit Toronto like a tornado today and then hopes to get out of town.

Minister, you made the cuts: 18% cuts to hospitals. You provided the staff. Your ministry staff are working on this commission. You provided the formulas they're using to take away beds, not empty beds but beds with patients in them. Will you stand in your place today and agree that section 6 of the Public Hospitals Act, which says the minister may make any direction related to a hospital that the minister considers to be in the public interest, applies to you, that you're the Minister of Health, that if there are things found to have gone wrong because of the decisions today you will act as the Minister of Health to change them?


Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): On a day when the health care system needs the understanding of all members, fearmongering is hardly what is needed when a commission of experts has recommended some fundamental changes to improve the health care system.

I remind the honourable member that it was his government and the NDP that closed the 10,000 beds. You heard very clearly today from the commission that a third of the physical capacity of our 44 hospitals in Toronto was not being used. Yes, there will be fewer buildings, but there will be more services, including women's health services. There will be more services for children, modern technology, the newest drug therapies, and thousands of jobs available as we reinvest every dollar saved back into the health care system.

At the end of the day, this is all about patient care. Day after day we hear problems in our health care system. The commission today has set out a preliminary plan to bring us down the road to improving the health care system, and all members should be working with our health care partners to do exactly that, because the patients of this province deserve nothing less.

Ms Annamarie Castrilli (Downsview): This government's programs have been a relentless attack on women, and today, of all days, on the eve of International Women's Day, we hear that Women's College Hospital will be closed, an institution that has been a paragon of excellence, a paragon of health care at its best.

Women everywhere fear that this hospital, which has as its central mission teaching, research, the health care of women, will find its mission diminished. They fear that the services the hospital now provides will be inaccessible to those women and the research that it does will not be available.

I want to ask the minister today, of all days, as a member of this Legislature, as a woman and as a mother of a child who frankly would not be here except for that extraordinary facility, will he not reconsider this misguided decision and ensure that Women's College Hospital and the excellent work that it does continues independently?

Hon Mr Wilson: On a preliminary review of the commission's recommendations in this area, I don't think $10 million more money to be spent on women's health is something that's detrimental to women's health. I think it's a positive first for Ontario. The commission is recommending a women's health council to be world leaders and $10 million to be world leaders in research.

Second, they recommend that Women's College Hospital move to Sunnybrook, which has brand-new buildings, beautiful facilities. They're recommending all of the programs, the people and the experts move up to the north end, that there be more money for women's health and that we make a better effort in this province to make sure that the focus of every hospital in the province is women's health; not just the focus of one hospital downtown but now, for the first time, a new focus on women's health in every hospital in this province.

The Speaker: Supplementary.

Mr Monte Kwinter (Wilson Heights): Mr Minister, your Health Services Restructuring Commission has recommended the closing of North York Branson Hospital. This is a cruel betrayal for the people this hospital serves and it is absolutely contrary to what the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council hospital restructuring committee recommended.

The staff, the board, the administration, in good faith went out and planned to restructure as an ambulatory care centre. Now we have a situation where seniors are going to be put in jeopardy, seniors are going to have their health care access restricted. They're going to miss the timely service that they got. What is your response to those people who are going to have their lives threatened by the fact that you are closing down a facility in an area that has a high degree of seniors and an area that is not going to be adequately served?

Hon Mr Wilson: I appreciate the concerns raised by the honourable member. The commission has made it clear, though, that there will not be one iota of less service, that there will be more services, that the 344,000 inpatient visits that are occurring now across Metropolitan Toronto will continue. They've planned to the year 2003, and they're directing government to plan also in a comprehensive way for the aging population, for the growth in the population. In particular, seniors and women and children are the focus of their report.

If what the honourable member expresses is true about the concerns, that there may be a gap in service, I would ask him to make that submission to the commission within this 30 days, because they want to know if they've got something wrong and they want to get it right. Their hearts and their minds are leading us towards a better health care system and we all have to work towards that together.

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

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): My question is to the Premier. The Premier seems to think that hula hoops have something to do with health care. He doesn't understand that hula hoops were a passing fad, whereas health care is a right in Canada and it's essential for a civilized society. The Premier also says that his health care cuts are about reducing waste and duplication.

Today your health care cuts are taking $430 million a year out of health care in Toronto, with no guarantee of reinvestment, and you're chopping 6,000 needed nurses and health care workers. Premier, can you tell people what laying off 6,000 nurses and health care workers has to do with duplication and waste and what it has to do with your fascination with hula hoops?

Hon Mr Harris: If the hula hoop analogy offends any, of course I apologize. The analogy was the sentiment that times are changing. Perhaps I'd have been better to use the analogy that the head of North York General used talking about railways, that times have changed and transportation needs have changed and restructuring must go on.

I would assume that when the leader of the New Democratic Party supported as late as yesterday restructuring, closing some hospitals, that he was responding to this simple fact: One third of the capacity of Metro's hospital system is currently unused. Surely it would make sense to achieve whatever savings we can from that so we can reinvest even more money into home care, nurses, health care and new, modern medicine. That is the goal of the restructuring commission.

Mr Hampton: That you would compare essential health care workers to hula hoops shows to everyone that you just don't get it. You don't understand it. I'll tell you what makes people angry. You've taken $800 million across the board from hospital budgets: $430 million a year out of Toronto; Ottawa, $126 million a year; London, $70 million a year; Sudbury, $47 million a year; Thunder Bay, $30 million a year; Lambton, $21 million a year; Pembroke, $20 million a year. Over $1.1 billion a year is what you've cut out of health care and we have not seen any significant reinvestment. That's what annoys people. They see the cuts; they don't see any reinvestment.

Premier, I ask you again, when are we going to see the reinvestment? I see needed dedicated nurses and health care workers going out the door, being laid off. When are we going to see the reinvestment that puts them back to work offering the health care services we need?

Hon Mr Harris: I appreciate the question because I know his party and this particular member have been generally very supportive that restructuring should take place and we should take advantage of the dollars saved from those unused beds for reinvestments. To date, we have reinvested hundreds and hundreds of millions more than any savings we have achieved, as evidenced by the current budget: long-term-care reinvestment, 4,400 new jobs, most of them nurses, $170 million; cardiac surgery, $15 million; restored out-of-country coverage that you slashed, $30 million; introduced $70 professional fee; $13 million in rural emergency. We've actually made these reinvestments, even though the savings that were announced today will not come, in many cases, for one, two, three, four, perhaps five years. In fact the health care budget will go up during this period because we're committed to reinvest first so we can achieve those savings that you were talking about.


Mr Hampton: I'm hearing the Premier trying to pass off investments in long-term care that were scheduled three years ago and somehow reinvested.

What people are seeing in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Ottawa, Toronto, London and Lambton is over $1.1 billion being taken out of health care, and they have not seen any significant reinvestment whatsoever. People are also seeing the quality of their health care cut because you say we can't afford it. Meanwhile your government is giving some of the wealthiest people in this province a huge tax gift. Bank executives who have incomes of over $3 million a year are getting a $200,000 gift from your government. You've cut health care, you've cut health care workers; you give your wealthy friends a tax gift.

I ask you again, Premier, when are we going to see significant reinvestment in the health care --

The Speaker: Thank you. Premier.

Hon Mr Harris: I think there have been about $1 billion of reinvestment announcements so far. The restructuring commission is calling for more, and we respect that. I don't know whether they've called for enough or not, but I think at the bare minimum the announcements they've called for to date we've responded to in kind.

I think we've received great marks. I recall watching a health care program by CBC across the country, and Thunder Bay was pointed out as a model of how you take savings from unused beds and reinvest them back into the community. So I am assuming that this member and this party, which has supported restructuring, which said over and over again that it's a shame to have a third of the beds shut down and the hospitals unused and not take that money and reinvest it in community care, in new medicine, in new techniques, in new drugs and in nurses -- it's exactly what we are doing and continue to plan to do.

The Speaker: New question.

Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): I think I'll go to the Minister of Health, and I hope that we can get more than rhetoric. There was a point in the last question which the Premier didn't pick up on, and that's the crucial point of this whole exercise. It is flawed from the beginning. We all know now that the commission has recommended $430 million out, closing around 2,000 beds in Metro, a minimum of 6,000 jobs gone, and yet all that is based on an incomplete plan. The commission admits there is no rehabilitation services plan as yet, there is no long-term-care plan as yet and there is no labour adjustment plan as yet.

Minister, what is your logic of allowing this commission to go ahead and order the elimination of four chronic care hospital facilities and 161 chronic care beds without any kind of idea how the long-term-care needs of this population are going to be met?

Hon Mr Wilson: Let's go to the beginning. Let's go to Ruth Grier's, the NDP health minister's, letter of November 24, 1993 --


The Speaker: Order. Hamilton Mountain.

Hon Mr Wilson: As part of the $26.6 million that the previous two governments spent on studies, the Honourable Ruth Grier, as the NDP Minister of Health in 1993, began this study when she ordered the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council to "determine locally a reconfigured hospital system for Metro Toronto to determine the appropriate number and location of teaching and community hospitals," and in the terms of reference, "including the closure of hospitals, will be considered where appropriate." Those are the marching orders the previous government gave to the district health council that produced its report in 1995 and has culminated in the commission's report today, because the commission's report builds very closely on what the DHC recommended.

With respect to chronic care, there seems to be some confusion. It's good news for chronic care, the report --


Hon Mr Wilson: Yes, it does --

The Speaker: Member for Scarborough East, I don't believe that's your seat. It would be helpful if you were in it if you're going to heckle, and even if you're in it, you still can't heckle.

Supplementary, member for London Centre.

Mrs Boyd: Your points are absolutely moot. You did not listen to what I said. We are saying this plan is incompetent because it doesn't take a lot of things into account. It's your planning, your management, that we are concerned about. I'm reading from pages 87 and 88 of the commission's report. The commission says:

"The HSRC considers the broad spectrum of long-term care to include chronic care hospitals, nursing homes, homes for the aged and transitional care beds," and they go on to say, "The Ministry of Health has not yet introduced planning ratios to determine optimal levels of institutional long-term-care services, including chronic care, for the demographic mix in any community."

Mr Sinclair said this morning it would be April before they even put out a report suggesting that and there will be no decision made until consultation is done on that report, and yet he has ordered the closing of these beds and these facilities. Minister, what we're saying to you is that it's up to you to stop this bad management of this transition and restructuring of hospitals. What are you going to do about it?

Hon Mr Wilson: That's a real misinterpretation of what's written in the report. There will be no closures until all the plans are in place that the commission has ordered. There are no closures in chronic care. Runnymede is to be converted to a long-term-care facility -- a new hospital, folks. Salvation Army Toronto Grace Hospital is to be converted to a long-term-care facility.

Yesterday in this House, the NDP, which didn't add one nursing home bed in the entire time they were in government -- the same with the Liberals -- were calling for new long-term-care beds. This report puts hundreds of new beds into Metropolitan Toronto in facilities that need to be redeveloped because they're old and run down and they need to be modern and have the newest technology, and that's the road we're on today.

Mrs Boyd: Minister, I suggest you read page 116 of your own report. It says: Dewson Hospital, close as chronic hospital. It says: Runnymede Chronic Care Hospital, close as chronic care hospital. It says: Salvation Army Grace Hospital, close. That's nonsense.

Minister, you want to hide behind the commission, but no one is fooled. You designed Bill 26. You gave the commission its mandate. You gave it its powers. Minister, you are the one who has made no commitment to the future of long-term care as yet. You are the one who is saying you may not go ahead with the CCACs, you may not go ahead with the downloading of long-term care. In other words, no one over there knows what you're doing about long-term care, including you.

The manager of the replacement services in Metro says at least $85 million is needed for reinvestment in long-term care, and yet the commission is saying only $25 million as part of its report. Minister, what are you going to do about this?


The Speaker: Member for Scarborough East, that's out of order. I ask you to withdraw that.

Mr Steve Gilchrist (Scarborough East): I withdraw it, Speaker.

Hon Mr Wilson: The paragraph the honourable member refuses to read out to the public here says:

"The commission recognizes that both Runnymede Chronic Care Hospital and the Salvation Army Toronto Grace Hospital have a long and valued tradition of providing long-term-care services. The commission is advising the Minister of Health to entertain proposals from these two organizations for the provision of more long-term-care services in new facilities."

To date, we have lived up to every reinvestment in previous commission studies that has been requested by the commission of the government. We will live up to these reinvestments. I think new chronic care facilities for the first time in many years of this province is an excellent way to serve the patients in this province, and I look forward to working with the commission once we're finished this 30-day period and making sure those new facilities are up and running.


The Speaker: New question.

Mr McGuinty: My question is for the Minister of Health. I want to ask you about a hospital in my riding that you have decided to close, and what this question does is bring into question the criteria you are using in closing hospitals.

The Riverside Hospital is the seventh most efficient in the province; in fact it ranks in the top 3%. It's also accredited by the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation for the quality of its services. Only 23 Canadian hospitals have received that award. That's 23 out of 1,800. That puts it in the top 1%, so it's top 3% provincially for efficiency, top 1% nationally for quality. The Riverside Hospital has got everything we ought to be looking for in a hospital: high-quality care for very low cost. Minister, tell me, why are you rewarding that by killing it?

Hon Mr Wilson: With respect to the Ottawa restructuring report from the commission, we're reviewing that report now; we're in the 30-day period. If the honourable member can make a good case why that particular hospital should remain and if it is as efficient as he says, I'm sure the commission will listen to that. The commission is recommending fewer buildings in Ottawa, but more services. I have quotes here from the Ottawa Citizen, from the Sun there, from Dr Wilbert Keon and from many of the leading experts in health care in the Ottawa-Carleton area, saying that the commission's report, on the surface anyway at this point, looks very good and bodes very well for future patient services in that area.

Mr McGuinty: I'm going to acquaint the minister a bit more with the qualities of this hospital. This past year over 30 Ontario hospitals sent delegations to the Riverside Hospital in my riding to find out how it is they do what they do so very well and for so little cost. Riverside has never run a deficit, and in fact, despite your cuts, it still has a balanced budget plan for 1996-97.

It's a 270-bed hospital, which makes it the optimum size for a hospital in Ontario. I can tell you that the doctors and nurses working there are excited by the fact that they've gone so far with so little. They brought a tremendous creative, entrepreneurial spirit to the job. Minister, given all this, can you assure me and can you assure the people at the Riverside Hospital that you will not allow it to be closed?

Hon Mr Wilson: Given that the report as it stands right now calls for the beds at Riverside, the expertise, the staff at Riverside to move over to the Ottawa General Hospital and the Ottawa Civic Hospital, where they have room for those services because they've got capacity there, I think on the surface it appears to make sense. But if the honourable member has another case to make, that is why we have this 30-day period. The commission must hear whatever facts and evidence you have, and in the end it will make a decision that's in the best interests of serving the patients, not the buildings, in the Ottawa-Carleton area.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): My question is to the Premier. Premier, this morning, as I'm sure you know, the standing committee on general government was dealing with clause-by-clause reading of Bill 103. I have to tell you, being a member of that committee, it was indeed just a sorry sight. The committee had no amendments before it from the government. We understand that you have chosen to take some time to reflect on the events that have happened, including the result in the referendum, and I for one think that might actually turn out to be a positive thing.

But what I want to raise with you today is this: If that is the case, if you are contemplating, and in fact your own minister has said you will make some amendments to particular sections of the bill, if you won't agree to withdraw the whole bill entirely, then why do your members persist in voting through and voting on the bill as it presently stands?

I'll give you just one reference. Section 12 is the section that says, "The decisions of the board of trustees are final" and not to be "reviewed or questioned by a court." Why would you have your members continue to approve those provisions and many other draconian provisions in this bill instead of withdrawing the bill while you ponder what to do next?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I thank you very much for the compliment on respecting the wishes of the people, to take our time, make sure we get it right, make sure we have amendments that will respect those who voted in the process they had leading up to Monday and those who came before the committee in hearings.

We are faced with a process of putting forward an amendment without reflection and taking into account all those things we've heard and taking the time to reflect, or to wait and do that. The committee members and the government and the caucus have opted to take our time. I would not assume the bill, as it's going forward, is not amendable in any case. If you have suggestions to make sure that any section to do with the trustees is there 100% --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you very much. Supplementary. Member for Dovercourt.

Mr Silipo: Premier, no, let me be clear. This bill is not amendable. This bill can't be fixed by amendments. You should have the courage to withdraw it. That's the only way in which you can respect what the people of Metropolitan Toronto have said to you in the referendum on Monday.

What I'm getting at is this: You refuse to withdraw the bill, you say you're going to make some amendments, yet you continue to insult the citizens of Metropolitan Toronto by having your members in committee continue to act as if nothing happened and continue to vote in favour of section after section of the bill.

Premier, there's still time for you to show some good faith. If you are really reflecting, this afternoon when we go back and continue the clause-by-clause, will you instruct your government caucus members not to report the bill back in its present format? It will still be by order of the House back here, but it will show some good faith that you are at least beginning to hear what people said to you in the referendum. Will you at least do that, Premier?

Hon Mr Harris: I don't instruct committee members on this side of the House. I don't know whether you instruct your committee members. There is a process --


The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Harris: I think it might be beneficial to spend the time today hearing thoughts from all parties on amendments that should or could be made. Your position seems to be, it's not amendable, but you're upset that there aren't amendments. I don't quite understand how that rationalizes, but I never understood how your government rationalized when you were governing and the $11.2-billion deficit in any event.

If in fact the member has a proposal for the committee that is legal, that meets the intent and suggests that we report it as is and not deal with amendments this afternoon, I personally wouldn't be opposed to that.

Interjection: It should not be reported.

Hon Mr Harris: Well, I think to not move the bill forward and allow us the opportunity to amend it is not very responsible, because it is our opinion that it may very well be amendable and satisfy certainly not you but the vast majority of Torontonians. We will proceed that way. You know there will be substantial amendments, and if you would like input into that --

The Speaker: New question.


Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): My question is to the minister responsible for seniors. It concerns community care access centres, the government's one-stop shopping for seniors and people with disabilities to access home care services.

Last week the Premier asked you to help deliver and administer this government's long-term-care vision. I know in my own community that the Peel CCAC board has worked extremely hard to develop a system that will deliver the best services for seniors at the lowest cost. Can you, as minister, confirm that long-term care will be more accessible and less bureaucratic for our Ontario seniors?

Hon Cameron Jackson (Minister without Portfolio [Seniors Issues]): I want to thank the member for the question. I want to assure all members of this House that since assuming this additional responsibility, I've had an opportunity to talk to many of the volunteer chairs and the CEOs of the 43 community care access centres across Ontario to reassure them that this government is very committed, and will deliver on its commitment, to provide long-term-care health support services to seniors and the disabled in this province.

I'm pleased to report that seven CCACs are already fully operational in this province. They are today purchasing services for seniors such as home care, nursing visits and Meals on Wheels. This province is today spending $1.1 billion a year on home care, which is $3 million a day that this government is committing to seniors and those less fortunate.

The fact is that after a decade of waiting for the opposition parties to deliver on this program to seniors, false rhetoric and 10 years --

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Supplementary.


Mrs Marland: I'm aware that my own community care access centre's board in Peel submitted a business plan to you last week and that their plan does identify real savings that will be reinvested in front-line services for seniors, for example, savings on lease costs and savings on fewer administrators.

I would like to ask you -- and it was interesting, because the health critic for the third party just asked you this question across the floor -- will the CCACs be up and running by April 1?

Hon Mr Jackson: I'm pleased to report that in the case of Peel, I have talked with the chairman, Barry Stranks. I reviewed his business plan last Friday night and I will be meeting with his board on Monday in order to proceed. They will make their April 1st day on which they will become a fully operational CCAC.

They have identified savings for taxpayers as they change from the vision of the opposition parties, which we stopped, their 100 multiservice agencies vision, which would have grown from the 74 agencies that are currently in existence. This government is delivering one-stop access for seniors by reducing administration and increasing services for seniors.

I have in my hand a document that says A New Agenda One-Stop Access for Ontario Seniors. This document was tabled by the government when the leader of the official opposition's father was a member of this Legislature. That's how long the people of --

The Speaker: Thank you. New question.


Mr Peter North (Elgin): My question is for the Premier. You would be aware that the St Thomas Psychiatric Hospital is closing. Hundreds of jobs will be lost. Municipal restructuring will be and is taking place in Elgin county. Again there may be as many as 100 jobs lost. With regard to education reform, we'll be amalgamating with London and a couple of other boards. It is a good opportunity for hundreds of jobs to be lost. The health care sector is restructuring. In that particular sector we're looking at a great many nurses who have lost their jobs already and we're looking at many more jobs that could be lost.

Premier, you've committed to 725,000 jobs in this province in this term. Can you tell me what percentage of those jobs is dedicated to rural Ontario and which sectors they'll be in?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): I appreciate that some of the downsizing and rationalization in some areas are affecting every member's community. Certainly the member's riding of St Thomas has not been immune to that, nor has mine, nor have others.

We did commit to two things: In order to balance the books, in order to spend smarter, we committed that we would downsize in the public sector, learn how to spend smarter and get more for less. We believe this was also the most essential component, along with labour legislation changes and tax reductions, to growing the private sector and creating that climate for the private sector. It is our hope and intention, although we don't direct the private sector, that we will see substantially more growth in the private sector than reductions in the public, including reductions in municipal and federal public sectors.

To date, that has been the case. We have some net 90,000 or 100,000 more. As you know, in your riding a substantial announcement has been made in auto parts --

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

Mr North: It's interesting that you should suggest that those opportunities will exist in the private sector. The concern we have is that in a community such as ours, in rural Ontario, when you lose so many professionals, whether those professionals are teachers, whether they're professionals in the hospital sector, whether they're doctors or whoever they may be, that has an impact on the private sector in our community.

Professionals are a valuable asset within our community, and when they leave, they take their spending power, their dollars and their investment in the community with them. That does not encourage the private sector to invest in counties like Elgin when we see the complete withdrawal of services by this government and the relocation of services to larger urban centres. Again, what I want to know specifically is, if there are going to be 725,000 new jobs, what percentage is for rural Ontario and what sectors will those jobs be in?

Hon Mr Harris: As I indicated, we can't direct the private sector but it is our belief that there will be a fair balance overall between rural and urban. Certainly with the restructuring of Toronto, we hope that they will be more competitive than they've been over the last 10 years and substantial will be here.

With regard to the member's riding, I think Magna has already announced hundreds of new jobs going into that area, so that would be in the auto. You're very well positioned in the auto parts sector, in the agrifood business, in a number of those areas. But the member is quite right: There is restructuring and there is change taking place last year, this year, next year and every year for the foreseeable future. We believe the changes we're making in cutting taxes, in labour legislation changes, in balancing our books, in dealing with WCB will lead to an even greater surplus of private sector jobs coming to Ontario, rural and urban, but I can't give you a precise number. I know your riding is doing quite well so far.


Mr Gerard Kennedy (York South): I want to direct my question again to our Minister of Health and I'd like him to live up to that title by taking responsibility, after his silence earlier of whether he would, for the hospital closing commission that was here today and his earlier remarks trying to claim that there are empty beds being closed. Minister, your cuts to hospitals are what have closed beds. It's your cuts that have closed those beds and now you say, "Now they're empty, we want to shut the hospitals." That's you, Minister.

Here's what you're doing: You've cut $250 million. Already you signed those warrants to these hospitals in Metro Toronto. Now what you're bringing us is McHealth. You're going to kick people out of beds faster to clear out the room. That's what you're doing. It's drive-through health care. People are going to leave quicker and sicker because of it.

We want you to stand in your place and explain: Why is the Health Services Restructuring Commission only saving 5% from building closures and 95% from nurses and doctors and important health staff that aren't going to have work because of you?

Hon Jim Wilson (Minister of Health): The honourable member knows full well that the Minister of Health or no politician makes the clinical decisions at hospitals. Doctors decide when patients will be discharged. I think our hospitals deserve a real pat on the back. The commission today went to great lengths, I think, to really commend the doctors and the nurses who are doing a tremendous job. Nobody gets better care on the face of this earth than in the province of Ontario, regardless of almost any clinical area that you look at. We deliver world-class care.

What the commission has said today is that it has found $430 million in duplication, in empty space, in overhead, in administration, $430 million, all of which will be reinvested back into health care. Mr Speaker, $430 million buys you 10.3 million nursing visits a year and thousands of new jobs for nurses. If we can get that money out of those empty beds and into the patients' houses and into new hospital facilities that will be built --

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

Mr Kennedy: Minister, as you have all day, you disappoint. You disappoint because we want you to be the Minister of Health. We want someone on that side to be the Minister of Health. You are extracting what you call in your language "clinical efficiencies." You're responsible for how those hurt people. So far you've cut negligently, wilfully, from hospitals. We've heard stories here for weeks about people hurting because there's not enough nurses. Now you're cutting more. You're cutting tens of millions of dollars more and people will be worse off because of it. It's a wrenching experience to lose the hospital in your community. That's what happened to the people who live around Branson, the people who live around Women's College. It's happening elsewhere in this province, and it's happening because of you, Minister.

You need to take responsibility for your Premier's changed promise, that he's now closing hospitals. You're the one doing it. Will you stand in your place today and tell us that you'll stop the Americanization of the health system, that you'll stop bringing McHealth to Ontario?


Hon Mr Wilson: Mr Speaker, for a health critic, it's shocking how little he knows about health care. His party closed 8,000 beds and left all those partially empty buildings standing to the point where we have fewer and fewer services available for people. We've got to get fewer buildings and more services. The equation is fairly simple and everybody else in the province but some members opposite seems to understand that we need more services.

There was a case raised yesterday in this House of six children not receiving chemotherapy at Sick Kids. Dr Goldbloom, in charge of those operations at Sick Kids, said it has nothing to do with the government savings. That area is a protected area in our health care system. It was simply that two highly trained nurses called in sick yesterday and weren't available to handle the patients. So I'd ask the honourable members to do their research a little better. The commission is working along with others to have a better health care system with more services, and that's the direction we've got to go in.


Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): The question is to the Minister of Education. Tomorrow the League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada will release its 15th annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents. As you know, this audit has shown a continuous increase over the last three years in hate and violent crimes across Canada, including an increase in hate group recruitment at high schools across Ontario.

I know your ministry has been actively involved and concerned about this in the past and in fact has asked B'nai Brith to help draft a guidebook for school principals and teachers to instruct them on how to handle these kinds of incidents that occur in their schools on a regular basis. This guidebook, as far as I have heard and know, has been available for a couple of months already. The question to you is, why are you holding it up?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I thank the member opposite for the question. Obviously the ministry has been concerned about this for some time, as am I and my colleagues and I'm sure everyone in this chamber today.

We are taking some steps. We have taken some in the past that I'm sure you'd be familiar with. We have released anti-hate material to schools. Boards have worked on this subject as well. We are now getting ready with another guidebook, another set of what we hope will be useful resources to combat this phenomenon. Of course, this phenomenon has been with us for some time, as I'm sure everyone understands. We are I think becoming more sophisticated in how to identify that and how to make sure our students are educated in an environment that does not include hate. So we'll be looking forward to releasing that guidebook.

Mr Marchese: Minister, I know that you have been doing some things, we have been doing some things, and that we created in 1994 a violence-free school policy. In addition, there has been the values, influences and peers program. We know that. That's not what I was asking you. I know you're concerned about this.

We have been, I should point out, going through the Internet in the last couple of days to view some of the things that connect very much to the particular issue I'm raising, and I'm going to ask for a page to come and get this material to show you because we are very concerned about what's contained here. I don't want to read some of the stuff that's here, Minister, because I find it offensive, and offensive enough not to be read out loud. I can tell you what we find here are the usual ringleaders like M. Zundel and M. Droege, including Mr Frum, who appear in print there, some of them with their pictures, with some of the things they have to say. We're very concerned.

What we want you to do, Minister, is to release this report you've got. You may not know about it. Please release it. The students and the principals need it now.

Hon Mr Snobelen: The member opposite refers to the VIP program. It's a program that we've done much to encourage. I know it had its origin in your government, and I salute you for that origin. We are preparing a guidebook to take on some of those issues and we are making sure that the distribution of that guidebook will be appropriate and that it is checked through with all of the stakeholders who are involved, that we've talked to the people whom we've consulted with in putting it together to make sure they approve it before it goes out.

I think that's a useful way of going about things. It's something our government is well known for, consulting with people, particularly with interest groups, before we take action, and we'll continue to do that as we have in other areas of the government.


Mr Tom Froese (St Catharines-Brock): My question is to the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism. Without a doubt, tourism is extremely important to the economy of this province as a whole and particularly in my riding of St Catharines-Brock. Many investors, businessmen and workers in my riding rely on tourism for their livelihood. The Niagara area is host to the annual grape and wine festival, which is attended by people from all over the world, the Shaw Festival and the Henley rowing regatta, just to name a few events.

Minister, with the Ontario tourism industry getting ready for the new summer season, can you tell the House what results were achieved last year, especially in attracting US and overseas visitors to Ontario?

Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): I'm very happy to respond to the member for St Catharines-Brock. The tourism results for 1996 are indeed excellent and very good news for all Ontarians. The US visitors, as an example, were over 26.3 million to Ontario, which is up 3.8% over 1995, and overseas visitors climbed to 2.8 million, which is up 8.8% over the previous year. Tourists spend more than $11 billion in Ontario annually and close to 370,000 jobs exist in the provincial tourism industry, and that produces $1.7 billion in Ontario tax revenue, so it's a very good story.

Mr Froese: Minister, as you mentioned, tourism income is vital for all Ontario, including the Niagara region. What is your ministry doing to maintain and possibly improve these encouraging numbers of tourists choosing Ontario as their vacation destination?

Hon Mr Saunderson: My ministry is working very closely with the tourism industry both at home and abroad to encourage more growth in tourism, which would produce more jobs and more investment in the industry. The key overseas markets for our ministry are the United Kingdom, which rose 2% over last year; France, up 17.5%; Germany, up 3.4%; and Japan, up 7.8%. These are very good increases year over year.

My special tourism task force will be reporting to me very shortly on how Ontario can do even better in the tourism industry, and our government will continue -- and I want to say continue -- to deliver the proper business climate which I think is essential so that the tourism industry will continue to thrive.


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): I have a question for the Premier. It's bad enough that your hospital closing commission announced the closing of 10 hospitals in Metro Toronto and closing down 14 emergency units in these hospitals, but what's most insulting and discouraging is that you compared the workers in these hospitals to obsolete factory workers who made hula hoops. What do you say to the families of these 6,000 nurses who are being laid off, what do you say to the families of the 6,000 hospital workers who are going to lose their jobs when you've insulted them by telling them they're obsolete and on top of that you've taken their work away from them? What do you say to them, Premier?

Hon Michael D. Harris (Premier): Let me be very clear: You may be telling them I said that, but I would certainly never indicate that they are obsolete. What I indicated is what most professionals in the hospital system have indicated, including, I might add, the head of North York: that the current hospital structure is obsolete.

I would tell them it is my belief that should restructuring proceed, there will be many more jobs. I don't know if there will be more than may be lost through restructuring, I don't know if there will be less, but I think they will be of a more highly technical nature, perhaps even of a higher-paid nature, particularly for nurses, who we will be asking to take on more and more responsibilities.

I would tell them that I think restructuring will lead to many more jobs in the communities, as long-term care does. I know it's not easy for any worker in any field in any capacity to find that restructuring has caused them to move to another town or to another location or another job, as many have found themselves in that position.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): Thank you very much, Premier. Supplementary?

Mr Colle: Let me read back to you what you said yesterday. When they asked you about the closing of the hospitals, you said, "...just as hula hoops went out and those workers had to have a factory and a company that would manufacture something else that's in."

Will you not admit that this is going to affect real people and their children, their ability to pay their mortgage, basically their ability to make ends meet? What do you tell, for instance, the 700 people who are going to lose their jobs in my Northwestern Hospital in the city of York? What do you tell them to tell their kids when they go home for supper tonight, when you compare them to hula hoop workers? What do you say to them?

Hon Mr Harris: I say to them, with the greatest respect, the same as I said to the 12,000 you campaigned to lay off in the public service, the same as I say to the 10,000 the NDP laid off at Hydro. I say it is difficult; downsizing, restructuring, changing times are difficult.

I say the same thing to them as the employees who have faced this change within the civil service: that we'll be fair, we'll be reasonable, we will assist in any way we can. But we cannot stop technology from moving ahead, be it in mining, in auto manufacturing, in construction or in health care. Those are the facts we are faced with. We will do everything we can to assist transition from, for example, a job in a hospital to a high-paying health care nursing job in the community. We will assist to do that. It is not easy and they have our sympathies, but we'll do our very best.

The Speaker: New question.

Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): I have a question for the Premier. Women in the Metro area are very concerned today about the recommended closing of Women's College Hospital. This is not just the loss of a hospital; this is the loss of an institution with a board and a staff focused exclusively on women's health. Without it, there would not have been the advances in research in women's health education and care that we have today across the province.

Premier, you realized that hospital restructuring has to be more than just a numbers game -- which this whole exercise seems to be about -- when you decided to intervene in rural hospital closures. Why don't you show Toronto and women's health the same consideration you showed rural hospitals and intervene and say this hospital is absolutely important to keep open for the sake of women's health across this province?

Hon Mr Harris: I know the Minister of Health has outlined that the restructuring proposal is for all the programs at Women's College Hospital to carry on and staff to carry on, in fact an enhancement of some $10 million, I think, for brand-new programs to carry on.

What the restructuring commission did recommend is that they carry on in more efficient surroundings. I don't know if you are opposed to maintaining every program that's now available at Women's College Hospital, including staff, and enhancing them by $10 million. If you are opposed to that, I suggest you let your views be known to the restructuring commission.

We on our side will suggest we're in favour of enhancing the programs and the services provided by Women's College Hospital, including maintaining the name and the programs and the staff and enhancing them. That's the recommendation and we'll be interested in your views.


Deferred vote on the motion for second reading of Bill 106, An Act respecting the financing of local government / Projet de loi 106, Loi concernant le financement des administrations locales.

The Speaker (Hon Chris Stockwell): We have agreement to move to a vote on second reading of Bill 106. It will be a five-minute bell; call in the members please.

The division bells rang from 1524 to 1529.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Order. All those in favour, please rise one at a time.


Baird, John R.

Hodgson, Chris

Rollins, E.J. Douglas

Bassett, Isabel

Hudak, Tim

Sampson, Rob

Boushy, Dave

Jackson, Cameron

Saunderson, William

Brown, Jim

Johns, Helen

Shea, Derwyn

Carr, Gary

Johnson, David

Sheehan, Frank

Chudleigh, Ted

Johnson, Ron

Skarica, Toni

Doyle, Ed

Kells, Morley

Smith, Bruce

Ecker, Janet

Marland, Margaret

Snobelen, John

Elliott, Brenda

Martiniuk, Gerry

Spina, Joseph

Ford, Douglas B.

Maves, Bart

Sterling, Norman W.

Fox, Gary

McLean, Allan K.

Stewart, R. Gary

Froese, Tom

Munro, Julia

Tascona, Joseph N.

Galt, Doug

Mushinski, Marilyn

Turnbull, David

Gilchrist, Steve

Newman, Dan

Vankoughnet, Bill

Hardeman, Ernie

O'Toole, John

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Harnick, Charles

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Wilson, Jim

Harris, Michael D.

Parker, John L.

Witmer, Elizabeth

Hastings, John

Pettit, Trevor

Young, Terence H.

The Acting Speaker: Those opposed, please stand one at a time.


Bartolucci, Rick

Colle, Mike

North, Peter

Boyd, Marion

Cordiano, Joseph

Phillips, Gerry

Bradley, James J.

Gerretsen, John

Pouliot, Gilles

Caplan, Elinor

Kennedy, Gerard

Pupatello, Sandra

Castrilli, Annamarie

Kormos, Peter

Ruprecht, Tony

Christopherson, David

Kwinter, Monte

Sergio, Mario

Churley, Marilyn

Lankin, Frances

Silipo, Tony

Cleary, John C.

Marchese, Rosario


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 54; the nays are 23.

The Acting Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Shall the bill be referred for third reading?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): Mr Speaker, this will be referred to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs for public hearings and deputations.

The Acting Speaker: Agreed? Agreed.



Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): This petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and there are about 1,500 signatures on it.

"Whereas the private member's bill introduced by Rick Bartolucci, MPP for the riding of Sudbury, limits the number of pupils that may be enrolled in any class in any school in Ontario; and

"Whereas this limit depends on the grade level of the class; and

"Whereas studies have concluded that there are clear benefits from smaller class sizes; and

"Whereas there is greater student involvement and interaction in smaller class sizes; and

"Whereas there is improved student performance; and

"Whereas there is the opportunity for greater individualization; and

"Whereas smaller class sizes allow for more varied and constructive education for students;

"Therefore, we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to support this private member's bill as it enhances classroom education."

I affix my signature to it as I agree with it. Now we are over 5,000 signatures.


Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): I am presenting these petitions on behalf of the member for Algoma, our education critic, who is in Thunder Bay meeting with parents and education activists. This is a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the government of Ontario has introduced Bill 104, the Fewer School Boards Act, into the Legislative Assembly of Ontario; and

"Whereas Bill 104 seriously undermines the job security of caring professional support staff of the educational systems of Durham region;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to stop the process of outsourcing or the privatization of essential support staff, namely, custodians, maintenance, office, clerical, technical, secretarial and educational assistant staff. They are an essential service to the Durham Board of Education and the Durham Regional Roman Catholic Separate School Board and to the students of our region."

These are hundreds of over 13,000 petitions that I will be submitting, and I am affixing my signature as I am in agreement with them.


Mr Tim Hudak (Niagara South): I'm proud to present a petition on behalf of the people of Port Colborne concerning the Port Colborne General Hospital. After a lengthy preamble, the petition reads:

"That the Port Colborne General Hospital is a major economic engine in the city;

"That Port Colborne has an aging population which will need increased health care service;

"That a community without an active hospital is economically more difficult to promote;

"That the model that is proposed does not take into account the lack of a public transportation system in the Niagara region, which unfairly impacts on the good people of Port Colborne;

"That it can be identified that the citizens of the city of Port Colborne and the community of Port Colborne are receiving the greatest negative impact in the region from the recommendations contained in the district health council report."

On behalf of the people of Port Colborne, I affix my signature to this petition.


Mr Jean-Marc Lalonde (Prescott and Russell) : J'ai ici une pétition qui me provient de la bibliothèque de Vankleek Hill :

«Aux membres de l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario :

«Étant donné que nous croyons fermement que la responsabilité provinciale dans les bibliothèques publiques en Ontario est un droit fondamental de tous les Ontariens et toutes les Ontariennes ;

«Nous, les soussignés, demandons aux membres de l'Assemblée législative de l'Ontario de sauvegarder la responsabilité provinciale dans les bibliothèques publiques en s'assurant de maintenir ce qui suit :

«(1) Les subventions provinciales qui permettent d'assurer à tous les Ontariens et à toutes les Ontariennes un accès équitable aux documents et aux services de bibliothèque publique ;

«(2) La coordination des programmes de partage des ressources tels que le système de prêt entre bibliothèques et l'accès au réseau Internet ;

«(3) Une politique permettant d'assurer l'existence du réseau des bibliothèques publiques de l'Ontario ;

«(4) L'aide directe de la part du gouvernement provincial au niveau du service, par exemple par l'entremise du Service des bibliothèques de l'Ontario-Sud et du Service des bibliothèques de l'Ontario du Nord ;

«(5) Une loi maintenant l'autonomie des conseils d'administration des bibliothèques publiques.»

J'y ajoute ma signature.


Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): I have yet again more petitions from adult students who are very concerned about their adult learning classes being closed down. It reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario:

"Whereas we, the undersigned residents and adult students of Ontario, are concerned with the recent and future funding cuts to education in the province of Ontario;

"Whereas the matter of Bill 34 is likely to come before the Legislature in the near future;

"Whereas we, the undersigned residents and adult students of Ontario, in an act of protest against educational funding cuts in the province of Ontario and Bill 34, will not be attending classes on Friday, October 25, 1996;

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

"Ensure full funding for quality education programs, maintain a broad range of courses and programs for all students and invest in Ontario's economy by maintaining day school programs for adult students."

Although this petition sounds like it's dated, students are still continuing to sign petitions since this bill was introduced.


Mr Ron Johnson (Brantford): I have a petition from a number of concerned people in my riding. It reads:

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Firefighters need speed, experience and teamwork to save lives. I oppose any legislation that could undermine the work of my local firefighters and jeopardize fire safety in my community. Please listen to professional firefighters and amend Bill 84 to eliminate the threat to fire safety."

I gladly affix my signature.


Mr Tony Ruprecht (Parkdale): I have hundreds of petitions that are signed by Parkdale students because they're very much concerned about Bill 104. The petition reads:

"To the Parliament of Ontario:

"Whereas Bill 104, the Fewer School Boards Act, provides for the creation of a school system that many parents and students feel will be detrimental to newcomers to Canada entering and using the school system; and

"Whereas Bill 104 provides for the privatization of many school board functions, from day care to caretaking, after-school sports programs and others, detracting from the quality of programs; and

"Whereas the newly proposed system by all evidence will have money removed from it, thereby removing teachers from the classroom and increasing class sizes, which will undoubtedly cause education to suffer;

"Therefore, we, the parents and students of Parkdale Collegiate in Toronto, demand that the Parliament of Ontario listen to our concerns and act upon them by overturning what we consider a poorly thought out piece of legislation. Withdraw the Fewer School Boards Act now."

I am signing my signature to this document.



Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): I have a petition that reads as follows:

"As taxpayers, employees and constituents, we feel strongly that we need to address some issues concerning Bill 104. It is our concern that the outsourcing and privatization of custodial, education assistants, secretary, clerk or technical staff will be detrimental to the entire educational process for reasons too numerous to mention. All of these staff members provide service to our schools and community.

"For many students, the school community is one consistent and stable force in their lives. Support staff tend to many matters involving their education, health and safety and wellbeing, both inside and outside the classroom on a daily basis. Education and learning are not relegated to the hours spent in the classroom during the day. What message are you sending our young people if this government continues to promote the idea that support staff are not part of the education system?

"Therefore, in the interests of the future of the students of Ontario and continued support of our schools and communities, we ask you not to support the privatization issue contained in Bill 104."

This is part of over 13,000 education petitions that I am submitting today, and I affix my signature, as I am in agreement with this.


Mr Tom Froese (St Catharines-Brock): I have a petition here to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Firefighters need speed, experience and teamwork to save lives. I oppose any legislation that could undermine the work of my local firefighters and jeopardize fire safety in my community. Please listen to professional firefighters and amend Bill 84 to eliminate the threat to fire safety."

It's signed by a number of people in my riding and also Thorold, and I think the member for St Catharines will sign it.


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

"Stop Hula Hoop Harris; Save our hospitals;

"Whereas the final report of the hospital restructuring commission has recommended that Branson Hospital be closed down;

"Whereas the closure of Branson Hospital will seriously jeopardize medical care and the quality of health for many seniors;

"Whereas Hula Hoop Harris doesn't seem to understand that unlike hula hoops, quality health care will never go out of style;

"We petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to reject the report of the hospital restructuring commission and stop cutting health in Ontario."

I've affixed my signature.


Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): I'm now submitting the remainder of these petitions, and these are similarly or very close to similarly worded. There are over 10,000 here as part of the close to 14,000 I'm submitting today.

"Petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the government of Ontario has introduced Bill 104, the Fewer School Boards Act, into the Legislative Assembly of Ontario; and

"Whereas Bill 104 seriously undermines the job security of caring professional support staff of the educational systems of Durham region;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to stop the process of outsourcing or the privatization of essential support staff, namely, custodians, maintenance, office, clerical, technical, secretarial and educational assistant staff. They are an essential service to the Durham Board of Education and the Durham Regional Roman Catholic Separate School Board and to the students of our region."

I am in agreement with the near 14,000 citizens of Durham who have signed this, and I'll affix my signature.


Mr Ernie Hardeman (Oxford): I have a petition signed by a great number of residents in my riding. It's to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the government of Ontario is proposing to restructure completely the provincial-municipal relationship without having consulted the people of Ontario; and

"This restructuring proposes to download to municipalities the cost of transportation and such critical social services as welfare and long-term care for the elderly and the chronically ill; and

"Removes school boards' ability to tax, eliminating any effective local control over schools and school programs; and

"The government's actions fail to guarantee existing levels of funding and fail to recognize the unequal ability of local communities to bear the cost of these new burdens, thus producing inequitable access to essential services; and

"Whereas the government's lack of meaningful public consultation and disregard for public response pose a serious threat to democracy;

"We, the undersigned residents of Ontario, because we care about the quality of life in our province and the wellbeing of our children, neighbours and communities, register a vote of non-confidence in the government of the province of Ontario."

I present this petition on their behalf. I do not sign it as I do not agree with it.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): I have a petition as well that is addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas acknowledging that institutions and taxation in Ontario should be open to review and improvement at all times; and

"Whereas acknowledging the fact that transfer payments from the federal government have been drastically cut and have resulted in an acute need for the overhaul and streamlining of the Ontario government's expenditures; and

"Whereas acknowledging that the education taxes will be removed from local municipal property taxes;

"We, the undersigned residents of Kingston, Ontario, and members of the Iyr Ha-Melech Reform Jewish congregation, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to abandon their proposed policy of downloading 50% of funding for social assistance, long-term care of seniors, the disabled, public health, social housing, transit and ambulance services on to our municipal government. Our mayor estimates that the city of Kingston will lose $28.6 million from property taxes, which translates into an average increase in residential taxes of $546 per household and a 42% increase in commercial property tax. Further, the competition for funding at the local level will create unbearable tension within the Kingston community."

This has been signed by some 50 citizens of the city of Kingston, and I attach my signature.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas the site of the south wing of St Peter's chronic care hospital in Hamilton is in a dangerous and deplorable condition and cannot meet the building and safety codes of our province; and

"Whereas the NDP government approved and announced the $12.5-million funding necessary to replace the existing 80 chronic care beds in the south wing; and

"Whereas the Harris government supported the decision of the NDP government and subsequently approved and paid their half of the cost of excavating the hospital grounds; and

"Whereas on January 28, 1997, the Harris government ordered that all construction at the site be brought to an immediate halt, leaving a 20-foot deep hole the size of a football field with more than three feet of snow, ice and water at the bottom; and

"Whereas St Peter's Hospital is in the middle of a residential neighbourhood surrounded by three elementary schools and this excavated site exposes neighbourhood children to unnecessary danger and denies seniors the right to a safe and dignified quality of life;

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

"That the Legislative Assembly of Ontario demand the Harris government immediately reinstate the funding for St Peter's chronic care hospital in Hamilton and allow construction to continue."

I proudly add my name.


Mrs Brenda Elliott (Guelph): I present to the Legislature the following petition from several constituents in my riding.

"Firefighters need speed, experience and teamwork to save lives. I oppose any legislation that could undermine the work of my local firefighters and jeopardize fire safety in my community. Please listen to professional firefighters and amend Bill 84 to eliminate the threat to fire safety."

I submit it on their behalf.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): The time for petitions has expired.

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Mr Speaker, I saw one of the Conservative members stand up with a petition and I would like unanimous consent to have one more round of petitions, if all three parties want to agree.


The Acting Speaker: We do not have unanimous consent.


Hon Norman W. Sterling (Minister of Environment and Energy): Pursuant to standing order 55, I wish to indicate the business of the House for the week of April 1, 1997.

On Tuesday, April 1, this will be an opposition day -- the House will meet -- in the name of the member for Rainy River, Mr Hampton.

On Wednesday, April 2, the House will resolve itself into committee of the whole House for consideration of Bill 103 and Bill 104.

On Thursday, April 3, the House will complete third reading of Bill 103.

On Friday, we don't normally meet but we will be meeting on Friday, April 4. The House will complete third reading of Bill 104, and with the goodwill of all the House I know we will probably have time to call Bill 57 as well.




Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 98, An Act to promote job creation and increased municipal accountability while providing for the recovery of development costs related to new growth / Projet de loi 98, Loi visant à promouvoir la création d'emplois et à accroître la responsabilité des municipalités tout en prévoyant le recouvrement des coûts d'aménagement liés à la croissance.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): The Chair recognizes the member for Fort York.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): Thank you, Mr Speaker. It's a pleasure for me to continue on Bill 98.

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): Still?

Mr Marchese: I have some time. I have a whole lot of time, and I'm glad, because there's so much to say. There's a lot to say on these matters. What I want to do is to give a little recap for the benefit of my friend from Mississauga South.


Mr Marchese: You heard it all. But for the benefit of some of the others who weren't here, the member for Nepean, I think the recap would be useful so you get a sense of how things link and how, from what I've said, I will lead to other conclusions in the second part of this comment.

You remember I was saying that Bill 98, like so many other bills, is really not for people or homeowners, as it claims, but rather for developers. It will benefit developers a great deal and homeowners not much. I was linking so many other things this government has done to other things, such as rent control. You remember that bill. It's the so-called tenant protection package, the Tenant Protection Act, a bill which has nothing to do with tenants and a lot to do with landlords.

You remember there, though the hearings, we heard a whole lot of people and one of the groups we heard from was the landlords and developers. They were urging this government and are urging this government to eliminate rent control completely because the decontrolling mechanism which kicks in once this law is enacted will mean that as soon as you move out of your apartment, you are going to face an increase once you move into wherever you are going. That's the worst part of that decontrolling mechanism and that's what we say is the beginning of the elimination of rent control, but it isn't fully the elimination of it.

The developers came there and said, "If you get rid of rent control, we will build housing." We heard from a lot of people who said, "They're not going to build housing." Yes, they will build condominiums, luxurious ones, because there's a market for it. There are still a lot of wealthy people -- because these Tories still have a lot of wealthy friends to build for -- but there is no building going on for that sector of the population that makes $20,000, $25,000, $30,000. There's no building because this fine government has cancelled all of our housing programs. They cancelled all the non-profit and co-operative housing, the only housing that is around that houses people who can't afford to live anywhere else, who can't afford a home, who can't afford the types of condominiums that the Tories are building and their developer friends.

You remember too as part of the point I made around amalgamation, Bill 103, I pointed out that the urban developers, developers in general, love to have the cities amalgamated because they don't have to go through the hassle of going from one city to the other. They stated as much when they came in front of the committee. Imagine the incredible hassles for these poor people to have to go from one city to the other to get a development permit for planning purposes. Imagine that. They're scraping the bottom of the barrel, they don't have any money, and it's getting harder and harder for these people to have to go to each and every one of those municipalities, wherever they are developing something.

So they came in front of the committee and they said to the Tories: "You're doing a fine job. You're doing great. Finally you have the courage, you Tories, to bring about something that's going to help business and it's going to help Toronto become a greater city than it is."

They came and they thanked the Tories, as we suspected they would do. They were asked, "Please come," because, you see, they only had a few people coming to that committee to support what they were doing. They had to find some people, so they found the usual crew of developers, the hotel industry and the like, friends of theirs of that ilk. They came and they did what they were probably being asked to do, supporting the government. But they don't have to do that. They came willingly, I suspect, because the agenda of developers is the agenda for Tories. They work hand in hand. In fact, I have argued that they are the shadow cabinet for this government. They are behind the scenes, manoeuvring like marionettes day in and day out. The shadow cabinet of these developers and other friends, the corporate raiders, is there behind the scenes, constantly manipulating and instructing this government on how to behave.

You remember as well that I talked about Monsieur Leach, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, who last year unilaterally decided that he was going to relax the basement drainage protection rules and eliminated the full-height insulation requirement. He did that on his own.

Recall as well that I said that this is something around which municipal people, municipal civil servants, gather information from all of the experts, pass that information to each other so they can share it, and, once having the full benefit of that feedback that comes from the expertise of all of the people in the field, then make recommendations, but it has been, by and large, not a highly political task. It's a good thing too. It's important not to have political interference in this area, because what you want is the expertise to influence your policies in relation to the building code, not to have developers come to you saying, "Minister, if you get rid of the basement drainage protection and if you get rid of the full-height insulation requirement, the new home owner is likely to save anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000."

So these people came, these developers. The Urban Development Institute went to Mr Leach and said to him, "If you do that, the homeowner is going to save a whole heap of money." So Leach, of course, in full agreement, consensually said, "No problem. I have no problem doing this unilaterally for you because it seems to make sense to me," I suspect. I can't vouch for all the wording that might have been exchanged between them, but I suspect it went something like that, where the developers said, "Do this. They're going to save money," and Leach said, "Yeah, it sounds reasonable. I'm going to do this unilaterally," bypassing the traditional process that has been engaged around the building codes for a long time before this government, before our government and before the Liberal government, with the old Tories, the red Tory types that we used to have in the past. So that's the process that was engaged in.

The point I wanted to make is the issue around credibility. Developers said to Leach, "The homeowner is going to save money." They do, and so I looked for evidence as to whether or not that really may have happened. So we went to the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance that did the investigation, brought together the evidence. The evidence said this, and I repeat: "A survey of home builders" that was released at their news conference that I attended "reveals that an earlier revocation of another energy efficiency standard" -- the one I referred to earlier -- "last summer did not reduce the pricetag of a new home by $1,000, as Housing Minister Al Leach had claimed it would. In fact, the survey shows the prices being charged for these less energy-efficient houses are higher."

The evidence is quite clear in my mind. There were no savings. What you have done is you offloaded a new housing charge on to that homeowner who is buying that building without the benefit of the drainage protection and without the benefit of the full-height insulation requirement. So this person buying this home now, as of last year, who wants to put in full-height insulation, once she or he starts from scratch, is going to have to spend a whole lot more than $1,000 or $2,000 to do the job. Why is that? Because it's cheaper when you're building from scratch rather than adding something to the house later on. That's much more expensive. We know that. So clearly, on the issue of credibility, housing prices did not go down as expected, anticipated and predicted by M. Leach. In fact, the housing prices went up.


The reason I raise this particular issue is because when I get to the development charges, this minister, the parliamentary assistant that has spoken, anybody else that will speak will tell you there are going to be a whole lot of savings for the new home owner. I've given you an example to show that is not the case and is not likely to be the case.

I want to bring another example, because I didn't have a chance to do that last week, and that has to do with the Planning Act changes that this government has engaged in. They have changed the Planning Act in ways that I think are going to be hurtful to the environment in particular and to urban sprawl in particular. The two are very much interconnected.

Our new policies that we had put in when we were in power replaced a patchwork quilt of ideas contained in other government documents and filled some of those gaps, which is what our bill did. It had six goals: to curb the excessive costs of low-density urban and rural sprawl; protect rivers, shorelines and other significant natural areas; prevent costly groundwater contamination; protect air quality and discourage more traffic; promote a variety of housing to meet housing needs; and protect quality agricultural areas. That's what we had done.

We thought they were good principles to abide by, good policies arrived at after four weeks of hearings. I was the Chair of that committee. We heard from a whole lot of people all over Ontario. We thought we had struck a fine balance that this government speaks of often. We thought we had found the balance. But this government has changed the rules once again. Where we had put in language that said that "the act shall be consistent with" provincial policies, this government undid that and went back to the old language which says "have regard to" provincial policies. We were afraid of that language. We thought that language was too flexible. It allowed municipalities a great deal of power to do what they want. It allowed a great deal of influence for developers to have on municipalities and municipal politicians. We were worried that the balance we had achieved through the bill that we had passed was being eroded by the new policies of this government that were passed last year.

We see the influence of developers everywhere throughout a number of policy changes that this government is making. This government is about to change building codes in a way that we think will cause new problems and new costs. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is proposing to reduce insulation levels in new homes by 33%. Efficiency standards in commercial buildings will be optional -- not mandatory, but optional.

The Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance says that this will increase the cost of owning a typical new Ontario home from between $3,000 to $15,000, depending on your fuel type, over the life of a 25-year mortgage. This money will be spent on fuel produced mostly outside of Ontario.

The current energy efficiency provisions of the Ontario Building Code are based, says the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance, on rigorous scientific analysis of cost-effective measures for homeowners. This may no longer be the case.

Mr Speaker, I'm not sure there's quorum in the House. You may want to ascertain that.

The Acting Speaker: I can check that. Would you please check that there is a quorum.

Clerk Assistant and Clerk of Committees (Ms Deborah Deller): A quorum is not present, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker ordered the bells rung.

Clerk Assistant and Clerk of Committees: A quorum is now present, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: The Chair recognizes the member for Fort York.

Mr Marchese: The Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance is extremely worried, and for good reasons. They have said, and I repeat, "Recent building code changes have been made in unprecedented fashion, ignoring the views of experts, manufacturers and consumers." How could this type of government do that? How could it ignore the views of experts, manufacturers and consumers? Why would it do that? For the sake of just pleasing a few people in the industry, the one I have mentioned for the sake of pleasing the Urban Development Institute types?


Mr Marchese: But it is. Why would they just do that? There are so many other manufacturers and experts who are your friends too. Some of them were not mine, I have to tell you. I went to this conference held by the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance. They were all business people, by and large supporters of yours. Some of them --


Mr Marchese: No, some of them are very strong supporters of yours, but they're afraid of you. They're afraid to come out and speak out. So I said: "Why would that be the case? If these are your friends, why would you be afraid to come and speak out?" They are afraid of this government because they have seen how autocratic it has been, how autocratically it behaves in every facet that I have seen so far. I've noticed it's a modus operandi, it is a modus vivendi for this government to behave in this autocratic fashion.

Others have used stronger language to describe the kind of behaviour and the modus operandi of your government, but I don't want to repeat that because it might offend some. "Autocratic" is something that many have used; many of them have used that. So people are very worried, including friends of industries that are very much connected to Conservatives.

You've got a big problem on your hands, it occurs to me. Bypassing in an unprecedented way the usual process of informing yourselves from the experts is, I submit to you, a serious mistake. Ignoring their views is even more serious. I say it because it is supposed to be a very non-political way of considering building code changes, and the minister, Monsieur Leach, interfered with that process last year, and I am afraid that he's not following due process with respect to the building code changes you are at this very moment engaged in. I'm afraid of that and people in the industry are afraid of that as well.


Why do I mention all these things? I mention all of these things to say that we are seeing a transfer of wealth from the poor, whatever wealth was there, to the very wealthy. We are seeing a shifting from the poor to the wealthy, a distribution of money, whatever is left, from the poor to the wealthy. We are seeing tremendous gaps in Canada and in the US where the wealthy are becoming wealthier and the poor are becoming poorer. We are witnessing that in this province and in this country. We have seen tremendous unemployment, and it is very high, unprecedented, and it continues under your government that promised 720,000 jobs or more.

Mr John R. Baird (Nepean): Twenty-five.

Mr Marchese: Twenty-five: 725,000 jobs. You promised them, and under your government, which was going to be so welcoming to the private sector that the jobs would flow like water from Niagara Falls, I tell you the jobs are not flowing like water from Niagara Falls. In fact unemployment is high, stagnantly high, and it remains so under this government that pretends to say that it is the friend of the big private sector, of the corporate raiders. These corporate raiders were going to come in and they were going to create jobs for all Ontarians, and yet under this government we continue to have high unemployment. We continue to have massive layoffs from this government because of its policies. We're seeing it now in hospitals.

In the closing of hospitals we're going to see countless women, mostly women, nurses, who will be laid off to fend for themselves, and Mike Harris, the Premier, says, "Don't worry, they will find jobs." Those losses will be offset by other jobs that they will create; no, they don't see it and they're afraid.

The whole entire population of this province is afraid. That's why the economy has stagnated. It has stagnated because you have frightened the hell out of most of them. They are so frightened of losing their jobs that whatever few dollars they might have, they are not spending, creating therefore a sag in the economy. You people know, the Tories should know or ought to know, that it's because of consumer spending that the economy moves or does not move.

Because of your layoff policies, where you've laid off and continue to lay off people by the thousands -- you have promised to lay off 14,000, gleefully saying that, and more, I argue; I suspect the number will increase to 25,000 people -- you have hurt the economy and you have hurt individuals and families unlike we have ever seen before. Your fine Tory promise of those jobs flowing like the waters from Niagara Falls is not coming. We are seeing more and more part-time people working than ever before. We have more part-time workers than ever before.

Mr Ron Johnson (Brantford): How did you do?

Mr Marchese: How did we do?

Mr Ron Johnson: Yes. We know how you did.

Mr Marchese: We did well.

Mr Baird: You did well? You dug a well.

Mr Marchese: Just a moment here, my friend, mon ami de Nepean.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

M. Marchese: Le chômage, c'est ce gouvernement, c'est élevé.

Mr Ron Johnson: You're a joke.

Mr Marchese: A joke. The other member says, "A joke." I've got to find out where he's from. Where is my good friend Frank from? Not Frank -- Ron from Brantford. It's good to see you here, Ron. Ron, listen. I have no doubt that no one believes that you're a joke, no doubt at all. I am convinced that people from Brantford believe and hold you in high esteem, and when they see unemployment at these levels they say, "Ron, we thank you for having unemployment as high as it is." When they get fired and hospitals are closed, I am sure they will still hold you in high esteem and are going to say: "We're not going to laugh at you, Ron, because we know you guys are doing great. Unemployment is at unprecedented levels, but it's not your fault, Ron."

Unemployment is not your fault, but you guys were going to cure the unemployment problem. You boys -- mostly men here today, except Margaret, who's here from Mississauga -- said you were going to cure this problem of unemployment because you guys had the tools and the knowhow, the economic knowhow --

Mr Tom Froese (St Catharines-Brock): We didn't say that.

Mr Marchese: You didn't say that? Mon ami, you said you were going to create 725,000 jobs, and you said that with a great sense of knowledge and omnipotence and omniscience. They knew better; they were going to create this magic of employment out there.

Don't worry, they've still got two years. The magic is yet to come. Sometimes the wand needs to be shaken a little bit harder to create those jobs. But I tell you, this Tory alchemy is not working. It may have worked in the midst of the 17th century, but it's not working today. You people came in, this government, promising jobs unlike ever before, like the Tories before you at the federal level. I remember vividly when they said, "The North American free trade agreement is going to create jobs and prosperity." I remember Mulroney with his deep voice, "Prosperity for all," he would say.

Mr John O'Toole (Durham East): You don't understand; that's the problem.

Mr Marchese: The member for Durham Centre is the only one who understands here. He is omnipotent, omniscient, like Mike Harris. I have to tell you, Mike Harris and his clones are not solving the problem for us, even though they promised they would. I remember you saying that. I remember Mulroney saying, "The North American free trade agreement: Open up those borders and the jobs will flow." My friends, have you seen those jobs? Yes, they flowed downwards like Niagara Falls; they flowed downwards. We didn't have any jobs here.

Mr R. Gary Stewart (Peterborough): Get on the subject, for goodness' sake. You're talking about foolish stuff, not about the bill.

Mr Marchese: I'm not talking about the bill? But I am. I'm going to talk about the bill. The member for Peterborough is here and I thank him for being here, because he was here on Monday and I'm glad he's here to listen to the debate. He says what I'm talking about doesn't connect. Well, I want to connect it for Monsieur le membre de Peterborough.

If the member was paying attention he would know from the evidence we have gathered that the savings Monsieur Leach said would be had if we eliminate the full-height insulation and the basement drainage requirement -- if you would believe the minister about the savings, you would believe the minister when he says that when you reduce the development charges there are going to be savings to the homeowner, to the extent -- right, Mr Kells? You're nodding -- of possibly $20,000. Correct, Mr Kells? That's correct. The member for Peterborough, am I connecting?

Mr Stewart: At least you're talking about development charges. That's fine.

The Acting Speaker: Order. I would ask the members not to indulge in their conversations. I would ask those who are in debate to address their remarks to the Chair, please.

Mr Marchese: I thank you for the usual good guidance you give us, Mr Speaker.

The point I make is that things connect. You members try to disconnect things one from the other, of course, and what I try to do is to connect them, to show how you fine, honourable Conservative members are influenced by the shadow cabinet developers. You are one of them; you know them because you were there.

On the development charges, we want to look at credibility and whether there is any credibility to this, and that's why I used the other example. I want to speak briefly on the proposed revisions to the Development Charges Act. It will mean municipalities must pay for 10% of the cost of such services as sewers, water, transit, fire and police. Municipalities that build other projects such as libraries, museums and arenas must pay 30% of the tab. So it is true that development charges have not been completely eliminated. They've been eliminated for some areas; reduced by 10% for such things as sewers, water, transit, police and fire; and reduced by 30% for such things as libraries, arenas and the like. That's what they're doing with this particular bill. We appreciate that. We understand that.


What is the point of this? I think the parliamentary assistant, who is from Lambton, talked about how this will serve the needs of Ontario and will make homes more affordable. What else did he say? I took some notes here a while ago. "Minister will make changes if they make sense, he argues." I'm not sure about that. I'll touch on that when we get there.

But by and large the significant point of this bill is to reduce the cost to the new home owner. What it does is take something that was discretionary and now make it mandatory. I want to speak to that, because I think it's significant. I hope the member for Peterborough is listening, because I'm speaking to the bill now more directly.

Mr Stewart: With bated breath.

Mr Marchese: I know.

The fact of the matter is that it used to be discretionary and now it's mandatory, meaning some municipalities could decide, based on their needs, to apply the development charge as high as they might want or as low as they might want, depending on the specific needs of their communities.

I feel that discretionary power is important. I feel it is extremely important. But you have taken that discretionary power and have now made it mandatory, taking the flexibility away from the various municipalities in Ontario to be able to provide the full services they need.

This government and this minister and these other members here are arguing: "This won't prevent people from building. Developers will still build in the urban sprawl fashion as they always wanted to. Not to worry." But I tell you this: There are a whole lot of people who are very worried about what you have done, and these are friends of yours, Mr Kells. You know them. Hazel McCallion is a friend of yours, I presume, in Mississauga. No friend of mine, no friend of ours, politically a friend of yours, and she was very worried.

I want to quote some people from the various municipalities. I've got one here from the Ottawa Citizen where a number of people have made different comments. The mayor of the city of Gloucester said this:

"`It's likely that a lot of libraries and arenas won't be built if municipal taxpayers are required to cover a fixed 30% of costs of so-called soft developments. The current system,' she explains, `allows municipalities the flexibility to determine the ratio between development charges and taxes on a project-by-project basis.' She said, `The new legislation appears to remove that flexibility.'"

"Cain was surprised that a Conservative minister would suggest that taxpayers generally should pick up more of the costs of growth."

It's people like that you've got to worry about, because they are very concerned about what you are about to do to their municipalities and to the services that were being provided by this charge, elimination of which is likely not to produce the same services that every community should be enjoying.

Because this government has cut municipal funding by 40% in the last two years, those municipalities are strapped financially now more than ever. You have incapacitated municipal governments in ways that you cannot understand. You promised these people a whole lot of tools, but that toolbox was empty. There are no tools left for this government except the cuts that you have forced upon them; 40% cuts you've forced upon municipalities. Then you say municipalities can do them or not do them if they wish, that municipalities are not prevented from developing because of this measure.

Communities that have been fleeced by this government know that they've got a lot to worry about, because through this bill you are taking away a very important tool they had in order to be able to finance incredibly needed service for any new development that is likely to sprawl beyond the Metro borders.

The new plan would bar municipalities from imposing development charges for city halls, museums, hospitals and theatres, tourism facilities or parkland acquisitions. This is now no longer the scope of development charges, so these matters are completely out of the scope of development charges. Development charges cannot be levied for these purposes; that specifically is out of the bill.

This is from the London Free Press. "While the government contends that lower costs to developers will trickle down into lower housing prices, even developers" -- Monsieur Kells, it says here -- "concede the formula is more complicated than that.

"`There are market issues involved there,' says Knutson, `a lot of builders are just staying alive.'" They're saying the margins are thin, this other person says. "But Hopcroft is more blunt. `I would hope that if we lower the development charges by $300, the developers will reduce the prices of homes, but I doubt it.'" Ron, I doubt it very much.

Monsieur Kells, I'm not saying this. I'm quoting from various people. I will pass this down to the person who's recording the various names very shortly. These are people in the field. Even developers are saying the savings as a result of these reductions are not likely to trickle down to the homeowner.

Mr Morley Kells (Etobicoke-Lakeshore): That means they want bigger ones.

Mr Marchese: Bigger what?

Mr Kells: Bigger reductions.

Mr Marchese: Bigger reductions, no. But if the developers want bigger reductions, what you're doing is fleecing not only the homeowner but those very communities that depend on the development charges. If you cut down development charges even more, Ron from Brantford is going to be awfully unhappy.

Interjection: No, he's not.

Mr Marchese: Oh, yes, he is. He's already unhappy now.

This is quoting a person called Hopcroft. "The new plan is a serious setback to the relationship between municipalities and governments. We were promised more tools to conduct our business, amid serious provincial cutbacks, and this is a serious limit on that."

This person is right. Mr Kells, you might say yes, you might say no, but these are not my friends. Ron, these are your friends, the member for Brantford, who is sitting close to me. This is the deputy mayor, Grant Hopcroft, from the London area. I suspect they're closely connected to you guys, and they're very worried.


Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): Oh, he is.

Mr Marchese: He is. Is that correct? The member for London Centre is --

Mrs Boyd: Any member of the Crombie family.

Mr Marchese: There you go. These are the people who are speaking out against the policies of this government in this regard. They're saying, "We had a tool and you're taking it away." They're saying, "You cut out 40% of our municipal funding in two years, and then the only tool we've got to keep on sustaining our communities, with all the facilities that any community wants, you're taking that tool away." I don't get it. I don't get it at all.

Someone asks here, from the London Free Press again, "What is the motivation for this act?" What is the motivation? They ask it and I ask it. What is the motivation? Is it to save money for the new home owner? If even the developers are saying this is not going to trickle down to the homeowner, then what is the motivation of this bill except to please your development friends that continue to have good lunches, I suspect, at some of these fine places?

Interjection: You know the fine places, Rosario. You've been there.

Mr Marchese: I don't know them very well. I know some, but I tell you, some of these ministers, including Monsieur Eves, he knows them very well, I tell you that. And over lunch --


Mr Marchese: Who knows who pays there. Who knows whether it's the public purse or the developer. I hope it's the developer because they've got money. They're doing okay.

What is the motivation of this bill? Even if developers pass the savings from a lower development levy to consumers, a cut of a few hundred dollars is unlikely to create a consumer stampede for housing. I agree with that. If they take these thousands of development charges out, they go straight into the pocket of your developer friends. So that poor homeowner who could indeed use a break is not going to get it.

Mr Kells: All those jobs you're talking about are in construction.

Mr Marchese: If people are buying houses or not buying them does not depend on development charges, Mr Kells, and you know that very well. The market and interest rates -- Monsieur Kells, attend to this. Mr Speaker, for your benefit, if interest rates are low, as they are now, people will buy. That's why people are buying, because interest rates have been low for a long time. Why would you --


Mr Marchese: Mr Speaker, Ron is getting loud; he's vociferous. You've got to get him away from me. He's right here. It's not his appropriate seat. Get him away from me.

It is the interest rates. The reason why people are buying is because they want to take advantage of the interest rates that are low, and they are afraid interest rates are going to go high, hopefully -- not hopefully. God, not hopefully. They're saying hopefully not in the next year, because they want to take advantage of low interest rates that will permit them home ownership. But the development charges are not going to save them one cent.

So the motivation for this bill -- I ask the public that's watching this, ask yourselves whether you believe this government or you believe the number of different people who are commenting on this who are absolutely worried about what's happening to us all.

I want to quote a few other people who are very worried about this too. Councillor Bill Fisch from Markham estimated the revenue shortfall to Markham over a decade to be as high as $200 million. He called the possibility of a tax boost as a result absolutely unacceptable.

Councillor Peter Healey, acting Aurora mayor, who attended council as an observer, said Aurora officials reckon the town hall will be out $14 million over a decade, a period when it is expecting --


The Acting Speaker: Order. Will the member for Brantford take his own seat, please. I'd like to remind members that there is no heckling, least of all when you're sitting in someone else's seat.

Mr Marchese: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Councillor Peter Healey was saying that they reckon they will be out $14 million over a decade, a period when it is expecting 15,000 new residents. Can you believe that? They're expecting 15,000 new residents. If you're going to develop in these areas -- because that's where people are developing -- they need all the facilities that any other community that is established wants and deserves.

Georgina mayor Rob Grossi said no more applications will be accepted for development in his town until such time either. York region's population of 604,000 is expected to grow to about 1.1 million by the year 2021. Officials reported in June that the region must spend at least $2 billion on infrastructure over the next 25 years. That's lot of money. It's a lot of money and you're taking away the only tool they've got.

Some of you have argued -- and I don't remember who it might have been -- that some municipalities have hoarded a great deal of money, and I think the reference was to Hazel McCallion. But that, in my view, is a responsibility --


Mr Marchese: Yes, she did. I forget the figure but evidently they've got, I'm not sure, quite a number of hundreds of millions they've accumulated over the years because of this.

Mrs Marland: They have $400 million all in reserves. It's all designated.

Mr Marchese: Okay, $400 million. I think most of it is because of development charges, but I say that's good. I don't say it's bad. Margaret, I think that's a good thing. I don't want to take anything away from that mayor. Of course, she says proudly that they've been able to keep taxes down as a result. That's fine. God bless. But it's up to the municipalities, to the people of Mississauga to make their mayor accountable with respect to the money they have raised through development charges for their community needs. They are the ones who should hold the mayor accountable. We should not take that tool away from Mayor Hazel McCallion in order to use money as their council deems fit for their communities.

Mrs Marland: Rosario, it's only for capital, not for operating, so it's not a tax thing.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr Marchese: The point is that money is raised out of development charges and then is used for a variety of purposes. I argue that the municipality has that responsibility as representatives of their community to discharge that money however they deem fit. If the community decides that the money is not spent wisely, it's up to them to make them accountable.

But I don't say take that tool away. I don't say take away this tool, one of the few tools they've got, given the serious cutbacks this government has inflicted on municipalities. I don't say take the only tool they've got away. But that's what you're doing.

This councillor from Markham, called Fred Cox, said, "The politicians at Queen's Park" -- and he's not referring to me, by the way -- "are caving in to the developers." This fellow is from Markham. I don't know him.

Mrs Marland: But Don Cousens would know him.

Mr Marchese: I'm sure Don Cousens knows him. I've got Don Cousens in one of these news clippings and I want to quote him, if I can find it -- a good friend of yours; you remember him. I hope not to have misplaced it, because he's in these quotes. Don Cousens, a close cousin of yours now as a municipal councillor.

Mrs Boyd: Kissing cousins maybe.

Mr Marchese: Kissing cousins; there are so many variations of that word.

That's what Fred Cox said. They said the amendments will not reduce the price of houses. I am not the only one arguing that prices are not going to go down. A whole lot of people connected to municipal government and to developers know that the prices are not going to go down. It will not reduce the prices at all. Richmond Hill Councillor Gail Blackburn suggested the amendments are one issue that will draw everybody together. "I can just imagine the grass-roots revolution emerging." On development charges alone, this person, Councillor Gail Blackburn, says, "I can just imagine the grass-roots revolution emerging." I understand why.


Mr Marchese: Ron, you would understand from your town of Brantford. He would understand that a revolution will rev up on this issue because they're losing the only tool and the only few dollars they've got to be able to maintain services. That's why they speak in such strong terms.


I would hope that Mayor Cousens has been communicating to Monsieur Leach on this matter. I hope the door is open to him at least, and I hope the door is open to a lot of those councillors who are, once again, your close cousins on these and many other issues. I hope the doors are open for them, if not for us.

Let me find a few others here while we are quoting. Georgina mayor Rob Grossi told the meeting he will ask his council to stop accepting development applications, "I am suggesting to my council we stop right now," as did Hazel McCallion. As soon as this government decided to take the only tool away from these municipalities, Hazel McCallion, a warhorse, was there.

Mr Baird: Hey --

Mr Marchese: I mean that in the sincerest of ways. I will rephrase it: a stalwart, a hero of many causes, and this is one of them. This is a cause that she has taken on. She's taken it on like the soldier that she is. She is quite an active soldier. The war is always waging there with Hazel and it's waging against this government on this particular issue, and I mean that with respect. We disagree often on many issues with Hazel, as some of you know, but we respect our political differences. I just wanted to remind you that on this particular issue in Mississauga, in Markham and so many other regions outside of this metropolitan area, people are awfully worried. They said to you, "Development ceases because we cannot afford to provide the services we were able to provide, as you take the only tool that we've got away from us."

"Tax rates and water and sewer charges," as Sandra Cartwright, region treasurer, told the council, "would have to contribute 10% of the net capital costs of water, sewage, roads, police services, hydro and fire services and 30% of recreational facilities, libraries, community centres and park development."

"What is happening here is the worst thing that can happen," said Newmarket mayor John Cole. Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion has already hoisted the battle flag to rally the defence against the amendments submitted to the Ontario Legislature on November 25 by Monsieur Leach. She said, "It's a declaration of war with Mr Leach."

Them is fighting words, and I understand. I understand, because you're taking away what they need. They need to have those facilities. They need to have those amenities that every other community enjoys and they won't be able to do it.

If Tory municipal councillors are telling you this, you should listen, because I know if they were social democrats or socialists or Liberals, you would of course completely disregard them. I appreciate that. But because they are Tories, they are asking you and I am asking you to heed their advice, and their advice is quite clear.

My assistant, who is an architect part-time, has talked to a number of developers. She said that there was very little chance that any development charge savings would be passed to home buyers. The price of housing is set by what the market is prepared to pay, and the development industry keeps whatever is between the cost of building housing and that sale price.

Right now those margins are very tight as the most active market is to first-time buyers. Everyone is predicting increases in housing costs in the near future because of the pent-up demand for the product. As the traders become fully employed again, there will be pressure for wage increases. However, the current mini-boom in house construction will evaporate if interest costs jump and mortgage costs go up beyond the range of first-time buyers.

The prediction of a number of people that she spoke to is this: Municipalities will not deny development because they are unable to provide the necessary community amenities, schools, libraries, parks, day care. Instead, developments will happen without proper social services.

So what we're going to see is development, and we will see development happening in the GTA without the appropriate services they need. I find that pitiful. I find it pitiful that it should be this government that does it to the greater Toronto area, pitiful that this government is about to disregard even the opinions of their friends.

The parliamentary assistant said, when he made a statement Monday I believe: "The minister will make changes if they make sense, and they will listen to reasonable concerns."

Do you have any faith at all that they might listen to reasonable concerns? I don't have any faith. We were just dealing with Bill 103, and we heard 600 deputants, mostly individuals, who came with a great interest and desire to maintain local government -- 600 of them. I have never seen so many people wanting to speak to a particular issue. They came with a great deal of passion, dedication and a desire to maintain local government. They said, deputation after deputation, "Please withdraw Bill 103, withdraw because it is a bad bill, withdraw because we don't want it, withdraw because we don't like it, because it's going to hurt community development, community identity, local democracy." They said that over and over again.

Then we had the referendum and the referendum was much clearer yet. It was overwhelming in its desire to say no to Bill 103. So when the parliamentary assistant says, "We will listen to reasonable requests or reasonable arguments or reasonable changes," do you for one moment believe them? I don't believe them.

The minister and the Premier came back after that vote on the referendum and said: "Yes, we're going to listen. We're going to make amendments. We're going to make changes." But that's not what the deputations said. They found abusive and very unsavoury some of the elements of Bill 103, but they found the entire bill unsavoury and unacceptable. They didn't come to the committee to say, "Amend the bill"; they came to say, "Eliminate the bill." The ballot on the referendum was very, very clear. The ballot on the referendum was clear as to whether they wanted to retain local governments or to be amalgamated. It couldn't be clearer.

I asked many deputants: "Was the question confusing? Did you understand it? Was it ambiguous? Did you know what you were doing? Were you not influenced at all by the Conservative government's newsletter that was sent out to you, that was completely unilateral, one-sided and propagandist? Were you not influenced by that?" They said, "No."

Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): You told them what to do.

Mr Marchese: Mr Saunderson, the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, says we influenced with a one-sided view. Well, they tried too with a whole lot of bucks that are at the disposal of a provincial government. But they weren't influenced by that. The public was not convinced by that slick, expensive propaganda put out unilaterally by this government to try to dissuade them from opposing them. Overwhelmingly they came and said no. So when the parliamentary assistant says, "We will listen to good arguments, we'll make changes accordingly," we don't believe them.


I want to try to sum up by saying this is not a bill that is going to promote development. Development will happen if the demand is there. Tories should know that because they pride themselves in understanding economics. They should know that development continues or is there if the demand is there. If people have the money, if interest rates and mortgage rates are low, they will buy. If people do not have the money, it means demand is not there; therefore supply does not make sense. It's simple economics. Tories usually pride themselves in understanding that. It is not because of development charges that we haven't seen building in the past. They were building to the extent we had a market out there that was willing to buy, to the extent there was demand.

This bill is nothing short of pleasing their developer friends, because these poor people have been scratching and scraping for years, and they finally came and instead of whacking the people who've got money they whack people on social assistance with a 22% cut in their benefits. Instead of taking from those who have great wealth, they take from those who have so little. Instead of giving an income tax cut to those who earn less than $30,000, they give an income tax cut to their banker, their developer, the corporate friends they've got, being sucked away by their rich, privileged allies, Tories all -- some Liberal, I suspect.

This bill serves the interests of developers, not the homeowner. This bill will not produce one new house as a result. This bill will impoverish municipalities. This bill will incapacitate municipalities to provide basic amenities that every municipality needs and ought to have and desires.

Mr Speaker, I thank you for your attention. It's a pleasure to speak to this bill.

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mrs Marland: In responding to the member for Fort York, I would say at the outset that I really would like to suggest you not refer to the mayor of Mississauga as an old warhorse. Mayor Hazel McCallion is one of the most dynamic mayors in Canada and she actually is more a young general, I would respectfully suggest, than an old warhorse. I would challenge anyone in this chamber, including myself, to keep up with her commitment to her people and the service of the city of Mississauga. Since she became mayor in 1978 she has been a forthright, dynamic leader; 19 years as mayor.

Just to respond, it's very difficult in two minutes to respond to your overall comments which you had an hour and a half to deliver. In fact during that hour and a half you strayed a long way away from Bill 98.

Mr Marchese: Did I?

Mrs Marland: Yes, you did. You referred to the people on welfare and the reduction in the welfare rate in this province. I am very proud to say that in this province today we now have 200,000 fewer people on welfare than we had a year and a half ago when you were the government. How much better for those people to be working, to have their self-esteem and to have the confidence that they can earn a living for themselves.

The other thing in terms of building is that I would remind you how much you added to the cost of housing in this province by requiring the extra height in the basement so people could live in basement apartments.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): I would just invite the member for Mississauga South to Oakville on March 24, when undoubtedly Mayor Hazel McCallion will be giving a presentation to this committee, because that's when the committee will go out travelling.

I'm sure Mayor McCallion may not speak so kindly about this particular bill because she certainly is happy with the current system, and as for the current system -- let's remind the people of Ontario once again -- we're taking away in this bill the powers from the municipalities, the municipalities on which $6.3 billion worth of health care, social services, ambulance services and many of other services have been downloaded by this government.

We're saying to those municipalities, municipalities that this government claims to be in partnership with, "Municipalities, you can no longer make your own deals with the developers for what's good for your municipality." Let them work it out themselves.

The real reason is that this government doesn't trust municipalities. They feel they are doing the dirty work --

Mrs Marland: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I am rising on a point of order on the Q and A time, because this member did the same thing to me a couple of weeks ago, but mainly the point of order is that in Q and A you're supposed to respond to the previous speaker, the member for Fort York --

The Acting Speaker: Order. Please address the comments --

Mr Gerretsen: I would just like to remind the people out there that the member for Mississauga South was wrong when she indicated to this House that the Conservative governments up until 1985 only caused $25 billion of the public debt in this province. They caused almost $50 billion worth of public debt, and I think she ought to be reminded of that as well. Thank you very much.

Mrs Boyd: I'm pleased to rise and compliment my colleague the member for Fort York on his very clear disagreement with this bill and the reasons for it.

It is very disappointing, but it is only to be expected from this government, that the member for Fort York was hassled throughout by another member not in his seat, and constantly in this House we see efforts like that of the member for Mississauga South to interrupt other members when they are exercising their rights as members to speak against this government's policies.

I would say that this government has shown its arrogance in many ways increasingly over the past few days, the arrogance of the kinds of comments that are made about a speaker like the member for Fort York, trying to interrupt him in his exercise of his rights as a member in this place, and the effort of the member for Mississauga South to provide the member for Kingston and The Islands tit for tat because he interrupted her at another time is very childish.

This is an issue that's very important. This is a government that has taken away 40% of the funding available to municipalities and now they are taking away one of the few tools municipalities had to make up for some of that difference. They say they are doing it because it is going to cost people who want to buy homes less money. I'll believe that when the day comes. I said that to the representatives of the Urban Development Institute. It will be indeed a frosty Friday in this province before we see those house prices go down because of this bill.


Mr O'Toole: It's a pleasure to rise to participate briefly in Bill 98, the Development Charges Act, and to respond to the member for Fort York and some of his comments. I'll only be commenting on those parts specific to Bill 98.

The member should know full well that prior to the development charges, we had lot levies. You'd be aware of that. You had some time in local government, I believe, and you realize that the Liberal government, in about 1988, set about trying to have some equity in the whole system of development in Ontario. The good member for Kingston and The Islands would know that as well.

That's a bit of the history, and it was never really fully accepted. It was never a fully accepted, balanced quantum that was used across Ontario, and the quantum does vary from municipality to municipality. I think everyone here would agree that this had to be examined, and some quantums included such things as fairly high profile cultural centres, tourism centres and things that weren't particularly specific -- or at least they were upgrading the service level for their constituents.

I admit as well there were some fairly developed quantums. I know in Durham and in Northumberland county next to me, their development charge is about half. So development is going where the development charge is lower.

The member talked at some length about Bill 163, their planning act. We know what's happened to that. There was great outrage to that across the province and that's been addressed. He also talked about Bill 103, and we know how that's been handled.

I would prefer he stuck to the discussion at hand, and I would put to him that we've listened to UDI and refuted most of that. AMO and ROMA: We've made changes. He recognizes this isn't the first draft.

I'm looking forward to some really substantial comments by the member for Middlesex, who is a professional planner. I look forward to his comments.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Brantford will take his own seat.

The member for Fort York has two minutes to respond.

Mr Marchese: I thank the members for Mississauga South, Kingston and The Islands, London Centre and Durham East.

Just for clarity purposes, it is true that the member for Mississauga South did not interfere with what I was saying or intervene. There were some other members who cheerfully tried to do that, vociferously, and that's okay. It's part of what we do around here, but sometimes it gets out of hand, like the member for London Centre has said, and that's a bit of a problem.

But first of all, to the member for Mississauga South, I have nothing but respect for Hazel McCallion, and I spoke in those terms. So you took a moment to make it appear as if I didn't. I did speak highly of her, and I will agree with you that she's a young general indeed, to use your terms.

When you talk about welfare, you talk about how many jobs you created, what you're creating is a lot of homelessness. There are a lot of people on the streets who no longer have the benefits of being able to have a decent form of living that they were accustomed to. Many people have been shut out and they're out in the cold and many of them are homeless.

To the member for Durham East, I want to say that he speaks about equity and wanting to achieve equity because development charges vary from one jurisdiction to the other. I don't know why we want to achieve equity. If one municipality is charging a different developmental charge rate, what's wrong with that? Each community needs to establish its own needs. We are not all equal across the province; we are not all equally wealthy. So if some community charges a different rate, in my view, that flexibility is a requirement. What you've done is you've taken an important tool away from municipalities. We believe it's wrong. You've only listened to people like your friends, like the Urban Development Institute, and that is all. You didn't listen to people like Hazel McCallion.

Mr Bruce Smith (Middlesex): It's certainly a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak briefly on the bill this afternoon and as well to follow my friend and colleague from Fort York, who I've had the pleasure of working with a little bit in committee. I'm always impressed with his flamboyance, albeit we do find ourselves with a difference of opinion on many occasions, but I certainly do appreciate his presentation and his thoughts today.

First of all, I'm pleased to have the parliamentary assistant, Mr Hardeman, the member for Oxford, sitting beside me because a great deal of consultation has taken place with respect to this particular bill, and in fact as one of the government members who participated in Bill 20, the debate actually extended back to that period of time when we started to talk about reforms to development charges in this province. I think it's important to realize that consultation, the discussion around the bill, has been ongoing since that point in time. I know he has worked very hard over the last short while to continue that debate with municipal partners in the development industry in order that we find the appropriate balance with respect to the outcomes of this bill.

From my own perspective, I think it's important to realize that in 1989 when the Development Charges Act was introduced, it was introduced for well-intentioned reasons. It was certainly necessary in terms of establishing some very formalized structures for municipalities to recover costs associated with services and growth and development in their communities. From my own experience, prior to 1989 there was a great deal of inconsistency in practice and in some cases, not all cases, a degree of abuse in terms of the application of what we used to call lot levies, or formerly impost fees. Certainly the intended legislation in 1989 was very well-intentioned and very necessary, given the practices that were occurring throughout the province from municipality to municipality. At that time we were looking for opportunities to increase accountability, to ensure that growth was paying for growth in these communities and at the same time providing a mechanism whereby roads, sewers and recreational facilities as well as parks and libraries would be paid for.

Somehow over the past six or seven years those objectives have been somewhat compromised and there's been a need to revisit those objectives. The outcome of that compromise has been an impact on affordability, an impact on growth opportunities in this province, as well as those costs which inhibit opportunities for commercial and industrial growth and job creation opportunities. From that perspective, I think we have to move forward positively to find the balance that I mentioned earlier.

Given those concerns, we initiated a fundamental review that commenced in November 1995. Essentially we wanted to revisit the system whereby we would seek to establish a fair system for the financing of new infrastructure, focus on opportunities to reduce the costs of development and the cost of construction of new homes in this province. We also wanted to create an environment that would lead to positive industrial-commercial expansion in all our communities across the province. Most important, the key issue has to be an element of fairness within the system and, equally important, a system that provides some balance between the interests of the municipal sector and the development industry in Ontario. That balance is critically important.

I think it's important to recognize that there have been some success stories. My colleague from Fort York went on at great length about the comments of the deputy mayor of the city of London. It's important to realize that the city of London has a very distinct interest in this because it, in essence, has had special legislation in place to address servicing costs since about the early 1970s. In fact, if my memory recalls correctly, London really has not paid for the installation of any new sewer since the early 1970s; any sewer that is associated with growth, that is. That system has been in place, and I understand the deputy mayor's concern from the perspective that he doesn't want to see that system compromised by new legislation that's being presented today. Those are fair criticisms that I know the parliamentary assistant will be addressing, or will hope to address and take into consideration as we move forward with this bill.

At the same time, in the London community a very positive relationship was established and maintained throughout that period of time, where the development industry was always at the table from the beginning and that led to some positive conclusions that were mutually beneficial to both the industry and the municipality. Again, it's my recollection that no appeal was ever filed, either in 1991 or 1995, against the development charges bylaw in the city of London, and by and large that was due to the cooperative efforts that were advanced by both industry and the municipal representatives in the city of London. Unfortunately, this hasn't been the norm across the province. The London example hasn't been the norm, and for that reason we have to look at other opportunities to provide the balance which I spoke of earlier.


Recognizing those successes which I spoke of, I hope we can move forward and set aside some of the concerns that some of the municipal partners have with respect to the proposals outlined in this bill. Those proposals deal with four main components, the first of which involves the reduction in the scope of services that would be eligible to be levied against in terms of a development charge. In doing so we would eliminate the ability of a municipality to charge for facilities such as city halls, museums, theatres, hospitals, tourism facilities and other related facilities that the minister may deem important.

I can speak from some experience, as a person who has written development charges bylaws and conducted background studies, that there is a tendency when you're writing those reports and those bylaws to capture as much as you possibly can under the umbrella of the approved legislation of the day. It's not done maliciously by any means, but certainly from the municipal perspective, I think it's important to recognize that from time to time that occurs.

The second key element to all of this is the aspect of proposing increased municipal accountability and cost-effectiveness. This is really a fundamental component of the bill, and from my point of view and the city of London's point of view, so to speak, the cornerstone of some of the discussion and disappointment in some areas with respect to what's being proposed, and perhaps concern. I think, by and large, given the hard work of my colleague from Oxford, in many cases those concerns have been set aside, albeit I know they will not be a 100% comfort level with the total outcomes, the outcomes that are anticipated from this bill.

As part of this cornerstone, we're asking that municipalities help pay for components of facility development. In particular, it would represent about 10% on conventional services such as water, sewer and roads, and about 30% on all other eligible services.

The third key element is that municipalities carry out background studies, examining the long-term cost of new servicing requirements being considered for funding through the development charges. By and large, this is a continuation of what we have, but it places greater onus on municipal partners and others to examine thoroughly the impact of decisions around future servicing opportunities. There is also a need, a very necessary need, to calculate actual benefit costs to new residents.

The fourth key element that's contained in the bill is a focus on the commitment to generate industrial growth. Under the terms of the proposed act, any industrial expansion of up to 50% of existing gross floor area would be exempt. Certainly in many communities and in larger urbanized communities, I recognize this is a significant issue, but it's also important to realize that in many small communities across this province industrial-commercial uses in many cases are already exempt by virtue of choice of that particular municipality.

In addition to those four key components of the bill, I wanted to emphasize one other item. I want to emphasize the fact that this component is in no way related to the bill. It's something I hope the parliamentary assistant will consider, as a member from Oxford and a member who represents many small local communities.

I know many communities in my area have asked for consideration or opportunity for the minister to establish minimum levies that would be applied across the board with respect to residential development. Those are the same communities that really do not have the financial wherewithal either to undertake a background study or, in the event they do undertake a background study, have the ability to recover any costs associated with it over the longer period.

Having said that, that would represent some community whereby anywhere from one to six to 10 new lots may be created within a particular year. It's a very small component but one that I know many townships, particularly in Middlesex, have inquired about, opportunities whereby that wherewithal isn't there; not that there isn't interest, but certainly they would like to have the opportunity to provide some across-the-board levy, and that levy, in my mind, would have to be established through some indication from the minister himself.

Again, I would only emphasize that there should be no confusion as to that position. It's not contained in this bill, but something I would hope that at some point the ministry may consider in terms of the deliberations of this particular act.

Certainly the development charges from my perspective will still continue to help municipalities fund roads, water facilities, sewers etc. Development charges will no longer fund facilities such as museums, art centres and new city halls. Residents of the entire community can decide over time whether they can afford these facilities or whether they want to build them. A contribution from municipalities towards the cost of facilities they believe are necessary for new development will encourage more accountability to the taxpayer in both new and existing neighbourhoods.

Community growth must be financed in a way that is fair to all, and I believe this bill is an important first step to finding that fairness. The new Development Charges Act is more balanced and will give assurances to municipalities that key services -- I emphasize "key services" -- and infrastructure needed for growth will still be funded through development charges rather than through increased taxes for residents in existing neighbourhoods.

As I mentioned earlier, we have consulted extensively on the revisions to this act. Earlier this week I had the representatives of the London development industry in my office to talk about some of the issues that remain outstanding from their perspective, and similar discussions are ongoing with municipal representatives in Middlesex and London, with the expectation that those comments will be given to the parliamentary assistant, and due consideration will be given to their comments and concerns.

I think it comes as no surprise that development needs to be encouraged responsibly. It has the opportunity to create jobs and economic vitality in our various communities across the province. It represents potential for good in all of this province.

Our government is clearly doing what it can to make housing more affordable to new home buyers. The new development charges process is streamlined, is cutting red tape and, in my opinion, reducing costs for both municipalities and the development industry.

To conclude, I've been very pleased with the ongoing discussions we've had with municipal sector partners. I think it's been very positive. The minister's establishment of a steering committee and Mr Hardeman's involvement in that committee has led to some very constructive observations and conclusions of where we need to take this bill over the next short while. As well, as the bill moves to public hearings, we have further opportunity to receive input from various communities.

Given the experiences, the leadership that has been demonstrated in the city of London with respect to development charges and the application of a system with respect to growth and servicing opportunities, I would hope the hearings might stop in the city of London whereby the committee may gain access to some of that experience and apply that experience to this particular bill.

It was my pleasure to have a few minutes to speak on this and I appreciate the opportunity to provide some comments, both from a practical perspective and from the perspective of a government member who's involved with this bill.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs Margaret Marland): Questions and comments?

Mr Gerretsen: I'm quite sure that I will not be interrupted this time.

I would just like to say first of all that the member left the impression, when he said some municipalities are exempt, that municipalities have to have development charges. That is not the case. Municipalities can choose whether they want to implement the Development Charges Act, or there are many municipalities, like my own, that don't have them at all. It is when they implement or want to use the Development Charges Act that this government, through this act, wants to impose restrictions on what municipalities can charge for. That is wrong. If you are in a true partnership with municipalities, why don't you allow the municipalities to work that out with the developers themselves?

The second point I want to make is that I've heard so often now in this House, on at least three or four occasions, from the government members that there are many museums, city halls or theatres being funded through development charges. I would like them to tell me of just one incident where actually a theatre or a museum was funded through development charges.

He talks about consultation and how they've talked to the development industry. Well, I would invite him, together with anyone else who's interested, to come to Oakville on March 24 where undoubtedly we will hear from Hazel McCallion, the mayor of Mississauga who we've talked about so much this afternoon, and hear her views of development charges. She certainly doesn't want to make any changes, as does AMO, an organization that represents 700 to 800 municipalities in this province. They basically believe in the partnership notion, whereby municipalities themselves will determine with the development industry what is appropriate in their individual, particular case.


I strongly urge the member for Middlesex to take those matters into account and to vote against this bill on second reading.

Mrs Boyd: It's a pleasure to comment on the speech from my neighbour the member for Middlesex. I think the content of his speech and the seriousness with which he regards the issues that have been raised by those who are against this bill speaks very much to the kind of member he is. Unlike many of his colleagues in the governing party, this is a member who doesn't mind admitting that there is controversy about a bill and is very clear about his responsibility as a member in this place to hear those comments and to try to do something to create an atmosphere in which local municipalities can continue to do business with the provincial government. That is a great relief as opposed to the arrogance and the lack of consultation that characterizes many of the other interactions between this government and the municipalities.

While I disagree with the conclusion the member for Middlesex has made, that in fact this can all be worked out as the committee goes around, I certainly take very seriously his comment that the committee will listen to the representations of those, like his own city of London, who have been very opposed to the imposition of the limitations within this bill. I trust we will see a different attitude towards possible changes in this bill than we have seen today with the committee ramming through Bill 103 as is, despite the promises of the members of the government cabinet and caucus that there would be substantial amendments.

It is really important that people in the governing party look at the way in which it is possible to deal with controversy in a respectful and knowledgeable way, as the member for Middlesex has done.

Mr O'Toole: It's a pleasure to respond to the member for Middlesex. I just want to compliment him on his very professional and very polite presentation to those in attendance and those perhaps viewing. I think he did clarify a couple of the improvements or enhancements with Bill 98 to make it more clear what is a permissible charge in developing the quantum. As a professional planner, I certainly respect his views. I know he's competent and capable of listening to those who are petitioning all of the members, I'm certain, on both sides of the House to make the right decision to have a fair -- after all, the purchaser of the house actually pays the development charge. We must keep in mind that the young families that are purchasing new homes -- we've got to do something to control the price of homes. We have to put the pressure on the development industry to pass on these savings to the home buyer. I'm sincere in that commitment, and I believe the member for Middlesex is as well.

I can attest that not only the member for Middlesex but indeed the member for Oxford, the PA to the minister, has consulted widely. I know just how much time, effort and work he has put into it, and with his municipal background, I again have a great deal of respect that they're, in integrity, out there listening to the people who are appealing to them to come up with a fair piece of legislation.

I also look forward to the public hearings. I know we will hear from many of the mayors, regional chairs and municipally elected people as well as planners, and certainly we'll hear from the development industry. We'll hear from both sides of the equation. But at the end of the day, we have to remember that the customer, the person purchasing the house, specifically new, young home buyers -- they're the ones I've always felt badly for. When first elected, lot levies in my area were around $3,000; now they're around $20,000. It's not fair. We have to make sure that we're passing on to the home buyer what's fair and what's a fair level of service.

The Acting Speaker: Further questions and comments?

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. You would know, as the member for Mississauga South, the concern that the mayor of Mississauga, your good friend and mine Hazel McCallion, has for this piece of legislation. I know that she's not one simply to complain for the sake of complaining. She wants to know that legislation is not going to hurt her municipality. So I'm with Hazel on this one, if I may use that name, because she's kind of a friend to all of us. I'm with Hazel on this one. I think she's absolutely right. She recognizes, as so many municipal representatives do, and my friend the member for Mississauga South was on council as well and understood this very well, how important it is that municipalities have the opportunity, where necessary, to have impost charges, that is, to meet the costs of new services that result from new people moving in and new development taking place within a community.

What you're doing is slashing the funding to the municipalities drastically. They're having to look to find new sources of funding. They've always, at least in recent years, had the impost fees which they felt were reasonable, but the very time you're downloading responsibility on to them and additional costs you're taking away one of their opportunities to have some revenue coming into their coffers. This is like going back to the hula hoop days, in my view. The Premier made reference to hula hoops the other day. The Premier said the other day about hula hoops that they had to close the factory down when they quit making hula hoops because they went out of style and he said the same thing for nurses. He said they were like those who made hula hoops. I guess health care is going out of style.

The reason I mention that is because municipalities are going to have to pick up some new health care costs, so don't hit these municipalities again. I know municipal councillors are very concerned about this. They hope you'll withdraw this bill.

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

Mr Smith: Thank you for the comments from the members for Kingston and The Islands, Durham East, St Catharines, and particularly the kind remarks from the member for London Centre.

Throughout my comments I was attempting to emphasize the need to provide some balance between those interests identified in the development industry and the interests identified in municipalities. I certainly believe in the constructive consultation that has been ongoing because I've been a part of that process.

Too often I think the government has been criticized for lack of consultation, but I can assure you and the people of Middlesex and London that a considerable amount of effort on behalf of the parliamentary assistant and others has been exhausted in trying to find a conclusion to the differences of opinion on this particular bill and finding a positive conclusion to the concerns that both municipal and development industry representatives have. I think it's important to emphasize as well that the consultation was not necessarily unique by any means, but involved municipal officials from the outset, and at one point in time included the professional staff of various large urbanized communities in this area in terms of their input on the details of this particular bill.

I know the member for Kingston and The Islands brings a great deal of municipal experience to this House, experience which I certainly respect. I know as well, given the Kingston experience, that the process utilized there is not necessarily the same as that contemplated in other communities. But by and large there is a need to find that balance in those communities where perhaps excesses have been experienced, and at the same time not to compromise those communities where success stories exist with respect to this particular issue. Again I thank all members for their particular comments and for the opportunity to speak on the bill.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I'm pleased to join the debate and I might say I too appreciate the comments of the member for Middlesex -- thoughtful and helpful.

What we're dealing with here is an assessment of how we will pay for essential services in our new communities. The government has made a decision that services that previously were paid for as part of the cost of building a home -- the developer put them into the cost of building the home -- the government has decided it's going to shift a significant portion of that and put it on the existing residential property taxpayer. That's a decision the government has made, and I gather that the government has decided perhaps as much as $100 million. I gather the plan here is that they should reduce development charges by perhaps $2,000 or $3,000 a unit. That's about $100 million that will be put on the residential property taxpayer. Some members may say: "That's what I want to do. I want the existing residential property taxpayers in a community to pay more money for services in the new subdivisions." That's what the bill's all about. That's the judgement this government has made.


Mr Bradley: That's the way it was back in the days of hula hoops.

Mr Phillips: The way it was back in the days of the hula hoop.

I would say to my colleagues from Durham that my daughter and her husband live in Durham and they will be interested to hear that it is the plan of the government to shift more taxes on to their existing home to pay for the services in the new subdivisions. That's the judgement you've decided to make, and that's a judgement that of course you will defend at the election.

I think we need to remember, first, our judgement is that $100 million in new residential property tax charges that used to be paid for by the developer, and I suppose a portion of it by the person buying the new home, the government has said: "No, no. We're going to move that over to the existing residential property taxpayer." So all of those people in Mississauga, in Durham, in York and around the province who live in communities where you see a subdivision being built and houses going up will realize that this bill, once passed, will mean you're going to pick up on your property taxes expenses that previously were paid for by that development going in. That's the decision the government has made.

I would also say that we cannot judge in isolation the bill that does this, Bill 98, which moves charges away from the development and on to the existing property taxpayer, without looking at the other things that are being loaded now on to property taxpayers.

We know the government's intention to move, and I personally find this -- "obscene" is perhaps strong language, but I'll use it. I find it obscene that we are moving seniors' services, services for our seniors, on to the property taxpayer. We're moving 100% of our social housing costs off the province and on to the municipal property taxpayer, and well over half of social housing in this province is for our seniors. The government has decided they are going to do that.

The government has decided they are going to move long-term care -- that's all our services for our senior community, either in our residential units, our nursing homes and our homes for the aged or our services in their home -- on to the property taxpayer. They are moving ambulance services on to the property taxpayer, moving social assistance, and many of our seniors rely on social assistance, obviously, and many of our young people rely on it.

The bill we're dealing with compounds that problem. It compounds that problem because the government will acknowledge, I'm sure, that it is still going to spend. That money has to be spent to build the sewers and the roads and the libraries and the firehalls. That money has to be spent. It used to be covered by the developer. Now it's going to be covered partially by the developer and partially by the residential property taxpayer.

So the government has made that decision, but I would just say to the people of Ontario that at the same time as they've made that decision, they've made the decision to download a dramatic amount of cost on to the property taxpayer, and they're also moving on revisions to the property tax.

We dealt yesterday, as you know, Madam Speaker, with Bill 106, which is part of the package of bills going through the Legislature now, and that is the property tax change bill. That bill adds, in our judgement, substantially more cost on to the residential property taxpayer. Why? Because the bill says they are going to eliminate something called the business occupancy tax for municipalities. They can no longer charge that. That's gone. That was $1.6 billion of revenue for municipalities, 11% of the revenue for municipalities, gone, completely gone. The province just said to the business community, "We're your friend; we're getting rid of this," but it was a gift that was owned by the municipalities given away by the province, and the municipalities now have to make it up. There is zero doubt that the municipalities have got to recoup that money, the $1.6 billion, 11% of their total revenue, and some of that is going to be, without doubt -- the municipalities have said this -- added on to the residential property taxpayer.

In addition to that, the property tax bill, which has now passed second reading and will be out for public hearings the weeks of April 7 and 14, there are other elements in that bill that are pushing taxes on to the residential property taxpayer, by design. When the government talked about the bill yesterday, they said it is designed to move taxes on to the residential property taxpayer.

The reason I raise all of that is that municipalities cannot deal with this bill as simply a bill in isolation designed to theoretically reduce the price of housing. I say theoretically because while it may reduce the cost for a developer by $2,000 or $3,000, there is zero guarantee that that ends up being passed on to the people buying the homes. As a matter of fact, I think most developers will tell you that the price of their housing is determined by the marketplace, what resales are going for in the area, because that's the choice people have. I can buy a brand-new home, and I don't think there's anybody who goes out and looks just at new homes. They go and look at existing homes and they go and look at new homes. So that's what determines the price.

Mrs Boyd: On a point of order, Madam Speaker: This is a very important comment on this bill, and we do not have a quorum.

The Acting Speaker: Is there a quorum present?

Clerk Assistant and Clerk of Committees: A quorum is not present, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker ordered the bells rung.

Clerk Assistant and Clerk of Committees: A quorum is now present, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Scarborough-Agincourt.

Mr Phillips: As I was saying, there is no guarantee at all that this will result in savings to new home buyers. We hope it might, but there's no guarantee of it. As a matter of fact, as I was saying earlier, I think the price of a home is more determined by the resale value of existing homes in the area.

So here's what the risk of all of this is. Municipalities like Mississauga that rely on these charges rely on these charges to allow development to go ahead. Mississauga has had great growth, but it has been able to do it because as it expanded, it was able to find the funds from the developers to fund the expansion. Here's what's going to happen now. The municipalities are going to have to find a significant part of the cost off the residential property taxpayer. That's a tough choice that you are putting in front of municipal councillors: Build these sewers, these roads, these firehalls, all these new services, build them, add costs, and that cost has to be put on to the existing residential property tax base.

I can imagine there will be some debates in municipalities that say, "I'm not sure where we're going to be able to get the money," so it is the residential property taxpayers who are going to pick it up. I believe one could argue, with 50,000 units being built in Ontario and if it's just $2,000-a-unit-reduced development, that's $100 million that has to be found by the municipalities on the rest of their tax base.


You then add on top of that the downloading, and we would love, by the way, to have some public hearings on the downloading. Our caucus just completed a tour of the province. We went to 10 communities. We've talked to I think 200 different community leaders all over the province on this downloading because this is part of the package. I can tell you there wasn't one municipal leader, not one, who didn't tell us that this is a dumb idea.

Here's what Mr Cooke, the regional chair of Hamilton-Wentworth, said, and Mr Cooke is one of the most respected municipal leaders. He's a regional chair. He was handpicked by Premier Harris to sit on the Who Does What committee, handpicked, and he said:

"In its present form, the disentanglement process is fundamentally flawed. It will destabilize the financial viability, especially of bigger urban regions, and, over the long haul, my fear is, again, we will divide the province into a series of communities, some of which have and some of which have not."

Mr Bradley: Terry is a Conservative.

Mr Phillips: My colleague says he's a Conservative. I don't know what his political stripe is. It doesn't matter to me. He's just a well-respected individual who said that.

We talked to 200 different people. David Crombie himself, who headed up the panel, and the public should be aware: Premier Harris said to David Crombie, a former federal Conservative cabinet minister, a well-regarded individual, and 14 other handpicked people from around the province, "Take a look at this whole area of the relationship between the province and municipalities." David Crombie did that with the panel.

What did they recommend? They said, "We strongly oppose what you're doing and we unanimously recommend that you not proceed to download social assistance, health, long-term care, social housing on to property tax." Believe me, it is a big mistake, and I'm sure the member for Oxford talks often with municipal leaders around the province and is hearing the same thing.

They are begging you to reconsider that decision, and groups as diverse -- I'm a Toronto member and our three Toronto dailies editorially, all three of them, have said this is a huge mistake. The Globe and Mail -- and this is very strong language for any editorial page -- calls it a disaster. The Toronto Star in the last two days has been running a series of editorials begging the government to reconsider its decision to offload, download, dump these essential social services.

I repeat, we went across the province. The headline of the report is: The Mike Harris Plan..."Fundamentally Flawed." That's Mr Cooke's comment. The reason it's important is that you are putting this development charges bill, Bill 98, into that environment where you can just imagine that first, for many of our growing communities, if it is $2,000 a unit it is $100 million a year of offloading, downloading in this case from the developers on to the property taxpayers; you add that on top of this downloading along with the property tax reform. I would just say to all of us, I am very disappointed that we do not have from the cabinet impact studies on what's going to happen on the property tax reform.

Mr Bradley: They refused to give them out.

Mr Phillips: My colleague says they refused to give them out. As a matter of fact they did refuse to give them out. They were requested under freedom of information, which is an act we have here in the province that tries to get information from the government. The member for Carleton, the cabinet minister, I think was a strong advocate of this in opposition. I admired him for that. He was a strong advocate for freedom of information.

In this case I would say to all of us, we're making a big mistake in passing the property tax bill and having no idea of what its impact is going to be. I don't mean to be unfair to the government deliberately, but it's not unlike several other bills we have before us. I will say to all of us, I don't think we've got from the cabinet the information we need to assess --


Mr Phillips: I appreciate that, but when you think of the combination of these things that will hit our municipalities a year from now --

Mrs Boyd: You're going to wear it.

Mr Phillips: As my colleague says, you're going to wear it. She knows well, having been in government, that you do wear it.

The magic in government and the magic for all of us is to -- we're now at the concept stage on these bills, which is that the bill is before us. What all of us have to try and do is to visualize what it's going to mean when it's implemented. How is it going to impact on people? This is the time when you can change. This is the time when you can head off problems. This is the time when you can get it right. The next time you'll see these things is about a year from now and, in my opinion, a lot of this isn't right.

The reason I raise it all around the development bill is that what our municipalities are seeing is a combination of things: the downloading here in Metropolitan Toronto, the mega-bill, the amalgamation, the property tax reform bill, the education bill, and this development charges hit. When all of those things come together, that is a recipe for quite an explosive brew.

As you recall, we had a resolution calling for the cabinet to release the information it used to make its decision on these things, and the back bench, for whatever reason, voted against it. The Conservative members voted against releasing that. I think you may live to regret that.

Mr Bradley: Is that in Hansard? I don't believe that.

Mr Phillips: My colleague says, "Is that in Hansard?" Yes, it is in Hansard. As you remember, it was a resolution proposed by us to try and get the totality of these bills implemented. As a matter of fact, I would say that in our travels around the province, in addition to the municipalities saying to us -- and by the way, there was not a municipality we went to that didn't say this dumping is going to mean property tax increases of at least 10%, and that's after the distribution of the revenue funds the government says it's going to provide. Remember this: the revenue funds the government is providing are going to be, in the end, about $330 million. You're adding a minimum of $1.3 billion and you're providing about $330 million of extra funds. So there's no question, in municipality after municipality, they told us a 10% average increase in property tax was minimal. I repeat, I don't know why the government backbench members haven't been demanding that the government cabinet release that kind of information to them.

Mr Bradley: Wait till they hear about this in Manotick.

Mr Phillips: My colleague says, "Wait till they hear about this." My concern is that I think a lot of these bills have been slapped together in quite an ad hoc fashion.

Mrs Boyd: And in isolation.

Mr Phillips: "And in isolation," my colleague says. I think that's probably true. No one has looked at this whole package, it looks like: the education package, the property tax package, the development charges package, all of this dumping stuff. No one's looked at this thing in totality, and when it finally hits, as I said earlier, it is an explosive brew.


If all of this activity by the government was actually working and if actually things in the health sector were getting better, and in our education sector and our job prospects were getting better, I think you can --

Hon Mr Saunderson: They are.

Mr Phillips: The member said they are getting better on the job prospects. I will say this: In 1996 there were 27,000 more people out of work in Ontario than there were in 1995. When Mike Harris became Premier, there were 499,000 people out of work. What's happened now? There are 30,000 more people out of work today than there were when Mike Harris became Premier. We have lost 37,000 jobs in Ontario in the last five months. It is incredible. I ignore one-month or two-month numbers, but in five months, 37,000 fewer jobs.

The employment numbers come out tomorrow and I suspect we should see a pretty good uptake in employment, probably 15,000 jobs or something like that, but it still will mean, over a six-month period, we actually will have 20,000 or 25,000 fewer jobs in Ontario. Quite extraordinary.

Hon Mr Saunderson: That's not right.

Mr Phillips: You see, this is the problem. The Minister of Economic Development says it's not right. I challenge you to prove it wrong. These are your numbers. These are your numbers released by the finance ministry. This is the problem. If the Minister of Economic Development doesn't know this, we're in big trouble. Mr Saunderson, the Minister of Economic Development, says it's not true. Here's the headline right here: "Ontario Loses 7,000 Jobs in January." Here are the numbers: "In January 1997, the Ontario youth unemployment rate was 18.6%, up 2.3 percentage points from a year ago." On the back here, 37,000 fewer jobs than five months ago.


The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr Phillips: I'm just saying, nothing could be more stark in the problem than the Minister of Economic Development not being aware that Ontario has lost 37,000 jobs in the last five months, and then having the nerve to say it's not right, because he produced the figures; these are the Ministry of Finance figures, and to say that they're not right.

I would just say this. I will repeat this and then I'll ask Mr Saunderson to give me a memo that contradicts it. I will say that Ontario has lost 37,000 jobs in the past five months. I will take out --

Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): You can't bet.

Mr Phillips: You can't bet $5?

Ms Lankin: Not in the Legislature.

Mr Phillips: Not in the Legislature. Well, I'll bet a Diet Coke --

The Acting Speaker: I'll ask the member for Scarborough-Agincourt to address your comments to the Chair, please.

Mr Phillips: Here is the tragedy, and perhaps it makes the point. I was saying that in my opinion I don't think the cabinet has put this thing together, and then the Minister of Economic Development says that they haven't lost 37,000 jobs, when the Minister of Finance publishes the numbers. The Minister of Finance and the Minister of Economic Development can't be talking, or he can't be getting the information, or he doesn't know the numbers.

I would just say to you, go to your office and prove that we haven't lost 37,000 jobs. I'm right, because these are your own numbers. They're not my numbers, they're your numbers, and if you don't understand we've lost 37,000 jobs and it is your responsibility, then you've got a big problem because you've got your head in the sand and you don't know what you're talking about.

Here is the problem: The government itself doesn't understand there is a problem. The government itself doesn't understand that it has lost 37,000 jobs. The government doesn't understand that Ontario lost 7,000 jobs in January, and I might add the rest of the country has gained 72,000 jobs.

If you don't even know there's a problem, you'll never solve it. This is what discourages me about the Premier: He says there isn't a problem. I say to the unemployed people in the province of Ontario, there is a problem; we understand there's a problem; they don't understand there's a problem. It's particularly crucial among our young people.

Mr Ron Johnson: It's getting better.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Brantford.

Mr Phillips: I will repeat the challenge, and I'll look very much forward, Mr Saunderson, to you convincing anybody that we have not lost 37,000 jobs in Ontario.

I will just also say that you ran on a platform, Mr Saunderson. You made the big promise. You said, "This plan will create more than 725,000 new jobs over the next five years." You made that promise.

Hon Mr Saunderson: Yes, we are and we will.

Mr Phillips: Here we are now. Now we're 19 months into your regime. On that promise, you should have had 228,000 jobs; 97,000 jobs. It ain't working. I am particularly concerned about the people, for example, on social assistance. I remember you said: "Just go out and get a job. That's your problem. Go get a job." It's not that easy, when by your own admission there are 30,000 more people out of work now than when you took office.

Hon Mr Saunderson: No.

Mr Phillips: You see, the minister says "No". Again, I challenge you, Minister. Mr Saunderson is shaking his head. Do you not look at these numbers? Do you have no idea about these numbers? Do you not realize these are the Minister of Finance's numbers? I would think this should be something that is first and foremost on your job. You're the Minister of Economic Development and you don't even know the numbers. This is very embarrassing, Minister, that by your own numbers 30,000 more people are out of work than the day you took office.

Hon Mr Saunderson: How about the population increase?

The Acting Speaker: I ask the minister not to interject.

Mr Phillips: How about the population increase? There are more people out of work, you're admitting, but the population has grown. Here is the problem we run into --


The Acting Speaker: The member for Brantford is not in his seat and interjections are out of order.

Mr Phillips: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I don't mean to get myself exercised like this, but the Minister of Economic Development, whose prime job should be to encourage job creation -- we have a real problem -- nobody's told him. He doesn't know. Nobody's told him there are 30,000 more people out of work now than when he came into office. Nobody's told him that youth unemployment is 2.3 percentage points higher now than it was a year ago. Nobody's told him we've lost 37,000 jobs.


The Acting Speaker: Member for Fort York, I can still see you and you're out of order.

Mr Phillips: The reason we got into this is that to try and deal with the one bill in isolation, as municipalities are going to find the downloading, I can guarantee you, across the province -- and you must all have heard from your mayors. Now I'm really concerned because Mr Saunderson, the Minister of Economic Development, has been kept in the dark. Nobody in his ministry has told him he's got a big problem. I guess they don't want to worry him. But 30,000 more people out of work? I guess it's just, "Don't worry, Minister. Yes, Minister, everything's fine," but I would have thought that would be the first thing they do.

The Acting Speaker: Order. The member's time has expired. Questions and comments?


Mr Marchese: Just to agree with much of what has already been said by the member who has just spoken, we have a number of problems and the problem is the following: You're about to reduce the development charges and what that will do is give money to the developer. It will not give a cent to the homeowner. What it will do is increase property taxes for people who are living in that area providing the necessary services that are required by that community. That's what you are about to do.

You have taken an essential tool away from municipalities, the only tool they had to raise some money. You've whacked them with so many cuts over the last two years, and then you take the only tool left where they could raise some money to provide essential services. And you are about to tell them that's fair? And you are about to tell these communities that we'll have increased jobs? This measure is not for one moment going to help out with the economy, will not for one moment help one iota to create one new house. What's creating housing at this time is that interest rates are very low and there has been a pent-up demand. By eliminating development charges you will not be creating more housing as a result. There will be no more jobs.

You've got a serious problem on your hands in terms of employment and this is not what's going to create more employment in Ontario. What this will do is give more money to developers and less money that should indeed go to homeowners, but this plan is not that one. You're just helping your rich developer friends with this, and I agree with the comments Mr Phillips made in this regard.

Mr Baird: I enjoyed the remarks by my colleague the member for Scarborough-Agincourt. He's certainly an honourable member. I wish he had talked more about this bill. He talked about job creation. This bill is all about job creation, all about trying to create jobs in Ontario, a very important piece of that job creation agenda.

He talked about the 725,000 jobs we want to create in the province. We want to turn the ship around and get it going in the right direction, and this bill is a key part of that in order to create jobs.

Mr Bradley: I thought this was an excellent speech by the member for Scarborough-Agincourt who is so knowledgeable in this field. I was surprised he didn't mention, because there is going to be development taking place on the Niagara Escarpment, the fact that the Premier has taken from Mr Norm Sterling, the Minister of Environment and Energy, responsibility for the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

Mr Sterling, as we know, is a long-time advocate for the preservation and protection of the Niagara Escarpment. I can't for the life of me understand why the Premier would take that responsibility away from a person who has clearly demonstrated, not just by his word but by his action, support for preserving the escarpment.

I know there's going to be development take place. We're going to see the Escarpment Hilton, the Escarpment Holiday Inn, the Escarpment Howard Johnson's. We're going to see severances like you've never seen before on the escarpment. We're going to see gravel pits and more quarrying, maybe even garbage dumps, because now it's in the hands of the Ministry of Natural Resources, a ministry which has never had a history of protecting the environment over the years.

I felt much more comfortable, as I'm sure my good friend the member for Mississauga South, and I might add an excellent environment critic for the Conservative Party when she was on this side of the House -- she must be completely beside herself that we are no longer seeing the Ministry of Environment in charge of the Niagara Escarpment Commission. We're going to see development taking place. That's how it relates to development charges.

I know my friend the member for Scarborough-Agincourt didn't have time to mention this. I hope the Premier reconsiders. I hope he gives this responsibility back to my friend Norm Sterling who I know will stand up for the escarpment.

The Acting Speaker: Further questions and comments? The member for Scarborough-Agincourt has two minutes to respond.

Mr Phillips: Just to wrap up the debate on Bill 98, I think the highlights are that without any doubt we are adding somewhere around $100 million a year on to the existing property taxpayer. That's a decision the government has decided to make, and I guess I understand it. I don't have to agree with it. I don't agree with it, because the existing residential property taxpayers, particularly in growth areas, are going to face an enormous extra cost.

Mr Bradley: Many of them are seniors.

Mr Phillips: Many seniors, as my colleague said.

You can imagine, if you're on the council of one of those municipalities such as Mississauga, the conflict you're going to be in now. You approve new development and your existing taxpayers have to pay tens of millions of dollars in extra annual charges at the same time as they are going to be paying residential property taxes for long-term care -- our seniors now are going to be dependent on the residential property taxpayer -- social housing, and we must always remind ourselves a majority in social housing in Ontario are seniors --

Interjection: Shame.

Mr Phillips: Shame, as my colleague said. Children are now relying on property taxpayers: 500,000 young people in this province rely on social assistance for their food, their clothing and their shelter, now on the property taxpayer. What you're doing here is adding another burden on to them, and when the property tax bill comes out in total, you'll know the full fury in the community as seniors and young people fight for dignity at councils in the future.

The Acting Speaker: Is there any further debate? It being past 6 of the clock, is there unanimous consent to take a vote? Agreed.

Mr Hardeman, the parliamentary assistant, has moved second reading of Bill 98. Does the motion carry?

All those in favour?

All those opposed?

The "ayes" have it.

Mr Ed Doyle (Wentworth East): I understand, Madam Speaker, that we had unanimous consent for a five-minute bell on this.

The Acting Speaker: Call in the members. There will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1809 to 1814.

The Acting Speaker: Would the members please take their seats.

Will all those in favour of the motion please rise and be recognized one at a time.


Baird, John R.

Hodgson, Chris

Pettit, Trevor

Bassett, Isabel

Hudak, Tim

Rollins, E.J. Douglas

Boushy, Dave

Jackson, Cameron

Sampson, Rob

Brown, Jim

Johns, Helen

Saunderson, William

Chudleigh, Ted

Johnson, Bert

Shea, Derwyn

Doyle, Ed

Johnson, David

Skarica, Toni

Ecker, Janet

Johnson, Ron

Smith, Bruce

Elliott, Brenda

Kells, Morley

Snobelen, John

Fisher, Barbara

Martiniuk, Gerry

Spina, Joseph

Ford, Douglas B.

Maves, Bart

Sterling, Norman W.

Fox, Gary

McLean, Allan K.

Tascona, Joseph N.

Froese, Tom

Munro, Julia

Turnbull, David

Galt, Doug

Mushinski, Marilyn

Vankoughnet, Bill

Gilchrist, Steve

Newman, Dan

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Hardeman, Ernie

O'Toole, John

Young, Terence H.

Harnick, Charles

Ouellette, Jerry J.


Hastings, John

Parker, John L.


The Acting Speaker: All those who are opposed to the motion please rise one at a time and be recognized.


Boyd, Marion

Kormos, Peter

Pouliot, Gilles

Bradley, James J.

Lankin, Frances

Pupatello, Sandra

Christopherson, David

Marchese, Rosario

Sergio, Mario

Cordiano, Joseph

Martin, Tony

Silipo, Tony

Gerretsen, John

Phillips, Gerry


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 49; the nays are 14.

The Acting Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Shall the bill be ordered for third reading?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet, Government House Leader): We refer this bill to the standing committee on resources development for public hearings.

The Acting Speaker: So ordered.

It now being somewhat past six of the clock, this House will stand adjourned until Tuesday, April 1, at 1:30 of the clock.

We wish Alex McFedries all the best.

The House adjourned at 1817.